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.

March 19, 2021

Ex-priest not guilty of historical abuse

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Associated Press [Sydney, Australia]

March 18, 2021

By Nick Gibbs

Read original article

Via Perth Now

A former Catholic priest who has served time for sexual offences against young girls has now been found not guilty of charges of historical abuse against a schoolboy.

Neville Joseph Creen, 80, denied indecently abusing the teenager in Mount Isa, northwest Queensland, where he served as a priest in the 1970s.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified, first met Creen after his father was killed in a mining accident, crown prosecutor Katrina Overell told the Brisbane District Court.

Creen was accused of summoning the boy to his office and rubbing his thigh and groin on four separate occasions in 1974 and 1975. However, Judge Ian Dearden said much of the evidence was unreliable and self-contradictory.

“Although I’m prepared to accept that the complainant is seeking to give a narrative of events he believed occurred to him in 1974 and 1975 … that narrative is completely unreliable,…

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Queensland paedophile priest acquitted of historical child sex offences

(AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times [Brisbane, Australia]

March 19, 2021

By Toby Crockford

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A former Catholic priest previously jailed for molesting young girls during his time as a clergyman in rural Queensland has been found not guilty of further child sexual assault allegations.

Neville Joseph Creen, 80, was acquitted of four charges in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday after being accused of inappropriately touching a boy, who was aged 13 and 14 at the time of the allegations.

In his judgment after a multi-day trial, Judge Ian Dearden described the complainant’s evidence as “inconsistent” and described him as “completely and utterly unreliable”.

Creen was previously convicted of molesting young girls while serving as a priest in Mount Isa, in north-west Queensland, from 1973 to 1981.

In September 2003, he was sentenced to three years’ jail after pleading guilty to 34 counts of indecent dealing with 20 girls aged between four and 13.

In November 2004, Creen pleaded guilty to a further six…

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Cologne Catholic Church Failed in Handling Sex Abuse Claims, Report Finds

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
New York Times

March 18, 2021

By Melissa Eddy

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The archbishop of Hamburg offered his resignation and the cardinal of Cologne suspended two senior officials over failures to report accusations of clerical sexual abuse.

Berlin – A Roman Catholic archbishop in Germany offered his resignation and two other high-ranking officials were suspended in the wake of a report that found decades of “systematic cover-up” in the church’s handling of accusations of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members.

The 800-page report, examining the years 1975 to 2018 at the Archdiocese of Cologne, was released on Thursday after five months of intense investigation. It was critical of the actions of Stefan Hesse, who had worked at the Archdiocese of Cologne and is now the archbishop of Hamburg.

Archbishop Hesse said he would offer to step down. “To prevent damage to the office, of the archbishop or the Diocese of Hamburg, I am offering Pope Francis my resignation and ask…

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Abuse report exonerates Cologne cardinal, incriminates Hamburg archbishop

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 18, 2021

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A much-anticipated report on the handling of abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Cologne exonerates Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki but incriminates Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse and Cologne Auxiliary Bishop Dominik Schwaderlapp.

The report by the law firm Gercke Wollschläger accuses Cardinal Woelki’s predecessors, the deceased Cardinals Joseph Höffner (1906-1987) and Joachim Meisner (1933-2017), of many breaches of duty in the handling of abuse cases — in terms of state and church law as well as in terms of the church’s self-understanding, the German Catholic news agency KNA reported.

The report also incriminates the former vicar general, Father Norbert Feldhoff, and the head of the Cologne church court, Father Günter Assenmacher, who is accused of having given inaccurate legal information in two cases.

In an immediate reaction to the findings, Cardinal Woelki relieved Bishop Schwaderlapp and Father Assenmacher of their duties, KNA reported. Bishop Schwaderlapp subsequently offered his resignation to Pope…

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German Catholic Archbishop Offers to Resign from Office After Abuse Report Findings

HAMBURG (GERMANY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 19, 2021

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Via National Catholic Register

A long-awaited report published on Thursday raised serious concerns about Archbishop Heße’s handling of several cases during his time in Cologne.

A German Catholic archbishop announced on Thursday that he was offering his resignation to Pope Francis and requesting “immediate release” from all duties.

Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg made his brief declaration live on YouTube March 18, saying: “I am of the firm conviction that taking responsibility is part of our duty to actively deal with this dark chapter in the best possible way and to move towards a better future for everyone, first and foremost for the victims themselves.”

“I have never participated in any cover-up. Nevertheless, I am willing to bear my share of responsibility for the failure of the system,” Archbishop Heße said.

The archbishop was in charge of pastoral personnel in the Archdiocese of Cologne from 2006 to 2012. He served as vicar…

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Stop the bickering: Pennsylvania lawmakers must help victims of clergy sex abuse

HARRISBURG (PA)
Morning Call [Allentown PA]

March 19, 2021

By Paul Muschick

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State lawmakers are running out of time to reconfirm their commitment to holding child molesters accountable.

They can do it if they pull together, stop bickering and think of the victims instead of themselves.

Lawmakers are scrambling to resurrect a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would open a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to retroactively sue their attackers, along with organizations that covered up the abuse, such as the Catholic church.

The effort was driven by a scathing 2018 grand jury report. It disclosed accusations of more than 1,000 Pennsylvania children being sexually abused by hundreds of priests over seven decades.

Lawmakers previously approved a referendum to ask voters whether they wanted to amend the Constitution to allow lawsuits. The referendum was supposed to be on the May primary ballot.

But it was botched by the Department…

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East Timor: Hearings in defrocked priest trial for child abuse postponed to May

(TIMOR-LESTE)
Macau Business Media

March 19, 2021

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The trial in East Timor of Richard Daschbach, a US former priest accused of child abuse, which had been due to resume next Monday at a court in the exclave of of Oecusse, has been postponed until 24 May, a senior judicial source has told Lusa.

The president of the Court of Appeal, Deolindo dos Santos, confirmed the postponement to Lusa, explaining that it had been requested by defence lawyers, citing constraints due to the health cordon set up in the country’s capital, where Daschbach is under house arrest.

The rules of the health cordon require anyone who wants to travel to present a negative result of a tests for the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and that holding the trial required the travel to Oecusse of one of the judges of the panel, the translator, several lawyers involved, members of the public prosecutor’s office and other parties.

“An application…

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March 18, 2021

Cardinal Meisner at his farewell party in the cathedral (2014): The abuse report by the law firm Gercke Wollschläger incriminates deceased and living clerics Photo: Oliver Berg / picture alliance / dpa [Kardinal Meisner bei seinem Abschiedsfest im Dom (2014): Das Missbrauchsgutachten der Kanzlei Gercke Wollschläger belastet verstorbene und lebende Kleriker]

Cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne: Expert opinion weighs heavily on the deceased Cardinal Meisner

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Der Spiegel [Hamburg, Germany]

March 18, 2021

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[Photo above: Cardinal Meisner at his farewell party in the cathedral (2014). The abuse report by the law firm Gercke Wollschläger incriminates deceased and living clerics. Photo: Oliver Berg / picture alliance / dpa. Google translation below is followed by the German text.]

The Archdiocese of Cologne has published the report on how to deal with cases of abuse: It names the Hamburg Archbishop Heße and Cardinal Meisner as responsible. Cardinal Woelki exonerates it.

The eagerly awaited report on cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne from 1975 to 2018 incriminated Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg. He is therefore responsible for mistakes in dealing with perpetrators and victims. In a total of eleven cases he is said to have acted improperly and neglected procedures prescribed by canon law. Likewise Cardinal Joachim Meisner . The theologian, who died in 2017, is said to have violated his duty in 24 cases. In addition, he kept a folder “Brothers in the Fog”…

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Reports on abuse cases: Woelki relieved, Meisner implicated

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Tagesschau [Hamburg, Germany]

March 18, 2021

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[Google translation is followed by the German text.]

When dealing with allegations of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Cardinal Meisner and Archbishop Heße in particular are said to have violated duties. A new report comes to this conclusion. Cardinal Woelki, on the other hand, is exonerated.

After months of debate, an expert opinion on the handling of cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne was presented. It burdens the current Archbishop of Hamburg Stefan Heße, Cologne Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp and the former Cologne Vicar General Norbert Feldhoff. You are said to have violated obligations in dealing with the allegations of abuse.

Most of the breaches of duty, however, found the report in the case of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who died in 2017. A third of all determined breaches of duty, namely 24, said criminal lawyer Björn Gercke when presenting his report. Heße are therefore accused of eleven breaches of duty. Most of these are…

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Cardinal Woelki temporarily releases two employees from their duties

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [Frankfurt, Germany]

March 18, 2021

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[Google translation is followed by the German text.]

The Cologne Archbishop Woelki is not accused of any breach of duty in the new abuse report. However, the Archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Heße, is heavily burdened.

Immediately after the presentation of an expert opinion on the handling of cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne , Archbishop  Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki drew personal consequences: on Thursday he released his auxiliary bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp and the head of the Archbishop’s Court, Official Günter Assenmacher, from their duties with immediate effect due to breaches of duty Offices. Hamburg’s Archbishop Stefan Heße, who was previously the head of personnel in Cologne, is also heavily burdened by the report. The experts accuse him of 11 breaches of duty.

In the case of Archbishop Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki of Cologne , Gercke and his team do not see any breaches of duty in dealing with cases of abuse. This is in agreement…

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Survivor Karl Haucke

Cologne diocese abuse scandal: Investigators identify suspects

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

March 18, 2021

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[With a video background report, Sexual abuse in Germany – A cardinal under pressure, including an interview with survivor Karl Haucke (photo above). See the report.]

Germany’s largest Catholic diocese commissioned the independent report into years of abuse by clergy. The report names over 200 abusers and more than 300 victims, and accuses the archbishop of Hamburg of breach of duty.

A German law firm published an independent report Thursday following accusations of efforts to cover up sexual violence in Germany’s most powerful Roman Catholic diocese, Cologne.

The report identified around 243 abusers of minors — priests or laypeople working for the church — and at least 386 victims between 1946 and 2018, but some of these did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Cologne diocese.

Some 55% of cases referred to children under the age of 14 and around half dealt with sexual violence. The rest of the…

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“Independent investigation” – dealing with sexualised violence

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Archdiocese of Cologne [Cologne, Germany]

March 18, 2021

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[Google translation is followed by the German text.]

Cardinal Woelki releases the responsible persons named in the report

Independent study on dealing with sexualised violence in the Archdiocese of Cologne presented

At a press conference, Kerstin Stirner presented the “Independent study on dealing with sexual violence in the Archdiocese of Cologne” commissioned by Archbishop Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki. The report covers the period from 1975 to 2018 and examines 236 file processes in detail with the aim of identifying any existing deficits and legal violations as well as those responsible as specifically as possible.

As a first reaction, Cardinal Woelki temporarily released the named persons from their duties: Auxiliary Bishop Dr. Dominikus Schwaderlapp and Official Dr. Günter Assenmacher.

As Cardinal Woelki had announced several times in advance, his main concern in coming to terms with the work was to create clarity and – as far as possible – justice for those affected by…

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Inspection of the Munich report

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Archdiocese of Cologne [Cologne, Germany]

March 18, 2021

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[Google translation is followed by the German text.]

Accreditation to view the reports

From Thursday, March 25, 2021, there will be the opportunity to view both the expert opinion of the Gercke & Wollschläger law firm and the Munich expert opinion of the Westpfahl – Spilker – Wastl law firm in the Maternushaus in Cologne . Anyone interested can register for a viewing.

The registration is only valid for you personally and is not transferable. The registration form can be found at the bottom of this page.

Place and dates

Viewing is possible from Thursday, March 25th up to and including Thursday, April 1st, 2021 . A period of up to  1.5 hours is possible for viewing . The report is not available for download, but can only be viewed in person at

Maternushaus
Kardinal-Frings-Str. 1-3
50668 Cologne

The following time slots are available:

  • 09:00 to 10:30
  • 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
  • 14:00 to 15:30
  • 16:30 to 18:00
  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

In each time window, up to 10 places are available at the same time due…

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Anglican Bishop apologises to abuse victims: ‘The Diocese must do better’

CHRISTCHURCH (NEW ZEALAND)
Stuff [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 18, 2021

By Mariné Lourens

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Christchurch’s Anglican Diocese allowed clergy to continue in their duties despite being aware of allegations of abuse against them, an inquiry has heard.

Bishop Peter Carrell, giving evidence at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care on Thursday, said he was aware of 13 reports of abuse that had involved the Diocese, ranging from verbal harassment to rape.

This does not include abuse complaints against former Christchurch priest Rob McCullough from the 1970s and 80s, which were settled financially in 2003.

In relation to the 13 reports Carrell was aware of, he said the approach to the claims varied. In many instances he was not able to determine how the allegations were dealt with at the time due to poor record keeping.

“There have been historic instances where a perpetrator’s [church] licence or permission to officiate (PTO) was endorsed despite the Diocese’s knowledge of the allegations of abuse….

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Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy almost 50 years ago told police the teenager had the ‘wrong bloke’, court hears

(AUSTRALIA)
Daily Mail [London, United Kingdom]

March 17, 2021

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Australian Associated Press

  • Former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing schoolboy pleads innocence
  • Neville Joseph Creen denies indecently abusing teenager in Mount Isa in 1970s 
  • The former priest told police the teenager had the ‘wrong bloke’

A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy at a remote parish almost 50 years ago told police the teenager had the ‘wrong bloke’, a court has heard.

Neville Joseph Creen, 80, denies indecently abusing the teenager in Mount Isa, northwest Queensland, where he served as a priest in the 1970s.  

Asked about the allegations in 2018, Creen told officers he had ‘never, ever touched the boy’, calling it a ‘gross injustice’ that he had been accused.

‘This is repulsive,’ Creen told detectives in the interview played to the Brisbane District Court on Thursday.

‘I think he’s got the wrong bloke.

‘It could be (the victim was referring to someone else) … Whether it was…

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Ex-Vatican altar boy testifies in seminary sex abuse trial

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 17, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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A former Vatican altar boy has testified that an older seminarian would come into his bed at night to perform a sexual act on him in the Vatican’s youth seminary, saying his initial shock gave way to resignation because he feared being sent home.

Accuser L.G. testified for the first time Wednesday in the Vatican’s criminal courtroom, in the first-ever case to go to trial alleging sexual abuse within the Vatican walls — among the altar boys who serve at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Rev. Gabriele Martinelli is accused of abusing his authority as a more senior seminarian to force L.G. into “carnal acts” of sodomy and masturbation, using violence and threats, from 2007-2012. The former rector of the seminary, the Rev. Enrico Radice, is charged with having helped Martinelli avoid investigators by discrediting L.G.’s allegations as baseless.

Martinelli has denied he molested L.G., saying the allegations…

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Poland: 4 churchmen allegedly didn’t report sex abuse claims

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 17, 2021

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Polish prosecutors say they have received allegations that four senior churchmen broke the law by failing to report a complaint that a priest allegedly sexually abused a minor.

National Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Ewa Bialik confirmed to The Associated Press Wednesday that the formal notification was received this month from a new state commission that reviews whether reports of pedophilia should be reported to prosecutors.

She said the allegations were passed on to prosecutors in Krakow, who have authority over the area where the developments took place.

It was not immediately clear whether an investigation would be opened. If it is, and should charges be pressed, they would carry a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.

The allegations concern abuse by a village priest in the 1980s of a man who was then a minor. In the 1990s, the alleged victim informed the local bishop but said there…

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March 17, 2021

People are silhouetted against the Cologne Cathedral in Germany in 2016. (CNS/Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay)

Cologne Archdiocese awaits potentially explosive report on abuse

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 17, 2021

By Donald Snyder

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[Photo above: People are silhouetted against the Cologne Cathedral in Germany in 2016. (CNS/Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay)]

A potentially explosive report about sexual abuse in Germany’s Cologne Archdiocese is set to be released March 18.

The fate of the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, could be profoundly affected. He has offered to resign if he is implicated in a cover-up.

The upper echelon of the archdiocese will be targeted in the currently secret report, according to Joachim Frank, chief correspondent of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the city’s largest newspaper.

“Those responsible from the diocese management who covered up cases of sexual abuse or committed violations of secular and ecclesiastical law shall be mentioned,” Frank told NCR.

Peter Otten, a catechist at St. Agnes Parish in Cologne, said in an email that he expects the report will cite “the criminals behind the criminals — bishops, auxiliary bishops, vicars general, and other…

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Cardinal Marx’s Handling of Abuse Cases Under Scrutiny

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

March 17, 2021

By Edward Pentin

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A criminologist who was commissioned by the German bishops to investigate clergy abuse cases has alleged that the cardinal intervened to undermine his investigation.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx has rejected as “baseless” accusations he prevented a full disclosure of information regarding clergy sex-abuse cases in his diocese a decade ago — similar to accusations he himself has made against Cardinal Rainer Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne.

The charges were made against Cardinal Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, by German criminologist Christian Pfeiffer, whom the German bishops commissioned in 2011 to investigate a major study of abuse in the Church in Germany. That study was published in 2018.

Last month, Pfeiffer repeated strident criticisms he had made to Bavarian newspaper Merkurin February 2020 regarding his investigation, saying that he and his research colleagues were unable to obtain some key information they were promised, in particular relating to any bishops who…

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Woman pens memoir about unsolved murder of popular Catholic school teacher in 1970

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBAL-TV [Baltimore MD]

March 17, 2021

By Lisa Robinson

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Many people first met Gemma Hoskins through her appearance on “The Keepers,” a 2017 Emmy-nominated Netflix docuseries, that focused on the death of Sister Cathy Cesnik and cases of sexual abuse at Archbishop Keough High School.

Hoskins is out with a memoir that offers her theory of what happened to Cesnik. WBAL-TV 11 News spoke with Hoskins about why she wrote it.

Hoskins has made it her life’s work to find out what happened to Cesnik, a popular Archbishop Keough High School teacher. Hoskin’s efforts, along with other students, became the focus of “The Keepers.”

Cesnick was found dead in a Lansdowne dump in 1970, months after she disappeared.

In her book “Keeping On,” Hoskins talks about her own work as a teacher, experiences that shaped her and offers a theory of what happened to Cesnick.

“I believe that is was a police officer and I shared his picture with…

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Saskatoon Catholic officials promise to name sexually abusive priests in spring report

SASKATOON (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

March 16, 2021

By Jason Warick

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Victims say it’s also vital to show what was — or wasn’t — done about their actions

Roman Catholic Church officials in Saskatoon are promising to publish a report this spring naming all abusive priests and staff going back to 1933.

Saskatoon would be just the second jurisdiction in Canada to release names of abusive priests. A partial list was published by the Vancouver diocese in 2019. In the U.S., the vast majority of churches chose — or were forced by the courts — to make their lists public more than a decade ago.

The Saskatoon report will list the priests involved in public court cases, but also the ones contained in the church’s internal records, said Brenda Fitzgerald, a member of the historical review committee for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

Fitzgerald said it will also show who knew about the abuse and how it was handled.

“There is no doubt it is going to evaluate if past historical decisions were appropriate. And actually,…

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[Opinion] Remember Cuomo’s Flagrant Double Standard for Priests

NEW YORK (NY)
CNSnews.com [Reston VA]

March 11, 2021

By Bill Donohue

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Now that Gov. Cuomo has been accused of being a serial predator, he is insisting that his due process rights be respected. Yet when it came to accused priests, Cuomo sang a different tune. 

Cuomo has a different standard for himself. When asked this week about the charges against him, he said, “You can allege something, might be true, might not be true. You may have misperceived, there may be other facts.” 

If this is his best defense, the man is in trouble. Nevertheless, what he said was accurate. Not all allegations are true. Misperceptions are not uncommon. There may be other facts that have yet to surface. That’s why the accused, including him, are entitled to due process.

However, when it came to allegations against priests—for offenses alleged to have happened decades earlier—Cuomo showed no respect for their due process rights. He was happy to sign legislation that gave rapacious lawyers…

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Saskatoon diocese to release report of abusive priests and staff in Catholic church

SASKATOON (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

March 16, 2021

By Carla Shynkaruk

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is among the first nationwide to announce it will release a report listing abusive priests and staff going back decades.

A local committee is expected to release the list in late spring. This means Saskatoon would be the second jurisdiction in the country to release such a list, following Vancouver.

The Saskatoon list is expected to name those priests who were involved in public court cases and those who were mentioned in the internal records of churches.

Brenda FitzGerald is a member of the historical review committee for the diocese.

She and 10 laypeople from all walks of life have been going over cases of abuse for over two years.

She’s from Newfoundland and says she lived a block away from the infamous orphanage at the heart of one of the first major cases of abuse in the Catholic Church at Mount Cashel.

FitzGerald…

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Deadline Approaches for Proofs of Claim in Diocese of Syracuse Chapter 11 Case

SYRACUSE (NY)
BinghamtonHomepage.com [Binghamton NY]

March 16, 2021

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Time is running out for those who want their child sexual abuse claim against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse to be considered during bankruptcy proceedings.

The Northern District of New York has established a deadline of is April 15, 2021 for filing proofs of claim in the diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization.

Claims will have to be filed on that day by 11:59 p.m..

If claimants do not file a timely proof of claim, they may forfeit their right to vote on any plan of reorganization and to share in any distributions made to creditors in connection with the diocese’s Chapter 11 case.

For information on filing a claim, go here or call 855-329-4244.

The Diocese of Syracuse filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in June of last year following dozens of lawsuits being filed against the Diocese as a result of the New York Child…

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[Media Statement] Polish Cardinal Faces Jail Time for Ignoring Reports of Abuse

(POLAND)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

March 16, 2021

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A Polish Cardinal, who was heavily linked to scandal involving the disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, now faces jail time for allegedly ignoring claims of sexual abuse. This is welcome news and we firmly believe that the only way to end the culture of sexual abuse within the church is to root out and punish those men responsible for ignoring allegations and propagating a culture of silence and deceit.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz could face up to three years in jail for his role in covering up cases of clergy abuse by failing to report allegations to police. This is an important step forward in the fight to protect children and the vulnerable from sexual abuse. In our view, one of the main reasons that clergy sexual abuse remains a rampant problem worldwide is because of the church’s playbook for handling abuse. As described by A.G. Josh Shapiro…

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Report of abuses at Gilman School underscores need to give survivors more time to sue, supporters say

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

March 16, 2021

By Phil Davis

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A recent investigation alleging two then-employees at Gilman School sexually assaulted boys over several decades is the latest example of why Maryland needs to remove age limits for survivors to file lawsuits, some state legislators and advocates say.

A report commissioned by the school and obtained by The Baltimore Sun concluded that two staff members — Dr. Martin Meloy and Thomas Offutt — abused at least 20 students between them, with allegations against Meloy from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and Offutt dating to the 1950s.

Neither Offutt nor Meloy was prosecuted, according to the report and Maryland court records. Meloy died in 2015. Offutt did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Baltimore Sun.

Gilman is the most recent Maryland institution to conclude that some of its staff sexually abused children in its care. In 2019, the Baltimore law firm Kramon & Graham found that  View Cache

Emergency sex abuse amendment must clear hurdles in Pa. legislature

HARRISBURG (PA)
WHTM-TV - ABC 27 [Harrisburg PA]

March 16, 2021

By Dennis Owens

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[VIDEO]

Sex abuse victims still have a shot at justice even after their statute of limitations has run out. Pennsylvania lawmakers are working on an emergency constitutional amendment this week.

The amendment would correct the Wolf Administration’s failure to properly advertise the original amendment.

But is a clerical error an amendment-worthy emergency? Critics say no. Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), a clergy sex abuse survivor, says otherwise.

“I have known many victims of childhood sex abuse who have committed suicide, who have become alcoholics who have become drug addicts. This is a serious threat to our commonwealth,” Rozzi said.

And a threat to the amendment, according to Rozzi, is language inserted by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to remove sovereign immunity. Lisa Baker is the chair of the state Senate judiciary committee.

“We clarified that if you’re a teacher at parochial school or teacher at public school you’ll be treated…

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Indonesian police feel heat in ‘Catholic brother’ abuse case

(INDONESIA)

March 16, 2021

By Katharina R. Lestari

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State agencies question police inaction in probe against orphanage founder accused of molesting boys

Two state agencies in Indonesia have accused police in West Java of dragging their feet in a sexual abuse case involving a “Catholic brother”.

The case was first reported to local police in September 2019 by three boys living at the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage in the city of Depok.

They accused orphanage founder Lukas Lucky Ngalngola, also known as Brother Angelo, of abusing them.

Ngalngola claims to be a member of the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of Charity (BSMC), an obscure order based in the Philippines.

He was arrested by police following the report but was released three months later after investigators failed to complete a report for prosecutors to bring the case to court, claiming that they could not find the whereabouts of the boys to get additional statements requested by prosecutors.

The case was…

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I’m the ‘wrong bloke’: accused ex-priest

(AUSTRALIA)

March 17, 2021

By Cheryl Goodenough and Robyn Wuth

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A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy at a remote parish almost 50 years ago told police the teenager had the “wrong bloke”, a court has heard.

Neville Joseph Creen, 80, denies indecently abusing the teenager in Mount Isa, northwest Queensland, where he served as a priest in the 1970s.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified, had just lost his father in a mining accident when he first met Father Creen, crown prosecutor Katrina Overell has told a Brisbane court.

He remembers Creen being at his home when he first learned his father would never be coming home.

Creen allegedly put an arm around the teenager’s shoulders before promising to see him when he started high school.

The alleged victim remembers Creen seeking him out in the schoolyard on his first day, reminding him they had met before.

“He asked (the victim) to accompany him to…

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Fiji police release pastor accused of child sex abuse

(FIJI)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 17, 2021

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The Methodist pastor in Fiji alleged to have sexually assaulted 14 boys has been questioned and released by police.

The pastor was accused of sexually assaulting the boys while serving on an outer island between 2018 and this year.

Police said the case file had been sent to the force’s Divisional Crime Officer Eastern for further inquiries.

This was not the first time a member of the clergy in Fiji had been accused of sexually abusing women and children.

In December, a judge found a pastor guilty for raping and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl from his church.

The pastor was convicted of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

For the offence of sexual assault committed on 21 March, 2019, in Nausori, the court found he had unlawfully and indecently assaulted the complainant by kissing her and fondling her breast.

On the rape charge, the court…

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March 16, 2021

Ex-Las Cruces pastor accused of molesting teenage girl in 1970s

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

March 16, 2021

By Leah Romero

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A civil complaint filed in Albuquerque alleges a former Las Cruces Catholic priest sexually abused a teenage girl in the 1970s.

The Rev. Jesus Goni was a pastor at St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church at the time of the alleged incident.

The plaintiff, who is identified as Jane Doe 43 in the lawsuit, accuses Goni of ordering her into his office in approximately May 1970 and inappropriately touching her. She was about 14 years old at the time. She was brought up to obey priests and did not think she would be believed if she told anyone what had been done to her, the lawsuit stated, and kept the incident secret “for many years.”

This is believed to be the first accusation of sexual abuse against Goni. According to the St. Genevieve’s website, Goni became an assistant pastor in 1965 and head pastor in 1970. It appears that he left the…

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Costa Rican bishops respond to alleged cover-up of sex abuse by students at Catholic school

(COSTA RICA)

March 15, 2021

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The National Commission for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults of the Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference released a statement in response to the alleged cover up of the sexual abuse of a former student at the Calasanz Catholic school.

According to the local newspaper La Nación, a 21-year-old woman surnamed Cruz Carrillo made the accusation on social media that two of her male classmates sexually abused her in 2016.

The young woman’s decision to bring this complaint to light five years later was due to photographs and posters that began to circulate in the women’s bathrooms at the school, exposing similar cases, La Nación reported.

Cruz Carrillo spoke with the local newspaper and stated that “she and her family were pressured and manipulated by the then director of the institution, a priest from the Dominican Republic, as well as by the psychologists, for them to not file a criminal…

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Lawmakers want to use emergency powers to pass sexual abuse reform. Can they find the votes to pull it off?

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital-Star

March 15, 2021

By By Stephen Caruso and Elizabeth Hardison

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Six weeks after the Wolf administration revealed that a clerical error had derailed a years-long  effort to help survivors of child sex abuse, Pennsylvania state lawmakers are invoking a seldom-used legislative power to salvage it.

If the plan that lawmakers put in motion on Monday succeeds, Pennsylvania voters will be asked during the May 18 primary election to ratify an emergency amendment to the state constitution allowing child sex abuse victims to sue perpetrators in decades-old cases.

If it fails, voters will have to wait at least two years before they can weigh in.

The margin for error is slim. To invoke the emergency powers, the House and Senate will need two-thirds agreement on a measure that has eluded action for years. 

A Senate vote scheduled for Monday was delayed as of press time. But a committee vote in the House indicates that lawmakers can reach the two-thirds threshold.

On…

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Catholic priest denies historical abuse

(AUSTRALIA)

March 16, 2021

By robyn muth

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A former Catholic priest has denied sexually abusing a teenage schoolboy almost 50 years ago while stationed at a remote northwest Queensland parish.

Neville Joseph Creen, 80, pleaded not guilty to four historical counts of indecent and sexual abuse of the teenager in Mt Isa, where he served as a priest in the 1970s.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified, had just lost his father in a mining accident when he first met Father Creen, crown prosecutor Katrina Overell said in her opening in Brisbane District Court.

He remembers church members being at his home when he first learned his father would never be coming home.

Creen was allegedly one of those men from the church sent to comfort the family and allegedly put an arm around the teenager’s shoulders before promising to see him when he started high school.

When the teen started high school, he remembers Creen…

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Southern Baptist pastor, former abuser resigns after church ousted from denomination

(TN)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

March 15, 2021

By Adelle Bnks

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His church is no longer ‘in friendly cooperation’ with the denomination that found it ‘knowingly employs as pastor a man convicted of statutory rape.’

A Tennessee pastor who confessed two decades ago to statutory rape has resigned after his church was recently removed from the Southern Baptist Convention for hiring him.

Pastor Randy Leming Jr., who served at Antioch Baptist Church in Sevierville, announced his resignation on Feb. 28, the Baptist and Reflector reported on Thursday (March 11).

The Baptist and Reflector, a publication of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, said Leming had been with the church since 2014.

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, meeting in February, determined that the church was no longer “in friendly cooperation” with the denomination because “the church knowingly employs as pastor a man convicted of statutory rape.”

The SBC voted in 2019 to amend its constitution to make sexual abuse one…

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March 15, 2021

Polish cardinal could face jail time for failing to report abuse

(POLAND)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 15, 2021

By Jonathan Luxmoore

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A Polish cardinal, former secretary to St. John Paul II, could face jail time after a Polish state commission accused him of ignoring sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

Poland’s State Commission on Pedophilia said it would initiate procedures against bishops “for not notifying law enforcement authorities, despite their knowledge that minors were being harmed by their subordinates.”

Meanwhile, the TVN-24 channel published a leaked letter naming Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, retired archbishop of Krakow, and three bishops from the suffragan Diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, and said all could face three years in jail for failure to report “credible information” about crimes.

Dziwisz, who served as the Polish pope’s secretary for 39 years, was accused in a November 2020 TVN-24 documentary of ignoring abuse complaints after becoming archbishop of Krakow in 2005.

The cardinal dismissed the claims in a TV interview, citing his four decades of “service to the church, pope and Poland,” but said…

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[Media Statement] Michigan Teen Files Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Abuse, SNAP Applauds His Courage

DETROIT (MI)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

March 15, 2021

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Research into childhood sexual abuse is clear that most victims take decades to come forward due to myriad factors including shame, self-blame, and fear of reprisal. That is why the Michigan teenager who has filed a lawsuit regarding the sexual abuse he experienced in 2010 at a Lapeer-area Catholic school is so courageous. Due to his bravery and willingness to come forward, we believe others may be spared the pain of childhood sexual abuse.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was a student at Bishop Kelley Catholic School in Lapeer, MI, where he was raped by Fr. Aloysius “Al” Volskis. Making matters worse is the fact that Fr. Volskis was reported to the police and Catholic officials in “early 2011.” Despite this report, Fr. Volskis was allowed to remain in the rectory until July 2011, when he fled the US and presumably returned to Eastern Europe. We worry…

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Joseph Saunders and other members of Chicago's St. Sabina Catholic Church rally outside the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Chicago demanding resolution of the investigation into allegations against the Rev. Michael Pfleger on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 in Chicago.

Chicago parish fiercely backs priest after sex abuse claims

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 15, 2021

By Sophia Tareen

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[Photo above: Joseph Saunders and other members of Chicago’s St. Sabina Catholic Church rally outside the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Chicago demanding resolution of the investigation into allegations against the Rev. Michael Pfleger on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 in Chicago.]

When her teenage son was murdered outside a church in 2006, Pam Bosley contacted ministers around Chicago, hoping someone would help make sense of it.

Only one wrote back.

Michael Pfleger, a charismatic priest of a thriving Black Catholic parish, inspired her to become an activist and recruited her to run his South Side church’s violence prevention office.

Stories like Bosley’s are recurrent at St. Sabina Church, a close-knit community that’s been a social activism hub for 40 years under Pfleger. But the white priest’s job, his reputation in a Black community that’s long respected him, and the parish’s future are in jeopardy because three men — two who are…

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Deadline for filing sex abuse claims against Syracuse Catholic Diocese is approaching

SYRACUSE (NY)
Syracuse.com

March 14, 2021

By Don Cazentre

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Anyone who wants to file a claim seeking damages for clergy sex abuse against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse must do so by midnight on April 15.

The diocese issued a reminder of that deadline, known as the “bar date,” in a news release Sunday. The deadline was initially set in November 2020 by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Margaret Cangilos- Ruiz.

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Northern District of New York in June 2020. That move immediately shifted all abuse claims from state court to bankruptcy court.

At the time, there were more than 100 claims of abuse against the Syracuse diocese. The bankruptcy filing came just days after 38 people filed Child Victims Act lawsuits against the church.

Under the judge’s order, those with claims must file them by April 15 or risk losing their rights…

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Sacked priest in Timor-Leste ‘will remain defrocked’

(TIMOR-LESTE)

March 15, 2021

By Ryan Dagur

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Divine Word congregation scotches rumors that Richard Daschbach could be reinstated after sex abuse trial

The superior of the Society of the Divine Word congregation in Timor-Leste has moved to scotch rumors that ex-priest and self-confessed pedophile Richard Daschbach, who is currently on trial for sexual abuse, will be reinstated.

In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by UCA News on March 13, Father Yohanes Suban Gapun also expressed sympathy for the former American priest’s victims who were abused at the Topu Honis shelter that he founded in Oecussi, a small coastal enclave of Timor-Leste located 200 kilometers west of the capital Dili.

He faces 14 charges of sexual abuse of children under the age of 14, child pornography and domestic violence. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

“We … want to state emphatically that based on his admission of the heinous crime of abusing minors…

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Celebrity priest creates financial storm at Long Island parish

BABYLON (NY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 15, 2021

By Mark Nacinovich

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The gist of a meeting on a late February weeknight at St. Joseph Parish in Babylon, New York, is probably familiar to many Catholic churches across the country, as Fr. Jason Grisafi, the pastor, discussed how St. Joseph could meet its expenses in light of steadily declining contributions, a drop exacerbated during the last year by COVID-19.

The meeting, however, was remarkable, given St. Joseph’s recent history. For one, it was livestreamed and a video of it was posted on the parish’s website, which also contained St. Joseph’s latest financial report.

That transparency stands in stark contrast to the alleged opacity that marked the tenure of the previous pastor, Fr. Charles Mangano, who has moved on to a new assignment but has left behind unanswered questions about his financial stewardship at St. Joseph.

For a variety of reasons, very few parishioners are willing to discuss what…

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The 8 Most-Defining Images from 8 Years of Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
America [New York NY]

March 14, 2021

By Colleen Dulle

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Eight years ago today, Pope Francis emerged on the balcony of St. Peter’s Square for the first time, clad not in the red ermine cape and new red loafers prepared for the next pope, but in a simple white cassock and his old black orthopedic shoes.

His simple apparel set the tone for what would become a whirlwind papacy including 52 papal trips, six major documents, three synods and thousands of speeches and homilies aimed at shifting the church toward simplicity, collegiality and care for the poor and outcast.

While much ink has been spilled by Vatican watchers interpreting how the pope’s writings and structural changes will shape the church for years to come, Pope Francis’ gestures may do even more to define his legacy.

Long after “Amoris Laetitia” and “Laudato Si’” have faded into history, people will remember the images of this South American pope warmly embracing a man…

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Redress, tangible compensation critical for those abused in state, faith-based care

WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 15, 2021

By David Cohen

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Analysis – Public hearings provide a valuable window to see the work of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. But what’s happening behind closed doors will almost certainly have the more enduring effect on the ultimate political outcome of the costly exercise.

This week the commission resumes its historical examination of faith-based institutions managed by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and, in particular over the coming few days, the Salvation Army.

William Booth, the Methodist minister who established the Salvation Army in the late 1800s, used to talk about the power of a punchy sermon to dangle listening sinners over the fires of hell. Over the coming days, the boot might be on the other foot.

The latest hearings began with Gerry Walker, the denomination’s chief secretary who has tendered an apology to former wards while also outlining the Salvation Army’s policies for retrospectively dealing with these…

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March 14, 2021

[Media Statement] Deceased priest added to archdiocese’s list of clergy with substantiated claims of abuse of minors

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Review [Archdiocese of St. Louis MO]

March 12, 2021

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Father Vincent Duggan ordained in 1940; died in 1984

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has added the name of a deceased priest to its list of clergy who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Vincent Duggan was added to the list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Because Father Duggan was accused after his death, his name will be added to that section of the list. He was ordained in 1940 and died in 1984.

The updated list of clergy with substantiated claims of abuse is available online at archstl.org/list. Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski sent a letter to parishes in the archdiocese where Father Duggan had served in ministry, and an announcement will be made in those parish bulletins.

The archdiocese’s list is accurate to the best of officials’ knowledge; however, the archdiocese will add names of any additional clergy who…

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WATCH: Maltese Priest Condemns Sexual Abuse Within Church In Emotional Homily

(MALTA)
Lovin Malta

March 12, 2021

By Tim Diacono

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[VIDEO]

Maltese priest Rob Galea delivered an impassioned homily in Australia last Sunday, condemning the sexual abuse that has gripped the Church and apologising on behalf of them.

Galea was giving an online sermon about the Cleansing of the Temple, the time Jesus angrily drove merchants out of the Temple, and interpreting it as the wrath of Christ upon discovering that a place of refuge had become a place of exploitation.

Here, he proceeded to draw parallels with the Church, and the several sexual abuse cases that have plagued it over the years.

“It breaks my heart; I became a priest to give hope and dignity to people and the Church exploited the vulnerable,” he said. 

“I know it will do everything to protect the vulnerable now, but we didn’t, and as a result many souls were lost and that’s an eternal ramification, and I dont know what to say.”

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This 1987 file photo shows the front of St. Clare's R.C. Church in Great Kills. (Staten Island Advance)

Lawsuits filed against 2 S.I. Catholic churches allege cases of sexual assault by clergy

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

March 13, 2021

By Irene Spezzamonte

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Photo above: This 1987 file photo shows the front of St. Clare’s R.C. Church in Great Kills. (Staten Island Advance)

A woman and an altar boy filed separate, unrelated lawsuits against prominent Catholic schools on Staten Island and the Archdiocese under the protection of the Childs Victims Act.

One lawsuit alleges Rev. Basil Akut, a priest at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Huguenot, sexually assaulted a divorced women who was seeking counseling. A second lawsuit was filed by a man who alleges Rev. Ralph LaBelle sexually assaulted him while he was an altar boy at St. Clare Parish in Great Kills.

The lawsuits were all filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday and seek unspecified damages. A spokesman for the Archdiocese did not respond to an emailed request for comment Saturday.

DIVORCED WOMAN FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST OUR LADY STAR OF THE SEA, PRIEST THERE

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Class action against archdiocese for alleged negligence in abuse by priests ‘proceeding’

HALIFAX (CANADA)
Chronicle Herald [Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada]

March 13, 2021

By Francis Campbell

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A class action by dozens of Nova Scotians who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests dating back to 1960 “is proceeding,” says the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

“The court is going to advise us about potential trial dates,” said John McKiggan of McKiggan-Hebert law firm in Halifax, which filed the class action with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in August 2018.

The class action was filed on behalf of Douglas Champagne and other sexual abuse survivors.

Champagne, according to the court filing, suffered lasting and permanent effects from sexual abuse at the hands of Father George Epoch while Epoch worked as a priest at the Canadian Martyrs Church in Halifax.

The class action says priests employed by the Halifax-Yarmouth archdiocese, which amalgamated the former dioceses of Halifax and Yarmouth in 2011, had for decades “sexually assaulted and battered Catholic worshippers who attended their parishes.”

Responsible for the…

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Eight years with Pope Francis: The joy of the Gospel for the whole world

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

March 13, 2021

By Isabella Piro

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On March 13, 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to the Chair of St. Peter. He is the first Jesuit, the first Latin-American Pope, and the first with the name Francis. These eight years of his Pontificate have been marked by initiatives and reforms to engage all Christians in a new missionary impetus with the goal of bringing the love of Jesus to all humanity.

Closeness, synodality and missionary impetus: these are the cornerstones of the Pontificate of Pope Francis, who was elected eight years ago to the Chair of St. Peter. The perspective of his Pontificate starts from below, from the attention paid to those existential and geographical “peripheries” that act as a counterpoint to his being and acting. Inviting all to recover “the original freshness of the Gospel,” he urges the faithful to take up a new fervor and dynamism so that the love of Jesus can truly…

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Approximately 400 Accusations of Abuse by Clergy Stalk the “Bankrupt” Archdiocese of New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Big Easy Magazine [New Orleans LA]

March 12, 2021

By Michael David Raso

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The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans has been in the news for a variety of reasons lately. First was their stance against taking the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine saying that it was “morally compromised” for using stem cells coming from aborted fetal tissue.

Currently, the Church appears to be skirting its responsibilities regarding its abominable record of child molestations, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; this, despite having assets worth over half a billion dollars.

Referring to that bankruptcy filing, Richard Windmann, the president of Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse, says, “I thought it was a cowardly act. Greg Aymond has been dodging depositions in state civil cases for a long time.” Gregory Michael Aymond is the 14th Archbishop of the Diocese of New Orleans. “A judge finally ordered him to attend the deposition, and they filed bankruptcy two days later. It is nothing…

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Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop’s office shares child sex abuse complaint against deceased priest

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WPXI.com [Pittsburgh PA]

March 13, 2021

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The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh shared a letter regarding a child sex abuse complaint against a former priest that died.

Posted online, the letter encouraged “those with information” to “come forward for confidential conversation.”

Here is the letter in full:

March 12, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am writing to share some difficult news with you.

My office has received a complaint of child sexual abuse against Charles Appel, who was once a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The man who has made the complaint reports that the alleged abuse occurred when he was a minor in the late 1970s and early 1980s and while he was at Sheldon Calvary Camp, the camp in Conneaut, Ohio, that is affiliated with our diocese.

Mr. Appel renounced his priesthood in the Episcopal Church in 2001, after charges were brought against him under the Church’s clergy disciplinary system….

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March 13, 2021

General Assembly could consider plan to help adult survivors of child sex abuse next week

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Daily Item [Pennsylvania]

March 12, 2021

By John Finnerty

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The Senate judiciary committee is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to ask voters to approve an emergency change to the state constitution to open a window for lawsuits by adult survivors of childhood sex abuse.

“At this late point in a debate that has been ongoing for over two decades, the emergency constitutional amendment is the most timely and viable option for affording thousands of abuse victims their long-sought access to justice,” state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne County said. “By getting the question on the ballot, we give voters the chance to end the delay and say ‘yes’ to the type of justice that all Pennsylvanians deserve.”

Senate Democrats earlier on Friday called for the passage of a bill that would immediately open a window for adult survivors of child abuse to sue their abusers and organizations, such as the Catholic Church, which covered up for predators.

State Sen….

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Former Episcopal Diocese Of Pittsburgh Priest Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA-TV, Ch. 2 [Pittsburgh PA]

March 12, 2021

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The Episcopal Diocese is encouraging anyone with information to come forward for a confidential conversation.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is disclosing a report of sex abuse against a priest who died in 2019.

The late Charles Appel was a priest in Pittsburgh until the church disciplined him in 2001.

Bishop McConnell says the alleged abuse occurred against a child while Appel was at Sheldon Calvary Camp in Conneaut, Ohio in the late 70s and early 80.

Appel spent five years in prison for child porn before his death. Anyone with reports about appel is being asked to contact the Episcopal Diocese.

Bishop McConnell’s letter about the abuse can be found here.

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Bishop DiMarzio: ‘There is No Merit to Any of These Claims,’ After Attorney Mitchell Garabedian Files Second Lawsuit

(NY)
The Tablet [Diocese of Brooklyn NY]

March 12, 2021

By Paula Katinas

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WINDSOR TERRACE — Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is denying claims in a lawsuit that he sexually abused an altar boy in a New Jersey church in the 1970s.  

The accuser, Mark Matzek, 57, who is represented by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, filed in Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, on March 9. Matzek first went public with his accusations against Bishop DiMarzio in November of 2019. 

In a statement, Bishop DiMarzio said, “These false accusations are an attempt to smear my 50-year ministry as a priest. This lawsuit contains the same false allegations made 16 months ago with a demand for $20 million. There is no merit to any of these claims. The priesthood has been my life. I have faith in the Lord that truth will prevail.”

Joseph A. Hayden, Jr., the lawyer representing Bishop DiMarzio, said his client would never settle the case “because he is innocent and looks…

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Priest, 70, is accused of ‘sexually abusing two young boys for five years’ – with the youngest just 11 years old

(AUSTRALIA)
Daily Mail [London, United Kingdom]

March 10, 2021

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  • Former priest, now 70, has been charged with historic sexual assault of two boys
  • Police will allege the man abused the boys – then aged between 11 and 17  
  • Alleged abuse took place over five years while they were in his care, police say 

A former priest has been charged with the historic sexual assault of two young boys in Sydney’s west and on the NSW South Coast.

Detectives in August began investigating the allegations said to have taken place between 1986 and 1991.

The ex-priest will face Penrith Courthouse on Thursday facing 13 counts of sexual assault 

A 70-year-old man was issued with a court attendance notice in January at a facility at Malabar, for multiple charges.

These included indecently assaulting a person under 16, sexual intercourse with a person aged 10-16, homosexual intercourse with a male aged 10-18 and inciting a person under 16 to an act of indecency.

The man…

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NYC priest sexually abused depressed divorcée: lawsuit

(NY)
New York Post

March 12, 2021

By Priscilla DeGregory

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A Staten Island priest has been accused of grooming a recently divorced and depressed parishioner who sought counseling from him for years to eventually sexually abuse her, new court papers say.

Father Basil Akut in 2015 offered weekly counseling to the woman “in order to isolate, manipulate, and groom her for sexual abuse,” her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit from Friday alleges.

The victim — who is not named in the court papers — also went to weekly confession with Akut and attended all of his masses at Our Lady Star of the Sea on Staten Island, the court papers say.

From 2016 to 2018, Akut would shower the woman with compliments about her personality and appearance, would text and call her and spend “an inordinate amount of time” with her, the court documents claim.

Things escalated in January 2018 when Akut confessed he was in love with the woman and by…

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Former student sues St. Mary’s high school over 1980s sex abuse

MANHASSET (NY)
Newsday [Melville NY]

March 13, 2021

By Matthew Chayes

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A former altar boy is suing St. Mary’s College Preparatory Catholic high school in Manhasset over allegations that he was raped in the early 1980s by a religious brother employed as a guidance counselor.

Steven Gormley, now 53, alleges that in September 1981 Brother Robert Ryan began pulling the then-13-year-old out of class at least twice a week, “taking him to his office, and sexually assaulting him,” molestation that continued during “recess periods, study hall periods, or after school was completed for the day,” and went on for years, according to the 38-page lawsuit, filed March 10.

Years ago, Gormley said, he had raised the allegations with school leadership and was given settlements that included $55,000 in exchange for waiving his legal rights, but he is now seeking to void those agreements on the basis of what he claims is fraud.

The suit, filed by lawyers Kevin T. Mulhearn and…

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March 12, 2021

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio attends an NYPD Mass honoring members who died of COVID-19 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan on October 5, 2020. (photo: Lev Radin / Shutterstock)

Second Alleged Abuse Victim of Brooklyn Bishop Files Lawsuit

(NY)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

March 11, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

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Tadros filed a lawsuit against Bishop DiMarzio in February, 2021 claiming Bishop DiMarzio abused him repeatedly while he was a priest at Holy Rosary parish in Jersey City.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn says that a second sex abuse lawsuit filed against him is an attempt to destroy his reputation, and maintains his innocence. 

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in New Jersey Superior Court, Mark Matzek of New Jersey claimed to have been abused by Bishop DiMarzio and another priest – now-deceased – at St. Nicholas parish in Jersey City in the 1970s. Metzak says the abuse occurred when he was an altar boy. 

“This lawsuit contains the same false allegations made 16 months ago with a demand for $20 million,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a statement provided to CNA on Thursday. 

In November, 2019, Metzak’s lawyer Mitchell Garabedian sent a letter to the Brooklyn diocese alleging that Metzak…

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Teen’s lawsuit claims assault by priest at Lapeer Catholic school

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit News [Detroit MI]

March 11, 2021

By Mark Hicks

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A Michigan teen is suing the Archdiocese of Detroit and a Catholic school in Lapeer County amid allegations he was sexually assaulted by a priest more than a decade ago.

The youth was an 8-year-old second grader at Bishop Kelley Catholic School in Lapeer 2010 when he attended a “spiritual formation” session with the priest, Aloysius “Father Al” Volskis, during school, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Detroit.

While in a teacher’s lounge, the priest noticed the boy had a cold and offered two blue pills believed to be medicine; he swallowed them then “fell into a semi-sedated state of consciousness,” the filing said. 

The youth was unable to move but aware of his surroundings, asserting in the lawsuit that the priest “raped and molested plaintiff in the teachers’ lounge.” The boy claims he heard Volskis  “moaning and uttering prayers or chants…

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Former St. Genevieve’s head pastor accused of molesting teenage girl in 1970s

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Las Cruces Sun News [New Mexico]

March 11, 2021

By Leah Romero

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A civil complaint filed Thursday in Albuquerque alleges a former Las Cruces Catholic priest sexually abused a teenage girl in the 1970s. 

Fr. Jesus Goni was a pastor at St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church at the time of the alleged incident.

The plaintiff, who is identified as Jane Doe 43 in the lawsuit, accuses Goni of ordering her into his office in approximately May 1970 and inappropriately touching her. She was about 14 years old at the time. She was brought up to obey priests and did not think she would be believed if she told anyone what had been done to her, the lawsuit stated, and kept the incident secret “for many years.”

This is believed to be the first accusation of sexual abuse against Goni. According to St. Genevieve’s website, Goni became an assistant pastor in 1965 and head pastor in 1970. It appears that he left the church by 1974. 

The plaintiff is…

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Survey: One in three Catholics in Germany thinking of leaving Church

(GERMANY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 12, 2021

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A third of all German Catholics are considering leaving the Church, according to a new survey published on Thursday.

The representative study, unveiled March 11, was conducted by the Erfurt-based opinion research institute INSA Consulere on behalf of the Catholic weekly newspaper Die Tagespost and the Protestant news agency Idea. It confirms a previous survey’s findings that indicated similar numbers.

Of those surveyed who belong to the Catholic Church, 33% are considering leaving the church because of the ongoing scandals over the handling of clerical sex abuse cases, while 44% said that they were not going to turn their back on the Church. A further 14% of respondents indicated that they “didn’t know.” Nine percent of those involved in the survey did not specify an answer.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that the new survey also found that one in four members of the Protestant regional churches in Germany…

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Poland’s Catholic bishops work with religious orders to strengthen child protection system

WARSAW (POLAND)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 11, 2021

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Poland’s Catholic bishops strengthened their child protection system on Thursday with an agreement with the country’s male religious orders.

During the bishops’ plenary meeting in Warsaw on March 11, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki and Fr. Janusz Sok, C.Ss.R., signed a declaration committing men’s religious orders to cooperation with the St. Joseph Foundation, which the bishops established in 2019 to support abuse survivors.

Gądecki is the president of the Polish bishops’ conference and Sok is chairman of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Orders in Poland

During the plenary assembly, the bishops were updated on the Church’s safeguarding efforts by Archbishop Wojciech Polak, their delegate for the protection of children and youth.

A March 11 statement on the bishops’ conference website said: “The development and strengthening of this system are to be served by the declaration adopted by the plenary assembly on cooperation between the Polish bishops’ conference and the Conference of Major Superiors…

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Archdiocese estimates 400 sexual abuse claims filed by March 1 deadline

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WWL-TV [New Orleans LA]

March 11, 2021

By David Hammer, WWL-TV and Ramon Antonio Vargas, New Orleans Advocate

Read original article

Plaintiffs’ attorney Jeff Anderson said he believes 400 claims is relatively low for the church in New Orleans.

Roughly 400 people who allege that they were sexually preyed upon by local priests and deacons went to bankruptcy court and sought compensation from the Archdiocese of New Orleans before last week’s deadline for victims of clerical abuse to file such claims, church officials said Thursday. 

The announcement provides some clarity about the number and potential value of remaining clerical abuse cases that the archdiocese will have to settle or litigate before it can reorganize its finances, a process that started when the church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May.

March 1 was the final day a sexual abuse claim could be filed in the case, which is the only avenue for compensation for anyone who alleged sexual abuse by clergy or other church officials that took place prior to the…

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Lay ministry helps abuse survivors find healing in a different way

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Angelus - Archdiocese of Los Angeles [Los Angeles CA]

March 12, 2021

By Heather King

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Sara Larson is executive director of a Milwaukee-based Catholic nonprofit called Awake Milwaukee, whose mission “is to awaken our community to the full reality of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and work for transformation and healing.”

How is Awake different from any number of similar movements?

“Many people believe that there are only two options: get angry and leave the Church, or bury your head in the sand and pretend the abuse isn’t happening. Awake tries to fill that gap. We recognize the brokenness of the Church and we also still love our Church.”

They try to support all survivors, including the person who loves the Church in spite of everything and stays, but is hemorrhaging silently and in exile, suffering his or her terrible wound alone.

“We don’t need to duplicate the work done by the many other wonderful organizations, support groups, and diocesan-sponsored initiatives across the…

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This Catholic family is asking Fulton Sheen’s intercession for a second miracle

PEORIA (IL)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 11, 2021

By Matt Hadro

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A Catholic couple in Peoria, Illinois, is asking for the intercession of hometown hero Ven. Fulton Sheen to save the life of their unborn son.

Royce and Elise Hood, parents of six children including one in utero, recently discovered that their unborn son Fulton Joseph had Potter syndrome. It is a rare condition where, due to a lack of amniotic fluid, the baby’s kidneys and lungs might not develop fully or at all.

At the Hood’s 20-week ultrasound appointment, their doctor informed them of the news and said there was a 95% chance their baby would not survive after birth.

Three days later, the family went and prayed at Sheen’s tomb in Peoria, asking for a miracle.

Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria at age 24 before being appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951 and Bishop of Rochester, New York, in 1966. He was…

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North Ayrshire priest cleared of child sex abuse to face appeal

(UNITED KINGDOM)
Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald [Scotland]

March 12, 2021

By Victoria Weldon

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Prosecutors have been given the green light to press ahead with an appeal in the case of a priest who was acquitted of child sex abuse charges.

Father Stephen Motroni, a former priest at St Mary’s RC church in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, was accused of sexually abusing two young brothers after plying them with drink and playing strip poker.

He faced two historic charges of lewd and libidinous conduct against the children, aged between five and 13, in Scotland and on holiday in Italy.

However, after hearing several days of evidence at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last year, Sheriff Michael Hanlon decided he did not have jurisdiction to hear the Italian charges and acquitted Mr Motroni of all other offences.about:blank

Sheriff Hanlon claimed that the Crown had not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The procurator fiscal in the summary trial sought an appeal by way of a process known as a…

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March 11, 2021

Beth Moore addresses attendees at the summit on sexual abuse and misconduct at Wheaton College on Dec. 13, 2018. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Bible teacher Beth Moore, splitting with Lifeway, says, ‘I am no longer a Southern Baptist’

NASHVILLE (TN)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

March 9, 2021

By Bob Smietana

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The famed Bible study teacher said she no longer feels at home in the denomination that once saved her life.

Photo above: Beth Moore addresses attendees at the summit on sexual abuse and misconduct at Wheaton College on Dec. 13, 2018. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

For nearly three decades, Beth Moore has been the very model of a modern Southern Baptist.

She loves Jesus and the Bible and has dedicated her life to teaching others why they need both of them in their lives. Millions of evangelical Christian women have read her Bible studies and flocked to hear her speak at stadium-style events where Moore delves deeply into biblical passages.

Moore’s outsize influence and role in teaching the Bible have always made some evangelical power brokers uneasy, because of their belief only men should be allowed to preach.

But Moore was above reproach, supporting Southern Baptist teaching that…

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[Media Statement] SNAP Urges State Legislators to Support HB 14 in Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

March 10, 2021

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Months after a bureaucratic SNAFU upended SOL reforms aimed at preventing future cases of child sexual abuse and providing justice and healing to survivors in Pennsylvania, an emergency constitutional amendment is set to be proposed again in Pennsylvania.

HB 14 would provide the same remedy to the archaic statute of limitations laws as the previous reform, and currently House Republicans and Democrats are working to get a Constitutional amendment back on the May ballot. In order to do so, there will need to be a 2/3 majority in both houses for the bill to be declared an emergency.  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Philadelphia, and Mary McHale, SNAP Reading, joined other advocates in a conference call today, March 10th, along with CHILD USA advocates and legal scholars Marci Hamilton, Esq. and Kathryn Robb, Esq. The call highlighted the continued need to contact state legislators and urge them to support HB14.

The fact is…

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German bishop orders new look at US claims against Schonstatt founder

TRIER (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 10, 2021

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 Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier has ordered a reexamination of abuse allegations against Fr. Joseph Kentenich, the founder of the international Schonstatt movement, from his time in exile in the U.S.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported Ackermann referred to allegations made by an American man who accused Kentenich of sexually abusing him between 1958 and 1962. The bishop told the diocesan newspaper Paulinus that the accusations had been examined at the time, but that such suspected cases were treated differently today.

The allegations against Kentenich were known to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee since 1994, and they had been investigated there, Ackermann said. KNA reported that the church court of the archdiocese had “taken the view that there was no reason to pursue the matter further at that time,” said Ackermann.

The Milwaukee documents were made available to the Diocese of Trier. The bishop now wants an examination of…

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Religious bodies must have child protection polices

ACCRA (GHANA)
Ghana News Agency

March 10, 2021

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Religious bodies especially Churches must develop “Child Protection Policy,” which will ensure that they take-up the responsibility to protect children against all forms of abuses in their institutions.

The Reverend Ebenezer Tetteh Kpalam, Clinical Psychologist and Pastor at the Church of Pentecost, Tema told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that Religious Child Protection Policy would ensure that children are protected.

He said such a policy would also feed into the general national ambition to reduce incidents of child abuse in Ghana.

Rev Kpalam who is also the author of the “Our Children, the place of child protection in the church’s ministry” said it is a biblical and civic responsibility for religious bodies to protect children against abuses such as physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.

He noted that such child protection policies in the church must define what constitute abuse, how to identify one, how to handle issues of…

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Methodist Church tells Superintendent of Dilkusha Home to provide explanation on allegations children were allegedly abused

SUVA (FIJI)
Fijivillage [Fiji]

March 10, 2021

By Dhanjay Deo

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The Methodist Church in Fiji has asked the Superintendent of Dilkusha Home to provide an explanation on the allegations that children living in the orphanage in Nausori have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse and neglect.

Assistant Secretary for Christian Citizenship and Social Services, Noa Tokavou says they will now wait for the outcome of the investigations carried out by Police and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission before they decide their next step.

He says none of the staff have been removed from the Home as they do not want to interfere in police investigations.

Tokavou says all children at Dilkusha Home are healthy and attending school.

He also confirms the staff of Dilkusha Home had earlier raised concerns in regards to how the institution was managed and while the church was carrying out its review, these allegations reached police.

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director, Ashwin…

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Police yet to release update on investigations against church clergy

SUVA (FIJI)
The Fiji Times

March 11, 2021

By Arieta Vakasukawaqa

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The Fiji Police Force is yet to release an update on investigations relating to the alleged sexual abuse of 14 young boys by a clergy of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma.

Queries on the investigation sent to Police spokesperson Savaira Tabua on March 8 remained unanswered.

However, she said that they would respond after this newspaper sent in another request for an update.

On February 25, according to police, the alleged incidents happened from 2018 to this year when the clergyman was serving on an outer island in the Southern Division.

Police said the victims were all juveniles.

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Brooklyn bishop accused of sex abuse against Jersey City altar boy in 1970s in new lawsuit

NEWARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

March 11, 2021

By Abbott Koloff

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A second lawsuit has been filed against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, this one accusing him of sexually abusing an altar boy at St. Nicholas parish in Jersey City in the 1970s, an allegation made public more than a year ago.

The new lawsuit, filed late Tuesday afternoon, alleges DiMarzio abused an altar boy from 1973 through 1976 when the accuser was between 10 and 12 years old. It also accuses another priest, Albert Mark, who is now deceased, of abusing the plaintiff, also at St. Nicholas parish.

The accuser, Mark Matzek, who lives in Monmouth County, went public with his accusations in December of 2019.

An initial lawsuit, filed last month, alleged that DiMarzio sexually abused a 6-year-old boy at a different Catholic parish — Holy Rosary, also in in Jersey City — in 1979 and 1980. The plaintiff, who now lives in Florida, went public with the accusation last year.

DiMarzio, 76, the leader…

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The Moral Bankruptcy of U.S. Bishops

()
The Open Tabernacle

March 10, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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By their sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes tacit, support of Trump’s carnage, this episcopate has shown themselves to be devoid of morals and decency. For over three decades, American bishops have been an adjunct of the GOP. Abortion is their code word for “vote Republican.” But given the magnitude of the clerical sex abuse, they have shown their contempt for children. (See appendix if further explanation is needed.)

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C, was interviewed on NBC’s “Today” broadcast Feb. 15. Co-host Al Roker cited the Jan. 20 statement by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“Biden has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” wrote Gomez, elected president by his confreres. “For the nation’s bishops, the continued…

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Beth Moore, a Prominent Evangelical, Splits With Southern Baptists

HOUSTON (TX)
New York Times

March 10, 2021

By Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias

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A teacher on biblical topics, she cited the “staggering” disorientation of seeing denominational leaders support Donald J. Trump, among other issues.

From the outside, the marriage of convenience between white conservative Christians and Donald J. Trump looked like a devoted one: White evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump overwhelmingly in 2016 and stuck with him in 2020, brushing aside perpetual lies and sexual impropriety to support a man they saw as their protector.

However, not everyone was content.

Now, one of the most prominent white evangelical women in the United States is breaking with her longtime denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, citing the “staggering” disorientation of seeing its leaders support Mr. Trump, and the cultural and spiritual fallout from that support.

“There comes a time when you have to say, this is not who I am,” Beth Moore, told Religion News Service in an interview published on Tuesday. “I…

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One View: Social justice begins at home for Fenwick

OAK PARK (IL)
Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest [Illinois]

March 10, 2021

By Jack Crowe

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Rev. Richard Peddicord, OP, president of Fenwick High School, wrote last week about the important role that Catholic social teaching can play in healing the divides in our nation.  

He wrote that “The guiding principle of Catholic social teaching is the inviolable dignity of the human person. Every human being is a unique and beloved creation of God. As such, every human person deserves respect, care, love.” 

The search for common ground

The problem is that this high-minded language does not apply to the Dominicans and their failure to release the facts they know about sexual abuse by Dominican priests at Fenwick and at parishes in Chicagoland, including River Forest.  

In January 2019, Wednesday Journal reported on extensive sexual abuse by a priest, Fr. William Farrell, OP, at Fenwick in the ’60s and until 1970:

Victims of former Fenwick priest tell their stories

Fr. Marchionda, the head of…

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March 10, 2021

APPEAL: The Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica as seen Thursday Feb. 25, 2021 in Hagåtña. The Archdiocese of Agana is appealing a court decision that upholds the Small Business Administration's denial of their application for the Paycheck Protection Program. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Archdiocese appeals court decision in pandemic loan case

(GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

March 10, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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Photo Above — APPEAL: The Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica as seen Thursday Feb. 25, 2021 in Hagåtña. The Archdiocese of Agana is appealing a court decision that upholds the Small Business Administration’s denial of their application for the Paycheck Protection Program. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

The Archdiocese of Agana appealed a federal court ruling denying its efforts to secure a pandemic-era loan through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The archdiocese, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2019, maintains its eligibility to receive PPP even as the court granted SBA’s motion for summary judgment.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, in her earlier ruling, sided with the SBA, which denied the archdiocese’s PPP application because of its bankruptcy status.

The archdiocese sought bankruptcy protection to settle more than $1 billion in claims from Guam clergy sex abuse claimants, now nearing 300, while also keeping Catholic schools and parishes…

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Valuable Films on Child Sexual Abuse & Cover-Ups

(FL)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

March 10, 2021

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The more we learn about abuse, the better we’ll be able to stop it.

But relax, we’re not going to recommend that you read a book on the subject.  From first-hand knowledge, we know that can be hard. The topic is grim and reading detailed descriptions of what depraved adults do to children spelled out in black and white is almost more anyone can bear.

We at Horowitz Law recommend another way to educate yourself – films.

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know we’re big fans of the movie Spotlight, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup and Len Cariou (as Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law).

In some ways, this award-winning film (Academy Award for Best Picture, 2016) is less about predators and victims and more about the dogged journalists whose investigations brought world-wide attention to crimes and corruption enabled by…

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RZIM Will No Longer Do Apologetics

ALPHARETTA (GA)
Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

March 10, 2021

By Daniel Silliman

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(UPDATE): Days after releasing a call for victims and plans for a name change, Ravi Zacharias’s organization announces plans for a dramatic shift in ministry.

Update (March 10): Once the largest apologetics ministry in the world, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) will stop doing apologetics work this year.

CEO Sarah Davis announced to staff Wednesday morning that over the next six months, the downsized ministry will remake itself as a grant-making charity. It plans to give money to organizations fulfilling its original purpose of defending the truth of the gospel as well as organizations that care for victims of sexual abuse.

“RZIM cannot and should not continue to operate as an organization in its present form. Nor do we believe we can only rename the organization and move forward with ‘business as usual,’” said Davis, who is Zacharias’s daughter and has led the ministry since his death in May 2020.

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Argentine court clears former priest in sexual abuse case

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 9, 2021

By Almudena Calatrava

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Photo above: Mailin Gobbo reacts as she leaves the courtroom after hearing a judge acquit former Catholic Priest Carlos Eduardo Jose, who she says sexually abused her for years when she was an adolescent, in San Martin, Argentina, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The court acquitted the 62-year-old, citing the statute of limitations had run out. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

A court on Tuesday cleared a retired priest of sexual abuse charges on grounds the statute of limitations on the alleged crimes had expired.

Former priest Carlos Eduardo José, 62, had spent more than a year in custody during the legal process and the ruling by a three-judge panel in the city of San Martin means he can go free.

Attorneys for his accuser, Mailin Gobbo, said they would appeal.

Gobbo, now 33, accused José of “grave sexual abuse” from 1999 to 2008 when she was a student at a parochial school…

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Ex-priest controversially cleared of ‘outrageous sexual abuse’ charges by court

SAN MARTíN (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times [Argentina]

March 9, 2021

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Court in Buenos Aires Province controversially clears retired priest Carlos Eduardo José of sexual abuse charges, ruling that the statue of limitations on the case had expired.

A court in Buenos Aires Province on Tuesday cleared a retired priest of sexual abuse charges, ruling that the statue of limitations on the case had expired.

The decision from the three-judge panel overseeing the court sparked anger from his accuser, 33-year-old Mailín Gobbo, who accused the courts of “covering up for a paedophile” and vowed to appeal.

The former priest, 62-year-old Carlos Eduardo José, was accused in court of “seriously outrageous sexual abuse,” which was “aggravated by holding an ecclesiastical position.” 

José was accused of multiple counts of rape and sexual abuse against Gobbo, who alleged the abuse took place between 1999 and 2008 at the Instituto San José Obrero, in Caseros, Buenos Aires Province, and other locations, when she was aged…

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Bankruptcy judge rules Buffalo diocese will not pay for retired bishops’ lawyers

BUFFALO (NY)

March 9, 2021

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A bankruptcy judge ruled this month that the Diocese of Buffalo has “no obligation” to retain a law firm on behalf of two retired bishops, whom the state attorney general is suing for alleged cover-up of sexual abuse. 

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Carl Bucki ruled Feb. 23 that the two bishops, Emeritus Richard Malone and retired auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz, must pay their own legal fees, but may still have the right to seek reimbursement from the diocese’s insurers for their legal costs, the Buffalo News reported. 

The diocese is required under bankruptcy rules to have expenses such as the hiring of lawyers approved by a court. The diocese had argued that it was obligated under its bylaws to pay the bishops’ legal fees, but the judge disagreed. 

The bankruptcy judge did allow the diocese itself to hire Jones Day, a large law firm, as its own special counsel against the…

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Amid sex abuse trial of ex-priest, Timor-Leste confronts its demons

(TIMOR-LESTE)

March 10, 2021

By Ryan Dagur

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New campaign aims to break the taboo about talking about sexual abuse in the Catholic-majority country

Images and short videos of people holding posters containing statements against sexual abuse adorn the timeline of a new Facebook campaign page.

The campaign is called “Hapára Abuzu Seksuál hasoru Labarik,” which means “Stop sexual abuse against children” in Timor-Leste’s Tetun language.

Created on March 3, it aims to strengthen public awareness of sexual abuse amid the trial of ex-priest Richard Daschbach, according to Ariel Mota Alves, one of its administrators.

“Given the sensitivity of the case, the campaign is very generalized. People’s messages are just around rights and children’s protection,” he said.

The 25-year-old student, who is doing a master’s degree at the University of Hawaii in the US, said the page’s administrators have received more than 200 statements of support and expect many more.

“Those who have shown support come from various…

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Another Abuser Arrested in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

March 9, 2021

Read original article

Yet another Catholic staffer has been arrested in New Orleans on charges of child sexual abuse. We applaud the investigators for believing the victim and filing these charges and we hope that this news will encourage others who were hurt in New Orleans to come forward, find help, and start healing.

Virgil Maxey “V.M.” Wheeler III is a Catholic deacon from Metairie, LA, a suburb of New Orleans, where he was arrested on charges of abusing a pre-teen boy in the early 2000s. Prior to becoming a deacon, he worked as a prominent local attorney and volunteered for numerous other Church causes, likely giving him access to other vulnerable children. Given how abusers tend to flock to positions that provide them access to their victims, we suspect there may be other survivors that have yet to come forward.

Catholic officials in New Orleans have already suspended Deacon…

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Methodist Church awaiting investigation report of alleged abuse

(FIJI)
FBC News (Fiji)

March 10, 2021

By Praneeta Prakash

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The Department of Social Welfare is liaising with the Methodist Church of Fiji in relation to the allegation of abuse on children at the Dilkusha Home.

Director Rupeni Fatiaki confirms they are working with the Methodist Church.

The Police Force also says they are still investigating the matter however they haven’t confirmed whether they have interviewed anyone in relation to this.

Methodist Church President, Reverand Ili Vunisuwai, earlier confirmed that they have interviewed the Deaconess and the children at the Home.

Reverend Vunisuwai has denied the allegation however FBC News understands there is photographic evidence of the alleged assault.

He says they are waiting for the investigation report and if there is any evidence of alleged abuse then they will take action.

The matter was first lodged at the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission who have referred the matter to the Police.

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France faces hard-hitting report on clerical sexual abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

March 9, 2021

By Tom Heneghan

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France faces a hard-hitting report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church this autumn after the head of an independent inquiry into such crimes since 1950 said it could reach a total of at least 10,000 cases. 

The commission, headed by retired judge Jean-Marc Sauvé, has been analysing self-reported cases and combing through diocesan archives for the past two years and expects to issue its report in October.

Speaking to journalists on 2 March, Sauvé indirectly confirmed media reports  of a potential total of 10,000 cases. His office later clarified that “it is very possible that the number of victims reaches 10,000. Work now in progress will allow us to give a more precise number”.

Part of the problem was that only some victims had contacted the commission. “What percentage of victims did this (inquiry) reach?” Sauvé asked, speculating that 25 per cent or fewer might have come forward.

The…

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Former church volunteer pleads not guilty to sexual abuse charges

DECATUR (IL)
Wand17 TV [Decatur IL]

March 9, 2021

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Brandon Tovar, 36,was a volunteer children’s worker at Heartland Community Church in Decatur.

According to police, a child alerted their mother to Tovar sleeping alone and cuddling with her friend, who is under 13 years old. The child found sexual messages between Tovar and the victim that happened on Snapchat, according to a sworn statement. 

Police received copies of the messages and an apology Tovar had sent to the mother after the Snapchat conversation was reported. 

Tovar told police the church pastor had confronted him on accusations that he held hands with a minor, texted a female under 16 years old and took pictures of boys in their underwear at the church. 

Tovar faces charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, predatory criminal sexual assault and battery. 

Heartland officials said in an October 2020 statement to WAND News they had removed Tovar from contact with children when they learned of any…

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March 9, 2021

Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, left, is seen with Pope John Paul II in Newark, in October of 1995. McCarrick was named cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the Sunday Angelus address at the Vatican Jan. 21, 2001. (AP Photo/Arturo Mari)

Catholic Church tries to shift blame to former Cardinal McCarrick in NJ sex abuse lawsuits

NEWARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

March 9, 2021

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

Read original article

Photo above: Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, left, is seen with Pope John Paul II in Newark, in October of 1995. McCarrick was named cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the Sunday Angelus address at the Vatican Jan. 21, 2001. (AP Photo/Arturo Mari)

Catholic Church officials in New Jersey have filed court documents aiming to shift responsibility for former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sexual abuse away from themselves and onto the former prelate — even as the church’s own investigation revealed his rise to a position of power was aided by high-ranking clerics who covered up his behavior.

The church’s court filings, called crossclaims, have become common as more than 300 sex abuse lawsuits have been filed against the church in New Jersey since the state suspended the civil statute of limitation on such cases on Dec. 1, 2019. Attorneys for accusers say they represent a shift in tactics by the…

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[Media Statement] Archdiocese of Washington DC Providing Millions to Disgraced Cardinal

WASHINGTON (DC)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

March 8, 2021

Read original article

In a move that is outrageous to survivors of clergy abuse and current Catholics alike, Church officials in Washington D.C. have seen fit to give millions of dollars to a prelate who enabled and covered-up cases of sexual abuse. It seems to us that Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. should stop donating to the archdiocese if they are going to waste millions on a disgraced cleric instead of using those funds to improve the safety and conditions of parishes within their borders.

According to The Pillar, a little more than $2 million has been earmarked for “continuing ministry” for disgraced Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the man who turned a blind eye to the crimes of men like Theodore McCarrick and whose participation in the cover-up of child sexual abuse was exposed in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. Making matters worse is the fact that…

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Latest sex abuse lawsuit adds new allegations against former Paramus Catholic hockey coach

PARAMUS (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

March 9, 2021

By Tom Nobile

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Another former Paramus Catholic student has sued the high school over alleged sexual abuse by former ice hockey coach Bernard Garris, with the latest complaint adding the most explicit accusations yet.

The former player, identified only by his initials in the lawsuit, says Garris groomed him as a student and sexually assaulted him in the school, in the coach’s car and at hotels while they were traveling for competitions. 

Since August, 11 former students have sued Paramus Catholic, saying the high school and the Archdiocese of Newark knew of Garris’ abuse for years but did nothing to stop it. Garris, who has since died, was also accused of abuse in a 2011 lawsuit that was later settled for an undisclosed amount. 

The suits filed last year accused Garris of groping and inappropriate touchingThe latest complaint goes farther, alleging that the ex-coach forced the student to perform oral sex and engage in sodomy. Garris also took “pornographic” pictures…

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‘I apologized to my rapist’: ND alumna accuses former classmate, chair of BC theology department of sexual assault

NOTRE DAME (IN)
The Observer [Notre Dame IN]

March 9, 2021

By Serena Zacharias

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Editor’s note: This story includes discussions of sexual abuse and violence. A list of sexual assault reporting options and on-campus resources can be found on the Notre DameSaint Mary’s and Holy Cross websites.

The chair of theology at Boston College has been accused of sexually assaulting a former classmate in 1987 while the two were theology doctoral students at Notre Dame.

Boston College is currently investigating allegations against Richard Gaillardetz ‘91, after theologian Laura Grimes ‘04 alleged he assaulted her on two separate occasions in a series of YouTube videos she released Jan. 23 and last week.

Grimes said Gaillardetz assaulted her for the first time on Halloween night 1987 in his apartment, and then again in early December in her apartment, in the former O’Hara-Grace residences.

“It was absolutely nonconsensual because consent was never asked,” Grimes said in an interview with The Observer.

Gaillardetz has denied the allegations and voluntarily stepped away…

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Sipe documentary prompts memories of early sex abuse activist

SALEM (MA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 9, 2021

By Thomas P. Doyle

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I watched the documentary, “Sipe: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood,” with a mix of very powerful emotions: profound admiration and gratitude for all that A.W. Richard Sipe had done and all that he continues to do, and very painful sadness. Richard and I go back to the earliest years of the clergy abuse phenomenon. From the day we first met something clicked between us, and our collaboration grew into a deep and loving bond that the word “friendship” can’t really capture.

The documentary accurately showed Richard as a loving and gentle person who attracted people to him, especially people who were troubled, precisely because the empathy he shared was real, and because it was real it transcended the barriers of fear so many have when they seek help. He connected with people in a way I have never seen in anyone else.

The only people he…

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Man alleges Knights of Columbus youth basketball coach abused him as child

(NY)
News 12 [The Bronx NY]

March 8, 2021

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[VIDEO]

A man claims a Knights of Columbus member who worked as a youth basketball coach for the organization sexually abused him as a child in the Bronx.

The Knights of Columbus has 1.9 million members across the U.S. It was initially formed to help those in need as a Catholic fraternal benefit society.

Jeffrey Davis claims Kenneth McLaughlin abused him as a boy and claims the organization did not stop or prevent the abuse from happening.

Documents from Davis’ attorneys show he is one of four victims in this suit making claims against members. The other victims are staying anonymous.

“He’s taken away a lot of self-esteem in my life but I don’t want him to take my name away. I still have my name,” said Davis.

The claim says, “The sexual abuse occurred numerous times and included, but was not limited to, McLaughlin forcing Jeffrey to undress and…

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Opinion: Coalition’s concern for rule of law a ‘convenient fig leaf’

(AUSTRALIA)
Sydney Morning Herald [Sydney, New South Wales, Australia]

March 9, 2021

By Josh Bornstein

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There are so many answers to refute the claim that the rule of law prevents an inquiry into rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Last night on ABC’s Four Corners, eminent Sydney silk, Arthur Moses QC, sounded a warning that “the floodgates” would open if an inquiry into rape allegations against Christian Porter were to be held after the NSW police had declared that it would not proceed with a criminal investigation. Moses argued that such an approach would be “unprecedented”.

In fact, royal commissions, including the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, can and do make adverse findings of criminal conduct against an individual after police have decided not to proceed with an investigation or prosecution. Indeed, a 1997 report prepared for the Catholic Church after an investigation by its commissioner into sexual abuse, Peter O’Calloghan QC, found that Catholic priest Peter…

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Ampleforth College: Catholic school in child abuse scandal fails new inspection

YORK (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Times [England]

March 9, 2021

By Nicola Woolcock

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Ampleforth College, the Catholic school that is banned from taking new pupils after a child sex abuse scandal, has failed another Ofsted inspection.

The school said that the latest findings related to “procedural” issues rather than “horrific abuse”.

Ampleforth initially challenged the findings of an inspection in September before dropping its appeal. In November Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, ordered the North Yorkshire school not to take new pupils.

It was reinspected last month but a report published yesterday said that it still did not meet safeguarding standards, despite much improvement.

Ofsted said that inspectors agreed with two recent audits commissioned by the school that found weaknesses. One of the organisations that conducted the audit is giving daily support to the school, the report said.

Safeguarding arrangements were confusing and overly complex, held in too many places and left vulnerable pupils at risk, the report added. Senior leaders did not share…

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March 8, 2021

Deacon Virgil Maxey “V.M.” Wheeler III - WWL-TV

Metairie deacon arrested on child molestation charges

METAIRIE (LA)
WWL-TV [New Orleans LA]

March 8, 2021

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate

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Wheeler is the second clergyman under Archbishop Aymond’s command to be arrested in connection with claims of child molestation since October.

An ordained Catholic deacon from Metairie was arrested Monday and charged with sexually molesting a 10-11-year-old boy two decades ago, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Virgil Maxey “V.M.” Wheeler III, 62, was booked into Jefferson Parish jail Monday on one count each of sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile, Capt. Jason Rivarde said. Rivarde told The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate that Wheeler is suspected of performing oral sex on the boy in question and showering with him.

Wheeler, once a prominent local attorney, was ordained a deacon in 2018 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Old Metairie. Archbishop Gregory Aymond suspended Wheeler from ministry in August 2020 when the archdiocese learned of the allegations.

In November, WWL-TV and the newspaper reported that a police report had…

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Former scout leader arrested over abuse allegations

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

March 8, 2021

By Jack Power

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File to be sent to DPP over alleged abuse by former scout leader in 1970s and 80s

A former scout leader has been arrested in relation to alleged child sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, with a file to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The man, who is now in his 70s, was arrested on Saturday morning by investigating gardaí. He was released without charge on Sunday, with a file to be prepared for the DPP, who will decide on whether to pursue a criminal case.

A Garda spokeswoman said the arrest “arises as a result of allegations of indecent assault in the 1970s and 1980s” and investigations are ongoing.

The Garda investigation into the alleged historical abuse by the man has been ongoing for nearly a year and a half, and it is understood there are multiple alleged victims in the case.

Inquiries

An…

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Clandestine Clergy: Politics & Policies-Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
The Legal Edition [Boston MA]

March 5, 2021

By Mary Kay Elloian

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[See video interview of Mitchell Garabedian, Esq.]

The Legal Edition has released programming on child sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church entitled, ‘Clandestine Clergy: Politics and Policies on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.‘ Program guest is noted Boston attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, who brought the first Archdiocese of Boston pedophile priest cases to justice. He and his work were featured as the subject of two award-winning movies: ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Our Fathers.’ Since that case in the 1990’s, Garabedian has continuously worked as an attorney advocate for the victims who bravely come forward after decades of repressing their pain, many turning to drugs and alcohol – others to suicide.

A Lifetime of Pain

Many of the victims of clergy sexual abuse, suffer a lifetime of emotional pain as a result of their childhood abuse. Most wait decades to come forward, many until their final decade of life. The…

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[Opinion] Why do abuse victims come forward decades later? Here’s one answer

CHICAGO (IL)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

March 8, 2021

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There are many answers to this seemingly simple question about why it takes decades for many sexual abuse victims to come forward to tell their truth. Today, we want to explain just one of them.

Just recently, we at Horowitz Law drew attention here to the two child sex abuse reports against a high-profile Illinois priest, Fr. Michael Pfleger.

Now, that cleric faces a third accuser.

Unlike the first two accusers, this new one involves what was then an 18 year old, not a child under the applicable state law.

And unlike the first two accusers, this new one isn’t seeking a nickel.

Listen to what prompted the third accuser to speak up now, some 40 years after Fr. Michael Pfleger reportedly gave him marijuana and liquor beginning when he was 15 years old.

Fr. Pfleger was suspended by Chicago archdiocesan officials in January. Butfor the last few weeks, his…

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Attention news editors: Are German Catholic bishops poised to become liberal Luthers?

(GERMANY)
Get Religion

March 4, 2021

By Clemente Lisi

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Germany’s Catholic bishops embarked on a series of conversations in 2018 aimed at reforming church teachings. It was an ambitious, if not audacious, effort addressing everything from homosexuality, priestly celibacy and the ordination of women.

As always, the word “reform” — in this context — means modernizing ancient church doctrines.

Conservative Catholics across the world decried the prospect. The tensions that arose at that time — and still simmering today — even caused some to warn that a permanent split could occur.

Indeed, the dreaded “s-word” — schism — can be used to describe the current moment. It was just last year that a high-ranking prelate argued that pushing such changes could lead to a “German national church.”

That’s a big news story — period. Over the past three years, the bishops in Germany haven’t been shy about making headlines — in Catholic-market publications. The question is when…

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Archdiocese Of Washington Gives Disgraced Cardinal Wuerl Millions From Faithful Catholics

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Federalist

March 8, 2021

By Adam Cassandra

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The Archdiocese of Washington has seen fit to set aside millions of dollars for a man known for wasting egregious sums and for perpetuating sexual abuse.

Most Catholics would probably agree that a priest caught lying to the public and who was an instrumental figure in the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church probably shouldn’t be receiving millions of dollars a year in church donations. But that’s what is happening in the Archdiocese of Washington.

Investigative journalists at The Pillar revealed that the archdiocese set aside more than $2 million in donations from the Catholic faithful to retired and disgraced Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, for undisclosed “continuing ministry activities.”

Upon review of the archdiocese’s financial statements, The Pillar noted that the $2,012,639 allocated to support Wuerl in the 2020 fiscal year was “a 35% increase from the $1,488,059 allocated to Wuerl’s ministry in the…

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