Documenting the Catholic Sexual Abuse and Financial Crisis – Data on bishops, priests, brothers, nuns, Pope Francis, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Thursday, August 18, 2022
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.
The Archdiocese of Washington on Thursday said that more than $2 million allocated for the “continuing ministry activities” of emeritus archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl was given by donors to cover Wuerl’s living and travel expenses, and to allow the cardinal to give charitable gifts at his discretion.
But while the archdiocese now says the money was given by donors for the express purpose of funding Wuerl’s “expenses and ministerial needs,” its audited financial statements tell a different story, stating the archdiocese designated $2 million of its own “net assets without donor restrictions” for Wuerl’s use.
“The funds in our Continuing Ministry Activities account are donations made by persons who want to cover Cardinal Wuerl’s expenses and ministerial needs, including living expenses, prior travel for business in Rome, as well as for charitable requests asked of the archbishop emeritus,” the Washington archdiocese said in its March 4 statement.
[Photo above: Retired Buffalo Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, left, and retired Bishop Richard J. Malone have to hire their own lawyers to defend themselves against a lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General’s Office. -Derek Gee]
Two retired bishops from the Buffalo Diocese will have to pay for their own defense against a state Attorney General’s Office lawsuit that accuses them of protecting priests accused of child sex abuse.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Carl L. Bucki rejected the diocese’s request to retain a Buffalo law firm to represent retired Bishop Richard J. Malone and retired Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, both of whom are individually named, along with the diocese, in a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Letitia James in November.
In a ruling late Tuesday, Bucki said the diocese has “no obligation” to retain the Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman law firm on behalf of…
The case against two Xagħra priests charged with sexually abusing an altar boy will be heard behind closed doors, a Gozitan court ruled on Monday.
Magistrate Bridgette Sultana issued a decree ordering the proceedings to be held behind closed doors “in the interest of full justice”.
She also barred the press from further reporting on the alleged perpetrators before the proceedings end.
The priests, aged 70, and 84, have both denied sexual abuse charges.
The priests, both of Xagħra, are alleged to have defiled the minor and held him against his will between 2003 and 2005. The 70-year-old also stands accused of raping the boy, who was around eight years old at the time.
Testifying from a private room via videoconferencing in January, the priests’ alleged victim, who is now in his mid-20s, recounted how the 70-year-old’s abuse had started when the priest lured him to his house and…
Family and friends of the late Nate Lindstrom also want Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki of St. Norbert Abbey to either resign or support victims
Marking nearly a year since his death, friends and family of Nathan Lindstrom were in front of Notre Dame Academy calling for an investigation into clergy sexual abuse.
“What we need and have always needed is a state-wide investigation and inquiry into the decades long abuse of children and cover up of those crimes. And that’s what Nate wanted,” Peter Isley, a founding member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said on Sunday.
The father of three died by suicide last March in Ramsey, Minnesota a month before turning 46. Lindstrom claimed he was sexually abused by a Norbertine priest as a student at Notre Dame.
“It’s up to us to carry on Nate’s mission. Don’t let it happen to your…
Supporters of a man who accused priests at St. Norbert Abbey of sexually abusing him gathered outside a Green Bay Catholic high school Sunday to call on state officials to pull back the curtain on clergy abuse in Wisconsin.
The rally near Notre Dame Academy came two days before the family and friends of Nate Lindstrom will mark one year since he died by suicide on March 9, 2020. Lindstrom, a Notre Dame alumnus, said he endured abuse by three Norbertine priests in the 1980s while he worked for clergymen who often took him to the abbey swimming pool.
A former Colorado Springs church volunteer and haunted house owner is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl for about four years starting in the mid-2000s, according to arrest papers.
Vincent Stites, 49, was arrested Wednesday on charges of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Stites previously acted as a volunteer youth pastor at Friendship Assembly of God Church, according to police. His wife at the time was employed as a children’s minister at the church.
The head of the German Bishops’ Conference said Thursday that the country’s Roman Catholic church is suffering from a “scandalous image” amid mounting anger over the Cologne archbishop’s handling of a report on past sexual abuse by clergy, but he defended its overall record in addressing the issue.
The Cologne archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, faces discontent after keeping under wraps for months a study he commissioned on how local church officials reacted when priests were accused of sexual abuse.
Woelki has cited legal concerns about publishing the study conducted by a law firm. He has commissioned a new report, which is supposed to be published March 18.
There has been criticism within the German church of Woelki. The head of the German Bishops’ Conference, Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing, has described the crisis management in Cologne as a “disaster” but said earlier this week that the conference has no “sovereignty”…
An independent commission investigating sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France since 1950 should find “at least 10,000 cases” by the time it finishes its work this autumn, its head said.
Jean-Marc Sauvé, a respected retired judge who heads the commission, gave the projected total during a news conference on Tuesday. The projection, which had been reported in the media in recent days, was a jump from his announcement last June of “at least 3,000” cases. Sauvé confirmed this was his estimate but said researchers still had more archives to work through. He disclosed his latest findings shortly after France’s bishops held an extraordinary plenary assembly by video conference last month to ponder their moral responsibility in the sexual abuse crisis.
Participants said it helped them better understand the abuse scandal and examine what obligation they had for crimes committed decades ago. Church leaders have said victims deserved some financial reparation from…
It is a paradox of “social movements” that they rely on lone voices, sharing stories of impact and pain. Whether chanting “Me Too” or “Black Lives Matter,” it is easy to stand in a crowd and demand change and much harder to stand alone, as one Bowie resident did last month, when he shared with strangers the most horrifying and vulnerable experience of his life in a recorded Zoom session for the Maryland General Assembly.
The legislators tuning into the hearing had been given a 200-page stack of testimony from survivors of childhood sexual abuse, all of it urging them to strengthen a law called the Hidden Predator Act that had passed with great fanfare in 2017. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee would spend almost two hours going back and forth with a lobbyist sent to oppose the bill, also known as SB134.
“I can acknowledge it and I accept the ramification. But I won’t accept that I was a 10, 11-year-old boy and I was walking into an ambush. It shouldn’t have happened.”
There are small moments around which our lives turn. A chance encounter, a diagnosis, a shared connection.
The defining moment in Tony Daly’s life happened when he was just 11.
The man who he claims sexually abused him was a Catholic brother at his new boarding school.
He’d just been sent to St Joseph’s in Sydney — better known as Joeys — one of Australia’s biggest and most prestigious Catholic boys’ schools, a virtual rugby union factory, famous for pumping out future Wallabies.
Tony Daly was one of them. He reached the highest of highs, achieving a lifelong ambition to represent his country.
He played 41 Tests and scored the winning and only try in Australia’s 1991 World Cup…
Raped a dozen times when he was just 11 at a Catholic boarding school: Tony Daly reveals the devastating pain he hid during his storied rugby career and how his life spiralled out of control after retirement
In 2011, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) leader and chosen “prophet” Warren Jeffs was convicted on two counts of sexual assault of a child and sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. Shortly after, one of his oldest daughters, Rachel Jeffs, gathered the courage to leave the religion that many consider to be a cult. And, now, she is still speaking out against the FLDS and her father.
Rachel is one of Warren Jeffs’ dozens of kids he fathered over the years with his dozens of wives and, as such, she was expected to “keep sweet” and fall in line as the other women had for years. Eventually, however, after sexual abuse at the hands of her father and after witnessing atrocities within the FLDS, she left with her five children in tow.
His apology was made in conjunction with the release of changes the Australia-based institution plans to make at its East Coast branches following an independent investigation, launched after news of Lentz’s affair broke in November.
“We know that Hillsong East Coast has failed to be the kind of church it should be,” Houston, 67, wrote in an internal email addressed “Dear Church,” which The Post obtained. “On behalf of the Global Board and as Global Senior Pastor, I accept responsibility for these failings and apologize unreservedly.”
The March email coincided with an announcement of changes…
One of the recommendations from that Commission was the creation of the National Redress Scheme, a formal way to literally pay back victims of child sex abuse for all they had suffered. It’s not a perfect system by any means — could anything be? — but the idea behind it was that victims could fill out paperwork explaining what they went through, officials would calculate what that trauma is worth, and…
Movements are not trending topics. They’re not celebrity scandals that excite the mediasphere like brush fires. They are paradigm shifts, and they do their work through legislation, court proceedings, disciplinary measures and the evolution of social hierarchies, political power and the allocation of capital.
In 2006, when Twitter hashtags didn’t exist, the activist Tarana Burke coined Me Too to promote solidarity among survivors of sexual violence, especially women of color. Her term succinctly described a formidable campaign far more powerfully than “fight the patriarchy” does. Patriarchy describes the rigid top of a power structure; Me Too describes a dynamic grass-roots threat to it.
The central tenet of Burke’s political philosophy? That sexual violence is so widespread in America as to represent its own sociology. That sociology establishes brutal power relations, with rituals of sexual subjugation, exploitation and humiliation. It comes with specific practices of witness intimidation and silencing. Institutions such…
A perfect storm of institutional crises, the polarization of perceived winners and losers and an influx of evangelicals has made Catholicism fertile ground for conspiracy theories.
If it’s true that all roads lead to Rome, it’s also true that in one way or another, all conspiracy theories lead to the Vatican.
Be it the illuminati, aliens or even a time machine buried in its hidden archives, the Vatican has been a favored subject for conspirators thanks to its penchant for secrecy and a talent for smoke and mirrors.
But a new wave of conspiratorial thinking, especially among Catholic conservatives, is changing the face of the Catholic Church today, experts say.
A perfect storm of institutional crises, the polarization of perceived winners and losers under Pope Francis’ pontificate and the migration of evangelicals into the church has created a fertile ground for conspiracy theories, especially about papal authority.
The Diocese of Scranton announced that an independent audit determined full compliance with child sex abuse prevention policies set by the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A media release noted the local diocese has passed such audits of its procedures every year since the policy was adopted by the USCCB in 2002. The latest audit was done by StoneBridge Business Partners base in New York, contracted to conduct such work in all 195 U.S. Dioceses.
“The findings are a result of a review of data collected for the 2019/2020 Charter audit period,” according to a media release issued Friday. “The annual audit evaluates each diocese’s efforts to ensure the protection of children, including criminal background checks and educational awareness programs on recognizing and preventing abuse.”
The diocese provided information to the auditors, including:
• A total 11,526 students currently enrolled in Catholic schools in the diocese or in parish…
Ampleforth College is one of the most prominent Catholic private schools in the country. But in 2018, an independent inquiry found that a number of children there had suffered appalling sexual abuse over decades, involving monks at Ampleforth Abbey.
In November the school was banned by the government from accepting new pupils, after it failed to show inspectors that it could keep them safe.
Now this programme has seen a letter to the government from a solicitor for victims of historic abuse at the school, alleging it has not fully separated itself from the Abbey, as it had been told to. The school’s leaders deny the claims.
We didn’t learn about alcohol and consent, because we didn’t learn about consent at all. We learned about sin and shame and how avoiding sexual assault was a female responsibility
When a petition recently went viral, documenting over 3,000 cases of sexual assault by boys at Sydney private schools, I was saddened and sickened – but not surprised – to find a testimonial from a female student at my former high school. I was also struck – but not surprised – by the then-16-year-old girl saying that she was ashamed to tell anyone about her sexual assault.
I understood her shame. It was a feeling I learned through the 13 years I spent at a private girls’ school in Sydney, run by an ultra-conservative faction of the Catholic church.
Perhaps, like me, the student was first introduced to the concept of consent with the story of St Maria Goretti. When…
Former pupils at one of Scotland’s most prestigious schools are considering a private prosecution after the Crown Office decided not to extradite a teacher who they say abused them.
Two men have spoken to the Edinburgh Evening News about being physically and sexually abused at Fettes College junior school in the mid 1970s.
One victim said he was taken into a changing room and beaten to the extent of “blacking out” and ended up in a school sanatorium for medical treatment for ten days.
Both men said the teacher, who now lives in South Africa, would fondle them at his desk when they went up to receive feedback on their work, and that he would be “openly violent” to pupils during class.
A spokesperson for Fettes College says the school wants to apologise to anyone who suffered abuse there, and stressed they take historic abuse claims “extremely seriously” and will…
NSW Police have met with senior stakeholders in the education sector after a new petition that gathered more than 3000 testimonies of alleged sexual assault committed by high school students went viral.
The petition, which called for more thorough and earlier education about consent, was started by Chanel Contos, a former student of Sydney’s Kambala School.
She is hoping to draw attention to how frequently girls experience sexual assault from all-boys’ school students in the city.
In a statement, NSW Police said they addressed the concerns at a meeting with the NSW Department of Education, Association of Independent Schools and Catholic Schools NSW on Friday.
“A commitment was made to establish a statement of intent to address the issue of sexual violence within NSW schools,” NSW Police said.
“Some of the key elements that will be considered during this process include but are not limited to: consent education, protocols on…
The Stormont Executive has appointed a team of experts who will work in partnership with victims and survivors of mother and baby homes here – to establish terms of reference for a fully independent investigation.
They include academics, human rights experts and a community worker, and will report back to ministers in Northern Ireland within six months on drawing up terms of reference.
The appointments follow the executive’s announcement in January of its intention – to establish a victim centred independent probe – into historical institutions between 1922 and 1990.
More than 10,000 women and girls, from the age of 12, went through the doors of homes run by Catholic orders and Protestant clergy.
A recently published report disclosed claims of inappropriate labour and an ethos of shame at homes for those born out of wedlock.
Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The many women and children who were victims…
The Church can never afford to forget how it failed to protect children from sexual abuse, a leading bishop has vowed.
Priests and figures of all levels have been receiving training in how to spot abuse while initiatives have been set up to fund counselling for victims, according to the Bishop of Huddersfield the Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs.
In an exclusive interview with The Yorkshire Post, Rev Gibbs – who is the country’s leading priest for safeguarding – said the Church was working on “creating a safe space” for victims of historic and recent abuse, but that it “could never afford to be complacent” when it came to its past mistakes.
A damning report published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last Autumn revealed how the Anglican Church spent “decades” covering up allegations, preferring to “protect its own reputation” instead of young people.
Hillsong Church’s Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston apologized and accepted responsibility for “failings” that triggered multiple scandals at Hillsong East Coast and presented a raft of “sweeping changes” expected to correct “the issues and misalignment of the culture and practices” of the branch.
“We know that Hillsong East Coast has failed to be the kind of church it should be. On behalf of the Global Board and as Global Senior Pastor, I accept responsibility for these failings and apologize unreservedly,” Houston wrote in a Thursday email to members that was also published on the denomination’s website.
“As the events of last year unfolded, there was a lot we didn’t know. Now, thanks to the courage and honesty of many of you, we have a much clearer understanding of the state of Hillsong East Coast. Thank you to all of you who have enabled us to reach this place,”…
[Photo above: Field at Chemawa Indian School, Salem, Oregon, pictured after 1933. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS OR-129]
In its attempts to address sex abuse crises, the Catholic Church has issued apologies, conducted investigations and paid reparations, but the Vatican has never publicly apologized for abuse inflicted on Indigenous Americans at Catholic-run boarding schools in the United States and Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to presenters at a Feb. 25 online panel event, “Native American Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis,” hosted by Fordham University’s Taking Responsibility project.
“If you guys have any influence with the pope, can you ask him to please apologize [for] what has happened to boarding school survivors, specifically Native boarding school survivors?” panelist Denise Lajimodiere said at the webinar. “That would help with our healing.”
Government-funded Catholic boarding schools for Indigenous children in both countries were…
According to financial records of the Archdiocese of Washington, $2,012,639 was designated for “continuing ministry activities for [the] Archbishop Emeritus” during the 2020 fiscal year.
The amount is a 35% increase from the $1,488,059 designated for Wuerl’s ministry in the 2019 fiscal year reports.
According to audited financial statements from the archdiocese, the funds for Wuerl’s continuing ministry were allocated from “net assets without donor restrictions.” That means the money was not given to the archdiocese explicitly for Wuerl’s use, and could have been deployed for other purposes at the discretion of the archdiocese.
The archdiocesan 2020 financial statement includes an unfunded priest retirement liability of at least $35 million, which has grown from $23.5 million since 2015.
The statement also includes a 30% drop in funds earmarked for “Archdiocesan charitable giving” in the 2020 fiscal year, which decreased to $401,136, from $651,136 in fiscal year 2019.
The South Carolina court of appeals has backed up a 2017 lower court ruling that the diocese and the attorneys who sued in a class-action sex-abuse case needn’t answer to victims who weren’t formally included in the lawsuit.
In court filings, anonymous plaintiffs argued that Mount Pleasant attorney Larry Richter had neglected to include them in a class-action lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, effectively barring them from receiving proceeds of the case alongside fellow sex-abuse victims.
The diocese includes churches across the Palmetto State.
Both parties were accused of “shopping” for a judge who would allow a settlement that provided known victims a maximum payout at the expense of out-of-state survivors who hadn’t formally joined the lawsuit.
“We knew all along, in terms of a legal position, that this guy had made one up,” Richter told The Post and Courier. “But it’s a resounding victory, now we’re over…
Lawmakers looking at two bills on topic, one dealing with statute of limitations and another would hold organizations more accountable
For decades, survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their advocates have urged states to let them hold abusers accountable in civil court, no matter how long it’s been since the abuse. A bipartisan bill in the Colorado Legislature to do just that so far appears to have widespread approval, but it’s not without opposition from the Colorado Catholic Conference — a church embroiled in a sex abuse scandal in Colorado, the U.S. and around the world.
There is no expiration date in Colorado to bring criminal charges against a person accused of child sex abuse, but the statute of limitations to sue an individual is only six years after a victim turns 18. Last year’s effort to change the latter failed.
The renewed push to eliminate the statute of limitations for lawsuits…
For a decade, advocates have argued commanders should be removed from deciding the fate of those accused of sexual assault in the U.S. military. But military victim advocates now say they too should be removed from the chain of command. Nick Schifrin talks to four military victim advocates about the widespread and longstanding problem of sexual assault in the military, and possible solutions.
Read the Full Transcript
Judy Woodruff:The Pentagon has named a new commission that has 90 days to recommend solutions to the longstanding and widespread issue of sexual assault in the military. Nick Schifrin speaks to advocates for survivors about some proposed changes.
Nick Schifrin:When service members report a sexual assault, by law, they’re assigned a victim advocate.And as you will hear from four victim advocates, the new commission must tackle fundamental problems.Over the past decade, the number of reported sexual assaults has doubled from 3,327 in 2010 to…
One of the main reasons that the first two accusers against Fr. Michael Pfleger were dismissed and disbelieved is because they had filed a lawsuit and had previously sought compensation for the trauma they had suffered. This third accuser, however, has said he has no plans to file a claim, so the attacks levied against the first two accusers cannot be used against this man. We hope that rather than consider new ways to discredit this victim, that the supporters of…
A Vatican City criminal court heard two days of frequently gruesome testimony last week, in the trial of two clerics: 28-year-old Fr. Gabriele Martinelli and 71-year-old Fr. Enrico Radice. Martinelli, a former student at the St. Pius X minor seminary in the Vatican, is charged with sexual abuse of a junior boy when Martinelli was a senior pupil at the school. Radice is charged with enabling Martinelli – allegedly one of Radice’s favorites – and covering for him.
The criminal trial will turn on questions of fact, and possibly on questions of law: Can prosecutors prove to judges that Martinelli did the things he is alleged to have done, and did Fr. Radice enable the abusive behavior and/or cover for the abuser? If the court finds that Martinelli did the things, were the things he did crimes at Vatican City law when he did them?
Do you wonder why many Catholics have grown cynical about their bishops?
The Pillar news site reports that this year’s budget for the Archdiocese of Washington includes $2 million for the “continuing ministry” of Cardinal Donald Wuerl— who resigned from active ministry nearly two years ago amid what polite people call questions about his role in the McCarrick scandal.
Two million dollars. $2,000,000.00. That comes out to almost $5,500 every day to support the retired cardinal in doing… what? The archdiocesan budget does not specify what the “continuing ministry” involves.
Sadly, the Washington archdiocese was forced to cut its “archdiocesan charitable giving” by 30% this year, Pillar reports. Charitable giving is allocated just a bit over $400,000, or one-fifth of the Wuerl-maintenance allotment. Which, by the way, is up 35% from the previous fiscal year.
Harvard University and the Vatican organize a public, interfaith symposium to address the health and spiritual wellbeing of victims of childhood sexual abuse
The Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, in partnership with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, will convene public health professionals, religious leaders, and abuse survivors from across the world for a free, public, interfaith symposium to improve the health and spiritual wellbeing of victims of childhood sexual abuse, trafficking, and exploitation.
“Informed care is essential to healing for those who experienced child sexual abuse, otherwise we run the risk of doing more harm than good.” – Jennifer Wortham, Dr.PH
“From a public health perspective, religious leaders are increasingly seen as a powerful force for shaping behaviors and perceptions,” said Jennifer Wortham, Research Associate at the Human Flourishing Program, and Executive Director of the Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality,…
He regularly rubbed a student’s upper thigh ‘in a sexual manner’
A new Ontario law requiring that any teacher disciplined for sexual abuse or child pornography be banned from teaching for life in the province has impacted a former Greater Sudbury teacher.
Craig James Lusk, a Sudbury Catholic District School Board teacher who was suspended in the fall of 2017 by the Ontario College of Teachers for professional misconduct, had his teaching licence revoked, along with more than two dozen other teachers in December 2020.
The revoked licences occurred after the college did a thorough review of hundreds of discipline cases that involved a wide range of improper behaviour by Ontario teachers, including viewing child pornography and touching female students in physical education courses.
As of 2020, according to the college, Lusk was no longer teaching. After he was issued the suspension in the fall of…
While utterly condemning sexual abuse on the part of some Catholic clergy and religious, I do have a problem in assessing situations only in terms of the knowledge and understanding of human psychology that we now have from the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
A lot of the offending we hear about took place in the 1950s-1980s, and, in order to help comprehend what took place, without excusing the offending, it is worth looking at certain societal norms of that time, and at what some of the thinking was that informed the approaches taken in response.
The ability to discern sexual deviancy, or the inability to live a celibate life in potential candidates, would have once have been minimal or non-existent. It seems that the expressed desire to be accepted was often enough. Even those who recognised their own disordered desires might well have seen the priesthood or religious…
Boston College is investigating the chairman of its theology department after a former classmate at the University of Notre Dame accused him of sexually assaulting her.
Laura Grimes, a theologian in Detroit, accused Richard Gaillardetz, professor of systematic theology, of sexually assaulting her twice in 1987 while the two were doctoral students at the Indiana school.
The accusations came in two YouTube videos, one posted Jan. 23 and the other Feb. 24. Grimes subsequently posted a series of short videos in which she referenced the purported assaults.
Gaillardetz denied the accusations and voluntarily stepped away from his teaching and administrative duties at Boston College while the investigation continues.
Boston College said in a statement sent March 1 to Catholic News Service that the school “takes any allegation of sexual misconduct with the utmost seriousness, and has hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation to determine the credibility of allegations raised…
[Photo above: In this Saturday, July 7, 2018 file photo, The Rev. Michael Pfleger speaks to protesters before marching on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. A third man has come forward with allegations that Rev. Pfleger made an unwanted sexual advance against him as a teenager, following two brothers’ allegations that the priest abused them decades ago when they were teens. (AP Photo/Annie Rice, File)]
A third man has come forward with sexual abuse allegations against a Chicago priest who has gained widespread acclaim for his activism, saying he felt he owes it to two brothers who have faced criticism for accusing the priest of abusing them decades ago when they were teens.
The 59-year-old man alleges in an affidavit shared late Tuesday with church officials that the Rev. Michael Pfleger once grabbed his crotch over his clothes in the priest’s bedroom area at St. Sabina Church in the…
One of the Rev. Michael Pfleger’s supporters summed up the sexual abuse allegations against the priest in a way that many might find appropriate.
They don’t fit with “what I know about him,” Northwestern University law student Blair Matthews told a Tribune reporter in January when the accusations came to light. Like many who are standing solidly behind Pfleger, Matthews credits the priest and the St. Sabina Church community with helping him succeed in life.
Many people who have met the outspoken and charismatic priest might agree. Sexual abuse is not the sort of thing that immediately comes to mind when you think of a man who has spent his life helping disadvantaged youths lift themselves up.
But abuse happens. We know from other cases in the Catholic Church and elsewhere, the perpetrators often are the people who garner the most trust.
Two years after Pope Francis summoned the heads of bishops’ conferences around the world to Rome to confront clergy abuse among their own ranks, Catholic philanthropists are following his lead with a new initiative aimed to encourage Catholic funders to promote safeguarding in their own organizations and philanthropic efforts.
The newly launched multi-year program, “Commitment to Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection” is led by Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA), an umbrella organization representing over 50 member organizations and individuals. It encourages those funders to sign a pledge to review their own internal safeguarding policies, as well as that of their grantee partners.
“One of the things that has been driving FADICA’s initiative is that everyone in the church has a role to play in confronting abuse,” FADICA President and CEO Alexia Kelley told NCR following the initiative’s launch…
Witnesses for faith-based institutions, including Archbishops and a Cardinal, will give evidence before the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry this month, on their processes for resolving historic and current abuse claims.
Phase 2 of the Faith-based Redress hearing runs from 15 to 29 March. Phase 1 of the hearing was held late last year and focussed on the experience of survivors in seeking redress (such as compensation, counselling, an apology etc) for abuse and/or neglect in the care of faith-based institutions.
The faith-based institution witnesses – which include representatives from the highest levels within New Zealand’s Salvation Army, and Anglican and Catholic Churches – will be responding to survivors’ evidence and outlining past and current Redress policies and processes.
See hearing timetable and witness summaries below.
COVID INFORMATION: The Covid-19 alert level at the time of this public hearing will determine whether or not it is open to…
A few days [ago] a meme came across my Facebook feed. I thought it was relevant to a lot of recent conversations I’d had with friends, as well as to issues I’d touched on in my post about abusive religion. The meme was a screenshot from Twitter which read:
My therapist gave me some homework. I’m supposed to make a list of all the beliefs I was taught as fact, as a child in evangelicalism. So I can shred and/or burn the ones that don’t serve me anymore. What would you put on that list? #exvangelical #religioustrauma
I was surprised by the outpouring of responses I received from my Catholic, Catholic-adjacent, and ex-Catholic friends. Some of them detailed actual magisterial teachings they had found harmful. Many others described common ideas, mantras, and beliefs one is likely to encounter in Catholic settings. Quite a few commenters addressed popular Catholic ideas about sex…
COLOGNE, GERMANY — The second expert report commissioned to investigate abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne also incriminates church officials who are still alive and accuses them of mistakes in dealing with cases of sexual violence, according to its author, Björn Gercke.
The criminal lawyer who was asked by Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki to conduct an investigation told the newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger March 2 that the report had already met with opposition from some officials and their lawyers even before its publication, scheduled March 18.
The German Catholic news agency KNA reported the lawyer did not mention names, but said the people concerned had tried, sometimes in vain, to dispel allegations of breaches of duty. In addition to Woelki, the prominent clerics still alive who held important posts in the Archdiocese of Cologne during the period under investigation include Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg; two auxiliary bishops of Cologne, Bishops Dominik Schwaderlapp…
A Chihuahua priest who was convicted in February of aggravated sexual assault against an 8-year-old who served as an altar girl at his church was sentenced Tuesday to more than 34 years in prison.
Aristeo Trinidad Baca, 78, a suspended priest at the Santa María de la Montaña Parish Church in Ciudad Juárez, assaulted the girl between 2015–2018, the court found on February 22. The priest received multiple sentences, totaling 34 years, five months and 10 days, reflecting the fact that he had sexually assaulted the girl on at least three occasions.
Prosecutors said they were dissatisfied with the length of the sentence and would be pursuing action to advocate for more jail time for Baca. They also said they would try to increase the amount of financial restitution Baca was ordered to pay the victim, which currently stands at 59,129 pesos (US $2,800).
PARIS — Catholic clergy in France perpetrated more than three times as many sexual abuse offenses as previously thought, said the head of a bishops’ commission whose report is due out in September.
Jean-Marc Sauvé, 71, a lay Catholic and head of the French Institute of Administrative Sciences, presented new data from the Independent Commission of Sexual Abuse in the Church. The commission of lawyers, psychiatrists, historians and theologians was established by the bishops in 2018.
“I received a Catholic education, and I knew certain abnormal, blameworthy things had happened — but I never imagined the reality would be so bleak and alarming,” Sauvé said in a March 2 interview with France Inter public radio.
“The great question we still have to answer is how all of this could have happened. This is very much our mission, knowing how the Gospels demonstrate the radically intolerable nature of sexual abuse within the…
German bishops have backtracked after sharp criticism of the turmoil in the archdiocese of Cologne in recent weeks caused by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s decision not to publish the abuse report he had commissioned.
At their plenary in the last week of February, they publicly emphasised that they were all responsible for the situation of the German Church.
“A number of things in the Cologne archdiocese certainly need clearing up, but it would be all too hasty a conclusion to put the focus solely on the Archbishop of Cologne. On the contrary, we must all face up to the criticism”, conference president, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, underlined in his final report after the online plenary.
The bishops would keep to their commitment unconditionally to appraise and clarify the abuse of minors in the German Church, promised.
The bishops then dealt with the election of a new conference secretary general. The…
The head of a commission examining sexual abuse in France’s Catholic Church put the possible number of child victims at more than 10,000 on Tuesday, portending a public reckoning in a country where church officials long stalled efforts to investigate complicity.
The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church, set up two years ago with the approval of French church officials, has so far received more than 6,500 testimonies from victims and witnesses on incidents alleged to have happened in the past seven decades.
“The big question for us is: How many victims came forward? Is it 25 percent? 10 percent, 5 percent or less?” commission leader Jean-Marc Sauvé told journalists.
“It is very possible that the victims will reach at least the number of 10,000. The work in progress, and in particular the survey of the general population, will make it possible to specify the number,” he said….
French Catholic clergy could have abused at least 10,000 minors and other vulnerable people since 1950, according to an independent investigation set up by the Church in France.
The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) “estimates that the number of victims could reach ‘at least ten thousand,’” it said in a statement released on Monday.
The commission said it had so far received 6,500 testimonies, which concern at least 3,000 different victims.
Jean-Marc Sauvé, the president of the CIASE, said it is not known at this stage what percentage of all victims have testified to the commission.
“It is very possible that the victims will reach at least the number of 10,000. The work in progress, and in particular the survey of the general population, will make it possible to specify the number,” he said.
The commission was set up in 2018 by the French Catholic Church…
As the Chicago Archdiocese investigates allegations that the Rev. Michael Pfleger molested two brothers in the 1970s, a third man has come forward to say the priest made an unwanted sexual advance when the accuser was 18.
In an affidavit shared with church officials late Tuesday, the 59-year-old man alleges Pfleger once grabbed him in a sexual manner in the priest’s bedroom area at St. Sabina Church in summer 1979 while the teen pretended to sleep.
Though he was not a minor at the time, the man said he did not consent to the alleged sexual contact with Pfleger, whom he said he met about three years earlier and considered to be a trusted mentor and friend.
The affidavit also alleges the two often drank alcohol and smoked pot together, beginning when the man was 15 or 16, within years of the young priest’s ordination.
Roman Catholic priest in Massachusetts who was removed from ministry after the church determined that allegations of child sexual abuse he faced were “credible” has filed a defamation lawsuit against his bishop.
Daniel Lacroix, 61, sued Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha last week, The Standard-Times of New Bedford reported Tuesday.
Lacroix, who most recently served at three New Bedford churches, was placed on administrative leave in 2019. A diocese review board in November determined the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were credible and removed Lacroix from ministry.
The suit does not seek monetary compensation, but a declaratory judgment that Lacroix did not engage in any misconduct.
“My client has been viciously slandered, and his entire life and career have been put on hold, all without any measure of due process,” Lacroix’s attorney, Philip Beauregard, said in a statement.
Photo above: From left, Methodist Church president Reverend Ili Vunisuwai, vice-president Apisalome Tudreu, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, and former church presidents Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa and Tevita Banivanua, Photo: Facebook / Fiji govt
Fiji Police are investigating allegations that a member of the Methodist Church clergy sexually assaulted 14 boys while serving on an outer island.
Police said the alleged incidents happened on Levuka, Ovalau, in the south of the country.
Police spokesperson, Ana Naisoro, said the latest alleged acts were committed between 2018 and this year.
“There is a report being investigated by Levuka Police,” she said. “The 14 victims are boys and juveniles.”
This is not the first time a member of the clergy in Fiji has been accused of sexually abusing children.
Just last year, the Catholic Church was rocked with allegations of sexual abuse against boys at a school decades earlier.
The parish of St. Sabina in Chicago announced on Sunday that it would withhold its monthly contributions to the archdiocese until an abuse investigation into its longtime pastor is completed.
Two brothers in January had accused Fr. Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing them when they were teens. Pfleger denies the allegations, but he stepped aside from ministry after the first accusation was made and the archdiocese first announced its investigation. Fr. Pfleger is known for his outspoken social justice activism.
Almost two months after the first allegation was made against Pfleger–and the archdiocese announced its investigation–Pfleger’s parish on Sunday said it would stop sending its monthly assessments to the archdiocese in order to expedite the investigation.
“In its continued effort to get the Archdiocese of Chicago to swiftly conclude its investigation into the allegations against Fr. Pfleger, that it has made the decision to withhold the monthly assessments of the…
Leaders of the South Side church say the financial strain is “hurting their mission to serve” as longtime pastor Michael Pfleger is sidelined from his ministry.
Auburn Gresham – St. Sabina Church leaders will no longer send the church’s offerings to the Archdiocese of Chicago, a move they hope will expedite the ongoing sexual abuse investigation into Father Michael Pfleger.
The St. Sabina parish council announced Sunday its members will withhold its $100,000 monthly assessment to the archdiocese, citing “strained finances.” The money will not be used for any ministry or current programming, and instead will be set aside “to be paid at the conclusion of the investigation.”
“This has jeopardized our ability to serve. We’re asking parishioners to continue to support our church with their tithes and offerings as they would normally to continue the work of the ministry to the community at this time,” council leaders said in…
A New Bedford priest accused of sexually abusing a minor has filed a defamation suit against the Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River.
Daniel Lacroix, 61, was placed on administrative leave for alleged misconduct in November2019. At the time, he was serving as co-pastor at three North End churches — St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes.
A Ministerial Review Board in November 2020 determined the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were credible and subsequently removed Lacroix permanently from ministry.
On Feb. 29, Lacroix filed the lawsuit seeking relief from the Fall River Diocese Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, who he says “substantially and irreparably” harmed his reputation.
According to a press release from Lacroix’s attorney, Philip Beauregard, the removed pastoris not seeking compensation for monetary losses; he is instead seeking vindication and a declaratory judgment that he did not engage in the…
Another 370 claimants filed proof of claim forms saying the Archdiocese of New Orleans owed them millions of dollars for other reasons, from outstanding utility company bills to accidental falls on church property.
The New York-based firm processing the compensation demands received at least 56 claims in which the claimant’s name and address was intentionally omitted, a likely signal those were filed by anonymous clergy abuse victims.
That number is likely to grow, according to attorneys counseling alleged victims.
Uncertainty surrounding the total number and value of claims could linger throughout the week. Claims can be filed electronically or by mail. And documents mailed in to the claims administrator, Donlin Recano, will be accepted past the…
A Jesuit priest abused boys at Belvedere College in Dublin’s city centre when he taught there in the 1970s, the congregation has confirmed, two years after being confronted by a former victim about the secrecy surrounding the case.
Fr Joseph Marmion “abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff at Belvedere College in the 1970s”, the Jesuits said in a statement.
Tuesday’s statement followed contact with the Jesuits in early 2019 by a former pupil of Belvedere College. A student at the College in the 1970s, at the age of 13 he was sexually and emotionally abused by Fr Marmion, a teacher in Belvedere from 1969 until 1978. The priest died in 2000.
In their statement on Tuesday, the Jesuits said they were issuing it so “following engagement with a former pupil who was himself abused,…
Photo above: John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School students participate in a Nov. 20, 2020, school walkout to protest the archdiocese’s decision to close their high school. (Courtesy of Kim Kimrey)
When Jill Kimrey, a junior at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, learned on Nov. 18 that the Philadelphia archdiocese would be closing her school in June, she and her family were shocked. Jill loves Hallahan — she made this video to prove it — and she was looking forward to graduating with the class of 2022, joining more than 100 years of alumnae from the oldest Catholic diocesan all-girls high school in the United States, her own grandmother among them.
She made a pact with her friends that they would stay together for their senior year, she told NCR. She cried for hours after visiting another high school as a prospective student, her mother Kim said….
“There’s been no justice for these people,” said state Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee. “Time alone should not be the reason to allow an injustice to occur.”
In 2019, Rhode Island gave victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against their perpetrators, even if the abuse occurred decades ago.
But victims’ advocates say the state courts have too narrowly defined what a “perpetrator” is. So now some lawmakers are going back to the drawing board: They want people to be able to sue not just the person who actually committed the abuse, but the institutions that aided and abetted them, even if the deadline to do so had already run out under the old law.
This was their intention all along, and the new bill, introduced late last month, would make that perfectly clear, the lead sponsor said. The effort would expose the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence…
Michael Pfleger is one of the most remarkable Catholic priests in Chicago history. He leads one of the most vibrant congregations in the city, having first helped breath new life into St. Sabina’s Church 40 years ago. He has been a crusader for social justice.
We admire Pfleger for this. Always have and always will.
At the same time, Pfleger now stands accused of sexual abuse. Two brothers allege they were victimized by Pfleger when they were minors more than 40 years ago.
We take all such accusations seriously, as of course we must. There is no statute of limitations on moral responsibility for sexual abuse. There is no expiration date on the emotional toll of abuse.
Our hope, then, is that an ongoing investigation by the Archdiocese of Chicago will be impartial, complete and in no way rushed. As important as it is to…
A similar effort last year failed after proponents of the legislation couldn’t agree about whether to challenge the state constitution in the hopes of giving past victims of abuse a window to take legal action
olorado lawmakers are once again debating whether to give recent and future victims of child sexual assault unlimited time to sue their abusers after a similar effort failed last year because of infighting among proponents of the policy change.
Senate Bill 73 cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday, unanimously passing the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Victims of child sexual assault have just six years after they turn 18 to sue their abusers. The bipartisan legislation would eliminate that restriction. The measure would apply to people abused after Jan. 1, 2022, as well as for those still within the window of the statute of limitations by that date.
In August, former seminary volunteers said statues around the property began disappearing.
By November, volunteers said six bronze statues were completely gone, only to reappear at Kelly Schultz’s Antiques on Main Street in Clarence.
Kevin Brun is an abuse survivor and a member of the diocese unsecured creditor’s committee, appointed by the United States Trustee when the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“I jumped in my vehicle and I drove to the antique store in Clarence which was a 60 mile round trip. The statues were exhibited outside the building,” Brun said, “I asked if they were for sale and he said yes they are and quoted me on the prices. Needless to say, I was taken back by that.”
7 Eyewitness News has confirmed with the antique shop the statues are for sale, ranging…
Boston College is investigating allegations that Richard Gaillardetz, chair of the theology department, sexually assaulted a former classmate at the University of Notre Dame.
In two YouTube videos released on Wednesday and Jan. 23, theologian Laura Grimes alleges that Gaillardetz sexually assaulted her twice—on Halloween and in early December of 1987—while the two were students in a theology doctoral program at Notre Dame.
“I will come to you in this series of videos reflecting on ecclesial rape culture in which you so strongly enable and perpetrate,” Grimes said addressing Gaillardetz in the first video.
Gaillardetz, who denies the allegations, has voluntarily stepped away from his teaching and administrative duties at BC while the investigation continues.
In an email to The Heights, Gaillardetz said that he first learned of Grimes’ accusations on Jan. 23. BC has hired an independent law firm to investigate the credibility of the allegations—an investigation that is still ongoing—he wrote.
From the beginning, Pope Francis has been committed to financial reform of the Vatican. It was the first study commission he created, it was the first major appointment he made, and it’s been a constant of his papacy over what’s now almost eight years.
Yet after all this time, Francis faces the same fundamental dilemma he did at the beginning: There’s no way to cut expenses and increase income, thereby reducing the incentives for suspect maneuvers, without trimming payroll, i.e., firing people – a step this pontiff (like all of his predecessors) has proven extraordinarily reluctant to take.
During a recent meeting of the Council for the Economy, a mixed body of cardinals and lay financial experts created by Pope Francis to oversee the Vatican’s money management, the numbers for 2020 and projected numbers for 2021 came up for consideration.
The results were sobering: For 2020, the Vatican ran a…
Photo above: Tonia Carr, chair of St. Sabina’s cabinet, explained Sunday why the church will be withholding roughly $100,000 in monthly assessments to the Archdiocese of Chicago. The assessments, which come from St. Sabina’s church and school, will be withheld until officials close the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse claims lodged against Father Michael Pfleger. Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times
Father Michael Pfleger was removed from the church as the Archdiocese of Chicago investigates claims he sexually abused two brothers over four decades ago.
In a bid to put pressure on the Archdiocese of Chicago, leaders at St. Sabina Church in Auburn-Gresham announced Sunday the parish plans to stop paying roughly $100,000 in monthly assessments until church officials close the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse claims lodged against Father Michael Pfleger.
During a service Sunday morning, Tonia Carr, chair of St. Sabina’s parish…
A bill that would lift the statute of limitations for civil suits related to child sexual abuse handily cleared committee Wednesday, leaving its Western Slope sponsors hopeful of greater justice for victims.
Senator Don Coram, R-Montrose, with Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, are primary Senate sponsors of Senate Bill 73. Primary House sponsors are Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta County and Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Denver.
The bill is similar to one Coram advanced last year, only to see it held over indefinitely, with, he said, no explanation. He is optimistic SB-73, which he called his “second bite of the apple,” will pass.
The bill, “Civil Action Statute of Limitations Sexual Assault” would change existing law that precludes child sexual assault survivors from bringing a civil suit after six years of turning 18. In addition to lifting this statute of limitations, the bill would eliminate current restrictions on what damages can be…
Over the last two decades, the Roman Catholic Church has rightfully come under worldwide scrutiny for its mishandling of sexual misconduct by its clergy. As a lifelong and ardent Catholic, I applaud the Vatican’s recent efforts to right these wrongs, and I believe that however late these actions may be, our Church is finally on the path to healing. Still, I have no words to convey the sorrow I feel for the victims of sexual abuse, and it is particularly nauseating to me to think that some of these vile acts were committed within the confines of an institution as sacred and hallowed as the Roman Catholic Church.
I believe that when an individual is accused of sexual abuse or misconduct, the accuser’s allegations must be taken as seriously as those of a murder. All avenues must be explored in investigating the allegations, and all resources must be exhausted to…
Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York on Wednesday offered an update on finances in the archdiocese, noting that although offertory was down overall for the fiscal year, the percentage of offertory given online increased.
He also noted that a large number of clerical abuse lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act present a challenge to the financial stability of the archdiocese.
“Thanks to the generosity of you, our people, the dedication and commitment of our pastors and priests, and the hard work behind-the-scenes of people in the field and in the chancery, we have managed to hold our own in some ways, but continue to face some uphill battles in others,” Dolan wrote in a Feb. 24 Flocknote.
Dolan pointed to clerical abuse claims brought under the Child Victims Act, which the state enacted in 2019 following the revelations of abuse perpetrated by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
A Catholic priest in Dunedin has been stood down pending an investigation by his church.
Father Fivins Chittilappilly has been working as an assistant priest in Mercy Parish in South Dunedin since January 2020.
A statement read out at his church’s mass over the weekend said he had been stood down pending an investigation.
The statement, released by Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley, said: “Recently there has been a complaint by an adult person concerning Fr Chittilappilly and this is in the process of being investigated by the Church authorities.”
“During this investigation Fr Chittilappilly will remain in New Zealand but will not be working in ministry or residing in Dunedin Diocese.
“I realise this is a stressful time and ask for your prayers for all involved at this time.”
Dooley declined to comment on the specific allegation to Stuff due to “the wishes of the complainant”.
The Otago Daily Times reported Chittilappilly was being…