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 8, 2021

Washington account of $2m Cardinal Wuerl fund raises transparency questions

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

March 4, 2021

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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.

“These donations have…

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Retired Buffalo bishops must pay for lawyers in defending against AG’s lawsuit

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

February 24, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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[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…

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Clerical sex abuse case to be heard behind closed doors

BIRKIRKARA (MALTA)
Times of Malta

March 8, 2021

By Ivan Martin

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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…

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Protestors call for investigation into alleged child sexual abuse at Notre Dame Academy

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY-TV [Green Bay WI]

March 7, 2021

By Joshua Peguero

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Family and friends of the late Nate Lindstrom also want Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki of St. Norbert Abbey to either resign or support victims

[VIDEO]

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…

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‘Failings:’ Brian Houston Just Told Us What We Already Knew About Hillsong

NEW YORK (NY)
Patheos [Englewood CO]

March 7, 2021

By Captain Cassidy, "Roll to Disbelieve"

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Hi and welcome back! Not long ago, we talked about the recent scandals erupting at Hillsong. Between Carl Lentz and his constant affairs and Bobbie Houston’s use of a slur in her creepy marriage-advice thing and even some expensive lawsuits looming, this megachurch struggles these days. Worse, a lot of accusations are coming out lately about the church’s mistreatment of volunteers and misuse of donationsHillsong is a deeply and irrevocably broken system that does exactly and precisely what pastor Brian Houston designed it to do. Recently, he even went on record to tell us so. 

Brian Houston Joins the Family Business.

According to the font of all knowledge, Brian Houston began his career as a pastor after a few years of Bible college. Bible colleges function as low-rent seminaries in…

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March 7, 2021

Anglican Church faces shortage of ministers, churches in the bush as it repays victims of child sexual abuse

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

March 8, 2021

By Xanthe Gregory

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The largest Anglican diocese in western New South Wales is suffering from a crippling shortage of ministers as it struggles to pay back the church’s victims of child sexual abuse.

Key points:

  • Anglican churches in regional NSW are struggling to recruit ministers to the bush and owe millions of dollars to victims of child sexual abuse
  • More than half of the parishes in a third of the state are without a full-time minister
  • Historical churches are being put up for sale to cover debt

The Anglican Diocese of Bathurst, which covers a third of the state, is also selling churches to fulfil its reparations commitments under the National Redress Scheme.

In a bid to balance its books, the church is also asking new ministers to raise up to $30,000 to help run their churches before relocating out west.

Bishop Mark Calder said the church was at a crossroads between…

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David Linstrom speaks during a memorial rally held for his son, Nate, held outside Green Bay Notre Dame on March 7, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Advocates push for a clergy abuse investigation in memory of Notre Dame graduate who died one year ago

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press Gazette [Green Bay WI]

March 7, 2021

By Haley BeMiller

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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. 

He received $420,000 in secret payments from the De Pere-based abbey over 10 years until the order’s officials deemed his allegations not credible and stopped sending money, a Green Bay Press-Gazette investigation found.

“I wish things would have been different,” Lindstrom said in a text message to the Press-Gazette weeks before his death at age 45. “I…

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Arrest papers: Former church volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teen for years

COLORADO SPRINGS (CO)
Fox 21 News [Colorado Springs CO]

March 4, 2021

By Angela Case and Krista Witiak

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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.

Stites was also a part owner of Hellscream Entertainment, which runs several popular haunted attractions in the Colorado Springs area. According to his LinkedIn page, Stites began that role in January 2009. He stepped down after the arrest, according to Hellscream’s co-owners.Haunted house owner arrested on child sex assault charges in Colorado Springs

According to arrest papers, the victim called police in September to report that she had…

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Top German bishop laments ‘scandalous’ image of church

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

February 25, 2021

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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”…

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As many as 10,000 clerical sex abuse cases in France

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

March 3, 2021

By Tom Heneghan

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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…

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Mary Grace Gallagher: In three minutes, David Lorenz tells Maryland lawmakers why statute of limitations on child abuse claims must end | COMMENTARY

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
Capital Gazette [Parole MD]

March 7, 2021

By Mary Grace Gallagher

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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.

But, because of COVID…

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‘I was walking into an ambush’: Former Wallaby Tony Daly speaks out about childhood sexual abuse

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

March 6, 2021

By David Mark

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“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…

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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

(AUSTRALIA)
Daily Mail [London, United Kingdom]

March 7, 2021

By Tita Smith

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  • Tony Daly represented Australia in the Wallabies from the late 1980s’ to 1990s 
  • The footballer lead the team to its first World Cup victory over England in 1991
  • He was dropped from the team in 1995 – and his life then spiralled out of control
  • The child sex abuse he suffered bubbled to the surface, after being suppressed 
  • Daly was sexually abused from age 11 over two years at St Joseph’s Boys School
  • After leaving sport, he started drinking, gambling, and committing petty crime 
  • He has come to terms with his experience and has opened up to share his story

In front of the cameras, Tony Daly was a prized national treasure – leading the Wallabies to successive victories. 

He enjoyed an illustrious career playing 41 tests from the late 1980s to the ’90s,  scoring the only try in Australia’s 1991 World Cup final victory over England.

But behind closed doors, he was harbouring an insidious…

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March 6, 2021

Rachel Jeffs (Source: Instagram)

Rachel Jeffs Has Dedicated Her Life to Speaking out Against the FLDS Church

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Distractify

March 5, 2021

By Chrissy Bobic

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[Photo above: Rachel Jeffs. Source: Instagram]

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.

Rachel left the FLDS…

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WATCH: Gozo’s Bishop Asks For Forgiveness For Church’s Physical And Sexual Abuse

(MALTA)
Lovin Malta

March 5, 2021

By Julian Bonnici

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[Video]

Gozo’s Bishop Anton Teuma has asked for forgiveness from the many people who have suffered some sort of abuse, physical or sexual, from members of the clergy.

This comes after two Gozitan priests, Joseph Cini and Joseph Sultana, were charged with raping and abusing a young boy.

In a video, Teuma said that without getting into the merits of the case, the allegations have left anger, pain, and uncertainty within the Gozitan diocese.

He reiterated the abuse can never be tolerated within the church or society as a whole. He has even sought advice from Pope Francis on the issue.

“I sincerely apologize to those of you who have at one time or another suffered abuses of all kinds in the context of the Church, to themselves and to their families,” Teuma said.

The issue erupted after Cini and Sultana were charged with sexually abusing an…

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Hillsong leader apologizes ‘unreservedly’ after scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

March 5, 2021

By Hannah Frishberg

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The leader of megachurch Hillsong has apologized — but will congregants forgive him? 

Five months since the firing of adulterous NYC superstar pastor Carl Lentz — which exposed rifts across the church, fraud accusations and congregant allegations of abuse — Hillsong’s senior pastor and co-founder Brian Houston has for the first time publicly said that he’s sorry for it.

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…

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Jehovah’s Witnesses Will Finally Join Australia’s Program for Sex Abuse Victims

(AUSTRALIA)
Patheos [Englewood CO]

March 6, 2021

By Hemant Mehta

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The Jehovah’s Witnesses will finally join an Australian program meant to make amends for child sexual abuse… but only because they would have lost their tax exempt status if they didn’t.

They may not care about the children, but they care about their bank account, apparently.

Here’s the backstory: In 2013, the Australian government set up the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to look into the very serious issue. Rabbis were implicated alongside Catholic priests. Secular organizations weren’t immune from wrongdoing.

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…

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Column: One week’s news reveals the revolutionary strength of the Me Too movement

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

March 5, 2021

By Virginia Heffernan

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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…

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How Catholicism became a breeding ground for conspiracy theories

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

March 5, 2021

By Claire Giangravé

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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.

“In recent…

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Diocese releases independent audit findings on abuse policies

SCRANTON (PA)
Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA)

March 6, 2021

By Mark Guydish

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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…

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Ampleforth College faces questions over pupil safeguarding

AMPLEFORTH COLLEGE (UNITED KINGDOM)
Channel 4 (England)

March 5, 2021

By Clare Fallon

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[VIDEO]

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.

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‘Men are like dogs’: what I was taught about sexual assault at my Catholic private school

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

March 5, 2021

By Claire J. Harris

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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…

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SERIAL OFFENDER Notorious clerical abuser Oliver O’Grady back on the streets after release from prison

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Sunday World (Ireland)

March 5, 2021

By Eamon Dillon

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Oliver O’Grady had been jailed for 22 months last October for possessing ‘child pornography’ – his ninth conviction.

FORMER priest and infamous paedophile Oliver O’Grady has been released from prison this week after serving his latest sentence for a sex-offence.

Now 75-years-old, O’Grady had been jailed for 22 months last October for possessing ‘child pornography’, his ninth conviction.

He had served time in California for the abuse of two boys where he served as a Catholic priest before being deported back to Ireland in the 1990s.

His sexual crimes were the subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary in 2006 called ‘Deliver Us From Evil.’

O’Grady had been extradited from Portugal in 2019 to face the charge of possessing a video of an underage girl being sexually abused.

He left the Midlands Prison this week in Portlaoise where he had served his time.

His recent conviction came as a result of…

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Men consider private prosecution of Fettes teacher facing abuse claims after Crown Office decide not to pursue South Africa extradition

(UNITED KINGDOM)
Edinburgh News (Scotland)

March 5, 2021

By Jamie McKenzie

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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…

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Police, private schools pledge support after petition of alleged sexual abuse among students goes viral

(AUSTRALIA)

March 6, 2021

By Anthony Piovesan

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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…

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Experts to draw up terms of reference for mother and baby homes inquiry in NI

BELFAST (UNITED KINGDOM)
Q Radio (Northern Ireland)

March 4, 2021

By Michael McHiugh PA

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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…

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Church of England on journey of change to address sexual abuse but will never forget its failures, says Bishop of Huddersfield

HUDDERSFIELD (UNITED KINGDOM)
Yorkshire Post (England)

March 6, 2021

By Susie Beever

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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.

The Inquiry also heard…

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Brian Houston apologizes for Hillsong East Coast scandals, announces ‘sweeping changes’

NEW YORK (NY)
The Christian Post

March 5, 2021

By Leonardo Blair

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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,”…

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Sexual abuse by pastors is a shame: FCC

SUVA (FIJI)
FBC News (Fiji)

March 5, 2021

By Sainiani Boila

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[Includes audio]

The Fiji Council of Churches says it’s a severe violation and inhumane act for pastors to sexually abuse Church members.

Some pastors are convicted of rape while some are still under investigation and the Fiji Council of Churches President Archbishop, Peter Loy Chong, says this is embarrassing.

Archbishop Chong says they are working with the Pacific Conference of Churches on a policy to help address the issue.

“It pains my heart to hear that young children and little girls and women are abused and it’s embarrassing as a church leader to hear this happen amongst church leaders.”

Archbishop Chong says they hope to prevent this issue from happening again.

“We’ve awakened to this as we have developed our own safeguarding policies to prevent and minimize or almost if we can eradicate this inhumane behaviour in the church.”

The Fiji Council of Churches is calling for a holistic approach…

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March 5, 2021

Field at Chemawa Indian School, Salem, Oregon, pictured after 1933 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS OR-129)

Panelists call for reckoning on abuse of Native American children at Catholic boarding schools

NEW YORK (NY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 5, 2021

By Lucy Grindon

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[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…

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Colorado Senate passes bill easing child abuse lawsuits

DENVER (CO)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 2, 2021

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Colorado’s Senate has unanimously passed legislation that eliminates a statute of limitations for victims of child sexual assault to file civil lawsuits seeing damages from perpetrators.

Supporters argued the six-year time period currently given victims to pursue claims effectively denied them the chance to seek justice after undergoing years of trauma and possible recovery.

Democratic Sen. Jessie Danielson, who co-sponsored the bill with Republican Sen. Don Coram, noted that 10 other U.S. states have eliminated statutes of limitations for civil suits.

Under current law, survivors must file any civil lawsuit against abusers by the age of 24 — and by age 20 against employers or organizations harboring abusers.

The bill would remove several restrictions on filing damage claims. It also would make persons and organizations that didn’t directly participate in abuse potentially liable.

Tuesday’s 33-0 vote sends the legislation to the House.

Colorado has no statute of limitations for criminal…

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Washington archdiocese allocates $2m for Cardinal Wuerl’s ‘continuing ministry’

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

March 3, 2021

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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 amount allocated…

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SC appeals court backs Catholic Diocese of Charleston in sex-abuse lawsuit technicality

CHARLESTON (SC)
The Post and Courier [Charleston SC]

March 4, 2021

By Sara Coello

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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…

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Catholic group opposes Colorado bill that would give child sex abuse survivors the ability to sue their abuser at any time

DENVER (CO)
The Denver Post

March 5, 2021

By Saja Hindi

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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…

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Victim advocates say U.S. military gets an ‘F’ on sexual assault prevention

ARLINGTON (VA)
PBS NewsHour [Arlington VA]

March 1, 2021

By Nick Schifrin and Dan Sagalyn

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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…
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[Media Statement] French Catholic Church Admits to as Many as 10,000 Victims since 1950

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

March 4, 2021

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A committee investigating sexual abuse and cover-up committed by Catholic clergy in France speculated that as many as 10,000 children and vulnerable adults may have been abused by priests since 1950, a staggering number that shows the clear need for immediate reform within the French Church.

So far, more than 3,000 victims have testified to the French Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church. Similarly, according to a report released last fall in the UK, there were 3000 instances of child sexual abuse reported to the Catholic Church in that country between 1970-2015. Based on SNAP’s internal analysis, we believe that there are likely as many as 37,000 victims in France and we hope that this initial news will remind those survivors that they are not alone and that there are people who will believe them and support them.

Recent revelations into…

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[Media Statement] Third Accuser against Fr. Michael Pfleger Comes Forward

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

March 3, 2021

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Yet another victim has come forward to allege that he was the victim of inappropriate sexual contact at the hands of a popular Chicago priest. We hope that this latest accusation will cause parishioners at the cleric’s church to stop their intimidation campaign against the survivors who have come forward and to refrain from trying to influence or expedite the investigation into the alleged abuse.

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…

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Juárez priest Aristeo Baca sentenced in child sex abuse case involving altar server girl

CIUDAD JUáREZ (MEXICO)
El Paso Times

March 4, 2021

By Daniel Borunda

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A Juárez Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting an altar server girl was sentenced by a Mexican court this week to more than 34 years in prison.

The Rev. Aristeo Trinidad Baca, 76, was found guilty Feb. 22 on charges of rape and aggravated sexual abuse, the Chihuahua attorney general’s office said.

Baca was convicted of sexually abusing a girl who was an altar server while Baca was pastor at Santa María de la Montaña parish near the mountains in southwestern Juárez.

Baca was convicted of sexually assaulting the girl on at least three occasions at the church between 2015 and 2018 starting when the girl was 8 years old.

An investigation began after the girl made an outcry to her family in 2019.

In addition to the prison sentence, Baca was ordered to pay reparations of more than 59,000 pesos (about $2,000 in U.S. dollars) to the victim.

In a statement, Juárez Bishop Jose Guadalupe…

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Analysis: Are legal reforms in the Vatican designed NOT to work?

(ITALY)
Catholic Herald [London, England]

February 28, 2021

By Christopher Altieri

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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?

It’s crazy to think that an…

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[Opinion] From feckless episcopal leadership, Lord save us

BOSTON (MA)
Catholic Culture

March 3, 2021

By Phil Lawler

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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.

Another new Catholic-news source, Exaudi, boasts an exclusive interview with Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, who…

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[News Release] International Virtual Symposium on Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse: HARVARD/VATICAN

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Harvard University (Cambridge MA)

March 3, 2021

By The Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University

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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,…

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Sudbury teacher banned for life from teaching in Ontario

GREATER SUDBURY (CANADA)
The Sudbury Star [Ontario, Canada]

March 3, 2021

By Harold Carmichael

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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…

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[Opinion] A comprehension of the past

(NEW ZEALAND)
NZ Catholic [New Zealand]

March 3, 2021

By Alison Hale

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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…

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Boston College theologian being investigated for alleged sexual assault

BOSTON (MA)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 3, 2021

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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…

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March 4, 2021

FILE - 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)

3rd man accuses a Chicago activist priest of sexual abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 3, 2021

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[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…

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Column: Blind loyalty to the Rev. Michael Pfleger could harm the Black community

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

March 1, 2021

By Dahleen Glanton

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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.

As much as we might admire Pfleger for…

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Catholic philanthropists launch safeguarding initiative against abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 3, 2021

By Christopher White

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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…

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[News Release] Faith-based Institutions to Front Royal Commission on Redress for Abuse

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Scoop [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 4, 2021

By Abuse in Care Royal Commission Inquiry

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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…

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[Opinion] Catholics Are De-Toxing From their Experiences With Traumatic Religion. How You Respond to them Matters.

NEW YORK (NY)
Patheos [Englewood CO]

March 3, 2021

By Rebecca Bratten Weiss

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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…

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Lawyer: New report on abuse in Cologne will incriminate church officials

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

March 3, 2021

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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…

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Chihuahua priest sentenced to 34 years for sexual assault of altar girl, 8

CHIHUAHUA (MEXICO)
Mexico News Daily

March 3, 2021

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Prosecutors will seek more jail time

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).

Baca’s…

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Methodist church minister in Fiji stood down over allegations he abused 14 boys during past three years

OVALAU (FIJI)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

March 3, 2021

By Marian Faa

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Key points:

  • The ABC understands there was no policy relating to child protection in place at the time of the alleged abuse
  • The issue has sparked concern about child safety in Fiji more broadly
  • Seventy per cent of all sexual assaults indictments in the Fijian High Courts last month involved victims under the age of 18

A Methodist Church minister in Fiji has now been stood down as police investigate allegations he sexually abused 14 young boys between 2018 and this year.

Police told local media the alleged abuse happened in the outer island of Ovalau in the country’s south.

Communications Secretary for Fiji’s Methodist Church Reverend Wilfred Regunamada said the man has been instructed to stop preaching.

“He’s not allowed to be involved in doing any communion service,” Reverend Regunamada said.

“Due to the current investigation he has been instructed to go and stay at his home.”

Reverend…

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French clergy abuse more extensive than thought, bishops’ report says

PARIS (FRANCE)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 3, 2021

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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…

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Pressure eases on Cardinal Woelki

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

March 3, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

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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…

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March 3, 2021

Jean-Marc Sauve said the big questions is how many victims will come forward

Head of French clerical abuse inquiry says 10,000 victims possible

PARIS (FRANCE)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

March 2, 2021

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[Photo above: Jean-Marc Sauve said the big questions is how many victims will come forward. This AFP story appeared on the website of RTÉ, Dublin, Ireland.]

The head of an independent inquiry investigating clerical child abuse in France said that there might have been up to 10,000 victims since 1950.

Jean-Marc Sauve, head of a commission set up by the Catholic church, said that a previous estimate in June last year of 3,000 victims “is certainly an underestimate.”

“It’s possible that the figure is at least 10,000,” he added at a press conference where he delivered an update on the commission’s work.

A hotline set up in June 2019 for victims and witnesses to report abuse received 6,500 calls in the first 17 months of operation. 

“The big question for us is ‘how many victims came forward’? Is it 25%? 10%, 5% or less?,” Mr Sauve told reporters.

The Bishops’ Conference of France…

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Catholic clergy in France abused more than 10,000 child victims, independent commission estimates

PARIS (FRANCE)
Washington Post

March 2, 2021

By Rick Noack

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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….

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French Catholic clergy may have abused at least 10,000 people since 1950, say investigators

PARIS (FRANCE)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

March 2, 2021

By Pierre Bairin,

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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…

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Third man alleges inappropriate behavior by beloved South Side priest Pfleger

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

March 3, 2021

By Christy Gutowski

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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.

Unlike the…

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Accused priest sues bishop, saying he was slandered

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 2, 2021

Read original article

 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.

“This lawsuit is intended…

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Belvedere College publishes name of Jesuit priest who abused pupils in 1970s

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Examiner [Cork, Ireland]

March 2, 2021

By Ciarán Sunderland

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Belvedere College has released the name of a priest who abused students at the school in the 1970s after a former pupil has come forward detailing the abuse. 

The Jesuit Order of Ireland said Joseph Marmion, a priest and former teacher, “abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff at Belvedere College in the 1970s”.

The religious order hopes other pupils who suffered abuse at the hands of Fr Marmion are able to come forward and get the support they need following the decision to make the priest’s name public. 

Joseph Marmion SJ was a teacher in Belvedere College from 1969 until 1978. He died in 2000.

Public decision

In 2019, a former student of Belvedere College contacted the Jesuits about the abuse he suffered as a pupil attending the school in Dublin City centre. The abuse took place when the man was aged 13. 

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Priest who abused pupils at Belvedere College is named by Jesuit order as Fr Joseph Marmion

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

March 2, 2021

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A priest who abused students at one of the most prestigious schools in the country in the 1970s has been publicly named by the Jesuit order at the behest of a former pupil of Belvedere College.

Fr Joseph Marmion SJ abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff at the private Dublin school.

He was named by the Jesuits on Tuesday in the hope that others who may have suffered abuse will come forward and get support.

The priest taught in the Dublin school from 1969 until 1978. He also taught in Crescent College Limerick, and Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare. Fr Marmion died in 2000.

On Tuesday, the Jesuits said they have been in contact over many years with others who were abused by Joseph Marmion while they were young students.

“They have spoken of sexual abuse and physical and emotional bullying by him….

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Scots priest who abused three young children in horrific 20 years of abuse has died

DUMFRIES (UNITED KINGDOM)
Daily Record [Glasgow, Scotland]

March 3, 2021

By Tracy-Ann Carmichael

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The Church said it would pray for Moore after details of his death on Saturday emerged.

A priest who abused three children, the youngest aged just five, has died.

Francis Moore was eventually jailed for an eight-year term over the violations, which spanned more than 20 years.

BBC investigation found that Moore, known as Father Paul Moore, had made confessions in 1996 which were covered up by a Bishop.

The Church said it would pray for Moore after details of his death on Saturday emerged.

He was transferred from his cell at HMP Dumfries to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary after falling seriously ill.

Moore, who was 85, abused three youngsters in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996 – even striking at a leisure centre.

Even contemporaries did not escape his attentions – Moore also abused a student priest.

He was ordered to serve nine years in prison for his crimes but…

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March 2, 2021

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 probe alleged sex abuse against Methodist Church

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

March 2, 2021

By Christine Rovoi

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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.

A man had claimed he was molested by…

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Fr. Michael Pfleger’s parish stops payments to Chicago archdiocese to expedite his investigation

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

March 1, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

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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…

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St. Sabina Leaders Halt Monthly Payments to Archdiocese Until Pfleger Sex Abuse Investigation Is Over

CHICAGO (IL)
Block Club Chicago

March 1, 2021

By Jamie Nesbitt Golden

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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…

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New Bedford priest accused of sex abuse files defamation suit against Fall River Diocese

FALL RIVER (MA)
Standard-Times - SouthCoastToday [New Bedford MA]

March 2, 2021

By Anastasia E. Lennon

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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…

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New clergy sex abuse claims against archdiocese pour in as filing deadline arrives

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

March 1, 2021

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas

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As a 5 p.m. deadline to file sex abuse claims against the local Catholic Church loomed, roughly 50 claimants filed forms saying they were preyed upon by members of the clergy.

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…

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Priest ‘sexually and physically’ abused boys at Belvedere College in 1970s

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

March 2, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

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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.

Fr Marmion also taught in Crescent College Limerick and Clongowes Wood College.

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,…

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March 1, 2021

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)

Philadelphia community fights to save oldest US diocesan all-girls high school

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

February 24, 2021

By Lucy Grindon

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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….

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R.I. lawmakers want to change deadline to sue over sexual abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

March 1, 2021

By Brian Amaral

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“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…

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Editorial: Investigation of Rev. Pfleger demands fairness and thoroughness, not a timetable

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

March 1, 2021

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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…

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After infighting, Colorado lawmakers revive effort to give child sex assault survivors unlimited time to sue abusers

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun [Denver CO]

February 25, 2021

By Jesse Paul

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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.

A companion measure, Senate Bill 88, seeks…

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Statues from Christ the King Seminary went missing, only to reappear for sale at an antique store

CLARENCE (NY)
WKBW [Buffalo NY]

February 26, 2021

By Olivia Proia

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On February 4, 2020, the Buffalo Diocese announced Christ the King Seminary would close.

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…

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BC Theology Department Chair Accused of Sexual Assault

NEWTON (MA)
The Heights - Boston College [Chestnut Hill MA]

March 1, 2021

By Megan Kelly, Julia Kiersznowski, and Victor Stefanescu

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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.

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Pope can’t make ends meet with a ‘no firing’ policy

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

February 24, 2021

By John L. Allen Jr.

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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…

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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

St. Sabina withholding $100K in monthly assessments until archdiocese closes Pfleger abuse probe

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

February 28, 2021

By Tom Schuba

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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…

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Coram- and Soper-backed bill to lift statute of limitations on civil sex abuse claims advances

DENVER (CO)
Montrose Press [Montrose CO]

February 25, 2021

By Katharhynn Heidelberg

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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…

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Deadline to file sexual abuse by Catholic clergy 5 p.m. Monday

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

February 28, 2021

By Erika Ferrando

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[Includes video.]

The deadline, known as a ‘bar date,’ comes 10 months after the Archdiocese filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, May 1, 2020.

Monday is the deadline for victims who have been sexually abused by Catholic clergy to file compensation claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

“They’re heart-wrenching, the stories are heart-wrenching,” said Kevin Bourgeois, an advocate for sexual abuse survivors.

Bourgeois has helped several people file claims for sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“It’s the hardest thing anyone will ever do because you have to document what happened to you, but it’s easy in the sense that it’s all online, it’s private,” he said.

One of those victims he helped is a family friend.

“Less than an hour we went through everything and there were tears shed, and hugs given, and support,” he said.

The deadline for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy to file compensation…

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Letter to the Editor: In defense of accused Greater New Bedford priest Daniel Lacroix

FALL RIVER (MA)
Standard-Times - SouthCoastToday [New Bedford MA]

February 27, 2021

By Paul Rego

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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…

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NY archdiocese reports slight offertory downturn as Child Victims Act payments loom

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

February 25, 2021

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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.

The law set…

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Dunedin priest stood down after being accused of sexual misconduct

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

March 1, 2021

By Hamish McNeilly

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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…

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