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.

April 30, 2021

Father John Dux is pictured on the left, he is a retired priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine. Photo was taken Dec. 5, 1979

New York man shares story of his alleged sexual abuse by a Florida priest in the 1970s

TAMPA (FL)
WFTS-TV [Tampa Bay FL]

April 29, 2021

By Kylie McGivern

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Legislation could remove statute of limitations for civil suits

[Photo above: Father John Dux is pictured on the left, he is a retired priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine. Photo was taken Dec. 5, 1979]

The state’s two-year investigation into allegations Catholic priests sexually abused Florida children resulted in a blistering report, naming 97 Catholic priests meeting the state’s criteria for prosecution.

Not a single one will stand trial.

The priests were dead, had already been prosecuted, or in most cases — too many years had passed. But the story doesn’t end there.

Over the past five months, I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern poured over hundreds of pages of records from the state, talked with prosecutors, lawmakers and clergy sexual abuse survivors, and pressed a diocese in Florida about what was done — and when.

One of the victims was a 14-year-old boy at the time…

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Last Sister of Mercy leaves KC, ending her order’s service here after 134 years

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star [Kansas City MO]

April 30, 2021

By Melissa Henneberger

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Sister Jeanne Christensen, the last member of the Sisters of Mercy still working in Kansas City, packed up her electric blue Corolla and drove back to her hometown of Omaha last week, ending her order’s service here after 134 years.

Kansas City women in particular have reason to thank her and all who came before her for that service. Because the sisters showed up for us, my sisters.

They’ve been doing that since the order’s foundress, Catherine McAuley, spent her inheritance to open the first House of Mercy as a shelter and school for women and girls in Dublin in 1827. But their history in Kansas City began on Aug. 2, 1887, when Sr. Mary Agnes Dunne arrived from Kentucky to set up a home for young working women living on their own in what Sr. Kathleen O’Brien, author of a history of the Sisters of Mercy, called this “newly large…

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Stika accepted deacon accused of misconduct; Knoxville priests criticize ‘pattern’ of leadership

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

April 29, 2021

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The Bishop of Knoxville accepted a transitional deacon for parish ministry, even after the deacon was dismissed from seminary because of sexual misconduct allegations. Bishop Richard Stika reportedly intended to ordain the deacon a priest, despite objections from both Knoxville’s diocesan priests and psychological experts. 

Priests in the diocese say the circumstance is part of a pattern of questionable relationships and troubling judgment on the bishop’s part, which have been noted in complaints about Stika sent recently to the Vatican. Those reports are expected to trigger an investigation into the bishop’s leadership of his Tennessee diocese

The transitional deacon, incardinated in another U.S. diocese, was dismissed from seminary after “making sexual advances toward a younger seminarian” in late 2016, according to diocesan records obtained by The Pillar.

The deacon was reportedly accused of other incidents of sexual misconduct while in seminary. A 2017 psychologists’ report said the deacon’s “manipulative style, sexual predatory…

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This is the true ‘gold standard” for child protection in Pa. | Opinion

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital-Star

April 30, 2021

By Marci Hamilton

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It’s been nearly three years since a grand jury report initiated by Attorney General Josh Shapiro found that bishops and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years.

In a state such as Pennsylvania, where one in every four residents is Catholic, the report was both scathing and sobering – revealing more than 1,000 identifiable victims were abused at the hands of bishops, priests and other leaders of the Catholic Church.

Even before Shapiro’s report, in 2005, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham released a jaw-dropping, lengthy report about child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which gave a detailed account of the horrific abuse of hundreds of children by more than 60 priests and the cover-up by leaders of the church.

It is obvious that these survivors should be able to seek justice so they can…

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New Rome body to study causes of abuse

ROME (ITALY)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

April 29, 2021

By Christopher Lamb

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Ever since the lid was blown off the top of the global clerical sexual abuse scandal, church institutions have found themselves on the defensive. Pope Francis’ 2019 global summit of bishops on abuse – the first of its kind – was a belated first step towards a more proactive and coordinated church-wide approach. 

The lesson has sunk in that abuse is not going to magically disappear. Tackling abuse in society and in the Church needs a committed and ongoing response. To that end, a new body that will study the root causes of abuse and how safeguarding measures can be made more effective has been established in Rome. 

The “Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care” was ratified by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on 15 April and is to carry out pioneering research and formation in this field. It will be a faculty…

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ChurchToo Challenges Church’s Culture of Abuse

BOSTON (MA)
BC Torch [Boston College]

April 30, 2021

By Mary Rose Corkery

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On April 15, the School of Theology and Ministry (STM) welcomed Dr. Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College, for a Zoom webinar titled “The Sacred and The Secret: Lessons from Movements Like MeToo and ChurchToo.” 

Introduced by Fr. Thomas Stegman, S.J., Dean of the STM, Imperatori-Lee presented a lecture outlining the ways sexual abuse thrives, how these factors operate in the Catholic Church, and strategies to eliminate the persistence of abuse and rape culture within a Christian paradigm. 

She began by discussing that MeToo entering the national lexicon in 2016 has led to  countless individuals and groups identifying how rape culture is an assumption that permeates everyday life, both personally and structurally. Imperatori-Lee defined rape culture as “the normalization of assault as we assume that, given the opportunity, men will assault women sexually, making it necessary for women to put guardrails in place for their own safety.”…

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House backs bill dropping deadline for child physical abuse claims

MONTPELIER (VT)
VTDigger [Montpelier VT]

April 29, 2021

By Kevin O'Connor

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The Vermont House has joined the Senate in advancing a bill to repeal the statute of limitations for civil actions based on childhood physical abuse.

In a voice vote Thursday, House members offered near unanimous support for S.99, which the Senate approved 29-0 earlier this month.

“For a variety of reasons related to the trauma of being a victim of child abuse, it is extremely difficult for the victim to file the action before turning 21,” Rep. Felisha Leffler, R-Enosburg Falls, told her House colleagues. “As a result, these victims are permanently barred from ever being compensated for what in many cases are horrendous injuries.”

The Legislature, responding to a decadeslong Vermont Catholic priest misconduct scandal, two years ago repealed the deadline for introducing civil actions involving child sexual abuse.

But that change to allow accusers to go to court at any time pertains only to molestation and not other abuse,…

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Future Pope

ROME (ITALY)
The Open Tabernacle

April 29, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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The Vatican has a PR problem. In an international poll, Pope Francis is less admired than even Donald Trump. While Trump is ranked as the 15th most admired man in the world in the 2020 survey, Pope Francis is ranked at 18. The Dalai Lama ranked number 8. “More than 45,000 people in 42 countries and territories were interviewed to compile the list,” YouGov published in September.

Due to the adulation of Pope Francis by the U.S. for-profit mainstream media, it’s not surprising that the pontiff ranks much higher in this country, almost tied with the Dalai Lama at numbers 8 and 9 respectively.

The Vatican generates favorable coverage from the U.S. media. Anthony Fauci and Chelsea Clinton are among the famous American headliners at a virtual conference being held May 6-8. Other notable speakers – Deepak Chopra, Kerry Kennedy, Cindy Crawford, John Sculley, entrepreneur and investor in high-tech startups, Brandon Marshall, a…

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April 29, 2021

Pope Francis remarks on the Ecuadorian diocese’s poor leadership and moral failings

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

April 28, 2021

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The resignations of  Bishop Julio Parrilla Diaz, who turned 75 last month, and his deputy, Monsignor Gerardo Miguel Nieves Loja, 53, were accepted by Pope Francis this week in Rome. We are glad to learn of these resignations but hope more action comes from the Vatican.

We also applaud the Spanish missionary in Riobamba, Julia Serrano, for raising awareness and fearlessly calling out the poor leadership of Bishop Parrilla. More importantly, she shed light on the suitability of the Bishop’s potential successor, Msgr. Nieves, who has also resigned. Serrano wrote in a Catholic blog, “Redes Cristianas,” about a culture of homosexuality among diocesan clerics as well as “a number of priests with children in the diocese, some recognized and others not.”

We suspect that Catholic officials in Ecuador have underreported the damage caused by abusive priests, nuns, and religious orders. Concealing the truth and deceiving the…

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Pope sets 40-euro Vatican gift cap in corruption crackdown

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 29, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis set a 40-euro ($48) gift cap for all Vatican employees Thursday and issued a new law requiring Vatican cardinals and managers to periodically report on their compliance with clean financial practices in one of his biggest efforts yet to crack down on corruption in the Holy See.

The law requires Vatican superiors to declare every two years that they aren’t stashing money in tax havens and aren’t under criminal investigation for tax evasion, money laundering or other crimes. They also must declare that any investments they hold are in funds consistent with Catholic doctrine.

The crackdown comes as Vatican prosecutors are nearly two years into a corruption investigation involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate venture. Francis has preached about cleaning up the Holy See’s murky financial practices for eight years, but the new law marks his biggest step yet to ensure his own cardinals and…

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Wisconsin opens investigation of sexual abuse in the state’s five dioceses

MADISON (WI)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 28, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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The Wisconsin Department of Justice is opening a statewide investigation of abuse by clergy and faith leaders within the state’s five dioceses.

“We’re conducting this review to promote greater accountability and to promote healing for victims” as well as improving the response to abuse and preventing future abuse cases, said Attorney General Josh Kaul during an April 27 news conference outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Leaders of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the dioceses of Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison and Superior, and the Norbertines at St. Norbert Abbey acknowledged in statements released as Kaul was meeting with reporters that they joined the attorney general during a teleconference April 26 to discuss the planned investigation.

Each diocese also said the review will look at historical cases rather than reports of new allegations of sexual abuse.

The statements from the dioceses and the religious order said requests for documents from the Wisconsin Department…

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Papal safeguarding commission continues work online and in Rome

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

April 23, 2021

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors remained active in promoting outreach and providing new educational opportunities.

As they met online and in Rome for their plenary assembly April 19-22, the members also welcomed a new member, Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivors’ advocate, who was participating in his first meeting since Pope Francis appointed him March 24.

Cruz said “he hoped his presence and contribution will bring renewed impulse to the churches’ commitment to hearing, welcoming, assisting and accompanying the children, men and women who have been abused and in creating a space for them in the life of the church,” according to a press release by the commission April 22.

The plenary meetings, held twice a year, give the 17 members a chance to listen to each working group’s progress report and to lay the groundwork for future action.

The…

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Papa destituye a jerarquía de diócesis ecuatoriana

ROME (ITALY)
Infobae [Buenos Aires, Argentina]

April 28, 2021

By Associated Press

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En respuesta a denuncias de mala gobernanza y flaqueza moral en la diócesis ecuatoriana de Riobamba, el papa Francisco aceptó el miércoles las renuncias no sólo del obispo que alcanzó la edad de retiro sino también la de su heredero designado, sobre quienes se multiplican las acusaciones en Ecuador.

Los renunciantes son el obispo Julio Parrilla Díaz, quien cumplió 75 años el mes pasado, y su coadjutor, monseñor Gerardo Miguel Nieves Loja, de 53.

Nieves había sido designado obispo coadjutor de Riobamba el año pasado y debía ser consagrado obispo en febrero para suceder a Parrilla cuando éste cumpliera 75 años, la edad canónica del retiro, pero presentó su renuncia a Francisco una semana antes de la ceremonia.

Parrilla confirmó la renuncia de Nieves en una carta a su diócesis firmada el 19 de febrero y reproducida por la agencia católica en español Religión Digital. Parrilla dijo que comprendía la…

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BC president Leahy facing mounting criticism after allegations of sexual assault surface about former priest

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

April 27, 2021

By Deirdre Fernandez

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Boston College’s president, the Rev. William P. Leahy, is facing growing criticism that he mishandled student complaints about inappropriate behavior by a priest in the late 1990s who has recently been accused of sexual assault.

A DePaul University postgraduate student has alleged that the Rev. Ted Dziak, the former leader of an international Jesuit service group who worked at BC for eight years, forcefully had sex with him at least four times in Central America when the two had been drinking. The alleged assaults happened in 2004, several years after Dziak had left BC, according to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, which first reported the allegations in mid-April.

The former post-graduate told the newspaper that he suspects Dziak drugged him as well, and he views what occurred as rape because he was too incapacitated to consent. The man, Tim Ballard, has filed complaints with the FBI, authorities in…

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University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., Issues Statement In Response To April 26 ‘Heights’ Article

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

April 27, 2021

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The Heights article of April 26, 2021 describing allegations against Fr. Ted Dziak contains erroneous and irresponsible claims about me and my role as President of Boston College. A response is necessary.

First, in the fall of 1997, I learned of concerns about Fr. Dziak and the Ignacio Volunteers program pertaining to his social interactions with students at Boston College. There were no reports of sexual misconduct by Fr. Dziak at that time and none have been made since. I discussed these matters with Fr. Dziak and reported them to his Jesuit superiors, emphasizing aspects of his behavior that conflicted with University standards.

Second, I was never Fr. Dziak’s religious superior, and was not consulted by the Province about his assignment to Jamaica or any subsequent assignment.Heads of Jesuit provinces make decisions about assignments of Jesuits, a fact that The Heights could have easily obtained if it had spoken with officials of the…

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Boston College President Responds to Allegations About Abusive Priest

BOSTON (MA)
Inside Higher Ed

April 29, 2021

By Greta Anderson

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Boston College president Reverend William Leahy is facing scrutiny from students who believe he did not adequately respond to complaints made more than 20 years ago about “inappropriate behavior” by a priest at the Jesuit institution who ran volunteer programs overseas in which the college’s students participated, The Boston Globe reported.

The Reverend Ted Dziak, the former administrator, left Boston College in 1998 and went on to work at Loyola University New Orleans and Le Moyne College in upstate New York. He was recently accused of raping a former volunteer during a 2004 service trip, Nola.com reported. Several other volunteers — some of them students — said that Dziak was emotionally abusive, according to Nola.com. He was removed from Le Moyne in September, the news site reported.

Boston College students, faculty and staff members who knew of Dziak’s alleged misconduct between 1990 and 1998 compiled complaints made in 1997 and…

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Tennessee legally mandates all to report suspected child abuse, neglect

NASHVILLE (TN)
WHNT-TV, Ch. 19 [Huntsville AL]

April 28, 2021

By Lauren Harksen

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 April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this collaboration, prevention services and supports help protect children and produce thriving families.”

While in many states, specific occupations like doctors and teachers are mandated reporters, in Tennessee, it’s everyone.

3,994,000 people across the country reported the suspicion of child abuse or neglect in 2019.

Jennifer Nichols, the commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services for Tennessee, says that one statistic from the Department of Health and Human Services is why the month of April focuses so heavily on raising awareness.

“It’s written into Tennessee law specifically under Tennessee code annotated 37-1-403 that all Tennesseans, all persons are mandated reporters,” said Nichols. “It’s not of child abuse and neglect,…

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Tackling spiritual abuse in religious communities

NEW YORK (NY)
La Croix International [France]

April 29, 2021

By Joyce Meyer

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Interview with award-winning theologian Doris Reisinger

Doris Reisinger is one of four speakers in a webinar series on spiritual abuse on April 28 and May 18 by the Union of the European Conferences of Major Superiors. Reisinger was the recipient of the 2020 Christine Schenk Award for Outstanding Young Catholic Leadership by FutureChurch for her testimony and writings about spiritual and sexual abuse of women, particularly women religious, by clergy.

She has also been critical of “the structures and culture that keep most women in a position of unquestioning obedience to a superior,” as FutureChurch notes. That culture, she said in her address (under her former name Doris Wagner) at the Voices of Faith event “Overcoming Silence – Women’s Voices in the Abuse Crisis” in November 2018, is what prevented her from speaking out for two years about her own case of being raped by a priest. She had entered…

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The lists of “credibly accused priests” are all over the map

(FL)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

April 21, 2021

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The United States Bishops Are Releasing Lists of Priests Who Are Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse. But There is No Consistency in What Data is Included in These Lists or How They Are Disclosed.

Think back a couple of decades. Remember how survivors and advocates deplored the stunning disparity that characterized how both the accusers and the accused were treated based solely on where the reported abuse happened? A case in Chicago, for instance, was handled very differently from a case across the state line in Milwaukee or across another state line in Gary, Indiana.

These disparities were supposed to end in 2002. That year, gathered in Dallas, all of the United States bishops adopted a first-ever allegedly binding nationwide church abuse policy mandating ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ in this scandal.

But for the most part, consistency just isn’t happening. Each bishop continues to act as he sees fit, despite the…

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Responsibility, Accountability, Transparency: The State of Church Reform

(ITALY)
Catholic Herald [London, England]

April 24, 2021

By Christopher Altieri

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Over the past few years, journalists – including this Vatican watcher – and experts in a host of related or adjacent fields have written ad nauseam about “the state of reform” in the Catholic Church, especially regarding juridical reform, broader legal reform, and general reform of the leadership culture.

The premise has always been the same: that there is a conscious and deliberate reform effort underway at every level of ecclesiastical life and governance, driven by persons appalled at the status quo and spearheaded by reformers who want to get it right.

Events of the past two weeks make it abundantly clear that it is time to challenge that premise.

At very least, it is time to allow that cases before the public suggest things may be otherwise.

Crookston

Last week, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner from the Diocese of Crookston, Mn. Crookston said Pope Francis had asked Hoeppner…

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Tennessee Catholic Bishop Likely to Be Under Vos Estis Investigation

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

April 28, 2021

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The leader of Tennessee’s youngest diocese is likely facing an investigation by Catholic officials from the Vatican due to allegations that the bishop worked to impede investigations into cases of sexual misconduct. While we are glad that these allegations are being investigated, we hope that secular officials will be looking into the situation as well to determine if any criminal charges should be filed.

According to sources, Bishop Richard Stika from the Diocese of Knoxville, TN, is facing a likely Vos Estis investigation over complaints about how he handled allegations of sex abuse levied against a local seminarian. It is extremely concerning to learn that Bishop Stika kept the accused seminarian in formation despite knowing of the multiple complaints against him. This situation is a “no win” one made worse by a powerful prelate’s refusal to crack down on sexual abuse and harassment.

As troubling as the bishop’s…

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New Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse Within the Legion of Christ, SNAP Urges the Vatican to Release All the Files

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

April 28, 2021

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The Legion of Christ, a Catholic religious order that was taken over by the Vatican in 2010, is again facing lawsuits for child sexual abuse. Six new victims filed complaints against the Legionaries this month in a Connecticut Federal Court. These survivors allege that they fell prey to abusers while attending Legion schools in New Hampshire and Rhode Island in the 1990s.

In 2019, The Legion of Christ released a report identifying 33 priests and 71 seminarians who sexually abused minors over the previous eight decades. The Legion tallied 175 victims of abusive clerics but failed to indicate how many survivors there were from the abusive seminarians.

The order’s founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel, died in 2008. He may be the Roman Catholic Church’s most egregious perpetrator, abusing seminarians and even the children he had fathered secretly with at least two women….

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Kentucky priest accused of sex abuse reinstated by Vatican

OWENSBORO (KY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 28, 2021

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A western Kentucky priest accused of sexually abusing two minors has been reinstated by the Vatican but remains banned from entering schools for five years.

The Diocese of Owensboro announced Monday that Joseph Edward Bradley could resume priestly duties after the Vatican overrode a 2019 recommendation from the Owensboro bishop that he be permanently suspended, according to the diocese’s statement.

Bradley served in leadership roles at Owensboro Catholic High School in the 1980s. His priesthood was suspended in the spring of 2019 after the diocese received two reports accusing him of sexual abuse against a minor stemming from his time at the school.

A review board found the allegations credible and they were formally deemed substantiated after an investigation, according to the diocese.

Bradley’s lawyers appealed the suspension to the Vatican, who reinstated him last week, noting in its ruling that Bradley engaged in “imprudent…

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Vatican Reinstates Priestly Faculties for Fr. Joseph E. Bradley

OWENSBORO (KY)
Diocese of Owensboro [Kentucky]

April 26, 2021

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On March 1, 2019, Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley, a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro, was temporarily suspended from public ministry by Bishop William F. Medley following a recommendation by the Diocesan Review Board that an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor had been found credible. A second allegation came forth with both dating from the 1980s when Fr. Bradley was Dean of Students and then Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

The Diocesan Review Board, a 12-member group formed in 2002, as mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, undertook an investigation and on April 25, 2019, this board recommended to Bishop Medley that the allegations be deemed substantiated. Bishop Medley accepted the Diocesan Review Board’s counsel and submitted a report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, recommending that Fr. Bradley’s temporary suspension from public ministry be made…

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German Catholic cardinal abandons medal over church abuse legacy

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

April 28, 2021

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s decision to waive one of Germany’s highest honors is a sign that “church aristocracy” is finally glancing at past harm done, say sexual abuse victims.

Groups for survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy  in the Cologne and Trier dioceses welcomed Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s decision not to receive one of Germany’s top awards for public service — akin to an Anglo-Saxon knighthood.

“It shows that churchly princes also are finally glancing at the people harmed,” said Peter Bringmann-Henselder of a Cologne diocese advisory group, referring to the many children abused in the past by priests.

Herman Schell of a Trier abuse victims group, calling itself Missbits, said Marx’s renunciation showed earnest candor, but irritation lingered over the cardinal’s reticence to explain his role in protecting perpetrators and trivializing abuse during his term as Trier bishop between 2002 and 2008.

Marx, a bishop in…

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Cardinal Marx renounces honor from German president after abuse survivors’ criticism

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

April 27, 2021

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx said Tuesday that he had asked German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier not to bestow the Federal Cross of Merit on him after an outcry among advocates for abuse survivors over the award.

The archbishop of Munich and Freising was scheduled to receive the Bundesverdienstkreuz, Germany’s only federal decoration, at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin April 30.

But Marx said April 27 that he wished to withdraw from the event.

In a letter, the 67-year-old cardinal thanked Steinmeier for the “high honor of the award,” which Deutsche Welle, Germany’s state-funded international broadcaster, described as equal to a knighthood.

“It is my great request to you not to carry out the award. I am convinced that this is the right step with consideration for those who are obviously offended by the award, and especially with consideration for the survivors [of sexual abuse],” Marx said, according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Marx, the…

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Germany’s Cardinal Marx renounces state honour over abuse probes

MUNICH (GERMANY)
dpa international [Berlin, Germany]

April 27, 2021

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One of Germany’s most senior church figures, Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has renounced an Order of Merit award after criticism from abuse victims who said investigations into child abuse were “far from being cleared up.”

Marx had sent a letter to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday requesting that he not receive the award, a spokesman for the archdiocese of Munich and Freising said.

The award was to have been presented in Berlin on Friday.

According to the statement, Marx thanked Steinmeier for the “high honour” of the award, while the head of state would hold onto it “in response to the public criticism.”

On Monday, a victims’ advisory council in the archdiocese of Cologne had appealed to Steinmeier not to make the award for the time being.

According to the advisory board, which represents victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, accusations of an alleged cover-up by Marx were “far…

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Vatican approves strengthening safeguarding studies, research in Rome

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

April 27, 2021

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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The Centre for Child Protection at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University has been transformed into a Vatican-approved academic institute with its own faculty and ability to award advanced academic degrees.

Starting Sept. 1, 2021, the university’s center will become the Institute of Anthropology, offering interdisciplinary studies on human dignity and care and expanding its scope in research, the university said in a press release April 27.

The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education approved the change April 15, allowing the center to broaden its work, develop its own academic faculty and award a licentiate in safeguarding and a doctorate in anthropology, in addition to the current diploma in safeguarding.

The university’s rector, Jesuit Father Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, said, “With this decision, our university reiterates and intensifies its commitment to the work of protecting minors and vulnerable people and supporting safe environments which promote respect for human dignity.”

The new institute will…

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The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) becomes The Institute of Anthropology. Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (IADC)

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Centre for Child Protection, Pontifical Gregorian University [Vatican City]

April 27, 2021

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On 1 September 2021, the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Centre for Child Protection (CCP) will become the Institute of Anthropology. Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (IADC). The Congregation for Catholic Education has approved this transformation which will allow the Centre to expand its scope, to award academic degrees, and to develop its own academic faculty.

The IADC will continue and expand on the CCP’s current contribution to the academic community, focusing specifically on Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care. As its name suggests, the IADC will provide a proactive, positive approach to such sensitive subjects as sexual abuse prevention, intervention, and safeguarding.

Care for victim-survivors of child abuse has been the focus of the CCP since its establishment in 2012 as part of the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Institute of Psychology. Its initial purpose was to educate and provide resources for research in the area of the prevention of child sexual abuse…

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Child protection center in Rome to become Institute of Anthropology

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
La Croix International [France]

April 28, 2021

By Loup Besmond de Senneville

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Vatican approves ramped-up status for center based at the Pontifical Gregorian University

The Vatican has blessed an initiative by the Pontifical Gregorian University to transform its Centre for Child Protection into a new Institute of Anthropology.

The Congregation for Catholic Education approved the change on April 15, giving additional heft to an anti-abuse center that has been based in Rome since 2014.

The Jesuit-run university’s new institute will open next September at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. Its purpose is to facilitate “interdisciplinary studies on human dignity and the care of vulnerable persons”.

The Centre for Child Protection was originally founded in 2012 by the Diocese of Munich and a clinic in Ulm, Germany.

Since its origins it has been headed by the German Jesuit priest and psychotherapist Hans Zollner, who will continue as director of the new institute.The change in center’s status is significant.

“This transformation will…

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April 28, 2021

Attorney General Josh Kaul speaks Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at the state Capitol about a Wisconsin Department of Justice initiative to review clergy abuse cases. In the background is the family of Nate Lindstrom, who took his own life at age 45 last year. Lindstrom accused three priests at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere of sexual abuse. MARK HOFFMAN / MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Flanked by victims of priests, Attorney General Josh Kaul announces probe of clergy sex abuse

MADISON (WI)
Marshfield News Herald [Marshfield WI]

April 27, 2021

By Haley BeMiller and Laura Schulte, USA Today Network WI

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[Photo above: Attorney General Josh Kaul speaks Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at the state Capitol about a Wisconsin Department of Justice initiative to review clergy abuse cases. In the background is the family of Nate Lindstrom, who took his own life at age 45 last year. Lindstrom accused three priests at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere of sexual abuse. MARK HOFFMAN / MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL]

Attorney General Josh Kaul on Tuesday announced an investigation into clergy sexual abuse across Wisconsin, saying the review will help survivors heal and provide greater accountability for perpetrators. 

The probe, which USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin first reported Thursday, will be led by the state Department of Justice and focus on abuse allegations against Catholic clergy and other faith leaders — many of which date back decades and involve religious officials who are now dead. 

Wisconsin is home to five dioceses, including the…

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New Diocese list of abusers includes 16 former local priests

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
The Suffolk Times [Mattituck NY]

April 28, 2021

By Grant Parpan

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A recent bankruptcy court filing by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre sheds new light on the scope of sexual abuse by clergy who served on the North Fork, but critics say they believe an attached list of abusers omits the names of dozens more perpetrators. 

The April 15 filing documents allegations against some former local priests who hadn’t previously been publicly accused of abuse and offers new details about locations where incidents occurred here and elsewhere on the East End.

But attorneys representing victims of clergy sex abuse say the report excludes allegations leveled at prominent figures in the Catholic church on Long Island, including the late Bishop John McGann and Msgr. Alan Placa. 

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, Mass., whose work with clergy sexual abuse victims aided the 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting of the Boston Globe and was depicted in the Oscar-winning film…

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Rockford Diocese responds to SNAP allegations

(IL)
WIFR-TV, Ch. 23 [Rockville IL]

April 27, 2021

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Two Midwest leaders of a national child abuse from clergy support group came to Rockford to protest in front of a Stateline church, telling the local diocese to come clean.

David Clohssey is the SNAP leader in St. Louis and Larry Antonsen is Chicago’s SNAP leader. They demonstrated in front of the Cathedral of Saint Peter while holding a list of priests who they say worked in the diocese and have been credibly accused of child abuse while the public has yet to be informed of those accusations.

“We found five credibly accused priests. Five credibly accused child molesters who are not on the Rockford’s bishop’s list which we think is frankly just appalling. Church officials have been dealing with this crisis for decades. They’ve had plenty of time to get it right. We don’t believe that these admissions are accidental,” Clohessy said.

The Rockford Diocese responded to these allegations,…

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WI Dept. of Justice begins investigation into sex abuse by clergy and faith leaders

MADISON (WI)
WTMJ-TV [Milwaukee WI]

April 27, 2021

By Mary Jo Ola

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[VIDEO]

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has launched an investigation into abuse by clergy and faith leaders.

The DOJ said it made contact with the five Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin and multiple religious orders with priests before Tuesday’s announcement.

“We’re conducting this review to get greater accountability and to promote healing for victims. We’re conducting this review to improve response to abuse and hopefully prevent future cases of abuse,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Kaul’s team will work with five district attorneys in the counties where the Catholic dioceses are located, included District Attorney John Chisholm in Milwaukee County.

The initiative includes two main pieces: requesting and reviewing documents from dioceses and religious orders, as well as asking survivors and anyone with knowledge of abuse or the institution’s response to abuse to contact the DOJ.

“This is a pretty emotional day for me and I think a lot of…

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Kaul launches clergy sexual abuse probe

MADISON (WI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 27, 2021

By Todd Richmond

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The state Department of Justice has launched a sweeping investigation of sexual assault in Catholic churches and orders across Wisconsin, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Tuesday.

Kaul, a Democrat, said during a news conference that he wants to develop a full picture of clergy sexual abuse over the decades. He said the goal is transparency and a full accounting, and that his investigators will refer any new cases to prosecutors.

Officials in at least 22 other states have opened investigations into sexual misconduct within church hierarchies. Clergy sexual abuse survivors and their allies have long demanded that Kaul open a probe.

“I know there are survivors, friends and family members of survivors, supporters of survivors who have waited for years for a fair and independent review of clergy and faith leader abuse in Wisconsin,” Kaul said. “And that’s what we are announcing today.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week…

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Accused former Henderson priest reinstated by Vatican is barred from schools for 5 years

HENDERSON (KY)
Evansville Courier & Press [Evansville IN]

April 27, 2021

By Jon Webb

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A Western Kentucky priest who was reinstated by the Vatican last week after two allegations of sexual abuse against a minor is still barred from entering a school.

In a statement posted to its website Monday, the Diocese of Owensboro announced Joseph Edward “Ed” Bradley, who served as dean of students and later principal of Owensboro Catholic High School in the 1980s, could resume priestly duties after the Vatican overrode a recommendation from Bishop William Medley that Bradley be suspended permanently.

Bradley maintains his innocence. 

The Vatican’s ruling vaguely noted that Bradley engaged in “imprudent behavior … throughout the course of his ministry in education.” It declared he is “forbidden to enter any primary or secondary school for a period of five years.”

For Cal Pfeiffer, a spokesman for the Kentucky branch of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), that raised an important question: “who…

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EXCLUSIVE: Fr. Bradley ‘rejoiced’ after Vatican reinstates him following sexual abuse allegations

OWENSBORO (KY)
WFIE-TV, Ch. 14 [Evansville IN]

April 26, 2021

By Jill Lyman and Evan Gorman

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[VIDEO]

Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley, a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro, has been reinstated by the Vatican.

“I am so happy I can hardly talk,” Father Bradley shared. “I’ve been on cloud nine.”

On March 1, 2019, Fr. Bradley was temporarily suspended from public ministry by Bishop William F. Medley following a recommendation by the Diocesan Review Board that an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor had been found credible.

“Having good friends like this that support me and are praying for me, that’s what has gotten me through it,” the priest added. “It has been very difficult. After two years, it was getting more and more difficult.”

Officials say a second allegation came forth with both dating from the 1980s when Fr. Bradley was Dean of Students and then Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

On April 25, 2019, The Diocesan Review Board recommended to Bishop…

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‘SNAP’ organization calls for Catholic church transparency

OWENSBORO (KY)
WFIE-TV, Ch. 14 [Evansville IN]

April 27, 2021

By Evan Gorman

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SNAP stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

[VIDEO]

We are continuing to follow developments out of the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro.

The Vatican reinstated Father Ed Bradley to his priestly faculties.

Bradley had been permanently suspended following two accusations of sexual misconduct.

Bradley appealed his suspension to the Vatican.

Now Rome has restored Bradley’s faculties as a priest with some restrictions.

We are now hearing from SNAP the ‘Support Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.’

The organization works to support survivors and protect children. It also aims at exposing the truth. SNAP is a calling for more transparency in the Catholic church.

Father Ed Bradley was in leadership roles at Owensboro Catholic High School in the 1980′s when the incidents were alleged to have taken place.

He was suspended from public ministry in 2019 until the priest and his lawyers filed an appeal.

The Vatican, two…

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Owensboro priest responds to reinstatement by Vatican

OWENSBORO (KY)
WEHT-TV [Evansville IN]

April 27, 2021

By mike pickett

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An Owensboro priest at the center of sexual abuse allegations talks about his recent reinstatement.

“I was overwhelmed with the news,” he said, recalling how he reacted to the reinstatement by the Vatican of his duties, which were restricted following two claims of sexual abuse made two years ago from his time working at Owensboro Catholic High School in the 1980s.

“It was the last thing on my bed at night before I fall asleep and it was the first thing on my mind in the morning,” he said.

The Diocese of Owensboro received the allegations in spring of 2019, and a Diocese Review Board found the allegations credible. Fr. Bradley appealed after the temporary suspension was made permanent by the diocese. Owensboro Police investigated the claims, but no charges were filed against him after prosecutors say the claims weren’t supported by evidence.

“I took a polygraph in Louisville from…

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Diocese of Madison statement after Wisconsin Attorney General calls for clergy sexual abuse review

MADISON (WI)
Catholic Herald [Diocese of Madison WI]

April 27, 2021

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From the Diocese of Madison:

On Monday, April 26, representatives of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Wisconsin, as well as Catholic major religious orders, met with the Wisconsin Attorney General via videoconference. The Diocese of Madison will review the Attorney General’s upcoming request as soon as it is received. The Diocese of Madison takes the issue of sexual abuse of minors very seriously and based on its own, ongoing initiative remains vigilantly committed to providing healing to any victims and their families, and to fostering trust based on its diocesan safe environment policies spanning two decades.

Background

The news of the sex abuse crisis in the United States’ Catholic Church made national headlines in 2002 and resulted in all of the bishops and dioceses of the United States setting forth and agreeing upon the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Dallas Charter) (June, 2002) and the Revised…

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Milwaukee archdiocese questions need for attorney general’s review of clergy abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 27, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said on Tuesday that it is concerned that the Wisconsin attorney general’s planned review of reports of clergy and faith leader abuse could “re-victimize” abuse victims through renewed publicity.

“Although we will take a look at the specific details of the Attorney General’s request when it is received, we have concerns about the negative impact this could have on abuse survivors, because the publicity has the potential to re-victimize individuals,” Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff to Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, said April 27.

“There is no evidence that the Church as a whole and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee hasn’t already taken all possible steps in addressing issues surrounding clergy sexual abuse. We also do not understand the legal basis for the inquiry. We also question why only the Catholic Church is being singled out for this type of review when sexual abuse is a societal issue,”…

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Alleged Massachusetts Abuse Victim Requests Outside Judge in Suit, Citing Diocese’s Influence

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

April 27, 2021

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The nine defendants in the lawsuit, which include the diocese as well as Bishop Egan and Archbishop Rozanski, have opposed the request for a special judge.

Springfield, Mass. — Lawyers for an alleged abuse victim in the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts have asked the state’s chief justice to assign a special judge from outside western Massachusetts to the case, citing a potential for undue influence from people associated with the diocese. 

The alleged victim, identified as John Doe, claims he suffered trauma as a result of the diocese’s mishandling of an abuse allegation he brought against the late Christopher Weldon, Bishop of Springfield from 1950 to 1977. 

Doe, a former altar boy, alleges that Bishop Weldon, along with two priests of the Springfield diocese, repeatedly abused him in the 1960s, and that he first remembered his abuse in 2013. Bishop Weldon died in 1982. 

Doe alleges in a Jan….

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‘Houses of horror’: Child sex abuse in Indonesia’s schools

MEDAN (INDONESIA)
Al Jazeera

April 28, 2021

By Aisyah Llewellyn and Tonggo Simangunsong

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Latest incident involving a Medan school, has reignited calls to improve safeguards for children against sexual abuse by religious leaders.

A child molestation incident in Medan, North Sumatra has highlighted the need for schools and local authorities in Indonesia to better protect their students, particularly when the perpetrators are religious leaders, experts have said.

At a school in Medan, six female students came forward last month to allege that the institution’s male principal, who is also a Protestant priest, had sexually assaulted them.

Mira*, the mother of one of the alleged victims, told Al Jazeera that her 13-year-old daughter had been taken to a local motel on at least four occasions from the age of 11, where she was sexually assaulted.

“My daughter said that the principal told other staff that he was taking her to karate practice outside the school grounds,” Mira said. “When they got to the hotel,…

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Panel: Racism compounds the clergy sex abuse crisis for Black Catholics

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

April 28, 2021

By Madeleine Davison

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As a kid, Fr. Bryan Massingale was an altar server at his predominantly-Black Catholic school. When he served at Masses with one priest in particular, nuns who worked at the school kept a close watch on Massingale and the other boys, never leaving them unattended.

Years later, Massingale saw that priest’s name on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. It dawned on him that the sisters were trying their best to protect him and other children.

“If not for the efforts of those sisters, I could have been one of that man’s victims,” said Massingale, a professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, in a panel on clergy sexual abuse in Black Catholic communities.

Systemic racism in the Catholic Church compounds the impact of the sexual abuse crisis on Black Catholics and makes it more difficult for Black survivors to speak up…

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Reform rabbinic giant disciplined for inappropriate relationships now accused of ‘sexually predatory behavior’

NEW YORK (NY)
Forward [New York NY]

April 27, 2021

By Hannah Dreyfus

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A senior leader of the Reform movement whose rabbinic privileges were briefly suspended two decades ago for “personal relationships” that violated ethical codes in fact sexually harassed or assaulted at least three women, including one who was a minor when the misconduct began, an independent investigation by Manhattan’s Central Synagogue has found.

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, who was senior rabbi at Central from 1972 to 1985, resigned his position as president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2000 after the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis ruled that his relationships had broken its rules. But neither CCAR or HUC provided details of the misconduct at the time, leaving the impression that Zimmerman had simply had consensual affairs, and he went on to serve as vice president of the Birthright Israel program and rabbi of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons.

Now, lawyers hired by Central have found credible…

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Catholic School Teacher and Track Coach Accused of Sexually Abusing Boy She Drove Home from Meet

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
People Magazine [New York NY]

April 27, 2021

By Steve Helling

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Corissa McCalister, 21, has been charged with two counts of sexual battery

An Ohio teacher and coach has been arrested after authorities allege she sexually abused a 15-year-old student she was driving home from a track meet.

Corissa McCalister, 21, has been charged with two counts of sexual battery, PEOPLE confirms.

According to WTOV-TV, McCalister was a Spanish teacher at Central Catholic High School in Steubenville, Ohio. She also coached both cross country and track. It was her first year of teaching.

Authorities say that abuse occurred on March 30, when McCalister drove the student home from a track meet at a rival school. Sheriff Joe Myers told WTRF that McCalister parked her car at the Harrison County Fair ground in Cadiz, Ohio. She and the student allegedly had sexual intercourse in her parked car.

Charging documents obtained by WTRF state the student’s…

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April 27, 2021

Stika poses with Cardinal Justin Rigali on the cover of his 2017 Christmas card. Rigali, who worked with Stika in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, resides in Stika’s Knoxville home.

Stika facing likely ‘Vos estis’ Vatican investigation

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

April 23, 2021

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[Photo above: Stika poses with Cardinal Justin Rigali on the cover of his 2017 Christmas card. Rigali, who worked with Stika in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, resides in Stika’s Knoxville home.]

The Vatican has received multiple allegations of administrative misconduct against Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, and is expected to authorize an investigation under the terms of Vos estis lux mundiThe Pillar has learned.

Complaints filed against the bishop allege that Stika impeded or restricted investigations into accusations of serial sexual misconduct by a seminarian who was living in his home, according to multiple sources in both the United States and Rome.

But Stika told The Pillar Thursday that he has acted properly, and is satisfied with the diocese’s handling of a series of misconduct reports against the seminarian. 

In February, the seminarian was dismissed from seminary studies at an institution outside the diocese, but continues to be identified as a seminarian by…

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New Witnesses Allege Kanakuk Kamps Tried to Cover Up Child Sex Abuse

BRANSON (MO)
The Dispatch [blog]

April 27, 2021

By Nancy French

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Last month, my husband David French and I published a report describing how one of the largest Christian camps in the world reacted to repeated red flag warnings about the inappropriate behavior of a counselor in ways that we described as troubling and inadequate. Pete Newman, who had been a Kanakuk Kamps director, was convicted in 2010 on seven counts of sexually abusing young boys and is now serving two consecutive life sentences plus 30 years. 

However, no camp leadership has resigned, been fired, or been held accountable for their inaction towards a decade of Newman’s nudity and parental complaints, even though they promoted Newman and made him the focal point of promotional materials.

Though this is one of the worst Christian sex abuse scandals in American history, the story had never garnered much attention. Based on civil suits—Kanakuk President and COO Doug Goodwin couldn’t even guess how many had been filed—we…

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The Republican file photo (custom credit) The Most Rev. Christopher J. Weldon at his installation as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in March 1950.

Lawyers in Bishop Christopher Weldon sex abuse, cover-up lawsuit request special judge

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

April 26, 2021

By Stephanie Barry

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Lawyers for a plaintiff in a clergy abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield are asking the state Trial Court to assign a special judge to take ownership of the case.

The motion by the plaintiff — a Chicopee man who said he was raped at age 9 by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon and two other priests in the 1960s — is among a small flurry of recent filings in the case.

The lawsuit was filed in Hampden Superior Court in February using a John Doe pseudonym to protect the victim’s privacy. Beyond the abuse allegations, the complaint alleges that present-day diocesan officials had no appetite to address his allegations because Weldon was a revered prelate, and attempted a cover-up.

Diocesan officials have denied hindering the investigation of the man’s allegations against Weldon. Among the defendants are former…

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New pedophile priests are exposed: Five are not on Rockford’s ‘accused’ list

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

April 27, 2021

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New pedophile priests are exposed

Five are not on Rockford’s ‘accused’ list

One was convicted but is still in a parish

Another reportedly admitted child sex crime

And church officials call 2 ‘credibly accused’

Victims urge cooperation with IL AG probe

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of five proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive clerics who were in the Rockford diocese but are NOT on the official Rockford diocese ‘accused’ list.

They will also disclose and discuss another predator priest who was just ‘outed’ by the diocese last month.

And they will blast local Catholic officials for their “continued secrecy and deceit.”

Finally, they will urge anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” clergy sex crimes to call the Illinois Attorney General who is conducting a statewide investigation into such crimes and cover ups in the Catholic church.

WHEN

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Trial for Cincinnati Catholic priest accused of rape rescheduled for October

CINCINNATI (OH)
Journal-News [Hamilton OH]

April 26, 2021

By Craig Cheatham

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The trial for Geoff Drew, the Cincinnati Catholic priest accused of raping an altar boy decades ago, has been rescheduled for October.

The priest’s trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.

Drew, 59, is charged with 9 counts of rape. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Cincinnati police arrested Drew 21 months ago. He’s being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on $5 million cash bond.

Drew worked in Beavercreek, Dayton and Liberty Twp. during his career. He was pastor at St. Maximilian Kolbe Liberty Twp. from 2009 to 2018 before he was transferred to St. Ignatius of Loyola in Cincinnati, from which he was suspended in July by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

“It is our expectation there will not be a trial on Monday and a new date will be picked. However, a new date has not yet been selected. I can’t speak to whether or not…

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Lawyers for man abused by late bishop want judge from outside area, citing diocese’s legal influence

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

April 27, 2021

By Larry Parnass

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Flagging “novel questions of law” that will require at least a month-long trial, lawyers for a Chicopee man abused by a former Catholic bishop want the state’s chief justice to assign the case to a single judge, one from outside western Massachusetts to avoid undue influence.

In a recent filing in Hampden Superior Court, the lawyers say the man, identified in court documents as John Doe, faces the risk of being further traumatized by the legal process as he seeks to prove not only his sexual abuse by the late Christopher J. Weldon in the early 1960s, but that employees of the Springfield diocese, including former Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, blocked his attempts to bring the molestation to light.

Further, the plaintiff’s legal team says that due to the complex story it seeks to present, a judge specially chosen to preside will be able to master its details,…

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Complaints About Boston College Priest Sent To Leahy And Jesuit Provincial Years Prior To Rape Allegation

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

April 26, 2021

By Julia Kiersznowski, Victor Stefanescu, Amy Palmer and Megan Kelly

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Members of the Boston College community sent complaints beginning in the 1997-98 academic year to University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., accusing Rev. Ted Dziak, S.J., a Jesuit at BC from 1990 to 1998, of inappropriate conduct with students. 

Dziak—who went on to work at Jesuit schools in Jamaica, New Orleans, and New York—was accused last week of raping a postgraduate volunteer in Belize in 2004, according to nola.com.

In one instance, members of the chaplaincy—which is now Campus Ministry—submitted a letter to Leahy during the 1997-98 academic year containing student complaints about Dziak’s troublesome behavior.

In the spring of 1998, Dziak announced he would be leaving the University for a position at a school in Jamaica. 

Matt Stautberg, BC ’99, said he met with Leahy in the summer of 1998, while Dziak was on his way out of BC, to discuss the Ignacio Volunteers program, which Dziak had been  View Cache

Lawsuits make new sex abuse claims against Legion of Christ

HARTFORD (CT)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 26, 2021

By Dave Collins

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The Legion of Christ, a Roman Catholic order disgraced by sexual abuse committed by its founder and other clergy, is facing new allegations of molestation of children in lawsuits filed this month in Connecticut, where it is based.

Five men and a woman sued the order in federal court on April 14 and 15, saying they were victims of sexual crimes when they attended schools run by the Legion of Christ in New Hampshire and Rhode Island in the 1990s when they were children.

A spokesperson for the order said Monday that it was reviewing the complaints.

“The Legionaries of Christ respect everyone who comes forth with these types of allegations and are committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for all children and all people who interact with its members and are involved in its ministries,” spokesperson Gail Gore said.

The five men allege they were fondled and…

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La Iglesia española admite por primera vez 220 casos de abusos a menores conocidos en los últimos 20 años

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País [Madrid, Spain]

April 23, 2021

By Iñigo Domínguez and Julio Núñez

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Los obispos revelan las denuncias llegadas al Vaticano de España desde 2001, que elevan la contabilidad de EL PAÍS al menos hasta 364 clérigos acusados y 872 víctimas

Los obispos españoles han revelado por primera vez una cifra de las denuncias de casos de pederastia en la Iglesia que conocen: afectan a 220 sacerdotes en los últimos 20 años, desde que el Vaticano ordenó en 2001 centralizar en la Congregación de Doctrina de la Fe, su organismo disciplinario, todas las que llegaban a las diócesis. Los datos, de hecho, los solicitó hace varias semanas la jerarquía eclesiástica a Roma. La Conferencia Episcopal Española (CEE) sigue sin aportar datos internos ni de las propias diócesis. Tampoco de las denuncias llegadas a las oficinas de atención a las víctimas que abrió cada obispado hace un año por orden del Papa. “Hoy por hoy, la Conferencia Episcopal no tiene intención de abrir una…

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Spain: Catholic leaders put numbers to sex abuse claims

MADRID (SPAIN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 23, 2021

By Arritz Parra

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In a first public attempt to put numbers to instances of child sex abuse by the country’s Catholic clergy, Spain’s Episcopal Conference revealed Friday that 220 cases were officially reported to the Vatican over the past two decades.

The conference, which is the top governing body of Spain’s Catholic Church, said Spanish bishops submitted 76 allegations against regular priests and 144 against members of specific religious orders to the Vatican’s office that handles sex abuse cases since 2001.

The figures didn’t include allegations against non-clergy members of the church or staff working in the numerous schools run by religious orders. And the number didn’t include the number of allegations the bishops actually received, just the number of cases that they determined were worth reporting to the Vatican, as required by a 2001 Holy See rule.

Officials said that 151 of the 220 cases have already been closed and 69 of…

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What Wisconsin’s AG Should Know Before Investigating Catholic Sexual Abuse

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

April 26, 2021

By Bill Donohue

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Catholic League President Bill Donohue sent this letter to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on his planned investigation of priestly sexual abuse:

Dear Attorney General Kaul:

News stories say you are about to launch an investigation into sexual abuse in the five dioceses of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin. Your office apparently did not respond when asked if others would be probed.

As president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, I am well aware of this problem in the Catholic Church. I am also a sociologist who has authored a book on this subject, to be published later this year. I am not sure how much you know about this issue, but you should know that almost all the molesting priests (who comprised a very small portion of the clergy) are either dead or no longer in ministry.

In the course of my research, I found that there is…

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Op-Ed: Victim urges Pa. Senate to enact statute of limitations reform

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times-News [Erie PA]

April 26, 2021

By Geof Lambert

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Have you ever been sexually abused? Were you sexually abused as a child? I realize that those are fairly direct and personal questions.

For me the answers to those questions are now, “yes,” and “yes.”

If you would have asked me those questions not much more than a few years ago, I probably would have answered “no” and “no.”

Times change, people change.

While my father and mother were alive, I told myself there is no need to publicly tell anybody about the abuse I suffered. My father was a friend of my abuser. They both belonged to the same Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Chambersburg. They both shared an affinity for sailing, especially in the Caribbean. They were both active members of the same church, the Presbyterian Church of the Falling Spring, which was formed by the founder of Chambersburg, Benjamin Chambers. The abuser and my father were…

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Ottawa Catholic board launching review after longtime teacher charged with sex offences

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

April 26, 2021

By Josh Pringle

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The Ottawa Catholic School Board is launching a review of how it handled previous allegations brought forward to school administrators concerning a longtime teacher at St. Matthew High School in Orleans.

Last Tuesday, Ottawa police charged Rick Watkins, 57, of Ottawa with three counts of sexual assault, three counts of sexual interference and three counts of sexual exploitation of a young person. Watkins is also known as Rick Despatie.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

“We heard from some former students and parents that allegations had been brought forward to the previous school administration, yet they did not act on these concerns,” said Director of Education Thomas D’Amico in a letter to parents, guardians and students of the school.

“Our Human Resources department staff has begun a review to determine if we failed to address these concerns. The third-party College of Teachers will also look at all…

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Links: Peter Steinfels’ clarification; flippable Senate seats; Cupich on antisemitism

(PA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 27, 2021

By Michael Sean Winters

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I received a note from Peter Steinfels on Friday, regarding my column that day about the effort by some at St. Sabina Parish in Chicago to obstruct an investigation into charges of sexual abuse of a minor made against their longtime pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger. In that column, I referred to Steinfels’ magisterial takedown of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. Steinfels asked me to publish this clarification, which I most happily do:

Despite many years in the media, I find it always a bit startling to come across my name in someone else’s writing. Of course it is pleasing if that occurs in so excellent a place as the “Distinctly Catholic” column by Michael Sean Winters. In writing about the sex abuse investigation roiling St. Sabina’s parish in Chicago (April 23), Winters mentioned my “exhaustive examination” of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and my finding that the report tried to…

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Archdiocese of Santa Fe to sell properties for settlements

SANTA FE (NM)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 26, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is expected to sell off hundreds of properties by this summer in order to fund settlements of sex abuse lawsuits.

The archdiocese, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, plans to part with more than 700 properties, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Sunday.

Nearly 400 claims of abuse, some of which allegedly occurred decades ago, have been filed.

According to court records, the archdiocese in the last several months has requested a bankruptcy judge grant a request to sell properties in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Sandia Park and Edgewood. Those sales alone reaped $7.5 million. Most of it stemmed from selling off a large part of the Carmelite Monastery Complex in Santa Fe.

The documents also indicate church officials have hired an auctioneer firm out of Florida to oversee the sale of 732 properties by July 21. A lot of the properties are…

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April 26, 2021

Catholic Prelates in Spain Report 220 Allegations, SNAP Calls for Secular Investigation

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

April 26, 2021

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Catholic Church officials in Spain have publicly admitted to 220 cases of abuse over the past two decades. We believe that these cherry-picked numbers barely scratch the surface of abuse in Spain. We are confident that, if the Spanish federal government would mandate a no holds barred investigation into abuse – similar to inquiries that have taken place in Australia or New Zealand – the numbers provided by the Spanish Church would be shown to be only the tip of the iceberg.

The abuse rate in countries that have undertaken secular investigations ranges from 8% to 10% and each abuser averages between 10 and 20 victims. That means that, of the 31,000 clerics that the Spanish bishops say worked in their country since 2001, it is more likely that about 3,100 clerics have abused somewhere between 31,000 and 62,000 children. As shocking as those numbers seem,…

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Vatican reinstates Owensboro priest after sexual abuse allegations

OWENSBORO (KY)
WFIE-TV, Ch. 14 [Evansville IN]

April 26, 2021

By Jill Lyman

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Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley, a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro, has been reinstated by the Vatican.

On March 1, 2019, Fr. Bradley was temporarily suspended from public ministry by Bishop William F. Medley following a recommendation by the Diocesan Review Board that an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor had been found credible.

Officials say a second allegation came forth with both dating from the 1980s when Fr. Bradley was Dean of Students and then Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

On April 25, 2019, The Diocesan Review Board recommended to Bishop Medley that the allegations be deemed substantiated.

Bishop Medley accepted the Diocesan Review Board’s counsel and submitted a report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, recommending that Fr. Bradley’s temporary suspension from public ministry be made permanent.

Fr. Bradley, with his canonical counsel, filed an appeal of this decision…

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James Serritella, who defended Cardinal Bernardin against abuse allegation and helped craft policies to protect children, dies

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

April 26, 2021

By Karen Ann Cullotta

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When Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was falsely accused of sexual abuse in 1993, Chicago attorney James A. Serritella, led the successful defense of the popular archbishop

More than a decade earlier, Serritella was on the legal team that garnered a victory for the Roman Catholic Church in a U.S. Supreme Court case,involving whether teachers in schools run by a church who teach both religious and secular subjects are within the jurisdiction granted by the National Labor Relations Act.

Serritella, who was in his 50th year as principal outside counsel for the Archdiocese of Chicago and was known as the draftsman of modern-day nationwide policies to combat child sex abuse, died of complications from heart disease on April 23. He was 78.

“Jim worked with four cardinals over the years, helping navigate the archdiocese through many changes and challenges,” Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, said in a Monday statement.

“Working…

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Eight Abusive Clerics Assigned to One Catholic Church in New Mexico, Now the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Wants the Parish’s Help to Settle Victim Claims

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

April 26, 2021

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Eight of the ‘credibly accused’ priests or other religious listed on the website of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe worked at St. Therese in Albuquerque. Now, this poor parish, devastated by the effects of these unconscionable assignments over which it had no control, is being asked to contribute to the Archdiocese’s universal settlement in its Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization. We hope that the faithful who attend this church begin to speak up and ask questions about what the Archdiocese has done to prevent this from happening again.

While this parish and so many others grapple with the effects of child sex abuse within their faith community, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is focused on the financials. We believe that victims have long held the true liability of the horrific crimes done to them, the accountability and responsibility must come from the institution and…

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Conference: A Wounded Church

OTTAWA (CANADA)
St. Paul University [Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]

April 26, 2021

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April 28 – May 1, 2021

International Conference

Online 

“For more than thirty years, the Catholic Church has been going through a crisis that has caused deep wounds and painfully torn the fabric of the Church. The sexual abuse of thousands of children in the heart of the Church is an unbearable suffering and an immense scandal. The Centre for Safeguarding Minors and Vulnerable Persons at Saint Paul University in Ottawa is organizing a three-day conference in which international witnesses and experts who have lived through this crisis will share their experiences and findings. This is a unique opportunity offered to listen, understand and explore new paths of reconstruction and hope.”

Fee: Regular 50$ / Students 10$

Wednesday April 28 2:30pm – 4pm (EST)

Massimo Faglioli: Did the Church protect abusers?

Dr. Massimo Faggioli is full professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University (Philadelphia). His books and articles have been…

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Keith Rennar Brennan, speaks about the abuse he endured at St. Paul The Apostle Roman Catholic Church, in Jersey City, and what he has done to try to help other survivors. Monday, April 19, 2021 Kevin R. WexlerKevin R. Wexler, NorthJersey.com

‘You think you’re the only one’: NJ abuse survivor featured in Discovery+ documentary

JERSEY CITY (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

April 26, 2021

By Deena Yellin

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[Photo above: Keith Rennar Brennan speaks about the abuse he endured at St. Paul The Apostle Roman Catholic Church, in Jersey City, and what he has done to try to help other survivors. Monday, April 19, 2021. — Kevin R. Wexler, NorthJersey.com]

At first, Keith Rennar Brennan felt flattered by the attention lavished on him by the director of his church choral group. 

“After only a few weeks of being in the group, he started calling me every night and we’d meet every week,” Brennan said of the music director at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Jersey City, where he grew up. 

But starting at age 14, the yearlong friendship evolved into sexual abuse. It took Brennan a year to summon the courage to report the situation to a church deacon. Instead of offering help, the cleric plied him with drugs and alcohol and also assaulted him, said Brennan, who later…

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Abuse lawsuit filed against diocese

TRENTON (NJ)
Diocese of Trenton NJ

April 12, 2021

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A notice from the Diocese of Trenton

A civil lawsuit has been filed against the Diocese of Trenton alleging the sexual abuse of a minor in 1989-90 by Rev. Joseph Farrell, currently pastor of St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in New Egypt. The abuse was alleged to have taken place during Father Farrell’s ministry in Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish in Atlantic Highlands. A report was filed immediately by the Diocese with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Diocese has pledged its full cooperation to law enforcement.  Father Farrell has been placed on leave by the Diocese and an investigation into the credibility of the allegation will be pursued.

Announcements were made at both Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish and St. Isidore the Farmer Parish at weekend Masses April 10 and 11. The Diocese requests prayers for all involved in this painful and difficult matter and,…

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N.J. Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a boy 30 years ago

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS (NJ)
nj.com [New Jersey]

April 24, 2021

By Rebecca Panico

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A Catholic priest in Atlantic Highlands stands accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed by a man who claims the priest repeatedly molested him decades ago when he was 13 or 14 years old.

Rev. Joseph Farrell, now a pastor at St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in New Egypt, was put on leave by the Diocese of Trenton after the 44-year-old man filed suit. NJ Advance Media is not disclosing the plaintiff’s name since his lawsuit involves claims of sexual abuse.

“A report was filed immediately by the Diocese with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Diocese has pledged its full cooperation to law enforcement,” the Diocese of Trenton said in a statement.

The lawsuit says Farrell began to groom him for abuse while he was a student at the now-closed St. Agnes Catholic School in Atlantic Highlands around 1989 or…

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Protesters urge Diocese of Rockville Centre to release names of 40 prominent clergymen accused of sexual abuse

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
News 12 Long Island [Woodbury NY]

April 25, 2021

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[VIDEO]

Protesters formed outside St. Agnes Cathedral Sunday to demand the Diocese of Rockville Centre to release the names of clergymen accused of sexually abusing children, teens, and vulnerable adults.

After the diocese filed for bankruptcy to pay damages to abuse survivors, it named more than 100 priests and deacons that have been accused of sexual abuse in accordance with the court’s ruling.

However, victims and their advocates say the list fails to include more than 40 prominent clergymen.

Harold Siering, of Massapequa Park, says he was abused hundreds of times by a clergy member on Long Island, and he wants victims to file lawsuits against the diocese about the alleged abuse before a court deadline of Aug. 14.

“We continue to protest because I want to let the whole world know that there are survivors out there that can help other survivors. We have a date coming up of Aug. 14 this year…

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WI Attorney General to investigate Clergy child assault

MADISON (WI)
WAOW-TV, Ch. 9 [Wausau WI]

April 25, 2021

By Brittany Slaughter

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The Wisconsin Attorney General is launching an investigation into Clergy abuse in Catholic Churches.

Last January the Diocese of Lacrosse released a list of 25 Clergy that were allegedly accused of child sexual abuse. Now, Attorney General Kaul is stepping in to find out just how many Clergy have assaulted children in the past.

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), released a statement saying they are excited to hear of Kaul’s plans. In their release they said they are hoping for an in depth investigation that includes warrants, subpoenas, and a confidential hotline for victims.

AG Kaul is expected to make an official announcement tomorrow but the Diocese of La Crosse released a statement saying:

“The Diocese of Lacrosse is awaiting the details concerning the Attorney General’s inquiry so we might make an informed response. We will continue to pray for abuse survivors, assists in the healing process,…

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Rev. Lawrence Sullivan, Pastor Of Christ The King Parish, Asked To Step Aside Over Decades-Old Sex Assault Allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
WBBM-TV - CBS 2 [Chicago IL]

April 21, 2021

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The pastor of Christ the King Parish in Beverly has been asked to step aside amid allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor decades ago.

Blaise Cardinal Cupich issued a letter to members of the Christ the King Parish, 9235 S. Hamilton Ave., and its school about the Rev. Lawrence Sullivan. Cupich wrote that the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review learned of a report that Sullivan sexually assaulted a minor 36 years ago when he was 18.

Cupich has asked Sullivan to step aside while the allegation is investigated, emphasizing that the allegation has not been proven true or false and guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

The Rev. James Mazydlo, pastor of St. Walter Parish, will serve as the temporary administrator for Christ the King.

The allegation against Sullivan was also reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the…

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Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Father Lawrence Sullivan

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

April 21, 2021

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Dear members of the Christ the King Parish and School communities,

I write to share some difficult news about your pastor, Father Lawrence Sullivan. The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review learned this week of a report alleging that Father Sullivan sexually assaulted a minor thirty-six years ago when he was eighteen years old. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Sullivan to step aside from ministry while this allegation is investigated. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Father Sullivan has agreed to cooperate fully with my request and will live away from the parish. Father James Mezydlo will serve as the temporary administrator of Christ the King Parish and will attend to the needs of the parish and school community. Father Mezydlo, the Pastor of St. Walter…

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Christ the King parish priest asked to step aside in light of sexual assault allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

April 21, 2021

By Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown

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The pastor at Christ the King parish on Chicago’s Southwest Side was asked to step aside following a report alleging he sexually assaulted a minor 36 years ago when he was 18, according to a letter Wednesday from Cardinal Blase Cupich.

In the letter to parish families, Cupich said that the Rev. Larry Sullivan will live away from the parish while the allegation is investigated and that the Rev. James Mezydlo, pastor of St. Walter Church, will take over Sullivan’s duties at the parish and school.

Sullivan, in a letter emailed to Christ the King parishioners Monday, said he became aware of an accusation against him that had been posted on social media.

He wrote the incident occurred in 1984 and while he was at a fast-food restaurant “I made unwelcome verbal comments to a female employee that upset her to the extent that her parents and the police were…

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Letter to Parishioners from Fr. Larry Sullivan

CHICAGO (IL)
Christ the King Parish [Chicago IL]

April 19, 2021

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Dear Parishioners,

I am aware of an accusation against me that has been posted on social media regarding an
incident that occurred in 1984 when I was 18 years old and had just completed high school. I
do recall the night described: I was at a fast-food restaurant and I made unwelcome verbal
comments to a female employee that upset her to the extent that her parents and the police
were contacted. There was no physical interaction between me and the young woman. I was
in the restaurant and spoke to the police, and I left the restaurant without any further police
action.

I was then, and am now, ashamed and deeply sorry that my words caused pain and hardship
to her.

I want to be clear that these allegations were brought to my attention after having been
presented on social media and I have not been formally advised that any complaint has been
made to the Archdiocese. Nevertheless, I have reported…

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Chicago priest steps aside after Tik Tok allegation

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

April 24, 2021

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A Chicago pastor has stepped away from his parish this week after sexual assault allegations were made against him from 1984.

Fr. Larry Sullivan, pastor at Christ the King Church, has been accused of attacking and attempting to sexually assault a woman right before he entered seminary.

The allegations were raised in a Tik Tok video, in which a woman says that she was working at a restaurant in 1984, when Sullivan and another man followed her into an alley, ABC 7 reported.

“They attacked me and their intent was to sexually assault me. I fought them off, the police were called, my parents came [and] we found out that one of them was leaving for seminary the next day to become a Catholic priest,” the woman said.

Sullivan responded to the allegation in a letter to his parishioners.

“I am aware of an accusation against me that has been posted…

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Pastor at Christ the King parish steps aside while archdiocese investigates sexual assault allegation from 1984

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

April 21, 2021

By Sam Kelly

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The woman recently made the allegations in a TikTok video, saying the Rev. Larry Sullivan — then an 18-year-old seminary student —attacked her in an alley outside where she worked. She said she was 17.

The pastor at Christ the King parish in Beverly is stepping aside while the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago investigates allegations that he assaulted a restaurant worker about 37 years ago, on the night before he was to leave for the seminary.

The woman recently made the allegations in a TikTok video, saying the Rev. Larry Sullivan and another person followed her into an alley while she took out the garbage near closing time. She said she was 17.

“They attacked me and their intent was to sexually assault me. I fought them off, the police were called, my parents came [and] we found out that one of them was leaving for seminary…

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Church analyst: The bishops are uneasy with Biden, but he could be good news

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 23, 2021

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The majority of U.S. bishops in a recent survey were at best “uneasy” with the second Catholic president in U.S. history, said Catholic analyst Francis Maier, yet Joe Biden’s presidency could in an unexpected way be good news for the Catholic Church.

Maier, a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), spoke at the John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture at Villanova University on April 23.

“Over the past six months,” he said, “I’ve done confidential interviews with 29 bishops about the future of the Church for a project I’m pursuing through Notre Dame’s Constitutional Studies program. Twenty-eight of those men were American. These are mainstream guys. No cranks and no outliers. They come from very different backgrounds. They serve in a wide variety of pastoral conditions, urban and rural. And they lead dioceses in every region of the country, in 20 different states.” 

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April 25, 2021

The tower of Mary, Mother of Priests Catholic Church rises along N.M. 4 in Jemez Springs. Matt Dahlseid / The New Mexican

In New Mexico, shadows of a former haven for troubled priests

JEMEZ SPRINGS (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

April 25, 2021

By Rick Ruggles

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[Photo above: The tower of Mary, Mother of Priests Catholic Church rises along N.M. 4 in Jemez Springs. Matt Dahlseid / The New Mexican. See also the front page of the newspaper with this article.]

What remains of the Servants of the Paraclete here is a wisp of the Catholic order that thrived in this mountain town a few decades ago.

The ministry that drew hundreds of priests to Jemez Springs for nearly 50 years, treating them for problems ranging from alcoholism to pedophilia, shows hints of its old self. But its history is inescapable as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe continues to raise money to settle lawsuits filed by dozens of people who say they were sexually abused by priests.

Opened in 1947, the Paracletes’ properties appear to be mostly empty. There may be as few as two priests and one brother there. One building north of town…

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When sin runs deep: One Puyallup church, two priests, one awful legacy of child abuse

SEATTLE (WA)
News Tribune [Tacoma WA]

April 24, 2021

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Twice in the past two years, a Catholic parish in Pierce County has found itself on a list of sin, scandal and modest compensation for great pain. It’s a list that no church wants to show up on.

Credible allegations of sexual abuse against two former priests led to financial settlements between abuse survivors and the Archdiocese of Seattle. The two served at All Saints Parish in Puyallup within a decade of each other. Both were accused of violating their sacred trust while assigned to the parish on 3rd Street Southwest.

And both men, now dead, won’t see the smidgen of accountability that’s being extracted a half century later.

The latest settlement involves William O’Brien, who began his priesthood in Seattle in 1925 and finished it in Puyallup 45 years later. His longest assignment was at All Saints from 1949 until he died in 1970. According to O’Brien’s unidentified accuser…

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Pope ordains 9 priests, saying: Stay humble, compassionate

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 25, 2021

By Frances D'Emilio

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Pope Francis on Sunday gave the Catholic church nine new priests, encouraging them in an ordination ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica to be humble and compassionate and to stay close to the rank-and-file faithful, whose trust in clergy has been sorely tested by decades of sex abuse scandals.

Professing obedience to the pontiff during the Mass on Sunday were six men from Italy and one each from Romania, Colombia and Brazil. The men removed their masks, part of COVID-19 safety protocols, when they knelt before Francis and he lay his hands on their head as part of the ordination ritual. At another point of the ceremony, the nine lay prostrated on a carpet in front of the basilica’s central altar in a sign of obedience, humility and giving of oneself.

Shortages of locally ordained seminarians have in recent decades seen priests be transferred to predominantly Catholic countries like Italy from…

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German president urged to withhold medal for Catholic bishop

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

April 24, 2021

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Sex abuse victims have urged the German president not to award an Order of Merit — equal to a knighthood — to Munich’s bishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

Catholic victims of sex abuse urged German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Saturday not to give one of the country’s top honors to Cardinal Reinhard Marx. 

The bishop of Munich served as chair of Germany’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference until 2020. Although outspoken for victims in recent years, Marx also stands accused of concealing cases, including a priest’s misuse of a woman employee and forcing her to abort a pregnancy in 1989.

He is now expected to receive Germany’s top Order of Merit with Star — what in Anglo-Saxon countries would be a knighthood — from Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Victims’ representative threatens to give back his own medal

A group of sex abuse victims say that honoring Marx in this way would render their efforts to shed light on church cover-ups “valueless” and…

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For First Time, Diocese Releases List of ‘Credibly Accused’ Clergy

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
East Hampton Star [East Hampton NY]

April 23, 2021

By Carissa Katz

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As part of its bankruptcy court filings, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, which oversees parishes across Long Island, has released a list of over 100 clergy accused of sexual abuse while serving in the diocese, including some who had not previously been identified. Eleven of the clergy on the list served on the South Fork from the late-1950s through as recently as 2000.

The list names priests who served at Most Holy Trinity in East Hampton, St. Andrew in Sag Harbor, St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in Bridgehampton, and the Villa Maria convent in Water Mill.

All 101 of them are men against whom a diocesan review board has determined that the allegations of abuse were credible, those “against whom an allegation of abuse was made” through an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program,…

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Attorneys: Prominent figures left out of Catholic diocese list on abuse allegations

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Newsday [Melville NY]

April 24, 2021

By Bart Jones

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The late Bishop John McGann and Msgr. Alan Placa had been prominent figures in the Catholic Church on Long Island, which is grappling with a still-unraveling sexual abuse scandal.

But neither is on a list of 101 clergy members accused of sexual abuse of minors that the diocese recently released, even though related lawsuits have been filed against both, according to attorneys for alleged abuse victims. The attorneys called the omission of the two, who held powerful posts in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, an example of what they claim is a continuing cover-up of wrongdoing in the church.

“Clearly, the Diocese of Rockville Centre should have listed Bishop McGann as being accused of sexual abuse on multiple occasions if it really cared about safety, accountability, healing and transparency,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based lawyer who has filed three civil complaints on behalf of alleged sexual abuse victims of McGann.

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Parishes enlisted to help pay clergy abuse victims

SANTA FE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

April 24, 2021

By Colleen Heild

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St. Therese Catholic Parish in Albuquerque’s North Valley was once the largest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, with a holy shrine and tiled-roof church considered one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in New Mexico.

These days, the parish on North Fourth is one of the smallest and struggles to make ends meet. It is behind on its property insurance and in debt to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, owing more than a year’s worth of Sunday collection plate assessments, according to its pastor.

Its usual fundraising efforts crippled by the COVID-19 virus, the parish has taken to holding green chile roasting events to pay bills.

But sacrifice it will, as one of more than 90 parishes grappling with the archdiocese’s request to help pay a universal settlement in its Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization.

“We have very minuscule savings at the Archdiocese Savings and Loan Program at the Catholic Center…

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St. Therese no stranger to clergy sexual abuse

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

April 24, 2021

By Colleen Heild

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St. Therese Catholic parish in Albuquerque knows too well the scourge of clergy sexual abuse.

Eight of the 79 priests and other clergy members on the archdiocese list of those “credibly accused” of molesting children worked at the North Valley parish over a 32-year period. The first priest was assigned in 1959, five years after the current church was built.

The eight included Jason Sigler, one of the few priests who worked in New Mexico who were criminally charged and who went to prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a minor.

Across the U.S., many survivors of clergy abuse served as altar boys in the church or belonged to parish youth groups when they were molested.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s website says it has adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy on clergy sexual abuse, and says there have been no substantiated cases involving diocesan priests since 2005.

Court records in…

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Chennai priest among four held under Pocso Act for sexual abuse of playback singer’s daughter

CHENNAI (INDIA)
New Indian Express [Chennai, India]

April 24, 2021

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The Chennai police have arrested the priest of a church and three other relatives of a minor girl who was allegedly sexually abused by them. The arrests came almost 10 days after her mother, a playback singer, lodged a complaint.

Apart from the priest Henri (40), those arrested included the singer’s sister, the latter’s husband and the husband’s brother. While the police registered a case a week ago, the accused were picked up from a farmhouse in Tindivanam on Friday and remanded in judicial custody.

Police said that the singer left her daughter in her sister’s custody when the victim was just six as she had to relocate to Hyderabad. The girl, who is 15 years old now and studying at a private school, reportedly informed her mother recently about the abuse she was subjected to by her aunt, uncle and the priest Henri, when she was taken to the…

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Former U.P. Priest to Serve Prison Time in Abuse Plea

MARQUETTE (MI)
Department of Attorney General - Michigan [Lansing MI]

April 22, 2021

By Lynsey Mukomel

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Tireless work by the Michigan Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation team has resulted in another successful plea agreement and will lead to prison for a former priest in the Upper Peninsula. 

Gary Jacobs, 75, pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ontonagon County Thursday afternoon. 

As part of the offer, Jacobs was required to plead guilty to one count, and the highest charge, on each of the four cases he faced. This resulted in admission of guilt on three counts of CSC 1st degree and one count of CSC 2nd degree.  

Other aspects of the plea agreement include: 

  • Jacobs will serve between eight and 15 years on each count, which will run concurrently; 
  • Lifetime sex offender registration on the three counts of CSC 1st degree; 
  • Tier II registration on the CSC 2nd degree charge; 
  • All victims – those involved in the charged cases and those who came forward since – can speak at sentencing if they wish; 
  • Sex offender counseling; and
  • Lifetime electronic monitoring when released.  

“This plea agreement and subsequent prison time is the culmination of resolute work by our clergy abuse investigation team,…

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April 24, 2021

Ex-priest pleads guilty to abuse in Upper Peninsula in ’80s

ONTONAGON (MI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 22, 2021

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A former priest who left Michigan decades ago pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing teens in the Upper Peninsula in the 1980s, the attorney general’s office said.

Gary Jacobs, 75, pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ontonagon County and will serve at least eight years in prison before he’s eligible for parole, authorities said.

“This sentence will not erase the pain Mr. Jacobs inflicted on those who trusted him. But I hope our pursuit of justice can offer some sense of relief as their vulnerability led to this accountability,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Jacobs is scheduled to make a similar plea deal in Dickinson County on May 3, Nessel said.

A message seeking comment from his attorney wasn’t immediately returned.

The Diocese of Marquette has said Jacobs was removed from ministry in 1988 and left the state. He was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when…

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Two-year ‘window’ for abuse lawsuits gets new support in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG (PA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 23, 2021

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A bill that could expand child sex abuse lawsuits in the state of Pennsylvania has received new support in the state legislature, signaling its possible passage after more than two years of unsuccessful efforts.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 951, lifts some sovereign immunity protections in child sex abuse cases for public schools and institutions. It creates a two-year window for lawsuits to be filed in old cases where the statute of limitations had already expired.

Survivors of abuse may sue their perpetrator or the institution that contributed to the abuse through negligence.

Democratic state Rep. Mark Rozzi, who says he was abused by a priest at age 13, introduced the bill. The state Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-3 on Wednesday to approve an amended form of the bill. Now that it has received new support, supporters are hopeful that the bill could pass the legislature.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference…

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Vatican suspended canonical investigation of Detroit priest

DETROIT (MI)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 23, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Detroit will proceed with a “canonical disciplinary process” against a priest accused of the sexual abuse of a minor, after the Vatican declined to move forward with a canonical investigation. 

The priest, Fr. Eduard Perrone, was the pastor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) parish in Detroit. Perrone has not served in public ministry since 2019, after the accusation was made against him and the diocese conducted a preliminary investigation. He maintains his innocence. 

In an April 13 statement, the archdiocese explained that approximately two years ago, it began a canonical “preliminary investigation” of the allegations against the priest. After this review, the archdiocese forwarded the allegations to the Vatican. 

However, the archdiocese said that it could not take action in the case after the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) would not move forward with its investigation of Fr. Perrone. 

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Catholic Bishop Bill Wright orders priest’s name taken off Gateshead school building but will not say why

GATESHEAD (AUSTRALIA)
Newcastle Herald [Newcastle, Australia]

April 24, 2021

By Ian Kirkwood

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The name the “Roger Kennedy Centre” has been removed from a hall at St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead, but the Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Bill Wright, will not say why.

The diocesan refusal to explain its actions coincides with its call for public help – including through the Newcastle Herald – to plan a memorial to the victims and survivors of its sexually abusing clergy and teachers.

Monsignor Roger Kennedy, a long-serving priest at Gateshead, died in 1994.

Robert O’Toole, a co-founder of the Clergy Abused Network (CAN), said Kennedy stands accused of historical sexual abuse of both boys and girls.

“Monsignor Kennedy was at Muswellbrook, New Lambton, Kurri Kurri, Newcastle, Carrington and Gateshead,” Mr O’Toole said. “CAN is aware of allegations of abuse against Monsignor Kennedy in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.”

Mr O’Toole said he told Bishop Wright about the allegations in December.

Mr O’Toole said he told Bishop…

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April 23, 2021

Fr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, is seen in this 2015 file photo. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago asked the priest to step aside from ministry Jan. 5, after the Archdiocese of Chicago received an allegation he sexually abused a minor over 40 years ago. (CNS / Jim Young, Reuters)

Parishes cannot obstruct sex abuse investigations

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 23, 2021

By Michel Sean Winters

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[Photo above: Fr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, is seen in this 2015 file photo. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago asked the priest to step aside from ministry Jan. 5, after the Archdiocese of Chicago received an allegation he sexually abused a minor over 40 years ago. (CNS / Jim Young, Reuters)]

The Catholic Church’s struggle to eradicate the cancer of clergy sex abuse is on trial today. The community at St. Sabina church in Chicago is trying to obstruct the investigation of their much-beloved pastor Fr. Michael Pfleger on charges he sexually molested minors, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Once again this week, there was an organized effort through the St. Sabina website to employ inappropriate and intimidating tactics to put pressure on the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Independent Review Board (IRB) as the case of Father Michael…

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After warning from cardinal, St. Sabina pastor says he’s encouraging ‘respectful’ support for Pfleger

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

April 22, 2021

By Sam Kelly and Grace Asiegbu

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Cardinal Blase Cupich has lashed out at “intimidating tactics” by supporters of the Rev. Michael Pfleger.

Days after Chicago’s cardinal lashed out at “intimidating tactics” by supporters of the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the current pastor at St. Sabina’s church said he has instructed parishioners to express themselves “respectfully.”

Last week, Cardinal Blase Cupich blasted attempts to influence an investigation into Pfleger as “offensive and an injustice,” citing a coordinated effort to “flood the archdiocese’s phone lines dedicated to receiving calls from victims and civil authorities.”

Magwaza, who is filling in for Pfleger during the investigation, said he received the cardinal’s letter on April 13 and has since been telling parishioners to vouch for Pfleger by “respectfully and peacefully asking [the review board] to expedite the investigation.”

The St. Sabina website’s homepage has a link to Cupich’s letter and a message directing parishioners to write directly to…

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Wisconsin to launch statewide investigation of clergy sex abuse, attorney general document reveals

MADISON (WI)
Green Bay Press Gazette [Green Bay WI]

April 22, 2021

By Haley BeMiller, Laura Schulte, and Patrick Marley

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Wisconsin authorities will launch an investigation into the state’s Catholic dioceses and religious orders to determine how many clergy members have sexually assaulted children over the years.  

Attorney General Josh Kaul notified the state’s five dioceses as well as separate orders of Catholic priests that his office will review sexual abuse allegations against clergy and other faith leaders, according to a letter obtained by USA Today Network-Wisconsin. Wisconsin is home to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and dioceses in Madison, Green Bay, La Crosse and Superior.

“I agree with the many survivors of clergy abuse, and those who support and have advocated for them, that a review by our office is necessary to provide accountability and, ultimately, healing,” Kaul wrote. “I hope you will welcome that review.”

Kaul, a Democrat in his first term, invited representatives for the dioceses and orders to a meeting Monday to discuss next steps and indicated…

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Trial for former Cincinnati priest accused of rape begins Monday

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO - ABC 9 [Cincinnati OH]

April 23, 2021

By Craig Cheatham

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Geoff Drew accused of raping altar boy 30 years ago

Green Township — The trial of Rev. Geoff Drew is scheduled to begin Monday, nearly 21 months after Cincinnati police officers arrested the Catholic priest for raping an altar boy decades ago.

The victim was 10 when Drew began sexually assaulting the child, according to charging documents in the case.

Drew, 59, is charged with 9 counts of rape. He faces life in prison, if convicted.

Drew is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on $5 million cash bond.

According to charging documents, Drew raped the boy from 1988 to 1991 at St. Jude Catholic Church and school in Green Township.

At that time, Drew was the St. Jude music minister.

He became an ordained Catholic priest in 2004.

Drew assaulted the child in his church office during and after school, according to charging documents.

“It’s the opinion…

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Former U.P. priest pleads guilty to sex abuse, to serve minimum 8 years in prison

MARQUETTE (MI)
MLive [Walker MI]

April 22, 2021

By Justine Lofton

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A former Upper Peninsula priest pleaded guilty today to four counts of criminal sexual conduct, which will result in the harshest prison sentence thus far in the Michigan Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation.

Gary Jacobs, 75, pleaded guilty in Ontonagon County on Thursday, April 22, to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, the attorney general’s office announced. He was facing four separate sexual abuse cases and his plea agreement required that he plead guilty to the highest charge in each case.

Jacobs faces a fifth case in neighboring Dickinson County where a similar plea agreement is planned; that hearing is set for May 3.

The charges in the five cases involved alleged sexual assaults between 1981 and 1984 in Ontonagon County and in early 1984 in Dickinson County when Jacobs worked for the Catholic Diocese of Marquette….

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Loyola grapples with abuse allegations against former university priest

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Maroon - Loyola University [New Orleans LA]

April 22, 2021

By Gabriella Killett

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Editor’s note: This article has been modified from its original published version.

Tim Ballard, a previous employee of Jesuit Volunteers International, who came forward with rape accusations against former Loyola vice president the Rev. Ted Dziak, S.J. in an article released by nola.com April 18, told The Maroon he will never forget a call he received when he was abroad in June of 2005.

The call was from Dziak, a Jesuit priest and the man Ballard had worked closely with while mentoring students in Belize as a part of the service of Jesuit volunteers, the same man Ballard is alleging raped him during their time in Belize between 2004 and 2006.

As Ballard overlooked the Belizean ocean view and paced along a veranda listening to Dziak on the phone, Dziak told him he’d be returning to Belize after he’d already completed his three month contract and Ballard thought he was done. As…

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Prayers sought to heal victims of clergy abuse

VENICE (FL)
Florida Catholic [Orlando FL]

April 22, 2021

By Bob Reddy

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For the past 14 years Bishop Frank J. Dewane has held a Mass to petition for the Lord to heal and protect the victims of clerical abuse while giving the grace for all to act in helping end this scourge.

“Whatever procedure, educational announcement, commitment we make, or administrative mechanisms we put forward are all powerless compared to the strength of our prayers through our gathering at this Holy Sacrifice, at this Table of the Lord, asking the Lord to heal the victims of abuse,” Bishop Dewane stated.

The Bishop celebrated Mass April 16, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice with the specific intention of praying for victims of child abuse. The Mass takes place annually in April, which is National Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month, as Bishop leads the faithful in praying for an end to child abuse, and specifically the clerical abuse which has been a scourge on…

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Abuse survivor believes now is a great evangelical moment for Church

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

April 23, 2021

By Jay Nies

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[Via the Catholic Standard, Archdiocese of Washington]

Teresa Pitt Green, who as a child was sexually abused by Catholic priests, said she is convinced “there’s a lot more hope than people dare to feel.”

“If I can turn all the suffering and darkness of my life into a testimony that even in that place, Jesus was there and Jesus heals me, then that’s not such a bad way to use having been abused,” she said.

Pitt Green is co-founder of Spirit Fire, a Christian restorative justice initiative and fellowship of survivors of abuse in the Church.

People associated with Spirit Fire find healing by integrating their therapies with their efforts to grow in their relationship with God. They share wisdom, experience and faith with others seeking healing, growth and reconciliation.

They work with Church leaders to deepen pastoral care for survivors, their family members and all Catholics, including priests, deacons,…

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