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 23, 2021

It’s Time to Revisit the Satanic Panic

MANHATTAN BEACH (CA)
New York Times

March 31, 2021

By Alan Yuhas

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Vigilante parents dug under a preschool, searching for secret tunnels. The police swapped tips on identifying pagan symbols. A company that sells toothpaste and soap had to deny, repeatedly, that it was acting as an agent of Satan.

Early in the 1980s, baseless conspiracy theories about cults committing mass child abuse spread around the country. Talk shows and news programs fanned fears, and the authorities investigated hundreds of allegations. Even as cases slowly collapsed and skepticism prevailed, defendants went to prison, families were traumatized and millions of dollars were spent on prosecutions.

The phenomenon was so sprawling that, in its aftermath, it took on several names, like the ritual abuse scare or the day care panic. But one name has increasingly stuck: the satanic panic.

“The evidence wasn’t there, but the allegations of satanic ritual abuse never really went away,” said Ken Lanning, a former F.B.I….

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Documentary describes La Jolla psychiatrist’s battle against church secrecy

SAN DIEGO (CA)
La Jolla Light [La Jolla CA]

April 22, 2021

By Mark Day

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‘Sex, Lies and the Priesthood’ tells the story of the late Richard Sipe, who helped expose abuse.

In a scene in “Spotlight,” the Oscar-winning film about clerical sex abuse, Boston Globe reporters huddle around a speakerphone listening intently to the words of Richard Sipe, portrayed by actor Richard Jenkins.

Sipe, a former Benedictine monk renowned for his defense of clerical sex abuse victims, died at his home in La Jolla at age 85 on Aug. 8, 2018.

Sipe stunned the Globe reporters when he said 50 percent of American Catholic priests do not practice celibacy. He assumed that at least 6 percent of Boston priests were sexual predators.

He was wrong. The Globe uncovered nearly 100 priest predators in the Boston archdiocese, about 10 percent of its clergy.

The Globe series, relying heavily on Sipe’s research, won a Pulitzer Prize and led to Cardinal Bernard Law’s early retirement and transfer to Rome.

“Sex, Lies and the…

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April 22, 2021

Loyola Maroon file photo of The Rev. Ted Dziak (via Jawdat Tinawi, The Loyola Maroon) Photo by Jawdat Tinawi, The Loyola Maroon

Rape allegations surface for Jesuit priest accused of inappropriate conduct at Loyola, Boston College

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
New Orleans Advocate [New Orleans LA]

April 18, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

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[Photo above: Loyola Maroon file photo of the Rev. Ted Dziak (via Jawdat Tinawi, The Loyola Maroon) Photo by Jawdat Tinawi, The Loyola Maroon.]

A Jesuit priest who founded a Catholic service group resembling the Peace Corps before facing complaints of inappropriate conduct at Boston College and Loyola University is now accused of raping a subordinate on a volunteer mission.

Tim Ballard’s allegations against the Rev. Ted Dziak triggered Dziak’s removal last fall as chaplain at Le Moyne College in upstate New York, where he had landed after leaving Loyola only weeks earlier. It’s unclear whether Dziak faces other consequences.

It is also unclear if any prosecutor would take up Ballard’s accusations, not only because they involve events that occurred nearly 20 years ago, but also because the accuser was an adult at the time and didn’t file a contemporaneous report. Statutes of limitation also make it difficult for…

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Tetlow makes statement after former Loyola priest rape allegation

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

April 18, 2021

By Domonique Tolliver

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University President Tania Tetlow sent out a statement via email this morning addressing a rape allegation against Rev. Ted Dziak, former VP for Mission and Identity at Loyola.

This statement comes after a Nola.com article that details accusations against Dziak, former Loyola priest, of rape and inappropriate conduct while on mission trips through Jesuit Volunteers International, an international volunteer program Dziak founded. The allegations did not occur during Dziak’s time at Loyola.

Tetlow claims Loyola only recently found out about the allegations after being contacted by a reporter for comment. The university is not aware of any allegations against Dziak during his time at Loyola, according to Tetlow.

Dziak left Loyola in the summer of 2020 after a year-long, faith-based sabbatical, according to former Loyola Maroon articles.

In the Nola.com article, Tim Ballard, 40, detailed accusations that Dziak raped him on a volunteer mission in…

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Chicago priest asked to step away following report of minor sex abuse decades-ago

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN-TV [Chicago IL]

April 21, 2021

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A Chicago priest has been asked to step away from ministry following a report of minor sex abuse from over 35 years ago.

In a letter to members of the Christ the King parish and school, Cardinal Blase Cupich said the archdiocese received a minor sex abuse allegation involving Rev. Lawrence Sullivan.

Sullivan has agreed to cooperate with the request and will live away from the parish, the archdiocese said.

Rev. James Mezydlo will serve as the temporary administrator of Christ the King Parish and will attend to the needs of the parish and school.

The archdiocese said the report alleges that Sullivan sexually assaulted a minor 36 years ago when he was 18. They did not specify if he was involved in ministry at that time or not.

Sullivan has been at Christ the King, which is located in Beverly, for the past six years, according to his biography.

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SNAP encourages Paprocki to add five names to diocese’s ‘credibly accused’ list

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
State Journal-Register [Springfield IL]

April 21, 2021

By Steven Spearie

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[Includes Twitter video clip of David Clohessy speaking about the experience for a survivor of coming forward.]

Holding signs like “Split hairs or protect kids” outside of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, members and supporters of a group of clergy sexual abuse survivors urged Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Wednesday to include five more names on the diocese’s list of “credibly accused” priests.

All five of the accused served at parishes or studied in the Springfield diocese, which includes 28 counties in central Illinois.

Four of the priests who have had accusations made against them are deceased, confirmed David Clohessy, a spokesman and former executive director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The Springfield diocese “credibly accused” list includes “cases of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy in this diocese as disclosed in our voluntary review with the…

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Diocese of Savannah bishop: Society cannot close itself off from spiritual side of selves

SAVANNAH (GA)
Savannah Morning News [Savannah GA]

April 22, 2021

By Bishop Stephen D. Parkes

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Interview by Adam Van Brimmer

The following is an excerpt from a “Difference Makers” podcast interview with Bishop Stephen Parkes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah. Comments have been condensed in the interest of space. Full episodes are available at SavannahNow.com/podcasts or through mobile device podcast apps by searching “Savannah Difference Makers”.

Question: You are one of two priests — bishops actually — in your family, as your brother leads the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Are we to assume that you grew up in a devout home? 

Stephen Parkes: “Growing up, faith was always important. That said, I’ve often thought that we were not a particularly devotional family. We prayed before meals. We went to mass on Sunday. I had the opportunity to go to Catholic school from first grade through eighth grade. But otherwise, our family was into many different things, many different activities. Church was always important. Church was always a priority. And…

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10th Circuit Upholds Sex Abuse Convictions of Former Catholic Priest

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Courthouse News [Pasadena CA]

April 21, 2021

By Jon Parton

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[See also the decision and the original indictment.

The 10th Circuit upheld a federal grand jury’s conviction of a former priest on seven counts of sexual abuse against a 10-year-old boy dating back to the 90s.

Arthur Perrault, a former Roman Catholic priest who served at several parishes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, fled the country in 1992 to Canada and then Morocco after learning of a local reporter’s investigation into allegations that Perrault sexually abused young boys.

“After a two-week sojourn in Canada, Perrault made a new life in Morocco — a country, as it so happens, that doesn’t share an extradition treaty with the United States,” wrote Circuit Judge Gregory Phillips, a Barack Obama nominee, in the 58-page decision.

Following a federal grand jury in 2017 that charged Perrault with six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and a count of abusive sexual contact with a minor…

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Court denies former priest’s appeal in New Mexico abuse case

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 21, 2021

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A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a former Roman Catholic priest’s convictions and 30-year prison sentence in a New Mexico case centered on sexual abuse of an altar boy at a veterans cemetery and military base.

A 58-page decision by the three judges on a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel denied Arthur Perrault’s appeal, saying they were convinced Perrault “received a fundamentally fair trial in compliance with his constitutional rights.”

Perrault had fled the United States decades before he was returned from Morocco after being indicted in 2017.

Perrault was convicted in April 2019 of six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor under 12. He maintained his innocence during his October 2019 sentencing.

Formerly a pastor at an Albuquerque parish and a chaplain at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Perrault was accused of sexually abusing a boy…

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Syracuse diocese to hold Mass for Healing amid nearly 400 sex abuse claims

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

April 21, 2021

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The Diocese of Syracuse will hold a Mass for Healing on April 29 after nearly 400 sex abuse claims involving the diocese have been filed.

“One victim of sexual abuse is too many,” said an April 19 letter from Bishop Douglas Lucia of Syracuse to his diocese. “And so, to see the number ‘371’ is particularly disheartening and of the greatest concern for me because of the damage done both directly and collaterally,” he said of the 371 claims that had been filed under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Lucia said that he is renewing his commitment and that of the Diocese of Syracuse to assist survivors of sexual abuse with their healing. 

“We seek to make amends for the wrong and sinful behavior perpetrated against you and cannot apologize enough for the failure to protect you from your abusers,” said the bishop. 

New York’s Child Victims Act created a…

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Catholic laypeople in Germany demand local synod

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

April 21, 2021

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In the wake of reports on how clergy sex abuse was handled, laypeople in Cologne Archdiocese want more of a say

[Via Union of Catholic Asian News]

Catholic laypeople in the Archdiocese of Cologne have called for a local synod to address the ongoing crisis in Germany’s most populous diocese.

“We must make every effort to reestablish a genuine dialogue between the cardinal, senior members of the diocesan leadership and the grassroots of the church,” said Tim-O. Kurzbach, president of the Cologne archdiocesan council of Catholics.

However, the German Catholic news agency KNA reported a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said that, under church law, a local synod would not allow the broad participation of the faithful that currently exists in the diocesan “Pastoral Way Forward.”

“In contrast to a diocesan synod — which is a kind of advisory body of selected laypeople and priests — the approach of the Way Forward…

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Cardinal Gregory offers Mass for victims of sexual abuse ‘who have endured great suffering’

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic Standard [Archdiocese of Washington DC]

April 21, 2021

By Richard Szczepanowski

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Victims of child sexual abuse are deeply wounded by such abuse and the Catholic Church needs to be “more compassionate and caring” toward those victims, Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory said at an April 21 Mass in observance of National Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention Awareness Month.

“Many who are victims (of sexual abuse) are people who carry a great wound, and we as their brothers and sisters in Christ need to be reminded that we need to be part of the compassion that Christ wishes to extend to them and their families and loved ones,” Cardinal Gregory said.

Cardinal Gregory celebrated the noon Mass in the Archdiocese of Washington’s Pastoral Center’s St. Ursula Chapel. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance was limited and the Mass was livestreamed.

Sexual abuse and assault victims “carry a wound that is serious and has been life changing for them,” Cardinal Gregory said. “Let…

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Lawmakers move closer to letting child sex abuse victims sue

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 21, 2021

By Marc Levy

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For the first time, prominent Republican state senators on Wednesday put their support behind legislation in Pennsylvania to change the law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue the perpetrators or institutions that did not prevent it when it happened years or decades ago.

The vote, 11-3, in the Senate Judiciary Committee comes after years of damning investigations into child sexual abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses and signals that the legislation may have enough Republican support to pass the full state Senate.

Similar legislation passed the House earlier this month and Democrats — including Gov. Tom Wolf, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and practically all of the party’s members of the Legislature — have backed the effort.

“Today’s vote brings these brave survivors the closest they have been to having their day in court,” Shapiro said in a statement.

Many childhood…

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April 21, 2021

St. Joseph's Orphanage in Burlington VT. Free Press File Photo.

Vermont bill would end time limit for civil physical abuse

BURLINGTON (VT)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 20, 2021

By Wilson Ring

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The Vermont Senate on Tuesday passed a proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil cases of childhood physical abuse.

The bill, approved by a vote of 29-0, builds on legislation passed two years ago that ended the statute of limitations for civil cases of past childhood sexual abuse.

The proposal that passed Tuesday was pushed by a group of now-aging people who say they suffered physical abuse while living at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, which closed in 1974.

The Senate also heard allegations of abuse that were committed at the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster, senators said. Kurn Hattin is a charitable home and school that serves children ages 6 through 15 who have been affected by tragedy, social or economic hardship, or disruption in family life.

Neither Kurn Hattin or The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which ran the Burlington orphanage at the…

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St. Michael’s High School sued over alleged abuse decades ago

SANTA FE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

April 19, 2021

By Kyle Land

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Seven men filed a lawsuit last week against St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, alleging school officials failed to prevent three staff members – all Christian Brothers – from sexually abusing them while they were students decades ago.

The lawsuit filed in 1st Judicial District Court alleges Brothers Andrew Abdon, Louis Brousseau and Tom McConnell abused students while working for the school as teachers and athletics coaches between 1953 and 1980. All three had already been listed on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s credibly accused list.

The suit also names the school’s parent organization, Brothers of the Christian Schools, as a defendant in the case. Attorney Bill Keeler, who is representing the victims, said that’s because the Brothers supplied the teachers who abused students to the school.

“While these men have each filed a claim in the Archdiocese bankruptcy, the Christian Brothers must also be held accountable for allowing…

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Annual reports detail training, outreach in archdiocesan child protection efforts

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic Review - Archdiocese of Baltimore [Baltimore MD]

April 21, 2021

By Christopher Gunty

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Independent Review Board that assists with child protection efforts released the fourth annual reports from the archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection and the review board. 

Archbishop William E. Lori initiated the reports in 2019, with reports from fiscal/reporting years 2017 and 2018 released within months of each other. Since then, the reports have been issued annually.

The latest report, which covers the reporting year from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, notes that the archdiocese was again, as every year, found by outside auditors to be in full compliance with standards set by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its accompanying norms, as well as updates to those policies.

The report details efforts in education, employee and volunteer screening, reporting of allegations and outreach…

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The Ending of Doubt Explained

NEW YORK (NY)
Looper [New York NY]

April 20, 2021

By  Leo Noboru Lima

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If we wanted to name the 21st century movie with the best ensemble cast, we could make a strong argument for 2008’s Doubt. In addition to Meryl Streep and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, both playing characters that rank among the richest and most complex of their careers, there was Amy Adams. She was still early in her path to stardom, but this role served as a perfect bridge between the sunny ingénues she specialized in at the time of Enchanted and the severity that would define her later roles. Topping it all off, Viola Davis, then a theater actress unknown to mainstream audiences, appeared for eight minutes in one of the all-time greatest performances with barely any screentime. All four actors earned Oscar nominations.

There was a reason Doubt, specifically, was the film to bring together such a firestorm of acting talent. An adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony-winning…

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The Forgotten Mark Ruffalo Crime Drama You Can Stream on Netflix

BOSTON (MA)
Looper [New York NY]

April 19, 2021

By Mike Bedard

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When you think of risky and hazardous careers, reporting the news might not top your list, but there’s more danger involved than you may think. Journalists obtain the facts on the important stories affecting our lives, and it doesn’t always come easily. It’s important to remember some of the most horrific scandals only came to light as a result of the hard-working women and men who make up our newsrooms. 

This is the central idea behind 2015’s Spotlight, an Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The film features an extremely talented group of actors, including the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton, playing the journalists who uncovered a history of abuse within the Catholic Church. It’s difficult subject matter, especially when it focuses on the victims, but it shows the constant struggle between the power of journalism and the influence of the Catholic Church. 

Thankfully, you…

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This schematic shows a ‘serving network’ of US bishops, featuring Spellman, Cooke, and McCarrick, and only those other bishops who served directly (i.e., in what the Vatican’s recent Report calls a ‘Superior-subordinate’ relationships) under one or more of them.

How McCarricks Happen

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic Herald [London, England]

April 18, 2021

By Stephen Bullivant and Giovanni Radhitio Putra Sadewo

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[Diagram above: This schematic shows a ‘serving network’ of US bishops, featuring Spellman, Cooke, and McCarrick, and only those other bishops who served directly (i.e., in what the Vatican’s recent Report calls a ‘Superior-subordinate’ relationships) under one or more of them. See also Power, Preferment, and Patronage: Catholic Bishops, Social Networks, and the Affair(s) of Ex-Cardinal McCarrick by the same authors.]

The brute fact is that that they don’t just happen out of nowhere. Rather, McCarricks are the malign by-products of a system ostensibly designed to create something else entirely: bishops who are, as per Canon 378, ‘outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues’. While we have no doubt that the system succeeds in producing those as well, it clearly suffers from significant vulnerabilities.

There are certain things you don’t want to write about. They are too sad or sordid or…

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Former teacher, coach gets two years in prison for sex assault of Oconto Falls student in 2013

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

April 20, 2021

By Kent Tempus

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A former substitute teacher at Oconto Falls High School was sentenced to two years in prison for engaging in a sexual relationship with a student she coached.

Brynn Larsen, 31, will then serve five years on extended supervision, Judge Michael T. Judge decided.

“There’s no question in my mind that you abused your position of trust and authority as a teacher …,” Judge said Tuesday during sentencing. “There’s no way to say it other than that, and for that, there has to be a consequence.”

Larsen, an Oconto Falls native who was a star athlete at the school, worked there as a substitute teacher with the Oconto Falls School District from 2013 to 2018, and as an assistant coach for the volleyball team.

Acting on an anonymous tip, Oconto Falls police investigated whether Larsen and a then 15-year-old girl were involved in a sexual relationship in May 2014. The student and Larsen denied…

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Rochester’s Catholic diocese barred from shielding identities of accused priests

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester NY]

April 21, 2021

By Sean Lahman

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A federal judge has blocked an effort by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester to shield the identity of priests accused of sexual abuse during its bankruptcy procedure, after the Democrat and Chronicle objected to the practice.

Gannett Co. Inc., the parent corporation of the Rochester newspaper, filed a motion to intervene in the diocese’s bankruptcy proceeding “in order to enforce the public’s right of access.” 

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019, saying it could not afford to pay the compensation being demanded in a flood of new civil suits alleging sexual abuse by its priests in past decades. Hundreds of claims have been filed against the diocese as part of the bankruptcy process.

In February, the diocese asked the court to keep the names of alleged abusers named in those claims sealed from public view

“While the Diocese has no intention of concealing the…

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Bidding War

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe Reporter [Santa Fe NM]

April 21, 2021

By Katherine Lewin

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Hotel owner and elder school both make a play for Immaculate Heart property

Perched in the city’s eastern foothills, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat and Conference Center sits in near silence. The coronavirus stopped most activities on the property that’s cradled by the Carmelite monastery, a residential neighborhood of expensive adobes and Museum Hill.

But behind the scenes in recent months, at least two buyers made offers to buy the retreat and conference center property from the struggling Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and a bidding war appears to be taking shape.

The owner of a company based in Austin, Texas, says he has a purchase agreement with the archdiocese to buy the property and turn it into a hotel with a restaurant and bar, which has set off concerns among current tenants and neighbors about noise, a change of pace in the area and proposed rezoning that would be…

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Former Vermonter files sexual abuse lawsuit against Weston Priory

WESTON (VT)
VTDigger [Montpelier VT]

April 20, 2021

By Kevin O’Connor

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A former Vermont resident has filed a civil lawsuit in Windsor County Superior Court, alleging the Weston Priory and the Jesuits religious order were negligent in allowing him to be sexually abused as a teenager in about 1970.

Michael Veitch, 66, of New York said he was 15 when priest James Talbot molested him during a visit to the priory, according to claims first reported in 2018.

Talbot, convicted three years ago of sexually abusing a boy in Maine, recently was released from prison. The registered sex offender, now in his 80s, was jailed earlier on another conviction and has settled lawsuits with more than a dozen other plaintiffs, according to media reports.

Veitch attorney Jessica Arbour, noting Vermont’s recent elimination of its statute of limitations on such allegations, said her client “is grateful for the chance to call those who wronged him to account now.”

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April 20, 2021

Screen shot from video: Demonstration in Harrisburg in support of HB951.

Sex abuse survivors demand windows legislation from Pa. Senate

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

April 19, 2021

By Dennis Owns

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[Photo above: Demonstration in Harrisburg in support of HB951.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse took to the Pa. Capitol steps on Monday demanding justice. Specifically, they want the legislature to pass a bill opening a window for them to sue their abusers, even if the statute of limitations has run out.

They are not victims. They are survivors. But as children, they were victimized.

“I was violently raped by a group of teachers,” said Patrick Duggan, a sex abuse survivor.

And they believe the system is assaulting them again. An amendment to let them sue their abusers was botched. Now they want a straight-up law.

“For us it’s not about politics, it’s about doing the right thing,” said Amanda Behe, sister of Joey Behe.

Amanda Behe’s brother, Joey, was an altar boy abused by a priest who struggled with demons.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see justice. He actually gave…

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Victims rally in Harrisburg for bill on sexual abuse lawsuits

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh PA]

April 19, 2021

By Peter Smith

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Survivors of sexual abuse by priests, teachers and others rallied outside the Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday, calling for legislation that would create a window in the statute of limitations, allowing lawsuits over long-ago sexual abuse by clergy and others.

Chanting, “No window, no justice,” the group rallied in support of legislation that recently passed the House of Representatives and is pending in the state Senate. It would create a two-year window in the statute of limitations, which normally would prohibit lawsuits to within a few years of a victim becoming an adult.

Many of those who reported abuse by trusted adults said that due to the trauma, it took them years or decades to reach the point where they could seek justice.

Those at the rally have spoken of years of frustration as previous proposals have faltered. A similar measure, which would have created a window by amending the…

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Hoeppner apologizes to Crookston Diocese during farewell Mass

CROOKSTON (MN)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

April 19, 2021

By Marie Wiering

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[Via National Catholic Reporter]

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner presided over a farewell Mass to the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, April 15, two days after Pope Francis accepted the bishop’s resignation from pastoral governance of the northeast Minnesota diocese.

As requested by the pope, Hoeppner, 71, resigned April 13 following a 20-month investigation into allegations that he mishandled allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

That investigation was the first of a standing U.S. bishop under Pope Francis’ 2019 legislative document “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world”), which provided universal means for holding bishops and other church leaders accountable for actions in addressing abuse claims, following the abuse scandal of Theodore McCarrick, a former U.S. cardinal.

As metropolitan archbishop of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis oversaw the investigation, which was carried out by a team of experts in…

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Baltimore priest suspended from ministry after child sex abuse investigation in Carroll County

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

April 19, 2021

By Jonathan M. Pitts

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A longtime Baltimore priest has been suspended from ministry after an investigation by police into allegations that he sexually abused a minor in Carroll County starting in about 1989.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has removed the authority of Rev. Martin H. Demek, the pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bolton Hill, to function as a priest after investigators with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office conducted an inquiry into a report that he sexually abused a minor at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Manchester, where Demek served as pastor from 1987 to 1996.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case, according to Cpl. Jon Light, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, but the archdiocese announced the disciplinary measures after beginning its own investigation late last week.

The alleged victim was 11 at the time of the first reported incident, and multiple incidents allegedly took place, according to a…

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Baltimore Archdiocese removes priest after allegation of sexual abuse involving a child

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBFF - Fox 45 [Baltimore MD]

April 19, 2021

By Chris Berinato

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore removed Fr. Martin Demek, pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Baltimore, after it received an allegation of sexual abuse involving an 11-year-old child.

The Archdiocese says it received the allegation earlier this year. The abuse allegedly began in 1989 and allegedly happened multiple times. The Archdiocese says the sexual abuse apparently happened at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Manchester, Maryland.

The Archdiocese says its policy is to suspend Fr. Demek pending a full investigation.

The Archdiocese says it notified the Carroll County Sheriff’s office immediately after receiving the allegation. The sheriff’s office requested that the Archdiocese refrain from investigating on its own until the office gave it permission. The Archdiocese received permission from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office earlier this week.

Fr. Demek was ordained a priest in 1975. He served as Associate Pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace (1975-1980), St .Thomas Aquinas (1980-1984),…

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Bishop to the rescue as Cayenne torn over sex abuse

CAYENNE (FRENCH GUIANA)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

April 13, 2021

By Tom Heneghan

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Bishop Michel Dubost, after running Lyon archdiocese between the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and the appointment of new Archbishop Olivier de Germay, will take on another clerical sexual abuse controversy as the new apostolic administrator of Cayenne diocese in French Guiana. 

Dubost, 78, will temporarily lead the diocese while a canonical inquiry investigates a dispute between retired Bishop Emmanuel Lafont and an illegal  Haitian immigrant who accuses him of sexual abuse. The bishop flatly denied the charge and accused the immigrant of robbery.  

Lafont, who had headed Cayenne diocese since 2004, handed in his resignation last October on his 75th birthday and Pope Francis took the rare step of promptly accepting it. The Cayenne public prosecutor had opened its civil inquiry into the dispute the previous week. 

The Haitian accuses Lafont, a Paris-born and Rome-educated social activist who was previously posted as a priest and then seminary vice-rector in South Africa,…

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Survivors group calls on new Belleville bishop to add 4 names to clergy sex abuse list

BELLEVILLE (IL)
Belleville News-Democrat [Belleville IL]

April 20, 2021

By Lexi Cortes

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A St. Louis-based group of child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters is calling on the new bishop of the Belleville Diocese to add four names to its publicly available list of accused priests.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said they found four men who spent time in the Belleville Diocese as they searched the internet for abuse allegations against priests with local ties.

Three of the men appear on lists of accused priests in other states. The fourth man admitted to a Belleville News-Democrat reporter 15 years ago that he had abused children in other states.

“They belong on the (Belleville Diocese) website, plain and simple,” said David Clohessy, the volunteer Missouri director for SNAP.

Monsignor John Myler, a spokesman for the Belleville Diocese, said Bishop Michael McGovern will consider updating the diocese’s…

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April 19, 2021

State Rep. Mark Rozzi on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday following a vote on a bill he has spent years championing that would allow survivors of childhood sexual assault to file lawsuits against their abusers. Courtesy of Jamie Emig

Editorial: Pennsylvania Senate must stand up for victims of abuse

HARRISBURG (PA)
Delaware County Daily Times [Exton PA]

April 19, 2021

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[Photo above: State Rep. Mark Rozzi on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday following a vote on a bill he has spent years championing that would allow survivors of childhood sexual assault to file lawsuits against their abusers. Courtesy of Jamie Emig]

Getting just about any piece of substantial legislation passed in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is likely to be a roller coaster ride for the lawmakers and activists who support it. That’s just the nature of the institution.

But it’s hard to imagine anyone having a rougher ride than state Rep. Mark Rozzi and his allies trying to expand legal rights for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Rozzi, a Muhlenberg Township Democrat, has been working on this issue ever since entering the Legislature eight years ago. His passion for addressing the issue is motivated by his own childhood experience being raped by a priest and further fueled…

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Bishop of Raphoe confirms Diocese cooperating with retired priest investigation

LETTERKENNY (IRELAND)
Highland Radio [Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland]

April 19, 2021

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The Bishop of Raphoe has confirmed that a retired priest of the diocese has been charged with assaulting two minors between 1972 and 1975.

It is understood the 85-year-old retired priest has been released on bail after he was charged with 26 counts of indecent assault.

In a statement, Bishop Alan McGuckian says the diocese has been cooperating fully with Gardai and Tusla regarding the case.

He added that they are committed to assisting and supporting anyone who has been a victim of clerical abuse in seeking justice.

As this is an active case, the Bishop says no further comment will be made.

The statement concluded by advising anyone who wishes to report a concern, or complaint of child abuse, either current or historical to do so by contacting the Designated Liaison Person for the diocese or the statutory authorities; Tusla and Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau and in an…

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From frontier to the present: New history traces US church and its people

Leslie Woodcook Tentler’s American Catholics: A History sails between the Scylla of over-generalization and the Charybdis of perpetually getting lost amidst minor themes. Tentler admirably assigns the people and events she chronicles their appropriate significance, which is a lot harder to do than a non-historian might suppose.

Tentler also indicates in the title that she intends to focus not only on the institution of Catholicism, but on the people who populate that institution, peppering her thematic chapters with short biographical profiles of Catholics who epitomize the themes. The book starts with a sketch of Jesuit Fr. Eusebio Kino, the great Jesuit missionary of the Southwest. A reader might pass over a dry recitation of the religio-cultural atmosphere on the frontier of the Counter-Reformation Church, but in Kino we see the heightened concern for discipline and education of the clergy bearing fruit in vigorous, selfless missionary work.

Tentler then…

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April 18, 2021

Wellesley woman charged with raping student while she was a Hudson teacher

WOBURN (MA)
Boston Herald [Boston MA]

April 16, 2021

By Marie Szaniszlo

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A 37-year-old Wellesley woman was arraigned on Friday on charges of repeatedly raping a student she met while she was a teacher at a Hudson middle school, prosecutors said.

Caitlin Harding was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on March 18 on one count of rape of a child by force, three counts of aggravated rape of a child and five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

The defendant allegedly assaulted the girl, who was 13 then, multiple times over the course of several months in 2010, the DA’s Office said.

Harding was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on Friday and released on personal recognizance on the conditions that she have no direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim or witnesses, have no unsupervised contact with children under 18 and not work or volunteer with children…

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Exposing the truth about nuns who sexually abuse kids

NEW YORK (NY)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

April 17, 2021

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Virtually everyone knows that thousands of priests and other male clergy have sexually violated tens or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of boys and girls. But even now, in 2021, many do NOT know that hundreds or thousands of nuns have also sexually violated kids.

Think about it: who has had more access to Catholic children for decades than Catholic sisters, who made up the majority of teachers at parochial schools and still staff many such schools today?

And who – even more than priests, brothers, monks, bishops and seminarians – have been considered ‘safe’ to have around youngsters than nuns?

Despite all that’s been revealed and written and discussed about the church’s on-going abuse and cover up crisis over decades, abuse by nuns is a largely still-unexamined part of the picture.

You can learn more about all of this on Tuesday, April 20, at 10 a.m. eastern by tuning in…

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Guarding faith: St. Louis archdiocese adds another priest’s name to its list of abusers, but won’t talk about it

CRESTWOOD (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

April 18, 2021

By Jesse Bogan

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CRESTWOOD — In the 1950s, the Archdiocese of St. Louis was on the move, trying to catch up with a flock migrating out of the city in droves. New churches were in demand, particularly in south St. Louis County.

The Rev. Vincent J. Duggan, a former 2nd Marine Division chaplain in the South Pacific during World War II, was called in from a tiny parish in Montgomery County, Missouri, to help. His assignment: transform a farm in the 8800 block of Pardee Road into Our Lady of Providence.

With the help of a group of nuns Duggan recruited from Indiana, the church and school quickly became the spiritual home for hundreds of families. Duggan would stay more than two decades, earning high praise from his congregation, according to an extensive online history of the church that champions each milestone.

To this day, Our Lady of Providence is still active. But…

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For true healing, abuse survivors urge church to hear their stories

CLEVELAND (OH)
Crux [Denver CO]

April 18, 2021

By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

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A trio of survivors of sexual abuse are inviting the Catholic Church — from parishioners in the pews to the bishops who lead dioceses — to join them on their journey toward healing and reconciliation.

The invitation from Mike Hoffman, who chairs the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Hope and Healing Committee, Mark Williams, a special adviser to Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and a deacon in the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois who asked to remain anonymous is meant to help the wider church heal as well.

And that means hearing their stories and those of other sexual abuse victims-survivors, they told Catholic News Service in mid-April, which is Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

It’s their belief that by hearing those stories, Catholics will be touched and begin to realize that churchwide healing from the wounds of abuse is a long process, as their…

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Father Christopher Ciomek, Pastor Of St. Peter Damian Parish In Bartlett, Removed Amid 30-Year-Old Child Sex Abuse Claims

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

April 17, 2021

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Father Christopher Ciomek, pastor of St. Peter Damian Parish in northwest suburban Bartlett, has been removed from ministry as the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago investigations allegations of child sex abuse dating back 30 years.

“It is with great difficulty that I write to share news about your pastor, Father Christopher Ciomek. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Ciomek to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of allegations of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 30 years ago. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter to the parish.

According to Ciomek’s biography on the church’s website, he was born in Poland, has been a priest since 1998, starting as a full-time associate pastor at St. Monica Parish in Chicago. He’s also served at St. Theresa Parish in…

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Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Fr. Christopher Ciomek

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

April 17, 2021

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

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April 12, 2021

Dear Saint Peter Damian Parish Family, 

It is with great difficulty that I write to share news about your pastor, Father Christopher Ciomek. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Ciomek to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of allegations of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 30 years ago. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.  

I have further directed Father Ciomek to live away from the parish while the matter is investigated, and he is fully cooperating with this direction. Father Curtis Lambert will serve as temporary administrator of Saint Peter Damian Parish. Father Lambert presently resides in retirement at Saint Peter Damian and, as an experienced pastor, will attend to the needs of the parish community. 

Moreover, as is required by our child protection…

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Sex abuse allegations surface against Catholic priest in Bartlett

CHICAGO (IL)
WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM [Chicago IL]

April 17, 2021

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There are accusations of abuse against a Catholic priest at a parish in Bartlett.

The Chicago Archdiocese released a letter late Saturday afternoon saying that Cardinal Blase Cupich has asked Father Christopher Ciomek of Saint Peter Damian Parish to step aside following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 30 years ago.

The Archdiocese said Ciomek has also been directed to live away from the parish while the matter is investigated, and he is fully cooperating.

Church leaders said the allegations were reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney.

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Archdiocese settles four abuse cases from 1960s to 1980s

SEATTLE (WA)
Read original article

The Archdiocese of Seattle has reached settlements totaling just over $1.3 million for four cases involving allegations of sexual abuse against three priests and a youth minister.

The three priests were included on the archdiocese’s “List of Clergy and Religious Brothers and Sisters for Whom Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Establish or Determined to be Credible” when the list was originally published in January 2016.

On March 6, the archdiocese reached a settlement in a case involving an allegation of sexual abuse by Father Patrick Desmond McMahon in the mid-1970s. McMahon served as pastor at St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Port Townsend from 1973 to 1985. McMahon was put on administrative leave when an individual brought forward an allegation of sexual abuse. He was put on permanent prayer and penance, removing him from service. Later he was returned to the lay…

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April 17, 2021

Ruth Krall, A Bilgrimage Bibliography

(NC)
Bilgrimage

April 2, 2021

By Ruth Elizabeth Krall

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 A Bilgrimage Biography

Ruth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhDNote: Since 2015 my friend William D. Lindsey (Bill) has published my work on his blog Bilgrimage. At this time, the blog is inactive, so I have decided to pull together my various posts so that future researchers and academics can find them in one place.  I have arranged this bibliography so that more recent entries follow earlier ones.  

Krall, R. E.  (January 3, 2021).  Persephone’s Journey into the Underworld: Lessons for Our Time.  

Krall, R. E. (December 12, 2020).  A Meditation: The Third Sunday in Advent.  

Lindsey, William.  (December 1, 2020).  Ruth Krall’s Study Course: Black Lives Matter.  

Krall, R. E. (March 2, 2020).  Ruth Krall on the Coronovirus: “If We Fail to Adequately Care for Those Who Cannot Care for Themselves, the Door Will Open to Threaten Us All.”  

Krall, R. E. (February 5,…

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Archdiocese offers update on Fr. Perrone investigation; CDF declines to proceed

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Catholic [Archdiocese of Detroit MI]

April 16, 2021

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A Vatican investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of minors by a Detroit-area priest has reached its conclusion, with the Holy See declining to pursue a canonical case, the Archdiocese of Detroit said April 13.

Two years ago, the archdiocese referred the allegations against Fr. Eduard Perrone, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) Parish, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “which has the sole authority in the Catholic Church to issue a determination in such cases,” the archdiocese said.

“The CDF has informed the Archdiocese that — without ruling on the merits of the allegations against Fr. Perrone — it has decided not to proceed in this particular case,” a statement from the archdiocese’s communications department said. “Therefore, no further action can be taken in this case under church law.”

In its communication to the archdiocese, the congregation acknowledged that while its investigation into…

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Surviving Mount Cashel: Finding the strength to overcome abuse horror

(CANADA)
The Catholic Register [Toronto ON, Canada]

April 17, 2021

By Wendy-Ann Clarke

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Jane Doe never attended Mount Cashel Orphanage, but she knows the second-hand impact all too well. 

Nightmares from the dark years her husband John spent there in the 1950s continue to rouse him in the night and for over 20 years she’s been there to comfort him back to sleep. After all that time, John, whose identity is protected for legal purposes, hasn’t fully been able to open up to her about what happened to him at the infamous boys’ orphanage that has become synonymous with sexual and physical abuse.

The couple met in Utah and now live in Idaho, over 6,600 kilometres away from the now demolished orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland. As a young man, John moved to the United States hoping to leave that dark past behind him. At 79, he keeps the memories from his four years there as an adolescent from 1954-58 tucked deep down…

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Plaintiffs in second Próvolo sex abuse trial demand ‘end to delays’

(ARGENTINA)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

April 17, 2021

By Maximiliano Ríos & Liliana Samuel, AFP

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Victims and relatives complain defence lawyers for two nuns and several other women are stalling trial into historic child sex abuse at Próvolo Institute in Mendoza Province.

Victims and relatives have called for an “end to delays” in the trial of two nuns and seven other women accused of complicity in the sexual abuse of deaf children at the Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province, which was postponed last week due to a case of coronavirus.

The second trial in this case, which has shaken up the Catholic Church in the homeland of Pope Francis and which has already seen two priests sentenced to 40-year prison terms in 2019, was postponed last Monday for a fortnight when the defence lawyers pleaded that one of them is in isolation due to Covid-19.

“The defence lawyers of the nuns have been playing their little tricks for…

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Settlement helping victim of Colorado Catholic priest abuse to start a new life

DENVER (CO)
KMGH - The Denver Channel - ABC 7 [Denver CO]

April 16, 2021

By Tony Kovaleski

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To date, Colorado’s Catholic church has paid out more than $7 million to victims of priest abuse

A state-led investigation into child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado in 2019 discovered 52 priests were responsible for sexually assaulting 212 children between the 1950s and 1999.

Now, one of the victims is telling a story of healing after he reached a settlement with the church.

“I never thought I would come out of the darkness,” said Troy Gallegos, a Denver man who kept his story a secret for more than four decades. “I’m still trying to climb out of there.”

Gallegos was a lead altar boy at Saint Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Denver. He said he kept the secret out of fear and out of respect for his mother’s visible position with the Denver Archdiocese.

“I used to hate to go to school because it was right next to the…

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Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner and other U.S. bishops concelebrate Mass in Rome, January 15, 2020 (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

A Historic Resignation: Holding Bishop Hoeppner accountable

CROOKSTON (MN)
Commonweal [New York NY]

April 17, 2021

By Paul Moses

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[Photo above: Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner and other U.S. bishops concelebrate Mass in Rome, January 15, 2020 (CNS photo/Paul Haring).]

When Msgr. Roger Grundhaus wanted to baptize his niece’s baby in the cathedral of a nearby diocese, there was the simple matter of getting a letter from his bishop affirming that he was a priest in good standing.

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston in northwest Minnesota obliged the retired priest, a former vicar general of his diocese. “He is a person of good moral character and reputation,” he wrote in 2012. “I am unaware of anything in his background which would render him unsuitable to work with minor children.”

But contrary to that blanket statement, Hoeppner had already heard allegations directly from a diaconate candidate, Ron Vasek, that Grundhaus had molested him in the early 1970s. And so, attorney Jeff Anderson confronted the bishop with the letter during a deposition:…

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Legal lessons: Past abuse cases help train canon lawyers

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

April 16, 2021

By Carol Glatz

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When Pope Francis abolished the “pontifical secret” covering the church’s judicial handling of cases of the sexual abuse of minors, it was hailed as a major step forward in promoting greater transparency and accountability.

At first glance, it means victims and witnesses are free to discuss a case and, even though Vatican officials are still obliged to maintain confidentiality, it “shall not prevent the fulfillment of the obligations laid down in all places by civil laws,” the amended law said.

But an additional consequence of this landmark change, enacted in mid-December 2019, will be its potential to provide much-needed practical training and multidisciplinary studies for those involved in the handling of abuse cases.

The faculty of canon law at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University recently announced it is offering a new diploma in penal jurisprudence — an “innovative” yearlong course designed to give canon law graduates practical skills and guidance in…

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Testimony allowed against former pastor in sex abuse case

WINONA (MN)
Winona Post [Winona MN]

April 16, 2021

By Chris Rogers

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Former Winona pastor Rick Iglesias’ legal defense against sexual abuse charges suffered a setback earlier this month when a judge ruled testimony from Iglesias’ former boss and senior pastor may be used in the case.

Iglesias, 66, was charged in 2019 with repeatedly sexually abusing a minor from 2010 to 2012 when Iglesias was a pastor at Pleasant Valley Church in Winona.

In one of the case’s most significant events to date, defense attorney Kurt Knuesel petitioned the court to suppress testimony from Dr. Kurt Bjorklund. Bjorklund was a minister at a church in Pennsylvania where Iglesias worked in 2019. Bjorklund was Iglesias’ supervisor, the two were old friends from seminary, and Knuesel wrote, Bjorklund was Iglesias’ “only spiritual superior in the church.” In summer 2019, Iglesias asked to meet Bjorklund at his house, reportedly disclosed that he had committed a sexual crime against a minor, and resigned from his…

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Former Cincinnati auxiliary bishop’s role with Catholic school undetermined, as parents express concerns

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 16, 2021

By Jonah McKeown

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Parents at St. John the Baptist School in Hamilton County, Ohio expressed concern this week about former Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer, who resigned and apologized last year after failing to report concerns about a priest to the archbishop, being assigned to pastor two churches associated with the school. 

The archdiocese has so far responded to the concerns by saying that Bishop Binzer’s role, if any, at the school has not yet been determined, and the archdiocese is listening to concerns from parents and parishioners. 

Bishop Binzer resigned last year as auxiliary bishop after failing to report to the archbishop allegations of inappropriate conduct on the part of a Cincinnati priest. 

Bishop Binzer was earlier this month named pastor of the Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann Pastoral Region, which includes two Catholic churches in Hamilton County. 

Parents say those two parishes feed into the nearby St. John the Baptist School.

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April 16, 2021

Yet Another Serial Abuser Left Off Chicago List, Still More Excuses from Catholic Officials

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

April 16, 2021

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Once again, a news story has broken about a serially abusive Church staffer who has been left off lists of perpetrators in multiple states, replete with weak excuses from Catholic officials attempting to explain away their lack of transparency. This is yet another example of why the only openness we can truly count on in cases of clergy sex crimes is that afforded to the public through grand jury investigations, interventions by attorneys general, and reports to police and prosecutors.

In this case, Deacon James Griffith was known to be an abuser as early as 1988, when he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child in Louisville, KY. Despite that conviction, Deacon Griffith – a member of the Passionist Order – was moved first to the Houston area, then San Antonio, Orlando, the suburbs of Chicago, and finally to metropolitan Detroit.  Despite working in these five places,…

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New Colorado law ends statute of limitations for civil sex abuse cases

DENVER (CO)
Fox 21 News [Colorado Springs CO]

April 16, 2021

By Angela Case

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DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law Thursday ending the statute of limitations for civil sex abuse cases.

The bill removes the current six-year limitation on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct. It applies to any incidents that happen on or after January 1, 2022.

The legislation defines sexual misconduct and removes restrictions that limit victims’ ability to file a civil action or recover damages.

The bipartisan bill was signed as survivors of sexual assault spoke out about how this bill will change lives.

Polis said he hopes this bill will help heal many people who weren’t able to seek immediate relief.

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Judge weighs whether parish, school assets could be used to pay clergy sex abuse claims

HAGåTñA (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

April 16, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Friday held off on issuing a ruling that could lead to either the inclusion or exclusion of the assets of Catholic parishes and schools to help compensate 281 Guam clergy sex abuse claimants.

The matter is tied to the Archdiocese of Agana’s more-than-2-year-old bankruptcy case.

Mediation so far has not resulted in a plan agreeable to all parties to get the archdiocese out of bankruptcy. There remain lingering questions about the extent of the archdiocese’s assets and insurance coverage, among other things.

Tydingco-Gatewood on Friday heard three hours of opposing arguments on the motion for partial summary judgment that the committee representing clergy sex abuse claimants and other creditors filed in 2019.

The question is whether 33 Catholic parishes and schools are separate entities that can hold property, including beneficial interest in a trust, independent of the archdiocese, or the debtor.

If the…

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Franciscan U Provides Statement On Former Priest Accused Of Convincing Student To Have Sex With Him

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
WTRF-TV [Wheeling WV]

April 15, 2021

By John Lynch

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Franciscan University has provided the following statement after former Franciscan University priest, David R. Morrier, allegedly convinced a student he was counseling that having sex with him was necessary for mental health treatment purposes.

“The University has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with authorities concerning the conduct of Father David Morrier who entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment today for a very serious crime.

We are aware of the pain so many people have experienced from criminal sexual misconduct committed by some in the Church and continue to offer atonement and prayers of healing for those victims. The University wants a just outcome. These charges are being dealt with in the court system where they belong. Franciscan University will not be commenting further on this case while it is still ongoing.

Sexual assault is not only a crime but a serious sin, and when Franciscan University receives sexual misconduct…

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Ohio Priest Accused Of Raping Student, Convinced Her Sex Will Improve Mental Health

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
International Business Times

April 15, 2021

By Dane Enerio

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KEY POINTS

  • David Morrier was a priest at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio when he allegedly raped the student
  • He convinced the victim that engaging in sexual acts would help with her mental health issues, officials say
  • Loretto-based Franciscan Friars said Morrier was dismissed in 2015 for allegations of sexual misconduct

A former priest from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday to allegations that he raped a student from November 2010 to spring 2013.

David Morrier, 59, who was a friar of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance, entered a not guilty plea to one count of rape and two counts of sexual battery before a Jefferson County, Ohio, grand jury, WTRF reported. The charges stemmed from a complaint reported in 2018 to the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville by the alleged victim. 

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin…

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The God Squad: Keeping the faith

PLATTSBURGH (NY)
Press-Republican [Plattsburgh NY]

April 16, 2021

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Q: Dear Rabbi Gellman, I really enjoy reading your God Squad column. I am a Christian, but boy do I have questions.

I do believe in God, although I don’t think we really understand God. At least I don’t. I wonder how or why a perfect God could have created such imperfect people. We don’t take care of our planet; we are not kind to animals or even each other. People can be awful. Greed and vanity run amok. I do know that people can sometimes be wonderful too.

I see organized religion as somewhat of a construct to control the masses. Scandals rock the Catholic Church. I knew a pastor with a small Baptist Church who left his wife and son and ran off with another woman. He also left his church behind. But he wants to tell me how to keep my house in order? That one made…

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Is the Camden Diocese Worse than Others When It Comes to Clergy Sex Crimes?

CAMDEN (NJ)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

April 16, 2021

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Is it just our impression or does the Camden Catholic diocese have a greater problem with clergy sex crimes and cover ups than most dioceses?

That’s of course hard to determine and fundamentally unfair.

The phrase “more than most” is vague, especially given that there are about 180 Catholic dioceses across the United States.

A better metric to consider is this: How does the rate of clergy sex abuse in the Diocese of Camden compare to dioceses of about the same size?

And using this scale, indeed, our hunch that there are more child molesting clerics in Camden than other places seems to be right.

According to BishopAccountability.org and Catholic-Hierarchy.org, the Camden diocese has a Catholic population of 458,000.

So Camden is just a little BIGGER than the San Francisco archdiocese (425,000 Catholics), the Paterson NJ diocese (420,000 Catholics), the Rockford IL diocese (420,000 Catholics) and

Camden has 68 publicly…

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Lawsuit to proceed despite death of priest accused of sexual assault

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

April 15, 2021

By Mia Urquhart

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Father Paul Breau died last June at the age of 89

The death of a former Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting boys won’t affect a lawsuit against him and the church. 

Moncton lawyer Brian Murphy said the case against Father Paul Breau will go ahead because it also names the Catholic Archdiocese of Moncton. 

“We consider that the diocese is responsible for the actions of the various priests who have been sued … so it really doesn’t make much difference at all in the case going forward,” he said when reached by phone Thursday.  

Breau, the former chaplain at the University of Moncton, died in June at the age of 89, reported Radio-Canada. He was buried in Notre-Dame-du-Calvaire cemetery in Dieppe.

He was one of three former priests named in a series of lawsuits by roughly 30 plaintiffs. 

Murphy represents nine of those plaintiffs — all men who say they…

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Deacon James Griffith was moved to Chicago and other church jurisdictions after being convicted of a child sex offense in 1988 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville Metro Police Department

Passionists order, Catholic dioceses didn’t reveal predator deacon in their midst

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

April 16, 2021

By Robert Herguth

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What makes James Griffith stand out amid the scandal over sexually abusive clerics is how many chances the Catholic church hierarchy had to tell the public about him — and how many times it failed to do so.

[Photo above: Deacon James Griffith was moved to Chicago and other church jurisdictions after being convicted of a child sex offense in 1988 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville Metro Police Department]

More than a decade after pleading guilty in 1988 to sexually abusing a young boy in Louisville, Kentucky, Deacon James Griffith was moved by his religious order to a monastery next to Immaculate Conception School in Norwood Park.

The Passionists — the Catholic religious order that at the time was overseeing the church and school just north of the Kennedy Expressway on the Northwest Side — say he was assigned there in 2002 “to work in the provincial office” on the…

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SNAP Applauds as Colorado Governor Signs SB 73 into Law

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

April 15, 2021

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Colorado’s governor has signed SB 73 into law, an important piece of legislation that will protect future children from abuse and provide more current victims with a pathway to justice. We applaud this development and appreciate the many survivors who shared their stories, testified in support of this reform, and worked tirelessly with their legislative allies to get this needed bill passed.

Even though SB 73 only helps survivors whose statute of limitations has not run by January 1, 2022, when this bill takes effect, as well as future sexual assault victims, this reform demonstrates that the Colorado legislature recognizes the seriousness of this public health crisis. We are grateful that they are willing to do what they can to better protect the vulnerable and confront those who hide and enable sexual predators.

It is a fact that current and past civil statutes have protected the wrong individuals and institutions…

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Colorado will lift time limits in 2022 for victims to sue child sex abusers

DENVER (CO)
The Denver Post

April 15, 2021

By Saja Hindi

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Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law Thursday and it’ll take effect Jan. 1, 2022

With a few simple strokes of his pen, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law Thursday something that was decades in the making: removing the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse to sue — no matter how much time has passed.

Senate Bill 21-073 was sent to the governor on April 8 and the law will take effect Jan. 1, 2022. It doesn’t apply retroactively, so victims whose statute of limitations have already expired will not be able to sue their abusers in civil court.

The law will apply for any civil case where:

  • the statute of limitations hasn’t yet expired;
  • the abuse happened in Colorado; and
  • the abuse could be considered a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor if it was a criminal case.

The governor noted he was signing the bill during Child Abuse…

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Polis signs bill removing legal time limit for childhood sex abuse victims

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Politics [Denver CO]

April 15, 2021

By Michael Karlik

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Beginning on January 1, 2022, survivors of childhood sex abuse and other types of sexual misconduct will be able to hold their perpetrators accountable in Colorado’s legal system, no matter how much time has elapsed since the offense.

Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday signed Senate Bill 73, which removes the restrictive statute of limitations placed on victims to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators or institutions — like employers or youth programs — that are implicated in the misconduct. Enactment of the legislation comes 15 years after an intense lobbying effort killed a similar attempt at increasing the length of time survivors had to sue for their injuries.

“Victims deserve justice whenever they choose to seek it. Outdated laws won’t be able to stop them anymore,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, one of the bill’s sponsors. The other House of Representatives sponsor, Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, called…

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Church waiting on decision to determine if parishes are considered assets

HAGåTñA (GUAM)
KUAM Radio [Guam]

April 16, 2021

By Nestor Licanto

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Another motion hearing was heard today in Guam District court in the long-running clergy sex abuse civil case.

The church first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019. It was forced to sell off assets such as the former Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona to help pay for more than 200 claims filed against local Catholic clergy for alleged abuse that dates back decades. Today Archdiocese of Agana Attorney Ford El-Saesser argued to exclude other church assets from any claims settlement.

“We believe that the parishes are not part of the bankruptcy property, the bankruptcy estate as it’s called, and I think you’ve all heard the arguments and reported on them,” he said. “So I don’t really want to get into a discussion especially since while we’re really just waiting on the judge’s decision. And we’ll be able to answer the questions then, thanks.”

The church has been in…

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‘It just doesn’t make sense’: Ex-bishop who failed to report misconduct to lead 2 parishes

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer / cincinnati.com

April 15, 2021

By Dan Horn

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A Cincinnati bishop who resigned after failing to report misconduct accusations involving a priest he supervised will soon get a new job as pastor of two parishes.

The Rev. Joseph Binzer, who resigned as the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s auxiliary bishop more than a year ago, is set to take over as pastor on July 1 at Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann parishes in Springfield Township north of Cincinnati.

Some parishioners and lay Catholic groups are outraged by the move, saying Binzer can’t be trusted to lead families or to protect children at the two parishes.

“It feels like the archdiocese is slapping us in the face,” said Teresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann, a leader of Concerned Catholics Cincinnati. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Binzer resigned his post as auxiliary bishop in 2019 after acknowledging he failed to report accusations of inappropriate behavior with children involving the Rev. Geoff Drew, who…

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April 15, 2021

David Morrer

Franciscan priest from Cambria County appears in Ohio court on rape charges

(OH)
WJAC-TV [Jamestown PA]

April 14, 2021

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[Photo above: Former Franciscan friar David Morrier, accused of raping a student in Ohio.]

A former friar from the Franciscans of St. Francis in Loretto, who authorities say is accused of raping a student in Ohio, pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.

David Morrier pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual battery and was released with no bail during his arraignment Wednesday in Steubenville, Ohio according to 6 News’ sister station WTOV9.

The incident allegedly occurred at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The victim was a student at the time when the crime took place between 2010 to 2013, but only came to light a few years ago.

The prosecutor in this case, Jane Hanlin, says Morrier used his position as a counselor with the victim to make her believe that engaging in sexual activity with him would help with the mental health issues she was having.

The Franciscan Friars Third…

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France’s top court clear Cardinal Barbarin in abuse case

PARIS (FRANCE)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

April 14, 2021

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France’s highest court has cleared Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of charges that he covered up the sexual abuse of children by another priest.

After a yearslong legal saga, on Wednesday French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was cleared of charges of covering up the abuse of minors.

Agreeing with a verdict from a court of appeal, the Court of Cassation’s ruling has brought an end to the legal procedure against Barbarin and will prevent further cases from being filed.

Barbarin, 70, had been accused of shielding the now-defrocked priest, Bernard Preynat, who has acknowledged abusing more than 75 boys over a period of decades.

What did the court say about the case?

The case once against brought the Roman Catholic Church under scrutiny for how it deals with pedophile priests.

The court ruled that Barbarin was not obliged to report the abuse as the victims had reached adulthood and were socially integrated, without illness or…

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Former Crookston bishop apologizes for failures in governance

CROOKSTON (MN)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 14, 2021

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Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who has resigned as Bishop of Crookston after being accused of mishandling cases of priests accused of sexual misconduct, apologized Tuesday for his failures at governing the diocese.

“The Church describes the ministry of a diocesan bishop as teaching, sanctifying and governing. It has been a joy and a blessing for me to have served as your bishop for the past 13+ years. I apologize to you, as I have apologized to our Holy Father, for my failures in governing as bishop,” Bishop Hoeppner wrote in an April 13 letter to the faithful of the Diocese of Crookston.

The resignation of Bishop Hoeppner had been accepted earlier that day.

Bishop Hoeppner, 71, was the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis’ 2019 norms on investigating bishops accused of mishandling or obstructing allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

The bishop is reported to have…

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‘We are outraged’: Parents object to new assignment for Cincinnati bishop who failed to report Father Drew allegation

CINCINNATI (OH)
Fox19-TV [Cincinnati OH]

April 14, 2021

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

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Parents of young children at a private Catholic school say they are infuriated and may withdraw their students after the Archdiocese of Cincinnati assigned a former high-ranking bishop who resigned in the fallout over a priest charged with raping an altar boy to be the pastor at two churches affiliated with their school.

“We are outraged. We are being ignored and our children’s safety is not being considered at all,” said Kim McRoberts, whose 11-year-old daughter is in the fifth grade at St. John The Baptist School on Dry Ridge Road in Colerain Township.

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Joseph Binzer was assigned effective July 1 to oversee Corpus Christi Catholic Church off Springdale Road in Mt. Healthy and St. John Neumann Catholic Church located on Mill Road in Springfield Township, the archdiocese confirmed to FOX19 NOW earlier this week,

Parents say those two parishes and a third one, St. John The…

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Missouri senators vow to do ‘whatever we can’ after former students describe abuse

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

April 15, 2021

By Judy L. Thomas and Laura Bauer

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Seven former students and one parent traveled from across the country to testify Wednesday before a Missouri Senate committee about abuse inside Missouri’s Christian boarding schools.

After hearing about years of abuse, Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, lashed out at the owners and staff leaders of unlicensed schools accused of abuse.

“These aren’t people of faith that are running these. These are evil monsters, and they’re counterfeits of true Christianity,” Brattin said during the 90-minute hearing. “To hear this sort of abuse, I think of Christ when he spoke of harming these little ones — it is better for them to be thrown in the deepest sea than to harm one.

“And to think that these facilities hide beneath the religious aspect of it. Government is instituted by God to be that justice arm. And we are to protect those kids no matter where they’re at. So we’ve got to do…

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Courageous Survivors Fought for Release of Key Documents and Depositions Used in Vatican Investigation of Former Bishop Michael Hoeppner

CROOKSTON (MN)
Jeff Anderson and Associates

April 13, 2021

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As stated by Jeff Anderson, the Resignation of former Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston is because of:

  • It happened because of the courage of the survivors, including Ron Vasek, who stood up and made their voices heard.
  • It happened because litigation initiated by the survivors allowed excavation of secret documents.
  • It happened because Hoeppner and top officials were forced to testify under oath.
  • It happened because the courthouse doors were open to survivors under the Minnesota Child Victims Act.
  • It happened because light brings heat and heat brings change.

(Saint Paul, MN) – A 2017 lawsuit brought by attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates on behalf of courageous survivor, Ron Vasek, resulted in the investigation and ultimate removal of former Bishop of the Crookston diocese, Michael J. Hoeppner.  Hoeppner was one of two bishops in the United States initially investigated and ultimately forced to resign under the Vatican’s ‘motu…

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Bishop Michael Hoeppner Resigns While Under Investigation for Covering Up Clergy Abuse

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

April 13, 2021

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In September of 2019, it was announced that a Minnesota bishop was placed under investigation for covering up cases of clergy abuse. Today, he resigned before the results of that investigation were made public.

We are glad that one less diocese in the US is led by a prelate who put their reputation over the protection of children. We would have preferred, however, if Catholic officials in the Vatican had moved to fire Bishop Michael Hoeppner instead of asking for his resignation. While the result is the same, we feel that a stronger message would have been sent by ousting Bishop Hoeppner instead of asking him to leave, as there is a difference in forcing someone out versus asking them to remove themselves of their own accord.

We hope that the results of the investigation will still be released and that the Vatican will not use this…

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To address ongoing decline in religious participation, Church must tell the truth, return to its central mission

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DC)
Catholic Standard [Archdiocese of Washington DC]

April 12, 2021

By Cardinal Wilton Gregory

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(This is the April 2021 “What I Have Seen and Heard” column by Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, for the Catholic Standard and Spanish-language El Pregonero newspapers and websites of the Archdiocese of Washington.)

Organized religions have experienced an obvious and steady decline in membership and active participation over the past generation. Statistical numbers from Gallup, Pew Research Center, and CARA (the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) now confirm what religious leadership has already recognized. This reality has certainly been exacerbated with the global pandemic. The impact has touched every religious community – some more intensely than others – and no faith tradition has been impervious to these changes.

The statistical studies describe declines in a number of assorted categories, which are not always identical.  Some investigations focus on a loss in formal registration numbers or religious affiliation or membership at a specific church congregation, synagogue…

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For bishops like Hoeppner and Binzer, what comes next?

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DC)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

April 14, 2021

By Ed. Condon and JD Flynn

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Bishops in the news this week point to a question important but unaddressed by the Apostolic See and U.S. Catholic leaders: What should happen next for bishops forced to leave office after failures in administrative leadership and governance? 

Should they be formally deposed? Are they expected to ride off into the sunset? Is there some role for them in the Church? Are they supposed to be “cancelled?”

The question is especially vexing for bishops who have been permitted to resign, rather than being formally removed for some clearly stated misdeeds.

Unless the Holy See addresses that question, differing sets of expectations will lead inevitably to frustration among practicing Catholics about what such bishops are doing, and how other Catholic leaders have seemed to respond.

And those problems will not soon go away.

On Tuesday, the Holy See announced the resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston, Minnesota. Hoeppner’s resignation followed…

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Bishop Who Resigned After Investigation To Preside at Own Farewell Mass

CROOKSTON (MN)
Catholic Herald [London, England]

April 14, 2021

By Christopher Altieri

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After resigning under a cloud of suspicion, the former Bishop of Crookston, Mn., Michael J. Hoeppner, will preside over his own “farewell” Mass at the cathedral on Thursday.

Pillar Catholic reported late Tuesday that the liturgy is billed as a “Mass of Thanksgiving” in a memo that went to Crookston priests, and that the Apostolic Administrator appointed for Crookston, 78-year-old Bishop Richard Pates (emeritus of Des Moines, Iowa) will concelebrate.

The statement from the Press Office of the Holy See announcing Bishop Hoeppner’s resignation gave no reason, but a statement posted to the website of the Crookston diocese on Tuesday said that Pope Francis “asked for, and has now accepted” Bishop Hoeppner’s resignation “after an extensive investigation.”

That investigation – three, in the event, or one investigation in three stages – fell to the Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Bernard Hebda, as the metropolitan archbishop in charge of the ecclesiastical province to which…

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At Vatican abuse trial, priests cast doubt on testimony of witness

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

April 15, 2021

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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Three priests associated with a minor seminary located in the Vatican testified that they neither witnessed nor were informed of suspected cases of sexual abuse occurring at the school.

Taking the stand at the Vatican City State criminal court April 14, the three priests affiliated with the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary also cast doubt on the testimony of Kamil Jarzembowski, a former student who said he witnessed “dozens” of instances of abuse at the minor seminary.

Jarzembowski, the first former student to speak publicly of abuse at the seminary, told the court March 26 he saw Father Gabriele Martinelli, who at the time was a student at the seminary, enter the dormitory room he shared with L.G., the student Martinelli is accused of abusing.

The abuse was said to have occurred between 2007 and 2012. Although both were under the age of 18 when the abuse was said to have…

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Accountability, transparency, due process still needed, abuse experts say

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

April 14, 2021

By Carol Glatz

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To help foster a wider discussion on work that still must be done to safeguard minors and vulnerable people in the Catholic Church, a canon law journal published a series of talks by experts regarding accountability, transparency and confidentiality in the handling of abuse allegations.

The talks were part of a seminar in December 2019 sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to address the topics as well as the seal of confession and the pontifical secret.

The “Periodica” journal of the faculty of canon law at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University published the talks at the end of 2020.

Among the suggestions for improvements, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, adjunct secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said more could be done in supporting the rights of victims.

Pope Francis’ “Vos estis lux mundi” provides for the first time “a universal law that states…

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Cardinal Pell’s Aquittal, One Year Later

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

April 14, 2021

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

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COMMENTARY: Since the unanimous judgment, four major developments occurred.

One of the striking sights of Holy Week 2021 was Cardinal George Pell, a head taller than most of his fellow prelates, clearly visible at the papal liturgies.

It was during Holy Week 2020 that his long criminal ordeal came to an end, freed from more than 400 days in solitary confinement, exonerated of sexual abuse by a unanimous judgment of Australia’s High Court.

In the intervening year, there have been four major developments in Cardinal Pell’s story. 

The most significant is the publication of the first volume of Prison Journal, the daily diary that Cardinal Pell wrote while incarcerated. With a spirit remarkably free of bitterness or self-pity, the cardinal recalls how his world shrank to his cell, “seven to eight metres long, more than two meters wide on the side of the opaque window.”

Confined day and night, save for…

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April 14, 2021

Former California priest arrested in RI on sex-assault charges

NEWPORT (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

April 14, 2021

By Mark Reynolds

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A former Roman Catholic priest working as a psychologist in Rhode Island was arrested Wednesday on a warrant that accuses him of sexually abusing children in California, authorities said. 

Christopher Cunningham was captured by the Rhode Island Violent Fugitive Task Force at a house in Newport, according to a news release. 

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that Cunningham had been charged with sexually assaulting four boys at two different parishes dating back more than two decades. 

He faces 12 felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, according to Gascon’s office.

“The victims were innocent children who have spent most of their lives with the trauma caused by the abuse alleged in this case,” Gascón said. “My office is committed to holding accountable anyone who abuses and takes advantage of our children, especially when they hold a position of trust.” 

Cunningham, who is accused of multiple counts of lewd…

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Former priest charged with sexually abusing children in Palmdale and Redondo Beach

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

April 14, 2021

By James Queally

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A former Catholic priest has been charged with sexually assaulting four children in Los Angeles County while serving at churches in Palmdale and Redondo Beach in the late 1990s and early 2000s, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Christopher John Cunningham, 58, was charged with 12 counts of committing lewd acts upon a minor, according to a news release issued by the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors allege that Cunningham sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy on two occasions between 1995 and 1997 while serving as a priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale. Cunningham also molested another boy at the child’s home between 1996 and 1998, according to the district attorney’s office.

After being reassigned to Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach, prosecutors say, Cunningham sexually abused a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy repeatedly between 1998 and 2001.

“The victims were innocent children who have spent most of…

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FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2019 file photo, French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin waits for the start of his trial at the Lyon courthouse, central France. France's highest court confirmed on Wednesday that the former archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, is not guilty of covering up the sexual crimes of a predator priest. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

French high court clears cardinal of abuse cover-up claims

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 14, 2021

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

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[Photo above: FILE – In this Jan. 7, 2019 file photo, French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin waits for the start of his trial at the Lyon courthouse, central France. France’s highest court confirmed on Wednesday that the former archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, is not guilty of covering up the sexual crimes of a predator priest. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)]

France’s highest court confirmed on Wednesday that the former archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, did not cover up the sexual abuse of minors by a predator priest.

The ruling by the Court of Cassation closes a long, emotional drama that brought angst to the Roman Catholic Church, under scrutiny around the world for hiding abuse by its clergy.

The Court of Cassation agreed with an appeals court that ruled the nine victims who filed suit against Barbarin some five years ago could have directly filed a complaint against the…

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French court upholds not-guilty ruling for cardinal in sex-abuse case

PARIS (FRANCE)
Reuters [London, England]

April 14, 2021

By Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Giles Elgood

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France’s highest court for civil cases, the Cour de Cassation, on Wednesday rejected an appeal against an earlier court ruling that had found Roman Catholic cardinal Philippe Barbarin not guilty of failing to report clerical sexual abuse.

Last year, an appeals court overturned a 2019 ruling against Barbarin, who was convicted of failing to report sexual abuse.

Barbarin was given a six-month suspended prison sentence in March 2019 but he denied the allegations and appealed.

A court had ruled that from July 2014 to June 2015 Barbarin covered up allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by former French Catholic priest Bernard Preynat.

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Former Franciscan University of Steubenville Friar accused of raping a student arraigned

(OH)
WTOV - Fox 9 [Steubenville OH]

April 14, 2021

By Jessica Haberley

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[VIDEO]

A former Franciscan University of Steubenville Friar accused of raping a student in the past was arraigned Wednesday morning, then released.

David Morrier entered a not guilty plea to rape and sexual battery at the Jefferson County Courthouse and was released on his own recognizance.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said because Morrier appeared voluntarily, he’s entitled by statute to be out of jail until the trial date approaches.

The alleged crimes took place from Nov. 2010 to spring 2013 — but came to light a few years ago.

The alleged victim was an undergraduate and then a graduate student at Franciscan over that course of time.

“Part of the allegations as part of the sexual battery charges is he used his position as a counselor or therapist with her to make her believe that engaging in sexual activity with him would help with the mental health issues that…

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Former Franciscan University priest is arraigned on charges of rape and sexual battery

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
WTRF-TV [Wheeling WV]

April 14, 2021

By D. K. Wright

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[VIDEO]

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – Officials say, David R. Morrier, while working as a priest at Franciscan University, allegedly convinced a student he was counseling that having sex with him was necessary for mental health treatment purposes.

The prosecution says a pattern of rape and sexual battery occurred from 2010 to 2013, until Morrier was “transferred” to Texas.

The victim reported it in 2018 to the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville.

Steubenville Police began an investigation.

The case was just presented to the Jefferson County Grand Jury, which returned indictments on one count of rape and two counts of sexual battery.

Morrier, who is out on bond while awaiting trial, appeared in court with his attorney from Cleveland.

He was cautioned to have no contact with the victim.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said it’s particularly troubling because a vulnerable young person seeking spiritual counseling should never be preyed upon and taken…

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Man Speaks Out Following Resignation Of Bishop Michael Hoeppner Of The Crookston Diocese

CROOKSTON (MN)
Valley News Live - KVLY-TV [Fargo ND]

April 13, 2021

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[VIDEO]

A Crookston man is now speaking out after Pope Francis requested the resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner following allegations of covering up sexual abuse claims involving clergy in the Crookston Diocese.

“Truthfully his resigning is a double-edged sword for me,” said Ron Vasek, the man alleging the Bishop tried to hide his sexual abuse accusations. “The good part of it is that justice was finally done.”

Vasek says he has been fighting to get his truth heard after revealing to Bishop Hoeppner his experience with sexual abuse.

“I revealed to the bishop in 2011 that I was abused by Father Grundhaus,” he said.

Vasek says he was abused by the priest back in 1971, on a special trip to Ohio.

In 2017, Vasek went public with a lawsuit bringing light to the allegations against Hoeppner.

Vasek expressed he is now relieved the truth is being revealed, but was looking…

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Minnesota bishop resigns at request of pope for covering up sexual abuse by clergy

CROOKSTON (MN)
West Central Tribune [Willmar MN]

April 13, 2021

By Hannah Shirley and David Olson

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Minnesota Bishop Michael Hoeppner has resigned at the request of the Pope, the Diocese of Crookston confirmed in a statement Tuesday morning, April 13. The Most Rev. Richard E. Pates, Bishop Emeritus of Des Moines, will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Crookston until a new bishop is designated.

Minnesota Bishop Michael Hoeppner has resigned at the request of Pope Francis following an extensive investigation into reports that the Diocese covered up reports of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

The investigation, which began in 2019, was the first time a U.S. bishop had been formally investigated under new rules implemented by the pope as the church aimed to standardize the protocol for investigating clergy sexual abuse.

The Most Rev. Richard E. Pates, bishop emeritus of Des Moines, has been tapped to serve as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Crookston until a new…

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Our view: Overdue reckoning at hand for archdiocese

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

April 13, 2021

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Completing a settlement between victims of clergy sexual abuse and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is crucial for Roman Catholics in New Mexico.

First, the people injured by an institution that allowed its priests to harm children are owed reparations. The damage to these victims is incalculable; money is the least the church can do to compensate for the sins of the past.

As many New Mexicans know too well, the church that nurtured their faith and fed their souls also turned a blind eye to repeated reports that its clergy were molesting children. Preserving the church’s reputation was all that mattered.

For decades, accused priests were moved from parish to parish despite credible accusations of abuse. To make things worse, pedophiles from across the nation were sent for treatment to a center in Jemez Springs; like so many before them, these priests were captivated by New Mexico. They remained…

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Indonesian Catholic schools move to tackle sexual abuse

(INDONESIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

April 14, 2021

By Ryan Dagur

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High-profile cases prompt educators, govt to team up to provide better protection for children from predators

A high-profile sexual abuse case in which altar boys in Depok on the outskirts of Jakarta were assaulted by a church worker was a wake-up call for Indonesia’s Catholic schools to look at ways to better protect students from such predators, according to educators.

The case — the first involving sexual abuse within the Indonesian Catholic Church brought to a civil court — saw the perpetrator, Syahril Marbun, jailed for 15 years for raping two altar boys.

“The case made us ask what can be done to ensure Catholic schools do not become places where such abuses occur,” said Franciscan Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council of Catholic Education, a coordinating forum for around 5,000 schools across the country.

Father Mbula said they did not have any official data on sexual harassment…

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Abuse commission of Church in Germany defends citing Michel Foucault

BERLIN (GERMANY)

April 13, 2021

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The abuse commission of the Catholic Church in Germany has defended its citation of French philosopher Michel Foucault in a position paper drafted earlier this year.

The spokesperson of the German bishops’ conference told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, that “Foucault’s position was cited as an example of the discussion of the relationship between sexuality and power in the philosophical field.”

“This is not an exclusive Foucault position. In the event that his work would have to be reevaluated, it will be necessary to name a different reference,” spokesman Matthias Kopp said.

The Federal Conference of Prevention Commissioners of the German Dioceses, which is made up of the abuse prevention officers of each of the German dioceses, published a position paper online last week after voting to adopt the paper in January.

The document is intended to explain the “mutual relationship between prevention of sexual violence and sex education…

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Minnesota bishop resigns at pope’s request after abuse coverup

CROOKSTON (MN)
Star Tribune [Minneapolis MN]

April 14, 2021

By Jean Hopfensperger

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Crookston cleric is first in U.S. disciplined under new Vatican policies. 

Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston resigned Tuesday after a request to step down by Pope Francis and an investigation that showed he had covered up a sex abuse allegation against a priest.

Hoeppner is the first U.S. Catholic bishop to be disciplined under new Vatican protocols for reviewing and sanctioning bishops for sex abuse or coverups. The 2019 guidelines were put in place to enforce greater accountability of bishops when there are reports of abuse by clergy under their supervision.

Hoeppner, 71, was accused of pressuring a former deacon candidate to recant his statement that he was sexually abused as a teen by the Rev. Roger Grundhaus, a popular diocesan priest. Grundhaus has denied the abuse and Hoeppner has denied he tried to cover up the abuse claim.

The Vatican authorized an…

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Letter from Most Rev. Michael Hoeppner re: Resignation

CROOKSTON (MN)
Diocese of Crookston MN

April 13, 2021

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Dear Christ’s Faithful of the Diocese of Crookston,

Pope Francis has asked for and accepted my resignation as Bishop of Crookston. My resignation comes as a result of the investigation into reports that I, “…at times, failed to observe applicable norms when presented with allegations of sexual abuse involving clergy of the Diocese of Crookston.”  The Church describes the ministry of a diocesan bishop as teaching, sanctifying and governing. It has been a joy and a blessing for me to have served as your bishop for the past 13+ years.  I apologize to you, as I have apologized to our Holy Father, for my failures in governing as bishop. 

At the same time, I hold dear the many good things and blessings that God has showered upon us these past years. I have enjoyed sharing with you the teaching of the Church in articles, presentations, and homilies. In our world…

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Kieve senses a calling to new role helping churches prevent and respond to sexual abuse

ATLANTA (GA)
Baptist News Global

April 13, 2021

By Jeff Brumley

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One of the worst mistakes a church can make in cases of clergy sexual abuse or other sexual abuse is to be unprepared for the situation, said Jay Kieve, the recently appointed abuse prevention and response advocate for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Such an error can be catastrophic to congregations and victims alike because it usually leads to further devastating blunders, said Kieve, who continues to serve as coordinator of CBF South Carolina in addition to his new role. “What we have seen over and over again from churches and other institutions is unless they have a plan and some training to do otherwise, when someone discloses abuse, the reflex is to protect the institution rather than to believe and protect the victims of abuse.”

Helping CBF congregations avoid the resulting legal, moral and spiritual consequences is Kieve’s responsibility in the new part-time position he began April 1. “CBF’s desire is to support…

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‘This is a warning’ – Hoeppner out after Vos Estis probe

CROOKSTON (MN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

April 13, 2021

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The man who says Hoeppner coerced him into recanting an abuse claim says the resignation is “a victory for all those who have been unheard for all these years, and have had to put up with the abuse by the higher-ups when they told their stories and weren’t heard.”

“It’s a victory for all those who have been abused by sinful men in the Church — a victory for the faithful people of Christ’s Church, and a victory for truth,” Ron Vasek told The Pillar Tuesday morning.

The Crookston diocese announced April 13 that “the investigation which led to the acceptance of Bishop Hoeppner’s resignation arose from reports that he had at times failed to observe applicable norms when presented with allegations of sexual abuse involving clergy of the Diocese of Crookston.”

Bishop Richard Pates will serve as the temporary apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Hoeppner became in September 2019 the first…

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Ousted Minnesota bishop will preside over ‘farewell’ Mass

CROOKSTON (MN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

April 13, 2021

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The Minnesota bishop who resigned Tuesday after an investigation into his leadership of the Diocese of Crookston will preside over a farewell Mass at the diocesan cathedral Thursday.

The Mass of Thanksgiving will serve as “farewell to Bishop Michael Hoeppner,” an April 13 memo sent to Crookston priests explained.

Bishop Richard Pates, the retired bishop who will serve as temporary administrator, will concelebrate the Mass.

Hoeppner resigned from diocesan leadership Tuesday at the request of Pope Francis, following an 18-month long investigation into his diocesan leadership, conducted under the auspices of Vos estis lux mundi, a set of norms for investigating episcopal misconduct, which were published by Pope Francis in 2019.

The investigation focused on an allegation that Hoeppner “had intentionally interfered with or avoided a canonical or civil investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to an April 13 statement from the Archdiocese of St….

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Former auxiliary bishop who mishandled abuse reports named pastor in Cincinnati archdiocese

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 13, 2021

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A Catholic bishop who resigned last year as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati amid controversy for failure to report alleged sex abuse of a boy to his archbishop and to the archdiocese’s personnel board has been named pastor of a two-church pastoral region.

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Joseph Binzer was named pastor of the Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann Pastoral Region, which includes two Catholic churches in Hamilton County, the television station Fox19 reports.

An archdiocese spokesperson said Bishop Binzer would continue his roles as the program coordinator for senior clergy services; director of Health and Hospital Ministries; and chaplain for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati.

In May 2020 the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis had accepted the then-65-year-old bishop’s resignation as an auxiliary bishop of the Cincinnati archdiocese. The statement gave no reason for the decision.

At the time, Bishop Binzer…

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April 13, 2021

Dismissals issued in civil suit

ATHENS (OH)
Herald-Star [Steubenville OH]

April 13, 2021

By Linda Harris

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ATHENS — The Diocese of Steubenville and one of its member churches have been dismissed as defendants in the civil suit filed by a woman who was impregnated by a priest before her 18th birthday.

That decision leaves Bishop Jeffrey Monforton as the only defendant in the suit, which seeks $1 million in damages for the now 19-year-old woman who maintains she was groomed by the since-defrocked priest, Henry Christopher Foxhoven, “in open view of parishioners … agents and employees of the diocese.”

Foxhoven, 47, was sentenced in Athens County to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty in November 2018 to three counts of sexual battery.

The lawsuit claims the girl, referenced in the complaint only by the initials “J.W.,” was sexually assaulted and molested by Foxhoven “on dozens of occasions,” many times on the Holy Cross church property itself.

It contends Monforton should have intervened but didn’t, choosing to stay silent even after…

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FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 10, 2008 file photo, Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston, Minn. prays during a semi-annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Baltimore. A Minnesota bishop who was investigated by the Vatican for allegedly interfering with past investigations into clergy sexual abuse has resigned. The Vatican said Tuesday, April 13, 2021 that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner and named a temporary replacement to run the dioceses. (AP Photo/ Steve Ruark, File)

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Crookston’s Bp Hoeppner after Vatican-ordered investigations

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 13, 2021

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[Photo above: In this Monday, Nov. 10, 2008 file photo, Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston, Minn. prays during a semi-annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Baltimore. A Minnesota bishop who was investigated by the Vatican for allegedly interfering with past investigations into clergy sexual abuse has resigned. The Vatican said Tuesday, April 13, 2021 that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner and named a temporary replacement to run the dioceses. (AP Photo/ Steve Ruark, File)]

Pope Francis asked a bishop in the U.S. state of Minnesota to resign after he was investigated by the Vatican for allegedly interfering with past investigations into clergy sexual abuse, officials said Tuesday.

The Vatican said Francis accepted the resignation of Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner on Tuesday and named a temporary replacement to run the diocese. Hoeppner is 71, four years shy of the…

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Minnesota bishop investigated by Vatican for alleged abuse cover-up resigns

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 13, 2021

By Joshua J. McElwee

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Pope Francis on April 13 accepted the resignation of Crookston, Minnesota, Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who had been under investigation for more than a year over allegations of mishandling cases of clergy sexual abuse.

Although the announcement in the Vatican’s daily bulletin did not say whether the move came as a result of the inquiry, a statement from the Crookston Diocese a few hours later said Francis had “asked for” Hoeppner’s resignation.

Hoeppner, aged 71, had been subject to an investigation, initially conducted by St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop Bernard Hebda, since September 2019. 

After sending an initial report to Rome that fall, Hebda was later asked by the Vatican in February 2020 to investigate further. 

The investigation of Hoeppner had followed a new procedure for bishops accused of abuse or cover-up. Outlined in the May 2019 ‘motu proprio’ Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You Are The Light Of The World”), the…

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Pope Francis asks for, accepts Bishop Hoeppner’s resignation following investigation overseen by Archbishop Hebda

SAINT PAUL (MN)
The Catholic Spirit [Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis MN]

April 13, 2021

By Maria Wiering

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Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston has resigned, the Holy See announced April 13, following an investigation pursuant to “Vos estis lux mundi” (“You are the light of the world”), a legislative document Pope Francis personally issued in May 2019.

Statements from the Diocese of Crookston and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis indicate that the resignation was requested by Pope Francis and that it “arose from reports that (Bishop Hoeppner) had at times failed to observe applicable norms when presented with allegations of sexual abuse involving clergy of the Diocese of Crookston.”

The “motu proprio” (meaning “on his (the pope’s) own initiative”) established universal procedural norms for addressing clergy sexual abuse and a means for holding bishops and other Church leaders accountable for their actions in addressing claims of abuse. In the process set forth in “Vos estis,” an investigation of a bishop is ordinarily directed by the metropolitan…

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Statement re: Resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner

CROOKSTON (MN)
Diocese of Crookston MN

April 13, 2021

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It has been announced today that, after an extensive investigation, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked for, and has now accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Crookston. The investigation which led to the acceptance of Bishop Hoeppner’s resignation arose from reports that he had at times failed to observe applicable norms when presented with allegations of sexual abuse involving clergy of the Diocese of Crookston. The investigation was conducted pursuant to the motu proprioVos estis lux mundi, which had been promulgated by the Holy Father in mid-2019. The investigation was conducted under the supervision of Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which includes the Diocese of Crookston.

At the same time that the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Hoeppner, he has also appointed the Most Rev. Richard E. Pates, Bishop Emeritus of…

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Resignations and Appointments, 13.04.2021

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Holy See Press Office [Vatican City]

April 13, 2021

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Resignation of bishop of Crookston, U.S.A., and appointment of apostolic administrator sede vacante

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Crookston, United States of America, presented by Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner, and appointed Bishop Richard Edmund Pates, emeritus of Des Moines, as apostolic administrator sede vacante of the same diocese.

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