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 1, 2021

‘They Aren’t Who You Think They Are’

BRANSON (MO)
The Dispatch [blog]

March 28, 2021

By David French and Nancy French

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The inside story of how Kanakuk—one of America’s largest Christian camps—enabled horrific abuse.

The first thing you need to know about Pete Newman is that people loved him. He has olive skin, dark hair, and thick eyebrows that generated good-natured “unibrow” teasing. Girls wanted to date him, guys wanted to be him, and children wanted to follow him.

He was a camp director at Kanakuk Kamps, one of the largest Christian camps in the world. Kanakuk is an immense operation. Since its founding in 1926, it claims to have served more than 450,000 campers. Its main campus is located outside of Branson, Missouri, but it has international reach. Every summer approximately 20,000 kids pass through its gates, and the institution is particularly prominent with the Evangelical elite. 

Newman was the camp’s rock star. A person who went to Auburn University with Newman said, memorably, “If Jesus and Pete walked into…

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Catholic Church: No evidence to support allegations against priest

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Loop [Trinidad and Tobago]

March 31, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Port of Spain said an investigation has found there to be no evidence to support or substantiate the claims made by a woman against a priest in an online video.

Earlier this month, the Catholic Church announced a probe into the claims made by the woman.

In the five-minute viral video, the woman accused the priest of misusing his office in a number of ways.

She claimed that after being unjustly fired from her job as a security guard at the church, she felt compelled to speak out. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Port of Spain said an independent investigation by a team of professionals was conducted, and a detailed report submitted.

It said the investigation has found there to be no evidence to support the woman’s claims.

The church added that it is concerned for the well-being of all persons involved and will continue to…

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RC Church: No truth to allegations against priest

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

March 31, 2021

By Laurel V. Williams

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The RC Archdiocese of Port of Spain has cleared a priest of allegations made against him by a woman.

On Tuesday, the archdiocese issued a public notice, which it shared on its social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook.

It said further to the publication of an online video making allegations against the RC priest, what it described as an independent investigation by a team of professionals had been carried out, and a detailed report submitted.

“The investigation has found there to be no evidence to support or substantiate the claims made in the video,” the notice said.

“The Church is concerned for the well-being of all people involved and will continue to provide prayerful support. Gratitude is extended to the persons who assisted in the investigations.”

A woman in a video which began circulating on social media a few weeks ago accused the priest of getting her fired “for…

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Retired Archbishop Charles Chaput tackles life’s central message in latest book: ‘Things worth dying for: Thoughts on a life worth living’

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Dialog [Diocese of Wilmington DE]

March 30, 2021

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On a practical level, retired Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said he wrote his new book, “Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living,” because his publisher was actively “trying to get me to write in my old age.”

He has three previous books — on living the Catholic faith in a post-Christian world, rediscovering the basics of the faith and living our Catholic beliefs in political life to serve the nation.

In his new 240-page work, just published by Henry Holt, he tackles life’s central questions: why we’re here, how we can “live and die meaningfully” and “the important things we Christians should be willing to die for.”

Archbishop Chaput told Catholic News Service he hopes that after reading his latest book, “anybody who is a serious Christian will take the Gospel more seriously, their lives more seriously and the world around…

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Colorado will give sex assault victims unlimited time to sue abusers

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun [Denver CO]

March 31, 2021

By Jesse Paul

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Bill headed to Polis’ desk would eliminate statute of limitations for child sex cases

Colorado will give recent and future sexual assault survivors, including those molested as children, unlimited time to sue their abusers. But a separate effort to give victims of historic abuse an opportunity to take legal action remains pending and uncertain.

State lawmakers on Tuesday sent Senate Bill 73, which would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault cases, to Gov. Jared Polis, who says he will sign the measure into law.

Legislation eliminating the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault cases has repeatedly failed in the Colorado General Assembly, including at least three times in the 15 years preceding the 2021 lawmaking term. But following a 2019 report on widespread child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado, the effort gained new steam.

“I’m truly speechless,” said state Rep. Matt Soper, a Delta…

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Funding to support abuse survivors should be ‘guaranteed’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

March 31, 2021

By Cormac McQuinn

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Reports says many survivors will need ongoing supports when State body closes down

The need for funding to support survivors of abuse to be “guaranteed” and “not voluntary” is among the recommendations for Government in a report evaluating the work of the State body set up to help them.

The findings of the review were sent to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, which has been examining the organisation.

The report outlines how Caranua did not receive any public funding for its work providing grants relating to housing, education, health and wellbeing for survivors of child abuse in church-run institutions.

Instead, it was funded by the voluntary contributions sought by the Government from religious organisations in 2009 following the publication of the Ryan report on abuse.

The report on Caranua said that the funding from congregations was provided on an “ad-hoc basis” and this approach caused “particular issues for Caranua in…

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Abuse in care Royal Commission: Churches largely back calls for redress organisation

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

March 30, 2021

By Andrew McRae

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Survivors of abuse and the network groups that support them all agree on one thing: The urgent need for an independent statutory body to oversee the redress process for victim

They want the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care to make a recommendation to the government as soon as possible and not wait for its redress recommendations due by the end of the year.

The commission in late 2020 held the first of two public hearings on redress after abuse in faith-based institutions, New Zealand’s churches and entities they control.

The first heard from survivors and the most recent, which ended on Monday, was the turn of the Salvation Army and the Anglican and Catholic Churches to respond.

What the survivor networks says

The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-Based Institutions said current processes were fatally flawed.Liz Tonks from Network of Survivors of abuse...</p>
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