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 14, 2021

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

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

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

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 13, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

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Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston, Minnesota, who was the subject of two Church investigations after he was accused of mishandling cases of priests accused of sexual misconduct.

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.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Richard Edmund Pates, bishop emeritus of Des Moines, Iowa, to lead the Crookston diocese as apostolic administrator “sede vacante” until a new bishop is named.

Hoeppner is reported to have pressured an alleged victim to drop his allegation of abuse against a priest, failed to follow mandatory reporting laws, and neglected to follow protocols designed to monitor priests accused of misconduct.

A report on the Vos estis investigation of Hoeppner was sent to Rome in late October 2019, and in February 2020,…

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Priest who served at Franciscan University of Steubenville indicted on rape allegations

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

April 12, 2021

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A Franciscan priest who once worked in campus ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville has been indicted in Ohio for the alleged rape of a female patient who was mentally or physically impaired.

On April 7, Father David Morrier, T.O.R., was indicted in Ohio by the Jefferson County Grand Jury on two charges of sexual battery and a single charge of rape. He was removed from active ministry in 2015 on unspecified sexual misconduct charges, his Franciscan province has said.

The 59-year-old priest is a mental health professional. He allegedly maintained a three-year sexual relationship with a patient the indictment described as “substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition,” the Steubenville newspaper The Herald Star reports. He allegedly falsely represented to her that sexual conduct was “necessary for mental health treatment purposes.”

An April 9 statement from the Office of the Minister Provincial of the Third Order Regular…

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Cupich: 30 years ago Cardinal Bernardin developed plan to address abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

April 12, 2021

By Mark Pattison

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When Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago developed a comprehensive plan over a two-year period, in 1991 and 1992, to address clerical sexual abuse issues in the Illinois archdiocese, he provided a copy of those procedures to all his fellow U.S. bishops at their annual meeting.

“Their response was decidedly mixed,” Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago’s current cardinal-archbishop, said in recounting these efforts by the late prelate.

“Imagine if all the bishops had taken those documents home and fully implemented them in their dioceses, how much further ahead we would be … how many children might have been spared,” he said.

Cardinal Cupich made his remarks as part of a quartet of clergy who delivered separate prerecorded messages during an April 9 session, “The Role of Faith and Faith Leaders in Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse.”

It was part of an international symposium, “Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing…

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Do you love the church but sometimes hate it? There’s a word for that feeling (and it can be beneficial)

NEW YORK (NY)
America [New York NY]

April 12, 2021

By Adam A.J. Deville

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As we passed the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a number of people reflecting on new habits they took up or things they learned when they suddenly had so much time on their hands. For my part, I found that I was able—after more than two decades of trying—to make some headway in reading the controversial and often deliberately obtuse French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. The entry for me was a rather useful portmanteau that he coined, hainamoration.

Some of Lacan’s ideas are inaccessible to all but his most devoted readers, but the literal translation of hainamoration gets at a concept that is easy to grasp: “hateloving.” This idea is surely universal. Those we love are also those we (sometimes) hate; those who love us also hate us at least some of the time. Anyone who has been married or has been a parent, sibling or friend can admit to hainamoration.

The…

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Pennsylvania AG prefers law change over constitutional amendment for sex abuse survivor

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Center Square

April 12, 2021

By Christen Smith

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said changing state law to open a civil litigation window for survivors of child sexual abuse remains legal, “sound” and “preferable” to a lengthy constitutional amendment process.

“I have long believed that going through this constitutional amendment process is nothing more than an unnecessary delay for these brave survivors who’s voices have led to this change and this global reckoning that we are seeing,” Shapiro told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “I have long maintained that it would be not only preferable for the survivors, but perfectly legal in order to just simply pass a statute.”

His comments come after the House again approved a bill that opens a two-year litigation window for survivors to sue for crimes committed against them as children. The policy came from a 2018 statewide grand jury report into allegations of rampant child sexual abuse…

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April 12, 2021

Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche communities, appears in the documentary "Summer in the Forest." (Credit: CNS photo/Abramorama.)

New book explores plague of abuse in Church’s new religious movements

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

April 12, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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[Photo above: Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, appears in the documentary “Summer in the Forest.” (Credit: CNS photo/Abramorama.)]

In 2017, the man who leads the Vatican’s office for religious congregations acknowledged in an interview that some 70 “new movements” were under investigation for the abusive behavior of their founders.

French journalist Céline Hoyeau, who covers the religion beat for the French Catholic daily La Croix, took this to heart and began investigating many of the men and women who founded new religious movements in the era before and after Second Vatican Council.

The new movements were often considered the source for a “new springtime” for the Catholic Church, amidst a crisis in vocations and a rapid secularization.

Hoyeau captured her findings in the book La Trahison des pères (The Betrayal of the Fathers, Bayard), released in late March in France.

Crux spoke with the French journalist about the book, what inspired her…

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Cincinnati bishop who quit in fallout over priest charged with raping altar boy will be pastor over 2 churches

CINCINNATI (OH)
Fox19-TV [Cincinnati OH]

April 12, 2021

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

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The second-highest ranking bishop at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who resigned in the fallout over a West Side priest charged with raping an altar boy three decades ago will be the pastor of two Hamilton County churches starting July 1.

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Joseph Binzer was assigned to oversee the “pastoral territory” of Corpus Christi Catholic Church off Springdale Road in Mt. Healthy and St. John Neumann Catholic Church located on Mill Road in Springfield Township, according to one of the church’s websites.

Bishop Binzer’s new assignment comes nearly a year after the archdiocese announced Binzer offered to resign but would remain a priest, and Pope Francis had accepted his resignation.

The archdiocese removed Bishop Binzer from overseeing priest personnel matters in Cincinnati in 2019, saying he failed to report accusations Father Geoff Drew behaved improperly with children to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the Priests’ Personnel Board.

Father…

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Former Auxiliary Bishop who Mishandled Abuse Allegations Placed In Charge of Cincinnati Parish, SNAP Responds

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

April 12, 2021

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In a tone-deaf move from Catholic officials in Cincinnati, a former auxiliary bishop who resigned his position after it was discovered he ignored allegations against an abusive priest for six years has now been reassigned to a local parish. We are outraged that a man who so failed in his duty to protect children from abuse has now been put in charge of a parish and we hope parents and parishioners will stand up against this appointment.

In May of 2020, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer resigned his position within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after mishandling the case of Fr. Geoff Drew. Bishop Binzer had been informed in 2013 of allegations that Fr. Drew was abusing children, yet he did nothing until 2019, giving the accused priest six more years of unfettered access to vulnerable children. Now, a year after he was slapped on the wrist for this flagrant violation of…

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Head of Elite Catholic School Is Fired Over Sexual Misconduct Charges

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

April 12, 2021

By Liam Stack

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The Rev. Daniel Lahart, the president of Regis High School, targeted multiple adults, including subordinates, an investigation found.

Regis High School, one of the most prominent Catholic schools in the country, said it planned to fire the Jesuit priest who serves as its president after an investigation found he had engaged in sexual misconduct involving several adults, including school employees.

The Rev. Daniel Lahart, who has been president of Regis, a prestigious all-boys school in Manhattan, since 2016, has been on administrative leave since late February, the school said in a statement. His firing will be effective April 21, the school said.

“The investigation is now coming to a close, and the board of trustees has determined, based on the findings of the third party investigator, that Fr. Lahart engaged in inappropriate and unwelcome verbal communications and physical conduct, all of a sexual nature, with adult members of the Regis…

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A Message from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

NEW YORK (NY)
Regis High School [New York NY]

April 12, 2021

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The following letter from Anthony DiNovi ’80, Chair of the Regis High School Board of Trustees, was shared via email with the Regis community on Sunday, April 11.

Dear Regis High School Community,

On February 28, 2021, we informed you that the Board of Trustees had placed our school president, Daniel Lahart, SJ, on administrative leave after learning of allegations that Fr. Lahart acted inappropriately with adult members of the Regis community, and hired a third-party investigator to fully review the matter. Over the last six weeks, the Regis community has responded as I knew it would. Our outstanding faculty has been devoted to our students, minimizing any impact on them. The students themselves have responded to the challenge, remaining focused on their academic and extracurricular activities. The administrative team has stepped up to fill any voids seamlessly. Our alumni as always have been incredibly supportive. The Regis parents have been…

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Gen Richard Mulcahy, minister for education, taoiseach John A Costello andJohn Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, at the opening of Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children Crumlin, in 1956. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

How The Irish Times exposed the Mother and Child scandal 70 years ago today

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

April 12, 2021

By Mark O'Brien

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Noel Browne leaked letters showing how the Catholic hierarchy put pressure on Cabinet

[Photo above: Gen Richard Mulcahy, minister for education, taoiseach John A Costello, and John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, at the opening of Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children Crumlin, in 1956. Photograph: Eddie Kelly]

Governmental leaks on healthcare have been much in the news lately but today, April 12th, marks the 70th anniversary of perhaps the most spectacular leak – Noel Browne’s decision to release to The Irish Times correspondence between the cabinet and the Catholic hierarchy on the ill-fated Mother and Child scheme.

The idea of offering education and free healthcare to mothers and infants became a battleground between politicians and bishops that has been interpreted as a demonstration of church power in Ireland and as an episode in which the church overplayed its hand, thus beginning its demise as a political powerhouse.

Originally part…

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Police, DA’s office clashed amid Bishop Hart investigation, documents show

CASPER (WY)
Denver Gazette

April 11, 2021

By Seth Klamann

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Wyoming police and prosecutors were repeatedly at odds over the sexual abuse investigation into retired Catholic Bishop Joseph Hart, police and prosecutor documents show, with police claiming that prosecutors hadn’t read basic case documents and prosecutors complaining about media attention and their problems with the work by police.

For 10 months between 2019 and 2020, prosecutors in Wyoming were considering whether to charge Hart, now 89. At least eight men told police that they or a relative had been the victim of sexual misconduct by him. The Cheyenne Police Department completed its 16-month investigation in August 2019, turning the case over to the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office. There it would languish for months before prosecutors decided last summer not to file charges against Hart.

Though Hart’s alleged abuse occurred decades ago, it was still open for prosecution because Wyoming has no statute of limitations. Hart, who retired in 2001…

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Woman raped by priest set to sue over Catholic Church’s response

(UNITED KINGDOM)
The Times [England]

April 11, 2021

By Emily Kent Smith

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A woman sexually abused by a priest has threatened legal action against the Catholic church after officials branded her “needy” and “manipulative”.

The abuse, and later rape, began when she was 15 and continued for years. She reported her allegations to the church in 2016 and received a settlement in 2018.

It is understood that the woman has sent a letter threatening legal action on the grounds of personal injury after alleging she was “re-traumatised” at the hands of safeguarding staff when she disclosed the abuse.

The case is against the Archdiocese of Westminster, of which Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, is head. It is understood that Nichols is named repeatedly in the letter. No personal legal liability is alleged on the part of Nichols, although the woman is critical of his role.

The woman, referred to by the codename A711, said: “I believe…

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Faith leaders: More outside investigations of misconduct needed

COLUMBUS (MS)
The Commercial Dispatch [Columbus MS]

April 11, 2021

By Isabelle Altman

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‘There are people who are walking away from the faith altogether because of their experiences’

Former church members and employees of Vibrant Church in Columbus say church officials turned a blind eye to sexual harassment by lead pastor Jason Delgado, prompting one of the employees to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“The big concern here is not just that this is alleged to be done by one person, but the fact that it was reported to the entity,” said Corky Smith, the former employee’s attorney.

But sexual harassment in church settings is an issue that affects more churches and religious institutions than Vibrant. Allegations against ministers and religious institutions have grabbed headlines in the last few years as it becomes more common for victims of harassment — or even criminal abuse — to come forward.

In 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson publicized a list…

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April 11, 2021

Former priest Sabine Griego has his first felony appearance in court after being charged in a rape case in March 2019. Photo Adolphe Pierre-Louis

Silent No More: Victim says abuse left her life in shambles

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

April 10, 2021

By Matthew Reisen

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For decades, Leigh-Anne just wanted someone, anyone, to listen.

Instead, she said, she was placed in a mental hospital, silenced and ignored until she fell into a yearslong spiral of drug addiction, self-doubt and destruction.

The 39-year-old was finally going to get her chance to confront Sabine Griego – the former priest who she says raped her repeatedly from ages 7 to 9.

But six weeks before he was to go on trial, Griego was found dead on a bathroom floor in a home near Las Vegas, New Mexico. Paramedics determined the 82-year-old had been lying there for hours, and the cause of death was listed as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“At first, I felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And then, I just got really sad,” Leigh-Anne said, choking up. “… Because I never got to stand up in front…

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St. Norbert Abbey identifies two more Norbertine priests who abused minors, including former abbot

DE PERE (WI)
Green Bay Press Gazette [Green Bay WI]

April 8, 2021

By Benita Mathew and Haley BeMiller

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St. Norbert Abbey, under pressure to deal with a history of abusive clergy, has identified two more Norbertine priests who sexually abused minors in the 1960s and ’80s.

The newly named priests include former Abbot Benjamin Mackin, who led the Catholic order in De Pere from 1982 to 1994. A review by an independent board substantiated claims that Mackin sexually assaulted minors in the 1980s while abuse by Arnold Schinkten occurred in 1962, according to a news release from the abbey Thursday.

Both men are dead. 

Mackin and Schinkten join 22 other Norbertine priests who have “substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse against them. The abbey first published its list in July 2019 after the organization Praesidium investigated files dating as far back as 1966 and found incidents of abuse from the 1940s to the 1990s.

Norbertines are part of an independent order of Catholic clergy and are different from diocesan priests.

They are based at an abbey in…

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Catholic leaders tell Harvard panel victims are ‘true north’ of anti-abuse fight

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

April 10, 2021

By John Lavenburg

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On what would have been his priest abuser’s 100th birthday, Mark J. Williams says he visited the man’s gravesite to “let it go,” forgiving him for the pain he had caused.

“I told him I had to move on. I forgave him, and I told him that I knew God still loved him,” said Williams, now a forensic psychological clinician and special advisor to Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark.

“I can’t describe to you immeasurably the freedom, the interior freedom that I experienced from letting that go.”

Williams told the story as part of a presentation at a Harvard University “Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing and Healing Child Sex Abuse” virtual symposium that took place Thursday and Friday.

Williams was one of several Catholic leaders sprinkled into different parts of the conference, accompanied by leaders of other faith denominations, scholars, advocates, and survivors. A consistent message throughout, especially from Catholic…

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Mass intention for victims of abuse to be celebrated

VENICE (FL)
Florida Catholic [Orlando FL]

April 7, 2021

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For the 14th consecutive year, during Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month (April), the Diocese of Venice will be offering Mass to pray for the victims of abuse. The Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and take place at 8 a.m., April 16, 2021, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Mass will be live-streamed, and all are welcome to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

“As Christian adults, we have a moral responsibility and are entrusted by God with the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of minors and vulnerable adults,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Diocese of Venice is steadfast in its commitment to providing a comprehensive program to protect the most vulnerable from all types of abuse while raising awareness to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.”

In 1983, recognizing the alarming rate at which children continued…

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Archbishop Lori invites parishioners to pray, learn more during Child Abuse Prevention Month

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

April 8, 2021

By George P. Matysek Jr.

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Archbishop William E. Lori is encouraging Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore to dedicate some time during National Child Abuse Prevention Month to pray for victim-survivors of abuse. At the same time, archdiocesan leaders are raising awareness about child protection through special prayer intentions at Mass, the distribution of information on child protection in parishes and an educational program in Catholic schools.

The archbishop will lead the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary for “healing and protection” from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore April 8 (see video below).

Auxiliary Bishop Adam J. Parker, a member of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and vicar general of the archdiocese, will additionally offer a noon Mass April 12 to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Mass will be livestreamed nationally on the U.S. bishops’ Facebook page…

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Pope supports multi-faith efforts to eradicate child sexual abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

April 9, 2021

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[Via Independent Catholic News]

In a message to religious leaders, scholars and experts from various fields participating in the international Symposium ‘Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse’, Pope Francis expressed his support and hope for the eradication what he described as “a profound evil.”

The three-day symposium which concludes on Saturday, was organized by Harvard University in partnership with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Catholic University of America.

In his message, the Pope expressed his trust that “by bringing together religious leaders, scholars, and experts from various fields in order to share research, clinical and pastoral experiences and best practices, the Symposium will contribute to a greater awareness of the gravity and extent of child sexual abuse and promote more effective cooperation at every level of society in eradicating this profound evil.”

Men and women of different backgrounds and histories…

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Church sets the motion to hear rape case against priest

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Cape Argus [Cape Town, South Africa]

April 11, 2021

By Bulelwa Payi

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Activist organisations have welcomed the decision by the Anglican Church to launch an investigation into allegations of rape against one of the priests.

The church announced that a tribunal would hear the case involving allegations of rape by Reverend June Major against another cleric.

This followed protests and hunger strikes by Major since 2016, demanding that a tribunal be set up to investigate the alleged rape and be allowed to serve again as a priest.

Major said she hoped that the tribunal would also look into the role of the church in protecting the alleged rapist as he continued to minister in the Diocese of Cape Town.

The alleged rape incident took place in 2002 in Makhanda (Grahamstown) while Major was at theological seminary.

The case will be heard in terms of the church law, known as canons, and will involve public sessions.

However, Major said she was told that she…

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University to change some procedures after report on composer David Haas

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

April 8, 2021

By Joe Ruff

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[Via National Catholic Reporter]

An independent investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Catholic music composer David Haas in the years he held summer music programs at St. Catherine University in St. Paul shows that some members of Haas’ Music Ministry Alive team found his conduct uncomfortable, or were aware of “general comments” about his behavior.

Some of Haas’ actions appeared to be him engaging in grooming or predatory behavior, witnesses told investigators with trainED, a division of the Lathrop GPM law firm selected by the university to conduct the investigation.

But there was no evidence that complaints of any specific incident were made to St. Catherine University or any of its employees during the time Haas conducted Music Ministry Alive camps or was present at events on campus, from 1999 to 2017, the report said.

Becky Roloff, who is president of St. Catherine, said in a March 24…

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Former campus minister at Franciscan University indicted on rape charges

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 8, 2021

By Christopher White

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A former campus minister at Franciscan University of Steubenville has been charged with rape and sexual battery against an individual with mental illness placed under his care for mental health treatment.

The charges against Third Order Franciscan Fr. David Morrier were filed on April 7 in Jefferson County, Ohio. Morrier, 59, is charged with one count of rape and two counts of sexual battery dating from November 2010 through the spring of 2013.

According to the indictment, the alleged victim’s ability “to resist or consent was substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition.” 

Morrier served as campus minister at Franciscan until 2014, which would include the time of the alleged sexual assault. 

A statement from Franciscan University said “the University has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with authorities concerning the conduct of Father David Morrier, TOR, prior to 2014.” 

“Franciscan University removed him permanently…

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#MeTooK12 Case Study: A High School Sexual Abuse Scandal

SAN JOSE (CA)
Ms. Magazine [Arlington VA]

April 10, 2021

By Kathryn Leehane

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[Includes a video of Kathryn Leehane’s four-minute testimony about abuse at Presentation School, which she gave in support of SB 1456, the Sexual Abuse-Free Education (SAFE) Act.]

I embarked upon a three-year mission to advocate for myself and the dozens of victims of childhood sexual abuse at my high school. Here’s my advice on how to confront a sexual abuse scandal at a K-12 school.

“After it was clear the board would not meet with us, I created a website, Make Pres Safe, to share the timeline of allegations of unreported abuse, support the survivors, and encourage the community to help us.” (Make Pres Safe / Facebook)

In October 2017, I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post about the sexual abuse I endured at my private, Catholic high school and how it was mishandled by the administration. Though I didn’t disclose any names, dozens of people recognized…

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April 10, 2021

Ribbons tied to the fence at St Alipius Presbytery, church and old boys school in Ballarat pay tribute to the victims and survivors of child abuse. Photo Simon O'Dwyer

‘I can move on’: $1.5 million payout to St Alipius sex abuse survivor

(AUSTRALIA)
The Age [Melbourne, Australia]

April 10, 2021

By Henrietta Cook and Chris Vedelago

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[Photo above: Ribbons tied to the fence at St Alipius Presbytery, church and old boys school in Ballarat pay tribute to the victims and survivors of child abuse. Photo Simon O’Dwyer]

A Victorian man who was sexually abused by Australia’s most prolific paedophile priest has reached a $1.5 million settlement with the Catholic Church, one of the largest payouts of its kind.

The now 58-year-old was abused by paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale as well as Christian Brothers teachers Gerald Leo Fitzgerald and Stephen Farrell while a student at St Alipius Boys’ School in Ballarat in the 1970s.

On Friday he reached a $1.5 million settlement, plus costs, with the Christian Brothers and Catholic diocese of Ballarat. He is among hundreds of survivors who have sought compensation in the wake of landmark legislation that allows victims to sue the church.

While the victim went on to have a successful career as…

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Ridsdale abuse victim wins $1.5m payout

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Associated Press [Sydney, Australia]

April 10, 2021

By Tracey Ferrier

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[Via the Canberra Times]

A Victorian man abused as a schoolboy by Catholic pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and two teachers has won a $1.5 million settlement on the eve of the matter going to trial.

It was the early 1970s when the man, who can’t be named, joined Ridsdale’s long list of child victims, a list that would ultimately carry close to 70 names.

At the time Ridsdale was a priest of the Diocese of Ballarat in regional Victoria and lived at the presbytery next to St Alipius Boys’ School.

He was also the school’s chaplain but instead of offering spiritual guidance to his young charge he inflicted unspeakable acts of sexual abuse.

The then-schoolboy was also victimised by others at St Alipius – Christian Brothers teacher Gerald Leo Fitzgerald and Stephen Farrell, who taught him in years three and five.

Now, five decades after all that abuse, the schoolboy…

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How Protestant Churches Hid Sexual Abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Southern Maryland Chronicle [Federalsburg MD]

April 8, 2021

By Wilma Williams

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Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has long had a reputation for not handling sexual abuse by its clergy in an acceptable fashion. There are articles, movies, and books that have been released concerning priests molesting children, as well as the church’s efforts to conceal the abuse. Several lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Dioceses due to knowingly putting congregants at risk for sexual abuse and failing to warn victims.

The Catholic church is not the only religious organization guilty of hiding suspected and proven sexual abuse. The Protestant church is also guilty of moving abusers to other congregations and failing to warn members of the dangers of interacting with an abuser.

How Common Is Sexual Abuse in the Protestant Church?

A recent study sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources reveals that 10% of Protestants under the age of 35 have left the church previously because they felt that sexual abuse and…

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USA Gymnastics under fire for Hall of Fame email

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
The Press-Enterprise [Riverside CA]

April 9, 2021

By Scott Reid

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A top USA Gymnastics official has threatened to remove approximately 40 former Olympians and U.S. national team members from Hall of Fame consideration if they do not contact the organization by April 15, a move described by Larry Nassar survivors as a heavy-handed attempt to punish them for speaking out about the sport’s culture of abuse.

In an email to former USA Gymnastics women’s program athletes Thursday, obtained by the Southern California News Group, Tom Koll, chairman of the organization’s women’s program committee, detailed the process for selecting the 2021 USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame class.

In the email, a follow-up to a similar April 1 email, Koll wrote: “I would respectfully ask you to reply to this email with an answer to the questions involving your willingness to be involved in the consideration process.”

At the end of the email, Koll added: “If I do not hear back from…

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How Elizabeth Loftus Changed the Meaning of Memory

IRVINE (CA)
The New Yorker

March 29, 2021

By Rachel Aviv

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The psychologist taught us that what we remember is not fixed, but her work testifying for defendants like Harvey Weinstein collides with our traumatized moment.

Elizabeth Loftus was in Argentina, giving talks about the malleability of memory, in October, 2018, when she learned that Harvey Weinstein, who had recently been indicted for rape and sexual assault, wanted to speak with her. She couldn’t figure out how to receive international calls in her hotel room, so she asked if they could talk in three days, once she was home, in California. In response, she got a series of frantic e-mails saying that the conversation couldn’t wait. But, when Weinstein finally got through, she said, “basically he just wanted to ask, ‘How can something that seems so consensual be turned into something so wrong?’ ”

Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, is the most influential female psychologist of the twentieth…

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Murder indictment returned

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
Herald-Star [Steubenville OH]

April 8, 2021

By Linda Harris

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A 36-year-old inmate at the Lorrain Correctional Institution has been indicted in connection with the July 2019 shooting death of William R. Ross III.

Shawn Deveron Brookins, formerly of Trotwood, was named by a Jefferson County grand jury Wednesday in a one-count indictment charging murder with a firearm specification. Trotwood is about 10 miles west of Dayton. Brookins had been identified by Police Chief William McCafferty as a person of interest just days after police found Ross’s body in an alley across the street from the Market Square Apartments on South Seventh Street.

McCafferty had said security cameras captured footage of a female exiting an apartment, followed by two males wearing sweatshirts pulled up over their heads before Ross, 24, staggered out of a Market Square apartment.

Grand jurors also returned a true bill against David R. Morrier, 59, a mental health professional charged with maintaining a three-year sexual relationship…

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April 9, 2021

St. Norbert Abbey adds 2 priests to abuse list

DE PERE (WI)
WLUK - Fox 11 [Green Bay WI]

April 8, 2021

By Scott Hurley

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[Photo above: Abbot Benjamin Mackin, O.Praem., who has been added to the Norbertine’s list of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors.]

Two Norbertine priests have been added to the order’s list of those with substantiated claims they abused minors.

Both Arnold Schinkten and Benjamin Mackin have died. St. Norbert Abbey says Schinkten’s abuse took place in 1962 and Mackin’s abuse in the 1980s. Mackin later became abbot, but the abbey says his abuse took place earlier.

The decision to add them to the list came as a result of information brought forward to the abbey in late 2020 and early 2021. An independent review board the abbey uses recommended they be added to the list. Abbot Dane Radecki made the final decision to add them to the list after reviewing the board’s information.

Radecki also announced a second review of the abbey’s case files. It…

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Archdiocese of Santa Fe vicar-general: Abuse settlement crucial

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

April 8, 2021

By Rick Ruggles

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A financial flood from child abuse claims is coming, says a leading priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and a settlement is the dam to prevent “devastation to parishes.”

The Rev. Glennon Jones, vicar-general, wrote in a letter this month that progress is being made in collecting donations for a bankruptcy settlement involving hundreds of allegations of abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy in the territory overseen by the archdiocese.

Jones’ letter, posted on the archdiocese’s website, gives insight into the severity of the situation and into the strategy to get out from under the dilemma.

Meanwhile, a mediator continues to work to bring the matter to a resolution.

If the bankruptcy doesn’t go through, Jones wrote, “nothing is safe from liquidations for legal costs and lawsuit settlements — churches, halls, schools. Nothing.”

James Stang, a Los Angeles attorney who represents a committee of abuse survivors in the…

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Diocese of Ogdensburg again taken to court over child sex abuse allegations

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Watertown Daily Times [Watertown NY]

April 8, 2021

By Sydney Schaefer

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The Diocese of Ogdensburg is once again being taken to court over child sex abuse claims.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents as C.C., filed suit last week in state Supreme Court in St. Lawrence County against the diocese and St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh. The suit was filed April 1.

The plaintiff is a resident of New York state, according to the complaint. It remains unclear how old the plaintiff is now, but the suit alleges the claimed actions began in 1968 when he was 4 years old.

“The allegations are that the Diocese of Ogdensburg failed to protect our client from sexual abuse,” attorney Jeffrey M. Herman, who is representing the plaintiff, said in an email statement Wednesday. “I am determined to help this brave man share his story and begin the healing process. We are a voice for victims and our sole focus is to help victims…

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‘Profound evil’ of abuse must be eradicated, Pope Francis tells symposium

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

April 8, 2021

By Carol Glatz

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[Via National Catholic Reporter]

As religious leaders, scholars, experts and abuse survivors come together online to participate in a three-day international symposium on faith, healing and prevention, Pope Francis sent a message as part of a series of opening remarks for the event.

Pope Francis hopes that by bringing together people from “various fields in order to share research, clinical and pastoral experiences and best practices, the symposium will contribute to a greater awareness of the gravity and the extent of child sexual abuse and promote more effective cooperation at every level of society in eradicating this profound evil,” said the message, sent on behalf of the pope by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

The international and interreligious virtual “Symposium on Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse” was April 8-10. Hosted by Harvard University and its Human Flourishing Program, the symposium was also…

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Vancouver archbishop called to court in sex abuse case

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Pique News Magazine [Whistler, British Columbia]

April 8, 2021

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Adam Exner previously testified in Kamloops sexual abuse case.

Former Vancouver Roman Catholic Archbishop Adam Exner will have to once more testify in B.C. Supreme Court regarding alleged church sexual abuse.

Plaintiff Mark O’Neill applied to the court to have Exner take the stand for the case in which O’Neill seeks damages for physical and sexual abuse he claims he suffered between the ages of 13 and 17 as a student at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission between 1974 and 1978.

The suit names as defendants the seminary; Westminster Abbey Ltd.; the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole; Emerick Lazar; Harold Vincent Sander aka Dom Placidus Sander; Shawn Rohrback and John Doe.

O’Neill alleges the office of the archbishop negligently failed to mitigate known risks posed by the other defendants and is vicariously liable for their conduct. 

Exner was not archbishop until the 1990s, but…

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April 8, 2021

Richard Daschbach with victim at prayer meeting with other children. Screen shot from Associated Press video.

Defrocked US priest revered in East Timor accused of abuse

(TIMOR-LESTE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 8, 2021

By Margie Mason and Robin McDowell

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[Photo above: Richard Daschbach with victim at prayer meeting with other children. Screen shot from Associated Press video. This article includes a gallery of photographs, the last of which is the important 2 1/2 minute video. The video is also available on YouTube.]

It was the same every night. A list of names was posted on the Rev. Richard Daschbach’s bedroom door. The child at the top of the roster knew it was her turn to share the lower bunk with the elderly priest and another elementary school-aged girl.

Daschbach was idolized in the remote enclave of East Timor where he lived, largely for his role in helping save lives during the tiny nation’s bloody struggle for independence. So, the girls never spoke about the abuse they suffered. They said they were afraid they would be banished from the shelter the 84-year-old from Pennsylvania established decades ago for abused…

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Local group says Catholic Church should publicly name priests accused of being predators

KANSAS CITY (MO)
WDAF-TV - Fox 4 [Kansas City MO]

April 7, 2021

By Regan Porter

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[Includes a video of David Clohessy’s statement.]

A local support group applauds the Missouri Supreme Court over a new law, but it wants more from the Catholic Church. 

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wants the bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to add four names to the list of accused clergy. 

Clohessy said the church should publicly name priests accused of being predators. The Diocese disputes some of those claims against local priests.

“Our main mission is to protect kids and kids are protected when predators are jailed,” volunteer and abuse survivor David Clohessy said. “But often that can’t happened. So the next best option is kids are safer when predators are exposed.”

Although the four men have passed away, they are “credibly accused” abusers, Clohessy said, and are not on the list.

Clohessy said in the case involving Fr. Alexander Sinclair, the church reached…

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Survivors of church abuse laud Missouri Supreme Court ruling on evidence in lawsuits

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

April 7, 2021

By Katie Moore

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[Includes a video of David Clohessy’s statement.]

Survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests lauded a Missouri Supreme Court decision that will allow some circumstantial evidence to be presented in lawsuits.

A small group of volunteers with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered Wednesday outside the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in downtown Kansas City.

“The Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling yesterday, essentially made it somewhat easier for victims to expose predators and protect kids through civil lawsuits,” said SNAP member David Clohessy. “Let’s be clear — Missouri has always been and remains a very tough state for victims to get justice in, but yesterday was progress.”

The St. Louis County case alleged that a priest associated with the Marianist Province and Chaminade College Preparatory abused a student in the early 1970s.

The high court said an expert could…

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State House OKs plan to allow sex abuse victims to sue despite statute of limitations

HARRISBURG (PA)
New Castle News [New Castle PA]

April 8, 2021

By John Finnerty

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The state House on Wednesday passed legislation that would open a window for lawsuits by survivors of childhood sex abuse without first seeking to change the Constitution.

The measure isn’t likely to move in the state Senate, where Republicans have said they think that the change to allow lawsuits can only be legally provided by amending the Constitution, a process that will take until 2023 at the earliest.

House Bill 951 passed the state House by a vote of 149-52. Unlike prior versions of the proposal, this legislation would allow survivors of abuse to sue public schools in addition to private schools and other private organizations.

Erica Wright, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland County, said there’s no indication the Senate will act on the measure any time soon.

“Last month, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a constitutional amendment giving all victims of childhood sexual abuse a two-year…

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A bird’s nest and healing: Vatican sponsors event on preventing sexual abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

April 8, 2021

By Devin Watkins

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The Vatican teams up with Harvard University to host a virtual Symposium on preventing and healing child sexual abuse, an event which grew out of a bird’s nest presented to Pope Francis, according to Jennifer Wortham.

A bird’s nest can carry a powerful message: “All children deserve a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow.”

That simple, yet important, aim lies at the heart of a global Symposium entitled “Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse.”

The 3-day, online event kicks off Thursday, and is chaired by Jennifer Wortham, Dr.PH with Harvard University. Beginning on 8 April, it marks what she hopes will someday become the World Day for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Healing, and Justice, a proposal which she is launching at the United Nations in September.

Dr. Wortham—whose own family was deeply wounded by the pain of clerical sexual…

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Former Vancouver Catholic Archbishop ordered to give evidence in old sex-abuse case

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, British Columbia]

April 7, 2021

By Keith Fraser

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A former Catholic archbishop has been ordered by a B.C. judge to give evidence in old sex-abuse case.

A former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver has been ordered by a judge to give evidence in old sex-abuse case, the second time he will have given evidence in such a case.

The case involves a man named Mark O’Neill alleging that he was physically and sexually abused when he was a student at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission. He claims that several former Benedictine priests abused him while he was between the ages of 13 and 17, with the alleged incidents occurring between 1974 and 1978.

In a court application, he sought to have Archbishop Emeritus Adam Exner, who served as Archbishop of Vancouver from 1991 to 2004, to be compelled to attend an examination for discovery, a pretrial questioning of a witness.

Exner is not himself named…

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Woelki calls for stronger law on clerical sex abuse

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

April 8, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

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The Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has called for a tightening up of Canon law on clerical sex abuse.

“Canon law on how to deal with priestly sexual abuse must be changed. It needs tightening, that is, the rulings must be made clearer and more explicit,” he said.

For example, the statute of limitations for sexualised violence must be extended and the “contradictions in canon law and in the German bishops’ conference’s guidelines on priestly sexual abuse must be eliminated”, he added. 

Woelki also criticised that in canon law, acts of abuse by priests were still merely regarded as a violation of the celibacy rule. “This is an eternal continuation of the wrong perspective,” he emphasised.

He also promised to ensure that no more files would be destroyed in his archdiocese. He had already given the order that this should be so, he said. “In doing so, however,…

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Kent Peters Statement

NEWTON (KS)
IntoAccount [Lawrence KS]

April 2, 2021

By Erin Bergen

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Into Account has received numerous reports from young women who describe grooming, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse perpetrated by Kent Peters of Newton, Kansas. Some of them reported that they were originally contacted and targeted by Peters when they were minors. The contact began at high school and collegiate sporting events and at Camp Mennoscah, where Peters was a longtime counselor and served on the board.

In the time since we have received these reports, Into Account has worked with the women to contact the organizations where Peters has had access to young women and girls, so that these organizations are aware of his patterns of behavior. These organizations are Bethel College (North Newton, Kansas), Camp Mennoscah (Murdock, Kansas),  Hesston College (Kansas), Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite Church USA, Newton High School (Kansas), Goessel High School (Kansas), and Hesston High School (Kansas). There are now several investigations underway of Peters’ treatment of…

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April 7, 2021

Richard Jangula (KFYR)

Catholic Confessions Part 2: An abuse survivor’s story

BISMARCK (ND)
KFYR [Bismarck ND]

April 6, 2021

By Hayley Boland

Read original article

[Photo above: Richard Jangula (KFYR). See the original story for an extensive video interview with Jangula.]

In January, the Attorney General’s Office released the results of an 18-month-long investigation into child sexual abuse in North Dakota’s Catholic Dioceses.

The attorney general ruled that no priests could be charged as a result of the investigation, because the statute of limitations had run out.

Statutes of limitations are put into place to keep criminal charges based on evidence that hasn’t deteriorated over time, but for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, forgetting what happened to them doesn’t come easily.

Richard Jangula, a 63-year-old North Dakotan from Zeeland, said he was 18 years old when he was sexually assaulted by a priest.

“Forgiving people is pretty easy, but forgetting is impossible,” said Jangula.

In 1979, Jangula had run into Father Gregory Patejko at the Bismarck Airport after flying home from Colorado. Patejko was the…

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St. Catherine’s inquiry backs sexual misconduct claims against composer David Hass, recommends changes

SAINT PAUL (MN)
Star Tribune [Minneapolis MN]

April 7, 2021

By Jean Hopfensperger

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University officials said they plan to strengthen sexual behavior protocols.

An investigation sponsored by St. Catherine University into its relationship with Catholic music composer David Haas, who for years held summer music programs there, confirmed that there were reports of sexual misconduct by Haas.

It also found that the school failed to mandate background checks on groups renting its facilities when Haas was there.

The investigation also found that Haas and Lori True, assistant director of Haas’ Music Ministry Alive (MMA) summer program, were aware that two of their team members faced sexual misconduct allegations: former Hawaii priest George DeCosta and Atlanta-based composer Paul Tate.

The investigative report, prepared by a legal team hired by St. Catherine’s, indicated that the Twin Cities-based Haas had an unusually privileged relationship with the St. Paul university.

For nearly 20 years at St. Catherine’s, MMA received support from a…

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Editorial: Saying sorry not enough

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Otago Daily Times [Dunedin, New Zealand]

April 7, 2021

Read original article

A day late and a dollar short.

That was the phrase used by Dr Tom Doyle, a non-practising Catholic priest to describe the church’s apology, at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care last month, to those damaged by clergy sexual abuse.

Dr Doyle has been researching this issue since the 1980s when, as a canon lawyer stationed at the Vatican embassy in Washington, he was one of the authors of a 1985 confidential report on clergy sexual abuse of minors written for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He has been involved with pastoral care and advocacy for victims and families and has also been a consultant and expert witness in civil and criminal cases in many countries. In March, he gave an extensive submission by video link to the royal commission as part of its public hearings on redress after abuse in faith-based institutions and the entities the…

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‘People should know’: Accuser speaks out as sex abuse probe of Doug Lachance reopens

ROCHESTER (NH)
Foster's Daily Democrat [Dover NH]

April 7, 2021

By Kyle Stucker

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A 37-year-old man is accusing City Councilor Doug Lachance of using alcohol, drugs and his power both as mayor and as a prominent member of a local church two decades ago to groom and sexually abuse him when he was a teenager.

Andy Brooks has come forward to Foster’s Daily Democrat with his allegations, as has another man who alleges Lachance groomed him for similar abuse and treated him inappropriately when he was a teenager. Each man says they’ve relayed their allegations against Lachance — who was also a state legislator at the time — to the Rochester Police Department and the Strafford County Attorney’s Office.

While police and county officials say they’re actively investigating sexual assault allegations brought against Lachance, 56, they declined to disclose specific details about the ongoing investigation. However, Capt. Todd Pinkham and County Attorney Tom Velardi confirmed the investigation represents the reopening of a case that began…

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Swiss-born Father Hans Küng, theologian, dies at 93

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

April 6, 2021

By Anli Serfontein

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Father Hans Küng, the prominent and sometimes controversial Swiss Catholic theologian, died peacefully in his sleep in the university town of Tübingen, Germany, where he had lived and lectured since 1960, said a spokesman for his Global Ethic Foundation. He was 93.

Father Küng was one of the most outspoken Roman Catholic theologians and one of the sharpest critics of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He had worked with and studied with Pope Benedict, then-Father Joseph Ratzinger, in Tübingen in the 1960s.

Along with Father Ratzinger, Father Küng was one of the youngest theological experts advising bishops at the Second Vatican Council in 1962-65, but not long after the council he stirred controversy with his views on papal infallibility.

Because of this he had his “missio canonica,” the license needed to teach Roman Catholic theology, withdrawn in 1979 and was no longer allowed to teach as a…

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Almost 600 Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Brooklyn Diocese under Child Victims Act

(NY)
Brooklyn Paper [Brooklyn NY]

April 6, 2021

By Kevin Dugan

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Almost 600 child sex abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church’s Diocese of Brooklyn since the passage of the state’s Child Victims Act in 2019 through the end of 2020, according to a recent analysis.

The 571 complaints filed against the Diocese, which covers Brooklyn and Queens, during the first 17 months of the act includes filings against 532 institutions under control of the religious district and 301 alleged abusers. Of those alleged abusers are 230 members of the clergy, according to a report published Tuesday by the legal firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which represents 127 plaintiffs in the two boroughs.

“To every survivor that has come forward and every survivor that does: it’s an act of courage and we’re grateful to you, knowing that you have made a difference in protecting kids in the future and in helping other survivors come forward and share…

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Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church partners to prevent exploitation of children

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle [Houston TX]

April 6, 2021

By Jamie Swinnerton

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As more and more children spend their days online, predators are doing the same. To help combat this issue, Sacred Heart Catholic Church is partnering with a Houston-based organization to train caregivers and kids on how to see the signs and prevent the next child victim.

The two-part training will begin on April 18 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 7:30 p.m. and will better prepare parents, teachers, and other caregivers to keep children safe from predators by empowering them to have conversations with their children about their online activities. The second part of the training will take place on April 25 at the same time and place and is designed to help children ages 13 to 18 keep themselves safe online.

Street Grace is a faith-based organization that started in Atlanta and expanded to Houston about two years ago. The church and the organization were paired when Street Grace…

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American priest reveals communication ‘mix-up’ about end of Vatican job

(ITALY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 6, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

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Msgr. Robert Oliver, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, said last week that due to a “mix-up,” he was not told in advance that his service on the Vatican’s safeguarding commission was ending after six years.

Oliver had been secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) since its beginning in 2014. For the two years prior, he had been promoter of justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

On March 24, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had extended the terms of 15 members of the commission for a year, adding a member, Chilean survivor of clerical sexual abuse Juan Carlos Cruz, for a term of three years. Oliver’s term as secretary was not renewed.

Oliver said in a Good Friday homily in Boston on April 2 that he had learned the news from journalists as he was boarding a plane to come…

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Site aims to help abuse survivors

PLATTSBURGH (NY)
Press-Republican [Plattsburgh NY]

April 6, 2021

By Cara Chapman

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Jeff Anderson & Associates on Tuesday launched a database they hope will aid child abuse survivors, law enforcement and fellow attorneys in their efforts to seek justice from the Catholic Church in New York State.

The virtual event featured a breakdown of statistics for all dioceses in the state, including the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Anderson said the purpose of the report was, in part, “to identify those institutions and Catholic bishops across this country who have been complicit in allowing children to have been abused and to do what we can with each survivor, one at a time, to make sure that we are doing something today to protect kids tomorrow.”

2,801 Complaints

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow more survivors to come forward, the legislature passed a bill, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that extended the window to file claims under the Child Victims Act, regardless of…

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Missouri Supreme Court keeps Chaminade clergy sex abuse case alive

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

April 6, 2021

By Maria Benevento

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The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed a decision by a lower court that First Amendment protections shield religious employers from some lawsuits in certain cases of clergy abuse.

But the court also overturned part of the lower court’s decision, saying it erred in not allowing plaintiff John Doe to bring expert testimony backing his claims of intentional failure to supervise clergy before a jury.

The case now returns to the St. Louis County Circuit Court.

The decision came in the case of John Doe 122 v. Marianist Province of the United States and Chaminade College Preparatory Inc.

According to the 6-0 Supreme Court opinion, written by Judge Paul Wilson, Doe has said Marianist Brother John Woulfe, his counselor at Chaminade about 50 years ago, sexually abused him.

Doe filed suit against the high school in 2015, alleging negligent supervision and intentional failure…

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Priest sex abuse survivor sues NMAG for allegedly withholding public records

ALAMOGORDO (NM)
Alamogordo Daily News [Alamogordo NM]

April 6, 2021

By Nicole Maxwell

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[Via Manchester News Leader]

A survivor of alleged sexual abuse when he was a child is suing the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office for allegedly withholding public records related to credibly accused Catholic priests within the Diocese of Las Cruces.

“For decades the national Catholic Church used New Mexico as a destination to hide pedophile priests, taking advantage of the unique cultural makeup of our communities, including their devoutness,” attorney Paul Linnenburger said in a news release.

“The perpetrators and those that sheltered them relied on a vast network of secrecy for too long, and survivors have suffered the consequences. New Mexico was unwillingly made the front line in the sex abuse crisis by the Catholic Church and thus far our civic leaders have thus far failed to provide the support countless survivors here need. It is long since past time for transparency and accountability, and it is sad that…

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April 6, 2021

Rev. Odo Muggli OSB (Photo by Mindy Anderson)

Catholic Confessions: A history of clergy abuse in North Dakota Part 1

BISMARCK (ND)
KFYR [Bismarck ND]

April 5, 2021

By Hayley Boland

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[Photo above: Rev. Odo Muggli OSB (Photo by Mindy Anderson)]

In January, the Attorney General’s office released the results of an 18-month long investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses.

This investigation was prompted after the Bismarck and Fargo Dioceses released a list of 53 individuals with allegations of child sexual abuse in 2019.

Of the 53 named individuals, all but two had died by the time the investigation commenced.

The two priests still living were Norman Dukart of Dickinson, and John Owens, who had moved to Minnesota but died in October 2020 while the investigation was ongoing.

Through the course of the investigation, the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office identified a third perpetrator not under the jurisdiction of the Dioceses—Odo Muggli, a priest at Assumption Abbey in Richardton.

Allegations against Norman Dukart and Odo Muggli date back to the 1970s. Ultimately,…

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The cultural disarmament of progressive Catholic bishops

(DC)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 6, 2021

By Massimo Faggioli

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Archbishop Charles Chaput, who retired as the ordinary of Philadelphia a little more than a year ago, has just published his latest book.

The 76-year-old Capuchin is one of the leading American bishops driving “culture war” Catholicism in the United States.

And, as it was with his previous publications, the rollout of this new volume was a carefully planned operation.

There were interviews with the author to announce the book’s release and endorsements from a number of U.S. religious conservatives. They included clerics, journalists, academics and Catholic media celebrities.

Things Worth Dying For is the provocative title of the archbishop’s new work. And like his earlier books — and high-profile lectures — it is part of his ecclesial leadership style and effort to put forth a very particular vision for the Church and society.

Archbishop Chaput and many of his views need to be challenged. But most liberal…

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German archbishop granted leave of absence after resignation

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

March 31, 2021

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[Via Union of Catholic Asian News]

Archbishop Hesse offered his resignation after a report on the handling of clergy sex abuse cases in Cologne Archdiocese

Pope Francis has granted Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse a leave of absence from his duties, the Hamburg Archdiocese announced March 29. The archbishop recently offered his resignation after a report on the handling of clergy sex abuse cases in Cologne Archdiocese, where he served as director of personnel and vicar general.

In the interim, Msgr. Ansgar Thim, vicar general, will handle archdiocesan administration, reported German Catholic news agency KNA.

The question as to if or when the pope will accept Archbishop Hesse’s resignation remains open. The Vatican has so far not issued any statement on the case. Pope Francis now has time to unhurriedly decide about the resignation, KNA reported.

Further information was not available, a Hamburg Archdiocese spokesman said, adding that the pope had confirmed the…

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Boston College theologian cleared of allegations and reinstated as department chair

NEWTON (MA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 5, 2021

By Christopher White

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Boston College’s theology department chairman, Professor Richard Gaillardetz, has been cleared of allegations of sexual assault against a former classmate from over three decades ago, following an independent investigation.

In a statement provided to NCR, Boston College noted that the accusations against Gaillardetz “are not only not credible but are also false,” according to the law firm of DeMoura Smith LLP, which was retained by the Jesuit-run institution to investigate the allegations.

Gaillardetz will resume his duties in the department later this month.

In February, NCR first reported that Gaillardetz, professor of Catholic systematic theology and a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, had been accused by theologian Laura Grimes in a series of YouTube videos made public in January. The allegations date back to 1987 when the two were graduate students at the University of Notre Dame.

At the time,…

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Child sex abuse lawsuit bill faces long odds in House vote

HARRISBURG (PA)
WPMT - Fox 43 [Harrisburg PA]

April 5, 2021

By Harri Leigh

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The Pennsylvania General Assembly is again discussing legislation to aid survivors of childhood sexual abuse, which again faces an uphill battle to be passed.

The goal of several different proposed measures is to create a two-year window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers, most notably Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania.

The original measure, a constitutional amendment question that would have been posed to voters during the May 2021 primary election, has faced multiple setbacks.

The Pa. Department of State failed to advertise the constitutional amendment as required, forcing it to be pulled from the ballot in May.

An attempt to keep the amendment on the ballot through an emergency process failed in the state Senate on March 22.

Going through the constitutional amendment process from the beginning will take another two years, so the legislation’s original co-sponsors, State Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) and State Rep. Jim Gregory…

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Advocates for Abuse Victims Criticize SBU Presidential Search Committee

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Word & Way [Jefferson City MO]

April 5, 2021

By Bryan Kaylor

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As Southwest Baptist University looks for a new president to the lead the school in Bolivar, Missouri, a prominent group that advocates for victims and survivors of sexual abuse criticized the school’s trustees for naming a “controversial” minister as vice chair of the search committee.

Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, a group formed in 1989 to draw attention to clergy misconduct within the Catholic Church but that now also advocates more broadly for victims of clergy sexual abuse, issued the statement criticizing SBU on Friday (April 2). SNAP’s statement argued that “a Baptist minister accused of mishandling a child sex abuse case” shouldn’t be on SBU’s presidential search committee.

The election of Mike Roy as an SBU trustee previously sparked complaints in 2020 after advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse argued he mishandled allegations against a staff member while Roy served as pastor at First Baptist Church in…

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USC to pay $1.1 billion in sex abuse settlement

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

March 29, 2021

By Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan

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[Via Norwalk Reflector]

The University of Southern California has agreed to pay more than $1.1 billion to former patients of campus gynecologist George Tyndall, the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history.

The huge sum was revealed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court as lawyers for a final group of 710 women suing the university told a judge they had settled their claims for $852 million.

USC previously agreed to pay thousands of other alumnae and students $215 million in a 2018 federal class-action settlement. A group of about 50 other cases were settled for an amount that has not been made public.
The sole full-time gynecologist at the student health clinic from 1989 until 2016, Tyndall was accused of preying on a generation of USC women. After the Los Angeles Times exposed his troubled history at the university three years ago, the 74-year-old was stripped of his medical license…

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Lawsuits mount against Waldwick schools claiming teacher stalked, abused students in ’80s

WALDWICK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

April 5, 2021

By Tom Nobile

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Lawsuits are piling up against the Waldwick school district by former students who say a high school teacher sexually abused them in the 1980s. 

Three men have come forward since November to accuse Michael Healy, a former substitute teacher and lunchroom monitor, of molesting them in bathrooms and hallways and on class trips. The abuse occurred under the nose of other school employees, the suits contend. 

The three lawsuits — the latest one filed last week in state Superior Court — place the district in an increasingly precarious legal situation, with an attorney for the three plaintiffs predicting that more alleged victims are likely to come forward. 

“My clients see these lawsuits as an opportunity to right some past wrongs,” said Madeleine Skaller, their attorney. “The abuse they endured had a very serious impact on the way that they’ve been able to live their lives.”

Efforts to reach Healy, who isn’t…

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April 5, 2021

Priests in Maynooth during the Pope’s visit to Ireland in 1979. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

The best Catholics in the world and the most oppressed people ever

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

March 20, 2021

By Derek Scally

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[Photo above: Priests in Maynooth during the Pope’s visit to Ireland in 1979. Photograph: Eddie Kelly]

An extract from Derek Scally’s new memoir, The Best Catholics in the World, explores Ireland’s self-image of ‘holy victimhood’

On the wall inside the door of my Berlin apartment hangs a bronze penal cross. About 40cm long, it has stubby arms that are distinctive to the crucifixes dating from the era of the Irish Penal Laws, a time when Ireland’s Catholic majority were subjugated by the London-backed Protestant minority.

The cross was created by Imogen Stuart. Throughout her seven-decade career, Stuart has designed penal crosses for churches around the country. She is intrigued by the form and, in time, I have grown to share her fascination, even though I felt awkward accepting the cross as a gift.

Visitors to my apartment eye it warily but, for me, it is as much crossroads as cross:…

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Wilson Torpedoes Cassilly Bill on House Floor. Was This Payback?

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
Maryland Matters [Takoma Park MD]

March 29, 2021

By Hannah Gaskill

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Following aggressive verbal attacks on one of his bills at a hearing in February, Del. CT Wilson (D-Charles) struck back at Sen. Robert G. Cassilly (R-Harford), re-referring one of Cassilly’s bills back to its House committee on Monday evening, effectively killing it.

SB 610, which would have slowed the mandated phasing-in of accessible beds for disabled individuals in hotels and lodging establishments by one year, was one of just two of Cassilly’s bills to make it out of his home chamber during the 2021 legislative session.

Wilson’s motion to refer the bill back to the House Economic Matters Committee appears to be in retaliation for Cassilly’s harsh rhetoric during a Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on the Senate version of Wilson’s bill to remove the statute of limitations for child sex abuse survivors to pursue civil suits against their abusers.

In an interview Monday night, Wilson insisted that his motion…

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Fr. Pfleger ‘forbidden’ to attend public events, activities until sexual abuse investigation is over

CHICAGO (IL)
WFLD - Fox 32 [Chicago IL]

April 3, 2021

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[Includes video report]

Fr. Michael Pfleger said he is “forbidden” to be present at “any public events or activities” until the investigation into accusations against the reverand is over. This includes any events that take place this Easter weekend.

Pfleger of St. Sabina Church on the South Side stepped aside from his duties in January after being accused of sexual abuse. 

Two brothers in their 60s said Pfleger sexually abused them in the 1970s.

In February, DCFS wrote in a letter to Pfleger that there was no evidence to support allegations accusing him of abusing two brothers in their early teens decades ago, but that it didn’t mean the claims are untrue.

The third accuser, who no longer lives in Illinois, said in the 1970s Pfleger gave him marijuana and liquor over a period of time and made an unwanted sexual advance on him when he was 18. 

“This week Cardinal Cupich sent a letter forbidding me under…

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Priests take aim at ‘outdated’ CDF on LGBT+ people

BRISTOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

March 30, 2021

By Liz Dodd and Sarah Mac Donald

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Priests and senior clergy in England and Ireland, including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, have sent messages of support to LGBT+ Catholics hurt by the wording of a recent Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) statement about blessing civil partnerships, with some expressing sorrow and anger at the congregation’s “outdated” theology.

Representatives of St Nicholas of Tolentino Roman Catholic Church in Bristol, which ministers to the LGBTQ+ community, expressed their sorrow and pain at the statement and its “poor and outdated theology”. 

Signatories including the parish priest Fr Richard McKay said the CDF’s remarks “deny LGBTQ+ people’s identity and their God-given right to grow in love, to give and receive love. We rejoice in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the genuine Christ-given love and generosity that are clearly present in our same-sex couples. Their love for one another, flowing from them into the wider community in service and…

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In Y.U. child sexual abuse case, a ‘race against time’ to get elderly witnesses on the record

NEW YORK (NY)
Forward [New York NY]

April 5, 2021

By Molly Boigon

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When Norman Lamm, the longtime leader of Yeshiva University, died last spring at the age of 92, he took his secrets to his grave.

Lamm died of natural causes while a defendant in a high-profile sexual abuse lawsuit, before he could testify and provide what the plaintiffs and their lawyer say is “significant evidence” regarding a coverup in the 1970s and 1980s at the high school affiliated with the Modern-Orthodox Yeshiva University.

Now, amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the 47 plaintiffs are trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It is vital that we be granted the opportunity to scrutinize key administrators and staff members who were in the know, before it’s too late,” said one of the plaintiffs, Mordechai Twersky, 57, in an email. “We’re determined to see this through and attain a semblance of justice for that which was done to us.”

The plaintiffs and their lawyer,…

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Rallying religious and health leaders to prevent child abuse

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Harvard Gazette - Harvard University [Cambridge MA]

April 2, 2021

By Clea Simon

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Conference organizer discusses why interdisciplinary approach is important, her own reconciliation with her faith

Preventing and healing child abuse involves more than medical care or social work. For many, particularly those whose abuse involved religious figures, it must incorporate faith as well. “Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse,” an online symposium on April 8, will bring together survivors, public health experts, and religious leaders from various traditions to explore best practices for confronting and ending such abuse as well as promoting recovery. The event, on the occasion of World Day for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Healing, and Justice, will feature the Rev. Dr. Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and is co-sponsored by the Harvard Divinity School, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the World Council of Churches, the United Nations, and the Vatican, among others. Jennifer S. Wortham, executive director of…

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Former Hanover priest sentenced for sexual abuse

WALKERTON (CANADA)
Sun Times [Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada]

March 31, 2021

By Scott Dunn

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A priest who lived in Hanover was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in jail in the Superior Court of Justice in Walkerton for sexually abusing a child.

Mervin Perera, 73, was found guilty Jan. 30 of touching a girl for a sexual purpose, after a trial in Walkerton. He appeared in person in a Walkerton courtroom but the sentencing was conducted by videoconference.

Perera has appealed the court’s decision and was released immediately after he was sentenced, his lawyer, Scott Cowan said after the hearing. Perera is governed by release terms which include non-association with the victim.

Perera served as a Roman Catholic priest for many decades, is retired and is no longer living in Hanover, Cowan said.

The trial heard evidence from the victim and her family, none of whom may be identified under a court-ordered publication ban, to protect the victim’s identity.

Sentencing submissions were made Feb. 4,…

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Newark Archdiocese let priest work after one sex abuse allegation. Now there are 2 more

NEWARK (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

April 5, 2021

By Abbott Koloff

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A newly filed lawsuit alleges that Kevin Gugliotta, a priest in the Newark Archdiocese, sexually abused a boy at a Union County parish in 2006, a few years after church officials decided he could not be punished for alleged abuse from decades earlier when he was a Boy Scout leader.

Newark Archdiocese officials have said they had no authority to punish Gugliotta after first hearing about allegations against him in 2003 because he was not yet a priest at the time of the alleged abuse, which had occurred in the 1980s.

After those 2003 allegations, Gugliotta worked another 13 years as a priest — and oversaw youth ministry at one parish, according to court documents — until archdiocesan officials removed him from ministry after his 2016 arrest on child pornography charges in Pennsylvania, where he now lives and is listed on the state’s sex offender registry.

Gugliotta, who had also served at times in…

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Tackling Sex Education and Sexual Abuse in the Egyptian-Canadian Diaspora

TORONTO (CANADA)
Egyptian Streets [Melbourne, Victoria, Australia]

April 4, 2021

By Marcus Zacharia

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On Monday 9 March 2021, a video of a man assaulting a young girl went viral. The incident occurred in the upscale Cairo neighbourhood of Maadi. The CCTV footage quickly sparked outrage within Egyptian circles, serving as a reminder of the everyday sexual violence and abuse Egyptian women and girls face.

As a trained pharmacist and community health worker serving immigrant communities in Canada, I have been closely following the many events that affect the lives of Egyptians living in Canada and America. Observing Egyptians abroad and how they interact with events around them is key to building healthier and sustainable communities that add to the mosaic of such plural societies abroad.

Egyptians abroad are not immune to the systemic issues which contribute to the rampant sexual violence in Egyptian communities. Sally Zakhari, an Egyptian-American living in Florida, USA has been battling the Coptic Orthodox Church for…

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April 4, 2021

Opinion: Readers critique The Post: Leave Catholicism out of it

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

April 2, 2021

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Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

Regarding the March 18 Style article “The father, the son and the holy Cuomo mess”:

Would The Post portray a Muslim politician of questionable morals as an imam? A Jewish politician of the same as a rabbi? I certainly hope not. But, if not, why is it acceptable to portray New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), a man accused of moral error who happens to be a Catholic, as a Catholic priest, surrounded by a halo, holding a Holy Bible and in a gesture of blessing? For what reason is the headline of the story — a play on the words with which Catholics proclaim their belief…

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Judge denies hiring ‘exorbitant’ financial advisor in church bankruptcy

HAGåTñA (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

April 3, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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A federal judge on Wednesday denied the hiring of a financial advisor, which would have cost up to $75,000 a month, in the Archdiocese of Agana’s two-year-old bankruptcy case.

The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which includes survivors of child sexual abuse by dozens of Catholic priests on Guam, filed the application to hire a financial advisor last year.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s March 31 decision denies the committee’s application to employ Ankura Consulting Group LLC as their financial advisor.

The judge said the denial is based on the same reasons stated in her April 24, 2020 order in which she reminded the parties in the bankruptcy case “that the Debtor here is not Lehman Brothers,” referring to a global financial services firm.

At the time, the judge was already inclined to deny the application, saying the debtor, or the archdiocese, “simply cannot afford it.”

“It has…

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Pope Francis celebrates a Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, in June 2020 - Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A Pope in peril: Can Francis lead his Church through crisis?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The New European

April 3, 2021

By Sophia Deboick

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His Church is assailed on all sides, its role in the modern world in question like never before. Is Pope Francis the man to meet the challenge?

[Photo above: Pope Francis celebrates a Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, in June 2020 – Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

The central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica was empty, there were no crowds in the square below. Instead, beneath the vast cavernousness of the basilica itself, a lone figure stood, the white of his papal vestments standing out starkly against the rich reds and golds of the interior.

The traditional theatre of the Urbi et Orbi Easter message had been turned on its head as Pope Francis addressed the world in the first frightening weeks of the coronavirus crisis in Europe. In Italy the death toll would top 20,000 the following day, and he had a powerful message, saying “indifference,…

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Poll finds less than half of Americans belong to religious congregation

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ-TV [Buffalo NY]

April 1, 2021

By Rob Hackford

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Membership in houses of worship, whether it’s a mosque, synagogue, or church, dropped below 50% for the first time since Gallup started polling for information.

The decline of religious membership in the United States was the subject of a new poll from Gallup this week, which, according to the survey, marked a milestone this past year.

“In many ways, it’s not surprising. It fits the pattern that we’ve seen in the last years,” said Jonathan Lawrence an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Canisius College.

“Typically, younger people don’t feel as connected to their religious organizations,” he added, compared with 58 percent of Baby Boomers and 50 percent of Generation X, those aged 41 to 56. The Gallup survey found that only 36 percent of millennials had a defined membership.

But Dr. Stan Bratton, CEO of the Network of Religious Communities, a multi-faith organization…

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Blog: Why ‘in theory’ is not enough – sexual abuse claimants and the insurance industry

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Insurance Post [United Kingdom]

April 1, 2021

By Dr. Julie Mcfarlane

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Tensions between abuse survivors and insurers have always been high. Dr Julie Macfarlane, a distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law (Emerita) at the University of Windsor and the director of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, explains why this might not be changing any time soon.

I believe insurance companies, and the lawyers who work for them, depend on failed claims for their business model. In other words, their legal defence strategy is inherently adversarial and positional, and aims to minimise or deny loss.

In the last 15 years, some insurers have recognised another important strategy – settling cases is less costly than fighting them all the way to court. Alas, this message is continuously undermined by the legal profession’s addiction to winning.

Some would say it is naïve to ever imagine an insurer embracing a genuine commitment to settlement other than in cases they know they will…

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April 3, 2021

Sanctions against Polish bishops cautiously welcomed by abuse survivors

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Crux [Denver CO]

March 31, 2021

By Pauline Guzik

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KRAKÓW, Poland – After the Vatican sanctioned two retired bishops in Poland, abuse victims say it’s a good start, but may be too little, too late.

On Tuesday, the Vatican imposed sanctions on emeritus Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz and Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź of Gdańsk. The two had been featured in the ground-breaking documentaries “Hide and Seek” (2020) and “Tell No One” (2019) by the Sekielski Brothers.

The filmmakers documented how, for years the bishops ignored sexual abuse by the clergy in their dioceses, refusing to help victims or even properly investigate accusations.

Both retired prelates have now been ordered to live outside their former dioceses and are forbidden to participate in public religious celebrations or lay meetings.

They are also required to pay an “appropriate amount from personal funds” to the St. Joseph Foundation, an institute established by the Polish Church to help victims of ecclesial sexual abuse.

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Vatican statistics show continued growth in number of Catholics worldwide

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

March 26, 2021

By Carol Glatz

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The number of Catholics and permanent deacons in the world has shown steady growth, while the number of religious men and women continued to decrease, according to Vatican statistics.

At the end of 2019, the worldwide Catholic population exceeded 1.34 billion, which continued to be about 17.7% of the world’s population, said an article published March 26 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

It marked an increase of 16 million Catholics — a 1.12% increase compared to 2018 while the world’s population grew by 1.08%.

The article contained a handful of the statistics in the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2019. It also announced the publication of the 2021 “Annuario Pontificio,” a volume containing information about every Vatican office, as well as every diocese and religious order in the world.

According to the statistical yearbook, the number of Catholics increased in…

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American Catholicism: Headed Towards a Dead End

ATLANTA (GA)
The Open Tabernacle

April 3, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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Although “nearly one-third of American adults (31.7%) say they were raised Catholic, only about one in five (20.8%) identified as Catholic” in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. “The share of adults who identify as Christians fell from 78% to just under 71%” between 2007 and 2014. But “within Christianity the greatest net losses, by far, have been experienced by Catholics,” according to the “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” study.

The survey also showed that – since 34% of Catholics were Latino and 8% Black, Asian or other – the number of white Catholics had fallen to less than 12% of the population.

An update on the “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” study was published in October 2019. “Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Hispanic population …. 47% of Hispanics described themselves as Catholic, down from 57% a decade ago,” Pew stated. This decline occurred while the U.S….

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Disgraced Palmerston North bishop’s future lies with the Vatican

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

March 26, 2021

By George Heagney

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The disgraced bishop of Palmerston North, Charles Drennan, still retains his title, but must follow conditions imposed on him by the Vatican, a commission has heard.

Cardinal John Dew apologised to victims of abuse from the Catholic Church at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care on Friday and he also discussed Drennan’s resignation.

Drennan resigned as Palmerston North bishop in October 2019 after allegations involving an inappropriate relationship and harm of a young woman who was not a minor.

Drennan has not been laicised, which is the loss of clerical character but not the same as resignation, and remains a bishop, but must operate under conditions imposed by the Vatican.

“He was to move out of the diocese of Palmerston North and find accommodation outside the dioceses,” Dew said. “He is not to participate in any public ministry whatsoever.

“He is not to wear any episcopal attire or similar…

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Why is New Zealand bishop accused of sexual misconduct still a bishop?

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
La Croix International [France]

March 31, 2021

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“They (the Vatican) have all the information from the investigation. I really don’t know why he is still a bishop,” says Cardinal John Dew of Wellington

New Zealand Cardinal John Dew is wondering why former Bishop Charles Drennan of Palmerston North, who resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct with a young woman, still remains a bishop.

Pope Francis October 4 accepted Drennan’s resignation over allegations of engaging in “unacceptable behavior of a sexual nature.” The behavior was not with a minor, nor criminal.

The New Zealand Catholic Church’s independent investigation body, the National Office of Professional Standards, had already contracted a licensed investigator to undertake an investigation under the oversight of Cardinal Dew, archbishop of Wellington.

Both Bishop Drennan and the young woman participated in the independent investigation.

Cardinal Dew in answer to questions from counsel Sally McKechnie at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care pointed out that the…

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Vatican sanctions two Polish bishops for mishandling abuse cases

WARSAW (POLAND)
La Croix International [France]

March 31, 2021

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The retired archbishop of Gdansk and ousted bishop of Kalisz are banished from public events and fined for covering up sex abuse cases

The Holy See has placed sanctions on two controversial bishops in Poland following investigations that revealed both prelates badly mishandled cases of priests who sexually abused minors.

Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glódz, who led the Archdiocese of Gdansk from 2008 until his retirement last August at age 75, was charged with “negligence”.

Bishop Edward Janiak, who was appointed to the Diocese of Kalisz in 2012, was forced to resign last October. But he had already been stripped of his authority last June for mishandling numerous cases of clergy sex abuse and the diocese was put under the leadership of a temporary administrator.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference said the Holy See ordered both men to leave their former dioceses. The Vatican also informed them they could not participate in…

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April 2, 2021

Sex-Abuse Victims Duel With Boy Scouts for Right to Steer Bankruptcy

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

April 2, 2021

By Peg Brickley

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Victims of childhood sexual abuse want to offer a rival reorganization plan for the Scouts, saying they haven’t come up with a viable settlement

Victims of childhood sexual abuse are challenging the Boy Scouts of America for control of the youth group’s multibillion-dollar bankruptcy case, saying they can save scouting’s future while compensating those who have suffered from its history of abuse.

An official committee representing sex-abuse victims said that because the Boy Scouts have been unable to come up with a viable settlement offer, victims themselves should be able to float a competing chapter 11 plan.

“The committee filed this motion because abuse survivors are not fairly treated under the Boy Scouts proposed plan,” said James Stang, lawyer for the committee.

The Boy Scouts have said they need to exit chapter 11 by the end of the summer for financial reasons, but don’t have the support of victims’ groups,…

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The former St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage in Burlington where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington used to be headquartered. Seen on Thursday, November 14, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Former residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage recount horrific abuse, want day in court

BURLINGTON (VT)
VTDigger [Vermont]

April 1, 2021

By Alan Keays

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[Photo above: The former St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage in Burlington where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington used to be headquartered. Seen on Thursday, November 14, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger]

Several former residents of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington spoke of the abuse they suffered there and urged the Legislature to eliminate the statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood physical abuse.

They would also like to see the legislation go further and allow civil claims of childhood emotional abuse. 

Linda Crossman, a member of Voices of St. Joseph’s, was among the former residents who urged expanding the legislation to include emotional abuse.

“What does it hurt?” she asked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during a video hearing Thursday on bill S.99. “It hurts nobody. It can only help someone.”

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the committee chair, said Thursday the panel was still working on the…

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Victims try new tactic: writing to church employees

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

March 29, 2021

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Victims try new tactic: writing to church employees

Group finds two more local predators; total is now nine

Diocese is ‘silent’ about 1 who was ousted 2 years ago

SNAP nicknames Jeff City Bishop ‘Minimum’ McKnight

Stats: Mid-MO diocese has most abusers per parishioner

WHAT:

Holding signs, childhood photos and a large map of Boone County at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that

  • ten credibly accused predator priests are/were in Boone Co.,
  • mid-MO has the highest rate of predator priests in the state, and
  • bypassing mid-MO’s bishop, the group is writing to dozens of Boone County church staff about predator priests.

The victims will also demand that Jeff City’s Catholic bishop

  • tell the public more about a priest accused two years ago,
  • add more priests to his ‘credibly accused’ website list, and
  • post more details about all child molesting clerics, like other bishops do (like photos and work histories).

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Former Priest Calls to Reform the Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
Amanpour and Company (PBS)

March 24, 2021

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[VIDEO]

The battle to reform the Catholic Church has been plagued by a long-running sexual abuse crisis. Author, historian and journalist James Carroll argues that male dominance is the root cause of the church’s issues. His new memoir, “The Truth at the Heart of the Lie,” links his own crisis of faith as a priest to the history of the church itself. He joins Michel Martin to discuss his call for reform.

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New Zealand cardinal says church ‘ashamed and saddened’ by abuse

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 23, 2021

By Michael Otto

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Cardinal John Dew told a royal commission of inquiry that the Catholic Church in New Zealand is ashamed and saddened that people suffered abuse while in its care.

The cardinal spoke during opening statements by the Catholic Church at the second phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care’s hearing on redress in Auckland March 22.

“Our hope is that this commission will lead us and help us to be a better church — and that is a church (in which) this disgrace of abuse will be addressed, will cease, and our church will always be a church that gives life and hope. That’s our mission as a church.

“It is always to give life, the life that Christ offers us. We know that, in this, we still have much to learn.”

In preceding days, the hearing heard from representatives of the Salvation Army and the Anglican…

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Pope appoints abuse victim to top safeguarding role

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

April 1, 2021

By Christopher Lamb

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In 2018, when the Pope visited Chile, he dismissed as “slander” the allegations of Juan Carlos Cruz that a bishop had covered up abuse by Fernando Karadima. 

Cruz and two others had bravely come forward with details of abuse perpetrated against them by Karadima, then a highly-respected and powerful priest. They had faced attacks, criticism and a refusal from the church hierarchy to believe them. 

Following his Chile trip, Francis realised he had made a bad misjudgment, commissioned an investigation, and apologised to Cruz and the other survivors. 

Three years on, Cruz, an international advocate for survivors of clerical abuse, has been appointed by the Pope as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. It is quite a turnaround and comes seven years after two Chilean cardinals managed to block an earlier attempt to appoint him to the safeguarding advisory body

The reversal is…

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Judge temporarily blocks 36 clergy abuse claims, citing threat to Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy case

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

April 1, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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A federal bankruptcy judge has temporarily blocked three dozen Child Victims Act cases against area Catholic parishes and schools from moving forward in State Supreme Court.

The judge put the 36 cases on hold until Oct. 1, saying their advancement now would threaten the Buffalo Diocese’s bankruptcy reorganization effort.

“At a time when the vast majority of interested parties are working to find a way for the debtor to reorganize, the distraction of state court litigation for the benefit of a few will endanger the prospects of an outcome for the benefit of everyone,” said Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York in a written ruling Wednesday.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in 2020 automatically stopped 260 Child Victims Act lawsuits against the diocese from advancing in state courts. Catholic parishes, schools and other entities that are separate nonprofit corporations…

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April 1, 2021

Billy Dinkel is pictured Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, on land he owns near Long Prairie. -- Dave Schwartz, Dschwartz@stcloudtimes.com

Is this the year Minnesota gets rid of the statute of limitations on sexual assault?

ST. CLOUD (MN)
Saint Cloud Times [Saint Cloud MN]

March 31, 2021

By Nora G. Hertel

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[Photo above: Billy Dinkel is pictured here Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, on land he owns near Long Prairie. – Dave Schwartz, Dschwartz@stcloudtimes.com]

People who commit sexual assault will be at risk of criminal charges for the rest of their lives if a bill to eliminate Minnesota’s statute of limitations on rape and other sex crimes gets enough support in the Legislature. 

William Dinkel, a survivor of child sexual abuse and a Long Prairie native, has advocated for the policy. 

A law change will send a message to victims that the justice system and the government care about them and want justice, Dinkel said Tuesday.

“It also sends a message to abusers: ‘We’re not going to take this anymore. Sexual abuse is as important as murder. And we’re going to find out who you are and we’re going to come after you. We’re going to listen to victims and we’re going to come after…

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