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December 31, 2020

[Opinion] Add racism to church's sex-abuse scandals

Duluth News Tribune

December 13, 2020

By David McGrath

“Too often the Catholic Church uses Native American communities to hide pedophile priests,” Phoenix attorney Robert Pastor said.

Environmental racism was a term coined to describe historical tendencies in the U.S. to store toxic waste on Native American reservations or build pollution-spewing incinerators in Latino or African-American neighborhoods.

An analogous term may now be required for the Catholic Church’s systematic dumping of sexually abusive priests into minority communities: Racist diocesan exile? Clergy abuse racism?

That’s because, as more information has been extracted through recent lawsuits against dioceses and investigations of abusive priests, it has become clear that the church often banished sex offenders to minority parishes as a way of burying them.

“It is amazing the number of priests whose assignment histories show them lasting a year or so at parish after parish until they get to an under-resourced, minority area, where, miraculously, they stay for a decade or more,” wrote Josh Peck, an attorney with Jeffrey Anderson & Associates, which has represented thousands of abuse victims.

Retired priest, religion teacher accused of sexual relationship with teenager in 1977


December 30, 2020

By Kelly Wiley

A retired Jacksonville priest and former religion teacher is under investigation over allegations he was in a sexual relationship with a teenager in 1977, police reports show.

Father David Terrence Morgan, or Father Terry Morgan, was a 27-year-old religion teacher at Bishop Kenny High School at the time. The priest is accused of having a sexual relationship with the 17- or 18-year-old, lasting two to three months.

The victim, now in their 60s, told police they were never forced to have sex. The victim also told police they had no intention of pursuing criminal charges and knows the incident is past the statute of limitations.

The allegations were brought to the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office in September 2020. The person or entity that brought the charges to police was contacted by the victim in August. That person or entity was not named.

SC’s Catholic Bishop Guglielmone to seek resignation Wednesday on 75th birthday

The Post and Courier

December 29, 2020

By Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr.


Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, who presides over the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, will seek resignation from the position this week.

As required by the Vatican, Guglielmone will submit a letter of resignation to Pope Francis on Wednesday, which is Guglielmone’s 75th birthday, the diocese said on Monday. ...

... His final year as South Carolina’s top Roman Catholic clergyman including fending off a legal challenge. A lawsuit filed last year in New York alleged Guglielmone sexually abused an 8-year-old boy while serving as a pastor in the late 1970s at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville.

Guglielmone denied those accusations and said earlier this month the Vatican cleared him of wrongdoing. He said the Roman Catholic Church headquarters had sent him a letter stating it had determined the sexual abuse allegation against Guglielmone “has no semblance of truth and is thus unfounded.”

Notorious Catholic Priest Dies in Missouri [Press Statement]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

December 30, 2020

A Catholic clergyman from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph who faced multiple lawsuits for child sexual abuse has died. We hope that the news of his passing will bring comfort to the many people he irreparably harmed and will encourage other still-silent and suffering victims to come forward and get the help they need.

In addition to having been sued many times, Fr. Michael Tierney is also on the Diocesan list of clergy with “substantiated abuse allegations.” The entry for the priest on the list notes that a “canonical trial decreed guilt in multiple cases.”

Despite the fact that Catholic officials in Kansas City were notified of allegations against Fr. Tierney at least as early as 2008, the priest was only permanently removed from ministry in 2011. Sadly, this pattern of Diocesan delay and inaction is likely what allowed Fr. Tierney to hurt so many in the first place.

'Catholic Eton' Ampleforth College in Yorkshire may be forced to close if ban on new students is not lifted, says head

Yorkshire Post

December 30, 2020

By Robyn Vinter


The head of a prestigious independent school in North Yorkshire has criticised a ban on accepting new students issued by the Government last month, warning that it may be forced to close.

Ampleforth College was told by the Department for Education in November that it could no longer accept new pupils due to “very serious” safeguarding failures uncovered during an inspection in September.

Robin Dyer, the head of the Catholic school, said the institution had come a long way in a short amount of time, but the restriction order, which came into place yesterday, made it more difficult to make improvements and could mean that the school closed.

Speaking on Times Radio yesterday, he said: “If you’re denied the fee income that independent schools rely on, you can’t survive.

Dublin archbishop who helped Ireland heal from abuse retires

Associated Press

December 29, 2020

Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who worked to rebuild the Roman Catholic Church’s credibility in Ireland after it was shattered by decades of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up.

Martin turned 75 earlier this year, the mandatory retirement age for bishops. Francis named Bishop Dermot Farrell, 66, the head of the Ossory diocese in eastern Ireland, as Martin’s replacement.

Deeply Catholic Ireland has had one of the world’s worst records of clergy sex abuse, crimes that were revealed to its 4.8 million people over the past decade by a series of government-mandated inquiries. The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped and molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools while bishops worked to protect the predators and the Irish church’s reputation.

Pope names Ossory bishop to head Dublin, Ireland's largest diocese

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

By Sarah Mac Donald

Pope Francis has chosen Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's successor in Dublin.

The appointment is one of the most significant in the Irish church, involving oversight of the largest and most secular Irish diocese with up to 1 million Catholics.

Farrell, 66, a former president of the national seminary in Maynooth, has a range of experience in administration, pastoral ministry and seminary formation. He was elected finance secretary of the Irish bishops' conference in March 2019.

Pope Francis appoints Bishop Dermot Farrell as head of Dublin archdiocese

Catholic News Agency

December 29, 2020
By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis Tuesday named theologian Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory, Ireland, as the next archbishop of Dublin.

Farrell, 66, takes over leadership of the metropolitan archdiocese from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, whose resignation was accepted by the pope Dec. 29.

Martin, who turned 75 in April, led the large Irish archdiocese since 2003 as coadjutor archbishop, and since 2004 as archbishop.

He was archbishop during Ireland’s sexual abuse crisis, including the 2009 release of the Murphy Report, the result of a three-year investigation into the abuse scandal in the Dublin archdiocese, which implicated some of Martin’s predecessors in cover up of abuse by priests.

Incoming Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell faces daunting job

Irish Times

December 29, 2020

By Patsy McGarry

Current Bishop of Ossory will oversee archdiocese in which half of priests are over 70

The announcement that Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell (66) is to be the new Archbishop of Dublin will come as no great surprise to many priests in the archdiocese, as his name has always been among the front runners since Archbishop Diarmuid Martin made clear his intention to retire on reaching 75 last April. ...

... Probably his most uncomfortable period was in 2002 when it emerged in this newspaper on May 8th 2002 that his predecessor as president at Maynooth Msgr Micheál Ledwith was then lecturing with a new age cult on the US west coast following his sudden resignation as president at Maynooth in 1994 in circumstances unexplained up to then by Catholic Church authorities and despite persistent media queries.

Then on May 31st 2002, responding to a series of questions from this newspaper, Msgr Farrell as president at Maynooth and the seminary’s 17 Bishop trustees issued a statement confirming that, prior to his resignation from office in 1994, child sexual abuse allegations had been made against Msgr Ledwith, which he denied.

It emerged later that Msgr Ledwith had agreed a confidential financial settlement with his accuser, without admission of liability.

As a priest of Ferns diocese, Msgr Ledwith was also investigated by the Ferns inquiry, which published its report in October 2005.

Due to the confidentiality clause it was unable to make specific findings in the alleged abuse case but it did repeat the various abuse allegations against the then still Msgr Lediwth, laicised by the Catholic Church in 2005.

DA's report details allegations against New Bedford priest; attorney calls it 'mistaken identity'

Standard Times

December 29, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

An investigative report from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and Daniel Lacroix’s attorney have shed some light on sexual misconduct allegations against an area priest who was permanently removed from the ministry in November.

In a letter that was read during a Mass at Lacroix’s former parish, St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Illinois Street, Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha said allegations against Lacroix were determined to be credible by a ministerial review board.

In a statement Thursday, the diocese said Lacroix was removed "because of conduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Fall River Diocese and the U.S. Bishops' Charter for The Protection of Children and Young People."

Da Cunha made the decision to remove Lacroix from ministry himself after his own review of the evidence revealed in an investigation of the allegations, according to the diocese.

December 30, 2020

Coronavirus, elections, and McCarrick dominate 2020 in U.S.


December 30, 2020

By John Lavenburg

2020 in the United States, like the rest of the world, will always be synonymous with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s taken over 330,000 American lives to date, put millions out of work and single-handedly changed the way society lives and communicates.

That is, however, only one chapter in the story of the American Catholic Church in 2020.

Here’s a look at 2020 for the American Catholic Church through the pandemic, election of Joe Biden as the second Catholic president, and the unprecedented report from the Holy See on laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rise through the American episcopacy.

As deadline nears, adults flood Arizona courts with lawsuits alleging childhood sex abuse

Arizona Republic

December 30, 2020

By Lauren Castle

Hundreds of civil lawsuits by people who allege they suffered abuse as children are being filed in Arizona's courts as a year-end deadline looms for them to seek justice.

Many of those filing are listed in court documents simply as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe.”

They have filed civil complaints against priests, teachers, volunteers, the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boy Scout councils, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other institutions.

The Arizona Child Victims Act allows survivors of sex abuse to sue their perpetrators and organizations that allowed the incident to happen. The act, passed by lawmakers in 2019, raised the statute of limitations for a civil claim to the age of 30 from the previous age of 20. Survivors who are 30 or older have until Dec. 31 to file a claim.

Former KC priest who was the subject of multiple child sexual abuse lawsuits has died

Kansas City Star

December 30, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

A former Kansas City-area priest whom the diocese named in 2019 on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors has died.

The Rev. Michael Tierney, 76, died on Dec. 15. A private memorial service was held Monday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit, according to his obituary.

Tierney had been the subject of multiple civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors. In 2011, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph removed him from all pastoral assignments. He was never prosecuted, but the diocese’s list of more than two dozen credibly accused priests says that a canonical trial “decreed guilt in multiple cases.”

Born in 1944 and ordained in 1969, Tierney served in Kansas City and St. Joseph parishes. His last posting was at Christ the King in Kansas City, where he worked until diocesan officials removed him in June 2011.

Tierney repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The first lawsuit, filed in 2010, alleged that Tierney abused a 13-year-old in the 1970s. The plaintiff alleged that Tierney had asked him to move furniture at the priest’s mother’s house and then fondled and groped him.

A lawsuit filed in late 2011 — the fifth to be filed against Tierney — accused him of sexually abusing an altar boy at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. It also alleged that Tierney took the plaintiff and another boy to Lake Viking near Cameron, Mo.

The lawsuit said that Tierney and Monsignor Thomas J. O’Brien provided alcohol to a group of boys at the lake house and that some boys became “inebriated or high to the point of insensibility.” O’Brien, who died in 2013, had been named as a defendant in more than two dozen sexual abuse lawsuits.

Tierney was among 12 current or former priests named in a 47-plaintiff case that the diocese settled for $10 million in 2008.

He also was one of the priests covered in a $10 million settlement agreement the diocese made with plaintiffs in 2014. That settlement covered 32 lawsuits filed from September 2010 through February 2014. Those lawsuits involved 14 current and former priests in allegations of sexual abuse covering three decades.

German nuns were paid to 'drag' children to be sexually abused by predatory Catholic priests, court documents allege

The Insider (blog)

December 29, 2020

By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz

- German nuns aided in the abuse of children by priests in the 1960s and 1970s, according to recently released court documents.

- A victim testified that he was abused more than 1,000 times by clergy after nuns dragged him to the home of predators, Deutsche Welle reported.

- The victim alleged some of the nuns received money for acting like "pimps," Der Spiegel reported.

German nuns in the city of Speyer received money for luring children to predatory priests who sexually abused them, local media reported from recently released court documents.

One victim, Karl Haucke, filed a court case seeking compensation from the Catholic church and alleging more than 1,000 instances of abuse over the 10 years he lived at a now-shuttered children's home, Deutsche Welle reported.

Head of German bishops, self-described conservative, calls for change

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

In a wide-ranging interview, the head of the German bishops' conference called for far-reaching changes to the Catholic Church and criticized the Vatican's treatment of the church in his country.

"I would describe myself as conservative because I love this church and enjoy devoting my life and my strength to it. But I want it to change," Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing told the magazine Herder Korrespondenz. His remarks were reported by the German Catholic news agency KNA.

Among other things, Bätzing suggested changing church teaching on LGBTQ rights. The Catholic Church says gay sex is "intrinsically disordered," but LGBTQ people are to be treated with "respect, compassion and sensitivity" and without discrimination.

[Opinion] New year and many old issues: Catholic storylines journalists need to keep an eye on in 2021

GetReligion (blog)

December 29, 2020

By Clemente Lisi

I am not a very good prognosticator. Yet this is the time of year that forces many journalists to do just that.

What will 2021 bring? That’s the big question following a 2020 that will forever remain a year where the world was held hostage by a pandemic. It was also a year where we had a combative presidential election and a reawakened social justice movement that brought our divided politics out into our streets. Could any of us have accurately predicted what 2020 would have been like? I don’t think so.

That hasn’t stopped many from trying to predict what next year will be like. The vaccine could bring with it prosperity and freedom again, but a new strain of the virus has forced much of Europe into lockdown once again. A lot of what 2021 will look like — in terms of religion and faith — will depend on the virus and how politicians choose to handle it.

Please explain $2bn, bishops ask Pope Francis

The Australian

December 30, 2020

By Dennis Shanahan

Australia’s Catholic bishops are working on a direct request to the Pope to investigate and explain how $2.3bn was transferred from the Vatican City to Australia over six years without their knowledge.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is considering the request after they were “astonished at the scale of the transfers” from the Holy See’s secretariat of state between 2014 and this year.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told The Australian on Tuesday that no Australian Catholic, diocese, charity, religious order or church entity had received any of the money.

COVID-19 caused problems for German church, but other issues arose in 2020

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

Most people looking back at 2020 will mainly see the coronavirus pandemic, but the Catholic Church in Germany was rattled by a number of other issues as well, from the impact of the sexual abuse scandal to the debates surrounding the Synodal Path that reverberated beyond Germany's borders and triggered interventions from Rome.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported it has been a demanding year for the president of the German bishops' conference, Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing. Since his election in March, the coronavirus has severely curtailed church life, including an Easter without public religious services and accusations that the churches submitted too readily to the state-imposed lockdown — to the extent that even the dying were abandoned. During the second lockdown, church services were spared, subject to conditions.

December 29, 2020

Boarding schools fleeing abuse claims in other states find ‘Promised Land’ in Missouri

Kansas City Star

December 27, 2020

By Laura Bauer and July L. Thomas

Aaron Rother was 16 when the leader of his boarding school announced they were packing up and moving again, to their third state in a little more than a year.

But this time, in the mid-1990s, Agape Boarding School was moving away from the “nonbelievers” in Washington and California and heading east. To a place with “good Christian people,” no government scrutiny and where leaders could feel free to run their school the way they saw fit.

“It was the feeling like we were going to the Promised Land,” said Rother, whose father dropped him off at Agape in Othello, Washington, when he was 15. “Kind of like, ‘This is where the Christians can go to not be messed with.’

Former Cape pastor indicted on rape, assault and battery charges

Cape Cod Times

December 14, 2020

By Jessica Hill

A grand jury returned indictments against a former Cape pastor on Friday, with multiple counts of rape and assault and battery.

The Rev. Mark Hession was indicted out of Barnstable Superior Court on two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery on a child less than 14 and one count of intimidation of a witness, a superior court official confirmed Monday.

Hession was previously pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville from 2000 to 2014 and also served at St. Joan of Arc Church in Orleans. In 2009, he delivered the homily at the funeral for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Attorneys for alleged church sex abuse victim ask court to unseal deposition of accused priest

WVUE-TV, Channel 8

December 28, 2020

By Kimberly Curth

In a recently filed motion, attorneys for an alleged church sex abuse victim say former priest Lawrence Hecker “is still very much alive, vibrant, lives alone, and is a danger to young boys until he draws his final breath.”

As part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ ongoing federal bankruptcy case, plaintiff’s attorneys are now asking the court to unseal Hecker’s deposition as well as related documents.

“In America, there is a presumption that things should be open in a courtroom, so, what is a compelling reason for this not to be released is a question the judge is going to have to answer. So, the church has to come up with a reason, which I’m struggling with, as to why this should not be released,” said Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Hecker was on the church’s 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse. On March 3, 2020, we tracked him down.

Allegations Of Abuse Within The Convent Walls


December 28, 2020

By Jessica Blank

Four former nuns shared their story of their time in the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate religious order.

Religious orders are supposed to provide spiritual guidance to those who join. But some of the women who entered Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) say they faced physical and emotional abuse.

Patricia Budd, one of the former nuns of SMMI, first entered in 1995 in hopes of connecting with her Catholicism. It was at her first retreat where she met the order’s U.S. delegate, Sister Theresa Kovacs.

“It was a lot of hugs. There was a lot of encouragement,” Budd told HuffPost. “They would listen to you, and you felt really important, and you felt like you’re valued.” But soon after she joined, Budd and the other nuns realized things were not as they seemed.

“I witnessed other girls just being yelled at on a constant basis by Theresa Kovacs,” said Rose, who joined SMMI in 1995. (Three interviewees asked to only be identified by their first names.) According to Rose, a sister named Georgiana often got the brunt of Kovacs’ anger.

“It would be a torrent of the nastiest stuff you could ever say to a human being, she would say to me,” said Georgiana. “It was meant to keep people in line.”

Theresa Kovacs did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The nuns faced strict rules. They weren’t allowed to speak to each other. They weren’t allowed to go for walks outside the convent doors.

[Opinion] McCarrick report shows a church infected with unchecked clericalism

National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

By Lisa Fullam

The Vatican's report on defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick revealed sexual abuse of adults and minors by a Catholic cleric and its cover-up by church officials — more of the same pattern we've seen so often in the church, reaching to the highest levels.

How should church leadership respond? It's easy to see this as a lack of effective rules to root out bad actors. I want to suggest that instead of a legal or juridical approach to this ongoing problem, we instead take a medical metaphor for our lead. What's going on in the organism of the church?

Diagnosis starts with a thorough exam. Here our symptoms start with sexual abuse of boys and men, à la McCarrick.

But it's not just sex: Bishop Michael Bransfield lived a lavish, jet-setting lifestyle while shepherding — fleecing — his Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. He also showered cash gifts on other church leaders, including thousands to adults he allegedly harassed. As Fr. Peter Daly commented, bishops are the "spiritual heirs of the Borgias and the Medici."

Top Five Catholic Dogs that didn’t Bark in 2020


December 27, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1892 Sherlock Holmes short story “Silver Blaze,” about the disappearance of a celebrated racehorse and the murder of its trainer, the following exchange occurs.

Scotland Yard detective: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Holmes’ point was that no witness at the stables had said anything about hearing the guard dog barking, suggesting whoever stole the horse was well known to the dog and wouldn’t cause him to get worked up – in other words, it had to be an inside job.

Mormon church sued for alleged role in Boy Scouts sex abuse

Associated Press

December 28, 2020

By Terry Tang

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was hit with several lawsuits Monday for allegedly covering up decades of sexual abuse among Boy Scout troops in Arizona, marking the latest litigation before the state’s end-of-year deadline for adult victims to sue.

The church “must be held accountable in order to bring healing and closure to Mormon victims of childhood sexual abuse,” Hurley McKenna & Mertz, a law firm that focuses on church sex abuse, said in a statement.

In the seven lawsuits each representing seven different male victims, attorneys say church officials never notified authorities about abuse allegations. Public records show members of church-sponsored Boy Scout troops who were abused would tell church bishops about what they had experienced. The lawsuits allege bishops would then tell the victims to keep quiet so the church could conduct its own investigation. In the meantime, troop leaders and volunteers accused of sex abuse would be allowed to continue in their roles or be assigned to another troop, the suits said.

NCR's top 10 most read news stories of 2020

National Catholic Reporter

December 28, 2020

By Stephanie Yeagle

The biggest news story of 2020 is undoubtedly the coronavirus pandemic. One small virus has changed the way we live, learn and connect with other people, most likely for the foreseeable future. And although the coronavirus has impacted the Catholic Church in a multitude of ways, non-virus-related news also had a major impact.

The top 10 most read news stories on NCR's website for 2020 are dedicated to the topics of the coronavirus pandemic, the ever-present clerical sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the entwining of the U.S. bishops with the Republican Party, and the evolving discussion of married priests, to name a few.

These are NCR's most read — not necessarily the most important — news stories and are listed in order by the number of site visitors who read the story. You can see what NCR's most read opinion and commentary pieces were for 2020 here.

December 28, 2020

Damning decision

CBC News

December 28, 2020

By Ryan Cooke

Mount Cashel victims hope the Supreme Court of Canada holds the Roman Catholic Church responsible for years of child abuse they suffered at the orphanage in St. John's decades ago.

John Doe No. 26 places two weathered hands on his dining room table, smoothing out creases in a holiday tablecloth as he talks about the monsters of a Christmas past.

Dec. 25, 1955, was the day he put a stop to the abuse he suffered inside the hallowed walls of the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s.

For seven years, sadists in black robes and white collars desecrated so much that was innocent in the child. The abuse was physical, sexual and psychological.

Poles losing faith in once mighty Catholic Church

Agence France-Presse via France 24

December 28, 2020

Once all powerful in Poland, the Catholic Church has been under severe pressure this year -- from a series of abuse scandals and a perceived association with the country's right-wing government.

Negative media reports and documentaries have hurt its image, as has criticism from the Vatican itself.

Some Poles are even beginning to question the legacy of the late Polish pope John Paul II.

A poll published earlier this month found that only 41 percent of Poles have a positive view of the Church, a decline of 16 percentage points since March.

'Catholic Eton' apologises for failing to prevent boys being abused

Daily Mail

December 28, 2020

By Steve Doughty

Ampleforth College issues statement of 'profound regret and sorrow' after series of scandals involving perverted staff

- Ampleforth, known as the 'Catholic Eton', apologised for failure to prevent abuse
- The Roman Catholic school has been hit by a series of sexual abuse scandals
- Last month Gavin Williamson prevented the school from recruiting new pupils

England's most famous Roman Catholic school has apologised for its failure to prevent sexual abuse of pupils.

The statement of 'profound regret and sorrow' follows a ban on the admission of new children to Ampleforth College which has threatened the future of the 218 year-old school.

Ampleforth, known as the 'Catholic Eton', has been shadowed by a series of abuse scandals which culminated last month in a scathing Ofsted inspection report and an order by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson that prevented the school from recruiting new pupils.

Report documents steady, meaningful progress on safeguarding

Catholic Outlook (Diocese of Parramatta)

December 28, 2020

The presidents of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia say their annual report to the National Office for Child Safety outlines comprehensive and sustained work across Church settings.

The provision of an annual report on progress in child protection and safeguarding was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Bishops Conference and CRA adopted that recommendation. They published the Church’s third such report on Thursday 17 December.

“The annual report reflects that the Catholic community has been working hard for decades to ensure Church environments are safe, but we are constantly learning from experts within and beyond the Church how to improve our practices and protocols and, most importantly, to change the culture,” said Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Bishops Conference.

Abuse survivors speak at redress hearing

NZ Catholic

December 28, 2020

As the first phase of the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care’s hearing into the redress processes of faith-based institutions was about to begin on November 30 in Auckland, Catholic Church leaders made statements that they would take the opportunity to listen, learn and reflect on the experience of survivors.

The first week of the two-week public hearing saw 10 survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church in New Zealand or their family members speak at the royal commission. There was one closed session in the first week. The second week was scheduled to see 14 survivors of abuse in the Anglican Church or Salvation Army institutions give their testimony. Many of the testimonies were live-streamed.

The royal commission said these hearings “will investigate the adequacy of the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army and what needs to be done to support people who have been abused or neglected in faith-based institutions”.

Jailing of killer priest, nun fuels crisis in India's Catholic Church


December 27, 2020

Bringing a dramatic end to a nearly three decade old case, a court in the southern Indian state of Kerala has convicted a Catholic priest and a nun of murdering a convent member. The ruling has contributed to a growing crisis in India's Catholic Church.

A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a federal investigating agency, sentenced Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy to life in prison after finding them guilty of the murder of Sister Abhaya, who died 28 years ago in the town of Kottayam.

Special CBI Judge K Sanal Kumar gave a double life sentence to Father Kottoor, and imposed a fine of 7,200 euros (650,000 rupees) for destroying evidence.

Justice at last

Sister Abhaya, who was aged 19, was murdered after she discovered Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy engaged in sexual activity. Her body was then dumped in a well.

December 27, 2020

[Opinion] The abusive wolves in our midst ... sexual abuse in the church

Center for Parent/Youth Understanding (blog)

December 23, 2020

By Walt Mueller

There’s a curtain of silence which sits in both the church and the culture-at-large. It is a curtain that shields horrifying realities which I have not experienced personally, but which over time I have been invited into by a growing number of people I know who have and are experiencing the horror and its fallout firsthand.

Perhaps you are one who has been on the receiving end of the horror. Statistics tell us that there are more of you out there than we know or imagine. The curtain of silence can fool us into believing it’s nowhere near as widespread as it really is. Add to that the fact that perpetrators of the horrors of abuse are masterful at hiding it, and it can remain invisible to everyone but the victims. . . which of course sets those victims on a course into a lifetime of deep pain, hurt, and shame. And when the systems that should be coming to the aid of the victims are complicit in perpetration of abuse through silence, denial, or even blind-eyed-support of perpetrators. . . the horror only increases.

Ampleforth, the ‘Catholic Eton’, admits it failed to protect its pupils

The Sunday Times of London

December 27, 2020

By Sian Griffiths

College has accepted serious failings over child abuse as it seeks to overturn a ban on new admissions

One of England’s most famous Catholic boarding schools, which has been surrounded by abuse
scandals for years, has accepted it has “very serious” safeguarding failings as it fights to stave off closure.

Ampleforth College, nicknamed “the Catholic Eton”, has submitted to ministers an action plan to tackle the serious weaknesses highlighted in an emergency inspection in September.

The 200-year-old school in North Yorkshire, which initially complained about the inspection report, says it now hopes to be reinspected early in the New Year. Local Conservative MPs have met ministers to intervene on its behalf.

When Ofsted inspectors visited Ampleforth this autumn, they found a range of failings including leaders not taking “reasonable, timely and appropriate action to safeguard pupils”, concerns raised by the police “not always given sufficient consideration”, and “serious weaknesses in the way leaders ... manage allegations”.

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, subsequently banned the school from admitting new pupils.

Edmonton Catholic priest removed under allegations of historic sexual abuse of minor

Edmonton Journal

December 27, 2020

By Lauren Boothby

An Edmonton Catholic priest has been removed from public ministry in the region after an allegation of historic sexual abuse of a minor surfaced.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton said in a statement Christmas Eve it removed Rev. Sylvio Lacar after he was identified by the archdiocese of Los Angeles. It says Lacar was the subject of a credible accusation of sexual assault of a minor in the Los Angeles area during the 1980s.

He regularly served at St. Theresa’s Parish in Ma-Me-O Beach and occasionally at St. Theresa’s Parish in Mill Woods. He is retired priest from the diocese of Peterborough.

Edmonton priest released from duties after discovery of past sexual assault allegation

Global News

December 26, 2020

By Slav Kornik

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton has removed a local priest from his duties after learning of a previous sexual assault accusation.

The Archdiocese said Rev. Sylvio Lacar was removed from his role after it learned the Archdiocese of Los Angeles identified Lacar as the person whom a “credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor” was brought forward against in the 1980s.

In a news release, the Archdiocese’s communications lead Andrew Ehrkamp said Lacar has denied the allegation and there was no criminal prosecution against him, but Lacar was included in a group civil settlement.

December 26, 2020

Crisis Episode 10: Bishops’ Accountability

The Catholic Project / Catholic University of America

December 21, 2020


This podcast series keeps coming back to the question of bishops’ accountability. Are the reforms of Vos estis lux mundi being applied in the US Church? This episode features Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, reporters Harriet Ryan of the L.A. Times and Christopher Altieri of the UK Catholic Herlald [sic], and canon lawyer Tom Doyle.


- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
- Harriet Ryan, The Los Angeles Times
- Christopher Altieri, The Catholic Herald, UK, author of Into the Storm: Chronicle of a Year in Crisis about 2018
- Tom Doyle, inactive priest and canon lawyer

A New Cardinal in D.C.: Celebrating Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s appointment


December 25, 2020

By Katie Daniels

On November 28, Archbishop of Washington Wilton Gregory became the first African-American cardinal in a socially distanced ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. His appointment by Pope Francis comes during a period of political discord and renewed attention to racial injustice in the United States. Gregory said that his appointment was “a sign to the African-American community that the Catholic Church has a great reverence, respect and esteem for the people, for my people of color.” ...

... Gregory was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001, just as the sexual-abuse crisis began to make headlines in Boston and elsewhere. As president of the USCCB, he oversaw the groundbreaking document “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” which established procedures for handling sexual-abuse allegations and set a “zero-tolerance” policy for priests found guilty of abuse. When Pope Francis appointed Gregory the seventh archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2019, the area was still reeling from a new round of the sexual-abuse crisis. The previous cardinal, Donald Wuerl, had resigned amid the fallout from a Pennsylvania grand-jury report that accused him of mishandling clerical sex-abuse cases when he was the bishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl’s predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was defrocked after Rome received credible reports that he had sexually abused minors for years. “It’s not about the structures of the Church, it’s about the mistakes, the awful bad judgments that the Church made in not focusing on the people that had been harmed,” Gregory said in an interview with CNN. “We were so intent on caring about the clerics, priests, or bishops, that we did not see that the biggest pain to be endured was endured by the people that were hurt.”

Bishop Byrne discusses what he’d like to accomplish in 2021


December 25, 2020

By Hector Molina

The Christmas season is a busy time of year for all, especially in the catholic church. 22News spoke with newly elected Bishop William Byrne of the Springfield Diocese on how the catholic church is observing the holiday season.

The Christmas holiday usually means large attendance of worshipers at churches and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with many family and friends. However, due to the pandemic the holiday will be much different. Newly elected Bishop William Byrne of the Springfield Diocese said a year where everything has changed could mean a new hope.

A new perspective that he would like to bring in 2021 to the Springfield Diocese in his first full year as Bishop.

“We’ve been separated by the pandemic and have had reminders of abuse with the clergy in this diocese,” said Bishop Byrne.

[News Release] Government Accountability Project Praises D.C. City Council for Unanimous Passage of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020

Government Accountability Project

December 22, 2020

New Act Models Recommendations of the U.S. Ombudsman Association to Keep Children Safe


Today, Government Accountability Project praised the D.C. City Council for its December 15, 2020 unanimous passage of the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020. To establish protections against the abuse and neglect of foster children, the Act creates an independent Ombudsman for children, which aligns with recommendations in the model law of the U.S. Ombudsman Association. The new Office will report to and can only be removed by the City Council, and it is free from control by the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFAS) – where it previously had been a subunit.

Denver’s Samaritan House looks to its future following abuse allegations against co-founder Father Woody

Colorado Politics

December 25, 2020

By Hannah Metzger


As recent sexual abuse allegations have risen against Catholic Priest Rev. Charles Woodrich, one organization Woodrich helped found hopes to continue its work and separate itself from his disgraced legacy.

Denver’s Samaritan House, co-founded by Woodrich in 1986, was the first building in America designed specifically as a homeless shelter. Still operating today, the Samaritan House now serves thousands of men, women and children in the Denver metro community.

“The founding and the ongoing charitable work of Samaritan House is not the result of a single person,” said the Samaritan House regarding Woodrich, “but rather from the efforts of many visionaries, political leaders, co-founders and benefactors with a deep compassion and concern for the poor and those in need in our community.”

Woodrich, more commonly referred to as Father Woody, was known as a patron to the homeless when he helped found the Samaritan House in 1986 and up until his death in 1991.

However, authorities say that at the time of the shelter’s founding, Woodrich was in the middle of the years-long sexual abuse of his last known victim.

Earlier this month, the Colorado Attorney General's Office released a report identifying nine Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors, including Woodrich.

Three victims were included in the report, describing sexual abuse from Woodrich in the 1970s and 1980s. Two of the victims were altar servers and the third was a parishioner. Of the nine newly identified priests, Woodrich is accused of committing the most known abuses.

The first victim was abused monthly for six years beginning in 1983 when Woodrich was serving at Denver’s Holy Ghost Parish. The second victim was abused in 1976 and the third victim in 1978.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of past abuse,” the Samaritan House said. “We hope for healing and that a measure of peace will be found through the Archdiocese of Denver and the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program.”

In response to the news about its co-founder, the organization said it will continue its work to try and help those in need in the Denver community.

“(Our) mission will carry on,” the Samaritan House said. “The spirit of charity is as strong as ever.”

Release of abuse allegations reshapes legacy of Denver's Father Woody

During the last fiscal year, the Samaritan House provided 60,219 nights of shelter for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. It also gave nearly 400,000 meals to shelter participants and children at education centers. In 2019, the Samaritan House housed over 1,400 people.

According to the organization, the Samaritan House supplies nearly 25% of Denver’s shelter housing available to families.

The organization said its ultimate goal is to provide for those experiencing homelessness while helping to assure that they do not face homelessness again.

The Samaritan House provides services to its residents including job assistance, housing referrals, money management and case management. Residents can stay in the shelter for up to four months straight, receiving clothing and toiletries in addition to meals and beds.

Upon completing the Samaritan House program, 92% of single residents and families have income, 64% of single residents have housing and 62% of families have housing.

To prevent affiliation with any other dangerous individuals, the Samaritan House, as part of Catholic Charities of Denver, continues to follow the policies and procedures set by the Archdiocese of Denver.

The Archdiocese of Denver, which has promised to address sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, provided the Attorney General’s Office with full access to 70 years of files concerning the sexual abuse of minors by priests and access to interview victims, priests and witnesses for the report.

The Archdiocese of Denver said in a statement that it has removed the names of all accused priests — including Woodrich — "from any honorary designation including buildings, facilities, and programs."

Haven of Hope, another Denver homeless shelter founded by Woodrich, has also cut ties, removing all mention of Woodrich from its website and legally changing its name from “Father Woody's Haven of Hope” in June.

Last year, the Archdiocese of Denver started a reparations fund for victims of sexual assault within the church.

“The damage inflicted upon young people and their families by sexual abuse, especially when it’s committed by a trusted person like a priest, is profound,” said Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila. “And while money can’t heal wounds, it can acknowledge the evil that was done and help restore peace and dignity to the survivors.”

The fund is available online at promise.archden.org/reparations.

December 25, 2020

Rev. Sylvio Lacar removed from public ministry

Grandin Media / Catholic Alberta

December 24, 2020

Archbishop Richard W. Smith has permanently removed the faculties of Rev. Sylvio Lacar and removed him from any public ministry within the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

The decision to remove Rev. Lacar’s faculties was made because the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton has learned that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles identified Rev. Lacar as a priest against whom a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor was brought in the 1980s when he was serving in their Archdiocese. Rev. Lacar has denied this allegation, there was no criminal prosecution, but he was included in a group civil settlement.

Abuse victim says German nuns rented out children for sex

Patheos (blog)

December 24, 2020

By Barry Duke

GERMANY’S Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, above, Bishop of Speyer, has revealed for the first time the details of an investigation of abuse carried out at a Catholic children’s home run by nuns who ‘earned money’ by procuring kids for paedophile priests, politicians and wealthy men.

The findings of the investigation, which had been kept under wraps since May, after they were allegedly suppressed, were addressed earlier this month by Wiesemann in an interview with Catholic magazine Der Pilger. He said that “several” abuse allegations had been filed, and revealed that the principle abuser was a now-dead vicar named Rudolf Motzenbäcker.

Justice in limbo for sex abuse survivors

The Australian

December 26, 2020

By Paige Taylor

A Perth court’s decision to throw out a child sex abuse claim arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has raised questions about the viability of other pending cases.

The District Court of Western Australia has granted a permanent stay on the man’s claim against UnitingCare West and the WA government, meaning it will never be heard unless the man’s legal team can find grounds for appeal.

The accused abuser, a woman, died in 2012. The man came forward at the royal commission to give evidence he was abused repeatedly at a church-run children’s home in Perth in the late 1950s and early 60s. He was about to turn six when his “cottage mother” began abusing him at shower time.

“(The cottage mother) would soap us up and she would force slivers of soap up into our anus,” the accuser said.

“It felt sharp and it hurt. As time passed the size of the soap pieces (she) would push up our rectums became bigger, much bigger and more painful.”

The man’s claim reached the district court because in 2018, in direct response to the royal commission, the McGowan government passed laws allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue institutions in the name of their current office holders. The legislation included provisions to overcome difficulties survivors may face in identifying a proper defendant. Most significantly, the legislation wiped the six year statute of limitations on claims.

The man’s allegations included that the house mother introduced the boy to church men in regional WA and he stayed with them on numerous occasions. He said they gave him pink “medicine” and twice he woke up bleeding from the anus.

The court took into account the allegations were first made in September 2017, more than 50 years after the alleged abuse. The court found UnitingCare West was unable to make a meaningful defence.

“In circumstances where the allegation has never been made whilst (the house mother) was alive, neither (the house mother) nor the defendants had an opportunity to investigate,” the judgment states. “It is practically impossible for the first defendant to have any real opportunity to participate in the hearing, or contest the case or, if appropriate, admit liability.”

Justice Project director George Newhouse said the case was very disturbing “and the victim must be gutted by the decision”.

“No one would argue with the principle that court proceedings need to be fair but, where the allegations of child sexual abuse are serious, a survivor should be entitled to their day in court,” Mr Newhouse said.

“Perpetrators have been known to take their lives when their misconduct is exposed and many perpetrators die of natural causes in the period between the abuse and the commencement of court proceedings.

“I hope this decision doesn’t allow powerful organisations like governments and churches to escape accountability and responsibility for the harm done to children in their care, just because the perpetrator is dead.

“Court proceedings are re-traumatising for the survivors of sexual abuse and I hope that this decision doesn’t have a chilling effect on anyone brave enough to seek justice for being abused as a child.”

SSPX teacher on trial for abusing 13 children

Church Militant (blog)

December 24, 2020

By Christine Niles

SAINT-MALO, France (ChurchMilitant.com) - A teacher at a Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) school in France stood trial for reportedly abusing 13 children, and victims' attorneys are blasting the SSPX for enabling the abuse.

French media is reporting that on Nov. 12, "Guillaume A." — a former soldier — stood trial for multiple counts of sexual assault that took place from 1996–2001 at Sainte-Marie Academy, in Saint-Père-Marc-en-Poulet, near Saint-Malo on the northwestern coast of France.

A Christmas gift: Sister Abhaya verdict is a testament to the divinity of truth


December 25, 2020

Colonial Christianity had ushered in modernity by setting up some of the best schools, colleges, hospitals and charity institutions that India continues to cherish. An independent judiciary, the greatest contribution of the British, had enshrined a value system that had distinct elements of the Christian moral universe in it. Yet, the Church, particularly the Catholic Church, has been in the dock for its un-Christian conduct of standing with rapists and murderers in cassocks than those sinned against — the helpless, meek victims of power and lust. The Jalandhar bishop, Franco Mulakkal, is accused of raping a nun and is facing trial; but that has not stopped the Church from celebrating him in an official calendar issued by a diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Worse, when a CBI court in Kerala this week concluded the trial in a 28-year-old case of murder of a nun and pronounced the verdict of guilty against a priest and a nun, the Church responded claiming that the charges against the priest and nun were “unbelievable”. One of its own was killed and the court, after several hurdles thrown at it by the accused, has delivered its much-delayed judgment, yet all that the Church has to say is that it is unbelievable. Also for the Church, the priest and the nun are still merely the “accused”, not convicts, despite the sentences of double life imprisonment in one case and life imprisonment in another. Instead of hailing the verdict as divine justice to a miserably poor 21-year-old bride of Christ, the Church reaffirms the right of the convicts to appeal against the trial court’s order.

Oakland priest ousted for alleged ‘boundary violations’ with man

San Francisco Chronicle

December 24, 2020

By Megan Cassidy

A Catholic priest has been stripped of his position in Oakland following allegations of “boundary violations with an adult man,” according to officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland.

The Rev. Jeffrey J. Finley, a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in the Diocese of Oakland, will remain a Catholic priest but “cannot function as a priest in the Diocese of Oakland by celebrating the sacraments,” according to the Catholic Voice, the diocese’s official publication.

Church officials said the alleged violation occurred in 2000 and was reported to the Diocese in September.

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland in 2019 released the names of 45 clergymen and religious brothers they said were “credibly accused” of molesting minors, one of several dioceses to do so amid decades of scandals involving abusive priests and church cover-ups.

However the list still does not include some of the men accused more recently. One of those missing from the list is Father Alex Castillo, who was placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor, and later fled the country.

Church officials said while Finley has not had an official appointment in the diocese in nearly a decade, he has assisted with duties at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

Finley’s previous assignments included St. Edward Parish in Newark from 1990 to2004 and as chaplain at Washington Hospital in Fremont from 2004 to 2011. He had most recently been working as a civilian in the Palliative Care Unit of Washington Hospital, officials said.

The removal came after an internal investigation and at the direction of Bishop Michael Barber. The diocesan Review Board upheld Barber’s decision, officials said.

Finley is at least the fifth Oakland priest to be removed from his post in recent years, according to a review by the advocacy group SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The group criticized the Diocese of Oakland for its vague description of the allegations and Finley’s work history and called on local or state law enforcement to independently investigate the claims.

December 24, 2020

Priest, nun convicted of 1992 murder of Indian woman religious

Catholic News Service via Crux

December 23, 2020

BHOPAL, India — More than 28 years after a 19-year-old nun was found dead in a convent well, a court in India’s Kerala state convicted a priest and a woman religious of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of murdering her.

The special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation, a federal agency, convicted Father Thomas Kottoor and the nun, identified as Sister Sephy, Dec. 22, ucanews.com reported. Sentencing was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 23 pending the results of coronavirus tests of the defendants.

The court found the pair guilty of murdering St. Joseph Sister Abhaya, destroying evidence, and conspiracy, among other charges.

[Opinion] Sex-Abuse Scandals in the SBC: Don’t Ever Believe They Care

Patheos (blog)

December 23, 2020

By Captain Cassidy

Hi and welcome back! Recently, we checked out the response of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to accusations of racism in their leadership ranks. And we discovered that one faction of the SBC’s top leaders have decided to pretend very hard that they want to reform the SBC. It’s a time-honored strategy with them. After all, they adopted the same strategy for dealing with their constant stream of sex-abuse allegations too! Don’t ever believe that any big-name evangelical leaders really want to fix anything. Today, I’ll show you a heartbreaking case in point that illustrates what the SBC really cares about the most.

A Sex-Abuse Narrative Begins to Form.

The SBC has certainly seen a lot of controversy over the past few years. I doubt that we’ve seen everything yet, though. In my opinion, their cultural clout has simply subsided enough to allow their various and numerous victims room — and safety enough — to speak openly about their experiences.

Every single thing I see SBC leaders doing in response to their scandals feels like nothing more than appeasement of their enemies. I strongly suspect these leaders are just doing what they think they must until the flocks calm down and forget about that situation. At that point, everyone just completely forgets what happened. Then, they cruise along until the next giant scandal erupts, at which point they just repeat their whole mind-numbing, thought-stopping charade.

[Opinion] Time for Catholic bishops to be transparent about all alleged abusers

adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

December 21, 2020

This is the story of two US Catholic bishops and a simple word: “transparency.”

One is the just-installed head of the Springfield MA diocese, Bishop Bill Byrne. The other is a New York native who now heads the South Carolina diocese, Bishop Robert Guglielmone.

These two prelates apparently differ radically in their interpretation of the word ‘transparency.’ Both of course have pledged, as has every single Catholic bishop for the last 20 years, to be ‘transparent’ in abuse cases.

Let’s start with Bryne.

At last, people are talking about the needs of children of priests

The Tablet

December 17, 2020

By Carina Murphy

Vincent Doyle was 28 when he learned the Catholic priest he knew as a godfather was his biological father. Now, in a book described as “the first of its kind”, he hopes to help others in the same position, and save children like him from lives overshadowed by shame and scandal.

Published this month, Our Fathers, A Phenomenon of Children of Catholic Priests is both an examination of the children born to the ordained and a roadmap to solving the problems they face. It promises shocking stories of hushed up pregnancies, and offers possible solutions such as allowing more married clergy in the Catholic church. Doyle hopes it will “catalyse a conversation and encourage people to come forwards with their stories”.

December 23, 2020

Diocese to hire another law firm in defending against AG's lawsuit

The Buffalo News

December 23, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese, which already is paying six law firms for work in bankruptcy proceedings, is looking to hire another firm to defend against a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Letitia James in November.

The diocese wants to retain the Jones Day firm as “special counsel” for the lawsuit, which alleges that diocese leaders protected more than two dozen priests accused of child sexual abuse by not referring their cases to the Vatican for potential removal from the priesthood.

Jones Day partners make up to $1,250 per hour and associates make up to $900 per hour, according to court papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District.

Life-term for priest and nun accused in Abhaya murder case

Deccan Herald

December 23 2020

By Arjun Raghunath, DHNS

The CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram sentenced priest Thomas M Kottoor for life-term and sister Sephy for life-term in the 28-year old Sister Abhaya murder case of Kerala.

CBI special judge K Sanilkumar, who found the two guilty on Tuesday, pronounced the sentence on Wednesday.

New sexual abuse allegation surfaces against former Charlotte priest Robert Yurgel

The Charlotte Observer

December 22, 2020

By Michael Gordon

The Charlotte Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse scandal among priests continued to widen Tuesday as another accuser surfaced to say he had been abused by Robert Yurgel, a now-defrocked priest who served almost eight years in prison for assaulting another child at St. Matthew.

According to the lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg County, a California man said Yurgel abused him multiple times at the Ballantyne church when the man was between 5 and 7 years old. The abuse began in July 1997 and lasted about two years, says the accuser’s attorney, Nate Foote of Harrisburg, Pa.

“What Yurgel would do is basically lie to our client and tell him they needed to engage in this behavior as part of confession. That’s how he got him alone,” Foote told the Observer on Tuesday.

Catholic Church's insurance company in financial trouble over abuse payouts

The Sydney Morning Herald

December 22, 2020

By Chris Vedelago

The Catholic Church’s private insurer spent more than $58 million paying out the victims of sexual abuse last year and the company is being forced to raise fresh capital and liquidate investments to cover a future compensation bill worth at least another $238 million.

Catholic Church Insurance (CCI) has posted nearly a $250 million loss as it struggles to meet a wave of new claims in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Sexual abuse allegation against former Catholic priest recanted


December 23, 2020

A person who accused a former priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond of sexual abuse has recanted that accusation.

According to a release from the diocese, the individual had accused retired Father William Dinga, Jr. of child sexual abuse earlier this year.

Now that the accusation has been recanted, Dinga is considered exonerated of wrongdoing.

Former Rep. Katie Hill sues ex-husband, Daily Mail, Redstate.com over 'nonconsensual porn'


December 22, 2020

By Andrew Blankstein

Former congresswoman Katie Hill filed suit in Los Angeles Tuesday against her ex-husband and the owners of Redstate.com and the Daily Mail, saying they had distributed "nonconsensual porn" and arguing the media outlets did not have a "carte blanche right" under the First Amendment to "sexually degrade and expose public officials."

The 41-page lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress and violation of state law for distribution of intimate personal material without Hill's consent, lists as defendants Salem Media Group Inc., Mail Media, Inc., as well as writer Jennifer Van Laar, the deputy managing editor of Redstate.com whose work also has appeared in the Daily Mail, and Joseph Messina, the host of "The Real Side" Radio Show, as well as other unnamed individuals.

Editorial: New Orleans archdiocese owes Catholics acknowledgment, promise not to fail again

NOLA.com / The Advocate

December 23, 2020

We knew things had been bad with the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ handling of the case of George Brignac some time ago. But new reporting by Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Times-Picayune | The Advocate and David Hammer of WWL-TV shows that the diocese has — for more than a generation — been negligent at least and intentionally evasive at worst.

Brignac was a Christian Brothers priest in the 1950s and served with St. Paul’s in Covington, De La Salle and Christian Brothers in New Orleans, then Archbishop Rummel in Metairie before being expelled in 1960. A superior cited “obedience difficult,” and it seems that was a polite way of saying the man was not fulfilling his abstinence obligation and his dutiful adherence to support Catholicism’s key tenets.

Catholic priests have different roles, depending on their assignments. Overall, however, they are responsible for church sacraments such as baptisms, confirmations, holy communion, marriage and attending to the sick. That includes pastoral care, which clearly doesn’t involve sexual abuse or sex of any kind, especially not with youth. There were plenty of reasons to know that Brignac had been disloyal to his oath, the church and the faithful.

Still, Archbishop Philip Hannan, with limited or full knowledge, allowed Brignac to return to church service as a deacon. At a later point, when Brignac was being investigated for fondling a seven-year-old boy during a Christmas activity at Our Lady of the Rosary, the diocese seemed to intimidate the boy and his family. With 50 priests sitting behind Brignac during a court hearing, it’s clear that the diocese intended to intimidate the boy and his family. District Attorney Harry Connick dropped charges against Brignac, and Hannan thanked the diocese attorney for “the good news.”

There were child molestation arrests through decades, and it seemed that a fourth arrest in August 2018 might be the one that would put him in jail for his transgressions — based on one man’s recounting that Brignac engaged him with sex activity from the ages of 7 through 11, from 1978 to 1982. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro was proceeding against Brignac because the first-degree rape charges had no statute of limitation. Then Brignac died in June.

The case died with Brignac.

What remains is the proof that the archdiocese failed the church and faithful Catholics. Children were failed most of all. Those failings have stretched across the tenures of four archbishops, from Hannan to Gregory Aymond.

The archdiocese should acknowledge what happened with Brignac, explain what was done and why and promise to never allow such things to happen again.

Indian priest and nun convicted of convent killing after three decades

Agence France-Presse via Inquirer.net

December 23, 2020

New Delhi, India — An Indian court on Tuesday convicted a priest and a nun for the ax murder of another convent sister 30 years ago because they feared their illicit relationship would be made public.

Highlighting the latest in a series of sex scandals to hit the Roman Catholic church in the southern state of Kerala, prosecutors said they would seek a tough sentence for Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy in a hearing on Wednesday.

The murder only came to light after federal investigators were called in because of doubts over local police claims that Sister Abhaya, a member of the Pious X Convent in Kottayam, had committed suicide.

The 18-year-old nun’s body was found in a well in the convent in 1992.

Faith group linked to Amy Coney Barrett urges leaders to report sexual abuse claims

The Guardian

December 23, 2020

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Group’s head sends letter to all-male leadership after former member shares allegations she was abused

The head of the secretive Christian faith group People of Praise, which reportedly counts the supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett as a member, has called on its leaders to report any allegations of previous sexual abuse to a lawyer the group has hired to investigate such claims.

The letter from Craig Lent to the leaders of the group, who are known as coordinators, was sent shortly after one of the group’s former members, Sarah Kuehl, shared her own story of alleged childhood abuse at the hands of a member who lived with the family.

In a letter to members written in November, sent shortly after Kuehl had shared her allegations of childhood sexual abuse with the Guardian, Kuehl described how Barrett’s nomination to the high court had triggered feelings in her because of the manner in which People of Praise had allegedly tried to discourage her from discussing the abuse.

Survivor calls on Trudeau to release St. Anne's residential-school abuse documents

The Canadian Press via Kamloops This Week

December 23, 2020

By Maan Alhmidi

Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to release thousands of documents that detail the sexual and physical abuse of thousands of Indigenous children at St. Anne's residential school in the last century.

Korkmaz said the federal government has not turned over 12,300 reports from Ontario Provincial Police investigations of violations at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont. despite an Ontario Superior Court order.

Following the court order in 2014, Ottawa released heavily redacted copies of materials generated by the OPP between 1992 and 1996.

"They're useless if they're redacted," Korkmaz said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "This is part of Canada's Indigenous history. We can learn from this."

Survivors of abuse in care of the Catholic Church say their voices matter

Radio New Zealand

December 23, 2020

By Andrew McRae

Victims of abuse while in the care of the Catholic Church say survivor voices matter the most.

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is a world-wide organisation supporting women and men wounded by religious and institutional authorities (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, coaches, teachers, and others).

Its National Leader in New Zealand, Dr Christopher Longhurst, said the organisation believed that it was of paramount importance that the Catholic Church use the extent of its powers to look further and deeper to discover where the abuse was still happening today, and make the necessary recommendations to stop it.

Almost five years after abuse reports shut Eagleton School, some plaintiffs have been paid

The Berkshire Eagle

December 23, 2020

By Heather Bellow


GREAT BARRINGTON — Several lawsuits filed by former students who allege rampant abuse at a now-shuttered boarding school were settled this year for undisclosed amounts. Other lawsuits are still pending.

Three lawsuits against Eagleton School, its founder and former director Bruce Bona, as well as staff, have settled with former students of the school for boys ages 9 to 22 with emotional, behavioral and cognitive disabilities.

Two suits are still pending — one in U.S. District Court in Springfield, the other in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.

In two cases, settled in federal court, the former students had asked for $9.9 million and $1 million. Chester Tennyson, their attorney, said he could not reveal the amount of the settlements. One of his cases is pending.

German nuns were ‘pimps’ for sick priests, says sexual abuse victim

New York Post

December 22, 2020

By Hannah Sparks

A child rape victim has accused nuns at a now-shuttered Catholic children’s home in Germany of “pimping” out orphans to priests, politicians and other wealthy men.

The victim, now 63, has remained anonymous despite having fought and won a legal battle for compensation in May over the horrors they endured, beginning at 5 years old in March 1963.

The man, who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since then, was awarded a total of 25,000 euros by German courts due to claims he’d been raped more than 1,000 times.

December 22, 2020

Francis warns Vatican officials their conflicts polarize Catholic Church

National Catholic Reporter

December 21, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis Dec. 21 urged the bishops and cardinals who lead the Vatican's bureaucracy not to be in conflict with one another, warning that the Catholic Church can become polarized if the prelates appear always at odds.

In an annual pre-Christmas meeting that Francis has frequently used to upbraid his top Vatican officials, the pontiff acknowledged that the church may be in crisis due to scandals "past and present" but said crisis should not be confused with conflict.

"Crisis generally has a positive outcome, whereas conflict always creates discord and competition, an apparently irreconcilable antagonism that separates others into friends to love and enemies to fight," the pope told the prelates.

Lawsuit alleges LDS Church, leaders knew of child sex abuse but failed to report it


December 21, 2020

By Larry D. Curtis

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced policy changes in its revised, updated handbook, but a lawsuit in Arizona filed against the Church earlier this month seeks to change how its abuse helpline handles reporting of child sexual abuse.

The Arizona lawsuit contends that the sexual abuse hotline of the Church contributed to years of ongoing rape and sexual and physical abuse of three Arizona children because it instructed local Church leaders not to report it. Bishops in charge of local congregations are instructed to call the helpline for assistance in abuse cases.

A bishop is a volunteer leader appointed over a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. Typical length of service is five years. The Church provided a statement from lawyer Bill Maledon, representing the case in Arizona that said it offers assistance to the victims but will also "vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit."

Kerala: Priest and nun found guilty in 28-year-old Abhaya murder case

Deccan Herald

December 22 2020

By Arjun Raghunath, DHNS, Thiruvananthapuram

Catholic priests and the nun were even subjected to narco-analysis test to unearth the facts

A priest and nun in Kerala have been found guilty of murdering a nun at a convent in Kottayam district in Kerala 28 years back.

Sister Abhaya, aged 21, was found dead in the well of the St. Pius X convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. Knanaya Catholic priest Thomas M Kottoor, who was the first accused, and Sister Sephy, who was the third accused, were found guilty by the CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Special judge K Sanil Kumar would be pronouncing sentence on Wednesday.

Nuns pimped out boys to priests and politicians who would rape the children as other men watched at German children's home, it emerges as victim wins compensation battle

Daily Mail

December 22, 2020

By Rachael Bunyan

The victim, now 63, was just five when he joined the children's home in Speyer
He said he was raped around 1,000 times before leaving the home in 1972
Darmstaft Social Welfare Court awarded the man with compensation over abuse

Catholic nuns running a children's home in Germany pimped out boys to priests, politicians and businessmen who would rape the children at sex parties, according to a victim who has won a compensation battle.

Darmstaft Social Welfare Court awarded the man, now 63, compensation after he detailed how nuns dragged him to be abused by priests and powerful men at parties, starting at age five. They paid the women for doing so.

The victim, who remains anonymous, said he was raped around 1,000 times during his time at the home in the 1960s and 70s, alongside other boys.

Sister Abhaya Murder: 28 Years On, Kerala Catholic Priest, Nun Convicted


December 22, 2020

By Sneha Mary Koshy

Sister Abhaya Murder: The incident was initially labelled as "death by suicide" by police and Crime Branch officials. Amid protests and petitions, the case was transferred to the CBI.

Thiruvananthapuram: A special CBI court in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram today delivered its verdict in a 28-year-old murder case as it held a Catholic priest and a nun guilty. Sister Abhaya, 21, was murdered and her body was dumped inside the well of a convent in Kottayam in 1992.
Among those convicted is Father Thomas Kottoor, who was a Vicar and taught Sister Abhaya psychology at Kottayam's BCM College. He was also Secretary to the then Bishop. He later rose to be Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese in Kottayam.

Another convict, Sister Sephy, stayed in the same hostel as Sister Abhaya and was de facto in-charge of the hostel. The quantum of punishment will be delivered tomorrow.

Time running out for some sex abuse victims to file suit

Arizona Capitol Times

December 21, 2020

By Howard Fischer

Time is quickly running out for many who were sexually assaulted or abused years ago as children to try to get some justice from perpetrators or those who allowed it to occur.

An Arizona law approved last year scrapped existing statutes that required victims to sue before the 20th birthday or forfeit their legal rights. Now they have until age 30.

That portion of the law is permanent.

What is not is a temporary legal “window” that legislators agreed to open for those whose time to file suit already had expired. They have only until the end of this year to bring their claims.

Syracuse diocese bankruptcy case: 162 sexual abuse claims from Child Victims Act

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin via Utica Observer-Dispatch

December 22, 2020

By Anthony Borelli

Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse might not be getting the day in court they envisioned.

Nearly six months after the Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy under the weight of 162 active lawsuits through New York state's Child Victims Act, priest sex abuse victims have a new deadline to meet if they wish to be part of a resolution to its Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.

The diocese's filing for bankruptcy in June essentially froze all pending lawsuit cases against it, regardless of what stages those lawsuits had reached in state court. Most recently, a federal judge has set April 15, 2021 as the deadline for victims' attorneys to file proofs of claim in connection with the bankruptcy case's next stages.

Priestly faculties for Father Jeffrey Finley, CPPS, removed by Diocese of Oakland

Catholic Voice (Diocese of Oakland)

December 20, 2020

Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, has permanently revoked the priestly faculties of Father Jeffrey J. Finley, a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (C.PP.S.), in the Diocese of Oakland, due to allegations of boundary violations with an adult man. The alleged behavior occurred in 2000 and was reported to the Diocese in September 2020.

This means, although Father Finley remains a Catholic priest, he cannot function as a priest in the Diocese of Oakland by celebrating the sacraments. He has not had an official appointment in the Diocese since 2011, but has assisted on an as-needed basis at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

In EWTN interview, Cardinal Pell discusses acquittal, Vatican finances

Catholic News Agency

December 21, 2020

Cardinal George Pell, who was acquitted this year after becoming the highest-ranking Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of sexual abuse, spoke this week about his time in prison, his hopes for the future, and his thoughts on Vatican financial reform efforts.

Pell was initially convicted in Australia in 2018 of multiple counts of sexual abuse. On April 7, 2020, Australia's High Court overturned his six-year prison sentence. The High Court ruled that he should not have been found guilty of the charges and that the prosecution had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lawsuit claims former priest sexually abused boy inside Ballantyne church


December 21, 2020

By Allison Latos

There are new claims that a former priest sexually abused a boy inside Ballantyne church.

Former Catholic priest Robert Yurgel is a free man after he went to prison in 2009 for abusing an altar boy at St. Matthew in the late 1990s.

Another man said Yurgel abused him there when he was as young as five years old.

Philippines poised to lift age of consent for sex from 12 to 16 after decades of lobbying from children’s rights activists

Agence France-Presse via South China Morning Post

December 21, 2020

- Campaigners say the legislation would help protect youngsters in a nation that has become a global hotspot for online child sex abuse

- Prosecuting adult perpetrators in rape cases involving children as young as 12 has been difficult because they can argue the sex was consensual

Manila teenager Rose Alvarez was 13 when she started having sex with a man who was more than twice her age. That would be statutory rape in most countries, but not in the Philippines.
The Catholic-majority country has one of the lowest ages of consent in the world, allowing adults to legally have sex with children as young as 12. Congress now looks set to approve a bill to raise the age to 16.

Children’s rights activists have lobbied for decades to increase the age – enshrined in the penal code since 1930 – but faced resistance from what they describe as a “culture of patriarchy” in a country where abortion and divorce are illegal.

Philippines to raise age of sexual consent from 12 to 16

WION Web Team

December 22, 2020

The Philippines is set to raise the age of sexual consent from the age of 12 to 16. Once the bill is approved, the legal age for sexual consent in the Catholic-majority country would go up.

The country has one of the world’s lowest ages of consent in the world. The Philippines allows adults to legally engage in sexual intercourse with children as young as 12.

December 21, 2020

'Beatles church' vicar John Roberts jailed for child sex abuse

BBC News

December 21, 2020

A former vicar who sexually abused children for four decades in a "despicable" exploitation of trust has been jailed.

Rev John Roberts, 86 and of Cherry Vale, Woolton, was found guilty of ten counts of indecent and sexual assault at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.

Roberts was vicar at St Peter's Church in Woolton, which is known as the "Beatles church" due to it being where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met.

He was jailed for nine years.

Granville Gibson abuse: Priest 'blackballed' for raising allegations with bishop

BBC News

December 21, 2020

A clergyman claims he was "blackballed" by the Church of England after reporting sexual abuse by a priest.

John Skinner said he told the Bishop of Durham about Granville Gibson in the early 1980s but was told not to gossip.

A review into how the Diocese of Durham dealt with complaints about Gibson said others may have been spared abuse if he had been "more robustly challenged".

The church said Father Skinner's sense of injustice was "understandable" but a "culture of cover-up" had ended.


The Intercept

December 21, 2020

By Brian Knappenberger

The film “Church and the Fourth Estate” tells the story of how the Boy Scouts tried to cover up a massive scandal of child sexual abuse.

ON NOVEMBER 16, the U.S. passed a milestone: the end of a window of less than nine months in which nearly 92,700 people came forward with shocking sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. By way of comparison, in the last 15 years there have been some 15,000 credible child sex abuse allegations reported against the Catholic Church.

The allegations of sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts include highly violent attacks. More than half of the claimants, according to Tim Kosnoff, an attorney who has spent years representing victims of child sexual abuse, described behavior that would constitute a Class A felony — “the most serious child sex offenses,” Kosnoff said. Cover-ups by Scout officials were frequent. Instead of informing authorities, the officials told the subjects of the allegations to quietly leave the organization. Many went on to join other troops, only to face more allegations of child abuse. The young people targeted by abuse were often told by Scouting officials not to tell their parents.

Should abuse scandals make Church ‘wait and see’ on sainthood causes?


December 19, 2020

By John Lavenburg

According to one University of Notre Dame professor, the revelations of the Holy See’s report on laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the totality of the clergy sex abuse crisis are grounds enough to increase the number of years after a person dies before a sainthood cause can be opened.

In a conversation with Crux, Kathleen Cummings, who also serves as director of the university’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, said history needs a longer opportunity to play itself out before the process should start.

“What the actual truth of the matter is, we don’t fully know yet. I think any man who served as a bishop at any point since, say the 1960’s, just the possibility something is going to come to light is going to be enough to say, ‘this isn’t a good idea,’” Cummings said. “The legacy of clergy sex abuse is going to be long and I think it’s going to have an effect on canonization as it does everything else.”

Analysis: Vatican decision on Indianapolis could impact pending lawsuit, and Catholic identity in Catholic schools


December 21, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

The outcome of a Vatican appeal involving same-sex civil marriage and the Catholic identity of an Indiana school could have effect on a pending religious liberty lawsuit, and on the way other Catholic schools approach the issue of Catholic identity among their faculty.

Layton Payne-Elliot is a math teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit High School in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. In 2017, the school became aware that Payne-Elliot had contracted a same-sex marriage with Joshua Payne-Elliot, a teacher at Cathedral High School, which is also in the archdiocese.

The archdiocese asked that both schools not renew the teachers’ contracts, because, they said, teachers in Catholic schools are supposed to be witnesses of Catholic doctrine, and contracting a same-sex marriage constitutes a public act of counterwitness to that doctrine.

Survivors claiming childhood abuse from adults hired to care for them now push for justice


December 17, 2020

A North Carolina orphanage is now at the center of four lawsuits claiming adults hired to care for children decades ago sexually abused them.

The survivors are now coming forward.

Channel 9′s Allison Latos has covered the push for justice for survivors for years now. She found out when state lawmakers signed the Safe Child Act in 2019. Part of the law allowed adults who were abused when they were children a chance to fight back in civil court.

Vermont review of church orphanage finds misconduct but not murder

The VT Digger

December 14, 2020

By Kevin O'Connor

A two-year investigation of past problems at Burlington’s shuttered St. Joseph’s Orphanage — sparked by a 2018 BuzzFeed News story headlined “We Saw Nuns Kill Children” — has confirmed a history of child abuse but concluded with no criminal charges of murder.

“It’s clear that abuse did occur at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, and that many children suffered,” Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan said Monday upon releasing a 286-page report. “But we have found that there is no credible evidence to suggest that a murder occurred.”

The Attorney General’s Office teamed with local and state police and prosecutors after reading BuzzFeed claims that not only recounted previously reported “unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children” but also revealed a few deadly allegations not documented in a series of well-publicized lawsuits in the 1990s.

Former members of Kingston, Ont., church raise concerns of abuse at independent churches

Global News

December 17, 2020

By Alexandra Mazur

Former members are asking for more oversight over non-denominational churches after claiming they experienced religious trauma at a Kingston, Ont., church.

Over the summer of 2020, Kingston, Ont., resident Tianna Weatherdon found herself incensed while researching a non-denominational Christian church in her hometown, called Third Day Worship Centre.

As a gay Christian, she was shocked by the church’s views on the LGBTQ2 community.

“I was pissed,” she says. “I was like, this is my city and these people hate me.”

Pope Francis Warns Against Division in Response to Vatican Scandals

The Wall Street Journal

December 21, 2020

By Francis X. Rocca

Pontiff says bad news shouldn’t discourage church after a year dogged by crises

Pope Francis urged hope and warned against polarization in response to crisis in the Catholic Church, at the end of a year marked by scandals over financial dealings and sex abuse that besmirched the reputations of the last three popes and other prominent clerics.

A Vatican report revealed in November that Pope Francis and his two immediate predecessors had failed for years to discipline U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sexual misconduct. Separately, the church was dogged during 2020 by scandals over a loss-making investment purchase in London real estate by the Vatican’s powerful Secretariat of State.

In his Christmas speech to Vatican officials on Monday, Pope Francis cautioned against “judging the church hastily on the basis of the crises caused by scandals past and present.…Problems immediately end up in the newspapers—this happens every day—while signs of hope only make the news much later, if at all.”

ISPCC warn new privacy laws could result in 46,000 daily reports of child sex abuse being missed

Sunday World

December 19, 2020

By Neil Fetherstonhaugh


The charity says these new privacy rules could prevent online giants from using software that automatically scans their systems for such images.

New privacy rules designed to protect private online communications from being monitored by internet companies could mean that thousands of images of child sexual abuse and grooming could be missed, the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has warned.

The children's charity has expressed concern at the prospect of "vital child protection" measures becoming illegal as a result of a failure at EU level to resolve a row over privacy laws.

Charity fears 46,000 daily reports of child-sex abuse material will be missed

irish Examiner

December 19, 2020

By Cormac O'Keeffe

The ISPCC warns that new privacy rules could prevent online giants from using software that automatically detects child-abuse material.

A children's charity is alarmed by stuttering efforts at EU level to resolve a row over privacy laws that risks preventing internet firms from automatically detecting child-abuse material.

The ISPCC said that if these software tools were made illegal that an estimated 46,000 reports of child sexual-abuse imagery and grooming behaviour per day could be missed.

The threat is described as the unintended consequence of a broader attempt in the European Parliament to protect private online communications from being monitored by internet companies.

Tamil Nadu: Christian Pastor kidnaps a 13-year-old tribal girl from a hamlet in Tiruvannamalai, absconding for weeks


December 20, 2020

The Police have found that he was married twice but both the wives left him. They have slapped a case of kidnapping on the pastor and the search for Jayaraj is going on.

A tribal girl was allegedly abducted by a pastor from a tribal hamlet in the Jawadhu hills located in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. According to the reports, the 49-year-old Christian pastor identified as Jayaraj, a resident of Trichy, was camping in Perungattur, a tribal hamlet in the Jawadhu hills of TN. The Christian priest indulged in preaching and evangelism in the village for four years in the garb of a social worker.

In October, as schools were shut down due to the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic, Pastor Jayaraj took advantage of this situation and proposed that he would like to teach the children at his house.

Court of Appeal ruling means survivors of institutionalised abuse can seek further damages

The Courier

December 21, 2020

By Greg Gliddon

SURVIVORS of child sexual abuse in Ballarat have welcomed a landmark court decision that will allow a Victorian man to to overturn a settlement with the church.

On Friday, the Catholic Church failed in its bid to overturn a landmark court decision meaning it can be sued by the survivor, despite him having accepted a compensation of $32,500 in 1996.

The Victorian Court of Appeal judges said it was not enough given the wrong done to him

"It is, in our view, very plainly just and reasonable to set aside the (1996) deed. Indeed, it would positively be unjust and unreasonable not to do so," they found.

This means the survivor can press ahead with suing the church for abuse inflicted by now-dead Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan between 1977 and 1980.

It's a judgement which could set a precedent for many survivors in abuse in Ballarat.

Phil Nagle, a pupil at St Alipius from 1974-76, who hung new ribbons on the school fence at the weekend, said many people had simply taken money that was offered at the time.

"It was all very unfair and low, insignificant settlements and didn't fit the crime that were committed against the victims," he said.

"Once the Ellis defence was lifted, the judges have decided to review theses 'deeds of release' and have realised they were unjust.

"Rightside Legal got the deed of release overturned. All these extra cases are now like time bombs as every single one signed pre the Ellis defence can be reviewed.

"They've done a terrific job and now this sets the precedence for a lot of appeals."

Mr Nagle said he himself had accepted a settlement without legal representation in the 1990s.

"I had no legal representation at the time of my deed, this guy had all the legal representation, and so for him to get such a result, it's brilliant," he said.

"I signed a deed of release in 1998. After the parliamentary enquiry in Ballarat, the church came to me again, and offered me some more money, so I accepted it at the time."

The decision means the survivor can press ahead with suing the church for abuse inflicted by now-dead Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan between 1977 and 1980. A Supreme Court trial date had been set down for November but this was vacated because of the church's appeal.

Rightside Legal Senior associate Laird Macdonald hopes the trial can go ahead in early 2021. "The church went to the highest court in Victoria trying to justify a pittance it paid to a man whose life was ripped to shreds by a pedophile priest," Senior associate Laird Macdonald said.

In a statement, the Diocese of Sale said it would consider the court's findings. The church would have to go to the High Court to lodge another appeal.

Lifeline 13 11 14 beyondblue 1300 22 4636

- with AAP

Court refuses Catholic Church appeal against settlement agreement

Gippsland Times

THE Victorian Court of Appeal has declined to hear an appeal from the Catholic Church against the overturning of a settlement agreement it had with a Gippsland man.

In a unanimous decision, the Victorian Court of Appeal declined to hear the church's appeal.

"It is, in our view, very plainly just and reasonable to set aside the deed," the court said. "Indeed, it would positively be unjust and unreasonable not to do so."

In the late 1970s the former altar boy, known as WCB, was sexually abused for three years, from the age of 12, by his local parish priest, Father Daniel Hourigan.

Priest exonerated after abuse allegations by Ellensburg man

Associated Press

December 20, 2020

One of four priests accused of sexual abuse by an Ellensburg man has been exonerated, with the man’s attorneys expressing regret over the false accusation and the priest being restored to ministry.

The Rev. Seamus Kerr, 91, was named in a lawsuit filed in Kittitas County last year by a man identified only as John Doe, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported. The man said he was abused as a boy in the late 1970s and early 1980s at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Ellensburg.

But during the course of the litigation, it was revealed that Kerr, who has been a priest for 60 years, was wrongly accused. The lawsuit was settled on Dec. 10, with the Catholic Diocese of Yakima agreeing to pay $15,000 in past and future counseling costs for the man in exchange for the lawsuit’s dismissal.

Houston-area priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez sentenced on child sex abuse charges

Houston Chronicle

December 15, 2020

By Nicole Hensley


CONROE -- The woman in the courtroom said shame filled her life in the years that followed the sexual abuse of Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, the Catholic priest whose crimes stained her childhood and those of others at a Montgomery County parish.

She shared the tearful reflection Wednesday as the Houston-area cleric was sentenced to 10 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of indecency with a child. The woman’s 2018 complaint to law enforcement resulted in priest’s arrest and conviction for abuse that spanned from 1998 to 2001 at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

The criminal investigation happened amid a closer look at how the Catholic Church handled decades of clergy abuse accusations

December 20, 2020

Monster in our midst: After disgraced deacon's exposure, recriminations but no justice


December 18, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

Editor's Note: This is the final part of a three-part series. Earlier:

Part I: Monster in our Midst: How a pedophile clergyman stayed close to prey
Part II: Monster in our Midst: Despite predatory past, deacon welcomed back to Catholic institutions

The email to the Archdiocese of New Orleans came in on a Friday in November 2018.

A week earlier, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond had published a list of clergymen credibly accused of child molestation — a first-ever effort by the leadership in this traditionally Catholic city to fully come clean about the depth of a scandal that blew up in 2002 and had begun to simmer again in summer 2018.

The scandal’s recent flare-up owed mostly to the first name on the list, which was organized alphabetically: George Brignac. That name jumped out at one man, and it prompted him to write the email.

Monster in our midst: Despite predatory past, deacon welcomed back to Catholic institutions


December 17, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

This is the second part of a three-part series.

Anyone else in George Brignac’s shoes — saddled with the disgrace that accompanies his name — might have gotten the hell out of Dodge and tried to reinvent himself, to outrun the shame.

Over the 12 years he served as a deacon at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, beginning in 1976, Brignac had been accused of molesting at least five boys and was arrested at least three times.

Brignac, who was also a schoolteacher, was never convicted. But he was forced to sign an agreement, under duress, to stay away from children. And, though some fellow priests objected, the Archdiocese of New Orleans suspended him from ministry in 1988.

Leon Cannizzaro finds one defendant who got away particularly vexing: George Brignac


December 18, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Editor's Note: This is a follow-up to our three-part series on the career of deacon and serial child predator George Brignac.


Part I: Monster in our Midst: How a pedophile clergyman stayed close to prey
Part II: Monster in our Midst:Despite predatory past, deacon welcomed back to Catholic institutions
Part III: Monster in our midst: After disgraced deacon's exposure, recriminations but no justice

For Leon Cannizzaro, preparing to leave office after 12 years as Orleans Parish district attorney, one defendant that was in his sights and got away is a particularly vexing one: the inveterate child molester and former Catholic deacon George Brignac.

Cannizzaro had more than two years left in his final term when the local archdiocese in November 2018 released the first version of a list of clerics who had been credibly accused of child molestation over the decades.

Kerala church shouldn’t glorify rape accused Bishop: Priests

Tribune News Service

December 17, 2020

Row over Franco Mulakkal’s photo in church calendar

The release of the official calendar of 2021 by the Syro Malabar Thrissur Diocese bearing the picture of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal has not just evoked protests in Kerala but also angered a section of priests in the Jalandhar Diocese.

The priests supporting the victim nun have said even though they chose not to come out openly over the issue in Punjab as the calendar was not circulated here, they were certainly unhappy with the decision of the Thrissur Archdiocese to go ahead with inclusion of the photograph of Franco Mulakkal.

The 43-year-old victim nun had served as the Superior General in the Missionaries of the Jesus congregation based in Jalandhar.

Deaf mute Korean priest charged with molesting disabled people

Daily Gazette

December 19, 2020

A deaf mute Korean priest was charged in the Magistrate’s Court here Friday with molesting two Persons with Disabilities (PwD) a few years ago.

However, no plea was recorded from Jee Jon Hoon, 55, as Magistrate M.Kalaiarasi postponed the case to Jan 18 for mention for the court to get a Korean and international sign language interpreter.

Jee was charged with using criminal force on the two victims, aged 26 and 27, and are also deaf-mute, with intent to outrage their modesty at an apartment in Kampung Paya here at 12.20am in October 2013 and between 11pm and 1 am in July 2017, respectively.

Indian bishop's resignation sought over covering up priest's child

UCA News

By Saji Thomas

December 1, 2020

The priest continues to serve as a pastor five years after he fathered a child with a Catholic nun

A Catholic diocese in southern India has denied allegations of covering up the case of a priest who had a child with a nun, but a campaign is seeking its bishop's resignation and the priest's dismissal.

Officials of Thamarassery Diocese in Kerala state maintain some laypeople "with a vested interest" raked up the five-year-old case of Father Jomon Kandathinkara despite the diocese acting against him.

"It is true the priest had a child with a nun, and he was suspended for a year after the matter came to our notice," Father Benny Mundanattu, the diocesan chancellor, told UCA News on Dec. 1

"The diocese did not laicize him after he expressed deep remorse for his sin, and both of them were not ready to marry and settle down together."

Catholic archbishop: ‘The Church in France is jostled from many sides’

Catholic News Agency

December 19, 2020

The Church in France is under pressure, according to the president of the French Catholic bishops’ conference.

But for Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, that is no cause for despair.

“The Church in France is being jostled in many ways; it is reacting, which proves that it is alive,” he told CNA in an email interview.

The archbishop of Reims, in northeastern France’s Grand Est region, has had a busy past few months.

Cardinal Pell says his conservative views drove public against him


December 20, 2020

George Pell, the Australian cardinal whose conviction for child abuse was overturned this year, has said his conservative Christian views drove public opinion against him.

Speaking to the BBC, the 79-year-old said there was "no doubt" that his direct style and traditional approach to issues such as abortion had contributed to a hostile atmosphere.

The former Vatican treasurer said he would not apologise for those views.

His case rocked the Catholic Church.

December 19, 2020

Editorial: Abuse in state or church custody is an abomination

NZ Herald

December 18, 2020

Could there be a crueller phrase for the plight of the estimated 250,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults who have suffered from "abuse in care" over the past 50 years?

Such a contradiction only emphasises how a void of care was tolerated and even promulgated for so long.

Our Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions has conclusively proved our experience mirrors that of overseas. We are not unique but we have an opportunity now to lead the world in redress and rehabilitation.

The release of the inquiry's draft report, Tāwharautia: Pūrongo o te Wā, this week described the key themes and common issues from the experiences of survivors and witnesses. The sheer scale of neglect, intentional harm and outright violence is nauseating and unbearable.

This is a national tragedy and requires a recovery effort of monumental proportions. To raise our vulnerable and damaged citizens out of this misery must surely be given priority.

This week, the Government said it was considering two changes in areas which concerned survivors - a centralised claims process and reform of the Limitations Act. The inquiry isn't due to table a final report and recommendations until January 2023 but there is enough in this draft report to act much sooner.

LDS handbook adds warning against prejudice and misinformation, revises entries on sex abuse, conversion therapy, stillborn babies and more

Salt Lake City (UT)

December 18, 2020

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled new wording Friday for the faithful on a host of social issues — from sexual abuse to conversion therapy, cremation to stillborn babies, counseling to HIV infection.

The Utah-based faith also added two significant sections to its “General Handbook” — one decrying “prejudice,” building on recent speeches against it by church leaders, and the other on “seeking information from reliable sources.”

Control of the Vatican: What’s at Stake

Open Tabernacle (blog)

December 14, 2020

By Betty Clermont

The Catholic Church is the only religion headquartered in an autonomous country. The sovereignty of the Holy See – the name of the government of both the Vatican City State and the worldwide Church – provides criminal and civil immunity from any other authority to Vatican residents and government officials.

The Vatican has immense wealth. How it is earned, how it is spent, who profits remain hidden because it is shielded by self-rule. Vatican officials’ access to global financial markets is facilitated by its status as a sovereign city/state.

As officials of an independent nation, a pope and his appointees have access to, and some influence in, many international organizations.

Victim of paedophile vicar tragically died before he could see justice served

Liverpool Echo

December 18, 2020

By Luke Traynor

The victim's complaint to police took the case to court which today saw Rev John Roberts found guilty of abusing children in the 1980s

A former vicar who indecently assaulted a choirboy in the 1980s was today found guilty of abusing more children.

Rev John Roberts, who was based at St Peter’s Church in Woolton, until his retirement in 2013 was found guilty by a jury of nine more counts of indecent and sexual assault.

It relates to three different victims, all children, and abuse committed in the 1980s.

Now 86, Roberts was allowed to carry on working for 24 years despite his 1980s conviction.

And tragically, one of his victims whose complaint to police took the case to court, died recently and didn't get the chance to see justice delivered.

Saskatoon Diocese Responds to Allegations Against Priest


December 18, 2020

By Maury Wrubleski

St. Anne's Parish in Annaheim was one of those served by Fr. Anthony Atter.

In response to charges laid against Lake Lenore and area priest Anthony Atter alleging sexual abuse and sexual interference relating to a minor, Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Diocese of Saskatoon issued a response on December 17.

The statement confirmed that Atter had been removed from his ministry in the parishes of St. Anthony centred in Lake Lenore, St. Anne in Annaheim, and St. Gregory in St. Gregor.

While the Diocese stated that it would make no further comment relating directly to the case, it would cooperate to the utmost with the police investigation.

Hillsong Church Fostered “Inappropriate Sexual Behavior,” According to A 2018 Internal Complaint

Vanity Fair

December 18, 2020

By Dan Adler

A group of church volunteers sent a letter to ministry leaders about a pattern of staff conduct.

Since Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong Church in November over his cheating scandal, the megachurch has faced a number of allegations about its culture. Page Six added to the growing pile on Thursday night, reporting that in 2018, a group of “high-level” volunteers sent a letter to ministry leaders claiming that there were “verified, widely circulated stories of inappropriate sexual behavior amongst staff/interns” at the church.

In a statement to Vanity Fair, Hillsong acknowledged that it “received a letter with serious allegations regarding specific members of the Hillsong NYC volunteer and staff teams.” The church said that after a three-month inquiry into the claims, it learned that “some of the allegations were true.”

Legislators to revive bid to ease sex abuse suits against UM

The Detroit News

December 18, 2020

By Oralandar Brand-Williams

Two state lawmakers plan next month to reintroduce legislation that would lift the statute of limitations for accusers of former University of Michigan doctor Robert Anderson, removing barriers to lawsuits against the school over allegations that he sexually abused them.

Michigan Reps. Ryan Berman, R-Commerce Township, and Karen Whitsett, D-Detroit, announced during a Zoom conference Friday that they will propose the bipartisan legislation at the start of the new session of the Michigan Legislature next month.

Child sex abuse survivors have until Dec. 30 to file claim in Arizona


December 18, 2020

By Nicole Crites


Survivors of child abuse in Arizona have less than two weeks to file a claim against their abusers or the institutions that gave the abusers access to children.

Last year, Arizona lawmakers extended the statute of limitations for people who were sexually abused as children to come forward to seek justice.

And now that window for legal action is coming up on a fast-approaching deadline of Dec. 30. In Arizona, child sex abuse survivors now have less than two weeks to file a claim against their abuser or the institutions that gave them access to children.

Whether you were abused by a family member or someone in Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is really the last call for adult survivors who are ready to say "me too" in the fight to find at least some accountability.

Priests behaving badly: a Friday round-up

Patheos (blog)

December 18, 2020

By Barry Duke

TOP of the list of crimes committed mainly by Catholic priests is Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, above, formerly of the Sacred Heart Church in Conroe, Texas. On Wednesday he was jailed for ten years for repeatedly abusing at least two minors between 1997 and 2001.

He faced a possible longer sentence but agreed to plead guilty in exchange for less time behind bars.

Tahira Merritt, attorney for two of the plaintiffs, uniquely identified as Jane Doe and John Doe, said:

It is not a long enough sentence, but at least it will be away from children while he is incarcerated and he will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Yakima Diocese priest exonerated in lawsuit settlement

Yakima Herald-Republic

December 18, 2020

By Tammy Ayer

One of four priests accused by an Ellensburg man of abuse in the late 1970s and early 1980s has been exonerated.

The Rev. Seamus Kerr, a senior priest with the Catholic Diocese of Yakima, was exonerated as part of a settlement, according to a news release from the diocese. The March 2019 lawsuit filed in Kittitas County Superior Court alleged an Ellensburg man was sexually abused by priests at St. Andrew Catholic Church when he was a minor.

An order of dismissal was entered Dec. 10 after the settlement was reached. The diocese, which has provided more than $10,000 in mental health counseling for the man, agreed to provide an additional $5,000 in counseling payments, the release said.

Author of UK Catholic sex education book convicted as pedophile

LifeSite News

December 18, 2020

Church leaders did not report allegations to the police against the priest, who helped to bring sex education into Catholic schools 20 years ago.

Father Joseph Quigley of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, England was convicted this week of sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, false imprisonment (he liked to lock children in a crypt) and cruelty. One case against him dated from the 1990s, another concerned his actions between 2006 and 2008.

The Archdiocese, headed until 2009 by Vincent Nichols, now the Cardinal Archbishop of Birmingham, and since then by Archbishop Bernard Longley, failed to report Quigley to the police when they learned of one set of his crimes in 2008. Instead, they flew him to the United States for “rehabilitation” in a specialist clinic and subsequently allowed him to return to work in the UK.

December 18, 2020

Vancouver Catholic Church names another three priests who abused minors

Vancouver Sun

December 18, 2020

By Glenda Luymes

Thirteen previously unknown victims have come forward since a historic 2019 report on clerical sexual abuse

The Archdiocese of Vancouver has named another three priests who sexually abused minors.

All three men — John Edward Kilty, Johannes Holzapfel and Armand Frechette — served in at least one parish in the Archdiocese of Vancouver between the mid-1940s and early 1980s, and all three are now dead.

Priest of the Diocese of Yakima exonerated

Catholic News Service

December 18, 2020

A senior priest of the Diocese of Yakima, Father Seamus Kerr, was exonerated as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed against the diocese in 2019 alleging a man from Ellensburg, Washington, was sexually abused by priests at St. Andrew Catholic Church there when he was a minor.

“On behalf of our client … we acknowledge that the allegations of sexual abuse and improper conduct made against you, including statements in court pleadings and the press, have proven to be false,” said a letter to Kerr from the attorneys representing the man.

“We hereby withdraw the allegations and express our regret for any harm they may have caused to you and your reputation,” it added.

DC mayor adjusts COVID-19 limits on churches after archdiocese files lawsuit

Catholic News Service

December 18, 2020

By Mark Zimmermann

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, in response to a lawsuit filed by the Archdiocese of Washington, has modified the current pandemic limits on gatherings at houses of worship in the District to 25% of capacity and no more than 250 people.

Bowser took the action in an executive order issued Dec. 16. It became effective at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 17 and will be in place through Dec. 31.

"In order to resolve litigation," it said, "this order repeals the numeric cap of 50 persons on gatherings at houses of worship and allows physically large facilities to accommodate more worshippers based on their overall capacity, up to a maximum of 250 persons."

LDS handbook adds warning against prejudice and misinformation, revises entries on sex abuse, conversion therapy, stillborn babies and more

The Salt Lake Tribune

December 18, 2020

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also issues new instructions on cremation, AIDS, therapy and medical care.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled new wording Friday for the faithful on a host of social issues — from sexual abuse to conversion therapy, cremation to stillborn babies, counseling to HIV infection.

The Utah-based faith also added two significant sections to its “General Handbook” — one decrying “prejudice,” building on recent speeches against it by church leaders, and the other on “seeking information from reliable sources.”

Cincinnati Catholic priest accused of rape asks for reduction in $5M cash bond due to COVID


December17, 2020

By Craig Cheatham

Geoff Drew: COVID has him 'fearful for his life'

Geoff Drew, a Cincinnati Catholic priest charged with 9 counts of rape, is making a third attempt to lower his $5 million full cash bond.

The priest is accused of sexually assaulting a former altar boy from 1988 to 1991 when Drew was the music minister at St. Jude Parish in Green Township.

Drew has been held in the Hamilton County Justice Center since his arrest on Aug. 19, 2019.

Bishop Coyne apologizes to victims of Burlington orphanage abuse


December 17, 2020

By Darren Perron

Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne is apologizing to survivors of abuse following the release this week of an investigation on the former St. Joseph Orphanage in Burlington.

While Coyne says he’s relieved the investigation turned up no evidence of murder, allegations made by some former residents there, he says he is saddened about the confirmation of abuse of kids who lived there. He says the Burlington Diocese and Vermont Catholic Charities worked with investigators and have been transparent in providing all of their records.

Reporter Darren Perron: You know Bishop, back then before the priest sex abuse scandal, claims against clergy, frankly, weren’t believed. Do you believe the claims?

Archdiocese of New Orleans pushed confidential settlements with victims of monstrous deacon George Brignac

The New Orleans Advocate

December 18, 2020

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas

Lawyers representing the church or its insurers took a hard line, arguing that plaintiffs had waited too long, and that they would be lucky to get anything.

The email to the Archdiocese of New Orleans came in on a Friday in November 2018.

A week earlier, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond had published a list of clergymen credibly accused of child molestation -- a first-ever effort by the leadership in this traditionally Catholic city to fully come clean about the depth of a scandal that blew up in 2002 and had begun to simmer again in the summer of 2018.

The scandal’s recent flareup owed mostly to the first name on the list, which was organized alphabetically: George Brignac. That name jumped out at one man, and it prompted him to write the email.

Catholic priest facing sex abuse charges against boys dating back 40 years

Wakefield Express

December 17, 2020

By Tony Gardner

A Catholic priest has appeared before a court to face charges of sexual offences against boys dating back more than 40 years.

Father Patrick Smythe entered not guilty pleas to four charges of indecent assault when he appeared before Leeds Magistrates' Court this week.

The 77-year-old is alleged to have committed the offences against four different boys aged under the age of 16 between 1978 and 1983.

University of Colorado Removes Honors from Accused Priest

SNAP Network

December 17, 2020

Following an updated report on clergy sexual abuse from Colorado’s attorney general, the University of Colorado revoked an honorary degree it had bestowed on a Catholic priest that the report revealed had multiple allegations against him. We applaud this move and hope that other institutions follow suit for any wrongdoers that they have honored.

Now that Fr. Charles Woodrich – aka Fr. Woody – has been exposed an abuser, Catholics and secular leaders in Colorado must reckon with how these crimes remained hidden for so long.

For parishioners, they must ask their bishops and leaders who knew what when. For Colorado politicians and other secular leaders, they must ask how they can reshape Colorado laws to better serve their citizens and prevent future children from experiencing the horrors of sexual abuse.

While we applaud this decision by the University of Colorado, the fact is that the AG's report does not expose the full scope of Catholic clergy abuse in Colorado. In a key omission, the report contains no information about abuse by religious order priests, which means there are probably other Fr. Woodys out there wearing the robes of the Capuchins, Jesuits, Franciscans, or others.

Catholic Laity in Wisconsin Stand Up for Transparency in Cases of Clergy Abuse

SNAP Network

December 17, 2020

Hundreds of graduates from four Catholic schools in Wisconsin signed a joint letter to a local religious order, demanding answers and actions following a recent article that detailed one man’s struggle with clergy abuse that ultimately culminated in suicide. We applaud these men and women for using their voices to fight for truth and transparency and hope that their example inspires lay Catholics around the country.

The example set by graduates from Notre Dame Academy, Premontre High School, Abbot Pennings, and St. Joseph Academy gives us hope that more and more lay Catholics are choosing to be less deferential to Church officials and less willing to believe what they say when it comes to cases of clergy abuse. Minimization, obfuscation, and sanitizing language regarding cases of abuse are key parts of the “playbook” for clergy abuse uncovered by Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro. We believe that the recent comments from Abbot Dane Radecki regarding Nate's abuse were attempts to follow that playbook. We are grateful to see these alumni push back.

Church’s appeal loss paves way for abuse survivors to sue

The Age

December 18, 2020

By Adam Cooper and Tom Cowie

The Catholic Church has failed in its appeal over a compensation payout to a sexual abuse survivor, and now faces the prospect of being sued by hundreds of other victims who received meagre payments in exchange for their silence.

A former altar boy known as WCB was in 1996 paid $32,500 by the church after he was repeatedly abused by Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan between 1977 and 1980.

Church loses abuse settlement appeal

Wellington Times

December 18, 2020

By Georgie Moore

The Catholic Church has failed to overturn a landmark court decision meaning it can be sued by a Victorian sexual abuse survivor.

The former altar boy earlier this year became the first Australian to overturn a settlement with the church in the state's Supreme Court.

The survivor received $32,500 in 1996 after taking legal action against the church. The Court of Appeal has agreed it was not enough given the wrong done to the man.

He was abused from the age of 12 by Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan, between 1977 and 1980. The priest took his own life after being charged.

Survey: Catholic Poland increasingly distrusts Church

Catholic Herald

December 18, 2020

Despite Poland being over 90 percent Catholic, a survey published on Thursday suggested that approximately 41 percent of Poles view the Church favorably. This is a decrease of 8 percent from September, according to The Straits Times Europe and a survey by the CBOS institute, quoted by the Polish news agency PAP.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of the 1,010 adults surveyed earlier this month said they disapproved of the Church, up from 41 percent in September.

The survey echoes the results of a poll by another group last month when 40.4 percent of respondents said they trusted the Church, a decrease from 58 percent four years ago. Similarly, 42.4 percent of Poles said they distrusted the Church.

The Church’s reputation in Poland has been impacted by scandals, such as that of Polish Bishop Edward Janiak who resigned in October over suspicions he covered up sexual abuse of children.

Church in bid to stop pedo priest's payout

Central Queensland News

December 18, 2020

By Frances Vinall

The Catholic Church tried to block a victim who experienced ‘horrific’ abuse as an altar boy from accessing compensation.

The Catholic Church's attempt to block a paedophile priest's victim from accessing a payout has failed.

The Victorian Court of Appeal on Friday rejected an application from the church that would have prevented the victim, known by the pseudonym WCB in court to protect his identity, from seeking compensation.

In their written reasons, judges David Beach, Stephen Kaye and Robert Osborn said WCB had been subjected to abuse "of the most horrific kind".

He was tormented from the age of 11 while he was an altar boy at Warragul, in the Diocese of Sale, from 1977-1980.

The abuse was also inflicted on his brother, the justices said.

The paedophile priest, Daniel Hourigan, admitted the repeated sexual abuse before his death in 1995, the justices said.

At a Challenging Moment, Cardinal Gregory Makes His Mark

National Catholic Register

December 17, 2020

Amid a national reckoning on racial equality, a polarized campaign season, and the Vatican’s release of the McCarrick Report, Washington’s Catholic shepherd became the first African American to be named a cardinal.

By Joan Frawley Desmond

During the Nov. 28 consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica where he would become the first African American cardinal, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington heard Pope Francis preach on the Gospel and warn against the temptation to abuse ecclesial power.

In his homily for the consistory, the Pope reflected on the passage from Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus refers to his crucifixion while walking with his disciples to Jerusalem. On that journey, said Francis, Jesus alludes to his death to prepare his disciples “for the trials to come” and to encourage them to accompany him to the cross.

But James and John want to take a different path, the “road of those who, perhaps even without realizing it, ‘use’ the Lord for their own advancement,” the Pope added, calling out the use of “the scarlet of a cardinal’s robes” for “worldly” gain.

Cardinal Pell, publicizing new book, forgives enemies, praises Trump

Catholic News Service

December 17, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

Forgiveness is a recurring theme of the former Vatican official’s prison journal, and he told reporters that if anyone in the Vatican meant him harm, ‘I will pray for them.’

Cardinal George Pell was not soured by his fall from the Catholic Church’s top ranks after he was accused of sexually abusing minors, the Australian prelate told reporters Wednesday (Dec. 16). Nor did the Vatican’s tepid defense of its former financial reform czar alienate Pell as he went to trial and was eventually acquitted on appeal.

“Right throughout Pope Francis was very respectful, as was the Vatican, of the due process in Australia, but he made no secret privately and to me of his belief that I was innocent and he supported me,” Pell said in an online news conference to publicize his new book, a prison journal.

Pell, 79, said his advanced age prevents him from returning in any formal capacity to his anti-corruption work in the Vatican.

The Top 7 Pope Francis Stories of 2020


December 17, 2020

By Gerard O’Connell

Pope Francis celebrates his 84th birthday on Dec. 17, and four days later he will give his traditional (and often challenging) Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia for the eighth successive year.

Soon after his election on March 13, 2013, Francis told close friends that he had the distinct feeling that his would be “a short pontificate”—not more than a few years. Now he knows he was mistaken. Informed sources confirm he is in good health and continues to have the deep inner peace that he first experienced at the time of his election. Vatican officials who meet the pope regularly say there is no conclave on the horizon.

December 17, 2020

Philippines: Paedophilia and the Church


December 2020

Written and directed by Marianne Dardard. Produced by Séverine Bardon


Our months-long investigation on clergy sex abuse in the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines is now available with English subtitles. Unlike other countries, there is no association of victims for clergy sex misconduct in the Philippines.

The Philippines, despite being one of the most Catholic countries in the world, has never convicted a member of the clergy for sex abuse. And yet there are survivors who say that the abuse has been going on for years. At the end of 2018, an American priest who had officiated for forty years was arrested for pedophilia by the Philippine police and the American federal authorities.

French Court Convicts Former Vatican Envoy of Sexual Assault

Wall Street Journal

December 16, 2020

By Francis X. Rocca and Noemie Bisserbe

Archbishop Luigi Ventura is one of several prominent Catholic churchmen accused of sexual misconduct in recent years

A former Vatican envoy to France was found guilty of sexually assaulting five men, in the latest case of such misconduct by a senior Catholic Church official.

Archbishop Luigi Ventura, who served as papal nuncio to France until December 2019, received a suspended eight-month prison sentence from a court in Paris Wednesday for the assaults, which occurred between 2018 and 2019.

One of the victims, an employee of the city of Paris who was tasked with welcoming the cleric at the mayor’s New Year address in 2019, said the archbishop had groped him in an “insistent and repeated” manner.

The 76-year-old archbishop was convicted in absentia. The court had accepted a note from his doctor saying that he shouldn’t travel from Rome to Paris during the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Holy See Press Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An attempt to reach the archbishop through the Vatican wasn't successful.

In July 2019, the Vatican took the unusual step of withdrawing the archbishop’s diplomatic immunity to prosecution, in accordance with what it said were his wishes, to “collaborate fully and spontaneously with the French judicial authorities.” This summer, the Vatican spokesman said Archbishop Ventura reaffirmed his innocence.

Archbishop Ventura, a longtime Vatican diplomat, is one of several senior members of the Catholic hierarchy accused of sexual misconduct with adults in recent years, adding another dimension to the church’s long-running crisis over the clerical abuse of children.

In June, the pope reinstated his longtime protégé Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta in a high-level Vatican job, even though he is facing charges of sexual harassment in his native Argentina. Bishop Zanchetta has denied wrongdoing.

Last month, a Vatican report showed that Pope Francis and his two immediate predecessors had failed for years to discipline U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sexual misconduct. St. John Paul II appointed Mr. McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000, even after being warned that he had been accused of sharing his bed with adult seminarians and of pedophilia.

Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican pressed Mr. McCarrick to resign as archbishop of Washington and asked him to keep a low profile, but didn’t subject him to a church trial. Pope Francis followed the lead of his predecessors and assumed that the allegations had been rejected, the report said. In 2019, Mr. McCarrick became the first cardinal in modern times to be dismissed from the priesthood after a church trial found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors and sexual misconduct with adults. Mr. McCarrick denied wrongdoing.

Former Vatican envoy to France Luigi Ventura convicted of sexual assault

France24 News

December 16, 2020

A Paris court on Wednesday sentenced former Vatican ambassador to France Luigi Ventura to an eight-month suspended prison sentence after being convicted of sexual assault against five men.

The Vatican had previously lifted Ventura’s immunity while on trial. The court ordered Ventura to pay 13,000 euros in damages and he will now appear on sex offenders Register.

Former Vatican Ambassador to France was not present during the sentencing, nor was he present during the proceedings after his lawyers told the court that his doctor advised him against traveling from Italy to France due to the risks for health in the middle of coronavirus pandemic.

Ex-nuncio to France given suspended 8-month prison sentence

Catholic News Agency

December 16, 2020

A Paris criminal court on Wednesday gave a former nuncio to France an suspended 8-month prison sentence for sexual assault.

The court found Archbishop Luigi Ventura guilty of placing his hands on the buttocks of five men while conducting his public diplomatic duties.

He was ordered to pay 13,000 euros ($15,800) to four of the men and 9,000 euros ($10,900) in legal costs, reported AFP.

Ventura’s lawyer, Solange Doumic, told the French newspaper Le Figaro that the Italian archbishop was considering an appeal.

Ex-Vatican envoy to France gets 8-month suspended sentence for sexual harassment


December 16, 2020

A French court has found former Vatican ambassador to France Luigi Ventura guilty of sexual harassment against five men in 2018 and 2019 and given him an eight-month suspended sentence, AFP reported on its Twitter feed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors had opened an investigation after a junior official at Paris City Hall accused the papal nuncio, then 74, of molestation in January 2019, and city authorities filed a complaint. Other men later came forward with similar allegations.

Former nuncio convicted of 'sexual aggression'

The Tablet

December 16, 2020

By Tom Heneghan

Archbishop Luigi Ventura, a former nuncio to France who fled to the Vatican last year under accusation of sexual aggression, has been given an eight-month suspended sentence in absentia by a Paris magistrates’ court and ordered to pay unusually high fines.

His case was unprecedented because the Vatican lifted his diplomatic immunity to allow a civil court to try him. Ventura denied the five counts against him and vowed to defend himself, but then quietly left France during the summer of 2019 and resigned on turning 75 that December.

Paris court convicts former Vatican envoy of sexual assault

Associated Press

December 16, 2020

By Masha MacPherson

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a former Vatican ambassador to France of sexually assaulting five men in 2018 and 2019, and handed him a suspended 8-month prison sentence.

Retired Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 76 — who was not present in court — was “shattered” by the verdict, according to his lawyer, Solange Doumic. She said she was uncertain whether he would lodge an appeal because the procedure “has been extremely painful for him.”

Ventura has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. Sexual assault is punishable in France by up to five years’ imprisonment and fines in France.

Archbishop Ventura sentenced to eight months’ probation

Vatican Radio

December 16, 2020

The former Apostolic Nuncio to France, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several men, has always proclaimed his innocence. Archbishop Ventura had waived his diplomatic immunity in order to cooperate with the French justice system.

Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 76 years old, who had served as Apostolic Nuncio to France from 2009 to 2019, was sentenced to an eight-month suspended prison sentence for sexual harassment of several men. The prelate will also have to pay €13,000 to the victims, as well as €9,000 in legal fees.

Florida pastor jailed on child pornography charges

Orlando Sentinel

December 15, 2020

By Tiffini Theisen

The pastor of a Baptist church in the Florida Panhandle was arrested Monday on child pornography charges, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

Agents tracked uploads to an IP address at the Milton home of William Dalton Milam, 62, the FDLE said.

Milam remained jailed Tuesday morning with no bond, Santa Rosa County jail records show.

Saskatchewan priest charged with sexually assaulting minor

CBC News

December 16, 2020

Police say incidents allegedly happened between Sept. 1 and Nov. 4

A Saskatchewan priest responsible for three parishes in small rural villages has been accused of sexual assault.

Anthony Tei Atter, 45, faces charges of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and sexual interference for multiple alleged incidents involving one victim.

Sexual interference is a charge laid when the alleged victim is under the age of 16.

Granville Gibson: Church dismissed sex priest abuse as drunkenness

BBC News

December 17, 2020

Church officials dismissed claims a priest was sexually abusing young men as "drunkenness", a report has found.

Granville Gibson was jailed in 2016 and again last year for sexual offences committed in the 1970s and 80s.

In a review of how the Diocese of Durham handled complaints about Gibson, clinical psychologist Dr Stephanie Hill said a number of "red flags" were missed.

Monster in our midst: Timeline of George Brignac's abuse in New Orleans area churches


December 16, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

A review of more than 10,000 pages of documents from the Orleans Parish district attorney's office reveal a timeline of George Brignac's abuse over decades in Archdiocese of New Orleans churches.

Jan. 6, 1935: George Feldner Brignac is born to Horace L. Brignac Sr. and Ethel Marie Cocke Brignac.

A diocese's scandal, a college's adversity, a daughter's anguish and a QB's tweet among top 2020 stories by Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo News

December 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

While the Covid-19 pandemic overshadowed most other local news this year, one of the biggest stories of 2018 and 2019 – the Buffalo Diocese’s clergy sex abuse scandal – spilled into 2020 in a major way. The diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing represented an historic new chapter in the scandal. The New York attorney general’s lawsuit against the diocese is unique in its effort to hold some of Buffalo’s bishops personally accountable, through state charitable law, for mishandling abuse claims. We’ve published many stories on the diocese’s bankruptcy case this year. I included the first story on the filing because it encapsulated much of the scandal to that point, while also giving a thorough account of what the bankruptcy will mean for the region. The story on the attorney general’s action shows how officials for decades covered up for a priest who is now accused in 21 separate Child Victims Act lawsuits. I also included three stories unrelated to the diocese scandal. A thoroughly sourced story prompted intense reader interest and outrage over how the current D’Youville College president has gone about making personnel and other changes at the college. Another story highlighted how a woman who was abused as a girl by her father is seeking justice through the Child Victims Act, even though she doesn’t expect to reap a financial windfall. And finally, a breaking news story about former Bills great Jim Kelly’s controversial tweet was just fun to write.

Irish Times view: Abuse on a massive scale in New Zealand

The Irish Times

December 16, 2020

Quarter of a million children taken into care in state and church-run homes, detention facilities and orphanages suffered abuse

Nearly four in ten – or 250,000 – of the children taken into care in New Zealand state and church-run homes, detention facilities and orphanages suffered from abuse, a royal commission into historic abuse of children, young adults and vulnerable adults in institutions between 1950 and 1999 has reported.

The interim findings of the inquiry, the Tawharautia: Purongo o te Wa, lay out what prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who set it up two years ago, describes as the “unconscionable” treatment of young people and particularly the Maori. The report warns that such practices have not been entirely eradicated and complains that the redress system is complex and unsympathetic.

Catholic church’s dismissive attitude toward women pushed me away; Thank you for speaking truth; Child sex abuse by clergy profoundly devastating | Letters

The Jersey Journal

December 17, 2020

Letters To The Editor

Editor’s note: The following letters are in response to Jersey Journal Faith Matters columnist the Rev. Alexander Santora’s recent piece “Time for a Reckoning: Church must confront, change old boy’s network exposed in Vatican’s McCarrick report.”

Church disregards women

I am one of the lucky women educated by the church from kindergarten to graduate school without ever encountering an instance of abuse.

I did encounter constant and omnipresent prescriptions on how to live and think, with the underlying message that the most valuable female virtues in the eyes of the church are obedience, service and respect.

As a professional woman in Manhattan, however, over the years I came to view the church as out of touch, with no messages truly applicable to the experiences and demands of my life. There were no relevant views from the church to consider in ever greater areas of my life.

Why File a Lawsuit if You Faced Church Sexual Abuse

Legal Reader

December 16, 2020

By Addie Davison

If you are one who chooses to fight against church sexual abuse, there are many taking the legal route and getting assistance and justice. Regain your confidence and restore your lost faith by standing for yourself.

The Catholic Church has suffered an epidemic of misconduct. A study by the University of Chicago found that over 100,000 people have been victims of molestation by Catholic priests. A Pew Research center survey tells that approximately 8 in 10 U.S. adults have faced church sexual abuse as a child, reflecting a big issue.

Places of worship offer peace and solace, and if these institutes get polluted with wrong intentions and activities, it is scary. So what to do if a believer becomes a victim in the hands of the clergy? What to do if you or someone is known to you has faced molestation in a church? This article explores the legal options that a victim can have.

A Notre Dame Academy graduate alleged abuse by priests, then died by suicide. Over 400 alumni demand answers.

Green Bay Press-Gazette

December 16, 2020

By Haley BeMiller


DE PERE - Graduates of four Catholic high schools are demanding action from St. Norbert Abbey after its leader disputed allegations of sexual abuse lodged by a fellow alumnus who died by suicide in March.

The call for change came after the Green Bay Press-Gazette published an investigation detailing the story of Nate Lindstrom, who said three Norbertine priests abused him as a teenager in Green Bay in the late 1980s. Lindstrom received $420,000 in secret payments from the Catholic order over 10 years until the abbey stopped sending checks in 2019.

Lindstrom, 45, killed himself less than a year later.

Over 400 graduates of Notre Dame Academy and the former Premontre High School, Abbot Pennings and St. Joseph Academy signed a letter sent Wednesday to the Norbertines and Notre Dame officials imploring them to address Lindstrom's allegations. Signees include members of Lindstrom's family and Anne Horak Gallagher, an actress and wife of U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher of Green Bay.

Investigation: Florida was dumping ground for priests accused of sex abuse

ABC-7 News

December 16, 2020

By Jeff Butera

SOUTHWEST Fla. – Investigators in the Florida Attorney General’s office have completed a two-year investigation into sexual abuse inside Florida Catholic churches, revealing three major findings:

- Using 267 tips to a tip line, investigators found 97 Florida priests accused of sexual abuse in Florida.

- The investigation did not uncover current, ongoing or unreported sexual abuse by Florida priests.

- Investigators found 81 priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse in other states, then transferred, relocated or retired to Florida, sometimes without the knowledge of the Florida churches they were being moved to.

Lawmakers could let voters decide whether to allow lawsuits for abuse survivors in 2021

Tribune Democrat

December 16, 2020

By John Finnerty


The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee says that moving a bill to amend the Constitution to create a window of time for lawsuits by adult survivors of child abuse will be a top priority when lawmakers return to the Capitol next month.

The bill has already passed once, but because it’s a proposed constitutional amendment, it must pass unchanged a second time before it goes on the ballot for voters statewide.

State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, announced Tuesday that she plans to introduce legislation that will mirror House Bill 963, which passed both chambers of the General Assembly in 2019.

St. Joseph’s Orphanage abuse survivors disappointed following task force report


December 16, 2020

By Dom Amato

Abuse survivors, known as “The Voices of St. Joseph’s Orphanage”, shared stories Wednesday, of what they experienced at the orphanage decades ago.

Some of the group of more than 30, are sticking to their claims that children were murdered while they were being care for. In a nearly 300 page report released on Monday, Attorney General T.J. Donovan says evidence of abuse exists, but there isn’t enough evidence to substantiate murder.

Donovan also says law enforcement, and the state should have investigated when the claims were first made.

Former St. Joseph’s Residents Say Their Childhood Pain Lingers

Seven Days

December 16, 2020

By Chelsea Edgar

Thirteen former residents of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage responded on Wednesday to the long-awaited investigative report released earlier this week, saying the psychological trauma of their childhood experiences continues to take an incalculable toll.

Walter Coltey, who lived in the orphanage from 1953 to 1959, said that he is estranged from his two grown children because he brought them up the only way he knew — with belt-lashings and severe punishments like he endured at the hands of the nuns who staffed the children's home.

Monster in our midst: How pedophile New Orleans clergyman stayed near prey


December 16, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

It was 1953, and George Brignac was fresh out of high school when he joined the regional chapter of the Christian Brothers.

He spent seven years with the Catholic order, which founded four well-known local schools: St. Paul’s in Covington, De La Salle and Christian Brothers in New Orleans, and Archbishop Rummel in Metairie. But, by 1960, the order had expelled him.

Brignac told some people it was for “reasons of health.” Another time, his superior in the order said Brignac found “obedience difficult.”

Years later, his twin, a priest named Horace L. “H.L.” Brignac, revealed the truth in a statement to police: George Brignac had been “too friendly with boys.”

All 9 judges in Second Circuit recuse themselves from Diocese of Shreveport abuse lawsuit

Shreveport Times via the Daily Advertiser

December 16, 2020

By Deborah Bayliss

A strange occurrence in a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Shreveport and the late Father William Allison, has attorneys in the case questioning what led to all nine judges of the Second Circuit recusing themselves from the case.

The lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Shreveport seeks damages on claims of sexual abuse among other accusations that occurred in the 1970s of a then child among other accusations.

9 judges recuse themselves in Louisiana church abuse suit

Associated Press

December 16, 2020

All nine judges in Louisiana’s Second Circuit Court of Appeal have recused themselves from a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport and a late priest.

Following the full court recusal, the Louisiana State Supreme Court reassigned the case to the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans, attorneys for the plaintiff stated Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed against the diocese alleges a plaintiff, a former altar boy, was sexually abused by the late Father William Allison and another man who lived in a church rectory on separate occasions in the 1970s, the Shreveport Times reported. Allison died in 1986.

CU Regents revoke priest’s honorary degree

Boulder Daily Camera

December 16, 2020

By Katie Langford

University of Colorado’s Board of Regents on Wednesday revoked an honorary degree bestowed on the late Rev. Charles Woodrich, a Denver priest named in a Colorado Attorney General’s Office report this month for sexually abusing children in the 1970s and ’80s.

Woodrich, known as Father Woody, was one of 52 priests in Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses who sexually abused children between 1951 and 1999, according to independent investigator and former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer.

Survivors continued to come forward after Troyer’s initial report was published in October 2019, according to the Denver Post. The attorney general’s office released the Dec. 1 report as a result.

December 16, 2020

Ex-Vatican envoy to France gets 8-month suspended sentence for sexual harassment -AFP


December 16, 2020

A French court has found former Vatican ambassador to France Luigi Ventura guilty of sexual harassment against five men in 2018 and 2019 and given him an eight-month suspended sentence, AFP reported on its Twitter feed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors had opened an investigation after a junior official at Paris City Hall accused the papal nuncio, then 74, of molestation in January 2019, and city authorities filed a complaint. Other men later came forward with similar allegations.

Kerala church faces backlash for featuring rape-accused bishop in calendar; sparks fierce protests

International Business Times

December 15, 2020

By Nivedita Giri

Despite rape allegation against the church Bishop, a senior priest of the Catholic diocese in Thrissur said that the Bishop still remains a member of the church.

A photo of Kerala Roman Catholic Church Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of sexually abusing a nun, featuring on the official calendar for 2021 by the Thrissur diocese in the State has taken up churchgoers by storm. The incident triggered protests, with some followers even burning copies of the calendar in Kollam seeking its immediate withdrawal.

The month of March in the new official calendar for 2021 features the photograph of Mulakkal, along with other Bishops, indicating his birthday.

Top priest at Orchard Lake St. Mary's sued for sexual harassment

Detroit Free Press

December 14, 2020

By John Wisely

The Rev. Miroslaw Krol, the top priest at Orchard Lake Schools, was sued in federal court Monday for sexual harassment by former subordinates who claim he pressured them for sex.

Two men, one a priest and the other a former lay staffer, claim that Krol recruited them to Orchard Lake in 2018, then preyed on them, groping them, kissing them and trying to have sex with them. When they rebuffed his advances, he retaliated against them, the suit claims.

Accuser recants allegations against Norfolk priest


December 15, 2020

By Todd Densmore

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Tuesday that an individual who previously came forward and accused a retired diocesan priest of child sexual abuse has recanted the accusations.

The allegations were made earlier this year against Father William Dinga Jr. ‘This recantation by the alleged victim exonerates Father Dinga of these accusations’ the Catholic Diocese said in a news release.

Ex-employees accuse Orchard Lake St. Mary's priest of sexual assault, harassment


December 15, 2020

By Jessica Dupnack

Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory is a prestigious Catholic high school in Oakland County where the top priest is accused in a lawsuit of hosting sex parties off-campus and on-campus, and allegedly sexually assaulted his employees - including two priests.

"This was not an out of the blue, first-time allegation," said attorney Jennifer Salvatore.


The Olive Press

December 15, 2020

By James Warren

The priest is accused of getting the girls to sit on his lap, using the lure of sweets to get the girls alone

A PARISH priest has been jailed for 20 years for sexually abusing young girls in his care during a six month period back in 2014, according to newly released court documents.

The priest, practicing in the city of Cordoba, was accused of sexually groping six individuals between the ages of eight and 12 who were visiting during religious camps during the school summer holidays.

An investigation began when one of the victims, who has not been named for her protection, spoke of the abuse in front of a Policia Local officer five years after the events.

Head Of Detroit-Area Catholic School Denies 2 Male Staffers' Abuse Claims

Deadline Detroit

December 15, 2020

A federal lawsuit accuses the chancellor of a West Bloomfield parochial high school of sexual misconduct and retaliation against two male employees who were fired.

The civil case, filed Monday in Detroit, says the Rev. Miroslaw Krol used "his authority to engage in a pattern of sexual misconduct with subordinates and retaliat[ed] against them after they reported the alleged conduct," The Detroit News writes.

Former Priest Again Accused Of Abuse In Lawsuit


December 16, 2020

By Eric Tichy

A former priest previously accused of sexual assault has again been identified in a Child Victims Act lawsuit.

The suit was filed last week in New York State Supreme Court in Chautauqua County. It alleges abuse by the Rev. John D. Lewandowski, who had previously been accused of abuse according to a list released by the Diocese of Buffalo.

Advocacy Groups Call For Investigation Into Archdiocese Of Cincinnati


December 16, 2020

By Michael Monks

The trial for a Cincinnati priest accused of raping a child is set for April of 2021. Former Father Geoffrey Drew is accused of raping an altar boy between 1988 and 1991 when he was the music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township.

Members of Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful wrote an op-ed in the Enquirer calling for an investigation into the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for its handling of Fr. Drew's case. They claim there were complaints about Drew spanning 30 years.

Ex-nuncio to France given suspended 8-month prison sentence


December 16, 2020

A Paris criminal court on Wednesday gave a former nuncio to France an suspended 8-month prison sentence for sexual assault.

The court found Archbishop Luigi Ventura guilty of placing his hands on the buttocks of five men while conducting his public diplomatic duties.

He was ordered to pay 13,000 euros ($15,800) to four of the men and 9,000 euros ($10,900) in legal costs, reported AFP.

Ventura’s lawyer, Solange Doumic, told the French newspaper Le Figaro that the Italian archbishop was considering an appeal.

Ventura was absent for the trial, which took place Nov. 10. A doctor said it was too dangerous for the 76-year-old Ventura, who is living in Rome, to travel to Paris while the coronavirus was surging in France. He was not present for the verdict.

Baptist Pastor in Florida Arrested on Child Porn Charges

SNAP Network

December15, 2020

A Baptist pastor in Florida has been arrested on multiple counts of possessing child pornography and two counts of “promoting sexual performance of a child.” Given this man’s prominent position in his local faith community, we are concerned that there may be more victims and hope that the news of this arrest will encourage survivors and witnesses to come forward to local law enforcement.

Priest who gave Sen. Ted Kennedy’s funeral homily charged in sex assault case

Boston Globe

December 15, 2020

By Travis Andersen

A Catholic priest who delivered the funeral homily for Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 2009 has been indicted on charges alleging rape and indecent assault of a minor.

A Barnstable Superior Court grand jury on Friday indicted the Rev. Mark R. Hession, 62, on two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery of a person under 14, and one count of witness intimidation, court records show.

An arraignment date will be set in January, a spokesperson for the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office said. It wasn’t clear who was representing Hession, and information on the dates and locations of the alleged rapes and assault wasn’t immediately available.

The Diocese of Fall River said Hession has been suspended from active priestly ministry since last year.

“A priest on leave is not permitted to exercise public ministry nor present himself as a priest in public settings,” the diocese said in a statement.

The diocese said it learned of the criminal investigation after Hession was placed on leave in March 2019 for sending what church officials described as “inappropriate communications” to several adult parishioners.

Hession had previously served as pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Seekonk before being appointed in 2018 to the same position at Holy Family Parish in Taunton, according to the diocese’s website. He was also the pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville and Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Osterville.

In 2009, the Globe described Hession as the Kennedys’ “family priest on Cape Cod.” During Kennedy’s funeral Mass, Hession said, “We bring with us treasured memories” of the lawmaker.

“Memories not only of a national leader and a master legislator, but of a beloved husband, a great father, a terrific grandfather, a sweet uncle, a dear friend, a trusted colleague, a wise mentor,” Hession told the congregation.

He knew “Ted and Vicki and their family as their parish priest. My sources of reflection are the scriptures and the pastoral experience of ministering to Ted and his family,” he said. “As a priest, I saw him treasure and draw strength from his family.”

In 2002, during the initial fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal, Hession told the Cape Cod Times he didn’t feel priests who had been accused of wrongdoing should be named publicly in the absence of criminal charges.

“The law allows for a certain exercise of discretion to make settlements with confidentiality,” Hession told the newspaper. “I don’t think it’s the best policy to publish the names if there is no indictment. It just enlarges the circle of the crisis.”

[News Release] Recent Allegations Against Retired Priest, Father William Dinga Jr., Renounced by Individual Accuser

Diocese of Richmond

December 15, 2020


The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has announced today (Dec. 15, 2020) that an individual who previously came forward and accused a retired diocesan priest of child sexual abuse has recanted the accusations. The allegations were made earlier this year against Father William Dinga Jr.

This recantation by the alleged victim exonerates Father Dinga of these accusations. Father Dinga adamantly denied and maintained his innocence concerning the allegations, which arose from alleged conduct at Christ the King Catholic Church in Norfolk in 1986, when they were brought to the attention of the diocese.

Just as the diocese strives to remain transparent when child sexual abuse allegations are brought forward, the diocese will also publicly clear the accused of any wrongdoing when an accused is subjected to mistaken or unsupported allegations.

Person who accused Virginia priest of sexual abuse recants, Catholic Diocese of Richmond says

Associated Press

December 16, 2020

A person who accused a retired Catholic priest of child sexual abuse has recanted their allegation, The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Tuesday.

The diocese issued a statement saying that because the person recanted the accusations made against Fr. William Dinga, he has been restored to his previous position and status within the diocese.

The accusations against Dinga focused on 1986, when he served at Norfolk’s Christ the King Catholic Church. Dinga, who was ordained as a priest at the Richmond Diocese in 1975, denied the accusations.

Individual retracts child sexual abuse claim against priest at Norfolk church, Richmond Catholic Diocese says

WRIS via WAVY.com

December 15, 2020

By Keyris Manzanares

An individual who said they had been sexually abused as a child by a priest in Norfolk, Va., has retracted their claim, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Tuesday.

The allegations were made earlier this year against retired diocesan priest William Dinga Jr.

Dinga has been accused of abuse while serving at Christ the King Catholic Church in 1986. He retired in 1990 and was not permitted to exercise public priestly duties before these allegations, which Dinga denies, were made.

“This recantation by the alleged victim exonerates Father Dinga of these accusations. Father Dinga adamantly denied and maintained his innocence concerning the allegations,” the diocese said in a press release.

Cardinal Marx calls handling of abuse report in Cologne 'devastating'

Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur via National Catholic Reporter

December 15, 2020

Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx has said he regards the decision not to publish an investigation into clergy sexual abuse undertaken by the Cologne Archdiocese as "devastating" for the entire Catholic Church.

"The public now perceives that lawyers are quibbling over details on the backs of the victims," Marx said in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper published Dec. 15.

The former president of the German Bishops' Conference said he planned to publish in full a comparable report about the Munich Archdiocese by the same law firm after it is presented in 2021.

'Horror’ that abusive priest allowed back into schools

The Tablet

December 15, 2020

By Catherine Pepinster

Devastated head teachers, teachers and other education experts have spoken of their anger regarding the Catholic Church’s handling of the case of Fr Joseph Quigley, an authority and adviser to bishops on Catholic education, who has been convicted of child sex abuse.

Quigley, 56, was found guilty on December 3 at Warwick Crown Court of physical and sexual abuse – but 12 years after Birmingham archdiocese, when it was led by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, first learned of his abuse and did not immediately report Quigley to the police.

Three men accuse prominent Michigan priest, Polish seminary leader of sexual abuse

Michigan Radio

December 14, 2020

By Kate Wells

The call came one warm night in June 2019. A young Polish priest referred to as “John Doe 1” in a federal lawsuit filed Monday knew it was his boss, Rev. Miroslaw Krol, and he knew that Krol was drunk. But he didn’t know the night would end with him driving an intoxicated Krol and another visiting priest to a motel to meet a male sex worker, and then, according to the suit, withdrawing cash from an ATM so Krol could pay him.

Krol is the chancellor and CEO of Orchard Lake Schools, an Oakland County campus that includes a private prep school, St. Mary’s; a seminary, and a Polish cultural center. A leading figure in the Detroit area’s Polish Catholic community, both Krol and the OLS leadership are named as defendants in a suit in which three men — including two priests — say Rev. Krol recruited them to Orchard Lake with the intent of sexually abusing them.

Report On Criminal Investigation Into Abuses At Former Orphanage Released

WAMC Radio

December 15, 2020

By Pat Bradley

A long-awaited report on conditions in a former Burlington, Vermont orphanage finds abuse occurred there, but there is no evidence of murder.

Two years ago, Buzzfeed published a story titled “We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage.” The details led to the formation of a task force to investigate allegations of child abuse and possible murder at the now closed facility. Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said there were three goals of the task force. “Number one to investigate this allegation of a homicide. Secondly that in the course of that investigation if other criminal conduct was uncovered to investigate those allegations of criminal conduct. And third given the length of time to work with the survivors where justice cannot be brought oftentimes in a court of law but we can still seek justice, we can still seek healing, we can still seek reconciliation through a process that we have embarked upon through our restorative justice model.”

Cardinal George Pell claims he was framed on child sex charges by senior figures in the Catholic Church because he was trying to clean up the Vatican's finances

Daily Mail

December 16, 2020

By Lauren Ferri


- Cardinal George Pell claims he was framed on child sex charges by church figure
- He told an Italian media channel those who investigated finances were 'attacked'
- Pell was acquitted of child sexual abuse in Australia in April after months of trial
- He spent more than a year in prison before his conviction was overturned in April

Cardinal George Pell has claimed he was framed on child sex charges by senior figures in the Catholic Church due to his work on Vatican financial reform.

In an interview with Italian media channel RAI 1, Cardinal Pell, 79, alleged everyone who investigated the church's finances had been 'publicly attacked'.

Former Trinity College teacher Tony Webb to appeal child sexual abuse reporting conviction

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 16, 2020

By Rebecca Turner

One of the first people convicted under Western Australia's child sexual abuse mandatory reporting laws has announced he is appealing, a move which has further upset a victim and his family.

Warning: this story contains graphic content that some readers may find upsetting.

Former Trinity College teacher Anthony Paul Webb — one of several who supervised a school rugby trip to Japan in 2017 in which a student was allegedly sexually assaulted by some teammates — has lodged his appeal with the Supreme Court of WA.

'A lot of abuse took place there': State care institutions vanished from records


December 16, 2020

By Aaron Smale

There’s a big chunk of Kath Coster’s childhood that is a blank. Not because she can’t remember it – she will never forget the time she spent at Strathmore Girls’ Home in Christchurch.

The abuse she went through from the age of nine has left deep scars. “I don’t think you ever get over that kind of thing,” she says.

But the Department of Social Welfare, as it was called then, that ran Strathmore has passed on an institutional amnesia to its present-day iteration, the Ministry of Social Development. It has left little trace of the existence of Strathmore, which was closed in 1980.

At least 250,000 suffered abuse in New Zealand's state care system, inquiry finds

The Guardian

December 16, 2020

By Eleanor Ainge Roy

Royal commission into abuse in state care between 1950 and 1999 found victims were ‘most disadvantaged or marginalised’

A quarter of a million New Zealanders held in state care suffered some form of abuse, a landmark inquiry has found, with the true number believed to be higher.

The royal commission into abuse in state care is investigating historic abuse of children, young adults and vulnerable adults by state-run institutions between 1950 and 1999, as well as in affiliated religious institutions, such as church-run orphanages.

It is the largest and most complex royal commission ever undertaken in New Zealand, and has been plagued by issues since its inception, including the resignation of its chair, Sir Anand Satyanand, in its early days.

NZ state care harmed 250,000: report

Reuters via Yahoo News

December 16, 2020

By Praveen Menon

Up to 250,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults were physically and sexually abused in New Zealand's faith-based and state care institutions from the 1960s to early 2000s, a public inquiry has revealed.

An interim report on Wednesday by the Royal Commission of Inquiry found children, some from as young as nine months old, suffered years of abuse, which included rape and electric shock treatment, by staff at psychiatric and state care facilities, clergy and foster guardians.

The report estimated that up to 256,000 people were abused, accounting for almost 40 per cent of the 655,000 people in care during the period, with most abuse occurring in the 1970s and 1980s.

Royal Commission into Abuse in Care releases interim report

Radio New Zealand

December 16, 2020

By Andrew McRae

It will never be possible to determine the precise number of people abused because of large gaps and deficiencies in data collected at the time, the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care says.

No captionState Services Minister Chris Hipkins Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone
Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins, who released the interim report Tāwharautia: Pūrongo o te Wā today, said it was a difficult read, and showed the enormity of abuse and trauma that had occurred.

The report is based on accounts of people abused in state care, provided up to the conclusion of the state redress hearing in early November at private and public hearings. It has no specific recommendations but what the Royal Commission has learned will ultimately inform its recommendations to government in a final report.

December 15, 2020

Orphanage report: Investigators say authorities failed to pursue abuse claims


December 14, 2020

By Dom Amato

No evidence of murder but an acknowledgment of abuse: Those are the main findings of a more than two-year investigation into claims at a former orphanage in Burlington. Our Dom Amato explains how the state came up with the findings.

The old building on North Ave. is now part of a new housing complex, but it was once the St. Joseph’s Orphanage.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan says the state investigation uncovered evidence of abuse over several decades, and blames police and prosecutors for failing to investigate the allegations when they were first made.

Now, the orphans who once lived there are calling for more to be done to support them.

[News Release] St. Joseph’s Orphanage Task Force Concludes Investigation Into Criminal Allegations By Former Residents

Office of VT Attorney General

December 14, 2020

[Note: A copy of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Task Force’s Report can be found on the Attorney General’s Office’s website in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The report’s appendices are available in six parts: Appendices Part 1, Appendices Part 2, Appendices Part 3; Appendices Part 4, Appendices Part 5, and Appendices Part 6.]


St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry Continues

Attorney General T.J. Donovan, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, Vermont State Police, and the Burlington Police Department today announced the conclusion of their criminal investigation into the former St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont. No charges will be brought involving the Orphanage, which closed in 1974. Due to the statutes of limitation, which limit the timeframe during which criminal charges can be brought by the State, only the crime of murder would have been prosecutable due to the passage of time since the events of the allegations. Sufficient evidence to support a murder charge was not found. This concludes an investigation that began in September of 2018. A nearly 300-page report describing the allegations, investigation, and the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry was released today.

Orphanage investigation finds no crimes, but abuse occurred

Associated Press

December 15, 2020

By Wilson Ring

Vermont’s top law enforcement officer said Monday a two-year investigation into allegations of murder at a long-closed Burlington orphanage found no evidence of such crimes and the criminal investigation is over.

In releasing the report, Attorney General T.J. Donovan said Monday it is clear that children suffered while staying at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, which closed in 1974, and the Vermont law enforcement community failed to protect those children.

“It is clear that abuse did occur at St. Joseph’s Orphanage and that many children suffered,” Donovan said during an online news conference. “As I said, that when we have been prevented from conducting an investigation as a result of the statute of limitations, the harm incurred by many of the residents still resonates today.”

[News Release] Oral Argument in a Civil Suit against the Japanese Catholic Church to Be Heard on Tuesday

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

December 14, 2020

The first oral argument in a lawsuit filed against the Catholic Church in Japan will be heard on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 10 AM in the Sendai District Court. We sincerely hope that the plaintiff’s position will be heard and upheld by the judge.

Japan Volunteer SNAP Leader Harumi Suzuki filed a lawsuit in late September against the Diocese of Sendai. Harumi’s attorney, Yuma Sato, seeks 56.1 million yen ($534,000) in damages from the Diocese.

According to Harumi’s complaint, she was a victim of domestic violence in 1977 and turned to her Catholic priest for help. Instead, she was raped during a counseling session. As a result, Harumi suffered from depression for years.

The People Should Choose Their Bishops Again


December 9, 2020

By Nicholas P. Cafardi

An Ambrose of Our Own

There are a number of conclusions one could draw from reading the Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. For example: that the clerical sex-abuse crisis in the Church is worse than we thought and extends to vulnerable adults. Also, that position and influence in our Church are easily bought, and that bishops lie, even to the pope, to protect other bishops. But the conclusion that encompasses all of these things is that the way we choose our bishops is deeply flawed, producing bishops who are, in turn, deeply flawed. How did things get this way, and what can be done about it?

First, let’s consider a bit of history. Once the office of bishop was clearly established in the early Church as the unitary head of a diocese (a Roman administrative unit), that office was filled by someone chosen by local people and priests, then ratified by the neighboring bishops, as a sign of the unity of the Church. Even the unbaptized were eligible, as we know from the oft-told story of St. Ambrose, whom the clergy and people of Milan chose as their bishop while he was still a catechumen. The first bishop of the United States, John Carroll, was elected by the priests of Maryland and confirmed by the pope. Today, we are so used to the pope choosing our bishops for us that we think it was always that way. It wasn’t. In fact, the right of the pope to choose bishops was only settled with the 1917 Code of Canon Law, a papal document that clearly allocated that power to the holder of the papal office.

Two anniversaries that give us hope

adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

December 14, 2020

For our own mental health, given the wealth of bad news in the world, we at Horowitz Law try hard to take note of good news and anniversaries of good news.

Today, Dec. 14, marks the anniversary of the resignation of the poster child for the US Catholic church’s abuse and cover-up crisis – Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.

Never mind that he retained many other powerful positions and was sent to Rome to head an important and historic basilica (and evaded criminal prosecution). The fact that an incredibly influential prelate was forced to step down for endangering kids and enabling abuse is worth remembering and celebrating.

And next year, 2021, will mark the 20th anniversary of a wonderfully transformative event in terms of children’s safety.

Twenty years ago, in 2001, a Massachusetts judge issued a landmark ruling. The choice she faced was this: side with vulnerable kids, wounded victims and betrayed Catholics. Or side with Catholic clerics who committed, concealed and were STILL committing and concealing heinous child sex crimes.

Ewan Gurr: ‘Conversation required to deal with historic abuse’

Dundee Telegraph

December 15, 2020

By Ewan Gurr

Historic child abuse is not a subject anyone should feel comfortable with.

According to child abuse survivor and campaigner, Dave Sharp, Scotland has yet to reckon with an issue that has long existed below the surface of our illusion of a civilised society.

Please consider these opening lines as your health warning because this column is about to unearth one of the most chilling experiences I have ever come across.

Born in 1959, Dave Sharp lost his mother early in life and was placed under the care of the Catholic church, where he spent the first 16 years of his life.

He lived in Nazareth House in East Ayrshire and also Midlothian, both of which are now being investigated as a significant part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, but his most vivid experiences of child abuse occurred at St Ninian’s in Fife, which was run by the Catholic order of Irish Christian brothers.

December 14, 2020

This day in history, December 13: Boston’s Cardinal Law resigns amid priest sex abuse scandal

Associated Press via Chicago Tribune

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 13, 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Boston archbishop because of the priest sex abuse scandal.

Click here to see the full Chicago Tribune front page from Saturday, December 14, 2002.

Spotlight on SPOTLIGHT

Sri Lanka
Daily Mirror

December 14, 2020

By Stephanie Perie

With the recent rise in child abuse in Sri Lanka, I believe it is as good a time as any to put in my two cents regarding the matter. Here’s a side to abuse most of us don’t talk of and some of us don’t know of.

John Joseph Geoghan was born to an Irish Catholic family in 1935 in Boston where he later attended local parochial schools. After graduating from Holy Cross College, he joined Cardinal O’Connell Seminary and was ordained in 1962. In an assessment conducted in 1954, his seniors inferred he had “pronounced immaturity.”

On February 13, 1962, he was appointed assistant pastor at the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Saugus, Massachusetts, where Anthony Benezevich observed and reported to church officials of Geoghan’s habit of escorting boys to his quarters. On September 22, 1966, Geoghan was assigned to St. Bernard’s Parish in Concord before being transferred out seven months later for unaccounted reasons. On April 20, 1967, he was installed at St. Paul’s Parish in Hingham where a man complained to church authorities of catching the priest molesting his son. Following this incident, Geoghan was admitted to Seton Institute in Baltimore, Maryland where he received treatment for pedophilia. On June 4, 1974, Geoghan was sent to St. Andrew’s Parish in Boston’s Jamaica Plain where he was ordered out after he uninhibitedly owned to having molested seven boys of an extended family. But through the intervention of Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, Geoghan was directed toward counseling and underwent both psychoanalysis and psychotherapy instead. On February 25, 1981, he was assigned to St. Bernard’s Parish in Dorchester where he allegedly raped and fondled a boy.

The McCarrick case and some disturbing conclusions

UCAN (Union of Catholic Asian News)

December 13, 2020

By Gianni Criveller

What is evangelical about a church that, in the eyes of many, is nothing but a club only for men who cover for each other?

In a couple of sleepless nights, I read the 449 pages and 1,410 notes (the devil, as they say, is in the detail) of the Vatican report on former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

I had anticipated that it would be depressing reading, yet we must read the worst circumstances of the time in which we live and fully carry the weight and feel the responsibility. I write under an interior impulse. I feel that the Catholic Church, starting with its leaders, can no longer wait. Either structural changes are promoted (beyond those at the level of conscience, as is obvious) or this crisis will not be overcome. Already too many have distanced themselves from ecclesial life and the practice of faith.

New Bishop Directs Springfield Diocese To Expand List Of Clergy Credibly Accused Of Abuse

New England Public Media

December 11, 2020

By Nancy Eve Cohen


The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese said it will expand which clergy accused of sexual abuse it lists on its website.

Up until now, the diocese published only the names of clergy it considered credibly accused when they were alive — with one exception, the late Bishop Christopher Weldon.

Early in 2021, the diocese said, the list will include clergy accused after they died.

Influential Polish priest accused of excusing child abuse and violating Covid rules

Notes from Poland

December 8, 2020

An influential priest and ally of Poland’s ruling party has said that he is “sorry for causing pain” if anyone “misunderstood” recent remarks on clerical paedophilia.

During a mass on Saturday, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk appeared to suggest that such crimes were the result of priests understandably giving in to “temptation”. He also referred to a bishop accused of covering up abuse as a “modern martyr” who has been victimised by the media.

Meanwhile, the event at which he spoke – marking the 29th birthday of Radio Maryja, the controversial broadcaster founded by Rydzyk – is being investigated by the sanitary authorities for apparent breaches of government coronavirus restrictions. Among those in attendance were the justice and defence ministers.

Clergy sexual misconduct investigation continues

News Release from the Attorney General via WLNS-TV

December 7, 2020

Two of the men previously charged in Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s ongoing clergy abuse investigation appeared in court last week.

Gary Jacobs, a former priest in the Upper Peninsula’s Ontonagon and Dickinson counties, and Gary Berthiaume, a former priest at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, were both back in court for charges related to the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s ongoing clergy abuse investigation.

“The work of our clergy abuse investigation team has been critical in moving these cases forward, bringing us that much closer to justice,” Nessel said. “My office remains committed to carefully reviewing all credible allegations of sexual abuse on behalf of all victims who come forward to tell their story.”

Jacobs, 75, faces a total of 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in five cases. He was arrested in January in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he lived.

Colorado’s review of Catholic Church sex abuse named priests, but not those who covered up their crimes

Colorado Sun

December 14, 2020

By Jesse Paul and Jennifer Brown

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office said time limited the investigation. The Catholic Church says it’s taken responsibility. But victims say the whole story hasn’t been told.

Warning: This story contains explicit descriptions of sexual assault.

Apair of explosive reports on decades of child sex abuse in Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses named 52 priests but kept confidential the identities of numerous church officials — from administrators to bishops — who covered up or ignored allegations of misconduct and transferred known child abusers to work in other parishes.

The Colorado Sun counted 37 priests in the two investigative documents — one released last year and another earlier this month — whose abuse was hidden by the church, either because officials ignored victims’ stories, chose not to investigate or did not report suspected abuse to law enforcement. In many cases, the church allowed an abusive priest to continue working as clergy despite warnings about their behavior.

There were 212 people who were abused by priests as children or teens between 1950 and 2000 who came forward during the independent investigation, which began in February 2019. Of those, 113 were preyed upon by 14 priests after the church had been warned about their behavior, according to the independent investigation.

DOJ probe of Catholic church abuse goes quiet 2 years later

Associated Press

December 13, 2020

By Mary Claire Dale

Two years ago, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia joined the long line of ambitious prosecutors investigating the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of priest-abuse complaints.

The Justice Department had never brought a conspiracy case against the church, despite exhaustive reports that showed its long history of burying abuse complaints in secret archives, transferring problem priests to new parishes, silencing accusers and fighting laws to benefit child sex assault victims.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain sent subpoenas to bishops across Pennsylvania asking them to turn over their files and submit to grand jury testimony if asked. The FBI interviewed at least six accused priests, court files show.

But as McSwain’s tenure likely nears its end with President-elect Joe Biden set to take office next month, there’s no sign that any sweeping church indictment is afoot. So far, the case has yielded a single arrest: an 82-year-old defrocked priest, Robert Brennan, charged with lying to FBI agents who showed up at his door.

Oakland diocese settles sex-misconduct suit for $3.5 million

Bay Area News Group

December 13, 2020

By George Kelly

Livermore pastor removed from ministry, but church offers no admission of wrongdoing

A civil lawsuit anonymously filed last year against the Diocese of Oakland by a former seminarian over alleged sexual misconduct by an East Bay pastor reached a settlement late last month, authorities said.

In a statement last week, the diocese said the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges despite a Livermore police investigation. Church officials added that Father Van Dinh, the former pastor of Livermore’s St. Michael’s Catholic Parish, was not a defendant in last month’s settlement of the suit “which had no finding or admission of liability by Dinh or by the diocese.”

“Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, has removed Dinh from ministry; he is not able to function as a priest in any capacity,” the statement said in part. “He is on leave and receives the normal compensation from the Diocese.”

Priest Exonerated in Lawsuit Settlement

KPQ.com / 560 News Radio

December 13, 2020

By Dave Bernstein

Father Seamus Kerr, a senior priest at Holy Apostles Parish in East Wenatchee and three other Catholic priests have been exonerated in the settlement of a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Yakima in 2019. The suit was filed by an Ellensburg man who claimed sexual abuse by priests at St. Andrew Catholic Church in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was between 10 and 18 years of age.

Rev. Msgr. Robert M. Siler announced the settlement in a news release on Friday after the agreement was reached. Siler provided statements in a letter to Fr. Kerr from the attorneys representing the man identified in court papers as John Doe “On behalf of our client … we acknowledge that the allegations of sexual abuse and improper conduct made against you, including statements in court pleadings and the press, have proven to be false. We hereby withdraw the allegations and express our regret for any harm they may have caused to you and your reputation.”

Post-McCarrick report dialogue zeroes in on 'hyperclerical culture'

Catholic News Service via Catholic San Francisco

December 13, 2020

By Mark Pattison

One month to the day that the Vatican released its report on since-laicized cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a panel of academics took a close look at what one called a "hyperclerical culture" that allowed McCarrick's sexual misconduct to go unchecked.

"Silence is dangerous," said John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, a co-sponsor of the Dec 10 dialogue, "The McCarrick Report: Findings, Lessons and Directions," and who himself had been subject to sexual abuse when he was a seminarian. "Hyperclerical culture can be horrific -- and their decisions reflect that."

"When I read it, I said to myself, no wonder nobody believed me," said Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Chile who was later welcomed to the Vatican by Pope Francis to share his experience and recommendations. "The clericalism here, the camaraderie -- badly understood camaraderie -- the brotherhood of these bishops. It's appalling, it's appalling."

Archdiocese of Vancouver confirms 3 more priests involved in abuse settlements


December 13, 2020

Three more priests who served in Vancouver parishes are involved in settlements related to sexual abuse, according to a report released by the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

The report, dated Dec. 14, 2020, also confirms 13 more survivors have come forward with stories of sexual abuse.

In 2019, the CBC's The Fifth Estate reported that the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver was aware of 36 cases of abuse by clergy under its jurisdiction, including 26 cases involving children.

Five days later, the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver named nine clergymen who have criminal convictions or lawsuits settled against them related to cases of sexual abuse dating back to the 1950s.

December 13, 2020

In shift, Springfield Diocese will name all credibly accused priests

The Berkshire Eagle

December 11, 2020

By Larry Parnass

The Springfield Diocese will expand its list of credibly accused priests to include those who died before survivors brought accusations of sexual abuse. The exclusion of such priests long has prevented some victims from seeing their abusers face a public accounting.

The change is a new bishop’s first step in reckoning with a history of clergy abuse in the Catholic diocese that includes Berkshire County. It comes as an independent task force led by a retired Pittsfield judge continues to shape recommendations on how the diocese can improve policies to protect children.

The Rev. William D. Byrne will be installed Monday afternoon as the diocese’s 10th bishop. The move to expand the list of credibly accused clergy, he said, is needed to promote trust and healing.

“We have to wash the wound if we’re ever going to let it heal. And our first responsibility is to victims,” Byrne told The Eagle. “When we talk about victims, we’re not just talking about the individual that experienced the devastation at the hands of somebody who should have been protecting them — a clergy person, or someone who worked for the church. We’re talking about their mom or dad. Their brothers and sisters. Their best friends.”

Springfield's New 'Chronically Hopeful' Bishop Pledges Transparency On Abuse


December 11, 2020

By Kari Njiiri

On Monday, the Rev. Bill Byrne will be installed as bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese. He succeeds Mitchell Rozanski, who left this summer to become archbishop of St. Louis.

Byrne comes to western Massachusetts from Potomac, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C.

Kari Njiiri, NEPM: Your archbishop in Washington, Wilton Gregory, recently became a cardinal, the first African American cardinal in church history. Can you talk about the meaning of this, especially in a year with such a focus on racial justice?

Sexual abuse lawsuit against Mormon church dropped

Associated Press

December 12, 2020

A Colorado woman has agreed to drop a lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alleging she was sexually assaulted by a former missionary leader in the 1980s.

Court documents filed Thursday show the mutually agreed ending was not a settlement and each side will bear their own court costs.

McKenna Denson of Pueblo, Colorado, accused Phoenix-area resident Joseph L. Bishop of sexually abusing and raping her at the missionary center in 1984. Bishop had served as the president of the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Some of Denson’s claims were dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed, but a judge allowed two counts of fraud to stand because an alleged cover-up was discovered.

Little public record on how new Buffalo bishop dealt with priest misconduct in D.C.

Buffalo News

December 13, 2020

By Jay Tokasz


The Washington, D.C., archdiocese where new Buffalo Diocese Bishop Michael W. Fisher served as a priest for three decades has been embroiled in a scandal of its own involving a cover-up of sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick that reached all the way to the Vatican and Pope John Paul II.

Fisher, named last week as the 15th Buffalo bishop, has not been implicated in the McCarrick cover-up.

A 461-page Vatican report on the subject released last month doesn’t mention Fisher, whose rise into the administrative ranks of the church was launched by McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006.

‘I’m tired of being quiet’: Child Victims Act suit retraumatizes and empowers Schenectady woman

Daily Gazette

December 13, 2020

By Zachary Matson

Colleen Garbarini has to make a plan before entering a grocery store: the mask can’t stay on too long. She knows the mask is there to protect her and others, but the feeling of it covering her face stirs deep emotions four decades in the making. At one point, she had to abandon her cart in a store as the oppressive feeling overtook her.

"The longer I had it on the more anxiety I had, which turned into a panic attack,” Garbarni said as she described the feeling. The mask takes her back to when she was a little girl and her abuser tried to quiet her when other people were nearby.

“There were times I was with him, and we could hear voices outside the room, and he would cover my mouth and tell me to be quiet,” she recalled.

Just as other daily minutia throughout her life has, the mask, now a central part of everyone’s day-to-day life, reminds her of still-healing emotional wounds.

Victim advocate charged with distributing child pornography

Associated Press

December 11, 2020

A victim advocate for the Connecticut court system was charged Friday with distributing child pornography over a cellphone app.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI said Robert Eccleston, 56, of Canton, used the app Kik in August and September to distribute numerous pictures and videos of child porn, including images depicting the sexual abuse of toddlers and prepubescent children.

Eccleston is a victim services advocate at the state courthouse in Hartford. It was not immediately clear if he has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations. A call to a number listed for him was not picked up.

Church knew of sex‑sadist priest Joseph Quigley years before police

Sunday Times [of London]

December 13, 2020

By Emily Kent Smith and Catherine Pepinster

Rather than report priest’s abuses, officials sent him to a private clinic for treatment

The report from late 2008, provided to officials at the Catholic Church, was damning. A priest had shown personality traits and behaviour consistent with sexual “sadism” and “voyeurism”, it concluded.

In the weeks before the findings, a man had approached the Archdiocese of Birmingham to speak out about Father Joseph Quigley. He wanted to make the church aware of his relationship with Quigley when he was aged 16 or 17, in the early 1990s. Over several years, the then sixth-former was told to “strip” during meetings and encouraged to perform sex acts in front of the priest.

Officials from the church heard the man’s account before asking Quigley to provide his side of events. It was agreed that Quigley, now 56, would be sent to a clinic in Manchester for treatment.

[Opinion] What happened to Cardinal Pell can happen to any Australian, author warns

Catholic News Service via Catholic Spirit

December 11, 2020

By David Ryan

Australia has entered a new phase that could see any Australian consigned to imprisonment without any evidence for crimes they have not committed, warned the author of a new book on the trial and imprisonment of Cardinal George Pell.

Keith Windschuttle, a former Australian Broadcasting Corp. board member who is also the editor of Quadrant magazine, warned that “within the ideological imperatives that prevail today, any one of us could become a George Pell.”

“It was as if Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ had moved from the Czech Republic and relocated to Melbourne,” Windschuttle said at the launch of his book, “The Persecution of George Pell,” in Sydney Dec. 10.

German nuns accused of enabling child sex abuse by priests

Deutsche Welle

December 13, 2020

Nuns in the city of Speyer "dragged" children to be sexually abused by priests and politicians, a survivor told a German court. His explosive testimony is the latest abuse scandal to rock the German Catholic Church.

The scandal comes as the Archbishop of Cologne faces accusations of covering up allegations of child sexual abuse involving a now-deceased priest

Catholic nuns who ran a former children's home in the German city of Speyer allegedly aided in the sexual abuse of the children who were under their care, according to a newly-surfaced court decision.

The latest scandal came to light after a victim filed a case to claim compensation from the Catholic church, prompting the Darmstadt Social Welfare Court to investigate.

Although the court ruled on the case in May this year, it was not made public until now.

Protestant news agency EPD and Catholic news agency KNA acquired copies of the court's decision, which detailed claims of horrific abuse that children suffered at the hands of clergy members in the 1960s and 1970s.

Prosecutor drops rape charges against defrocked Catholic priest

The Age

December 13, 2020

By Richard Baker

Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has abandoned the prosecution of a former senior Catholic priest charged with raping a disabled female parishioner, bringing to an end a nine-year effort by the woman to seek justice through the courts.

DPP Kerri Judd, QC, made the decision in July to discontinue the prosecution against Thomas Knowles, a former Australian provincial leader of the Order of the Blessed Sacrament, who had a long-running interaction with the woman that was later deemed inappropriate by a church inquiry.

Mr Knowles was charged with two counts of rape in May, a year after the woman contacted Victoria Police about the events of the 1980s.

Chilliwack Catholic church pastor fired for alleged ‘sexual misconduct’

Surrey Now-Leader

December 11, 2020

By Paul Henderson

Archbishop of Vancouver sent message to parishioners about departure of Father Nelson Santos

Parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Chilliwack are left with questions after the departure of a long-serving pastor accused of sexual misconduct.

In a letter sent to parishioners of St. Mary’s and Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta on Dec. 4, Archbishop J. Michael Miller said an internal investigation “confirmed that a number of accusations of sexual misconduct with an adult by Father [Nelson] Santos were well-founded, along with related inappropriate behaviour and comments.”

Described as a pastor at St. Mary’s and an assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception, Santos is ordered not to visit Chilliwack or meet with members of any Catholic parish where he served.

Church names Coquitlam priest in historic sexual abuse of 10-year-old boy

Tri-City News

December 12, 2020

By Stefan Labbé

The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has revealed the identity of a sexually abusive Coquitlam priest as part of ongoing revelations of abuse going back decades across B.C.

Ordained as a Franciscan priest in 1945, Armand Frechette served under the archdiocese at Coquitlam’s Our Lady of Lourdes Parish church from 1953 to 1970, according to an upcoming edition of The B.C. Catholic, a weekly paper originally billed as “The Official Organ of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.”

In 1999, a complaint of “improper sexual behaviour” against an unnamed Fransciscan priest led to a settlement, writes the Archdiocese in the weekly, adding “It is now believed that this settlement involved abuse carried out by Fr. Frechette.”

After McCarrick Report, Here’s How to Extend Safe Environment to Adults

National Catholic Register

December 12, 2020

By Peter Jesserer Smith

New resources to extend Safe Environment protections to all adults could help stop future McCarricks and break the global clergy abuse crisis.

Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was finally brought down by credible allegations that he had sexually abused children — but as the McCarrick report reveals Church leaders could have stopped the powerful cleric’s career, and saved the lives of children, seminarians, and young priests, had they acted on allegations McCarrick had abused his power to sexually exploit young men under his pastoral care or authority.

But stopping the present and future McCarricks in the Church’s midst means the People of God need to take proactive steps to educate and inform themselves about adult sexual abuse in the Church, recognizing that every adult can be vulnerable to the abuse of power for sex by clergy and lay leaders, and that protecting adults from abuse in the Church strengthens also the protection of children.

Lea Karen Kivi, president of Angela’s Heart Communications and author of Abuse in the Church: Healing the Body of Christ, is an advocate for survivors of adult sexual abuse by clergy who has helped provide training material and guidance for Canadian religious communities’ sexual abuse policies and procedures. Kivi has developed two new Safe Environment resources for parishes and dioceses could adopt: one is a template document called “Creating a Safe Environment for Adult Care Seekers” that could be posted on a website and provided directly to adults before beginning any pastoral relationship, and give insight into what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in pastoral care. Another is a basic videoexplaining the topic of clergy sexual abuse of adults and what potential grooming signs look like.

December 12, 2020

St. John Paul II: 1,700 professors respond to ‘wave of accusations’ against Polish pope

Catholic News Agency

December 12, 2020

Hundreds of professors have signed an appeal defending St. John Paul II following criticism of the Polish pope in the wake of the McCarrick Report.

The “unprecedented” appeal was signed by 1,700 professors based at Polish universities and research institutes. The signatories include Hanna Suchocka, Poland’s first female prime minister, former foreign minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld, physicists Andrzej Staruszkiewicz and Krzysztof Meissner, and film director Krzysztof Zanussi.

“An impressive long list of John Paul II’s merits and accomplishments is being challenged and erased today,” the professors said in the appeal.

“For young people, who were born after his death, the deformed, false and belittled image of the pope could become the only one they will know

[Opinion] Let's not always give wrongdoers the benefit of the doubt

December 11, 2020
adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

We at Horowitz Law are grateful to every single attorney who takes on the tough and often risky job of helping a child sex abuse victim expose predators, get closure and safeguard others.

So we’re very reluctant to offer unsolicited advice to our colleague in the trenches of child protection.

But sometimes, we feel we must.

Check out these recent quotes from an attorney representing clergy abuse victims:

“The diocese thought it could fix this, and it was completely unable to fix it.” Diocese officials figured that they could counsel or treat a priest out of criminal conduct, he added. “And so they closed ranks, and that’s the heart of their negligent behavior.”

This well-intentioned lawyer is no doubt trying to sound reasonable. But he’s inadvertently doing what so many – especially church-goers – do in the face of terrible crimes and cover ups. He’s basically giving the benefit of the doubt to officials who are accused of enabling and ignoring this horror.

Catholic church names more sexually abusive priests, more victims come forward

Vancouver Courier

December 11, 2020

By Jeremy Hainsworth

“I apologize to each of them for the trauma,” archbishop says

More victims of sexual assault by members of the Roman Catholic clergy have come forward in B.C. after the release of a report in 2019 on cases of abuse going back decades.

And the Archdiocese of Vancouver has named three more priests.

“We again want to acknowledge the deep suffering of the victims and their loved ones and I apologize to each of them for the trauma caused by the abuse by a priest,” Archbishop J. Michael Miller said in a new archdiocese publication. “They are in my prayers.”

The latest report, due for publication in The B.C. Catholic Monday, said 13 “previously unknown victims/survivors have come forward and reported their experiences.”

In November 2019, a review of files of Catholic clergy sexual abuse in archdiocese uncovered 36 cases, most involving minors, the Archdiocese of Vancouver said in a report released November 22.

The 2019 report named nine priests.

Now, the church has named three more:

• Fr. John Edward Kilty, who served at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver, 1945–1946; Stella Maris Missions, 1946–1948; St. Edmund’s, North Vancouver, 1946–1948; and Holy Trinity, North Vancouver, 1948–1982;

• Fr. Johannes Holzapfel, who served at St. Patrick’s, Vancouver, 1955; St. Joseph’s, Powell River, 1955–1956; St. Margaret’s, Ocean Falls, 1958–1960; St. Patrick’s, Vancouver, 1960; Our Lady of Good Hope, Hope, 1960–1963; St. Joseph’s, Squamish, 1963; St. John the Apostle, Vancouver, 1965–1966; St. Margaret’s, Ocean Falls, 1966–1967; St. Mary’s, Vancouver, and at Youville Residence, Vancouver, from 1967; St. Ann’s, Abbotsford 1972–1974 before returning to Germany in 1974, and;

• Fr. Armand Frechette, who served at Our Lady of Lourdes, Coquitlam, 1953–1970.

Lawsuit claiming abuse by Catholic priests dismissed

Wenatchee World

December 11, 2020

By Pete O'Cain

ELLENSBURG — A lawsuit claiming sexual abuse committed by four Catholic priests formerly of an Ellensburg church was dismissed Thursday.

The suit was filed in April 2019 by a man identified only as John Doe against the Catholic Diocese of Yakima and four priests, including Father Seamus Kerr, a senior priest at Holy Apostles Parish in East Wenatchee.

John Doe claimed he was abused in the late 1970s and early 1980s at St. Andrew Catholic Church, when he was between the ages of 10 and 18. The two sides reached a settlement after the allegations were found to be false, the diocese said Friday in a news release.

[Opinion] Time for a reckoning: Church must confront, change old boys’ network exposed in Vatican’s McCarrick report


December 6, 2020

By Rev. Alexander Santora


The report refers to her simply as “Mother 1.”

A Manhattan woman with a large brood of mostly boys and an Irish husband, she had become suspicious of then-New York Monsignor Theodore McCarrick, who snaked his way into her family and had her children call him “Uncle Ted.’'

Her husband thought it an honor to have a clergyman take an interest in his children. Mother 1, not so.

Her antennae went up when she learned McCarrick gave her sons alcohol when he took them on trips. He continued to visit even after moving to New Jersey, and, one day, she came home to find McCarrick sitting on the couch with a son on either side of him and a hand on the thigh of each.

England is reckoning with a clerical sex abuse crisis. Again.


December 3, 2020

By Ricardo da Silva, S.J.

Editor’s note: This article contains descriptions of child sexual abuse and trauma.

On the night before her confirmation, Sue Cox was sexually abused by a Catholic priest at a convent where she was attending summer school to improve her catechism. She was 10. When she was 13, the same priest again raped her in the bedroom of her own home.

“My mother caught him and told me to pray for him and to offer it up,” Ms. Cox, who is from Warwickshire, England, told America. Listening to the advice her adoptive mother gave after she walked in on the priest, “I felt sacrificial,” she said.

“We were told that he could do no wrong,” and that he had “sacred hands,” said Ms. Cox, an award-winning addiction specialist and acupuncturist. “Worse than that, we were told that priests were next to God—that they were ontologically changed at ordination.”

Ms. Cox, who is 73 years old and today describes herself as an atheist, said that this was the belief that her “fiercely superstitious Catholic family” ingrained in her as a young child. “Well,” she added. “I can tell you that a child is ontologically changed when she is abused at that age.”

[opinion] Chris Freind: Vatican report shows why sainting Pope JP II was sinful

December 3, 2020

Who could forget that chilling seen in "Jaws" when Mrs. Kintner, whose young son had just been killed by the shark, slapped Chief Brody?

Sobbing, she said, "I just found out that a girl got killed here last week, and you knew it! You knew there was a shark out there! You knew it was dangerous! But you let people go swimming anyway? But still my boy is dead now, and there's nothing you can do about it. My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that.”

The mayor turned to Brody and said, "She's wrong."

In complete candor, the chief shot back, "No, she's not."

Too bad the Catholic Church didn't heed that powerful lesson. For decades, it too had a "shark" problem, but rather than hunting down the terrorizing threat, it simply threw more bait to the predator.

Implosion of Pittsburgh Diocese Continues

Church Militant (blog)

December 3, 2020

By Stephen Wynne

Former Catholic stronghold run into the ground

Catholics in the beleaguered diocese of Pittsburgh are bracing for a new round of parish closures — the latest marker in a dramatic implosion connected to decades of sex abuse and cover-up.

In a Nov. 28 statement, Bp. David Zubik announced a series of mergers that will reduce the number of parishes from 107 to 81. The consolidations will be finalized Jan. 4, 2021.

"This is a pivotal time for our diocese as we plan for the future of the Church of Pittsburgh," Zubik said. "Southwestern Pennsylvania is radically different than it was 100, 50, 20, even 10 years ago, yet the work of the Church and our call from God to bring His love to everyone continues as strong as ever."

Indicators of Collapse

But some are questioning the bishop's claim that the work of the Church in Pittsburgh is "as strong as ever," noting that last week's announcement is just the latest indicator of collapse.

[Opinion] The McCarrick Report: Quo Vadis

Patheos (blog)

December 4, 2020

By Gabriel Blanchard

Lost Lambs

Well, we’ve got to go somewhere from here. Here sucks.

Several people I know have left the Church over this. I’m not sure whether any of my acquaintances have left the faith altogether over it, but that wouldn’t surprise me. People have killed themselves over this. If the hypothesis set forth in The Keepers is correct, priests have murdered people over this.

A lot of Catholics say if a person leaves because of sin in the Church, it shows that their faith was in the Church instead of in God. That is an extremely fucked up attitude. Of course people had faith in the Church. She told them to. The Catholic Church claims to be guided by the Holy Ghost, protected from doctrinal error. It’s devastating to find out that anyone told you bald-faced lies to protect the man who raped your child. How the hell do you reconcile that betrayal with those claims to divine authority? How dare we try to shame people for not being able to do it?

When a wolf chases a lamb away from the flock, you don’t blame the lamb. If you find it with a mangled leg, you don’t grab it by that leg. If it bleats in terror, you don’t tell it to shut up and be grateful you found it.

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese pays $19.2 million to settle 224 clergy abuse claims


December 3, 2020

By Deb Erdley

Signaling an end to the latest chapter in the Catholic Church’s struggle to heal from scathing revelations of child sexual abuse in a 2018 grand jury report, an independent mediator for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Thursday that it has completed two years of work and awarded more than $19 million to settle 224 claims of clergy sexual abuse.

The announcement from The Kenneth Feinberg Group marks the conclusion of work begun in January 2019 after the diocese engaged the firm to administer a compensation fund program established in the wake of the grand jury report, which detailed decades of clergy sexual abuse in dioceses across the state.

Bishop David Zubik hailed the mediator’s work and said it is just one aspect of the church’s continuing effort to help abuse victims heal. He noted that the church had settled claims with 34 abuse victims in 2007 and set up counseling programs to help victims.

December 11, 2020

Child abuse inquiry finishes final public hearing

BBC News

December 11, 2020

An inquiry into claims of child sexual abuse in England and Wales has finished its final public hearing.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence from 648 witnesses over four years.

It is investigating claims against local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forces and public and private institutions - as well as people in the public eye.

The inquiry's final report will be published in 2022.

IICSA was set up in July 2014 after hundreds of people came forward to say Jimmy Savile had abused them as children.

German cardinal accused of abuse cover-up turns to pope


December 11, 2020

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, has been accused of not informing the Vatican about sex abuse allegations against a priest. He's now asked Pope Francis to review his conduct.

Facing accusations of covering up an alleged sexual abuse case, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki asked Pope Francis on Friday to investigate.

"In order to clarify the canonical accusations against me, I am asking the Holy Father [Pope Francis] to examine this matter," Woelki said in a statement issued by the archdiocese of Cologne.

"The fact remains: failures in dealing with sexual violence must be disclosed, regardless of the person against whom they were made. This also includes me," the cardinal added.

Ex-Client Sues Am Law 200 Firm Over Its Catholic Church Representation, Alleging Conflict


December 10, 2020

By Justin Henry

A New Mexico woman is suing Phoenix-based Lewis Roca, alleging the firm steered her away from suing a Catholic school she attended.

A New Mexico woman is suing her former lawyers at Phoenix-based law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie for malpractice related to its representation of her in bringing allegations that she was sexually abused by a Catholic school teacher.

Attorney: Abuse victims want Archdiocese of Santa Fe eliminated

Associated Press

December 8, 2020

An attorney for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is claiming alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse and their lawyers are seeking to eliminate the Roman Catholic organization by forcing it to use all of its assets to settle complaints.

Tom Walker, the archdiocese’s lawyer, made the claim during a court hearing Monday about three lawsuits alleging the archdiocese illegally transferred about $245 million to parishes and their trusts before filing for bankruptcy. The suits accuse the archdiocese of attempting to shield the assets from being used to pay settlements in civil lawsuits claiming sexual abuse by priests.

The alleged victims want to eliminate the physical presence of the Church by forcing it to sell all its property, Walker said.


Montclair Local

December 11, 2020

By Erin Roll

A Montclair woman has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark, Immaculate Conception Church and St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, alleging sexual assault by a priest and two nuns at Immaculate Conception when she was a young girl.

Mary Joy Morgan filed the lawsuit in Essex County Superior Court on Nov. 24, alleging that the Rev. William Dowd, then the pastor at Immaculate Conception, and Sisters Maria Michael and Alice Bernadette subjected her to sexual abuse and rape over a period of seven years, starting when she was 8 years old.

New abuse allegations against monks, former headmaster of Delbarton School in latest lawsuits


December 10, 2020

By Rebecca Everett

In the latest round of lawsuits against the order of Catholic monks that runs the prestigious Delbarton School, three plaintiffs are alleging they were sexually abused in the 1980s, including one plaintiff who said he was abused by three monks.

The Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey has faced at least 19 lawsuits since Dec. 1, 2019 when New Jersey extended the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse lawsuits and allowed a two-year window for those who were previously barred from filing suits by time limits.

The three new suits — filed by attorneys Greg Gianforcaro and Jeff Anderson — make allegations of sexual abuse against then-monks Timothy Brennan, Donal Fox, Luke Travers, a monk and former headmaster of the Delbarton School, and Kevin Bray, a monk who worked in an Elizabeth church.

Brennan, Fox and Travers have all been named in lawsuits before and Bray has been accused in one previous lawsuit in 2008, according to Gianforcaro. Brennan, who died last year, remains one of the most-often-accused monks in the state, with lawsuits involving him numbering in the double digits and a criminal conviction back in 1987.

One of the new lawsuits claims the plaintiff was abused by three monks, Brennan, Fox and Travers, on individual occasions at the Delbarton School between 1982 and 1989, starting when he was 14 and ending when he was 21 and no longer a student.

The second plaintiff, Bernard Murphy, has been public for years about his experience with Travers, but the lawsuit also makes new sexual abuse allegations against Brennan.

In a 2011 letter to Delbarton officials, Murphy said Travers would kiss and hug him against his will when he was a student starting in 1982. When Murphy returned to campus as a college student for a 1990 visit, Travers professed his love for him and said he wanted to run away together, Murphy said.

The abbey placed restrictions on Travers in 2011, including that he not have contact with anyone under 25 while they investigated, but he violated them when he went on to work as the administrative head of Mary Mother of the Church Abbey in Richmond, Virginia. A Delbarton spokesman conceded at the time that “mistakes were made” in monitoring Travers.

Travers is the only living monk among those accused in the three suits. He could not be reached for comment and a lawyer who represented him in previous suits did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The plaintiff in the third suit alleges he was abused by Kevin Bray, a teacher and monk of the Order of St. Benedict who also worked at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Elizabeth. The suit says Bray abused him at the church from 1986 to 1987 when the plaintiff was 13 and 14 years old and a student at the parish school.

The four monks have been previously accused of abusing students, but none of their names were included in the Catholic church’s 2019 list of credibly-accused priests because they are monks overseen by a religious order instead of dioceses.

Like the flurry of previous lawsuits, the three civil complaints allege that those in charge at the Delbarton School and St. Mary’s Abbey, as well as the Archdiocese of Newark, knew or should have known abuse was going on.

Gianforcaro said he has settled at least 15 cases on behalf of sexual abuse survivors against the Delbarton School since 2004. In 2018, school officials publicly acknowledged in a letter to the community that 30 individuals had alleged abuse by 13 past or current clergy at the school, and one retired lay faculty member, over the course of three decades.

In a statement this summer, spokesman Anthony S. Cicatiello said the abbey and school condemn any abuse and encourage survivors to report allegations to police. He said he could not comment because of the ongoing litigation.

McCarrick report shows need to focus on survivors, panel says


December 11, 2020

By John Lavenburg

In the aftermath of the Holy See’s report on laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a clergy sex abuse survivor from Chile wants matters of clergy abuse to focus more on the survivors and less so on the episcopacy itself.

“For me, we’re discussing here how the bishops behave, how we elect them, how we make them better, how they serve us better. Where are the survivors? The men and women survivors have to be the center of our topics,” said Juan Carlos Cruz.

“There are so many questions and we feel that yes, we have a McCarrick report, which is a great step for sure. But the suffering and the horror that is still going for so many people in our church is real and it’s now and we need to address it immediately.”

Cardinal accuses predecessors of abuse cover-up

The Tablet

November 29, 2020

by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, has accused his two predecessors of hushing up sexual abuse. The predecessors were both cardinals: Joseph Höffner (1906-1987, Archbishop of Cologne from 1969-1987, and bishops’ conference president 1976-1987, who was posthumously awarded the honour of Righteous Among Nations by Israel in 2003 for having saved Jewish lives during the Second World War ), and Joachim Meisner (1933-2017, Archbishop of Cologne from 1989 to 2014).

“Serious mistakes were repeatedly made for decades”, Woelki told domradio.deon 19 November. Those responsible had behaved “completely irresponsibly”, and must therefore be “discovered and named”. As the responsible diocesan archbishop, he had had the case investigated and had initiated canonical criminal proceedings in the Vatican. The case was now awaiting assessment from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome.

Roman Catholic Diocese needs to preach transparency (Letters)


December 10, 2020

Letter to the Editor by Rev. James J. Scahill

As a result of the Velis Report, June 21, 2020, in light of public and media attention former Bishop Rozanski properly posted deceased Bishop Christopher Weldon’s name on the Diocesan Web page of Springfield clergy credibly charged for the abuse of children/minors. Nonetheless, Rozanski is part of a continuum of bishops since Weldon to deliberately withhold full truth and genuine transparency relative to complete disclosure of Springfield Diocesan priests guilty of a heinous crime: The heinous impact upon the lives that they abused physically, emotionally and spiritually.

By a comparison to the listing available at bishopsaccountability.org this lack of truth is abundantly clear. There are some fourteen priests credibly charged not listed on the diocesan web page.

I have personally dealt with a victim of both Rev. J. Roy Jenness and Rev. Thomas O’Connor, and a victim of Msgr. David Welch (Weldon’s executor). For these victims and all victims of abuse, whose violators have not been claimed by the diocese, justice demands this be publicly rectified.

Will the new Bishop of Springfield acquiesce to emancipate truth from a power that continues to believe itself its master?

Fundamentally aggressive efforts for the protection of every child and minor from any kind of abuse by anyone should have been a major campaign decades ago especially from a proclaimed Pro-Life church. Tragically that cause was never undertaken. When legislative initiatives sought to lengthen the Statute of Limitations when any person could come to terms with their molestation, the Catholic Massachusetts Conference of Bishops lobbied against it.

Mastercard, Visa, dump Pornhub following rape video exposé

New York Post

December 10, 2020

By Nicolas Vega

Mastercard and Visa have dumped Pornhub following an exposé that revealed the site was infested with videos of rape and child sex abuse.

Mastercard confirmed “the presence of illegal material” on Pornhub’s website following the publication of a report by the New York Times, which reported that the smut site hosted videos of rape scenes, revenge porn and other footage taken without the knowledge or consent of the participants.

“Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,” Mastercard said in a statement. “As a result, and in accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance. In addition, we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites to take the appropriate action.”

Catholic Bishop of Chicago, IL -- Moody's downgrades Catholic Bishop of Chicago (IL) to Ba1; outlook stable

Moody's via Yahoo Finance

December 9, 2020

Rating Action: Moody's downgrades Catholic Bishop of Chicago (IL) to Ba1; outlook stable

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Catholic Bishop of Chicago (CBC or Archdiocese) to Ba1 from Baa1, affecting approximately $130 million of general obligation notes outstanding. The outlook remains stable.


The downgrade to Ba1 is largely driven by our view of escalating core social and business risks across the sector driven in large part by sexual abuse claims leading to an increasing trend of preemptive bankruptcy. This pattern is not correlated with the soundness of financial operations, balance sheets and other credit fundamentals.

The Ba1 is supported by the Archdiocese of Chicago's financial reserves, scale, and strong management, all providing significant capacity to manage currently known exposures. Management has clearly articulated and well-defined plans for addressing financial risk associated with sexual abuse cases as well as the coronavirus pandemic. The management team's strong transparency provides management credibility, a credit supportive governance consideration. However, the Archdiocese is one of the subjects of an ongoing investigation by the Illinois attorney general that may contribute to growth in sexual abuse claims. While current projections of sexual misconduct claims, which arise from decades-old alleged incidents, appear to be manageable, their full impact and their implications for defensive filing introduce an element of unpredictability, limiting the rating.

New facilitators hope to be ‘part of the solution’ to abuse crisis

The Leaven

December 11, 2020

By Moira Cullings

They’ve spent more than 15 years working to end and prevent child and vulnerable adult abuse in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

Now, Monica Lane and Franchiel Nyakatura are stepping up even more.

The women are “Virtus — Protecting God’s Children” volunteer facilitators.

They lead Virtus sessions at their respective parishes and others throughout the year for people in the archdiocese who teach, volunteer or work with children in some capacity.

These sessions are designed to educate people about the warning signs of abuse and what to do when someone poses a threat to children and vulnerable adults.

Woman abused by Anglican minister hopes her 15-year battle for redress is finally over


December 11, 2020

By Morgane Solignac

A Blenheim woman who was told the sexual harassment she suffered at the hands of a minister was “pretty low” has called for an independent body to handle abuse claims in New Zealand.

Jacinda Thompson told the Royal Commission, in Auckland, this week about her 15-year battle for redress after being abused by Anglican minister Reverend Michael Van Wijk.

Thompson had turned to Van Wijk, and the Church of the Nativity in Blenheim, in 2005 for support after the death of a child.

Thompson last month applied to the Human Rights Review Tribunal to have her name suppression lifted ahead of giving evidence to the commission’s Abuse in Care Inquiry on Monday.

Royal Commission into abuse in care: 'Sexually abusing in the name of Jesus. How disgusting'

Radio New Zealand

December 11, 2020

By Andrew McRae

A man who was abused in both state and church-based care says pent-up frustration over what happened to him prompted him to stab a convicted paedophile in prison.

Roy Takiaho gave evidence on Friday to the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care about being abused in two boys' homes and in foster care.

Takiaho, 48, first went into care at the age of two. First with foster families and then to Social Welfare's Owairaka Boys home.

There was physical violence at Owairaka, between the boys and by staff.

''Sometimes the perpetrators were the older kids, but sometimes it was also the house masters.''

Keeping Quiet: The downside to “voluntary laicization”

Catholic Herald

December 11, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

Pope Francis quietly laicized a priest accused of grave immorality and serious canonical crimes in 2017, rather than have him stay in the priesthood long enough to face trial.

The former cleric, Peter Mitchell, was a priest in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, when he was accused. Before joining the Green Bay diocese, he had been a priest of the Lincoln, Nebraska diocese.

The case of this former cleric is closed, but the way Church authorities dealt with this man bears significant resemblance to the way in which Churchmen attempted to manage priests accused of abusing minors in the days before the crisis of leadership and governance in the Church became a worldwide scandal.

Mr. Mitchell recounted his struggles with priestly life – including serial violations of chastity with adult women – in an essay that widely circulated in 2018.

Interviews with Green Bay officials and with women involved in various ways with Mr. Mitchell, as well as documentary evidence related to the case obtained by the Catholic Herald have revealed that the narrative Mr. Mitchell offered to the public omits significant details.

December 10, 2020

2 new suits allege sex abuse by brother at Farrell in 1970s; ‘I walked into a trap,’ man says

Staten Island Advance

December 7, 2020

By Maura Grunlund

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A religious brother sexually abused two men more than 40 years ago when they were students at Monsignor Farrell High School in Oakwood, lawsuits allege.

Brother Salvatore Anthony Ferro is named in two separate litigations filed recently under the New York State Child Victims Act against the Archdiocese of New York, Monsignor Farrell High School, and various entities of the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

One lawsuit, filed by Thomas McGloin of Emerson Hill, alleges he was “sexually abused by Brother Ferro,” including the brother “instructing Thomas to take off his pants and Brother Ferro fondling Thomas’s genitals.”

McGloin told the Advance/SILive.com that he was abused by Brother Ferro, who was his English teacher and a vice principal, in 1978 inside the Christian Brother’s office, located in a heavily-trafficked area near the principal’s office.

“I walked into a trap because I was sick and wanted to go home and somehow he [Brother Ferro] presented himself as someone who had to do a medical exam,” McGloin said as he recalled what led up to the alleged assault, which he says occurred when he was a 14-year-old freshman.

“I complained of a stomach ache and he spoke of a line of pain, those were his specific words, a line of pain which he traced from the stomach to between my legs, and that I needed to take my pants down and my underwear so that he could investigate that,” he said.

McGloin was “highly, highly distraught” after the alleged incident.

“I remember running out of that office to the train station,” he said. “I lived in Bay Terrace and I’d take the train one stop from Oakwood, and being alone and just having that horrific feeling that you have when something terrible has happened, and in this case you’re just not understanding it.”


A separate lawsuit filed by a Staten Island man who wished only to be identified as Michael levels similar allegations against Brother Ferro at Farrell.

“From approximately 1979 through approximately 1980, Brother Ferro exploited the trust and authority vested in him by the defendants by grooming Michael to gain his trust and to obtain control over him as part of Brother Ferro’s plan to sexually molest and abuse Michael and other children,” the lawsuit alleges.

Michael was sexually abused when he was about 13 to 14 years old in the health office at Farrell, where he went for help with “stomach problems,” according to the lawsuit.

“The sexual abuse occurred numerous times and included, but was not limited to, Brother Ferro touching Michael’s genitals,” according to the lawsuit.

Attorney Michael Pfau said his law firm, Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC, represents about 75 victims of abuse in the Archdiocese of New York. His clients include McGloin, Michael and several others who alleged abuse by Brother Ferro at Farrell and other settings.

“This a serial abuser,” Pfau said.

Pfau said that Brother Ferro had a modus operandi where he groomed and then took advantage of his youthful victims.

“We have other clients who were abused in the same way,” the attorney said. “He would lure a kid in, talk about things that may be of interest to the kid and then come up with this phony medical excuse as a way to get an already vulnerable kid further compromised.”


As with many child victims of sex abuse, McGloin kept the secret.

“I could just remember this surge of shame after it happened and then kind of burying it, not talking to anybody about it,” he said about the feelings that never left him.

The assault has had a devastating impact on McGloin’s life, the lawsuit alleges:

“By reason of the wrongful acts of each of the defendants as detailed herein, Thomas sustained physical and psychological injuries, including but not limited to, severe emotional and psychological distress, humiliation, fright, dissociation, anger, depression, anxiety, family turmoil and loss of faith, a severe shock to his nervous system, physical pain and mental anguish, and emotional and psychological damage, and, upon information and belief, some or all of these injuries are of a permanent and lasting nature, and Thomas has and/or will become obligated to expend sums of money for treatment.”

Inspired by the Me Too Movement, McGloin decided to sue and go public with his story.

“I saw the benefit to other victims from the people courageous enough to speak out,” McGloin said. “I don’t feel vengeful in any way, but it would satisfy me if the archdiocese knew that people were hurt, including me, and that they were accountable for it, and then separately that other survivors would know they’re not alone.”

McGloin also wants to shatter myths about survivors. He was a good student, popular and played ice hockey — so since the abuse happened to him, any child could unwittingly become a victim of a predator.

McGloin claims the archdiocese should be held responsible to “the degree they knew or should have known that this happened and didn’t take action to protect me and others.”

Priestly abusers typically chose discreet scenarios such as victimizing a lone altar boy at an early-morning Mass or isolating and attacking a child at a religious retreat, the attorney said.

“What’s interesting is having represented hundreds of Catholic abuse victims, it is pretty bold to be using kids in what Tommy has described as a high-traffic area in the high school,” Pfau said.

“This isn’t an example of lonely, disturbed priest or brother who acted on impulse,” Pfau said of Brother Ferro. “This is a guy who had a plan that he knew worked and executed his plan. When there were complaints and nothing was done, it emboldened this abuser to continuing doing what he did, and that’s really at the root of the whole Catholic Church scandal.”

The Advance/SILive.com previously reported other lawsuits against Brother Ferro. Jim Burke, who lives in Manhattan, and John Hynes of Staten Island, maintain that they were abused at Farrell around 40 years ago as students by Brother Ferro.

“The archdiocese takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously, and responds with compassion and respect,” said Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the archdiocese. “However, because these are active cases, we cannot comment on the specifics of any of the lawsuits being brought under the CVA.”

An attorney for the Christian Brothers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thinking about 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick: Duin and Abbott say press should keep digging

GetReligion.org (blog)

December 9, 2020

By Terry Mattingly

The calendar here at GetReligion — like any cyber-workplace — starts getting complicated as we move through Advent and into the entire whirlwind of Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Day, etc. That’s even true during a pandemic that has kept us (especially older folks like me) locked up.

Still, Julia Duin is out and about this week. However I saw an interesting “other side of the notebook” piece that I knew would interest her. It was linked to the Vatican’s long-delay report about the fall of former cardinal Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick and why that story — shrouded in rumors for decades — was so hard for many journalists to cover.

The new piece — “My minor role in exposing McCarrick” — was written by Catholic scribe Matt C. Abbott and ran at RenewAmerica.com.

My minor role in exposing McCarrick

RenewAmerica.com (blog)

November 26, 2020

By Matt C. Abbott

To my pleasant surprise, my name and column are mentioned in the Vatican’s recently-released 449-page report on disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. See pages 234 to 244 and 280 to 283.

McCarrick, who (sadly) was one of the most powerful and politically well-connected prelates in the United States for many years, was laicized in 2019 by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after being found “guilty of solicitation during the Sacrament of Confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The information I wrote about beginning in 2005 pertained to McCarrick’s coercively sharing a bed with seminarians he favored, which constituted an abuse of power. It was, I came to find out, an “open secret” among several people in the Church and in the mainstream media. Yet it wasn’t until the Archdiocese of New York in 2017 deemed as credible and substantiated an allegation made against McCarrick of the sexual abuse of a minor that the dominoes began to fall, so to speak.

It was only then that we began to see stories about McCarrick’s corruption. It was only then that the mainstream media began to turn on him

Lawyers representing Msgr. Craig Harrison believe he will not be reinstated

KERO-TV, Channel 23

December 9, 2020

By Veronica Morley

During a press briefing held by the Law Offices of Kyle J. Humphrey, who represent Monsignor Craig Harrison in multiple civil defamation lawsuits, lawyers representing the priest said they do not think Harrison will be reinstated.

Harrison, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church, has filed three defamation lawsuits relating to statements made about sexual abuse allegations against him. One of those suits was filed against The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno and the Diocese spokeswoman for defamation stemming from statements made against Harrison in a 2019 article in KQED.

"With this current bishop and the attitude that's been displayed, I would be shocked if there's any opportunity at all for him to ever return," Humphrey said.

[Opinion] After the McCarrick Report, an odd episcopal appointment

Catholic Culture

December 9, 2020

By Phil Lawler

What’s wrong with this picture?

Last month the Vatican released the long-awaited McCarrick Report, providing some (but not all) details about the clerical culture that protected the former cardinal, and serial abuser, Theodore McCarrick.

Last week Pope Francis named Bishop Michael Fisher, an auxiliary of the Washington, DC archdiocese, to head the Diocese of Buffalo.

The Buffalo diocese has been battered for months by legal charges involving cover-ups of sexual abuse.

Bishop Fisher comes from the archdiocese that McCarrick once headed, and served on the chancery staff under the disgraced former cardinal. He was ordained as a bishop by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who resigned after accusations that he had covered up for McCarrick—and covered up for other clerics during a previous assignment as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Polish Church defends St John Paul against abuse claims

The Tablet

December 9, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland’s Catholic Church has vigorously defended the record of St John Paul II in handling clerical sex abuse, after a November Vatican report raised questions about his promotion of the disgraced American ex-cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, as hundreds of priests, university professors and public figures also signed petitions upholding his good name.

“In any historical assessment of John Paul II’s attitude, the decisive factor is undoubtedly the knowledge he had or sought, and the decisions he took from the information he had,” said a survey of the case, prepared for the Polish Bishops Conference. “All evidence indicates that John Paul II’s decisions cannot be treated as hasty or reckless, but should be seen as based on carefully weighed information.”

The survey was published in response to attacks on the late pontiff in light of the 460-page report, which relates how John Paul II appointed McCarrick Archbishop of Washington in 2000 and raised him to cardinal a year later, despite past accusations of abuse while he was a bishop and archbishop in New York, New Jersey and Newark.

Priest worked in schools despite abuse allegations

The Tablet

December 10, 2020

By Liz Dodd

A Birmingham priest who has now been convicted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse was transferred to the US for therapy and subsequently allowed to visit schools and work as a diocesan school inspector despite the archdiocese knowing of allegations against him.

Joseph Quigley, 56, now of Aston Hall, described on its website as “a delightful home for retired and convalescent priests” in Aston, Staffordshire, was found guilty last week of four charges of sexual activity with a child, two of sexual assault, two of false imprisonment and one of cruelty. He is due to be sentenced in January.

The abuse took place while he was parish priest at St Charles Borromeo RC church in Hampton-on-the-Hill near Warwick, between 2006-2009.

Archbishop accused of failing to act on abuse appeals to Vatican

The Tablet

December 7, 2020

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg has asked the Congregation for Bishops in Rome to judge whether he is guilty of having hushed up abuse.

Hesse has been accused of covering up abuse and violating canon law by failing to report abuse to the Vatican authorities during his time as head of personnel in the Cologne archdiocese from 2006-2011.

Last week the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, accused his two predecessors, cardinals Joseph Höffner and Joachim Meisner, both deceased, of failing to notify the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the abuse committed by a priest referred to as “Fr A”. The priest, now 87 and living in a care home, was imprisoned in 1972 for “repeated fornication with children and dependants”. When he came out of prison in 1973, “Fr A” was again deployed as a priest in the Diocese of Münster where he reoffended.

Good Morning, Buffalo: Identities of four priests accused in Attorney General's report revealed

Buffalo News

December 6, 2020


Warnings from teachers, nuns, even a cop, didn't get Buffalo Diocese to remove priests

Top officials in the Buffalo Diocese failed to heed alarms about clergy misbehaving with minors, even when the warnings came from nuns, Catholic school teachers and other priests.

Diocese officials waited years, and sometimes decades, to separate accused priests from children and discipline them, according to diocese files revealed in a lawsuit filed last week by Attorney General Letitia James.

Such delays happened even when a Buffalo police captain approached diocese officials with concerns about a priest.

The personnel files of the Revs. Dennis A. Fronczak, John P. Hajduk, David W. Bialkowski and Roy K. Ronald were among hundreds of diocese documents subpoenaed by the State Attorney General’s Office in an investigation launched two years ago.

The Attorney General’s report redacted the names of the priests in the lawsuit. The Buffalo News independently verified their identities through other sources.

'Father Woody,' Buffalo native and priest of Denver's poor, named as child sex abuser

Buffalo News

December 9, 2020

By Jay Tokasz


A Buffalo native who served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Denver for 38 years and was revered for his work with the poor is among 25 priests identified in a recent Colorado State Attorney General’s Office report as having substantiated claims of child sex abuse against them.

Monsignor Charles B. Woodrich, a 1941 graduate of Technical High School in Buffalo, is accused of molesting three boys during his time in Denver, where he was hailed for many years as a champion of the poor.

Woodrich founded the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver and drew national attention in the 1960s when he persuaded President Lyndon B. Johnson to fund school lunches for the poor. Woodrich was widely known as “Father Woody.” He died in 1991 at age 68.

Goan-origin Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct by Archdiocese of Vancouver

Goa Chronicle

December 9, 2020

By Savio Rodrigues

Vancouver: Goan-origin priest Father Nelson Santos of the Goa Redemptorist Community who was serving as an assistant pastor at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta, Vancouver is not permitted to exercise any priestly ministry due to accusations of sexual misconduct.

Archbishop Michael Miller of the Archdiocese of Vancouver in a letter to the parishioners revealed, “A thorough investigation carried out by a lawyer independent of the Archdiocese confirmed that a number of the accusations of sexual misconduct by an adult against Father Nelson Santos were well-founded, along with related inappropriate behavior and comments. As a result, Father Santos is not permitted to exercise any priestly ministry in the Archdiocese, now or in the future. Should he apply for work elsewhere, the local bishop would be informed of our investigations.

28 years on, verdict in Kerala nun’s murder case on December 22

Hindustan Times

December 10, 2020

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday concluded the final hearing in Sister Abhaya’s murder case, a 28-year-old case that witnessed many twists and turns, and said it would announce a verdict on December 22.

The CBI had chargesheeted Catholic priest Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sefi , a nun, in the case. They were charged with murder, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and other charges. Another accused, Father Jose Poothrukayil, was let off by the CBI court last year after it found no evidence to proceed against him.

Sister Abhaya, a Class 12 student, was found dead in the well of the Pious X Convent in Kottayam in 1992. Many witnesses turned hostile during the trial and there were a flurry of petitions in higher courts which delayed proceedings.

According to the CBI charge sheet, Abhaya was killed because she was a witness to some alleged immoral activity involving two priests and a nun. She was attacked with an axe before being dumped in the well, the CBI claimed. Though the case created ripples in the state, the Church stood by the accused, calling them innocent.

Catholic Church abuse survivors describe 'horrific' experiences, trauma to Royal Commission


November 30, 2020

By Michael Morrah

Warning: This article discusses sexual abuse.

Survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic clergymen have spoken of their shame, trauma and the struggle to get redress from New Zealand church leaders.

The first of 25 witnesses told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care that after making a complaint, she was offered money rather than a meaningful apology - which she rejected.

Frances Tagaloa was abused as a five-year-old Auckland school student and had kept it a secret until Monday's hearing.

The abuser was Bede Fitton, who worked at Marist Brothers Intermediate school near Tagaloa's primary school in Ponsonby in the 1970s.

Sisters raped in foster family: Anglican Church, state and police 'did nothing'

New Zealand Herald

December 8, 2020

By Michael Neilson

Warning: This story discusses rape and sexual abuse.

The love between two sisters shone through as one spoke of the horrific abuse they suffered together as children in foster, state and Anglican church care.

Ms M - whose name is legally protected - and her late sister - who came to be known as Janie - were both raped and violently assaulted while in a foster family arranged through Anglican Social Services from 1969 to 1974.

Ms M was again sexually assaulted only years later, aged 16, by a reverend in a family who would go on to legally adopt her.

In both situations, authorities were aware of abuse, but made no efforts to intervene to protect the girls.

Woman who was sexually abused says she was abandoned by Anglican Church

Radio New Zealand via Stuff

December 9, 2020

By Andrew McRae of RNZ

This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

A woman sexually abused by her foster father for many years says she was abandoned by Anglican Social Services which placed her in care.

The 58-year-old witness, Ms M, has given evidence to the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care in Auckland.

She was seven when placed in care along with her older sister.

M and her sister were sent to the foster family for a six-week holiday but it ended up lasting much longer.

Abuse in care: Man seeks apology for historical abuse at Whanganui school

New Zealand Herald

December 9, 2020

By Logan Tutty

Warning: This story discusses sexual abuse.

A man who was abused at a Catholic school in Whanganui wants a written apology and acknowledgment of the issue of abuse within the Catholic Church, after telling the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care he was sexually assaulted at a Whanganui school.

The man, who gave evidence under the pseudonym Mr G, attended Marist Brothers' School in Whanganui from the age of 7 to 12.

The inquiry, in Auckland, is hearing from survivors of historical abuse in faith-based care and the redress processes that followed.

Abuse victim recounts horror of living in Temuka children's home


December 10, 2020

By Joanne Holden

A Timaru man abused in state care was just four years old when his parents dumped him at The Salvation Army’s Bramwell Booth Home in Temuka and disappeared.

Chatham Islands-born Darrin Timpson recounted the sexual, physical, and psychological abuse he and others endured over his more than 11 years at the children’s home to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care in Auckland on Thursday.

Church defends 'modest' payout to abused altar boy in landmark case appeal

The Age

December 8, 2020

By Tom Cowie

A $32,500 settlement paid by the Catholic Church to a former altar boy after he was repeatedly sexually abused by a priest was adequate and reflected the legal landscape at the time, a court has heard.

The Catholic Church is seeking to overturn a landmark court ruling that paved the way for sex abuse victims to seek more compensation even if they had already signed away their rights to sue.

In October, the Supreme Court overturned a deed of release signed by a former altar boy known as "WCB" in 1996 after he was repeatedly sexually abused by Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan.

Almost 200 allegations against teachers reported to education regulator

The Age

December 10, 2020

By Tammy Mills

Almost 200 allegations against Victorian teachers, including claims of physical and sexual misconduct, have been referred to the state education regulator over the course of a year.

The new figures also show allegations of child abuse reported to the Commission for Children and Young People doubled in January to March this year, which the commission attributed to publicity of the St Kevin’s College child-grooming case.

Liana Buchanan, the Commissioner for Children and Young People, said the number of allegations reported to her office showed offences against children did not stop with the child abuse royal commission.

December 9, 2020

More Than 100 Accusers Seek Restitution From Jeffrey Epstein’s Estate

The New York Times

December 8, 2020

By Matthew Goldstein

A victim compensation fund has already paid out millions of dollars, with more claims expected to be approved in the coming weeks.

The fund set up to compensate victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual exploitation has already received more than 100 claims and paid out tens of millions of dollars.

The number of claims has already surpassed expectations even though the fund will accept requests until the end of March, said Jordana Feldman, its administrator and a lawyer who worked on the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for many years.

Ms. Feldman would not say how many claims have been paid. But so far, the fund has paid more than $30 million to accusers, according to a person familiar with the fund, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The fund is poised to reach additional settlements in the coming weeks.

Cathedral chancellor Paul Overend cleared of indecently assaulting student

Wales Online

December 3, 2020

By Thomas Deacon

Paul Overend was accused of kissing the woman at a gathering at his home in 1997 but denied the allegation and denied ever meeting the complainant

A priest accused of indecently assaulting a student at a party has been acquitted by a jury.

Former Cardiff University chaplain and priest the Reverend Dr Paul Overend was accused of kissing the woman at a gathering at his home in 1997.

The 54-year-old denied the accusations and stood trial at Newport Crown Court.

After more than an hour and a half of deliberations on Thursday the jury of 12 delivered a not guilty verdict on one count of indecent assault.

The incident was alleged to have happened in 1997 at the chaplaincy in Park Place in Cardiff where he lived at the time.

Army Finds ‘Major Flaws’ at Fort Hood; 14 Officials Disciplined

New York Times

December 8, 2020

By Sarah Mervosh and John Ismay

Several officials were fired or suspended after an investigation into the culture at Fort Hood in Texas. Women were “preyed upon” but afraid to report sexual harassment, investigators found.

More than a dozen Army officials have been fired or suspended as part of a sweeping investigation into the climate and culture at Fort Hood, a sprawling military base in Texas that has been rocked by a series of violent deaths, suicides and complaints of sexual harassment.

The investigation released on Tuesday found “major flaws” at Fort Hood and a command climate “that was permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Ryan D. McCarthy, the secretary of the Army.

“Unfortunately, a ‘business as usual’ approach was taken by Fort Hood leadership causing female soldiers, particularly, in the combat brigades, to slip into survival mode,” the report said, where they were “vulnerable and preyed upon, but fearful to report and be ostracized and re-victimized.”


Church Militant

December 4, 2020

By David Nussman

Bp. Michael Fisher tapped for Buffalo

The diocese of Buffalo is getting a new bishop while facing a lawsuit from the state attorney general.

It was announced Tuesday morning that Pope Francis has named Bp. Michael W. Fisher the next bishop of the Buffalo diocese. Bishop Fisher is currently an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Washington.

This comes after New York's attorney general filed suit against the Buffalo diocese and three bishops tied to it.

Attorney general Letitia James filed suit Nov. 23 against former Buffalo bishop Richard Malone, former auxiliary bishop Edward M. Grosz and acting diocesan administrator Bp. Edward B. Scharfenberger.

Prosecutors: Priest collected child porn while overseas

The Associated Press

December 3, 2020

A Roman Catholic priest accused of collecting thousands of child pornography images while serving overseas and then bringing them with him when he returned to the United States is now facing federal charges, authorities announced Thursday.

The Rev. William McCandless, 56, of Wilmington, Delaware, pleaded not guilty to the counts during an initial court appearance in Philadelphia. He is charged with possessing child porn for importation into the Unites States, transporting child porn in interstate and foreign commerce and attempting to access with intent to view child porn.

Priest indicted, faces federal child pornography charges

WPVI/6abc Digital Staff

December 4, 2020

A Catholic priest from Wilmington, Delaware, who served as an advisor to Monoco's royal family now faces federal child pornography charges.

Reverend William McCandless is accused of collecting thousands of child pornography images while serving overseas, then returning home with them.

The 56-year-old was placed on home confinement and ordered to surrender his passport.

McCandless also once served as principal of the Salesianum School in Wilmington and held a post at DeSales University.

Abuse in Care: Anglican Church accused of cover-up over 'sex addict and pervert' priest

NZ Herald

December 8, 2020

By Michael Neilson

A woman who says she was one of dozens sexually assaulted and harassed by an Anglican priest has accused the Church of continuing its battle to silence her.

Louise Deans was sexually assaulted and harassed by a priest during the 1980s and early 1990s while training to become an ordained Minister in the Anglican Church.

Deans would find out at least 35 other women involved with the Church had been abused by this priest.

Oakland Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Suit From Man Alleging He Was Raped

NBC Bay Area

December 8, 2020

By Michael Bott

The priest, Father Van Dinh, remains on paid leave from the Diocese

A former seminarian who accused a Livermore priest of raping him in 2017 has settled a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland for $3.5 million.

The plaintiff, who filed his lawsuit as “John Doe,” immigrated to the United States from Mexico with his parents. Last year, he told the Investigative Unit that he was tied up and raped by Father Van Dinh at St. Michael Catholic Church.

B.C. priest accused of sexual misconduct: Vancouver Archdiocese

NEWS 1130

December 8, 2020

By Kathryn Tindale and Tim James

An investigation into a B.C. priest has concluded accusations of sexual misconduct were “well-founded,” according to the Vancouver Archdiocese.

In a letter from Archbishop Michael Miller, he addressed the recent departure of Father Nelson Santos, who had been serving as an assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta.

Miller writes that a number of accusations of sexual misconduct with an adult by Santos were “well-founded” as were “related inappropriate behaviour and comments.”

Anti-gay priest accused of assault after he was caught watching gay adult film

Metro Weekly

December 7, 2020

By Rhuaridh Marr

New York City's Father George Rutler allegedly watched a video of two men while a security guard filmed him

A Catholic priest with a long history of opposing gay people has been accused of assaulting a female security guard after she allegedly caught him watching a gay adult film.

Fr. George Rutler, of the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in New York City, has previously decried “sodomites” and “homosexualists” and claimed that gay people are “[invading] the House of God and [attacking] the Body of Christ.”

But 22-year-old security guard Ashley Gonzalez claims that last month Rutler entered a room where she was working and started watching a video of two men engaging in oral sex, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Gonzalez, hired to aid the church’s security during November’s elections, said she recorded Rutler watching the video on her cellphone.

Catholic TV network pulls shows with George Rutler, priest accused of sexual assault


December 7, 2020

By Jack Jenkins

The host of an EWTN show since 1988, Rutler has often spouted anti-LGBTQ invective and has cast doubt on others' claims of sexual assault by Catholic priests.

The Catholic television network EWTN has pulled programs featuring the Rev. George William Rutler, a prominent conservative New York Catholic priest, while authorities conduct an investigation into allegations that he watched pornography in front of a security guard and sexually assaulted her when she tried to flee.

According to The New York Times, Ashley Gonzalez, 22, said she was working as a security guard in late November at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in midtown Manhattan, when Rutler, 75, invited her into his office. Rutler then allegedly began watching gay pornography on his computer and masturbating — an act Gonzalez claims she documented in a 19-second video clip recorded with her phone.

McCarrick’s Brazen Behavior: Vatican’s Report Underscores How He Hid His Abuses in Plain Sight

National Catholic Register

November 19, 2020

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

COMMENTARY: McCarrick never attempted to slink around in the shadows, lest he appear to have something to hide. He was more devilishly clever than that.

Who was the first person to forward written accusations about Theodore McCarrick to the police? Who was the first to pass them on to the apostolic nuncio?

The McCarrick Report gives us this shocking and very illuminating answer: McCarrick himself. And that is the principal explanation why “Uncle Ted” — right down to that very name — got away with so much for so long. He was so brazen in his behavior that it neutralized the reactions of so many.

Will New Bishop Accountability Reforms Stop the Next McCarrick?

National Catholic Register

November 20, 2020

By Joan Frawley Desmond
The McCarrick Report exposes the Church’s failure to effectively respond to allegations of sexual misconduct against the powerful prelate, but does it also show that new bishop accountability reforms are on the ‘right track’?

Two years after “credible and substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor forced Theodore McCarrick’s removal from public ministry and resulted in a slew of bishop accountability reforms, fresh revelations in the Vatican’s McCarrick Report could help Church leaders and experts determine whether the new measures can stop future predators.

The McCarrick Report: A Timeline

Catholic News Agency

November 22, 2020

Published by the Vatican Nov. 10, the report examines the “institutional knowledge and decision-making” regarding Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal found guilty of sexual abuse of minors and seminarians in 2019.

The following is a timeline of important dates from the McCarrick Report. Published by the Vatican Nov. 10, the report examines the “institutional knowledge and decision-making” regarding Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal found guilty of sexual abuse of minors and seminarians in 2019 and laicized after an expedited canonical investigation.

McCarrick Report’s Silence on Key Issues Raises More Questions Than It Answers

National Catholic Register

November 25, 2020

By Jonathan Liedl

Some see the report on the ex-cardinal as a product of the same type of institutional failure it sought to investigate.

In many ways, the Vatican’s recently released report on the ascent of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick through the ranks of Church leadership is an unprecedented exposition of the inner workings of ecclesial appointments, a process that failed repeatedly and catastrophically in allowing a known sexual abuser to become one of the most powerful clerics in the U.S.

But according to some Catholics, it’s what’s not included in the McCarrick Report’s voluminous contents that speaks the loudest. Those with this perspective say that the report neglects to address several critical questions, raising concerns that Church leadership has not learned its lesson from this shameful saga and that the McCarrick Report itself may be an instance of the type of self-preserving, institutional failure it claims to impartially investigate.

Marist Regional College: A Ritual of Lament

Marist Regional College

December 4, 2020

In 2018, Marist Regional College was approached and asked whether an acknowledgement of the historical abuse could be made by the College. This request was supported by the College Leadership Team, the College Board and following consultation with the Archbishop of Hobart, endorsed by Julian Porteous in late December 2018.

In 2019, the College formed the “Seek the Truth Committee” led by Dr Trish Hindmarsh, the former Director of Catholic Education Tasmania and a local parishioner. This Committee of key stakeholders worked to respectfully develop an expression of recognition and sorrow for historical sexual abuse that occurred at Marist College and Marist Regional College.

Former Principal, Mr Adrian Drane, was committed to acknowledging the past sexual abuse. Mr Drane’s sudden illness and passing has seen this commitment and responsibility handed to Acting Principals, Mr Peter Douglas (2019) and Mr Gregg Sharman (2020), the Seek the Truth Committee and the College Leadership Team.

A Lawsuit Against Portsmouth Abbey Shows Abuse Scandal Is Still Thriving and Catholic Officials Are Still Protecting Themselves Instead Of Victims

SNAP Network

December 8, 2020

A Catholic school in Rhode Island is being sued by a young woman who accuses a teacher of sexually abusing her from 2012 to 2014. This story is yet another example that the abuse scandal continues to be a major problem in the Church, one that requires secular oversight and intervention to solve.

According to the lawsuit, Michael Bowen Smith abused the woman during her sophomore, junior, and senior years at Portsmouth Abbey School, a Benedictine facility in Portsmouth, RI. One of the most disturbing details of this lawsuit is that Smith was allowed to quietly resign from his position after school officials learned of the sexual abuse allegations. Smith was then able to get a teaching job in New York and his victim says in her lawsuit that she was subjected to his cyberstalking and continued abuse for additional years because Portsmouth Abbey officials cared more about protecting their reputations than they did about the victim.

This is yet another example of the abuse playbook that was detailed by Attorney General Josh Shapiro in his 2018 grand jury report. To us, the situation demonstrates that all Catholic institutions are prone to the same kind of minimizing language and quiet cover-up that has allowed the sexual abuse scandal to thrive for so long.

The lawsuit mentions that the girl's parents were made to feel like “annoyances” for bringing forward concerns about Smith and that they were brushed aside by school administrators. This is unconscionable and any official who was made aware of the allegations against Smith but chose not to act should be fired immediately. When parents try in good faith to protect their children and are rebuffed by school administrators, it is clear that outside law enforcement needs to step in and bring charges. We believe that this case is well within the criminal statute of limitations in RI and we hope that police are pursuing charges against Smith as well as any Portsmouth Abbey official that failed to properly report the abuse.

Inter-American Human Rights Commission to look into clerical sexual abuse


December 9, 2020

By Inés San Martín

For the first time in its history, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission promised to defend victims of clerical sexual abuse, with cases being reported in at least 19 countries in Latin America.

In a hearing held last Thursday on the issue, the commission’s vice president, Flavia Piovesan, told victims and survivors “you have our firm and absolute commitment to be a part of this cause.”

The Washington, D.C.-based commission is an autonomous part of the Organization of American States and is the main human rights body in the Americas. Thursday’s hearing was held via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commission said it was committed to using its power to demand information on cases that are not being resolved by member states.

Adalberto Méndez, the legal coordinator for Ending Clerical Abuse, presented a series of cases to the commission to illustrate the way individual governments have helped cover up the crimes, failed to protect victims or help them get justice.

Sex abuse claims, secret payments, then a suicide. He battled memories of his past – and the priests at the center of it.

Green Bay Press-Gazette via Yahoo News

December 8, 2020

By Haley BeMiller

The cards arrived every month.

They often had a tranquil photo on the front, a snow-covered scene or a depiction of Jesus in a stained-glass window. The letter’s author wrote in messy cursive as he discussed the Green Bay Packers, family events or his “frozen” Toyota Camry that required a new battery.

The writer, a top clergyman in the Green Bay area, often ended his messages with “God Bless.”

Inside each card, Nate Lindstrom would find a check for $3,500 from the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin.

The money provided Lindstrom with another month of financial stability. But it also took him back to his days as a teenager in Green Bay, when Lindstrom said he endured sexual abuse at the hands of three Norbertine priests.

According to interviews and documents, the Norbertines quietly sent Lindstrom monthly checks totaling more than $400,000 over 10 years after his parents complained to the Catholic order's leaders about the harm their son suffered from being sexually abused by at least one priest in the late 1980s.

Lindstrom spent years in therapy and taking medication, and he eventually settled in suburban Minneapolis with his wife and three children. But in 2018, his life changed when the order's abbot told him the monthly payments would end.

After that, Lindstrom pushed back and reported additional allegations, but those efforts came up empty. The last check arrived in May 2019. He became increasingly depressed and defeated.

One day this past March, Lindstrom retrieved a case from the trunk of his car. He took out a gun and brought it inside to the basement of his home.

Then he killed himself. He was 45.

While sex abuse allegations in the Catholic church have been well-documented, the case of Nate Lindstrom stands out.

Sexually abusive priest was reinstated as minister on Cardinal Nichols’s watch

The Telegraph via Yahoo News

December 8, 2020

By Gabriella Swerling

A “sado masochistic” priest who abused a boy was sent to the US for "therapy" before being reinstated as a minister on Cardinal Nichols’s watch, it has emerged.

Father Joseph Quigley, 56, a former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools, sexually and physically abused a boy and locked him in a church crypt.

Quigley, who held various “prestigious” roles, was known as ‘Father Joe’ at the time of the abuse, jurors at Warwick Crown Court heard as he was convicted last week.

Ex-student alleges sexual abuse by private school teacher

Associated Press

December 8, 2020

A former student at a private Rhode Island school has sued the school and a former teacher, alleging the teacher sexually abused her and the school did not do enough to protect her.

The former Portsmouth Abbey School student, listed as Jane Doe in court documents, alleges in the federal suit filed earlier this month she was sexually abused by the teacher between 2012 and 2014 starting when she was 15 years old.

The teacher was in his 40s, according to The Newport Daily News.

The Catholic school is a defendant because it “failed to take any measures to investigate and put an end to the misconduct and protect its young student,” the lawsuit says.

Former student sues Portsmouth Abbey, claiming she was abused by a teacher and duped by the school

Boston Globe

December 8, 2020

By Zoe Greenberg


In the spring, an archaeology professor in New Mexico received a strange note from an unknown e-mail address. The author was Michael Bowen Smith, a former teacher at Portsmouth Abbey, a prestigious Catholic boarding school in Rhode Island.

In the e-mail, which The Boston Globe obtained, Smith said he was writing to discuss a student he had taught in high school a few years earlier.

“[E.] and I were lovers,” he wrote to the professor, his former student’s mentor whom he had never met. “I was a married man with children and an award-winning career. She was a superstar academic yearning for some kind of freedom from her painfully constricted life. We were drawn together as rebel intellectuals . . .”

Smith initiated sexual contact with E. when she was a 15-year-old sophomore at the Abbey, according to two new lawsuits and interviews with her. He was her 48-year-old teacher. They exchanged hundreds of e-mails, some of which the Globe reviewed, and met up across school grounds for the next two years. And as the letter illustrated, even after she broke things off in her freshman year of college, Smith pursued her into adulthood.

But E.’s troubles went far beyond her former teacher, according to the lawsuits, implicating leaders at the wealthy religious school that offered to help when she finally reported what happened. The lawsuits refer to her as “Jane Doe,” and the Globe is identifying her by the first letter of her name. Smith did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

E.’s struggle to get free of Smith and hold her former school accountable spanned five years and multiple states. Her story suggests that even after a recent reckoning in New England private schools over decades of sexual abuse at the hands of faculty, the challenges for a student in her position remain high. Portsmouth Abbey in 2017 apologized for sexual abuse that occurred more than 30 years earlier. But according to the lawsuits, that same year the school dodged legal responsibility for a much more recent allegation of abuse.

Portsmouth Abbey did not respond to requests for comment or to a detailed list of questions.

The lawsuits claim that not only did the Abbey fail to protect E. as a student, but also that the school set her up to receive poor legal advice that benefited them. The school paid for E. to be represented by a law firm in New Mexico that never told her the statute of limitations to bring action against her former boarding school would soon expire. School administrators “wanted to keep the potential scandal contained, and commenced to do so by ‘steering’ Plaintiff to use the School’s outside consultant to ‘help’ her out of this predicament,” the Rhode Island lawsuit says.

“I trusted the school and the people they were connecting me with wanted to help me,” said E., who is now 24 and in graduate school, in an interview. “I wanted to be able to move on with my life.”

A suit against Portsmouth Abbey and Smith was filed last week in federal court in Rhode Island, and a suit against Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, the law firm that represented E., was filed in New Mexico state court. The law firm strongly disputed the allegations, calling them inaccurate and one-sided in a statement to the Globe.

E. arrived at the Abbey as a bright and shy scholarship student in the fall of 2010. She was 13 when she started ninth grade, thrilled at the prospect of a high school so much like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

During her sophomore year, she grew close to Smith, who taught humanities. They had wide-ranging intellectual conversations that increasingly became personal, and she felt he treated her as an equal, she said in an interview.

“Sort of filling a void and giving me some of the praise and support that I was used to getting at home,” E. said. At the end of the year, Smith invited her to his campus apartment, where, she said, he took her to a bedroom, kissed her, and initiated sexual acts. She was 15, below the age of consent in Rhode Island.

Earlier in the year, E.’s mother had become concerned that Smith was crossing boundaries, according to the Rhode Island lawsuit. E. said her mother called a dorm “house parent” to discuss her concerns and that the house parent later mentioned the call to E. but did not do anything else.

When E. returned to campus for her junior year, she and Smith continued to meet up and his acts of sexual abuse “intensified and became more frequent,” according to the lawsuit. She told a classmate at the time that she was sexually involved with Smith, which the classmate, Lily Mercer-Paiva, confirmed in an interview with the Globe.

Throughout the next two years, Smith and E. exchanged hundreds of e-mails, written under aliases. The Globe reviewed some, which were sexually explicit.

The Abbey is a small school, with about 350 students, and soon the strange closeness of Smith and E. was the subject of widespread rumors, according to E. and Mercer-Paiva. Teacher and student could often be seen immersed in private conversations around campus, and multiple classmates, including the son of a faculty member, asked Mercer-Paiva about the nature of therelationship. At one point, Smith and E. emerged from a wooded area and ran into the entire lacrosse team, E. recalled.

But faculty and staff didn’t look into the rumors, the lawsuit says.

“There wasn’t a lot of desire to follow up,” E. said. “People didn’t want to deal with it.”

Once she graduated in 2014 and started college, E. told Smith she no longer wanted to be in touch. She was getting older and her new friends gently suggested that perhaps the situation with her former teacher hadn’t been the love story she thought.

As she processed what had happened, she had trouble sleeping and her academic work suffered. In the spring of 2015, she dropped out, returned home, and told her parents about Smith.

“It was like I never realized that I was as vulnerable as I was. Or that I could be manipulated so easily,” she said. “So admitting that to myself was part of the challenge.”

According to e-mails shared with the Globe, E.’s mother contacted the Abbey, and the school quickly suspended Smith. The school told Smith it planned to investigate the inappropriate relationship that was “alleged to have been sexual in nature.” Later that day, Smith resigned.

It’s not clear who reported the situation to local police. But E. said the police reached out to her in 2015 and she spoke to them briefly. She didn’t want to get involved in a criminal case and did not tell them she had sexual contact with Smith. The Portsmouth Police Department rejected a public records request from the Globe for an incident report on privacy grounds.

The Abbey appeared to consider the issue resolved. In a 2016 letter to the school community, the Abbey said an independent law firm had reviewed a case involving “an inappropriate relationship between a faculty member and a student. The matter was reported at the time to law enforcement, and the teacher was suspended, quickly resigned, and excluded from campus. No new information on this incident was revealed in the course of this review.”

E. said she spoke briefly with the headmaster of the Abbey in 2015 to confirm that she and Smith had written e-mails under aliases. She said she was not contacted during the subsequent independent investigation of sexual abuse on campus.

And for her, the matter was far from over. Smith continued to hound her, sending pleading e-mails to her and others, which the Globe reviewed, mailing cards and money, and threatening to send roses by way of her university department.

When Mercer-Paiva told him to stop contacting her friend, referring to Smith as a predator, he objected.

“Hold on. Predator?! Is that how [E.] describes me after pursuing a relationship with me, begging me to continue with her each time I urged us to quit, and then parting in Jan 2015 as loving friends?” he wrote. He often described him and E. falling in love “under impossible circumstances” and wrote that because she would not speak to him, he feared “for her spiritual health.”

E. blocked his e-mail address; when he wrote from new ones, she blocked those, too.

“It was enormously stressful and painful, as I was trying to process what had happened, and slowly coming to the realization that this wasn’t my fault. And I wasn’t just some kind of freak,” she said.

And so, once again in 2017, E. reached out to her former boarding school for help.

The Abbey connected her with Kathleen McChesney, a crisis consultant and former FBI official who had led efforts within the Catholic Church to prevent child sexual abuse after the 2002 scandal.

McChesney declined to comment, saying in a statement that it would be unethical to confirm the names of her clients or discuss her work with them.

According to e-mails from the time, McChesney helped E. deliver a strongly worded letter to Smith telling him not to contact her. She also connected E. to Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, telling the law firm that her client needed help with “a small matter, i.e., assisting her in obtaining a restraining order.” McChesney was paid by the Abbey, the lawsuit said.

The law firm often represented the Catholic Church, and had a law partner in charge of defending “religious institutions,” including sexual abuse claims against the church, the lawsuit said. The Abbey pledged to pay E.’s legal bills, according to e-mails the Globe obtained.

The lawsuit says the firm failed to tell E. that she was quickly approaching the statute of limitations, losing the chance to hold her former school responsible. They instead focused on getting a restraining order and did not tell E. of her other legal options.

Rhode Island passed a law in 2019 extending the statute of limitations for civil cases against individual abusers. But partly because of strong lobbying by the Catholic Church, the law is only retroactive for perpetrators and not negligent institutions, according to Timothy Conlon, a Rhode Island attorney acting as local counsel for E. on the case. (Her current case against the school could be thrown out on those grounds).

“What was in it for the school was they basically dodged a very, very significant lawsuit,” said Dave Ring, E.’s primary attorney who is based in Los Angeles.

Professors of legal ethics consulted by the Globe said that while it isn’t uncommon for third parties to pay legal bills, failing to advise a client about an upcoming statute of limitations was problematic.

“If the advice is so basic that a first-year law student would have known that it should have been disclosed to the client, then a reasonable fact finder might infer that the law firm was conflicted,” said Ronald Sullivan, a professor of legal ethics at Harvard Law School. “Statute of limitations are one of the first things that lawyers tend to look at.”

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie strongly disputed the allegations.

“The written scope of our engagement was narrow, was limited to the protective order issue against Smith, did not involve other parties, and in any event did not and could not have included advice about Rhode Island law,” Kenneth Van Winkle Jr., managing partner of the firm, wrote in a statement to the Globe. “The school is not and has never been a firm client, and [E.’s] arrangement to have the school reimburse her for our fees was made by her or on her behalf before we were contacted and without our involvement.”

The firm said in its statement that E. did not provide the documents necessary to pursue a restraining order and in May 2017, directed the firm in writing not to pursue Smith further. They closed her case about a month after she turned 21, according to e-mails obtained by the Globe. She did not obtain a restraining order.

Now, three years later, Smith continues to contact E. In the spring, he wrote to her current and former professors, and sent Mercer-Paiva explicit e-mails E. had written to him as a teenager. At one point he sent E. a Starbucks gift card and then tracked where it was spent, according to Facebook messages he sent to Mercer-Paiva. (E. says she gave the gift card away.) E. has become increasingly worried about what he might do next.

“The degree of information that he seems to have access to somehow about my life, despite my efforts to try and remain as private as possible, is increasing, to a kind of disturbing and frightening level,” she said recently.

On Thanksgiving, a few days before her lawyer filed suit against the Abbey and her former teacher, Smith wrote once again, according to an e-mail obtained by the Globe.

“Let’s ennoble our holiday by reaching out and making peace,” he wrote. “Kindness is Karma Repair.”

Judge denies accused priest’s request to throw out confession in sex crimes case


December 8, 2020

By Justine Lofton

A Michigan judge recently denied a request to throw out a confession from a priest accused of sex crimes.

Gary Jacobs, a former Catholic priest in the Upper Peninsula’s Ontonagon and Dickinson counties, is charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct in five cases. His confession will stand in court.

Jacobs, 75, was in court on Friday, Dec. 4, for a Walker Hearing during which the Ontonagon County Circuit Court judge denied Jacobs’ request to throw out his confession.

Sex abuse victims want archdiocese eliminated, lawyer says

Associated Press

December 8, 2020

An attorney for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has claimed that alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse and their lawyers are seeking to eliminate the archdiocese in New Mexico by asking about the church’s holdings.

Tom Walker, the archdiocese’s lawyer, made the claim during a court hearing Monday about three lawsuits alleging the archdiocese illegally transferred about $245 million to parishes and their trusts before the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy.

A lawyer for some victims, James Stang, called the accusations unconstructive and untrue.

The archdiocese’s website lists 79 priests and clergy members who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

[Opinion] THE PODIUM | A model approach to address abuse

Colorado Politics

December 9, 2020

By Brittany Vessely

Sexual abuse of children is one of society’s most heinous crimes. The pain experienced by victims and their families is excruciating and is endured for decades. According to the CDC, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before they turn 18.

Despite the widespread nature of this societal ill, no institution has been more highly scrutinized and criticized than the Catholic Church. Here in Colorado, the spotlight that has been put on the three Catholic dioceses can and should be used as an example of how to help protect all children, and how to compassionately care for survivors.

As Attorney General Phil Weiser said last week, the two-year review and reparations model cooperatively used by the state and the Church was not perfect, but it was a “unique Colorado solution that was collaborative, committed to transparency, and provided survivors with the support that they desperately needed.”

The strength of this approach was that it addressed both the past and the future.

When a Catholic lawyer fights sexual abuse in Indonesian Church

UCA News (Union of Catholic Asian News)

December 9, 2020

Almost every Monday since September, Catholic lawyer Azas Tigor Nainggolan accompanies the altar boys who were sexually abused and their families appearing at the Depok District Court in West Java.

He accompanies them against the defendant, Syahril Marbun, former altar boys’ trainer at St Herkulanus parish, Bogor diocese, the first recorded case of sexual abuse in a church brought before a civil court.

In a hearing on Nov. 30, the judge had demanded 11 years in prison to Marbun who was charged with molesting more than 20 altar boys. He was scheduled to submit a defense note on Dec. 14.

"The demand is light and we are disappointed,” he told UCA News. “We hope the punishment will be severe, as it is an important point in cases of sexual abuse in the Indonesian church.”

[Opinion] McCarrick report shows former cardinal's character: ambitious, brazen, untouchable

National Catholic Reporter

December 8, 2020

By Fr. Peter Daly


That's the most shocking number in the Vatican's 449-page report on ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick appears to have molested 17 "postpubescent boys or young men" over the course of his career (Page 440). Some victims were as young as 12 years old. Some he molested repeatedly. Many were children in families that he knew well and visited frequently. He was trusted as a "member of the family."

The Vatican report does not reveal names or discuss the individual cases. However, it does lay out his typical pattern of grooming and molesting his victims. He used his power to gain access to their families. He forged strong relationships with their parents. He insisted that the boys call him "Uncle Ted" and he referred to them as his "nephews," an easily exposed lie since McCarrick was an only child. He plied his victims with gifts, favors, trips and liquor. Then he took them to bed in isolated places where they had no hope of help or recourse, typically his beach house on the Jersey Shore or an apartment at a hospital in New York.

New lawsuits are still being filed, including one in November in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleging repeated "rape" by McCarrick of a boy beginning at the age of 12. The plaintiff is now 47 years old.

Former Marist College students sue Catholic Church over historical sexual abuse allegations

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 9, 2020

By Lucy MacDonald

Four former students of a Catholic secondary school in Tasmania's north-west are suing the church over historical sexual abuse allegations involving a former international cricket umpire convicted for sex offences two decades ago.

Randell was sentenced to four years in prison in 1999 on 15 charges of indecent assault against nine girls between 1981-1982. He served less than three years, being released on parole in May 2002.

Polish priest apologizes for defense of disgraced priest

Associated Press

December 8, 2020

A popular Polish priest apologized Tuesday for a sermon in which he defended a bishop accused of covering up for pedophile priests. His sermon, delivered to a congregation including the justice minister and other top politicians, was later condemned by government officials.

Father Tadeusz Rydzyk insisted that he had not intended to hurt victims or downplay the church’s role in the “sin and crime of pedophilia.”

Rydzyk’s apology came days after he had defended Bishop Henryk Janiak, who was recently removed by Pope Francis amid an investigation into media allegations that he had covered up cases of sexual abuse by priests. Rydzyk called Janiak a “contemporary martyr of the media.”

He said that priests also commit sins, adding: “Who does not have temptations?”

Catholic radio head defends controversial comments on sex abuse allegations

The First News

December 8, 2020

A priest who is the director of an influential religious broadcaster has defended describing a bishop accused of hiding sexual abuse by priests as a “martyr”.

Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, director of Radio Maryja, triggered a storm of controversy for remarks he made last week about Edward Janiak, a former bishop of the Kalisz diocese.

Rydzyk said Janiak, who is facing allegations of covering up sexual abuse committed by priests serving under him, was a modern-day martyr and a victim of the media.

Referring to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church he also said: "That a priest sinned? Well he sinned. And who is not tempted?"

His comments provoked accusations that he was trying to excuse incidents of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

Polish archbishop responds to ‘unprecedented attacks’ on St. John Paul II after McCarrick

Catholic News Agency

December 8, 2020

St. John Paul II’s “highest priority” was combating clerical abuse and protecting young people, a Catholic archbishop said Monday in response to what he called “unprecedented attacks” on the Polish pope.

In a Dec. 7 statement, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, defended John Paul II’s legacy in the wake of the McCarrick Report, which unleashed criticism of the pope who appointed McCarrick as archbishop of Washington in 2000 and made him a cardinal a year later.

“On the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. John Paul II, we are witnessing unprecedented attacks on his person. The pretext is the alleged failure of the Pope to disclose and punish the clergy -- perpetrators of sexual abuse against minors,” Gądecki said.

Charleston bishop cleared by Vatican over abuse claim

Catholic News Agency

December 8, 2020

The Bishop of Charleston, SC, has been cleared of accusations of sexual abuse by the Vatican, the diocese announced Sunday.

In a release from the Diocese of Charleston Monday, Bishop Robert Guglielmone said that a Vatican investigation had dismissed an allegation made against him dating back to the 1970s.

“As we approach the end of what has been an extremely challenging year, I am very pleased to be able to share some good news. I recently received a letter from the Papal Nuncio stating that the Vatican has determined that the sexual abuse allegation against me has no semblance of truth and is thus unfounded,” Guglielmone said in a letter dated Dec. 6.

Quiet Heart of the Storm

Catholic Weekly

December 9, 2020

By Terence Tobin

The thoughts and prayers and inner life of an innocent man

The publication of Cardinal George Pell’s Prison Journal this week by Ignatius Press in the United States comes just seven months after the High Court in a unanimous 7:0 decision threw out his conviction by a Melbourne jury on historic abuse charges. In a society which espouses the presumption of innocence in all criminal matters, and despite the refusal of his enemies to acknowledge it, the Court upheld his innocence.

That background helps in understanding the spirit and significance of the first volume of the Journal. It records the thoughts and prayers and inner life of an innocent man as he begins what in the end were to be over 400 days in solitary confinement. The reader is immediately struck by the peace at the heart of the journal as the Cardinal records in his cell of an evening his day-by-day reflections on the world beyond the prison while living a terrible uncertainty. The trial judge had sentenced him to at least three and a half years in custody.

December 8, 2020

What Is “Spiritual” Abuse? A Working Definition

Jesus Creed (blog)

December 2, 2020

By Scot McKnight

Two experts have worked for years to get this definition of spiritual abuse.

I am aware that what one person calls “spiritual abuse” to another person may be no more than a disagreement. This is not to diminish or minimize genuine cases but to recognize that the diagnosis requires discernment and knowledge of sufficient facts.

Which is why we all need to turn to Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphrey’s definition in their important study of spiritual abuse called Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating healthy Christian cultures. This book, or at least one like it, should be on every pastor’s bookshelf and available to both elders/deacons and congregants.

Spiritual abuse works both ways: congregations can abuse pastors and pastors can abuse congregations and congregants. Make it more complex: congregants can abuse one another.

Once beloved Colorado priest among newly identified clerical abusers


December 2, 2020

Investigation into the history of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Colorado has found nine diocesan priests with “substantiated” sexual abuse allegations involving 70 more underage victims. Those priests come in addition to 43 abusers already identified in a 2019 report. The newly known abusers include a Denver priest who was a prominent advocate for the homeless.

A report on clerical abuse in Colorado was released Dec. 1 as a supplement to an October 2019 report on the history of clerical sexual abuse in the state.

“We hope and pray that this independent review and reparations process over the last two years has provided a measure of justice and healing for the survivors who came forward and shared their stories,” the Catholic bishops of Colorado said in a joint statement Dec. 1.

Archdiocese Adds Deceased Fr. Robert Cooper to Clergy Abuse Report

Archdiocese of New Orleans

December 2, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has concluded an investigation into newly received information regarding allegations of abuse of minors lodged against the late Fr. Robert K. Cooper. With moral certitude, today, December 2, 2020, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has added Cooper’s name to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Report Regarding Clergy Abuse found online at nolacatholic.org.

This deceased Fr. Cooper should not be confused with the Fr. Cooper who is an active pastor in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Action plan missing from McCarrick Report can be found Down Under

Catholic Outlook

December 3, 2020

By Massimo Faggioli

The entire Church should take seriously the proposals for ecclesial reform coming from Catholics in Australia

The solution to the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church hangs in the balance between these two questions: What happened? and What needs to happen?

The so-called “McCarrick Report“, which was compiled by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and published on November 10, is an example of unprecedented transparency under pressure.

It represents a fundamental step towards a better comprehension of what happened in the saga concerning Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal-archbishop of Washington who was defrocked in 2019 for sexual abuse of minors.

The media is not the church's enemy

National Catholic Reporter

December 3, 2020

By Heidi Schlumpf

As the U.S. bishops gathered last month for their first-ever virtual meeting, there was one thing that wasn't all that different: Several prelates pulled out the tired trope of blaming the media for all that's wrong with the church and the world.

During the church leaders' brief, public discussion about the McCarrick report — concerning the former cardinal's rise in the hierarchy despite a history of sexual assault — there was plenty of talk about sins (McCarrick's) and fasting and prayer as reparations (the bishops').

But Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, got right to what he saw as the crux of the matter with a defense of the person upon whom the report places most of the blame: Pope John Paul II.

"What I think is unfortunate, though, is the media reports that have come out that have tried to paint St. John Paul II as somehow culpable for all this," Paprocki said.

George Pell Set To Publish Memoir Following Acquittal On Sex Abuse Charges

Marie Claire

December 2, 2020

By Grace Back

The personal diary entries reflect on the "nature of suffering and humiliations of solitary confinement"

Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse, is set to publish a memoir written during his time in prison that, according to reports, "reflects on the nature of suffering, Pope Francis' papacy and the humiliations of solitary confinement."

Titled Prison Journal, the reflections recount the first five months of Pell's over 400 days behind bars, while also providing a first-hand account of his legal case, offering personal insights into one of the formerly most prominent figures in the Catholic hierarchy.

The West Australian newspaper published excerpts from an advance copy of the book, claiming the memoir was "unlikely to change minds."

Long Island Diocese’s Deadline for Abuse Claims Faces Opposition

Wall Street Journal

December 2, 2020

By Soma Biswas and Peg Brickley

Window for abuse victims to come forward should coincide with New York law, creditors’ lawyer says

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., is trying to shut the gates on sexual abuse claims too soon, lawyers for the diocese’s creditors say.

The Long Island diocese, which filed for bankruptcy in October to halt hundreds of lawsuits from victims of alleged sexual abuse by clergy, recently asked to set a Feb. 17, 2021, deadline for victims to assert claims.

Lawyers for Rockville Centre’s unsecured creditors committee argued in court papers filed Monday that the deadline ought to be Aug. 14, 2021, the same date set by New York state law.

Last year, the state passed the Child Victims Act, opening a one-year window during which people who say they were abused as children can sue perpetrators, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The one-year window was set to expire this summer, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the period to Aug. 14, 2021, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new deadline grew out of a tough fight in the legislature that pitted Catholic dioceses and organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America against advocates who pointed to studies that indicate victims of child sexual abuse commonly take decades to come forward.

“There is no reason for this court to curtail the will of the legislature and shorten the Child Victims Act,” James Stang, a lawyer representing the official creditors committee in the case, said in court papers filed Monday.

Because of publicity over New York’s decision to open a temporary window for child sex abuse claims, many victims have the August deadline in mind, Mr. Stang said in the court papers. A separate, and earlier, deadline in the bankruptcy case would confuse people, he said.

In May, a state court judge turned down a bid by the Rockville Diocese to squash 44 complaints filed against it under the child victims’ law. The diocese argued unsuccessfully that its due process rights were violated.

At a recent meeting of diocese leaders, lawyers and alleged victims, Mr. Stang quizzed diocesan officials over whether they will continue to appeal their loss on a constitutional challenge that the Child Victims Act violates due process rights.

An appeal of that decision is stayed by the bankruptcy filing, diocesan lawyers said. However, the Rockville Diocese might raise the statute of limitations as a defense to sex abuse claims in the bankruptcy case, a lawyer for the diocese said.

“I’m not sure at this time,” Todd R. Geremia, the diocese lawyer, told Mr. Stang at the Nov. 5 session, according to a transcript.

A spokesperson for the diocese didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The committee also is pressing the diocese for an expanded advertising program to make sure victims know about the bankruptcy deadline. The focus should be on New York, the committee said, and the diocese should give direct notice to people who interacted with known child abusers.

Photographs and names of identified abusers should be included in the notices, the committee said in court filings, to get through the psychological defenses many victims use to suppress their memories.

A bankruptcy court in New York is set to hear arguments on the deadline issue Dec. 9.

Write to Soma Biswas at soma.biswas@wsj.com and Peg Brickley at peg.brickley@wsj.com

Priest Assignment Records and Case Details Released

The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian

December 7, 2020

The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian added 38 sexually abusive priests to the Results List at www.garabedianlaw.com/results-list in June 2020.

Detailed information on the assignment record and claim history, together with sources, is being provided on this website.

Material on individual priests can be accessed through these links or by scrolling below. You can also download the information as a single pdf file.

Please check back regularly as additional information is planned for release.

Abuse in State Care Inquiry: Catholic school rape victim emotionally recalls principal's sexual abuse, frustration at Church's redress process


December 4, 2020

By Matt Burrows


Warning: This article discusses sexual abuse and mental health.

A rape victim has given evidence of the sexual abuse he suffered while at a Catholic school in the 1980s, emotionally telling a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care of his experiences and the myriad struggles he faced in the aftermath.

The man, identified only as John, spoke about the abuse, its impacts and the frustrations he's experienced throughout the Catholic Church's redress process on day five of the Inquiry's faith-based redress hearing.

The hearing is focused on the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army. The Inquiry is investigating the adequacy of these processes and what needs to be done to better support people who have been abused or neglected in faith-based institutions.

Former priest and tutor convicted of historic child sex offences

Coventry Telegraph

December 4, 2020

By Kirstie McCrum

The offences took place in Warwick between 2006 and 2009

A man has been convicted of non-recent child sex offences dating back to when police say he worked as a priest and private tutor.

Joseph Quigley, 56, of Church Lane in Stone, Staffordshire was arrested and charged as part of a Warwickshire Police investigation.

Quigley was found guilty by a majority jury on Thursday (December 3) following his trial at Warwick Crown Court of four counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of child cruelty.

The offences took place in Warwick, between 2006 and 2009 against one male victim when he was aged between 14 and 16.

At the time the offences occurred, police say that Quigley was working in a position of trust as a priest and private tutor.

Australian Catholic bishops establish new agency to fight abuse

Catholic News Agency via Angelus

December 4, 2020

On Thursday, the Catholic bishops of Australia and two other Catholic entities launched Australian Catholic Safeguarding Limited, a company charged with the safeguarding of children against sexual abuse by clergy.

The launch of the agency comes three years after the release of a 2017 Royal Commission report on child sex abuse in the country's institutions. The new agency was created by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the Association of Ministerial PJPs (Public Juridic Persons).

Ex-Portsmouth Abbey student in lawsuit says she was sexually abused by teacher from 2012-14

Newport Daily News

December 4, 2020

By Sean Flynn

A woman filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court against Portsmouth Abbey School and a former teacher with a claim the teacher sexually abused her while she was a student at the preparatory school.

The former student is listed as “Jane Doe” because public disclosure would further harm her and her family, according to the lawsuit.

She was sexually abused by her former humanities teacher, Michael Bowen Smith, between 2012 and 2014, her sophomore, junior and senior years at the school, says the 17-page lawsuit, which details how the abuse began and ended.

Jane Doe is represented by attorney Timothy J. Conlon of Providence, who signed the lawsuit.

Former Christ's College student recounts fearing for life during sexual assault


December 7, 2020

By Charlie Gates

A former Christ’s College student sexually assaulted and abused by other students in the 1970s says it was “systematic deliberate abuse” designed to shame him.

Jim Goodwin attended the Christchurch school as a boarder from 1970 to 1974 and told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care in Auckland on Monday about the assault by other students that left him fearing for his life.

He said it happened as part of a ritual at the school known as hauling. Senior students would punish more junior pupils if they felt they had been disrespected.

Goodwin said he accidentally bumped into a senior student entering the lunch hall when he was in fifth form (year 11). He was told he was going to be “hauled” and taken to the student study.

Royal Commission told Catholic Church needs to stop honouring paedophiles


November 30, 2020

By Edward Gay

A man who was sexually abused as a boy at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream only ever wanted the photographs of his abusers removed from the school’s hall, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care has heard.

Tina Cleary’s father, Patrick Cleary, was sexually abused by two priests when he was aged 12 at the Catholic boys school in 1951.

It took decades for the proud man to be able to tell anyone of the abuse. He told his full story to the Royal Commission in a private session in 2019. He died in July.

His statements were read by his daughter Tina Cleary on Monday. She bought her father’s walking stick to the hearing and held it in the witness box as she read his evidence.

How journals kept by priest accused of pedophilia could help abuse survivors break free

WCPO-TV, Channel 9

December 7, 2020

By Craig Cheatham

Abuse survivor: 'It needs to come out'

[PHOTO: In personal journals from the 1980s, a Catholic priest repeatedly accused of molesting boys, asks God to forgive him. The Rev. Herman Kamlage worked at eight northern Kentucky churches. He died in 2018.]

BURLINGTON, Ky. — I've failed you again. I haven't been faithful to my office for 10 days.
I still have these primitive urges.
August 9, 1981

In a series of hand-written "love letters" to God, penned over the course of four years, The Rev. Herman Kamlage, a Catholic priest, begged for forgiveness for undisclosed "carnal" behavior that he claimed he could not control.

In July, the Diocese of Covington publicly identified Kamlage -- who held positions at eight northern Kentucky parishes -- and 89 other former diocesan employees who had "substantiated" allegations of child sexual abuse made against them.

Kamlage died in 2018.

I do all the things I say I don't want to do. It bugs me but I don't do anything about it. It's as tho I'm doing just what I want/chooze (sic) to do. No discipline. And yet, at times, it's as tho (sic) I can't help myself. Why?
April 17, 1983

There are more than 100 letters, dated from 1981-85, in three personal journals.

Nearly all of the entries end with Kamlage's signature.

"It does give you a true insight view into his soul, which I believe is an evil soul" said Dean McCoy, a former altar boy at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crescent Springs, Ky., where Kamlage was an assistant priest in 1984.

SC bishop says Vatican has cleared him of sexual abuse allegation

Post and Courier

December 7, 2020

By Avery G. Wilks

South Carolina’s top Roman Catholic priest says the Vatican has cleared him of wrongdoing after he was accused of sexually abusing a boy as the pastor of a New York church in the late 1970s.

In a message to fellow S.C. priests ahead of Sunday’s mass, Charleston Bishop Robert Guglielmone wrote that he received a letter “stating that the Vatican has determined that the sexual abuse allegation against me has no semblance of truth and is thus unfounded.”

“While not surprising to me, it is very welcomed news as it confirms what I have adamantly stated,” Guglielmone continued. “I am innocent of the accusation that was made against me.”

N.J. priest took me to Disney World, gave me alcohol and molested me, lawsuit says


December 7, 2020

By Anthony G. Attrino

A 51-year-old man is suing the Diocese of Metuchen and a long-dead New Jersey priest, claiming he was given alcohol and molested while attending Catholic school decades ago.

The lawsuit claims Father Michael Santillo, who died in 2000 at age 50, plied the victim with beer, groped him and took him on a three-day trip to Disney World, where he wanted to watch the student have sex with a prostitute.

Anthony P. Kearns III, who is the chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen, said Monday he cannot comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Superior Court of Middlesex County, claims Santillo met the victim at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Perth Amboy while the victim attended elementary school there.

The priest allegedly groomed the victim for several years, creating “a culture and social dynamic” that weakened the student’s ability to resist Santillo, the lawsuit claims.

Santillo used his position and his residence in the rectory “to ingratiate and integrate himself” to the victim throughout elementary and high school, the victim claims in the suit.

In 1983, when the victim was a teenager, Santillo allegedly took him to the church rectory and gave him alcohol. Once he plied the student with “beer and other liquor,” he allegedly molested him, the lawsuit claims.

The priest also took the student on a trip to Disney World in Florida, where “Santillo again purchased and provided minor plaintiff with beer and liquor,” the suit claims.

After the victim drank alcohol, Santillo asked if he could watch the teenager “engage in sexual intercourse with a prostitute that Father Santillo would provide.” The teen refused, the lawsuit states.

While in Florida, the priest again allegedly groped and sexually abused the victim, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states Santillo left the ministry in 1992 but returned to work in at least one church as an administrative assistant until his arrest in the late 1990s.

Despite multiple complaints of sexual abuse, Santillo was never removed from his position within the diocese, the lawsuit states.

“Instead, Father Santillo’s reign of terror (was) propped up by religious authority,” which allowed him to abuse victims, the suit states.

Santillo, who was known as “Father Mike,” pleaded guilty in June 1999 to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old altar boy and molesting three of the teen’s friends in his living quarters at the church rectory in Perth Amboy.

A judge sentenced Santillo to serve 10 years in the state’s Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel for sex offenders.

Santillo died of lymphoma on May 10, 2000 at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, where he had been transferred from the sex-offender treatment center, according to published reports.

In addition to Santillo’s estate, the lawsuit names the diocese, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and St. Joseph Parish. The suit alleges gross negligence, along with negligent supervision, hiring and retention.

December 7, 2020

Analysis: What is waiting for Bishop Fisher in Buffalo?

Catholic News Agency

December 5, 2020

On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Bishop Michael Fisher, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., will serve as the next Bishop of Buffalo. He will be installed as bishop on Jan. 15, taking over a diocese rocked by scandals in recent years.

Awaiting Fisher on his first day is a chancery with a tarnished reputation, a diocese named in hundreds of clergy abuse lawsuits, an ongoing bankruptcy process, the possible closure of parishes and schools, and a faithful weary of scandal.

At his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Fisher pledged transparency—and his promise looks to be tested from the beginning.

St. Cloud diocese bankruptcy plan approved to settle abuse claims

Minnesota Public Radio

December 4, 2020

A bankruptcy court has approved a reorganization plan for the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud to settle legal claims of clergy abuse survivors.

Two years ago, the St. Cloud diocese announced that it planned to file for bankruptcy after receiving 74 claims of sexual abuse of minors.

Those claims were filed during a three-year window that lifted the statute of limitations on allegations of clergy abuse in Minnesota.

Last May, the diocese announced the two sides had reached an agreement that included a $22.5 million trust to compensate abuse survivors. The diocese also agreed to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

[Opinion] In an age of institutional failure, 'Star Wars' is saving my faith

National Catholic Reporter

December 5, 2020

By Jennifer Vosters

As a Catholic woman and a diehard science-fiction/fantasy fan, I'm used to feeling underrepresented.

I learned early on not to hold my breath for three-dimensional women to take center stage in the stories and Scriptures, homilies and home-worlds I loved. I learned to connect with Frodo and Harry and Luke — and with St. Paul and St. Francis and Thomas Merton. But to see the heroic spiritual journeys of women at the fore? Mission: Improbable.

Enter "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

All the great sci-fi/fantasy franchises involve deeply spiritual themes, but "Star Wars" takes it a step further: There is religion. We get a divine Force, an order of peacekeeping monks, even a common blessing ("May the Force be with you"). But while binge-watching "The Clone Wars" animated series after the release of its much-anticipated final season this spring, I was not prepared for Ahsoka Tano.

[Book Review] Walking with Ghosts: A Memoir by Gabriel Byrne

Morning Star

December 7, 2020

By Fiona O'Connor

Fiona O'Connor finds that Gabriel Byrne breaks the celebrity mould in his unflinching account of an Irish childhood and subsequent success as a screen actor

“Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” So wrote Frank McCourt in the opening of Angela’s Ashes, his bestselling spawner of the genre dubbed misery-lit.

In his new memoir, actor Gabriel Byrne has generated his own take on the legacy of an Irish childhood, thus creating perhaps a unique form — that of the celebrity artist opening up to scrutiny many of his most intimate experiences.

In it, the iconic figure, hero and anti-hero of Hollywood classics, offers valuable insight on male vulnerability, particularly so in light of recent church child-abuse scandals and the #metoo movement.

Walking with Ghosts is an account of a working-class upbringing in the harsh economy of 1960s Dublin. Byrne’s father was a cooper in the Guinness brewery, laid off when barrel-makers’ skills were no longer needed and his mother, a nurse, maintained the family.

It was a time when deep faith and submission to rigid Catholic authority was still a social given. Byrne’s excitement in becoming an altar boy and the awe involved in rituals of preparation — boys dressing the priest in his pristine robes, boys learning their Latin — is ended when he was thrown against the wall of a trusted priest and sexually abused when he was 12.

Decades later, Byrne is still unable to confront this man with his crime.

Opinion: Archdiocese must be held accountable for priest abuse

Cincinnati Enquirer

December 7, 2020

By Teresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann, Jan Seidel, Dan Frondorf and Kathy Weyer

After a two-year investigation, the Vatican recently released a 450-plus-page report about now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and how the Catholic Church hierarchy failed to stop his predatory sexual behavior. Now, local Catholics are owed a similar in-depth investigation into the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and its complicity in failing to protect children from predatory sexual behaviors of local priests, such as Geoffrey Drew.

Although the Drew story is a microcosm of McCarrick’s, the system that allowed both men to go unpunished for decades, in spite of countless complaints, exists in every Catholic diocese, including our own. Drew, former pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, was arraigned on nine counts of rape in July 2019, finally halting his access to children.

Shortly thereafter, Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati was joined by over 1,500 area Catholics in petitioning the Vatican and 80 Catholic leaders to investigate the handling of the Drew case by the Archdiocese. In a well-researched document, our group cited complaints about Drew spanning 30 years, three counties and four parishes. These complaints were both in writing and in personal meetings with then-Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer. Even Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Gmoser warned the Archdiocese to "keep an eye" on Drew, to assign him a monitor and to keep him away from children.

Mastercard to investigate claims of child abuse on Pornhub


December 6, 2020

By Josh Marcus

A column in the New York Times accused the site of allowing—and monetizing—harmful and illegal content featuring minors

Mastercard said it is investigating whether one of its customers, the popular adult site Pornhub, features videos of child assault and other illegal activity, after a New York Times column alleged the site contained numerous examples of abusive and illegal content featuring minors.

“We are investigating the allegations raised in the New York Times and are working with MindGeek’s bank to understand this situation, in addition to the other steps they have already taken,” Mastercard said in a statement to Bloomberg News, referring to Pornhub’s parent company, which accepts Mastercard payments via an intermediary. “If the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action.”

Visa is taking similar steps.

Investigator: Pueblo Diocese improved systems to handle reports of priests' misconduct

La Junta Tribune-Democrat

By Robert Boczkiewicz


An investigator of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests said the Pueblo Diocese has set up systems to significantly improve its handling of reports of misconduct.

Investigator Bob Troyer, a former federal prosecutor, also said the systems, which are new, are yet untested.

Troyer worked last year and this year for the Colorado Attorney General's Office to delve into hundreds of cases of sexual assaults by priests in the state's three dioceses: Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver.

In a new report last week, Troyer said at least 59 children were sexually abused by 23 priests from 1950 to 1999 in the Pueblo Diocese, which stretches across southern Colorado. It includes Otero, Crowley and Bent counties.

5 takeaways from Bishop-elect William Byrne’s interview with The Republican

The Republican

December 6, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Bishop-designate William Byrne, who will be ordained Dec. 14 as the 10th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, is the author of the recently published “5 Things with Father Bill,” that tackles diverse topics and offers brief insights on each.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston will be the principal celebrant and consecrator for the invitation-only Episcopal Ordination and Installation Mass at 2 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

Byrne has been a parish pastor for more than two decades in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and his ministries there have included outreach to Catholic members of the Congress as well serving as chaplain for the University of Maryland’s Catholic Student Center in College Park, Maryland.

December 6, 2020

Editorial: The awful math of church abuse settlements


December 5, 2020

It can be hard to calculate damages when you can’t see the breakage.

Crash a car, and the body shop can tell you precisely what it will cost to turn bent and twisted metal back into a shiny vehicle with a sleek paint job. Burn down a house, and the insurance company knows to the penny how much it takes to replace it.

But how do you know the cost of a human spirit? If anyone should know, it should be the Catholic Church, an organization built on the saving and tending of the soul.

On Thursday, the Kenneth Feinberg Group announced the end of two years of work as independent mediator for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse grand jury report unveiled in 2018.

The mediator reported a bottom line of $19 million paid out to 224 claimants. It is the latest set of figures in a terrible math problem.

Catholic Church pays $7 million to victims in Colorado of sexual abuse by priests


December 1, 2020

By Keith Coffman

The Roman Catholic Church has paid out $7.3 million to more than 70 people sexually abused during their youth by priests in Colorado parishes, settling claims dating back over two decades, authorities said on Tuesday.

The settlement, capping a 22-month investigation, was announced by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in a supplement to a report first released last year when a victims compensation fund was set up.

Over the past year, investigators uncovered 46 new cases and identified nine more priests as offenders not named in the initial report, including the late Monsignor Charles Woodrich, who was known nationally for his outreach to Denver’s homeless community.

There is a Need for Priestly Fraternity and Reform

National Catholic Register

December 5, 2020

By Robert Klesko

Our clergy cannot neglect the power of regular and prayerful fraternity.

I was pleasantly surprised that my articles from last year “The Diaconate and the Abuse Crisis” and “The Deacon as Moral Watchman” caused a little discussion online. I was pleased to find a wonderful critique by Deacon Matthew Newsome (Diocese of Charlotte) on his blog Test Everything. Deacon Matthew concludes, “Klesko argues for more deacons serving in administrative roles on the diocesan level. But even just increasing social opportunities for priests and deacons to bond with one another as brother clerics, especially with their bishop, would be a much-welcomed move in the right direction.”

I was thinking of this within the context of the recent desecration and scandal in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the McCarrick report. In both cases, there were failures of fraternal support and correction. In both cases, there was a kind of clerical isolationism that perpetuated sinful behavior. After reflecting on these examples, it is clear that the Church failed in her obligation to correct the erring and to protect the vulnerable. The need for reform becomes more urgent!

NYC church security guard accuses priest of sexual assault

New York Post

December 2, 2020

By Kenneth Garger

A security guard at a Manhattan church has accused a priest of sexually assaulting her after she says she caught him watching gay pornography in his office on Nov. 4, according to reports.

Ashley Gonzalez, 22, was working her second day on the job at the Church of St. Michael in Midtown when Fr. George Rutler allegedly attacked her, News 12 reported.

Gonzalez said the alleged assault came after she filmed a man — who she says is Rutler — watching porn on a church computer.

Scots abuse survivor handed £100k in damages after horror childhood in care

Daily Record

December 6, 2020

By Jenny Morrison

Victim N was locked in cupboards, beaten with a stick and sexually abused when he was being looked after as a child.

An abuse survivor has secured £100,000 in damages after being molested and beaten while in care.

The man – known as Victim N – was locked in cupboards, beaten with a stick and sexually abused when he was being looked after as a child by the Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order.

He was then moved to council-run Auldhouse Care Home in Glasgow, only to be subjected to worse violence.

Victim N, now 58 and living in England, raised a legal action after spending decades coming to terms with what happened.

Judge asked to halt abuse victims’ church properties lawsuits

Albuquerque Journal

December 6, 2020

By Colleen Heild

The century-old, shuttered St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in downtown Raton is up for sale. And what a “great value,” a real estate listing touts, with an asking price of $199,500.

Wendy Mileta went to Mass there years ago. Her parents paid for its stunning stained-glass window in honor of her great-grandparents. Now she is the listing agent for the historic former church that Colfax County records show is owned by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Also for sale is a vacated Catholic school in the northeastern New Mexico city of about 7,000.

A dispute over St. Patrick’s and hundreds of other church properties is at the crux of three new lawsuits pending as the archdiocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization enters its third year without a settlement.

Abuse in Care Inquiry: 'I was ashamed and felt totally trapped'

Radio New Zealand

December 6, 2020

By Andrew McRae

A man has presented a harrowing testimony of being terrified as a boy for every day of school through two years, at the Abuse in Care inquiry.

Known only as John, the 52 year said he was sexually abused 40 years ago at the Marist-run Xavier Intermediate School in Christchurch, between 1980 and 1982, by principal Brother Giles.

John describes Giles as a very loud, big man who used fear and intimidation to get what he wanted.

John was at the school for only a short time before Brother Giles took an interest in him.

He said it started with grooming.

''When he was grooming me it was about two or three times a week, but once the sexual abuse started it would be sometimes a couple of times a day. Other times it would be two or three days break. I never knew whether it was going to be today, tomorrow or the next day.''

CIDH se compromete a trabajar con ONG en abusos clericales

[Inter-American Commission on Human Rights commits to working with NGOs on clerical abuses]

Associated Press

December 3, 2020

By Maria Verza

La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) se comprometió el jueves a trabajar con las organizaciones que defienden a las víctimas de la pederastia clerical para garantizar que los Estados americanos protejan mejor los derechos de la infancia y que los abusos sexuales contra menores no queden impunes.

“Tienen nuestro compromiso más firme y absoluto de que estamos en esta causa”, dijo Flávia Piovesan, vicepresidenta de la Comisión durante una audiencia pública retransmitida en las redes de la CIDH.

La relatora de los derechos de los menores, Esmeralda Arosemena, agregó que la Comisión usaría las herramientas a su disposición “para pedir información en el tema de impunidad de los casos que no están siendo resueltos”.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) pledged Thursday to work with organizations that defend victims of clerical pedophilia to ensure that American states better protect the rights of children and that children sexual abuse against minors does not go unpunished.

"They have our most firm and absolute commitment that we are in this cause," said Flávia Piovesan, vice president of the Commission during a public hearing broadcast on the IACHR networks.

The rapporteur for the rights of minors, Esmeralda Arosemena, added that the Commission would use the tools at its disposal "to request information on the issue of impunity in cases that are not being resolved."]

CIDH aborda pederastia clerical en América Latina

[Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Tackles Clerical Pedophilia in Latin America]

Associated Press

December 2, 2020

By Maria Verza

La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos abordará el jueves por primera vez en su historia la pederastia clerical en América Latina, un problema que afecta a 19 países de la región aunque asociaciones de víctimas aseguran que los casos conocidos son sólo la punta del iceberg.

El objetivo es que el sistema interamericano se pronuncie sobre “la responsabilidad de los Estados americanos en el encubrimiento o en la falta de justicia frente a las obligaciones asumidas en materia de derechos humanos de niños, niñas y adolescentes”, afirmó Adalberto Méndez, coordinador legal de la organización para el Fin de los Abusos Clericales (ECA, por sus siglas en inglés).

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will address on Thursday for the first time in its history clerical pedophilia in Latin America, a problem that affects 19 countries in the region, although victims' associations assure that the known cases are only the tip of the iceberg.

The objective is for the inter-American system to rule on “the responsibility of the American states in the cover-up or lack of justice in the face of the obligations assumed in the area of ​​human rights of children and adolescents,” said Adalberto Méndez, legal coordinator from the organization for the End of Clerical Abuses (ECA, for its acronym in English).]

Warnings from teachers, nuns, even a cop, didn't get Buffalo Diocese to remove priests

Buffalo News

December 6, 2020

By Jay Tokasz


Top officials in the Buffalo Diocese failed to heed alarms about clergy misbehaving with minors, even when the warnings came from nuns, Catholic school teachers and other priests.

Diocese officials waited years, and sometimes decades, to separate accused priests from children and discipline them, according to diocese files revealed in a lawsuit filed last week by Attorney General Letitia James.

Such delays happened even when a Buffalo police captain approached diocese officials with concerns about a priest.

Take the case of the Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak. Two nuns wrote Bishop Edward D. Head in 1990 about Fronczak’s disturbing propensity for tickling girls. Diocese officials acknowledged the seriousness of what the nuns brought to their attention. They noted in a 1991 memo the priest’s “gravely imprudent and highly immature” behavior and a “pattern of activity that seems to be somewhat compulsive in nature.”

'Sexual sadist' priest abused boy and locked him in church crypt

Birmingham Mail

December 6, 2020

By Paul Beard and Charlotte Paxton, Senior Video Journalist

Father Joseph Quigley - former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools - also beat the boy while he was a parish priest in Warwickshire.

Joseph Quigley, a former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools, sexually and physically abused a boy while he was a parish priest at a church near Warwick.

A 'sexual sadist' priest who worked as a private tutor sexually and physically abused a boy and locked him in a church crypt.

Father Joseph Quigly - who held various 'presitigious' roles including as national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools - sexually and physically abused a boy while he was a parish priest in Warwickshire.

The priest - described as a "sexual sadist" - rubbed the teenager’s inner thigh after making him wear gym kit, take showers with the door open, and inflicted ‘sado-masochistic’ punishments on him such as locking him in the church's crypt.

December 5, 2020

Colorado report names nine more priests accused of abusing minors decades ago

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

December 4, 2020

By Julie Asher

New findings in an investigation into clergy sex abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses show substantiated claims that an additional nine Catholic priests abused minors decades ago.

Released Dec. 1, the findings are in a supplemental report from the lead investigator, former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, who continued to look into cases as more survivors came forward after the release of his initial report in October 2019.

“Importantly, the additional substantiated allegations continue to fit the same historical pattern from the first report,” Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said in a statement. “Over 85% of the incidents occurred more than 40 years ago during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and none of the substantiated incidents occurred in the last 20 years.”

“There are also no substantiated allegations against any current priest in active ministry,” he emphasized.

One of the nine newly identified priests is the late Father Charles “C.B.” Woodrich. Known to most as “Father Woody,” the popular pastor of Holy Ghost Church in downtown Denver was a leader in outreach to the homeless in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

For 15 years, from 1972 to 1987, he also was associate publisher and editor of the Denver Catholic Register, which was the archdiocesan weekly newspaper.

Denver Archbishop Aquila Appears to Downplay New Catholic Church Abuse Cases

Colorado Times Recorder

December 4, 2020

By Madeleine Schmidt

Following the release of a report this week on the history of child sexual abuse at the hands of Colorado Catholic priests that identified dozens of new survivors and nine new perpetrators, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila seemed to once again downplay the severity of the abuse.

The supplemental report released Tuesday by the Colorado Attorney General’s office was a follow up to a report on clergy sexual abuse released last year. Tuesday’s report, which concludes a 22-month investigation into how Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses sheltered abusers over seven decades, identified an additional 46 abuse survivors and nine priests that came to light since the release of the first report.

Those cases include the late Rev. Charles B. Woodrich, known as Father Woody, who has long been touted by the church as an icon for altruism toward Denver’s homeless population, and Father Joe Walsh, who sexually abused children living at the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Pueblo.

In a letter published on the Denver Archdiocese’s website, Aquila seemed to diminish the severity of these new findings, underscoring the fact that in Colorado’s 212 documented abuse cases involving 52 priests, “over 85 percent of the incidents occurred more than 40 years ago,” and that “nearly half of the total incidents were committed by one man, Harold White.”

Priest accused of abuse claim from 1970s cleared, but evidence points to another offender

Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

December 4, 2020

By Maria Wiering

An investigation of an accusation of child sexual abuse against a deceased former pastor of St. John the Baptist in New Brighton has cleared his name, but revealed that the perpetrator may have been a man who later became a priest.

In a Dec. 2 statement to the parish, Archbishop Bernard Hebda said that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment investigated a claim made earlier this year against Msgr. Paul Koscielniak, who died in 1980. The victim-survivor, then a minor, is deceased. The investigation found evidence that the boy was likely abused on several occasions by an adult at the parish, but the evidence did not support the allegation against Msgr. Koscielniak, the parish’s pastor from 1950-1977.

Instead, the abuser may have been Joseph Wajda, who was a transitional deacon at St. John the Baptist during the time frame the abuse is believed to have occurred, Archbishop Hebda said.

“The abuse was said to have occurred in the early 1970s at St. John the Baptist, where the minor was a student at the school and served as an altar boy for the parish,” he said.

“Records indicate that at the time period in question, Joseph Wajda was assigned to the parish as a transitional deacon as he prepared for his 1973 ordination to the priesthood.”

Learning from the McCarrick report

Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

December 3, 2020

By Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Dec. 1 marked my 11th anniversary as a bishop. There are some days when my first day as the bishop of Gaylord seems like yesterday, and others when it seems like a lifetime ago. Never having been involved in diocesan administration and never having lived in Michigan, I knew I had a great deal to learn. I only said “yes” because of my confidence in Pope Benedict, and my belief that the Holy Spirit could work through him.

While the diocese of Gaylord has been described as a pine-scented Eden, it presented me with a steep learning curve. The Lord manifested his goodness, however, in giving me a very patient flock. I had initially worried about the weighty responsibility of passing on the teaching of the apostles, and leading the Church liturgically, but I soon learned that a bishop in the United States is challenged in multiple areas: leadership, governance and administration.

I had been out of the country and working in Rome when the Church in the United States was rocked by the abuse crisis of 2002, so the Dallas Charter had not really been an everyday, lived reality for me before I came home to serve as the bishop of Gaylord. I knew, however, that the diocesan protocols prompted by the Charter and the related Essential Norms would have to be meticulously followed in any case where the allegation was that a minor had been hurt. As a young, inexperienced bishop, I prayed fervently that I would never be presented with an allegation involving someone under 18. And God was good to me. Yet, I have learned over these last 11 years that the abuse crisis has been, and will continue to be, a lived reality throughout the United States and across the globe.

The recently released McCarrick report reminds us of a reality that has become increasingly apparent to me in the last 11 years: Abuse is insidious regardless of the age of the victim. My heart aches not only for those abused as children, but also for the seminarians and priests, all adults, who felt powerless to come forward to report the abuse they had sustained, or didn’t trust that a bishop or cardinal would be held accountable.

Ex-DeSales University priest’s child porn included torture of young children, feds say


December 3, 2020

By Sarah Cassi

A former DeSales University priest and advisor to the royal family of Monaco is accused of possessing thousands of images of child pornography, including some described as the torture of very young children, according to federal authorities.

William McCandless, 56, of Wilmington, Delaware, was charged by indictment Thursday with three counts of child pornography offenses, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced.

McCandless, who was previously assigned to DeSales University, appeared Thursday in federal court before Magistrate Court Judge Henry Perkin and was arraigned in the case.

McCandless was placed on house incarceration with electronic monitoring, and ordered to surrender his passport because he has frequently traveled overseas and has numerous contacts abroad, prosecutors said.

“McCandless’ alleged conduct here is extremely disturbing. It occurred not just overseas but continued while he crossed international borders, purporting to do the work of the Church,” McSwain said in a news release. “The innocent children in these images will have to deal with the impact of this alleged abuse for the rest of their lives. We can never make them fully whole again, but we can bring them some measure of justice by investigating and prosecuting the people who drive the demand for this abuse, no matter their affiliations.”

Buffalo Diocese has new bishop, but controversial attorneys, aides remain


December 4, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Connors, LiPuma criticized in AG report

Terrence M. Connors has had so much influence at the Diocese of Buffalo chancery for the past 25 years that some employees privately called him “Bishop Terry.”

But the smooth-talking criminal defense attorney was the subject of criticism in a blistering report by State Attorney General Letitia James that accused the diocese of a “systemic” cover-up of sex abuse allegations. Diocese lawyers were cited 46 times in the highly critical lawsuit filed by New York's top prosecutor.

And Connors isn’t the only adviser of disgraced Bishop Richard J. Malone who has managed -- despite Malone’s resignation a year ago today -- to retain his influence inside the Catholic Center as newly appointed Bishop Michael Fisher takes the helm.

'Sexual sadist' priest locked boy in crypt and sexually touched him during six-year campaign of abuse

Coventry Telegraph

December 5, 2020

By Paul Beard and Ben Eccleston

The disgraced former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools sexually and physically abused a boy while he was a parish priest in Warwickshire.

Father Joseph Quigley - described as a "sexual sadist" - rubbed the teenager’s inner thigh after making him wear gym kit, take showers with the door open, and inflicted ‘sado-masochistic’ punishments on him such as locking him in the church's crypt.

He also beat the boy with a hurling stick during his time at St Charles Borromeo RC church in Hampton-on-the-Hill near Warwick.

The offences took place while he was the parish priest at the church from 2002 until he was forced to resign in disgrace, a jury at Warwick Crown Court heard.

Quigley, 56, now of Aston Hall, Church Lane, Stone in Staffordshire, denied four charges of sexual activity with a child, two of sexual assault, two of false imprisonment and one of cruelty.

Prominent Rockaway priest sued for sexually abusing homeless teen

Queens Daily Eagle

December 4, 2020

By David Brand

A prominent Queens priest known for his work with drug users and victims of elder abuse has been accused of sexually abusing a homeless teen for two years while working at churches in Belle Harbor and Broad Channel in the early 1970s.

Retired priest Coleman Costello was sued Tuesday in Queens Supreme Court under the state’s Child Victims Act. The lawsuit charges the Brooklyn Diocese, which oversees Queens Catholic institutions, of protecting Costello despite knowing about the abuse.

Plaintiff C. Evan Manderson, 63, says Costello began sexually abusing him when he was a homeless high school freshman in 1971. At the time, Costello was working at St. Francis de Sales church in Belle Harbor. He was running youth programs at a Rockaway Beach rec center when he first encountered Manderson and began showing him affection, a process known as grooming, according to the complaint.

“As a homeless youth, Plaintiff was uniquely vulnerable and incapable of protecting himself,” the lawsuit states.

Prominent New York Priest Is Investigated Over Sexual Assault Accusation

New York Times

December 4, 2020

By Liam Stack

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said it was investigating the Rev. George William Rutler after a security guard said he attacked her at his church.

A nationally prominent Catholic priest is under criminal investigation after a security guard assigned to his church accused him of sexually assaulting her on Election Day, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said on Friday.

The priest, the Rev. George William Rutler, 75, is accused of watching pornography and masturbating in front of the guard, Ashley Gonzalez, 22, without her consent in his office at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. He then attacked her physically and sexually when she tried to flee from the room, Ms. Gonzalez told the police.

In a letter to his parish after the accusations surfaced, Father Rutler denied Ms. Gonzalez’s claim that he “improperly touched her.” But he did not respond to her allegation that he had watched pornography and masturbated in front of her.

Part of the alleged encounter was recorded by Ms. Gonzalez on her cellphone. She provided the video clip, which shows a man who fits Father Rutler’s physical description, to law enforcement officials and to The New York Times.

Father Rutler, one of the most influential parish priests in the United States, is a well-known figure in the world of Catholic conservatism, and has been outspoken in his criticism of liberalism and the pontificate of Pope Francis.

December 4, 2020

The Children of Pornhub

New York Times

December 4, 2020

By Nicholas Kristof

Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault?

Pornhub prides itself on being the cheery, winking face of naughty, the website that buys a billboard in Times Square and provides snow plows to clear Boston streets. It donates to organizations fighting for racial equality and offers steamy content free to get people through Covid-19 shutdowns.

That supposedly “wholesome Pornhub” attracts 3.5 billion visits a month, more than Netflix, Yahoo or Amazon. Pornhub rakes in money from almost three billion ad impressions a day. One ranking lists Pornhub as the 10th-most-visited website in the world.

Yet there’s another side of the company: Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for “girls under18” (no space) or “14yo” leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are.

After a 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida, her mother found her on Pornhub — in 58 sex videos. Sexual assaults on a 14-year-old California girl were posted on Pornhub and were reported to the authorities not by the company but by a classmate who saw the videos. In each case, offenders were arrested for the assaults, but Pornhub escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them.

Pornhub is like YouTube in that it allows members of the public to post their own videos. A great majority of the 6.8 million new videos posted on the site each year probably involve consenting adults, but many depict child abuse and nonconsensual violence. Because it’s impossible to be sure whether a youth in a video is 14 or 18, neither Pornhub nor anyone else has a clear idea of how much content is illegal.

Unlike YouTube, Pornhub allows these videos to be downloaded directly from its website. So even if a rape video is removed at the request of the authorities, it may already be too late: The video lives on as it is shared with others or uploaded again and again.

Diocese pays $19 million to abuse survivors through fund

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 3, 2020

By Peter Smith

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is paying more than $19 million to 224 survivors of sexual abuse by its priests through an out-of-court compensation fund launched in the wake of grand jury revelations in 2018.

The independent mediator, the Washington, D.C.-based Kenneth Feinberg Group, awarded $19,237,000 through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, That averages to $85,879 for each claim that was accepted, according to figures from the diocese’s Thursday announcement.

Bishop David Zubik acknowledged that “nothing can really respond to the kind of trauma that they have experienced” but that the program was to “try to show our support and to try to help in the healing of victims of clergy sexual abuse.”

“The most important reality in all of this are the people that have been hurt,” he said in a video news conference.

The payments ranged from “a few thousand dollars, up to $400,000,” said Christopher Ponticello, general counsel for the diocese. Those who accept payments waive their right to sue.

Fifty-two people who received offers rejected them, and another 70 claims were denied.

Latest figure in New Orleans clergy abuse scandal worked with Girl Scouts, was Pines Village pastor


December 3, 2020

By David Hammer


“Here we are, two years later, and we’re still counting new names. And why?”

For much of the 1970s, the Rev. Joseph M. deWater was known as the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ spiritual director of Girl Scouts for Catholic families, their parents and their leaders.

His name ended up on the side of a gymnasium at the New Orleans East where he spent 15 years as pastor beginning in the mid-1980s, before he retired, moved to a small village in the Netherlands and faded into relative obscurity.

But now deWater’s name has resurfaced locally. The archdiocese on Wednesday revealed that he is facing possible punishment from the church following an accusation that he had molested a minor. Archdiocesan officials said they had shared the allegations with law enforcement.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he has also suspended deWater, 85, from performing any clerical duties pending the conclusion of the penal process, whose potential duration wasn’t immediately clear.

Attempts to contact deWater for comment haven’t been successful.

The archdiocese’s announcement on deWater didn’t contain any information about the nature of the alleged molestation or provide details on where the clergyman had worked in New Orleans before his retirement. The archdiocese typically withholds such details until investigations into abuse claims deem them credible.

However, newspaper archives and church records suggest deWater at one time maintained a relatively high-profile presence in promoting participation with the local Girl Scouts scene. He was also either pastor or assistant pastor of at least four parishes in the metro area, including a lengthy stint at the since-closed Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in the Pines Village section of New Orleans East.

Catholic priest named as a child abuser in new report was a counselor at church camp in 1958 when 10-year-old deaf boy disappeared before skeletal remains were found a year later

Daily Mail

December 3, 2020

By Rachel Sharp


A Catholic priest who was named as a child sex abuser in a new report was a counselor at a church camp in 1958 when a 10-year-old deaf boy disappeared before his skeletal remains were discovered a year later.

Jerry Repola worked at the Catholic Camp St. Malo in Colorado in August 1958, when Bobby Bizup vanished in mysterious circumstances after a day of fishing in the mountains.

Bones belonging to the little boy were found in July 1959 in a spot that had been extensively searched by a 500-strong crew, the Colorado Civil Air Patrol and an Indian tracker the year before.

It has now been revealed that Repola, who died in March 1971 from a long illness, sexually abused a teenage boy when he was a parish priest in Grand Junction in 1967 and authorities believe the boy could be one of several victims.

Chicago archdiocese to pay $1.5 million in sexual abuse suit

Associated Press

December 3, 2020

By Don Babwin

The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who says he was sexually abused as a child by a defrocked priest who was convicted of sexually abusing several boys, the man’s attorney said Thursday.

The settlement agreement announced in a news release by attorney Lyndsay Markley is the latest dark chapter in the story of Daniel McCormack, one of the most notorious pedophiles in the history of the archdiocese.

It is just the latest archdiocese settlement with men who alleged they were abused as children by McCormack, pushing the total payments in such suits past $11 million. After the Chicago Tribune reported that the church agreed to pay more than $7.5 million in 2017 alone, it agreed to pay another $2.9 million the next year.

The archdiocese declined to discuss the latest settlement.

The allegations against McCormack date back decades and involve more than two dozen boys, according to news reports. In 2007, he was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing five boys. In 2009, just before he was eligible for parole, he was designated by the state as a sexually violent person so that he could be held after his release date at a secure state facility. Then, in 2018, a judge at the urging of prosecutors found McCormack to be sexually violent and ordered that he stay in custody indefinitely in a state facility for sex offenders. It wasn’t immediately clear Thursday if he remains in custody.

Ex-Cardinal McCarrick, FCRH ’54, Investigated in Vatican Report

Fordham Observer

December 3, 2020

By Jill Rice

[Includes useful timeline by Maddie Sandholm.]

Minors, seminarians and priests accuse longtime archbishop of sexual abuse and abuse of authority

The Vatican released a 450-page report on Nov. 10 about Theodore McCarrick, ex-cardinal of the Catholic Church and Fordham College at Rose Hill ’54, regarding his abuse of power and authority, as well as his abuse of minors, seminarians and priests.

The new report is the result of Pope Francis’ call for a full investigation into McCarrick’s actions in October 2018. Relying primarily on official Vatican documents and correspondences, as well as witness interviews, the report covers McCarrick’s tenure as a priest, bishop, archbishop and cardinal over the past 50 years.

In 2019, McCarrick was defrocked, meaning that he is unable to perform the pastoral and ministerial duties of a priest or to marry, as a layperson — someone not ordained as a priest — would.

Fordham rescinded McCarrick’s honorary degree and has changed the name of its fellowship for a graduate program in International Political Economy and Development to the John Fidelis Hurley, S.J., Fellowship.

Rise to Power and First Allegations

According to the Vatican’s report, McCarrick was appointed as an auxiliary bishop in New York in 1977 under Pope Paul VI. He was then elevated to the seat of bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1981, and archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, in 1986 under St. John Paul II.

McCarrick was “lauded as a pastoral, intelligent and zealous bishop” and no credible information was present to suggest any misconduct, the report stated. He became the archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000 and created cardinal in 2001.

When he was elevated to cardinal, according to the introduction of the report, there were four general allegations against McCarrick.

Anyone who testified against McCarrick remained anonymous, and the report labeled the priests as Priest 1, Priest 2, and so on, for clarity.

Abused as a boy, man calls for independent investigation

Star News

December 4, 2020

A man who suffered horrific sexual abuse at two Dunedin schools says an independent body should be established to investigate church abuse cases.
The man, named only as Marc, presented his evidence to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care via video conference from Australia yesterday.

He outlined how, between the ages of 10 and 14, he was raped, sexually assaulted, and physically abused by two Christian Brothers, a priest, and a lay teacher, at St Edmund’s Intermediate School and St Paul’s High School.

The abuse took place in the 1970s and early 1980s.

He named four perpetrators — Br Desmond Fay, Br Vincent Sullivan, Ian Thompson and a local parish priest.

Investigator says Pueblo Diocese has system in place that could improve handling of child sex abuse cases

Pueblo Chieftain

December 3, 2020

By Robert Boczkiewicz


Denver - An investigator of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests says the Pueblo Diocese has set up systems that would significantly improve its handling of reports of misconduct.

Investigator Bob Troyer, a former federal prosecutor, also says the systems — which are new — are yet untested.

Troyer worked this year and last for the Colorado Attorney General's Office to delve into hundreds of cases of sexual assaults by priests in the state's three dioceses: Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver.

In Tuesday's report, Troyer said at least 59 children were sexually abused by 23 priests from 1950 to 1999 in the Pueblo Diocese which stretches across Southern Colorado.

Catholic Church shielded priest who sexually abused NY man as a kid: suit

New York Post

December 3, 2020

By Priscilla DeGregory

A New York man says the Catholic Church shielded a priest who sexually abused him for years beginning when he was 13 and homeless in Queens in the 1970s, new court papers show.

Evan Manderson, 63, says the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn failed to report the Rev. Coleman Costello to law enforcement — and even allowed him to retire with a clean slate despite the church’s knowledge of his alleged sexual abuse of children, a new Queens Supreme Court lawsuit alleges.

Manderson says he was only 13 and was living on the streets when he met Costello through an outreach program for children in Rockaway Beach, the court documents say.

Costello allegedly groomed Manderson and sexually abused him for two years, starting in 1971, until he was 15, the court papers say.

A younger priest asked Manderson about Costello and his “questions reflect a prior knowledge and awareness that Fr. Costello had previously engaged in sexual abuse of children before Fr. Costello abused plaintiff,” the court documents allege.

“The Diocese, whose agents not only knew of but also facilitated Costello’s abuse
of children, never reported Fr. Costello to law enforcement but, instead, concealed the crimes against children,” the suit charges.

December 3, 2020

First came sex abuse allegations at the abbey. Then secret payments. Then a suicide.

Press Gazette

December 3, 2020

By Haley BeMiller

Nate Lindstrom spent his life battling the memories of his past — and the priests at the center of it.

The cards arrived every month.

They often had a tranquil photo on the front, a snow-covered scene or a depiction of Jesus in a stained-glass window. The letter’s author wrote in messy cursive as he discussed the Green Bay Packers, family events or his “frozen” Toyota Camry that required a new battery.

The writer, a top clergyman in the Green Bay area, often ended his messages with “God Bless.”

Inside each card, Nate Lindstrom would find a check for $3,500 from the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere.

The money provided Lindstrom with another month of financial stability. But it also took him back to his days as a teenager in Green Bay, when Lindstrom said he endured sexual abuse at the hands of three Norbertine priests.

According to interviews and documents, the Norbertines quietly sent Lindstrom monthly checks totaling more than $400,000 over 10 years after his parents complained to the Catholic order's leaders about the harm their son suffered from being sexually abused by at least one priest in the late 1980s.

Lindstrom spent years in therapy and taking medication, and he eventually settled in suburban Minneapolis with his wife and three children. But in 2018, his life changed when the order's abbot told him the monthly payments would end.

After that, Lindstrom pushed back and reported additional allegations, but those efforts came up empty. The last check arrived in May 2019. He became increasingly depressed and defeated.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia spins off Downingtown psychiatric center where pedophile priests were sent

Philadelphia Inquirer

December 3, 2020

By Harold Brubaker

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has spun off St. John Vianney Center, a behavioral health facility in Downingtown, where for decades priests accused of sexually abusing or raping children were sent for evaluation.

In exchange for its independence as a 50-bed nonprofit psychiatric hospital, the Vianney Center agreed to pay the archdiocese $12 million, according to archdiocesan financial statements published last week.

An archdiocese spokesperson said Vianney Center officials wanted the mental health hospital that has exclusively treated clergy and religious to be financially and administratively independent “while continuing its mission as a Catholic institution,” and it had the means to do so.

“In turn, the Archdiocese was in an environment where there was an immediate need for cash as a result of its plans to fund the IRRP,” the spokesperson said referring to the church’s Independent Reconciliation and Reparation Program, which was started two years ago to financially compensate victims of sexual abuse by priests.

A 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on sexual abuse by Pennsylvania priests outside of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sharply criticized the Vianney Center and similar treatment centers in Maryland and New Mexico for doing a shoddy job protecting children from predatory priests.

“When a priest denied allegations of sexual abuse, he usually avoided any diagnosis related to the sexual abuse of children,” the report said. “Moreover, these institutions focused on a clinical diagnosis over actual behavior as reported by the victims. Put plainly, these institutions laundered accused priests, provided plausible deniability to the bishops, and permitted hundreds of known offenders to return to ministry.”

Deceased priest added to abuse list, 2 more being investigated, according to Archdiocese of New Orleans


December 2, 2020


The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Wednesday that it concluded an investigation into allegations of abuse of minors against a deceased priest, who has since been added to the clergy abuse list. The organization also announced investigations into two retired priests.

According to a statement issued by the Archdiocese, the late Fr. Robert K. Cooper has been added to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Report Regarding Clergy Abuse found online at nolacatholic.org.

The Archdiocese said the deceased Fr. Cooper should not be confused with the Fr. Cooper, who is an active pastor in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The complete assignment history for the deceased Robert Cooper is below ...


Two retired priests placed on leave

The Archdiocese also announced it placed two retired priests on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations lodged against them.

Those priests are Fr. Joseph M. deWater and Fr. J. Luis Fernandez.

Allegations against these priests, including the time frame and location of the allegations, were not included in the Archdiocese statement.

According to the Archdiocese, neither of the retired priests is living in the New Orleans area and neither has a formal pastoral assignment.

Priest listed in sex abuse report was working at church camp in 1958 when deaf boy, 10, disappeared

KUSA 9 News

December 2, 2020

By Kevin Vaughan


That means three counselors there that summer have now been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with children.

One of the Catholic priests newly named as a child sex abuser was a counselor at a church camp in August 1958 when a 10-year-old deaf boy disappeared under mysterious circumstances, 9Wants to Know has learned.

That makes him one of three seminarians who were counselors at Camp St. Malo that summer who have since had accusations of child sexual abuse sustained after a 22-month examination of church records by investigators working for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Jerry Repola, who died in 1971 after a prolonged illness, sexually abused a teen-ager while he was assigned to a parish in Grand Junction, according to a supplemental report released this week by state Attorney General Phil Weiser.

It followed up on a report released in October 2019. Together, the two reports detail sexual abuse of at least 212 children in Colorado by 52 priests between 1950 and 1999.

The disappearance of Bobby Bizup – and the discovery of his remains nearly a year later high on Mount Meeker west of the camp – were the subject of a long-running 9Wants to Know investigation. It found that two counselors there when Bobby vanished, Harold Robert White and Neil Hewitt, were serial child sex abusers.

Priest with southwest Iowa ties faces restrictions

The Daily Nonpareil

December 3, 2020

By Tim Johnson

An Iowa priest who served in southwest Iowa early in his career has been restricted by Des Moines Bishop William Joensen after an investigation found evidence of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, who has been on administrative leave since March, will return to ministry with restrictions and supervision, with the approval of the school and Davenport Bishop Thomas Zinkula. He is a faculty member at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and a sacramental minister at St. Andrew Parish in Bluegrass.

The investigation followed an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor during the early 1990s, according to a press release from the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines. Since the investigation began in March, Joensen and the diocesan Allegation Review Committee gathered and reviewed evidence, including the initial complaint, examined an investigative report produced by a third party and consulted with experts in church law. The state attorney general’s office and law enforcement in Polk, Pottawattamie and Scott Counties are aware of the allegation of behavior occurring in the early 1990s.

“The investigation clearly established that the allegation did not meet the criteria of sexual abuse of a minor as defined by church law at the time of the incident, because the complainant was above majority age,” the press release stated. “However, it was also established that Father Grant engaged in behavior in select instances in the early 1990s that violated the Sixth Commandment and his priestly promises.”

December 2, 2020

Roman Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children in Colorado from 1950 to 2020: Special Master’s Supplemental Report

Office of the Attorney General

December 1, 2020

This Supplemental Report concludes 22 months of work investigating and reporting on a 70-year history of (1) Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse in Colorado and (2) the Colorado dioceses’ programs and systems for preventing it. Our investigation has produced a reckoning and accounting of the past and a presentation of lessons from which the Colorado dioceses can continue to improve its child-protection practices into the future.

Our Special Master’s Report on Roman Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children in Colorado from 1950 to 2019 (“First Report”) was issued on October 22, 2019. It can be found at https://coag.gov/app/uploads/2019/10/Special-Masters-Report_10.22.19_FINAL.pdf. That same month, Colorado’s 3 Roman Catholic dioceses launched the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (“IRRP”). Over the ensuing 4 months, the IRRP solicited and reviewed claims from alleged child sex abuse victims of Roman Catholic clergy in Colorado, and it awarded financial compensation (paid by the relevant Colorado diocese) to those victims whose claims it deemed credible. During that period additional victims also made clergy child sex abuse reports directly to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

In July 2020, we were then engaged under a new agreement with the dioceses and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to determine (1) whether those newly reported child sex abuse incidents are substantiated and (2) what Colorado’s 3 dioceses have and have not done to implement the 5-6 improvements to their child-protection systems that we recommended after we evaluated those systems in 2019.

The results of our review of all the newly reported allegations are as follows. All of these incidents occurred between 1951 and 1999:

- We substantiated 46 additional incidents of sexual abuse of children (37 boys and 9 girls) by 25 diocesan priests in Colorado. The majority of the children were between the ages of 10 and 14 when they were abused.

- 16 of those 25 priests were already identified in the First Report. 9 of those priests are newly identified in this Supplemental Report.

- 5 of the newly identified priests served in the Denver Archdiocese. They are Father Kenneth Funk, Father Daniel Kelleher, Father James Moreno, Father Gregory Smith, and Father Charles Woodrich.

- 4 of the newly identified priests served in the Pueblo Diocese. They are Monsignor Marvin Kapushion, Father Duane Repola, Father Carlos Trujillo, and Father Joseph Walsh.

- 23 of those children were sexually abused by 13 diocesan priests serving in the Denver Archdiocese.

- 23 of those children were sexually abused by 12 diocesan priests serving in the Pueblo Diocese ...

Final Report

Independent Oversight Committee of the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program

December 1, 2020

Because of incidents of historic sexual abuse of minors by priests in the Catholic Church, for many decades the three dioceses in Colorado—the Archdiocese of Denver, the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and the Diocese of Pueblo (the "Colorado Dioceses")—have had individual programs to help victim-survivors of that abuse. Since 2003, under the national Charter that governs all dioceses in the United States, the Colorado Dioceses have provided care and services to survivors of abuse by diocesan priests under a unified, national approach. Starting in 2008, the Archdiocese of Denver engaged a group of Colorado community leaders (a Colorado judge, the Lakewood Chief of Police, and a vocational rehabilitation specialist) to assist in settling claims of historic abuse. That group of independent professionals asked all survivors to come forward, evaluated their claims, and determined settlement amounts that the Archdiocese would pay to survivors who came forward.

The 2019 Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program ("IRRP") is another step in the continuing effort by the Catholic Church in Colorado to responsibly address this historic sexual abuse issue. In January of 2019, the Colorado Dioceses—led by Archbishop Aquila and supported by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser—openly shared their records to allow a full study of the issue of sexual abuse of minors. This work included the Attorney General and the Church hiring an independent investigator to evaluate the current policies and practices in place for protecting minors from abuse.

Victim of abuse by Denver’s Father Woody speaks out: “They’re no longer going to have this shining light”

Denver Post

December 1, 2020

By Elise Schmelzer

Revelations about Father Charles Woodrich force reckoning among institutions named after priest

For four decades, Denverites invoked Father Woody’s name as they cared for tens of thousands of people without homes or food.

The local legend, formally known as Father Charles Woodrich, died in 1991, but his legacy remained in annual giveaways to the poor, in one of Denver’s largest homeless shelters, in programs administered by Denver’s Catholic university and in a day shelter for those who are hungry.

That legacy of Denver’s so-called “patron of the poor” was obliterated Tuesday when Woodrich was named as a child sex abuser in a report spearheaded by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Woodrich, according to the report, molested three boys between the ages of 12 and 16 in the 1970s and 1980s while he served as the pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in downtown Denver. The priest plied two of the boys with alcohol and asked another to pose in his underwear and took pictures of him, according to the report.

The revelation has forced a reckoning among the institutions that invoke his name in their work.

“He wasn’t the saint that everybody wants to make him out to be,” one of Woodrich’s victims told The Denver Post on Tuesday.

The man, contacted through his attorney and listed as Woodrich’s “Victim #1″ in the report, spoke on the condition he not be publicly identified, citing the stigma attached to the assault. The Denver Post does not name survivors of sexual assault without permission.

12 Pueblo priests named in Colorado attorney general's latest child sexual abuse report

Pueblo Chieftain

December 1, 2020

By Robert Boczkiewicz

Denver - Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released a report Tuesday listing new "substantiated" incidents of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Pueblo Diocese.

All of the newly substantiated incidents occurred between 1951 and 1999, he said. Some of the priests were identified in the attorney general's first report last year; four are newly identified.

The newly substantiated claims included in Tuesday's supplemental report concluded 22 months of former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer’s work investigating and reporting on a 70-year history of Catholic clergy child sexual abuse in Colorado and the Colorado dioceses’ programs and systems for preventing it. Troyer worked for Weiser on the child abuse investigation.

The priests identified in Tuesday's report include Monsignor Marvin Kapushion, Gary Kennedy, Daniel Maio, John Martin, Duane Repola, Carlos Trujillo, Joseph Walsh, Lawrence Sievers, John Beno, Delbert Blong, Andrew Burke, and William Gleeson.

They served parishes, an orphanage and other Catholic facilities in Pueblo, Rye, La Junta, Walsenburg, Capulin, Grand Junction and Montrose.

52 Catholic priests in Colorado, including iconic Father Woody, abused 212 victims, further investigation finds

Colorado Sun

December 1, 2020

By Jesse Paul and Jennifer Brown

A supplemental report on abuse in Colorado's three Catholic dioceses includes allegations against Charles Woodrich, who founded a homeless shelter and was called Denver’s “patron saint of the poor”

Investigators digging into child sex abuse in Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses have identified an additional 46 victims dating back to 1950 and nine more abusive priests, including an iconic Denver advocate for the homeless and poor.

The new revelations were released Tuesday by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office in a 93-page supplemental report that marks the end of a 22-month investigation into the church covering the past seven decades.

The latest report includes allegations that a chaplain sexually abused children living in a Pueblo orphanage in the 1950s, and that a Denver priest whipped a child and fondled him during an estimated 1,000 instances of abuse over five years in the 1970s.

It also names Charles Woodrich, better known as Father Woody, a revered priest who founded a homeless shelter and was called Denver’s “patron saint of the poor.” Father Woody established Haven of Hope, where people who are homeless can go for hot meals and showers, and founded the Samaritan House, a homeless shelter in downtown Denver. He died in 1991.

Report says Montreal Archdiocese covered for abusive priest for decade

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

December 1, 2020

By Francois Gloutnay

Montreal - For more than three decades, leaders of the Archdiocese of Montreal failed to properly treat the complaints and the red flags periodically raised about Father Brian Boucher, said a report prepared by retired Quebec Superior Court Judge Pepita G. Capriolo.

Instead, church authorities seemed intent on covering the priest’s behavior to protect his and the church’s reputation, she wrote.

In 2019, Boucher was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual assault of two boys; he was laicized in 2020. But in her 283-page document on Boucher, Capriolo said numerous incidents were reported and called into question during his career. For nearly 40 years, these warnings were all ignored or deemed irrelevant, especially because they concerned adults and not minors.

Capriolo reported not only on sexual abuse, but also physical assault, threats, loss or destruction of secret documents, and even a burglary in the secret archives of the archdiocese. The former judge called the case a “debacle” for the Archdiocese of Montreal.

McCarrick Report Leaves us with More Questions Than Answers

Legal Examiner - Blog of Saunders and Walker Law Firm

December 1, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

I haven’t commented on the much anticipated publication of the McCarrick Report because it fails to offer conclusions. As an advocate for sexual abuse survivors for two decades, I looked forward to reading the Report and gaining insight into the McCarrick saga. However, I came away from the Report disappointed and underwhelmed.

It’s a lengthy piece (449 pages) that offers timelines and the names of key players involved in McCarrick’s rise and eventual downfall, but it offers no conclusions. The first responses to the Report noted that it was highly critical of the previous two popes (John Paul II and Benedict) while leaving Francis virtually unscathed. The later critiques of the McCarrick Report are more balanced and nuanced. They deal with the impact of the Report and its relation to the ongoing problem of sexual abuse of minors in the church.

One analysis in particular is helpful. It comes from a Catholic priest who has had experience dealing with sex abuse as a priest and in his former work as an investigator. Father John Lavers, a Canadian priest of the Diocese of Portsmouth in England, currently serves as the director of chaplaincy with Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) in the United Kingdom. He led a 2012 investigation into allegations of homosexual behavior and activity at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut that led to the removal of 13 seminarians, primarily from the Archdiocese of Hartford and Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey. Prior to becoming a priest, Father Lavers served in Canadian law enforcement and national security work.

Mother raped by Catholic priest says church leaders failed to properly investigate abuse

New Zealand Herald

December 1, 2020

By Isaac Davison

A mother who was raped by a Catholic priest says the church investigated the abuse initially moved him to a different school rather than punishing him.

She later complained to police, who twice decided against pressing charges before finally securing a conviction after a review.

Ann-Marie Shelley, now aged 64, appeared before a royal commission of inquiry in Auckland this morning, which is holding hearings on abuse in faith-based institutions.

She was left at Hutt Hospital after her birth in 1955 and placed for adoption through Catholic Social Services.

In a harrowing statement, Shelley described how she was neglected or abused at nearly every stage of her life - at the hands of her adoptive parents, at primary school, at a social welfare home, in an unmarried parents' home, by a priest, and in a Red Cross shelter.

While she was training to be a nurse at Hutt Hospital, she was raped by Peter Hercock, a school counsellor and chaplain at Sacred Heart College in Lower Hutt.

Hercock's crimes have previously been reported, but Shelley today spoke for the first time in detail about the way the church handled her complaint. She was critical of church leaders who have since been promoted to prestigious roles in New Zealand.

December 1, 2020

Further investigation into Colorado Catholic Church IDs 46 more victims, 9 more abusive priests — including Denver’s Father Woody

Denver Post

December 1, 2020

By Elise Schmelzer

New report brings total number of known abusive priests in Colorado to 52, number of child victims to 212

For two years, Father James Moreno sexually assaulted a teenage boy dozens of times after they met at a Denver Catholic school — including in the rectory of the city’s most prominent church.

Moreno assaulted the boy more than 60 times between 1978 and 1980. He groomed him, gave him alcohol and marijuana, and raped him, according to a report released Tuesday by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

The abuse happened all over Denver: in the rooms of St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School, in Moreno’s car, in the boy’s home, in the rectory of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the heart of Denver, one block from the state Capitol.

The teen, now grown, reported the abuse to authorities last year after the publication of a state-led investigation into child sex abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests in Colorado. Additional investigation into Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses found nine more priests who sexually abused children, including Moreno and a Denver priest and advocate for the poor known as Father Woody, along with 46 more victims of abusive priests — ending a nearly two-year investigation into the dioceses by state authorities.

The new incidences of abuse included in a supplemental report released Tuesday bring the total number of known abusive priests in Colorado to 52 and the total number of children they abused to 212, according to the independent investigator hired by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the diocese. The investigator, former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, released his initial findings in October 2019 but continued to investigate as more survivors came forward after the publication of his first report.

Cardinal Pell on the Vatican and vindication

Associated Press

November 30, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The pope’s former treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, said Monday he feels a dismayed sense of vindication as the financial mismanagement he tried to uncover in the Holy See is now being exposed in a spiraling Vatican corruption investigation.

Pell made the comments to The Associated Press in his first interview since returning to Rome after his conviction-turned-acquittal on sexual abuse charges in his native Australia. Pell told the AP that he knew in 2014 when he took the treasury job that the Holy See’s finances were “a bit of a mess.”

“I never, never thought it would be as Technicolor as it proved,” Pell said from his living room armchair in his apartment just outside St. Peter’s Square. “I didn’t know that there was so much criminality involved.”

Pell spoke to the AP before the Dec. 15 release of the first volume of his jailhouse memoir, “Prison Journal,” chronicling the first five months of the 404 days he spent in solitary confinement in a Melbourne lockup.

Pell left his job as prefect of the Vatican’s economy ministry in 2017 to face charges that he sexually molested two 13-year-old choir boys in the sacristy of the Melbourne cathedral in 1996. After a first jury deadlocked, a second unanimously convicted him and he was sentenced to six years in prison. The conviction was upheld on appeal only to be thrown out by Australia’s High Court, which in April found there was reasonable doubt in the testimony of his lone accuser.

Cardinal's prison diary explores suffering, solitary lockup

Washington Times

November 30, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Rome - Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, reflects on the nature of suffering, Pope Francis’ papacy and the humiliations of solitary confinement in his jailhouse memoir, according to an advance copy obtained by The Associated Press.

“Prison Journal,” which recounts the first five months of Pell’s 404 days in solitary lockup, also provides a play-by-play of Pell’s legal case and gives personal insights into one of the most divisive figures in the Catholic hierarchy today. To his supporters and even some detractors, Pell is a victim of a terrific perversion of justice; to his critics, he is the symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the Catholic Church’s wretched response to clergy sexual abuse.

Due out Dec. 15, the book likely won’t budge anyone from either camp, but it is a fascinating read nonetheless. It is at times a spiritual meditation, a defiant assertion of innocence and a morbidly voyeuristic view into the daily grind of prison life - all of it narrated by a man who for a time was one of the most powerful Catholic cardinals in the world.

Over a year, more than 230 sex abuse suits have been filed in NJ against the Catholic Church

Bergen Record via NorthJersey.com

December 1, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

[Includes a video introduction by Abbott Koloff and a spreadsheet of the accused with information on diocese, parish or school and town, and years of alleged abuse. See also a printable PDF of the spreadsheet.]

The lawsuits filed over the past 12 months in New Jersey alleging sex abuse by Catholic priests have been numerous — there are more than 230 of them — and varied.

One man said that when he was a teenage student and told the vice principal of a Catholic high school in Bergen County that he’d been abused by a religious brother, the administrator struck the student over the head with a 500-page book, warned him never to speak of it again and imposed a five-day suspension.

A woman said she and other members of her Girl Scout troop were repeatedly abused in the basement of a Hackensack church years ago by a priest who was subsequently moved from parish to parish, eventually arrested in Pennsylvania and charged with sexually abusing a young girl in the Harrisburg area. Four of the Pennsylvania girl’s sisters later said they also were abused.

A girl in southern New Jersey confided years ago to her brother that she had been raped by a priest, who had told her God directed him to have sex with her. The brother responded that he, too, had been abused — by the same priest.

The Record and NorthJersey.com has examined more than 230 sex abuse lawsuits filed in New Jersey against the state’s five Roman Catholic dioceses since Dec. 1, 2019, when the state suspended the civil statute of limitations for such cases. The filings name more than 150 clerics, including dozens not on the church’sown list of 188 credibly accused priests released last year, and trace allegations from the 1940s through the present.

The lawsuits represent more than 240 people who allege they were abused. The bulk of the allegations are from the 1970s and 1980s. About two dozen involve abuse of children who were 5 or 6 years old. While most of the accusers are men, at least 20 women are among the plaintiffs. Almost half of the priests named in the suits are deceased.

Hundreds of additional allegations have been filed with the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program, which was established by the state’s five Catholic dioceses last year to compensate victims who agree not to pursue lawsuits.