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January 31, 2021

New Orleans priest denies lawsuit's allegations that he raped boy in 2008


January 29, 2021

The Rev. John Asare-Dankwah issued a statement Thursday denying allegations of rape and assault made against him in a lawsuit filed the previous day, saying he was “saddened and appalled” by them.

The well-known pastor at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church was in Ghana visiting his family when he was notified Wednesday night of the allegations in the lawsuit, according to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The organization said Wednesday it removed Asare-Dankwah from service pending their investigation and would notify law enforcement.

The suit claims the alleged rape and assault of the then-10-year-old plaintiff, identified only as “A.A. Doe,” happened during a January 2008 retreat in Montgomery, Alabama. Doe was a member of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, where Asare-Dankwah was serving at the time.

New Orleans priest denies ‘appalling allegations’ of child molestation


January 29, 2021

By Aaron S. Lee

A day after a lawsuit was filed alleging a New Orleans priest raped and assaulted a 10-year-old boy during a church retreat in Montgomery, Ala., in 2008, Rev. John Asare-Dankwah has issued an official statement in response to the allegations.

At the time of the incident in question, Rev. John Asare-Dankwah worked at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Broadmoor. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has suspended Rev. Asare-Dankwah from his duties, which includes leading his congregation at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Rev. Asare-Dankwah’s statement reads:

“I am deeply saddened and appalled by the allegations that I’ve just been made aware of. These allegations are false. I have never harmed anyone in my service to God – particularly any child – and I am prepared to fight vigorously to clear my name that I’ve worked for nearly three decades building trust as a man of God. The only time I have been to Alabama is to visit a friend; I have never been to the state in conjunction with any religious retreat.

Suspended St. Peter Claver pastor denies child rape accusations: 'These allegations are false'


January 29, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Rev. John Asare-Dankwah has denied allegations that he raped an underage boy 13 years ago, a claim that prompted the Archdiocese of New Orleans to suspend him from his role as pastor of Treme’s historic St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.

Asare-Dankwah issued his denial in a statement Thursday, a day after a lawsuit was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court accusing him of raping a 10-year-old boy while hearing his confession during a weeklong retreat in Alabama in 2008.

“I am deeply saddened and appalled by the allegations,” the statement read. “These allegations are false. I have never harmed anyone in my service to God — particularly any child — and I am prepared to fight vigorously to clear my name that I’ve worked for nearly three decades building trust as a man of God.”

Judge OKs latest legal fees of $476K in church bankruptcy case

Guam Daily Post

January 31, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Tuesday approved $476,000 in revised legal fees and costs in the Archdiocese of Agana's two-year-old bankruptcy case.

Two days later, the judge issued an order approving stipulation for stay of proceedings and suspension of work at least until Feb. 28, 2021, except for certain matters.

The judge, in her Jan. 28 order, said all parties shall make their best efforts to reduce legal fees by limiting work in the main case and the adversary proceeding case for at least a month.

She also ordered the parties to return to mediation before Judge Robert Faris, a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

[Opinion] A conflict of interest?

Gisborne Herald

January 31, 2021

By Matthew Epsom

One of New Zealand's diplomatic relations is actually not with another country, but with a peculiar legal corporate person under international law called the Holy See.

The Holy See is often mistakenly referred to as the Vatican. However, the Vatican and the Holy See are not the same things.

Vatican City is a sovereign country whose ruler happens to be the pope. The pope has absolute unchecked power within his realm which makes Vatican City the world's only elected non-hereditary absolute monarchy, and the pope, effectively, a king.

The reason why we seldom hear about the king of Vatican City is because while pope and king are two distinct offices, they just happen to be occupied by the same person at the same time.

Seven decades after a priest assaulted her, a Plainfield woman is still grappling with the trauma

Valley News

January 30, 2021

By Anna Merriman

When trauma resurfaced in Patty Rondeau’s life 50 years ago, it came in a sleek black car rolling up to her sister’s Hartford home.

The day had been beautiful; sunny and bright, just before a christening party one of her sisters was throwing. Rondeau, then in her 30s, was sitting among the lilacs and grass outside, turning the sandy dirt into small castles with her children.

The arrival of the Rev. Daniel Roberts dashed the idyllic moment.

“I lost it. I started shaking and crying,” Rondeau said. It was the first time in years that she’d seen the priest who she says sexually assaulted her as a young girl in White River Junction. “It was like it happened all over again.”

She told her older sister that she refused to go inside as long as Roberts was there. But, in the 1970s, decades before news about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church would make headlines across the country, and long before the #MeToo movement would draw attention to the prevalence and lasting trauma of sexual violence, Rondeau’s sister only sighed.

St. Mary's Prep teacher: I was fired for reporting sex assault of student

Detroit Free Press

January 29, 2021

By John Wisely

A former longtime teacher claims Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory High School fired him after he relayed a student's account of being sexually assaulted by older classmates.

Donald Ambrose taught literature at the Catholic school for more than 20 years until May 2019. He claims in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that he was fired after pressing school officials to investigate the assault, which occurred on a weekend religious retreat.

The school, which had enrolled only boys until 2020, claimed Ambrose was terminated because of parental complaints about his performance and a run-in with a student who had been disciplined.

"The stated reasons for Donald Ambrose’s termination are mere pretext for unlawful retaliation for Donald Ambrose complaining of the unlawful sexual assault ... and the deliberate indifference of the administration," the lawsuit claims.

The Free Press generally doesn't name, without permission, individuals who claim sexual abuse.

School officials wouldn't comment on the dismissal but disputed the claims in the lawsuit.

Former Boy Scouts Chaplain Gets 40 Years for Sex Abuse of Child with Developmental Disabilities, 5 Others


January 29, 2021

By Jeff Truesdell

The prison term comes amid a reckoning for the Boy Scouts of America, which is facing more than 92,000 claims of sexual abuse

A former volunteer camp chaplain for the Boy Scouts of America who sexually abused multiple victims, including a developmentally disabled teen, has been sentenced to 40 years in a Rhode Island prison after pleading no contest to his crimes.

James Glawson, 76, faced 11 counts of first-degree sexual assault against six young men, five in the 1980s during his time as a Scout leader, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced Thursday.

The most recent victim, in 2019, was a resident of a group home with developmental disabilities.

Rhode Island State Police began investigating Glawson in January 2019 after staff at the group home reported inappropriate contact between him and an 18-year-old resident, according to the attorney general's office. The resident later told investigators he'd been assaulted by Glawson multiple times over several years.

Wyoming A.G. won't charge retired bishop accused of abuse

Denver Gazette via trib.com

January 29, 2021

By Seth Klamann

The Wyoming attorney general has decided against charging retired bishop Joseph Hart, effectively ending law enforcement and victims’ efforts to hold accountable a top Catholic cleric facing decades of sexual abuse allegations.

A spokeswoman for the Cheyenne Police Department, which launched the sexual abuse investigation into Joseph Hart in April 2018, said in an email that Attorney General Bridget Hill would not be pursuing charges. Cheyenne Police brought the case to Hill’s office in July, after prosecutors elsewhere in Wyoming also declined to charge the retired bishop. Police had interviewed several alleged victims or their family members. The attorney general’s prospective role has not previously been revealed.

Hart, who as bishop led the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1978 to 2001, has been accused of sexual abuse by more than a dozen men. Dioceses in Wyoming and Missouri, where Hart worked previously, have settled lawsuits with victims and said their accounts are credible and substantiated.

Legislation requiring clergy to report child abuse withdrawn


Januray 29, 2021

A bipartisan North Dakota bill that would have required clergy to be included in state law as mandatory reporters of child abuse has been withdrawn.

West Fargo Republican Sen. Judy Lee withdrew the legislation on Friday, saying the bill “is and always has been to prevent child abuse.”

“Unfortunately, because of lack of understanding of the goal and the circumstances, the bill has become a distraction, and attention has moved from the child abuse crisis to other topics,” Lee said on the Senate floor.

North Dakota Senate withdraws bill requiring mandatory reporting for clergies


January 29, 2021

By Hayley Boland

The state Senate has withdrawn a controversial bill that would have included clergies as a mandatory reporting body for child abuse.

The current law requires various groups like teachers, child care workers, doctors, and police to report child abuse or neglect when they see it, but there’s an exemption for clergy members when serving as a spiritual adviser.

Senate Bill 2180 would have included clergies as mandatory reporters.

The bill received pushback from members of the Catholic Church, for fear it would “unseal” the Catholic confession.

Catholic Church Files Motions to Make ‘Child Sexual Assault’ Law Unconstitutional

California Globe

January 30, 2021

By Evan Symon

If successful, removal of law would greatly reduce statue of limitations, limit definition of child sexual abuse

This week, the Catholic Church filed motions in the Northern and Southern Superior Courts to remove the AB 218 law.

Assembly Bill 218, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019. Under AB 218, the crime of ‘child sexual abuse’ was changed to ‘child sexual assault’ and expanded the statute of limitation for the crime from 8 years, or 3 years after the discovery of trauma stemming from the assault, to 22 years, or 5 years from discovery. Damage recovery guarantees were also clarified for certain defendants and increases damages where it was found that previous assaults had been covered-up by the employer.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez wrote the bill to allow more people, specifically those who were abused by clergy members when underage, to come forward with abuse charges, as many younger people had not been ready to come forward with charges until after the age of 26, by which time it became too late under the 8 year statute of limitations.

“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” said the Assemblywoman in 2019. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now. We shouldn’t be telling victims their time is up when in reality we need them to come forward to protect the community from future abuse.”

Editorial | After long wait, will abuse victims get justice?

The Tribune-Democrat

January 30, 2021

By Todd Berkey

For nearly a decade, we’ve been calling for action in Harrisburg to provide victims of child sexual abuse with the opportunity to seek damages from their abusers – even if they’ve moved past the statute of limitations for civil action.

The state Legislature has been unwilling to directly provide justice for these adults who were victimized as children.

The Pennsylvania House did vote this week to pass the buck and put the idea before the state’s voters. The measure now goes to the Senate, and could be on the May ballot if approved there.

A plan also passed both chambers last year, and needs to be approved twice in successive years to become a ballot referendum item.

January 30, 2021

A Vanishing Priest, a Wall of Secrecy and a 25-Year-Old Abuse Case

The New York Times

January 30, 2021

By Jenn Morson

Religious orders have their own hierarchies, so they have their own ways of handling abuse allegations.

Thirty-odd years ago, 8-year-old Timothy Schlenz spent every Saturday being tutored on the sacraments at a Manhattan church. It was there, he said, that he was regularly abused.

Every weekend, his family would drive into the city from New Jersey so that Timothy, who is now 39, could study at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, on the Upper East Side. The priest who tutored him, the Rev. Carleton P. Jones, slowly groomed the boy and eventually molested him, telling him it was a way to check for cancer, according to Mr. Schlenz.

Only years later did Mr. Schlenz come to understand that Father Jones had abused him. He wanted to press charges, though by then the statute of limitations had passed. But the New York State Child Victims Act, which allows for victims to file civil lawsuits against their abusers regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, has given Mr. Schlenz a chance to make his case.

In August 2019, he initiated a legal action against Father Jones and the Dominican Friars Province of Saint Joseph. But the religious order had already exonerated Father Jones following its own internal investigation just two months earlier.

A complicating factor here is that Father Jones does not report to the Archdiocese of New York, which has been part of the Roman Catholic Church’s effort to make reporting and investigating clergy abuse more transparent. He is an order priest, which means that the Dominicans — not the Archdiocese of New York — were responsible for initially investigating Father Jones in late 2018, following a tip from another Dominican priest whom Mr. Schlenz had confided in.

But orders have their own ways, often private and murky, of doing things. So, after the Dominicans cleared Father Jones, and before the Child Victims Act case was filed against him, he disappeared.

Mr. Schlenz’s case entered its discovery phase last fall. Joseph D’Avanzo, Father Jones’s lawyer, denied all of the allegations and refused to discuss the priest’s whereabouts. Multiple requests to speak with leaders of the order have been rebuffed. But in an email this month, the vicar for child protection of the Dominicans, the Rev. Albert Duggan, responded to a request from The Times. “Because this involves a matter in litigation, the province is not able to make any comment at this time,” he wrote.

'Sexual sadist' priest who locked boy in crypt and watched him shower handed sentence

Coventry Live

January 29, 2021

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 priest who sexually and physically abused a boy during a sick six-year ordeal has been jailed for over 11 years.

Father Joseph Quigley - described as a "sexual sadist" - rubbed his teenage victim’s inner thigh after making him wear gym kit, made him 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.

Ex-priest Joseph Quigley jailed for child sex offences

BBC News

January 29, 2021

A former priest who subjected a teenage boy to "depraved" sex offences has been jailed for 11 years and six months.

Joseph Quigley, 56, had denied engaging in sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, child cruelty, and false imprisonment, but was convicted of multiple counts in December.

The offences were between 2006 and 2009 when the victim was aged between 14 and 16, Warwickshire Police said.

Quigley "abused the trust" of the boy who was said to respect him.

At the time of the offences, police said, Quigley was working as a priest at a church in Warwickshire and as a private tutor.

Senior priest locked boy in a church crypt during 'Gothic horror' campaign of abuse

Yahoo News

January 29, 2021

By Emily Cleary

A senior Catholic priest who locked a teenage boy in a church crypt during a "Gothic horror" campaign of sexual and physical abuse has been jailed.

Father Joseph Quigley, a former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools, also battered the boy with a hurling stick as part of sadomasochistic punishments.

And despite his actions coming to light, the church failed to inform police about his behaviour and sent him for therapy in America before allowing him to resume his duties.

Quigley, 56, began abusing the boy in 2002 under the "camouflage" of being a parish priest of St Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic church, in Hampton-on-the-Hill, near Warwick.

Warwick Crown Court heard how he made his victim take showers with the door open, stroked his inner thigh while forcing him to wear a gym kit and made him chew paracetamol.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin praised for ‘courage, tenacity and compassion’

Irish Times

January 30, 2021

‘We owe him a lot’: Political leaders, religious figures and abuse survivors pay tribute

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who formally stands down next Tuesday, has been praised for his “courage, tenacity and compassion,” by President Michael D Higgins in one of many tributes.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has spoken of the archbishop’s “empathy and Christianity” while former president Mary McAleese said he had “brought honest and principled leadership to the vexed issue of clerical sexual abuse of children and a dreadful history of episcopal mismanagement”.

Dublin abuse survivor Marie Collins described Archbishop Martin as “a light in the darkness of the church response to the clerical child abuse crisis”. Others to praise his record in Dublin, since appointment as coadjutor archbishop in May 2003, include church and faith leaders, as well as more abuse survivors.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘We’ve to be careful to ensure we never slip back’

Irish Times

January 29, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

Interview: ‘My worst day came early on, when I met the parents of a victim. That shattered me’

Pope Francis once quietly approached the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, in the Vatican guesthouse, the Santa Marta, at the end of an early morning Mass.

“I often think of you, you got a very difficult chalice. I’m sure there are nights you go to bed and you say to yourself why did I not stay in Geneva?” he told the Dubliner.

During his 17 years at the helm in Dublin, it is a question that Martin, who steps down finally as archbishop next week, could have been forgiven for asking himself, and more than once.

He was appointed coadjutor archbishop in 2003, becoming archbishop the following year at a time when the Catholic Church in Ireland was reeling in the face of a swathe of allegations of clerical child abuse.

Germany: Calls for cardinal to release report on sexual abuse of minors

Deutsche Welle

January 29, 2021

Pressure has increased on a Catholic cardinal over the release of a report on child sex abuse. The diocese council of Cologne has said Cardinal Woelki has a moral obligation to allow its publication.

A German Catholic cardinal, who has for months prevented the publication of a report on alleged sexual abuse of minors, came under increasing pressure on Friday to relent.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, a conservative clergyman who is also the archbishop of Cologne, has often resisted reforms within the Catholic Church and has faced mounting criticism over blocking the release of the independent report on abuse committed by members of his diocese, Germany's largest, between 1975 and 2018.

In November, Woelki turned to the head of the Catholic Church for assistance, urging Pope Francis to take over the investigation.

Moral obligations

In a rare public rebuke, the diocese council of Cologne, which groups clergy and laypeople, heavily criticized the Woelki, saying he had "completely failed as a moral authority."

"We find ourselves in the biggest crisis that the Church has ever experienced," Tim Kurzbach, head of the council, said in a statement.

Abuse in the church: at least 120 victims in the diocese of Berlin

dpa via The Courier

January 29, 2021

According to an independent report commissioned by the Catholic Church, several dozen clergy have been involved in the sexual abuse of minors over the past 73 years. The actual figure could be much higher.

Berlin (dpa) – Between 1946 and the end of 2019, at least 61 clergy were involved in the sexual abuse of minors in the area of ​​the Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin. In this period, a total of 121 victims became known from the files.

This is evident from an independent report on behalf of the church, which was presented in Berlin. According to the report from the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs, the number of unreported cases could be much higher. The suspects are mainly priests and members of the order who worked in the area of ​​the diocese.

Hierarchical structures and a lack of communication have hindered education and prevention, the paper notes. The lawyer Peter-Andreas Brand, one of the authors, spoke of “systematic irresponsibility”. They tried by all means to prevent “damage to the church as an institution,” said co-author Sabine Wildfeuer. Church leadership was more empathetic to the perpetrators than to the victims.

In East Timor, self-professed paedophile and former priest Richard Daschbach continues to evade justice

Post Magazine

January 30, 2021

By Ian Lloyd Neubauer

After meeting American Catholic priest Richard Daschbach in East Timor, a writer helped him procure funding for his orphanage, before discovering the man was a sexual predator

From the moment I first laid eyes on him, in 2009, I knew he was unlike the few other Westerners on the ship. Slowly, steadily, he made his way through the crowd, stopping as local people took his hand and touched it against their foreheads – a traditional sign of veneration for men of the cloth. Yet this old man seemed anything but missionary-like, dressed down in a polo shirt and an old baseball hat, with small stumpy teeth stained red from chewing betel nut.

Later in the evening, I saw him again, resting on the upper deck among the hundreds of passengers making the slow overnight journey from East Timor’s sleepy capital, Dili, to Oecusse, a small coastal territory of East Timor, walled in by Indonesian-controlled West Timor.

His name was Father Richard Daschbach, an American priest who had built the Topu Honis orphan­age and women’s shelter near Oecusse. We talked for more than an hour and at the end of our discussion, he invited me to stay at Topu Honis as his guest. In Meto, Oecusse’s little-known tongue, topu means “to lead by the hand’” and honis means “life”.

Church demands Timor-Leste faithful accept defrocking of accused priest

Pacific Media Watch via Asia Pacific Report

January 30, 2021

The Timorese Episcopal Conference has called on the entire Catholic community in Timor-Leste to accept and respect Pope Francis’ decision to expel an American accused of child sexual abuse in the country from the priesthood, reports LUSA news agency.

“Mr Richard Daschbach has already received his sentence for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the number 208 / 2018-67069 of November 6, 2018 from Pope Francis: he is no longer a priest, he is now a layman,” said the CET statement.

“Confirmed by the Archdiocese of Dili” and addressed “to priests, religious, deacons, brothers, nuns and all baptised in Timor-Leste”, the statement said.

“According to this decree of the Holy Father, there is nothing more to say about this priest’s priesthood. Priests, deacons, brothers, mothers and all the baptised are asked to respect this decree and not make any further comments ”, it said.

Priest was prohibited from contact with minors immediately – Gozo Diocese


January 30, 2021

By Cedric Farrugia

The Diocese of Gozo said that when Bishop Mario Grech was informed about the alleged abuse by Rev. Joseph Sultana in Australia, he prohibited him from having contact with minors with immediate effect.

The statement which was published on the Diocese of Gozo Facebook page declared that it wanted to explain all the steps taken as soon as the allegations in Australia were made.

Fr Joseph Sultana and Fr Joseph Cini this week have been arrested in relation to accuses related to the abuse of a minor in Gozo. The two priests are being held in custody.

The Gozitan Diocese explained that when the allegations from the Cairna Diocese in Australia surfaced, the Bishop apart from acting and prohibiting Sultana from working with minors, he offered to collaborate with the authorities.

January 29, 2021

[Media Statement] New Orleans Catholic Priest Accused of Sexually and Physically Abusing a Ten-Year-Old Boy, SNAP Calls for his Return to the US

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 28, 2021

A priest accused of raping a ten-year-old child in 2008 has been suspended from ministry in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. We call on Catholic officials to bring the priest back from his extended visit abroad so that he can face justice here in the United States and to use every resource at their disposal to encourage other victims to come forward, make a report, and start healing.

Fr. John Asare-Dankwah allegedly raped and later physically abused the boy while he was hearing confession during an out-of-state retreat. We fully support this gentleman and applaud his courage to come forward publicly. We are also grateful he has reached out to our local SNAP group for support. The average age for abuse survivors to disclose abuse is 52, but this man is significantly younger than the national average. It takes real courage to come forward and we hope that this story will encourage others who may have been hurt by Fr. Asare-Dankwah to speak out and make a report to the police.

Currently, Fr. Asare-Dankwah is out of the country, visiting family in Ghana. We are concerned because many priests – such as Fr. Alex Castillo in the Diocese of Oakland, CA – who have been accused of sexual abuse have been able to flee from justice by leaving the United States. Some of them were even allowed to work as priests abroad despite Catholic officials knowing about their criminal tendencies.

[News Release] Exeter man and former Boy Scout leader sentenced to serve 40 years in state prison for sexually assaulting multiple victims

Office of Attorney General

January 28, 2021

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that an Exeter man was sentenced in Washington County Superior Court to serve 40 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to sexually assaulting six young men; five in the 1980's during his time as a scout leader and the most recent victim in 2019.

James Glawson (age 76) pleaded nolo contendere to 11 counts of first-degree sexual assault.

At today's hearing before Superior Court Justice Melanie Wilk Thunberg, the court sentenced Glawson to 60 years at the ACI, with 40 years to serve and the balance suspended with probation. Glawson was ordered by the court to register as a sex offender, complete sex offender counseling, and is subject to community supervision. The court also issued a no contact order between Glawson and his victim.

Former Yawgoog chaplain sentenced to 40 years in prison

The Westerly Sun

January 28, 2021

By Jason Vallee

An Exeter man and former assistant Catholic chaplain at Camp Yawgoog Boy Scout summer camp in Hopkinton has been sentenced to serve 40 years in state prison for the sexual assault of six young men between 1981 and 2019.

Superior Court Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg on Thursday sentenced the man, 76-year-old James Glawson, to serve 60 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, with 40 years to serve and the balance suspended with completion of a probation period. Court records show Glawson will also be required to register as a sex offender, must complete sex offender counseling and is subject to community supervision. He was also issued a no-contact order preventing him from contacting victims.

The sentencing came after Glawson agreed to enter a plea of nolo contendere, or no contest, to 11 separate counts of first-degree sexual assault last year.

Ex-Boy Scout chaplain gets long sentence on abuse charges

Associated Press

January 28, 2021

A 76-year-old former volunteer Boy Scout chaplain was sentenced Thursday to serve 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting six young men, including a developmentally disabled victim.

“Turning to God, I pray each day for God’s help to help heal those that I hurt so badly and to give them comfort for the shame that I have caused,” James Glawson, of Exeter, said in court, The Providence Journal reported.

Glawson was actually sentenced to 60 years in prison, with 40 to serve and the balance suspended with probation, according to the state attorney general’s office.

'Sick to think of what I have done': Ex-Boy Scout chaplain pleads guilty to sexual assaults

The Providence Journal

January 28, 2021

By Mark Reynolds

A 76-year-old former Boy Scout chaplain apologized for his “evil ways” Thursday, while pleading no contest to a slate of charges involving “sexually penetrating” five young men and a sixth victim with a developmental disability.

“It makes me sick to think of what I have done,” the Exeter man, James Glawson, told Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg during a plea hearing in Superior Court, Wakefield.

“Turning to God,” said Glawson, “I pray each day for God’s help to help heal those that I hurt so badly and to give them comfort for the shame that I have caused.”

Thunberg sentenced Glawson to serve 40 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.

Former Boy Scouts Chaplain Is Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse

The New York Times

January 28, 2021

By Neil Vigdor

James Glawson, 76, sexually assaulted six young men, including one who is developmentally disabled, Rhode Island authorities said.

A former chaplain for the Boy Scouts in Rhode Island was sentenced on Thursday to 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to charges that he sexually assaulted six young men, the authorities said — the latest reckoning for a national scouting movement beleaguered by sex-abuse claims.

The ex-chaplain, James Glawson, 76, of Exeter, R.I., volunteered for the Boy Scouts from 1980 to 2018 and served as an assistant Catholic chaplain at the scouting camp in Hopkinton, R.I., according to the Rhode Island State Police.

Investigators said that Mr. Glawson came to their attention in 2019 when staff members at a Rhode Island group home reported that he had had inappropriate contact with an 18-year-old developmentally disabled resident.

The victim told the police that he had been sexually assaulted several times over the years by Mr. Glawson, who the authorities said later admitted abusing the resident and several other young men during the 1980s while he was a scout leader. It was not immediately clear if the group home resident had ties to the Boy Scouts.

California bishops fighting 2019 clergy sex abuse law

Associated Press

January 29, 2021

By Robert Jablon

Most California Roman Catholic bishops are asking a judge to throw out a 2019 law that allowed accusers of clergy sexual abuse to sue even if they were molested decades ago.

Motions filed this month in southern and northern superior courts ask judges to rule Assembly Bill 218 unconstitutional. Among the arguments was the assertion that the amount of time that had passed could make it harder for the defense to gather evidence.

California is one of at least 15 states that have extended the window for people to sue institutions over long-ago abuse, leading to thousands of new cases.

New Sexual Abuse Claims Against Two Oakland Diocese Priests

NBC Bay Area

January 28, 2021

By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott and Mark Villarreal

Two priests from the Oakland Diocese have been accused of sexually abusing a former seminarian. The man came forward with new allegations - some dating back to his childhood – after previously accusing another priest of raping him several years ago.

New sexual abuse allegations within the Oakland Diocese are publicly coming to light for the first time after being included in a lawsuit against the Diocese that settled late last year for $3.5 million, without any admission of liability.

The accusations come from a former seminarian, 28, who had previously alleged in 2019 that he was raped by Livermore priest Fr. Michael Van Dinh three years ago. He does not wish to be identified, so NBC Bay Area is calling him John Doe.

A police report obtained by NBC Bay Area shows Livermore police found a meth pipe and sex toys in the priest’s living quarters while investigating the alleged assault. Detectives recommended two felony charges, including sodomy by force, but the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the encounter wasn’t consensual.

Dinh remains on leave from the Diocese. Click here for NBC Bay Area’s 2019 story concerning Fr. Van Dinh.

After going through therapy for the alleged assault at the hands of Fr. Van Dinh, Doe’s attorney said he later disclosed being sexually abused by two other priests within the Diocese: Fr. Luis Lopez and Fr. Ricardo Chavez, who is now retired. Lopez is currently assigned to Fremont’s Corpus Christi Church, according to its website.

[News Release] Diocesan Review Board Concludes Inquiry into Allegations Against Former Priest, Father Thomas Long

Diocese of Richmond

January 28, 2021

Accusations were made in 2020

Following a lengthy investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Barry C. Knestout of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has determined that the allegations of child sexual abuse made against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, are not credible. For this reason, Long will not have his name added to the diocesan list of clergy against whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made. Long voluntarily left active ministry in 1988.

Investigation of Virginia priest finds allegations not credible


January 28, 2021

By Casey Fabris

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday it had determined that allegations of child sexual abuse by a former priest were not credible.

Last June, the diocese announced it had received a complaint about former priest Thomas L. Long Jr. related to his time at Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk in 1986.

The allegations prompted an investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, which reported its findings to Bishop Barry Knestout, who deemed them not credible, according to a news release.

Catholic Diocese of Richmond finds allegations of child sexual abuse against former priest ‘not credible’


January 28, 2021

By Keyris Manzanares


After conducting an investigation, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday that they have found allegations of child abuse made against a former priest are not credible.

Richmond Catholic Diocese reviewing child sex abuse allegations against 4 former priests
Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, was accused of child sexual abuse during his time in Norfolk, Virginia in 1986 when he served at Christ the King Catholic School. In 1988, Long took a leave of absence and has since had his priestly faculties suspended.

The diocese said it will not add Long’s name to a list of clergy whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made.

Catholic Diocese of Richmond says allegations against priest found not credible


January 28, 2021

By Holly Prestidge

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday that child sexual abuse allegations against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, were not credible and that his name will not be added to its list of clergy for which credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made.

The allegations were part of an investigation launched in June 2020 after the diocese received an allegation of child sexual abuse against Long, who was accused of the abuse while serving at Christ the King School in Norfolk in 1986. He was ordained as a priest in the diocese in 1981 before serving at St. Joseph in Petersburg and Norfolk’s Christ the King.

Long took a leave of absence from ministry in 1988 and was already suspended from priestly ministry, and remained suspended last summer when the investigation began.

Richmond Diocese deems child sex abuse claims against priest 'not credible'


January 28, 2021

Bishop Barry Knestout of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond reported Thursday that allegations of child sexual abuse made against one former priest were not credible.

The report came after a lengthy investigation by the Diocesan Review Board into the claims made against former priest Thomas Long.

A report of the allegations against Long was received by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in June 2020. Those allegations were then reported to authorities.

The diocese launched an internal investigation of the allegations and the information they found was presented to the Diocesan Review Board, who then reported their findings to Knestout.

After investigation, Catholic Diocese of Richmond finds allegations of sexual abuse by priest not credible

13News Now

January 28, 2021

The Diocese of Richmond said a lengthy investigation into accusations of child sexual abuse against Fr. Thomas Long found that they were not credible


Thursday, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced that after an internal investigation, it didn't find the allegations of child sexual abuse against Fr. Thomas Long credible.

The allegations were announced in June, 2020.

Long was a teacher at Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk in 1986 (when the alleged abuse happened), and took a leave of absence from ministry in 1988. He hasn't worked for the Richmond Diocese since then.

"Following a lengthy investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Barry C. Knestout of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has determined that the allegations of child sexual abuse made against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, are not credible," a release read. "For this reason, Long will not have his name added to the diocesan list of clergy against whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made."

Alleged child sex abusers were suspended from priestly duties

Times of Malta

January 29, 2021

By Matthew Xuereb

They were suspended following an investigation by the Safeguarding Commission

The two Xagħra priests separately charged with sexually abusing an eight-year-old altar boy about 16 years ago were suspended from priestly duties last year, Times of Malta has learned.

The suspension followed the completion of an investigation by the Church’s Safeguarding Commission.

The abusive acts are alleged to have taken place at the Xagħra parish between 2003 and 2005.

Joseph Cini, 70, and Joseph Sultana, 84, are in preventive custody after being charged with defiling the boy on a number of occasions and holding him against his will. Cini was also charged with raping him. Both men deny the charges.

Remembering the 'voiceless' women of Derry's Good Shepherd laundry

Derry Now

January 28, 2021

By Garrett Hargan

A simple headstone at Ardmore Cemetery in Derry commemorates the dates five former residents of the Good Shepherd’s Laundry died.

They, along with hundreds of others, worked in the local laundry without pay.

Some women spent a lifetime in the institution, died and were buried from there in unmarked or ‘communal' graves.

This week these women and girls, along with thousands more, were described as the ‘voiceless’ who will finally have their stories heard following the announcement of an independent investigation.

Church in Australia to implement nationwide protocol for responding to abuse allegations

Catholic News Agency

January 28, 2021

Starting in February, the Catholic Church in Australia will have a national protocol for responding to allegations of sexual abuse, the bishops of Australia announced this week.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australian bishop’s conference, said the new protocol "demands an approach from the Church that is compassionate and just."

“One of the strengths of the new protocol is that it provides a single national framework, which will ensure a consistent approach to the handling of concerns and allegations,” Coleridge said Jan. 28.

The National Response Protocol lays out principles that Church authorities must adhere to when responding to a child abuse allegation, as well as the concrete procedural steps that must be taken when an allegation is received.

Church in Australia announces new national protocol for addressing child sexual abuse

Vatican News

January 28, 2021

The Australian bishops have released information regarding a new national protocol for addressing child sexual abuse, due to take over past protocols as of 1 February.

In a media release published on Thursday, the Catholic Bishops of Australia have announced the release of a new protocol aimed at providing "a framework for Catholic entities across Australia to respond consistently to people raising concerns or allegations of child sexual abuse".

Due to come into effect as of next week, the Bishops write that "the National Response Protocol, which was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at its November 2020 plenary meeting, is the product of two years of work and widespread consultation within and beyond the Church".

Former Age editor quizzed over George Pell story

NCA NewsWire via Mercury

January 29, 2021

By Caroline Schelle

A judge has quizzed the former editor of The Age newspaper about why he published a story related to the George Pell sex abuse case despite a “plain prohibition” on the reporting of proceedings.

Alex Lavelle continued his evidence on Friday in the Victorian Supreme Court trial against more than two dozen media companies, journalists and editors for allegedly committing a contempt of court and breaching a suppression order in the Pell case. All defendants deny the charges.

The Age published an article online and in print explaining to readers why it couldn’t report on a high-profile case, without naming Pell.

Mr Lavelle is among 27 media outlets, journalists and editors on trial facing a total of 79 sub judice and contempt charges for publishing similar stories.

Irish woman 'kidnapped' from London as a pregnant teenager and sent home to a mother and baby institution recalls heartbreak after her son 'didn't want to know her'

Daily Mail

January 29, 2021

By Latoya Gayle


- Terri Harrison from Dublin, was pregnant when she moved to London in 1972
- She was forced to return to Ireland after visit from Catholic Crusade & Rescue
- Her son Niall was given to an adoption agency at around five weeks old
- Terri, now 66, says son Niall, now 47, doesn't want 'anything to do with her

An Irish teen mother whose baby was forcibly taken from her at five weeks old has revealed her heartbreak after tracking down her son 30 years later, only to discover he wanted 'nothing to with her'.

Terri Harrison, 66, from Dublin, moved to London when she fell pregnant aged 18, in 1972.

But the unmarried teen was 'kidnapped' and forced to return to Ireland and live in a mother and baby institution after she was visited by a priest and two nuns from the Catholic Crusade & Rescue while in hosp

January 28, 2021

[Media Statement] UPDATED - Archbishop Aymond Removes Fr. Asare Following Abuse Allegation

Archdiocese of New Orleans

January 27, 2021

Today the Archdiocese of New Orleans was informed of a lawsuit alleging abuse of a minor against Fr. John Asare-Dankwah. The archdiocese had no notice of this allegation or this lawsuit prior to today and has not been served with this lawsuit. The archdiocese does not know the identity of the individual bringing this lawsuit and allegations against Fr. Asare.

Effective immediately, Archbishop Aymond has removed Fr. Asare from priestly ministry pending the outcome of the investigation. Fr. Asare has most recently served as pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish in New Orleans. Fr. Asare was informed of the allegations late this afternoon. He is currently out of the country on vacation visiting family in Ghana.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans will ensure law enforcement is informed of this lawsuit and the allegations made.

Archdiocese of New Orleans removes priest accused of raping, abusing minor during church retreat


January 27, 2021

By Tiffany Baptiste and Olivia Vidal

The Archdiocese of New Orleans says they have removed a priest from ministry following allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Officials say the archdiocese was informed of a lawsuit against Fr. John Asare-Dankwah alleging that he abused a minor during a church retreat in 2008.

In the lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court Wednesday, the victim, who is identified as A.A. Doe, says he was 10-years-old when he attended a church retreat with Fr. Asare.

The victim served as a youth minister and lecter at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, where Fr. Asare served as pastor at the time.

Archdiocese suspends pastor of St. Peter Claver after he is accused of child rape in lawsuit


January 27, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Archdiocese of New Orleans on Wednesday suspended the pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme after he was accused in a lawsuit of raping a 10-year-old boy while hearing his confession during an out-of-state retreat in 2008.

The Rev. John Asare-Dankwah’s suspension will remain in effect until church authorities can complete an investigation into the allegations, archdiocesan officials said in a statement.

The events outlined in the nine-page lawsuit, filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, are not purported to have occurred at St. Peter Claver, the historic church purchased in 1920 by the Josephite Fathers to serve the area’s African American population.

Lawsuit claims well-known New Orleans priest raped, beat 10-year-old during church retreat


January 27, 2021

A lawsuit an anonymous victim filed Wednesday accuses the pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme of rape and assault during a 2008 church retreat.

The lawsuit filed by "A.A. Doe" alleges the Rev. John Asare-Dankwah attended a church retreat with 11 students from Catholic schools.

The suit claims the alleged rape and assault happened during a retreat in Montgomery, Alabama. Doe was a member of the Blessed Trinity Catholic church, where Asare-Daknwah was serving at the time.

Doe claims that during a confessional Dankwah asked him if he loved God and loved Dankwah.

That is when Doe claims Dankwah exposed his genitals to him.

The lawsuit alleges that Doe refused him two times before being forced to touch Dankwah.

The suit claims Dankwah told Doe, "This will be over soon" before raping the boy.

Parishioners show support for Father Pfleger, who faces second abuse allegation

Religious News Service via Crux

January 28, 2021

By Carol Zimmermann

Father Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, faces a second sexual abuse allegation, from the brother of the first alleged victim who came forward in early January.

The popular Chicago priest and outspoken advocate against gun violence has denied these allegations and his parishioners rallied outside the parish in support of him Jan. 25, hours after the allegation was reported by Chicago media outlets.

Over 50 people gathered outside the church denouncing accusations that, beginning more than five decades ago, the priest had abused the two brothers, who now live in Texas. Parishioners spoke from a microphone of the priest’s 45 years at the parish and his nonstop dedication and activism.

Pa. House passes measure to allow voters to create a window for child sex abuse victims to go to court


January 27, 2021

By Ivey DeJesus


Pennsylvania on Wednesday stepped closer to paving the way for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek recourse in court against their predators.

By a vote of 187-15, the state House of Representatives passed a measure that could lead to a temporary lifting of expired statute of limitations for some abuse victims, allowing them to file civil suits.

House Bill 14, authored by Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Blair, calls for a voter referendum on a two-year retroactive window that would lift expired statute of limitations to allow such legal civil action.

The bill now heads for the Senate, which has signaled strong support for the measure.

“This is a wonderful day. Attitude of gratitude for the people of Pennsylvania who have waited a long time,” Gregory said just moments after the vote. “This is just another step in the process of recognizing those who have been sexually abused in past decades. They have been waiting a long time for this and I‘m just grateful to colleagues who voted for this so strongly that they believe in justice for victims but also believe in the protection of our families.”

Window for lawsuits by survivors of child sex abuse moves closer to the ballot

The Tribune-Democrat

January 28, 2021

By John Finnerty

The state House on Wednesday voted 187-15 to ask voters whether to amend the Constitution to give adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse an additional two years beyond the normal statute of limitations to sue institutions such as the Catholic Church that have covered up such abuse.

The measure moves back to the Senate. If it passes there, it could be on the ballot in May. The state Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved a companion version of the legislation that passed the House on Wednesday. Both chambers approved the proposed amendment last legislative session as well. Proposed state constitutional amendments must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions.

It is one of several potential amendments that could end up on the ballot in May. Both chambers of the General Assembly this week also voted in favor of proposals to amend the Constitution to limit the ability of the governor to keep prolonged emergency declarations in place, a move inspired by frustration over Gov. Tom Wolf’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allentown Diocese sells 171 acres to pay priest sex abuse victims

The Morning Call

January 27, 2021

By Michelle Merlin

The Allentown Diocese has sold some of its property in Lower Macungie and Upper Saucon townships to help compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The diocese sold 118 acres on Flint Hill Road in Upper Saucon for $3.55 million and 53 acres on North Krocks Road across from Hamilton Crossings in Lower Macungie for $7.5 million, the diocese said in a Jan. 8 news release. With the land sales, the diocese finished paying off a loan taken out to fund a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Allentown was among seven Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses to establish compensation funds in the wake of a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that revealed efforts to hide decades of sexual abuse by hundreds of priests. The report named 37 priests from the Allentown Diocese, which includes more than 252,000 Catholics in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. The diocese added another 15 or so to the list.

[Opinion] Catholic Church Sex Abuse: What Is Suitable Compensation for a Life of Trauma?

National Catholic Register

January 27, 2021

By Janet E. Smith

The Church really needs to do some deep thinking on how it should respond.

If you had a choice between losing a limb or being psychologically traumatized your whole life, which would you choose?

By “psychologically traumatized,” I mean suffering debilitating lifetime depression and anxiety, having difficulty holding onto a job, not being able to enter into satisfying personal and intimate relationships, unshakeable (and unwarranted) self-blame and even being rejected by family who don’t understand consequent behavior.

Many sex abuse victims struggle with substance abuse throughout their lives, undergo repeated hospitalization, attempt or commit suicide, and many without anyone knowing why they were so troubled. Many of them live in poverty or near poverty their whole lives.

In addition, victims of priestly sexual abuse often lose their faith and are deprived of the healing and consolation that come through the sacraments and the rich spiritual life that faith facilitat

Fresh cover-up claims against former Papal secretary

The Tablet

January 27, 2021

By Jonathan Luxmoore

A group of Polish politicians has pledged to press new accusations against Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former secretary of St John Paul II, after prosecutors refused to investigate TV documentary claims that he ignored and covered up abuse by priests in his Krakow archdiocese.

“The gravity of crimes that Cardinal Dziwisz may have committed is so enormous that failure to investigate them is obviously detrimental to the public good and the private interests of victims,” said Lukasz Kohut, a European Parliament member from Poland's liberal Wiosna (Spring) party.

'Conspiracy' claim in Pell contempt case

Australian Associated Press

January 28, 2021

By Karen Sweeney

Claims of a "Catholic conspiracy" were partly behind a Melbourne newspaper's decision to publish a story about Cardinal George Pell's child sexual abuse conviction, a court has heard.

The Age newspaper, journalists and editors are facing contempt charges over articles published after Cardinal Pell's now-overturned conviction in December 2018, over alleged breaches of suppression orders.

Australian media were banned from reporting the verdict in the case until February 2019 because Cardinal Pell, who has since returned to Rome, was due to face a second trial.

‘Don’t You See Me Crying?’ Gozitan Priest Accused Of Rape Says When Asked If He Is Ashamed

Lovin Malta

January 27, 2021

By Sam Vassallo

Joseph Cini, one of two priests accused of raping an altar boy in Gozo, has left court after being arraigned this morning.

Asked by the press where he was ashamed, he responded, waving a handkerchief: “Don’t you see me crying?”

Cini, a priest in his 70s from Għarsi, and Joseph Sultana, an 84-year-old who served in Xagħra’s parish, both pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and corruption of a minor. Both will be kept under arrest as the case continues.

Joseph Sultana, 84-Year-Old Xagħra Priest, Pleads Not Guilty To Raping An Altar Boy

Lovin Malta

January 27, 2021

By Sam Vassallo

Joseph Sultana, an 84-year-old priest, has pleaded not guilty to raping an altar boy.

Sultana, a well-known figure in Xagħra and its parish, was arraigned in court this morning in Gozo.

He is one of two priests arrested yesterday evening after hours of interrogation. The other was Joseph Cini, a priest in his 70s and ex-parish priest of Għasri. He will be arraigned separately.

Joseph Cini was previously accused of child abuse in Australia but refused to return to the country to face the accuser, who was also a former altar boy.

‘The First Time Was A Sunday’: Bursting Into Tears, Gozo Rape Victim Recalls Being Pushed Into A Confessional And Touched By Priest

Lovin' Malta

January 27, 2021

By David Grech Urpani


“He used to threaten me and use force when I refused. I often tried to run away but he would hold me down. He would force me in, telling me I’m going to hell or that he was going to speak to my parents.”

These were the harrowing words of a former altar boy who was allegedly raped by priest Joseph Sultana.

In an urgent testimony via videoconferencing, the victim – who was eight years old at the time of the alleged abuse but is now no longer a minor – went into disturbing detail that had him visibly emotional, even bursting into tears at one point.

Church accuses CLR Commission of being unrestrained, reckless and biased


January 28, 2021

By Chulumanco Mahamba

The Heaven Fellowship Church has accused the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic (CRL) Rights Commission of being “unrestrained, reckless and biased” after the hearings into allegations of abuse were live streamed last week.

The Star reported last week that former congregation members of the church in Meyerton laid bare startling allegations of rape against the church’s leader, Bahlakwana Moleko, known as Samuel Paul Heaven, during hearings into allegations of abuse. One witness accused Moleko of allegedly raping her twice in October last year.

The hearings at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities were heard following complaints that were brought before it by victims and congregants.

[Opinion] The Holy See and Thug Regimes

First Things

January 27, 2021

By George Weigel

The list of grave issues that must be addressed during a future papal interregnum, and by the cardinal-electors in a conclave, continues to grow.

The finances of the Holy See are arguably in worse shape than at any time since the papal interregnum of 1922; then, money had to be borrowed to pay for the conclave as Benedict XV had virtually bankrupted the Vatican in his efforts to aid refugees and POWs during World War I. Notwithstanding the reforms Pope Francis has put into place, the Holy See now faces a vast, unfunded pension liability; incompetent investment management (and worse) has done serious damage to the Vatican balance sheet; and contributions, not least to Peter’s Pence, are down dramatically.

Australian bishops release new sexual abuse protocol

Catholic Weekly

January 28, 2021

New benchmark for the Church in place from February

A new national protocol for responding to historical child sexual abuse and any new allegations in the Catholic Church will be both more compassionate and just, says Archbishop Mark Coleridge, head of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The new framework to be implemented from 1 February is intended as a national benchmark forming a consistent approach for Catholic authorities and entities in investigating, compensating and providing ongoing care for people alleging child sexual abuse and survivors.

Calling it “an important step forward”, Archbishop Coleridge thanked those involved in preparing the “thorough proces

January 27, 2021

Vatican says allegations against Wyoming bishop can’t be proven


January 26, 2021

By John Lavenburg

A Vatican investigation has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on seven accusations of sexual abuse towards minors, while five other accusations “could not be proven with moral certitude,” the diocese announced in a statement Monday.

The decree came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) – the Vatican office responsible for processing clergy sex abuse complaints.

However, the CDF issued a canonical rebuke to Hart for “his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” according to the diocese statement.

[Opinion] An Unlikely Hero Saves Two Florida Kids

adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

January 25, 2021

An unlikely hero has saved two Florida kids.

She’s not a cop.

She’s not a prosecutor.

She’s not a psychologist.

She’s not a judge.

She’s not a children’s advocate or school teacher or nurse or doctor or day care provider.

In fact, she likely doesn’t have a college degree (or maybe not even a high school diploma).

Catholic Church Exonerates Hart Despite Earlier Finding Of Credible Abuse Allegations

Wyoming Public Media

January 26, 2021

By Jeff Victor

This week, the Vatican concluded its own investigation of Wyoming Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart, ruling that there was not enough evidence to find him guilty of the numerous allegations against him.

Hart led the Catholic Church in Wyoming for more than two decades, from the late 70s to 2001. Since retiring 20 years ago, he has been accused of child abuse by more than a dozen people both in Wyoming and his home state of Missouri.

One alleged victim died of complications from AIDS in 1989. The disease was brought on by years of drug abuse that the victim's family attributes to the trauma he allegedly experienced at the hands of Father Hart.

In 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne opened an investigation into the once celebrated bishop. A group of mainly non ordained members of the church with backgrounds in fields such as law enforcement and child psychology determined that at least six allegations against Hart were credible, according to a release from the Diocese.

Vatican exonerates retired bishop of multiple abuse claims but issues canonical rebuke

Catholic News Agency

January 26, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

The Vatican’s doctrinal congregation has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne over numerous accusations of the sexual abuse of minors, but issued a canonical rebuke.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said that the bishop had acted irresponsibly as a priest and upheld restrictions placed on him in 2018.

In January 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, began an investigation into claims of abuse by Hart, its retired bishop. Hart, who is now 89 years old, led the diocese from 1978 until his 70th birthday in 2001.

The diocese said that its investigative team “were convinced that we had sufficient evidence to conclude with moral certainty that the six accusations against Bishop Hart are credible” and passed the case to Rome for a final decision in the canonical process.

Howell ex-pastor accused of abusing girls in 1983. Now a judge rules if they can testify

Asbury Park Press

January 27, 2021

By Kathleen Hopkins


Calling into question the accuracy of decades-old childhood memories, a judge on Tuesday ruled that two women who came forward almost 40 years later to accuse their former pastor of sexual impropriety will not be allowed to testify at the retired cleric’s upcoming child sexual abuse trial.

Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor, in a 26-page ruling, said the stories of the two women who came forward in 2019 with allegations from 1983 were not clear and convincing enough to outweigh “the obvious prejudice" their testimony would pose to the Rev. Henry “Brendan" Williams, former pastor of St. Veronica R.C. Church in Howell, at his upcoming trial on child sexual assault charges stemming from alleged incidents in the late 1990s.

The two women came forward to authorities in October 2019 after learning Williams, now 81 and living in a retirement community for Catholic priests in Lawrence, had just been arrested on child sexual assault charges in the case dating to 1998.

One of the two women told detectives she was 13 and at a youth club meeting at St. Veronica’s in 1983 when Williams took her aside to an upstairs room in the rectory, where she thought he was going to kiss her. She told detectives she left before anything could happen.

The other woman told detectives she was 12 years old when Williams approached her in a vestibule after track practice and, while looking at her chest, told her, “You’re awfully big for sixth grade." She alleged he then began kissing her and touching her buttocks.

Both women told detectives they reported the incidents to their parents, who didn’t take them seriously.

Torregrossa-O’Connor said in her ruling that detectives did not conduct any further investigation to corroborate the women’s claims by seeking out others, such as family members, to whom they told their stories or, in the case of the first woman, finding out who else had attended the youth group meeting that night.

Howell ex-pastor’s sex abuse scandal: Why did students come forward decades later?

Asbury Park Press

January 19, 2021

By Kathleen Hopkins


Soon after news broke about the arrest on sex charges of a beloved former pastor of St. Veronica R.C. Church in Howell, two alumni of the parish’s grammar school came forward in 2019 with allegations that the priest acted inappropriately when they were students at the school decades ago.

One of the women told detectives the Rev. Henry “Brendan" Williams kissed her repeatedly and patted her on the buttocks one afternoon in 1983, when she was 12.

The other said she thought Williams was going to kiss her after he took her aside to an office to show her something, but she got up and left before anything could happen. The woman said she was 13 when that occurred in 1983.

The Rev. Henry 'Brendan' Williams, former pastor of St. Veronica Church in Howell, is shown after his arraignment on child sex abuse charges in State Superior Court in Freehold Monday, January 6, 2020.

Williams, now 81, is not charged in connection with either women’s story, but prosecutors want the women to testify at Williams’ upcoming trial on charges he sexually assaulted another child in the late 1990s.

Defense attorney Robert Konzelmann is trying to block the testimony, questioning why the women took 36 years to come forward to authorities with the allegations and suggesting they did so at a time when attorneys handling clergy sex-abuse lawsuits were flooding the airwaves with advertisements for clients.

Thomas Fichter, an assistant Monmouth County prosecutor, acknowledged the statute of limitations has long passed to prosecute crimes that may have occurred in 1983, but said the earlier events are relevant to the case at hand because the stories of the two women are similar to that of the victim in the case for which Williams is under indictment.

That victim was 12 when she claims Williams touched her inappropriately, on her inner thigh and vaginal area, on two different occasions at two different restaurants while she was with her parents and a third time at her home, according to Fichter.

[Opinion] Don’t make up your mind yet about the sexual abuse accusations against Rev. Michael Pfleger

Chicago Tribune

January 26, 2021

By Eric Zorn


The accusations against South Side activist priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger are, in a word, revolting.

Either way.

If they’re true, Pfleger repeatedly sexually abused two boys in the early and mid-1970s, a grotesque, inexcusable and scarring violation of trust and innocence that his accusers — two brothers who now live in Texas — say has haunted them ever since.

If they’re false, Pfleger’s good name is being dragged through the mud and his four decades of service to his parishioners at St. Sabina Church and Chicago’s African American community unfairly tainted. He may never get his reputation back.

Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been considering both possibilities since the initial allegation arose earlier this month. What to make of this?

[Opinion] Dilemma at heart of sex abuse claims

Chicago Sun-Times

January 26, 2021

By Neil Steinberg

What are those who love and respect Father Michael Pfleger to make of accusations against him?

“No one ever had a bad word to say about him.”

In late May, 2015, it was revealed that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert had sexually molested boys he coached in high school wrestling. The media descended on his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois. Those who knew him were shocked and supportive.

“He was a fantastic mentor.”

Hastert was charged, not with the abuse itself, but for structuring payments to silence the abused. Which isn’t quite a signed confession. But close.

“I would have known for sure. Something like that we would have jumped on right away.”

Only the good people of Yorkville didn’t know. Or knew and didn’t jump on it right away. Hastert admitted to molesting children and went to prison for 13 months.

“I hope it’s not true.”

Which sums up the view of those who know and respect Father Michael Pfleger, including myself, as the longtime firebrand priest of St. Sabina’s faces a pair of brothers who accuse him of abuse 45 years ago.

Washington Post editor Marty Baron to retire next month

New York Post

January 26, 2021

By Keith J. Kelly

Marty Baron, the top editor of the Washington Post who helped rejuvenate the newsroom after years of malaise, ended months of speculation Tuesday in announcing his retirement at the end of next month.

Baron, 66, took over as executive editor eight years ago, shortly before the Graham family sold the paper to billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. During that time, the newsroom expanded from about 580 people to over 1,000 and won 10 Pulitzer Prizes.

“Almost two years ago, I told department heads that I was committed to staying at The Post through the presidential election,” Baron wrote in a Tuesday memo to staffers. “I left open what might happen beyond that. Today, I am letting you know that I will retire on Feb. 28.”

Baron came to the Washington Post in 2013 after spending 12 years at the Boston Globe, where he helmed the now-legendary expose on sex abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston Archdiocese. A 2015 film about the investigation called “Spotlight,” in which Liev Schreiber played Baron, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Lawsuit: Priest raped boy on day of his sister’s wedding

Associated Press

January 26, 2021

A Catholic priest raped a 9-year-old altar boy on the day of his sister’s wedding that the the priest officiated, according to a new lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, charges that the diocese knew or should have known that the Rev. Kiernan Ahearn was unfit to be around children but continued to assign him duties that involved children.

“Unfortunately, we continue to witness the carnage of the Catholic Church’s decades-long tolerance of pedophiles in its ranks,” attorney Joel Faxon, who represents the plaintiff in the lawsuit, told the Connecticut Post. “This particular criminal, Ahearn, was circulated through the Bridgeport Diocese and others in New York — attacking children all along the way.”

January 26, 2021

[Media Statement] Vatican Punts on Bishop Joseph Hart instead of Taking Action, SNAP Renews Call for Secular Involvement

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 26, 2021

Now that Vatican officials have formally chosen to do nothing to punish or isolate serially abusive former Bishop Joseph Hart, it is crucial that police and prosecutors double down on their pursuit of charges against him.

Cheyenne, WY police have already finished multiple investigations into Bishop Joseph Hart and have recommended that charges be filed against him. Given that this secular investigation by trained investigative professionals resulted in a recommendation for charges, we cannot take seriously the Vatican’s determination that Bishop Hart was not proven guilty “beyond a moral certitude.” The rebuke issued by the CDF is little more than a slap on the hand for Hart, but is surely a slap in the face to the men and women who were hurt by him and hoped to see some measure of justice done.

We hope that, in light of this disappointing-yet-not-surprising decision from the Vatican to do nothing against Bishop Hart, prosecutors will re-examine the case and reverse their previous decision.

At least 17 different people have alleged abuse by Hart. We know that there is no magical age at which a predator stops abusing children, and so we believe that Hart remains a threat today. Police and prosecutors should use their authority to get this dangerous man off the streets, helping protect children from the scourge of sexual abuse. We hope that they will act immediately.

Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne said the case regarding Bishop Hart reached its end

Wyoming News Now

January 26, 2021

In a release put out by the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, the Diocese said, “The ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion.” In a multi-page release, the Diocese said, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has concluded its process of looking into sexual abuse allegations.

The Catholic Diocese said the CDF has issued a definitive decree on the case of Bishop Hart. In the release, the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne said, “Bishop Hart was exonerated of seven accusations, and five other accusations could not be proven with moral certitude. These accusations involved 11 males and one female. Therefore, based on the assessment of the bishop delegate, Bishop Hart’s guilt was not proven with moral certitude, which is held to be equivalent to “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the legal standard of proof required to impose a criminal conviction. These findings do not equate to innocence; rather, a high burden of proof has not been met.”

[Media Statement] Update on allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Joseph Hart

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

January 25, 2021

By Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.

Bishop Stephen Biegler of the Diocese of Cheyenne has informed me that the ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has issued both a canonical rebuke of the now retired Bishop Hart, and a definitive decree.

Read the Diocese of Cheyenne’s full statement

This case is of special interest to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph because several of the accusations against Bishop Hart originated from our diocese, dating to the time when he served here as a priest prior to becoming a bishop in Cheyenne in 1976.

Canonical Rebuke and Definitive Decree regarding Emeritus Bishop H. Joseph Hart

Diocese of Cheyenne

January 25, 2021

The ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion. In January 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne hired an expert investigator, a Catholic lawyer who has investigated more than 200 allegations of sexual abuse for many dioceses. He concluded that the allegations against Bishop Hart were credible. Over time, the reports of six accusations were reviewed by the Judicial Vicar and Diocesan Review Board, consisting of the Vicar General, three lay men and three women, one of whom is the Chancellor. Their professional backgrounds include law enforcement; school administration; a Doctor of Psychology; a pediatrician; a psychotherapist, who treats sexually abused children; and a judge, who was a criminal prosecutor for 13 years involving crimes against children, primarily child sexual abuse. They judged that proper procedures were followed; they agreed that we needed to report credible allegations to law enforcement; and they were convinced that we had sufficient evidence to conclude with moral certainty that the six accusations against Bishop Hart are credible. These findings were presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has competence for coming to a final decision in such cases.

Vatican clears retired US bishop of multiple abuse claims

Associated Press

January 26, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican has cleared a retired U.S. bishop of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, rejecting lay experts’ determination that a half-dozen claims were credible and instead slapping him on the wrist for what it called “flagrant” imprudent behavior.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exonerated retired Cheyenne, Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude.” Two other cases involving boys, who were 16 and 17, couldn’t be prosecuted given the Catholic Church didn’t consider them minors at the time of the alleged abuse, the diocese reported Monday. A 13th allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree.

Hart, 89, had long maintained his innocence and denied all allegations of misconduct.

The Vatican decision clearly disappointed Hart’s successor, Bishop Steven Biegler, who stressed that the Vatican’s findings didn’t mean Hart was innocent, just that the Holy See determined that the high burden of proof hadn’t been met.

Vatican exonerates former Wyoming bishop on some allegations, still delivers rebuke

Casper Star-Tribune

January 25, 2021

By Joshua Wolfson and Brandon Foster


An investigation by the Vatican has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations tied to the sexual abuse of juveniles while determining five other allegations “could not be proven with moral certitude,” the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne announced Monday.

At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued a canonical rebuke to Hart “for his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” the diocese stated in a news release.

He was also rebuked “for his disregard of the urgent requests that he refrain from public engagements that would cause scandal among the faithful due to the numerous accusations against him and the civil and canonical investigations and processes being conducted in his regard.”

Retired Wyoming bishop exonerated on seven sexual abuse allegations by Vatican

Denver Gazette

January 25, 2021

By Seth Klamann


Retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart has been cleared of sexual abuse allegations by the Vatican, after an 18-month penal process that exonerated the clergyman on seven accusations of abuse for a man accused of abusing more than a dozen adolescents.

Five more accusations were "not proven with moral certitude," according to a press release from the Diocese of Cheyenne. Two more were not considered because the alleged victims were over the age of 16. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the branch of the Vatican that handles such investigations, examined allegations from 11 men and one woman.

"These findings do not equate to innocence; rather, a high burden of proof has not been met," the Diocese of Cheyenne stated in a Monday afternoon news release.

2 brothers open up about alleged sex abuse by Rev. Michael Pfleger as supporters rally outside St. Sabina Church

Chicago Sun-Times

January 25, 2021

By Madeline Kenney and Stefano Esposito

Attorneys for the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor, though, have vehemently shot down the accusations, calling them “false attacks ... motivated by greed.”


Two brother on Monday shared details of sexual abuse they say they suffered at the hands of the Rev. Michael Pfleger over four decades ago. Attorneys for the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have vehemently shot down the accusations, calling them “false attacks ... motivated by greed.” Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Two brothers on Monday detailed sexual abuse they say they suffered at the hands of the Rev. Michael Pfleger more than four decades ago, with one saying the abuse “destroyed my life.”

But attorneys for the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have blasted the accusations as “false attacks . . . motivated by greed.”

The men, who are in their 60s and now live in Texas, said at a news conference that Pfleger molested them dozens of times, starting in the 1970s. It allegedly began when they were in the choir at Precious Blood Church on the West Side and continued for years at the Mundelein Seminary as well as two other churches, including St. Sabina Church, where Pfleger has served as pastor since 1981.

Neither brother ever told anyone about the abuse, they said, including each other, until this month.

Second man accuses Chicago’s Father Pfleger of sex abuse

Catholic News Agency

January 25, 2021

A second alleged victim has accused activist Chicago priest Fr. Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing him as a minor decades ago, the Chicago archdiocese has confirmed to local media. The priest has strongly denied both accusations, which come from two brothers.

The Chicago archdiocese’s general counsel had “just received” the second allegation Sunday evening, a spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“It is important to note that Fr. Pfleger remains removed from ministry pending the outcome of civil and church investigations,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to follow our process as we do with all such allegations.”

[News Release] Diocese of Brooklyn Alerts Parishioners of Queens Deacon Arrest

The Tablet (Brooklyn diocesan newspaper)

January 25, 2021

A deacon at St. Sebastian Church in Woodside, Queens was arrested on Jan. 20 as part of a police sting operation on allegations that he attempted to have sex with a minor.

The Diocese of Brooklyn became aware that Rogelio Vega, 50, was arrested on Jan. 22 and immediately suspended the deacon. The parish administrator, Father Patrick West, addressed the parish at Mass this weekend by reading a letter from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

Abuse amendment gets second go

Capitol Wire via Altoona Mirror

January 26, 2021

By Robert Swift

A Senate committee moved quickly Monday to start the second round needed to pass a state constitutional amendment to open a two-year retroactive window for lawsuits by child abuse survivors.

The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 8, which addresses fallout from a 2018 statewide grand jury report that examined decades of child sexual abuse and cover-ups in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

The proposed amendment provides for a two-year period where victims can bring civil lawsuits against alleged abusers in older cases where the statute of limitations has expired.

In the last legislative session, House Bill 14, a version of this legislation, was championed by state Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Hollidaysburg, who has revealed he was sexually assaulted as a 10-year-old by two 13-year-old boys.

January 25, 2021

St. Sabina’s Rev. Michael Pfleger faces 2nd allegation of child sex abuse; priest’s lawyers assail ‘false attacks

Chicago Sun-Times

January 24, 2021

By Madeline Kenny


In a statement on St. Sabina pastor Michael Pfleger’s behalf, his lawyers denied the allegations.

A second person has come forward with allegations of sex abuse as a minor by Rev. Michael Pfleger, which attorneys of the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have called “false attacks ... motivated by greed.”

Pfleger, one of the most prominent figures in the Catholic community in Chicago, stepped away from the Auburn Gresham parish earlier this month at the archdiocese’s request as it investigates decades-old sexual abuse allegations made by another person.

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s general counsel “just received” the additional allegation, a spokesperson said Sunday evening.

“It is important to note that Fr. Pfleger remains removed from ministry pending the outcome of civil and church investigations,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We will continue to follow our process as we do with all such allegations.”

'This is a shakedown’: Lawyers for Father Pfleger push back as pastor faces second abuse allegation


January 24, 2021

By Mike Ewing

The Archdiocese of Chicago is investigating a second allegation of child sexual abuse made against Father Michael Pfleger, church officials confirmed Sunday, while lawyers representing the prominent pastor call the claims a “shakedown.”

According to the archdiocese, Pfleger faces a second accusation of sexual abuse from the brother of a man who filed the first complaint against him in early January. In the initial complaint, Pfleger is accused of child sexual abuse that took place more than 40 years ago.

Pfleger has been the pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Auburn-Gresham since 1981, but stepped aside on January 5 after the archdiocese revealed it was investigating the first allegation.

Former Oakley scout joins 12 other plaintiffs in Idaho sex abuse lawsuit

Magic Valley.com

January 24, 2021

By Laurie Welch

A man from Oakley is among 13 victims who filed an Idaho federal lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused as Boy Scouts in troops sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Oakley victim was a member of Boy Scout Troop 22, sponsored by the church’s Oakley Second Ward in 1980-1981. The other 12 scouts were from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and Lewiston.

The lawsuit, filed in October by the plaintiffs’ attorney Dumas & Vaughn, names the Boy Scouts of America’s Mountain West Council, Ore-Ida Council, Inland Northwest Council and Lewis & Clark Council as well as the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[Media Statement] No Response to letter sent to President-elect Joe Biden.

ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) USA

January 23, 2021

Three Popes Enabled McCarrick’s Rise to Power Despite Well-Documented Evidence of His Serial Abuse of Seminarians and Minors.

On November 10, 2020, U.S. victims called on then President-elect Biden to respond. To date. No response.

In 1988, James Grein, a child victim of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, revealed the abuse to Pope John Paul II, telling him, “McCarrick has been abusing me since I was young.” In the room with John Paul II were the second and third most powerful Vatican officials, Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, and his personal secretary, now Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. According to Grein, John Paul II, now a Catholic saint, responded with a blank stare and then absolved Grein of “his sins” and sent him on his way.


ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) Global

January 21, 2021


Another year is ahead of us and 2021 has certainly brought with it several of the uncertainties and troubling features that lingered throughout 2020 as well as new challenges and opportunities. ... In the midst of all of this, ECA is still working to hold accountable those who have violated the rights of children in church settings and ECA is committed to seeking justice for survivors.


LUCAS LECOUR AND SERGIO SALINAS (ARGENTINA), Argentine Attorneys, for their historic prosecution and conviction of clergy for abusing deaf survivors and their journey to Geneva and Rome to highlight the Vatican’s failure to protect children and provide justice to survivors; ECA has supported their efforts and will help in their action against the government of Argentina before the OAS court and before the United Nations;

ADALBERTO MENDEZ LOPEZ (MEXICO) AND SARA OVIEDO (ECUADOR) for precedent setting hearing before the OAS (Organization of American States) Inter-American Human Rights Commission to promote justice for survivors in the Americas, particularly Latin America. ECA provided assistance for legal fees for this effort.

JANET AGUTI OF UGANDA and her groundbreaking grassroots effort to educate local communities about sexual violence and providing services for children and women who are victims of sexual violence; ECA financially supports her important work. ...

Former Catholic Ladies College, Eltham, teacher Matthew Saada accused of possessing child porn

The Australian

January 25, 2021

By Caroline Schelle


A Melbourne teacher was allegedly caught with explicit images of young girls when he handed in his work laptop to the school’s IT department.

Maths teacher Matthew Saada will go to trial charged with eight offences including knowingly possess child abuse material and accessing child pornography using a carriage service dating between January 2016 and October 2017.

The 33-year-old was working at Catholic Ladies College at Eltham in the city’s north at the time and is fighting the charges at a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

“Not guilty, your honour,” Mr Saada told magistrate Johanna Metcalf on Monday when asked to enter a plea.

School IT worker Andrew Roberts was quizzed about how he uncovered the images which led to the charges.

He was planning to wipe the laptop for the school to sell to a computer recycling company when he found the images, the court was told.

Catholic Church abuse: Only a fraction of victims coming forward, survivor group says

RNZ via New Zealand Herald

January 23, 2021

By Andrew McRae

A survivor group for people abused while in the care of the Catholic Church says only a fraction of them are coming forward.

A number have spoken with the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, but it is being seen as only the tip of the iceberg.

Dr Christopher Longhurst of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said many people are reluctant to come forward for fear of ridicule.

"There is so much shame around the abuse that society sees the victim as wounded and defective and there is victim blaming."

Longhurst said there is dignity in surviving abuse and it is nothing for the victim to be ashamed of.

Senator calls for full Mother and Baby apology from Galway County Council at meeting

Galway Advertiser

January 24, 2021

By Declan Varley

Green party Senator Pauline O'Reilly has called on Galway County Council to issue a full apology to the survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Homes at their meeting in Corrandulla tomorrow (Monday ).

Soeaking in the Seanad, Sen O'Reilly commended all of those who came forward, adding that said that no one could read their reports and not say that it was abuse and neglect.

While calling out the Church and Galway County Council, she said that the ultimate responsibility "lies with a State that did not provide women with alternatives, that did not prosecute rape, that did not provide them with contraceptives, and that acted in a deferential way to a Church that used its power and was allowed to use its power to abuse others".

As part of her speech, she made a personal apology on behalf of the State and said that "we must be judged by our actions".

She called for Galway County Council to make an apology for the huge part that it played and the Minister, Roderic Gorman, said that he agreed with his colleague that that would be appropriate and that other local authorities could follow this lead. "Tuam is highlighted over and over. Nearly 1,000 people died and as we are all well aware that they were shown no dignity in death.

"Their families continue to have no closure, with scant records and no tracing having been carried out. The conditions were among the worst in the country. This was an institution run by nuns, but also by the local authority.

Survivor recalls mother and baby home ‘hellhole’


January 24, 2021

By Rebecca Black

A Northern Ireland woman has recalled spending months at a “hellhole” institution for unmarried mothers and babies.

Adele, 69, was sent to the Marianvale home in Newry, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, at the age of 17 after becoming pregnant.

“When my mother found out, wheels were set in motion and I was duly shipped off,” she said.

“I was picked up in a car with the parish priest and taken there. I hadn’t a clue what was going on.

“I was told there were no other options, your child will be adopted and you’ll stay here. That was reinforced by the nuns and my mother.”

Adele believes she stayed for around 12 weeks and described Marianvale as a “hellhole."

January 24, 2021

She Exposed Sexual Abuse in a Catholic Kids Camp. Now She’s Facing a Prison Sentence


January 22, 2021

By Simeon Tegel

The work of Peruvian journalist Pao Ugaz has made her the target of a string of legal actions.

When reporters at the Boston Globe exposed child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, their investigative work was so celebrated that Hollywood made a film, Spotlight, about it.

Now, after carrying out a similar crusading probe into pedophilia in a Catholic lay organization in South America, Peruvian journalist Pao Ugaz is facing jail time and a hefty damages bill.

For years, Ugaz, 45, has been researching Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana, a Catholic boot camp for children from elite families. She began by contributing to the 2015 Spanish-language book Half Monks, Half Soldiers, by Pedro Salinas, which revealed a pattern of abuse at Sodalicio, which Salinas had attended as a teen. She is now investigating its financing and is due to publish a book on that subject later this year.

But the pair’s award-winning work has ruffled feathers and made Ugaz in particular the target of a string of lawsuits from Sodalicio members and conservative activists, some for defamation and some seeking to have her charged with corruption.

Lawsuit accusing Kansas priest of sexual abuse in 1980s can go forward, court says

Kansas City Star

January 22, 2021

By Katie Moore and Judy L. Thomas

A lawsuit alleging a Topeka priest sexually abused a boy in the 1980s can proceed after an appeal by church officials was struck down this week.

The lawsuit, which says the boy was 9 years old when a priest at St. Matthew's Church began abusing him, was filed in Wyandotte County District Court in August 2017.

The lawsuit names as defendants a priest identified in court records only as M.J. and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, which has authority over St. Matthew's.

It alleges that M.J., a former priest, engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse during his assignments to parishes in northeast Kansas. According to the plaintiff, who is now in his 40s, the priest abused him at the church's rectory, the Topeka YMCA and on trips until he was 12. The lawsuit says the boy repressed the memories until late fall 2015 when news reports of priest abuse emerged in the media.

Church deacon busted for trying to have sex with teen he met on Grindr: officials

New York Post

January 22, 2021

By Rebecca Rosenberg

A church deacon was busted this week for trying to have sex with a 14-year-old boy he met on the gay hook-up site Grindr, officials said.

It turns out that Rogelio Vega, 50, of Maspeth, Queens, was actually chatting up an undercover detective posing as a youngster, according to prosecutors.

“This defendant by all outward appearances is a church-going family man,” said Queens DA Melinda Katz. “Sadly, the real person under the sheep’s clothing is an alleged sexual predator who sought out a teenage boy to fulfill his needs.”

Vega, a deacon with Saint Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in Woodside, allegedly began using the app Grindr in July 2020 to communicate with the undercover who he thought was an underage boy. The married father of four allegedly asked the “child” to send him nude pictures and shared several photos of his genitals with him.

[Opinion] Drop the state religion blither-blather — we need ‘a new day’


January 21, 2021

By Annie Laurie Gaylor

Like you, I’m moved and saddened by the luminous, somber sight of the 400 lights lining the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool collectively representing the 400,000 Americans who’ve died so far from Covid-19.

President-elect Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her spouse, Doug Emhoff, stood by themselves in front of that memorial, our nation’s overdue first official memorial to Covid-19 victims, on Tuesday night and poignantly addressed the country, saying, “It’s important to [heal] as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.” It was a lovely, loving way to ensure the Inauguration festivities-to-come did not disrespect the suffering or eclipse our focus on the urgent challenges ahead.

But one aspect of that Tuesday event was not at all lovely to me: the decision to single out Cardinal Wilton Gregory to join this elite group of four, to deliver an invocation to a nation tuned in to witness a civic event. Gregory’s liturgical presence and his Christian invocation turned it from a civil ceremony into a religious service.

Jesuits in Spain express ‘shame, pain, and regret’ over abuse


January 23, 2021

By Inés San Martín

After releasing a report documenting 81 cases of the sexual abuse of minors in Spain, the Jesuit leadership in the country expressed “shame, pain, and regret.”

The report on allegations of abuse made against members of the religious order covered the years 1927-2020, and also included documentation about the sexual abuse of 37 adults in that period.

“We feel shame, pain and regret,” said Jesuit Father Antonio España, the head of the Spanish province of the order.

January 23, 2021

In a first for Spain, Jesuits admit to decades of sex abuse

Associated Press

January 22, 2021

By Aritz Parra and Nicole Winfield

The first comprehensive internal inquiry on sex abuse allegations by a religious order in Spain has identified 81 children and 37 adult victims of 96 Jesuits since the late 1920s, a much higher number than the cases that had so far been publicly known.

Associations of victims are welcoming the disclosure, but they see it falling short since the names of perpetrators or those who covered up the abuses weren’t disclosed. They also want the Jesuits’ inquiry to lead to proper criminal cases against the few abusers that are still alive and a detailed plan to compensate their victims.

“It’s a timid measure that goes in the right direction, but it falls too short,” Miguel Hurtado, a spokesman with the Stolen Childhood Association, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Jesuits is how members of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order formed in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola, are commonly known. According to its website, the order runs 68 schools with some 75,000 students in Spain as well as half a dozen universities and high education centers.

The Society of Jesus in Spain said in its report published Thursday that the internal probe confirmed that 96 members had been accused of sex abuses since 1927, the year of the first recorded case. For 65 of the Jesuits, the accusations involved underage victims. The report nevertheless highlighted that the accused Jesuits make up just over 1% of the 8,782 members admitted in the order during the past 93 years.

Acting Pa. victim advocate resigns after rejection by GOP-led Senate

Philadelphia Inquirer

January 22, 2021

By Angela Couloumbis

Pennsylvania’s chief advocate for crime victims announced Friday that she will resign her position, saying it was “untenable” to remain in the high-profile job amid a political feud with legislative Republicans.

Jennifer Storm, the state’s victim advocate since 2013, called her decision to leave at the end of the month “gut-wrenching.” But she said it would be a mistake to remain in the $133,000-a-year position after the GOP-controlled state Senate late last year blocked her from serving another six years.

Storm has said she believes the Senate’s rejection of her is the direct result of a “vendetta” by the chamber’s onetime top Republican, Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County. Storm and Scarnati were on opposite sides of an emotionally charged debate in 2018 over giving victims of long-ago child sexual abuse a chance to sue the perpetrators and institutions that covered up the crimes.

[Opinion] We cannot let children be hurt so that priests can keep their vows

The Jamestown Sun

January 22, 2021

By Rob Port

If your religious or political beliefs require you to stay silent when a child is in harm's way, it's time to change those beliefs.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Bismarck is looking to change an exemption to North Dakota's mandatory reporter law established for clergy.

Sen. Judy Lee, a Republican from Fargo, has introduced Senate Bill 2180. Co-sponsoring it are two other Republicans (though at least one, Rep. Mike Brandenburg of Edgeley, has withdrawn his support) as well as two Democrats.

As I noted in a previous column, the Catholic Church is fighting the legislation, characterizing it as some assault on religious liberty.

I've had others, particularly of the Catholic faith, contact me to make the same argument.

My friend (and former state senator) Joe Miller has a letter to the editor making that argument. "There must be a better way than to criminalize good and righteous traditions that saints and martyrs have died to protect," he writes. "Let us not take a path backward 627 years on religious liberty."

Book examines difficult path to restoring faith after child sex abuse

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

January 22, 2021

By Agostino Bono

“Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse” by Faith Hakesley. Our Sunday Visitor. (Huntington, Indiana, 2020). 174 pp. $15.95.

Reams have been written about the legal and moral dimensions of the clergy sexual abuse of minors and its decadeslong cover-up by Catholic officials, stretching into the papacy.

Not grabbing as much attention but equally important is the long-term destructive effects on the lives of abuse victims.

The damage to victims’ souls, emotions, psychological well-being and physical health has been devastating. Some commit suicide. Others become predators themselves. Many cannot have healthy, normal emotional relationships with other people and even distrust people honestly trying to befriend th

The voiceless: Abuse of women and their children laid bare in Commission report on Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes

The Sligo Champion

January 23, 2021

By Emma Gallagher


Ireland was described as a 'cold, harsh place' for the 56,000 women and 57,000 children in the mother and baby homes, from 1922 to 1998, who suffered serious discrimination, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission Report stated.

The extensive report, almost 3,000 pages in length, covers a 76 year period and gives a harrowing, shameful look into the treatment of these mothers and their babies.

The Commission found that a total of 9,000 children died in the institutions under investigation during that time, most under the age of one, 15% of all the children in the institutions.

Former mother and baby home resident sues over ‘physical and emotional abuse’


January 22, 2021

By Aodhan O Faolain

Woman (50s) who became pregnant at 15 claims in High Court action she was forced to work at Cork's Bessborough House and subjected to ‘harsh and unsafe’ conditions

A FORMER resident of a mother and baby home in Cork has initiated a High Court damages action against the State, the HSE and the order of Catholic nuns who ran the facility.

The action has been brought by Caroline Donovan who was a resident of Bessborough House in Cork on two occasions, once in the mid-1980s and also for a period during the early 1990s.

She says that while there she was subjected to physical and emotional abuse which it is claimed amounted to a breach of her constitutional rights.

The action is understood to be one of the first brought following the publication earlier this month of the final report by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

Former Bessborough resident to sue State, HSE, and nuns

Irish Examiner

January 23, 2021

By Ann O'Loughlin

A former resident of a Cork mother and baby home has initiated a High Court damages action against the State, the HSE and the order of Catholic nuns who ran that facility.

The action has been brought by Caroline Donovan who was a resident of Bessborough House, in Cork on two occasions, once in the mid-1980s and also for a period during the early 1990s.

She says that while a resident of Bessborough mother and baby home, which was located in Blackrock, Cork, she was subjected to physical and emotional abuse, which it is claimed amounted to a breach of her constitutional rights.

The action is understood to be one of the first brought following the publication earlier this month of the final report by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

Fergus Finlay: Failure to address Mother and Baby Homes scandal will haunt country for years

irish Examiner

January 19, 2021

By Fergus Finlay

There is evidence of children being taken from their mothers, despite these mothers fighting and pleading to keep them, to facilitate the trade and export of babies

Dear Minister O’Gorman,

I’ve written to you before, but this time, please, listen to the one piece of critical advice I have to give you. And believe me when I say I know what I’m talking about.

That may sound arrogant, but it’s not. I’ve made the same mistake I fear you’re about to make. This time it matters.

First of all, I hope you’ll forgive me if I say what an appalling report the Mother and Baby Homes Commission produced. I don’t know why they pulled so many punches. I don’t know why they produced a report that was so unworthy of the calibre of people involved.

But from the very first page, it was clear that this report wasn’t going to address fundamental injustices.

Letters to the editor: Abuse not exclusive to Catholic institutions

Irish Examiner

January 23, 2021

Commenting on the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Inquiry report, your columnist Fergus Finlay said: “The Catholic Church ruled us — formed our attitudes, told us what we were allowed to think.”

Not Derek Leinster in the Bethany Home, sent to a dysfunctional family that abandoned him, it didn’t; not the children farmed out as labour from the age of five by the Nursery Rescue Society, it didn’t; not the children emotionally, sexually, and physically abused in Smyly’s Homes, it didn’t; not the Westbank Orphanage children transformed into professional orphans and paraded around church and Orange halls in Northern Ireland, it didn’t.

The misogyny and abuse Finlay writes about were not the preserve of the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants got their fair share, too, in equivalent institutions, like the ones mentioned above.

January 22, 2021

N4T Investigators: Tucson legislator introduces bill to have clergy report child abuse despite Clergy Privilege


January 20, 2021

By Lupita Murillo


A horrifying case of child sexual abuse is making its way to the Arizona legislature.

Paul Adams a former Border Patrol agent admitted to sexually abusing two of his young children. He was arrested by law enforcement after he was identified in the illegal acts, he posted on the internet in 2017.

Adams, and his wife, Leizza, were indicted on multiple abuse charges in 2017.

He committed suicide before going to trial she was sentenced to prison and has been released.

Survivors of abuse linked to churches urged to ensure their voices are heard as part of new review

Lichfield Live

January 21, 2021

Survivors of abuse linked to churches are being urged to make sure their voices are heard in a review being carried out by the Diocese of Lichfield.

The independent review of safeguarding cases is taking place as part of the Church of England’s Past Cases Review 2.

The Diocese of Lichfield was one of seven identified as needing to carry out further work to provide an updated version of the previous review published in 2010.

Lawsuit alleging sexual abuse filed against estate of dead B.C. priest

Global News

January 20, 2021

By Doyle Potenteau

A B.C. priest who was sentenced to four years in prison for sex crimes against girls over a 28-year span is being sued by an alleged male victim, albeit posthumously.

In a lawsuit filed with the B.C. Supreme Court on Jan. 12, the civil claim states that the plaintiff, named only as A.B., was sexually abused as a child five times between 1974 and 1975 at or around Nelson.

The court document says the former and now-deceased priest, John Frederick Monaghan, and a man only named as John Doe, but believed to be a priest, committed sexual battery upon the then-12-year-old plaintiff at three different locations.

Catholic Church ordered to pay millions to WA abuse survivor


January 21, 2021

A man abused as an altar boy says he's been vindicated after winning a record payout after more than 40 years.

The man was nine years old when he was first abused by Western Australian priest Bertram Adderley in the Holy Cross Catholic Church Sacristy in Hamilton Hill, Perth, in the 1970s.

"No longer is he a shadow looming over me," the man told 9News.

"There's a big glaring spotlight that I've turned on him."

Adderley on another occasion took the boy to Swanbourne nudist beach before assaulting him in his apartment.

Sex abuse victim speaks out after Perth Catholic church consents to pay $2.45m compensation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

January 21, 2021

By Keane Bourke and Amelia Searson

A victim who will be awarded $2.45 million in compensation for sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest has spoken out about the "severe" impact the abuse continues to have on his life.

Perth's Catholic archbishop consented to pay the compensation after the victim, who is now aged in his 50s, described being raped by Father Bertram Adderley in the 1970s.

The landmark judgement was approved by a District Court judge last week and is believed to be one of the highest known sums paid by any Catholic church in Australia to a survivor of historic sex abuse.

SBC president’s church announces review of pastor accused of mishandling sex abuse cases

Houston Chronicle

January 21, 2021

By Robert Downen

The church pastored by Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear announced Wednesday that an outside firm will review the recent hiring of a pastor accused of mishandling sex abuses a decade ago.

The review of Bryan Loritts comes six months after he was hired at Greaar’s Summit Church in Raleigh, N.C., and after months of criticism from sexual abuse survivors.

Among the critics were those with whom Greear and other Summit leaders have worked closely as the SBC continues to confront sexual abuses detailed in a 2019 Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News investigation, Abuse of Faith.

In 2010, the worship director at Loritts’ Memphis, Tenn., church was accused of recording at least one person as they used the restroom. The man, Rick Trotter, was at the time Loritts’ brother-in-law and the announcer for the NBA team Memphis Grizzlies. Trotter was terminated from that position soon after, but moved to another nearby church.

After he was charged with multiple counts of voyeurism in 2016, the churches released a joint statement in which they said they “openly discussed Trotter’s prior sexual misconduct and the counseling he attended for sexual addiction,” according to media reports.

SBC President’s Church Hires Outside Firm to Review Allegations Against Staffer

Word & Way

January 21, 2021

By Diana Chandler

The Summit Church, whose senior pastor is Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, has retained the services of an outside firm to perform an independent review of specific actions taken by Bryan Loritts, one of the pastors at The Summit Church, in his handling of 2010 sexual misconduct allegations against his then-brother-in-law at a Memphis church Loritts pastored.

The Summit Church hired Loritts in June 2020 after completing an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations at Fellowship Memphis Church. At that time, Summit elders cleared Loritts of any wrongdoing in the case against his then-brother-in-law Rick Trotter. But in a statement on its website Wednesday (Jan. 20), the church announced that it has hired Guidepost Solutions LLC to conduct a new investigation.

JD Greear's Summit Church to review hiring pastor accused of mishandling past sex crime allegations

Christian Post

January 21, 2021

By Leonardo Blair

The Summit Church in North Carolina, led by Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, said they have contracted global investigating firm Guidepost Solutions to independently review their recent hiring of Pastor Bryan Loritts who has been accused of mishandling past sex crime allegations at a previous church.

“At the recommendation of trusted advocates, we have engaged the firm Guidepost Solutions …. This firm was recommended to us based on their independence from any geographic location, entity or denominational affiliation, and because of their expertise in investigations and assessing institutional processes and dynamics specifically related to sexual harassment, abuse, and assault,” the church said in a statement Wednesday.

Spanish Jesuit Order Apologises for Decades of Abuse


January 22, 2021

By Oisin Sweeney

THE SOCIETY Of Jesus has apologised for survivors and their families for widespread child abuse carried out by its Jesuit members since the 1920s.

In a report released on Thursday, the Jesuit order admitted that 81 children and 21 adults have been sexually abused by 96 of its members since 1927. The organisations has apologised for the “painful, shameful and sorrowful” crimes, which were mainly carried by members who worked as teachers “or was related to schools”

The document claims that 48 of the 65 Jesuits who abused children are now dead, while four of the surviving abusers are no longer Jesuits and 13 have been prevented from working with children. Some are awaiting civil or internal charges, while others have already been stripped of many duties and banished to isolated Jesuit communities.

Jesuit order in Spain apologises for decades of sexual abuse by members

The Guardian

January 21, 2021

By Sam Jones

Society of Jesus admits 81 children and 21 adults were sexually abused by 96 of its members since 1927

The Jesuit order in Spain has admitted that 81 children and 21 adults have been sexually abused by 96 of its members since 1927, and has apologised for the “painful, shameful and sorrowful” crimes.

In a report released on Thursday, the Society of Jesus, whose members often work as teachers, said most of the abuse had taken place in schools “or was related to schools”.

According to the document, 48 of the 65 Jesuits who abused children are dead. Four of the surviving abusers are no longer Jesuits and 13 have been prevented from working with children pending the outcome of civil or canonical cases, or have already been ordered to cease their ministry and sent to isolated Jesuit communities.

Los jesuitas admiten abusos a 81 menores desde 1927

[Jesuits admit abuse of 81 minors since 1927]

El País

January 21, 2021

By Iñigo Dominguez and Julio Nunez

Es la primera investigación interna de la Iglesia en España. La orden reconoce 96 acusados y 37 adultos agredidos. La Compañía revela que dio “ayudas económicas” a las víctimas, que ven “ridículas” las cifras

La Compañía de Jesús ha reconocido este jueves que al menos 81 menores y 37 adultos han sufrido abusos sexuales a manos de 96 miembros de su orden desde 1927, la fecha más lejana hasta la que se ha podido remontar la primera investigación interna de una institución católica en España. Ha llevado dos años, sigue el ejemplo de transparencia puesto en marcha, por ejemplo, en la Iglesia de Francia, Irlanda o Alemania, y comenzó a raíz de las informaciones de EL PAÍS y otros medios. “Sentimos vergüenza, dolor y pesar”, ha declarado Antonio España, provincial de la orden en la presentación del informe en Madrid.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: It is the first internal investigation of the Church in Spain. The order recognizes 96 accused and 37 assaulted adults. The Company reveals that it gave "financial aid" to the victims, who see the figures "ridiculous"

The Society of Jesus has recognized this Thursday that at least 81 minors and 37 adults have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of 96 members of its order since 1927, the most distant date to which the first internal investigation of a Catholic institution has been traced. in Spain. It has taken two years, it follows the example of transparency set in motion, for example, in the Church of France, Ireland or Germany, and began as a result of the information from EL PAÍS and other media. "We feel shame, pain and regret," declared Antonio España, provincial of the order at the presentation of the report in Madrid.]

January 21, 2021

Attorneys for alleged church sex abuse victims asking court to unseal deposition of accused priest


January 19, 2021

By Kimberly Curth

Attorneys for alleged church sex abuse victims are fighting to get the deposition of an accused pedophile priest unsealed. Those lawyers claim the Archdiocese of New Orleans concealed almost all of Lawrence Hecker’s crimes from law enforcement.

In a new court filing, lawyers for the alleged church sex abuse survivors say “there is more than ample evidence and ‘support’ that both Hecker and the Archdiocese concealed multiple felonies perpetrated by Hecker against children.”

“They clearly can show, I think, that Hecker was a multiple offender and that they knew about it, that the Archdiocese did, and covered it up. The Archdiocese is trying to deny that and I think the plaintiff wants to show, with this deposition, that they are in fact covering it up and talking out of two sides of their mouth,” said Fox 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Tucson Diocese being sued for racketeering over alleged sex abuse

AZ Mirror

January 19, 2021

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

A federal lawsuit accuses the Tucson Diocese and Los Angeles Diocese of violating Arizona’s racketeering laws by burying allegations that some priests sexually abused children and moving those priests from parish to parish instead of turning them over to law enforcement.

This is the second major case of its kind after a recent change to state law gave sexual abuse victims more time to take their abusers and the organizations that protected them to court. A pair of lawsuits have been making their way through Arizona court aimed at the Corpus Christi Diocese alleging abuse by a priest who was moved to Arizona by the Diocese there.

The suit aimed at the Tucson and Los Angeles Dioceses was filed at the end of the window of opportunity on Dec. 31, 2020.

Former Tempe pastor accused of child sex abuse


January 19, 2021

By Adriana Loya

After a six-month investigation, Tempe Police arrested 48-year-old Mario Rodriguez-Ramirez on child sexual abuse accusations.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the charges the suspect was facing. He is facing one felony charge.

A man known in his community as being devoted to God is now facing child abuse allegations.

A six-month investigation led Tempe police to the arrest of 48-year-old Mario Rodriguez-Ramirez, a man who was once a pastor.

Police say the abuse began in 2015, when the little girl was 9 years old.

Rodriguez-Ramirez took the victim and two other children to Kiwanis Park in Tempe, police say.

There, he allegedly hugged and kissed the girl when she reached the ground after going down the slide, police say.

N4T Investigators: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints respond to civil complaint

KVOA-TV, Channel 4

January 19, 2021

By Lupita Murillo

It is a shocking case of child sexual abuse the News 4 Tucson Investigators reported about last month.

A Bisbee father has been accused of abusing his own children and showcasing the acts on the dark web.

Since the accusations surfaced, claims have been made against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Tucson attorney, Lynne Cadigan.

She represents some of the victims. Cadigan claimed church leaders knew about the abuse and did not report it to police.

A 19-page document was just filed in Cochise County in response to an 87-page civil complaint filed in November by Cadigan.

Olympic gold winner's sexual abuse case is a turning point for Greece

The Guardian

January 20, 2021

By Helena Smith

Action brought by sailor Sofia Bekatorou likely to end patriarchal country’s taboo on discussing treatment of women

When the Olympic gold medallist Sofia Bekatorou appears before a public prosecutor on Wednesday to reveal the sexual abuse she allegedly endured at the hands of a senior sport official, all of Greece will be watching.

For the sailing champion who shot to fame in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the court proceedings will mark the official end of the fear she says has kept her silent for more than two decades. But as she paves the way for more women to speak out, she will lift the veil on a subject considered so taboo in Greece it was never previously aired in public.

“In her person I’ve encountered all those women who have been abused either verbally or physically,” said the country’s first female head of state, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, after meeting the Olympian at the presidential palace on Monday. “I hope her brave revelation will blow like a rushing wind and sweep any hypocrisy, any cover-up attempt, away.”

Diocese asking for voices of church sex abuse survivors to be heard

Express and Star

January 20, 2021

By James Vukmirovic

An independent review of all past safeguarding cases related to Church of England churches in the region wants to ensure that survivors’ voices are heard.

All dioceses nationally are taking part in the Church of England’s Past Cases Review 2 including the Diocese of Lichfield, which is home to more than 500 churches in Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Shropshire and the Black Country.

Lichfield Diocese was also one of seven dioceses identified as needing to carry out further work to provide an updated and comprehensive version of the first Past Cases Review published in 2010.

[Opinion] Abusive nuns and complicit State coldly wrecked so many lives

Echo Live

January 20, 2021

By Colette Sheridan

Young women today have no idea what life was like in Ireland as recently as the 1970s, so says Colette Sheridan in her weekly column

IN town last Wednesday, with half an hour to kill while my new phone was being synched up, I decided to pop into St Peter and Paul’s Church to light a candle for my late parents.

Although not religious, I’ve taken to calling into churches for this purpose. And besides, Cork city is a ghost town these days with most retail outlets shut. So, with no opportunity to browse through rails of clothes, I was taking the spiritual route.

But then I backtracked because the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes had just been published. How could I darken the door of a Catholic church given the appalling litany of abuse meted out by nuns (in cahoots with priests) on vulnerable young women whose ‘crime’ was to become pregnant ‘outside of wedlock.’ (The State was complicit too, beholden to well-heeled bishops who wielded enormous power.)

Survivor of St Joseph's Industrial School in Kilkenny to speak at meeting

Kilkenny People

January 20, 2021

By Mary Cody

Following the release of the commission’s report on Mother and Baby Homes last week, survivors of church and state abuse have organised an online open meeting to voice their concerns and frustrations.

Maureen Sullivan, Deirdre Wadding and Ray Noctor, who are all survivors of church and state abuse, will be speaking at it and all are welcome to virtually attend.

The meeting will take place on Thursday (January 21) at 7pm, it will be chaired by People Before Profit cllr Adrienne Wallace and can be viewed by following the link on her facebook page ‘@AdriennePBPA’.

Local woman Maureen Sullivan was one of the youngest girls to be put in a Magdalene Laundry.

Maureen was taken to a laundry in New Ross where there was “no schooling, just the laundry every day, from 6am to about 9pm, with cleaning duties in the evening and at weekends”. The women there were adults, many elderly.

Religious institutions ‘willing to engage’ on payments to abuse victims in NI

Irish Examiner

January 20, 2021

By Michael McHugh

Religious institutions have been willing to come forward to discuss compensating abuse victims, Stormont officials said.

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill are set to kick off negotiations before the end of next month with Catholic religious orders, the Church of Ireland and children’s charity Barnardo’s.

More intensive talks will follow with the organisations which ran residential homes where wrongdoing occurred.

Local authorities ‘intrinsically involved’ in mother and baby homes fees – Minister

Irish Times

January 19, 2021

By Marie O'Halloran

Greens Senator expects ‘full apology’ from Galway council over Tuam home use

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said he hopes local authorities will apologise for their roles and lack of action in addressing the abuse in mother and baby homes and county homes.

Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said she expected Galway County Council to make a “full apology” at its next council meeting on January 25th and to state how it will attempt to make amends for holding meetings in the grounds of the Tuam mother and babies home.

Ms O’Reilly told the Seanad that “no one can tell me that those politicians did not know of the appalling conditions”.

Catholic Church makes record payout in child sex abuse case

Brisbane Times

January 21, 2021

By Heather McNeill

The Catholic Church has made what is believed to be its highest ever payout to a victim of sexual abuse after church lawyers forced a 52-year-old man to give harrowing evidence in court about his rape by a priest in the 1970s.

Peter* will receive $2.45 million plus legal costs to compensate him for abuse by teacher and priest Bertram Adderley, who groomed and raped him between 1977 and 1980 when he was aged 10 to 12.

Lawyers involved in seeking restitution for victims of sexual abuse say they believe the settlement is up to $1 million higher than any payout previously awarded to someone suing the Catholic Church.

The church is facing hundreds of claims after a number of jurisdictions removed rules that prevented people going to court to seek compensation for historical sexual abuse, even if they had previously accepted payouts from church-run schemes such as the Melbourne Response.

January 20, 2021

Rumson Priest Named In Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Trenton Diocese

Rumson Patch

January 19, 2021

By Nicole Rosenthal

Fr. Thomas A. Rittenhouse is accused of sexually abusing a minor while assigned to the Rumson church from 1981 to 1982.

A priest who served for seven years at Holy Cross Church in Rumson was recently named in a sexual abuse complaint filed Tuesday against the Diocese of Trenton.

Fr. Thomas A. Rittenhouse was ordained in 1976 in the Diocese of Trenton and is accused of sexually abusing a minor while assigned to the Rumson church from 1981 to 1982.

He served at Holy Cross from 1981 to 1988.

"These survivors were betrayed by the Diocese of Trenton when they were left vulnerable to abuse, harm and immeasurable trauma," said attorney Greg Gianforcaro in a news release.

"Today, the Diocese is pouring salt on the wounds by continuing to dodge accountability. These courageous survivors deserve better."

[Opinion] Movie star calls his perp -- please don't try this!

adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

January 16, 2021

In 2011, actor Gabriel Byrne disclosed that he’d been sexually abused by a Christian Brother in Ireland.


Now, he’s revealing that, years later, he called his abuser.


While we at Horowitz Law feel deep sympathy for Byrne (as we do all victims of childhood trauma), we beg you to NOT follow his lead.

Every survivor is different. Every survivor heals in different ways. And we at Horowitz Law aren’t therapists. Still, we urge you to resist the temptation to contact the man or woman who hurt you as a child.

Catholic Church protestor and sex abuse victim William O’Sullivan marching to Parliament

Welland Tribune

January 18, 2021

By Kris Dubé


William O’Sullivan wants give a “voice to the voiceless” by walking across a large portion of the province to raise awareness about child abuse within the Catholic Church.

The 50-year-old St. Catharines resident who grew up in Welland has spent more than two years in front of Parish Community of St. Kevin on Niagara Street in Welland to talk about what happened to him between the ages of nine and 12 at the hands of former priest Donald Grecco.

In October 2017, Grecco received an 18-month sentence for sexually abusing three boys between 1975 and 1982. It was his second conviction for sexually abusing children; his total number of known victims is six.

Six months later, Grecco was granted an early release from the Central North Correctional Centre.

Previously in 2010, he pleaded guilty to sexually molesting three former altar boys between 1978 and 1986 while a parish priest in Cayuga and later in Welland.

Victim of clerical abuse gets suspended sentence for causing €100,000 damage to church


January 18, 2021

By Declan Brennan

Man (54) had been offered ‘derisory’ compensation for sex abuse he suffered as a child at hands of Catholic priest, court told

A VICTIM of clerical child sex abuse who caused €100,000 in damage to a church because he was upset by a “derisory” offer of compensation from the church has been given a fully suspended sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that on July 26, 2017, Ian Kidd (54) got a letter from solicitors for the Catholic Church with a “final offer” of €30,000 for the abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest.

He found this offer derisory and became upset, his lawyer Marc Thompson BL said. Kidd filled a can with €5 worth of diesel and went to St Agnes’ Church in Crumlin.

‘I realised the book had helped people and that has been part of the healing’

The Irish Times

January 18, 2021

By Gavin Cummiskey

‘Lenny, show this lad the ropes, will ya?’

‘No problem, Ski. Who is he?’

‘Diarmuid Connolly – the most talented footballer in the country is who he is.’

‘Oh yeah?’

‘Yeah, unbelievable talent. Bit of a head case, though . . . He has a few issues, but not as bad as you, Lenny.’

Scratch the surface of Dub Sub Confidential and discover the memoir of a man who shadowed the goalkeeper that transformed the way Gaelic football is played forever.

Stephen Cluxton looms over John Leonard’s narrative especially when their lives move in opposite directions. But Cluxton is mere bait to hook the reader into a wild tale of debauchery, despair and eventually redemption.

The enigma of Irish sport is smiling on the cover, wearing a sketched crown to Leonard’s court jester cap. The insight into what makes Cluxton tick ensures this is a rare GAA manuscript as the secondary school teacher refuses to entertain the media or monetise his legendary status all because, as he tells the author, “Len, it’s not my job to speak to them. It’s my job to teach kids science. The rest is all bollix.”

Delve fully into Dub Sub Confidential and discover a darkly comic, enduring autobiography six years after it won sports book of the year. Leonard unveils a range of addictions and spectacular life choices that stem from child abuse at the hands of Father Ivan Payne. He skilfully shows how this horrific experience, while serving as an altar boy in Sutton, pursued him into adulthood.

Making noise about the default silence that greets a priest's son

Irish Examiner

January 18, 2021

Vincent Doyle tells Noel Baker how the discovery that he was the son of a priest opened the way to help others often left thinking "I'm the only one"

In the words and world of Vincent Doyle, everything turns on one sentence, posited early in his new book. "When I found out who I was," he writes, "like Truman, I wanted out."

Yet while Truman Burbank, "star" of the 1998 movie The Truman Show, lived in an entirely fake world, Vincent's was hyper-real, maybe a little surreal.

He had discovered, as an adult, that his father was the man he had known to be his godfather, and a different type of father at that: the Rev. John J Doyle, a Catholic priest.

As he writes in his book, entitled Our Fathers - A Phenomenon of Children of Catholic Priests and Religious and the first of its kind, the penny dropping made perfect sense once he considered the depth of the bond they had shared.

Government's efforts to help children of priests questioned

Irish Examiner

January 17, 2021

By Noel Baker

The Government's efforts to assist the children of priests have been questioned after the newly published mother and baby homes report revealed almost a dozen incidents where members of the clergy were or could have been the father of a child.

Coping International, which helps children of priests around the world, has received the backing of the Vatican and of senior archbishops here for its work, yet according to its founder Vincent Doyle, the Government has not followed suit — even after a UN report on Ireland raised concerns over the "lack of measures to ensure that children fathered by Catholic priests are able to access information on the identity of their fathers".

Mr Doyle said: "The Government's denial of the marginalising effects that accompanies the birth of children of the ordained, since 2014 to date, is itself a shadow of the regrettable intolerance that drips off each of the 3,000 pages of the mother and baby home report."

Norwich Diocese Likely To Shell Out More Apart From $9.5 Million, After Facing 35 New Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Latin Times

December 30, 2020

By Pooja Prabbhan

More trouble’s in store for the Diocese of Norwich and former Bishop Daniel Reilly, as he now faces 35 lawsuits pertaining to accusations made by men who alleged that they were sexually abused as children and teens by Christian Brother K. Paul McGlade, who ran the former Academy at Mount Saint John in Deep River in the 1990s.

The property that boasts of a sprawling 87 acres of the campus has currently been shut down, while the school remains closed. Recent reports also suggest that McGlade has had a history of inflicting abuse on assaulting young boys in Australia before he came to Norwich.

Only one plaintiff among 35 others, goes with an identity. The reason being Garcia – the person concerned— wanted victims to come out in the open and share their experiences, and pursue justice.

Norwich diocese now faces 35 sexual assault lawsuits connected to Deep River school

The Day

December 30, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

The Diocese of Norwich and former Bishop Daniel Reilly now face 35 lawsuits in which men allege that as children and teens they were raped and sexually assaulted by Christian Brother K. Paul McGlade, who ran the former Academy at Mount Saint John in Deep River in the 1990s.

The latest lawsuit was filed Dec. 16 on behalf of Sam Garcia, 40, of Bridgeport by the Reardon law firm of New London. This is the only one of the lawsuits in which the plaintiff is identified by name. The others are only identified by pseudonyms, such as John Doe. Most of the 35 defendants are represented by Hartford attorney Patrick Tomasiewicz.

Attorney Kelly Reardon said her firm has one more lawsuit to file and she expects there eventually will be more than 50 plaintiffs in total. She said none of the cases has been settled but discussions with the diocese, Mount Saint John and the Christian Brothers are ongoing. Tomasiewicz declined to comment on the cases Tuesday, and the diocese did not respond to a request for comment.

January 19, 2021

[News Release] Priest Assignment Records and Case Details Released

Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian

January 19, 2021

The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian has obtained settlements or arbitration awards for many victims and survivors who suffered sexual abuse by clergy or church personnel. The list can be found at at www.garabedianlaw.com/results-list.

Detailed information on the assignment records and claim history of these abusers, together with sources, is being provided on this website.

This information on individual priests can be accessed through links in the left sidebar or by reading below. Information can also be downloaded in pdf format. Please check back regularly as additional information is planned for release.

The firm added:

-- 38 sexually abusive priests to the Results List in June 2020 (view or download pdf), and

-- An additional 29 priests to the Results List in January 2021 (view or download pdf).

[Media Statement] Catholic Priest from Huber Heights Placed on Leave Following Accusations, SNAP Calls for Outreach

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 15, 2021

A Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, OH, has been placed on leave following “an allegation.” Now we call for Church officials in Cincinnati to be forthcoming with parishioners and the public about the nature of these accusations and to do outreach at each and every parish where the cleric worked so that victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers are encouraged to come forward and make a report.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Fr. Anthony Cutcher of Huber Heights, OH, has been placed on leave after Catholic officials received an “allegation.” So far, Diocesan leaders have not deigned to share any specific information about the accusation with their parishioners and have kept them in the dark regarding the nature of the allegation. In order to protect their flock and the public, Church officials should be completely transparent about the nature of the accusation, whether it involves sex crimes or sexual misconduct, or something else, like financial impropriety.

St. Peter Catholic Church pastor on leave; prosecutor says no criminal investigation at this time


January 14, 2021

The pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church is on leave after the Archdiocese of Cincinnati received an allegation against him.

Father Anthony Cutcher was placed on a leave Monday, according to the Archdiocese. The details of the allegation and investigation were not immediately available.

“The Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati recently received an allegation regarding Fr. Cutcher and has begun investigating it,” a statement issued Wednesday afternoon read. “By standard policy, Fr. Cutcher will remain on leave of absence pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said it was contacted by the Archbishop’s office earlier this week about the allegation.

Local Catholic priest placed on leave after allegation surfaces

Dayton Daily News

January 14, 2021

By Eileen McClory

Leave of absence comes two days before principal at same parish is found dead at park.

A priest at St. Peter Catholic Church in Huber Heights has been placed on leave after an allegation surfaced against him, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The Rev. Anthony Cutcher on Monday was placed on a leave of absence, the Archdiocese said.

“The Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati recently received an allegation regarding Fr. Cutcher and has begun investigating it. By standard policy, Fr. Cutcher will remain on leave of absence pending the outcome of the investigation,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “Please keep Fr. Cutcher in your prayers.”

University Reversed Bar on Student Volunteering in Murray-Weigel

The Fordham Ram

January 18, 2021

By Erica Scalise and Helen Stevenson

In a statement by Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, the administration reversed its decision to bar student volunteering in Murray-Weigel Hall.

McShane said he made the decision to allow students on the premises based on the assurance that all Jesuits living in Murray-Weigel are not “restricted,” and are therefore completely free and innocent of any accusations of abuse.

McShane also confirmed there will be no restricted Jesuits living in Murray-Weigel in the future.

“Upon his return from a pastoral visit to the members of the Province assigned to schools and parishes in Micronesia, Fr. John Cecero, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the USA Northeast Province, acceded to my request that no restricted Jesuits be assigned to the Murray Weigel Hall Community for any reason for any period of time in the future,” he said.

Rev. William J. O’Malley Removed from Murray-Weigel Hall

The Fordham Ram

December 27, 2020

Rev. William J. O’Malley, former adjunct professor in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, theology professor at Fordham Preparatory School and one-time actor in the 1973 film “The Exorcist” was removed from Murray-Weigel Hall after he was accused of sexual abuse against a minor.

He began teaching at Fordham Prep in the 1986–1987 school year, one year after the alleged abuse at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester took place, according to Rolling Stone. O’Malley was eventually let go from Fordham Prep after Prep’s then-president, Father Kenneth Boller said his teaching style was abrasive.

Fordham’s history with “The Exorcist” carries further than the priest that made the story famous. Sections of the film adaptation were filmed in Keating Hall according to previous reporting by The Ram.

Police stop investigating ‘unexplained’ Pell-era Vatican transfer

The Big Smoke

January 19, 2021

By Sonia Hickey

In 2020, authorities were investigating a $1 million transfer from the Vatican to Australia around the same time George Pell was charged. In 2021, they’ve given up.

Last year, financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC identified a $1.1 million transfer from the Vatican to Australia in 2017, the same year George Pell was charged with historical child sex offences.

But law enforcement agencies responsible for ascertaining the purpose of large transactions have ceased their investigations into the transfers, despite not ascertaining their purpose and amidst lingering suspicions the money may have been used as ‘hush money’ for complainants – conduct which, if established, could amount to the criminal offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice or influencing a witness not to attend court.

AUSTRAC is the Australian Government agency responsible for detecting criminal abuse of the Australian financial system. It was instrumental in gathering evidence and laying charges against Westpac over alleged money laundering and enabling transactions which supported child sex trafficking.

[Opinion] Why the State had such a big problem with unmarried mothers

Irish Times

January 19, 2021

By Alyson Staunton

Extra-marital sex was a threat to our self-perceived identity of moral superiority

Since news broke of the discovery of a mass grave of babies in Tuam, there has been a fear that publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes would mark the third in an unholy trinity of Church malfeasance in its stewardship of institutions for the most vulnerable in society.

First there was the report into the industrial schools, then came the Magdalene laundries, both set against the wider backdrop of widespread clerical sexual abuse in the parishes. The auguries were not good.

Instead, to the vocal consternation of some, the Church has emerged relatively unscathed. The commission found no evidence of sexual and very limited evidence of physical abuse, but rather placed the mistreatment suffered by women and girls, some as young as 12, at the feet of the families and fath

Summons issued, stay ends in Guam clergy sex abuse cases

Guam Daily Post

January 18, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Summons were issued to seven additional Catholic schools and one parish in connection with Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits last week, ahead of a Jan. 15 federal court deadline to effectuate proper service on defendants who have not been served.

The additional summons were issued in connection with the cases filed by 13 clergy sex abuse plaintiffs represented by Lujan & Wolff.

The additional summons, or citations, were issued to:

-Father Duenas Memorial School
-Bishop Baumgartner Memorial School
-Santa Barbara Catholic School
-St. Anthony Catholic School
-San Vicente Catholic School
-Notre Dame Catholic School
-St. Francis Catholic School
-St. Francis of Assisi Church

Church did not identify any criminal offences by religious sect, police not called in

Malta Independent

January 18, 2021

By Karl Azzopardi


A Church commission did not find any criminal offenses in relation to the local, highly controversial religious sect Kommunità Ġesu’ Salvatur (KĠS), despite finding various instances of psychological and spiritual abuse during its investigation of the community, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Malta told The Malta Independent. As such, no reports have been filed with the police.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese released a statement in which it disassociated itself from KĠS, which has allegedly caused “psychological and spiritual abuse” to its members. This followed the work carried out by a Church commission which heard the experiences of all those who offered to meet up with it, including the leaders of the Community.

Priest probed for abusing minors

ANSA English

January 18, 2021

An Italian priest has been placed under investigation on suspicion of sexually abusing minors.

The priest from Enna in Sicily is also a religious education teacher.

He is accused, on the basis of complaints from boys, of sexually abusing youngsters during leisure activities at the local oratory.

Police said his alleged victims were "mostly underage".

Other clerics found out about the abuse but kept silent, police said.

Similar episodes had been reported at nearby Piazza Amerina but the only action taken was the temporary transfer of the accused priest from the parish.

January 18, 2021

Former Stanmore Baptist Church youth club leader jailed


January 16, 2021

A former parish reverend and youth club leader has been jailed for historic sex offences against young boys.

Stephen Hardwicke indecently assaulted three boys aged between 10 and 18 years old in the the mid 1970s and early 1980s.

The 63-year-old was a leader at the Way In church youth group attached to Stanmore Baptist Church in Harrow at the time.

Priest, 63, who tricked boys into sex acts using a card game is jailed for five years

Daily Mail

January 16, 2021

By Luke May

-- Stephen Hardwicke abused boys as young as 10 on trips in the 1970s and 1980s
-- He groomed his victims at a youth group connected to Stanmore Baptist Church
-- Hardwicke, 63, was found guilty of five counts of historic indecent assault

A former priest who sexually abused three boys as young as 10 on church youth club trips in the 1970s and 80s has been jailed for five years.

Stephen Hardwicke, 63, tricked boys aged between 10 and 15 to perform sex acts by using a card game, Harrow Crown Court heard.

The abuse took place when Hardwicke was a leader and helped at the Way In church youth group, which was connected to Stanmore Baptist Church in Harrow, London.

A court heard how some of the abuse happened on overnight trips to Wales or Hertfordshire.

The abuse happened before Hardwicke became a priest at St Laurence Cowley Church in Uxbridge - he was suspended once a police investigation was opened.

Ex-priest jailed for grooming and sexually abused three boys in 70s and 80s

Yahoo News

January 16, 2021

By Rebecca Speare-Cole

A former priest who ran a church youth club has been jailed for grooming and sexually abusing three boys - one as young as 10-years-old.

Stephen Hardwicke, 63, from Uxbridge in London, was sentenced to five years in prison for five counts of indecent assault at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.

The ex-parish reverend targeted the three boys aged between 10 and 18 over five years during the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

Hardwicke was a leader and helper at the Way In church youth group connected to Stanmore Baptist Church in Harrow, northwest London at the time.

Canada Supreme Court refuses to hear church appeal against damages award for child sexual abuse at Newfoundland Catholic orphanage

The Jurist

January 17, 2021

By Ananaya Agrawal


The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday declined to hear the Catholic Church’s appeal against a suit for damages brought by victims of sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s Newfoundland. The decision brings finality to the 21-year-long litigation by former students who had suffered sexual abuse by five Brothers from the Christian Brothers Institute Inc, Ireland while they were boys living at the St John’s orphanage.

The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s or the archdiocese is now responsible to pay the Christian Brothers’ outstanding damages after the organization declared bankruptcy from settling child abuse claims in 2011. The church had denied responsibility for the Mount Cashel abuses which took place from the 1950s to 1970s. However, the Court of Appeal had concluded in 2020 that the relationship between the archdiocese and the Brothers was “sufficiently close to justify imposing vicarious liability on the Archdiocese.”

Further, the sexual assaults of the victims were sufficiently connected to the Brothers’ responsibility of caring for the boys. The assaults were thus deemed to be a “materialization of the risks created by the Archdiocese.”

Controversial former archbishop dies in SA

The Standard

January 17, 2021

The former Archbishop of Adelaide, Phillip Wilson, who was convicted but later acquitted on charges of covering up child sex abuse in NSW, has died aged 70.

He had suffered a series of health issues in recent years, including cancer, but his death was unexpected, the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide said on Sunday.

"We know that Philip was much loved by people across the country, but especially in the places he served - in Maitland-Newcastle, in Wollongong and here in Adelaide," the serving Archbishop of Adelaide Patrick O'Regan said.

"He made major contributions to the church and the wider communities in which he ministered."

Wilson was in 2018 convicted of covering up the crimes of pedophile priest James Fletcher, who was found guilty of sexual abuse committed in the NSW Hunter region in the 1970s.

Gardai could take criminal action over Mother and Baby Homes report


January 17, 2021

By John Kierans

The Gardai may take criminal action over the Mother and Baby Report, Dublin Live can reveal today.

A copy of the Final Report was sent to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris by the Cabinet on October 3 last to see if there are grounds for prosecutions.

It is understood senior officers are looking at a range of offences including allegations of cash for babies, child rape, physical abuse and slave labour.

The Gardai said in a brief statement given to Dublin Live; " Following the final report of the Commission of Investigation into the Mother and Baby Homes being presented to the Gardai, An Garda Siochana will now examine the detailed and extensive final report, and consider if there are grounds for criminal investigation."

[Opinion] Our lost children don’t need apologies from the church, only answers

The Times

January 17, 2021

By Colm Tóibín

For decades a deeply conservative Ireland put unmarried mothers in the care of the Catholic Church, a brutal ‘shadow state’ in which thousands of children died or were forcibly adopted. It claims to be sorry — so why won’t it open up its archives?

The report on mother and baby homes in Ireland, published last Tuesday, is one more investigation of a dark past in Ireland. This was a time when the Catholic Church operated as a sort of shadow state. All of us who were brought up in that state took its power for granted. The church controlled the schools and owned the hospitals; it ran orphanages and industrial schools and homes for unmarried mothers. A compliant state paid the church for these services and let it run them as it pleased.

The report, at almost 3,000 pages, establishes that over nearly 80 years from 1920 almost 60,000 women and the same number of children went through the system and 9,000 children died. According to the minister for children, Roderic O’Gorman, the report “makes clear that for decades, Ireland had a stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture, where a pervasive stigmatisation of unmarried mothers and their children robbed those individuals of their agency and sometimes their future”.

January 17, 2021

[Editorial] Victims of child sexual abuse need more time to confront their abusers

Forum via the Grand Forks Herald

January 16, 2021

The average age of adults who step forward to pursue a case against someone who abused them as children is 52. Often the abusers are trusted authority figures, making it difficult to confront them. Legislation taking shape in North Dakota would help victims by giving them more time to bring cases.

Sexual abuse of children is extremely difficult to prosecute. It often takes years — and even decades — before a person who was abused as a child is prepared to confront the abuser in a court of law.

That seldom happens, because of the difficulty of presenting evidence and because of the sense of shame that all too often keeps this horrible crime hidden in secrecy, allowing the abusers to remain untouched by the law.

Even when child sex abuse victims are willing to press charges as adults, the statute of limitations often has run out, leaving the victims unable to seek justice in criminal or civil court actions.

Allegations of child sexual abuse lead to restriction of retired 96-year-old Archdiocese of Detroit priest


January 16, 2021

The Archdiocese of Detroit says a 96-year-old retired priest has been restricted from all public, priestly ministry after allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced against him.

The designation means Father Lawrence Fares cannot wear clerical dress or present himself as a priest and his name has been added to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s online listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Archdiocese says they were made aware of the first allegation from the early years of his ministry in July of 2019. It had been reported to law enforcement. The church investigated after receiving authorization or a canonical law investigation by the Attorney General's office that Fall. It was during that investigation that a second allegation was identified.

Once that investigation was completed, the Archdiocesan Review Board deemed the allegations credible. Because of this, the church put the restrictions in place.

[Opinion] Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was a competent and engaging leader

Bray People via Independent

January 16, 2021

By Fr. Michael Commane, O.P.


Diarmuid Martin is about to hand over his episcopal baton to his successor Dermot Farrell, though of course, he remains an archbishop.

Readers of this column, who attend Mass, will be aware that in the Eucharistic Prayer the priest prays for the pope and the bishop of the diocese. It is a long and wholesome tradition that the assembled people pray for their bishop and the pope.

It's a lovely reminder of the unity of the community and it is also a prayer of hope that in spite of all our differences we are in unity with our bishop and pope. No, not that we are nodding the head in subservient obedience, rather that the unity of people, with their bishop and pope help us on our pilgrimage or journey, that ultimately leads us to God.

Philip Wilson, former Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, dies aged 70

ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

January 17, 2021

Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge said on Twitter that Emeritus Archbishop Wilson had died unexpectedly on Sunday afternoon.

In 2018, Emeritus Archbishop Wilson became the highest-ranking Catholic in the world to be convicted with concealing child sex abuse, over paedophile priest Jim Fletcher's crimes in the Hunter Valley in the 1970s.

That conviction led him to resign but it was later quashed on appeal, with a court finding there were doubts the archbishop had been told about the abu

Newly installed Buffalo Bishop pledges to listen to clergy abuse victims


January 15, 2021

By Eileen Buckley

"I pledge to listen, to comfort"

“To make possible a new and more promising era,” declared Bishop Michael Fisher, Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

Bishop Fisher is now the 15th bishop to serve. He was officially installed during a mass at Saint Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.

Fisher arrives to take the helm at a tumultuous time as the Buffalo Diocese is under siege. accused of covering up priest sex abuse for years.

Bishop Fisher says he is now ready to lead a flock of the 600,000 Catholics across the eight counties of Western New York.

But he has the difficult task of restoring trust and leading the diocese out of deep darkness from the decades of mishandling the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Clergy sex abuse advocates criticize method of picking new Buffalo bishop


January 15, 2021

By Michael Mroziak

While wishing new Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher success in his new role, a former priest turned advocate for clergy sex abuse victims says Fisher's selection is clouded by the involvement of a former superior, who stepped down from a powerful position within the US Catholic Church amid his own accusations of covering up abuse cases.

Fisher, before coming to Buffalo, served as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington, DC under Cardinal Donald Wuerl. The latter was among numerous current and former US church leaders present for Fisher's Installation Mass Friday at St. Joseph's Cathedral.

Wuerl was named in a scathing 2018 grand jury report looking into clergy sex abuse cases in Pennsylvania, facing accusations of covering alleged incidents up. He stepped down from his role leading the Archdiocese of Washington, DC in 2019. Fisher, meanwhile, has not been accused of any wrongdoing nor has he been accused of participating in cover-ups.

Babies taken from women raped by priests

The Tablet

January 16, 2021

By Sarah Mac Donald

The Irish government has been accused of overlooking the “hidden” children of priests in its response to the Commission of Investigation’s Report on Mother and Baby Homes.

The 3,000-page report, which was published on Tuesday, documents a number of cases where women ended up in mother and baby homes pregnant with a child fathered by a priest. Some of the women fell pregnant after they were raped by a priest.

Vincent Doyle, whose father was a Catholic priest, and who founded Coping International, a support group for those in a similar situation, said analysis of the Mother and Baby Homes Report so far had overlooked the plight of children of priests.

The Irish govt and Catholic Church apologized for abusive mother-and-baby homes. Survivors say it’s not enough.

"The World," Public Radio International (PRI)

January 15, 2021

By Orla Barry


The apologies follow a five-year investigation that found an “appalling level of infant mortality” in the institutions.

Francis Timmons was born in 1971, at Madonna House, a state-run home for unwed mothers and their children, in Dublin. Timmons was only 4 when he left the home, but still has painful memories of his time there.

“I remember a very harsh place; I have memories of an awful lot of upset, tears and crying and just generally, not being happy."

“I remember a very harsh place; I have memories of an awful lot of upset, tears and crying and just generally, not being happy,” he said.

Timmons’ late mother, then a 21-year-old unmarried woman, was kept at a separate institution, St Patrick’s in Dublin. She was rarely allowed to see her son. Being a single mother in the 1970s, Timmons says, was probably one of the biggest crimes in Ireland at the time. And the religious order that ran the homes, he adds, made the women feel humiliated about their pregnancies.

Like many children in the institutions, Timmons was included in two vaccine trials as a toddler, without his mother’s consent. At the age of 4, he was sent to live with a foster family but the abuse continued.

As Ireland examines mistreatment of unwed mothers, Catholic bishops apologize for 'abject failure'

Catholic News Agency

January 16, 2021

Catholic bishops have welcomed an Irish government report on 20th century homes for unmarried mothers and babies run by local governments and often operated by religious orders. They have apologized for the harsh treatment of unmarried mothers and their children, calling this a betrayal of Christ.

“Although it may be distressing, it is important that all of us spend time in the coming days reflecting on this report which touches on the personal story and experience of many families in Ireland,” Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh said Jan. 12.

“The commission’s report helps to further open to the light what was for many years a hidden part of our shared history and it exposes the culture of isolation, secrecy and social ostracizing which faced ‘unmarried mothers’ and their children in this country.”

Journalists reject Cologne’s confidentiality agreement

The Tablet

January 16, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

An attempt by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s archdiocese to defuse a crisis precipitated by Woelki’s refusal to publish a report on abuse in the archdiocese has backfired dramatically. In 2018 Woelki commissioned a Munich law firm to conduct an independent investigation and a detailed written report on how those responsible in the archdiocese had handled cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests. The cardinal promised that names would be published in the report.

When the report was finished at the end of October 2020, however, Woelki refused to publish it. He had consulted several lawyers, he said, who had warned him that the report had “methodical shortcomings”. He has since ordered a new report from a Cologne law firm that is due out in March.

On 4 January, however, the archdiocese invited eight selected journalists to a background discussion on the Munich report. They would have an opportunity to read the report, they were told, but warned that all names in the report had been redacted and that they would not be allowed make any copies.

On arrival, they were first of all asked to sign a confidentiality agreement which stated: “The journalist pledges to remain completely silent regarding the report presented to him or her.”

Vatican Finances Now Controlled by the Company Men

The Open Tabernacle (blog)

January 17, 2021

By Betty Clermont

The term “company men” refers to those whose loyalty can be described as willing to do whatever the company needs. During his reign, Pope Francis had appointed some men to control his finances who would allow their personal ambitions or agendas to influence their decisions. Not anymore.


Within four months of his election, Pope Francis had enacted his first law. It “criminalized leaks of Vatican information.” The penalty was up to eight years in prison if the material concerned the “fundamental interests” of the Holy See.

Pope Francis’ last law, enacted on June 1, 2020, is named “Norms on the transparency, control and competition of public contracts of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State.” However, “certain contracts are exempt from the legislation, contracts related to matters covered by the pontifical secret, contracts funded by an international organization [and] contracts necessary to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of the Holy See or the Vatican City State.”

Secrecy is important for this pontiff.

Along with the new law, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Kevin Farrell, 73, as president of his newly created Commission for Reserved Matters to oversee those transactions that would remain hidden. Farrell is suspected of keeping secret even the most notorious Church scandals.

January 16, 2021

[News Release] Archdiocese adds retired Fr. Fares, 96, Franciscan friars to accused clergy list

Detroit Catholic (Archdiocese of Detroit publication)

January 15, 2021

Allegation that Fr. Fares sexually abused a minor early in his ministry deemed ‘credible,’ priest restricted from ministry

The Archdiocese of Detroit added Fr. Lawrence Fares, 96, a retired priest of the archdiocese, to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse after an investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board found credible an allegation that Fr. Fares had sexually abused a minor during his early years in ministry.

As such, he is restricted from ministry and may not publicly present himself as a priest, the archdiocese said.

The archdiocese said it had been made aware in July 2019 of an allegation against Fr. Fares that had been reported to law enforcement.

“In the fall of 2019, the Archdiocese was authorized by the Attorney General’s Office to commence a Church (canonical) law investigation. During that process, a second allegation was identified,” a statement from the archdiocese said.

Retired Archdiocese of Detroit priest, 96, restricted amid sexual abuse allegations

The Detroit News

January 15, 2021

By Mark Hicks


The Archdiocese of Detroit has restricted a 96-year-old retired priest from ministry following sexual abuse allegations officials said were credible.

The Rev. Lawrence Fares "cannot wear clerical dress or present himself as a priest and his name has been added to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s online listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a minor," officials said in a statement.

The update was announced this week after a finding by the Archdiocesan Board of Review.

In July 2019, the archdiocese learned of an allegation from Fares' early years in ministry that had been reported to law enforcement.

Carlton County priest listed as 'credibly accused' of sexual abuse

Duluth News-Tribune

January 14, 2021

By Tom Olsen

The allegations were not related to his service in Northeastern Minnesota, a spokesman said.

The Diocese of Duluth has added a former Carlton County priest to its list of clergy deemed "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse.

The Rev. David Tushar had served as a priest in Northeastern Minnesota for nearly 35 years when he was placed on leave in July 2019 pending an investigation into allegations of abuse.

The allegations were related to his earlier service as a Holy Cross Father and Catholic school teacher in Niles, Illinois, from 1978-79.

Deacon Kyle Eller, spokesman for the Diocese of Duluth, said there have not been any allegations against Tushar locally.

"He had not been added to the list as we awaited a report from the Holy Cross Fathers, which we have now received, and which found the accusation credible," Eller wrote in an email to the News Tribune on Thursday. "The case now goes to the Vatican."

NY Catholic Church ‘worried’ Child Victims Act would pass: report

New York Post

January 14, 2021

By Tamar Lapin

The Archdiocese of New York may have been motivated to start its own compensation program for victims of child sex abuse as a way to keep lawmakers from passing the Child Victims Act, a report claimed Thursday.

New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan had apparently hoped that the payments to victims would remain in-house — and “worried” about the landmark legislation, ABC News reported.

The archdiocese established its independent compensation program in 2016 “to bring a sense of healing, resolution and compensation to victim-survivors,” it said at the time.

But a transcript of a confidential Dec. 2017 call obtained by ABC implies the key reason Dolan “decided to bite the bullet and create a program” was because of the “movement afoot in Albany” over the Child Victims Act.

The claims were made by Kenneth Feinberg, a mediator hired by Dolan to administer the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, during a teleconference with reps of three Upstate New York dioceses, the report said.

“I think the Cardinal feels that it is providing his lawyers in Albany with additional persuasive powers not to reopen the statute,” Feinberg said of the program.

Higgins: State and Church Bear Heavy Responsibility on Mother and Baby Homes

The Nationalist

January 15, 2021

By Cate McCurry, PA

President Michael D Higgins has said the State and Catholic Church must bear a “heavy responsibility” for violating the rights of the survivors of homes for unmarried mothers and their children.

In a statement, Mr Higgins said meeting the needs and addressing the concerns of survivors must be at the heart of the response to the mother and baby home report.

He said the Commission of Investigation’s report shows how the violation of fundamental rights of citizens was condoned over an extended period of time.

A 'time of crisis' for Poland's Catholic Church

National Catholic Reporter

January 15, 2021

By Donald Snyder

It was a gloomy forecast for the Polish Catholic Church.

"I say it's a dark night for the church," said Zbigniew Nosowski, one of Poland’s prominent intellectuals. "It is a difficult time of crisis."

Nosowski, a sociologist and journalist, is editor-in-chief of Wiez (Bond), a scholarly quarterly. Speaking in a phone interview, he said that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the hierarchy of the church and its unwavering embrace of the right-wing authoritarian ruling party, Law and Justice, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The church played a crucial role in the transition from communism to democracy, said Dariusz Stola, professor of history at the Institute for Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. As a result, the church became enmeshed in the nation’s political affairs.

Diarmaid Ferriter: Efforts to avoid ‘public scandal’ created the greatest scandal of all

Irish Times

January 15, 2021

By Diarmaid Ferriter

Vitriol that emanated from the altar remarkable in its unvarnished hatred

One of the consistent themes in the various reports relating to the experiences of Irish institutionalisation is the historic preoccupation with “avoiding public scandal”. But what if it was too late and the scandal had already occurred?

One of the archival files in the diocesan archives in Tuam and included in this week’s report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes relates to February 1935, when the parish priest of Westport wrote to the archbishop of Tuam: “I have the very unpleasant duty to report . . . that an illegitimate child was born to a girl named [full name given] in this parish, living about three miles from here. The child lived only a few days and was not brought to the church for Baptism. It was given lay Baptism. The guards exhumed the body and the medical evidence showed it died from natural causes. A denunciation will take place on Sunday next.”

The welfare of the girl who had just given birth and lost her newborn mattered not a jot. Another of the Tuam archival files is titled “Scandal in the parish” and relates a to a letter read from the altar by the parish priest of Cornadulla, who reported it had a “profound effect on the congregation”.

The purpose of these denunciations is also clear from the report. A 1934 conference in Tuam instructed that “Whenever an illegitimate birth occurs in a parish, and is publicly known, the scandal ought to be denounced without mentioning names, with a view to calling the guilty to repentance and as a deterrent to others. The denunciation ought to be in sorrow more than in anger and the preacher ought to point to the scandal as a grave sin against the sacrament of Matrimony and against the Sixth Commandment, a degradation to the family, a disgrace to the family, and as a sin against the good name of the locality.”

Bishop demands home deaths and abuse to be criminally investigated


January 14, 2021

By Helen Bruce

A bishop has called for criminal investigations into involuntary manslaughter at mother and baby homes.

The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan said gardaí should also investigate those who perpetrated physical abuse against women and babies.

‘To allow a baby to die, and not to do anything about it, that, of course, is totally and utterly wrong, absolutely inexcusable,’ he told WLR radio. ‘These kind of specific things can be investigated again going forward.’

The Editorial Board: Buffalo's new bishop can set a new tone

Buffalo News

January 14, 2021

Friday is a day of hopefulness and renewal for the Buffalo Diocese as a new bishop takes charge. Bishop Michael W. Fisher will be installed as the spiritual leader of 600,000 Catholics. We join them in welcoming him.

After the Masses and welcoming ceremonies are concluded, Fisher will have to put aside his vestments, roll up his sleeves and begin cleaning up some of the messes in a diocese that is going through a bankruptcy while facing hundreds of claims from people seeking restitution for childhood sexual abuse they allege was committed by members of the clergy.

In a meeting with The News’ Editorial Board this week, Fisher said he has been familiarizing himself with the issues facing Buffalo. He expressed the need to listen to and learn from the parish priests here, to reach out to lay people and ensure “we have no one left behind” and to focus on the church’s essential mission, “the salvation of souls.”

Buffalo's new Catholic bishop says he will remove abusers and their enablers

WGRZ-TV (Channel 2)

January 14, 2021

By Steve Brown and Joseph O'Rourke

'I want to part of the healing,' Fisher said, adding that he wants to meet with any victims who would allow him to meet with them. He'll be the 15th bishop.

Having lived most of his life in the Baltimore-Washington area, we asked Buffalo’s new Catholic bishop, Michael Fisher, if he knew anyone in Western New York.

Bishop Mike, as he prefers to be called, thought for a moment and answered, “No.”

To his knowledge, there are no familiar names or faces for him in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.

That may prove to be an asset because after Fisher is installed on Friday afternoon, he faces a number of tough decisions. He says he’s willing to toss out clergy and others involved in the sex abuse scandal that rocked the diocese.

Buffalo diocese rebuts claims it misrepresented seminary finances

Catholic News Agency

January 15, 2021

The Buffalo diocese has responded to claims that it misrepresented the financial state of its seminary before closing it last year.

“The seminary has had sustainability issues for a long time, and for at least over the past 15 years. The financial information was readily available to all interested parties,” a spokesman for the diocese told CNA on Friday.

“In short, the seminary was running out of students, time and money,” spokesman Greg Tucker told CNA Jan. 15.

January 15, 2021

'The list has triggered emotions': Victims' attorney digs deeper into priests accused of abuse


January 14, 2021

By Kiernan Dunlop


The sheer number of names on the Diocese of Fall River’s list of clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is shocking on its own, but the list provided little information about when and where the abuse occurred, how many victims there were, and who knew about it.

Additionally although the lists contain 75 names, an attorney for victims of sexual abuse believes it is incomplete.

“I think it's incumbent on the Diocese of Fall River to practice complete accountability and transparency and list church employees such as custodians, lectors, and deacons in addition to religious priests, seminarians, and diocesan priests [in its credibly accused list],” Mitchell Garabedian said.

Garabedian released his own list of credibly accused clergy in January of last year to pressure the diocese to release its list, which it had originally said would be released in spring of 2019, and the attorney’s list included a custodian.

[Opinion] Clergy abuse survivors' worst fears about compensation funds may be warranted

adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

January 14, 2021

In recent years, most New York bishops have set up allegedly “independent” payout programs for victims of clergy abuse. The stated intent of the programs was to obtain “reconciliation” and “healing.” The Catholic Dioceses in New York denied accusations that their real goal was to prevent legislation reforming the statute of limitations and litigation that would reveal duplicity by the Catholic hierarchy.

From the start, we at Horowitz Law, along with many victims and advocates, were cautions if not outright skeptical. We feared that these programs had a different purpose: to stop the civil windows lawmakers were pushing that give suffering victims more chance to expose corrupt clergy in court.

“Bishops want to persuade legislators ‘back off, we’re handling this crisis ourselves’,” we said. “There’s no need for legal reforms by outsiders.”

[Media Statement] Reconciliation Programs are Aimed at Protecting the Catholic Church, not Supporting Survivors

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 14, 2021


A recently leaked transcript has added more weight to a fact long suspected to be true – that the Archdiocese of New York had every intention of preventing the passage of the Child Victim’s Act. We are saddened but not surprised by this news, especially given that Catholic officials have spent millions trying to deny victims their day in court.

We have long known that Independent Reconciliation Programs like the one launched by the Archdiocese of New York in 2016 are designed less to support victims than they are to protect the assets and reputation of the Church. There is nothing shocking to us about the comments by Kenneth Feinberg or, according to Mr. Feinberg, the thinking of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. We believe that those very thoughts and opinions have long formed the backbone of the Church’s strategy to appear to be working on behalf of victims when they are really trying to silence them and prevent stories about abuse and cover-up from reaching the public.

[Media Statement] Horrifying Report from Ireland Demonstrates Human Toll of Enabling Institutional Abuse

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 13, 2021

A horrifying report from one of the world’s most Catholic nations is the latest in a series of government-commissioned investigations that demonstrates yet again the Church’s propensity for committing terrible abuses and then working to cover them up. We hope that this shocking report will spur other nations, including the US, into using the full powers of their government to investigate cases of wrongdoing within their own borders. We need to lay bare the truths that have long been hidden from the public.

This newly-released report demonstrates that the abuse scandal within the Catholic Church goes beyond the serial sexual abuse of children. This investigation, which studied 18 “Mother and Baby homes,” confirms that, in essence, young unwed mothers were enslaved, berated, tortured and shamed, and many of their children lost to neglect or even outright murder. These homes were managed by institutions of the Catholic Church in concert with the national government and demonstrate the depravity of officials who desire control over women and their bodies.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s lawyer viewed church program to compensate sexual abuse victims as a hedge against legislation: report

New York Daily News

By Larry McShane

January 14, 2021


An attorney with the Archdiocese of New York suggested the church’s program to compensate childhood sexual abuse victims was intended to blunt the passage of the state’s Child Victims Act, according to a newly revealed transcript of a 2017 call.

ABC News, after obtaining the transcript, reported the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program was launched in part to convince legislators there was no need to reopen the statute of limitations on lawsuits seeking damages for victims with decades-old claims.

“We want to be able to show Albany that people are accepting this money and signing releases,” said attorney Kenneth Feinberg in the call about the compensation fund, according to ABC News. “You don’t need to change the statute.”

Gabriel Byrne phoned the priest he accused of sexually abusing him: ‘I wanted him to be terrified’


January 13, 2021

By Emma Kelly

Gabriel Byrne called the priest he accused of sexually abused him in the hopes of confronting him.

The actor opened up about the abuse he suffered as a young boy in the Catholic Church in 2011, alleging that a ‘kind’ priest sexually abused him after he travelled to an English seminary aged 11 to train as a priest.

In his new memoir, Walking with Ghosts, the 70-year-old said that he called the priest, but that the man claimed not to remember him.

According to Page Six, Byrne wrote: ‘I wanted in those last seconds to call him a c*** and say that even though I don’t believe in Hell, I hope he does because I want him to be terrified and burn forever.

Bearing Witness to the Legacy of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes

Literary Hub

January 11, 2021

By Caelainn Hogan

Caelainn Hogan Traveled the Country to Speak to Survivors

At a random apartment viewing in Dublin a few years ago, the woman moving out, who happened to be born the same year as me, told me she had been adopted as a baby from an institution run by nuns, where “unmarried mothers” were sent in secret. These women were usually forced to work, had their names changed, and were separated from their children. As a millennial whose generation mostly thought these institutions were part of a distant past, she was only beginning to search for answers.

For the last few years, these strangely intimate and sudden revelations have been a part of my life, because almost everyone in Ireland has a story about how these religious-run institutions have affected someone they loved. Sitting hungover with a friend in the sun or asking someone at a shrine for directions, I would suddenly find out they or someone they knew was a survivor of these so-called homes.

Explained: What is Ireland’s mother and baby homes controversy?

The Indian Express

January 15, 2021

By Om Marathe

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin has apologised for the country's mother and baby homes, where thousands of unmarried mothers and their children were cruelly treated from the 1920s to the 1990s. What happened at these homes?

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin on Wednesday apologised and expressed remorse for the country’s mother and baby homes, where thousands of unmarried women and their children were cruelly treated from the 1920s to the 1990s.

The apology came after the publication of a long-awaited report into the functioning of these institutions on Tuesday, which found an “appalling level of infant mortality” at 18 such homes that were investigated. The facilities — most of them run by the Roman Catholic Church — housed women who became pregnant out of wedlock, including victims of rape and incest, and also worked as orphanages and adoption centres.

As per the report, around 15 per cent of all children who lived at the homes during the period — roughly 9,000 — died due to brutal living conditions.

9,000 children died in Ireland's brutal homes for unmarried mothers and babies run by the Catholic Church in the 20th century, damning report reveals

Daily Mail

January 13, 2021


- In total, 15 percent of the 57,000 children at the 18 institutions investigated by the Mother and Baby Home Commission died between 1922 and 1998

- The report published yesterday said the homes 'provided refuge' for the mothers when they had nowhere else to turn and found that blame 'rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families'

- But the women faced appalling emotional torment at the hands of the nuns - forced to work scrubbing floors while being called 'fallen,' 'sinner', 'dirt' and 'spawn of Satan'

- Commission said high death rates among infants 'probably the most disquieting feature of these institutions'

Elaine Loughlin: Government knew about mother and baby homes but did nothing

Irish Examiner

January 13, 2021

By Elaine Loughlin

Local and national authorities side-stepped responsibilities and caused confusion, allowing mother and baby homes to operate as they did

The Government knew everything but did nothing.

For the first 50 years after independence, as thousands of infants were left to die in mother and baby homes, the plight of unmarried mothers and their babies was never discussed at Cabinet.

Our local and national authorities conveniently created confusion and uncoordinated governance structures which meant that everyone was responsible but the finger of blame could be pointed at no one.

"Some oversight was exercised by national and local government but there was no clear policy on oversight and no clear demarcation between the roles of national and local government," the commission found.

Mother and Baby Homes: State and society turned blind eye to thousands of deaths

Irish Examiner

January 12, 2021

By Aoife Moore

Thousands of children died in Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes with no concern from the State or society, the Commission of Investigation has found.

Main points of the report:

- 56,000 women were incarcerated, 5,616 of them under 18. Some were as young as 12

- Approximately 9,000 of the 57,000 babies born in these homes died

- Ireland had the world's highest proportion of women sent to mother & baby homes in the 20th century

- In the 1930s and 1940s, 40% of babies in the institutions died before their first birthdays
75% of the children born in Bessborough in 1943 died in their first year. In that same year, 62% of babies born in the Bethany Home died

Michael D Higgins: Mother-and-baby homes a 'violation of rights'

BBC News

January 15, 2021

Irish President Michael D Higgins has described what occurred in the country's mother-and-baby homes as a "violation of fundamental rights" of Irish citizens.

The institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

A report published on Tuesday found an "appalling level of infant mortality".

"State and Church bear a heavy responsibility for this," said Mr Higgins.

About 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation.

The Irish government said the report revealed the country had a "stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture".

'On admission her clothes were removed, her hair was cut. She was told: "You're here for your sins"'

The Journal

January 12, 2021

The first-hand testimony from those who were sent to mother and baby homes are included in today’s landmark report.

‘I was told by a nun: “God doesn’t want you… You’re dirt.”‘

“You could almost feel the tears in the walls.”

“Her mother called her a ‘prostitute and a whore’. Three of her uncles were priests and her parents were worried about how her pregnancy would affect them.”

THE ABOVE ARE just three of the hundreds of accounts from survivors in the long-awaited final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.

The key recommendations from today’s report include a State apology, redress and that access to their birth information should be given to survivors of mother and baby homes.

The commission discovered that about 9,000 children died in the 18 homes under investigation: slightly over one in every seven children who were in the institutions.

Irish mother and baby homes: Timeline of controversy


January 12, 2021

The findings of a major investigation into how women and children were treated in Irish mother and baby homes are due to be published.

The investigation began in 2015 after claims emerged that hundreds of babies were buried in a mass, unmarked grave near a home in Tuam, County Galway.

The "Tuam babies" controversy, as it became known, sparked international shock and outrage.

It prompted the Irish government to set up a wide-ranging investigation into the operation of mother and baby homes, in a bid to shed light on the lives and deaths of thousands of former residents.

Supreme Court of Canada decision in favour of Mount Cashel victims will have sweeping implications: lawyers

The Telegram via the Chronicle Herald

January 14, 2021

By Barb Sweet


Even if the monumental decision had gone the other way Thursday for the now elderly victims of sexual assault at the former Mount Cashel orphanage, one John Doe said he would have felt they gave it their best shot.

But instead there was lightness for him that the fight was finally done, and victory was theirs at last.

When the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday refused to grant the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s leave to appeal a civil decision that held it responsible for sexual abuse suffered by boys at the infamous Christian-Brothers-run orphanage during the 1950s and early ‘60s, the retired educator was elated and grateful to the lawyer who had fought for the victims for more than 20 years.

“They were terrific, absolutely terrific. He is absolutely magnificent. (The firm was) always on a mission and they treated us with so much understanding and humanity,” the man said of St. John’s lawyer Geoff Budden. “I am happy for all the boys, the victims.”

The man was one of four John Doe plaintiffs in the case, which represented about 60 clients in total. One of the man’s four brothers who were also victims of abuse died before the decision came out, as did one of the four John Does.

“I am sad for those who have passed away or are no longer with us,” said the retired educator. “(But) it’s a great day for everybody all around, except for the church. They are facing up to their demons."

The retired educator said the Christian Brothers who abused the boys likely saw them as non-entities.

"And maybe we ourselves began to feel that way," he said of the repercussions.

The leave to appeal was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court of Canada.

“We won,” Budden said moments after hearing of the decision late Thursday morning.

“I feel it’s a tough day for the archdiocese. I feel joy for the clients. I feel relief that we delivered the results for our clients. … And I feel sad for those who didn’t live to see this day."

Budden reflected on the long road that he began in 1998 but was resolute the day would finally come. There are no more legal challenges for the church to fight against the victims.

“Isn’t that nice. It took a long enough time, eh,” said another of the John Does, who is retired from the military.

“I was determined to myself I would be damned if I would die before a decision would be made. It’s a big relief. It’s over now."

The man said religion was drilled into them every day and they couldn't understand how to even begin to deal with the sexual abuse when it happened, since they saw the Christian Brothers as father figures.

"It’s only recently, actually, that I was thinking about how screwed up things got, because life was life. That was my life. I didn’t know,” he said.

He said he tried to make the best out of his situation once he left the orphanage.

“I consider myself pretty lucky, actually — if I hadn’t joined the army…,” the man said.

Church's liability to victims confirmed as legal battle over Mount Cashel abuse ends

The Canadian Press via Kamloops This Week

January 14, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused a bid by the Roman Catholic archdiocese in St. John's to appeal a ruling that found it liable for sexual abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

Thursday's court decision ends a legal battle that first shook Newfoundland and Labrador decades ago. It also determines once and for all that the church has a responsibility to the victims of the abuse that took place at the notorious former orphanage, at the hands of the Christian Brothers in the 1950s.

Canada’s Supreme Court says archdiocese is responsible for orphanage abuse

Catholic News Agency

January 15, 2021

Canada’s highest court has ruled that the Archdiocese of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador will be responsible for Mount Cashel Orphanage child abuse lawsuits against the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

On Thursday, Canada’s Supreme Court announced that it rejected a final appeal of the archdiocese, which had argued that it should not be held responsible for abuse by the congregation (also known as the Christian Brothers of Ireland), because it was the lay group of brothers and not diocesan priests in charge of the orphanage.

The legal battle over Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel sexual abuse is finally over. But one of the four plaintiffs didn’t live to see it

Toronto Star

January 14, 2021

By Steve McKinley


The final chapter in the wrenching story of sexual abuse at Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel orphanage was finally written Thursday, bringing an end to a decades-long saga that haunted a region, turned many away from the Roman Catholic Church — and helped prompt a closer look at the issue of abuse within it.

The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear an appeal from the Archdiocese of St. John’s that was seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that the church can be held responsible for the sexual abuse suffered by boys there in the 1950s.

That decision brings to an end a 21-year legal battle that began in 1999, as four men deemed “John Does” as plaintiffs for the purpose of the case sought compensation for their abuse by members of the Christian Brothers of Ireland order, which ran the orphanage.

Supreme Court of Canada rejects Catholic archdiocese appeal over Mount Cashel

CBC News

January 14, 2021

Archdiocese of St. John's declines comment following decision

The Archdiocese of St. John's is liable for the abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1950s, after Canada's highest court declined to hear one last appeal from the Catholic Church.

The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision Thursday, simply saying it rejected the application from the Archdiocese of St. John's.

The decision brings to an end a painstaking process for victims who were abused at the orphanage when they were children. The case has been snaking its way through the courts for 21 years.

High Court Ruling Means Roman Catholic Church Responsible for Mount Cashel Sexual Abuse


January 14, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has denied an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church in St. John’s to appeal a ruling that found the church responsible for abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage.

That means the Church must pay damages to dozens of victims of abuse dating back to the 1950s.

Geoff Budden, the victims’ lawyer, says it brings to an end a decades-long legal battle over sex abuse at the orphanage.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of St. John’s said its lawyers must review and analyze the ruling before making public comment.

Archdiocese liable for Mount Cashel settlement

Catholic Register

January 14, 2021

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is responsible for paying victims of child abuse at the Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel Orphanage.

In a decision announced Jan. 14, the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear one last appeal from the archdiocese, which has always denied it was responsible for the abuse that occurred at Mount Cashel dating back to the 1950s. The orphanage was run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, which declared bankruptcy in 2012 while settling abuse lawsuits. The orphanage itself was demolished in 1992.

The archdiocese has argued before the court that it was not involved in the orphanage’s day-to-day operations and that the Christian Brothers was a lay organization whose members were not ordained priests of the archdiocese.

Supreme Court of Canada rejects Catholic Church bid for leave to appeal landmark decision that said it was liable for the sexual abuse suffered by orphans at the hands of Christian Brothers in the 1950s and 1960s

The Telegram

January 15, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to grant the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp of St. John’s leave to appeal a landmark civil decision that held it responsible for sexual abuse suffered by boys at the infamous Christian-Brothers run orphanage during the 1950s and early ‘60s.

The leave to appeal was dismissed with costs Thursday.

It ends a legal battle the now elderly former residents fought for more than 20 years, led by St. John’s lawyer Geoff Budden.

“We won,” said Budden moments after hearing of the decision.

“I feel it’s a tough day for the archdiocese. I feel joy for the clients. I feel relief that we delivered the results for our clients... And I feel sad for those who didn’t live to see this day.”

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Catholic church’s appeal in Mount Cashel case


January 14, 2021

By Bart Fraize


The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by the Catholic church for abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage.

In July, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal found the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s has a responsibility to victims of abuse at the orphanage. The archdiocese appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. On Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal with costs.

The case involves four survivors who had first launched their claim for damages in 1999.

January 14, 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked transcript shows NY church’s attempt to block Child Victims Act

ABC News

January 14, 2021

By Pete Madden

In a 2017 meeting, church leaders discussed the politics of reconciliation.

When Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the longtime leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, introduced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to the public in Oct. 2016, he expressed his hope that offering financial settlements to the victims of sexual abuse by clergy would both “promote healing” and “bring closure” after more than a decade of constant scandal.

“It is only appropriate that we take this opportunity to follow Pope Francis and once again ask forgiveness for whatever mistakes may have been made in the past by those representing the Church, even by us bishops,” Dolan said, “and continue to seek reconciliation with those who have been harmed and feel alienated from the Church.”

When Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer Dolan appointed to administer the program in New York City and Long Island privately pitched it more than a year later to the representatives of three Upstate New York dioceses, however, he suggested that Dolan was motivated in part by something else: politics.

“I think the Cardinal feels that it is providing his lawyers in Albany with additional persuasive powers not to reopen the statute,” Feinberg said of the program. “We are already doing this, why bother? Don’t reopen the statute. We are taking care of our own problem. I think that is guiding Cardinal Dolan as well.”

ABC News has obtained the transcript of a confidential Dec. 2017 teleconference in which Feinberg, a prominent mediation expert, alongside his colleague Camille Biros, heralded the benefits of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program Dolan established to leaders and lawyers from the Dioceses of Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester.

Dolan himself is not listed among its participants and does not appear to have been on the call, but Feinberg repeatedly claimed to be familiar with Dolan’s thinking.

Should alleged victims of child sex abuse have more time to sue? Soon voters may decide

Fox 43 TV

January 13, 2021

By Jamie Bittner

The amendment would allow alleged victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits. However, critics say it could take away rights of the accused.


Voters may soon decide if alleged victims of child sexual abuse will have more time to file civil lawsuits against the people or organizations they are accusing. However, critics voiced concern the proposal could tip the scales of justice towards the accuser while taking away rights of the accused.

House Bill 14 is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would establish a 2-year-long window in which civil claims arising from child sexual abuse could then be asserted even if they had previously been barred by a statute of limitations.

The House Judiciary Committee moved the legislation to the full House on a vote of 24-1. The proposal by Republican Rep. Jim Gregory of Blair County has received bipartisan support with cosponsor Democrat Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County. In an interview with FOX43 both lawmakers noted that the proposal is something victims have been fighting for over 20 years.

Controversial proposed changes to PA Constitution moving at Capitol


January 13, 2021

By John Finnerty

A House panel on Wednesday moved two proposals that would ask voters to amend the state Constitution – one to allow adult survivors of child sex abuse to sue even if their statute of limitations has expired and a second to have appeals court judges elected by region instead of statewide.

Both measures passed both chambers of the General Assembly in the last legislative session, so if they pass unchanged in the weeks ahead, voters could see them on the ballot in May.

The proposal to allow adult survivors of child sex abuse to sue their abusers and organizations like the Catholic Church, which covered up for child predator priests, was approved by the House judiciary committee by a vote of 24-1.

North Dakota bill would force priests to violate confession seal in abuse cases

Catholic News Agency

January 13, 2021

By Mary Farrow

Three North Dakota state legislators introduced a bill this week that would oblige Catholic priests to violate the seal of confession in cases of confirmed or suspected child abuse, on penalty of imprisonment or heavy fines.

The bill was introduced Jan. 12 by state senators Judy Lee (R), Kathy Hogan (D), and Curt Kreun (R), and state representatives Mike Brandenburg (R) and Mary Schneider (D).

The current mandatory reporting law in North Dakota states that clergy are considered mandatory reporters of known or suspected child abuse, except in cases when “the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received in the capacity of spiritual adviser”, such as in the confessional.

KX Conversation: North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem


January 13, 2021


In our Jan. 13 KX Conversation, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined us to discuss the recent investigation of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses.

This was a months-long criminal investigation, and Stenehjem discussed the outcome and the level of difficulty a case like this may be for BCI agents.

53 individuals were accused and all but two of the clergy were deceased. No one faces charges from this investigation.

Pennsylvania lawmakers pass several bills that could appear on future ballots

CBS-TV 21 News

January 13, 2021

This afternoon, lawmakers at the State Capitol in Harrisburg passed several constitutional amendments that you could eventually vote on.

Three bills that we've been following have passed in committee this morning.

They include a measure that would open up a two-year window of justice for victims of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.

Three decades after Mount Cashel orphanage abuse scandal, victims are still fighting for justice

Globe and Mail

January 13, 2021

By Greg Mercer

For most people, it’s just another shopping plaza. They come and go from the liquor outlet, hair salon, medical centre and grocery store, loading their purchases into cars in a parking lot that fronts a busy street.

But John Doe No. 26 will never forget what used to be here.

The 80-year-old grandfather can still vividly see the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage that stood at this St. John’s site until it was demolished in 1992. He was a resident there for seven years, until he was 15 years old, and suffered unspeakable violence and abuse at the hands of men who were supposed to care for him.

Mother and Baby Homes report: Main findings and recommendations

Irish Times

January 12, 2021

Responsibility for harsh treatment lies with fathers and families backed by State and churches

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes published its long-anticipated report on Tuesday. It investigated decades of harm caused to tens of thousands women and children at 14 mother and baby homes and four county homes across Ireland between 1922 and 1998.


*Fathers and families Responsibility for the harsh treatment of unmarried mothers in Ireland lies mainly with the fathers of the children and “their own immediate families” but supported by and condoned by the State and the churches. It says many of the homes provided a refuge, even if harsh, while the families provided no refuge at all.

*No alternative The report finds no evidence that women were forced to enter the homes by the church or State It says most women had no alternative. Many women contacted State or church agencies seeking assistance as they had nowhere to go and no money. Women were also brought to homes by family without being consulted.

*Infant mortality Some 9,000 children died in mother and baby homes, around 15 per cent of all those who entered the institutions, the report found. In the years 1945-46, the death rate among infants in mother and baby homes was almost twice that of the national average for “illegitimate” children. The commission said the high rate of infant mortality was a “disquieting” feature.

*Little public concern The report found little evidence that politicians or the public were concerned about children in the homes, despite the “appalling level of infant mortality”.

*Unmarried mothers There were about 56,000 unmarried mothers and about 57,000 children in the homes investigated by the commission. While such institutions were found in other countries the proportion of unmarried mothers sent to homes in Ireland was probably the highest in the world.

*Abuse of women The report finds while “there is no doubt that women in mother and baby homes were subjected to emotional abuse but there is very little evidence of physical abuse and no evidence of sexual abuse”.

*Abuse of children - It said there was some evidence of physical abuse of children “which, while unacceptable, was minor in comparison to the evidence of physical abuse documented in the Ryan report.” The report found no evidence of any sexual abuse of children.

*Pregnancies - Some pregnancies were the result of rape; some women had mental health problems, some had an intellectual disability and the only difference with other women not in homes was that they were unmarried. It said their lives were “blighted” by pregnancy outside marriage.

*Local health authorities - Some institutions with the worst conditions were owned by the local health authorities. “County homes, Kilrush and Tuam had appalling physical conditions.”


*Records - Adopted people should have a right to their birth certificates and birth information. A mechanism could be put in place to allow a birth mother to argue for her privacy rights.

There should be a central repository of the records of institution so information can be obtained from one place.

There are no records of burials of children who died in many cases, it finds.

*Redress - Any decision on financial redress is a matter for Government, the commission said.

– But as some groups in similar situations have received financial redress the State should not discriminate, it said.

– Women who worked outside the institutions without pay, women in the Tuam home in Co Galway who had to care for other mothers’ children and those who looked after other residents in county homes should be compensated.

– Women who spent lengthy periods in homes should also be considered for redress.

*Fund - The Government could consider earmarking a specific fund for current disadvantaged children.

*Tusla - The commission defended the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and its approach to providing information to adopted people. It said the problem was not with Tusla but with the law.

Archbishop apologises, urges those who know of more unmarked graves to come forward

Irish Post

January 13, 2021

By Rachael O'Connor

IRELAND'S ARCHBISHOP has apologised "unreservedly" for the Church's role in the Mother and Baby Homes scandal.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, issued a statement apologising yesterday following the release of the Mother and Baby Homes report which was six years in the making.

Among other things, the report found that, in the homes investigated by the Commission, 15% of all children born in the institutions died-- approximately 9,000 out of 57,000.

Women and children recalled instances of physical and emotional abuse while being detained, and mothers felt forced to give their children up for adoption.

Call for ‘full-scale' northern inquiry following Republic's mother and baby homes report

The Irish News

January 13, 2021

By Suzanne McGonagle


AMNESTY International last night called for a “fullscale inquiry into the appalling tragic scandal of mother and baby homes” in Northern Ireland.

Women forced to give birth in the homes and the children born in the institutions have joined with the charity in calling for a public inquiry into abuses they say they suffered.

Amnesty said there were more than a dozen mother and baby home-type institutions in the north, with the last one closing its doors as recently as the 1990s.

Some 7,500 women and girls gave birth in the homes, which were operated by both Catholic and Protestant churches and religious organisations.

Higher infant mortality rate, appalling conditions and emotional abuse - the Mother and Baby Homes report at a glance


January 13, 2021

By Hugh O'Connell

A right for adopted people to access their birth information – including their birth cert and other records - among recommendations of the Commission


The 2,865-page report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has been published, covering the period from 1922 to 1998 – a span of 76 years.

Ireland was “especially cold and harsh for women” during the earlier half of the period under the commission’s remit and that all women “suffered serious discrimination”, the Commission says.

Women who gave birth outside of marriage were subject to “particularly harsh treatment”.

Responsibility for this, the report states, rests mainly with fathers of their children and their own immediate families. It adds: “It was supported by, contributed to, and condoned by, the institutions of the State and the Churches."

Here are some of its key details and findings.

Church urged by Taoiseach to help compensate for mother and baby homes survivors’ trauma


January 13, 2021

By Gabija Gataveckaite and Philip Ryan


Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called on the religious orders associated with mother and baby homes to make a “financial contribution” to a redress scheme for survivors.

It comes as it emerged the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes report has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for review.

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Taoiseach said the gardaí can “obviously” pursue some of the issues outlined in the commission’s investigation even though a significant length of time has elapsed.

He specifically highlighted that many of the women in the homes were under the age of consent when they became pregnant.

‘We did not live up to our Christianity’ - order of nuns who ran infamous Tuam Home apologises


January 13, 2021

By Cormac McQuinn and Sarah MacDonald

Sisters of Bons Secours will participate in State's planned redress scheme


THE order of nuns that ran the infamous Mother and Baby Home at Tuam have apologised for the treatment of women and children at the institution and the "disrespectful and unacceptable" way infants who died were buried.

The Sisters of Bon Secours also confirmed to Independent.ie that they will participate in the Government's planned redress scheme for survivors.

The scandal of what happened in the various Mother and Baby homes around the country was revealed due to the work of historian Catherine Corless.

‘The shame was not theirs – it was ours’ – Taoiseach issues State apology to victims of Mother and Baby Homes


January 13, 2021

By Eoghan Moloney and Senan Molony


Survivors of mother and baby and county homes are blameless and did nothing wrong, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil in a formal State apology.

Mothers “did nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of,” Mr Martin told TDs in the National Convention Centre.

The treatment of women and children is something which was the direct result of how the State, “and we as a society acted,” he said.

“The report presents us with profound questions. We embraced a perverse religious morality and control, judgmentalism and moral certainty, but shunned our daughters.

Dáil hears call for church assets to be seized if religious orders refuse to pay for abuse


January 13, 2021

By Senan Molony

Seizure of Catholic Church assets by the State is being mooted in the Dáil as a possible resort if its bodies will not pay compensation to the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.

The religious orders of the Catholic Church must make appropriate contribution to the victims in atonement this time around, the Dáil was told by various TDs.

Former FF Minister Michael Woods agreed a €120m gesture from the Church nearly 20 years ago after earlier reports of institutional abuse — but most of the commitment was reneged upon.

“We need to ensure this time round, that those religious institutions make their contribution,” said Labour Party leader Alan Kelly.

“If they don’t make their contribution, we will pass legislation — I will draft it myself — to ensure that we can take their assets to ensure that they make that contribution.

January 13, 2021

[Opinion] Fathers disappear, untraceable and unseen, in tragedy spanning decades


January 13, 2021

By Nicola Anderson

Punishment fell on women while men got on with the rest of their lives, writes Nicola Anderson

In the harrowing personal stories of how desperate Irish women were forced to enter through the unwelcoming doors of mother and baby homes, their partners in pregnancy are cast as mere bit players.

The men at the heart of this wide-ranging tragedy that spanned decades feature merely as the shadowy instigators of misfortune, before being allowed to disappear into the backdrop, unseen and largely untraceable.

In a deeply conservative Ireland that pre-dated contraception and where parish priests sometimes turned up at dance halls to ensure couples were not dancing too closely, punishment fell on the woman for falling pregnant and for falling to safeguard her chastity.

Irish PM says ‘perverse’ morality drove unwed mothers’ homes

Associated Press

January 12, 2021

By Jill Lawless

Ireland’s prime minister said Tuesday that the country must “face up to the full truth of our past,” as a long-awaited report recounted decades of harm done by church-run homes for unmarried women and their babies, where thousands of infants died.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin said young women and their children had paid a heavy price for Ireland’s “perverse religious morality” in past decades.

“We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy. Young mothers and their sons and daughters paid a terrible price for that dysfunction,” he said.

Martin said he would make a formal apology on behalf of the state in Ireland’s parliament on Wednesday.

Ireland to apologize for massive abuse at ‘mother and baby homes’

Politico Europe

January 12, 2021

Report found that approximately 9,000 newborns, infants and young children died at facilities across the country.

By Shawn Pogatchnik

Unmarried mothers and their infant children suffered cruel and often lethal neglect in Ireland’s so-called mother and baby homes, a five-year state investigation has concluded.

Prime Minister Micheál Martin said he would issue an official apology to the survivors of the institutions following Tuesday’s publication of the final report from the Commission of Investigation Into Mother and Baby Homes. It examined conditions and policies at 18 such homes where Ireland sent 56,000 women with out-of-wedlock pregnancies from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Martin said the 3,000-page report details “a deeply misogynistic culture” that doomed thousands to speedy deaths or lifetimes of regret.

“We did this to ourselves,” he said. “We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy, and young mothers and their sons and daughters were forced to pay a terrible price for that dysfunction. We embraced a perverse religious morality and control which was so damaging … All of society was complicit in it.”

Mother and baby homes scandal: Irish PM apologises to victims - saying 'the state failed you'

Sky News TV

January 13, 2021

By Stephen Murphy

[Play Video - Irish PM's apology to mothers and babies]

The Irish prime minister has issued an apology following a report into the deaths of 9,000 children in institutions for unmarried mothers and their babies.

A five-year investigation by a judicial commission of investigation detailed how the children died at 18 institutions between 1922 and 1998.

Speaking today in the Dail, the lower house of the Irish parliament, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that as a society "we embraced a perverse religious morality and control, judgementalism and moral certainty, but shunned our daughters."

Irish leader apologizes for cruelty to unwed mothers and babies at homes run by the state and Catholic Church

Washington Post

January 13, 2021

By William Booth and Karla Adam

In a signal moment, to mark Ireland's "dark, difficult and shameful" treatment of unmarried women and their babies over the 20th century, the republic's prime minister, Micheál Martin, rose in the Parliament in Dublin on Wednesday and formally apologized for the state's complicity in "a profound failure of empathy, understanding and basic humanity."

Martin spoke after the long-awaited release of a 3,000-page report from the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes, which investigated conditions for the 56,000 unmarried mothers and 57,000 children who passed through the system — at 18 homes run by the state and by Catholic charities — from 1920 until 1998, when the last facility was shuttered.

The unmarried mothers, often destitute, desperate and young, with nowhere else to turn, sought last-ditch refuge in the homes or were shoved into them, having been cast out by their families.

Infant mortality at the institutions was in many years double the national average. Some 9,000 infants died — 15 percent of all those who were born in the system — a statistic the investigators call “appalling.”

Most of the babies who survived were offered up for adoption, often without full consent by the mothers.

Martin said: “We treated women exceptionally badly. We treated children exceptionally badly.”

The Irish leader said his society had suffered from a “warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy,” with a “very striking absence of kindness.”

“We honored piety but failed to show even basic kindness to those who needed it most,” he said.

New details of what happened to the women and their babies still have the ability to shock — though testimonies, novels, films and news reports have told of the homes for years.

The release of the report has dominated the conversation in Ireland, even as the country faces the world’s highest rate of coronavirus infections.

The Irish Times called the findings a condemnation of Irish society in past days, “its rigid rules and conventions about sexual matters, its savage intolerance, its harsh judgmentalism, its un-Christian cruelty.”

9,000 babies died in Ireland’s mother and baby homes

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

January 12, 2021


A disturbing report into Ireland’s mother and baby homes, where unwed mothers were sent to give birth and forced to give their babies up for adoption, says along with other indignities, 9,000 babies died in the care of the 18 homes. The Irish Catholic Church, which ran the homes, has apologized and the prime minister is also expected to apologize this week.

Irish PM issues state apology for mother and baby homes abuses

Al Jazeera

January 13, 2021

A ‘profound generational wrong’ was visited upon those who wound up in Ireland’s network of Catholic Church-run homes for unwed mothers and their children, Irish PM says.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has offered a formal apology in the country’s parliament for the treatment of unmarried mothers and their babies in a network of church-run institutions from the 1920s to the 1990s.

A government-commissioned report published on Tuesday found an “appalling” mortality rate of around 15 percent among children born at mother and baby homes, reflecting brutal living conditions at the sites and laying bare one of the Catholic Church’s darkest chapters.

Some 9,000 children died at the 18 homes – the last of which closed in 1998 – covered in the report.

Irish PM apologises over mother and baby homes

BBC News

January 13, 2021

The scandal became an international news story when "significant human remains" were found on the grounds of a former home in County Galway

The Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has apologised after an investigation into the country's mother and baby homes.

The report found an "appalling level of infant mortality".

Established in the 19th and 20th Centuries, the institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage.

Micheál Martin apologised for the "profound and generational wrong" to survivors of mother-and-baby homes.

About 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation.

The Irish government said the report revealed the country had a "stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture".

Irish church and state apologise for callous mother and baby homes

The Guardian

January 13, 2021

By Rory Carroll

Taoiseach accepts state responsibility for historic cruelty as Catholic primate acknowledges ‘painful truths’

The Irish state and Ireland’s Catholic church have made landmark apologies for running and enabling a network of religious institutions that abused and shamed unmarried mothers and their children for much of the 20th century.

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, led government figures on Wednesday in accepting responsibility and expressing remorse for mother-and-baby homes that turned generations of vulnerable women and infants into outcasts.

Eamon Martin, the Catholic primate of all Ireland, led statements from bishops and nuns that apologised for the central role of the church in a dark chapter of Irish history.

Ireland's 'brutally misogynistic culture' saw the death of 9,000 children in mother and baby homes, report finds


January 13, 2021

By Kara Fox

Thousands of babies and children died in 18 of Ireland's mother and baby homes -- church-run institutions where unmarried women were sent to deliver their babies in secret, often against their will -- over eight decades, according to a landmark report.

On Tuesday, the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters -- which was set up to investigate what happened in 14 mother and baby homes and four county homes from 1922 to 1998 -- announced the 9,000 deaths as part of the final findings of its near six-year inquiry.

Around 56,000 people -- from girls as young as 12, to women in their 40s -- were sent to the 18 institutions investigated, where some 57,000 children were born, according to the report.

Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

January 12, 2021

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: To see the 2,865-page report in its entirety, click here. To see the section entitled Archives of the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, click here.]

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters was established by the Irish Government in February 2015 to provide a full account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in Mother and Baby Homes during the period 1922 to 1998. It submitted its final report to the Minister on 30 October 2020.

Each element of the Report can be accessed through the links below.

The Report deals with issues which many may find distressing. If you are affected by the issues raised in the Report, contact details for support are available under ‘Counselling supports'.

Mother and Baby Homes report: A ‘shameful chapter of recent Irish history’

Irish Times

January 12, 2021

By Pat Leahy and Patsy McGarry

Investigation tells of cruelty, emotional abuse and soaring infant death rates


Ireland has again been brought face-to-face with its cold and callous past with the report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes revealing stories of cruelty, emotional abuse and soaring infant death rates in a series of State- and religious-run institutions.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the report outlined a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter of recent Irish history” in which an “extraordinarily oppressive culture” had “treated women exceptionally badly”.

The State, churches and – most of all – the families of pregnant women and the fathers of their children were responsible for the ill-treatment of women, according to the report which took more than five years to research and compile.

Report Gives Glimpse Into Horrors of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes

The New York Times

January 12, 2021

A government commission found high death rates, unethical vaccine trials and traumatic living conditions at 18 homes that housed unwed mothers up until the 1990s.

By Megan Specia

A government-commissioned report released on Tuesday found a shocking number of deaths and widespread abuses at religious institutions in Ireland for unwed mothers and their children. Survivors say the document is a small step toward accountability after decades of horrors.

The report, the culmination of a six-year investigation, detailed some 9,000 deaths of children at 14 of the country’s so-called mother and baby homes and four county homes over several decades, a mortality rate far higher than the rest of the population. The institutions, where unmarried women and girls were sent to give birth in secrecy and were pressured to give their children up for adoption, were also responsible for unethical vaccine trials and traumatic emotional abuse, the report found.

Irish report: Religious-run homes 'significantly reduced' children's survival

National Catholic Reporter

January 12, 2021

By Joe Little

An Irish government investigation has found that death rates among "illegitimate" infants in southern Ireland's religious-run mother and baby homes during parts of the 1930s and 1940s were twice that of the national average.

The report, released Jan. 12, says the frequently Catholic-run homes "did not save the lives of 'illegitimate' children; in fact, they appear to have significantly reduced their prospects of survival."

The quasi-judicial probe also found that the proportion of unmarried mothers admitted to the homes during the last century was probably the highest in the world.

Report lifts lid on harsh and unforgiving attitudes towards unmarried mothers

The Irish Catholic

January 12, 2021

By Michael Kelly

A five-year investigation into the treatment of unmarried mothers in State-funded Church-run homes has said that the blame for their “harsh treatment” rests primarily with their families but that both the Church and State condoned this.

The report of the ‘Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters’ was published this afternoon (Tuesday) and reviewed 18 institutions from the period 1922-1998. It found that “Ireland was a cold harsh environment for many, probably the majority, of its residents during the earlier half of the period under remit”. The report said that Ireland was “especially cold and harsh for women”.

The responsibility for the “harsh treatment” of unmarried mothers “rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families”, the report said.

For victims of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes, inquiry stirs up painful past


January 12, 2021

By Ben Dangerfield

Haunted by ghostly visions of the brothers she never knew, Anna Corrigan had a bad night ahead of the publication on Tuesday of a 3,000-page report into the horrors that unfolded at Ireland's Church-run Mother and Baby Homes.

Her older brothers, John and William Dolan, were born at one of the homes for unmarried mothers and their infants, in the provincial town of Tuam in western Ireland. They are thought to be among 802 babies and children who died at the home and were unceremoniously dumped in a mass grave by the Catholic nuns who ran it.

"I had a very bad night's sleep last night," Corrigan told Reuters in a Zoom interview from her home in Dublin, describing unsettling dreams about her fam

Rev. David Bonnar, a longtime Pittsburgh priest, becomes bishop of Youngstown

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

January 12, 2021

By Peter Smith

Longtime Pittsburgh priest David Bonnar became the Roman Catholic bishop of Youngstown on Tuesday afternoon before a pandemic-limited congregation in a solemn ceremony in which family and Pittsburgh-area friends took prominent roles.

Bishop Bonnar was consecrated at the Cathedral of St. Columba, which echoed with choral anthems and brass fanfares. Attendance was limited due to the pandemic, and masked worshippers were seated at socially distanced spots in the pews.

Bishop Bonnar, 58, was a pastor and administrator in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, most recently serving as pastor of St. Aidan Parish in the North Hills, and he was a former Pittsburgh Steelers chaplain.

Priest accused of abetting alleged sex abuse ring hired by diocesan charity

Religion News Service

January 12, 2021

By Claire Giangravé

The mother of an alleged abuse victim claims the priest broke the confidence of the confessional to warn church officials of a coming investigation.

On a scorching day in August 2015, the mother of a teenage girl walked into the confessional of a small church near the Sicilian city of Catania, in southern Italy. She believed that the leader of her lay Catholic group, a man known as the Archangel, had repeatedly raped her underage daughter and possibly others.

She trusted the priest, the Rev. Orazio Caputo, who had worked closely with the Archangel’s Catholic Culture and Environment Association or ACCA, to listen to her fears. In the highly devout context of Sicily’s Catholic culture, the mother believed she could speak freely to her usual confessor about her growing suspicions and mounting guilt.

Two years later, the Archangel, Piero Alfio Capuana, 76, was taken into custody after a police investigation found what authorities say is credible evidence that he had sexually abused at least six underage girls.

Thousands of Clergy Abuse Records Handed Over to Victims in Buffalo

National Catholic Register

January 12, 2021

The abuse victims, who make up a committee of unsecured creditors in the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the diocese, have also agreed to keep the contents of the records confidential.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Diocese of Buffalo released thousands of clergy abuse documents and related records to abuse victims and their lawyers this week as part of an agreement in ongoing clergy abuse negotiations during its bankruptcy.

According to The Buffalo News, these records were given to victims in exchange for an agreement that pending lawsuits against individual Catholic entities such as parishes or schools are stopped from proceeding.

These abuse victims, who make up a committee of unsecured creditors in the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the diocese, have also agreed to keep the contents of the records confidential.

January 12, 2021

Catholic priest pleads not guilty to rape, assault charges on minor

Cape Cod Times

January 11, 2021

By Jessica Hill

The Catholic priest charged with multiple counts of rape pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday during his arraignment in Barnstable Superior Court.

Mark Hession was arraigned on charges including 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. He was released after posting $2,500 cash bail.

Judge Mark Gildea also ordered that Hession’s passport be taken away and that he stay away from the complainant. Hession is due to reappear in court for a pretrial conference on Feb. 24.

Hession, who delivered the homily at the funeral for U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 2009, was accused of assaulting a child under 14 with the “intent to commit rape and did commit rape upon such person” on multiple occasions between 2005 and 2008 in Barnstable County, according to redacted indictments.

Diocese of Charleston faces second lawsuit in a week


January 11, 2021

A lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Charleston alleges abuse dating back decades.

The new suit is the second filed against the diocese in a week’s time.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who claims a priest sexually abused him over span of two years in the mid-1970s while the defendant was a student at St. John’s Catholic Church and Cathedral School.

The victim says in the suit he was 13 when he he started to be abused on a weekly basis. He said Frederick Hopwood, a priest, would put his hands down the victim’s pants and molest him.

Alleged church sex abuse victim says George Brignac raped him in 1977


Janury 11, 2021

By Kimberly Curth

Alleged church sex abuse victim says George Brignac raped him in 1977

Brian Manix held on to a secret for 43 years and says it took its toll.

“These people don’t realize what they’ve done to all of us. I’ve gone to drugs, I’ve gone to alcohol, I’ve tried to commit suicide three times,” said Manix.

Manix was an altar boy at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in New Orleans when George Brignac was a deacon.

He says he was just 10-years-old in 1977, when Brignac raped him in City Park.

“Which was my favorite place to hang out and he knew that, that’s where I always fished,” said Manix. ”He tried to rape me a second time again in City Park but this time in his car and I was able to escape and run.”

Government 'may force religious organisations' to pay compensation to Mother and Baby Home victims

The Irish Post

January 11, 2021

By Rachael O'Connor

THE VICTIMS of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes may receive compensation for the abuse they suffered behind closed doors.

From the mid-to-late 20th century, unwed mothers in Ireland were sent to special, Catholic-run 'Mother and Baby Homes', where some remained for the rest of their lives.

While the cruel, unjust nature of these homes has been known and acknowledged for some time, a new report leaked to the media yesterday revealed some of the most harrowing statistics to date.

The report, seen by The Irish Independent, is due to reveal that an estimated 9,000 children died in the just 18 institutions investigated. That figure represents one in seven or 15% of all children born in homes studied.

These deaths took place across 14 Mother and Baby Homes and four sample State-operated County Homes.

Since the foundation of the State in 1922 up until the closure of the last of these homes in 1998, the commission report found 56,000 mothers passed through these homes and 57,000 children were born within these institutions.

Pope Francis Defrocks Maltese Priest Who Sexually Abused 13-Year-Old

Lovin' Malta

January 12, 2021

By Benjamin Abela

Pope Francis has accepted the Conventual Franciscans Order’s request to dismiss Donald Bellizzi, the Maltese priest convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy, iNews Malta reported.

Last November, Bellizzi, a former Burmarrad Franciscan, was sentenced to three years in prison after forcing a minor to masturbate him.

Bellizzi’s offences first began in 2010, when he would invite youths interested in becoming priests on retreats to the Franciscan convent in Burmarrad. Investigations into the case were kicked off after the Curia received reports of the abuse.

Mormon bishop, 42, is charged with sending sexually explicit messages to a child after he was allegedly caught 'lying about his age on Pinterest'

Daily Mail Australia

January 12, 2021

By Daniel Piotrowski

- Nicolas Pierre Faivre, 42, is charged over alleged sexually explicit conversations
- Faivre was a bishop at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Blue Mountains
- The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment
- Faivre was refused bail during an appearance at Penrith Local Court on Tuesday


A Mormon bishop has been charged with allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a child after a tip off about his Pinterest account.

Nicholas Pierre Faivre, the former bishop of the Leura Ward of the Church of Latter Day Saints, had his Blue Mountains home raided by the Federal Police on Monday.

Detectives seized a mobile phone and two tablet computers and charged Faivre, 42, with two counts of 'transmit indecent communications' to a minor.

Father Bill Lombardy accused of sexual abuse by former altar boys: suit

New York Post

January 11, 2021

By Priscilla DeGregory

One-time priest and chess grandmaster Father Bill Lombardy — who was portrayed by actor Peter Sarsgaard in a movie about famed chess player Bobby Fischer — has been accused of sexually abusing two altar boys in a new lawsuit.

The now-deceased Lombardy — whose training of Fischer was depicted in the 2014 movie called “Pawn Sacrifice” — is accused in a Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit from last week of sexually assaulting two students in the 1960s, when he taught at St. Mary’s School in the Bronx.

Lombardy trained Fischer — whose character in the movie was played by Tobey Maguire — from age 11 through his historic win against Soviet Boris Spassky in the chess world championship in Iceland in 1972.

Suit Alleges Sexual Abuse at Point Retreat

Cape May County Herald

January 11, 2021

By Bill Barlow

A New York state woman filed a lawsuit alleging she endured abuse by clergy members while staying at the Marianist Center, on Yale Road, in Cape May Point.

For over 50 years, the Marianist Family Retreat Center, on the corner of Yale and Cape avenues, in Cape May Point, has been the site of contemplation, celebration and prayer for the faithful.

One woman alleges that in summer 1974, it was a site of horror and violation that still hurts decades later.

At the time, she was 14 years old and a volunteer camp counselor, according to a complaint filed in Superior Court Jan. 6. Identified in the court documents as Jane Doe RP, she filed a suit against the center and the Marianist Province of the United States, alleging that she faced repeated sexual abuse from two clergy members.

Report to reveal scale of abuse at Ireland's mother and baby homes

The Guardian

January 12, 2021

By Rory Carroll

Results of investigation expected to tell how 9,000 children died in 18 institutions between 1922 and 1998

The grim history of a network of religious institutions in Ireland that abused and shamed unmarried mothers and their children for much of the 20th century is to be laid bare.

A judicial commission of investigation into Ireland’s mother and baby homes has documented shocking death rates and callousness in institutions that doubled as orphanages and adoption agencies.

The mother and baby homes commission is to share a 3,000-page report with survivors of the system on Tuesday. Its five-year investigation was prompted by the discovery of a mass grave of babies and children in Tuam, County Galway.

Ireland to lay bare scandal of baby deaths at Church-run homes


January 11, 2021

By Padraic Halpin

An Irish inquiry into alarming death rates among newborns at church-run homes for unwed mothers will hand down its final report on Tuesday, laying bare one of the Catholic Church’s darkest chapters and leading to demands for state compensation.

The Church’s reputation in Ireland has been shattered by a series of scandals over paedophile priests, abuse at workhouses, forced adoptions of illegitimate babies and other painful issues.

Pope Francis begged forgiveness for the scandals during the first papal visit to the country in almost four decades in 2018.

The remains of 802 children, from newborns to three-year-olds, were buried between 1925 and 1961 in just one of the so-called Mother and Baby Homes, a 2017 interim report found.

Then-Prime Minister Enda Kenny described the burial site at Tuam, in the western county of Galway, as a “chamber of horrors”.

January 11, 2021

Confidentiality dispute piles pressure on cardinal accused of mishandling abuse cases

Catholic News Agency

January 10, 2021

German media have criticized the Archdiocese of Cologne for offering to provide a “background briefing” to journalists about an unpublished report into clerical sex abuse on condition that they signed a confidentiality form.

Journalists from several media organizations reported that they had refused to sign the form and walked out of the meeting on Jan. 5, which was called to explain issues regarding the report’s methodology.

The archdiocese claimed that the non-disclosure requirement sought to protect the identities of the people referred to in the report. But journalists balked at the suggestion, with one national newspaper citing “a deep-seated distrust” in the wake of recent developments between the diocese and media.

The form would have required journalists not to mention any sexual abuse described in the report, any named perpetrators or people responsible for handling allegations of abuse, as well as any recommendations by the independent report’s authors.

Cologne archdiocese had initially commissioned the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl to lead an independent investigation into the handling of sex abuse cases. But it decided not to publish the firm’s report, citing what it called “serious methodological deficiencies.”

A Mother’s Fight for Justice

This Day

January 11, 2021

Okon Bassey writes that Mrs. Deborah Okezie, the mother of 11-year-old Don-Davis Archibong, a junior secondary school one student of Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, is bent on getting justice after her son was allegedly sexually abused and molested by some senior students

A mother’s love knows no bounds and for Mrs. Deborah Okezie, that love has been sorely tested recently while trying to get justice for her son, 11-year-old Don-Davis Archibong, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1 student of Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital. She recently took to social media to protest the alleged sexual abuse and molestation of her child by two senior students of the school.

The Deeper Life High School, Uyo is one of the two campuses of the a co-educational secondary school owned and run by the Deeper Life Bible Church, pastored by one of Nigeria’s influential preachers, Pastor Williams Kumuyi.

Indian activists welcome retrial in rape-murder case

UCA News

January 7, 2021

By Saji Thomas

Protesters say police sabotaged the investigation and did not present evidence before the court

The High Court in southern India's Kerala state has set aside a trial court's acquittal of four men accused of the rape and murder of two minor girls three years ago and ordered a retrial.

The court on Jan. 6 also directed the special court functioning under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) law to oversee a reinvestigation of the case.

“We are now hopeful that the girls and their family will get justice,” said Father Augustine Vattoli, a priest of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese who has been leading a campaign demanding justice.

January 10, 2021

Trove of Buffalo Diocese abuse records turned over to victims in bankruptcy court

Buffalo News

January 10, 2021

By Jay Tokasz


Lawyers and survivors of childhood sexual abuse are reviewing more than 25,000 pages of internal Buffalo Diocese documents relating to clergy abuse, diocesan finances and personnel files.

Diocese lawyers began handing over the files in December under the terms of an agreement that they hashed out with abuse survivors who make up the committee of unsecured creditors in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, according to multiple sources.

Whether the general public will be able to examine the confidential records someday remains unclear and likely will be subject to intense negotiations during the bankruptcy proceedings.

Firms cut legal fees by $2K in church bankruptcy ahead of hearing

Guam Daily Post

January 10, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Firms cut legal fees by $2K in church bankruptcy ahead of hearing


Two law firms in the Archdiocese of Agana's two-year-old bankruptcy case reduced their legal fees by $2,162.50, ahead of a court hearing on the latest interim fee applications.

The fourth interim fee applications from law firms now amount to about $478,400.

The archdiocese's bankruptcy marks its second year this month. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is aimed at reorganizing the church's finances, and compensating nearly 300 Guam clergy sex abuse survivors while also keeping all Catholic schools and parishes open.

[Opinion] Abuse inquiry: we all know the outcome

Gisborne Herald

January 10, 2021

By Matthew Epsom

We must already know what the New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care will reveal about the Catholic Church in New Zealand. That's because it has been said before, time and time again, across the globe, by many other inquiries into the exact same issue.

Independent inquiries worldwide have already looked into what happened to children, young people and adults at risk in the care of the Catholic Church over past decades. Australia's Royal Commission, England and Wales' IICSA Report, the McCarrick Report and Pennsylvania Report in the USA, Ireland's Murphy Report, and the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child, among others, have all reached the same conclusions — that thousands of cases of clerical and religious child sexual abuse, dating back to the 1950s, were routinely buried by bishops and congregational leaders of the Catholic Church across the globe.

Taoiseach to give Dáil apology to those impacted by Mother and Baby Home

The Journal

January 10, 2021

Micheál Martin is to give the apology on behalf of the State and wider society.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN is to apologise to those who were placed in mother and baby homes in the Dáil next week.

As first reported by the Sunday Independent, the Taoiseach will give the apology on behalf of the State and “wider society” on Wednesday, a government spokesperson has confirmed to TheJournal.ie.

In correspondence sent to survivors’ groups, Minister for Children and Equality Roderic O’Gorman said that he was “deeply angered” to see details of the Mother and Baby Home report leaked to a newspaper.

Fall River Diocese list of clergy accused of sex abuse includes 5 former Wareham priests

Courier Sentinel via Wicked Local

January 9, 2021

By Frank Mulligan

A list of Diocese of Fall River clergy accused of committing sexual abuse of a minor has been published by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha and includes five priests who had been assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Wareham, two to St. Margaret’s in Buzzards Bay, and one assigned to St. Rita in Marion.

The priests who had been assigned to St. Patrick’s in Wareham include Mark R. Hession, born in 1958, ordination in 1984, faculties - permission granted to clergy that enables them to practice public ministry within a certain diocese – suspended. He was also assigned to St. Joan of Arc, Orleans; Holy Name, Fall River; St. Mary, New Bedford; Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River; St. Joseph, Taunton; Holy Rosary, Fall River; St. Patrick, Falmouth; Our Lady of Victory, Centerville; Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk; Holy Family East Taunton. Assignment dates were not listed.

Five former St. Patrick’s priests accused of abuse

Wareham Week

January 9, 2021

By Chloe Shelford

Five priests who served at St. Patrick’s in Wareham have been accused of sexual abuse, according to a list of 75 accused clergy published on Jan. 7 by the diocese of Fall River.

It is unclear when these priests worked in Wareham, and many served at more than eight churches over their careers.

St. Patrick’s declined to comment for this story.

Several of the priests are facing criminal charges:

Mark Hession has been charged with 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.

Badaun gang rape: Accused priest sent to 10-day judicial custody

Hindustan Times

January 9, 2021

Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Priest Narain used to live in the temple premises, where the woman was gang raped and murdered.

The prime accused in the brutal gang rape and murder of a 50-year-old woman on Sunday night in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district was sent to judicial custody till January 18 by a local court on Friday.

The prime accused, a temple priest named Satya Narain (53), was arrested by a police team in a village in Ughaiti area of Badaun on Thursday night. An award of ₹50,000 had earlier been announced for his arrest.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had also tasked the special task force (STF) to hunt for the prime accused but he was finally arrested by a team of local police.

Over two dozen Attleboro area priests on sex abuse list released by diocese

Sun Chronicle

January 7, 2021

By David Linton


Two dozen priests who served in the Attleboro area were among 75 clergy whose names were released by the Fall River Diocese Thursday as having been credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting of the past,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha in a prepared statement.

“As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to doing everything in my power to ensure this never happens again,” he said.

Catholic church pays $2 million to settle local abuse cases


January 10, 2021

By Caleb Hutton

Two former priests at St. Michael in Snohomish were among four “credibly accused” of molesting children.

The Archdiocese of Seattle has reached over $2 million in settlements in the past six months due to credible allegations of sexual abuse against four Catholic priests in Western Washington, including two former leaders of a parish in Snohomish and one in Everett.

The Rev. Michael C. OBrien led St. Michael Parish from 1974 to 1979.

He was succeeded by the Rev. Dennis Champagne from 1979 to 1999, who then became the priest of St. John Bosco Church in Lakewood. Church leaders put Champagne on leave in 2002, after someone accused him of sexual misconduct.

Longtime advocate for community, lightning rod for critics, Pfleger forced to watch others carry on his work

Chicago Tribune

January 9, 2021

By Annie Sweeney and William Lee


In his years of seemingly relentless advocating and fighting for social justice in Chicago, the Rev. Michael Pfleger has often charged into the center of controversy, publicly defying and rebuking his church and city leaders on everything from gun violence to race and economic disparities.

He has been arrested while protesting outside a suburban gun shop. He ran afoul of his downtown church bosses, earning suspensions. He lost a foster child to gun violence and faced hateful reactions in some Chicago enclaves after standing with victims of police shootings.

Throughout, Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest from a white working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, has built trust and amassed a dedicated following, leading with a righteous fury that garnered national attention from his base at St. Sabina in Auburn Gresham, the city’s largest Black Catholic congregation.

January 9, 2021

[Media Statement] Diocese of Camden Submits Plan of Reorganization, Survivors Left in the Cold

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 5, 2021

In the closing hours of 2020, the Diocese of Camden made an outrageous strategic move to protect itself from scrutiny. On New Year’s Eve, Bishop Dennis Sullivan submitted a Plan of Reorganization that prioritizes the protection of the Diocese against scandal over accountability and compensation owed to those harmed by sexually abusive clergy. The plan sets a new low for the Diocese’s self-interest, doubling down on the callousness and contempt for survivors.

This plan will allow the Diocese of Camden to move at an extremely fast pace through their bankruptcy proceedings by setting a “bar date” of March 2021. To us, the fact that the Diocese was allowed to declare bankruptcy in the first place is absurd, and this incredibly swift process to limit claims and protect finances will only harm survivors at the expense of a wealthy institution.

N.J. Catholic diocese has a plan to compensate victims of abuse. Advocates aren’t happy.

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

January 8, 2021

By Blake Nelson

Advocates for people sexually abused by clergy are opposing a plan from a New Jersey Catholic diocese to compensate victims.

The Diocese of Camden announced a proposal on Dec. 31 to speed up the process of setting aside millions of dollars for abuse claims, after the church filed for bankruptcy in October.

“The Diocese wants to continue to pay survivors rather than lawyers and other professional advisers,” the church said in a statement.

Alleged church sex abuse survivors say they feel betrayed by joint Archdiocese and SNAP New Orleans statement


By Kimberly Curth

January 8, 2021


Alleged church sex abuse victims tell Fox 8 they feel betrayed by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, or SNAP, after one of the group’s leaders met with the New Orleans Archbishop.

SNAP’s Kevin Bourgeois and Archbishop Gregory Aymond released a joint statement this week saying while the two groups have appeared at odds over how the Archdiocese has handled sexual abuse claims by clergy in the past, they have common goals for healing victims and their families.

“What Mr. Bourgeois and I are doing together is for the good of people and for the healing of those who have been hurt and once again I deeply apologize to those who have been hurt by the sexual abuse of minors,” said Aymond.

Retired Dutch priest, accused of abusing 2 New Orleans boys decades ago, denies wrongdoing


By David Hammer

January 8, 2021

Faced with a formal church investigation into allegations that he sexually abused a New Orleans altar boy in the mid-1970s, the Rev. Father Joseph deWater denies wrongdoing and suggests his accuser should not “dwell on things when he was a young boy.”

DeWater, who capped a 35-year career in the New Orleans area as a pastor, coach and educator by having a Roman Catholic school gymnasium named for him in 2003, granted WWL television an extensive interview at his home in the village of Voorhout, Netherlands, about 35 minutes south of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.

Former Easton priests among 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused in Fall River Diocese


January 9, 2021

By Kiernan Dunlop


Two years after announcing a review of allegations of sexual abuse against minors, the Diocese of Fall River on Thursday released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused, including two former Easton priests.

“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting for the past,” Bishop Edgar M da Cunha said in a press release from the diocese. “As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”

Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar M. DaCunha announced Thursday the release of a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Jim Scanlan, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse that occurred during his time at Boston College High School, said it's never a bad thing to have a list released.

Former Bishop Stang priest among those credibly accused of sexual abuse

Dartmouth Week

January 8, 2021

By Kate Robinson

A Catholic priest who once worked at Bishop Stang High School is among those credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor in a list of 75 accused clergy published on Jan. 7 by the diocese of Fall River.

Father William W. Norton, who died in 2004, is one of 53 priests, seminarians, and other religious leaders against whom allegations of sexual abuse is considered considered “credible” by the diocese.

According to a diocese statement, credible allegations are those that meet a “semblance of truth” standard similar to that of probable cause (in which there is a reasonable basis for believing a crime was committed).

Catholic diocese releases names of credibly accused priests

Associated Press

January 8, 2021

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River in Massachusetts has released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

More than three-quarters of the names released by the diocese Thursday have already been made public through previous announcements from the church, media reports, or other means, according to a statement.

There are currently no priests in ministry who have been credibly accused.

Sr Abhaya case: Kerala Catholic Bishops Council claims CBI did not prove charges

The News Minute

January 9, 2021

The KCBC said that all the verdict did was to satisfy falsely created public opinion.

Weeks after a CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram convicted Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy, an editorial on KCBC News, the newly launched website of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) claimed that the investigating agency could not prove charges against the accused. Sr Sephy and Father Kottoor were found guilty in December after 28 years under Sections 302 (Murder) and Section 449 (House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) of the Indian Penal Code, and have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mother and baby homes: another chapter from dark side of 20th-century Ireland

Irish Times

January 9, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

Commission set to publish final report on outrageous abuse of women and children

It is probable that the most shocking revelations from the report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission investigation, due to be published next week, are already known to us.

In its fifth interim report, published in April 2019, it confirmed that at Tuam “the memorial garden site contains human remains which date from the period of the operation of the Tuam children’s home so it is likely that a large number of the children who died in the Tuam home are buried there”. Local historian Catherine Corless had established that 796 children died there.

That interim report continued: “The human remains found by the commission are not in a sewage tank but in a second structure with 20 chambers which was built within the decommissioned large sewage tank.”

[Media Statement] Supporters of Popular Priest Accused of Abuse Demonstrate Publicly, Likely Scaring and Shaming Victims into Silence

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 7, 2021

Supporters of a popular and prominent Catholic priest in Chicago took to the streets to show their support for the accused cleric. While we understand that these supporters have a right to their opinion, we hope that in the future they will utilize alternative means of support that will not scare or shame victims into silence.

One of the things being harped on by the supporters of Fr. Michael Pfleger is that the allegations of abuse against him are from 40 years ago. To those who do not spend a lot of time thinking about sexual violence, this delay in reporting can seem baffling, but in reality delays like this are incredibly common. Data shows that the average age of a survivor of sexual violence to come forward is 52 and most survivors suffer in silence and self-blame for decades. This fact is only compounded when the abuser in question is someone who holds a prominent position in their community, like a valued coach, popular teacher, or trusted priest.

[Opinion] As ‘Father Mike’ faces an abuse allegation, supporters rally to defend famed priest

Chicago Sun-Times

January 8, 2021

By Mary Mitchell

A decades-old sexual abuse allegation against the Rev. Michael Pfleger has taken away one of Chicago’s most powerful voices.

Forty years is a lifetime.

I look back at where I was 40 years ago, and, while I marvel at how far I have come, I cringe when I consider where I have come from.

These are the thoughts that crossed my mind when I learned the Chicago Archdiocese announced there would be an investigation of an allegation that accused the Rev. Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing a minor four decades ago. It was a gut punch.

Father Mike? How is that even possible? The activist priest is as famous as a rock star. His civil rights activism includes turning St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church into a sanctuary for Black Roman Catholics and residents of Auburn-Gresham.

Sociologist and criminologist to produce police-style 'social network analysis' of clerical crime across the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese

Newcastle Herald

January 9, 2021

By Ian Kirkwood


A Newcastle University academic and a colleague from Queensland are embarking on a Hunter version of a research project that analysed the movements of Catholic figures around Victoria to uncover an alleged 16 child abuse networks within the Melbourne and Ballarat dioceses.

Newcastle sociologist Dr Kathleen McPhillips and criminologist Dr Jodi Death of the Queensland University of Technology's law faculty will lead the project, which recently received ethics approval from both institutions. Both Dr McPhillips and Dr Death (pronounced "Deeth"), have published widely on clerical child abuse.

The Melbourne mapping was carried out by one of Dr Death's PhD students and drew on her work, including a 2017 book on the Royal Commission and other Australian inquiries.

Campaigner resigns over victims' compensation

Belfast Telegraph

January 9, 2021

By Lauren Harte

A campaigner for victims of institutional abuse has resigned in disgust after some victims were offered as little as £10,000 in compensation.

Martin Adams, from Survivors Together, says many victims of historical abuse have lost all faith in the redress board that was part of the late Sir Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry recommendations.

The HIA studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

There were 76 homes that operated during that time and abuse victims from all of them would be eligible to apply for compensation.

Former principal of Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Academy pleads guilty to molesting teen in 1990

San Bernardino Sun via the Press-Enterprise

January 8, 2021

By Joe Nelson
The former principal of Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Academy pleaded guilty Friday, Jan. 8, to molesting a teenage student who babysat for his family more than 30 years ago.

Laverne Paul Fox, 61, who also formerly served as the bus director for the affiliated Faith Baptist Church, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sexual abuse involving a minor before Judge Mark Mandio at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. Fox is scheduled for sentencing on April 30, and faces a maximum of four years, eight months in prison, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

January 8, 2021

'No sin' - former New Orleans priest says he befriended accuser, denies sex abuse


January 8, 2021

By David Hammer

In a remarkably candid interview from his native Holland, Father Joseph de Water took questions from WWL-TV about accusations that he abused a young boy years ago.

Faced with a formal church investigation into allegations that he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1970s, Father Joseph deWater is denying wrongdoing and suggests his accuser should not “dwell on things when he was a young boy.”

DeWater, who capped a 35-year career in the New Orleans area as a pastor, coach and educator by having a Catholic school gymnasium named for him in 2003, granted WWL-TV an extensive interview at his home in the village of Voorhout, Netherlands, about 35 minutes south of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.

Texas diocese asks state Supreme Court to drop accused deacon’s defamation suit


January 8, 2021

The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock, Texas has asked its state Supreme Court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against the diocese by one of its former deacons, who claims he was wrongfully accused of child abuse.

The diocese holds that the suit should be dropped in order to protect the Church’s First Amendment rights to protect matters of theology, Church discipline, compliance with Church moral teaching and ecclesiastical governance from the jurisdiction of civil courts, according to Courthouse News Service.

In 2019, former deacon Jesus Guerrero, 76, filed a lawsuit against the diocese, after his name appeared on a public list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list was published on the diocese’s website in January 2019 in the wake of widespread abuse investigations throughout the Church in the United States.

The One Missing Fact

Commonweal Magazine

January 7, 2021

By Paul Moses

How EWTN misreported the Viganò letter

EWTN’s website declares that “Our mission is simple. We aim to bring you reliable, accurate, trustworthy news, from a perspective of faith. We prize integrity, fairness, and a commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

But in reporting one of the biggest stories to hit the Catholic Church in recent years, EWTN, which says it is the largest religion-news organization in the world, was neither reliable, nor accurate, nor trustworthy. Its coverage of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bold call for Pope Francis to resign his office willfully ignored the gaps and contradictions in his claims (except to explain them away), promoted his credibility, and slanted the narrative against the pope.

This can be seen even more clearly now that the Vatican has released its report on the Holy See’s role in advancing the career of Theodore McCarrick to his pinnacle as cardinal-archbishop of Washington and elder statesman of the American Church—all the while concealing multiple allegations that he sexually harassed and abused seminarians and young priests. But from the start, EWTN shaped the story to fit its increasingly Fox News-ified agenda.

Malta archdiocese condemns charismatic group accused of abuse


January 8, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

Following a 5-month investigation into the charismatic Community of Jesus the Savior, the Archdiocese of Malta has issued a decree forbidding participation in the group after finding what it described as abusive tendencies causing harm to members.

In a Jan. 8 communique, the bishops’ conference of Malta, consisting of the Malta and Gozo dioceses, said they “reaffirm the decision to disassociate themselves from Komunità Ġesù Salvatur,” referring to the group by its Maltese name.

They said this decision was the product of a 5-month investigation conducted by a Church commission which conducted interviews with the leaders of the community, and others who were willing to speak.

Clergy Sex Abuse Defamation Case Reaches Texas Supreme Court

The Texan

January 7, 2021

By Isaiah Mitchell

The Diocese of Lubbock defended their choice to publish the name of a credibly accused sex abuser yesterday before the court.

A priest and a lawyer crossed through a bar — in court, that is. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Texas heard a case between a Lubbock deacon who claimed his diocese defamed him by putting him on a list of credibly accused sex abusers. The Lubbock Diocese believes a ruling in the deacon’s favor would set a precedent against the freedom of churches to discipline their clergy in the manner they see fit.

The case, Diocese of Lubbock v. Guerrero, begins with a sexual incident between deacon Jesus Guerrero and an adult woman that landed him on a list of credibly accused abusers. The Diocese of Lubbock originally labeled him among “Clergy with a Credible Allegation of Sexual Abuse of a Minor,” but later corrected themselves to include “vulnerable adults” alongside children.

Springfield Diocese hires ‘neutral’ agency to gather input from sex abuse victims to improve accountability, prevention

The Republican

January 7, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

A Deerfield-based organization contracted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is seeking help from clergy sexual abuse survivors as it develops recommendations for the diocese to improve prevention and accountability.

The announcement that recruitment of survivors who were sexually abused by Catholic priests, sisters and other members of the church community is underway by Stop It Now! for an independent report to the diocese was made during a press conference Thursday afternoon outside the Bishop Marshall Center on Elliot Street.

Taskforce announces initiative in response to sexual abuse within Diocese of Springfield


January 7, 2021

By Hector Molina

An independent task force announced an initiative on the response to sexual abuse within the Diocese of Springfield.

Bishop William Byrne joined members of the independent task force along with representatives from the Stop It Now! organization Thursday at 2:30 p.m. outside the Bishop Marshall Center on Elliot Street in Springfield.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the Diocese of Springfield, the news conference is about an initiative to conduct listening sessions and surveying those who were sexually abused by members of the Catholic clergy.

Australia’s financial crime watchdog conducts ‘detailed review’ of Vatican transfers


January 7, 2021

Australia’s financial crime watchdog said Thursday that it is conducting a “detailed review” of Vatican-linked transfers worth $1.8 billion.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), a government agency, said Jan. 7 that it was seeking to shed light on the mystery transfers in cooperation with the Vatican.

“AUSTRAC is currently undertaking a detailed review of the figures and is working with the Holy See and Vatican City State Financial Intelligence Unit on this matter,” the agency said in a statement to the Associated Press.

Reports of a money transfer from the Vatican to Australia date back to Oct. 2, when Italian media claimed that an alleged transfer was part of a dossier being compiled by Vatican investigators and prosecutors against Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

Comunicado Oficial da Arquidiocese de Belém

[MEDIA STATEMENT] Official Communiqué of the Archdiocese of Belém

Archdiocese of Belém

January 3, 2021

A Arquidiocese de Belém reitera ao povo de Deus, com transparência e serenidade, que está acompanhando as investigações em curso, com a certeza e a confiança de que, ao final, prevalecerá a verdade.

Informa ainda que, devido ao sigilo imposto e em respeito às leis, não pode divulgar mais informações.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Archdiocese of Belém reiterates to the people of God, with transparency and serenity, who are following the investigations underway, with the certainty and confidence that, in the end, the truth will prevail.

He also informs that, due to the secrecy imposed and in compliance with the laws, he cannot disclose more information.]

[Media Statement] Diocesan Response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis

Diocese of Fall River

January 7, 2021

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we begin this New Year, I pray that God will bless us all with His grace and bring peace to those in our community who have suffered greatly during the pandemic and the many other challenges we have all faced in 2020.

The scourge of clergy sexual abuse has deeply wounded so many people in our Church. It has touched every diocese worldwide and continues to affect us all – laity and clergy – in significant ways. Today, it is with a contrite heart and commitment to the healing process that I have published a list of clergy, diocesan and religious related to the Diocese of Fall River who have been credibly or publicly accused of committing sexual abuse of a minor.

The review of Diocesan records, some going back 70 years, was incredibly arduous and time consuming. While this review has taken longer than first anticipated, it was crucial that we took the time needed to do it right.

Activist Chicago Priest Is Accused of Sexual Abuse

The New York Times

January 7, 2021

By Allyson Waller and Marie Fazio

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, known for his social activism, was accused of abusing a minor 40 years ago, the Archdiocese of Chicago said this week.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, an influential Catholic priest with an activist streak, has stepped aside from his parish on Chicago’s South Side while the authorities and the Archdiocese of Chicago investigate an allegation that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, told the parishioners of St. Sabina Church, where Father Pfleger is the senior pastor, about the allegation in a letter on Tuesday, saying that the archdiocese’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review had been notified about it the day before.

The archdiocese, he said, reported it to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The archdiocese did not disclose details of the accusation against Father Pfleger, nor did the state’s attorney’s office, which said it had referred the matter to the Chicago Police Department. The Police Department said it had opened an investigation but declined to release additional information.

[Media Statement] Archdiocese Settles Three Abuse Cases from 1960s, '70s and '80s

Archdiocese of Seattle via Northwest Catholic

January 7, 2021

The Archdiocese of Seattle has reached settlements totaling just over $2 million in three separate cases involving allegations of sexual abuse against four priests of the archdiocese.

During the past six months, settlements were reached in the following cases:

Allegations of sexual abuse by Father Dennis Champagne and Father Michael C. OBrien at St. Michael Parish in Snohomish in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The settlement was reached July 16, 2020. Champagne, who was pastor from 1979 until 1999, was put on administrative leave in 2002 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual abuse. He remained on administrative leave until a canonical process was completed, then was placed on permanent prayer and penance, removing him from ministry. OBrien was St. Michael’s pastor from 1974 to 1979. After the archdiocese received a credible complaint of sexual abuse, a canonical process was completed, and in 2010 OBrien was laicized (returned to the lay state).

An allegation of sexual abuse by Father Paul Conn, who served as parochial vicar at Queen of Angels Parish in Port Angeles from 1985 to 1988. In 1988, the archdiocese learned of the sexual abuse allegations and facilitated a report to the police. Conn was arrested and charged, pled guilty to six counts of indecent liberties and served time in prison. From the time of his arrest until 2005, he was not allowed to serve as a priest, and in 2005 he was laicized. The archdiocese reached a settlement in the case on November 19, 2020.

[Media Statement] Diocese of Fall River MA Finally Releases List of Accused Priests

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 7, 2021

Finally, after years of refusal, Catholic officials in Fall River have followed the lead of nearly 160 other dioceses around the country and released a list of priests known to have abused children. This step is long overdue and must be followed by extensive outreach campaigns to ensure victims are informed, parishes are alerted, and the public can learn the true scope of clergy abuse within Fall River’s borders.

We appreciate that Diocesan leaders in Fall River went a step further than many of their counterparts and chose to list, from the outset, religious order priests and clergy who spent time in Fall River but abused elsewhere. Hair splitting over who had jurisdiction over these clerics is not valuable when it comes to informing the public about dangerous men, an exhaustive list of abusers and their information is.

One critical piece of information that is missing from this list, however, is when Catholic officials first learned of the allegations against each priest and what steps were taken in response. We hope that Bishop Edgar da Cunha will update his list to include those critical details. In order to fix what is broken one needs to have all the pieces first, and a clear look at how Diocesan leaders handled each allegation is an important piece.

Fall River Diocese releases names of clergy accused of abuse


January 7, 2021

By Amanda Hoskins

The Diocese of Fall River released the names of 75 credibly or publicly accused of sexually abusing a minor Thursday after a long review of internal records.

Some of the records and accusations date back 70 years, with most cases involving conduct that happened between the 1960s and 1980, according to a release from the diocese.

"We did it for the victims, the survivors to bring a sense of justice and healing for them," said Bishop Edgar da Cunha.

Cunha had been criticized in the past for not releasing the list sooner.

After two-year review, Fall River Diocese releases list of clergy credibly accused of abuse

The Standard-Times

January 7, 2021

Two years after announcing a review of allegations of sexual abuse against minors, the Diocese of Fall River on Thursday released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused.

“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting for the past,” Bishop Edgar M da Cunha said in a press release from the diocese. “As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”

The diocese’s review revealed that 44 of the 650 priests who have served as a Fall River Diocesan priest since the diocese’s founding in 1904, or roughly 7%, have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Priests and abuse victims call for Woelki to step down

The Tablet

January 5, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

In the escalating crisis that is reverberating across the German Church several priests in the archdiocese of Cologne have called for their archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, to resign.

Woelki is accused of failing to inform the Vatican about a serious sexual abuse allegation involving a priest after he took office as Archbishop of Cologne in 2014.

In a carefully worded Christmas Eve address Woelki did not apologise for the fact that he himself – as the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” alleged in mid-December – is supposed to have covered up for a suspected child molester.

UP: Temple priest, aides charged with rape-murder of woman

Hindustan Times

January 7, 2021

Police arrested the two accomplices, Jai Pal alias Jaspal and Vedram Pal, under charges of gang rape and murder on Tuesday but the main accused, Satyaveer alias Satya Narayan , is still on the run, said Badaun special superintendent of police Sankalp Sharma.

A temple priest and two accomplices allegedly gang-raped a 50-year-old anganwadi worker, fractured her leg and ribcage, before leaving her bleeding to die in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district, state police said on Wednesday.

Police arrested the two accomplices, Jai Pal alias Jaspal and Vedram Pal, under charges of gang rape and murder on Tuesday but the main accused, Satyaveer alias Satya Narayan , is still on the run, said Badaun special superintendent of police Sankalp Sharma. The crime was allegedly committed on Sunday when the woman went to the local temple, said the victim’s family members in the police complaint

Reportagem da TV Globo expõe supostos abusos cometidos por Dom Alberto Taveira

[TV Globo's 'Fantástico' report exposes alleged abuses by Dom Alberto Taveira]


January 3, 2021

By Ana Carolina Matos

Matéria televisiva traz novos detalhes e relatos sobre as denúncias contra o Arcebispo Metropolitano de Belém

[Television piece brings new details and reports on allegations against the Metropolitan Archbishop of Belém]

“Não sei por que aceitei ser submetido a tudo isso. Você fica fragilizado, preso àquilo”, diz ex-seminarista vítima de abuso sexual

[“I don't know why I accepted being subjected to all of this. You are fragile, stuck to that ”, says ex-seminarian victim of sexual abuse]

El Pais

December 21, 2020

By Aiuri Rebello

Ex-seminarista diz que foi chantageado para aceitar abuso sexual do qual afirma ter sido vítima por parte do arcebispo metropolitano de Belém

[Ex-seminarian says he was blackmailed to accept sexual abuse of which he claims to have been a victim by the metropolitan archbishop of Belém]


No relato abaixo, um dos quatro ex-seminaristas que fez a denúncia ao MP e às autoridades eclesiásticas, hoje um estudante universitário de 26 anos, conta sua história e fala sobre a relação com a Igreja Católica, sua religiosidade e sobre o assédio e abuso sexual do qual afirma ter sido vítima por parte do arcebispo metropolitano de Belém, dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: In the report below, one of the four ex-seminarians who made the complaint to the MP and ecclesiastical authorities , today a 26-year-old university student, tells his story and talks about his relationship with the Catholic Church , his religiosity and about harassment and abuse of which he claims to have been the victim of the metropolitan archbishop of Belém , Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa.]

Archbishop Aymond and his fiercest critic make peace, pledge to collaborate on priest abuse crisis


January 6, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com, and David Hammer, WWL-TV

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and one of the local Catholic Church’s most vocal critics announced a detente Wednesday, pledging to ensure justice for victims of sexual molestation by clergy and to collaborate on preventing further abuse.

Local SNAP chapter leader Kevin Bourgeois, left, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced on Jan. 6, 2021, that they would collaborate on resolving the local Catholic Church's ongoing clerical molestation scandal. This photo was taken during a meeting on Dec. 15, 2020, which preceded their joint pledge to work together.

In a joint statement from Aymond and Kevin Bourgeois, the leader of the New Orleans chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the two sides said they would create “a program for healing for victims of abuse” aimed at “rebuilding trust between them and the church.”

“Though we may have different ideas and methods, we have common goals: healing for victims, their families and prevention of abuse,” the statement from both men said. “Let us be clear: clergy sexual abuse is a scandal, it is a sin, and it cannot be tolerated.”

The release didn’t provide information on any specific plans or initiatives. Still, it marked a notable thawing of relations between two men who had been clashing publicly for nearly 18 months.

January 7, 2021

After abuse accusation, Fr. Michael Pfleger says he's 'devastated, hurt, angry'

Catholic News Agency

January 6, 2021

Father Michael Pfleger, an outspoken activist Chicago priest, has issued a short response after the Archdiocese of Chicago announced it is investigating an allegation that he sexually abused a minor over 40 years ago.

“I am devastated, hurt and yes angry, but I am first, a person of faith, I trust God,” Pfleger said on his Facebook page Jan. 6. “Please keep me in prayer and the faith community of St. Sabina. I have been asked by the diocese not to speak out at this time. I am blessed with good leadership and amazing members, whom I love.”

Referring to the person who made the allegation, Pfleger said “Pray also for the person, my life is more than a 40-year-old accusation, and on that and my faith I will stand... The Lord is my Shepherd... I love you...”

Police to arraign Deeper Life school officials over alleged sexual abuse

Premium Times

January 6, 2021

By Cletus Ukpong

Some officials of the Deeper Life High School have been detained by the police.

The police in Akwa Ibom State are preparing to arraign some officials of the Deeper Life High School over the alleged sexual abuse of an 11-year-old student of the school in Uyo.

Some officials of the school were said to have been detained after attending a meeting at the police headquarters, Uyo, summoned by the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

David Okokon, lawyer to the parents of the boy said to have been sexually abused by two senior students of the Deeper Life High School, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday morning, he would be in court today for the arraignment.

“They (the police) are arraigning those people found culpable, this morning,” said Mr Okokon who flew into Uyo from Abuja for the case.

[Media Statement] Statement of Attorney Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson & Associates (plaintiffs' law firm)

January 6, 2021

For decades, Reverend Michael Pfleger has earned the praise of peers, parishioners and community members alike, particularly in his role as a prominent priest and advocate in the Archdiocese of Chicago. That is undeniable. And because of this, many in the community have immediately rallied in support of him, decrying the actions of the Archdiocese and protesting his administrative removal pending investigation of sexual abuse allegations naming him as perpetrator.

It’s time for understanding and data gathering; understanding of the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse by an authority figure. When that authority figure is a priest, the child is unable to process what has happened to them, to report it, or take any action. If they do, it is often decades later. This level of understanding requires all of us to realize it takes time for these things to come to the surface and be reported. As advocates for and attorneys of survivors of sexual abuse for four decades, working with thousands of survivors in the Chicagoland area and across this country, we understand the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse by clergy.

2021 brings new challenges to Church in Latin America

Angelus News

January 5, 2021

By Inés San Martín | Crux Now

There was no “bang” when most of Latin America rang in the New Year due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but in Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil, 2021 brought “new” concerns. ...


Brazil, a bishop under investigation for abuse

Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa, from the Brazilian city of Belem do Para, is under investigation both by local police and the Vatican, for alleged sexual abuse against four seminarians who were between 15 and 18 when the abuse reportedly happened, between 2010 and 2014.

The prelate is being investigated after a journalistic investigation by the Brazilian news site G1. The website interviewed all four alleged victims.

According to one of the accusers, the abuse took place every three months, during a span of two years. Three out of the four alleged victims ended up leaving the seminary, while the fourth was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

After the report, the Vatican dispatched a delegation to investigate the case. The archdiocese released a statement in which it “reiterates to the people of God, with transparency and serenity, that the investigations are ongoing, with the certainty and confidence that, in the end, truth will prevail.”

In the meantime, the archbishop is still in his position, denying all allegations and calling them the “action of the devil.”

Archdiocese of New Orleans, SNAP meet for first time in attempts to unify for abuse victims


January 6, 2021

For the first time, two organizations who have been at odds amid a growing list of victims of sexual assault at the hands of Catholic clergy have come together.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans and New Orleans-area advocate SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) have had a strained relationship ever since the list of accused priests started.

Both organizations issued the following statement saying that first steps were taken to work together for victims:

"For the past 18 months, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and local SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) leadership have appeared at odds, often publicly and in the media, over how the archdiocese has handled claims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Reporters storm out of press conference after Catholic officials ask for silence on child abuse report


January 6, 2021

By Andy Gregory

Cardinal who commissioned report and sat on it for months faces calls to resign

Journalists have stormed out of a press conference in Germany after Catholic Church officials asked for their “absolute silence” on a long-awaited report into child sex abuse.

A vast and comprehensive report investigating decades of alleged sexual abuse of young people at the hands of clerics and the resulting institutional cover-up in the Archdiocese of Cologne – the world’s wealthiest Catholic diocese, and Germany’s largest – had been pledged back in 2018 by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.

But Cardinal Woelki, who is also accused of failing to notify the Vatican about alleged abuse by a now-deceased priest known as Father O and faces calls to resign from fellow priests and abuse victims, has been withholding the report since its completion in March.

Germany: Catholic officials ask reporters for 'silence' on child abuse report

Deutsche Welle

January 5, 2021

Reporters walked out of a press event in Cologne after church officials asked them to sign a confidentiality agreement. The officials were due to discuss issues around a key report on child abuse. Journalists were asked to keep the contents of the report a "secret"

With the Catholic Church shaken by the child abuse scandal in Germany, journalists walked out of a press event organized by church representatives on Tuesday.

The Archdiocese of Cologne had called for a press conference to discuss an unpublished child abuse report. Specifically, church officials were to explain issues regarding the report's methodology. These issues, at least according to Cologne Archbishop Reiner Maria Woelki, were the reason for withholding the document from the public in its current form.

Church representatives said they would show journalists a redacted version of the document. They also asked reporters to sign a pledge to keep the contents "secret," including information on crimes, alleged perpetrators and implicated church officia

Indonesian church worker jailed for molesting altar boys

UCA News

January 7, 2021

By Ryan Dagur

Syahril Marbun handed 15 years following first sexual abuse trial in a civil court involving Indonesian Catholic Church

A church worker in Indonesia has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting altar boys following the first-ever sexual abuse trial in a civil court involving the Indonesian Catholic Church.

Depok District Court in West Java convicted Syahril Marbun on Jan. 6 for abusing two altar boys at St. Herkulanus Parish in Depok in Bogor Diocese, where he served as liturgical coordinator.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of 200 million rupiah (US$14,360) and to compensate the two victims, aged 14 and 15, with 6.5 million and 11.5 million rupiah respectively.

The sentence was harsher than the 11 years demanded by prosecutors. The judge said it was because Marbun abused his position as an educator and guide to the boys.

As archdiocese’s safe environment deputy takes national AMBER Alert role, former St. Paul Police community affairs chief steps in

The Catholic Spirit

January 6, 2021

By Dave Hrbacek


Janell Rasmussen remembers a press conference held by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi several years ago. As the deputy director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, she stood on one side of Choi’s podium with other representatives of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to address clergy sexual abuse.

On the opposite side stood law enforcement officers. Among them was Paul Iovino of the St. Paul Police Department. Little did Rasmussen and Iovino know then that they would someday work on the same team.

Thanks to some big moves in December, they will now serve together in the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. Rasmussen is leaving her full-time position but staying on part time, while Iovino comes in as her replacement. Rasmussen, who joined the archdiocese in 2016, was hired last month as the national AMBER Alert administrator, replacing Jim Walters, who is retiring. She will start full-time in that position in March.

Supporters Rally Around Father Michael Pfleger Amid Sexual Abuse Claim


January 6, 2021


Activists and community members are rallying around Rev. Michael Pfleger, after the Archdiocese of Chicago removed him from his post at St. Sabina, after claims he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago. CBS 2's Mugo Odigwe reports.

Catholic community reacts to sexual abuse allegations levied against Father Pfleger

Fox 32 Chicago

January 6, 2021


Heidi Schlumpf, executive editor of the National Catholic Reporter, talks about the Catholic community's reaction to the temporary removal of Father Pfleger from St. Sabina's Church in lieu of sexual abuse allegations.

Chicago priest stepping aside after sex-abuse allegation

Associated Press

January 6, 2021

By Don Babwin

Activist Chicago priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger has been asked to step aside due to an allegation of sexual abuse

Nationally known activist Chicago priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger has been asked to step aside due to an allegation of sexual abuse that occurred decades ago, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced.

The archdiocese said Tuesday that its Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review received an allegation that the 70-year-old Pfleger sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago. Cardinal Blase Cupich in a letter to members of the South Side church Faith Community of Saint Sabina, which is pastored by Pfleger, noted the allegation hasn’t been proven as true or false and guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Pfleger, who has garnered attention for taking on everyone from drug dealers to Jerry Springer, responded to the allegation Wednesday by asking for prayers for himself and the person making the accusation.

Texas Diocese Asks Court to Toss Libel Suit Over List of Accused Abusers

Courthouse News Service

January 6, 2021

By Cameron Langford

The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock urged the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by a former deacon who claims it falsely outed him as a child molester.

Texas Catholic bishops say the case threatens to uproot tenants of church autonomy enshrined in the First Amendment and open churches up to crippling liability simply for following their principles.

Jesus Guerrero said he was “shocked, confused, hurt and I knew that it wasn’t true” when the diocese published a list of clergy it said had been “credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor” in January 2019 and his name was on it, according to his brief with the state high court.

January 6, 2021

Priest accused of sexually assaulting parishioner denies claims but admits to having affair

NJ Advance Media

January 5, 2021

By Matt Gray

A New Jersey priest has acknowledged he had an affair with a woman who recently filed a lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted her.

The Rev. Robert L. Sinatra, of St. Padre Pio Parish in Vineland, admitted the affair in a Jan. 2 letter to parishioners, but denied that he assaulted the woman.

“With a deep sense of embarrassment and shame, I write to let you know that in late 2018 I had a two-month affair with an unmarried woman,” Sinatra wrote.

The letter and the woman’s lawsuit do not identify her by name. The suit describes her as a parishioner who participated in church activities.

Sinatra remains at his post with the parish and the Camden Diocese has no plans to remove him at this time, a spokesman said.

Sinatra met with Bishop Dennis Sullivan, head of the Camden Diocese, to report the transgression and ended the affair, according to the letter, which notes that the woman also met with Sullivan in July 2019.

Sullivan allowed Sinatra to continue serving as a priest while he “agreed to seek spiritual direction and counseling to prevent any future lapses.”

Sinatra, who was named pastor of the St. Padre Pio Parish in 2015, said he paid for a year of counseling to help the woman deal with the situation and Sullivan agreed that the diocese would pay for additional counseling.

“Although ending this relationship was difficult for me, it was obviously very difficult for her as well,” Sinatra wrote.

Though Sinatra said he blocked the woman’s phone number and severed any known social media connections with her, “she still found occasions to be in my presence,” he wrote.

She filed the civil suit in state Superior Court on Dec. 18.

It names the parish as defendant and accuses supervisors of failing to recognize that Sinatra posed a danger to others.

“Fr. Sinatra exploited his position of authority over Plaintiff as a priest, counselor and spiritual director,” the suit states. “Defendant and the Diocese knew or should have known that Fr. Sinatra was a danger to parishioners before Fr. Sinatra sexually assaulted Plaintiff.”

Pfleger removed from parish after sexual abuse allegation

Chicago Sun-Times via Daily Herald

January 5, 2021

Father Michael Pfleger, the longtime pastor at St. Sabina Church and an outspoken anti-gun violence advocate, has been removed from the Auburn Gresham parish following revelations of a decades-old sexual abuse allegation against a minor.

Cardinal Blase Cupich announced "the difficult news" in a letter to the St. Sabina community Tuesday, saying he has "asked Father Pfleger to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago."

Cupich said Pfleger agreed to his request and will live away from the parish during the course of the archdiocese's investigation. The allegation has also been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state's attorney's office, Cupich said.

Pfleger Asked to Step Aside From Ministry After Child Abuse Allegation, Chicago Archdiocese Says

NBC-TV Chicago / Channel 5

January 5, 2021


The Archdiocese of Chicago has asked Father Michael Pfleger to step aside from his ministry following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that was received by the Archdiocese’s Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review.

According to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich, the allegation stems from an incident that occurred more than 40 years ago.

“Father Pfleger has agreed to cooperate fully with my request and will live away from the parish while this matter is investigated,” Cupich said in the letter.

Father Michael Pfleger accused of sexually abusing child decades ago, steps away from ministry: archdiocese


By Eric Horng

January 5, 2021

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich sent a letter to the St. Sabina parish Tuesday informing them Father Michael Pfleger will be stepping away from his ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a child.

In the letter, Cupich said the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review received an allegation of sexual abuse of a child that happened more than 40 years ago.

Cupich said Pfleger agreed to step aside from his ministry and will live away from the parish during the investigation. Father Thulani Magwaza will temporarily serve as administrator of St. Sabina parish, and will attend to the church and the school.

Chicago archdiocese removes longtime pastor after sex abuse allegation from 40 years ago is reported

Chicago Tribune via The Southern

January 6, 2021

The longtime pastor of the city’s largest Black Roman Catholic parish has agreed to step away from ministry after a 40-year-old sex abuse allegation surfaced, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Tuesday.

In a statement, the archdiocese gave no details about the allegation other than it involved a minor more than 40 years ago. “Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed,” the statement read.

Father Michael Pfleger, activist Chicago priest, faces claim of abusing minor

Catholic News Agency

January 5, 2021

By Kevin Jones

The outspoken activist Chicago priest Father Michael Pfleger faces an allegation that he sexually abused a minor over 40 years ago, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has said, adding that the claims have not been proven true or false and are under investigation.

Cardinal Cupich shared what he said was “difficult news” in a Jan. 5 message to members of Saint Sabina Church and the Saint Sabina Academy. Pfleger has served as a priest at the southside Chicago church since 1983 and is presently described as its senior pastor.

Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Father Michael Pfleger

Archdiocese of Chicago

January 5, 2021

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

The Archdiocese of Chicago Distributed the Letter Today to The Faith Community of Saint Sabina and Saint Sabina Academy Community. Parishioners ask for prayers, patience and privacy at this time.

Dear members of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina and the Saint Sabina Academy Community,

I write to share some difficult news about your senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Pfleger to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Chicago's Fr. Pfleger removed over sex abuse allegation

National Catholc Reporter

January 5, 2021

By Christopher White

A popular Chicago priest has stepped aside from ministry following allegations that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago.

In a Jan. 5 letter to St. Sabina Parish and Academy, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich informed the historic parish on the city's south side that senior pastor Fr. Michael Pfleger had agreed to step aside and cooperate while the allegation is investigated.

Pfleger, age 71, is a long-time social activist and has led the historically African American parish since 1981. He has become known throughout the country as a prominent crusader for racial justice, gun control and against drugs. He has previously adopted two children and one foster child. In 2011, he was previously temporarily suspended by Cardinal Francis George after refusing to take another assignment as the head of a local high school.

"Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false," wrote Cupich. "Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed."

Cupich's letter also stated that the allegation was reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State's Attorney.

Event series' proposals aim to raise women's voices in San Diego Diocese

National Catholic Reporter

January 6, 2021

By Sophie Vodvarka

The 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse sent shock waves through the U.S. Catholic Church. For Bridget Gramme, the moment felt like a "call to women" to improve the church.

"I'm a cradle Catholic, it's my community and my identity and my kids go to Catholic schools," Gramme said. "It's something we really believe in and the community is so important to us. Maybe it's time we step it up and not just sit around and let these things happen."

Gramme is an attorney and member of the advisory board of the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego.

North Dakota concludes investigation of clerical sex abuse

Catholic News Agency

January 5, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

An 18-month-long investigation into child sexual abuse in North Dakota’s two dioceses has concluded, the state’s attorney general announced Monday.

The investigation focused on a list of 53 men who had previously been identified by the dioceses of Bismarck and Fargo as being accused of sexual abuse. The dioceses considered the allegations against these 53 priests “substantiated.”

The state identified one person, Fr. Odo Muggli, a priest of the Order of St. Benedict, whom they suspect abused at least one child. Muggli was not on the list of initial 53 names as he is not a diocesan priest. Muggli is accused of abusing a child in the 1970s.

Poland: Church cancels lease of liberal Catholic magazine

Associated Press

January 6, 2021

A liberal Roman Catholic magazine in Poland that recently criticized some high-ranking church officials says local church authorities in Krakow have terminated the publication’s office lease after almost 76 years.

The Tygodnik Powszechny (General Weekly) said on Facebook and on its website that a letter from the Krakow Curia delivered Monday gave the magazine three months’ notice to move out. The curia owns the building at 12 Wislna St. that has housed the magazine since 1945.

The publication did not say if it was given an explanation. But it said that moving from the old downtown building to a new location would be an opportunity for a technological upgrade.

The curia did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In its editorials and articles, Tygodnik Powszechny recently criticized anti-LGBT comments by the head of the Krakow diocese, Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski. It also criticized some prominent church leaders, including Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former secretary to the late pope St. John Paul II, for having taken an evasive approach to the issue of pedophile priests in Poland and elsewhere in the world.

Polícia e Vaticano investigam acusação de assédio e abuso sexual contra arcebispo de Belém

[Police and Vatican investigate allegation of harassment and sexual abuse against archbishop of Bethlehem]


January 4, 2021

By Aiuri Rebello


Investigação contra Arcebispo Metropolitano de Belém

[Investigation Against Metropolitan Archbishop of Belém]

Quatro ex-integrantes do Seminário São Pio X formalizaram denúncia ao Ministério Público em agosto deste ano acusando Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa de usar suposta terapia para ‘curar’ a homossexualidade como pretexto para tocar seus corpos nus e promover abusos como testes à ‘tentação’ do sexo

[Google Translation: Four former members of the São Pio X Seminar filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor in August this year accusing Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa of using alleged therapy to 'cure' homosexuality as a pretext to touch their naked bodies and promote sex abuse as tests of 'temptation'.]

Brazilian archbishop faces accusations of abuse of seminarians


January 6, 2021

By Eduardo Campos Lima

Archbishop Alberto Taveira Corrêa of Belém, an archdiocese with more than 2 million residents in the Amazon region in Brazil, faces criminal and ecclesial investigations after being accused of sexual harassment and abuse by four former seminarians.

The accusations were disclosed by the Brazilian edition of the Spanish newspaper El País at the end of December and became a high-profile scandal on January 3, when TV Globo’s weekly news show Fantástico aired a report on the story.

The names of the former seminarians have not been revealed. All of them studied at the Saint Pius X seminary in Ananindeua, in Belém’s metropolitan area, and were between 15 and 20 years old when the alleged abuse happened.

Australian bishops puzzled by reported money transfers from Vatican


January 5, 2021

By Inés San Martín

Australia’s bishops are seeking answers after the country’s financial watchdog reported that there have been over 47,000 separate transfers from the Vatican or affiliates worth $1.8 billion in the past seven years.

Both the Vatican and the Australian church have denied knowledge of the transfers, made public in December by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), in response to a parliamentary question by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. The amount of the transactions was first reported by the local newspaper The Australian.

The transfers from the Vatican to Australia rose rapidly from $71.6 million in 2014 to $137.1 million in 2015 before doubling again to $ 295 million in 2016 and peaking at $581.3 million in 2017, according to Austrac disclosures in response to Fierravantti-Well’s questions during Senate estimation hearings.

January 5, 2021

Father Marcelo Rossi and Fabio de Mela defend archbishop accused of sexual assault


January 4, 2021

In Fantasy (3) this Sunday, it was revealed that 4 former seminarians were accusing the House of Albert Taveira Correa, Archbishop of Belen do Par, of sexual violence.

The archbishop was defended by the religious.

Among them are Father Marcello Rossi and Fabio de Mello.

“At this hour of battle we are together in prayer,” Father Marcelo Rossi said.

“Don Alberta has supported me many times. I would like my prayers and my commitment to do the same for him right now, ”Melo said.

Brazil archbishop investigated for sex abuse

Agence France-Presse

January 5, 2021

Police in Brazil said on Monday they were investigating the archbishop of the city of Belem for alleged sexual abuse against underage seminary students.

Confirmation of the investigation came after four alleged victims of Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa accused him of years of abuse in a sweeping investigative report aired Sunday night on Brazil’s biggest broadcaster, TV Globo.

The alleged victims, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused the 70-year-old archbishop of abusing them from 2014 to 2018, when they were between 15 and 18 years old.

The former seminarians recounted a pattern of abuse by the archbishop of the northern city.

He would invite them to his home, bring them to his bedroom, ask them questions about sexuality and masturbation, then have them remove their clothes and begin touching and fondling them, sometimes while praying, they said

'Ele me tocou', diz ex-seminarista que acusa arcebispo de Belém de abuso sexual

['He touched me', says ex-seminarian who accuses archbishop of Belém of sexual abuse]


January 3, 2021

Quatro ex-seminaristas denunciam Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa de usar seu poder para investidas sexuais não consentidas em encontros privados. A Polícia Civil e o Vaticano investigam o caso.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Four former seminarians denounce Dom Alberto Taveira Corrêa of using his power for sexual advances not allowed in private meetings. The Civil Police and the Vatican are investigating the case.]

Catholic Diocese of Charleston facing new lawsuit


January 4, 2021

By Nick Reagan

The Catholic Diocese of Charleston is facing a new lawsuit. Court documents filed late Monday afternoon accuse a member of the church of sexual abuse and a systematic cover up of that abuse.

The charges were filed by a woman referred to as Mary Roe 1818. She alleges one of the priests, Frederick Austin McLean, repeatedly abused her and her sister when they were kids.

According to the suit, the abuse took place during the victim’s formative years as a child between 1961 and 1966.

Lawmakers seek to extend North Dakota statutes of limitation in child sex abuse cases

The Forum

January 5, 2021

By C. S. Hagen

“The effort behind this is to send a message of hope to survivors. It’s really sending a message of hope and that we care,” said Rep. Austin Schauer, R-West Fargo.

Three state legislators, a Republican and two Democrats, aim to revise North Dakota's statute of limitation laws this legislative session to open up windows of time for survivors of child sex abuse to pursue legal avenues in civil courts.

Planning on the bills began before North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem released a report Monday, Jan. 4, stating that because of current statute of limitation laws, criminal charges won’t be filed against any of the 53 priests named in the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses lists of priests who faced substantiated allegations of child sex abuse.

Much of the abuse occurred from the 1950s to the 1980s, and many of the priests named on the lists are dead. Current state law stipulates that the statute of limitations for child sex abuse is 21 years. Failure to report child abuse, a misdemeanor, has a statute of limitation of two years.

Rep. Austin Schauer, R-West Fargo, Sen. Kathy Hogan, D-Fargo, and Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, are working together on bills that would create an “open window” of two years for sexual abuse victims to file a civil lawsuit, and would extend the statute of limitations from three to 10 years for sexual abuse of a minor, Schauer said.

[News Release] Investigation of Catholic Dioceses Concludes

Office of the Attorney General

January 4, 2021

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today announced that the investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses has concluded.

The eighteen month long criminal investigation commenced around the time the two North Dakota Catholic Dioceses, headquartered in Fargo and Bismarck, compiled and released a list of 53 individuals for whom they felt allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated. Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June of 2019, and requested access to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse, and the Bishops agreed.

Stenehjem assigned four seasoned agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the cases. The Dioceses cooperated with the Attorney General’s office in allowing the agents to review all complaints, records and files, including allegations for those not previously designated as “substantiated” by the Dioceses.

No charges possible for priests after child sex abuse investigation, North Dakota AG says

Grand Forks Herald

January 4, 2021

By April Baumgarten

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses releasing their lists of 53 priests and other Catholic officials who faced substantiated allegations of child sex abuse.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says that after a lengthy investigation, criminal charges won't be filed against any priests or other Catholic officials accused of sexually abusing children in the state.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation found that two living priests could have faced criminal charges for allegedly abusing children. However, the statute of limitations has run out, Stenehjem said Monday, Jan. 4.

“I regret it will not be possible to have these men face their victims at a trial and face the potential consequences, but I hope it brings a measure of comfort to the victims that these crimes were eventually investigated,” Stenehjem said in a statement.

ND Attorney General - Catholic Abuse Investigation

Knox Radio

January 4, 2021

By Pat Sweeney

North Dakota's attorney general says his office's 18-month investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the state's two Roman Catholic dioceses will not result in any charges.

Wayne Stenehjem says too much time has passed to prosecute the two lone living clergy members. The investigation began when the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses provided the state a list of 53 clergy members who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

ND Attorney General announces end of investigation into sexual abuse by clergy

Williston Herald

January 4, 2021


Issues with the statute of limitations on allegations mean no criminal charges will come from the state’s investigation into decades-old allegation of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

The investigation started about 18 months ago, when the Catholic Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck released a list of 53 people who had been accused of sexual abuse in cases the diocese believed were substantiated.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June 2019, and asked to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse.

Stenehjem: Deaths, statute of limitations preclude any prosecution of sex abuse crimes committed by ND Catholic Dioceses clergy


January 4, 2021

By Keith Darnay


North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today released the results of an investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses.

The bottom line: Of the 53 people named by the Dioceses, and an additional person identified by the state during its investigation, all but two have died.

And the allegations against the remaining two date back to the 1970s, meaning the statute of limitations in effect at the time had run out, precluding any current prosecutions.

Investigation into clergy members accused of child sex abuse runs out of time


January 4, 2021

An investigation conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations into the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses found two clergy members accused of child sex abuse cannot be charged because the statue of limitations has run out.

According to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, an 18-month investigation looked into 53 individuals with the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses accused of child sex abuse.

Of the 53 names, only two were alive at the time the investigation began, Norman Dukart of Dickinson and another clergy member who moved to Minnesota.

BCI agents say during the course of the investigation another clergy member, Odo Muggli of the Assumption Abbey in Richardton, was identified as another suspect.

Attorney general concludes child sex abuse investigation in Fargo, Bismarck dioceses


January 4, 2021

By Jim Monk

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says an 18-month investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic dioceses has concluded.

Stenehjem says the investigation began around the time when the Diocese of Fargo and the Diocese of Bismarck released a list of 53 people whom they believed that allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated.


AM 1100

January 4, 2021

By Chris Larson

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today announced that the investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the North Dakota Catholic Dioceses has concluded.

The eighteen month long criminal investigation commenced around the time the two North Dakota Catholic Dioceses, headquartered in Fargo and Bismarck, compiled and released a list of 53 individuals for whom they felt allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated. Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June of 2019, and requested access to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse, and the Bishops agreed.

Stenehjem assigned four seasoned agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the cases. The Dioceses cooperated with the Attorney General’s office in allowing the agents to review all complaints, records and files, including allegations for those not previously designated as “substantiated” by the Dioceses.

Investigation into clergy sex abuse in Catholic Church concludes in North Dakota


January 4, 2021

By Paul Jurgens

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Monday that the investigation by his office into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the two catholic dioceses in the state has concluded.

The 18-month criminal investigation began around the time the two North Dakota Catholic Dioceses, in Fargo and Bismarck, released a list of 53 people for whom they felt allegations of child sexual abuse had been substantiated. Stenehjem met with Bishops David Kagan and John Folda in June of 2019, and requested access to inspect all the records of the church relating to clergy abuse.

Stenehjem assigned four agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the cases. The Dioceses cooperated with the Attorney General’s office in allowing the agents to review all complaints, records and files, including allegations for those not previously designated as “substantiated” by the Dioceses.

January 4, 2021

[Commentary] The Credibility Deficit of Victoria’s Courts

Quadrant Online

January 3, 2021

By David Ward

State institutions have good and bad pandemics like war correspondents have good and bad wars. The lockdown came at a convenient time for Victoria’s criminal courts, where jury trials quietly resumed last month. It allowed the unresolved questions about the state’s judicial leadership to be shuffled down the priority line, south of the interim settings and subject to operational requirements. The problem for the courts is that applying the law correctly is generally regarded as an operational requirement. It’s a problem because the courts are operating again and the questions are still unresolved.

You wouldn’t necessarily have known it from the analysis but George Pell’s High Court appeal was decided on the facts, law and “judicial method”. That’s extraordinary, and the divergence between the state and national court on all three was clear-cut and irreconcilable. There was no disputing which authority prevailed, nor where the corrections had to be made, and seen to be made. That was in April.

[Commentary] The Next Pope

Open Tabernacle (blog)

January 4, 2021

By Betty Clermont

Plans for the election of the next pope are well under way. In the last quarter of 2020, there have been indications as to what the next pontiff will say and do. He will continue to make meaningless policies and procedures about child sex abuse. So thousands upon thousands of children around the world will remain at risk of being sexually tortured. All will be severely traumatized for life. Many will die.

The next pope will maintain his predecessors’ opposition to women’s and LGBTQ person’s human rights while appearing to be liberal on issues pleasing to the American mainstream media.

In contrast to the major portion of Pope Francis’ pontificate, leaders of the Catholic rightwing are uniting behind the pope and will continue in the future, doing whatever is necessary to bolster the prestige and importance of the head of the Church.

As has been true since the 1978 election of Pope John Paul II, the pontiff will reign, but Opus Dei* will govern.

Signs of the Time

A report on the former archbishop of Washington D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was released on Nov. 10. It had been started more than two years earlier. Pope Francis had ordered this account be made only after the New York Archdiocese found that an allegation of sex abuse of a minor by Cardinal McCarrick was “credible and substantiated” in June 2018. After the announcement, two other accusations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick were revealed.

Trial of former St. Helen's seminarian now scheduled for May


January 3, 2021

By Andrew Cass


The trial of a Strongsville priest with Geauga County ties is now scheduled for late May, federal court records show.

The priest, Robert McWilliams, 40, is facing charges of two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, three counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of transportation of child pornography, one count of receipt and distribution of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possession of child pornography.

McWilliams is a former seminarian at St. Helen’s Catholic Church in Newbury Township.

A trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio was previously scheduled for Feb. 18, but in December defense attorney Robert A. Dixon asked for the case to be continued, citing ongoing challenges stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dixon’s motion was unopposed by federal prosecutors. Northern District of Ohio Judge Sara Lioi set a new jury trial date of May 24. The new deadline for a plea deal in the case is set for April 9, court records show.

McWilliams was arrested Dec. 5, 2019, at St. Joseph in Strongsville after the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force raided his office and living space. He was facing criminal charges in Cuyahoga and Geauga counties, but prosecutors in both ultimately dropped their cases after a federal complaint was filed Feb. 21 in the The Northern District of Ohio U.S. Court.

Swimming, tennis join redress scheme but Jehovah's Witnesses stay out

The Courier

January 4, 2021

By Paul Osborne

Hundreds of applications by abuse survivors for redress will start to flow through in the wake of more institutions joining the support scheme.

But Families Minister Anne Ruston said she remained concerned three organisations had still not signed, meaning 77 applications from abuse survivors could not be progressed.

About 450 institutions have signed up to the national redress scheme covering more than 60,650 sites including churches, children's homes, schools, swimming centres and sports clubs.

Having named and shamed a number of institutions in July, more than 100 bodies signed up before December 31.

Cardinal Marx says failure to publish German abuse report is a disaster

La Croix International

December 21, 2020

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Top papal advisor criticizes fellow German cardinal, saying refusal to disclose independent findings on abuse will hurt everyone

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, who is one of Pope Francis' closest advisors, has criticized fellow German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki for refusing to publish an independent report on clerical abuse in the latter's Archdiocese of Cologne.

"What the public now perceives is lawyers squabbling about quibbles on the backs of the (abuse) victims," Marx told the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung in a long interview on December 15.

"That is disastrous for all of us," said the 67-year-old Bavarian, a member of the pope's Council of Cardinals and coordinator of the Holy See's Council for the Economy.

PURE EVIL: ‘Paedo priest’ arrested for ‘filming sick sex attacks on 53 children after recruiting vulnerable kids into church’

The Sun

January 1, 2021

By Will Stewart and Imogen Braddick

A Russian priest has reportedly been arrested after allegedly filming sick sex attacks on more than 50 children.

Yury Abramov, 39, a former activist in the pro-Putin political party United Russia, faces multiple charges of abuse from the last decade.

Known as Father Spiridon, the alleged paedophile is accused of molesting children aged 12 to 16, and making pornographic videos of his victims.

The now-suspended priest is also a computer sciences teacher at a school in Amurzet, eastern Russia.

A church bell ringer named Sergey Moos, 27, is suspected of acting as an accomplice.

A total of 53 children are suspected to be victims of Abramov, state media outlet RIA Novosti reported, citing a law enforcement source.

Controversial new French archbishop wants to bring healing

La Croix International

December 21, 2020

By Mélinée Le Priol

Exclusive interview with Archbishop Olivier de Germay of Lyon, successor to Cardinal Philippe Barbarin

Archbishop Olivier de Germay has officially taken over as the head of the Archdiocese of Lyon, one of France's oldest and most important local Churches.

The 60-year-old native of Tours, whom Pope Francis appointed last October to succeed the scandal-damaged Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, was formally installed last Sunday in Saint Jean Cathedral.

He served the last eight years as Bishop of Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. He now takes up the reins in Lyon, which, since 2016, has been seen as the epicenter for the clergy sex abuse crisis in France.

Archbishop de Germay spoke with La Croix's Mélinée Le Priol about his desire to work for the unity of his new archdiocese.

Former Capuchin priest Yurgel accused of abuse in new lawsuit

Catholic News Herald

December 29, 2020

Former Capuchin Franciscan priest Robert Yurgel, who was dismissed from his religious order and removed from the priesthood in 2010, has been accused by a second man of child sexual abuse in the late 1990s while Yurgel served as a parochial vicar in the Diocese of Charlotte.

A California man, now 28, alleges in a civil lawsuit that Yurgel abused him at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte when the man was about 5 to 7 years old. Yurgel was assigned by his New Jersey-based religious order to work in the Charlotte diocese from 1997 to 1999.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 14, 2020, in Mecklenburg County Superior Court against Yurgel, the Diocese of Charlotte, and Yurgel’s former religious order, the Capuchin Franciscans’ Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis in Union City, N.J.

Survivors reflect on Australia sex abuse inquiry, three years on

Al Jazeera

December 15, 2020

By Ali MC

The landmark inquiry gave survivors a chance to talk, while legal changes have allowed them to seek redress.

Kym Krasa was just eight years old when she was first sexually abused by a member of the Catholic Church.

A so-called “part” Aboriginal child, she had been taken from her impoverished family and placed in an orphanage.

But instead of being cared for, she was abused, and the abuse would continue for the next decade at the hands of a priest and church parishioners, and as a teenager, by a man for whom she was forced to work as a domestic servant.

It was not until the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in 2012 that Krasa, now 67, could finally talk about her experiences. It is now three years since the commission completed its work.

January 3, 2021

Nearly 40 years later, a former Boy Scout remains haunted by alleged assault

Boston Globe

January 1, 2021

By Brian MacQuarrie

After nearly 40 years, a middle-age man with five children remains haunted by the memory of a Boy Scout camping trip to New Hampshire.

Kevin Hannon had been sleeping during a rainy night in 1981, sheltering in a tent near Adams Pond in Barnstead. He woke suddenly to a hand groping his genitals, he recalled recently. Shocked and confused, he did not say a word as the perpetrator withdrew and walked away.

The 14-year-old recognized the man who had touched him, someone Hannon had trusted, a respected member of the West Roxbury neighborhood where they both lived, and the scoutmaster of his troop.

“I was afraid to tell anybody, afraid to be ridiculed, and afraid of how people would think of me,” Hannon said in an interview at his kitchen table. “When I came home from camp, I felt a little lost. I contemplated hurting myself.”

This autumn, Hannon finally came forward with the allegation, becoming one of more than 95,000 people to file sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America before a Nov. 16 deadline set by US Bankruptcy Court. The 110-year-old organization had asked for bankruptcy protection in February as the rising cascade of allegations posed a potentially crippling blow to its finances.

The bankruptcy proceedings, which have paused previous lawsuits, are expected to cause a dramatic restructuring of the Boy Scouts, which has reported more than $1 billion in assets but is beset by dwindling membership and revenues.

Hannon is among 105 former Boy Scouts represented by Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who filed suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston during the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the church.

New sex abuse and ‘grooming’ allegations target former Staten Island priest

Staten Island Avance

January 2, 2021

By Kyle Lawson

Former priest Ralph LaBelle has again been accused of sexually abusing a young male parishioner on Staten Island.

According to a civil complaint filed last week in Richmond County state Supreme Court, St. George, the victim was “groomed” and sexually abused between the ages of 13 and 16-years-old.

At the time, LaBelle was assigned to St. Clare’s R.C. Church in Great Kills. He was there from 1979 to 1985.

The plaintiff, Donald O’Brien, is seeking damages from the Archdiocese of New York and St. Clare’s for “severe and permanent” injuries that have included “pain, suffering, emotional trauma and humiliation.”

LaBelle already was included on a list of clergy credibly accused of abuse unveiled in April 2019 by the Archdiocese of New York. He was laicized in 2005, after several victims had come forward.

Obituary for Bishop Geoff Robinson

Pearls and Irritations (blog)

January 3, 2021

By Michael Kelly

[For more about the impact of Bishop Robinson, see: Case Study 31: Retired Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; Australian bishop testifies on prevalence of child sex abuse in the church, by Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter, September 10, 2015; and 'I was abused too': The bishop who fought for sex abuse victims, by Anne Lim, Eternity News, December 15, 2017.]

Saying farewell to Bishop Geoff Robinson as we did when he died on December 29, 2020, is saying goodbye to one of the few Australian Catholic bishops with his integrity and reputation for honesty and championing the defence of the weak and the abused still intact.

He was outstandingly intelligent and compassionate. He lent his considerable knowledge of Church law to ease the burden of those who suffered the effects of failed marriages. He focused on what is essential in Christianity by his very accessible, popular commentaries on the Synoptic Gospels. His commentaries were well appreciated by preachers and believers of all denominational allegiance

While our paths overlapped from time to time, it is what he will be best remembered for most – caring for and promoting the rights of children abused by Catholic officials, including priests – that brought about a very significant intersection of our paths in 1997.

Bishop Robinson returns to the Father at 83

Catholic Weekly

December 30, 2020

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, a former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, died on 29 December after a long battle with terminal illness. He was 83.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP paid tribute to the late Bishop, who recently marked 60 years of priesthood and had been a bishop for 36 years.

“I saw Bishop Robinson before his death and he was impressively peaceful, prayerful and looking forward to going to the Father,” Archbishop Fisher said in a statement issued after Bishop Robinson’s death.

“In this life he served in parishes, as a canon lawyer and law lecturer, and as an auxiliary bishop of Sydney. In the latter role he was very helpful to me when I was first appointed as an auxiliary bishop alongside him. He long contributed to the governance of Catholic education in NSW and, again, graciously helped with the ‘handover’ to me of the Catholic schools portfolio in Sydney and statewide.

An outspoken voice

“Bishop Robinson was an outspoken voice for the victims of child sexual abuse within the Church and the need for just redress and effective child protection going forward. He was undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in moving the Church forward on these matters,” the Archbishop said.

After abuse, addiction, and recovery, Mike McDonnell works to help others

Philadelphia Inquirer

January 3, 2021

By Isabella Simonetti

Mike McDonnell understands how victims can lose their way.

He was abused by two Catholic priests, one of whom was later convicted, a dark secret that traumatized him so much he became addicted to drugs and alcohol, two of his three marriages failed, and he stole about $100,000 from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — a crime for which he served nearly a year in jail.

But through recovery, and maintaining his Catholic faith, McDonnell, 52, has rebuilt himself as a victims advocate as he tries to help others. He’s now a local leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“He’ll take phone calls at all hours of the day and night,” said Shaun Dougherty, a board member of SNAP and a fellow advocate. “He’ll talk victims through any problem that they have. He’ll find resources for them if they need it. He’ll help guide them in any way that he can.”

Many of the victims McDonnell supports have suffered unemployment, divorce, the loss of a home, or addiction.

“I’m able to validate what they are sharing with me,” McDonnell said. “They’re getting an understanding that someone else has walked the same path.”

[Opinion] The Dawn Patrol: Frank J. Hanna's Strange Secret

The Dawn Patrol (blog)

December 31, 2020

By Dawn Eden Goldstein, S.Th.D.

EWTN's firing of radio host Gloria Purvis this week further exposed what many observers have already known about the international Catholic media network: partisan politics plays an outsize role in determining which voices are heard there and which ones are silenced. In the words of Christopher Lamb, "it is Fox News under a Catholic cover."

To better understand what has happened to EWTN and, by extension, to the mainstream of the pro-life Catholic nonprofit world—a world I was part of for many years as an employee of the Cardinal Newman Society and Americans United for Life, and as a frequent EWTN guest—I did a deep-dive into the finances of one of its major donors, Frank J. Hanna III. What I discovered should concern every Catholic and particularly those who, like myself, are appalled by how the Catholic pro-life movement—whose goal of ending abortion I fully support—has been hijacked by people who elevate Trump while deriding the Holy Father.

Seattle archbishop is stonewalling push for more transparency of church sex-abuse cases, group contends

Seattle Times

January 2, 2021

By Lewis Kamb


Their ranks include ex-federal prosecutors, a retired judge, a one-time assistant police chief, even a former priest. But a group of prominent Catholics say they still can’t get an audience with Seattle’s new archbishop in their push to address the fallout of a lingering scandal.

Members of Heal Our Church, a Seattle-based alliance of practicing Catholics who seek a public review of how the Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal secretly festered within the parishes of Western Washington, contend they’re being stonewalled by Archbishop Paul Etienne.

Since requesting a meeting with Etienne in January, group members said the archbishop has refused to discuss their call for a citizen-led review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse. Group members contend only full disclosure of the secret files — with a public airing about the archdiocese’s known pedophile clergy members and how the church dealt with them — can ultimately heal the church and rebuild trust within the broader community.

Child abuse allegations against Troy church divide family, friends, community

Albany Times-Union

January 3, 2021

By Edward McKinley

“No matter what people say negatively, it’s painful, it’s hurtful, it’s discouraging, it’s angering and it can defame the Lord’s bride, the church, most of all,” Pastor Phil Smith, of Victorious Life Christian Church, said in an early August sermon. “The enemy seeks to defame our Lord and give Him a bad name.”

His message — only God is the source of ultimate judgment and forgiveness — was typical for a sermon. But the apparent inspiration for the message on that Sunday was atypical, and it was not the enemy harming the church’s reputation, but a young woman suing them for allegedly abetting and harboring a Sunday school teacher who she says sexually abused her as a girl.

Abigail Barker, 27, recently filed a lawsuit against Mark Rhodes, a member of the church who was her Sunday School teacher and deacon. The civil complaint alleges Rhodes took off the 5-year-old’s pants and underwear while he was babysitting her and put his face against her vagina, leaving her traumatized from the incident.

The defendants in the lawsuit are the church, Rhodes and Dominick Brignola, leader of the church. Brignola was a former close friend of Barker’s father, she said, and a contentious email exchange between them is included as an exhibit in the lawsuit.

The church, located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of downtown Troy, is like many churches: an interwoven community of tight-knit families. Barker’s family was active in the church, she said. The children in the church were friends. Their parents were also close, with relationships forged beginning when they were kids attending the church themselves. Officials with the church, including Rhodes, who is still an active member, declined to to be interviewed for this story, contending they are precluded from discussing a pending lawsuit.

Barker’s story of abuse is far from unique. The lawsuit was filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, signed into law in 2019, which opened a look-back window for people who say they were abused as children to file lawsuits outside the statute of limitations. Nearly 5,000 cases have been filed across the state, and the window is open until August. Thousands of claimants have identified religious organizations of all denominations as the settings of their trauma and church leaders as the perpetrators.

Rush to join child sex abuse redress

The Australian

January 3, 2021

By Richard Ferguson

Swimming Australia and Football NSW are among groups to have signed up to the federal redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse, giving hope to nearly 440 abuse survivors that their com­pensation claims may soon be addressed.

Tennis NSW, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Presbyterian Church WA, ­Seventh-Day Adventists, Football NSW and Missionaries of God’s Love, Swimming Australia and Football NSW are among 135 institutions to sign up to the redress scheme before a December 31 deadline that Scott Morrison set if groups did not want to be punished.

The likes of Jehovah’s Witnesses have still failed to sign up to the scheme, created in the aftermath of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse, designed to support victims of child abusers in churches, schools, sporting codes and other institutions.

Bishops want answers from Austrac

The Australian

January 3, 2021

By Dennis Shanahan

Catholic bishops are considering asking Australia’s international fin­ancial watchdog to reveal whether any of the $2.3bn sent from the Vatican City since 2014 went to Catholic organisations in Australia.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, told The Australian that asking Austrac if any of the recipients were designated as Catholic dioceses, charities or religious ­orders was an option.

The bishops are already 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, amid a global financial scandal engulfing the Holy See.

Springfield Diocese plans continued reforms in handling of clergy sexual abuse claims

The Republican

January 3, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will move forward in 2021 with a new bishop at the helm and building on reforms implemented under former Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski to better address how it handles allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

A task force report is expected in the coming months to recommend restructuring the diocesan review board that hears allegations of abuse and expand its ranks to include non-Catholics.

Reforms initiated under Rozanski came after national attention was paid to a Pennsylvania grand jury report in fall 2018 that cited a church cover up that protected more than 300 “predator priests,” as well as a scandal closer to home. A subsequent survivor-driven investigation found credible sexual abuse allegations against deceased Springfield Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.

In May — two months before the results of the year-long Weldon investigation were released — the diocese created an Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse to make recommendations on how it could improve that response.

The task force, headed by retired Superior Court Judge Daniel Ford, expects to issue its recommendations this spring with input from survivor focus groups and others.

“There are a number of stakeholders in this process and one of the most important ones, if not the most important, are the survivors of sex abuse — the victims who were victimized by priests or by other employees of the diocese,” Ford said.

In addition, the diocese has entered into an agreement with Western Massachusetts district attorneys. The diocese agreed to notify their offices of any allegations involving a minor or vulnerable person before conducting its own internal investigation.

“The Church and the diocese have a responsibility to ensure that we are reporting allegations of crime to law enforcement. Once we conduct the intake, we refer it to law enforcement and are hands off,” said Jeffrey J. Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance. “The last thing we would ever want to do is unintentionally have an impact or interfere with a law enforcement investigation.”

Trant was hired in June 2019, around the time the allegations against Weldon became public. The claimant told the Berkshire Eagle he had appeared before the diocesan review board in June 2018 with those allegations, as well as similar claims against two other priests. Three months later, he received a letter from the board saying it found his testimony “compelling and credible” and that Rozanski would be advised.

However, the complainant questioned why Weldon’s name was never added to the diocesan website list of credibly accused clergy. The diocese responded by saying that it did not list clergy accused after their deaths, but also became immersed in controversy when it said that the claimant did not make allegations against Weldon to the board.

Allegations of a cover-up resulted in Rozanski meeting with the claimant, referring a report on the Weldon allegations to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, and asking retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis to investigate the allegations.

Velis issued the results of his year-long investigation in June. He concluded in part that “the allegations of the Complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, both as a principal, and as a ‘coventurer’ that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible.”

He determined the complainant, who first met with diocesan officials in 2014, had been poorly served by lack of documentation, communication and commitment in addressing his allegations. The retired judge recommended a number of steps for better oversight, including the services of an Administrative Supervisor of Investigations to ensure procedure compliance.

Recently installed Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne said he appreciates “hearing from victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates.”

He met remotely with victim-survivors prior his Dec. 21 ordination, where he praised their courage and honesty — though some reportedly had hoped for more specifics on diocesan reforms.

Byrne called the process “ongoing,” adding he is looking “forward to receiving the report from the task force and hearing their recommendations.” He said he expects the “updated list of credibly accused clergy, including the names of all diocesan and religious order clerics even those who were accused after they were deceased” to be completed in the coming months.

Trant’s work over the last 19 months has won praise from the victim-survivor community with one member saying Trant is “out there, actively meeting with survivors and not just listening, he is hearing them because we have begun to see change happening for the that first time in three administrations.”

He added, the new bishop “will have our support if we can see through his actions that his motives are serious.’

A central focus of the Velis report was the diocese’s reliance on a single investigator, and the importance of an investigator’s confidentiality and objectivity. It recommended sanctions for violations of those mandates.

Trant was instrumental in the diocese’s hiring of three investigators for sexual abuse claims and the assigning of two to each claim.

“At the end of the diocesan process, we had failed an individual because of the significant amount of time when that person first came forward, how we responded, when we responded and how we conducted fact finding and ultimately the ambiguity and lack of specificity around ultimate response to that individual was unacceptable,” Trant said.

He added, “We have a responsibility to report to civil authorities any reports of abuse whether it happened yesterday, 10 years ago or 50 years ago.”

Trant briefs the bishop on abuse allegations, a departure from past practices.

“When I was hired, one of the changes made was that I report directly to the bishop,” Trant said. “In the past, my predecessor had reported to the vicar general.”

Once the diocese is notified by the district attorney’s office that it can begin its process, the investigation is presented to the diocesan review board, Trant said.

The current practice has been for the chair of the review board to write a letter to the bishop of its findings and recommendations. Trant said he delivers it by hand to the bishop for his review.

This most recently has been Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester who served as apostolic administrator between Rozanski’s Aug. 25 installation as archbishop of St. Louis and the Dec. 21 installation of Byrne as bishop here.

“With respect to Bishop McManus, he would receive the recommendation and, in every instance, he accepted it and then directed me to write a letter on his behalf to the survivor or to their legal counsel informing them of his acceptance of the review board’s recommendation and offering his sincere apologies,” Trant said.

“So, we have instituted a process to make sure at every step of the way it is documented and that it is timely and they we are helping to close the loop because we have a responsibility to provide survivors who come forward with an answer,” Trant said.

Judge Ford, who was involved with Trant in meetings with Western Massachusetts district attorneys, said the diocesan task force is also focused on input from victims of clergy sexual abuse. It has contracted with an area organization to organize focus groups.

“We have entered into a contract with an organization in Northampton called Stop It Now! They are a professional independent group and we have contracted with them to organize a series of focus groups with people who identify as survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the Springfield Diocese,” Ford said. “They tell us the work will take three months to identify and recruit people to participate, to formulate the type of questions they want to ask and then to review them and do a report.”

Ford said the meetings will take place in a “safe, trauma-informed setting” and the groups are viewed by the task force as “the best way to allow these people who have been victimized to have a voice in what we eventually recommend.”

The task force has also been “engaged in rewriting the bylaws of the diocesan review board,” he said.

“There is going to be a recommendation that the review board be reconstituted in some way,” Ford said. “One of the things bylaws will call for, if approved by the bishops, is that there will be nine members on the board and that there be non-Catholics on the board. This I think will go a long way to boosting public confidence in the review board.”

The task force has also reviewing 500 responses to an online survey that asked Catholics for their thoughts on how the diocese has handled allegations of clergy abuse.

“We wanted to get some input from the people in the pews,” Ford said. “The people are the backbone of the Church and we wanted to find out what they think.”

The task force is also considering outreach to clergy and religious. “The priests, deacons, nuns are important stakeholders and we want to get input from them as well,” Ford said.

He anticipates completing the report three or four months into the new year.

“It will be out sometime in late winter or early spring and I will hand deliver it to the bishop and give him as much time as he needs to go through it and reasons for the recommendations,” Ford said. “It will incorporate everything we have done and what we think ought to be done.”

January 2, 2021

Vatican denies knowledge of $1.8 billion transferred to Australia


January 1, 2021

By Philip Pullella

The Vatican and the Australian Catholic Church have both denied knowledge of transfers worth US$1.8 billion which Australia’s financial watchdog says have been sent from Rome to Australia in the past seven years.

“That amount of money and that number of transfers did not leave the Vatican City,” a senior Vatican official with knowledge of the city-state’s finances said on Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Vatican would be seeking details from Australian authorities on the specific origin and destination of the money.

“It’s not our money because we don’t have that kind of money,” he said. “I am absolutely stunned.”

[Letter to Editor] Archbishop Martin’s legacy

Irish Times

January 2, 2021

Sir,- While I would like to wish Dermot Farrell well, as he takes up his challenging role as Archbishop of Dublin in 2011, it is important to acknowledge the 16 years of service that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has given to his archdiocese.

The scandal of child abuse by a minority of those in ministry is one that will never be forgotten but today our parishes across the Dublin archdiocese have robust child protection polices and procedures in place, there is a zero-tolerance approach to child abuse and, as far as possible, the church is once again a safe place for children in Dublin.

Above all else, this is a legacy of which Archbishop Martin should be proud. – Yours, etc,

Dublin 16.

Catholic Archbishop-elect of Dublin prepares for major reorganisation

Irish Times

January 2, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

Dermot Farrell assures change will follow consultation with priests and parishioners

With half of Dublin’s priests over 70 and due to retire within the next five years and congregations ageing and declining, the Archbishop-elect Dermot Farrell of Dublin faces the job of managing decline.

These problems are now exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, not least financially, with income down by up to 80 per cent in Dublin during the first lockdown last spring and priests’ income cut by 25 per cent.

January 1, 2021

Here's what we uncovered this year about Cardinal McCarrick, beach houses and sex abuse


December 30, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

A series of investigations by The Record and NorthJersey.com this year exposed new information about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rise to power through the church hierarchy despite abuse allegations that surfaced as early as the 1980s.

The Record and NorthJersey.com also reported this year that church officials tried to curtail McCarrick’s use of a Jersey Shore beach house, where he allegedly abused seminarians, as far back as the 1980s.

His time as archbishop of Newark included the purchase of at least two beach homes, including one tied to a mysterious debt, and a pattern of ignoring abuse allegations against priests under his control — in one case when the claim was bolstered by a letter from the therapist of a deceased victim.

The investigations also found that a still-secret church inquiry uncovered new evidence related to allegations that a priest stole $1 million from two parishes in New York and used the money to pay for lavish vacations along with sex and bondage sessions at a Jersey Shore home he bought for cash.

Insurance company sues Diocese of Brooklyn over sex abuse cases alleging it knew of prolific abuser

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

December 29, 2020

By Sean Lahman


An insurance company representing the Diocese of Brooklyn says it should not be responsible for paying settlements to victims who say they were sexually abused by the Diocese's priests.

In a federal lawsuit filed Monday, Arrowood Indemnity Company asks the court to rule that it should not be obligated to defend or indemnify the Diocese because of "allegations of the Diocese’s long-standing specific knowledge of individual instances of abuse and its decades-long culture of coverup."

Arrowood also alleges that the Diocese has failed to provide copies of internal documents that would shed light on what it knew about allegations of abuse and what steps it took in response.

"The information the Diocese has provided... is inappropriately redacted, contains large chronological gaps, and is missing numerous pages without explanation," court papers said.

[Opinion] 'An Open Invitation For Fraud’: Falsely Accused Priest Calls Out Shakedown Racket Against Catholic Church, Lack of Due Process

The Media Report (blog)

December 28, 2020

Kudos to Msgr. Joseph P. Kelly of the Diocese of Scranton (Pennsylvania) for fighting back!

After the Diocese of Scranton created a "Survivors Fund" to dole out free cash to anyone who says they were abused by a priest, no matter how long ago, a group of imprisoned felons came forward to claim that Kelly abused them some 45 years ago. Back then, a court had appointed the accusers as troubled teens to attend a school for boys that Kelly once directed.

The diocese somehow determined that the accusations were "credible" (whatever that means). But Kelly has not only vehemently declared his innocence, he has also issued a scathing statement denouncing the entire process leading to his removal from ministry.

A recent issue (pdf) of The Catholic Light, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Scanton, featured Kelly's broadside against a system in which easy loot is handed out to convicted criminals while an accused priest is not even afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

[Media Statement] Retired Priest from St. Augustine Accused of Abuse

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

December 30, 2020

A retired priest from the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida has been accused of abuse. Now, parents and parishioners must demand answers from Catholic leaders on the history of this allegedly abusive cleric and demand steps be taken to protect children and prevent future cases of abuse.

The Diocese would not specify how many allegations Father David Terrence Morgan is facing or the nature of the accusations against him. However, we find it difficult to believe that the Church just learned of the charges against the priest given the 2018 announcement where Fr. Morgan announced he was going on “sabbatical” to work with a “spiritual advisor.” Vague announcements and postings are commonly used when a clergyman has been accused of abuse, and we suspect that these are the typical, sanitized explanations used to hide allegations.

JSO: No criminal charges for retired priest following sexual abuse allegations

First Coast News TV

December 30, 2020

Days after the Diocese of St. Augustine confirmed abuse allegations against one of its retired priests, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says that it will not be pursuing criminal charges.

According to an incident report from JSO, criminal charges cannot be pursued against Father David Terrence Morgan due to statute of limitation restrictions.

First Coast News reached out to Morgan for comment, but have not yet heard back.

The 2020 report concerns an alleged incident happened in 1977. Morgan, now 71, was 27 years old.

On Sept. 24, 2020, an alleged victim told JSO that they had a sexual relationship with Morgan, who was a priest at the time, that lasted anywhere from two to three months.

Retired priest of Diocese of St. Augustine under investigation

Action News Jax/CBS 47, Fox 30

By Christy Turner

December 29, 2020

A retired priest with ties to a historic church in the heart of downtown St. Augustine is under investigation for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Diocese of St. Augustine confirmed the investigation into Father David Terrence Morgan, but wouldn’t share additional information to protect the integrity of the case.

Father Morgan was with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine as recently as 2018 before he retired.

Diocese of St. Augustine investigating abuse allegations against retired priest

First Coast News, WLTV

December 29, 2020

By Matthew Copeland and Haley Harrison


The diocese said the Church reached out to law enforcement to also investigate the allegations against Father David Terrence Morgan.

The Diocese of St. Augustine is investigating abuse allegations against retired priest Father David Terrence Morgan, according to a bulletin by the diocese to parishioners.

The diocese said the Church reached out to law enforcement to investigate the allegations, in addition to conducting its own investigation, which the bulletin states found "the allegations have a semblance of truth based on an initial review, but guilt has not been determined."