ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

May 11, 2021

Bishops from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming walk in procession to pray at the tomb of St. Paul after concelebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome Feb. 12, 2020, during their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis’ process for investigating accused Catholic bishops clearly requires reform

CHEYENNE (WY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

May 10, 2021

By NCR Editorial Board

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[PHOTO ABOVE: Bishops from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming walk in procession to pray at the tomb of St. Paul after concelebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome Feb. 12, 2020, during their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. (CNS/Paul Haring)]

Pope Francis’ new system to evaluate allegations of sexual abuse or cover-up against individual Catholic bishops, which went into effect in June 2019, is admirable. For the first time in millennia — quite literally — there is an active process in place to hold prelates accountable should they fail in their duty to protect children or vulnerable adults from clerical predators.

But after two years, it is clear that the process — which involves the Vatican empowering archbishops to conduct investigations as necessary in their local regions under the norms of…

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Diocese of Buffalo Drafts Parish Grouping Plan

BUFFALO (NY)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

May 10, 2021

By Catholic News Agency

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The parish plan will then be implemented over the next three years.

The Diocese of Buffalo is preparing to draft a plan for regrouping parishes, with a finalized plan due in September. 

Bishop Michael Fisher told participants at a May 8 virtual meeting that the plan will include the creation of “families” of three to six parishes that work closely with each other to provide for the spiritual, sacramental and educational needs of parishioners, The Buffalo News reported.

The parish plan will then be implemented over the next three years. 

The Zoom meeting with Bishop Fisher was organized by the Movement to Restore Trust, a local group of lay Catholics founded in 2018 amid allegations of abuse cover-up by Bishop Richard Malone, Fisher’s predecessor. 

Bishop Malone resigned  in December 2019, and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany served as the diocese’s interim apostolic administrator until Bishop Fisher’s installation in January 2021.

“There are…

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Man abused in state care alleges children from Wellington boys’ home were prostituted out to Catholic Church officials

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

May 11, 2021

By Sophie Cornish

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A survivor of abuse in state care has alleged children were taken from a Wellington boys’ home and prostituted out to Catholic Church officials.

Keith Wiffin made the claims at a hearing for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care on Tuesday and alleged the Church is currently investigating the allegations.

Wiffin claimed boys were taken from Epuni boys’ home in Lower Hutt in a van by a housemaster, Alan Moncrief-Wright, to a Church site, where clergymen would walk around the van looking at the boys, selecting the ones they wanted to sexually abuse.

The Catholic Church has been approached for comment regarding the allegations.

A previous ward of the state himself, Wiffin, now aged 61, lived at Epuni from age 11 and suffered sexual abuse at the hands of at Moncrief-Wright. Wiffin has previously given evidence to the Commission on two occasions.

Moncrief-Wright was later convicted and jailed…

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Abuse survivor ‘shocked’ by dismissal of priest at same church

GRAND HAVEN (MI)
WOOD-TV [Grand Rapids MI]

May 10, 2021

By Ken Kolker

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The news that her former priest was removed from the priesthood for credible allegations of sexually abusing a minor brought back horrible memories for a worshipper at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Catholic Parish in Grand Haven.

She was molested at the same church decades ago by a different priest.

Father William Langlois, now 75, was recently ousted from the priesthood for what the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids called credible allegations of molesting a child — news that shocked parishioners at the church where he was pastor for years.

“I right then got in a state of depression, bringing back all these memories from when I was abused,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

She was 14 or 15 in 1960, she said, when Father John Sullivan repeatedly molested her at St. Patrick’s. Sullivan, now deceased, had a long history of sexual offenses as a priest before coming…

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Catholic religious orders must come clean about abusive clergy

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

May 10, 2021

By CST Editorial Board

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Despite public pressure, some orders still resist telling the full truth about sexual abuse allegations, as the Sun-Times’ Robert Herguth has reported.

A clerical sex abuse scandal has rocked the Catholic Church for decades now, and to our way of thinking, full disclosure is the only way for the church to put the scandal completely to rest.

Every independent religious order must follow the lead of the rest of the Church and come clean about abusive priests in their ranks.

A number of those independent orders — among them the Jesuits and Carmelites — have made the only correct moral and ethical choice. They now publicly disclose the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of abusing minors. But other independent orders have stubbornly resisted full disclosure of the details regarding abusive clergy, as the Sun-Times’ Robert Herguth has reported in a recent investigative series.

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Child Sex Abuse Victims Say Legislation To Give Them Justice Is Stalled In Harrisburg

HARRISBURG (PA)
KDKA-TV, Ch. 2 [Pittsburgh PA]

May 10, 2021

By Andy Sheehan

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They’re looking for justice and their day in court. but victims of child sex abuse say legislation to grant them that opportunity is stalled in the state legislature; KDKA’s Andy Sheehan reports.

[VIDEO]

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May 10, 2021

Newark Archbishop Peter Gerety in a 1986 photo. File / NorthJersey.com

Girl thought Newark Archbishop Gerety was sent by God — then he allegedly molested her

NEWARK (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

May 10, 2021

By Abbott Koloff

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[Photo above: Newark Archbishop Peter Gerety in a 1986 photo. File/NorthJersey.com]

She believed that a high-ranking prelate in the Catholic Church who brought food to her impoverished family in Newark — often praising her for being “such a smart and pretty young girl” — had been sent by God.

But then Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety, the leader of the Newark Archdiocese in the 1970s and 1980s, allegedly took the girl, who was 5 years old at the time, to his bedroom in the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and instructed her to lie on his bed.

Now a 49-year-old woman, she said in a recently filed lawsuit that Gerety sexually abused her several times in 1976 — the first accusation of sexual abuse to be made public against the late archbishop, who had been considered a pivotal figure in the 1970s for his role in implementing reforms of the…

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Taking a ‘wait and see’ stance on Pope’s latest blow for accountability

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 2, 2021

By John Allen

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Perhaps no one was as startled this week when a 46-year-old woman was placed under house arrest for aggravated theft from a small church in the far southern Italian province of Reggio Calabria as the woman herself.

Her name hasn’t been released by Italy’s military police, who made the arrest, but they did provide details on the case. The woman works as a cleaner, and the church was among her clients. She apparently told police the pastor paid her almost nothing for several hours of intense work every week, so, some time ago, she’d adopted the habit of simply lifting cash out of the poor box when she opened it to dust.

In effect, she said, the money was part of her compensation, even if she’d never technically been given permission to take it, and she insisted she hadn’t done anything wrong. (By the way, she was nabbed by military…

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Archbishop pleads for privacy for Pampanga priest, married couple in scandal

SAN FERNANDO (PHILIPPINES)
Philippine Daily Inquirer [Makati City, Philippines]

May 7, 2021

By Tonette Orejas

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Pampanga Archbishop Florentino Lavarias has appealed to the public to respect the privacy of a Catholic priest and the married couple involved in an affair scandal shared on social media by the couple’s son.

“As I invite everybody to respond with introspective concern and earnest prayers, may I also kindly implore all of us to please respect the privacy, identity, and right of the parties concerned,” Lavarias said in a circular released to the clergy, religious and laity on Thursday (May 6).

His appeal came after a five-minute video of the confrontation between a man and the priest he accused of having an affair with his wife went viral on social media courtesy of the couple’s son with some channels naming the priest, the man and his wife.

In the video taken by one of the sons, the man accused the priest of having sex with his wife when the…

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The mystery of Biden family friend Father Kevin O’Brien

WASHINGTON (DC)
Irish Central

May 7, 2021

By Tom Deignan

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Father Kevin O’Brien, who said Mass for the Biden family on inauguration day, has been “accused of … something.”

It might seem as if we can’t get enough of men in the public eye behaving badly.

Most recently, there were the bizarre accusations made against (naturally) Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, which so far have included everything from sex trafficking to something called “bro culture.”

As is only fitting these days, Gaetz’s, uh, passionate denials were nearly as bizarre as the accusations against him. It certainly doesn’t help that Gaetz looks like a cartoon caricature of Colin Jost and Maria Shriver’s baby.

Then there were the accusations made against New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer. This after fellow candidate Andrew Yang was accused of acting improperly in a video that included a man using offensive language.

A statement released by several lawmakers also referenced “bro culture,” and added…

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Lafayette Diocese: Allegations against former priest Michael Guidry credible, formally apologizes to victim and family

LAFAYETTE (LA)
KATC-TV [Lafayette LA]

May 7, 2021

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The Diocese of Lafayette says they have determined that allegations made against former priest Michael Guidry are credible.

The allegations they say are the ones made by Oliver Peyton.

The Diocese of Lafayette released a statement on May 7, 2021, denouncing Guidry’s actions and formally apologizing to Peyton and his family.

In 2019, Guidry was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a teenage boy, who was the son of a deacon he served with at St. Peter’s Church in Morrow.

Scott Peyton, Oliver’s father tells KATC that the apology was issued on Friday because the lawsuit against the Diocese and Guidry was settled and the dismissal was signed this week.

According to court records, the lawsuit was dismissed by a St. Landry Parish judge on April 30. Records show that all claims had been resolved and each party will have to bear their own costs.

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Canadian bishops unveil new system to report bishops for abuse, cover-up

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 8, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

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At a time when many are eager to see more implementation of Pope Francis’s recent norms for bishops’ accountability, the Canadian bishops have rolled out a new online reporting system where complaints, either of sexual abuse or coverup, against the Church’s shepherds can be made.

On May 6, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a new bilingual service in English and in French for reporting “situations of sexual abuse either committed or covered-up by a bishop.”

According to a statement issued by the bishops Thursday, the new online service “furthers their commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency in matters of clergy sexual abuse and their commitment to facilitate healing and justice for victims-survivors.”

Called the “Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop,” the new system is being touted as a direct response to Pope Francis’s 2019 motu proprio, or legal edict, Vos estis lux mundi, drafted…

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‘Vos Estis’ expires in one year. What works and what changes are needed in version 2.0?

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

May 10, 2021

By Christopher White

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Two years ago this month, Pope Francis issued a sweeping new church law on bishop accountability, establishing a global system for investigation allegations against bishops of abuse or its cover-up.

Known as Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), the norms encourage — but do not mandate — the involvement of lay experts in the process of investigating allegations against bishops. When it was signed into law, Vos Estis was adopted for a three-year period “ad experimentum.

To date, there are at least six known authorized Vos Estis investigations into U.S. bishops by the Vatican. Since taking effect, several other bishops have also come under investigation, although the Vatican has used different processes for handling their cases.

Chieko Noguchi, a spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops’ conference, told NCR that “Since the [Vos Estis] model derives its authority from the Holy See, the Conference does…

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Diocese of Buffalo announces plans to move forward, survivors say more needs to be done

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW [Buffalo NY]

May 8, 2021

By Jeff Slawson

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 “I have zero tolerance for any abusive behavior criminal act by any of the clergy, and certainly towards a minor and towards an adult,”

Bishop of Buffalo Michael William Fisher announced, in conjunction with the Movement to Restore Trust, how the diocese will be looking to help move the clergy forward following years of sexual abuse cases. Those cases lead to the declaration of bankruptcy last February.

“There are issues that we need to confront in the days and weeks ahead and that is something that I cannot do alone,” Bishop Fisher said.

The Bishop says those issues will be confronted through new initiatives. The diocese will group parishes together in “families” looking to increase participation and changing the way Catholic education is done. This “Road to Renewal” will look to strengthen parish life, Catholic education and other ministries in the diocese with a short-term goal of identifying their immediate…

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Wisconsin launched a clergy sex abuse investigation. Here’s why, and what it means for victims, church officials.

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

May 10, 2021

By Haley BeMiller

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A newly launched review of clergy sexual abuse across Wisconsin has reignited a push for accountability long sought by survivors but also highlights the challenges of investigating what happened to children decades ago. 

The investigation will be led by the state Department of Justice and focus on allegations against Catholic clergy and other faith leaders. Prosecutors will rely on documents from Wisconsin’s religious orders and five dioceses, along with reports from victims or others who have information. 

The probe comes amid a renewed reckoning over clergy abuse in Wisconsin after the suicide last year of a man who accused three priests from St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere of sexually abusing him as a teenager in the 1980s. Nate Lindstrom received $420,000 in secret payments from the Catholic order over 10 years until the abbey stopped sending checks in 2019, a Green Bay Press-Gazette investigation found.

Here’s what you need to…

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May 9, 2021

Pope Francis dismisses retired Grand Haven priest from the Clerical State due to sexual abuse allegations

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WZZM - ABC 13 [Grand Rapids MI]

May 7, 2021

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The incidents of sexual abuse that occurred from 1999-2006 happened while Langlois was serving as pastor of St. Patrick – St. Anthony Parish in Grand Haven.

A retired Catholic priest who served a lakeshore parish has been dismissed by Pope Francis from the clerical state due to sexual abuse. 

Retired priest Fr. William Langlois’ dismissal includes a dispensation from all obligations of the clerical state, including celibacy. 

According to the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Langlois may no longer minister as a priest, celebrate the sacraments, wear clerical dress, or present himself as a priest. 

In September 2014, Langlois was on leave for six months. A spokesman for the Diocese of Grand Rapids said Langlois was taking leave from his duties at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish for having an inappropriate, but not illegal, relationship with a woman. The spokesman said the leave is an opportunity to heal. 

Back in Sept. 2014,…

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Costa Rica orders ex priest held on sex abuse charges

(COSTA RICA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 8, 2021

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A Costa Rican court on Friday ordered a priest facing sexual abuse charges held in custody for six months while awaiting trial.

Mauricio Víquez was extradited back from Mexico after he fled Costa Rica, where the statute of limitations was running out on abuse charges facing him.

Viquez allegedly abused two teenagers in 2003. At the time in Costa Rica, such charges generally couldn’t be pursued 10 years after a complainant’s 18th birthday.

The case led Costa Rica to lengthen the statute of limitations on sex crimes from 10 to 25 years.

Viquez was expelled from the priesthood by the Roman Catholic Church. There are other abuse accusations against him.

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Assistant pastor at Concord church sexually abused young girl four decades ago, lawsuit alleges

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

May 9, 2021

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She was young, trusting and vulnerable, and a cleric at a Concord church took advantage of her faith in him to sexually abuse her more than 40 years ago, a former parishioner alleges.

The plaintiff was molested by Jonathan Del Turco, an assistant pastor at Christian Pentecostal Church, in 1977 when she was around 9 years old, alleges a lawsuit against the church.

The cleric “used his position of authority and trust over plaintiff to sexually abuse and harass” the young girl, a civil complaint alleges.

He abused her in his “church-owned residence, car, and in various locations within and/or on the premises of the church,” alleges the complaint.

The church was negligent “in not knowing that abuser posed a threat of sexual abuse to children,” the complaint contends.

The plaintiff suffered “severe and permanent emotional distress” due to the alleged abuse, which has…

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Emails Show Famed Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Intervening In Criminal Cases For NYC’s Elite

NEW YORK (NY)
HuffPost [New York NY]

May 6, 2021

By Molly Redden

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Messages show the former prosecutor helping well-connected New Yorkers navigate her old sex crimes unit.

In 2015, when Harvey Weinstein had his first close shave with law enforcement, his legal team enlisted Linda Fairstein, the former New York City sex crimes prosecutor, to vouch for them with her old colleagues. 

It looks like they weren’t alone.

Emails released to HuffPost this week through a public records request show that Fairstein, who quit as head of the sex crimes unit in 2002, and her successor, Martha Bashford, maintained a close friendship that opened the door for Fairstein to weigh in on ongoing cases. Fairstein denies her involvement was ultimately meaningful. 

The emails, released by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, are heavily redacted. But they offer a rare glimpse of how well-connected New Yorkers try to minimize their exposure to the law, and the role adopted by Fairstein, one of New…

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Survivors speak out in advance of judiciary committee vote on Adult Survivors Act

ALBANY (NY)
Spectrum News [Syracuse NY]

May 7, 2021

By Susan Arbetter

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According to a group of women advocating for survivors of sexual abuse, an expose in Huffington Post published this week underscores the urgent need for passage of the Adult Survivors Act (A.648 Rosenthal/S.66 Hoylman).

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, Evelyn Wang, the wife of mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang and Marissa Hoechstetter are among the group of women who are fighting for their day in court. They appear in a public service announcement for the Adult Survivors Act produced by Safe Horizon, which you watch here.

The Adult Survivors Act is similar to the Child Victims Act; it would provide a one-year lookback window for survivors who were abused when they were 18 years old or over. If passed, adult survivors would have one year in which to file a civil claim, no matter how long ago the abuse happened, even if the statute of limitations has expired.

The Huffington Post report centers around former New York…

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Buffalo bishop open to releasing more files related to clergy abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ-TV [Buffalo NY]

May 9, 2021

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Bishop Michael Fisher said he and others are looking at how other dioceses have released additional information on clergy who were removed from ministry.

The new bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo says he wants to be as transparent as possible when considering the release of new documents related to clergy abuse.

During a Saturday Zoom meeting organized by the Movement to Restore Trust, a local group focused on restoring faith in the church, Bishop Michael Fisher had this to say:

“We will provide more extensive details that relate to priests who have been removed from ministry due to credible or substantial allegations, but we also need to do this with respect for those inherent privacy situations that are governed by the law,” Bishop Fisher said.

Fisher said he and others are looking at how other dioceses have released additional information on clergy who were removed from ministry. No…

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Memorial Tribute to Marcel G. Gagnon: First Co-Founder of SNAP’s New England Chapter

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

May 6, 2021

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Marcel G. Gagnon
January 8, 1939 – April 30, 2021

SNAP pays tribute to Marcel G. Gagnon, one of the earliest supporters of our mission. We offer our condolences to Marcel’s family and friends.

Marcel G. Gagnon, of Old Orchard Beach, died suddenly on April 30, 2021 in Portland, Maine.  He was born in Biddeford on January 8, 1939 to Adolphe (François-Xavier) and Delvina (Canuel) Gagnon.  He attended École Saint-Joseph, and Saint-Louis High School, where he played drums in the marching band.  After his graduation in 1958, he joined the U.S. Army, and received training in what would become his vocation, culinary arts. He served at Fort Devens, MA, Fort Bragg, NC, and in Keflavik, Iceland.  Following the Army, he worked for several years at the Colonly Hotel, for 25 years for Reilley’s bakery, and then for another 20 years for Maine Medical Centre coordinating Bakery Services.

Marcel’s sense of duty…

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The evangelical sexual abuse crisis is the spiritual warfare of our time

WAKE FOREST (NC)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

May 4, 2021

By Karen Swallow Prior

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This month marks three years since the world crashed in on me.

Not the whole world. But the cornerstone of my world that is the church. 

Many of us felt the temblors in 2016 as we watched many in our evangelical world excuse and even embrace an abusive man as president in the name of political power. In hindsight, I see now that acceptance of abuse had been going on for a long time in the contemporary church, which may be why so many couldn’t understand why tolerance of this abuser was such a big deal to some of us.

But 2016 opened my eyes, as it did for others. As I started to see, I started to listen.

In April of 2017, I posted a question to abuse survivors on my Facebook wall. The responses created such an unexpected avalanche that it turned into an article at Christianity Today titled…

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Consider the Extent of Clergy Sexual Abuse on Long Island

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

May 5, 2021

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Here are some of the places that clergy sexual abuse on Long Island happened:

In a church vehicle in West Babylon.

In parks, like Wildwood State Park, Blydenburgh Park, Cedar Point County Park, Smith Point Park, and Southaven Park.

In personal vehicles: Fr. Collins’ boat, Fr. Charland’s airplane, Fr. Chasse’s camper van, and cars owned by Fr. Farley, Fr. Fitzgerald, Fr. Fitzpatrick, Fr. Giuntini, Fr. Hand, Fr. Hein, Fr. Logan and others.

In church facilities: the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, the St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, St. Francis Retreat House in Garrison, New York, rectories and an unspecified convent.

And it happened in an incredibly wide range of other places: the Hamptons, on school trips, the Nassau County Jail, a movie theater, in Calverton Cemetery, an unspecified beach, the Racquetball and Health Club in Westbury, the New York Men’s Club in Kerala, a men’s bath house,…

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May 8, 2021

Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll, second from right, receives a visit in Amherst, Mass., on Oct. 26, 2018, from Managing Editor Brian J. Carovillano, editor at large Jerry Schwartz, and Deputy Managing Editor Sarah L. Nordgren after being awarded an Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Award for being AP's pre-eminent voice on religion for more than a decade. Zoll, who for 17 years as a religion writer for The Associated Press endeared herself to colleagues, competitors, and sources with her warm heart and world-class reporting skills, has died after a three-year bout with brain cancer. She was 55. (Cheryl Zoll via AP)

Rachel Zoll, much-admired AP religion writer, dead at 55

AMHERST (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 8, 2021

By David Crary

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[Photo above: Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll, second from right, receives a visit in Amherst, Mass., on Oct. 26, 2018, from Managing Editor Brian J. Carovillano, editor at large Jerry Schwartz, and Deputy Managing Editor Sarah L. Nordgren after being awarded an Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Award for being AP’s pre-eminent voice on religion for more than a decade. Zoll, who for 17 years as a religion writer for The Associated Press endeared herself to colleagues, competitors, and sources with her warm heart and world-class reporting skills, has died after a three-year bout with brain cancer. She was 55. (Cheryl Zoll via AP)]

Rachel Zoll, who for 17 years as religion writer for The Associated Press endeared herself to colleagues, competitors and sources with her warm heart and world-class reporting skills, died Friday in Amherst, Massachusetts, after a three-year bout with brain cancer. She was 55.

Zoll covered religion…

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Rachel Zoll RIP – An Anthology of Journalism on Catholic Clergy Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 7, 2021

By Rachel Zoll

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Rachel Zoll, ace religion writer at The Associated Press for 17 years, passed away on April 7, 2021. Below is a small sample of her extensive reporting on the Catholic clergy abuse crisis.

Los Angeles Archdiocese Reports on Seven Decades of Abuse Claims, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (February 17, 2004)

Evaluation of American Seminaries Gets Under Way, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (September 29, 2005)

Gay Priests Conflicted As Church Leaders Set to Discuss Restrictions, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (November 13, 2005)

Experts: Abusers Think They’re Innocent, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (October 20, 2006)

Questions Linger about L.A. Cardinal, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (July 21, 2007)

Pope Benedict XVI Working to Clean up Priesthood, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (April 19, 2008)

Catholic Bishops Warned in ’50s on Abusive Priests, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (March 30, 2009)

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Retired Grand Haven priest defrocked over sexual abuse allegations

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WOOD-TV [Grand Rapids MI]

May 7, 2021

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A retired West Michigan priest has been removed from the priesthood, the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids says, after the church received allegations of sexual abuse that were deemed credible.

Pope Francis affirmed the dismissal of William Langlois. He served for years as pastor of St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Grand Haven before retiring in 2016.

The allegations of abuse were reported to the diocese in 2018, it said in a Friday release. The abuse happened for seven years, from 1999 to 2006, the diocese said, starting when the victim was a minor and continuing into adulthood.

The diocese reported it to local authorities, who investigated the allegations with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. While that investigation was underway, Langlois was barred from public ministry even though he was already retired.

After the allegations were deemed credible, Grand Rapids Bishop David Walkowiak sent the investigation to the Congregation for the…

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Mexico extradites ex-priest accused of child abuse to Costa Rica

MONTERREY (MEXICO)
Tico Times [San José, Costa Rica]

May 7, 2021

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Former Costa Rican priest Mauricio Víquez, accused of sexual abuse of minors, was handed over Thursday by Mexico to Costa Rican authorities, the Mexican attorney general’s office reported.

Víquez, who had been detained in Mexico since 2019, was handed over in extradition “to be prosecuted for his probable responsibility in the crimes of qualified rape, sexual abuse, aggravated corruption and dissemination of pornography to the detriment of underage victims,” ​​the prosecution said in a statement.

The former priest was arrested in August 2019 in San Nicolás de los Garza, in the metropolitan area of ​​Monterrey, the third-largest city in Mexico.

The capture of Víquez occurred after two of the alleged victims of the abuses traveled to Mexico to request support from the public in that country.

Víquez was located in January 2019 after arriving in Mexico and creating a Facebook page using his middle name, Antonio. He intended to offer students…

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Catholic church unveils new system for reporting sexual abuse committed or covered up by bishops

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [Ottawa, Canada]

May 7, 2021

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Victims, advocates question why police aren’t considered the first point of contact

Victims and advocates say a new system for reporting sexual abuse and cover-ups by Catholic bishops appears to be a case of “optics over substance” and may not go far enough to protect those at risk of being abused.

This week, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) announced the unveiling of a national and bilingual service for reporting situations of sexual abuse either committed or covered up by a bishop.

“This service furthers their commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency in matters of clergy sexual abuse and their commitment to facilitate healing and justice for victims-survivors,” the national assembly said in a statement.

The system was created in response to a letter from the Pope calling for one easily accessible system for allegations solely against Bishops. Allegations against priests are still handled at the local diocese level.

With the…

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Scandal in the Bronx: Dominican priest accused of abusing a minor after asking to legalize Haitian immigrants on the island

(NY)
Explica [Paris, France]

May 7, 2021

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Dominican Father Ricardo Fajardo stepped away from his duties as pastor of the parish “Holy Spirit” (Holy Spirit) in the Bronx (NYC) while investigating a lawsuit alleging that he abused a minor several decades ago, amid protests Recent reports against him for showing “pro-Haitian” sentiments.

The complaint was filed under the Child Victims Act alleging the sexual abuse of a minor by Father Fajardo. The alleged conduct would have occurred in the 1990s and the accusation has been shared with district attorneys in Manhattan and the Bronx.

In an April 28 letter to parishioners, Auxiliary Bishop Edmund J. Whalen, vicar for the clergy, said: “While you will no doubt find this news disturbing, as it did me, I know you would rather hear it directly from me than media ”, quoted the Catholic New York portal.

Bishop Whalen said that Father Fajardo has denied the accusation, “and of course, you are considered innocent until your…

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May 7, 2021

Brother Robert Ryan (inset), shown in the 1960s. He died in 2017 at 83. A recently filed lawsuit says he sexually abused students decades ago at Marist High School on the Far Southwest Side, where he was an assistant principal for part of the 1970s, and at other schools run by the Marist Brothers religious order to which he belonged. Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times, provided

Marist Brothers Catholic order hid abuse by member who helped run Chicago school in the 1970s, suits say

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

May 7, 2021

By Robert Herguth

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“I was groomed really from the start of school” by Brother Robert Ryan, says one of the men who sued. “It’s infuriating that the order knew this guy was doing this to children, and they just transferred him around.”

[Photo above: Brother Robert Ryan (inset), shown in the 1960s. He died in 2017 at 83. A recently filed lawsuit says he sexually abused students decades ago at Marist High School on the Far Southwest Side, where he was an assistant principal for part of the 1970s, and at other schools run by the Marist Brothers religious order to which he belonged. Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times, provided]

After Brother Robert Ryan died in 2017, a relative posted an online tribute, calling him “the favorite uncle” who “lived a giving life” and “selflessly” served God.

Two lawsuits paint a different picture of Ryan, one that’s become public only after his death…

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Priest who abused ECHS student may have many more victims, lawyer says

HARTFORD (CT)
Journal Inquirer [Manchester CT]

May 6, 2021

By Skyler Frazer

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The lawyer for a man who received a payment from the Archdiocese of Hartford after he accused a priest of abusing him at East Catholic High School and St. Bartholomew Church in the 1980s said he expects more victims may now come forward.

The lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said Wednesday that the Archdiocese agreed to pay his client in the low six figures to settle a claim. Garabedian said his client wished to keep the exact amount unknown.

The man accused the Rev. Kenneth Bonadies of sexually abusing him at East Catholic High School and St. Bartholomew Church in the 1980s, and the Archdiocese of Hartford found the accusations credible, the lawyer said.

Garabedian announced the settlement Wednesday at a news conference outside of the Archdiocese’s headquarters on Farmington Avenue in Hartford.

Based on Bonadies’ assignment history and the number of times his client was abused, Garabedian said he believes there…

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Jesuits in Chile to Compensate 4 Victims of Sexual Abuse by Former Priest

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

May 6, 2021

By Giselle Vargas

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Four victims sexually abused by former priest Jaime Guzmán Astaburuaga will be compensated 15 million pesos (about $21,000) each.

The agreement signed in the presence of a notary April 27 came following a lawsuit for compensation for damages filed Aug. 10, 2020, by four former students of St. Ignatius School, located in the El Bosque area of metro Santiago, against the Society of Jesus and the St. Ignatius Foundation.

The plaintiffs had requested 120 million pesos ($171,000) for each victim. However, the Chilean newspaper La Tercera reported the victims apparently withdrew that demand in a letter.

The victims, Sebastian Milos Montes, 44, a businessman; Daniel Palacios Muñoz, 44, a sociologist; Allan Pineda García-Reyes, 45, a commercial engineer; and Juan Pablo Barros Castelblanco, 45, a journalist, detailed in the lawsuit the sexual harassment they suffered from Guzmán Astaburuaga, who was a priest and teacher from 1986 to 1992, when the victims were in…

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Archdiocese names ombudsman to deal with abuse complaints

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Radio Canada International [Montreal, Canada]

May 6, 2021

By Lynn Desjardins

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The Roman Catholice Archdiocese of Montreal has established an ombudsman and a revamped process to handle complaints about abuse or inappropriate behaviour. The move comes after an investigation into how church officials dealt with the case of a priest convicted of sexually assaulting two minors. In 2019, former priest Brian Boucher was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison.

The church hired Justice Pepita Capriolo to look into the matter and she concluded that the church was bent on protecting the Boucher’s reputation rather than dealing with the issue of sexual abuse. Among her recommendations, she said the archdiocese should hire an ombudsman.

External firm would investigate

Lawyer Marie Christine Kirouack was chosen by the church and is said to have extensive expertise in crisis intervention. She is mandated to handle complaints regarding all forms of abuse “be it sexual, physical, psychological, spiritual or financial, committed by any priest,…

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May 6, 2021

James A. Serritella with Pope John Paul II in 1997. His influence extended from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to the U.S. Supreme Court. Credit via Serritella family

James Serritella, Counselor in Church Sex-Abuse Crisis, Dies at 78

CHICAGO (IL)
New York Times

May 5, 2021

By Sam Roberts

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He advised four Chicago cardinals and advanced the U.S. bishops’ zero-tolerance policy toward clergy guilty of sex crimes.

[Photo above: James A. Serritella with Pope John Paul II in 1997. His influence extended from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to the U.S. Supreme Court. Credit via Serritella family]

James A. Serritella, a lapsed seminarian who as counsel to four cardinals overseeing the Archdiocese of Chicago encouraged them and eventually the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to bar priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children, died on April 23 in Chicago. He was 78.

His death, in a hospital, was announced by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich. The cause was complications of heart disease.

Working with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1992, Mr. Serritella was a key architect of the archdiocese’s Office of Assistance Ministry, set up for victims of abuse, and helped establish its board, which, dominated by lay people, assesses allegations…

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Once-local priest subject of sexual abuse case settlement

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
WTOV - Fox 9 [Steubenville OH]

May 5, 2021

By Paul Giannamore

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[Includes video of Attorney Mitchell Garabedian’s remarks.]

A priest ordained in the mid-1960s in Steubenville, who was a teacher at Catholic Central High School for a time, is the subject of a sexual abuse case settlement in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn.

According to the victim’s attorney, the Rev. Kenneth Bonadies was sent for treatment in the mid-1970s from Steubenville before he became a teacher in Connecticut.

“If he was in a treatment center for four years, why didn’t the leaders, the Archbishop of Hartford, inquire as to what those treatment records said?” he said. Or at least ask the Bishop of Steubenville, why are you sending him here? Why is he coming here, what’s going on with this guy?”

The Diocese of Steubenville does not list Bonadies among priests credibly accused of abuse. Officials are looking into his service in the diocese, but noted the local church was not…

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Montreal archdiocese names independent ombudswoman to investigate abuse complaints

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Canadian Press [Toronto, Canada]

May 5, 2021

By Sidhartha Banerjee

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The Montreal archdiocese has named an independent ombudswoman to handle complaints regarding abuse and other inappropriate behaviour connected to the Catholic Church.

Montreal lawyer Marie Christine Kirouack will fill the new role, which was created following the release of a report last November about how church officials mishandled the case of a convicted pedophile priest.

“My role is to ensure that no form of abuse or inappropriate behaviour will be tolerated in the Catholic Church of Montreal,” Kirouack told a virtual news conference on Wednesday. Her mandate officially began Monday and has no set term. She will file a public report detailing her activities.

The role of independent ombudswoman was a key recommendation in last November’s report by former Superior Court justice Pepita G. Capriolo, who was hired by the archdiocese to investigate how it handled the case of ex-priest Brian Boucher, sentenced to eight years in prison in 2019…

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Florida lawmaker to push again for ‘lookback window’ allowing sex abuse survivors to sue

ST. AUGUSTINE (FL)
WJXT - Channel 4 [Jacksonville FL]

May 5, 2021

By Kelly Wiley

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Former altar boy who says he was sexually assaulted by former Diocese of St. Augustine priest decided to tell his story to advocate for law

In 1976, 14-year-old Patrick Colville went on an overnight trip with a young priest to the fair in Tampa. That night at the hotel, he said, he was raped.

“I was screaming stop,” Colville said. “I hid in the shower, for the rest of the night.”

For roughly 40 years, Colville said, he told no one what happened. The priest, Fr. John Dux, stayed in his family’s life — even performing the marriage ceremony at his brother’s wedding several years later.

In 2019, when Colville was ready to share what happened to him, the statute of limitations had expired on his case. His attorneys sent a letter to the Diocese of St. Augustine, detailing the allegation. After eight months, the diocese determined the allegation was…

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Former Staten Island monsignor and principal named in 2 more sex-abuse lawsuits; has had numerous prior accusers

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

May 6, 2021

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Monsignor John Paddack, a former top administrator at two Catholic high schools on Staten Island, has been named in a pair of new sex-abuse lawsuits filed this week, bringing the number of accusers up to at least a dozen.

In an interview with the Advance/SILive.com, attorneys from Jeff Anderson & Associates slammed Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, for his handling of sex-abuse allegations against Monsignor Paddack, who previously served as principal of Monsignor Farrell High School in Oakwood and as a dean at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot.

Monsignor Paddack is named in two lawsuits filed on Tuesday against the Archdiocese of New York and other defendants under the New York Child Victims Act.

Monsignor Paddack is not listed as a defendant in either lawsuit and these two latest filings are not connected with the prelate’s service on Staten Island, but he…

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Pampanga Church scandal: Priest accused of affair with man’s wife

SAN FERNANDO (PHILIPPINES)
Philippine Daily Inquirer [Makati City, Philippines]

May 4, 2021

By Tonette Orejas

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A five-minute video showing a furious man confronting a Catholic priest for coveting his wife began circulating in Pampanga since Monday (May 3).

In the video, the man whacked a family portrait in front of the priest during the confrontation in the social hall of the church where the priest serves.

The video has been shared on Facebook’s Private Message.

The priest was heard saying “I’m sorry.” The man shouted back: “You ruined our family.” He accused the priest of taking advantage of his wife.

The man recited with sarcasm one of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”

The man’s son warned the priest that he would face investigation, hinting that a case for adultery was coming.

The man said his Catholic faith was not shaken but likened the priest twice to a “snake.”

Several persons milled around the priest in an apparent move to protect…

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Gretna councilman says he was a child victim of clergy abuse decades ago

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE [New Orleans LA]

May 5, 2021

By Kimberly Curth

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A Gretna City Councilman testified before a legislative committee that a priest abused him decades ago. Now, he and other survivors of child sexual abuse are asking state lawmakers to pass a bill that would give victims more time to come forward with a claim against their abuser in civil court.

“I am a victim of clergy abuse as well,” said Gretna council member Jackie Berthelot Monday as he spoke before Louisiana lawmakers. He says it started in the 1960′s when he was a 4th grade altar boy at St. Joseph’s School in Gretna.

“Little did I know I was being reeled in by a pedophile who, I think when a lot of this comes to light, will be seen as one of the worst pedophiles maybe this country has ever seen,” said Berthelot.

Other sexual abuse survivors also testified before the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure in…

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Ex-priest accused of sexually abusing a minor 4 decades ago

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 5, 2021

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A former Virginia priest has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor four decades ago.

Paul David Ryan, a former Catholic priest who was assigned to a parish and school in Virginia Beach, has been indicted by a grand jury on two felony counts of carnal knowledge by force of a minor under the age of 18, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Tuesday.

Herring said in a news release that the alleged assaults took place between 1979 and 1980 while Ryan was assigned to Star of the Sea Parish and the affiliated Star of the Sea School.

Ryan is accused in the indictments of taking the victim on a ski trip to Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County “under the pretense of a church-sanctioned outing.” The indictments allege that during the trip, Ryan sexually assaulted the victim twice.

Ryan was identified through an ongoing investigation into clergy sex abuse in…

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Pope removes legal privileges for Vatican cardinals, bishops

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Reuters [London, England]

April 30, 2021

By Philip Pullella

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Pope Francis ruled on Friday that bishops and cardinals who work in the Vatican will be judged by the same lay tribunal that hears other criminal cases and no longer by an elite panel of prelates.

Francis issued a decree abrogating a provision in the Vatican’s civil criminal code whereby bishops and cardinals were judged only by the Court of Cassation, a top body made up of cardinals and other high-ranking clergy.

In recent years, there have been several cases where lay people caught up in criminal investigations were judged and sentenced by the ordinary tribunal, which is made up of non-clerics, while cardinals involved in the same cases were not judged at all or received special treatment.

In the preface to the decree, Francis said civil law within the Vatican, which is a sovereign city-state, should be “without privileges that go back in time and are no longer consonant”…

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Archdiocese of Hartford settles credible sexual abuse allegation made against former priest, teacher at East Catholic High School in Manchester

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant [Hartford CT]

May 5, 2021

By Zach Murdock

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The Archdiocese of Hartford paid another six-figure settlement this spring to a Connecticut man who credibly accused former priest Kenneth P. Bonadies of sexually abusing him in the 1980s while he was a high school student in Manchester, attorney Mitchell Garabedian announced Wednesday morning.

The now 53-year-old man, whom Garabedian did not identify publicly, was sexually abused “relentlessly” starting when he was 14 years old in 1981 until 1985, while he was a student and Bonadies a teacher at East Catholic High School in Manchester, Garabedian said.

The man reported his claims to the church earlier this year and agreed to an out-of-court settlement after mediation in the “low six figures,” though the man declined to say the exact total of the settlement.

“I feel a tremendous amount of satisfaction that it’s been exposed and it’s known about,” the man said by phone Wednesday morning. “I think it’s important that…

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Archdiocese of Hartford settles sexual abuse allegations against former teacher, clergy member

HARTFORD (CT)
WTIC - Fox 61 [Hartford CT]

May 5, 2021

Read original article

[Includes clips of an audio interview with the survivor.]

New allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a clergy member and former teacher at East Catholic High School in Manchester have been made against the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The allegations date back to the 1980s, and they come just two years after the Archdiocese paid out more than $50 million in sexual abuse settlement claims.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney for the victim, announced the allegations during a news conference Wednesday morning. He said his client – who is not identified – was allegedly sexually abused more than 100 times over a four-year period by the Rev. Kenneth Bonadies.

“Father Bonadies was a teacher (at East Catholic High School), he was the theater director, he was a Latin teacher, he was a director for the choir,” Garabedian said. “Father Bodanies sexually abused my client in an office in Manchester, Connecticut,…

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May 5, 2021

Former Catholic priest, Paul David Ryan, photographed in the 1980s.(Supplied)

Former Victorian priest could be extradited to US on fresh sexual assault charges

ARARAT (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation [Australia]

May 5, 2021

By Jackson Peck

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[Photo above: Former Catholic priest, Paul David Ryan, photographed in the 1980s. (Supplied)]

A former Victorian catholic priest jailed for sexually assaulting three boys could soon be extradited to the US on fresh sexual assault charges.

Key points:

  • Paul David Ryan has been charged with sexual assault in the US state of Virginia
  • The defrocked Catholic priest was jailed in Victoria in 2019 for sexually assaulting three boys
  • Ryan was sent to Virginia in 1976 for “treatment” after church authorities became concerned about his sexual activity

The Attorney-General of the US state of Virginia has announced two charges against defrocked priest Paul David Ryan for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor in that state in 1979 and 1980.

Ryan, who’s in his 70s, was jailed in Victoria in 2019 for a minimum of 17 months after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting three boys across Ararat, Warrnambool and Lower Plenty between 1981…

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Former Virginia Beach priest charged with sexually assaulting a minor decades ago

VIRGINIA BEACH (VA)
Virginian-Pilot [Norfolk VA]

May 4, 2021

By Jane Harper

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A former priest who served at a Virginia Beach Catholic Church decades ago has been indicted by a grand jury investigating clergy abuse in Virginia.

Fr. Paul David Ryan is charged with two felony counts of forced carnal knowledge with a minor, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Attorney General Mark Herring’s office. He’s currently in custody in Australia and awaiting extradition to Virginia, the release said.

The assault is alleged to have occurred sometime between 1979 and 1980 during a church-sanctioned ski trip at Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County. Ryan was an assistant priest at Star of the Sea Catholic Church and parish school at the Oceanfront at the time.

Ryan is accused of assaulting the minor twice at a house at the resort where the two were staying. The release did not say if the alleged victim was male or female, or what the youth’s age…

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Ex-priest indicted, accused of sexually assaulting Va. teen in 1979

RICHMOND (VA)
Washington Post

May 4, 2021

By Tom Jackman and Michelle Boorstein

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A former Catholic priest and serial child molester from Australia has been indicted in Virginia on charges of sexually assaulting a teenage boy twice at a Virginia ski resort in 1979. Two people went public with their claims of abuse by the priest in 2007, but no charges were filed until Attorney General Mark Herring’s office took the information to a grand jury last month.

Paul David Ryan, 72, recently served his second jail sentence in Australia for sexual assaults he committed against young boys in Victoria, cases that emerged after victims contacted a national Catholic sex abuse commission, media reports said. Ryan was one of seven Catholic priests or brothers from one diocese in Victoria who were moved from parish to parish for decades as complaints came in about their conduct, the commission found.

Complaints about Ryan began even before he was ordained, Australian court records show, and Ryan’s…

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Harrisburg Diocese bankruptcy case could collide with bill giving child sex abuse victims a chance to sue

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot-News [Mechanicsburg PA]

May 5, 2021

By Ivey DeJesus

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The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, one of the largest dioceses in the commonwealth, gained national attention by filing for bankruptcy last year.

The 15-county diocese became the first – and to date only – Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania to file for bankruptcy. The filing followed the 2018 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury report, which found that church leaders had for decades covered up heinous child sex crimes at the hands of hundreds of priests.

Bankruptcy cases are famously long, and one year into the case, the respective parties are nowhere near a resolution.

In the meantime, victims of child sex abuse – particularly those abused as children by Catholic priests – have endured setbacks in their efforts to reform laws that barred them from justice. Now, their efforts to force dioceses to pay for their misdeeds are about to play out against…

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St. Catherine’s report sparks calls for accountability from survivors of alleged abuse by David Haas

SAINT PAUL (MN)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

May 5, 2021

By Sophie Vodvarka

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Some sexual assault survivors and advocates are still working to hold Catholic institutions accountable following an independent investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against composer David Haas by St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minnesota. They are pointing to a failure to interview Haas and the then-president of the university, as well as a lack of accountability for a former university employee whom they allege was aware of allegations against Haas.

Although St. Catherine’s investigation found that the university never received any “official” complaints about Haas, it also revealed that a witness that investigators deemed credible brought concerns about Haas to a university employee, who allowed Haas — and a priest who had been stripped of his priestly duties for sex abuse allegations — to continue to participate in the Music Ministry Alive (MMA) summer camps for high schoolers at the university.

St. Catherine’s University is the first of any major…

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May 4, 2021

Founded in 1995, the Provolo Institute offered free education to deaf and mute children of modest origins, with on-site boarding during the school week. Some 20 children were sexually abused there. Andres Larrovere AFP / File

Nuns on trial in Argentina over abuse of deaf children

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

May 3, 2021

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[Photo above: Founded in 1995, the Provolo Institute offered free education to deaf and mute children of modest origins, with on-site boarding during the school week. Some 20 children were sexually abused there.  Andres Larrovere AFP / File]

Two nuns and seven other female employees of an Argentine institute for deaf children went on trial Monday in a sexual abuse case that has shocked the home country of Pope Francis.

Two priests in charge of children at the center were jailed for more than 40 years each in November 2019 for sexual abuse, including rape, of some 20 minors.

This is the second trial in the case for crimes committed between 2004 and 2016 at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) west of Buenos Aires.

The victims were aged between four and 17 at the time.

Several staff at the school were taken into custody after…

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Conference to debate sexual abuse of young deaf Catholics

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

May 4, 2021

By Joyce Duriga

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The first international conference on sexual abuse of young deaf Catholics will take place May 7 and May 21 during webinars organized by the Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative for the Americas.

Father Joe Mulcrone, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of the Deaf, and one of the founders of Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative for the Americas, said this is the first time an event like this is happening.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clerical sex abuse who was appointed to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in May, and Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, adjunct secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will both participate in the event. The sessions will be offered in American and Mexican Sign Language and in English and Spanish.

People with disabilities are sexually assaulted at nearly three times the rate of people without disabilities, according…

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Gretna Councilman allegedly abused by priest as a kid

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WGNO [New Orleans LA]

May 3, 2021

By Chris Welty

Read original article

[Includes video excerpts from Berthelot’s testimony.]

A Gretna City Councilman reveals he was sexually abused by a priest within the Archdiocese of New Orleans decades ago.

Councilman Jackie Berthelot testified Monday during a house committee hearing in Baton Rouge.

Legislators are considering a bill which would give child molestation victims more time to file a lawsuit. Berthelot only decided to come forward after receiving counseling and gaining courage.

“It took me 50 years to admit to anyone what happened to me,” said 66-year-old Berthelot.

The councilman said he was abused by Monsignor Lawrence Hecker. Berthelot was a fourth grader at St. Joseph School in Gretna and served as an altar boy at St. Joseph Church.

“Little did I know that I was being reeled in by a pedophile when all of this comes to light will be seen as one of the worst pedophiles maybe this country has ever seen,”…

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Gretna councilman says he’s victim of notorious clergy abuser at dramatic legislative hearing

BATON ROUGE (LA)
New Orleans Advocate

May 3, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

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A Gretna City Council member revealed that he was sexually preyed on in grade school by one of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ most notorious clergy abusers when he appeared before Louisiana lawmakers Monday and made an impassioned plea that they give child molestation victims significantly more time to pursue damages.

The disclosure from Jackie Berthelot, 66, came during hours of testimony by abuse victims at a meeting of the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure. When testimony concluded, members advanced to the full House a bill that would give child sex abuse survivors until their 53rd birthday to file lawsuits regarding their abuse. Current law gives victims 25 years fewer — until their 28th birthday — to initiate litigation.

The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Jason Hughes, D-New Orleans. If ratified by the House, it would move to the Senate for consideration.

While the bill doesn’t exclusively…

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German Authorities Break Up International Child Sex Abuse Site

BERLIN (GERMANY)
New York Times

May 3, 2021

By Melissa Eddy

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German prosecutors have broken up an online platform for sharing images and videos showing the sexual abuse of children, mostly boys, that had an international following of more than 400,000 members, they said on Monday.

The site, named “Boystown,” had been around since at least June 2019 and included forums where members from around the globe exchanged images and videos showing children, including toddlers, being sexually abused. In addition to the forums, the site had chat rooms where members could connect with one another in various languages.

German federal prosecutors described it as “one of the largest child pornography sites operating on the dark net” in a statement they released on Monday announcing the arrest in mid-April of three German men who managed the site and a fourth who had posted thousands of images to it.

“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who prey on the weakest are…

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Virtual novena for abuse healing draws bigger, more anonymous audience

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Angelus - Archdiocese of Los Angeles [Los Angeles CA]

May 3, 2021

By Ann Rodgers

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COVID-19 restrictions proved an unexpected blessing to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ annual novena for healing from abuse, as the online prayer services drew far more participants than in-person liturgies of past years.

One service alone had 850 live views, far exceeding past in-person services, said Heather Banis, the clinical psychologist who serves as victim assistance ministry coordinator. The possibility to pray virtually, it seems, allowed people who are hesitant to spotlight themselves by attendance to participate anonymously. They could also choose to identify themselves and write comments.

“The livestream gives you all the grace and space you need,” Banis said.

United Together in Prayer – Novena for Child Abuse Prevention and Healing” was livestreamed April 22-30 from eight parishes and St. John Seminary. Every auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese took part, as did all its seminarians.

It included prayers for all victims of child abuse, but the focus…

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Reckoning with history, Long Island diocese names 101 clergy accused of sex abuse

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

May 3, 2021

By Kevin J. Jones

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The Diocese of Rockvillle Centre has released a list of 101 diocesan clergy it believes to be credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. The list is not meant to be complete, and most allegations date back decades.

The list comes amid lawsuits from alleged clergy sex abuse victims and other compensation efforts in the New York diocese, which is one of the largest in the U.S.

“The list is not exhaustive,” said the introduction to the April 22 list. “The fact that this list may not include the name of the accused clergy who sexually abused you does not mean that you should not file a Sexual Abuse Proof of Claim Form.”

The names of 101 accused clergy are listed on the document, published at the website of Epiq Corporate Restructuring, LLC. The list names priests and deacons that the diocese’s review board determined to have a “credible” allegation…

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As NPR Celebrates 50th, WBUR’s All Things Considered Looks Back On Coverage Over The Decades

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR [Boston MA]

May 3, 2021

By Lisa Mullins and Lynn Jolicoeur

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[Includes a ten-minute audio report with a brief clip of Cardinal Law speaking on the abuse crisis early in the report.]

The first time America heard All Things Considered from National Public Radio was 50 years ago — May 3, 1971.

The program started airing on WBUR about a decade later. And that marked the start of the station’s resolute commitment to local news that listeners hear today.

The decades have brought big changes and major news at warp speed — from technological advances, to the attacks of 9/11, to war. Events and new laws in Massachusetts — including the priest sex abuse scandal, same-sex marriage and health care reform — have led to sweeping changes nationally.

In 2013, Boston was hit by domestic terrorism. Bombs went off at the marathon finish line. WBUR’s All Things Considered covered every angle of the tragedy, from the loss and devastation to the trial and sentencing of bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Delaware’s Catholics, including President Biden, get new leader

WILMINGTON (DE)
WHYY [Philadelphia PA and Wilmington DE]

May 4, 2021

By Mark Eichmann

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Pope Francis has selected a new leader for Delaware’s Catholics. On July 13, William Koenig will replace Bishop Francis Malooly, who led the Diocese of Wilmington serving all of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore since 2008.

Koenig, 64, most recently worked as Vicar for Clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island, New York. Prior to that, he worked as Rector at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.

When he’s officially installed this July, Bishop-elect Koenig will be the spiritual leader of more than 246,000 Catholics in Delaware and along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He’ll also be leader of the nation’s most prominent Catholic, President Joe Biden, who frequently attends services at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine when he travels back to Delaware on weekends.

“I have never met President Biden, I certainly pray for him every day,” Koenig said as he was introduced at the Cathedral of St….

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May 3, 2021

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading Vatican official dealing with clergy sexual abuse in the church, is pictured in a file photo greeting Andrew Collins, David Ridsdale and Peter Blenkiron at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. The three men said they were child sex abuse victims in Australia. (Credit: Tony Gentile / Reuters via CNS.)

Anti-abuse center gets upgrade, sensing both progress and frustration

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 3, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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Last week, a well-known center at one of Rome’s pontifical universities aimed at protecting children from clerical sexual abuse, and beyond, was upgraded to an institute of anthropology, giving the Church’s most respected academic outfit devoted to child protection room to grow.

As of Sept. 1, the Center for Child Protection at the Gregorian University in Rome will become the Institute of Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care. According to German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, the possibility of making it an “Institute on Safeguarding” was discussed, but there’s no such discipline in the academic world thus far.

The change, which goes deeper than a new name, was ratified April 15 by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education. The Institute will take over the work of the CCP, continuing to carry out pioneering research and formation in the field of child protection as a faculty within the Gregorian, with…

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Woman’s life ruined by disgraced Preston priest who embedded himself into victim’s families

PRESTON (UNITED KINGDOM)
LancsLive [Preston, England]

April 30, 2021

By Amy Fenton

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Cotter pleaded guilty to an additional three counts of assaulting a seven-year-old girl who attended his church between 1972 and 1975

A woman has spoken of how her life was ruined by a disgraced Preston priest who told her she would get ‘a good breakfast’ after he sexually assaulted her.

Edmond Cotter was the priest at St Anthony’s Church in Fulwood in the 1970s and 1980s when he took advantage of youngsters who attended for Mass and Holy Communion.

Cotter embedded ‘himself into the families of his victims’ and abused them over more than a decade.

Cotter, now 74, was jailed for more than five years in 2007 after sexually assaulting 10 girls and one boy between 1972 and 1984. The children were aged between eight and 11 at the time.

At Preston Crown Court today (April 30) Cotter pleaded guilty to an additional three counts of assaulting a seven-year-old…

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James A. Serritella

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

May 2, 2021

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[Via Legacy]

Nationally renowned attorney, who represented the Archdiocese of Chicago for 50 years dies at 78.

James A. Serritella, J.D., an attorney who served as chief counsel and legal advisor to the Archdiocese of Chicago for nearly 50 years, died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Friday, April 23, at the age of 78 from complications of heart disease.

Serritella was a named partner at the law firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella where he served as chair of the Religious and Not-For-Profit Group. His nearly half century legal practice focused on legal needs of tax exempt religious and not-for-profit organizations. He advised four Cardinals, beginning with Cardinal John Cody in the 1970s and continuing through the administrations of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Cardinal Francis George and, currently, Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Over his extensive career, Jim saw the Archdiocese of Chicago through countless critical events including the clergy sex abuse crisis,…

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Sexual misconduct allegations surface against Conventual Franciscan priest

BALTIMORE (MD)
WMAR - ABC 2 [Baltimore MD]

May 2, 2021

By Michelle Richardson

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore has received an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Father Romuald Meogrossi, OFM Conv. The allegation was immediately reported to law enforcement. Fr. Meogrossi is an 81-year-old priest who had been in residence at St. Michael the Archangel Friary in Overlea.

In accordance with policy, earlier this week the Archdiocese removed Fr. Meogrossi’s faculties to function as a priest, and his Franciscan superiors suspended him from public ministry, pending the results of an investigation. Fr. Meogrossi is no longer residing in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Until several years ago, Fr. Meogrossi engaged in practice as a licensed clinical professional counselor. The alleged misconduct occurred during 2006 in a clinical therapy setting.

Fr. Meogrossi has denied the allegation.
This matter is in an early stage of investigation and therefore no determination of credibility has been made by the Franciscan Friars Conventual or the Archdiocese at this…

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May 2, 2021

A street sign in front of St. Aidan Roman Catholic Church in Williston Park honors its former pastor, the Rev. Charles Bermingham, after whom the street was renamed. Bermingham, however, landed on a list of clerics accused of sexually abusing minors. Some are calling for the signs to be removed. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Memorialized names of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse open old wounds

WILLISTON PARK (NY)
Newsday [Melville NY]

May 2, 2021

By Bart Jones

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[Photo above: A street sign in front of St. Aidan Roman Catholic Church in Williston Park honors its former pastor, the Rev. Charles Bermingham, after whom the street was renamed. Bermingham, however, landed on a list of clerics accused of sexually abusing minors. Some are calling for the signs to be removed. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin]

Msgr. Charles Bermingham was so beloved a pastor at the Church of St. Aidan in Williston Park that the street in front of the parish was named after him decades ago.

But last month, Bermingham’s name was among 101 priests on a list of clerics that the Diocese of Rockville Centre, in papers submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

Now advocates, attorneys and survivors are demanding that officials remove the “Bermingham Place” street sign. Bermingham died in 2003.

A “simple gesture” of removing the name “would help…

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Archdiocese of Baltimore receives allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Father Romuald Meogrossi, O.F.M., Conv.

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

May 2, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore has received an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Conventual Franciscan Father Romuald MeogrossiRead the archdiocese’s full May 2 statement below:

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has received an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor against Father Romuald Meogrossi, OFM Conv. The allegation was immediately reported to law enforcement. Fr. Meogrossi is an 81-year-old priest who had been in residence at St. Michael the Archangel Friary in Overlea.

In accordance with policy, earlier this week the Archdiocese removed Fr. Meogrossi’s faculties to function as a priest, and his Franciscan superiors suspended him from public ministry, pending the results of an investigation. Fr. Meogrossi is no longer residing in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Until several years ago, Fr. Meogrossi engaged in practice as a licensed clinical professional counselor. The alleged misconduct occurred during 2006 in a clinical therapy setting. Fr. Meogrossi has denied the allegation.

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Bishop: Woyen resigned as Lutheran pastor after sexual battery allegations surfaced

STRASBURG (OH)
The Times Reporter [New Philadelphia OH]

April 30, 2021

By Nancy Molnar

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A Minnesota man accused of sexual battery who formerly served as a Lutheran minister has resigned as a pastor, according to the Rev. Laura L. H. Barbins, bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, based in Cuyahoga Falls.

Steven P. Woyen, 46, is accused of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor who attended or was a member of First Lutheran Church of Strasburg when he was its pastor. The Tuscarawas County Grand Jury indicted him on three counts of sexual battery that allegedly occurred between 2008 and 2011. 

“We became aware of allegations that former pastor Steven Woyen was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor while he was a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Strasburg,” Barbins wrote in an email to The Times-Reporter. “His bishop reported those allegations to the appropriate authorities here in Ohio and I and his bishop have cooperated fully with law enforcement.

“Mr. Woyen resigned immediately after the…

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Trial Pushed Back for Cincinnati Priest Geoff Drew’s Child-Rape Case

CINCINNATI (OH)
CityBeat Cincinnati

April 27, 2021

By Allison Babka

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Geoff Drew is charged with nine counts of rape. His alleged victim was just 10 years old at the time.

A Cincinnati-area priest accused of raping a 10-year-old boy will not stand trial until October, officials said Monday. 

Geoff Drew originally was expected to go to trial Monday for nine counts of rape, but the trial was postponed to Oct. 25 after Drew’s attorneys requested more time to build their defense. If convicted, Drew faces life in prison.

In lieu of a $5 million bond, Drew remains at the Hamilton County Justice Center, where he’s been since his arrest in 2019. He pleaded not guilty during an arraignment that year.

Drew is accused of raping an altar boy in his office while he was a music minister at St. Jude in Bridgetown. The accuser, who was 10 years old when those rapes allegedly started in 1988 and is…

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Lawsuit against Springfield Diocese continues allegations of cover-ups by top officials

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Masslive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

May 2, 2021

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

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A recent lawsuit alleging clergy sexual abuse and a cover-up by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield — which the diocese is seeking to have dismissed — recalls a similar case the church faced and settled in 2009.

The earlier suit claimed that former diocesan Bishops Joseph F. Maguire and Thomas L. Dupre knew the Rev. Alfred Graves, who had the time of the suit had been removed from ministry, had a history of child molestation when he was assigned to a Berkshire County parish. Andrew Nicastro, the 38-year-old plaintiff in the case, alleged Graves sexually molested him between 1982 and 1984 while a priest at St. Patrick’s Parish in Williamstown.

Lawyers for the two bishops sought unsuccessfully to get the suit dismissed on statute of limitation grounds. The 2012 jury trial ended shortly after it began when the parties agreed to a $500,000 settlement.

“They did…

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From left to right, 7-year-old "Chuckie" and 8-year-old Bobby Carroll in 1948, two orphans in foster care, before they were sent to the New Jersey State Colony for Boys, an institution later renamed the New Lisbon Developmental Center.

Bobby was violently abused at a state institution decades ago. Why his brother spread his ashes there.

WOODLAND (NJ)
nj.com [New Jersey]

May 1, 2021

By Susan K. Livio, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

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[Photo above: From left to right, 7-year-old “Chuckie” and 8-year-old Bobby Carroll in 1948, two orphans in foster care, before they were sent to the New Jersey State Colony for Boys, an institution later renamed the New Lisbon Developmental Center.]

Charles Carroll was 8 and his brother Robert was 9 when they were delivered to a state institution for children with developmental disabilities in rural Burlington County more than 70 years ago.

Neither boy was disabled. But their parents had abandoned them, and foster families had returned them.

The New Jersey State Colony for Boys, today known as the New Lisbon Developmental Center, became their home and their hell. They were raped by older boys and employees and deprived of an education and any hope of escaping before they reached adulthood, according to Charles A. Carroll’s 2005 harrowing memoir, Hard Candy.

Yet when Bobby died from COVID-19…

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INVESTIGATION: What Is the Real Reason the Archdiocese of New Orleans Declared Bankruptcy?

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Big Easy Magazine

May 1, 2021

By Helen Lewis

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On May 1, 2020, the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. Since filing, the archdiocese has not been entirely honest about the real reason that they declared bankruptcy. 

When asked for a statement on why they declared bankruptcy, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese forwarded along a press release and informational booklet, commenting that “As this is a legal proceeding pending before the federal bankruptcy court, we think it is imprudent to comment further.” 

The press release explained, “In order to continue effectively ministering to the needs of the church community and victims and survivors of clergy abuse, the Administrative Offices of the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced today that it has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. The move was necessitated by the growing financial strain caused by litigation stemming from decades-old incidents of clergy abuse as well as ongoing budget challenges. The unforeseen circumstances surrounding…

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Pope imposes drastic new anti-corruption rules at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
La Croix International [France]

May 1, 2021

By Loup Besmond de Senneville

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Pope Francis has issued a new decree on financial management at the Vatican in what is being touted as a further step in his fight against corruption inside the Church.

The new text, which was issued on April 29 in the form of a motu proprio (meaning “at his own initiative”), imposes measures to ensure financial transparency at all levels of the Holy See.

What exactly does this new motu proprio contain?

First of all, it requires all Roman Curia officials – from the prefects of dicasteries to the vice-directors – to complete, as soon as they take office, a declaration of interests.

They must attest, in particular, to never having been convicted in any country and to not have benefited from any system of amnesty or prescription.

The motu proprio explicitly states that all curia heads, “including cardinals”, will also have to promise not to be the subject of…

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AG Kaul announces state-wide inquiry into clergy and faith leader abuse

MADISON (WI)
The Monroe Times

May 1, 2021

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Attorney General Josh Kaul announced April 27 a statewide initiative, led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), with support from district attorneys, survivor groups, and crime victim services professionals, which will review reports of clergy and faith leader abuse in Wisconsin.

Survivors, their friends and family, or anyone who has information about the church’s response to abuse are encouraged to report clergy and faith leader abuse online at SupportSurvivors.widoj.gov or by calling 1-877-222-2620.

“The people of Wisconsin, and especially victims, deserve an independent review of clergy and faith leader abuse,” said Attorney General Kaul. “With this initiative, we are seeking to ensure that survivors of clergy and faith leader abuse have access to needed victim services, to help prevent future cases of sexual assault, and to get accountability to the extent possible.”

“Survivors are grateful to the Attorney General for his commitment to pursue justice for victims of clergy…

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Laicized priest dies, Wajda faced child sexual abuse claims

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

May 1, 2021

By Joe Ruff

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A laicized priest, removed from public ministry in 2003 and dismissed from the clerical state in 2016 for substantiated child sexual abuse accusations, died April 29. Joseph Wajda was 74.

Ordained in 1973 for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Wajda served in eight parishes. He also was judicial vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal from 1996 to 2002.

Funeral services were pending.

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Letter: Priest sexual abuse story smacks of anti-Catholic bias

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

May 1, 2021

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Regarding “Guarding faith: St. Louis archdiocese adds another priest’s name to its list of abusers, but won’t talk about it” (April 18): As the president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, I must complain about this story.

We live in a complex time with no shortage of current events that merit readers’ attention. Between the coronavirus, the border crisis and a whole host of other issues, it is peculiar the Post-Dispatch would prominently feature a story about a priest accused of abusing a minor in the 1970s. This is hardly the substance of breaking news. That is, unless the goal was to attack the church and impugn the reputation of Catholic priests.

I have had to raise concerns before about what I believe is an anti-Catholic bias at the Post-Dispatch.

William A. Donohue, Ph.D. • New York, N.Y.

President, Catholic League

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May 1, 2021

Santa Fe archdiocese to sell over 700 properties amid mounting abuse settlements

SANTA FE (NM)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 30, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Santa Fe intends to sell over 700 properties by year’s end to help pay for settlements to sexual abuse survivors, an examination of court records has found. 

An examination of court records by the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper found that the diocese has sold at least six properties over the past year and intends to sell 732 more by late July. 

Those first six sales generated $7.5 million for the diocese, the records show. According to the AP, among the buildings sold were several surrounding a Carmelite Monastery in Santa Fe. 

Of the many more properties to be sold by an auctioneering firm, most are small vacant lots, fields, or grazing land donated to the archdiocese by families, the New Mexican reported. 

In August 2020, the archdiocese listed the vacant St. Francis Cathedral School in downtown Santa Fe for $3.6 million.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11…

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Safeguarding expert: Guidelines are ‘in vain’ if not upheld by Church powers

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

April 30, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

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A safeguarding expert said that the Catholic Church could do more to take responsibility for the failures of the past, and to reform power structures which allow abuse and cover-ups to take place.

Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., a psychologist, theologian, and leading expert on abuse prevention, told CNA April 30 that the Church’s safeguarding procedures would not be effective unless those in power shared the same goals.

“You can have the best guidelines, you can have the best-prepared people for that kind of work or for protection or safeguarding, [but] if the institution as such does not live up to the ideals that are expressed in the guidelines — for example, if there are power structures that contradict what the guidelines for safeguarding say — then the same guidelines are put up in vain,” he said.

Zollner, president of Rome’s Center for Child Protection (CCP), told CNA that the prevalence of…

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Kentucky priest “on cloud nine” after priestly faculties reinstated

OWENSBORO (KY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 30, 2021

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An Owensboro, Kentucky priest says he is “on cloud nine” after receiving word that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had reinstated his faculties after he appealed his permanent suspension from public ministry. 

“When the letter [from the CDF] came, I was telling them I was almost afraid to open it  because you don’t know what the news is,” said Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley to 14 News on April 26. 

“I am so happy I can hardly talk,” he said. He said that it was the prayers and support of his “good friends” who got him through his suspension.

“After two years, it was getting more and more difficult,” said Bradley, as he waited for word on the status of the appeal.  

Bradley was in March 2019 temporarily suspended from public ministry following allegations he had sexually abused a minor in the 1980s. 

Another claim was made during…

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US Bishops Fall meeting in Baltimore, Md., 2019. (photo: CNA / EWTN)

Investigations of Bishops Rise as McCarrick Scandal Reforms Kick In

SAINT PAUL (MN)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

April 30, 2021

By Joan Frawley Desmond

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Pope Francis’ document ‘Vos Estis’ and a national hotline have produced an uptick in claims against US bishops, but experts are waiting for hard data.

[Photo above: US Bishops Fall meeting in Baltimore, Md., 2019. (photo: CNA / EWTN)]

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston, Minnesota, on April 13, marking a new milestone in the Catholic Church’s global campaign to strengthen episcopal accountability in the wake of the McCarrick scandal.

The former Crookston bishop is the first U.S. Church leader to undergo an investigation pursuant to Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You Are the Light of the World), Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio, which holds bishops accountable for negligence in responding to allegations of sexual abuse involving minors and lays out universal procedures for investigating bishops accused of sexually abusing minors or vulnerable adults or of failing to remove others credibly accused. 

Ron Vasek, the man who told Church…

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Innocent Little Boys Sex Victims Of Catholic Priest In Palmdale, Redondo Beach? Accused Molester Lewd Act Charges

PALMDALE (CA)
MyNewsLA.com [Los Angeles CA]

April 30, 2021

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A former Catholic priest charged with committing lewd acts on four boys while assigned to churches in Palmdale and Redondo Beach between the mid-1990s and 2001 is set to be arraigned Friday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

Christopher John Cunningham, 58, was charged April 2 with a dozen felony counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Cunningham was an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale and worked at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach at the time of the alleged crimes.

The alleged victims include an 11-year-old boy who was allegedly sexually assaulted on two occasions between November 1995 and September 1997 and a boy — whose age was not available — who was allegedly abused at his home some time between June 1996 and June 1998, while Cunningham was…

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Horsham Catholic priest Father Anthony White charged with sex offences

HORSHAM (UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

April 29, 2021

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A Roman Catholic priest has appeared in court accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in the early 1990s.

Father Anthony White is charged with indecent assault and buggery against the 15-year-old in 1992 and 1993.

The attacks were allegedly carried out where Mr White was then living, in Horsham, West Sussex, when he was an Assistant Priest at St John the Evangelist church.

Fr White, 62, appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The defendant, now of Cross-In-Hand, Heathfield, did not enter a plea.

The case has been committed for trial, with an initial hearing at Lewes Crown Court on 26 May.

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Joliet Diocese teacher fired after he is charged with ‘inappropriate communication with a minor’

JOLIET (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

April 30, 2021

By David Struett and Emmanuel Camarillo

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An arrest warrant was issued for Jeremy M. Hylka after police were made aware of the video, according to Joliet police.

A former Catholic school teacher in the southwest suburbs has been charged after a video surfaced showing him “engaged in inappropriate communication with a minor.”

Jeremy M. Hylka was charged with traveling to meet a child and grooming after investigators were made aware of a Snapchat video that “possibly depicted inappropriate contact of an adult with a minor,” Joliet Police Lt. Joe Egizio told reporters at a new conference Friday afternoon.

He did not provide details on the contents of the video.

Detectives tracked down and interviewed the person who posted the video, Detective Sean Filipiak said. The person is a 19-year-old man who, in conjuction with a group called “Save Our Siblings,” posed as a 15-year-old when communicating with Hylka.

Filipiak said the…

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Joliet Catholic school teacher fired, charged with grooming after video leads to investigation

JOLIET (IL)
WLS-TV, Ch. 7 [Chicago IL]

May 1, 2021

By By Liz Nagy and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team

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Jeremy Hylka worked at Saint Joseph Catholic School in Lockport, Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet when fired

 A former Catholic school teacher in the southwest suburbs has been charged after a video surfaced showing him ‘engaged in inappropriate communication with a minor.”

Jeremy M. Hylka was charged with traveling to meet a child and grooming, according to Joliet police.

Publically, Hylka was a former youth minister, father and teacher, and passionate about the weather. He even appeared in videos for the Joliet Weather Center.

But out of view of his students and parishioners, police say Hylka tried to solicit sex with children on the internet.

Police said on Wednesday they were alerted to a Snapchat video they said possibly showed inappropriate contact with a minor by an independent group called Save Our Siblings.

In part of the video that was sent to police,…

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Legion of Christ facing seven new sex abuse lawsuits

CENTER HARBOR (NH)
Union Leader [Manchester NH]

April 29, 2021

By Damien Fisher

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The Legion of Christ, the Roman Catholic order that operated a now defunct school in Center Harbor, is facing new lawsuits alleging sexual abuse against children at its private schools.

All but one of the suits alleges abuse against boys at the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor. One lawsuit alleges abuse against a female student of the Immaculate Conception Academy in Rhode Island.

The Legion, founded in 1949 by Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, is headquartered in Cheshire, Conn. Maciel’s behavior reportedly included drug addiction, fathering several children with at least three different women, the sexual abuse of his own children and others. He died in 2008.

The lawsuits, filed earlier this month, allege abuse against boys age 12 to 15 by priests and brothers of the order, some of whom had not been publicly reported as abusers by the order.

The order operated the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School…

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Ex-priest pleads not guilty to lewd acts

PALMDALE (CA)
Antelope Valley Press [Palmdale CA]

April 30, 2021

By City News Service

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A former Catholic priest pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of lewd acts on four boys at two parishes, in Palmdale and Redondo Beach, between the mid-1990s and 2001.

Christopher John Cunningham, 58, was charged April 2 with a dozen felony counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Cunningham was an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale and worked at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach at the time of the alleged crimes.

The alleged victims include an 11-year-old boy who was allegedly sexually assaulted on two occasions between November 1995 and September 1997 and a boy, whose age was unavailable, who was allegedly abused at his home some time between June 1996 and June 1998, while Cunningham was an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale.

Prosecutors also…

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Former Priest Pleads Not Guilty In Sexual Assault Of Young Boys

LOS ANGELES (CA)
CBS Los Angeles, KCAL 2 and CBS 9 [Los Angeles CA]

April 30, 2021

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A former Catholic priest accused of lewd acts on four boys pleaded not guilty on Friday.

The alleged crimes happened in the mid-1990s and 2001 in Redondo and Palmdale.

The former priest, 58-year-old Christopher John Cunningham, was charged on April 2 with 12 felony counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

He was an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale and worked at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach at the time of the alleged crimes.

“The victims were innocent children who have spent most of their lives with the trauma caused by the abuse alleged in this case,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement about the charges.

“My office is committed to holding accountable anyone who abuses and takes advantage of our children, especially when they hold a position…

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Pope enables Vatican prosecutions of cardinals, bishops

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 30, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis has sent another message to Vatican-based cardinals and bishops that he intends to hold them accountable for criminal misconduct: He removed the procedural obstacles that had spared them from being prosecuted and judged by the Vatican’s lay criminal tribunal.

A new law published Friday makes clear that Vatican city-state prosecutors and judges have jurisdiction over Holy See cardinals and bishops and need only the pope’s consent to proceed with investigations and trials against them.

The law abrogated a regulation that said only the tribunal’s highest appeals court, which is made up of three cardinals, could judge cardinals and bishops accused of criminal offenses.

The reform is the latest sign that after eight years of preaching about ending corruption and other criminal activity in the Holy See, Francis is taking concrete steps to make it easier to hold his own cardinals and bishops accountable while emboldening Vatican prosecutors to…

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April 30, 2021

Father John Dux is pictured on the left, he is a retired priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine. Photo was taken Dec. 5, 1979

New York man shares story of his alleged sexual abuse by a Florida priest in the 1970s

TAMPA (FL)
WFTS-TV [Tampa Bay FL]

April 29, 2021

By Kylie McGivern

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Legislation could remove statute of limitations for civil suits

[Photo above: Father John Dux is pictured on the left, he is a retired priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine. Photo was taken Dec. 5, 1979]

The state’s two-year investigation into allegations Catholic priests sexually abused Florida children resulted in a blistering report, naming 97 Catholic priests meeting the state’s criteria for prosecution.

Not a single one will stand trial.

The priests were dead, had already been prosecuted, or in most cases — too many years had passed. But the story doesn’t end there.

Over the past five months, I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern poured over hundreds of pages of records from the state, talked with prosecutors, lawmakers and clergy sexual abuse survivors, and pressed a diocese in Florida about what was done — and when.

One of the victims was a 14-year-old boy at the time…

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Last Sister of Mercy leaves KC, ending her order’s service here after 134 years

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

April 30, 2021

By Melissa Henneberger

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Sister Jeanne Christensen, the last member of the Sisters of Mercy still working in Kansas City, packed up her electric blue Corolla and drove back to her hometown of Omaha last week, ending her order’s service here after 134 years.

Kansas City women in particular have reason to thank her and all who came before her for that service. Because the sisters showed up for us, my sisters.

They’ve been doing that since the order’s foundress, Catherine McAuley, spent her inheritance to open the first House of Mercy as a shelter and school for women and girls in Dublin in 1827. But their history in Kansas City began on Aug. 2, 1887, when Sr. Mary Agnes Dunne arrived from Kentucky to set up a home for young working women living on their own in what Sr. Kathleen O’Brien, author of a history of the Sisters of Mercy, called this “newly large…

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Stika accepted deacon accused of misconduct; Knoxville priests criticize ‘pattern’ of leadership

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar

April 29, 2021

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The Bishop of Knoxville accepted a transitional deacon for parish ministry, even after the deacon was dismissed from seminary because of sexual misconduct allegations. Bishop Richard Stika reportedly intended to ordain the deacon a priest, despite objections from both Knoxville’s diocesan priests and psychological experts. 

Priests in the diocese say the circumstance is part of a pattern of questionable relationships and troubling judgment on the bishop’s part, which have been noted in complaints about Stika sent recently to the Vatican. Those reports are expected to trigger an investigation into the bishop’s leadership of his Tennessee diocese

The transitional deacon, incardinated in another U.S. diocese, was dismissed from seminary after “making sexual advances toward a younger seminarian” in late 2016, according to diocesan records obtained by The Pillar.

The deacon was reportedly accused of other incidents of sexual misconduct while in seminary. A 2017 psychologists’ report said the deacon’s “manipulative style, sexual predatory…

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This is the true ‘gold standard” for child protection in Pa. | Opinion

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital-Star

April 30, 2021

By Marci Hamilton

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It’s been nearly three years since a grand jury report initiated by Attorney General Josh Shapiro found that bishops and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years.

In a state such as Pennsylvania, where one in every four residents is Catholic, the report was both scathing and sobering – revealing more than 1,000 identifiable victims were abused at the hands of bishops, priests and other leaders of the Catholic Church.

Even before Shapiro’s report, in 2005, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham released a jaw-dropping, lengthy report about child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which gave a detailed account of the horrific abuse of hundreds of children by more than 60 priests and the cover-up by leaders of the church.

It is obvious that these survivors should be able to seek justice so they can…

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New Rome body to study causes of abuse

ROME (ITALY)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

April 29, 2021

By Christopher Lamb

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Ever since the lid was blown off the top of the global clerical sexual abuse scandal, church institutions have found themselves on the defensive. Pope Francis’ 2019 global summit of bishops on abuse – the first of its kind – was a belated first step towards a more proactive and coordinated church-wide approach. 

The lesson has sunk in that abuse is not going to magically disappear. Tackling abuse in society and in the Church needs a committed and ongoing response. To that end, a new body that will study the root causes of abuse and how safeguarding measures can be made more effective has been established in Rome. 

The “Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care” was ratified by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on 15 April and is to carry out pioneering research and formation in this field. It will be a faculty…

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ChurchToo Challenges Church’s Culture of Abuse

BOSTON (MA)
BC Torch [Boston College]

April 30, 2021

By Mary Rose Corkery

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On April 15, the School of Theology and Ministry (STM) welcomed Dr. Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College, for a Zoom webinar titled “The Sacred and The Secret: Lessons from Movements Like MeToo and ChurchToo.” 

Introduced by Fr. Thomas Stegman, S.J., Dean of the STM, Imperatori-Lee presented a lecture outlining the ways sexual abuse thrives, how these factors operate in the Catholic Church, and strategies to eliminate the persistence of abuse and rape culture within a Christian paradigm. 

She began by discussing that MeToo entering the national lexicon in 2016 has led to  countless individuals and groups identifying how rape culture is an assumption that permeates everyday life, both personally and structurally. Imperatori-Lee defined rape culture as “the normalization of assault as we assume that, given the opportunity, men will assault women sexually, making it necessary for women to put guardrails in place for their own safety.”…

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House backs bill dropping deadline for child physical abuse claims

MONTPELIER (VT)
VTDigger [Montpelier VT]

April 29, 2021

By Kevin O'Connor

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The Vermont House has joined the Senate in advancing a bill to repeal the statute of limitations for civil actions based on childhood physical abuse.

In a voice vote Thursday, House members offered near unanimous support for S.99, which the Senate approved 29-0 earlier this month.

“For a variety of reasons related to the trauma of being a victim of child abuse, it is extremely difficult for the victim to file the action before turning 21,” Rep. Felisha Leffler, R-Enosburg Falls, told her House colleagues. “As a result, these victims are permanently barred from ever being compensated for what in many cases are horrendous injuries.”

The Legislature, responding to a decadeslong Vermont Catholic priest misconduct scandal, two years ago repealed the deadline for introducing civil actions involving child sexual abuse.

But that change to allow accusers to go to court at any time pertains only to molestation and not other abuse,…

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Future Pope

ROME (ITALY)
The Open Tabernacle

April 29, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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The Vatican has a PR problem. In an international poll, Pope Francis is less admired than even Donald Trump. While Trump is ranked as the 15th most admired man in the world in the 2020 survey, Pope Francis is ranked at 18. The Dalai Lama ranked number 8. “More than 45,000 people in 42 countries and territories were interviewed to compile the list,” YouGov published in September.

Due to the adulation of Pope Francis by the U.S. for-profit mainstream media, it’s not surprising that the pontiff ranks much higher in this country, almost tied with the Dalai Lama at numbers 8 and 9 respectively.

The Vatican generates favorable coverage from the U.S. media. Anthony Fauci and Chelsea Clinton are among the famous American headliners at a virtual conference being held May 6-8. Other notable speakers – Deepak Chopra, Kerry Kennedy, Cindy Crawford, John Sculley, entrepreneur and investor in high-tech startups, Brandon Marshall, a…

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April 29, 2021

Pope Francis remarks on the Ecuadorian diocese’s poor leadership and moral failings

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

April 28, 2021

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The resignations of  Bishop Julio Parrilla Diaz, who turned 75 last month, and his deputy, Monsignor Gerardo Miguel Nieves Loja, 53, were accepted by Pope Francis this week in Rome. We are glad to learn of these resignations but hope more action comes from the Vatican.

We also applaud the Spanish missionary in Riobamba, Julia Serrano, for raising awareness and fearlessly calling out the poor leadership of Bishop Parrilla. More importantly, she shed light on the suitability of the Bishop’s potential successor, Msgr. Nieves, who has also resigned. Serrano wrote in a Catholic blog, “Redes Cristianas,” about a culture of homosexuality among diocesan clerics as well as “a number of priests with children in the diocese, some recognized and others not.”

We suspect that Catholic officials in Ecuador have underreported the damage caused by abusive priests, nuns, and religious orders. Concealing the truth and deceiving the…

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Pope sets 40-euro Vatican gift cap in corruption crackdown

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 29, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis set a 40-euro ($48) gift cap for all Vatican employees Thursday and issued a new law requiring Vatican cardinals and managers to periodically report on their compliance with clean financial practices in one of his biggest efforts yet to crack down on corruption in the Holy See.

The law requires Vatican superiors to declare every two years that they aren’t stashing money in tax havens and aren’t under criminal investigation for tax evasion, money laundering or other crimes. They also must declare that any investments they hold are in funds consistent with Catholic doctrine.

The crackdown comes as Vatican prosecutors are nearly two years into a corruption investigation involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate venture. Francis has preached about cleaning up the Holy See’s murky financial practices for eight years, but the new law marks his biggest step yet to ensure his own cardinals and…

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Wisconsin opens investigation of sexual abuse in the state’s five dioceses

MADISON (WI)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 28, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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The Wisconsin Department of Justice is opening a statewide investigation of abuse by clergy and faith leaders within the state’s five dioceses.

“We’re conducting this review to promote greater accountability and to promote healing for victims” as well as improving the response to abuse and preventing future abuse cases, said Attorney General Josh Kaul during an April 27 news conference outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Leaders of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the dioceses of Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison and Superior, and the Norbertines at St. Norbert Abbey acknowledged in statements released as Kaul was meeting with reporters that they joined the attorney general during a teleconference April 26 to discuss the planned investigation.

Each diocese also said the review will look at historical cases rather than reports of new allegations of sexual abuse.

The statements from the dioceses and the religious order said requests for documents from the Wisconsin Department…

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Papal safeguarding commission continues work online and in Rome

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

April 23, 2021

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors remained active in promoting outreach and providing new educational opportunities.

As they met online and in Rome for their plenary assembly April 19-22, the members also welcomed a new member, Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivors’ advocate, who was participating in his first meeting since Pope Francis appointed him March 24.

Cruz said “he hoped his presence and contribution will bring renewed impulse to the churches’ commitment to hearing, welcoming, assisting and accompanying the children, men and women who have been abused and in creating a space for them in the life of the church,” according to a press release by the commission April 22.

The plenary meetings, held twice a year, give the 17 members a chance to listen to each working group’s progress report and to lay the groundwork for future action.

The…

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Papa destituye a jerarquía de diócesis ecuatoriana

ROME (ITALY)
Infobae [Buenos Aires, Argentina]

April 28, 2021

By Associated Press

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En respuesta a denuncias de mala gobernanza y flaqueza moral en la diócesis ecuatoriana de Riobamba, el papa Francisco aceptó el miércoles las renuncias no sólo del obispo que alcanzó la edad de retiro sino también la de su heredero designado, sobre quienes se multiplican las acusaciones en Ecuador.

Los renunciantes son el obispo Julio Parrilla Díaz, quien cumplió 75 años el mes pasado, y su coadjutor, monseñor Gerardo Miguel Nieves Loja, de 53.

Nieves había sido designado obispo coadjutor de Riobamba el año pasado y debía ser consagrado obispo en febrero para suceder a Parrilla cuando éste cumpliera 75 años, la edad canónica del retiro, pero presentó su renuncia a Francisco una semana antes de la ceremonia.

Parrilla confirmó la renuncia de Nieves en una carta a su diócesis firmada el 19 de febrero y reproducida por la agencia católica en español Religión Digital. Parrilla dijo que comprendía la…

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BC president Leahy facing mounting criticism after allegations of sexual assault surface about former priest

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

April 27, 2021

By Deirdre Fernandez

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Boston College’s president, the Rev. William P. Leahy, is facing growing criticism that he mishandled student complaints about inappropriate behavior by a priest in the late 1990s who has recently been accused of sexual assault.

A DePaul University postgraduate student has alleged that the Rev. Ted Dziak, the former leader of an international Jesuit service group who worked at BC for eight years, forcefully had sex with him at least four times in Central America when the two had been drinking. The alleged assaults happened in 2004, several years after Dziak had left BC, according to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, which first reported the allegations in mid-April.

The former post-graduate told the newspaper that he suspects Dziak drugged him as well, and he views what occurred as rape because he was too incapacitated to consent. The man, Tim Ballard, has filed complaints with the FBI, authorities in…

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