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.

October 19, 2021

Sex Abuse Fight at Southern Baptist Convention Leads Top Church Official to Quit

NASHVILLE (TN)
Newsweek [New York NY]

October 15, 2021

By Toria Barnhart

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The chief of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) executive committee, Ronnie Floyd, resigned from the organization after an internal conflict from an ongoing sexual abuse investigation.

The committee, which manages denomination business when the full SBC isn’t in session, recently met to vote on waiving attorney-client privilege in an investigation regarding their handling of abuse allegations. Floyd agreed with legal counsel and advised the committee against removing that privilege.

The group voted to do so regardless, and Floyd said his resignation was a result of that decision.

“Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me, I will not and cannot any longer fulfill the duties placed upon me as the leader of the executive, fiscal, and fiduciary entity of the SBC,” Floyd said in a Thursday evening letter sent to the executive committee members.

The decision to waive attorney-client privilege allows a third-party investigator, Guidepost Solutions…

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New bishop hopes to bring healing to Crookston diocese

CROOKSTON (MN)
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) [St. Paul MN]

October 18, 2021

By Dan Gunderson

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Andrew Cozzens says he learned many important lessons about how the Catholic church should respond to abuse by priests. He started his job as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis just days before a sexual abuse investigation there became public.

Speaking at a press conference in Crookston, Minn., Monday to announce his new post as bishop of the Crookston diocese, Cozzens, 53, said he will bring those learnings to his work in Crookston.

“I’ve seen how difficult it can be to change the culture of the church so that we deal with [the] sexual abuse crisis correctly,” he said.

Cozzens will replace Bishop Michael Hoeppner who resigned earlier this year at the request of Pope Francis after an investigation into whether he covered up sexual abuse in the Crookston diocese.

Cozzens said this is a challenging time for the church, and he said abuse victims should be…

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New Crookston bishop says sexual abuse victims are priority

CROOKSTON (MN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 18, 2021

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The new bishop of the Crookston diocese said Monday he has learned important lessons about how the Roman Catholic church should respond to abuse by priests.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens replaced Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who resigned earlier this year at the request of Pope Francis after an investigation into whether he covered up sexual abuse in the Crookston diocese.

Cozzens, who started his previous job as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis just days before a sexual abuse investigation there became public, said he’s seen how difficult it can be to change the culture of the church in order to deal with the sexual abuse crisis.

He added that it’s a challenging time for the church and abuse victims should be the church’s priority, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“Victims are in fact the people we should be most caring for in…

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The alarming human rights ruling on freedom of speech

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
The Spectator [London, England]

October 19, 2021

By Andrew Tettenborn

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‘You can’t libel the dead’ is burned into the consciousness of any serious journalist or writer. It provides much-needed comfort: however tactful you have to be about the living, once someone has died you can say what you like about them without getting sued.

Or can you? Seven years ago the European Court of Human Rights dropped a worrying throwaway remark that this might be unacceptable because allowing untrammelled comment about a deceased person might infringe the human rights of his family. Last week, in a disconcerting decision that seems to have gone entirely unreported in the media (you can read the official report here), that same court built on its earlier suggestion and at a stroke gave publishers a whole new worry.

In 1999 and 2002, a Slovak Catholic priest of unsavoury habits was convicted of the sexual…

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Only secular law can bring justice to victims of mass clerical abuse in France

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
National Secular Society [London, England]

October 7, 2021

By Keith Porteous Wood

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Keith Porteous Wood says France’s deference to the Catholic Church has obstructed justice for hundreds of thousands of abuse victims.

An inquiry commissioned by the Catholic Church into clerical abuse in France has just concluded that victims of both clerics and laity (teachers, for example) totalled around a third of a million since 1950.

In no country in the world has such a high figure been included in an official report. Nearly all victims were minors or vulnerable adults.

The commission, to its credit, held exhaustive hearings in every major town in France. But listening to so many harrowing testimonies took its toll. The president of the commission was not alone in needing psychological assistance.

At the public launch of the inquiry report, abuse survivor François Devaux told Church officials: “You are a disgrace to our humanity. In this hell there have been abominable mass crimes…betrayal of morality,…

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French PM meets Pope Francis after devastating clerical child sex abuse report

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
France 24 [Paris, France]

October 18, 2021

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French Prime Minister Jean Castex met Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday as the French Catholic Church battles a storm over clerical child sex abuse and the sanctity of confession.

Castex was visiting the Vatican and Rome for celebrations marking the centenary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between France and the Holy See.

The prime minister gave the pope, a keen soccer fan, an unusual gift: a Paris-Saint Germain jersey signed by the pontiff’s fellow Argentine Lionel Messi. He presented the glass-framed number 30 jersey following 35 minutes of private talks at the Vatican.

The long-planned trip to Rome, which includes talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, follows the publication of a devastating report estimating that French Catholic clergy had abused 216,000 children since 1950.

Pope Francis, who has made battling the global scourge of clerical abuse a priority of his papacy, has expressed “my shame, our shame” at the findings,…

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Pope shares survivor’s letter pleading for clergy to face truth of abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 18, 2021

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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An adult survivor of abuse by a priest appealed to the world’s seminarians to become good priests and to make sure the “bitter truth” always prevails, not silence about scandals and their cover-up.

“Please, do not sweep things under the carpet, because then they start to stink, putrefy, and the rug itself will rot away. … Let us realize that if we hide these facts, when we keep our mouths shut, we hide the filth and we thus become a collaborator,” said the survivor in a letter sent to Pope Francis and addressed to all seminarians.

To live in the truth is to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who never closed his eyes to sin or the sinner, but who “lived the truth with love … (who) indicated the sin and the sinner with bitter love,” the letter said.

The letter, written in Italian, had been sent to Pope Francis, who then requested it…

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How and when will French Church compensate victims of ‘systemic’ child abuse?

PARIS (FRANCE)
France 24 [Paris, France]

October 7, 2021

By Cyrielle Cabot

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France’s Catholic Church has asked for “forgiveness” after a devastating report this week laid bare the “systemic” sexual abuse of children by clergymen. But how and when will the tens of thousands of victims be compensated for the abuse they suffered?

The Catholic Church of France was left reeling on Tuesday after an independent commission revealed in a 2,500-page report that members of the clergy had sexually abused around 216,000 children since 1950 – and covered up the abuse with a “veil of silence”. 

According to the head of the inquiry, Jean-Marc Sauvé, the report by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (ICSA) proved that “systemic abuse” has been at work within the Church.

The report said the number of victims rose to some 330,000 when taking into account abuses committed by lay members of the Church, such as teachers at Catholic schools.

As well as laying bare the…

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Young women, #MeToo and clergy sex abuse: Lessons from my students

NOTRE DAME (IN)
America [New York NY]

October 14, 2021

By Jessica Coblentz

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Following the news about allegations of sexual abuse brought against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the publication of a Pennsylvania grand jury report during the summer of 2018, I joined many Catholic theologians in considering how I would address still another surge of news about clergy sexual abuse in my college classroom. As a theology professor at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., one of the nation’s great Catholic women’s colleges, I sensed that my undergraduate students deserved intellectual accompaniment as they confronted an issue that distinctly affected them. To speak with women about sexual abuse of any sort presents a unique situation, because women experience sexual assault of all kinds at higher rates than men.

I also wanted to know what these young women would teach me—and the rest of the church—about living in a church marred by the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy. Now, two years later, I can…

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October 18, 2021

Omaha-area priest accused of embezzling $280,000 charged with 2 felonies

OMAHA (NE)
Omaha World-Herald (omaha.com) [Omaha NE]

October 15, 2021

By Todd Cooper

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The priest and former chancellor of Omaha’s archdiocese told detectives he took money from a church and a retired priest because he was helping a homeless Omaha man.

The amount authorities say the Rev. Michael Gutgsell stole: nearly $280,000. The amount Gutgsell said he funneled to the homeless man from 2013 to 2021: $700,000. Gutgsell told authorities he emptied his own personal accounts before he took from the parish or the priest.

Asked why he gave the man that much, Gutgsell told detectives that the man, then 41, kept telling him he would pay him back “when he got the payout of his Social Security disability” funding, according to court documents.

Omaha attorney Joseph Naatz said Gutgsell got scammed, conned and taken advantage of because of his good nature.

“The common thinking is that there was some sort of drugs, gambling, sexual favors tied to this,” Naatz said. “But that’s…

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Brother’s keeper – Dolan’s DiMarzio probe and the future of ‘Vos estis’

NEW YORK (NY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

October 12, 2021

By JD Flynn

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan praised his long-time friend and neighbor, Brooklyn’s outgoing Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, during an interview last week with the in-house media shop of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Dolan told an interviewer that the “Diocese of Brooklyn continues to flourish, thanks to [DiMarzio’s] leadership.”

DiMarzio, who will retire from the Brooklyn diocese next month, was a “street priest,” Dolan explained, “which is one of the highest compliments you can give another priest.”

“You make it work by showing up. And Bishop DiMarzio would show up,” Dolan added. “He wouldn’t miss an A&P ribbon cutting.”

The cardinal described warmly his friendship with DiMarzio: “He’s got a laugh that can shake the Empire State Building. And I sort of set as my goal always to get him to laugh, and he loves it,” Dolan said.

He added that DiMarzio was “a good friend, you know…I really became close to him, and…

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Omaha priest arrested, facing charges of theft, abuse of vulnerable adult

OMAHA (NE)
WOWT - NBC 6 [Omaha NE]

October 15, 2021

By Gina Dvorak

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He said he used funds from late priest’s estate to help homeless man after he ran out of his own money to give him.

An Omaha priest was arrested Friday morning accused of stealing from an incapacitated retired priest who had willed his estate to the Archdiocese of Omaha, saying he was giving the money to a homeless man.

The Rev. Michael F. Gutgsell was arrested at 7:35 a.m. Friday and taken to Douglas County Jail. He appeared in court Friday afternoon to face charges of theft and abuse, and was released on his own recognizance.

His preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 24.

Gutgsell’s attorney released a statement following Friday’s hearing:

“Since learning of an open criminal investigation, Fr. Michael Gutgsell has fully cooperated with law enforcement. Fr. Gutgsell made arrangements to turn himself in as required by statute immediately upon his knowledge and confirmation of an arrest warrant.

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Abuse report only first step in long reckoning for French Catholic Church

PARIS (FRANCE)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 14, 2021

By Antoine de Tarlé

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For centuries, France has been called the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church. It seems that this time is over. The French church is engulfed in a major and perhaps fatal crisis due to the publication of a devastating report on 70 years of sexual abuse by both clerics and laypeople working for Catholic organizations.

There is general agreement that the church showed some courage in 2018 by asking Jean-Marc Sauvé, a former vice president of France’s administrative supreme court, to chair a committee of experts to investigate an unknown number of sexual crimes by church officials.

Yet the figures delivered by the committee after two years and a half of investigation are staggering: an estimated 330,000 abused children, mostly boys, and at least 3,000 predator clerics, most of whom are dead. (This does not include the number of lay abusers). And yet, as Antoine Garapon, one of…

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Humiliation for cardinal as rape victim wins payout over smear

(UNITED KINGDOM)
The Times [England]

October 17, 2021

By Emily Kent Smith

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A Catholic woman who was sexually abused by a priest took legal action about ‘disgraceful’ emails by church staff dismissing her

A woman who was sexually abused by a priest from the age of 15 has been given a payout by the Catholic church after officials branded her “needy” and “manipulative”.

The victim came forward in 2016 and told safeguarding staff that she had been abused as a child and later raped. She received a settlement in 2018.

The woman, now in her fifties, has been awarded damages after filing a legal claim setting out how she was “re-traumatised” by the church’s handling of her allegations.

It is believed to be one of the first cases of its kind.

The payout, agreed last week, could pave the way for other victims of sexual abuse who feel let down and mistreated by the church to take legal action.

The woman said she…

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Why This Last-Ditch Ploy to Combat Predatory Priests Is Doomed to Fail

(ITALY)
Daily Beast [New York NY]

October 18, 2021

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

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After the shocking report that French clerics sexually abused thousands of kids over the past 70 years, some are calling for the seal of secrecy on confession to be lifted.

When Father Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the head of the French Bishops Conference, suggested that the Catholic Church lift the veil of secrecy on confessions as a way to combat clerical sex abuse this week, eyes rolled at the Vatican. The seal of secrecy on confessions is hundreds of years old and has survived intact through every major sex abuse scandal of the modern era and scores of popes—and any priest who breaks it is automatically excommunicated from the church.

Moulins-Beaufort made the comment on the heels of one of the worst sex abuse scandals to rock the church since Spotlight won an Oscar, with the revelation that thousands of Catholic nuns, priests and lay people abused more than 300,000 minors over a 70-year period….

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Lawmakers say they planned to fail on Strauss sex abuse bill; victims weren’t told

COLUMBUS (OH)
WEWS-TV, ABC - 5 (News5Cleveland.com)[Cleveland OH]

October 11, 2021

By Jake Zuckerman

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The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.

Despite hearing public, firsthand accounts of sexual abuse from eight of at least 177 victims of Ohio State sports physician Dr. Richard Strauss, state Republican leaders indicated they never planned to pass introduced legislation that would allow his victims to hold the university accountable in court.

Both former House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, and current House Majority Leader Bill Seitz, R-Green Twp., said in recent statements they used the legislation and high-profile hearings to apply pressure on OSU to generate a larger out-of-court settlement for victims — not to guarantee anyone their right to a trial.

In interviews, five victims of Strauss’ abuse and several of their attorneys say they were never told of the purported strategy.

“Why f**k with victims in that way? That’s the most irresponsible thing…

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The Catholic Church in France shines a light on its own abuse scandal

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

October 14, 2021

By Robert Zaretsky

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Two decades ago in Boston, the archdiocese fought efforts to uncover its complicity in the crimes of pedophile priests. In Paris, a church-led commission has done the opposite.

In 2002, this newspaper exposed the widespread and systematic sexual abuse of children by local Catholic priests and the equally systematic cover-up by the diocese’s bishops and cardinals. It was a brutal but vital shock. By illuminating this darkness, the Spotlight team made history and laid the foundations for similar investigations across the globe.

As if to mark the 20th anniversary of this event, a report commissioned by France’s Catholic Church was released to the public this month. The 2,500-page document — the work of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) — revealed that at least330,000 children had been sexually abused by more than 3,000 ordained and lay clergy in France between…

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French PM meets Pope as abuse scandal rages

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Times of India [Mumbai, India]

October 18, 2021

By Agence France-Presse

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French Prime Minister Jean Castex met Pope Francis at the Vatican Monday as the French Catholic Church battles a storm over clerical child sex abuse and the sanctity of confession.

The long-planned trip to Rome, which includes talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, follows the publication of a devastating report estimating that French Catholic clergy had abused 216,000 children since 1950.

Pope Francis, who has made battling the global scourge of clerical abuse a priority of his papacy, expressed “my shame, our shame” at the findings, echoing a similar sentiment from French church leaders.

But a row broke out when Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the head of the Bishops’ Conference of France, said priests were not obliged to report sexual abuse if they heard about it during the Catholic ritual of confession, used to admit to sins.

His words were in line with Vatican guidelines updated last year, which call on clerics…

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October 17, 2021

Rome’s anti-abuse beachhead inaugurates next phase

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

October 15, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

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On Friday the Pontifical Gregorian University’s newly-minted Institute of Anthropology, which replaces its famed Center for Child Protection, was formally inaugurated amid praise from abuse survivors and experts alike.

Unveiled earlier this year, the institute’s formal name is the Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care.

Overseen by German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, former director of the Centre for Child Protection (CCP) and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), the institute will take over the CCP’s work in conducting research and formation in the field of child protection, but it will do so with the heft of an entire degree-offering faculty at the Gregorian university, with its own academic staff.

Attendees of the Oct. 14 inauguration ceremony voiced hope that the new institute will expand and enhance safeguarding efforts for children and vulnerable people in the Church and beyond.

Speaking in…

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What is the Seal of Confession?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

October 16, 2021

By Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

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A Q&A with Cardinal Mauro Piacenza of the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary

The release this month of a watershed report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France has sparked another debate over the secrecy of confession.

The Catholic Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is obliged, under the severest legal penalties, to keep absolute secrecy concerning everything learned in the context of sacramental confession. 

French law has long recognized the Church’s strict rules about the confidentiality of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but the government is contemplating amending the law for confessors, as it has done with lawyers and other secular professionals, who are required to report child sexual abuse if they learn of it.  

In comments to the National Catholic Register on Wednesday, the spokeswoman for France’s bishops’ conference, Karine Dalle, clarified that the country’s Catholic leaders do not intend to compromise on the Church’s teaching that the…

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Seal of the confessional simply not a roadblock to fight against abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
Angelus - Archdiocese of Los Angeles [Los Angeles CA]

October 16, 2021

By John L. Allen, Jr.

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Bishops certainly have had bad weeks before. One thinks, for example, of the unfortunate late Cardinal Michele Giordano of Naples, who, when it was announced in 1999 that he was under investigation for a Ponzi scheme run by his brother with archdiocesan funds, gave an interview in which he insisted he couldn’t be complicit because he wasn’t smart enough to understand what was going on.

In the annals of such bad weeks, however, a special place now must be reserved for Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, France, who, in one seven-day span, has managed to infuriate both victims of clerical sexual abuse and faithful Catholics most inclined to defend the Church when it’s under attack.

After having apologized for his “clumsy” wording a week ago in which he appeared to assert that the seal of the confessional was above the laws of the French Republic, Archbishop de Moulins-Beaufort, president…

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Catholic Church must deal with paedophile priests seriously

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
The Sunday Guardian [New Delhi, India]

October 16, 2021

By Savio Rodrigues

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What is sickening and repulsive is the deliberate cover-up of sexual abuse cases of Catholic priests by the Catholic Church as an institution.

The horrific data coming from an independent investigation conducted in France that concluded that an estimated 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in France during the previous 70 years did not shock me. It just further disgusted me.

The 2,500-page document that has been reported is pure horror and shame. As a journalist, I have been investigating and reporting on different sexual abuse cases of the Catholic Church globally. It disturbs me. As a man from the Christian faith, it makes me feel ashamed that even today, most of us Christians prefer to turn a blind eye to or talk in hushed tones on the seriousness of the immense damage some Catholic priests are doing to young children all over the world.

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October 16, 2021

Liz Murphy, shown on Sept. 23, 2021, is a survivor of abuse by former Catholic Community middle school teacher John Merzbacher in Baltimore in the 1970s. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

St. Leo’s in Baltimore’s Little Italy cancels plan to memorialize priest forced to leave after child sexual abuse report

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

October 14, 2021

By Jonathan M. Pitts

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[Photo above: Liz Murphy, shown on Sept. 23, 2021, is a survivor of abuse by former Catholic Community middle school teacher John Merzbacher in Baltimore in the 1970s. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)]

Plans to hold a memorial service for a former Baltimore priest removed from the ministry after a report found he sexually abused a minor in the 1970s were canceled this week, but survivors of child sexual abuse say the idea of commemorating him should never have gone as far as it did.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore persuaded officials at St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church to cancel Wednesday a memorial service in honor of the Rev. Michael Salerno, the pastor whose energetic ways helped reinvigorate the parish between 1997 and 2007.

The Mass in honor of Salerno, who died recently at age 80, was set to take place Saturday at the Little Italy church and be…

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Seal of confession a topic of debate after French abuse report

PARIS (FRANCE)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

October 15, 2021

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[Via the Catholic Review of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.]

Church and government leaders in France are at odds over whether priests should be required to report the abuse of minors if they learn about it in the sacrament of confession.

Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French bishops’ conference, and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin met to discuss the issue Oct. 12, a week after the release of a report by an independent commission that estimated 330,000 children had been abused by Catholic priests or church employees in France since the 1950s.

At issue is whether French law takes precedence over the seal of confession, a sacred practice in which a confessor does not reveal what is told to him during a confession.

One of the recommendations in the commission’s report urged the church to “send a clear message from the church authorities to penitents taking confession and to the…

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France: Catholic Bishops to Uphold Confessional Seal, Spokeswoman Clarifies

PARIS (FRANCE)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

October 16, 2021

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[Via Eurasia Review]

he spokeswoman for France’s bishops’ conference clarified Wednesday that the country’s Catholic leaders do not intend to compromise on the Church’s teaching that the confessional seal is sacrosanct.

“One cannot change the canon law for France as it is international. A priest who today would violate the secrecy of the confession would be excommunicated,” Karine Dalle, the communications director of the French bishops’ conference (CEF), told Solène Tadié of the National Catholic Register on Oct. 13.

“This is what Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort wanted to say last week after the publication of the Sauvé report, when he said that the seal of confession was above the laws of the Republic,” Dalle explained.

“He spoke the truth, but this truth is not audible in France for those who are not Catholic, and not understandable in France in the midst of debates on so-called ‘religious separatism.’”

Moulins-Beaufort,…

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Former Omaha Archdiocese chancellor says he paid a homeless man $700,000

OMAHA (NE)
KETV - ABC 7 [Omaha NE]

October 16, 2021

By Abbie Petersen

Read original article

[See also the criminal affidavit complaint in the case.]

Rev. Michael Gutgsell jailed for abuse of a vulnerable adult, attempted theft

Rev Michael F. Gutgsell, the former chancellor of Omaha’s archdiocese, was arrested Friday on felony charges of Attempted Theft by Unlawful Taking, and Vulnerable Adult Abuse.

According to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday, Gutgsell is accused of attempting to take $154,732 worth of property from Rev. Theodore Richling, Jr.

Gutgsell was granted a signature bond after a brief apperance Friday afternoon in Douglas County court.

The abuse charge alleges over a period from October, 2018 to January, 2020 when Gutgsell allegedly liquidated the assets of Richling as Richling’s health deteriorated and he became incapacited.

In the affidavit, prosecutors laid-out Gutgsell’s explanation of what happened to that money and thousands more.

Gutgsell told investigators over a period of eight years, he paid a homeless man named Michael Barrett around…

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Special judge to be appointed following initial hearing for priest accused of sexual abuse

FORT WAYNE (IN)
WANE [Fort Wayne IN]

October 13, 2021

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Columba City, Ind. – A Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse in a case involving two females made his initial appearance in Whitley County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon.

Whitley County Prosecutor DJ Sigler filed multiple felony charges last week against Father David Huneck who at the time of the alleged crimes was the pastor at  Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City. Huneck also served as chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. Court documents indicate Huneck knew the alleged victims from his affiliation with the high school.

During the hearing before Judge Douglas Fahl, Huneck said he understood the charges which include:

  • Child Seduction-Defendant has a professional relationship with child and fondles child
  • Sexual Battery–Victim compelled to submit by force or imminent threat
  • Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
  • Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor-Basic offense for furnishing to a minor
  • Two counts of battery

Judge Fahl made…

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Former St. Joseph, Bergen Catholic teachers accused of abuse as lawsuit deadline nears

NEWARK (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

October 13, 2021

By Deena Yellin

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Eleven new abuse lawsuits were filed against the Catholic Church in New Jersey on Wednesday, including three naming former teachers at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell and another against a now-deceased instructor at St. Joseph Regional High in Montvale.  

The suits were the latest amid hundreds of complaints filed in the two years since New Jersey lifted its statute of limitations on old sexual abuse claims. They come as the window for such cases is set to expire next month. 

“We are getting more and more calls now,” Phillipsburg attorney Greg Gianforcaro said at a news conference Wednesday, adding that he plans to file “dozens” more suits in the coming weeks. 

“Time is running out. November 30 is the close of the window. Anybody who wants to bring a case only has until then,” Gianforcaro said at a Wednesday press conference announcing the 11 lawsuits. 

Officials at…

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Catholic Church ‘covered up’ paedophile priest’s sex attacks on boys

LIVERPOOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
Liverpool Echo [Liverpool, England]

October 11, 2021

By Neil Docking

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A judge today said a complaint from one boy’s dad was “swept under the carpet”

A priest’s sexual abuse of two altar boys was “covered up” by the Catholic Church, a judge said today.

Father Thomas MacCarte molested two children after letting them smoke cannabis and drink alcohol at Bishop Eton Monastery in Childwall.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the teenagers have since been plagued by anger, shame and “self-hatred”, and one tried to kill himself.

But when one boy’s dad complained to Bishop Eton’s then parish priest Ralph Heskett – now the Bishop of Hallam in Sheffield – MacCarte was moved to Scotland, rather than reported to the police.

MacCarte, now 70, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault over the attacks in Merseyside three decades ago and today jailed for four years.

Judge Gary Woodhall today said: “Rather than take action or investigate what had happened, you were…

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KBI has received 215 reports, opened 122 cases in priest sexual abuse investigation

TOPEKA (KS)
Kansas City Star [Kansas City MO]

October 15, 2021

By Judy L. Thomas

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Nearly three years after launching an investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the state’s Catholic dioceses, Kansas’ top law enforcement agency has received 215 tips and opened 122 cases, legislators learned this week.

Robert Jacobs, executive officer of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, provided an update to members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Kansas Security during a meeting on law enforcement and security issues in the state.

Jacobs said the cases are the result of work by the KBI’s Catholic Clergy Taskforce that was established in 2019 at the request of the Attorney General’s Office.

“This task force was built based on calls that were coming in regarding abuse related to the Catholic Church and the dioceses,” he told the legislators, adding that investigators set up a phone line and an email address that people could use to report abuse.

“Since the inception, we’ve received 215 tips to those two…

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KBI say it has opened 122 clergy sex abuse cases in Kansas

TOPEKA (KS)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 15, 2021

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A task force formed three years ago to investigate clergy sexual abuse in Kansas Catholic dioceses has received 215 tips and opened 122 cases, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Robert Jacobs, executive officer of the KBI, reported on the work of the agency’s Catholic Clergy Taskforce this week during a hearing of a state legislative committee. He said investigators set up a phone line and email address for people to report abuse, The Kansas City Star reported.

The task force has been working with Catholic dioceses to review almost 40,000 diocesan records since its work began in 2019, Jacobs said.

Along with considering a specific allegation, investigators are working to determine if the allegation was made to the diocese or to law enforcement “and what the follow-through was on that claim when it was initially made.”

Sen. Jeff Pittman, a Democrat from Leavenworth, questioned…

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Sexual abuse and ‘cruel indifference’: the disgrace of the French Catholic Church

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Week [London, England]

October 14, 2021

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Landmark report estimates around 330,000 children were abused by clergymen and officials between 1950 and 2020

“The numbers are staggering,” said Gino Hoel on Slate.fr (Paris). A landmark report published last week estimates that about 330,000 children were abused by clergymen and officials of the Catholic Church in France between 1950 and 2020. At least 3,000 priests and officials performed criminal acts, according to the 2,500-page review by Jean-Marc Sauvé, a former senior civil servant; about 90% of their victims were boys.

Until 2000, the investigation found, the Church hierarchy had shown “cruel indifference” to the 216,000 victims of the clergy and 114,000 victims of teachers and other personnel in Church institutions – and had sought to cover up scandals rather than redress wrongs. Many cases have not or will not be prosecuted because the accused have died or the statute of limitations has expired. “The Catholic Church…

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October 15, 2021

Holy Name Province releases list of Franciscan friars credibly accused of child sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW [Buffalo NY]

October 14, 2021

By Sean Mickey

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For the first time, Holy Name Province published a list of Franciscan friars with substantiated child sexual abuse and misconduct claims following a review of its files by an advisory firm.

The newly released list contains the names of 23 friars, many of which have ties to the Diocese of Buffalo.

Among the clergy Holy Name Province has deemed to be credibly accused of child sexual abuse is Fr. Kevin J. Downey, O.F.M. Downey was a priest in the Diocese of Raleigh and an alumnus and former trustee of St. Bonaventure University.

Downey previously served as pastor at St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany, N.Y.

He was placed on administrative leave by Holy Name Province in May 2016, just months after being named to the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees, following an allegation that he had committed sexual abuse of a minor in 1990.

An independent investigation found the claim…

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Editorial: The Church’s challenge of sex abuse

(MALTA)
Times of Malta

October 13, 2021

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As expectations about the imminence of the pope’s visit to Malta, Francis is facing something of a crisis at home.

The sexual abuse scandal recently revealed in the French Church is utterly shocking and devastating for those directly and indirectly affected. As in many other countries, the scandal represents a deep-rooted challenge to French society.

Last June, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis was a worldwide ‘catastrophe’ and in response to the French revelations he described it as a ‘moment of shame’. 

This scandal is but the latest to characterise the Roman Catholic Church worldwide, which has been severely damaged over the past 20 years by sexual abuse crimes.

These crimes have routinely involved children. The details of these scandals have been horrific, with debilitating consequences for those abused and for their families.

They have caused immense trauma and have scarred the lives of hundreds of thousands of…

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Catholics4Change Launches Virtual Global Community

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change [Philadelphia PA]

October 10, 2021

By Susan Matthews

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The founders of Catholics4Change, an online forum dedicated to the prevention of clergy child sex abuse, have launched the Catholics4Change Community. The virtual and global platform allows Catholics, survivors, and advocates to communicate and collaborate virtually.

“We didn’t want the efforts of people working to prevent child sex abuse to be limited by chain emails, conference calls, and social media,” said co-founder Kathy Kane, a social worker who advocates for policy reform. “This community offers a powerful platform of tools.”

“During the pandemic, people have become more comfortable in virtual settings,” says co-founder Susan Matthews, who was an editor at The Catholic Standard and Times in the early 90s under publisher Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. “We’ve built this private membership community to go way beyond a website, Zoom, or online meetup group.”

It’s a fully-equipped international hub that can be easily customized by the members, the oldest of whom is 88.

Ten years ago,…

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Eleven national groups ask NJ gov. for more time for abuse suits

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

October 11, 2021

By David Clohessy et al.

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For immediate release: Monday, Oct. 11, 2021

Victims & advocates seek more time to sue

Groups ask governor to extend abuse deadline

Only six weeks to go until the civil ‘window’ closes

“Many predators remain hidden,” groups say

Eleven national organizations that deal with sexual abuse are asking New Jersey’s governor to extend a Nov. 30 deadline after which considerably fewer victims of sexual trauma will be able to sue those who hurt them.

In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed a measure that allows anyone who was sexually assaulted in New Jersey at any time by anyone to file a civil lawsuit against them and any institution that ignored or concealed the abuse until November 30, 2021. In recent years, 19 other states have adopted similar laws, often called ‘windows.’

But the 11 groups maintain that the Covid19- pandemic, the Delta variant, Hurricane Ida, and other factors have “slowed”…

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Opinion: Saving the children God wants us to have

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

October 14, 2021

By Mary Ann Sorrentino

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Mary Ann Sorrentino is a freelance columnist who writes from Cranston.

Thirty-five years ago, this newspaper and newspapers worldwide reported my excommunication from the Catholic Church. That action stemmed from my role as executive director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, providing contraceptive care since the 1930s, and abortion services since abortion was legalized with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. I took the reins in 1977, and became proudly linked to pro-choice advocacy.

As a straightforward person, I understand Rome’s attack on my membership in a Church which considers abortion a “mortal sin.” What I question is my unique condemnation while administrators and medical staff in such clinics worldwide remain Catholic.  

I am not seeking their punishment. I am, however, spotlighting an arbitrary and sexist Church. (Can I be buried with my parents in a Catholic cemetery now that an alleged national crime boss rests in one locally?)

I…

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Days of darkness and light for the Catholic Church

OLONGAPO (PHILIPPINES)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

October 15, 2021

By Fr. Shay Cullen

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The days are fast approaching when the clerical sexual abuse of children cannot be covered up

These are days of darkness and light for many in the Catholic Church. The horrific exposes of clerical sexual abuse against children around the world — in the United States, Ireland, Australia, Poland, Germany, Austria and the latest in France — are stunning and shocking. And there are more to come. It is just a matter of time.

The cover-up of clerical sexual abuse of children by some Catholic authorities in cahoots with some civil authorities never seems to end. It has brought shame, embarrassment and loss of respect to dedicated, innocent priests and clerics and laypeople.

Institutional church leaders in some places are still striving to prevent shame and embarrassment by hiding the abusers and the records of their crimes against children. The days are fast approaching when clerical abuse of children cannot…

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Alleged victim of Father Huneck speaks exclusively with ABC21

FORT WAYNE (IN)
WPTA - ABC 21 [Fort Wayne IN]

October 14, 2021

By Kaitlyn Kendall and Rose Yolevich

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The second alleged victim in the investigation into a local priest who is facing several sex crime charges has now come forward.

Investigators say Father David Huneck groped two women inside the home provided to him by the church he was leading. The women say Father Huneck got drunk, touched them inappropriately, and exposed himself.

One of the two alleged victims was a minor at the time. The other was 19-years-old, Rose Yolevich.

Yolevich says she wants to shine light on what she has gone through. To show others it is okay to come forward, but she says this hasn’t been easy. She adds she has felt alone, distraught, and even blamed herself.

Yolevich says since coming forward that darkness has slowly dimmed. “I finally feel like myself again, honestly. I feel like I haven’t been myself in so long,” she said.

Part of who Yolevich says she is, is…

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Priest apologises for sexually assaulting sisters in their own home in the Midlands

(IRELAND)
Offaly Express [Portlaoise, County Laois, Ireland]

October 15, 2021

By Liam Cosgrove

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A court has heard how a priest accused of indecently assaulting two schoolgirls was witnessed by the victims concelebrating a funeral mass despite an internal church investigation finding the allegations to be “credible”.

The priest, who cannot be named, appeared at a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court, where details of the offences against both girls were outlined.

Both victims, who are sisters, were assaulted in the bedrooms of their midlands based home between June 1981 and December 1982.

The 70-year-old accused, who is still a priest despite not being in active ministry, pleaded guilty earlier this year to four counts of indecent assault on the girls who were aged 17 and 12 at the time.

The 17-year-old victim told of how the offending began soon after her brother died in a car accident.

Her father, she said, became “drinking friends” with the accused soon after with the pair routinely…

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October 14, 2021

Civil suit filed against ex-Hudson teacher charged with raping student

DEDHAM (MA)
MetroWest Daily News [Framingham MA]

October 14, 2021

By Norman Miller

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A Northborough woman who alleges she was raped by a former Hudson middle school teacher has filed a civil lawsuit in Norfolk Superior Court.

The 24-year-old woman names Caitin Harding, 37, of Wellesley, in the suit, as well as the town of Hudson, former Hudson Superintendent of Schools Kevin Lyons, former JFK Middle School Principal Brian Daniels, Assistant Principal Matthew Gaffney and a sixth defendant who has yet to be identified.

“Plaintiff has suffered and will continue to suffer in the future: severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries, including corroboration of said mental distress and emotional injuries,” according to the lawsuit filed by the woman’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian of Boston.

Harding was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in April and charged with rape of a child by force; three counts of aggravated rape of a child; and five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child younger…

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Polish bishops, at Vatican, call punishment for abuse cover-up lopsided

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 14, 2021

By Jonathan Luxmoore

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The president of the Polish bishops’ conference said that in meetings with a Vatican official, several church leaders criticized the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases, particularly “disproportionate punishments” inflicted on bishops accused of cover-ups in comparison with convicted abusers.

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, conference president, told Poland’s Catholic Information Agency, KAI, that Polish bishops met with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, at the Vatican Oct. 12. He said the bishops were trying to be faithful to Pope Francis’ May 2019 motu proprioVos Estis Lux Mundi, revising and clarifying norms and procedures for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable for protecting abusers.

“Our task is to work with the Holy Father in clearing up our church’s current situation, which has undermined trust among certain people,” Gadecki told KAI after the meeting with Ouellet. The meeting was part of the bishops’ ad limina visit to meet with…

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$26M for Abuse Victims Proposed by Diocese of Camden

CAMDEN (NJ)
Patch [New York City NY]

October 13, 2021

By Kimberlee Bongard and Anthony Bellano

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The Diocese of Camden serves parishioners in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

The Diocese of Camden has submitted a plan of reorganization that offers $26 million to survivors of child sex abuse within the diocese, officials announced.

That number could increase to $40 million if survivors accept tax-free payments over seven years, the Diocese of Camden said in a statement posted on its website. It comes about a year after the Diocese filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Diocese of Camden serves parishioners in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.

The proposal would see survivors paid as soon as possible. The Diocese hopes that can be later this year.

Attorneys representing the victims told the Courier Post they will fight the proposal, saying the sides are nowhere near agreeing on financial issues and other issues.

“Unfortunately, despite hundreds of hours of…

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Sex Abuse Suit Against Catholic Church, Riverside Priest Settled

SAN BERNARDINO (CA)
City News Service [Los Angeles CA]

October 13, 2021

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A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought by two brothers who allege they were sexually abused by a priest at a Riverside parish more than 25 years ago, a lawyer for the pair told a judge Tuesday.

The two plaintiffs are identified only as John R.R. Doe and John R.F. Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit they filed in February 2018. Tuesday’s announcement came during what was scheduled to be a final status conference with Judge David Sotelo ahead of an Oct. 25 trial of their case against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of San Bernardino, as well as the Congregation of the Mission Western Province, which conducts religious education and activities.

The Does allege they were abused by the Rev. Carlos Rene Rodriguez when he was assigned to a Riverside church that was part of the San Bernardino diocese. The parish…

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Vatican-backed sex abuse research institute expands mandate

(ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 13, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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The Catholic Church’s foremost research institute studying sexual abuse of minors is expanding its mandate to also include the sexual and spiritual abuse of adults, evidence of the Vatican’s increasing awareness that children aren’t the only victims of clergy who abuse their power and authority.

The Rev. Hans Zollner, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers on abuse, said the institute’s broader scope reflects lessons from the #MeToo movement, the pope’s own recognition that nuns and seminarians can be abused by their superiors, and evidence that systemic and structural problems in the church have allowed abuse to fester.

“We cannot only look at individual problems anymore. We need also to look into the institutional conditions that promote (abuse) or block a safe environment,” Zollner told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

He spoke to the AP on the eve of the official launch of the new safeguarding institute at the Pontifical Gregorian…

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Former Michigan priest, 66, to stand trial for sex abuse

DETROIT (MI)
MLive [Walker MI]

October 13, 2021

By Justine Lofton

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Shelby Township MI – A former Michigan priest will soon stand trial for sex abuse he allegedly committed in the 1980s, state officials announced.

Neil Kalina, 66, was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township from 1982-1985 when he allegedly committed sex abuse against children 13-15 years old.

On Tuesday, a judge ruled there’s enough probable cause to send Kalina’s case to Macomb County Circuit Court for trial. He is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a child 13-15 years old, punishable by up to life in prison; and two counts of second-degree CSC against a child 13-15 years old, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. His next court appearnce is set for Nov. 1.

Kalina was first charged in May 2019 and arrested in Littlerock, Calif.

The case is part of the Michigan Office…

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October 13, 2021

St. John's Ballymaghery Church near Hilltown, Northern Ireland, where accused abuser Fr. Malachy Finegan once served (Claude Colart)

Northern Irish diocese’s plan to redress abuse criticized for payment caps

HILLTOWN (UNITED KINGDOM)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 12, 2021

By Sahm Venter

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[Photo above: St. John’s Ballymaghery Church near Hilltown, Northern Ireland, where accused abuser Fr. Malachy Finegan once served (Claude Colart)]

Belfast – Clerical abuse survivors and their advocates are criticizing a new redress scheme in a Northern Irish diocese that has placed a cap on payments for victims.

They say that while the scheme offers to pay about $106,000 to individual survivors, from a total purse of some $3.4 million, limiting the compensation was insensitive and unjust.

Some suggest the scheme from the Dromore Diocese would likely suit victims of potential grooming, but are advising other survivors to avoid using it.

Sean Faloon, who says he was sexually abused by Fr. Malachy Finegan for eight years from the age of 10, expressed outrage to NCR.

“You can’t put a cap on trauma,” said Faloon, who estimates that Finegan abused him at least 350 times, including in the two churches where…

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Statement by Bishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, Archbishop of Reims, President of the French Bishops’ Conference

PARIS (FRANCE)
Bishops' Conference of France - Conférence des évêques de France [Paris, France]

October 12, 2021

By Bishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort

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[See also our cache of the French text in PDF. Below we provide a rough translation, followed by the original French text.]

“I apologize to the victims and to all those who may have been saddened or shocked by the fact that the debate aroused by my words, on France Info, on the subject of the confession, took precedence over the reception of the content of the CIASE report and on the consideration of victims. “

+ Éric de Moulins-Beaufort

Bishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, President of the Conference of Bishops of France, was able to meet this Tuesday with Mr. Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior in charge of worship, at the latter’s invitation. They were able to discuss the process of truth experienced by the Catholic Church in France about the violence and sexual assault committed within the institution since 1950. The publication of the report of the…

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French Catholic Leader Discusses ‘Clumsy Wording’ on Confessional Seal with Interior Minister

PARIS (FRANCE)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

October 12, 2021

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The president of the French bishops’ conference discussed the “clumsy wording” of his recent comments about the confessional seal with the country’s interior minister on Tuesday. 

In a statement after the meeting at the interior ministry’s headquarters in Paris on Oct. 12, the bishops’ conference said that Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort and Gérald Darmanin reflected on an interview that the archbishop gave after the publication of a watershed report on clerical abuse in France.

In the interview with France Info, Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort was pressed on whether the confessional seal took precedence over French laws.

“The seal of confession imposes itself on us and in this, it is stronger than the laws of the Republic,” he said.

France has a mandatory reporting law, with sanctions for failing to stop or report a crime.

“Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort was able to discuss with Gérald Darmanin the clumsy wording of his answer on France Info last Wednesday morning,”…

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Catholic priests in France ‘must report abuse allegations heard in confession’

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Guardian [London, England]

October 12, 2021

By Angelique Chrisafis

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Minister reprimands top bishop for claiming the secrecy of confessional ‘above laws of the Republic’

Catholic priests must report all child sexual abuse allegations to police, including if they hear about it in the secrecy of the confession box, the French interior minister has said after reprimanding France’s top bishop for claiming that the secrecy of the Catholic confessional was “above the laws of the Republic”.

France is reeling from the publication last week of a devastating independent report which found that at least 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and lay members of church institutions over the past 70 years, and that the crimes were covered up in a “systemic way” by the church.

France’s top bishop,Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, had initially expressed “shame and horror” at the report, but in an interview a few days later he sparked outrage by rejecting the commission’s recommendation to require…

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France’s top Catholic bishop concedes child protection overrules confession secrecy

PARIS (FRANCE)
RFI - Radio France Internationale [Paris, France]

October 13, 2021

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France’s top bishop says protecting children from sexual abuse is an “absolute priority” for the Catholic Church, stepping back from earlier comments suggesting priests should not violate the secrets of confession.

The head of the French bishops’ conference, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, sparked outrage among victims’ groups last week after saying the secrecy of confession was “above the laws of the Republic”.

His comments to France Info followed the publication of an independent watershed report which found that at least 330,000 children had been victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and lay members of the church over the past 70 years.

De Moulins-Beaufort was summoned for a long meeting with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday – at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.

Darmanin made it clear that while French law recognises the professional secrecy of the sacrament of confession, this does not apply to disclosures which could lead to criminal cases…

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Church fumbles response to sexual abuse report

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

October 12, 2021

By Tom Heneghan

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The head of the Lyon victims association that exposed the scandal told the bishops: “You must pay for all these crimes.”

After the shock of the Sauvé commission’s findings on clerical sexual abuse, the French Church fumbled its response by sparking off controversies about the secrecy of confession and the best way to compensate victims.

An ill-advised statement that confessional secrecy stood above French law earned Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the bishops’ conference, a rare invitation from Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to meet and discuss the sensitive issue.

The archbishop also said the Church would appeal to Catholics to help pay to compensate victims, rather than foot the possibly huge bill alone, as the commission led by retired senior civil servant Jean-Marc Sauvé suggested.

The Sauvé report estimated about 216,000 victims of clerical sexual abuse since 1950, a total rising to 330,000 when lay Church workers are included.

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October 12, 2021

The European Court of Human Rights in the French eastern city of Strasbourg.

Dismissing Catholic abuse victims’ lawsuit, ECHR rules Vatican cannot be sued in European courts

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

October 12, 2021

By Richard Allen Greene and Kara Fox

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[Photo above: The European Court of Human Rights in the French eastern city of Strasbourg.]

The Vatican cannot be sued in European courts because it is a sovereign state, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday in dismissing a suit from survivors of abuse by Catholic clergy.

It was the ECHR’s first case to deal with the immunity of the Holy See, the court said.

A group of 24 Belgian, French and Dutch abuse survivors attempted to sue the Holy See and Catholic Church leaders in Belgian courts beginning in 2011, but courts in that country ruled they did not have jurisdiction over the Vatican, the European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday in explaining its ruling.

The abuse survivors — who said they were abused by priests when they were children — fought their way up through the Belgian court system before bringing their suit to the…

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Camden diocese plan would offer $26 million for clergy sex abuse survivors

CAMDEN (NJ)
The Courier-Post [Cherry Hill NJ]

October 11, 2021

By Jim Walsh

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The Diocese of Camden wants a federal bankruptcy judge to approve a plan that offers $26 million to about 300 victims of alleged clergy sex abuse.

But the diocese acknowledged opposition to its proposal, which could rise to about $40 million “if survivors choose to accept tax-free payments over seven years.”

It asserted a committee representing survivors has offered “no reasonable” proposals after hundreds of hours in mediation with the diocese.

“The point has been reached where survivors should have the choice to accept compensation now,” the diocese said in a statement Monday evening.

The diocese on Tuesday, Oct. 12, is to file a reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, where it filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors a little more than a year ago.

In filing for Chapter Ii protection, the diocese cited the financial impact of both clergy sex abuse claims and the…

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Catholic Church sex abuse claims: Vatican has immunity, rules ECHR

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

October 12, 2021

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The Vatican has sovereign immunity that protects it from being sued in local courts over sexual abuse cases, the European Court of Human Rights said in a chamber ruling on Tuesday.

It dismissed a case brought by 24 French, Belgian and Dutch nationals, who said they were sexually abused by Catholic priests when they were children.

The class-action suit sought €10,000 compensation for each victim but the Ghent Court of First Instance said in 2013 that it did not have jurisdiction over the Holy See. The applicants had argued that they had been deprived of access to a court.

The European court agreed with the Belgian court that the Holy see enjoyed “diplomatic immunity” and “state privileges under international law”.

“The Court did not find anything unreasonable or arbitrary in the detailed reasoning which led the Court of Appeal to reach that conclusion. It pointed out that it had itself…

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Europe court rejects case seeking to blame Vatican for abuse

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 12, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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A European court agreed Tuesday that the Vatican couldn’t be sued in a local court for sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests, affirming that it enjoys sovereign immunity and that the misconduct of priests and their superiors can’t be attributed to the Holy See.

The European Court of Human Rights dismissed a case brought by two dozen people who said they were victims of abusive priests in Belgium. The 24 had argued the Holy See was liable because of the “structurally deficient” way the Catholic hierarchy had for decades covered up cases of priests who raped and molested children.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Strasbourg-based court after Belgian courts ruled they had no jurisdiction given the Holy See’s immunity as a sovereign state.

The European court said the Belgian judges were correct and that the victims hadn’t been deprived of their right to have access to a court. It restated…

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October 11, 2021

Actors from left to right, Alexandra Massamiri, Laurent Marinez, Carmen Vadillo and Olivier Wendell-Douglas perform the play "Pardon?" at "Theo Theater" in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. French author and actor Laurent Martinez has been sexually abused by a priest. Over forty years later, he has chosen to make his story a theater play to show the devastating consequences and how speaking out can help overcoming the trauma. The play called "Pardon?" is deeply inspired from the Martinez's own life, describing how he felt devoured from the inside and the difficulties of daily life after being abused. (AP Photo / Michel Euler)

French actor breaks silence on child sex abuse within church

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 11, 2021

By Sylvie Corbet

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[See also a video interview with Laurent Martinez. Photo above: Actors from left to right, Alexandra Massamiri, Laurent Marinez, Carmen Vadillo and Olivier Wendell-Douglas perform the play “Pardon?” at “Theo Theater” in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. French author and actor Laurent Martinez has been sexually abused by a priest. Over forty years later, he has chosen to make his story a theater play to show the devastating consequences and how speaking out can help overcoming the trauma. The play called “Pardon?” is deeply inspired from the Martinez’s own life, describing how he felt devoured from the inside and the difficulties of daily life after being abused. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)]

At the age of eight, Laurent Martinez was sexually abused by a priest. Forty years later, he has chosen to make his story into a play, to show the devastating consequences and how speaking out can help victims heal…

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Roman Fathers sexually abusing church members in Accra?

ACCRA (GHANA)
Ghana Web [Accra, Ghana]

October 10, 2021

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There seems to be uneasy tension among the Accra priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church as the attention of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra has been drawn to several cases of sexual abuse.

A letter intercepted by 3news.com purportedly being a reply to concerns raised by a member of the Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Dansoman assured of thorough investigations into the cases.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank you for being bold and championing this course (sic) and for bringing this to my notice with suggestions,” Most Reverend John Bonaventure Kwofie stated in his reply dated Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

“I would arrange for you to meet with the Accra Archdiocesan Officer in charge of Sexual Abuse Cases to furnish him with all the information you have on this matter,” he stated.

It is unclear if the lady in question is a victim of sexual abuse.

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Sheffield bishop Ralph Heskett ‘failed to report priest who sexually abused altar boys’

LIVERPOOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Star [Sheffield, Yorkshire, England]

October 11, 2021

By Neil Docking

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A Catholic bishop in Sheffield has been accused of failing to report the sexual abuse of altar boys.

Bishop of Hallam Ralph Heskett is claimed to have known about a priest who preyed on altar boys in Liverpool but failed to report him to the police, with the culprit instead sent away to Scotland.

It is alleged that Bishop Heskett, formerly parish priest at Bishop Eton in Childwall, Liverpool, was told about sex abuse by a priest at a Liverpool monastery but did not report him to the police.

During a court case in Liverpool, Father Thomas MacCarte was convicted of grooming and molested two altar boys at Bishop Eton Monastery in Woolton Road, Childwall.

But when one victim’s dad complained to Bishop Eton’s then parish priest, Ralph Heskett, MacCarte was moved to Scotland instead of being reported to the police.

MacCarte, now 70, was found guilty this week of…

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Seal of the confessional

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Philippine Daily Inquirer [Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines]

October 11, 2021

By Ramon J. Farolan

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First of all, congratulations to Maria Ressa, the first Filipino winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Sometimes, the Almighty gives us something to cheer about after being relegated to the bottom of the heap in almost all other activities.

Three years ago, in October 2018, I wrote a number of articles on the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Church clerics and on the plight of married priests in the Philippines. I mentioned that I was first baptized as an Aglipayan. My relatives on my mother’s side were high-ranking Aglipayan ministers. Shortly after my mother passed away, my surrogate mom, a devout Catholic belonging to the Order of Mt. Carmel and who raised me as her own, had me rebaptized in Catholic Church rites by Belgian missionaries in Baguio City. Since then, I have remained a Catholic although not in agreement with some positions of the Church from…

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The hard truth of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is demoralizing. But we must confront it

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

October 10, 2021

By Michael W. Higgins

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Michael W. Higgins is principal/president of St. Mark’s and Corpus Christi Colleges, University of British Columbia, Senior Fellow of Massey College, and co-author of Suffer the Children unto Me: An Open Inquiry into the Clerical Sex Abuse Crisis.

When Pope Francis met with the Archbishop of Paris and other French bishops at the end of September, he observed on the matter of the then-forthcoming report on sex abuse in the church of France: “Look the truth in the face.”

It is not only the hierarchy that is now doing so, but all of France, Catholic and otherwise. Indeed, the world has taken shocked notice.

The Sauvé Report, an investigation commissioned by the French bishops in 2018 in the wake of a series of clerical sex abuse scandals, was issued on Oct. 5. The tremors of disbelief, outrage and horror continue to reverberate. The statistical tally is staggering: 216,000 people sexually abused…

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October 10, 2021

Sateki Raass quit the priesthood after pleading guilty.

Catholic church calls in Vatican to investigate sexting priest case

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

October 10, 2021

By Steve Kilgallon

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[Photo above: Sateki Raass quit the priesthood after pleading guilty.]

The head of the New Zealand Catholic church has asked the Vatican for permission to launch an investigation into the handling of complaints about a priest who groomed a teenage girl.

Sateki Raass resigned from the priesthood after he was convicted in 2019 of indecent communication with a girl under 16 and ordered to serve 100 hours community service.

A series of stories by Stuff has since unravelled the Auckland diocese’s handling of the case. This includes bishop Patrick Dunn’s original plans – all later reversed – not to tell school communities attached to Raass’ parish, to allow Raass to say mass after his arrest, and to bail him to a presbytery attached to another primary school despite bail conditions prohibiting contact with under-16s.

Dunn also told parishioners Raass’ offending was merely “inappropriate text messaging”, paid for a QC to represent Raass, and…

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Victim of alleged sexual abuse by a priest speaks out

LAWTELL (LA)
KLFY-TV, CBS 10 [Lafayette LA]

October 6, 2021

By Darla Montgomery

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Three Acadiana men are speaking publicly for the first time about being repeatedly sexually abused, allegedly, by a local priest when they were only 10 and 11 years old.

And now in their 50’s, the men are coming forward with the allegations, hoping to find closure through a new law that went into effect earlier this summer, allowing adults who were victims as minors up to three years to file suit against accused offenders.

52-year-old Mark Batiste begins his story identifying the priest who allegedly sexually abused him, his brother, and nearly a dozen other altar boys. “First off his name was Fr. James Queren.”

Batiste claims the abuse went on for about three years at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Lawtell.

Recalling the traumatic events Batiste says, “I can remember the first time it happened. I left as soon as he was finished.” Batiste says he went home,…

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Former Columbia City pastor charged

COLUMBIA CITY (IN)
Today's Catholic [Diocese of Fort Wayne IN]

October 8, 2021

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A criminal investigation into charges of sexual misconduct with a minor by Father David Huneck, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Columbia City, has resulted in the following charges being filed by the Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney Friday, Oct. 8.

• Count 1: Child Seduction – Level 6 Felony
• Count 2: Sexual Battery – Level 6 Felony
• Count 3: Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor – Class A Misdemeanor
• Count 4: Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor – Class B Misdemeanor
• Count 5: Battery – Class B Misdemeanor
• Count 6: Battery – Class B Misdemeanor

Father Huneck, a priest of the diocese for three years, resigned from his position at the parish and from his role as co-chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne after the allegation of misconduct received Sept. 19. A statement issued by the diocese Sept. 28 said once representatives of the diocese…

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Priest invited teens to his home, gave them alcohol, court docs say

FORT WAYNE (IN)
Fort Wayne's NBC-TV [Fort Wayne IN]

October 8, 2021

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UPDATE: Records show David Huneck was booked Friday into the Whitley County Jail and that a court appearance is set for Tuesday afternoon.

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. — The probable cause document filed against local Catholic Priest David Huneck show invited the two victims to his home and gave them alcohol before assaulting them.

David Huneck had served as pastor of St. Paul of the Cross church in Columbia City and as a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne before stepping down following the accusations of assault.

Probable cause documents say the victims were 17 and 19 years old at the time of the abuse.

One victim told police she knew Huneck from his time as a Chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School and looked up to him as a role model.

She said on June 30, the two girls were invited to Huneck’s house…

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New podcast: Those Southern Baptist sex-abuse battles are not just about Southern Baptists

NASHVILLE (TN)
Get Religion

October 8, 2021

By Terry Mattingly

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The Southern Baptist Convention’s ongoing fights about how to handle sexual-abuse claims against ministers and other church personnel and volunteers is a perfect example of the kind of story that drives newspaper editors crazy.

It’s big and complicated and it seems like something crazy or important (or both) happens every other day. But it also seems like it’s impossible to yank a big, dramatic headline out of this sprawling, complicated story.

The story never seems to end and the amount of background material needed — in story after story after story — makes it impossible to cover this stuff in tidy 500-word stories. But if a newsroom skips a few of the major developments, that makes it even harder to get back in the game and explain to readers what is happening. Oh, and did I mention that newsroom managers pretty much have to assign a reporter to this story…

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Remembering legacy of embattled Bishop McCormack

MANCHESTER (NH)
The St. Anselm Crier (student newspaper of St. Anselm College, Manchester NH)

October 8, 2021

By Anna Raley

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Bishop John B. McCormack of the Diocese of Manchester died on September 21 at age 86. Community members gathered for the one and a half hour ceremony on Tuesday to commemorate the Bishop’s most impactful life.

McCormack died at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester. His  funeral service was held at Joseph Cathedral in Manchester and Bishop McCormack was laid to rest in the cathedral cemetery. Bishop Libasci, the presiding official of the funeral mass, in a statement by the diocese specified, “Bishop McCormack was a good and holy bishop who worked hard in times of great difficulty, demonstrating the virtues of kindness, compassion and humility right up until his passing.”

Sophomore Saint Anselm student Erik Bishop attended McCormack’s funeral mass and commented upon the sense of community in the room. He stated, “While we were not all familiar with each other, we all felt united with one another….

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The Guardian view on sexual abuse and the Catholic church: contrition is not enough

(FRANCE)
The Guardian [London, England]

October 10, 2021

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An investigation into paedophile priests in France reveals an institution in desperate need of reform

The findings of an inquiry into sexual abuse and paedophilia in the French Catholic church, published last week, are difficult to read and painful to contemplate. Over the past 70 years, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church found that at least 216,000 children were subjected to abuse at the hands of Catholic priests and members of religious orders. Sexual exploitation within the church and associated institutions, the commission stated, had been a “massive phenomenon”. Beyond immediate family and friends, the prevalence of sexual violence in the church outstripped that in any other social environment.

These conclusions represent, as Pope Francis rightly acknowledged, “a moment of shame” for the Catholic church. They should also be the catalyst for far-reaching reform of its practice and culture. The French report is only the latest in a…

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Authorities: Monk in Alaska faces child sexual abuse charge

KODIAK (AK)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 8, 2021

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A monk associated with the Russian Orthodox Church turned himself into police in Kodiak to report that he had sexually abused a child, according to the Alaska Department of Law, which said he arrived to make the report accompanied by a priest and a parent of the child.

The man faces a felony sexual abuse of a minor charge, an online court records system shows. The department, in a statement Friday, said the man was being held on bond and faces another court hearing later this month.

The public defender agency, which the records system shows is defending the man, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The department said the man, as a monk, was allowed to stay at church-provided housing.

Police have found that he also had stayed in several other Alaska communities and at a monastery near Phoenix, Arizona, the department said.

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Man seeks to be removed from Santa Fe archdiocese’s list of accused abusers

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

October 9, 2021

By Rick Ruggles

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Rudy Blea continues to pay a heavy toll for a sexual liaison he had 51 years ago, at age 19, with a 17-year-old boy.

The incident led to his inclusion on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s list of clergy and other Catholic hierarchy who are considered credibly accused sexual abusers of children. Blea says he shouldn’t be on the list.

Records from state District Court and the U.S Bankruptcy Court in New Mexico describe in some detail how he came to be on the list of 80 men — priests, deacons, brothers — who are widely known as pedophiles. The documents also describe Blea’s arguments for why he shouldn’t be listed among them.

His primary argument is that he never served as a Catholic priest or in any other role in the archdiocese that would qualify him as a member of church hierarchy. The archdiocese said he did, however, study…

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STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF KANSAS CITY IN KANSAS, SEPT. 27, 2021

KANSAS CITY (KS)
Archdiocese of Kansas City KS

September 27, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced at all Masses the weekend of Sept. 25-26 at Mater Dei Parish in Topeka that it has received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Father John Pilcher, pastor. In accord with archdiocesan protocol, law enforcement was notified of the allegation and Father Pilcher has been suspended from the public exercise of priestly ministry pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter.

Father Pilcher denies the allegation and is cooperating fully. He will remain on leave until the investigation is concluded and the archdiocesan Independent Review Board has reviewed the case and made a recommendation to Archbishop Joseph Naumann regarding the matter.  

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas takes all allegations of misconduct by church personnel very seriously and works to respond to survivors’ needs with urgency and respect.  We encourage anyone with knowledge about this case or…

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French author Frederic Martel’s book ‘In The Closet Of The Vatican’ in light of French investigation showing Catholic Church had 3000 abusers and 300,000 victims in France since 1950s

(AUSTRALIA)
Newcastle Herald [Newcastle, Australia]

October 10, 2021

By Ian Kirkwood

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IT should be a shock, but it’s not.

On Tuesday, the French Catholic Church received a 2500-page report from an independent commission, detailing the abuse of an estimated 330,000 children over 70 years by 3000 Catholic offenders, two-thirds of them priests.

It should make more waves than it has, but COVID hogs the headlines.

And it’s not a shock because we have read this story before. Repeatedly. In France as in dozens of other jurisdictions that have looked into this sad phenomenon, priests have taken to abusing children. Sometimes girls, but overwhelmingly boys.

You will recall that Julia Gillard credited our esteemed former colleague, Joanne McCarthy, as the driving force for a Royal Commission.

I sat with Joanne as we reported the Newcastle chapters of the inquiry.

The Anglicans were no angels but the Catholic insistence on clerical celibacy all but channelled the priesthood towards trouble.

I’ve got a bit of a thing about churches.

If…

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Catholic Church must start to ‘listen’ says Pope

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

October 9, 2021

By Christopher Lamb

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The 84-year-old Jesuit Pope called for a “different Church” which is able to listen.

Pope Francis fired the starting gun on the most ambitious Catholic renewal project in 60 years by warning against the Church becoming a “museum”. 

Speaking at the beginning of a two-year synod process in the Vatican, the 84-year-old Jesuit Pope called for a “different Church” which is able to listen, becomes immersed in people’s lives and avoids the “poison” of complacency. 

“Keep us from becoming a ‘museum Church’, beautiful but mute, with much past and little future,” the Pope told the synod gathering at the Paul VI synod hall in the Vatican.

Francis was speaking at the start of an unprecedented listening and consultation exercise taking place across the 1.3 billion-member Church. Although the process is set to last two years significant potential changes were suggested that means it is likely to last…

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Catholic bishop didn’t report sex predator priest to the police

LIVERPOOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
Liverpool Echo [Liverpool, England]

October 10, 2021

By Neil Docking

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The Bishop of Hallam knew about a priest who preyed on altar boys in Liverpool

A Catholic bishop told about sex abuse by a priest at a Liverpool monastery didn’t report him to the police, a court heard.

Father Thomas MacCarte groomed and molested two altar boys at Bishop Eton Monastery in Woolton Road, Childwall.

But when one victim’s dad complained to Bishop Eton’s then parish priest Ralph Heskett – now the Bishop of Hallam in Sheffield – MacCarte was moved to Scotland.

MacCarte, now 70, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault, relating to sex attacks when he was based in Merseyside three decades ago.

A trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard the boy’s dad “immediately complained” to Bishop Heskett when his son told him at the time about “sexual things” MacCarte had done to him.

Robert Wyn Jones, prosecuting, said: “It was agreed that the matter would…

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Letter: Too much spin on refugee work obscures Catholic church’s legacy of abuse

TULSA (OK)
Tulsa World [Tulsa OK]

October 8, 2021

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As I process the latest news regarding the Catholic church, I am again miffed at such positive spin the press is giving them while not addressing the horrific sins of the church that have been going on since the 1950s to as recently as 2020.

Of note, I was raised a Catholic, every sacrament was taken, and we even lived down the street from a convent in one direction, a church in the other.

In other words, I have the entire experience. Yet no one in my family continues to support the church because of the tragic way children have been abused. And now are we supposed to glorify the church for taking in refugees? I hope someone is watching over those children.

— Sally Blann, Bixby OK

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October 9, 2021

Pope Francis and the French clerical abuse/coverup report

PARIS (FRANCE)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

October 8, 2021

By Christopher R. Altieri

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The CIASE report’s methodology deserves – and shall no doubt receive – careful scrutiny and rigorous interrogation. But there are many hard questions that simply aren’t being addressed and answered.

The Catholic Church’s leading expert on sex crimes says the French bishops deserve our gratitude for their willingness to face the disclosure of decades of abuse and coverup.

“I think we have to thank the French bishops,” said Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta in a short English-language comment he gave to the official Vatican News media outlet, “for [having] the courage to confront themselves with reality.”

The line didn’t quite make it into the Vatican News writeup of the more expansive interview, which was conducted in Italian, but it leads the 58-second audio clip at the bottom of the piece.

“It’s so sad to read what the report states, and the information it gives,” Archbishop Scicluna went on to…

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Wilson-Raybould wasn’t consulted on freeing Catholic Church from residential school compensation deal: source

(CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

October 7, 2021

By Jason Warick

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Critics question decision to not advise then-justice minister that appeal was being dropped

No one in the federal government is saying who made the final decision to relieve the Catholic Church of its financial responsibilities to residential school survivors.

But a source with direct knowledge of the controversial 2015 case told CBC News that then-minister of justice Jody Wilson-Raybould wasn’t consulted, even though a lawyer in her department signed the final release.

“This is stunning. It’s just unbelievable that the first Indigenous minister of justice was frozen out of a decision like this,” said Tom McMahon, a former general legal counsel for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who also spent 17 years as a lawyer in the Department of Justice.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, director of the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, said she was also alarmed to hear that Wilson-Raybould was left out of the loop.

“This was a…

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Residential school survivors frustrated Wilson-Raybould not consulted on scrapping of 2015 compensation appeal

(CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

October 8, 2021

By Jason Warick

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Federal official says decisions made in ‘caretaker’ period before Wilson-Raybould was justice minister

Residential school survivors say they’re saddened to hear Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, wasn’t consulted by government officials on the decision to abandon an appeal in a key legal case affecting them.

In the days after Wilson-Raybould was sworn in back in November 2015, the government dropped its court appeal of the Roman Catholic Church’s compensation buyout agreement. That ended the government’s legal attempts to make the church pay the millions in compensation remaining on its $79 million worth of promises to survivors.

“That’s why [Wilson-Raybould] was there. That’s why that position is there.… Definitely, she should have had a choice to be in on that decision,” said Rick Daniels, a member of Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and a survivor of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, Sask.

An official with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada provided some details Friday, saying key decisions on…

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French Catholic Church abuse report highlights the special toll faced by boys

PARIS (FRANCE)
NBC News [New York NY]

October 8, 2021

By Phil Goldstein

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Male survivors of child sexual abuse face stereotypes around masculinity and greater degrees of shame and self-blame than other victims.

A report from France on Tuesday revealed that French clergy in the Roman Catholic Church have sexually abused more than 200,000 children since 1950. The inquiry found that the vast majority of the victims — 80 percent — were boys. When I read the news, my heart sank in a familiar way.

I felt damaged, as if I had a stain on my body I could never wash off. And I feared the consequences of disclosure.

As a male survivor of child sexual abuse, I can imagine both the trauma of the abuse and the silent pain that many of the survivors likely carried for decades. Child sexual abuse is a horrible betrayal for everyone who goes through it — but it is especially difficult for…

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7 Things Catholics Need to Know About the French Report on Sexual Abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

October 8, 2021

By Solène Tadié

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The purpose of the 2,500-page CIASE report was not only to shed light on sexual abuse within the Church in France, but also to make recommendations to help the Church better address sexual abuse in the future.

The Oct. 5 release of the French report on “Sexual Violence in the Catholic Church between 1950 and 2020,” carried out by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CIASE), has caused an earthquake of reaction.

Catholics know that such investigations are necessary to put an end to a scourge that has destroyed the lives of thousands of people and continues to disfigure the Church, but it’s also extremely important that the findings of the French report are communicated accurately. 

The purpose of the 2,500-page report, which is the fruit of 32 months of work, was not only to shed light on sexual abuse within the Church, but also to determine…

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Support group for people abused by priests reacts to Fort Wayne priest charged for sexual abuse of minor

COLUMBIA CITY (IN)
WANE [Fort Wayne IN]

October 9, 2021

By Britt Salay

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The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is reacting after charges are handed down for a priest accused of sexually abusing two teens.

Fort Wayne priest now criminally charged with sexual abuse of minor 

Father David Huneck is facing six charges, two of which are felonies, stemming from two separate incidents where he allegedly offered alcohol and groped two teens in the house provided to him by Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City. He served as the pastor there as well as chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne.

SNAP is a nonprofit organization that acts as a support group for men and women who have been abused by religious leaders. Melanie Sapkota, Survivor Support Supervisor for SNAP, said despite some myths that abuse in churches happens primarily to young boys, the sex and age of victims vary.

“It’s probably pretty…

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Plenary Council members ask Australian church to embrace its diversity

(AUSTRALIA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 8, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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Members gathered for the first assembly of Australia’s Plenary Council have backed calls to ensure the Catholic Church in the country more fully embraces its liturgical diversity, particularly the rich presence of Eastern churches.

Eastern churches are well represented at the assembly, including bishops and laypeople from the Maronite, Melkite and Syro-Malabar eparchies and the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

One of the key questions on the agenda for the Plenary Council is how the church might better embrace its diverse liturgical traditions and the cultural gifts of immigrant communities to enrich the spirituality and worship of the church in Australia.

Through the small-group sessions at the assembly, members have reflected on the need to know and understand one another’s rites and celebrations through education in schools and the formation of future leaders and clergy.

Chaldean Archbishop Amel Nona told the assembly that one of the greatest blessings of the church was its unity in liturgical…

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Church must move from sorrow to action on abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 8, 2021

By Cindy Wooden

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Shame and sorrow are appropriate initial responses to the report on the extent of clerical sexual abuse in France, but the Catholic Church must move to action to protect children and to guarantee justice for victims and survivors, said Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna.

“We must move on from mourning to a renewed determination and conviction to act,” the archbishop, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Vatican’s top investigator of abuse cases, told Vatican News Oct. 7.

“We must understand that the victims — who have suffered abuse, humiliation, then even the trauma of an institutional cover-up — are part of us,” he said. “Therefore, we must act in a more determined and positive way.”

The report, released Oct. 5 by the 21-member Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church in France, estimated that 330,000 children in France had been abused by priests or other church employees since the 1950s.

Shock, shame and sorrow are appropriate initial reactions,…

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‘Truth and Healing Commission’ could help Native American communities traumatized by government-run boarding schools that tried to destroy Indian culture

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Conversation [Waltham MA]

October 8, 2021

By David R.M. Beck

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The National Day of Remembrance for Native American children honors children who died years ago while attending the United States’ Indian boarding schools each Sept. 30. On that day this year, a bill was reintroduced in both the Senate and the House to establish an American Indian Truth and Healing Commission on Indian boarding schools.

The bill’s purposes include both truth-seeking and healing. It asks “to formally investigate and document,” the impact of the trauma that resulted from Indian boarding school policies – a trauma that has been passed down through the generations in Native communities. It also urged federal support to heal “cultural and linguistic” destruction to tribal communities carried out by the federal, state and local governments.

Outside of Indian Country, the lasting legacy of boarding school policies has been largely ignored in the United States. As a historian of federal “Indian policy” in the 19th and 20th centuries, I…

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San Jose State president resigns amid sex abuse fallout

SAN JOSE (CA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 8, 2021

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San Jose State president Mary Papazian resigned Thursday after the university agreed last month to pay $1.6 million to 13 female student-athletes whose complaints about being sexually assaulted by an athletic trainer were mishandled.

Papazian, who has served as the university’s president since July 1, 2016, will step down at the end of the fall semester on Dec. 21, officials announced Thursday.

Federal prosecutors found that the university failed to adequately respond to reports of sexual harassment and assault that started in 2009 — exposing additional student-athletes to harm for more than a decade.

Scott Shaw, who was San Jose State’s director of sports medicine, resigned last year after allegations resurfaced in news media reports accusing him of inappropriately touching swimmers during physical therapy from 2006 to 2009. He has denied misconduct, and no criminal charges have been filed.

Investigators identified 23 student-athletes who they said were inappropriately touched by…

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October 8, 2021

Abuse report on the Catholic Church in France — a shock, but not a surprise

PARIS (FRANCE)
Politico.eu [Brussels, Belgium]

October 8, 2021

By Tom Heneghan

Read original article

Any progress will depend on whether the commission’s recommendations are implemented.

A report outlining the scale of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France over the past seven decades has shocked the country. But while the numbers were indeed shocking, the report wasn’t actually a surprise. 

The steady drumbeat of cases exposed over the past 20 years made it hard to ignore the fact that the Church has a serious systemic challenge on its hands. The real shocker was that this was finally said out loud. 

Carried out by an independent commission headed by respected former judge Jean-Marc Sauvé, the report gives size and shape to a scandal the Church can no longer cover up. 

Presented before an audience including several Catholic leaders sitting in shamed silence, it estimated that at least 3,000 priests — around three percent of the country’s total — had preyed on…

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Former priest charged with multiple felonies, including child seduction, sexual battery

FORT WAYNE (IN)
WPTA - ABC 21 [Fort Wayne IN]

October 8, 2021

By Jonathan Shelley

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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) – A priest who stepped away from his posts in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in September has been charged with six counts, including felony child seduction and sexual battery.

The Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday filed those charges against David Huneck, along with one count of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, one count of Furnishing Alcohol to a minor and two counts of battery.

The filing indicates the earliest of the alleged offences dates to June 2021.

The probable cause affidavit shows that the two alleged victims are a young adult woman and a teenager.

Huneck is accused of using “force or imminent threat of force” to molest the victims.

The incidents took place at Huneck’s home, in Columbia City. The affidavit said the adult and teenager had been invited to the residence to celebrate Huneck’s birthday, and that the priest…

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Warrant: Ex-pastor devised scheme against girl’s parents

ASHEVILLE (NC)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 8, 2021

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A former pastor in North Carolina gave a false report of child abuse to a sheriff’s office and tried to get them to sign over parental rights for their teenage daughter who he is accused of sexually assaulting, authorities said.

Warrants issued for Trent Brandon Holbert, 41, detailed the events that led to his being charged by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, indecent liberties with a child and two counts of felony statutory sex offense with a child under 15, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.

When Holbert reported the parents to the N.C. Division of Social Services with allegations of neglect, the claims were found not to be true, according to the warrants.

Investigators began working the case on May 17 when the victim’s parents contacted deputies about their child “engaging in a secret and sexual relationship with their…

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Australian Catholics are having a reckoning moment. Here’s what young believers think

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

October 8, 2021

By Siobhan Marin for The Religion and Ethics Report

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Australia’s most important Catholic meeting since 1937 is on right now.

It’s called the Plenary Council and important issues, like women’s role in the Church, and how to heal after the sexual abuse crisis, have been on the table. 

Chris Lee never expected he’d be one of the 280 members attending.

Despite being raised in a practising household, the 27-year old says he didn’t have much to do with Catholicism when he was a teen.

“Like most young people, I went through the stage where I was away from the faith,” he says.

That all changed, eight years ago, after Chris and his friends were involved in a fight in Sydney’s Kings Cross.

“I got the hospital the next day and the ophthalmologist said, ‘We think one of the guys was carrying a knife because you’ve been cut through the eye,’” he recalls.

Chris had three metal plates put in the…

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Sexual Abuse Revelations Accelerate Sense of a French Church in Retreat

PARIS (FRANCE)
New York Times

October 8, 2021

By Norimitsu Onishi and Aurelien Breeden

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The abuse of more than 200,000 minors by clergy over the past seven decades has shaken the nation and what was once a pillar of French society.

The Catholic Church in France was once so powerful that it was considered a state within a state. In Roman Catholicism’s global hierarchy, France cemented its position as far back as the fifth century, when it became known as the “eldest daughter of the church.”

While Catholicism has ebbed across the Western world, its unrelenting decline in France is all the more striking given its past prominence. Now, a devastating church-ordered report on sexual abuse by the clergy released this week, after a similar reckoning elsewhere, was yet another degradation, further shaking what was once a pillar of French culture and society.

The report, which confirmed stories of abuse that have emerged over the years, shocked the nation with details of its magnitude,…

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The Plenary Council confronts Church abuse

(AUSTRALIA)
The Catholic Leader [Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia]

October 8, 2021

By Mark Bowling

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MEMBERS of Australia’s historic Plenary Council assembly have spent a day confronting the abuse and hurt committed inside the Church.

One of the 278 Council members, Francis Sullivan described Day 6 of the Plenary as “harrowing”.

“The atmosphere was solemn, the burden far from light,” he said.

Mr Sullivan is chair of Catholic Social Services Australia and formerly headed the Truth, Justice and Healing Council that oversaw the Church responses to a royal commission into child sexual abuse.

A commission final report delivered in 2017 revealed the appalling extent of clergy abuse, the gross failure of Church leaders to deal properly with allegations, to deliver justice for victims and to co-operate with civil authorities.

There were 21 specific recommendations for the Catholic Church, including setting up a national protocol for screening candidates before and during seminary or religious formation, measures to ensure greater transparency and accountability in Church governance,…

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Fort Wayne priest now criminally charged with sexual abuse of minor

FORT WAYNE (IN)
WANE [Fort Wayne IN]

October 8, 2021

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A local Catholic priest who pastored a Columbia City parish and served as a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School has been charged with sexually abusing a minor in a case involving two females.

Whitley County Prosecutor DJ Sigler announced Friday he has filed multiple charges against Father David Huneck.

The charges are as follows:

  • Child Seduction-Defendant has a professional relationship with child and fondles child
  • Sexual Battery–Victim compelled to submit by force or imminent threat
  • Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
  • Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor-Basic offense for furnishing to a minor
  • Two counts of battery

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Whitley Superior Court, the charges stem from two incidents that allegedly took place at the home in Columbia City provided to Huneck as part of his being the pastor at a parish there.

The affidavit said that the investigation began on September 23, when an officer with the…

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French Church and state at odds over sex abuse confessions

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

October 7, 2021

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France’s government has summoned the head of the French bishops’ conference after he said that secrets shared in the confessional are above the law, as the country reels from new revelations of large-scale child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

Monsignor Eric de Moulins-Beaufort shocked some people in France when he told France-Info radio Wednesday that “the secrets of confession are stronger than the laws of the republic.”

The comments came in response to recommendations in a study released Tuesday estimating that some 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures.

The report describes “systemic” coverup of abuses by the Catholic Church, and urged the church to respect the rule of law in France. The church should send clear instructions to clergy receiving confession that they are legally obliged to report any cases of sexual violence against a child or vulnerable person to judicial…

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France rebukes bishop who said sex abuse revealed at confession would stay secret

PARIS (FRANCE)
Reuters [London, England]

October 7, 2021

By Geert De Clercq, and editing by Peter Graff

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France’s top bishop has been summoned by the interior minister after saying that the pact of secrecy would prevent a priest from reporting sex crimes against children that were revealed during Catholic confession.

Following the publication of a report this week about sexual abuse of children by the clergy, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, who is archbishop of Reims and head of the Bishops’ Conference of France, said in a radio interview that the secrecy of the confession rite takes precedence over the laws of the republic.

Under French law, anyone who is aware of a sex crime against a minor is obliged to report it to the authorities and risks heavy fines and imprisonment if failing to do so.

“Nothing takes precedence over the laws of the republic in our country,” French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Thursday.

He added that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin – who…

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Retired priest allowed to assist in ministry despite two Child Victims Act lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW [Buffalo NY]

October 7, 2021

By Sean Mickey

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Diocese of Buffalo announces reinstatement of four priests

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Buffalo announced that four priests previously put on administrative leave following allegations of misconduct have been reinstated, following the review and recommendation by the Diocesan Review Board.

One of those priests, Msgr. James G. Kelly, 83, is accused in two Child Victims Act (CVA) lawsuits of having sexual contact with minors.

Kelly is a retired priest who continues to assist in parish ministry, according to the diocese.

The two lawsuits, with alleged victims identified using a “John Doe” pseudonym, were filed by attorney Steve Boyd and Jeff Anderson & Associates.

The abuse in the two claims is alleged to have occurred between 1980 and 1982, and from 2005 until 2007.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher placed Msgr. Kelly on administrative leave on June 30 after the diocese learned of a complaint against him.

Both CVA suits against…

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What the French abuse report says

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

October 7, 2021

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An independent report on clerical sexual abuse in France has made headlines around the world, and, for many American Catholics, renewed their scandal at the issue of clerical sexual abuse in the Church.

The entire report is more than 2,500 pages, and aims to capture the picture of abuse and cover-up in the Church between 1950 and 2020.

While the report has gotten plenty of media coverage, and sparked ample discussion on social media, getting a sense of the entire document can seem daunting.

Here’s what you need to know:

The commission

The report was commissioned by the French bishops’ conference and the Conférence des Religieux et Religieuses de France, an umbrella organization for the superiors of religious communities in France.

In 2019, the two organizations aimed to set up a completely independent commission with four goals:

  • To shed light on the sexual violence committed in its institution since 1950.  
  • To…
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After meeting pope, Merkel says they discussed abuse, climate change

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

October 7, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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After meeting privately with Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that one of the issues they discussed was the importance of the church addressing the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

“The truth must come to light,” she said after the meeting Oct. 7.

Merkel, who is preparing to leave office, said she told the pope that because of the diverse and important roles the Catholic Church plays in the world, it is essential that it maintain its credibility and that can happen only by confronting the abuse crisis head on.

Before going to the Vatican, the German leader paid a visit to the headquarters of the Pontifical Gregorian University’s new Institute of Anthropology. German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner is director of the institute, which works to train people to be safeguarding officers in their local church or community and works to promote justice for survivors of abuse.

Formerly known as the Center for Child Protection,…

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Bishop reinstates four priests following probes into abuse allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

October 7, 2021

By Harold McNeil

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Four priests have been reinstated by Bishop Michael W. Fisher following a recommendation by the Buffalo Diocese’s Independent Review Board, which conducted investigations and a review that determined allegations against the priests are unsubstantiated, the diocese announced Thursday.

The priests, who were previously placed on administrative leave by the bishop and were reinstated are: 

• The Rev. Adolph Kowalczyk, pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Orchard Park.

• The Rev. Gregory Dobson, a retired priest who continues to assist in various parishes of the Diocese.

• The Rev. Matt Nycz, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul in Williamsville.

• The Rev. Msgr. James G. Kelly, an 83-year-old retired priest of the diocese who also continues to assist in parish ministry.

According to a statement released Thursday by the diocese, rigorous policies and protocols were followed with regard to investigating allegations that were made against the priests, including notifying the Erie…

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Bill to remove statute of limitations for sexual abuse

COLUMBUS (OH)
WKBN-TV, Ch. 27 [Youngstown OH]

October 7, 2021

By Colleen Marshall

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A shocking revelation for victims of sexual assault at the hands of Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss. After waiting two years for state lawmakers to take action on House Bill 249, to suspend the statute of limitations and allow their legal claims against OSU to move forward, the house majority leader admits the bill was a sham.

In an email to one of the victims, republican leader bill Seitz said, “I do not support a resurrection of HB 249.”

“HB 249 was intended to apply pressure to Ohio State to come to the table and make meaningful settlement offers.”

Seitz called the bill flawed and said lawmakers ‘never’ really considered suspending the statute of limitations.

The victims told NBC4 they are not giving up on changing the law, especially since the judge who dismissed their claims pointed out state lawmakers have always had the power…

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The Formation of a New Priest Who Abused Minors: How Did He Slip Past Seminary Screening Policies?

CLEVELAND (OH)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

October 6, 2021

By Judy Roberts

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Robert McWilliams, who was ordained by the Diocese of Cleveland in 2017, was convicted in July of sex crimes he committed involving children, beginning in the year he was ordained.

When Father Robert McWilliams was charged with sex and pornography crimes involving children just two years after his ordination, few were more stunned than those who had screened and formed him for priesthood.

This was a priest chosen and educated in the wake of the Church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal, someone who had undergone an intensive, detailed vetting process and seminary training steeped in teaching about sexual ethics and appropriate boundaries. 

Although a sense of betrayal and shock always follows such allegations, in McWilliams’ case it was intensified by the fact that he had been ordained just two years before his arrest in December 2019. From the rector of his seminary and psychologists who evaluated him to his peers, those who…

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