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.

January 20, 2022

German investigation accuses Pope Benedict XVI of ‘wrongdoing’ in handling of abuse cases while archbishop of Munich

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Washington Post

January 20, 2022

By Chico Harlan and Loveday Morris

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[NOTE: The full text of the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl report about abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is available here.]

Rome – A church-commissioned German investigation on Thursday accused Pope Benedict XVI of “wrongdoing” in his handling of sexual abuse cases during his time running the archdiocese of Munich between 1977 and 1982.

The law firm that carried out the investigation said Benedict could be accused of wrongdoing in four cases, including one in which he knowingly accepted a priest into his archdiocese even after the cleric had been convicted of sexual abuse in a criminal court.

At a news conference to unveil the findings, a lawyer said that Benedict — known then as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — claimed to have no direct knowledge of the cases. But his denials were “not reconcilable with the files in evidence,” the lawyer, Martin Pusch said.

The report, commissioned by the…

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Benedict Faulted for Handling of Abuse Cases When He Was an Archbishop

MUNICH (GERMANY)
New York Times

January 20, 2022

By Elisabetta Povoledo

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[NOTE: The full text of the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl report about abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is available here.]

A newly released report by a law firm said the former pope failed to discipline priests in at least four cases of sexual abuse accusations in Germany.

A report released on Thursday faulted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for what the authors called misconduct in his handling of at least four cases of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests when he was the archbishop of Munich, according to the law firm that handled the investigation.

The report on the handling of clerical sex abuse of minors in the diocese of Munich and Freising covered the period between 1945 and 2019. Benedict was archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 and had oversight over the clerics.

“In a total of four cases, we came to the conclusion…

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January 19, 2022

‘This is criminal evidence’: Advocates deliver boxes of documents regarding clergy abuse to attorney general

MADISON (WI)
Journal Sentinel [Milwaukee WI]

January 18, 2022

By Laura Schulte

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An advocacy group has turned over thousands of pages of documents from the five Wisconsin Catholic dioceses it says demonstrate a systemic coverup of sexual abuse by clergy members.

Nate’s Mission, an advocacy group aimed at ending clergy abuse in Wisconsin, handed the documents over to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on Tuesday, in a move to further the investigation launched last year into abusive clergy and the coverup of abuse by Catholic dioceses.

The group is named for Nate Lindstrom, who accused multiple priests at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere of sexually abusing him in the 1980s. He died by suicide in 2020, nearly one year after the abbey stopped sending secret payments he received for 10 years.

More:First came sex abuse allegations at the abbey. Then secret payments. Then a suicide.

The five dioceses include the Archdiocese of Milwaukee…

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Diocese of Green Bay included in potential clergy abuse evidence brought forth

MADISON (WI)
WLUK - Fox 11 [Green Bay WI]

January 18, 2022

By Charlee Rubesky

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On Tuesday, representatives of Nate’s Mission marched up the steps of the Wisconsin state Capitol to deliver alleged documents of clergy abuse to Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Nate’s Mission is an organization dedicated to ending clergy abuse in religious organizations.

“Thousands of pages of internal church files, memorandum, minutes of meetings, cases concerning the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the state,” Nate’s Mission program director Peter Isely said.

These documents include allegations involving the Diocese of Green Bay.

Isely claims Catholic leaders allegedly destroyed criminal and corporate evidence of fraud in the organization.

“This was done in 2007, that was then Bishop (David) Zubik. He ordered the systematic destruction of virtually all evidence of criminal behavior done by dozens of Green Bay priests in his diocese,” Isely said.

Nate’s Mission says the documents it has collected cannot be viewed by the public at this time.

The Diocese of…

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Nate's Mission director Peter Isely, left, and deputy director Sarah Pearson carry boxes of church whistleblower documents to the state attorney general's office outside the state Capitol building on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Diane Bezucha / WPR

Survivor advocacy group delivers Catholic Church whistleblower documents for state investigation into faith leader abuse

MADISON (WI)
Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)

January 18, 2022

By Hope Kirwan

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[Photo above: Nate’s Mission director Peter Isely, left, and deputy director Sarah Pearson carry boxes of church whistleblower documents to the state attorney general’s office outside the state Capitol building on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Diane Bezucha / WPR]

The group claims the ‘thousands of pages’ of documents include evidence of diocese policies meant to destroy evidence of abuse, fraud

A survivor advocacy group says they’re turning over “thousands of pages” of documents to the state attorney general’s office related to the cover up of sexual abuse by leaders of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin.

Leaders of Nate’s Mission, a Wisconsin-based project of the national group Ending Clergy Abuse, delivered the documents to Attorney General Josh Kaul’s office on Tuesday.

The group says the new documents include personnel files, insurance paperwork and internal lists of accused priests that contain “almost twice as many names as those released to…

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Group delivers whistleblower documents on clergy abuse

MADISON (WI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 19, 2022

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An advocacy group working to end clergy abuse in Wisconsin has delivered thousands of documents from Wisconsin’s five Catholic dioceses to the state attorney general, documents it says show a systemic coverup of abuse.

The documents were provided to Nate’s Mission by whistleblowers within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of Madison, La Crosse, Green Bay and Superior, the group said.

The group handed boxes of documents to state Attorney General Josh Kaul on Tuesday to further the investigation launched last year into clergy abuse, the Journal Sentine l reported.

“This is criminal evidence that we’re looking at right here. Evidence of sexual abuse of children over the past decades, evidence of sexual abuse over the past decades,” said Peter Isely, a Nate’s Mission member.

Kaul said the investigation continues, but no further information was available.

“The Wisconsin Department of Justice continues to encourage anyone with…

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As past alleged misconduct with high school girl resurfaces, Brother Martin chaplain retires

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Nola.com [New Orleans, LA]

January 18, 2022

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

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The chaplain at Brother Martin High School abruptly left his post earlier this month, just days after the school was notified of allegations that he kissed and fondled a Mt. Carmel Academy senior in 1990 while serving at another local Catholic institution, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Rev. Paul Hart was assigned by Archbishop Gregory Aymond to serve as Brother Martin’s chaplain in 2017, after a church investigation four years earlier confirmed the sexual misconduct but determined the student was not a minor under church law.

Reached by phone, Hart said his retirement from the all-boys high school, as well as from his job as director of retreats at St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, was due to his ongoing battle with brain cancer. The archdiocese said the same. 

But the picture appears far more complicated.

According to multiple sources, Brother Martin was unaware of…

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It’s time to find out where religious life can go without patriarchy

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Global Sisters Report [Kansas City, MO]

January 18, 2022

By Linda Romey

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Not long after I finished Sarah Ferguson’s new novel Her Heart for a Compass, the tale of a Victorian-era Scottish woman who stood up to patriarchy, I listened to recordings of sessions from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on the emerging future of religious life. I went to bed feeling discouraged by the questions arising in these particular LCWR conversations because they were more about coming to closure than transforming for the future.

As I slept, my unconscious merged details of the book and the LCWR sessions, because when I woke up, I had to grab a pen to note another question before it slipped away.

Are women religious trying to solve the wrong problem? Yes, we need to care for older religious. We do have a shortage of leadership. We are burdened with buildings and systems that need maintenance. We do have ministries we can no…

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Irrespective of judgement, Bishop Franco will continue to be looked at with suspicion – Opinion

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

January 17, 2022

By Saira Shah Halim

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The Kottayam court acquitting Bishop Franco Mulakkal while the survivor was expelled from her duties was a telling saga of how sexual predators not only survive but thrive in India.

Ezekiel 34:4 “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

No person is fit for the office of a shepherd who does not well understand the diseases to which sheep are incident, and the mode of cure. And is any man fit for the pastoral office or to be a shepherd of souls who is not well acquainted with the disease of sin in all its varieties, and the remedy for this disease and the proper mode of administering it? He who does not know Jesus Christ…

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Bishop’s acquittal: Kerala court questions nun’s ‘conduct’, ignores change in law on rape

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Indian Express [Noida, India]

January 16, 2022

By Apurva Vishwanath

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Judge Gopakumar relies on three crucial contentions to hold that the complainant’s statement detailing 13 separate instances of alleged rape in a span of four years is inconsistent.

FROM notions of how an ideal victim must behave to theories of possible enemies within the system plotting against the accused; speculation that the complainant could have had an affair with a married man to an earlier, narrower definition of rape.

These are some of the key factors behind the Kerala court’s acquittal of Franco Mulakkal, the former Jalandhar Bishop of the Catholic Church, of all charges in the alleged rape of a nun.

In his 289-page order, Additional Sessions Judge G Gopakumar of the Kottayam district court held that the victim’s statement is inconsistent. Under the law, the statement of the complainant in a rape case is considered sufficient evidence unless the defence can establish material inconsistencies in it.

Judge…

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Concern over nun’s safety after Indian bishop’s rape acquittal

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 17, 2022

By Bijay Kumar Minj

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Complainant and her supporters are in danger of further victimization after the verdict, says Catholic women’s group

A Catholic women’s group in India has urged church authorities to protect the rape complainant nun, her companions and witnesses in the Bishop Franco Mulakkal case.

Bishop Mulakkal of Jalandhar was acquitted of all charges including raping a nun from the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) congregation by a court in Kerala on Jan. 14, with a judge saying the prosecution could not prove the allegations against him.

Sisters in Solidarity, a group comprising nuns, doctors, lawyers and other professionals, said that “they are in deep shock, disappointment and disbelief at the ‘not guilty’ verdict awarded to Franco Mulakkal.

The group’s statement dated Jan. 15 said the reaction appearing in media holding the court verdict as a “major victory for the Church” is very disturbing.

“We are pained to…

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Indian Church’s failures in handling sex abuse cases

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 17, 2022

By Raynah Braganza Passanha

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Hierarchy violates both Catholic Church and civil laws in its inaction to address cases involving priests

The sex abuse case of a priest, considered a benchmark one in the Indian Church, ended in the conviction and life imprisonment of the accused last month. However, it is deeply distressing that the sincerity of the Church’s leadership was not manifested in its handling.

The allegations against 55-year-old Father Lawrence Johnson attracted the national Church’s attention as it happened to be the first publicly reported case after the Indian Church put in effect a Vatican-approved procedure to deal with allegations of sex abuse by Catholic clergy.

The priest of the Archdiocese of Bombay (now Mumbai) was accused of sodomizing a 13-year-old boy inside his parish’s sacristy on Nov. 27, 2014, barely four weeks after the Church announced its methods to follow the Vatican procedure to check the malady.

Church observers considered…

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Polish diocese apologizes after suggestion altar server enjoyed rape

WARSAW (POLAND)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 18, 2022

By Jonathan Luxmoore

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 A Polish diocese apologized after its lawyer suggested a former altar server could have enjoyed being sexually molested by a priest, as a spokesman for victims warned the church still had “a long way to go” in combating abuse.

“We wish to stress unambiguously that we did not seek to diminish the responsibility of the perpetrator who committed crimes against a minor, still less cast blame on the person harmed,” the southern Bielsko-Zywiec Diocese said in a statement.

“We apologize to everyone outraged by these media reports — and to remove all doubts, the evidence in this case will be clarified in the near future by order of Bishop Roman Pindel … taking into account the injured party’s sensitivity.”

Anna Englert, diocesan attorney, had suggested a former child victim suing for damages could have been a homosexual who “gained satisfaction” from his “intimate relationship” with Father Jan Wodniak, who headed the…

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NJ state probe is ‘impediment’ to McCarrick records release

NEWARK (NJ)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 14, 2022

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As New Jersey’s governor weighs the nomination of a new state attorney general, an ongoing investigation in the attorney general’s office has delayed the release of information about the activities of disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

But with appointment of a new attorney general, it is possible the investigation could come to a close, allowing New Jersey bishops to release diocesan records on McCarrick.

“Under the leadership of Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck, the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force remains active and committed to seeking justice for victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy in New Jersey,” a spokesman in the state’s attorney general’s office told The Pillar Friday.

A New Jersey clergy abuse task force was formed in 2018, in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal of former cardinal McCarrick, who was that year accused of sexually abusing minors, and of sexually harassing and coercing seminarians…

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

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

January 18, 2022

By Judy L Thomas

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Thomas Reardon, a former Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who over the years was named in more than two dozen child sexual abuse lawsuits, was found dead Sunday in a south Kansas City senior living facility.

Kansas City police told The Star that officers were dispatched with EMS personnel to Brookdale Wornall Place at 501 W. 107th St. on a dead body call just after noon Sunday. Upon arrival, they contacted employees who told them the deceased person was Reardon, a resident. No foul play was suspected, police said.

Reardon, 80, was ordained in 1967 and resigned from the priesthood in 1989. Decades later, he was laicized, or removed from the priesthood. In 2019, he was among 24 priests whose names Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. released as those who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. Johnston called the abuse…

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January 18, 2022

Portuguese abuse commission begins work investigating ‘deep pain and suffering’

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 18, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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A week into the year-long independent anti-abuse commission convened by the Catholic Church in Portugal, 102 allegations had been made.

In a statement released to the Lusa Portuguese news agency, child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, the coordinator of the independent abuse commission, said that the 102 testimonies received thus far, contain “moments of deep pain and suffering.”

The testimonies were received either online or via phone call.

The Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church is collecting complaints from victims of cases that have occurred since 1950, which may be referred to the police. 

According to the coordinator, there are statements from people aged between 30 and 80, “all abused as children.” The commission has already set up face-to-face meetings with those who provided testimony.

Although it has received testimony from all over the country, as well as people who have emigrated, the commission says that “there…

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New Colorado Law Gives Sex Abuse Survivors New Option In Court

DENVER (CO)
KCNC - CBS 4 [Denver CO]

January 17, 2022

By Rick Sallinger

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The first civil case has been filed under a Colorado law that took effect on the Jan. 1, 2022 allowing survivors can sue alleged perpetrators for cases going back to 1960. It was 1977, before and during a river rafting trip in which a then-teenage girl says she was sexually assaulted by a teacher from a private school.

“I immediately buried it. It was too overwhelming for me to handle at my age, and I didn’t tell anyone except a Catholic priest who I confessed it to,” Kate McPhee, now living in Vermont, told CBS4.

She was 15 years old back then. Now decades later she has filed a lawsuit against that teacher in Boulder District Court. CBS4 has not been able to reach him and are not naming him now.

She claims she suffered “pattern of sexual misconduct involving alcohol, drugs and massages.”

Recalling the incident, McPhee says, has been…

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Church needs to do more than provide financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse

ST. CATHARINES (CANADA)
St. Catharines Standard [St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada]

January 17, 2022

By Brenda Coleman, Catherine M. Pead, and RJ McCabe

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Concerned Lay Catholics organization working with Recovery Speaking Initiative to amplify voices of clergy abuse victims

Church must address wounded souls

Re: Victim awarded $1 million in lawsuit against ex-priest Donald Grecco and diocese, Jan. 5

Concerned Lay Catholics is pleased to hear of the recent settlement of $1 million awarded to a survivor by the Diocese of St. Catharines. Settlements are very important. They provide survivors with resources to deal with the lifelong impact of the trauma that results from sexual abuse.

Settlements, however, are only one component of a comprehensive pastoral response needed by the church. The abuse of an individual is not an isolated event but always happens within the context of a community.

In addition to financial settlements, as a church we need to address the wounded souls and broken relationships individuals suffer along with their families, parishes and spiritual communities.

Recently Pope Francis announced an…

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10 Things to Know about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

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

January 16, 2022

By Kevin J. Jones

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[Via the Catholic Telegraph of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati]

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI served as pope from 2005 to 2013. He was born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, at Marktl in the German state of Bavaria. He turns 95 soon.

There is lots to know about this man who became a priest, archbishop, a cardinal, and even a former pope.

He is fond of cats, pianos, and Mozart.

When he was a cardinal living in Rome, he would prepare plates of food for stray cats. If friendly cats near his Vatican offices were hurt, he would bandage their wounds.

As of 2005, the year he became pope, Benedict had a black-and-white short-haired cat named Chico living at his home in Bavaria.

When he moved to live in the Vatican apartments, he still had to follow the rules: no cats or dogs allowed.

His other…

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Catholic Church tried to argue that altar boy derived ‘pleasure’ from priest’s abuse

BIELSKO-BIALA (POLAND)
Metro Weekly [Washington DC]

January 17, 2022

By Rhuaridh Marr

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A diocese in Poland wanted to question the victim about his sexuality after he sued for damages

A Catholic diocese in Poland has been condemned after asking a court to determine whether an alter boy derived “pleasure” from a priest sexually abusing him.

Catholics in the country have criticized the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec for trying to call an expert to determine whether the victim was gay and “showed satisfaction” in the abuse, which they deemed a “relationship.”

Janusz Szymik, 48, was abused by a priest — identified in court documents as Fr. Jan W. — for five years in the 1980s, starting when Szymik was a 12-year-old altar boy.

A Catholic Church investigation in 2015 found Jan W. guilty of abusing Szymik, banning him from his priestly duties for five years and requiring him to isolate from others.

Szymik later filed a civil suit against the diocese, seeking 3 million…

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January 17, 2022

Reporter Danae King strives to give a ‘voice to the voiceless,’ help people

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch [Columbus OH]

January 16, 2022

By Danae King

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[Includes video interview with King about her immigration stories.]

Danae King serves as the faith and values and immigration reporter at The Dispatch.

Why I became a journalist

From a young age, I’ve loved a good story. I read everything I could get my hands on. Eventually my love of reading turned into a love of writing and, coupled with my natural curiosity, a desire to be the person telling the stories, not just reading them.

As I started to find every opportunity to write, I began to realize my love for journalism went beyond telling stories and became more about making sure the truth is told. For me, journalism is about ensuring that someone is watching those in power, raising consciousness about injustices against those without power and getting the chance to educate people about things they may never otherwise hear or know about. 

Danae’s work: ‘There’s no…

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Mumbai priest’s conviction for child abuse sparks debate on church procedures for victim protection

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Scroll [Framingham MA]

January 16, 2022

By Flavia Agnes

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The Indian Church must bring in a new approach to victim support and transparency in procedures to combat the clergy abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

On December 29, a special judge of a court set up under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act convicted Roman Catholic priest Lawrence Johnson for sexually assaulting a minor boy.

The case highlights how church authorities failed to follow both the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and rules set by the state and church Canon Law for victim protection.

Human rights activists and women’s rights organisations within the Catholic community have criticised the manner in which the rights of victims are routinely negated and abusers are shielded or supported on the pretext of “maintaining neutrality” or that the matter is sub judice.

That was also evident when a sessions court in Kerala’s Kottayam on January 14 acquitted Bishop…

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India: Bishop rape ruling raises questions about role of church

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

January 17, 2022

By Murali Krishnan

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[Includes English-language background video.]

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was found not guilty on charges of rape. But now the Kerala Catholic Church has been left seriously divided, with some asking whether the church has too much power.

A Catholic bishop in India who had been accused of raping a nun multiple times over a period of two years was acquitted by a court in Kottayam, Kerala, last week.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who worked in the diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of carrying out the rapes from 2014 to 2016. The case sparked outrage and large protests in the southern state of Kerala. The ruling has left many members of the clergy questioning the power of the church in the state and how the church can move forward while deep divisions remain.

What did the judge say?

The victim said she went to the police only after complaining repeatedly to church authorities. Mulakkal was…

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Indonesia sees spike in sexual abuse of children

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

January 17, 2022

By Konradus EpaKonradus Epa and Katharina R. Lestari

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Protection agency says many crimes still covered up, govt claims efforts to have cases reported are working

Sexual violence committed against children in Indonesia almost tripled in 2021, but true figures remain elusive because of a tendency not to report such crimes and cover them up, according to an agency dedicated to protecting victims.

The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPKS) said it recorded 288 complaints last year, a sharp increase on the 107 recorded in 2020.  

“At least 65.7 percent of these 288 incidents took place in schools,” Edwin Partogi Pasaribu, an agency spokesman, said on Jan. 16. 

He said the true figure was likely very much higher as many people do not come forward to report such acts while attempts are often made by institutions to cover them up.

However, the jump in reported cases showed that efforts to get people to come forward were beginning to…

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January 16, 2022

The magnificent scale of the old St Joseph's Seminary building is still visible (Image: Craig and Joseph Wilson)

Haunting glimpse around abandoned Catholic college with a troublesome past

UP HOLLAND (UNITED KINGDOM)
Liverpool Echo [Liverpool, England]

January 16, 2022

By Alan Weston

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The college finally closed its doors in 1992 but is still a magnificent spectacle

[Photo above: The magnificent scale of the old St Joseph’s Seminary building is still visible (Image: Craig and Joseph Wilson)]

t would make a stunning location for a ghost story or a gothic Hammer horror film.

The abandoned St Joseph’s Seminary in Upholland near Skelmersdale, still presents an intriguing and haunting spectacle.

It saw its last batch of pupils leave in 1992, and now there are only faint remnants to be found of its former use. Among its notable alumni are St Helens-born comedian Johnny Vegas and Paddy McAloon, singer with 80s band Prefab Sprout.

The school has a long heritage and dates from a time when many young men wanted to train to become priests, welcoming its first pupils in 1883.

It was divided into a junior and senior seminary: the junior half provided a semi-monastic education…

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Tuam: Truth about mother and baby homes is ‘inextricably linked with the grave sites’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The Irish Post [London, England]

January 16, 2022

By Michael Murphy

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THERE has been a mixed response to a new law giving Irish adoptees and their relatives automatic access to their birth records.

The Birth Information and Tracing Bill, announced by Government on Wednesday, and currently making its way through the dáil, will establish a free tracing service for adoptees and their relatives.

In theory, the service will provide unrestrained access to birth certificates, medical records, and other information pertaining to an adoptee’s formative years.

But it’s not as simple as that.

For a start, not all files are accessible.

Tuam Babies Family Group founder Anna Corrigan’s two brothers, William and John, were supposed to have died in Tuam mother and babies home as infants in the early 1950’s.

Anna’s mother Bridget Dolan, a resident of Tuam for some years, kept this a secret throughout her life, and so Anna only found out about her brothers when she was in her…

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Gonzaga’s Jesuits should pray for victims, not predator priests

SPOKANE (WA)
Anchorage Daily News [Anchorage AK]

January 15, 2022

By Joan Nockels Wilson

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In its 2021 report titled, “The University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis,” the Jesuit-affiliated university described its newfound respect for survivors of sexual assault committed by priests. It proclaims that “reconciliation” with victims of clergy sex abuse “is only made possible with the establishment of justice, which requires actively seeking to dismantle systems of domination, abuse, and harm and building up new systems in their place.” It further opines that, “those who have been sexually abused and the broader communities harmed by such abuse are among those whose dignity has been violated,” and that “walking with those whose dignity has been violated requires action.”

Action. As a recent visitor to Gonzaga University and Saint Aloysius Catholic Church on its campus, I wonder if that might include publicly praying for predator priests who decimated Alaska Native children, perhaps not expecting a visit from an Alaskan.

I recently…

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Letter to the editor: Catholic Church’s continuing power gives reader pause

PORTLAND (ME)
The Portland Press Herald [Portland ME]

January 15, 2022

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Given their failure to protect children, their stance on the Maine ERA bill or any other subject should not have the weight that it does.

Here we go again. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has come out with their objections to the Equal Rights Amendment (L.D. 344) passing in the Maine Legislature. Many, if not all, of their arguments are absurd.

These objections come from a church that – in 2022! – relegates women to mere lower-level functionaries within its own structure. Are they still living in 1522?

What gives me pause, though, is the power this institution has in our public discourse.

Other than the Boy Scouts of America, I know of no other institution that, under its watch, has failed so completely to protect children from sexual abuse and then denied and covered it up.

Why the Catholic Church carries…

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI provided 82 pages of information for upcoming clerical abuse report

MUNICH (GERMANY)
America [New York NY]

January 14, 2022

By KNA International

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has provided extensive answers—in all totaling 82 pages—to lawyers’ questions concerning sexual abuse cases in the Munich archdiocese, the mass-circulation newspaper Bild reported Friday. The lawyers’ queries were part of their investigation for a tensely awaited experts’ report set to be unveiled next Thursday.

“He welcomes the reappraisal in Munich as well as the publication of the report,” the newspaper cited Benedict’s private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, as saying. Archbishop Gaenswein added that the former pope had taken the fate of the abuse victims “very much to heart.”

According to the newspaper, the experts’ report, which is also being keenly-awaited internationally, will be comprehensive. The research conducted by the Munich law office Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) at the behest of the archdiocese will take up 350 pages alone about one of the most prominent cases, that of a repeat-offender priest identified only as “Peter H.” In…

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Spanish bishops praise abuse report, but say more ‘rigor’ would be nice

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 15, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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At a press conference in Rome following their meeting with Pope Francis, the Spanish bishops said that a national newspaper that collected 251 allegations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church did a “service.”

“Sometimes we have not communicated well,” said Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona and president of the Spanish bishops, on Friday. “El Pais has done a service, we received it and people [at diocesan level] have taken advantage of it, and we are grateful.”

“We open the way to approach the victims with dignity and with respect always to them, who have suffered. We have to look at the victims, look to the future and be proactive, to solve [the crisis] and get closer [to survivors],” Omella said.

He also said that he hopes to bring to light the abuses perpetrated by members of the Spanish clergy and by religious and lay people in Church-related settings,…

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Prince Andrew, accuser seek witnesses in sex abuse lawsuit

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 15, 2022

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Lawyers for Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre have filed their initial requests for witnesses in her lawsuit accusing the British royal of sexually abusing her at age 17.

Recently released documents show that the prince’s legal team is seeking witness accounts from her husband, Robert Giuffre, and her psychologist, Judith Lightfoot, as part of the civil case filed in the U.S.

Giuffre’s lawyers, meanwhile, are seeking witness accounts from the prince’s former assistant and a woman who claims to have seen him at a London nightclub with her during the time in question.

The lawsuit cleared a hurdle after a judge earlier this week refused Andrew’s request to have it dismissed.

Giuffre sued Andrew, 61, in August, saying she was coerced into sexual encounters with him in 2001 by Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said she was sexually abused by Andrew at Maxwell’s London home, at Epstein’s…

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Boy Scouts Executive Arrested on Sexual Battery, Molestation Charges: Police

(FL)
Newsweek [New York NY]

January 15, 2022

By Thomas Kika

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An executive with Boy Scouts of America was arrested in Florida on Friday after multiple allegations of child sexual abuse came to light.

John Bruce Larsen, 52, was taken into police custody in Volusia County and charged with two counts of sexual battery on a child less than 12 years of age, two counts of sexual battery on a child older than 12 but younger than 18, and four counts of lewd molestation for children under 12. He previously served as a district executive for the Boy Scouts’ Central Florida chapter.

Larsen is accused of sexually abusing at least three underage boys over an undetermined period of time. The allegations were relayed to local detectives in interviews carried out with the boys, according to an arrest report obtained by local news outlet WESH. Due to the heavily redacted content of the report, it is unknown if any of the victims…

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January 15, 2022

Ex-Indiana minister sentenced to ten years for child molestation

MARTINSVILLE (IN)
The Reporter Times [Martinsville, IN]

January 12, 2022

By Peter Blanchard

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A Morgan County man and former practicing minister was sentenced to 10 years for the crime of child molestation.

William Bruce McDaniel, 74, was sentenced Monday in Morgan County Superior Court II. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he will be required to serve five years in prison plus five years of probation. If he violates the terms of his probation, the judge can order him to serve out the rest of his probation in prison.

He is also required to register as a sex offender in the state of Indiana and was ordered to have no contact with the victim for the next 10 years.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office filed charges against McDaniel in September 2020 alleging he molested a young girl at his South Vickery home between 2013 and 2017. Authorities learned of McDaniel’s actions after a family member came forward to report…

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Two Catholic universities among group sued over financial aid practices

DENVER (CO)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 14, 2022

By Tom Tracy

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The University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Georgetown University in Washington are among a group of some 16 private educational institutions named in a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to fix student financial aid distribution formulas among them.

The effect of the financial aid policies, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 9 in federal court in Chicago, has been to unlawfully manipulate the way those universities calculate financial need, and in some cases favor potential students who are children of wealthy donors.

Defendants are private national universities that have long been in the top 25 of the U.S. News & World Report rankings for such schools, notes the lawsuit.

“These elite institutions occupy a place of privilege and importance in American society. And yet these same defendants, by their own admission, have participated in a price-fixing cartel that is designed to reduce or eliminate financial aid as a locus of…

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Former Central Valley pastor sentenced in child molestation case

LINDSAY (CA)
KSEE24 and CBS47/yourcentralvalley.com [Fresno CA]

January 11, 2022

By Justin Walker

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A former pastor from the Central Valley was sentenced Friday in a Tulare County child molestation case, the county district attorney announced Tuesday.

On Friday, Gustavo Zamora, 69 of Lindsay, was sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison for child molestation, according to a release from the Tulare County District Attorney’s office. Zamora, a former pastor once associated with a Lindsay church, was arrested in May 2020 after victims said he molested them when they were children, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

In Oct. 2021, Zamora pleaded no contest to charges of “lewd acts upon a child under the age of fourteen.” Additionally, Zamora admitted that the crimes occurred against more than one victim, a special allegation.

According to court documents, the crimes took place between Jan. 12, 1984 and July 12, 2000 against five female victims between the ages of four and 14.

“Between 1984 and 2000, Zamora…

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‘Courage’ leads abuse victims as Tulare County pastor sentenced to prison

LINDSAY (CA)
Visalia Times-Delta [Visalia CA]

January 11, 2022

By Sheyanne N Romero

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The victims of a former Tulare County pastor learned their abuser will most likely die in prison. 

Gustavo Zamora, 69, of Lindsay, was sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison for child molestation. On Oct. 1, Zamora pleaded no contest to six counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and admitted that the crimes occurred against more than one victim — increasing his sentence.

The crimes also involved “substantial sexual conduct,” prosecutors said. Each count is a felony and are considered strike under the state’s Three Strikes law.

“While it may be difficult for some to process such news, especially regarding someone in a position of trust, the bravery of these victims to come forward cannot be understated,” District Attorney Tim Ward said. “Their courage should be an example to anyone who has suffered such abuse.”

The crimes took place between 1984 and 2000, against five girls between 4 and…

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‘Egypt’s Jeffrey Epstein’, Mohamed Al-Amin, Arrested for Human Trafficking

CAIRO (EGYPT)
Albawaba [Amman, Jordan]

January 9, 2022

By Riham Darwish

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Leading Egyptian businessman and media tycoon Mohamed Al-Amin was arrested last weekend by authorities, facing charges of human trafficking and sexually assaulting minor females for years.

The arrest was announced by the Ministry of Social Solidarity in a statement posted on Facebook, in which they pledged to hold any individual accountable for such violations, regardless of any considerations.

Sources have reported that the National Council For Childhood and Motherhood had received a complaint from a Beni Suef-based orphanage owned by the businessman last December, highlighting that he was frequently harassing and possibly raping young girls in the establishment throughout the years. 

The National Council For Childhood and Motherhood then briefed the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the complaint, after which investigations were being conducted secretly by authorities before the recent decision to arrest him from his household in the 5th Settlement district in Cairo.

Investigations and medical examinations have so far revealed that several female…

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Egyptian media owner detained after trafficking and sexual assault claims

CAIRO (EGYPT)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 13, 2022

By Edmund Bower

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Mohamed al-Amin’s alleged victims, all teenage girls, said he abused them in an orphanage he owned and in his holiday home

An Egyptian media tycoon with close ties to the government has been detained pending an investigation into allegations of sexual assault. The Egyptian public prosecution service says it is investigating reports that businessman Mohamed al-Amin sexually abused girls living in an orphanage that he owned and took them on trips to his holiday villa.

Amin, best known for establishing the pro-government CBC network in 2011, was arrested on Friday to be held for four days. The court decided to extend Amin’s pre-trial detention for a further 15 days in a hearing on Sunday where he told the court: “I never did anything wrong. I treated those girls like my own children.”

Allegations of sexual abuse at the Safe Hands Home for Girls were first made public in December by…

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Irish adoptees to get right of access to birth certificates

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
BBC [London, England]

January 12, 2022

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Adopted people in the Republic of Ireland are set to get an automatic right under a new law to see their birth certificates for the first time.

Currently, adoptees must apply to the authorities to find out their identity at birth, but their parents can object and block the release of information.

But now “landmark legislation” has been published which would allow the “full and unredacted release” of birth information to adoptees aged over 16.

It also includes a new tracing service.

The provisions of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill were published by Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman on Wednesday.

“For decades in this country, adopted people have been failed in being denied clear access to their identity information,” the minister said.

“With this bill, we are restoring to adopted people the information that so many of us take for granted as part of our own, personal stories.”

Mr…

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Ireland to give adopted people their records to end ‘historic wrong’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Reuters [London, England]

January 12, 2022

By Reuters

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Ireland will allow adopted people automatic access to their birth records for the first time under new laws the government hopes will end a “historic wrong”, including for thousands sent for adoption in secret by Catholic institutions.

International laws say all children should be able to establish their identity but tens of thousands of adopted people in Ireland have no automatic right to their birth records or access to tracing services.

The legislation was published a year to the day since an inquiry found that thousands of infants died in Irish homes for unmarried mothers and their offspring mostly run by the Catholic Church from the 1920s to the 1990s. read more

Many infants were also taken from mothers and sent overseas to be adopted, that report, the latest in a series that have laid bare some of the Church’s worst abuses, found.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said the new…

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Polish diocese apologizes for asking if abuse victim is gay

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 13, 2022

By Vanessa Gera

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A Catholic diocese in Poland apologized on Thursday for having asked a court to determine whether a man who was sexually abused as a child by a priest is gay, and whether the sexual contact may have consequently been pleasurable for him.

Following wide criticism, the Bielsko-Zywiec diocese said that its letter to the court should not have included questions about the victim’s sexuality or have suggested that he drew pleasure from contact with the priest. The diocese dispatched the letter in response to a lawsuit by the victim, Janusz Szymik.

“We apologize to Janusz and to all who have been scandalized” by the questions, the diocese said in a statement, vowing to change the letter’s wording.

Poland’s Catholic bishops had already strongly criticized the southern Polish diocese.

Szymik, who is now 48, was an altar boy when the abuse began in the 1980s. He sued the diocese in a…

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Polish diocese apologizes for asking if sex abuse victim is gay and if he enjoyed sexual encounters with priest

WARSAW (POLAND)
New York Daily News

January 13, 2022

By MURI ASSUNÇÃO

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A Catholic diocese in Poland has apologized for asking the court whether a man who was sexually abused by a priest as a young boy was gay and whether he might have enjoyed the sexual encounters.

Janusz Szymik, 48, was an altar boy when the abuse began in the 1980s. Last year he sued the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, in southern Poland, in a civil court claiming that a priest in a local church had abused several boys, including him.

The priest, who has been identified only as Rev. Jan W., has admitted to the abuse.

Earlier this week, the Polish news portal Onet published some documents which had been submitted to the court by a lawyer for the church.

According to the documents, church officials wanted an expert “to check the plaintiff’s sexual orientation” and to determine whether he “showed satisfaction with maintaining an intimate relationship” with the man who abused…

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Omaha priest, linked to sex abuse cases, facing more jail time for suspected thefts

OMAHA (NE)
News Channel Nebraska [Omaha NE]

January 14, 2022

By Joe Jordan

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Already facing up to 24 years in prison for allegedly stealing thousands in Douglas County, Father Michael Gutgsell now faces another 20 years for a second suspected theft case, this one in Sarpy County.

More potential jail time for a once high-ranking Omaha priest charged in two separate theft cases and also linked to several other priests named in a recent state investigation of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. 

Already facing up to 24 years in prison for allegedly stealing thousands in Douglas County, Father Michael Gutgsell now faces another 20 years for a second suspected theft case, this one in Sarpy County.

The 73-year-old former Chancellor in the Omaha Archdiocese is accused of stealing $96,000 from Saint Joseph Church in Springfield, Gutgsell’s last church assignment.

Before that he was charged with raiding the bank account of another priest to the tune of at least $155,000.

As News Channel…

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Omaha priest charged with theft by deception in Sarpy County Court

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

January 14, 2022

By KETV Staff Report

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Gutgsell is already facing felony charges of theft and theft by deception in Douglas County

The Rev. Michael Gutgsell, who served as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Omaha for nine years, was charged Thursday with felony theft by deception in Sarpy County court.

Gutgsell is already facing felony charges of theft and theft by deception in Douglas County, accused of taking the savings of a retired priest and giving all of it and more to a man said to be homeless.

In Sarpy County, Gutgsell is accused of stealing more than $5,000 from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Springfield between October 2019 and July 2021.

In previous court appearances, Gutgsell’s attorney has said he gave $700,000 to the man over a period of eight years, including most of his own personal savings. Gutgsell has denied there was any attempt at extortion by the man instead saying he was…

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Spanish bishops meet with pope, vow to investigate sex abuse cases

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 14, 2022

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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In the wake of a newspaper report revealing hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse in Spain, the country’s bishops assured Pope Francis that every diocese has established a commission that will investigate allegations of abuse.

Speaking with journalists Jan. 14, Spanish Cardinal Juan José Omella of Barcelona, president of the Spanish bishops’ conference, said there are no plans to establish a single independent commission, as in Germany, France or neighboring Portugal, to conduct a nationwide investigation of the handling of cases past and present.

Instead, individual dioceses will have their own independent commissions so that survivors can easily report to their local diocese.

“What is important is that we work for the good of the victims and that (sexual abuse) never happens again,” the cardinal said.

After spending more than two hours with Pope Francis at the end of their “ad limina” visit to the Vatican, Cardinal Omella, Cardinal Antonio…

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Victims seek definitive European ruling on Vatican immunity

(ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 13, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Clergy abuse victims asked the European Court of Human Rights on Thursday to make a definitive ruling on whether the Holy See can continue to avoid being held liable for sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests by claiming state immunity.

Lawyers for the victims asked the court’s Grand Chamber to hear the case, after a lower Chamber judgment in October agreed that the Vatican couldn’t be sued in a local Belgian court because it enjoys sovereign immunity. The lower judgment concurred with Belgian courts that had dismissed the case, also determining that the misconduct of priests can’t be attributed to the Holy See.

The 24 victims had argued the Holy See was indeed liable for their abuse because of the “structurally deficient” way the Catholic hierarchy had handled cases of priests who raped and molested children for decades, covering up the crimes rather than reporting them.

In the…

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Catholic Bishop in India Cleared on Charges of Sexually Assaulting a Nun

(INDIA)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

January 14, 2022

By CNA Staff

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Bishop Mulakkal, 57, has consistently denied the accusations, and claims he was falsely accused after he questioned alleged financial irregularities at the accuser’s convent.

A bishop charged with the repeated rape of a nun over the course of two years was acquitted by a court in India’s Kerala state on Friday.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jullundur was cleared of the charges against him Jan. 14 in Kottayam.

The judge in the case found that “the prosecution failed to prove all the charges against the accused.”

Lawyers for the nun say they will appeal to the high court.

Bishop Mulakkal, 57, has consistently denied the accusations, and claims he was falsely accused after he questioned alleged financial irregularities at the accuser’s convent.

The bishop was arrested in September 2018 amid protests calling for a police investigation of the allegation. He was subsequently released on bail. The bishop was charged in April…

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Bishop Franco Mulakkal Acquitted In Rape Case, Smiles As He Leaves Court

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (INDIA)
NDTV (New Delhi Television Ltd) [New Delhi, India]

January 14, 2022

By Sneha Mary Koshy

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After a trial of more than 100 days, the additional sessions court pronounced a single line verdict saying it had found him not guilty of the charges.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a former priest accused of raping a nun multiple times over two years in a case that sparked massive outrage and protests in Kerala, was acquitted by a court today.

Franco Mulakkal, 57, was the first Catholic bishop in India to go on trial for rape on the complaint of a nun. After a trial of more than 100 days, the additional sessions court pronounced a single line verdict saying it had found him not guilty of the charges.

He was seen exiting the court in Kottayam with a smile after the verdict.

In 2018, the nun from the Missionaries of Jesus congregation under the Jalandhar diocese had accused Bishop Franco of repeatedly raping her between 2014 and 2016 while…

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January 14, 2022

Franco Mulakkal: Kerala court clears bishop in nun’s rape

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
BBC [London, England]

January 14, 2022

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An Indian court has cleared a bishop accused of raping a nun between 2014 and 2016 in a case that had shocked one of the country’s oldest Christian communities.

Franco Mulakkal, 54, was arrested from the southern state of Kerala in 2018. He had denied the allegations.

The case sparked widespread protests after the nun alleged that the Catholic Church had ignored her complaints.

The Vatican had temporarily relieved the bishop of his duties.

On Friday, a trial court in Kottayam city of Kerala found him not guilty of the charges.

“The prosecution failed to prove all the charges against the accused,” said Kottayam Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) G Gopakumar.

The nun’s lawyers said they would challenge the verdict in the high court.

But the bishop’s legal team said it had “shattered the entire evidence” against him.

“It is a hotly challenged case. It is bound to be taken…

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Catholic bishop accused of repeatedly raping nun is acquitted in India

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
CBS News [New York NY]

January 14, 2022

By Arshad R. Zargar

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An Indian court has acquitted a Catholic bishop who was charged with raping a nun in a case that sparked widespread outrage and protests. Bishop Franco Mulakkal, 54, was acquitted by a court in the southern Indian state of Kerala on Friday, which said the prosecution had failed to prove any of the charges against him.

The nun, whose identity is protected under Indian law, had alleged that Mulakkal, who was the bishop of a diocese in Jalandhar in the northern state of Punjab at the time, raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 when he would visit the convent where she lived in southern state of Kerala. 

The convent, Missionaries of Jesus, is part of the Jalandhar diocese. The nun faced “harassment” and “threats” from the bishop for two years in a bid to keep her silent about the alleged rape, but she “finally gathered courage in 2016”…

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People throw stones only at a tree with fruits: Bishop Franco Mulakkal on acquittal

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

January 14, 2022

By Rickson Oommen Thiruvananthapuram

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Following the acquittal in the nun rape case, a visibly relieved and emotional Bishop Franco Mulakkal burst into tears and said, “Praise the lord.”

A court in Kerala on Friday found Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal ‘not guilty’ of the charges of raping a nun in a convent in the southern state.

A visibly relieved and emotional Bishop Mulakkal, who arrived in the court to hear the verdict, burst into tears, hugged his followers and lawyers, sharing his joy over the verdict. “Praise the lord,” he said.

The priest thanked the people who had stood by him during trying times, and quoted a proverb to describe his ordeal and subsequent vindication.

“I prayed for the judgement of God to come be the judgement of the court. I am a missionary who needs to show the world that there is god and god’s power. I got a chance to…

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Pope needs to do more, says abuse prevention expert

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

January 13, 2022

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

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Elsewhere in Germany, the investigation of a leading archdiocese’s expense accounts has been halted.

A leading Church expert on the prevention of sexual abuse has criticised the Pope’s response to the abuse crisis.

“From our point of view, that is from the point of view of western-European and Anglosaxon countries, far greater consistency is called for in demanding what laws already permit,” the director of the Institute of Anthropology. Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (IADC) at the Gregorian in Rome, Fr Hans Zollner SJ, told the German weekly Welt am Sonntag on 2 January. 

According to Zollner, the Pope specifically could be far more decisive, guaranteeing greater legal security and give the victims the right to a place in procedural law in the Vatican, he pointed out.

While Francis belonged to a different generation and other church issues were more important for him, Francis was learning, Zollner said. “He himself…

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Spain’s Catholic dioceses to collect abuse allegations after talks with pope

MADRID (SPAIN)
Reuters [London, England]

January 14, 2022

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Spain’s Catholic Church is to set up local commissions to hear complaints from victims of abuse after holding talks with Pope Francis on Friday about allegations over eight decades detailed in a Spanish newspaper.

El Pais in December published the results of a three-year investigation it said uncovered potential abuse by 251 priests and some lay people from religious institutions against at least 1,237 victims between 1943 and 2018.

It said its correspondent gave a 385-page dossier to the pope on Dec. 2 while the papal entourage and journalists were flying from Rome to Cyprus.

Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, the president of Spain’s Bishops’ Conference, discussed sex abuse issues with him at the Vatican and said each diocese would set up a commission to receive accusations and then investigate.

They “will gather complaints, support those people who feel they have been harmed and prevent these things from happening again”, Omella…

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Bishop Franco Mulakkal acquitted in Kerala nun rape, verdict draws chorus of outrage

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Indian Express [Noida, India]

January 14, 2022

By Vishnu Varma

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A Trial court in Kerala Friday acquitted Franco Mulakkal, the former Jalandhar Bishop of the Catholic Church, of all charges in the alleged rape of a nun in a high-profile case that had led to an unprecedented public protest in the state more than three years ago by other nuns in support of the complainant.

Mulakkal was present in the courtroom when Kottayam Additional Sessions Judge G Gopakumar pronounced the verdict. He later broke down in the corridor outside, hugged his lawyers, and told reporters before leaving the premises: “Daivathinu sthuthi’ (Praise the Lord).”

However, one of the nuns who had spearheaded the protest against Mulakkal, Sister Anupama, expressed disbelief at the verdict.

Speaking to reporters with tears in her eyes, she said: “We cannot believe this verdict. We will continue this fight until the day our fellow sister gets justice, even if it means we have to die. All the…

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Indian court acquits bishop of charge of raping nun

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 14, 2022

By Ashok Sharma

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An Indian court on Friday acquitted a Roman Catholic bishop of charges of raping a nun in her rural convent, a case that became a major issue amid allegations of sexual harassment in the church.

Sessions Judge G. Gopakumar in a brief order said the bishop was not guilty of charges that he repeatedly raped the nun between 2014 and 2016.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was present in the court in Kottayam, a southern Indian city. Supporters cheered and chanted “Praise the Lord” as he left the court.

The detailed judgment is likely to become available later Friday.

The prosecution, representing the nun, will appeal the verdict, said lawyer Sandhya Raju.

Police charged Mulakkal with rape, illegal confinement and intimidation of the nun. She said she went to police only after complaining repeatedly to church authorities. Eventually, a group of fellow nuns launched unprecedented public protests to demand Mulakkal’s arrest in…

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Indian Bishop Is Acquitted on Charges of Raping a Nun

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
New York Times

January 14, 2022

By Suhasini Raj

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The bishop, Franco Mulakkal, had been accused of repeatedly assaulting the nun in the southern state of Kerala over a two-year period.

A Catholic bishop who was accused of repeatedly raping a nun in southern India over a two-year period was acquitted on Friday, bringing an end for now to what appeared to be the country’s first case of its kind.

The bishop, Franco Mulakkal, who had been on trial since 2020, had consistently said he was innocent. “Praise the Lord,” he said after the verdict in the city of Kottayam in Kerala State.

The judge overseeing the trial, G. Gopakumar, said prosecutors had failed to prove their case, according to news reports. Investigating officers in Kerala said the ruling would be appealed to a higher court.

The case, believed to be the first in India in which a bishop was charged with raping a nun, highlighted…

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German canon lawyer: Wait for abuse report before casting blame

WEST MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 14, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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The presumption of innocence must also apply to Pope Benedict XVI over possible negligence, says Pree

As Germans await publication of a report on how leaders of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising handled cases of historic abuse, a canon lawyer casts doubt on accusations against retired Pope Benedict XVI over possible negligence.

Helmuth Pree, a retired university professor, wrote in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that the presumption of innocence must also apply to a pope. The German Catholic news agency KNA reported he was responding to media coverage about information said to be in the abuse report, due out Jan. 20.

Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger — now retired Pope Benedict — headed the Munich Archdiocese from 1977 to 1981.

KNA reported Pree expressed surprise at the media coverage of the case in early January. He criticized the assessments canon law professors Norbert Lüdecke and Bernhard Anuth had given in a joint interview….

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January 13, 2022

Poland church asks court to verify if abuse victim is gay

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 13, 2022

By vanessa gera

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A Catholic church in Poland has asked a court to determine whether a Polish man who was sexually abused as a child by a priest is gay and whether the sexual contact may have been pleasurable for him.

The man, Janusz Szymik, who is now 48, was an altar boy when the abuse began in the 1980s. Szymik sued the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, in southern Poland, in a civil court last year.

The priest, who has been identified only as Rev. Jan W., admitted to the abuse. Szymik is now seeking 3 million zlotys ($760,000) in compensation from the diocese.

The Onet news portal earlier this week disclosed the contents of documents it obtained that were submitted to the courty by a lawyer for the church. The documents show the church wanting an expert “to check the plaintiff’s sexual orientation” and to determine whether he “showed satisfaction with maintaining an…

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Point person on abuse in Bolivia says more must be done to tackle crisis

CóRDOBA (ARGENTINA)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 13, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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CORDOBA, Argentina – For several years, a large number of the allegations of clerical sexual abuse that reach the Vatican have come from Latin America, where arguably, only Chile has fully grasped the scope of the crisis.

In Bolivia, for instance, the bishops conference only recently produced a set of abuse guidelines.

According to a 2015 report from the ombudsman office – the latest one available online – 23 percent of children in Bolivia suffer some form of sexual abuse before reaching the age of 18, and on average, 12 children are abused every day.

Susana Inch is a lawyer who works as a consultant for the bishops conference, specializing in sexual abuse.

“On the one hand, I am fortunate to work with bishops and priests who have made a commitment to this issue, which is not always easy,” she said, while acknowledging that simply “acting in the face of abuse”…

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Former priest withdraws pleas over child sex abuse after judge’s rejection of sentencing agreement

DETROIT (MI)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

January 12, 2022

By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency

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Gary Berthiaume, a former priest, withdrew his guilty pleas after being sentenced to spend up to 15 years in prison on charges he sexually abused at least three boys.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Daniel O’Brien rejected his earlier sentencing agreement after learning the details of Berthiaume’s crimes. O’Brien found the one year and one day sentence offered by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to be inappropriately short after hearing victim impact statements.

O’Brien sentenced Berthiaume, 80, to spend the next 20 months to 15 years in prison on Jan. 11.

On Nov. 21, 2021, Berthiaume entered pleas of “guilty” and “no contest” to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and to one count of gross indecency, respectively.

In Michigan, a defendant may enter a “Killebrew plea,” which is essentially a conditional guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence. This plea can be withdrawn if the judge sentences the…

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Kerala nun rape case: Timeline of case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal ahead of Friday verdict

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

January 13, 2022

By Rickson Oommen Thiruvananthapuram

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A Kerala court is set to deliver verdict in the nun rape case involving Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Here is a timeline on how Franco Mulakkal became the first Catholic bishop in India to be arrested for sexually assaulting a nun.

A Kerala court is set to deliver verdict in the nun rape case involving Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The bishop allegedly raped a nun at her convent several times between 2014 and 2016. Following a complaint, several nuns from the convent protested against the bishop levelling allegations of sexual assault.

Here is a timeline on how Franco Mulakkal became the first Catholic bishop in India to be arrested for sexually assaulting a nun.

June 29, 2018: Kuravilangad police register a case on the basis of a complaint filed by a nun against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar Diocese. According to the complaint the nun was raped several times by the bishop at…

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Verdict in Kerala nun rape case on Friday, key witness says it will be ‘victory over devil’

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

January 13, 2022

By Rickson Oommen Thiruvananthapuram

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Franco Mulakkal was the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested in a case of sexual abuse against a nun in Kerala.

Ahead of Kerala special court’s verdict in the nun rape case, Sister Lucy, who was dismissed from her congregation for criticising Bishop Franco Mulakkal, said the judgment would be “victory over devil”. Mulakkal is an accused in the Kerala nun rape case. The special court is likely to deliver its verdict on Friday.

“Tomorrow’s sexual harassment case verdict would be a victory over devil,” Sister Lucy said.

Sister Lucy criticised the police and government saying that they did not “try enough” to ensure justice to all the nuns allegedly assaulted by Franco Mulakkal. She said she was targeted for speaking up against the bishop in the wake of sexual assault allegations.

“After I took a stand there was continuous torture. They have expelled me from…

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Kin of dead sex abuse victim sue under new California law

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 11, 2022

By Brian Melley

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After decades of dealing with the boyhood trauma of being molested by a priest, Jim Bartko sued the Roman Catholic church two years ago.

But the lawsuit was dismissed when he died four days after speaking publicly about it.

A new law has now revived his case, allowing his estate to file for damages he could have sought for his suffering if he were still alive.

Lawyers for Bartko’s children filed the lawsuit last week in Alameda County Superior Court against the Oakland Diocese for allegedly failing to prevent abuse by the former Rev. Stephen Kiesle that occurred between 1972 and 1975 at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole, 18 miles (29 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

“They used to call him ‘the pied piper’ because everywhere he went, the kids followed him around,” attorney Rick Simons said Tuesday of Kiesle. “He once said, ‘There wasn’t a single one I didn’t…

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Bishops of Portugal establish independent commission on abuse

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

January 12, 2022

By Lisa Zengarini

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Portugal (CEP) establishes a new independent Commission to shed light on sexual abuse in the Church, launching an investigation that will give voice to the victims covering a period of over 70 years.

A new independent commission has been established by the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP) to investigate into sexual abuse in the Portuguese Church by giving voice to the victims.

Giving voice to silence

The creation of the Commission, operating under the slogan “Giving voice to silence” (“Dar Voz ao Silêncio”), was announced during the last bishops’ Plenary Assembly in November, and comes on the heel of the release of the CIASE Report on sexual abuse in the Church in France.

It will be funded by the CEP, although it will open to contributions from other partners in civil society. The team is composed of experts from different backgrounds and coordinated by…

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Children of Catholic Sexual Abuse Victim Allowed to Sue California Diocese After His Death

OAKLAND (CA)
Newsweek [New York NY]

January 12, 2022

By Heather Bair

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Jim Bartko’s children last week filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland on behalf of their late father, thanks to a new California law.

An administrator in the University of Oregon’s athletic department, Bartko sued Rev. Stephen Kiesle, 74, for alleged sexual assault that occurred between 1972 and 1975 at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole, a city northeast of San Francisco.

Four days after announcing his lawsuit at a news conference, Bartko collapsed and died while working out in Oregon in March of 2020. His cause of death was a hemorrhage due to cirrhosis, a result of excessive drinking due to more than four decades of keeping the alleged abuse secret.

The lawsuit was dismissed after Bartko’s death, but the new law has revived his case and his estate is allowed to file for damages he would have sought if he were alive. The lawyer for his adult son…

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Springfield Diocese names members of Implementation and Oversight Committee

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
iObserve (Diocese of Springfield MA]

January 12, 2022

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Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne has announced the creation of a nine-person committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield.  The Task Force’s strategic plan was shared with the public last September (http://diospringfield.org/12026-2/).

The committee members are Peter Caffrey, Henry East-Trou, Kristina Drzal Houghton, Jackie Humphreys, Ronald Johnson, Andrew Rome, James Ross, Jose Tosado, and Irene Woods. Caffrey is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.

Jeffrey Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, will serve as senior staff to the committee.

“The Implementation and Oversight Committee is an important next step in turning the strategic plan that was developed with input from survivors, clergy and the broader community from words into concrete and meaningful actions,” said Trant. “The committee will set priorities, measure outcome, and serve as a…

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Oversight panel to carry out church sex abuse reforms in Springfield Diocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette [Hampshire MA]

January 12, 2022

By Dusty Christensen

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has named a nine-member committee tasked with overseeing reforms to how the church addresses sexual abuse.

On Wednesday, Springfield Bishop William Byrne announced that the new Implementation and Oversight Committee will lead the implementation of recommendations put forward by an independent task force that assessed the diocese’s response to sexual abuse.

Last September, the task force recommended changes to the process of responding to allegations of sexual abuse. Among its findings were that law enforcement should first investigate such accusations, not solely the diocese. The task force also nominated the slate of candidates who will now become members of the oversight committee.

In a statement, Byrne said that he was grateful to the diverse group who have accepted the invitation to serve on the committee. He said that work will ensure “that the diocese will improve its response to allegations of abuse within our…

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January 12, 2022

J.C. AND OTHERS V. BELGIUM: THE DELICATE BALANCE OF STATE IMMUNITY AND HUMAN DIGNITY

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
Strasbourg Observers [Ghent, Belgium]

January 12, 2022

By Ash Stanley-Ryan

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International law walks a tightrope between the rights of sovereign States and the rights of those who comprise them. Tip too far to either side and the system breaks – sovereignty either becomes unbridled power, or becomes meaningless. This delicate balancing is most evident when sovereign power and human rights directly collide, as was the case in J.C. and Others v. BelgiumThe European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’ or ‘the Court’) was asked to determine whether a grant of state(like) immunity for the Holy See could constitute a violation of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines the right to a fair trial, as state immunity had effectively limited the right of access to a court for victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church in Belgium. Although the outcome – the ECtHR finding no violation – is predictable and follows…

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The Philippines Is Raising the Age of Consent. That May Not Be Enough to Protect Its Children

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Time [New York, NY]

January 7, 2022

By Chad De Guzman

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In September 2020, the Supreme Court of the Philippines acquitted a man of child sexual abuse charges after he impregnated a 12-year-old girl.

The incident took place in 2012, when the man was 27. He was sentenced to more than 14 years in jail by a lower court in 2016, but appealed. The defendant argued that the sexual relationship was consensual, since the girl bore him not just one but two children before he was sentenced.

The country’s top justices ruled in his favor, saying that the court was “not prepared to punish two individuals and deprive their children from having a normal family life simply because” the girl was a minor at the time. The court also ruled that the benefits of living in a nuclear family outweighed “any perceived dangers” from the relationship.

The persistence of such attitudes at the highest levels of the Philippine establishment is the result…

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Philippines anti-child marriage law passed, age of consent law next

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Intellasia [Perth, AU]

January 10, 2022

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The landmark passage of a law banning child marriage in the Philippines enacted on Thursday hopes to turn the cultural tides on whether marriage, relationships, and sex with those under the age of 18 is a cultural practice or statutory rape. While the law is viewed as a huge win, the fight still continues to raise the age of consent in the country from 12 to 16, and push the government for stricter enforcement while revising the cultural ethos in a country rife with gender inequality and long-standing practice of adult men dating or marrying young girls.

The age of consent for a child in the Philippines has been 12 for the past 90 years, one of the youngest in the world and the youngest in all of Asia. This has led to 1 and 6 girls in the Philippines marrying before the age of 18 and one child in…

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Is the Catholic Church Beginning to Address Abuse of Adults?

SHOREWOOD (WI)
Awake Milwaukee [Milwaukee WI]

January 4, 2022

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As we’ve noted on this blog many times, the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is not limited to the abuse of children. Adults can be victimized as well, a reality that the Catholic community has been slow to recognize. 

The case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick illustrates this problem: The Vatican’s own investigation showed that Church officials knew about McCarrick’s abuse of young adult seminarians but largely ignored it for decades; they failed to take definitive action against McCarrick until they received a formal report in 2017 that he had abused a minor. 

But recent developments suggest that the abuse of adults is receiving more attention within the Church. 

CHANGES TO CANON LAW

In June 2021, Pope Francis released revisions to Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, which spells out the Church’s penal sanctions. The revisions specifically address cases…

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‘Spotlight’ On Clergy Sex Abuse 20 Years Later Shows Why Journalism Matters

NEW YORK (NY)
Religion Unplugged [New York, NY]

January 11, 2022

By Clemente Lisi

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The date Jan. 6 means different things to people. For me, as a Catholic, it is the Feast of the Epiphany. It marks the date on the liturgical calendar when the Magi, according to the Bible, brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

This year, the date became a polarizing remembrance of the 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, riots or whatever else one calls it, depending on their political affiliation. For me, this Jan. 6 marked a special anniversary — the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking Boston Globe “Spotlight” team’s investigation into predator priests. The series of articles won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 in the Public Service category.

I must admit that the anniversary went by without much fanfare. It’s surprising, given that the ramifications from those original series of news articles reverberate within the church, both in the U.S. and globally, and that it was even made into…

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EU plans to fight child sexual abuse online with new law obliging tech firms to report offences

FRANKFURT (GERMANY)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

January 10, 2022

By Tom Bateman

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Social media platforms could be forced to do more to tackle child sexual abuse online, under new European Union plans expected to be announced in the coming months.

The rules would replace current interim legislation that allows the voluntary reporting of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) with a legal obligation to recognise, report and remove it.

“I will propose legislation in the coming months that will require companies to detect, report, and remove child sexual abuse,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

“A voluntary report will then no longer be sufficient,” she said.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, would be particularly affected by any change in regulations, Johansson told the paper. The company currently accounts for around 95 per cent of child sexual abuse notifications.

The EU’s current rules on reporting CSAM leave it up to social media platforms…

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EU plans law requiring tech firms to do more to combat child abuse

FRANKFURT (GERMANY)
Reuters [London, England]

January 8, 2022

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The European Union plans to legislate in the coming months to require technology companies to do more to tackle child sexual abuse, beefing up current voluntary arrangements, a top official said in a newspaper interview.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag that internet service providers and social media firms had reported 22 million offences related to child sexual abuse in 2020, up from 17 million in 2019.

But she said that was only a fraction of the real number.

“I will propose legislation in the coming months that will require companies to detect, report, and remove child sexual abuse,” Johansson was quoted as saying.

“A voluntary report will then no longer be sufficient.”

Under current EU rules, social media networks and mail and messenger services such as Facebook (FB.O) and Google (GOOGL.O) have a choice whether or not to follow up…

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The sex abuse scandal is not over. The hierarchal culture still needs transformation.

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

January 12, 2022

By Tom Roberts

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A 2004 story in The New York Times bore the headline, all in caps: ABUSE SCANDAL HAS BEEN ENDED, TOP BISHOP SAYS.

That top bishop was a young Wilton Gregory who, two years earlier and as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had herded the rest of the U.S. hierarchy through the first phase of accountability for the scandal.

The headline was based on a Gregory declaration, made following the release of two studies of the scandal. “The terrible history recorded here today is history,” he said.

That, of course, turned out to be more wish than reality. The finality implied in the statement has yet eluded the bishops, a point made clear by the recent searing assessment by Barbara Thorp, who took on the job of directing the Boston Archdiocese’s response to victims back in 2002, when the ecclesial world there…

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Canadian bishop: Plans for healing, reconciliation campaign finalized soon

TORONTO (CANADA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 6, 2022

By Michael Swan

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A national framework for a five-year, $30 million (US$23.5 million) fundraising campaign to help with healing and reconciliation of residential school survivors and their communities is coming in the new year, Bishop William McGrattan, vice president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Catholic Register weekly.

Church officials hoped that plans for the campaign, first announced Sept. 27, would be complete by November, but getting the framework in place for a national diocese-by-diocese effort has turned out to be more complicated than first thought.

Bishop McGrattan said he hoped that in January or February, “announcements of details would be able to be shared with the public and with Catholics.”

“We realize that it has taken longer than expected, but it’s important that we do this right and that we make sure that it is both transparent and that it demonstrates accountability,” Bishop McGrattan said.

“We’ve drawn upon the expertise of people in terms of…

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SNAP disputes assessment of Dallas charter at its 20th anniversary

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 11, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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An essay by Kathleen McChesney on the impact of the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People drew a sharp rebuke by the executive director of the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Zach Hiner, the group’s director, said the steps outlined in the charter “needed to be taken,” but he likened McChesney’s essay to “patting oneself for winning the marathon when you’re only a mile in.”

Hiner, in a Jan. 10 phone interview with Catholic News Service, said “delayed disclosure” of abuse is “a fact.” He noted that “most people in the United States do not come forward until their 50s,” so anyone abused in the past 20 years “would not likely be coming forward until 2030, 2040.”

The essay by McChesney, the first person to head the U.S. bishops’ Office for Child and Youth Protection, was published Jan. 5 by America Media, one day before the 20th anniversary of the first in a…

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Woman uses new Colorado law to sue over alleged sex assault in 1977

DENVER (CO)
The Denver Post

January 7, 2022

By Shelly Bradbury

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Lawsuit filed under state’s new Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act, which took effect Jan. 1

A Colorado woman on New Year’s Day sued a former schoolteacher and alleged he raped her when she was a teenager in the 1970s in what appears to be the first lawsuit filed under a new state law that opens up past sexual assaults of minors to civil liability.

Kate McPhee, 60, contends in the lawsuit that she was repeatedly raped by a then-teacher at Colorado Academy during the summer of 1977. McPhee was 15 and 16 at the time of the alleged assaults, according to the lawsuit.

She alleged in the lawsuit that the teacher, who was around the age of 30 at the time, raped her on the campus of Colorado Academy in Denver, then continued a series of assaults during three weeks of a river trip to the Grand Canyon that summer.

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Former priest admits to sex crimes, withdraws pleas after judge rejects sentencing agreement

(MI)
The Oakland Press [Troy MI]

January 11, 2022

By Aileen Wingblad

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After hearing emotional victim impact statements and then explicitly admitting in court that he sexually abused young boys several decades ago, a former Catholic priest withdrew his pleas of guilty and no contest Tuesday because an Oakland County judge rejected a light sentencing agreement offered by the Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office.

At his sentencing hearing in Oakland County Circuit Court, 80-year-old Gary Berthiaume exercised his right to pull back pleas of guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and no contest to one count of gross indecency stemming from allegations made when he was a priest at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Farmington in the 1970s. A “Killebrew Agreement” with the prosecutor’s office called for one year and one day in prison In exchange for his pleas made last November. But O’Brien rejected the agreement and sentenced Berthiaume to 20 months to 15 years, ruling that…

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January 11, 2022

Photo by: Cleveland State University Library Special Collection Sister Myra Wasikowski

‘I was scared’ — Women say they were beaten, mistreated by nuns at Parma children’s home in 1960s

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

January 11, 2022

By Jonathan Walsh

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[In this News 5 Investigators’ exclusive story, we want to warn you. What you’re about to read could be difficult for some.]

Photo above: Sister Myra Wasikowski – Cleveland State University Library Special Collection

Local women are breaking their silence about what they say really happened inside a Cleveland area home for children. They claim physical abuse by nuns at the former Parmadale home was well-beyond normal discipline handed out during the 1960s, and it’s all taken a drastic emotional toll.

Parmadale Children’s Village of St. Vincent DePaul in Parma started accepting orphaned children in 1925. In 1964, a 4-year-old Carolyn Foland, now Carolyn Mason, started what she called a living nightmare at the village.

“I was scared. I was scared being in there a lot,” said Mason.

Now in her 60s, she has revisited the former grounds of Parmadale that’s in the process of being demolished, and she’s opening…

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Family of Alleged Priest Abuse Victim Sues Oakland Diocese

OAKLAND (CA)
NBC Bay Area/KNTV, Ch. 11

January 11, 2022

By Bay City News

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The family of a deceased man who said he was repeatedly sexually abused as a child by a Bay Area Roman Catholic priest is suing the Diocese of Oakland under the provisions of a new state law that allows such cases to move forward. 

The family and estate of Jim Bartko, former athletic director at Fresno State University, filed the suit last week in Alameda County Superior Court.

The suit alleges Bartko suffered repeated sexual abuse from 1972 to 1975 at the hands of Stephen Kiesle, then a priest with the Diocese of Oakland and assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole.  

It also claims the diocese knew of Kiesle’s “history of sexual conduct with and sexual assaults upon minors” prior to his alleged abuse of Bartko and negligently allowed Kiesle to continue working with children despite that knowledge. 

Kiesle was convicted in 2004 of sexually abusing a child, got…

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Church asks court to determine abuse victim’s sexuality and if relationship with priest “pleased” him

BIELSKO-BIALA (POLAND)
Notes from Poland [Kraków, Poland]

January 11, 2022

By Daniel Tilles

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A Catholic curia in Poland has asked for a court to determine the sexuality of the victim of a priest and whether he took “pleasure in the intimate relationship”. The victim says he was 12 years old when the abuse began.

Last year, Janusz Szymik – pictured above as a child – launched a civil case against Bielsko-Żywiec diocese. He is seeking three million zloty (€660,000) compensation from the curia, which he argues is responsible for abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest – who can be named only as Jan W. under Polish privacy law – in the 1980s

A church court had previously found Jan W. guilty of sexual offences against Szymik when the latter was a child. In 2017, he was given a five-year ban on conducting priestly ministry and hearing confession, and was ordered to live in isolation.

News website Onet has now published…

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Victorian Catholic diocese found vicariously liable for child sexual abuse in landmark ruling

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 4, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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Church’s argument that it was not responsible for the abuse was rejected and described as ‘affront to common sense’

The Catholic church’s failed attempt to argue it was not responsible for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old, because it took place during after-hours “social” visits, has been slammed as “ruthless” by the survivor and an “affront to common sense” by a judge.

Last month the Victorian supreme court handed down a judgment finding the current diocese of Ballarat was vicariously liable for the abuse of the boy, who cannot be named, by Father Bryan Coffey in Port Fairy in the early 1970s.

The survivor’s lawyers, Ken Cush & Associates, say the ruling is a landmark win that will help countless others.

Coffey abused the boy during pastoral care visits to his home on two occasions in 1971.

The critical issue in the case was whether Coffey, an assistant parish priest, could…

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20 years after Spotlight investigation of the Catholic sex abuse crisis, is the church a safer place?

WASHINGTON (DC)
America [New York NY]

January 5, 2022

By Kathleen McChesney

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The events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol caused shock and dismay for most Americans, many of whom feared that our political system was much weaker than we had thought. On the same date nearly two decades earlier, we witnessed a similar crisis of confidence in the Catholic Church as a protector of all children.

On Jan. 6, 2002, on the Feast of the Epiphany, The Boston Globe published the first in a series of reports from its Spotlight investigative team, headlined “Church allowed abuse by priest for years.” While the findings were not a surprise to abuse survivors, the revelations that a previously unknown number of priests in the Boston area had sexually abused minors for decades devastated Catholics in Boston and, ultimately, the faithful around the world. The Globe had learned that instead of removing many of these offenders from the priesthood, church leaders had transferred…

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Trial in nun rape case over, verdict likely on January 14

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
New Indian Express [Chennai, India]

January 11, 2022

By Express News Service

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The additional district and sessions court in Kottayam on Monday completed the trial in the rape case filed by a nun against former bishop of Jalandhar diocese Franco Mulakkal. The court is likely to pronounce the judgment at its next hearing on January 14.

As per the prosecution, Franco raped the nun on several occasions at the St Francis Convent at Nadukunnu in Kuravilangad, and forced her to perform unnatural sex. The 2,000-page chargesheet in three volumes was submitted on April 4. The trial began in November 2019, but got delayed owing to various reasons ncluding the lockdown. 

At the same time, the trial was done in-camera and the media was prevented from reporting the details of the trial as per the request of Franco’s counsel. Of the 83 witnesses listed by the prosecution, 39 were examined during the trial. They included Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, Bhagalpur Bishop Kurian Valiyakandathil,…

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Verdict in Indian bishop’s rape trial likely on Jan. 14

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

January 11, 2022

By UCA News reporter, Kochi

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The trial in the rape case involving Bishop Franco Mulakkal has concluded and the special court in Kottayam in the southern Indian state of Kerala is set to deliver its verdict on Jan. 14.

Bishop Mulakkal was accused by a nun of sexually abusing her between 2014 and 2016 in a complaint registered with Kerala police in June 2018. Police filed a 2,000-page charge sheet against him in April 2019.

Additional District and Sessions Judge G. Gopakumar on Jan. 10 completed the trial procedure including recording the statements of the victim, accused, witnesses from both sides and the final legal arguments.

The prelate stands accused of raping a former superior general of Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the patronage of the accused as the then bishop of Jalandhar Diocese in the northern state of Punjab.

The nun in her complaint had accused the bishop of raping…

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CDF secretary’s departure beginning of dicastery shakeup

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 10, 2022

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Pope Francis reassigned the second ranking official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Monday, the first in an expected series of moves that would overhaul the leadership of the Church’s doctrinal office. 

The Holy See announced Jan. 10 that Archbishop Giacomo Morandi had been appointed by the pope to lead the Italian Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, replacing Bishop Massimo Camisasca, who turned 75 in November. 

While the appointment of a relatively unknown Vatican official to a small Italian diocese is unlikely to generate headlines, sources close to Morandi’s old department told The Pillar that it was the first in a series of personnel moves which have been expected since the end of last year.

“Ever since he went to see the pope in December, it has been understood [in the office] that he is leaving,” one senior Vatican source close to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the…

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Top official leaves Vatican doctrine office

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 10, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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In yet another shakeup of a department in the Roman Curia, the Vatican announced Monday that a high-ranking official in the Holy See’s doctrinal congregation is on his way out and will now lead an Italian diocese.

In a Jan. 10 Vatican statement, it was announced that Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, until now secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), is leaving his Vatican post and will take over as the new leader of the Italian Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla.

Morandi, 56, who was named secretary of the CDF in 2017, will replace outgoing Reggio Emilia Bishop Massimo Camisasca, who is 75, the mandated retirement age for bishops.

His exit marks the latest shakeup in the Roman Curia in recent months.

Throughout the spring and summer last year, Pope Francis held apostolic visitations of several curial departments, including the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of…

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Pope moves to reorganize Vatican doctrine office

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

January 10, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis took the first step Monday to reorganize the Vatican’s powerful doctrine office, removing the No. 2 official widely believed responsible for a controversial document barring blessings for same-sex couples because God “cannot bless sin.”

Francis named Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, currently the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, bishop of the Italian diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla. The move amounts to a demotion since Morandi currently has the title of archbishop, yet is heading to a small diocese, not an archdiocese.

The Vatican said Morandi would nevertheless retain the title of archbishop “ad personam.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, is one of the most important Vatican offices, interpreting doctrine for the universal Catholic Church, sanctioning dissenters and handling cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Morandi joined the CDF as an under-secretary in 2015 and was promoted to secretary, or the…

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January 10, 2022

The enablers of child abuse in families and the Church

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

January 10, 2022

By Fr. Shay Cullen

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We need to understand that some bishops and senior clergy are enabling child abuse when they allow abusers to continue

After months of trial and deliberation by a jury in New York, wealthy British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of crimes related to human trafficking, grooming and enabling the sexual abuse of minors by her wealthy American boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell, 60, was the recruiter and pimp for Epstein and is facing up to 65 years behind bars. This conviction focuses attention on persons who are enablers. They are the cover-up agents of crimes committed against children. They fail to help, protect and report the sexual abuse of children.

Parents and relatives, even some teachers and social workers, are guilty of crimes of omission and failure in their mandated duty to act to protect sexually or physically abused children.

A school principal in Zambales, Philippines, received a report of child…

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Law firm to publish report on handling of abuse in Munich Archdiocese

WEST MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Boston Pilot [Boston, MA]

January 4, 2022

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In mid-January, the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl is scheduled to publish a report into the handling of clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The potentially explosive aspect is that three of the highest-ranking officials are still alive: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now retired Pope Benedict XVI — and Cardinals Friedrich Wetter and Reinhard Marx, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

The investigation followed two years of research and covers the period from 1945 to 2019, centering on who knew what about sexual abuse and when, and what action they took, if any, KNA reported.

Much of the public interest is focused on the retired pope’s 1977-1981 tenure as archbishop of Munich. The case concerns the assignments of a priest accused of a particularly large number of offenses.

In early summer 2021, Cardinal Marx — the current archbishop of Munich — tried to resign from office to take responsibility…

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Priest removed from Fort Wayne church after inappropriate behavior spent time at St. Pius

FORT WAYNE (IN)
South Bend Tribune [South Bend IN]

January 5, 2022

By Marek Mazurek

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A Fort Wayne priest, who was previously at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, has been removed from public ministry after allegations of inappropriate conduct with an adult woman.  

The priest, Fr. Eric Burgener, committed a “serious boundary violation,” while assigned to St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, according to a release from the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Burgener has been removed from St. Vincent De Paul and is no longer a hospital chaplain, the diocese announced. 

The diocese was made aware of the allegations against Burgener on Dec. 5, though it is unclear when he was removed from the parish.  

Burgener was ordained in June 2017 and was assigned to St. Pius shortly after, according to a social media post by the church. The post listed Burgener’s role at St. Pius as parochial vicar, or a priest who assists a pastor. It is unclear when Burgener moved to St. Vincent De…

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Leaked church report accuses Pope Benedict of clerical abuse cover-up

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

January 5, 2022

By Derek Scally

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Pope emeritus denies claims he was aware of abusing priest in Munich and failure to act

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has denied claims he was aware of an abusing priest operating on his watch in Munich and that he failed to act against him – twice.

The 94-year-old former pontiff will be named later this month in a long-awaited report into clerical sexual abuse in the Bavarian archdiocese of Munich and Freising. A key case in the investigation involves an abusing priest who was moved to the southern archdiocese in 1980 when Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict, served there as archbishop.

More than two dozen men are on record as saying they were sexually abused as teenagers by the priest, identified only as Peter H, often after he gave them alcohol and showed them pornography.

Some victims live in the priest’s home diocese of Essen and others in Bavaria, where…

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Priest who abused boys in Boonville dies in prison

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
News Tribune [Jefferson City MO]

January 7, 2022

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A former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three boys in Boonville in the 1980s died in prison late last year.

Gerald Howard, also known as Carmen Sita, entered his plea in June 2014, and received a sentence of 12 years in prison. He had also pleaded guilty to charges of sexual contact with a minor in New Jersey in 1983, and was at that time sentenced to five years probation and entry in a treatment program, which he completed.

Howard served in the parish in Boonville (within the Diocese of Jefferson City) in 1983 and 1984. Howard was scheduled for release from the Missouri Department of Corrections in May.

The Diocese of Jefferson City list of credibly accused priests may be found at diojeffcity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Clergy- removed-list-7.2.2020.pdf.

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Brisbane priest charged with sex offences

(AUSTRALIA)
The West Australian [Perth, Australia]

January 10, 2022

By Robyn Muth, Australian Associated Press

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A retired paediatric surgeon and Anglican priest appointed to investigate child abuse within the church has fronted court accused of historic sex offences.

Mervyn Meredith Lander faces two counts of the unlawful and indecent treatment of a boy under the age of 17.

Both offences are alleged to have occurred in Brisbane in 1988, court documents reveal.

Lander, 77, appeared briefly in the Brisbane Arrest Court on Monday.

He was not required to enter a plea and the case was remanded for mention in March.

Lander was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2021.

He and his wife were appointed Members of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to their respective fields of medicine and to the Anglican Church.

Lander is also listed as a long-serving priest at St Paul’s Anglican Church, East Brisbane.

In 1995, Lander was appointed to the Brisbane Diocese committee to establish protocols…

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January 9, 2022

Victims demonstrate, calling for justice for the crimes committed at the Provolo Institute. | Cedoc / Perfil

Catholic Church ordered to pay 14 million pesos to sexual abuse victim

(ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times [Buenos Aires, Argentina]

January 7, 2022

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[Photo above: Victims demonstrate, calling for justice for the crimes committed at the Provolo Institute. | Cedoc / Perfil]

Mendoza judge orders multi-million-peso compensation be paid to an ex-pupil of Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province who suffered serious sexual abuse.

In a ruling considered historic, Mendoza Judge María Lilen Sánchez has ordered that multi-million-peso compensation be paid to an ex-pupil of Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province who suffered serious sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church will be required to pay 14.4 million pesos in total via its San José charity, which is linked to the institute, the judge ordered.

The ruling comes five years after the start of a trial which ended in convictions for Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi, two priests who were in charge of the children at the centre. In November 2019, they were…

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Delta professor alleges sexual abuse by Prince George Catholic priests

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Delta Optimist [Ladner, British Columbia, Canada]

January 6, 2022

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Two dead Prince George Roman Catholic priests are among defendants named in a sexual abuse case filed by a man who asserts the pair began abusing him when he was in kindergarten at a church school.

A Delta professor and actor alleges in a new lawsuit that Roman Catholic priests in Prince George sexually abused him as a child.

Dr. Nicholas Harrison made the allegations in a notice of civil claim filed in the B.C. Supreme Court Vancouver registry on Jan. 4. He claims abuse by Father Francis “Frank” Joseph Rayner and Brother Dennis “Leopold” O’Mahoney occurred from 1973 to 1977, while he was in kindergarten through Grade 4.

“I was only six years old when the sexual abuse began,” Harrison said in a statement to Glacier Media, provided by his lawyer.

At the time, Harrison was an altar boy at Sacred Heart Cathedral and a student at the adjoining elementary school.

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Lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse filed against Archdiocese of Denver

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Newsline [Denver, CO]

January 7, 2022

By Faith Miller

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Man who attended St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School names former priests in complaint

At least one lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy has been filed in Colorado following the passage of a new law last year.

On Monday, Colorado resident Brian Barzee sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, alleging exploitation and sexual abuse by a former priest during his time at St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School in Denver. Barzee’s suit was filed under Senate Bill 21-88, which passed last year and took effect on Jan. 1.

Under the new law, survivors of child sexual abuse for whom the civil statute of limitations has already expired have three years to file state lawsuits against their abusers and the public or private institutions that turned a blind eye to that abuse.

Colorado law previously required survivors to file a lawsuit over child…

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Priest abuse victims group takes aim at Mater Dei over alleged hazing

ORANGE (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 7, 2022

By Laura J. Nelson, Connor Sheets, and Hannah Fry

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In an effort to bring deeper scrutiny to Mater Dei High School, an advocacy group for survivors of Catholic Church abuse has filed three complaints with government and church officials over allegations of hazing involving the school’s powerhouse football team.

The complaints, filed this week by a New Jersey leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, are an attempt to ensure that organizations other than the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange investigate a report of hazing at the private high school in Orange County.

A lawsuit filed in November against the school and the diocese alleges that a Mater Dei football player sustained a traumatic brain injury in a violent hazing ritual in the varsity locker room and that the school tried to cover up his injuries.

The complaints were filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and…

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A new child sexual abuse law opens a window for victims

DENVER (CO)
KXRM - Fox 21 [Colorado Springs CO]

January 7, 2022

By Rachel Saurer

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January 1, 2022 marked the conclusion of a long road for lawmakers in the effort to provide justice for victims of sexual child abuse.

“Some of my clients were involved back in 2006 in trying to do something similar and there was very, very strong pushback by lobbyists in particular for the Catholic Church,” said Zach Warzel, Keating Wagner Polidori Free Partner.

The law had been pushed several times in the past several years, meeting similar ends. This year, lawmakers said the environment was just right for the law to pass.

This new law allows victims to come forward and file claims for the abuse more than 50 years after the event has occurred.

“Children should not be forced to figure out their legal rights and come forward, you know, within a very short amount of time after reaching the age of 18. Now, they can come forward when they’re…

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