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 24, 2022

Benedict XVI admits ‘incorrect’ info given to abuse inquiry

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 24, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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After the publication last week of a report on past sexual abuse in the German archdiocese of Munich, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI admitted that a previous statement on his participation in a meeting that discussed an abusive priest was “objectively incorrect.”

Though he has yet to go through the full 1,900 page report, Benedict, 95, released a statement through his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein. In it, he acknowledges that while he was archbishop of the Bavarian capital he took part in a meeting in which the arrival of a priest accused of abusing a minor to Munich from another diocese was discussed.

The statement said Benedict is “carefully” reading the report by German law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, made available to him on Thursday, the same day it was published. In time, he will release a full statement. Until then, Gänswein wrote, what he has read thus far “fill…

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German report accuses Benedict XVI of abuse coverup. What does it say?

MUNICH (GERMANY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 20, 2022

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A Pillar explainer

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is in the headlines Thursday, as a new report alleges that he mishandled abuse cases while serving as the leader of a German archdiocese in the 1970s and 80s.

To help make sense of what’s been alleged, The Pillar answers your questions:

What happened?

A German law firm published on Thursday a long-awaited report into sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The report, commissioned by the Munich archdiocese, covers the period between 1945 and 2019.

Law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl conducted the independent review of all alleged cases of sexual abuse by clerics or other employees of the archdiocese, spanning the leadership of the six postwar archbishops. 

These include Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who led the archdiocese for five years from 1977-1982, and the current archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of Pope Francis’ council of cardinal…

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Benedict XVI confirms he attended disputed 1980 meeting in Munich

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

January 24, 2022

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Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has apologized for mistakenly saying that he did not attend a disputed meeting in 1980 while serving as archbishop of Munich and Freising.

In a statement published in the German Catholic weekly Die Tagepost on Jan. 24, the 94-year-old retired pope said that the mistake was the result of an editing error, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Benedict XVI initially told investigators that he was not present at a meeting of archdiocesan officials on Jan. 15, 1980.

But in the statement, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s private secretary, said that the pope emeritus “would now like to make it clear that, contrary to what was stated during the hearing, he took part in the ordinariate meeting on Jan. 15, 1980.”l

“The statement to the contrary was therefore objectively incorrect,” he said.

“He would like to emphasize that this…

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Former pope was at meeting where pedophile priest discussed

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 24, 2022

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Retired Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that he did attend a 1980 meeting at which the transfer of a pedophile priest to his then-diocese was discussed, saying an editorial error was responsible for his previous assertion that he wasn’t there.

Authors of a report on sexual abuse between 1945 and 2019 in the Munich archdiocese, which Benedict — then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — led from 1977 to 1982, on Thursday faulted his handling of four cases during his time as archbishop and said his claim that he wasn’t at the meeting lacked credibility.

Benedict, who provided lengthy written testimony, denies any wrongdoing on his part.

One case involved the transfer to Munich of a priest to undergo therapy, which was approved under Ratzinger in 1980.

The priest was allowed to resume pastoral work, a decision that the church has said was made by a lower-ranking official without consulting the archbishop….

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The latest Catholic abuse report is different. And it’s also the same.

(ITALY)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

January 23, 2022

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Ho hum. Another lawyer says another bishop mishandled abuse. What’s the big deal?   Well, this isn’t just another lawyer. It’s a lawyer hired by Catholic officials.   And it’s not just another bishop. It’s the former pope.

Plus, this isn’t some off-handed remark. It comes from a formal 1900-page report that has taken nearly two years to complete. 

https://apnews.com/article/pope-francis-pope-benedict-xvi-reinhard-marx-germany-europe-c75f721f469f969d05348703c093e53d

That’s right. In a report released just days ago in Germany, an attorney who was picked and paid by the Munich archdiocese, said Pope Benedict is “not credible” when he claims he did nothing wrong in abuse cases there.  In fact, one of the author’s of the stunning reports, in atypically blunt language for an attorney, says “During [Ratzinger’s] time in office, there were abuse cases happening. In those cases, those priests continued their work without sanctions. The church did not do anything.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/pope-benedict-willfully-let-children-be-raped-says-lawyer?source=email&via=desktop

According to the New York Times, “the report…

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Benedict Admits Being at Meeting About Priest Accused of Abuse

(ITALY)
New York Times

January 24, 2022

By Elisabetta Povoledo and Gaia Pianigiani

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A statement by the former pope contradicted a previous statement to a law firm investigating allegations of child sex abuse by priests when he was an archbishop.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Monday he had been at a 1980 meeting at which the case of a priest accused of pedophilia had been discussed, contradicting a previous statement made to a law firm investigating how allegations of clerical sexual abuse had been handled in the archdiocese of Munich and Freiburg between 1945 and 2019.

Benedict — then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — was Archbishop of Munich and Freiburg and in charge of its clerics between 1977 and 1982.

Last week, the law firm conducting the investigation, Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, issued a report that found, among other things, that Benedict had mishandled four cases in which priests were accused of sexual abuse.

At a news conference presenting the findings of…

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Ex-pope Benedict apologises for giving ‘incorrect’ information to German inquiry after report found he failed to take action against priests in four cases of sexual abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Daily Mail [London, United Kingdom]

January 24, 2022

By Chris Matthews for MailOnline and AFP

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  • Ex-pope Benedict admitted providing incorrect information to German inquiry
  • It was about his presence at a 1980 meeting discussing a paedophile priest
  • A report found he knowingly failed to stop four priests accused of child abuse

Former pope Benedict XVI on Monday admitted providing incorrect information to a German inquiry about his presence at a 1980 meeting discussing a paedophile priest, blaming an editing ‘oversight’.

‘He is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused,’ Benedict’s personal secretary Georg Ganswein said in a statement cited by the KNA news agency and republished by Vatican News.

But the statement insisted no decision was made at the meeting about reassigning the priest to pastoral duties.

An independent report last week found that Benedict XVI, who stood down in 2013, knowingly failed to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in the 1980s.

The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW)…

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Ex-pope Benedict admits giving ‘incorrect’ info to abuse inquiry

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

January 24, 2022

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Former pope Benedict XVI on Monday admitted providing incorrect information to a German inquiry about his presence at a 1980 meeting discussing a paedophile priest, blaming an editing “oversight”.

“He is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused,” Benedict’s personal secretary Georg Ganswein said in a statement cited by the KNA news agency and republished by Vatican News.

But the statement insisted no decision was made at the meeting about reassigning the priest to pastoral duties.

An independent report last week found that Benedict XVI, who stood down in 2013, knowingly failed to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in the 1980s.

The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich and Freising to examine how abuse cases were dealt with between 1945 and 2019.

Ex-pope…

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B.C.-based First Nation may put names to unmarked graves with new residential school documents

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

January 23, 2022

By Olivia Stefanovich

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Records contain school narrative for Kamloops Indian Residential School

The leadership of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc hopes to identify and locate missing children believed to be buried in unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (IRS) with the help of previously undisclosed documents set for release by the federal government.

The federal government plans to transfer more than 875,000 records through a recently signed agreement with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), the archival repository for all of the material collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Those files include the school “narrative” for Kamloops IRS, which summarizes the institution’s history, including its administration, attendance record, key events and reports of abuse.

“We have to find answers,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir told CBC News.

“Access to the records means not having to re-traumatize … residential school survivors to pinpoint information about who…

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The Irish Times view on clerical abuse: Benedict has questions to answer

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

January 23, 2022

By The Editorial Board

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The evidence that the institutional culture of church cover-up, so vividly recorded in Ireland’s own inquiries into clerical abuse, goes right to the top is shocking but perhaps not surprising

In a lengthy article published after his retirement in 2013 , Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, responded to a critic: “As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things.”

Claims that he did cover up abuse, notably as Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, have dogged Benedict for years, and been repeatedly denied. But the publication last Thursday of a 1,000-page report of a Church-commissioned inquiry finds Benedict and two senior German clerics protected abusing priests. It is the first formal accusation that he failed to discipline four abusive priests and allowed them to continue…

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Father Zollner: Retired pope should make personal statement on abuse report

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 23, 2022

By Catholic News Agency

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Following the publication of an experts’ report on how sexual abuse was handled in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the German Catholic news agency KNA spoke to Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since its creation and president of the Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

KNAFather Zollner, you were questioned by the Munich law office Westpfahl Spilker Wastl beforehand in preparing its experts’ report. What exactly was your contribution?

Zollner: What I knew was that part in which the experts wrote about the potential theological, canonical and systemic consequences. I did not see a single file, not a single statement of a contemporary witness. It was only about the theoretical conclusions of the experts that I offered my assessment.

What’s your evaluation of the final result?

My comments were taken…

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January 23, 2022

Markus Elstner, survivor of childhood abuse by Peter Hullermann. Still from the brief English-language video Sexual Abuse: Pope Benedict Under Pressure, by A. Rowohlt and M. Grundmann, included with this commentary

Opinion: Pope Benedict’s defense is outrageous and tragic

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

January 21, 2022

By Christoph Strack

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[Photo above: Markus Elstner, survivor of childhood abuse by Peter Hullermann. Still from the brief English-language video Sexual Abuse: Pope Benedict Under Pressure, by A. Rowohlt and M. Grundmann, included with this commentary.]

A report about how the archdiocese of Munich handled cases of sexual abuse by priests makes for devastating reading and tarnishes the image of the retired Pope Benedict XVI, says DW’s Christoph Strack.

Before Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, critics called him the “Panzerkardinal,” or “tank cardinal,” in reference to his sharp, dogmatic views: someone who uncompromisingly defended the church’s traditional doctrine. Soon after his election to pontiff, there were reports that the reportedly tough ex-cardinal was capable of laughter and was even a softie, to everyone’s surprise.

Now, Ratzinger is being described in a new way. One of the lawyers, whose office spent many months investigating abuse in Ratzinger’s former diocese of…

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Munich Report – Table of Contents

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Westpfahl Spilker Wastl [Munich, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Marion Westpfahl et al.

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[This is a Google translation of the Munich report’s Table of Contents. See also the full German text of the report, in which items in the Table of Contents are linked to the sections. For an indented version of the English Table of Contents, see the PDF.]

Sexual abuse of minors and adult wards by clerics and full-time employees in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising from 1945 to 2019

– Responsibilities, systemic causes, consequences and recommendations –

Attorney Dr. Marion Westpfahl, Munich

Attorney Dr. Ulrich Wastl, Munich

Attorney Dr. Martin Pusch, LL.M., Munich

Lawyer Nata Gladstein, Munich

Attorney Philipp Schenke, Munich

January 20, 2022

Table of Contents

A. PRINCIPLES …………………………………………….. …………………………………. 1

I. Mission and objective of the expert report ………………………….. 1

II. Summary of the main results …………………… 10

III. Terminological clarification ……………………… 21

1. Sexual abuse / sexualized violence ……………………… 21

2. Victims / Victims /…

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Munich Report – Section I – Mission and Objective of the Report

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Westpfahl Spilker Wastl [Munich, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Marion Westpfahl et al.

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[This is a Google translation of Section I of the Munich report. See also the full German text of the report.]

A. Principles

I. Mission and objective of the report

“The prevention of sexualized violence can only be considered successful […] if it is suitable for counteracting the structural enabling conditions of sexualized violence in the area of ​​the church.” (Gräb-Schmitt, in: Wirth et al., Sexualized violence in church contexts (2022), p. 307, 309)

A very important factor in these structural enabling conditions is the (non-)reaction of church leaders to (suspected) cases of abuse that have become known to them in the sense of a general and special preventive opportunity to influence alleged or actual abusers. If the person who does not allow himself to be deterred from committing the crime by the consequences he has caused does not have to fear that he will be held accountable for his…

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Munich Report – Section II – Summary of the Main Results

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Westpfahl Spilker Wastl [Munich, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Marion Westpfahl et al.

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[This is a Google translation of Section II of the Munich report. See also the full German text of the report.]

The main results of the investigation summarized below are based on a large number of expert findings and their evaluation. As a result, it is often necessary to use the detailed descriptions of the individual test items to get a comprehensive picture of the specific derivation of the respective result. This applies in particular with regard to the statements on personal responsibilities in connection with the treatment of (suspected) cases of abuse, which represent a focus of the expert examination and evaluation as commissioned (cf. in detail D.). In particular, the statements made by the persons who are still alive and who, in the opinion of the experts, should be named as responsible persons must be taken into account and included in the assessment (cf. Annexes 2 to 5).

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Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Father McIlhon

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

January 22, 2022

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

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Dear Saint Edward Parish and School Family,

It is with great difficulty that I write to share news about Father James McIlhone, a retired priest who is a resident in your parish. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have directed Father McIlhone to step aside from ministry and live away from the parish following receipt by the Archdiocese of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 40 years ago while he was an associate pastor at another parish. He has agreed to cooperate with this direction. Allegations are claims that have not been proven and for this reason there needs to be a full investigation.

Moreover, as is required by our child protection policies, the allegation was reported to the Lake County State’s Attorney. The person making the allegation has been offered the services of our Victim Assistance Ministry and the archdiocese has begun its investigation…

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Chancellery reports hundreds of victims – and implicates Pope Benedict XVI

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Der Spiegel [Hamburg, Germany]

January 20, 2022

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In an abuse report, serious allegations against Pope Benedict XVI. raised. In several cases, the former Archbishop of Munich took little or no action against the accused clerics.

In the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the report of a Munich law firm incriminates Pope Benedict XVI. heavy. As Archbishop of Munich and Freising (1977 to 1982), Joseph Ratzinger was accused of misconduct in dealing with sexual abuse in four cases, said Martin Pusch from the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) law firm, which prepared the report on behalf of the diocese.

Benedict XVI Pusch rejected the allegations in all cases. He had commented extensively on the allegations and claimed lack of knowledge. According to the lawyers, however, this is difficult to reconcile with their knowledge of the files.

The case of the priest Peter H., referred to only as X. by the experts, took up a special place. This clergyman from North Rhine-Westphalia is said to have abused…

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Experts accuse Pope Benedict XVI of misconduct in four cases of abuse

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Süddeutsche Zeitung [Munich, Bavaria, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Jens Schneider

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[Google translation followed by German original. See also the full text of the WSW Munich report.]

The investigation into sexualised assaults names at least 497 victims between 1945 and 2019. It also includes Cardinal Ratzinger’s tenure as archbishop in Munich – and accuses him of making false statements in a particularly serious case.

The Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) accuses the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. in an expert opinion on dealing with sexualized abuse of minors in the Catholic Church misconduct. According to the report, the pope emeritus played down or denied cases of abuse during his time as archbishop in Munich. In the report, misconduct by Joseph Ratzinger is established in four cases of abuse. At the same time, the experts come to the conclusion that Ratzinger may have given incorrect information on his responsibility in a particularly serious case. “We don’t think Pope Benedict’s statements are very credible,” said expert Ulrich…

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Mr. Vachss, far right, at a 1990 panel discussion on writing about crime with, from left, Bob Leuci, P. D. James, Jerome Charyn and Joyce Carol Oates. Credit G. Paul Burnett / The New York Times

Andrew Vachss, Children’s Champion in Court and Novels, Dies at 79

PORTLAND (OR)
New York Times

January 16, 2022

By Neil Genzlinger

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[Photo above: Mr. Vachss, far right, at a 1990 panel discussion on writing about crime with, from left, Bob Leuci, P. D. James, Jerome Charyn and Joyce Carol Oates. Credit G. Paul Burnett / The New York Times]

Andrew Vachss, who crusaded against the abuse of children both in his real-life work as a lawyer and in vivid crime novels, died on Nov. 23 at his home in the Pacific Northwest. He was 79.

His wife, Alice Susan Vachss, said the cause was coronary artery disease. His death had not been widely reported previously.

Mr. Vachss was known to crime fiction fans for his novels, which were frequently described with terms like “hard-boiled” and which just as frequently centered on child pornography, pedophilia, incest and other abuse involving children. Eighteen of them featured a tough character named Burke, an ex-con turned unlicensed private investigator who breaks more than a few…

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Women’s voices key to addressing clergy sexual abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

January 22, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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[Via UCA]

“It’s important to hear voices from women because there are so many that have not been heard yet,” says journalist Pauline Guzik

The final panel at a Jan. 20 webinar on clergy sex abuse brought together noted women leaders in the Catholic Church to share their perspectives on what might have been different in the church’s response to the abuse crisis if women had “been given a seat at the table earlier in this process.”

The webinar, “Listening to the Voices of Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse,” brought together investigators of past abuse, relatives of victims and those who counsel survivors. It was sponsored in part by Georgetown University.

The last panel “Lifting Up Female Voices in the Church” included the perspective of Paulina Guzik, a journalist for Polish public broadcaster TVP. She has been in the United States doing research for a book on the abuse crisis.

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Indonesia jails ‘Catholic brother’ for molesting boys

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

January 21, 2022

By Katharina Reny Lestari

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An Indonesian court has sentenced a “Catholic brother” to 14 years in jail for sexually assaulting boys at an orphanage near capital Jakarta.

Lukas “Lucky” Ngalngola, also known as Brother Angelo, was convicted by Depok District Court on Jan. 20 for threatening violence and committing lewd acts on at least three children.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of 100 million rupiah (US$6,990).

Ngalngola claimed to be a member of the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of Charity (BSMC), an obscure order based in the Philippines.

The order founded the Kencana Bejana Rohani Foundation which ran the orphanage in the city of Depok, West Java province, where the abuses were committed.

The abuse first came to light when three boys living at the orphanage filed a police report against Ngalngola in September 2019.

They claimed they were sexually abused by Ngalngola on a regular basis over a prolonged period.

Police arrested Ngalngola…

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On the accusations against Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the context of a report on abuses in Germany

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Zenit [Rome, Italy]

January 21, 2022

By Jorge Enrique Mújica

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[Google translation, followed by Spanish text.]

Benedict XVI was a “trending topic”. Fed by the headlines of a multitude of newspapers, Benedict XVI was once again linked – without nuances – to the reprehensible issue of abuse

Anyone familiar with Twitter was able to notice a fact that could have happened as an anecdote on the European night of Thursday, January 20, the American afternoon of the same day, if not for the events associated with the name of the viral character. Benedict XVI was a “trending topic” and many were talking about him.

Indeed, the hundreds of verified press profiles in different languages ​​were joined by the usual “amateur athletes” of the idle trade of opinionism. Fed by the headlines of a multitude of newspapers, Benedict XVI was once again linked – without nuances – to the reprehensible issue of abuse.

Facts: a report in the diocese where Benedict XVI was archbishop

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To tell the Catholic story this week, you need both Munich and Mustafa

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 23, 2022

By John L. Allen Jr.

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Over the centuries, the Catholic Church often has led the pack in two distinct specialties: Breaking your heart, and then stitching it back together again with a fresh infusion of hope. This past week brought classic examples of both.

Out of Munich, we got a report from a law firm commissioned by the archdiocese documenting almost 500 cases of clerical sexual abuse stretching over 74 years, including four abusers who served on the watch of the future Pope Benedict XVI when he served as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

Whatever one makes of the report at the level of detail – and there’s already vigorous debate over its assertions about the then-Cardinal Ratzinger – on the whole, it’s another depressing reminder of the way the abuse scandals have laid waste to both the church’s moral credibility and also its internal morale.

Yet beyond Munich, there’s also Mustafa. He’s…

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Pope Benedict XVI knew of abusive priests when he ran Munich archdiocese, investigators say

MUNICH (GERMANY)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

January 20, 2022

By Rob Picheta, Claudia Otto and Nadine Schmidt

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Pope Benedict XVI knew about priests who abused children but failed to act when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, an inquest found Thursday, rejecting Benedict’s long-standing denials in a damning judgment.”

He was informed about the facts,” lawyer Martin Pusch said, as the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl law firm announced the findings of an investigation into historic sexual abuse at the Munich Archdiocese over several decades. The report was commissioned by the church itself.

“We believe that he can be accused of misconduct in four cases,” Pusch said. “Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state. In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care.”

Benedict continues to deny the allegations, the firm said Thursday. He has repeatedly rejected claims that he knowingly covered up abuse, including in 2013 when he wrote: “I can only, as…

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Push for tougher sentences in Indonesia sex assault cases

MEDAN (INDONESIA)
Aljazeera [Dohar, Qatar]

January 22, 2022

By Aisyah Llewellyn

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A slew of cases involving young girls and boys at Indonesian religiously-linked schools has horrified parents.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare.

As six distraught families looked on, the man accused of sexually assaulting their daughters was handed a 10-year prison sentence by the District Court in the city of Medan, Indonesia.

“Our children,” gasped one mother as she slumped in her chair, prompting fears she had fainted.

Benyamin Sitepu, a 37-year-old Christian priest who was also the principal of the Galilea Hosana School in Medan, had received five years less than the maximum 15-year sentence the prosecution had requested.

The presiding judge said he gave Sitepu a shorter sentence because the priest had apologised for his crimes and had previously signed a settlement agreement with two of the victims’ families.

Both the prosecution and Sitepu are appealing the sentence.

Reacting to the verdict, Andreas Harsono, a researcher at Human Rights…

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Father James McIlhon of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Retired Chicago-Area Priest Facing Allegations of Sexually Abusing a Minor Four Decades Ago

CHICAGO (IL)
WBBM - CBS 2 [Chicago IL]

January 22, 2022

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[Photo above: Father James McIlhone of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Screen shot from the video of this report.]

A retired Chicago-area priest is accused of sexually abusing a minor.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has ordered Father James McIlhone to step aside from ministry and leave St. Edward Parish, where he lives in retirement.

The allegations date back 40 years to when McIlhone served as associate pastor at Santa Maria Del Popolo Parish in Mundelein.

The Archdioceses says the accusations have been reported to the Lake County State’s Attorney, and there will be a full investigation.

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Retired Chicago priest accused of sexually abusing minor in 1980s, Archdiocese of Chicago says

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS - ABC 7 [Chicago IL]

January 22, 2022

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Father James McIlhone has been asked to step away from the ministry, Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter

A retired Chicago priest has been asked to step away from ministry following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor 4O years ago, according to Cardinal Blase Cupich.

In a letter, Cupich said the alleged abuse happened while Father James McIlhone was the associate pastor of Santa Maria del Popolo Parish in Mundelein in the 1980s.

“Allegations are claims that have not been proven and for this reason, there needs to be a full investigation,” said a letter to the parish.

Cardinal Cupich said the priest has been asked to move away from the Saint Edward parish where he has been living during retirement. Letters were sent to both the St. Edward and Santa Maria del Popolo parishes Saturday.

The person who made the allegation has been offered victim support…

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January 22, 2022

In priest’s abuse trial, German archbishop says he mishandled situation

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 19, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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In the first testimony ever given by a German Catholic bishop in a court case on abuse, Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse admitted having made mistakes in the case of an offending priest on trial in the Cologne regional court.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported that Archbishop Hesse, 55, the former head of personnel in the Archdiocese of Cologne, was called as a witness in the case against the priest, who has only been named as U. He said the mistakes included that the allegations against the priest that became known in 2010 should have been reported to the Vatican.

The archbishop testified that, at that time, he had relied on the assessment of the legal and church law experts in the Archdiocese of Cologne. They had said the priest’s nieces who had been abused did not want to participate in a church trial. The chief church judge of…

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SNAP urges New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to quickly appoint an AG to conclude the state’s Catholic clergy abuse investigation

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

January 19, 2022

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In September of 2018, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the formation of a criminal task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Catholic Dioceses of New Jersey. This was in the wake of the scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report, as well as renewed allegations of sexual abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, including the first publicly reported assault on a child. However, there have been few updates on the progress of that investigation.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was sworn in yesterday for his second term. He will be selecting a nominee to take the place of AG Grewal, who resigned in July. We urge Governor Murphy to make this appointment soon so that the new AG can report on the status of the Catholic…

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Diocese of Portland Finds Recently Received Complaints Against Two Priests Stemming from Incidents in 1950’s and 1970’s Substantiated

PORTLAND (ME)
Diocese of Portland ME

January 21, 2022

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Following two investigations by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Professional Responsibility, Bishop Robert Deeley accepted the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board that the recent complaints made against Fr. Eugene Descombes and the former Fr. Renald Hallee are substantiated.

The complaint against Descombes concerned the sexual abuse of a minor in the mid-1950’s which came to the attention of the diocese in 2021. The incident took place during a trip to Canada. Descombes, who died in 1980, was a Canadian priest who served during the summer months in Maine over the course of several years. The Archdiocese of Québec was notified of this complaint and the results of the investigation.

The complaint against Hallee concerned the sexual abuse of a high school teen in the early 1970’s which was reported to the diocese in 2020. Hallee has not been in ministry or served as a priest since the late…

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Alamogordo clergy sex abuse case moves forward, trial set for July 11

ALAMOGORDO (NM)
Alamogordo Daily News [Alamogordo NM]

January 21, 2022

By Nicole Maxwell

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A motion to drop racketeering charges was denied in a lawsuit filed by a man alleging he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Alamogordo in the 1970s. 

The suit was filed by a clergy sexual abuse survivor listed as John Doe who alleged Father David Holley sexually assaulted him while Holley lived in Alamogordo, and sued Servants of the Paraclete’s, the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Las CrucesEl Paso and Worcester, Massachusetts and Alamogordo parishes Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Jude Parish.

On Jan. 18, New Mexico Second Judicial District Court Judge Daniel Ramczyk denied defendant Servants of the Paraclete’s motion to have a count of racketeering dismissed from the case.

The racketeering charge originated from accusations the Church collected monetary offerings and tithes from parishioners that were used to pay for clergy housing including the house where Holley lived in…

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UPDATE: Former The River church youth minister charged with six sex crimes Friday

KIMBALL (MI)
Olean Times Herald [Olean NY]

January 21, 2022

By Laura Fitzgerald

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A former youth minister at The River church was charged with six sex crimes Friday.  

William Stefan Wahl, 28, of Port Huron man, was arraigned Friday on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct victim younger than 13, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct victim between 13 and 16, distributing obscene matter to children, aggravated indecent exposure and using computers to commit a crime.

His bond was set at $25,000 cash/surety.

Wahl is accused of sexually abusing four juvenile victims that he fostered a relationship with through The River, St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King said. King identified Wahl as a former youth minister at the church. 

King said Friday morning the man was arrested around midnight at a residence in the 1500 block of Palmer Court.

Stephen Rabaut, Wahl’s attorney, said Wahl intended to turn himself in for his arraignment. The police investigation was initiated in November 2021. 

St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Cailin Wilson said…

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St. Clair County youth pastor charged with criminal sexual assault

KIMBALL (MI)
Michigan Live [Flint, MI]

January 21, 2022

By Dylan Goetz

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A former youth pastor at The River Church in Kimball Township has been arrested and charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct and three other felony charges.

Port Huron resident William Stefan Wahl, 27, is facing two second degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, two fourth degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, one count of aggravated indecent exposure, one count of distributing explicit material of children and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest and charges on Friday, Jan. 21.

Police say an the investigation began in late 2021 after hearing allegations of sexual assault of a child by the youth pastor.

The investigation revealed that there were four victims alleging sexual abuse going back to 2014.

A Port Huron Times Herald report states Wahl was terminated last year as an…

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Georgia pastor, wife charged with false imprisonment after people found in locked basement

GRIFFIN (GA)
NBC News [New York NY]

January 21, 2022

By Elisha Fieldstadt

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Investigators determined that the eight people in the basement, all with mental or physical disabilities, or both, were “essentially imprisoned against their will.”

A Georgia pastor and his wife were arrested on charges of false imprisonment after officials found up to eight people locked in their basement, police said.

Curtis Keith Bankston and Sophia Simm-Bankston were running the unlicensed “group home” out of their rented Griffin house “under the guise of a church known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance,” the Griffin Police Department said in a statement.

Griffin Fire last week responded to a call about someone having a seizure at the home and noticed a deadbolt on the basement door, according to police. Crews had to climb through a window to reach the patient.

Investigators determined the people in the basement, all with mental or physical disabilities, or both, were “essentially imprisoned against their will, which created…

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Both wife, pastor arrested for false imprisonment of people found locked in basement

GRIFFIN (GA)
WGXA [Macon, GA]

January 20, 2022

By Haley Garrett

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After a pastor was arrested when disabled individuals were found in the basement of an unlicensed group home, now his wife is facing a charge and is in custody.

Last week, when Griffin Fire Department went to assist a call concerning a seizure, they noticed the patient could only be reached through the window of a basement, as the basement door was locked.

Further investigations found that up to 8 people were locked in the basement in what was an “unlicensed” personal care facility/group home.

The victims’ ages were between 25 and 65.

They discovered multiple issues as well as potential abuse, and neglect of the handicapped people

The “caretakers” were identified as, 55-year-old Curtis Keith Bankston, who is a pastor, and his spouse, 56-year-old Sophia Simm-Bankston. They operated it under the guise of a church program known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance.

Curtis was arrested and charged…

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Prominent figure in Singapore’s Catholic community charged with sexual offences against teenage boys

(SINGAPORE)
Today [Singapore]

January 20, 2022

By Louisa Tang

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A man in his 60s, who is a prominent figure in the Catholic community here, was charged on Thursday (Jan 20) with sexual offences against at least two teenage boys more than a decade ago.

The Singaporean cannot be named due to a gag order issued by the courts, which bans the publication of his identity, designation and occupation, the alleged victims’ identities and the school where the alleged offences took place.

Gag orders are usually imposed when there is a need to protect the identity of the victims or witnesses. These typically involve crimes where sexual violence or children are involved and the gag orders last indefinitely.

The accused faces two charges of carnal intercourse against the order of nature, which falls under Section 377 of the 1985 revised edition of the Penal Code that was repealed in 2007.

He was also charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a…

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Singapore Catholic charged with sexual abuse of teenagers

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

January 21, 2022

By UCA News Reporter

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The man in his 60s faces charges of committing unlawful sexual acts against minor boys between 2005 and 2007

A court in Singapore has charged a former Catholic officer of a church-run school with committing unlawful sexual acts with at least two teenage boys more than a decade ago.

District Judge Terence Tay at the State Courts of Singapore accepted the charges on Jan. 18 but issued a ban against media revealing the identity of the accused, victims and the school involved, local media reports said.

Court documents showed that the accused in his 60s had unnatural sex with a boy aged 14-16 some time between 2005 and 2006. He also committed the same act some time between April 2007 and December 2007 with a younger boy aged 14-15.

The accused faces two charges of carnal intercourse against the order of nature under Singapore’s Penal Code. He was also charged…

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Abuse case names 2 priests; 1 sued for first time

MANGILAO (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

January 22, 2022

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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A former Mangilao parish altar boy has accused two priests of sexually abusing him when he was a minor in the early 1980s, and one of the priests is named for the first time in Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases.

In his complaint, the plaintiff said his parents refused to believe that a priest could sexually and physically abuse him when he told them what Rev. J. Michael Morrissey allegedly did to him.

When Morrissey left in 1983, Rev. Andrew Manetta started sexually abusing the plaintiff, the complaint alleges.

The plaintiff, identified in Superior Court documents only with the initials E.E. to protect his privacy, is represented by attorney Anthony C. Perez.

E.E. was an altar boy at Santa Teresita Catholic Church in Mangilao at the time of the alleged abuses. He was about 13 to 17 years old then. 

The defendants in the complaint are the Province of St….

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Mater Dei football, track coach raped female student in 1980s, lawsuit alleges

(CA)
Orange County Register[Anaheim, CA]

January 20, 2022

By Scott M. Reid

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The suit alleges that Mater Dei coach Patrick Callahan repeatedly sexually assaulted a minor aged student, often in the presence of other Monarch coaches

Mater Dei High School football coaches and players referred to it as “Hell Week,” a string of twice-a-day workouts as the Monarchs prepared for football season shortly before the start of the 1987 school year.

Because of the workout schedule, and in an effort to build team chemistry, players and other students who worked with the team, managers, trainers, stat crew members, slept overnight at the Mater Dei gymnasium.

It was on one of the Hell Week nights that Patrick Callahan, a Mater Dei assistant football coach, allegedly led a 17-year-old stat girl, who was a student at the school, to the Monarchs’ nearby football field and raped her, according to a civil suit filed against Mater Dei and the Diocese of Orange in Orange County Superior…

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New lawsuit accuses a former Mater Dei coach of raping a student in the 1980s

(CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 20, 2022

By Laura J. Nelson, Connor Sheets, Hannah Fry

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A Southern California woman alleged Thursday that a Mater Dei High School track and football coach repeatedly sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, while she was a student at the prestigious Catholic school.

In a lawsuit filedin Orange County Superior Court against Mater Dei and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the woman said coach Patrick Callahan assaulted her “countless times” while she was a student assistant for the football team.

Some of the worst abuse came during the summer of 1987, before her senior year, the lawsuit said.

During “Hell Week,” a period of intense workouts leading up to the start of the football season, the team and its student assistants spent the night in the gymnasium to accommodate a grueling schedule of two-a-day practices, the complaint said.

While the students were supposed to be asleep, Callahan took the teenager to the football field, where they were alone, and…

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New institute aims to help Church leaders battle sex abuse in Africa

NAIROBI (KENYA)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 21, 2022

By Ngala Killian Chimtom

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Abuse of children is rising in Africa, but a culture of silence is keeping the continent from addressing the problem, according to one expert.

Beatrice Mumbi is the Safeguarding Coordinator for the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), and she says that although “safeguarding as a general concept is embraced, … comprehensive understanding of what it entails is generally limited and there is little consistency in what it is considered to be.”

She complained that some view safeguarding as a “rights agenda” or a “Western agenda.”

“However, from experience, the underlying problem is a cultural question, where certain practices are accepted, and a broader culture of silence, where communities, parents and caregivers do not openly discuss sexuality, and where acknowledging and talking about abuse is considered shameful and stigmatizing,” she told Crux.

A recent study by the African Partnership to End Violence against Children (APEVAC) says more than half of…

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Kerala nun who lost rape case against bishop deluged by letters of support

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 21, 2022

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Activists, artists, film-makers and nuns across India write to 50-year-old after court clears Franco Mulakkal

Hundreds of letters of support have poured in for a nun in Kerala after a court acquitted a bishop accused of raping and abusing her over two years, in the first case of its kind to hit the Indian Catholic church.

The handwritten letters from activists, artists, journalists, film-makers and fellow nuns across India have expressed outrage at last week’s court verdict that cleared Bishop Franco Mulakkal of all charges of sexual abuse after the judge said the victim, a 50-year-old nun, was not a “sterling witness”.

Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of raping the nun on 13 occasions at the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kottayam, Kerala, between 2014 and 2016.

The nun took her case to police in June 2018, and in 2019 Mulakkal was formally charged…

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Franco Mulakkal: Hundreds write to Kerala nun who lost rape case against bishop

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
BBC [London, England]

January 21, 2022

By Geeta Pandey

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Letters of support have been pouring in for an Indian nun after a bishop she had accused of repeatedly raping her was cleared by a trial court last week.

For the past two days, my social media timeline has been full of handwritten messages of support for the 50-year-old nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

Most of the posts are from women, including activists, feminists, journalists and celebrities in the southern state of Kerala and many contain hashtags such as #withthenuns and #avalkoppam – a Malayalam-language word which means “with her”.

The letters pledge support to “the nun in her fight for justice” – sometimes they just carry words of encouragement or snatches of poetry, or contain drawings and artwork.

“In these dark times, you are that ray of hope to millions,” one wrote quoting Emily Dickinson. Another quoted from Still I…

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Mulakkal verdict leaves nuns more vulnerable to clergy sex abuse

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Global Sisters Report [Kansas City, MO]

January 19, 2022

By Virginia Saldanha

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The acquittal of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar in the rape case filed against him by the former superior general of the diocesan congregation Missionaries of Jesus in June 2018 has shocked — not just her supporters — but many feminists and other right-thinking people in the country.

Sisters in Solidarity, the group of women activists, nuns and lawyers who are accompanying the sisters, supporting them in different ways right through, are numbed with disbelief. On examining the judgment, it is clear that the bishop’s highly paid defense counsel skillfully used technicalities to manipulate the facts and evidence to make the judge finally state in his order, “When it is not feasible to separate the truth from falsehood, when the grain and chaff are inextricably mixed up, the only available course is to discard the evidence in toto.” He concluded, “This court was unable to place reliance on the solitary…

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Court upholds ruling against two ex-managers of Vatican bank

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

January 21, 2022

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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A Vatican appellate court rejected the appeal of two former top managers of the Vatican bank who were found liable for mismanagement.

In a statement released Jan. 21, the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of the bank, said the court upheld its 2018 ruling against Paolo Cipriani, the former bank director, and Massimo Tulli, the former deputy director, and ordered them to pay more than 40.5 million euro ($45.9 million) in damages.

While no specific information was released regarding the exact instances of mismanagement committed by Cipriani and Tulli, the Institute for the Works of Religion said the court’s 2018 judgment centered on investments made “between 2010 and 2013, and which immediately proved to be harmful as they were problematic and, in several cases, also illegitimate and the subject of criminal proceedings.”

In February 2017, an Italian tribunal in Rome also found Cipriani and Tulli guilty…

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Probe Blames Pope Benedict XVI for Failures on Clerical Sex Abuse as Archbishop

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

January 21, 2022

By Francis X. Rocca and Bojan Pancevski

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Future pope failed to remove abusive priests from ministry, inquiry by Munich law firm finds

Pope Benedict XVI mishandled four cases of clerical sex abuse during his tenure as an archbishop in Germany, according to an inquiry that faults him for failures to investigate and discipline abusers.

Results of the church-commissioned probe by a Munich law firm, released on Thursday, said that in two cases, priests under the future pope’s authority were criminally prosecuted for abuse yet allowed to remain in priestly ministry. At least one reoffended after being readmitted to service.

The accusations threaten to cast a shadow on the record of the former pope, who for more than two decades before his election oversaw the church’s disciplining of clerical abusers. His alleged mistakes in Munich reinforce the image of an overly disengaged manager whose papacy ended amid accusations of corruption and incompetence among Vatican officials. Defenders say he…

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Child sexual assault victim to state senators: ‘There remains no justice in my case’

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

January 22, 2022

By Andrew Ozaki

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Victims of child sexual assault make an emotional plea to state senators on Friday.

They want a longer window to seek justice.

Stacey Naiman appeared before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee in support of LB 833.

The measure would eliminate the statute of limitations for victims to go after the private institutions that allowed the abuse to happen.

She said she was sexually assaulted by a priest she trusted when she was 15.

“I told him to stop several times. But he never listened and the abuse continued,” Naiman said.

She said she became withdrawn and emotionally devastated.

“I attempted suicide and carved ‘Go to hell’ into my leg,” Naiman said.

She finally told her family and reported the abuse to law enforcement in 1999.

“He admitted to everything in my report. However, the investigators told us that we had no grounds to press charges,” Naiman said.

It…

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Church victims push to expand lawsuit window in Nebraska

LINCOLN (NE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 22, 2022

By Grant Schulte

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Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests urged Nebraska lawmakers on Friday to pass a law that would let people who were abused decades ago file lawsuits against the church or other organizations that were negligent.

The proposal comes on the heels of a Nebraska attorney general report that identified 258 victims who made credible abuse allegations against church officials, dating back decades. None of those cases, however, are expected to result in prosecutions or legal judgments because the statutes of limitation for both criminal charges and civil lawsuits have expired.

Members of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee are now reviewing a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for lawsuits. The sponsor, Republican Sen. Rich Pahls, of Omaha, said the measure is a start of a multiyear push to bring justice for victims of abuse.

Pahls said the attorney general’s report shows the need to bring…

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EXPLAINER: How will U. of Michigan assault settlement work?

DETROIT (MI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 20, 2022

By Ed White

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$490 million deal to settle claims of sexual assault against a University of Michigan doctor will be handled in a similar way to the $500 million agreement worked out in 2018 by Michigan State University and the victims of Larry Nassar.

The school won’t have a role in how the money is divided. Rather a retired judge, maybe two, will be presented with individual claims and determine a figure, attorneys said.

Simple math pegs an average payment of more than $400,000 for each of the 1,050 people — most of them men — though some could be higher or lower, depending on the impact of Robert Anderson’s abuse.

“Everybody is not going to be the same,” attorney Jamie White said. “These men were not out for money. Most of them are established U. of M. graduates. This was more about holding the university accountable.”

WHAT HAPPENED?

Former students…

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U. of Michigan reaches $490M settlement over sexual abuse

ANN ARBOR (MI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 19, 2022

By Mike Householder and Larry Lage

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The University of Michigan announced a $490 million settlement Wednesday with more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by a sports doctor during his nearly four-decade career at the school.

The university said 1,050 people will share in the financial settlement, the latest in several large payouts made by American universities following accusations of repeated sexual abuse by employees.

Individuals and their attorneys will determine how to split $460 million, with no input from the university, the school said in a statement. An additional $30 million will be set aside for future claims.

Board of Regents Chair Jordan Acker told reporters that the agreement will resolve all survivor claims.

“We must support healing and restoration of trust in an environment where safety is paramount,” Acker said. “This agreement is an important step in that direction.”

Attorney Parker Stinar said the settlement was reached Tuesday night. The university…

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Nate’s Mission: Response to Green Bay Diocese statement regarding recent reports of child sexual abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
WisPolitics.com [Madison, WI]

January 21, 2022

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As an anti-clergy abuse and survivors advocacy organization, the policy of Nate’s Mission is never to provide victim information or criminal evidence of cover-up to any church organization, entity or official currently under criminal or civil investigation. This is precisely why our organization delivered the church whistleblower documents to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul as well as Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Brown County District Attorney David Lasee.

It is perhaps understandable that Green Bay church officials may not have many of these documents because, according to church whistleblower documents, they systematically destroyed a large portion of their criminal evidence.

In this afternoon’s press release, the Green Bay diocese stated that they would provide documents relating to any “prosecutable crimes” to Attorney General Kaul’s office. Per Wisconsin state law, the Green Bay diocese does not possess the statutory authority to determine whether cases are prosecutable….

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Green Bay Diocese responds to reports of new clergy abuse evidence

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY-TV [Green Bay WI]

January 21, 2022

By WBAY news staff and Joshua Peguero

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The Diocese of Green Bay says it is communicating with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul’s office related to a statewide probe into clergy abuse.

The Diocese says it will provide “documents relating to any prosecutable crimes uncovered by the Attorney General’s Office during his review.”

The full statement comes one day after Nate’s Mission says it gave the Brown County District Attorney a list of abusive clergy, school faculty and volunteers. Among the list are 69 alleged offenders not on the Green Bay public registry.

“Church whistleblowers around the state have been obtaining this, finding this, getting this. Getting it to us. Getting it to survivors to get to law enforcement because they concerned,” Peter Isely, program director for Nate’s Mission, said.

Nate’s Mission is a Wisconsin-based project of Ending Clergy Abuse.

“We do not know the names to which Peter Isley of Nate’s Mission refers nor do we know…

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Diocese of Green Bay issues response to advocacy group claims of new clergy abuse evidence

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press Gazette [Green Bay WI]

January 21, 2022

By Natalie Eilbert

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The Diocese of Green Bay responded Friday to an advocacy group’s allegations that it had covered up 69 additional priests connected to child abuse. 

“Regarding this declaration of new evidence, no one from Nate’s Mission, including Mr. (Peter) Isely, has contacted the diocese in recent months to report any specific information related to abuse,” said a statement from the Diocese of Green Bay.  “The diocese has and will continue its practice of notifying authorities of allegations of abuse it receives.”

The statement from the diocese comes a day after advocates from Nate’s Mission delivered documents to the office of Brown County District Attorney David Lasee. Isely, the advocacy group’s program director, told reporters on Thursday that the documents were obtained by whistleblowers operating from within the church. 

Isely did not show the Green Bay Press-Gazette the contents of the package or any of the documents to allow the newspaper to independently verify the organization’s claims.

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January 21, 2022

The sun goes down behind the Church of Our Lady, right, the city hall and Church Alter Peter in Munich, southern Germany, Sept. 28, 2008. Munich archdiocese, whose current archbishop is a prominent ally of Pope Francis and which was once led by retired Pope Benedict XVI, was released on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP Photo / Matthias Schrader, File)

Report on sexual abuse in German diocese faults retired pope

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 21, 2022

By Geir Moulson

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[Photo above: The sun goes down behind the Church of Our Lady, right, the city hall and Church Alter Peter in Munich, southern Germany, Sept. 28, 2008. Munich archdiocese, whose current archbishop is a prominent ally of Pope Francis and which was once led by retired Pope Benedict XVI, is being released on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)]

A long-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese on Thursday faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of four cases when he was archbishop in the 1970s and 1980s. The law firm that drew up the report said Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing.

The findings were sure to reignite criticism of Benedict’s record more than a decade after the first, and until Thursday only, known case involving him was made public.

The archdiocese commissioned the report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl nearly two years ago, with a…

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Conservatives defend ex pope after report but experts see legacy dented

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

January 21, 2022

By Philip Pullella

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Conservatives on Friday defended former Pope Benedict against charges of mishandling sexual abuse cases decades ago, but victim groups and experts said the findings of a German report had tarnished the legacy of one of Catholicism’s most renowned theologians.

The report, commissioned by the German Church and published on Thursday, said the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to take action against clerics in four cases when he was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982. read more

Benedict denied wrongdoing over the cases in an 82-page written statement sent to the investigators but Martin Pusch, one of the lawyers who presented the report, said that while the former pope claimed ignorance of some events “in our opinion, that is difficult to reconcile with the documentation.”

Benedict, 94, infirm and living in the Vatican, said through his secretary that he had not yet read the entire report, but would give…

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Pope vows justice for abuse victims after Ratzinger faulted

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

January 21, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis pledged Friday to provide justice to victims of clergy sexual abuse, a day after an independent audit faulted his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, for having botched four cases of abusive clergy when he was archbishop of Munich, Germany.

Francis met with the members of the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases in a previously scheduled annual audience. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict before he became pope – for a quarter-century.

In his speech, Francis didn’t refer to the findings of a long-awaited report into how the Munich archdiocese handled abuse cases from 1945 and 2019. Ratzinger was archbishop there from 1977-1982.

But Francis said the church was continuing to discern the way forward in the abuse scandal, which has discredited the Catholic hierarchy at the Vatican and around the world.

“The church, with God’s help, is…

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I’m pro-life. Here’s why I don’t attend the March for Life.

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 21, 2022

By Kathleen Sprows Cummings

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I attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., for the first and only time in January 1989, as a senior at a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The experience looms large in my memory, thanks to a photograph that appeared on the front page of Philadelphia’s Catholic newspaper. Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua is featured front and center, surrounded by enthusiastic teenagers. I’m on the archbishop’s left; he has his arm around me, and we are both smiling brightly.

I remember basking in Bevilacqua’s warmth and exuberant praise, believing him when he assured us that when it came to defending the sanctity of life, there was nothing more important that we could do than join the crusade to overturn Roe v. Wade.

I’m often tempted to send this photo to the many people who write to me, outraged that I’ve dared to suggest publicly that U.S. bishops’ obsession…

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Ex-Pope Benedict failed to act against abusive priests in Germany, report finds

MUNICH (GERMANY)
NBC News [New York NY]

January 20, 2022

By Claudio Lavanga and AK Pohlers

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The law firm that drew up the report, which faulted the current archbishop in two cases, said Benedict strongly denied any wrongdoing.

A report into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Germany’s Munich diocese has found that retired Pope Benedict XVI failed to act in four cases between 1977 and 1982 when he was Archbishop of Munich.

Lawyers who drew up the report said Benedict categorically denied any wrongdoing. The report also faulted Munich’s current archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, an important ally of Pope Francis.

The archdiocese commissioned the report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl nearly two years ago, with a mandate to look into abuse between 1945 and 2019 and whether church officials handled allegations correctly.

“In a total of four cases, we came to the conclusion that the then-archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger, can be accused of misconduct,” said one of the…

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Federal government calls on the Catholic Church to work through

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Der Spiegel [Hamburg, Germany]

January 21, 2022

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[Google translation; German text follows the translation.]

What conclusions should be drawn from the abuse report? There is criticism not only of the church – but also of the law enforcement authorities.

After the publication of a new report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, the federal government asked the Catholic Church to carry out a comprehensive and transparent investigation. A government spokeswoman said in Berlin that it made the extent of sexual abuse and dereliction of duty by church dignitaries clear again in a “shocking way”. »The abuse and the subsequent handling of these acts is stunned. The complete clarification and the comprehensive processing are now all the more urgent,” said the spokeswoman for Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz ( SPD ).

The report commissioned by the Archdiocese itself and commissioned by the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl chancellery comes to the conclusion that cases of sexual abuse in the diocese have not been dealt with appropriately for decades. The…

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Former pope Benedict accused of inaction over child sexual abuse cases

MUNICH (GERMANY)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 20, 2022

By Harriet Sherwood

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Two cases involved abusers who were allowed to continue with pastoral duties, says lawyer

The former pope Benedict XVI failed to act against four priests accused of child sexual abuse when he was archbishop of Munich, a German investigation has claimed.

Benedict, who stood down as leader of the global Roman Catholic church in 2013, has denied the charges, said a law firm commissioned to investigate historic abuse allegations.

Martin Pusch of the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, said Benedict – then Joseph Ratzinger – “was informed about the facts”.

He added: “We believe that he can be accused of misconduct in four cases. Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state. In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care.”

Benedict, whose resignation as pope took the world by surprise, has repeatedly rejected claims that he knowingly covered up abuse. In  View Cache

Power, lust and church: Mulakkal verdict brings focus back on sex abuse in convents despite ‘checks’

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
News Laundry [New Delhi, India]

January 19, 2022

By Nidhi Suresh

Read original article

The question of a ‘delay’ in rape complaint cannot be answered without understanding the power structures that underline life within Catholic church.

“Because the framing (of law) is not if he is guilty, the framing is if he is found guilty,” said bishop Franco Mulakkal in 2018, in an interview with Republic TV.

In 2018, a nun at the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kottayam accused the bishop of raping her 13 times between 2014 to 2016. Nearly four years later, he was acquitted citing lack of evidence, with no witness turning hostile and multiple nuns alleging that they too were harassed by the same bishop.

In the 24 pages of the “victim’s version” within the 289-page judgement were details of how Mulakkal had forcefully undressed, fingered and grabbed her, and kissed her breasts. “He also made an attempt to insert his sexual organ into the mouth…

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Settlements alone are not enough

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

January 18, 2022

By Brenda Coleman, R.J. McCabe, and Catherine M. Pead

Read original article

As Concerned Lay Catholics in St. Catharines, and across Canada, we learned recently of a $1-million settlement awarded by the Diocese of St. Catharines in compensation to a survivor for years-long sexual abuse by a priest of the diocese. (‘A Wolf In Priest’s Clothing’, Jan. 5.) In the words of Bishop Bergie, posted on the diocesan website: “We hope that the settlement brings some degree of closure for ‘Matt.’ We all have a responsibility to protect children and vulnerable people, to support those who have suffered abuse, and to work together to ensure that our churches are safe and welcoming places for all.”

Settlements are very important. They provide survivors with resources to deal with the lifelong impact of the trauma that results from sexual abuse. Every dollar awarded to survivors is very much needed.

Settlements, however, are only one component of a comprehensive pastoral response needed from the church. How…

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The report by Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), which was commissioned by the church to carry out the probe Photo: POOL via AFP / Sven Hoppe

Probe Finds Ex-pope Benedict Failed to Act in German Abuse Cases

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

January 20, 2022

By Ralf Isermann with Femke Colborne

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[Via International Business Times. Photo above: The report by Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), which was commissioned by the church to carry out the probe Photo: POOL via AFP / Sven Hoppe]

Former pope Benedict XVI knowingly failed to take action to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in Munich in the 1980s, according to a damning independent report published Thursday that risks shattering the ex-pontiff’s reputation.

The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich and Freising to examine how abuse cases were dealt with between 1945 and 2019.

Ex-pope Benedict — whose civilian name is Josef Ratzinger — was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

Benedict’s spokesman Georg Gaenswein said the ex-pontiff had responded by expressing “shock and shame at the abuse of minors committed by clerics” but must examine the text, of which he had no knowledge until…

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Ex-Pope Benedict criticised in Munich Church abuse report

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Reuters [London, England]

January 20, 2022

By Madeline Chambers

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Former Pope Benedict XVI failed to take action against clerics in four cases of alleged sexual abuse in his archdiocese when he was Archbishop of Munich, a report found on Thursday.

Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was asked to investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising between 1945 and 2019.

The report, commissioned by the archdiocese, said there were at least 497 victims of abuse, mainly young males. Many other cases had probably not been reported, said the lawyers.

A spokesman for the former pope did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Benedict, now aged 94, has been living in the Vatican since resigning as pontiff in 2013.

In a statement that did not mention the former pope, the Vatican said it would evaluate the full report and examine its details.

“In reiterating a sense of shame and remorse for the…

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German clerical abuse survivors welcome criticism of former pope

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

January 20, 2022

By Derek Scally

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Report says Benedict failed to tackle four abusing priests while archbishop of Munich

Survivors of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Germany have welcomed a report accusing former pope Benedict XVI of protecting perpetrator priests as “the collapse of a monument”.

The report, published on Thursday and running to nearly 2,000 pages, says the 94-year-old former pontiff failed to tackle four abusing priests during his time as archbishop of Munich, and it questioned his assertion that he did not know about the abuse.

In testimony to investigators, his former deputy in Munich, Fr Gerhard Gruberm, said he was “pressured” to take responsibility for one abuse case when it first emerged in 2010, “to protect the [then] pope [Benedict]”.

“This tower of lies, erected to protect cardinal Ratzinger, pope Benedict, has today come crashing down,” said Matthias Katsch of Germany’s Eckiger Tisch survivors’ group.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday he…

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Benedict accused of ‘misconduct’ in Munich abuse report

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

January 20, 2022

By Madoc Cairns

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is among three senior German clerics implicated in misconduct by a landmark report into clerical sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich. The former Pope is accused of failing to take action in four cases of alleged sexual abuse when he was Archbishop of Munich by a new report launched today, 20 January.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the present Archbishop, is accused of inaction in two such cases and Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, his predecessor, is accused in 21 cases.

The investigation, carried out by Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), identified 497 victims of abuse in the archdiocese, although researchers warned that more victims may not have reported their abuse.

Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, was Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, during which time, the report alleges, he responded with inaction to the abuse of minors by clerics under his authority.

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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

Read original article

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

Read original article

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

Read original article

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

Read original article

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

Read original article

[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

Read original article

[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

Read original article

[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

Read original article

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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