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.

December 8, 2022

Worcester only diocese in Mass. not to release list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse

WORCESTER (MA)
MassLive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

December 7, 2022

By Kiernan Dunlop

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In the two decades since widespread child abuse within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston came to light, every diocese in Massachusetts has released a list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse — except the Diocese of Worcester.

“There is no public precedent for the publishing of lists of the accused — such as those accused in other positions of trust such as medicine, education or law enforcement,” Ray Delisle, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Worcester, said in an email addressing the diocese’s lack of a list.

The diocese publishes and distributes information on each priest who is placed on administrative leave and/or laicized and that information remains public on its website, according to Delisle.

Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented survivors in their claims against the Catholic Church nationally and internationally, told MassLive Friday it is important to have a list of credibly accused…

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Journalists Contradict Allegations of “cover up” Against John Paul II Before He was Pope

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

December 7, 2022

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Journalists investigating secular and Catholic Church sources in Poland have called into question allegations by a Dutch writer that St. John Paul II “covered up” sexual abuse while still a bishop in Poland.

On Dec. 2, Ekke Overbeek, a journalist from the Netherlands living in Poland, said he had found “concrete cases of priests abusing children in the Archdiocese of Krakow, where the future pope was archbishop. The future pope knew about it and transferred them anyway, which led to new victims.”

Overbeek referred to the case of the priest Eugeniusz Surgent and “many others” whom Karol Wojtyla allegedly “covered up.”

The Dutch publication NOS, in which Overbeek’s statements appeared, reported the journalist spent three years combing “Polish archives.”

“Almost all documents collected directly about Wojtyla have been destroyed. However, in other surviving documents, he is mentioned very often. And if you put them all together, they are…

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Survivors of clergy sex abuse want AG report against archdiocese made public

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

December 7, 2022

By Jeff Hager

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Investigators with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office uncovered 80 years’ worth of child sex abuse cases inside the Catholic Church, and alleged victims want to be part of the legal proceedings over whether that report will be made public.

They say they don’t trust the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“They claim to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they turn their back on the lepers of today,” said SNAP Maryland Director David Lorenz.

The Attorney General’s report identifies 600 different alleged victims and advocates want to make sure they no longer remain silenced.

Advocates have retained a pair of catastrophic injury law firms with experience representing systemic sexual abuse to make sure they have a voice in the process.

“We’ll be filing a motion to intervene so that we’ll become parties to the proceedings and then once granted standing in the proceedings, we are going to seek to have the…

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SNAP Calls For Transparency at Franciscan University Steubenville

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

December 7, 2022

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We are unable to authenticate the documents calling into question whether Franciscan University of Steubenville’s statement that they only learned of the sexual assault allegations against Fr. David Morrier in 2015. However, since they have now been published publicly, the university needs to be investigated, preferably by an outside authority, to determine who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did, or did not, do about these serious accusations. Moreover, the process, as well as the results of the probe, need to be completely open and transparent.

We do know that Fr. Morrier is a convicted & registered sex offender who targeted and preyed on an extremely vulnerable student. The published documents detail additional very troubling accusations that call into question the integrity and truthfulness of this Catholic college.

Enough is enough, light needs to be shined into this dark corner. The courageous…

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Bishops Blasted for Hiding Assets the Same Way they Hide Offenders

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Jeff Anderson and Associates

December 6, 2022

By Mike Finnegan

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ALERT: Statute of Limitations is up December 31 for California Child Sex Abuse Survivors  

(Los Angeles, CA) – In a new report, a nationwide Catholic lay group, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), has analyzed the relative ‘financial transparency’ of every US Catholic diocese or archdiocese. We applaud the study and harshly criticize California’s 12 bishops for being “as reckless and secretive with parishioners’ money as they are with their own child molesting clerics.”

“They hide their assets the same way they hide their offenders,” said attorney Jeff Anderson.

For the sixth year in a row, the Boston-based Voice of the Faithful has issued a 49-page study called “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency”. Over a three-month period (6/1/22 – 8/31/22), independent reviewers weighed ten factors including whether dioceses post audited financial reports, list diocesan finance council members, and use “common sense chain of custody” procedures, like “using at least…

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New tribunal will deal with misconducts in French Roman Catholic Church

PARIS (FRANCE)
CNE (Christian Network Europe) [The Netherlands]

December 8, 2022

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Thirteen people form a new tribunal that will deal with misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church of France. The National Canon Criminal Court (TPCN) was sworn in on Monday.

The new tribunal will deal with cases in the Church connected to sexual abuse of adults, power abuse, breach of trust and issues of spiritual influence. The Dicastery of the Doctrine of Faith will remain responsible for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of children. That is reported by RCF.

Excommunication

Any Catholic who feels he has suffered wrongdoings in the Church may go to the tribunal. After investigations, the TCPN may decide to sentence the perpetrator to penalties, such as a fine, prohibition of ministry, dismissal from the clerical state or excommunication. The tribunal can also determine that the perpetrator has to pay his or the victim damages, Famille Chretienne writes.

Yet, the TPCN is…

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Advocates, abuse survivors call for Baltimore Archbishop William Lori’s resignation

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBAL-TV, NBC-11 [Baltimore MD]

December 7, 2022

By Lisa Robinson

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Survivors of Maryland clergy sex abuse accuse the Catholic Church of turning a blind eye to their pain. Now, they said time’s up.

The group of survivors claims the release of the state attorney general’s investigation is essential for their healing. They shared their demands with the media, even going so far as to call for a change in leadership of the Catholic Church. Survivors pointed the finger at Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, saying he needs to go.

“You turned away, you chose to fall silent and you chose to protect your criminals. We will not go away, sit down or shut up, and most of us think, sir, that you need to resign,” said Gemma Hoskins, an advocate.

Hoskins is a former student at Archbishop Keough High School, where sexual abuse was rampant. She took part in the Netflix documentary “The Keepers,” which focused on the killing of Sister…

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December 7, 2022

Two Quebec bishops named in abuse lawsuit

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
The Catholic Register - Archdiocese of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

December 1, 2022

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Two Quebec bishops, one deceased and one living, have been named in a sexual abuse class action against the Archdiocese of Quebec.

Bishops Clement Fecteau (1933-2017) and Jean-Pierre Blais, who is Bishop of Baie-Comeau, are among the accused whose names were released by the law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats.

Fecteau is accused of abusing a 13-year-old victim in 1987 at the Séminaire de Quebec. He was appointed auxiliary bishop for the Quebec archdiocese in 1989 and would in 1996 be appointed Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere.

Blais is accused of abusing a 12-year-old between 1973 and 1975.

The accusations are civil in nature and not known to involve any criminal charges or investigations. They have not been proven in court.

When abuse allegations are made against a bishop, it is up to an archbishop to notify Vatican authorities as soon as allegations are made known. The Quebec news service Presence left…

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Seeing ‘red flags’ – Is there transparency for troubled religious orders?

FAIRBANKS (AK)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

November 29, 2022

By Michelle La Rosa

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When a religious community raises red flags, where should Catholics go for transparent answers?

When Natalie Schuldt heard this spring that her bishop had invited members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) to establish a presence in their Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, she was concerned.

“Just a little bit of investigation into their order drew a lot of red flags for me and for others,” she told The Pillar.

The Institute of the Incarnate Word was founded in San Rafael, Argentina in 1984 by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela.

In 2016, the Vatican confirmed that Buela had been found guilty of sexual misconduct with IVE seminarians.

The priest was banned from being in contact with members of the institute he founded, from making statements or appearing in public, and from participating in the organization’s activities.

The IVE was also close to Theodore McCarrick, the disgraced former cardinal who sexually abused…

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Rupnik scandal is new piece of Vatican mosaic on abuse cases

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

December 6, 2022

By JD Flynn

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Allegations against a Slovenian Jesuit artist have become a point of scandal in Europe, where Fr. Marko Rupnik, SJ, is accused of serially abusing Slovenian consecrated women, and questions have been raised about the Vatican’s handling of the affair.

While the priest, 68, is prohibited from public ministry, the allegations raised publicly in recent days have again raised questions about public accountability and transparency in the Church’s own criminal justice system — and about a lack of consistency in the Church’s approach to the application of justice.

And newly emerged information confirmed to The Pillar paints an unflattering portrait of the Vatican’s handling of the allegations against Rupnik.

But to Vatican-watchers, the outline of Rupnik’s case has a familiar shape and hue. And alongside similar cases, it contributes to the emerging picture of the Vatican’s continued handling of serious sexual abuse cases involving clerics.


Fr. Marko Rupnik is more well-known in Italy…

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Prominent Jesuit artist is Catholicism’s latest icon to fall from grace

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

December 6, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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Reports emerged this week that Slovenian Jesuit Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, a world-famous artist whose murals adorn the walls of churches and chapels throughout the Vatican and beyond, has been accused of sexual misconduct with nuns and has been barred by his order from public ministry.

This makes Rupnik, 68, the latest in a series of high-profile Catholic individuals in recent years to face such allegations, including famed French layman Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche community that assists intellectually disabled adults, and the late Father Werenfried van Straaten, a Dutch priest who founded the papally-sponsored Catholic charity “Aid to the Church in Need” in 1952 to aid persecuted Christians.

In a statement dated Dec. 2, the Society of Jesus to which Rupnik belongs said that a complaint was made against him in 2021 and sent to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), which deals with…

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Jesuit artist has ministry cut; Vatican doesn’t prosecute

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

December 6, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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The Vatican came under pressure Tuesday to explain why it didn’t prosecute a famous Jesuit artist and merely let his order restrict the priest’s ministry following allegations that he abused his authority over adult women.

The Jesuits, the same order to which Pope Francis belongs, announced in a statement made public this week that the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith had determined the statute of limitations had expired and closed the case against the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik.

Mosaics by Rupnik, a native of Slovenia who is as close as it gets to an official Vatican artist, decorate the Lourdes basilica, a chapel in the Apostolic Palace and churches around the globe.

In specifying that Rupnik was not accused of sexually abusing minors, the Jesuits indicated that he was accused of sexual-related crimes with adults involving the confessional, since those are the other types of canonical crimes…

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Vasa: Chapter 11 will allow for evaluating claims ‘as fairly as possible’

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

December 6, 2022

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Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Santa Rosa announced Dec. 2 that the diocese expects to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because it faces more than 130 new claims of sex abuse dating from 1962 to the present, with “a vast majority of the cases” dating to the 1970s and 1980s.

The diocesan attorneys are expected to file Chapter 11 after Dec. 31 and before March 1, he said in a statement.

“After months of careful and prayerful consideration” and consultation with the priests of the diocese, the Diocesan Finance Council and professionals retained by the diocese,” Bishop Vasa said, “it has become clear to me that it is necessary” for the diocese to take this action.

“This decision was made necessary due to the overwhelming number of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese after the statute of limitations was lifted for a three-year ‘window,’” he said.

In 2019,…

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Cologne clerical abuse case opens door to compensation landslide

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

December 6, 2022

By Derek Scally

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Archdiocese drops its defence that time to take legal action has elapsed

Germany’s Catholic church may face a wave of clerical abuse compensation claims after the Cologne archdiocese dropped its statute of limitations defence in a closely-watched court case.

On Tuesday Cologne district court began hearing the case of a man who has sued the archdiocese for €805,000 in damages.

Mr Georg Menne says he was sexually abused at least 320 times during the 1970s by a Catholic priest, Erich Jansen. Until his death in 2020 the priest remained active in parish work despite being reported to archdiocese authorities at least twice – in 1980 and 2010.

“If they had taken him out of action these acts wouldn’t have happened with me and other children,” said Mr Menne to WDR public television.

His lawyers accuse the archdiocese of violating its duty of care for not investigating the perpetrator and…

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Baltimore seals documents related to clerical sexual abuse report

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

December 6, 2022

By Jonah McKeown

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A judge in Baltimore this week ordered all proceedings, filings, and communications related to the release of a major attorney general’s report on clerical sexual abuse to be made confidential. 

Judge Anthony Vittoria of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City issued a confidentiality ruling Dec. 2 in response to a request from an anonymous group of people named in the report but who were not accused of abuse, the Baltimore Sun reported.

At issue is a 456-page report compiled by the office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, consisting of information given by the Archdiocese of Baltimore along with information gathered from interviews that claims to identify more than 600 victims of clerical abuse in the archdiocese dating back eight decades. It is currently unclear whether the report will lead to any new criminal charges.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore, which is paying the legal fees for the anonymous…

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December 6, 2022

Md. judge seals proceedings around Catholic clergy sexual abuse report

BALTIMORE (MD)
Washington Post

December 6, 2022

By Michelle Boorstein

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The order includes documents that have already been released to the public

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge has sealed all records — including, retroactively,some that are already public — related to Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s 456-page report into historical clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Circuit Court Judge Anthony Vittoria’s ruling Friday concurs with a request to the court made Nov. 21 by an anonymous group of people who are named in the report but not accused of abuse. The report includes allegations of coverup and mishandling as well as abuse. Lawyers for the group filed a request to keep all filings and proceedings around the release of the report secret, until a judge rules whether the report, which is already under seal, should be released, and to provide their clients a confidential opportunity to address the court before that decision is reached.

“To preserve the secrecy…

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Deux évêques dénoncés pour agressions sexuelles

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
Le Nouvelliste [Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada]

December 1, 2022

By Isabelle Mathieu

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Après le cardinal Marc Ouellet, d’autres hauts dirigeants de l’église catholique du Québec sont dénoncés par des victimes alléguées d’agressions sexuelles. Il s’agit de Mgr Clément Fecteau, ancien évêque de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière et Mgr Jean-Pierre Blais, actuel évêque de Baie-Comeau.

Le cabinet d’avocats Arsenault Dufesne Wee, en charge des actions collectives autorisées contre les diocèses de Québec et de Trois-Rivières, ont déposé au dossier de la cour et rendu public jeudi deux nouveaux tableaux des victimes alléguées. Dans les tableaux, les victimes sont anonymisées. Il y est indiqué les lieux et dates des agressions présumées, l’âge de la victime et le nom du ou des religieux ou laïcs agresseurs.

Selon les avocats, 134 victimes ont affirmé avoir été agressées par plus d’une centaine de prêtres ou de membre du personnel du diocèse de Québec. 

Dans le tableau déposé à la cour, le nom de Mgr Clément Fecteau, décédé en 2018, apparaît…

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L’évêque du diocèse de Baie-Comeau fait face à des allégations d’agressions sexuelles

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
Le Journal de Québec [Quebec City, Quebec, Canada]

December 2, 2022

By André Normandeau

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Les événements reprochés à monseigneur Jean-Pierre Blais, l’évêque du diocèse de Baie-Comeau se seraient déroulés dans les années 70 dans la région de Québec. 

L’évêque aurait commis des gestes d’attouchements et de masturbation de façon régulière sur une victime âgée à l’époque de 12 à 14 ans dans la paroisse de Charny entre 1973 et 1975.

C’est le cabinet d’avocats Arsenault Dufresne Wee qui a rendu publics hier deux nouveaux tableaux de victimes alléguant avoir été agressées par des prêtres ou des membres du personnel du diocèse de Québec.

Le cabinet est responsable d’un recours collectif contre les diocèses de Québec et de Trois-Rivières.

Le nom de monseigneur Jean-Pierre Blais du diocèse de Baie-Comeau y a été ajouté. Dans un court communiqué transmis aux médias, monseigneur Jean-Pierre Blais nie formellement avoir eu des gestes déplacés sur la présumée victime. Il entend collaborer au processus judiciaire en cours et ne fera…

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Prominent Jesuit priest and artist disciplined after abuse allegations

(SLOVENIA)
Reuters [London, England]

December 5, 2022

By Philip Pullella

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The Roman Catholic Jesuit order said it disciplined a prominent priest and artist who reportedly sexually and psychologically abused nuns in his native Slovenia three decades ago.

The Jesuits issued a statement about Father Marko Ivan Rupnik following Italian media reports last week that several nuns had accused him of abuse in the early 1990s when he was their spiritual director at a convent in Slovenia.

Rupnik faces restrictions including not being allowed to hear confessions or preside at spiritual exercises.

The priest is well known in the Church as a mosaics master who designed chapels around the world, including one in the Vatican and in the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

The statement from Jesuit headquarters in Rome said the order had carried out an investigation into Rupnik after the Vatican’s doctrinal department received a complaint last year about “the method by which he carried…

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Jesuit artist Father Rupnik’s ministry restricted following reports of abuse allegations

(SLOVENIA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

December 5, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus

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A prominent Jesuit priest and artist had his ministry restricted, reportedly after an investigation by his religious order into allegations of abuse against religious sisters in Slovenia.

The Jesuits said in a statement dated Dec. 2 that the order has barred 68-year-old Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, SJ, from hearing confessions or conducting spiritual direction since the Vatican received a complaint against him in 2021.

The Vatican declined in October to carry out a canonical process due to the statute of limitations, the order said. The complaint did not include minors.

The Jesuit order said the restrictions on Rupnik’s ministry were still in effect and included a ban on leading the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The priest is also prohibited from engaging in public activities without the permission of his superior.

Rupnik, the director of the Centro Aletti in Rome, was the creator of the official image…

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A Catholic priest told a church official he was attracted to teens. They told him not to ‘worry about it.’

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

November 22, 2022

By Lee O. Sanderlin

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In the 1980s, Father Brian Cox told an official with Catholic church he had a problem – he was attracted to teenage boys.

The official, according to court papers, brushed him off, telling the Westminster priest not to “worry about it.” Cox, in a taped conversation with one of his victims, said a bishop once told him he was a priest, and priests don’t need help.

It later would be revealed, through court records and newspaper reporting, that Cox had molested children at St. John Catholic School — an extension of the St. John Westminster parish where Cox was a pastor — from 1978 to 1989. He stayed on as an assistant at St. John, but his post formally ended in 1995 when an unnamed “third party” came forward to church officials and accused Cox of sexual abuse.

Cox is one of more than…

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Proceedings Sealed in Efforts to Block Attorney General Report in Maryland, SNAP Responds

BALTIMORE (MD)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

December 5, 2022

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In a setback for efforts towards transparency and justice for clergy abuse survivors in Maryland, a judge today made the decision to seal the ongoing proceedings that will decide whether or not a recently-completed attorney general report into sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be publicly released. While we lament this decision, we hope that this does not signal the end of the road for the Maryland report and that it will still be publicly released soon.

“We lost this skirmish but the battle to release the report goes on,” said David Lorenz, leader of SNAP Maryland. “The problem is that we now don’t have insight into what objections are being made and therefore can’t make counter arguments.”

By sealing the proceedings, the public will no longer know who is involved in arguing for or against the report in court. This move comes after Archbishop…

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Clergy abuse survivors disappointed in court ruling preventing public release of archdiocese investigation

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

December 6, 2022

By Mark Roper

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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sought to release results

A group of Maryland clergy abuse survivors is speaking out against a court decision to stop the results of a sexual abuse investigation from being made public. A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge made the decision on Friday to seal all proceedings, filings, and communications during grand jury proceedings.

SNAP (Survivors Network Of Those Abused By Priests) called the court’s decision a setback in transparency and justice for clergy abuse survivors in Maryland. SNAP isn’t giving up hope that the investigation will still be released at some point. However, the Archdiocese maintains that it does not and will not oppose the report’s release.

SNAP’s leader David Lorenz said the problem with not having access to the results of the investigation is that they don’t have insight into what objections are being made and therefore can’t form counter…

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Proceedings related to report on clergy abuse in Baltimore archdiocese remains private

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBAL-TV, NBC-11 [Baltimore MD]

December 6, 2022

By David Collins

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A Baltimore judge is now ruling all proceedings related to the Maryland Attorney General’s report on clergy sex abuse remain confidential.

A distinction: The judge’s order seals the report; however, it does not block its release. A decision whether to do so has not been made.

“To seal the proceedings about this report is very difficult for us survivors,” said David Lorenz, Maryland director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Legal arguments will be held behind closed doors and all documents sealed in the case asking a judge to release the Maryland Attorney General’s 456-page investigation into child sex abuse within the Baltimore archdiocese.

A judge’s ruling is necessary because the probe was conducted through a grand jury and state law keeps grand jury materials confidential without a court order.

Clergy abuse survivors consider Friday’s decision a setback because they will not have an opportunity to be heard.

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Deux évêques visés par des nouvelles allégations d’agressions sexuelles

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
La Presse [Montreal, Quebec, Canada]

December 1, 2022

By Émilie Bilodeau

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De nouvelles victimes s’ajoutent aux actions collectives contre le Diocèse de Québec et celui de Trois-Rivières. L’actuel évêque de Baie-Comeau, Jean-Pierre Blais, et un membre de l’Ordre national du Québec, Claude Thompson, font partie des personnes visées par les nouvelles allégations d’agressions sexuelles.

Au total, 134 victimes affirment avoir été agressées par une centaine de prêtres ou de membres du Diocèse de Québec et 43 victimes ont porté plainte contre une vingtaine de prêtres ou de membres du Diocèse de Trois-Rivières.

Lisez « Le Diocèse de Trois-Rivières est visé par une action collective »

Le cabinet Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats a déposé, jeudi, une liste anonymisée de ces victimes à la Cour. Elles étaient âgées de 4 à 46 ans au moment où les agressions auraient été commises, mais elles étaient mineures dans la très grande majorité des cas. Les victimes auraient été soumises à des attouchements, des fellations, des pénétrations ou des séances de masturbation, selon…

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Head of Cologne abuse investigation commission resigns

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

December 6, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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Lawyer Stephan Rixen says his initial doubts about the independence and effectiveness of the body have been confirmed

The state-appointed chairman of the commission to investigate abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne has quit, saying he doubted the independence of the commission and wondered whether its main aim was to protect Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported Stephan Rixen has stepped down as head of the Independent Commission for the Investigation of Abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne and has withdrawn from the body. Rixen told KNA Dec. 5 that his initial doubts about the independence and effectiveness of the committee had been confirmed.

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia had appointed Rixen, a constitutional lawyer, to the committee made up of representatives of the diocese, scholars and people with practical expertise as well as victims of abuse. Committee members were recruited partly by…

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Group calls on Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to escalate clergy sex abuse investigation

MADISON (WI)
Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)

December 5, 2022

By Danielle Kaeding

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Freedom From Religion Foundation asks for increasing resources to uncover allegations of clergy abuse

A Madison-based secular group is calling on Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to escalate a statewide review of clergy sex abuse that launched last year.

The request follows the release of names of nearly two dozen clergy by the Catholic Diocese of Superior, which it says have had credible claims of sexually abusing minors made against them.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which advocates for separation of church and state, sent a Dec. 1 letter to Kaul asking him to increase resources for the investigation after the release of names.

“Given these revelations self-reported by the Superior Diocese, we believe that re-opening an independent investigation would potentially unearth more clergy abuse that has harmed so many, and is in order,” wrote Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-presidents of the foundation.

A survivor advocacy group  View Cache

Just a Few Days Left for Thousands of California Sexual Abuse Victims to Act

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

December 5, 2022

By Adam Horowitz

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A Few Interesting Facts about California:

Because these figures show that there are many vulnerable children in California, making it a predator’s paradise. There’s a second part of this potentially dangerous equation. California also has:

This means that there are also many organizations, situations, and locations in which kids are especially vulnerable. In light of this, we at Horowitz Law feel safe in predicting that there are now literally thousands of California men and women who were victimized as children by predators. You may see where this is headed.

At the risk of sounding like a broke record, we…

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What have we learned about Matt Chandler’s sin and restoration? Not much

HIGHLAND VILLAGE (TX)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

December 5, 2022

By Rick Pidcock

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Among the many reasons people are leaving institutional churches, there is one that runs deeper than them all.

John MacArthur says  it’s because “they deconstruct the Bible to give room for their pet sins and tolerances.”

The Gospel Coalition says it’s because we have church hurt, because of poor teaching, because we have a desire to sin and want street cred.

And Matt Chandler says it’s because “deconstruction has become some sort of sexy thing to do” for people who understood Christianity only as a moral code.

Let’s assume they are correct and imagine that those of us who have left institutional churches read a Kevin DeYoung article from The Gospel Coalition about Beth Allison Barr and repent. Suddenly, we stop wanting to do sexy things, renounce street cred, end our desire to sin, understand what penal substitutionary atonement really means, forgive the churches that hurt us, and become complementarian, young…

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December 5, 2022

Baltimore judge seals case as court weighs release of Catholic church sex abuse report

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Baltimore Banner [Baltimore MD]

December 5, 2022

By Tim Prudente

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Legal arguments will continue behind closed doors about whether a Baltimore judge should release a 456-page investigation into child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Anthony Vittoria ordered the case sealed on Friday. His order means all hearings will be closed to the public and all legal motions will be confidential.

“No party is permitted to share any filing or communication,” Vittoria wrote.

He went further and directed the attorneys to deliver their filings to his chambers and not submit them to the clerk’s office.

The ruling marks a win for attorneys Gregg Bernstein and William Murphy, who wanted the proceedings to be secret. The two attorneys represent some people named in the report, but not accused of sexual abuse. These people have not been publicly identified.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office tried to keep the continued litigation open to the public.

“This case involves the…

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Pope John Paul knew about child abuse much earlier than was known until now | Paus Johannes Paulus wist veel eerder van kindermisbruik dan tot nu toe bekend was

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Trouw [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

December 3, 2022

By Ekke Overbeek

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[Google translation followed by the original Dutch article]

John Paul II knew about child abuse in his diocese long before he became pope in 1978. This is evident from research by Trouw .

The later pope John Paul II, as archbishop of the Polish city of Krakow, knew of several cases of child abuse committed by priests. In 1971 he let a underpriest continue to work after he had abused a boy. Even when this man was convicted of abuse by a court in 1973, the future pope allowed him to continue working as a priest. In another diocese, the man again assaulted boys.

This has emerged from new years of research by Trouw in the archives of the Polish security service. Material from these archives has a controversial status in Poland because of the methods used by the security services under the communist regime. Because it also contains court documents and old testimonies of victims, new evidence can still…

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Rozanski’s call: St. Louis archbishop to decide fate of dozens of Catholic parishes

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

December 4, 2022

By Jesse Bogan

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When Mitchell Rozanski was introduced more than two years ago as the next archbishop of St. Louis, he was an unknown to Roman Catholics here.

He’d grown up in Baltimore and spent his career on the East Coast. First thing he said he wanted to do was walk the land, visit and listen.

In hindsight, he was notably direct about church buildings.

“We have to take a realistic look at working with the people of the parishes,” he told reporters and others gathered at the basilica that day on June 10, 2020. “First of all, I don’t want to see a community that is burdened by buildings. Buildings are important, but buildings are not the church. It is we the people who are the church.”

Rozanski, 64, has hammered that point home as he pushes through a historic restructuring of the archdiocese, which covers the city and 10 surrounding counties….

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Pope reveals meeting Irish abuse survivors was ‘one of the most heated situations’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Extra.ie [Dublin, Ireland]

December 4, 2022

By Lisa ODonnell

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The Pope has revealed that his meeting with survivors of clerical abuse during his visit to Ireland in 2018 was ‘one of the most heated situations’ he has ever faced.

During his visit to the Papal Nuncio residence on Dublin’s Navan Road, Pope Francis met with survivors of clerical sex abuse and those who spent time in industrial schools and mother-and-baby homes.

The Pope has revealed that his meeting with survivors of clerical abuse during his visit to Ireland in 2018 was ‘one of the most heated situations’ he has ever faced.

During his visit to the Papal Nuncio residence on Dublin’s Navan Road, Pope Francis met with survivors of clerical sex abuse and those who spent time in industrial schools and mother-and-baby homes.

In an interview with US media in recent days, Pope Francis was challenged on what moves the Vatican is taking to improve…

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Bishop of Santa Rosa Diocese says ‘perfect justice’ not possible in clergy abuse cases

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Press Democrat [Santa Rosa CA]

December 4, 2022

By Madison Smalstig

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The Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese’s decision to file for bankruptcy, Bishop Robert F. Vasa said, is a “necessity” so the bankruptcy court can determine some form of justice for the people who have filed clergy abuse lawsuits. The diocese does not have the resources to “justly compensate” all those who have alleged abuse, he added.

“Perfect justice” is not possible “in this world,” Bishop Robert F. Vasa told parishioners Sunday, in the wake of the Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese’s announcement last week that it will seek bankruptcy protection in anticipation of hundreds of new and potential clergy abuse lawsuits.

“We recognize in this penitential season that perfect justice is still elusive — that we are not capable of achieving it in this lifetime,” he said during a sermon at the Cathedral of St. Eugene in Santa Rosa.

His message was livestreamed across the diocese, which oversees 40 parishes from Petaluma…

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Why I find pope’s ideas on women priests disturbing

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

December 5, 2022

By Virginia Saldanha

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Recently the Jesuit-run America Magazine interviewed Pope Francis on various topical issues, among them the question regarding what he would say to women who are already serving in the church, but who also feel strongly about the call to be a priest in the Catholic Church. 

Pope Francis reinforces the gender binary by pointing to the Petrine principle which means Jesus chose Peter as head of the Church and 12 male apostles because Jesus our high priest was male!

Pope Francis suggests that women have no place in the Petrine principle.

On the other hand, the Marian principle is a mirror of the Church as a woman and as the spouse of Christ. So, he suggests that women have to be content with being the mirror image of the Church which represents the feminine spouse of Christ — what a convoluted explanation to convey to women that we are an important part…

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December 4, 2022

Camden Diocese, clergy sex abuse survivors nearing settlement

CAMDEN (NJ)
KYW News Radio, 1060AM and 103.9FM [Philadelphia PA]

December 2, 2022

By Antionette Lee

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The diocese agreed earlier this year to pay $87.5 million 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — South Jersey’s Catholic diocese is one step closer to compensating survivors who were sexually abused by some of the diocese’s priests.

In April, the Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Officials from the diocese appeared before Judge Jerrold N. Poslusny, Jr. in New Jersey District Bankruptcy Court for 14 days of testimony to approve the settlement.

The money will go to a trust fund setup over a four-year period from the diocese and related Catholic entities. The settlement also includes maintaining or enhancing protocols to protect children.

A statement from Camden Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan in part asked faithful parishioners to pray for abuse survivors as preparations for Christmas are underway.

“As this most recent step concludes during the season of Advent, I encourage the…

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Catholic Church sex abuse scandal: Why weren’t newly accused priests on Bay Area bishops’ disclosure lists?

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
The Mercury News [San Jose CA]

December 4, 2022

By John Woolfolk

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Abuse victims decry lack of disclosure; San Francisco Archdiocese instead releases list of priests in “good standing”

When Bay Area bishops a few years ago released lists of their clergy found credibly accused of sexually abusing children, they called it a commitment to confronting past failings, a move toward accountability for a colossal scandal that has scarred the Catholic Church for decades.

But the Rev. Elwood Geary’s name wasn’t on any list. Neither was the Rev. Robert Gemmet’s.

The pair of now-deceased priests, who ministered in the South Bay a half-century ago, are now accused of horrific acts in separate lawsuits made possible under a state law that opened a three-year window for abuse claims long after the statute of limitations for such crimes expired. Geary and Gemmet are just two of at least 14 clergy in Northern California – 10 in the Bay Area – who this…

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Will AG’s settlement change how Buffalo Diocese handles allegations? Some are skeptical.

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

December 4, 2022

By Jay Tokasz

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A negotiated settlement to end the state attorney general’s 2020 lawsuit against the Buffalo Diocese yielded a 30-page court order and additional embarrassing news coverage of the diocese’s handling of child sex abuse allegations.

What the settlement didn’t do, according to some advocates for child sex abuse victims and child abuse prevention experts, was require the diocese to substantially change the way it operates.

Aside from a new monitoring program for offending priests, most of the policies and procedures outlined in the settlement already were being used in the diocese prior to the lawsuit.

“Essentially what was produced was weak tea,” said Marci Hamilton, chief executive officer of Child USA, a national child abuse prevention organization.

Hamilton characterized the agreement as a “deep disappointment,” as well as a missed opportunity for New York to set a new bar in holding accountable large youth-serving organizations like the Catholic…

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Ex-seminarian accuses New Orleans archbishop of harassment in decades-long dispute

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Guardian [London, England]

December 2, 2022

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

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Current archbishop of New Orleans denies claims from Lawrence Eghabor that date back to the 1990s

A former student at a New Orleans college that trains Catholic priests has claimed he was racially and sexually harassed there – including by the city’s current archbishop – as he parries counter-allegations that he is merely trying to extort money and a green card from church officials.

Over two decades, the dispute has drawn attention from Catholic officials at the highest levels in the US and worldwide. But it was not publicly known until it surfaced as part of a chapter 11 bankruptcy case the New Orleans archdiocese opened amid a wave of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by clerics across generations.

Despite never interviewing the ex-seminarian, Lawrence Eghabor, or the archbishop, Gregory Aymond, the global Catholic church’s leadership at the Vatican deemed Egbahor’s claims meritless.

Eghabor said the cursory investigation demonstrated the Catholic church’s…

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Kansas lawmaker plans to reintroduce bill removing childhood sexual abuse lawsuit limits

TOPEKA (KS)
Kansas Reflector [Topeka, KS]

November 30, 2022

By Rachel Mipro

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Lawmakers may expand the rights of child sex abuse victims in the upcoming legislative session, renewing efforts to pass legislation that would require clergy reporting and remove time limits for lawsuit cases involving child abuse. 

Current state law sets a statute of limitations on filing for damages from childhood sexual abuses. Lawsuits have to be filed within three years of the survivor turning 18 or within three years of discovering an injury or illness caused by the abuse. Many have condemned the rule as unfair and fundamentally misguided.

Sen. Cindy Holscher, D-Overland Park, has worked for the past few years to pass legislation that would remove time limits for filing lawsuits in these cases. Holscher said it sometimes took years for victims to process their feelings and come forward, and the time limit harmed victims who aged out of the given timeframe. 

The latest form of the legislation,  View Cache

More clergy accused of child sexual abuse in California as important deadline nears

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

December 2, 2022

By Joe Bukuras

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As California’s three-year window to file child sex abuse lawsuits past the statute of limitations nears its conclusion, 66 Catholic clergy and religious have been named in 116 lawsuits in Alameda County, which covers the area between San Francisco and San Jose.

Additionally, 14 of the clergy members and religious identified in the lawsuits are named for the first time, the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates announced Nov. 28. 

The law firm said that the 116 lawsuits may be a small percentage of the total number of suits filed under the California Child Victims Act, which was passed in 2019.

The legislation allowed a three-year period in which victims of child sex abuse could come forward with claims that would have expired under the previous statute of limitations. The window began Jan. 1, 2020, and will expire in less than a month. The bill was…

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A Statement on Johnny Hunt’s “Restoration”

NASHVILLE (TN)
Praisegod Barebones

November 30, 2022

By Bart Barber, President, Southern Baptist Convention

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For Immediate Release, November 30, 2022

In 2021, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting adopted a resolution “On Abuse and Pastoral Qualifications.” I was a member of that committee. I contributed significantly to the content of this resolution. It reads, in part, “any person who has committed sexual abuse is permanently disqualified from holding the office of pastor.” This is the sentiment of the Southern Baptist Convention.

At that same meeting, the messengers overwhelmingly insisted that an independent investigation should be conducted about the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee’s response to allegations of sexual abuse. The result of that investigation was the publication of a report in May of this year by Guidepost Solutions. That report disclosed the details of a pastor’s wife’s account of an incident in which Johnny Hunt aggressively approached her for a sexual encounter, including his pulling down her pants, pinning her down,…

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SBC president blasts idea of Johnny Hunt’s ‘restoration’ to ministry

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

December 1, 2022

By Mark Wingfield

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In a highly unusual move, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention has denounced the “restoration” of a former SBC president to ministry six months after public allegations of sexual abuse.

“The idea that a council of pastors, assembled with the consent of the abusive pastor, possesses some authority to declare a pastor fit for resumed ministry is a conceit that is altogether absent from Baptist polity and from the witness of the New Testament. Indeed, it is repugnant to all that those sources extol and represent,” according to Bart Barber.

As previously reported by BNG, Georgia pastor and denominational leader Johnny Hunt was declared fit to return the ministry by a panel of four male pastor friends who have been counseling him since June. Those four pastors released a video this week explaining the process and outcomes of their unlicensed therapy with the former executive vice president of the SBC…

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Abused siblings told they can sue Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order

(UNITED KINGDOM)
STV [Glasgow, Scotland]

November 25, 2022

By Kevin Scott

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The pair raised historic abuse claims after being assaulted at a children’s home in Midlothian in the 1970s.

Two siblings who were abused at a children’s home have been told they can now sue a Catholic order.

The pair – known as ‘B and W’ – raised historic abuse claims against the Sisters of Nazareth over incidents in Lasswade, Midlothian, in the 1970s.

Both legal bids were originally thrown out in January after Sisters of Nazareth claimed it could not get a fair trial due to the passage of time.

But three appeal judges on Friday ruled the cases should not have been dismissed and granted the siblings permission to continue with their claim for six-figure compensation.

Kim Leslie, partner at Digby Brown, the legal firm representing the siblings, said: “We welcome today’s ruling, however as the case is ongoing we cannot comment further.”

Residential institutions run by the Sisters…

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December 3, 2022

‘Keepers’ survivors expand arguments on why Maryland AG report into Catholic clergy sexual abuse should be public

BALTIMORE (MD)
Union-Bulletin [Walla Walla WA]

December 3, 2022

By Lee O. Sanderlin, The Baltimore Sun

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Women featured in “The Keepers,” a 2017 Netflix documentary series about clergy sexual abuse at a Baltimore-area Catholic girls school in the 1960s and ‘70s, expanded on their request Friday for the full public release of a report examining sexual misconduct by clergy throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Teresa Lancaster and Jean Wehner, who were victimized during their time at Archbishop Keough High School, filed their initial motion Wednesday after learning from a Baltimore Sun story that Baltimore’s Roman Catholic archdiocese is helping pay legal fees for a group of people named in the report who are asking a judge to make secret the court proceedings around its release.

In a supplement to the motion, filed on Friday morning, an attorney representing Lancaster and Wehner is making additional arguments for the report’s release, including that it no longer should be considered privileged material because the archdiocese already has a copy…

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Maine woman alleges she was abused by a Roman Catholic priest nearly 60 years ago

PORTLAND (ME)
Maine Public Radio [Lewiston ME]

December 1, 2022

By Carol Bousquet

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A Cumberland County woman has filed a civil complaint against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, alleging she was sexually abused by a priest that the Diocese knew was a predator, and who was reassigned to another parish.

At a Portland news conference Thursday, Ann Allen told reporters that she was 7 years old in 1964, when Father Lawrence Sabatino abused her in the basement of St. Peter’s Church.

“This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My name is Ann Marie Burke Allen. It’s important that you know that. It’s important to me that I found my voice — it will help me to heal,” she said.

Allen says she never told anyone about the incident, but after moving back to Maine decided that it was time to speak up.

“It’s never too late to tell. It’s never to late to heal….

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Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese to declare bankruptcy in advance of clergy abuse trials

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Press Democrat [Santa Rosa CA]

December 2, 2022

By Mary Callahan

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Filing for bankruptcy would freeze at least 130 new cases involving the Santa Rosa Diocese, which has already paid about $33 million in settlements related to the clergy abuse scandal.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa plans to file for bankruptcy protection in advance of the first clergy abuse trials resulting from a three-year period that gives adult survivors of child sexual abuse in California until Dec. 31 to file civil suits related to their experiences.

Critics immediately framed the move as an effort to prevent the disclosure of sensitive, embarrassing details about priest abuse and the measures they believe church officials took to hide misdeeds over decades.

They also chastised the diocese for choosing a route that would ensure there was no settlement money left for claimants who might yet be abused or who might legally file a lawsuit after the claim deadline established by the bankruptcy court.

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California diocese to join growing list of US Catholic bankruptcies

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Crux [Denver CO]

December 3, 2022

By John Lavenburg

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Soon into the new year, the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, will join a growing list of U.S. Catholic dioceses to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it faces a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits.

Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa announced in a Dec. 2 statement that the diocese’s attorneys will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime between Dec. 31 and March 1, 2023, saying the decision was “the inevitable result of an insurmountable number of claims.”

The diocese is facing more than 130 claims dating from 1962, when the diocese was established, through the present day, with the majority of the cases being from the 1970’s and 1980’s, Vasa said.

The claims were filed under the 2019 California Child Victims Act, which allowed for a three-year period where victims of child sex abuse could come forward with claims that would have expired under the previous statute of limitations….

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Santa Rosa Bishop Announces Bankruptcy Plans as Diocese Hit with Wave of Sex Abuse Claim

SANTA ROSA (CA)
KNTV - NBC Bay Area [San Jose CA]

December 2, 2022

By Alyssa Goard and Michael Bott 

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Facing more than 130 new claims of child sexual abuse and the prospect of large financial settlements, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa announced Friday it will be filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection shortly after the new year.

The announcement comes amid the state’s three-year “lookback window,” created by a 2019 law enabling Californians to file new lawsuits in civil court based on older child sexual abuse claims that would typically be barred by the statute of limitations. The lookback window closes at the end of the year and attorneys expect a last-minute flurry of new cases to be filed.

“In many ways, this is not a freely chosen decision,” Santa Rosa Bishop Robert F. Vasa said in a statement posted to the diocese’s website. “It is the inevitable result of an insurmountable number of claims.”

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Evidence suggests Pope John Paul II knew about abuse of minors decades before becoming pope

KRAKóW (POLAND)
NL Times [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

December 2, 2022

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A Dutch journalist based in Poland revealed evidence on Friday that Pope John Paul II was involved in covering up the abuse of minors while he was the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Krakow. The journalist, Ekke Overbeek, spent the last two years combing through archives in Poland, where he resides, and found several cases where the prominent Catholic Church figure knew about priests who abused children and helped them evade punishment, including transferring them to other parishes.

“I found concrete cases of priests who abused children in the Archdiocese of Krakow, where the future pope was archbishop. The future pope knew about it and nevertheless transferred those men. That led to new victims,” Overbeek said to Nieuwsuur. The journalist studied publicly available documents from the secret services about the future pope from during his time living and working in Poland. He wrote a book about his findings, Maxima…

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‘Paus Johannes Paulus II verdoezelde misbruik door priesters’

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Nieuwsuur, NOS and NTR [Hilversum, Netherlands]

December 2, 2022

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De in 2005 overleden paus Johannes Paulus II wist als bisschop in Krakau al heel vroeg dat priesters in zijn bisdom minderjarigen misbruikten. Zelfs toen pedoseksuele priesters tot een celstraf waren veroordeeld, liet hij hen in een ander bisdom opnieuw verder werken. Dat blijkt uit Poolse documenten die een Nederlandse onderzoeksjournalist heeft opgespoord. Vaticaanspecialisten noemen de ontdekking “explosief”.

De Nederlandse journalist Ekke Overbeek, die onder meer voor Trouw en Nieuwsuur werkt, woont in Polen en dook drie jaar lang de Poolse archieven in. “Ik heb concrete gevallen gevonden van concrete priesters in het aartsbisdom Krakau, waar de latere paus aartsbisschop was, die kinderen misbruikten. De toekomstige paus wist ervan en heeft desalniettemin die mannen overgeplaatst. Dat leidde tot nieuwe slachtoffers.”

(Puzzelstukjes die het plaatje vormen hoe hij met dat kindermisbruik door priesters is omgegaan.- Journalist Ekke Overbeek)

De Poolse paus Johannes Paulus II werd geboren als Karol Józef Wojtyla. Hij was een…

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Legal window closes this month for survivors of clergy child sex abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
KEYT-TV [Santa Barbara CA]

December 2, 2022

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A new round of lawsuits centered on clergy child sex abuse accusations was made public this week in Northern California.

A separate Franciscan abuse lawsuit was filed this week in Santa Barbara. The local case involves a 66-year-old survivor and is linked to accusations stemming from decades ago. Documents show the man lived in Santa Barbara or Alameda as a child at the time of the alleged abuse.

The larger list of accusations entails 116 lawsuits filed in Alameda County. It names 80 Catholic clergy members accused of child sex abuse.

Tim Hale, a Santa Barbara attorney with Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, has spent decades representing survivors of child sex abuse across the country and here at home. The majority of the cases are linked to an institutional cover-up.

Hale said it is not yet known if any of the accused clergy members in this…

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December 2, 2022

Conjectures of a former bystander

(ITALY)
La Croix International [France]

December 1, 2022

By Massimo Faggioli

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The “Italian way” of dealing with the sex abuse crisis

After a long delay compared to many other countries, the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) this past November 17 presented its first-ever clergy sex abuse report. It focused on the prevention and training activity carried out by diocesan services (inter-diocesan and regional) for the protection of minors and the testimonies that victims recounted at diocesan listening centers

The report is the fruit of the collaboration between the CEI and two researchers of the Catholic University of Milan. Compared to other countries, it is much more limited in scope and more institutionally tied to the Catholic Church in Italy. It is a clear attempt to set its own

model in order to avoid the catastrophic impact that revelations of abuse had in other countries.

The Italian report: unlike any other

This report is very different from recent efforts by the Church in…

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Scarborough woman sues Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland claiming child sex abuse

PORTLAND (ME)
WMTW-TV, ABC-8 [Portland ME]

December 1, 2022

By Jim Keithley

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Ann Allen, 65, of Scarborough has filed a civil complaint in Cumberland County Court claiming that the Roman Catholic Church ignored allegations of child sex abuse at the hands of one of its clergy members. She is seeking monetary damages.

Allen becomes the first female to file a civil lawsuit against the church since the laws in Maine changed in 2021, lifting any statute of limitations.

“I’m doing this to let people know that it’s never too late to tell and it’s never too late to heal,” said Allen.

During a press conference in her lawyer’s office in Portland, Allen said the church did not protect her or other children from a predator-priest when she was a child growing up in Portland in the 1960s. She said that she and her family were avid churchgoers and members of St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, located at 72 Federal Street in Portland.

“I need to…

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It’s right to acknowledge how church was a force for good

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

December 2, 2022

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Letters to the Editor

Despite the awful abuse that took place within its walls, the Catholic Church should also be acknowledged for the good work it has done

John Daly’s article (‘Vatican Pimpernel reminds us that not all priests are bad’, Irish Independent, November 28) was a long-overdue acknowledgment of the good work that has been done by the Catholic Church in making Ireland what it is today – a modern and prosperous country.

This has been achieved in no small measure by religious orders who founded our first hospitals and schools free of charge when the struggling state had no money to do so. Blatantly ignoring the contribution of these selfless men and women is a gross and unfair distortion of our history.

Unfortunately, as in our wider society, horrendous abuse was perpetrated by a minority of very sick and cruel people. Painting all our religious…

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14 Northern California clergy, religious linked for first time to Catholic sex abuse scandal

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

December 1, 2022

By Alejandra Molina

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A window for filing new lawsuits under a 2019 California law for decades-old abuse will close Dec. 31.

As a deadline nears for new lawsuits in sexual abuse cases, 66 Catholic clergy and religious accused of sexual abuse have been identified in 116 lawsuits filed in Northern California. Of those, 14 have been publicly identified for the first time.

These new accusations have come to light under under a 2019 California law that extended the statute of limitations for abuse cases. Assembly Bill 218 provided for a three-year window that began on Jan. 1 in 2020. The deadline to file new lawsuits is Dec. 31.

“This public data collected is believed to be a small percentage of what attorneys (and) advocates anticipate the final number of lawsuits filed under this historic legislation to be,” according to a statement from Jeff Anderson and Associates, which is handling many of the cases…

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‘I finally found my voice’ | Scarborough woman sues Portland’s Catholic diocese

PORTLAND (ME)
WCSH - NBC News Center Maine [Portland ME]

December 1, 2022

By Vivien Leigh

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In a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, a Scarborough woman alleges she was sexually abused by a priest in the 1960s.

Ann Allen is the first woman to sue under a 2021 law that removed a time limit for survivors seeking justice in civil court.   

At a news conference, the 64-year-old fought back tears, saying she was ready to come forward with her truth.

“I need to hold the church accountable. … That is critical for my healing, as well,” Allen said.

Allen held up a picture of herself as a child and said she was just 7 years old when she was sexually abused by the Rev. Lawrence Sabatino at St. Peter’s Parish in Portland in the early 1960s. 

Attorneys representing Allen have filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, seeking unspecified damages.

“Our clients need action to be taken to make sure…

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More people distancing themselves from Catholic Church in Belgium

BRUSSELS (BELGIUM)
Brussels Times [Brussels, Belgium]

November 30, 2022

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In 2021, four times as many people had themselves deregistered from the baptismal register than in 2020, largely linked to the Catholic Church’s statement on same-sex marriages and continued reports of sexual abuse.

A total of 5,237 baptised people asked to be removed from the register, more than four times as many as in 2020, when 1,261 people had themselves deregistered, the annual report of the Catholic Church in Belgium showed. The Vatican’s statement in March that homosexuality remains a “sin” (in response to whether it would bless same-sex unions) is said to have played a role in this.

“The matter is receiving a lot of media attention and is one of the possible explanations for the increase in applications for de-registration from the baptismal register,” the report read. “The bishops of Belgium call on our country’s Catholic Church community to continue working towards a climate of respect,…

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December 1, 2022

Polish church seeks victims of deceased paedophile priest to offer support

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

November 30, 2022

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The Catholic church in Poland has offered support to victims of a now-deceased priest who was convicted of child sex abuse but, according to a new report, continued to abuse children while working in the church after his release from prison.

The priest in question, Eugeniusz Surgent, who died in 2008, was the subject of an investigation published last week by Rzeczpospolita, a leading daily.

In the 1970s, Surgent was sentenced to three years in prison for sexually abusing six boys. However, he subsequently remained in the priesthood and had contact with children – including teaching Catholic catechism classes – notes the newspaper, which found that he continued to abuse more victims through the 1980s.

Rzeczpospolita chose not to publish the names of victims found in the files, or to try to contact them, so as not to deepen their trauma. It also “omitted detailed descriptions of how the boys were abused…

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Victim loses High Court battle to establish whether paedophile priest was informer

BELFAST (UNITED KINGDOM)
Belfast Telegraph [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

December 1, 2022

By Alan Erwin

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A victim of paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan has lost a High Court battle to establish if he was a police informer.

The man challenged the PSNI’s policy of neither confirming nor denying the deceased cleric’s suspected role as an agent.

But a judge rejected claims that the force had adopted an inflexible position in breach of human rights.

Mr Justice Colton said: “The policy under challenge in this application is well embedded and approved in our law.

“It has been endorsed by both the High Court and the Specialist Tribunal established to deal with disclosure of such material.”

Finnegan, who died in 2002, was accused of a campaign of child sexual abuse while a teacher at St Colman’s College in Newry, Co Down but never prosecuted.

He worked at the school between 1967 and 1987, spending the last decade as its president.

Since his death damages have been paid to…

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Abusive priest list published, four in area named as ‘‘credibly accused’

SUPERIOR (WI)
River Falls Journal [Cannon Falls MN]

November 30, 2022

By Sam Fristed

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Last week the Diocese of Superior released a list of 23 priests who have “credibly accused” of raping or sexually abusing children. Four priests in the Pierce and St. Croix county area were included on the list.

The four priests are Ryan Erickson of Hudson, Joseph Higgins of River Falls, Donald Dummer of River Falls and James Kraker of Hammond.

All have been removed from ministry. Three have died.

Erickson had a single allegation of abuse between 2000 and 2003 in Hudson. He was removed from the ministry in December 2004. He died in December 2004.

Higgins had a single allegation of abuse in the late 1960’s in River Falls. He was removed from the ministry in February 1974. He died in February 1974.

Dummer was a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). He was not a member of the Diocese of Superior but practiced in River…

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Woman plans to sue Portland’s Catholic Diocese for failing to stop known abuser in 1960s

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

December 1, 2022

By Emily Allen

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Rev. Lawrence Sabatino was one of nine priests publicly identified by the Catholic Church in 2005 for abusing children, 15 years after his death.

A woman is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland alleging a former Catholic priest sexually abused her in the 1960s.

Ann Allen is suing the diocese for civil damages saying the church failed to stop the abuse or warn parishioners about the allegations that began in 1958, according to Allen’s attorneys. Allen said she endured sexual abuse from Rev. Lawrence Sabatino at St. Peter Parish in Portland during the 1960s. Sabatino died in 1990. The church publicly acknowledged he was a sexual abuser in 2005, along with eight other priests, following an investigation by the Maine State Attorney General.

Allen is the latest Mainer to sue someone for abuse since changes to state law in 2021 that eliminated time barriers for survivors seeking…

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Map of Catholic Sex Abuse in Indian Country (Desoluatecountry.com)

New Map Illustrates Catholic Sexual Abuse in Indian Country

(WA)
Native News Online [Grand Rapids, MI]

November 29, 2022

By Jenna Kunz

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Nearly half of all Jesuit priests and brothers credibly accused of sexual abuse against children or vulnerable adults in a ten-state region in the western United States over the past 70 years worked in Indian Country. 

 That’s what’s depicted by Desolate Country: Mapping Catholic Sex Abuse in Native America, an interactive map that plots the years and locations of 99 priests and 13 brothers of the Jesuits West Province. Of them, 47 of the men with credible allegations of abuse against them spent time working at Native missions.

The Jesuits West Province—which includes Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—formed in July 2017 as a merger between the former California and Oregon Provinces after the Oregon Province paid close to $200 million in settlement claims to Indigenous survivors of sexual abuse, leading to bankruptcy. 

The map’s creators— religious studies scholars Katie Holscher and…

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Deadline looms for victims of child sex abuse by CA clergy members to step forward

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KGO-TV, ABC-7 [San Francisco CA]

December 1, 2022

By Tim Johns

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Time is ticking for victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy members in California with a month left under state law to file a lawsuit.

Time is ticking for any victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy members in California, as there’s one month left to file a lawsuit under a recently-signed state law.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, McNevin says he’s one of the hundreds of people in Northern California who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest.

“I think the abuse, it has a permanent impact on whoever is a victim. Your life changes the moment it happens,” McNevin said.

But others, like McNevin, who may wish to come forward, are running out of time.

That’s because a law passed by the California legislature back in 2019 is set to expire at the end of this year.

It’s called AB218, and what it did…

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Additional case of clergy abuse confirmed against priest who served in three Berkshires communities

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

November 30, 2022

By Larry Parnass

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The Rev. Thomas J. O’Connor served Berkshire County Catholic parishes for 15 years, until a chronic heart condition formed him to leave St. Ann’s Church in Lenox.

Years after his death in 1987, at 56, the Springfield diocese evaluated – and found credible – an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor.

This week, the diocese revealed it found a second allegation, from a different person, to also be credible.

As of Wednesday, O’Connor’s entry on the diocese’s list of credibly accused clergy notes that second confirmed allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Like many priests, O’Connor was assigned to parishes around the region. His postings in Berkshire County, after his 1955 ordination by former Bishop Christoper J. Weldon, included a year at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish in North Adams (1962-1963), roughly four years at the St. Joseph Parish in Pittsfield (1965-1969), and nine…

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‘Keepers’ survivors file court motion to seek full release of Maryland AG report on Catholic Church abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Star Beacon [Ashtabula OH]

November 30, 2022

By Jonathan M. Pitts and Lee O. Sanderlin, The Baltimore Sun

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BALTIMORE — Abuse survivors who were featured in “The Keepers,” a widely viewed 2017 Netflix documentary about clergy sexual misconduct at a Baltimore Catholic girls’ school in the 1960s and ’70s, have filed a court motion calling for the full release of a report by the Maryland attorney general on sexual abuse by clergy and other employees in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Teresa Lancaster and Jean Wehner, who were extensively interviewed in the seven-part series, joined with a third woman who has not yet agreed to identify herself publicly, to file the motion Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

The women decided Tuesday to file the document after learning from a Baltimore Sun story that the archdiocese is helping pay legal fees for members of a group of unidentified individuals that’s seeking to seal court proceedings surrounding a judge’s decision on whether to release the report. The group…

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S2 Ep85: Unsolved Murder of Sister Cathy [Transparency and Accountability at the Archdiocese of Baltimore]

BALTIMORE (MD)
Foul Play: Crime Series

November 30, 2022

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Season 2

The Maryland Attorney General investigation into the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore (AOB) has concluded. The 456-page report details the sexual abuse of more than 600 victims at the hands of 158 Catholic Priests that were part of the AOB. Attorney General Brian Frosh has turned his report over to the courts and has asked the court to release it to the public saying his investigation uncovered many attempts of coverups of priests abusing children by those in the Archdiocese.

While Shane travels to Baltimore to do some podcasting with Gemma, he stops at a hotel in Pittsburg and records this phone conversation with Teresa Lancaster about the conclusion of the report and where we are now… as well as a mysterious group of individuals who have come forward to oppose the report being released. Concluding the…

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November 30, 2022

Late Sacramento priest newly accused of child sex abuse as Catholic Church lawsuits pile up

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee [Sacramento CA]

November 30, 2022

By Maggie Angst

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A late clergyman who served the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for four decades has been accused for the first time of sexually assaulting a child, joining dozens of Sacramento clergy previously implicated in the Catholic Church’s decades-old abuse scandal.

In a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, a 60-year-old woman from Placerville — identified only as Jane Doe E.D. — alleges that Sidney P. Hall sexually abused her on multiple occasions in 1966 when she was just six years old.

At that time, Hall was serving as a priest at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral where he was tasked with running the youth group, working with the parish school children and driving the school bus, according to records kept by the church.

The lawsuit states that Hall, who died in Sept. 2016 at the age of 85, used his “influence and persuasion as a holy man and authority figure”…

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Baltimore archdiocese is funding attorneys seeking to seal abuse proceedings

BALTIMORE (MD)
Washington Post

November 29, 2022

By Fredrick Kunkle and Michelle Boorstein

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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a group was seeking to seal Maryland’s report on clergy sexual abuse. It is seeking to seal the proceedings around the report. The article has been corrected.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed Tuesday that it is helping pay the legal expenses of an anonymous group of people seeking to seal the proceedings around a report by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office on clergy sexual abuse of minors.

Christian Kendzierski, an archdiocese spokesman, reiterated that the church is not seeking to suppress a 456-page report by the office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. But, Kendzierski said, the church has unspecified obligations to a group of individuals who are named in the attorney general’s report but are not accused of sexual abuse and who have argued that their side should be heard before the report is made public.

“We stated…

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‘I would love to be out of a job’ Investigative reporter Julie Roys on uncovering Church scandals

CHICAGO (IL)
PremierChristianity.com [London, UK]

November 24, 2022

By Megan Cornwell

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Julie Roys explains why she’s determined to expose abuse and misconduct in the Church

Julie Roys has been described as a gossipmonger, an apostate and a liar. Such labels would cut most Christians deep, but not Roys. The 57-year-old Chicago-based journalist wears unfounded criticism as “a badge of honour” – she even has a mug printed with some of the more acerbic remarks she has received.

Growing up as the youngest of four, it was “survival of the fittest” in her household, and Roys held her own when it came to her pushier siblings. “I would rather get beat up than give in,” she tells me.

Free assertiveness training in childhood, coupled with a naturally strong “internal justice metre” might explain the thick skin and tenacity she now displays in adulthood. When she sees wrong being committed, she just can’t stay silent.

For the last four years, Roys has been reporting…

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Pastors say Johnny Hunt, former SBC president accused of abuse, can return to ministry

NASHVILLE (TN)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

November 29, 2022

By Bob Smietana

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Once a beloved SBC pastor and president, Hunt will return to ministry just over seven months after the allegations were made public.

Disgraced former Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt plans a return to ministry after completing a restoration process overseen by four pastors, according to a video released last week.

Hunt, a longtime megachurch pastor in Georgia, was named earlier this year in the Guidepost Solutions report on sexual abuse in the SBC, which alleged that Hunt had sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife in 2010. Guidepost, a third-party investigation firm, found the claims credible.

“We believe the greatest days of ministry for Johnny Hunt are the days ahead,” said Rev. Steven Kyle, pastor of Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida, in the video.

Kyle, along with pastors Mark Hoover of NewSpring Church in Wichita, Kansas; Benny Tate of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia; and Mike Whitson of…

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Jesuit youth ministry leader accused of sexual abuse in Poland

KłODZKO (POLAND)
Crux [Denver CO]

November 30, 2022

By Paulina Guzik

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The Jesuits in Poland are going through a seismic upheaval after the abuse of a minor and a vulnerable adult by a charismatic youth and retreat minister was revealed by Więź magazine in mid-November.

In a statement released on Nov. 22, the Southern Poland Province of the Jesuits said that Father Maciej Sz. [his full name cannot be used under Polish law] was removed from all ministry and moved to an undisclosed secluded non-Jesuit location where he is forbidden to say Mass or wear clerical garb.

That decision came a week after Więź published a two-part story, “Society of Maciej”, revealed the abuse and the fact that three consecutive Jesuit provincials and the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith failed to act.

“He was her light in the tunnel and that light killed her”

Wiktoria [the names of the victims and their relatives were changed in the Więź article] was a shy teenage girl.

“I…

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Fate of 33 N.L. schools in legal limbo because of church-linked abuse scandals

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

November 30, 2022

By Terry Roberts

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Lawyers at loggerheads over whether schools should be included in historic sales process

More than 1,000 teenagers briskly filed out of Holy Spirit High in Conception Bay South on a recent Friday at the end of another week of classes.

With the weekend on their minds, few appeared to take notice of the tall white cross secured to the school’s exterior brick wall or give a second thought as to why the school has a religious name.

It’s a throwback to when Newfoundland and Labrador’s education system was financed with public money but administered by various Christian denominations, a right that was enshrined in the constitution as part of the province’s terms of union with Canada.

Now, a quarter-century after the denominational system was abolished — following years of intense debate and two referendums — and the government took full control of education, controversy has resurfaced.

[Photo: Marystown Central High had a enrolment of 341 student…

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Small California Diocese has Caused Big Scandals – Diocese of Santa Rosa Corruption

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

November 29, 2022

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It would be nice if we could look at a Catholic organization’s website or hear a Catholic official quoted or speaking candidly about the institution’s contentious and continuing crisis: the widespread sexual abuse of children and the cover-up of that abuse by the church hierarchy. But we at Horowitz Law remain consistently disappointed. Just last week, we reported that nearly 21 names were missing from San Diego’s list. We monitor this crisis closely and often see very few church remarks that are simple, direct, honest, and accurate about these crimes and cover-ups. Very few. 

Instead, we see powerful, well-educated men who know better using euphemisms designed to make it sound so unforeseen, so long ago, not so bad, under control, and therefore, not worth focusing on or addressing in any new, effective way. Common quotes include:

  • “Accused of abuse elsewhere.”
  • “No known accusations in the diocese.” 
  • “No record of any…
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Stika, Knoxville diocese to face apostolic visitation

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

November 23, 2022

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A Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation will be conducted in the Diocese of Knoxville, after complaints about the leadership of Bishop Rick Stika.

A Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation will be conducted in the Diocese of Knoxville next week, several sources close to the diocese told The Pillar.

Sources told The Pillar Fridaythat Bishops Barry Knestout of Richmond and Michael Burbidge of Arlington have been directed to visit with priests, diocesan officials, and lay Catholics over several days, amid ongoing concern over the leadership of Bishop Rick Stika.

The decision to commission an on-site assessment of the diocese comes more than 18 months after priests in the diocese reported to the Vatican concerns about Stika’s handling of reports against a former diocesan seminarian, who was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting other seminarians and a parish organist.

While the Vatican had previously directed Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to look into allegations against Stika, the visitation of Knestout and…

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November 29, 2022

These 10 Bay Area clergy are now linked for the first time to Catholic church sex abuse scandal

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
East Bay Times [Walnut Creek CA]

November 29, 2022

By John Woolfolk

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State law opened the door to lawsuits from adults who say they were abused as children

As a deadline looms for new lawsuits to root out decades-old abuse, 14 Northern California priests — including 10 in the Bay Area — have been accused for the first time of sexually abusing children, adding to the list of dozens of disgraced clergy already exposed in recent years in a scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic church for a generation.

The 14 accused priests came to light in a torrent of litigation unleashed by Assembly Bill 218, which opened a three-year window from 2020-2022 during which adults who say they were abused long ago as children are allowed to sue. Attorneys had predicted the law would generate thousands of lawsuits against institutions including the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church.

“Additional lawsuits are being filed nearly every…

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Former Sioux Falls bishop dead at age 79

SIOUX FALLS (SD)
KFGO radio [Fargo ND]

November 28, 2022

By Paul Jurgens

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A former bishop who led the Diocese of Sioux Falls for 14 years has died.

Bishop Emeritus Paul Swain died Saturday at Avera Dougherty Hospice at age 79.

Swain led the diocese from 2006 through 2020 and was known as a humble leader.  He oversaw the closing or consolidation of smaller parishes.

He also addressed child sex abuse allegations against 11 priests from his diocese who had substantiated claims of abuse made against them from 1958 to 1992. The names were published in March of 2019, along with a letter from Swain that encouraged other victims to come forward.

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Cardinals Ladaria, Ouellet outline concerns about German Synodal Path

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Angelus - Archdiocese of Los Angeles [Los Angeles CA]

November 28, 2022

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

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Top Vatican officials expressed concern that, with the Synodal Path, the German bishops were giving up their role as shepherds and allowing participants to adopt positions in contrast to the faith of the universal church, particularly regarding sexuality and women’s ordination.

The bishops met Nov. 18 with the heads of Vatican dicasteries to discuss the Synodal Path, which the German bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics launched in 2019 in response to the clerical abuse scandal. The Vatican published the texts of presentations Nov. 24.

The meeting, at the end of the bishops’ “ad limina” visits to Rome, was chaired by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Formal presentations were made by Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops.

Cardinal Ladaria focused his remarks on Pope Francis’ letter to German…

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Exclusive: Pope Francis discusses Ukraine, U.S. bishops and more

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
America [New York NY]

November 28, 2022

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Editor’s Note: On Nov. 22, 2022, five representatives of America Media interviewed Pope Francis at his residence at Santa Marta at the Vatican. Matt Malone, S.J., the departing editor in chief of America, was joined by Sam Sawyer, S.J., the incoming editor in chief; executive editor Kerry Weber; Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent; and Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.” They discussed a wide range of topics with the pope, including polarization in the U.S. church, racism, the war in Ukraine, the Vatican’s relations with China and church teaching on the ordination of women. The interview was conducted in Spanish with the assistance of a translator, Elisabetta Piqué. A transcript of the Spanish text can be found here.

Pope Francis: Thank you for coming!

Matt Malone, S.J.: Holy Father, America magazine was founded by the Jesuits in 1909, and we’ve been published continuously since. This is our first opportunity to speak…

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Seattle Archdiocese criticized for buying $2.4 million home for archbishop

SEATTLE (WA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

November 29, 2022

By Katie Collins Scott

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Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne will be moving from a parish rectory into a newly purchased $2.4 million home in an upscale waterfront neighborhood. Archdiocesan officials say the relocation is necessary to better accommodate guests but the decision has also garnered criticism.

“The move is breaking a promise that the archbishop made to us in a pretty major way,” said Tim Law, a Seattle Catholic and attorney who is a member of Heal Our Church, a Washington-based alliance calling for a lay-led review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse.

In 2019, on Etienne’s first day as head of the archdiocese, he told priests and deacons in a letter he would forgo the traditional archbishops’ residence — a 9,000-square-foot mansion named the Connolly House — and “live a more simplified life.” 

“While the Connolly House has been home to the archbishops since 1920, it will not be…

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Archdiocese of Baltimore funds legal fees for ‘anonymous group’ seeking to seal court proceedings

BALTIMORE (MD)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

November 29, 2022

Read original article

(For Immediate Release November 29, 2022) 

After saying it would not oppose the release of a report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is helping to pay lawyers for an anonymous group that’s asked a city judge to keep secret arguments over whether to make the document public. A spokesperson for the archdiocese confirmed Monday to The Baltimore Sun that the church was paying, at least in part, the fees of Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy, two white-collar defense attorneys.

It is becoming clearer, and with no surprise to us, that Archbishop William Lori is deliberately deceptive. In a homily, shortly after Attorney General Frosh’s request to release the report, Lori said, ‘And as I said in my letter to the faithful of the archdiocese last Thursday, I pledge to continue to do…

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Charismatic Revivalist Todd Bentley Widening Ministry Despite Scandals and Disqualification

FORT MILL (SC)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

November 28, 2022

By Sarah Einselen

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A charismatic minister is apparently widening his revival and healing ministry despite having been disqualified because of “a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior.”

Todd Bentley is hosting revival events in Illinois and Florida in January 2023, an event listing shows. A missions trip to Uganda is slated for February and March. Bentley is then planning two weekend revivals — one in April in Lakeland, Florida, and another in May in Memphis.

The events are being put on by Bentley’s ministry, Revival Harvest Ministries, formerly Fresh Fire USA. The revival weekends mirror an event in March 2021 in North Carolina, where Bentley began preaching again after a 17-month break.

Bentley had gone on hiatus after an estranged protégé accused him in 2019 of sexual perversion.

A panel of six charismatic leaders convened to investigate the allegations against…

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Experts develop restorative justice proposals to address Catholic sexual abuse crisis

NOTRE DAME (IN)
Notre Dame News [University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN]

November 28, 2022

By Dennis Brown

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A group composed of scholars, psychologists, clergy, restorative justice experts and victim-survivors of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis has developed a set of proposals that encourage the use of restorative justice as a means to help heal victim-survivors and the broader Church.

The proposals are the result of a two-year study supported by an initiative created by the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the President as part of the Notre Dame Forum, ‘“Rebuild My Church’:  Crisis and Response,” to fund research projects that address issues emerging from the crisis. The proposals have been forwarded for consideration to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A cross-section of 25 experts met in 2021 and 2022 at Notre Dame and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, respectively, to examine whether lessons for the Church could be found in the restorative justice traditions of Indigenous peoples and the efforts of nations…

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Baltimore archdiocese paying attorney costs for members of group seeking to seal court proceedings in clergy abuse investigation

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

November 28, 2022

By Lee O. Sanderlin

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After saying it would not oppose the release of a report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is helping to pay lawyers for an anonymous group that’s asked a city judge to keep secret arguments over whether to make the document public.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese confirmed Monday to The Baltimore Sun that the church was paying, at least in part, the fees of Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy, two white-collar defense attorneys. They represent a group of people who are not accused of sexual abuse, but are named in the report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

Murphy and Bernstein wrote in a filing a week ago in Baltimore Circuit Court that they would reveal their clients’ identities only in a private hearing. The filing does not explain why their clients want to keep the proceedings secret, but…

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Abuse survivors in bid to seize Catholic properties after church fails to pay court costs

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

November 28, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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Three survivors who settled with Marist Brothers have taken action after church fails to follow court order to cover legal costs

Abuse survivors are attempting to seize Catholic church properties, including a Catholic order’s Sydney headquarters, to cover legal costs after their bills went unpaid, despite a court order.

Guardian Australia can reveal three survivors who settled with the Marist Brothers over historical child abuse claims have taken the drastic step of attempting to levy the Catholic order’s assets after a 28-day order to cover the legal costs lapsed without payment.

Marist was ordered to pay the legal costs of three survivors, known to the courts as MM, MJ, and HG.

The Catholic order said there was “unfortunately” a delay in paying the bill, blaming the mistake on an unnamed “third party”. It said it was now attempting to make urgent payment to the survivors’ lawyers, Ken…

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Pope Francis: Benedict XVI was ‘leader’ in responding to sexual abuse

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

November 28, 2022

By Jonah McKeown

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In a recent interview Pope Francis said his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a leader in “taking responsibility” and responding with transparency to clerical sexual abuse — the latest defense by the Holy Father of his predecessor, who is facing criticism in his native Germany for his handling of several abuse cases as an archbishop decades ago. 

In the Nov. 22 interview published Monday by America Magazine, Pope Francis discussed a wide range of topics including the Church’s response to revelations of abuse by clergy. Francis said although “official statistics” show that clergy abuse makes up a very small percentage of all abuse cases in society, [i]f there had been only one case, it would have been monstrous.” 

Before the 2002 “Boston crisis,” abusers were simply moved from place to place as part of the institutional cover-up, he said. 

“The practice, which is still maintained in some…

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Amid Scandals and Politics, Poland’s Youths Lose Faith in Catholic Church

WARSAW (POLAND)
New York Times

November 28, 2022

By Andrew Higgins

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The Polish church is in a deep crisis, as its authority is sapped by cascading sexual abuse scandals and as more people grow wary of its perceived alliance with the country’s right-wing government.

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — A committed Catholic who served from childhood as an altar boy, Karol dreamed as a teenager of entering the seminary in his hometown in northern Poland and becoming a priest.

“I had a deep faith and wanted to serve the church,” said Karol, now 26, recalling how he had discussed his hopes of one day becoming a bishop with his spiritual mentor, a priest at the Church of Divine Providence in the city of Bydgoszcz.

But that was before the priest raped him.

“The whole church has been poisoned,” Karol said in an interview, asking that his full name not be used by The New York Times.

His story, one of many that…

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November 28, 2022

Wed., Nov. 30 – Twenty Years Since the Dallas Charter: Part Two

WASHINGTON (DC)
Georgetown University [Washington DC]

November 28, 2022

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Firsthand Witness Accounts from the Front Lines

November 30, 2022
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST  RSVP Required
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

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The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter, is a comprehensive set of procedures addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and established in June 2002, the charter has impacted survivors, their families, and everyone in the Church for the last two decades. In light of these past 20 years, panelists will ask: What has happened since the Dallas Charter was promulgated in 2002, and what is the way forward for the next 20 years? What progress has been made, what has failed to happen, and what voices have been neglected or marginalized? What might the next 20…

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Pune court sends priest to police custody, five others booked

PUNE (INDIA)
Hindustan Times [Delhi, India]

November 27, 2022

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This is the third case of sexual abuse against the priest and he was previously booked at Kondhwa police station for a similar offence

Pune sessions court on Sunday extended father Vincent Pereira’s police custody on charges of sexually abusing a minor. Pereira was arrested on Friday by Bund Garden police, and remanded to police custody on Saturday. On Sunday he was produced before a Pune court, which extended his custody by another day.

This is the third such case against the priest and he was previously booked at Kondhwa police station for a similar offence.

Besides Pereira, five priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese committee have been named as co-accused and have also been booked in the case.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Bund Garden Division) RN Raje said, “We have arrested Periera after a complaint related to sexual abuse of a minor was lodged against him. The accused has…

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Pune: Priest Arrested For Molesting Child, Third FIR In Five Years

PUNE (INDIA)
Punekar News [Pune, Maharashtra, India]

November 27, 2022

By Mubarak Ansari

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A Catholic priest has been arrested by Pune city police for allegedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy. A special court has remanded him to one-day police custody.

Based on a complaint from a social activist, Bund Garden police station registered the FIR yesterday for offences under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Five other priests are co-accused in the case as they did not inform the police after a complaint was made to them.

According to the FIR, the incident took place on 21st November 2021 at Pune railway station. The victim was going to his native place with his parents when the accused approached them with a cake. He asked his parents to go inside the station with the luggage and then took the child behind an autorickshaw.

“The priest asked me obscene questions, and also whether I watch pornographic videos. He…

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Lawyers seek secrecy around release of Md. report on Catholic church sexual abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Washington Post

November 22, 2022

By Erin Cox and Michelle Boorstein

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Attorneys representing people named in the report asked a judge to keep all proceedings under seal. The church said it will support the report’s release.

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s 456-page report on child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore faces a legal effort to seal the court proceedings over whether to release it.

But the legal wrangling does not come from the archdiocese, which said in a statement late Tuesday that it will not oppose releasing the details of the four-year investigation, described by Frosh in court filings last week as documenting 600 victims of clergy sexual abuse over 80 years.

“We believe that transparency is necessary to rebuild the trust that has been damaged by evil acts of abuse committed by representatives of the Church and by historic failures of Church leadership to respond adequately to those acts,” the archdiocese statement said, adding that…

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Catholic school staffer to spend at least 18 months in jail over sexual abuse of Tasmanian students, girls

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

November 23, 2022

By Monte Bovill

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A staff member at a Tasmanian Catholic school has been described as “persistent and predatory” in the sexual exploitation of multiple students and young girls, and will now spend at least 18 months in prison.

Key points:

  • The court heard Hones created multiple social media and email accounts with fake names to communicate with the girls
  • Justice Jago said “immediate imprisonment” was warranted, sentencing him to three years and nine months behind bars.
  • She suspended nine months of the sentence, with Hones eligible for parole in 18 months

Somerset man Adam Michael Hones, 32, worked as an information technology technician at Burnie’s Marist Regional College for almost a decade before being stood down following a police investigation in 2021.

In October he pleaded guilty to 19 charges involving 17 different young girls, 11 of which were students at Marist. They were aged between 14 and 17.

In handing down her sentence in…

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Catholic Diocese of Superior releases its abusive clergy list – sexual abuse of a minor

SUPERIOR (WI)
APG Media of Wisconsin [Ashland WI]

November 22, 2022

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Most Rev. James P. Powers, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Superior, today released the list of abusive clergy who have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. This list of names is the result of three separate clergy file reviews, including one by a private independent security consulting firm, more than a year of meetings, multiple sessions with the Diocesan Review Board (lay people with various life experiences), and much prayer and discernment.

The complete list can be found on the Diocesan website at catholicdos.org/abusive-clergy-list.

Bishop Powers sincerely acknowledges the sinful harms of the past, apologizes on behalf of the local Church, and prays for the healing of all victims-survivors and their affected families and friends.

“I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot,” said Bishop Powers. “What we…

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New independent provider for Safe Spaces, for victims and survivors of church-related abuse

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Independent Catholic News [London, England]

November 27, 2022

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The Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Church of England and Church in Wales have announced ongoing support for victims and survivors of church-related abuse, through their Safe Spaces project, with newly-appointed independent provider First Light.

Safe Spaces is a free national support service which offers a confidential, personal, and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, The Church in Wales or The Catholic Church in England and Wales, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.

First Light is an independent organisation with extensive experience in supporting those who have experienced or are experiencing sexual abuse or domestic violence, including survivors and victims of church-related abuse.

First Light have been appointed by the Board of Trustees Of Safe Spaces England and Wales (SSEW) after a rigorous and highly competitive tender process.

The Anglican Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, a…

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Catholic order faces 130 child sex abuse allegations

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The Times/The Sunday Times [London, England]

November 27, 2022

By Patrick O’Donoghue and Beau Donelly

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The Irish wing of the Saint John of God congregation has so far received 131 allegations of child sexual abuse against members of its order over the past five decades.

The Catholic order that ran special schools in Ireland has not made one legal settlement with victims, The Sunday Times can reveal.

Thirty-four fresh claims of abuse have been made since 2015, when a safeguarding review of the order was carried out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. The order was aware of 97 allegations of child sexual abuse at the time of the review.

The order ran five special schools for pupils aged between 5 and 18 in Dublin, Kildare, Kerry and Louth. More than 100 of the claims concern incidents alleged to have taken place in school settings.

No members of the order in Ireland have been convicted of child sexual abuse…

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Saskatchewan Church Blasts Saskatoon Church-Run School, Church Following $25M Sex Abuse Lawsuit

(CANADA)
Christianity Daily [Los Angeles CA]

November 27, 2022

By Berlin Flores

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The United Church of Canada (UNC) in Saskatchewan issued a strong statement blasting church-run Legacy Christian Academy (LCA) and the Mile Two Church following the publication of a $25-million sexual abuse case in August against the school.

Threats Against Sexual Abuse Survivors

According to a report by Global News, the United Church of Canada denounced the threats directed toward sexual abuse survivors like Caitlin Erickson. Erickson studied at the LCA, where she allegedly suffered sexual abuse.

The news outlet said Erickson and fellow survivors’ public rebuke of the negative experience they had in the hands of Legacy Christian Academy teachers triggered the anonymous threats.

Erickson reportedly showed copies of email messages she received, one of which told her to “stop talking to the press, if you value your life,” coupled with a Bible verse saying, “For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29).”

Aside from the threatening emails,…

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November 27, 2022

Patti Egan, age 11. Her abuse began at the hands of her brother-in-law when she was 11 years old, Egan said. (Courtesy Photo). Cropped.

CA ‘Look-Back’ Window Closing for Adult Victims of Childhood Sex Abuse

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Patch [New York City NY]

November 26, 2022

By Ashley Ludwig

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[Photo above: Patti Egan, age 11. Her abuse began at the hands of her brother-in-law when she was 11 years old, Egan said. (Courtesy Photo).]

The legal window for adults to sue their childhood sexual abuser despite the statute of limitations will soon close in California.

Southern California resident Patricia Egan, 65, is breathing easier, she said, after having her day in court. In November, Egan, now 65, won an $18 million lawsuit against her former brother-in-law, the man she says sexually abused her during the ’60s and ’70s, starting when she was 11 years old.

Now, however, the three-year legal window that enables older adult victims such as Egan to sue for damages against their childhood sexual abusers is about to close in California. California Assembly Bill 218, temporarily set aside the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims to file claims. It opened up a three-year window…

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Albany diocese’s mediation with abuse survivors on brink of collapse

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

November 27, 2022

By Brendan J. Lyons

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Mediator Paul A. Finn: “I’ve been doing this a long time and … this is a complete and total waste of time”

The ongoing mediation between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and attorneys for hundreds of plaintiffs who filed sexual abuse claims under the Child Victims Act is teetering on collapse. One of two mediators overseeing the negotiations, which have languished for months, described them as a “complete and total waste of time.”

That analysis by Paul A. Finn, a Massachusetts attorney who oversaw the settlement of 552 cases of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Boston, came during a court conference last week when leaders of a committee representing dozens of plaintiffs’ attorneys informed the diocese’s attorney they should file for bankruptcy if they can’t provide a meaningful offer by Tuesday.

Cynthia S. LaFave, an attorney on the plaintiffs liaison committee, said they have been waiting since July…

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Greece Opens Abuse, Fraud Probe Into Famed Charity

ATHENS (GREECE)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

November 27, 2022

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[Via Barron’s]

Greece has opened a probe into one of the country’s best-known child charities after numerous claims of alleged abuse and financial mismanagement, a justice ministry source told AFP on Sunday.

The Ark of the World, founded by a charismatic priest, has worked with underprivileged children for at least two decades in Athens and several other parts of Greece.

Since mid-November, Greek media have been broadcasting allegations of malfeasance at the charity from former staff and former children under its care, their faces obscured and voices disguised.

One 19-year-old told police that he was allegedly sexually molested by a senior charity official, according to media reports.

One former staffer said that he was fired after speaking out after a co-worker allegedly beat three boys.

Others have claimed that charity executives demanded monetary donations instead of clothes and food, and lived lives of luxury.

The government this week replaced the…

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Tagle reiterates sacking of Caritas leadership not about sexual abuse, financial mismanagement

QUEZON CITY (PHILIPPINES)
GMA Network News [Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines]

November 23, 2022

By Joviland Rita

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The removal of the entire leadership of Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide charity arm Caritas Internationalis (CI) was not due to sexual abuse and financial management, its president Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said on Tuesday.

Tagle made the statement during a plenary meeting in Rome this week as he read the Pope’s decree directing the sackings of Caritas’ executives including him, Vatican News reported.

“I would like to assure you that this is not, this is not, this is not about sexual harassment or sexual abuse. This is not about, again, mismanagement of money … the decree clearly stated the intention,” he added.

According to him, the move was a call for “walking humbly with God” and “a process of discernment.”

“This is a call for walking humbly with God and a process of discernment, confronting our unfreedoms and following the spirit of freedom, [and] at…

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