Documenting the Catholic Sexual Abuse and Financial Crisis – Data on bishops, priests, brothers, nuns, Pope Francis, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Friday, September 24, 2021
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.
An investigation of the church’s handling of allegations is moving forward. Women have been telling their stories for years
This story has been updated.
[Photo above: Hannah-Kate Williams (L) and her sister, Maddie Rose Douglas (R), pose in Lexington, Ky., in June. (Silas Walker)]
Tens of thousands gathered in June at the Music City Center in Nashville for the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual conference. For the many women who have been speaking out about sexual assault within the nation’s largest evangelical denomination, the conference marked a long-awaited change of course: The Southern Baptist Convention nearly unanimously approved a third-party audit of sexual abuse allegations within its more than 47,000 churches. It also authorized an investigation into a suspected widespread coverup by the Executive Committee.
Retired Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack, who faced criticism for his role in Boston’s clergy sex abuse scandal and led New Hampshire’s diocese during its own reckoning, has died.
McCormack, 86, died Tuesday at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester, according to the Diocese of Manchester. He had served as the diocese’s ninth bishop for 13 years before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.
McCormack’s tenure as the leader of New Hampshire’s 310,000 Catholics started in 1998 and turned tumultuous in early 2002 when the sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston. Victims and grassroots Catholic groups called on him to resign, citing his former position as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, where he was in charge of investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by priests.
That same year, McCormack averted unprecedented criminal charges against the New Hampshire diocese by agreeing that it had harmed…
John B. McCormack, the retired Roman Catholic Bishop for New Hampshire who admitted to protecting the identities of priests accused of sexually abusing children, has died, the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., confirmed in a Facebook post Wednesday.
McCormack died Tuesday at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester, the diocese said. He was 86.
The leader of New Hampshire’s Catholics from 1998 to 2011, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, McCormack became the state’s ninth bishop after serving as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law for the Boston Archdiocese in the 1990s.
In 2002, after a Globe Spotlight report revealed how the church had for decades gone to great lengths to protect clergy members who sexually assaulted children, McCormack faced growing calls for his resignation as the top Catholic in New Hampshire.
Francis’ decision to refuse Hesse’s offer and to reinstate him as archbishop has been met with negative reactions.
In a decision that has been met with sharp criticism from lay Catholics, abuse victims’ associations and the secular press, Pope Francis has refused to accept Archbishop Stefan Hesse’s resignation, and reinstated him as Archbishop of Hamburg.
Archbishop Hesse of Hamburg offered to resign for his mishandling of 11 cases of clerical sexual abuse while he was personnel manager and vicar general of Cologne (2003-2014). The Pope’s decision to reinstate him as Archbishop of Hamburg was announced by the German nunciature on 15 September. Francis granted Hesse leave of absence at the end of March leaving Hamburg without an archbishop for almost six months although canon law prescribes a three-month deadline for the acceptance or not of an offer of resignation.
He was glad that a “period of uncertainty” for the archdiocese of…
A federal judge dismissed some of the biggest unsettled lawsuits over Ohio State’s failure to stop decades-old sexual abuse by now-deceased team doctor Richard Strauss, saying Wednesday it’s indisputable Strauss abused hundreds of young men but agreeing with OSU’s argument that the legal window for such claims had passed.
“For decades, many at Ohio State tasked with protecting and training students and young athletes instead turned a blind eye to Strauss’s exploitation,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson wrote in one ruling. “From 1979 to 2018, Ohio State utterly failed these victims. Plaintiffs beseech this Court to hold Ohio State accountable, but today, the legal system also fails Plaintiffs.”
The matter isn’t done. Strauss-related lawsuits against OSU filed this year by dozens of other plaintiffs appeared to still be pending, with no dismissal or other new rulings appearing on those dockets as of late Wednesday. And lawyers for the 200-plus…
A Federal judge Wednesday dismissed hundreds of pending lawsuits against Ohio State University, (OSU) in cases related to a former OSU sports team doctor Richard Strauss, who had sexually molested young male athletes and other students for twenty years.
‘It is beyond dispute that Plaintiffs, as well as hundreds of other former students, suffered unspeakable sexual abuse by Strauss. It is also true that many Plaintiffs and other students complained of Strauss’s abuse over the years and yet medical doctors, athletic directors, head and assistant coaches, athletic trainers, and program directors failed to protect these victims from Strauss’s predation.”
According to Judge Watson he dismissed the cases because the statute of limitations for criminal rape cases in Ohio is 20 years to report for criminal prosecution or otherwise have legal proceedings initiated.
Australian cardinal maintains he’s not a climate change denier, but skeptical of solutions
Australian Cardinal George Pell said Sept. 23 he “never really approved” of Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking decision in 2013 to resign the papacy.
Pell, who was the prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy from 2014 to 2019 and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Cardinals from 2013 to 2018, said that among the recent popes — John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis — he was closest to Benedict.
Pell described John Paul II as “one of the greatest popes in history, of course,” and praised Benedict’s “prodigious intellect,” adding that “I knew him better than all of the other two popes.”
The cardinal’s remarks came during a webinar as part of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross’ “The Church Up Close” virtual series targeted…
In 2015, Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge was asking himself something similar. Australia was in the midst of a government-mandated investigation into sexual abuse in the church. Australian Catholics were leaving the church.
The Brisbane archbishop was at the Vatican, attending the Synod of Bishops on the family. It was there he had an idea that “seemed to me at the time and still seems to me the work of the Holy Spirit.”
“For the first time — certainly at a Roman synod — I saw discernment in action,” Archbishop Coleridge wrote earlier this year….
A Florida man now in his late 50s has filed a lawsuit alleging that house parents at the Children’s Home in Winston-Salem sexually abused him for several years, starting in 1969 when he was 7 years old.
This is the sixth lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg Superior Court against what was formerly known as the Children’s Home and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, which operated the Children’s Home at the time the alleged sexual abuse took place. In 2017, the Children’s Home merged with the Crossnore School and is now known as the Crossnore School & Children’s Home.
The allegations center on a married couple who worked as house parents at the Anna Haines Cottage at the Children’s Home — Bruce Jackson “Jack” Biggs and Beatrice Biggs — from 1966 to 1975. The couple was never criminally charged, and Jack Biggs died in 2015. Beatrice Biggs,…
A Delaware judge on Tuesday began a key hearing that could determine whether the Boy Scouts of America can emerge from bankruptcy later this year with a reorganization plan that would compensate thousands of men who say they were sexually abused as children.
The Boy Scouts, based in Irving, Texas, sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020, seeking to halt hundreds of individual lawsuits and create a fund for men who say they were molested as children by scoutmasters and others. Although the organization was facing 275 lawsuits at the time, it’s now facing some 82,500 sexual abuse claims in the bankruptcy case.
Judge Laura Selber Silverstein convened the hearing to consider whether a disclosure statement outlining the latest reorganization plan contains sufficient details to ensure that abuse claimants and other creditors can make informed decisions on whether to accept or reject it.
Silverstein must approve the disclosure statement before the…
A report on Knoxville’s Bishop Rick Stika is under review at the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, months after multiple allegations of administrative and personal misconduct triggered an investigation into Stika’s leadership.
Vatican sources tell The Pillar that a Vatican-ordered investigation was conducted over the summer, and that a decision is expected soon on whether Stika will remain in ministry as diocesan bishop.
Among other things, Stika is accused of sidelining an investigator appointed to scrutinize allegations of sexual assault and misconduct committed by a former diocesan seminarian, with whom the bishop is alleged to have an inappropriately close relationship.
The bishop told The Pillar in April that the charge against him was “fake news.” And last month, while Stika remained under investigation, he took the former seminarian on a vacation — a 10-day road trip along with Cardinal Justin Rigali.
An investigation into Stika’s leadership was ordered in May, and conducted by Archbishop Joseph…
The Spotlight Team revealed the church’s secret protection of pedophile priests in a series with global repercussions.
[Photo above: A man protesting against Cardinal Bernard Law faces a group of pro-Law protesters on the steps of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in April 2002. – Michael Dwyer/AP/File]
On his first day on the job in July 2001, Globe editor Martin Baron stopped by the desk of Eileen McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. A week earlier, McNamara had published a column about the Boston Archdiocese’s silence on three priests accused of sexually abusing children. One line, in particular, had irked Baron. McNamara had wondered whether an accused priest’s superiors had known about his crimes. Court documents were sealed. “The public,” she concluded, “has no way of knowing.”
McNamara recalls Baron standing over her desk: “Why don’t we find out,” he said.
Anthony Pilla, who served as Bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese from 1980 until 2006, died Tuesday morning at his home. He was 88.
Pilla was born in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood and graduated from John Carroll University. His tenure as Cleveland’s Bishop, which began when his predecessor James Hickey was named Archbishop of Washington, spanned the mayoralties of George Voinovich, Michael R. White and Jane Campbell in Cleveland. He resigned in 2006 after open-bypass heart surgery and the cumulative stress and grief of the national sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
Though Pilla eventually established a lay review board and procedures for the reporting of abuse and the removal of abusive priests, those actions came only after years of diocesan neglect in Northeast Ohio. The vast scale of the abuse, and the pain and distrust it created in millions of Catholics, didn’t seem to dawn on Pilla until…
After two days of meetings, the details for an abuse investigation remain unresolved.
Members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee agreed to spend $1.6 million to fund an outside review into how the committee has handled claims of sexual abuse over the past two decades.
But after two days of intense meetings and passionate debate, the committee remained divided on whether to waive attorney-client privilege as part of the investigation.
Rolland Slade, chairman of the Executive Committee, said committee members made progress on setting up the investigation. He and other officers of the committee plan to meet with the independent task force that will oversee the investigation to hammer out final details over the next week.
“We are not done yet,” said Slade, pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, on Tuesday (Sept. 21) at the conclusion of the meetings. “But we all now grasp the urgency….
Leaders are still debating whether to hand over privileged materials as survivors and the majority of their own denomination have requested.
Months after the Southern Baptist Convention voted for a third-party investigation into how its Executive Committee responded to abuse allegations, leaders failed to adopt the convention’s terms for the process, deferring to ongoing negotiations between leaders and a sexual abuse task force.
The two-day proceedings in Nashville highlighted growing turmoil in the nation’s largest Protestant body and disappointed victims who had held out hope the convention would adopt a thorough outside review to address its missteps.
Still up for debate is whether the Executive Committee (EC) will comply with the convention’s directive to waive attorney-client privilege to allow investigators to obtain relevant documents from EC members and staff.
The majority of the EC voted against doing so, with several citing the “fiduciary duty” to protect the entity and the…
Kudos to The Buffalo News for publishing Michael Taheri’s Sept. 8 Another Voice article giving options to and describing how Bishop Michael W. Fisher can demonstrate “genuine remorse” over what seems to be endless revelations of priestly abuse. Western New York residents should take to heart what Taheri, a daily communicant and Eucharistic minister, has to say.
One of Taheri’s options for Fisher, a very good one, is that he offer every church asset including the diocese’ churches to the victims of abuse. But after reading of the obstinate reluctance for even basic forthright truthfulness from church leaders for so many years, this option will probably be greeted as a “non-starter” in clerical circles.
May I suggest an easier option and “starter” than Taheri’s towards the path of genuine remorse: ask the bishop to use the plain and simple word that the rest of the population uses to describe the…
Survivors of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania want justice, no more or no less. They have long deserved it, but continue to face more roadblocks than they should.
Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse deserve a vote in the state Senate on whether they will be granted a window of time to file civil lawsuits against their abusers.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, said there are no plans to move legislation to allow survivors of child sex abuse to sue organizations that cover-up for child predators. Ward said the legislation is unconstitutional.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who rallied with abuse survivors in Harrisburg, disagrees.
He called Ward’s blockage “pathetic,” arguing Senate leaders won’t push legislation forward due to pressure from lobbyists and the insurance industry.
Proposed legislation would open a two-year window to sue even if the statute of limitations had expired in their case. Earlier this year, a…
Both the Church and society in Poland were unprepared to face the crisis caused by the sexual abuse of minors. Negative reactions prevailed at first. In the last few years, thanks to journalists and clear direction from the Holy See, the Church in Poland has learned how to create an integrated structure for the protection of minors and the support of victims.
The Church in Poland entered the 21st century feeling proud of itself, enjoying the success it had achieved. These sentiments were motivated by Poland’s past and more recent history. Up until 1918, the Polish state had vanished, being divided up by neighboring powers for a good 123 years. For the Polish people, the Catholic Church had been a bulwark of freedom and had contributed toward the survival of the nation’s language, culture, and even its hope for independence. Heroic deeds performed by many Catholic priests and lay faithful…
As the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors holds a safeguarding conference in Warsaw, a well-known survivor of clerical sexual abuse urges the Church to deal with the emergency of clerical sexual abuse.
“When we don’t believe survivors, when we don’t have agile processes, and deal with it with justice, people are really traumatized, and people are dying because of this.”
Juan Carlos Cruz, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), offered that wake-up call in an interview with Vatican News.
Mr. Cruz is a well-known survivor of clerical sexual abuse of minors from Chile who suffered at the hands of the late Fernando Karadima (the Chilean priest was defrocked in September 2018 and died in July 2021).
Pope Francis appointed Mr. Cruz as a member of the PCPM in March of this year.
The recent protest by four Catholic nuns in Kerala against anti-Muslim remarks is of a piece with their long fight against sexual abuse by priests
Poverty, chastity and obedience. These are the three vows a Catholic nun takes when she enters the convent. Priests also take similar vows. But what happens when everything nuns have dedicated their lives to is turned on its head and they are forced to break their vows?
Last week, four nuns Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Alphy Pallasseril, Ancitta Urumbil and Josephine Viloonickal from Kottayam in Kerala walked out of a prayer service at St Francis Mission Home, accusing the priest, Rajeev, of hate speech against Muslims. The priest, they said, had spoken of “narcotic jihad” and “love jihad”, and had also asked the congregation to boycott Muslim businesses. Sr Anupama said she was shocked: “Christ has taught us to love not spread communalism.”
Cardinal Seán O’Malley told a safeguarding summit this week that “the wrongs done to God’s people must be corrected.”
Preaching at Mass on Sept. 20 at a conference in Warsaw, Poland, the archbishop of Boston called for an end to clerical abuse and cover-ups.
“We are gathered here because so many of our brothers and sisters have suffered at the hands of abusive clergy who have perpetrated evil acts by using their office to abuse others or to cover up such abuse. And many times, those who have suffered have been rejected in their suffering when they spoke out,” he said.
“This cannot be what Jesus wants of his Church; this cannot be the Church of a loving and reconciling God. Abuse and its cover up must stop and the wrongs done to God’s people must be corrected.”
O’Malley, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors,…
In the charge sheet, the police accused Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep Singh, Salim Ahmad and Laxmi Narayan of rape, wrongful confinement, murder, destruction of evidence.
A nine-year old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered near the Delhi cantonment area on August 2 died due to “suffocation” during the sexual assault, Delhi Police told court. The accused, priest Radhe Shyam had sexually assaulted the minor girl before as well, the police further said in the chargesheet adding that the search history of the accused’s mobile revealed that he had accessed more than 1300 porn websites, indicating his addiction to the same.
In the charge sheet, the police accused Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep Singh, Salim Ahmad and Laxmi Narayan of rape, wrongful confinement, murder, destruction of evidence, and under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, saying that there was sufficient…
A Catholic priest in Kentucky is set to be released from prison after serving nearly four years for sexual abuse that happened in the 1970s.
R. Joseph Hemmerle testified at his 2016 trial in Meade County that he would sometimes apply calamine lotion to the genitals of children at a church summer camp, with their permission. He was found guilty of one count of indecent or immoral practices with a child under 15.
Hemmerle is set to be released on Oct. 1, according to the state Department of Corrections. He will be on probation for six to eight months.
The victim who testified against Hemmerle said the priest, now 79, should not go free.
”I’m concerned this guy is getting out,” Michael Norris told WAVE-TV in Louisville. “He can show up next door and you won’t have a clue who this man is. Your children can get…
Bids began rolling in Tuesday as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe launched its first online auction of properties to raise money for a settlement in a federal bankruptcy case prompted by hundreds of claims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
The archdiocese wants to generate funds through the online auction — as well as insurance, donations and other property sales — to settle a case with about 385 people who have alleged abuse, with some claims dating back decades.
About 140 properties are up for sale in Valencia, Sandoval and Bernalillo counties, most of which are small and vacant parcels donated to the archdiocese. Some parcels will be bundled for the sale.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, one Valencia County parcel had a bid of only $250, while another in Bernalillo County was up to $188,000.
The current auction will conclude next week. Additional properties in 15 other counties…
A conference on the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable persons taking place in Warsaw, Poland, highlights the Church’s efforts to to protect its vulnerable members. Prof. Paweł Wiliński reflects on the need to ensure abuse victims’ rights to information, representation, protection and compensation.
A 4-day conference organized by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors aims to help the Church in her reflections and response to the crisis of the abuse of minors and vulnerable persons.
The event, themed “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children”, is being held on 19 – 22 September in the Polish capital of Warsaw. It gathers Catholic representatives from across Central and Eastern Europe, as well as experts who work in the field of child and youth protection.Listen to our interview with Prof. Paweł Wiliński
Need for a system of protection
Prof. Paweł Wiliński is one of the participants at the safeguarding conference. He…
The German bishops’ plenary assembly began with urgent appeals for church reform and a reminder to heed admonitions from Pope Francis.
Bishop Georg Bätzing, conference president, called on all bishops to embrace radical change, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA. He said visible changes were needed soon in the Synodal Path German church reform project, which could be a “door opener” for the worldwide synodal process launched by the pope.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the pope’s ambassador to Germany, repeatedly urged the bishops to preserve the unity of the church and to follow the pope’s directives.
At the start of the Sept. 20-23 assembly, Catholic reform groups and women’s associations held demonstrations demanding rapid and fundamental reforms, warning that this was the only way for the church to restore its credibility.
Bishop Bätzing called on his fellow bishops to agree radical changes are needed in the way they work…
A recently reinstated Lake Zurich priest who was accused of sexually abusing minors 25 years ago while he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines is again sidelined after “additional information” has come to light, the Archdiocese of Chicago said.
The Rev. David Ryan was expected to return to the Roman Catholic parish this weekend, but the new information caused a delay in Ryan’s return “while it is thoroughly investigated,” according to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich that was released Thursday.
“Father Ryan has assured us that he will cooperate fully as he understands that we must take every allegation seriously in accordance with our child protection policies,” the letter said.
Cupich added in the letter that he shared the disappointment at the news, “especially” since Ryan was to come back this weekend.
“But, I ask your patience once again as we fulfill our obligation to keep the…
Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, a Cleveland native who helped start a national dialogue on the role of the church in the city and guided Northeast Ohio Catholics through more than a quarter century, died Tuesday.
Pilla, who was bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland from 1981 until his retirement in 2006, died at his home, the diocese confirmed in a statement. He was 88.
In a statement, the diocese’s current Bishop Edward C. Malesic remembered Pilla as a “very warm, kind-hearted and deeply faithful shepherd.”
“He was generous with his time and sharing his knowledge and concern for the diocese with me,” Malesic said in his statement. “As a leader in the national Church, Bishop Pilla was an inspiration and example to me throughout my priesthood and in my years as a bishop. I felt so welcomed by him when I came to the Diocese of Cleveland, a Church that…
Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and Katharina Westerhorstmann, a professor of theology at Franciscan University, will host a public lecture and a day-long consultation session at Notre Dame on Thursday and Friday (Sept. 23 and 24), examining the Church’s sex abuse crisis and the lessons that may be derived from national truth and reconciliation processes for healing and restoration.
The initiative, “The Truth Will Make You Free: What Promise Do National Truth and Reconciliation Processes Offer for the Catholic Church’s Response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis?” is funded by Notre Dame’s Church Sexual Abuse Crisis Research Grant Program and stems from the 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum, “‘Rebuild My Church:’ Crisis and Response.”
On Friday, Philpott and Westerhorstmann will bring together approximately 25 participants — including church leaders, representatives of survivor groups, experts on national truth and reconciliation processes, theologians, psychologists and legal experts — to generate…
Higher charges were filed by a district attorney almost a year after the alleged act
A former Catholic priest accused of performing sexual acts on an altar in Pearl River, Louisiana, has been charged with a higher offence of obscenity for the September 2020 encounter, according to a report.
Travis John Clark, aged 38, was a pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church when he allegedly had a threesome on the altar with Mindy Lynn Dixon, 42, and Melissa Kamon Cheng, 29, who were wearing corsets and high heels.
Mr Clark, Ms Dixon and Ms Cheng were charged with obscenity by St Tammy Parish Sheriffs Office in Pearl River, before a district attorney dropped the charges in favour of institutional vandalism, a lesser charge, in March 2021.
All three pleaded not guilty to charges of “knowingly vandalising, defacing, or otherwise damaging property and causing damage valued at over $500…
Victims of child sex abuse and their advocates said they have waited long enough to see Pennsylvania create a two-year window for child sex abuse survivors to take their abusers to court.
A crowd of more than 50 people holding signs that carried messages such as “Justice for Survivors” and “Why are we still here” converged on the state Capitol steps in Harrisburg on Monday. They implored the state Senate to vote on a bill that has already passed the state House of Representatives.
Kathyrn Robb, executive director of CHILD USAdvocacy and a child sex abuse survivor, opened the rally with an impassioned speech.
“We have had enough. We are not going away, not today, not tomorrow, not until this legislation is passed and not until survivors in Pennsylvania have been heard, have accountability, true healing and an opportunity for justice,” Robb said.
[Photo above: Patty Bear during pilot training. When a representative of the Air Force Academy spoke at her school, she realized she’d found her ticket to freedom. – Courtesy of Patty Bear]
Patty Bear began plotting her escape in high school.
Raised in a strict Reformed Mennonite community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Bear was trained to become a wife, mother — and little else. “My mother wore long dark dresses and a white bonnet,” the 57-year-old recalls. “And I was expected to grow up and wear the same uniform.”
There was a darker side, too, Bear said, to a society where women were taught to be “submissive and obedient.” She endured years of emotional and physical abuse at her father’s hands, she said, forcing her mother to take Patty and five siblings on the run.
Bear would eventually leave the church, become a U.S. Air Force pilot and fly commercial…
Former residents of Burlington’s shuttered St. Joseph’s Orphanage are voicing frustration with Vermont’s Roman Catholic Diocese as they push the state’s largest religious denomination to pay for counseling after their mistreatment decades ago.
“The diocese has done as little as possible to help with our healing goals,” said Michael Ryan, who lived at the orphanage as a child. “They need to provide restitution for their sins of the past.”
A group of 18 former residents gathered Thursday at a reunion that’s part of a restorative justice process, which the orphanage’s former owners at the diocese and operators at the Montreal-based Sisters of Providence have yet to join.
“The church demands atonement from its faithful,” former resident Katelin Hoffman said, “but hypocritically, it is avoiding atonement for its own sins.”
The Rev. Marshall Blalock feels the weight of his new responsibility.
The South Carolina pastor serves as vice chair of a recently formed Southern Baptist Convention task force charged with overseeing an investigation into how a top denominational committee handled sex abuse allegations, a review that comes years into the SBC’s public reckoning with the scandal.
Blalock thinks the work of the task force, set into motion in June by a vote of Southern Baptists at a national gathering, could be a foundational part of how the SBC addresses the issue in the future.
“If the task force does what the convention’s asked us to do, if the Executive Committee responds favorably, I think we’re making huge first steps toward really setting the future toward preventing and appropriately responding to and caring for sexual abuse survivors,” Blalock said.
The sex abuse scandal was thrust into the spotlight in 2019 by…
Three more lawsuits were filed Thursday against the Diocese of Metuchen alleging sexual abuse against adults and children by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Rev. John Butler and Brother Regis Moccia.
And because Butler and Moccia, who have both died, were not listed on Diocese of Metuchen’s list of sexually abusive clergy, one of the attorneys filing the lawsuits pleaded with Bishop James F. Checchio to release the names of all clergy offenders, including those whose names have never been made public.
“We urge you, release those names of those secret settlements of those offenders that you have now made. The public needs to know, and the survivors need to know who are still suffering in silence sometimes believing they are the only ones, deserve to know while they have time to act. Do it today,” said attorney Jeffrey R. Anderson.
Anderson said he believes there are more than 15 names that should be…
In Stefano Mordini’s film, based on Edoardo Albinati’s fact-based novel of the same name, a group of young, privileged men commit a disturbing crime.
The story starts like this: A woman hears a noise — it sounds like a cry for help — from her apartment in a tony neighborhood in Rome and calls the police. The uniformed officers arrive and find two teenage girls locked in the trunk of a Fiat 127, their bodies brutally maimed and scarred. One of them, 17-year-old Donatella Colasanti, is shaken but alive; the other, 19-year-old Rosaria Lopez, is dead. Two of their attackers have been found and the other, perhaps tipped off, has fled.
The Circeo massacre, as the rape and murder would come to be known, shook Italian society. It was 1975 and the aggressive crime, committed by three young men who attended San Leone Magno, a prestigious all-boys Catholic high school,…
As Catholics in Germany prepare for their second Synodal Assembly, Aachen Bishop Helmut Dieser has appealed for open debate to be held within the auspices of the Synodal Path reform project and not in the media, on the internet or other platforms.
“The synodal disputes, in which we speak both freely as well as intensively listen to one another, are taking place in the Synodal Path and not on the periphery,” he told Germany’s Catholic News Agency, KNA, Sept. 10.
He also said a good and open culture of debate means not entering the discussions with pre-fixed and unchangeable positions. “This can only succeed if each individual asks himself: May the view of the other person change me? May the spirit of God in this change me?”
He spoke to KNA after sometimes-heated arguments taking place about the Synodal Path project. Some participants have presented alternative proposals to the…
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington continues to disregard the lifelong impacts of the physical and sexual abuse carried out at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage, according to some former residents, who are calling on Bishop Christopher Coyne to compensate the remaining survivors of the long-shuttered facility.
Former orphanage residents expressed mixed emotions during a press conference at a South Burlington hotel on Thursday, recalling how a two-year restorative process has helped many of them begin to work through their deep-seated traumas.
But they said their attempts to move on have been undermined by the diocese’s refusal to engage with them on certain issues, including the question of compensation. Some speakers said they have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on therapy over the years. Others referenced the untold amount of money funneled into the orphanage from both the state and from their own parents.
“They took money out of my father’s pocket and abused…
HARRISBURG, PA (WENY) — Advocates for survivors of childhood sexual abuse rallied outside of the Pennsylvania state capitol Monday afternoon, calling for Senate action on a bill that would allow for lawsuits to be filed against their abusers. They’re calling for passage of House Bill 951, which was approved by overwhelming bipartisan support in the House in April. It then sent to the Senate, where the advocates say Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward is stopping it from moving forward.
“We’ve had enough. We have had enough. We are not going away, not today, not tomorrow,” said Kathryn Robb, Executive Director of CHILD USAdvocacy, and a survivor of child sexual abuse. She was one of several speakers rallying on the capitol steps Monday, urging Senator Kim Ward to put House Bill 951 up for a vote.
Survivors of child sex abuse are rallying for a window to be able to file…
On Saturday, July 17, participants in Seattle’s “Every Child Matters — Seattle Rally and March” gathered at Cal Anderson Park. The crowd stood, sat, drummed, and mourned in solidarity with the First Nations tribes who found 160 children on July 12, buried at Penelakut Island Residential School in British Columbia and in remembrance of the nine children’s remains, recovered from the Carlisle Boarding School in Pennsylvania, returning to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.
The assimilative policy in Canada and the United States of removing children from their parents is an ongoing form of genocide. From the 1860s until the late 20th century, over 300 American Indian residential schools were a government-funded and church-run national program to “civilize” Native children by coercing them into schools and, once there, forbidding them to speak their languages or learn their traditions. Both Catholic and Protestant churches forced the children to assimilate…
SHERBROOKE, QUEBEC — A Quebec Superior Court judge authorized a class action against a Catholic religious group once heralded for its ability to foster vocations. The decision opens the way for people who claim to have been physically, spiritually or psychologically abused within the organization to join the legal case.
Judge Alicia Soldevila decided in favor of class action involving Famille Marie-Jeunesse (Family of Mary’s Youth), which was founded in the 1980s.
Pascal Perron, a member of the group for 17 years, will represent those who join the class action. He left the religious community in 2014, at age 36, after having lived in the group’s community houses in Quebec and on Reunion Island, a French department in the Indian Ocean.
Perron blames the group and its leaders for putting in place rules that were “so strict and rigorous” that they had the effect of “destroying the identity of the individuals…
The Catholic Bishops Conference in the Jasikan Diocese of the Oti Region has engaged parents and stakeholders in fishing and cocoa-growing communities in the diocese on ending child labour and abuse.
The church as part of its corporate social responsibility has set up a committee that is mandated to ensure the protection of child rights and elimination of any existing form of child labour and abuse in the diocese.
The Jasikan diocese of the Catholic Church covers almost the entire Oti region.
Speaking at the ceremony, the regional director for social welfare, Innocent Agbolosu explained the position of the law on parental responsibility to children.
“According to the United Nation’s Convention on the rights of the child, child protection is safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. This definition places responsibility on state parties to this convention to formulate programmes, policies and laws to protect children within their…
[Photo above: Michael Ryan, of Buckingham, Va., Brenda Hannon, of Williston, Vt. and John Magnago, of Miami, from left to right, pose in South Burlington, Vt., during a reunion of orphans from the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in South Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Some of the residents of the long-closed Vermont orphanage want the Catholic Church to pay for therapy as they continue to recover from what they felt was the abuse most of which occurred more than half a century ago. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)]
Some of the residents of a long-closed Vermont orphanage want the Catholic Church to pay for therapy as they continue to recover from what they described as abuse at the hands of the nuns and priests who were supposed to care for them.
The youngest members of the group that calls itself The Voices of St. Joseph’s Orphanage are in their late 50s. The…
A 69-year-old plaintiff shouldn’t be kept waiting.
After hearing that plea from an attorney, a Springfield judge ruled last week that the former Chicopee altar boy raped by a once-celebrated bishop deserves to have his civil lawsuit heard with as little delay as possible.
Until the decision came Wednesday from Judge Karen L. Goodwin, the plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, expected to have to wait for a year or more as defendants pursued an appeal of an earlier ruling.
Goodwin scribbled the word “Allowed” on a court document submitted by the plaintiff’s attorney, Nancy Frankel Pelletier, and set a status conference for 3:30 p.m. Oct. 21 in Hampden Superior Court, at which lawyers will discuss the trial’s timing.
Her decision is another setback to lawyers for the Springfield Diocese, who claimed in court filings that their clients, including the diocese itself, could not be sued…
As a conference on safeguarding minors and vulnerable adults within the Church kicks off in Warsaw, Poland, Jesuit Father Hans Zollner describes the efforts already being made to protect the Church’s most vulnerable members.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is holding a conference to assist Church leaders in safeguarding her most vulnerable members.
The 4-day event, taking place from 19-22 September in the Polish capital of Warsaw, gathers Catholic representatives from across Central and Eastern Europe.
According to a consultant for the Pontifical Commission and one of the event’s organizers, the conference’s goal is to “show that the Church has to engage and commit in the protection of minors and other vulnerable people in any place or region of the world.”
Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, the Director of the “Institute of Anthropology. Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (IADC)” at the Pontifical Gregorian University, spoke to…
Last week, I informed you that our Independent Review Board (IRB) had found there was insufficient reason to suspect Father David Ryan had committed sexual abuse of a minor and that I was reinstating him as your pastor, effective immediately.
However, since then, additional information, not previously provided to the Archdiocese or the IRB, has surfaced and that will mean delaying Father Ryan’s return to the parish while it is thoroughly investigated. Father Ryan has assured us that he will cooperate fully as he understands that we must take every allegation seriously in accordance with our child protection policies.
I share your disappointment at this news, especially as I know plans were being made to welcome Father Ryan back this weekend. But, I ask your patience once again as we fulfill our obligation to keep the children entrusted to us safe and…
The Church in Central and Eastern Europe is coming together for a conference on the safeguarding of minors, which will take place in Warsaw, Poland, on 19-22 September.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors sent out a press release on Thursday to announce details about the upcoming safeguarding conference.
The event kicks off on Sunday and runs through Wednesday in the Polish capital of Warsaw.
It is being held under the theme, “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children”.
Representatives of Bishops’ Conferences from nearly 20 nations in Central and Eastern Europe will take part, along with professionals who work in the field of child and youth protection.
Systems to prevent abuse
According to the press statement, leaders from local Churches and delegates will examine their response to the crisis of sexual abuse of minors, while evaluating the impact of the regional context on the issue.
Regarding Bishop Michael W. Fisher and the Catholic sex scandal, there’s yet another letter with its own definition of remorse and compensation. Are the writers related to the out-of-state lawyers who will get one-third of their remorse? Why always money? In truth, there’s not enough money in all Christendom. Wiping out parishes and charities and institutions is as counterproductive as going through the courts. The bishop is at least trying to achieve a just closure to an irreconcilable situation that money simply can’t compensate. Comparable to slavery and the Holocaust, in a way. Needs change of heart, not more money.
Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of the Archbishop of Hamburg who had offered to step down after a report named him among several senior officials in Germany’s Catholic Church to have breached their duty in handling sexual abuse cases.
In a statement, the Vatican said it had thoroughly examined documents relating to the archbishop, Stefan Hesse, formerly head of personnel and administration at the Cologne archdiocese.
While it had identified deficiencies in the organisation of his office and personal procedural errors, it had not found any intention to cover up abuse, the Vatican said in a statement posted on the German Bishops’ Conference website.
“The basic problem, in the larger context of the administration of the archdiocese, was the lack of attention and sensitivity towards victims of abuse,” it said.
The archbishop offered to resign in March after the publication of an 800-page report into the handling of abuse…
Pope Francis has called on the Catholic Church to “listen to the call” of the victims of clerical sex abuse.
In a video message to an international conference on safeguarding and the Church, that begins in Warsaw, Poland today, Pope Francis says that care for children should not be sidelined in favour of managing the Church’s reputation.
“Only by facing the truth of these cruel behaviours and humbly seeking the forgiveness of the victims and survivors, will the Church be able to find its way to be once again confidently considered a place of welcome and safety for those in need,” the Pope says. “Our expressions of contrition must be converted into a concrete path of reform, both to prevent further abuse and to guarantee others the confidence that our efforts will lead to real and reliable change.”
Recognising mistakes and failures can “make us feel vulnerable and fragile, for…
A former Catholic cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, is facing trial on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy. He is the only current or former U.S. cardinal to be criminally charged with child sex crimes.
The Catholic Church has been paying millions of dollars to settle such cases for decades. I would argue that the collateral damage for inner-city children (Black and Hispanic) could be at least as damaging, in a completely different way, than the pedophilia cases.
The Archdiocese of Hartford paid more than $50 million to settle abuse allegations against dozens of its priests. The archdiocese admitted in a financial statement that such payments harmed its ability to provide other services. Among its major assets would be school buildings.
Connecticut could be on the verge of ending Catholic school choice for inner-city high school kids with only one such school left, Kolbe Cathedral.
The crime of child molestation is far more common than most people realize. Law enforcement officers tend to describe it as an epidemic, most often perpetrated in secret and typically by someone the child knows.
“It’s a heavy thing to have to deal with investigating and it’s a very heavy thing for the public to accept. But it is an epidemic, it truly is,” Payne County Investigator Rockford Brown said. “If you look at it on a big scale, abuse of children is an epidemic.”
Brown said almost all of his cases involve a suspect the child trusts.
“Most of the victims are abused by someone they know and love. So often I see folks post on social media about their concerns about child abduction and strangers; while this is a rational concern to have, the reality is that your child is far more likely to be abused by someone…
Ewa Kusz, a member of the organizing committee for the regional conference on the protection of minors for Central and Eastern Europe taking place in Warsaw, gathers the voices of people who have been abused by priests.
What do those who have been wounded within the Church say? What do they expect from the Church, from “Church people”?
To give one single response is difficult because each abuse victim is different. Each one of them has a different life story both before and after the trauma. Some of them speak immediately; others, after a few years or even many years later. Some have met others who have helped them along the way, while others have remained completely alone in their suffering.
Those who have been wounded are speaking. Some demand their right to speak and be heard at the top of their lungs. Others speak about it timidly within the…
In a video message to a 3-day conference in Warsaw, Poland, on safeguarding children from abuse in the Church, Pope Francis hopes such efforts will bring about real and reliable change.
As an important international conference on the protection of vulnerable children and adults for the Churches of Central and Eastern Europe kicks off in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Sunday, Pope Francis hopes the effort will bring about real and reliable change in the Church and in the hearts of Christians.
Organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Polish Bishops’ Conference, the September 19 to 22 conference has as its theme, “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children”. Representatives of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and lay professionals from 20 countries are participating in the 3-day event.
Real and reliable change
Pope Francis has sent a video message in which he greets the participants…
Video Message of the Holy Father Francis for the Meeting “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children” Organised by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Bishops’ Conferences of Central and Eastern Europe
WARSAW (POLAND) Holy See Press Office [Vatican City]
Dear brothers and sisters, I am happy to welcome you now that you are gathered together to reflect on the response that the Church is now providing to the crisis of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Church, and on the ways in which it might more adequately respond to this serious issue that we are facing.
In speaking to the leaders of the Episcopal Conferences from throughout the world, gathered in Rome in February 2019, I expressed my encouragement so that they might assure the wellbeing of victims might not be sidelined in favor of the misguided concern for the reputation of the institutional Church. Rather, only by facing the truth of these evil practices and of humbly seeking pardon from victims and survivors will the Church find its way to a place where it can be relied upon once again as a place of welcome…
The latest lawsuit accuses McCarrick of sexual battery against a New York man, who was in his late teens and early 20s when McCarrick was Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, in central New Jersey. McCarrick went on to become archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark in the mid-1980s and then Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors, as well as…
A retired priest who previously served as a chaplain at Kenmore Mercy Hospital has been placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher after an allegation of abuse has surfaced.
The allegation against Reverend Robert J. Schober, 70, came to light after informational documents filed with the federal bankruptcy court as part of the Diocese’s reorganization proceeding were forwarded to diocesan leaders.
Schober, who is not in active ministry, denied the abuse allegation in a meeting with Buffalo Diocese officials.
The Diocese has notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office and an independent review board has also been notified of the allegation. According to the Diocese, the board will work to appoint an independent investigator.
The 70-year-old is not allowed to present himself publicly as a priest or carry out any priestly ministry.
“The decision by Bishop Fisher to place Fr. Schober on administrative leave…
Pope Francis urged European bishops on Saturday to listen to survivors of clergy sexual abuse and consider them partners in reform, warning that their failure to do so risks the very future of the Catholic Church.
Francis issued a videomessage to Central and Eastern European bishops who are gathering in Poland starting on Sunday for a four-day child protection conference organized by the bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s child protection advisory commission.
The location is significant, given around a dozen current and retired Polish bishops have been sanctioned by the Vatican in recent months for their repeated failures to listen to victims and take action to sanction the priests who raped and molested them.
“Only by confronting the truth of this cruel behavior and humbly seeking forgiveness from victims and survivors can the church find the way to once again be considered and trusted as a place of welcome and…
Another retired Buffalo Diocese priest has been put on administrative leave after a claim in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, along with a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in August, alleged that the priest sexually abused a child.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher on Friday suspended the Rev. Robert J. Schober, who is restricted from priestly ministry or presenting himself in public as a priest while the allegations are under investigation. A review board is responsible for appointing an investigator to examine the claims.
Schober, 70, denied to diocese officials that he had abused anyone, according to a diocese statement.
It was the second consecutive Friday that Fisher announced a priest suspension. Four retired priests were put on administrative leave Sept. 10 due to child sex abuse allegations.
Schober is retired and was not currently in active ministry. He had been a chaplain at Kenmore Mercy Hospital prior to his…
Women don’t feel able to share their trauma with border authorities and so don’t get a fair hearing for their asylum claims, a survey shared with VICE World News says.
At 17 years old, Becky was called into the office of her Catholic priest, also the headteacher at her school, to help with Christmas decorations. “When a priest tells you to come, you have to yield to that,” she says.
At the time, Becky was living in Cameroon with her Christian family of six. “My dad was really violent to my mum – physically and emotionally. Where I come from, it is a normal thing.” Although witnessing abuse was part of Becky’s daily routine, she didn’t expect to experience abuse herself, especially at the hands of a priest. “He told my mum there were other girls coming, but then I discovered I was alone. He came closer to me, holding…
Three sex abuse lawsuits filed against a New Jersey diocese and announced Thursday include claims that defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused a young man in the 1980s.
The lawsuit accuses McCarrick of sexual battery against the man, who was in his late teens and early 20s when McCarrick was Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, in central New Jersey. McCarrick went on to become archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark in the mid-1980s and then Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors, as well as adults. He faces other lawsuits in New Jersey, including one that alleged he sexually abused a teenage boy at a beach house in the 1980s.
In a separate case in Massachusetts, the now-91-year-old McCarrick recently became the only U.S. Catholic cardinal ever to…
A suburban Chicago priest cleared last week of of allegations he sexually abused children 25 years ago is back under scrutiny because new information has become available, Cardinal Blase Cupich said Thursday.
Cupich wrote a letter to parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich saying the Rev. David Ryan will remain away from the parish while the new information is investigated. He did not disclose the nature of the new information.
“We will share new information as it becomes available,” Cupich said.
The development comes exactly one week after Cupich had written parishioners to report “there was insufficient reason suspect” that Ryan had abused anyone.
Ryan was directed to live away from the parish last November during the original investigation, Cupich said.
The Archdiocese of Chicago, which covers Cook and Lake counties, serves around 2.2 million Catholics.
[Photo above: The second session of Germany’s Synodal Assembly, delayed because of COVID-19, is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Participants are seen in this file photo at the Dominican monastery in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 31, 2020. (CNS / KNA / Harald Oppitz)]
It strikes fear in the hearts of some conservative Catholics: Germany’s Synodal Path reform project. Will it cause a schism in the Catholic Church? Is Germany abolishing celibacy against the will of the Vatican? As a German observer, I wish to try and answer the questions some Americans don’t seem — or don’t want — to understand about the path before the next Synodal Assembly Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
What is the Synodal Path?
It would be easier to define what it isn’t. It is neither a synod nor a particular council. Even though it was established unanimously by the German bishops’ conference, it cannot and will…
“What’s atrocious is the federal government’s refusal to say anything about the case to give the alleged victims any indication that there’s even any interest in justice being done,” Currie tells APTN News.
The three sex-related charges laid against Rivoire in 1998 were stayed in 2019, citing a low chance of conviction.
“In 1994, the Department of Justice Canada confirmed with the RCMP that France does not extradite its nationals,” says Nathalie Houle, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service of…
This whole pedophilia scandal the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany is enduring makes me think of my beloved brother Matt.
Matt was an altar boy. My mother thought he’d be a priest. I can still see him up there on the altar shadowing our pastor. The ancient rituals did something important for him.
Irish twins, 9 months and 29 days apart, we were inseparable. When we still wore flannel PJs with the feet attached, when we still needed a nightlight, when Star Trek was not yet in reruns, I remember rising from my bed early in the mornings with mischief on my mind. Matt was still in a crib, and as soon as he saw me enjoying my sweet freedom, he would bang on the slats of his crib like a hardened old con in Sing Sing.
I would grab him and drag him out (he ain’t heavy, he’s my…
[Photo above: Salvatore Cordileone, the San Francisco archbishop, has asked Gavin Newsom to stop efforts to permanently remove a statue of Father Junípero Serra from the state’s capitol. Photograph: Jessica Christian / AP]
The monument to Father Junípero Serra has been in storage since it was toppled during a protest in the state capitol last summer
Two archbishops have asked California’s governor to stop efforts to permanently remove a statue of Father Junípero Serra from state’s capitol. The 18th century priest founded the California mission system, in which Native Americans were subjected to violence and forced labor.
Salvatore Cordileone, the San Francisco archbishop, and José Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, pleaded with Gavin Newsom in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal to save the controversial statue of Serra.
Lawmakers passed a bill last month, which still requires Newsom’s signature, to replace the statue with a monument to local…
Regarding Friday’s editorial (“Schools must handle allegations better,” Our View, Sept. 10), I think the newspaper could have gone further in holding those involved in this alleged child abuse case to account.
Whether the accused is found guilty or innocent, a major failure was committed by those involved who failed to report. Refer to the New Mexico Administrative Code — 18.104.22.168c — and Section 24 therein.
Having served on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education for nine years, I know that our policy was that if anyone, bus driver, cafeteria worker, aide, teacher — anyone — suspected any kind of child abuse, sexual or otherwise, he or she was required to report it to an immediate supervisor.
Failure to report — and this includes supervisors and principals — to the district and law enforcement would result in immediate removal from the school site and the person being placed…
A local church school program teacher, who was assaulted at school by an upset parent, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by Columbia County authorities.
In a statement, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office announced they had “a thorough review of video evidence” and investigators concluded that no crime had occurred. The Columbia County Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office was asked to review the case as well. Assistant DA Natalie Paine agreed with the sheriff’s office findings.
Maj. Steve Morris said the sheriff’s office is working to release the video to the general public, however, it’s going to take some time. Morris said the sheriff’s office is working with an outside company to make sure the identities of the children in the video are concealed.
The 61-year-old teacher from St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church was assaulted by Kasey Marie Brooks, 28. After Brooks was arrested and charged with simple battery, she claimed the teacher…
John Baldante, attorney for the seven men, called Petrucelli a “prolific pedophile.” Petrucelli died in 2014 at age 92.
Scott Reynolds and Peter Bonastia filed their suits at the end of August, accusing Petrucelli of sexually assaulting them multiple times in 1978. The new set of lawsuits allege that Petrucelli sexually assaulted the five men between 1977 and 1985. They were all age 13 at the start of the alleged abuse.
In the latest accusations against Petrucelli, the abuse ranges from pinches on the buttocks to horrific sexual assault….
Has the Catholic church in Australia, at its most senior levels, learned anything from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about good governance, transparency, and justice for those who are at the margins? The resignation of the Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, has left a significant level of disturbance and dispute within the diocese. He is 71, and it is unusual that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a bishop under the standard retirement age of 75.
The matter has proven highly contentious. Sexual misconduct allegations have been aired, along with claims of significant managerial problems — all of which the bishop has strongly denied. So what can or should the church do while such serious allegations linger in minds of the public?
Unclear reasons for departure?
The news of Bishop Saunders’s resignation was recently announced in the Vatican’s daily bulletin, the Bollettino, but no reason…
Denying links to January 6 insurrection, organizer says former advisor to Donald Trump and others were to discuss Catholic Church reform and pose no threat
he far-right Catholic group Church Militant has sued the city of Baltimore in federal court, saying the decision by the administration of Mayor Brandon Scott to cancel the group’s upcoming rally at the Inner Harbor was “obviously unconstitutional.”
“They don’t get to shut down our speech. It’s that simple” said Michael Voris, Church Militant’s founder and CEO of St. Michael’s Media, speaking with The Brew.
The Michigan-based group contends that its First Amendment rights to free speech, religion and assembly were violated when City Solicitor James L. Shea canceled the organization’s contract to hold the meeting on November 16 at the MECU Pavilion on city-owned Pier Six.
Church Militant’s attorney, Marc Randazza of Las Vegas, and local Maryland counsel David S. Wachen of Potomac,…
I have been asked by a number of church leaders if the approach we are advocating for an approach to allegations, which we call survivor-sensitive or survivor-centric or trauma-sensitive etc, diminishes the authority of the pastor. Does a survivor-sensitive approach go against the grain of what we in Anglican church call “episcopal authority”?
In some ways No, in some ways Yes. I need to explain.
First, I want to push against this term “authority.” This term is never used in the NT for pastors, bishops/overseers, or elders. Not once. They do not have authority, God does, Jesus does, the Spirit does. Which isn’t to say there isn’t some dimension of power and authority in the pastoral leader but I do want to register hesitation on framing the question with that term. By framing it with “pastoral authority” the discussion gets rigged in the wrong direction.
Since May 5, 2021, the phone has been ringing at least once a day at the home of Marie Christine Kirouack, the Montreal lawyer to whom Archbishop Christian Lépine has entrusted the responsibility of receiving all complaints of abuse and inappropriate behavior committed by priests, staff members and volunteers of the Archdiocese of Montreal.
Since the ombudswoman was named last spring, she has received hundreds of calls and many emails.
In her very first quarterly report, released Sept. 9, Kirouack revealed that among all these calls, 29 denunciations were received and analyzed because they were related to sexual, physical, psychological or financial abuse. Since then, she has forwarded 26 formal complaints to the advisory committee in charge of studying them. This committee will then issue recommendations to Archbishop Lépine.
Because of the summer vacations, not all complaints have been processed yet. However, the ombudswoman confirms that 16 have been upheld,…
Church leaders need to stop playing with words and get down to serious business to protect children and women from abuse
During the 2019 Summit of Bishops in Rome on The Protection of Minors in the Church, Catholic Church officials told a press conference that Pope Francis had given bishops a handout of 21 points — a road map for policy and law seeking to save children from abuses within the Church.
On the last day of the summit, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, was among those addressing the press conference.
When asked about what concrete measures were expected from the meeting, Cardinal Gracias said: “Implementation has to be done at the local conference and diocesan levels, that is why conference presidents are called to Rome for this meeting. All conferences have guidelines, we have to see how to make them effective.”
A North Carolina man has filed suit against the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and another church and is seeking $20 million in damages for abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a priest who was “restrained” and left critically injured in his Shelter Island home for days in 2018.
The retired Episcopalian Rev. Canon Paul Wancura later died of his injuries. The case has remained unsolved for years.
The complaint, filed with the New York State Supreme Court on August 19 by Gil Santamarina, New York City-based attorney for Lew H. Crispin III, states: “The circumstances surrounding the attack on the Reverend remain mysterious and unsolved, but there is reason to believe that the perpetrator’s primary intent was to torture the Reverend, not to steal from him.”
The complaint states that in 1975 when Crispin was five years old, he moved to Setauket with his…
Those who knew Al Shands during his long and creative life realized he was on a journey.
In one of the newsletters he wrote for the parishioners of St. Clement’s “house church,” he compared his return to Durham, North Carolina, where he lived as a child, to the journey taken by Ms. Carrie Watts, the fictional heroine of Horton Foote’s “A Trip to Bountiful.”
“I did it, and it was a success,” Shands wrote. “But only now am I realizing why. Home is not just a place. Home is the place where we know we belong, where the loneliness of our lives is resolved, where we are known and appreciated just for who we are.”
In so many ways Al Shands, who died Sept. 7, 2021, at age 92, spent his nine decades helping others to find their way home.
As an Episcopal priest, documentary filmmaker, writer and art connoisseur, he…
It was the summer of 2011, and I was summoned to the office of a psychologist in Dallas, and Raymond Fitzgerald, the President of Jesuit High School, who flew from New Orleans to attend. Jesuit paid for the psychologist as a part of their due diligence, to determine if I was telling the truth about my abuse at the hands of Peter Modica, a janitor, and Cornelius Carr, a Theology teacher at the school.
Before Fitzgerald arrived, I was very nervous. I asked the psychologist, Ronald Garber, how long it would take for him to make his determination. He responded, “I already have, you cannot control the nervousness of your hands, you are rocking back and forth.” He continued, “When you described to me the first time you were abused, you said that you ‘froze up’, and that’s what all victims of childhood sex abuse do, and someone who is…
[Photo above: Splatsin members and their supporters walk on Sept. 10, 2021, the last day of the five-day Walking Our Children’s Spirits Home Journey from the Kamloops residential school. Here they were walking the spirits of the children who died in Kamloops to meet the spirits of children at Splatsin’s Shihiya School in order to join past, present and future. (Martha Wickett – Salmon Arm Observer)]
As their feet touched the ground, so did emotions touch their hearts.
From Sept. 6 to 10, a group from the Splatsin First Nation walked more than 100 kilometres to ensure the spirits of 215 children whose remains were confirmed at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in May, were not left stranded, were not kept away from their home as they had been in life.
Splatsin Tkwamipla7 (Councillor) Edna Felix, the main organizer of the Splatsin Walking Our Children’s Spirits Home Journey, spoke of…
Imagine if you could have voted while residential schools were still operating. When you were reading headlines like children are “dying like flies” because of the “absolute inattention to the bare necessities of health” in these federally controlled institutions, would you have spoken up and refused to vote for any government that perpetrated what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission coined “cultural genocide?”
In June, headlines of the unmarked graves of hundreds of children confronted Canadians with the reality that government-run residential schools were more akin to re-education camps and death traps than “schools.” Flags were lowered, the number “215” on orange shirts and hearts appeared everywhere and then the headlines faded and so did the shirts, but the injustices kept building.
Months later, more than 5,000 unmarked graves have been identified and yet political leaders have said little about it and neither has the media. The story that got the most…
In contrast, child sex abuse survivors in Maryland often don’t get their day in civil court because of stringent statute-of-limitation laws. In fact, the laws even restrict a child survivor from getting access (due process) to records that could help build a criminal case. Maryland’s Hidden Predator Act is intended to provide more justice for survivors of child sex abuse by removing the statute of limitation, providing a two-year lookback period and repealing the statute-of-repose designation that was inserted to thwart cases.
Since 2018, one-third of states have passed laws extending the civil statute of limitations and establishing a lookback window for child sexual abuse claims. We at Maryland Catholics for Action hope our General…
The archbishop of Washington on Wednesday, addressing a National Press Club luncheon, said he was “embarrassed” at the charges of sex abuse recently filed against his predecessor and emphasized that the Church’s primary concern in such cases should be caring for victims.
The former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, last week pleaded not guilty in a Massachusetts court to criminal charges of sex assault against a 16-year-old male; the acts allegedly took place in the 1970s while McCarrick was a priest.
McCarrick, a former cardinal who retired as Washington archbishop in 2006, was laicized in 2019 following a Vatican investigation that found him guilty of “sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults” and solicitation in the confessional.
“I’m embarrassed,” Cardinal Gregory said of his predecessor’s alleged acts. “I’m embarrassed not with the discovery – although that’s certainly a part of my embarrassment. But I’m embarrassed because it’s absolutely…
He fought the Catholic Church, he’s fought the government. Today, we salute the incomparable Father Bob Maguire.
He said it himself in the 2013 documentary about his life: when you mess with the church, you are in trouble. In fact, he was a little more pointy about it. “You can see it through history. The Communists, the Nazi’s, they all came undone when they took on the Roman Catholic Church. That is where the real power in the world lies.” So when Father Bob Maguire (1934) opened the door to one of his parishioners in 2002 and let him in, his fate was basically sealed. The man told him he had been sexually abused by George Pell decades before. He asked the priest to help him get heard. “That is all I needed to be seen to be part of a process to bring George undone,” Bob mused years later. “I had to…
Poland’s top political leaders on Sunday attended the beatification of two revered figures of the Catholic church — a cardinal who led the Polish church’s resistance to communism and a blind nun who devoted her life to helping others who couldn’t see.
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and Mother Elzbieta Roza Czacka took a step toward sainthood at a time of declining church attendance and as some Poles have left the church over sex abuse scandals and the church’s coziness with the current right-wing government.
In a time of growing secularization and societal divisions, the celebration was a reminder of the moral authority and the unifying power the church once held over Poland.
The Mass was led by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
It took place in the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw, attended by President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki,…
Author says unanswered questions remain regarding the treatment of women
Best-selling author Sally Rooney says modern Ireland’s secular pivot away from the Catholic era is incomplete, with unfinished business about why society locked up pregnant women they viewed as “undesirable members of Irish society”.
Rooney was asked by Der Spiegel magazine if she had endured pushback against her books from Ireland’s “Catholic milieu” similar to that endured in the past by Sinéad O’Connor.
In 1992 the singer was blacklisted after she tore up picture of Pope John Paul II on live US television in protest at clerical sexual abuse, and Catholic institutional structures she said enabled religious prey on children.
Rooney recalled how, as a result, O’Connor was “ostracised in the cultural and social life of Ireland” in the 1990s.
“She was seen as dangerous, at the same time she was very brave and right!” she told Der Spiegel. “People portrayed her…
Gonzaga University, a Jesuit-run institution in the state of Washington, has established a special research fund to study sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and is taking steps to support local community members who have been particularly impacted by the crisis, especially Indigenous and Native students.
The Gonzaga report symbolizes the culmination of more than a year’s worth of commission meetings, presentations at faculty conferences, lectures and open listening sessions for students, faculty and staff where deep reservoirs of community pain, hurt and distrust related to…
For 16 years a Blenheim woman endured rumours and speculation about her sexual harassment by an Anglican clergyman. A Human Rights Review Tribunal declaration means she can finally tell her full story.
When grieving mother Jacinda Thompson sought solace from her priest, he soothed her with his vision of her stillborn child “cradled in Jesus’ arms”. Just weeks later, the Reverend Michael van Wijk would be touching her thigh and trying to kiss her, even as she cried and begged him to stop.
It was the first time van Wijk sexually assaulted her, but not the last, Thompson told the Human Rights Review Tribunal last June, more than 15 years since that day.
Van Wijk had gone to Thompson’s Blenheim home for a spiritual mentoring session because his office was “a mess”, the decision said. He began with washing her feet, because he wanted to “serve as Jesus had served”….
“He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct,” the Church said of the retired pastor’s “punishment.”
The Archdiocese of Boston has determined that a priest that led parishes under their supervision had sexually abused children in the 1960s. An internal “court” panel has determined that as punishment, he shall be barred from public ministry for the remainder of his life, meaning he cannot wear clerical attire, participate in Mass, or function as a priest for anyone.
Instead, “He is expected to dedicate his life to praying for victims and repenting of his past offenses,” the archdiocese announced. “In this way, the Church seeks even here to prevent any future abuse and to repair the injustice that has already taken place.”
The Catholic Church planned to accommodate a priest who was on bail for sex-messaging a 15-year-old girl at a house on the grounds of a primary school.
Sosefo Sateki Raass, later found guilty of indecent communication with a person under 16 and sentenced to 100 hours’ community service, wasn’t told he couldn’t stay at the address until after his victim’s aunt complained to the Ministry of Education.
Church officials proposed the bail address but didn’t tell police or the Auckland District Court it was so close to young children – even though Raass had a bail condition preventing any unsupervised contact with under-16s.
The Auckland Catholic diocese has admitted it didn’t tell the board or principal of the Good Shepherd primary school in Balmoral, central Auckland, of its plans. The Ministry of Education could not alert them as Raass had pre-trial name suppression.
Lawsuits filed under the law make clear Albany diocese did too little for far too long.
This column expresses the views of the author, separate from those of the Times Union.
ALBANY — The window opened by the Child Victims Act is closed. The lawsuits are filed, though the legal wrangling continues.
We will hear more about that wrangling in the months ahead, as numbers and settlements are discussed and debated. But this much, at least, is already clear: Claims filed under the legislation have been devastating for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.
For one thing, the reputation of former Bishop Howard Hubbard is in tatters.
Once a celebrated and beloved figure for many area Catholics, Hubbard has been directly accused of sexual abuse in at least seven Child Victims Act lawsuits. Though he denies the allegations, the volume of claims may have dismayed many who believed…