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.

September 19, 2021

Pope rejects German archbishop’s resignation after abuse scandal

HAMBURG (GERMANY)
Reuters [London, England]

September 15, 2021

By Madeline Chambers

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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…

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Pope says Church must face truth of cruelty to children

WARSAW (POLAND)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

September 19, 2021

By Ruth Gledhill

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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…

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We can’t let inner-city Catholic schools go extinct

HARTFORD (CT)
Montrose Press [Montrose CO]

September 18, 2021

By Gary Franks

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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.

Just imagine if the state’s public…

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September 18, 2021

Hidden in Plain Sight: The silence, secrecy and empty promises of child sexual abuse

STILLWATER (OK)
Stillwater News Press [Stillwater OK]

September 18, 2021

By Ashlynd Huffman

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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…

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The voices of the victims of clergy sexual abuse

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 16, 2021

By Ewa Kusz

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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…

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Pope: Misguided concern for Church reputation should not sideline abuse victims’ welfare

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 18, 2021

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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…

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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]

September 18, 2021

By Pope Francis

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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…

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New Lawsuit Accuses Defrocked Cardinal McCarrick of Abusing NY Man

METUCHEN (NJ)
WBTS - NBC 10 [Boston MA]

September 17, 2021

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Defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the highest ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to face criminal charges for child sex crimes.

New lawsuits have been filed against defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accusing him of sexually abusing an adult in New York in the 1980s.

The now 91-year-old former Archbishop is already charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974.

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…

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Retired Diocese of Buffalo priest placed on administrative leave after abuse allegation surfaces

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB [Buffalo NY]

September 17, 2021

By Patrick Ryan

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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…

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Pope to bishops: Listen to abuse victims for sake of church

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

September 18, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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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…

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Retired Buffalo priest suspended over sex abuse allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

September 17, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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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…

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September 17, 2021

They Fled Sexual Violence. The UK Made Their Trauma Worse

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Vice [Brooklyn NY]

September 16, 2021

By Lauren Crosby

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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…

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Lawsuit: Defrocked Cardinal McCarrick abused man in 1980s

METUCHEN (NJ)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 16, 2021

By David Porter

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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…

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Second woman accuses Maine priest of sexual abuse

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

September 16, 2021

By Vivien Leigh

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The woman alleges Father Robert Vaillancourt raped her when she was 15.

WARNING: This story contains details that may be triggering for some people. Resources are listed at the bottom of this story.

A woman has come forward after 39 years alleging she was sexually assaulted by a priest who is on administrative leave amid an internal investigation by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Father Robert Vaillancourt was placed on leave in July following accusations he sexually abused a girl in the 1980s.

Vaillancourt, who was relieved of his post as pastor to several churches on the Mid Coast within the parish of Saint Brendan the Navigator, has denied the allegations. 

The latest alleged victim, who does not want to be identified, is now considering taking action under a new law that allows survivors to file a civil case.

“Jane” said she was…

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Chicago-area priest back under scrutiny for possible abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 16, 2021

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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.

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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)

What America should understand about Germany’s Synodal Path

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

September 17, 2021

By Renardo Schlegelmilch

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[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…

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September 16, 2021

Man abused by paedophile priest Malachy Finegan to receive ‘five-figure’ payout

NEWRY (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Irish News [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

September 15, 2021

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A MAN who claims a paedophile priest subjected him to sexual and physical abuse at a Co Down school is to receive a “five-figure” payout, his lawyer said.

The sum forms part of a resolution reached in his action centred on alleged historic assaults by the late Fr Malachy Finegan.

No admission of liability has been made in proceedings brought against the Trustees and Board of Governors at St Colman’s College in Newry and the Diocese of Dromore.

But the plaintiff’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said: “This latest financial settlement highlights again the trail of emotional destruction left by Malachy Finegan.”

Now aged in his mid sixties, the man sued over allegations he was targeted while boarding at the school as an 11-year-old pupil in the late 1960s.

At the High Court today, counsel for the plaintiff, who is not being named, announced that his claim for negligence has been settled…

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Canada’s extradition process with France over Oblate priest ‘atrocious’, says prof

IQALUIT (CANADA)
APTN - Aboriginal Peoples Television Network [Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada]

September 15, 2021

By Kathleen Martens

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An Oblate priest was accused of sex crimes in the Arctic from 1968 to 1974

There is more Canada could be doing to pursue an Oblate priest in France suspected of sexually abusing children in Nunavut, says a Dalhousie law professor who specializes in extradition.

Robert Currie says it’s ‘atrocious’ that criminal charges have been stayed against Johannes Rivoire, who worked in three Arctic communities in the 1960s and ‘70s.

“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…

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Commentary: A brother’s innocence, and the church’s transgressions

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

September 16, 2021

By Michael Wielch

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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…

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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

Archbishops urge California governor to save controversial statue of 18th-century priest

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Guardian [London, England]

September 15, 2021

By Dani Anguiano

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[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…

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September 15, 2021

NSW pedophile priest believed own ‘lies’

BURRADOO (AUSTRALIA)
Seven Network - 7news [Eveleigh, NSW Australia]

September 15, 2021

By Greta Stonehouse

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A Catholic priest and convicted pedophile must have believed his own lies to give “demonstrably” untrue evidence you could “poke a million holes through”, a judge told a court.

Anthony William Peter Caruana, 79, prayed silently in an isolated suite in prison before his second sentence hearing began in the NSW District Court on Wednesday.

More than two decades after he was acquitted at a 1990 trial for similar offences, he was found guilty of 26 charges against 12 young boys from Chevalier College in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

The charges from the 1980s included four counts of sexual intercourse with two of his students.

The teacher and dormitory master was removed from his teaching role in 1989 and forced to take psychiatric assessment and counselling.

Here he expressed “a lifelong problem of his attraction to young boys”, and he was assessed as being “remorseful for his past behaviours”, his lawyer…

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Man who claims paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan abused him at Co Down school to receive five-figure payout

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

September 15, 2021

By Alan Erwin

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A man who claims a paedophile priest subjected him to sexual and physical abuse at a Co Down school is to receive a “five-figure” payout, his lawyer announced today.

The sum forms part of a resolution reached in his action centred on alleged historic assaults by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan….

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Letter to the Editor – No excuses: Report all cases of suspected abuse

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

September 14, 2021

By Steven J. Carrillo

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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 — 6.60.9.9c — 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…

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Local church teacher, who was assaulted by mother claiming abuse, is cleared of wrongdoing

AUGUSTA (GA)
Augusta Chronicle [Augusta GA]

September 15, 2021

By Jozsef Papp

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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…

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Five more former students say they were sexually abused at West Essex Middle School

NORTH CALDWELL (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

September 15, 2021

By Kaitlyn Kanzler

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Five more former students have filed lawsuits against the West Essex Regional School District and the estate of a middle school teacher who they say sexually abused them. 

Marc Cortese, Robert Swiatek, Kenneth Williamson, Bruce DeLorenzo and K.M. Doe joined two others who recently sued the district and Michael Petrucelli, who was a history and photography teacher at West Essex Middle School.

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….

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September 14, 2021

The resignation of the Bishop of Broome raises some big questions for the Catholic Church

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

September 14, 2021

By Noel Debien

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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…

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Church Militant sues Baltimore, calls cancellation of Pier Six event free speech infringement

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Brew [Baltimore MD]

September 14, 2021

By Fern Shen

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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,…

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Victim-centric and Pastoral Authority

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Jesus Creed - Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

September 14, 2021

By Scot McKnight

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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.

In fact, what authority a pastor…

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No abuse hearing in Dunedin called ‘slap in the face’

DUNEDIN (NEW ZEALAND)
Otago Daily Times [Dunedin, New Zealand]

September 15, 2021

By Daisy Hudson

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A decision to not hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care hearing in Dunedin has been criticised as a ‘‘repulsive slap in the face’’ for Southern survivors.

The South, and Dunedin in particular, is considered one of the country’s epicentres for child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

The royal commission says it has engaged with many Dunedin survivors and is committed to investigating their claims.

But the Network of Survivors in Faith Based Institutions says it is failing to meet its obligations.

The royal commission has held public hearings in Auckland into abuse in state and faith-based care.

Survivors have also been interviewed privately.

Network spokesman Dr Murray Heasley said it was ‘‘astonishing’’ Dunedin would not host hearings.

‘‘It is a massive dereliction of duty and a repulsive slap in the face for all of the victim survivors who reported thinking they would be listened to,…

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Montreal archbishop’s ombudswoman issues first report on abuse complaints

MONTREAL (CANADA)
The Catholic Register [Toronto ON, Canada]

September 14, 2021

By Francois Gloutnay

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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,…

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Less words, more actions needed to protect minors

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

September 14, 2021

By Virginia Saldanha

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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.”

Referring…

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Deceased Priest Tied Up in LI Home Was Abuser: Lawsuit Alleges

SHELTER ISLAND (NY)
Patch [New York City NY]

September 13, 2021

By Lisa Finn

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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…

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Al Shands, Episcopal priest, filmmaker, writer and art connoisseur, dies at 92

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Courier Journal [Louisville KY]

September 14, 2021

By Keith L. Runyon

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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…

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The Catholic Church and the Art of the Coverup

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Big Easy Magazine [New Orleans LA]

September 13, 2021

By Richard Windmann

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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…

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September 13, 2021

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)

Hearts fill with emotion as children’s spirits return from Kamloops to Splatsin

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Salmon Arm Observer [Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada]

September 12, 2021

By Martha Wickett

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[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…

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Don’t let the government ‘move on’ from residential schools. Vote to stop Canada’s ‘dark history’

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Global News [Toronto, Canada]

September 10, 2021

By Cindy Blackstock

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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…

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Letter to the Editor: Maryland can help victims of child sex abuse

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
Washington Post

September 7, 2021

By Susan Kerin

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The Sept. 5 Politics & the Nation article “McCarrick pleads not guilty to child sex abuse charges” reported that ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick got his day in court related to three counts of child sex abuse.

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…

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Cardinal Gregory ‘Embarrassed’ at McCarrick Abuse Charges Because Such Crimes Are ‘Absolutely Contrary’ to the Meaning of Priesthood

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

September 9, 2021

By Matt Hadro

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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…

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Father Bob Maguire: The priest who fought the Catholic Church

(AUSTRALIA)
The Big Smoke [Sydney, New South Wales, Australia]

September 13, 2021

By Ingeborg van Teeseling

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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…

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Polish nun, cardinal who defied communism are beatified

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 12, 2021

By Vanessa Gera

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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,…

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Ireland’s break with its Catholic past incomplete, says Sally Rooney

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

September 12, 2021

By Derek Scally

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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…

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Gonzaga sex abuse report recommends actions as university faces its own complicity

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

September 13, 2021

By Brian Fraga

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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.

Those initiatives are among several recommendations that were outlined in a 46-page report that the university released Sept. 1 from its University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis. The commission’s work coincided with media reports that detailed a decadeslong pattern of sexually abusive Jesuits being permitted to live on campus while being shielded from accountability.

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…

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‘Come to the Father’: How an Anglican priest groomed and abused a grieving mum

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

September 13, 2021

By Kirsty Johnston

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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”….

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Catholic Church sentences priest who they believe abused children to “life of prayer”

BOSTON (MA)
LGBTQ Nation [Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada]

September 12, 2021

By Juwan J. Holmes

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“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.”

Related: Vatican fears that more Catholic priests will be outed using Grindr data

Paul J. McLaughlin was ordained as…

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September 12, 2021

Catholic Church planned to house teen-sexting priest on primary school grounds

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

September 12, 2021

By Steve Kilgallon

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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.

The church says that while Raass used…

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Churchill: Child Victims Act provided window into vast pain

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

September 11, 2021

By Chris Churchill

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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…

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Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s legal fees exceed $2.3 million in bankruptcy case

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

September 10, 2021

By Rick Ruggles

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A nearly 3-year-old bankruptcy case filed amid hundreds of child sexual abuse allegations has cost the Archdiocese of Santa Fe more than $2.3 million in legal fees alone.

Federal court records show the Roman Catholic institution has used the services of at least four law firms with expertise in cases involving clergy sexual abuse and bankruptcy. The archdiocese seeks to reach a settlement with 385 claimants in its December 2018 Chapter 11 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Albuquerque.

This archdiocese and many dioceses across the nation, including the one in Gallup, have claimed bankruptcy in the Catholic Church scandal that began to receive attention in the early 1990s.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court records show the Albuquerque firm Walker & Associates this week billed the Archdiocese of Santa Fe $374,999 for work done over 13 months ending in July. Including bills for two previous periods, Walker’s billings have totaled about…

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Three Priests With Ties To Area Put On Leave

(NY)
The Post-Journal [Jamestown NY]

September 11, 2021

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Three retired priests with ties to northern Chautauqua County have been placed on administrative leave.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher of the Buffalo Catholic diocese said action was taken after officials were informed that informational documents have been filed with the federal Bankruptcy Court as part of the diocese’s chapter 11 reorganization proceeding. Specifically, bankruptcy claimants have filed confidential documents containing information about their allegations against the priests.

Upon learning of the allegations, the Diocese notified the offices of the appropriate District Attorneys, and confronted the priests, all of whom denied committing any acts of abuse. The Diocese also reported the claims to the Independent Review Board which will be responsible for appointing independent investigators. The priests accused are the following:

¯ The Rev. Robert Beiter, 82, who is retired and not currently active in ministry due to declining health is restricted from carrying out any priestly ministry or from presenting…

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September 11, 2021

More alumni accuse former Georgetown provost of sexual misconduct

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

September 11, 2021

By Tom Jackman

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Actions of late priest J. Donald Freeze were revealed in June, but another accuser had come forward earlier.

A now-deceased Catholic priest who was the provost and executive vice president at Georgetown University, and was accused of sexual misconduct by one former student, has also been accused by additional alumni, the university said. They include a man who said he tried to report an encounter with the priest to school officials in the 1980s but was referred to campus ministry — which he felt would answer to his alleged abuser.

J. Donald Freeze was provost, the school’s chief academic officer, from 1979 to 1991 and had worked at Georgetown in a variety of roles for years before that. He died in 2006. In June, Georgetown disclosed that Freeze had been accused by one former student of “non-consensual kissing and touching” more than 30 years ago. The university said…

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Bishop suspends four priests accused of abuse; allegations were in secret court papers

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

September 10, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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Bishop Michael W. Fisher on Friday suspended four retired priests from ministry, following abuse allegations lodged against them in confidential documents filed in federal bankruptcy court.

When confronted with the allegations, the priests denied committing any acts of abuse, diocese officials said in a news release.

The numbers are a striking rebuke to Buffalo Diocese officials who for decades downplayed the extent of abuse in the area and protected molester priests from prosecution and public accountability.

The accused priests are the Rev. Robert Beiter, 82; the Rev. Thomas Wopperer, 83; the Rev. Raymond Donohue, 63; and Monsignor Ronald P. Sciera, 86.

Diocese officials said they have notified the area district attorneys’ offices and a review board that is responsible for appointing an investigator to examine the claims.

The priests are on administrative leave and restricted from carrying out any ministry or presenting themselves as priests in public, pending an investigation…

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Four priests placed on administrative leave by Bishop Fisher

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB [Buffalo NY]

September 10, 2021

By Troy Licastro

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four retired priests are now on administrative leave, according to Buffalo Diocese Bishop Michael Fisher.

Fisher tells News 4 this comes after the diocese found out about informational documents filed with the federal bankruptcy court as part of the diocese’s chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.

According to the diocese, bankruptcy claimants filed confidential documents containing information about their allegations against priests.

In a press release on Friday, the diocese said, “Upon learning of the allegations, the diocese notified the offices of the appropriate District Attorneys and confronted the priests, all of whom denied committing any acts of abuse. The diocese also reported the claims to the Independent Review Board, which will be responsible for appointing independent investigators.”

The priests accused include:

  1. Father Robert Beiter (82): Retired and not currently active in ministry due to declining health is restricted from carrying out any priestly ministry or from presenting himself…
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Argentine priest sentenced to 17 years for abuse of minors

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

September 10, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

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ROME – Just two months after the founder of his order was given a 12-year jail sentence and defrocked for sexually abusing minors, Argentine Father Nicolas Parma Wednesday was sentenced to 17 years in prison on the same charges.

Formerly a member of Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista, or “Brother Disciples of Jesus of St. John the Baptist,” Parma was accused by multiple people of sexual abuse in 2016 alongside the order’s founder, ex-priest Augustin Rosa.

Known in Argentina as “the Brown Brothers” because of the brown habits community members wore, the congregation began as a small group holding meetings in Lujan in the 1980s, but it grew rapidly and the community was formally established by Rosa in Salta in 1996, with a women’s community coming shortly after.

Members lived a contemplative prayer life, but also performed apostolic activities outside monastery walls, such as theatre shows and…

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Priest who led Lowell, Marlborough churches barred from public ministry, sentenced to ‘life of prayer and penance’ for sexual abuse

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

September 10, 2021

By Travis Andersen

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A Catholic priest who formerly led parishes in Lowell and Marlborough has been barred from public ministry after an ecclesiastical panel found him guilty of sexually abusing a minor in the 1960s, the Archdiocese of Boston said Friday.

In a statement, the archdiocese confirmed the resolution of the case involving Rev. Paul J. McLaughlin, the former pastor of St. Peter Parish in Lowell and Immaculate Conception Parish in Marlborough.

The statement said McLaughlin, 91, had been “found guilty of child abuse and his sentence has been affirmed by the Vatican to live a life of Prayer and Penance.”

In light of that sentence, the archdiocese said, McLaughlin, who currently lives in California, is barred from exercising any public ministry, including celebrating public Masses. In addition, the statement said, he “may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire, and cannot function” as a cleric.

“He is to live in…

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Concerned Catholics seek healing path from sexual abuse

TORONTO (CANADA)
The Catholic Register [Toronto ON, Canada]

September 10, 2021

By Michael Swan

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Ever since the world learned about priests and brothers abusing orphan boys at Mount Cashel, for 40 years Canada’s Catholics have lived with a public image of their Church as hypocritical and defensive.  As more abuse scandals rumbled across headlines and through the courts, public contempt for the Catholic Church became commonplace. Add onto this mountain of shame all that we’ve learned lately about Indian residential schools.

In response, a lay movement has been growing over the last year — a network of faithful lay Catholics who are not going to live with the scandals or the paralysis of their Church anymore. Concerned Lay Catholics (www.concernedlaycatholics.ca) have been inspired by Pope Francis to take ownership of their Church and its problems. There are representatives now in nine provinces, and growing.

Among the inspirations for this lay movement is abuse survivor William O’Sullivan, who has been picketing outside of St. Kevin’s…

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Pastor at Lake Zurich school, church reinstated after being cleared in child sex abuse investigation

CHICAGO (IL)
Lake and McHenry County Scanner [Libertyville IL]

September 10, 2021

By WOO-SUNG SHIM

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A pastor at Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich has been reinstated after allegations of child sexual abuse were unfounded, the archbishop said.

In November, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who is the Archbishop of Chicago, wrote in a letter to the St. Francis community announcing the investigation into Father David Ryan.

Ryan was accused of sexually abusing minors approximately 25 years ago while he was assigned to the Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

Due to the investigation by officials and the Archdiocese of Chicago, Ryan was asked to step down from pastor until the investigation was complete.

On Thursday, Cupich sent a letter updating the St. Francis community on the case.

Cupich said state officials determined the allegations were unfounded.

On August 21, the archdiocese concluded there was insufficient reason to suspect Ryan had committed child sexual abuse, Cupich added.

Ryan was immediately reinstated as pastor Thursday.

Cupich…

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McAleese speaks of despair at exclusion of lay Catholics from decision-making in Church

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

September 11, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

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Authority based on ‘fictitious baptismal promises made by non-sentient babies’, says former president

The Catholic Church is at a critical crossroads in its history “and if it fails to choose the right path it risks an enduring permafrost”, former president Mary McAleese has said.

“Many of us are in growing despair of our Church’s inability to turn a critical spotlight on itself while shining a critical spotlight on the world at large,” she said, and referred to “its controlling clericalism, its cavalier misogyny, its evil homophobia, its institutional and clerical child sexual and physical abuse,its episcopal cover-ups that protected criminals and ignored victims, its lack of financial transparency and accountability”.

There was also “its relentless external advocacy of the right to life of the unborn while hypocritically ignoring the fact that the Church, whose primary mission is salvation, itself teaches that it cannot guarantee a right to eternal life for the…

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Peter Irniq (left to right), Jack Anawak and Marius Tungilik. Photo: Submitted

Inuit upset ‘devil priest’ isn’t being pursued by federal government

(CANADA)
APTN - Aboriginal Peoples Television Network [Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada]

September 9, 2021

By Kathleen Martens

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Inuit organizations trying to find ways to bring Oblate priest back to Canada

[Photo above: Peter Irniq (left to right), Jack Anawak and Marius Tungilik. – Photo submitted]

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering with the trauma  of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

It may be too late for Marius Tungilik, but it’s not too late for other Inuit who allege they were sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest at residential school in Nunavut.

“I owe it to my friend, Marius, and the five other [alleged] victims,” said Inuit elder Peter Irniq.

Irniq has been lobbying for more than 10 years for Canada to prosecute retired priest Johannes Rivoire for suspected sexual abuse of children.

“The RC [Roman Catholic church] is under pressure,” Irniq said from his home in Ottawa. “The government can no…

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How Maryland’s statute of limitations undermines abuse survivors, including in Boy Scouts bankruptcy

SALISBURY (MD)

September 10, 2021

By Madeleine O'Neill, USA TODAY NETWORK

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SALISBURY, Md. — Growing up in central Maryland, Mick Gillispie was eager to earn merit badges and move up the ranks in his local Boy Scout troop.

But as the teenager worked through the badges, an upsetting pattern emerged. No matter what new skills he needed to learn, his merit badge counselor always had a reason that Mick needed to take off his clothes.

Mick started picking merit badges that couldn’t possibly require him to undress: citizenship, communications, emergency preparedness.

It didn’t matter. His merit badge counselor always had an excuse.

Now 46, Gillispie can still smell the musty basement apartment where, at 15, he suddenly understood what was happening — the day he says his merit badge counselor, William H. Tross, groped him and tried to order him into the bedroom.

Gillispie earned the rank of Eagle Scout a few years later. He doesn’t talk much…

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Catholic church pays $23.9M to victims sexually abused by priests

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Sun-Gazette [Exeter CA]

September 8, 2021

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Six California Catholic dioceses, including Fresno which covers Tulare County, settle with 197 victims abused as minors

LOS ANGELES – Six California Catholic dioceses including Fresno, which covers most of the Central Valley, paid $23.9 million to 197 victims abused by clergy members who opted to settle their claims instead of filing lawsuits.

The last claim from victims had been processed by the Independent Compensation Program (ICP) for Victims of Sexual Abuse by Diocesan Priests in California on Sept. 2, according to announcement by the Independent Oversight Committee. The dioceses launched the ICP in September 2019 to provide any victim/survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest a non-adversarial resolution, regardless of when the abuse occurred. The six participating dioceses were Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Together, the participating dioceses comprise more than 10 million Catholics, or about 80 percent of California’s…

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Former North Adams priest added to list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse

NORTH ADAMS (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

September 8, 2021

By Larry Parnass

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NORTH ADAMS — A priest who began his career in North Adams is the first to join the list of those “credibly accused” of sexual abuse since that roster expanded in June to include clergy who died before a survivor came forward.

An official with the Springfield Diocese said Wednesday that the Rev. James Paul Menge, who died in 2010, was added to the roster Sept. 1. More than one person provided a credible report that he engaged in the sexual abuse of a minor.

This isn’t the first time Menge has been identified as an abuser. In December 2008, 20 months before Menge’s death Aug. 6, 2010, a Greenfield law firm said it had secured a financial settlement from an abuse survivor who named Menge as the perpetrator. In November 2008, the diocese provided $4.5 million in compensation to 59 abuse victims, according to the website  View Cache

September 10, 2021

Shawn Vestal: GU report raises important question about Jesuit scandal, then skips an answer

SPOKANE (WA)
The Spokesman-Review [Spokane WA]

September 10, 2021

By Shawn Vestal

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On Page 29 of the report issued by a commission at Gonzaga University charged with delving into the role of the university in the long-standing, but now ended, practice of sending retired Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse to live at GU, there is an important question: “WHO KNEW WHAT WHEN?”

Some words follow that question – many, many words – but nothing like an answer. It surely does not plumb, even the tiniest bit, the degree to which GU President Thayne McCulloh or other university leaders were aware that the Society of Jesus had been putting sexual abusers out to pasture at GU since the 1970s.

The question of McCulloh’s knowledge, in particular, was raised by some faculty members when the news about the retired Jesuits blew up nationally in 2018. Several were deeply disappointed in his failure to prevent the practice or address it more specifically with the…

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Towards the Warsaw Conference: Exchanging experiences together

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
L'Osservatore Romano [Vatican City]

September 10, 2021

By Hanna Suchocka

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The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) was established in 2014 as an advisory body at the service of the Holy Father. The mission entrusted to the PCPM is “to propose initiatives to the Roman Pontiff…for the purposes of promoting local responsibility in the particular Churches for the protection of all minors and vulnerable adults” (Statutes, Art. 1). The PCPM’s main concern from the start was how to find the best way to protect children and how to help the Pope and the Church achieve this goal. Its role, however, is not to take any responsibility for individual cases of abuse (which is the competence of a prosecutorial body or a court).

It became obvious that in many cases, the behaviour of the Church, which was intended to defend itself, was plunging it further and further into harm’s way, thus causing damage. The greatest resentment has been caused…

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Our view: Schools must handle sexual assault allegations better

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

September 9, 2021

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Unanswered questions — disturbing ones — surround the case of a former school health aide charged with three second-degree felony counts of molesting a child.

Here’s what we know: Santa Fe police arrested 30-year-old Robert Apodaca in July over allegations he sexually abused a boy in 2019, including at the school nurse’s office at Gonzales Community School.

Apodaca and the boy knew each other through the North Santa Fe Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. An elder at the congregation reported Apodaca to police after the family came to him in June. That elder, by the way, did exactly the right thing, unlike others in this mess.

The former health aide also is being investigated by state police over a more recent alleged incident of child molestation, this one at Santo Niño Regional Catholic School. Apodaca has not been charged in that case.

Of concern to parents is the man’s work record….

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Harrison attorneys respond to bishop’s letter

FRESNO (CA)
KGET - NBC 17 [Bakersfield CA]

September 9, 2021

By Jason Kotowski

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A group of attorneys called a letter from the Fresno bishop read to parishioners Sunday “rambling, misleading, frankly bizarre” and written with the purpose of retaliating against former priest Craig Harrison.

“His obsessive fixation on Craig is troubling, and we are praying not only for the bishop’s health, but also that he begins to follow Christ’s teachings and be honest with the faithful,” the statement authored by local attorneys Kyle J. Humphrey, David A. Torres, H.A. Sala, Craig Edmonston, Jared Thompson and Danielle Humphrey says.

Harrison, the popular ex-pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, resigned from the priesthood in March. Bishop Joseph V. Brennan said Harrison’s resignation came the same week a church trial was set to begin on allegations the priest engaged in misconduct with seven minors.

The attorneys denied that was the case.

“As Bishop Brennan knows, the implication that Craig’s resignation…

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Pope Francis promotes priest who denounced pedophilia in Chile’s clergy

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Philippine Daily Inquirer [Makati City, Philippines]

September 9, 2021

By Agence-France Presse

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Wednesday announced a promotion for a Chilean priest who was one of the first to denounce child sex abuse in the clergy in his country.

Andres Gabriel Ferrada Moreira will become secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy from October, the number two position in the body responsible for the training of priests.

Moreira, 52, was ordained as a priest in 1999 and holds a doctorate in theology which he obtained in Rome.

He spoke out against the actions of the pedophile priest Fernando Karadima, who died last month in a retirement home in Chile aged 90.

Karadima, whose duties at one time included the training of priests, was accused of abusing young boys throughout the 1980s and ’90s, a scandal that rocked the church in Chile.

A Vatican canonical court found him guilty in 2011, and in 2018 he was defrocked by Pope Francis.

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Gay priest ‘relieved’ at dropping of abuse case

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

September 10, 2021

By Helen Bruce

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A gay Irish priest, honoured by President Michael D. Higgins for his work on LGBT rights, is said to be ‘deeply relieved’ a lawsuit alleging he had abused a US teen has been dropped.

Fr Bernárd J. Lynch, from Clare and now living in London, had said the allegation of abuse dating back 40 years are ‘misplaced and malicious’. 

On Thursday, an organisation supporting reform of the Catholic Church, We Are Church Ireland, said there had been a ‘complete vindication’ of Fr Lynch. ‘We are delighted to learn that the defamatory allegations made once again against Fr Bernárd Lynch have turned out to be without basis or even a scintilla of evidence to support them,’ said spokesman Colm Holmes.

‘These false allegations were made in 2019 just as Fr Bernárd Lynch was receiving a Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad from President Michael D. Higgins at the Áras –…

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Robert Greene’s ‘Procession’ Examines The Art Of Documentary Collaboration At The Telluride Film Festival

TELLURIDE (CO)
CPR (Colorado Public Radio) [Denver CO]

September 8, 2021

By Monica Castillo

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Robert Greene’s nonfiction movies are studies of processes and re-examinations of the past.

They ask how does one prepare to tell a story? Which stories are we choosing to tell? How do we depict stories that are uncomfortable or emotional? In his movie “Kate Plays Christine,” Greene documented the process of actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she was preparing to portray Florida reporter Christine Chubbuck on the day she killed herself on air, capturing the uncomfortable questions and doubts about whether or not they should even tell that story. 

His previous film, “Bisbee ‘17,” looked at a Southwestern town commemorating the 100th anniversary of an illegal deportation and the scars left behind on the local families still living there. Part of the town’s event was a re-enactment of that fateful event, an idea that led Greene to think about the premise for his latest movie, “Procession,” which premiered last week…

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DA drops sex abuse case of KCK priest. Trial ‘not in the best interests’ of victim

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

September 9, 2021

By July L. Thomas

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Wyandotte County prosecutors have dismissed a criminal case against a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas charged with sexually abusing a minor.

The Rev. Scott Kallal faced two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred in 2015.

Kallal’s case went to trial in September 2019 and ended in a hung jury. A new trial — delayed due to COVID-19 — was set to take place next year, but the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the case last week. The action was announced Wednesday by the KCK archdiocese.

The District Attorney’s Office said the decision was made following discussions with the alleged victim’s family.

“After lengthy consultation with the family, the District Attorney’s Office has decided it is not in the best interests of the victim to try the case a second time,” it said Wednesday night in…

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Synod hears calls for ‘radical revision’ of Canon Law

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

September 9, 2021

By Sarah MacDonald

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The Church needs a thorough revision of canon law and a commission to oversee this revision should include lay people, one of the country’s top barristers, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws has said.

Speaking as part of a panel on the theme, Insisting on Sharing Authority at this week’s Root and Branch lay-led synod, the Scottish lawyer, broadcaster and Labour member of the House of Lords said a radical revision of canon law should be a “key call” from the synod.

She said a commission to oversee reform should “systematically go through the structures of the canon law and make them appropriate to the 21st century” and it should sit in public as it heard evidence.

Describing herself as “a firm believer in reform”, she said: “I really feel that we have to persuade the current leadership [in the Church] that they must cede power in order to survive.”

Elsewhere in the…

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Law firm starts database of Catholic child abuse

PLATTSBURGH (NY)
Adirondack Daily Enterprise [Saranac Lake NY]

April 8, 2021

By Cara Chapman

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PLATTSBURGH — A Minnesota-based firm on Tuesday launched a database it hopes will aid child abuse survivors, law enforcement and fellow attorneys in their efforts to seek justice from the Catholic Church in New York state.

The virtual event hosted by Jeff Anderson & Associates featured a breakdown of statistics for all Catholic dioceses in the state, including the Diocese of Ogdensburg, which spans the North Country.

Anderson said the purpose of the report was, in part, “to identify those institutions and Catholic bishops across this country who have been complicit in allowing children to have been abused and to do what we can with each survivor, one at a time, to make sure that we are doing something today to protect kids tomorrow.”

2,801 complaints

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow more survivors to come forward, the legislature passed a bill, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo,…

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Law School Launches New Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
University of St. Thomas School of Law [Minneapolis MN]

September 9, 2021

By Carrie Hilger

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Lawyers have the potential to facilitate healing, build bridges and bring about a more just and inclusive society when they utilize restorative justice practices within our courts and communities.

This is the driving idea behind the new Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH) at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, which was officially launched on Sept. 8. During an event at the Minneapolis Club, Founding Director Father Daniel Griffith, along with other program leaders, shared their vision for the new initiative. 

“I am heartened by the launch of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing,” Griffith said. “It is a vital time to foster greater justice and healing in our community and I look forward to the contributions that IRJH can make to informative dialogue and meaningful change.” 

Restorative justice is a worldwide movement that dates to the 1970s. Its concepts have…

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September 9, 2021

Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the reinstatement of Father David F. Ryan

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

September 9, 2021

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Dear Parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish, 

Last November, I informed you of an accusation against your pastor, Father David F. Ryan, and that, in keeping with our procedures, he was asked to step aside from his pastoral duties until a thorough investigation and process could be completed.  He has fully cooperated with civil authorities and the Archdiocese of Chicago during these months.  

Following the determination by state officials, who are charged with the protection of minors, that the allegation of child abuse was unfounded, the Independent Review Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago investigated the allegations in accordance with our usual procedures.  At their meeting on Saturday, August 21, 2021, they found there was insufficient reason to suspect Father Ryan had committed sexual abuse of a minor.  Therefore, I am pleased to inform you that I am reinstating Father Ryan as your pastor effective immediately.  

These have been…

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Chicago-area priest cleared of child sex abuse allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 9, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Chicago has cleared a suburban priest of allegations he sexually abused children 25 years ago, Cardinal Blase Cupich said Thursday.

Cupich wrote a letter to parishioners Thursday saying “there was insufficient reason suspect” the Rev. David Ryan had committed sexual abuse of a minor.

Ryan, pastor at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich, was directed to live away from the parish last November during the investigation, Cupich said in the letter. Ryan was reinstated as pastor immediately.

State officials also found the allegation was unfounded, Cupich wrote.

The abuse allegations were from when Ryan was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

Ryan was ordained in Springfield in June 1979 and started working in Maryville six years later. He became acting executive director in 2003.

The Archdiocese of Chicago, which covers Cook and Lake counties, serves around 2.2 million Catholics.

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Church leaders express regret after falsely accused Irish priest takes his life

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
IrishCentral [New York NY]

September 8, 2021

By Nick Bramhill

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Church leaders have told of their “deep regret and sorrow” over the death of an Irish-born priest who took his own life after being falsely accused of child abuse.

Father Alan Griffin, who died in November last year, spent a year under scrutiny over abuse allegations without ever hearing the claims.

In a response to a damning coroner’s report, church leaders accepted responsibility for their “poor investigation” and “what went wrong.”

The earlier, scathing coroner’s report found “no complainant, no witness, and no accuser” supported the allegations.

Dublin-born Griffin had been a Church of England clergyman before converting to Catholicism in 2012.

A probe into the allegations of child abuse was started by the Anglican diocese of London in 2019, with the claims then sent on to Catholic safeguarding authorities.

The coroner had previously concluded that the situation was made worse by the fact that Griffin, who was 78 at the…

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Here’s what Pa. lawmakers aren’t coming back early to fix | Thursday Morning Coffee

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital-Star

September 9, 2021

By John L. Micek

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Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

There’s always been a performative aspect to our politics. If you’re an elected official who wants to keep your job, it’s often as important to be seen doing something about The Big Problems as it is to actually do something about them.

But over the last few years, the balance of power between the performative and practical in our politics has tipped away from a focus on measurable accomplishments to one that’s content to simply win the next news cycle, no matter what the cost.

The shift has been, it should be noted, more or less bipartisan. But, in all the ways that count, from propagating the myth of the stolen election to mask and pandemic denialism, Republicans have been the predominant practitioners of this reinvigorated, and destructively corrosive, theatricality.

You don’t have to look much further for confirmation of that than this week’s announcement by the majority-GOP state House View Cache

Change in Diocese Policy leads to suspension of third former St Thomas priest and National Boy Scout Chaplain

DELMAR (NY)
Spotlight News [Delmar NY]

September 1, 2021

By John McIntyre

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[Photo above: Father Gregory Weider. Source: Albany diocese]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany removed Father Gregory Weider from public ministry on Aug. 14 after a change in diocese policy in response to Child Victim Act lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors and two other past claims of abuse in 2004 and 2010.

Weider, 84, served at St Thomas the Apostle in Delmar as an associate pastor from June 1971 to July 1977 then at St. Mary’s in Coxsackie until March 1982. He retired from full-time ministry in 2010 and has recently served as the sacramental minister at Sacred Heart in Margaretville and St. Anne’s in Andes, according to a release from the diocese announcing his removal. Weider was also the National Chaplain for the National Catholic Committee on Scouting in the early 1980s.

A CVA lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany County on Aug. 7 alleges that…

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COLLARED: Woman celebrates after priest who abused her 40 years ago finally found guilty

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Sunday World (Ireland)

September 8, 2021

By Hugh Jordan

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Aging cleric who fled to Spain is found guilty by Ulster jury despite claims he was ‘too ill’ to stand trial

Sinead Gorman celebates outside a church in east Belfast this week – after the priest who abused her there 40 years ago was finally found guilty.

Fr John Joseph Murray (80) was found guilty by a jury at at Dungannon Crown Court last Friday of sexually assaulting two young girls.

The unanimous verdict – which had been reached in under an hour – marked the end of the long and difficult road for two of his victims. They had both been chasing justice for 40 years.

Sinead was just 11 when the abuse started. And this week as she stood outside the former St Matthew’s Parochial House in Bryson Street in east Belfast, the now 50-year-old said just being there sent shivers down her spine.

“I’ll never forget running…

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Diocese vows to be timely, transparent in sex abuse cases

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 8, 2021

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield on Wednesday promised to adopt a series of measures intended to improve its handling of sexual abuse allegations.

The measures were recommended by a task force the diocese commissioned more than a year ago amid criticism of its handling of complaints. The panel issued its final report Wednesday and Bishop William Byrne said he will accept its suggestions.

As part of its new plan, the diocese said it will overhaul its policies to be more timely and transparent when responding to complaints, and it promised accountability for those who carry out abuse or fail to report it.

It also vowed to issue a statement acknowledging the trauma that has been caused by representatives of the church, “and the failure of diocesan leadership to respond adequately.”

The plan drew fire from an attorney who represents victims of clergy abuse in Springfield. Mitchell Garabedian said it’s…

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Pope promotes theologian-priest who once testified against abusive mentor

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

September 8, 2021

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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Pope Francis named a Chilean priest who had testified against his abusive mentor to be secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy.

Archbishop-designate Andrés Gabriel Ferrada Moreira of Santiago, the new secretary, replaces 76-year-old French Archbishop Joël Mercier, who retired in September. His appointment, announced Sept. 8, goes into effect Oct. 1. 

Ferrada received his doctorate in biblical theology in 2006 at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and served in a number of pastoral assignments in Chile. He was a faculty member of the theology department at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile as well as director of studies at the major pontifical seminary of Santiago. He has been an official at the Congregation for Clergy since 2018.

The 52-year-old archbishop-designate was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Chile in 1999. According to court testimony, in 1988 when he was 19, he met the late Fernando Karadima, a…

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Report on Springfield diocese calls for changes, sees progress in handling of sex abuse claims

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette [Hampshire MA]

September 8, 2021

By Brian Steele

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An eight-member task force charged with reviewing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s response to allegations of sexual abuse by clergy issued its final report Wednesday, recommending changes to a process that survivors have said is sometimes worse than the abuse itself.

The Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse spent more than a year and a half analyzing the diocese’s practices, interviewing clergy and collecting testimony from focus groups of abuse survivors.

The task force announced its recommendations at a press conference alongside Bishop William Byrne. The Springfield diocese serves Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire counties.

“The Task Force learned that a significant number of the ‘people in the pews’ are disillusioned by the diocese’s failure to communicate fully and accurately about the issue of clergy sexual abuse,” the report reads. “In fact, many survivors said that the experience of having to deal with the diocese was…

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Report details ways to improve Springfield Diocese response to clergy abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

September 8, 2021

By Larry Parnass

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The Diocese of Springfield is pledging to resolve clergy sexual abuse complaints with greater speed and care, while giving the public more input on its handling of the issue and continuing to restructure its internal Review Board.

Those and other changes lie ahead, officials said Wednesday, as the organization that represents Catholics throughout Western Massachusetts works to heal not only the trauma suffered by clergy victims, but its own, at times, flawed practices.

Bishop William D. Byrne said the final report from the independent group, unveiled Wednesday, sets the diocese on a course of “real change.”

“I offer my assurance that this report is just the beginning,” Byrne said at a news conference in downtown Springfield. “We’re talking about a systematic reformation of how we deal with survivors.”

The first step toward that reform, Byrne and others said, will be the creation of an outside group that will…

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Sinéad O’Connor knows exactly who she is

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The Christian Century [Chicago IL]

September 9, 2021

By Jessica Mesman

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Rememberings is the story of a pop star, protest singer, and prophet.

I was 16 years old in October 1992, when Sinéad O’Connor appeared on the stage of Saturday Night Live wearing a white lace gown reminiscent of the type Catholic girls wear at our first communions, sang Bob Marley’s “War” a capella, and then tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II while yelling, “Fight the real enemy,” leaving the audience in stunned silence. I was horrified. I also couldn’t help but feel the same kind of admiring awe I might feel for a classmate who yells the f-word during a school mass. Still, I’d always thought of the pope as a kindly Polish grandfather. I couldn’t imagine what he’d done to provoke such a response.

Watching the clip nearly 30 years later, knowing what I know about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and John Paul II’s complicity in…

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In the wake of abuse: 46 pages doesn’t answer our questions

SPOKANE (WA)
The Gonzaga Bulletin [Spokane WA]

September 8, 2021

By Dawson Neely

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To begin on the same page: Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh recently released the findings of an 18-month committee on Gonzaga’s response to the Catholic sexual abuse crisis, including the Cardinal Bea House on campus.

The subsequent 46-page report asks more questions than it answers. While being digestible and open to the public, it fails to answer some pressing concerns that naturally arise in the wake of a scandal such as this. Chief among these questions is, how much was known, and could it have been prevented?

For those who were not previously aware of the full history behind priestly abusers and their relocation, this report gives a light introduction. However, the context that the committee has had access to seems to have been glossed over when fitted for public consumption.

Historical analysis of events and tragedies are narrowed to only one named account, that of the disgraced Fr. James Poole who…

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September 8, 2021

Hide caption Chris Graham cries as his mother, Lynne, reads an essay that he wrote about his faith while in college. Graham was emotional because he didn't remember his 1997 rape by the Rev. Raymond Lavelle at the time he wrote it. COURTNEY HERGESHEIMER/COLUMBUS DISPATCH

‘There’s no escape’: Memories of being raped by Catholic priest haunt Columbus man

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch [Columbus OH]

September 8, 2021

By Danae King

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Chris Graham shares his story of being sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was 14, and how the memories of it have impacted his life.

[Photo above: Chris Graham cries as his mother, Lynne, reads an essay that he wrote about his faith while in college. Graham was emotional because he didn’t remember his 1997 rape by the Rev. Raymond Lavelle at the time he wrote it. -Courtney Hergesheimer/Columbus Dispatch]

The metal clink of a belt being unbuckled.

The room coming in and out of focus.

The pressure with which the older man pinned him to the floor.

These are a few of the memories that come back to Chris Graham in snapshots from years ago, when he was raped by a Catholic priest at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Powell.

He was 14 years old.

Graham was a dedicated altar server at the time who looked up…

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Santa Fe man potentially linked to two cases of child sexual abuse

SANTA FE (NM)
KOB-TV [Albuquerque NM]

September 7, 2021

By Guili Frendak

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SANTA FE– According to court documents, Robert Apodaca’s alleged abuse of minors dates back to 2019.

Documents show a church elder called police in June 2021 to report what a family in his congregation told him about past abuse of their son.

Santa Fe police started an official investigation in July, and found that the family knew Apodaca as a minister in their congregation, and allowed their then twelve-year-old son to spend time alone with him.

Detectives said, and documents show, Apodaca admitted to about ten incidents of sexual contact with the victim, at his house, in his car, in public when people weren’t around, and in Albuquerque.

The child was also a student at Gonzales Community School at the time of the abuse in 2019, where Apodaca also worked.

Police arrested Apodaca on July 15, 2021, for three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second…

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Vatican changed in tone, but not substance – Spotlight lawyer

BOSTON (MA)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

September 8, 2021

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From Midday Report, 12:49 pm on 8 September 2021 

[Includes link to audio of interview]

A few days ago a once-powerful Catholic cardinal pled not guilty to child sexual abuse charges in a Massachusetts court.

This is Theodore McCarrick, was defrocked by the Vatican two years ago.

This case is significant because he is the highest ranking Catholic official in the US to face criminal charges for sexually abusing children.

Worldwatch’s Max Towle spoke to lawyer Mitchell Garabedian – who is bringing two civil cases against McCarrick – he was famously depicted by actor Stanley Tucci in the 2015 film Spotlight.

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‘I guess it’s closure’: $1m settlement for victim of clerical abuse

SUNBURY (AUSTRALIA)
The Age [Melbourne, Australia]

September 8, 2021

By Cameron Houston

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A former student at Rupertswood Salesian College in Sunbury has received a $1 million legal settlement more than 30 years after he was raped by Catholic priest David Rapson.

While the money will help him deal with his ailing health, Ben Monagle says nothing can compensate for the harm caused by Rapson, which triggered decades of drug abuse, mental health problems, criminal offending and estrangement from his four children.

“I guess it’s closure in a sense and I have to shut the door as best I can. But the money won’t really help with all the crap I’ve been through and the stuff I’ve put others through,” Mr Monagle said.

Mr Monagle’s lawyer, Viv Waller, said he would receive $1,012,435, which would be managed by the courts to help fund stable accommodation and medical treatment.

“The settlement is the largest recorded award for psychiatric injury in Victoria,” Dr Waller said.

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These 15 prominent S.I. figures, accused of sex-abuse, illustrate the scope of the Child Victims Act here

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

September 5, 2021

By Joseph Ostapiuk

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Many prominent figures and institutions were named in Child Victims Act lawsuits on Staten Island the last two years.

A WINDOW CLOSED. AN ISLAND CHANGED. This story is the final piece in a four-part series examining the impact of the Child Victims Act.

Part 1:These 5 Staten Island institutions, figures may never be the same again | Part 2: What’s next for the Catholic church? Devoted parishioners, veteran priest share thoughts | Part 3: Child Victims Act fallout now shifts to courtrooms: ‘The system has never seen anything like this.’

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Lawsuits have been filed. Allegations have been levied. Millions of dollars hang in the balance.

The Child Victims Act, a historic look-back window that enabled survivors to file sex-abuse claims without a statute of limitations, sent a scathing fracture through the trust of beloved institutions and revered figures — irrevocably changing the landscape of the borough.

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Another Voice: Buffalo bishop must show true remorse to victims of abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

September 7, 2021

By Michael Taheri

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On Aug. 17, 2021, in a prepared statement regarding the healing process for the victims of clergy sexual abuse scandal, Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher acknowledged that the church “must go to whatever length is required to demonstrate genuine remorse.”

The question unanswered by Fisher is what specific steps the Catholic church needs to take to demonstrate “genuine remorse.” Our bishop offered no options, ideas or solutions in his statement as to how he wants to demonstrate genuine remorse for the church’s role in this abuse.

As a daily Mass attendee, a Eucharistic minister and instructor of RCIA, I offer the following options to our bishop as steps that may show the victims of clergy sexual abuse that the church is capable of demonstrating genuine remorse. Also, as a lawyer, I have represented several of the priests in the sex abuse scandal.

Fisher needs to offer every church asset of the…

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Albany diocese sends child sex abuse cases to review board

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

August 29, 2021

By Michelle Del Rey

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Cases were named in Child Victims Act lawsuits

ALBANY — The cases of three former clergy members accused of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany have been sent to the independent Diocesan Review Board for “advisement,” according to a press release. 

The decision came Friday at the request of the Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. The clergy members are Rev. James Daley, Rev. Dennis Murphy and Rev. Nellis Tremblay. 

All three have been named in Child Victims Act lawsuits and maintain their innocence, the statement noted. None of the men serve in public ministry due to illness or age.  

Typically the diocese only sends cases of child sexual abuse to an independent review board if the accusations have also been reported to the church. 

The allegations described in the lawsuits include the sexual abuse of minors ranging from six to 15 years of age, and are…

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Letter: Hubbard’s commentary ‘rings dreadfully hollow’

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

August 30, 2021

By David Clohessy

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If the law says a manufacturer can’t use some toxic chemical, the CEO need not understand why it’s dangerous. He or she must simply obey the law.

If the law says an employer can’t refuse to hire Blacks, the boss need not understand why discrimination is hurtful. He or she must simply obey the law.

And if the law says adults raping kids is wrong, the boss need not understand what that’s so. He or she must simply obey the law.

Howard J. Hubbard, bishop emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, and every single U.S. Catholic bishop knew long ago that child sex abuse was illegal. Who cares or knows how much or little they knew about the devastating effects of abuse. They knew it was wrong. They kept it hidden.

Hubbard’s claim in his commentary “Hubbard: Much we didn’t understand about sexual abuse,” Aug. 13, that where…

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‘Procession’: Film Review | Telluride 2021

TELLURIDE (CO)
Hollywood Reporter [Los Angeles CA]

September 3, 2021

By Lovia Gyarkye

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Robert Greene’s latest film, created with six men who were abused by Catholic priests and clergy, is a collaborative exercise in trauma recovery.

Memories of trauma — buried deep within the body, locked in a casket of shame — are difficult to excavate. Remembering can be a different kind of violence, so the mind resists recollecting that which has been shunned in the name of self-protection. But what happens when concealing no longer provides a certain level of safety? When the memories erupt and, in an astonishing turn of events, the mind betrays the body?

Robert Greene’s Procession is a stirring film that answers these questions with deep sincerity and generosity. Premiering at the Telluride Film Festival, the documentary follows six men in Kansas City, Missouri, who were abused by Catholic priests and clergy, as they, through a drama therapy-inspired experiment, attempt to exorcise their trauma. As they perform the stories of…

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Task force to weigh in on handling of clergy abuse reports by Springfield diocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

September 7, 2021

By Larry Parnass

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SPRINGFIELD — After more than a year of work, a group has recommendations ready for the Springfield diocese on how it can improve its handling of allegations of clergy abuse.

The final report by the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield is due to be released at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Members of the public can watch a press conference to be livestreamed at diospringfield.org.

The task force was initially led by retired Judge Daniel A. Ford of Pittsfield. He stepped down in early June citing a perceived conflict of interest over his role, due to his work with the law firm Egan Flanagan & Cohen, which has long represented the diocese, including on clergy abuse legal matters.

The group was then co-led by Irene Woods and Orlando Isaza. It was commissioned by former Bishop Mitchell Rozanski…

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SNAP applauds a courageous Catholic survivor, demands that her abuser be included on Diocesan lists

LAS CRUCES (NM)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

August 31, 2021

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Along with three other survivors, Rose Wiseman accused Fr. Joaquin Resma of child sexual abuse in a lawsuit. That case was settled out of court, but another one has recently been filed alleging abuse by the priest. Rose’s parish, Our Lady of Health in Las Cruces, New Mexico, belonged to the Diocese of El Paso at the time, but became a part of the Diocese of Las Cruces in 1982. Fr. Resma is not included on the lists of “credibly accused” clergy from either Diocese.

We know that at least five survivors have now gone public with accusations against Fr. Resma. Others may have reported to Catholic officials, or may still be suffering alone and in silence. We also know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, and multiple false allegations are even rarer. We stand with the victims. How many survivors does it take to…

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September 7, 2021

Fresno bishop’s letter to parishioners about former priest Craig Harrison

FRESNO (CA)
Church Militant [Ferndale MI]

September 6, 2021

By Bishop Joseph V. Brennan, D.D.

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[For PDF of letter as it appeared on ChurchMilitant.com on 9/6/2021, click here.]

Diocese of Fresno
Pastoral Center
1550 North Fresno Street
Fresno, California 93703-3788
TELEPHONE (559) 488-7400

Dear brothers and sisters,

This letter comes to you with a lot of emotions that range from sorrow to hope and everything else in between. I have felt them deeply and continue to do so. I can well imagine that you have too.  It is precisely because of that that I am doing my best to write these words to you in a spirit of hope.

Since April of 2019 we have been on quite a journey, to put it mildly. Undoubtedly, it is a journey that has been neither wanted nor planned by any of us. Over these two years I have heard from many of you, sharing with me your anger, disappointment, frustrations, confusion; and from others, words of prayerful support and encouragement….

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Letter to the editor: Sen. Kim Ward denying victims justice

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

September 5, 2021

By Marci Hamilton

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The argument Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward used in her op-ed (“Retroactive window for victims is no quick fix,” Aug. 24, TribLIVE) to justify her opposition to House Bill 951 — a bill that would create a two-year civil liability window for child sex abuse survivors — is an incredulous excuse and one that denies past, current and future victims of child sex abuse access to the justice that they so rightly deserve.

Pennsylvanians can see right through her disingenuous attempt to position herself as a champion of protecting child abuse survivors, just by looking at her past actions, including refusing to work with survivors and advocates while continuing to cozy up to the very institutions that enable predators.

Legislation similar to HB 951 has been tried and tested in legislatures and jurisdictions across the country. Twenty states, Washington, D.C., and Guam all found a window is…

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Spanish bishop allegedly stepped down because of relationship with novelist

SOLSONA (SPAIN)
Crux [Denver CO]

September 7, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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ROME – When Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a Spanish bishop for “strictly personal reasons” two weeks ago, speculation was rampant as to why, with several news sites claiming the pontiff had fired him for his support of the independence of Catalonia.

Yet, according to several reports coming from Spain this week, the former bishop of Solsona, Xavier Novell, 52, “freely” resigned to the episcopacy for a woman, who works as a psychologist and author of erotic novels.

Novell has already moved from his diocese to Manresa, where Silvia Caballol, 38, lives. He’s looking for a job, since the former prelate is also an agricultural engineer. The Vatican’s Aug. 23 decree announcing that he had his resignation as bishop of Solsona accepted did not mention him leaving the priesthood.

“Bishop Novell took the decision after a time of reflection, discernment and prayer, at the end of which he spontaneously…

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Catholic religious order appears to have lied to an abuse victim; SNAP urges the group whose findings were misrepresented to denounce the religious order

DE PERE (WI)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

September 6, 2021

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A news article published last week by the Chicago Sun-Times revealed how the Norbertines, a Catholic religious order, apparently deliberately misled child sex abuse victim Nate Lindstrom about the findings of the outside group that investigated his accusations. We cannot help but wonder how many other times Church officials have used this ploy on survivors, parishioners, and the public to conceal the information and advice they receive? We urge Praesidium to publicly denounce that behavior and to refuse to work with the Norbertines in the future.

Nate Lindstrom, who had accused three Norbertine priests of child sexual abuse, had been receiving monthly support from the order since 2009. In 2018, when a new abbot came on board, Nate received a letter from the Norbertine’s attorney, who wrote that Praesidium, the outside group charged with investigating Nate’s allegations, had found his accusations “non-credible” and would find Nate a therapist and…

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Fresno Bishop: Bakersfield Priest Allegedly Abused 7 Minors

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Church Militant [Ferndale MI]

September 6, 2021

By Christine Niles

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Warning issued about Msgr. Craig Harrison

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The bishop of Fresno, California is breaking his years-long silence about a notorious Bakersfield priest, revealing he may have abused at least seven children.

Bishop Joseph Brennan had a letter read aloud at all parishes over the weekend giving more details about the defrocked Msgr. Craig Harrison, a popular priest of nearly 40 years in Bakersfield. Harrison continues to officiate at weddings, funerals and lead spiritual retreats, in spite of a Vatican decree of laicization ordering him to cease leading such events.

“The diocese of Fresno has consistently had a ‘no comment’ response through all of this,” the letter explains. “If you found that frustrating, then just remember that I share that frustration with you.”

The bishop goes on to reveal the number of credible allegations against Harrison: “It might be helpful for you to know that…

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Defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges

BOSTON (MA)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

September 3, 2021

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[Click here to see CNN’s interview of attorney Mitchell Garabedian on the significance of McCarrick’s arraignment to victims.]

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked by The Vatican in 2019 over sex abuse allegations, pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older at an arraignment in Dedham District Court in Massachusetts Friday.

A judge set a $5000 cash bail, ordering McCarrick to have no contact with the alleged victim or any minors under the age of 18.

A Norfolk County prosecutor told the judge that McCarrick “immersed himself into the fabric of the victim’s family, and then used his status as a priest to access and prey upon the victim.”

“He specifically used the act of confession to get the victim away from his parents and from his siblings and then would sexually assault the victim during that…

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