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.

July 2, 2022

Historian’s new book highlights Pius XII’s moral failures

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

July 1, 2022

By Jason Berry

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Pope Pius XII was a slender, ascetic pope who dined alone most nights in the Apostolic Palace, attended by nuns, a pet canary at hand; he then spent hours writing statements and speeches during the long darkness of World War II. 

Pius’ words had repercussions he probably never imagined, a language so scripted as not to offend Adolf Hitler and Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the grisly buildup to World War II. The pope made no great outcry as Polish Jews were slaughtered in 1939 and Polish priests went to prison. In 1941, when Hitler invaded Russia, the pope singled out “the great courage shown in defending the bases of Christian civilization and confident hope in their triumph.”

And yet Pius knew the rotten underbelly. When a Roman military chaplain briefed him on Germans dynamiting synagogues in Ukraine and horrific Nazi massacres of Jews and Catholics,…

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Albany bishop says mediation could help victims

ALBANY (NY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

July 1, 2022

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The Bishop of Albany is proposing an alternative plan to settle hundreds of claims of sexual abuse against the New York diocese, a proposal the bishops hopes would avoid litigation over abuse claims and a diocesan filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The diocese is proposing a court-approved mediation process and a fund for survivors created by the diocese, its affiliated institutions and its insurers, to compensate victims.

But Bishop Scharfenberger told The Pillar that the reason he is making the proposal, which he described as “another path forward for survivors,” isn’t to save the diocese money. Instead, he said, he hopes the mediation process could ensure all victims receive some compensation from available diocesan resources. 

“The thing, I think, that’s not been understood is that there is a limited amount of money,” the bishop told The Pillar. “I don’t want any hidden corners whereby we say we’ve got this pot over there saving…

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FBI Probe Could Help Prosecute Louisiana Priests Accused of Inter-State Sex Abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

July 1, 2022

By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency

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The federal probe could pave the way for further revelations and further lawsuits against the New Orleans archdiocese.

Federal authorities are investigating alleged sex abuse of minors by New Orleans-area Catholic clergy, sometimes going back decades, on the grounds that the accused men could have violated a federal anti-sex trafficking law by crossing state lines. The investigation could provide another means for abuse victims to make their case against their abusers, and possibly file sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic dioceses and other organizations.

The FBI is probing whether accused priests can be prosecuted under various charges including the Mann Act, which bars taking anyone across state lines for illicit sex. Though some criminal claims may date back to the 1970s, the Mann Act has no statute of limitations. The Louisiana State Police is aiding the inquiry.

Federal prosecutors have used the Mann Act to help convict Ghislaine Maxwell, a leading…

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A secret world of power, abuse and cover-ups in New Zealand schools

(NEW ZEALAND)
Stuff [Wellington, New Zealand]

July 2, 2022

By Steve Kilgallon

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The Secret History: Uncovering Marist sex abuse

The Marist Brothers and Fathers have educated prime ministers, judges, cardinals and All Blacks at their Catholic high schools. But their record of sexual abuse is horrific. Worse still was their handling of the abuse when it was exposed. In this series The Secret History, Steve Kilgallon investigates the power, abuse and cover-ups at the heart of two highly influential and wealthy religious groups.

This is Part 1. The remaining parts will be published over the coming weeks.

Warning: This story may be upsetting to some.

When John Wilson* was 12 years old, he was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by his school principal, Kevin Waters.

Over two years at Christchurch’s Xavier Intermediate, John was groomed, then threatened, beaten, and even burned with a cigarette lighter. He was an altar server, and Waters would trick John by summoning him to the city’s Catholic cathedral…

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US Ambassador to Ireland: Church sex abuse ‘did shake my faith. For three years I did not attend mass’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

July 2, 2022

By Simon Carswell

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Ahead of America’s July 4th celebrations, Claire Cronin talks about her faith, her frustration at the lack of political action on US gun violence, and how she expects President Biden to visit Ireland soon

Claire Cronin likes to tell story of John F Kennedy, brother of Jean Kennedy Smith, the last female US ambassador to serve before her in Dublin.

During his 1963 visit, the then US president stood at a window in Deerfield, the ambassador’s Phoenix Park residence in Dublin, and looked across the park.

“The story goes that one of his aides said to him: ‘When you’re not president, what Democrat are you going to support to follow you?’ And he said: ‘I’m going to support whatever Democrat makes me ambassador to Ireland,’” she says.

Cronin (62), almost five months in her job as President Joe Biden’s envoy to Ireland, is equally taken by the view towards the…

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Episcopal Church Assault Data Reveals the Dark Side of Inclusive Christianity

BALTIMORE (MD)
Religion Dispatches

July 1, 2022

By Charlotte Dalwood

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When representatives of The Episcopal Church gather in Baltimore for the denomination’s General Convention taking place from July 8-11, they’ll be asked to consider a proposed overhaul to the church’s sexual violence prevention policy.

Currently, Episcopal canon law requires those preparing for ordination to demonstrate competencies in the “prevention of sexual misconduct.” The proposed changes would strike that requirement. Instead, ordinands would need to demonstrate the loftier-sounding, but more nebulous, ability to “form communities that understand and welcome diverse experiences of gender and sexuality, manifest safe and appropriate boundaries, and implement strategies to prevent sexual misconduct.”

The intent is to underscore “the importance of providing places for inclusion and support for those who have experienced rejection, shaming, and violence”—in particular, members of the LGBTQ+ community—which sounds like a welcome and refreshing change. 

But there’s a problem.

Gender and sexual minorities don’t just experience rejection, shaming, and violence outside Episcopal churches—they experience…

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July 1, 2022

Warning of bankruptcy, Albany diocese proposes abuse settlement plan

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

June 30, 2022

By Brendan J. Lyons

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Diocese proposes court-supervised effort to compensate more than 400 victims of sexual abuse who have filed claims.

The city’s Roman Catholic Diocese on Wednesday announced an initial proposal to use a court-supervised mediation plan to compensate the more than 400 victims of sexual abuse who have filed claims against the diocese, individual clergy and others under the state Child Victims Act.

The proposal, which must be approved by a state Supreme Court justice, would seek to “maximize the monetary recovery for victim/survivors on a fair and equitable basis and to accelerate the payments,” according to a release distributed to dozens of attorneys on behalf of the diocese by Michael L. Costello, the diocese’s longtime attorney.

“The diocese seeks to avoid the costly expenses and prolonged delays that would otherwise be associated with continued litigation with plaintiffs and their…

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Columbus diocese’s list of clergy accused of sex abuse grows to 53 with Newark priest

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch [Columbus OH]

June 30, 2022

By Danae King

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The list of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse who have served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus now totals 53, with one additional priest awaiting a judgment.

In May, the diocese added a Newark priest to the list of those who had been credibly accused after he was put on leave in January.

The Rev. Dean A. Mathewson, 77, remains on leave after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor while serving at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Newark in the early 1990s.

The list, originally with 34 clergy named, came out in March 2019 on the heels of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that revealed more than 1,000 victims of alleged abuse by more than 300 priests over 70 years. The report’s release spurred public pressure for dioceses across the country to release such lists telling people which priests…

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My Turn: Abortion bans, sexual abuse and Catholic misogyny

WASHINGTON (DC)
Greenfield Recorder [Greenfield MA]

June 30, 2022

By Carrie N. Baker

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With the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, American women and girls have lost their full citizenship rights. Women, transgender men and nonbinary people who can get pregnant no longer have bodily autonomy during pregnancy or sexual freedom. The government now controls their bodies and behaviors.

Politicians can force people to carry pregnancies against their will — a form of involuntary servitude that should be prohibited by the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but which the current Supreme Court now allows.

The six right-wing Catholics on the Supreme Court reversed long-standing U.S. law as part of a campaign to establish in its place the Catholic belief that abortion at any stage of pregnancy is a sin. The original instigator of the anti-abortion movement was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and they remain one of its biggest funders.

Shortly after Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion leaked in May, a…

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Sexual abuse by prominent Catholic figure: Superior did not make police report as victims insisted on keeping matters private

(SINGAPORE)
Channel News Asia (CNA) [Queenstown, Singapore]

June 6, 2022

By Gabrielle Andres

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The Catholic Church also said that it had asked the Attorney General’s Chambers to partially lift the gag order on the case in relation to the identity of the offender, but AGC said it was unable to accede to the request. 

SINGAPORE: The two teenage boys who were sexually abused by a prominent member of the local Catholic community “refused” to make police reports after the incidents came to light in 2009, the Catholic religious order said in a statement on Sunday (Jun 5).

The boys were repeatedly told that they could make a police report and would be accompanied to the police station to do so, but they were insistent in wanting to keep the matter private.

As such, the superior of the Catholic order, who initiated investigations on the case, did not make a police report at the time “out of respect for the stated wishes and requested privacy…

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Ex-priest awarded damages against Church over childhood abuse

EDINBURGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

July 1, 2022

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A former priest who was sexually abused as a teenager by a senior cleric has been awarded £455,000 damages against the Catholic Church.

The man, who cannot be named, was abused while he attended a residential school in Scotland in the 1970s.

His attacker had been his “spiritual director” between the ages of 14 and 16.

The victim went on the join the priesthood but became a “tortured soul”, the Court of Session heard.

He later went through the formal procedure of leaving the priesthood and was married for a while.

The man sued The Bishop’s Conference of Scotland for £2.25m.

It admitted the sexual abuse occurred and accepted liability for any loss or damage caused by the abuse.

Lord Clark, who heard the case, said: “For many years the pursuer (the ex-priest) carried out his role as a priest in an effective and well-respected manner.

“However, as a teenager…

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The Abuse Scandal & Synodality

WASHINGTON (DC)
Commonweal [New York NY]

June 30, 2022

By Massimo Faggioli

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Why isn’t the crisis part of the synodal conversation?

The year 2018 was a turning point in the modern history of the Catholic Church’s response to the global abuse crisis, and once again incidents in the United States played a major role. The McCarrick scandal exploded in the spring and summer of that year, following an investigation that determined the former archbishop of Washington D.C. had sexually abused a minor. McCarrick was the highest-ranking cleric in Church history to be accused of, investigated for, and removed from the college of cardinals, not for covering up someone else’s abuse but for the abuse itself; about seven months later, he was defrocked. The case spurred a number of significant developments in the Vatican: the February 2019 summit convening Curia leaders and the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences; the promulgation of the May 2019 motu proprio Vos estis; and the release of the…

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FBI opens sweeping probe of clergy sex abuse in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 29, 2022

By Jim Mustian

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The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans going back decades, a rare federal foray into such cases looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them, officials and others familiar with the inquiry told The Associated Press.

More than a dozen alleged abuse victims have been interviewed this year as part of the probe that’s exploring among other charges whether predator priests can be prosecuted under the Mann Act, a more than century-old, anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines for illicit sex.

Some of the New Orleans cases under review allege abuse by clergy during trips to Mississippi camps or amusement parks in Texas and Florida. And while some claims are decades old, Mann Act violations notably have no statute of limitations.

“It’s been a long road and just the…

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SNAP applauds as the FBI opens a probe into abuse and cover-up within the Archdiocese of New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

June 29, 2022

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(For Immediate Release June 29, 2022) 

We are encouraged by news that the FBI is looking into sexual abuse and cover-up within the Archdiocese of New Orleans. We have no doubt that this probe will reveal far more truths to the public than we have gotten from church officials in New Orleans. A probe like this is absolutely critical, especially when considering the move by church hierarchs in New Orleans to pre-emptively declare bankruptcy, a move that we believe was designed to shield assets, protect secrets, and prevent information about the cover-up from making it into the public eye.

As we see it, the best justice that victims and the unsuspecting faithful can hope for lies with a secular law enforcement investigation. SNAP has long argued that true reform and change will come from the involvement of secular authorities and believe that what is happening in New Orleans is a…

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FBI probes sex abuse within the Archdiocese of New Orleans; SNAP, others react

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE [New Orleans LA]

June 29, 2022

By Sabrina Wilson

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The FBI is investigating sex abuse allegations in the Catholic Church in New Orleans that goes back decades, according to the Associated Press.

And people who say they were subjected to abuse by priests welcome the federal investigation.

Shaun Dougherty is Board President of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Anytime an organization such as the Roman Catholic Church self-polices itself, you know, you’re not going to get a true look into the window of what is actually going on within that organization, this case being the Roman Catholic diocese in New Orleans, so the FBI has the tools and the manpower and the resources,” said Dougherty.

According to the AP, the FBI opened a “widening investigation into sex abuse” stretching back decades. The feds reportedly are looking at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them and according to AP more than a dozen…

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Albany Diocese proposes mediation for clergy sex abuse victims suing it

ALBANY (NY)
The Daily Gazette [Schenectady NY]

June 29, 2022

By John Cropley

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on Wednesday proposed mediated financial settlements for survivors of clergy sex abuse as an alternative to court battles or the diocese declaring bankruptcy.

The diocese is facing a potentially huge cost from the more than 400 claims pending against it in court, both in legal bills and judgments. In an open letter, it said mediation would result in a more equitable distribution of the finite pot of funds it has available for the purpose.Report Adabout:blank

But a law firm representing two dozen people who claim to have been molested by Albany Diocese clergy decades ago called it a bogus and cynical maneuver to avoid transparency and accountability.

Three years ago in New York, the long-running clergy pedophilia scandal took a sharp turn from a shocking revelation about one of society’s most respected institutions to a major financial threat: The state Child Victims Act briefly…

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June 30, 2022

At Canadian Megachurch, One Abuse Investigation Spurs Another and Another

(CANADA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 27, 2022

By Meagan Gillmore in Ontario

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As former pastor Bruxy Cavey appears in an Ontario court, the reckoning continues at The Meeting House.

Reeling from the arrest of their former teaching pastor, Bruxy Cavey, for sexual assault, and a growing number of sexual misconduct allegations against other previous pastors, leaders at The Meeting House are looking for ways to move forward.

“We are deeply sorry for the abuse and harm that has occurred, be it sexual, emotional, or spiritual in our church family,” Jennifer Hryniw, cochair of the board of overseers, recently told the congregation, which operates in 20 locations across Ontario. “We are deeply sorry for how many of these stories have been handled in the past. We continue to be humbled to now be the stewards of these stories.”

The Meeting House was supposed to be a humble kind of church. The Canadian Anabaptist congregation was built around movie theater venues…

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FBI opens sweeping probe of clergy sex abuse in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 29, 2022

By Jim Mustian

Read original article

The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans going back decades, a rare federal foray into such cases looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them, officials and others familiar with the inquiry told The Associated Press.

More than a dozen alleged abuse victims have been interviewed this year as part of the probe that’s exploring among other charges whether predator priests can be prosecuted under the Mann Act, a more than century-old, anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits taking anyone across state lines for illicit sex.

Some of the New Orleans cases under review allege abuse by clergy during trips to Mississippi camps or amusement parks in Texas and Florida. And while some claims are decades old, Mann Act violations notably have no statute of limitations.

“It’s been a long road and just the fact…

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ANOTHER PATH FOR SURVIVORS?

ALBANY (NY)
The Evangelist [Diocese of Albany NY]

June 29, 2022

By Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger

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Having learned so much from survivors, their friends and family members, and their stories of abuse, I feel deeply for all those who have painfully spoken and patiently awaited the justice promised by the New York State Child Victims Act (CVA). Many suffer in silence with no one to share their story with. While I will continue to do all in my power to assist and accompany survivors and loved ones in recovery, including in their spiritual healing, I understand that my efforts are naturally difficult to trust. It will be hard for many to believe that I am acting or speaking from my heart, or that what I do or say is credible. I still believe it is worth reaching out to survivors and their loved ones at this juncture to describe a path to justice for all survivors under the CVA.

Currently, two divergent courses of action are…

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Diocese of Albany introduces new plan to compensate clerical abuse victims

ALBANY (NY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 30, 2022

By John Lavenburg

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Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany is proposing a new plan for victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the diocese that he argues maximizes the monetary recovery of victims/survivors on a fair and equitable basis, accelerates those payments, and allows the diocese to avoid litigation or bankruptcy.

The concept for the “Victims/Survivors Path Forward Plan” was publicized by Scharfenberger in a June 29 news release. The plan was formulated under the supervision of the New York Supreme Court, where the diocese currently has more than 400 victim/survivor cases pending.

“Having learned so much from survivors, their friends and family members, and their stories of abuse, I feel deeply for all those who have painfully spoken and patiently awaited the justice promised by the New York State Child Victims Act,” Scharfenberger said.

The Child Victims Act is a New York law passed in 2019 that allows prosecutors to bring criminal charges in…

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Vatican Inconsistencies: A Tale of Two Bishops

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

June 29, 2022

By Edward Pentin

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The contrasting recent handling by the Vatican of two bishops has highlighted concerns about discrepancies in the disciplining of bishops, with no explanation available why one of the two bishop was dismissed while the other has been allowed to remain in office.

The two cases involve Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, whom Francis relieved from his episcopal duties in March, and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, who has not been sanctioned despite an array of allegations including the mishandling of a case of sexual misconduct by a diocesan seminarian. 

“The treatment of such cases has seemed quite arbitrary to me,” one cardinal told the Register on condition of anonymity, adding that this approach raises “serious and justifiable questions.” 

The Vatican did not give a reason for dismissing 57-year-old Bishop Fernández, who in a March 9 declaration protested against the decision, calling it “totally unjust.”

“No process…

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Church must speak out against child abuse in sport

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

June 29, 2022

By Shay Cullen

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Like Meggie Ochoa, we all need to be child rights advocates and give support to the cries for help of abused children

Pope Francis is an avid football fan and uses sport to protect children. He follows San Lorenzo football club. He hosted an international interreligious charity football game in Rome in 2014 to support children in need of help and protection. There he met famous players such as Lionel Messi. The late Diego Maradona, also from Argentina, gave Pope Francis a football jersey emblazoned with “Francis.”

Athletes are admired and imitated by millions of fans around the world. They have influence because of their willpower to succeed, to overcome hardship and achieve near-impossible goals. That is the way it is for many great Philippine athletes since almost all of them come from very poor families and have unique sporting ability. However, they have few sponsors to enable them to…

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Catholic priest suspended in India after marrying in Hindu temple

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

June 29, 2022

By UCA News Reporter

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Father Mullapally was suspended from public ministry in Kerala two years ago following a sex scandal

A Catholic priest has been suspended in southern India after he reportedly married a Hindu woman following her temple rituals.

Officials of Tellicherry Archdiocese in Kerala state announced the withdrawal of the priestly faculties of Father Mathew Mullapally on June 28, soon after pictures of the newly married couple flooded social media.

Mullapally has informed the archdiocese of his “definitive and non-retractable decision for personal reasons to leave the priesthood and to return to secular life,” said the letter, jointly signed by Archbishop Joseph Pamplany of Tellicherry and his chancellor Father Joseph Muttathukunnel.

The letter made no reference to the marriage but said Mullapally informed the archbishop of his “desire to get dispensation from all his clerical obligations and consequently of clerical rights as well.”

The archbishop after “mature consideration and…

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June 29, 2022

SNAP responds to updated guidelines in the handling of clergy sexual abuse of minors

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

June 28, 2022

Read original article

Two years after launching “Version 1.0” of guidelines for how bishops, religious superiors, and canon lawyers are expected to handle complaints of alleged abuse by clergy, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has released an update. In a disappointing fashion, this update does not strengthen any existing requirements because the update is a mere suggestion without any teeth to enforce it. We are frustrated that “reforms” from the Vatican continue to lack the very clear and direct asks that survivors have been making for years.

The update to the “Vademecum on Certain Points of Procedure in Treating Cases of Sexual Abuse of Minors Committed by Clerics” “does not have the power of law,” according to a dicastery statement released on June 27; rather, it ” is intended to respond to a growing need for knowledge” regarding the processes to be followed when allegations of abuse…

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Indigenous hope papal apology in Canada will push justice, healing in U.S.

TORONTO (CANADA)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

June 27, 2022

By Michael Swan

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A papal apology on Indigenous land in Canada is not irrelevant south of the border.

When Pope Francis visits Canada July 24-29, Oneida First Nation activist Daisee Francour and her colleagues at the U.S.-based international Indigenous nongovernmental organization Cultural Survival will be paying close attention.

“An apology for one nation, in a way it’s a win for all of our nations,” said Francour. “When I say nation, I mean that as an Indigenous community — not necessarily the nation state or colonial state.

“There’s a huge opportunity, because the Catholic Church is just such an influential institution globally. There’s a huge opportunity to leverage, influence and push nation states like the U.S. government to join this collective process for justice, toward truth and toward healing.”

Francour and her colleagues, Indigenous media across the United States and American religious orders and dioceses have been watching closely what has happened in Canada…

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Former Christian School Admin, Pastor Convicted of Having Sex with Student from His School

LEXINGTON (NC)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

June 28, 2022

By Sarah Einselen

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A former North Carolina pastor and Christian school administrator was convicted of eight sex offenses this month, local media reported. A woman reportedly told police that the man had sex with her multiple times when she was a student at his school.

Jason Wesley Keller, 42, is in jail after a jury convicted him of six felony counts of sex with a student and two counts of indecency with a student. He is set to spend four to five years in prison followed by 30 months’ probation, according to local news reports.

Keller initially faced 10 charges related to sexual activity with a student. Police said the charges stemmed from incidents during the 2008-2009 school year at Union Grove Christian School, in a suburb southwest of Greensboro. The student was reportedly 17 at the time, and Keller was the assistant principal…

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Ghislaine Maxwell is sentenced to 20 years in prison

NEW YORK (NY)
National Public Radio - NPR [Washington DC]

June 28, 2022

By Bill Chappell and Jaclyn Diaz

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Disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the sex-trafficking ring of young teens she helped financier Jeffrey Epstein run for a decade.

The punishment doled out by U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan on Tuesday marks the most concrete punishment yet for the years of abuse Maxwell and Epstein imposed on young girls.

Several of those girls, now adults, testified during the trial, bravely pulling the curtain back on years of abuse they suffered after Maxwell and Epstein tugged them into their orbit. The two often used the allure of wealth and their connections to powerful people such as Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement tweeted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. “This sentence sends a strong message that no…

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June 28, 2022

Survivor of priest sex abuse speaks out as new CA law leads to many lawsuits

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

June 27, 2022

By Dan Noyes

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New lawsuits are flooding into the Catholic Church, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a California state law that allows victims to sue, even decades after clergy sexual abuse.

The I-Team’s Dan Noyes spent years investigating these cases, exposing how church officials allowed known abusers to move from parish to parish. The church is facing new lawsuits because of the actions of priests we first uncovered in the 1990s.

Over the years, we’ve heard stories of abuse at the Catholic Church’s “Camp St. Michael” in Mendocino County from more than two dozen victims. Now, a new plaintiff is coming forward telling the I-Team, “Every morning, we were supposed to do polar bears, which is all the boys stripped down to nothing and jump in the river naked.”

He doesn’t want to show his face or use his name, but he is the latest to sue the…

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SNAP raises concern over former high ranking priest employee, now current parish pastor

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

June 27, 2022

Read original article

(For Immediate Release June 27, 2022) 

SNAP raises concern over former high-ranking priest employee, now current parish pastor

This past week, NBC Bay Area News (Part 1 and Part 2)  revealed that at least four prominent Catholic priests in the San Francisco Bay Area were accused of child sexual abuse in lawsuits filed under California’s look-back window. Yet contrary to the promises of the 2002 Dallas Charter, all four are still working. 

While all four clerics are a serious concern to us, it appears that Msgr. James Pulskamp of the Diocese of Santa Rosa — accused in a current suit of sexually abusing a child at the Hanna Boys Center — was in the best position to also cover up accusations of abuse, including perhaps any against him. As we have come to expect, Catholic officials attempt to minimize the gravity of the allegations…

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Class action lawsuit authorized against Trois-Rivieres Diocese for alleged sexual assaults

TROIS-RIVIèRES (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

June 27, 2022

By Daniel J. Rowe

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A Quebec Superior Court judge has authorized a class action lawsuit against the Trois-Rivières Diocese for alleged sexual assaults from 1940 to the present day.

Lawyers with Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats presented arguments on June 15 at the Trois-Rivières courthouse and published a news release Monday saying the diocese did not oppose the class action.

Dominic Maurais is slated to represent victims who “have been sexually assaulted by a member of the diocesan clergy (bishop, deacon), by a religious person, a member of the lay pastoral staff, an employee or a lay or religious volunteer under the responsibility of the Catholic Bishopric of Trois-Rivières,” the release reads.

The Trois-Rivières Diocese covers a large area in Quebec’s Mauricie region.

The release reads all alleged crimes will need to be proven in court unless an out-of-court settlement is reached.

More than 25 victims have contacted the law firm with their accusations.

The…

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Vatican publishes slightly updated guidelines for handling abuse cases

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic Sun [Diocese of Phoenix AZ]

June 27, 2022

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

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Two years after posting online a step-by-step guide for how bishops, religious superiors and canon lawyers are supposed to handle accusations of alleged abuse by clerics and labeling it “Version 1.0,” the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has published an update.

“Version 2.0” of the dicastery’s “Vademecum on certain points of procedure in treating cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by clerics” was necessary mainly because of Pope Francis’ promulgation of a new section of the Code of Canon Law dealing with crimes and punishments in the church.

“Book VI: Penal Sanctions in the Church” went into effect Dec. 8 and was the result of almost two decades of work updating, adding, clarifying and strengthening the code’s list of crimes and provisions available for sanctioning the guilty.

As a step-by-step guide, the vademecum was updated to include references to the revised canons.

A statement published by the…

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$1.9 million awarded to Kilmore church abuse victim

KILMORE (AUSTRALIA)
North Central Review [Kilmore, Victoria, Australia]

June 28, 2022

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The Supreme Court has ordered the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to pay $1.9 million to a man who was sexually abused as a child by a priest in Kilmore between 1968 and 1970.

Catholic priest Desmond Gannon was convicted and jailed in 2009 for abusing the primary school-aged boy on three occasions.

The victim later lodged a civil action case, the result of which was handed down earlier this month.

The case was lodged against current Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comonsoli, claiming damages for the injuries and resulting losses he suffered as a result of the abuse.

Supreme Court judge Andrew Keogh ordered the church to pay a total of $1,908,647 – $525,000 for general damages; $15,000 for future treatment expenses; $1.5 million for economic loss damages, less $131,353 for a payment from the Melbourne Response, set up by the Catholic Church to respond to complaints of abuse committed by priests…

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June 27, 2022

Four Bay Area Priests Still on the Job Despite New Sex Abuse Allegations

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

June 23, 2022

By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott, Mark Villareal and Michael Horn

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A months-long NBC Bay Area investigation into a wave of new clergy abuse lawsuits has uncovered a series of allegations against dozens of Northern California priests and church employees accused for the first time of sexually abusing children. Some of them continue to work here.

Two Bay Area Catholic dioceses are allowing priests they employ to remain in ministry despite lawsuits now accusing the men of sexually abusing children earlier in their careers, NBC Bay Area has confirmed.

The findings come amid an ongoing NBC Bay Area investigation into a flood of new child sex abuse claims hitting Catholic institutions across the state. The civil lawsuits are the result of a 2019 California law that opened a three-year “lookback” window allowing new child sex abuse lawsuits based on claims typically barred by the statute of limitations.

Click…

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Effort to educate Catholic priests on what to do when accused of abuse draws criticism

TIFFIN (OH)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

June 27, 2022

By Brian Fraga

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A new initiative by a group representing U.S. Catholic priests to inform clerics of their canonical rights when they are accused of misconduct, including sexual abuse, is attracting criticism from survivor advocates, who say it could help cast accused priests in an overly sympathetic light.

But the clergy behind the effort by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, or AUSCP, argue it is necessary. Over the last 20 years, they say, diocesan leaders have failed to respect priests’ rights under canon law — in some cases allowing accused clerics to languish in administrative “limbo” for several years while civil and church authorities investigate allegations made against them.

“And in so many cases it’s virtually impossible to prove their innocence, because it’s pretty hard to prove a negative,” Fr. Mike Sullivan, a parish priest in Minnesota who is a canon lawyer and a member of the association’s Mutual…

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The Twilight of Pope Francis

BOSTON (MA)
Politico [Arlington VA]

June 26, 2022

By James Carroll

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Even this supremely good man has so far failed to tackle the church’s most urgent moral task

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to fill the Chair of St. Peter nine years ago, no one imagined the chair as having wheels. Lately though, Pope Francis has been seen more often in a wheelchair than on a gilded throne — a mobility impairment that has been sparking speculation about yet another papal resignation. The prospect of Francis joining Benedict VI as a second pope emeritus has set the tongues of Vatican rumormongers wagging, but at this point the insider whispers remain baseless speculation. Still, the apparently declining health and advanced age of Pope Francis (he is 85) do suggest that he is entering the twilight of his papacy, a time when a look back at the significance of his rule can seem appropriate.

Any assessment of this pontificate must begin with…

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Hanna Boys Center named in additional child abuse allegations, along with other Catholic institutions

(CA)
Sonoma Index-Tribune [Sonoma CA]

June 25, 2022

By Chase Hunter

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New court filings allege Catholic Church organizations, including Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma Valley, oversaw hundreds of incidents of child abuse by priests and employees, according to a lawyer familiar with the case.

At least eight new lawsuits have been filed against Hanna Boys Center, where church officials allegedly abused children from the 1970s to 2018.

The charges identify individuals already accused of abuse, such as former Hanna Boys Center Director Father John Crews and also unearths new allegations against Rev. James E. Pulskamp, who later became chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa, where oversaw its handling of abuse allegations.

In 2019, Hanna Boys Center was named in prior allegations of child sexual abuse by two former graduates, which led to a $6.8 million settlement for the crimes committed by Crews and others associated with the facility.

The latest accusations, first reported by NBC Bay Area, reveal a new…

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Suit alleges sexual abuse by popular former Servite priest and swim coach

ANAHEIM (CA)
Orange County Register[Anaheim, CA]

June 22, 2022

By Scott M. Reid

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The school’s aquatic center is named after Father Kevin Fitzpatrick. Now a lawsuit alleges school officials should have known “Father Fitz” was a sexual predator

Nearly 50 years later, it remains the most pivotal moment of a life full of heartache and emptiness.

It was the spring of 1976 and a 13-year-old eighth-grade boy was taking an entrance exam at Servite High School, the Catholic all-boys school in Anaheim.

The boy was caught cheating off a friend during the math part of the exam.

“I couldn’t stop crying,” the man, now 60, recalled in a recent interview. “That was the most important thing to me. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.”

The man paused.

“I don’t know how different my life would have become,” he said, “if I had just been thrown out of that test.”

Instead he was told pick up his things and go out into the…

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Abuse survivors praise Supreme Court for declining to review California’s Child Victims Act

SACRAMENTO (CA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

June 24, 2022

By Katie Collins Scott

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Clergy abuse survivors in California said they felt relief after the U.S. Supreme Court decided June 21 not to hear a challenge brought forth by the state’s Catholic bishops against a law extending the statute of limitations for childhood abuse victims.

“I feel more confident we will have our day in court,” Aimee Torres, a survivor of childhood abuse by a Los Angeles archdiocesan priest, told NCR. “The church will have to deal with this.”

Nine bishops, including Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, filed a petition April 15 asking the Supreme Court to review a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s Child Victims Act. California’s high court refused to consider the case last fall, and the Supreme Court denied review of the appeal without comment.

Victim advocates were not surprised by the court’s decision but said it sends a message to…

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How do you solve a problem like Zanchetta?

(ITALY)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

June 26, 2022

By Christopher R. Altieri

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(Not like this.)

Pope Francis has sent the canon lawyer who represented his friend and former colleague in the Argentinian bishops conference, Gustavo Zanchetta (who is now a convicted sex offender serving time in prison), to investigate some of the very clerics who denounced their erstwhile bishop to the Vatican and testified against him in the secular criminal trial that saw him convicted of sex crimes against seminarians and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.

The Vatican is billing the investigation into suspected (supposed or alleged?) conduct by certain ecclesiastical personages in Orán, Argentina, as normale amministrazione, but local papers aren’t buying it.

To hear the lawyer tell it, the one thing – whatever it is or may be – has nothing to do with the other. “I perform tasks as defender in some cases,” said Javier Belda Iniesta, “and in…

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A reckoning in the Baptist church | Editorial

(FL)
Tampa Bay Times [Tampa Bay FL]

June 24, 2022

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A report detailed years of mishandling sex abuse reports.

This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.

The reforms adopted this month by the Southern Baptist Convention mark the start of a long road toward reestablishing faith in the wake of the church’s sex abuse scandal. The sheer scope of the abuse and the church’s indefensible failure to act call into question how much of this is an exercise in accountability or public relations. Of course, that remains to be seen, but at least the church has brought a microscope to a history it must fully explain.

The reforms come just days after an independent investigation revealed a list of 700 volunteers, ministers and pastors known to be “credibly accused” of sexual abuse. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Anastasia Dawson reported, roughly 8,500 delegates overwhelming approved the changes in a vote June 14…

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June 26, 2022

Archbishop: Cathedral will be mortgaged to help pay abuse settlements

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

June 24, 2022

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The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is asking parishes to help provide at least $12 million of $75 million needed to satisfy the terms of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings stemming from hundreds of clergy abuse lawsuits — and one method to help fund the debt will be to mortgage the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

A June 17 letter from Archbishop John C. Wester informed parishes of the intention to mortgage the cathedral in Santa Fe, considered by many as the emotional and spiritual center for Roman Catholics in New Mexico.

“If the market value is not enough to collatoralize the loan, an additional property may be required to collatoralize the loan,” Wester wrote. “Any property mortgaged will not be lost because of the collective commitment of the parishes to pay the debt.”

In the letter, Wester wrote the archdiocese must provide $65 million by Sept. 30 and…

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Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi to be mortgaged to help pay settlements to sex abuse victims

SANTA FE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

June 24, 2022

By Esteban Candelaria

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The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s most iconic building will be mortgaged to help cover settlements to clergy sexual abuse victims, Archbishop John C. Wester said in a recent letter to parishes.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, known as the “mother church” of the archdiocese, and any other properties that are mortgaged will not be lost because parishes will chip in to cover the payments on the debt, Wester said in his June 17 letter.

Parishes will collectively need to borrow up to $12 million to cover the gap in the archdiocese’s $75 million share of the bankruptcy settlement, according to the letter. The archdiocese is asking each parish to take on a portion of that debt.

“I am pleased to see the broad support that we have from our priests for working together to bring the bankruptcy proceedings to an end, compensate victims, allow us to move…

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Altar boys who testified at a priest’s trial say bishop also abused them

QUEENSBURY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

June 26, 2022

By Brendan J. Lyons

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Two brothers allege that Gary Mercure, a former priest convicted of raping boys in Massachusetts, had sexually abused them with former Albany bishop

Two brothers who grew up in Warren County in a devout Catholic family allege that Gary Mercure, a former priest in their childhood parish who was later convicted of raping young boys in Massachusetts, had sexually abused them on multiple occasions over a period of years and that ex-Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard took part in some of the assaults.

In a series of recent interviews with the Times Union, the brothers recounted years of sexual abuse at the hands of Mercure beginning in the mid-1980s. They also had detailed those allegations when they testified at Mercure’s 2011 criminal trial in Pittsfield, where the former priest was sentenced to two decades in prison following his conviction on charges of raping two altar boys.

The…

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Priest: Church needs to emphasize pastoral work with sex abuse survivors

WASHINGTON (DC)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 26, 2022

By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

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Each year the U.S. Catholic Church unveils its annual report on what it’s doing to prevent abuse of minors by clergy and other church workers.

What it also should tell church members is what’s being done, particularly by bishops, to help those suffering after the abuse, said a priest who works with survivors and perpetrators.

“We hear how much we’re paying victims, all these training programs” to prevent abuse, said Jesuit Father Jerry McGlone, himself a survivor of abuse by a priest, “but where is the initial and ongoing accompaniment of survivors? That, to me, is a real missing piece.”

In the two decades since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” “there were some really good advances that the charter promulgated: a sense of setting up a system that was not there, setting up policies that needed to be…

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Senator in 2010 deposition: 13-year-olds can consent to sex

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 25, 2022

By Sean Murphy

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Before he became a leading voice for conservative causes on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator James Lankford spent more than a decade as the director of youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, a sprawling campground about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City that attracts more than 50,000 campers in grades six through 12 each year.

The Republican lawmaker’s tenure at the camp is a prominent feature of his political profile, noted in the first paragraph of his official Senate biography. That experience is also coming under renewed scrutiny as the Southern Baptist Convention, which is affiliated with the group that owns the camp, faces a reckoning over its handling of sexual abuse cases.

In 2009, while Lankford worked at the camp, the family of a 13-year-old girl sued a 15-year-old boy who was alleged to have had sex with her at the camp. Lankford,…

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Sexual misconduct allegations prompt Whitehorse’s Vanier Catholic school to change name

WHITEHORSE (CANADA)
Yukon News [Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada]

June 25, 2022

By Dana Hatherly

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Vanier Catholic Secondary School has changed to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School

Sexual misconduct allegations made public in February 2020 have prompted a Whitehorse Catholic high school to change its name.

Moving forward, the Yukon government announced in a June 20 release, Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Riverdale will be known as St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School.

Truska Gorrell has been a member of the school’s council for four years.

Gorrell said the meaning behind the new name is tied to Francis of Assisi’s “witnessing of faith in the world.”

“He was very environmentally involved in love of nature and love of animals,” she said.

“We are all unique, and we’re all valuable, whether it’s my dog or my cat or the birds, we’re all one and so for me, I very much support using that name.”

Gorrell expressed gratitude to the people who partook in…

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Jury finds former Sarasota bishop guilty on two counts of sexual battery of a child under 12

SARASOTA (FL)
Herald-Tribune [Sarasota FL]

June 25, 2022

By Gabriela Szymanowska

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After three hours of deliberation late Friday, a jury found a former Sarasota bishop guilty on two counts of sexual battery of a victim under the age of 12.

During a five-day criminal trial in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, Henry Lee Porter, 74, faced four of his victims as they shared their experiences of the sexual abuse they endured that began when they were young boys. 

Two of the men who took the stand, now in their late 30s and early 40s, relieved the trauma they said started when they were just 11 years old. Both hadn’t spoken about the abuse for years, before finally stepping forward to share their stories. All the victims’ names have been withheld by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to protect their privacy as they were children when the abuse happened.

The charges against Porter are capital felonies punishable by up to life in prison. 

Porter, who…

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June 25, 2022

High court rejects California Catholic bishops’ bid for review of California Child Victims Act

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

June 21, 2022

By Mary Callahan

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an 11th-hour plea by nine Catholic bishops and archbishops, including Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa, seeking to overturn a California law allowing people to sue over childhood sex abuse regardless of how long ago it occurred.

Citing the “ruinously expensive” cost of defending even illegitimate claims, church officials argued that reopening a three-year “look-back period” that expands the statute of limitations on such cases unconstitutionally exposes them to liability in violation of due process protections — particularly since an earlier, one-year window in 2003 prompted massive settlements the church assumed would be the last word on the sex abuse scandal.

“Since the State’s previous revival statute induced the Dioceses to take dramatic steps to pay for the last round of revived claims, the Dioceses now stand largely defenseless against this second wave,” the petition states. “The potential financial implications for the Church are thus…

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Vatican investigation in Strasbourg marks latest upheaval in French church

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 25, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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 In his latest intervention in the Catholic Church in France, Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation of the Archdiocese of Strasbourg, which is set to begin at the end of this month.

According to a June 23 press release from the papal embassy in France, the decision was made after the Vatican received information “relating to the pastoral government of the Archdiocese of Strasbourg” and after “hearing the Dicastery for Bishops.”

No official reason was given for the visitation, but reports suggest that several complaints have been made against over Archbishop Luc Ravel’s management style, which some have said is overly authoritarian, as well as Ravel’s explicitly political support for French President Emmanuel Macron.

The visitation, set to begin June 27, will be conducted by Bishop Stanislas Lalanne of Pontoise, with Archbishop Joël Mercier, secretary emeritus of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Clergy, as his assistant.

According to the embassy,…

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Jailed Argentine bishop’s lawyer sent by Vatican to investigate priests of his diocese

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 24, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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The case of an Argentine bishop currently serving a prison sentence of four years and six months for abuse took an unexpected turn this week, when his canon lawyer was sent to investigate the priests and seminarians of his diocese.

On Thursday, several Argentine outlets reported that Spanish canon lawyer Javier Belda Iniesta, who defended Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta during his ecclesiastical trial- a secret process, the results of which have never been revealed – is now in Oran investigating the priests, deacons and seminarians who testified in the civil trial against the bishop.

The sole judge of Salta’s Ecclesiastical Tribunal, Loyola Pinto, confirmed that the appointment of Belda Iniesta came from the Vatican and Pope Francis.

Zanchetta was one of Pope Francis’s first episcopal appointments in 2013. In 2017, at the age of 53, he abruptly left the diocese of Oran, in northern Argentina, alleging he needed medical treatment in…

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Vatican releases programme for Pope Francis’ Canada visit

ROME (ITALY)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

June 23, 2022

By Vatican News Staff Reporter

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The Holy See Press Office releases the programme for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Canada, due to take place on 24-29 July.

With just over one month to go before the Pope is scheduled to depart for his Apostolic Journey to Canada, the Vatican Press Office on Thursday released details of the visit.

The Pope is set to depart Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on the morning of Sunday, 24 July, and receive an official welcome to Canada at Edmonton International Airport that same day.

His first public events start on Monday, 25 July, with a meeting with Indigenous Peoples: First Nations, Métis and Inuit in the city of Maskwacis, around 70 kilometers north of Edmonton.

He then returns to Edmonton to meet in the afternoon with Indigenous Peoples and members of the parish community of the Sacred Heart.

On Tuesday, 26 July, Pope Francis celebrates a public Mass at the Commonwealth…

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Native American leaders push for boarding school commission

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 22, 2022

By susan montoya bryan

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The federal government has a responsibility to Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages and Native Hawaiian communities to fully support and revitalize education, language and cultural practices that prior boarding school policies sought to destroy, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Wednesday.

Haaland testified before a U.S. Senate committee that is considering legislation to establish a national commission on truth and healing to address intergenerational trauma stemming from the legacy of Native American boarding schools in the United States.

As the first and only Native American Cabinet secretary, Haaland’s voice cracked with emotion and her eyes welled as she addressed the committee.

Haaland, who is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, said the forced assimilation that happened over a century and half through the boarding school initiative was both traumatic and violent. She noted she herself was a product of those policies as her grandparents were removed from their families…

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A brief timeline of sex abuse crisis, development of charter

WASHINGTON (DC)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 24, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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Here is a brief timeline of events surrounding the clergy sexual abuse crisis and the establishment of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

1983

Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, suspends Father Gilbert J. Gauthe after he admits to having sexually abused at least three dozen young boys and girls. Lawsuits and trial over the next three years draw national attention to the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests.

1985

At June meeting, U.S. bishops have extensive discussion of clerical sexual abuse. A confidential report warns the crisis could cost the church billions of dollars. Individual dioceses and state Catholic conferences begin developing policies to respond to sexual abuse allegations.

1992

Allegations against James Porter, former priest in Fall River, Massachusetts, lead to 68 lawsuits. At June meeting, president of U.S. bishops’ conference issues a five-point statement summarizing guidelines sent to dioceses four years earlier. The…

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Even with successes, charter seen as a document that must adapt over time

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

June 24, 2022

By Dennis Sadowski

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When Mike Hoffman decided to contact Archdiocese of Chicago officials in 2006 about how he was sexually abused by a priest for four years while a teenage altar server, he wasn’t sure how his story would be received.

“I wrote one letter and got an immediate letter back and we set a date (to talk),” Hoffman, now 57, told Catholic News Service. “In telling my story, I was not met with confrontation or difficulty. Although I felt anxious, my anxiety was that they would question me and question my character.”

“I was met with compassion, decency and professionalism,” he said.

For that response, Hoffman credits the procedures set up by the archdiocese under the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

The landmark document, adopted 20 years ago during a widely watched U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops assembly in Dallas, established minimum standards for dioceses and eparchies to…

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Philippine diocese warns churchgoers of defrocked priest

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

June 24, 2022

By Joseph Peter Calleja

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A diocese in the Philippines has warned churchgoers not to invite a defrocked clergyman to celebrate Mass in their homes.

The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao issued a memorandum on June 22 informing Catholics of the status of clergyman Melvin Clapano, who was suspended under canon law for attempting to contract a civil marriage.

The archdiocese said it had received reports that Clapano celebrated private Masses in parishioners’ homes in Cagayan de Oro.

“Regrettably, I have learned that Father Melvin Clapano is being invited to celebrate Mass in homes and officiate house and office blessings within the archdiocese,” said Archbishop Jose Cabantan of Cagayan de Oro.

He urged Catholics not to invite Clapano to officiate any clerical function as he was suspended for attempting to marry his Filipina girlfriend.

“Please refrain from inviting him and inform your parishioners and disseminate this information that he is…

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June 24, 2022

Diocese clears two priests, including one who died recently, of sex abuse claims

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

June 23, 2022

By Jay Tokasz

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The Buffalo Diocese said Thursday it has posthumously exonerated the Rev. Robert G. Beiter, who spent the last nine months of his life under a cloud of suspicion due to a sexual abuse allegation.

Beiter was suspended from priestly ministry in 2021 after a claim against him surfaced in confidential documents filed in the diocese’s federal bankruptcy case.

Beiter, a former pastor of St. Patrick Church in Brocton, died June 13 at the age of 83. The diocese said in a prepared statement that a review board determined the accusation was “unsubstantiated,” and Beiter was posthumously reinstated.

The review board also found a claim by the same individual against the Rev. Thomas Wopperer, 84, was not substantiated. The individual declined to cooperate with the review board’s investigation of the claims, according to the diocese statement.

“The truth won out,” Wopperer said in a phone interview with The News.

Wopperer said…

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Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Francis to Canada (24-30 July 2022) – Program

EDMONTON (CANADA)
Holy See Press Office [Vatican City]

June 23, 2022

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Sunday, 24 July 2022ROME – EDMONTON 09:00Departure by airplane from Rome/Fiumicino International Airport to Edmonton  11:20Arrival at Edmonton International Airport 11:20OFFICIAL WELCOME at Edmonton International Airport       Monday, 25 July 2022EDMONTON – MASKWACIS – EDMONTON 10:00MEETING WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS AND INUIT at MaskwacisAddress of the Holy Father16:45MEETING WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND MEMBERS OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY OF SACRED HEART at EdmontonAddress of the Holy Father   Tuesday, 26 July 2022EDMONTON – LAC STE. ANNE – EDMONTON 10:15HOLY MASS at “Commonwealth Stadium” in EdmontonHomily of the Holy Father17:00PARTICIPATION IN THE “LAC STE. ANNE PILGRIMAGE” AND LITURGY OF THE WORD at the “Lac Ste. Anne”Homily of the Holy Father      Wednesday, 27 July 2022EDMONTON – QUÉBEC 09:00Departure by airplane from Edmonton International Airport to Québec  15:05Arrival at Québec International Airport  15:40WELCOME CEREMONY at the Residence of the Governor General of Canada, “Citadelle de Québec” 16:00COURTESY VISIT TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL at the “Citadelle de Québec” 16:20MEETING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER at the “Citadelle de Québec” 16:45MEETING WITH CIVIL AUTHORITIES, REPRESENTATIVES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND MEMBERS…

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Vatican Signals Pope Will Keep His Plan to Visit Canada for Apology

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
New York Times

June 23, 2022

By Ian Austen

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Francis plans to deliver a long-sought apology to Indigenous people for the church’s role in a residential school system where abuse was rife.

The Vatican released a detailed itinerary on Thursday for Pope Francis’s long-awaited trip to Canada, where he plans to apologize for the Roman Catholic church’s role in a residential school system for Indigenous children that eroded their culture and subjected many to sexual and physical abuse.

The release of the schedule for next month’s visit was likely intended to assuage concerns that health problems might force the pope to postpone or even cancel the trip.

This month Francis postponed a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, two war-afflicted African nations, citing knee problems and the advice of doctors. The cancellation fueled speculation that Francis, 85, might soon step down.

For decades, the church had resisted calls from Canada’s Indigenous communities for a…

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Progress on sexual abuse in the SBC? Not so fast

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

June 24, 2022

By David Clohessy and Christa Brown

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As Russian tanks, troops and bombs poured into the Ukraine, imagine if President Joe Biden had announced to the world: “This is shocking. We pledge to help Ukrainians save their lives and freedom for one year. Next year, though, we may change our minds.”

In the Boy Scouts of America, tens of thousands of adults have disclosed they were sexually violated as kids. Imagine if Scouting officials proudly proclaimed: “We’re deeply sorry. And we promise that if some of those still-wounded victims will only trust us again, we’ll act better for the next year. After that, who knows?”

As the dust settles from last week’s Southern Baptist Convention gathering in Anaheim, Calif., this is essentially what Southern Baptist leaders are telling people: “Yes, for decades, we kept secret the identities of many hundreds of dangerous child molesters. Our organization did virtually nothing to disclose these countless crimes. In fact, we often took steps to…

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June 23, 2022

Horror Behind Closed Doors of Polish Residential Institution

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Human Rights Watch [New York NY]

June 23, 2022

By Karolina Kozik

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“My child’s nightmare lasted around a year and a half. She was beaten and locked in a caged bed, sometimes for the entire day or even two days.”

This is how a mother described the ordeal her daughter Kasia (pseudonym) went through in a residential institution for girls and women with intellectual disabilities in Jordanów, a small town in southern Poland. Having entered two months before her 18th birthday, when Kasia was removed from the institution almost two years later, her family said she was barely able to speak or walk, a side effect of medication she was given.

According to a report by the Polish news website Wirtualna Polska, many women and girls experienced abuse and neglect in this institution, which at the time of the report was run by a Catholic nuns’ order, the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and had 47 residents….

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Suit alleges sexual abuse by popular former California priest and high school swim coach

ORANGE (CA)
The Mercury News [San Jose CA]

June 23, 2022

By Scott Reid

Read original article

The school’s aquatic center is named after Father Kevin Fitzpatrick. Now a lawsuit alleges school officials should have known “Father Fitz” was a sexual predator

Nearly 50 years later, it remains the most pivotal moment of a life full of heartache and emptiness.

It was the spring of 1976 and a 13-year-old eighth-grade boy was taking an entrance exam at Servite High School, the Catholic all-boys school in Anaheim.

The boy was caught cheating off a friend during the math part of the exam.

“I couldn’t stop crying,” the man, now 60, recalled in a recent interview. “That was the most important thing to me. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.”

The man paused.

“I don’t know how different my life would have become,” he said, “if I had just been thrown out of that test.”

Instead he was told pick up his things and go out into the…

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German sex abuse lawsuit targets former Pope Benedict

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Reuters [London, England]

June 22, 2022

By Rachel More, Madeline Chambers, and William Maclean

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A lawsuit brought against an alleged paedophile priest in Germany is seeking to establish whether former Pope Benedict and other members of the clergy were culpable in a historical case of child sexual abuse, the plaintiff’s lawyer said.

The so-called declaratory action was brought on behalf of a 38-year-old man from the southern state of Bavaria, who says he was abused by a priest as a child, the BR broadcaster reported together with the Correctiv research centre and Die Zeit weekly.

Andreas Schulz, the lawyer who lodged the case with the Traunstein regional court, confirmed the report to Reuters in an email.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising declined to comment on an ongoing legal case.

The suit targets the priest, identified as Peter H., as well as Benedict, who served as the Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, his successor Cardinal Friedrich Wetter,…

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Survivor priest says US Church still needs ‘lamentation’ for abuse

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

June 23, 2022

By Rhina Guidos

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As the Catholic Church in the United States marks two decades since the US bishops adopted a document establishing policies to deal with allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy, Jesuit Father Jerry McGlone worries about the psychological responses the event could trigger.

And he knows from experience because he’s not solely a priest who works with survivors but also a survivor of abuse by a priest.

“This big 20th anniversary … the church might be wise to think about the fact that every time you advertise all that you’ve done … it doesn’t matter if you don’t start by saying you’re sorry,” Father McGlone said in a June 9 interview with Catholic News Service. “As (Boston) Cardinal Seán O’Malley says, ‘We can never say sorry enough.’”

In the two decades since the US bishops adopted the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in…

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Abuse victim seeks damages from retired Pope Benedict XVI

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

June 22, 2022

Read original article

[Via Catholic Review]

A victim of sexual abuse is reported to be suing retired Pope Benedict XVI in connection with the Munich abuse scandal.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported the victim has accused Pope Benedict — who, as Joseph Ratzinger served as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 — of having “responsibly approved” the appointment of a priest as a pastoral minister in a Bavarian parish some 40 years ago, even though the man was known to be an abuser.

The legal action is aimed at establishing that the retired pope was partly to blame for the abuse scandal through a so-called “declaratory action,” public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk reported June 22.

The plaintiff claims to have been abused by the former priest Peter H. The plaintiff’s lawyer wants -a civil court to declare that Pope Benedict must compensate the victim for the damage caused by…

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Yearbook photos of Msgr. Michael J. McGinty and survivor Mark Staley.

Dozens of Northern CA Priests Facing Child Sex Abuse Claims for the First Time

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KNTV - NBC Bay Area [San Jose CA]

June 22, 2022

By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott, Mark Villareal and Michael Horn

Read original article

[Photo above: Photos of Mark Staley and Msgr. Michael J. McGinty from an old school yearbook.]

NBC Bay Area’s investigation mined a trove of new court filings, revealing startling child sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests and institutions across Northern California. They show what the public previously knew about the scandal is potentially the tip of the iceberg.

Dozens of Northern California Catholic priests and church employees – some still working, others retired or deceased – are being publicly accused for the first time of sexually abusing children in their care. The allegations suggest startling new depths to the decades-long scandal that continues to rock the church and its followers.

Those new accusations – and many more – have surfaced in a wave of lawsuits washing over Catholic institutions across the state, including every Northern California diocese from Fresno to Santa Rosa. Some of the new filings allege cover-ups that…

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June 22, 2022

California’s Mater Dei High School, a Catholic football powerhouse, faces hazing and assault allegations

SANTA ANA (CA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

June 20, 2022

By Katie Collins Scott

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Pride. Poise. Courage. Red block letters in the varsity locker room spell out the motto of Mater Dei High School football. A California powerhouse, the program boasts three Heisman Trophy winners among its graduates and in 2021 was ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today.

But a recent spate of allegations linked to the Catholic school in Santa Ana appear to highlight behaviors antithetical to the motto. Late last summer, several football players sexually assaulted a teammate, according to claims in a Santa Ana Police Department document obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Seven months prior, a football player allegedly suffered a broken nose and a traumatic brain injury during a team ritual, leading the injured player’s parents to file a lawsuit against Mater Dei and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

Other claims suggest the violence extends beyond football and the walls of…

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Five more lawsuits filed against Missouri boarding school

Five additional lawsuits have been filed accusing a southwestern Missouri boarding school of abusing students.

The lawsuits alleging physical and emotional abuse at Agape Boarding School were filed Wednesday in Vernon County. All told, 19 lawsuits have been filed against the boarding school since early 2021.

Agape’s doctor, David Smock, was charged in December with child sex crimes. He pleaded not guilty in March. Meanwhile, five employees were charged in September with abusing students. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has said he thinks many more workers should have been charged.

The latest lawsuits were filed by former students who attended Agape at various times between 2014 and this year. The lawsuits also name Agape Baptist Church, which oversees the boarding school.

The lawsuits seek unspecified amounts in damages.

Phone and email messages left Saturday with an attorney for Agape were not immediately returned.

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Small Church Apologizes for Alleged Pedophile Pastor; MacArthur Claims Persecution

MABTON (WA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

June 20, 2022

By Julie Roys

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A small church in Washington that allowed an alleged pedophile to continue pastoring has posted a statement apologizing for its actions, following a recent exposé by The Roys Report (TRR). Meanwhile, Pastor John MacArthur, who reportedly covered up the abuse by the pastor decades ago, is claiming persecution for people “attacking” and “assaulting” him online.

In an exposé in AprilTRR revealed that Paul Guay had allegedly molested his daughter, Wendy, when Guay was on staff at Grace Community Church (GCC) in the late 1970s. Though an eyewitness says Guay confessed his crime to MacArthur in 1979, Guay remained on staff at GCC until 1982.

Guay then went on to pastor several other churches, including Mabton Grace Brethren Church (GBC).

In 2003, Wendy Guay, and other Guay family members who claimed they were abused by Paul Guay, confronted Guay in front of GBC’s elders. Guay confessed his abuse, witnesses say….

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As charter turns 20, trust in bishops is slow to return, cardinal says

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Byzantine Archeparchy of Pittsburgh [Pittsburgh, PA]

June 20, 2022

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The nation’s Catholic bishops have made progress in regaining the trust of the laity since approving a groundbreaking document in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis two decades ago, but for Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory “the task is not complete.”

“We’ve gone through some rocky patches,” Cardinal Gregory told Catholic News Service in an interview ahead of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

“With every sordid revelation (of sexual abuse or improper response by a bishop), the task becomes more difficult, the climb becomes steeper,” said the cardinal, who was the bishop of Belleville, Illinois, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the time.

He shepherded the bishops through the process of drafting and approving the charter during a historic general assembly in Dallas June 13-15, 2002, months after news of a devastating clergy abuse…

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Plug-In: Sexual-abuse reforms top Southern Baptist actions in dramatic annual meeting

NASHVILLE (TN)
Get Religion

June 20, 2022

By Bobby Ross, Jr.

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In terms of making history, 1979 was a highly consequential year for the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention.

So was 1985. And 2021, come to think of it. No doubt I’m missing other important years.

Where might 2022 rank? For the second year in a row, the high-profile annual meeting of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination produced major news.

Five key takeaways from this week’s proceedings in Anaheim, California:

1. Sex abuse reforms

In response to last month’s bombshell report on sexual abuse in the denomination, delegates “voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to create a way to track pastors and other church workers credibly accused of sex abuse and launch a new task force to oversee further reforms,” as The Associated Press’ Deepa Bharath and Peter Smith report.

See related coverage by the Houston Chronicle’s John Tedesco and Robert Downen, two of the…

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June 21, 2022

How Churches Can Do Better at responding to Sexual Abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
New York Times

June 19, 2022

By Rachael Denhollander and Tish Harrison Warren

Read original article

In May, a third-party investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, concluded that some former members of its top leadership committee, along with outside counsel, “closely guarded information about abuse allegations and lawsuits” and “were singularly focused on avoiding liability.”

As a result, the report said, “survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action” because of its organizational structure “even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry.” The report also showed that hundreds of people associated with the denomination had been accused of abuse, and that a list containing their names had long been kept secret.

Rachael Denhollander is a lawyer and a former gymnast who was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics, of sexual abuse….

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Three men sue Catholic Diocese of Portland over childhood sexual abuse

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

June 16, 2022

By Emily Allen

Read original article

[This is an updated version with a photo; an earlier version was in Abuse Tracker last week.]

In July 2021, the state removed a 34-year statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood sexual abuse.

Three men who say they were abused in the Catholic church as boys sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland this week, filing what appear to be the first civil lawsuits detailing childhood sexual abuse since the state removed a time limit for these claims last summer.

Maine first agreed to remove its statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases in 2000. But anyone who by then had already reached the 34-year time limit to file a complaint remained ineligible to do so. Changes to state law in July made it possible for “at least dozens” of Mainers with previously expired claims to seek legal action from their alleged perpetrators,” said Michael Bigos, one…

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Santa Barbara Franciscans Hit with New Sexual Assault Complaint

SANTA BARBARA (CA)
Santa Barbara Independent [Santa Barbara CA]

June 20, 2022

By Nick Welsh

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With the statute of limitations on such cases soon set to expire, a 40-year-old Santa Barbara County resident identified only as John Doe filed legal papers in court alleging he’d been sexually assaulted at the hands of the Franciscan Friars of California, the Old Mission Santa Barbara, the Roman Catholic Diocese, and the San Roque Catholic Church. 

Specifically, the complaint charges that Father Robert Van Handel and Monsignor Vincent McCabe sexually abused the plaintiff in 1989 when he was a 5th grader singing in the St. Anthony’s choir under the direction of Van Handel and serving as an altar boy at the San Roque parish under the guidance of Monsignor McCabe. According to the complaint, both Van Handel — criminally convicted for sexually abusing multiple members of the choir and sentenced to time behind bars — and McCabe, who died in 2015, three years before he would be named in…

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In Venezuela, priests convicted of abuse have returned to ministry

CARACAS (VENEZUELA)
Washington Post

June 21, 2022

By Ana Vanessa Herrero

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The 6-year-old walked to his church with exciting news to share. He had given the matter some thought, he told the Rev. Luis Alberto Mosquera, and he had decided he wanted to be an active Catholic.

“If you want to be an altar boy, you must pass a test,” the priest responded, according to the boy. Years later, the child’s testimony about that afternoon in the parish house would prove crucial: A court concluded that Mosquera had sexually abused him.

Mosquera was convicted in 2006 of sexual abuse against a child in and sentenced to more than seven years in prison. But he didn’t complete the sentence. His lawyers feared for his safety in prison and sought probation. In 2008, he was released and returned to the church in Lara state, where he is still a priest. A photo posted on his Facebook page in 2016 and reposted in 2017…

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June 20, 2022

Polski episkopat liderem. Ponad połowa spraw o tuszowanie pedofilii dotyczy naszych biskupów

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
OKO.press [Warsaw, Poland]

June 20, 2022

By Sebastian Klauziński

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Watykan nie podaje, ile spraw biskupów tuszujących przestępstwa seksualne bada. Jak jednak ustalił amerykański portal Bishop Accountability, aktualnie wiadomo o dwudziestu ośmiu takich postępowaniach na całym świecie. Szesnaście dotyczy polskich hierarchów

Największa liczba spraw dotyczących tuszowania przestępstw seksualnych dotyczy Polski. Watykan prowadził je wobec 16 z 209 czynnych lub emerytowanych biskupów w tym kraju – czytamy w artykule opublikowanym pod koniec maja na bishop-accountability (z ang. odpowiedzialność biskupa). To amerykański portal-archiwum, który gromadzi dane na temat pedofilii w Kościele.

Artykuł ukazał się z okazji trzeciej rocznicy wprowadzenia przez papieża Franciszka wytycznych „Vos estis lux mundi” („Wy jesteście światłością świata”). Przepisy te miały zapobiegać i zwalczać przestępstwa seksualne w Kościele oraz pomóc rozliczać hierarchów, którzy je tuszowali.

Na razie – jak wynika z danych bishop-accountability.org – nowe przepisy przydają się przede wszystkim w Polsce. Jednak mimo tego, że głowy polskich biskupów spadają, to nie tych najważniejszych.

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James and Tony can be counted among the many children abused by Catholic clergy at residential schools across Canada. They attended Kuper Island Residential School off the coast of British Columbia. (Submitted )

Victims of sexual abuse upset convicted clerics cared for in Catholic retirement home

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

June 20, 2022

By Julie Ireton

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[Photo above: James Charlie and Tony Charlie can be counted among the many children abused by Catholic clergy at residential schools across Canada. They attended Kuper Island Residential School off the coast of British Columbia. (Submitted)

Includes video interview with Leona Huggins.]

Questions emerge about the care and protection of aging clergymen convicted of sex crimes

When James and Tony Charlie first arrived at Kuper Island Residential School in British Columbia, they were given identification numbers that would be stitched into their clothes and put on lists for chore duties. 

“Sometimes it wasn’t even our names, it was just the number,” Tony said.

The brothers, born just 14 months apart, started attending the school in 1964 when Tony was 13 and James was 12. They’re now counted among the many children abused by Catholic clergy at residential schools across Canada. 

I have to live my life today with all those pains and all those memories,…

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Filings in sex-abuse suit against Bellevue Baptist Church reignite parents’ claim

MEMPHIS (TN)
Daily Memphian [Memphis TN]

June 16, 2022

By Ben Wheeler

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New court documents show that leaders of the Bellevue Baptist Church fired a paid volunteer coordinator accused of sexual abuse, and he did not resign as they previously stated, a move that has led to a motion to reopen a portion of the civil case.

The case, filed against the Southern Baptist Convention-member megachurch, was filed in 2020 and settled in part in early June, when Janet Doe, the victim of sexual assault by James Ashley Hook, 47, accepted a sealed settlement. While the victim was compensated in the suit, claims brought by her parents were dismissed.

Lawyers for the Does say a deposition by church officials backs the basis for the claims that the church had adequate knowledge of suspicious behavior of Hook, who was fired before he was arrested and did not resign as church officials have previously claimed.

The parents are asking for a motion to reconsider…

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Today’s priests and the sins of the fathers

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

June 7, 2022

By Fr. Alexander Santora

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An advertisement on a public bus reads “End clergy sex abuse now,” with an image of a silhouette of a priest in a Roman collar and a phone number for a lawyer.

It’s open season on priests, and there seems to be no end in sight. To date, more than $4 billion has been paid out in court verdicts or settlements to victims of clerical sex abuse in the United States. In April, the Diocese of Camden, N.J. agreed to settle claims for $87.5 million.

Priests and the Catholic Church are routinely fodder for comics. On the season finale of “Saturday Night Live,” Colin Jost, a Catholic, cited the story about nuns resorting to TikTok to boost vocations and said, “When the Catholic Church tries to connect with young people, it always goes well.” The audience groaned instead of laughing.

It is very difficult for…

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Archdiocese follows detailed process to respond to allegations of abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic Review - Archdiocese of Baltimore [Baltimore MD]

June 20, 2022

By Christopher Gunty

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (and the accompanying Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons) in June 2002. This is one of a series of articles by the Catholic Review to mark the 20th anniversary of the Charter and its impact on safe environments within the church.

When the Archdiocese of Baltimore receives any allegation of child sexual abuse by clergy, employees or volunteers in the church, archdiocesan officials take very seriously the person who has come forward, according to Bishop Adam J. Parker, moderator of the curia and vicar general.

“That is where we begin. The investigation will try to examine every facet that we can possibly examine to get to the truth,” he said in April 2022.

In an interview with the Catholic Review, Bishop Parker,…

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June 19, 2022

After ‘Hookup’ Scandal and ‘Extended Leave,’ Msgr. Burrill Resumes Ministry

LA CROSSE (WI)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

June 17, 2022

Read original article

Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse, Wisconsin, announced June 14 that he appointed Msgr. Burrill to serve as the parochial administrator of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish in West Salem.

Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill has returned to active ministry as a priest in his home diocese, after he resigned last year from his post with the U.S. bishops ahead of reports alleging inappropriate behavior, including his use of an LGBTQ dating and “hookup” app.

Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse, Wisconsin, announced June 14 that he appointed Msgr. Burrill to serve as the parochial administrator of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish in West Salem. In a statement to parishioners, Bishop Callahan addressed Msgr. Burrill’s new position following an “extended leave.”

“During his leave from active ministry, Monsignor Burrill engaged in a sincere and prayerful effort to strengthen his priestly vows and has favorably responded to every request…

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Southern Baptists change direction on sexual abuse after years of delay

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

June 17, 2022

By Bob Smietana

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The recently concluded SBC meeting swung between worship and bickering as more than 10,000 Southern Baptists gathered in California to address sexual abuse.

In the summer of 2008, Morris Chapman stood before a gathering of thousands of Southern Baptists in Indianapolis for their annual meeting and denounced the evil of sexual abuse.

Then, Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee at the time, told his fellow Baptists the SBC would not set up a database to track abusive pastors — citing local church autonomy.

Fourteen years later, Chapman raised his hand with a yellow ballot in it on Tuesday afternoon (June 14), joining a host of other Southern Baptists meeting in Anaheim to approve a series of reforms to address sexual abuse in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination — including the creation of a website that will track abusive pastors and church workers. 

The “Ministry Check” site would…

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Churches have been ‘hunting ground’ for predators, new SBC president says

ANAHEIM (CA)
Kentucky Today [Louisville KY]

June 17, 2022

By Robin Cornetet

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SBC President Bart Barber put sexual predators on notice that Southern Baptist churches will no longer be places to hide.

At a press conference Wednesday, Barber said his first priority as the newly elected 47th president of the Southern Baptist Convention will be assembling a knowledgeable team of individuals to serve on an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF), a move approved by messengers Tuesday June 14 in response to recommendations from the Sexual Abuse Task Force established by messengers at the 2021 meeting.

“Sexual predators have used our decentralized polity to try to turn our churches into a hunting ground,” Barber said. “In some cases, mov[ing] from church to church, from scandal to scandal, manipulating our system to hide from accountability and pick off the sheep one by one.

“And yet, our decentralized polity can become, rather than a hunting ground in which predators brutalize their prey, a place where…

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Catholic church uses paedophile priest’s death as shield against new allegations in NSW

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

June 17, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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Lismore diocese wins halt on civil case after arguing woman had never complained before Clarence Anderson died in 1996

The Catholic church has used the death of a known paedophile priest to shield itself from being sued over new complaints of child sexual abuse.

Earlier this month, the Lismore diocese won its argument for a permanent stay of civil proceedings brought by a woman who was 14 years old when she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Father Clarence Anderson in 1968 inside her family home.

The woman, referred to as GLJ, brought the claim against the church in the New South Wales supreme court, alleging it was liable for an attack she described as opportunistic, violent, invasive and highly traumatic.

She alleged that the diocese was negligent and breached the duty of care it owed to her, because it knew or ought to have known that Anderson had…

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How Churches Can Do Better at Responding to Sexual Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

June 19, 2022

By Tish Harrison Warren

Read original article

In May, a third-party investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, concluded that some former members of its top leadership committee, along with outside counsel, “closely guarded information about abuse allegations and lawsuits” and “were singularly focused on avoiding liability.”

As a result, the report said, “survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action” because of its organizational structure “even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry.” The report also showed that hundreds of people associated with the denomination had been accused of abuse, and that a list containing their names had long been kept secret.

Rachael Denhollander is a lawyer and a former gymnast who was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics, of sexual abuse….

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Former RI Priest Strips Worcester’s Nativity School’s Catholic Ties Over Gay Pride, BLM Flags

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

June 17, 2022

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A former Rhode Island priest — who is now the Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts — has stripped the Nativity School’s Catholic designation, over the Worcester school flying Pride and BLM flags. 

A formal decree announcing the Bishop’s decision was published in the Catholic Free Press on Thursday, June 16 — and Nativity had the following to say. 

“Nativity will seek to appeal the decision of the Diocese to remove our Catholic identity through the appropriate channels provided by the Church in circumstances like this,” wrote Nativity. “At the same time, after meaningful deliberation and discernment by its Board, leadership team, faculty, and partners, Nativity will continue to display the flags in question to give visible witness to the school’s solidarity with our students, families, and their communities. Commitment to our mission, grounded and animated by Gospel values, Catholic Social Teaching, and our Jesuit heritage compels us…

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The Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Reform Movement Marches On!

BATON ROUGE (LA)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

June 18, 2022

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It’s official. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed House Bill 492, removing the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims. It’s now the law of the land in Louisiana.

This means that those who were sexually victimized as children in that state – at any time, by anyone, can take an important step to help the wounded heal and help the vulnerable be safer, as they can now file a civil lawsuit. As defendants, they can also name both wrongdoers who perpetrate the abuse AND wrongdoers who enabled it; those who commit AND or concealed these awful crimes.

But that’s only part of the good news regarding archaic, arbitrary, and predator-friendly statute of limitations these days. More and more, our society and courts are expanding victims’ rights to expose predators and win compensation. Read on!

New York City has just enacted a civil…

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Intentional or not, Pope offers valuable conclave tip on abuse baggage

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 19, 2022

By John L. Allen, Jr.

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Even before Pope Francis stages his latest consistory on Aug. 27, inducting 20 new members into the Catholic Church’s most exclusive club, the event has managed to make news – in this case, not so much for the new cardinals who’ll be there, but the one erstwhile cardinal-designate who won’t.

This past Thursday, the bishops’ conference of Belgium announced that the 80-year-old former Bishop of Ghent, Lucas Van Looy, had obtained permission from Pope Francis to refuse his appointment as a cardinal, which the pontiff had announced during his traditional Sunday Regina Caeli address on May 29.

The reason for the withdrawal is that Van Looy’s record on the clerical abuse scandals has come under fire, and, inevitably, making him a cardinal therefore would be seen as insensitive and offensive to abuse survivors.

There are a handful of unanswered questions about the story, but the biggest take-away is this: Whether…

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Belgian bishop declines cardinal honor over abuse record

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 17, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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[Note from BA: This is an updated version of an article previously on Tracker.]

One of Pope Francis’ proposed new cardinals, the retired bishop of Ghent, Belgium, has bowed out of accepting the honor over his own insufficient response to cases of clergy sexual abuse, the Belgian bishops’ conference said.

Ghent Bishop Luc Van Looy’s decision highlights the Belgian church’s wretched record in protecting children from predator priests. He asked Francis for permission to decline the honor of becoming a cardinal in order “to not harm victims again,” and Francis accepted the request, the bishops said in a statement.

In May, Francis named Van Looy as one of 21 prelates who would become a new “prince of the church” during an Aug. 27 ceremony. At age 80, Van Looy is too old to participate in a future conclave to elect the next pope, but he was one of five men…

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Defrocked Chilean priest gets 30 years for abusing minors

(CHILE)
Barron's [New York NY]

June 18, 2022

By Agence France-Presse

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A defrocked priest who once held senior positions in the Catholic Church in Chile was sentenced to 15 years in prison Saturday for raping and otherwise sexually abusing minors for more than a decade.

The sentence against Oscar Munoz, 60, was handed down by a criminal court in the capital Santiago.

Munoz was a well-known clergyman who held senior positions under the archbishop of Santiago and as recently as 2018 under Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati.

The latter is accused of covering up many cases of sexual abuse of minors within the church in Chile.

Munoz is accused of raping or abusing at least five minors. Two other alleged victims are still being evaluated.

Munoz has been in preventive prison since 2018 as he awaited sentencing.

His alleged crimes span from 2002 to 2018.

Prosecutors had asked for a 30 year sentence for him.

Pope Francis expelled Munoz from the church in…

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June 18, 2022

Münster bishop refuses to quit after sexual abuse report

MüNSTER (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

June 17, 2022

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The Catholic bishop of the western German city of Münster says he won’t resign in light of a report that criticizes the way he dealt with sexual abuse. Felix Genn admitted mistakes but said he did not cover up anything.

Bishop of Münster Felix Genn on Friday said he would not resign after a report that claimed he was too lax in dealing with priests who had committed abuse.

While he admitted mistakes in dealing with the cases, Genn said he had not put the interests of the institution ahead of concern for the victims by covering up cases of sexual abuse. However, he did blame his predecessors for more “serious mistakes,” saying that they had done so.

What the bishop said

“I myself should have acted differently in some situations,” said Genn, while insisting he had not kept the abuse a secret.

“I would therefore like to use my remaining…

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Manitoba priest charged in connection to historical sexual abuse at Indian Residential School

(CANADA)
CJMK Cool FM 98 [Saskatoon, CA]

June 17, 2022

By Vanese M. Ferguson

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RCMP in Manitoba have arrested a retired, 92-year-old priest, and charged him with Indecent Assault which allegedly occurred at a residential school in the province.

The allegations of sexual abuse were reported in 2010 and a criminal investigation was launched in 2011. Yesterday, on June 16, Father Arthur Masse was arrested at his home in Winnipeg and charged in connection to the offence which occurred between 1968 and 1970 when the woman was 10 years old and a student at the Fort Alexander Residential School.

More than 80 RCMP investigators conducted archival research and spoke to or interacted with more than 700 people across North America throughout the investigation in an effort to locate any possible victims or witnesses. In total, 75 witness and victim statements were obtained by police.

Manitoba RCMP say an important part of the investigative process was to ensure any potential victims were given time to…

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Maine diocese sued for 1st time since abuse suit barrier end

PORTLAND (ME)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

June 17, 2022

By Patrick Whittle

Read original article

The first lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland since Maine took away a limitation on claims of child sexual abuse were filed on Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed a law last year that allowed victims to bring civil lawsuits about older abuse cases. Abuse survivors previously could not bring lawsuits if they experienced the abuse prior to the late 1980s.

Attorneys who represent three people with claims of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and a lay educator filed the complaints seeking monetary damages. The claims state that the abuse took place over decades starting in the early 1960s.

Two of the claimants requested not to be identified, but one, Robert Dupuis, said in a statement that he hopes the lawsuits will encourage victims to come forward. His attorney, Michael Bigos of Portland, said more lawsuits would follow.

“The lawsuit gives me the opportunity to come forward…

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Canada: Mounties arrest priest for assault at school

WINNIPEG (CANADA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 16, 2022

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Canadian police said they arrested a 92-year-old retired priest for a sexual assault more than 50 years ago at one of Canada’s residential schools for Indigenous children.

Royal Mounted Police Sgt. Paul Manaigre said Friday that police arrested retired Father Arthur Masse for the assault more than 50 years ago. Manaigre said the victim was 10 years old at the time and it happened between 1968 and 1970 at Ford Alexander residential school in Manitoba.

Manaigre said there is no time limit to report a sexual assault. Masse has been released on conditions and is due to be in court next month.

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their Indigenous languages. Many were…

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Vatican cardinal: Subordination of women to men is ‘fruit of sin’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 15, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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“The subordination of women to men is the fruit of sin,” a top Vatican cardinal said on Tuesday.

“How much damage we have done, as men, by endorsing a status of superiority,” said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. “There is no complete image of what is human when only the masculine is considered predominant and the only thing relevant. For centuries, we have suffocated the feminine peculiarity.”

The prelate was addressing the World Observatory for Women, promoted by the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (UMOFC).

The results of the Observatory’s first report looking into women in Latin America and the Caribbean, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them, were presented at the gathering.

Ouellet said he hopes that the Observatory will introduce “in its observing the light of faith. Faith is a method of knowledge…

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‘STILL … A LONG WAY TO GO’

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Evangelist [Diocese of Albany NY]

June 17, 2022

By Dennis Sadowski

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The nation’s Catholic bishops have made progress in regaining the trust of the laity since approving a groundbreaking document in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis two decades ago, but for Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory “the task is not complete.”

“We’ve gone through some rocky patches,” Cardinal Gregory told Catholic News Service in an interview ahead of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

“With every sordid revelation (of sexual abuse or improper response by a bishop), the task becomes more difficult, the climb becomes steeper,” said the cardinal, who was the bishop of Belleville, Ill., and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the time.

He shepherded the bishops through the process of drafting and approving the charter during a historic general assembly in Dallas on June 13-15, 2002, months after news of a devastating clergy abuse scandal emerged in the…

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Indian-origin ‘guru’ loses legal fight to strike out sexual assault allegations case in UK

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

June 17, 2022

By Press Trust of India

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An Indian-origin “guru” lost a sexual allegation case against him in the London High Court on Friday.

An Indian-origin “guru”, who presented himself as a head priest of a religious organisation or society in England, has lost a legal battle in the High Court in London to strike out a case worth millions of pounds in damages claimed by former “devotees” over sexual assault and psychological domination allegations.

Rajinder Kalia, 65, was the guru of a registered charity society in Coventry since 1986 and is said to have portrayed himself as something more than a priest-like figure, claiming to be divine with a direct link and ability to speak with God, or manifestations of God allegations he denies.

Seven claimants in the court case alleged that Kalia for many years from 1987 onwards used sermons and teachings, as well as the purported performance of “miracles” to unduly influence their actions.

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June 17, 2022

Nativity School of Worcester now prohibited from calling itself a Catholic school

WORCESTER (MA)
Boston Globe

June 15, 2022

By Yvonne Abraham

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Citing the school’s refusal to take down Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, Bishop Robert J. McManus brought the hammer down this week.

It’s official.

Because it flies the Black Lives Matter and Pride flags, Nativity School of Worcester can no longer call itself Catholic.

Bishop Robert J. McManus brought the hammer down on the middle school this week, after school officials rejected his demand that the flags — which had flown outside Nativity for more than a year before the bishop objected — be taken down.

“The flying of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public about the Church’s stance on these important moral and social issues,” McManus wrote.

Effective immediately, he wrote, Nativity is prohibited from identifying itself as a Catholic school. Mass and sacraments are no longer permitted on school premises, or in any building…

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Woman calls for clergy misconduct law after assault allegation

STEUBENVILLE (OH)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

June 16, 2022

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A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a priest is calling for the passage of a state law that would make it a crime for pastoral ministers to have sexual contact with spiritual directees and others to whom they provide “pastoral counseling.”

If passed, the New York state bill would ensure pastoral ministers are not able to use their knowledge, trust, and authority to manipulate or abuse their congregants, Dakota Bateman told The Pillar

The role of a spiritual director is “similar to the role of a therapist,” Bateman explained, suggesting that religious ministers and psychologists or counselors should be treated similarly in law.

“If you are going to somebody and they know everything about you, they have the upper hand and they’re put in this position of trust…it becomes so easy for that to be [abused]. It’s not necessarily an equal relationship — In my case, he knew…

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Rome’s foremost anti-abuse institute tackles abuse of adults

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 17, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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One of the Church’s foremost anti-abuse institution, part of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, announced last October plans to expand its mandate to include the sexual and spiritual abuse of adults.

As of this week, the flagship institute has new offices on the fourth floor of Rome’s Villa Malta, famous for being the home of the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica.

German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of Pope Francis’s top advisers on abuse, welcomed a handful of journalists – including Crux – to the new headquarters of what is now the Institute of Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care, or IADC, to talk about both the mission and the vision for what will become the Catholic Church’s go-to agency on abuse prevention.

“Our task is an academic one,” Zollner said. “We need to make sure that we understand what brought about the abuse crisis in the church and beyond, and what were the…

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Belgian bishop declines cardinal honor over abuse record

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

June 17, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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One of Pope Francis’ proposed new cardinals, the retired bishop of Ghent, Belgium, has bowed out of accepting the honor over his insufficient response to cases of clergy sexual abuse, the Belgian bishops conference said.

Ghent Bishop Luc Van Looy had asked Francis for permission to decline the honor in order “to not harm victims again,” and Francis accepted the request, the bishops said in a statement.

Francis had named Van Looy as one of 21 prelates to become a new “prince of the church” during a consistory Aug. 27. At 80, Van Looy is too old to participate in a future conclave to elect the next pope, but he was one of five men named as cardinals in recognition of their lifetime of service to the church.

Van Looy, a priest of the Salesian religious order, had been bishop of the northwest Belgian diocese from 2004-2020.

The Belgian bishops…

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