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.

May 26, 2022

Please join us!

QUINCY (MA)
BishopAccountability.org [Waltham MA]

May 26, 2022

Read original article

Pivot to the Future: A Conference Marking 20 Years of Confronting Clergy Sex Abuse Saturday, June 4 – Please join us, in person or on Zoom!

Dedicated to the memory of Phil Saviano

A day of presentations, panels, discussion, fellowship, and looking ahead.

Guest interviewers: Margery Eagan and Jim Braude of 89.7 ‘GBH’s “Boston Public Radio”

Speakers:

  • David Clohessy, former SNAP nat’l director
  • Tom Doyle, whistleblower priest
  • Mitchell Garabedian, Esq.
  • Professor Marci Hamilton, Child USA
  • Robert Hoatson, Road to Recovery
  • Ann Hagan Webb, SNAP
  • Kathy Dwyer, STTOP
  • Anne Barrett Doyle, BishopAccountability
  • Terry McKiernan, BishopAccountability

WHEN
Saturday – June 4, 2022 – 9:00-4:00 In-person and remote (ZOOM)

WHERE
Marriott Boston-Quincy Hotel
1000 Marriott Dr, Quincy MA

  • The Marriott Boston-Quincy Hotel is convenient from Logan and public transportation (Red Line).
  • Free parking.
  • Box lunches served to registered attendees.

Registration required for both in-person ($20) and ZOOM (free) attendees.
To register, email Ruth at mooreruth01@gmail.com.
Registration fee waived if requested.

Co-sponsored by STTOP, BishopAccountability.org, Road to…

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The eerie parallels between the Southern Baptist and Catholic sexual abuse crises

NASHVILLE (TN)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

May 26, 2022

By Matthew J. Cressler

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When news broke that Southern Baptist leaders had covered up sex abuse for decades I felt a numb sense of familiarity. I came of age as a Catholic against the backdrop of our own ongoing sex abuse crisis. It would be years before I would truly understand how sexual violence and the criminal conspiracies that perpetuated it had defined contemporary U.S. Catholicism.

One thing was clear quite quickly, however. The sex abuse scandal cast doubt on the moral authority of the Roman Catholic Church itself. A similar crisis of moral authority is underway for arguably the most significant white evangelical institution in the country. I say this both as a U.S. religious historian and as a Catholic who grew up in Alabama surrounded by Southern Baptists. As Russell Moore, a prominent former Southern Baptist, put it, “this is the Southern Baptist apocalypse.”

The Southern Baptist Convention, or…

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New York Will Allow Adult Victims to Revive Decades-Old Sex Abuse Claims

ALBANY (NY)
New York Times

May 23, 2022

By Grace Ashford

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Drew Dixon spent 22 years not talking about what happened to her.

But in 2017, she joined a chorus of women giving voice for the first time to some of the worst experiences of their lives. For Ms. Dixon, that meant going public to The New York Times with a long-suppressed claim that the media mogul Russell Simmons had raped her.

The response was swift and seismic: widespread media attention, conversations on Twitter, a documentary. There was solidarity, backlash and, ultimately, a sense of peace.

But there would be no criminal case or any lawsuit against Mr. Simmons: The statute of limitations for either had long since passed during the two decades Ms. Dixon kept her silence.

But Ms. Dixon will soon have an opportunity to revisit pursuing her case.

The State Assembly on Monday overwhelmingly passed the Adult Survivors Act, which enables adult victims, those 18 or older…

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I Am Sexual Abuse Evidence

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Daily Express [Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago]

May 20, 2022

By Anna Ramdass

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Former Ward at St. Dominic’s Children’s Home Recalls Ordeal of Being Raped at 9 Years Old

A man who was sexually abused over 25 years ago, when he was about nine years old, wants the “sexual monster” to be brought to justice.

The man who shared his heart-­wrenching experience with the Express yesterday said he is willing to tell all to the police, in the hope that the abuser, who sexually abused 30 to 40 children at the home, is finally held accountable for the crimes he committed which left him and many others shattered and traumatised for life.

The victim provided a detailed account of the horror he endured at the hands of the man, including being fondled by a priest who was aware that he was abused , and a Sister at the home who burnt all the kitchen towels after learning the perpetrator used these to clean…

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The Diocese of Rochester proposes settlement of bankruptcy case; survivors of sexual abuse push back

ROCHESTER (NY)
WSKG [Vestal NY]

May 26, 2022

By Randy Gorbman

Read original article

Lawyers for people who say they were victimized by child sexual abuse from clergy in the Rochester Catholic Diocese are unhappy with an attempt by the diocese to settle those claims in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is one of the lawyers representing 175 of those who are claimants in the lawsuits, said that the diocese is trying to force a $147 million dollar settlement on 475 survivors and victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Anderson does not feel that is a particularly generous offer. He contends that that the Diocese has billions of dollars in insurance coverage. He called it, “an effort to cheat survivors that will retraumatize them.”

Another attorney representing those involved in the lawsuits, Mitchell Garabedian, said the amount of money being offered is tied to the respect that should be shown for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

“Survivors need validation and they need…

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Former priest at Poughkeepsie’s St. Peter’s church accused of sexual abuse, faces charges

NEW YORK (NY)
Poughkeepsie Journal [Poughkeepsie NY]

May 25, 2022

By Katelyn Cordero

Read original article

Safety was not a concern when her son became an altar server at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Poughkeepsie.

In her mind, the church was a place where the 15-year-old would be guided spiritually and emotionally.

When the Rev. James Garisto took a special interest in her son, she hoped he would be a positive influence.

That was 2006. In the years since, the mother watched as her son fell down what she called a “horrific path” that included a 10-year battle with drug addiction that nearly led to the end of his life on more than one occasion.

The root of that trauma, the family says, is sexual abuse suffered through the relationship with Garisto, of which they say the church was aware.

Garisto served as priest at St. Peter’s from 1998 to 2014.

He was taken into custody on May 4 by Philadelphia police based on allegations…

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May 25, 2022

Remember the women: The Southern Baptist cover up of sexual abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

May 25, 2022

By Pam Durso

Read original article

If you pay only minimal attention to news outlets, you know the story of the week is the Southern Baptist Convention’s stunning cover up of clergy sexual abuse. The glaring headlines of Christianity Today, The Washington Post and The New York Times are hard to miss, especially if you have been on social media. Baptist News Global has provided extensive coverage of the unfolding story.

While I have much to say about the horrifying revelations that have come to light, a story that needs to be told is that the 300-page report released by Guidestone Solutions can be directly traced to courageous, tenacious women; women who reported their own abuse; women who advocated for those who had been abused; women who stood strong in defiance of powerful Southern Baptist leaders; women who fought, some for years, against a corrupt system; women who were called names, slandered, ridiculed and threatened but who did not back down…

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Rochester Diocese Offers $147M to Settle Sexual Abuse Claims

ROCHESTER (NY)
Insurance Journal [San Diego CA]

May 24, 2022

Read original article

The Diocese of Rochester, New York, and its insurers have submitted a proposal to bankruptcy court to settle 471 sexual abuse claims against them for $147 million. The settlement includes $107,750,000 from insurers and $40,500,000 from the Catholic diocese and its entities.

The offer came after years of negotiations between insurers and the diocese.

The settling insurers include London Market Insurers ($16.6 million), certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s ($1.1 million), Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. and National Surety Corp. ($26 million), and Continental Insurance Co. (CNA) and its affiliates ($63.5 million). The liability insurance policies affected were purchased starting in 1943.

The offer would allow for an average recovery of more than $300,000 per survivor claim, according to the filing.

Lawyers for the victims of sexual abuse criticized the proposal as a deal made with insurers that shortchanges the victims. Jeff Anderson & Associates, a law firm that represents survivors of…

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Rochester diocese offers $147.75 million to abuse victims

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon [Rochester NY]

May 23, 2022

By Will Astor

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester has put forward a $147.75 million offer to settle claims filed by 475 sexual-abuse survivors in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Whether the nine-figure offer will bring a quick end to the long-stalled bankruptcy at this point seems far from certain. The offer was outlined in a filing posted with the Rochester Bankruptcy Court late Friday afternoon.

In court papers, the diocese portrays the offer as a deal that would best serve the abuse victims “by achieving certainty with respect to a very substantial insurance contribution rather than risking the cost, extensive delay, and uncertain outcome of litigation in pursuit of the theoretical possibility of a larger recovery at some point in the distant future.”

The Rochester diocese filed bankruptcy in September 2019, roughly a month after the New York Child Victims Act went into effect. 

Signed into law in February of that year, the…

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Bellevue pastor admits withholding abuse report from authorities

MEMPHIS (TN)
Action News 5 [Memphis, TN]

May 24, 2022

By Joyce Peterson

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An independent investigation commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, showed that sexual abuse allegations were ignored or covered up by church elders for nearly 20 years.

That scathing report named Steve Gaines, the senior pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, as one of the SBC leaders who “protected or even supported abusers.”

SBC leadership called for this investigation at last year’s annual convention. Guidepost Solutions took seven months to complete its investigation, looking at incidents between January 1, 2000 and June 14, 2021.

The nearly 300-page report concluded, “to survivors, the 2016 election of Steve Gaines as SBC President conveyed the message that a clergy sex abuse cover-up was considered ‘no big deal.’”

It was a stunning remark about Gaines, spiritual leader of one of the largest churches in the Mid-South: Bellevue Baptist in Cordova, 30,000 members…

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Report: Top Southern Baptists stonewalled sex abuse victims

NASHVILLE (TN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 23, 2022

By Deepa Bharath, Holly Meyer and David Crary

Read original article

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee — and thousands of its rank-and-file members — now have opportunities to address a scathing investigative report that says top SBC leaders stonewalled and denigrated survivors of clergy sex abuse over two decades while seeking to protect their own reputations.

The report, issued Sunday, says these survivors, and other concerned Southern Baptists, repeatedly shared allegations with the Executive Committee, “only to be met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility from some within the EC.”

The seven-month investigation was conducted by Guidepost Solutions, an independent firm contracted by the Executive Committee after delegates to last year’s national meeting pressed for a probe by outsiders.

Since then, several top Executive Committee leaders have resigned, and the body — under interim leadership — will meet Tuesday to discuss the report. Three weeks later, the SBC will convene its 2022 national meeting in…

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Southern Baptist Convention sex abuse report: 44 women made allegations against Jacksonville pastor

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News4Jax [Jacksonville, FL]

May 24, 2022

By Brie Isom, Reporter and Deepa Bharath, Associated Press

Read original article

Top Southern Baptists plan to release secret list of pastors, church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse

Top administrative leaders for the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, said Tuesday that they will release a secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse.

An attorney for the SBC’s Executive Committee announced the decision during a virtual meeting called in response to a scathing investigative report detailing how the committee mishandled allegations of sex abuse and stonewalled numerous survivors. The committee anticipates releasing the list Thursday.

During the meeting, top leaders and several committee members vowed to work toward changing the culture of the denomination and to listen more attentively to survivors’ voices and stories.

The report is expected to contain new details about former Jacksonville Pastor Darrell Gilyard. He was a pastor at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church…

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Southern Baptist members detail alleged grooming, sexual misconduct among clergy in new report

WOODSTOCK (GA)
NBC News [New York NY]

May 23, 2022

By Erik Ortiz

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In the summer of 2010, a pastor and his wife at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, said they received an invite to vacation in Florida with Johnny Hunt, a senior pastor of their church whom they considered a mentor.

The 55-year-old church leader had been elected national president of the Southern Baptist Convention two years earlier, making him one of the most powerful members of the largest denomination of Protestants in the U.S.

Hunt allegedly helped to book them a place in Panama City Beach that, unbeknownst to them, was directly beside his unit in the same condo complex, the unnamed young couple said in a 288-page blockbuster investigative report released Sunday by the Southern Baptist Convention. When the pastor’s wife arrived alone after a day out, she said she was greeted by Hunt, and they interacted from their respective balconies.

But when she invited…

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Top Southern Baptists plan to release secret list of abusers

NASHVILLE (TN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 25, 2022

By Deepa Bharath

Read original article

Top administrative leaders for the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, said Tuesday that they will release a secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse.

An attorney for the SBC’s Executive Committee announced the decision during a virtual meeting called in response to a scathing investigative report detailing how the committee mishandled allegations of sex abuse and stonewalled numerous survivors. The committee anticipates releasing the list Thursday.

During the meeting, top leaders and several committee members vowed to work toward changing the culture of the denomination and to listen more attentively to survivors’ voices and stories.

The 288-page report by Guidepost Solutions, which was released Sunday after a seven-month investigation, contained several explosive revelations. Among those were details of how D. August Boto, the Executive Committee’s former vice president and general counsel, and former SBC spokesman Roger Oldham kept their…

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U.S. confronts ‘cultural genocide’ in Native American boarding school probe

WASHINGTON (DC)
Reuters [London, England]

May 18, 2022

By Hassan Kanu

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A first-of-its-kind U.S. government investigation is helping to reveal the deadly and commonplace brutality of the former Native American “boarding school” system, a 150-year program of separating children from their families that was part of a federal policy to eradicate Native communities’ identity and forcibly take indigenous lands.

The Interior Department’s study follows decades of calls by advocates for the government to acknowledge and address the harms caused by the boarding schools, and represents the first official attempt to confront a system of racist dehumanization that resulted in cultural genocide and the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of children.

The department’s report and initiative holds particular significance as an official acknowledgement by the U.S. government of its role in creating and perpetuating a system aimed at eliminating entire cultures and peoples.

Still, the agency’s power to address past and ongoing harms is limited, and advocates and indigenous…

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What Happened At Minnesota’s 21 Native-American Boarding Schools? Unpacking A Complex History

RED WING (MN)
CBS Minnesota [Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN]

May 22, 2022

By Adam Duxter

Read original article

A trip to the Goodhue County Historical Society’s basement in Red Wing is a trip back to a complex and complicated time in United States history. And right now, the traveling display the organization spent years trying to secure is once again a topic of national conversation.

READ MORE: Interior Dept. Investigation Identifies 21 Federal Indian Boarding School Sites In Minnesota

Titled “Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories,” the display on loan from Arizona’s Heard Museum details the decades Native American children spent in federally run boarding schools across the country through artifacts and first-person testimony.

“This is definitely a conversation that needs to be had,” said Collections Curator Afton Esson. “It’s one of those topics that’s powerful and emotional and having it right now is the perfect time to share this topic with the community.”

The perfect time, perhaps, because…

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New Italian church head faces demands for abuse inquiry

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

May 24, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis on Tuesday named a bishop in his own image, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, as the new head of the Italian bishops conference, as the Italian Catholic Church comes under mounting pressure to confront its legacy of clerical sexual abuse with an independent inquiry.

Francis’ widely expected choice was announced during the second day of the spring meeting of the conference. Zuppi, 66, is currently the archbishop of Bologna and has long been affiliated with the Sant’Egidio Community, a Catholic charity particularly close to Francis.

The Italian Catholic Church is one of the few in western Europe that has not opened its archives to independent researchers to establish the scope of abuse and cover-up in recent decades. Whether by government mandate, parliamentary investigation or church initiation, such reports in Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France, for example, have shown systematic problems that allowed thousands of children to be abused…

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Survivors, advocates push Italian bishops for national abuse inquiry

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 23, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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A collective of abuse survivors and advocacy groups have published an open letter to the Italian bishops, who are meeting to elect new leadership, calling for the adoption of several measures aimed at acknowledging the problem and prevention.

“Abuses perpetrated within the Church affects people in their bodies, in their lives, in their conscience: they are violations of human rights. If the Church does not respect human rights, it cannot preach the Gospel,” the letter said.

This, it said, is why “obedience to the Gospel can push us to ‘disobedience’ whenever in the name of ‘prudence’ we risk becoming accomplices to crimes.”

The nearly 50 signatories of the letter asked the bishops to obtain “truth and justice for the victims of abuse – minors, adults, vulnerable people, religious – perpetrated by people in various capacities involved in the Church, as well as preventive measures so that the Church regains credibility…

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Francis’ clergy abuse law, ‘Vos Estis,’ isn’t working. Here’s how to fix it.

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

May 25, 2022

By Anne Barrett Doyle

Read original article

Three years ago, as the Catholic Church faced an unprecedented reckoning with clergy sexual abuse, Pope Francis introduced a church law that promised to hold bishops and religious superiors accountable for abuse that they commit or cover up.

Entitled Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), the law was touted by papal spokesmen as a turning point in the fight to end child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

It’s “revolutionary,” said Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich.

“The silence, omertà and cover-ups can now become a thing of the past,” said Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the pope’s trusted abuse investigator.

Vos Estis, a motu proprio that was signed on May 9, 2019, was originally enacted for a three-year trial period that ends this June 1. As we wait to see if Francis will now make the law permanent, it is a good time to assess…

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May 24, 2022

Vatican uses NY decision to seek dismissal of a Guam abuse case

(GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

May 23, 2022

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Read original article

[See also the Robles v. Holy See decision.]

The Vatican is using a New York court’s recent decision to bolster its push for the dismissal of a Guam case that seeks to hold the Holy See responsible for former Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s alleged sexual assault of a child.

California-based attorney Jeffrey Lena said the New York court “supports dismissal with prejudice of all claims against the Holy See.”

Lena, whom the Vatican relies upon for defense in lawsuits on U.S. soil, on Friday filed in the U.S. District Court of Guam a supplemental brief in support of their July 2021 motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, insufficient service of process and failure to state a claim. 

The Vatican claims immunity under U.S. law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, which allows foreign states to avoid being sued in court.

The District Court of Southern New York,…

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Request that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hold a hearing on S. 2907, the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act

WASHINGTON (DC)
Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren [Washington DC]

May 19, 2022

By U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren et al.

Read original article

[See also our PDF of this letter.]

To: Honorable Brian Schatz, Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Dear Chairman Schatz and Vice Chairman Murkowski:

We respectfully request that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hold a hearing on S. 2907, the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act. This bill would establish a formal commission to investigate, document, and acknowledge past injustices of the federal government’s Indian Boarding School Policies, including attempts to terminate Native cultures, religions, and languages; assimilation practices; and human rights violations. The commission would also develop recommendations for Congress to aid in healing of the historical and intergenerational trauma passed down in Native families and communities and provide a forum for victims to speak about personal experiences tied to these human rights violations.

We are grateful that…

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Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley join request for Senate hearing on Indian Boarding Schools bill

WASHINGTON (DC)
Statesman Journal [Salem OR]

May 22, 2022

By Dianne Lugo

Read original article

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have joined other lawmakers in calling for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold hearings on a bill that would establish a truth and reconciliation commission on Indian boarding school policies.

In a letter signed by 17 other Senators, lawmakers asked Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Vice-Chairman Murkowski (R -Alaska) to schedule a hearing to consider Senate Bill 2907 at its earliest convenience.

The bill, S. 2907, is known as the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act and was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) last September on the same day Murkowski introduced a formal resolution to designate the day, Sept. 30, as a National Day of Remembrance for Indian Boarding Schools.

The bill would establish a formal commission to investigate, document, and acknowledge past injustices of…

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‘I Was Just 16’: Pastor’s ‘Adultery’ Confession in Church Goes Off the Rails

WARSAW (IN)
Daily Beast [New York NY]

May 24, 2022

By Allison Quinn

Read original article

[Includes video of the confrontation at New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw IN.]

Prosecutors in Indiana are now investigating after a woman took the stage to confront the pastor. “The lies and the manipulation have to stop,” she told him.

A church pastor in Indiana publicly confessed to his congregation this week that he’d committed “adultery” two decades ago—but he was quickly called out by a woman who took the stage to say she had only been 16 when he preyed on her.

The public confrontation that played out Sunday at the New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw has now sparked an investigation by local prosecutors in Kosciusko County, according to local reports.

Video of the incident shot by an attendee quickly went viral on Facebook, where commentators applauded the woman for coming forward.

The footage shows the pastor, John Lowe II, announce his…

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Catholic diocese in Poland ordered to pay compensation to victim of child sex abuse by priest

KALISZ (POLAND)
Notes from Poland [Kraków, Poland]

May 23, 2022

By Daniel Tilles

Read original article

The Catholic diocese of Kalisz has been ordered by a court to pay 300,000 zloty (€65,000) to a man who was abused as a child by one of its priests.

The case is one of a number relating to sexual abuse in Poland’s Catholic church that have come to light in recent years. It has drawn particular attention because the victim, Bartłomiej Pankowiak, and his brother Jakub, who was also abused, confronted the priest in a documentary film broadcast in 2020 (pictured above).

“Jakub and Bartłomiej Pankowiak will forever remain synonymous with the fight for their own and other people’s dignity, as well as for being the initiators of systemic changes within the church…[regarding] sexual abuse against children,” said judge Arleta Konieczna, quoted by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

In her ruling today at Kalisz district court on a civil action brought by Bartłomiej, she ordered the diocese to pay…

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Federal Bankruptcy Judge Rejects Catholic Diocese’s Bid to Stop State Litigation on Child Sex Abuse, Excoriates ‘Heavy-Handed Threat’ to Survivors

ROCHESTER (NY)
Law & Crime [New York NY]

May 23, 2022

By Adam Klasfeld

Read original article

More than two years ago, a group of sexual abuse survivors in New York agreed to suspend their litigation under the Child Victims Act. The Diocese of Rochester, in turn, indicated that they could resolve their claims in a settlement through a bankruptcy settlement.

On Monday, a federal bankruptcy judge granted survivors to resume their previously paused actions against hundreds of independent Catholic corporations that did not seek bankruptcy protection. His scathing ruling slammed what the judge perceived as the Diocese’s hardball tactics.

“Portraying itself as a victim, trying to do right by the Abuse Survivors, the Diocese predicts that if state court litigation is permitted to move forward against any of the Catholic Corporations, ‘the Diocese may be forced to pursue a non-consensual plan of reorganization,’” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren wrote in a 16-page decision and order. “That is a pretty heavy-handed threat to be leveled at the people who…

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Jesuit Prep strikes priest’s name from stadium after he kept sex abuse quiet

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News [Dallas TX]

May 19, 2022

By Krista M. Torralva

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As his mother neared death, Brendan Higgins called a priest he respected to administer last rites. The Rev. Philip Postell did the job with care and compassion, Higgins recalled.

Higgins’ recollections of that priest, preparing his mother to meet her God in 2019, were shattered last year when he discovered Postell shuffled priests across parishes amid child sex abuse allegations. Moving priests accused of sexual abuse was a common practice in the Catholic Church.

Postell’s involvement in keeping sex abuse claims quiet occurred before he led Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas beginning in 1992. Nevertheless, the school removed the priest’s name from its athletic stadium after a lawsuit brought by Higgins and eight other men shed light on Postell.

Some victims say this is a step toward healing.

The 15-member school board voted April 19 to remove Postell’s name…

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The Catholic Church’s views on exorcism have changed – a religious studies scholar explains why

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
The Conversation [Waltham MA]

May 24, 2022

By Joseph P. Laycock

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In September 2021, a 3-year-old was killed during an exorcism in a small Pentecostal church in San Jose, California. The child’s throat was allegedly squeezed and her head held down during the ceremony, which likely asphyxiated her. In May 2022, three members of the victim’s family were charged with felony child abuse.

Several famous deaths have occurred during exorcism rituals in the past. In 1976, Anneliese Michel of Germany died of dehydration and malnutrition after nearly 10 months of Catholic exorcisms. In 2005, Maricica Irina Cornici, a Romanian Orthodox nun, died in an ambulance following an exorcism in which she was chained to a cross.

While exorcism is practiced in the majority of the world’s cultures, in the Western imagination it is most associated with Catholicism. That association has been either an asset or a liability to the church at various periods throughout history.

For most of the 20th century, exorcism was…

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Sex abuse suits pouring in as state’s Catholic leaders seek relief from highest court

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Press Democrat [Santa Rosa CA]

May 23, 2022

By Nigel Duara

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In California, the lawsuits are mounting — middle-aged men, saying they were sexually assaulted as children by a Boy Scout leader or a priest. A woman, now in her late 30s, detailing how she was allegedly assaulted in a center for foster children. A man who said he was abused while volunteering with the Salvation Army.

At least 750 of those lawsuits filed since January 2020 are against Catholic dioceses, and more than 800 people are in the process of filing to beat a Dec. 31 deadline, according to lawyers involved in the cases.

The year-end date marks the close of the state’s three-year “lookback window,” which allows plaintiffs to file civil suits for childhood sexual abuse no matter how long ago the alleged events took place.

Now, facing hundreds of lawsuits, a group of Catholic bishops is taking those challenges to the nation’s highest court. Saying they faced “potentially…

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St. Cloud Diocese to host listening sessions after priest added to list of likely abusers

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times [St. Cloud MN]

May 23, 2022

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The Diocese of St. Cloud is hosting two listening sessions after another priest has been added to the list of clergy likely to have abused minors.

Rev. Arthur Hoppe was added to the list earlier in May. He served in nine parishes in the Diocese of St. Cloud over the course of almost 50 years, from 1950 to 1999. He retired in 1999 and died in 2019, according to a press release from the diocese.

The listening sessions are being held at St. Louis Parish in Paynesville and St. Mary Parish in Alexandria. Both sessions start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

These sessions are for parishioners of the diocese where Hoppe served. These parishes include:

  • Assumption in Morris (1947-1950)
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud (1950-1955)
  • St. Patrick in Minden Township (1955-1958)
  • St. Nicholas in Belle River (1958-1961)
  • St. John Nepomuk in Lastrup (1961-1965)
  • St. Louis in Paynesville (1965-1971)
  • St. Mary in Alexandria (1971-1983)
  • St. Wendelin in Luxemburg (1983-1989)
  • St….
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May 23, 2022

Fordham conference on abuse highlights ways the church can foster healthier culture of sexuality

NEW YORK (NY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

May 23, 2022

By Mark A. Levand

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Last month, scholars from all over the world met to discuss projects related to the clergy sexual abuse as part of Fordham University’s “Taking Responsibility” initiative. Some attendees disclosed their abuse by Jesuit priests, adding a palpable solemnity to the larger, systemic issues that make up the Catholic sexual abuse crisis. These stories also laid the backdrop for how important it was to research and answer exactly how Jesuit institutions can “take responsibility.”

I attended the conference as a consultant for a project focused on youth empowerment. As a professional sexologist, I study the intersection of Catholic sexual theology and the growing field of human sexuality studies. I am also a Catholic scholar formed by Jesuits.

The conference is part of a larger, grant-funded initiative in which “Jesuit Educational Institutions Confront the Causes and Legacy of Clergy Sexual Abuse,” as the project’s tagline says. The event was thoughtful, raw and…

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Haaland seeks healing for Native American boarding school survivors

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Public Radio - NPR [Washington DC]

May 22, 2022

By Michel Martin

Read original article

[Includes a substantially different audio version of this report; see the transcript below.]

The Interior Department found that the U.S. operated or actively supported more than 400 American Indian boarding schools between 1819 and 1969 – a history that affects the agency’s own leader.

Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, tells NPR’s All Things Considered that she had grandparents who were taken from their homes and placed in these schools.

“[Those are] formidable years in a child’s life,” she says. “It’s devastating. It’s important that our country realizes and understands this history because I think it’s important for every single American to know what happened.”

The department’s findings came after an investigation into these schools and the role the federal government played in sustaining them.

Much like in Canada, Native children who attended these schools were forcibly taken from their families to be “assimilated,” as it…

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What Native American children endured at one Missouri boarding school

ST. LOUIS (MO)
PBS NewsHour [Arlington VA]

May 21, 2022

By Gabrielle Hays and Geoff Bennett

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[With video]

For the first time, the U.S. government released a report this month detailing the abuse and mistreatment of Native children who were forcibly sent to boarding schools in the 1800s. NewsHour’s St Louis community reporter Gabrielle Hays, who has been reporting on one school in Missouri that fits into this painful history, joins Geoff Bennett to discuss what she uncovered.

Geoff Bennett: For the first time, the U.S. government released a report this month detailing the abuse and mistreatment of native children who were forcibly sent to boarding schools in the 1800s. Our St. Louis Community reporter, Gabrielle Hays has been reporting on one school in Missouri, that fits into this painful history. And Gabrielle joins us now. So tell us more about this boarding school, the St. Regis Seminary opened in 1824. What did your reporting uncover?

Gabrielle Hays: Yeah, so we learned at this school,…

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Exposing the darkness at the heart of Irish Society…

KILKENNY (IRELAND)
Slugger O'Toole [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

May 23, 2022

By Declan McSweeney

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I joined the staff of the now-closed Offaly Express in 1988 but did not begin to cover law courts in earnest until 1995, following the retirement of the late Eddie Rogers.

That period coincided approximately with the first cases relating to child sexual abuse. From 1994 onwards, local and national media found themselves having to cover such cases as they began to come to light to a greater degree.

That year saw the revelations of the Brendan Smyth saga, which was to lead to the downfall of the Fianna Fáil/Labour coalition in a dispute over warrants for the Norbertine’s extradition to Northern Ireland.

It was the first high profile case involving a member of the clergy, with many more to follow, causing enormous damage to the moral standing of the Catholic Church, as outlined here.

It is, of course, true, that paedophiles are a minority of clergy, and that most…

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In Replacing Monuments, Communities Reconsider How the West Was Won

PORTLAND (OR)
The Pew Charitable Trusts [Philadelphia PA]

May 23, 2022

By Erika Bolstad

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In June 2020, protesters at the University of Oregon in Eugene toppled a statue called The Pioneer, which depicted a White man with a gun slung over his shoulder and a whip in his hand, and a second sculpture titled The Pioneer Mother.

Both monuments had drawn criticism from Indigenous student groups and historians for commemorating settler violence in the West.

Even as Southern states face a reckoning over Confederate monuments, communities in the Western United States are beginning to reconsider monuments that, in many locations, celebrate what dominant American culture has portrayed as the conquering of the region by Europeans.

Among them are hundreds of pioneer monuments, many of which celebrate White dominance over Indigenous people as the nation expanded west. Some were toppled or damaged during the racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd.

In Portland, protesters pulled down or damaged five statues in the summer and…

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May 22, 2022

Bombshell 400-page report finds Southern Baptist leaders routinely silenced sexual abuse survivors

NASHVILLE (TN)
Houston Chronicle [Houston TX]

May 22, 2022

By Robert Downen and John Tedesco

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For 20 years, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention — including a former president now accused of sexual assault — routinely silenced and disparaged sexual abuse survivors, ignored calls for policies to stop predators, and dismissed reforms that they privately said could protect children but might cost the SBC money if abuse victims later sued.

Those are just a few findings of a bombshell, third-party investigation into decades of alleged misconduct by Southern Baptist leaders that was released Sunday, nearly a year after 15,000 SBC church delegates demanded their executive committee turn over confidential documents and communications as part of an independent review of abuse reports that were purportedly mishandled or concealed since 2000.

The historic, nearly 400-page report details how a small, insular and influential group of leaders “singularly focused on avoiding liability for the SBC to the exclusion of other considerations” to prevent abuse. The report was published by Guidepost…

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Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, kept secret database, report says

NASHVILLE (TN)
Washington Post

May 22, 2022

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

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Among the findings was a previously unknown case of a pastor who was credibly accused of assaulting a woman a month after leaving the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top clergy in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. Evidence in the report suggests leaders also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.

The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the…

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Southern Baptist Leaders Mishandled Sex Abuse Crisis, Report Alleges

NASHVILLE (TN)
New York Times

May 22, 2022

By Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias

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National executives of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination ignored victims, resisted reforms and were mainly concerned with avoiding ‘potential liability,’ the third-party investigation says.

National leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention suppressed reports of sexual abuse and resisted proposals for reform over the course of two decades, according to a third-party investigation published by the convention Sunday. The report also said that a former president of the denomination was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2010, an accusation the report described as “credible.”

Sexual abuse allegations, and the church’s handling of them, have roiled the convention for years. After mounting pressure from survivors of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist settings, delegates at the denomination’s annual meeting last summer voted overwhelmingly to commission the report, and demanded that its 86-member executive committee hand over confidential documents in cooperation. The report covers abuse reports from women and children against male pastors, church…

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U.S. Southern Baptists release scathing report on sexual abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Reuters [London, England]

May 22, 2022

By Rich Mckay

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For decades, complaints of sex abuse by pastors and staff in the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, were either ignored or covered up by top clergy, according to an internal report released on Sunday.

The nearly 300-page report details how complaints were kept as “closely guarded secrets” within the church to avoid liability, “to exclusion of all other considerations,” it said.Report ad

“In service to this goal, survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved,” the report said, with church leaders covering up accusations and allowing accused clergy members to remain pastors or in other positions of authority.

Lawsuits against the church were denigrated as “opportunistic” and not having merit, it said.

The year-long investigation was initiated by the Southern Baptist Convention in June 2021, when a stream of complaints were raised at its annual meeting. The complaints focused on sexual abuse by pastors and volunteers…

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Southern Baptist leaders mistreated abuse survivors for decades, report says

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

May 22, 2022

By Bob Smietana

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A blockbuster report found that SBC lawyers worked for years to protect the institution and demonized abuse survivors and accused a prominent pastor of abusing a colleague’s wife.

For decades, a handful of leaders in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination treated sexual abuse survivors as enemies of the church, denied responsibility for the actions of local churches and downplayed the number of sexual abuse cases in those churches, all in the name of protecting the institution, according to a report released Sunday (May 22).

The report, conducted by a third-party investigations firm, Guidepost Solutions, and made public by the Southern Baptist Convention’s sex abuse task force, reveals a callous disregard for abuse survivors and a relentless commitment to protecting the denomination from liability. 

Guidepost Solutions found that SBC leaders were well aware of abuse cases in the church and even compiled a list of offenders but took no steps to find…

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Guy-Alleyne: Victims coming forward to report abuses, 25 years later

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

May 22, 2022

By Corey Connelly

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HEAD of the Special Victims Department of the TT Police Service, Snr Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne has revealed that victims identified in the 1997 Robert Sabga report into the quality of care at children’s homes throughout TT have begun coming forward.

The Sabga report is a 25-year-old document which uncovered cases of sexual, psychological and emotional abuse of children at some nine children’s homes throughout the country.

The report was produced after the outcome of an investigation by a special task force in 1997.

In a Newsday interview on Thursday, Guy-Alleyne appealed to victims to come forward to help build a case against their abusers.

She said the victims’ account of their experiences in the children’s homes were critical in addressing the child abuse highlighted in the Sabga report.

On that occasion, Guy-Alleyne said most of the offences contained in the report are indictable and as such, there is no statutory…

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Diocese Holding Listening Sessions on Sexual Misconduct Tuesday

ST. CLOUD (MN)
WWJO, 98.1 FM [St. Cloud MN]

May 22, 2022

By Sarah Mueller

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Survivors of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church will have the opportunity to share their experiences and receive support at several listening sessions in central Minnesota this week.

The Diocese of St. Cloud will be holding two listening sessions on Tuesday regarding Father Arthur Hoppe. Following an allegation of sexual misconduct involving Hoppe, Bishop Donald Kettler added his name to the list of more than 40 clergy members who have been identified by the diocese as likely to have abused minors.

Hoppe served in the diocese from 1947 until 1999 in multiple places including Morris, St. Cloud, Alexandria, Paynesville, and Luxemburg. He passed away in 2019 at the age of 98.

The sessions start at 6:30 p.m. at St. Louis Parish in Paynesville and St. Mary Parish in Alexandria.

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The Indigenous — here and in Canada — deserve an apology from the Church

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Our Sunday Visitor [Huntington IN]

May 21, 2022

By Msgr. Owen F. Campion

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Assuming everything comes together — COVID, his bad leg and so on — Pope Francis soon will visit Canada, specifically, parts of the country with a sizable population of Indigenous Canadians.

His visit will have a special purpose. He will be in these areas to offer regret and probably to apologize to the First Canadians for what occurred in the “native schools.” These schools, the last of which closed several generations ago, were established by the Canadian government to mold children of First Canadians into the culture, habits and even religion of Canadians of European descent.

More recently, Canadian officials of European background have recognized, in general, Indigenous Canadians. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointedly named many Indigenous Canadians to his cabinet and high public positions. In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II, acting as queen of Canada and head of the Canadian nation, appointed as her personal representative in the country an…

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Ex-deacon sent to prison for abusing girls when he should have been behind bars

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

May 20, 2022

By Steve Hughes

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Judge criticizes Angel Garcia for not taking responsibility or apologizing to the girls he admitted he abused.

A former deacon with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany showed no remorse and offered no apology to his victims until after a judge on Friday criticized his silence at his sentencing.

It took stern words from the judge to prompt an apology from Angel Garcia who attacked his victims during a period that if not for a bureaucratic mix-up he would have been in prison serving time for a previous sex-crimes conviction.

Acting state Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough faulted Garcia for refusing to apologize or discuss his crimes during an interview conducted as part of a pre-sentencing investigation. McDonough noted that Garcia instead expressed a degree of self-pity.

“Your complete lack of remorse, the complete absence of any apology, to your victims, quite frankly, is consistent with…

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Jehovah’s Witness elders who failed to report child abuse got bad advice, say local pastors, attorneys

CRYSTAL LAKE (IL)
Daily Herald [Arlington Heights IL]

May 21, 2022

By Amanda Marrazzo and Emily K. Coleman

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In 2006, a Crystal Lake man confessed to the leaders of his church that he was sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl.

It was not that confession, however, that McHenry County Judge Mark Gerhardt considered when convicting the two church elders of violating the state’s mandated reporter law.

Instead, he relied on information provided to Michael M. Penkava, 72, and Colin Scott, 88, elders at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crystal Lake, by another congregant, sidestepping the question of whether the man’s confession was protected by the First Amendment and the doctrine of clergy-penitent privilege, which protects confessions from further disclosure.

The confession of a serious and ongoing crime puts a pastor in a “tight spot,” said the Rev. Mark Buetow of Zion Lutheran Church and School in McHenry.

Confessions between a church member and pastor are sacred, he said, but in the case of child abuse, the child…

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Fresno Sheriff’s detectives investigating sex abuse allegations at local Christian schoo

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee [Fresno CA]

May 21, 2022

By Robert Rodriguez

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The Fresno County Sheriff’s office is investigating allegations of sexual assaults against children involving members of the Riverdale Assembly of God Church in west Fresno County.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said that while he couldn’t release specific information about the investigation, this isn’t the first time the church and it’s school, the Riverdale Christian Academy, have been investigated.

Detectives in the office’s Sex Crimes Unit received a report in 2015 of misconduct taking place at the church.

“The allegations were investigated, however, due to issues with statute of limitations, the investigation could not move forward,” Botti said. “Earlier in 2022, our detectives received new information about sexual misconduct tied to the church, so they are currently pursuing these allegations to see if they reach the threshold to make any arrests.”

The church, founded in 1965 by Charles and Wilma Spencer, has recently become the target of several civil lawsuits by…

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May 21, 2022

Adult Survivors Act for abuse victims on track to pass in New York

ALBANY (NY)
New York Daily News

May 19, 2022

By Denis Slattery

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A long-sought bill that would allow adult survivors of sexual abuse to hold their alleged abusers accountable is on track for approval.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) announced Thursday that there are enough votes in her chamber to pass the Adult Survivors Act before the end of the legislative session early next month.

“Today is a watershed moment for survivors of sexual assault in New York and across the country,” Rosenthal said. “Today, New York State recognizes that ensuring justice for survivors of sexual assault is more important than maintaining arbitrary statutes of limitations that have for years shielded predators from justice.”

The legislation, modeled after the 2019 Child Victims Act, would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits against abusers of people over 18 and provide a one-year period to take legal action.

“Survivors did this. Never, ever, question the strength and power…

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Lawsuit accuses Providence Diocese of ‘victim blaming’ in clergy sex-abuse complaints

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

May 20, 2022

By Katherine Gregg

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A newly filed lawsuit by one of the alleged child molestation victims of recently suspended Smithfield priest Francis C. Santilli accuses the leaders of the Rhode Island Catholic Church of “victim blaming” while disregarding multiple accounts of sexual misconduct by “Father Frank.”

The lawsuit was filed Thursday against current and former Bishops Thomas Tobin and Louis Gelineau of the Catholic Diocese of Providence, and the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes on Atwells Avenue in Providence.

What began as the tickling of a 10-year-old sitting on the priest’s lap allegedly turned into sexually explicit actions by the priest — and a previously unnamed church organist.

In his painfully graphic lawsuit, Scott Ross, who turned 53 on Saturday, says he lived for decades with “anguish, guilt, shame, denial [and] confusion.”

Asked what prompted him to tell his story at this point in his life,  Ross — who now lives in Oregon and works for the U.S. Department of Energy as…

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Pope Francis Pilgrimage and Apology to Canadian First Nations Brings Hope of Reconciliation

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

May 20, 2022

By Peter Jesserer Smith

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This July, as Canada’s indigenous Catholics get ready to celebrate the memorial of St. Ann, the grandmother of Jesus, the Holy Father plans to visit Canada at three locations near to Canada’s indigenous people: the Inuit, the Metis, and the First Nations. 

The Vatican announced May 13 that Pope Francis will start his July 24-30 pilgrimage by visiting Iqaluit, the capital of the northern Nunavut territory for the Inuit. The Holy Father will travel to Quebec City, which is near the St. Anne de Beaupré shrine, for the First Nations in eastern Canada; and finally Edmonton, Alberta, for the Métis and First Nations of western Canada, which is near the pilgrimage grounds of Lac St. Anne, also known as “God’s lake.” 

The papal pilgrimage will coincide with the July 25-28 Lac St. Anne pilgrimage, which draws tens of thousands of indigenous Catholics each year to pray or experience healing from…

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Witness thrown out of courtroom as Cardinal Becciu cross-examination continues

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

May 20, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus

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Cardinal Angelo Becciu refused to answer any questions not related to his charges during a continuation of his cross-examination in the Vatican finance trial on Thursday.

The 73-year-old Italian cardinal said on May 19 that he would not respond to questions about the Italian bishops’ conference because it is unconnected to his charges of embezzlement, abuse of office, and witness tampering.

Except for witness tampering, the accusations against Becciu date back to before he was elevated to the College of Cardinals, when he was the Sostituto, or second-ranking official, in the Secretariat of State.

During Thursday’s hearing, Becciu complained of being humiliated by certain lines of questioning the day prior, accusing the prosecuting attorney of asking questions that “injured my priestly dignity.”

Judges ruled on May 19 that accusations connected to the Italian bishops’ conference were not part of the trial, but the prosecuting attorney was nevertheless…

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Pope condemns human trafficking at conference involving Church leaders, police

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

May 19, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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Human trafficking and modern-day slavery have long been at the top of Pope Francis’s agenda, as shown at a meeting on Thursday with the Santa Marta Group, a coalition of police forces and the Catholic Church created to fight the problem.

Thanking the group for their work, the pope said that the commercialization of human beings is a “criminal activity that violates the dignity and rights of men, women and children,” leaving long-lasting effects upon the victims and society.

As Francis noted, in the years since its establishment, the Santa Marta Group has devoted itself to fostering an ever greater understanding of the scope and nature of human trafficking and to strengthening cooperation on the international, national, and local levels to put an end to this illegal industry.

The pontiff condemned the fact that modern forms of slavery continue to spread, “even within the most developed areas of our world,”…

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Cardinal: Pope ordered auditor to resign over spying charge

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

May 19, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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A Vatican cardinal testified Wednesday that Pope Francis himself ordered the ouster of the Holy See’s auditor-general, turning the tables on a scandal that had sparked questions about the Vatican’s commitment to financial transparency and accountability.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu opened a second day of questioning in the Vatican’s big financial fraud trial by saying Francis had recently authorized him to reveal the details of Libero Milone’s 2017 departure as the Vatican’s first auditor-general. He did so to clarify his previous testimony, during which he declined to respond to questions about Milone “out of love for the Holy Father.”

The Vatican announced June 20, 2017 that Milone had resigned two years into his mandate, without providing details. His ouster, as well as the removal of PriceWaterHouseCoopers as Vatican auditors, had long been cited by Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former financial czar, and others as evidence of possible shady dealings by…

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Unmarked graves finding triggered Canada’s year of reckoning over residential schools

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Durham Radio News [Oshawa, ON, Canada]

May 18, 2022

By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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Percy Casper, 73, spent 10 years as a child at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.

He has spent the past year grieving.

A member of the Bonaparte Indian Band near Cache Creek, B.C., Casper said he was deeply distraught when he heard the news last May, when Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation Chief, announced that a war graves expert using ground-penetrating radar had located 215 suspected unmarked graves at the site of the former school.

So, Casper grieved, for lost classmates, and for himself. His emotions twisted into a painful knot when Indigenous leaders later visited the Vatican to meet the Pope who represents the church that he says abused him.

But his spirits have been lifted by strangers, he said.

“Families have walked up to me and literally put their hands out and said they were ashamed of who they were on account…

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The History of Native American Boarding Schools Is Even More Complicated than a New Report Reveals

WASHINGTON (DC)
Time [New York, NY]

May 17, 2022

By Olivia B. Waxman

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Last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a more than 100-page report on the federal Indigenous boarding schools designed to assimilate Native Americans in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. Between 1819 and 1969, the U.S. ran or supported 408 boarding schools, the department found. Students endured “rampant physical, sexual, and emotional abuse,” and the report recorded more than 500 deaths of Native children—a number set to increase as the department’s investigation of this issue continues.

“This report, as I see it, is only a first step to acknowledge the experiences of Federal Indian boarding school children,” Bryan Newland, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, the study’s author, wrote in a memo.

The effort to catalog these institutions came nearly a year after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of similar boarding schools in Canada raised awareness of this dark…

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A survivor shares her experience at a Native American boarding school

BELCOURT (ND)
WBUR [Boston MA]

May 17, 2022

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Survivors of Native American boarding schools testified last week in Washington that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in those institutions.

Survivor Ramona Charette Klein, a retired educator and an enrolled member of the Turtle Band of Chippewa in Belcourt, North Dakota, spoke to us about her traumatic experience in one of those schools.

Note: Please see original article for audio recording.

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Chief sees process of ‘exhumation to memorialization’ at Kamloops, B.C., graves site

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Everything Grande Prairie [Grande Prairie, AB, Canada]

May 20, 2022

By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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After a year of grieving since the detection of 215 suspected unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, a new phase begins in the journey of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation — bringing the missing children home.

The old apple orchard where evidence of the graves was found by ground-penetrating radar last May could soon be the site of an archeological dig and work to exhume remains, said Kukpi7 or Chief Rosanne Casimir. 

“This is something that has not happened in the history here in Canada,” she said at news conference on Wednesday. “There’s no set of guidelines, no checklist.”

To dig or not to dig has been one of the most fraught questions surrounding the issue of unmarked graves at residential schools. No consensus has emerged among survivors, with some seeing exhumation as a process that could help lay victims properly to rest, while others want…

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Washington Indigenous families still living with the ‘very deliberate effort to wipe us out’

BELLINGHAM (WA)
KUOW-FM [Seattle WA]

May 20, 2022

By Katie Campbell and Angela King

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The U.S. Interior Department has set out to document abusive boarding schools that once targeted Indigenous tribes, their cultures and their children.

A first-of-its-kind report from the agency’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative puts the extent of that abuse in black and white.

Researchers found evidence of more than 400 schools across the United States and at least 50 burial sites where children were left in unmarked or poorly maintained graves. The investigation has uncovered more than 500 deaths.

And they’re still counting.

At least 15 of the schools were operated in Washington state. Another nine were in Oregon.

PDF Icon Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

Darrell Hillaire is a member of the Lummi Nation, a leader and teacher who uses the tradition of storytelling and song to educate the world about his people and others.

Years ago, Hillaire’s parents…

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Trinidad & Tobago’s failure to act on decades of abuse allegations has done unspeakable damage to children in state care

(TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Global Voices [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

May 20, 2022

By Flora Thomas

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‘Little has changed. If anything, conditions are worse’

“Because we know what we capable of as a society is why we belly hurting so yuh know. We know we selves.” Blogger Rhoda Bharath’s May 10 Facebook status was referring to the disappearance of two-year-old Kymani Francis, who had gone missing in south Trinidad the day before. The entire nation remained on tenterhooks hoping for his safe return (he was later discovered drowned) — but following a recent task force report documenting widespread abuse in state-run and funded residential children’s homes, her words cut deeper than ever.

The findings in the Judith Jones Task Force report, which detailed everything from drug transactions to rape of minorsspurred calls for the Children’s Authority, the state body charged with promoting and ensuring the rights of children as laid out in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the…

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May 20, 2022

Diocese of Rochester Cuts Abuse Victims Out of Process in Attempt to Force a Low-Ball Settlement with Insurance Companies

ROCHESTER (NY)
Jeff Anderson and Associates

May 20, 2022

By Elin Lindstrom

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Bishop Matano Chooses Insurance Companies Over Survivors, Revictimizing Survivors Again

Today in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York, for the second time, the Diocese of Rochester filed a motion to force a $147 million settlement on 475 survivors and victims of clergy sexual abuse. “The plan is a shallow attempt by the bishop to escape accountability and an effort to cheat survivors that will retraumatize them,” said Jeff Anderson, one of the attorneys representing 175 survivors with attorney Steve Boyd.

The Diocese admitted that it has nearly $2 billion in insurance coverage. The actual insurance coverage is likely over $4 billion. “The Bishop is choosing to protect the insurance companies over the victims. It’s appalling,” said Steve Boyd. The diocese and insurance companies tried the same tactic earlier in the case. Judge Warren rejected their first attempt on July 9th, 2021.

Just two months…

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Former Church of Christ minister pleads guilty to child sexual abuse charges

(TN)
The Christian Chronicle [Oklahoma City OK]

May 18, 2022

By Deana Nall

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Joshua Henley, who was arrested last June and previously entered a not-guilty plea, now faces at least 15 years in prison.

Joshua Henley, former youth minister for the Holladay Church of Christ in Tennessee, pleaded guilty this week to an eight-count federal indictment.

By pleading guilty, Henley admitted that he produced child sexual abuse material involving three minors, transported a minor interstate with the intent to engage in sexual activity with the minor, sent obscene videos and images to a minor, and possessed and transported child sexual abuse material, according to a news release from the court.

The plea was entered in the Eastern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on Monday.

Henley was arrested in Tennessee on June 18, 2021, on state and federal charges. He had previously entered a not-guilty plea. At his Aug. 23 sentencing, Henley will receive a prison sentence of at…

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North Philadelphia Church Pastor Mark Hatcher Accused Of Sexually Abusing 3 Minors

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW-TV, CBS-3 [Philadelphia PA]

May 20, 2022

By Natasha Brown

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The pastor of a North Philadelphia church is facing serious charges. He’s accused of sexually abusing three people, including a former parishioner, when they were minors.

Reverend Mark Hatcher is the longtime pastor of Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center in North Philadelphia, and he is now facing charges of rape and sexual abuse.

The charges stem from allegations that date back to 2000, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Three victims, who were all minors at the time, have now come forward decades later detailing accusations of sexual assault.

One of the victims told police that Hatcher molested her when she was 15 years old. Another alleges he was assaulted at least five times when he was just 6 years old.

The criminal complaint goes on to detail a third victim who says in 2006, at 13 years old, she went to dinner with Hatcher who was her pastor…

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Pastor at North Philly church is charged with rape, sexual assault after alleged victims come forward decades later

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer [Philadelphia PA]

May 19, 2022

By Ellie Rushing and Vinny Vella

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The longtime pastor of Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center in North Philadelphia sexually abused three people, including a former parishioner, when they were minors, according to prosecutors in Montgomery County.

The Rev. Mark Hatcher, 59, of Blue Bell, was charged Wednesday with rape, statutory sexual assault, corruption of a minor, and related offenses. Hatcher remained in custody as prosecutors successfully lobbied a magisterial district judge in Blue Bell to deny him bail, calling him a “danger to the community,” according to court records.

Hatcher’s attorney, R. Emmett Madden, said the pastor maintains his innocence and looks forward to defending against the charges in court.

”These are unsubstantiated allegations from 15 years ago with no corroborating evidence of any kind,” Madden said. “I’ve received significant outreach from family, friends, and members of the community, which all indicates the opposite of what was alleged.”

Hatcher’s attorney, R. Emmett Madden, said the pastor…

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Former Albany church leader’s sex crime sentence extended

ALBANY (NY)
WNYT-TV [Albany NY]

May 19, 2022

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A former Albany church leader already serving five years for sex crimes against a child in 2003 has had his sentence extended.

Angel Garcia, 69, was sentenced on Friday to two additional seven-year terms, which will be served concurrently. The new sentence is for abusing two more kids between 2016 and 2018.

Garcia will also have a very lengthy period of post-release supervision and must register as a sex offender.

He was once a deacon at Church of the Americas in Albany.

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Church must support law to stop child abuse in Philippines

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

May 20, 2022

By Father Shay Cullen

Read original article

It is the duty of the church leaders to see that the law challenging ISPs is implemented

Online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) is a shocking reality that all parents, guardians, church leaders and business corporations have to challenge and confront but they don’t. It is spreading everywhere and trapping children and youth in systems of sexual abuse and extortion and it is frequently met with a cold stony silence by those whose duty it is to protect children.

The telecommunication corporations and their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are to be held responsible by a new bill amending RA 9775 to protect children by installing software blocking the transmission of child sexual abuse materials. In the past, they refused to do so citing contradictions in the law. These objections and excuses have now been addressed by the bill and, if passed into law, they would have no excuse…

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Editorial: Indigenous turning

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

May 20, 2022

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Surely no Canadian is so naïve as to believe that Pope Francis’ six-day July visit will miraculously heal nearly 400 years of fraught, often deeply unjust relations, with Indigenous people.

Yet it would take blind cynicism to fail to see the opportunity the pontiff’s 144 hours on Truth North soil affords for a genuine renewal of relations. It is a moment to be grasped for long-sought reconciliation between the Church and First Nations and, indeed, between Canada as a nation and the descendants of its first founding inhabitants.

For those who see the glass as auspiciously half-full, it’s worth a huzzah that Francis’ July 24 to 29 papal visit overlaps almost perfectly the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Canada for World Youth Day in Toronto July 23 to 28, 2002. True, horrendous storms battered the Church in the years following JP II’s monumental celebration in Canada’s…

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Insurers suddenly raise stakes on German churches’ sex abuse response

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

May 19, 2022

By Tom Heneghan

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One of Germany’s biggest trade associations, representing 10 million insured people, has given victims of sexual abuse a powerful ally with deep pockets and highly paid lawyers.

Germany’s Catholic and Protestant churches have been criticized for their handling of clergy sexual abuse for years now by victims, believers and the media. Now they face new pressure from an unexpected corner: the insurance industry.

VBG, a national association of accident insurance providers, recently complained to the two predominant church bodies in the country that they had not been notified of the thousands of sexual abuse cases that have been found in the church groups’ ranks.

According to German law, sexual abuse cases can fall under the rules governing the churches’ insurance policies. Policyholders must inform the company of known cases and help insurers determine how much compensation they should pay.

Church insurance policies, the VBG lawyers have determined, cover both paid…

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Relics and militants: Vatican fraud trial sprawls the globe

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

May 20, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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The Vatican’s financial trial took a series of surreal turns Thursday when a former suspect-turned-star witness was thrown out of the tribunal and a defendant asserted in court documents that she escorted two emissaries of Russian President Vladimir Putin into the Holy See to negotiate the return of holy relics to the Russian Orthodox Church.

The developments turned an otherwise mundane cross-examination of a onetime Vatican power broker about the Vatican’s investment strategies into an unexpected drama. It underscored the peculiarity of the trial and the remarkable situation the Holy See found itself in after entrusting delicate diplomatic, financial and intelligence work to outsiders who who got in the door by impressing a cardinal.

The trial originated in the Holy See’s 350 million euro investment in a London real estate deal, but it has expanded to include other alleged crimes. Vatican prosecutors have accused 10 people of fraud, embezzlement and…

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Court authorizes sex abuse class-action lawsuit against archdiocese of Quebec

QUEBEC CITY (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

May 20, 2022

By The Canadian Press

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A judge is authorizing a class-action lawsuit against the Catholic archdiocese of Quebec brought by victims of alleged sexual abuse.

The class action was filed in 2020 and covers alleged sexual assaults committed from 1940 to the present day.

Montreal law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee, which is representing the plaintiffs, says the lawsuit is the first class action targeting all the members of a specific archdiocese who allegedly committed sexual assault.

The class action covers anyone who was sexually assaulted — including heirs of victims — by clergy or lay personnel who were under the responsibility of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Quebec or the Roman Catholic archbishop of Quebec.

The Quebec archdiocese covers a region that includes the greater Quebec City area and neighbouring Chaudiere-Appalaches, Charlevoix and Beauce regions.

Arsenault Dufresne Wee welcomed the ruling in a statement and said that more than 88 alleged victims have come forward.

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Tobago’s failure to act on decades of abuse allegations has done unspeakable damage to children in state care

(TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Global Voices [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

May 20, 2022

By Flora Thomas

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‘Little has changed. If anything, conditions are worse’                                       

“Because we know what we capable of as a society is why we belly hurting so yuh know. We know we selves.” Blogger Rhoda Bharath’s May 10 Facebook status was referring to the disappearance of two-year-old Kymani Francis, who had gone missing in south Trinidad the day before. The entire nation remained on tenterhooks hoping for his safe return (he was later discovered drowned) — but following a recent task force report documenting widespread abuse in state-run and funded residential children’s homes, her words cut deeper than ever.

The findings in the Judith Jones Task Force report, which detailed everything from drug transactions to rape of minorsspurred calls for the Children’s Authority, the state body charged with promoting and ensuring the rights of children as laid out in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the…

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“Minor Attracted Persons,” a Troubling Phrase

NORFOLK (VA)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

May 19, 2022

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How about we call murderers “life takers?”

Or how about we call embezzlers “money shifters?”

Or how about we call purse snatchers “others’ property preferrers?”

Obviously, these phrases are awkward and confusing. Worse, they’re a disservice to crime victims. And to the truth.

Why? In large part, because they mask or minimize the pain caused by these crimes.

What on earth prompted us to even conjure up these odd terms?

It was an Associated Press article headlined “Professor gets new job after pedophilia research caused stir.”

The no-doubt harried headline writer missed the mark a tad here. Apparently, the ‘stir’ was less about the ‘research’ and more about the terminology used by the professor.   The researcher, Dr. Allyn Walker,  used the phrase “Minor Attracted Persons (MAPs)” to describe adults who are sexually attracted to kids.

A book Walker wrote called “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity” led…

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Oklahoma Catholic high school sued for $75M over alleged sex abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

May 19, 2022

By Katie Yoder, Catholic News Agency

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Ten current and former students, along with six parents or guardians, are suing a Catholic high school in Oklahoma — a school that they allege “fostered and allowed a rape culture” and “tolerated sexual harrassment and assault” by male students, teachers, and coaches for more than 10 years, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, filed May 16 in Oklahoma County District Court, lists Mount St. Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City as a defendant. It also lists those who have authority over the school: the board of trustees, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and the Sisters of Mercy.

The suit accuses three school leaders, who have since resigned, of playing a central role in the “commission of the assault and harassment” and covering it up: former principal Talita DeNegri, assistant principal Wendy Faires, and guidance counselor Mallory Tecmire.

“Despite being on actual and constructive notice of hundreds of incidents…

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Ex-priest denies historical child abuse

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

May 20, 2022

By Ethan James

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Former priest Louis Daniels has pleaded not guilty to charges of historical child sexual abuse.

A former Anglican priest has pleaded not guilty in Tasmania to charges of historical child sexual abuse.

Louis Daniels, 74, was extradited from the ACT to Hobart on Thursday evening and appeared in Hobart Magistrates Court on Friday supported by his brother.

He pleaded not guilty to persistent sexual abuse of a child. Police allege the abuse occurred in the 1980s when Daniels lived in Tasmania.

He was granted bail to appear in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart on September 5.

Tasmania Police said the charges followed a “complex and protracted” investigation.

Australian Associated Press

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‘$37M to $107M’ could be paid to Guam clergy sex abuse survivors

HAGåTñA (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

May 20, 2022

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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Payments to more than 270 survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults could be between $37 million and $107 million, based on documents filed jointly by the Archdiocese of Agana and its creditors Friday morning in federal court.

But most of that remains pending because of still ongoing settlement negotiation or future litigation, including about $55 million from insurers of the Boy Scouts of America.

All Catholic parishes and schools will continue to exist under the proposed plan to get the archdiocese out of bankruptcy.

The archdiocese also plans to sell the properties where the FHP/TakeCare clinic in Tamuning and the Chancery on San Ramon Hill are located, in addition to multiple properties identified much earlier.

Abuse survivors, other creditors and U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood still have to review and approve the joint plan.

These are some of the sources of funding for the proposed survivors’ trust:

  • $18.358…
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May 19, 2022

Catholic Church to investigate abuse claims at children’s homes

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

May 19, 2022

By Janelle De Souza

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The Roman Catholic Church will investigate allegations of child abuse in the December 2021 Judith Jones Report on children’s homes.

In a press release on Wednesday, Archbishop Jason Gordon said the investigative team would include independent and qualified experts in the fields of psychology, childcare/social work, law and human resource management.

The investigation was launched in response to the 139-page report entitled Safeguarding Children in Community Residences and Child Support Centres in TT which was laid in Parliament on April 29 by Minister in the Office of the PM, Ayanna Webster-Roy.

“The Church takes seriously any and all allegations of this nature, and in this regard has immediately launched an investigation to now verify the truth of the allegations. We note the statement on page ten of the report that, ‘This report aims not to establish the truth of the allegations of abuse, but to acknowledge the allegations, examine the…

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Bishop must stop those backing accused abusive coach

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

May 19, 2022

Read original article

(For Immediate Release May 19, 2022) 

Springfield Catholic officials must not stay silent while misguided staff, students and parents publicly rally around a coach who’s just been suspended after being named in a child abuse report. Every time parishioners rally around an accused child molesting cleric, it is sad, tiresome, and hurtful to vulnerable kids, those wounded, and ultimately to the school, parish, and diocese itself.

Bishop Ed Rice and other school officials must denounce this well-intended but hurtful move.

To those who wonder “Why is there so much abuse in the church,” here’s a clue: When Catholic officials let church members and others intimidate victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers into silence as abuse reports happen, even more people with information or suspicions about child sex abuse give up, go away or stay quiet. And that of course enables and emboldens other child molesters to keep committing their…

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Spanish Catholic Church’s Internal Child Abuse Investigation of Little Use, Prosecutor Says

MADRID (SPAIN)
Reuters [London, England]

May 19, 2022

By Christina Thykjaer and Emma Pinedo

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An internal investigation by the Spanish Catholic Church into alleged child sexual abuse by members of the clergy is “partial” and “of little use,” the office of Spain’s national prosecutor wrote in a letter to the country’s ombudsman that was made available to Reuters.

The Spanish Catholic Church in January launched diocesan-level inquiries after Spanish newspaper El Pais reported in December more than 1,200 cases of alleged abuse between 1943 and 2018.

The revelations came years after sexual abuse scandals had rocked the Church in countries such as the United States, Ireland and France.

In February, the Church said a private law firm, Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo, would oversee and audit its investigations, a move labelled as a “smokescreen” by a victim’s association.

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference declined to comment on the prosecutor’s letter when contacted by Reuters.

Spanish prosecutors in February said they were looking into…

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Photo above: Skip Shea, who wrote and directed "Trinity," suffered abuse by several priests as a child. - Courtesy, Damien Gaudet

Film about clergy abuse to be screened at former Catholic treatment center, House of Affirmation

NORTHBRIDGE (MA)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]

May 18, 2022

By Richard Duckett

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[Photo above: Skip Shea, who wrote and directed “Trinity,” suffered abuse by several priests as a child. – Courtesy, Damien Gaudet]

Uxbridge filmmaker Skip Shea will screen his movie “Trinity,” based on a true story about a man who recalls the sexual abuse he received as a child from a priest, at the location that was formerly “an epicenter” for the abuse and where Shea was himself abused.

“Trinity” will be shown at 8 p.m. May 21 at Estate of Mind, 120 Hill St., Whitinsville. There will be reception at 7 p.m. and a Q&A after the screening. Tickets are $20. 

Estate of the Mind is a new performance space and art center. The property is the site of the former House of Affirmation, operated as a treatment center for Catholic priests suffering from psychological issues, including pedophilia, from 1973 to 1990. However, the priest who started it was himself a pedophile and networked…

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Lawsuit accuses ACNA church of negligence that resulted in child sexual abuse

BIG ROCK (IL)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

May 18, 2022

By Kathryn Post

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The case will be co-counseled by longtime sexual abuse attorney Boz Tchividjian.

When Cherin Marie joined Christ Our Light Anglican Church in 2013, she couldn’t imagine filing a lawsuit against the close-knit Anglican church plant in Big Rock, Illinois, where many of her relatives attended. But three years after her then 9-year-old daughter first said she was sexually abused by Mark Rivera, a lay minister at the church, Cherin feels she has no other option.  

Cherin, who declined to use her last name to protect her daughter’s privacy, filed a lawsuit Wednesday (May 18) in Kane County, Illinois, against Christ Our Light Anglican Church. The lawsuit argues that Cherin’s daughter, who is referred to as Jane Doe, has experienced mental anguish and emotional and physical pain because of the church’s negligence, and it requests over $50,000 in damages. The case will be co-counseled by longtime sexual abuse attorney Boz…

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Springfield Catholic soccer coach placed on administrative leave, mandatory report filed

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
Springfield News-Leader [Springfield MO]

May 18, 2022

By Wyatt D. Wheeler

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Mike Hines, a teacher at Immaculate Conception Catholic elementary school and head soccer coach at Springfield Catholic, has been placed on administrative leave amid a diocesan conduct investigation.

“With the presumption of innocence, Hines was placed on administrative leave on Monday in accordance with the Safe Environment Policy and Procedures of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau,” according to a statement issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. 

“According to diocesan policy and procedures, the incident has been reported (to) the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline and a confidential TIPS report was filed through the diocesan online “TIPS” reporting portal,” the statement says. 

Hines was hired in August 2015 as a boys and girls soccer coach at Springfield Catholic High School. He also teaches physical education at Immaculate Conception Catholic School.

According to an online bio, Hines is originally from Neosho where he played soccer and wrestled. He has…

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Sex abuse suit filed against Oklahoma City Catholic school

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

May 17, 2022

By Ken Miller

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Ten current and former students of Mount St. Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City and six parents or guardians are suing the private school, alleging it fostered “a rape culture” for more than 10 years.

School officials have known since 2011 that female students have been victims of rape and sexual assault by students, teachers and coaches and done nothing to stop the attacks, according to the lawsuit filed Monday.

“MSM fosters a rape culture that values the safety, bodily integrity, education, and future of men and boys, over that of women and girls,” the lawsuit said.

“MSM did not take reasonable steps to report or stop the rampant rape culture and ongoing sexual abuse … rather, MSM shamed women and girls who reported,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said the girls reported the assaults to school officials, including the principal, vice principal and a counselor who each…

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New Mexico Archdiocese to Settle Sex Abuse Claims for $121.5 Million

SANTA FE (NM)
New York Times

May 18, 2022

By Johnny Diaz

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The settlement announced by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is among the largest of its kind involving the Catholic Church in the United States.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico said that it had reached a $121.5 million settlement agreement to resolve a bankruptcy case that stemmed from clergy sex abuse claims, one of the largest such settlements involving the Catholic Church in the United States.

The proposed settlement would be used to compensate survivors of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said in a statement on Tuesday.

The settlement affects approximately 375 claimants, Dan Fasy, a lawyer who represents 111 of the victims, said on Wednesday. It is among the top five payouts in abuse litigation involving the Catholic Church in the United States, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks abuse cases against the church.

The settlement also comes a month…

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Settlement with church victims is long overdue

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

May 18, 2022

Read original article

Settling hundreds of clergy sexual abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is essential — both for those who suffered and for a Catholic Church still needing to make amends for the damage it caused children over decades.

No dollar amount ever could make these victims whole, but restitution is long overdue. Some accusers are in their 80s; they have waited a lifetime for justice.

That wait could soon be over.

This week, the archdiocese tentatively came to a $121.5 million agreement with at least 375 accusers — who must approve the deal — as part of resolving the archdiocese’s 2018 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. It will be one of the largest such settlements involving the Catholic Church in the United States.

The deal was months in the making, with a third mediator helping the parties to the finish line. For victims, the wait must have been excruciating.

Still…

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Italy’s Catholic Church at Crossroads Over Sexual Abuse Investigation

(ITALY)
Reuters [London, England]

May 19, 2022

By Angelo Amante and Philip Pullella

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SAVONA, Italy (Reuters) – Francesco Zanardi has spent the past 12 years documenting sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in Italy, filling a vacuum he says is caused by the refusal of the country’s Church thus far to launch a major investigation.

When Italian bishops meet next week to elect a new president, Zanardi is hoping to see the start of a long overdue reckoning for the Church, whose leaders will discuss whether to commission an independent investigation of abuse similar to those carried out in France and Germany.

From his apartment in the centre of Savona in northern Italy, Zanardi, 51, runs Rete l’Abuso (The Abuse Network), which has one of the largest digital archives on clerical sexual abuse in the country.

He spends much of his time seeking court documents, tracking the whereabouts of suspected abusers, talking to lawyers who help him with cases, and vetting tips…

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Chicago Archdiocese to pay out another settlement to man who says he was abused by Fr. Daniel McCormack

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS News [New York NY]

May 18, 2022

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The Chicago Archdiocese will pay $1.2 million to the latest man claiming he was abused by a pedophile priest.

The settlement adds to the more than $12 million in payouts related to the defrocked Rev. Daniel McCormack.

The man involved in the latest settlement claims McCormack sexually abused him on multiple occasion during an after-school program in 2005 when he was 12 years old. The settlement was issued in a mediation before a lawsuit was filed, according to the alleged victim’s attorney, Lyndsay Markley.

McCormack is alleged to have molested at least 25 boys. He spent two years in prison, and then the remainder of his sentence was served as a state-run mental health facility after being deemed a sexually violent person.

He was released from that facility last fall.

McCormack, formerly pastor of St. Agatha’s Church in Chicago, is one…

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May 18, 2022

‘Our children deserve to be found’: Federal report examines Native lives, cultures lost at Indian boarding schools

WASHINGTON (DC)
Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)

May 12, 2022

By Diane Bezucha

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Of the 408 schools identified in the report, 11 were in Wisconsin

At least 500 Native American children died while being forced to attend federal Indian boarding schools between the years 1819 and 1969, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Eleven of those schools were located in Wisconsin. 

At an emotional press conference on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland spoke about the troubling legacy of these schools and their lasting impact on Native communities, as well as on her own family.

“When my maternal grandparents were only 8 years old, they were stolen from their parents’ culture and communities and forced to live in boarding schools until the age of 13. Many children like them never made it back to their homes. Each of those children is a missing family member, a person who was not able to live…

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Burial sites linked to Native American boarding schools ID’d in government report

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Public Radio - NPR [Washington DC]

May 12, 2022

By Noelle Evans

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An Interior Department report identified more than 400 Native American boarding schools that assimilated and often abused Indigenous children. The probe has uncovered more than 500 deaths so far.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

For about a hundred and fifty years, Indigenous children were separated from their families and sent away to what were called Indian schools. Yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the initial findings. From member station WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., Noelle Evans reports.

NOELLE EVANS, BYLINE: The investigation is not complete, but what we know now is that there were more than 400 of these schools across the country until the late 1960s.

CRYSTAL ECHO HAWK: This is among the original sins of this country. And the fact that the truth is finally coming to light is deeply emotional and it’s important.

EVANS: That’s Crystal Echo Hawk. She’s a citizen of the Pawnee Nation and executive director…

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Report: Christians May Have Helped Run Half of Native American Boarding Schools

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

May 11, 2022

By Emily McFarlan Miller - Religion News Service

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Canada’s findings at Kamloops last year have spurred US officials and denominations to investigate their involvement in the residential school system.

The United States operated 408 boarding schools for indigenous children across 37 states or then-territories between 1819 and 1969 — half of them likely supported by religious institutions.

That’s according to the first volume of an investigative report into the country’s Indian boarding school system that was released Wednesday by the US Department of the Interior.

“Our initial investigation results show that approximately 50 percent of federal Indian boarding schools may have received support or involvement from religious institutions or organizations, including funding, infrastructure and personnel,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said at a news conference on the progress of the department’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.

The report revealed nearly 40 more schools than the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition previously  View Cache

We have a responsibility to safeguard vulnerable children and adults

NOUNA (BURKINA FASO)
Global Sisters Report [Kansas City, MO]

May 17, 2022

By Janet E. Deinanaghan

Read original article

Merriam-Webster defines “safeguard” as “to make safe or protect.” With the many forms of abuse that are being discovered in modern society, we are using this word more than ever, as we see the need to create safe places for children and vulnerable adults in our families, churches, schools, institutions and societies.

The UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child invites governments, agencies, families and institutions to make it their policy to adopt measures that will protect children and vulnerable adults.

The Convention defines a child as “any person under the age of 18.” Thus — as accepted universally by many nations — such a person should be cared for and protected by adults until he/she attains that age. Is that always the case? In many cultural settings, no.

For example, in the northern part of Nigeria and Burkina Faso, girls are often married off…

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Former pastor in 2 states pleads guilty to child sex charges

MEMPHIS (TN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 18, 2022

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A former pastor in Tennessee and Indiana faces up to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal child sex abuse charges, prosecutors said.

Joshua Henley, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to producing, possessing and sending sex abuse material involving children and transporting a minor interstate to have sex, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said.

Henley was the pastor at Holladay Church of Christ in Benton County, Tennessee, and coached the Holladay Elementary School girls’ basketball team, prosecutors said. Henley later went to work at a church in Evansville, Indiana, in April 2021, prosecutors said.

Henley drove to Tennessee in June to pick up a girl and brought her back to Indiana, where he had sex with her when she was 15, prosecutors said. Another girl later said Henley had asked her to create and send sexually explicit images, prosecutors said.

Investigators found sexually explicit images on Henley’s cell…

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Bobby Brown Says Being Molested by a Priest Changed the Course of His Life: ‘It Was the Reason I Abused Myself’

BOSTON (MA)
People Magazine [New York NY]

May 17, 2022

By Falen Hardge and Janine Rubenstein

Read original article

“That really, really bothered me as a child, and as a grown adult,” Brown tells PEOPLE of being touched inappropriately before fighting back

Bobby Brown is sharing things he never thought he would. 

The hit R&B singer sat down with PEOPLE ahead of his new A&E documentary Biography: Bobby Brownpremiering May 30, to discuss the biggest triumphs and tragedies of his life, including his battle with addiction, the loss of two of his children and a traumatic secret he’s kept hidden for over 40 years. 

Brown, 53, grew up in a rough section of Boston and says that his first great loss was that of his innocence. In the documentary, he recalls being a young child and witnessing his mother being beaten and arrested by police after trying to intervene in the arrest of some neighbors. 

In the aftermath, he says in the series, “I was sent to a temporary custody by…

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Senior German priest leaves Catholic Church

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

May 17, 2022

By CNA Staff

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A senior German priest has announced that he is no longer Catholic, citing his disappointment over a lack of “reforms” in the Church and admitting to having broken his promise of celibacy.

Andreas Sturm, the former vicar general of the Diocese of Speyer in southwestern Germany, made the announcement on May 13, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Sturm, who is joining Germany’s Old Catholic community, said that he had “lost hope and confidence over the years that the Roman Catholic Church can truly transform itself.”

“At the same time, I experience how much hope is placed in ongoing processes such as the Synodal Way. But I’m no longer in a position to also proclaim and honestly and sincerely share that hope, because I simply don’t have it anymore.”

The former vicar general described the ordination of women to the priesthood,…

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Archdiocese of Chicago reaches $1.2M settlement over sexual abuse claims involving Daniel McCormack

CHICAGO (IL)
WFLD - Fox 32 [Chicago IL]

May 17, 2022

By Joanie Lum

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The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay a reported $1.2 million to a person who claimed he was abused multiple times by Daniel McCormack, the defrocked priest at St. Agatha Catholic Church on the West Side.

The settlement avoids a lawsuit.

The attorney for the victim said his client was 12-years-old when he was sexually abused by McCormack multiple times in 2005.

The victim said he was abused at St. Agatha’s parish in Lawndale when he attended the after-school program called S.A.F.E. There were further allegations the Archdiocese of Chicago was aware of complaints about McCormack, yet allowed him to have access to children.

McCormack was accused in about 25 cases and pleaded guilty to abusing five children. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2009 and had been held in a state-run mental health facility until he was released in October.

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Chicago archdiocese settles sex abuse suit for $1.2 million

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 17, 2022

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The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $1.2 million to a man who alleged that he was sexually abused when he was 12 years old by a defrocked priest who was convicted of sexually abusing several boys, the man’s attorney announced on Tuesday.

The settlement of the case before a lawsuit was filed was announced in a news release by attorney Lyndsay Markley and marks the latest chapter in the story of Daniel McCormack, one of the most notorious pedophiles in the history of Chicago’s archdiocese.

McCormack, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five children while he was a priest at St. Agatha’s parish in Chicago, was released from prison last fall and has registered as a sex offender with the Illinois State Police. According to published reports, he was listed at that time as living in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood.

The settlement follows other similar settlements…

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$121.5M settlement in New Mexico clergy sex abuse scandal

SANTA FE (NM)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 18, 2022

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One of the oldest Catholic dioceses in the United States announced a settlement agreement Tuesday to resolve a bankruptcy case in New Mexico that resulted from a clergy sex abuse scandal.

The tentative deal totals $121.5 million and would involve about 375 claimants.

The proposed settlement comes as the Catholic Church continues to wrestles with a sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has spanned the globe. Some of the allegations in New Mexico date back decades.

The chairman of a creditors committee that negotiated the agreement on behalf of the surviving victims and others said it would hold the Archdiocese of Santa Fe accountable for the abuse and result in one of the largest diocese contributions to a bankruptcy settlement in U.S. history.

It also includes a non-monetary agreement with the Archdiocese to create a public archive of documents regarding the history of the sexual abuse claims, committee chairman Charles…

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May 17, 2022

Chicago Archdiocese settles with sex abuse victim for $1.2M

CHICAGO (IL)
WFLD - Fox 32 [Chicago IL]

May 17, 2022

By Timothy H.J. Nerozzi

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Victim said that he was sexually abused multiple times in 2005 by the disgraced former priest Daniel McCormack

The Archdiocese of Chicago will settle with a victim of sex abuse out of court.

The Archdiocese of Chicago, one of the most prominent dioceses in the U.S., avoided a sex abuse lawsuit with a $1.2 million settlement. The victim said he was sexually abused multiple times in 2005 by the disgraced former priest Daniel McCormack. The victim was reportedly 12 years old when the abuse took place at St. Agatha’s parish. 

“Anyone who’s been harmed can say they’re whole and that might not be the best way to express it. He has been compensated and can move forward in a better way because of compensation” the victim’s attorney, Lindsay Markley, told FOX 32 Chicago.

Donald Bondick joins demonstrators from several states in a protest outside Holy Name Cathedral…

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Vermont Catholic Diocese settles sex abuse lawsuit targeting South Burlington priest

BURLINGTON (VT)
WCAX [South Burlington VT]

May 17, 2022

By Melissa Cooney

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The Vermont Roman Catholic Diocese has settled a lawsuit involving a former South Burlington priest accused of sexually abusing a child in the 1960s.

The victim, now in his 60s, accused Father Roger W. Carlin of molesting him in 1966 and 1967, when the nine-year-old was training to be an altar boy at St. John Vianney church in South Burlington.

The diocese last summer said it was the first allegation it had received concerning Carlin. It comes after an independent review board of laypeople combed through thousands of documents dating back to 1950 and identified 40 priests as being sexual abusers. Carlin, who died in 1980, was not one of them.

“Victims need to hear the names of pedophile priests so that they realize, so the victims realized that they were not the only ones being sexually abused. It was not the victims’ fault,” said Mitchel Garabedian, the victim’s attorney….

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Bobby Brown Reveals Past Sexual Abuse Attempt by a Priest in A&E Docuseries: ‘I Just Want to Heal’ (Exclusive)

NEW YORK (NY)
WKYC-TV, NBC - 3 [Cleveland OH]

May 16, 2022

By Mekishana Pierre‍

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[VIDEO]

Bobby Brown is giving fans an intimate look at his tumultuous life in a way he never has before. The 53-year-old R&B music star and his wife, Alicia Etheredge-Brown, opened up to ET’s Nischelle Turner ahead of the singer’s new A&E docuseries, Biography: Bobby Brown, premiering May 30.

The two-part series charts the GRAMMY winner’s rise to stardom and the fallout from his struggles with sobriety and the deaths of his two children, Bobby Jr. and Bobbi Kristina, and first wife, Whitney Houston

In addition to Bobby, the documentary features new interviews with friends and family, including Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Keith Sweat, Babyface, New Edition’s Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe and Johnny Gill. 

“To revisit them was really therapeutic,” Bobby said regarding the darker moments in his life. “To go back and remember some of the things that…

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Catholic school in Mississippi Delta closing after 70 years

GREENWOOD (MS)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 17, 2022

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A Catholic elementary school that primarily serves Black and Hispanic families in the Mississippi Delta is closing after more than 70 years, following a sex abuse scandal, declining enrollment and a steep decrease in donations.

St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood notified teachers and families Friday that it will close at the end of this week, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

It joins more than 200 other Catholic schools in the U.S. that have closed permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Catholic Educational Association.

The school in Greenwood was founded in 1951 and is run by the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province, a Wisconsin-based religious community that opened a mission in an impoverished part of Mississippi.

In recent years, the school in Greenwood has been tarnished by a clergy sex abuse scandal dating back to the 1990s.  View Cache

Settlement reached in archdiocese bankruptcy case

SANTA FE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

May 17, 2022

By Colleen Heild

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The 41-month-old Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case filed by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe settled Tuesday afternoon, with an estimated $121 million payout to nearly 400 survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The settlement includes funds from Archdiocese sales of property and other assets, contributions from individual parishes, and insurance proceeds.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the state’s largest, is one of 29 dioceses and religious orders in the country to have filed for bankruptcy protection to stem losses from legal claims alleging the church failed to prevent sexual abuse of vulnerable youths at the hands of priests and clergy. In New Mexico, some 74 priests have been deemed “credibly accused” of sexually assaulting children while assigned to parishes and schools by the Archdiocese, which covers central and northern New Mexico.

Archbishop John C. Wester in filing the petition in December 2018 said at the time he hoped the monetary settlement would…

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FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, a makeshift memorial for the dozens of Indigenous children who died more than a century ago while attending a boarding school that was once located nearby is growing under a tree at a public park in Albuquerque, N.M. A new federal report on the legacy of boarding schools for Native Americans underscores how closely the U.S. government collaborated with churches to Christianize the Indigenous population as part of a project to sever them from their culture, their identities and ultimately their land. The Department of the Interior report, released Wednesday, May 11, 2022, says the federal government provided funding and other support to religious boarding schools for Native children in the 19th and early 20th centuries to an extent that normally would have been prohibited by bans on the use of federal funds for religious schools. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

US report details church-state collusion on Native schools

WASHINGTON (DC)
Associated Press [New York NY]

May 14, 2022

By Peter Smith

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[Photo above: FILE – In this July 1, 2021, file photo, a makeshift memorial for the dozens of Indigenous children who died more than a century ago while attending a boarding school that was once located nearby is growing under a tree at a public park in Albuquerque, N.M. A new federal report on the legacy of boarding schools for Native Americans underscores how closely the U.S. government collaborated with churches to Christianize the Indigenous population as part of a project to sever them from their culture, their identities and ultimately their land. The Department of the Interior report, released Wednesday, May 11, 2022, says the federal government provided funding and other support to religious boarding schools for Native children in the 19th and early 20th centuries to an extent that normally would have been prohibited by bans on the use of federal funds for religious schools. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya…

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Former minister breaks silence on child-abuse reports: ‘A lot of ugly in Trinidad and Tobago’

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

May 16, 2022

By Clint Chan Tack

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FORMER social development minister Verna St Rose Greaves left no one unscathed regarding the protection of children in Trinidad and Tobago. Among those to feel her wrath were the Government, Opposition, religious leaders, non-governmental organisations (including women’s groups), media and the wider population.

St Rose Greaves spoke during an interview on I95.5 FM’s Take Two programme with host Dominic Kalipersad on Sunday.

A considerable part of the interview focused on the findings in a report of a Cabinet-appointed committee to investigate reports of abuse at children’s homes and matters related to it. She said the report underscored levels of pretension and corruption at all levels of society, and that the situation spanned decades and was encouraged by many people.

St Rose Greaves observed that many people prefer to see TT’s inclusion when it comes to things like Carnival. But, she continued, they conveniently ignore another side of the national identity.

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