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.

August 12, 2022

Former students of Saskatoon school allege sexual abuse in $25M legal claim

SASKATOON (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

August 12, 2022

By Chandra Philip

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Warning: Some details in this article may be disturbing to readers

Former students are working to bring a class action lawsuit against the Saskatoon school where they allege they suffered physical and sexual abuse.

Friends, family and other past students of Saskatoon Christian Centre Academy — now called Legacy Christian Academy (LCA) — gathered outside a Saskatoon courthouse on Tuesday to announce the legal action.

“I am so thankful for so many of my peers that have found the courage to tell their stories so that we may move forward to a place of healing,” Caitlin Erickson said.

“The staff tried to physically and psychologically break me, despite their best efforts they were not successful, and that’s why I’m able to stand here today.”

Erickson attended the school from 1992 to 2005. She and other students have recently come forward alleging that staff routinely paddled students and engaged in “controlling…

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Catholic Church’s Redress Not Fit For Purpose

WHANGANUI (NEW ZEALAND)
Scoop [Wellington, New Zealand]

August 12, 2022

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Friday, 12 August 2022, 11:25 am
Press Release: SNAP

A sexual abuse survivor group SNAP says the Government’s decision to allow faith-based institutions like the Catholic Church to continue providing redress to survivors would just re-traumatise Catholic Church survivors.

SNAP’s national leader, Christopher Longhurst, says SNAP believes the Church office tasked with providing redress to church survivors has not followed its own principles and procedures in the Church’s protocol “A Path To Healing” to settle sexual abuse cases.

Dr Longhurst says the Church’s National Office For Professional Standards (NOPS) appears to be using the protocol to weed out offenders rather than providing a compassionate and fair response to their reported traumas as promised in the protocol.

Dr Longhurst says survivors have complained to SNAP that their redress cases have been mishandled by the NOPS office and many have felt re-traumatised by the Church’s redress process.

“The SNAP Board and Executive Leadership…

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Biskup Marek Mendyk, oskarżony przez byłego kleryka o molestowanie, odpowiada. Czy pamięta wizytę w szpitalu i namaszczenie dziecka?

ŚWIDNICA (POLAND)
Naszemiasto.pl [Warsaw, Poland]

August 9, 2022

By Maciej Rajfur

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Dodaj komentarz:Udostępnij:Biskup świdnicki Marek Mendyk na naszych łamach odpowiada na oskarżenie Andrzeja Pogorzelskiego o molestowanie. Czy pamięta opisywaną przez Pogorzelskiego wizytę w szpitalu? Jak się odnosi do zarzutów?

Maciej Rajfur: Jak Ksiądz biskup zareagował na zarzut o molestowanie 8-latka przed 30 laty?

Bp Marek Mendyk: Na początku przyszło niedowierzanie, ponieważ znam siebie. Jestem absolutnie zaskoczony i odbieram to w kluczu ogólnej nagonki na Kościół, duszpasterzy, w tym biskupów. Oczywiście powtarzam, oskarżenie rzucone w moją stronę jest nieprawdziwe. Wywiad ma tak duży stopień ogólności, a niuanse sprawiają, że na pierwszy rzut oka nie ma się do czego przyczepić. Przecież sprawa jest podobno przedawniona, a p. Andrzej nie żąda odszkodowania. Zaś falę linczu i hejtu spowodował natychmiast.

Pamięta Ksiądz Biskup tę sytuację ze szpitala opisywaną przez Andrzeja Pogorzelskiego?

Nie. Nie przypominam sobie, żeby ktoś mnie wołał wówczas do szpitala do chorego dziecka. Poza tym…

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Zanchetta lawyer turned Vatican investigator was fired for resumé fraud

(ITALY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 11, 2022

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The priest who served as advocate for convicted sex offender Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, and who is now leading a Vatican investigation into the bishop’s accusers, was sacked last year from his position at a Spanish university for reportedly falsifying his resumé.

Fr. Javier Belda Iniesta was dismissed as Dean of the Faculty of Human, Canonical and Religious Sciences at the Catholic University of Murcia, Spain, in May 2021, after he was unable to substantiate several academic qualifications listed on his resumé, raising new questions about his June appointment by Pope Francis to lead an investigation in the Argentine Diocese of Oran.

Pope Francis has faced repeated criticism from Catholics in Argentina over his handling of the situation in the Oran diocese. The pontiff appointed Zanchetta Bishop of Oran in 2013 in one of his first episcopal appointments as pope. The two men are known to be close collaborators, having…

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Remains of priest removed from Quebec Mohawk community after sex abuse allegations

KAHNAWAKE (CANADA)
Global News [Toronto, Canada]

August 11, 2022

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The remains of a priest alleged to have sexually abused children have been exhumed and removed from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, which governs the community south of Montreal, says the remains of Rev. Leon Lajoie, who died in 1999, were exhumed Wednesday from the grounds of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, where he was buried.11

Last summer, several members of the community alleged that they were abused by Lajoie and called for his remains to be removed to start a healing process.

Members of the community in March voted 233 to 195 in favour of the exhumation.

Lajoie, a Jesuit, arrived in Kahnawake in 1961 and was a parish priest until 1990.

An investigation by the Jesuits found no evidence of abuse by Lajoie, though it found evidence of a “serious sexual assault at St. Francis-Xavier Mission,” the church where Lajoie was buried, but the…

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Abuse advocates: Wisconsin AG ‘walking back’ promises on diocesan abuse probe

MADISON (WI)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 11, 2022

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A Wisconsin advocacy group for victims of clerical sexual abuse says the state’s attorney general has broken his word, downplaying a promised investigation into the state’s five dioceses as a “review” of abuse allegations. 

While the attorney general has previously referred to the probe as an “investigation,” a state official said in March that the word “review” is more appropriate, adding that “investigation” would be “too strong of a word” to describe the initiative. 

Advocacy group Nate’s Mission says the change in language came while the attorney general’s office claimed its inquiry was not well-funded, declined contact and records from whistleblowers, and decided not to push in court for diocesan personnel records which might contain evidence of wrongdoing.

“Survivors in Wisconsin for 30 years have been asking for an investigation like this. In the early 1990s, survivors in Wisconsin were some of the first in the country to come forward…

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August 11, 2022

Judge rules accused priest Bialkowski can control widow’s $2 million estate

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

August 11, 2022

By Charlie Specht

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An Erie County judge has ruled that a Catholic priest who has been accused of sexually abusing children can spend a dead parishioner’s $2 million estate as he pleases, despite the objections of her relatives.

Erie County Surrogate’s Court Judge Acea M. Mosey dismissed allegations by the widow’s family that the Rev. David W. Bialkowski, former pastor of St. John Gualbert Catholic Church, “groomed” Ruth Peters to become the executor of her estate before her 2019 death.

“I conclude that there is no proof that the will was the product of fraud perpetrated on decedent by Bialkowski or any other person,” Mosey wrote in her decision.

The March 31 ruling clears the way for the suspended priest, who is on the diocese’s list of priests with “substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor” and who is accused in two Child Victims Act lawsuits of sexual abuse, to inherit $125,000…

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Opinion: Still no progress on statute of limitations reform for sex abuse victims

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer / cincinnati.com

August 7, 2022

By Theresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann

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Three years ago, the Rev. Geoffrey Drew was arrested on nine counts of child rape, and local parents still see no efforts to protect their children. 

At the time, Drew was the pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township, which gave him superintendent-like authority over the largest parochial elementary school in Ohio.

After his arrest, we learned that Archdiocese of Cincinnati employees were aware of Drew’s three decades-long and three Ohio countywide pattern of red flag behavior with children.

According to the evidence list, this included a 1983 letter from a Catholic school principal, vacations with boys, a formal complaint in seminary for having a child in his bedroom, a written plea for help by Dayton-area school boys at St. Rita in 2006, Drew’s use of parish funds for a male nude massage service in 2012, and three Butler County investigations in 2013 and 2015.

Despite this and other…

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‘We will die first’ – religious abuse survivors speak up after exclusion from government payouts

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

August 11, 2022

By Steve Kilgallon

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Some sexual abuse survivors fear they may die before receiving any compensation after the government excluded them from a scheme to make rapid payouts to elderly and terminally-ill survivors.

Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins has revealed plans to cut a 3000-strong waiting list of abuse claimants of abuse in state care – such as children’s homes – by making “rapid payments”. Survivors of abuse in religious settings, such as Catholic schools, the Salvation Army and the Exclusive Brethren are not included.

The announcement is a response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, which is due to deliver its final report next June.

Hipkins announced the government would produce plans by October for rapid payments to elderly and terminally ill claimants, as well as setting up a new listening service and working on a national apology to survivors. He said faster payment options “shouldn’t wait” for the…

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Nates Mission: AG Kaul downgrades clergy abuse “investigation” to review

MADISON (WI)
WisPolitics.com [Madison, WI]

August 10, 2022

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On Monday night, WBAY aired an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul where he refused to refer to his clergy and faith leader abuse initiative as an “investigation” – opting for the term review instead.

In a new video, Nate’s Mission has compiled reporting and direct quotes from the Attorney General that unmistakably identify the DOJ’s efforts as an investigation. 

This reversal in language demonstrates Kaul’s unwillingness to exercise the legal authority that he and the five district attorneys supporting his “investigation” have under Wisconsin law to subpoena Church documents and evidence and compel testimony from Church officials involved in the institutional concealment of rape and sexual abuse of children.

This is contrary to statements Kaul made last year when he expressed hope that Wisconsin’s Catholic dioceses and religious orders would “cooperate with the investigation” and urged survivors to report abuse saying,…

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German Catholics want expanded lay roles, greater tolerance for dissent

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 11, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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In a new report summarizing the conclusions of a national consultation process among German Catholics, the country’s bishops report a desire for greater inclusion in the church of women and laypeople generally, as well as those who disagree on certain moral teachings.

Titled “For a synodal Church – community, participation and mission,” the report summarizes the conclusions of the German Bishops’ Conference’s “Synodal Path” sent to the Synod of Bishops in Rome, ahead of a Synod of Bishops on Synodality at the Vatican next year.

An English translation of the report can be found here: www.dbk.de/fileadmin/redaktion/diverse_downloads/presse_2022/2022-114eng-Report-of-the-German-Bishops-Conference-to-the-World-Synod-of-Bishops-2023.pdf

The 13-page report is divided into two sections, the first of which reflects on Germany’s own experiences with synodal consultations carried out at the diocesan and archdiocesan level, as well as the national level of the bishops’ conference.

The second part summarizes feedback from this consultation on 10 topics that…

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Jana Riess: How Latter-day Saints are addressing sex abuse: Too little, too late

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

August 11, 2022

By Jana Reiss, Religion News Service

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Members have the opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes. But will we?

Like many people, I was disgusted to read The Associated Press’ investigative reporting about how two Arizona bishops of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to report a horrific case of one father’s sexual abuse. In this decision, they were guided by a “help line” for lay bishops set up to answer questions about cases of sexual abuse.

According to the article, the help line instructed the first bishop who called to “do nothing” and avoid reporting this father’s ongoing rape of his daughter to the police. As a result, the abuse continued for another seven years, with the father, Paul Douglas Adams, continuing to rape the older daughter and post videos of it online. When another daughter was born to the family, Adams began sexually assaulting her when she was just 6 weeks of age…

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announces agreement in principle on final settlement with sex abuse survivors

HARRISBURG (PA)
PennLive.com

August 10, 2022

By Charles Thompson

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Victims of clergy sex abuse react to the findings of the grand jury investigation announced in August 2018.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 12:05 p.m. Friday to clarify that the May reorganization plan referred to here is a submission from claimants in the bankruptcy case, and not a joint submission of all parties. in other words, it was not a plan that the church had agreed to at that point. The agreed-to plan has not been formally submitted yet.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg said Thursday it has reached an agreement to settle any still-pending historic child sex abuse claims lodged against its priests or other church personnel as part of a plan to end the diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws.

Final terms of the settlement were not immediately available Thursday night, including the total cost of all payments to creditors. PennLive’s attempts…

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Remains of Jesuit Priest Removed from Kahnawake Church Grounds

KAHNAWAKE (CANADA)
iHeart Radio [San Antonio TX]

August 10, 2022

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The remains of a priest who allegedly sexually abused Indigenous children in Quebec was exhumed Wednesday morning.

“We never agreed to have him buried here in the first place,” said community member Kahnekaken:re Lahache. “We have our native women who were not allowed to be buried here because they married out, but they let the priest be buried here. They actually begged for him to be buried here, which wasn’t right.”

Jesuit priest Father Leon Lajoie was buried on the grounds of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kahnawake in 1999.

After allegations of sexual assault surfaced last year, the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) community on Montreal’s South Shore was invited to vote on what to do with his remains.

It was an issue that divided many community members and exhumation “was an idea proposed by community members, alleged victims and supporters,” according to Tonya Perron, one of the Mohawk Council’s elected…

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Opinion: The Mormon Church must do more to protect children from sexual abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Washington Post

August 10, 2022

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If the record of clergy sex abuse of minors in the Catholic Church has imparted a lesson, it is that institutions and individuals have a moral duty, and should have a legal one, to inform law enforcement of reports that children are being victimized. Somehow, that lesson appears to have been lost in some instances on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church or LDS.

In a disturbing exposé by the Associated Press, a Mormon bishop in Arizona, alarmed that a church member had confessed to raping his own young daughter, contacted the church’s 24/7 hotline. The bishop told federal investigators the advice he received, from church lawyers, was that he “absolutely can do nothing” and was prohibited by state law from reporting the abuse to police.

That advice was false, and its consequences unspeakable. The daughter’s abuse, which her father…

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Sex abuse case against retired priest dropped by Allegheny County DA’s office

MUNHALL (PA)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

August 10, 2022

By Paula Reed Ward

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The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday withdrew charges against a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 2001.

The paperwork dismissing the case against the Rev. Hugh Lang, 92, said it was being done in the best interest of the alleged victim.

Lang was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall when police said he abused the boy. Authorities charged Lang in 2019 with indecent assault, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and attempted aggravated indecent assault.

The alleged victim came forward after seeing media coverage of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s grand jury investigation into abuse in the Catholic Church in August 2018. He told investigators that Lang, who also served as the former schools superintendent of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, abused him during altar server training.

Lang retired in 2006.

After he was charged, Lang had a nonjury trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge…

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Polish church official: State commission can’t access abuse documents

WARSAW (POLAND)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 10, 2022

By Jonathan Luxmoore

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A Polish Catholic official defended the church’s record in tackling sexual abuse by priests, after the head of the State Commission on Pedophilia complained it was refused access to clerical files.

“This commission’s rights and competences, as established by law, do not include access to church documents — under current procedures, it must request this from the Holy See,” said Father Piotr Studnicki, director of the Polish bishops’ Child and Youth Protection Office.

“When we’ve been asked to supply documents, we’ve asked about the legal basis for this, since every state institution must act according to law — and they haven’t been able to cite any. Perhaps things will change if the law is updated and extended. But for now, the commission has no right of access — and I believe its members are aware of this.”

The state commission was established in 2019 to investigate abuse of children under…

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The Pope’s Non-Apology to Indigenous Canadians Furthers a History of Abuse

MASKWACIS (CANADA)
Yes! [Poulsbo WA]

August 5, 2022

By Lori Campbell

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Pope Francis came this week to Maskwacis in central Alberta—where many Indigenous people, including survivors of residential schools and their descendants, had gathered—to deliver an expected apology in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 58:

“We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.”

I am the granddaughter of a residential school survivor. I am the daughter of a First Nations woman who survived having each of her seven children stolen and relocated through the Sixties Scoop assimilation policy.

I spent more than 25 years searching for and locating not only my birth mother, but also all of my siblings, who were spread across several provinces. I…

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August 10, 2022

Barber names abuse task force members

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist Press [Nashville TN]

August 8, 2022

By Scott Barkley

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include the language of an amendment to the SATF recommendations passed by the messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber has announced the members and leaders of those making up the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF).

Messengers to the annual meeting in Anaheim tasked Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, with the responsibility as part of the approved recommendations from the Sexual Abuse Task Force, chaired by North Carolina pastor Bruce Frank. The recommendations were the result of a yearlong study and investigation by Guidepost Solutions into the SBC Executive Committee.

“The purpose of this task force is to assist the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention in our efforts to shut the doors of our churches to those who would act as sexual predators and to wrap our arms around survivors and…

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Convicted Sex Offender Pursuing Ministry Training at Southern Baptist Schools

LYNCHBURG (VA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

August 8, 2022

By Kim Roberts

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In 2009, David Chatham was convicted of possession of child pornography and sentenced to six years in federal prison. His Southern Baptist pastor reportedly argued for leniency at the time, citing Chatham’s “dedication to Christ.”

Now Chatham is pursuing ministry training at Southern Baptist schools. He was a student for several years at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in a ministry leadership program. Chatham currently says he’s been admitted as a ministry student at Liberty University, a school with informal ties to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Chatham claimed on his LinkedIn profile earlier this summer, which we’ve archived, that he was enrolled at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in an online Master’s in Applied Ministry program.

After The Roys Report (TRR) asked Chatham about his enrollment, the reference to Liberty disappeared from his LinkedIn profile. Chatham told TRR that he had been…

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The Catholic Church is at a crossroads: Will it choose renewal or decline?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Hill

August 9, 2022

By John Kenneth White

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Pope Francis has concluded a self-described “penitential pilgrimage” to Canada. For the 85-year-old mostly wheelchair-bound pontiff, the journey was taxing but necessary. In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that for many years a “cultural genocide” occurred in Catholic schools, and confirmed the deaths of at least 3,200 indigenous peoples, with many others emotionally scarred for life. Upon his arrival, a solemn pope said, “I have come to your native lands to tell you in person my sorrow, to implore God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, to express my closeness and to pray with you and for you.”

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has called for a “culture of encounter” that requires more listening than talking. He recently sent a letter to Fr. James Martin commending his outreach toward gay and lesbian Catholics,…

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Former FBI Child Sex Abuse Expert on What Parents Should Know About “Grooming”

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 7, 2022

By GoLocalProv news team

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A former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) expert on child abuse — and “grooming” — said there are a number of steps parents can take if they have concerns their children could be in danger. 

On Monday, GoLocal unveiled that priest Eric Silva had been reassigned to a Narragansett church after being removed from two other churches earlier in the year for asking children “inappropriate questions” about sex.

On Friday, amidst mounting pressure, Tobin announced he was rescinding Silva’s appointment to the parish.

Kenneth Lanning, who was a special agent with the FBI for more than 30 years and has worked as a consultant in the area of crimes against children, said that while some behaviors of adults interacting with children might not rise to the level of criminality, there are steps parents can take if they believe their child is potentially being “groomed” for abuse. 

Moreover — he…

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Hearing pain of Canada school survivors felt like slaps, pope says

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Reuters [London, England]

August 3, 2022

By Philip Pullella

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Pope Francis said on Wednesday he felt the pain of survivors of Canada’s residential school system “like slaps” and that the Catholic Church has to face up to its responsibility for institutions that abused children and tried to erase indigenous cultures.

The pope dedicated his talk at his weekly general audience to his trip last week to Canada, where he delivered a historic apology for the Church’s role in the government-sanctioned schools, which operated between 1870 and 1996.

More than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to residential schools. Catholic religious orders ran most of them under successive Canadian governments’ policy of assimilation.

The children were beaten for speaking their native languages and many were sexually abused in a system Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called “cultural genocide.”

The pope met indigenous survivors throughout the trip and on the last day, mostly elderly school survivors in…

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Church is challenged to end trafficking, child abuse

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

August 9, 2022

By Father Shay Cullen

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Saving victims and bringing traffickers to justice is Christian faith in action

Christian leaders, bishops, priests and laypeople should be outraged at the extent of human trafficking and child abuse in families and online and be motivated by faith to take every opportunity to help the victims by good deeds and action for justice as well as denounce the evil on the internet that is pervading society.

A worthwhile prayer is that which motivates people to act for justice. Where are the organized militant “Catholic internet trolls for human rights and child protection?” None that I know of. We need the revival of Catholic Social Action groups in every parish, led by dedicated internet-savvy students and youth fighting every day for social justice.

While on the streets outside the parishioners should be having their weekly march for child rights, justice for the exploited and oppressed before celebrating the Eucharist. Because…

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The Catholic church must do more to address child sexual abuse by priests and offer reparations to survivors

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

August 9, 2022

By Lauren Micalizzi Brophy

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A developmental psychologist who is married to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse warns of the long-term effects of adverse childhood events and trauma

As a developmental psychologist, I study how and why children change over time. This profession has given me the gift of watching idyllic childhoods unfold. Unfortunately, I have also learned of exceptionally horrific, gut-wrenching stories. Among the most challenging to process are tales of disruptive and unhealthy patterns of behavior that stem from preventable trauma experienced in childhood, such as sexual abuse.

Research has repeatedly demonstrated that adverse childhood experiences (or “ACEs”) are associated with damage to the brain and other systems that are vital to healthy development. ACEs are events that are outside of a child’s control, yet they can have long lasting toxic effects on their health and well-being. Among a laundry list of tragic outcomes, ACEs can predispose children to chronic disease, substance use,…

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Polish bishop accused of sexually abusing child in hospital bed denies wrongdoing

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

August 9, 2022

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The bishop of Świdnica, Marek Mendyk, has been accused of historical sexual abuse of an eight-year-old boy while visiting him in hospital when his family feared he was dying. The claim was made by the alleged victim himself, Andrzej Pogorzelski, now 38 years old and a former seminary student, in an interview with Newsweek Polska.

In response to the publication, Mendyk has issued a statement denying wrongdoing, calling the accusations “lies”, and demanding a public apology. He also announced that he has notified his church supervisors and the Vatican, appealing to them to investigate the case.

The episode is the latest in a series of recent claims of sex abuse by members of Poland’s Catholic clergy and of cover-ups by the church hierarchy. The Vatican has punished a number of current and former Polish bishops for their negligence in dealing with the issue.

Pogorzelski told Newsweek that he had been hospitalised at the age of eight due to complications after…

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Another red hat for a McCarrick ally

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Catholic Culture - Trinity Communications [San Diego CA]

August 9, 2022

By Phil Lawler

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Four years have passed since Theodore McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals. We are still coping with the aftershocks of the scandal he caused. Moreover—the reason I write about this subject today—we are still coping with the clerical system that allowed that scandal to fester unchecked for so many years.

A few months after his resignation, the Vatican announced that McCarrick had been stripped of his clerical status. A canonical trial had found him guilty—not only of sexual abuse, but of soliciting in the confessional and abusing his episcopal authority as well.

Since that time, Pope Francis has named five bishops from the US to the College of Cardinals. Barring a dramatic last-minute change, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego will soon join Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, and Gregory. All five have had close connections with McCarrick.

Leila Miller, a fearless Catholic author,…

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August 9, 2022

Detroit Archbishop Accused of Abusing a Minor in Massachusetts Parish

BOSTON (MA)
Los Angeles Legal Examiner - Saunders & Walker [Pinellas Park FL]

August 9, 2022

By Joseph H. Saunders

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Archbishop Paul Russell, a Detroit auxiliary bishop, is the subject of a sexual abuse lawsuit filed in Massachusetts.  The lawsuit stems from sexual abuse that occurred when the survivors was a 12-year-old parishioner at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn in 1989 and 1990.  The lawsuit alleges that he was sexually assaulted by by Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Boston.

It’s not common that an archbishop is also an auxiliary bishop.  In this case, it stems from the fact that Russell entered the Vatican diplomatic corps six years after his ordination to the priesthood.  Prior to becoming a papal diplomat, Russell served as an associate pastor in parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston including Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart in Lynn.  In 1992, he was briefly named associate pastor of St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester, Mass.; however, three days into his…

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Amid criticism, AG Kaul calls his actions on Wisconsin clergy sex abuse a “review” not an investigation

MADISON (WI)
WBAY-TV [Green Bay WI]

August 8, 2022

By Joshua Peguero

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Wisconsin’s attorney general is responding to Action 2 News after receiving criticism from an organization that represents victims of church sexual abuse.

The group Nate’s Mission criticized Attorney General Josh Kaul last month for what it thought was an investigation the AG launched last year into the state’s five archdioceses and religious orders.

But Kaul is clarifying telling Action 2 News what he is doing is a review of allegations.

“The process that we’re engaging right now is the same process that we’ve been engaging in since this review started, and that is, we’re encouraging people across the state of Wisconsin who have any information on clergy and faith leader abuse to report that,” Kaul said.

Kaul announced last year in April his plans to look over any allegations of sexual abuse that may have been committed by clergy and staff at Wisconsin’s catholic dioceses.

He tells Action 2 News…

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Survivors release video with new recordings of AG Kaul and staff

MADISON (WI)
Nate's Mission [Milwaukee WI]

July 27, 2022

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Kaul’s office gave whistleblower documents to Church lawyers fearing Archdiocese’s “aggressive attorneys” and a “politically-charged” Supreme Court

This morning, Nate’s Mission released a new video depicting our advocacy surrounding Attorney General Kaul’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse, including the process leading up to the announcement and our response to the investigation’s progress. The video features the recent history of our advocacy in Wisconsin beginning with our revelations of failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate and Church lawyer, Matt Flynn’s, role in cover-up of clergy sexual abuse. The video incorporates audio recordings from several calls between Nate’s Mission and Kaul’s administration and email messages from the DOJ to survivors. 

The audio recordings appear to demonstrate false promises made to survivors surrounding resources allotted toward the investigation (19:50) and the DOJ’s reticence to work with Church documents containing potential criminal evidence provided by whistleblowers due to the “politically charged” Supreme Court…

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Leader of St. Thomas More and St. Veronica parish apologizes for reassignment of priest, but questions remain

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
Boston Globe

August 9, 2022

By Amanda Milkovits

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The Rev. Eric Silva was removed from two churches for making inappropriate comments to children. Survivors of abuse by priests point out that weekend apology “didn’t mention the safety of children, or children at all.”

The head pastor at St. Thomas More and St. Veronica Catholic churches apologized to parishioners during weekend Masses for the “hurt and anguish” caused when they found out through the media last week that their new assistant pastor had been removed from two other churches for inappropriate comments to children.

“It’s been a most difficult week for you, the entire parish, and to be honest, the most excruciating week of my priesthood,” the Rev. Marcel Taillon told the parishioners.

But some thought Taillon’s statement left them with more questions than answers about the Rev. Eric Silva — and that the Church fell short in taking responsibility.

“Father Taillon didn’t mention the…

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Bishop Libasci sex abuse lawsuit stalled over bankruptcy

MANCHESTER (NH)
InDepthNH.org - New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism [Barrington NH]

August 5, 2022

By Damien Fisher

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The New York lawsuit filed last year that accuses New Hampshire’s Bishop Peter Libasci of sexually abusing a child in the 1980s has been stalled in court since last July.

The reason for the inaction is the more than 500 other claims of abuse lodged against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre. The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2020, which put a halt on all the potential abuse lawsuits.

Now, it looks like a resolution to the cases is possible. The diocese is set to begin mediation talks with lawyers for the complainants this week, according to statements made during a bankruptcy court hearing last week.

A dispute between the diocese and attorneys for some of the complainants threatened to stall the case further.

There are attorneys representing child sex abuse victims, and an attorney representing a committee for adult victims of abuse. The matter boiled…

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Why all the people of God must take some responsibility for clericalism

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

August 8, 2022

By Hatty Calbus

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Clergy who share and reinforce people’s denial by insisting families are automatically love-filled places are setting up obstacles to God’s healing.

Pope Francis has described paedophile priests as “tools of Satan” and has often said that the cause of the clergy abuse crisis is “clericalism”.

But when in August 2018 he wrote a “Letter to the People of God” that appeared to widen responsibility for the abuse to the whole Church, there was outrage. “With shame and repentance,” he wrote, “we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that … we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.” The Pope concluded, “I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting”.

And when a few weeks later the Archbishop of Strasbourg, Luc Ravel, echoed the Pope, he met similar indignation. But…

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Commentary: Parishioners in R.I. deserve transparency about removal of Catholic priest

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
Boston Globe

August 8, 2022

By Stephen Brophy and Christina Brophy

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The parents of child sexual abuse survivor Ryan Brophy say the church must disclose the background of the Rev. Eric Silva, who has been on leave for making inappropriate comments to children at two Catholic schools

Bishop Tobin: We have questions.

During the Masses held on Aug. 6 and 7 at St. Veronica’s chapel and St. Thomas More church, the pastor of St. Thomas More/St. Veronica’s made a statement to the parishioners about the removal of Father Eric Silva. But the statement offered parishioners no real information, and offered victims of sexual abuse by priests no real comfort.

The pastor essentially said that Father Eric is a nice guy, that Father Eric’s recent parish audition at Mass had gone well, and that the parishioners liked him. That’s great – but who is Father Eric, and what is his background?

There are many reasons why we deserve to…

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India’s Cardinal Gracias denies reports he intervened in accused bishop’s case

MUMBAI (INDIA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

August 9, 2022

By Sarah Mac Donald

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Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias, one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers, is strongly denying reports that he sought to intervene in the case of an Indian bishop accused of secretly fathering a child.

In a video posted online Aug. 7, Gracias rebutted allegations he had arranged for Bishop Kannikadass William Antony of the Mysore Diocese in southwestern India to take a paternity test at a Catholic hospital in order to control the outcome of the test results.

Gracias said an audio clip from a two-year-old conversation with Antony, which has attracted attention among Indian Catholics in recent weeks, had been “mischievously edited to give the impression that there was collusion between Bishop William and myself for a cover-up.”

In the clip of the leaked phone call, which was promoted by the right-wing website Church Militant, Gracias could apparently be heard telling Antony that Gracias would arrange…

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Deutsche Bischofskonferenz und Adveniat veröffentlichen unabhängige Untersuchung der Akten der Koordinationsstelle Fidei Donum

BONN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz - German Bishops' Conference [Bonn, Germany]

August 8, 2022

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Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz und die Bischöfliche Aktion Adveniat haben heute (8. August 2022) eine unabhängige Untersuchung der Akten der Koordinationsstelle Fidei Donum veröffentlicht. Daraus ergibt sich, dass der frühere Leiter der Koordinationsstelle und spätere Bischof von Santo Domingo in Ecuador (so der heutige Name der Diözese), Emil Stehle, Priester, die in Deutschland wegen sexualisierter Gewalt strafrechtlich verfolgt wurden, dabei unterstützt hat, sich den Strafverfolgungsbehörden zu entziehen. Auch wird er selbst des sexuellen Missbrauchs beschuldigt.

Eingang in die Untersuchung der Rechtsanwältin und Mediatorin Dr. Bettina Janssen fanden auch Protokolle von Gesprächen mit aktuellen und ehemaligen Adveniat-Mitarbeiterinnen und -Mitarbeitern sowie Berichte von acht betroffenen Frauen, die sich seit der Veröffentlichung der Hildesheimer Missbrauchsstudie am 14. September 2021 gemeldet hatten. Unmittelbar nach Veröffentlichung dieser Studie hatten sich Adveniat und die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz auf eine unabhängige, fachliche und systematische Untersuchung der Fidei Donum-Akten auf Anzeichen für sexuellen Missbrauch durch Fidei Donum-Priester verständigt. Auftraggeber ist…

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Indigenous Canadian victim of Catholic Church recounts horrific ordeal at residential school

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Anadolu Agency [Ankara, Turkey]

August 8, 2022

By Seyit Aydogan

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Many children in residential school run by Catholic Church were ‘physically, sexually, mentally abused,’ says Evelyn Korkmaz

Many children in a Canadian residential school were “physically, sexually, and mentally abused,” according to a victim who attended one of these Catholic-run educational institutions.

Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency, Evelyn Korkmaz recalled her four-year stay at St. Anne’s residential school on Fort Albany in Ottawa as “the worst years of my life.”

Unlike other local children who were forcibly taken from their families, Korkmaz, an indigenous Canadian, said that after completing primary school in the area where she lived with her family, she willingly enrolled in a residential school to complete secondary school and then proceed to high school.

“They didn’t consider us as humans and treated us like animals. They slapped us on the back of the head. They told us we were dirt,” said Korkmaz.

Later on, while attending the…

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German bishop, accused of abuse, found to have helped wanted pedophile priests escape to Latin America

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

August 8, 2022

By AC Wimmer

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A German prelate who served as bishop in Ecuador is not only accused of having sexually abused minors in several countries. As director of a German aid organization he also helped pedophile priests wanted by authorities escape prosecution, according to an independent investigation published Monday.

The late Bishop Emil Stehle (1926-2017) — known in Latin America as Emilio Lorenzo Stehle — has been accused of sexual abuse in 16 cases, a statement by the German Bishops’ Conference said on Aug. 8.

Furthermore, Stehle, the head of Adveniat, the Church in Germany’s aid organization for Latin America, was found to have helped priests evade authorities by facilitating their escape to Latin American countries. The investigation found that he also provided the alleged perpetrators with financial support, using money from the German Bishops’ Conference.

Lawyer and mediator Bettina Janssen prepared the 148-page-report on behalf of the Association of German Dioceses,  View Cache

Potential class-action lawsuit in B.C. alleges abuse at Catholic schools

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Richmond News [Richmond, British Columbia, Canada]

August 8, 2022

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Boys alleging they were sexually and physically abused by priests already known to be child abusers want to know why those men wound up teaching again.

More than 30 years ago, Canadians were horrified to hear tales of physical and sexual abuse of boys by Christian Brothers operating Newfoundland’s Mount Cashel Orphanage.

A hearing to gain class-action certification began in B.C. Supreme Court Monday (Aug. 8), alleging the church moved some of those men to B.C. by where sexual abuse allegations continue to surface.

The proposed class-action suit, filed in March, says between 1976 and 1983, an order called the Christian Brothers transferred six abusive members from Mount Cashel Orphanage to Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby.

The suit was initially filed in February 2021 with representative plaintiff Darren Liptrot. He said in the claim he attended Vancouver College from 1980 to 1985, for grades 8 to…

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Catholic Diocese Bankruptcies Drag On as Insurers Fight Rising Costs of Sex-Abuse Claims

NEW YORK (NY)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

August 4, 2022

By Soma Biswas

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More victims have come forward after New York, New Jersey and other states relaxed rules on abuse suits, and they are seeking bigger settlements, leading to tensions between insurers on one side and their diocese clients and claimants on the other

Insurers are fighting against sex-abuse victims’ demands for more compensation in the bankruptcies of several large Catholic dioceses, as both the number of claimants and the proposed payouts have grown.

The standoff is slowing the dioceses’ efforts to emerge from chapter 11. Historically, most settlements in such bankruptcies have received support from the diocese, its insurers and abuse victims, said lawyer Jason Amala, who has represented victims of childhood sex abuse in cases involving the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, among others.

What is different now, lawyers involved in diocese cases said, is that many more victims have come forward after more than a dozen states…

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August 8, 2022

Mormon church issues vague rebuttal on sex abuse hotline

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Axios [Arlington VA]

August 8, 2022

By Erin Alberty

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said an Associated Press story “seriously mischaracterized” its protocols for child abuse reports — but officials did not say what precisely the AP got wrong.

Catch up fast: The AP on Thursday reported that sealed court documents show the church used its 24-7 sex abuse “helpline” to stop a bishop from reporting a confessed child rapist to police in Arizona.

  • The bishop said when he called the hotline, he was connected with church lawyers who told him — wrongly — that he could “absolutely do nothing” because Arizona law required him to keep the man’s confession confidential.
  • The man’s children are now suing the church, and a prosecutor is investigating church officials’ actions.

The latest: The church on Friday refuted the AP story, but without pointing to any specific inaccuracies.

  • The church said the help line “is instrumental in ensuring that all legal…
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Perspective: I survived abuse. I worked for the church’s help line. The AP story broke my heart

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT]

August 6, 2022

By Kate Taylor Lauck

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No child should have to suffer what those sisters went through. Heroes are working to help stop this sickening abuse

Editor’s note: Those who are victims of sexual violence can find resources by calling the Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 1-888-421-1100 or the 24-hour crisis and information hotline at 801-467-7273.

I felt a sick knot in my stomach.  

A friend texted me an article from The Associated Press titled, “Seven years of sex abuse: How Mormon officials let it happen.” As I read the disturbing details, my eyes filled with tears and my heart absolutely shattered.  

No child should have to ever suffer through what the sisters described in the article suffered through. It’s devastating every time I hear the stories of sex abuse survivors.

Even as I type and edit this article, I can’t help but pause and weep. 

You see, I’m…

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Priest accused of sexual conduct towards four girls at two Glasgow churches

GLASGOW (UNITED KINGDOM)
Glasgow Live [Glasgow, Scotland, UK]

August 4, 2022

By Connor Gordon

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Neil McGarrity, 68, is accused of attacking the girls aged between 10 and 15 at churches in Riddrie and Carntyne over a period of two years and remains on bail awaiting trial.

A priest is accused of sexual conduct toward four girls at two churches.

Neil McGarrity, 68, allegedly attacked the girls between December 2017 and February 2020.

Court papers state McGarrity engaged in sexual activity with a girl between the age of 13 and 15 at St Thomas’ church in Glasgow’s Riddrie. It is stated that he touched the girl on the body.

A second girl was alleged to have been sexually assaulted at St Thomas’ between the ages of 10 and 11.

It is claimed McGarrity repeatedly placed his arm around her, touched her on the body, hugged and pulled her towards him.

A separate charge for the same girl states McGarrity hugged her and stroked her on the arm…

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Priest accused of sex assault against children in Glasgow

GLASGOW (UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

August 4, 2022

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A priest is accused of sexual conduct towards four girls at two churches in Glasgow.

Neil McGarrity, 68, is said to have assaulted the children between December 2017 and February 2020.

Court papers state the incidents happened at St Thomas’ church in Riddrie and St Bernadette’s church in Carntyne.

Fr McGarrity denied six charges at Glasgow Sheriff Court. He will stand trial later this month.

He is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity with a girl between the age of 13 and 15 at St Thomas’.

The charge states that he touched the girl on the body.

A second girl was alleged to have been sexually assaulted at the Riddrie church between the ages of 10 and 11.

It is claimed Fr McGarrity repeatedly placed his arm around her, touched her on the body, hugged and pulled her towards him.

A separate charge for the same girl states the…

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A Nicaraguan priest is accused of abusing a minor. Human rights activists aren’t convinced.

MANAGUA (NICARAGUA)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 1, 2022

By Edgar Beltrán

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When a priest is accused of abusing a minor, public opinion seldom gives him the benefit of the doubt — often for good reason. 

But in Nicaragua, things are different. At least for Monsignor José Leonardo Urbina.

Urbina is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish of Boaco, a city 50 miles east of Managua, the country’s capital. He was arrested on July 13 and formally accused of raping an adolescent girl.

And Urbina’s story is unlike most that begin with a priest arrested for sexual abuse — because Nicaraguan media outlets, and human rights activists –some of them fierce critics of the Catholic Church– have rallied behind Fr. Urbina, citing significant procedural irregularities and raising questions about whether the priest is receiving due process.

The allegation against the priest comes in the context of escalating daily persecution against the Catholic Church led by the regime of Nicaraguan President…

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Tobin Should Have Police Investigate Reassigned Priest, Says Top Lawyer for Church Sex Abuse Victims

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 4, 2022

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On Monday, GoLocalProv.com first reported that priest Eric Silva — who was removed from two Rhode Island Catholic churches in February of 2022 for improper behavior — is back at another Rhode Island Catholic church offering mass.

Now, a top lawyer for clergy sexual abuse victims worldwide for decades, Mitchell Garabedian, says Bishop Thomas Tobin needs to have an investigation conducted into Silva’s actions before permanent any reassignment.

Parents in Rhode Island had alleged that Silva was asking inappropriate questions to children about their sexual orientation and sexual activity.

On Wednesday, Garabedian — who was portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the movie “Spotlight” — released the following statement: 

“Before re-assigning Fr. Eric Silva, Bishop Thomas Tobin should request a police investigation to determine if any crimes were committed by Fr. Silva against children. 

The investigation by the police would then objectively obtain facts and the truth. The truth which…

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Chicago Archdiocese To Pay $1.75 Million To Woman Who Says Priest Sexually Abused Her At South Side Catholic School

WOODLAWN (IL)
Block Club Chicago

August 5, 2022

By Maxwell Evans

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A woman who said disgraced priest Robert Boley abused her at the defunct St. Cyril Catholic School in Woodlawn “demonstrated tremendous courage coming forward,” her attorneys said. Boley was linked to other abuse scandals in Los Angeles before working in Chicago.

Warning: The following story includes descriptions of sexual abuse.

WOODLAWN — A woman who says disgraced priest Robert Boley repeatedly sexually abused her as a child will receive a $1.75 million settlement from the Archdiocese of Chicago and the local Carmelite province, her attorneys announced Friday.

The woman, who was not named, said Boley abused her multiple times in a classroom when she attended St. Cyril Catholic School, 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave., her attorneys said.

Boley, who was assigned to the St. Clara-St. Cyril Parish in Woodlawn from 1987-1989, was the girl’s teacher at the now-defunct school, she said through her attorneys.

The priest kept the girl inside for…

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Theodore McCarrick Abuse Lawsuit Still Pending in New Jersey

NEWARK (NJ)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

August 6, 2022

By Shannon Mullen

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The civil case involving an adolescent boy has received significant media attention due to the graphic nature of the allegations.

One of the more graphic sexual-abuse lawsuits against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is still pending in New Jersey after the parties recently failed to settle the nearly-two-year-old case, court filings show.

The civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark in September 2020, accuses McCarrick of raping and sexually assaulting an unnamed adolescent boy on more than 50 occasions from 1985 to 1990.

The lawsuit also names the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen as defendants, alleging that they failed to protect the boy from McCarrick while he led those New Jersey dioceses. All the defendants deny the claims against them.

The parties met with a private mediator June 23 but were unable to settle the case, court records show.

“At this juncture, the parties do not…

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Sexual abuse survivors call for answers amid probe into Catholic Church in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (MD)
ABC News [New York City NY]

August 3, 2022

By Deena Zaru

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Survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic Church leaders rallied in front of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office, calling for the release of preliminary findings of an investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Teresa Lancaster said she was interviewed four years ago upon the launch of the investigation. She told investigators she was abused at Archbishop Keough High School, but she has yet to be given any answers.

“It’s hard not to see any action,” she said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I would like to hear something, please.”

Jean Wehner, who says she was also abused while a student at Archbishop Keough High School, said that without any updates over the past four years, survivors who spoke with investigators are finding themselves “in an old familiar place where the silence turns to fear.”

“The fear is that we told the secret and that the disclosure will bring harm to…

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Harrisburg Diocese reaches settlement with clergy abuse survivors

HARRISBURG (PA)
WGAL-TV, NBC-8 [Lancaster PA]

August 5, 2022

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Part of proposed deal to emerge from bankruptcy

The Diocese of Harrisburg has reached an agreement to settle claims of people who say they were victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese has agreed to set up a $7.5 million trust as part of a proposed settlement that will allow the Diocese to come out of bankruptcy protection.

The Diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Since then, it said more than 50 people have filed claims that they were abused by priests.

“The steps we take today continue our commitment and responsibility to support survivors of clergy abuse, and to make restitution for the suffering they have endured,” Bishop Ronald Gainer said in a news release on Thursday. “While I have acknowledged many times that no amount of money could ever compensate for the abuse these survivors have experienced, it is my prayer that this settlement will…

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Victim of clergy abuse asks Catholic church leaders for transparency

SARATOGA SPRINGS (NY)
Post-Star [Glen Falls NY]

August 6, 2022

By Jana DeCamilla

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Before July 6, Stephen Mittler was simply known as John Doe 1988-1989 in a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and former priest Mark Haight.

The Saratoga Springs man decided to make his story public in hopes the awareness would inspire others to come forward and to encourage transparency from the diocese.

Mittler had a busy week, making the rounds and meeting with officials of the Catholic church.

After standing with the bishop of Albany, Edward Scharfenberger, on the steps of Corpus Christi Church in the village of Round Lake, where he first met his abuser, he then traveled to New York City with his 16-year-old daughter to meet with Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan.

He said he is trying to have a working relationship with the diocese and church leaders to give other victims of sexual abuse by clergy members the space to tell…

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August 7, 2022

The pope’s apology tour has some conspicuous gaps — let’s start with Junipero Serra

MASKWACIS (CANADA)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

July 29, 2022

By Patty Krawec

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In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI met with Indigenous leaders and expressed sorrow for the experiences of survivors, though not an apology. Now 13 years later, Pope Francis has traveled to the Indigenous communities of Maskwacis and Lac Ste Anne in Alberta to apologize for the Church’s role in the residential schools.

The apologies have been met with some relief and much outrage as survivors and their descendants balance their competing needs for resolution and reparation and as we analyze what was said and what was excluded.

But first: let’s talk about Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Franciscan priest, whose canonization was fast-tracked by Pope Francis to coincide with a visit to the U.S. Serra founded nine of the 21 missions in California. The Spanish missions, much like the so-called English praying towns of the Northeast and not so unlike the residential schools that would follow, were closed communities for Indigenous people…

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Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous Canadians opened door to reconciliation

(CANADA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

August 2, 2022

By Kevin P. Considine

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“I was an angry man most of my life because society didn’t understand us survivors… When you are abused that is all you think about. You think about it over and over again. Forgiveness is not about rewarding a perpetrator.”

Amen to that. These words come from a survivor of a Canadian residential school. They were recorded by Miles Morrisseau, a citizen of the Métis Nation, and special correspondent for ICT (formerly Indian Country Today). And this is part of what Pope Francis tried to demonstrate in his penitential journey to Canada: Reconciliation is not a “get out of jail free” card. Reconciliation is a challenging, painful, messy and unpredictable journey.

Francis has heard the call for reconciliation. The pontiff set an example for all Christians, Catholic and otherwise, in his journey of penance for the sins of many of our spiritual ancestors, who were…

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Roman stunner: More or less, the Vatican tells the truth about its money

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 7, 2022

By John L. Allen Jr.

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If you were listening closely this week, your ears may have picked up a subterranean rumbling out of Rome. It was the sound of the tectonic plates of history shifting, as, perhaps for the first time ever, the Vatican actually more or less came clean about its finances.

In the old days, it used to be said that how much money the Vatican has was among the mysteries of the faith, akin to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Funds were distributed among a bewildering variety of entities and accounts, many of them off the books – in some cases, cash was literally stuffed into desk drawers and cabinets in Vatican offices, replenished and doled out with no paper trail at all.

Further complicating things, there’s long been ambiguity about what’s meant by “the Vatican” when it comes to accounting.

Some people mean the Roman…

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Stephen Rowland: Always take allegations of sexual abuse seriously

COLUMBIA (TN)
Columbia Daily Herald [Columbia, TN]

August 6, 2022

By Stephen Rowland

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Why is it that pastors (or priests), of all people, are often the ones who stonewall an investigation into sexual abuse claims in their churches/parishes?

It’s a definite problem — we all have followed the news in times past about the Pope apologizing to victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by certain priests. It was suppressed and covered over for decades. Then there was the Southern Baptist organization apologizing to sexual abuse victims not long ago. The burning shame of these humiliating ordeals is that you would think a church is the last place on earth to find such atrocities.

I think the sad truth is that sexual abusers can be found in practically any large group of people, religious or secular. They fly “under the radar” carefully disguising their hidden motives. They sometimes volunteer for youth activities, mentoring programs, youth ministry in churches specifically to increase their chances of finding…

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LDS Church slams AP story as ‘mischaracterizing’ help line given to leaders to report abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

August 5, 2022

By Tamarra Kemsley and Peggy Fletcher Stack

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In a strongly worded news release issued Friday morning, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accused The Associated Press of publishing an “oversimplified and incomplete” story about the faith’s handling of child sex abuse cases.

But experts on the issue remain adamant and say the church has a long way to go to ensure a safe and transparent reporting environment for victims.

In particular, the faith’s news release focused on the role of the church’s help line given to lay local leaders when handling cases of abuse, saying the system ensures reporting compliance.

The AP’s investigation, drawing on previously sealed court documents, highlighted families of survivors who said the help line was misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement, leaving victims vulnerable.

“The nature and the purpose of the church’s help line was seriously mischaracterized in a recent Associated Press article,” the release…

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August 6, 2022

Pine Ridge council votes to exclude missionary from tribal lands

PINE RIDGE (SD)
Indian Country Today [Phoenix, AZ]

August 5, 2022

By Mary Annette Pember

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A Christian missionary whose message condemns Lakota spirituality and religion recently hit a sort of reverse sweet spot of outrage among citizens on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

In an unusual decision, the Oglala Lakota Nation tribal council voted in July to exclude Matt Monfore, a non-Native from the Jesus is King Mission, from Pine Ridge lands, saying he was spreading hate by distributing pamphlets on tribal lands.

“This week the Jesus is King Missionary was found distributing material that literally demonizes the Lakota culture and faith,” according to a letter released by the office of Tribal President Kevin Killer on July 22.

“This is unacceptable and completely disrespectful. It is the view of the President and Council that these ‘pamphlets’ seek to promote hate instead of peace. Hate has no place on Oglala land.”

Read more:

’Missionaries are on our reservation’

Papal Visit: Apology at last…

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Bishop Should Suspend Silva and Neronha Must Investigate – McKiernan of BishopAccountability

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 6, 2022

By Terence McKiernan, President and Co-Director, BishopAccountability, Guest MINDSETTER™

Read original article

We welcome the decision by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to backtrack on his ill-considered appointment and remove Fr. Eric Silva from St. Thomas More Parish in Narragansett.  But Bishop Tobin has ducked responsibility for this fiasco by issuing an unsigned statement that does not admit that the appointment was a mistake.  

We are very concerned that Bishop Tobin has chosen to keep Fr. Eric Silva’s priestly faculties in place.  Those faculties should be immediately suspended, pending a full and open investigation of the allegations against Silva.  Sexual interrogation of children in confession is closely associated with sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and for this reason is not allowed.  Bishop Tobin is well aware of this.  His responsibility to the children of the Diocese of Providence requires that he investigate the Silva case properly, keep Silva out of ministry during the investigation, and send a message to Rhode Island survivors…

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Two-year-old lawsuit accusing Theodore McCarrick of repeatedly raping boy still pending in NJ

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

August 5, 2022

By Shannon Mullen

Read original article

One of the more graphic sexual abuse lawsuits against former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick is still pending in New Jersey after the parties recently failed to settle the nearly two-year-old case, court filings show.

The civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark in September 2020, accuses McCarrick of raping and sexually assaulting an unnamed adolescent boy on more than 50 occasions from 1985 to 1990.

The lawsuit also names the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen as defendants, alleging that they failed to protect the boy from McCarrick while he led those New Jersey dioceses. All the defendants deny the claims against them.

The parties met with a private mediator June 23 but were unable to settle the case, court records show.

“At this juncture, the parties do not believe that another settlement conference will be productive,” the plaintiff’s lawyers, Mark Lefkowitz and Kevin Mulhearn, wrote…

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Diocese rescinds appointment of Father Eric Silva to Narragansett amid controversy

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

August 5, 2022

By Antonia Noori Farzan

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priest who had been placed on leave after parents raised concerns won’t be reassigned to a parish in Narragansett after all.

The Diocese of Providence said in news release on Friday that Bishop Thomas J. Tobin had rescinded Father Eric Silva’s appointment as assistant pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Narragansett. 

The move came at the request of Silva himself, and Father Marcel Taillon, the pastor at St. Thomas More, the diocese said. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I realize my presence there will only hurt the parish and cause division amongst the good people of God,” Silva said in his written request to Tobin, according to the diocese. 

Silva previously served as assistant pastor for St. Luke’s Parish in Barrington, but was put on leave in February. A parent at a Catholic school in Cranston where he had served as a visiting priest…

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Diocese defends transfer of priest to Narragansett

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
The Independent [Narragansett, RI]

August 4, 2022

By Ryan Blessing, Staff Writer

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A priest accused of asking sexually inappropriate questions to children in a parochial school in Cranston has been assigned to a Narragansett church starting this month.

The move by the Diocese of Providence to place Father Eric Silva in an assistant pastor position at St. Thomas More effective Aug. 15 has drawn criticism from local parents and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national group.

According to media reports, Silva, previously an assistant pastor for St. Luke’s Parish in Barrington, was placed on leave from that position in February. Parents had complained that, while as a visiting priest at a Catholic school in Cranston, Silva asked the questions to students.

“The Diocese of Providence received several concerns from parents of students at Immaculate Conception Catholic Regional School in Cranston that Rev. Eric Silva made errors in pastoral judgment while administering the Sacrament of Penance there earlier this…

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Protestors want former Barrington priest investigated amid allegations

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WJAR-TV, NBC-10 [Providence RI]

August 5, 2022

By Joanna Bouras, NBC 10 News

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As two men protested in front of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence on Friday, the word came down from the Bishop.

Father Eric Silva, who was an assistant pastor of Saint Luke’s Parish in Barrington, won’t be reassigned to Saint Thomas Moore in Narragansett.

Silva was put on temporary administrative leave after parents at a Cranston school claimed he asked children inappropriate questions about their sexuality during confession.

“Committed outrageous offenses against children in a confessional of all places,” said Dr. Robert Hoatson, president of a non-profit that supports sexual assault violence victims and their families.

Hoatson drove from New Jersey to protest outside the church.

Silva has only been accused of holding inappropriate conversations, for which the diocese placed him on temporary leave.

Silva released a statement through the diocese, saying: “It is…

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Chicago Archdiocese settles sex abuse case for $1.75 million

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

August 5, 2022

By Mitch Dudek

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A woman said she was abused in the 1980s at a Catholic school on the South Side, St. Cyril Catholic School in Woodlawn, which since has closed.

A sex abuse case against the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Carmelites, a Catholic religious order, has been settled for $1.75 million, attorneys for the victim announced Friday.

The case was filed by a woman who said she was repeatedly abused as a child in the 1980s by Robert Boley, a Carmelite priest who taught at St. Cyril Catholic School, 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave. which has since closed.

“During one school year, he abused her multiple times in the classroom, having her stay inside for recess and sexually assaulting her while also telling her she was a bad child, that God was angry with her and making her read the Bible during the abuse,” according to a statement Friday from Romanucci & Blandin,…

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Church responds to AP story on abuse of a child and reporting hotline

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT]

August 5, 2022

By Tad Walch

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“The abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded Friday to an Associated Press story about how the church handled child sexual abuse cases in Arizona and West Virginia.

“The abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable,” the statement said. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes this, teaches this and dedicates tremendous resources and efforts to prevent, report and address abuse. Our hearts break for these children and all victims of abuse.”

The AP story focused on the church’s abuse help line. The help line provides professional legal and clinical advice on abuse cases to Latter-day Saint bishops and branch presidents, laymen who are not professionally trained clergy. Bishops and branch presidents, who…

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4 takeaways from AP’s Mormon church sex abuse investigation

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 4, 2022

By Michael Rezendes

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When an Arizona bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, learned that a member of his ward was sexually assaulting his 5-year-old daughter, he followed church policy and called the Mormon Abuse Help Line.

The bishop later told law enforcement that church attorneys in Salt Lake City who staff the help line around the clock said that because he learned of the abuse during a counseling session the church considers a spiritual confession, he was legally bound to keep the abuse secret.

Paul Douglas Adams, a U.S. Border Patrol employee living with his wife and six children in Bisbee, Arizona, continued abusing his daughter for as many as seven more years, and went on to abuse a second daughter. He finally stopped in 2017 with no help from the church only because he was arrested.

The Associated Press obtained…

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Portugal’s Catholic Church child sex-abuse scandal deepens

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Portugal Resident [Lagoa, Portugal]

August 5, 2022

By Natasha Donn

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President Marcelo says allegations must all be investigated

Bit by bit the hideous truth that Catholic priests in Portugal have been left relatively free (if not almost completely free) to sexually abuse children for decades is coming home to roost.

The scandal that hit the headlines in France less than a year ago, and which precipitated the opening of an inquiry in Portugal in January, has opened the floodgates on an accelerating domino-effect of horrors.

Today, Expresso reveals another 12 priests have been outed by one of their own – half of them still in active duties.

The story is all the more disturbing for the mantle of silence purportedly imposed by the Church’s hierarchy.

Previously, allegations have explained how Lisbon’s Cardinal Patriarch failed to report abuse to the police – now developments suggest at least two bishops were involved in what can only be described as ‘cover ups’.

Even when…

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Detroit auxiliary bishop denies allegation of sexually abusing minor

DETROIT (MI)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

August 2, 2022

By Carl Bunderson, Shannon Mullen

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Archbishop Paul Russell, an auxiliary bishop of Detroit and a former Vatican diplomat, has been named in a civil lawsuit alleging he sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago while a priest in Massachusetts.

Russell, 63, denies the charges, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Archdiocese of Detroit. The statement said Russell would refrain from public ministry until further notice from the Vatican.

Russell was appointed auxiliary bishop of Detroit in May, and he was installed July 7. Though an auxiliary, he retains the personal title of archbishop.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 1 in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston. It was first reported Tuesday by the Detroit News.

The unidentified plaintiff was 12 years old when he met Russell — then a priest assigned to St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn, Massachusetts — at the parish’s food bank, according to the lawsuit….

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Archbishop Paul Russell, auxiliary in Detroit, ‘shocked and saddened’ by allegations of sexual abuse while a priest in Boston

DETROIT (MI)
The Dialog [Diocese of Wilmington DE]

August 3, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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Archbishop Paul F. Russell, Detroit’s newest auxiliary bishop, will refrain from public ministry following an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor dating to his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston more than 30 years ago.

Archbishop Russell strongly denied the allegation Aug. 2.

A lawsuit filed Aug. 1 in Massachusetts’ Suffolk County Superior Court accuses then-Father Russell of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy “approximately 25 times” in 1989-90, during his time as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the Archdiocese of Boston and another priest who was pastor of Sacred Heart at the time.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Detroit — which is not named in the lawsuit — said Archbishop Russell is “shocked and saddened by the claims that have been made, and states that they are without merit. He holds in prayer all those who…

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Pope Francis was not fully briefed prior to Canadian visit

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

August 5, 2022

By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

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Pope Francis’ six-day pastoral visit to Canada was a great success. It wasn’t until the news conference on the plane back to Rome that it became clear he wasn’t properly briefed for his visit.

Francis, in Canada on what he called a penitential pilgrimage, apologized to the Indigenous peoples of the country for the Catholic Church’s cooperation in their forced assimilation to colonizing Europeans’ culture over the centuries, especially in residential schools run by the church.

People from the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities who listened to the pope’s apologies responded for the most part positively. Many, however, regretted that it took so long for the pope to apologize, and some wanted him to say more.

Some Indigenous leaders wanted the pope to denounce the Doctrine of Discovery, a 15th-century theory enshrined in the papal bull, Inter Caetera, that allowed Christian…

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August 5, 2022

Tobin Rescinds Priest Assignment After GoLocal Report

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 5, 2022

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On Monday, GoLocal unveiled that priest Eric Silva has been assigned to a Narragansett church.

Previously, Silva had been removed from two other churches earlier in the year for asking children “inappropriate questions” about sex.

For much of the week, the head of the Diocese of Providence defended the assignment of Silva.

But, on Friday, Bishop Thomas Tobin reversed course and announced that Silva would be removed.

“Upon receiving written requests from Father Eric Silva, and from Father Marcel Taillon, Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Narragansett, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has rescinded Father Silva’s appointment as Assistant Pastor of the parish, which had been scheduled to begin on August 15,” said Tobin.

“In his written request to Bishop Tobin, Father Silva said, ‘It is with a heavy heart that I realize my presence there will only hurt the parish and cause division amongst the good people of God.’…

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Statement on the Assignment of Fr. Eric Silva

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Diocese of Providence RI

August 5, 2022

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Upon receiving written requests from Father Eric Silva, and from Father Marcel Taillon, Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Narragansett, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has rescinded Father Silva’s appointment as Assistant Pastor of the parish, which had been scheduled to begin on August 15. In his written request to Bishop Tobin, Father Silva said, “It is with a heavy heart that I realize my presence there will only hurt the parish and cause division amongst the good people of God.” While Father Silva retains the priestly faculties of the Diocese of Providence, he will not be receiving a new assignment at the present time.

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Seven years of sex abuse: How Mormon officials let it happen

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 5, 2022

By Michael Rezendes

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[Includes a nine-minute video and many photographs. See also the Arizona reporting law.]

Bisbee, Ariz. (AP) — MJ was a tiny, black-haired girl, just 5 years old, when her father admitted to his bishop that he was sexually abusing her.

The father, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an admitted pornography addict, was in counseling with his bishop when he revealed the abuse. The bishop, who was also a family physician, followed church policy and called what church officials have dubbed the “help line” for guidance.

But the call offered little help for MJ. Lawyers for the church, widely known as the Mormon church, who staff the help line around the clock told Bishop John Herrod not to call police or child welfare officials. Instead he kept the abuse secret.

“They said, ‘You absolutely can do nothing,’” Herrod said in a recorded interview…

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Albany Bishop talks Diocese response to sex abuse suits

ALBANY (NY)
WRGB - CBS 6 [Albany NY]

August 4, 2022

By Liz Bishop

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[Includes a video of the reporter’s interview with Bishop Scharfenberger (“there are no secret files”); also includes a video of survivor Stephen Mittler’s comments on his meeting with Scharfenberger and on Scharfenberger’s homily at the church where Mittler first met his abuser, Fr. Mark Haight.]

More than 400 Child Victims Act cases have been lodged against the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese claiming clergy were allowed to prey on children with impunity for decades while church officials turned a blind eye.

Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger has said he wants to “walk with the survivors,” but the path ahead is littered with challenges. He must heal the pain of sex abuse while juggling the need for accountability and do it with what he says are limited resources and the added pressure of an onslaught of legal action just around the corner.

This week I sat down for an exclusive interview with the…

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Portugal cardinal meets pope as sex abuse allegations swirl

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 5, 2022

By Barry Hatton

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The archbishop of Lisbon met Friday with Pope Francis in a private audience at the Vatican to discuss “events in recent weeks that have marked the life of the Church in Portugal,” the Portuguese church said.

The two-sentence communique gave no further details, and the Vatican does not comment on the pope’s private audiences with individual churchmen. But suspicion about what they discussed immediately fell on recent allegations of child sex abuse by priests and alleged cover-ups by senior members of the Portuguese church.

Other possible topics for discussion include the organization of World Youth Day 2023, a major Catholic festival which will be held in Lisbon in August and which the pope is expected to attend. Communiques about that event tend to be more detailed.

The sex abuse allegations have swirled recently, bringing a turbulent spell for Portuguese church authorities and prompting Lisbon Cardinal Manuel Clemente to publish an…

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Canada requests extradition of French priest accused of child abuse

(CANADA)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

August 5, 2022

Read original article

[Via France 24]

Canada has requested the extradition of a French priest accused of sexually abusing Indigenous children more than 30 years ago, Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti confirmed Thursday. 

“I am aware that an extradition request sent to France has been made public, which ministry officials have just confirmed,” Lametti said in an email to AFP, declining to give further details.

“It is important for Canada and its international partners that serious crimes are fully investigated and prosecuted.”

The French foreign ministry confirmed it had received the request and said it was being processed by justice officials.

The announcement comes shortly after Pope Francis completed a landmark trip to Canadawhere he apologized for the abuse of Indigenous children in Catholic-run schools over decades.

Priest Johannes Rivoire, who spent three decades in Canada’s far north, has been the subject of an arrest warrant in Canada since February, after a…

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August 4, 2022

Between the faithful and predators, does the pope’s apology bring a new hope

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Avenue Mail [Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India]

August 3, 2022

By Mr. Lalu

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The supreme patriarch of the Catholic Church the Pope apologizes again. This time it is Pope Francis who extended an apology to the indigenous community of Canada. The pope’s visit to the country was mainly to tender an apology to the community for the forced assimilation of their children at the residential schools run by the Catholic Church and the gruesome persecution carried on them.  He called his tour of Canada a “penitential pilgrimage”. This time, in his usual gesture of apology, the Pope said that he regretted and begged forgiveness for the evil committed by the Catholic Christians against the indigenous people of Canada. By doing this the Pope was referring to the innocent children who never returned from the schools where they were forcefully taken away for education by the Church. The assimilation policies of the church, he reiterated, has marginalized the indigenous people and robbed them of…

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Knoxville diocese fought to name plaintiff in rape cover-up suit

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 3, 2022

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A Tennessee judge struck down Friday the Diocese of Knoxville’s plea to dismiss a lawsuit which alleges that Knoxville’s bishop impeded a diocesan investigation into a rape allegation, and defamed an alleged rape victim, by charging publicly that the victim was actually the aggressor. 

Judge Jerome Melson also dismissed a petition from the Knoxville diocese for a protective order, which would have exempted from subpoena all diocesan records related to a Vatican investigation into complaints against Bishop Rick Stika.

The court also decided Friday that the alleged rape victim will not be permitted to use a pseudonym in his suit against Stika and the Knoxville diocese

Although the identity of the plaintiff has been known to the diocese since before the suit was filed, diocesan attorneys argued in a brief ahead of the July 29 hearing that the alleged rape victim should be required to disclose his name publicly in…

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“Call Bethel”: Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sexual Abuse. 4. The Montana Case

HELENA (MT)
Bitter Winter - Center for Studies on New Religions [Torino, Italy]

August 4, 2022

By Massimo Introvigne

Read original article

The Telegraph’s podcast criticized a 2020 decision by the Supreme Court of Montana that protected the confessional privilege. But it correctly applied the law.

Article 4 of 5. Read article 1article 2, and article 3.

Call Bethel, the Telegraph’s podcast, also discusses cases in the United States. In particular, we hear the voices of the plaintiffs in a case in the American state of Montana, where they obtained a verdict of $35 million against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The verdict was reversed by the Supreme Court of Montana on January 8, 2020, which affirmed that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were excepted from Montana’s mandatory reporting laws in cases of sexual abuse of children because the information obtained by the elders was protected by the confessional privilege.

The podcast includes an ironical comment by one of the plaintiffs after the Supreme…

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Chile’s Catholics see chasm separating hierarchy from increasingly hostile laity

(CHILE)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 4, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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To put it mildly, the Catholic Church in Chile has a big problem.

Chilean Catholics describe a giant chasm between the hierarchy, which some church-watchers describe as elite and out of touch, and an increasingly incredulous and hostile laity. Without a real effort of both parties to bridge the gap, these same experts fear the church will never regain its once honored place in the country.

One striking place the strain is showing up is in the numbers.

Eduardo Valenzuela, head of Catholic University’s sociology department, told Crux that in the last two decades, the percentage of Chileans who identify as Catholics dropped from 70 percent to 45. The number of Mass-going faithful has been reduced by half.

“There’s a lot of fear in the hierarchy of not being able to control the situation, of calling a lay Catholic to organize something, of accepting the need to loosen the leash,” he said. “The…

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Ryan Brophy, who is protesting the assignment of a priest in Narragansett, is thanked by psychologist Ann Hagan Webb, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Phot by Amanda Milkovits

Survivor makes a stand after priest who made inappropriate comments to children assigned to Narragansett parish

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

August 3, 2022

By Amanda Milkovits

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[Photo above: Ryan Brophy, who is protesting the assignment of a priest in Narragansett, is thanked by psychologist Ann Hagan Webb, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Photo by Amanda Milkovits]

Ryan Brophy, a father and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, felt he had to act when he learned the diocese had assigned the Rev. Eric Silva as assistant pastor at St. Thomas More Church

Ryan Brophy was making ice cream at his family’s shop on Monday when he heard about the new priest who had quietly been moved into town.

The Rev. Eric Silva was fresh off a five-month leave, after an uproar over him asking children in Cranston and Barrington about their sexuality. By July, though, Bishop Thomas Tobin decided that Silva was ready to go back to work and assigned him to be an assistant pastor at St. Thomas More Church in Narragansett in…

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Bishop accused in lawsuit of abusing child at Lynn, Massachusetts, parish decades ago

BOSTON (MA)
WCVB - ABC 5 [Boston MA]

August 4, 2022

Read original article

[See also the lawsuit.]

A former parishioner at a Massachusetts church has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused as a child more than 30 years ago by a Roman Catholic priest who is now an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents as John Doe No. 12, was a 12-year-old parishioner at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn in 1989 and 1990 when he was sexually assaulted about 25 times by Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Boston.

The Archdiocese of Detroit in a statement said Russell denied the allegations.

“Abp. Russell is shocked and saddened by the claims that have been made,” the statement said. “He states that the allegations are totally without merit and that his conscience is perfectly clear.”

Russell has been placed on “limited” ministerial duty, and Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron…

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August 3, 2022

Attorney Garabedian calls for investigation into Fr. Eric Silva following reassignment

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WLNE-TV, ABC-6 [Providence RI]

August 3, 2022

By Hector Molina

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Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents victims of clergy abuse, is calling for an investigation into Fr. Eric Silva.

Silva was re-assigned to St. Thomas More in Narragansett following alleged inappropriate questions toward religious students during confessionals during his time as priest at St. Luke’s Church in Barrington.

The Diocese of Providence has yet to release the nature of those questions.

“One has to wonder what did Father Silva say to those children what did he actually say?” Garabedian asked.

The Diocese of Providence said the leave was intended for “pastoral study and reflection” but was always going to be temporary.

Garabedian said Silva should be investigated before he serves at any church.

“What is going on in Fr. Silva’s mind? If Bishop Tobin wanted to do the right thing and practice transparency he should call the police. He should call them today for an independent investigation,” Garabedian said.

Silva’s first…

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Diocese assigns priest to Narragansett parish after placing him on leave over inappropriate comments to students

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

August 2, 2022

By Amanda Milkovits

Read original article

A priest who was placed on leave earlier this year after complaints that he’d made inappropriate comments to students at two Catholic schools has been assigned to a parish in Narragansett.

The Diocese of Providence has placed the Reverend Eric Silva as an assistant pastor at St. Thomas More Parish, effective Aug. 15, according to a July 14 notice about new assignments.

Silva had been on temporary administrative leave since February, after the principal of Immaculate Conception Catholic Regional School in Cranston barred him when parents complained that he’d asked children about their sexual activity and orientation.

Silva, who’d been ordained in 2019, was an assistant pastor at St. Luke’s Parish in Barrington at the time and visited the Cranston school as a substitute priest. The Diocese said in a Feb. 14 statement that there were complaints from St. Luke School as well, and that Silva’s…

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Regarding the Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Archbishop Paul Russell

BOSTON (MA)
Archdiocese of Detroit [Detroit MI]

August 2, 2022

Read original article

The Department of Communications shares the following statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit regarding the civil lawsuit filed August 1, 2022 in Massachusetts against Archbishop Paul Russell:

Archbishop Russell is shocked and saddened by the claims that have been made, and states that they are without merit. He holds in prayer all those who have ever been victimized by a member of the clergy.

Archbishop Russell was appointed by Pope Francis as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit on May 23, 2022. The Archdiocese of Detroit was not aware of any allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Russell until it was contacted by media Monday, August 1. Effective immediately, Archbishop Russell is refraining from all public ministry, and will continue until further directed by the Holy See. The canonical (Church law) guidelines, as provided by the Holy See, are being followed.

The Archdiocese of Detroit offers its prayers for all…

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Bishop accused in lawsuit of abusing child decades ago

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 2, 2022

By Mark Pratt

Read original article

[See also the lawsuit.]

A former parishioner at a Massachusetts church has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused as a child more than 30 years ago by a Roman Catholic priest who is now an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents as John Doe No. 12, was a 12-year-old parishioner at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn in 1989 and 1990 when he was sexually assaulted about 25 times by Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Boston.

The Archdiocese of Detroit in a statement said Russell denied the allegations.

“Abp. Russell is shocked and saddened by the claims that have been made,” the statement said. “He states that the allegations are totally without merit and that his conscience is perfectly clear.”

Russell has been placed on “limited” ministerial duty, and Detroit Archbishop Allen…

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Attorney who represented church abuse victims defends state’s YDC settlement plan

CONCORD (NH)
New Hampshire Bulletin [Concord NH]

August 3, 2022

By Annmarie Timmins

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Attorneys on opposite sides of settling sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church 20 years ago now fiercely disagree over the state’s proposed plan for settling claims from hundreds of people abused while at the former state Youth Detention Center. 

In a July 29 letter to Attorney General John Formella, attorney Chuck Douglas, who represented church abuse victims and now about a dozen YDC victims, blasted attorneys Dave Vicinanzo and Rus Rilee for calling the state’s proposed caps on YDC claims unfriendly to victims. The two represent more than 800 plaintiffs and have hundreds of cases in superior court rather than go through a settlement process they say will cheat and retraumatize victims by questioning their credibility .

In his letter, Douglas noted that when Vicinanzo defended the Catholic Church against sex abuse claims two decades ago, the church agreed to pay its victims far less than the…

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Maryland’s clergy sex abuse investigation lacks results, survivors say

BALTIMORE (MD)
Maryland Matters [Takoma Park MD]

August 2, 2022

By Bruce DePuyt

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Over a two-year period, investigators working for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro uncovered evidence of “pervasive” child sexual abuse by clergy — including “detailed” accounts of more than 1,000 victims by 31 “predator priests.”

In Maryland, victims of clergy sex abuse look to the work of Shapiro (D) with a mix of admiration and envy.

It took Shapiro’s investigators two years to investigate and put together an 884-page report that was described as a “bombshell” and led to a global push for reform and prosecution of those who committed or covered up crimes against children.

But three years after Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) announced an investigation into such abuse in Maryland, victims are still waiting for results.

And they are frustrated by what they see as foot-dragging by Frosh.

In 2019 he hired veteran prosecutor Elizabeth M. Embry to spearhead a probe of predators and church higher-ups who knew of…

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Francis in Canada: Trip shows tenacity of Canada’s Indigenous and pope

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

August 3, 2022

By Cindy Wooden

Read original article

[Via Hawaii Catholic Herald]

At the end of his six-day visit to Canada, Pope Francis, sitting in a wheelchair, said goodbye to Chief Wilton Littlechild, also sitting in a wheelchair.

Littlechild, a 78-year-old lawyer, survivor of abuse in a residential school and former grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, had spent decades advocating for the rights of First Nation, Métis and Inuit people and had lobbied hard for Pope Francis to come to Canada to apologize in person for the Catholic Church’s complicity in abusing children, breaking up families and suppressing Indigenous language and culture.

The chief had welcomed Pope Francis to his home — Maskwacis — July 25, the first full day of the trip, and created some controversy by giving the pope his late grandfather’s headdress. He told Canada’s Native News Online that the Ermineskin Cree Nation had decided as a community that the…

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Survivors of abuse in Catholic Church demand attorney general release findings

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ-TV - CBS 2 [Baltimore MD]

August 2, 2022

By Ava-joye Burnett

Read original article

For nearly four years, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General has been investigating allegations of widespread sex abuse against children within the Catholic Church.

But survivors who said they endured the abuse decades ago tell WJZ they are tired of waiting for answers and they’re worried time is running out.

These survivors want Attorney General Brian Frosh to release the findings of his investigation into child sex abuse because it’s been almost four years.

Members of the group SNAP – The Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests – also want indictments for priests who allegedly abused kids and anyone who helped with a cover-up.

As children, the survivors hid the secrets of their alleged abuse.

As adults, they’re openly sharing the details of the pain they say was caused by priests in the Catholic Church.

David Lorenz is the Maryland director of SNAP. He said his abuse happened…

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Bishop accused in lawsuit of abusing child decades ago

BOSTON (MA)
Detroit Free Press [Detroit MI]

August 2, 2022

Read original article

A former parishioner at a Massachusetts church has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused as a child more than 30 years ago by a Roman Catholic priest who is now an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents as John Doe No. 12, was a 12-year-old parishioner at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn in 1989 and 1990 when he was sexually assaulted about 25 times by Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Boston.

The Archdiocese of Detroit in a statement said Russell denied the allegations.

“Abp. Russell is shocked and saddened by the claims that have been made,” the statement said. “He states that the allegations are totally without merit and that his conscience is perfectly clear.”

Russell has been placed on “limited” ministerial duty, and Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron has pledged “complete cooperation.”

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August 2, 2022

The Catholic doctrine of discovery is already null and void

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Hub [Toronto, Ontario, Canada]

August 2, 2022

By Brendan Steven

Read original article

At last, the Pope has apologized on Canadian soil for the Catholic role in this country’s shameful history of residential schools.

Will the apology be accepted? A friend reminded me that forgiveness is an act of the will. Every residential school survivor and family member will choose for themselves what this apology means to them. An APTN correspondent described the reaction of one woman: “The moment [the Pope] apologized, she felt all her sadness and anger leave her body.” If for that alone, this visit is worth it.

It is not my place to say whether the apology should be accepted. But for some of those rejecting it, one reason why casts a long shadow: the Doctrine of Discovery. The issue inflames passions. Just last week, at a papal Mass in Quebec, activists unfurled a banner that read “RESCIND THE DOCTRINE”.

To them, I am happy to…

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Priest accused of asking inappropriate questions has new post at Narragansett parish

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

August 2, 2022

By Antonia Noori Farzan

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A priest who was accused of posing inappropriate questions to children at a Barrington parish has a new position in Narragansett.

Effective Aug. 15, Father Eric Silva will become assistant pastor at Saint Thomas More in Narragansett, a spokesman for the Diocese of Providence confirmed.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) alerted media outlets on Monday that Silva was “back on the job” and said the move raised serious concerns. 

SNAP concerns about placing suspended priests back into parishes

“Countless times in the past, Catholic officials have placed suspended priests back into parishes, only later having to remove them again when additional accusations are reported,” the Chicago-based advocacy group said in a news release. “We are concerned that this history could repeat itself in the Diocese of Providence.”

Fr. Eric Silva placed on leave in Barrington

Silva previously served as assistant pastor for St. Luke’s Parish in…

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‘We heard nothing’: Cape Broyle community group blindsided by sale of local Catholic church and scrambling to save it

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
Saltwire Network [Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada]

August 2, 2022

By Evan Careen

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[Immaculate] Conception Catholic Church parishioner committee asking outsiders to not put in offers on the church they hold dear

The Cape Broyle Church Committee had been trying to find out for months how they could keep community ownership of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in the community, so it was a big surprise to them late last week when they were informed by a real estate agent the building would be listed for sale on Monday, Aug. 1.

Paula Hawkins, chair of the committee, said they contacted the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s in February to find a way for the community to obtain legal ownership of the church, and got a reply only a few weeks ago that it would have to be referred to the corporation’s legal department. This was following a meeting with the archbishop that same month, where he told them all the church…

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Group’s report card shows many dioceses failing in financial transparency

BOSTON (MA)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

August 1, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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[Via Detroit Catholic]

Before Voice of the Faithful prepared a report on diocesan finance councils, it gave dioceses a heads-up that it would be working on such a report and what it would be looking for when it visited the dioceses’ websites.

The Massachusetts-based organization sent letters to diocesan bishops and chief financial officers of the 176 U.S. Latin-rite dioceses.

Despite the advance notice, only 18 of the 176 dioceses got a grade of 60% or better — what the Voice of the Faithful considered a passing grade when it released the report July 13.

The paper on diocesan finance councils was the fifth diocesan fiscal transparency report assembled by Voice of the Faithful, which was established in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002.

Voice of the Faithful’ said the low scores give credence its contention that, had dioceses followed…

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Archdiocese of Chicago Names Mario Mollo Director of its Office for the Protection of Children and Youth

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

August 1, 2022

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Under Mollo the office will continue to respond to current victim assistance and investigative needs

The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced the appointment of Mario Mollo as the Director of its Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY). Mollo has more than 25 years’ experience with the Illinois State Police (ISP), including its Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and extensive involvement in peer and youth counseling and mentorship. He replaced Mary Jane Doerr, who had been in the position since 2016.

“We are pleased to have attracted a leader for our Office for the Protection of Children and Youth who has devoted his life to justice and healing,” said Bishop Robert Casey, Vicar General of the Archdiocese. “Mario will build on the fine work of his predecessors, continuing their commitment to pastoral care, transparency and cooperation with civil authorities. He is aware of the archdiocese’s pioneering working in preventing…

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When Abuse Occurs in a Sacramental Context

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Crisis Magazine [Manchester NH]

August 1, 2022

By Emily Hess

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One sultry night in Pearl River, Louisiana, a man noticed that the normally dark windows of his parish church were lit up. Wondering why the lights were on so late, he poked his head in. Rather than seeing a Mass or a prayer service, he witnessed his pastor, Fr. Travis, shooting a pornographic film with two women on the altar. Trembling with shock, he called the police. 

The response by the diocese was definite and swift. About a week later, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans celebrated Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The old altar had been taken out and burned a day earlier, and an unused altar from a shuttered parish was brought in to replace it. The archbishop blessed the new altar with holy water and reconsecrated it and the church.

“The desecration of this church and altar is demonic, demonic,” he said during…

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‘Last Chance’ for Mass. Lawmakers to Ban NDAs This Year

BOSTON (MA)
WBTS - NBC 10 [Boston MA]

July 29, 2022

By Mary Markos

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The number of nondisclosure agreements issued across state government and the amount spent is difficult to track down, and a proposal that would ban them in the public sector could die for a third straight legislative session

Massachusetts lawmakers are running out of time to move on a renewed push to ban nondisclosure agreements, which proponents of the legislation say can be used to silence victims of workplace misconduct with taxpayer dollars.

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio has pushed the issue for nearly five years, leading the Massachusetts Senate in January 2019 to unanimously ban NDAs. The legally binding agreements bar victims from speaking out or from filing a lawsuit.

Experts say nondisclosure agreements perpetuate inappropriate conduct and prevent transparency, but the executive offices of the governor and the state’s House of Representatives have continued to allow them.

“Nondisclosure agreements should be banned in governmental proceedings and also in non-governmental proceedings,”…

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August 1, 2022

Newfoundland church sales bring justice to abuse victims—and leave longtime parishioners in need of a new spiritual home.

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
America [New York NY]

July 29, 2022

By Aloysius Wong

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For the first time on this papal visit to Canada, Pope Francis acknowledged the sexual abuse perpetrated by “some of [the] sons and daughters” of the church in Canada, describing them on July 28 as “scandals that require firm action and an irreversible commitment.”

“Together with you, I would like once more to ask forgiveness of all the victims,” he said. “The pain and the shame we feel must become an occasion for conversion: never again!”

The long-awaited moment of institutional remorse for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous survivors of sexual abuse came as Catholics in a part of the country not included on this papal journey continued a difficult path of their own toward reconciliation emerging from another source of national anguish.

In Canada’s Maritime province of Newfoundland, a group of elderly survivors of historical abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage are finally receiving compensation ordered by a landmark ruling in 2020 that…

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RI Priest Removed From Barrington and Cranston Churches After Allegations Now at New Church

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 1, 2022

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Priest Eric Silva was removed from two Rhode Island Catholic churches in February of 2022 for improper behavior. Now, he is back at another Rhode Island Catholic church offering mass.

Earlier this year, Silva had been assigned to St. Luke’s Church in Barrington and was a visiting priest in Cranston.

Parents alleged that Silva was asking inappropriate questions to children about their sexual orientation and sexual activity.

According to a WJAR report in February of 2022, a parent, who requested anonymity, said Silva asked male children if they were gay and accused them of lying if they said no.

And, Silva asked females were asked if they were sexually active and, according to the report, similarly accused of lying if they answered in the negative. He made the comments when he was offering confession.

Silva made the comments to children while he was a visiting priest at Immaculate…

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In Chile, five women lead the Church’s anti-clerical abuse campaign

(CHILE)
Crux [Denver CO]

July 30, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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SANTIAGO, Chile – Experts have long said that in order to fully address clerical sexual abuse, the laity has to get involved. In Santiago, Chile, devastated like few others after the fall of several highly respected priests and two consecutive archbishops accused of cover-up, this tactical change is spearheaded by five women.

Andrea Idalsoaga heads the Pastoral Office for the Reception of Allegations of the Archdiocese of Santiago. She was called in when the office was created, after being a judge of the National Ecclesial Tribunal for 16 years.

“This is not only a problem of the hierarchy, but all the baptized are co-responsible so that this does not happen again,” she told Crux. “I believe the abuses were the symptom of something much deeper in the church, like an iceberg … [they’re] a symptom of a culture that, as Pope Francis said, is one of cover-up, abusive.”

Throughout the week,…

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