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.

October 1, 2022

Prosecution Calls Witnesses as Vatican Finance Trial Resumes

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

September 30, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus/CNA

Read original article

The building at 60 Sloane Avenue in London is at the center of the Vatican’s historic corruption trial, which began at the end of July 2021.

After a break of over two months, the Vatican trial on financial corruption in the Secretariat of State continued this week with the interrogation of witnesses for the prosecution.

The court reconvened Sept. 28, 29, and 30, to begin the questioning of the first of what the prosecution expects to be a total of 41 witnesses it will call.

The witness list includes Vatican gendarme Stefano De Santis, who assisted the Vatican’s now chief Prosecutor Alessandro Diddi during the trial’s preliminary investigation; he is expected to testify at the next scheduled hearing on October 12. 

A British-Italian architect, Luciano Capaldo, has been called to testify by the prosecution the same week. Capaldo was the registered director of the holding company London 60 SA Ltd,…

View Cache

Witnesses in Vatican mega trial paint bleak picture of how Secretariat managed funds

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

September 30, 2022

By Claire Giangravé

Read original article

Over a year into the proceedings, the Vatican mega-trial of 10 individuals accused of defrauding the Catholic institution’s finances through a controversial real estate deal began again this week after a summer recess with an interrogation of the prosecution’s witnesses.

The trial, which resumed Wednesday (Sept. 28) after being on break since July, revolves around a 2018 London real estate purchase by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State that ultimately cost the institution well over $200 million, mainly taken from papal funds destined for charity.

After more than a year of hearing from defendants, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, judges will now be presented with testimony from the Vatican prosecutor’s submitted list of 27 witnesses.

On Friday, Revisor General Alessandro Cassinis Righini described to judges a culture of mismanagement within the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Righini was appointed to oversee Vatican budgets and transactions by Pope Francis in March 2021 but had…

View Cache

At trial, Vatican auditor says he was shocked by misuse of funds

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Crux [Denver CO]

September 30, 2022

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Read original article

The Vatican auditor general said he was surprised by the lack of ethical standards demonstrated by officials considering investment opportunities, including a failed London property development deal.

During the Vatican trial of 10 defendants accused of various charges related to financial malfeasance, Alessandro Cassinis Righini, auditor general of the Holy See and Vatican City State, criticized the mismanagement of funds as well as the Vatican’s association with people “with clear conflicts of interest,” which resulted in the loss of millions of euros.

“That was not the way to manage funds from Peter’s Pence,” Cassinis told the court Sept. 30, referring to the papal fund used for charity and to support the running of the Roman Curia and Vatican embassies around the world.

When asked by Vatican prosecutors if he was sure that funds from the annual collection were used in the London property deal, Cassinis replied, “Yes.”

The trial, which…

View Cache

Pope names new members to commission for protection of minors

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

September 30, 2022

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Read original article

Pope Francis reconfirmed the leadership of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and expanded its membership from 17 to 20 people, naming 10 new members and reappointing 10 returning members.

U.S. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the commission, said, “Coming from all over the world with varied backgrounds and a common passion for the well-being of children and vulnerable people, the members announced today include advocates and practitioners of prevention and protection to the many areas in which the church ministers to children.”

The members include “representatives from canon law, social work, the medical and psychological professions, law enforcement and the judiciary as well as pastoral experts who currently work in dioceses and religious congregations,” he said in a statement Sept. 30, the day the appointments were announced.

“They have all spent significant amounts of their professional lives listening to and supporting victim/survivors of sexual…

View Cache

“Will ruin church’s reputation”, pastor’s son refuses to marry girl after sexual exploitation

TIRUNELVELI (INDIA)
Hindu Post [New Delhi, IN]

September 29, 2022

By MahaKrishnan

Read original article

A pastor and his son have been booked for raping a college girl in Tamil Nadu. The pastor’s son refused to marry her after sexually exploiting her on the promise of marriage. The girl had leveled rape charges against the father and another pastor as well.

Pastor David Jacob runs a Pentecostal church named Zion Prayer House near Panagudi in Tirunelveli. His son Anis Paul(25) made acquaintance with a 22 year old MCA student who attended the church. Anis Paul proposed to her and took her out on many occasions. As per Tamil media reports he also promised to marry her.

On this promise he sexually exploited the girl. But when she started asking him to marry her Paul stopped talking with her. He asked her to stay away from him for 2 years as their relationship would bring bad repute to his family…

View Cache

Former Missouri City pastor sentenced to 10 years for aggravated sexual assault of a child

(TX)
Houston Chronicle [Houston TX]

September 29, 2022

By Jonathan Limehouse

Read original article

A 62-year-old man who served as pastor of a Baptist church in Missouri City will spend a decade in prison after pleading guilty to the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

William Benjamin Woodward pleaded guilty June 14, but he elected to have his punishment assessed by U.S. District Judge J. Christian Becerra. The first-degree felony is punishable by five to 99 years, or life, in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Woodward was executive pastor at Heritage Baptist Church from 2009 until his arrest in April 2021. The church was rebranded and the name was changed to Horizon Baptist Church a few weeks after Woodward’s arrest.

By pleading guilty to the crime and waiving his right to a jury trial, Woodward became eligible to ask the court for deferred adjudication, a form of probation. During the hearing June 20, his attorney argued that his client was…

View Cache

‘No one is above the law’: Former Missouri City pastor sentenced to 10 years for sexual assault of child: DA

RICHMOND (TX)
click2houston.com / KPRC-TV, NBC - 2 [Houston TX]

September 29, 2022

By Brittany Taylor

Read original article

A former Missouri City pastor has been sentenced to prison after he pled guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child on June 14, according to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office.

William Benjamin Woodward, 62, previously served as pastor for a Baptist church in Missouri City from 2009 until his arrest in April 2021, according to the DA. Woodward elected to have his punishment assessed by Judge J. Christian Becerra of the 434th District Court.

Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years, or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Woodward’s hearing was held on June 20 where his attorney argued that he was an excellent candidate for deferred adjudication because he had no criminal history, had served his community as a church leader, and had immediately started sex offender therapy after the child in this case…

View Cache

Former youth pastor sentenced to 13+ years for sexual abuse of Missouri teen

ST. LOUIS (MO)
U.S. State Attorney's Office [St. Louis, MO]

September 29, 2022

By U.S. State Attorney's Office Eastern District of Missouri

Read original article

U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White on Thursday sentenced a former youth pastor from New York to 13 years and four months in prison for the sexual abuse of a Missouri 15-year-old in 2013.

Judge White also ordered Jesse E. Vargas, 38, to pay $146,594 in restitution to his victim.

Vargas originally met the then 11-year-old girl at a religious camp in Michigan where he worked.

“Over the course of the next four years Jesse played with my family and I like frogs in a pot,” the victim said in court during Thursday’s hearing. “Slowly increasing the temperature of his manipulation until we each were unaware of the water we had been submerged in, let alone its suddenly scalding temperature. By age thirteen I abandoned most of my spiritual leaders and friendships at his suggestion. By fourteen he even guided me to push away my two closest friends,” she said.

View Cache

Former New York pastor sentenced for sexual abuse of St. Louis girl, 15

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOV4 [St. Louis, MO]

September 29, 2022

By KMOV Staff

Read original article

A former youth pastor from New York was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison.

Jesse Vargas, 38, originally met the girl when she was 11 years old at a religious camp in Michigan. Vargas kept in touch with the family for the next four years and came to her St. Louis home in January 2013, preached at her church and then sexually assaulted her. He returned in March of that year and assaulted her again. He arranged for her to go to New York in June and abused her again.

Vargas pleaded guilty to two felony counts of travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual contact and coercion and enticement of a minor.

View Cache

Jury convicts Manchester minister of sexually assaulting boy

MANCHESTER (CT)
Journal Inquirer [Manchester CT]

September 27, 2022

By Alex Wood

Read original article

A Hartford Superior Court jury on Tuesday convicted minister Robert Lee Nichols of touching a 10- or 11-year-old boy in sexual ways during a 10-day visit to Nichols’ family’s Manchester home in the summer of 2009 or 2010.

The year of the visit was disputed, but the real issue was whether the sexual touching happened. The boy testified Monday morning that it did, and Nichols, 43, flatly denied that in testimony later that day. Nichols’ wife, Tamara, subsequently took the witness stand and corroborated important parts of his testimony.

The six-member jury convicted Nichols of two felonies, risk of injury to a child and fourth-degree sexual assault. He faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25 years when Judge Michael Gustafson sentences him Nov. 29.

The judge raised Nichols’ bond to $500,000 after the verdict. Online court records showed Wednesday that he had posted…

View Cache

Japan’s army issues rare apology over sexual harassment case

(JAPAN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 29, 2022

By Mari Yamaguchi

Read original article

In a rare admission of sexual harassment in Japan’s military, its army chief apologized Thursday to a former soldier for suffering caused by a group of servicemembers.

Yoshihide Yoshida, head of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, said an internal investigation found evidence that several servicemen were involved in the case brought by former soldier Rina Gonoi last month.

“Representing the Ground-Self Defense Force, I deeply apologize to Ms. Gonoi for the pain she had to suffer for a long time,” Yoshida told a news conference. “We offer a sincere apology.”

The investigation is continuing and further details, including the assailants and their punishment, have not been released.

Gonoi welcomed the apology and thanked those who supported her, but added that “my battle is not over.”

“I’m determined to get an apology directly from the perpetrators,” she tweeted.

Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada earlier this month ordered a ministry-wide investigation into growing…

View Cache

Deaths on sea in Vietnam spark trafficking alarm

PREAH SIHANOUK (CAMBODIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

September 30, 2022

By UCA News Reporter

Read original article

Cambodia urges China to do more in combatting human trafficking

The death toll from a boat that capsized at sea on the Cambodian-Vietnamese maritime border has risen to 11 after eight bodies were washed ashore on an island off the south coast, officials said.

The incident has been tied to human traffickers and is under investigation.

Forty-one Chinese were reported lost at sea almost a week ago after their boat, believed to be headed for Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s south coast, got into trouble.

Authorities from both countries launched a search, rescued 30 people, and reported another three people had died. A statement released from city hall in Sihanoukville this morning said the missing eight had been found on a beach, on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc.

A separate statement from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security said two of the bodies were carrying Chinese identification papers in their pockets.

“The bodies found were…

View Cache

Response to Recent Judgment in Hayes v. City of St. John

TORONTO (CANADA)
PR Newswire [New York, NY]

September 29, 2022

By Koskie Minsky LLP

Read original article

The many survivors of convicted pedophile, Kenneth Estabrooks’ horrendous sexual abuse are deeply saddened and hurt by the recent decision not to hold anyone liable for decades of sexual abuse of vulnerable children by a Saint John Police officer. Estabrooks was a Saint John City police officer for over two decades.

The evidence at trial was unequivocal and uncontested that he used a City of Saint John police car to kidnap young children. He used a City of Saint John police-issued gun to threaten them and their families. He used City of Saint John police-issued handcuffs to restrain the young children while he raped them.

Class Counsel advised they will immediately launch an appeal to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal on behalf of the class.

John McKiggan, co-lead counsel said: “This is the most devastating decision I have seen in 32 years. The city employed Kenneth Estabrooks. The City gave him his uniform. The City issued him his gun. The City owned the vehicle…

View Cache

Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Belo — On sexual abuse, has anything really changed?

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 29, 2022

By JD Flynn

Read original article

The Vatican acknowledged Thursday that it imposed restrictions in 2020 on the ministry and residency of Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is accused of sexually abusing teenage boys decades ago.

But Vatican officials will almost certainly face more questions about those restrictions, and about the bishop’s past, as details of the allegations against Belo come into focus in the weeks to come.

The Vatican’s admission came after a Dutch magazine reported this week the serial abuse allegations against the bishop, who has been regarded as a hero of the fight for independence in his native country of East Timor.

The allegations are grave. The bishop is accused of raping young men in the 1980s and ‘90s, and of taking advantage of their poverty, and his power, to keep them silent.

The Holy See’s restrictions on Bishop Belo might seem familiar to U.S. Catholics — the bishop…

View Cache

September 30, 2022

Advocates list 100s of allegedly abusive California priests

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 29, 2022

By Haven Daley and Brian Melley

Read original article

Advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse delivered a list of more than 300 publicly accused abusers to the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco on Thursday as they urged him to release his “secret” files on credibly accused priests.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests took aim at Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for being one 15 U.S. bishops — representing fewer than 10% of all dioceses — not to publicly name abusive clerics.

“Every bishop is his own king and they can do what they want with these lists. About 158 bishops in the United States have released lists over the past three or four years,” said Dan McNevin of SNAP, and a church abuse survivor. “But the archbishop of San Francisco will not publish a list. And so we think it’s really important to get this list out, to get it published, to update it, to provide…

View Cache

‘A long way to go’: Catholic women call for wide-ranging church reforms in new international survey

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Conversation [Waltham MA]

September 29, 2022

By Kathleen McPhillips and Tracy McEwan

Read original article

Catholic women across the world are calling for a wide range of reforms to the church, according to the results of our survey of more than 17,000 Catholic women from over 100 countries published this month.

A substantial majority were concerned about the prevalence of abuse, racism, and sexism in church contexts, and many raised issues relating to transparency and accountability in church leadership and governance.

The International Survey of Catholic Women is one of the most extensive surveys of Catholic women ever undertaken, and its findings should inform lasting and genuine change in the Catholic Church.

Why we did this survey

The survey was initiated by Catholic Women Speak in response to the invitation of Pope Francis for the Catholic Church to engage in a process of “synodality” for the 2021-2023 Synod of Bishops. The Synod will examine how the church comes together and is considered to be of great importance…

View Cache

Alleged victims of clergy abuse demand S.F. archbishop release list of suspected offenders

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle [San Francisco CA]

September 29, 2022

By Michael Cabanatuan

Read original article

A group of people claiming to be survivors of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church demanded Thursday that San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly release a list of priests and others who have been accused of abuse in the San Francisco archdiocese.

Dioceses and archdioceses across the country — including in the Bay Area — have released lists of the men accused of sexual abuse of minors as part of an effort to atone for the abuse scandal.

But San Francisco remains a holdout.

The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has prepared its own list of 312 priests, brothers and lay people active in the archdiocese’s 88 churches in San Francisco, San Marin and San Mateo counties — and planned to release it Thursday.

They’re calling on the archdiocese to release its own list, a move they say is important.

The archdiocese told The Chronicle…

View Cache

Vatican says it restricted East Timor archbishop after abuse allegations

DILI (TIMOR-LESTE)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

September 29, 2022

Read original article

[Via Catholic Philly]

After a Dutch newspaper published an investigation into abuse allegations against retired Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of Dili, the Vatican said it had become aware of the allegations several years ago and placed restrictions on him.

The newspaper De Groene Amsterdammer said it began its investigation in 2002. It used the first-person stories of two young men, then aged 14 and 16, who graphically detailed their interactions with Bishop Belo, claiming that he gave them money after certain physical encounters.

“He knows that the boys have no money. So when he invited you, you came over and (he) gave you some money,” one of the alleged victims was quoted as saying. “But meanwhile, you are a victim. That’s the way he did.”

“From the research carried out by De Groene, it appears Belo had more victims,” the story said. “De Groene spoke with 20 people with knowledge of…

View Cache

East Timor’s Catholics rally behind accused Nobel bishop

DILI (TIMOR-LESTE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 30, 2022

By Gantry Meilana, Nicole Winfield, and Barry Hatton

Read original article

East Timor’s Catholics reacted with shock but also expressions of support Friday for revered independence icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo following allegations he sexually abused boys decades ago in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation.

The Vatican admitted Thursday that its sex abuse office had secretly sanctioned the bishop in 2020, restricting his movements and contacts with minors and forbidding him from having contact with his homeland. The Vatican revealed the restrictions after the Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer exposed the claims against Belo by two of his alleged victims and reported there were others, too.

The Holy See has not responded to questions about when church officials first suspected possible misconduct by Belo, why he was allowed to retire two decades early in 2002 and why he was then sent to Mozambique to work as a missionary priest with children. He has said he retired…

View Cache

Vatican Disciplined Nobel Laureate Bishop Over Child Abuse Claims

(TIMOR-LESTE)
New York Times

September 29, 2022

By Jason Horowitz

Read original article

After accusations against him became public, the Vatican said that in 2020 it had punished Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, a hero of the independence movement in his native East Timor.

Rome – A Nobel Peace Prize-winning Catholic bishop received “disciplinary restrictions” and was banned from “contact with minors,” the Vatican revealed on Thursday, based on allegations that the prelate, Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, had raped and abused teenage boys decades ago in East Timor.

The church’s acknowledgment came a day after a Dutch magazine, De Groene Amsterdammer, aired the accusations in an explicit account of abuse by two of the priest’s alleged victims.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was first involved in this case in 2019, in the light of the accusations it received concerning the bishop’s behavior,” the Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said in a statement.

In September 2020, the Vatican limited Bishop Belo’s movements…

View Cache

French Catholic Church starts compensating sex abuse victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 30, 2022

Read original article

France’s Catholic Church has paid financial compensation to 23 victims of child sexual abuse by priests or other church representatives under a recently launched reparation process, the body in charge of compensation decisions said Friday.

Representatives of the Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation said during a news conference that over 1,000 victims have come forward to claim compensation since the body was established this year.

France’s Catholic bishops’ conference agreed to provide reparations after a report issued last year revealed a large number of child sex abuse cases.

Some 60 reparation decisions have been made, out of which 45 include financial compensation that range from 8,000 to 60,000 euros ($7,806 to 58,548), the INIRR said. It said 23 people have received the money.

At the request of victims, reparations also may include non-financial support such as discussion groups, art therapy and meeting with local church representatives, according to…

View Cache

September 29, 2022

Vancouver Museum of Art, 215 pairs of children's shoes, May 2021. Wikimedia Commons/Frozemint.

Neglected Voices in the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis: Livestream on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 12:30 pm Eastern

WASHINGTON (DC)
Georgetown University [Washington DC]

September 29, 2022

Read original article

[Photo above: Vancouver Museum of Art, 215 pairs of children’s shoes, May 2021. Wikimedia Commons/Frozemint.]

Wednesday, October 5, 2022
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Online Via Livestream
RSVP

The Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis is an ongoing wound that has caused immense anguish and pain for abuse survivors and their families and friends, as well as the entire Catholic community. Church leaders have taken steps to respond, but much more remains to be done to change the culture of clericalism that allows abuse and its cover-up to occur, and to increase accountability and transparency so that such grave crimes do not occur again.

Too often conversations about the abuse crisis neglect the voices of those within Native, Latino, and Black communities, even as members of those communities suffer disproportionately from abuse. The perspectives of Native, Latino, and Black Catholics can strengthen our understanding of how clergy abuse and its cover-up…

View Cache

Vatican defrocks Lebanese priest convicted of child abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

September 28, 2022

Read original article

[Via Union of Catholic Asian News]

Mansour Labaky, 82, resides in Lebanon which does not extradite its nationals

Beirut – An elderly Lebanese priest found guilty in France of sexually assaulting children has been defrocked by the Vatican, the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon said Tuesday.

APECL said it was notified of the Vatican’s decision to demote Mansour Labaky to “secular status”.

“We pray… for the victims of sexual assault,” it said.

In 2021, a French court sentenced Labaky to 15 years in prison after convicting him in absentia for sexually abusing girls in a dormitory he opened and managed for Lebanese orphans in Douvres-la-Delivrande in the Normandy region of northern France between 1991 and 1998.

Labaky, 82, resides in Lebanon which does not extradite its nationals.

An international arrest warrant was issued against him in April 2016, but Beirut has not taken action.

Labaky has repeatedly…

View Cache

SF Archbishop Cordileone Refusing Major Step Towards Transparency in Widening Sex Abuse Scandal

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

September 28, 2022

By Michael Bott, Candice Nguyen, Jeremy Carroll, Michael Horn, Alex Bozovic, Grace Galletti, and Roselyn Romero

Read original article

As Catholic dioceses across the state are getting hit with hundreds of new child sex abuse lawsuits, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone remains the only California bishop yet to release an internal list of priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

Northern California’s most powerful bishop steadfastly refuses to release an internal list of priests accused of sexually abusing children, even as hundreds of new lawsuits hitting Catholic dioceses across the state suggest new depths to the church’s sex abuse scandal.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone remains the lone bishop in California declining to take the significant step towards transparency, and pressure is mounting for him to do so. 

“When you don’t publish a list and tell people the truth proactively, it’s a lie,” said Dan McNevin, a clergy sex abuse survivor and local leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “And this is a religious…

View Cache

Deceased South Bay Priest Raped Teen and Gave Him HIV, Lawsuit Alleges

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

September 28, 2022

By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott, Jeremy Carroll, Michael Horn, Roselyn Romero, and Grace Galletti

Read original article

The allegations come at a time when Catholic dioceses across California are being hit with a wave of new child sex abuse lawsuits enabled by a recent state law

The 1982 scene is still imprinted in Steven Chavez’s mind: His mom sitting at the kitchen table of their Santa Clara home, an ashtray brimming with cigarette butts in front of her, holding a letter that spelled out her son’s likely death sentence. 

Chavez was heading to West Point after graduating from high school at the top of his class, he said, but that was before a blood test revealed HIV in the teen’s system.

“They told me I had less than six months to live,” Chavez said. “To get my things in order.”

Chavez’s story began just a year before, in 1981, as a South Bay teenager. The altar boy and straight-A student had his sights set on the White…

View Cache

Ace Young to Lead Controversial Play About Sexual Abuse Within the Catholic Church

NEW YORK (NY)
TheaterMania [New York NY]

September 28, 2022

By Hayley Levitt

Read original article

Performances will run this fall at The Tank.

Vatican Falls, the controversial play written by Frank J. Avella that closely examines the Catholic sex abuse scandal, will make its world premiere this fall in a limited off-Broadway run. Performances will be held from October 27-November 20 at The Tank. Avella co-directs with Carlotta Brentan.

Vatican Falls tells real survivor stories while exploring the fictional journey of one particular survivor. The play has had seven world premieres canceled in four different countries in the last decade due to its controversial content. The cast if this off-Broadway world premiere will star Broadway veteran Ace Young (HairAmerican Idol), along with Carlotta Brentan, Tucker Aust, and Alice Barrett Mitchell. Rounding out the company are James Gracia, Danny Hilt, Kenon Veno, Edward L. Simon, Ryan Wright, and Jacopo Constantini.

The plot of Vatican Falls is described as follows: “Based on factual accounts, spanning decades and set against the…

View Cache

Nobel Prize-winning Bishop Belo accused of sexual abuse

(TIMOR-LESTE)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 28, 2022

Read original article

Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of East Timor won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. Now he has been accused of sexually abusing several teenage boys.

Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of East Timor has been accused of sexually abusing several teenage boys, according to a report published Wednesday in a Dutch news magazine.

Belo, 74, came to international attention in the 1990s for his outspoken role in opposing the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which lasted from 1975 until 1999.

The bishop was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his work “towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.” He shared the prize with  José Ramos-Horta, who went on to become president of East Timor.

But in a Sept. 28 report, several men have claimed they were sexually abused by the bishop when they were teenagers. The allegations were reported by De Groene Amsterdammer,…

View Cache
Geoff Drew was a music teacher at Elder High School from 1983-1990

Former Cincinnati Catholic priest told rape victim ‘I don’t have a clue what you could be talking about’

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO - ABC 9 [Cincinnati OH]

September 28, 2022

By Craig Cheatham

Read original article

[Photo above: Geoff Drew was a music teacher at Elder High School from 1983-1990. Elder High School Year

Rape victim releases new records from investigation

In a “chilling” phone call to then-Rev. Geoff Drew, the Catholic priest who raped him three decades ago, Paul Neyer said he was so unnerved that he grabbed a table and felt like he could “squeeze through it.”

At the request of detectives investigating his case, Neyer called Drew on July 31, 2019, one day after investigators from Green Township and Cincinnati interviewed him about being raped, according to previously unreleased police records from the investigation.

According to the 20-page investigation report, Neyer told Drew he was “struggling from things that happened in the past.”

Unprovoked, Drew offered to meet Neyer in person, “so they could talk,” according to the report.

“If you think I did something to you when you were a minor, I…

View Cache

September 28, 2022

Investigation – Sexual abuse of children by Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Belo

DILI (TIMOR-LESTE)
De Groene Amsterdammer [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

September 28, 2022

By Tjitske Lingsma

Read original article

‘What I want is apologies’

For years, Timor-Leste’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo has been sexually abusing boys, survivors and others claim. Meanwhile, the Catholic church imposed travel restrictions on Belo. ‘We have to talk about it, and shout it out louder to the world.’

There is also a Dutch translation of this article available.

It was Sunday morning. Paulo was standing among the other faithful listening attentively to the mass Bishop Belo was holding in the tropical garden at his residence in Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste. After the mass, Belo walked up to Paulo, then a teenager of fifteen or sixteen years old. ‘He asked me to come to his place’, says Paulo, now 42, who wishes to stay anonymous for the privacy and safety of himself and his family.

It was an honour to be invited. ‘I was very happy,’ says Paulo. Bishop…

View Cache

Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting

WASHINGTON (DC)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 28, 2022

By Jason Dearen and Michael Rezendes

Read original article

It was a frigid Sunday evening at the Catholic Newman Center in Salt Lake City when the priest warned parishioners who had gathered after Mass that their right to private confessions was in jeopardy.

A new law would break that sacred bond, the priest said, and directed the parishioners to sign a one-page form letter on their way out. “I/We Oppose HB90,” began the letter, stacked next to pre-addressed envelopes. “HB90 is an improper interference of the government into the practice of religion in Utah.”

In the following days of February 2020, Utah’s Catholic diocese, which oversees dozens of churches, says it collected some 9,000 signed letters from parishioners and sent them to state Rep. Angela Romero, a Democrat who had been working on the bill as part of her campaign against child sexual abuse. HB90 targeted Utah’s “clergy-penitent privilege,” a law similar to those in many states that exempts…

View Cache

Former Atlanta priest charged in Sacramento with child molestation

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlantic Journal-Constitution [Dunwoody, GA]

September 27, 2022

By Sheila Poole

Read original article

The priest served at two metro Atlanta parishes from 2005 to 2008

Sacramento police have charged a former Atlanta area priest with eight counts of sexual abuse of an underage girl in California between 1996 and 1998.

A felony warrant has been issued for the priest, Roberto Jaramillo, 70, who is believed to have moved to his home diocese in Colombia after serving for a decade in several parishes in Sacramento and Roseville, Calif. He later served in the Atlanta Archdiocese, according to a press release on the Diocese of Sacramento’s website and an article in The Sacramento Bee.

His name has been added to the Sacramento Diocese’s list of clergy “credibly” accused of sex abuse. In the warrant, which was signed in August, he is referred to as Roberto Leon Jaramillo-Alzate and is charged with eight counts of lewd and lascivious acts on the girl.

The…

View Cache

Questions as accused former pastor relocated

WESTWOOD (NJ)
Pascack Press [Westwood, NJ]

August 26, 2022

By Michael Olohan

Read original article

A former pastor at St. Andrew Church in Westwood who resigned in 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct from over three decades ago has been reassigned as chaplain to a Catholic resource facility in Newark that offers services to help pregnant, post-abortion, and sexual abuse victims “who need a safe and supportive environment.”

Former pastor James Weiner was found to be working at The Mercy House, a “family-oriented resource and referral center in the heart of Newark with a focus on assisting pregnant and parenting women who need a safe and supportive environment.”

The center also provides services and programs for post-abortion and sexual abuse healing.

Following a sexual abuse allegation raised anew in 2018 by the Rev. Desmond Rossi, Weiner stepped down from his new position as pastor at St. Andrew voluntarily, eventually resigning before an interim and then a new pastor was appointed at the church.

Rossi’s charges…

View Cache

Former pastor indicted on charges of possession of child sexual abuse images

NASHUA (NH)
WMUR-TV, ABC-9 [Manchester NH]

September 16, 2022

By WMUR9

Read original article

A former pastor in Nashua is facing 10 felony charges of possessing child sexual abuse images after being indicted by a grand jury.

The investigation of former pastor Stephen Bates began in 2016 when police received a tip from the online chat service Skype that someone had uploaded child sexual abuse images, police said.Sign up for our Newsletters

The charges each carry a potential sentence of 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

The indictments detail graphic information about what was allegedly contained in the images, which include still pictures and videos, investigators said. The still pictures and the videos allegedly feature young girls, and, in one case, a young boy. One also includes adult male genitalia, officials said.

Bates was the former pastor at the Bible Baptist Church in Nashua. He was living at the parsonage until the…

View Cache

Catholic priest in court over sexual abuse of students in Tanzania

MOSHI (TANZANIA)
The EastAfrican [Nairobi, Kenya]

September 27, 2022

By The Citizen

Read original article

A Catholic priest was arraigned Monday at the Resident Magistrate’s Court in Moshi over allegations of raping and sexually assaulting more than 10 children.

He had been in police custody since September 20.

His arraignment came after he was accused of giving a Standard Six pupil and a Form One student Tsh3,000 ($1.29) and Tsh5,000 ($2.14), respectively, for sexual favours.

The children had been attending First Holy Communion and Confirmation classes.

Regional Commissioner Nurdin Babu said “it is a disgraceful incident”.

Parents had raised the alarm that the priest had abused many students and planned to march in protest to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa’s office before the priest was arrested.

Sources said that the parents had reported the allegations to the leadership of the Catholic Church in Moshi and to the police.

View Cache

Indian family seeks dismissal of priest accused of abuse

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

September 28, 2022

By Michael Gonsalves

Read original article

The 55-year-old Father Vincent Pereira of Pune in western India has been accused of sex abuse many times since 2014

An Indian Catholic priest already under suspension following sex abuse complaints has fresh charges of sexual assault being lodged against him by a minor boy and his father, sparking calls for his dismissal from the priesthood.

Father Vincent Pereira, 55, was originally suspended from public priestly ministries after police arrested him in September 2018 for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in a school where he was the principal. Released on bail in March 2020, he now lives in the pastoral center of the Pune diocese in western India.

“He should be dismissed from priesthood forthwith because he attacked my son and even dared to violate me,” says Mathew Kuriokose, 55, a Catholic from Pune.

Kuriokose told UCA News on Sept. 20 that Father Pereira assaulted his 15-year-old son while visiting his…

View Cache

New judge in Agape Boarding School case orders DSS workers access to campus

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Springfield News-Leader [Springfield MO]

September 27, 2022

By Susan Szuch and Galen Bacharier

Read original article

In a Tuesday afternoon hearing, Judge Thomas Pyle set a preliminary hearing and ordered that Department of Social Services Children’s Division workers have 24-hour access to Agape Boarding School’s campus to observe the students there.

The preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 13 and 14. Pyle was assigned to the case after the Attorney General’s office requested a new judge. Cedar County Circuit Court Judge David Munton had initially been assigned.

Previous reporting

The Missouri Attorney General’s office filed a new petition Monday, requesting that Agape Boarding School be shut down and its students removed to safety. The new petition comes after the AG office expressed intention to dismiss the Sept. 7 petition.

In a phone conference Monday morning, Cedar County Circuit Court Judge David Munton dissolved the order that allowed Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division workers to remain at Agape Boarding School.

The attorney representing Agape Boarding…

View Cache

SNAP calls for controversial Christian Boarding School to Close

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

September 27, 2022

By David G. Clohessy

Read original article

In a court hearing today, closed to the public, a judge will consider rejecting a lawsuit seeking to close a controversial Christian boarding school where horrific child abuse – sexual, physical, and emotional – has long taken place and been ignored or concealed.

The action is brought by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt against the Stockton-based Agape Boarding School. Schmidt wants the facility to be closed. For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, we at SNAP agree. 

Over just the past four months, Missouri investigators have substantiated ten cases of physical abuse at the Stockton-based ‘reform” school. Civil lawsuits have also been filed against the facility.

One victim and advocate said that “hundreds” have been victimized at Agape over the years. Some have described “being physically restrained, sexually abused, starved as a form of punishment, and taken off prescribed medications while reassured…

View Cache

German court asks Benedict XVI to testify after complaint by a victim of abuse by a priest

(GERMANY)
360 News [San Francisco, CA]

September 27, 2022

By Daniel Stewart

Read original article

The Traunstein Regional Court in Bavaria has requested a deposition of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI over a lawsuit filed by a man who was abused by a priest, court spokeswoman Andrea Titz has confirmed.

“The defendants have the opportunity to indicate their willingness to defend themselves within two weeks, after which they have four weeks, or one month, to respond,” she explained.

As reported by German media when the complaint was filed, the plaintiff is a 38-year-old man from Bavaria who alleges he was sexually abused by the priest as a child.

The complaint is directed not only against Benedict XVI, when he was archbishop of Munich and Freising, as well as his successor Cardinal Friedrich Wetter.

The archdiocese also received the complaint earlier this week, its spokesman Christoph Kappes confirmed. “We do not comment on the ongoing court proceedings,” he has merely mentioned.

The so-called declaratory action is not…

View Cache

September 27, 2022

The Forgotten Lessons of the Recovered Memory Movement

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
New York Times

September 27, 2022

By Ethan Watters

Read original article

Most students in psychology and psychiatry programs today are too young to have any firsthand memory of the moral panic engendered by the recovered memory movement in the 1980s and early 1990s. This was a time when therapists proudly advertised their ability to help clients unearth supposedly repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse; the accusations that followed shattered families and communities across the country.

The belief that such memories could be repressed and then recovered through special techniques was widespread among mental health professionals for well over a decade. In books and on television, therapists portrayed themselves as the first generation of healers to understand both these mechanisms of repression and how to unlock them without contaminating the story that emerged. The results were dramatic: Patients often recovered abuse memories that began in infancy and lasted for decades. Some came to believe not only that they had repressed memories but…

View Cache

Catholic priest who served in Atlanta faces rape, abuse warrants for 3 different victims in California

SACRAMENTO (CA)
WXIA-TV - NBC 11 [Atlanta GA]

September 26, 2022

By Kaitlyn Ross

Read original article

70-year-old Father Roberto Jaramillo is believed to have served in the Atlanta area from 2005-2008.

A catholic priest who once served in Atlanta is now accused of rape, with warrants out for his arrest in California.

The Atlanta Archdiocese confirmed the allegations Monday. According to the Diocese of Sacramento, where the charges stem from, he left California in 2005 and served in the Atlanta area until leaving for his home diocese in Colombia in 2008.

According to the Sacramento Diocese, 70-year-old Father Roberto Jaramillo faces criminal warrants for three instances of alleged sexual abuse going back more than two decades – the alleged “repeated” rape and abuse of a girl between 1996 and 1999, kissing a juvenile boy in 1999 and sexually abusing an adult male in 2001. 

Meanwhile, a local group focused on helping sex abuse survivors is calling for more transparency in the…

View Cache

First Graduate of Child Safety Certificate Program Serves Diocese

TULSA (OK)
Catholic University of America [Washington DC]

September 26, 2022

Read original article

When she began facilitating safe environment training in the Diocese of Palm Beach in 2005, Donna Eurich did not know that child protection would become her vocation and full-time work in the future. She was a middle school religion teacher at the time. Now she is the director of child and youth protection and the victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma, and the first graduate of the online Certificate in Child Protection and Safe Environments offered by the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America. 

A year ago, Tulsa Bishop David Konderla asked Donna if she were interested in completing the online certificate program at Catholic University, promising that the diocese would fund this education. Eurich enthusiastically answered yes. 

Eurich took courses online that addressed sexual abuse and exploitation, social work responses to trauma, and law and policy as it relates…

View Cache

Australian archbishop investigating retired bishop on abuse allegations

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

September 26, 2022

By Michael Sainsbury

Read original article

[Via National Catholic Reporter]

Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge will conduct an investigation into retired Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, using a process established by Pope Francis in 2019.

Young Aboriginal men from towns and bush communities in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia accused Saunders of sexual misconduct. The bishop has denied the allegations.

Local media reported the inquiry in February, but it was not confirmed until late September.

Brisbane’s Coleridge is president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The church investigation comes 14 months after police closed a three-year investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Saunders, who was not charged. While the church’s investigation is underway, the Vatican ordered that Saunders leave the diocese, where he has continued living since resigning in August 2021.

During 2020 and 2021, retired Bishop Peter Ingham of Wollongong traveled to Broome and interviewed parishioners, diocesan staff and volunteers about Saunders’ management style and financial management,…

View Cache

Catholic priest in court over sexual abuse of students in Tanzania

MOSHI (TANZANIA)
The EastAfrican [Nairobi, Kenya]

September 27, 2022

Read original article

A Catholic priest was arraigned Monday at the Resident Magistrate’s Court in Moshi over allegations of raping and sexually assaulting more than 10 children.

He had been in police custody since September 20.

His arraignment came after he was accused of giving a Standard Six pupil and a Form One student Tsh3,000 ($1.29) and Tsh5,000 ($2.14), respectively, for sexual favours.

The children had been attending First Holy Communion and Confirmation classes.

Regional Commissioner Nurdin Babu said “it is a disgraceful incident”.

Parents had raised the alarm that the priest had abused many students and planned to march in protest to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa’s office before the priest was arrested.

Sources said that the parents had reported the allegations to the leadership of the Catholic Church in Moshi and to the police.

View Cache

Lebanese paedophile priest Mansour Labaki defrocked by Vatican

BEIRUT (LEBANON)
The New Arab [London, England]

September 27, 2022

By William Christou

Read original article

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Labaki also worked in the United States.]

Mansour Labaki is believed to have sexually abused more than 50 individuals [in France and twice that number in Lebanon].

The Vatican defrocked former Lebanese priest and convicted paedophile Mansour Labaki on Tuesday, ten years after he was found guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

The Assembly of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon issued a statement saying that Pope Francis decided that both Labaki and Priest George Karim Badr, will be “returned to their secular state.”

The statement added that they will “pray for the priests … so that the Lord may strengthen them in their testimony …. and help them over their weakness and we pray especially for the victims of sexual abuse.”

Labiki, 82, was a famous Maronite priest in Lebanon before the revelations of sexual abuse, founded an orphanage and has written several books. He abused…

View Cache

September 26, 2022

Leading German bishop to stay in post despite damning report

OSNABRüCK (GERMANY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 22, 2022

By Luke Coppen

Read original article

A leading German bishop said on Thursday that he will remain in office despite a damning report on the handling of abuse cases in his diocese.

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode told journalists at a press conference on Sept. 22 that he had discussed whether to resign as bishop of Osnabrück, northwestern Germany, with the safeguarding expert Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J.

Zollner is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the founding president of Rome’s Centre for Child Protection.

Bode said he had decided to stay in post to see the process of strengthening safeguarding procedures through to its conclusion.

The bishop held the press conference two days after Osnabrück University published a 600-page interim report scrutinizing abuse cases in the Diocese of Osnabrück since 1945. The study accused Bode and his predecessors of safeguarding failures.

It said: “In the first decades of his term of office, Bishop Bode repeatedly…

View Cache

NY’s sweeping child privacy bill would force online security measures — but Big Tech battle brews

ALBANY (NY)
New York Post [New York, NY]

September 25, 2022

By Gabrielle Fonrouge

Read original article

A bill aiming to protect kids online has been introduced in the New York state senate, and it could force social media companies to implement a host of safety features — including bans on advertising to youngsters and on mining their data.

The legislation, introduced by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) on Friday, is modeled after a California bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law earlier this month despite searing opposition from Big Tech groups.

The Golden State’s Age-Appropriate Design Code Act — a first of its kind law in the US — requires that online platforms design their products with children in mind and put up guardrails to protect their privacy.

The New York legislation, while similar, takes further steps by including a number of provisions meant to help families in the event of serious harms committed against kids online.

“We want to make the Internet safe for everybody and…

View Cache

Why is the U.S. Olympic agency meant to stop sexual abuse investigating its top critic?

DENVER (CO)
Salon [San Francisco, CA]

September 24, 2022

By Irvin Muchnik

Read original article

Center for SafeSport is supposed to investigate alleged abusers. But no one has accused Jonathan Little of a crime

This is a tale full of Kafkaesque twists about the efforts of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and its affiliated national sport governing bodies (NGBs) to make it look as if they’re doing something about their sexual abuse problem. It’s also a story that gets pretty deep in the weeds and one that bumps up against a basic reality: Although many millions of viewers watch the Summer and Winter Olympics and debate the internal or international drama hyped up by multibillion-dollar broadcast rights holder NBC, very few of them know or care anything about USOC’s lords of the rings or their apparatchiks’ day-to-day operations, far from the flag-waving captured on TV.

One effect of that is near-total public indifference toward the exploitation of local age-group clubs as faux community-based programs for…

View Cache

‘We punch above our weight’: Catholic Conference brings religious lobby to Capitol

TULSA (OK)
NonDoc Media [Oklahoma City OK]

September 26, 2022

By Andrea DenHoed

Read original article

According to its website, the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma is “the official voice of the Catholic Church in Oklahoma on matters of public policy.” Founded five years ago to lobby state officials on issues of interest to the church, the organization is run by Brett Farley, an experienced political operative with extensive Republican Party ties.

“The shorthand of my job is that I’m a lobbyist for the bishops,” Farley said in an interview. “So I carry forward their thoughts, their commitments, their values as they shepherd the church.”

According to Farley, the organization is guided solely by Catholic doctrine and, if you boil it down, the Great Commission, in which Christ told his followers to “make disciples of all nations.”

“If the goal is to make disciples of all nations, we have to also consider the things that each individual is dealing with in their life here on Earth,” Farley…

View Cache

Bishop Hart accuser discusses abuse with clergy at Wyoming film screenings

CHEYENNE (WY)
Casper Star-Tribune [Casper WY]

September 25, 2022

By Seth Klamann

Read original article

A priest stood up and asked Ed Gavagan how he found hope after all that he’s endured. As a room full of Catholic clergy looked on, Ed told the priest that he had none. None at all.

Gavagan had been shaken when he walked into the community room attached to Sheridan’s Holy Name Catholic Church on Monday. The seats were filled by 50-some priests, plus a half-dozen nuns, all gathered to watch a documentary that follows Gavagan and five other men as they work to heal from the trauma they say they suffered at the hands of priests decades ago. He’d done this before, mostly: He and two of the other men from the film had attended two screenings in the preceding days, and they’d held Q&As after both. He’s talked about the film to reporters and audiences and critics for a year.

This was different. He hadn’t been in…

View Cache

Former Sacramento priest accused of child sex abuse. Here’s when and where he served

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee [Sacramento CA]

September 24, 2022

By Mathew Miranda

Read original article

A priest who formerly was with the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento has been added to the list of clergy accused of child sex abuse, and authorities are searching for him.

Roberto Jaramillo, who served at multiple churches in the Sacramento region for 10 years, is accused of rape and other sexual assault involving a girl under the age of 14 between 1996 and 1999. The Sacramento Police Department confirmed on Saturday that a felony warrant had been issued.

Between 1995 and 2005, Jaramillo served at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Rose Parish in Sacramento and St. Rose Parish in Roseville. Jaramillo, 70, left the Diocese of Sacramento to work for the Archdiocese of Atlanta before returning to his home diocese in Colombia in 2008.

The diocese was notified of the allegations by a third party in 2021, according to a statement released Friday. They have…

View Cache

September 25, 2022

Archdiocese of Chicago asks Three Retired Priests to Remain out of Ministry Pending Investigation of Nearly 50 Year Old Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

September 24, 2022

Read original article

The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced that it has asked three retired priests to remain out of ministry while its Independent Review Board investigates allegations of sexual abuse of minors against them. The priests are: Father John J. Rudnik, 87, Father James E. Flynn, 80 and Father John W. Clemens, 75. Each has one allegation against him, all dating from nearly a half century ago and all are cooperating fully with the process. The persons making the allegations have been offered the services of the Archdiocese Victim Assistance Ministry and civil authorities have been notified. In addition, parishioners in the parishes where these priests served have been notified.

“We take every allegation seriously and follow the policies and procedures we have had in place for decades,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “Only by conducting an impartial and thorough investigation can we fulfill our promise to protect the…

View Cache

3 retired Chicago priests being investigated for decades-old sex abuse allegations, Archdiocese says

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS - ABC 7 [Chicago IL]

September 24, 2022

Read original article

Three retired Chicago area priests are being asked to remain out of the ministry pending the investigation of nearly 50 year old allegations of sex abuse against minors, the Archdiocese announced Saturday.

Father John J. Rudnik, Father James E. Flynn and Father John W. Clemens are each facing allegations dating back nearly half a century and are fully cooperating in the process, church officials said.

The persons making the allegations have been offered services of the Archdiocese Victim Assistance Ministry and authorities have been notified, the Archdiocese said. Parishioners in the parishes where these priests served have also been notified.

“We take every allegation seriously and follow the policies and procedures we have had in place for decades,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “Only by conducting an impartial and thorough investigation can we fulfill our promise to protect the young people in our care and, if the…

View Cache

US Catholic bishops’ report to the Vatican shows a church split by politics

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

September 23, 2022

By Claire Giangravé

Read original article

The results of discussions ordered by Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality

Catholics in the United States are deeply divided over issues as disparate as LGBTQ inclusion, clerical sexual abuse and celebrating the liturgy, according to a summary of consultations carried out in dioceses across the country in recent months as part of Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality.

“Participants felt this division as a profound sense of pain and anxiety,” the U.S. bishops wrote in a summary released Monday (Sept. 19) to the public after being sent to the Vatican last month.

In 2021, Francis launched a global discussion, requiring parish churches and a host of other religious organizations to gather their congregations to talk about how they view the hierarchy and issues facing the church. The discussion would inform a summit of bishops at the Vatican scheduled for October 2023 on the topic “For a Synodal Church: Participation, Communion and…

View Cache

Sex beast priest caught in another breach of sexual offences prevention order

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

September 24, 2022

By Paul Higgins

Read original article

ONE of Northern Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priests has admitted yet another breach of his life-long sexual offences prevention order.

A court has been told the case of Daniel Gerard Curran “is to proceed by way of a guilty plea” to the single charge against him.

In August this year, the creep breached his lifelong SOPO by ‘loitering’ around Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in Newcastle.

A prosecution lawyer said Curran had walked into the activity centre “with a box of books for dissemination”.

But staff recognised him as the infamous child abuser he is and reported him to the cops.

At the hearing in Downpatrick on Thursday, the judge said she was “familiar with this defendant” and his “lengthy record”.

“He knew very well that he wasn’t supposed to go near the centre,” said Amanda Brady who added “I’m not dealing with this” without a pre-sentence report.

Curran, from Bryansford Avenue in Newcastle, didn’t appear in court…

View Cache

September 24, 2022

Is net finally closing on US priest who allegedly abused ‘countless’ children?

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Guardian [London, England]

September 24, 2022

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Read original article

FBI agents have questioned Lawrence Hecker, 91, who worked as a Catholic priest in New Orleans until 2002 despite the archdiocese being aware of molestation accusation since 1988

In arguably the clearest sign yet that he is under active criminal investigation, a retired Catholic priest from New Orleans who has been publicly accused of molesting “countless” children but never charged has acknowledged that the FBI recently questioned him.

Lawrence Hecker, 91, declined to elaborate on exactly when FBI agents met with him or what they asked him as they reportedly lead an investigation into whether clerics serving a Louisiana region that is home to nearly half a million Catholics took children across state lines to abuse them. But, in a brief conversation with the Guardian, Hecker admitted that FBI agents had spoken with him.

“I told them I needed to speak to my attorney, and that’s where we left it,” Hecker…

View Cache

Diocese of Sacramento Finally Adds Priest With An Arrest Warrant to Credibly Accused List

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

September 23, 2022

By Dorothy Small

Read original article

The Diocese of Sacramento today added Roberto Jaramillo, a priest who worked in Sacramento and Roseville between 1995 and 2005, to its listing of clergy who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse. Jaramillo, aged 70, is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a girl between 1996 and 1999. In 2005, Jaramillo left the Diocese of Sacramento to work for the Archdiocese of Atlanta before returning to Colombia in 2008.

A third party brought concerns of the 1996 rape and abuse to the diocese’s notice in 2021. To investigate the problem, the diocese alerted police authorities and according to a statement by the diocese, they purportedly made many attempts to reach and interview the victim.

The diocese had additional claims against Jaramillo. Jaramillo was accused of kissing a young boy in 1999. Jaramillo disputed the claim, and investigations conducted at the time by both the diocese and…

View Cache

Authorities search for former Sacramento priest accused of sexually abusing girl in the 90s

SACRAMENTO (CA)
KCRA TV [Sacramento, CA]

September 23, 2022

By Greta Serrin

Read original article

A priest with the Diocese of Sacramento has been added to a list of clergy accused of child sex abuse and now authorities have a search warrant out for his arrest.

Roberto Jaramillo, 70, was added to the list of accused clergy this week. He served as a priest in multiple churches across the Sacramento and Roseville area between 1995 and 2005, according to the Diocese of Sacramento.

The churches he served in were Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in downtown Sacramento, St. Rose Parish in Roseville, Immaculate Conception Parish in Oak Park and St. Rose Parish in south Sacramento.

Jaramillo has been accused of repeated sexual abuse and rape of a girl in the late 1990s, spanning from 1996 to 1999. The diocese was notified of the allegations by a third party in 2021.

They said they repeatedly tried to reach and interview the victim.

“The Diocese is cooperating…

View Cache

Spurred by USA Gymnastics scandal, senators roll out bill to reform the FBI’s handling of child abuse victims

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC News [New York NY]

September 22, 2022

By Sarah Fitzpatrick

Read original article

A bipartisan group of senators is introducing new legislation Thursday aimed at improving the way the FBI interacts with underage victims and witnesses in sex abuse and trafficking cases.

The Respect for Child Survivors Act is the latest effort by Congress to address the FBI’s failures in its handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.

The former USA Gymnastics doctor is serving decades in prison for abusing underage athletes over several years. The FBI knew about the allegations in 2015 but failed to act, allowing him to continue to prey on gymnasts and other minors for more than a year.

“It takes tremendous courage for young victims of sexual assault to tell their story and overcome the fear that they may not be taken seriously, may be ignored, or may be wrongfully blamed,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, one of the bill’s sponsors.

“To avoid re-traumatizing victims during the investigation…

View Cache

Biden signs bill eliminating civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hill

September 17, 2022

By Chloe Folmar

Read original article

President Biden on Friday signed a bill that will eliminate the statute of limitations for people who were sexually abused as minors to file civil claims.

The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act was passed by the House by voice vote on Tuesday after passing the Senate by unanimous consent in March.

The bill eliminates time constraints for survivors to file civil claims related to sex abuse crimes against minors, including forced labor, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

Previously, minors who survived such abuse were able to file federal claims until they reached the age of 28 or until a decade after the violation or injury was discovered.

No federal statute of limitations was in place for criminal claims regarding child sex abuse.

The bill was initially introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Cornyn…

View Cache

Harrisburg minister charged for soliciting sex from undercover officer posing as minor

HARRISBURG (PA)
ABC 27 [Harrisburg, PA]

September 23, 2022

By Avery Van Etten

Read original article

A former minister at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg was among five people arrested by Montgomery County officials after allegedly using social media to attempt to solicit sex from minors.

In a statement Friday, the president of the board of trustees for the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg confirmed that David Kohlmeier was a minister at the church and has since been relieved of his duties.

According to a Thursday release from the office of the Montgomery County district attorney, detectives affiliated with Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) and members of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau developed a proactive effort to protect children by identifying and arresting people who use social media to arrange to meet and have sexual relations with minors.

Last week, the release from the district attorney’s office says, an undercover operation took place on multiple social media platforms, and during that operation, five suspects allegedly independently…

View Cache

Central PA church minister accused of trying to solicit sex from a minor

HARRISBURG (PA)
York Daily Record [York, PA]

September 23, 2022

By Katia Parks

Read original article

Unitarian Universalist Church of Harrisburg minister David Kohlmeier, 46, of Devon, was one of five men arrested Monday on felony charges after they were allegedly caught trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old.

Police departments in Montgomery County, along with Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children task force, discovered the suspects’ individual attempts to use social media platforms to contact minor children to have sexual relations with the children, according to a news release from the county district attorney’s office.

Each engaged in sexually explicit electronic communications with a person they believed was a minor child, and some of them also sent sexually explicit photos to the purported 14-year-old, according to the release. Each of the five defendants then appeared at an agreed-upon meeting location in Conshohocken with the intent of having sexual relations with the minor child, police said.

View Cache

Florida pastor, who’s also a mixed martial arts master, arrested for alleged sex abuse of teens

PALM BAY (FL)
New York Post [New York, NY]

September 22, 2022

By Selim Algar

Read original article

A Florida pastor was arrested this week for allegedly having sex with two teen girls he met through his church and kung fu dojo, according to a police report.

Roberson Douge, 42, was booked into Brevard County jail Thursday after the alleged victims contacted police this week and accused him of predatory sexual behavior.

Douge serves as a pastor at Apostolic Church of Christ, and also owns the Tiger Claw Kung Fu Academy in Palm Bay, according to police papers.

Cops said one of the girls told her friend she was troubled by her relations with Douge, prompting the other to recount a similar experience with him.

Neither victim has been named because they are both under 18, but one victim told investigators she first met Douge after her family moved to Palm Bay and joined his church in 2019.

The teen, whose age was not specified, told police she…

View Cache

Police: Palm Bay pastor accused of sexual abuse of children

PALM BAY (FL)
WESH 2 [Orlando, FL]

September 23, 2022

By Scott Heidler

Read original article

A 42-year-old Palm Bay pastor arrested was due to appear in front of a judge on Friday.

Roberson Douge is facing 20 charges, including 10 counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a minor and 10 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

But he did not show up for his first appearance at the Brevard County Jail.

His attorney said it was for medical reasons, specifically high blood pressure.

Douge was a pastor at the Apostolic Church of Christ in Palm Bay.

According to the police report, two girls from the church came forward this week and detailed the alleged abuse to the police, saying it occurred inside the church building, in a church van and in the pastor’s office.

According to police, they arranged a call with Douge and one of the girls and recorded it.

Douge allegedly begged for her not to reveal their relationship and…

View Cache

SNAP Responds to German Bishop Bode Resignation Refusal After Scathing Report

OSNABRüCK (GERMANY)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

September 23, 2022

By Mike McDonnell

Read original article

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, the deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference, said on Thursday that he will stay in office, despite the release of a critical report on the treatment of abuse allegations in his diocese. Osnabrück University presented a 600-page interim study on abuse incidents in the diocese since 1945 on Tuesday. The investigation criticized Bishop Bode, who has held the position since 1995, and his predecessors for failing to provide adequate safeguards.

According to the report, “in the early decades of his tenure of office, Bishop Bode routinely left accused individuals in their posts, even those whose danger could scarcely be denied, or assigned them to offices that provided further opportunity for perpetrating crimes.” In a media briefing on Thursday, the 71-year-old claimed he had discussed resignation with Father Hans Zollner, a safeguarding specialist and Director of the Institute of Anthropology Interdisciplinary…

View Cache

Diocese of Rockville Centre hopes to reach an agreement on the Chapter 11 plan within 60 days

ROCKVILLE (MD)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

September 22, 2022

By Janet Klinger

Read original article

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre on Wednesday told a New York bankruptcy judge that it hopes to negotiate a consensual Chapter 11 plan with its creditors before the end of November.

At a virtual status conference, counsel for the diocese told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn that the diocese hopes to sit down with creditors and “hammer out a resolution” within the next 30 to 60 days, saying that after two years in bankruptcy, all parties are “eager” for a conclusion to the case.

The diocese, which includes Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2020, marking it the country’s largest Roman Catholic diocese to do so. The measure was made after the Child Victims Act of New York, which extended the statute of limitations for filing claims of child abuse, left it facing suits from 223…

View Cache

Former church official charged in embezzlement case

VERO BEACH (FL)
Vero News [Vero Beach, FL]

September 21, 2022

By Nick Samuel

Read original article

A former church official was jailed Monday after police said she used nearly $550,000 in parish donations to pay off her bills. The theft, which also involved a now deceased pastor, occurred over the course of five years at Holy Cross Catholic Church, officers said.

Deborah Lynn True, 69, of Colorado, was charged with organized fraud more than $50,000. True was released Monday from the Indian River County Jail on $25,000 bond.

The nine-month investigation began last December. The Diocese of Palm Beach contacted the Vero Beach Police Department in regard to a possible misuse of funds at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 500 Iris Lane.

The diocese suspected True, along with former Holy Cross Catholic Church Pastor Father Richard Murphy, embezzled more than $1 million in funds. Police described True as a former administrator and bookkeeper for the church.

Officers learned that True and Murphy opened a bank account in…

View Cache

Wexford priest and secretary accused of stealing $1.5 million from Florida church

WEXFORD (IRELAND)
Sunday World [Dublin, Ireland]

September 23, 2022

By Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Read original article

Police say Fr Richard Murphy “personally benefitted” from funds stolen from parishioners at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the US state

A Wexford priest and his secretary who once described him as “a fantastic leader,” have been accused of stealing $1.5 million from a church in Florida.

Police allege that Fr Richard Murphy “personally benefitted” from funds donated by parishioners at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the US state.

Fr Murphy, who passed away in 2020, and his associate Deborah True are accused of fraudulently depositing nearly $1.5 million of parishioners’ donations into a bank account over a five-year period.

The Vero Beach Police Department in Florida said it had recently concluded a nine-month fraud investigation after being contacted by the Diocese of Palm Beach in December 2021 in regard to a fraudulent bank account and possible misappropriation of funds.

As Fr Murphy had passed away, no criminal investigation was…

View Cache

Senior German bishop mishandled abuse cases, says report

OSNABRüCK (GERMANY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 21, 2022

By Luke Coppen

Read original article

The deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference said he accepts responsibility for failings.

A senior German bishop said Tuesday that he has accepted responsibility for failings highlighted in an interim study of his diocese’s handling of abuse cases.

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode reacted with dismay on Sept. 20 to the findings of a 600-page report addressing allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct since 1945 in the Diocese of Osnabrück.

Bode, who has led the diocese in northwestern Germany since 1995, said: “I had wanted this interim report so that the truth would also come to light as quickly as possible. Now I am very concerned about how blind we have actually been and how blind I have been for the suffering and the perspectives of those affected.”

“I bear responsibility for this, also for the system in the diocese. I will study the text this afternoon and have conversations, and we…

View Cache

Israel: Is this an ultra-Orthodox MeToo moment?

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
BBC [London, England]

September 23, 2022

By Yolande Knell

Read original article

When senior ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel tried to silence or blame victims of sexual abuse who had been allegedly attacked by high-profile men in the community, young people expressed their anger. Some likened the furious response by young haredi Jews – for whom talk of sex is taboo and reaching out to police is often not an option – to the #MeToo movement.

Shayli Tevel weeps as he prays, calling out to God: “Father, I’ve no energy left to absorb all this.”

The former ultra-Orthodox Jew is wearing a white prayer shawl and tefillin – long leather straps with small boxes attached, containing scrolls with verses from the Torah.

After a decade of silence, Shayli, now in his early 30s, has recently broken strict religious conventions and spoken publicly about being groomed and sexually abused between the ages of 12 and 19, by a leading ultra-Orthodox – or haredi –…

View Cache

What Bishop Bode’s decision means for accountability

OSNABRüCK (GERMANY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 23, 2022

By JD Flynn

Read original article

A German bishop will remain in office after scandal – and says he consulted with a Vatican expert. Here’s why that matters.

It makes sense that Catholics have news fatigue over the publication of reports detailing the failures of diocesan bishops to adequately address allegations of sexual abuse or coercion among priests.

In 2018, each new revelation about a bishop’s failure prompted a new kind of outrage or dismay among Catholics. But four years later, the reactions have become muted – the roster of bishops found to have committed acts of negligence or misconduct is long enough that the names and details seem often somewhat muddled.

The problem can seem so enormous that tracking the details is either discouraging or exhausting.

But fallout from a report on abuse published this week — which touched on the negligence of Germany’s Bishop Franz-Josef Bode — is worth giving some attention.

In fact,…

View Cache

September 23, 2022

When you’re questioning your faith after being hurt by your religious community, here are 3 ways to cope

DENVER (CO)
The Conversation [Waltham MA]

September 21, 2022

By Christine D. Gonzales-Wong

Read original article

For the past few months, religion has never been far from U.S. headlines.

The Supreme Court has overturned constitutional abortion rights. Congress is debating whether to codify protections for same-sex marriage. Courts have been asked to decide whether religious schools and business owners have to hireserve or acknowledge LGBTQ members and organizations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Southern Baptist Convention after a consultant’s report revealed a history of sexual abuse and cover-ups – and new lawsuits alleging abuse in the Catholic Church continue to appear.

As an assistant professor of counseling who studies spirituality, I have seen how controversies like these can activate memories and symptoms of religious abuse. They can also be challenging for people who have not experienced abuse but have difficult relationships to religion – especially those who have seriously questioned or left their faith.

People may have built their world around a church or church…

View Cache

Disabled B.C. woman claims childhood sex abuse by Coquitlam priests

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Pique News Magazine [Whistler, British Columbia]

September 22, 2022

By Jeremy Hainsworth

Read original article

A Surrey, B.C. woman who attended a Coquitlam Roman Catholic church as a child has filed a B.C. Supreme Court civil action alleging three priests sexually abused her between the ages of 9 and 13.

The woman, known only as LV in a notice of civil claim filed in court Sept. 14, makes her main allegations against the estate of Father Georges Chevrier who died in August 2003.

Also named in the suit are the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in B.C.; OMI Lacombe, Canada, Inc.; Missionary Oblates – Grandin Province; Oblates of Mary Immaculate – St. Peter’s Province; Roman Catholic Parishes and Missions in the Diocese of St. Albert; Le Diocese de Saint-Paul, the Catholic Diocese of Edmonton; the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver; John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.

Chevrier was a priest at Coquitlam’s Our Lady of Fatima Parish from 1971 to 1977, according…

View Cache

Judge to reexamine her decision on release of Eagle reporter’s notes in Springfield clergy abuse case

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

September 22, 2022

By Heather Bellow

Read original article

A Hampden County Superior Court judge is poised to decide whether a reporter for The Berkshire Eagle must provide information the newspaper says would violate a promise of confidentiality to an anonymous source.

That information is needed to allow the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, its lawyer says, to defend itself against a civil lawsuit filed by a man who says he was raped by clergy, including former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.

But in a hearing Thursday before Judge Karen L. Goodwin, an attorney for The Eagle said the diocese’s need isn’t great enough to violate that confidential source relationship and that the diocese failed to question others who might provide the information.

After hearing about 40 minutes of arguments over Zoom, Goodwin said she would reexamine her previous decision this summer to allow the diocese to obtain limited notes and communications from Eagle journalist Larry Parnass —…

View Cache

German bishop says he won’t resign after report he mishandled abuse cases

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

September 22, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus

Read original article

[Via Catholic World Report]

The vice president of the German bishops’ conference said Thursday he had thought about resigning after the publication of a report claiming he mishandled abuse cases, but that he had ultimately decided against it.

A report published Sept. 20 said Bishop Franz-Josef Bode mishandled abuse cases in the Diocese of Osnabrück, in northwestern Germany, which he has led since 1995.

The 600-page interim report is titled “Sexual violence against minors and vulnerable by clergy in the Diocese of Osnabrück since 1945.”

The report said in the first decades of his term, Bode “repeatedly” kept people accused of abuse in office or appointed them to other positions, including management tasks in youth pastoral care.

“I bear responsibility for this, also for the system in the diocese,” Bode said in a statement Tuesday

“I had wanted this interim report so that the truth would also come…

View Cache

New law removes time limits for child sex abuse lawsuits

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOC [Savannah GA]

September 22, 2022

By Jessica Savage

Read original article

A new federal law does away with any time limits for victims of child sex abuse who sue their abusers.

President Joe Biden signed the law last Friday.

For Georgia and South Carolina victims, the new law is a dramatic change that recognizes the psychology of child sex abuse victims, said attorney Mark Tate of Tate Law Group who has represented child abuse victims in multiple lawsuits over the years.

“It’s demonstrated psychologically that children who are the victim of any childhood trauma, but most especially sexual abuse compartmentalize that and put that away and forget it. And many times it’s decades – 40s and 50s – before they fully realize they are in a victim,” he said.

In 2015, Tate sued and later won a multi-million dollar settlement against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah for victims of convicted child rapist Wayland Brown, who was a…

View Cache

B.C. man reaches settlement over priest sex abuse allegations

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Vancouver Is Awesome [Vancouver BC, Canada]

September 22, 2022

By Jeremy Hainsworth

Read original article

Mark O’Neill alleged he suffered sexual abuse, physical abuse, and spiritual harm starting at age 13 at the Mission Roman Catholic seminary in British Columbia

A man who alleged he was sexually abused by Mission Roman Catholic priests and a seminary employee has reached an undisclosed settlement to end the case.

Mark O’Neill was seeking damages for sexual abuse he alleges he suffered as a teen during his time at a Mission Roman Catholic seminary from 1974 to 1978. He was 13- to 17-years-old at the time.

The defendants listed in the suit included the Seminary of Christ the King; Westminster Abbey Ltd.; the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole; Emerick Lazar; Harold Vincent Sander, a.k.a. Dom Placidus Sander; Shawn Rohrbach; and John Doe.

A trial in the case had been due to start Sept. 12.

Allegations detail sexual and physical abuse

O’Neill alleged Rohrbach, a college student employed at the…

View Cache

Why the church should ban the music of composers accused of abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

September 23, 2022

By Jessica Gerhardt

Read original article

Recently, a notification was sent out from the Los Angeles Archdiocese to remind music ministers that the compositions of David Haas and Fr. Cesáreo Gabaráin have been banned due to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. The statement says:

This notification is being issued as a reminder of two matters concerning the use and performance of certain music in our Archdiocese.

In October 2020 a directive imposing a complete ban by the Archdiocese on the use or performance of any of David Haas’s music was issued. Specifically, the directive precludes the use or performance of any music written or composed by Mr. Haas and any performances by him. The directive concerning David Haas was issued after an investigation found allegations of sexual misconduct by him, which had been reported to the Archdiocese, to be credible.

In October 2021 the Archdiocese announced that parishes, schools, and ministries should refrain from…

View Cache

September 22, 2022

The Eagle fights Springfield diocese’s request for reporter’s notes on clergy rape in effort to protect confidential sources

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

September 21, 2022

By Heather Bellow

Read original article

[See also the John Doe v. Diocese of Springfield et al. complaint.]

The Berkshire Eagle is going to court today to fight the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in its bid to get a reporter to reveal a confidential source.

The Eagle says in court filings that doing so would break the reporter’s promise not to reveal the identity of a person who provided information about a Chicopee man’s claim in a civil lawsuit that as an altar boy in the 1960s he was repeatedly raped by clergy, including a former bishop, Christopher J. Weldon.

The Eagle’s coverage in 2019 revealed an attempt by the diocese to shield the late bishop from being exposed as an abuser. That coverage was supported by an independent judge’s report in 2020 and cited repeatedly in the man’s 2021 lawsuit against the diocese and eight of its officials, including former Bishop…

View Cache

Church in the World: News Briefing

(CANADA)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

September 22, 2022

By James Roberts and Ellen Teague

Read original article

Sao Paulo, Brazil: Candidate for the Presidency of Brazil by the Brazilian Democratic Movement, Simone Tebet, participates in the meeting ‘Education Now for Brazil’, with the former secretary of Education of Sao Paulo and candidate for Federal Deputy Rossieli Soares.
Yuri Murakami/Thenews2

Anti-abortion activists in Rhode Island are asking the US Supreme Court to take up the issue of foetal personhood just a few months after the Court overturned its nearly 50-year Roe v Wade precedent that had established a constitutional right to abortion.  On 13 September, the group Catholics for Life filed a 46-page petition asking the court to “clarify whether an unborn human being has standing to access the courts”.  In 2019, Catholics for Life and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit arguing that a state law passed that year that codified abortion rights under Roe violated their rights as citizens of Rhode Island. Two of the plaintiffs were unborn children: a pre-viable 15-week old foetus and a…

View Cache

Perth Catholic school teacher jailed for sexual offences against teenage student

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

September 22, 2022

By Joanna Menagh

Read original article

A teacher at a Perth Catholic college, who claimed his sexual abuse of a teenage student was a “mutually beneficial relationship”, has been jailed for more than six years, with a judge slamming his explanation as an attempt to “victim blame”.

Key points:

  • The 40-year-old teacher began sexually abusing the student when she was 16
  • Some of the offences occurred in a classroom, and others in the girl’s home
  • The man won’t be eligible for parole until November 2026

The name of the man, and the school where he was a maths teacher, cannot be published to protect the identity of the victim, who was 16 and 17 when he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in her final year of studies.

He was 40 at the time and married, and met the victim at a religious retreat at the start of the year when what was described in the District Court as…

View Cache

Pope: Abuse by men and women in the Church is a ‘monstrosity’

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic Outlook [Diocese of Parramatta NSW, Australia]

September 22, 2022

By Christopher Wells

Read original article

In an interview with CNN Portugal broadcast on Monday 5 September, Pope Francis says the Church is suffering due to sexual abuse and abuse of authority and power by men and women in the Church. The wide-ranging interview also covers topics such as World Youth Day, the importance of dialogue, and Synod on synodality.

Pope Francis emphatically repeated the Church’s commitment to “zero tolerance” when it comes to priests who abuse others, in an interview with CNN Portugal broadcast on Monday 5 September.

“I want to be very clear about this: Abuse by churchmen and churchwomen — abuse of authority, abuse of power and sexual abuse – is a monstrosity, because the churchman or churchwoman, whether priest, religious man or woman, or layman or laywoman, is called to serve and to create unity, to make grow, and abuse always destroys,” the Pope said.

“Abuse is a tragic reality of all…

View Cache

Former student at California all-boys Catholic school alleges in suit he was sexually abused by teacher

ORANGE (CA)
East Bay Times [Walnut Creek CA]

September 21, 2022

By Scott Reid

Read original article

Robert C. Cotton was a respected Servite teacher and administrator for more than 30 years. Lawsuit alleges he also sexually abused a student on a regular basis

Twice in the fall of 1980, Servite High School English teacher Robert C. Cotton had ordered a 16-year-old junior to an office near the school’s library so Cotton could search the student for drugs.

A few weeks earlier, the student said Cotton had caught him in class with drugs, “black beauties,” a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. That time and in two subsequent searches in the office, Cotton had aggressively frisked him in addition to going through the student’s backpack, the former student alleged in an interview.

The third office search, the former student said, would haunt him to this day.

Starting with that search, using the drug incident as leverage, the student claims Cotton sexually assaulted and molested him on a weekly…

View Cache

Priest Convicted of Sex Abuse Claimed Ex-Police Detective McLaughlin Erased Tapes

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

September 21, 2022

By Damien Fisher

Read original article

Gordon MacRae, the Catholic priest now serving a state prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four boys, once claimed in a lawsuit that the evidence against him was destroyed by a zealous investigator out to railroad him.

The cop who pursued MacRae was then-Keene Police Detective James McLaughlin.

The old lawsuit brought by the convicted child sex predator against McLaughlin is newly relevant now that McLaughlin’s recently released personnel file shows the decorated investigator was once accused by his own department of doctoring evidence.

MacRae has maintained his innocence despite the guilty pleas since he was convicted in the 1990s. According to the lawsuit he filed in the United States District Court in New Mexico in 1994, MacRae claimed McLaughlin was out to get him since at least 1988, and the detective used dishonest means to secure an arrest and conviction. MacRae pleaded guilty in 1988 to…

View Cache

September 21, 2022

Moncton archdiocese, insurer reach settlement in lawsuit over sex abuse compensation

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

September 20, 2022

By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon

Read original article

Funds will be used to pay claims for assaults by priests between 1955 and 1984, archbishop says

The Catholic Archdiocese of Moncton has reached a settlement in a multimillion dollar lawsuit against its insurance company regarding compensation paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Although the details of the agreement with the Co-operators General Insurance Company are subject to a confidentiality clause, the resulting funds will be used to pay claims for sexual assaults that occurred in the archdiocese between 1955 and 1984, according to a statement issued by Archbishop Valéry Vienneau.

“The settlement made does involve some compromise, but it provides immediate certainty, particularly in light of advice that the pending court hearing would be put over for another year due to a shortage of judges,” he said.

The case had been scheduled for trial in October.

View Cache

Hockey Canada facing backlash for survey on sexual assault allegations

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

September 21, 2022

By Joseph Tunney

Read original article

A recent survey distributed by Hockey Canada has left some shaking their heads over what they see as out-of-touch questions regarding the organization’s handling of sexual assault allegations.

The survey was distributed to parents, volunteers and coaches, seeking to gauge opinions on the sport’s national body. 

It has been under intense scrutiny since news broke this spring of an alleged sexual assault following a 2018 gala in London, Ont., involving eight unidentified players — including members of that year’s world junior team — and the subsequent settlement.

Allegations of another gang sexual assault involving the 2003 world junior team emerged in July. None of the allegations has been proven in court. 

‘How can they be so clueless’

Participants were asked to rate their level of agreement with several statements, among them:

  • “The level of criticism by the media toward Hockey Canada is overblown.”
  • “Incidents such as this are unlikely to happen again.”
  • “The allegations are…
View Cache

New German study finds Osnabrück Diocese ignored rights of abuse victims

OSNABRüCK (GERMANY)
Diocese of St. Cloud [St. Cloud, MN]

September 20, 2022

By Catholic News Service

Read original article

Church leaders in the northern German Diocese of Osnabrück failed over decades to fulfill their duties in responding to accusations of sexual abuse, according to a study presented by the University of Osnabrück Sept. 19.

The German Catholic news agency KNA said the study found that, until recently, officials had neglected to conduct adequate monitoring of clerics after they had been removed from their posts following accusations of abuse.

The main area requiring improvement was communication with victims, the project leaders said. In addition, the diocese had been defensive and bureaucratic in its handling of cases and “stingy” in its recognition payments.

The study found that Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, who has been in office since 1995 and is also deputy president of the German bishops’ conference, violated his duties “in a low single-digit range” of cases. The breaches were “negligent, but not intentional,” the study said.

It added that while…

View Cache

Mexican faith leader jailed for sex abuse; flock stays loyal

GUADALAJARA (MEXICO)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 18, 2022

By Maria Teresa Hernandez

Read original article

Their spiritual leader is behind bars in California after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. Yet legions of followers of Naasón Joaquín García in his home base in Mexico remain fervently loyal to him, viewing his imprisonment as a challenge that will strengthen their church, La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World), rather than weaken it.

His continued hold on his flock was evident recently at the Christian church’s main temple in Guadalajara, as thousands gathered to pray for their absent leader during their Holy Supper, the most sacred festivity for La Luz del Mundo. To gasps of surprise, Joaquín García addressed the congregation by telephone from his Los Angeles prison, where he is serving a 16-year sentence.

“I do not see the bars that separate me from you,” he told his followers. “I see your beautiful faces … because you are the children of God.”

Even outside…

View Cache

The Washington Hebrew Congregation claims that parents forfeited their right to sue over sex abuse.

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

September 13, 2022

By Lauren Lumpkin

Read original article

A prominent Reform synagogue in the District has argued that parents suing over alleged child sex abuse surrendered their right to bring a lawsuit when they signed activity waivers upon enrolling their children in school, court documents show.

A group of parents in 2019 sued Washington Hebrew Congregation, claiming that leaders at Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center ignored warning signs as a teacher sexually abused toddlers. The suit also said the employee was allowed to be alone with students despite District regulations that require at least two adults to be present with toddlers in licensed child development centers.

Now, recent developments in the years-long suit have brought renewed attention to the case. In July, attorneys for Washington Hebrew Congregation filed a motion for summary judgment, a request for the court to make a ruling before a trial. The school’s attorneys argued that, in the paperwork parents signed, they gave up their…

View Cache

MERCY CORPS: SUPPORT FOR TANIA HUMPHREY

LAWRENCE (KS)
IntoAccount [Lawrence KS]

September 13, 2022

By IntoAccount

Read original article

Mercy Corps: A Statement of Support for Tania Humphrey

Into Account extends solidarity to Tania Humphrey in her lawsuit against Mercy Corps, the international aid organization co-founded by her sexually abusive father, Ellsworth Culver.

At Into Account, we are deeply, unfortunately familiar with the phenomenon of so-called independent investigations functioning as a means for culpable institutions to manage reputational damage at the expense of survivors. While survivors often request independent investigations and invest much hope and effort in their outcomes, the kind of traumatic institutional betrayal described in Humphrey’s complaint is a disappointingly common outcome.

When accountability and prevention of future violence are priorities, independent investigations center the emotional and physical needs of victims, always with the underlying recognition that a victim’s participation is a gift to the organization. Survivors who are treated with respect and kindness are invaluable allies in the search for the…

View Cache

Impact Statement of David Clohessy

DALLAS (TX)
DavidClohessy.com [St. Louis MO]

June 13, 2002

By David G. Clohessy

Read original article

Speech at the USCCB Meeting in Dallas TX
June 13, 2002

Nine years ago, the roles were reversed. I stood silently as Father Gary’s side offering support, as
he became the first priest in America to sue a priest and his bishop over the crime of childhood
sexual abuse. It was a huge honor then and it’s a huge honor today.

We’re not here because you want us to be. We’re not here because we’ve earned it or have fought
hard for it. We’re here because children are a gift from God, and Catholic parents know this!
That’s why 87% of them think that if you’ve helped molesters commit their crimes, you should
resign. Because of their outrage, we stand before you today. Though Bishop Gregory played a
role, and though the letterhead said US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the return address on
that invitation was really thousands of parishes across the country. We are really here because…

View Cache

Belgian bishops publish text for same-sex blessings

(BELGIUM)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 20, 2022

By The Pillar

Read original article

Belgian bishops published Tuesday a new document on the pastoral care of Catholics who identify as LGBT, which includes a text allowing for a ritual blessing of same-sex couples.

The bishops of Flanders said that the three-page document, entitled “Being pastorally close to homosexuals: For a welcoming Church that excludes no one,” aims to “structurally anchor [the Church’s] pastoral commitment to homosexual persons and couples.”

The document was signed by the Flemish bishops, who belong to Belgium’s majority ethnic group. They are led by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, president of the Belgian bishops’ conference, which also includes bishops from the country’s French-speaking minority.

The Flemish bishops’ text said that homosexual couples who choose to live “in lasting and faithful union with a partner” deserve “appreciation and support.”

“This relationship, although not a Church marriage, can also be a source of peace and shared happiness for those involved,” the bishops wrote.

CathoBel,…

View Cache

U.S. diocesan synod reports highlight ‘enduring wounds’ in Church

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux [Denver CO]

September 20, 2022

By John Lavenburg

Read original article

Throughout the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality, U.S. Catholics consistently highlighted several “enduring wounds” that plague the nation’s church, including the still-unfolding effects of the sexual abuse crisis, divisions over the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, and a perceived lack of unity among the nation’s bishops.

The feedback was published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Sept. 19, in a national synthesis of the diocesan synod phase. The synthesis is the culmination of diocesan Synod reports and contributions from other Catholic entities since last fall.

An estimated 700,000 people out of an estimated 66.8 million U.S. Catholics contributed to the feedback that went into creating the synthesis.

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, the USCCB’s committee on doctrine chair who oversaw the national process, called the document a “significant moment” for the U.S. church, while cautioning that it’s only the first step in a larger…

View Cache

France won’t extradite priest, 92, to Canada, but Oblates might expel him

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Crux [Denver CO]

September 20, 2022

By Francois Gloutnay

Read original article

The French Ministry of Justice announced that France will not extradite Oblate Father Joannès Rivoire to Canada.

However, the priest’s congregation, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, said it was moving to expel the former missionary accused of sexual assault against children in parishes he directed in northern Canada in the 1960s to early 1990s. Rivoire, now 92, left Canada in 1993 and now lives in France.

On Sept. 14, during a meeting with a delegation of six Inuit from Canada, Rivoire denied the accusations made against him.

Shortly before this meeting, the members of the Nunavut delegation, including an alleged victim of Rivoire and the two children of another victim, Marius Tungilik, now deceased, spoke with Father Vincent Gruber, superior of the Oblates in France.

Gruber confirmed in a statement that his congregation’s authorities are “determined to continue their efforts to convince Joannès Rivoire to appear before the Canadian justice…

View Cache

September 20, 2022

Last masses held at St. Pius X and St. Agnes, following sale of Newfoundland churches

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

September 19, 2022

Read original article

Churches have been sold to compensate Mount Cashel abuse victims

Final masses were held Sunday at St. Pius X in St. John’s and St. Agnes in Pouch Cove — two Catholic churches on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula — as the buildings have been sold to pay reparations to Mount Cashel abuse survivors.

The provincial Supreme Court approved the sale of 43 church properties in July after a sale-by-tender process, which saw bidders submit offers in early June.

St. Pius X priest Father John Sullivan said the building held a lot of memories for parishioners who took sacraments, from baptism to weddings and funerals at the church. 

“It was sort of the place that holds just these most sort of tender moments in a person’s life,” Sullivan said.

But Sullivan said the congregation recognized the “suffering and the pain and the hurt and damage that the abuse victims suffered” at the hands…

View Cache

Most clergy sex abuse claimants turn in ballots for church’s settlement offer

HAGåTñA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News [Hagåtña, Guam]

September 20, 2022

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Read original article

Most of Guam’s 270-plus clergy sex abuse claimants turned in their ballots by Monday’s deadline, but there’s no official tally yet whether a majority voted to support or reject the church settlement offer of $37 million to $101 million.

The settlement offer is part of the Archdiocese of Agana’s bankruptcy exit plan that it jointly filed with a panel of creditors led by a survivor of clergy sexual assaults.

Without a majority vote from survivors to support the plan, the archdiocese’s three-year-old bankruptcy case continues, and abuse claimants will have to wait longer to receive compensation.

At least 170 ballots were submitted to court as of Monday. Nearly 100 were submitted by Attorney Delia Lujan Wolff’s law firm, and 77 were submitted to the court by Attorney Michael Berman’s firm.

While all of Berman’s clients voted to support the plan and settlement, there’s no telling how Lujan Wolff’s clients voted….

View Cache

Pope meets prelates attending weeklong course for new bishops

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

September 19, 2022

By Cindy Wooden

Read original article

Close to 200 bishops at the beginning of their ministries in dioceses and eparchies around the world met Pope Francis Sept. 19 at the end of a week of conferences.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the suspension of the annual formation course for new bishops, the 2022 courses were held in multiple sessions with the first groups of bishops — more than 150 of them — meeting Pope Francis in early September, and bishops from mission territories meeting him Sept. 17.

The Dicastery for Bishops, the Dicastery for Evangelization and the Dicastery for Eastern Churches organized the courses.

The themes for the 2022 sessions included: the meaning of “a synodal church”; crisis management with special attention to handling situations and allegations of abuse; the church after the pandemic; a review of what canon law says about administering a diocese; communication and use of the media, ministry to families with…

View Cache

Joseph Fiorenza, archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston, remembered as force for social change

GALVESTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle [Houston TX]

September 19, 2022

By Dug Begley and Lindsay Peyton

Read original article

Joseph Fiorenza, the son of immigrants who steered a rapidly changing southeast Texas through its evolution as a beacon for newcomers as its first home-grown Catholic archbishop, died Monday, church officials said.

Fiorenza, bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston from 1985 until 2006, was 91. In a statement, Fiorenza’s successor, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, praised him as a “champion of civil rights and a tireless worker in overcoming the presence of racism in our community.” 

Well past turning 90, Fiorenza remained a force for social change, as he had been for decades.

“We worked to de-segregate Houston’s schools and businesses, created alliances to provide solutions for Houston’s homeless, committed to increase Harris County’s responsiveness to the legal needs of the indigent and even labored to create a vision for age-friendly care which supports seniors who need geriatric services,” said the Rev. William A. Lawson, a local civil rights icon…

View Cache

Dilution, clericalism, overshadow national syntheses

KANPUR (INDIA)
Matters India [New Delhi, India]

September 19, 2022

Read original article

The Synod on Synodality was kick-started in October 2021.The first phase, the national level, was to conclude by August 16 and the National Syntheses (NS) were to be sent to the Synod Secretariat at the Vatican.

A communiqué from Rene Reid, Director, Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) states that of 104 NS submitted to the Secretariat, more than half have not been made public. That would include the three NS from the Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches in India.

The CCRI organized a zoom meeting on September 17 to get a world-wide feedback on the progress of the Synod, now that all the NS would have been submitted; and preparations are on for the Continental phase.

CCRI’s preliminary survey showed that 93 percent of the respondents were deeply concerned about how the people of God would actually be represented in the Continental phase. Just 60 percent had faith in their…

View Cache

September 19, 2022

For Inuit delegates in France, facing alleged abuser together helped heal a deep wound

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

September 16, 2022

By April Hudson

Read original article

Via Eye on the Arctic

When Steve Mapsalak left the meeting with his alleged abuser on Wednesday, he felt a weight lift from inside him.

Mapsalak, one of the Inuit delegates from Nunavut who went to France this week to press for the extradition of retired priest Johannes Rivoire, said Thursday the short-notice meeting with Rivoire brought memories flooding back to him.

It also gave him an opportunity to tell Rivoire face-to-face about the pain he and other delegates have gone through.

“It is still painful to have the memory when I see the building, the room [where the abuse happened]. And yet, when I was able to speak to him and share how deeply he had hurt us, I could feel that inside, the deep hurt I have carried for so long, some of it is lifted,” Mapsalak said in Inuktitut Thursday.

Aluki Kotierk, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.,…

View Cache

Impulse, rage, abuse—a nun tells the story of life in Kerala church

(INDIA)
The Print [New Delhi, IN]

September 17, 2022

By Sister Lucy Kalapura

Read original article

A 2019 bestseller in Malayalam, ‘In the Name of the Lord’ is a harrowing, moving account of Sister Lucy Kalapura’s life as a Catholic nun.

A young man had once remonstrated to me about a liaison between his aunt, who was a nun, and the parish priest. He told me that this very priest used to advise him constantly to be virtuous and celibate and not stray as he was a bachelor. During the special confession sessions at the silent retreat, her voice filled with pain, a nun confessed to me about fondling a novice. During the Sacrament of Penance, too, some of the priests have a lecherous approach to the nuns who come to them to confess their sins to God. I can say on the basis of what has been revealed to me from time to time that what appears in the press about the goings-on in convents…

View Cache