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.
A negotiated settlement to end the state attorney general’s 2020 lawsuit against the Buffalo Diocese yielded a 30-page court order and additional embarrassing news coverage of the diocese’s handling of child sex abuse allegations.
What the settlement didn’t do, according to some advocates for child sex abuse victims and child abuse prevention experts, was require the diocese to substantially change the way it operates.
Aside from a new monitoring program for offending priests, most of the policies and procedures outlined in the settlement already were being used in the diocese prior to the lawsuit.
“Essentially what was produced was weak tea,” said Marci Hamilton, chief executive officer of Child USA, a national child abuse prevention organization.
Hamilton characterized the agreement as a “deep disappointment,” as well as a missed opportunity for New York to set a new bar in holding accountable large youth-serving organizations like the Catholic…
Current archbishop of New Orleans denies claims from Lawrence Eghabor that date back to the 1990s
A former student at a New Orleans college that trains Catholic priests has claimed he was racially and sexually harassed there – including by the city’s current archbishop – as he parries counter-allegations that he is merely trying to extort money and a green card from church officials.
Over two decades, the dispute has drawn attention from Catholic officials at the highest levels in the US and worldwide. But it was not publicly known until it surfaced as part of a chapter 11 bankruptcy case the New Orleans archdiocese opened amid a wave of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by clerics across generations.
Despite never interviewing the ex-seminarian, Lawrence Eghabor, or the archbishop, Gregory Aymond, the global Catholic church’s leadership at the Vatican deemed Egbahor’s claims meritless.
Eghabor said the cursory investigation demonstrated the Catholic church’s…
Lawmakers may expand the rights of child sex abuse victims in the upcoming legislative session, renewing efforts to pass legislation that would require clergy reporting and remove time limits for lawsuit cases involving child abuse.
Current state law sets a statute of limitations on filing for damages from childhood sexual abuses. Lawsuits have to be filed within three years of the survivor turning 18 or within three years of discovering an injury or illness caused by the abuse. Many have condemned the rule as unfair and fundamentally misguided.
Sen. Cindy Holscher, D-Overland Park, has worked for the past few years to pass legislation that would remove time limits for filing lawsuits in these cases. Holscher said it sometimes took years for victims to process their feelings and come forward, and the time limit harmed victims who aged out of the given timeframe.
The latest form of the legislation,
As California’s three-year window to file child sex abuse lawsuits past the statute of limitations nears its conclusion, 66 Catholic clergy and religious have been named in 116 lawsuits in Alameda County, which covers the area between San Francisco and San Jose.
Additionally, 14 of the clergy members and religious identified in the lawsuits are named for the first time, the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates announced Nov. 28.
The law firm said that the 116 lawsuits may be a small percentage of the total number of suits filed under the California Child Victims Act, which was passed in 2019.
The legislation allowed a three-year period in which victims of child sex abuse could come forward with claims that would have expired under the previous statute of limitations. The window began Jan. 1, 2020, and will expire in less than a month. The bill was…
For Immediate Release, November 30, 2022
In 2021, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting adopted a resolution “On Abuse and Pastoral Qualifications.” I was a member of that committee. I contributed significantly to the content of this resolution. It reads, in part, “any person who has committed sexual abuse is permanently disqualified from holding the office of pastor.” This is the sentiment of the Southern Baptist Convention.
At that same meeting, the messengers overwhelmingly insisted that an independent investigation should be conducted about the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee’s response to allegations of sexual abuse. The result of that investigation was the publication of a report in May of this year by Guidepost Solutions. That report disclosed the details of a pastor’s wife’s account of an incident in which Johnny Hunt aggressively approached her for a sexual encounter, including his pulling down her pants, pinning her down,…
In a highly unusual move, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention has denounced the “restoration” of a former SBC president to ministry six months after public allegations of sexual abuse.
“The idea that a council of pastors, assembled with the consent of the abusive pastor, possesses some authority to declare a pastor fit for resumed ministry is a conceit that is altogether absent from Baptist polity and from the witness of the New Testament. Indeed, it is repugnant to all that those sources extol and represent,” according to Bart Barber.
As previously reported by BNG, Georgia pastor and denominational leader Johnny Hunt was declared fit to return the ministry by a panel of four male pastor friends who have been counseling him since June. Those four pastors released a video this week explaining the process and outcomes of their unlicensed therapy with the former executive vice president of the SBC…
The pair raised historic abuse claims after being assaulted at a children’s home in Midlothian in the 1970s.
Two siblings who were abused at a children’s home have been told they can now sue a Catholic order.
The pair – known as ‘B and W’ – raised historic abuse claims against the Sisters of Nazareth over incidents in Lasswade, Midlothian, in the 1970s.
Both legal bids were originally thrown out in January after Sisters of Nazareth claimed it could not get a fair trial due to the passage of time.
But three appeal judges on Friday ruled the cases should not have been dismissed and granted the siblings permission to continue with their claim for six-figure compensation.
Kim Leslie, partner at Digby Brown, the legal firm representing the siblings, said: “We welcome today’s ruling, however as the case is ongoing we cannot comment further.”
Residential institutions run by the Sisters…
Women featured in “The Keepers,” a 2017 Netflix documentary series about clergy sexual abuse at a Baltimore-area Catholic girls school in the 1960s and ‘70s, expanded on their request Friday for the full public release of a report examining sexual misconduct by clergy throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Teresa Lancaster and Jean Wehner, who were victimized during their time at Archbishop Keough High School, filed their initial motion Wednesday after learning from a Baltimore Sun story that Baltimore’s Roman Catholic archdiocese is helping pay legal fees for a group of people named in the report who are asking a judge to make secret the court proceedings around its release.
In a supplement to the motion, filed on Friday morning, an attorney representing Lancaster and Wehner is making additional arguments for the report’s release, including that it no longer should be considered privileged material because the archdiocese already has a copy…
A Cumberland County woman has filed a civil complaint against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, alleging she was sexually abused by a priest that the Diocese knew was a predator, and who was reassigned to another parish.
At a Portland news conference Thursday, Ann Allen told reporters that she was 7 years old in 1964, when Father Lawrence Sabatino abused her in the basement of St. Peter’s Church.
“This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My name is Ann Marie Burke Allen. It’s important that you know that. It’s important to me that I found my voice — it will help me to heal,” she said.
Allen says she never told anyone about the incident, but after moving back to Maine decided that it was time to speak up.
“It’s never too late to tell. It’s never to late to heal….
Filing for bankruptcy would freeze at least 130 new cases involving the Santa Rosa Diocese, which has already paid about $33 million in settlements related to the clergy abuse scandal.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa plans to file for bankruptcy protection in advance of the first clergy abuse trials resulting from a three-year period that gives adult survivors of child sexual abuse in California until Dec. 31 to file civil suits related to their experiences.
Critics immediately framed the move as an effort to prevent the disclosure of sensitive, embarrassing details about priest abuse and the measures they believe church officials took to hide misdeeds over decades.
They also chastised the diocese for choosing a route that would ensure there was no settlement money left for claimants who might yet be abused or who might legally file a lawsuit after the claim deadline established by the bankruptcy court.
Un exseminarista venezolano denunció a un sacerdote mexicano de haber abusado sexualmente de él cuando tenía 13 años. Le ha seguido la pista por Chicago, La Habana, Ciudad de México. Al presunto perpetrador se le vio en la Basílica de Guadalupe haciendo trabajo eclesiástico para los paulinos.
La congregación religiosa Sociedad de San Pablo, conocida como Paulinos, resguarda en México al sacerdote católico Juan Huerta Ibarra, acusado penalmente de abuso sexual y pederastia ante la justicia venezolana, país al que fue enviado para realizar funciones eclesiásticas.
Pese a que el proceso penal en su contra sigue abierto en la ciudad de Mérida, territorio ubicado en el nacimiento de la cordillera andina, al norte de Venezuela, el religioso retornó a México y desde julio de 2019 realiza actividades sufragadas por la congregación y la jerarquía Paulina, que han rechazado diversas solicitudes periodísticas para hablar del caso.
El abogado venezolano José Leonardo Araujo Araque, actualmente de 31 años, denunció penalmente…
Soon into the new year, the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, will join a growing list of U.S. Catholic dioceses to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it faces a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits.
Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa announced in a Dec. 2 statement that the diocese’s attorneys will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime between Dec. 31 and March 1, 2023, saying the decision was “the inevitable result of an insurmountable number of claims.”
The diocese is facing more than 130 claims dating from 1962, when the diocese was established, through the present day, with the majority of the cases being from the 1970’s and 1980’s, Vasa said.
The claims were filed under the 2019 California Child Victims Act, which allowed for a three-year period where victims of child sex abuse could come forward with claims that would have expired under the previous statute of limitations….
Facing more than 130 new claims of child sexual abuse and the prospect of large financial settlements, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa announced Friday it will be filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection shortly after the new year.
The announcement comes amid the state’s three-year “lookback window,” created by a 2019 law enabling Californians to file new lawsuits in civil court based on older child sexual abuse claims that would typically be barred by the statute of limitations. The lookback window closes at the end of the year and attorneys expect a last-minute flurry of new cases to be filed.
“In many ways, this is not a freely chosen decision,” Santa Rosa Bishop Robert F. Vasa said in a statement posted to the diocese’s website. “It is the inevitable result of an insurmountable number of claims.”
A Dutch journalist based in Poland revealed evidence on Friday that Pope John Paul II was involved in covering up the abuse of minors while he was the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Krakow. The journalist, Ekke Overbeek, spent the last two years combing through archives in Poland, where he resides, and found several cases where the prominent Catholic Church figure knew about priests who abused children and helped them evade punishment, including transferring them to other parishes.
“I found concrete cases of priests who abused children in the Archdiocese of Krakow, where the future pope was archbishop. The future pope knew about it and nevertheless transferred those men. That led to new victims,” Overbeek said to Nieuwsuur. The journalist studied publicly available documents from the secret services about the future pope from during his time living and working in Poland. He wrote a book about his findings, Maxima…
De in 2005 overleden paus Johannes Paulus II wist als bisschop in Krakau al heel vroeg dat priesters in zijn bisdom minderjarigen misbruikten. Zelfs toen pedoseksuele priesters tot een celstraf waren veroordeeld, liet hij hen in een ander bisdom opnieuw verder werken. Dat blijkt uit Poolse documenten die een Nederlandse onderzoeksjournalist heeft opgespoord. Vaticaanspecialisten noemen de ontdekking “explosief”.
De Nederlandse journalist Ekke Overbeek, die onder meer voor Trouw en Nieuwsuur werkt, woont in Polen en dook drie jaar lang de Poolse archieven in. “Ik heb concrete gevallen gevonden van concrete priesters in het aartsbisdom Krakau, waar de latere paus aartsbisschop was, die kinderen misbruikten. De toekomstige paus wist ervan en heeft desalniettemin die mannen overgeplaatst. Dat leidde tot nieuwe slachtoffers.”
(Puzzelstukjes die het plaatje vormen hoe hij met dat kindermisbruik door priesters is omgegaan.- Journalist Ekke Overbeek)
De Poolse paus Johannes Paulus II werd geboren als Karol Józef Wojtyla. Hij was een…
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A new round of lawsuits centered on clergy child sex abuse accusations was made public this week in Northern California.
A separate Franciscan abuse lawsuit was filed this week in Santa Barbara. The local case involves a 66-year-old survivor and is linked to accusations stemming from decades ago. Documents show the man lived in Santa Barbara or Alameda as a child at the time of the alleged abuse.
The larger list of accusations entails 116 lawsuits filed in Alameda County. It names 80 Catholic clergy members accused of child sex abuse.
Tim Hale, a Santa Barbara attorney with Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, has spent decades representing survivors of child sex abuse across the country and here at home. The majority of the cases are linked to an institutional cover-up.
Hale said it is not yet known if any of the accused clergy members in this…
The “Italian way” of dealing with the sex abuse crisis
After a long delay compared to many other countries, the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) this past November 17 presented its first-ever clergy sex abuse report. It focused on the prevention and training activity carried out by diocesan services (inter-diocesan and regional) for the protection of minors and the testimonies that victims recounted at diocesan listening centers
The report is the fruit of the collaboration between the CEI and two researchers of the Catholic University of Milan. Compared to other countries, it is much more limited in scope and more institutionally tied to the Catholic Church in Italy. It is a clear attempt to set its own
model in order to avoid the catastrophic impact that revelations of abuse had in other countries.
The Italian report: unlike any other
This report is very different from recent efforts by the Church in…
Ann Allen, 65, of Scarborough has filed a civil complaint in Cumberland County Court claiming that the Roman Catholic Church ignored allegations of child sex abuse at the hands of one of its clergy members. She is seeking monetary damages.
Allen becomes the first female to file a civil lawsuit against the church since the laws in Maine changed in 2021, lifting any statute of limitations.
“I’m doing this to let people know that it’s never too late to tell and it’s never too late to heal,” said Allen.
During a press conference in her lawyer’s office in Portland, Allen said the church did not protect her or other children from a predator-priest when she was a child growing up in Portland in the 1960s. She said that she and her family were avid churchgoers and members of St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, located at 72 Federal Street in Portland.
“I need to…
Letters to the Editor
Despite the awful abuse that took place within its walls, the Catholic Church should also be acknowledged for the good work it has done
John Daly’s article (‘Vatican Pimpernel reminds us that not all priests are bad’, Irish Independent, November 28) was a long-overdue acknowledgment of the good work that has been done by the Catholic Church in making Ireland what it is today – a modern and prosperous country.
This has been achieved in no small measure by religious orders who founded our first hospitals and schools free of charge when the struggling state had no money to do so. Blatantly ignoring the contribution of these selfless men and women is a gross and unfair distortion of our history.
Unfortunately, as in our wider society, horrendous abuse was perpetrated by a minority of very sick and cruel people. Painting all our religious…
A window for filing new lawsuits under a 2019 California law for decades-old abuse will close Dec. 31.
As a deadline nears for new lawsuits in sexual abuse cases, 66 Catholic clergy and religious accused of sexual abuse have been identified in 116 lawsuits filed in Northern California. Of those, 14 have been publicly identified for the first time.
These new accusations have come to light under under a 2019 California law that extended the statute of limitations for abuse cases. Assembly Bill 218 provided for a three-year window that began on Jan. 1 in 2020. The deadline to file new lawsuits is Dec. 31.
“This public data collected is believed to be a small percentage of what attorneys (and) advocates anticipate the final number of lawsuits filed under this historic legislation to be,” according to a statement from Jeff Anderson and Associates, which is handling many of the cases…
In a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, a Scarborough woman alleges she was sexually abused by a priest in the 1960s.
Ann Allen is the first woman to sue under a 2021 law that removed a time limit for survivors seeking justice in civil court.
At a news conference, the 64-year-old fought back tears, saying she was ready to come forward with her truth.
“I need to hold the church accountable. … That is critical for my healing, as well,” Allen said.
Allen held up a picture of herself as a child and said she was just 7 years old when she was sexually abused by the Rev. Lawrence Sabatino at St. Peter’s Parish in Portland in the early 1960s.
Attorneys representing Allen have filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, seeking unspecified damages.
“Our clients need action to be taken to make sure…
In 2021, four times as many people had themselves deregistered from the baptismal register than in 2020, largely linked to the Catholic Church’s statement on same-sex marriages and continued reports of sexual abuse.
A total of 5,237 baptised people asked to be removed from the register, more than four times as many as in 2020, when 1,261 people had themselves deregistered, the annual report of the Catholic Church in Belgium showed. The Vatican’s statement in March that homosexuality remains a “sin” (in response to whether it would bless same-sex unions) is said to have played a role in this.
“The matter is receiving a lot of media attention and is one of the possible explanations for the increase in applications for de-registration from the baptismal register,” the report read. “The bishops of Belgium call on our country’s Catholic Church community to continue working towards a climate of respect,…
The Catholic church in Poland has offered support to victims of a now-deceased priest who was convicted of child sex abuse but, according to a new report, continued to abuse children while working in the church after his release from prison.
The priest in question, Eugeniusz Surgent, who died in 2008, was the subject of an investigation published last week by Rzeczpospolita, a leading daily.
In the 1970s, Surgent was sentenced to three years in prison for sexually abusing six boys. However, he subsequently remained in the priesthood and had contact with children – including teaching Catholic catechism classes – notes the newspaper, which found that he continued to abuse more victims through the 1980s.
Rzeczpospolita chose not to publish the names of victims found in the files, or to try to contact them, so as not to deepen their trauma. It also “omitted detailed descriptions of how the boys were abused…
A victim of paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan has lost a High Court battle to establish if he was a police informer.
The man challenged the PSNI’s policy of neither confirming nor denying the deceased cleric’s suspected role as an agent.
But a judge rejected claims that the force had adopted an inflexible position in breach of human rights.
Mr Justice Colton said: “The policy under challenge in this application is well embedded and approved in our law.
“It has been endorsed by both the High Court and the Specialist Tribunal established to deal with disclosure of such material.”
Finnegan, who died in 2002, was accused of a campaign of child sexual abuse while a teacher at St Colman’s College in Newry, Co Down but never prosecuted.
He worked at the school between 1967 and 1987, spending the last decade as its president.
Since his death damages have been paid to…
Last week the Diocese of Superior released a list of 23 priests who have “credibly accused” of raping or sexually abusing children. Four priests in the Pierce and St. Croix county area were included on the list.
The four priests are Ryan Erickson of Hudson, Joseph Higgins of River Falls, Donald Dummer of River Falls and James Kraker of Hammond.
All have been removed from ministry. Three have died.
Erickson had a single allegation of abuse between 2000 and 2003 in Hudson. He was removed from the ministry in December 2004. He died in December 2004.
Higgins had a single allegation of abuse in the late 1960’s in River Falls. He was removed from the ministry in February 1974. He died in February 1974.
Dummer was a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). He was not a member of the Diocese of Superior but practiced in River…
Rev. Lawrence Sabatino was one of nine priests publicly identified by the Catholic Church in 2005 for abusing children, 15 years after his death.
A woman is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland alleging a former Catholic priest sexually abused her in the 1960s.
Ann Allen is suing the diocese for civil damages saying the church failed to stop the abuse or warn parishioners about the allegations that began in 1958, according to Allen’s attorneys. Allen said she endured sexual abuse from Rev. Lawrence Sabatino at St. Peter Parish in Portland during the 1960s. Sabatino died in 1990. The church publicly acknowledged he was a sexual abuser in 2005, along with eight other priests, following an investigation by the Maine State Attorney General.
Allen is the latest Mainer to sue someone for abuse since changes to state law in 2021 that eliminated time barriers for survivors seeking…
Nearly half of all Jesuit priests and brothers credibly accused of sexual abuse against children or vulnerable adults in a ten-state region in the western United States over the past 70 years worked in Indian Country.
That’s what’s depicted by Desolate Country: Mapping Catholic Sex Abuse in Native America, an interactive map that plots the years and locations of 99 priests and 13 brothers of the Jesuits West Province. Of them, 47 of the men with credible allegations of abuse against them spent time working at Native missions.
The Jesuits West Province—which includes Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—formed in July 2017 as a merger between the former California and Oregon Provinces after the Oregon Province paid close to $200 million in settlement claims to Indigenous survivors of sexual abuse, leading to bankruptcy.
The map’s creators— religious studies scholars Katie Holscher and…
Time is ticking for victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy members in California with a month left under state law to file a lawsuit.
Time is ticking for any victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy members in California, as there’s one month left to file a lawsuit under a recently-signed state law.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, McNevin says he’s one of the hundreds of people in Northern California who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest.
“I think the abuse, it has a permanent impact on whoever is a victim. Your life changes the moment it happens,” McNevin said.
But others, like McNevin, who may wish to come forward, are running out of time.
That’s because a law passed by the California legislature back in 2019 is set to expire at the end of this year.
It’s called AB218, and what it did…
The Rev. Thomas J. O’Connor served Berkshire County Catholic parishes for 15 years, until a chronic heart condition formed him to leave St. Ann’s Church in Lenox.
Years after his death in 1987, at 56, the Springfield diocese evaluated – and found credible – an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor.
This week, the diocese revealed it found a second allegation, from a different person, to also be credible.
As of Wednesday, O’Connor’s entry on the diocese’s list of credibly accused clergy notes that second confirmed allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.
Like many priests, O’Connor was assigned to parishes around the region. His postings in Berkshire County, after his 1955 ordination by former Bishop Christoper J. Weldon, included a year at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish in North Adams (1962-1963), roughly four years at the St. Joseph Parish in Pittsfield (1965-1969), and nine…
BALTIMORE — Abuse survivors who were featured in “The Keepers,” a widely viewed 2017 Netflix documentary about clergy sexual misconduct at a Baltimore Catholic girls’ school in the 1960s and ’70s, have filed a court motion calling for the full release of a report by the Maryland attorney general on sexual abuse by clergy and other employees in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Teresa Lancaster and Jean Wehner, who were extensively interviewed in the seven-part series, joined with a third woman who has not yet agreed to identify herself publicly, to file the motion Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court.
The women decided Tuesday to file the document after learning from a Baltimore Sun story that the archdiocese is helping pay legal fees for members of a group of unidentified individuals that’s seeking to seal court proceedings surrounding a judge’s decision on whether to release the report. The group…
The Maryland Attorney General investigation into the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore (AOB) has concluded. The 456-page report details the sexual abuse of more than 600 victims at the hands of 158 Catholic Priests that were part of the AOB. Attorney General Brian Frosh has turned his report over to the courts and has asked the court to release it to the public saying his investigation uncovered many attempts of coverups of priests abusing children by those in the Archdiocese.
While Shane travels to Baltimore to do some podcasting with Gemma, he stops at a hotel in Pittsburg and records this phone conversation with Teresa Lancaster about the conclusion of the report and where we are now… as well as a mysterious group of individuals who have come forward to oppose the report being released. Concluding the…
A late clergyman who served the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for four decades has been accused for the first time of sexually assaulting a child, joining dozens of Sacramento clergy previously implicated in the Catholic Church’s decades-old abuse scandal.
In a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, a 60-year-old woman from Placerville — identified only as Jane Doe E.D. — alleges that Sidney P. Hall sexually abused her on multiple occasions in 1966 when she was just six years old.
At that time, Hall was serving as a priest at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral where he was tasked with running the youth group, working with the parish school children and driving the school bus, according to records kept by the church.
The lawsuit states that Hall, who died in Sept. 2016 at the age of 85, used his “influence and persuasion as a holy man and authority figure”…
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a group was seeking to seal Maryland’s report on clergy sexual abuse. It is seeking to seal the proceedings around the report. The article has been corrected.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed Tuesday that it is helping pay the legal expenses of an anonymous group of people seeking to seal the proceedings around a report by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office on clergy sexual abuse of minors.
Christian Kendzierski, an archdiocese spokesman, reiterated that the church is not seeking to suppress a 456-page report by the office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. But, Kendzierski said, the church has unspecified obligations to a group of individuals who are named in the attorney general’s report but are not accused of sexual abuse and who have argued that their side should be heard before the report is made public.
Julie Roys explains why she’s determined to expose abuse and misconduct in the Church
Julie Roys has been described as a gossipmonger, an apostate and a liar. Such labels would cut most Christians deep, but not Roys. The 57-year-old Chicago-based journalist wears unfounded criticism as “a badge of honour” – she even has a mug printed with some of the more acerbic remarks she has received.
Growing up as the youngest of four, it was “survival of the fittest” in her household, and Roys held her own when it came to her pushier siblings. “I would rather get beat up than give in,” she tells me.
Free assertiveness training in childhood, coupled with a naturally strong “internal justice metre” might explain the thick skin and tenacity she now displays in adulthood. When she sees wrong being committed, she just can’t stay silent.
For the last four years, Roys has been reporting…
Once a beloved SBC pastor and president, Hunt will return to ministry just over seven months after the allegations were made public.
Disgraced former Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt plans a return to ministry after completing a restoration process overseen by four pastors, according to a video released last week.
Hunt, a longtime megachurch pastor in Georgia, was named earlier this year in the Guidepost Solutions report on sexual abuse in the SBC, which alleged that Hunt had sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife in 2010. Guidepost, a third-party investigation firm, found the claims credible.
“We believe the greatest days of ministry for Johnny Hunt are the days ahead,” said Rev. Steven Kyle, pastor of Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida, in the video.
Kyle, along with pastors Mark Hoover of NewSpring Church in Wichita, Kansas; Benny Tate of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia; and Mike Whitson of…
The Jesuits in Poland are going through a seismic upheaval after the abuse of a minor and a vulnerable adult by a charismatic youth and retreat minister was revealed by Więź magazine in mid-November.
In a statement released on Nov. 22, the Southern Poland Province of the Jesuits said that Father Maciej Sz. [his full name cannot be used under Polish law] was removed from all ministry and moved to an undisclosed secluded non-Jesuit location where he is forbidden to say Mass or wear clerical garb.
That decision came a week after Więź published a two-part story, “Society of Maciej”, revealed the abuse and the fact that three consecutive Jesuit provincials and the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith failed to act.
“He was her light in the tunnel and that light killed her”
Wiktoria [the names of the victims and their relatives were changed in the Więź article] was a shy teenage girl.
Lawyers at loggerheads over whether schools should be included in historic sales process
More than 1,000 teenagers briskly filed out of Holy Spirit High in Conception Bay South on a recent Friday at the end of another week of classes.
With the weekend on their minds, few appeared to take notice of the tall white cross secured to the school’s exterior brick wall or give a second thought as to why the school has a religious name.
It’s a throwback to when Newfoundland and Labrador’s education system was financed with public money but administered by various Christian denominations, a right that was enshrined in the constitution as part of the province’s terms of union with Canada.
Now, a quarter-century after the denominational system was abolished — following years of intense debate and two referendums — and the government took full control of education, controversy has resurfaced.
[Photo: Marystown Central High had a enrolment of 341 student…
It would be nice if we could look at a Catholic organization’s website or hear a Catholic official quoted or speaking candidly about the institution’s contentious and continuing crisis: the widespread sexual abuse of children and the cover-up of that abuse by the church hierarchy. But we at Horowitz Law remain consistently disappointed. Just last week, we reported that nearly 21 names were missing from San Diego’s list. We monitor this crisis closely and often see very few church remarks that are simple, direct, honest, and accurate about these crimes and cover-ups. Very few.
Instead, we see powerful, well-educated men who know better using euphemisms designed to make it sound so unforeseen, so long ago, not so bad, under control, and therefore, not worth focusing on or addressing in any new, effective way. Common quotes include:
- “Accused of abuse elsewhere.”
- “No known accusations in the diocese.”
- “No record of any…
A Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation will be conducted in the Diocese of Knoxville, after complaints about the leadership of Bishop Rick Stika.
A Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation will be conducted in the Diocese of Knoxville next week, several sources close to the diocese told The Pillar.
Sources told The Pillar Fridaythat Bishops Barry Knestout of Richmond and Michael Burbidge of Arlington have been directed to visit with priests, diocesan officials, and lay Catholics over several days, amid ongoing concern over the leadership of Bishop Rick Stika.
The decision to commission an on-site assessment of the diocese comes more than 18 months after priests in the diocese reported to the Vatican concerns about Stika’s handling of reports against a former diocesan seminarian, who was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting other seminarians and a parish organist.
While the Vatican had previously directed Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to look into allegations against Stika, the visitation of Knestout and…
State law opened the door to lawsuits from adults who say they were abused as children
As a deadline looms for new lawsuits to root out decades-old abuse, 14 Northern California priests — including 10 in the Bay Area — have been accused for the first time of sexually abusing children, adding to the list of dozens of disgraced clergy already exposed in recent years in a scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic church for a generation.
The 14 accused priests came to light in a torrent of litigation unleashed by Assembly Bill 218, which opened a three-year window from 2020-2022 during which adults who say they were abused long ago as children are allowed to sue. Attorneys had predicted the law would generate thousands of lawsuits against institutions including the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church.
“Additional lawsuits are being filed nearly every…
A former bishop who led the Diocese of Sioux Falls for 14 years has died.
Bishop Emeritus Paul Swain died Saturday at Avera Dougherty Hospice at age 79.
Swain led the diocese from 2006 through 2020 and was known as a humble leader. He oversaw the closing or consolidation of smaller parishes.
He also addressed child sex abuse allegations against 11 priests from his diocese who had substantiated claims of abuse made against them from 1958 to 1992. The names were published in March of 2019, along with a letter from Swain that encouraged other victims to come forward.
Top Vatican officials expressed concern that, with the Synodal Path, the German bishops were giving up their role as shepherds and allowing participants to adopt positions in contrast to the faith of the universal church, particularly regarding sexuality and women’s ordination.
The bishops met Nov. 18 with the heads of Vatican dicasteries to discuss the Synodal Path, which the German bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics launched in 2019 in response to the clerical abuse scandal. The Vatican published the texts of presentations Nov. 24.
The meeting, at the end of the bishops’ “ad limina” visits to Rome, was chaired by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Formal presentations were made by Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops.
Cardinal Ladaria focused his remarks on Pope Francis’ letter to German…
Editor’s Note: On Nov. 22, 2022, five representatives of America Media interviewed Pope Francis at his residence at Santa Marta at the Vatican. Matt Malone, S.J., the departing editor in chief of America, was joined by Sam Sawyer, S.J., the incoming editor in chief; executive editor Kerry Weber; Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent; and Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.” They discussed a wide range of topics with the pope, including polarization in the U.S. church, racism, the war in Ukraine, the Vatican’s relations with China and church teaching on the ordination of women. The interview was conducted in Spanish with the assistance of a translator, Elisabetta Piqué. A transcript of the Spanish text can be found here.
Pope Francis: Thank you for coming!
Matt Malone, S.J.: Holy Father, America magazine was founded by the Jesuits in 1909, and we’ve been published continuously since. This is our first opportunity to speak…
Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne will be moving from a parish rectory into a newly purchased $2.4 million home in an upscale waterfront neighborhood. Archdiocesan officials say the relocation is necessary to better accommodate guests but the decision has also garnered criticism.
“The move is breaking a promise that the archbishop made to us in a pretty major way,” said Tim Law, a Seattle Catholic and attorney who is a member of Heal Our Church, a Washington-based alliance calling for a lay-led review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse.
In 2019, on Etienne’s first day as head of the archdiocese, he told priests and deacons in a letter he would forgo the traditional archbishops’ residence — a 9,000-square-foot mansion named the Connolly House — and “live a more simplified life.”
“While the Connolly House has been home to the archbishops since 1920, it will not be…
(For Immediate Release November 29, 2022)
After saying it would not oppose the release of a report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is helping to pay lawyers for an anonymous group that’s asked a city judge to keep secret arguments over whether to make the document public. A spokesperson for the archdiocese confirmed Monday to The Baltimore Sun that the church was paying, at least in part, the fees of Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy, two white-collar defense attorneys.
It is becoming clearer, and with no surprise to us, that Archbishop William Lori is deliberately deceptive. In a homily, shortly after Attorney General Frosh’s request to release the report, Lori said, ‘And as I said in my letter to the faithful of the archdiocese last Thursday, I pledge to continue to do…
A charismatic minister is apparently widening his revival and healing ministry despite having been disqualified because of “a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior.”
Todd Bentley is hosting revival events in Illinois and Florida in January 2023, an event listing shows. A missions trip to Uganda is slated for February and March. Bentley is then planning two weekend revivals — one in April in Lakeland, Florida, and another in May in Memphis.
The events are being put on by Bentley’s ministry, Revival Harvest Ministries, formerly Fresh Fire USA. The revival weekends mirror an event in March 2021 in North Carolina, where Bentley began preaching again after a 17-month break.
Bentley had gone on hiatus after an estranged protégé accused him in 2019 of sexual perversion.
A panel of six charismatic leaders convened to investigate the allegations against…
A group composed of scholars, psychologists, clergy, restorative justice experts and victim-survivors of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis has developed a set of proposals that encourage the use of restorative justice as a means to help heal victim-survivors and the broader Church.
The proposals are the result of a two-year study supported by an initiative created by the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the President as part of the Notre Dame Forum, ‘“Rebuild My Church’: Crisis and Response,” to fund research projects that address issues emerging from the crisis. The proposals have been forwarded for consideration to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A cross-section of 25 experts met in 2021 and 2022 at Notre Dame and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, respectively, to examine whether lessons for the Church could be found in the restorative justice traditions of Indigenous peoples and the efforts of nations…
After saying it would not oppose the release of a report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is helping to pay lawyers for an anonymous group that’s asked a city judge to keep secret arguments over whether to make the document public.
A spokesperson for the archdiocese confirmed Monday to The Baltimore Sun that the church was paying, at least in part, the fees of Gregg Bernstein and William J. Murphy, two white-collar defense attorneys. They represent a group of people who are not accused of sexual abuse, but are named in the report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.
Murphy and Bernstein wrote in a filing a week ago in Baltimore Circuit Court that they would reveal their clients’ identities only in a private hearing. The filing does not explain why their clients want to keep the proceedings secret, but…
Three survivors who settled with Marist Brothers have taken action after church fails to follow court order to cover legal costs
Abuse survivors are attempting to seize Catholic church properties, including a Catholic order’s Sydney headquarters, to cover legal costs after their bills went unpaid, despite a court order.
Guardian Australia can reveal three survivors who settled with the Marist Brothers over historical child abuse claims have taken the drastic step of attempting to levy the Catholic order’s assets after a 28-day order to cover the legal costs lapsed without payment.
Marist was ordered to pay the legal costs of three survivors, known to the courts as MM, MJ, and HG.
The Catholic order said there was “unfortunately” a delay in paying the bill, blaming the mistake on an unnamed “third party”. It said it was now attempting to make urgent payment to the survivors’ lawyers, Ken…
In a recent interview Pope Francis said his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a leader in “taking responsibility” and responding with transparency to clerical sexual abuse — the latest defense by the Holy Father of his predecessor, who is facing criticism in his native Germany for his handling of several abuse cases as an archbishop decades ago.
In the Nov. 22 interview published Monday by America Magazine, Pope Francis discussed a wide range of topics including the Church’s response to revelations of abuse by clergy. Francis said although “official statistics” show that clergy abuse makes up a very small percentage of all abuse cases in society, [i]f there had been only one case, it would have been monstrous.”
Before the 2002 “Boston crisis,” abusers were simply moved from place to place as part of the institutional cover-up, he said.
“The practice, which is still maintained in some…
The Polish church is in a deep crisis, as its authority is sapped by cascading sexual abuse scandals and as more people grow wary of its perceived alliance with the country’s right-wing government.
BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — A committed Catholic who served from childhood as an altar boy, Karol dreamed as a teenager of entering the seminary in his hometown in northern Poland and becoming a priest.
“I had a deep faith and wanted to serve the church,” said Karol, now 26, recalling how he had discussed his hopes of one day becoming a bishop with his spiritual mentor, a priest at the Church of Divine Providence in the city of Bydgoszcz.
But that was before the priest raped him.
“The whole church has been poisoned,” Karol said in an interview, asking that his full name not be used by The New York Times.
His story, one of many that…
Firsthand Witness Accounts from the Front Lines
November 30, 2022
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The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter, is a comprehensive set of procedures addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and established in June 2002, the charter has impacted survivors, their families, and everyone in the Church for the last two decades. In light of these past 20 years, panelists will ask: What has happened since the Dallas Charter was promulgated in 2002, and what is the way forward for the next 20 years? What progress has been made, what has failed to happen, and what voices have been neglected or marginalized? What might the next 20…
This is the third case of sexual abuse against the priest and he was previously booked at Kondhwa police station for a similar offence
Pune sessions court on Sunday extended father Vincent Pereira’s police custody on charges of sexually abusing a minor. Pereira was arrested on Friday by Bund Garden police, and remanded to police custody on Saturday. On Sunday he was produced before a Pune court, which extended his custody by another day.
This is the third such case against the priest and he was previously booked at Kondhwa police station for a similar offence.
Besides Pereira, five priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese committee have been named as co-accused and have also been booked in the case.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Bund Garden Division) RN Raje said, “We have arrested Periera after a complaint related to sexual abuse of a minor was lodged against him. The accused has…
A Catholic priest has been arrested by Pune city police for allegedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy. A special court has remanded him to one-day police custody.
Based on a complaint from a social activist, Bund Garden police station registered the FIR yesterday for offences under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Five other priests are co-accused in the case as they did not inform the police after a complaint was made to them.
According to the FIR, the incident took place on 21st November 2021 at Pune railway station. The victim was going to his native place with his parents when the accused approached them with a cake. He asked his parents to go inside the station with the luggage and then took the child behind an autorickshaw.
“The priest asked me obscene questions, and also whether I watch pornographic videos. He…
Attorneys representing people named in the report asked a judge to keep all proceedings under seal. The church said it will support the report’s release.
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s 456-page report on child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore faces a legal effort to seal the court proceedings over whether to release it.
But the legal wrangling does not come from the archdiocese, which said in a statement late Tuesday that it will not oppose releasing the details of the four-year investigation, described by Frosh in court filings last week as documenting 600 victims of clergy sexual abuse over 80 years.
“We believe that transparency is necessary to rebuild the trust that has been damaged by evil acts of abuse committed by representatives of the Church and by historic failures of Church leadership to respond adequately to those acts,” the archdiocese statement said, adding that…
A staff member at a Tasmanian Catholic school has been described as “persistent and predatory” in the sexual exploitation of multiple students and young girls, and will now spend at least 18 months in prison.
- The court heard Hones created multiple social media and email accounts with fake names to communicate with the girls
- Justice Jago said “immediate imprisonment” was warranted, sentencing him to three years and nine months behind bars.
- She suspended nine months of the sentence, with Hones eligible for parole in 18 months
Somerset man Adam Michael Hones, 32, worked as an information technology technician at Burnie’s Marist Regional College for almost a decade before being stood down following a police investigation in 2021.
In October he pleaded guilty to 19 charges involving 17 different young girls, 11 of which were students at Marist. They were aged between 14 and 17.
In handing down her sentence in…
Most Rev. James P. Powers, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Superior, today released the list of abusive clergy who have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. This list of names is the result of three separate clergy file reviews, including one by a private independent security consulting firm, more than a year of meetings, multiple sessions with the Diocesan Review Board (lay people with various life experiences), and much prayer and discernment.
The complete list can be found on the Diocesan website at catholicdos.org/abusive-clergy-list.
Bishop Powers sincerely acknowledges the sinful harms of the past, apologizes on behalf of the local Church, and prays for the healing of all victims-survivors and their affected families and friends.
“I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot,” said Bishop Powers. “What we…
The Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Church of England and Church in Wales have announced ongoing support for victims and survivors of church-related abuse, through their Safe Spaces project, with newly-appointed independent provider First Light.
Safe Spaces is a free national support service which offers a confidential, personal, and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, The Church in Wales or The Catholic Church in England and Wales, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.
First Light is an independent organisation with extensive experience in supporting those who have experienced or are experiencing sexual abuse or domestic violence, including survivors and victims of church-related abuse.
First Light have been appointed by the Board of Trustees Of Safe Spaces England and Wales (SSEW) after a rigorous and highly competitive tender process.
The Anglican Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, a…
The Irish wing of the Saint John of God congregation has so far received 131 allegations of child sexual abuse against members of its order over the past five decades.
The Catholic order that ran special schools in Ireland has not made one legal settlement with victims, The Sunday Times can reveal.
Thirty-four fresh claims of abuse have been made since 2015, when a safeguarding review of the order was carried out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. The order was aware of 97 allegations of child sexual abuse at the time of the review.
The order ran five special schools for pupils aged between 5 and 18 in Dublin, Kildare, Kerry and Louth. More than 100 of the claims concern incidents alleged to have taken place in school settings.
No members of the order in Ireland have been convicted of child sexual abuse…
The United Church of Canada (UNC) in Saskatchewan issued a strong statement blasting church-run Legacy Christian Academy (LCA) and the Mile Two Church following the publication of a $25-million sexual abuse case in August against the school.
Threats Against Sexual Abuse Survivors
According to a report by Global News, the United Church of Canada denounced the threats directed toward sexual abuse survivors like Caitlin Erickson. Erickson studied at the LCA, where she allegedly suffered sexual abuse.
The news outlet said Erickson and fellow survivors’ public rebuke of the negative experience they had in the hands of Legacy Christian Academy teachers triggered the anonymous threats.
Erickson reportedly showed copies of email messages she received, one of which told her to “stop talking to the press, if you value your life,” coupled with a Bible verse saying, “For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29).”
Aside from the threatening emails,…
[Photo above: Patti Egan, age 11. Her abuse began at the hands of her brother-in-law when she was 11 years old, Egan said. (Courtesy Photo).]
The legal window for adults to sue their childhood sexual abuser despite the statute of limitations will soon close in California.
Southern California resident Patricia Egan, 65, is breathing easier, she said, after having her day in court. In November, Egan, now 65, won an $18 million lawsuit against her former brother-in-law, the man she says sexually abused her during the ’60s and ’70s, starting when she was 11 years old.
Now, however, the three-year legal window that enables older adult victims such as Egan to sue for damages against their childhood sexual abusers is about to close in California. California Assembly Bill 218, temporarily set aside the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims to file claims. It opened up a three-year window…
Mediator Paul A. Finn: “I’ve been doing this a long time and … this is a complete and total waste of time”
The ongoing mediation between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and attorneys for hundreds of plaintiffs who filed sexual abuse claims under the Child Victims Act is teetering on collapse. One of two mediators overseeing the negotiations, which have languished for months, described them as a “complete and total waste of time.”
That analysis by Paul A. Finn, a Massachusetts attorney who oversaw the settlement of 552 cases of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Boston, came during a court conference last week when leaders of a committee representing dozens of plaintiffs’ attorneys informed the diocese’s attorney they should file for bankruptcy if they can’t provide a meaningful offer by Tuesday.
Cynthia S. LaFave, an attorney on the plaintiffs liaison committee, said they have been waiting since July…
Greece has opened a probe into one of the country’s best-known child charities after numerous claims of alleged abuse and financial mismanagement, a justice ministry source told AFP on Sunday.
The Ark of the World, founded by a charismatic priest, has worked with underprivileged children for at least two decades in Athens and several other parts of Greece.
Since mid-November, Greek media have been broadcasting allegations of malfeasance at the charity from former staff and former children under its care, their faces obscured and voices disguised.
One 19-year-old told police that he was allegedly sexually molested by a senior charity official, according to media reports.
One former staffer said that he was fired after speaking out after a co-worker allegedly beat three boys.
Others have claimed that charity executives demanded monetary donations instead of clothes and food, and lived lives of luxury.
The government this week replaced the…
The removal of the entire leadership of Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide charity arm Caritas Internationalis (CI) was not due to sexual abuse and financial management, its president Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said on Tuesday.
Tagle made the statement during a plenary meeting in Rome this week as he read the Pope’s decree directing the sackings of Caritas’ executives including him, Vatican News reported.
“I would like to assure you that this is not, this is not, this is not about sexual harassment or sexual abuse. This is not about, again, mismanagement of money … the decree clearly stated the intention,” he added.
According to him, the move was a call for “walking humbly with God” and “a process of discernment.”
“This is a call for walking humbly with God and a process of discernment, confronting our unfreedoms and following the spirit of freedom, [and] at…
[Via the Washington Post]
German bishops departed the Vatican with mixed feelings of “relief and concern,” after renewing their loyalty to Rome over the weekend but leaving questions about sexuality, the role of women and how to reform power structures in the church still unanswered.
Speaking at a news conference Saturday, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said that despite a ban from the Vatican, he plans to personally continue blessing same-sex couples.
“For me, as a bishop, these blessings for people who ask God’s blessing for their committed relationship, I would not take that away from them,” Bätzing said.
Sixty-two German bishops came to Rome last week for the traditional “ad limina” visits with members of the Vatican departments and offices that make up the Roman Curia. The bishops also had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican and an extraordinary…
Another retired French archbishop has admitted to past sexual abuse and a parish priest was sidelined after his abuse case came to light. The fallout from recent revelations of past sexual abuse by a cardinal and a bishop continues to torment the French Catholic Church.
Former Strasbourg Archbishop Jean-Pierre Grallet, 81, admitted making “inappropriate gestures” to an adult woman in the past and now faces civil and canonical inquiries. The woman, prompted by calls for victims to come forward, informed French police during the summer.
Grallet was one of the three unnamed prelates Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the bishops conference, referred to early this month when he said 11 French bishops were convicted, indicted or suspected of committing or condoning sexual abuse.
Moulins-Beaufort, who last year apologised for an estimated 330,000 sexual abuse cases by clerics and Church workers since 1950 and encouraged victims to speak up, had…
Nearly four years after Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr began an investigation of suspected sexual abuses by Roman Catholic priests or other linked to the church, the special prosecutor handling the investigation tells Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Richard Belcher the final report on the investigation is expected by mid-February.
Pete Skandalakis, Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council (PAC), said that his office reviewed close to a hundred allegations, but he has not said whether he expects to refer any matters for prosecution by local DA’s.
Carr announced the investigation in April 2019, months after the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah had agreed to full cooperation. The terms were laid out in a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU).
“My expectation is that it is open, that the books will be open. So long as the church is open and transparent, it will say to victims, ‘We appreciate you, your…
Much of western European philosophy, from ancient Greece to the present, has led directly to unspeakable evil
As a little girl, Roberta Hill survived four years of physical and sexual abuse in the Mohawk School in Canada, one of 139 residential schools designed to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children. An estimated 6,000 other children did not survive. Ms Hill, a Mohawk (Turtle Clan) elder once known to the nuns as #54, was raped twice by the school’s principal, an Anglican priest.
“There were two ministers at the school,” Ms Hill recounted. “One liked the little girls and one liked the little boys . . . They were pretty brutalized, the boys, and if they weren’t getting beaten, they were being raped.” The schools were funded by the government and run by churches, primarily the Catholic Church.
We believe that much of western European philosophy, from ancient Greece to the present, has…
In late October, two Chattanooga-area Catholics, Theresa Critchfield and Kristy Higgins, drove with their children to a protest outside the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville.
The protest was held by SNAP of Tennessee, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Its principal organizer, Susan Vance, has for two decades agitated, often alone, for more transparency from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville.
In February, after an anonymous plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the diocese claiming Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika had impeded an investigation into a sexual assault allegedly committed by a then-diocese employee, Vance called for the bishop to resign. This, roughly eight months later, remained her cause at this small gathering in Knoxville.
Critchfield and Higgins were new to this style of protest. They’d only recently connected with Vance after, with some trepidation, they organized a letter signed by a group of…
The law applies to Western Australia, the largest of the Australian states. Entering into force on November 1, 2022, it obliges ministers of religion to report all cases of child abuse, including those for which the information obtained would have been within the framework of the Sacrament of Penance.
These changes are part of new laws introduced by the government of Mark McGowan, currently Premier of Western Australia. However, this law was passed in October of 2021.
The law specifies that priests will be considered culpable if they failed to report the fact that the information was revealed to them during the administration of the Sacrament of Penance.
The omission of such a report is a crime in this Australian state – as in many countries of the world – punishable by a maximum penalty of $6,000 AUD.
A Growing Restriction
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth defended the secrecy of…
[Via Yahoo News]
The Rev. Bernie Etienne, a priest who had been accused of sexual misconduct, has been returned to active ministry, the Catholic Diocese of Evansville said Friday.
The move comes “following completion of a thorough investigation,” according to a statement released Friday morning by the Diocese. Etienne’s return is effective immediately. At the time he was placed on administrative leave in March, Etienne was serving as pastor at Evansville’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 1301 S. Green River Road.
Friday’s statement by the Diocese said the alleged sexual misconduct by Etienne “was alleged to have occurred more than 20 years ago” and was “determined to be unfounded.”
“As part of the announcement (that Etienne had been placed on administrative leave) the public was encouraged to come forward with relevant information. No other allegations against Father Bernie (Etienne) were received,” the Diocese statement said.
“Upon learning of…
Pereira was arrested in connection to a case of sexual abuse registered with Bundgarden police on Friday, said Assistant Police Inspector Shilpa Lambe. “There are other sexual abuse cases pending against him in various police stations,” she told The Indian Express.
Pune city Police on Saturday arrested Father Vincent Pereira, a priest, under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). He was remanded to one-day police custody by a city court.
Pereira was arrested in connection to a case of sexual abuse registered with Bundgarden police on Friday, said Assistant Police Inspector Shilpa Lambe. “There are other sexual abuse cases pending against him in various police stations,” she told The Indian Express.
Sardar Patil, senior police inspector with Kondhwa police station, said, “Father Vincent Pereira has been named in a sexual abuse case registered with us, in which he has been given interim bail. We have applied…
A recent survey of priests found growing distrust of bishops and major fears that they would not get their support if faced with false abuse accusations.
Eighty-two percent of priests responding to a survey conducted by The Catholic Project, a research group at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., said they live in constant fear of being falsely accused of sexual abuse.
And only 51% of diocesan priests believe their bishop would support them during an abuse investigation, according to the survey, which was released in October. Meanwhile, only 36% are confident their diocese would provide the resources necessary to defend themselves during a legal investigation.
CNA discussed those survey results with bishops attending the fall general assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore earlier this month. During the annual gathering, the U.S. bishops marked the 20th anniversary of the Dallas Charter…
With main political issues in the spotlight — such as abortion, marijuana and gun control — we often neglect issues that do not get as much media or news coverage.
After the finalization of Nov. 8 elections, a very important issue did not get enough attention — the Child Victims Act. This is not an act that should be left in the dark.
Here’s why: A victim now over the age of 35 is no longer able to pursue legal action against an abuser. While this may seem like a reasonable age, the truth about the effects of childhood sexual abuse may take decades to hinder an individual’s life. A male adult may not begin processing childhood sexual abuse until middle age. Passing the Child Victims Act will remove limitations on processing abusers.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, has been opposed to this act in the past. The…
There is a statute of limitations for reporting adult sexual abuse. That statute is being waived for one year, which began Thanksgiving day, due to the Adult Survivors Act.
The act is modelled on the Child Victims Act, which was approved in 2019. It allows people who were over 18 years of age when they experienced sexual abuse to have a one year window of opportunity to file a claim against their alleged abuser in civil court. They can bring legal action even if the statute of limitations for the crime has expired.
On May 24, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who replaced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he resigned in a sexual harassment scandal, signed the measure into law.
“Finally, we are starting to right a wrong that has existed for far too long,” Hochul said. “Because when it came to sexual assault, our laws were protecting the abusers more than not.”
What suffering can teach us about the journey of our life, and those who walk with us
I posted something the other day about the occult and criminal violence around the Santa Muerte cult, a favorite of narcotraficantes. I asked readers to share their experiences with this phenomenon, if they have any. Only one of you responded — good news, because it shows that the cult hasn’t afflicted your lives — but the reader who responded sent it a story of the demonic haunting of a man who had been close to him. Doesn’t involve Santa Muerte, but it’s still chilling and important. Read on:
This past summer, my ex-husband, Kurt, had a Catholic priest from his home parish in Kentucky clear his house in upstate New York of demons. And now that it’s been blessed, he can finally stay in the place again. It’s a small cabin that had…
[Photograph above: One of Chris Doris’s artworks responding to his abuse. Photograph: Chris Doris]
‘Quasi-sacramental’ abuse involved three priests with two wearing green and gold stoles
It was the secret that existed in plain sight. Now aged 60, artist and psychotherapist Chris Doris spoke about the abuse he suffered involving two priests and a religious brother at Willow Park school in Dublin in a television programme 30 years ago.
In the Would You Believe documentary, shown on RTÉ in 1992, Doris was interviewed on the theme of art and spirituality after he had organised an exhibition to help victims of the famine that was then under way in Somalia.
In it, he spoke about being abused in Willow Park, which he attended until 1975: “It was brief but explosive.” Before the programme was broadcast he was told its religious adviser had warned he would “want to be very sure about…
Some steps the LDS Church should take to protect children
In the October 2022 General Conference, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stated, “As president of the Church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: any kind of abuse of women, children, or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. … For decades now, the Church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. … The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as His disciples, neither can we.”
I have heard similar General Conference messages for decades. Yet new abuse allegations are reported regularly. This two-minute sound-bite is merely damage control. “His disciples” continue to tolerate abuse.
Recent articles by Michael Rezendes of the Associated Press detail the prolonged incestuous abuse of offspring…
The siblings’ cases were thrown out last year after Sisters of Nazareth claimed it could not get a fair trial due to the passage of time.
Two siblings who were allegedly abused at a Scots children’s home have been told they can sue a Catholic order after their case was scrapped last year.
The pair, known as ‘B and W’, claimed to have suffered historic abuse at the hands of Sisters of Nazareth (SoN) – a charity operating across five regions to provide care for those in the organisation’s established houses. They had been residing at the religious body’s premises in Lasswade, Midlothian, in the 1970s, where they claimed to have been assaulted as children.
In January this year, both legal bids were scrapped after the religious body claimed it could not get a fair trial due to the passage of time. But three appeal…
Dozens more children and adults come forward
A report examining the number of cases of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church in Italy uncovered at least 89 victims and 68 people accused of abuse during the past two years. Sixty-one of those abused were children aged from ten to 18, and 12 cases involved children under the age of ten. Sixteen of the alleged victims were classed as vulnerable adults.
The alleged abusers include clergy, lay people, and members of religious orders.
In total, the Church said that it had more than 600 cases of abuse by priests on file at the Vatican, dating back to 2000.
The limited two-year accounting of cases drew on data only from “listening centres” set up by dioceses in 2019 to receive complaints of abuse, including abuse by lay people as well as clergy.
The report, Protecting, Preventing, Educating, was published on Thursday of…
Montreal – The Grey Nuns of Montreal are asking a court that the Congregation of Holy Cross compensate them should they be required to pay the victims of clergy sexual abuse who are part of a class action authorized against the order of women religious.
The legal question was at the centre of a Nov. 16 court hearing in Montreal involving the two religious orders.
Quebec Superior Court Judge Suzanne Courchesne indicated in authorizing the class action in March that it aimed to include “any person or estate of a deceased person” who claimed to be “a victim of sexual abuse and/or physical abuse and/or psychological abuse while being housed or hosted/received” in any of the three sites operated by the Grey Nuns in the Montreal area.
The sites include the Crèche d’Youville day care, the Notre-Dame de Liesse School and the Montreal Catholic Orphanage.
Courchesne had specified that the…
As conference president, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese of the Military Services will carry on the work of reckoning with the complexities brought on by a pro-abortion Catholic president.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has elected a host of new leadership positions this week. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese of the Military Services has been elected president. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore has been elected vice president. Archbishop Broglio’s election as president also triggered the election of a new conference secretary. Broglio’s term will be finished now by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City.
In his new position, which begins at the conclusion of the fall plenary assembly of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Broglio will lead American bishops for three years. The top responsibilities of the position include fostering fraternity and unity among the body of bishops amid increasing ecclesial polarizations, and serving…
How the joint efforts of so many people throughout the world will bring hope and healing for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse around the globe.
For many, last Friday was just like any other day in the centre of Rome. Children went off to school, tourists bustled about the city, people went to work, locals walked their dogs, and shopped for groceries. Yet, for survivors of child sexual abuse across the world, November 18, 2022 is a historic day. It marked the first World Day for the Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence, formally recognized by the United Nations in a unanimous vote on November 7, 2022.
In a press conference following the UN landmark action, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who with her husband President Julius Maada Bio facilitated the Resolution in collaboration with the Mission of the…
The state could find itself financially liable for hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse in prisons. Maybe that will motivate it to do more to prevent it.
It’s long been understood that if you go to prison, there is a strong likelihood that you will be physically or sexually assaulted. Maybe by fellow prisoners, maybe guards.
Some hardline law-and-order folk might call it an acceptable disincentive to commit crimes in the first place. Others might see it as an inherent and inevitable reality of any system of incarceration.
No. It is unacceptable in a modern, enlightened corrections system. Beyond the inhumanity of it, it defeats the whole goal of rehabilitation. Abuse only hardens people, and when it’s done by staff , it sends a message that it doesn’t really matter which side of the law one is supposedly on; everyone is corrupt, and violence just how things are done.
The Catholic Diocese of Superior published names late Tuesday of almost two dozen clergy that it says have had credible claims of sexually abusing minors made against them.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that many of the allegations date back 30 years or more.
The diocese said the list stems from three separate reviews of clergy files. It includes priests and other faith leaders who have served with the diocese, including credible allegations at other dioceses outside Wisconsin.
“I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot,” Bishop James P. Powers said in a letter to parishioners. “What we can do is learn from the past and do everything in our power to never repeat the abuse. I firmly believe that the Diocese of Superior is clearly on the right path in protecting…
Madison – The Diocese of Superior has named 23 priests that it believes have been credibly accused of sexual abuse over the course of its history, including one priest removed from the ministry in September over accusations from the 1990s.
According to the records, James Bartelme was placed on administrative leave on September 8, relating to a single allegation of abuse that occurred in 1990 and 1991 in Superior. According to a 2021 guest column in the Catholic Herald, Bartelme, 71, is a retired priest.
No charges been filed against Bartelme related to sexual abuse , according to a state court records search.
Bartelme was placed on leave as a result of the review, Dan Blank, the director of administrative services for the diocese, said Wednesday. Blank said that the files or accusations regarding Bartelme won’t be turned over at this time to law enforcement or the Attorney General, who…
The Most Rev. Richard G. Henning is the auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., which filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after hundreds of sexual abuse cases were filed against it. Henning will be the coadjutor bishop of Providence, serving with Bishop Tobin, with the right of succession after Tobin’s retirement.
Pope Francis has named a New York prelate as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s new bishop on Wednesday, months before Bishop Thomas Tobin turns 75, the church’s mandatory retirement age.
The Most Rev. Richard G. Henning, auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., will be the coadjutor bishop of Providence, serving with Tobin, with the right of succession.
The Rockville Centre Diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after hundreds of sexual abuse cases were filed against it under New York’s Child Victims Act, which allowed survivors time to file claims despite the statute of…
A former priest will face court today charged over alleged historical child sexual assault offences in the state’s north.
In November 2021, detectives from Richmond Police District commenced an investigation following reports a boy, then aged 14, had been sexually abused at a church property in Mallanganee – about 40km west of Casino – in 1982.
Following extensive inquiries, a 74-year-old man was arrested at Casino Police Station on Tuesday 18 October 2022.
He was charged with sexual assault – assault and act of indecency, sexual assault – person under
16 years, and sexual assault – indecent act with person under 16 years of age.
Police will allege in court that the former priest invited the boy to his house before sexually assaulting him.
The man was granted strict conditional bail to appear before Kyogle Local Court today (Thursday 24 November 2022).
Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or…
The Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth will pledge up to $10 million to settle a class action lawsuit over acts of sexual abuse committed by diocesan priests dating back nearly seven decades.
This figure was reached between the archdiocese and the plaintiffs, represented by Halifax personal injury lawyer John McKiggan, in September, over four years since the class action was first launched in August 2018. Justice Christa Brothers of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court gave the settlement her seal of approval Nov. 14.
Upon the court’s approval, Archbishop Brian Dunn said in all of this, the one thing that has to be kept in mind is the victims.
“While the class action suit is a constant reminder of the damage and great hurt that has been inflicted on individuals by members of the clergy, it is necessary to provide an opportunity for justice and healing for all victims. It is a hard…
At least 11 people have made complaints to Cork’s Cloyne diocese since 2013 alleging abuse or inappropriate behaviour by priests, a new report has found.
Since the previous review in 2013, a further three priests have been removed from ministry due to concerns raised about them, bringing the total to five priests now suspended, some permanently.
The diocese, which is headquartered in Cobh, Co Cork, was at the centre of a child abuse scandal in 2009 and was heavily criticised in the 2011 Cloyne Report for its handling of child abuse allegations against 19 clerics, going back approximately 20 years.
The latest report, which was released last Friday by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, reviewed allegations surrounding six Cloyne-based priests and three from other Church bodies.
Among the complaints made, Cleric 1 received a complaint about “his use of the internet some years…
- The lawyer for the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville sits on a sexual abuse review board while also defending the church against an abuse lawsuit.
- “It is a worst practice, one that mocks the claim by U.S. bishops that they’ve turned a new leaf when it. comes to abuse,” says one watchdog.
- Sexual abuse review boards were created by the Catholic church as a response to the explosive sexual abuse findings in the early 2000s.
- The diocese said it “is confident that no conflicts exist under the facts of the case.”
When Jane Doe filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville earlier this year, diocesan leaders had known for nearly two years about her account of being sexually assaulted by a priest. The knowledge went all the way to Bishop Richard Stika, the leader of the diocese.
Yet against the norms of the Catholic Church, Stika was listed as a member…
[Via National Catholic Reporter]
rchbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin has lashed out at the “pathetic responses” to victims of clergy sexual abuse and the “whitewashing” of crimes in the wake of the latest abuse scandal to rock the Irish Church.
Speaking during Mass Nov. 21 in Blackrock parish in Dublin, where the Spiritan order’s Blackrock College is located, the archbishop said the courage of abuse survivors must be matched by “our unflinching commitment to listen to the survivors and respond in truth and in justice to all of them.”
A radio documentary titled “Blackrock Boys” aired on the national broadcaster RTE Nov. 7. It told the story of siblings Mark and David Ryan and their abuse by Spiritan Fr. Tom O’Byrne at Blackrock College in Dublin in the 1970s and 1980s.
Following the broadcast, a number of fresh allegations of abuse were made by former Blackrock College students and the…
The Diocese of Superior released a list Tuesday of all the priests connected to their congregation who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.
This list of names is the result of three separate clergy file reviews, including one by a private independent security consulting firm, more than a year of meetings, and multiple sessions with the Diocesan Review Board.
The list includes the names of 23 priests with allegations against them. Of them, 20 are deceased.
The news release read, “Bishop of the Superior Diocese, the Most Rev. James Powers, sincerely acknowledges the sinful harms of the past, apologizes on behalf of the local Church, and prays for the healing of all victims-survivors and their affected families and friends.”
He was quoted saying, “I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot……
The Archdiocese of Baltimore will not oppose the release of a nearly four-year investigation into child sexual abuse, church leaders said in a detailed statement released Tuesday evening.
“We believe that transparency is necessary to rebuild the trust that has been damaged by evil acts of abuse committed by representatives of the Church and by historic failures of Church leadership to respond adequately to those acts,” the statement said.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a motion Thursday to have a judge release a 456-page report detailing the findings of his office’s investigation, announcing that investigators had found 158 clergy who had been accused of abuse. The investigation was conducted through use of a grand jury. Therefore, under state law, all materials are confidential without a court order.
In its first response last week, the archdiocese said it would not oppose the release of…
Bishop Emeritus Howard Hubbard of the Diocese of Albany has asked the Vatican to laicize him, claiming that Church policy prohibits him from publicly exercising his priestly functions while he is under investigation for sexual abuse allegations.
However, the Albany Diocese clarified Monday that Hubbard does retain the freedom to publicly celebrate the sacraments but has voluntarily stopped doing so.
“We would like to correct a point in some reports that said there is a diocesan policy that forbids an accused bishop from sacramental ministry,” the diocese said in a statement.
“A diocesan bishop may regulate, that is, limit, circumscribe, or ban exercise within his diocese of any or all sacramental ministries. Bishop Edward Scharfenberger [the current bishop of Albany] has done so in some cases, but in the case of Bishop Hubbard, it is he alone who voluntarily removed himself from any public celebration of sacraments,” the diocese’s statement…
Travis Clark, the disgraced priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, pled guilty Monday to a felony count of obscenity for his actions in filming pornographic material with two hired women atop the altar of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Pearl River, Louisiana.
Clark admitted his guilt as part of a plea deal in the state district court in Covington, Louisiana.
Clark received a suspended three-year prison sentence, three years supervised probation and a $1,000 fine, WAFB.com reported.
In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said it will now take the necessary steps to remove Clark from the priesthood.
“Now that the criminal proceedings involving Travis Clark have concluded, the Archdiocese of New Orleans will move forward with the process to have him formally laicized. The necessary information will be sent to the Vatican where in consultation with Vatican officials, the Holy Father will…
Abigail Simon, 43, had been serving the sentence since January 2015. She was released Tuesday.
A former Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School academic advisor convicted of sex crimes involving a student has been released from prison, Michigan Department of Corrections officials said Tuesday.
Abigail Simon, now 43, was convicted in 2014 of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 15-year-old student. She had been serving up to 25 years but was released on the earliest possible day Tuesday.
The 11-day trial garnered national attention. Simon said she was intimidated by the boy and argued the sex was involuntary.
Simon was convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old sophomore student at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, where she had worked as an academic advisor.
Part of her sentence calls for a lifetime of electronic monitoring once she gets out of prison.
A youth leader who served at Elevation Church, a Southern Baptist multi-site megachurch in North Carolina, has been charged with sexual battery and nine counts of indecent liberties with a child, local authorities say.
The suspect, Benjamin Damron, 36, met the victims through his role as a volunteer church youth leader and as a soccer coach with Soccer Shots, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police have identified three victims, all teenage boys, they said in a statement.
“(Damron) used his position to take advantage of the victims and sexually assault them,” police say.
In their statement, police add that Damron served as a youth leader at Elevation Church and two other churches—Mercy Church in Charlotte and Southbrook Church in Weddington.
However, both Mercy Church and Southbrook Church have posted statements on…
Risks remain higher in cross-cultural contexts. And misconduct is harder to report.
When Letta Cartlidge got on a plane as a teenager to leave her childhood home, she carried a secret. As the child of missionaries in Nigeria, she was sexually abused by a teacher at a school for missionary kids.
As the plane rose above Nigeria, she believed she would have to carry that secret forever. She thought that if she ever reported him—if she even knew how to report her abuser—it would hurt God’s reputation.
“We were in a culture where there was a looming God,” she told CT almost 30 years later. “And that looming God would punish us for disrupting the work of God.”
Cartlidge would, eventually, decide that wasn’t true. As an adult she found the courage to lead fellow former Hillcrest School students in what she calls an “incredibly discouraging” year-and-a-half effort to bring…
Decades of shame-filled silence and pent-up torment lie behind the whiplash of delayed reactions to institutionally sanctioned abuse
In July 2017, a middle-aged man called Ian Kidd entered the Catholic Church of St Agnes in the sprawling Dublin housing estate of Crumlin. He carried a can containing €5 worth of diesel.
He walked up to the altar and began pouring the oil on the floor, while shouting at the worshippers to “get out”. He had a cigarette and people feared he was going to set the diesel alight. He didn’t.
When gardaí arrived, he told them he had been sexually abused by a priest from St Agnes when he was a child. That morning he had received a letter from solicitors acting for the church with a “final offer” of €30,000 in compensation. He was deeply upset by what he considered a “derisory” recompense for the ruination of his life.