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.
The slow-burn saga of Broome bishop Christopher Saunders has again hit national headlines with an independent report commissioned by the Vatican this week describing him as a sexual predator.
Bishop Saunders strenuously denies any wrongdoing and has never been charged with an offence.
But the Vatican will soon have to decide whether he remains an honoured emeritus Bishop or is defrocked in disgrace.
The case has much in common with international Catholic Church abuse cases — allegations of secrecy, sexual misconduct and abuses of power.
But at the heart of it are some of the most remote and vulnerable communities in Australia, where some deeply religious Aboriginal elders believe speaking out against the church can trigger floods and other natural disasters.
Over the past four years there’s been a distinctly outback flavour to this slowly unfolding crisis.
To this day, Bishop Saunders has a beer named after him at a popular Broome brewery, where a large painting of the cleric…
Event organisers say it’s ‘crunch time’ for pope as scandal and bigotry drive Church members to leave
They make up more than half its membership, they have been denied a say for centuries in the way it is run: but, early next month, women will gather in Rome for a process that they hope can bring the Catholic church’s thinking on female equality into the 21st century.
The central event is a mass listening exercise announced by Pope Francis in 2021, the synod on synodality. Its delegates will meet in Rome throughout October to discern the future direction of key issues in the church; and at the forefront of soundings already taken across the 1.3 billion-strong Catholic church across the globe has been the role of women.
To underline this clamour for change, a consortium of 45 pro-reform Catholic organisations will run their own synod – entitled Spirit Unbounded – alongside…
The Commission of Investigation concluded its first public hearings this week with new light thrown on the case.
In its second week sitting in public, the Commission of Investigation examining an alleged child abuse cover-up in Waterford city heard new details around how State agencies and political figures handled the scandal.
The commission is looking at whether convicted sex offender Bill Kenneally, who is currently in prison for the abuse of 15 boys, could have been stopped much sooner than he was.
Across this week’s three lengthy hearings in the Dispute Resolution Centre in Dublin’s Law Library, filled with survivors and their family members, the commission heard:
- There may be twice as many victims of the sports coach as was previously known
- A former Fianna Fáíl TD, who was a cousin of the sex offender, denied being aware of his cousin’s abuse of children in the 1980s
- That same TD admitted he…
A civil court ruled that the woman was sexually abused by a chaplain in a Christian-run hospital in Tokyo in 2017
A Japanese woman who was sexually assaulted by a chaplain in a Christian-run hospital has sued three pastors and two Christian newspapers for publicly alleging she lied about her ordeal, says a report.
The unnamed woman filed a defamation lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court on Sept. 21, seeking 3.3 million yen ($22,300) in damages and the removal of the newspaper articles, Asahi Shimbun reported on Sept. 22.
During a press conference in Tokyo on the same day, the woman alleged that the statement from the pastors and the newspaper articles that carried the statement “victimized” her for the second time in 2018.
She reported to police after the chaplain, who provides mental care at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo, abused her in 2017 while undergoing treatment for an intractable…
The Australian Bishops Conference confirms the Church has provided civil authorities with a copy of an independent report on accusations of abuse and grooming against Bishop Christopher Saunders, and offers important clarifications concerning the Church’s handling of the case.
The Church in Australia has provided West Australia police with its internal report on accusations of sexual misconduct and grooming made against Christopher Saunders, the Bishop emeritus of Broome. The Bishops clarified that the Church was never opposed to providing the report to the police, and said, “to portray the discussions” about handing the report over “as in any way adversarial is false.”
In a statement issued on Friday, the Bishops noted that the Church immediately responded positively to the police request for the report, and that the report was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner of Police two days later.
Investigated under Vos estis
According to a statement issued on Friday,…
The quasi-religious group with over 3,500 members is nestled in an enclosed, heavily guarded mountainous area in Mindanao region
The Philippine parliament has issued a summons to a quasi-religious group following allegations that some of its members, including leaders, committed crimes including rape and forced marriage of children.
The Senate, the upper house, issued the summons on Sept. 21 to the Soccorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI), based in Surigao province in Mindanao region, GMA News reported.
The community registered as a civic-religious group, has reportedly agreed to face the hearing scheduled on Sept. 28 and an investigation into the allegations.
The group’s leader, Jey Rence Quilario, was also accused of being involved in illegal drugs, and firearms and building a private army, the report said.
Quilario, together with 12 others, were accused of sexual abuse of minors after their alleged victims claimed they were forced to “give up” their virginity as “offering to…
It is hardly surprising that SNAP — the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — should doubt the good faith of the Catholic hierarchy.
When you have spent years watching child abusers discreetly shuttled back and forth between parishes, you are bound to conclude that appearances take precedence over the physical and psychological welfare of the youngsters in pastoral care.
We have known for some years now that the church was on the hook for damages owed to the victims of predatory clerics and that the final bill would be ruinous, but the scope of the problem is only just now becoming a little clearer. Even going broke is an expensive business in America. Attorney and consultant bills alone so far exceed $26 million.
If SNAP already had good reason to take archdiocesan pronouncements with a grain of salt, it is on high alert right now, figuring that this would be logical…
A statue of late German Cardinal Franz Hengsbach will be removed from outside a cathedral in western Germany after allegations of sexual abuse against him surfaced, Catholic church officials said Friday.
A memorial for victims of sexual abuse will be created to take the place of the statue, which was erected in 2011, German news agency dpa reported, citing Thomas Zander, the dean of the cathedral of the city of Essen.
The move came after several hours of closed-door deliberations.
The controversy around the statue, which is located just outside Essen Cathedral, was sparked on Tuesday when the German Dioceses of Essen and Paderborn announced that they had started investigations into at least three sexual abuse allegations brought against Hengsbach.
Two allegations date back to the 1950s and 1960s. The first case alleges that Hengsbach abused a 16-year-old girl in 1954 while he was still an auxiliary bishop in the…
Recently I was surprised to see a post from one of my former seminary professors quoting leadership advice from John Ortberg. Perhaps he did not know what caused John Ortberg to resign from his church.
Multiple credible media reports have noted Ortberg left his last position as pastor because he allowed one of his children to continue to volunteer with minors after discovering the adult child struggled with a sexual attraction to minors. While reports and opinions vary on the result of investigations, Ortberg was reinstated after a period of leave and said he “failed to do the right thing” and apologized for his “lack of transparency.” Later he and the church parted ways, citing broken trust and fallout from his poor decision making.
I don’t think sharing leadership advice from this man is appropriate and said so in the social media comments. Particularly coming from a dean of a seminary. I’m grateful…
A settlement worth millions of pounds in the case of one of Canada’s most prolific sexual abusers has been agreed with the Anglican Church of Canada and Scouts Canada.
A former priest and volunteer with the Scouts, Ralph Rowe, is believed to have abused hundreds of boys in Indigenous communities in Ontario and Manitoba in the 1970s and ’80s.
Rowe has a total of nearly 60 convictions for sexual abuse, but he served less than five years in prison, owing to a plea bargain. Now in his eighties, he lives on Vancouver Island.
The class action against his employers, the Anglican diocese of Keewatin and Scouts Canada, was begun in 2017. The diocese and the Scouts had previously accepted shared liability for their failure to stop his abuse. A proposed settlement was agreed last month, and posted on the website of the law firm representing the survivors, but still needs to be formally…
Walking alongside those who have been abused by a Catholic Church representative is a collaborative effort for the archdiocesan office for protection and care (OPC).
This summer, the office added two new team members to the mix.
Jessica Crocker was hired as a victim care advocate in August, just a few weeks after Kristi Lam became the office’s new investigator/auditor.
“These positions are critical to the ministry of the OPC,” said director Jenifer Valenti.
“We are working to earn lost trust and the confidence of the community,” she continued, “which is why it is so important our team is qualified, dedicated and has a balanced and well-informed approach.”
‘Counselor by trade’
Crocker, who received a bachelor’s degree in psychology before earning a master’s in counseling, will work closely with fellow victim care advocate Amy Stork.
She’s had experience in the areas of employee assistance, trauma response and private practice. She’s…
Canberra – The Vatican had shared with police findings of an internal investigation of a former Australian bishop over child sex abuse allegations and the church would fully cooperate with criminal investigators, a cleric said on Friday.
The Catholic Church announced the handover of its investigation report into former Bishop Christopher Saunders three days after the Western Australia Police Force publicly revealed it had requested a copy.
“The church will continue to offer full transparency and cooperation with W.A. Police,” Bishop Michael Morrissey, who replaced Saunders in the Broome Diocese in 2021, said in a statement.
“The church encourages anyone who has experienced abuse, or suspects abuse within the community, to come forward and report it to police,” Morrissey added.
Saunders, now 73, denied any wrongdoing and refused to participate in the Vatican investigation, which began last year, the church said.
He resigned in…
In a Sept. 5 message to members of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori said that in light of the Oct. 1 implementation of a new law in Maryland that removed any statute of limitations for civil suits involving child sexual abuse approaches, the archdiocese was weighing its options to respond to potential lawsuits.
The Child Victims Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly earlier this year, removed any statute of limitations for suits that were previously barred because the abuse happened decades ago. It also caps damages against public institutions such as government schools at $890,000 per claimant for injuries arising from an incident or occurrence; non-economic damages awarded to a single claimant against individuals or private institutions such as churches are capped at $1.5 million per defendant.
Archbishop Lori said the archdiocese has several options to address the number of cases expected to be filed in…
Paris prosecutors have closed a sexual abuse investigation against the former Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit, concluding that charges brought against him by a female parishioner had no foundation.
The accusations, which Archbishop Aupetit has always denied, led to avid speculation about his private life and led Pope Francis unexpectedly to accept his perfunctory offer to resign.
“Mgr Aupetit…was certain that it could only end with no further action being taken. He can continue to act in his pastoral mission without there being any difficulty from now on,” his lawyer Jean Reinhart said.
Since leaving Paris, Aupetit – who was a doctor for 11 years before entering the seminary – has lived in a monastery near Toulouse and worked with groups helping the poor.
The scandal broke in late 2021, when France was reeling from a damning report on widespread clerical sexual abuse going back to 1950.
The Pope said…
The Catholic Church will give West Australian police a Vatican report that concluded a longstanding bishop of Broome sexually assaulted four Aboriginal boys and young men and groomed dozens more.
The report found Christopher Saunders hosted “bunga bunga” parties at church properties and spent thousands of dollars of church money on cash payments, mobile phones, alcohol and cigarettes, the Seven Network has reported.
The bishop has denied the allegations and has not been charged by WA Police but he resigned in 2020 after sexual misconduct and bullying claims emerged.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said that following a request from WA Police the church was “taking immediate steps” to provide them with a copy of the report.
“The church and Western Australia Police remain in ongoing and collaborative contact in relation to this matter,” he said in a brief statement late on Wednesday.
Earlier this week…
Several hundred people showed up for the outdoor blessing service for same-sex and also heterosexual couples. About 30 couples were blessed.
Berlin – Several Catholic priests held a ceremony blessing same-sex couples outside Cologne Cathedral on Wednesday night in a protest against the city’s conservative archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.
Their protest was triggered by Cologne church officials’ criticism of a priest from Mettmann, a town near Duesseldorf, who in March had held a “blessing ceremony for lovers” — including same-sex couples.
Officials from the Cologne archdiocese, which Mettmann belongs to, had reprimanded the priest afterward and stressed that the Vatican doesn’t allow blessings of same-sex couples, German news agency dpa reported.
The blessing of same-sex couples on Wednesday was the latest sign of rebellion of progressive believers in Germany’s most populous diocese with about 1.8 million members.
Several hundred people showed up for the outdoor blessing service for same-sex…
The clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has long been over and now it is practically non-existent. To be sure, there continues to be a tiny fraction of the clergy who are offenders, but it has long since been of the magnitude of a scandal. But don’t look to the media to tell you this. And don’t take our word for it—just consult the data.
On p. 41 of the recently released 2022 Annual Report on the Implementation of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” it lists data on credible allegations against the clergy made between 2004 and 2022:
• 2 percent occurred or began in the 2000s
• 1 percent occurred or began in the 2010s
• Less than 1 percent occurred or began between 2020 and 2022
In short, contemporary news reports about priestly sexual abuse are almost always about alleged offenses that took place decades…
It’s 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and locals and tourists make their way into the iconic St. Louis Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
As they seek peace through prayer inside the country’s oldest cathedral, many of these attendees come with a heavy heart: The Archdiocese is struggling under payments owed to survivors of sex abuse estimated to be in excess of $100 million.
Mark Vath is one victim, but he’s also a victims’ advocate, as the New Orleans representative of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“We want justice and consequences. Period,” he said. “These people should be punished for what they did, especially men of God.”
The Archdiocese of New Orleans says when they originally filed for bankruptcy in 2020, they were facing 30 abuse claims. Today, they say that the number is 500.
In a letter posted…
Father Alejandro Ortega, Rev. Jesus Eduardo “Lalo” Martinez-Solis both removed from service
Converse TX – No criminal charges have been filed against two Catholic priests in the San Antonio Archdiocese accused of sexual abuse against minors.
Both priests were removed from their church duties last month by the archdiocese.
According to San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, Father Alejandro Ortega, a priest at St. Monica’s Church in Converse, was accused of sexually inappropriate physical contact with a minor.
“The Archdiocesan Review Board reviewed the investigation and advised me that there was sufficient evidence of sexually inappropriate physical contact with a minor to require that I refer the matter to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith for their judgement on the matter. The Review Board further recommended that Father Ortega may pose a continuing risk to minors, that he should not be returned to ministry, and that the affected communities…
The former Bishop of Broome has been described by witnesses as a sexual predator who preyed upon vulnerable Aboriginal men and boys
A Pope Francis-commissioned investigation has discovered that Retired Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, 73, in Australia allegedly sexually assaulted four young people, while grooming another 67.
According to 7NEWS, the investigation came under Pope Francis’ “motu proprio” Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”), his apostolic letter on preventing the “crimes” of sexual abuse against minors and vulnerable people that came into force in June 2019.
“The bishop has been variously described by witnesses as… a sexual predator that seeks to prey upon vulnerable Aboriginal men and boys,” 7NEWS reported, quoting the investigation’s final 200-page report. “During the investigation, four victims of sexual (delictual) acts were identified… Sixty-seven additional Aboriginal boys and men were also identified as persons that may have been subjected to…
Representatives of various religious denominations in France meet to address new data that suggests women of faith are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse
The forms of sexual violence are dramatically diverse: incest, violence by a religious leader, domestic violence, etc.
.And statistics show that women of faith are more exposed to this abuse than others, no matter what religion they belong to. A survey carried out in 2000 showed that 7.8% of women with no religious affiliation were victims of domestic violence, while the figure rose to 9.1% for Catholic or Protestant women, and 17% for Muslim or Jewish women.
This reality led the Conference of Religious Leaders in France, which was created in 2010, to meet on Tuesday in Paris for its first-ever study day on sexual violence.
A historic milestone
“This is a major first. All religious denominations recognize that they are concerned by this scourge, and agree…
Pope Francis has dismissed from the priesthood Father Pio Aclon of Borongan, Eastern Samar, for alleged sex abuse, the news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reported on Sunday, September 17.
The Pope expelled Aclon “for sexual abuse involving minors,” said CBCP News, which noted that Aclon “last served at a minor seminary in Borongan before the diocese suspended him from his clerical duties.”
Earlier on Sunday, the Diocese of Borongan released a July 18 announcement that stated: “Notice is hereby given that the Holy Father Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state PIO CULTURA ACLON of the Diocese of Borongan. He is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church.”
Father James Abella, chancellor of the diocese, signed the notice “by the mandate of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Crispin B. Varquez, DD, the Bishop of Borongan.”
A youth pastor, who’s being sued along with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in a potentially precedent-setting sex abuse case, is facing a new allegation of sexual misconduct, dating back 16 years.
This allegation is contained in a police report filed this summer and obtained by The Roys Report (TRR). In the report, a woman claims that former youth pastor, Michael D’Attoma, groomed and solicited photos from her from 2007—2008. This is when D’Attoma worked as a youth pastor at Rural Chapel Methodist Church in Galena, Ohio.
From 2009—2012, D’Attoma was youth pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Lexington, S.C. And, as previously reported by TRR, two women, who were students in D’Attoma’s ministry at Northside Baptist, are suing D’Attoma for allegedly sexually abusing them during their time there.
The women are also suing Northside Baptist Church, as well as the SBC and the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC),…
German Cardinal Franz Hengsbach is accused of having sexually abused three individuals in the 1950s and 60s. Victims groups want to know if Pope Benedict was involved in quashing an investigation a decade ago.
The German Dioceses of Essen and Paderborn have separately announced an investigation into sexual abuse allegations brought against Cardinal Franz Hengsbach (1910-1991) in 2011 and 2022.
Hengsbach is accused of having sexually assaulted three individuals, at least two of whom were young women, one a minor, throughout his career.
The first of these alleges that he abused a 16-year-old girl in 1954 while he was an auxiliary bishop in the city of Paderborn. The alleged victim originally came forth with the accusations in 2011, 10 years after Hengsbach’s death.
The accuser leveled abuse allegations at Hengsbach’s brother Paul, too. Also a priest, Paul Hengsbach vehemently denied the accusations until his death in 2018.
Church investigators original conclusion ‘clearly…
Soon after she learned what happened, Helmut Kramer’s mother grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the priest out of photographs from her son’s baptism.
“She kept the photos after that,” said Kramer, who was sexually abused at age 12 in a Jesuit school in Antofagasta, a city in northern Chile.
“My mom is still Catholic, but she never attended Mass again. She says that she will never set foot in a church, and she does not trust the pope or any priest,” the 53-year-old Chilean said.
His mother’s feelings echo hundreds of Chileans who have distanced themselves from the Catholic Church since 2010, when victims of another priest, Fernando Karadima, raised awareness about clergy sex abuse in the South American country.
The Karadima case shook the Vatican itself and marred Pope Francis’ trip to Chile in 2018. Instead of applause, he was greeted with unprecedented protests against…
WDSU Investigates is digging deeper into new claims against a 92-year-old former priest now in jail accused of rape and kidnapping.
The case against Lawrence Hecker rocked the New Orleans catholic church to its core, with alleged abuse from his arrest dating back to the 1970s.
The new allegations are separate from the criminal charges Hecker is facing.
In these new claims, one of Hecker’s accusers alleges while being an altar server in 1983, Hecker allegedly had him and other young boys strip down naked to “inspect” them.
His accuser alleges that it is their belief the archdiocese of New Orleans was aware, or became aware, of Hecker’s sexual molestation of children prior to this incident.
In a separate claim, one of Hecker’s accusers alleges abuse during the early 1980s.
In another location, his accuser says he and Hecker went to walk in the woods and see a stream.
Number of claimants now north of 200 as Sept. 30 deadline approaches
Survivors of abuse at the hands of Mount Cashel’s Christian Brothers and Roman Catholic clergy in the St. John’s Archdiocese have until the end of the month to apply for compensation.
And that court-imposed deadline has prompted an influx of new claimants to reach out to lawyers like Geoff Budden, who has spent the last three decades pursuing justice for abuse victims.
Budden said at least two dozen people have come forward in recent months; people who say they’ve lived with trauma for decades, and never told their story — until now.
“People often only come forward when they know they have to come forward by a certain date or else they will never be able to seek compensation,” said Budden.
The deadline to file a so-called proof of claim with lawyers like Budden is 5 p.m. NT on Saturday, Sept….
Police say they are considering a criminal investigation into a West Australian Catholic bishop accused of sexual misconduct, in light of a leaked Vatican report that levels serious allegations against him.
- Catholic Bishop Christopher Saunders has been accused of sexual misconduct in a Vatican report
- Leaked extracts allege the Bishop committed sexual abuse, financial misconduct
- Police and the Attorney-General have asked the Vatican to hand over the full report
The Vatican commissioned an investigation into long-time Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders, with extracts of the 200-page report published by Channel 7 and The Australian this week.
Allegations against Bishop Saunders include that he sexually assaulted four teenagers and young men, potentially groomed another 67 and used church funds to purchase alcohol for Indigenous youth.
Bishop Saunders has been based in the Kimberley for almost 50 years and has denied any wrongdoing.
WA Police had previously investigated allegations of sexual and professional misconduct against Bishop Saunders,…
The Holy See is investigating a former Australian bishop after receiving a 200-page report alleging the bishop sexually assaulted four indigenous youths and may have used hundreds of thousands of dollars in Church and charity funds in attempts to groom 67 others.
Former bishop Christopher Saunders of the Diocese of Broome, who is the subject of the investigation, stepped down from his role in 2020 amid sexual abuse allegations. The Vatican, which commissioned the independent report, received the findings in April but did not release them to the public. The report was leaked to 7NEWS in Australia, which published excerpts of the findings.
According to the excerpts, the report found that “the bishop has been variously described by witnesses as … a sexual predator that seeks to prey upon vulnerable Aboriginal men and boys” and “during the investigation, four victims of sexual (delictual) acts were identified.”
The Vatican is considering the findings of a church investigation into “very serious and deeply distressing” child sexual abuse allegations against a former Australian bishop, a church leader said on Tuesday.
Christopher Saunders, now 73, resigned in 2021 as bishop of Broome, an Outback diocese of northwest Australia larger than France but with a population of only 50,000, after police announced they had dropped a sex crime investigation. He had stood down a year earlier after media reported the allegations.
The church investigation into Saunders began last year after the police investigation ended, said Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the church’s most senior national leadership group.
A report of the investigation, overseen by Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, had been sent to the Vatican where the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith was continuing to investigate, Costelloe said.
The Dicastery for…
An open letter signed by five alleged victims of Father Marko Rupnik, a former Jesuit and renowned Slovenian artist, asserts that recent events show pledges of “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse by Church officials are merely a “PR campaign … followed only by frequently covert actions, which support and cover up for the authors of abuse.”
The signatories to the letter were objecting to a Sept. 15 audience granted by Pope Francis to an Italian lay theologian and defender of Rupnik, followed by a Sept. 18 statement from the Diocese of Rome saying the Centro Aletti founded by Rupnik fosters a “healthy community life” and raising doubts about the ex-Jesuit’s brief 2020 excommunication for using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he’d reportedly engaged in sexual activity.
Those developments, the signatories said, “leave us speechless, without voice any longer to cry out our shock, our scandal.”
Victims of Father Marko Rupnik’s alleged spiritual and sexual abuse on Tuesday expressed “bewilderment” with the Diocese of Rome’s recent statement praising the art and theology center founded by the former Jesuit artist, saying that it “ridicules victims’ pain” and shows little care for those seeking justice.
In an open letter published on Sept. 19, former members of the Slovenian religious community Rupnik is accused of abusing said they were “left speechless” by the diocese’s concluding report on its canonical investigation of the Aletti Center, an art and theology school in Rome where Rupnik lived and served as the director from 1995 to 2020.
The diocese described the Aletti Center — where Rupnik has been accused of engaging in sex acts with consecrated women — as currently having “a healthy community life … that is free of particular serious issues” and added that the investigation raised “doubts” about the procedures…
Women who say they were abused by a once-prominent Jesuit artist said Tuesday they had been revictimized by his superiors, saying Pope Francis’ recent gestures and an apparent effort to exonerate him publicly showed church pledges of “zero tolerance” were just a “publicity stunt.”
In an open letter published on an Italian survivor advocate site, the women lashed out at a declaration from the Vicariate of Rome, which Francis nominally heads as bishop of Rome and recently tightened his grip over. The Vicariate reported Monday that it had uncovered “seriously anomalous procedures” used in the Vatican investigation into the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik.
The Slovene priest, whose mosaics decorate churches and basilicas around the globe, was declared excommunicated by the Vatican in May 2020 and was kicked out of the Jesuit order this summer after he was accused by several adult women of sexual, psychological and spiritual abuses.
This is the first time the Office of the Maine Attorney General has weighed in on the constitutionality of the 2021 law, which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is challenging on the grounds that it creates new liability and exposes defendants to ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in potential claims.
Maine’s attorney general pushed back Monday against a constitutional challenge by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, saying a 2021 law that removed the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse is not only constitutional but necessary to give victims time to “come to terms with the harm they have suffered.”
In filings to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Friday, Attorney General Aaron Frey defended the law against objections from the diocese, which has argued that the law is unconstitutional because it creates new liability and exposes defendants to “tens of millions of dollars”…
Despite being expelled in July from his Jesuit order over charges of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuse, famed Slovenian artist Father Marko Rupnik’s base of operations in Rome has drawn a clean bill of health from the pope’s diocese, which praised his Centro Aletti for fostering “a healthy community life free of particular critical issues.”
A Sept. 18 note from the Diocese of Rome also said its review had identified “gravely anomalous procedures” behind a May 2020 decree of excommunication against Rupnik from the Vatican’s doctrinal office, raising what the statement called “well-founded doubts” about the decision.
That 2020 excommunication, which was lifted after 15 days under what remain murky circumstances, concerned using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he had engaged in sexual activity, considered a serious crime under Church law.
Beyond that specific charge, several women have accused Rupnik of various forms of abuse stretching over…
The garda in charge of investigations into convicted child abuser Bill Kenneally has agreed with the chair of an inquiry into the abuse that it was one of the most serious cases of paedophilia discovered in Ireland.
Chair Mr Justice Michael White, a retired High Court judge, said the children who came into contact with Kenneally were at risk and defenceless.
The garda – Chief Superintendent Anthony Pettit – said he did not recommend that those who knew about his crimes but did not alert the authorities should be prosecuted as there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against them.
Chief Supt Anthony Pettit – who is now in charge of the Waterford/Kilkenny/Carlow division – told the Commission of Investigation examining the response to allegations about Kenneally that he did not believe “the evidential threshold” had been reached to recommend that Kenneally’s cousin, former Fianna Fáil TD and…
In a recent pastoral letter to the approximately 120 thousand Catholics in East Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland warns of an “evil and false message that has invaded the Church.”
The August 22 letter reiterates what the Bishop of Tyler refers to as ‘basic truths that have always been understood by the Church” and says they will be examined in the coming months as part of the Synod on Synodality, a multiyear process of listening and dialogue within the Roman Catholic Church.
“We must hold fast to these truths and be wary of any attempts to present an alternative to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or to push for a faith that speaks of dialogue and brotherhood, while attempting to remove the fatherhood of God,” Bishop Strickland wrote in the letter.
Next month, the first of two sessions to advise Pope Francis will take place in the Vatican. October 4, participants will…
The case of Marko Rupnik, the priest, former member of the Society of Jesus, and alleged serial sexual abuser, is back in the news Monday, after the Diocese of Rome published a statement on its investigation into the artistic community where Rupnik lived and worked.
But rather than shedding new light on the accusations against the disgraced religious artist, or how he was allegedly able to groom and sexually abuse women religious for decades, the pope’s diocesan curia issued a statement exonerating the artistic community where lived and worked.
The statement from the Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome appeared even to favor Rupnik, questioning the legitimacy of his canonical prosecution.
The apparent effort to downplay the scandal generated instant backlash and, rather than making it go away, seems to have only increased the size of the “Rupnik problem” it continues to face.
The Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome,…
Experts called on lawmakers to remove loopholes to current law on child sexual abuse material
An internet watchdog is sounding the alarm over the growing trend of sex offenders collaborating online to use open source artificial intelligence to generate child sexual abuse material.
“There’s a technical community within the offender space, particularly dark web forums, where they are discussing this technology,” Dan Sexton, the chief technology officer at the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), told The Guardian in a report last week. “They are sharing imagery, they’re sharing [AI] models. They’re sharing guides and tips.”
Sexton’s organization has found that offenders are increasingly turning to open source AI models to create illegal child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and distribute it online. Unlike closed AI models such as OpenAI’s Dall-E or Google’s Imagen, open source AI technology can be downloaded and adjusted by users, according to the report….
The people of God in South Sudan are being cautioned against the “culture of silence” in the face of abuses against children and vulnerable adults.
In an interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Jacinta Ondeng spoke about the training on safeguarding that she had been facilitating under the auspices of Solidarity with South Sudan (SSS), an initiative of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and the Union of Superiors General (USG), established in response to a request from the members of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC).
“Safeguarding is very important from the Church perspective because we believe in the preservation of human dignity,” Sr. Ondeng said during the September 15 interview in Juba, where she had just returned after completing the child safeguarding training, first in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY), and later in the Catholic Diocese of Wau.
The Nairobi-based member of the Congregation of School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) underscored the need…
- A Vatican report alleges ‘very serious’ misconduct by Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders
- Extracts published by 7News claim he assaulted four young males while possibly grooming another 67
- Bishop Saunders has remained in Broome and turned down interview requests
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has described sexual misconduct allegations against a prominent WA church leader as “deeply distressing.”
The long-serving Catholic Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, has been the subject of a Vatican-led investigation into allegations of sexual and professional misconduct, first revealed by the ABC in 2020.
The 73-year-old, who lives in the Kimberley town, denies any wrongdoing.
He resigned from his post in August 2021 and retains the title Emeritus Bishop of Broome.
Extracts from the report to the Holy See which have been made public allege the Bishop sexually assaulted four teenagers and young men, potentially groomed another 67 and kept a cache of guns and cash on church premises.
The Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe, who is also the Conference…
The Maine attorney general says the state law lifting the statute of limitations for children who were sexually abused is constitutional.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey argued the 2021 law is a “commonsense proposition.”
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which is facing at least 21 lawsuits regarding child sexual abuse, argues the law is not constitutional and infringes upon rights.
A Maine superior court ruled in favor of the law in February and the church is appealing to the Supreme Court.
A lawsuit alleges that administrators at a Catholic high school in Sacramento knew or should have known that a running coach was using his role as a trusted campus authority figure to “groom” a student for child sexual abuse.
The civil lawsuit was filed last week against St. Francis Catholic High School, a private all-girls school in East Sacramento. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a former St. Francis High student, who was 15 years old in 2020 when she was sexually abused by her coach.
Aaron Daniel Rios was a track and cross-country coach at St. Francis High, and he also coached for Sac Elite Youth Running Club, which he founded.
Sacramento Police Department detectives arrested Rios in August 2020. He was convicted last year for sexually abusing the girl. The 41-year-old former running coach is currently serving a maximum sentence of 16 years and…
- Programs that treat “parental alienation” can leave kids with alleged abusers for months or years.
- California’s legislature unanimously passed Piqui’s Law, named after a 5-year-old murdered by his father following a custody dispute.
- The law will bar judges from ordering children into many parental-alienation treatment programs.
This story was reported in partnership with the nonprofit newsroom Type Investigations.
Again and again, Ana Estevez warned officials that the man she was divorcing, Aramazd Andressian, was abusive and dangerous. Nevertheless, a Los Angeles County family court judge granted him shared custody of their 5-year-old son, Piqui.
One week later, on April 21, 2017, Andressian smothered the boy to death.
Engulfed by grief, Estevez, a former elementary-school principal, teamed up with her state senator, Susan Rubio, to craft legislation to prevent other children from being ordered into the custody of their abusers. This week, the California legislature View Cache
The persistence of sexual assault has always relied on an imbalance of power, particularly on college campuses.
Whether it’s the violence of the assault, the reliance on public pressure and intimidation to keep victims silent, or the power of universities to manage their reputations — well-funded and well-connected institutions have relied on a lopsided justice system rife with insanely short statutes of limitations and a culture of shame to protect their interests and silence those who dare share speak out and share their story.
The system, by design, favors the powerful. It protects the institutions. I should know. I was raped by my roommate during my sophomore year at Fordham University. As asserted in my complaint, which I filed on June 6 in federal court, my university failed to protect me despite multiple warnings. And, until New York passed the Adult Survivors Act in 2022, I had lost the opportunity…
Legislation by Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) that will end California’s arbitrary civil statute of limitations for minors Dawn Addis california assemblymemberwho have experienced sexual abuse was approved by the State Assembly on a bipartisan basis on Tuesday. The bill – Assembly Bill 452 – now goes to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom for his consideration.
“Assembly Bill 452 sets a new standard for institutions with minors under their care – when a child or family reports abuse, do something, don’t be a bystander,” Addis said. “This common sense legislation puts abusers and the institutions that harbor them on notice that California won’t tolerate childhood sexual assault any longer.”
The bill – introduced jointly with Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – explicitly governs future cases of sexual assault, giving institutions time to prevent future cases of child sexual assault.
Under current law, survivors who experience sexual assault as minors only have until…
As a former teacher, I read the Aug. 9 News’ Editorial Board opinion, “Protect today’s students from the CVA fallout,” with great interest.
I am also the co-sponsor of a pending bill that seeks to establish a $200 million state fund in support of school districts facing Child Victims Act lawsuit settlement costs.
As the News’ editors rightly insisted, that pain is not our present-day children’s to bear. But I disagree with their contention that it’s too soon to establish a mitigation fund, or that such an action would effectively let insurance companies “off the hook.”
First, the timing of the alleged incidents is key. Insurance policies held in the ‘70s and ‘80s are untraceable or moot. Records are gone; carriers are extinct. We know this because forensic accountants have determined as much.
A fund wouldn’t cover settlements in their entirety but would help offset the burden on districts and…
In a victory for adult victims of child sexual abuse, a North Carolina Appeals Court has ruled that a section of the N.C. SAFE Child Act that opened a two-year “lookback window” to sue for monetary damages is indeed constitutional.
The Gaston County case ― as well as a recent federal court ruling granting a victim more than $1 million in damages in a case brought under the SAFE Child Act — should have far-reaching implications for other pending Asheville child sexual abuse cases, including lawsuits against Asheville School.
On Sept. 12 in a divided 2-1 decision in McKinney v. Goins and Gaston County Board of Education, the three-judge panel reversed a 2021 ruling by a lower court that found the 2019 law extending the statute of limitations by two years for adults to bring civil claims for child sexual abuse was unconstitutional.
The case involves three former Gaston County…
Oct. 1 is independence day for Maryland survivors of child sexual abuse. That is the day the Child Victims Act takes effect, eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in the state, thereby empowering survivors to seek justice, healing and compensation from their abusers and the institutions that enabled the abuse regardless of when it occurred.
Like all battles for independence, this one was the result of courage and years of struggle. Hundreds of survivors braved their fear of public exposure and relived horrific abuse to tell their tragic stories to investigators and public officials. They testified to a grand jury investigating decades of sexual abuse by clergy within the Maryland Catholic Church.
As a former competitive gymnast and the first known survivor of serial predator Larry Nassar, I fully understand and empathize with the survivors who stepped forward to expose this…
A Filipino priest from the Diocese of Borongan was dismissed due to alleged sexual abuse involving minors, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.
CBCP said Pope Francis’ decision to expel Pio Aclon was announced Sunday by the Diocese of Borongan.
“He is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church,” the diocese wrote in a circular.
Aclon last served at a minor seminary in Borongan before the diocese suspended him from his clerical duties.
The CBCP has assured the public that there will be no cover-up in the investigation of sexual abuse cases involving the clergy.
The CBCP also said it has created an office that will help protect minors from alleged sexual abuses by the clergy. Each diocese had also developed its own system for handling reports of sexual abuse or misconduct.
According to foreign media outlets, at least two Catholic Church missionaries from Paris engaged in sexual abuse against students at a boarding school in Thailand during their evangelistic mission.
According to France 24 news agency, two members of the Paris-based Foreign Mission Society of Paris, a part of the Catholic Church’s mission, were involved in sexual abuse against former students of a boarding school in Thailand.
One of these two missionaries has passed away, and the other, whose name is not mentioned in the report, continues to serve within the Foreign Mission Society of Paris.
This report marks the fourth case of sexual abuse by Christian missionaries in the past two months, raising concerns about the safety of children in religious institutions.
Children studying in religious schools and institutions or being mentored by religious figures are often vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
A report from last year by the Independent Commission…
Gemma Hickey leading a pilgrimage through Rome, timed with an important papal event
For Gemma Hickey, their trip to Italy this week is a mission to demand that Pope Francis sign a proposed zero tolerance law for clergy abuse.
“Shuffling predator priests around from place to place is unacceptable,” said Hickey, who founded the Pathways Foundation that addresses the gaps in service for individuals who have experienced abuse within religious institutions.
Hickey, along with 10 other clergy abuse survivors and allies, is engaging in a pilgrimage to Rome. They will carry an eight-foot wooden cross and walk 120 kilometres from Montefiascone to Italy’s capital, finishing in St. Peter’s Square during the Pope’s noon blessing on Sept. 27.
“As we travel by foot, from town to town, we’ll be encouraging locals to report incidents of abuse by clergy to the authorities,” Hickey said.
The timing of this pilgrimage is equally important as it coincides…
MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis recently defrocked a priest belonging to the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar on allegations of sexual abuse involving minors.
“Notice is hereby given that the Holy Father Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state Pio Cultura Aclon of the Diocese of Borongan,” the diocese said in its Facebook page.
“He (Aclon) is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church,” it added.
According to CBCPNews, Aclon was dismissed on allegations of sexual abuse involving minors, but did not divulge other details about the accusations.
Aclon last served at a minor seminary in Borongan before he was suspended.
Pope Francis has repeatedly apologized over the abuses, and vowed to confront abusers and restore justice.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had assured there will be no cover-up on the sexual abuse cases involving the clergy.
It also created an…
Tacloban City (CNN Philippines, September 18) — A Catholic priest under the Diocese of Borongan was expelled from his clerical duties by the Vatican, the diocese announced on Sunday.
“Notice is hereby given that the Holy Father Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state Pio Cultura Aclon of the Diocese of Borongan,” said the circular signed by Fr. James Abella, Diocese of Borongan Chancellor.
“He is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church,” the circular added.
The circular did not state the reason why Aclon was expelled from his priestly duties by the Roman Catholic Church, but according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news website, the Filipino priest was dismissed “over sexual abuse involving minors.”
Prior to his suspension, Aclon had served the minor seminary of the Diocese of Borongan.
Aclon, in a Facebook post, demanded proof from the diocese that…
The investigation ordered by the Swiss Bishops’ Conference into the cover-up of abuse cases should not be carried out by a clergyman. This is the opinion of women who have been dealing with abuse cases in the Catholic Church for years.
Bishop Joseph Bonnemain of Chur, who is responsible at the Bishops’ Conference for coming to terms with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, said on Swiss public radio, SRF’s, that an external investigation was not planned. He would like it to be admitted that he had honest intentions and that it was not a cover-up.
On the other hand, it was a mistake to entrust the investigation to the Bishop of Chur, said Sylvie Perrinjaquet, President of the French-speaking Switzerland Hearing Commission for Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CECAR), in an interview with the Neuchâtel daily “Arcinfo”. Bonnemain had to judge his colleagues, whom he…
Pope Francis has expelled a Filipino priest for sexual abuse involving minors.
The pope’s decision dismissing Pio Aclon from the clerical state was announced Sunday by the Diocese of Borongan where the priest was incardinated.
“He is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church,” the diocese wrote in circular.
This advisory was read today in all parish churches, chaplaincies and chapels of the diocese.
The circular, however, stopped short of providing further details about the priest.
Aclon last served at a minor seminary in Borongan before the diocese suspended him from his clerical duties.
Pope Francis has repeatedly apologized over the abuses, and vowed to confront abusers and restore justice.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had assured there will be no cover-up on the sexual abuse cases involving the clergy.
The CBCP has also created an office that will help protect minors…
The pastor of a ministry at Baylor University, and a sex offender described as the minister’s “spiritual mentor,” have been indicted for alleged sexual abuse of two minors over a two-year period. It’s the latest action in a widening sex scandal centered on Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, a ministry of the Assemblies of God.
A grand jury in McLennan County, Texas, on Thursday indicted both campus minister Chris Hundl, 38, and longtime Chi Alpha mentor Daniel Savala, 67, on two counts of continuous trafficking of persons. In Texas, each charge carries a penalty of 25 years to life in prison without parole.
Hundl, former leader of the Chi Alpha chapter at Baylor University and former pastor of Mountain Valley Fellowship in Waco, was arrested on May 23 in Waco. He bonded out of McLennan County Jail the next day, paying $50,000.
Savala, Hundl’s mentor, who has been involved for…
Editor’s Note: In support of the sixth strategic action of Vision 2025 adopted by messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, Baptist Press will continue to report every instance of sexual abuse related to Southern Baptist churches, entities, institutions or leaders of which we are made aware.
YORK, S.C. (BP) – A former volunteer for the children’s program at Central Baptist Church has pled guilty in York County criminal court to inappropriately touching a minor while at the church, according to The Herald newspaper of Rock Hill.
Ira James Summerlin, 77, of York, pleaded guilty on Sept. 6 to third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to prosecutors. Summerlin was sentenced to eight months in prison. He also received 30 months’ probation upon his release and must register as a convicted sex offender.
After church leaders were made aware of the incident in January 2021 involving Summerlin, they immediately notified…
While sexual abuse scandals are partly to blame, Germany’s mandatory church tax is an important factor that should not be overlooked in today’s economy.
The German Catholic Bishop’s conference is calling attention to a massive departure of Catholics, who have been unregistering themselves and leaving the Catholic faith in record numbers. The numbers show that about 2.5% of German Catholics left in 2022, which suggests the Catholic Church in Germany could shrink by as much as half in the next 20 years if the trend continues.
While there is still hope for Catholics in Germany, the trend has only become more exacerbated as the years go on. In 2022, The Guardian reports, 522,821 left the Church, a process which is a little more in depth than in other nations. In Germany, those who belong to the Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish faiths need to register with the government and a…
According to court documents, a local pastor is set to plead guilty to the felony charge of indecency with a child under the age of 14 by sexual contact in the Tom Green County Courthouse.
Northside Church of Christ Pastor Alan Murphy is set to plead guilty as a part of a plea bargain with a pretrial diversion which may allow Murphy to avoid having to register as a sex offender.
A pretrial diversion is a program that is an alternative to prosecution. This would allow the defendant to avoid being charged or having charges dropped upon the completion of it. According to reports filed in Tom Green County, Murphy will have to pay a $500 fee upfront and serve two years of probation. If he completes the program, he will not be required to register as a sex offender.
Additionally, Murphy would be allowed to pursue having the charges erased from…
A former Baylor University campus minister and the convicted sex offender he described as his “spiritual mentor” were indicted Thursday on charges they sexually abused two young boys over a two-year period.
A McLennan County grand jury indicted Christopher Hundl, 38, and Daniel Savala, 67, each on one count of continuous trafficking of persons, first-degree felonies punishable by a minimum of 25 years in prison without parole up to life without parole.
Hundl, who was freed from jail May 24 after posting a $50,00 bond, served since 2019 as campus minister for Chi Alpha chapter, a campus Christian fellowship group at Baylor. He was not a Baylor employee and has since resigned from the organization, a Baylor spokeswoman said.
Baylor officials suspended the group’s charter after Hundl and Savala came under investigation in the sexual abuse cases.
Savala, who remains in the McLennan County Jail under a $250,000 bond, was…
The bishops of Switzerland continue to wrestle with a crisis, triggered by the publication of a landmark independent report on clerical sexual abuse.
Six bishops – four in ministry and two retired – now face allegations of mishandling or covering up cases of abuse, while a Swiss newspaper alleged an unnamed member of the bishops’ conference had sexually harassed a young person.
In response, Bishop Joseph Bonnemain of Chur has been tasked by the Vatican with investigating the situation in Switzerland, and compiling his own report, to be sent to the Dicastery for Bishops, which will inform any subsequent canonical action against local bishops.
On Tuesday, Bonnemain also announced a change to all diocesan policies, barring any future destruction of records by chanceries.
“The Church regulation to destroy files will be repealed,” the bishop announced, saying that all dioceses and Church organizations will be required to sign a…
In a Sept. 7 editorial, the NCR editors said that the soap opera drama orchestrated by Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson against the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity has everything to do with Olson’s heavy-handedness and cruel treatment of women religious. And they hope the Vatican will stop his abusive power play. Following are NCR reader responses to this editorial with letters that have been edited for length and clarity.
It is without doubt that this mess is a scandal to the faithful. And it has been orchestrated, but by whom? The bishop or the convent? The faithful and the news might be better served if we who do not know all the facts stepped back from offering opinions and prayed for a conclusion to this quagmire.
A very interesting religious dispute. Readers will need a lot more…
Robert Lavergne, a former teacher at St. Patrick’s High School, to serve 17-month jail sentence
WARNING: This story contains distressing details.
Four years after being convicted of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of his students, an Ottawa Catholic high school teacher is at last jail-bound.
In March 2018, Robert Lavergne was charged with one count of sexual assault and another of sexual exploitation of a girl under the age of 18. Ottawa police said the offences occurred between 2014 and 2016 at St. Patrick’s High School, where the now-61-year-old was teaching at the time.
In May 2018, Lavergne was charged with three more counts of sexual assault related to two girls aged 18 or older. According to police, those offences happened between 2004 and 2010, also when he was teaching at the school.
In the Ontario Court of Justice, Lavergne was found guilty on two counts of sexual assault and…
A Long Beach-based priest on Thursday was charged in Ventura County with possession of child pornography, prosecutors said.
Rodolfo Martinez-Guevara, 38, was arrested Wednesday in Long Beach, according to the Ventura County district attorney’s office. He is accused of possessing “over 600 images of child sexual abuse material, including images and videos of prepubescent minors under the age of 12.”
“As a priest, the defendant is in a position of tremendous power, authority and trust. The alleged crimes deeply violate that trust and involve a disturbing number of sexual images of young boys,” District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said in a statement. “These are not simply images and videos. Rather, if found true, they constitute horrific exploitation of our most vulnerable, and the actions of the defendant must be met by the full force of the law.”
Prosecutors said Martinez-Guevara was living at the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Long…
No human remains were found in last month’s excavation of a Catholic church basement on Pine Creek First Nations lands in Manitoba, Canada, after the community asked a Brandon University archaeological team to conduct excavations in the search for any missing children who might have died decades ago in the community’s former residential school.
In the summer of 2022, ground-penetrating radar discovered 71 anomalies on the lands of Pine Creek First Nation, also known as the Minegoziibe Anishinabe. Most anomalies were located in known burial areas on the grounds of the former Catholic-run Pine Creek Residential School. The community was surprised to find 14 of these anomalies in the basement of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Catholic Church, prompting fears the church held possible graves and a crime scene. However, excavations from late July to mid-August of this year failed to find any human remains.
(For Immediate Release September 15, 2023)
A Catholic priest working for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been arrested for possessing child pornography in Ventura County. We applaud law enforcement for their work in this case and for following through on a tip provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Child pornography is a crime with many victims, many of whom may never realize that they were exploited until later in life. We know this level of abuse has been on the rise in many faith denominations and includes many predators and a tragically long shelf life.
Fr. Rodolfo Martinez-Guevara, 38, is a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Martinez-Guevara is associated with several churches including Our Lady of Guadalupe in Oxnard. He has been charged with possession or control of child pornography and aggravated possession of child pornography, containing more than 600 images. His…
Pope Francis had a private meeting on Friday with the theologian Maria Campatelli, a close collaborator of Father Marko Rupnik, who was dismissed from the Jesuits in June for failing to obey the directions of his superiors.
Campatelli, 61, has been the director of the Aletti Center — an art and theology school founded by Rupnik in Rome — since 2020.
In June, Campatelli published a letter defending Rupnik against “a media campaign based on defamatory and unproven accusations” and claiming the Jesuits had withheld documents “which would demonstrate a truth different from that which was being published.”
The Vatican did not provide any information on the meeting between Pope Francis and Campatelli other than to state it had taken place.
The Jesuits dismissed Rupnik on June 9 after the priest and artist had been accused of spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse, and abuse of conscience, spanning more…
A Catholic priest in Long Beach was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography after a months-long investigation, according to the Ventura County district attorney’s office.
Rodolfo Martinez-Guevara, 38, of Long Beach was most recently a minister with the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit religious order, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He had previously served as a transitional deacon and newly ordained priest with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Oxnard from July 2021 through September 2022, the spokesman said.
Martinez-Guevara first came under scrutiny after several anonymous reports were made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A separate investigation was launched in April by the Ventura County Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
The investigations found Martinez-Guevara had more than 600 images of child sex abuse, prosecutors say, including images and videos of victims under the age of 12.
Robert S. Bennett, one of the nation’s legal giants, died Sept. 10 at age 84. Formed by a Jesuit education, Bennett’s exhilarating life exemplified professional excellence and caring for others.
Bennett’s preeminence as a trial attorney offers a long list of jaw-dropping stories of impactful courtroom defense and illustrates the importance of commitment and care of individuals, personal integrity and plain common sense to the practice of law.
His persuasive command of facts and law won the day in and out of the courtroom for decades. In cases involving national and international political and financial intrigue — Abscam, Iran-Contra, the Keating Five, the CIA/Plame leak case and dozens of congressional and presidential legal dramas Bennett’s solid internal grounding made him the champion of many.
A funeral Mass for Robert S. Bennett will be concelebrated at Holy Trinity Catholic…
After advocates for survivors called on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost last month to join around two-dozen other states’ attorneys general who have launched investigations into abuse at Catholic dioceses, Yost responded that his hands are tied.
His office cited state law that requires local or federal authorities to invite the Ohio Attorney General to launch investigations.
Legal experts told The Dispatch that the Ohio Attorney General’s power to launch investigations is constrained compared to other states like Pennsylvania, whose then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a bombshell report on six dioceses in 2018. But they noted that with an invitation from local authorities, the Ohio Attorney General could choose to investigate dioceses criminally.
When asked whether an invitation from a district attorney or police chief would trigger Yost to launch an investigation into the Catholic dioceses, Bethany McCorkle, Yost’s spokesperson, declined to comment.
In arguing that a broad investigation is necessary, the Survivors Network…
The French Catholic Church is facing new accusations of a sexual abuse scandal within Paris’s Foreign Missions Society, an organization dedicated to spreading Christianity overseas. As a criminal investigation has been opened into accusations against three clergymen from the group, a FRANCE 24 investigation by journalists Karina Chabour and Julie Dungelhoeff sheds light on the allegations against the society.
Another scandal that the Catholic Church could have done without: three criminal inquiries have opened in France into two priests and one bishop accused of sexual abuse.
The three men accused are all from the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP), an organization founded in France in the 17th century to convert overseas populations in Asia to Catholicism. Today it claims to have 150 priests based in 14 countries across India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Before the criminal inquiries were announced a FRANCE…
The first Vatican assembly for the global Synod on Synodality will kick off in October bringing together clerics and laity alike for nearly one month of discussions. Here is what you need to know:
What is the Synod on Synodality?
The Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis in October 2021, is a multiyear, worldwide undertaking during which Catholics were asked to submit feedback to their local dioceses on the question “What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’”
The Catholic Church’s massive synodal process has already undergone diocesan, national, and continental stages. It will culminate in two global assemblies at the Vatican. The first will take place Oct. 4–28 and the second in October 2024 to advise the pope on the topic “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.”
What does synodality mean?
Synodality was defined by the Congregation for…
A Catholic priest within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is accused of possessing a large cache of child pornography, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Father Rodolfo Martinez-Guevara, 38, of Long Beach, allegedly possessed more than 600 images of child sexual abuse material, including pictures and videos of minors under 12, officials said.
Martinez-Guevara was a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and associated with several churches, including Our Lady of Guadalupe in Oxnard, authorities said.
He has since been removed from the ministry by the Archdiocese and his order, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese told KTLA.
Authorities launched their investigation into Martinez-Guevara after several reports were made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the D.A’s Office.
“Investigators determined Martinez-Guevara was allegedly in direct possession of over 600 images and videos depicting child sexual abuse material – involving mostly boys,” prosecutors…
Thanks to The Baltimore Sun’s Lee O. Sanderlin for his excellent article regarding the release of more redacted names from the Attorney General’s Report on clergy abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Baltimore (“Judge orders most Catholic Church names made public in Maryland AG report, calls for ‘more transparency, not less,’” Aug. 22). But there is another story here that screams to be told: David slew Goliath, with a sling and a stone.
Last year, Attorney General Brian Frosh petitioned the Circuit Court to release his report, but to leave the names of the accused out (redacted). Two brave victims who are well-known for leading the way, Jean Wehner and Teresa Lancaster, refused to let those names be hidden from the public. Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center was there to help.
On behalf of Jean and Teresa, we filed a motion to release the report with…
Charles Morerod, the Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday. He underwent surgery, his diocese said on Thursday, without wishing to comment further for the time being.This content was published on September 14, 2023 – 14:19September 14, 2023 – 14:192 minutesKeystone-SDA
“We wish him a full and speedy recovery,” the diocese said in a brief statement.
Morerod’s emergency hospitalisation came a day after the publication of a study by the University of Zurich into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Switzerland. The bishop had spoken to the media on Wednesday, describing the study as “shocking”.
Morerod was accused in last week’s edition of the Sonntagsblick newspaper of having failed to intervene after reports of abuse. The native of Fribourg pointed out that he could not comment on these accusations because the “facts have been submitted to the competent bodies”, that is, state justice authorities and the Church itself. He added…
Hecker pled not guilty to all four counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, crime against nature and theft charges in court Wednesday morning.
Retired Catholic priest Lawrence Hecker pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday, five days after he turned himself in to Orleans Parish jail on aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated crime against nature and theft charges.
He’s accused in a grand jury indictment of anally raping a teenage boy in 1975 or 1976 after the unnamed victim “resisted to the utmost but … was overcome by force.”
The victim’s civil attorney, Richard Trahant, told WWL-TV and our partners at The Guardian newspaper that Hecker, a wrestling coach at the time at the boy’s high school, St. John Vianney Prep, told the teen he wanted to show him a wrestling move, then choked him until he was unconscious.
Trahant said the alleged attack happened inside St. Theresa the Little Flower of…
“Very shortly thereafter, my client reported this to the school,” the alleged victim’s attorney said. But retired priest Lawrence Hecker faced no consequences.
The alleged rape victim of a retired New Orleans Catholic priest who was indicted Thursday remembers immediately reporting the assault to the high school where it happened – and being heartbroken that nothing was ever done about it.
Now, 48 years later, the victim is as hopeful as ever that the man charged with raping him at a church attached to his school – Lawrence Hecker – will finally face justice, his attorney told the Guardian and WWL-TV in an interview Thursday.
“I would say he’s very relieved,” the attorney, Richard Trahant, said. “But he knows that this is not the end of it – that this is the beginning of the prosecution. And his involvement will become more and more necessary from…
The Anglican Schools Commission has denied claims it fired a popular school principal over disagreements about how to compensate child sex abuse survivors.
- The commission has attributed a “drift in alignment” and disagreements as reasons for the decision
- Some parents have said they will refuse to send their children to school if the decision to sack Dr Browning is upheld
- Dr Browning has written to families to thank them for working in partnership with staff
Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) chair the Right Reverend Jeremy Greaves says a “broken relationship” led to the sacking of Paul Browning, principal of St Paul’s School at Bald Hills in Brisbane.
Dr Browning had planned to raise money for child sex abuse survivors by monetising a learning tool, Realms of Thinking, before the commission rejected the idea.
He has been a prominent advocate for abuse survivors, having assisted the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child…
Jailed former Catholic priest Lawrence Hecker has been scheduled for arraignment Wednesday (Sept. 13) following his indictment and arrest last week on allegations that he kidnapped, sexually abused and raped a victim while part of the clergy in New Orleans.
Hecker, who turns 92 on Thursday, is being held without a bond since surrendering to authorities last Friday, one day after an Orleans Parish grand jury indicted him on single counts of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated crimes against nature and theft.
Hecker, who faces a lifetime state prison sentence if convicted of the charges, is scheduled to enter his plea Wednesday before Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Benedict Willard.
The indictment follows disturbing revelations that Hecker had previously confessed to molesting multiple teenagers dating as far back as 1966, as reported by documents obtained by The Guardian in June. The documents shed light on a deeply troubling history of…
Mr. Cyrus Sibert has been endorsed by Marquis Who’s Who as a leader in the field of investigative journalism He has been instrumental in pursuing matters related to the political situation in Haiti and the Caribbean, child abuse and pedophilia, fundamental human rights, harassment against women, and more.
Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Cyrus Sibert with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Mr. Sibert celebrates many years’ experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Renowned for his expertise and dedication…
The man alleges the late Father Joseph Eduouard Donat Boisvert groomed and abused him from 1958 to 1960 at St. Michael’s Chapel in Calgary where he was an altar boy.
A Surrey man has filed a lawsuit against the federal Catholic military authorities and the government and the Roman Catholic Church in Calgary, alleging sexual abuse by a priest of officer rank.
“The plaintiff is now 73 years old,” said the B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim filed Sept. 7 by lawyer Sandra Kovacs on behalf of her client, known only as R.C. in the claim.
“He is retired and financially stable,” the claim said. “He brings this action for the purpose of seeking truth, validation, accountability, system change, healing and justice.”
The case is about the alleged historical grooming and sexual abuse by Father Joseph Eduouard Donat Boisvert against R.C., the claim said.
The suit names the Estate of Boisvert,…
A report of abuse in the Swiss Church from the University of Zurich, commissioned by the bishops’ conference, was published on 12 September.
The Vatican has started preliminary investigations of six Swiss bishops and a number of priests accused of covering up abuse.
In a statement published on 10 September after the Swiss tabloid Sonntagsblick publicised the accusations, the Swiss bishops’ conference confirmed that the Vatican had begun investigations.
Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Joseph Maria Bonnemain of Chur to lead the investigations, due to be completed by the end of the year.
“The main subject of these preliminary investigations by the Church are the accusations that abuse cases have been covered up,” the statement said.
“The police and the public prosecutor’s office are, in the first instance, responsible for suspected sexual crimes.
“When abuse of minors is suspected, the Swiss bishops’ conference’s guidelines oblige church leaders to notify the…
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the presiding bishop’s Sept. 5 pastoral word to the church.
[Episcopal News Service] Clergy and lay leaders across The Episcopal Church are joining House of Deputies President Julia Ayala Harris in demanding reform of the church’s disciplinary process for bishops as retired Oklahoma Bishop Ed Konieczny was identified as the focus of Ayala Harris’ sexual harassment complaint.
Ayala Harris, in revealing the general details of her complaint last week, withheld the identity of the bishop who she said had “physically overpowered” her at last year’s 80th General Convention. In an Aug. 30 letter to the House of Deputies, she said she felt compelled to go public after her case had ended in a “pastoral response” rather than discipline for the bishop.
The Rt. Rev. Edward J. Konieczny served as bishop of Oklahoma from 2007 to 2021.
The announcement comes one day after he was placed on leave for allegations that he had physically and emotionally abused his wife and sons.
One day after he was placed on leave for allegations that he had physically and emotionally abused his wife and sons, Episcopal Bishop Prince Singh has resigned as provisional bishop of the dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan.
“Our Standing Committee Presidents have met with Bishop Singh and reached a mutual decision: it is time for him to step down as our bishop provisional, allowing him to focus on the next phase of the Title IV process, his family, and his personal well-being, and allowing our dioceses to step ahead in forward-thinking mission together, focused on our collective ministry and ongoing discernment,” an announcement sent by the standing committees of the two dioceses said Friday morning (Sept. 8). “The bishop’s resignation is effective as of today.”
For Immediate Release: September 12, 2023
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Alabama recently made international news because of reports that the Archdiocese, as well as the staff at the school, ignored complaints about a Catholic priest who absconded to Italy with a recent McGill graduate. Sadly, Fr. Alex Crow was apparently not the only case to be mishandled by school officials and the Church.
On Sunday, Mobile media outlet Lagniappe posted a major exposé on child sex abuse at the Catholic high school entitled, “Victims say leaders ignored past and present abuse at McGill.” The outstanding piece was written by Rob Hobert, with contributions from Dale Liesch and Kyle Hamrick.
We are so grateful to brave survivors Clark Glenn, Sallie McPhearson, and Brian Pierre for their contributions to this comprehensive report. It is because of courageous victims like them that information about abuse in Catholic institutions…
Two recent Church stories, which on the surface seem to have little to do with one another, actually both point to a credibility deficit plaguing the institution at virtually every level. They illustrate a major problem with Catholic hierarchical culture: A failure to recognize – or refusal to admit – that trust is a two-way street, and must be earned.
The two stories are the ongoing saga of Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth and a poorly led group Discalced Carmelite nuns now in open rebellion, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans’ reneging on assurances his archdiocese’s bankruptcy wouldn’t affect schools and other apostolates.
In the Carmelites caper, Olson pretty clearly has a hard case in the erstwhile Mother Superior – who’s been accused of sexual and other impropriety, including possible involvement with controlled substances – and her fiercely loyal community of habited and cloistered sisters, who have lawyered…
Its cover-up is causing many good people to lose faith and trust in the institutional Church
The shocking truth about clerical sexual abuse of minors and women religious was revealed in research by Missio Aachen released in 2020. The pressures on women religious never to complain are immense. They are told by priests that suffering in silence is a great virtue.
Complaining of abuse invites retaliation and even expulsion from their congregation, the research reveals. These are secret crimes now being exposed around the world to the shame and embarrassment of the members of the institutional Church.
The abuse will end and the victims and survivors shall be free only when the truth is revealed, accountability is fixed and justice is done by convicting and punishing the abusers.
It seems that priests, called representatives of God once ordained, have a special entitlement to abuse minors and women religious, and enjoy…
A high-ranking Catholic cleric indicated on Wednesday that he was being investigated by the Conference of Swiss Bishops in connection with allegations of sexual abuse and their cover-up.
Jean Scarcella has withdrawn from his role as father-abbot of Saint-Maurice until the end of the investigation.
“The investigation also concerns an accusation that was made against me,” Scarcella wrote in a press release. He indicated that he took the decision to suspend his office in agreement with the Abbey Council and the President of the Conference of Swiss Bishops (CES) to guarantee the independence of the investigation.
He assures the Bishop of Chur Joseph Bonnemain, who is in charge of the investigation, his full cooperation.
The CES announced on Sunday that it had ordered the opening of a preliminary investigation on June 23 following accusations of covering up sexual abuse. Accusations were made in a letter “against several emeritus and serving members of…
Un membre de l’Eglise catholique porte de graves accusations contre six évêques et plusieurs prêtres en Suisse: il s’agit de faits d’abus sexuels et de dissimulation de ces délits. Quatre plaintes ont été déposées auprès du parquet.
Le prêtre Nicolas Betticher (à gauche) déballe tout – et lance des accusations contre l’évêque Charles Morerod (à droite) et d’autres évêques.
C’est une bombe pour l’Eglise catholique suisse: un membre porte des accusations graves contre six évêques. Quatre de ces hommes sont encore en fonction aujourd’hui, tandis que deux sont déjà à la retraite. Ils auraient tous couvert des cas d’abus sexuels, l’un d’entre eux aurait même agressé lui-même un jeune. A cela s’ajoutent des abus présumés commis par des prêtres en Suisse.
Le lanceur d’alerte n’est pas n’importe qui: Nicolas Betticher, pasteur très connecté à Berne, collaborateur de la conseillère fédérale Ruth Metzler et ancien vicaire général du diocèse…
A comprehensive, yearlong investigation into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Switzerland released on Tuesday has documented more than 1,000 instances of abuse dating back to the mid-20th century.
The Swiss Bishops’ Conference commissioned the groundbreaking study by the University of Zurich’s Historical Seminar, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.
“The findings expose deep-rooted issues that go beyond the actions of individual perpetrators to systemic causes that Church leaders must answer for,” said Bishop Felix Gmür of Basel, president of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, in an immediate response to the study.
The 136-page report documents 1,002 cases of abuse since the mid-20th century involving 510 accused and 921 victims. The research team cautioned that these figures represent “only the tip of the iceberg,” as numerous archives remain unevaluated.
The study also highlighted a systematic cover-up within the church. “Church criminal law was scarcely enforced…
An official inquiry into the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland has identified nearly 1,000 cases of sexual abuse since 1950.
Many involved children and 56% of the victims were male, the report said. The vast majority of the accused were men.
Researchers from the University of Zurich also found evidence of a “widespread cover up”.
“The cases we identified are without a doubt only the tip of the iceberg,” said the study’s leads.
Monika Dommann and Marietta Meier compiled the report following a year-long investigation, which was commissioned by Church authorities.
They were given access to Church archives and also held interviews with several people, including those affected by sexual abuse.
However, they said “numerous” other documents had not yet been made available.
The researchers also found evidence that records had been destroyed at two dioceses and that not all reported cases of sexual abuse were written down and consequently…
A woman who claimed she was abused by a priest and staff in a care home in Bonnyrigg run by the Sisters of Nazareth in 1973 has successfully established that it would be possible for a fair trial to take place. About this case:
- CITATION:  SC EDIN 27
- JUDGMENT: External link
- COURT: Sheriff Court
- JUDGE: Sheriff G.S. Primrose KC
Pursuer GD sought solatium damages for abuse she said occurred over three weeks in the summer of 1973, when she was aged 11. It was argued by the defender that, even if a fair trial could take place, it would be substantially prejudiced were the action to proceed.
The case was heard by Sheriff Graham Primrose, with Langlands, advocate, appearing for the pursuer and Brown, advocate, for the defender.
Seemingly no reason
Together with her three sisters and two brothers, the pursuer was a resident at the defender’s care…
Director Brian Knappenberger and former Boy Scouts youth protection director Michael Johnson on exposing a decades-long cover-up in Netflix’s documentary Scouts Honor: “They tried to squash the story every time.”
When documentarian Brian Knappenberger asks former detective Michael Johnson why he took a job with the Boy Scouts—Johnson was the organization’s youth protection director for a decade, before parting ways with it in 2020—Johnson levies a wary look his way. “Do you want the truth,” he answers, “or what I was told to say?”
As it turns out, Knappenberger is searching for both. His Netflix documentary Scouts Honor: The Secret Files of the Boy Scouts of America details decades of sexual abuse within the world’s most famous youth club—and the reason why even now victims and their allies largely decline to speak about it. “They tried to squash the story every time,” the director tells Vanity Fair. “This is an organization that holds themselves up as moral leaders, as people…
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee will meet next Monday in Nashville.
Here are four things it could do to address clergy sex abuse. All are within its own power and could be done without bumping up against church autonomy. All should be done without further delay.
Immediately add to the new Ministry Check database all the clergy abuser names on the Executive Committee’s list.
Starting in 2007, the SBC Executive Committee maintained a secret list of pastors and church staff credibly accused of sexual abuse. Over the course of 15 years, even as many survivors struggled desperately to warn congregations about preacher-predators, SBC officials compiled the names of more than 700 abusive pastors and took no action to protect people from them.
The existence of this secret list was one of the more stunning revelations of the Guidepost investigatory report.
In May 2022, in the face of survivors’ demands and massive media pressure, the Executive Committee finally…
Whether involving Brother Nicholas “Vic” Bendillo decades ago, or Fr. Alex Crow this year, victims of abuse perpetrated by clergy at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School say there is one constant — an administration and archdiocese bent on covering for abusers and and squelching criticism of the school.
Parents of current and former McGill students negatively affected by their interactions with Crow over the past few years have expressed outrage at the lone statement issued by McGill-Toolen’s President Fr. Bry Shields and Principal Michelle Haas on July 28 claiming the “defrocked” priest who took off to Europe with a recent female graduate was not in classes after December 2021 and otherwise minimizing the school’s relationship with him.
“We were all stunned by the recent news regarding Alex Crow. Contrary to what was reported, Mr. Crow was never employed by McGill-Toolen CHS. We welcome our priests to visit Theology classes and hear…
Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series about survivors of color and the clergy abuse crisis. The second part will be published Sept. 13.
As Kevin Johnson recalled an encounter with an abusive priest, the image of George Floyd on the ground, a knee to his neck, came to mind. Decades earlier Johnson, too, gasped for air during moments of terror.
He was 16 then, a Black teen daydreaming in a church-run community pool, when a white, Josephite-order priest who’d befriended him years prior allegedly molested him underwater.
“He dragged me under, where there was no oxygen, wrestled and assaulted me,” Johnson told NCR. “I would eventually be allowed to return to the surface and breathe. It was not a knee to the neck but a hand down the front of the trunks.”
The horror of that day remains vivid for Johnson, now 61. Yet stories like…
Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse wound up in December 2017. In five years, it held 8,000 private sessions, held 444 days of public hearing, heard more than 1,200 witness, commission more than 100 research papers, examined more than 1.2 million documents, and generated more than 45,400 pages of transcripts. The final report comprised 17 volumes. It cost A$342 million.
What has become apparent in recent months is that this was not $342 million well spent.
The institution examined most thoroughly by the Royal Commission was the Catholic Church. Other denominations, including the Anglican Church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Salvation Army, were also investigated, but the media focused on some appallingly abusive priests and cover-ups by Catholic Church leaders. According to the chairman, Peter McClelland, “of the survivors who came to tell their story 58.6 per cent reported that they were abused in an institution managed by…
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The Archdiocese of New Orleans’ apparent plan to lean more heavily on area churches, schools and ministries to help shoulder the cost of its bankruptcy proceedings and clergy abuse claims has some concerned.
Attorney Desiree Charbonnet said it’s difficult for people to understand how a place you go to pray could be the same place people have preyed on children.
“What most people have a hard time dealing with is that, this is the church, right?” she said. “This is the same church who, from what I can see, has yet to say, ‘We are wrong and we are guilty. We confess. We did this. We did send pedophiles from parish to parish.’
“But it’s the same church that tells you on a Sunday to confess your sins.”
In a letter published Friday, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said that when the Archdiocese of New…
A retired 91-year-old New Orleans priest who was removed from ministry in 2018 was indicted Thursday afternoon on felony charges related to allegations that he raped an underage teenage boy in the 1970s.
Lawrence Hecker was indicted on charges of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, an aggravated crime against nature, and theft by an Orleans Parish Special Grand Jury. The sex abuse crimes are alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1, 1975, and Dec. 31, 1976, according to the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office.
“The physical, emotional, and mental harm from sexual abuse lasts a lifetime,” District Attorney Jason Williams said in a statement.
“Many survivors have felt hopeless and irreparably harmed by the acts Lawrence Hecker committed against them,” Williams continued. “The innocence and youth stolen from multiple children, who revered and respected Hecker as a protector, cannot be regained. The traumatic effects of those events from…