ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

January 27, 2022

Columbus diocese places priest on administrative leave

COLUMBUS (OH)
Catholic Times [Diocese of Columbus OH]

January 25, 2022

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The Diocese of Columbus has placed diocesan priest Father Dean A. Mathewson, 77, on administrative leave, effective January 24, 2022.

This action and announcement are made in accordance with the Catholic Church’s Charter and Norms for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Diocese’s published Policies for Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Minors and Response to Allegations Thereof.

An accusation of sexual abuse of a minor, allegedly occurring during Father Mathewson’s tenure at St. Francis de Sales Parish, Newark, Ohio, in the early 1990s was reported to the Diocese on January 19, 2022. This allegation had already been received by criminal authorities in Newark. On January 24, 2022, Diocesan officials notified Father Mathewson of the allegation and informed him of the details of the allegation. He was formally placed on leave, and he was advised about the steps the Church would follow as a result of the allegation. As was explained…

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Newark priest who taught throughout Greater Columbus accused of abuse of a minor in 1990s

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch [Columbus OH]

January 27, 2022

By Danae King

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A Newark priest has been put on leave after he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, which was alleged to have happened in the 1990s.

The Rev. Dean A. Mathewson, 77, was placed on leave by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus on Monday.

Mathewson is accused of sexually abusing a minor while he was serving at St. Francis de Sales in Newark in the early 1990s.

The diocese said it got the report of this abuse on Jan. 19, according to The Catholic Times, a publication of the diocese, and that the report had already been given to Newark police.

The Newark police said they are investigating the case and that the survivor was between 12 to 14 years of age at the time of the alleged abuse….

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Benedict’s ‘error’: What have we learned?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 24, 2022

By Ed. Condon

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Analysis

Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus, has issued a statement apologizing for an error in his submissions to an independent inquiry into clerical sexual abuse in his former archdiocese of Munich and Freising. 

The admission from the pope emeritus that he was at a meeting where the arrival of an accused child abuser in the archdiocese was discussed has generated headlines worldwide. But does it change what we know about Archbishop Ratzinger’s time in office, or is it further illustration of a generational leadership debacle in the Church’s handling of abuse?

Last week, the lawfirm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl published a nearly 2,000-page report following its independent investigation into the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons in the Munich archdiocese, dating back to 1945. 

The report highlighted four cases in which the then-Archbishop Ratzinger could be “accused of misconduct” in his handling of clergy, including one which appears to fit…

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Members of the 'From words to action' collective hold a banner reading 'Victims of sexual violence in the Catholic Church demand: recognition, responsibility, reparation, reform' near the Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire basilica, in Lourdes, France Photograph:( AFP )

France: After facing intense pressure, Catholic Church raises over $22 million for sex abuse victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
WION (World Is One News) [New Delhi, India]

January 26, 2022

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[Photo above: Members of the ‘From words to action’ collective hold a banner reading ‘Victims of sexual violence in the Catholic Church demand: recognition, responsibility, reparation, reform’ near the Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire basilica, in Lourdes, France Photograph:( AFP )]

Critics accuse Francis of responding too slowly to the sex abuse scandals, of failing to empathise with victims and of blindly believing the word of his fellow clergy

France’s Catholic Church has raised over $22 million as compensation for victims of child sexual abuse by clergy.

The dioceses had been facing intense pressure for turning a blind eye to the ”scourge” for too long.

A major investigation had revealed that French clergy sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.

The church had shown “deep, total and even cruel indifference for years,” protecting itself rather than the victims of what was systemic abuse, said Jean-Marc Sauve, head of the commission that compiled…

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Opinion: A pope complicit in covering up sex crimes can bid moral authority goodbye

(ITALY)
Washington Post

January 25, 2022

By David Von Drehle

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Everyone with open eyes can now see that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church never underestimated the problem of priests as sexual predators. They weren’t taken by surprise. Church leaders have known for decades exactly how vast the issue was, how all-consuming, from the humble parish all the way to the top in Rome.

church-authorized investigation in Germany has produced a multivolume report on sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Munich. In it, we see the archbishop himself at meetings more than 40 years ago, weighing the future of a criminally abusive priest — without a thought, it appears, of turning the man in to the police.

It is a sadly familiar story: secret conclaves of men in collars, flouting the laws of one nation after another to shuffle the abusers and launder their crimes. Only in this case, the archbishop of Munich was Joseph Ratzinger, who…

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The Munich report and Ratzinger’s fight against abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

January 26, 2022

By Andrea Tornielli

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Following the publication of the investigation, the years of the Pope Emeritus’ Bavarian episcopate are in the spotlight. It’s only fair to remember Benedict XVI’s fight against clerical paedophilia during his pontificate and his willingness to meet and listen to the victims, asking them for forgiveness.

The words that were used during the press conference to present the report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich, as well as the seventy-two pages of the document dedicated to the brief Bavarian episcopate of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, have filled the newspapers in the past week and have triggered some very strong comments. The Pope emeritus, with the help of his collaborators, did not evade the questions of the law firm commissioned by the Archdiocese of Munich to draw up a report that examines a very long span of time, from the episcopate of Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber to that of the current…

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Vatican Defends Benedict XVI Saying Don’t Look for ‘Scapegoats’

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

January 26, 2022

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

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‘The reconstructions contained in the Munich report, which — it must be remembered — is not a judicial inquiry nor a final sentence, will help to combat paedophilia in the Church if they are not reduced to the search for easy scapegoats and summary judgments,’ Tornielli wrote.

An official at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication responded on Wednesday to a report on the handling of abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising that faulted Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

In an editorial published by Vatican News on Jan. 26, Andrea Tornielli, the dicastery’s editorial director, wrote: “The words that were used during the press conference to present the report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich, as well as the 72 pages of the document dedicated to the brief Bavarian episcopate of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, have filled the newspapers in the past week and have triggered some very strong…

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Vatican editorial defends Benedict XVI after release of abuse report

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Boston Pilot [Boston, MA]

January 26, 2022

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

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A Vatican editorial defended retired Pope Benedict XVI’s record in fighting clerical sexual abuse after the release of a report that accused him of mishandling four cases during his time as archbishop of Munich.

Andrea Tornielli, editorial director for the Dicastery for Communication, said a report on the handling of cases in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising was an important contribution to “the search for justice in truth and to a collective examination of conscience on the errors of the past.”

However, he warned, “the reconstructions contained in the Munich report, which — it must be remembered — is not a judicial inquiry nor a final sentence, will help to combat pedophilia in the church if they are not reduced to the search for easy scapegoats and summary judgments.”

The 1,900-page report was released Jan. 20 and looked at the handling of cases in the archdiocese between 1945 and 2019. Then-Cardinal Joseph…

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The investigation involving a Catholic priest in Wichita has concluded. 

WICHITA (KS)
Office of the District Attorney of Sedgwick County KS (18th Judicial District of Kansas)

January 26, 2022

By Office of the District Attorney of Sedgwick County, KS

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For immediate release, January 26, 2022

WICHITA, KAN. – On Monday Nov. 1, 2021, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita announced that Bishop Carl Kemme was placing a priest on administrative leave following a report made to the diocese by a reporting party on behalf of an alleged victim. The diocese identified the priest as Rev. Michael Schemm.

Prior to placing Rev. Schemm on leave, the diocese forwarded the allegations to the Office of the District Attorney. The Office of the District Attorney in turn forwarded the matter for investigation to the Exploited and Missing Child Unit (EMCU).

The allegations were reported to have occurred when Rev. Schemm was serving at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wichita between 1993 and 1996. At that time, the reported victim would have been between 12 and 15 years of age. The reported victim would now be 40 years of age. The diocese confirmed that…

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Church responds to no charges for Wichita priest

WICHITA (KS)
KSNW-TV, NBC-3 [Wichita KS]

January 26, 2022

By Laura McMillan

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District Attorney Marc Bennett does not plan to charge a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita who was under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of a minor. In a news release, the DA’s office said the statute of limitations does not allow it. Bennett would not comment on whether the case had merit worthy of charges, however he said the allegations did not involve any physical contact with a child.

Back in November, the diocese placed the Rev. Michael Schemm, Church of the Resurrection, on administrative leave following the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. According to the diocese, Bishop Carl Kemme announced Schemm’s leave came after an initial review by the Diocesan Review Board, which recommended the leave, while a full investigation was conducted.

Bennett said someone made the report to the diocese on behalf of an alleged victim. Before placing Schemm…

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Wichita priest won’t be charged with child sexual abuse

WICHITA (KS)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 26, 2022

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A Roman Catholic priest who was accused of sexual exploitation of a child will not be charged because the statute of limitations has ended, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said Wednesday.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita placed Rev. Michael Schemm on administrative leave last November after it received an allegation against him.

The allegations reportedly occurred between 1993 and 1996, when Schemm was assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wichita.

The child, who would have been between 12 and 15 at the time, would be 40 this year, Bennett said.

Under state law, the statute of limitations expired in 2009, when the alleged victim turned 28.

Bennett said his decision was a legal conclusion and and was making “no commentary or conclusions” on the allegations.

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Abuse charges against dead priest known as ‘Picasso of churches’

LYON (FRANCE)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

January 27, 2022

By Tom Heneghan

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The French Church has been rocked by repeated scandals over clerical sexual abuse in recent years.

French churches faced a new challenge when it turned out that a priest known as the “Picasso of the Churches” for his prolific church art had sexually abused minors before his death in 1994.

The dioceses of Lyon, Grenoble and Saint Etienne issued a joint statement saying they had received many credible accusations against Fr Louis Ribes and would follow them up. They said his artworks would be “taken down and put away” and urged potential victims to come forward.

Lyon Archbishop Olivier de Germay, whose predecessor Cardinal Philippe Barbarin resigned over a major scandal there, said the Church aimed to uncover all such cases. “Even if it is painful, the Church must follow this line,” he said.

Fr Ribes, who used bright colours and a vaguely cubist style, created dozens of paintings and stained glass…

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French Catholic Church Raises 20 Mn Euros For Sex Abuse Victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
Barron's [New York NY]

January 25, 2022

By Agence France-Presse

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Catholic dioceses in France have raised 20 million euros ($22.6 million) to compensate thousands of victims of historical child sexual abuse by clergy, the fund in charge of raising the money said Tuesday.

Church officials have been under intense pressure to recognise and compensate victims after a landmark French inquiry confirmed widespread abuse of minors by priests, deacons and lay members of the Church dating from the 1950s.

“It’s a first step. The Church has followed through on its commitment,” the president of the Selam fund, Gilles Vermot-Desroches, told AFP after its board met on Monday.

An initial five million euros will be set aside for compensation claims being studied by an independent panel set up in the wake of the damning abuse report, released in October.

It found that 216,000 minors had been abused by clergy over the past seven decades, a number that climbed to 330,000 when claims…

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Letter to editor: No sanctifying grace for some

TORONTO (CANADA)
Toronto Star [Toronto, Canada]

January 27, 2022

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It should be of no surprise that former Pope Benedict XVI is accused of wrongdoing in his handling of sexual abuse cases when he was a Cardinal in Germany.

For decades the Catholic Church ignored or covered up reports of child sexual abuse by priests.

Often the offending priests were moved to another diocese where they could resume their abuse, this time of other children.

What the Catholic Church didn’t do, and should have done, was to turn over the offending priests to the police.

It is only under the current Pope Francis that Church laws have been changed to criminalize sexual abuse.

It would be interesting to know how many offending priests have since been reported to the police.

The Church’s historical record would suggest that the numbers reported would be very few.

What a disgrace.

Archie Gillis, Toronto

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January 26, 2022

Catholic Church in France raises €20 million in compensation for child sex abuse victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
France 24 [Paris, France]

January 26, 2022

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Catholic dioceses in France have raised 20 million euros ($22.6 million) to compensate thousands of victims of historical child sexual abuse by clergy, the fund in charge of raising the money said Tuesday.

Church officials have been under intense pressure to recognise and compensate victims after a landmark French inquiry confirmed widespread abuse of minors by priests, deacons and lay members of the Church dating from the 1950s.

“It’s a first step. The Church has followed through on its commitment,” the president of the Selam fund, Gilles Vermot-Desroches, told AFP after its board met on Monday.

An initial five million euros will be set aside for compensation claims being studied by an independent panel set up in the wake of the damning abuse report, released in October.

It found that 216,000 minors had been abused by clergy over the past seven decades, a number that climbed to 330,000 when claims against lay…

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The dioceses of Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Étienne shaken by a new case of pedophilia

LYON (FRANCE)
World News Today [London, UK]

January 25, 2022

By World Today News

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Several people have contacted the diocese of Lyon, the diocese of Grenoble-Vienne as well as the diocese of Saint-Etienne to reveal that they or their relatives had been sexually assaulted by Father Louis Ribes, who died in 1994. _We have gained certainty_, last October, the veracity of the facts“.

This is how it begins a joint statement from the three dioceses. A press release published as discreetly as possible on the evening of Thursday, January 13.

For his part, the Bishop of Saint-Étienne explains that he “learned recently that people have been assaulted in the diocese, Fr Ribes being from Grammond, where he returned regularly“. Sylvain Bataille expresses his “deep compassion and [sa] desolation to discover again that a priest could have committed these heinous acts“. Louis Ribes ended his career in Vienne, in Isère and more precisely in the district of Estressin.

The children posed naked for the Picasso of…

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Prominent French priest, educator accused of sexual abuse

LYON (FRANCE)
La Croix International [France]

January 26, 2022

By Félicien Rondel

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The late head of a large and prestigious institute in Lyon that educates students aged 2-22 has been accused of improperly touching minors in holiday camps he oversaw

The Archdiocese of Lyon, one of the oldest and most venerable centers of French Catholicism, is once again in turmoil due to the Church’s ongoing sex abuse crisis.

For the second consecutive week there have been fresh revelations of abuse committed years ago about a prominent local priest – this time by the late Father Georges Babolat, former director of the famed “Institution des Chartreux”.

Two Lyonnaise media outlets – the daily newspaper La Tribune de Lyon and the online site Mediacités – revealed on January 21 that three women have accused Babolat of molesting them in the 1990s when they were little girls at a holiday camp he ran in the mountains.

The priest, who died in 2006 at the age…

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State drops charges against Father James Jackson, but he’s still being prosecuted. Here’s why:

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

January 25, 2022

By Joe Bukuras for CNA

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State charges accusing Providence priest Father James Jackson of possession of child pornography, transfer of child pornography, and child erotica prohibited have been dropped, according to the state court website.

But the ex-pastor, a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), still must face federal charges of distributing child pornography and possessing and accessing with intent to view child pornography, his lawyer John Calcagni III told CNA. He declined further comment.

The state’s move to drop charges was an expected procedural development that allows the federal case against Jackson to move forward.

Jackson, formerly pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Providence, was arrested on Oct. 30 by the Rhode Island State Police after an investigation by a Rhode Island computer crimes task force.

The state police had executed a search warrant that day at the parish and arrested Jackson after determining that he was the owner of large amounts…

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Vatican defends Benedict after report faults abuse record

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

January 26, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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The Vatican on Wednesday strongly defended Pope Benedict XVI’s record in fighting clergy sexual abuse and cautioned against looking for “easy scapegoats and summary judgments,” after an independent report faulted his handling of four cases of abuse when he was archbishop of Munich, Germany.

The Holy See’s editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, provided the Vatican’s first substantial response to the report in an editorial that appeared in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and its media portal, Vatican News. In it, Tornielli recalled that Benedict was the first pope to meet with victims of abuse, that he had issued strong norms to punish priests who raped children and had directed the church to pursue a path of humility in seeking forgiveness for the crimes of its clerics.

“All this can neither be forgotten nor erased,” Tornielli wrote.

A German law firm released the lengthy report last week that had been commissioned by…

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Legal Loophole in Canon Law Protects Pedophiles

PARTLOW (VA)
Lepanto Institute [Partlow, VA]

January 24, 2022

By Michael Hichborn

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Ever since the 2002 revelations of deep-seated problems of child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy, the most common question among the faithful remains without an answer: “How could this have happened?”

Since then, scores of reports related to ongoing patterns of sexual abuse and cover-up by the episcopacy have shown that not only has this crisis not been resolved, it isn’t likely to end any time soon.  And while many rightfully point the finger at wicked bishops, homosexual networks in the clergy, and the fetid rot in seminaries, the fact of the matter is that all of these are mere symptoms of the issue.

One major source of the problem is a legal loophole contained within the Code of Canon Law itself which directly protects pedophile priests.  Simply put, canon law prevents criminal perverts in the clergy from being properly prosecuted and punished.  Not only does canon…

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Mexican cardinals found guilty of trying to influence federal elections

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 25, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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Two Mexican cardinals were found guilty of “proselytism” during last June’s election, with a court claiming they “pressured and/or induced” their religious community to vote for a particular candidate or party.

The Superior Chamber of the Electoral Tribunal of the Judiciary of the Federation (TEPJF) of Mexico confirmed the sentence against Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, the archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara. Two other priests were also found guilty.

They were found guilty of transgressing the “principle of Church-State separation” recognized in Mexico’s constitution.

They were charged after encouraging Catholics to vote in defense of life, family and the common good during the 2021 federal elections.

The president of the Superior Chamber said that “specifically” ministers of worship in Mexico “are prohibited from proselytizing for or against any political party, any candidacy or any political association, in order to safeguard the principles of the…

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South Florida priest seeks forgiveness after fathering child

MIAMI SHORES (FL)
WPTV [West Palm Beach, FL]

January 25, 2022

By Peter Burke

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A South Florida priest is asking for forgiveness from his parishioners after learning that he fathered a child, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami said Tuesday.

Monsignor Chanel Jeanty, the pastor at St. James Catholic Church in North Miami, learned in late December that the child was the result of a previous relationship he had with a woman, Archdiocese of Miami spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said in a statement. She said the relationship ended more than a year ago.

Jeanty has contacted the mother and “plans to contribute to the support of his child,” Agosta said.

“Monsignor Jeanty has already sought God’s forgiveness, and he is asking for the forgiveness of his parishioners, who will be disappointed when they learn of his lapse,” Agosta added. “Monsignor Jeanty must face his parishioners and seek to regain their trust, as he continues to serve, and at the same time attends to…

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‘Behind Sacred Walls’ tells one man’s story of being raped by priests

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Voice [Dallas, TX]

January 21, 2022

By DavidTaffet

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Michael Roberts comes from a religious Catholic family that never missed Sunday mass. And like hundreds of other boys who have come forward, he was abused by the priest at his church.

But Roberts’ story of abuse by Catholic priests is a little different from others. He was a little older than most victims we’ve heard about; he was 17 when he was first raped. But, Roberts explains, he was a young and naïve 17 with no sexual experience.

The purpose of Roberts’ book, Behind Sacred Walls, is to help other victims of abuse by religious figures, not to expose or punish those who hurt him. In fact, Roberts changes the names of his tormentors and never reveals the parish that protected his rapists.

Father Gregory, as Roberts calls him, began inviting himself to dinner with the family every week. Then he invited Michael on day trips. His parents were…

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To tell the Catholic story this week, you need both Munich and Mustafa

(FL)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 23, 2022

By John L. Allen Jr.

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Over the centuries, the Catholic Church often has led the pack in two distinct specialties: Breaking your heart, and then stitching it back together again with a fresh infusion of hope. This past week brought classic examples of both.

Out of Munich, we got a report from a law firm commissioned by the archdiocese documenting almost 500 cases of clerical sexual abuse stretching over 74 years, including four abusers who served on the watch of the future Pope Benedict XVI when he served as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

Whatever one makes of the report at the level of detail – and there’s already vigorous debate over its assertions about the then-Cardinal Ratzinger – on the whole, it’s another depressing reminder of the way the abuse scandals have laid waste to both the church’s moral credibility and also its internal morale.

Yet beyond Munich, there’s also Mustafa. He’s…

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‘We were all children.’ What we know about allegations of sexual abuse of students at Mount St. Mary

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman [Oklahoma City OK]

January 25, 2022

By Josh Dulaney

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Multiple former students at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City have accused top administrators, including former principal Talita DeNegri, of dismissing their reports of sexual abuse by other students.

The story was detailed in an exclusive report by The Oklahoman. 

In the wake of the allegations DeNegri resigned and the school is bolstering its policies and procedures related to mandatory reporting of abuse. 

However, alumni are demanding more answers from the school’s Board of Trustees.

An investigation into the school performed by The Oklahoman reveals multiple incidents of alleged abuse of students, by students, and at least one allegation of abuse by a coach.

Here’s what we know about the allegations, how the school handled them, and the fallout so far:

What incidents of sexual abuse do students say happened at St. Mary High School?

Incidents of alleged abuse on school property include a male student masturbating in…

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Indian nuns decry church silence on rape case, ask where women can get help

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 25, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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Catholic women religious in India have expressed support for a nun days after Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar was acquitted by a court of rape charges made by her. They also questioned the sustained silence of the official church on the case, reported ucanews.com.

“As women religious, we express our solidarity with the victim-survivor and her companions, who have walked with the victim with a lot of courage, dignity and determination in their fight for justice,” the Conference of Religious India said in a letter to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

Ucanews.com reported the letter, dated Jan. 20, has no endorsement from any priest, but Apostolic Carmel Sister Maria Nirmalini, the newly appointed national president of the conference of religious, said she had been inundated with phone calls from both religious men and women as well as laypeople from around India after Mulakkal’s acquittal Jan. 14.

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Indian nuns question Church’s silence in rape case

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

January 24, 2022

By UCA News reporter

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Women religious have expressed support for the complainant nun after a court acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Catholic women religious in India have come out in open support of a nun days after Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar was acquitted by a court of rape charges made by her.

“As women religious, we express our solidarity with the victim-survivor and her companions who have walked with the victim with a lot of courage, dignity and determination in their fight for justice,” said the Conference of Religious India (CRI) in a letter to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

They also appealed to the cardinal to “reach out” and provide all possible help to the nun and five nuns supporting her while questioning the sustained silence of the official Church on the matter.

The letter dated Jan. 20 has no endorsement from…

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Women’s voices key to addressing clergy sexual abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 22, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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It’s important to hear voices from women because there are so many that have not been heard yet,” says journalist Pauline Guzik

The final panel at a Jan. 20 webinar on clergy sex abuse brought together noted women leaders in the Catholic Church to share their perspectives on what might have been different in the church’s response to the abuse crisis if women had “been given a seat at the table earlier in this process.”

The webinar, “Listening to the Voices of Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse,” brought together investigators of past abuse, relatives of victims and those who counsel survivors. It was sponsored in part by Georgetown University.

The last panel “Lifting Up Female Voices in the Church” included the perspective of Paulina Guzik, a journalist for Polish public broadcaster TVP. She has been in the United States doing research for a book on the abuse crisis.

“The journalist…

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Progress made on abuse, but much yet to be done, say experts

WASHINGTON (DC)
CatholicPhilly.com - Archdiocese of Philadephia

January 25, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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While progress has been made on the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the United States and elsewhere, much more remains to be done, said panelists at a Jan. 20 webinar on the issue sponsored in part by Georgetown University.

Those sentiments were shared during the webinar, “Listening to the Voices of Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse,” by investigators of past abuse, relatives of victims and those who counsel survivors.

“It was a shock, it was a deep shock to discover the damages that were incurred due to these sexual abuses,” said Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the French Institute of Administrative Sciences, who led an independent investigation into the history of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France.

“We cannot understand and know the reality as it is” and its consequences, Sauvé said, “if we have not been able ourselves to touch the experience of the victims (including) the…

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Sen. Lauren Arthur Files Legislation to Help Catch Predators and Achieve Justice for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Missouri Senate [Jefferson City, MO]

January 25, 2022

By Senator Lauren Arthur

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Senator Lauren Arthur Files Legislation to Help Catch Predators and Achieve Justice for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

 Senator Arthur says organizations that cover up abuse must be held accountable

State Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, filed two pieces of legislation to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse seek justice through civil action, while strengthening the attorney general’s ability to investigate cases of sex trafficking and abuse.

“In Missouri, no one should be above the law,” Sen. Arthur said. “When an organization knowingly ignores or hides child sex abuse, they must be held accountable. Together, these bills will help survivors seek justice while also strengthening the criminal prosecution of abusers. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the scourge of child sexual abuse in Missouri, and to help heal wounds that have been ignored for too long.”

Senate Bill 1084 allows for civil lawsuits against organizations for negligence regarding…

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The Catholic Church cannot be trusted to investigate child abuse. Mandatory reporting is now required

MUNICH (GERMANY)
PremierChristianity.com [London, UK]

January 24, 2022

By Richard Scorer

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Former Pope Benedict XVI argued the Catholic church can be trusted to self-police itself when accusations of abuse emerge. But a new report alleges Benedict failed to act over child abuse cases when he was archbishop of Munich. Human rights lawyer Richard Scorer says this “hypocrisy” is further evidence that the church must be forced to report abuse to secular authorities

As the media reported last week, an investigation in Germany into historic abuse allegations has concluded that the former Pope Benedict XVI failed to act against four priests accused of sexual abuse when he was Archbishop of Munich.

The law firm commissioned to undertake the investigation said that two of these cases concerned abuse committed during his tenure as Archbishop and “in both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care”.

This news comes as no surprise to me. Questions about the former Pope’s actions in…

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Catholic group urges independent inquiry into church sex abuse

LJUBLJANA (SLOVENIA)
PremierChristianity.com [London, UK]

January 25, 2022

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A Catholic advocacy for victims of sexual abuse in the Slovenian Catholic Church has urged appointing a properly-funded independent commission to investigate and crack down on the abuse as soon as possible.

The group called Dovolj.je (It’s Enough) is headed by Janez Cerar, the first Slovenian priest to speak out about being a victim of sexual abuse in the Church once himself.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he was critical of the lengthy procedures to investigate sexual abuse within the Church and of what he said was a lack of empathy for the victims.

He believes the Slovenian Catholic Church is more attentive to paedophilia among the clergy and more active in cracking down on the problem as it used to be but still not to a sufficient extent.

He would not talk about numbers of abuse cases, asserting that the focus should be on the depth of experience suffered…

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93 potential burial sites found near former B.C. residential school

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

January 25, 2022

By Bethany Lindsay and Bridgette Watson

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Preliminary results follow survey of former St. Joseph’s Mission school site

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

A survey of a small segment of the land surrounding a former B.C. residential school has identified 93 sites of “potential human burials,” according to representatives of a nearby First Nation. 

The chief and council of Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) revealed on Tuesday preliminary findings of their investigation into St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School and nearby Onward Ranch, based on a probe of 14 out of 470 hectares that have been identified as areas of interest.

Whitney Spearing, who led the investigation team, said the 93 sites were identified using ground-penetrating radar, along with aerial and terrestrial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors. She said some may be connected to a known historical cemetery, but 50 appear to have no association with it.

Spearing added that while the…

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Williams Lake First Nation announces 93 possible burial sites at former residential school

WILLIAMS LAKE (CANADA)
Prince George Citizen [Prince George, BC, CA]

January 25, 2022

By Hanna Petersen

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First Nation Leadership Council is calling for support for the Williams Lake First Nation

Williams lake First Nation has announced its findings of unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school.

In a January 25 press conference, the Williams Lake First Nation announced a recent geophysical survey, which included ground-penetrating radar, revealed the existence of an estimated 93 graves.

St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School operated near Williams Lake between 1886 and 1981.

“This journey has led our investigation team into the darkest recesses of human behaviour,” Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars said.

“Our team has recorded not only stories regarding the murder and disappearance of children and infants, they have listened to countless stories of systematic torture, starvation, rape and sexual assault of children at St. Joseph’s Mission.”

The findings from the school are considered preliminary, and more information is expected as the…

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Canada: Indigenous community finds 93 potential unmarked graves

(CANADA)
Al Jazeera

January 25, 2022

By Al Jazeera Staff

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Williams Lake First Nation unveils findings of preliminary search at former ‘residential school’ known for abuse.

Warning: The story below contains details of residential schools that may be upsetting. Canada’s Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

An Indigenous community in Canada’s western province of British Columbia has found dozens of potential unmarked graves on the grounds of a former residential school, the latest such discovery over the past year.

Williams Lake First Nation announced on Monday that preliminary results of the first phase of a geophysical search at St Joseph Mission Residential School uncovered 93 “reflections” – believed to be unmarked gravesites.

“Ninety-three is our number,” Chief Willie Sellars told reporters.

Hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered at former residential school sites across Canada since May, when Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had uncovered 215 unmarked graves at the…

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January 25, 2022

Pope Benedict: I Did Know About Priest Who Molested 23 Boys

(ITALY)
Daily Beast [New York NY]

January 24, 2022

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

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NOW I REMEMBER

The retired pontiff says it was an “editing error” when he mistakenly told investigators he had no recollection about a meeting involving a predatory priest.

The retired Pope Benedict XVI has come forward with an unusual confession. Rather than sticking with a highly contested denial that he knew nothing about the scores of predatory priests who were moved around German parishes when he was in charge of the Munich diocese, he now says he did know about at least one of them.

In a statement issued over the weekend first to German media outlets and then to the Catholic News Agency, Benedict’s personal secretary Georg Gänswein sought to correct the record for the ailing ex-pontiff.

Gänswein admitted that Benedict did tell independent investigators hired by the German Catholic Church that he had no recollection of his proven attendance at a hearing about Father Peter…

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Catholic Diocese in Australia Found Vicariously Liable for Clerical Abuse

(AUSTRALIA)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

January 21, 2022

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“It marks for the first time in Australia a decision that exercises attribution of liability to a bishop for the acts of his predatory priest or assistant priest,” lawyer Sangeeta Sharmin said.

In a ruling believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, a judge has found a Catholic diocese vicariously liable for clerical abuse.

judgment issued on Dec. 22 by Justice John Forrest in the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne held that the Diocese of Ballarat was vicariously liable for the conduct of Father Bryan Coffey.

The Legal Information Institute defines vicarious liability as the liability that a supervisory party bears for the actionable conduct of a subordinate or associate, based on the relationship between the two parties. 

Father Coffey, who was convicted of child abuse in 1999 and given a three-year suspended sentence, died in 2013.

Justice Forrest awarded a man identified only as “DP”…

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Report that accuses Benedict XVI of omission in abuse cases has been treated with sensationalism, columnist says

(ITALY)
The Oxford Spokesman [Oxford College, Emory University, Oxford GA]

January 24, 2022

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has denied, through his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, having knowledge of cases of abuse committed in Chile by priests who are members of the Legionaries of Christ when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position Joseph Ratzinger held between 1982 and 2013. Gänswein made the statements to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the same one that had published the accusations, made by filmmaker Christoph Röhl, and which also published excerpts from a report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, before its official release.

Writing for the Catholic news agency Zenit, columnist and philosopher Jorge Enrique Mújica criticized some inconsistencies and sensationalism surrounding the report (read the full version here, in German), prepared by the law firm Westphal Spilker Wastl. The investigation covers a period from 1945 to 2019, during which the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising had six different…

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Kerala nun sex abuse: Prosecution submits legal advice to police on Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s case

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
New Indian Express [Chennai, India]

January 23, 2022

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The court submitted the advice to Kottayam district police chief  Shilpa Devaiah in the presence of Addl SP S Suresh Kumar, pointing out the legal points to file appeal.

As part of the move to file an appeal against the acquittal of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, former head of the Latin Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, in nun’s rape complaint, the prosecution has formally handed over the legal opinion to the police.

Special prosecutor Jithesh J Babu submitted the advice to Kottayam district police chief  Shilpa Devaiah in the presence of Addl SP S Suresh Kumar, pointing out the legal points to file appeal against the judgement of Additional District and Sessions Court in Kottayam.

Legal advice was provided as requested by the police. Legal advice will be forwarded to the government through the state police headquarters. The appeal will be filed in the High Court, through the office of the state advocate general, after…

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Rev Ivan Foster’s letter has taken away the tranquillity of some of us victims of abuse

BELFAST (UNITED KINGDOM)
News Letter [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

January 25, 2022

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A letter to the editor from Margaret McGuckin and other members of SAVIA (Survivors and Victims of Insitutional Abuse):

We, are the main SAVIA (Survivors and Victims of Insitutional Abuse) lobby group who represent a large cross-section of both Catholic and Protestant HIA (Historical Institutional Abuse) victims and survivors in Northern Ireland, the UK and abroad.

We are horrified at the contents of Ivan Foster’s letter to the editor in the News Letter on January 24 (‘Protestants should not say sorry for abuse in Catholic establishments,’ see link below).

We have been campaigning, Protestants and Catholics together, for justice for nigh-on 15 years and just recently have been given our long-awaited apology date and timeline.

We have felt vindicated, totally, and have decided to end our long and arduous campaign. This weekend we finally rested, happy and content that our fight for justice was over.

This was until we read the…

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A closer look at Munich charges against former Pope [News Analysis]

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Catholic Culture

January 24, 2022

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An independent investigation of sex-abuse cases in the Munich archdiocese produced criticism of Pope-emeritus Pope Benedict XVI for his handling of several cases. But a closer look at the report shows that the evidence of negligence by the former Pontiff was slim.

Headlines about the report, issued last week by a prominent German law firm, almost invariably highlighted the failures of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. But few if any of the reporters who wrote those stories had time to digest the full contents of the report, which ran to over 1,000 pages— or even the 72 pages that covered the leadership of Cardinal Ratzinger, from 1977 to 1982.

The former Pontiff is, of course, a more prominent target for criticism. And the current Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, is more popular with the media, and perhaps therefore drew less criticism for his reported instances of neglect. Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, whose tenure…

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Former pope Benedict admits making false claim to child sexual abuse inquiry

(ITALY)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 24, 2022

By Angela Giuffrida

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Ex-pontiff blames editorial ‘oversight’ for previous statement he was absent from 1980 meeting over suspected paedophile priest

The former pope Benedict XVI has admitted providing false information to a German inquiry into clerical sexual abuse.

Benedict, who resigned as the global leader of the Roman Catholic church in 2013, said on Monday that he had attended a meeting with local church officials in 1980 to discuss a suspected paedophile priest. He blamed a previous written statement to German investigators – in which he said he was absent from the meeting – on an editorial error.

His admission comes four days after a report on the investigation claimed that Benedict had failed to take action against four priests accused of child sexual abuse when he was archbishop of Munich, a position the then cardinal, Josef Ratzinger, held between 1977 and 1982, and that his denial of being at…

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Pope Benedict Admits To Giving False Testimony In German Sex Abuse Case

MUNICH (GERMANY)
HuffPost [New York NY]

January 24, 2022

By David Moye

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Retired Pope Benedict XVI has admitted to giving false testimony in a German sex abuse case.

A report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese criticizes the way the former pope, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, handled four cases of sexual abuse by priests in the 1970s and 1980s when he was archbishop there. The report was commissioned by the archdiocese to investigate sexual abuse between 1945-2019.

The law firm said the 94-year-old Benedict strongly denied any wrongdoing upon the release of the report.

But the former pontiff’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, stated on Monday that Benedict was, in fact, at a 1980 meeting about a sexual abuse case in Germany that he previously denied attending.

The law firm’s report noted that minutes from the 1980 meeting, about the transfer of an abusive priest to…

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20 Years Later, an Occasion for Reparation and Rectification: Reflections on the Poisonous Sex-Abuse Scandal

BOSTON (MA)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

January 25, 2022

By Father Roger Landry

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COMMENTARY: The crisis in the Catholic Church burst into the public consciousness two decades ago.

This is the first in a series of Register articles and columns marking 20 years since the 2002 revelations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the toxic avalanche of revelations about decades of clergy sexual abuse of minors in Boston and beyond, two headlines are clear. 

The first is the unfathomable scope of what had happened and remained hidden prior to that apocalypse: tens of thousands of victims, thousands of clerical molesters, hundreds of bishops and senior chancery officials who had covered up the abuse and transferred the abusers, and the entrenched culture of corruption that enabled all of it. 

Before 2002, Catholics in the U.S. were familiar with the notorious cases of Father Gilbert Gauthe, who admitted to molesting 37 boys in…

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January 24, 2022

Benedict XVI admits ‘incorrect’ info given to abuse inquiry

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 24, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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After the publication last week of a report on past sexual abuse in the German archdiocese of Munich, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI admitted that a previous statement on his participation in a meeting that discussed an abusive priest was “objectively incorrect.”

Though he has yet to go through the full 1,900 page report, Benedict, 95, released a statement through his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein. In it, he acknowledges that while he was archbishop of the Bavarian capital he took part in a meeting in which the arrival of a priest accused of abusing a minor to Munich from another diocese was discussed.

The statement said Benedict is “carefully” reading the report by German law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, made available to him on Thursday, the same day it was published. In time, he will release a full statement. Until then, Gänswein wrote, what he has read thus far “fill…

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German report accuses Benedict XVI of abuse coverup. What does it say?

MUNICH (GERMANY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 20, 2022

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A Pillar explainer

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is in the headlines Thursday, as a new report alleges that he mishandled abuse cases while serving as the leader of a German archdiocese in the 1970s and 80s.

To help make sense of what’s been alleged, The Pillar answers your questions:

What happened?

A German law firm published on Thursday a long-awaited report into sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The report, commissioned by the Munich archdiocese, covers the period between 1945 and 2019.

Law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl conducted the independent review of all alleged cases of sexual abuse by clerics or other employees of the archdiocese, spanning the leadership of the six postwar archbishops. 

These include Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who led the archdiocese for five years from 1977-1982, and the current archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of Pope Francis’ council of cardinal…

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Benedict XVI confirms he attended disputed 1980 meeting in Munich

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

January 24, 2022

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Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has apologized for mistakenly saying that he did not attend a disputed meeting in 1980 while serving as archbishop of Munich and Freising.

In a statement published in the German Catholic weekly Die Tagepost on Jan. 24, the 94-year-old retired pope said that the mistake was the result of an editing error, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Benedict XVI initially told investigators that he was not present at a meeting of archdiocesan officials on Jan. 15, 1980.

But in the statement, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s private secretary, said that the pope emeritus “would now like to make it clear that, contrary to what was stated during the hearing, he took part in the ordinariate meeting on Jan. 15, 1980.”l

“The statement to the contrary was therefore objectively incorrect,” he said.

“He would like to emphasize that this…

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Former pope was at meeting where pedophile priest discussed

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 24, 2022

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Retired Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that he did attend a 1980 meeting at which the transfer of a pedophile priest to his then-diocese was discussed, saying an editorial error was responsible for his previous assertion that he wasn’t there.

Authors of a report on sexual abuse between 1945 and 2019 in the Munich archdiocese, which Benedict — then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — led from 1977 to 1982, on Thursday faulted his handling of four cases during his time as archbishop and said his claim that he wasn’t at the meeting lacked credibility.

Benedict, who provided lengthy written testimony, denies any wrongdoing on his part.

One case involved the transfer to Munich of a priest to undergo therapy, which was approved under Ratzinger in 1980.

The priest was allowed to resume pastoral work, a decision that the church has said was made by a lower-ranking official without consulting the archbishop….

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The latest Catholic abuse report is different. And it’s also the same.

(ITALY)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

January 23, 2022

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Ho hum. Another lawyer says another bishop mishandled abuse. What’s the big deal?   Well, this isn’t just another lawyer. It’s a lawyer hired by Catholic officials.   And it’s not just another bishop. It’s the former pope.

Plus, this isn’t some off-handed remark. It comes from a formal 1900-page report that has taken nearly two years to complete. 

https://apnews.com/article/pope-francis-pope-benedict-xvi-reinhard-marx-germany-europe-c75f721f469f969d05348703c093e53d

That’s right. In a report released just days ago in Germany, an attorney who was picked and paid by the Munich archdiocese, said Pope Benedict is “not credible” when he claims he did nothing wrong in abuse cases there.  In fact, one of the author’s of the stunning reports, in atypically blunt language for an attorney, says “During [Ratzinger’s] time in office, there were abuse cases happening. In those cases, those priests continued their work without sanctions. The church did not do anything.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/pope-benedict-willfully-let-children-be-raped-says-lawyer?source=email&via=desktop

According to the New York Times, “the report…

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Benedict Admits Being at Meeting About Priest Accused of Abuse

(ITALY)
New York Times

January 24, 2022

By Elisabetta Povoledo and Gaia Pianigiani

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A statement by the former pope contradicted a previous statement to a law firm investigating allegations of child sex abuse by priests when he was an archbishop.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Monday he had been at a 1980 meeting at which the case of a priest accused of pedophilia had been discussed, contradicting a previous statement made to a law firm investigating how allegations of clerical sexual abuse had been handled in the archdiocese of Munich and Freiburg between 1945 and 2019.

Benedict — then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — was Archbishop of Munich and Freiburg and in charge of its clerics between 1977 and 1982.

Last week, the law firm conducting the investigation, Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, issued a report that found, among other things, that Benedict had mishandled four cases in which priests were accused of sexual abuse.

At a news conference presenting the findings of…

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Ex-pope Benedict apologises for giving ‘incorrect’ information to German inquiry after report found he failed to take action against priests in four cases of sexual abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Daily Mail [London, United Kingdom]

January 24, 2022

By Chris Matthews for MailOnline and AFP

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  • Ex-pope Benedict admitted providing incorrect information to German inquiry
  • It was about his presence at a 1980 meeting discussing a paedophile priest
  • A report found he knowingly failed to stop four priests accused of child abuse

Former pope Benedict XVI on Monday admitted providing incorrect information to a German inquiry about his presence at a 1980 meeting discussing a paedophile priest, blaming an editing ‘oversight’.

‘He is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused,’ Benedict’s personal secretary Georg Ganswein said in a statement cited by the KNA news agency and republished by Vatican News.

But the statement insisted no decision was made at the meeting about reassigning the priest to pastoral duties.

An independent report last week found that Benedict XVI, who stood down in 2013, knowingly failed to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in the 1980s.

The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW)…

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Ex-pope Benedict admits giving ‘incorrect’ info to abuse inquiry

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
France 24 [Paris, France]

January 24, 2022

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Former pope Benedict XVI on Monday admitted providing incorrect information to a German inquiry about his presence at a 1980 meeting discussing a paedophile priest, blaming an editing “oversight”.

“He is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused,” Benedict’s personal secretary Georg Ganswein said in a statement cited by the KNA news agency and republished by Vatican News.

But the statement insisted no decision was made at the meeting about reassigning the priest to pastoral duties.

An independent report last week found that Benedict XVI, who stood down in 2013, knowingly failed to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in the 1980s.

The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich and Freising to examine how abuse cases were dealt with between 1945 and 2019.

Ex-pope…

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B.C.-based First Nation may put names to unmarked graves with new residential school documents

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

January 23, 2022

By Olivia Stefanovich

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Records contain school narrative for Kamloops Indian Residential School

The leadership of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc hopes to identify and locate missing children believed to be buried in unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (IRS) with the help of previously undisclosed documents set for release by the federal government.

The federal government plans to transfer more than 875,000 records through a recently signed agreement with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), the archival repository for all of the material collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Those files include the school “narrative” for Kamloops IRS, which summarizes the institution’s history, including its administration, attendance record, key events and reports of abuse.

“We have to find answers,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir told CBC News.

“Access to the records means not having to re-traumatize … residential school survivors to pinpoint information about who…

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The Irish Times view on clerical abuse: Benedict has questions to answer

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

January 23, 2022

By The Editorial Board

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The evidence that the institutional culture of church cover-up, so vividly recorded in Ireland’s own inquiries into clerical abuse, goes right to the top is shocking but perhaps not surprising

In a lengthy article published after his retirement in 2013 , Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, responded to a critic: “As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things.”

Claims that he did cover up abuse, notably as Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, have dogged Benedict for years, and been repeatedly denied. But the publication last Thursday of a 1,000-page report of a Church-commissioned inquiry finds Benedict and two senior German clerics protected abusing priests. It is the first formal accusation that he failed to discipline four abusive priests and allowed them to continue…

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Father Zollner: Retired pope should make personal statement on abuse report

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 23, 2022

By Catholic News Agency

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Following the publication of an experts’ report on how sexual abuse was handled in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the German Catholic news agency KNA spoke to Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since its creation and president of the Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

KNAFather Zollner, you were questioned by the Munich law office Westpfahl Spilker Wastl beforehand in preparing its experts’ report. What exactly was your contribution?

Zollner: What I knew was that part in which the experts wrote about the potential theological, canonical and systemic consequences. I did not see a single file, not a single statement of a contemporary witness. It was only about the theoretical conclusions of the experts that I offered my assessment.

What’s your evaluation of the final result?

My comments were taken…

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January 23, 2022

Markus Elstner, survivor of childhood abuse by Peter Hullermann. Still from the brief English-language video Sexual Abuse: Pope Benedict Under Pressure, by A. Rowohlt and M. Grundmann, included with this commentary

Opinion: Pope Benedict’s defense is outrageous and tragic

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

January 21, 2022

By Christoph Strack

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[Photo above: Markus Elstner, survivor of childhood abuse by Peter Hullermann. Still from the brief English-language video Sexual Abuse: Pope Benedict Under Pressure, by A. Rowohlt and M. Grundmann, included with this commentary.]

A report about how the archdiocese of Munich handled cases of sexual abuse by priests makes for devastating reading and tarnishes the image of the retired Pope Benedict XVI, says DW’s Christoph Strack.

Before Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, critics called him the “Panzerkardinal,” or “tank cardinal,” in reference to his sharp, dogmatic views: someone who uncompromisingly defended the church’s traditional doctrine. Soon after his election to pontiff, there were reports that the reportedly tough ex-cardinal was capable of laughter and was even a softie, to everyone’s surprise.

Now, Ratzinger is being described in a new way. One of the lawyers, whose office spent many months investigating abuse in Ratzinger’s former diocese of…

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Munich Report – Table of Contents

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Westpfahl Spilker Wastl [Munich, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Marion Westpfahl et al.

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[This is a Google translation of the Munich report’s Table of Contents. See also the full German text of the report, in which items in the Table of Contents are linked to the sections. For an indented version of the English Table of Contents, see the PDF.]

Sexual abuse of minors and adult wards by clerics and full-time employees in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising from 1945 to 2019

– Responsibilities, systemic causes, consequences and recommendations –

Attorney Dr. Marion Westpfahl, Munich

Attorney Dr. Ulrich Wastl, Munich

Attorney Dr. Martin Pusch, LL.M., Munich

Lawyer Nata Gladstein, Munich

Attorney Philipp Schenke, Munich

January 20, 2022

Table of Contents

A. PRINCIPLES …………………………………………….. …………………………………. 1

I. Mission and objective of the expert report ………………………….. 1

II. Summary of the main results …………………… 10

III. Terminological clarification ……………………… 21

1. Sexual abuse / sexualized violence ……………………… 21

2. Victims / Victims /…

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Munich Report – Section I – Mission and Objective of the Report

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Westpfahl Spilker Wastl [Munich, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Marion Westpfahl et al.

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[This is a Google translation of Section I of the Munich report. See also the full German text of the report.]

A. Principles

I. Mission and objective of the report

“The prevention of sexualized violence can only be considered successful […] if it is suitable for counteracting the structural enabling conditions of sexualized violence in the area of ​​the church.” (Gräb-Schmitt, in: Wirth et al., Sexualized violence in church contexts (2022), p. 307, 309)

A very important factor in these structural enabling conditions is the (non-)reaction of church leaders to (suspected) cases of abuse that have become known to them in the sense of a general and special preventive opportunity to influence alleged or actual abusers. If the person who does not allow himself to be deterred from committing the crime by the consequences he has caused does not have to fear that he will be held accountable for his…

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Munich Report – Section II – Summary of the Main Results

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Westpfahl Spilker Wastl [Munich, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Marion Westpfahl et al.

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[This is a Google translation of Section II of the Munich report. See also the full German text of the report.]

The main results of the investigation summarized below are based on a large number of expert findings and their evaluation. As a result, it is often necessary to use the detailed descriptions of the individual test items to get a comprehensive picture of the specific derivation of the respective result. This applies in particular with regard to the statements on personal responsibilities in connection with the treatment of (suspected) cases of abuse, which represent a focus of the expert examination and evaluation as commissioned (cf. in detail D.). In particular, the statements made by the persons who are still alive and who, in the opinion of the experts, should be named as responsible persons must be taken into account and included in the assessment (cf. Annexes 2 to 5).

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Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Father McIlhon

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

January 22, 2022

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

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Dear Saint Edward Parish and School Family,

It is with great difficulty that I write to share news about Father James McIlhone, a retired priest who is a resident in your parish. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have directed Father McIlhone to step aside from ministry and live away from the parish following receipt by the Archdiocese of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 40 years ago while he was an associate pastor at another parish. He has agreed to cooperate with this direction. Allegations are claims that have not been proven and for this reason there needs to be a full investigation.

Moreover, as is required by our child protection policies, the allegation was reported to the Lake County State’s Attorney. The person making the allegation has been offered the services of our Victim Assistance Ministry and the archdiocese has begun its investigation…

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Chancellery reports hundreds of victims – and implicates Pope Benedict XVI

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Der Spiegel [Hamburg, Germany]

January 20, 2022

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In an abuse report, serious allegations against Pope Benedict XVI. raised. In several cases, the former Archbishop of Munich took little or no action against the accused clerics.

In the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the report of a Munich law firm incriminates Pope Benedict XVI. heavy. As Archbishop of Munich and Freising (1977 to 1982), Joseph Ratzinger was accused of misconduct in dealing with sexual abuse in four cases, said Martin Pusch from the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) law firm, which prepared the report on behalf of the diocese.

Benedict XVI Pusch rejected the allegations in all cases. He had commented extensively on the allegations and claimed lack of knowledge. According to the lawyers, however, this is difficult to reconcile with their knowledge of the files.

The case of the priest Peter H., referred to only as X. by the experts, took up a special place. This clergyman from North Rhine-Westphalia is said to have abused…

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Experts accuse Pope Benedict XVI of misconduct in four cases of abuse

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Süddeutsche Zeitung [Munich, Bavaria, Germany]

January 20, 2022

By Jens Schneider

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[Google translation followed by German original. See also the full text of the WSW Munich report.]

The investigation into sexualised assaults names at least 497 victims between 1945 and 2019. It also includes Cardinal Ratzinger’s tenure as archbishop in Munich – and accuses him of making false statements in a particularly serious case.

The Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) accuses the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. in an expert opinion on dealing with sexualized abuse of minors in the Catholic Church misconduct. According to the report, the pope emeritus played down or denied cases of abuse during his time as archbishop in Munich. In the report, misconduct by Joseph Ratzinger is established in four cases of abuse. At the same time, the experts come to the conclusion that Ratzinger may have given incorrect information on his responsibility in a particularly serious case. “We don’t think Pope Benedict’s statements are very credible,” said expert Ulrich…

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Mr. Vachss, far right, at a 1990 panel discussion on writing about crime with, from left, Bob Leuci, P. D. James, Jerome Charyn and Joyce Carol Oates. Credit G. Paul Burnett / The New York Times

Andrew Vachss, Children’s Champion in Court and Novels, Dies at 79

PORTLAND (OR)
New York Times

January 16, 2022

By Neil Genzlinger

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[Photo above: Mr. Vachss, far right, at a 1990 panel discussion on writing about crime with, from left, Bob Leuci, P. D. James, Jerome Charyn and Joyce Carol Oates. Credit G. Paul Burnett / The New York Times]

Andrew Vachss, who crusaded against the abuse of children both in his real-life work as a lawyer and in vivid crime novels, died on Nov. 23 at his home in the Pacific Northwest. He was 79.

His wife, Alice Susan Vachss, said the cause was coronary artery disease. His death had not been widely reported previously.

Mr. Vachss was known to crime fiction fans for his novels, which were frequently described with terms like “hard-boiled” and which just as frequently centered on child pornography, pedophilia, incest and other abuse involving children. Eighteen of them featured a tough character named Burke, an ex-con turned unlicensed private investigator who breaks more than a few…

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Women’s voices key to addressing clergy sexual abuse

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

January 22, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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[Via UCA]

“It’s important to hear voices from women because there are so many that have not been heard yet,” says journalist Pauline Guzik

The final panel at a Jan. 20 webinar on clergy sex abuse brought together noted women leaders in the Catholic Church to share their perspectives on what might have been different in the church’s response to the abuse crisis if women had “been given a seat at the table earlier in this process.”

The webinar, “Listening to the Voices of Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse,” brought together investigators of past abuse, relatives of victims and those who counsel survivors. It was sponsored in part by Georgetown University.

The last panel “Lifting Up Female Voices in the Church” included the perspective of Paulina Guzik, a journalist for Polish public broadcaster TVP. She has been in the United States doing research for a book on the abuse crisis.

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Indonesia jails ‘Catholic brother’ for molesting boys

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

January 21, 2022

By Katharina Reny Lestari

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An Indonesian court has sentenced a “Catholic brother” to 14 years in jail for sexually assaulting boys at an orphanage near capital Jakarta.

Lukas “Lucky” Ngalngola, also known as Brother Angelo, was convicted by Depok District Court on Jan. 20 for threatening violence and committing lewd acts on at least three children.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of 100 million rupiah (US$6,990).

Ngalngola claimed to be a member of the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of Charity (BSMC), an obscure order based in the Philippines.

The order founded the Kencana Bejana Rohani Foundation which ran the orphanage in the city of Depok, West Java province, where the abuses were committed.

The abuse first came to light when three boys living at the orphanage filed a police report against Ngalngola in September 2019.

They claimed they were sexually abused by Ngalngola on a regular basis over a prolonged period.

Police arrested Ngalngola…

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On the accusations against Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the context of a report on abuses in Germany

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Zenit [Rome, Italy]

January 21, 2022

By Jorge Enrique Mújica

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[Google translation, followed by Spanish text.]

Benedict XVI was a “trending topic”. Fed by the headlines of a multitude of newspapers, Benedict XVI was once again linked – without nuances – to the reprehensible issue of abuse

Anyone familiar with Twitter was able to notice a fact that could have happened as an anecdote on the European night of Thursday, January 20, the American afternoon of the same day, if not for the events associated with the name of the viral character. Benedict XVI was a “trending topic” and many were talking about him.

Indeed, the hundreds of verified press profiles in different languages ​​were joined by the usual “amateur athletes” of the idle trade of opinionism. Fed by the headlines of a multitude of newspapers, Benedict XVI was once again linked – without nuances – to the reprehensible issue of abuse.

Facts: a report in the diocese where Benedict XVI was archbishop

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To tell the Catholic story this week, you need both Munich and Mustafa

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 23, 2022

By John L. Allen Jr.

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Over the centuries, the Catholic Church often has led the pack in two distinct specialties: Breaking your heart, and then stitching it back together again with a fresh infusion of hope. This past week brought classic examples of both.

Out of Munich, we got a report from a law firm commissioned by the archdiocese documenting almost 500 cases of clerical sexual abuse stretching over 74 years, including four abusers who served on the watch of the future Pope Benedict XVI when he served as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

Whatever one makes of the report at the level of detail – and there’s already vigorous debate over its assertions about the then-Cardinal Ratzinger – on the whole, it’s another depressing reminder of the way the abuse scandals have laid waste to both the church’s moral credibility and also its internal morale.

Yet beyond Munich, there’s also Mustafa. He’s…

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Pope Benedict XVI knew of abusive priests when he ran Munich archdiocese, investigators say

MUNICH (GERMANY)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

January 20, 2022

By Rob Picheta, Claudia Otto and Nadine Schmidt

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Pope Benedict XVI knew about priests who abused children but failed to act when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, an inquest found Thursday, rejecting Benedict’s long-standing denials in a damning judgment.”

He was informed about the facts,” lawyer Martin Pusch said, as the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl law firm announced the findings of an investigation into historic sexual abuse at the Munich Archdiocese over several decades. The report was commissioned by the church itself.

“We believe that he can be accused of misconduct in four cases,” Pusch said. “Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state. In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care.”

Benedict continues to deny the allegations, the firm said Thursday. He has repeatedly rejected claims that he knowingly covered up abuse, including in 2013 when he wrote: “I can only, as…

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Push for tougher sentences in Indonesia sex assault cases

MEDAN (INDONESIA)
Aljazeera [Dohar, Qatar]

January 22, 2022

By Aisyah Llewellyn

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A slew of cases involving young girls and boys at Indonesian religiously-linked schools has horrified parents.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare.

As six distraught families looked on, the man accused of sexually assaulting their daughters was handed a 10-year prison sentence by the District Court in the city of Medan, Indonesia.

“Our children,” gasped one mother as she slumped in her chair, prompting fears she had fainted.

Benyamin Sitepu, a 37-year-old Christian priest who was also the principal of the Galilea Hosana School in Medan, had received five years less than the maximum 15-year sentence the prosecution had requested.

The presiding judge said he gave Sitepu a shorter sentence because the priest had apologised for his crimes and had previously signed a settlement agreement with two of the victims’ families.

Both the prosecution and Sitepu are appealing the sentence.

Reacting to the verdict, Andreas Harsono, a researcher at Human Rights…

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Father James McIlhon of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Retired Chicago-Area Priest Facing Allegations of Sexually Abusing a Minor Four Decades Ago

CHICAGO (IL)
WBBM - CBS 2 [Chicago IL]

January 22, 2022

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[Photo above: Father James McIlhone of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Screen shot from the video of this report.]

A retired Chicago-area priest is accused of sexually abusing a minor.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has ordered Father James McIlhone to step aside from ministry and leave St. Edward Parish, where he lives in retirement.

The allegations date back 40 years to when McIlhone served as associate pastor at Santa Maria Del Popolo Parish in Mundelein.

The Archdioceses says the accusations have been reported to the Lake County State’s Attorney, and there will be a full investigation.

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Retired Chicago priest accused of sexually abusing minor in 1980s, Archdiocese of Chicago says

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

January 22, 2022

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Father James McIlhone has been asked to step away from the ministry, Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter

A retired Chicago priest has been asked to step away from ministry following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor 4O years ago, according to Cardinal Blase Cupich.

In a letter, Cupich said the alleged abuse happened while Father James McIlhone was the associate pastor of Santa Maria del Popolo Parish in Mundelein in the 1980s.

“Allegations are claims that have not been proven and for this reason, there needs to be a full investigation,” said a letter to the parish.

Cardinal Cupich said the priest has been asked to move away from the Saint Edward parish where he has been living during retirement. Letters were sent to both the St. Edward and Santa Maria del Popolo parishes Saturday.

The person who made the allegation has been offered victim support…

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January 22, 2022

In priest’s abuse trial, German archbishop says he mishandled situation

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 19, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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In the first testimony ever given by a German Catholic bishop in a court case on abuse, Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse admitted having made mistakes in the case of an offending priest on trial in the Cologne regional court.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported that Archbishop Hesse, 55, the former head of personnel in the Archdiocese of Cologne, was called as a witness in the case against the priest, who has only been named as U. He said the mistakes included that the allegations against the priest that became known in 2010 should have been reported to the Vatican.

The archbishop testified that, at that time, he had relied on the assessment of the legal and church law experts in the Archdiocese of Cologne. They had said the priest’s nieces who had been abused did not want to participate in a church trial. The chief church judge of…

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SNAP urges New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to quickly appoint an AG to conclude the state’s Catholic clergy abuse investigation

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

January 19, 2022

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In September of 2018, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the formation of a criminal task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Catholic Dioceses of New Jersey. This was in the wake of the scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report, as well as renewed allegations of sexual abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, including the first publicly reported assault on a child. However, there have been few updates on the progress of that investigation.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was sworn in yesterday for his second term. He will be selecting a nominee to take the place of AG Grewal, who resigned in July. We urge Governor Murphy to make this appointment soon so that the new AG can report on the status of the Catholic…

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Diocese of Portland Finds Recently Received Complaints Against Two Priests Stemming from Incidents in 1950’s and 1970’s Substantiated

PORTLAND (ME)
Diocese of Portland ME

January 21, 2022

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Following two investigations by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Professional Responsibility, Bishop Robert Deeley accepted the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board that the recent complaints made against Fr. Eugene Descombes and the former Fr. Renald Hallee are substantiated.

The complaint against Descombes concerned the sexual abuse of a minor in the mid-1950’s which came to the attention of the diocese in 2021. The incident took place during a trip to Canada. Descombes, who died in 1980, was a Canadian priest who served during the summer months in Maine over the course of several years. The Archdiocese of Québec was notified of this complaint and the results of the investigation.

The complaint against Hallee concerned the sexual abuse of a high school teen in the early 1970’s which was reported to the diocese in 2020. Hallee has not been in ministry or served as a priest since the late…

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Alamogordo clergy sex abuse case moves forward, trial set for July 11

ALAMOGORDO (NM)
Alamogordo Daily News [Alamogordo NM]

January 21, 2022

By Nicole Maxwell

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A motion to drop racketeering charges was denied in a lawsuit filed by a man alleging he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Alamogordo in the 1970s. 

The suit was filed by a clergy sexual abuse survivor listed as John Doe who alleged Father David Holley sexually assaulted him while Holley lived in Alamogordo, and sued Servants of the Paraclete’s, the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Las CrucesEl Paso and Worcester, Massachusetts and Alamogordo parishes Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Jude Parish.

On Jan. 18, New Mexico Second Judicial District Court Judge Daniel Ramczyk denied defendant Servants of the Paraclete’s motion to have a count of racketeering dismissed from the case.

The racketeering charge originated from accusations the Church collected monetary offerings and tithes from parishioners that were used to pay for clergy housing including the house where Holley lived in…

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UPDATE: Former The River church youth minister charged with six sex crimes Friday

KIMBALL (MI)
Olean Times Herald [Olean NY]

January 21, 2022

By Laura Fitzgerald

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A former youth minister at The River church was charged with six sex crimes Friday.  

William Stefan Wahl, 28, of Port Huron man, was arraigned Friday on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct victim younger than 13, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct victim between 13 and 16, distributing obscene matter to children, aggravated indecent exposure and using computers to commit a crime.

His bond was set at $25,000 cash/surety.

Wahl is accused of sexually abusing four juvenile victims that he fostered a relationship with through The River, St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King said. King identified Wahl as a former youth minister at the church. 

King said Friday morning the man was arrested around midnight at a residence in the 1500 block of Palmer Court.

Stephen Rabaut, Wahl’s attorney, said Wahl intended to turn himself in for his arraignment. The police investigation was initiated in November 2021. 

St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Cailin Wilson said…

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St. Clair County youth pastor charged with criminal sexual assault

KIMBALL (MI)
Michigan Live [Flint, MI]

January 21, 2022

By Dylan Goetz

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A former youth pastor at The River Church in Kimball Township has been arrested and charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct and three other felony charges.

Port Huron resident William Stefan Wahl, 27, is facing two second degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, two fourth degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, one count of aggravated indecent exposure, one count of distributing explicit material of children and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest and charges on Friday, Jan. 21.

Police say an the investigation began in late 2021 after hearing allegations of sexual assault of a child by the youth pastor.

The investigation revealed that there were four victims alleging sexual abuse going back to 2014.

A Port Huron Times Herald report states Wahl was terminated last year as an…

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Georgia pastor, wife charged with false imprisonment after people found in locked basement

GRIFFIN (GA)
NBC News [New York NY]

January 21, 2022

By Elisha Fieldstadt

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Investigators determined that the eight people in the basement, all with mental or physical disabilities, or both, were “essentially imprisoned against their will.”

A Georgia pastor and his wife were arrested on charges of false imprisonment after officials found up to eight people locked in their basement, police said.

Curtis Keith Bankston and Sophia Simm-Bankston were running the unlicensed “group home” out of their rented Griffin house “under the guise of a church known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance,” the Griffin Police Department said in a statement.

Griffin Fire last week responded to a call about someone having a seizure at the home and noticed a deadbolt on the basement door, according to police. Crews had to climb through a window to reach the patient.

Investigators determined the people in the basement, all with mental or physical disabilities, or both, were “essentially imprisoned against their will, which created…

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Both wife, pastor arrested for false imprisonment of people found locked in basement

GRIFFIN (GA)
WGXA [Macon, GA]

January 20, 2022

By Haley Garrett

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After a pastor was arrested when disabled individuals were found in the basement of an unlicensed group home, now his wife is facing a charge and is in custody.

Last week, when Griffin Fire Department went to assist a call concerning a seizure, they noticed the patient could only be reached through the window of a basement, as the basement door was locked.

Further investigations found that up to 8 people were locked in the basement in what was an “unlicensed” personal care facility/group home.

The victims’ ages were between 25 and 65.

They discovered multiple issues as well as potential abuse, and neglect of the handicapped people

The “caretakers” were identified as, 55-year-old Curtis Keith Bankston, who is a pastor, and his spouse, 56-year-old Sophia Simm-Bankston. They operated it under the guise of a church program known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance.

Curtis was arrested and charged…

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Prominent figure in Singapore’s Catholic community charged with sexual offences against teenage boys

(SINGAPORE)
Today [Singapore]

January 20, 2022

By Louisa Tang

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A man in his 60s, who is a prominent figure in the Catholic community here, was charged on Thursday (Jan 20) with sexual offences against at least two teenage boys more than a decade ago.

The Singaporean cannot be named due to a gag order issued by the courts, which bans the publication of his identity, designation and occupation, the alleged victims’ identities and the school where the alleged offences took place.

Gag orders are usually imposed when there is a need to protect the identity of the victims or witnesses. These typically involve crimes where sexual violence or children are involved and the gag orders last indefinitely.

The accused faces two charges of carnal intercourse against the order of nature, which falls under Section 377 of the 1985 revised edition of the Penal Code that was repealed in 2007.

He was also charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a…

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Singapore Catholic charged with sexual abuse of teenagers

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

January 21, 2022

By UCA News Reporter

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The man in his 60s faces charges of committing unlawful sexual acts against minor boys between 2005 and 2007

A court in Singapore has charged a former Catholic officer of a church-run school with committing unlawful sexual acts with at least two teenage boys more than a decade ago.

District Judge Terence Tay at the State Courts of Singapore accepted the charges on Jan. 18 but issued a ban against media revealing the identity of the accused, victims and the school involved, local media reports said.

Court documents showed that the accused in his 60s had unnatural sex with a boy aged 14-16 some time between 2005 and 2006. He also committed the same act some time between April 2007 and December 2007 with a younger boy aged 14-15.

The accused faces two charges of carnal intercourse against the order of nature under Singapore’s Penal Code. He was also charged…

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Abuse case names 2 priests; 1 sued for first time

MANGILAO (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

January 22, 2022

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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A former Mangilao parish altar boy has accused two priests of sexually abusing him when he was a minor in the early 1980s, and one of the priests is named for the first time in Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases.

In his complaint, the plaintiff said his parents refused to believe that a priest could sexually and physically abuse him when he told them what Rev. J. Michael Morrissey allegedly did to him.

When Morrissey left in 1983, Rev. Andrew Manetta started sexually abusing the plaintiff, the complaint alleges.

The plaintiff, identified in Superior Court documents only with the initials E.E. to protect his privacy, is represented by attorney Anthony C. Perez.

E.E. was an altar boy at Santa Teresita Catholic Church in Mangilao at the time of the alleged abuses. He was about 13 to 17 years old then. 

The defendants in the complaint are the Province of St….

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Mater Dei football, track coach raped female student in 1980s, lawsuit alleges

(CA)
Orange County Register[Anaheim, CA]

January 20, 2022

By Scott M. Reid

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The suit alleges that Mater Dei coach Patrick Callahan repeatedly sexually assaulted a minor aged student, often in the presence of other Monarch coaches

Mater Dei High School football coaches and players referred to it as “Hell Week,” a string of twice-a-day workouts as the Monarchs prepared for football season shortly before the start of the 1987 school year.

Because of the workout schedule, and in an effort to build team chemistry, players and other students who worked with the team, managers, trainers, stat crew members, slept overnight at the Mater Dei gymnasium.

It was on one of the Hell Week nights that Patrick Callahan, a Mater Dei assistant football coach, allegedly led a 17-year-old stat girl, who was a student at the school, to the Monarchs’ nearby football field and raped her, according to a civil suit filed against Mater Dei and the Diocese of Orange in Orange County Superior…

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New lawsuit accuses a former Mater Dei coach of raping a student in the 1980s

(CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 20, 2022

By Laura J. Nelson, Connor Sheets, Hannah Fry

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A Southern California woman alleged Thursday that a Mater Dei High School track and football coach repeatedly sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, while she was a student at the prestigious Catholic school.

In a lawsuit filedin Orange County Superior Court against Mater Dei and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the woman said coach Patrick Callahan assaulted her “countless times” while she was a student assistant for the football team.

Some of the worst abuse came during the summer of 1987, before her senior year, the lawsuit said.

During “Hell Week,” a period of intense workouts leading up to the start of the football season, the team and its student assistants spent the night in the gymnasium to accommodate a grueling schedule of two-a-day practices, the complaint said.

While the students were supposed to be asleep, Callahan took the teenager to the football field, where they were alone, and…

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New institute aims to help Church leaders battle sex abuse in Africa

NAIROBI (KENYA)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 21, 2022

By Ngala Killian Chimtom

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Abuse of children is rising in Africa, but a culture of silence is keeping the continent from addressing the problem, according to one expert.

Beatrice Mumbi is the Safeguarding Coordinator for the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), and she says that although “safeguarding as a general concept is embraced, … comprehensive understanding of what it entails is generally limited and there is little consistency in what it is considered to be.”

She complained that some view safeguarding as a “rights agenda” or a “Western agenda.”

“However, from experience, the underlying problem is a cultural question, where certain practices are accepted, and a broader culture of silence, where communities, parents and caregivers do not openly discuss sexuality, and where acknowledging and talking about abuse is considered shameful and stigmatizing,” she told Crux.

A recent study by the African Partnership to End Violence against Children (APEVAC) says more than half of…

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Kerala nun who lost rape case against bishop deluged by letters of support

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 21, 2022

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Activists, artists, film-makers and nuns across India write to 50-year-old after court clears Franco Mulakkal

Hundreds of letters of support have poured in for a nun in Kerala after a court acquitted a bishop accused of raping and abusing her over two years, in the first case of its kind to hit the Indian Catholic church.

The handwritten letters from activists, artists, journalists, film-makers and fellow nuns across India have expressed outrage at last week’s court verdict that cleared Bishop Franco Mulakkal of all charges of sexual abuse after the judge said the victim, a 50-year-old nun, was not a “sterling witness”.

Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of raping the nun on 13 occasions at the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kottayam, Kerala, between 2014 and 2016.

The nun took her case to police in June 2018, and in 2019 Mulakkal was formally charged…

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Franco Mulakkal: Hundreds write to Kerala nun who lost rape case against bishop

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
BBC [London, England]

January 21, 2022

By Geeta Pandey

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Letters of support have been pouring in for an Indian nun after a bishop she had accused of repeatedly raping her was cleared by a trial court last week.

For the past two days, my social media timeline has been full of handwritten messages of support for the 50-year-old nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

Most of the posts are from women, including activists, feminists, journalists and celebrities in the southern state of Kerala and many contain hashtags such as #withthenuns and #avalkoppam – a Malayalam-language word which means “with her”.

The letters pledge support to “the nun in her fight for justice” – sometimes they just carry words of encouragement or snatches of poetry, or contain drawings and artwork.

“In these dark times, you are that ray of hope to millions,” one wrote quoting Emily Dickinson. Another quoted from Still I…

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Mulakkal verdict leaves nuns more vulnerable to clergy sex abuse

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Global Sisters Report [Kansas City, MO]

January 19, 2022

By Virginia Saldanha

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The acquittal of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar in the rape case filed against him by the former superior general of the diocesan congregation Missionaries of Jesus in June 2018 has shocked — not just her supporters — but many feminists and other right-thinking people in the country.

Sisters in Solidarity, the group of women activists, nuns and lawyers who are accompanying the sisters, supporting them in different ways right through, are numbed with disbelief. On examining the judgment, it is clear that the bishop’s highly paid defense counsel skillfully used technicalities to manipulate the facts and evidence to make the judge finally state in his order, “When it is not feasible to separate the truth from falsehood, when the grain and chaff are inextricably mixed up, the only available course is to discard the evidence in toto.” He concluded, “This court was unable to place reliance on the solitary…

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Court upholds ruling against two ex-managers of Vatican bank

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

January 21, 2022

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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A Vatican appellate court rejected the appeal of two former top managers of the Vatican bank who were found liable for mismanagement.

In a statement released Jan. 21, the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of the bank, said the court upheld its 2018 ruling against Paolo Cipriani, the former bank director, and Massimo Tulli, the former deputy director, and ordered them to pay more than 40.5 million euro ($45.9 million) in damages.

While no specific information was released regarding the exact instances of mismanagement committed by Cipriani and Tulli, the Institute for the Works of Religion said the court’s 2018 judgment centered on investments made “between 2010 and 2013, and which immediately proved to be harmful as they were problematic and, in several cases, also illegitimate and the subject of criminal proceedings.”

In February 2017, an Italian tribunal in Rome also found Cipriani and Tulli guilty…

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Probe Blames Pope Benedict XVI for Failures on Clerical Sex Abuse as Archbishop

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

January 21, 2022

By Francis X. Rocca and Bojan Pancevski

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Future pope failed to remove abusive priests from ministry, inquiry by Munich law firm finds

Pope Benedict XVI mishandled four cases of clerical sex abuse during his tenure as an archbishop in Germany, according to an inquiry that faults him for failures to investigate and discipline abusers.

Results of the church-commissioned probe by a Munich law firm, released on Thursday, said that in two cases, priests under the future pope’s authority were criminally prosecuted for abuse yet allowed to remain in priestly ministry. At least one reoffended after being readmitted to service.

The accusations threaten to cast a shadow on the record of the former pope, who for more than two decades before his election oversaw the church’s disciplining of clerical abusers. His alleged mistakes in Munich reinforce the image of an overly disengaged manager whose papacy ended amid accusations of corruption and incompetence among Vatican officials. Defenders say he…

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Child sexual assault victim to state senators: ‘There remains no justice in my case’

LINCOLN (NE)
KETV - ABC 7 [Omaha NE]

January 22, 2022

By Andrew Ozaki

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Victims of child sexual assault make an emotional plea to state senators on Friday.

They want a longer window to seek justice.

Stacey Naiman appeared before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee in support of LB 833.

The measure would eliminate the statute of limitations for victims to go after the private institutions that allowed the abuse to happen.

She said she was sexually assaulted by a priest she trusted when she was 15.

“I told him to stop several times. But he never listened and the abuse continued,” Naiman said.

She said she became withdrawn and emotionally devastated.

“I attempted suicide and carved ‘Go to hell’ into my leg,” Naiman said.

She finally told her family and reported the abuse to law enforcement in 1999.

“He admitted to everything in my report. However, the investigators told us that we had no grounds to press charges,” Naiman said.

It…

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Church victims push to expand lawsuit window in Nebraska

LINCOLN (NE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 22, 2022

By Grant Schulte

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Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests urged Nebraska lawmakers on Friday to pass a law that would let people who were abused decades ago file lawsuits against the church or other organizations that were negligent.

The proposal comes on the heels of a Nebraska attorney general report that identified 258 victims who made credible abuse allegations against church officials, dating back decades. None of those cases, however, are expected to result in prosecutions or legal judgments because the statutes of limitation for both criminal charges and civil lawsuits have expired.

Members of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee are now reviewing a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for lawsuits. The sponsor, Republican Sen. Rich Pahls, of Omaha, said the measure is a start of a multiyear push to bring justice for victims of abuse.

Pahls said the attorney general’s report shows the need to bring…

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EXPLAINER: How will U. of Michigan assault settlement work?

DETROIT (MI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 20, 2022

By Ed White

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$490 million deal to settle claims of sexual assault against a University of Michigan doctor will be handled in a similar way to the $500 million agreement worked out in 2018 by Michigan State University and the victims of Larry Nassar.

The school won’t have a role in how the money is divided. Rather a retired judge, maybe two, will be presented with individual claims and determine a figure, attorneys said.

Simple math pegs an average payment of more than $400,000 for each of the 1,050 people — most of them men — though some could be higher or lower, depending on the impact of Robert Anderson’s abuse.

“Everybody is not going to be the same,” attorney Jamie White said. “These men were not out for money. Most of them are established U. of M. graduates. This was more about holding the university accountable.”

WHAT HAPPENED?

Former students…

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U. of Michigan reaches $490M settlement over sexual abuse

ANN ARBOR (MI)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 19, 2022

By Mike Householder and Larry Lage

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The University of Michigan announced a $490 million settlement Wednesday with more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by a sports doctor during his nearly four-decade career at the school.

The university said 1,050 people will share in the financial settlement, the latest in several large payouts made by American universities following accusations of repeated sexual abuse by employees.

Individuals and their attorneys will determine how to split $460 million, with no input from the university, the school said in a statement. An additional $30 million will be set aside for future claims.

Board of Regents Chair Jordan Acker told reporters that the agreement will resolve all survivor claims.

“We must support healing and restoration of trust in an environment where safety is paramount,” Acker said. “This agreement is an important step in that direction.”

Attorney Parker Stinar said the settlement was reached Tuesday night. The university…

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Nate’s Mission: Response to Green Bay Diocese statement regarding recent reports of child sexual abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
WisPolitics.com [Madison, WI]

January 21, 2022

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As an anti-clergy abuse and survivors advocacy organization, the policy of Nate’s Mission is never to provide victim information or criminal evidence of cover-up to any church organization, entity or official currently under criminal or civil investigation. This is precisely why our organization delivered the church whistleblower documents to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul as well as Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Brown County District Attorney David Lasee.

It is perhaps understandable that Green Bay church officials may not have many of these documents because, according to church whistleblower documents, they systematically destroyed a large portion of their criminal evidence.

In this afternoon’s press release, the Green Bay diocese stated that they would provide documents relating to any “prosecutable crimes” to Attorney General Kaul’s office. Per Wisconsin state law, the Green Bay diocese does not possess the statutory authority to determine whether cases are prosecutable….

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Green Bay Diocese responds to reports of new clergy abuse evidence

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY-TV [Green Bay WI]

January 21, 2022

By WBAY news staff and Joshua Peguero

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The Diocese of Green Bay says it is communicating with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul’s office related to a statewide probe into clergy abuse.

The Diocese says it will provide “documents relating to any prosecutable crimes uncovered by the Attorney General’s Office during his review.”

The full statement comes one day after Nate’s Mission says it gave the Brown County District Attorney a list of abusive clergy, school faculty and volunteers. Among the list are 69 alleged offenders not on the Green Bay public registry.

“Church whistleblowers around the state have been obtaining this, finding this, getting this. Getting it to us. Getting it to survivors to get to law enforcement because they concerned,” Peter Isely, program director for Nate’s Mission, said.

Nate’s Mission is a Wisconsin-based project of Ending Clergy Abuse.

“We do not know the names to which Peter Isley of Nate’s Mission refers nor do we know…

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Diocese of Green Bay issues response to advocacy group claims of new clergy abuse evidence

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press Gazette [Green Bay WI]

January 21, 2022

By Natalie Eilbert

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The Diocese of Green Bay responded Friday to an advocacy group’s allegations that it had covered up 69 additional priests connected to child abuse. 

“Regarding this declaration of new evidence, no one from Nate’s Mission, including Mr. (Peter) Isely, has contacted the diocese in recent months to report any specific information related to abuse,” said a statement from the Diocese of Green Bay.  “The diocese has and will continue its practice of notifying authorities of allegations of abuse it receives.”

The statement from the diocese comes a day after advocates from Nate’s Mission delivered documents to the office of Brown County District Attorney David Lasee. Isely, the advocacy group’s program director, told reporters on Thursday that the documents were obtained by whistleblowers operating from within the church. 

Isely did not show the Green Bay Press-Gazette the contents of the package or any of the documents to allow the newspaper to independently verify the organization’s claims.

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January 21, 2022

The sun goes down behind the Church of Our Lady, right, the city hall and Church Alter Peter in Munich, southern Germany, Sept. 28, 2008. Munich archdiocese, whose current archbishop is a prominent ally of Pope Francis and which was once led by retired Pope Benedict XVI, was released on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP Photo / Matthias Schrader, File)

Report on sexual abuse in German diocese faults retired pope

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 21, 2022

By Geir Moulson

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[Photo above: The sun goes down behind the Church of Our Lady, right, the city hall and Church Alter Peter in Munich, southern Germany, Sept. 28, 2008. Munich archdiocese, whose current archbishop is a prominent ally of Pope Francis and which was once led by retired Pope Benedict XVI, is being released on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)]

A long-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese on Thursday faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of four cases when he was archbishop in the 1970s and 1980s. The law firm that drew up the report said Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing.

The findings were sure to reignite criticism of Benedict’s record more than a decade after the first, and until Thursday only, known case involving him was made public.

The archdiocese commissioned the report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl nearly two years ago, with a…

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Conservatives defend ex pope after report but experts see legacy dented

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

January 21, 2022

By Philip Pullella

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Conservatives on Friday defended former Pope Benedict against charges of mishandling sexual abuse cases decades ago, but victim groups and experts said the findings of a German report had tarnished the legacy of one of Catholicism’s most renowned theologians.

The report, commissioned by the German Church and published on Thursday, said the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to take action against clerics in four cases when he was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982. read more

Benedict denied wrongdoing over the cases in an 82-page written statement sent to the investigators but Martin Pusch, one of the lawyers who presented the report, said that while the former pope claimed ignorance of some events “in our opinion, that is difficult to reconcile with the documentation.”

Benedict, 94, infirm and living in the Vatican, said through his secretary that he had not yet read the entire report, but would give…

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Pope vows justice for abuse victims after Ratzinger faulted

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

January 21, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis pledged Friday to provide justice to victims of clergy sexual abuse, a day after an independent audit faulted his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, for having botched four cases of abusive clergy when he was archbishop of Munich, Germany.

Francis met with the members of the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases in a previously scheduled annual audience. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict before he became pope – for a quarter-century.

In his speech, Francis didn’t refer to the findings of a long-awaited report into how the Munich archdiocese handled abuse cases from 1945 and 2019. Ratzinger was archbishop there from 1977-1982.

But Francis said the church was continuing to discern the way forward in the abuse scandal, which has discredited the Catholic hierarchy at the Vatican and around the world.

“The church, with God’s help, is…

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