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.
FBI agents have questioned Lawrence Hecker, 91, who worked as a Catholic priest in New Orleans until 2002 despite the archdiocese being aware of molestation accusation since 1988
In arguably the clearest sign yet that he is under active criminal investigation, a retired Catholic priest from New Orleans who has been publicly accused of molesting “countless” children but never charged has acknowledged that the FBI recently questioned him.
Lawrence Hecker, 91, declined to elaborate on exactly when FBI agents met with him or what they asked him as they reportedly lead an investigation into whether clerics serving a Louisiana region that is home to nearly half a million Catholics took children across state lines to abuse them. But, in a brief conversation with the Guardian, Hecker admitted that FBI agents had spoken with him.
“I told them I needed to speak to my attorney, and that’s where we left it,” Hecker…
The Diocese of Sacramento today added Roberto Jaramillo, a priest who worked in Sacramento and Roseville between 1995 and 2005, to its listing of clergy who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse. Jaramillo, aged 70, is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a girl between 1996 and 1999. In 2005, Jaramillo left the Diocese of Sacramento to work for the Archdiocese of Atlanta before returning to Colombia in 2008.
A third party brought concerns of the 1996 rape and abuse to the diocese’s notice in 2021. To investigate the problem, the diocese alerted police authorities and according to a statement by the diocese, they purportedly made many attempts to reach and interview the victim.
The diocese had additional claims against Jaramillo. Jaramillo was accused of kissing a young boy in 1999. Jaramillo disputed the claim, and investigations conducted at the time by both the diocese and…
A priest with the Diocese of Sacramento has been added to a list of clergy accused of child sex abuse and now authorities have a search warrant out for his arrest.
Roberto Jaramillo, 70, was added to the list of accused clergy this week. He served as a priest in multiple churches across the Sacramento and Roseville area between 1995 and 2005, according to the Diocese of Sacramento.
The churches he served in were Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in downtown Sacramento, St. Rose Parish in Roseville, Immaculate Conception Parish in Oak Park and St. Rose Parish in south Sacramento.
Jaramillo has been accused of repeated sexual abuse and rape of a girl in the late 1990s, spanning from 1996 to 1999. The diocese was notified of the allegations by a third party in 2021.
They said they repeatedly tried to reach and interview the victim.
“The Diocese is cooperating…
A bipartisan group of senators is introducing new legislation Thursday aimed at improving the way the FBI interacts with underage victims and witnesses in sex abuse and trafficking cases.
The Respect for Child Survivors Act is the latest effort by Congress to address the FBI’s failures in its handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.
The former USA Gymnastics doctor is serving decades in prison for abusing underage athletes over several years. The FBI knew about the allegations in 2015 but failed to act, allowing him to continue to prey on gymnasts and other minors for more than a year.
“It takes tremendous courage for young victims of sexual assault to tell their story and overcome the fear that they may not be taken seriously, may be ignored, or may be wrongfully blamed,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, one of the bill’s sponsors.
“To avoid re-traumatizing victims during the investigation…
President Biden on Friday signed a bill that will eliminate the statute of limitations for people who were sexually abused as minors to file civil claims.
The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act was passed by the House by voice vote on Tuesday after passing the Senate by unanimous consent in March.
The bill eliminates time constraints for survivors to file civil claims related to sex abuse crimes against minors, including forced labor, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
Previously, minors who survived such abuse were able to file federal claims until they reached the age of 28 or until a decade after the violation or injury was discovered.
No federal statute of limitations was in place for criminal claims regarding child sex abuse.
The bill was initially introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Cornyn…
A former minister at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg was among five people arrested by Montgomery County officials after allegedly using social media to attempt to solicit sex from minors.
In a statement Friday, the president of the board of trustees for the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg confirmed that David Kohlmeier was a minister at the church and has since been relieved of his duties.
According to a Thursday release from the office of the Montgomery County district attorney, detectives affiliated with Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) and members of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau developed a proactive effort to protect children by identifying and arresting people who use social media to arrange to meet and have sexual relations with minors.
Last week, the release from the district attorney’s office says, an undercover operation took place on multiple social media platforms, and during that operation, five suspects allegedly independently…
Unitarian Universalist Church of Harrisburg minister David Kohlmeier, 46, of Devon, was one of five men arrested Monday on felony charges after they were allegedly caught trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old.
Police departments in Montgomery County, along with Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children task force, discovered the suspects’ individual attempts to use social media platforms to contact minor children to have sexual relations with the children, according to a news release from the county district attorney’s office.
Each engaged in sexually explicit electronic communications with a person they believed was a minor child, and some of them also sent sexually explicit photos to the purported 14-year-old, according to the release. Each of the five defendants then appeared at an agreed-upon meeting location in Conshohocken with the intent of having sexual relations with the minor child, police said.
A Florida pastor was arrested this week for allegedly having sex with two teen girls he met through his church and kung fu dojo, according to a police report.
Roberson Douge, 42, was booked into Brevard County jail Thursday after the alleged victims contacted police this week and accused him of predatory sexual behavior.
Douge serves as a pastor at Apostolic Church of Christ, and also owns the Tiger Claw Kung Fu Academy in Palm Bay, according to police papers.
Cops said one of the girls told her friend she was troubled by her relations with Douge, prompting the other to recount a similar experience with him.
Neither victim has been named because they are both under 18, but one victim told investigators she first met Douge after her family moved to Palm Bay and joined his church in 2019.
The teen, whose age was not specified, told police she…
A 42-year-old Palm Bay pastor arrested was due to appear in front of a judge on Friday.
Roberson Douge is facing 20 charges, including 10 counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a minor and 10 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
But he did not show up for his first appearance at the Brevard County Jail.
His attorney said it was for medical reasons, specifically high blood pressure.
Douge was a pastor at the Apostolic Church of Christ in Palm Bay.
According to the police report, two girls from the church came forward this week and detailed the alleged abuse to the police, saying it occurred inside the church building, in a church van and in the pastor’s office.
According to police, they arranged a call with Douge and one of the girls and recorded it.
Douge allegedly begged for her not to reveal their relationship and…
Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, the deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference, said on Thursday that he will stay in office, despite the release of a critical report on the treatment of abuse allegations in his diocese. Osnabrück University presented a 600-page interim study on abuse incidents in the diocese since 1945 on Tuesday. The investigation criticized Bishop Bode, who has held the position since 1995, and his predecessors for failing to provide adequate safeguards.
According to the report, “in the early decades of his tenure of office, Bishop Bode routinely left accused individuals in their posts, even those whose danger could scarcely be denied, or assigned them to offices that provided further opportunity for perpetrating crimes.” In a media briefing on Thursday, the 71-year-old claimed he had discussed resignation with Father Hans Zollner, a safeguarding specialist and Director of the Institute of Anthropology Interdisciplinary…
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre on Wednesday told a New York bankruptcy judge that it hopes to negotiate a consensual Chapter 11 plan with its creditors before the end of November.
At a virtual status conference, counsel for the diocese told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn that the diocese hopes to sit down with creditors and “hammer out a resolution” within the next 30 to 60 days, saying that after two years in bankruptcy, all parties are “eager” for a conclusion to the case.
The diocese, which includes Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2020, marking it the country’s largest Roman Catholic diocese to do so. The measure was made after the Child Victims Act of New York, which extended the statute of limitations for filing claims of child abuse, left it facing suits from 223…
A former church official was jailed Monday after police said she used nearly $550,000 in parish donations to pay off her bills. The theft, which also involved a now deceased pastor, occurred over the course of five years at Holy Cross Catholic Church, officers said.
Deborah Lynn True, 69, of Colorado, was charged with organized fraud more than $50,000. True was released Monday from the Indian River County Jail on $25,000 bond.
The nine-month investigation began last December. The Diocese of Palm Beach contacted the Vero Beach Police Department in regard to a possible misuse of funds at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 500 Iris Lane.
The diocese suspected True, along with former Holy Cross Catholic Church Pastor Father Richard Murphy, embezzled more than $1 million in funds. Police described True as a former administrator and bookkeeper for the church.
Officers learned that True and Murphy opened a bank account in…
Police say Fr Richard Murphy “personally benefitted” from funds stolen from parishioners at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the US state
A Wexford priest and his secretary who once described him as “a fantastic leader,” have been accused of stealing $1.5 million from a church in Florida.
Police allege that Fr Richard Murphy “personally benefitted” from funds donated by parishioners at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the US state.
Fr Murphy, who passed away in 2020, and his associate Deborah True are accused of fraudulently depositing nearly $1.5 million of parishioners’ donations into a bank account over a five-year period.
The Vero Beach Police Department in Florida said it had recently concluded a nine-month fraud investigation after being contacted by the Diocese of Palm Beach in December 2021 in regard to a fraudulent bank account and possible misappropriation of funds.
As Fr Murphy had passed away, no criminal investigation was…
The deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference said he accepts responsibility for failings.
A senior German bishop said Tuesday that he has accepted responsibility for failings highlighted in an interim study of his diocese’s handling of abuse cases.
Bishop Franz-Josef Bode reacted with dismay on Sept. 20 to the findings of a 600-page report addressing allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct since 1945 in the Diocese of Osnabrück.
Bode, who has led the diocese in northwestern Germany since 1995, said: “I had wanted this interim report so that the truth would also come to light as quickly as possible. Now I am very concerned about how blind we have actually been and how blind I have been for the suffering and the perspectives of those affected.”
“I bear responsibility for this, also for the system in the diocese. I will study the text this afternoon and have conversations, and we…
When senior ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel tried to silence or blame victims of sexual abuse who had been allegedly attacked by high-profile men in the community, young people expressed their anger. Some likened the furious response by young haredi Jews – for whom talk of sex is taboo and reaching out to police is often not an option – to the #MeToo movement.
Shayli Tevel weeps as he prays, calling out to God: “Father, I’ve no energy left to absorb all this.”
The former ultra-Orthodox Jew is wearing a white prayer shawl and tefillin – long leather straps with small boxes attached, containing scrolls with verses from the Torah.
After a decade of silence, Shayli, now in his early 30s, has recently broken strict religious conventions and spoken publicly about being groomed and sexually abused between the ages of 12 and 19, by a leading ultra-Orthodox – or haredi –…
A German bishop will remain in office after scandal – and says he consulted with a Vatican expert. Here’s why that matters.
It makes sense that Catholics have news fatigue over the publication of reports detailing the failures of diocesan bishops to adequately address allegations of sexual abuse or coercion among priests.
In 2018, each new revelation about a bishop’s failure prompted a new kind of outrage or dismay among Catholics. But four years later, the reactions have become muted – the roster of bishops found to have committed acts of negligence or misconduct is long enough that the names and details seem often somewhat muddled.
The problem can seem so enormous that tracking the details is either discouraging or exhausting.
But fallout from a report on abuse published this week — which touched on the negligence of Germany’s Bishop Franz-Josef Bode — is worth giving some attention.
For the past few months, religion has never been far from U.S. headlines.
The Supreme Court has overturned constitutional abortion rights. Congress is debating whether to codify protections for same-sex marriage. Courts have been asked to decide whether religious schools and business owners have to hire, serve or acknowledge LGBTQ members and organizations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Southern Baptist Convention after a consultant’s report revealed a history of sexual abuse and cover-ups – and new lawsuits alleging abuse in the Catholic Church continue to appear.
As an assistant professor of counseling who studies spirituality, I have seen how controversies like these can activate memories and symptoms of religious abuse. They can also be challenging for people who have not experienced abuse but have difficult relationships to religion – especially those who have seriously questioned or left their faith.
People may have built their world around a church or church…
A Surrey, B.C. woman who attended a Coquitlam Roman Catholic church as a child has filed a B.C. Supreme Court civil action alleging three priests sexually abused her between the ages of 9 and 13.
The woman, known only as LV in a notice of civil claim filed in court Sept. 14, makes her main allegations against the estate of Father Georges Chevrier who died in August 2003.
Also named in the suit are the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in B.C.; OMI Lacombe, Canada, Inc.; Missionary Oblates – Grandin Province; Oblates of Mary Immaculate – St. Peter’s Province; Roman Catholic Parishes and Missions in the Diocese of St. Albert; Le Diocese de Saint-Paul, the Catholic Diocese of Edmonton; the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver; John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.
Chevrier was a priest at Coquitlam’s Our Lady of Fatima Parish from 1971 to 1977, according…
A Hampden County Superior Court judge is poised to decide whether a reporter for The Berkshire Eagle must provide information the newspaper says would violate a promise of confidentiality to an anonymous source.
That information is needed to allow the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, its lawyer says, to defend itself against a civil lawsuit filed by a man who says he was raped by clergy, including former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.
But in a hearing Thursday before Judge Karen L. Goodwin, an attorney for The Eagle said the diocese’s need isn’t great enough to violate that confidential source relationship and that the diocese failed to question others who might provide the information.
After hearing about 40 minutes of arguments over Zoom, Goodwin said she would reexamine her previous decision this summer to allow the diocese to obtain limited notes and communications from Eagle journalist Larry Parnass —…
[Via Catholic World Report]
The vice president of the German bishops’ conference said Thursday he had thought about resigning after the publication of a report claiming he mishandled abuse cases, but that he had ultimately decided against it.
A report published Sept. 20 said Bishop Franz-Josef Bode mishandled abuse cases in the Diocese of Osnabrück, in northwestern Germany, which he has led since 1995.
The 600-page interim report is titled “Sexual violence against minors and vulnerable by clergy in the Diocese of Osnabrück since 1945.”
The report said in the first decades of his term, Bode “repeatedly” kept people accused of abuse in office or appointed them to other positions, including management tasks in youth pastoral care.
“I bear responsibility for this, also for the system in the diocese,” Bode said in a statement Tuesday
“I had wanted this interim report so that the truth would also come…
A new federal law does away with any time limits for victims of child sex abuse who sue their abusers.
President Joe Biden signed the law last Friday.
For Georgia and South Carolina victims, the new law is a dramatic change that recognizes the psychology of child sex abuse victims, said attorney Mark Tate of Tate Law Group who has represented child abuse victims in multiple lawsuits over the years.
“It’s demonstrated psychologically that children who are the victim of any childhood trauma, but most especially sexual abuse compartmentalize that and put that away and forget it. And many times it’s decades – 40s and 50s – before they fully realize they are in a victim,” he said.
In 2015, Tate sued and later won a multi-million dollar settlement against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah for victims of convicted child rapist Wayland Brown, who was a…
Mark O’Neill alleged he suffered sexual abuse, physical abuse, and spiritual harm starting at age 13 at the Mission Roman Catholic seminary in British Columbia
A man who alleged he was sexually abused by Mission Roman Catholic priests and a seminary employee has reached an undisclosed settlement to end the case.
Mark O’Neill was seeking damages for sexual abuse he alleges he suffered as a teen during his time at a Mission Roman Catholic seminary from 1974 to 1978. He was 13- to 17-years-old at the time.
The defendants listed in the suit included the Seminary of Christ the King; Westminster Abbey Ltd.; the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole; Emerick Lazar; Harold Vincent Sander, a.k.a. Dom Placidus Sander; Shawn Rohrbach; and John Doe.
A trial in the case had been due to start Sept. 12.
Allegations detail sexual and physical abuse
O’Neill alleged Rohrbach, a college student employed at the…
Recently, a notification was sent out from the Los Angeles Archdiocese to remind music ministers that the compositions of David Haas and Fr. Cesáreo Gabaráin have been banned due to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. The statement says:
This notification is being issued as a reminder of two matters concerning the use and performance of certain music in our Archdiocese.
In October 2020 a directive imposing a complete ban by the Archdiocese on the use or performance of any of David Haas’s music was issued. Specifically, the directive precludes the use or performance of any music written or composed by Mr. Haas and any performances by him. The directive concerning David Haas was issued after an investigation found allegations of sexual misconduct by him, which had been reported to the Archdiocese, to be credible.
In October 2021 the Archdiocese announced that parishes, schools, and ministries should refrain from…
[See also the John Doe v. Diocese of Springfield et al. complaint.]
The Berkshire Eagle is going to court today to fight the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in its bid to get a reporter to reveal a confidential source.
The Eagle says in court filings that doing so would break the reporter’s promise not to reveal the identity of a person who provided information about a Chicopee man’s claim in a civil lawsuit that as an altar boy in the 1960s he was repeatedly raped by clergy, including a former bishop, Christopher J. Weldon.
The Eagle’s coverage in 2019 revealed an attempt by the diocese to shield the late bishop from being exposed as an abuser. That coverage was supported by an independent judge’s report in 2020 and cited repeatedly in the man’s 2021 lawsuit against the diocese and eight of its officials, including former Bishop…
Sao Paulo, Brazil: Candidate for the Presidency of Brazil by the Brazilian Democratic Movement, Simone Tebet, participates in the meeting ‘Education Now for Brazil’, with the former secretary of Education of Sao Paulo and candidate for Federal Deputy Rossieli Soares.
Anti-abortion activists in Rhode Island are asking the US Supreme Court to take up the issue of foetal personhood just a few months after the Court overturned its nearly 50-year Roe v Wade precedent that had established a constitutional right to abortion. On 13 September, the group Catholics for Life filed a 46-page petition asking the court to “clarify whether an unborn human being has standing to access the courts”. In 2019, Catholics for Life and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit arguing that a state law passed that year that codified abortion rights under Roe violated their rights as citizens of Rhode Island. Two of the plaintiffs were unborn children: a pre-viable 15-week old foetus and a…
A teacher at a Perth Catholic college, who claimed his sexual abuse of a teenage student was a “mutually beneficial relationship”, has been jailed for more than six years, with a judge slamming his explanation as an attempt to “victim blame”.
- The 40-year-old teacher began sexually abusing the student when she was 16
- Some of the offences occurred in a classroom, and others in the girl’s home
- The man won’t be eligible for parole until November 2026
The name of the man, and the school where he was a maths teacher, cannot be published to protect the identity of the victim, who was 16 and 17 when he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in her final year of studies.
He was 40 at the time and married, and met the victim at a religious retreat at the start of the year when what was described in the District Court as…
In an interview with CNN Portugal broadcast on Monday 5 September, Pope Francis says the Church is suffering due to sexual abuse and abuse of authority and power by men and women in the Church. The wide-ranging interview also covers topics such as World Youth Day, the importance of dialogue, and Synod on synodality.
Pope Francis emphatically repeated the Church’s commitment to “zero tolerance” when it comes to priests who abuse others, in an interview with CNN Portugal broadcast on Monday 5 September.
“I want to be very clear about this: Abuse by churchmen and churchwomen — abuse of authority, abuse of power and sexual abuse – is a monstrosity, because the churchman or churchwoman, whether priest, religious man or woman, or layman or laywoman, is called to serve and to create unity, to make grow, and abuse always destroys,” the Pope said.
“Abuse is a tragic reality of all…
Robert C. Cotton was a respected Servite teacher and administrator for more than 30 years. Lawsuit alleges he also sexually abused a student on a regular basis
Twice in the fall of 1980, Servite High School English teacher Robert C. Cotton had ordered a 16-year-old junior to an office near the school’s library so Cotton could search the student for drugs.
A few weeks earlier, the student said Cotton had caught him in class with drugs, “black beauties,” a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. That time and in two subsequent searches in the office, Cotton had aggressively frisked him in addition to going through the student’s backpack, the former student alleged in an interview.
The third office search, the former student said, would haunt him to this day.
Starting with that search, using the drug incident as leverage, the student claims Cotton sexually assaulted and molested him on a weekly…
Gordon MacRae, the Catholic priest now serving a state prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four boys, once claimed in a lawsuit that the evidence against him was destroyed by a zealous investigator out to railroad him.
The cop who pursued MacRae was then-Keene Police Detective James McLaughlin.
The old lawsuit brought by the convicted child sex predator against McLaughlin is newly relevant now that McLaughlin’s recently released personnel file shows the decorated investigator was once accused by his own department of doctoring evidence.
MacRae has maintained his innocence despite the guilty pleas since he was convicted in the 1990s. According to the lawsuit he filed in the United States District Court in New Mexico in 1994, MacRae claimed McLaughlin was out to get him since at least 1988, and the detective used dishonest means to secure an arrest and conviction. MacRae pleaded guilty in 1988 to…
Funds will be used to pay claims for assaults by priests between 1955 and 1984, archbishop says
The Catholic Archdiocese of Moncton has reached a settlement in a multimillion dollar lawsuit against its insurance company regarding compensation paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Although the details of the agreement with the Co-operators General Insurance Company are subject to a confidentiality clause, the resulting funds will be used to pay claims for sexual assaults that occurred in the archdiocese between 1955 and 1984, according to a statement issued by Archbishop Valéry Vienneau.
“The settlement made does involve some compromise, but it provides immediate certainty, particularly in light of advice that the pending court hearing would be put over for another year due to a shortage of judges,” he said.
The case had been scheduled for trial in October.
A recent survey distributed by Hockey Canada has left some shaking their heads over what they see as out-of-touch questions regarding the organization’s handling of sexual assault allegations.
The survey was distributed to parents, volunteers and coaches, seeking to gauge opinions on the sport’s national body.
It has been under intense scrutiny since news broke this spring of an alleged sexual assault following a 2018 gala in London, Ont., involving eight unidentified players — including members of that year’s world junior team — and the subsequent settlement.
Allegations of another gang sexual assault involving the 2003 world junior team emerged in July. None of the allegations has been proven in court.
‘How can they be so clueless’
Participants were asked to rate their level of agreement with several statements, among them:
- “The level of criticism by the media toward Hockey Canada is overblown.”
- “Incidents such as this are unlikely to happen again.”
- “The allegations are…
Church leaders in the northern German Diocese of Osnabrück failed over decades to fulfill their duties in responding to accusations of sexual abuse, according to a study presented by the University of Osnabrück Sept. 19.
The German Catholic news agency KNA said the study found that, until recently, officials had neglected to conduct adequate monitoring of clerics after they had been removed from their posts following accusations of abuse.
The main area requiring improvement was communication with victims, the project leaders said. In addition, the diocese had been defensive and bureaucratic in its handling of cases and “stingy” in its recognition payments.
The study found that Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, who has been in office since 1995 and is also deputy president of the German bishops’ conference, violated his duties “in a low single-digit range” of cases. The breaches were “negligent, but not intentional,” the study said.
It added that while…
Their spiritual leader is behind bars in California after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. Yet legions of followers of Naasón Joaquín García in his home base in Mexico remain fervently loyal to him, viewing his imprisonment as a challenge that will strengthen their church, La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World), rather than weaken it.
His continued hold on his flock was evident recently at the Christian church’s main temple in Guadalajara, as thousands gathered to pray for their absent leader during their Holy Supper, the most sacred festivity for La Luz del Mundo. To gasps of surprise, Joaquín García addressed the congregation by telephone from his Los Angeles prison, where he is serving a 16-year sentence.
“I do not see the bars that separate me from you,” he told his followers. “I see your beautiful faces … because you are the children of God.”
A prominent Reform synagogue in the District has argued that parents suing over alleged child sex abuse surrendered their right to bring a lawsuit when they signed activity waivers upon enrolling their children in school, court documents show.
A group of parents in 2019 sued Washington Hebrew Congregation, claiming that leaders at Edlavitch-Tyser Early Childhood Center ignored warning signs as a teacher sexually abused toddlers. The suit also said the employee was allowed to be alone with students despite District regulations that require at least two adults to be present with toddlers in licensed child development centers.
Now, recent developments in the years-long suit have brought renewed attention to the case. In July, attorneys for Washington Hebrew Congregation filed a motion for summary judgment, a request for the court to make a ruling before a trial. The school’s attorneys argued that, in the paperwork parents signed, they gave up their…
Mercy Corps: A Statement of Support for Tania Humphrey
Into Account extends solidarity to Tania Humphrey in her lawsuit against Mercy Corps, the international aid organization co-founded by her sexually abusive father, Ellsworth Culver.
At Into Account, we are deeply, unfortunately familiar with the phenomenon of so-called independent investigations functioning as a means for culpable institutions to manage reputational damage at the expense of survivors. While survivors often request independent investigations and invest much hope and effort in their outcomes, the kind of traumatic institutional betrayal described in Humphrey’s complaint is a disappointingly common outcome.
When accountability and prevention of future violence are priorities, independent investigations center the emotional and physical needs of victims, always with the underlying recognition that a victim’s participation is a gift to the organization. Survivors who are treated with respect and kindness are invaluable allies in the search for the…
Speech at the USCCB Meeting in Dallas TX
June 13, 2002
Nine years ago, the roles were reversed. I stood silently as Father Gary’s side offering support, as
he became the first priest in America to sue a priest and his bishop over the crime of childhood
sexual abuse. It was a huge honor then and it’s a huge honor today.
We’re not here because you want us to be. We’re not here because we’ve earned it or have fought
hard for it. We’re here because children are a gift from God, and Catholic parents know this!
That’s why 87% of them think that if you’ve helped molesters commit their crimes, you should
resign. Because of their outrage, we stand before you today. Though Bishop Gregory played a
role, and though the letterhead said US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the return address on
that invitation was really thousands of parishes across the country. We are really here because…
Belgian bishops published Tuesday a new document on the pastoral care of Catholics who identify as LGBT, which includes a text allowing for a ritual blessing of same-sex couples.
The bishops of Flanders said that the three-page document, entitled “Being pastorally close to homosexuals: For a welcoming Church that excludes no one,” aims to “structurally anchor [the Church’s] pastoral commitment to homosexual persons and couples.”
The document was signed by the Flemish bishops, who belong to Belgium’s majority ethnic group. They are led by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, president of the Belgian bishops’ conference, which also includes bishops from the country’s French-speaking minority.
The Flemish bishops’ text said that homosexual couples who choose to live “in lasting and faithful union with a partner” deserve “appreciation and support.”
“This relationship, although not a Church marriage, can also be a source of peace and shared happiness for those involved,” the bishops wrote.
Throughout the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality, U.S. Catholics consistently highlighted several “enduring wounds” that plague the nation’s church, including the still-unfolding effects of the sexual abuse crisis, divisions over the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, and a perceived lack of unity among the nation’s bishops.
The feedback was published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Sept. 19, in a national synthesis of the diocesan synod phase. The synthesis is the culmination of diocesan Synod reports and contributions from other Catholic entities since last fall.
An estimated 700,000 people out of an estimated 66.8 million U.S. Catholics contributed to the feedback that went into creating the synthesis.
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, the USCCB’s committee on doctrine chair who oversaw the national process, called the document a “significant moment” for the U.S. church, while cautioning that it’s only the first step in a larger…
The French Ministry of Justice announced that France will not extradite Oblate Father Joannès Rivoire to Canada.
However, the priest’s congregation, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, said it was moving to expel the former missionary accused of sexual assault against children in parishes he directed in northern Canada in the 1960s to early 1990s. Rivoire, now 92, left Canada in 1993 and now lives in France.
On Sept. 14, during a meeting with a delegation of six Inuit from Canada, Rivoire denied the accusations made against him.
Shortly before this meeting, the members of the Nunavut delegation, including an alleged victim of Rivoire and the two children of another victim, Marius Tungilik, now deceased, spoke with Father Vincent Gruber, superior of the Oblates in France.
Gruber confirmed in a statement that his congregation’s authorities are “determined to continue their efforts to convince Joannès Rivoire to appear before the Canadian justice…
Churches have been sold to compensate Mount Cashel abuse victims
Final masses were held Sunday at St. Pius X in St. John’s and St. Agnes in Pouch Cove — two Catholic churches on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula — as the buildings have been sold to pay reparations to Mount Cashel abuse survivors.
The provincial Supreme Court approved the sale of 43 church properties in July after a sale-by-tender process, which saw bidders submit offers in early June.
St. Pius X priest Father John Sullivan said the building held a lot of memories for parishioners who took sacraments, from baptism to weddings and funerals at the church.
“It was sort of the place that holds just these most sort of tender moments in a person’s life,” Sullivan said.
But Sullivan said the congregation recognized the “suffering and the pain and the hurt and damage that the abuse victims suffered” at the hands…
Most of Guam’s 270-plus clergy sex abuse claimants turned in their ballots by Monday’s deadline, but there’s no official tally yet whether a majority voted to support or reject the church settlement offer of $37 million to $101 million.
The settlement offer is part of the Archdiocese of Agana’s bankruptcy exit plan that it jointly filed with a panel of creditors led by a survivor of clergy sexual assaults.
Without a majority vote from survivors to support the plan, the archdiocese’s three-year-old bankruptcy case continues, and abuse claimants will have to wait longer to receive compensation.
At least 170 ballots were submitted to court as of Monday. Nearly 100 were submitted by Attorney Delia Lujan Wolff’s law firm, and 77 were submitted to the court by Attorney Michael Berman’s firm.
While all of Berman’s clients voted to support the plan and settlement, there’s no telling how Lujan Wolff’s clients voted….
Close to 200 bishops at the beginning of their ministries in dioceses and eparchies around the world met Pope Francis Sept. 19 at the end of a week of conferences.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the suspension of the annual formation course for new bishops, the 2022 courses were held in multiple sessions with the first groups of bishops — more than 150 of them — meeting Pope Francis in early September, and bishops from mission territories meeting him Sept. 17.
The Dicastery for Bishops, the Dicastery for Evangelization and the Dicastery for Eastern Churches organized the courses.
The themes for the 2022 sessions included: the meaning of “a synodal church”; crisis management with special attention to handling situations and allegations of abuse; the church after the pandemic; a review of what canon law says about administering a diocese; communication and use of the media, ministry to families with…
Joseph Fiorenza, the son of immigrants who steered a rapidly changing southeast Texas through its evolution as a beacon for newcomers as its first home-grown Catholic archbishop, died Monday, church officials said.
Fiorenza, bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston from 1985 until 2006, was 91. In a statement, Fiorenza’s successor, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, praised him as a “champion of civil rights and a tireless worker in overcoming the presence of racism in our community.”
Well past turning 90, Fiorenza remained a force for social change, as he had been for decades.
“We worked to de-segregate Houston’s schools and businesses, created alliances to provide solutions for Houston’s homeless, committed to increase Harris County’s responsiveness to the legal needs of the indigent and even labored to create a vision for age-friendly care which supports seniors who need geriatric services,” said the Rev. William A. Lawson, a local civil rights icon…
The Synod on Synodality was kick-started in October 2021.The first phase, the national level, was to conclude by August 16 and the National Syntheses (NS) were to be sent to the Synod Secretariat at the Vatican.
A communiqué from Rene Reid, Director, Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) states that of 104 NS submitted to the Secretariat, more than half have not been made public. That would include the three NS from the Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches in India.
The CCRI organized a zoom meeting on September 17 to get a world-wide feedback on the progress of the Synod, now that all the NS would have been submitted; and preparations are on for the Continental phase.
CCRI’s preliminary survey showed that 93 percent of the respondents were deeply concerned about how the people of God would actually be represented in the Continental phase. Just 60 percent had faith in their…
Via Eye on the Arctic
When Steve Mapsalak left the meeting with his alleged abuser on Wednesday, he felt a weight lift from inside him.
Mapsalak, one of the Inuit delegates from Nunavut who went to France this week to press for the extradition of retired priest Johannes Rivoire, said Thursday the short-notice meeting with Rivoire brought memories flooding back to him.
It also gave him an opportunity to tell Rivoire face-to-face about the pain he and other delegates have gone through.
“It is still painful to have the memory when I see the building, the room [where the abuse happened]. And yet, when I was able to speak to him and share how deeply he had hurt us, I could feel that inside, the deep hurt I have carried for so long, some of it is lifted,” Mapsalak said in Inuktitut Thursday.
Aluki Kotierk, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.,…
A 2019 bestseller in Malayalam, ‘In the Name of the Lord’ is a harrowing, moving account of Sister Lucy Kalapura’s life as a Catholic nun.
A young man had once remonstrated to me about a liaison between his aunt, who was a nun, and the parish priest. He told me that this very priest used to advise him constantly to be virtuous and celibate and not stray as he was a bachelor. During the special confession sessions at the silent retreat, her voice filled with pain, a nun confessed to me about fondling a novice. During the Sacrament of Penance, too, some of the priests have a lecherous approach to the nuns who come to them to confess their sins to God. I can say on the basis of what has been revealed to me from time to time that what appears in the press about the goings-on in convents…
Two sexual abuse allegations have been brought against a suburban priest who was reinstated as a pastor in 2021 after a review board found there was “insufficient reason to suspect” he had sexually abused children 25 years ago.
On Friday, the Archdiocese of Chicago was informed about two sexual abuse allegations of a minor against Rev. David Ryan, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich, Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter to parishioners.
Cupich added he asked Ryan to step aside as pastor while an independent review board can investigate the allegations, and Ryan agreed to “cooperate fully with our process,” which Cupich said will “move forward as expeditiously as possible.”
In November 2020, Ryan was asked to step away from the parish when an investigation into separate allegations began. In September of the following year, Cupich announced Ryan had been cleared and reinstated.
But a week…
Unholy Catholic Ireland: Religious Hypocrisy, Secular Morality, and Irish Irreligion by Hugh Turpin (published this week by Stanford University Press) is a must-read book for anyone interested in the changing role of religion in Ireland.
Unholy Catholic Ireland responds to longstanding gaps in our knowledge about the ‘irreligious’ in Ireland, to echo the term from the book’s subtitle. In scholarly literature, this rather disparate group is often referred to as those with ‘no religion’ or the ‘nones’. (In the text, Turpin also refers to such folks as ‘ethno-Catholic nones’).
Prior to Turpin’s research, there had been no systematic, in-depth studies of those who could be classified as nones in the Republic of Ireland. Unholy Catholic Ireland is a first and important step in what I hope and anticipate will become a topic of further research – by Turpin and by other scholars. Based on both qualitative and quantitative research, it lays a strong foundation…
There is a lot of talk about “synodality” in the Catholic church these days. Synodality refers to a process in which bishops and priests consult with lay Catholics about issues in the church.
In 2021, Pope Francis called for the “Synod on Synodality,” a worldwide discussion of issues that impact the church, which will culminate with a bishops’ meeting in Rome. A final report is scheduled for October 2023.
The Catholic Church in Germany has also moved forward with a national “synodal path” to restore trust after its own sexual abuse scandal.
The German synodal path has been controversial. On Sept. 8, 2022, a minority of German bishops blocked a motion to redefine Catholic teaching on homosexuality, bisexuality, gender identity and masturbation. In response, some proponents of these liberalizations warned they would “take it to Rome.”
Church leaders around the world and in the Vatican have closely watched the German meetings….
A few weeks ago, Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders announced they had reached a bipartisan agreement to finish the long overdue job of giving long ago victims of child sex abuse an opportunity to seek justice.
Let’s just hope their pledge is honored after November’s midterm election. Nothing ever is guaranteed in the Capitol as political winds shift.
Democrat Wolf and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and House agreed to prioritize legislation early next year on a referendum. It would ask voters if the state Constitution should be amended to allow a two-year window for child sex abuse victims to sue, despite the statute of limitations having expired.
If the plan is carried out, voters could see the referendum on a ballot in one of next year’s elections.
The referendum should have occurred last year. Lawmakers approved the necessary legislation, but the Pennsylvania…
A man who claimed he was sexually abused by a Catholic Priest almost 50 years ago has settled his High Court damages action for €350,000.
In his judgement on Friday Mr Justice Garrett Simons approved the settlement of the now 60-year-old man personal injuries claim, who currently resides in the UK, against The Sacred Heart Missionary Education Trust and his alleged abuser.
The case was settled by the Trust, without an admission of liability by either of the defendants.
The man claimed that he was sexually abused by a priest who taught at a secondary school operated by the Trust.
The alleged abuse was said to have occurred during the mid 1970’s when the complainant was a pupil at the school and aged in his teens.
As a result of the alleged abuse the man had sued the defendants’ seeking damages for the personal injuries, he claims he suffered.
The complaints of abuse against the teacher date to 2009 and 2011. After a long judicial process, the Supreme Court sentenced him to two years in prison in 2020, but since it was his first conviction and did not exceed a two-year sentence, he wasn’t imprisoned.
Bishop Joseba Segura Etxezarraga of Bilbao, Spain, has announced that Pope Francis has ordered a new canonical process for a case of abuse that took place at a school run by the Prelature of Opus Dei.
The announcement states that the Holy Father was aware in December 2014 of allegations of abuse against José María Martínez Sanz, a numerary member of Opus Dei and a teacher at Gaztelueta School.
“Since then, he has closely followed the situation of the persons (involved) and the different actions taken by the Spanish courts and by the Church,” the statement said.
“At this time, he has considered it appropriate…
In the past, victims sought legal help only to be met with the further humiliation of unjust settlements. But the tide has begun to turn
Margaret Spivey was just a toddler when the betrayals began.
Abandoned after the death of her father, Spivey was a made a ward of the state at the age of 22 months.
She was separated from her two sisters, placed into care, and then handed to a foster family in 1960s Geelong, where she faced shocking physical and sexual abuse, before being flung back into children’s homes.
Shuffled between the Allambie Reception Centre, Providence Children’s Home, and the St Vincent de Paul Children’s Home, her childhood was marked by trauma upon trauma, all enabled by the very institutions entrusted with her care.
“There have been many dark moments, but something kept compelling me to go on,” she says.
Like so many child abuse survivors, it…
A suburban priest is facing two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has asked Father David Ryan of Lake Zurich to step aside — again — while it conducts an investigation.
In a letter Saturday, Cardinal Blase Cupich called the news “upsetting” and said Ryan has agreed to cooperate.
In late 2020 Ryan was asked to step aside amid an investigation into sexual abuse of minors 25 years prior.
He was reinstated in 2021.
Dear Parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish,
I am writing with upsetting news. Yesterday the Archdiocese received two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against Fr. David Ryan. As is the case with all such matters, the archdiocese will report these allegations to civil authorities and offer assistance to the persons who made them. In keeping with our policies, I have asked Father Ryan to step aside until our Independent Review Board can investigate the allegations and present its recommendations to me. He has agreed to cooperate fully with our process, which will move forward as expeditiously as possible. We will provide Fr. Ryan with pastoral assistance, and I know he is grateful for your support.
We have appreciated your patience with this process in the past and your understanding that only with an impartial and thorough effort can we fulfill our duty to protect the young people…
A pastor at Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich has been suspended once again after two new allegations of child sexual abuse were reported, the archdiocese announced.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, wrote in a letter to the St. Francis community on Saturday announcing a new investigation into Father David Ryan.
The archdiocese received two allegations on Friday of sexual abuse of a minor, the letter said.
Further details on the allegations or when they reportedly occurred have not been released.
Cupich said the allegations will be reported to “civil authorities” and assistance will be offered to the persons who made them.
Ryan was asked to step aside until an independent review board can investigate the abuse report and present their recommendations.
“He has agreed to cooperate fully with our process, which will move forward as expeditiously as possible. We will provide Fr. Ryan with…
The Archdiocese of Chicago received two allegations Friday against the Rev. David Ryan, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said in a statement.
The Rev. David Ryan, a pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish and School, has again been asked to step away from his pastoral duties following new accusations that he sexually abused a minor.
The Archdiocese of Chicago will investigate two new accusations it received Friday against Ryan, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said in a written statement that said the accusations also were shared with civil authorities.
The new accusations come a year after an investigation ruled prior accusations against Ryan were unfounded.
In November 2020, Ryan was accused of sexually abusing minors more than two decades ago when he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. The Independent Review Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago investigated the accusations and found insufficient evidence…
A lawsuit alleging the rampant sexual abuse of underage athletes at a competitive cheerleading gym in South Carolina has been amended to name six more coaches as defendants and three more accusers.
The accusers — now seven female and two male — say in the federal lawsuit amended Thursday that they were sexually abused by coaches at Rockstar Cheerleading and Dance in Greenville, which is in the northwestern corner of the state. The accusers’ lawyers allege that sexual abuse at the gym could date back two decades and that there could be 100 more victims who haven’t come forward.
One of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Bakari Sellers, likened the case to that of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor who is serving a minimum of 40 years in prison after admitting that he molested some of the nation’s top gymnasts for years.
None of the Rockstar coaches…
An attorney in the case is calling out the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to “act.”
A former Forest Lake middle school teacher has been sentenced for sexually assaulting two former students multiple times at his home.
James Edward Carter, 58, has been sentenced to one year in prison after being found guilty of 2nd and 4th-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The former educator, who taught industrial tech at Forest Lake Area Middle School, was charged in August 2020 after he groomed and sexually assaulted two boys.
According to the criminal complaint, Carter paid several of his students and former students to do work at his home and other properties. He provided two boys – aged 16 and 17 – with gifts, bought them meals at restaurants and would attend church together (either in person or online at Carter’s home).
These boys both accused Carter of massaging their groins on at…
Johannes Rivoire accused of abusing children while working as a priest in Nunavut from 1960 to 1993
The last time Steve Mapsalak saw Johannes Rivoire was in 1993, at the Winnipeg airport.
Later, Mapsalak would learn that was the day the priest, who he had reported to police for allegedly sexually abusing him when he was 13, left Canada for the last time. Mapsalak, who is now 65, was 13 in 1970.
Five years passed before Mapsalak’s allegations — along with allegations from two other Inuit — resulted in historical sexual assault and indecent assault charges being laid against Rivoire in 1998.
Mapsalak would wait nearly 20 years for justice only to see those charges stayed in 2017, with Rivoire living in France, out of reach of the Canadian justice system.
On Wednesday, after 29 years, Mapsalak saw Rivoire again. This time, it was to tell the priest what he and other…
Happy Friday friends,
And a happy feast of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian, both of whom are remembered by the Church for their third-century defense of the faith, and witness to the Gospel in the face of imperial persecution.
Cyprian, a lawyer from Carthage, survived the persecution of the emperor Decius, but under Valerian found himself first exiled, then arrested.
Notably, his trial is remembered for its faultless procedure, and the calm and courtesy displayed by all sides as he was convicted and executed. A witness, if you will, to dialogue in the truest Christian sense.
Anyway, here’s the news.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans, like some other U.S. dioceses, has been in bankruptcy court since 2020, seeking Chapter 11 protection while it restructures to deal with a wave of historical clerical abuse lawsuits filed in the wake of the scandals of 2018.
But the case has taken a…
Claim against estate of Father Georges Chevrier is one of two recently filed against dead priests
A British Columbia woman claims she was told the late Father Georges Chevrier had no history of the kind of sexual abuse complaints she was bringing forward.
Then she listened to an acclaimed podcast titled Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s.
Now she’s suing.
The woman — known as LV — filed a B.C. Supreme Court claim this week against Chevrier’s estate and the corporation of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, which she accuses of failing to tell her the dead priest had a “known history of allegations of sexual abuse” when she first asked for compensation.
LV claims she only learned about Chevrier’s past through Stolen, a podcast hosted by investigative journalist Connie Walker, which unearthed numerous allegations of sexual and physical abuse against staff at St….
As more sexual abuse allegations came to light at Oakville’s megachurch, The Meeting House retained the services of victim advocate Melodie Bissell.
The Meeting House, an Ontario megachurch headquartered in Oakville, recently reported that former pastor Bruxy Cavey is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct – one of them involving a minor.
Hamilton Police previously charged Cavey with sexual assault in June.
In solidarity with victims, the Meeting House retained the services of Melodie Bissell – a victim’s advocate; the church revealed, in June, that it had received 38 reports of sexual abuse against four former pastors from the megachurch.
Decades of consulting in abuse prevention have given Bissell the insight that abuse isn’t black and white.
“I don’t think there’s any abuser that wakes up in the morning and says ‘I’m going to abuse someone today’. It’s a slippery slope. I don’t think in their mind they would think that they were grooming someone,” stated Bissell.
In fact, most…
A pedestrian killed in a hit-and-run crash earlier this month in New Jersey served as a Catholic priest in Nebraska in the 1980s before he was convicted of sexual assault of a child, according to news accounts and a report by the Nebraska attorney general.
Paul F. Margand, 65, of Deptford Township, died Sept. 1 after he was struck by a car while walking along Cattel Road in Deptford shortly before 9:30 p.m., according to township police. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he died a short time later.
The driver did not stop, police said.
Matthew B. Jefferson, 25, of Deptford, was later identified as the motorist, Deptford police said. He was charged with second-degree leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death and fourth-degree tampering with evidence.
Margand was serving as a priest at…
The announcement came after a reported claim by three brothers of repeated rape as children in a monastery over 30 years ago
The head of France’s Orthodox Church on Friday announced an internal investigation into alleged child abuse at a monastery in the southern Herault region more than 30 years ago.
The announcement came after Liberation newspaper reported the account of three brothers who said they had been repeatedly raped there as children.
They said two members of the of the Orthodox monastery of Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Dalmerie in the late 1970s had abused them, starting when they were 8, 10 and 12 years old respectively.
“Reading this article and the information it contains, their statement is well-founded,” said Metropolitan Dimitrios, head of the Orthodox Church in France.
In a statement he promised to “seek and establish the truth.
“The authors of these acts are now dead and the unspeakable acts they committed”…
The leader of a sect of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints based in Colorado City, Arizona, made an appearance in federal court Thursday following his arrest on tampering and destruction of evidence charges.
The arrest of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, of Colorado City, came weeks before, authorities said, when Bateman was stopped on a highway in Flagstaff, Arizona, where several young girls were found in an enclosed trailer. After Bateman was released on bail, he was arrested again during an FBI raid Tuesday in Colorado City that turned up additional evidence, prosecutors said, and an Arizona child welfare agency removed children from the homes.
Bateman pleaded not guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court in Flagstaff on Thursday.
Bateman has been indicted on three federal charges, including tampering and destruction of records in an official proceeding, along with one count each destroying records in…
A leader of a small polygamous group on the Arizona-Utah line pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges of tampering with evidence, weeks after being stopped on a highway with young girls in an enclosed trailer.
Samuel Bateman, 46, was indicted earlier this month on three counts of destroying or attempting to destroy records, and tampering with criminal proceedings. He pleaded not guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court in Flagstaff, a mountain city where he was arrested in late August by a state police agency after someone spotted small fingers in a gap of the trailer’s rear door.
Authorities found three girls, between the ages of 11 and 14, in the trailer he was hauling through Flagstaff, according to court documents. The trailer had a makeshift toilet, a couch, camping chairs and no ventilation, the documents state. The documents didn’t say if the girls are related to Bateman, and it wasn’t…
The court date for a retired 92-year-old priest who was charged following an investigation into sexual abuse allegations at a Manitoba residential school has been set.
Retired Father Arthur Masse, of Winnipeg, will appear in court on March 7 and 8, 2023, in Winnipeg in the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench.
Masse was arrested at his home in June and charged with one count of indecent assault.
In August, he pleaded not guilty.
The charge comes from an 11-year RCMP investigation into sexual abuse allegations at the Fort Alexander Residential School between 1968 and 1970. The investigation was spurred by a tip police received in February 2010 of an alleged incident involving a 10-year-old girl who was a student at the school.
Masse was released from custody with conditions and none of the allegations against him have been proven in court.
Mounties have said previously they don’t anticipate further charges…
Delegation of Inuit implore French government to extradite Johannes Rivoire
After travelling more than 4,000 kilometres over three days, a group of Nunavut Inuit arrived in France to demand the return of a Roman Catholic priest who travelled that same distance when he left Canada 29 years ago.
Rev. Johannes Rivoire, 91, spent more than 30 years as a parish priest in Nunavut, mostly in Arviat and Naujaat, between 1960 and 1992. He was accused of sexually abusing boys and girls during that time, some as young as six years old.
In 1998, the RCMP laid three charges against Rivoire for one count of indecent assault against three boys and one count of sexual assault against a girl in Naujaat, between 1968 and 1970.
But Rivoire left Canada for France in 1993 and those charges were stayed in 2017 after prosecutors concluded there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.
In May 1989, Harold McIntee, then aged 59, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of sexual assault against males.
A B.C. man who claims he was one of 17 young men who were sexually abused by a Catholic priest over a period of 25 years is suing the perpetrator’s estate and Catholic Church officials for damages.
The victim, who is only identified by initials in the lawsuit, says that while on assignment in and around Terrace in 1981 or 1982, Father Harold Daniel McIntee sexually abused him and two other young men.
He says that while staying overnight at the Secret Heart rectory with McIntee, he was experiencing abdominal pain and McIntee asked him to remove his pants to see if he had a swollen testicle.
The plaintiff, who was then aged 17 or 18, says that in the remote mining community of Kitsault, where the priest…
Extradition would be unconstitutional, French officials tell Inuit delegation
As the Inuit delegation from Nunavut navigated meetings with French officials in Paris on Tuesday, they came up against what one human rights advocate called the “cold reality of the law.”
The French government can’t extradite ex-priest and alleged abuser Johannes Rivoire to Canada to face criminal charges, because it would violate its constitution to do so, Belgian advocate Lieve Halsberghe told reporters Tuesday.
The delegation from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is in Paris all this week in an effort to drum up public and political support in France for Rivoire’s extradition.
Halsberghe, who is helping the delegates from Nunavut Tunngavik, described a difficult morning of meetings that dashed many of the delegates’ hopes to see the man they’ve accused of abusing them face justice.
“I found it [an] extremely hard meeting, to be faced with this reality — this cold reality of…
A priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children when he missioned in their Canadian Arctic community has told alleged victims and relatives who traveled to France to confront him that he won’t go back to Canada to be questioned.
The 10-member Inuit delegation met this week with the Rev. Joannes Rivoire, hoping to persuade the 92-year-old to return with them to Canada, where they want him to face justice. Canadian police are also seeking his arrest on a sexual assault charge.
But the Oblate priest refused and denied wrongdoing, delegation members said Thursday at a news conference in Lyon, the southeastern French city where Rivoire lives in a care home.
The daughter of one of the priest’s late alleged victims described the meeting as like coming face-to-face with “the monster.”
Tanya Tungilik said she blames the priest for her father’s death. She said her father also suffered from alcoholism and recurrent…
Reports of child abuse by priests are increasing and the victims are crying out for a response
Congratulations to the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) on the golden jubilee of its foundation. In years past, I was an invited speaker and adviser to FABC meetings in Bangkok on the protection of children, especially those children who are vulnerable to clerical sexual abuse.
There remains a growing problem of clerical child abuse that is not being challenged sufficiently and it seems that as leaders of the community and the People of God, God is challenging the bishops and the people of God to take this terrible crime more seriously.
Reports of child abuse by priests in parishes and seminaries are increasing and the victims are crying out for a response and action to the violation of their rights by Church leaders, not only in words of condemnation but, action for…
Claim against estate of Father Georges Chevrier is one of two recently filed against dead priests
The British Columbia woman claims she was told the late Father Georges Chevrier had no history of the kind of sexual abuse complaints she was bringing forward.
Then she listened to an acclaimed podcast titled Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s.
Now she’s suing.
The woman — known as LV — filed a B.C. Supreme Court claim this week against Chevrier’s estate and the corporation of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, which she accuses of failing to tell her the dead priest had a “known history of allegations of sexual abuse” when she first asked for compensation.
LV claims she only learned about Chevrier’s past through Stolen, a podcast hosted by investigative journalist Connie Walker, which unearthed numerous allegations of sexual and physical abuse against staff at St. Michael’s residential school in Saskatchewan, where Chevrier served as principal from 1950 to 1953.
Documents sent from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg to the Vatican have reached the pope.
That’s according to John Bellocchio, a nationally known advocate for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Bellochio is accusing Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, of covering up clerical sexual abuse and trying to shield money from lawsuits filed by victims of clergy sexual abuse.
Last month, Bellochio asked Ogdensburg Bishop Terry LaValley to forward the allegations to Vatican officials and civil authorities in New York. According to Bellochio, LaValley told him the documents have formally reached Pope Francis.
Now that the pope has received the documents, he could decide to put LaValley in charge of investigating the cardinal.
“Now that it has been transmitted to the Holy See, the investigation almost certainly has to begin. It has never not happened when the documents are accepted by the Holy See. Timothy Dolan…
The leadership of a Catholic order in France has begun dismissal proceedings against a priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in Nunavut.
A 10-member delegation led by Nunavut Tunnagivik Inc., a group representing Nunavut Inuit, has been in Paris and Lyon this week to seek the extradition of Johannes Rivoire.
They met with French and Oblate officials and with Rivoire himself to try and persuade him to fly back to Canada on an extra seat they booked on their return flight.
At a news conference Thursday in Lyon, members of the delegation said Rivoire denied any wrongdoing and refused to leave France.
Tanya Tungilik, whose late father alleged that he was sexually abused by Rivoire in Naujaat, Nvt., when he was 13 years old, described confronting Rivoire as coming face-to-face with “the monster.”
“He has no remorse,” she said. “I left. I didn’t want to hear his lies.”
A federal bankruptcy judge ordered the Archdiocese of New Orleans to stop stipend payments to priests accused of sexual abuse, but not listed on the archdiocesan “credibly accused clergy” roster.
While it is not clear whether the New Orleans archdiocese will push back on the court’s decision, the order raises significant questions related to the First Amendment, about due process for accused clergymen, and the residual fallout of the Church’s sexual abuse crises of recent decades.
Judge Meredith Grabill ordered Aug. 31 that the archdiocese must stop making stipend and other maintenance payment to five priests who are not in ministry, but who not included on the archdiocesan list of clerics credibly accused of sexual abuse.
The order came in federal bankruptcy court, where the Archdiocese of New Orleans has filed for Chapter 11 protection.
Like many U.S. dioceses, New Orleans maintains a list of clergy “credibly accused” of sexual…
- Pastor resigns just days after The Tennessean told the story of Valerie Swope and her experiences as a clergy sexual abuse survivor.
- After an initial report in 2002, Swope began sharing her story more publicly in 2019 at a time of growing awareness of clergy sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention.
- In announcing resignation, Tullahoma pastor cited questions from congregants in recent days about his leadership.
A prominent Tullahoma pastor resigned from his church on Wednesday, just days after The Tennessean told the story of Valerie Swope and her experiences as a clergy sexual abuse survivor.
The pastor, Christian Watts, cited questions from congregants in recent days about his leadership in a post on Facebook announcing his decision to step down from Life Change Church.
“I am deeply sorry for any pain and sorrow this has brought upon you,” Watts said in a post on the church’s Facebook page.
Watts has acknowledged…
A victim of child sexual abuse at a priest training school has said missionaries “begged for forgiveness” at a meeting.
Mark Murray was one of several abuse survivors who met the Comboni Missonaries in London on Tuesday.
The 66-year-old from St Asaph, Denbighshire endured repeated abuse by a priest while at St Peter Claver College in West Yorkshire.
The Comboni Survivors Group said it was “deeply moved” by the meeting.
The group was invited to meet Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and other seniors clerics, including members of the Comboni Missionaries at the Archbishop’s House in Westminster.
“It was much more positive than I had imagined it was going to be,” said Mr Murray
“They acknowledged the abuse, which is something that we always wanted.”
Mr Murray had joined the former junior seminary when he was 13, between 1969 and 1974.
Pope Francis had urged the order to engage…
Lead plaintiff Steve Snyder-Hill said it’s a huge ruling for the survivors, who believe it could influence other sexual misconduct cases at universities.
A federal appeals court ruling Wednesday revives unsettled lawsuits against Ohio State University over decades-old sexual abuse by the late team doctor Richard Strauss.
A district judge in Columbus had dismissed most of the unsettled cases, acknowledging that hundreds of young men were abused but agreeing with the university’s argument that the legal time limit for the claims had long passed. The plaintiffs argued that the clock didn’t start until the allegations came to light in 2018, and that their cases should be allowed to continue.
Two of the three judges on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that heard the case concluded in the ruling Wednesday that the men “plausibly allege a decades-long cover up” and “adequately allege that they did not know and…
The Vatican declined to ask Pope Francis to resolve Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases.
Last month, District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ordered attorneys representing the Holy See, or the State of the Vatican City, to ask the pope if he can resolve the Guam clergy sex abuse cases as opposed to settling it in court.
The case in question comes from a lawsuit filed by plaintiff “D.M.” who accused the Vatican of being responsible for former Archbishop Anthony Apuron sexually assaulting him in the 1990s.
Parties met in August on a motion filed by the Vatican to dismiss the case due to improper service from the plaintiff’s attorneys.
Throughout the arguments, Tydingco-Gatewood challenged the pope to be part of not only resolving D.M.’s case but also the hundreds of victims seeking compensation from the Archdiocese of Agana. She also asked if the plaintiff’s attorneys could be given…
As Inuit delegates from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. prepared to meet with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in France Wednesday, they had a shock: the man they’ve accused of sexually abusing Canadian children would be there, too.
The delegates have been in France all week to call for the extradition of ex-priest Johannes Rivoire, who has been charged in Canada with sexual assault dating back to his time in Nunavut in the 1960s and 1970s.
The meeting with Rivoire was one the delegation had sought, but hadn’t received any word about until they were nearly at their destination in Lyon, France.
Kilikvak Kabloona, the CEO of Nunavut Tunngavik, said delegates were emotional when they heard who would be at the meeting.
“I ask you to respect that this is a very difficult time for the survivors, and they might not be willing to speak with you at this time,” Kabloona told media…
- Police officer and former Surf Coast mayor, Brian McKiterick has launched legal action against the Vincentian order almost 50 years after he was allegedly abused by a priest while boarding at a former Catholic College in Bendigo.
- McKiterick alleges that he was fondled and forced to perform a sex act by Father Murray Wilson in 1975, when he was a boarder at the former St Vincent’s College in Bendigo, according to the Supreme Court writ.
- McKiterick has called for a more compassionate and conciliatory approach from the church and its lawyers towards victims of historical abuse by the clergy.
- The Vincentian order had requested that McKiterick provide proof that he attended the college, which has exacerbated his trauma, according to his lawyer Cameron Doig from Arnold Thomas and Becker
A police officer and former Surf Coast mayor has launched legal action against the Vincentian order almost 50 years after he was…
Alleged victim of pastor was “advised to stop talking” about what happened to her …
A pair of lawsuits recently filed in Richland County, South Carolina have accused former youth pastor Mike D’Attoma of Northside Baptist Church in Lexington S.C. of grooming and sexually abusing female parishioners under his care. The suit also alleged the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest non-Catholic Christian denomination in the country, systemically failed to address rampant sexual abuse.
D’Attoma became a pastor at Northside in 2009. The plaintiffs, who asked the court to refer to them as Jane Doe One and Jane Doe Two throughout the proceedings, were fourteen and fifteen years old at the time D’Attoma entered the Northside youth ministry.
The suit paints the picture of a popular and enthusiastic pastor, a “favorite amongst all of the students in the youth group, especially most of the young girls.”
Jane Doe One claims to…
I saw the headlines. Following the papal visit to Canada in July, most Catholic news outlets were running stories with headlines like “Pope’s Apology Was a Start. Now the Real Work Begins.” I sighed with heaviness, because we all know who will be shouldering this task: It will once again fall to survivors and their descendants to continue the work they have been doing for a long time. “Real work” has become the trump card that signals that white work here is done.
As a mixed Native and white Catholic woman in the U.S., I watched Pope Francis’ visit to Canada closely. I watched his apology to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. I watched the various strong reactions many Native people expressed at seeing the pope wear a warbonnet and I watched the Twitter hot takes coming from all sides. I watched it all. My…
The House on Tuesday passed a bill eliminating the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse who seek to file civil claims, sending the measure to President Biden’s desk for final approval.
The chamber cleared the bill, titled the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, by voice vote, a strategy reserved for non-controversial, popular measures. The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent in March.
The measure calls for removing the statute of limitations for minors filing civil claims relating to a number of sex abuse crimes, including force labor, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.ADVERTISING
Under current law, minors who experience sexual abuse are able to file federal civil claims until they turn 28 years old, or until 10 years after the violation or injury is discovered. The bill Congress passed seeks to eliminate those time restraints.
There is no…
France has rejected a request from a visiting delegation of Canadian Inuits to extradite a priest accused of sexual assault on young members of the Indigenous minority in the 1960s.
The justice ministry said that in a meeting, the delegation was told that “in line with the constitutional tradition, France does not extradite its nationals”.
The Inuit had travelled to Paris to press France to fulfil a request filed by Canada in August for the extradition of Joannes Rivoire, 92, who lives in the French city of Lyon.
Rivoire, who has both French and Canadian nationality, is accused of sexually abusing young Inuit in the 1960s while he was on a mission in the far north of the country. He denies the accusations.
The justice ministry added that while turning down the extradition request, it also asked Canadian authorities for all details over the case to see if proceedings could be…
The Vatican has said that recent court inquiries directed to Pope Francis as a head of state are “improper” under the doctrines of absolute immunity and personal inviolability in response to District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s order for the Holy See’s counsel to report on whether Pope Francis could meet with all survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults to help settle abuse claims.
The Vatican said judicial inquiries directed to the pope as a head of state are “improper,” after a federal judge ordered the Holy See’s counsel to report on whether Pope Francis could meet with all survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults to help settle abuse claims.
Attorneys for the Vatican, led by California-based Jeffrey Lena, also said the Holy See “has given no indication that it is currently inclined to settle the case at bar,” or participate in similar lawsuits.
All this is…
A New Zealand group representing survivors of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has called on Pope Francis to intervene in the redress process, claiming that church authorities were mishandling it and retraumatising victims.
In a letter sent to the Vatican and seen by Reuters, the New Zealand chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a global organisation for child abuse victims, accused church officials in New Zealand of breaching procedures for managing abuse complaint cases.
“Most sadly, we are being harmed by the very Church office set up to provide healing,” Christopher Longhurst, the National Leader for SNAP Aotearoa New Zealand, said in his letter to the Pope.
Longhurst said in the letter that while publicly the leaders of the local Catholic church extend an “open hand to the hope of healing”, behind closed doors they traumatise survivors a second time by violating their own…
The alleged abuse happened when the man was around 17 years old. According to court documents, the then-teen was allegedly told no one would believe him if he reported the abuse.
A Surrey man has filed a civil action against multiple Roman Catholic dioceses, orders of clergy and the estates of several dead priests alleging sexual abuse when he was a boy.
In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Sept. 8, W.B. alleges he was abused by Father Harold McIntee.
In 1989, McIntee pleaded guilty to 17 counts of sexual assault against males, many of them residential school boys as young as 10.
The defendants named in the claim are: the estates of McIntee, Bishop Emeritus John Fergus O’Grady, Bishop Emeritus Hubert O’Connor, Father James Anthony Jordan; the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Province of British Columbia; OMI Lacombe Canada…
New study projects that the religious identity in the US will drop below 50 percent by 2070.
Pew Research Center isn’t ruling out a future religious revival in America.
But given the country’s steady trends away from faith affiliation, experts don’t know what it would look like to see a return.
Analyzing surveys about religious identity and religious “switching” going back to 1972 and trying to project the American religious landscape out to the year 2070, they can’t say what demographic signs might indicate a coming swell of conversions.
“We’ve never seen it, and we don’t have the data to model a religious reversal,” Pew senior researcher Stephanie Kramer told CT. “There are some who say that revival never happens in an advanced economy. After secularization, you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. But we don’t know that. We just don’t have the data.”
The data they do have,…
En una de las penas más duras de las últimas décadas contra un sacerdote en España, el tribunal afirma que el acusado se aprovechó de su posición y del escenario de los delitos, un internado sometido a disciplina
La Sala de lo Penal del Tribunal Supremo ha confirmado este martes una de las penas más duras contra un cura en España en las últimas décadas, la condena a 30 años de prisión impuesta hace dos años a un exsacerdote de Ciudad Real por abusos sexuales a siete menores del seminario diocesano de Ciudad Real, donde era formador de los alumnos, entre 2014 y 2016. La sentencia ratifica la condena del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla La Mancha, que había elevado la pena precedente de 22 años y 8 meses hasta 30 años. Confirma igualmente una multa de 52.920 euros y una indemnización de 2.000 euros a cada…
Spain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a 30-year prison sentence a lower court had imposed on a former priest for sexually abusing seven boys he taught at a seminary boarding school.
The court found that the abuse took place between 2013 and 2016 at the school in the south-central city of Ciudad Real. The victims were aged around 13 at the time.
During swimming lessons, the defendant played games with some of the boys, pulling them into the water by grabbing their genitals, the court said, and forced some of his victims to stand naked in front of him as a “test of trust.”
In 2016 a church court defrocked the priest after receiving complaints about his behavior, and referred him to civil courts. In 2020 he was convicted of sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The former priest appealed to the Supreme Court, which on Tuesday…
Two men who were sexually abused by priests as children but filed their claims past the Aug. 15, 2019 deadline will get their full share of the Archdiocese of Agana’s compensation plan.
This comes two weeks before a hearing on the archdiocese’s bankruptcy exit plan, a key part of which is paying out hundreds of abuse claimants.
In the offer, the archdiocese and its creditors’ committee propose to pay abuse survivors $37 million to $101 million, plus a free burial plot and Catholic education for their children.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, at a hearing Tuesday, allowed the two late-file claims to be considered as timely filed, and would therefore not incur a penalty. The penalty could have reduced their payout share to 33.3% and subject to a $50,000 cap.
Attorney Anthony Perez, counsel for the men, argued that his clients “acted quickly” and filed a lawsuit and…
A group of Canadian Inuit have come to France to push for the extradition of a retired French priest accused of sexually abusing several Inuit children when he worked as a missionary in the north of Canada more than 40 years ago.
The five-person delegation from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) head to the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday to argue the extradition of Johannes Rivoire – a former Roman Catholic priest who lives at an Oblates nursing home in the southern city of Lyon.
Rivoire holds French and Canadian citizenship and Canada requested his extradition last month.
The priest, now aged 93, served with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the remote Arctic communities of Igloolik, Naujaat and Arviat between 1960 and 1992.
He was accused of sexually abusing boys and girls during that time.
Rivoire left Canada for France in 1993 and denies the allegations.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is urging churches and associations to take advantage of training that will be offered in early October to address the issue of sexual abuse.
Todd Gray, KBC’s executive director-treasurer, stressed the need for churches to be prepared to prevent sexual abuse situations, as well as churches being prepared to properly handle any accusation of sexual abuse.
“We must act to protect our children from the devastating consequences of sexual abuse,” Gray said. In addition, he said churches will be trained on how to respond if a sexual abuse allegation is made. “This training is important for churches — at last year’s Annual Meeting the messengers voted for KBC to establish a sexual abuse task force to address this important topic in our state. This training will be a tremendous service to Kentucky Baptists.”
“Sexual abusers will seek access to children where protective barriers are low —…
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is facing two potentially precedent-setting lawsuits, alleging the denomination is responsible for sexual abuse perpetrated years ago by a South Carolina youth pastor.
The lawsuits were brought by two anonymous women who say they were abused as teens by Michael D’Attoma, former youth pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Lexington, South Carolina. The suits are seeking damages from Northside Baptist Church, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the SBC.
D’Attoma denies the allegations.
The lawsuits are the first suits against the SBC since the release of a report published in May by Guidepost Solutions showing widespread sex abuse cover-up within the SBC, confirmed Gene Besen, an attorney for the SBC’s Executive Committee.
The suits may also be the first to base their claims on the Guidepost Solutions’ report, according to South Carolina attorney Randy Hood. Hood is representing the two…
Are ‘Vos estis’ records protected by the First Amendment? The New York archdiocese says they are.
The Archdiocese of New York argued in an Albany courtroom on Friday that records compiled during a Vatican-ordered investigation into a retired bishop are protected by the First Amendment, and can not be turned over in response to a subpoena in a sexual abuse lawsuit.
The case raises questions about the confidentiality of the Vos estis lux mundi process, promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019 as a mechanism for investigating allegations of abuse or misconduct against bishops.
‘An exclusively canonical process’
New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan was directed in early 2021 to investigate claims against retired Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard, who has been accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse against minors, and who admitted last year that he transferred several priests to new parish ministries without contacting police, after they were accused of sexual…
Church in the country was only ‘starting to become aware’ of this problem, unlike countries in Europe and America
A forum of priests, nuns, laypeople, and activists in Indonesia has urged the Catholic Church hierarchy to tackle sexual abuse head-on and to end the practice of cover-up for the sake of protecting the church’s image.
The online discussion was held in collaboration between Let’s Talk About Sex and Sexualities, and Yayasan Sesawi dan Kawal Gereja (Mustard and Church Watchdog Foundation), a lay Catholic group, on Sept. 9.
The organizers said the event sought to encourage Church leaders to be serious and proactive in investigating sexual violence within the church, in line with Pope Francis’ commitment to zero tolerance for sex abuse.
Jesuit Father Franz Magnis-Suseno, former professor at the Jakarta-based Driyarkara School of Philosophy told the forum the Indonesian Church was only at the stage…