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.

August 18, 2022

National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director Cathy Renna (L) with journalist Chuck Colbert (Photo courtesy of Cathy Renna)

LGBTQ journalist Chuck Colbert died: reported on Catholic sexual abuse

WEST HOLLYWOOD (CA)
Los Angeles Blade [Los Angeles CA]

August 16, 2022

By Karen Ocamb

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“Chuck was extraordinarily principled and helpful, especially when addressing issues related to the LGBTQ community and the Catholic Church”

[Photo above: National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director Cathy Renna (L) with journalist Chuck Colbert (Photo courtesy of Cathy Renna)]

Chuck Colbert had a touch of old Cary Grant in him — dashing and debonair in his tuxedo at swank LGBTQ events. But he was also deeply humble and bursting with joy from his lifelong devotion to the core beliefs of the Catholic Church.

His journalistic discipline controlling his personal anguish over the proclamations about homosexuality enabled him as an out gay man to report professionally on the sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in the early 2000s.

As a regular freelance contributor to the National Catholic Reporter and other media outlets, Chuck debunked tirades against gays and often underscored how girls and young women had been raped and…

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Cardinal Ouellet allegations will raise Vatican criticisms

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

August 17, 2022

By JD Flynn

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Analysis: Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Canadian media reported Tuesday that Cardinal Marc Ouellet has been accused in a class-action lawsuit of inappropriately touching an intern, allegedly kissing her at a 2010 ordination party, and then sliding his hand down her back and touching her posterior.

The cardinal has not yet made a statement about the allegations, nor has the Holy See officially indicated whether any canonical process will be undertaken.

The allegations are the kind unlikely to be prosecuted as crimes, and neither guilt nor innocence is especially likely to be proved. Ouellet will most likely remain for some time in a middle ground, neither exonerated nor condemned. 

But the Vatican’s handling of the case already – in the 19 months since Pope Francis apparently learned of the allegations – is likely to draw criticism for the pontiff, renewing the frequent charge that Francis does not have a handle on addressing…

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Retired priest accused of sexual assault at Manitoba residential school pleads not guilty

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

August 17, 2022

By Rachel Bergen

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Arthur Masse, 92, charged with assaulting 10-year-old girl at Fort Alexander school more than 50 years ago

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

A retired priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl at a Manitoba residential school more than 50 years ago has pleaded not guilty.

Arthur Masse, now 92, was not in the Powerview, Man., court on Wednesday, but entered his plea through his lawyer. His case will go to a Court of Queen’s Bench judge-only trial in Winnipeg, but a trial date has not been set.

Masse was arrested in June after a decade-long investigation and now faces one charge of indecent assault.

RCMP say the victim was a student at Fort Alexander residential school in Sagkeeng First Nation, in eastern Manitoba, where Masse worked. 

Police haven’t named the victim, but 63-year-old Victoria McIntosh, of Sagkeeng First Nation, says she was the child at the centre of this case.

“I’ll be there…

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Church Provides Further Details about the Arizona Abuse Case

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [Salt Lake City UT]

August 17, 2022

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Church outlines its feelings on abuse and how a recent Associated Press story got it wrong

For generations, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have spoken in the strongest of terms about the evils of abuse and the need to care for those who are victims or survivors of abuse. From the thundering rebuke of former President Gordon B. Hinckley to the recent words of healing offered by Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy, our feelings are clear. We echo those sentiments and teachings today. Our hearts are broken as we learn of any abuse. It cannot be tolerated. It cannot be excused. The Savior Jesus Christ wants us all to do better and be better.

It is important to us that our members and friends understand how deeply we feel about this subject. It is also important that they have accurate information about how we approach…

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LDS Church hits back even harder at AP, cites ‘egregious errors’ in sex abuse article

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

August 18, 2022

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

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News agency says it “stands by its story” as reporter explains why he believes bishop knew of ongoing abuse.

A recent Associated Press article about a horrific case of child sexual abuse by a Latter-day Saint father in Arizona has “significant flaws in its facts and timeline, which lead to erroneous conclusions,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday evening in a scathing critique of the piece.

It was the Utah-based faith’s second response to the AP article published Aug. 4, written and reported by Michael Rezendes, a member of The Boston Globe’s investigative team that won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing clergy abuse in the Catholic Church.

The LDS Church’s initial response called the AP article an “oversimplified and incomplete” story about the faith’s handling of child sex abuse cases, but didn’t supply any examples of what was wrong with it.

Rezendes’ reporting centered on Paul Adams, a one-time…

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Quebec priest named in sexual assault lawsuit removed years after allegations first flagged

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

August 17, 2022

By Émilie Warren

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Alleged victim says Léopold Manirabarusha assaulted her more than 15 times

WARNING: This article contains details of abuse.

The archdiocese of Quebec removed a priest accused of sexual assault from his post in April of this year, just months after an alleged victim filed an official complaint against him.

But court documents from a new civil lawsuit against the archdiocese show at least one parish official knew of allegations against him more than four years earlier.

Details of the allegations against Léopold Manirabarusha were made public Tuesday in a class action that represents more than 100 victims. Some 88 members of the clergy are named in the lawsuit.

The allegations date back to 2016 and were made by a woman in her 30s who was working as a pastoral agent in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, a town just west of Quebec City, at the time.

The woman, identified only as “F” in the court…

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Catholic cardinal accused in lawsuit of sexual assault

TORONTO (CANADA)
Washington Post

August 16, 2022

By Amanda Coletta and Chico Harlan

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Cardinal Marc Ouellet, one of the most prominent Catholic leaders in Canada, was accused of sexual assault in legal documents filed Tuesday in a Quebec court.

Ouellet, considered a candidate for pope in recent conclaves, is one of scores of church clergy, employees and volunteersaccused of sexual misconduct in a class-action lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec.

In the lawsuit, a woman identified only as “F.” accuses Ouellet of inappropriate touching and comments when he was archbishop of Quebec and she was a pastoral intern. She said the alleged abuse left her feeling “troubled” and gave her a sense of “deep unease,” and eventually prompted her to complain to Pope Francis last year.

The Archdiocese of Quebec said Tuesday that it “took note” of the allegations and “will not have any comment.” A Vatican spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Ouellet, 78, is one of the most…

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St. Gabriel’s Hall in Marystown is up for sale, and the group that runs it wants to buy it

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

August 17, 2022

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‘It’s not the diocese’s to sell,’ says chair of non-profit group launching fundraising campaign

As the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation continues to sell church properties to compensate abuse victims, the volunteer group that runs St. Gabriel’s Hall in Marystown has launched a fundraiser to buy the building they’ve spent years caring for.

John Baker, chairperson of the group that runs St. Gabriel’s Hall — a former parish hall and 107-year-old heritage building — says the hall isn’t the church’s to sell because the building was built by people from Marystown and surrounding communities over a century ago. 

“I personally feel that this property shouldn’t go for sale. I personally feel that it’s not the diocese’s to sell,” Baker told CBC News on Wednesday.

St. Gabriel’s Hall operates as a community gathering place, housing a theatre, conference room, music school, café and veterans’ memorial. 

The Catholic church has been held liable by the Supreme Court for abuse…

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‘Mormon Land’: AP reporter of ‘Spotlight’ fame discusses his expose on sex abuse in the LDS Church

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

August 17, 2022

By David Noyce  and  Peggy Fletcher Stack

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Besides a lack of reporting some of these cases to authorities, the Pulitzer-winning journalist points to document shredding and a lack of transparency by the Utah-based faith.

Earlier this month, an Associated Press investigation of several child sex abuse cases, including a particularly horrific one in Arizona, revealed that the much-debated “help line” supplied by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its lay leaders failed to protect the victims.

The expose brought responses of dismay, disgust and anger from insiders and outsiders alike — and the reverberations are still being felt.

AP journalist Michael Rezendes, who previously earned a Pulitzer Prize with The Boston Globe for uncovering the Roman Catholic Church’s pattern of covering up clergy sex abuse while part of the team dramatized in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” joins us on…

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After abuse claim against Quebec cardinal, 3 more women file complaint against church

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

August 16, 2022

By Virginie Ann

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After Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet was accused by a woman of sexual assault in a class-action lawsuit introduced this week, more women have come forward with similar allegations against members of the province’s Catholic Church.

At least three women filed formal sexual assault complaints against the archdiocese of Montreal since the allegations against Ouellet were made public, Christine Kirouack, ombudswoman for the city’s archdiocese, said in an interview Wednesday.

“It exploded since yesterday,” Kirouack said about the introduction in Superior Court of two class-action lawsuits against members of the Catholic Church in Quebec, involving hundreds of alleged victims.

It was the media reports about the allegations against the cardinal, however, that led to numerous calls to Kirouack from women. She said the high-profile allegations by an adult woman broke the stereotype commonly associated with church abuse — that it involves young children, mostly boys.

“One of them told me when…

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August 17, 2022

Mission Schools Sexual Abuse Suit Dismissed on Technicality

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

August 16, 2022

By Rebecca Hopkins

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A North Carolina judge says the Nigerian statute of limitations prevents the case from going forward.

A North Carolina judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging a missionary agency was responsible for abuse at a boarding school in Nigeria, ruling the statute of limitations in Nigeria prevents him from hearing the case.

“It was a gut punch—building yourself up for things, hoping, hoping, hoping, then having the rug pulled out from under you at the very last moment,” plaintiff Daniel Robinson, the son of Canadian missionaries, told CT.

The suit against SIM—formerly known as Soudan Interior Mission, Sudan Interior Mission, and Society for International Ministries—claims that seven employees at two schools in Jos and Miango, Nigeria, sexually abused children as young as five. The abuse reportedly went on from 1962 to 1981.

Six of those former missionary kids filed suit in December 2021, arguing the North Carolina–based missionary agency “breached its…

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Prominent Canadian cardinal accused of sexual assault

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
France 24 [Paris, France]

August 16, 2022

By Agence France Presse

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Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet, who has a high-ranking position within the Vatican, has been accused of sexual assault in a class action suit that targets more than 80 members of the clergy in the Quebec diocese, court documents showed Tuesday.

The accusation over the alleged abuse of a female intern in 2008 comes just weeks after Pope Francis visited Canada, where he apologized for the decades-long abuse of Indigenous children in Catholic-run residential schools.

Ouellet is a prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important functions within the Curia, the government of the Vatican.

When contacted by AFP, the Quebec diocese said in a statement that it had “taken note of the allegations with respect to Cardinal Marc Ouellet” and had no further comment.

The claims against Ouellet in the civil suit, which the Quebec supreme court ruled could go ahead in May, are among testimonies of…

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Cardinal Ouellet named in Canadian sex abuse lawsuit

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

August 16, 2022

By Carl Bunderson

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Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, was accused of sexual assault in a civil suit filed against the Archdiocese of Quebec.

AFP reported that the class action suit, filed Aug. 16, includes the testimony of 101 people who say they were sexually assaulted by clerics or Church staff from 1940 to the present. Eighty-eight clerics face accusations in the suit.

Ouellet is accused by a woman who says that he assaulted her multiple times while she worked as a pastoral intern for the Quebec archdiocese between 2008 and 2010, while he was Archbishop of Quebec. She described him kissing her and sliding his hand down her back to her buttock.

According to the CBC, the alleged incidents involving Ouellet occurred at public events.

The suit says that the alleged victim wrote to Pope Francis about Ouellet in January 2021, and she received an email Feb. 23,…

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Prominent cardinal named in sexual assault lawsuit against archdiocese of Quebec

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

August 16, 2022

By CBC News

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Cardinal Marc Ouellet is among 88 members of the clergy facing sexual assault allegations

The name of a prominent Vatican cardinal, who is regarded as a potential successor to Pope Francis, appears on a list made public as part of a new class action against the archdiocese of Quebec, Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête has found.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was the archbishop of Quebec when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was taking place, is among some 88 members of the clergy who are facing allegations of sexual assault. It’s the first time Ouellet’s name appears in the legal proceedings.

The civil lawsuit represents more than 100 victims who were allegedly sexually assaulted, most of them as minors, by priests and other staff working for the archdiocese since 1940. 

Most of the assaults allegedly took place in the ’50s and ’60s, according to the class action documents. 

Ouellet is by far the most prominent person…

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Report on Cologne cardinal’s PR strategy prompts renewed controversy

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 16, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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A recent report on the public relations strategy used by Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki during a clerical sex abuse scandal has provoked renewed controversy, even after the cardinal’s March return from his six-month sabbatical initiated by Pope Francis, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

Tim Kurzbach, president of the Diocesan Council of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cologne, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper Aug. 15 the cardinal should take another, longer sabbatical.

“I hope that someone will now soon take responsibility in the interests of the people in the Archdiocese of Cologne,” Kurzbach said.

Early the same day, the Catholic reform group Maria 2.0 symbolically blocked access to the administrative headquarters of the archdiocese by stretching red and white barrier tape across the entrance and attaching a photo of a padlock with the message: “Vicar General’s office Cologne CLOSED. Moral bankruptcy.”

In addition, 21 diocesan employees demanded…

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Show Me the Money: Report Gives Unprecedented Look Into Vatican Finances

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

August 15, 2022

By Justin McLellan

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The door to the Vatican money vault appears to have been thrown open wider than ever before, revealing cause for both relief and concern.

The Holy See’s financial statement for 2021, released by the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy on Aug. 5, reflects that the Vatican is largely bouncing back from the financial downturn it suffered during the pandemic, but it is still far from being in the clear, posting a deficit in its annual budget and continuing to offload its assets to make ends meet. 

But what’s most striking about this year’s report is its scope, going well beyond that of past financial statements. In the previous fiscal year, the Holy See’s financial statement included only 60 entities operating as part of the Vatican. This year, that number has increased to 92 and for the first time includes the Vatican’s substantial pension funds and Peter’s Pence, a fund composed…

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‘Beyond Bad Apples’: A new report explores how clericalism is shaped by sex, gender and power

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DC)
America [New York NY]

August 16, 2022

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

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A new report explores how a culture of clericalism contributes to the cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church. The study reveals a widespread belief among church personnel that a repression of sexuality, unhealthy power dynamics in Catholic settings and dated views on gender among church leaders foster a culture in which speaking up about wrongdoings is difficult.

The report, “‘Beyond Bad Apples’: Understanding Clergy Perpetrated Sexual Abuse as a Structural Problem & Cultivating Strategies for Change,” was researched and written by two professors at the Jesuit-sponsored Santa Clara University, Julie Hanlon Rubio and Paul J. Schutz. Dr. Rubio, who teaches Christian ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, and Dr. Schutz, a teacher in the university’s religious studies department, interviewed hundreds of priests, members of religious communities and lay people working in the church to gather insight about the…

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The Church must heal childhood sexual abuse

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

August 17, 2022

By Father Shay Cullen

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When it comes to victims of child abuse there is no greater challenge to Faith

There is so much good that true Christians and the Church can do to help and heal the wounded. All Catholics must be good Samaritans if they aspire to be true Christians and followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

When it comes to victims of child abuse there is no greater challenge to Faith. If Faith is believing that goodness, love and truth will overcome evil then we need plenty of these virtues.

The task facing honest, morally committed Church leaders, bishops, priests and lay people is for them to be child defenders and healers, be child rights activists and support all victims in every way possible, report abuse and get victims to the protection and help of a therapy center.

All must actively oppose the evil of child abuse and trafficking and bring the perpetrators…

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Lag in slavery reparations from US Jesuits irks descendants

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 16, 2022

By Deepa Bharath

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Last year, the U.S. branch of the Jesuits pledged to raise $100 million for a reconciliation initiative in partnership with descendants of people once enslaved by the Catholic order. On Tuesday, a leader of those descendants expressed deep dissatisfaction with the order’s lack of progress since then.

Joseph Stewart, in a publicly released letter to the head of the order, contends the Jesuits have failed to uphold their side of the partnership with the urgency the circumstances demand. Stewart and other descendants are the progeny of 272 enslaved men, women and children sold in 1838 by the Jesuit owners of Georgetown University to Louisiana plantation owners to pay off the school’s debts.

The Jesuits “are in a state of disillusionment,” Stewart wrote, warning of the possible disintegration of the partnership between the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, and the GU272 Descendants Association, which represents those whose ancestors were…

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August 16, 2022

Can the Catholic Church claim immunity from abuse lawsuits because it is a charity?

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WGBH Radio - NPR affiliate [Boston MA]

August 16, 2022

By Paris Alston, Jeremy Siegel, and Daniel Medwed

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When a man in Springfield sued the Catholic Church over abuse he said he suffered at the hands of a bishop in the 1960s, the church tried to use a now-abolished law to claim it cannot be sued because of its status as a nonprofit organization. GBH News legal analyst and Northeastern University Law Professor Daniel Medwed joined Morning Edition hosts Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel to talk about how the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in that case, along with a few other summer rulings. This transcript has been lightly edited.

Jeremy Siegel: It looks, Daniel, like it’s been a fairly busy summer for the Supreme Judicial Court. Tell us about some of the cases that have caught your eye.

Daniel Medwed: According to the court’s own rules, the SJC likes to issue opinions within 130 days of oral argument. What that means practically is that we’re seeing opinions now in cases that were…

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The debate over the Catholicism ‘trend’

NEW YORK (NY)
The Week [London, England]

August 16, 2022

By Grayson Quay

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Is Catholicism the biggest trend of 2022 — or is there nothing to see here?

A recent New York Times headline proclaimed that “New York’s Hottest Club is the Catholic Church.” Written by Julia Yost, a senior editor at the conservative Christian intellectual journal First Things, the essay pointed readers’ attention to the Manhattan neighborhood known as “Dimes Square,” where a 2,000-year-old religion is supposedly the hip new trend. “Reactionary motifs are chic: Trump hats and ‘tradwife‘ frocks, monarchist and anti-feminist sentiments. Perhaps the ultimate expression of this contrarian aesthetic is its embrace of Catholicism,” Yost wrote.

Key figures include Honor Levy, who hosts the podcast “Wet Brain” and whose fiction has been published in The New Yorker. Levy “recently converted to Catholicism and lets you know when she has unconfessed mortal sins on her conscience,” Yost writes. Another is Dasha Nekrasova, “a Catholic…

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Church studying faith-based redress Cabinet paper

WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND)
CathNews New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

August 15, 2022

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The Catholic Church’s group dealing with the Royal Commission into State and Faith-Based Care say it is studying a Cabinet paper released by Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins.

Hipkins has plans to cut a 3000-strong waiting list of claimants of abuse in state care – such as children’s homes – by making “rapid payments”.

Survivors of abuse in religious and faith-based settings are not included.

Hipkins said the new scheme would cover both state and religious claimants, but faith-based institutions would for now provide their own claims and redress processes.

“While we are engaging with faith-based institutions, it is currently up to each of them to determine whether to introduce faster payment processes,” he said.

“It’s worth noting that faith-based institutions can often settle claims more quickly than these agencies.”

Dave Mullin (pictured), who leads the Te Rōpū Tautoko catholic church group dealing with the Commission and the Crown Response…

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Stepping down: Experts draft proposed laws on status of a retired pope

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

August 12, 2022

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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Pope Francis’ plans to visit the central Italian city of L’Aquila and its basilica Aug. 28 fueled speculation of a possible announcement of his resignation, which he has firmly denied.

L’Aquila’s basilica is the burial place of St. Celestine V, who issued a decree declaring the right of a pope to voluntarily resign, and then he did so in 1294. It was also where — on top of Pope Celestine’s glass casket — then-Pope Benedict XVI left his woolen pallium he had worn during his installation Mass — a gesture many wondered had been a sign of his resignation to come four years later.

In the more than 700 years that have passed since St. Celestine established this legal precedent, the right of a pope to resign remains ensured in church law.

The law is not very detailed, saying only that the decision must be made freely and “duly manifested,”…

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Ex-Catholic brother faces abuse charges

(AUSTRALIA)
South Coast Register [New South Wales, Australia]

August 16, 2022

By Laine Clark, Australian Associated Press

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A former Catholic brother’s lawyer has conceded there is a case against his client in relation to a third person at a Brisbane court committal hearing.

Frank Terrence Keating, 79, is charged with 18 counts that include indecent dealing, indecent treatment and carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.

Prosecutors allege Keating committed the offences – against four boys and one girl – while teaching at a Queensland school in the 1980s.

A third alleged victim and his family members on Tuesday gave evidence at Keating’s Brisbane Magistrates Court committal hearing.

Keating’s lawyer Terry O’Gorman conceded there was a prima facie case against his client for the third alleged victim on one charge after evidence was given in a closed court.

Mr O’Gorman on Monday had also conceded there was a case against Keating in relation to eight charges involving two other alleged victims.

Keating was due…

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Report: Catholic clergy’s unquestioned — and uneducated — power spurs abuse

SANTA CLARA (CA)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

August 15, 2022

By Alejandra Molina

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The report, ‘Beyond Bad Apples,’ looks at systemic causes behind the clergy sex abuse scandal of past decades.

A new report based on interviews with some 300 Catholic priests, nuns and laypeople concludes that clergy aren’t adequately prepared to wield the power they exercise and need more education on questions of sex and gender.

The report, “Beyond Bad Apples: Understanding Clericalism as a Structural Problem & Cultivating Strategies for Change,” released Monday (Aug. 15), explores the links between clericalism — clergy’s focus on its authority — and clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse. 

The study’s authors, Julie Hanlon Rubio and Paul J. Schutz, both professors at Santa Clara University, a Jesuit institution in Northern California, initially intended to survey 600 respondents, drawn proportionally from lay, religious (those who take vows but are not ordained to the priesthood) and priests, but were turned away by five of the six dioceses and diocesan seminaries…

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August 15, 2022

Independent investigation called for into allegations against Rev. Rodney Thibault

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (MA)
North Star Reporter [North Attleborough MA]

August 12, 2022

By Max Bowen

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Attorney Mitchell Garabedian and Robert Hoatson are asking that the North Attleborough Police conduct an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct against Rev. Rodney E. Thibault.

In a demonstration held outside the St. Mary’s-Sacred Heart School Friday morning, Garabedian and Hoatson said that the Catholic Church cannot be trusted to “self-police” in this matter, and an independent investigation is needed to determine the truth.

“Leaving the public out in the cold only frustrates the public,” said Garabedian in a Zoom call on Friday. “Advocates, sexual abuse victims, the public, want to know the truth.”

Hoatson is the co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that offers counseling and referral services to survivors of sexual abuse. Garabedian has represented sexual abuse victims in the Boston area during the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal.

Thibault heads the Transfiguration of the Lord Parish, comprised of three separate parishes—St. Mary’s,…

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Catholic priest arrested for abusing minor boy in Kerala

(INDIA)
News9Live [Noida, India]

August 15, 2022

By Press Trust of India

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Paravur native Joseph Kodiyan (63) was arrested based on a complaint lodged by the boy’s parents on Saturday

  • Kodiyan is a priest at a church near Varapuzha
  • POCSO case has been registered against the priest
  • He will be produced in court on Monday

Kerala police on Sunday said they have arrested a Catholic priest for allegedly molesting a minor boy. The arrest of Paravur native Joseph Kodiyan (63) was made based on a complaint lodged by the boy’s parents on Saturday, said the police. Kodiyan is a priest at a church near Varapuzha, where the alleged abuse took place. A case under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered, the police told PTI. The priest was arrested on Sunday and would be produced before court, they said.

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Update public on clergy investigation — James Connell

MADISON (WI)
The Journal Times [Racine WI]

August 12, 2022

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In April 2021, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced a statewide initiative to review reports of clergy and faith leader sexual abuse in Wisconsin.

The initiative was to have two primary thrusts: confidential communication with the state’s Department of Justice on such abuse, and a physical review of related documentation maintained by the clergy and faith leaders and their respective organizations.

What has happened in the course of the review? Has the initiative been fruitful? Throughout the following months, not much has been said by the attorney general. Yet the citizens of Wisconsin have a right to know — after all, they are paying for the effort.

Kaul’s report should:

  • Describe the steps taken during the review.
  • Explain what has been learned, while appropriately respecting confidentiality.
  • Provide his recommendations for state legislators, law enforcement officials, leaders of the faith communities involved in the review and citizens at large.

Such reporting…

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Ex-Catholic brother faces abuse charges

(AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times [Brisbane, Australia]

August 15, 2022

By Cheryl Goodenough

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A boy rejected attempts by a Catholic brother to tuck him into bed during a home prayer meeting thinking it was “weird and strange”, a court has been told.

But prosecutors allege the boy’s brother was indecently treated by Frank Terrence Keating the same night.

The alleged victim and family members testified in the 79-year-old former Catholic brother’s committal hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

Keating is charged with 18 counts that include indecent dealing, indecent treatment and carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.

Prosecutors allege he committed the offences – against four boys and one girl – while teaching at a Queensland school in the 1980s.

Keating was due to face a further 15 counts relating to another person but the Crown withdrew those at the start of the hearing.

An alleged victim’s father told the court his son’s behaviour changed after Keating, also…

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Letter: Catholic Church’s apologies hollow

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

August 15, 2022

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The Catholic Church appears to be in a constant state of “mea culpa.”

In Canada last month, Pope Francis apologized for the abuses Indigenous people suffered in the country’s state-funded residential Christian schools. From the 1800s to the 1970s, Native children were forced to attend the schools where abuse was rampant.

Such papal apologies are a relatively modern phenomenon, according to Jeremy Bergen, a church apology expert and professor of religious and theological studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. Bergen noted that “for 1,900 years, churches didn’t apologize for the bad things that they did.”

In 2000, Pope John Paul apologized for Catholics’ sins through the ages, including against women, Jews and other religious minorities.

So many abuses, so many apologies. One must wonder why the abuses continue in spite of the apologies. Consider the following events concerning the abuse of nuns.

In February 2019, Pope Francis publicly…

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Mass. priest on leave amid investigation into alleged misconduct

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (MA)
WFXT-TV, Fox-25, boston25news.com (Boston MA)

August 13, 2022

By Alexander Newman

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A Massachusetts priest has been placed on leave while he is investigated for alleged misconduct that is “inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior.”

In a statement Aug. 7, the Diocese of Fall River said the allegations against Rev. Rodney E. Thibault do not involve a minor. However, Thibault is accused of misconduct that violates the code of conduct for priests in the diocese.

Thibault is the pastor at Transfiguration of the Lord Parish in North Attleborough. Parishioners were told during Masses the weekend of Aug. 6-7 that Thibault has been placed on leave.

While on leave, he is not permitted to exercise public ministry nor present himself as a priest in public settings.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha “acknowledged how ‘distressing’ this turn of events is for parishioners of the parish and assured them of his prayers during this difficult time,” according to the diocese.

Thibault was first…

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Caso Próvolo: la historia de los abominables abusos sexuales de sacerdotes a niños sordos

(ARGENTINA)
La República [Lima, Peru]

August 13, 2022

By Luis Guerrero

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Siete décadas de abusos. El caso involucra a la Iglesia Católica y a 2 sacerdotes que dirigían un internado para sordos en Argentina, condenados por abuso sexual.

El caso Próvolo es uno de los más sonados (y abominables) que involucra a la Iglesia Católica y a dos sacerdotes que dirigían el Instituto Antonio Próvolo para Sordos en Argentina, quienes fueron condenados por abusar sexualmente de 25 niños y adolescentes.

El suceso, no obstante, supera cualquier frontera: 67 exalumnos en Italia denuncian que también fueron víctimas desde 1950. Los abusos se habrían prolongado por más de siete décadas en Verona, La Plata y Mendoza, principales sedes del instituto.

El papa Francisco nunca se ha pronunciado en público sobre estas acusaciones y fue recién en 2017 que ordenó una investigación preliminar sobre las denuncias de abuso en el Instituto, un año después de que los sacerdotes fueran arrestados.

¿Qué es el caso Próvolo?

El hoy…

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August 14, 2022

The healing and causes of childhood sexual abuse

(PHILIPPINES)
Manila Times [Manila, Philippines]

August 14, 2022

By Fr. Shay Cullen

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THERE are few people in the world or in the Philippines who have not been physically, verbally, psychologically or sexually hurt and abused in their childhood. They have been emotionally damaged, and they carry the hurt and do not totally forget it. They are the brave victims/survivors — children and adults — of human family life. Their parents are likely to have been abused also and vented their pain and anger onto their children. The cycle of domestic violence and child abuse continues into the next generation.

The damaging impact of a cruel relative, parent or pedophile robbed the victims/survivors of their childhood and condemned them to a life of misery with buried, repressed memories of rape and sexual assault as their nightmarish companion for a lifetime and they cannot do anything about it. The victims of abuse are forbidden to complain, to ask help, to get justice. There is…

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Department of Justice to investigate Southern Baptist sexual abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

August 12, 2022

By Bob Smietana

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News of the federal investigations comes several months after the nation’s largest denomination passed new reforms aimed at addressing abuse.

Federal officials have begun an investigation into sexual abuse in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, Southern Baptist Convention officials announced Friday. 

A spokesman for the SBC Executive Committee’s lawyers said that the committee “has received a subpoena. No individuals have been subpoenaed at this point.”

Southern Baptist leaders pledged to cooperate fully with investigators, who will be looking into several SBC entities, according to a statement released by the SBC Friday (Aug. 12). 

“Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation,” said the SBC statement. “While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to address those issues of the past and are implementing measures to ensure they…

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The Village Church Settles Abuse Complaint

FLOWER MOUND (TX)
Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

August 12, 2022

By Emily Belz

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The Southern Baptist congregation led by Acts 29 president Matt Chandler maintained it hadn’t done anything wrong, infuriating the family of the victim.

The Village Church, a large Southern Baptist church in Texas pastored by Matt Chandler, has announced it reached a settlement with a woman who had reported one of the church’s pastors sexually assaulted her when she was 11 years old.

But the conflict isn’t over. The church statement said, “We maintain and firmly believe that we committed no wrong,” and noted that the woman couldn’t positively identify that it was the church employee who abused her.

The woman’s family protested, saying in a statement that the church’s statement was “not fully truthful, transparent, or caring for the traumatized.” The family has left the church over the handling of the case.

“The attempt to communicate care in one sentence followed by language that invalidates and dismisses the…

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Advocate for victims of clergy abuse plans demonstration in North Attleboro

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (MA)
The Sun Chronicle [Attleboro MA]

August 11, 2022

By Tom Reilly

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The co-founder of a group that advocates for victims of clergy abuse is planning a demonstration and a call for “transparency” Friday in the case of a local Catholic pastor suspended while being investigated for alleged misconduct.

The allegations against the Rev. Rodney Thibault do not involve a minor, the Diocese of Fall River has said, but that’s not enough for Robert M. Hoatson, president of the New Jersey-based group Road to Recovery.

Hoatson says Bishop Edgar da Cunha needs to “inform the parishioners and school parents…and the general public immediately” about why he suspended Thibault as pastor. Thibault was also director of St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Elementary School.

Worshipers at Masses last weekend at the three churches that make up the Transfiguration of the Lord Parish were told that Thibault, who has been pastor since 2019, did is the subject of investigation into “alleged misconduct that is inconsistent with…

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Canadian First Nations, Catholic Church Reflect After Papal Visit, Apology

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Voice of America [Washington DC]

August 12, 2022

By Craig McCullough

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Pope Francis’ recent visit to Canada featured a widely reported apology for decades of horrific abuses at church-run residential schools for Indigenous youth. But it remains to be seen how much the papal visit accomplished in reconciliation between the Catholic Church and Canada’s First Nations.

The catalyst for the recent visit to Canada by Pope Francis arose over a year ago, when ground-penetrating radar found more than 200 grave-like impressions outside a now-closed residential school in the town of Kamloops, about 250 kilometers east of Vancouver.

It was one of 139 such schools that existed across Canada from 1828 to 1996. Paid for by the Canadian government and run principally by the Catholic Church, approximately 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Metis children were taken from their families and local communities and forced to attend the schools. Investigations have found that verbal, sexual and physical abuse were common, even rampant, at many…

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Road to Healing: Native American communities speak out on past abuse

(MI)
WWMT-TV [Kalamazoo MI]

August 13, 2022

By Josh Kurman

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EMMET COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) — Hundreds of people gathered at Pellston Public Schools Saturday for the Road to Healing.

The Department of Interior (DOI) launched the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to bring awareness to the trauma that Indigenous people endure as a direct result of boarding schools.

The investigation found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal Indian boarding school system consisted of 408 federal schools across 37 states or then territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii.

The investigation identified marked or unmarked burial sites at approximately 53 different schools across the school system. As the investigation continues, the Department expects the number of identified burial sites to increase.

The Road to Healing Tour, a series of listening sessions, is an integral step in the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to hear from survivors and their descendants about their…

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Feds Getting Involved in SBC Investigation

NASHVILLE (TN)
Patheos [Englewood CO]

August 13, 2022

By Eric Scot English

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I have been covering the sexual abuse claims within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for over a year. As a reminder, the SBC has been accused over the years of clergy sexually abusing their parishioners. At their annual meeting in 2021, the SBC ultimately ignored the problem by putting in place an ineffective boiler-plate policy regarding sexual abuse in the denomination. Needless to say, this did not go over too well with the public. The SBC later decided to do an internal investigation into the matter. At this year’s annual meeting (2022), the SBC decided to have a third-party come in and investigate the claims.

Well, the results are in, and as expected the 300-page report shed light on the despicable actions of SBC leadership from 2000 to 2020. In fact, the report has spurred a federal investigation by the DoJ. With 190 million on the line (their annual budget),…

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Southern Baptists say denomination faces DOJ investigation

NASHVILLE (TN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 12, 2022

By Holly Meyer and David Crary

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Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention said Friday that several of the denomination’s major entities are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in the wake of its multiple problems related to clergy sex abuse.

The SBC’s Executive Committee has received a subpoena, but no individuals have been subpoenaed at this point, according to the committee’s lawyers.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we are not commenting on our discussions with DOJ,” they said.

The statement from SBC leaders — including Executive Committee members, seminary presidents and heads of mission organizations — gave few details about the investigation, but indicated it dealt with widespread sexual abuse problems that have rocked the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

“Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation,” the statement said. “While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse,…

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August 13, 2022

Victim of Bishop Zanchetta: ‘Don’t turn your back on us; we didn’t deserve such treatment’

ORáN (ARGENTINA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

August 13, 2022

By Walter Sanchez Silva, ACI Prensa Staff

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A former seminarian and victim of the bishop emeritus of Oran, Argentina, Gustavo Zanchetta — who was sentenced to prison for sexual abuse in Argentina — asked the Catholic Church not to turn its back on him.

On Aug. 12, ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency,  interviewed G.C., a 28-year-old former seminarian and one of Zanchetta’s victims, after the bishop was allowed to serve his sentence under house arrest in July.

The place of house arrest, according to the newspaper El Tribuno, is a house for retired priests in the Monastery of Our Lady of the Valley of Nueva Orán of the Order of the Immaculate Conception-Franciscan Conceptionist Mothers.

In March, Zanchetta was sentenced to four and a half years in prison after being found guilty of abuse.

“Simply that: don’t turn your back on us. We didn’t deserve such treatment,” G.C. told ACI Prensa when asked about what he…

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Mumbai’s Card Gracias slams false accusations against him on social media

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Asia News [Bangkok, Thailand]

August 8, 2022

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Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, released a video following reports that he covered up for Bishop Kannikass Antony William of Mysore.

“In the interest of the truth and for the good of the Church, I am communicating with you directly,” he says in the video released two days ago by the archdiocese.

Bishop William is accused of having lovers, fathering children, and killing four priests who opposed him.

A Vatican commission composed of three bishops began investigating in February 2021 after a group of local priests wrote a letter to Pope Francis in 2019.

“I was very distressed when recently several well-wishers shared with my team some videos and messages that have been doing the rounds on social media. These centre around a conversation between Bishop William and myself two years back,” Card Gracias notes.

“I have realised that the tape of my conversation has been mischievously edited to give…

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Indian cardinal denies cover-up to shield bishop charged with fathering a child

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

August 10, 2022

By CNA Staff

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Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias adamantly denied allegations that he attempted to arrange for a fake paternity test for a scandal-plagued bishop accused of secretly fathering a child, among other charges.

In a video statement posted on the Archdiocese of Bombay’s YouTube channel Sunday, Gracias said that a 2020 recording of a telephone conversation with Bishop Kannikass Antony William of Mysore had been “mischievously edited” to give the impression that the cardinal had tried to cover up the scandal.

The recording in question, originally posted by the website Church Militant, had been circulating on social media among Indian Catholics, according to various news accounts.

In the video, Gracias said that he was “distressed” to learn of the rumors, which he said he “categorically, emphatically and totally” denied.

He said that an unedited version of the recorded conversation would show that he was attempting to arrange for a paternity test in a…

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Catholic priest arrested for sexually harassing 3 school girls in TN

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

August 11, 2022

By Maha Krishnan

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A Catholic parish priest has been arrested under the POCSO Act for sexually harassing 3 underage girls. He noticed them attending the church alone and took them to his private chambers on the pretext of conducting ‘special prayers’ for their studies.

John Robert (46), is the parish priest of St.Arulanandar Church in Mandapam near Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. 3 school going girls aged between 15-17 accused him of sexually harassing them in the church. As per the news reports, the 3 girls used to come to the church alone. Noticing this John Robert started talking to them and established a relationship with them.

One day after the mass was over he took the 3 girls to a private place on the pretext of conducting ‘special prayers’ for their studies and molested them. Girls told about it to their parents who informed the Child Welfare Committee(CWC)…

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Former Plover youth pastor to be charged with child sexual assault

PLOVER (WI)
WSAW [Wausau, WI]

August 10, 2022

By Heather Poltrock and Emily Davies

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Criminal charges have now been filed in Portage County against a former youth pastor.

Jordan Huffman, 51, is expected to be charged with eight counts including first-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement and contributing to the delinquency of a child. Huffman was arrested Aug. 9 in Florida, where he is currently living. He has a hearing in Florida on Aug. 24.

Court documents state the alleged victim said the crimes began in 2017 when the victim was 12 years old. Authorities were told Huffman was working as a youth pastor at Woodlands Church in Plover when he was contacted to mentor the victim. The incidents were reported by the alleged victim’s father in June. Court documents stated the assaults happened more than a dozen times over a two-year span.

The alleged victim stated that nothing sexual in nature had occurred at Woodlands Church, but that some assaults happened…

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Southern Baptist abuse claims under DoJ investigation

NASHVILLE (TN)
BBC [London, England]

August 13, 2022

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Leaders of the largest Protestant denomination in the US say the authorities have started an inquiry into sexual abuse by its clergy.

Lawyers for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) said they would co-operate with the investigation “fully and completely”.

A report in May said the SBC had covered up the abuse and vilified survivors.

The SBC has 13 million members and is heavily concentrated in the US south.

The department of justice has sent subpoenas to the Church’s executive committee, its lawyers said.

SBC leaders said the investigation centered on widespread sexual abuse problems highlighted by May’s report – a result of an investigation carried out for the SBC by an outside firm.

“Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation,” they said in a statement.

“While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across…

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Southern Baptists say they face U.S. federal probe after sex abuse claims

NASHVILLE (TN)
Reuters [London, England]

August 12, 2022

By Reuters

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The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, said on Friday that several of its entities were being investigated by the Justice Department, after a report found the church had mishandled sex abuse claims and mistreated victims.

The Convention did not provide details on the inquiry and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the church’s executive committee said in a statement it would fully cooperate with the probe and would “transparently address the scourge of sexual abuse.”

An internal report commissioned by the Convention and released in May found that complaints of sex abuse by pastors and staff were either ignored or covered up by top clergy, a practice that occurred over decades.

The Convention, which has 13.7 million members, has since issued a formal apology over the abuse and released a list of hundreds of offenders who have been criminally convicted,…

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Southern Baptist Convention says it faces a DOJ investigation after outside report finds leaders mishandled allegations of sexual abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

August 13, 2022

By Jennifer Henderson

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The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention and its entities on the heels of an explosive report that detailed the mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse by church leaders, the SBC said in a statement Friday.

The report in May by a third-party firm, Guidepost Solutions, also said church leaders intimidated victims and their advocates and resisted attempts at reform over the course of two decades.

“Survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action,” the report found, “even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry with no notice or warning to their current church or congregation.”

The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with an estimated 14 million members across more than 47,000 churches.

In its statement Friday,…

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Two Utah lawmakers seek to end ‘clergy exception’ to child abuse reporting

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT]

August 12, 2022

By Marjorie Cortez

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GOP Rep. Phil Lyman and Democratic Rep. Angela Romero, have each opened bill files to end the clergy exception to reporting child abuse requirements to be considered during the Utah Legislature’s 2023 general session. Romero said the two will work together

Two Utah lawmakers have asked legislative attorneys to draft bills seeking to end the “clergy exception” to required child abuse reporting.

Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, and Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, have each opened bill files to be considered during the Utah Legislature’s 2023 general session. In 2020, Romero introduced HB90, seeking to eliminate the clergy exception in state statute. The bill was numbered and introduced but was held in the House Rules Committee.

The two plan to work cooperatively during the next legislative session, Romero said.

“Most likely, one of us will run the bill. We agreed to support each other because we both…

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Utah GOP lawmaker wants to require clergy to report child abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

August 12, 2022

By Bryan Schott

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Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, wants to remove a carve-out in Utah’s child protection laws that allows clergy members not to report suspected child abuse.

Utah law requires anyone who knows of or suspects abuse or neglect to report it to the state or law enforcement. Clergy members are exempted from the mandatory reporting requirement if someone confesses to them while “functioning in the ministerial capacity.”

In a news release, the Republican said he was concerned about recent news stories about how laws protecting children from abuse have failed. Providing an exemption for clergy members when reporting abuse is problematic.

“There are too many heartbreaking stories of abuse in Utah and across the nation of help that never came or came too late,” Lyman said.

An Associated Press investigation into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints handling of child sex abuse cases revealed how church leaders used a so-called “helpline”…

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Mormon lawmaker pushes abuse reporting reform in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 12, 2022

By Brady McCombs

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A Republican state lawmaker in Utah said Friday he plans to introduce legislation that would require clergy to report child abuse to authorities, eliminating the clergy-penitent privilege in a state where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the predominant religion.

Rep. Phil Lyman’s news release came a week after The Associated Press published an investigative story focusing on cases in Arizona and West Virginia that found the church’s abuse reporting system can be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way.

Lyman, a member of the faith who himself served six years as a bishop of a local congregation, said he had already been working for months on his legislation but called the AP story “powerful” and an example of the kinds of problems caused by delaying report…

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Calls for changes to New Zealand law after rapist claims sex with 12-year-old ‘consensual’

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

August 12, 2022

By Tess McClure

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The interrogation of a victim who was accused in court of “consenting” to sex with an adult when she was 12 years old has placed New Zealand’s sexual assault laws in the spotlight, with advocates pushing for a total overhaul.

The offender, Tulisi Leiataua, was found guilty this week of 33 charges of sexual abuse against two girls. His youngest victim was 8 years old when the abuse began. Both victims faced two weeks of gruelling cross-examination, and it was the nature of Leiataua’s defence, rather than the trial’s final outcome, that prompted outcry among New Zealand advocates.

Leiataua argued during the trial that his assault on one of the girls, who was 12 at the time of the attacks, was “consensual”, that she had “pursued” him, and that it was therefore not rape.

His defence utilised an element of New Zealand’s laws not widely understood by the public –…

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Prison sex therapist defends pedophiles as ‘minor-attracted persons,’ outraging victim advocates

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PennLive.com

August 12, 2022

By Ivey DeJesus

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Advocates for victims of childhood sexual abuse are excoriating a licensed sex therapist with the Commonwealth who is advocating that pedophiles be referred to as “minor-attracted persons.”

Miranda Galbreath, a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections sex therapist and counselor, this week engendered pushback after posting a video on social media seeming to defend pedophiles and calling on them to be referred to as “minor-attracted persons.”

“She is helping to minimize the problem,” said Mike McDonnell, survivor of clergy sexual abuse and a leader of the state Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “She’s helping to minimize the truth, the depth and the scope and gravity of the crime itself.”

In a YouTube video titled “Let’s talk about minor-attracted persons”, Galbreath said pedophiles were “probably the most vilified population of folks in our culture.”

“The term pedophile has moved from being a diagnostic label to being a…

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August 12, 2022

Diocese nixes plan to transfer controversial priest

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
The Independent [Narragansett, RI]

August 12, 2022

By Ryan Blessing

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After a wave of public outrage including daily protests by a local man, the Diocese of Providence this week halted plans to assign to Narragansett a priest accused of asking  inappropriate questions to children.

The Rev. Eric Silva was slated to start next week, Aug. 15, as an assistant pastor at the Roman Catholic St. Thomas More parish. The Narragansett parish includes St. Thomas More Church and the St. Veronica Chapel.

That was before a backlash both locally and from a national group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, when the latter published information about Silva’s removal from two other diocesan churches and a forced leave of absence.

The diocese said Friday that Bishop Thomas J. Tobin rescinded the appointment after he received written requests to do so from Silva and from Father Marcel Taillon, pastor of St. Thomas More.

“It is with a heavy heart that I realize…

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Indigenous Residential School Survivors Recall Stories of Abuse Following Pope Francis’ Visit

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Inside Edition [New York NY]

August 12, 2022

By Johanna Li

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“We had numbers on our clothing,” survivor Evelyn Korkmaz recalled of her time at St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in Fort Albany, Canada.

Following Pope Francis’ week-long tour in Canada, during which he went from city to city apologizing for the atrocities of the Catholic Church-backed residential school system forced upon Indigenous children until the late 1990s, survivors are once again speaking up, and sharing their horrific experience. 

“I spent four years at St. Anne’s residential school, and they were the worst years of my life,” survivor Evelyn Korkmaz told Anadolu News. 

Korkmaz, now in her 60s, grew up in Fort Albany, an isolated Cree reservation in Northeastern Ontario.  At 10 years old, she began attending St. Anne, a residential school now known as one of the most horrific across the country.

“There was an electric chair at St. Anne’s,” she told CTV News

She…

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North Attleborough Priest Placed on Administrative Leave

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River [Fall River MA]

August 7, 2022

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In a communication from Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., read at Masses this weekend (Aug. 6-7), parishioners of Transfiguration of the Lord Parish in North Attleborough were informed that their pastor has been placed on leave from priestly ministry.

Reverend Rodney E. Thibault was placed on administrative leave last week by the bishop for an investigation into alleged misconduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Diocese of Fall River. The alleged misconduct does not involve a minor.

As a priest on leave, he is not permitted to exercise public ministry nor present himself as a priest in public settings.

In his communication, Bishop da Cunha acknowledged how “distressing” this turn of events is for parishioners of the parish and assured them of his prayers during this difficult time.

The bishop also announced that Reverend…

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N. Attleborough Priest Placed on Administrative Leave Amid Investigation Into Alleged Misconduct

FALL RIVER (MA)
WBTS - NBC 10 [Boston MA]

August 12, 2022

By Matt Fortin 

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A North Attleborough priest has been placed on administrative leave for an investigation into alleged misconduct that does not involve a minor, according to a news release from the Diocese of Fall River.

Reverend Rodney E. Thibault was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, for the investigation looking into “alleged misconduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Diocese of Fall River.”

Thibault is not allowed to exercise public ministry or present himself as a priest in public while on leave, according to the release.

He has been a priest in North Attleborough since 2019, when he was assigned to be pastor of the community’s three parishes. Those three parishes have since been merged into one, called the Transfiguration of…

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Rep. Lyman proposes requiring Utah clergy to report child abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV, CBS-2 [Salt Lake City UT]

August 12, 2022

By Daniel Woodruff

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A Republican lawmaker is proposing changing Utah law to require members of clergy to report cases of child abuse to authorities.

Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) announced in a news release Friday morning that he has opened a bill file for the upcoming 2023 session to get rid of the exception which states that members of clergy don’t need to report child abuse if they learn about it through confession and are bound by church doctrine to keep it confidential.

“This exception concerns me. While I understand and deeply value the confession process, providing an exception for clergy when it comes to reporting abuse creates unnecessary ambiguity for both the clergy member and for the person who is confessing,” Lyman said in a statement. “Worse yet, it can delay intervention for innocent victims. There are too many heartbreaking stories of abuse in Utah and across the Nation of help…

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Former Chilliwack Catholic priest accused of raping a boy in the 1970s

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Peace Arch News [Surrey, B.C., Canada]

August 11, 2022

By Paul Henderson

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Vancouver Archdiocese and Duncan Goguillot, who worked for MP Chuck Strahl for 15 years, faces lawsuit

* Warning: This story contains material that could be upsetting to some readers

Duncan Goguillot’s name appeared in the pages of The Chilliwack Progress dozens of times from the 1970s to the year 2000.

He was a priest for a decade at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He coached boys basketball in the ’70s, he served as the Chilliwack Community Arts Council co-ordinator in the 1980s, and for 15 years from 1993 to 2008, Goguillot was MP Chuck Strahl’s campaign manager.

But allegations are being made that the Catholic priest has some extremely dark secrets.

Goguillot, who died in 2018, is accused by a now 62-year-old man of rape, forced oral sex, forced sexual touching, and exposing genitals from when Goguillot was a teacher and a basketball coach at St. Mary’s.

The victim, P.S., was in grades…

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Former students of Saskatoon school allege sexual abuse in $25M legal claim

SASKATOON (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

August 12, 2022

By Chandra Philip

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Warning: Some details in this article may be disturbing to readers

Former students are working to bring a class action lawsuit against the Saskatoon school where they allege they suffered physical and sexual abuse.

Friends, family and other past students of Saskatoon Christian Centre Academy — now called Legacy Christian Academy (LCA) — gathered outside a Saskatoon courthouse on Tuesday to announce the legal action.

“I am so thankful for so many of my peers that have found the courage to tell their stories so that we may move forward to a place of healing,” Caitlin Erickson said.

“The staff tried to physically and psychologically break me, despite their best efforts they were not successful, and that’s why I’m able to stand here today.”

Erickson attended the school from 1992 to 2005. She and other students have recently come forward alleging that staff routinely paddled students and engaged in “controlling…

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Catholic Church’s Redress Not Fit For Purpose

WHANGANUI (NEW ZEALAND)
Scoop [Wellington, New Zealand]

August 12, 2022

Read original article

Friday, 12 August 2022, 11:25 am
Press Release: SNAP

A sexual abuse survivor group SNAP says the Government’s decision to allow faith-based institutions like the Catholic Church to continue providing redress to survivors would just re-traumatise Catholic Church survivors.

SNAP’s national leader, Christopher Longhurst, says SNAP believes the Church office tasked with providing redress to church survivors has not followed its own principles and procedures in the Church’s protocol “A Path To Healing” to settle sexual abuse cases.

Dr Longhurst says the Church’s National Office For Professional Standards (NOPS) appears to be using the protocol to weed out offenders rather than providing a compassionate and fair response to their reported traumas as promised in the protocol.

Dr Longhurst says survivors have complained to SNAP that their redress cases have been mishandled by the NOPS office and many have felt re-traumatised by the Church’s redress process.

“The SNAP Board and Executive Leadership…

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Biskup Marek Mendyk, oskarżony przez byłego kleryka o molestowanie, odpowiada. Czy pamięta wizytę w szpitalu i namaszczenie dziecka?

ŚWIDNICA (POLAND)
Naszemiasto.pl [Warsaw, Poland]

August 9, 2022

By Maciej Rajfur

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Dodaj komentarz:Udostępnij:Biskup świdnicki Marek Mendyk na naszych łamach odpowiada na oskarżenie Andrzeja Pogorzelskiego o molestowanie. Czy pamięta opisywaną przez Pogorzelskiego wizytę w szpitalu? Jak się odnosi do zarzutów?

Maciej Rajfur: Jak Ksiądz biskup zareagował na zarzut o molestowanie 8-latka przed 30 laty?

Bp Marek Mendyk: Na początku przyszło niedowierzanie, ponieważ znam siebie. Jestem absolutnie zaskoczony i odbieram to w kluczu ogólnej nagonki na Kościół, duszpasterzy, w tym biskupów. Oczywiście powtarzam, oskarżenie rzucone w moją stronę jest nieprawdziwe. Wywiad ma tak duży stopień ogólności, a niuanse sprawiają, że na pierwszy rzut oka nie ma się do czego przyczepić. Przecież sprawa jest podobno przedawniona, a p. Andrzej nie żąda odszkodowania. Zaś falę linczu i hejtu spowodował natychmiast.

Pamięta Ksiądz Biskup tę sytuację ze szpitala opisywaną przez Andrzeja Pogorzelskiego?

Nie. Nie przypominam sobie, żeby ktoś mnie wołał wówczas do szpitala do chorego dziecka. Poza tym…

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Zanchetta lawyer turned Vatican investigator was fired for resumé fraud

(ITALY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 11, 2022

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The priest who served as advocate for convicted sex offender Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, and who is now leading a Vatican investigation into the bishop’s accusers, was sacked last year from his position at a Spanish university for reportedly falsifying his resumé.

Fr. Javier Belda Iniesta was dismissed as Dean of the Faculty of Human, Canonical and Religious Sciences at the Catholic University of Murcia, Spain, in May 2021, after he was unable to substantiate several academic qualifications listed on his resumé, raising new questions about his June appointment by Pope Francis to lead an investigation in the Argentine Diocese of Oran.

Pope Francis has faced repeated criticism from Catholics in Argentina over his handling of the situation in the Oran diocese. The pontiff appointed Zanchetta Bishop of Oran in 2013 in one of his first episcopal appointments as pope. The two men are known to be close collaborators, having…

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Remains of priest removed from Quebec Mohawk community after sex abuse allegations

KAHNAWAKE (CANADA)
Global News [Toronto, Canada]

August 11, 2022

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The remains of a priest alleged to have sexually abused children have been exhumed and removed from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, which governs the community south of Montreal, says the remains of Rev. Leon Lajoie, who died in 1999, were exhumed Wednesday from the grounds of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, where he was buried.11

Last summer, several members of the community alleged that they were abused by Lajoie and called for his remains to be removed to start a healing process.

Members of the community in March voted 233 to 195 in favour of the exhumation.

Lajoie, a Jesuit, arrived in Kahnawake in 1961 and was a parish priest until 1990.

An investigation by the Jesuits found no evidence of abuse by Lajoie, though it found evidence of a “serious sexual assault at St. Francis-Xavier Mission,” the church where Lajoie was buried, but the…

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Abuse advocates: Wisconsin AG ‘walking back’ promises on diocesan abuse probe

MADISON (WI)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 11, 2022

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A Wisconsin advocacy group for victims of clerical sexual abuse says the state’s attorney general has broken his word, downplaying a promised investigation into the state’s five dioceses as a “review” of abuse allegations. 

While the attorney general has previously referred to the probe as an “investigation,” a state official said in March that the word “review” is more appropriate, adding that “investigation” would be “too strong of a word” to describe the initiative. 

Advocacy group Nate’s Mission says the change in language came while the attorney general’s office claimed its inquiry was not well-funded, declined contact and records from whistleblowers, and decided not to push in court for diocesan personnel records which might contain evidence of wrongdoing.

“Survivors in Wisconsin for 30 years have been asking for an investigation like this. In the early 1990s, survivors in Wisconsin were some of the first in the country to come forward…

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August 11, 2022

Judge rules accused priest Bialkowski can control widow’s $2 million estate

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

August 11, 2022

By Charlie Specht

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An Erie County judge has ruled that a Catholic priest who has been accused of sexually abusing children can spend a dead parishioner’s $2 million estate as he pleases, despite the objections of her relatives.

Erie County Surrogate’s Court Judge Acea M. Mosey dismissed allegations by the widow’s family that the Rev. David W. Bialkowski, former pastor of St. John Gualbert Catholic Church, “groomed” Ruth Peters to become the executor of her estate before her 2019 death.

“I conclude that there is no proof that the will was the product of fraud perpetrated on decedent by Bialkowski or any other person,” Mosey wrote in her decision.

The March 31 ruling clears the way for the suspended priest, who is on the diocese’s list of priests with “substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor” and who is accused in two Child Victims Act lawsuits of sexual abuse, to inherit $125,000…

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Opinion: Still no progress on statute of limitations reform for sex abuse victims

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer / cincinnati.com

August 7, 2022

By Theresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann

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Three years ago, the Rev. Geoffrey Drew was arrested on nine counts of child rape, and local parents still see no efforts to protect their children. 

At the time, Drew was the pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township, which gave him superintendent-like authority over the largest parochial elementary school in Ohio.

After his arrest, we learned that Archdiocese of Cincinnati employees were aware of Drew’s three decades-long and three Ohio countywide pattern of red flag behavior with children.

According to the evidence list, this included a 1983 letter from a Catholic school principal, vacations with boys, a formal complaint in seminary for having a child in his bedroom, a written plea for help by Dayton-area school boys at St. Rita in 2006, Drew’s use of parish funds for a male nude massage service in 2012, and three Butler County investigations in 2013 and 2015.

Despite this and other…

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‘We will die first’ – religious abuse survivors speak up after exclusion from government payouts

WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND)
Stuff [Wellington, New Zealand]

August 11, 2022

By Steve Kilgallon

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Some sexual abuse survivors fear they may die before receiving any compensation after the government excluded them from a scheme to make rapid payouts to elderly and terminally-ill survivors.

Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins has revealed plans to cut a 3000-strong waiting list of abuse claimants of abuse in state care – such as children’s homes – by making “rapid payments”. Survivors of abuse in religious settings, such as Catholic schools, the Salvation Army and the Exclusive Brethren are not included.

The announcement is a response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, which is due to deliver its final report next June.

Hipkins announced the government would produce plans by October for rapid payments to elderly and terminally ill claimants, as well as setting up a new listening service and working on a national apology to survivors. He said faster payment options “shouldn’t wait” for the…

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Nates Mission: AG Kaul downgrades clergy abuse “investigation” to review

MADISON (WI)
WisPolitics.com [Madison, WI]

August 10, 2022

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On Monday night, WBAY aired an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul where he refused to refer to his clergy and faith leader abuse initiative as an “investigation” – opting for the term review instead.

In a new video, Nate’s Mission has compiled reporting and direct quotes from the Attorney General that unmistakably identify the DOJ’s efforts as an investigation. 

This reversal in language demonstrates Kaul’s unwillingness to exercise the legal authority that he and the five district attorneys supporting his “investigation” have under Wisconsin law to subpoena Church documents and evidence and compel testimony from Church officials involved in the institutional concealment of rape and sexual abuse of children.

This is contrary to statements Kaul made last year when he expressed hope that Wisconsin’s Catholic dioceses and religious orders would “cooperate with the investigation” and urged survivors to report abuse saying,…

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German Catholics want expanded lay roles, greater tolerance for dissent

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 11, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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In a new report summarizing the conclusions of a national consultation process among German Catholics, the country’s bishops report a desire for greater inclusion in the church of women and laypeople generally, as well as those who disagree on certain moral teachings.

Titled “For a synodal Church – community, participation and mission,” the report summarizes the conclusions of the German Bishops’ Conference’s “Synodal Path” sent to the Synod of Bishops in Rome, ahead of a Synod of Bishops on Synodality at the Vatican next year.

An English translation of the report can be found here: www.dbk.de/fileadmin/redaktion/diverse_downloads/presse_2022/2022-114eng-Report-of-the-German-Bishops-Conference-to-the-World-Synod-of-Bishops-2023.pdf

The 13-page report is divided into two sections, the first of which reflects on Germany’s own experiences with synodal consultations carried out at the diocesan and archdiocesan level, as well as the national level of the bishops’ conference.

The second part summarizes feedback from this consultation on 10 topics that…

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Jana Riess: How Latter-day Saints are addressing sex abuse: Too little, too late

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

August 11, 2022

By Jana Reiss, Religion News Service

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Members have the opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes. But will we?

Like many people, I was disgusted to read The Associated Press’ investigative reporting about how two Arizona bishops of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to report a horrific case of one father’s sexual abuse. In this decision, they were guided by a “help line” for lay bishops set up to answer questions about cases of sexual abuse.

According to the article, the help line instructed the first bishop who called to “do nothing” and avoid reporting this father’s ongoing rape of his daughter to the police. As a result, the abuse continued for another seven years, with the father, Paul Douglas Adams, continuing to rape the older daughter and post videos of it online. When another daughter was born to the family, Adams began sexually assaulting her when she was just 6 weeks of age…

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announces agreement in principle on final settlement with sex abuse survivors

HARRISBURG (PA)
PennLive.com

August 10, 2022

By Charles Thompson

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Victims of clergy sex abuse react to the findings of the grand jury investigation announced in August 2018.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 12:05 p.m. Friday to clarify that the May reorganization plan referred to here is a submission from claimants in the bankruptcy case, and not a joint submission of all parties. in other words, it was not a plan that the church had agreed to at that point. The agreed-to plan has not been formally submitted yet.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg said Thursday it has reached an agreement to settle any still-pending historic child sex abuse claims lodged against its priests or other church personnel as part of a plan to end the diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws.

Final terms of the settlement were not immediately available Thursday night, including the total cost of all payments to creditors. PennLive’s attempts…

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Remains of Jesuit Priest Removed from Kahnawake Church Grounds

KAHNAWAKE (CANADA)
iHeart Radio [San Antonio TX]

August 10, 2022

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The remains of a priest who allegedly sexually abused Indigenous children in Quebec was exhumed Wednesday morning.

“We never agreed to have him buried here in the first place,” said community member Kahnekaken:re Lahache. “We have our native women who were not allowed to be buried here because they married out, but they let the priest be buried here. They actually begged for him to be buried here, which wasn’t right.”

Jesuit priest Father Leon Lajoie was buried on the grounds of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kahnawake in 1999.

After allegations of sexual assault surfaced last year, the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) community on Montreal’s South Shore was invited to vote on what to do with his remains.

It was an issue that divided many community members and exhumation “was an idea proposed by community members, alleged victims and supporters,” according to Tonya Perron, one of the Mohawk Council’s elected…

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Opinion: The Mormon Church must do more to protect children from sexual abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Washington Post

August 10, 2022

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If the record of clergy sex abuse of minors in the Catholic Church has imparted a lesson, it is that institutions and individuals have a moral duty, and should have a legal one, to inform law enforcement of reports that children are being victimized. Somehow, that lesson appears to have been lost in some instances on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church or LDS.

In a disturbing exposé by the Associated Press, a Mormon bishop in Arizona, alarmed that a church member had confessed to raping his own young daughter, contacted the church’s 24/7 hotline. The bishop told federal investigators the advice he received, from church lawyers, was that he “absolutely can do nothing” and was prohibited by state law from reporting the abuse to police.

That advice was false, and its consequences unspeakable. The daughter’s abuse, which her father…

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Sex abuse case against retired priest dropped by Allegheny County DA’s office

MUNHALL (PA)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

August 10, 2022

By Paula Reed Ward

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The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday withdrew charges against a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 2001.

The paperwork dismissing the case against the Rev. Hugh Lang, 92, said it was being done in the best interest of the alleged victim.

Lang was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall when police said he abused the boy. Authorities charged Lang in 2019 with indecent assault, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and attempted aggravated indecent assault.

The alleged victim came forward after seeing media coverage of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s grand jury investigation into abuse in the Catholic Church in August 2018. He told investigators that Lang, who also served as the former schools superintendent of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, abused him during altar server training.

Lang retired in 2006.

After he was charged, Lang had a nonjury trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge…

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Polish church official: State commission can’t access abuse documents

WARSAW (POLAND)
Crux [Denver CO]

August 10, 2022

By Jonathan Luxmoore

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A Polish Catholic official defended the church’s record in tackling sexual abuse by priests, after the head of the State Commission on Pedophilia complained it was refused access to clerical files.

“This commission’s rights and competences, as established by law, do not include access to church documents — under current procedures, it must request this from the Holy See,” said Father Piotr Studnicki, director of the Polish bishops’ Child and Youth Protection Office.

“When we’ve been asked to supply documents, we’ve asked about the legal basis for this, since every state institution must act according to law — and they haven’t been able to cite any. Perhaps things will change if the law is updated and extended. But for now, the commission has no right of access — and I believe its members are aware of this.”

The state commission was established in 2019 to investigate abuse of children under…

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The Pope’s Non-Apology to Indigenous Canadians Furthers a History of Abuse

MASKWACIS (CANADA)
Yes! [Poulsbo WA]

August 5, 2022

By Lori Campbell

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Pope Francis came this week to Maskwacis in central Alberta—where many Indigenous people, including survivors of residential schools and their descendants, had gathered—to deliver an expected apology in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 58:

“We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.”

I am the granddaughter of a residential school survivor. I am the daughter of a First Nations woman who survived having each of her seven children stolen and relocated through the Sixties Scoop assimilation policy.

I spent more than 25 years searching for and locating not only my birth mother, but also all of my siblings, who were spread across several provinces. I…

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August 10, 2022

Barber names abuse task force members

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist Press [Nashville TN]

August 8, 2022

By Scott Barkley

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include the language of an amendment to the SATF recommendations passed by the messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber has announced the members and leaders of those making up the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF).

Messengers to the annual meeting in Anaheim tasked Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, with the responsibility as part of the approved recommendations from the Sexual Abuse Task Force, chaired by North Carolina pastor Bruce Frank. The recommendations were the result of a yearlong study and investigation by Guidepost Solutions into the SBC Executive Committee.

“The purpose of this task force is to assist the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention in our efforts to shut the doors of our churches to those who would act as sexual predators and to wrap our arms around survivors and…

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Convicted Sex Offender Pursuing Ministry Training at Southern Baptist Schools

LYNCHBURG (VA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

August 8, 2022

By Kim Roberts

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In 2009, David Chatham was convicted of possession of child pornography and sentenced to six years in federal prison. His Southern Baptist pastor reportedly argued for leniency at the time, citing Chatham’s “dedication to Christ.”

Now Chatham is pursuing ministry training at Southern Baptist schools. He was a student for several years at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in a ministry leadership program. Chatham currently says he’s been admitted as a ministry student at Liberty University, a school with informal ties to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Chatham claimed on his LinkedIn profile earlier this summer, which we’ve archived, that he was enrolled at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in an online Master’s in Applied Ministry program.

After The Roys Report (TRR) asked Chatham about his enrollment, the reference to Liberty disappeared from his LinkedIn profile. Chatham told TRR that he had been…

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The Catholic Church is at a crossroads: Will it choose renewal or decline?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Hill

August 9, 2022

By John Kenneth White

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Pope Francis has concluded a self-described “penitential pilgrimage” to Canada. For the 85-year-old mostly wheelchair-bound pontiff, the journey was taxing but necessary. In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that for many years a “cultural genocide” occurred in Catholic schools, and confirmed the deaths of at least 3,200 indigenous peoples, with many others emotionally scarred for life. Upon his arrival, a solemn pope said, “I have come to your native lands to tell you in person my sorrow, to implore God’s forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, to express my closeness and to pray with you and for you.”

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has called for a “culture of encounter” that requires more listening than talking. He recently sent a letter to Fr. James Martin commending his outreach toward gay and lesbian Catholics,…

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Former FBI Child Sex Abuse Expert on What Parents Should Know About “Grooming”

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv [Providence RI]

August 7, 2022

By GoLocalProv news team

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A former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) expert on child abuse — and “grooming” — said there are a number of steps parents can take if they have concerns their children could be in danger. 

On Monday, GoLocal unveiled that priest Eric Silva had been reassigned to a Narragansett church after being removed from two other churches earlier in the year for asking children “inappropriate questions” about sex.

On Friday, amidst mounting pressure, Tobin announced he was rescinding Silva’s appointment to the parish.

Kenneth Lanning, who was a special agent with the FBI for more than 30 years and has worked as a consultant in the area of crimes against children, said that while some behaviors of adults interacting with children might not rise to the level of criminality, there are steps parents can take if they believe their child is potentially being “groomed” for abuse. 

Moreover — he…

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Hearing pain of Canada school survivors felt like slaps, pope says

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

August 3, 2022

By Philip Pullella

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Pope Francis said on Wednesday he felt the pain of survivors of Canada’s residential school system “like slaps” and that the Catholic Church has to face up to its responsibility for institutions that abused children and tried to erase indigenous cultures.

The pope dedicated his talk at his weekly general audience to his trip last week to Canada, where he delivered a historic apology for the Church’s role in the government-sanctioned schools, which operated between 1870 and 1996.

More than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to residential schools. Catholic religious orders ran most of them under successive Canadian governments’ policy of assimilation.

The children were beaten for speaking their native languages and many were sexually abused in a system Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called “cultural genocide.”

The pope met indigenous survivors throughout the trip and on the last day, mostly elderly school survivors in…

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Church is challenged to end trafficking, child abuse

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

August 9, 2022

By Father Shay Cullen

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Saving victims and bringing traffickers to justice is Christian faith in action

Christian leaders, bishops, priests and laypeople should be outraged at the extent of human trafficking and child abuse in families and online and be motivated by faith to take every opportunity to help the victims by good deeds and action for justice as well as denounce the evil on the internet that is pervading society.

A worthwhile prayer is that which motivates people to act for justice. Where are the organized militant “Catholic internet trolls for human rights and child protection?” None that I know of. We need the revival of Catholic Social Action groups in every parish, led by dedicated internet-savvy students and youth fighting every day for social justice.

While on the streets outside the parishioners should be having their weekly march for child rights, justice for the exploited and oppressed before celebrating the Eucharist. Because…

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The Catholic church must do more to address child sexual abuse by priests and offer reparations to survivors

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

August 9, 2022

By Lauren Micalizzi Brophy

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A developmental psychologist who is married to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse warns of the long-term effects of adverse childhood events and trauma

As a developmental psychologist, I study how and why children change over time. This profession has given me the gift of watching idyllic childhoods unfold. Unfortunately, I have also learned of exceptionally horrific, gut-wrenching stories. Among the most challenging to process are tales of disruptive and unhealthy patterns of behavior that stem from preventable trauma experienced in childhood, such as sexual abuse.

Research has repeatedly demonstrated that adverse childhood experiences (or “ACEs”) are associated with damage to the brain and other systems that are vital to healthy development. ACEs are events that are outside of a child’s control, yet they can have long lasting toxic effects on their health and well-being. Among a laundry list of tragic outcomes, ACEs can predispose children to chronic disease, substance use,…

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Polish bishop accused of sexually abusing child in hospital bed denies wrongdoing

ŚWIDNICA (POLAND)
Notes from Poland [Kraków, Poland]

August 9, 2022

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The bishop of Świdnica, Marek Mendyk, has been accused of historical sexual abuse of an eight-year-old boy while visiting him in hospital when his family feared he was dying. The claim was made by the alleged victim himself, Andrzej Pogorzelski, now 38 years old and a former seminary student, in an interview with Newsweek Polska.

In response to the publication, Mendyk has issued a statement denying wrongdoing, calling the accusations “lies”, and demanding a public apology. He also announced that he has notified his church supervisors and the Vatican, appealing to them to investigate the case.

The episode is the latest in a series of recent claims of sex abuse by members of Poland’s Catholic clergy and of cover-ups by the church hierarchy. The Vatican has punished a number of current and former Polish bishops for their negligence in dealing with the issue.

Pogorzelski told Newsweek that he had been hospitalised at the age of eight due to complications after…

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Another red hat for a McCarrick ally

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Catholic Culture - Trinity Communications [San Diego CA]

August 9, 2022

By Phil Lawler

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Four years have passed since Theodore McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals. We are still coping with the aftershocks of the scandal he caused. Moreover—the reason I write about this subject today—we are still coping with the clerical system that allowed that scandal to fester unchecked for so many years.

A few months after his resignation, the Vatican announced that McCarrick had been stripped of his clerical status. A canonical trial had found him guilty—not only of sexual abuse, but of soliciting in the confessional and abusing his episcopal authority as well.

Since that time, Pope Francis has named five bishops from the US to the College of Cardinals. Barring a dramatic last-minute change, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego will soon join Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, and Gregory. All five have had close connections with McCarrick.

Leila Miller, a fearless Catholic author,…

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August 9, 2022

Detroit Archbishop Accused of Abusing a Minor in Massachusetts Parish

BOSTON (MA)
Los Angeles Legal Examiner - Saunders & Walker [Pinellas Park FL]

August 9, 2022

By Joseph H. Saunders

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Archbishop Paul Russell, a Detroit auxiliary bishop, is the subject of a sexual abuse lawsuit filed in Massachusetts.  The lawsuit stems from sexual abuse that occurred when the survivors was a 12-year-old parishioner at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn in 1989 and 1990.  The lawsuit alleges that he was sexually assaulted by by Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Boston.

It’s not common that an archbishop is also an auxiliary bishop.  In this case, it stems from the fact that Russell entered the Vatican diplomatic corps six years after his ordination to the priesthood.  Prior to becoming a papal diplomat, Russell served as an associate pastor in parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston including Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart in Lynn.  In 1992, he was briefly named associate pastor of St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester, Mass.; however, three days into his…

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Amid criticism, AG Kaul calls his actions on Wisconsin clergy sex abuse a “review” not an investigation

MADISON (WI)
WBAY-TV [Green Bay WI]

August 8, 2022

By Joshua Peguero

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Wisconsin’s attorney general is responding to Action 2 News after receiving criticism from an organization that represents victims of church sexual abuse.

The group Nate’s Mission criticized Attorney General Josh Kaul last month for what it thought was an investigation the AG launched last year into the state’s five archdioceses and religious orders.

But Kaul is clarifying telling Action 2 News what he is doing is a review of allegations.

“The process that we’re engaging right now is the same process that we’ve been engaging in since this review started, and that is, we’re encouraging people across the state of Wisconsin who have any information on clergy and faith leader abuse to report that,” Kaul said.

Kaul announced last year in April his plans to look over any allegations of sexual abuse that may have been committed by clergy and staff at Wisconsin’s catholic dioceses.

He tells Action 2 News…

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Survivors release video with new recordings of AG Kaul and staff

MADISON (WI)
Nate's Mission [Milwaukee WI]

July 27, 2022

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Kaul’s office gave whistleblower documents to Church lawyers fearing Archdiocese’s “aggressive attorneys” and a “politically-charged” Supreme Court

This morning, Nate’s Mission released a new video depicting our advocacy surrounding Attorney General Kaul’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse, including the process leading up to the announcement and our response to the investigation’s progress. The video features the recent history of our advocacy in Wisconsin beginning with our revelations of failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate and Church lawyer, Matt Flynn’s, role in cover-up of clergy sexual abuse. The video incorporates audio recordings from several calls between Nate’s Mission and Kaul’s administration and email messages from the DOJ to survivors. 

The audio recordings appear to demonstrate false promises made to survivors surrounding resources allotted toward the investigation (19:50) and the DOJ’s reticence to work with Church documents containing potential criminal evidence provided by whistleblowers due to the “politically charged” Supreme Court…

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Leader of St. Thomas More and St. Veronica parish apologizes for reassignment of priest, but questions remain

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
Boston Globe

August 9, 2022

By Amanda Milkovits

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The Rev. Eric Silva was removed from two churches for making inappropriate comments to children. Survivors of abuse by priests point out that weekend apology “didn’t mention the safety of children, or children at all.”

The head pastor at St. Thomas More and St. Veronica Catholic churches apologized to parishioners during weekend Masses for the “hurt and anguish” caused when they found out through the media last week that their new assistant pastor had been removed from two other churches for inappropriate comments to children.

“It’s been a most difficult week for you, the entire parish, and to be honest, the most excruciating week of my priesthood,” the Rev. Marcel Taillon told the parishioners.

But some thought Taillon’s statement left them with more questions than answers about the Rev. Eric Silva — and that the Church fell short in taking responsibility.

“Father Taillon didn’t mention the…

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Bishop Libasci sex abuse lawsuit stalled over bankruptcy

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

August 5, 2022

By Damien Fisher

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The New York lawsuit filed last year that accuses New Hampshire’s Bishop Peter Libasci of sexually abusing a child in the 1980s has been stalled in court since last July.

The reason for the inaction is the more than 500 other claims of abuse lodged against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre. The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2020, which put a halt on all the potential abuse lawsuits.

Now, it looks like a resolution to the cases is possible. The diocese is set to begin mediation talks with lawyers for the complainants this week, according to statements made during a bankruptcy court hearing last week.

A dispute between the diocese and attorneys for some of the complainants threatened to stall the case further.

There are attorneys representing child sex abuse victims, and an attorney representing a committee for adult victims of abuse. The matter boiled…

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Why all the people of God must take some responsibility for clericalism

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

August 8, 2022

By Hatty Calbus

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Clergy who share and reinforce people’s denial by insisting families are automatically love-filled places are setting up obstacles to God’s healing.

Pope Francis has described paedophile priests as “tools of Satan” and has often said that the cause of the clergy abuse crisis is “clericalism”.

But when in August 2018 he wrote a “Letter to the People of God” that appeared to widen responsibility for the abuse to the whole Church, there was outrage. “With shame and repentance,” he wrote, “we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that … we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.” The Pope concluded, “I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting”.

And when a few weeks later the Archbishop of Strasbourg, Luc Ravel, echoed the Pope, he met similar indignation. But…

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Commentary: Parishioners in R.I. deserve transparency about removal of Catholic priest

NARRAGANSETT (RI)
Boston Globe

August 8, 2022

By Stephen Brophy and Christina Brophy

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The parents of child sexual abuse survivor Ryan Brophy say the church must disclose the background of the Rev. Eric Silva, who has been on leave for making inappropriate comments to children at two Catholic schools

Bishop Tobin: We have questions.

During the Masses held on Aug. 6 and 7 at St. Veronica’s chapel and St. Thomas More church, the pastor of St. Thomas More/St. Veronica’s made a statement to the parishioners about the removal of Father Eric Silva. But the statement offered parishioners no real information, and offered victims of sexual abuse by priests no real comfort.

The pastor essentially said that Father Eric is a nice guy, that Father Eric’s recent parish audition at Mass had gone well, and that the parishioners liked him. That’s great – but who is Father Eric, and what is his background?

There are many reasons why we deserve to…

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India’s Cardinal Gracias denies reports he intervened in accused bishop’s case

MUMBAI (INDIA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

August 9, 2022

By Sarah Mac Donald

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Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias, one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers, is strongly denying reports that he sought to intervene in the case of an Indian bishop accused of secretly fathering a child.

In a video posted online Aug. 7, Gracias rebutted allegations he had arranged for Bishop Kannikadass William Antony of the Mysore Diocese in southwestern India to take a paternity test at a Catholic hospital in order to control the outcome of the test results.

Gracias said an audio clip from a two-year-old conversation with Antony, which has attracted attention among Indian Catholics in recent weeks, had been “mischievously edited to give the impression that there was collusion between Bishop William and myself for a cover-up.”

In the clip of the leaked phone call, which was promoted by the right-wing website Church Militant, Gracias could apparently be heard telling Antony that Gracias would arrange…

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Deutsche Bischofskonferenz und Adveniat veröffentlichen unabhängige Untersuchung der Akten der Koordinationsstelle Fidei Donum

BONN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz - German Bishops' Conference [Bonn, Germany]

August 8, 2022

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Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz und die Bischöfliche Aktion Adveniat haben heute (8. August 2022) eine unabhängige Untersuchung der Akten der Koordinationsstelle Fidei Donum veröffentlicht. Daraus ergibt sich, dass der frühere Leiter der Koordinationsstelle und spätere Bischof von Santo Domingo in Ecuador (so der heutige Name der Diözese), Emil Stehle, Priester, die in Deutschland wegen sexualisierter Gewalt strafrechtlich verfolgt wurden, dabei unterstützt hat, sich den Strafverfolgungsbehörden zu entziehen. Auch wird er selbst des sexuellen Missbrauchs beschuldigt.

Eingang in die Untersuchung der Rechtsanwältin und Mediatorin Dr. Bettina Janssen fanden auch Protokolle von Gesprächen mit aktuellen und ehemaligen Adveniat-Mitarbeiterinnen und -Mitarbeitern sowie Berichte von acht betroffenen Frauen, die sich seit der Veröffentlichung der Hildesheimer Missbrauchsstudie am 14. September 2021 gemeldet hatten. Unmittelbar nach Veröffentlichung dieser Studie hatten sich Adveniat und die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz auf eine unabhängige, fachliche und systematische Untersuchung der Fidei Donum-Akten auf Anzeichen für sexuellen Missbrauch durch Fidei Donum-Priester verständigt. Auftraggeber ist…

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Indigenous Canadian victim of Catholic Church recounts horrific ordeal at residential school

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Anadolu Agency [Ankara, Turkey]

August 8, 2022

By Seyit Aydogan

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Many children in residential school run by Catholic Church were ‘physically, sexually, mentally abused,’ says Evelyn Korkmaz

Many children in a Canadian residential school were “physically, sexually, and mentally abused,” according to a victim who attended one of these Catholic-run educational institutions.

Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency, Evelyn Korkmaz recalled her four-year stay at St. Anne’s residential school on Fort Albany in Ottawa as “the worst years of my life.”

Unlike other local children who were forcibly taken from their families, Korkmaz, an indigenous Canadian, said that after completing primary school in the area where she lived with her family, she willingly enrolled in a residential school to complete secondary school and then proceed to high school.

“They didn’t consider us as humans and treated us like animals. They slapped us on the back of the head. They told us we were dirt,” said Korkmaz.

Later on, while attending the…

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German bishop, accused of abuse, found to have helped wanted pedophile priests escape to Latin America

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

August 8, 2022

By AC Wimmer

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A German prelate who served as bishop in Ecuador is not only accused of having sexually abused minors in several countries. As director of a German aid organization he also helped pedophile priests wanted by authorities escape prosecution, according to an independent investigation published Monday.

The late Bishop Emil Stehle (1926-2017) — known in Latin America as Emilio Lorenzo Stehle — has been accused of sexual abuse in 16 cases, a statement by the German Bishops’ Conference said on Aug. 8.

Furthermore, Stehle, the head of Adveniat, the Church in Germany’s aid organization for Latin America, was found to have helped priests evade authorities by facilitating their escape to Latin American countries. The investigation found that he also provided the alleged perpetrators with financial support, using money from the German Bishops’ Conference.

Lawyer and mediator Bettina Janssen prepared the 148-page-report on behalf of the Association of German Dioceses,  View Cache

Potential class-action lawsuit in B.C. alleges abuse at Catholic schools

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Richmond News [Richmond, British Columbia, Canada]

August 8, 2022

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Boys alleging they were sexually and physically abused by priests already known to be child abusers want to know why those men wound up teaching again.

More than 30 years ago, Canadians were horrified to hear tales of physical and sexual abuse of boys by Christian Brothers operating Newfoundland’s Mount Cashel Orphanage.

A hearing to gain class-action certification began in B.C. Supreme Court Monday (Aug. 8), alleging the church moved some of those men to B.C. by where sexual abuse allegations continue to surface.

The proposed class-action suit, filed in March, says between 1976 and 1983, an order called the Christian Brothers transferred six abusive members from Mount Cashel Orphanage to Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby.

The suit was initially filed in February 2021 with representative plaintiff Darren Liptrot. He said in the claim he attended Vancouver College from 1980 to 1985, for grades 8 to…

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Catholic Diocese Bankruptcies Drag On as Insurers Fight Rising Costs of Sex-Abuse Claims

NEW YORK (NY)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

August 4, 2022

By Soma Biswas

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More victims have come forward after New York, New Jersey and other states relaxed rules on abuse suits, and they are seeking bigger settlements, leading to tensions between insurers on one side and their diocese clients and claimants on the other

Insurers are fighting against sex-abuse victims’ demands for more compensation in the bankruptcies of several large Catholic dioceses, as both the number of claimants and the proposed payouts have grown.

The standoff is slowing the dioceses’ efforts to emerge from chapter 11. Historically, most settlements in such bankruptcies have received support from the diocese, its insurers and abuse victims, said lawyer Jason Amala, who has represented victims of childhood sex abuse in cases involving the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, among others.

What is different now, lawyers involved in diocese cases said, is that many more victims have come forward after more than a dozen states…

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August 8, 2022

Mormon church issues vague rebuttal on sex abuse hotline

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Axios [Arlington VA]

August 8, 2022

By Erin Alberty

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said an Associated Press story “seriously mischaracterized” its protocols for child abuse reports — but officials did not say what precisely the AP got wrong.

Catch up fast: The AP on Thursday reported that sealed court documents show the church used its 24-7 sex abuse “helpline” to stop a bishop from reporting a confessed child rapist to police in Arizona.

  • The bishop said when he called the hotline, he was connected with church lawyers who told him — wrongly — that he could “absolutely do nothing” because Arizona law required him to keep the man’s confession confidential.
  • The man’s children are now suing the church, and a prosecutor is investigating church officials’ actions.

The latest: The church on Friday refuted the AP story, but without pointing to any specific inaccuracies.

  • The church said the help line “is instrumental in ensuring that all legal…
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