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.

April 6, 2024

2 more Quiboloy church associates surrender

CAGAYAN DE ORO (PHILIPPINES)
Rappler [Pasig, Manila, Philippines]

April 4, 2024

By Herbie Gomez

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Two more close associates of embattled doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Davao City on Thursday morning, April 4.

The two – Ingrid Canada and Jackielyn Roy – surrendered a day after authorities arrested one of Quiboloy’s close aides in Barangay Tamayong, Davao City, while two others turned themselves in in connection with a child abuse case.

They are expected to be released by authorities just like their three colleagues – Cresente Canada and younger sister Paulene, and Sylvia Cemañes – who posted bail late Wednesday afternoon, April 3.

Authorities first arrested Cresente, a barangay chairman in Davao City, Barangay Tamayong around 2 pm on Wednesday, while Pauline and Cemañes turned themselves in. Three hours after Cresente’s arrest, all three were released on a P80,000 bail each.

Other Stories A peek into Apollo Quiboloy’s expensive gun collection

EXCLUSIVE: Doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy…

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An Argentine judge recognizes gender abuse suffered for years by 20 nuns in a breakthrough ruling

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
ABC News [New York City NY]

April 5, 2024

By Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press

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An Argentine judge has ruled that 20 cloistered nuns had suffered abuse for more than two decades at the hands of high-ranking clergy in a conservative northern province

An Argentine judge on Friday ruled that 20 cloistered nuns had suffered abuse for more than two decades at the hands of high-ranking clergy in the country’s conservative north, and ordered the accused archbishop and church officials to undergo psychological treatment and training in gender discrimination.

The ruling in the homeland of Pope Francis cast a spotlight on the long-standing of abuse of nuns by priests and bishops in the Catholic Church.

Though long overshadowed by other church scandals, such abuses in religious life are increasingly being aired and denounced as a result of nuns feeling emboldened by the #MeToo movement, which has a corollary in the church, #NunsToo.

“I conclude and affirm that the nuns have suffered acts of gender violence…

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Third leader at televangelist Mark Barclay’s church investigated for sex abuse crimes

MIDLAND (MI)
Christian Post [Washington DC]

April 5, 2024

By Samantha Kamman

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A third leader at televangelist Mark Barclay’s Michigan-based church has been suspended following accusations of sexual abuse, months after Barclay’s son-in-law was charged with several counts of criminal sexual conduct.

The Living Word International Church figure at the center of the recent allegations, an unnamed pastor, has been suspended and removed from all positions, according to Barclay’s son, Pastor Josh Barclay, in an interview with WNEM-TV5 last week.

According to Barclay, the alleged abuse did not occur at the church. 

Michigan State Police told WNEM that it cannot confirm or deny whether there is an active investigation until an arrest is made or charges are brought forth. 

“Living Word International Church is deeply saddened and concerned to address recent allegations of misconduct involving one of our ministers,” the younger Barclay said in a statement, as quoted by WNEM.

“We take these matters extremely seriously and are committed to…

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It’s Time to End Statute of Limitations Laws for Child Sex Abuse Victims. For Good.

ALBANY (NY)
Time [New York, NY]

April 5, 2024

By Kyle Dillon Hertz

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In 2019, New York passed the Child Victims Act, a law that changed the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse, extending the civil limit age from 23 to 55. For victims who had already aged out of these timeframes, the law permitted a one-year lookback window, temporarily eliminating the statute of limitations to give child victims another chance at civil justice, becoming active in August of 2019 and initially supposed to end in August of 2020.

The reason the lookback window was created was because of the detrimental effects of childhood sexual abuse made reporting the crime difficult. If it ever even happened, the reporting was unlikely to occur so soon after turning 18. But the small time frame also favored certain types of child victims. With only a year, law firms preferred class-action cases, and victims had to make rash, untested decisions. If your case deviated…

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Doctor to say if New Orleans priest with rape charges is competent to stand trial

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Guardian [London, England]

April 4, 2024

By David Hammer

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Catholic priest Lawrence Hecker, 92, was evaluated by psychiatrist after defense attorneys said he’s too sick to be tried

Seven months after his arrest on rape and kidnapping charges, 92-year-old Catholic priest Lawrence Hecker appeared in court in Louisiana on Thursday in an orange prison jumpsuit, was rolled in a wheelchair to a back room and was evaluated by a doctor to see if he is competent to stand trial.

Since being charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated crime against nature and theft, Hecker has taken ill and was transferred from Orleans parish jail to a long-term care facility, under armed guard. Hecker’s defense attorneys argue he is too sick to be tried and filed a motion last month to have him evaluated for his mental competency.

But Hecker stood for 18 minutes in the stifling heat last August and admitted to WWL Louisiana and the Guardian that he had “willing”…

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Clergy sex abuse victims seek rehearing from state Supreme Court

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Acadiana Advocate [Lafayette LA]

April 5, 2024

By Stephen Marcantel

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Lawyers representing sex abuse victims have asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to invalidate a law that created a three-year “lookback window” in which victims could sue their abusers regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.

Plaintiffs in Douglas Bienvenu, et al v. Diocese of Lafayette and St. Martin De Tours Catholic Church filed an application of rehearing to the Louisiana Supreme Court on Thursday. According to the filing, the group argues that the court overstepped its power and erred in its interpretation of the law.

Attorney General Liz Murrill filed a similar application on Friday warning that the Court’s decision in Bienvenu inches toward tipping the balance of power in state government. 

“This case marks a significant constitutional moment in the Court’s history. Members of the Court have consistently emphasized that the powers bestowed upon our ‘three co-equal branches of government’ must remain ‘separate…

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Editorial: Missouri extended oversight to religious schools for a reason. Don’t undo it.

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

April 5, 2024

By St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board

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Three years ago, Missouri legislators finally confronted an intolerable hazard to children: State law at the time put religiously affiliated boarding schools outside the purview of state public health and safety inspectors, on grounds of religious freedom. Not surprisingly, some Christian boarding schools became hotbeds of hidden child abuse and other dangers.

A 2021 state law changed that, with overwhelming bipartisan support, by requiring those schools to submit to standard state oversight on issues like health and safety, building codes and — crucially — background checks for staffers. There’s been no indication that these common-sense reforms have infringed on anyone’s religious freedoms.

But now, new legislation from hard-right lawmakers would risk obstructing those protections. It would allow the schools to choose oversight by a new board stacked with Christian school activists instead of answering directly to the state’s Department of Social Services.

Whatever its proponents claim, this…

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Vatican issues universal guidelines on sex abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
America [New York NY]

April 5, 2024

By Cindy Wooden - Catholic News Service

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The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has reaffirmed the requirement that every diocese, Catholic religious order and institution in the world have clear safeguarding guidelines and procedures and that they are publicly accessible.

The commission’s “Universal Guidelines Framework” also insists that “all reports of sexual abuse should be reported to the civil authorities” and that the local church maintain evidence that they have cooperated with civil authorities in investigating and responding to the allegations.

The pontifical commission began drafting the framework in 2022, invited comments on various drafts, including by members of the public through its website, and approved the framework for distribution during its plenary meeting March 5-8.

“Given the vastly different cultural contexts in which safeguarding policies and procedures are required to operate, the Commission will engage in a targeted series of pilot programs to evaluate their effectiveness especially in those parts of the Church that…

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April 5, 2024

Lawyer for sex abuse victims says warning others about chaplain didn’t violate secrecy order

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 3, 2024

By Kevin McGill

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A New Orleans attorney facing a $400,000 court penalty for warning a school principal and a reporter about a high school chaplain who was suspected of being a sexual predator took his case to a federal appeals court Wednesday.

Richard Trahant, who represents victims of clergy abuse, acknowledges having told a reporter to keep the chaplain “on your radar,” and that he asked the principal whether the person was still at the school. But, he said in a Tuesday interview, he gave no specific information about accusations against the man, and did not violate a federal bankruptcy court’s protective order requiring confidentiality.

It’s a position echoed by Trahant’s lawyer, Paul Sterbcow, under questioning from members of a three-judge panel at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Here’s my problem. I think I have a moral obligation to disclose something I find out about someone to protect them,” said Judge Priscilla…

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Baltimore Archdiocese sues insurers over abuse claims coverage

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

April 4, 2024

By Daniel Payne

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore is suing numerous insurers over their alleged failure to pay for abuse claims stretching back several decades.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in September of last year ahead of a state law that ended the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for negligence concerning child sexual abuse. The law opened the archdiocese up to abuse allegations stretching back decades.

With the Chapter 11 filing, “the archdiocese will be reorganized, victim-survivors will be equitably compensated, and the Church will continue its mission and ministries,” Archbishop William Lori said at the time.

In a new court filing last week, meanwhile, the archdiocese alleged that nearly two dozen insurers “have failed to acknowledge, or will fail to acknowledge” their obligations to “pay for the defense of the archdiocese” and its parishes.

The insurers have also allegedly failed to acknowledge their obligation to “indemnify the archdiocese…

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Marmion Academy monk, charged with sex abuse, pleads guilty to battery: Kane County state’s attorney

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

April 4, 2024

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A monk and former teacher at Marmion Academy initially charged with sexual abuse has pleaded guilty to battery, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Joseph Charron, 68, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery.

He’s also known as “Brother Andre.”

Charron worked as a teacher at Marmion Academy, and lived on the Aurora campus for Roman Catholic high school boys.

He’s been sentenced to 180 days behind bars and 30 months of probation.

Charron also has to undergo a sex offender evaluation.

Prosecutors said Charron made contacts of an insulting and provoking nature with a student, when the student was between the ages of 15 and 17.

Charron currently lives in Wisconsin, and received credit for nearly 700 days of home confinement, where he had been held since May 2022, the state’s attorney’s office said in a news release.

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Alabama priest to stand trial for allegedly raping a child at a New Hampshire Boy Scout camp in 1976

MANCHESTER (NH)
AL.com [Birmingham, AL]

April 4, 2024

By Greg Garrison

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A retired Alabama Episcopal priest is set to go to trial soon for allegedly raping a child at a New Hampshire Boy Scout camp 48 years ago.

Richard R. Losch, 90, a former rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Livingston, was indicted by a New Hampshire grand jury on Aug. 18, 2023.

Losch’s final pre-trial conference is scheduled for May 20, with jury selection beginning on June 3.

The alleged victim of Losch, in an interview with AL.com, asked that he not be named, but said Losch was director of Indian Pond Boy Scout Reservation in Piermont, New Hampshire in 1976.

Losch, the alleged victim said, took several boys there and encouraged them to swim and walk around naked, and manipulated sleeping arrangements so that Losch had to share a bed with one of the Boy Scouts.

He said Losch…

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Music Teacher Is Charged With Taking Teenagers on Trips to Abuse Them

HANCOCK (NY)
New York Times [New York NY]

April 4, 2024

By Michael Wilson

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The music teacher’s classes at the strict, no-nonsense reform school in the woods of upstate New York would seem to be a teenager’s respite amid all the rules, a place for expression and discovery.

But a criminal indictment unsealed Thursday portrayed that teacher as a domineering and abusive tyrant who, during one-on-one trips away from school and outside the state, raped his teenage students or forced them into sexual activity.

The indictment follows years of lawsuits that have portrayed the Family Foundation School, a small boarding academy in rural Delaware County, as something closer to an unsupervised, violent prison.

The teacher, Paul Geer, 56, was arrested Wednesday evening in Hancock, N.Y., where he lives a short distance from the site of the school, which closed in 2014. He was charged with six counts related to bringing three different children across state lines to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

Mr. Geer…

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Catholic diocese in California files for bankruptcy over child abuse lawsuits

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Christian Post [Washington DC]

April 5, 2024

By Michael Gryboski

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A Roman Catholic diocese based in California has announced that it is filing for bankruptcy due to the expenses related to numerous lawsuits centered on priest abuse.

The Diocese of Sacramento released a statement on Monday confirming that Bishop Jaime Soto had “filed for reorganization of the Diocese of Sacramento’s debts in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.”

The filing comes as the diocese faced over 250 lawsuits related to sex abuse of minors by clergy and lay employees, stemming from incidents that go as far back as the 1950s.

“This wave of new claims followed a 2019 law allowing victim-survivors to file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred. The likely cost of the lawsuits far outstrips the diocese’s funds available for litigation or settlement,” the diocese stated.

“Under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, a court will oversee the distribution of available assets to satisfy claims against the diocese….

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19 victims of sexual abuse want compensation from Portugal’s Catholic Church

FáTIMA (PORTUGAL)
Portugal Resident [Lagoa, Portugal]

April 5, 2024

By Natasha Donn

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Nineteen victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests and/ or those connected to the Portuguese Catholic Church have indicated to Group Vita (the group created to handle these cases) that they want financial compensation for the suffering caused. A proposal for indemnities is to be ‘analaysed’ by the Episcopal Conference in Fátima next week (between April 5-11).

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Healing Mass for Survivors of Abuse to Be Held April 11

SCRANTON (PA)
Diocese of Scranton [Scranton, PA]

April 4, 2024

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The month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time to recognize the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The month of April gives us all a chance to recommit ourselves to creating safe environments in our parishes, schools and related institutions.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will celebrate the Diocese of Scranton’s annual “Healing Mass for Survivors of Abuse” on Thursday, April 11, at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

For those unable to attend in person, the Mass will be broadcast live on Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton. A livestream will also be available on the Diocese of Scranton website, YouTube channel and links on Diocesan social media.

The work of protecting minors and other vulnerable people in the Catholic Church involves holding those in positions of…

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April 4, 2024

Potential settlement with Diocese of Rockville Centre vote delayed to give survivors of sex abuse more time

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Newsday [Melville NY]

April 4, 2024

By Bart Jones

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A vote by hundreds of clergy sex abuse survivors on a proposed $200 million settlement by the Catholic Church on Long Island has been delayed, attorneys for survivors said.

Survivors were supposed to submit their ballots by March 22, but the deadline has been pushed back to April 12, said James Stang, the main lawyer representing the survivors committee in bankruptcy proceedings involving the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The results are expected to be known by April 15. The balloting is being conducted by Epiq, a court-approved global technology company that works in the legal industry and with corporations.

Stang and other attorneys said the balloting was delayed to give survivors more time to vote, since the process was complicated for some.

The diocese declined to comment. Some 600 survivors have filed lawsuits against it.

The bankruptcy proceedings have been going on for three-and-a-half years, with at least $100 million…

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Sacramento Diocese files for bankruptcy due to ‘sickening sin’ of church sex abuse

SACRAMENTO (CA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

April 3, 2024

By Gina Christian

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The Diocese of Sacramento announced it has filed for bankruptcy, citing the costs of settling more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy and staff.

“There are many victim-survivors who have long suffered from the reprehensible sins committed against them,” Bishop Jaime Soto said in an April 1 press release. “This reorganization process will allow me to respond to them as equitably as possible.”

Soto had first announced the news Dec. 9, 2023, saying in a letter to diocesan faithful that he had made the decision following “careful consideration and consultation.”

“Without such a reorganization process, it is likely that not all the abuse victim-survivors would receive a fair consideration of their claim,” he wrote at the time. “The funds available to settle claims could be depleted by the first few cases addressed, leaving those that follow with little or no compensation.”

He reiterated the decision in a March…

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Catholic leaders and sisters rescue child survivors of sexual violence in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN (SIERRA LEONE)
Global Sisters Report [Kansas City, MO]

April 4, 2024

By Doreen Ajiambo

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Eight-year-old Mary Aminata sat on a plastic chair in the shade of a tree outside her parent’s house in this southern town of Sierra Leone. She tearfully narrated her harrowing ordeal at the hand of her paternal grandfather, who subjected her to years of sexual abuse until Catholic leaders rescued her.

“My grandfather used to rape me every night whenever my grandmother was either away or asleep,” she lamented, tears streaming down her cheeks as she tugged nervously at her dress.

Requesting anonymity, Aminata (whose name has been changed) said the pain was unbearable. “One day, I told my grandmother about the rape, and she warned me against telling anyone because it would shame the family.”

A second grader at P.A.W. Primary School, Aminata revealed that her mother abandoned her at her grandparent’s home when she was 4 to go and look for a job in Freetown, the…

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Sex abuse lawsuits against Yeshiva University can proceed, NY judge says

NEW YORK (NY)
Reuters [London, England]

April 3, 2024

By Diana Novak Jones

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A pair of lawsuits against Yeshiva University brought by more than 50 men who say they were sexually abused decades ago by teachers and staff while in the Orthodox Jewish high school associated with the college can move forward, a New York state judge said.

New York Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch on Tuesday rejected the school’s bid to dismiss the two parallel lawsuits, holding that a 2019 New York state law that lifted the statute of limitations on the claims is constitutional. Justice Tisch also said the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged that the school failed to stop the abuse and failed to provide a safe environment for its students.

The lawsuits, filed in 2019 and 2021, claim that teachers and the principal of the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys sexually abused students beginning in at least 1971. Several plaintiffs say they met with school leadership…

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Lawyer appeals $400,000 fine for exposing identity of chaplain with history of sexual abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Guardian [London, England]

April 3, 2024

By David Hammer

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Richard Trahant is appealing court judgment after he contacted high school’s principal and journalist about priest Paul Hart

A lawyer representing dozens of child molestation victims against the bankrupt Roman Catholic archdiocese of New Orleans contends he was in an “untenable” situation when he learned in late 2021 that the chaplain at a local Catholic high school had admitted years earlier to groping and simulating sex with a high school student.

That legal argument came on Tuesday as the lawyer appeared before judges with the US fifth circuit court of appeal and asked it to overturn a $400,000 judgment he was handed for taking steps that resulted in the removal of the chaplain from the school’s campus.

The attorney, Richard Trahant, was punished after deciding to warn the principal at Brother Martin high school, who happened to be his cousin, about how the school’s chaplain, priest Paul Hart, had a problematic…

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April 3, 2024

Less than half the Mexican Catholic dioceses prevent sexual abuse

(MEXICO)
Los Ángeles Press [Ciudad de México, Mexico]

April 2, 2024

By Rodolfo Soriano-Núñez

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It reveals failures of the Apostolic Nunciature to force compliance with the norms of the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse.

Religion and public life: It is inevitable to assume that bishops prefer litigation, where they believe they have an advantage over victims of sexual abuse instead of developing a culture of prevention.

Despite reaching a peak back in 2020, the number of Roman Catholic dioceses willing to set up a commission to prevent sexual abuse, the total number of said areas remains at 44 since 2021 when the archdiocese of Morelia, capital of the state of Michoacán, set its commission. No commission has been established in any diocese since then.

This is a summary of a longer piece published previously in Spanish by Los Ángeles Press. It avoids some references to the initial stages of the sexual abuse crisis that would be repetitive for the English-speaking reader familiar with the responses in…

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Sacramento latest California diocese to file for bankruptcy

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Crux [Denver CO]

April 2, 2024

By John Lavenburg

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Facing more than 250 lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and other employees since the 1950’s, the Diocese of Sacramento, California, has filed for bankruptcy as a means to provide compensation to victim-survivors of the abuse.

The diocese announced the filing on April 1, about four months after Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento announced the diocese planned to do so. Soto said April 1 that the bankruptcy reorganization process will allow the diocese to respond to victim-survivors as equitably as possible.

“There are many victim-survivors who have long suffered from the reprehensible sins committed against them,” Soto said in a statement. “This reorganization process will allow me to respond to them as equitably as possible.”

Per the bankruptcy filing, a court will oversee the distribution of available assets to satisfy the claims against the diocese. According to court documents, the diocese has between 200 and 999 creditors,…

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Pope accepts resignation of Peru bishop linked to scandal-plagued group

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

April 2, 2024

By Elise Ann Allen

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Amid an ongoing investigation into a scandal-plagued Peruvian lay group, the Vatican Tuesday announced that a top archbishop belonging to the group has resigned from leadership of the Piura archdiocese.

According to an April 2 Vatican news bulletin, Archbishop José Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura, 67 and a member of the Sodalitium Christinae Vitae (SCV), stepped down from leadership of his diocese.

Eguren’s exit comes amid an ongoing Vatican investigation into the SCV, a society of apostolic life founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari in the 1970s.

RELATED: Vatican investigators meet Peru prelate accused of land trafficking

Though allegations were made several years prior, scandals involving the SCV exploded in 2015, when Peruvian journalists Pedro Salinas and Paola Ugaz published their book Half Monks, Half Soldiers detailing years of alleged sexual, physical and psychological abuse by top members of the SCV.

Figari himself was accused of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse within…

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Pope Francis accepts resignation of Peruvian archbishop

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

April 2, 2024

By Eduardo Berdejo

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The Vatican announced on Tuesday that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop José Antonio Eguren of Piura and Tumbes, Peru.

Eguren, 67, has been in charge of the Archdiocese of Piura and Tumbes since 2006. He presented his resignation eight years before the age limit provided for in the Code of Canon Law. The Vatican has not reported the reason for the resignation.

Eguren and the Sodality case

The archbishop, who has been affiliated with the Sodality of Christian Life (SCV by its Latin acronym), was implicated by the press in a case of land trafficking in Piura following a 2016 report by the Al Jazeera news agency titled “Peru: The Sodalitium Scandal.”

Al Jazeera linked the San Juan Bautista Civil Association (SJB) — which in 2012 had acquired land in Piura — and the SCV with a criminal organization called La Gran Cruz…

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Peru archbishop who sued 2 journalists over reports on abuses, financial corruption resigns early

(ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

April 2, 2024

By Nicole Winfield and Franklin Briceño

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A Peruvian archbishop who sued two journalists over their reports about sexual abuse and alleged financial corruption in his religious movement, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, has resigned amid a Vatican investigation.

Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Piura Archbishop José Eguren. At 67, he is several years shy of the normal retirement age for bishops of 75.

The Vatican didn’t say why Eguren was retiring early in its brief announcement. But the Vatican last year began an in-depth investigation into alleged abuse and financial wrongdoing in the Peruvian-based Sodalitium to which Eguren belongs.

The Vatican has had its eye on Sodalitium, which has chapters across South America and the U.S., for over a decade. In 2017, a report commissioned by the group’s new leadership determined that its founder, Luis Fernando Figari, sodomized his recruits and subjected them to humiliating psychological and other sexual abuses.

Those abuses first came to light…

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Editorial: Despite ruling, we should look back at Church abuse scandals

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Nola.com [New Orleans, LA]

April 3, 2024

Read original article

The Catholic Church has the Louisiana Supreme Court to thank for saving it from a legal reckoning after decades of clergy abuse scandals that have roiled our state. 

Survivors of clergy abuse were understandably outraged last month when their voices were dismissed again. Instead, the high court sided 4-3 with church lawyers who challenged the constitutionality of laws reviving “prescribed” civil claims — that is, claims deemed expired because they weren’t filed by the statutory deadline.

In 2021 and 2022, state lawmakers unanimously passed a pair of laws that granted persons with claims of child sexual abuse a window to sue, regardless of when the abuse happened. Many who had been abused by clergy decades ago hoped they’d finally get their day in court.

At the time, the Diocese of Lafayette was vigorously fighting a lawsuit involving a St. Martinville priest. Plaintiff Douglas Bienvenu and others…

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Texas College Pastor, Who Abused Child for 7 Years, Avoids Jail Time in Plea Deal

CORPUS CHRISTI (TX)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

April 2, 2024

By Josh Shepherd

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A Texas college pastor who sexually abused an underage family member for 7 years will not serve any jail time due to a recent plea agreement. The pastor, William C. Robinson, led a chapter of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and was mentored by sex offender Daniel Savala, the central figure in a widening sex abuse scandal

On March 22, Robinson, 47, appeared at a district court hearing in Nueces County, Texas, and accepted a plea deal. That deal, approved by District Judge David Stith, deferred Robinson’s sentence for five felony charges related to child sex abuse and gave him 10 years of probation and 120 hours of community service instead.

According to court records, Robinson pleaded guilty to one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, one count of sexual assault of a child, and three counts of indecency with a child. 

“The offender in this case,…

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Pastor Flees Arraignment After Being Accused of Drugging, Sexually Assaulting 15-Year-Old Girl

MARATHON (FL)
ChurchLeaders.com [Wheaton, IL]

April 2, 2024

By Dale Chamberlain

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Florida pastor Monte Chitty is reportedly on the run after failing to appear in court to be arraigned on charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious behavior, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Editor’s note: This article contains information about sexual abuse and assault that some readers may find disturbing and/or triggering.

Last month, Chitty was arrested after being accused of giving a teen girl alcohol and then sexually assaulting her after she fell unconscious. The sexual assault allegedly took place on the property of First Baptist Church in Marathon, Florida, where Chitty had been serving as pastor. He also lived at the property. 

The congregation is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). 

Following Chitty’s arrest, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said in a news release that deputies were initially alerted via an anonymous caller, who said they had heard a girl tell…

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Lawmakers face deadline to help Boy Scout abuse victims get settlement money

FORT DODGE (IA)
RadioIowa.com [Des Moines IA]

April 2, 2024

By Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio

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Iowans who were sexually abused by Boy Scout troop leaders decades ago could get much less money from a national settlement than victims in other states unless state lawmakers act this month to change Iowa law. Iowa’s current time limit on suing perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse means hundreds of Iowa victims could get as little as 30% of the money they’re entitled to from the settlement.

Joe Gargano of Fort Dodge is one survivor who’s been asking lawmakers to change the law. Gargano says it made him angry to find out he would get less money than survivors in other states.

“I said: ‘I’m not just going to settle after all this time,’” he told lawmakers. “‘I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to just take whatever they throw out.’”

Gargano is a constituent of of Republican Senator Tim Kraayenbrink of Fort Dodge. Kraayenbrink is sponsoring a bill…

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Twelve things the SBC should do now to address clergy sex abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

April 2, 2024

By Christa Brown, David Clohessy, Dave Pittman and Chellee Taylor

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The four of us have watched with dismay as Southern Baptist Convention officials repeatedly proclaim “progress” on sexual abuse reform while, at the same time, taking 10 steps backward. They bail with a thimble — and make a show of it — while they simultaneously swing a sledgehammer and knock gaping holes in the boat.

Institutional reform isn’t happening. As a prior member of the SBC’s sexual abuse task force wrote: “Nothing will change.”

Nevertheless, looking ahead to the SBC annual meeting in June, we’re setting forth these real and tangible steps the SBC and its Executive Committee could take if they were serious about protecting kids and congregants and reckoning with their wrongs.

‘Bare minimum’ prevention steps

  1. Immediately add to the new Ministry Check database all the SBC-connected clergy abuser names on the Executive Committee’s previously secret list, which was made public in May 2022 and contained 703 names.

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Former New Hampshire minister sentenced after pleading guilty to sexual assault

MANCHESTER (NH)
WMUR-TV, ABC-9 [Manchester NH]

April 1, 2024

By Tim Callery and Imani Fleming

Read original article

Kevin Straughan sentenced to 7-20 years in prison

A former New Hampshire minister was sentenced to prison Monday after pleading guilty to several charges, including sexual assault.

Kevin Straughan, 68, was sentenced to seven to 20 years in state prison after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of second-degree assault involving strangulation.

Straughan served as the head minister at Agape Ministries Church in Ossipee and Moultonborough.

Prosecutors said the assaults took place in August and December of 2020, and Ossipee police first launched an investigation into Straughan in 2022.

The three victims in the case were known to Straughan. A victim-impact statement was read Monday on their behalf.

“I hope this victim-impact statement can shed some light on what my family and I have been through,” the victim said in the statement. “I can’t honestly put into words how much Kevin Wayne Straughan…

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‘Suffering in silence’: Lawsuit accuses Diocese of El Paso of 1960s priest sexual abuse

EL PASO (TX)
El Paso Times

April 2, 2024

By Aaron Martinez

Read original article

A man allegedly sexually abused by a priest in the 1960s in New Mexico filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of El Paso after “suffering in silence for over 50 years,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges the Catholic Diocese of El Paso knew a priest, Lawrence Gaynor, was a danger to the community and needed “psychiatric supervision,” but continued to allow Gaynor to work at St. Joseph Parish in Lordsburg, New Mexico. Gaynor died in 1978.

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso is listed as the defendant in the lawsuit because the diocese was in charge of churches throughout New Mexico until 1982. The lawsuit was filed March 19 in Third Judicial District Court for Doña Ana County.

“Defendant Catholic Diocese of El Paso and its bishop Sidney M. Metzger were aware of Fr. Gaynor’s proclivity to sexually abuse children years before Fr. Gaynor sexually abused…

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Michigan Supreme Court takes up clergy abuse case

LANSING (MI)
Interlochen Public Radio [Interlochen, MI]

April 2, 2024

By Colin Jackson | MPRN

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• In 2018, Michigan lawmakers expanded the civil statute of limitations from criminal sexual conduct, a response to the crimes of former athletics doctor Larry Nassar.

• The case here rests on whether that law should apply retroactively.

• The Michigan Court of Appeals said it should not, and now the case is before the state Supreme Court.

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments this month about whether a civil case involving 25-year-old clergy sex abuse allegations should go to trial.

The case rests upon whether a 2018 state law expanding the civil statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct applies retroactively.

Christopher Desmond is an attorney for the survivor of alleged abuse. He said the law was meant to be broad.

“They were trying to help those individuals out and they were trying to ensure, now that we’re learning more, frankly about the psychology of sexual abuse victims and how…

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NTI denounces Oblate investigation, calls for larger inquiry

(CANADA)
Nunatsiaq News [Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada]

April 2, 2024

By Jorge Antunes

Read original article

March 19 report finds priest Johannes Rivoire likely guilty of abuse

The CEO of Nunavut’s top Inuit organization is rejecting findings from a recent investigation by the Oblates into the Catholic church’s response to allegations of abuse by one of its own priests.

Rev. Johannes Rivoire worked in Nunavut for about 30 years between 1960 and the early 1990s. He left Canada for good in 1993 after police began investigating him for alleged abuse of Inuit children.

That investigation resulted in charges being laid in 1998, which were stayed in 2017 when the Crown determined there was no chance of conviction.

RCMP laid one more charge of historical sexual abuse in 2022. This charge remains active.

The Oblates hired André Denis, a retired Quebec judge, last year to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations, as well as the church and RCMP’s response to them.

That report was released on March 19….

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April 2, 2024

‘Shocked that it’s come up again.’ Critics say MO bill could undo new boarding school law

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star [Kansas City MO]

April 1, 2024

By Laura Baker and Judy L. Thomas

Read original article

A proposal gaining traction in the Missouri legislature could wipe out, critics say, a 2021 law meant to protect kids by placing regulations on Christian boarding schools.

And, those critics contend, the bill would create a shield protecting unlicensed schools — several of which have been closed in recent years amid abuse allegations — from state scrutiny.

Sponsored by a St. Charles County lawmaker, the measure would no longer require unlicensed schools to directly answer to the Department of Social Services. Instead, those facilities would be overseen by a new board, with more than half of its members representing Christian schools.

“This bill raises a lot of serious concerns,” said Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Wardsville, a co-sponsor of the 2021 legislation. “It basically looks like an attempt to undo a lot of what we did three years ago. They can’t take away the powers we have (in Missouri) and then try…

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Two men launch $5M lawsuits against local school board for alleged historical sexual abuse

SAULT STE. MARIE (CANADA)
Elliot Lake Today [Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada]

April 1, 2024

By Kenneth Armstrong

Read original article

Both men suing Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board for abuse they allegedly endured as elementary students in the 1980s at hands of principal, vice-principal

The local English Catholic school board is being sued by two men who each claim they were sexually assaulted as children in the 1980s by staff at two different elementary schools in Sault Ste. Marie. 

The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) is named as the defendant in both civil lawsuits, with each plaintiff seeking $5 million in damages. 

Both men claim the school board breached its duty of care by allowing the alleged abuse against them to occur. Both lawsuits were filed recently by Toronto-based Preszler Injury Lawyers.

SooToday is not naming the plaintiffs in either case because they are alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse.

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuits have been proven in court, and there is no evidence to suggest any school official…

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The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong has the following response to the recent social concern over Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation)

(HONG KONG)
Sunday Examiner - Diocese of Hong Kong [Hong Kong]

March 15, 2024

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  1. With regard to the legislation of Article 23 on safeguarding national security, the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong recognizes that as a citizen, it has obligation to national security;
  2. The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong has expressed its views on Article 23 legislation;
  3. The legislation of Article 23 will not alter the confidential nature of Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) of the Church.

Hong Kong Catholic Social Communications Office

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Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law won’t affect seal of confession, diocese says

(HONG KONG)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 15, 2024

By Matthew Santucci

Read original article

The Diocese of Hong Kong on Friday issued a statement that the seal of confession would not be violated under the new National Security Law, legislation that grants greater latitude to prosecute crimes of treason and foreign political interference.

“With regard to the legislation of Article 23 on safeguarding national security, the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong recognizes that as a citizen, it has obligation to national security,” the March 15 statement said. 

In the brief statement, released on Friday, the Diocese of Hong Kong stated that the legislation will not alter the confidential nature of confession (the sacrament of reconciliation) of the Church. According to diocesan figures, the Catholic population of Hong Kong — a city of 7.5 million — is 392,000. 

The new 212-page homegrown National Security Law, also known as Article 23 of the Basic Law — the constitutional…

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Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Media Release

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Diocese of Sacramento [Sacramento CA]

April 1, 2024

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Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento, has filed for reorganization of the Diocese of Sacramento’s debts in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He had announced in December the diocese’s plan to file bankruptcy.

The diocese’s filing comes as it faces more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors by clergy and other employees reaching back to the 1950’s. This wave of new claims followed a 2019 law allowing victim-survivors to file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred. The likely cost of the lawsuits far outstrips the diocese’s funds available for litigation or settlement.

Bishop Soto described the bankruptcy filing as the best way left to him to provide some compensation to victim-survivors of abuse.

“There are many victim-survivors who have long suffered from the reprehensible sins committed against them,” Bishop Soto said. “This reorganization process will allow me to respond to them as equitably as possible.”

Under Chapter 11 of the…

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Catholic Diocese of Sacramento files for bankruptcy, survivor group objects

SACRAMENTO (CA)
KXTV - ABC 10 [Sacramento CA]

April 1, 2024

By Becca Habegger

Read original article

The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday in federal court. That’s in the wake of more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests and other church leaders in recent decades, stretching back to the 1950s.

ABC10 spoke with an abuse survivor and asked the Diocese what Monday’s bankruptcy filing means for the church.

Dorothy Small has reminders of faith decorating her Woodland living room.

“This Easter was so intensely personal,” she told ABC10. “I love the beauty of the celebration, the beauty of the mass.”

It has taken years, but Small now feels comfortable returning to the Catholic Church — albeit, a different church community than the one where she experienced abuse.

“Then came that priest, and I sensed that something wasn’t right,” she said, recalling when a new priest came to lead the church she was attending about a decade ago.

Small…

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Catholic Charities hosting ‘A Call for Superheroes’ to begin Child Abuse Prevention Month

LUBBOCK (TX)
KCBD [Lubbock TX]

April 1, 2024

Read original article

Members of Catholic Charities of Lubbock will begin Child Abuse Prevention Month by hosting “A Call for Superheroes” at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The even is being hosted at the Charities’ main office at 102 Ave. J.

Chief Prevention and Community Well-Being Officer with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Sasha Rasco will speak at the event. Rasco will also provide comments on resources for families in the South Plains.

Children from the Guadalupe Early Learning Center will be at the event and will participate in different themed superhero activities like making masks and capes and more.

According to a release, the Catholic Charities of Lubbock works throughout the year to provide different services to families like free counseling, educational programs and resources. Catholic Charities is a Lubbock area United Way partner agency.

For more information about the organization, visit www.cclubbock.org.

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New lawsuit filed against Catholic diocese over abuse allegations

EL PASO (TX)
KRQE - CBS/Fox 13 [Albuquerque NM]

April 1, 2024

By Curtis Segarra

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Las Cruces NM – A new civil lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of El Paso and the St. Joseph Parish in Lordsburg alleging the organizations knew that Father Lawrence Gaynor had a “proclivity to sexually abuse children” and that Gaynor groomed and abused an unnamed child in Lordsburg.

The lawsuit, filed in New Mexico’s Third Judicial District Court, claims the abuse happened in the late 1960s and says the unnamed victim has been “suffering in silence for over fifty years.”

The official facing allegations passed away decades ago, but attorneys representing the victim say the church has an ongoing duty to keep parishioners safe.

“The bottom line is this, the Catholic Church had and continues to have a duty to hire, supervise and retain priests who will not molest, abuse and harm vulnerable parishioners,” Ben Davis, principal at Davis Kelin Law Firm, LLC., said in a press…

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April 1, 2024

Sacramento Catholic Diocese files for bankruptcy reorganization in wake of abuse lawsuits

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee [Sacramento CA]

April 1, 2024

By Sam Stanton

Read original article

Beset by hundreds of abuse lawsuits, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in federal court Monday, a move designed to allow the diocese to provide settlements to plaintiffs.

The diocese, which previously announced its plans for the filing, said the move came “as it faces more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors by clergy and other employees reaching back to the 1950s.”

“This wave of new claims followed a 2019 law allowing victim-survivors to file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred,” the diocese said in an announcement Monday. “The likely cost of the lawsuits far outstrips the diocese’s funds available for litigation or settlement.”

Bishop Jaime Soto said in a statement that the bankruptcy filing will allow for the court to oversee how assets are distributed to plaintiffs.

“There are many victim-survivors who have long suffered from the…

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Duluth Catholic Priest Acquitted of Sexual Abuse Allegations, Restored as Pastor

DULUTH (MN)
KQDS - Fox 21 [Duluth MN]

March 29, 2024

By Maria Vollom

Read original article

A Catholic priest in Duluth accused of sexually abusing a minor has been removed from a list of credible claims and his duties will be restored after a Vatican investigation found the evidence against him to be insufficient, the Diocese of Duluth confirmed to FOX 21 Friday evening.

Reverend William C. Graham was the pastor at St. Michael’s catholic church in lakeside when he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor in 2016 and put on administrative leave.

Graham has now been acquitted of these allegations with a decree of absolution after an investigation by the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith.

As a result of this decree, Father Graham’s name has been removed from the list of credible sexual abuse claims of a young person, all priestly ministry restrictions will be lifted, and he will be restored as pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

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Catholic Diocese of Sacramento prepares for ‘time of atonement’ ahead of bankruptcy filing

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento Bee [Sacramento CA]

March 31, 2024

By Lindsey Holden

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A standing-room-only crowd packed the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in downtown Sacramento on Easter Sunday to celebrate one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar.

The Mass was filled with children dressed in pastels, choir music and lots of incense. But there were few signs of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento’s impending bankruptcy filing.

The diocese announced it would be seeking financial protection in December and set April 1 as the date it would file in federal court. Bishop Jaime Soto, who led Easter services at the cathedral, confirmed the action would occur on Monday.

Soto is moving forward with the action as the diocese faces more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy or other church staff.

Sacramento is joining the dioceses of San Francisco, Oakland, Stockton and Santa Rosa in filing for Chapter 11. Catholic districts in California have faced an increasing amount of…

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What is Abuse of Conscience?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Where Peter Is [Beltsville MD]

April 1, 2024

By Paul Fahey and Dominic de Souza

Read original article

Over the course of the podcast we’ve had several conversations about conscience and the moral law as well as episodes about abuse in the Church. However, in my reading of Pope Francis’s teaching, as well as in my research about spiritual abuse, there’s a specific type of abuse that’s discussed, but not widely understood, the abuse of conscience.

So today I wanted to unpack what abuse of conscience is and give concrete examples of what it looks like. I think you will be surprised how common it is, and even how, at times, the abuse of conscience is presumed to be the orthodox way of practicing the faith. Some of these examples include:

  • Ignoring the difference between the internal and external forum, that is, subjective discernment and freedom/culpability and the objective moral law
  • Telling someone that God is asking them to do something in a particular situation
  • Telling someone a particular action…
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March 31, 2024

Catholic priest accused of defilement detained for 12 more days

THIKA (KENYA)
The Star [Nairobi, Kenya]

March 29, 2024

By John Kamau

Read original article

Thika chief magistrate Stella Atambo to rule on bond next month

In Summary

  • The probation officer is to file a report before the bail ruling is made on April 8
  • The prosecution has opposed the bail application saying the priest is influential and may interfere with witnesses. 

A Catholic priest (Fr Abednego, not his real name) accused of defilement has been detained by a Thika court for another 12 days pending the determination of his bail application.

He is accused of defiling the victim between 2020 and August 2023 at his home in Buruburu Phase 5 in Nairobi county. The priest is also facing an alternative charge of indecent assault.

Fr Abednego, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, had applied for his release on bond. The prosecution opposed the application.

When the bail/bond application came up for determination on Wednesday, the prosecution, led by Christine Torome, told Thika chief magistrate Stella Atambo it was important to…

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The Controversy Unfolds: Twice-Accused Priest Back in Action, Sparks Outrage and Criticism

CHICAGO (IL)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

March 29, 2024

By Adam Horowitz

Read original article

In a surprising twist, Fr. Daniel McCarthy, a twice-accused Chicago priest, is now back on the job after facing two accusations of sexual assault. That’s worrisome, of course, but sadly not terribly shocking. But what is shocking is that the cleric apparently spoke at length with a reporter regarding the Archdiocese’s mismanagement. Of course, that rarely happens. The cleric gave a relatively detailed description of the three-year saga of the church ‘investigation’ into the allegations against him to a reporter. The result: a news report that is telling, alarming, gripping, and disgusting all at once. Even the headline is startling: 

“Archdiocese of Chicago sat on or lost child sexual abuse accusation, didn’t question priest about allegation specifics, accused priest says.”

The sub-heading of that article reads, “Fr. Daniel McCarthy said he was never directly questioned about the details of child sexual abuse allegations leveled against him,…

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Duluth priest removed from credibly accused list, duties restored

DULUTH (MN)
Duluth News Tribune [Duluth MN]

March 29, 2024

By Jimmy Lovrien

Read original article

According to the Diocese, the Vatican “decided that there was not sufficient evidence presented to arrive at moral certainty that Father Graham was guilty of the accusation made against him.”

DULUTH — A Catholic priest in Duluth will have his duties restored and be removed from the credibly accused list after a Vatican investigation determined there “was not sufficient evidence” that he was guilty of sexual abuse of a young person, the Diocese of Duluth said in a statement Friday.

In 2016, Rev. William Graham, pastor at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in the Lakeside neighborhood, was placed on administrative leave after a man accused him of abusing him on at least three occasions in 1977-78 when the man was 15 to 16 years old and attending Duluth’s Cathedral High School. Graham, a teacher at Cathedral High School at the time, was ordained as a priest in 1976.

According to the…

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The other Jane Doe: She reported a child predator in S.F. It took many years and more victims for a reckoning

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle [San Francisco CA]

March 31, 2024

By Raheem Hosseini, Daniel Lempres

Read original article

Robert Thomas’ victims included multiple Black girls from San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. To stop him, two survivors would have to endure Thomas’ jailhouse machinations and a painfully slow criminal court process.

Rachel Tolliver was in an Apostolic Christian church in San Francisco when she was reminded of the devil from her past.

It was 2011 and Tolliver, then in her early 20s, had known a hard road. Raised around addiction and abuse, and having spent time in multiple group homes, the Bayview native was well versed in the ways that adults and systems can disappoint the children in their care. She was “over it all — just over life, to be quite frank,” she said. So she came asking God for a reason to go on.

“I made every single day of my life church,” she said. “Sunday all the way through Saturday, going to church….

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Third Midland church leader being investigated for child sex crimes

SAGINAW (MI)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

March 30, 2024

By BLAKE KELLER

Read original article

A third church leader with Mark Barclay Ministries and Living Word International Church in Midland has been suspended and removed from all church positions effective immediately after being accused of misconduct.

Josh Barclay, on behalf of Mark Barclay Ministries and the church, confirmed to WNEM-TV5 a second pastor is being investigated for sexual abuse.

In a statement, Barclay said the abuse allegations didn’t take place at the church nor was the church involved in any way.

“Living Word International Church is deeply saddened and concerned to address recent allegations of misconduct involving one of our ministers. We take these matters extremely seriously and are committed to transparency, accountability, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our congregation.”

Josh Barclay, Mark Barclay Ministries

Barclay said the church is cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation. The individual in question is suspended from all church duties, pending the outcome of the…

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Archdeacon resigns over inappropriate relationship

LICHFIELD (UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

March 26, 2024

By Susie Rack

Read original article

5 days agoSusie Rack,BBC News, West MidlandsShare

Diocese of Lichfield Archdeacon Paul Thomas was required to resign following a “brief, consensual but inappropriate relationship with a woman”

An archdeacon has resigned and been banned from ministry for three years after admitting an “inappropriate relationship”.

The Venerable Paul Thomas, archdeacon of Salop since 2011, stepped back from duties last September while a complaint was investigated.

The Bishop of Lichfield confirmed it pertained to “a brief, consensual but inappropriate relationship with a woman during 2022 and early 2023″.

“I am deeply grieved that Paul’s long service in ministry in this diocese… has been marred in this way,” Bishop Michael Ipgrave added.

The relationship occurred while Archdeacon Thomas was experiencing “post-Covid depression and spiritual exhaustion”, the bishop said.

A complaint made under the Church of England’s Clergy Discipline Measure was overseen by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Right Reverend Sarah Bullock.

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Abuse in the seminary, the archbishop replies to Father Contini: Give all possible attention to the matter

(ITALY)
L'Unione Sarda [Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy]

March 31, 2024

Read original article

Never questioned, says Carboni, neither was the legitimacy and autonomy of that bishop in his pastoral choices, nor were they a judgment on people

After the message sent to the parish communities by Father Paolo Contini regarding the affair linked to the abuse suffered as a seminarian and the consequent developments, the clarifications arrive from Archbishop Roberto Carboni.

In reference to the message of Father Paolo Contini written to his parish communities, published in recent days on social media and taken up by the press, where comments are made on appointments made in a diocese of Sardinia» specifies the archbishop, I consider it necessary to clarify that the expressions used by me, and taken up again by him without my authorization, were extrapolated from a personal message and must be contextualized to be understood in their meaning. They wanted to respond, in the form of solidarity and closeness, to his emotional situation…

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Cardinal Müller slams ‘disgraceful’ Vatican meeting with German bishops to ‘negotiate faith and morals’

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
LifeSiteNews [Front Royal VA]

March 27, 2024

By Andreas Wailzer

Read original article

Cardinal Müller condemned as ‘unfathomable’ the ‘absurdity’ of German bishops negotiating Catholic doctrine in Rome ‘as if the Church’s teachings were an offer to be sold to the highest bidder in the supermarket of ideologies.’

Cardinal Gerhard Müller strongly criticized “negotiations” between the Vatican and German bishops about the heretical German Synodal Way and accused “German Synodalists” of effectively blaming Christ for sin by falsely claiming that His Commandments are responsible for the abuse crisis.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller strongly criticized “negotiations” between the Vatican and German bishops about the heretical German Synodal Way and accused “German Synodalists” of effectively blaming Christ for sin by falsely claiming that His Commandments are responsible for the abuse crisis

In an INTERVIEW with Austrian news outlet kath.net, Cardinal Müller was asked about the RECENT MEETING between German bishops and members of the Vatican Curia.

“The German Synodalists are completely wrong not only in terms of…

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March 30, 2024

The Controversy Unfolds: Twice-Accused Priest Back in Action, Sparks Outrage and Criticism

CHICAGO (IL)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

March 29, 2024

By Adam Horowitz Law

Read original article

In a surprising twist, Fr. Daniel McCarthy, a twice-accused Chicago priest, is now back on the job after facing two accusations of sexual assault. That’s worrisome, of course, but sadly not terribly shocking. But what is shocking is that the cleric apparently spoke at length with a reporter regarding the Archdiocese’s mismanagement. Of course, that rarely happens. The cleric gave a relatively detailed description of the three-year saga of the church ‘investigation’ into the allegations against him to a reporter. The result: a news report that is telling, alarming, gripping, and disgusting all at once. Even the headline is startling: 

“Archdiocese of Chicago sat on or lost child sexual abuse accusation, didn’t question priest about allegation specifics, accused priest says.”

The sub-heading of that article reads, “Fr. Daniel McCarthy said he was never directly questioned about the details of child sexual abuse allegations leveled against him,…

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Arkansas pastor resigns after months of dissension over mishandling child sexual abuse cases

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

March 28, 2024

By David Bumgardner

Read original article

After a months-long saga of media coverage, internal infighting and an exodus of members and deacons, Pastor Steven Smith of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock, Ark. tendered his resignation via a letter to his congregation last night.

As previously reported by BNG, Immanuel Baptist is a prominent, wealthy and tall-steeple congregation where former Arkansas governor and U.S. President Bill Clinton previously worshiped. It is one of the largest and best-known churches in the state.

It also has been the subject of nearly four dozen reports detailing internal infighting, political drama, an exodus of members with young children, and a 41% vote of “no confidence” in Smith by the church’s deacon board, much of which has resigned.

Nearly all this reporting has come from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette religion editor Frank E. Lockwood. In February, Smith blamed the church’s abuse crisis and media coverage on Satan, rebuking him: “We command you by the power and the blood of…

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Immanuel Baptist Pastor Steven Smith to resign over handling of child abuse allegations

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Christian Post [Washington DC]

March 29, 2024

By Michael Gryboski

Read original article

Pastor Steven Smith of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, will be resigning from his position in April amid criticism for failing to inform his church about child abuse charges against a former children’s ministry staffer. 

In a letter released Wednesday, Smith said he will step down effective April 7 to “diffuse the current situation and allow Immanuel to heal.”

“Every family experiences tension, and our church family tension has been very real and very public in recent months,” wrote Smith, as reported by The Arkansas Times.

“To feel this tension as we walk through the halls and as we worship together has been disheartening. Unfortunately, at present we do not see this abating, but only increasing.”

Regarding possible future plans, Smith said that he was “not stepping into another ministry, but stepping aside to allow this process of healing to begin.”

According to Immanuel’s  View Cache

Bishop T.D. Jakes Mentioned in Lawsuit Against Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

DALLAS (TX)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

March 27, 2024

By Josh Shepherd

Read original article

T.D. Jakes, influential pastor of Dallas megachurch The Potter’s House, has been mentioned in a lawsuit against embattled music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs. 

On Monday, producer Rodney “Lil’ Rod” Jones alleged in a lawsuit that Combs engaged in a multi-year “sex trafficking venture.” The sordid 98-page legal complaint mentions Jakes once, as part of a list of evidence that Jones “has personally witnessed and secured.” 

Jones’ accusations are related to multiple allegations of sexual assault against Combs, including a suit filed in November by Cassie Ventura, Combs’ former girlfriend. Earlier this week, agents raided Combs’ residences in Los Angeles and Miami as part of a federal sex-trafficking investigation.

In the suit filed Monday, Jones claimed he has “irrefutable evidence” that detail “how (Combs) planned to leverage his relationship with Bishop T.D. Jakes, to soften the impact on his public image of Cassie Ventura’s lawsuit.” No allegations of wrongdoing were…

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Former Pastor Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting 3 Juveniles in Schuylkill County

ANDREAS (PA)
Skook News [Ashland, PA]

March 28, 2024

Read original article

A man charged last year with sexually assaulting children in West Penn Township was sentenced this week.

On Tuesday, Marvin Leroy Mosley was sentenced by Schuylkill County Judge Charles Miller to six months to 23 months in Schuylkill County Prison after he admitted to sexually assaulting three children over a decade ago.

Mosley had admitted to the crimes when he was questioned by West Penn Township Police after a 26-year-old victim came forward in early 2023.  The victim told police that she, along with two others, were assaulted by Mosley at a farm in Andreas where he was staying at the time.

Following Mosley’s time in prison, he will serve 5 years probation, pay $16,000 in restitution to the victims for health bills related to the abuse, and he will be listed on the sex offender’s registry for the rest of his life.

————————————————————–

Original Story from June 22, 2023

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Special Olympics Maine founder accused of sexually assaulting child for years

PORTLAND (ME)
Bangor Daily News [Bangor ME]

March 29, 2024

By Christopher Burns

Read original article

The founder of Special Olympics Maine spent years sexually assaulting a child beginning in the late 1960s, according to a new lawsuit.

Mark Frank, 65, of Augusta filed a lawsuit in Cumberland County Superior Court against Special Olympics Maine and Special Olympics Inc., based in Washington, D.C., the Portland Press Herald reported.

The lawsuit alleges the organizations should have been aware of the abuse and stepped in to protect Frank, who said he was sexually abused by Melvin Boutilier “dozens, if not hundreds” of times, according to the Press Herald.

The Special Olympics organizations told the Press Herald that they are “shocked and saddened” by the allegations, saying such behavior has never been tolerated within the Special Olympics.

Boutilier, who died in 2012 at age 83, was long celebrated for his work as an educator and volunteer with organizations serving children with intellectual disabilities. He was awarded the highest honor presented…

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March 29, 2024

Australian Denomination Defrocks Megachurch Pastors Amid Sex Scandal

(AUSTRALIA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

March 28, 2024

By Josh Shepherd

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Two Australian pastors, Corey Turner and Stacey Hilliar, will “lose their ministry credentials” for at least two years in the wake of a sex scandal, their former church’s overseeing denomination announced.

In an email posted Wednesday by a watchdog group, Wayne Alcorn, president of Australian Christian Churches (ACC), informed ACC pastors of “recent action” the denomination had taken regarding two ACC pastors. Turner, lead pastor of Neuma Church in Melbourne, confessed to a relationship with Hilliar, executive leader of the church’s worship and creative teams.

A charismatic megachurch seemingly modeled after Hillsong, Neuma Church has nine locations in Australia, plus campuses in Bangkok, Thailand, and San Francisco. Both pastors have admitted to sexual misconduct that violated their marriage vows and resigned in early February. 

Alcorn referred to the ACC’s “extensive processes” of evaluating the behavior of the prominent ministers and its impact. “It was determined…

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Belgian bishop laicised 14 years after abuse exposed

BRUGES (BELGIUM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

March 27, 2024

By Tom Heneghan

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The Belgian Church had warned that the Pope could not go through with his planned visit in September if Vangheluwe was not laicised.

Pope Francis laicised the former Bishop of Ghent Roger Vangheluwe, who resigned his see in 2010 after admitting to sexual abuse of two nephews.  

Recent years have seen a rising tide of public appeals by Church leaders and politicians in Belgium for Rome to defrock him. 

Several bishops told the Vatican in public and private statements that the Pope could not go through with his planned visit to Belgium in September, to attend the 600th anniversary of the Catholic University of Leuven, if Vangheluwe was not laicised. 

Belgian politicians joined the fray, with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo calling for Vangheluwe’s laicisation in January and Justice Minister Paul Van Tigchelt announcing in February that Belgian officials had known since 2012 that many adult pornographic images were found on Vangheluwe’s computer.

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Letter to the Editor: Louisiana Excommunication

LAFAYETTE (LA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 28, 2024

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I have degrees from two Jesuit universities and worked as a Catholic high school religious educator and music minister for 27 years (ncronline.org, March 27, 2024). My husband and I raised our sons in the church. My youngest brother is a member of the De La Mennais order. Catholicism is part of my DNA, but I am no longer Catholic.

After confronting my own childhood abuse at the hands of two Catholic priests, even after discovering among family a total of six victims of these same two priests, and even after Boston in 2002, I remained a faithful Catholic. I taught my students that an imperfect human institution was admitting its wrongdoing and was committed to change. But then it became clear that my church’s dis-ease was so deep, so systemic, that no real change was taking place – Cardinal Francis E. George, the author of the…

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Man who suffered sexual abuse by former Canberra priest has settlement agreement set aside, partly because he didn’t understand it

(AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

March 28, 2024

By Elizabeth Byrne

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  • In short: A man who suffered prolonged sexual abuse by former Canberra priest Father Lloyd Reynolds in the1960s has won his bid to have a settlement agreement set aside.
  • As part of a $100,000 settlement he signed an agreement not to pursue any further liability, but the court found his dyslexia and literacy skills were so poor he thought the document was something else entirely.
  • What’s next? Acting Justice Greg Curtin found the settlement deed was not just and reasonable and set it aside, clearing the way for the man to seek further damages.

A man who suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of a former Canberra priest has won a bid to have a settlement agreement set aside, because he couldn’t read well enough to understand what he was signing.

Warning: This story contains details that some readers may find distressing.

It’s believed to be the first such judgement by…

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Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, Catholic Church announce ’sacred covenant’ to be signed on Easter

KAMLOOPS (CANADA)
Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, British Columbia]

March 28, 2024

By The Canadian Press

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The church will share records and information with the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc as it continues to investigate the site of a former residential school where hundreds of children went missing.

Vancouver’s Catholic archdiocese is marking Easter with a commitment towards reconciliation with First Nations in B.C., Archbishop J. Michael Miller says.

The church and the chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc announced Thursday that a “sacred covenant” agreement has been reached between the church and the First Nation in Kamloops.

The covenant comes three years after the First Nation announced the discovery of what it believed were more than 200 unmarked graves of children at the site of a former residential school.

Miller said the agreement with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc will open a new chapter in the relationship between the church and First Nations in B.C.

“Unquestionably, the church was wrong in implementing a government colonialist policy which resulted in devastation…

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Navigating Difficult Conversations: Why It’s Essential to Ask Loved Ones About Their Childhood Experiences

WASHINGTON (DC)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

March 28, 2024

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In an era where accessing information is merely a few clicks away, resources like “Six Questions To Ask Your Child If You Think They Are Being Sexually Abused” are invaluable. These guides, as recommended by Horowitz Law, serve not just as educational tools for those in dire situations but also as enlightening reads for everyone. Even if you’re convinced that you’ll never be in this awful situation, we also encourage you to share these excellent guides with others with children as a gesture of care and responsibility.  

However, there’s an equally significant yet often overlooked conversation that needs attention: the importance of asking our loved ones whether they endured sexual abuse in their childhood. Asking a girl or boy if someone is touching them inappropriately currently in the present is obviously important, but it’s also important that adults be asked the same question about events that could have…

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Convent was run like a cult

(UNITED KINGDOM)
Church Times [London, England]

March 28, 2024

By Sarah Meyrick

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Catherine Coldstream found joy when she joined a Carmelite order, but also abuse, she tells Sarah Meyrick

CATHERINE COLDSTREAM says that she is staggered by the media interest in her memoir, Cloistered: My years as a nun. “People used to glaze over when I said I’m writing about my time as a nun,” she says. But the book is barely out, and several of the broadsheets, as well as the Church Times (Books, 8 March), have run reviews and interviews. There are speaking engagements in the diary.

The bones of her story are these. She grew up in a bohemian home in north London, the daughter of Sir William Coldstream, a painter and professor of fine art, and his much younger second wife, an opera singer. The marriage was stormy, and her upbringing was dysfunctional and marred by conflict.

On the death of her father, Catherine experienced an overwhelming religious conversion. Three years…

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Wyoming Episcopal bishop deposed over ‘indiscretion’ with Church member

CHEYENNE (WY)
Christian Post [Washington DC]

March 28, 2024

By Michael Gryboski

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A bishop of The Episcopal Church who was based in Wyoming has been deposed from his position following an investigation into a reported “indiscretion” he had with a church member.

The Rt. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, bishop of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming, was officially deposed following a Title IV disciplinary investigation, according to an announcement released by the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs on Wednesday.

“Chandler has voluntarily submitted to a sentence of deposition, which deprives him of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority of God’s word and sacraments conferred at ordination,” the Public Affairs Office stated.

The deposition came as part of an accord that Chandler agreed to with the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, presiding bishop-designate for some Title IV matters, which the Disciplinary Board for Bishops approved.

In a statement to Episcopal News Service, Chandler maintained his innocence…

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Mass for Victims of the Abuse April 5 at Cathedral

VENICE (FL)
Florida Catholic [Orlando FL]

March 28, 2024

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VENICE  |  April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in conjunction with the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Venice will hold a Mass for Victims of Child Abuse for the 17th consecutive year with Bishop Frank J. Dewane as the Celebrant. The Mass will take place at 12:15 p.m., Friday, April 5, 2024, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are invited to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

Through a comprehensive Safe Environment program, the Diocese of Venice, and its entities, take very seriously the safety of all young people and vulnerable adults. The Diocese has a zero-tolerance policy, and works to prevent any instances of abuse, particularly against minors and vulnerable adults. This comprehensive program aims to protect the most vulnerable from all types of abuse while raising…

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March 28, 2024

Excommunicated deacon says son was sexually abused by priest; WDSU obtains priest deposition

LAFAYETTE (LA)
WDSU [New Orleans]

March 27, 2024

By Aubry Killion

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A former Louisiana deacon says his own son was sexually abused by a priest. After the deacon left the church, he said he just learned he was excommunicated.

WDSU investigative reporter Aubry Killion uncovered a new video of the convicted priest being questioned.

Warning: the details in this story are graphic.

“It’s a graver sin to leave the church than it is to rape, molest, abuse, or take advantage of men, women, children. That’s an institution that I can’t be a part of,” Scott Peyton said.

Peyton resigned as a deacon for the Diocese of Lafayette last year.

He says he got a letter this month from the Diocese of Lafayette letting him know he was being excommunicated.

“They levied this punishment on me while the priest who molested my son, the day he walks out of prison, will be able to go to any Catholic Church, receive sacraments, will…

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The toxic mix of clericalism and sex abuse is not unique to Catholicism

BONN (GERMANY)
La Croix International [France]

March 27, 2024

By J. P. Grayland

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Studies in Germany suggest that abuse in the country’s Protestant congregations, like that in Catholic communities, is also linked to a type of institutionalized clericalism.

The sizable number of abuse cases in the Catholic Church in Germany became known for the first time in 2010. Since then, the Church has been striving to process these cases. At their plenary assembly on September 25, 2018, the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) published a study documenting cases of abuse between 1946 and 2014. At the end of 2020, the Protestant Church of Germany (Die Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland) also began research on sexual abuse in their Churches. On January 25, 2024, this study was made public. What these two studies have in common is the role that clericalism plays in sexual abuse in Christian communities, local Churches, religious congregations, and organizations.

In the area of sexual abuse, it is clear that listening to…

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Wrestling with the reality of sexual abuse in the Easter story in Surviving God

WASHINGTON (DC)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

March 28, 2024

By Mallory Challis

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In their new book, Surviving God: A New Vision of God Through the Eyes of Sexual Abuse SurvivorsGrace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan Shaw offer a feminist and intersectional understanding of God that challenges traditional ways of Christian thinking.

Kim and Shaw deconstruct patriarchal understandings of God as masculine and violent, replacing this male-centered God with one informed by the stories of sexual abuse survivors.

Surviving God is filled with testimonies and poems written by survivors of sexual abuse, carefully placed within a robust cultural, theological and scriptural analysis of the systems and frameworks churches use to perpetuate and justify stories alike. They share survivors’ thoughts on how the church’s response, or lack thereof, deeply impacted their ability to heal psychologically and spiritually, and present ways Christian theology can bear a healthier and more responsible image of God.

One of those abuse survivors, Kim and Shaw explain, is Jesus himself.

In chapter 8,…

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Bringing Down a Bishop: The Sins of Christopher Saunders | 7NEWS Spotlight

(AUSTRALIA)
Seven Network - 7news [Eveleigh, NSW Australia]

March 14, 2024

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This is the story of how one of Australia’s top Catholic Bishops was brought down by a 7NEWS investigation. Chris Reason’s exclusive reporting about the alleged crimes of the Bishop of Broome landed on the desk of the Pope, and led to history being made – the first Papal investigation in Australia.

[To view program on Youtube, click here.]

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Withdrawn English episcopal nomination triggered multiple investigations

PLYMOUTH (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

March 26, 2024

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Complaints against an English priest named to become a bishop also triggered a Vos estis lux mundi investigation into his own diocesan bishop, who was accused of failing to handle the allegations appropriately. 

Canon Christopher Whitehead of the Diocese of Clifton has returned to parish ministry, the diocese announced in a brief statement on March 22, after a preliminary investigation into allegations raised against him determined there was no cause to initiate a full canonical proceeding.

But while the priest has now returned to parish ministry, the circumstances which led to his canceled episcopal promotion caused a major headache for multiple Vatican departments, and led to a Vatican-ordered investigation into Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, who resigned weeks after the investigation began.

The Vatican announced Dec. 15, 2023 that Whitehead had been selected by Pope Francis to become the next Bishop of the Diocese of Plymouth, with his episcopal consecration scheduled for…

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New York Archdiocese battles with insurers over child abuse cases

NEW YORK (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

March 28, 2024

By Brendan J. Lyons

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Survivors’ coalition accuses insurers of ‘egregious delay tactics,’ but those companies argue criminal conduct may not be subject to policy coverage.

ALBANY — A coalition representing alleged survivors of child sexual abuse are calling on state lawmakers to investigate the insurance industry’s practices as many of those companies — which have provided policies to New York Catholic dioceses dating back decades — are fighting efforts to have the insurers pay settlements to victims.

The Coalition for Just and Compassionate Compensation, which bills itself as an independent alliance of survivors of child sex abuse, sent a letter Wednesday to state Sen. Neil Breslin and Assemblyman David Weprin, who chair their chambers’ insurance committees, requesting that they convene public hearings and examine whether the insurers are complying with the intent of the New York’s Child Victims Act.

The outreach by the coalition, whose members also include attorneys representing victims of clergy sex abuse, comes as…

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Editorial: Excommunication in Louisiana lays bare Catholic Church’s hypocrisy

LAFAYETTE (LA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 27, 2024

By NCR Editorial Staff

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[See also Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel’s decree removing Deacon Scott Peyton’s faculties to function as a cleric and declaring him excommunicated.]

Toward the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus uses unsparing language in his condemnation of certain religious leaders of his era. He concedes the leaders’ authority, telling the people gathered that they should listen to their leaders’ instructions. “But” he adds, “do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

He continued: “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. …They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ “

That reading comes easily to mind with the recent news from the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, where a permanent deacon…

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Polish state agency raids three houses run by religious congregation, arrests priest

WARSAW (POLAND)
Detroit Catholic [Archdiocese of Detroit MI]

March 27, 2024

By Paulina Guzik, OSV News

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The Polish state Internal Security Agency March 26 raided three houses run by the the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as part of an ongoing investigation by Poland’s new government into funding the congregation received from the previous government for its ministry for victims of abuse.

Sacred Heart Father Michal Olszewski, who leads the ministry, was arrested March 26, along with three former employees of the Ministry of Justice, and connected to the Justice Fund under the former Polish Law and Justice government.

The congregation has been in the middle of a political storm since early this year because of a Justice Fund investigation.

Accused of having “no experience” in the field, the congregation’s foundation didn’t receive the last batch of the funding — $7.5 million. Creators of the ministry told OSV News the funding is “indispensable to finish construction and start helping those abused both in society…

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Federal Judge Calls for State Supreme Court to Review Maryland Child Victims Act Constitutionality

BALTIMORE (MD)
AboutLawsuits.com [Baltimore, MD]

March 27, 2024

By Irvin Jackson

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Maryland Child Victims Act was enacted last year, allowing child sex abuse lawsuits to be filed by survivors, regardless of how long ago the acts occurred.

To speed up an inevitable constitutional challenge to Maryland’s Child Victims Act (CVA), which removed the statute of limitations from any child sex abuse lawsuits filed in the state, a federal judge has cleared the way for a case against the Mormon church to move straight to the Maryland Supreme Court.

The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 went into effect at the beginning of October, allowing claims to be filed against abusers and institutions that enabled the conduct, regardless of how long ago the acts occurred. The legislation has been hailed as a landmark achievement for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, since many individuals are unable to reach a point where they seek justice until long after the typical statute of limitations has expired.

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People say they’re leaving religion due to anti-LGBTQ teachings and sexual abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Public Radio - NPR [Washington DC]

March 27, 2024

By Jason DeRose

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A PRRI survey finds that around one-quarter (26%) of Americans now identify as religiously unaffiliated, a number that has risen over the last decade and is now the largest single religious group in the U.S.

People in the U.S. are leaving and switching faith traditions in large numbers. The idea of “religious churning” is very common in America, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

It finds that around one-quarter (26%) of Americans now identify as religiously unaffiliated, a number that has risen over the last decade and is now the largest single religious group in the U.S. That’s similar to what other surveys and polls have also found, including Pew Research.

PRRI found that the number of those who describe themselves as “nothing in particular” has held steady since 2013, but those who identify as atheists have doubled (from 2% to 4%) and those…

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Letter to the Editor – Correcting Misconceptions: A Defense of the Diocese of Arlington’s Integrity and Contributions

ARLINGTON (VA)
Royal Examiner [Warren County VA]

March 27, 2024

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In response to this published letter to the editor, the writer is misinformed and very much off base.  Had they paid attention to the eight years of their Catholic education, or bothered to learn more about their faith and the Church in their adulthood, they’d first of all know there is no Archdiocese of Arlington.  They’d know the difference between an Archdiocese and a Diocese; Arlington is the latter, led by a Bishop.  And an extremely good one at that, who is a man of great integrity and a true spiritual leader.

Second, the Diocese has an extraordinarily good record regarding these horrible abuse cases which plague not just the Catholic church, but all institutions.  Financially, the Diocese is solid, and while other Diocese are aging in their priesthood, Arlington stands proudly among numerous others nationwide who are ordaining exceptional young men to the priesthood, in numbers increasing their ranks. …

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Letter to the Editor: County Urged to Deny Archdiocese Expansion While Faith Struggles with Accountability

ARLINGTON (VA)
Royal Examiner [Warren County VA]

March 26, 2024

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The Archdiocese of Arlington is proposing a new facility in Front Royal despite 37 archdioceses in America declaring bankruptcy to avoid financial accountability for the over 11,000 accusations of abusing children in this country.

Many in Warren County sure seemed worried about some books possibly harming kids but not at all about the actual abuses of children by members of the clergy in the Catholic Church.

If all Catholics answer to one pope, then why is the Archdiocese of Arlington morally shielded from the fiscal and legal responsibility of their brethren in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Oakland, or 35 other dioceses in the US alone? Are they not their brother’s keeper? They have money to expand here but not tend their flock? Surely God’s laws supersede organizational jurisdiction.

The Catholic Church has shown little to no good faith in their response to victims or prevention, for decades. This could well be an attempt by this…

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March 27, 2024

Diocese of Manchester settles sexual abuse claim from 1970s

MANCHESTER (NH)
WMUR-TV, ABC-9 [Manchester NH]

March 26, 2024

By Hannah Cotter

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Accuser says priest assaulted him as teenager

The Diocese of Manchester has settled a child sexual abuse claim from the 1970s involving a former priest.

No lawsuit was filed because the alleged abuse happened outside the statute of limitations, but the attorney representing the John Doe who was involved said it’s important for survivors to come forward as part of the healing process.Advertisement

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said his client was sexually abused when he was a teenager in 1973 and 1974 by the Rev. Alfred Jannetta. He said Jannetta gave the child alcohol and marijuana before abusing him at St. Paul Church in Franklin, which is now known as St. Gabriel Parish.

Garabedian said the accuser also said he was abused by an unknown priest at Camp Fatima in Gilmanton Ironworks when he was 8 years old.

Garabedian and Bob Hoatson, the president of the nonprofit organization Road to Recovery,…

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Diocese of Manchester settles 1970s sexual-abuse claim

MANCHESTER (NH)
Union Leader [Manchester NH]

March 26, 2024

By Paul Feely

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The Diocese of Manchester has agreed to settle a claim of child sexual abuse from the 1970s against a former priest, an attorney for the victim announced Tuesday.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said his client, whom he referred to as a “courageous childhood clergy sexual abuse victim,” settled a claim with Diocese “in the low six figures” through a settlement program.

According to Garabedian, the man was sexually abused when he was about 15 or 16 by the Rev. Alfred L. Jannetta, when the priest was assigned to St. Paul’s Church in Franklin around 1973 and 1974.

“Fr. Jannetta would sexually abuse the innocent child after giving the child alcohol and marijuana to consume,” Garabedian said in an email. “At least one incident occurred in the church rectory and one incident occurred near the church in Fr. Jannetta’s car.”

Garabedian said no lawsuit was filed because the statute of limitations had…

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Abuse victims demonstrate against Catholic Church in Quebec

QUéBEC CITY (CANADA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

March 27, 2024

By AFP, Quebec CIty

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Over 140 individuals have sued the archdiocese alleging sexual abuse by more than 100 priests and diocese staff

Victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy and their supporters marched in Quebec City on March 26 to raise awareness and encourage others to speak out against abusers within the Church.

More than 140 people filed a class action lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec in Canada in 2022, claiming to have been sexually assaulted by more than 100 priests or diocese staff.

Some of the archdiocese’s top leaders, including Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, a close advisor to the pope, as well as Cardinal Marc Ouellet, once considered a strong candidate to be pope, are among the accused. Both deny the allegations.

The mostly older march participants planted crosses symbolizing the victims in front of the city’s Notre-Dame basilica.

One woman in the crowd, who said she had been a victim of…

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SNAP stands in solidarity with excommunicated father; says actions of Louisiana bishop will discourage victims from coming forward

LAFAYETTE (LA)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

March 26, 2024

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A Louisiana man, who worked as a Catholic deacon and whose son was sexually assaulted by his priest as a child, has been excommunicated by his former bishop. As far as SNAP can tell, no perpetrator has ever faced this harsh ecclesiastical penalty. We call on the faithful who are appalled by this action to contact the bishop and express their dismay.

Scott Peyton’s excommunication from the Church on March 13, 2024, at the hands of Diocese of Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, seems to us to be vindictive, unnecessary, and likely to have a chilling effect on those victims and their families who are also believers. While Scott had worked as a deacon in the Diocese alongside his son Oliver’s abuser, Fr. Michael Guidry, Scott had already stepped away from this position in December, telling the Bishop at the same time that he and…

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Trial delayed for New Orleans priest Lawrence Hecker, charged with raping teenager

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Nola.com [New Orleans, LA]

March 25, 2024

By Jillian Kramer

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Lawrence Hecker, 92, has been charged with first-degree rape, among other crimes.

Name: Lawrence Hecker

Age: 86 or 87

Position: Diocesan priest in Archdiocese of New Orleans

Served where: St. Mary in New Roads; Christ the King in Terrytown; Holy Family in Luling; Holy Rosary in New Orleans ; Our Lady of Lourdes in New Orleans; St. Anthony in Luling; St. Bernadette in Houma; St. Charles Borromeo (in residence); St. Frances Cabrini; St. Francis Xavier in Metairie; St. Joseph in Gretna; St. Louise de Marillac in Arabi; St. Theresa of Child Jesus

Ordained: 1958

Estimated time of abuse: Late 1960s, 1970s

Allegation received: 1996

Lawsuits filed/previous known allegations: Name included on list that Archdiocese of New Orleans released in late 2018

Removed from ministry: 2002

Current status: Public records say he still lives in Louisiana

Details: The archdiocese of New Orleans said a credible accusation of abuse led to Hecker’s removal from ministry in 2002. Further details are unknown.

The trial…

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Columbus diocese updates and tightens standards for sex abuse prevention and addressing allegations

COLUMBUS (OH)
Catholic Vote [Madison, WI]

March 26, 2024

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The Diocese of Columbus, Ohio has updated and tightened its standards of conduct for addressing abuse allegations, reporting, and preventing sexual abuse.

According to the Catholic Standard, the diocese published the original standards of conduct in 2002, and were modified again in 2016. This year, the diocese issued a new update in line with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

The updates are in the 112-page Diocese of Columbus Safe Environment Manual. According to the Standard, the policies

establish norms of appropriate clerical and lay conduct toward minors and the vulnerable and apply to all priests, deacons and members of religious orders in the diocese, as well as teachers in diocesan schools, parish and school employees, persons in positions of lay ministry and anyone else in a person of trust who is…

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Watch your language and your beliefs, sex abuser survivors tell the church

CORVALLIS (OR)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

March 26, 2024

By Jeff Brumley

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The insidious and chronic nature of church sexual abuse is an outgrowth of patriarchal concepts of the divine that provide theological cover for abusers and shame for their victims, said the authors of a new book on theologies of abuse.

Language depicting God as “father,” “king,” “master,” coupled with an emphasis on the omnipotence and omniscience of God, is problematic because it emanates from patriarchy, said Susan M. Shaw, co-author of Surviving God, A New Vision of God Through the Eyes of Sexual Abuse Survivors.

“These are the characteristics we associate with men, and having a God like that essentially reinforces and justifies men having exclusive power over women, children, feminized men and marginalized other people,” Shaw said during a recent episode of “The State of Belief,” a podcast moderated by Interfaith Alliance President Paul Raushenbush.

“We really wanted to explore the ways those images, that language and those beliefs have…

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Reports: SGC Pastor Jailed Amid Investigation into Sexual Abuse of 13-Year-Old

LAGRANGE (GA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

March 26, 2024

By Sarah Einselen

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Authorities have jailed a Georgia pastor in the Sovereign Grace Churches network on preliminary charges stemming from a child abuse investigation, reports indicate.

Russell Jon Tusing II, 44, is being held without bond in the Troup County Detention Center on a felony charge of child molestation and a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery, according to jail records.

After Tusing’s arrest last Friday, police told the LaGrange Daily News that Tusing pastors Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange, a small city southwest of Atlanta, along the border with Alabama.

The church is one of more than 130 congregations affiliated with Sovereign Grace Churches. Tusing is no longer listed on the local church’s website, which previously stated he “has faithfully served as the lead pastor” since 2011, cached results on search engines show.

Tusing was appointed the church’s pastor in August 2011 after…

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Tell City church releases statement following former pastor’s arrest

TELL CITY (IN)
WEVV 44 [Evansville, IN]

March 25, 2024

By Adam Knight

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Leaders at Community Christian Church are speaking out for the first time since the church’s pastor was recently arrested on child sex crime charges.

As we reported, pastor Errol Wright was arrested and charged with Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Child Seduction, and Child Solicitation after an investigation.

Affidavit details child sex abuse accusations made against Tell City pastor

  • Adam Kight

Officials at the church say they waited to release a statement because of how heavily involved Wright’s family is in the church.

The statement also addresses a “misunderstanding,” and says that none of the church’s money went to paying Wright’s bail.

Statement from Community Christian Church concerning arrest of Errol Wright:

“We have felt the same shock and hurt as the community concerning the recent incident involving our previous pastor.  We neglected to release a statement until now because his family is heavily involved in the church, and we wished to…

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Louisiana Supreme Court strikes down ‘lookback window’ for child sex abuse victims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

March 26, 2024

By Nate Tinner-Williams and Black Catholic Messenger

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The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s temporary suspension of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse is unconstitutional, a 4-3 decision likely to be seen as a win for the state’s Catholic hierarchy.

The three-year “lookback window” was opened in June 2021 and allowed individuals to file abuse lawsuits regardless of when the incidents are alleged to have occurred. The change in law, stemming from a case against the Diocese of Lafayette, had faced various legal challenges and was taken up by the state’s high court in late 2023.

“We are constrained to find the statutory enactment is contrary to the due process protections enshrined in our [state] constitution and must yield to that supreme law,” reads the majority opinion released on March 22.

“Accordingly, we reverse in part, and vacate in part, finding the trial court erred in overruling the…

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Senate Republicans oppose measure at Colorado State Capitol aimed at holding child sexual predators accountable

DENVER (CO)
CBS News [Colorado]

March 20, 2024

By Shaun Boyd

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There is surprising pushback against a constitutional amendment that would allow child sex assault survivors to bring civil claims no matter how long ago their abuse happened. Republicans in the Colorado Senate are threatening to prevent the measure from making the ballot. 

They’re worried it would lead to lawsuits against churches, schools and other institutions that they say would have no way of defending themselves because the cases happened so long ago.

Under the amendment, survivors could sue both their abusers and those who covered up the abuse. 

The legislature passed a similar law three years ago, but the Colorado Supreme Court struck it down, saying the Constitution prohibits retroactive cases.

While many Republicans helped pass the law, they are now refusing to refer the constitutional amendment to the ballot unless institutions are exempted.

Child sex assault survivors such as Angie Witt say the opposition makes no sense. Witt says…

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March 26, 2024

Pope laicizes Belgian bishop 14 years after he admitted to abusing nephews

BRUGES (BELGIUM)
La Croix International [Montrouge Cedex, France]

March 22, 2024

By Christophe Henning

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Roger Vangheluwe, former bishop of Brugge, was suspended from ministry in 2010 for sex abuse of minors; his dismissal from the clerical state was long awaited in Belgium

Pope Francis has laicized Belgian prelate Roger Vangheluwe, the former bishop of Brugge who was suspended in 2010 after admitting to abusing his young male nephews for over a decade beginning even before his ordination to the episcopacy.

The pope made the decision to permanently remove the 87-year-old Vangheluwe from the clerical state on March 10 and the news was communicated to him this past Wednesday. The move brings an end to a long affair that had dragged on for fourteen years. Belgium’s statute of limitations prevented Vangheluwe from being prosecuted for these crimes.

But the Belgian bishops had been urging the pope to laicize him for the past several years.  A few months ago, his case again became a source of…

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Michael Hobbs Conviction

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Archdiocese of Westminster [London, England]

March 26, 2024

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Michael Hobbs, a former priest of the Diocese of Westminster, was sentenced, on 25 March 2024, at the Old Bailey, to 12 years’ imprisonment, following conviction of non-recent sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Westminster is deeply sorry for the hurt that he caused to his victims, their families and the wider community, and acknowledges the gravity of the abuse he inflicted.

The Diocese of Westminster has cooperated with the police and statutory authorities throughout the investigation.

Michael Hobbs was stood down from ministry in 2000, and laicised in 2002.

The Diocese of Westminster is committed to the safeguarding of all children and vulnerable adults in its care. Over the past two decades, in conjunction with the Catholic Church in England and Wales, we have developed robust safeguarding policies and procedures, which have been put in place across parishes, chaplaincies, schools and agencies of the diocese to provide protection for children…

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Doubt, skepticism, but also relief, greet Rivoire report

CHURCHILL (CANADA)
The Catholic Register - Archdiocese of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

March 26, 2024

By Quinton Amundson

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Reactions have poured in since the Oblates of Mary Immaculate published the Report of the Oblate Safeguarding Commission, authored by retired Superior Court of Quebec Justice André Denis, on March 19. The most consequential revelation of this 57-page report is that Rivoire was guilty, based on the “preponderance of evidence,” of sexually assaulting five minors in Naujaat, Nunavut, between 1968 and 1970, and one in Arviat and Whale Cove, Nunavut, between 1974 and 1979.

Fr. Ken Thorson, OMI, wrote in an email that “many have expressed their gratitude for the comprehensiveness of Justice Denis’ investigation and the clarity of the report.” Others told the provincial superior of OMI Lacombe their hopes that the findings “might offer some validation for those people (victims, families and supporters) who have long advocated for justice in this case.”

Tanya Tungilik, the daughter of the late Marius Tungilik, who accused Rivoire of sexual abuse, told…

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Rupnik book on “examination of conscience” featured near Vatican

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
La Croix International [France]

March 12, 2024

By Loup Besmond de Senneville

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Books by Marko Rupnik, the Jesuit who’s been banned from public ministry for raping nuns, are featured at a prominent book store a few steps from St. Peter’s Square

The “Libreria San Paolo” is the largest bookstore on the Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue that leads from the Tiber River up to St. Peter’s Basilica. Each day you can find priests, women religious, seminarians and tourists – even bishops and cardinals – browsing through the store’s countless volumes on spirituality, scripture or theology. As they mingle through the shelves, they pass by display tables featuring a broad selection of the latest titles or recommendations from the bookstore’s staff.

And among them are works by Father Marko Rupnik, the world-famous mosaic artist. He’s the Slovenian Jesuit who’s been accused of raping numerous women religious and is at the center of a continuing scandal. The…

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Ruling on abuse ‘lookback window’ has implications for Archdiocese of New Orleans bankruptcy

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Nola.com [New Orleans, LA]

March 26, 2024

By Stephanie Riegel

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Attorneys involved in the Archdiocese of New Orleans bankruptcy process said Monday they were evaluating how a major ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court that makes it harder for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their accusers will impact the long-running case and the 550 survivors of child sex abuse who claim they were sexually abused by local Roman Catholic clergy.

In a decision that surprised the local legal community and victim advocacy groups nationwide, a split Supreme Court court ruled 4-3 last week that a pair of state laws creating a “lookback window” for survivors of childhood sex abuse to file legal claims was unconstitutional.

The laws had granted child sex abuse survivors a three-year window to sue, regardless of when the alleged abuse took place. But the state’s high court said that the laws violated the due process of alleged perpetrators.

“This is a very, very, serious decision…

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Why a Louisiana excommunication is a canonical ‘hard case’

LAFAYETTE (LA)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

March 25, 2024

By JD Flynn

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A Louisiana deacon declared excommunicated this month had formally joined an Anglican parish community, before his bishop declared that he had incurred a formal canonical penalty.

Deacon Scott Peyton’s excommunication has garnered national attention, because the deacon’s defection from the Church came after his son was abused by a priest. 

The excommunication itself has been framed in local media reports as a direct response to the deacon’s criticism of diocesan policies and approaches to sexual abuse allegations.

But while that framing does not seem supported by available information, the case raises questions about episcopal decision-making, and transparency, in a gravely difficult pastoral circumstance.


In 2015, Deacon Scott Peyton’s 16-year-old son was molested by Fr. Michael Guidry, a priest of the Diocese of Lafayette Louisiana, where Deacon Scott is incardinated. 

Guidry was convicted of plying Peyton’s son with alcohol and sexually assaulting him after the boy passed out. During depositions in…

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‘Everyone was groomed’: Anne Manne’s story of Newcastle’s paedophile priest network centres on a ‘kidnapped’ childhood

(AUSTRALIA)
The Conversation [Waltham MA]

March 25, 2024

By Rosie Clare Shorter

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In 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that within the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, priests had perpetuated crimes of abuse for at least 30 years. Serious allegations were mismanaged, misplaced or ignored. Crimes were minimised. “Abusive and predatory” behaviour was wrongly portrayed as “consensual”.

In her new book, Crimes of the Cross, journalist Anne Manne provides an intricate and compelling account of how multiple diocesan clergy and leaders covered up allegations, protected priests who were known perpetrators and failed to care for survivors.

Manne builds on the groundbreaking work of Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy, whose investigations, starting in 2006, led to the establishment of the 2012 royal commission. Manne’s writing is informed by a variety of source materials, including interviews with McCarthy and various survivors, and evidence from the royal commission.

On the first page, Manne warns us this story is about a…

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