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.

September 6, 2021

‘Cardinal Keith O’Brien was like God to me. Then he tried to seduce me’: the whistleblower’s tale

EDINBURGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Guardian [London, England]

September 5, 2021

By Catherine Deveney

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As disgraced 91-year-old cardinal Theodore McCarrick stood in an American court last week, charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a minor, the spectre of the late Scottish cardinal, Keith O’Brien, hovered silently over proceedings. Two elderly men, who once donned scarlet robes and mitres, who reached the pinnacle of Catholic church power, stripped to civvies. McCarrick pleaded not guilty to the charges.

O’Brien, the UK’s then most senior Catholic cleric, and a vocal opponent of gay rights, resigned in 2013 after the Observer revealed details of his sexually inappropriate behaviour with priests in his diocese.

For ex-priest Brian Devlin, one of the four whistleblowers who testified against O’Brien back in 2013, the two cases are clearly linked. “If we hadn’t gone to the Observer back then, the church would have dealt with McCarrick quite differently. Without O’Brien, there would be no church process.”

Devlin has written a book, Cardinal Sin, outlining his experiences…

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Abusive monks were my model for Judge Dredd

IPSWICH (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Times [England]

September 5, 2021

By Catherine Pepinster

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The creator of the violent comic-book lawman drew dark inspiration from his Catholic upbringing. Now he too is seeking justice

For more than 40 years a rampaging, ultra-violent lawman called Judge Dredd has stalked the pages of British comics, as well as featuring in films, novels and video games. A television series is even in the pipeline.

Yet behind the blood-spattered fiction of a ruthless enforcer lies a very different story: that of a vulnerable schoolboy who has never forgotten the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic monks who ran his school.

The man whose childhood misery inspired him to create the Judge Dredd character is now fighting for a public reckoning of his own.

As a boy, Pat Mills, a writer and publisher often described as the “godfather of British comics”, attended St Joseph’s, a private school in Ipswich that at the time was…

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September 5, 2021

Jarrod Luscombe

The church’s silence is deafening, but these men are righting its wrongs

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

September 4, 2021

By Rebecca Turner

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[Photo above: Survivor Jarrod Luscombe.]

A Christian Brother left a trail of broken boys behind him. Jarrod Luscombe was one of them, but now he’s helping pick up the pieces and seek justice.

For a long time, Jarrod Luscombe thought he was the only one.

The only one sexually abused as a teenager by the Christian Brother he was once proud to consider his mentor, Brother Daniel Virgil McMahon.

For years he repressed the memory but when it came back, his life as a happily married father-of-two imploded.

“The effects were brutal. Post traumatic stress disorder, severe depression, exceptionally suicidal for years,” he said.

“I was heavily medicated — I think I rattled when I walked. Every aspect of my life was affected.

* * *

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia on 1300 789…

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Scots ex-priest who claims he was sexually abused by Archbishop demands Vatican release secret report

EDINBURGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
Daily Record [Glasgow, Scotland]

September 5, 2021

By Gordon Blackstock

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A former priest who says he was abused by shamed Cardinal O’Brien has called for a secret Vatican report into the allegations to be released.

Brian Devlin, 61, was one of four priests who accused the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh of sexual misconduct in 2013.

The scandal saw the disgraced cardinal – one of the most senior Catholic clerics in the UK – quit and apologise.

In the aftermath, the Vatican ordered its own internal probe, carried out by Bishop Charles Scicluna.

The bishop – who has gone on to become the Archbishop of Malta – was one of the Vatican’s best known sex abuse investigators.

His team travelled to Scotland in 2014 and carried out interviews as part of their 12-month long investigation into O’Brien’s conduct.

But details of the secret probe – which is believed to have been shown to the Pope – have never been revealed.

Brian, who…

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Prince Andrew, Bob Dylan, Catholic priests and the Child Victims Act

NEW YORK (NY)
BBC [London, England]

September 3, 2021

By Ritu Prasad and Holly Honderich

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A change in law in New York has allowed for the filing of more than 9,000 child abuse claims – including cases against Prince Andrew, Bob Dylan and high-profile Catholic priests – previously blocked by the state’s statute of limitations.

Warning: The following content may be upsetting to some readers.

Tom Andriola was 25, standing on the edge of Bryce Canyon in Utah, and an impulse to jump kept flashing through his mind.

It had been 14 years since Mr Andriola’s adopted older brother sexually abused him, but the memory was still raw. There, on the edge of the canyon, in the seclusion of the park, his wife became the first person he told.

“I truly thought if I spoke anything about this, that he was going to come and kill me,” Mr Andriola recalled.

A few weeks earlier, that same brother had paid them a visit and stayed an…

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September 4, 2021

Former Cardinal McCarrick Pleaded Not Guilty to Sexual Assault

BOSTON (MA)
National Public Radio - NPR [Washington DC]

September 3, 2021

By Meg Woolhouse and Ari Shapiro

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[Includes audio with clips of statements by Bob Hoatson and Anne Barrett Doyle]

Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing a boy nearly 50 years ago. Ousted from the priesthood, he’s the only U.S. Cardinal to face such charges.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty today to three counts of sexual assault on a teenager. He’s the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic Church official to be charged with a sex crime, and his undoing has renewed calls for the Catholic Church to identify sex offenders in its ranks. Meg Woolhouse of member station GBH was at his arraignment near Boston and is on the line now.

Meg, tell us what the scene was like at the courthouse today.

MEG WOOLHOUSE, BYLINE: Well, McCarrick is 91, and he looked pretty frail. And it was all kind of painful to watch. Going in and out…

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Let Your Voice Be for Victims

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant [Ferndale MI]

September 3, 2021

By James Grein

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James Grein, who authored this open letter to encourage abuse victims to come forward, was sexually abused for almost two decades by ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is being arraigned Sept. 3 for a sexual crime against another victim. Grein’s testimony in New Jersey and New York has highlighted the crisis of homosexual pederasty in the Catholic Church.

[Includes a video of James Grein’s speech in Baltimore on November 17, 2018]

Sept. 3, 2021

The district attorney of Norfolk County, Massachusetts has found solid, credible evidence of sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick, the once-chief power broker of the U.S. Catholic Church who is also the highest-ranking Catholic prelate ever to be charged for sex abuse. 

Today he comes one step closer to accountability for his crimes — but sadly, just one. And  View Cache

Bail Set at $5,000 for Defrocked Cardinal Facing Sexual Assault Charges in Mass.

BOSTON (MA)
NECN - New England Cable News [Needham MA]

September 3, 2021

By Jeff Saperstone

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[Includes video of attorney Mitchell Garabedian speaking about the victim in the case and an excerpt from Anne Barrett Doyle’s statement at the BishopAccountabiity.org press conference.]

Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick allegedly immersed himself into “the fabric of the victim’s family,” and then used confession to isolate and sexually assault him, the Massachusetts prosecutor said.

Bail was set at $5,000 for defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy at Wellesley College in the 1970s.

A not-guilty plea was entered on McCarrick’s behalf during his arraignment in Dedham District Court Friday, where he remained silent.

Wellesley police charged McCarrick, now 91 and living in Missouri, more than a month ago with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. Advocates for victims of clergy abuse protested outside of the courthouse before his 9 a.m. arraignment Friday.

Bail was set with the conditions…

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Former U.S. Cardinal Faces Sex-Abuse Charges in Court

BOSTON (MA)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

September 3, 2021

By Francis X. Rocca

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Theodore McCarrick is the first former or current U.S. cardinal to be charged with sex crimes

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who as archbishop of Washington, D.C. was one of the most powerful leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church, appeared in a Massachusetts court on Friday to face charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 1974.

Mr. McCarrick is the first current or former U.S. cardinal to be charged with sex crimes. In a hearing on Friday morning, prosecutors at District Court in Dedham, Mass., charged Mr. McCarrick with three counts of indecent assault and battery. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

“His appearance in court marks the victory of accountability over impunity, and of the rule of civil law over the Vatican’s failed strategy of coverup,” said a statement from BishopAccountability.org, a Boston-based group that tracks clerical sex-abuse cases.

The Vatican and a lawyer for Mr….

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Former Cardinal McCarrick pleads not guilty to sex assault

BOSTON (MA)
WCVB - ABC 5 [Boston MA]

September 3, 2021

Read original article

[Includes a video of the prosecutor briefly describing McCarrick’s alleged crimes.]

Former U.S. Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception in Massachusetts nearly 50 years ago.

The 91-year-old McCarrick was heckled by a protester as he arrived but said nothing during a brief appearance in suburban Boston’s Dedham District Court.

McCarrick is the only current or former U.S. Catholic cardinal to ever be criminally charged with child sex crimes. An attorney for McCarrick says they are “looking forward to addressing the allegations in court” and would have no other immediate comment.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick in 2019 after a Vatican investigation.

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Demonstrators [Skip Shea, Susan Renehan, and Stephen Sheehan] watch as former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick leaves Dedham District Court after his arraignment, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Dedham, Mass. McCarrick has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception in Massachusetts nearly 50 years ago. (AP Photo / Michael Dwyer)

Ex-Cardinal McCarrick, 91, pleads not guilty in sex assault

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 3, 2021

By Alanna Durkin Richer

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[Photo above: Demonstrators [Skip Shea, Susan Renehan, and Stephen Sheehan] watch as former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick leaves Dedham District Court after his arraignment, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Dedham, Mass. McCarrick has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception in Massachusetts nearly 50 years ago. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer). The last item in the AP photo gallery for this article is a brief video.]

Dedham, Mass. — Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the once-powerful American prelate who was expelled from the priesthood for sexual abuse, pleaded not guilty Friday to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception in Massachusetts nearly 50 years ago.

McCarrick, 91, wore a mask and entered suburban Boston’s Dedham District Court hunched over a walker. “Shame on you!” a protester shouted.

He did not speak during the hearing, at which the court entered a…

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Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleads not guilty to three counts of child sex assault; some in crowd outside yell, ‘Shame on you!’

BOSTON (MA)
Washington Post

September 3, 2021

By Kurt Shillinger and Michelle Boorstein

Read original article

[See also a PDF of the Washington Post front page.]

Disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 91, in street clothes, stooped and using a walker, was arraigned Friday in a suburban Boston courtroom on three counts of criminal child sex abuse.

It was the first time the former Catholic archbishop of Washington had appeared in public since 2018, when his fall began amid a wave of sex abuse allegations. Some in the crowd outside, including survivors of other assaults, screamed at the former global power-broker: “Shame on you! Prince of the church!”

Inside, McCarrick was charged with sexually assaulting a teen in the 1970s, the first time a U.S. cardinal has faced a criminal charge of abuse. He pleaded not guilty during the hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes. Judge Michael J. Pomarole ordered McCarrick to give up his passport and to stay away from people under the age of…

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Defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges

BOSTON (MA)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

September 3, 2021

By Lauren del Valle

Read original article

[Includes video summarizing McCarrick’s career, the allegations against him, and the actions the church eventually took.]

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked by The Vatican in 2019 over sex abuse allegations, pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older at an arraignment in Dedham District Court in Massachusetts Friday.

A judge set a $5000 cash bail, ordering McCarrick to have no contact with the alleged victim or any minors under the age of 18.

A Norfolk County prosecutor told the judge that McCarrick “immersed himself into the fabric of the victim’s family, and then used his status as a priest to access and prey upon the victim.”

“He specifically used the act of confession to get the victim away from his parents and from his siblings and then would sexually assault the victim during that time frame,” she…

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Former U.S. Cardinal McCarrick pleads not guilty to sexually abusing teenage boy

BOSTON (MA)
Reuters [London, England]

September 3, 2021

By Nate Raymond

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Dedham, Mass. – Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges he molested a 16-year-old boy in 1974, a case that makes him the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official to be prosecuted for sexually abusing a minor.

McCarrick, 91, a former archbishop of Washington, D.C., wore a face mask and hunched over a walker as he entered the courthouse in Dedham, Massachusetts, walking past TV cameras and a demonstrator yelling “shame on you.”

He said nothing as the court entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to three counts of indecent assault and battery filed in July. Each charge carries up to five years in prison.

Bail was set at $5,000, and McCarrick, who now lives in Dittmer, Missouri, was ordered not to contact his alleged victim or children. His lawyer declined to comment. McCarrick has said he had no recollection of committing child abuse.

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Pope addresses Vatican reforms aimed at curbing corruption, abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

September 1, 2021

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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[Via Catholic Review of the Archdiocese of Baltimore]

While financial reforms in the Vatican are progressing steadily, cases involving corruption and malfeasance in the Eternal City are “a disease that we relapse into,” Pope Francis said.

In a wide-ranging interview broadcast Sept. 1 by COPE, the Spanish radio station owned by the Spanish bishops’ conference, Pope Francis said changes made in the Vatican’s financial laws have allowed prosecutors to “become more independent” in their investigations.

“Let’s hope that these steps we are taking … will help to make these events happen less and less,” he said.

During the interview, the pope was asked about the Vatican trial against 10 individuals and entities, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, on charges ranging from embezzlement to money laundering and abuse of office.

The charges stemmed from a Vatican investigation into how the Secretariat of State used…

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September 3, 2021

Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director of Bishop Accountability spoke on the Catholic abuse outside at Dedham District Court. David L. Ryan / Globe Staff

Theodore McCarrick, the highest ranking priest charged in clergy abuse scandal, arraigned on sexual assault charges

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

September 3, 2021

By Shelley Murphy and John R. Ellement

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[Photo above: Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director of Bishop Accountability spoke on the Catholic abuse outside at Dedham District Court. David L. Ryan / Globe Staff]

Tears welled in the eyes of the man who alleges he was sexually abused as a child by Theodore McCarrick as he watched the defrocked cardinal become the highest ranking Roman Catholic priest to face criminal charges in Dedham District Court Friday.

The man, who has asked not to be publicly identified, sat in the front row of the courtroom surrounded by family as the now 91-year-old McCarrick used a walker to move from a courtroom bench to stand at the defendant’s bar and hear the clerk read off the charges he faces.

“With offenses dating June 8 of 1974, in the town of Wellesley, you are charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14,” the…

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Vancouver archdiocese, priest order deny sex abuse allegations

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

September 2, 2021

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Lawsuit alleges priests ‘misrepresented … sexual assaults and battery as acceptable to God.’

Vancouver’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese and a church order of priests have denied any involvement in or liability for alleged sexual abuse of a youth by three priests.

Ronald Wayne Petruk, 76, filed suit against The Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver (RCAV), a Corporation Sole and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

In the suit, Petruk describes multiple assaults by three named and other priests, one in a church at Easter. He alleges he was forced to watch priests having sex with each other.

A dead former B.C. Roman Catholic bishop, convicted in 1997 of rape and indecent assault against residential school students, is among priests were named in a notice of civil claim, filed in BC Supreme Court June 18.

The suit names the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver,…

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Report offers recommendations for Gonzaga to adopt in wake of sexual abuse by Catholic priests

SPOKANE (WA)
KXLY [Spokane WA]

September 1, 2021

By Melissa Luck

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A Gonzaga University commission has released its recommendations for the university to adopt in light of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.

In 2019, the university came under scrutiny for housing Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse.

Those priests lived in the Cardinal Bea House, a Jesuit-owned building on Gonzaga’s campus.

Specifically, the university referenced the “horrifying, predatory sexual abuse of Alaska Native girls and women by James Poole, a Jesuit priest who worked at the time in Nome, Alaska.” The Society Of Jesus knowingly reassigned priests like Poole and others to new locations where they had access to children, women and vulnerable adults. Some of them continued their abuse before being assigned to the Cardinal Bea retirement house on the Gonzaga campus.

As that information came to light, Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh appointed the commission to “identify, discuss, and make recommendations” regarding a “set of formal actions…

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Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick to be arraigned for past sex assault of teen in Massachusetts court

BOSTON (MA)
Washington Post

September 2, 2021

By Michelle Boorstein and Kurt Shillinger

Read original article

Theodore McCarrick, 91, is scheduled to appear in public — in a Massachusetts courtroom — on Friday for the first time since 2018, when the former Catholic cardinal and global power-broker began his fall amid a wave of sex abuse allegations. He will be arraigned on three counts of sexually assaulting a teen in the 1970s, the first U.S. cardinal to face criminal charges of abuse.

Now in his early 60s, the accuser plans to be with supporters in the courtroom, the first time McCarrick will publicly face one of the more than a dozen people who say the once-powerful cleric sexually abused or harassed them as boys or young seminarians or clerics. Prosecutors say McCarrick abused the man when he was 16, in a coat room at the man’s brother’s wedding in Wellesley, Mass.

The sight of McCarrick, who now lives at a suburban Missouri treatment center, in regular…

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September 2, 2021

Bishop Libasci Asks Judge to Dismiss Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Him

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

September 1, 2021

By Damien Fisher

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Manchester’s Bishop Peter Libasci is asking a judge to dismiss the sex abuse lawsuit against him, saying in a response filed on Tuesday that none of the allegations are true.

Libasci was named in the lawsuit filed in July, accused of abusing an altar boy during the 1980s when Libasci was a parish priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Libasci has maintained his innocence since NH Reporter first broke news of the lawsuit, filed in the Suffolk County Supreme Court in New York. The answer to the lawsuit, written by Boston attorneys Michael Connolly and Stephen Rosemarino, with the law firm of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, denies all of the allegations and demands that the case be dismissed. Libasci is also seeking to recover attorney fees from his accuser.

The legal response to the allegations offered by Libasci’s lawyers does not give…

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Vatican exonerates Brooklyn Bishop accused of sexual abuse

(NY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 1, 2021

By Bobby Caina Calvan

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[Via Herald-Standard, Unionville PA]

The Vatican has concluded that allegations of sexual abuse dating back a half century against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn do not “have the semblance of truth,” but an attorney for the accusers said they would press forward with their civil cases.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said Wednesday that the Vatican has closed its investigation into allegations made separately by two men, who accused the bishop, Nicholas DiMarzio, of abusing them a half century ago when he was a priest in New Jersey.

DiMarzio denied the accusations made by his accusers, both of whom have filed civil claims against him.

“I repeat what I have said from the beginning. There is no truth to these allegations. Throughout my more than 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never abused anyone,” DiMarzio said in a statement. He said he “fully cooperated” with…

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Bishop DiMarzio cleared by Vatican: Response by BishopAccountability.org

BOSTON (MA)
BishopAccountability.org [Waltham MA]

September 1, 2021

By Anne Barrett Doyle

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Brooklyn bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was  first accused of child sexual abuse in November 2019. A second alleged victim came forward in June 2020. Today, 21 months after the first complainant came forward, we learned that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the allegations “not to have the semblance of truth” and so not worthy of a full canonical trial.

This sweeping dismissal of the alleged victims reflects the skepticism that Cardinal Timothy Dolan expressed at the outset of the Church’s probe, which was conducted under the Pope’s 2019 law, Vos Estis Lux Mundi.

We question the objectivity of the Church’s process. Four aspects of it were troubling: 1) Cardinal Dolan’s public comments in support of DiMarzio, 2) the lack of independence of the so-called independent investigators, 3) the Pope’s approval of DiMarzio’s staying in office while under investigation, and 4) the Church’s lack of transparency. 

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Vatican Clears Brooklyn Bishop of Child Abuse Charges From 1970s

(NY)
New York Times

September 1, 2021

By Liam Stack

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Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio still faces two lawsuits based on the allegations, which date to his time as a young priest in Jersey City.

The Archdiocese of New York said on Wednesday that an investigation authorized by the Vatican had cleared Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, of allegations made against him by two men who said they were abused as children.

The accusations, which date to the bishop’s time as a young priest in Jersey City in the 1970s, were found by the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office “not to have the semblance of truth,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

The findings likely mean Bishop DiMarzio, who has led the Brooklyn diocese since 2003, will face no disciplinary action from church officials, regardless of what happens with two civil lawsuits based on the allegations that continue to wind their way through the courts in…

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September 1, 2021

Independent Probe Clears Bishop DiMarzio of Sexual Abuse Claims

(NY)
The Tablet [Diocese of Brooklyn NY]

September 1, 2021

By John Lavenburg

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Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has been exonerated of sexual abuse allegations that date back nearly a half-century. 

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced on Sept. 1 that it found the allegations “not to have the semblance of truth” after a year-plus-long independent investigation.

“I repeat what I have said from the beginning. There is no truth to these allegations,” Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement on Sept. 1. “Throughout my more than 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never abused anyone.” 

Given this finding, the Vatican will not authorize any further canonical process to address the allegations. The investigation will not affect the status of the two civil lawsuits that claim Bishop DiMarzio abused two minors while he was a young priest in the Archdiocese of Newark. 

The lawsuits were possible because of New York’s Child Victims Act.​​ The law, which went into effect…

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Chrissie Foster (Image: AAP / David Crosling)

All promise and no delivery: Morrison’s ‘slap in the face’ for sex abuse survivors

(AUSTRALIA)
Crikey [Melbourne, Victoria, Australia]

September 1, 2021

By David Hardaker

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[Photo above: Chrissie Foster (Image: AAP / David Crosling)]

When the prime minister pledged to give child sex abuse survivors their own centre they were stunned. But three years later they’re still waiting.

Note: this story discusses child sexual assault.

The prime minister stands accused of failing to deliver on a promise he made three years ago to survivors of child sex abuse to provide a national centre dedicated solely to their needs. 

Scott Morrison made the pledge during his national apology speech to survivors in August 2018. The centre would be “a place to assist with lasting change”, he said. Its remit would include helping survivors “deal with the stigma” and help “guide best practice for training and other services”.

“We were floored at the prospect,” said Adam Washbourne from Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia, who was in Parliament that day and whose organisation provides counselling and…

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Audit finds diocese in full compliance with sex abuse Charter

HONOLULU (HI)
Hawaii Catholic Herald [Diocese of Honolulu HI]

September 1, 2021

By Patrick Downes

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An audit conducted in July found the Diocese of Honolulu in full compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the set of procedures the bishops established in 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

A letter dated Aug. 11 to Bishop Larry Silva from StoneBridge Business Partners Inc., the independent third-party organization contracted by the U.S. bishops to conduct diocesan audits, stated that “the Diocese has been found compliant with all audited Articles within the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ for the audit period of July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021.”

The Charter, which has been revised several times, includes guidelines for creating safe environments for children and young people, reconciling victims, responding promptly to allegations, cooperating with civil authorities, disciplining offenders and preventing future acts of abuse.

An audit is done every…

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Rochester Catholic bishop pens resignation, gives update on bankruptcy proceedings

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM-TV, Ch. 13 [Rochester NY]

August 31, 2021

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The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rochester has submitted his resignation to the head of the Church.

In a letter to the church community, Rev. Salvatore Matano says canon law requires him to step down when he reaches 75, which he does this month.

The resignation requires approval by Pope Francis, who also determines when it becomes effective.

In his letter, Matano noted that other diocesan bishops in the country have served past the age of 75 until their successor has been appointed.

The potential change in leadership comes at a pivotal time for local Catholics. Nearly two years ago, the diocese filed for bankruptcy – becoming the first in the state to do so.

In his letter, Matano says COVID-19 has impacted the proceedings. Seven mediation sessions have been held, but they did not lead to a settlement agreement. Mediation is continuing through Sept. 2.

The…

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Diocese of Rockville Centre ceases publication of diocesan magazine and Spanish-language newspaper

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

August 31, 2021

Read original article

[Via The Dialog of the Diocese of Wilmington]

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has ended publication of The Long Island Catholic magazine and Fe Fuerza Vida, its Spanish-language newspaper.

Sean Dolan, associate publisher and director of communications for the diocese, announced the changes in an Aug. 27 news release, saying they were taking place immediately.

He told Catholic News Service Aug. 31 that the decision to close the publications marked “a sad day” for the diocese.

The moved resulted in the loss of 2.5 positions at the diocese, including the magazine’s advertising sales representative and the newspaper’s editor, Dolan said.

“We were subsidizing both the paper and the magazine for some time,” Dolan explained. “We were one of the only publications that had to generate advertising revenue and subscription income to justify that existence.”

The diocese also is “straining” financially from its October 2020 filing of a petition for reorganization…

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August 31, 2021

At least 150 sex abuse lawsuits filed against NY Jewish institutions under Child Victims Act

NEW YORK (NY)
Jewish Telegraphic Agency [New York NY]

August 30, 2021

By Asaf Shalev and Ella Rockart

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At least 150 child sex abuse lawsuits were filed against Jewish institutions in New York over the past two years under a special law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations barring old claims, according to an analysis of the New York court system by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.  

This look-back window for reviving allegations was created by the Child Victims Act of 2019 and it led to a dramatic wave of lawsuits that peaked just ahead of the Aug. 14 deadline. Survivors took advantage of the CVA window to file nearly 11,000 civil suits against individuals and institutions, according to data provided by the New York’s Office of Court Administration. 

Only a small fraction of the total involve Jewish institutions, but the number is high enough to reflect a widespread desire among Jewish survivors to hold officials accountable and expose policies and practices that allegedly enabled the abuse.

The…

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Bishop Salvatore Matano issues a Letter to the Faithful

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic Courier [Diocese of Rochester NY]

August 30, 2021

By Bishop Salvatore R. Matano

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September 2021

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

On September 12th of this year it will be two years since the Diocese filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in order to address in the best and fairest manner possible the now approximately 475 claims (this is the number of claims, not the number of persons accused) brought against the Diocese by the survivors of childhood sexual abuse by clergy, religious and laity.

Over these past two years, all parties concerned have been seriously affected, certainly the survivors, our priests and others in diocesan ministries who have had no part in these egregious acts, but who daily continue to serve the faithful, and truly, my sisters and brothers, all of you rightly scandalized and your faith shaken by those who violated a sacred trust and betrayed their promise to serve faithfully Our Lord and…

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Catholics aren’t disappointed—they’re exasperated

(NY)
U.S. Catholic - Claretian Publications [Chicago IL]

August 30, 2021

By Fr. Bryan Massingale

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Deep disappointment with the church used to reveal deep love. Father Bryan Massingale says something has changed.

My ministry focuses on speaking and writing about race and sexuality. Lately, in discussions after online lectures or webinars, I hear the following questions and comments with increasing frequency: “How can I remain a member of the church?” “I don’t know how long I can stay.” “Why should I stay in the church?” “My kids/friends/relatives have left, and I don’t know what to tell them.” “Why would a gay or lesbian person stay Catholic?” “If the church doesn’t value or care about Black Catholics, why stay?”

Before going further, I know that a column like this will generate responses from Catholic apologists along the lines of: “You stay because we’re the one true church.” “Because we have Jesus and the sacraments.” “We have the Truth.” “If people can’t accept the truth of the…

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Feds charge ex-priest with child sex crimes in East Timor

(TIMOR-LESTE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 30, 2021

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[Via ABC News. See the indictment.]

A federal grand jury has indicted a defrocked American priest on charges of having sex with minors while running a children’s shelter in a remote part of East Timor

A federal grand jury has indicted a defrocked American priest on charges of having sex with minors while running a children’s shelter in a remote part of East Timor.

Richard Daschbach, 84, faces seven counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct at the Topu Honis shelter that he founded decades ago in the mountains of the predominantly Catholic island country south of Indonesia. A Department of Justice spokesperson said Monday she could not comment on whether there are plans to extradite the former priest who is currently on trial in East Timor for the same allegations.

If convicted in the U.S., Daschbach could receive up to 30 years in prison for each count, according…

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August 30, 2021

Child Victims Act fallout now shifts to courtrooms: ‘The system has never seen anything like this.’

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

August 30, 2021

By Joseph Ostapiuk

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A WINDOW CLOSED. AN ISLAND CHANGED. This story is the third piece in a four-part series examining the impact of the Child Victims Act.

Part 1:These 5 Staten Island institutions, figures may never be the same again | Part 2:What’s next for the Catholic church? Devoted parishioners, veteran priest share thoughts after Child Victims Act.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Child Victims Act, a historic open window that allowed sex-abuse survivors to file civil suits against alleged abusers without statute of limitations restrictions, sent seismic waves across Staten Island that undermined the confidence in beloved institutions and cast a pall over numerous influential and revered figures on the borough.

Thousands of cases later, the window officially closed on Aug. 14, 2021 and set eyes forward on an extraordinary fallout that could have significant financial implications and leave victims waiting for closure.

Experts and lawyers…

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Two former students sue West Essex schools, saying they were abused by teacher in 1978

NORTH CALDWELL (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

August 30, 2021

By Kaitlyn Kanzler

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[Includes video of testimony by Patty Fortney-Julius and others on March 7, 2019 about abuse by Fr. Augustine Giella and SOL reform.]

Two former students in the West Essex Regional School District are claiming that a teacher, now deceased, sexually abused them when they were in middle school in the late 1970s.

Scott Reynolds and Peter Bonastia filed separate lawsuits against the school district in Superior Court on Aug. 19. The men said Michael Petrucelli, a history and photography teacher at West Essex Middle School, sexually assaulted them multiple times in 1978.

John Baldante, lawyer for both men, said a third victim has also come forward and is expected to file his own lawsuit within the next week or two.

Bonastia, a former Fairfield resident, said in his lawsuit that Petrucelli assaulted him on at least four occasions while Reynolds, a former North Caldwell resident, said he was assaulted at least once. Both men said they believe…

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Indian priest charged with rape, murder of nine-year-old girl

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Agence France Presse [Paris, France]

August 30, 2021

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[Via The News International]

A priest and three other men have been charged with the gang rape and murder of a low-caste nine-year-old girl, Indian police said, in a case that sparked days of protests in New Delhi.

The girl was allegedly assaulted by the priest, 53, and three workers on August 1 after she had gone to a crematorium to fetch water. The four men, who have been in custody since they were detained in early August, face the death penalty.

The girl’s mother earlier told police the men called her to the crematorium and claimed her daughter was electrocuted. They told her that if she reported the incident to police, doctors conducting an autopsy would remove her child’s organs and sell them. Her daughter’s body was then cremated, before some locals intervened and pulled some charred remains from the pyre.

The 400-page charge sheet from Delhi Police cited…

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Father Varno withdraws from public ministry

ALBANY (NY)
The Evangelist [Diocese of Albany NY]

July 30, 2021

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In light of allegations of sexual abuse that were first reported in a Child Victims Act (CVA) case, Father John “Jack” Varno, a retired priest in the Diocese of Albany who serves as a sacramental minister in several parishes, has voluntarily withdrawn from public ministry while the case moves forward. The decision is effective immediately. While on leave, Father Varno will not publicly officiate at sacraments, wear clerical garb, or present himself as a priest.

Father Varno maintains his innocence but has made the decision for the good of the parishes he serves and the Diocese. Out of an abundance of caution and sensitivity to all concerned, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has accepted Father Varno’s decision, and asks for prayers for all involved.

Father Varno had been serving as a sacramental minister at Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake, Immaculate Conception in Glenville, and St. Joseph’s in Scotia. The…

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Male victims of sexual violence have a voice in rare documentary

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
B. C. Catholic [Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia]

August 30, 2021

By Agnieszka Ruck

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In a better world, Jeremy J.* would be making documentaries about pets.

But the planet we live on has far more urgent and pressing stories to tell than those of kittens and puppies. Children and adults are being sexually abused, and far too little is being done to hear their stories, protect them, and prevent abuse, says Jeremy.

That’s why this first-time filmmaker has created a 13.5-hour documentary including victims/survivors opening up about abuse they have endured, experts weighing in on preventative justice, and even an interview with a self-professed pedophile.

It’s called The Cost of Silence. Unlike other public offerings on the subject, Jeremy’s project focuses on male victims of sexual abuse.

Listening to all abuse victims

“I want to push us to a point to having a meaningful discussion,” he told The B.C. Catholic in an interview in June. “We can never have the meaningful conversations we need to…

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August 29, 2021

Rose Marie Wiseman is pictured with her cousins at her first Holy Communion at Our Lady of Health Parish in Las Cruces in 1978.

Seeking accountability: Las Cruces woman says she was raped by priest as a child

LAS CRUCES (NM)
Las Cruces Sun News [New Mexico]

August 28, 2021

By Damien D. Willis

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[Photo above: Rose Marie Wiseman is pictured with her cousins at her first Holy Communion at Our Lady of Health Parish in Las Cruces in 1978.]

Rose Wiseman grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. She’d attend Mass at Our Lady of Health Parish on Mesquite Street with her grandmother, and her mother would take her to bingo night there. The church served as the hub of her community.

She no longer believes in God, and no longer trusts those in authority.

“I was forced to keep a secret for a long time,” she told the Sun-News last week. “And I’m just not going to do it anymore.”

‘Las Cruces is home’

Born in New Hampshire — because her dad was in the U.S. Navy — Wiseman moved to Las Cruces in 1971, when she was 3 years old. Las Cruces has always been “home.”

“I’m from here,” she said. “Every time…

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Local Indigenous Community calls out for justice and accountability

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Louisiana Weekly [New Orleans LA]

August 23, 2021

By Ryan Whirty

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Situated in the slender, triangular slice of land known as Bienville Place park in the French Quarter, the 26-foot statue of the man commonly known as the founder and father of New Orleans stands as a monument to the historical narrative established more than 300 years ago by white European colonizers and subsequently embellished, glorified and practically sanctified by successive generations of white Christians in what is now Louisiana.

Indeed, the imposing statue of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville explicitly links the historically ballyhooed and supposedly righteous white-man’s development of the American state with the growth and omnipresent influence of Catholicism and other Christian sects in the halls of political and socioeconomic power by also featuring a small bronze figure of a pious, Bible-reading Catholic priest accompanying and symbolically blessing the statue of Bienville, a white European colonizer.

However, often overlooked or outright ignored is a third figure sitting below…

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Church investigation into Libasci allegations underway

MANCHESTER (NH)
Union Leader [Manchester NH]

August 28, 2021

By Mark Hayward

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The Boston archbishop has launched a church investigation into allegations that New Hampshire Bishop Peter Libasci groped an altar boy decades ago, the archdiocese signaled last week.

In an email, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston said the matter has been referred to the Washington-based apostolic nuncio, which is the point of contact between American dioceses and the Vatican.

The referral follows a 2019 change in church law that governs how claims of abuse against bishops are handled, according to Terrance Dillon, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

The 2019 change to Church law calls for an archbishop to investigate allegations of abuse by a bishop. The archbishop is supposed to make regular updates to the Vatican, and then render a final report and recommendations.

It was unclear from Dillon’s email how far the process has gone.

Libasci’s attorney, Michael J. Connolly of Boston, said the bishop has not been…

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No Gag Order in Lawsuit Against Church Alleging Child Sexual Abuse Coverup

ALBANY (NY)
Reason [Los Angeles CA]

August 29, 2021

By Eugene Volokh, "The Volokh Conspiracy"

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The court rejects the argument that publicity about the lawsuit might taint jury pool, and “has imposed a deep emotional burden upon [church’s] current members, imposes a possibility of some clients of the church’s weekly meal, food pantry, counseling programs, or other services withdrawing their participation [and] imposes a possibility of loss of donors.”

An interesting decision from two months ago, now on appeal—Barker v. Victorious Life Christian Church, from New York Albany County trial court Judge Michael Mackey:

In this action brought pursuant to the New York Child Victims Act, CPLR § 214-g [which extended the statute of limitations on cases involving minor sex victims -EV], defendant Victorious Life Christian Church … and defendant Dominick Brignola … separately move for a “gag” order restraining plaintiff Abigail Barker and her counsel from “communicating with representatives of the media, or with any person or entity whom plaintiff or [her] attorney…

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Don’t pretend child abuse does not exist – SDA Church

BOLGATANGA (GHANA)
Ghana News Agency

August 29, 2021

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The Women and Children’s Ministries of the Upper East Ghana Mission of the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Bolgatanga has called for the protection of women and children against all forms of abuse.

According to them, society was seemingly forgetting that abuses against children and women existed and noted that children who were the future leaders of Ghana, suffered various forms of abuses which affected their proper growth and development.

Members of the Ministries in the company of leadership of the Church held placards, sung and danced in procession on major streets within the Bolgatanga Township to draw the attention of the public to various abuses on women and children.

Some of the placards had inscriptions such as “Report any form of abuse to the law enforcement agency,” “Implement laws and policies that promote gender equality,” “Verbal abuse can affect children psychologically,” “Kill violence before violence kills you,” among others.

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What should you do if a sex offender wants to attend your church?

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

August 27, 2021

By Mark Wingfield

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When someone who is a registered sex offender shows up at church and wants to participate — even in such a simple way as attending worship — what should church leaders do?

There is a five-step process pastors and lay leaders should follow, according to two panelists at a workshop titled “Grace vs. Law: Should Churches Welcome Known Sex Offenders?” The Aug. 26 workshop was part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s 2021 virtual general assembly.

While there are some possible ways to allow participation by some registered sex offenders in some circumstances, the number of successes will be extremely low, according to Jay Kieve, CBF’s global abuse prevention and response advocate, and Carrie Nettles, an Alliance of Baptists-endorsed chaplain at the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville, S.C.

They acknowledged the desire of most churches to welcome all people to worship as a good impulse. However, they warned that protecting congregants — and…

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Adult Survivors Act could get new life after Cuomo’s downfall

ALBANY (NY)
Politico [Arlington VA]

August 13, 2021

By Amanda Eisenberg

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A coalition of women’s rights groups are drafting an agenda to present to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on her first day in office as governor — and a bill strengthening sexual assault survivor protections that has languished in Albany for nearly two years is at the top of the list.

The Adult Survivors Act would grant sexual assault survivors the chance to sue their abuser after the statute of limitations has passed. The collapse of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration amid a litany of harassment allegations is both giving new urgency to the bill and clearing a potential hurdle for its ultimate adoption.

The legislation, which could be signed by New York’s first female governor, is modeled after the Child Victims Act, a law signed by Cuomo in 2019 that has helped nearly 9,000 people file claims long after the statute of limitations has passed. But the new legislation, which gives…

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Blair court ends friars’ probationary sentences

HOLLIDAYSBURG (PA)
Altoona Mirror [Altoona PA]

August 28, 2021

By Kay Stephens

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HOLLIDAYSBURG — Probationary sentences have ended early for two Franciscian friars who supervised a suspected child predator and rendered no contest pleas in 2018 to child endangerment charges.

Blair County Senior Judge Jolene G. Kopriva signed the orders in court Thursday for Robert J. D’Aversa, 74, and Anthony Criscitelli, 67, both of Hollidaysburg, ending their probationary sentences after nearly three years and four months of compliance.

The option for early termination was part of the five-year probation sentence Kopriva imposed on May 9, 2018, when the friars of the Third Order Regular rendered pleas to first-degree misdemeanors.

The pleas allowed them to avoid a jury trial on child endangerment and conspiracy charges.

“This case was unique,” Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye said Thursday.

D’Aversa and Criscitelli were prosecuted not because they abused children but because they held supervisory roles in their order, between 1994 and 2010, when fellow friar…

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Over 100 reports of clergy and faith leader abuse received by the Department of Justice

LA CROSSE (WI)
WEAU-TV, NBC/CW+-13 [Eau Claire WI]

August 17, 2021

By Alex Loroff

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) – The State of Wisconsin is pushing forward with its investigation into reports of clergy and faith leader abuse.

Attorney General Josh Kaul says the Department of Justice (DOJ) has received more than 100 reports since launching a statewide inquiry in April.

“Many of the reports relate to clergy and faith leaders who are part of the Catholic Church, but some of the reports relate to other religious organizations, clergy, and faith leaders, and some reports don’t relate to any religious institution at all,” Kaul detailed.

While Kaul isn’t disclosing where exactly the reports are coming from at this time, he does say all corners of the state are represented.

“We have received reports from within each of the diocese,” Kaul explained. “There are five diocese in Wisconsin and there’ve been reports from within each of those areas.”

The DOJ is…

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Pope replaces Broome bishop at the centre of alleged misconduct probe

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
WAtoday [Perth, Western Australia]

August 29, 2021

By Marta Pascual Juanola

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Pope Francis has replaced an Australian bishop who stepped down amid a Vatican investigation into reported allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Vatican said Francis accepted Bishop Christopher Alan Saunders’ resignation as head of the Broome diocese in Western Australia’s remote Kimberley region and appointed Geraldton Bishop Michael Henry Morrissey to administer the sprawling Catholic diocese.

News police were investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against Bishop Saunders, one of Australia’s longest-serving bishops, first broke in March 2020.

The 18-month investigation was kicked off by allegations from a man in his 20s, who according to the ABC, confided in his local priest and agreed to report the information to police.

Bishop Saunders, who is well-known for his interest in Indigenous affairs and involvement in Aboriginal study groups, voluntarily stepped down from the role and has strongly denied the allegations.

In May, the ABC reported police and prosecutors had decided not to file criminal charges against the bishop,…

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Vatican accepts resignation of Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders, leaving outcome of its investigations unclear

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

August 29, 2021

By Sam Tomlin and Erin Parke

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The Vatican has accepted the resignation of one of Australia’s longest-serving Catholic Bishops, leaving the future of its investigation into his conduct unclear.

Key points:

  • Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders resigns after 26 years
  • Bishop Saunders had voluntarily stood aside in March last year
  • Allegations of sexual misconduct were made public and he was the subject of separate WA Police and Vatican inquiries

In a statement released overnight, the Vatican Press Office confirmed Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders.

Bishop of Geraldton Michael Morrissey will administer the Broome Diocese until a new Bishop is appointed.

The 71-year-old Bishop’s final 18 months in office have been marred by controversy and questions over his conduct.

He voluntarily stood aside in March last year, after Kimberley Priest John Purnell went public with his concerns over the Church’s lack of action on allegations of sexual misconduct against Bishop Saunders.

Bishop Saunders strenuously denied any wrongdoing, and…

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Resignations and Appointments, 28.08.2021

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Holy See Press Office [Vatican City]

August 28, 2021

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Resignation of bishop of Broome, Australia, and appointment of apostolic administrator sede vacante

Appointment of apostolic administrator of the eparchy Saint John Chrysostom of Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankars, India

Resignation of bishop of Broome, Australia, and appointment of apostolic administrator sede vacante

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Broome, Australia, presented by Bishop Christopher Alan Saunders, and has appointed Bishop Michael Henry Morrissey, bishop of Geraldton, as apostolic administrator sede vacante of the same diocese.

Appointment of apostolic administrator of the eparchy Saint John Chrysostom of Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankars, India

The Holy Father has appointed the Reverend Fr Varghese Vinayanand, O.I.C., as apostolic administrator of the Syro-Malankara eparchy Saint John Chrysostom of Gurgaon, India.

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FILE - In this April 17, 2008 file photo, Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome tries to play a digeridoo during a World Youth day 2008 media event in Sydney, Australia. Pope Francis has replaced Bishop Christopher Saunders, who stepped down amid a Vatican investigation into what Australian media have described as allegations of sexual misconduct. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Pope replaces Australian bishop in alleged misconduct probe

(AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

August 29, 2021

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[Photo: FILE – In this April 17, 2008 file photo, Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome tries to play a digeridoo during a World Youth day 2008 media event in Sydney, Australia. Pope Francis has replaced Bishop Christopher Saunders, who stepped down amid a Vatican investigation into what Australian media have described as allegations of sexual misconduct. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith]

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Saturday replaced an Australian bishop who stepped down amid a Vatican investigation into what Australian media have described as allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Vatican said Francis accepted Bishop Christopher Alan Saunders’ resignation as head of the Broome diocese in Western Australia state. Francis appointed another prelate, Bishop Michael Henry Morrissey of the Geraldton diocese, to temporarily administer the sprawling Catholic diocese in Broome.

The Vatican, in keeping with its custom for announcing bishop resignations, did not cite a reason for replacing Saunders. At…

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2 Alberta First Nations search former residential school grounds for unmarked graves

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

August 28, 2021

By Madeleine Cummings

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Ermineskin Cree Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation launch investigations

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Two First Nations in northern Alberta have begun investigations of former residential school grounds.

In separate news releases this month, Ermineskin Cree Nation and Kapawe’no First Nation said ground-penetrating radar would be used to search areas around Ermineskin Indian Residential School and Grouard Indian Residential School for unmarked graves.

Ermineskin Cree Nation is about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton and Kapawe’no First Nation is nearly 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

“This will be an incredibly difficult time for our Nation members, and others who had loved ones attend the Grouard Mission,” Kapawe’no First Nation Chief Sydney Halcrow said in a news release.

“However, we must unearth the truth and bring our people home.”

According to a news release from Ermineskin Cree Nation, a team of engineers from SNC Lavalin — under the…

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New report on mother and baby homes ‘will add to pressure for public inquiry’

BELFAST (UNITED KINGDOM)
Belfast Telegraph [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

August 28, 2021

By Claire McNeilly

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A specially commissioned report aimed at paving the way for an independent investigation into Northern Ireland’s mother and baby homes scandal will be presented to the Executive next month.

Human rights experts Phil Scraton and Dr Maeve O’Rourke, along with senior social worker Deirdre Mahon, were appointed earlier this year to establish the terms of reference for the victim-centred probe.

The delivery of their report is likely to be a further boost to the victims’ campaign for a full public inquiry into systematic abuse at homes and Magdalene laundries between 1922 and 1990.

It follows the publication of a damning study carried out by Queen’s and Ulster University.

Speaking on behalf of Birth Mothers and Their Children for Justice, the largest group of birth mothers here, solicitor Claire McKeegan said it was time for an inquiry.

“The campaign for truth and justice for these women and their children has been…

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August 28, 2021

Diocese apparently sat on allegations against Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus; SNAP up in arms

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

August 23, 2021

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According to the New York state electronic filing system, a lawsuit was filed in October of 2019 by Victor Petit-Phare against the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, St. Jerome’s School and Church, and Bishop Guy A. Sansaricq. The complaint accused Bishop Sansaricq of child sexual abuse while he was a priest at St. Jerome’s in the early 1990s.  As best we can tell, the Diocese never uttered a single word about the allegations against the Bishop.

We know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, and we stand with Victor. It is wrong for Catholic officials, who the whole world now knows have shielded abusive clerics in the past, to withhold information that would help other victims to find the courage to come forward rather than to sit alone and in the silence.  Child sex abuse accusations should be made public as quickly…

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Bishop seeks advice from Diocesan Review Board on three retired clergy named in CVA cases

ALBANY (NY)
The Evangelist [Diocese of Albany NY]

August 27, 2021

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Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has asked the independent Diocesan Review Board to offer advisement on the following clergy, each of whom has an allegation of child sexual abuse filed against him through the Child Victims Act. None of the clergy serve in public ministry due to illness or age, and all of them maintain their innocence.

Father James Daley was ordained in 1954. He has served at St. Patrick in Troy; Catholic Central High School in Troy; Mater Christi Seminary in Albany; and St. Thomas the Apostle in Delmar, where was pastor from 1970-2002, when he retired.

Father Dennis Murphy was ordained in 1975. He has served at St. John in Greenville; Vincentian Institute in Albany, with residence at Sacred Heart in Albany; St. Ambrose in Latham; St. Cecilia in Warrensburg; St. Peter in Saratoga Springs; St. Margaret of Cortona in Rotterdam Junction; St. John the…

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3News Investigates: Northeast Ohio man says Catholic diocese apathetic to his sexual abuse claims

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC-TV, NBC - 3 [Cleveland OH]

August 26, 2021

By Phil Trexler and Rachel Polansky

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Diocese says it “remains committed to protecting children,” but won’t comment on claims against Father Edward Rupp.

CLEVELAND — To a 13-year-old Catholic boy, it was a high honor. Especially for the wide-eyed boy named Jim Shackleton.

Standing at the St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Parish altar alongside the priest, Jim finally felt special– chest out, chin up, and dressed in his black robe and white smock.

Looking back, he forgot his earlier struggles of life. Growing up poor on Cleveland’s west side, looking for acceptance.

Finally, he said, he made his God-fearing family beam.

“My grandfather was proud of me being an altar boy…my mom was proud. And I felt proud about it,” he said.

This was the late 1970s and at the altar alongside Jim was Father Edward Rupp, a respected community leader, a pillar of the church, ordained 20 years earlier.

Jim and Father Rupp shared more than…

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Gov. Cuomo, sex-crime victims and N.Y.

ALBANY (NY)
New York Daily News

August 13, 2021

By RODNEYSE BICHOTTE HERMELYN

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Two years ago on the floor of the state Assembly, I bared my soul about being a sex abuse survivor to help the Legislature to pass the Child Victims Act. I had no inkling that our governor, who signed the bill into law, would himself be exposed as a perpetrator of sexual harassment and accused of unlawfully touching an aide.

During this historical reckoning, we must not forget that this reported sexual misconduct happened in New York’s highest office, under a governor who cast himself as a champion for women’s rights. The calls for reform will fall flat if we don’t enact systemic legal change.

Before Cuomo steps down, thousands of survivors of sexual abuse are going to lose their chance to seek justice, with the Child Victims Act’s one-year lookback window (which was extended to a second year during COVID) expiring this weekend.

For survivors of sex abuse, it…

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Former Catholic Priest Richard Daschbach was indicted in the U.S. for allegedly sexually abusing minors abroad on Thursday. Daschbach is pictured above during his trial on similar charges in Dili, Timor-Leste, on June 9, 2021. VALENTINO DARIEL SOUSA/AFP/GETTY

Ex-Priest Who Operated East Timor Children’s Shelter Indicted for Sexual Abuse of Minors

WASHINGTON (DC)
Newsweek [New York NY]

August 27, 2021

By Aila Slisco

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[Photo above: Former Catholic Priest Richard Daschbach was indicted in the U.S. for allegedly sexually abusing minors abroad on Thursday. Daschbach is pictured above during his trial on similar charges in Dili, Timor-Leste, on June 9, 2021. — VALENTINO DARIEL SOUSA/AFP/GETTY]

A former Catholic priest was indicted this week by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., for the alleged sexual abuse of children at a “shelter home” he founded abroad.

Richard Daschbach, 84, was on Thursday charged with seven counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor. Daschbach, a U.S. citizen, was originally from Pennsylvania but has resided in what is now known as Timor-Leste for more than 50 years. He founded the Topu Honis shelter in 1992. Since 2018, at least 15 of his alleged victims have accused him of sexually abusing them while they were children residing at the shelter.

Daschbach…

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Former Priest and ‘Shelter Home’ Operator Indicted for Illicit Sexual Conduct Against Minors

WASHINGTON (DC)
The U.S. Department of Justice

August 27, 2021

By Office of Public Affairs

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A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned an indictment yesterday charging a U.S. citizen and resident of Timor Leste with seven counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place. 

According to court documents, Richard Jude Daschbach, 84, is a former priest who is alleged to have engaged in illicit sexual conduct with minor victims in Timor Leste starting in at least 2013. As alleged, Daschbach operated a “shelter home” for children in Timor Leste. Victims disclosed that Daschbach sexually abused them when they were children and resided in the shelter home. Daschbach was defrocked by the Catholic church after some of the victims disclosed the abuse to the church. Daschbach is currently facing related child sexual exploitation charges in Timor Leste. In addition, in 2019, a grand jury in the Northern District of California returned an indictment against Daschbach for wire fraud in connection with his…

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Buffalo is bad, but not unique; SNAP breaks it down

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

August 27, 2021

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According to an analysis by The Buffalo News, Child Victims Act lawsuits accused 230 local Catholic clergy of sexually abusing vulnerable and unsuspecting children over the past 75 years. The complaints covered nearly every parish in the Diocese. Since 1950, more than 2,300 priests have been assigned to the Buffalo Diocese. By our accounting, that indicates that about 10% of the ordained in the Diocese were abusive. That is nearly double what the Catholic Church acknowledged in 2004

Any child sexual abuse in any institution is bad. However, it seems to us that the Diocese of Buffalo clearly was following the Catholic Church’s “playbook” for concealing these crimes: transferring known perpetrators, minimizing the allegations, and more likely than not, silencing brave victims who came forward. Bishop Richard Malone initially named 42 priests who were removed from ministry after “allegations of…

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Two former pastors of St. Thomas accused of sexual abuse of children

DELMAR (NY)
Spotlight News [Delmar NY]

August 27, 2021

By Michael Hallisey

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DELMAR — Rev. James Daley, a longtime pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle parish and who oversaw the renovations of the church that stands in the middle of town, was named in a summons of complaint filed in state Supreme Court in Albany County for alleged sexual abuse.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger announced today that he has asked the independent Diocesan Review Board to offer advisement on the following clergy, each of whom has an allegation of child sexual abuse filed against him through the Child Victims Act.

Scharfenberger identified Daley along with Rev. Dennis Murphy and Rev. Nellis Tremblay in his announcement. None of the three serve in public ministry due to illness or age.

Scharfenberger said all of them maintain their innocence.

A summons was filed with the state Supreme Court in Albany County naming the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany as a defendant on Monday, July 26 in…

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Churchill: Why wasn’t an accused priest removed from parishes?

BALLSTON LAKE (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

July 31, 2021

By Chris Churchill

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Father John Varno was accused of abuse in a January lawsuit. He continued to serve parishoners in 3 local churches for seven months

ALBANY — Late on Friday afternoon, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced that the Rev. John Varno had “voluntarily withdrawn” from ministry after being accused of sexual abuse in a Child Victims Act lawsuit. 

There’s more to the story than that. You see, some parishioners at Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake, one of three parishes where Varno had been serving as a sacramental minister, demanded he be removed after learning about an accusation that the diocese hadn’t mentioned to them. 

“We didn’t want him to have access to our children until this is worked out,” said John McIntyre, who is one of the parishioners. “They’ve got to protect our kids.”

McIntyre is the publisher of Spotlight Newspapers. He had discovered Varno’s name in a database of…

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Lawsuit against Rev John J Varno Jack and Diocese of Albany (public record – Resource)

ALBANY (NY)
Spotlight News [Delmar NY]

January 15, 2021

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This is the CVA lawsuit filed on January 15, 2021 by a man who alleges that he was abused by John J Varno in the late 1980’s. The actual summons and complaint is below. The Case number is 900383-21.

All the Cases and updates on this one may be searched via this link

Below is the link to the full Summons and Complaint PDF document:

https://spotlightnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/900383_21_KEVIN_SEEBALD_v_KEVIN_SEEBALD_SUMMONS___COMPLAINT_1.pdf

The arrest of Varno and reinstatement are described in a Times Union Article here

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August 27, 2021

Former Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District teacher Arthur Werner, shown in a 1987 photo, is accused of sexually abusing children in 39 Child Victims Act lawsuits, more than any other individual in Western New York. James P. McCoy/News file photo

Lawsuits identify 230 priests as molesters, including 8 of WNY’s most-accused abusers

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

August 26, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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[Photo above: Former Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District teacher Arthur Werner, shown in a 1987 photo, is accused of sexually abusing children in 39 Child Victims Act lawsuits, more than any other individual in Western New York. — James P. McCoy/News file photo]

Child Victims Act lawsuits filed in Western New York alleged that 230 area Catholic priests molested children in nearly every parish in the Buffalo Diocese over the past 75 years, according to an analysis by The Buffalo News.

Eight of the 10 most-accused individuals identified in more than 1,300 lawsuits examined by The News are priests.

The numbers are a striking rebuke to Buffalo Diocese officials who for decades downplayed the extent of abuse in Western New York and protected molester priests from prosecution and public accountability.

“It really speaks to the culture of the diocese and the culture of the local priesthood. I have always maintained…

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Priest removed over allegations of child sex abuse

MARGARETVILLE (NY)
The Daily Star [Oneonta NY]

August 26, 2021

By Sarah Eames

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A retired Catholic priest who most recently served two Delaware County congregations was removed from public ministry last week following allegations of child sexual abuse in a claim filed under the Child Victims Act.

Father Gregory Weider was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany effective Saturday, Aug. 14. 

Weider, 84, who retired from the priesthood in 2010, has been serving as sacramental minister at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Margaretville and its mission, St. Anne’s in Andes, according to diocesan officials.

Representatives from both congregations did not respond to an email request for comment by press time Thursday, Aug. 26.

Under the terms of his leave, Weider is not permitted to publicly officiate at sacraments, wear clerical garb or present himself as a priest, according to Mary DeTurris Poust, director of communications for the Albany diocese and associate publisher of…

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Other case against priest charged with sex crimes heads to circuit court

OAKLAND CHARTER TOWNSHIP (MI)
The Oakland Press [Troy MI]

August 26, 2021

By Aileen Wingblad

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A former priest accused of sexually abusing boys more than 40 years ago waived his right to a preliminary exam in Southfield’s 50th District Court on Thursday, which sends the case to Oakland County Court for possible trial.

Gary Berthiaume, 80, who served at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Parish in Farmington and elsewhere,  is charged with two counts of gross indecency between males – committing/procuring. He also faces charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct that allegedly happened in Farmington. Berthiaume waived his right to a preliminary exam for those charges last month.

All charges involve alleged victims between the ages of 13 and 15, for crimes that allegedly happened in the 1970s.

Berthiaume was arrested last September at his home in Warrendale, Illinois following an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. He’s one of 11 individuals with connections to the Catholic Church who have been charged with crimes…

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The challenge of sexual abuse: What has happened since the February 2019 Summit

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

August 26, 2021

By Father Federico Lombardi, SJ

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In February 2019, Pope Francis invited the presidents of every episcopal conference to the Vatican for a Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church to address the issue of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. A similar meeting focusing on the region of Central and Eastern Europe will take place in Warsaw from September 19-22. In this article, Fr Federico Lombardi puts this regional meeting into the context of the Church journey thus far.

The Church must confront the challenges present in today’s world, the most fundamental being the faith and the proclamation of the God of Jesus Christ, with all the grandiose cultural and anthropological transformations present. There are also specific challenges, however, that profoundly influence the life of the Church and its evangelizing mission. One of the most critical challenges that has emerged in the last few decades, is that of the…

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Woman sues Rockford church, says it covered up sexual abuse

ROCKFORD (IL)
MyStateLine.com/WTVO - Ch. 17/WQRF - Fox 39 [Rockford IL]

August 26, 2021

By Rachael Perry

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — After more than 15 years of silence, a Rockford woman is speaking out against a local church, claiming a deacon sexually abused her as a teen and the church covered it up.

At just 15-years-old, “Sarah” says she was sexually abused at North Love Baptist Church, 5301 E Riverside Blvd.

Now, she’s suing the church and a man by the name of John Neese, who she claims was behind it all.

“I would just tell myself over and over again, as a little girl, this didn’t happen.. this didn’t happen. And I would just wake up the next morning and go to school, and this would happen all over again,” she said.

“Sarah” said it all began in 2004 at a Sunday night service, where she first met Neese.

“He would tell me, constantly, that I couldn’t tell my parents because they wouldn’t believe me,” she…

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German bishop says he’s skeptical about exempting priests from celibacy

OSNABRüCK (GERMANY)
Detroit Catholic [Archdiocese of Detroit MI]

August 26, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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OSNABRÜCK, Germany (CNS) ─ A German bishop who co-chairs the Synodal Path’s forum on priests said he is “skeptical” about exempting Catholic priests from celibacy.

Bishop Felix Genn of Münster said he accepted that people were deciding not to become priests because they did not feel called to celibacy, adding: “Perhaps they will then choose another profession in the church.”

The bishop spoke in an interview with the Bistumspresse publishing group in Osnabrück. His remarks were then reported by the German Catholic news agency KNA.

“As a bishop, I also see my responsibility to the universal church,” Bishop Genn said in the interview.

He also expressed doubts about whether the forum would come to a clear position on celibacy. He said there was likely to be disagreement on whether it should be voluntary or compulsory.

The bishop called for a change in the status of priests, saying that they must, under…

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Woman takes on Southern Baptist Convention in Franklin Circuit Court; suit alleges parental sexual abuse, conspiracy

NASHVILLE (TN)
The State Journal [Frankfort KY]

August 26, 2021

By Austin Horn

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Editor’s Note: This article contains descriptions of sexual abuse.

A woman is claiming that top executives in the Southern Baptist Convention defamed her and conspired against her as she was speaking out about her father sexually abusing her in a suit filed earlier this month in Franklin Circuit Court.

Hannah-Kate Williams filed the suit on Aug. 16, naming her father, James Williams, of Frankfort; the Southern Baptist Convention; the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville; and several leaders involved with both organizations.

The Southern Baptist Convention is one of the largest Christian denominations in the country, claiming affiliation with over 47,000 churches and touting more than 14 million members in the U.S. 

In the suit, Hannah-Kate Williams described in detail the abuse, sexual and otherwise, she allegedly endured at the hands of her father beginning at age 8 and continuing in an “ongoing and regular fashion” well into her teenage…

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Shedding light on one’s of the church’s darkest chapters

LAFAYETTE (LA)
CatholicPhilly.com - Archdiocese of Philadephia

August 26, 2021

By Shannen Dee Williams, Catholic News Service

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The New York Times’ recent documentary on the courageous investigative journalism of Jason Berry has once again fixed our gaze on the enduring tragedy of the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.

In addition to chronicling Berry’s decade-long crusade to expose the U.S. hierarchy’s role in protecting sexually predatory priests, the film includes Berry’s searing testimony about the great emotional, spiritual and financial costs of his truth-telling in the church.

Listening to Berry recount his decision to step away from the perilous fight for justice to focus on his family and mental well-being is heart-wrenching. One cannot help but to weep for him and all who have dared to document and protest the church’s devastating sin histories of abuse and violence in the face of silence, indifference and enmity.

This is especially true of the church’s Black victims of sexual abuse.

Earlier this year, a panel of Black…

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Survivors abused by ‘sadistic’ priest win compensation battle, but money ‘won’t change’ impact

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

August 26, 2021

By Matt Neal

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Two men who were abused by a paedophile priest in regional Victoria in the 1960s have reached landmark settlement agreements with the Catholic Church.

Key points:

  • Coffey, who died in 2013, was convicted of child sex abuse in 1999
  • The settlements were not part of the 1999 prosecution against Coffey
  • The two men who have received compensation say the money won’t erase the scars of his “sadistic, domineering” abuse

The two abuse survivors were abused by Father Bryan Coffey between 1965 and 1968 while he served as assistant priest in Port Fairy, in south-west Victoria.

The ABC understands the settlements are the first to be made in relation to Coffey, but about a dozen other victims have begun legal proceedings to seek compensation for his actions.

Coffey, who died in 2013, was convicted in 1999 of sexually abusing children, with the charges including abuse perpetrated while he was in Port…

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Tackling power abuse in the Church

EDINBURGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
Irish Catholic [Dublin, Ireland]

August 26, 2021

By Jason Osborne

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Brian Devlin’s experience of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s abuse of power is prompting his calls for reform and renewal in the Church, writes Jason Osborne

Faithful Catholics today are weary and browbeaten following the revelations in recent years of the deep rot of abuse that took place at the heart of parishes and dioceses around the world. Compounding and exacerbating these cases were the widespread efforts to cover up the abuse, as Church officials sought to save face and avoid scandal in a number of instances.

Church

No one is more frustrated with the abuses or the attempted cover-ups than those who endured them, though, and Brian Devlin is one such man. Author of a new book, Cardinal Sin: Challenging power abuse in the Catholic Church, Mr Devlin is seeking to take to task the institutional structures in the Church that allowed such abuses to be carried out – and power…

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Methodist bishop asks Iowa churches to stop chartering Boy Scout troops

DES MOINES (IA)
The Gazette [Cedar Rapids IA]

August 26, 2021

By Erin Jordan

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Directive comes as Boy Scouts of America faces lawsuits and bankruptcy after allegations of sex abuse by former troop leaders

The bishop of the Iowa Area of the United Methodist Church is asking the organization’s churches in the state to stop chartering Boy Scout troops because of sex abuse lawsuits by former scouts.

Bishop Laurie Haller told church leaders in a message this week they should not renew chartering agreements with troops at least until the Boy Scouts of America emerges from federal bankruptcy proceedings.

Breaking ties is intended to protect the churches from further liability, now that the United Methodist Church has learned Boy Scouts of America doesn’t have enough insurance to cover sponsoring churches, the letter states.

“The local churches are at risk of having to pay significant sums to victims to compensate them for the damages they suffered at the hands of some scout leaders,” Haller wrote….

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Lawsuit: Troy church ignored youth pastor’s abuse, claimed child ‘led him on’

TROY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

August 26, 2021

By Robert Gavin

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ALBANY – A woman is suing the Grace Baptist Church in Lansingburgh, alleging its leadership ignored her daily sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a youth pastor – then claimed that she had “led him on.”

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Broadway alleged Larry Hallock, the church’s former youth pastor, sexually abused the victim “on a daily basis” between 2000 and 2002 in the church located at 612 Fourth Avenue. The girl was between 15 and 17 at the time, her lawyer said.

At the time of the abuse, the lawsuit said, Hallock’s wife sent the child several letters acknowledging that she had informed the leadership of Grace Baptist Church of Hallock’s involvement with the child.

“Rather than inquire as to why (the child) was receiving letters from the Pastor Larry Hallock’s wife, the church leadership did nothing,” the lawsuit said. “Later when the…

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Three months after Russell Moore’s departure, interim leader of ERLC likely leaving

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

August 26, 2021

By Mark Wingfield

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Three months after Russell Moore left the helm of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission under pressure, his interim successor has announced his impending departure.

In a news brief, Baptist Press reported Aug. 24 that Daniel Patterson, acting president of the ERLC, has been recommended to serve as executive pastor of Central Church in Bryan-College Station, Texas. The senior pastor of that congregation is Phillip Bethancourt, who until April 2020 served as executive vice president of the ERLC before Patterson succeeded him.

Bethancourt was the whistleblower who just days before this year’s annual meeting of the SBC released audio recordings of conversations between Moore and Mike Stone and Ronnie Floyd. Stone is a Georgia pastor who was a candidate for SBC president. Floyd serves as president of the SBC Executive Committee. Both had been accused by Moore of not responding to or attempting to downplay allegations of sexual abuse in SBC…

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August 26, 2021

McCarrick’s first court date is next week. Here’s what to expect

(MA)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

August 23, 2021

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Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was criminally charged in Massachusetts last month with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old during a 1974 wedding reception at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

McCarrick was initially summoned to appear in court this week, on Thursday, August 26. But his first court date — called an arraignment — has been rescheduled to next week; the hearing will take place on Sept. 3.

Here’s what an arraignment is, and what to expect at McCarrick’s.

The allegations

According to court filings obtained by the Boston Globe, McCarrick is alleged to have sexually molested the 16-year-old-boy, a family friend, during his brother’s wedding reception — including groping the teenager sexually within the sacrament of confession.

The alleged molestation was not reported as a singular occurrence. Rather, the alleged victim, who has not been named, claims McCarrick molested him frequently, on family trips to several states.

The alleged victim claims that McCarrick…

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David Beater: Sex abuse vicar ‘protected’ by church for decades

(UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

August 24, 2021

By Colin Campbell, special correspondent, and William McLennan

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A retired vicar jailed for sexually abusing children was allowed to work in churches for 25 years despite an earlier conviction for a similar crime.

David Beater, 80, was jailed for more than four years on Monday for assaulting two boys in the 1980s.

The BBC has found he was able to work in churches until 2010, despite a previous conviction in 1985 for abusing a 14-year-old boy in Kent.

The Church of England said the case raises “concerning questions”.

Beater was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to offences against two boys, aged eight and 13, between 1982 and 1985.

His Honour Judge Philip Statman told Beater he was guilty of a “profound and grave breach of trust”, adding that it was “noteworthy that some of the offences took place within the vicarage”.

One victim now in his mid-40s, who was eight at the time, told the…

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Ex-youth pastor facing 53 sex charges

HERMITAGE (PA)
New Castle News [New Castle PA]

August 4, 2021

By Eric Poole

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HERMITAGE — A former youth pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church is accused of possessing child pornography and sexually assaulting children during his time at the church.

Mark Willian Heotzler, 29, of 1480 Hollywell Ave., Chambersburg, Franklin County, was charged with a total of 53 counts of sex crimes against minors. State police said in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday that Heotzler had 10 victims, all younger than 18.

Criminal documents associated with the case do not list an attorney for Heotzler.

Heotzler’s LinkedIn page indicates that he has worked at Grace Chapel Community Church since 2014. He is not listed on the church’s website as a current staff member.

Grace Chapel Community Church Lead Pastor Aaron Lego submitted a statement in response to an inquiry by The Herald:

“Grace Chapel Community Church is and has been cooperating fully with an active and ongoing criminal investigation with state law enforcement….

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Ex-priest charged with indecent act on boy

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

August 16, 2021

By Australian Associated Press

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A priest caught by two children having sex with their mother decades ago is facing trial in Brisbane accused of indecent treatment of a six-year-old boy.

The boy and his sister confronted their mother – who died more than 20 years ago – and Terence Thomas Keliher from the doorway of the bedroom in about 1976, crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso said in her opening address to the jury on Monday.

“You’ll hear (during the trial) the defendant didn’t stop quite immediately,” she told the District Court jury.

The jury would hear the naked man stood up, faced the children and started masturbating before ejaculating onto the boy’s chest, Ms Kelso added.

She said the six-year-old crawled under the bed from where he heard his sister shouting and his mother telling her to shut up.

“When he came out from underneath the bed the defendant was still standing there … undressed,”…

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The Informer in Your Pocket

WASHINGTON (DC)
Commonweal [New York NY]

August 5, 2021

By Patrick Juola

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No one’s data is ‘private.’

There is a narc in your pocket. It ratted out Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill, the general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and he had to step down. According to The Pillar, Burrill “visited gay bars and private residences while using a location-based hookup app in numerous cities from 2018 to 2020.” While pundits and activists might see an opportunity to opine about Catholic hypocrisy, what we should all be asking ourselves is what kind of a dirty turncoat would be in possession of, and then share, that kind of information about a person.

Per The Pillar: “According to commercially available records of app signal data obtained by The Pillar, a mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted app data signals from the location-based hookup app Grindr on a near-daily basis.” So the rat was Burrill’s cell phone (or maybe a tablet)—and for two years it was keeping daily tabs on…

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Unmarked graves in Canada raise questions about Australia’s stolen children

(AUSTRALIA)
La Croix International [France]

August 18, 2021

By Celeste Liddle, Australia

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If similar imaging was to be undertaken in Australia as to what has been used in the residential schools in Canada, there is a possibility similar horrors would be uncovered

Across the Pacific Ocean, in Canada or ‘Turtle Island’ as it is also known by many of its Indigenous inhabitants, a horror has been unfolding.

It started at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Colombia where, via the use of ground penetrating radar technology, the remains of at least 215 Native Canadian children were found buried in mass unmarked gravesites.

 This school ran for 85 years, was part of compulsory government programs to forcibly assimilate these children, and was administered by the Catholic Church.

Not long after this first discovery, the bodies of another 751 children were found using the same technology at the former Marieval Indian Residential School, this time in Saskatchewan.

There was an outpouring of grief…

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C of E admits to failings over allegations against priest who took his own life

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Guardian [London, England]

August 25, 2021

By Harriet Sherwood

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The Church of England has admitted it made mistakes in its handling of unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse against a former Anglican priest who took his own life.

The C of E expressed “deep regret and sorrow” over Father Alan Griffin’s death and said it took responsibility for failings that “led to unreasonable pressures” on him.

Lambeth Palace, the headquarters of the archbishop of Canterbury, and the diocese of London were responding to a highly critical coroner’s report issued last month into Griffin’s death in November 2020.

The report said that Griffin, 76, had killed himself “because he could not cope with an investigation into his conduct, the detail of and the source for which he had never been told”.

It added: “Father Griffin did not abuse children. He did not have sex with young people under the age of 18. He did not visit prostitutes. He did not endanger the…

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Kevin Young obituary

LEEDS (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Guardian [London, England]

August 25, 2021

By David Greenwood

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My friend Kevin Young, who has died of cancer aged 62, was a former businessman and prominent campaigner for the rights of victims of child sex abuse, whose civil action against his own abusers led to an important change in the law, enabling others to seek compensation many years after suffering abuse.

Born in Newcastle, to Margaret (nee Loveley) and John Young, Kevin was taken into care in 1961 suffering from neglect and malnutrition. His parents were convicted of his wilful neglect.

At the age of eight he was placed at the Catholic St Thomas More’s school in Devon. The sexual abuse inflicted on him by the school gardener was the first in a series of encounters with paedophiles. Aged 14 he was taken to St Camillus, a residential school in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, run by the Catholic Diocese of Leeds, where he was sexually assaulted by the headteacher, James…

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More Victims Accuse Late Episcopal Diocese Of Pittsburgh Priest Of Abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA-TV, Ch. 2 [Pittsburgh PA]

August 25, 2021

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After disclosing a report of sexual abuse by a late priest, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh says “a number” of other victims came forward alleging inappropriate or abusive misconduct.

The late Charles Appel was a priest in Pittsburgh until the church disciplined him in 2001. Bishop McConnell said the first reported case of abuse occurred against a child while Appel was at Sheldon Calvary Camp in Conneaut, Ohio in the late 70s and early 80s.

Now McConnell says others have come forward and the diocese has learned the abuse happened at multiple locations, not just at Calvary Camp, and the victims weren’t just boys. But McConnell says because the abuse happened decades ago and Appel died in 2019, “there is much we will probably never know.”

“As inadequate as it may seem today, on behalf of the church, I offer my deepest apologies to those who were…

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Venerable Fulton Sheen ‘Should Be Made A Saint’, Says Peoria Coadjutor Bishop

PEORIA (IL)
The Catholic Telegraph [Archdiocese of Cincinnati OH]

August 25, 2021

By Kate Scanlon, Catholic News Agency

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In a Dec. 5, 2019 statement, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Rochester said that while it “appreciates the many accomplishments that Archbishop Sheen achieved in his lifetime,” a cause for beatification “must entail a review of the person’s entire life,” and therefore believed “a further review of his role in priests’ assignments” was warranted before Venerable Sheen’s cause could proceed.

Earlier this month, a window allowing lawsuits over child sexual abuse claims beyond the statute of limitations closed in New York. Empire State lawmakers passed the Child Victims Act in 2019, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations, allowing childhood victims of sexual abuse to take legal action. The deadline for such lawsuits, initially set for August 2020, was extended to August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, nearly 10,000 lawsuits were filed in that window, including “thousands of accusations of sexual…

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Australian legal scholar: Pell trial was vendetta by police, prosecutors

(AUSTRALIA)
Angelus - Archdiocese of Los Angeles [Los Angeles CA]

August 25, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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Victoria’s policing and criminal justice systems erred so seriously in relation to Cardinal George Pell that it shows that not even victims of abuse or bona fide complainants, let alone an accused person like the cardinal, could rely on them, said Jesuit Father Frank Brennan, Australian legal expert.

The law professor and rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne attended key parts of Cardinal Pell’s trials and appeals and had access to court transcripts.

He became convinced that the cardinal was innocent of the historical sexual abuse charges brought against him and that he should never have had to face them.

In an exclusive interview with The Catholic Weekly, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Father Brennan was scathing in his assessment of the police work conducted under the former Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton and subsequent failures that saw Cardinal Pell imprisoned for 13 months until his…

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Former McAuley student’s lawsuit accuses coach of sexual abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

August 25, 2021

By Stefano Esposito

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The student said the abuse occurred between 2015 and 2018 at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Mount Greenwood.

A former student at a South Side all-girls Catholic school is suing her coach there, alleging the woman sexually abused her.

The lawsuit filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court also names the Catholic Bishop of Chicago and Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School as defendants.

The former student, who is not named in the suit, alleges the coach sexually abused her for four years, beginning in 2015.

“The aforementioned episodes would take place at practices, games and/or … other functions, at Mother McAuley and/or at Mother McAuley sponsored practices, game locations, and during recreational outings, which [the coach] routinely organized with minor students and their families, whom she met through Mother McAuley,” according to the lawsuit.

The student began attending Mother McAuley in…

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August 25, 2021

The subsequently disgraced Cardinal, Keith O'Brien, here speaks to reporters in 2007 after he said that Catholic politicians who defend abortion should not expect to remain Church members. David Moir/Reuters

Tested in the fire – the whistleblower in the case of disgraced Cardinal O’Brien tells his story

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

August 25, 2021

By Brian Devlin

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[Photo above: The subsequently disgraced Cardinal, Keith O’Brien, here speaks to reporters in 2007 after he said that Catholic politicians who defend abortion should not expect to remain Church members. — David Moir/Reuters]

“My son, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.”

The quotation from Ecclesiasticus, which was read out at my ordination, has followed me my entire life. Its shadowy presence never leaves me. It never will. I know that now.

And I do. I do aspire to serve the Lord. I might not be very good at it at times – but if “serving the Lord” means living an authentic life and doing my very best then, Yes. That is what I try to do. 

Being a whistleblower in the case of Cardinal Keith O’Brien was just such an ordeal. It’s not the only one I’ve had to face in my life. But…

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Erasing Native American culture

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Week [London, England]

August 23, 2021

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The U.S. and Canada are starting to face their history of forcing indigenous children into abusive boarding schools

What was the school’s goal?

Simply put, cultural genocide. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government and religious leaders used compulsory boarding schools to force young Native Americans to give up the languages and cultures of their ancestors, which were considered self-evidently inferior to a Christian, Western-style upbringing. Boarding schools were made mandatory for Native American children in 1891. This often meant forced separation from their families and communities. And because these schools were underfunded, crowded, and often unsanitary, thousands of students died of disease. Canada also coerced at least 150,000 indigenous children into a network of residential schools that were mostly run by the Catholic Church; last June, researchers uncovered 1,148 unmarked graves on the grounds of three schools. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna…

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Why churches should stop paying hush money

COLORADO SPRINGS (CO)
The Christian Post

August 23, 2021

By Kelly Williams

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What is hush money?

It is money paid so that someone will keep certain information a secret. 

Orpah Winfrey recently created a whole multi-season show called “Greenleaf” that airs on Netflix. This fictional show chronicles the ways churches try to bury the truth. Unfortunately, way too many real-life examples prove the truths in this series.

In my own hometown of Colorado Springs, New Life Church and Pastor Brady Boyd paid a sex abuse victim of Ted Haggard’s to keep quiet about the details of the very public fallout. When asked about it in a public interview, Pastor Brady said, “It was compassion assistance.” However, this is not a biblical term nor are there any positive examples of this in the Bible.

Since then, we have seen this same scenario play out with Ravi Zacharias, Brian Houston, Bill Hybels, Jerry Fallwell Jr, and the list goes on and on. We are…

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Vatican orders Polish archbishop to life of prayer, penance

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
CatholicPhilly.com - Archdiocese of Philadephia

August 23, 2021

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A retired Polish archbishop has been ordered to lead a life of prayer and penance, which includes a ban on taking part in any public celebrations — both secular and religious, according to Vatican News and international media.

The sanctions against Archbishop Marian Golebiewski, 83, the retired archbishop of Wroclaw and a former bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, came after a Vatican investigation looked into alleged negligence in handling allegations of abuse against minors by priests under his authority. The official announcement was published on the archdiocese’s website Aug. 21.

Vatican News’ Polish desk reported that the investigation had been conducted regarding reported “omissions” by the archbishop and followed the provisions laid out by the Code of Canon Law and Pope Francis’ “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world”), which holds bishops accountable for interfering with, covering up or failing to address abuse accusations…

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‘Tragedy of epic proportions’: Buffalo bishop responds to deluge of abuse lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

August 24, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

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After nearly 1,000 abuse claims were filed against the Diocese of Buffalo in the last two years, the diocese’s Bishop Michael Fisher called it a “tragedy of epic proportions.”

The time window to file civil lawsuits in old cases of child sex abuse in New York expired on Aug. 14. A total of 924 claims were filed against the Diocese of Buffalo, more than any other diocese in the state. Nearly 11,000 total claims were filed in New York under the act.

“It is of paramount importance to deal with the Church’s obligations to survivors forthrightly and to work to repair the enormous damage that has been done not only to the reputation of the Church here in Western New York, but most importantly to the lives of those affected,” Bishop Fisher stated in a letter dated Aug. 21. Fisher was installed as bishop of Buffalo in January 2021.

The state’s Child…

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Former McAuley High School water polo player files lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by coach

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN-TV [Chicago IL]

August 24, 2021

By Rob Sneed

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CHICAGO — A former Mother McAuley High School student has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually assaulted and abused by her water polo coach.

The woman, who is not being named, filed the lawsuit against the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School and her former water polo coach for alleged repeated sexual assaults.

The victim’s attorney said she was a student at the all-girls Catholic school, located in Mount Greenwood, from 2012 to 2016. The victim first met the coach in 2013 when she was 13, according to the lawsuit.

Around 2014, the victim claims the coach started taking her out to dinner as well as having her babysit the coach’s children.

When you are in a position where an individual has authority or power takes advantage over you,” said attorney Colleen Mixan-Mikaitis. “In this type of situation and to the extent of this sexual…

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Court orders Catholic cardinal to face trial for land sales

(INDIA)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

August 24, 2021

By Christopher Joseph CNS

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Commentary: Cardinal’s land case has major implications for Catholic Church in India

Catholic officials in Asia and beyond should pay attention to the court case against Cardinal George Alencherry in Kerala, a tiny state in southern India.

Early in August, while upholding the verdicts of two lower courts, the Kerala High Court ordered Cardinal Alencherry to face trial for the sale of various holdings of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese four years ago.

If Cardinal Alencherry faces trial, he will be the first cardinal to do so in an Asian civil court. Even if that does not happen, the case will still be a landmark, as the cardinal becomes the first Catholic bishop to face criminal charges for selling church properties in India. If convicted of all the charges, he may face more than 30 years in jail.

The court refused to accept that bishops have independent and exclusive right to own and…

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Native Catholic schools chart a new way forward

(SD)
U.S. Catholic - Claretian Publications [Chicago IL]

August 24, 2021

By Damien Costello

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It’s the Moon of Snowblindness on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It’s been a cold March with the temperature often below zero. The road passes Wounded Knee and its cemetery on the hill to the west then rises up over the land, the snow-covered plains falling away to the east. As my car rises into the sky, a herd of horses appears alongside and runs with the car, making me think of Black Elk’s vision of dancing horse nations.

When I arrive at my destination, drums signal the beginning of Yutapi Wakan, the ceremony of sacred food. Waves of purifying smoke wash over us. Images of Wanikiya, “He Who Makes Live,” and the ancestors look down at us from the walls. A star quilt hangs behind the fires burning on the altar. Today is the start of the season of purification, and ashes from the sacred fire mark our bodies.

It’s…

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Priest accused of sex abuse worked in Coxsackie

COXSACKIE (NY)
The Register Star [Hudson NY]

August 24, 2021

By Sam Raudins

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COXSACKIE — A priest accused of sexual abuse under the Child Victims Act formerly was assigned to a Coxsackie church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany said.

The diocese released a statement Aug. 21 announcing that the Rev. Gregory Weider, 84, is on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual abuse. Weider had retired from full-time ministry in 2010 but had been working as Sacramental Minister at Sacred Heart in Margaretville and its mission, St. Anne’s in

Andes.

Weider had worked at St. Mary’s in Coxsackie from October 1977 to March 1982, the diocese said. He was ordained in 1963.

St. Mary’s declined to comment on the matter.

Weider also served at Blessed Sacrament, Mohawk; St. Anthony, Schenectady; St. Agnes, Cohoes; St. Thomas the Apostle, Delmar; Holy Cross, Albany; Sacred Heart, Watervliet; and Holy Trinity, Schaghticoke, which was the merger of St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Mount…

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Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher Makes Calculated Decision to Hide Names of Child Abusing Clergy

BUFFALO (NY)
Jeff Anderson and Associates

August 23, 2021

By Stacey Benson

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When a bishop is facing more than 900 survivors in bankruptcy court—resulting from hundreds of New York’s Child Victims’ Act civil lawsuits against his priests—reasonable people would believe that the bishop would take a different path from his predecessors who covered up abuse and protected predators.

But not Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher.

Or, if that same bishop has vowed “zero tolerance for any act of sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, toward a young person or adult” that he would—for the sake of prudence and risk management alone—remove a parish priest like Fr. Paul Nogaro, who has been twice sued for child sexual abuse. (To date, we do not know how many survivors have accused Nogaro in bankruptcy claims)

But not Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher.

Or, if brave survivors gathered the strength in the autumn of 2020 to talk to that bishop’s “investigator” to share their stories of abuse, the…

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Duplicity and Complicity in a Whitewashed Church [PR Newswire]

LOS ANGELES (CA)
WFMZ-TV, Ch. 69 [Allentown PA]

August 24, 2021

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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Aggrieved, angered, and ashamed by the revelations in the documentary film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, author Rosaliene Bacchus breaks her silence as a former Catholic nun in her novel, The Twisted Circle, and adds her voice for victims of sexual abuse by predatory priests in the patriarchal Catholic Church.

Drawing on her seven-year experience of the religious life during the 1970s in her native land, Guyana, Bacchus explores the abuse of power by members of the clergy. The religious women ensnared in the author’s twisted circle of deceit, are not without guilt. Taught to hate the sin but forgive the sinner, they share silent complicity with the abusers.

Inspired by real events—the author’s sexual harassment as a young nun by a government official and her conflict with an American missionary nun—The Twisted Circle is set in Guyana’s remote northwest rainforest region where Bacchus spent her final year…

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Rockford pastor resigns amid sex abuse lawsuit against North Love Baptist Church

ROCKFORD (IL)
Rockford Register Star

August 24, 2021

By Chris Green

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ROCKFORD — The Rev. Paul Kingsbury, senior pastor and the face of North Love Baptist Church since 1982, has resigned in the wake of a lawsuit claiming a church employee sexually abused a teenage girl.

The seven-count suit, filed by a woman in May in Winnebago County Court, alleges John Neese of Loves Park had an abusive relationship with former church member from 2004 to 2006.

The complaint lists several positions for Neese, and it’s not clear in what capacity

Neese served the church at the time of the alleged offenses. According the complaint, Neese also was employed in a managerial position at Independence Village, a local retirement facility.

The lawsuit — which names Neese, the church and Independence Village as defendants

— alleges individuals from the church and the retirement home “were aware, or reasonably should have been aware, that Neese was having inappropriate interactions with minors” at…

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August 24, 2021

He Blew the Whistle on the Catholic Church in 1985. Why Didn’t We Listen?

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
New York Times

August 24, 2021

By Ben Proudfoot, Featuring Jason Berry

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As an investigative reporter, Jason Berry exposed the church’s systematic cover-up of sexual abuse. Somehow, it wasn’t enough.

[Click here to view the 15-minute documentary by the New York Times about Jason Berry, and the viewers’ comments on the film. Photo above of Berry is a still from the movie.]

Nearly 20 years ago, an investigation by The Boston Globe into sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests ignited a firestorm of scandal that has traveled around the world. For many Americans, these shocking revelations — especially of the related cover-ups by the church — came out of nowhere, almost like a bolt of lightning. But the sobering reality is that this bolt of lightning had been striking for at least 15 years.

In May 1985, Jason Berry, a Catholic journalist in Louisiana, wrote his first piece on child sexual abuse in the church, for the National Catholic Reporter and…

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