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.
The nation’s Catholic bishops have made progress in regaining the trust of the laity since approving a groundbreaking document in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis two decades ago, but for Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory “the task is not complete.”
“We’ve gone through some rocky patches,” Cardinal Gregory told Catholic News Service in an interview ahead of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
“With every sordid revelation (of sexual abuse or improper response by a bishop), the task becomes more difficult, the climb becomes steeper,” said the cardinal, who was the bishop of Belleville, Illinois, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the time.
He shepherded the bishops through the process of drafting and approving the charter during a historic general assembly in Dallas June 13-15, 2002, months after news of a devastating clergy abuse…
A former high-ranking official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who resigned following allegations that he logged onto a dating app has a new assignment.
Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill will serve as administrator of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish in West Salem, Wisc., Bishop William Callahan announced in a statement.
“Monsignor Burrill has recently come off an extended leave from active ministry,” the statement reads. “During his leave from active ministry, Monsignor Burrill engaged in a sincere and prayerful effort to strengthen his priestly vows and has favorably responded to every request made by me and by the Diocese.”
Last July, Monsignor Burrill resigned unexpectedly from his position as general secretary of the U.S.C.C.B. because of pending media reports about “inappropriate behavior.” He was elected to the position in November 2020. Shortly after, the Catholic website The Pillar published a story that claimed to have data showing Monsignor Burill had logged…
New sexual abuse lawsuits filed against Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland
New sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, claiming the diocese knew of the abuse but did nothing about it.
The three men filing suit against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland say they were groomed and sexually abused as children by clergy members or others associated with the diocese in Maine.
“The survivors coming forward this week have lived with the effects of their abuse for decades,” Attorney Mike Bigos said.
Bigos says when his clients were boys, attending Catholic churches with their families in Biddeford, Westbrook and Old Town, priests sexually abused them.
One even says he was abused by two priests and a lay educator.
“We believe and we expect to prove that the Maine Diocese knew about abuse in the Catholic Church generally, and in Maine, after 1922,” Bigos…
Saying he did not want to add to the suffering of survivors of clerical sexual abuse who criticized his appointment as a cardinal, retired Bishop Lucas Van Looy of Ghent, Belgium, asked Pope Francis to withdraw his nomination, and the pope agreed.
The Belgian bishops’ conference issued a statement June 16 announcing the decision and thanking Van Looy for making the request.
Francis’ announcement May 29 that BVan Looy would be among the 21 cardinals he intended to create Aug. 27, the statement said, “provoked many positive reactions, but also criticism that (Van Looy) had not always reacted vigorously enough as bishop of Ghent” when presented with allegations of clerical sexual abuse and other forms of abuse in the church.
“To prevent victims of such abuses from being hurt again as a result of his cardinalate, Bishop Van Looy asked the pope to dispense with the acceptance of this appointment. Pope Francis accepted his request,” the bishops said.
In July 2021, the state removed a 34-year statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood sexual abuse.
Three people who say they were abused in the Catholic church as children sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland Thursday in what appear to be the first civil lawsuits detailing sexual abuse to be filed since the state removed a time limit for these claims last summer.
Maine first agreed to remove its statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases in 2000. However, anyone who had already reached the 34-year time limit to file a complaint before then was still deemed ineligible. Changes to state law in July made it possible for dozens of Mainers with previously expired claims to seek legal action from their alleged perpetrators.
Robert Dupuis, who shared his story in 2007, said he was abused on multiple occasions by priest John Curran in 1961, when Dupuis…
With Francis planning to visit First Nations communities in Canada, some survivors offered him a suggested apology on behalf of the Catholic Church.
How does one apologize for the unforgivable?
In case Pope Francis has been wondering ahead of his visit to a handful of First Nations communities in Canada, during which he is expected to personally atone for abuses inflicted at residential schools, some survivors have offered him a written road map.
A suggested apology was released publicly Wednesday by the National Indian Residential School Circle of Survivors.
It is a succinct address that lays out the church’s complicity in the “grave harms” inflicted by the schools, commits the church to future action, including possible reparations, and asks for forgiveness.
Notably, it is written on behalf of the Catholic Church as a whole, a reflection both of criticisms that the Pope’s apology at the Vatican didn’t go far enough…
For the second day in a row, Southern Baptists meeting in Anaheim called for action to address the issue of sexual abuse after years of delay.
A day after approving a series of reforms meant to address sexual abuse in their denomination, Southern Baptists at their national meeting approved a resolution Wednesday (June 15) apologizing to abuse survivors and asking for forgiveness.
They also called on U.S. state legislatures to create laws that make pastoral sexual misconduct a specific crime and punish those who prey on church members.
Alabama pastor Griffin Gulledge told the more than 8,100 local church delegates, known as messengers, attending the afternoon session of the second day of the SBC’s annual meeting that many states have laws forbidding doctors to have sex with their patients or therapists with their clients.
“It should be illegal for pastors to prey upon their own congregations,” said Gulledge, who…
Lay group gives Baltimore Archdiocese high marks for accountability, transparency
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (and the accompanying Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons) in June 2002. This is one of a series of articles by the Catholic Review to mark the 20th anniversary of the Charter and its impact on safe environments within the church.
Although it was not the first time the media had reported on sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, when the Boston Globe reported extensively on the topic in 2002, it focused the attention of the U.S. bishops and many laypeople on the crisis.
When the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Dallas in June 2002, the main agenda item was discussion and approval of the Charter for the Protection…
Attendees at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting passed a resolution Wednesday encouraging state lawmakers to make it a crime for pastors to sexually abuse their parishioners.
The Baptists also passed a resolution publicly apologizing to survivors of sexual abuse and another urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court opinion classifying abortion as a constitutional right.
An attempt to abolish the agency that lobbies on behalf of Southern Baptists in Washington failed.
The resolutions addressing sex abuse were adopted one day after the convention overwhelmingly approved recommendations made by the denomination’s sexual abuse task force, which called for creation of a database containing the names of church leaders and volunteers who have credibly been accused of sexual abuse.
Noting that many states and their licensing boards already prohibit sexual relationships between clients and their doctors, psychiatrists or attorneys, the Baptists called on “lawmakers…
Hulu’s poignant and damning ‘Leave No Trace’ profiles some of the 80,000-plus men who have come forward as survivors
When John Humphrey was 13, his hair fell out. “I’ve been bald ever since,” says the 60-something businessman in the new Hulu documentary “Leave No Trace,” about the Boy Scouts’ sex abuse crisis. He tilts toward the camera an old school photo in which his broad smile and friendly eyebrows soften his bare head.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago, Humphrey says, that he realized his hair loss at such a young age could be related to the three years he was abused by his scoutmaster. Of the approximately 200 instances of sexual assault he estimates he suffered, he didn’t say a word for half a century. And then he learned about the staggering scope of child abuse within the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Negotiations are underway to…
A university study found at least 610 underage victims were abused by clergy in the western German diocese. With many cases going unreported, researchers estimate the actual number of victims could be 10 times as high.
The bishops who oversaw the Münster diocese for decades were accused of a ‘massive leadership failure’ and covering-up abusive priests
The scope of sexual abuse within the Catholic diocese of Münster is much wider than previously thought, a new study revealed on Monday.
It’s the latest in a string of reports detailing failings within the Catholic Church in Germany to protect children from sexual abuse by clergy.
What did the study find?
The two-year study was carried out by researchers at the University of Münster, and was set up on the initiative of the Münster diocese. It examined sexual abuse that took place in the diocese between 1945…
Pope Francis has taken another step to reign in new religious groups in the Catholic Church after their unregulated proliferation in recent decades led to abuses in governance that allowed spiritual and sexual misconduct to go unchecked.
Francis issued a new decree published Wednesday that requires prior Vatican approval for bishops to erect new associations of the faithful, often the first step in the creation of a new apostolic society or institute of consecrate life.
The decree follows a similar one issued in 2020 that required prior Vatican approval for d iocesan-level religious orders, suggesting the Vatican was now cracking down even further to better regulate the origins of these new forms of religious life and take the decisions about them out of the hands of local bishops.
Francis has taken a series of disciplinary and regulatory actions in recent years after some founders and leaders of religious orders…
Suggested apology submitted to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for the Vatican’s consideration
A group of First Nations residential school survivors is urging Pope Francis to acknowledge that many students forced to attend the institutions were buried in unmarked graves — and their parents were never told or permitted to bring their children home for burial.
The newly revived National Indian Residential School Circle of Survivors submitted the request on Wednesday to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) for consideration.
It also asked the 85-year-old pontiff to acknowledge that the church failed to report abusers to the authorities and, in some cases, simply transferred them to other schools.
The demands are part of a draft apology the survivors say they want to hear Pope Francis deliver in Canada. Last month, the Vatican said the Pope would visit Canada July 24-30, making stops in Edmonton, Québec and Iqaluit.
“There’s a lot of denial happening…
Clergy sex abuse is a big topic, spanning generations of baby-raping clergy and their innocent child victims.
I’m going to write about it in small doses because there’s too much to say to try to put it in one blog post.
I want to begin with a small discussion of one of the most common arguments that the bishops and their priests have tried to use as an excuse for the Church’s corrupt, amoral and predatory behavior.
“We aren’t the only ones doing this,” they have told us repeatedly, “other denominations do it too, and, in fact, most sexual abuse of children happens in families.”
These men, who are supposed to be trained in moral theology, say this as if they honestly think it makes what they’ve done OK. They are attempting to excuse an organized, world-wide, generational, institutional cover-up and enabling of child rape by trusted clerics with the…
The nation’s largest Protestant denomination, a bellwether for conservative Christianity, chose a rural Texas pastor and approved actions to address its sex abuse crisis.
Minutes before thousands of Southern Baptists voted for their next president, the most famous man in the room made a surprise appearance at a microphone on the convention floor.
For years Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, was a hero for Southern Baptists. He built what became the denomination’s largest church, trained 1.1 million pastors around the world and wrote one of history’s best-selling books, “The Purpose Driven Life.”
But on Tuesday, as infighting over weighty topics like politics and sexual abuse consumed the country’s largest Protestant denomination, Mr. Warren came to the convention he once personified to offer what sounded like a lover’s goodbye.
He is on the brink of retirement, and the denomination has been drifting from the compassionate conservatism and…
More than 8,000 members of the Southern Baptist Convention met in Anaheim, Calif., on Tuesday and responded to the shocking findings of an independent investigation into the handling of sex abuse cases by passing a recommendation to create a database to track sex abusers and a formal group to handle sex abuse accusations going forward. Members of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination also elected rural Texas pastor Bart Barber the next president of the convention.
In May, Southern Baptist leaders published a report detailing a years-long coverup of sex abuse within their denomination. For 15 years, the report alleged, leaders said they were not able to compile a database of sex abuse offenders — while they were secretly keeping a list of their own. The same week they released their report, they also released the list, which consisted of hundreds of names of alleged abusers, including many convicted…
We’re Reform rabbis who want more transparency for clergy contracts and fewer protectionist obstacles that keep good people from answering the call.
By 2034, the United States will face a shortage of between 38,000 to 124,000 physicians. The supply of doctors is tightly controlled by the number of medical school slots and medical residencies, both of which are set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
This means that American physicians get to legally limit their competition and thereby artificially inflate their compensation. While one would not want to get operated on by an unaccredited surgeon, the downsides of such monopsony power are evident in the high and rising costs of medical care.
But doctors are not alone in enjoying power over their own supply of talent. Clergy do, as well.
However, unlike the medical accreditation system, clergy associations have done a poor job of ensuring ethical conduct and competence. Over…
An organization formed to support Catholic nuns in distress, on June 14 petitioned Pope Francis against the alleged move to “reinstate” Bishop Franco Mulakkal as head of the diocese of Jalandhar.
The appeal from Save Our Sisters (SOS) claims that a trial court exonerating him in the case was not final and an appeal challenging it was pending before the Kerala High Court.
The Vatican on September 20, 2018, accepted Bishop Mulakkal’s request to relieve him from pastoral duties as a prelate of Jalandhar before he went to the southern Indian state of Kerala to face interrogation by the police.
The Vatican then appointed an apostolic administrator to manage the northern Indian diocese.
Bishop Mulakkal then faced a rape allegation from a Catholic nun.
The SOS termed as “shocking” the media reports that Bishop Mulakkal will resume pastoral duties. The organization said it has learnt from other sources that “the…
Sophie High Dog was the age of a kindergartener when she was taken by a missionary from the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota and placed in a notorious boarding school in Pennsylvania: Five years old.
That was more than a century ago, and still Sophie hasn’t come home. The little girl was sent away from Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1895 by Captain Richard Henry Pratt— the school’s superintendent and the speaker behind the “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” slogan—when she began showing signs of illness “that presaged an early death,” according to a 1900 newspaper article.
She was brought to a home that was run by the Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs, New York, where her health improved and she lived for another several years before she died of an unknown sickness. Letters she wrote to the missionary who took her, Miss Meade, were regularly published in the local…
The more we learn, the more we see gaping holes between our country’s traditional narrative and the realities of how our nation was built and who paid the costs.
Like many white Americans, I grew up learning a relatively neat and sanitized version of our country’s past. The depictions of history taught in my Ohio Catholic school emphasized our national triumphs, glossed over our shortcomings and depicted America as a chosen nation grounded in equality and freedom for all.
But the more we learn, the more we see gaping holes between our country’s traditional narrative and the realities of how our nation was built and who paid the costs. As painful as it can be, we simply cannot create a more just nation without filling in those gaps with the complicated truth of our past.
We were reminded of this in May, when the U.S. Department of the Interior released…
Directed by Oscar nominee Irene Taylor and executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, the documentary will stream on Hulu and release in New York and Los Angeles theaters June 16.
The first trailer for Leave No Trace offers a revealing look inside the alleged century-long cover-up by the Boy Scouts of America that resulted in over 82,000 men coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse.
Directed by Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Irene Taylor and presented by ABC News Studios, the Imagine Documentaries and Vermilion Films production traces the downfall of the BSA following the accusations that the organization — which had the support of American presidents, CEOs and community leaders and had maintained a significant cultural influence since its founding in 1910 — was aware of pedophiles in its ranks for generations.
It also explores how declining membership — the financial lifeblood of the Boy Scouts — is connected…
Pope Francis said in an interview published on Tuesday that he told the leader of Germany’s Catholic bishops that the country already had “a very good Evangelical Church” and “we don’t need two.”
The pope recalled his remark to Bishop Georg Bätzing, chairman of the German bishops’ conference, during a conversation with the editors of Jesuit journals.
The dialogue, which also touched on the war in Ukraine and opposition to Vatican II, was published in La Civiltà Cattolica on June 14 but was conducted on May 19.
The pope was asked what he thought of the German “Synodal Way,” a controversial multi-year gathering of bishops and lay people to discuss four main areas: four main topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; the priesthood; the role of women; and sexual morality.
Participants have voted in favor of draft documents calling for the priestly ordination of women, same-sex blessings, and changes to Church…
A former priest in Shelby Township is facing more than a decade in prison after being convicted of sexual abuse, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Monday.
Neil Kalina, 66, was convicted of two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct by a jury in Macomb County Circuit Court on Friday afternoon.
The charges, in this case, are 15-year felonies.
According to officials, the jury was presented and dismissed a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
Kalina’s sentencing will be July 26 before Judge Diane Druzinski.
He was first charged in May 2019, and arrested in Littlerock, California.
“This conviction marks the sixth one secured by my clergy abuse team,” Nessel said. “It’s also a reminder of our ongoing commitment to this investigation and the survivors in these cases. We will continue to fight for justice.”
Since the beginning of Nessel’s Clergy Abuse Investigation, 11 people have been charged.
The bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, invited Catholics June 13 “to pray for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, their families and all those who accompany survivors in the path toward healing, that they experience Christ’s profound love for them and God’s healing grace.”
As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. urged the prayers in a statement on the 20th anniversary of the USCCB’s “Dallas Charter” addressing “the sin of clergy sexual abuse.”
“It was two decades ago that the U.S. bishops gathered in Dallas to draft a comprehensive set of child protection standards that became the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,’ which each diocese and eparchy is now committed to following,” Bishop Johnston said.
“Since the implementation of the charter, the USCCB has been a resource for the creation…
The Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to create a way to track pastors and other church workers credibly accused of sex abuse and launch a new task force to oversee further reforms in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
The vote came three weeks after the release of a blockbuster report by an outside consultant on the long-simmering scandal, revealing that Southern Baptist leaders mishandled abuse cases and stonewalled victims for years.
Thousands of Southern Baptists are here in Anaheim for their big national meeting.
They elected a new SBC president, Texas pastor Bart Barber, who is a staunch proponent of Southern Baptists’ conservative views but who says he has a track record of dialogue with those who disagree.
He has called for an “army of peacemakers” amid bitter political battles in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
He defeated three other candidates and ultimately prevailed in a run-off vote at…
Bruxy Cavey isn’t the only pastor of The Meeting House to be charged with sexual misconduct. Four pastors at the church he once led have been accused — and two convicted — of sexual crimes.
One week after members of the Canadian megachurch The Meeting House saw their former pastor arrested and charged with sexual assault, their leadership revealed that not one but four of its former pastors have now been credibly accused — and two convicted — of sexual abuse.
At a church town hall-style meeting last week, The Meeting House overseers, as church elders are called, disclosed that a third-party victims’ advocate hired by the church in March heard 38 reports of sexual misconduct that had largely gone unreported to the congregation. Most happened years ago.
“We are deeply sorry for the abuse and harm that has occurred,” said Jennifer Hryniw, a member of the Board of Overseers during…
If you’ve been following church news in Canada, you already know that the pastor of one of the country’s largest mega-churches was investigated for sexual misconduct and forced to resign from his church. More allegations have surfaced, and last week Bruxy Cavey was arrested and charged with sexual assault.
Allegations against Cavey were first reported to The Meeting House at the end of November. The Overseers Board responded by placing him on leave while they engaged an independent third-party investigation. In March, a Church Family Update reported on the investigation’s conclusion: that Bruxy had a sexual relationship with a woman for an extended period of time that “constituted an abuse of Bruxy’s power and authority as a member of the clergy, and amounted to sexual harassment.” The Board was unanimous in asking for his resignation.
Even before the church’s official statement, teaching pastor Danielle Strickland…
The Southern Baptist Convention, holding its 2022 annual meeting in Anaheim, California, today explored the possibility of breaking ties with California’s Saddleback Church, according to news reports.
The denomination considered establishing a committee to study whether the SBC should break with Saddleback Church, which ordained three women as pastors, The Tennessean reported. “The SBC statement of beliefs says the “office of pastor” is reserved for men,” the report states.
Shad Tibbs, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Trout, Louisiana, made the request, Religion News Service reported.
“They have ordained three ladies as pastors, and all other churches that would choose to follow this path. At the very least, I am asking that the validity of this matter be looked into,” Tibbs said, according to that report.
“Ultimately, the motion was withdrawn by the credentials committee that had recommended it,…
Delegates from the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, met Tuesday to choose new leaders and confront shocking allegations of sexual abuse.
A recent 288-page report by independent firm Guidepost Solutions alleged that the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee was “stonewalling” survivors of sexual abuse. After the report, Southern Baptist leaders released a secret database listing accused pastors and church staff spanning decades.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Pastor Rolland Slade, outgoing chair of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, responded to survivors: “We need to fix what we’ve done. We need to apologize. We need to be grateful for what the report has exposed so that we can correct it.”
David Pittman, one of those survivors, told CBS News that the music minister at his Southern Baptist church in Georgia raped him repeatedly, beginning when he was 12 in the 1980s.
“It started with sleepovers,”…
A man who was abused by a paedophile priest at a Co Down school is to receive £150,000 in damages.
The payout forms part of a settlement reached at the High Court in his claim for historic physical and sexual assaults inflicted by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan.
He is also to meet the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland to be given an apology in person, and have the costs of his ongoing counselling covered under the terms of the resolution.
Now aged in his late 50s, the man sued the board of governors at St Colman’s College in Newry and the Diocese of Dromore for alleged negligence and failures to protect him from Finnegan.
Father Malachy Finnegan taught and worked at St Colman’s College from 1967 to 1987. He was accused of a long campaign of child sexual abuse but never prosecuted or questioned by police
The newly elected leaders of a top Southern Baptist Convention committee had all supported a more transparent investigation into allegations the denomination mishandled sex abuse reports and mistreated survivors. They defeated candidates who had opposed that move.
Members of the Executive Committee picked Texas pastor Jared Wellman as chair, South Carolina pastor David Sons as vice chair and Pamela Reed, a retired nurse from North Carolina, as secretary during a meeting Monday in Anaheim.
All three winners supported waiving the top administrative body’s attorney-client privilege for the outside investigation by independent firm, Guidepost Solutions. Their challengers — Indiana pastor Andrew Hunt, Louisiana minister Philip Robertson and Missouri pastor Monte Shinkle — opposed it.
Last year, the Executive Committee was embroiled in a heated debate about the issue, disagreeing over whether to allow investigators access to memos between lawyers and committee staff members. Ultimately those who supported granting the access prevailed…
Recordings released by a prominent pastor highlight dispute over how to handle abuse allegations in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
Newly released audio clips from a Southern Baptist whistleblower appear to corroborate accusations Southern Baptist Convention leaders were reluctant to take action against churches accused of mishandling abuse.
The audio contains a recording of Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, telling SBC leaders in an October 2019 meeting that he is concerned about preserving the base in the denomination — even if that leads to criticism from abuse survivors.
“As you think through strategy — and I am not concerned about anything survivors can say,” Floyd says in the recording, taken during a meeting to debrief the Caring Well Conference, held to address the handling of sexual abuse allegations within the SBC. “OK. I am not worried about that. I’m thinking the base. I just want to preserve…
The bells at the historic basilica overlooking St. John’s rang out Tuesday after a committee intent on preserving the cathedral announced it was chosen as the building’s new owners.
The 167-year-old Basilica of St. John’s the Baptist was put up for sale along with two other church properties as part of bankruptcy proceedings undertaken by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s, as it scrambles to pay survivors of sexual and physical abuse at the former Mount Cashel Orphanage.
The cathedral was sold as part of a parcel of properties that included St. Bonaventure’s College – a Jesuit private school behind the cathedral – as well as the school’s indoor ice rink.
Rob Blackie, part of the committee behind the successful bid to buy the three buildings, said Tuesday he felt “relieved and euphoric and humbled.”
“It was an incredible turning point that we decided to approach it as a…
It took her a decade to find sufficient words to describe those few moments with the Southern Baptist Convention leader.
Johnny Hunt was 24 years the woman’s elder, a mentor and the recent president of the nation’s second-largest faith group. He’d been an advocate for her husband’s ministry. She saw him as a father figure.
In July 2010, while vacationing in Panama City Beach, Fla., Hunt invited himself into her short-term rental condo and sexually assaulted her while her husband was not there, the woman said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. She remained quiet in the months after, still confused and intimidated by warnings that coming forward would harm Southern Baptist churches, she said.
The couple said Hunt then brought in the longtime counselor of his Atlanta-area megachurch, who believed Hunt’s claim that the woman consented to his advances — without first talking to her. The counselor focused on…
At least 610 children were documented as having been sexually abused by Catholic priests between 1945 and 2020 in the diocese of the west German city of Münster, according to a study released Monday.
The new report from the University of Münster found nearly 200 members of the clergy committed nearly 6,000 instances of abuse.
Researchers believe the true number of victims could be much higher — up to between 5,000 and 6,000 more victims — due to unreported cases, the report’s authors said at a press conference outlining their findings on Monday.
Münster’s Bishop Felix Genn, who was appointed to his position in 2008, received the university’s findings Monday and said he will make a public statement on Friday.
CNN has separately reached out to the Vatican for comment.
Historian Natalie Powroznik, who was involved in the study, accused the priests of an average of two individual…
The diocese has official records on 610 abuse victims, according to the report by the University of Muenster — around a third more than indicated by a previous study from 2018.
At least 600 young people were documented as having been abused by Catholic priests in the German diocese of Muenster, but the actual number of victims could be 10 times higher, a report published Monday said.
The diocese has official records on 610 abuse victims, according to the report by the University of Muenster — around a third more than indicated by a previous study from 2018.
However, historian Natalie Powroznik, who was involved in the study, said the true number of victims could be much higher with “about 5,000 to 6,000 affected girls and boys” in the diocese.
At least 5,700 individual acts of sexual abuse had been committed by a total of 196 clergymen, including 183 priests,…
Four years after all the bishops of Chile submitted their resignation to the pope, the Catholic Church in the country appears to be mired in a crisis it cannot overcome
When running an errand in the center of Santiago, the capital of Chile, Gina always stops at the Catholic cathedral.
The 67-year-old stays there for about 20 minutes, thanking the Lord for her health and entrusting her son who lives far away. She also prays every night at home.
But she has not been to Mass for the past ten years.
“After all that has happened, all the sexual abuse, we no longer trust. How can we go to Mass and confess before a priest?” she exclaims.
“In Chile, all the indicators of trust in the Church are down, except for popular piety,” says Eduardo Valenzuela, a sociologist of religion at the Pontifical University of Chile.
“What characterizes this piety…
The German Jesuit who is one of the Catholic Church’s leading experts on sex abuse and its prevention gives major lecture in Paris at the invitation of the French bishop
“I’m going to scandalize you,” Father Hans Zollner warned an audience in Paris this week.
“‘The Church’ does not exist. It is not a monolithic block,” the German Jesuit said Tuesday during a major lecture in the French capital.
“On the contrary, in the same room, same parish and same diocese you have victims and abusers – responsible people and irresponsible people,” he continued.
Zollner, who is director of the Institute of Anthropology at the Gregorian University in Rome and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was invited by the French bishops to speak about the clergy sex abuse crisis.
He brought to a close a cycle of four conferences that the three Catholic universities…
The rector of a German Catholic seminary was found dead last week in an apparent suicide.
Father Christof May had been removed the day before from all his offices by Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg.
Bätzing, the current chairman of the German bishops’ conference, reportedly took the step due to allegations of abusive behavior.
May’s death was first communicated internally within the Diocese of Limburg on June 9. CNA Deutsch, the Catholic News Agency’s German-language news partner, obtained a copy of the email.
It said: “We are devastated and full of grief. Christof May was questioned yesterday in a personal conversation about allegations of abusive behavior. Subsequently, Bishop Georg Bätzing had removed him from all offices in order to be able to review and investigate the allegations.”
“The death of Christof May affects us all. We have lost a committed and much-appreciated pastor.”
On June 10, the Limburg…
Southern Baptists, facing falling membership and internal conflict, will elect a new convention president and debate changes aimed at better safeguarding churchgoers from sexual predators.
Ed Litton, an Alabama pastor who was elected to the post a year ago, opted not to seek reelection at this year’s annual meeting in Anaheim.
Bart Barber, a Lake City native and pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, is one of the leading contenders to replace him, along with Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla.
Robin Hadaway of California, who pastored in the southwestern United States before becoming a foreign missionary, has also agreed to be nominated.
All three candidates have expressed concerns about the way the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has addressed sexual abuse claims in the past.
A recent report, commissioned by denominational officials and created by Guidepost Solutions, criticized some of its leaders…
A report released Monday found that at least 196 clerics in the German Catholic diocese of Muenster sexually abused minors between 1945 and 2020, adding to findings from other dioceses that have shaken the church in the country.
The study, commissioned by the diocese in western Germany and carried out over 2½ years by a team from the University of Muenster, pointed to a “massive leadership failure” during the tenures of the diocese’s bishops between 1947 and 2008, with officials covering up scandals or making only superficial interventions, according to a statement from the university summarizing the findings.
“The bishops and other officials in the diocesan leadership were in some cases extensively in the know” about the abuse, co-author Thomas Grossboelting said.
The 196 allegedly abusive clerics account for about 4% of all priests in the diocese between 1945 and 2020. About 5% of those were “serial” abusers, responsible for…
It wasn’t long into my study of the sex abuse crisis in the Church that I realized that many or even most bishops customarily respond to a report about abuse 1) by feeling sorry for themselves that they have another mess on their hands; 2) by feeling sorry for the priest whose priesthood may be ruined; and 3) by trying to figure out how to get the victim to remain silent and go away. There is rarely, if ever, any true concern shown for the victim; sometimes counseling is offered but more often as a way to appease than to help the victim.
It can take decades for a victim even to begin to seek justice for the abuser. And most often it is done out of a concern to prevent the abuser from continuing to abuse. Victims long to put the abuse “behind them” (as much as that might be…
This is the second of a special two-part series marking the 20th anniversary of the passing of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (known as the Dallas Charter). Part 1 can be found here.
When the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops passed the original Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in June 2002, it marked a beginning, not an end, to their efforts to safeguard children in the Church.
The charter’s 17 articles called on bishops and dioceses to reach out and try to help those who are victim-survivors of clerical sexual abuse of minors, to investigate all allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests or deacons, to report such allegations to civil authorities, and to remove from ministry any men with even one substantiated incident of sexual abuse of a minor. It led to the establishment of USCCB’s Secretariat for the Protection of…
- Fr Anthony White began abusing the 15-year-old boy between 1992 and 1993
- He was assistant priest at St John’s Church, Horsham at the time of the abuse
- Hove Crown Court said the victim was targeted after attending Mass in Horsham
A Catholic priest has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years for plying a teenage boy with drink and raping him.
Father Anthony White, of Cross-In-Hand, Heathfield, East Sussex, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court for sexual assault and two offences of indecent assault against the boy, who was aged 15 at the time.
The offences happened in 1992 and 1993 at the address where White was then living in Horsham while he was an assistant priest at St John’s Church.
A Sussex Police spokesman said the 64-year-old was charged after the victim came forward in 2020.
Detective Constable Yvonne Daddow said: ‘White got to know the boy when he and his family attended…
Today, Pope Francis named Bishop John P. Dolan, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego to lead the Diocese of Phoenix Arizona. Dolan succeeds the retiring Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted who has led the diocese since 2003. Given the history of church leadership in Phoenix, there is much work ahead for Bishop-Elect Dolan.
For example, In 2008, after the diocese had spent several million dollars to settle about 20 lawsuits, Bishop Olmsted began an initiative to shield diocesan assets from further sex abuse claims by incorporating local parishes individually. Through his actions, Bishop Olmsted demonstrated that he cared more about the money his diocese brings in rather than the children and families his diocese serves. Bishop-Elect Dolan must work to invert this structure and put children, families, and survivors first.
Since his appointment in 2017, Bishop Dolan, who was ordained a priest for San Diego in…
The next bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said Friday that he will strive to be open when it comes to investigations of sex abuse, though he said he’s not yet caught up on the status of abuse claims in a diocese that serves roughly 1.1 million Catholics.
“I honestly don’t know what has occurred here. But yes, the goal here obviously is to be as transparent as we know — not as possible but as we know, what we know,” Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan said at an introductory news conference.
The 60-year-old, who will be installed officially in August, will be only the fifth bishop in the diocese’s 52-year history. He has been auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Diego since April 2017.
Dolan will oversee 94 parishes, 23 missions, 29 elementary schools, several high schools, three universities and one seminary.
His appointment comes…
Bishop Franco Mulakkal will assume pastoral responsibilities months after being acquitted in the Kerala nun rape case.
In September 2018, Pope Francis temporarily relieved the Bishop of his diocese’s responsibilities after he was questioned by Kerala police on rape charges levelled by the nun.
According to sources, during his visit to the Jalandhar diocese on Saturday, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, informed the priests of the north Indian diocese that the Vatican had accepted the court’s decision on Bishop Franco.
The Apostolic Nuncio made this statement to a group of priests from the Jalandhar diocese in response to a question about the Vatican’s delay in accepting the Indian…
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, on June 11 said the Vatican has accepted the Indian court decision about Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.
The nuncio, who was on a two-day pastoral visit to Jalandhar, said this June 11 while addressing the priests of the diocese of Jalandhar.
The nuncio said Bishop Mulakkal is an Indian citizen and the Vatican goes by the decision of the local court.
“Accordingly, Bishop Franco [Mulakkal] is innocent and free of all charges. With regards to the future, it is not in my hands but with Rome. Let us wait for it patiently,” Archbishop Girelli told the priests.
The Vatican on September 20, 2018, accepted Bishop Mulakkal’s request to relieve him from his duties until the case was over. It then appointed Bishop Agnelo Gracias as the diocesan administrator.
On January 14 this year, a court in Kerala, southern India, acquitted…
The Vatican has accepted the verdict of an Indian court declaring the innocence of a bishop accused of raping a nun, according to the papal representative to the country, who added the bishop’s future “is not in my hands, but with Rome.”
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli was speaking about Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar during a visit to the diocese, located in Punjab state.
Mulakkal was arrested on Sept. 21, 2018, in Kerala after a months-long investigation into the accusations of a nun claiming he raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. He has adamantly denied the accusation.
The nun is a member of the Punjab-based Missionaries of Jesus congregation, but said the attacks happened in Kuravilangad, the location of one of the order’s convents in Kerala, where the bishop was born.
On Sept. 20, 2018, Pope Francis temporarily relieved Mulakkal of his pastoral duties for the Diocese of Jalandhar,…
A withering report on sexual abuse and cover-up in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.
A viral video in which a woman confronts her pastor at an independent Christian church for sexually preying on her when she was a teen.
A TV documentary exposing sex abuse of children in Amish and Mennonite communities.
You might call it #ChurchToo 2.0.
Survivors of sexual assault in church settings and their advocates have been calling on churches for years to admit the extent of abuse in their midst and to implement reforms. In 2017 that movement acquired the hashtag #ChurchToo, derived from the wider #MeToo movement, which called out sexual predators in many sectors of society.
In recent weeks #ChurchToo has seen an especially intense set of revelations across denominations and ministries, reaching vast audiences in headlines and on screen with a message that activists have long…
Robin Hadaway, a longtime expert on missions work, is keeping the focus on missionaries in his candidacy for president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The resident-turned-remote professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, now teaches his students almost full time from the California city of Oceanside.
As he prepares to attend the denomination’s annual meeting June 14-15 just an hour’s drive from his home, Hadaway knows attention will be on the recommendations of a sexual abuse task force following a lengthy report on the Executive Committee’s mishandling of abuse allegations.
“They seem reasonable and wise, what they are recommending,” he said of the task force, including its suggestion that a national staff person — “or maybe more than one person” — be hired to determine what church or other entity is appropriate to respond to abuse allegations.
But Hadaway, who stated he was “troubled and saddened”…
The announcement that Pope Francis chose to name San Diego bishop Robert McElroy a cardinal comes as a shock to many Catholics who were scandalized by McElroy’s willingness to give Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
However, it’s especially a shock to sex abuse victims, because of his record of covering up for predator priests.
In 2014, abuse victim Rachel Mastrogiacomo reported to San Diego diocesan officials that North American College alumnus Fr. Jacob Bertrand ritually raped her at her home in Dakota County, Minnesota when she was 24 years old. When Mastrogiacomo discovered that McElroy did not remove Bertrand from ministry despite his having confessed to the ritual rape, she said that she felt like a “faithful little sheep in the flock that could just be raped and thrown out.”
Even though Mastrogiacomo filed a criminal complaint against Fr. Bertrand in April 2016, it was not until five months…
A woman testified Thursday that in the 1980s when she was 16 she arrived unannounced at her 18-year-old boyfriend’s apartment and found him and a priest lying in a bed partially clothed.
The 53-year-old woman, whose identity is being withheld to protect the identity of her former boyfriend, said in Macomb County Circuit Court that during her teens she and her boyfriend befriended Neil Kalina, who is on trial for molesting a different teen boy in the mid-1980s when he was at St. Kieran (Catholic) Church in Shelby Township.
Kalina, 66, is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is punishable by up to life in prison, and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The jury could find him guilty of a less severe charge on each offense.
Kalina allegedly touched the genitals of the complaining…
Warning: The story below contains details of residential schools that may be upsetting. Canada’s Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.
Willie Littlechild doesn’t remember blowing out candles or receiving any gifts on his birthday when he was a child. In fact, there was no acknowledgement of the day at all.
That is because Littlechild grew up in a residential school in central Alberta, Canada, and celebrating birthdays was forbidden there.
For the 14 years that he attended the school, Littlechild wasn’t even called by his name. Instead, he was given a number by the staff and Catholic clergy who ran the school – one of 139 across Canada where more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families, communities and cultures.
But this year, on his 78th birthday, Littlechild received the gift he had long hoped for: an…
[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See the Southern Baptist Convention list and the report. See also Christa Brown’s website, the Baptist Accountability website, and the Houston Chronicle’s Abuse of Faith investigation.]
A report named hundreds of church leaders accused or found guilty of abusing children and says survivors were mistreated
America’s largest Protestant and second-largest Christian denomination is being roiled by a sexual abuse scandal that casts a harsh light on one of the most politically powerful religious groups in the country as well as renewing a focus on its racist past.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a collection of loosely affiliated member churches, boasting just under 15 million members, and is dominated by white members, who are usually deeply socially conservative. The convention has often been a powerful tool for rightwing organizing in recent years, especially on issues around abortion.
But the SBC is now so mired in scandal that one recent former…
Karnataka High Court allowed a victim, who was a minor when the alleged crime against her was committed, to be recalled for cross-examination in the trial court.
Bengaluru – The provision of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which prohibits child victims from being repeatedly called to testify in court, “gets diluted” once the victim crosses 18 years of age, the High Court of Karnataka has said.
It has, therefore, allowed a victim, who was a minor when the alleged crime against her was committed, to be recalled for cross-examination in the trial court.
The victim was 15 years of age in January 2019 when the alleged crime took place. When the alleged perpetuator of the crime filed the application for her recall for cross-examination on March 28, 2022, she had crossed 18 years of age, the HC said.
The mother of the victim had filed the complaint…
At age 68, he has spent nearly six decades trying to forget what happened to him in the classroom of his fifth-grade teacher, Arthur F. Werner, in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District.
“It happened to me at least a dozen times that year,” recalled the man, one of 35 former Werner students who filed Child Victims Act lawsuits accusing Werner of molesting them in the school.
“We had this weird rule in the school that you couldn’t put your hands in your pockets. Every time Werner saw me reach toward one of my pockets, he’d call me up to the front of the room, in front of the whole class. He would literally sew my pants pockets shut,” the man told The Buffalo News in an interview. “While he did that, he would put his hand inside my pants, under the guise of protecting me from the…
As debate continues over the revelations of the 1995 Robert Sabga and 2021 Justice Judith Jones reports on abuse at children’s homes, and pending investigations by the police and Catholic Church, one survivor shares his story with Newsday.
A survivor of abuse at the St Dominic’s Children’s Home in Belmont, who left there in 1997, said his ability to relate and interact with people has been irrevocably altered by the abuse he suffered while growing up at the home. He now lives in the Netherlands where, as a gay man, he has been granted asylum status.
“I can’t form friendships. I get real irritated with people fast, I have a low span for stupidity. I don’t keep many friends, and who I keep as friends, if they cross me, I behave really badly. All of this is because of my background, what I’ve been through. I still rock myself to…
[Photo above: Survivor Eamonn Lynch, who attended St Columb’s College in Derry. Picture by Lorcan Doherty]
Alleged victim urges St Columb’s College to ‘come clean’ about its former teacher
A former principal of a renowned school has indicated they were aware of sex abuse allegations against a former vice-principal as far back as 1993.
Raymond Gallagher was a teacher at St Columb’s College in Derry from 1953 to 1993. He died in 2007 at the age of 75. In recent months, two former pupils have come forward to allege they were sexually abused by Gallagher while pupils at the school in the 1960s and 1970s.
In a statement in February this year, the school said when it was made aware of allegations against Gallagher in 2009 they contacted the police and social services. However, comments made to the Sunday Independent by a former principal of St Columb’s would appear to indicate those in…
A serving Inishowen priest, the former principal of St Columb’s College in Derry, has confirmed he was aware of sex abuse allegations against a former vice-principal, as far back as 1993.
Raymond Gallagher was a teacher at St Columb’s College from 1953 to 1993. He died in 2007 at the age of 75.
In recent months, two former pupils have come forward to allege they were sexually abused by Gallagher while pupils at the school in the 1960s and 1970s.
Fr John Walsh, who is currently a curate in the Buncrana parish, was principal of St Columb’s from 1990 to 1999 and was in charge of the school when Gallagher left in 1993.
In today’s Sunday Independent, journalist Ciaran O’Neill is reporting, that comments made to the paper by Fr Walsh, appear to indicate those in charge of the school were aware of allegations around Gallagher, who…
Legislation is meant to nullify the Catholic Church’s court argument
The Louisiana Legislature approved Tuesday an update to a law it passed just last year that was supposed to make it easier for adult victims of childhood sex abuse to sue institutions such as the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America.
The Louisiana House and Senate voted without objection to pass House Bill 402, by Rep. Jason Hughes, D-New Orleans, which clarifies that victims of childhood abuse – no matter their current age – should have a chance to sue over their alleged mistreatment until 2024.
The measure is slated to become law by the end of the month. Gov. John Bel Edwards could veto the measure, but has not indicated he intends to do so.
Lawmakers and advocates for sexual abuse victims initially said the legislation received pushback from insurance companies. Those who issued…
This summer churches in Waco and surrounding Central Texas suburbs and towns will offer Vacation Bible Schools, mission trips, church camps and other worthwhile and wholesome activities to our children. Those of us who grew up in such churches know their potential to set the trajectory of our lives. Who can forget Bible drills, campfire sing-a-longs, the pledge to the Christian flag, long bus rides to youth camp and backyard Bible clubs?
Parents sending their children and teens to church activities this summer expect that not only will their sons and daughters be provided religious instruction and spiritual formation but that they’ll be safe. This includes being safe from sexual predators.
Yet, on May 22, 2022, parishioners in the largest Protestant denomination in America were provided a scathing report by Guidepost Solutions that documents the systemic efforts by Southern Baptist executives to cover up sexual abuse of victims…
Dedicated officials are an inspiration to all by implementing the law and giving justice to victims in the Philippines
The wide extent of child sexual abuse is a shocking and embarrassing reality that no nation wants to admit to. This is why it is largely ignored and family reluctance to report child rape by a family member or neighbor allows more abuse and prevents children from getting justice.
Laws are circumvented by duty bearers. Even police fail to pursue investigations and some are allegedly in cahoots with the suspects and create a technicality to have a case dismissed, defeating the purpose of the courts. Victims of rape and trafficking are left unprotected by social services and sent home without help or therapy in a protective home because there is almost none provided by government services.
There are thousands of clinics and hospitals in the Philippines, yet almost no therapeutic homes to protect victims of…
Pope Francis on Friday spoke about the challenges facing families, including threats to human dignity such as pornography and surrogacy.
“We also talk about the scourge of pornography, which is now spread everywhere via the web,” the pope said at the Vatican on June 10.
“It should be denounced as a permanent attack on the dignity of men and women. It is not only a matter of protecting children — an urgent task of the authorities and all of us — but also of declaring pornography a threat to public health,” he told members of a family association network.
Quoting a 2017 speech he gave to a congress on child dignity online, the pope added that “it would be a serious illusion to think that a society in which abnormal consumption of sex on the web is rampant among adults is then capable of effectively protecting minors.”
Family networks, schools, and…
Pope Francis told priests and bishops from the Italian island of Sicily on Thursday to be strong moral guides, and to update their art and vestments in conformity with Church reforms.
“In Sicily, people still look to priests as spiritual and moral guides, people who can also help to improve the civil and social life of the island, to support the family, and to be a reference for growing young people. High and demanding is the Sicilian people’s expectation of priests,” the Pope said during a June 9 meeting at the Vatican.
In improvised comments during his speech, Pope Francis also addressed a topic that he said “worries” him: the progress of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, particularly relating to the liturgy.
“I don’t know, because I don’t go to Mass in Sicily and I don’t know how the Sicilian priests preach, whether they preach as was suggested in…
Church leaders in Italy are currently conducting a national synod process, at the behest of Pope Francis, in tandem with the pope’s universal Synod of Bishops on Synodality.
Among other things, the Italian bishops’ national synod, set to conclude in 2025, is aimed at assessing the challenges the country faces in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and providing an up-to-date evaluation of the general state of the church in Italy.
Pope Francis had been pushing the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) to launch the national synod ever since a 2015 visit to Florence for a major CEI conference. He told ecclesial leaders that the church must rid itself of “stale and repetitive” structures, and be closer to the poor and disadvantaged.
Among the various challenges the Italian bishops will have to grapple with as their national synod process moves forward is a growing apathy toward the church, and religion generally,…
Authorities in Wisconsin have jailed a father-son pair of former United Pentecostal Church pastors on dozens of charges related to child sexual assault. The arrests came after an investigation that spanned five states, according to a sheriff’s department press release.
Travis Lee Huse, 42, and his father, Scott L. Huse, 64, remain in the Langlade County (Wisconsin) Jail as of Monday, jail records show. The Langlade County Sheriff’s Office accuses the men of sexually assaulting children while the father and son were involved with Apostolic Worship Center and the former Evergreen Christian Academy.
Authorities say the church and school were in Elton, an unincorporated village about 15 miles from the Langlade County seat. The Roys Report didn’t immediately hear back after leaving a message at the church’s number.
Travis Huse faces 31 counts of child sexual assault, child…
Transparency about abuse is also essential. Learning from past mistakes will help keep more children from becoming abuse victims.
Too many institutions that have children under their care do not do enough to ensure they are protected from sexual abuse, as we were reminded by the recent report by Robert Herguth of the Sun-Times’ Watchdogs team.
Last month, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago settled a case of alleged sexual abuse for $750,000, without admitting wrongdoing. Such settlements, in one institution after another, are a warning the nation has further to go than some people might realize to fully protect children.
According to records that emerged from the lawsuit against the Episcopal Diocese, the office of Bishop Frank Griswold knew as early as 1987 that priest Richard Kearney might have molested children at Saint Bride’s Episcopal Church in Oregon, a half hour from Rockford, but did nothing. Griswold is…
America’s largest Protestant denomination covered up a sexual abuse problem for decades.
A new report summarizing an independent investigation into the history of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) details decades of gaslighting and cover-ups.
The SBC is a collection of loosely affiliated member churches, boasting just under 15 million members. It has no firm, established hierarchy; it doesn’t even have a central headquarters. In theory, individual churches can preach or believe whatever they want, but the larger “convention” can remove member churches that don’t toe certain lines. Representatives of these churches meet each year at an annual event — also called a convention. At the 2021 convention, member churches voted to conduct an internal investigation of sexual abuse within the church.
Complaints about sexual abuse and sexual assault on the part of pastors were sent to higher-ups who then kept those accusations quiet. Though the…
A nearly 300-page report detailing years of sexual abuse and its cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention from ministers was released in May.
The report, a result of a seven-month investigation by Guidepost Solutions, detailed a credible allegation of sexual assault against former SBC President Johnny Hunt one month after his term ended in 2010 and how high-ranking staff maintained a list with the names of ministers accused of sexual misconduct but did nothing about it.
SBC published a list of accused abusive ministers on May 26. The listed included Jason Cooper, former pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Rayville and Victor Mitchell, former pastor of Old Mount Olive Baptist Church in Oak Ridge. Both were convicted in August 2009 of indecent behavior with a juvenile and oral sexual battery.
Michael Wood, lead pastor of the First West Church, referred to the report as “heartbreaking” and “infuriating” in a prepared…
In 2019, Houston Chronicle journalist Robert Downen helped break the story about sexual abuse within the SBC. That led the church to commission its own independent study, which suggested a coverup.
TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. A sexual abuse scandal has shaken up the Southern Baptist Church. A report issued just over a week ago confirmed that survivors who came forward alleging they were sexually abused by church leaders, ministers, workers and volunteers were ignored or silenced by church leadership and often disparaged. Meanwhile, the church kept a secret list of over 700 offenders. The list was even kept secret from most of the church’s leaders. This new report was commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention in response to a series of articles investigating widespread sexual abuse in the church.
The series titled “Abuse Of Faith” was published in 2019 after a six-month investigation by a…
Last month an explosive report was released detailing the massive amount of abuse and cover up of abuse that has taken place within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over the past two decades. This was the largest investigation undertaken in the denomination’s history and the troubling report details what many abuse survivors had been speaking out about for years. Now, armed with the new report, they are continuing to amplify the call for more transparency and accountability within the denomination.
Among those who is continuing to raise her voice is Ashley Easter, an abuse survivor, author, and advocate who uses her platform to empower other survivors of abuse. RLC editor, Rebekah Barber, recently spoke to Easter about the explosive report and what work is needed to be done to ensure that pastor predators are held accountable and survivors are able to receive a sense of justice, whatever that may look…
The 20th anniversary of the U.S. bishops’ passage of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” is “not a time of celebration, but a time of continued vigilance and determination,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“In these 20 years, we have greatly benefited from listening to and working with survivors of abuse. We are grateful for their courage in sharing their stories and for helping the church strive to create a culture of protection and healing,” Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez said in a June 9 statement.
The witness of survivors “has led directly to meaningful reform in the church and to a greater awareness of sexual abuse in the wider world. For past survivors and future children, it is imperative that we remain vigilant,” the archbishop said.
The charter was originally approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002…
[Photo above: Fr. Anthony White’s victim, Tao Qazi, waived his anonymity to speak out about the abuse.]
A Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused a 15-year-old boy in the 1990s has been jailed.
Father Anthony White, 64, from Cross-in-Hand, East Sussex, plied the boy with drink before raping him after he visited his house, Sussex Police said.
Tao Qazi, White’s victim, told the BBC he has struggled to find happiness since the attack and cannot understand why he was “singled out”.
White has been sentenced to 10 years and six months at Hove Crown Court.
He had been working as assistant priest at St John the Evangelist Church in Horsham, West Sussex, at the time of the offences in 1992 and 1993.
Police first received a report of the crimes in 2020 and said White had got to know the boy when he and his family attended church.
A Roman Catholic priest in Germany was found dead a day after he was questioned and suspended as part of an investigation into abuse allegations, church officials said Friday.
The Diocese of Limburg said in a statement that the head of its seminary was found dead Thursday. It didn’t provide details on his cause of death but said the priest, whom it didn’t identify, had held roles of responsibility within the diocese for several years.
The diocese said that the priest’s death “hits us hard, causes consternation and bewilderment, and raises many questions.”
“He had been heard in a personal interview on Wednesday, June 8, regarding allegations of inappropriate behavior, as required by the relevant church regulations,” the diocese said. “Bishop Georg Baetzing subsequently released him from all offices in order to be able to examine and clarify the accusations.”
The diocese added that its sympathy was with the the…
Anne Barrett Doyle of the group BishopAccountability.org recently wrote a thoughtful article on how Pope Francis’ major law to hold bishops and religious superiors accountable for abuse they commit or cover-up, Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), is not working.
That article caused me to reflect on the long-standing, unsuccessful efforts in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to hold its former archbishop, John Nienstedt, accountable for alleged personal sexual misconduct and a failed cover-up involving abuse by another priest under his supervision.
These efforts have both pre-dated and post-dated Vos Estis, which went into effect on June 1, 2019, so it is with much disappointment that nothing has been resolved to hold Nienstedt accountable. It represents a real-life example of why Vos Estis is not working and needs serious reform.
I first wrote about the need for the church to complete a full and fair investigation…
The fifth bishop of Phoenix will take the place of Bishop Thomas Olmsted after he reached the “age limit” for bishops, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said.
The 52-year-old Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will be getting a new bishop in San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan, a press release from Pope Francis said.
Dolan will be taking over for Bishop Thomas Olmsted, 75, after he reached the “age limit” for bishops. Olmsted’s replacement will oversee the Phoenix Diocese’s 94 parishes, 23 missions, 29 elementary schools, seven high schools, three universities, and one seminary.
“I am truly grateful to God for Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares who have warmly welcomed me to the Diocese of Phoenix,” Dolan said. “Please pray for all three of us as we journey together on mission in Christ!”
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) had more…
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse gathered with supporters June 4 to mark an important anniversary and, even more importantly, to reenergize their solidarity.
It was 20 years ago that the Boston Globe exposed the cover-up of predatory priests by the Boston Archdiocese, journalism that earned a Pulitzer Prize and inspired the Oscar-winning film, “Spotlight.”
At one point during the program, an NCR front page from 1985 appeared on the screen at the front of the room. The headline above the Page 1 editorial read: “Priest child abuse cases victimizing families; bishops lack policy response.”
I admit to having something to do with the display of that page, not to diminish the extraordinary work of the Globe and its courageous sources but to underline the longevity of the scandal and to reflect NCR’s 37-year commitment to bringing it to light.
That June 7, 1985, issue included Jason…
Six novices were dismissed last June from the California novitiate of a small religious order, just weeks after they reported that their novice master touched several of them inappropriately without their consent, and engaged in manipulation and other conduct which caused them “serious harm.”
Their dismissal came after an internal investigation cleared the novice master of wrongdoing. But investigators did not interview any of the novices before rejecting their claims, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception confirmed to The Pillar.
An attorney for the community told The Pillar that the men did not specifically request to be interviewed when they reported their allegations, and that such interviews were not necessary to resolve their misconduct claims.
The former novices say the process was unjust, and that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in which the novitiate was located, should have done more to assist them when they alleged misconduct. After questions from The Pillar, the…
According to one of the Catholic Church’s foremost experts on clerical sexual abuse prevention, by ignoring the voice of the victims “we are excluding the voice of Jesus who speaks to us through them.”
German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, President of the Institute of Anthropology-Interdisciplinary Studies on Protection and Human Dignity (IADC) of the Pontifical Gregorian University was speaking at a daylong “conversation” held on Thursday in Madrid, Spain, organized by the publishing house PPC.
During his presentation, Zollner, who is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said that Christians need to “open our eyes, ears and mouth when we see something that could be abuse, we all have the responsibility to form ourselves, to inform ourselves and to push our communities to act.”
“People affected by abuse in the Church want, above all, to be recognized as victims, and that the bishops acknowledge…
A prominent figure in Singapore’s Catholic community was sentenced to jail last month for sex offences against two teenage boys.
During investigations, it emerged that the man’s sexual misconduct was first uncovered in 2009 by leaders of a religious order of which he was a member.
But it took years before it was reported to the police and for him to be charged and sentenced.
The man, now in his 60s, cannot be named due to a court order that prohibits the publication of any information that could lead to identification of the victims.
The gag order covers the offender’s designation, appointment, the school he was linked to, and the name of his Catholic order.
Here is a timeline of events related to the case:
2005 TO 2006: SEX OFFENCES AGAINST VICTIM V2
The man came to know the first victim, identified as V2 in court documents, between 2003 and…
Pope Francis on Friday named San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan to lead the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.
Dolan, 60, succeeds Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, whose resignation was accepted on June 10, after turning 75, the usual age of retirement for bishops.
Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. and the diocese serves 1.2 million Catholics.
Dolan, a strong Spanish-speaker, has been an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, a diocese of almost 1.4 million Catholics, since 2017, serving under Cardinal-designate Robert McElroy.
Dolan grew up in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego as one of nine children. He was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1989. He was a parish priest for 27 years before he was appointed as auxiliary bishop.
He has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia. As vicar for clergy, he…
Abusers included people who worked for a diocese or parish but not schools
An independent audit of more than 80 years of files involving nine Quebec Catholic dioceses found at least 87 abusers among church personnel, according to a summary of findings released Wednesday.
Retired Superior Court justice André Denis reviewed archived files of 6,809 people employed between 1940 and 2021 and uncovered 87 employees who were the subjects of confirmed or well-founded sex abuse allegations involving minors or vulnerable adults.
Denis says his mandate was twofold: first, to root out people accused of abuse who were still working for the church, and second, to offer the church a historical portrait of how many employees faced credible allegations. He says fewer than five of the 87 people were still working for the church by the time he finished his review.
“They’re counted on the fingers on one hand, but those who…
[Via The Advertiser]
A former altar boy sexually abused by Victorian priest Desmond Gannon has been awarded nearly $2 million in damages in a civil case against Melbourne’s archbishop.
The sex abuse survivor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, brought the case against Peter Comensoli, claiming the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne was vicariously liable for his abuse.
The victim said he felt like he was dead after Gannon first assaulted him – that the priest had murdered him and the little boy he used to be was gone forever.
He later contemplated suicide and abused alcohol as a way to numb his pain.
Gannon assaulted the victim on three occasions between 1968 and 1970 while the child was an altar boy and a pupil at a Catholic primary school in regional Victoria.
The former priest was sentenced for those crimes in 2009.
On one occasion, Gannon drove the boy…
Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who was sentenced in March to four and a half years in prison for sexually abusing two seminarians in Argentina, has requested through his lawyer that the sentence be served under house arrest in a local monastery, due to the prelate’s health problems.
Zanchetta’s lawyer, Darío Palmier, is seeking the change so the bishop emeritus of Orán doesn’t have to remain in Prison Unit 3.
Zanchetta was first taken to St. Vincent de Paul Hospital for hypertension. After treating him he was returned to jail; but he later was sent to a private clinic, according to Salta Radio Ciudad Online.
“He’s hospitalized, we’re treating him. Recently he had to make an in- person visit to the doctor for hypertension symptoms, he has a serious case of kidney disease. It‘s a disease related to his venous system, it was diagnosed in Rome,” the lawyer told Salta 12, as…
Eric Dejaeger was released from prison in May to serve the rest of his sentence in the community
The statutory release of a defrocked priest who sexually abused children in Igloolik, Nunavut, received a sharp response from the federal minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
On Thursday, Minister Marc Miller told reporters he believes people like Eric Dejaeger “should rot in jail.”
Dejaeger, now 75, was convicted in 2015 of 32 counts of sexually abusing people in Igloolik, many of them children.
He was granted release in mid-May to serve the rest of his sentence in the community under several conditions. Statutory release is offered to most prisoners after they have completed two-thirds of their time, but the Parole Board of Canada can deny release if it believes the offender is likely to commit crimes including sexual abuse of children.
“In a democracy such as ours, it’s actually a good thing that people like me don’t…
A former priest and top aide to Santiago’s archbishop was found guilty on Wednesday of repeated sexual abuse and rape, the result of 2018 scandal that ensnared multiple high-ranking members of the Chilean Catholic Church.
The prosecutor’s office said on Twitter that it had secured the conviction of former priest Oscar Munoz, “for crimes of repeated rape, sexual abuse and repeated sexual abuse of those who were minor victims.”
Munoz’s case was one of the most high-profile in a wave of sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church after Pope Francis visited Chile in 2018. The scandal led to the departure of the archbishop of Santiago and other priests accused of carrying out or covering up abuses against minors.
Chilean authorities also launched a wide-ranging investigation and raided multiple bishoprics. Munoz was one of the first priests to be imprisoned from the scandal.
Munoz turned himself into ecclesiastical authorities…
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has been ordered to pay $1.9 million in damages to a former altar boy who was sexually abused by Victorian priest Desmond Gannon.
The victim brought the case against Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli, claiming the city’s Catholic Archdiocese was negligent and vicariously liable for the abuse, which occurred between 1968 and 1970.
Gannon assaulted the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on three occasions when he was a student at a Catholic primary school in regional Victoria.
The Supreme Court of Victoria heard that on one occasion in 1968, Gannon drove the victim along a country road to a clearing before sexually abusing and raping him. The victim said he was terrified at the time that Gannon would kill him.
A further case of abuse occurred when the victim was in church preparing to serve as an altar boy. The court heard that…
More than 20 years since the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team exposed the scope of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and institutional cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said abuse survivors are still teaching the church “how to be moral.”
“None of this could be done without your strength,” Garabedian said during a June 4 conference in Quincy, sponsored by several nonprofits that advocate for abuse survivors and accountability in the church.
Titled “Pivot to the Future: Marking 20 Years of Confronting Clergy Sex Abuse,” the conference attracted dozens of survivors, their loved ones, advocates and others who gathered in person and via Zoom to listen to keynote talks, presentations and panel discussions that reflected on two decades of scandals and what the future may hold for the crisis and potential reforms.
David Clohessy, the former longtime director of the Survivors Network of those Abused…
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (and the accompanying Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons) in June 2002. This is one of a series of articles by the Catholic Review to mark the 20th anniversary of the Charter and its impact on safe environments within the church.
Reports from the archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection and the Independent Review Board indicate that the archdiocese continues its efforts to educate about safe environments for young people and to screen clergy, employees and volunteers to determine suitability for ministry.
This is the fifth year for which such reports have been issued. The reports cover the reporting year from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.
Archbishop William E. Lori initiated the reports in 2019, with summaries from fiscal years…
A former janitor at a Catholic church in Maywood who is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleging she was forced to quit in 2019 after an associate pastor groped her in the rectory and tried to coerce her into his bed, describes the incident in detail in new court papers.
The Long Beach woman worked as a custodian at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the grounds of which include a school and a rectory that housed the living areas and offices of Pastor Dario Miranda and Associate Pastor Primitivo Gonzalez, the suit filed in December of 2020 states.
On the morning of July 30, 2019, the plaintiff says she was directed to clean the parish rectory, including Gonzalez’s private living space. She was normally assigned to maintain only the school and church, but the employee who normally maintained the rectory was absent that day, the suit says.
Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention knew about clergy sex abuse cases — lots of them — and they consciously chose to take no action. For years.
This chilling reality now has been documented by the independent investigatory report of Guidepost Solutions, released two weeks ago.
In nauseating detail, the report revealed longstanding patterns of secrecy and grotesquery in the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse. It also exposed lies, cruelty, “mafia-esque intimidation” tactics, and ethical abdications that went beyond the bounds of human decency.
As many of Baptist News Global readers will know, I’ve been shouting for years about these horrific patterns. But lest any imagine that I take joy in this vindication, let me be clear: I do not.
The vindication goes hand in hand with grief because I am aware of the unfathomable human cost of what it has taken to bring this truth to light. Countless lives have been decimated.
Editor’s Note: This week we revisit a post from August 2021 about two women who worked for the Church and bravely decided to expose information about sexual abusers in their dioceses.
As the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has unfolded, some people employed by the Church have made the choice to publicize previously secret information about sexual abuse and cover-up in their local dioceses.
When Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced in April 2021 the start of a statewide investigation of sexual abuse by religious leaders in the Catholic Church and other faith traditions, he not only invited victim-survivors to make anonymous reports through a dedicated website and phone line, but he also took the unusual step of encouraging people with inside information about their church’s response to abuse to make anonymous reports as well.
“Any little bit of information is helpful and helps us understand and…
Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is serving a sentence of four years and six months in prison for sexually abusing two seminarians, left prison to be hospitalized in a private clinic, reportedly due to high blood pressure.
In mid-April, the former bishop of Oran, in the northern Argentine province Salta, had requested house arrest due to alleged health problems. The court has yet to rule on this request.
However, on Friday, he was hospitalized in a private clinic, at the order of his personal doctor.
Zanchetta’s new lawyer, Dario Palmier, said that the prelate has hypertension and has a “very delicate kidney disease. It is a disease related to his venous system. He got the diagnosis in Rome.”
“The truth is that he could collapse at any moment,” he told local newspaper Salta/12.
The lawyer also said that more than a month ago, Zanchetta’s defense team requested that the bishop emeritus…
A Catholic diocese in Germany said Tuesday that a former priest has been convicted in a church trial of sexually abusing a minor over several years almost three decades ago.
The man, who wasn’t identified, was ordered to pay 10% of his income to a charitable organization that helps victims of abuse, the diocese of Limburg said.
While financial payouts have been included in confidential settlements between the church and victims of abuse, the announcement of a financial penalty against a priest as a result of a canonical investigation is unusual.
The male victim had filed a complaint about the abuse in 2018 following the publication of a study into sexual abuse within the church.
German prosecutors declined to open an investigation because the alleged crimes had passed the 20-year statute of limitations, but church authorities launched a probe.
The crimes were committed between 1986 and 1993 in the Limburg…
A defrocked Oblate priest who was convicted of dozens of horrendous sexual crimes against Inuit children has been granted parole.
Eric Dejaeger, 75, was sentenced to 19 years for crimes committed between 1978 and 1982 in the Nunavut community of Igloolik, where he was a missionary. The offences included indecent assault, unlawful confinement, buggery, unlawful sexual intercourse and bestiality.
He pleaded guilty to eight counts and was convicted of another 24 on children mostly between the ages of eight and 12. The details were so appalling the judge’s sentencing came with a content warning.
“You were in a position of great trust in relation to the victims, which you used to groom and silence them,” said the decision from the Parole Board of Canada.
“You also used physical violence and caused serious physical injuries to some of the victims. The victims suffered devastating and ongoing emotional and psychological harm.”
The former pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue in East Memphis faces allegations he molested several boys in the nineties.
“Well, in 2019, some guys came forward making some allegations against a former pastor. And it was really concerning to us. And so we communicated with the church about these allegations, and we worked with those guys, extended counseling to them,” said Pastor Matt Miller, the current pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church.
A Shelby County judge initially ruled that the statute of limitations applied and struck down the lawsuit. A higher court has now ruled the statute of limitations does not apply since, according to court documents, the church worked to hide the crimes.
“I wasn’t here when those allegations were made before,” said Miller. “I only know what happened three years ago when we started to care for those guys, and we really sought to be transparent in…
Appellate court found the church synod covered up records and did nothing to stop the abuse
A Tennessee appellate court is allowing three men allegedly raped as children by a Presbyterian pastor in Memphis more than two decades ago to sue the church and its governing body for allegedly covering up the crimes with a “whitewash” investigation kept hidden for years.
In an opinion made public Friday, the Tennessee Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit the men filed against Woodland Presbyterian Church and its two ruling authorities, the Presbyterian of the Mid-South Inc. and the Synod of Living Waters Presbyterian Church, in 2020.
The men, now in their 30s, were among several boys alleged to have been raped by then-Woodland pastor James B. “Jim” Stanford during “sleepovers” at his church-owned home in the 1990s, according to court records. They sought help from the…
One week before Southern Baptists gather to respond to a damning independent investigation of sexual abuse problems, the lead story on the denomination’s news site is about “controversy” created by Guidepost Solutions tweeting support for Pride month.
Guidepost is the firm hired to conduct the investigation into the SBC Executive Committee mandated by messengers to last year’s SBC annual meeting. It is not a faith-based organization but is a for-profit corporation with specific expertise in large-scale corporate reviews.
Nevertheless, some anti-gay Southern Baptists expressed alarm over a single tweet from the Guidepost corporate account at the beginning of June, which is known nationally as Gay Pride Month.
On June 6 Guidepost tweeted its commitment “to strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion” as an organization that welcomes employees to “bring their authentic selves to work.” It called the company “an ally to our LGBTQ+ community.” The tweet was accompanied by the image of a…
Bruxy Cavey, who was forced to resign from one of Canada’s largest churches earlier this year, has been arrested and charged with sexual assault. A court appearance is scheduled for June 27. Police say more people may have been victimized and encourage them to come forward.
Cavey, 57, had been a pastor at The Meeting House Church in Toronto for 25 years. In late 2021, after learning of sexual misconduct allegations against him, the church placed him on leave and conducted an independent investigation.
The Meeting House, which has hired a victim advocate, is holding a community gathering tonight. The event is for worship and prayer, a “brief Q&A,” and talk of “charting our next steps together.”
Bruxy Cavey Had Apologized for an ‘Extramarital Affair’
In March 2022, Meeting House leaders shared the results of a third-party investigation. It revealed an “extended” sexual relationship between Pastor Bruxy…