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.

November 18, 2022

Message from Archbishop Lori on motion to release Attorney General Report

BALTIMORE (MD)
Archdiocese of Baltimore MD

November 17, 2022

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Dear Friends in Christ,

As you may be aware, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General filed a motion in court today seeking permission to publicly release a report on his office’s four-year investigation of the Archdiocese’s handling of child sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 1940’s. The information contained in the motion will no doubt be a source of renewed pain for many, most especially those harmed by representatives of the Church, for the lay faithful of our Archdiocese, as well as for many good priests, deacons and religious. Ever-aware of the pain endured by survivors of child sexual abuse, I once again offer my sincere apologies to the victim-survivors who were harmed by a minister of the Church and who were harmed by those who failed to protect them, who failed to respond to them with care and compassion and who failed to hold abusers accountable for…

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Md. AG files motion to unveil documents detailing Archdiocese of Baltimore clergy abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJLA-TV (ABC) [Arlington VA]

November 18, 2022

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[Click here to see the AG’s motion to disclose investigation findings to the public.]

The Maryland Attorney General filed a motion in court Thursday to have documents and interviews from a four-year investigation into clergy abuse released to the public.

The office’s 456-page report found more than 600 victims of sexual abuse. The abusers were identified as 158 priests and employees of the Catholic Church within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“There’s a lot more I could say, but I can’t say it yet,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said.

The materials he wants to make public were presented to a grand jury during the course of the investigation. The documents and interviews with clergy, abuse survivors, and witnesses of sexual abuse detail decades of inadequate investigations by the Archdiocese, suppression, and cover-up.

“In many cases the abusers are not able to be prosecuted,” Frosh…

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Report names 158 Catholic priests accused of abuse after investigation into Archdiocese of Baltimore

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Daily Record [Baltimore MD]

November 17, 2022

By Madeleine O'Neill

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A 456-page report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office identifies 158 Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse, including 43 that were never publicly named by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as part of a four-year investigation into the history of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

The investigation also identified more than 600 victims of sexual abuse, according to a new court filing.

The report itself, along with the names of the priests, is not yet public. The Attorney General’s Office disclosed some details in a court filing Thursday as it requested permission to release information that the Archdiocese provided in response to a grand jury subpoena.

Grand jury records are secret under Maryland law but can be released with a judge’s permission. The Attorney General’s Office filed a 35-page motion in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Thursday. It was not immediately clear whether the Archdiocese will object to…

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November 17, 2022

Archbishop Lori apologizes again; responds to Maryland attorney general’s motion on clergy sexual abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic Review - Archdiocese of Baltimore [Baltimore MD]

November 17, 2022

By Christopher Gunty

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Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh filed a motion Nov. 17 to allow release of the office’s report of its investigation of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The investigation began in late 2018. Although the attorney general’s office has a policy of not confirming ongoing investigations, the archdiocese announced at that time that it was cooperating with the AG’s office.

Frosh’s motion filed Nov. 17 with the Circuit Court for Baltimore City said that at the request of his office, the grand jury issued a subpoena in January 2019 to the archdiocese for “all documents from the archdiocese from the last 80 years relating to allegations of sexual abuse and the response by the archdiocese to these allegations.” It noted that the archdiocese produced hundreds of thousands of pages of documents in response to the subpoena, providing them to the attorney general on a rolling basis, with…

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Maryland AG’s investigation of ‘pervasive’ Catholic Church abuse documents 158 priests, more than 600 victims

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Baltimore Banner [Baltimore MD]

November 17, 2022

By Tim Prudente and Liz Bowie

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Years before one priest went to prison for child sex abuse, he confessed his attraction to teenage boys. Church leaders told him not to “worry about it.”

The church paid tuition, salary and living expenses for another priest even after he confessed to abusing boys. And church leaders waited years to tell authorities that yet another priest had been sexually abusing children.

These instances of child sex abuse are documented in court records filed Thursday by the Office of the Maryland Attorney General. Investigators told the courts they uncovered a history of “pervasive” sexual abuse by the priesthood of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as a coverup and “complicit silence” by church leaders.

The attorney general’s office identified 158 priests, most of them already known, within the archdiocese accused of the “sexual abuse” and “physical torture” of more than 600 victims over the past 80 years, according to the…

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Probe of Baltimore Archdiocese finds over 600 clergy sex abuse victims

BALTIMORE (MD)
Washington Post

November 17, 2022

By Michelle Boorstein and Erin Cox

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In court filing, attorney general’s office said there are “almost certainly hundreds more” and that church leaders failed to report many allegations or remove abusers

A nearly four-year investigation of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore tallied more than 600 young victims of clergy sexual abuse over 80 years, a court filing by the Maryland attorney general said Thursday. The probe, the second in the country by a state prosecutor, after Pennsylvania’s, seeks to bring accountability and detail to cases long covered up or shrouded by statutes of limitation.

The filing by Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) comes in the 20th anniversary year of an investigative series by the Boston Globe that dug into the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in the United States. Major reforms and multibillion-dollar legal settlements have reduced the number of accusations over the decades, but advocates in and out of the church say that full…

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After a priest assaulted a woman, the Knoxville diocese tried to discredit her, lawsuit says

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Knoxville News Sentinel [Knoxville TN]

November 14, 2022

By Tyler Whetstone

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The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville worked to discredit and intimidate a woman who said she was sexually assaulted in 2020 by a Gatlinburg priest, according to a new federal lawsuit.

The Rev. Antony Devassey Punnackal, of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, groped her while he counseled her after the father of her infant died, she says in a lawsuit filed last week.

The woman went to the police, and Punnackal was indicted Jan. 4 by a Sevier County grand jury on two counts of sexual battery.

The diocese then hired an investigator who worked to obstruct the investigation by intimidating the woman, the lawsuit says.

The woman, who is Honduran and is seeking asylum in the United States, says the investigator illegally acquired her employment records, seeking to discredit and intimidate her and potentially jeopardizing her pending asylum case.

A spokesperson for the diocese declined to comment or answer a list…

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Sexual violence in the Church: the tremendous anger

PARIS (FRANCE)
La Croix International [France]

November 11, 2022

By Isabelle de Gaulmyn

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There’s a doubly twisted system at the highest level of the hierarchy, where the perverse behavior of certain bishops is met by the impotence of peers who have conflicting loyalties

Desolation? Sadness? No, anger – tremendous anger! That’s been the reaction of many Catholics after Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort revealed this past week that no fewer than eleven French bishops currently stand accused of sexual abuse by the civil or ecclesiastical authorities.

Among them is Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the retired archbishop of Bordeaux, who also served six years as president of the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) – that is to say, someone who was nothing less than the top leader of the Church.

What else can there be but anger after such a revelation? How can one still believe that the Church will pull through, that it has the means to reform itself, when it is so deeply damaged? For…

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From left, Judy Lorenz, David Lorenz, Teresa Lancaster, David O'Kane and Kimberley O'Kane at a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Baltimore with members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/TNS) Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/TNS

Abuse survivors rally in Baltimore to demand action by newly elected US Catholic bishops president

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

November 16, 2022

By Jonathan M. Pitts

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[Photo above: From left, Judy Lorenz, David Lorenz, Teresa Lancaster, David O’Kane and Kimberley O’Kane at a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Baltimore with members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/TNS)Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/TNS]

After the more than 270 members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops elected their new president in Baltimore, some observers of the nation’s most powerful Catholic body hailed the choice of Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio as a healthy compromise between the conservative and progressive factions that have emerged into public view in recent years.

Others were less sure about the longtime archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA — and they gathered Wednesday outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, the site of the bishops’ annual conference, to make their voices heard.

With icy winds gusting in from the Inner Harbor, representatives of the Survivors…

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Past pupil alleges sexual abuse by priest in Castleknock College

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

November 16, 2022

By Jack Power

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Canonical inquiry to take place into priest who later served in a church overseas until at least 2020

As an 11-year-old child from a less well off family, Tom Maher (59), says he had felt “privileged” to attend Castleknock College, a fee-paying boarding school in Dublin, during the 1970s.

Given a chance his parents never had – his father left school aged 12 – even as a young boy he had a sense the prestigious school was a means to “escape” poverty.

Born in Abbeyleix, Co Laois, he recalls the day his parents dropped him off at the west Dublin school run by the Vincentian order, and the priest he met that first day. Nearly 50 years on it is not a face he has forgotten.

Maher alleges the priest, who taught at the school, would later go on to sexually abuse him on two separate occasions.

Speaking to…

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Another French bishop admits to committing sex abuse

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
La Croix International [France]

November 17, 2022

By Christophe Henning

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Retired Archbishop Jean-Pierre Gallet OFM of Strasbourg confesses to inappropriate behavior with an adult woman in the late 1980s before being named to the episcopacy

A second Catholic bishop in France in the course of several days has come forward to publicly admit having committed sexual abuse.

“In the late 1980s when I was a Franciscan friar I made inappropriate gestures toward a young woman of legal age, behavior that I deeply regret,” said retired Archbishop Jean-Pierre Grallet in a brief statement dated November 15. “By this public statement, I wish to contribute to the process of truth and assume my responsibility,” said the 81-year-old Grallet, who served as archbishop of Strasbourg from 2007-2017.

The French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) made the statement public on Wednesday.

 Request for forgiveness

Archbishop Grallet told La Croix he did not wish to give further details on the events, which date back to a time…

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Victims call Italy Church’s abuse report ‘shamefully’ limited

(ITALY)
Reuters [London, England]

November 17, 2022

By Philip Pullella

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 Italy’s Catholic Church on Thursday released its first report on alleged sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable individuals but victims’ advocates said the number of cases was likely much higher and denounced its limited scope as shameful.

The 41-page report, the first of two, covers only 2020-21. A second, promised report will cover abuse going back to 2000, although it is not clear when that will be released.

Victims have called for a thorough outside investigation going back many decades, such as those in France and Germany.

The report on 2020-21, which covers cases reported during those years but not necessarily taking place in that time, was done by a Catholic university in northern Italy. It said 89 people presumably had been abused by 68 alleged abusers, including priests as well as lay people such as church workers and religion teachers.

The data stemmed from “listening centres” in dioceses and is…

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Italy church releases abuse accounting, but only for 2 years

(ITALY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

November 17, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Italy’s Catholic bishops on Thursday provided their first-ever accounting of clergy sexual abuse, but Italy’s main survivor advocate said it was “shamefully” inadequate given it only covered reports to church authorities over the last two years and omitted documentary research into church archives.

The report, which found 89 presumed victims and some 68 people accused, was never meant to provide an accurate or historic look at the clergy abuse problem in Italy. The country’s bishops never authorized such research despite demands from survivors for a full accounting, which some other Catholic Churches in Europe have published.

Instead, the Italian bishops limited the scope of their report to evaluate the work of “listening centers” that were set up in dioceses since 2019 to receive complaints from victims. Organizers said during a news conference Thursday that the report provided a “first photograph” of the problem and the bishops planned to release annual…

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When it comes to institutional sexual abuse, what about the nuns?

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

November 16, 2022

By Brian Titley

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Research in the US concludes that sexual predator nuns constituted a problem in at least three settings, including Catholic schools

The present scandal with respect to sexual abuse in schools under the Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers invites a question that is rarely posed and never answered with satisfaction. What about the nuns who, at least until the mid-1960s, were far more numerous than priests or religious brothers in schools and wider society and were responsible for an array of institutions giving them authority over young people? Were they too involved in crimes against children? In Ireland or elsewhere?

My research into this question in the United States concludes that sexual predator nuns were indeed a problem in at least three institutional settings: boarding schools for Native Americans, orphanages and Catholic schools. This, coupled with what we know in relation to the Magdalene laundries, suggests that the problem of child abuse in…

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Insurers in Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy put on notice by Rochester abuse settlement plan

ROCHESTER (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

November 16, 2022

By Jay Tokasz

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The Rochester Diocese’s novel strategy to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy by paying childhood sex abuse survivors $55 million and allowing them to sue the diocese’s insurers for additional damages may provide a template for other bankrupt dioceses in New York, including Buffalo, according to legal experts.

Across the United States, insurance contributions have been a backbone of most diocese bankruptcy settlement plans over the past decade, with insurance companies paying hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid litigation in sex abuse cases.

But in Rochester, the diocese earlier this month worked out a settlement plan with sex abuse claimants that does not involve a contribution from insurance companies. Instead, the diocese will convey its coverage rights to a settlement trust on behalf of 475 sex abuse claimants, along with $55 million in diocese and parish funds. In exchange, the diocese and its parishes and schools will no…

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November 16, 2022

New allegations in Agape lawsuits include sexual abuse, ‘pandemic’ of suicide attempts

STOCKTON (MO)
Kansas City Star [Kansas City MO]

November 15, 2022

By Judy L. Thomas and Laura Bauer

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New court filings reveal some of the most brutal allegations of abuse at Agape Boarding School so far, including one former student’s account that two staffers sexually assaulted him.

Those details were outlined in motions filed Monday in 19 civil lawsuits requesting that the Cedar County judge overseeing those cases allow attorneys to seek punitive damages. The new allegations cover a period from 2007 to 2021 with many — including the sexual assault claim — from the past three years.

Changes to Missouri law in 2020 require attorneys to file an amended petition if they are seeking punitive damages on behalf of their clients. The law also allows the filing of an amended petition if new information arises that was overlooked or unknown at the time the case started.

In a separate case, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office filed an injunction in September to close the school, saying…

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Another law firm accuses churches of making low-ball compensation offers to alleged abuse survivors

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

November 15, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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Churches are adopting aggressive approaches towards survivors in cases where alleged paedophile priests and clergy have died

Another major law firm has accused churches of using a recent ruling to attempt to low-ball abuse survivors seeking compensation in cases where alleged paedophile priests have died.

On Tuesday, Guardian Australia revealed the Catholic church was adopting an aggressive new approach towards survivors in cases where alleged paedophile priests and clergy have died.

Lawyers from three firms said the church had been emboldened by a decision in June which permanently halted a case involving a now-deceased Lismore priest, Clarence Anderson, on the grounds that his death meant the church could no longer defend itself properly.

That victory has led the church to take a more aggressive stance during negotiations with survivors, threatening to seek stay applications in such cases unless “paltry” amounts are accepted, lawyers say.

Now, a fourth firm, Slater and Gordon,…

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So. Baptist Youth Pastor Kept Ministering for 6 Years After Reports of Alleged Abuse

COLUMBIA (SC)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

November 14, 2022

By Sarah Einselen

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In 2014, people began reporting alleged sexual abuse by then-Southern Baptist youth pastor, Michael D’Attoma, to police and churches, documents obtained by The Roys Report (TRR) show.

Yet for six years, D’Attoma continued to minister in multiple churches. And his abuse became public only this year, when multiple former students in D’Attoma’s youth ministry filed lawsuits, accusing D’Attoma of sexually abusing them.

According to a 2014 police report, a woman alleged D’Attoma had exchanged photos and videos of him and a student “taking their clothes off.” The report adds that D’Attoma “admitted everything” in counseling with his pastor in South Carolina.

D’Attoma then left his church in South Carolina and was hired by First Baptist Church in Grove City, Ohio. Before hiring D’Attoma, FBC Grove City was told of D’Attoma’s alleged inappropriate texts with a teen, an email obtained by TRR indicates.

Even after more details came out, like the fact the alleged victim…

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Gospel for Asia Founder KP Yohannan Back in NRB’s Good Graces After Alleged Fraud and $37 Million Settlement

WILLS POINT (TX)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

November 15, 2022

By Sarah Einselen

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After paying millions to donors who alleged Gospel for Asia defrauded them, the organization has apparently rejoined the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). And its founder, K.P. Yohannan, is listed as a panelist for the upcoming NRB Convention in 2023.

Yohannan founded GFA World, formerly Gospel for Asia, in 1979, and served on the NRB board from 2013-2015. But GFA was kicked out of the NRB at the end of 2015 over financial accountability issues related to alleged misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars in donor funds.

A GFA spokesperson told The Christian Post at the time the organization’s NRB membership was terminated because GFA had lost its accreditation with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

In 2019, the organization settled a class-action lawsuit over alleged misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. GFA paid $37 million to…

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Police probing sexual assault allegation against prominent ultra-conservative rabbi

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Times of Israel [Jerusalem, Israel]

November 11, 2022

By TOI staff

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‘He used his power and image to carry out the abuse,’ Nehama Te’ena says in television interview several months after first publicly accusing Zvi Tau of abuse

Police have launched an investigation into a sexual assault complaint filed against a prominent ultra-conservative rabbi, as one of his accusers detailed the allegations in a television interview aired Thursday.

The revelation of the probe, which was reported widely by Hebrew media, came after several senior national religious figures called to investigate the allegations against Rabbi Zvi Tau, 85, who heads the influential Har Hamor yeshiva in Jerusalem and is the spiritual leader of the far-right Noam political faction.

Nehama Te’ena, a resident of the Jewish settlement in Hebron, first came forward publicly with allegations against Tau in August, when she wrote a Facebook post saying that 30 years ago, when she was 8, Tau committed “ongoing” sexual assaults against her.

At the time,…

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Police launch investigation of Rabbi Zvi Tau after second woman accuses him of rape

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Times of Israel [Jerusalem, Israel]

November 13, 2022

By TOI staff

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Identified only as ‘Dorit,’ latest alleged victim describes being assaulted by far-right spiritual leader 40 years ago, when she was a new immigrant and ‘all alone’ in Israel

A special investigative team has been established to probe sexual abuse allegations against Rabbi Zvi Tau, the Israel Police said Sunday.

Multiple women have accused Tau of sexual abuse and rape dating back decades, with two going public so far.

One woman, Nechama Te’ena, went public in August, but her allegations were largely ignored at the time by the police and the media. In recent weeks, she has staged small protests outside the Knesset, accusing Tau of raping her and others and demanding to know why the Israel Police have refused to investigate.

Tau, 85, is the head of the influential Har Hamor Yeshiva in Jerusalem as well as the spiritual leader of the anti-LGBT Noam political party, which won a single…

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Second woman to testify about alleged rape by Rabbi Zvi Tau

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Times of Israel [Jerusalem, Israel]

November 15, 2022

By TOI staff

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Assault claim against far-right spiritual leader, dating back 40 years, falls outside statute of limitations, but prosecutors want statement to shed light on first accuser’s claims

Israel Police will take a statement from a second woman who claims that Rabbi Zvi Tau raped her decades ago, seeking to bolster allegations against the politically connected religious leader.

The second woman, who has been named in media only as Dorit, is expected to speak with investigators on Tuesday. Though the alleged incident happened too long ago to prosecute, her testimony may help support that of another woman who also accuses Tau of sexual assault.

Multiple women have accused Tau of sexual abuse and rape dating back decades, with two going public so far.

Tau, 85, is the head of the influential Har Hamor Yeshiva in Jerusalem, as well as the spiritual leader of the anti-LGBT Noam political party, which won a single…

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Religious Zionist Rabbi accused of harassment

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Times of Israel [Jerusalem, Israel]

November 10, 2022

By Israel National News

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A prominent rabbi has been accused of harassing women several years ago. Police are investigating.

The police are investigating a complaint that was filed recently against Rabbi Zvi Tau over alleged harassment of a woman which happened many years ago, Channel 12 News reported Thursday.

Rabbi Tau is a Religious Zionist rabbi and co-founder and president of Yeshivat Har Hamor in Jerusalem.

According to the report, the investigation is being carried out under the auspices of the prosecutor’s office and, due to the time that has passed since the incident to which the statute of limitations applies, it is difficult to confirm the credibility of the complainant.

Kan 11 News reported that the investigation is being conducted by the Judea and Samaria District of the Israel Police. Rabbi Tau has not yet been summoned for questioning, and the police are considering how to proceed with the investigation.

Rabbi David Stav, the rabbi of…

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November 15, 2022

French Catholic leaders mired in sexual abuse scandals dig themselves deeper

PARIS (FRANCE)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

November 15, 2022

By Tom Heneghan

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French Catholic leaders initially played down clerical abuse, but the issue has now gone far beyond the ‘few bad apples’ stage.

Like any modern Catholic official, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of France’s Catholic bishops’ conference, realizes clergy sexual abuse is a systemic problem, one that calls for serious reform of the church’s uncertain rules and ingrained secrecy.

But recent revelations of sexual misconduct by a cardinal and a bishop on Moulins-Beaufort’s watch show how complicated, time-consuming and personal stamping out abuse can be. 

These new cases, which come a year after a report that estimated that France had seen 330,000 ordained and lay abusers since 1950, have tangled Moulins-Beaufort in a web, caught between falling public confidence in the bishops’ ability to solve the problem — which only increases the pressure to act — and a pope who firmly condemns clerical sexual abuse but offers only vague guidance when…

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$10-million settlement reached with Roman Catholic Church in N.S. sexual abuse case

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

November 15, 2022

By Michael MacDonald

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A Nova Scotia court has approved a $10-million settlement to conclude a class-action lawsuit that alleged Roman Catholic clergy with the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth had sexually abused children for decades.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Christa Brothers approved the settlement Monday, four years after the lawsuit was filed.

The allegations date back to 1954. Most of the survivors are now seniors.

“While the class-action suit is a constant reminder of the damage and great hurt that has been inflicted on individuals by members of the clergy, it is necessary to provide an opportunity for justice and healing for all victims,” Most Rev. Brian J. Dunn, the archbishop of the diocese, said in a statement released Monday.

“It is a hard thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.”

The statement said the archdiocese has “zero tolerance for sexual abuse of any kind — past, present or future.”

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Peruvian journo who investigated scandal-ridden lay group meets pope

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

November 12, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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Paola Ugaz, a prominent Peruvian journalist known for her investigations of a contested Catholic lay group and who has faced several legal complaints over her reporting, met Pope Francis Thursday, describing the encounter as a victory for survivors.

Speaking to Crux, Ugaz called her meeting with the pope “a big message to the survivors of the Sodalicio, who continue without a response, justice, reparation.”

The “Sodalicio” refers to the Sodalitium Christinae Vitae (SCV), founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari in the 1970s.

Figari is accused of physical, psychological, and sexual abuses within the community, including against minors. He was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2017 and prohibited from having further contact with members of the group, and he is currently living in exile.

According to Ugaz, meeting the pope “was a very powerful message that one of the investigators could arrive to the highest level of the Catholic…

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Maryland attorney general’s investigation of child sexual abuse in Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore nears completion

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun [Baltimore MD]

November 14, 2022

By Lee O. Sanderlin and Jonathan M. Pitts

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The Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s four-year investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s history of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests is almost finished.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Brian Frosh told The Baltimore Sun the investigation is “nearing completion,” but declined to share details. A criminal investigator for the office, former FBI agent Richard Wolf, has contacted many abuse survivors in recent weeks to tell them the report is close to done.

In 2018, the office issued a grand jury subpoena to the archdiocese for records, and Archbishop William E. Lori told clergy the state was investigating. Ultimately, the archdiocese turned over more than 100,000 pages of documents to Wolf and Special Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Embry.

The attorney general’s report, when finalized, is expected to detail child sexual abuse going back more than 80 years.

It’s unclear whether the investigation will…

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Four new claims of sexual abuse by Catholic Church emerge after documentary

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
IrishCentral [New York NY]

November 15, 2022

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“Doc on One” sees more survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the Spiritan Order come forward.

Four people have come forward to the police over abuse allegations since an RTE documentary aired about the Spiritan Order’s abuse of two brothers at Blackrock College in Dublin. 

The new complaints had been received by the Sexual Crime Management Unit at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, the central point for all abuse allegations against religious orders.

The Irish police released a statement saying that the four news survivors are being fully supported and each of the individual’s cases are being assessed. They added that they are “acutely aware of the profound and enduring impact that sexual, physical and emotional abuse has on victims and they have again urged people to contact the Sexual Crime Management Unit or their local Garda Station,” RTE reports.

They added, “They say all…

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The Church’s implosion: it’s gonna get worse before it gets better

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

November 12, 2022

By Robert Mickens

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The sex abuse scandal involving bishops in France is just the latest episode in a serial horror show that has actually only just begun. What must Catholics do to not lose faith?

The phenomenon of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, like a dreaded disease that becomes the proverbial “gift that keeps on giving”, has now intensified in France with the recent revelations that a cardinal and nine or ten other bishops are currently under investigation by state or Church authorities for abuse or its cover-up.

Understandably, French Catholics are shocked and extremely angry. They had only just begun to deal with the devastating report that their country’s Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) issued last year, which showed that some 330,000 youngsters were sexually assaulted by upwards of 3,000 French priests and vowed religious between 1950-2020, most of these cases having been carefully kept quiet and hidden…

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French cardinal admits to abusing teen girl 35 years ago

MARSEILLE (FRANCE)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

November 7, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, former head of the French bishops’ conference, admitted to abusing a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago.

The revelation came in a letter from Ricard read by Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the bishops’ conference, during a news conference on abuse Nov. 7, during the French bishops’ general assembly.

The cardinal said the “reprehensible” action occurred when he was a priest, and he said his behavior “has necessarily caused serious and lasting consequences for this person.”

He said he asked the woman for forgiveness and asked for forgiveness from her family. He also said he was going on retreat to pray.

“This is a difficult process. But what comes first is the suffering experienced by the victims and the recognition of the acts committed,” he said.

“Finally, I ask forgiveness to those whom I have hurt and who will live this news as a…

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The abuse crisis should be the center of the pope’s ongoing synodal process

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

November 15, 2022

By Massimo Faggioli and Fr. Hans Zollner

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As American Jesuit historian Fr. John O’Malley wrote in one of his last articles published in America magazine last February, the history of synodality is older than you think. There are different phases in the history of the synodal institution and way to govern the church: from the very early church to the medieval times to early modern Catholicism. The current phase is part of what Vatican II had in mind for church reform: a mix of aggiornamento (or updating in light of new issues) and of ressourcement (taking a fresh look at the ancient sources of the Christian tradition).

At the same time, the current synodal process initiated by Pope Francis’ pontificate cannot be understood outside of the epoch-changing abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, one of the “signs of the times” the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II talks about: “the Church has always had…

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Regarding Not Guilty Verdict for Father Robert Cedolia

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Diocese of Pittsburgh [Pittsburgh PA]

November 14, 2022

By Bishop David Zubik

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The not guilty verdict reached in criminal court for Father Robert Cedolia represents the conclusion of a nearly four-year period since an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was filed against him. Father Cedolia was in active ministry for 41 years. He has maintained his innocence throughout these proceedings. The civil court ruling is consistent with the finding of the diocesan Independent Review Board, which found no merit in the claim. May our words, our deeds, and our prayers, always reflect the healing love of Jesus.

-Bishop David Zubik

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Plum priest acquitted in 1998 sex abuse charges

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

November 14, 2022

By Laura Reed Ward

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A Plum priest accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy in 1998 was found not guilty of all the charges against him on Monday.

A jury deliberated for less than four hours before reaching its verdict in the case against the Rev. Robert Cedolia, 71.

Cedolia was found not guilty of aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old, indecent assault of a person less than 13 and corruption of minors.

His trial, before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos, began Nov. 7.

“It’s good to see justice done,” defense attorney Christopher Capozzi said. “In fact, the man is innocent. They rejected (the accuser’s) assertions.”

That man, who was 31 when Cedolia was charged in 2021, told county detectives the abuse occurred during practice before his first Holy Communion in spring 1998 at Our Lady of Joy in Plum.

The accuser said,…

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Jury finds Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese priest accused of child sex abuse not guilty

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WPXI.com [Pittsburgh PA]

November 14, 2022

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A Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese priest who was accused in a child sex abuse case dating back to the 1990s was found not guilty by a jury.

Father Robert Cedolia was found not guilty on all five charges.

He was accused of sexual abuse of an 8-year-old boy while he was the pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Plum in 1998.

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese said it put Cedolia on paid administrative leave four years ago, when the allegations surfaced.

Bishop David Zubik said its review board found no wrongdoing by Cedolia.

“I think the important part is that American citizens trust the scales of justice of our judicial system,” Zubik said. “And we’re grateful that Father Cedolia received this outcome.”

Zubik said first, the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese has to brief the Holy See in Rome. After consulting the Holy See, Cedolia’s facilities would be restored, and it would be up to him if he…

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November 14, 2022

Opinion: The Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal continues

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Washington Post

November 13, 2022

By The Editorial Board

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On his plane back to Rome from a Middle East trip recently, Pope Francis acknowledged that the Vatican faces pushback in its efforts to overhaul the Catholic Church’s habits of denial, secrecy and coverup surrounding clerical sexual abuse. “There are people within the church who still do not see clearly,” he said, adding that “not everyone has courage.”

The pontiff’s delicate phrasing, and his timing, underscored the compounding damage the scandal has inflicted on the church’s moral authority and prestige. Days after Pope Francis shared those thoughts with journalists, new revelations of high-level sexual misconduct and coverup in France shattered illusions of progress by the church toward establishing a culture of transparency and accountability in its hierarchy.

That problem was crystallized in the admission by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, who was the archbishop of Bordeaux for 18 years before he retired in 2019, that he had behaved “in a…

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The Church’s implosion: it’s gonna get worse before it gets better

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

November 12, 2022

By Robert Mickens

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The sex abuse scandal involving bishops in France is just the latest episode in a serial horror show that has actually only just begun. What must Catholics do to not lose faith?

The phenomenon of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, like a dreaded disease that becomes the proverbial “gift that keeps on giving”, has now intensified in France with the recent revelations that a cardinal and nine or ten other bishops are currently under investigation by state or Church authorities for abuse or its cover-up.

Understandably, French Catholics are shocked and extremely angry. They had only just begun to deal with the devastating report that their country’s Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) issued last year, which showed that some 330,000 youngsters were sexually assaulted by upwards of 3,000 French priests and vowed religious between 1950-2020, most of these cases having been carefully kept quiet and hidden…

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US bishops to elect new leaders, mark abuse reform milestone

BALTIMORE (MD)
Associated Press [New York NY]

November 13, 2022

By Peter Smith, Holly Meyer and David Crary

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U.S. Catholic bishops began their fall meeting Monday, with an agenda that includes the election of new leaders — a vote that may signal whether they want to be more closely aligned with Pope Francis ′ agenda or not.

Several of the 10 candidates to be the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are part of its powerful conservative wing, and have not fully embraced some of the pope’s priorities, such as focusing more on the marginalized than on culture-war battles.

The USCCB also will be marking the 20th anniversary of its adoption of policies designed to root out sexual abuse and abusers in the priesthood — measures adopted amid the white-hot scandals of 2002 when The Boston Globe exposed widespread abuse and cover-up.

Outside groups are calling on the bishops to use the anniversary to renew efforts to help survivors heal from abuse, increase lay…

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Priest found not guilty of molesting 8-year-old boy at Plum church in 1998

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE - Action News 4 [Pittsburgh PA]

November 14, 2022

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A Catholic priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese accused of molesting an 8-year-old boy at a Plum church in 1998 has been found not guilty.

Court records show jurors returned the not guilty verdict of aggravated indecent assault in the case against Father Robert Cedolia Monday.

Cedolia was placed on administrative leave in 2019 after the allegation was made against him through the Reconciliation and Compensation Program for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

In a statement released Friday, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said that the verdict “represents the conclusion of a nearly four-year period” since the allegation was filed. The statement also said that the “civil court ruling is consistent with the finding of the diocesan Independent Review Board, which found no merit in the claim.”

In 2019, he was priest-administrator of the parishes of Saint Clare in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas A Becket in Jefferson Hills…

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Catholic church pressuring alleged victims of dead paedophile priests to accept ‘paltry’ payouts, lawyers say

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

November 14, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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Exclusive: Advocates say it is disappointing church is spending funds trying to block compensation bids ‘rather than redirecting money to deserving survivors’

The Catholic church has adopted an increasingly aggressive approach to alleged victims of now-dead paedophile priests, using recent rulings to pressure survivors to accept “paltry amounts” or risk having their claims permanently blocked, lawyers say.

In June, the New South Wales courts permanently stayed a civil claim brought by a survivor, known as GLJ, who alleged horrific abuse at the hands of Father Clarence Anderson in Lismore in 1968 when she was 14.

The court ruled there could not be a fair trial because Anderson was dead, leaving the church unable to properly respond to the survivor’s allegations.

The case was stayed despite documentary evidence that high-ranking church officials knew Anderson was abusing boys at least four years before GLJ’s alleged assault, but did not remove…

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Sexual abuse survivors launch national day to encourage others to speak up

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

November 15, 2022

By Lucy MacDonald

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For 20 years, Richard Jabara lived with the memory of his abuse — then he read an article that would change his life. 

Key points:

  • The In Good Faith Foundation has partnered with LOUD Fence to establish a day to acknowledge and support survivors of sexual abuse
  • Abuse survivor Richard Jabara says sharing his story was difficult, but things have changed for the better 
  • Another survivor Tiffany Skeggs says she hopes the national day sparks conversations and leads to more change

It was the 1970s and Mr Jabara was just 13 years old.

His family had moved to Australia from the United States. Originally settling in Queensland, they eventually made the journey south to Melbourne.

In Melbourne, Mr Jabara was groomed and raped by a Catholic priest. 

That same year he was sexually assaulted at Xavier College — a prestigious Catholic school that has since had to reckon with its past.

For two decades he lived…

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He abused dozens of Indigenous children in Ontario. But did Jesuit priest’s painful legacy begin in Montreal?

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

November 14, 2022

By Leah Hendry

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2 students at Montreal’s Loyola High School say they were targeted by Fr. George Epoch

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

As a Jesuit priest in Ontario, George Epoch sexually abused dozens of children in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

But Epoch’s abuse allegedly dates back even earlier, to the 1950s, when he taught at Loyola High School, a private Catholic school in Montreal.

Two students who were part of Epoch’s 1957-58 preparatory class told CBC News the priest inappropriately touched them. 

Alfred Martijn describes that year as a miserable one, filled with fear and unease. In those days, it was mandatory for the prep students to be boarders, so it was difficult to elude Epoch.

“When you are confronted with something that’s totally foreign to your upbringing, it’s more than a shock,” said Martijn, who was 13 at the time of the alleged abuse.

“You don’t know how to…

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Catholic Primate speaks of ‘crying need for atonement’ over child abuse

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

November 13, 2022

By Patsy McGarry

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Mary McAleese accuses Church of ‘systemic protection of perpetrators rather than child victims’

There is “a crying need for atonement, inner healing and hope in the aftermath of the abuse scandals”, Catholic Primate Eamon Martin has said.

He sometimes wondered, he said, “why it is that, when we were studying theology here [in Maynooth] in the 1980s, we didn’t anticipate what was about to happen in the Church – perhaps we should have; was it because, in our studying and reading of theology and philosophy, we didn’t engage enough in open discussion and dialogue, or really grapple with the big questions of the day for the Church and its mission?”

He was speaking at the weekend in St Patrick’s College Maynooth to the graduate class of 2022 in theology and philosophy in his role as Chancellor, in the wake of new allegations in recent days of child sexual abuse by…

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Vatican to probe ‘reprehensible’ French cardinal in abuse case

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Manila Times [Manila, Philippines]

November 13, 2022

By Agence France-Presse

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The Vatican said on Friday it was launching a preliminary investigation into French cardi-nal Jean-Pierre Ricard after he admitted to a “reprehensible” act on a 14-year-old.

France’s Catholic Church on Monday revealed that 11 former or serving French bishops have been ac-cused of sexual violence or failing to report abuse cases. This included Ricard, who confessed to as-saulting a girl decades ago.

“In order to properly examine what happened, it has been decided to open a preliminary inquiry,” spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists in the Vatican’s first public reaction to the scandal.

The Vatican has still to appoint a lead investigator. It was looking for a suitable person “with the neces-sary autonomy, impartiality and experience,” Bruni said.

French prosecutors said on Tuesday they had launched an inquiry into Ricard, a longtime bishop of Bordeaux who was made a cardinal by former pope Benedict 16th in 2006.

“Thirty-five years ago, when…

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November 13, 2022

Editorial: The Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal continues

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Washington Post

November 13, 2022

Read original article

On his plane back to Rome from a Middle East trip recently, Pope Francis acknowledged that the Vatican faces pushback in its efforts to overhaul the Catholic Church’s habits of denial, secrecy and coverup surrounding clerical sexual abuse. “There are people within the church who still do not see clearly,” he said, adding that “not everyone has courage.”

The pontiff’s delicate phrasing, and his timing, underscored the compounding damage the scandal has inflicted on the church’s moral authority and prestige. Days after Pope Francis shared those thoughts with journalists, new revelations of high-level sexual misconduct and cover-up in France shattered illusions of progress by the church toward establishing a culture of transparency and accountability in its hierarchy.

That problem was crystallized in the admission by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, who was the archbishop of Bordeaux for 18 years before he retired in 2019, that he had behaved “in a…

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Horrors of Irish priests’ sexual abuse continue to be uncovered

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
IrishCentral [New York NY]

November 13, 2022

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The Jesuit congregation of Ireland has received 149 allegations of abuse against 43 Jesuit priests, while the Spiritan religious order has received more than 230 allegations of abuse.

Religious orders in Ireland continue to be flooded with allegations of historic abuse in schools throughout the country.

The Jesuit congregation of Ireland has received 149 allegations of abuse against 43 Jesuit priests, paying out €7.4 million in compensation to the 78 people it has reached a settlement with. 

A spokeswoman for the congregation told the Irish Times that she expects further allegations to be made against Jesuit members in the coming months, especially after the introduction of a redress scheme in January 2022. 

The scheme was introduced following the disclosure of abuses by Fr. Joseph Marmion at Belvedere College in Dublin and applies to any adults who were abused by Fr. Marmion as boys at three different Jesuit colleges in Ireland.

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Blackrock College abuse revelations ‘shocking and sickening’, Taoiseach says

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

November 12, 2022

By Ralph Riegel

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TAOISEACH Micheal Martin has described the abuse revelations at Blackrock College as “sickening” and he said he wanted to see those guilty of targeting children pursued by the Gardai and prosecuted.

However, Mr Martin said he did not believe the State should step in to compensate the victims of abuse in private schools – insisting that was a matter for the religious orders involved in the individual schools.

The Taoiseach – speaking in Cork this morning – said he believed the matter should now be the focus of the criminal justice system rather than a protracted new public inquiry.

Mr Martin spoke out following a week of horrific revelations of abuse at one of the most elite schools in the country, run by the Spiritan religious order.

It emerged that 57 men had come forward with complaints they had been abused on the grounds of Blackrock College. School principal Alan MacGinty…

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Why do clergy provide character references in sex offender cases?

BELFAST (UNITED KINGDOM)
Slugger O'Toole [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

November 13, 2022

By Declan McSweeney

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The recent publicity regarding the controversial sermon by Father Seán Sheehy in St Mary’s Church, Listowel, has reminded the public of the previous controversy 13 years ago, when he provided a reference for local bouncer Danny Foley after he was convicted of sexual assault.

The evidence given on that occasion, which included CCTV footage, led to a unanimous verdict from a jury of 10 men and two women, resulting in the conviction for the assault on the 22-year-old woman.

Judge Donagh McDonagh said no reasonable person could believe the young woman could consent in the state she was in. He spoke of Foley’s ‘web of lies’ before sentencing him to seven years, with two suspended.

The victim in the case felt suicidal due to the reaction of sections of the people of Listowel, but appreciated the support shown by her parish priest, which she contrasted with Father Sheehy, then PP of…

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Former Coquitlam parish priest accused of sexual abuse

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

November 12, 2022

By Patrick Penner

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[Different version of article posted in Abuse Tracker several days ago.]

Father Georges Chevrier, parish priest from 1971 to 1977, is now dead

A woman who alleges she was sexually groomed and abused as a child in the mid 1970s while attending Our Lady of Fatima Church in Coquitlam is suing a number of Catholic Church entities.

Identified in her notice of civil claim as L.V., the plaintiff is claiming damages in a B.C. Supreme Court civil suit filed against the estate of the deceased Father Georges Chevrier.

The archdiocese of Vancouver and several other institutions associated with Chevrier’s work history are also named as defendants.

L.V.’s lawsuit asserts that she had the inherent right to live out her childhood and youth “unaffected by the unhealthy, unsafe, and immoral interference and public nuisance of predatorial and systematic sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.”

Chevrier was the parish priest at the…

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SSPX Priest Charged with Child Sex Crimes

ST. CLOUD (MN)
Church Militant [Ferndale MI]

November 7, 2022

By Christine Niles

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Fr. Matthew Stafki accused of abusing 9-year-old girl

A traditionalist priest is facing criminal charges for sexually abusing a young girl.

Father Matthew Stafki, a member of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), is accused of molesting his 9-year-old niece. The abuse allegedly began in 2019 and lasted three years, until May of this year. 

According to the complaint, Stafki would visit the victim’s home in Princeton and “would sometimes stay overnight.” During his visits, he would touch the victim’s breasts and genitals, kissing both areas.

“On one occasion, he told her to just enjoy the feeling of it,” the complaint states. She remained silent about the abuse because the priest, her uncle, “told her more than once not to tell anyone.”

The victim said one time Stafki had her “sit on top of him, facing him, and he would rub his genitals against hers.”…

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Press Release Concerning Former SSPX Priest

ST. CLOUD (MN)
Society of Saint Pius X [SSPX] - United States of America District [Platte City MO]

November 10, 2022

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The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), U.S. District, is grieved to confirm that one of its (now) former priestly members, Fr. Matthew Stafki, has been accused in a criminal court of grave crimes against chastity regarding a minor.

The SSPX alerted both civil and canonical authorities immediately after it was made aware of the allegations and has fully collaborated with all relevant authorities. Fr. Stafki was out of active ministry on sabbatical when the SSPX learned of the allegations.

As soon as the accusations were deemed credible, he was completely restricted from any ministry. He is no longer a member of the Society. The SSPX will not comment further while the canonical and civil processes take their course. 

The SSPX asks for prayers for all involved and is committed to helping victims and seeking justice for anyone who has been accused. For anyone affected by sexual misconduct, we encourage…

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Four people report abuse by Spiritan Order following documentary

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
RTÉ - Raidió Teilifís Éireann [Dublin, Ireland]

November 12, 2022

By Paul Reynolds

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Gardaí say four people have come forward this week and made complaints of abuse following the RTÉ programme last Monday on the Spiritan Order.

These are in addition to previous complaints received by the Gardaí in respect of abuse allegations relating to Spiritan schools and the Spiritan Order which are currently under investigation.

The new complaints have been received by the Sexual Crime Management Unit at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, the central point for all abuse allegations against religious orders.

Gardaí say the four survivors will be fully supported and further engagement will take place to assess their individual cases.

In a statement to RTÉ this evening Gardaí also say they are acutely aware of the profound and enduring impact that sexual, physical and emotional abuse has on victims and they have again urged people to contact the Sexual Crime Management Unit or their local Garda Station.

They…

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‘They roamed freely at night. We were easy prey,’ says Willow Park abuse survivor

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

November 11, 2022

By Patsy McGarry and Ronan McGreevy

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Call for watchdog to oversee complaints in relation to schools in wake of documentary about sexual abuse by Spiritans

All these years later “Brian” (a pseudonym) cannot bring himself to discuss what was done to him by Fr Aloysius Flood and Fr Senan Corry at Willow Park School on Dublin’s Blackrock College campus in the 1970s.

Speaking to The Irish Times, he recalled how “my life changed when I was woken up one night and seriously sexually assaulted by Flood. I was a pious, innocent 11-year-old asleep in my bed, boarding at Willow Park. I had no idea what was going on.”

The Spiritan congregation, formerly the Holy Ghost Fathers, have disclosed that 233 men have made allegations of abuse against 77 Irish Spiritans in ministries throughout Ireland and overseas. Of that number, 57 men have alleged they were abused on the campus of Blackrock College in Dublin.

Fr Flood…

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November 12, 2022

Suspended Indianapolis priest gets home detention in teen sex abuse case

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
WRTV-TV, ABC-6 [Indianapolis IN]

November 10, 2022

By Vic Ryckaert

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In a letter, the victim described how David Marcotte abused his priest collar to persuade him to undress over video chats

A judge on Wednesday sentenced suspended Indianapolis priest David Marcotte to a year on home detention under a plea agreement that ends his trial on allegations he sexually abused a teenage boy six years ago.

During a hearing in Hamilton Superior Court, Judge Jonathan M. Brown addressed the teary-eyed parents of the victim as he accepted a plea agreement they both begged him to reject.

“Your son deserves some closure so he can put this behind him,” Brown said, addressing the young man’s mother and father sitting in the gallery of his court room. “The last thing your son wants is for him to be found not guilty then walk.”

The victim, now 20, lives in another state and is attending college. In a letter to…

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Vatican confirms it is opening abuse investigation of French cardinal

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

November 11, 2022

By Cindy Wooden

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The Vatican has decided to open an investigation into French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the retired archbishop of Bordeaux, who admitted in a public letter that he had abused a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago.

“As a result of the elements that have emerged in the last few days and the statement made by the cardinal, in order to complete the examination of what happened, it has been decided to initiate an ‘investigatio praevia,’” or preliminary investigation, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said Nov. 11.

Bruni would not say if the decision was made by Pope Francis, although because the case involves a cardinal who is a member of Vatican dicasteries and who, at 78, is still eligible to participate in a conclave, people familiar with the workings of the Vatican assume the pope had to agree.

The person “best suited” to conduct the investigation “with the necessary…

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Former Vatican Auditors Sue Vatican for Damages

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

November 10, 2022

By Edward Pentin

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Libero Milone and his former deputy Ferruccio Panicco are seeking to clear their name, five years after they say they were wrongfully dismissed.

The Vatican’s first-ever auditor general and his former deputy are suing the Vatican after lengthy efforts to have the Vatican clear their name fell on deaf ears, following what they claim were unlawful dismissals. 

Libero Milone, a former chairman and CEO of Deloitte Italy, a multinational auditing and consultancy firm, and Ferruccio Panicco, an ex-chief auditor for the Italian manufacturer Indesit, are suing the Vatican for nearly $10 million in order to “obtain proper reparations from suffered damages” after they were forced to resign in 2017.

In their claim, which was submitted to the Vatican Tribunal on Nov. 4, the two auditors accuse the Vatican of framing them and forcing them out of their positions when they began uncovering financial malpractice in the Roman Curia months after…

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Vatican auditors sue Secretariat of State, allege widespread financial corruption

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

November 10, 2022

By The Pillar

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Former Vatican auditors say they have evidence of widespread financial corruption – and a new lawsuit will surface it.

Two former Vatican officials say their newly filed lawsuit will prove widespread financial corruption among both Vatican cardinals and the leadership of the Vatican’s national police force.

The former Vatican staffers say they were appointed by Pope Francis to get Vatican finances in order, and were fired when they discovered corruption, and saw Cardinal Angelo Becciu falsely accuse them of spying.

Libero Milone, the first person to hold the position of Vatican auditor general, filed suit Nov. 4 against the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, claiming he was unjustly fired and unfairly threatened with criminal prosecution, because of discoveries he made while doing his job.

The Vatican’s ousted auditor was forced from his post in 2017 under threat of prosecution for spying and misappropriation of funds, although there were three years left…

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Vatican auditor sues over ouster as new dirty laundry aired

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

November 10, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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The Vatican’s first auditor general and his deputy have sued the Holy See for 9.3 million euros ($9.5 million) for wrongful dismissal, as a new litigious chapter opens in Pope Francis’ troubled financial reform effort.

In a lawsuit made public Thursday, Libero Milone and his deputy, Ferruccio Panicco, alleged that Vatican gendarmes essentially extorted them by forcing them to resign in 2017 or risk arrest and prosecution for their work investigating and auditing the Holy See’s murky finances.

In the lawsuit filed with the Vatican tribunal, the auditors said they uncovered astonishing financial malpractice in the “viper’s nest” of the Vatican and believe they were forced out because certain cardinals and monsignors “felt threatened by the investigations and simple requests for clarification.”

The Vatican spokesman’s office declined to comment Thursday.

The Milone scandal is just one of many that have marked Francis’ 10-year effort to impose international financial budgeting and…

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Ex-Vatican auditor, threatening to reveal all, sues church, alleging damage to his reputation

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

November 10, 2022

By Claire Giangravé

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Former Vatican financial auditor Libero Milone filed charges on Nov. 4 against the Vatican Secretariat of State, demanding the Catholic Church pay for damages to his reputation that he alleges followed his unceremonious firing in 2017.

At a meeting on Nov. 8 arranged by his lawyer, Milone told reporters that Cardinal Angelo Becciu, once the third-highest-ranking official at the Vatican, was “the mastermind of the so-called operation eject-Milone.”

Milone was hired in 2015 by Pope Francis to look into the notoriously convoluted and troubled finances of Vatican departments as part of continuing financial reforms begun by Pope Benedict XVI. Only two years later, the Vatican announced that Milone had resigned in the face of accusations of embezzlement and of spying.

As Milone was ushered out, Becciu told reporters that the auditor “went against all rules and was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, myself included.” Milone…

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Vatican hit with $9.25 million claim by ousted auditor and deputy

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

November 10, 2022

By Philip Pullella

Read original article

The Vatican’s first auditor general and his deputy, who were appointed in 2015 and fired two years later, are suing the Holy See for 9.3 million euros ($9.25 million) in damages, alleging they were sacked after discovering financial irregularities.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Thursday he had no comment on the lawsuit, which was filed last week with the Vatican prosecutor’s office by lawyers for Libero Milone and Ferruccio Panicco.

Milone, 74, a former chairman and CEO of Deloitte in Italy, was appointed by Pope Francis in 2015 as part of an effort to clean up Vatican finances and raise accounting procedures to international standards of accountability and transparency.

He was told to resign in 2017 by Cardinal Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who was then the number two in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, its most important department.

Becciu told Reuters in 2017…

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A Vatican Auditor Says He Dug Up Too Much Dirt, and Was Buried

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
New York Times

November 10, 2022

By Jason Horowitz

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Libero Milone is suing the Vatican for wrongful dismissal after he said he found cardinals siphoning off funds. The Vatican has hit him with a criminal investigation of its own.

On June 19, 2017, the Vatican gendarmes entered the offices of the church’s chief auditor. They confiscated his phone and iPad, threw his papers on the floor and ordered the fire brigade to smash open a locked metal filing cabinet, from which they extracted a document that they said proved he was abusing resources to spy on top Vatican cardinals.

“Now you have to confess,” they demanded, according to the auditor, Libero Milone. Faced, he said, with being thrown in a Vatican jail, Mr. Milone signed resignation papers.

In the ensuing five years, the Vatican has done much to clean up its financial act. Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, one of the prelates whom Mr. Milone was accused of spying on,…

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Judge rules Indian cardinal must appear in court

(INDIA)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

November 9, 2022

By Luke Coppen

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An Indian cardinal facing seven criminal charges must appear in court despite his age, health, and Church position, a judge ruled Wednesday.

A judge in the Indian state of Kerala ruled Wednesday that Cardinal George Alencherry, facing seven criminal charges, must attend a court hearing related to alleged irregularities in the sale of Church property.

Kerala High Court Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. dismissed a petition on Nov. 9 from the leader of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church to be exempted from appearing in person at a magistrates’ court in Ernakulam.

Indian media reported that the 77-year-old cardinal had asked not to appear in person due to his age, health issues, and Church duties.

“Irrespective of his position, he is just an accused before the court of law, who is not entitled to claim any special privilege and is required to face the proceedings just like any other citizen,” the court said,…

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Indian court asks cardinal to appear for criminal trial

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

November 10, 2022

By UCA News Reporter

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Cardinal George Alencherry has cases pending against him for the sale of Church land in Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

A top court in the southern Indian state of Kerala has dismissed an appeal by Cardinal George Alencherry seeking exemption from appearing in a district court in cases related to his alleged involvement in the sale of Church lands.

The Nov. 9 decision of the Kerala High Court effectively means the head of Eastern rite Syro-Malabar Church will have to personally appear in a court in Ernakulam district in connection with the criminal cases pending against him.

Cardinal Alencherry had pleaded that the presence of his legal counsel be treated as his presence in court as he is “a senior citizen aged 77 years and the head of the Syro-Malabar Church” with duties like “performing religious ceremonies, rituals, including the ordination of bishops, priests, the consecration of churches” among other things.

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German bishop calls current Catholic teaching on sexuality ‘too simple’

AACHEN (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

November 10, 2022

By Catholic News Service contributor

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Bishop Helmut Dieser of Aachen wants the Catholic Church to take a new perspective on sexuality.

“Same-sex feelings and love are not an aberration, but a variant of human sexuality,” he said in an interview with Deutsche Welle Nov. 8. His remarks were reported by the German Catholic news agency, KNA.

Homosexuals have a right to church support and blessing, said the bishop, who is also the spokesman on abuse issues for the German bishops’ conference. He said the current state of church teaching does not do justice to certain realities when it comes to sexuality: “The thinking is too simple.”

KNA reported the bishop said the church can no longer signal to homosexual people that their feelings are unnatural and that they have to be celibate.

“Homosexuality is — as science shows — not a glitch, not an illness, not an expression of any kind of deficit, and by the way it’s not…

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Peruvian journo who investigated scandal-ridden lay group meets pope

ROME (ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

November 12, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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Paola Ugaz, a prominent Peruvian journalist known for her investigations of a contested Catholic lay group and who has faced several legal complaints over her reporting, met Pope Francis Thursday, describing the encounter as a victory for survivors.

Speaking to Crux, Ugaz called her meeting with the pope “a big message to the survivors of the Sodalicio, who continue without a response, justice, reparation.”

The “Sodalicio” refers to the Sodalitium Christinae Vitae (SCV), founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari in the 1970s.

Figari is accused of physical, psychological, and sexual abuses within the community, including against minors. He was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2017 and prohibited from having further contact with members of the group, and he is currently living in exile.

According to Ugaz, meeting the pope “was a very powerful message that one of the investigators could arrive to the highest level of the Catholic Church, because the survivors…

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Archdiocese of Indianapolis Priest Plea Deal is a Miscarriage of Justice; SNAP responds

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

November 10, 2022

By Michael McDonnell

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David Marcotte, an Indianapolis Catholic priest who was suspended in February 2019 amid allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor, agreed to plead guilty to one charge filed against him in March 2022. Marcotte, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors, a level 6 felony, according to the Hamilton Superior Court plea agreement.

As reported by WRTV News, a judge sentenced suspended Indianapolis priest David Marcotte to a year in home detention on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, as part of a plea agreement that concludes his trial on allegations of sexual abuse of a teenage boy six years ago. Judge Jonathan M. Brown addressed the victim’s distraught parents during a hearing in Hamilton Superior Court as he accepted a plea agreement, which they both implored him to reject.

We first want to applaud and acknowledge the…

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Church groups in Brazil fight human trafficking

(BRAZIL)
Crux [Denver CO]

November 10, 2022

By Eduardo Campos Lima

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Brazil’s Amazon region is seeing a rising tide of human trafficking, and the Church has been trying to raise awareness among vulnerable communities, but activists say it’s a battle of David against Goliath.

“There is a great connection between deforestation and human trafficking in the Amazon. The people employed in illegal logging and mining are most of the times suffering labor exploitation,” said Graziella Rocha, Project Coordinator at the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Women, Children and Youth (ASBRAD), a non-governmental organization that combats human trafficking.

Often, the organizations involved in the destruction of the rainforest also promote the sexual exploitation of young girls and boys trafficked from other regions, including from indigenous villages.

“There has been a terrible regression in the State system to deal with human trafficking over the past few years. In fact, public policies have been all dismantled – and that is certainly contributing to…

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Apologists Say Former RZIM Leaders are ‘Disqualified’ For Unrepentant Abuse and Deceit

ATLANTA (GA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

November 10, 2022

By Julie Roys

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Several leading Christian apologists have released a statement, declaring that three former top executives of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)—Sarah (Davis) Phillips, Michael Ramsden, and Abdu Murray—are “disqualified” from ministry because of unrepentant abuse and deceit.

The apologists—William Lane Craig, Sean McDowell, Mike Licona, Debbie Licona, and Paul Copan—said they invested about 1,000 hours investigating “serious injustices and abuses” by Phillips, Ramsden, and Murray against former RZIM employees.

After interviewing 25 people, studying “copious amounts of supporting documentation,” and consulting with experts, the apologists concluded that “abuse and deception” was part of the “organizational culture” at RZIM. The apologists list 18 examples of RZIM’s toxic culture, many stemming from leaders’ attempts to conceal the sex abuse scandal involving the late RZIM founder Ravi Zacharias.

Topping the list is the group’s finding that RZIM’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) of Phillips, Ramsden, and Murray “intimidated, mistreated, or retaliated against” RZIM…

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Niece of Blackrock College priest accused of sexually abusing pupils says she’s ‘ashamed’ as she apologises to his alleged victims

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

November 10, 2022

By Ciara O'Loughlin

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The niece of Fr Aloysius Flood, who has been accused of sexually abusing young boys and girls, has apologised on his behalf.

Michelle Flood said she is “so ashamed” to be related to the Blackrock College priest who passed away in 2013. 

However, the 52-year-old told RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline listeners that she too was one of her uncle’s victims, and she even told her father about the abuse, but he didn’t believe her. 

“I am so ashamed that I am in any way related to Fr Flood and I want to apologise to everyone affected that he abused because they never got, those who did or didn’t get an apology they deserve one,” she said. 

“I thought I would bring his name to the grave, I never thought his name would come out.

“The church has protected his name for far too long and even when he died, his funeral was…

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November 11, 2022

Vatican opens preliminary abuse probe into French cardinal

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

November 11, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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The Vatican said Friday it has decided to launch a preliminary sex abuse investigation into a prominent French cardinal after he admitted to having behaved in a “reprehensible way” with a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said a search was under way to find a lead investigator with the “necessary autonomy, impartiality and experience.”

Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the retired archbishop of Bordeaux and a former president of the French bishops’ conference, confessed to the abuse in a letter last week while French bishops were meeting at their annual assembly in Lourdes. The revelation further sparked outrage within the French Catholic Church, which has been reeling over revelations of decades of abuse and cover-ups detailed in a groundbreaking report last year.

Marseille prosecutors announced this week they had opened an investigation into Ricard for alleged “aggravated sexual assault” but that “no complaint” had yet been filed against the…

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Chilean court upholds acquittal of bishop accused of covering up teen’s disappearance

PUNTA ARENAS (CHILE)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

November 10, 2022

By Dorcas Funmi

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[Via TDPel Media]

The Supreme Court of Justice of Chile recently upheld the acquittal of Bishop Emeritus Bernardo Bastres Florence of the Diocese of Punta Arenas.

The prelate was prosecuted in October, accused of covering up the alleged kidnapping of Ricardo Harex González, who disappeared in 2001 at the age of 17.

Along with Bishop Bastres, two priests and four members of the police force were investigated, and all were ordered to be held in preventive detention.

Harex, who would now be 38, disappeared the night of Oct. 19, 2001, in Punta Arenas when he was returning from a birthday party.

At that time, several witnesses claimed to have seen at the scene Salesian priest Rimsky Rojas Andrade, who was the principal of the San José high school where the young man was studying, and whom the local press described as someone who regularly picked up drunk students at…

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Coquitlam parish priest accused of sexual abuse

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Penticton Herald [Penticton, British Columbia, Canada]

November 10, 2022

By Patrick Penner

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[From Canadian Press]

A disabled woman alleged she was groomed and sexually abused as a pre-teen in the mid 1970s while attending Our Lady of Fatima Church in Coquitlam.

Identified in her notice of civil claim as L.V. – the plaintiff is claiming damages in a B.C. Supreme Court civil suit filed against the estate of the now-deceased Father Georges Chevrier.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver and several other institutions associated with Chevrier’s work history are also named as defendants in the suit.

L.V.’s claim asserts that “As an infant member of the public,” she had the inherent right to live out her childhood and youth unaffected by the unhealthy, unsafe, and immoral interference and public nuisance of predatorial and systematic sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.”

Chevrier was the parish priest at the Coquitlam church from 1971 to 1977. He died in 2003.

L.V. claims that between 1973…

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Spiritan priests left trail of abuse in Ireland, Kenya and Sierra Leone

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

November 11, 2022

By Patsy McGarry

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In Kenya, one priest said: `I can’t hear your confession. We would have to stop what we do, and I cannot do that’

The late Spiritan priest Fr Patrick Hannan faced abuse allegations from his time while teaching at St Teresa’s secondary school for boys in Nairobi, Kenya. The Limerick native was a brother of the late Fr Gerard Hannan, who was an abuser at Blackrock College in Dublin.

On Tuesday’s Liveline programme “Stephen” (61) spoke of his abuse by Fr Aloysius Flood, Fr Senan Corry and Fr Gerard Hannan at Willow Park and Blackrock College in Dublin in the 1970s. A spokesman for the Spiritans told The Irish Times they had “no dispute with Stephen’s account on Liveline.”

Where Fr Patrick Hannan is concerned, Alex de Figueiredo, a retired teacher living in Vancouver, told The Irish Times in 2012 that he had been a day pupil at the Spiritan/Holy…

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Advocate for abuse survivors booted off group negotiating Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy settlement

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

November 7, 2022

By Jay Tokasz

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An outspoken critic of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese’s handling of childhood sex abuse cases has been removed without explanation from the committee of unsecured creditors that represents abuse survivors in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

Kevin Brun, who confronted diocese leaders in bankruptcy court about pension payments for priests who were credibly accused of abuse and other issues, was dismissed amid the committee’s ongoing mediated settlement negotiations with the diocese and its insurers, parishes and schools.

Brun sued the diocese in 2019, alleging a priest molested him in a Washington, D.C., hotel room when he was 16. He was named to the creditors committee in 2020 with six other people who have childhood sex abuse claims against the diocese.

The committee is responsible for examining the diocese’s assets, liabilities, operations and claims made against it and acting as fiduciary for all abuse survivors in negotiating a settlement.

“The trustee has…

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Attorneys call on archdiocese to place Clements on accused list

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN-TV [Chicago IL]

November 10, 2022

By Andy Koval

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Attorneys for a survivor of alleged sexual abuse are calling on the Archdiocese of Chicago to add Father George Clements’ name to the list of credibly accused clergy.

The victim claims he was abused by Clements while he served as a priest at Holy Angels Church in the 1970s.

Clements denied the allegations before stepping down and died in 2019. However, in April — the archdiocese reached a settlement with the accuser as well as four others for around $800,000.

Lawyers said that is not enough. They want the archdiocese to place Clements’ name on its list of credibly accused clergy.

“It takes an enormous amount of courage for any victims to follow through with a claim and present their case and to stand up to the evil of clergy sexual abuse,” attorney Mitchell Garabedian said.

There is no admission of wrongdoing on behalf of the archdiocese, according to the…

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Lawyers to archdiocese: add Fr. George Clements to list of priests accused of sex abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

November 10, 2022

By Andy Grimm

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The Chicago archdiocese this year paid $800,000 to settle decades-old claims against the longtime Bronzeville pastor and activist, as well as four other priests.

The Archdiocese of Chicago last month doubled the length of a list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse, but lawyers for a man who received a six-figure payout from the church last year say the list is missing the name of Fr. George Clements.

Clements, a civil rights activist who led the congregation of Holy Angels Church in Bronzeville for more than two decades, stepped down from the ministry at the request of Archbishop Blase Cupich in 2019, after he was accused of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s. Clements, who denied the allegations, died a few months later at age 87.

The archdiocese in February paid out an $800,000 settlement to a man who accused Clements and four…

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French church hit with fresh scandal after priest accused of rape

RENNES (FRANCE)
Crux [Denver CO]

November 11, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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Rome – French Catholics are reeling after a series of recent abuse revelations, including a top prelate’s confession of misconduct, with the latest involving a priest who is accused of drugging and raping a teenager earlier this month.

In a Nov. 10 statement, Archbishop Pierre d’Ornellas of Rennes said he learned with “sadness and pain” that a priest in his archdiocese, Father Yannick Poligné of the Parish of Saint-Louis-Marie in Brocéliande, has been indicted for “aggravated rape of a minor and drug abuse.”

D’Ornellas assured the victim of his “full support” and compassion, saying he understands the “the pain, anger or amazement” that both faithful and clergy of the archdiocese might be experiencing, especially Poligné’s parishioners and those in other places where the priest exercised his ministry.

“Many have trusted him and feel betrayed,” d’Ornellas said, and announced that he will visit the Brocéliande parish this weekend and will be…

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Suspended Indiana priest avoids prison in sex abuse case

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

November 10, 2022

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Noblesville IN – A suspended Indianapolis priest has avoided prison after pleading guilty to a lesser charge in a case alleging that he sexually abused a teenage boy.

A Hamilton County judge sentenced David Marcotte, 35, on Wednesday to one year on home detention followed by 18 months of probation, and suspended his 2 1/2-year prison sentence.

The judge accepted Marcotte’s plea agreement even though the boy’s parents begged him to reject the plea deal, under which the Catholic priest avoids prison and does not have to register as a sex offender, WRTV-TV reported.

Marcotte pleaded guilty last month to one count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors and admitted that he shared lewd images with the boy when he was 14 or 15 about six years ago. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss child solicitation and vicarious sexual gratification charges under his plea agreement.

The victim, now 20,…

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November 10, 2022

Supreme Court Closely Divided in Case on Native American Adoptions

WASHINGTON (DC)
New York Times

November 9, 2022

By Adam Liptak

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In considering the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act, the justices explored congressional power and equal protection principles.

The Supreme Court heard more than three hours of arguments on Wednesday in a sprawling challenge to the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which makes it hard to remove Native American children from their tribes and heritage.

The decision in the four consolidated cases could have profound implications for the status of Native Americans in areas far beyond family law. Judging by the justices’ questioning, there was a fair prospect that the court would strike down at least part of the law.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who has emerged as the court’s leading proponent of tribal rights, indicated strong support for the law, as did the court’s three liberal members. But it was not clear that those four justices would capture the…

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Teacher, priest, others ‘chosen’ through Twitter to join Tokyo orgies with underage girl

YOKOHAMA (JAPAN)
The Mainichi Shimbun [Tokyo, Japan]

November 10, 2022

By Ayano Tanaka

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News on the arrest of a man suspected of mediating child prostitution through orgies went viral after it emerged that participants included a junior high school teacher, a doctor, a Buddhist priest, a self-defense forces member and a certified public accountant. Investigative sources, however, say the suspect likely did not choose the members based on their occupations.

Ryota Takahashi, 31, held orgies consisting of a female high school student he knew and eight or more guests he gathered at a luxury hotel in Tokyo a total of three times from April to June 2020. He had collected 25,000 yen (roughly $170) in cash from each guest as a participation fee. Some of the attendees were reportedly regulars.

Between June and August 2022, 24 people were either arrested or reported to prosecutors by Kanagawa Prefectural Police on suspicion of violating Japan’s law banning child prostitution and pornography for attending the orgies.

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Fr. Zollner: Formation of priests must include women

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

November 10, 2022

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[Via Intermountain News, November 11, 2022 edition]

One of the Church’s leading experts on safeguarding and clerical sexual abuse has said the exclusion of women from seminary formation has had “extremely harmful consequences,” and this “needs to change.”

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner told more than 200 people at a “Stolen Lives” webinar that “the role of women has been to clean up the mess that men have made.” The webinar was organized by the Root & Branch lay reform movement in Britain in conjunction with Survivor Voices and Scottish Laity Network.

Fr. Zollner said he regretted that workshops on safeguarding are attended mostly by women. “It seems that men are not only in the great majority responsible for the big mess and the hurt, but they also run away from facing that reality.”

The priest, director of the Institute of Anthropology Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care at the…

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Claims of abuse at nine Holy Ghost schools as order pays €5m in settlements and support services in last 18 years

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

November 10, 2022

By Conor Feehan and Seoirse Mulgrew

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Siblings tell of harrowing treatment by priests at Dublin school in the 1970s and 80s

The Holy Ghost Order has admitted to paying over €5m in abuse settlement claims and support services.

It also says that complaints of abuse have been received at nine of its schools.

It comes as two former Blackrock College pupils have spoken publicly about the abuse they suffered at the hands of priests in the school during the 1970s and ’80s.

They were abused at various locations on the grounds of the school, including in the swimming pool and library.

The Holy Ghost Order, also know as the Spiritans, has confirmed paying out more than €5m since 2004.

It confirmed to the Irish Independent that allegations have been made by past pupils of nine Spiritan schools.

Eight of the schools at the centre of the allegations are based in Dublin.

They are Blackrock College, its neighbouring Willow Park…

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Clerical abuse was endemic as the church repeatedly hid its shame: Letters to the Editor

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

November 10, 2022

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Just when you think that the era of clerical sex abuse is over, it inevitably returns to haunt the institutional Catholic Church, re-traumatise its many victims and survivors and scandalise people of faith.

The same pattern as previously adopted by church authorities to protect its image has re-emerged in the Spiritan abuse cases (Irish Independent, November 8).

Once again, abusers were moved on to prey on further vulnerable people. However, the exporting of its abusing priest to Africa adds a further depth of depravity.

It was not a one-off, exclusive move adopted solely by the Spiritan order. It was a common strategy used by religious orders to get rid of its troublesome priests.

Brendan Butler

Drumcondra, Dublin

Just what sort of person was too bad for the priesthood?

The context of current abuse revelations in Blackrock College prompts the question: “What sort of applicants for the priesthood were rejected?”

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German prosecutors probe cardinal over affidavit

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

November 9, 2022

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The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, is under investigation for allegedly making a false statement while under oath about his knowledge of sexual abuse.

Prosecutors in the western German city of Cologne have launched an investigation into Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s alleged false affidavit, German media reported on Wednesday. 

Woelki has faced accusations of covering up an alleged sexual abuse case. He had said he had only dealt with the sexual abuse case against a priest since June 2022.  

But a former church employee interviewed by the local paper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger said Woelki had been informed about the abuse in 2015.

The former employee said she had drawn up a list of abusers for Woelki in 2015 but “that didn’t interest the cardinal at all.”

What is the sexual abuse case?

The sexual abuse case concerns a priest in Düsseldorf who died in 2017 with whom Woelki worked with when he was younger as a deacon.

In 2010,…

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Suspended Indianapolis priest gets home detention in teen sex abuse case

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
WRTV-TV, ABC-6 [Indianapolis IN]

November 9, 2022

By Vic Ryckaert

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In a letter, the victim described how David Marcotte abused his priest collar to persuade him to undress over video chats

Noblesville – A judge on Wednesday sentenced suspended Indianapolis priest David Marcotte to a year on home detention under a plea agreement that ends his trial on allegations he sexually abused a teenage boy six years ago.

During a hearing in Hamilton Superior Court, Judge Jonathan M. Brown addressed the teary-eyed parents of the victim as he accepted a plea agreement they both begged him to reject.

“Your son deserves some closure so he can put this behind him,” Brown said, addressing the young man’s mother and father sitting in the gallery of his court room. “The last thing your son wants is for him to be found not guilty then walk.”

The victim, now 20, lives in another state and is attending college. In a letter to the court,…

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Sexual abuse inquiry involving Burton priest says ‘time and time again’ allegations were ignored

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Staffordshire Live [Derby, England, United Kingdom]

November 7, 2022

By Helen Kreft

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An inquiry which looked into the case of paedophile priest from Burton has issued a raft of recommendations, saying that “time and time again” allegations of abuse in the Catholic church were ignored.

The case of Father Samuel Penney who admitted in court 10 offences of abusing children in the 1970s when he was priest at St Mary and St Modwen Church in Guild Street, in the town, was looked into. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which used Penney’s case in its inquiry, described the sexual abuse of children as an “epidemic that leaves tens of thousands of victims in its poisonous wake”. The inquiry has now issued its final; report after an in depth seven-year inquiry look at cases including Penney.

The inquiry concluded by calling for a national compensation scheme for victims to be introduced, along with laws compelling people in positions…

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Men acquitted over toppling statue of Polish priest suspected of child abuse

GDAńSK (POLAND)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

November 8, 2022

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Three men have been cleared of wrongdoing after toppling the statue of a former Polish priest suspected of sexually abusing children.

The activists gained prominence by knocking over the effigy of Henryk Jankowski in February 2019.

Jankowski rose to prominence in the 1980s through his support for the pro-democracy Solidarity movement against Poland’s communist regime. After his death in 2010, evidence mounted that he had allegedly abused boys and girls during his priesthood.

Polish officials initially refused to take down a statue honouring him, before three men chose to act.

Konrad Korzeniowski, Rafal Suszek, and Michal Wojcieszczuk toppled the statue during the night and reported themselves to the police, explaining they had acted for the good of the community. The move was a symbolic moment in the traditionally Catholic country’s reckoning with clerical abuse.

The three men also accused the Polish church of “systemic complicity in the evil done to people by Henryk…

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Brothers detail Irish priests’ sexual abuse at Blackrock College

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
IrishCentral [New York NY]

November 8, 2022

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233 people have made claims against the Spiritans order and over 80 settlements have been paid out.

The Holy Ghost Order, also known as the Spiritans, has admitted to paying out over €5 million in abuse settlement claims and support services since 2004. The news comes after two former Blackrock College, Dublin, students spoke out about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the priests during the 1970s and ’80s.

A newly released Documentary on One from RTE is described as “From the ages of 12 to 17, two brothers, Mark & David Ryan, were both repeatedly sexually abused in Blackrock College in South County Dublin. Their abusers were from the Spiritan community at the school. Several court cases ensued as David and Mark fought.”

As well as David and Mark’s abuse cases, another 233 people have made claims of abuse against the Irish Spiritans throughout Ireland and…

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Ex-Pope to testify at German sex trial

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The West Australian [Perth, Australia]

November 8, 2022

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[From Deutsche Presse Agentur]

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is willing to testify in a sexual abuse trial at a court in southern Germany, a court spokeswoman has confirmed to dpa.

The case targets a suspected paedophilic priest, identified as Peter H under German privacy law; Benedict, who served as the archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982; his successor, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, as well as the archdiocese.

Prosecutors are seeking to establish the culpability of the priest and the other church officials in a historical case of child abuse against the plaintiff, a now 38-year-old man from Bavaria.

A report into the priest released in January details years of abuse by church officials in the archdiocese. Instead of turning the priest over to civilian prosecutors, church officials moved him to other locations, where the cycle began again, according to the report.

The pope emeritus’ decision clears one hurdle…

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November 9, 2022

UN sets November 18 as day to spotlight child sexual abuse

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

November 8, 2022

By Edith M. Lederer

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The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Monday establishing November 18th as a day to spotlight the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

The day also will be used to stress the need for prevention, for perpetrators to be brought to justice, and for victims to be given a voice as part of the long process of healing.

The resolution, which was sponsored by Sierra Leone and Nigeria and co-sponsored by more than 110 countries, was adopted by consensus and a bang of the gavel by the assembly’s acting president, which was greeted with loud applause.

Sierra Leone’s first lady, Fatima Maada Bio, who introduced the resolution, called child sexual abuse a “heinous crime” that especially affects girls who are at greater risk of experiencing forced sex and exploitation.

She said prevention is “an emergency — but doable.”

The resolution proclaims Nov. 18 every year as the World Day for…

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Pastor, wife from Lanka held for sexually assaulting Chennai girl

CHENNAI (INDIA)
DT Next [Chennai, India]

November 8, 2022

By Dt Next Bureau

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The accused Sherod Manohar (58) and his wife Helen (55) hailing from Sri Lanka came to Chennai a few years ago and ran a church in Adambakkam.

A pastor and his wife from Sri Lanka who allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in Adambakkam, Chennai were arrested on Monday.

The accused Sherod Manohar (58) and his wife Helen (55) hailing from Sri Lanka came to Chennai a few years ago and ran a church in Adambakkam. Sources said the pastor used to misbehave with young women and children, who are visiting the church, and his wife, Helen, would also favour him.

However, no one was coming forward to file a complaint against the pastor. A few days ago, the grandmother of the 16-year-old girl filed a complaint at the Madipakkam all-women police station accusing the pastor of sexually assaulting the girl. The police who visited the spot held inquires on…

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Former pastor of Framingham Catholic church, 89, indicted on charge of raping child

FRAMINGHAM (MA)
Boston Globe

November 8, 2022

By Travis Andersen

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A former pastor of a Roman Catholic parish in Framingham was indicted Monday for allegedly raping an altar server more than a decade ago, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office.

Monsignor Francis Strahan, 89, was charged with onecount of rape of a child by force and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. An arraignment date hasn’t been set.

His lawyer, R. Matthew Rickman of Libby Hoopes Brooks & Mulvey, P.C., said in a statement that Strahan denies the allegations.

“He is, simply put, not guilty,” Rickman said. “This is a gross injustice to a man who devoted his life to serving people and his parish.”

The charges were filed in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a male student at Saint Bridget School in Framingham on two occasions when the boy was between 11 and 13, prosecutors said. The alleged…

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Msgr. Strahan indicted on sexual abuse of minor

FRAMINGHAM (MA)
The Pilot - Archdiocese of Boston [Boston MA]

November 8, 2022

By Pilot Staff

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The Archdiocese of Boston released the following statement Nov. 8:

The Archdiocese of Boston has been informed that a Middlesex County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Msgr. Francis V. Strahan regarding an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Msgr. Strahan was placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese in October 2019, when the Archdiocese learned of the allegation, which is reported to have taken place in approximately 2006. At that time, the Archdiocese immediately informed law enforcement and initiated a preliminary canonical investigation into the complaint. The canonical investigation will remain on hold during the pendency of the criminal proceedings.

Msgr. Strahan will remain on administrative leave without any public ministry pending the outcome. His resignation as pastor of St. Bridget , Framingham has been accepted. We pray for a just and fair resolution to these proceedings for all involved.

The Archdiocese of Boston is committed to…

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Cardinal Ricard among 11 French bishops accused of abuse

BORDEAUX (FRANCE)
BBC [London, England]

November 8, 2022

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French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard has been named by the Church as one of 11 serving or former bishops accused of cases linked to abuse.

In a statement, the cardinal said he had abused a 14-year-old girl when he was a parish priest 35 years ago and would now withdraw from his functions.

A year ago, a panel found evidence of thousands of paedophiles operating in the French Catholic Church for decades.

All 11 accused face either prosecution or disciplinary action in the Church.

The latest revelations came during the French bishops’ conference in Lourdes in south-western France.

Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort told reporters the 11 included a former bishop of Créteil, Michel Santier, who retired last year after he was accused of committing sexual abuse two decades earlier. Some are being investigated for sexual abuse while others are accused of failing to report it.

The archbishop read out a letter…

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France: 11 bishops accused of sexual abuse

BORDEAUX (FRANCE)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

November 7, 2022

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Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard was among those who admitted to sexual abuse. The French Catholic Church has been mired in scandals, with a panel last year estimating that 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years.

French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard was among 11 former or current bishops accused of sexual assault, a church body revealed on Monday.

Cardinal Ricard’s statement admitting to abuse was read out at a conference of French bishops’ in Lourdes, a town in southwestern France.

Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the French bishops’ conference, said all those accused would face disciplinary action.

Moulins-Beaufort told reporters that bishops were shocked at the cardinal’s public statement.

Cardinal says he abused a 14-year-old girl

Ricard said in his statement that “thirty-five years ago, when I was a priest, I behaved in a reprehensible way towards a girl of 14.”

“There is no doubt that my behavior caused serious and long-lasting…

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French Cardinal’s Admission Renews Scrutiny of Church Sexual Abuse

BORDEAUX (FRANCE)
New York Times

November 8, 2022

By Aurelien Breeden

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A cardinal’s admission that he had behaved “reprehensibly” with a 14-year-old girl over three decades ago was one of several revelations that threw a gathering of French bishops into turmoil this week, renewing scrutiny of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in France a little over a year after a landmark report on the pervasiveness of the issue.

The admission of wrongdoing this week by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, 78, who retired in 2019 after 18 years as the archbishop of Bordeaux, was one of two recent revelations that have stunned the Catholic community in France.

The other involved Michel Santier, 75, the former bishop of Créteil. He stepped down and was disciplined last year after decades-old accusations of sexual abuse against young adults, but the church authorities had not made his case public until the French news media uncovered it. Last month, Catholics angry about that silence  View Cache

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of German Bishop Found Guilty of Embezzlement

AACHEN (GERMANY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

November 8, 2022

By AC Wimmer

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Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a German bishop who was convicted of embezzling money from a woman suffering from dementia.

A German court found Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Bündgens of Aachen guilty of misappropriating 128,000 euros (about $128,000).

Bündgens was sentenced to nine months suspended jail time and a 5,000-euro fine, CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported.

“It is good for all parties that the pope has made a swift decision,” Bishop Helmut Dieser said in a statement published Tuesday. 

“Personally, I very much regret that the past years have led to this development. “

Bishop Bündgens had initially appealed a July verdict but later withdrew his appeal, CNA Deutsch reported. 

The judgment thus officially became legally binding in October. At that time, the Aachen Diocese announced that the auxiliary bishop would offer his resignation to Pope Francis. 

Bündgens, born in 1956,…

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New Orleans priest facing rape charges also accused of embezzling $400,000

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

November 8, 2022

By Joe Bukuras

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A suspended Archdiocese of New Orleans priest who is facing rape charges could now be facing additional federal charges for financial malfeasance after a court document revealed that he allegedly pocketed almost $400,000 in parishioner donations, The Guardian reported

An ongoing 2021 lawsuit accuses 62-year-old Father John Asare-Dankwah of raping a 10-year-old boy while out of state on a 2008 retreat. Asare-Dankwah, who was the pastor at St. Peter Claver parish in New Orleans for approximately seven years before his January 2021 suspension, has denied the rape accusations. He has since counter-sued for defamation. Asare-Dankwah is from the West African country of Ghana.

The court document was an archdiocesan financial audit showing irregularities in the priest’s spending habits while at St. Peter Claver, The Guardian reported. That audit, completed in August 2021, was unsealed on Nov. 4. 

According to the…

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Elder at San Diego Megachurch Arrested in Alleged Abuse Death of 11-Year-Old Daughter

SAN DIEGO (CA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

November 8, 2022

By Julie Roys

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An ordained elder at a megachurch in San Diego, California, has been arrested on suspicion of abuse and murder in the death of her 11-year-old daughter, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The elder, Leticia McCormack, 49, was arrested Monday and faces murder and torture charges stemming from the August 30th death of her daughter, Arabella McCormack, officials said. Also arrested and suspected in the girl’s death is McCormack’s father, Stanley Tom, 75, and his 70-year-old wife, Adella Tom, the sheriff’s department said.

Arabella had 6- and 7-year-old sisters, who are currently living with a foster family, officials said.

In addition to the murder charge, McCormack faces three counts of willful cruelty to a child and three counts of torture, as do her parents.

McCormack served as an elder and ministry leadership coordinator for the Rock School of Ministry at the Rock Church pastored…

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Wausau sex offender accused of repeatedly assaulting young girl

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Pilot [Wausau, WI]

November 7, 2022

By Shereen Siewert

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A Wausau man described as a pastor at a former downtown church is accused of repeatedly assaulting a young girl over a period of years beginning when she was 10 years old, court records show.

The girl described the man as “Pastor Ray” and said he was a leader at Song Nulife Gospel Oasis, a church that was located on Scott Street in the Landmark Building and held worship services on Saturday mornings for several years. The girl was unaware that the man, identified by police as Delfino R. O’Day-Figueroa, is a lifetime sex offender registrant with a prior felony conviction for assaulting children, and said she believed he was a pastor there until roughly 2019.

The Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry shows O’Day-Figueroa, 53, was convicted in 1995 in Milwaukee County of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Online court records also show a 2008 conviction on fourth-degree sexual assault…

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Boston pays out $2.1M to settle Christian flag legal case

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

November 8, 2022

By Mark Pratt

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The city of Boston has agreed to pay more than $2.1 million to the Christian legal organization that backed a court challenge after the city refused to fly a Christian flag outside City Hall, a case that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The settlement announced Tuesday by Liberty Counsel covers attorneys’ fees and other costs associated with the legal battle that started in 2017 when city resident Hal Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution group asked to hoist the flag on one of three poles on City Hall Plaza to mark Constitution Day.

“We are pleased that after five years of litigation and a unanimous victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, we joined with Hal Shurtleff to finally let freedom fly in Boston, the Cradle of Liberty,” Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.

The U.S., state and city flags usually fly…

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