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January 31, 2019

New Columbus Bishop Announced: Diocese Won't Say When List Of Abusive Priests Will Be Released

WCBE Radio

February 1, 2019

By Jim Lettizia

The Columbus Catholic diocese will soon have a new leader.

Bishop Robert Brennan takes over on March 29. He'll replace Bishop Fredrick Campbell. The Vatican has accepted Campbell's resignation, as required when bishops are about to turn 75-years-old. Brennan previously served as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. Campbell submitted his resignation last year.questions remain about when the diocese will follow through with a September promise to release a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. Columbus is the only diocese in the state not to do so. Campbell told reporters the list is under review, but gave no release date. Brennan responded this way.

The group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said wants Campbell to release the list before he leaves the diocese.

These Diocese of Corpus Christi priests were accused of sexual abuse

Corpus Christi Caller Times

January 31, 2019

By Alexandria Rodriguez

The Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi released the names of priests and other clergy Thursday that have been "credibly" accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The decision to release the information was made in October by The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and the 15 Texas dioceses.

More than 20 Diocese of Corpus Christi clergy members were "credibly" accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The 26 names were released after The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and the 15 Texas dioceses made the decision to release the names back in October 2018.

The list is split in two parts. One is a list of clergy in "religious orders clerics and extern clerics," meaning those not from the Diocese of Corpus Christi but those who have visited at some point, the list shows. There are a total of nine names on that list.

The other part is a list of clergy "from or incardinated into the Diocese of Corpus Christi." Seventeen names are included in that portion of the list.

"The process we went through is to hire four independents that are not part of the diocese, professionals in the legal community to come in and let them have the definitions from their experience of what is credible accusations so they used that in reviewing all of these files," Bishop Michael Mulvey said. "So they really told us what was credible in their minds as a legal community so we took that and used that."

7 Texoma priests accused of child sexual abuse


January 31, 2019

Seven local clergymen have been named in a list released by the Dallas Dioceses Thursday accused of sexually abusing children.

One of the names on this list is Father Jeremy Myers, a longtime priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Sherman. Parishioners tell us his suspension came in just the last few months, and that a meeting was held Wednesday night at the church to prepare the congregation for the news. Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said Thursday he is aware of the situation but the department is not actively investigating any cases at this time.

In total, the Dallas Diocese released 31 names of Priests who served in the North Texas area who have been accused of crimes against children since 1950. The church says they did this in an effort to be transparent and open about this problem and in hopes of beginning the process of healing.

The Diocese's Bishop, Edward Burns, says the names on this list are those of Priests who have allegations against them that the Church considers "credible". That means that the allegation has been reviewed by a board at the church, and they believe it to be true.

Other names on the list with local ties include Michael Flanagan of St. Mary's in Sherman (died 2008), William Hughes from St. Patrick's in Denison (removed in 1989, laicized), William Lane from St. Charles in Gainesville (died 1986), Jose Saldana from St. Elizabeth/Bonham (removed in 1998, laiciziation pending), and Michael Barone from Our Lady of Victory in Paris (retired, removed 2018).

Full details are below.

Law Firm Names 84 Priests Accused Of Clergy Sex Abuse In San Bernardino, Calls For More Church Transparency


January 31, 2019

By Aaron Schrank

A law firm representing California survivors of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests has released a new report detailing alleged abuse by clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino.

The 70-page report by Minnesota-based Jeff Anderson and Associates provides background information and assignment history on more than 80 clergy accused of sexual misconduct in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The firm — which is representing a Camarillo man in a public nuisance suit against California's Catholic bishops — has released similar reports on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange in recent months.

At a news conference in Ontario Thursday, attorneys demanded San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes release the names of predatory priests and Church officials who hid their behavior.

Attorney Mike Reck says today's disclosure makes children safer.

"This information is information that could have and should have been shared by Church officials long ago," Reck said. "We're doing this because the Diocese of San Bernardino did not."

In October, the Diocese of San Bernardino County released a list of 34 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children since the diocese formed in 1978. Officials added one name to that list the following month.

Anderson's report includes those 35 names, as well as 32 names of priests accused of abuse in San Bernardino before 1978, when the region was still part of the Diocese San Diego.

Those 32 names can be found on the Diocese of San Diego's list of credibly accused priests, which recently added 8 new names, including Rev. Raymond Etienne, who served as pastor in a San Bernardino church 20 years ago. Etienne allegedly sexually assaulted seminarians in Riverside.


CBS News

January 31, 2019

Catholic leaders in Texas on Thursday identified 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children. The number represents one of the largest collections of names to be released since an explosive grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania.

Fourteen dioceses in Texas named those credibly accused of abuse. The only diocese on Thursday not to provide names, Fort Worth, had done so more than a decade ago and then provided an updated accounting in October.

The move by Texas church leaders comes months after the shocking Pennsylvania report detailed seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. In the months after that report, which came out in August, about 50 dioceses and religious provinces have released the names of nearly 1,250 priests and others accused of abuse. Approximately 60 percent of them have died.

About 30 other dioceses are investigating or have promised to release names of credibly accused priests in the coming months.

In Texas, the Diocese of Dallas and some others relied on retired police and federal investigators to review church files and other material to substantiate claims of abuse.

It’s not clear whether any of the names released Thursday could result in local prosecutors bringing criminal charges. The majority of those identified have died. Some investigations dated back to 1940 while other reviews, as in the case of the Diocese of Lubbock, only went to 1983 because that’s when that diocese was established.

Diocese of Tyler releases names of clergy 'credibly accused' of child sexual abuse


January 31, 2019

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland and the Diocese of Tyler have released the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, dating back to at least 1950.

The letter Bishop Strickland released reads as follows:

My Dear Clergy, Consecrated Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Tyler,

Today, I join with the other bishops of Texas in releasing the names of clergy (priests and deacons) in our dioceses who are subject to credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Personally, and with my brother bishops, I express my deep sorrow to the survivors of abuse and my commitment to providing pastoral care for each survivor. I apologize for the failings and sins that have hurt the Church so deeply, especially with our most vulnerable members. I especially ask forgiveness for the failings of those who have held positions of leadership in the Church. I have only one name to release for which a credible allegation exists in the Diocese of Tyler since its creation in 1987. But even that is one too many. The abuse of minors - physical, emotional, and above all, sexual - should NEVER happen in churches, in homes, in schools, or anywhere. All of us are called to holiness and to serve as examples of virtue, but our priests and deacons are to be held to a high standard – and rightly so.

The name I am releasing to you today is that of Gustavo Cuello.

Priest Removed 17 Years After Sexual Abuse Allegations Surfaced

Houston Patch

January 31, 2019

By Fernando Alfonso

The Galveston-Houston Archdiocese has removed a priest from ministry this month roughly 17 years after sexual abuse allegations were made against him. John T. Keller was removed from his position and is currently under investigation according to a list the diocese released Thursday afternoon of priests "whom allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been admitted, substantiated or determined or considered to be credible." Keller's removal comes roughly two months after Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, called the claim against Keller "not a credible one," according to the Catholic News Agency.

Patch has reached out to the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese for comment and will update this story.

Keller was ordained in 1974 and was recently a pastor at Prince of Peace Catholic Community near Tomball, the Houston Press reported.

The allegations against Keller surfaced in 2002. According to BishopAccountability.org, a widely cited clergy-abuse tracking website, Keller allegedly "sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy in the early 1980s, while assigned to Christ the Good Shepherd in Spring."

"The complaint was made by the boy's father, who had been a parish dean and a friend of Keller's," BishopAccountability.org states. "He said that on a camping trip with his son, Keller plied the boy with alcohol, then invited him into his bed where he put his hands into the boy's pants."

Keller reportedly admitted that he "crossed a proper boundary" with the boy but denied his behavior was abusive, BishopAccountability.org added. Ultimately, the review board members unanimously agreed that Keller "acted very inappropriately" but couldn't "conclude that additional acts occurred that would have constituted sexual abuse," the Dallas Morning News reported in June 2003.

The release of priest names Thursday by the archdiocese was a coordinated effort with the 14 others around Texas. There are 8.5 million Catholics and 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas, Rev. Edward J. Burns said in a news release in early October.

"The Bishops of Texas have decided to release the names of these priests at this time because it is right and just and to offer healing and hope to those who have suffered," DiNardo said in a statement provided on the website with the names. "On behalf of all who have failed in this regard, I offer my sincerest apology. Our Church has been lacerated by this wound and we must take action to heal it."

Here are names of Houston-area priests ‘credibly accused’ of child sexual abuse

Houston Chronicle

January 31, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released the names of priests Thursday who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children over the past decades.

Some of the names were already known, including former Galena Park priest Fernando Noe Guzman, who pleaded guilty in 1992 to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, and Donald Leroy Stavinoha, who was convicted of assaulting a 9-year-old altar boy in a church van in 1986.

Diocese of Lafayette files protective order in request for list of accused priests


January 31, 2019

By Jim Hummel

The diocese of Lafayette calls a legal request for its list of accused priests “unnecessary”, “grandstanding” and “irrelevant” to the case filed against a St. Landry Parish priest who’s accused of molesting a boy.

Abbeville attorney Tony Fontana filed suit on behalf of a St. Landry Parish man who claims he was molested by Father Michael Guidry while he was a minor. Also named as plaintiffs in the case are the man’s parents; his father is a deacon in the diocese, who served alongside Fr. Guidry at St. Peter’s Church in Morrow.

In October, Fontana filed Interrogatories and Requests for Production to Guidry and the Diocese of Lafayette in the lawsuit. Interrogatories are questions that parties in a lawsuit ask each other; Requests for Production are requests for documents. Answering them is not optional – there are deadlines and requirements that parties have to follow. If the questions aren’t answered, the court gets involved to order compliance.

In his filing, Fontana requested that the diocese name all priests who have credible complaints against them since 2002, as well as all church employees who have credible complaints against them.

In their formal response this month, the diocese objected to the requests, calling them impermissibly vague, grandstanding, unnecessary, and irrelevant. The diocese then filed a motion for a protective order against the plaintiffs’ request.

In response to the action by the diocese, Fontana says he’ll be changing the scope of his lawsuit. He argues over decades, the diocese has created a culture of protecting priests, that enabled Fr. Guidry to molest his client.

Diocese releases names of Valley priests accused of abuse

The Brownsville Herald

January 31, 2019

By Miguel Roberts

Bishop Daniel E. Flores says of the seven bishops, 711 priests and 171 deacons who have served in the Diocese of Brownsville since it was established in 1965, 14 clergy were identified (13 priests and one permanent deacon).

The bishop says none of the clergy listed are in active ministry in the Diocese of Brownsville.

List of Clergy with Credible Allegation of Sexual Abuse of a Minor before the Year 2002

Humberto Acosta

Born: February 7, 1949

Ordained: May 30, 1974

Left diocese in 1994. Allegation fully disclosed to receiving Military Ordinary in Venezuela.

Assignments: St. Mary, Mother of the Church, Brownsville; St. Joseph Church, Edinburg; St. Anthony Church, Harlingen; Our Lady of Mercy Church, Mercedes; St. Margaret Mary Church, Pharr

28 priests were accused of sex abuse in late 2018. Here's a running list.

El Paso Times

January 31, 2019

In November 2018, the Diocese of Las Cruces released the names of 28 priests identified as credibly accused of sex abuse. It included at least six priests with ties to the El Paso Diocese. The Las Cruces Diocese was created from the El Paso Diocese in 1982.

Previously identified accused priests
Santiago Almaguer

Allegations of abuse were reported to the Las Cruces Diocese in 2012, and the incidents are alleged to have occurred between 1975 and 1978. Almaguer was assigned to St. Anthony Seminary in El Paso in 1975. Almaguer officiated several funeral Masses in the early 1980s, according to El Paso Times archives.

Rosario Lopez

In 2010, a man identified as "John Doe" accused the Rev. Rosario Lopez and another priest, Manuel Perez Maramba, of sexual misconduct. He sued both the Las Cruces and El Paso dioceses. The case was settled in 2011. The alleged abuse occurred in 1974, while he was assigned to St. Genevieve in Las Cruces, and Lopez officiated at several funeral Masses in El Paso in 1975, according to El Paso Times archives.

Manuel Perez Maramba

The same man, identified as "John Doe," named Maramba in his suit against the Las Cruces and El Paso dioceses, but that was not the first allegation against Maramba. The church has settled at least three cases involving Maramba. The Las Cruces Diocese says allegations against Maramba were reported from 2004 to 2012. The sexual misconduct by Maramba is alleged to have occurred between 1976 and 1977. He was assigned to the Diocese of Las Cruces in 1976, to the St. Francis Newman Center in Silver City, New Mexico, in 1976 and 1977; and at St. Genevieve in 1977.

According to a 2007 article in the El Paso Times, a former altar boy said Maramba sexually assaulted him during sleepovers with other altar boys at Maramba's residence on church property and during trips, including one to Disneyland in California. Maramba, a Benedictine, is believed to have returned to the Philippines in the 1970s. He is believed to still be alive.

A Dallas diocese priest accused of abuse was saying mass in Duncanville last fall


January 31, 2019

By Jason Trahan

One of the most recently accused priests on the Dallas diocese list was saying mass at a Duncanville Catholic Church through last fall, church bulletins show.

Father Alejandro “Alex” Buitrago is listed as retired in 2017 and was “removed” from his job as a priest in 2018, according to the Dallas diocese list released Thursday. But there is no exact date of that removal.

WFAA found four online church bulletins – one from June, two from July, and one from September – noting that Fr. Buitrago is a “guest priest” giving a mass, sometimes in Spanish, at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville.

Dallas Diocese Bishop Edward Burns told reporters today during a news conference that he would not address questions about specific priests.

Buitrago was ordained in 1967 and served in several parishes before he retired in 2017 and was removed “with faculties suspended” in 2018.

Buitrago could not be reached Thursday.

Archdiocese releases list of accused clergy with credible sex abuse accusations


January 31, 2019

By Zack Hedrick

The Archdiocese of San Antonio has released a report on allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy members in the Archdiocese.

The report goes back to 1940, outlining more than 150 credible accusations and naming 57 clergy members.

“We were not where we should have been," said Garcia-Siller. "We did not act in a timely manner.”

From 1940 to 2019, the report states more than 3,000 priests have ministered in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

The most recent allegation was actually submitted in the last few weeks, Garcia-Siller says.

The Archdiocese states most of the priests identified in the report are either dead or have been removed from ministry.

“This report can bring more people to come forward and it’s part of what we intend," said Garcia-Siller.

The report shows no one has alleged they were sexually abused by a clergy member in the Archdiocese between 2010 and 2019.

While the list was being compiled, Archbishop Garcia-Siller says he met with survivors of sexual abuse here in San Antonio.

Dallas diocese names 31 Catholic clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse

Dallas Morning News

January 31, 2019

By Bill Hanna

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas on Thursday named 31 clergymen credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors.

Twenty-four were priests and seven others were in other dioceses or religious orders. It does not mean there is an admission of guilt by the priests.

The list was compiled by former state and federal law enforcement officers who reviewed the files of 2,424 priests, said Dallas Diocese Bishop Edward Burns.

Suspended Oakland priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor

San Francisco Chronicle

January 31, 2019

By Gwendolyn Wu

Father Alex Castillo, a clergyman in the Diocese of Oakland, has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor, diocese officials said.

“He is not allowed to function publicly as a priest while on administrative leave,” the diocese said in a statement. “As is normative for such a process, the diocese will not provide any further information on the matter during the investigation.”

Castillo was born in Costa Rica and worked at a software development company before joining the seminary. In 2008, he moved to the U.S. and completed his theological studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, according to a news release. He was ordained in 2011 by Salvatore Cordileone, the former bishop of Oakland.

It’s unclear when the alleged sexual misconduct occurred and when the allegation was made. Diocese officials said the case was referred to law enforcement because the church is a mandated reporter, but they did not provide any other details.

Church sex abuse survivors: What to do if you need to report, find support

January 31, 2019

By Amanda Cochran

Sexual abuse survivors may be facing a difficult day in the wake of names released by the Catholic Church in Texas.

KPRC wants to remind survivors that there resources available for those who need to report abuse, and those looking for support.

If you are a survivor, and you’d like to report sex abuse, call police. The Houston Police Department Adult Sex Crimes Unit is 713-308-1180. Here is more information published by HPD (pdf).

If you’re feeling suicidal, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to be connected to a certified crisis center near where you are.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a self-help group that supports people who have been victimized by clergy, has information for survivors, which includes recommended reading, survivors “wisdom," information about flashbacks, and how to choose a therapist with your particular experience in mind.

'I have no recollection' - priest denies indecently assaulting altar boy at parochial house

Irish Independent

January 31 2019

A priest has denied indecently assaulting an altar boy at his parochial house, 30 years ago.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to a total of eight counts of indecent assault, on dates between September 1988 and June 1990.

The accused, who is in his 60s, is alleged to have put the boy on his lap and placed his hands inside his pants.

On the opening of the trial last Tuesday the prosecution alleged the assaults took place while the boy was carrying out jobs at the priests’s home, such as washing his car, cutting his lawn, and painting.

On Thursday the accused gave direct evidence that had “no recollection” of the boy coming to his home to carry out this work.

The accused, who stepped aside from ministry following the allegations, agreed with Lily Buckley BL, for the prosecution, that he organised and went on outings with altar boys at the time of the alleged assaults on the injured party.

Ridgeland Man Files Lawsuit for Abuse he Suffered in 2004 as a 9 Year Old

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 31, 2019

A man from Ridgeland, MS has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Jackson alleging that he was abused in 2004 as a 9 year old. We applaud this brave man for taking action to expose clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Jackson diocese.

In the lawsuit, the man – who filed anonymously – claims that he reported his allegations to the diocese in 2014 but that his allegations were never fully investigated by the investigator hired by the diocese. According to the newly-filed lawsuit, the Diocese of Jackson said that the victim’s mother was assured the matter would be fully investigated, telling her that “a private investigator would be hired to undertake an investigation beyond what the church would do internally or what the police department would do.”

Making matters worse is the allegation that, immediately after being abused, John Doe told his teacher at his school what had happened to him. In response, the teacher told him “don’t lie like that.” It is difficult to fathom the pain and confusion that must have gone on in the mind of a 9-year-old child when, the very first time that he opened up about what happened, he was branded a liar (to say nothing of the fact that this teacher’s response flies in the face of how she would have been trained to respond in a post-Dallas Charter world).

United Nations Questions Laws that Protect Abusive Priests

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 31, 2019

Last week, a United Nations committee focused on children’s rights questioned the Italian government about clerical sexual abuse in the country, “expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges.”

We are grateful that U.N. officials continue to pressure politicians to better protect children, especially in institutional settings like churches and particularly the Catholic community.

All too often, secular authorities tread lightly around religious institutions, even when the safety of boys and girls is at stake. All too often, tight bonds between politicians and church figures enable clerics who commit or conceal heinous crimes to escape detection and punishment. All too often, church bureaucrats and lobbyists weaken secular laws designed to prevent abuse.

These disturbing patterns need to be disrupted. The well-being of the young must trump the comfort, convenience and careers of those entrusted to care for them. External pressure from governmental entities is often the best way to do this, especially in institutions like the Catholic Church that are ancient, rigid, secretive and male dominated.

37 Baton Rouge-area clergy members on diocese's official sex abuse list

The Advocate

January 31, 2019

Bishop Michael Duca on Thursday released the names of 37 clergy who were removed from ministry after accusations that they sexually abused minors were deemed credible. This is the first time in the history of the Diocese of Baton Rouge that a Catholic bishop has attempted to provide an accounting of the identities of the alleged abusers in church ranks.

The list below, in alphabetical order, does not include employees of the church, or any other religious -- such as nuns or brothers -- who may have been accused. Clergy accused of sexually abusing a minor can try to clear their names through church tribunals, the outcomes of which are secret.

The biographies combine information provided by the bishop with information found in media reports, court documents and interviews.
Name: John J. Berube

Age: Died in 2001, age unknown

Position: Missionary Order of Our Lady of La Salette priest

Served where: St. Theresa of Avila in Gonzales (1965), other church parishes in Canada (1970s) and Boston.

Ordained: 1953

Date of abuse: 1965

Allegation received: 1965

Number of allegations: More than one

Assignment at time of abuse: St. Theresa of Avila, Gonzales, LA

Lawsuits filed/previous known allegations: Four men filed a lawsuit in 2003 that alleged Berube’s abuse in 1965.

Removed from ministry: Remained a priest until his death.

Action taken: Priestly service in Diocese of Baton Rouge was terminated in 1965. The La Salette Order was notified of the allegation and he was transferred to the supervision of the La Sallette Superior.

Details: Four boys told their parents in 1965 that Berube had abused them. The parents reported the abuse to their parish priest and the Diocese of Baton Rouge sent Berube back to his missionary order of La Salette. But Berube remained in ministry, was the pastor of Our Lady of Victory in Gatineau, Quebec and several other church parishes in Boston before his death.

After Diocese of Baton Rouge shares list of priests accused of abuse, here's what diocese says

The Advocate

January 31, 2019

The Diocese of Baton Rouge released on Thursday a list of 37 clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse.

The list included included 14 diocesan priests, 15 priests from religious orders, one seminarian and seven priests of the Archdiocese of New Orleans who had also served in Baton Rouge. Two dozen of the revelations had not been made public before.

Below is everything that the Diocese of Baton Rouge released with the list.

Jane Does fight for priest abuse policy changes in Catholic Church


January 31, 2019

By Brittany Glas

Assaulted and held captive in the confessional. For devout members of the Catholic Church, it’s something that is difficult to imagine. Isolated, scared and terrified. These are only a few of the ways one woman says she felt when she alleges an assault took place at St. Thomas More in Northwest Austin, located at 10205 N. Farm to Market Road 620.

"The confessional is a sacred space to Catholics where we experience God’s love and His mercy," the woman explained. "All of that was taken away from me."

She continued, "You’re already in a vulnerable position when you are in the confessional. As a predator, he took advantage of that vulnerability."

The woman says within the last five years, Father Isidore Ndagizimana, known as "Father Izzy," touched her inappropriately during confession and then wouldn’t let her leave.

Terrified and uncertain of what she should do, the woman never called police to report what happened. She told herself she didn’t have to — she says leadership at the parish and the Diocese of Austin assured her they were taking care of the priest and this issue. After all, she says this wasn’t the first complaint they’d received regarding Father Izzy. She trusted the diocese and the church.

"We fully expected to have their full support of us and when that didn’t happen, it was alarming to all of us," she said.

NYS lawmakers pass Child Victims Act

Queens Chronicle

January 31, 2019

by Ryan Brady

New York is finally set to make the Child Victims Act law.

The legislation was passed by the state Legislature on Monday and is expected to soon be signed by Gov. Cuomo, who included the bill in his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal.

The Child Victims Act would extend the statute of limitations for victims to bring civil legal actions against sexual abusers and organizations thought to have allowed the abuse to occur, giving victims until they turn 55 years old to bring a case.

The bill also seeks to extend the statute for prosecutors to bring criminal charges. Those would be brought until the victim of the abuse turns 28 years old in felony cases; for misdemeanors, it would be 23 years old.

Additionally, the legislation would create a one-year “lookback window” during which civil actions could be started over abuse cases with expired statutes of limitations.

It aims also to change the law so civil claims against public institutions over sexual abuse do not require a 90-day notice of claim.

Many Capitol observers were moved by the remarks of four female legislators, including Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights), who spoke on the floors of their chambers about sexual abuse they’d personally experienced.

Cardinal Dolan criticizes Cuomo for ‘stinging criticism’ of church

Catholic News Service

January 31, 2019

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in a Sirius XM broadcast Jan. 29 criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his “stinging criticism of the Catholic Church” in singling out Catholics over the crisis surrounding the sexual abuse of minors.”

“He really caricatured the church and only the church, singling it out for the sexual abuse of minors and contesting that we were the ones that had blocked the Child Victims Act,” Cardinal Dolan told Father Dave Dwyer, co-host of “Conversation With Cardinal Dolan,” which airs every Tuesday afternoon on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel.

“And then misquoting, taking out of context, Pope Francis, and to flaunt his dissent from established church teaching and to use all that as an applause line,” the cardinal said of the governor.

He was referring to Cuomo’s State of the State address in which he cited his own Catholic faith and Pope Francis and at the same time emphasized his full backing of a bill — now signed in to law — to radically expand abortion access in the state. Cuomo also criticized the state’s Catholic bishops for their earlier opposition to the Child Victims Act, also now a law.

The new law makes it easier for abuse victim-survivors to sue. The bishops did support the final measure because it included both private and public institutions. Earlier versions only targeted the church.

Austin man stands by Catholic faith after surviving priest's alleged abuse


January 30, 2019

By Melanie Barden

Austin resident Allen Hebert says he's a survivor of a priest's abuse and he's glad the Catholic church is making an effort to be transparent. (CBS Austin)

Thursday, Catholic leaders across Texas will release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually assaulting children. The list could have names dating back to the 1950's, according to the Austin Diocese.

Austin resident Allen Hebert says he's a survivor of a priest's abuse and he's glad the Catholic church is making an effort to be transparent.

"The list will help some people realize 'wow the guy was caught,'" says Hebert.

Hebert says Father Andrew Willemsen, a former priest in the Diocese of Austin, befriended his family and sexually abused him from age 12 to 14. "He just gradually convinced me that doing these things was normal, 'don't tell your parents because they don't understand in fact the church doesn't understand, but I do,'" says Hebert.

Years later, Hebert reported Father Willemsen to a bishop who knew him. The bishop said Father Willemsen was sent out of the country years earlier after other victims came forward. Willemsen has since passed away.

"It's been 21 years of healing," says Hebert.

Hebert tells CBS Austin part of his healing will come from seeing Father Willemsen's name on the Austin Diocese list.

Chicago Catholic Teacher Accused Of Sexually Abusing Student

Chicago Patch

January 31, 2019

By Amber Fisher

A Catholic school teacher on Chicago's West Side is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy and battering a 13-year-old boy, police said. The teacher taught junior high school at St. Procopius in Pilsen since 2014, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Yesenia Rodriguez, 27, of the 900 block of North Honore Street, has been suspended and "will remain away from the school until the matter is resolved," the archdiocese stated.

Rodriguez is accused of sexually abusing the 14-year-old boy in the 1600 block of South Allport — the same block as the school — on May 1, police said.

She is also accused of battering the 13-year-old boy a few blocks from the school in the 1800 block of South Allport between Sept. 15 and Jan. 25, police said.

Convicted former priest arrested for probation violation


January 31, 2019

A former Green Bay priest convicted of exposing genitals to a child has been arrested on a probation violation, according to jail records.

Richard L Thomas, 81, was arrested Jan. 29, according to the Brown County Inmate lookup website.

VINE, a website that alerts victims of crimes to offender movement, states that Thomas is in custody at the Brown County Jail.

Action 2 News is working to get information on the nature of the probation violation. We've reached out to several agencies and will update this story when we get that information.

In 2016, Thomas pleaded no contest to two counts of Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child. He was found guilty and sentenced to four months in jail and three years on probation.

Conditions of probation include lifetime registry on the Wisconsin Sex Offender list and no contact with minors unless approved by the parole agent.

Thomas had exposed himself to a teenager while living at Grellinger Hall, a residence for retired priests.

Last November, Thomas was denied his request to relocate to a new home in Green Bay. A citizen board listened as Thomas cited his two-and-a-half years in therapy for the crimes he committed, hoping the board would grant him the move.

DiNardo: Tell police if you have information about clergy sex abuse [Opinion]

Houston Chronicle

January 31, 2019

By Cardinal Daniel DiNardo

We are still weeks away from Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season, and yet this week like so many I am overwhelmed with thoughts and prayers of contrition as, together with the other Catholic Dioceses in Texas, we will release a list of clergy dating back to 1950 who have been credibly accused of abusing minors.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to tell you why we are releasing this list, how the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston compiled it, and where we go from here.

First, we are releasing this list because we recognize the great and lasting harm done by persons who were supposed to represent Christ to the world, but instead committed the most heinous acts against the most vulnerable people in our society — our youth. I can assure you the genuine shame, embarrassment and outrage that accompany this week’s announcements across Texas are superseded only by the determination we collectively feel to assist victims of these acts of evil to begin or continue the healing process.

To anyone who has been personally affected by this crisis, or their families, I apologize most sincerely. I furthermore understand the anger and frustration you may harbor in your hearts concerning the perpetrators of abuse; or those who in the past may have concealed or ignored such unthinkable behavior; or even those in positions of authority today — yours truly included — who are doing our best however imperfectly to rebuild the trust of the faithful. It is my most fervent prayer that whatever pain was caused would not make you sever your relationship with the Lord, for the Lord — not man — is the truest source of hope and joy in our lives. I implore you not to let any darkness overtake the light in your life.

Let me add: we are also releasing this list because we want anyone with any additional information about any abuse of a minor that may have taken place in this Archdiocese to notify the civil authorities immediately. I recognize and indeed admire the courage required to step forward and share such traumatic experiences, but it is critical that the civil authorities are made aware of any allegations of abuse so as to protect our children.

Why this time was different: The church's objections to the Child Victims Act finally ran out

New York Daily News

January 29, 2019

By Marci Hamilton

It took more than 15 years, but when the Child Victims Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate, it passed unanimously. This is the harbinger of good things to come in other states.

For the very first time, the most powerful bishop in a state — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — publicly withdrew his opposition to the bill. That opened the door for Republicans to vote for the Child Victims Act, but it also changed the discourse about window legislation across the United States and even the world.

The Catholic bishops, the most publicly relentless opponents of victims’ access to justice, have been running out of arguments against the irrefutable logic of child sex abuse statute of limitations (SOL) reform. At first, they opposed SOL reform, period. Their battle against extending the civil and criminal SOLs did not last long, because it implied that they expected to have ongoing problems in the future. But they continued to ferociously battle the lookback, or window, legislation that revives expired civil SOLs.

They tried to blame the priests (and the victims) while not taking responsibility for their role, or they claimed it all happened decades ago. The 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report put those arguments to rest, as it prompted the world to take the side of the victims.

Diocese Of Oakland Priest On Leave Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegation


January 31, 2019

A priest with the Diocese of Oakland has been placed on administrative leave as the diocese investigates an allegation of sexual misconduct against a minor by the clergyman, according to diocese officials.

The Rev. Alex Castillo, who serves as the diocese’s director of Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization and episcopal master of ceremonies, is not allowed to function publicly as a priest during the investigation, said diocese spokeswoman Helen Osman.

There have been no interim appointments made to assume Castillo’s duties, Osman said.

Anyone with any information on the case or wishes to report other allegations of sexual misconduct by a clergy member or diocese employee can call their local law enforcement agency and Diocese of Oakland Chancellor Stephen Wilcox at (510) 267-8334 or swilcox@oakdiocese.org.

Vatican adviser says ‘real reform,’ not spin, key to recovery from abuse crisis


January 31, 2019

By Inés San Martín

An adviser to the Vatican’s communication team said Monday that recovery from the clerical sexual abuse scandals isn’t a matter of devising a better PR strategy, but of acknowledging that real people have been hurt and delivering “real reform.”

“As Pope Francis says, this is not about ‘marketing or strategizing’ but about ‘the beating heart of the Gospel’,” said Kim Daniels, a veteran leader with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and various Catholic organizations, who was appointed an adviser to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications in 2016.

“Over these past months many have been tempted to stay angry, and with good reason,” Daniels said. “Every week another shoe seems to drop: we hear of another person - a flesh and-blood person, someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s friend - who has suffered abuse at the hands of a priest. We hear another story of cover-up or malfeasance or failure of leadership on the part of a bishop.”

“We hear more talk from everyone, but see little action from anyone,” she said.

Daniel’s remarks came during the sixth annual lecture of the Cardinal John Foley Chair of Social Communications and Homiletics at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. It was the first time a woman was tasked with delivering the talk, with previous speakers including Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles and Crux editor-in-chief, John L. Allen, Jr.

The Church’s ongoing crisis is not the product of poor public relations or a failure of “messaging,” Daniels said, but the fact that “Church leaders have hurt real people, and real reform is necessary.”

Priest Who Exposed Himself At Rockford Gas Station Punished By Diocese

January 30, 2019

By Jim Hagerty

The Diocese of Rockford announced Wednesday that a priest who exposed himself at a Rockford gas station in 2014 will be punished by the local bishop.

Officials say Father Aaron Brodeski will be deprived of the title “Monsignor,” and be placed in a one-year period of prayer and penance.

“As this is a decision of highest authority of the Catholic Church, there is no further appeal or recourse against it,” the Diocese said in a release. ” Any subsequent determination about the suitability for ministry of Father Brodeski rests with the local bishop in accordance with the Church’s Canon Law.”

Court records show that in March 2014, Brodeski exposed himself to an employee at Road Ranger, 4980 S. Main St. He turned himself in to police on May 23, 2014 and was charged with two counts of public indecency.

Brodeski pleaded guilty to a single count of disorderly conduct as part of a plea agreement and was sentenced two years of court supervision. He was a priest at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia at the time of the incident.

The Diocese says the matter was referred to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy and after an internal investigation and that the congregation found that Brodeski was responsible for “grave and scandalous” acts.

“The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy then submitted the matter to Pope Francis, who approved the recommendation of the Congregation and made it his own papal act,” the Diocese added. “The Diocese of Rockford expresses its profound regret to the faithful and to all who have been offended by this incident. It asks for prayers for all involved in this matter.”

Reckoning time for Catholics

A. M. New York

January 31, 2019

A familiar name was eventually published along with dozens of Jesuit priests who’d taught in some of the city’s Catholic schools: my former religion teacher.

I graduated from the school in 2000. While I was never abused, the church abuse scandal hits me deep, not only as a graduate but also as a parent whose son attends the school. It has even made my mother, a devout Catholic, question why the church still holds on to archaic rules like not allowing women or married men to be priests, which she believes help foster an abusive environment.

Even though I am no longer a believer, the church has meaning for my life. As I wrote on this page last year, a Jesuit priest worked with my mom and others to support peasants and workers in Bolivia — a move that eventually cost him his life. Many priests were on the right side of history in Latin America during a period of death squads and political persecution.

That said, despite some of the efforts of the school and of Catholics in NYC to begin to take some accountability for abuse, the ways the church dragged its feet and covered up abuse scandals point to an institution that was focused more on self-preservation than justice for victims.

Think McQuaid's priest abuse list is complete?

Democrat and Chronicle

January 31, 2019

By Sean Lahman and Steve Orr

When Tom Chiarella read last month about sexual abuse allegations against seven priests once assigned to his alma mater, McQuaid Jesuit High School, he was sick to his stomach.

Chiarella had known that sexual abuse had occurred at the Brighton secondary school because he was a victim of it. The trauma hung over his head for years before he could find a way out.

His personal escape culminated in the bold step of telling the world what had happened to him in an article for Esquire magazine in 2003 called "My Education." Chiarella recounted how French teacher John J. Tobin had harassed, stalked and sexually abused him between 1975 and his graduation in 1979.

What disturbed Chiarella were allegations that came to light Jan. 15, when a regional Jesuit organization named 50 priests who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Seven of those priests once taught at McQuaid.

Publication of that list has prompted a new stream of allegations against staff who taught at McQuaid, with the Brighton police and the Democrat and Chronicle receiving multiple calls. At the same time, the release has raised questions about the thoroughness and transparency of efforts to acknowledge and resolve past abuses.

Asked about the Jesuits' list, leaders at McQuaid failed to make clear when and where the misconduct by the seven priests occurred, how many McQuaid students were victimized, and why the school had previously denied knowledge of credible allegations against many of the priests named.

"I think it's amazing, the institutional indifference to these problems," Chiarella said. "They're perpetuating a system where a 15-year-old boy feels he shouldn't and can't speak out."

Lawsuit: Priest molested St. Richard student. Did Catholic Church, district attorney act?

Mississippi Clarion Ledger

January 31, 2019

By Sarah Fowler

A Ridgeland man who says he was sexually abused by a priest in 2004 as a 9-year-old has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Jackson and a local Catholic school.

The allegation was reported to the diocese in 2014, and the diocese launched an internal investigation in addition to notifying the Hinds County District Attorney's office. District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith said this week that his office did not investigate because they were waiting on information from the diocese.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 28 in Hinds County, only identifies the 24-year-old plaintiff as "John Doe" and the alleged abuser as "Defendant Father John Doe."

The accused priest was never identified by the boy, the church or law enforcement.

The lawsuit names the diocese, St. Richard Catholic Church, St. Richard Catholic School, Father Mike O'Brien, Bishop Joseph Latino, former St. Richard principal Joules Michel, Bishop Joseph Kopacz, Monsignor Elvin Sunds, an unidentified priest (Father John Doe) and 10 other unidentified individuals (John Doe I-X).

Vatican: Senior priest resigns over advances to nun

PoliticalLore.com blog

January 31, 2019

By Julia Simpson

The Vatican continues to improve its moral doctrine and an overall image, this week, several senior priests have had to resign over advance to the nun, The Local Italy reported on Thursday.

In the Vatican, the relationships between nuns and priests are complicated sometimes because of sexual harassment, confirmed the official source. This week, a senior Vatican priest accused of making advances towards a nun during confession has resigned.

«Geissler decided to take this step to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community,» a Holy See statement reads, noting that he «reserves the right for possible civil legal action».

‘Spotlight’ lawyer accuses Newark archdiocese of defending abusive priest

The Sentonian

January 30, 2019

By Isabel Soisson

Mitchell Garabedian, the celebrated lawyer known for representing the sexual abuse victims of Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area, recently accused the Archdiocese of Newark of blaming the alleged victims of Rev. Michael “Mitch” Walters in order to protect him. Walters is accused of abusing five boys and one girl decades ago. Walters graduated from Seton Hall in 1977 with a BA in religious studies.

Garabedian’s work was depicted in the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight,” and he has continued to represent sexual abuse victims across the United States. He criticized the archdiocese after announcing that five of the alleged victims of Walters had settled their civil lawsuits against the Catholic Church for $400,000.

Lawyers for the archdiocese cited the “doctrine of contributory negligence” to argue that “these children were at fault when they were sexually abused,” Garabedian said at a press conference, according to NBC News.

Walters served at St. Cassian Church and school in Montclair and at St. John Nepomucene Parish in Guttenberg during his time as a priest. He is accused of molesting children between 1982 and 1995 at both parishes. Walters’ last assignment was at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange. Walters was removed from his last assignment after the first sex abuse allegations came to light. He has since denied these claims and records indicate he may now live in Rutherford, N.J., at a retirement home for priests, also according to NBC News.

Last September, New Jersey officials announced the creation of a special task force to investigate both the alleged sex abuse by members of the clergy within the dioceses of New Jersey and alleged cover-up by the Catholic Church, as previously reported by The Setonian. Seton Hall University then hired Newark law firm Gibbons P.C. to independently investigate sex abuse allegations that “may have involved seminarians” at both the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the College Seminary at Saint Andrew’s Hall on the South Orange campus. These accusations were leveled against the former Archbishop of Newark, Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick served as president of the board of trustees at Seton Hall and served as Archbishop of Newark during the mid-80s to early 2000s.

Maria Margiotta, acting director of communications and public relations for the Archdiocese of Newark, sent the following statement to The Setonian when asked for comment on Garabedian’s accusations.

There are still bishops who don't understand abuse crisis

Religion News Service

January 31, 2019

By Thomas Reese

Talking to reporters on his plane coming back from World Youth Day in Panama Jan. 27, Pope Francis downplayed what he called "inflated" expectations for the upcoming meeting of bishops in Rome to deal with clergy sexual abuse. "The expectations need to be deflated," he said. He also sought to lower expectations about the possibility of married priests.

Many in the United States have been hoping that the meeting on abuse, which will bring the presidents of the episcopal conferences from over 100 countries to the Vatican Feb. 21-24, would result in procedures for dealing with bishops who do not protect children from abusive priests. While the church has made progress in dealing with abusive priests, it still needs a process for dealing with bishops who do not protect children.

The expectations for the meeting were raised in November, when the head of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, told the American bishops not to vote on such procedures at their fall meeting in Baltimore. Ouellet said the Americans should wait for a discussion of the issue at the meeting in Rome.

It now appears that the meeting will not develop new policies but, in the words of Francis, will be a "catechesis" on the problem of abuse aimed at bishops who do not understand the issue or what they should do in response to abuse.

UN panel probes Italy’s role in Church’s child abuse scandals


January 31, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

A United Nations Committee for the protection of minors questioned the Italian government last week about clerical sexual abuse in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges.

“We are saddened by the lack of information regarding sexual abuse against minors by Catholic clergy, and we are concerned by the information we have received that points to numerous clerical abuse victims,” said Spanish Professor Jorge Cardona, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, during a Jan. 22-23 hearing.

Representatives of the Italian government were asked to answer questions before the committee at the UN’s High Commissioner in Geneva regarding the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Recommendations drawn from the hearing will be issued by the UN on Feb. 7.

This was hardly the first time the UN panel has taken an interest in the Catholic Church’s record on child sexual abuse.

Catholic priest sentenced for sexual, attempted abuse of 2 boys in Diocese of Erie

News Chronicle

January 31, 2019

A former Catholic priest for four decades in the Diocese of Erie, David Poulson, was sentenced Jan. 11 to 2 1/2 to 14 years in prison for his repeated sexual assaults against one boy and the attempted assault of another boy. Poulson was sentenced by a Jefferson County Common Pleas Court judge for corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children – both felony crimes. Poulson was taken immediately into custody after his sentencing.

Catholic Dioceses release more lists detailing sex abuse cases

First Coast News

January 30, 2019

By Shelby Danielsen

On Thursday the country will see new lists released from multiple states naming clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing a minor in the Catholic Church.

Dioceses in both Texas and Louisiana have vowed to release these names to the public by Jan. 31.

The increase in transparency follows a Pennsylvania grand jury report released last year that named hundreds of priests in sex abuse cases dating back to the 1950s, prompting churches around the country to quickly respond.

While the abuse cases being made public may not have been prosecuted, they are names the church found credible in accusations.

In Georgia, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah were two of the first institutions to publish these types of lists naming clergy last year. You can find their lists published on their diocese website.

Letter to the Editor: Cardinal Bea House scandal needed transparency

Gonzaga Bulletin

January 31, 2019

By Lindsay Panigeo

I was born in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska. I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, with the privilege of being able to return to my hometown regularly. My family has worked tirelessly to teach me and my siblings about our rich Inupiaq culture. Being an Inupiaq woman is central to my identity, and the values that my culture instills in me are something I carry with me everywhere I go.

On Dec. 17, my mother sent me an article from the Anchorage Daily News with a headline that read, “Jesuits quietly sent abusive Alaska priests to retire with others on a Washington college campus.” My heart immediately sank, I took a deep breath and I read the rest of the article.

The same day, President Thayne McCulloh sent a statement to Gonzaga’s community in response to the numerous accused priests, the most notable being James Poole. In President McCulloh’s statement, he mentions that the news of these horrible circumstances brought “feelings of sadness, disgust and betrayal,” indicating that he, among others from GU’s senior leadership, had no idea that the Society of Jesus was knowingly re-assigning credibly accused men to locations, such as the Cardinal Bea House.

As much as I want to believe that GU was unaware of the abusive priests allowed to reside on campus, I am not sure that I can fully believe that, and if they were completely oblivious, then they should be more diligent about who is residing on, or near campus. Simple Google searches relating to the Rev. Poole reveal a history of misconduct, including articles from 2005 stating that Poole was sued by an Alaskan woman, which is a matter of public record, for sexually assaulting her as a child. A timeline published in 2011 from "FRONTLINE" includes accounts of the years of abuse that Poole inflicted prior to residing in the Cardinal Bea House.

Suspended Deacon Gets Probation in Sexting Case in Washington, Pa.

The Intelligencer

January 29, 2019

By Barbara Miller

Rosendo Francis Dacal, a suspended Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will serve two years probation, perform 200 hours of community service and be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years after being sentenced last week by Washington County, Pa. Judge Gary Gilman.

Dacal, 74, pleaded guilty in October to two felonies — criminal solicitation of sexual abuse of children and criminal use of a communication device.

Police arrested Dacal in April 2018 on child pornography charges after North Strabane Township police Officer Gary Scherer had assumed the decoy persona of a 14-year-old boy when he was contacted by someone with the username “chubby boy” in December 2017.

The user, later identified as Dacal, sent sexually explicit messages, sought nude photos of whom he thought was the 14-year-old and exposed himself during video sessions over the course of several months.

As a youth, Dacal left Cuba after the Communist revolution and lived in a refugee camp stateside, eventually earning postgraduate degrees in business and law. As a Catholic deacon, he volunteered as a chaplain at the Allegheny County Jail.

Victims blast KS archbishop on abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 31, 2019

Victims blast KS archbishop on abuse

They ‘out’ 6 publicly accused priests who are/were in KC KS

The allegations arose elsewhere but the clerics spent time here

SNAP also urges Archbishop to include those who abuse adults on his list

Holdings signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy abuse victims and concerned Catholics will disclose a list of six clerics publicly accused of child molestation who worked in/around KC KS but have gotten virtually no public or press attention here,

They will also call on KC KS Catholic officials to
---explain why these six names were left off their list of clergy with "substantiated" allegations,
---add the six names, along with photos, whereabouts and work histories of all publicly accused clerics, to their website, and
---include the identities of priests who have sexually abused, exploited and harassed adults as well.

Thursday Jan. 31 at 1:45 p.m.

Six more publicly accused child abusers are “outed”

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 31, 2019

Six more publicly accused child abusers are “outed”

All were left off Hartford’s new list of those “credibly accused”

Two admitted abuse, one was convicted & one is a nun

Victims want Catholic officials to “come fully clean now”

Group also urges CT to totally eliminate SOLs for child sex abuse

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names and histories of six publicly accused child molesters, including one woman, who worked in the Hartford Catholic Archdiocese but were left off a just-posted list of those "credibly accused." The group found six other “overlooked” publicly accused priests and brothers when the list was first released last week.

They will also call on Connecticut’s top Church officials to
--include the six new names on the Archdiocese’s “credibly accused” list,
--give more details about each abuser, especially their photos, current whereabouts and full work histories, and
--urge CT legislators to totally remove the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse and open a permanent civil window.

Thursday, Jan. 31 at 1:00 p.m.

On the sidewalk outside St. Joseph Cathedral, 140 Farmington Ave. in Hartford CT

Three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including Gail Howard, the group's volunteer Connecticut leader and Donna Palomba who is also the founder of a Naugatuck- based organization, Jane Doe No More, dedicated to ending the silence surrounding sexual assault.

Why police aren't more involved in diocese abuse investigations


January 30, 2019

By Tanya Eiserer

As the Dallas Catholic diocese prepares to release the names of priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors Thursday, many are wondering: What can law enforcement do with the list?

The reality is that police can only act when a victim is willing to come forward and file a police report.

“Without an outcry, the police can’t do anything,” said Brenda Nichols, a former supervisor of the Dallas PD’s child abuse unit.

Once a victim comes forward, police can investigate to determine if there’s enough evidence to obtain a warrant.

The case of accused priest Edmundo Paredes is instructive. He was the former longtime pastor at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.

Diocese of Monterey witnesses installation of its fifth Bishop

Monterey Herald

January 30, 2019

By James Herrera

The fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey, Daniel E. Garcia, was installed in an elaborate celebratory mass and ceremony that included many faithful, fellow clergy from brothers, sisters, priests, bishops and included the reading of the Apostolic Mandate issued from the head of the Catholic Church himself – Pope Francis.

The installation ceremony, mass and reception was held on Tuesday afternoon for hundreds of people on the grounds of Madonna Del Sasso Church and Catholic School in Salinas.

“… It’s my desire to get to know you and for you to get to know me. For me to see and visit the various and awesome communities and parishes that are located throughout the four counties of our diocese. As I said at my press conference, and I say again to you today, I want to walk with you and to serve you. I want you to help me to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters around us. Especially those who are most vulnerable and often get lost in the midst of our policies, our politics, and structures in the church and outside of the church,” said Bishop Garcia during his homily.

The new Bishop said he was humbled and moved by his appointment to be the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

SA advocate for victims of priest sex abuse anxiously awaits list of accused offenders

January 30, 2019

By Bill Barajas

On Thursday, the Archdiocese of San Antonio is expected to release a comprehensive list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

The list includes accusations dating back to the 1950s and is meant to provide accountability and transparency.

"We feel like the list coming out is very important for many reasons. For the victims of sex abuse, it's very important because it validates them," said Patti Koo, San Antonio chapter leader of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

"Oftentimes, they haven't felt listened to or believed. It also empowers them. They feel like they are no longer alone. It empowers them to come forward," Koo said.

In Oct. 2018, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and dioceses across Texas agreed to compile and release the names.

"It's a very long time coming. In fact, we wonder if they could have released this a year ago. Could they have released it five years ago and 10 years ago?" Koo said.

Since 1988, SNAP's mission is to provide a safe place for victims to share their stories and be supported.

January 30, 2019

From Evasion to Conversion


January 30, 2019

By Austen Ivereigh

“Pope Lowers Expectations for Next Month’s Sex Abuse Summit”—the Associated Press headline may not have been heart-lifting, but it was fair. During Pope Francis’s flight back from Panama on January 27, he had told reporters that “we have to deflate the expectations” surrounding the bishops’ first global summit on clerical sex abuse, which is to take place at the Vatican between February 20 and February 24.

Francis described the summit as essentially a “catechesis”: to make church leaders across the world aware of the pain of victims, and their obligations to act against abuser priests, as well as to hear survivors’ testimonies and to pray, penitentially, for the church’s failures. But three days is not a long time, and no one is expecting a revolution. “The problem of abuse will continue,” Francis assured reporters. “It’s a human problem.” No one should be expecting the pope to pull a new solution out of a top hat.

Jesuits Keeping Students and Staff at Fordham University in the Dark

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 30, 2019

Despite pledges to be transparent, Northeast Jesuit officials refused to tell Fordham University students and staff if any abusive clerics were living on-campus.

Apparently, Jesuits quietly moved "credibly accused" child molesting clerics to Murray-Weigel Hall on the Fordham campus. This strategy was also used by Jesuit officials at other colleges they operate across the US, such as at Gonzaga in Washington.

The religious order refused to say whether they are still doing this at Fordham. Instead, the university was forced to restrict student access to Murray-Weigel in order to keep them out of harm’s way. Ongoing student-volunteer programs had previously allowed student to visit the priests housed there.

Wikileaks takes a swipe at the famously secretive Vatican

Washington Post

January 30, 2019

By Chico Harlan

WikiLeaks, the tell-anything anti-secrecy organization, on Wednesday took aim at one of the world’s most secretive institutions, the Vatican, releasing a small collection of documents about a power struggle involving Pope Francis, a leading traditionalist cardinal, and a medieval Catholic order of knights.

The documents offered little new about a fight that two years ago was widely covered in the media. Their contents seem especially paltry at a time when the Vatican is embroiled in full-fledged scandals on multiple continents. But the release represented the first time WikiLeaks has turned its spotlight on the often-acrimonious internal affairs of the Holy See, and some Vatican watchers wondered whether more damaging secrets might start to escape the city-state’s walls.

“The fact itself, WikiLeaks entering the internal affairs of the Vatican, is an alarm bell,” said Marco Politi, a veteran Vatican watcher. “The subject itself is not interesting. These are old diatribes, old fights. But the important thing will be the next step. Will there be a subsequent WikiLeaks [release] on something not previously revealed? Should WikiLeaks pull out stuff regarding pedophilia or banking scandals, then we would be onto something new.”

Though the Vatican has been burned by leaks in the past — mostly notably when a trove of confidential documents was released in 2012 with help from then-Pope Benedict XVI’s butler — the city-state is famed for its airtight hold on information, including its paperwork on cases involving sexual abuse.

A Vatican spokesman noted that WikiLeaks had previously touched on church affairs, in 2010 — but the documents leaked then were cables from the U.S. Embassy, describing diplomatic relations with the Holy See. WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said Wednesday was the first time the organization released documents about the Vatican “conflict between the different factions.”

List of Abilene-area priests accused of child sex crimes to be released Thursday


Jan 30, 2019

By Erica Garner

A list of Abilene-area priests and other clergy members accused of sexually assaulting children will be released by the end of the day Thursday.

The San Angelo Diocese, which parents Catholic parishes across the Big Country, says they will be releasing their abuse report on January 31, as mandated by a decision made by all 15 Texas Dioceses in September.

A press release states these lists are being released in an effort for local parishes to be transparent about the bishops, priests, deacons, and other religious leaders that served their organizations and were involved in "credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor" dating back to 1950.

April 8 deadline set for Diocese of Winona-Rochester child sex abuse filings

Post Bulletin

January 30, 2019

By Brian Todd

Individuals with a claim of child sexual abuse against the Diocese of Winona-Rochester will need to register that claim no later than April 8.

According to the diocese's notice of chapter 11 bankruptcy, creditors — victims of abuse by clergy, staff or volunteers — need to file a proof of claim, a signed statement describing a creditor's claim. Proofs of claim can be filed electronically on the court's website at www.mnb.uscourts.gov. No login or password is required.

Alternatively, a Proof of Claim form may be obtained at the same website or any bankruptcy clerk's office. Claims will be allowed in the amount scheduled unless they meet the following criteria:

• The claim is designated as "disputed," "contingent" or "unliquidated";

• Individuals file a proof of claim in a different amount; or

• you receive another notice, according to the bankruptcy documentation.

If an individual's claim is not scheduled or if that claim is designated as disputed, contingent, or unliquidated, creditors must file a proof of claim or risk not being paid on their claim or unable to vote on a plan.

Chicago Catholic Teacher Arrested For Abusing 13 & 14-Year-Old Boys


January 30, 2019

By Eric Italiano

Yesenia Rodriguez, a 27-year-old former teacher at St. Procopius School in Chicago, has been arrested and charged for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old teen and made “physical contact” with another 13-year-old teen.

According to reports, an investigation by local authorities found that Rodriguez allegedly sexually abused the unidentified 14-year-old teenager in the 1600-block of South Allport on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

Furthermore, the investigation into Rodriguez found that she also allegedly battered a 13-year-old teenager between the dates of September 15, 2018, and January 25, 2019, also on South Allport St. Procopius School is located at 1625 S Allport St in Chicago.

Rodriguez was arrested by authorities on Monday, January 28, and was subsequently charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving a victim 13 to 18 years old, which is a felony offense.

State’s Dioceses Face Day of Reckoning With New York Child Victims Act

National Catholic Register

January 30, 2019

By Peter Jesserer Smith

After traveling 300 miles by train to Albany, Michael Whelan, a Catholic survivor of sex abuse, witnessed the passage of the Child Victims Act in the state Legislature. Four decades had passed since a Buffalo priest preyed on him as a 13-year-old, taking away his childhood and altering his future forever.

“For us victims, I cried. I absolutely cried. I felt the relief they absolutely heard us,” he said. As he traveled back toward Buffalo by train, Whelan told the Register the sexual abuse he received during a skiing trip cost him many things: a happy first marriage, normal family life and a promising military career, as the trauma kept resurfacing through the years.

“It has been a slow, hard fight,” Whelan said.

Baton Rouge list of Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse to come Thursday

The Advocate

January 30, 2019

By Andrea Gallo

Three months after Bishop Michael Duca pledged to release a list of local Roman Catholic clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, the people of Baton Rouge will find out Thursday which allegations of abuse in his diocese have previously been shielded from the public.

Duca is expected to release the list at noon Thursday, when he has scheduled a news conference.

Catholic dioceses nationwide have been under pressure to name names since a Pennsylvania grand jury last August revealed that more than 300 predator priests had abused 1,000 victims. The report set off a new wave of scandal and devastation in a clergy sex abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church worldwide.

Parishes, dioceses feeling the financial pinch

Our Sunday Visitor

January 30, 2019

By Brian Fraga

These days, Father John Hollowell sits at his desk and pores over financial statements, trying to figure out how to cut almost 25 percent of his two Indiana parishes’ operating budgets for next year.

“McCarrick and friends are coming home to roost in fiscal year 2019-2020 at a parish near you,” Father Hollowell wrote to his 8,800 Twitter followers on Jan. 22.

In a recent interview with Our Sunday Visitor, Father Hollowell said he noticed “a pretty sharp decline” in parish weekend collections last summer, when the national clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded anew with revelations that former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was alleged to have harassed and molested minors and seminarians several decades ago.

“I totally get why people are doing that. For many people, money is the last form of protest they have to speak to Church authorities,” said Father Hollowell, the pastor of Annunciation Church in Brazil, Indiana, and St. Paul Church in nearby Greencastle.

How Fort Worth dealt with priest abuse accusations


Jan 30, 2019

By Jody Barr

It’s taken Texas’ Catholic dioceses 12 years to do what Fort Worth's diocese did back in 2007. Fort Worth was the first of the state’s 15 dioceses to identify clergy members with “credible allegations” of sexually abusing children — and any other allegation against priests.

Texas has 1,320 Catholic parishes in 15 dioceses.

“We listened to victims and one of the things they articulated was the experience of frustration of not having been heard and not having been believed,” the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson said in October 2018 when explaining why he decided to publish the list 12 years ago.

Olson made those comments last fall after the Catholic Diocese of Dallas told the public it had an active internal investigation into 220 priests. That investigation started in February 2018, Bishop Edward Burns told reporters last fall.

But, the Dallas diocese investigation only deals with active priests, Burns told reporters.

Austin man relives alleged child sex abuse by Boston priest


January 30, 2019

By Brittany Glas
He was just a first-grade student at the time. His father had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital. His mother was trying to juggle her three children and doing the best she could to take care of their family amid their own struggles.

Fearful his parents were already too stressed to be burdened by his issues, the boy turned to a priest for help. After all, he knew he wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers, but a priest was different, right?

The man the boy turned to was supposedly a man of God.

"He set up times to see me separately where he abused me. I didn’t know what was going on because I’m seven and I know this doesn’t feel right, and I know this isn’t right, but who am I going to tell?" He continued, "I thought I was doing the right thing and now I feel like I did something wrong."

He says the priest didn’t threaten his life, but he believes manipulation was used to ensure he never told anyone about their sexually-inappropriate.

Bishop Fernando Ramos to substitute for Chilean bishops president

La Croix International

January 30, 2019

By Marie Malzac

Bishop Santiago Silva, implicated for allegedly failing to report accusations of sexual harassment, will not take part in the summit on sexual abuse at the Vatican

Bishop Fernando Ramos, the secretary general of the Chilean Episcopal Conference, will travel to Rome for the Vatican sexual abuse summit in place of conference president, Bishop Santiago Silva, who is accused of having covered up sexual abuse. This is the second of a seven-part series profiling heads of bishops' conferences.

The earthquake that struck the Chilean Church in 2018 continues to rumble on. A year after Pope Francis' voyage to the South American nation, the Chilean bishops are in the process of completely re-organizing themselves in the wake of the revelations of the Church's egregious management of sexual abuse cases.

Over this period, several bishops have resigned, judicial action has been launched and the mechanisms of silence exposed.The Chilean example has become emblematic of the silence and dysfunction that has characterized the handling of sexual abuse in the church.

One consequence of these events is that the president of the Chilean Episcopal Conference (CECh), Bishop Santiago Silva, will not take part in the summit on sexual abuse at the Vatican convoked by Pope Francis from February 21-24.

An investigation has now implicated Bishop Silva for allegedly failing to report accusations of sexual harassment made by a former seminarian, who says that he confided the facts to him during the 1960s when Silva was still a theology professor.

Prosecutors also interviewed Bishop Silva, who is now the bishop for the military, for more than five hours in October over allegations concerning his management of another case involving an army chaplain.

In addition, he was questioned about several other episodes, notably when he was auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Valparaiso and rector of the pontifical seminary of San Rafael.

As a result, Bishop Fernando Ramos, secretary general of the CECh, will take the place of Bishop Silva at the Rome summit at the request of the latter, who has nevertheless remained president of the conference.

In an interview with the Chilean press at the end of December, Bishop Ramos explained that the decision would ensure that "attention will focus on… analyses and commentary linked to the president."

Serious dysfunction

Pope Francis' trip to Chile marked a turning point in his pontificate after his January 2018 visit turned to disaster. The pope had defended Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who was suspected of covering up the sexual abuse of Fernando Karadima, a former priest and sexual predator.

This provoked an outcry that forced the pope to look deeper into the matter sending a special envoy to Chile, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who was tasked with gathering testimonies.

The results of this investigation caused an about face in his attitude as well as triggering an earthquake in the whole Chilean Church, the grave dysfunction of which emerged clearly.

In May, the pope summonsed all Chilean bishops to Rome for an unprecedented meeting to share and discuss Archbishop Scicluna's conclusions.

Archbishop Scicluna's report noted that the facts reported to the bishops "were superficially regarded as improbable even when there were serious indices of crime" while other cases "were investigated with delay or even never investigated."

Based on Scicluna's findings, Pope Francis also hit out at "pressure exercised on those who were responsible for the conduct of criminal prosecutions" as well as "the destruction of compromising documents by those responsible for ecclesiastical archives."

Block resignation of the Chilean bishops

Following this meeting, the Chilean bishops presented their resignations en masse to the pope. To date, Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of seven, including Bishop Barros.

The scandal has now impacted the Chilean Catholic Church at the highest levels since Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago is currently the subject of an investigation by Chilean prosecutors – along with six other bishops – for cover up of abuse.

Going beyond the issue of the cover up of sexual abuse cases, the scandal has also shed light on the dysfunction with respect to the information transmitted to the pope.

In mid-January, Pope Francis received the leaders of the Chilean bishops in audience for an update on the re-organization process since last year's meeting.

Prevention and accompanying victims

Born in 1959 in the Chilean capital and ordained a priest in 1989, Bishop Ramos, who will now represent Chile at the Summit called by the pope, did not live in his country during the worst years of the sexual abuse omerta.

Sent to Rome to continue his studies in 1993, he then worked in the Congregation for Bishops until 2007 before returning to Santiago.The same year, he was appointed rector of the Pontifical Chilean Seminary. In 2011, Cardinal Ezzati appointed him as his first episcopal vicar in Santiago.

During this period, Bishop Ramos was also appointed as a member of the National Council for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse on Minors and Accompanying Victims created by the Chilean Episcopal Conference.

In 2014, he became auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Santiago, and was elected secretary general of the CECh in 2017.

Following the resignation of Bishop Alejandro Goic, Rancagua, Ramos was appointed apostolic administrator of the diocese, which is currently in a "complicated situation."

Why, despite 100s of letters, Texas AG can't investigate priest abuse


January 30, 2019

By Erin Cargile, Phil Prazan andJody Barr

Hundreds of Texans reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton's office, asking it to investigate Catholic Diocese in Texas after Pennsylvania's attorney general launched prosecutions into alleged sexual abuse of children.

Paxton's office's response: state law doesn't allow them to investigate.

In an interview with KXAN News, Paxton spokesperson Marc Rylander, says there are constraints on the state office.

"There should be no safer place, not only in Texas, but on earth, than the local church," Rylander said. "But every state is set up different. Every state has different statues. Some states have the ability to go into an issue where there are reports like these and blow the whole thing up and prosecute and take down. In Texas, the law is set up differently."

State law doesn't give the Attorney General primary jurisdiction — also known as original jurisdiction — over these cases. "Primary jurisdiction" is the ability to investigate a local matter alone.

Investigating and prosecuting allegations against priests must begin with local police and district attorneys' offices, he says. Those agencies must ask the Attorney General to step in to lead or to help on a local crime.

"We have to rely on local district attorneys from the 254 counties in our state to either refer the case to us or ask for our assistance as they investigate and prosecute these cases," Rylander said.

The law is different in Pennsylvania. There, under title 42, the General Assembly gave the Pennsylvania Attorney General the power to convene a grand jury to investigate organized crime or public corruption involving more than one county in the state. The Pennsylvania Attorney General used that authority to look into the Catholic Diocese.

The Texas Attorney General only has original jurisdiction for allegations of misuse of state property, abuse of office, election law violations and offenses against juveniles in state correctional facilities.

Twice Accused NYC Priest Allowed to Continue Working in Southern California

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 30, 2019

A clergyman who was accused at least twice of abuse in New York City not only remained on the job there, he also continued working in southern California.

On December 20th, the New York Times disclosed that two settlements had been paid by the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program of the Archdiocese of New York on claims against Fr. Donald Timone . Both settlements were for six figures. One of the two men committed suicide in 2015.

However, while the settlements were paid out in 2017, Church supervisors kept quiet and let Fr. Timone keep working around unsuspecting families and vulnerable kids in two states until he was outed by the Times. This violates common sense, common decency, Church policy and hundreds of pledges by prelates to remove "credibly accused" abusers.

In California, Fr. Timone worked at the Church of the Nativity in Rancho Santa Fe and taught at John Paul the Great Catholic University, in Escondido. However, as far as SNAP knows, there has been no public coverage of this deplorable situation in California.

Vatican official resigns following abuse accusation from ex-nun

The Hill

By Tal Axelrod

January 30, 2019

A senior Vatican official has resigned after a former nun accused him of making sexual advances during confession, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The Vatican said the Rev. Hermann Geissler has denied allegations made by Doris Wagner and noted that he has the right to file a civil suit.

Geissler said he was resigning “to limit the damage already done” to the Vatican, but noted he wants an investigation to be conducted into the woman’s allegations.

Geissler had previously worked as the chief of staff for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees sexual abuse cases.

Wagner, a former nun in Geissler’s German order, went public with her accusation in November at a conference on women and clergy sexual abuse, referring to Geissler by his position rather than his name. The allegation stems from a 2009 incident.

Several women members of the Catholic Church have come out to denounce sexual abuse and harassment by members of the clergy, according to the AP, following the #MeToo movement.

Pope Francis has convened a meeting set to take place next month with the presidents of all the Catholic bishops’ conferences to discuss sexual abuse within the church.

133 Victims: What does Fairfield Owe?

Fairfield Mirror

January 30, 2019

By Alicia Phaneuf and Sabina Dirienzo

Fairfield University President Mark R. Nemec, Ph.D. and chairman of the board of trustees Frank J. Carroll III ‘89 released an announcement on Friday, Jan. 25 stating that the University and four other defendants had reached a $60 million settlement with 133 victims of sexual abuse by Fairfield alum Douglas Perlitz ’92. Perlitz founded Project Pierre Toussaint, a school for poverty-stricken boys in Haiti. In 2007, allegations of sexual abuse began to circulate regarding Perlitz. He plead guilty in 2010 and will be imprisoned until 2026.

The other defendants in the case include Rev. Paul Carrier, S.J., a former director of Campus Ministry, the Society of Jesus of New England, the Order of Malta and Hope Carter, a member of the Haiti Fund’s board of directors.

The settlement will be considered for approval by the federal court in Connecticut on Feb. 11.

Andrea Bierstein, a partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy Law Firm, sent the amended complaint filed Jan. 25 regarding the settlement with the defendants to The Mirror.

Pope downplays expectations for sexual abuse meeting in Rome

Religion News Service

January 30, 2019

By Fr. Thomas Reese

Talking to reporters on his plane coming back from World Youth Day in Panama this week (Jan. 27), Pope Francis downplayed what he called “inflated” expectations for the upcoming meeting of bishops in Rome to deal with clergy sexual abuse. “The expectations need to be deflated,” he said. He also sought to lower expectations about the possibility of married priests.

Many in the United States have been hoping that the meeting on abuse, which will bring the presidents of the episcopal conferences from over 100 countries to the Vatican Feb. 21-24, would result in procedures for dealing with bishops who do not protect children from abusive priests. While the church has made progress in dealing with abusive priests, it still needs a process for dealing with bishops who do not protect children.

The expectations for the meeting were raised in November, when the head of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, told the American bishops not to vote on such procedures at their fall meeting in Baltimore. Ouellet said the Americans should wait for a discussion of the issue at the meeting in Rome.

It now appears that the meeting will not develop new policies but, in the words of Pope Francis, will be a “catechesis” on the problem of abuse aimed at bishops who do not understand the issue or what they should do in response to abuse.

It also appears that the meeting will establish a task force to help bishops in implementing the church’s policies and procedures for dealing with abuse.

It’s Not Just the Priests—Nuns Also Accused of Sexual Abuse

Legal Examiner

January 30, 2019

By Eric T. Chaffin

Amidst all the reports of abuse by Catholic priests that have been circulating in the media over the past several months comes a new report alleging that priests weren’t the only ones engaging in sexual abuse. According to CBS News, several nuns have also been accused of sexual molestation and harassment, with victims now coming out to share their stories.

Former Nun Leads the Charge to Expose Abusive Nuns in the Church
Mary Dispenza, a former nun in the Catholic Church, is now working with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to expose the truth about child sex crimes and cover ups by nuns in the church.

Back in 2012, she sent a letter to the bishops asking them to expand their oversight of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) “into what the organization—and America’s religious orders of women—are doing and are not doing regarding child sex crimes and cover ups by nuns.”

She went on to write that many abusive nuns have never been exposed or disciplined and that many who were abused by nuns have coped by denying and mischaracterizing the crimes they suffered, leading to increased confusion, isolation, shame, and self-blame. She adds that there are more nuns than priests and that many more nuns had access to more kids, mostly because they worked in schools.

Finally, she urged the bishops to help in making the church “and our society safer from clergy child predators….”

It was after the Pennsylvania grand jury released their report of hundreds of pedophile priests back in August 2018 that Dispenza noticed an uptick in reports of abuse by religious sisters.

"¿Eres maricón?": La brutal pregunta del Tribunal Eclesiástico a víctima de abuso sexual por parte del cura Ramón Iturra

["Are you a faggot?": The brutal questioning of sex abuse victim by Ecclesiastical Court in Ramón Iturra case]

El Mostrador

January 23, 2019

El ex acólito de Constitución, Cristian Alcaíno, se presentó en el Tribunal Eclesiástico para declarar en contra del párroco Ramón Iturra, quien abusó sexualmente de él cuando tenía 11 años a principios de 1989. A través de sus redes sociales, su abogado defensor denunció los entretelones del interrogatorio a cargo del sacerdote Francisco Iglesias.

Una ronda de entrevistas a cargo del sacerdote peruano, Francisco Iglesias, se realizó en el Tribunal Eclesiástico para investigar el caso de abuso sexual denunciado por el ex acólito de Constitución, Cristián Alcaíno.

El incómodo silencio de los jesuitas para enfrentar su momento más complejo

[The uncomfortable silence of the Jesuits in their most complex moment]

El Mostrador

January 30, 2019

By Felipe Saleh

La estupefacción del mundo jesuita ante la denuncia contra Renato Poblete incluye un disciplinado silencio, uno que bordea el doble estándar, a la luz de la fuerza con la que en el pasado fustigaron a otras congregaciones y figuras religiosas involucradas en casos de abuso sexual a menores de edad o mujeres, y a quienes los encubrieron. La estrategia comunicacional ha sido muy sigilosa. Las declaraciones públicas de integrantes de la orden sobre el caso han sido todas bien cuidadas, alineadas en poner el foco en el apoyo a la denunciante, Marcela Aranda, pero han esquivado hablar en profundidad del impacto interno que ha significado para la congregación que una de sus máximas figuras esté involucrada en un caso de abuso y, sobre todo, del encubrimiento que por años debe haber habido de la conducta del fallecido religioso.

Formalizado por abusos y violación: Tribunal mantiene arraigo nocturno para ex canciller del Arzobispado de Santiago

[Court maintains overnight house arrest for former chancellor of Santiago Archdiocese, accused of sexual abuses]


January 30, 2019

By Tamara Cerna

El 13° Juzgado de Garantía de Santiago se negó a dictar prisión preventiva, según solicitó la fiscalía, y agregó las cautelares de arraigo y prohibiciones de acercarse a los denunciantes.

Tras casi media hora de audiencia, el 13° Juzgado de Garantía de Santiago se negó cambiar la medida cautelar que actualmente pesa sobre el ex canciller del Arzobispado de Santiago, Oscar Muñoz, formalizado por abusos sexuales y violación.

José Andrés Murillo: “Ya van cerca de ocho testimonios de víctimas del cura Poblete”

[José Andrés Murillo: "There are already about eight testimonies of victims of the priest Poblete"]

La Tercera

January 29, 2019

By María José Navarrete

“Algunos me dijeron ‘todos sabíamos que Renato era mujeriego’”, señaló en radio Duna el director de la Fundación Para la Confianza y denunciante de Karadima.

“Ya van cerca de ocho testimonios de víctimas del cura Poblete”, afirmó el director de la Fundación para la Confianza y denunciante de Fernando Karadima, José Andrés Murillo.

Jesuitas en la mira: abogado de denunciante de Renato Poblete apunta al encubrimiento y redes de protección de la compañía

[Jesuits in the crosshairs: Renato Poblete's whistleblower says there are cover-ups and protection networks within the order]

El Mostrador

January 29, 2019

Juan Pablo Hermosilla, el abogado de la denunciante Marcela Aranda, sostuvo que el comportamiento del cura capellán del Hogar de Cristo era un secreto a voces, estaba normalizado y hasta se hacían chistes con su conducta. Por eso, “lo que ella está pidiendo hoy día es una investigación para entender el comportamiento de la Compañía de Jesús y por qué nadie la apoyó en ese momento (…). Lo primero es fijar las responsabilidades dentro de la Compañía de Jesús, quién supo qué, por qué no hizo nada, y si alguien más participó en estas cosas”, dijo. La posibilidad de recurrir a la justicia civil o presentar una querella por encubrimiento no se descarta. Por su parte, el provincial de los jesuitas asegura que nunca había escuchado que el cura Poblete hubiera mantenido relaciones con mujeres.

La denuncia de la profesora de la Universidad Católica Marcela Aranda contra el fallecido sacerdote Renato Poblete y el reconocimiento de la congregación de que hay más acusaciones de similar tenor contra el capellán del Hogar de Cristo han puesto todo el foco en la Compañía de Jesús.

Lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by former Falmouth pastor settled

Cape Cod Times

January 24, 2019

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite

Two men who filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused for years by a priest in St. Anthony’s Parish have each received $200,000 settlements.

Their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, announced the October settlements Tuesday as the Archdiocese of Hartford released the names of 48 priests found to have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Garabedian said the list was a “small step in the direction of healing for clergy sexual abuse survivors,” but said the archdiocese should also release “the names of those who participated in the cover-up.”

The link between the Falmouth case and the Hartford archdiocese is the Most Rev. Daniel Cronin, who served as bishop of the Fall River Diocese, which includes the Cape and Islands, from 1970 until 1991 and then became archbishop in Hartford, Connecticut, until his retirement in 2003. Cronin was named as defendant in the lawsuit because he supervised Monsignor Maurice Souza, who was assigned to St. Anthony’s from 1977 to 1986, and the suit said he “knew or should have known” about the abuse.

“Agents” who worked for Cronin and were supervised by him knew the boys spent the night at the rectory with Souza and went on overnight, out-of-state trips with him, the suit said.

Canonistas por caso Renato Poblete: La investigación es "necesaria" aunque no habría sanciones eclesiásticas

[Experts on the Renato Poblete case: The investigation is "necessary" although there would be no ecclesiastical sanctions]


January 29, 2019

By Tomás Molina J

Según expertos, la indagatoria serviría para aclarar "más responsabilidades" y así reparar daños.

A comienzos de enero de este año una acusación presentada ante la comisión de escucha encargada por el arzobispo de Malta y enviado especial del Papa Francisco en Chile, Charles Scicluna, golpeó a los miembros de la Compañía de Jesús en el país.

Gobierno asegura que "lo razonable" es cambiar el nombre al Parque Renato Poblete tras denuncias en contra del sacerdote

[Government says it is "reasonable" to change the name of Renato Poblete Park after accusations against the priest]


January 29, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

El ministro de Vivienda y Urbanismo, Cristián Monckeberg, anunció que prontamente tomarán decisiones al respecto.

Primero fue la alcaldesa de Quinta Normal, Carmen Gloria Fernández, quien se abrió a la opción de cambiar el nombre al Parque Renato Poblete que se encuentra en su comuna.

Cristián del Campo, provincial de la Compañía de Jesús: “Ha sido un año muy duro para todos quienes formamos parte de la Iglesia”

[Jesuit Cristián del Campo: "It has been a very hard year for all of us who are part of the Church"]


January 29, 2019

By María José Navarrete

El sacerdote que encabeza la orden religiosa en Chile habla por primera vez de la denuncia contra Renato Poblete Barth. Apunta que la investigación buscará dilucidar si existió algún tipo de encubrimiento. “Nuestro compromiso hoy es investigar acuciosamente”.

Muy duro. Así ha sido el último año de Cristián del Campo como provincial de la Compañía de Jesús en Chile. El sacerdote de 48 años, quien dejará el cargo este año, ha debido hacer frente a una serie de denuncias de abusos contra jesuitas chilenos. Solo en 2018 se han iniciado investigaciones previas, destinadas a verificar la verosimilitud de las denuncias contra Jaime Guzmán, Leonel Ibacache, Raúl González, Juan Pablo Cárcamo y, la recién conocida contra Renato Poblete, ex capellán del Hogar de Cristo.

Abogado de denunciante revela: “Hablando con algunos jesuitas, me comentaron de un apodo que tenía Poblete”

[Accuser's lawyer says: "Speaking with some Jesuits, they told me about a nickname that Poblete had"]


January 29, 2019

By Felipe Retamal Navarro

El jurista detalló que la acusación contra Poblete no causó sorpresa en la orden jesuita, pues el clérigo era conocido por "su gusto por las jovencitas". También confirmó que se reunirá con algunas de las nuevas denunciantes del sacerdote.

El abogado Juan Pablo Hermosilla se refirió a la denuncia realizada por su clienta, la académica de Teología de la Universidad Católica, Marcela Aranda, en contra del fallecido sacerdote jesuita Renato Poblete.

New York Passes the Child Victims Act, SNAP responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 29, 2019

We applaud the New York State assembly for taking this much-needed step towards prevention, justice, and accountability. The passage of the Child Victims Act sends a strong signal to survivors that their experiences have not been forgotten and that preventing future cases of abuse is critical. By opening this civil window and allowing cases to proceed, survivors of sexual assault now have a chance to expose their abusers in court and help ensure other children are safe, something that would not have been possible but for this much-needed reform.

El cura que abusó de varias generaciones de niños

[The priest who abused several generations of children]

El País

January 29, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

Dos nuevas víctimas elevan a cinco las personas que acusan al “depredador” Francisco Carreras en Salamanca

Dos nuevas víctimas acusan de abusos de menores al sacerdote Francisco Carreras cuando era párroco en Calzada de Valdunciel, en la provincia de Salamanca, en los años ochenta. Se unen a las tres que ya había localizado EL PAÍS, una en ese municipio y otras dos en Sequeros, en la misma provincia, donde estuvo con anterioridad. Ya suman cinco. Todas estas personas coinciden en asegurar que puede haber decenas. “En Calzada pasamos por su casa, al menos, desde los nacidos en 1968 hasta los de 1977, niños de ocho a trece años, ha abusado de varias generaciones de niños del pueblo, de todas las pandillas, de todas las clases sociales”, afirma una de las víctimas que han decidido contar su caso. Aportan por primera vez una foto de Carreras, de los años noventa. Todos estos casos habrían prescrito, pero se desconoce si hay afectados más recientes.

Abuse victims blast Gary bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 28, 2019

Abuse victims blast Gary Catholic officials

Four names should be added to “accused” list, group says

SNAP: One has been found to be a ‘sexually violent predator’

Victims, witnesses & whistle blowers are urged to call law enforcement

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two clergy sex abuse victims will disclose names and information about four publicly accused child molesting clerics who spent time in the Gary area but have attracted virtually no public attention in the area.

They will also
--prod Gary’s Catholic bishop to add more names to his “credibly accused” clergy list,
--urge victims to “step forward, get help, protect kids and expose predators,” and
--beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Indiana to contact the attorney general and urge him to conduct a statewide investigation into this crisis.

Pédophilie dans l'Eglise française: une année de déballages, d'avancés, et de valses-hésitations

[Pedophilia in the French Church 2018: A year of unpacking, progress, and vacillations]


January 12, 2019

Vous avez bousillé ma vie", assène un ancien scout lyonnais. Sur le site de l'association La Parole libérée, des dizaines de victimes du père Bernard Preynat, mis en examen pour des agressions sexuelles sur de jeunes scouts dans les années 1980-1990, témoignent, réclament justice et somment le cardinal Philippe Barbarin de s'expliquer sur ses silences.

Vatican doctrinal official steps down amid investigation of solicitation

Catholic News Service

January 30, 2019

An Austrian priest under canonical investigation stepped down as an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in an effort "to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community," the doctrinal office said.

The priest, Father Hermann Geissler, "affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action," the office said in a note released by the Vatican press office on 29 January.

The 53-year-old theologian, who is a member of a community called The Spiritual Family The Work, submitted his resignation on 28 January to the prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, who then granted his request. He had worked at the congregation for 25 years and had been head of its doctrinal section since 2009.

Doris Wagner-Reisinger, a German theologian, told the National Catholic Reporter on 21 January that, with the help of a canon lawyer, she reported to doctrinal congregation officials in 2014 that the priest had propositioned her in 2009 during confession -- a serious crime reserved to the doctrinal congregation for judgment.

She told NCR that after her accusation, "I got a response that stated that Father Geissler had admitted, and had asked pardon, and was admonished."

She had talked about the unwanted encounter at a November event in Rome, which featured three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Instruct the ignorant

Journal Sentinel

January 30, 2019

For several months before his death, Father Alfred Kunz co-hosted a radio show called "Our Catholic Family."

Some would later say Kunz planned to expose sexually deviant priests by reading their names on the program.

Back then, in the late 1990s, such a move would have been almost unheard of. While a few isolated complaints had come to light, neither the extent of abuse by American clergy nor the hierarchy’s efforts to keep it secret would be revealed until the Boston Globe published an investigative report in 2002.

And so, in publicizing a list of pedophile priests, Kunz and his best friend Father Charles Fiore would have been defying their superiors’ orders to let church officials handle such complaints.

But Kunz never discussed their efforts — or pushback from church leaders — on the radio show. His co-host, Peter Kelly, said he never intended to do so.

Bury the dead

Journal Sentinel

January 23, 2019

By Gina Barton

Deputy David Cattanach was on his way to check on a wounded cat when a more pressing call came over the radio: Someone had suffered an injury at St. Michael School. A fall maybe. Or an accident. The dispatcher mentioned blood on the floor.

The kitten would have to wait.

Cattanach turned onto the winding road that led to the rural Wisconsin town of Dane, population 621, give or take a few. It was a sunny March morning in 1998, more spring than winter, and the roads were clear.

A few minutes into his 10-mile drive, another radio call came through: The man on the floor of the school wasn’t just injured; he was dead.

An ambulance was already idling in the parking circle when Cattanach arrived at the school, which was connected to the church. Two medical techs walked toward their vehicle, supporting a young man, unsteady on his feet. His hands were covered in blood.

The dead man, he said, was the parish priest.

Dallas Charter Culture and the Covington Controversy

National Catholic Register

January 29, 2019

Father Raymond J. de Souza

How could the bishops of Kentucky get it so wrong?

It’s partly another consequence of the sexual-abuse crisis, wherein the protocols for handling allegations have created an environment where immediate action precedes investigation. That post-Dallas Charter culture is well-known inside the Church, but can be a bit surprising when encountered by the general public.

And it was only because there was video evidence to exonerate the students that the bishops were forced to reverse themselves. Otherwise, an investigation would have ground on for weeks or months while the students’ reputations were effectively destroyed. That would not have been an accident, but business that now is usual.

Still, despite the quick exoneration, it was a very bad week for the boys of Covington Catholic High School. It was a worse week for the bishops of Kentucky. It is a terrible thing to be the victim of slander due to rash judgment. It is morally worse to perpetrate slander because one is guilty of rash judgment.

The bishops of Kentucky were lightning-quick to condemn the conduct of the Covington Catholic students after the March for Life. The Diocese of Covington, led by Bishop Roger Foys, and Covington Catholic High School condemned the students the very day the original video came to light, without waiting to view the entire recording or even hear alternative explanations.

University Students Prohibited from Visiting Murray-Weigel

The Fordham Ram

January 30, 2019

By Erica Scalise

In an interview with The Ram on Jan. 29, Bob Howe, Fordham’s senior director of communications said the university is prohibiting all students from visiting Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit New York Province’s infirmary and retirement home on campus.

Howe said the university could have done more to investigate the Northeast Province’s placement of priests at Murray-Weigel Hall.

“With the opportunity to review these matters in hindsight, with the information now available to us, the University should have sought to handle matters related to the Province’s assignments differently, much like the University’s recent insistence that current tenants of Murray-Weigel against whom credible allegations have been made be immediately removed,” Howe said.

In response to the Northeast Province’s release of a list of names of priests credibly accused of abuse, Howe said the university is no longer allowing students on the premises of Murray-Weigel.

“Unless and until the province can assure us they will not assign restricted Jesuits to Murray-Weigel Hall, even on a temporary basis, we are prohibiting all students from visiting the premises, nor will any restricted priests who may reside at Murray-Weigel Hall have access to Fordham facilities,” Howe said.

KREBS: On (un)dead abusers

Yale News

January 30, 2019

By Eric Krebs

What to do with a dead abuser? My high school, an all-boys Jesuit school, seems to be trying to figure that one out. The Jesuit Northeast Province recently released a report of over 50 priests from dozens of schools and parishes who have been identified as abusers. The numbers are truly frightening. The reports go back to the 1940s. Some are as recent as 2008. There are often decades between dates of incidents and dates of reports. All the while, generations of boys learned, graduated and forgot. My school makes the list upward of seven times and while no recorded incidents for said priests occurred during their time at my high school, they walked the halls, taught classes and shaped the lives of boys like myself all the same.

This isn’t new. We’ve all heard about the massive cases, while thousands of the individual cases, cover-ups and scandals have dotted the map and flown under our radars. And while the school community knew that these cases were out there, we never expected them to hit so close to home. It was foolish to think that we would escape it, but that’s always the hope when engaging with a flawed institution: that your iteration of it can exist without the baggage of its larger structure. Wishful thinking.

There are many outcomes that can occur when a Jesuit is credibly accused of misconduct: incarceration, impediment, laicization and departure from the order are a common few.

Of the 50 Jesuits on the list, 35 are deceased, with the vast majority having died before their abuses went recorded. Now that these men are six feet under, most of them long-deteriorated, are we to exhume their corpses? They’re dead. It sickens me to know that these predators will never face the music. Or will they? “To those who abuse minors, I would say this: Convert and hand yourself over to human justice and prepare for divine justice,” Pope Francis declared in a speech this past December. In the eyes of the church, the afterlife is a real place, capable of punishments greater than anything an orange jumpsuit can deliver.

But for those who don’t subscribe to that cosmic view of justice — and even for most who do — that is not enough. It can feel pointless to hate the dead, to want to shout at those who will never listen. But even if these priests are not alive somewhere in the afterlife, they’re not really dead. Their crimes, their lack of punishment, live on in the trauma of their victims and the structures that permit new victims to be made and new abusers to get away with it.'

Apparently, it’s not me, it’s you!

Malta Winds

January 30, 2019

By Giselle Scicluna

Statistics published by Discern, the research institute of the Archdiocese of Malta paint a very grim picture for the Church in our country. A mere fifty years ago, the number of faithful who attended Sunday mass was at a whopping eight-two percent of the population. Fresh from the abhorrent religio-political war of the early sixties, with people still reeling from the horrific effects of ‘id-dnub il-mejjet’ (interdiction), eighty-two percent was then a huge number indeed.

Fast forward five decades and that number has dwindled to a scant thirty-six percent, which figures show is hugely made up of attendees who are over fifty years of age. The same published data also predicts that if numbers keep on declining at the current rate, by 2040 only ten percent of Malta’s Catholic population will be attending Sunday Mass. Interestingly, against this scenario, the same study also reveals that ninety-two percent of the population believe they are Catholic.

So, in a nutshell, we can conclude that the decimated Sunday Mass attendance is not due to some existential crisis of faith, but to other perhaps more telling issues, which are increasingly keeping the faithful away from their Church.

Ed Palattella: Different spotlight on Erie’s Bishop Trautman

Erie Times News

January 30, 2019

National religion writer defends retired bishop in a parsing of the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

Peter Steinfels remains a notable name among journalists who cover religion. When Steinfels, a former senior religion writer for the New York Times, produced a lengthy examination of the Aug. 14 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, I took notice.

So did a number of readers of the Erie Times-News.

They sent me copies of Steinfels’ 11,000-word analysis of the grand jury report, published online Jan. 14 and in the Jan. 25 print edition of Commonweal, an American Catholic magazine.

“Vehemently misleading,” reads the headline of the article’s print version. “The Pennsylvania grand-jury report is not what it seems.”

Springfield bishop to discuss, answer questions on clergy sex abuse

The Republican

January 30, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Springfield diocesan Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski will discuss and respond to questions about how the diocese has been addressing allegations of sexual abuse against clergy in the first of four "listening and dialogue" sessions Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Mary, Mother of Hope Church, 840 Page Boulevard.

In a Jan. 15 letter to parishioners, Rozanski noted the Catholic Church has "once again found itself confronting the crisis of child sexual abuse, specifically the past failures of the church to respond to this terrible evil within our midst."

Rozanski cited two such church-related failures of reporting in the letter - Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick and the Pennsylvania grand jury report - as having "no direct relationship to our diocese" but being the "cause of renewed concerns within our Catholic community."

Survivors, lay leaders help archdiocese hear victims, assist in healing


January 30, 2019

By Maria Wiering

Frank Meuers and Tim O’Malley meet every month or so, often for breakfast, to talk about the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse.

Meuers is the southwest Minnesota chapter director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and O’Malley directs the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.

Since its founding, SNAP has often positioned itself as an adversary of the institutional church, which is why these meetings - and the men’s resulting collegiality - is so extraordinary. Meuers said he knows of no other SNAP leader with a similar relationship to a church official.

Meuers, 79, is one of more than a dozen clergy sexual abuse survivors in regular - sometimes daily - contact with O’Malley and his office. O’Malley looks to them for advice and insight into improving and expanding the archdiocese’s outreach to survivors, and he expects that collaboration will broaden and deepen now that the archdiocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case is complete.

Berks lawmaker: Sex-abuse legislation still a priority

69 News & Associated Press

January 28, 2019

With a new legislative session now underway in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi said he is ready to continue his fight on behalf of child sexual abuse survivors.

The Berks County Democrat, a Catholic clergy abuse victim himself, has been leading efforts to reform the state's statute of limitations.

"There are definitely different avenues that we should make available to these victims to be able to not only receive compensation, but to get justice," Rozzi said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati led the resistance to House legislation giving now-adult victims a two-year reprieve from time limits that bar them from suing perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

A bill failed to come up for a vote in the Senate late last year, three months after the state attorney general's grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

Catholic Diocese, county DA praise passage of Child Victims Act

Niagra Gazette

January 29, 2019

By Rick Pfeiffer

For survivor Paul Barr, the passage the long-awaited passage of the Child Victim's Act meant one thing.

"It means vindication," Barr said. "It means I get to defend 16-year-old Paulie Barr. Now I can stick up for that kid. Now (survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests) get to stick up for the children we were and confront those who abused us or let us be abused."

The legislation relaxes the statute of limitations for child molestation cases to give victims more time to file lawsuits or seek criminal charges. It was approved unanimously by the the Democrat-controlled Senate and Assembly late Monday afternoon.

It had failed in previous legislative sessions because of opposition by Republican members of the State Senate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised that he will sign the bill into law.

Opposition to the law from Catholic Dioceses across the state which had been strenuous in prior legislative sessions melted away on Monday.

"My gut tells me they acquiesced when they had no choice, and they made it sound like it was their idea," Barr said.

January 29, 2019

Weather impacts sentencing for man who attacked priest in Anamoose


January 29, 2019

By Jack Springgate

The wintry weather prompted the courts to cancel Tuesday’s sentencing for a Minnesota man accused of attacking an Anamoose priest a year ago.

43-year-old Chad Legare was supposed to be sentenced today for his assault on Father Robert Wapenski.

Legare originally pleaded not guilty to three felony charges before changing to an Alford plea on an attempted murder charge in November.

Two lesser charges were dropped.

Legare remains in custody in Rugby.

Overdue justice for victims of sexual abuse


January 29, 2019

For decades, young people were victimized twice — first by their tormentors, then by institutions that covered up what happened, protected abusers and offered victims no recourse. No opportunity for justice, no opportunity for compensation, no opportunity to heal. Religious institutions, schools, scouting groups, athletic organizations, politicians and even families were complicit in shielding perpetrators, hiding the truth and exacerbating the suffering.

The Child Victims Act passed overwhelmingly by the New York State Legislature was long overdue. It finally will change the dynamic surrounding childhood sexual abuse in favor of victims, and force a consideration of cases long buried in time. In the bill that passed, school districts were not exempted; this heinous behavior must be rooted out everywhere, which won’t happen without the purge the legislation promises.

The bill raises the age by which victims can pursue criminal charges against abusers to 28, and allows survivors to file civil suits up to age 55 — critical changes since victims can struggle for years to admit and address what happened to them. The measure includes what had been the most controversial provision, a 1-year window for people abused in the past to sue for damages, regardless of when the period expired for such lawsuits. That time frame should be adequate for the aggrieved to file claims while allowing the institutions being sued to know with certainty their possible liability.

Merrill police investigate two more claims of abuse by former Catholic priest

Wausau Daily Herald

January 29, 2019

By Laura Schulte

Police in Merrill are investigating at least two more sexual assault allegations against a former Wisconsin priest who already has been charged with molesting four young males in Sawyer County.

The latest complaints stem from the former Rev. Thomas Ericksen's time at St. Robert's Catholic Church in Merrill in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Merrill Police Chief Corey confirmed his department is investigating cases involving Ericksen but declined to comment on the nature of the offenses.

Ericksen, 71, is being held in the Sawyer County Jail in Hayward on a $510,000 cash bond while facing charges that he sexually assaulted boys while he was stationed in the town of Winter in the early 1980s.

The Catholic Diocese of Superior transferred Ericksen from Merrill to St. Peter's Catholic Church in Winter in July 1982, according to Wausau Daily Herald archives. He's facing one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child, one count of second-degree sexual assault of a child and two counts of second-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim. He was arrested in Minneapolis on Nov. 16 and extradited to Hayward, the county seat of Sawyer County, on Nov. 30.

A bill in the Utah legislature would let churches apologize for abuse without admitting guilt

Fox 13 News

January 29, 2019

By Ben Winslow

A bill being drafted in the Utah State Legislature would allow churches and other nonprofit organizations to apologize for abuse, but not admit culpability.

The forthcoming bill, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, is an effort to provide abuse victims with some measure of comfort.

“We want to empower these organizations to reach out and minister and help and support victims in their most dire time of need,” he said in an interview with FOX 13.

Rep. Ivory said an apology wouldn’t mean an admission of liability in a civil lawsuit, nor would it block any litigation.

“They’re able to reach out, to apologize, to minister, to aid the victims without that being considered any type of basis of liability to such organizations,” he said. “Now it doesn’t mean that if there’s some liability, if they’re culpable for something, that’s a separate question.”

Listen: How should the Catholic Church address the sex abuse scandal?

Houston Chronicle

January 29, 2019

Decades in, scandal involving pedophile priests and elaborate coverups still festers within the Catholic Church like an open wound.

Law enforcement officials recently raided the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for evidence on a Conroe priest accused of abuse. To understand why scandal persists and what should be done to fully address it, we talk to Anastasiya Zavyalova, assistant professor at Rice Business School who specializes in reputation management of organizations in crisis.

From Tylenol to VW, companies face controversies that can destroy them if not handled properly. Find out how the horrifying pattern of child abuse within the Catholic Church affects victims, the faithful and individual parishes and why it's is an exceptional crisis in desperate need of resolution.

Chancellor’s experience, canon law study on handling clergy sexual abuse gain national attention

The Catholic Spirit

January 28, 2019

By Joe Ruff

Susan Mulheron, chancellor for Canonical Affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is gaining national attention with her experience and study of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in light of canon law.

She was the keynote speaker last September at a meeting of experts in Naples, Florida, discussing the abuse crisis, brought together by the Catholic-based International Center on Law, Life, Faith and Family. Mulheron addressed the cultural, institutional and systematic roots of the crisis and ways canon law can be used to address it — or misused to exacerbate it.

Mulheron spoke in October at the national convention in Phoenix of the Canon Law Society of America, where she serves on the board, on canonical considerations in the Church’s response to scandals, particularly the abuse crisis.

Top Vatican official resigns, denies allegations of advances

Associated Press

January 29, 2019

A top Vatican official has resigned after a former nun from his community publicly accused him of making sexual advances during confession, the Vatican said Tuesday.

The Vatican said that the Rev. Hermann Geissler denies the allegation and reserves the right to a civil suit.

Geissler, who said he wants the church to continue its investigation of the woman’s allegations, said he was resigning “to limit the damage already done” to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases and where he was chief of staff.

Doris Wagner, a former nun in Geissler’s German order known as “the Work,” publicly accused Geissler at a conference on women and clergy sexual abuse that was held in Rome in November. The allegations stem from 2009, and Wagner didn’t refer to Geissler by name but by his position as section leader at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Wagner’s allegations come amid a reckoning of religious sisters denouncing sexual abuse and harassment by clergy, an outgrowth of the (hash)MeToo movement and the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal. Pope Francis has convened a meeting of the presidents of all the Catholic bishops’ conferences in the world next month to discuss the issue sexual abuse scandals rocking the church.

Soliciting sex in a confessional is considered a grave crime in the church, given that the penitent is in a vulnerable state, asking for forgiveness for sin from a priest in a Catholic sacrament.

Why are Cuomo, Democrats alienating Catholics?

New York Post

January 29, 2019

By Timothy Cardinal Dolan

It’s been a rough time for faithful Catholics recently in our state government’s frantic rush for “progressive” ideas.

I’m thinking first of the ghoulish radical abortion-expansion law, which allows for an abortion right up to the moment of birth; drops all charges against an abortionist who allows an aborted baby, who somehow survives the scissors, scalpel, saline and dismemberment, to die before his eyes; mandates that, to make an abortion more convenient and easy, a physician need not perform it; and might even be used to suppress the conscience rights of health care professionals not to assist in the grisly procedures. All this in a state that already had the most permissive abortion laws in the country.

As if that’s not enough, instead of admitting that abortion is always a tragic choice, and that life-giving alternatives should be more vigorously promoted, the governor and his “progressive” supporters celebrated signing the bill. At the governor’s command, even the lights of the Freedom Tower sparkled with delight.

Those who once told us that abortion had to remain safe, legal and rare now have made it dangerous, imposed and frequent.

Then our governor insults and caricatures the church in what’s supposed to be an uplifting and unifying occasion, his “State of the State” address.

The bishops of this state have long supported a reform of the inadequate laws around the sexual abuse of minors. Yes, we and many others expressed reservations about one element, the retroactive elimination of the civil statute of limitations, but urged dramatic reform that, in many ways, was tougher than what was being proposed by legislators. A month ago we renewed that stance, and even dropped our objections to the “look-back” section if all victims would benefit. The governor was aware of all this.

Why, then, would he use his address to blame the church, and only the church, for blocking this bill? Why would he publicly brag in a political address about his dissent from timeless and substantive church belief? Why would he quote Pope Francis out of context as an applause line to misrepresent us bishops here as being opposed to our Holy Father? Why did he reduce the sexual abuse of minors, a broad societal and cultural curse that afflicts every family, public school, religion and government program, to a “Catholic problem?”

What Was the Biggest Scandal of All Time?

Esquire Magazine

March 2019

Melissa Herrington, artist
In 1917, Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain forever altered and scandalized the established art world, challenging the very definition of art. But what if the founding father of conceptual art was actually a woman? Recent speculation is that Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the forgotten pioneering feminist, may be responsible for the most significant work of art of the 20th century.

Cynthia Herrup, history and law professor, USC
For duration, extent of damage, and betrayal of trust, no scandal matches the Catholic Church’s exploitation of authority over sexuality.

Jenna Glass, author, The Women’s War
Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of more than 300 young gymnasts is a crime, not a scandal. But the massive cover-up; the length of time it went on; and the number of adults who made excuses, ignored complaints, and chose to protect institutions instead of the gymnasts? That’s the biggest sports scandal ever.

A Nun’s Rape and a Priest’s Mysterious Death Jolt Catholic Church in India

The Diplomat

January 29, 2019

By Priyanka Borpujari

A Catholic nun has alleged that he [the bishop] had sex – natural and unnatural – with her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. Thirteen is believed to be an unlucky number… Billions of men and women copulate every day for reasons I do not have to explain. This has been happening right from the days of Adam and Eve. But a modern-day Eve finds it convenient to claim that she was raped when she is caught in the act.

These sentence, part of an article titled “Villains as Victims,” appeared in India Currents, a magazine run under the patronage of the Catholic Church in India. The sentiment within sums up the response of the Catholic Church toward a 44-year-old nun in Kerala, in India’s south, who has filed a complaint with the police against a bishop for raping her 13 times since 2014. Following a long-drawn process where the nun was first ignored and then threatened, the accused – Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the diocese of the northern Indian town of Jalandhar – was interrogated at length and then arrested. He was let out on conditional bail after three weeks.

A week later, on October 22, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who had testified against Mulakkal, was found dead in his room.

Now the rape survivor and five nuns who have been supporting her are facing threats from their own congregation, the Missionaries of Jesus, of being transferred away from Kerala. The five nuns have been asked to join different convents across the country in a move to weaken their case against Mulakkal.

Christian institutions in India have been hushing up crimes at their altar, leaving scores of believers disappointed with their spiritual institution. In a case dating back to 1992, a Catholic nun was found dead in a well in a convent in Kerala. The local police had closed the case back then, calling it a suicide. The case was reopened by the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and nearly 16 years later, two priests were arrested on charges of having an illicit affair with the nun. Last year, several persons were arrested in the alleged cover-up of the rape and pregnancy of a 16-year-old girl, who had been raped by a priest in Kerala.

NY Child Victims Act passes, Cuomo takes aim at bishops

Catholic News Agency

January 29, 2019

By Ed Condon

New York state legislators yesterday passed the Child Victims Act. The new measure extends the period of time in which both civil suits and criminal charges can be brought in cases of child abuse. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will sign the act into law in the coming days.

The act, versions which had been passed by the state assembly six times over the last twelve years, was given approval by the state senate for the first time on Jan. 28, passing 63-0.

The act allows for victims of child abuse to bring civil charges against their abuser until the age of 55, previously this had been 23. Criminal prosecutions can be brought up to the age of 28.

The act also creates a one-year window for victims of any age to come forward.

Previous versions of the bill drew a distinction between private and public institutions, broadening the scope for the law for the former but shielding the latter. The most recent version eliminated this disparity, allowing lawsuits to be filed for allegations of abuse in public schools.

Clergy sex abuse lawsuits will ‘bankrupt the diocese'


January 28, 2019

This is in response to the many daily articles bashing our Catholic bishop. He has been complying with the minor victims’ parents request to keep the molesting accounts secret to prevent embarrassment and stigma. The guilty clergy were removed from contact with children; and in some cases they were expelled altogether from the priesthood.

It is now way beyond the statute of limitations. Also, the economy has increased far beyond that at the time of the molestations. But greed has obviously surfaced to change their original request for privacy to sue now for all they can.

Parishioners funded building many schools, provided modest housing for the nuns who taught, day care after school and summers (with meals) for children whose parents worked. Nowadays they are paying additional lay teachers with salaries, insurance and retirement benefits. Because of this, they have to charge tuition to cover the extra expenses. Plus they fund Catholic Charities and some nursing homes.

Vatican priest who oversaw Catholic moral doctrine resigns 'after making advances towards a NUN during confession'

Daily Mail

January 29, 2019

By Connor Boyd

A senior Vatican priest who oversaw sex abuse cases has resigned after being accused of making advances towards a nun during a confession.

Austrian Father Hermann Geissler, 53, a top official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said he was stepping down 'to limit the damage already caused to the Congregation and its Community'.

He professed his innocence and asked that a canon trial - which has already started - should continue.

Geissler - whose office oversaw sex abuse cases - said he would consider legal action to protect his reputation.

Latest Pittsburgh lawsuit against Catholic church alleges molestation on trip to Super Bowl X


Jan 29, 2019

By Nicholas Malfitano

Two supposed predator priests whose names were listed in a grand jury report that alleges decades of protection for pedophiles working for the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, in addition to ranking diocese officials, are mentioned in new litigation filed in Pittsburgh.

The grand jury report, released in August, alleges there were 301 priests in six dioceses who were allowed by the church to abuse children. Included in the list of priest names were both Rev. Thomas M. O’Donnell and Rev. Raymond Rhoden, the two clergy members named in some of the newest priest abuse cases. Due to current Pennsylvania law prohibiting such an action, neither priest is officially named as a defendant in the cases.

Additionally, the state Supreme Court recently sided with the requests of additional priests to keep 19 names permanently redacted from the report, over the request of Attorney General Josh Shapiro to make them public.

Aside from the instant cases, a number of other lawsuits have been filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, targeting the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, its Bishop David A. Zubik and Archbishop of Washington and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, all of Pittsburgh, as defendants.

N.Y. Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle

NBC News

January 28, 2019

By Corky Siemaszko

Alleged sex abuse victims would be able to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other groups for damages.

The long and bitter battle for legislation that would allow New York sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other organizations for monetary damages ended with victory Monday when the state Senate passed the Child Victims Act.

The vote was 63 to nothing, a spokeswoman for one of the bill's sponsors, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, said.

The new law does away with the statutes of limitations that have prevented some alleged abuse victims from going to court to seek damages. And it includes a one-year “look-back window” that will allow others who weren’t able to sue in the past to file fresh claims.

“Passage of the Child Victims Act is an exhilarating and empowering moment for those of us who have been waging this battle in Albany for a dozen years,” Stephen Jimenez, a sex abuse survivor and advocate for other victims, said after the vote.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly was also expected to pass the measure later Monday and Gov. Andrew Cuomo was expected to sign the bill, which was sponsored by Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, both Manhattan Democrats.

“Today, in passing the Child Victims Act, we are finally telling the survivors: The State of New York and the full force of its law is behind you, and you will not be turned away,” Hoylman said in a statement.

Maryland private school releases report on sexual abuse

Associated Press

January 28, 2019

By Brian Witte

A private school in Maryland confirmed Monday that 10 adults in positions of authority engaged in sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships with students from the 1970s through the early 1990s, and that the school failed to protect students from them.

The Key School said at least 16 former students were subjected to the abuse. Officials there released the report on the school's website after an investigation that began in April, initiated by the school.

School officials said in a statement the report's findings "left us in shock" and described them as "inexcusable."

The school's administration and board of trustees said they took steps after becoming aware of social media posts discussing inappropriate interactions between former faculty members and students in the 1970s.

"Reading this report is incredibly difficult," said a letter sent from Key to the school's community along with the 41-page report. "Actions, and inaction, described within are hard to process and have left us in shock and dismay. It is clear that adults at Key in the past abused, mistreated and failed to protect children entrusted to them."

New York Child Victims Act Will Hold Institutions Accountable, Help Survivors Heal

Anderson Advocates

January 28, 2019

The Historic Reform Legislation Will Change Lives

(Albany, NY) – By passing the Child Victims Act (CVA) today, the New York Legislature gave long-suffering survivors a chance to come forward and begin the healing process. It is a new day.

We applaud the New York Legislature for doing the right thing. Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal deserve credit for sponsoring and guiding the legislation.

Most of the credit goes to child sexual abuse survivors, who have endured years, sometimes decades, of trauma and suffering. Without their courage and support, this historic legislation is not possible. Under the CVA, child sexual abuse survivors in New York will have until age 55 (instead of age 23) to bring a civil lawsuit against abusers and institutions. And there will be a one-year window for child sexual abuse victims of any age to bring lawsuits for abuse that occurred even decades ago. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the CVA into law.

The Child Victims Act is not perfect. There should be no statute of limitations for sexual abuse. We know that it can take survivors decades to be able to come forward. But this legislation is a great improvement and it gives many survivors a chance. Lawsuits allow survivors to secure information and secret documents from abusers and institutions that cover up for them. This results in more accountability and transparency, and helps protect the public. And the information and documents show survivors that they are not alone and no longer need to suffer in silent isolation.

By coming forward and seeking justice, survivors begin to take back power stolen from them when they were kids. They begin to heal. It takes a lot of courage and we greatly admire them for it. They can have a better life. Today in New York, they were given a chance.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Cell: (612)817-8665; Office: (651)227-9990; Mike Reck: Cell: (714)742-6593; Office: (646)759-2551

Priest Given Key Position in Vatican Resigns Following Investigation into Allegations of Sexual Assault

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 29, 2019

After a months-old allegation of sexually assaulting a woman in a confessional surfaced publicly, a high-ranking Vatican official has stepped down from his prominent role in the Vatican.

Why Fr. Hermann Geissler was able to resign today with little to no punishment is both confusing and wrong. He should have been suspended years ago, in 2014, when Doris Wagner first reported her assault.

At a Nov. 27 event in Rome, ironically focused on giving voice to women survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Fr. Hermann Geissler was publicly accused of sexually assaulting a woman during confession in 2009. Despite these very serious allegations, as of January 18 Fr. Geissler was still listed by the Vatican “as head of the doctrinal section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).”

Given that the CDF is where bishops across the world send the abuse reports they receive, we believe that the safety of vulnerable parishioners is at stake here, not to mention the credibility of next month’s Vatican abuse meeting. Doris Wagner says that she was abused in 2009 and that she reported those claims to the CDF in 2014. Yet it was only after receiving public pressure from news outlets like the National Catholic Reporter that Vatican officials decided to act.

Together for the Go$pel


January 28, 2019

By Benjamin Sledge

One afternoon in late 2014, a friend told me that he’d been blocked on Twitter by The Gospel Coalition.

The sheer power and influence that The Gospel Coalition (TGC) holds is mind-boggling. The group is an online evangelical juggernaut that was co-founded by Tim Keller, a popular New York City pastor, respected by liberal and conservative Christians alike.

TGC’s online articles — which cover anything from Christian living to Bible and theology — generated 74.8 million page views in 2016. The group’s 2017 conference drew 10,000 attendees, paying roughly $200 a ticket.The TGC council boasts some of the most influential leaders in modern evangelicalism, including Al Mohler, Russell Moore, David Platt, and John Piper. We’re not talking about small fish. We’re talking about an organization with the financial means and influence to do whatever the hell it pleases.

So, if you’re Goliath, why block the ant on Twitter?

Intrigued, I asked my friend what he’d done to incur the wrath of TGC. “I asked them why they’ve been silent about the Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse case. I told them we should listen to the victims.” Shrugging, he continued, “They seem to protect their buddies involved in the case and blocked me for asking. Blocked a ton of other people, too.”

Curious, I opened Twitter and found a number of users who had used the hashtag #IStandWithSGMVictims and then reported being blocked by TGC’s account. Over the next few years, this would become a common response from the organization whenever it was faced with questions about its practices, or criticized for posting articles like this one: “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband.”

“What happened at Sovereign Grace?” I mumble as I continue to scroll through tweets.

My friend waits until I look up from my phone. His face shows genuine concern. “How deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go?”

Nuns who protested Indian bishop accused of rape say church trying to silence them


January 29, 2019

By Swati Gupta and Subhrangshu Pratim Sarmah

A group of nuns who spoke out about alleged sexual abuse by a bishop in the southern Indian state of Kerala claim the church is attempting to transfer them to other parts of the country, in an apparent attempt to silence them.

The nuns recently asked the chief minister of Kerala to intervene on their behalf, after they say church officials ordered them to leave the state.

All the women who received transfer notices had supported a fellow nun who alleged last year that Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The incidents purportedly occurred in a guest house of the St. Franco Mission Home in Kerala.

"They want to split all of us and put into different locations in India," the nuns said in a letter to Kerala authorities. "We will not be able to appear and give evidence before the court at the trial stage in such situations."

Argentina's Bishop Oscar Vicente Ojea, a disciple of Francis

La Croix International

January 29, 2019

By Marie Malzac

The two men have long shared similar concerns, particularly for the poor. This is the first of a seven-part series profiling heads of bishops' conferences.

Aged 72, Bishop Oscar Vicente Ojea has known Pope Francis for many years. Indeed, in 2006 he was appointed as auxiliary bishop to Jorge Bergoglio, the then archbishop of Buenos Aires.The two men have long shared similar concerns, particularly for the poor. In this sense, Bishop Ojea of San Isidro, not far from the Argentine capital, is a leading disciple of Pope Francis, who has complete confidence in him.

During the World Youth Day events in Panama, the two men were observed discussing informally for more than a quarter of an hour during an official event.

In another indication of their ties, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Ojea as a member of the pre-Synodal council responsible for preparing the Synod of Bishops special assembly on Amazonia, which will take place in October despite the fact that Argentina is not geographically involved.

Same wavelength as Pope Francis

Since his appointment as the head of the Argentine Bishops Conference (CEA) in autumn 2017, "all leaders of the Argentinean episcopate at national level are now on exactly the same wavelength as Pope Francis," said Hernan Reyes Alcaide, a Vatican specialist with the archdiocesan Curia in Buenos Aires.

Bishop Ojea was appointed coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of San Isidro in 2009 prior to becoming its bishop in 2011.The same year he was appointed president of the Episcopal Commission for Caritas Argentina while Cardinal Bergoglio was still leading the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. In this capacity, Bishop Ojea began to acquire a good understanding of the situation of dioceses across the country.

A scandal on a large scale

In 2016, Argentina found itself facing a large scale sexual abuse scandal although this occurred prior to Bishop Ojea's election as the head of the CEA.This was the scandal involving the Provolo Institute, an establishment for deaf-mute children located at the foot of the Andean cordillera in the Diocese of Mendoza.

A series of testimonies impugned two priests of rape and sexual abuse that took place over a period of several years and which were allegedly covered up by a Japanese nun. All three are now awaiting trial. According to several victims, the pope also neglected alerts dating from 2008.

In any event, the affair genuinely shocked the Argentine bishops. Under fire from critics, the Argentine Catholic Church responded by establishing a "Pastoral Council for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults."

In June that year, a seminar on sexual abuse was also held at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina at Buenos Aires.This provided an opportunity for the Argentine bishops to offer a mea culpa for their poor management of the matter.

The Bishop Zanchetta case

Recently, the Argentine Church was again rocked by the problem case of Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who was appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican in 2017 to a post specially created for him after he resigned from the Diocese of Orán in murky circumstances.This affair may also raise questions over the pope's action since accusations of financial as well as sexual abuse have emerged concerning the bishop, who is now the subject of a preliminary investigation.

Like Pope Francis, Bishop Ojea knows Bishop Zanchetta very well, having taken part in his episcopal consecration.This affair somewhat resembles the case of Bishop Juan Barros, who was appointed by Pope Francis to the Chilean Diocese of Osorno despite accusations that he had covered up sexual abuse.

In January 2018, Pope Francis characterized the new accusations against Bishop Barros as "calumnies" before sending a special envoy to Chile to investigate the issue.

Soon after, in a letter addressed to the Chilean faithful, the pope recognize having "made serious errors in the evaluation and perception of the situation."

India's hidden years of nuns abused by priests

Economic Times

January 29, 2019

The stories spill out in the sitting rooms of Catholic convents, where portraits of Jesus keep watch and fans spin quietly overhead. They spill out in church meeting halls bathed in fluorescent lights, and over cups of cheap instant coffee in convent kitchens. Always, the stories come haltingly, quietly. Sometimes, the nuns speak at little more than a whisper.

Across India, the nuns talk of priests who pushed into their bedrooms and of priests who pressured them to turn close friendships into sex. They talk about being groped and kissed, of hands pressed against them by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ.

"He was drunk," said one nun, beginning her story. "You don't know how to say no," said another.

One sister, barely out of her teens, was teaching in a Catholic school in the early 1990s.

It was exhausting work, and she was looking forward to the chance to reflect on what had led her — happily — to convent life.

"We have kind of a retreat before we renew our vows," she said, sitting in the painfully neat sitting room of her big-city convent, where doilies cover most every surface, chairs are lined up in rows and the blare of horns drifts in through open windows. "We take one week off and we go for prayers and silence."

She had traveled to a New Delhi retreat center, a collection of concrete buildings where she gathered with other young nuns. A priest was there to lead the sisters in reflection.

The nun, who like others interviewed for this story spoke on condition she not be identified, is a strong and forceful woman who has spent years working with India's poor and dispossessed, from battered wives to evicted families.

But when she talks about the retreat her voice grows quiet, as if she's afraid to be overheard in the empty room: "I felt this person, maybe he had some thoughts, some attraction."

Clergy child abuse reporting laws uneven, leave loopholes


January 29, 2019

By Elaine S. Povich

When a Virginia 16-year-old told her parents that their church’s youth leader, Jordan Baird, had been sending her sexually suggestive text messages, they immediately confronted their pastor.

Pastor David Baird, the perpetrator’s father, said the church would investigate, but he did not tell law enforcement authorities — and he wasn’t required under Virginia law to report a suspected case of abuse or face criminal charges. The abuse became physical, and later other girls accused Jordan Baird of assaulting them.

Jordan Baird served eight months in prison after being convicted on five felony counts of indecent liberties with a minor. But church members want state law changed to force pastors like David Baird, who still leads the Life Church in Manassas, Va., to join the list of professionals specifically required to report such incidents.

They brought their story to Democratic Virginia state Del. Karrie Delaney, who was a sexual assault crisis counselor in Florida before moving to Virginia.

“Their church was really torn up by the allegation and the fact that the young man who was the perpetrator ended up doing the same thing to another person after the first one wasn’t reported,” Delaney said. “When I sat down with them and heard the story I knew this was something I had to do.”

She and others introduced legislation this year that would add clergy to the state’s list of “mandatory reporters,” people who work with children — such as teachers, counselors and athletic coaches — and who are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse to law enforcement authorities.

While most states have broad laws calling on anyone who learns of child abuse to report it, mandatory reporters can be charged with a crime for failing to do so.

Pope Calls Child Sex Abuse ‘a Human Problem,’ Tamping Down Summit Expectations

New York Times

January 28, 2019

By Elisabetta Povoledo

Pope Francis sought to downplay what he called “inflated expectations” for a global church summit on child sexual abuse next month, casting it as an educational workshop for bishops more than a definitive policymaking meeting.

“We have to deflate expectations,” the pope told reporters on the papal plane returning to Rome from an international event for Roman Catholic youth in Panama. “Because the problem of abuse will continue, it is a human problem.”

The summit is shaping up to be a pivotal moment in Francis’ nearly six-year papacy. As abuse scandals have spread beyond the United States and Europe to Latin America and Asia, the pope has faced pressure to prove that the church is capable of removing abusive priests and disciplining negligent bishops.

The pope said that the meeting, to be held at the Vatican on Feb. 21 through Feb. 24, was intended to help bishops and the heads of religious orders better understand the procedures to follow when faced with allegations of abuse, and to impress on them the terrible suffering of victims.

If expectations are high, it is — at least in part — the Vatican’s own doing. The summit was announced in September amid fresh reports that the Vatican had turned a blind eye to accused abusers in the hierarchy. In November, the Vatican ordered the United States bishops to hold off voting on new policies for keeping bishops accountable until the February summit could produce protocols that would apply to the church worldwide.

About 200 participants are expected at the summit. In recent weeks, Vatican officials have stressed that because it is a consultative meeting only four days long, the gathering should not be viewed as a panacea to the global abuse crisis.

N.Y. law change would deliver abuse survivors day in court, hope to Pennsylvanians

Tribune Review

January 28, 2019

By Deb Erdley

New York on Monday was poised to become the 10th state to temporarily suspend the statute of limitations to provide adult survivors of child sexual abuse an opportunity to sue their abusers.

Child protection advocates said the new law, passed only after a change of leadership in that state’s Senate, is the result of more than a decade of efforts. It will provide adults previously timed out of court by the statute of limitations with a one-year window to file civil suits against their abusers.

The law also extended the time for survivors to file lawsuits from age 23 to age 55 in the future and extended the statute of limitations for most child sexual abuse criminal prosecutions from five to 10 years after a victim turns 18.

In Pennsylvania, “window of opportunity” legislation has stalled in the state Senate twice in the last three years. Child advocates hope New York’s move will revive enthusiasm for change here. Victim advocates and abuse survivors worked relentlessly for change in Harrisburg last year after a statewide grand jury reported rampant allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy in Roman Catholic dioceses across the state over seven decades.

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations caps lawsuits on child sexual abuse at a survivor’s 30 th birthday. That cap prevented scores of middle aged and older adult victims who came forward for the first time to the grand jury from filing lawsuits against their abusers.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, testified before the Pennsylvania grand jury about his personal abuse at the hands of a parish priest as a teenager. He has led the charge for change in Pennsylvania for several years. He commended New York lawmakers as he lamented the lack of progress in Pennsylvania, where state Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Brookville, blocked a bill that passed the House last fall.

Catholic parishioners and abuse survivors brace for Houston-Galveston clergy abuse list


January 28, 2019

By Nick Natario

Parishioners and church abuse survivors are anxiously awaiting a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse from the Houston area.

The Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston said it will release its list by the end of January. It's a list that has been a work-in-progress since September.

That's been four long months for Michael Norris.

"It's very emotional for all survivors, because what a survivor really wants is to be heard, and to be believed and to see the name of your perp on a list is going to be fulfilling for some of these survivors," Norris said.

Norris leads Houston's Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP. It's a group offering support to survivors across the globe.

Here in the United States, Norris said dioceses across the country have released lists. Sometimes he said the church's list is below the actual number. He's hoping the Houston-Galveston list is accurate.

Steinfels: Grand jury report needed thorough review, which no one had done

Catholic News Service

January 29, 2019

By Dennis Sadowski

Upon first hearing in August of the findings of a Pennsylvania grand jury about how Catholic clergy abused children and young people, veteran journalist Peter Steinfels was, like a lot other people - shocked and appalled.

Soon, Steinfels told Catholic News Service, he wanted to learn more about the grand jurors’ conclusion that the claims of “all” the victims were systematically brushed aside and covered up by church officials.

A former religion reporter at The New York Times and former editor of Commonweal magazine, Steinfels had little disagreement with most of the documentation on the abuse allegations.

Still, questions persisted in his mind. He wondered what prompted the grand jury to conclude that six of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses acted “in virtual lockstep” to cover up abuse allegations and dismiss alleged victims over the course of seven decades beginning in 1947.

Child Victims Act gives new hope to abuse survivors


January 29, 2019

By Mike Desmond

As the Child Victims Act was being approved Monday, four victims were in an Amherst law firm conference room with their attorneys, talking about their cases and what the new law does for them.

Hogan Willig has long been involved in clergy abuse cases and some of the lawyers have lobbied heavily in Albany for what is called the CVA. Now approved by the New York State Legislature, the act allows abuse victims to re-open their cases in the court system and get a chance to tell their stories.

The law also extends re-openings far beyond the clergy, to private and public schools. Some local private schools have had highly-publicized sex abuse incidents involving teachers.

Victim Vanessa DeRosa said passage is not just about the cases of four victims.

"It's a big deal because you can't expect a child to help with an attorney. It's okay to talk about it now. They can pursue it," DeRosa said. "A lot of times, they need more time, mentally, to come forward. So it's not just a big deal for everybody in this room. It's a big deal for a lot of other people, too."

Survivor Mike Eames said the Buffalo Catholic Diocese knew what a priest did to him.

"I know they knew," Eames said. "For years, they knew them."

Accused priest resigns from Vatican's doctrinal congregation

National Catholic Reporter

January 29, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

One of the department heads at the Vatican's doctrinal congregation has resigned from his post, days after an NCR report noted he had been accused of soliciting a woman for sex in the confessional.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced Jan. 29 that Fr. Hermann Geissler, formerly the head of the office's doctrinal section, had stepped down the day before in order to "limit the damage already done" to his employer.

The statement from the Vatican office also confirmed that Geissler's case is being examined formally, stating the priest "affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue, and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue."

The claim against Geissler was brought forward publicly two months ago by Doris Wagner, a German who recalled being approached by the priest during confession in 2009 at a Nov. 27 Rome event focused on giving voice to women survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

NCR reported the accusation Jan. 21, following Geissler's listing by the Vatican Jan. 18 as a member of the doctrinal office taking part in an international meeting of Asian bishops' conference officials in Bangkok.
Geissler is a member of the Familia spiritualis Opus religious community, known colloquially as "the Work." Wagner was a member of the same community until 2010.

In a brief interview Jan. 29, Wagner expressed confusion over several points in the Vatican's statement announcing Geissler's resignation. She also wondered why the priest is resigning now, when she had reported his conduct to the doctrinal congregation with the help of a canon lawyer in 2014.

January 28, 2019

Mountain Home priest accused of rape won’t face new trial for now

Idaho Statesman

January 28, 2019

By Ruth Brown

A priest accused of raping an intoxicated man who was renting a room from him will not face a new trial for now, and the Diocese of Boise says he will not be given any new assignment, but his status within the Roman Catholic Church is still not decided.

The Rev. Victor Franz Jagerstatter’s trial in 2017 was declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. At the time, prosecutors said that one juror refused to deliberate the verdict. After the mistrial, the alleged victim was deployed on military duty, and in July 2018, the charge was dismissed without prejudice, meaning there won’t be an immediate retrial, but the possibility remains open down the road.

At the time of the rape charge, Jagerstatter was a priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mountain Home.

The airman at Mountain Home Air Force Base told police that he went home intoxicated after a party in July 2016, fell asleep fully clothed, and then awoke partially undressed, according to previous Statesman reporting. The airman told police that he did not give permission for any sexual contact, according to court documents.

Multiple calls by the Statesman to the Elmore County Prosecutor’s Office last week to ask about the case were not returned.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise still has Jagerstatter listed as being on administrative leave, and he no longer appears on the diocese website. Spokesman Gene Fadness said Jagerstatter is not living in church property.

New York Senate passes Child Victims Act; Assembly expected to pass

Buffalo News

January 28, 2019

By Tom Precious and Jay Tokasz

Michael F. Whalen Jr. hadn’t even heard of the Child Victims Act last February, when he told reporters in Buffalo that the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits had sexually abused him as a teenager nearly four decades ago.

But on Monday, Whalen traveled by train to Albany to be recognized for his role in getting the controversial legislation adopted by New York State legislators.

“For me, personally, if I helped it along in any way possible by stepping forward almost a year ago, then yeah, I’m so glad to see it,” Whalen said. “I’m sad to see it’s taken 12 years for it to happen.”

Whalen’s news conference across the street from the Buffalo Diocese’s headquarters led to Orsolits’ stunning admission to The Buffalo News later the same day that he had molested probably dozens of boys.

The Child Victims Act, which unanimously passed the Senate Monday afternoon and is expected to pass the Assembly later in the day, extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting child molesters. It also provides victims like Whalen – who are currently time-barred from filing civil suits – a one-year window to sue private and public institutions, like churches and schools, over abuse that may have occurred decades ago.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign into law the bill that changes the statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions over childhood sexual abuse from age 23 to 55 and 28, respectively.

Whalen joined other survivors of childhood sexual abuse victims in the Senate gallery to watch the bill pass, the culmination of a generation of pleading, cajoling and protesting.

As New York empowers its church abuse victims, Pennsylvania's are left wanting and waiting

Associated Press

January 28, 2019

By Marc Levy

Pennsylvania lawmakers have returned to the capitol but have yet to revisit legislation on child sexual abuse scandals since an October fight killed a bill that would have allowed long-ago victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions.

In New York state, meanwhile, a bill to extend the statute of limitations on child molestation to give victims more time to seek justice was expected to easily pass the legislature Monday.

New York’s scheduled vote on the Child Victims Act in the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly comes after years of unsuccessful efforts to pass the legislation. While it's been endorsed by the Assembly repeatedly, the act was blocked by Senate Republicans. Democrats won control of the chamber last fall, however, and say passing the act is one of their top priorities for 2019.

Republicans remain in control of both halves of Pennsylvania’s Legislature, although this issue does not necessarily follow partisan lines. A bill giving victims more time to sue passed the Pennsylvania House, then died in the Senate.

Cuomo says he won't legislate Catholic doctrine, as Holy war between Gov and Cardinal stretches into second week

New York Daily News

January 28, 2019

By Kenneth Lovett

The holy war between Gov. Cuomo and state Catholic leaders like Timothy Cardinal Dolan continued Monday over the issue of abortion and a bill to help victims of child sexual abuse.

Cuomo, surrounded by child sex abuse survivors, said he’s not surprised that there have been calls among some Catholic leaders in the state and nationally for him to be excommunicated from the Church.

He recalled that his father, the late former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, faced similar calls over his position on abortion.

“This is not a new issue for a governor named Cuomo,” he said. “It’s sort of a second chapter.”

He called the tensions with the church “an ongoing situation.”

But Cuomo also dug in, defending his positions on abortion and calling out the church for leading the opposition when it came the Child Victims Act. Days after signing into and celebrating and expanding the state’s abortion laws, Cuomo reiterated he agrees with Pope Francis, who has called for a crackdown on pedophile priests.

“To the Catholic Church, I am sorry about the situation,” Cuomo said. "I’m not sorry about my position. I’m sorry they have taken the position they’ve taken.”

Cuomo, a Roman Catholic and former altar boy,accused the church bureaucracy in New York of decades of cover-ups when it came to sexual abuse issues.

Catholic child abuse perpetrators have been convicted and jailed, but not those who protected them

The Herald

January 29, 2019

IN 2010 Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, first raised holding the Vatican accountable for the global child sexual abuse scandal by viewing it as a human rights abuse issue.

In his book, The Case of the Pope, Robertson argued that unless the then Pope Benedict XVI divested the Vatican of its controversial statehood and devotion to canon law, the Catholic Church would remain a serious enemy to the advance of human rights.

Nearly a decade later Hunter survivor advocate Peter Gogarty has taken the matter a step further by asking the International Criminal Court to seriously consider whether it can prosecute a case against the church.

His submission to the ICC, based on more than two years writing and research, is notable, laudable and serious. Mr Gogarty believes that while there are significant hurdles to the ICC taking on such a case, there is also significant evidence to back it now.

The five-year Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, that ended with devastating findings against the Catholic Church in a December, 2017 final report, included evidence from the Vatican’s newly-appointed child protection commission about how the church, as a world organisation, was “struggling to come to terms with the safety of children and its responsibilities in that area”.

The evidence by two members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, established by Pope Francis, was staggering considering that church leaders, including the now sainted Pope John Paul II, were first warned of a looming child sexual abuse crisis in an internal report in the early 1980s.

After Damaging Year, Pope Francis Calls For 4-Day Clerical Sex Abuse Summit

National Public Radio

January 27, 2019

By Sylvia Poggiolo

Investigations into child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests took a highly public turn last year. State prosecutors took the novel step of releasing the names of hundreds of accused priests, as well as those who covered up their crimes. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, the revelations and the church's response severely damaged the church's credibility and Pope Francis's reputation. In response, he has called for an extraordinary four-day summit on sex abuse next month.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: Vatican acting spokesman Alessandro Gisotti recently told reporters the summit's goal is that bishops understand that clerical sex abuse is a global problem that needs a global response. He added, Pope Francis insists that when the bishops return home...


ALESSANDRO GISOTTI: They understand the laws to be applied and that they take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried.

Superior, La Crosse dioceses plan to review files for abusive clergy

Wausau Daily Herald

Jan. 28, 2019

By Laura Schulte

At least two more Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin plan to open their archives in search of abusive clergy members throughout their history.

Representatives for the Diocese of Superior and the Diocese of La Crosse both said their organizations will review their files, following the release by the Diocese of Green Bay last week of a list of 46 priests who had sexually abused minors.

Neither Superior nor La Crosse provided a date that any list would be finished or made public.

Dan Blank, director of administrative services for the Diocese of Superior, said Bishop James Powers has conferred with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for advice on how to conduct an investigation of clergy abuse.

However, results of the investigation wouldn't be available for months, Blank said, because the diocese will have to go back to the beginning of its 114-year history to check for names.

"We'd start with priests that are alive and then go further back," he said.

The Superior diocese would also likely cooperate with a state Department of Justice investigation, Blank said, if Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul decides to order such a probe.

The diocese would release relevant documents if there is a state investigation, Blank said.

"We're taking the approach that facts are facts," he said.

Andrew Cuomo slams Catholic bishops for covering up sex abuse

New York Post

January 28, 2019

By Carl Campanile

Gov. Cuomo on Monday slammed Catholic bishops who covered up sex abuse for years and criticized his support for the Child Victims Act, saying “I’m with the Pope.”

The bill, being passed by the legislature Monday, will make it easier for adults who claimed they were sex abuse victim as kids to sue for damages.

“I feel so good about this. This is just a pure act of justice. These are people who were abused by the authorities and then authorities denied it, which aggravated the abuse,” Cuomo said on WAMC radio.

The governor discussed the bill, which has been kicking around for a decade, after being asked about the Catholic leaders attacking him for strengthening New York’s abortion law.

“Bishops attacks Gov. Cuomo. Let’s pull that headline up from 30 years ago,” Cuomo said, referring to similar broadsides against his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Cuomo said the Child Victims Act was “long overdue” and praised Pope Francis, who said abusive priests should be punished and not shuffled to other parishes and that victims should have recourse.

Pope says Vatican abuse summit will not end crisis


January 28, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis warned on Sunday against excessive expectations for next month's Vatican summit on the global sexual abuse crisis, saying it was human problem that would continue.

Francis has summoned the presidents of all of the world's national bishops conferences to the Vatican Feb. 21-24.

The meeting offers a chance for him to respond to criticism from victims of abuse who say he has mishandled the crisis and not done enough to make bishops accountable for covering it up.

But the pope said the highly anticipated meeting would not end the problem.

"The preparatory work is going well but I permit myself to say that I have perceived that there is an inflated expectation," he told reporters on a plane returning from Panama.

"We have to deflate the expectations ... because the problem of abuse will continue because it is a human problem, and it is everywhere," he said.

Francis said one of the aims of the summit was for the bishops to go back home with what he called "clear protocols" on how to prevent abuse and help victims.

Pope Francis in Panama speaks of "weariness" that comes from "seeing a church wounded by sin"

CBS News Videos

January 26, 2019

Pope Francis is in Panama celebrating World Youth Day. In a grand, newly-renovated bascilica in Panama City, Pope Francis directed his comments to clergy and spoke of "weariness" which can come from "seeing a church wounded by sin." Seth Doane reports.

I’ve Talked With Teenage Boys About Sexual Assault for 20 Years. This Is What They Still Don’t Know


January 15, 2019

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson is the bestselling author of several children's and young adult books, including Speak and Chains, both of which were National Book Awards finalists. Her memoir, SHOUT, is due out in March 2019.

I started visiting schools two decades ago. It was after the publication of my novel, Speak, which tells the story of a teenage girl struggling through the emotional aftermath of being raped. It is commonly read in high school and college literature classes, and has proven to be a useful springboard to conversations about rape mythology, sexual violence and consent.

I thought I understood rape. It happened to me when I was 13 years old. I assumed my job was to model survivorship, and to show readers how to speak up after being abused, molested or attacked. I thought I was supposed to talk to the girls.

I had a lot to learn.

The girls heard me. I’d give these large talks, often in a high school auditorium, with a thousand students seated and me — a stranger — on stage. The girls would come up to me after the bell rang, in tears, and whisper what had happened to them. My job, after listening, was to find an adult in the building they trusted, an educator who could help them find the support they needed. That scene has been repeated after every single presentation I’ve ever given, at high schools, middle schools, colleges, bookstores, libraries and conferences across the country — thousands of victims.

Pittsburgh priest charged with child sex abuse


January 28, 2019

Friday, Father Hugh J. Lang was arrested and charged with the alleged sexual abuse of a 10-year-old child in 2001.

SNAP (Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests) says they "applaud this brave man for contacting law enforcement. We hope his courage inspires others to do the same."

SNAP says they hope anyone who may have suffered, seen or suspected crimes by Fr. Lang, or any others associated with the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will call the police immediately. Victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers can also reach out to SNAP, or groups like ours, for help and support as they report.

To contact their organization, you can go to SNAPnetwork.org.

Bishops must realise seriousness of abuse crisis, pope says

The Tablet

January 28, 2019

'It is terrible, the suffering is terrible. So first, they (the bishops) need to be made aware of this'

The primary goal of the Vatican's February summit on clerical sexual abuse and child protection is to help bishops understand the urgency of the crisis, Pope Francis said.

During a news conference with journalists on his flight to Rome from Panama on 27 January, the pope said the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences have been called to the 21-24 February meeting at the Vatican to be "made aware of the tragedy" of those abused by members of the clergy.

"I regularly meet with people who have been abused. I remember one person -- 40 years old -- who was unable to pray," he said. "It is terrible, the suffering is terrible. So first, they (the bishops) need to be made aware of this."

The pope's international Council of Cardinals suggested the summit after realising that some bishops did not know how to address or handle the crisis on their own, he said.

Not the mafia


January 28, 2019

Does the clergy sex-abuse crisis make the Catholic Church a continuing criminal enterprise analogous to the Mafia or a drug cartel? Some people think it does. In the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia launched an investigation that will consider whether charges should be brought against Pennsylvania dioceses under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act (RICO).

Passed in 1970, RICO is a powerful federal law designed to target organized-crime syndicates by going after their leadership as well as the rank-and-file members who physically commit most of the crimes. Its provisions are harsh; RICO not only provides for hefty criminal penalties, but also authorizes civil lawsuits that may result in treble damages for victims of racketeering acts. In fact, several civil RICO suits have already been filed against church authorities and policymakers, including individual bishops, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and even the Holy See itself. One such civil suit brought in 1993 against the diocese of Camden was settled for a seven-figure amount.

A good lawyer may be able to fend off RICO suits against the church. In fact, it will likely be a challenge for prosecutors and plaintiffs’ lawyers to shoehorn the clergy sex-abuse crisis into the elements of a successful RICO suit. It will be difficult to show that the church engaged in acts of racketeering, which are modeled on mob activities such as violence, corruption, bribery or theft, fraud, drug trafficking, or money laundering. Moreover, civil litigants seeking monetary compensation need to demonstrate damage to their business or property, not simply personal injury, no matter how grave.

Pope Francis outlines key priorities for February sex abuse summit

Catholic News Agency

January 28, 2019

By Courtney Grogan

Pope Francis said Monday that he sensed “inflated expectation” surrounding the Vatican’s February sex abuse summit, and outlined his specific aims for the meeting.

Speaking on the papal flight returning from Panama, the pope said he wanted the world’s bishops to receive a “catechesis” on the suffering of abuse survivors, and understand better the urgent reality of combating sexual abuse. This understanding, he said, would lead into a penitential liturgy during the February meeting.

“There will be testimonies to help to become aware and then a penitential liturgy to ask forgiveness for the whole Church,” Pope Francis told journalists Jan 28.
The pope emphasized the importance of bishops meeting with victims of sex abuse to hear their testimonies directly to understand the lasting effects of sexual abuse.

Pope Francis said that he regularly meets with abuse victims. “I remember one ... 40 years without being able to pray. It is terrible, the suffering is terrible,” he said.

Francis also said he sensed many were expecting too much from the three-day meeting being held Feb. 21-24, and that he had a particular vision for what would be achieved: understanding the experience of victims, prayer, and the establishment of “protocols” for handling abuse cases world-wide.

“I permit myself to say that I’ve perceived a bit of an inflated expectation. We need to deflate the expectations to these points that I’m saying,” he said. “Because the problem of abuses will continue. It’s a human problem.”

Una tercera víctima acusa de abusos al fraile de Montserrat

[Third victim accuses Montserrat friar of abuse]

El País

January 28, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

El hombre, de 63 años, denuncia que el religioso se introdujo en su cama y le hizo tocamientos en 1971, igual que las otras dos víctimas en 1978 y 1998

Una tercera víctima acusa de abusos al fraile Andreu Soler, del monasterio de Montserrat, tras el primer caso revelado hace ocho días por EL PAÍS. J.R. Martínez, de 63 años, asegura que llegó al monasterio durante el verano de 1970, y que entre ese año y 1975 acudió a la abadía en la época estival para trabajar allí y ayudar a los monjes. Al igual que las otras dos personas que anteriormente denunciaron al monje, fundador del grupo scout del santuario, la víctima denuncia que una noche el religioso se introdujo en su cama y le hizo tocamientos en los genitales con la excusa de hablarle de la masturbación mientras le instaba a no caer en la tentación, según ha publicado El Periódico.

El Obispado de Girona investigará los posibles abusos cometidos por el párroco de Vilobí d’Onyar, en Girona

[Girona bishop will investigate abuse accusations against parish priest of Vilobí d'Onyar]

El País

January 28, 2019

By Marta Rodríguez

El Obispado de Girona, ante el presunto caso de abusos sexuales por parte del párroco de Vilobí d’Onyar (Girona) publicado por el diario Ara este domingo, ha emitido un comunicado en el que “condena rotundamente” cualquier tipo de abuso sexual realizado a menores y sostiene que no tiene constancia de ninguna queja. No obstante, de acuerdo con los protocolos vigentes, ha anunciado la creación de una comisión para investigar los hechos, cuyos resultados se mandarán a la Santa Sede. Pide perdón a las presuntas víctimas y a sus familias y ofrece total colaboración para esclarecer los hechos.

Cura Hasbún sale en defensa del acusado Renato Poblete: “Déjenlo descansar en paz”

[Priest Hasbún defends accused chaplain Renato Poblete: "Let him rest in peace"]

El Mostrador

January 22, 2019

El controvertido sacerdote polemizó con el presidente ejecutivo de América Solidaria y exdirector del Hogar de Cristo, Benito Baranda, quien en una entrevista el fin de semana señaló que la imagen de Renato Poblete “quedará muy afectada, y va a quedar más afectada todavía cuando hable la víctima”. Hasbún recuerda que Baranda cargó el féretro de Poblete en sus funerales y lo critica porque “la presunción de inocencia, el derecho a la honra y al debido proceso no integran su horizonte mental”.

Decano de facultad donde trabaja denunciante de Poblete: "Con su testimonio muchos pueden sentir el valor de denunciar"

[Dean of faculty praises professor who accuses a priest of sex abuse: "With her testimony, many can feel the courage to speak out"]


January 28, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

Joaquín Silva comparte muy de cerca con Marcela Aranda Escobar, la primera mujer que acusó al fallecido sacerdote de abuso sexual.

Marcela Aranda Escobar, la primera en denunciar públicamente al sacerdote Renato Poblete por abuso sexual, se presentó como profesora de la Facultad de Teología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Alcaldesa de Quinta Normal se abre a opción de rebautizar el Parque Renato Poblete: "Denuncias empañan el nombre"

[Mayor is open to renaming Renato Poblete Park after abuse accusations against the former chaplain]


January 28, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

Tras las acusaciones de abuso en contra del fallecido sacerdote, Carmen Gloria Fernández explica que "amerita pensar la idea" de renombrar el recinto.

Ayer domingo Marcela Aranda Escobar rompió el silencio y en entrevista con "El Mercurio" hizo público que ella es la primera que denuncia al fallecido sacerdote Renato Poblete por abusos sexuales. Poco después, la Compañía de Jesús admitió que habían nuevas acusaciones contra el ex capellán del Hogar de Cristo.

Víctimas piden comisión neutral para indagar denuncias de abuso contra excapellán del Hogar de Cristo

[Victims call for independent commission to investigate abuse allegations against Hogar de Cristo priest]


January 28, 2019

By Jonathan Flores and Beatriz Vallejos

La Red de Sobrevivientes de abuso eclesiástico llamó a conformar una Comisión investigadora de verdad, justicia y reparación, totalmente independiente de la Iglesia. La iniciativa resurgió luego de las declaraciones de la Congregación Jesuita, que confirmó ayer domingo nuevas denuncias por abuso sexual en contra del fallecido sacerdote Renato Poblete, excapellán del Hogar de Cristo.

PDI comienza a indagar acusaciones contra sacerdote penquista por abuso sexual

[PDI begins investigating sex abuse accusations against Penquista priest]


January 28, 2019

By Nicolás Parra and Tatiana Risso

Por orden de la fiscalía regional del Bío Bío, la Policía de Investigaciones comenzó a indagar los delitos de abuso sexual de que se acusa al sacerdote Hugo Márquez, expárroco de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes en el sector Pedro de Valdivia de Concepción. En las últimas dos semanas concurrieron hasta el cuartel de la PDI en Concepción los padres y un tío de Jonathan Garrido, quien se quitó la vida en octubre de 2017 ahorcándose en San Pedro de la Paz.

Jesuitas reciben nuevas denuncias contra Renato Poblete

[Jesuits receive new complaints against Renato Poblete]

La Tercera

January 27, 2019

By María José Navarrete

Fuentes del caso señalan que esta semana se tomará declaraciones y pedirán documentos sobre el sacerdote.

La Compañía de Jesús informó hoy sobre la existencia de nuevas denuncias de presuntos abusos cometidos por el fallecido sacerdote Renato Poblete, quien fuera capellán del Hogar de Cristo entre 1982 y 2000.

Pennsylvania lawmakers return, but not to debate over clergy abuse bill

Associated Press

January 28, 2019

Lawmakers are returning to the Pennsylvania Capitol, but they haven't revisited a response to child sexual abuse scandals since the debate's collapse on last year's final voting day.

The Legislature's new two-year session begins in earnest Monday, with little mention of legislation reflecting the state attorney general's grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

Legislation proposed last year would give now-adult victims of child sexual abuse a two-year reprieve from time limits in state law that otherwise would bar them from suing perpetrators and institutions that covered it up.

The provision was recommended by the grand jury, and backed by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Gov. Tom Wolf, the House of Representatives, Senate Democratic leaders and victim advocates. It was opposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and the Senate’s huge Republican majority.

"We need you to hear this," the Pennsylvania grand jury wrote in its report finally released on Tuesday.

The provision passed the House overwhelmingly last month, but Republican senators said they considered it unconstitutional and warned that cash awards in such lawsuits carried serious consequences for church charities.

Scarnati says he has no plans to restart legislation and is satisfied by how Pennsylvania’s dioceses have moved to set up victim compensation funds.

That includes the Allentown diocese, which administers to 251,000 Catholics in a five-county area that includes the entire Lehigh Valley. Under the Allentown fund, victims will give up their right to sue the church, but they will not be silenced if they accept money from the fund.

Pope aims to ‘deflate’ expectations for abuse summit, says no to married priests


January 28, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Pope Francis has said he wants to “deflate” expectations for his Feb. 21-24 summit for presidents of bishops’ conferences on clerical sexual abuse, saying it’s mostly about transmitting a “catechesis” on the “drama” of abuse.

The pontiff also rejected the idea of optional celibacy for Catholic priests, though he did leave open the possibility of ordaining married men in remote locations and for specific sacramental purposes.

Asked about his expectations for the summit, Francis said the initiative was born in the C9, a group of cardinals that advise him on reform of the government of the Church. Three of those cardinals were removed late last year, two of them over allegations of either covering up abuse or of having sexually abused minors.

“We saw that some bishops didn’t know what to do, didn’t understand, did one thing good and another one bad,” the pope said.

Hence, he said, the C9 felt the need to offer a “catechesis” to bishops’ conferences that would make the “drama of children who’ve been abused” comprehensible.

The second scope of the meeting, Francis said, is to teach bishops how to respond when facing an allegation of abuse by a member of the clergy. Thirdly, he wants the February meeting to lead to “protocols” on how Church leaders should handle abuse cases.

Seeing light through the priest sex abuse storm

WBFO Radio

January 28, 2019

By Marian Hetherly

Many have voiced the opinion that giving more laity - and, specifically, women - positions of leadership in the Catholic Church would help avoid sexual abuse scandals like the one now consuming the faith and its faithful. In the Buffalo diocese, there are a series of positions open to lay people, but ultimate power always remains with clergy. Even so, one empowering model may light the way to the future.

Bishop Edward Kmiec approved guidelines for what are called Pastoral Administrators in 2007, in the wake of a growing priest shortage. It was another six years before Bishop Richard Malone began to implement the model.

Sister Lori High was appointed Pastoral Administrator after the parish pastor retired and so the priest serving as temporary administrator could move into the sacramental role.

Catholic abuse scandal galvanizes Mount Angel seminarians' resolve

National Catholic Reporter

January 28, 2019

By Dan Morris-Young

Has the onslaught of church sex abuse and authority exploitation disclosures of recent months given men who are actively discerning priestly vocations pause to step back, hold the church in contempt, even walk away?

Apparently not at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, according to students, faculty and staff there.

If anything, the crisis seems to have galvanized the resolve of many priesthood-seekers at the West Coast's largest seminary to serve the church rather than stiff-arm it.

"I have noticed no decrease in zealousness for the priesthood" on campus, Anthony Rosas, a seminarian of the Diocese of Orange, California, told NCR. "Of course, we talk about it. You have to call a spade a spade. This has been awful."

A convert, Rosas said his parents naturally wanted to know about the sex abuse crisis but they remain supportive of his vocation. After visiting with friends and priests of his home diocese as well as reflecting "on the need for strong, holy priests," Rosas said he is more resolved than ever to reach ordination.

New Boston College report on the priesthood addresses pressing need

National Catholic Reporter

January 28, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry has distinguished itself again at sentire cum ecclesia, thinking with the church, about an issue of enormous ecclesial importance, issuing a short, 10-page report entitled "To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry." Like the two-way immersion network for Catholic schools run by Boston College's School of Education and their groundbreaking research into Hispanic ministry in parish life, this recent study puts the university's intellectual resources at the service of a pressing need for the church in the United St

The importance of seminary formation is evident in the pages of NCR. Peter Feuerherd recently reported on the scandal that is Sacred Heart seminary in Detroit, which has become a hotbed of opposition to Pope Francis. Feuerherd also reported recently on Jesuit formation at Boston College, and how that formation actually presages some of the features of this study. And our reporting on many of the discussions surrounding clergy sex abuse all focus, of necessity, in large part on priestly formation, such as Dan Morris-Young's report on a panel at Santa Clara University last October.

Buffalo Diocese offers more than $8 million to abuse victims

Buffalo News

January 28, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese so far has offered more than $8 million to nearly four dozen people sexually abused as children by priests, according to victims and lawyers who represent them.

Diocese officials declined to comment on the number of offers to date that have been made or the overall dollar amount. They also would not say how many claims to the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program have yet to be decided upon or when the program will conclude.

But in interviews with lawyers and victims The News has learned that at least 47 victims have received offers that collectively amount to about $8.1 million. The offers ranged from $10,000 to $650,000.

Some victims already have been paid. Lawyers took a third of the offers for themselves in cases where they were retained. Other accusers are still deciding whether to accept the money and give up their right to sue the diocese, even as the State Legislature prepares to adopt legislation that will clear the way for more civil lawsuits in sexual abuse cases.

The State Assembly and Senate are scheduled to vote Monday on a Child Victims Act that includes a one-year “look-back” provision allowing abuse victims to sue even in cases that go back decades.

Harassment By The Church Continues: Transfer Orders and Warning Notices for Protesting Nuns

Feminism in India blog

January 28, 2019

By Alice Abraham

Life has not been easy for the five nuns from Kerala who had protested against the inaction of the Church and police authorities in the aftermath of rape allegations against Bishop Franco Mullackal. The Missionaries of Jesus had asked the four nuns, Sister Anupama, Sr. Alphy, Sr. Josephine, and Sr. Ancitta to comply with a transfer order which was issued earlier and to move out of the Kottayam mission where they were residing to different places. Sr. Neena Rose who was staying with the survivor nun has now been issued transfer order and is asked to report to the Superior General of Jalandhar on January 26th,. All of them have refused to comply with the order and is staying together with the survivor.

In September, the five nuns from the Missionaries of Jesus mission had staged an indefinite hunger strike near the Kerala High Court premises in Kochi for weeks under the banner ‘Save our Sisters’. They demanded the arrest of Bishop Mullackal who is accused by the nun from the same missionary several times between 2014 and 2016. The protest was called off only after the arrest of the Bishop and his removal from his post as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese in Punjab. He was arrested and was in jail for three weeks until he got bail.

These protests had begun a movement in the Catholic church history which have been silencing many sexual harassment cases all over the world. However, the situation of the nuns and the priests who participated in the protests are getting worse day by day as they are facing pressure and mental harassment from the church authorities.

‘I’m a mad DA’: Brett Ligon won’t back down from investigating Conroe priest accused of molesting children

Houston Chronicle

January 27, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

Brett Ligon has not been to Mass since the Sept. 11 arrest of Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez.

A longtime Catholic, he was married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe in 1993 and moved in recent years to St. Matthias the Apostle in Magnolia.

Now the district attorney of Montgomery County, he can’t bring himself to go back.

“I haven’t been to Mass since we arrested the priest — but that’s a personal issue,” he said. “I’m a mad DA, which is what victims need. We don’t need a DA who’s looking for forgiveness.”

Ligon, 50, made no secret of his ties to the Conroe church where La Rosa-Lopez worked as more than 60 local, state and federal law enforcement officials descended on the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s headquarters on Nov. 28, looking for evidence linked to accusations that the priest molested two young parishioners over a three-year period.

And Ligon’s made it clear he won’t stop there — warning that other members of the clergy who may have done wrong will come under scrutiny from his office.

Editorial: Child Victims Act brings some justice for those who suffered sexual abuse

Buffalo News

January 27, 2019

The Catholic Church’s bishops in New York State made the right decision to change course and back passage of the Child Victims Act.

The Senate and Assembly are expected to approve the legislation on Monday that will expand the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims and open a one-year “look-back” period for victims of any age to bring lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse.

The state Catholic Conference stated its support after legislators agreed to wording that ensures the bill applies to victims of alleged abuse from public schools as well as religious and private schools. That prompts the question: Why weren’t public schools included all along?

The church opposed previous versions of the bill, which were held up by the former Republican majority in the Senate. The church objected to being singled out for legal responsibility for incidents of child sexual abuse that have also taken place in other public and private institutions.

Priest sexual abuse scandal takes a toll on Catholics


January 27, 2019

The Archdiocese of Hartford held the first of three Masses of Reparation Sunday in Manchester for the victims of the priest sexual abuse scandal, but it’s not only the victims who are suffering.

Catholics attending Mass in Torrington and Waterbury said the release of the list of credibly accused priests was painful, especially for those who knew those named.

“I knew a lot of the men on that list and I think what needs to be remembered is a lot of them aren’t around anymore to answer for it. You can’t buy into it,” said Shawn Pace of Waterbury.

”The men I did see and are gone were great men,” he said. “Your faith in God is your faith in God and Catholics need to stick with that faith.”

Making spiritual amends: Archbishop celebrates Mass for victims of priest sexual abuse


January 27, 2019

By Aaron Joseph

More than 200 Catholics flocked to a Manchester church Sunday afternoon to pray for the victims of the priest sexual abuse scandal, the first of three such Masses planned in the Hartford archdiocese.

Archbishop Leonard Blair celebrated the Mass at the St. Bartholomew Church building of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Manchester to make spiritual amends to victims of sexual abuse by priests, providing solace for those who attended.

“It was a beautiful reparation mass, and it brought peace to a lot of people’s hearts,” said Dorothy Brindisi. “The church is trying to do the right thing and bring people together and hope for the future.”

January 27, 2019

Baton Rouge clergy sex abuse: Answering key questions before diocese releases list

The Advocate

January 27, 2019

The Diocese of Baton Rouge is expected on Thursday to release a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Ahead of the release, The Advocate tracked every known allegation of abuse involving a Baton Rouge priest. Here's what we found.

How many known priests have been accused of sexual abuse?

At least 15 priests who have served in the Diocese of Baton Rouge were accused of sexual abuse. Half were named when the Archdiocese of New Orleans released its list, two more were on a list of accused Jesuit priests and the remaining five have been the subject of civil suits or criminal charges involving sexual misconduct.

How many known victims are there?

Upward of 60 victims say they were abused by priests who spent time in Baton Rouge, though we may never know the full number. Two priests accused of abuse especially drove up the victim count. At least 30 people accused through lawsuits one Baton Rouge priest, Christopher Springer, of abuse. And a lawyer who represented people who said they were abused by Gerard "Jerry" Howell estimated Howell had 25 to 50 victims.

EXCLUSIVE: The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years, and No One Knew

Christian Broadcasting Network

January 27, 2019

By Heather Sells

John and Clara Hinton arrived in Somerset, Pennsylvania in 1972. Just two years into their marriage and with a young daughter, the young couple was eager to start their ministry at the Somerset Church of Christ, a small congregation in the rural community.

John had completed a Bible degree at Oklahoma Christian University and served as a youth pastor when he stepped into the pulpit.

"We were kids when we moved to Somerset, Pennsylvania. We were 22 years old," said Clara. For her, years of dreams were coming together. "I had prayed from a young child up for a Christian husband. That's all I ever wanted was a Christian husband and I wanted to be a Christian wife and mother."

The two would go on to have eleven children and Clara considered John to be a model husband and father. She described him as soft-spoken and thoughtful, fixing her breakfast every morning.

"He was my spiritual leader. We would spend many hours talking about God and our faith and our service within the church," she said.

He was also engaged with their children, never missing a game or a concert. "He played with them. He hung out with them. He was that person," said Clara. "In fact, women in the church would often tell me 'I wish my husband was like yours.'"

Priest sued for abuse in OK appears on KS list of accused clerics

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 25, 2019

A priest from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City who was sued for sexual abuse in 2003 appears on the list of clergy with "substantiated allegations" released today by the Kansas City Kansas Archdiocese.

While Fr. David "Dave" Imming reportedly never worked in the KS Archdiocese, we know that he retired from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and moved to Kansas in 2001.

Fr. Imming was sued in 2003 in Oklahoma for alleged sexual abuse. At least six others came forward during the lawsuit.

We beg anyone who may have been abused by Fr. Imming, or anyone who saw or suspected such abuse, to contact law enforcement. SNAP, or groups like us, are also available to assist survivors, witnesses and whistle blowers as they come forward.

Sex abuse victim testified against janitor from his deathbed

New York Post

January 26, 2019

By Susan Edelman

On his hospital deathbed, Stephen Erickson, 55, finally got a chance to testify under oath that the janitor at his Catholic middle school had repeatedly raped him as a boy.

He hoped a jury would hear his words of anguish from beyond the grave.

In a highly unusual move, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly last month granted an emergency request to let Erickson give a sworn statement to “preserve his testimony” for a lawsuit he wanted to file against the church.

Wasting away from terminal skin cancer, Erickson gave a videotaped sworn statement from his bed at Albany Medical Center on Dec. 12.

He died seven days later.

According to a transcript obtained by The Post, Erickson accused Eugene Hubert, a janitor at St. Teresa of Avila School in Albany, which he attended in 1977 to 1978, of sexually assaulting him “three times a week.”

A call for opinion: How have you responded to the Catholic church’s acknowledgment of sexual abuse?

Hartford Courant

January 27, 2019

The Courant would like to hear from people across Connecticut who are willing to share their personal stories about how the recent disclosure by the Archdiocese of Hartford that dozens of priests have been credibly accused of sexual assault have affected them -- their faith, their fears, their views on organized religion, their hopes for moving forward.

For Catholics, the disclosures have raised questions about their relationship with the church and their own local parishes. For survivors of sexual assault, the disclosures can be both cathartic and painful. For many, the revelations have been emotionally wrenching and painful.

We are interested in personal stories and honest reflections from the deeply faithful and the estranged. We hope these stories will help provide context for anyone struggling with the repercussions of these revelations.

If you are interested, please send an essay of about 650 words to opinion@courant.com, or by mail to The Hartford Courant, Opinion Department, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.

Sex abuse victims deemed 'ineligible' for settlements upset with Buffalo Diocese

Buffalo News

January 27, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

When the Buffalo Diocese offered childhood victims of clergy sex abuse a chance to be compensated for their pain and suffering, Jeffrey M. Shaw filed a claim.

He alleged the Rev. Joseph Rappl abused him in 1981, when he was 11 years old and Rappl was an associate pastor in Lewiston.

The diocese acknowledged that Rappl had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

But in December, Shaw received a letter stating that he wasn’t eligible for compensation.

The diocese has offered several dozen victims awards ranging from $10,000 to $600,000, but Shaw is among several other victims who were determined to be ineligible. Diocese officials stipulated last March when they announced the program that only victims already known to the diocese at the time would be eligible for compensation.

“I feel like I’ve been dismissed by the church,” said Shaw, who lives in Maryland. “It seems that an institution that talks about morals and ethics and doing the right thing would want to do the right thing.”

Shaw said he first reported his abuse to the diocese in April or May, but he had told other people years earlier, including a friend, his ex-wife and a therapist. He made a claim with the Buffalo Diocese with the help of Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who represents more than 100 clients in similar compensation programs in other dioceses in New York.

Another client who accused Rappl of abuse prior to last March did receive an offer from the diocese, said Garabedian. So the diocese was using an arbitrary date to refuse to make Shaw an offer, despite knowing that the priest was credibly accused, he said.

“The Diocese of Buffalo has acted in a calculated fashion to exclude many claims,” he said. “It underscores how little the Diocese of Buffalo cares about childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse.”

Lawlor F. Quinlan, a lawyer for the diocese, would not comment on how many applicants to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program were deemed ineligible due to the diocese's time restriction. He also declined to answer questions from The News about how many awards have been offered so far and for how much.

"The diocese intends to provide a report on the IRCP after the program is concluded. At this point, the program is ongoing," Quinlan said.

Letter to the editor: Hiding problem priests shows church’s failure

Press Herald

January 27, 2019

Both Cheverus High School in Portland and Scranton Prep in Pennsylvania, two relatively obscure Jesuit schools, served to house predatory men, as many as five at a time. When the Jesuits published the names, I knew several, including some who had been guests at my home.

Bill Nemitz illustrates this point in his Jan. 20 column, “Dangerous times at Cheverus High.” Indeed, the men of the class of 1979 would have been easy targets. Back in the day, I was a target, too, but somehow avoided such a fate.

When the grand jury impaneled by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office released the data on clergy abuse in the Catholic Church, I found the name that had been missing from the website BishopAccountability.org. As the grand jury’s report states, the Rev. Joseph F. Houston and “a minor female” – my sister – were seen leaving a motel late at night on several occasions in 1971, as reported to Bishop J. Carroll McCormick.

Denunciante de sacerdote Renato Poblete: "Me siento con la responsabilidad de decir que fui yo"

[Whistleblower in Renato Poblete case speaks up: "I feel responsible to say that it was me"]


January 27, 2019

Marcela Aranda Escobar, profesora de teología de la PUC, aborda por primera vez las denuncias en contra del fallecido ex capellán del Hogar de Cristo, por las que hay en marcha una investigación canónica.

"Soy Marcela Aranda Escobar, ingeniero mecánico y teóloga. Soy profesora de la Facultad de Teología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, hago clases de teología y también en el programa de Pedagogía en Religión Católica de la UC. Soy mamá de una hija que quiero mucho y, además, vivo con mi padre ya anciano. Me siento sobreviviendo con gran esfuerzo, mucha ayuda especializada y el cariño de mis amigos por abusos horrorosos". Revisa la entrevista completa en la edición de este domingo de "El Mercurio".

Obispo Emiliano Soto sobre casos de abusos en iglesias evangélicas: “Se dan en menor escala debido a que el pastor está casado”

[Bishop Emiliano Soto on abuse cases in evangelical churches: "They occur on a smaller scale because the pastor is married"]

La Tercera

January 27, 2019

By Juan Pablo Sallaberry

Para la autoridad de la Iglesia Evangélica Pentecostal Reformada, el celibato influye en que la religión católica registre más casos de abusos sexuales. Agrega que en las iglesias cristianas “no hay encubrimiento”.

El obispo Emiliano Soto, presidente de la mesa ampliada de entidades evangélicas y protestantes de Chile, señala que aunque los casos son más acotados que en la Iglesia Católica, el tema de los abusos sexuales también preocupa a las iglesias cristianas.

Renato Poblete: Golpe al corazón de los jesuitas

[Renato Poblete: The heartbeat of the Jesuits]

La Tercera

January 27, 2019

By Carla Pía Ruiz and Gloria Faúndez H.

La develación de la denuncia por delitos de abuso sexual, de poder y de conciencia en contra del sacerdote Renato Poblete generó un escenario totalmente incierto para la Compañía de Jesús, ya afectada por una nueva acusación -que se mantenía en reserva- en contra del exprovincial Eugenio Valenzuela.

Ocurrió entre fines de noviembre y principios de diciembre pasado. La cita era urgente, explicó el provincial de los jesuitas, Cristián del Campo. Habían sido convocados todos los jesuitas de Santiago. Tal era la gravedad de la situación, que incluso quienes estaban fuera del país participaron. Vía Skype intervinieron en la reunión los religiosos que estaban en Argentina, en Perú y hasta algunos que estaban en Roma. Eran 60 en total.

Los delitos sexuales que impactan a las iglesias evangélicas y protestantes

[Sexual crimes in the Evangelical and Protestant churches]

La Tercera

January 27, 2019

By S. Labrín and JP Sallaberry

Aunque se registran menos casos que en la Iglesia Católica, en la última década se han abierto causas penales contra 42 pastores de iglesias cristianas por abuso. Casi el 60% de ellas tiene condenas.

Trescientos días de cárcel, la imposibilidad perpetua para trabajar con menores de edad y una vigilancia por 10 años de la autoridad, fue la condena que el pasado 15 de enero recibió Leonardo Bustos Paredes, pastor evangélico de la comuna de María Pinto, en la Región Metropolitana, tras reconocer que abusó sexualmente de una menor de 13 años entre 2016 y 2017.

Montserrat, mito y realidad

[Montserrat, myth and reality]

El País

January 26, 2019

By Francesc Valls

En estos momentos la mejor noticia de esta esta crisis es la creación de una comisión de transparencia que indagará denuncias sobre supuestos abusos a menores que afecten a los benedictinos

La salida a la luz pública de la denuncia de presuntos abusos sexuales que sufrió Miguel Hurtado cuando tenía 16 años (1998) por parte del monje de Montserrat Andreu Soler, responsable del grupo scout del monasterio, ha sacudido el imaginario catalán. Eran muchos quienes cruzaban los dedos para no ver salpicada a la abadía por el escándalo de la pederastia. El encubrimiento de dos abades —Cassià Just y Sebastià Bardolet— trató de echar tierra sobre el asunto y llegar a un acuerdo con la víctima. Los actuales responsables del monasterio aseguraron que, de producirse ahora, llevarían el caso ante la justicia civil.

State should investigate Catholic Church abuse

Journal Times

January 27, 2019

“The Church’s credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes, but even more by the efforts made to deny or conceal them,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops about abuse over the years. “This has led to a growing sense of uncertainty, distrust and vulnerability among the faithful.”

In recent years, more has come to light about abuse from the past with the release of lists of priests who are accused of abusing children.

The Milwaukee Archdiocese released a list of alleged offenders in 2004; earlier this month, the Diocese of Green Bay released the names of 46 priests who committed sexual offenses against minors dating back more than 100 years. But many secrets remain to this day.

In light of the substantial number of abusers and victims around the state and nation, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm called earlier this month for a statewide investigation of the church’s response to abuse allegations.

Pope to California pilgrim: clerical sex abuse is a ‘horrible crime’


January 27, 2019

By Christopher White

Pope Francis told an American pilgrim taking part in World Youth Day that clerical sex abuse is a “horrible crime” and that “even if it is just one person, the Church should not tolerate it.”

The pope’s words came in response to a question from 29-year-old Brenda Berenice Noriega from California who was one of ten young people selected to have lunch with Francis on Saturday.

The meal took place behind closed doors without any press or cameras, but in an interview with Crux following the lunch, Noriega stressed that the pope emphasized solidarity with victims and caring for their pain.

The pope’s remarks to Noriega marked the first time he addressed the issue of clerical sexual abuse. Earlier on Saturday, during a Mass with priests and religious women and men, the pope encouraged them to remain strong in the faith despite the Church being “wounded by sin.”

January 26, 2019

Francis to religious in Panama: Don’t grow weary, despite sins of Church


January 26, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Young people, prisoners, politicians, and bishops have all enjoyed an opportunity to get a boost from Pope Francis so far during his visit to Panama, and on Saturday morning, it was the time for priests and religious women and men to receive one. While Francis told them it is understandable that they might feel weary at times due to the “sins” of the Church, he encouraged them to keep their hearts open to God.

“We know that not just any word can help us regain energy and prophecy in our mission,” Francis said in his homily during the Mass he celebrated in Santa Maria La Antigua cathedral. “Not just any novelty, however alluring it may seem, can quench our thirst. We know that neither knowledge of religion nor upholding past or present traditions, always makes us fruitful and passionate ‘worshipers in spirit and truth’.”

The pope’s homily was rooted in a passage from the Book of John where Jesus, tired from his journey, rests near a well and asks a Samarian woman to draw water and “Give me a drink.”

Visitador apostólico confirma que nombraron nuevos sacerdotes para reemplazar a indagados por abusos

[Apostolic visitor confirms appointment of new priests to replace those investigated for abuse]


January 24, 2019

By Gonzalo Cifuentes and Diego Barría

Cuatro sacerdotes de la Arquidiócesis de Puerto Montt están siendo investigados y fueron denunciados ante el Vaticano por el administrador apostólico Ricardo Morales. Se trata de: Dionisio Muñoz, Eugenio Céspedes, Dario Nicolas y Tulio Soto. Contra los 3 primeros pesan denuncias por abuso sexual y para el último, delitos administrativos.

Papa Francisco acepta renuncia de dos sacerdotes de O'Higgins acusados de presuntos abusos sexuales

[Pope Francisco accepts resignations of two O'Higgins priests accused of sexual abuse]


January 26, 2019

By Fernanda Villalobo

Héctor Fuentes y Freddy Gorigoitia habían presentado su renuncia en agosto pasado al administrados apostólico, el obispo Fernando Ramos.

La Diócesis de Rancagua informó que el Papa Francisco acogió la solicitud presentada hace unos meses por Héctor Galvarino Fuentes Aguilera y Freddy Gorigoitia González, dispensándolos de las obligaciones del sacerdocio. De esta forma, ambos religiosos quedaron excluidos del estado clerical, explicó el Obispado de Rancagua mediante un comunicado.

Ignacio Sánchez: El caso de Renato Poblete “será un golpe muy duro para la credibilidad de la Iglesia”

[Ignacio Sánchez: The case of Renato Poblete "will be a very hard blow for the Church's credibility"]

La Tercera

January 26, 2019

By Carlos Said

Rector de la Universidad Católica cuenta que su plantel está apoyando a la denunciante y llama a la comunidad católica a involucrarse en la reconstrucción de la fe. “No podemos dejar a la jerarquía a cargo de esto”, afirma.

La semana pasada, la Iglesia Católica se vio golpeada nuevamente por una denuncia de abuso, esta vez contra el sacerdote jesuita Renato Poblete, uno de los hombres más importantes en la historia del Hogar de Cristo y quien falleció en 2010. Su congregación ya abrió una investigación, cuyos resultados se anticipa generarán un alto impacto. Así lo cree el rector de la U. Católica, Ignacio Sánchez, quien dice que es labor de todos los creyentes ocuparse de la crisis. La denunciante, cuya identidad La Tercera se reserva, es profesora de ese plantel y el rector cuenta que la están acompañando en el difícil momento que atraviesa.

El tibio ‘mea culpa’ de los responsables de abusos sexuales a menores en la Iglesia española

[The tepid 'mea culpa' of those responsible for sexual abuse of minors in the Spanish Church]

El País

January 24, 2019

By Héctor Llanos Martínez

La serie documental ‘Examen de conciencia’ intercala testimonios de víctimas con los de la Conferencia Episcopal, Maristas y los propios agresores

Para Miguel Hurtado, todos los casos de abusos a menores en la Iglesia Católica española, como el que él sufrió en 1997, acaban igual. “Las congregaciones nunca denuncian a la policía”, lamenta en la serie documental Examen de conciencia, que estrena Netflix este viernes 25 de enero. La semana pasada, con 37 años de edad, se atrevió por primera vez a dar el nombre de forma pública de su agresor: Andreu Soler, por aquel entonces monje del monasterio de Montserrat.

Bishop of Diocese of Baton Rouge plans to release names of priests accused of abuse


January 26, 2019

By Mykal Vincent

The Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge says they’ve set a date for the release of the names of priests credibly accused of abusing minors.

In a release sent out Saturday afternoon, Bishop Michael Duca said they’ve completed their review of the files and will release the list of names Thursday, January 31.

In what the Bishop called a “difficult decision," he says he’s convinced that bringing more facts to light will help victims start to re-establish trust in the catholic church.

Pope says weary Church 'wounded by her own sin' in reference to abuse


January 26, 2019

Pope Francis said on Saturday the Roman Catholic Church was weary and "wounded by her own sin," in an apparent reference to the global sexual abuse crisis.

Francis made the comment in the homily of Mass for priests, nuns, and members of Catholic lay organisations in Panama City's newly renovated cathedral of Santa Maria Antigua, the first in mainland America, which was completed in 1716.

The pope has called a summit of the heads of national Catholic churches at the Vatican from February 21-24 to discuss what is now a global sexual abuse crisis.

The meeting offers a chance for him to respond to criticism from victims of abuse that he has stumbled in his handling of the crisis and has not done enough to make bishops accountable.

Their view: Diocese program deserves a chance, but it does merit scrutiny too

Times Leader

January 26, 2019

What to make of the Diocese of Scranton’s new “Independent Survivors Compensation Program”?

On the face of it, ignoring past actions both within this diocese and throughout the United States Catholic hierarchy, and ignoring outside pressures for stronger action in the long-standing sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Church, this feels right.

It makes sense to hire an outside group to administer a compensation program. It’s laudable and logical that the program is open to all victims, whether victimized by a priest of the diocese proper (there is an important distinction between a diocesan priest and priest practicing within the diocese), as well as by someone from a religious order or a lay employee of the diocese.

The program includes the critical caveat that even victims who have not yet reported past abuses can participate after reporting abuse in writing to a District Attorney’s Office.

Archbishop addresses release of list of clerics with substantiated allegations

The Leaven

January 25, 2019

By Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Today’s Leaven makes public a list of all Catholic clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors for whom we have files in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas dating from the 1940s to the present.

To assist the archdiocese with this effort, we engaged the services of Husch Blackwell, a law firm with expertise and experience conducting similar types of reviews for many entities, organizations, and public and private educational institutions. We asked Husch Blackwell to provide us with an objective and comprehensive understanding of more than a thousand files of Catholic clergy dating back more than 75 years.

Each name on this list represents a grave human tragedy. Each name represents a betrayal of trust and a violation of the innocent. The sexual abuse of children and youth by Catholic priests contradicts our church’s teaching on authentic love, the beauty of human sexuality and the dignity of the human person. What was done to victims by those who were called to be spiritual fathers is cause for great shame. On behalf of the church, I apologize to each victim and pledge our commitment to do all that we can to assist with your healing.

Retired Munhall Catholic priest arrested, charged with child sex abuse

The Tribune-Review

January 25, 2019

By Megan Guza

Allegheny County police Friday arrested a retired Catholic priest for the alleged assault of a 10-year-old boy in 2001, authorities said.

The Rev. Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall at the time of the alleged assault, said police Inspector Andrew Schurman.

Schurman said the alleged victim, who he did not identify but lives in another country, saw the media coverage of the statewide grand jury report alleging decades of abuse and cover-ups within six Catholic diocese, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Schurman said the individual called the Attorney General’s abuse hotline after seeing the coverage, and the complaint was forwarded first to the Childline program and then to county police.

Lang retired in 2006, and the diocese acknowledged the newfound allegations against him in August, placing him on leave. A diocesan spokesman said at the time it was the first allegation leveled against the clergyman.

The alleged victim told police the abuse happened during alter server training, during which Lang pulled him away from the other boys and took him to a room in the basement of St. Therese, according to the criminal complaint.

He told police Lang called him a troublemaker and told him to take off his clothes, according to the complaint. Lang allegedly took a Polaroid photo and told the victim he would show the photo to others if he didn’t behave.

The church needs Vatican III

National Catholic Reporter

January 25, 2019

By Pat Perriello

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore has taken unilateral action to address the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. He should be commended for doing so. While his efforts are unlikely to resolve many of the problems associated with the crisis, it is at least a decision to act rather than waiting for permission.

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However, the church is faced with a crisis that goes even beyond the sex abuse atrocities. There is a fracturing within the church of historic dimensions. Pope Francis himself has lost credibility, as members of the hierarchy feel emboldened to criticize him directly. They not only question his actions on the crisis but go after his leadership and commitment to what they see as unchangeable doctrines.

Bishops have accused the pope of lacking clarity in his statements on homosexuality and divorce. According to the Times, less than half of U.S. bishops attended the January retreat which Francis had encouraged the bishops to hold back in September.

Should the bishops act on their own? How does Francis and the church reestablish unity — or can they? Certainly, prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance is in order, but what can be done?

I agree with Pope Francis when he says that credibility "cannot be regained by issuing stern decrees or by simply creating new committees . . . as if we were in charge of a department of human resources."

Can church and university prevent more corruption by power?

Journal Inquirer

January 26, 2019

By Chris Powell

At the admirable direction of Archbishop Leonard Blair, the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford this week more or less came clean about the sexual abuse perpetrated by its priests during the last six decades.

The archdiocese identified 48 priests who had been credibly accused and reported that it had paid more than $50 million in the resulting damage claims. About half the priests cited are dead and most of the misconduct seems to have occurred prior to 1990, though it wasn't acknowledged and its victims compensated for many years. The archdiocese has commissioned a retired Superior Court judge to investigate and report on the scandal.

Some of the victims seem to want to be victims forever, but the biggest victim here is the church itself, having betrayed the trust of parishioners for so long and covered up until recently and then suffering a devastating financial penalty. Institutional charity and spirituality itself have been gravely damaged just when they are most needed, what with the country and Connecticut falling apart in hateful politics and incompetence.

3 Biloxi priests credibly accused of abuse: report


January 25, 2019

By Kim Chatelain

Three priests in the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi were removed from ministry after they were credibly accused of sexual misconduct of minors, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.

In a release on Thursday (Jan. 24), the Diocese identified them as former priests Jose Vazquez Morales, Jerome J. Axton and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. In all three cases, the Diocese notified the District Attorney’s Office, the newspaper reported.

The list does not include alleged abuse reported to have happened outside the Diocese by extern clergy who served in the Diocese, or allegations from before the Diocese was founded in 1977, the Sun Herald reported. The Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, is expected to release names of priests credibly accused of abuse this spring.

Two late priests with Lyon County connections on KCK archdiocese 'substantiated allegation' report


January 26, 2019

By Chuck Samples

The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City has announced 22 priests have had substantiated allegations of sexually abusing minors over the past 75 years as similar investigations continue in Catholic dioceses across the country.

On the list are two late priests that served Lyon County parishes during their careers. Lambert Dannenfelser, a Franciscan, served Emporia's Sacred Heart Church from 1969 to 1974. He also served Olpe's St. Joseph Church. The diocese says there was more than one allegation against Dannenfelser, although it does not specify how many. It also lists his estimated abuse timetable as 1989. Dannenfelser, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, spent time in missions in New Mexico and also served around the Cincinnati area before he died in 2006.

Another Franciscan, Steven Lamping, served at St. Joseph Church in the 1940s and 1950s, according to online archive information. The diocese says his estimated time frame of abuse was the 1950s, and there are multiple allegations of sex abuse against Lamping, who has since died. St. Joseph was his only church assignment, according to information provided by the archdiocese. Additional information about Lamping is not immediately available.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann says "each name on this list represents a grave human tragedy" and that "each name represents a betrayal of trust and a violation of the innocent." None of the priests on the list are currently in ministry, according to the archdiocese.

The abuse of children by priests has been in headlines periodically since the late 1980s, but the most recent batch of headlines hit last summer when a grand jury in Pennsylvania found that church leaders had covered up abuse by hundreds of priests dating back decades.

Victim speaks out after KCK diocese names 22 former priests in sexual abuse report

Fox 4 News

January 25, 2019

By Shannon O'Brien

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released a new report Friday, naming more than 20 priests accused of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese newspaper, The Leaven, lists 22 priests who the Archdiocese believes have substantiated claims of clergy sexual abuse with a minor.

The Archdiocese of KCK enlisted Chicago-based law firm Hush and Blackwell to look at over 1,080 files dating back to the 1940's through today, to help determine what sexual abuse may have taken place in the diocese over the past 75 years.

The list of 22 names is the result of that review. Read the report and entire list of names here.

Some of them are known abusers. Other names are new. According to the list, none of the 22 men are currently ministering in the archdiocese.

Raif: What happened to accountability and repentance?

Longview Nwqa Journal

January 25, 2019

By Gayle Raif

I find it really disheartening, but unfortunately not surprising, to read about sexual abuse perpetrated by Christian leaders. The most prominent news is about the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has addressed the rampant sexual abuse among Catholic clergy, citing a Pennsylvania grand jury report that showed more than 300 predator priests in that state had raped and molested more than 1,000 victims during a 70-year period. It also happened in Washington, D.C., where an abusive cardinal resigned, and in other places in the U.S. and every country where there is a Catholic church.

Protestants are not off the hook, because it’s also happening with them. Unfortunately, many of our Christian leadership — pastors, other ministers, even church office workers — forget to whom and for whom they are responsible. It seems they have come to believe that if they can hide their private thoughts, desires and actions but function publicly in a “spiritual” way, then all is right with God and their leadership.

Alas, that attitude permeates our society, but also excuses actions of adults, even pastors and religious leaders. The most prominent pastor to be accused of sexual abuse of women is Bill Hybels, now former pastor of Willow Creek Community Church just south of Chicago. He, as well as all the church staff and other ministers, have resigned.

It is happening in other churches, even in Longview. A recent series in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram alerted us to rape and indecency of pastors in the Fundamental Baptist Church, as well as another pastor who is now in prison for having sexual relations with a teenager.

Sex-Abuse Claims Against Fairfield University Non-Profit Settled For $60M

Daily Voice

January 25, 2019

By Zak Failla

Fairfield University and four other religious and charitable organizations have reached a $60 million settlement regarding alleged sexual abuse from a graduate.

In a statement released on Friday, the university announced that it has “agreed to a second and concluding legal settlement with a group of individuals who came forward with allegations that they were sexually abused in Haiti in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Douglas Perlitz, a Fairfield University alumnus.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Haitian minors by Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based lawyer, who has made a name for himself representing hundreds of clergy sexual assault victims.

According to Fairfield University, the announcement relates to Project Pierre Toussaint, a charity that was established in 1997 by Perlitz, designed to support underprivileged boys in Haiti. The multi-phase program fed, clothed, provided shelter and educated the young boys. In 2008, Perlitz was found to have been “grossly abusing his position, sexually assaulting some of the young men in his car.”

$60M Settlement In Sex Abuse Claims Against Fairfield U Graduate

The Patch

January 25, 2019

By Vincent Salzo

The settlement is in connection to sexual abuse claims against a Fairfield University graduate's charity in Haiti.

Fairfield University, along with four other defendants, have reached a $60-million settlement in connection to sexual abuse claims against a Fairfield University graduate's charity in Haiti. Douglas Perlitz established the charity known as "Project Pierre Toussaint" in 1997 aimed at helping underprivileged young men in Haiti.

"Many of our community members were inspired by this effort and gave generously to support it," according to a joint statement from Frank J. Carroll III, chairman of the board of trustees, and Mark Nemec, president of Fairfield University, to the campus community announcing the settlement. "Eleven years later, in 2008, the University learned that Mr. Perlitz had grossly abused his position, sexually assaulting some of the young men in his care.

"Though some members of our community donated time and resources to the project. Fairfield University played no role in the management or governance of Project Pierre Toussaint. The University was not aware of Mr. Perlitz's crimes before they were publicly reported. Regardless, our community was shaken by these revelations."

Fairfield University, others settle Haiti sex abuse case for $60M

Fox 61 TV

January 25, 2019

More than 130 people who say they were sexually abused as children at a now-defunct charity school in Haiti would receive $60 million in a legal settlement with a Connecticut Jesuit school and other religious organizations, lawyers and school officials announced Friday.

The class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Hartford involved poor and often homeless boys who attended the Project Pierre Toussaint School in Cap-Haitien over a period of more than a decade beginning in the late 1990s. A founder of the school, Fairfield University graduate Douglas Perlitz, is serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence for sexually abusing boys there.

The defendants include Fairfield University, the Society of Jesus of New England, the Order of Malta and Haiti Fund Inc., which financially supported the Haiti school. The lawsuit alleged they were negligent in supervising Perlitz and failed to prevent the abuse.

Jesuit school, others settle Haiti sex abuse case for $60M

Associated Press

January 25, 2019

By Dave Collins

More than 130 people who say they were sexually abused as children at a now-defunct charity school in Haiti would receive $60 million in a legal settlement with a Connecticut Jesuit school and other religious organizations, lawyers and school officials announced Friday.

The class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Hartford involved poor and often homeless boys who attended the Project Pierre Toussaint School in Cap-Haitien over a period of more than a decade beginning in the late 1990s. A founder of the school, Fairfield University graduate Douglas Perlitz, is serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence for sexually abusing boys there.

The defendants include Fairfield University, the Society of Jesus of New England, the Order of Malta and Haiti Fund Inc., which financially supported the Haiti school. The lawsuit alleged they were negligent in supervising Perlitz and failed to prevent the abuse.

“What we learned in these cases is that impoverished Haitian children were sexually abused and then left in pain, agony and without hope,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer representing the 130 plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit.

January 25, 2019

Former New Ulm Diocese Priest Faces Sex Abuse Accusations in Texas


January 25, 2019

A priest who had served in the Diocese of New Ulm from 1983 to his retirement in 2016 is accused of sexual abuse of two minors in 1976.

At that time, Fr. William Sprigler served in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas.

The Diocese of New Ulm said it has not received any allegations of sexual abuse of minors against Fr. Sprigler during the time he served its parishes.

Texas law enforcement is handling investigation into the 1976 allegations believed to be credible. Since 2016, Fr. Sprigler has filled in at parishes in Florida.

Substantiated cases of sexual abuse include multiple priests assigned to Shawnee Mission area parishes

Shawnee Mission Post

January 25, 2019

By Jay Senter

The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas today published a list of 22 priests who it says are credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors.

In a special issue of The Leaven, the archdioceses’ newspaper, Archbishop Joseph Naumann said the list was being released after an extensive investigation conducted by the law firm Husch Blackwell, whose Chicago office reviewed approximately 1,080 clergy files from the past 75 years.

The information included in the archdioceses’ report shows that 11 of the priests were assigned at one point or another to a parish in the Shawnee Mission area, and another was credibly accused of abuse during a visit to Roeland Park. The report does not indicate at which parishes specific incidences of abuse may have taken place.

Some of the priests implicated in sexual abuse served at St. Agnes in Roeland Park; St. Ann in Prairie Village; Queen of the Holy Rosary in Overland Park; Holy Cross in Overland park; St. Joseph in Shawnee; Holy Trinity in Lenexa; and Good Shepherd in Shawnee.

In a column accompanying the publication of the names, Naumann apologized and said the church stood ready to assist victims:

Mountain Home priest accused of rape won’t face new trial; future with diocese is unclear

Idaho Statesman

January 25, 2019

By Ruth Brown

The Mountain Home priest accused of raping an intoxicated man who was renting a room from him will not face a new trial, but his future with the Roman Catholic Church remains unclear.

The Rev. Victor Franz Jagerstatter’s trial in 2017 was declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. At the time, prosecutors said that one juror refused to deliberate the verdict. After the mistrial, the alleged victim was deployed on military duty, and in July 2018, the charge was dismissed without prejudice, meaning there won’t be an immediate retrial, but further litigation is possible.

At the time of the rape charge, Jagerstatter was a priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel in

The airman at Mountain Home Air Force Base told police that he went home intoxicated after a party in July 2016, fell asleep fully clothed, and then awoke partially undressed, according to previous Statesman reporting. The airman told police that he did not give permission for any sexual contact, according to court documents.

Multiple calls by the Statesman to the Elmore County Prosecutor’s Office this week to ask about the case were not returned.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise still has Jagerstatter listed as being on administrative leave, and he no longer appears on the diocese website. Spokesman Gene Fadness said Jagerstatter is not living in church property.

“Technically, he remains a priest at this moment, but he has not been given a new assignment, nor will he be in the future,” Fadness told the Statesman in an email.

A decision on whether Jagerstatter will be disciplined within the church has not been made, but the Diocese of Boise sought advice from the Vatican.

Church sex abuse summit a bid for ‘concrete change’: Vatican


January 25, 2019

The Vatican said Friday that next month’s meeting of Church leaders in Rome was a unique chance to tackle the “terrible plague” of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy.

“This will be an unprecedented occasion to face the problem and really find the concrete measures so that when the bishops will come back from Rome to their dioceses, they will be able to face this terrible plague,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.

Gisotti played down questions over why Pope Francis failed to speak out against clergy sex abuse during his ongoing visit to Panama.

The pope addressed hundreds of bishops from across Central America on Thursday, the first full day of his five-day visit to Panama for World Youth Day, but never mentioned the scandals.

It was the largest gathering of bishops since he announced the February summit with Church leaders from around the world to discuss the biggest crisis facing his papacy.

Gisotti said the Church was under “incredible pressure” and that the issue was never far from Francis’ mind.

“What I want to underline is that it is not necessary that every speech with every bishops conference — or every situation where there are young people — he has to face this problem,” Gisotti told a news conference on the sidelines of the giant meeting of Catholic young people, where he faced questions on the omission.

He said the issue “is really very very present” for the 82-year-old pontiff.

e said the 21-24 February meeting with the presidents of bishops conferences had been called amid an “extraordinary situation”.

“You can understand how important this meeting is for the pope,” said Gisotti.

“This is not the beginning of this battle, it is a painful journey. Probably the most painful journey we can imagine. And this has been said by Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis. So we understand there is an incredible pressure.”

List of names in Diocese of Monterey’s report comes up short, say two groups

Monterey Herald

January 25, 2019

By James Herrera

When the Diocese of Monterey published the results of its review of clergymen’s personnel files a few weeks ago, it listed 30 who had been credibly or plausibly accused of sexual misconduct with a child going back to the 1950s.

Yet critics are quick to say this is not a complete picture because of the criteria the review used to determine whose names would be listed.

At the outset of the review, Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Monterey, outlined the objectives of the review, saying: “We want to assure people that any priest who has a credible accusation of child abuse against him is no longer in ministry. Our hope is that an outside firm brings transparency and assurance that this is a true and accurate account.”

But an organization that tracks clergy sex abuse cases says the Diocese of Monterey failed at that.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has compiled a list of 18 names it feels should be included on a complete list. To compile this list, the organization used information from Bishop Accountability, an organization that aims to facilitate the accountability of bishops in the United States.

SNAP is a self-help group of more than 25,000 members for clergy sex abuse victims. Its support groups meet in over 60 cities across the globe. Its response to the Diocese of Monterey’s Report of Credible Allegations immediately after it was published Jan. 2, can be found at bit.ly/2sOEjYI.

Paul Gaspari, a lawyer with Weintraub Tobin, the outside law firm the Diocese of Monterey tasked with conducting the review, responded to assertions made by SNAP by saying: “I trust you recognize that Bishop Accountability is not independent and the ‘database’ is far from accurate.”

DC attorney general: ‘We’re not targeting the archdiocese’ with mandatory-reporting bill


January 25, 2019

By Neal Augenstein

With the past two archbishops of D.C. — Cardinals Donald Wuerl and Theodore McCarrick — at the center of the national discussion on clergy sex abuse, the District’s attorney general is proposing legislation to add clergy to the list of “mandatory reporters.”

“We’re not targeting the archdiocese, or any other religious entity,” Attorney General Karl Racine told WTOP. “What we’re doing is seeking to protect young people.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington, Ed McFadden, told WTOP that the archdiocese has “trained and required all priests, religious employees and all volunteers of the archdiocese to serve as mandated reporters,” and suggested that the District is now catching up with the church.

“We, of course, have met with the archdiocese lawyers,” said Racine. “We also have a faith-based council, which is an informal group that we meet with from time to time” to discuss laws that may affect religious institutions, he added.

Retired Pittsburgh priest, 88, charged with sexual abuse of child in early 2000s


Jan 25, 2019

A retired Catholic priest who came under investigation in the wake of last year's state grand jury report was arrested Friday on charges that he assaulted a 10-year-old boy during altar service training in 2001, Allegheny County police said.

The Rev. Hugh Lang, 88, was released on nonmonetary bond after turning himself in for arraignment by District Judge Thomas Torkowsky. Police said Lang was charged with sexual abuse of children, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, indecent assault and indecent exposure.

Lang, of Castle Shannon, was serving at Saint Therese of Lisieux in Munhall when the alleged assault happened in June 2001, police said.

The alleged victim, identified as John Doe, told police that Lang removed him from the other boys in training and took him to a CCD room in the church basement, according to the criminal complaint.

"After Father Lang and John Doe entered the room, Father Lang locked the door. Father Lang then told John Doe that Doe was a troublemaker and instructed Doe to remove his clothes," the complaint said. "After John Doe removed his clothes, Father Lang took a Polaroid photograph of John Doe while he was standing naked. Father Lang showed the photo to John Doe and warned him that if he didn't behave, he would show the photo to others."

What is in the Child Victims Act?


January 25, 2019

By Chris Horvatits

Another big vote is expected in Albany next week, as lawmakers are scheduled to take up the Child Victims Act. The measure, which has passed the Assembly previously, has stalled in the Senate several times in recent years.

It's a bill which victims of child sex abuse have been fighting for, especially those involved in the clergy sex abuse scandal. In part, it extends the statute of limitations for both civil and criminal cases concerning abuse.

With Democrats taking control of the Senate from Republicans this year, it faces a much more optimistic future than it did in previous years.

James Faluszczak, an abuse victim who now advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse, will be in Albany when the vote is taken on Monday.

"I'm going to Albany on Monday to, first of all, thank the members of the Senate and Assembly who are supporting this legislation. I'm going to celebrate with victims," Faluszczak said.

Retired Munhall Catholic priest arrested, charged with child sex abuse

Trib Live

January 25, 2019

By Megan Guza

Allegheny County police Friday arrested a retired Catholic priest for the alleged assault of a 10-year-old boy in 2001, authorities said.

The Rev. Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall at the time of the alleged assault, said police Inspector Andrew Schurman.

Schurman said the alleged victim, who he did not identify but lives in another country, saw the media coverage of the statewide grand jury report alleging decades of abuse and cover-ups within six Catholic diocese, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Schurman said the person called the Attorney General’s abuse hotline after seeing the coverage, and the complaint was forwarded first to the Childline program and then to county police.

Lang retired in 2006, and the diocese acknowledged the newfound allegations against him in August, placing him on leave. A diocesan spokesman said at the time it was the first allegation leveled against the clergyman.

Kansas diocese inquiry into abuse of minors names 22 clerics

Associated Press

January 25, 2019

By Margaret Stafford

A law firm that reviewed 75 years of clergy files in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas found 22 substantiated claims of sexual abuse against priests or other clerics, the archdiocese announced Friday.

The archdiocese released the names of all 22 men in its publication, The Leaven . None of the 22 men are currently ministering in the archdiocese, according to list. Eleven have died; seven have been "laicized," meaning they were removed from clerical service; one was "removed from ministry;" one was last known to be at a friary in Denver; and the status of two others are unknown.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann said in a column in The Leaven that it is difficult to "discern the truth" of an event from decades ago, especially when the accused is deceased and other people's memories have faded.

"The list that we are providing today is accurate based on the information we possess at this moment," Naumann wrote.

The Husch Blackwell law firm reviewed about 1,080 clergy files to compile the list. A report based on the investigation has been shared with the Kansas attorney general's office and the list will be updated if more information becomes available, the archbishop said.

The archdiocese hired the law firm in August when the Catholic Church was shaken by a grand jury report that found abuse by up to 300 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses over the last 70 years, and reports that Pope Francis and other church leaders knew about sexual misconduct allegations against the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, but rehabilitated him anyway.

‘A grave human tragedy’: KCK archbishop names 22 priests credibly accused of sex abuse

Kansas City Star

January 25, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas on Friday released the names of 22 priests in its files who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against them in the past 75 years.

“Each name on this list represents a grave human tragedy,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in a statement published Friday in The Leaven, the archdiocesan newspaper. “Each name represents a betrayal of trust and a violation of the innocent.”

In addition to the 22, the list includes four priests whom the archdiocese said have had previously publicized allegations that were not able to be substantiated.

None on the list is in current ministry in the archdiocese, Naumann said.
The list was compiled after a review of about 1,080 clergy files dating back more than 75 years, the archdiocese said. The review was conducted by the Chicago office of the Husch Blackwell law firm.

A report based on the findings was provided to the Kansas attorney general, the archdiocese said. Naumann said the list will be updated if new information comes to light.

Of the 22 clergy on the list, 10 were priests of the archdiocese, according to The Leaven. Eleven are dead and seven have been laicized, or removed from the priesthood. The status of some others are unknown.

Naumann said the sexual abuse of children and youth by Catholic priests “contradicts our church’s teaching on authentic love, the beauty of human sexuality and the dignity of the human person.”

List of 22 clergy with substantiated claims of sexual abuse released by KCK Archdiocese

Topeka Capital-Journal

January 25, 2019

By Katie Moore

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released Friday the names of 22 clergy with substantiated claims of sexual abuse involving a minor.

The Chicago office of law firm Husch Blackwell reviewed about 1,080 clergy files, according to the archdiocese’s publication The Leaven.

Of the 22 listed, 10 were priests in the archdiocese. Eleven have died and seven have been laicized. Laicization occurs when a cleric officially returns to the lay state.

One of the named priests, Martin Juarez, led St. Matthew’s Parish in Topeka. Scott Goodloe said in August that he was victimized from 1981 to 1984 by Juarez and a claim was settled in 1999.

A lawsuit filed last year accuses a “Father M.J.” of abuse. The lawsuit is ongoing in Wyandotte County, where the archdiocese is based.

“Survivors of sexual abuse have for many, many years asked the Church to make publicly known those wrapped in the robes of a priest who have abused children,” said attorney Rebecca Randles, who is representing the alleged victim in the case. “The partial list provided by the Archdiocese of Kansas is a start but does not go far enough to provide real transparency regarding abuse of children and vulnerable adults. It is our hope that the attorney general’s office will undergo a complete investigation similar to that in Pennsylvania.”

A grand jury report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania, released in August, found more than 1,000 child victims. It included details about how priests used religious rituals and the threat of eternity in hell to rape children, the Associated Press reported.

Fairfield University, religious charities agree to $60 million settlement for 133 children sexually abused at Haitian school

Hartford Courant

January 25, 2019

By Nicholas Rondinone

Eight years after Douglas Perlitz was sent to prison for using school, shelter and food to get boys to perform sexual acts, an attorney for the 133 victims said they struck a $60 million settlement with Fairfield University and other religious charities that supported Perlitz’s charity for homeless boys in Haiti while ignoring signs of the widespread abuse.

The homeless boys, some now men, were abused in the late 1990s and early 2000s while living at a school run by Project Pierre Toussaint, a school created by Perlitz, a 1997 graduate of Fairfield University. One lawsuit includes a claim that one of the victims, a minor, was sexually abused by another person involved with the school, but that individual has not been charged criminally.

“This settlement is life changing for my clients. As you know, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney representing the boys. “The victims were homeless without food, without clothing and without medicine... They are sick and have been sick. They are starving for the longest period. This is life changing.”

Garabedian said they have asked a federal judge in Connecticut to consider creating a class-action lawsuit and then approving the settlement fund already agreed upon by the school and charities, including the Order of Malta, Haiti Fund Inc. and the Society of Jesus of New England. The class-action lawsuit would encompass 51 current lawsuits and 82 claims vetted by attorneys, Garabedian said.

Substantiated Allegations of Clergy Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Archdiocese of Kansas City

January 25, 2019

Affiliation: Oblate missionary, Montreal, Canada
Year of birth: Unknown
Year of ordination: Unknown
Last known status: Deceased
Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1980 while visiting friends in Roeland Park
More than one allegation: No

Affiliation: Franciscans (OFM)
Year of birth: Unknown
Year of ordination: Unknown
Last known status: Deceased
Estimated timeframe of abuse: 1989
Pastoral assignments:
• Sacred Heart, Emporia
• St. Joseph, Olpe
More than one allegation: Yes

More abuse survivors and witnesses step forward in Missouri Catholic clergy probe

Post Dispatch

January 25, 2019

By Kurt Erickson

An estimated 70 people have completed an online form saying they were either a victim or a witness to abuse by Catholic priests as part of an investigation underway by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

That number is up from the 50 survivors and potential witnesses who contacted the office in the first month of the probe, which was launched in August by Schmitt’s predecessor, Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

Although a spokesman for Schmitt provided an update on how many people have contacted the office, he said he could not provide answers to the Post-Dispatch about other aspects of the investigation, including how many attorneys are working on the case and whether there is a timeline to conclude the proceedings.

“The other questions I can’t comment on since this is an ongoing investigation,” said Chris Nuelle.

Igreja católica da PB tem de pagar R$ 12 milhões por abuso sexual, diz TV

[Catholic Church of Paraíba has to pay R $ 12 million for sexual abuse, says TV]

Diario de Pernambuco

January 21, 2019

A Justiça do Trabalho condenou Arquidiocese da Paraíba a pagar R$ 12 milhões de indenização por exploração sexual cometida por padres contra crianças e adolescentes, segundo reportagem do programa Fantástico, veiculada na noite deste domingo (20/1), pela TV Globo. Na Justiça, os envolvidos negaram os crimes.

[Google Translation: The Labor Court condemned the Archdiocese of Paraíba to pay R $ 12 million in compensation for sexual exploitation committed by priests against children and adolescents, according to a report on the TV show Fantástico, broadcast on Sunday night (20/1) by TV Globo. In court, those involved denied the crimes.]

$60M deal settles sex-abuse claims against Fairfield U. grad’s Haitian charity

Connecticut Post

January 25, 2019

By Michael P. Mayko

Fairfield University and four affiliated religious and charitable organizations today settled a series of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse in a school for homeless boys founded and operated by Douglas Perlitz with the help of several Catholic charitable organizations.

Today’s action is the second global settlement of civil suits brought on behalf of young Haitian boys by Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based lawyer who has built a reputation for bringing sexual abuse suits against Catholic priests and employees throughout the United States. In 2013 he settled 23 similar lawsuits for $12 million on behalf of 24 boys.

“A significant proportion of the funds to be used in the University’s contribution to the settlement will come through a University Insurance carrier,” Fairfield University said in a statement regarding today’s action.

“The University has been planning for this litigation, and any difference has been allocated for and will not have material impact on the financial integrity of the University or its day-to-day operations in serving our students, faculty and the broader Fairfield Community. We will continue to make investments to enhance our facilities and our faculty to ensure that we provide a world-class education to our students.”

The lawsuit - and several other earlier ones - arise out of a three-phase program to feed, clothe, shelter and education street boys in Haiti. The program was designed by Douglas Perlitz, a 1992 Fairfield University graduate who the school chose as its 2002 commencement speaker.

Pope’s anti-abuse summit needs to hear from ‘designated survivors’


January 25, 2019

By Charles Collins

When over 180 bishops’ conference presidents and other Church leaders descend on Rome next month for a global summit on clerical sexual abuse, they will hear from some of the victims themselves. Yet a Jan. 16 Vatican communique making this announcement did not mention the names of those who would be giving the presentations.

Likewise, when the organizing committee for the Feb. 21-24 summit was named in November, the statement mentioned that “some victims of abuse by members of the clergy” would be involved in the preparations. When Crux asked who they would be, we were told they might be named at a later date - so far, they haven’t been.

When Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2017 - following English survivor Peter Saunders’ exit the previous year - the commission’s president, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, told Crux: “Perhaps having survivors who were known as survivors was part of the reason they got so much attention.”

The Vatican seems have taken this concern to heart: When new commission members were announced last year, the statement said “the members of the commission include both victims of clerical sexual abuse and parents of victims.” But the announcement also said that none of them wished to be identified as such, with the Vatican explaining it was “defending each person’s right to choose whether or not to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly.”

When La Civilta Cattolica revealed in February 2018 that Pope Francis told Jesuits in Peru that he “regularly” met with abuse survivors on Fridays in his residence, the Vatican spokesman said “the meetings are held with the utmost privacy, in respect of the victims and their suffering.”

In fact, none of the participants of these meetings have ever spoken about it (Crux has independently confirmed that such meetings have taken place.)

It’s important to note that many survivors of sexual abuse don’t want to publicize the fact, and just because someone has chosen not to take up an advocacy role doesn’t mean their voices shouldn’t be heard by the leaders of the Church.

But there was a reason Saunders and Collins, longtime advocates for the victims of clerical sexual abuse, were appointed to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and it went beyond the ability to relate their personal experiences to members of the Vatican hierarchy - they were in a unique position to hold the Church to account.

During their time on the commission, both survivors were vocal about what they thought needed to be done, both at the commission and within the wider Vatican. And, as O’Malley put it, they got attention.

Most observers said that was the problem.

The Catholic church faces its past

The Guardian

January 24, 2019

Last year investigations around the world showed that historical sexual abuse within the Catholic church had been covered up for decades. India Rakusen talks to two survivors and hears from the Guardian’s religion correspondent Harriet Sherwood on how the church plans to move forward. Plus: the Guardian’s Tom Phillips on Juan Guaidó’s attempted take over in Venezuela

Presented by India Rakusen with Harriet Sherwood and Tom Phillips; produced by Rachel Humphries and Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Nicole Jackson and Phil Maynard

In February, Catholic bishops from around the world will attend a summit at the Vatican to discuss how to tackle child abuse within the church. Last year a series of inquiries shook the church, embroiling Pope Francis in the biggest crisis of his papacy. Investigations found that historical sexual abuse had been covered up for decades, and thousands of victims gave evidence of rape and abuse.

In the UK, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse is examining the extent of any institutional failures to protect children by the Catholic church in Birmingham. Birmingham was chosen as a case study because it is the largest archdiocese in England. India Rakusen hears from two survivors who gave evidence at the inquiry, while the Guardian’s religion correspondent Harriet Sherwood discusses how the church has responded and whether it can recover from this scandal.

Clergy sex abuse survivors in Chuuk, Pohnpei sought

Pacific Daily News

January 25, 2019

By Haidee V Eugenio

A law firm representing dozens of Guam clergy sex abuse plaintiffs is now also reaching out to child sexual abuse survivors in Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, from the 1950s to the present.

The law firm of Berman O’Connor & Mann is seeking individuals who may have been victims of sex abuse while a minor and while attending Catholic schools and Catholic parishes in Chuuk and Pohnpei.

Public notices have been placed on Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and notices in the FSM may follow, according to Attorney Michael Berman, who represents some three-dozen Guam clergy sex abuse plaintiffs.

At least two priests, now deceased, have been identified by the law firm in potential lawsuits involving cases in Pohnpei and Chuuk.

"The process in the FSM is just beginning," Berman said.

Pohnpei, Chuuk and other FSM residents have moved to Guam throughout the years, under a compact with the United States.

No one ‘should ever stop being vigilant’ of risk

Church Times

January 25, 2019

By Hattie Williams

THE Church can “never again be trusted” to protect children and adults from being abused under its care — not unless it relinquishes, at all levels, the unquestioned deference that comes with power, accepts accountability, and has the policies in place to reduce the likelihood of abuse.

This was the view expressed by the first independent chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, Meg Munn, in her first interview since she was appointed at the end of last year (News, 21 September). She took over from the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, who is the lead bishop on safeguarding for the Church of England.

Speaking in Church House on Thursday of last week, Ms Munn said that no parent, carer, or friend should ever stop being “vigilant” of safeguarding risks in any organisation, including the Church.

“Unless the Church is getting it right now, unless it has done everything it possibly can in terms of preventative messages — checking people who are being put into positions of authority, holding people to account, and dealing with concerns — then that trust can never be built up.

Lawsuit: Dallas priest gave boy oil massages, touched privates in church rectory


January 24, 2019

By Mark Smith and Jason Whitely

Childhood photos are difficult for him to look back on.

“Only when you personally have gone through something like this do you understand what it looks like to not want to exist anymore,” said the 33-year-old man, who asked that WFAA not publish his name.

In a lawsuit he filed last year under the name John Doe, he is suing the Catholic Diocese of Dallas alleging that a priest named Timothy J. Heines, “sexually, emotionally, and physically abused” him.

“Ten years of my life were taken by a man that I thought cared for me and loved me in a church that I thought protected me and wanted to shepherd me as a young Christian,” the plaintiff told WFAA.

At age 12, his parents separated, and he said his mother got him involved in a local Catholic parish where he met Father Heines.

The priest soon began taking the young teen to dinner and buying him haircuts and expensive clothes while in high school.

“When we got back to the rectory at nighttime, he would encourage us to try on the clothes in front of him,” he said, “and he’d take out a camera and take pictures.”

Sexual assault victims in Wisconsin often wait months to see charges filed, review shows


January 25, 2019

By Keegan Kyle

The woman was standing in her Wood County home, physically and emotionally frazzled, when she called 911 in March 2017.

She remembers her heart pounding. She was about to tell police that her neighbor had groped her and tried to pull her into his bedroom.

It took three months of investigation before detectives asked prosecutors to file charges. They believed the man was guilty of fourth-degree sexual assault.

Seven months later, more than 300 days after she called 911, the woman opened the mail to find a letter from prosecutors saying no charges would be filed. The decision itself was painful, but the way she learned about it only added to the sense of isolation she felt from the district attorney's office, she said.

"You can't call me up and tell me that?" she said. "Nobody can call me up and tell me we're finally reviewing your case? You're just sitting there in the dark."

Church, wider-culture continue to address sexual harassment, abuse in #MeToo age

Episcopal News Service

January 24, 2019

By Lynette Wilson

Sexual misconduct and harassment includes more than stranger or acquaintance rape and physical abuse. In some instances, inappropriate touching, an unwanted kiss on the cheek, an awkward embrace or a hand placed too low on a woman’s back—all are more obvious forms of sexual harassment.

Other forms are less obvious, more insidious. Commenting on a woman’s appearance, inviting a woman into one’s office on the pretext of a meeting, when really, the intention is of a sexual nature. Referring to women and girls as “baby,” “honey” and “sweetheart.” Talking over women and deferring to men in meetings. The enduring gender pay gap.

Or, common forms women clergy confront in The Episcopal Church. “You’re too young to be a priest.” “You’re too pretty to be a priest.”

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal that rocked Hollywood and led to the downfall of powerful men across industries and professions, The Episcopal Church began its own examination of ingrained behaviors, practices and policies affecting women in January 2018.

A year and one General Convention later, Resolution D034, establishing a three-year suspension on the statute of limitations for sexual misconduct committed by clergy against an adult, became effective Jan. 1.

“A three-year suspension, that’s huge,” said House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, in an interview with Episcopal News Service. “We are suspending the statute of limitations because we want to hear your voice.”

Resolution D034 was one of 24 resolutions addressing sexual harassment, abuse, sexism, inequality and discrimination submitted by the Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation; a 49-member, female-only committee appointed by Jennings.

Church historian says sex abuse poses biggest threat to church in 500 years

National Catholic Reporter

January 25, 2019

By Robert McCabe

A month before the start of a global summit in Rome on the sex abuse crisis, a prominent church historian and theologian said last week that the issue poses the biggest challenge to the church in 500 years.

"This is not like the Protestant Reformation; it's not," Massimo Faggioli, a Villanova University professor, said in a talk at Immaculate Conception Church in Hampton, Virginia."But in my opinion, it's the most serious crisis in the Catholic Church since the Protestant Reformation."

In an hour-long presentation, Faggioli set out to show how and why this particular moment in the history of the church has become so critical and what the crisis is telling Catholics about the state of the church. The talk was sponsored by the Bishop Keane Institute, a ministry offered by the parish, which brings prominent Catholic speakers to southeastern Virginia.

While the crisis has gone global, said Faggioli, one strain of it is peculiar to the United States, where it is inseparable from such hot-button issues as sexuality, homosexuality and gender. The scandal in the United States has resulted in a "theological crisis," he said. The crisis is also being used by some, according to Faggioli, to mount a campaign opposing Pope Francis.

Archdiocese won’t reveal all accused priest names


January 24, 2019

By Jeremy Rogalski

“Houston, we have a problem.”

That is how SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, titled a local meeting Thursday, one week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to release a list of all priests credibly accused of sexually abusing a child.

“I believe it won’t be complete,” said Michael Norris, leader of the Houston chapter of SNAP.

Norris cited other cases of abuse underreporting, such as the Diocese of Buffalo and dioceses in Pennsylvania and Illinois, where outside investigations revealed many more priests accused then originally reported by the Church.

He also criticized the handling of Father Manuel LaRosa Lopez, a local priest arrested in September on four counts of indecency with a child. One of his accusers blamed Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who oversees the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, for not removing LaRosa Lopez from ministry and transferring the priest to another parish.

A reckoning on clergy sex abuse

Post Gazette

January 24, 2019

By Josh Shapiro

The release of a report by a statewide grand jury detailing the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, and an institutional cover-up across six dioceses stretching all the way to the Vatican, has sparked a movement and reckoning across our country.

Since the grand jury released its 884-page report in August, my office’s Clergy Abuse Hotline has received more than 1,450 calls. Our agents return every call, and a number of calls are of interest to us and have sparked new investigations.

While the report identified 301 predator priests, the criminal statute of limitations in Pennsylvania prevented my prosecutors from charging all but two offenders. The two priests we did charge, Father John Sweeney of the Diocese of Westmoreland, and Father David Poulson of the Diocese of Erie, both received significant prison sentences and are behind bars.

While not every victim of clergy abuse received the same sense of closure as Sweeney’s and Poulson’s victims, it has mattered greatly to many survivors that they have been able to share their truths and feel that people finally heard them.

I’ve heard that from victims in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and every corner of our commonwealth.

Diocese of Biloxi Releases Names of Three Clerics Accused of Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 24, 2019

Today the Diocese of Biloxi released the names of three clerics that have been "credbily accused" of abuse.

We are grateful that Catholic officials have taken this small and belated step forward by disclosing these names. Some of this information has been kept hidden for years, and its release will provide comfort to victims, or family members of victims, who have been suffering alone and in silence.

However, since the Diocese openly acknowledged that it excluded “alleged abuse reported to have happened outside the Diocese by extern clergy who served in the Diocese, or allegations from before the Diocese was founded in 1977,” the list is incomplete on its face. If Bishop Louis F. Kihneman has information related to other abusers that spent time in the Biloxi Diocese, even if they abused elsewhere, then he should immediately release those names as well. Continued secrecy not only endangers today’s children, it also impedes victims’ healing.

Superior Diocese cooperating with Ericksen probe; to release list of other abusive priests

Wausau Daily Herald

January 25, 2019

By Laura Schulte

The Catholic Diocese of Superior says it is cooperating with officials investigating the case of a priest accused of assaulting minors the 1980s.

Dan Blank, the diocese's director of administrative services, told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that the diocese was an intermediary in the reporting of a case filed Jan. 11 accusing former priest Thomas Ericksen of sexual assault of an unconscious victim.

Blank said the victim came to the diocese, which immediately recommended contacting law enforcement in Sawyer County.

Ericksen, who is now 71, was arrested on Nov. 16 in Minneapolis. He faces four separate charges stemming from his time at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Winter: two charges of second-degree assault of an unconscious victim, one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of second-degree sexual assault of a child.

Ericksen was a priest in Rice Lake, Rhinelander and Merrill before he transferred to Winter.

Sawyer County investigators, who had looked into complaints about Ericksen in 1983, renewed their probe in 2010 after learning of more alleged assaults. Police obtained a confession from him in 2016, when he admitted to investigators that he had "fondled" three boys in Winter, as well as two boys in other Wisconsin cities, according to the criminal complaint.

The diocese has received a subpoena for documents, according to online court documents.

January 24, 2019

Accusers speak out against priest sex abuse at Houston event

Houston Chronicle

January 24, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

A former Conroe priest cried in front of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and one of his accusers while delivering an apology for the sexual abuse with which he has now been charged, the accuser said Thursday.

The woman, who has asked not to be publicly identified, told survivors of priest abuse gathered Thursday night that the meeting took place after Manuel La Rosa-Lopez was allowed to continue his priestly duties.

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La Rosa-Lopez has been charged with four counts of indecency with a child in connection with two accusers, a man and the woman who shared their stories at the Freed-Montrose Neighborhood Library in Montrose.

He is accused of molesting the woman while assigned to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe. She was a teenager when the abuse is said to have taken place.

“I know a lot of people who attend Sacred Heart in Conroe,” she said. “That parish is on fire for justice. That means a lot to me.”

She is among three accusers who claim La Rosa-Lopez inappropriately touched them. The third accuser, who came forward in October, said he was abused as a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Houston.

The meeting — hosted by Houston’s Survivors Network of Those Accused by Priests chapter — comes a week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is slated to make public a list of priests with credible child sex abuse accusations.

Michael Norris, who heads the Houston chapter, is keeping his expectations low.

“It won’t be complete,” Norris told about two dozen people in the audience.

SNAP President Tim Lennon and researcher Siobhan Fleming said that if the ratio of accused priests in Houston is comparable to what was uncovered in a sweeping Pennsylvania grand jury report in August, there could be 180 to 343 clergy members accused locally. The number is a startling estimate beyond what former Bishop Joseph Fiorenza revealed in 2004.

He said that from 1950 and up until that point, only 22 diocesan and religious order priests, and four deacons, had been accused of molesting children. During that time, the diocese had also distributed $3.6 million in settlements.

The Houston Chronicle has independently identified up to 20 priests who could be on the list, according to court records, police reports and interviews.

A ‘new covenant’ in Ireland

Church Times

January 25, 2019

By Madeleine Davies

When the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, welcomed Pope Francis at Dublin Castle last August, he did not flinch from reciting a catalogue of the “dark aspects” of the Roman Catholic Church’s history (News, 31 August 2018).

“In place of Christian charity, forgiveness, and compassion, far too often there was judgement, severity, and cruelty: in particular, towards women and children and those on the margins,” he pronounced. “Magdalene Laundries, mother-and-baby homes, industrial schools, illegal adoptions, and clerical child abuse are stains on our State, our society, and also the Catholic Church. Wounds are still open.”

Overshadowing the visit, already fraught with fears that the Pope would fail abuse survivors, were fresh revelations from across the Atlantic. A grand jury had concluded that more than 300 priests had abused more than 1000 children in Pennsylvania. It was, Mr Varadkar noted, “a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland”.

His speech was complimentary towards the Pope himself, fulsome in its acknowledgement of the Church’s gifts — the schools that it had established “in the open air next to hedgerows”, the “brave missionary priests and nuns” — and appreciative of the ties between faith and the fight for independence.

But nobody watching could be left in any doubt about the balance of power. It was time, he told the Pope, for “a more mature relationship” between Church and State: “a new covenant for the 21st century” — one in which “religion is no longer at the centre of our society, but in which it still has an important place”.

Child Sex Scandals in the Catholic Church and Schools May Bring Legal Changes

Legal Reader blog

January 24, 2019

By Ryan J. Farrick

Several states, including New Jersey and New York, are contemplating major changes to the way they treat lawsuits filed by victims of child sex abuse.

Decades of lobbying to extend the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse are beginning to pay off.

This year, writes the Associated Press, has seen an unprecedented number of state-level breakthroughs. The policy shifts are likely related to widespread and high-profile lawsuits filed against the Roman Catholic Church.

New York, claims the AP, makes a stellar exhibit. A recent takeover of the state legislature by Democrats ‘seems almost certain’ to begin working on legislative fixes to what’s widely regarded as one of the nation’s most restrictive laws.

Changes are also on track in Rhode Island and New Jersey. Pennsylvania has spent months grappling with its statute of limitations; in August, a grandy jury accused at least 300 Catholic priests of abusing more than 1,000 children in the past seven years. Since August, legal extensions and fix-it proposals have been bounced back and forth between the state House and Senate.

Right now, legal recourse for childhood victims of sexual abuse is limited. According to the Associated Press, only a handful of states—including California, Minnesota, Delaware and Hawaii—have “lookback window” laws. Under their purview, victims are entitled to file civil lawsuits against institutions which caused them harm.

California’s one-year window opened in 2003.

Hundreds of civil actions have since been filed, with the Catholic Church alone paying out more than $1 billion in damages. State activists and legislators are attempting to instate another lookback window this year.

St. Anthony Catholic Church in Guam. The Archdiocese of Guam, a U.S. territory, declared bankruptcy last week in an effort to manage financial fallout from a sex abuse scandal of alarming proportions. Image via Wikimedia Commons. Listed as public domain.
Large payouts in California, Delaware and Minnesota have all prompted local dioceses to file bankruptcy. The Catholic Church, insurance agents and the Boy Scouts of America have all lobbied against the creation and updating of lookback windows across the United States

Former Laurel priest named in list of clergy accused of sex abuse


January 24, 2019

By Jayson Burnett

The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi released a list Thursday of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct against children and teenagers.

The list includes the names of three priests with allegations dating back to 1989. One of the names on the list was Jose Vazquez Morales.

In 2016, Morales pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child in Jones County in 2015 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was originally charged with two counts of sexual battery of a minor. The judge who sentenced Morales also ordered he be deported to Mexico upon his release.

Vazquez worked as a pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Wiggins. He also served as an associate pastor in Laurel, Hattiesburg and Lucedale from 2009 to 2015, which is when the Diocese of Biloxi first became aware of the allegations against him.

The other two names on the list released Thursday are Jerome J. Axton and Vincent the Quang Nguyen. According to the diocese, Axton was accused of sexual misconduct on a teenage girl in 1989 and was prohibited from ministering in 1992. Nguyen was accused of misconduct with female minors and adolescents in 1989 and was prohibited from ministering the same year.

NYS lawmakers expected to vote on Child Victims Act on Monday


January 24, 2019

By Charlie Specht

After years of debate, New York State appears on the verge of reforming what advocates have called its outdated laws that bar many victims of child sex abuse from seeking justice in court.

State lawmakers are expected to vote on the proposed Child Victims Act on Monday, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, which would expand the statutes of limitation for child sex abuse victims. The bill had languished for years in the Republican-controlled State Senate, but Democrats now control the upper chamber and have said passing the law is a major part of their agenda.

"For too long, society has failed these survivors of abuse and their traumas at the hands of authority figures have only been compounded by a justice system that denied them their day in court," Cuomo said in a statement. "In New York, this ends now. I'm proud to say the time is now to pass this critical legislation to end this heinous injustice once and for all and give these victims their day in court."

The New York Daily News and The Buffalo News first reported these developments.

The proposed law could have devastating effects on the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, which has been embroiled in a sex abuse scandal since last March. Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone has been under intense pressure to resign since confidential church records obtained by 7 Eyewitness News showed he returned a priest to ministry despite allegations of inappropriate contact with a child and allowed another priest to remain in ministry despite multiple allegations of adult sexual misconduct. Records also showed Malone withheld the names of more than 60 accused priests from the public, releasing a list of 42 names in March when an internal list contained more than 100 priests .

New York's bishops had opposed the law but have reportedly dropped their opposition in the wake of political reality and the agreement by state lawmakers to also allow victims to sue public institutions, as well as private. The State Attorney General's Office and the FBI are investigating the Buffalo Diocese and other dioceses in New York.

Roundtable discussion: How to handle Catholic Church sex abuse scandal


January 24, 2019

By Sophia Beausoleil

A roundtable discussion just started in Montrose about the sexual abuse scandal swirling around the Catholic Church.

The discussion comes exactly one week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse.

A victims' advocacy group is hosting the discussion.

The leader of the group, Michael Norris, said members question if the archdiocese will be fully transparent. They also want to know what church officials' definition of credibility is.

“What’s credible? We’ll talk about that tonight. What defines credibility? Because we don’t know what defines credibility for the Catholic Church. I know what credibility means to me. They haven’t shared with us what their rules are about it being credible,” Norris said.

Authorities arrested Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez last September after investigators said a man and woman accused him of abuse when he was at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Later, authorities executed a search at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in connection with the case.

After the sexual abuse accusations against La Rosa-Lopez and other priests started to come to light, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced it was compiling a list and would make it public.

“Also the fact that they talk about being transparent, we don’t know ... who is the investigator looking at all of these files? Who is that individual? What files were given to them?” Norris said.

On Thursday afternoon, KPRC2 spoke with Norris, who is the leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Albany's fast start: Child Victims Act, gun laws next up


January 24, 2019

By Yancey Roy

Continuing their rapid pace, state legislators say they will approve next week a far-ranging package of gun-control measures and a bill to allow victims of long-ago child sex abuse to sue their abusers.

The Senate and the Assembly plan to vote Monday on the “Child Victims Act,” which would suspend the normal statute of limitations for bringing sex-abuse claims to permit individuals up to 55 years old to file civil claims and allow a one-year “look back” period for victims older than 55 to file lawsuits.

On Tuesday, lawmakers plan to focus on gun control. The measures include banning so-called bump stocks and restricting gun ownership rights of those deemed a danger to themselves or others (known as the “red flag” bill), state officials said. Other bills that could be part of the package include strengthening “safe storage” laws and prohibiting the arming of schoolteachers.

The flurry of activity follows the Democrats’ takeover of the Senate, which had been controlled by Republicans for all but a few years over the last five decades.

Controlling both legislative houses now, Democrats have hit the ground running in the first month of the 2019 session, approving sweeping bills to change laws on abortion, voting, campaign financing, college tuition aid and teacher evaluations. They’ve also scheduled hearings on sexual harassment in the workplace.

In almost every instance, Democrats are acting on bills that had been adopted by the Assembly but were stalled by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Stuck in the Middle

Commonweal Magazine

January 24, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

Many symbols of Catholicism have changed, receded, or even disappeared, to be replaced by others. But not the Catholic priest. The church’s presence in education, culture, and social work may not be as visible as it once was, but the priest’s role remains conspicuous. When most people think of Catholicism, they still think of a man in a Roman collar.

A seminar sponsored by Boston College that ran from September 2016 until the summer of 2018 has produced an interesting document on priesthood and ministry, with a noteworthy set of proposals on the formation of future priests. The document, published in the last 2018 issue of Origins, is titled “To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry.” The group that produced it includes men and women, lay and ordained Catholics, scholars and pastoral ministers. It was chaired by Richard Gaillardetz of the Boston College theology department and Thomas Groome and Richard Lennan of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.

The introduction of the nine-thousand-word document makes clear that the focus is on the formation of diocesan priests, not members of religious orders or new ecclesial movements such as the Neocatechumenal Way. The focus is also on the United States: the authors acknowledge that some of their proposals may not be applicable to other countries.

The document’s first part, “Ministry in the Life of the Church,” addresses the ecclesiological foundations of ministry in the life of the church—the sacramentality of the church and the ecclesial nature of all its ministries. The second part is devoted to “A Profile of the Well-Formed Priest,” presenting the priest in all his aspects: as a preacher, as leader of worship and prayer, as collaborative leader, as public representative of the church, and as practitioner of pastoral charity.

Abuse victims await list of accused Catholic priests


January 24, 2019

By Christine Dobbyn

Survivors of alleged sexual abuse along with their supporters will gather in Montrose on Thursday night.

The gathering comes just days before a list of credibly-accused priests is released by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

"First of all, I don't expect them to report them all," said Michael Norris, who says he is a survivor of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest.

RELATED: Archdiocese accused of withholding documents in priest sex case

He is the leader of the Houston chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"What we'll find is it will be a low number, that's what I'm expecting," Norris said. "They won't put everyone on that list. There's a lot of order priests that come through this diocese that won't be on that list."

In November, law enforcement took thousands of pages of documents following a search warrant on the Archdiocese offices.

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office is overseeing the case of Father Manuel La Rosa Lopez. He's charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

Two victims allege they were sexually abused as children while at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe in the late 1990s to early 2000s. La Rosa Lopez was last assigned to a church in Richmond before being arrested.

It could be next year before La Rosa Lopez goes to trial as thousands of documents are being evaluated.

Biloxi Diocese names 3 priests ‘credibly accused of sexual misconduct’

Sun Herald

January 24, 2019

By Jill Toyoshiba

Three priests in the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi were removed from ministry, and one was incarcerated, because they “were credibly accused of sexual misconduct of minors,” the Diocese announced Thursday.

The Diocese identified them as former priests Jose Vazquez Morales, Jerome J. Axton and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. In all three cases, the Diocese notified the District Attorney’s Office, a news release said.

The list does not include alleged abuse reported to have happened outside the Diocese by extern clergy who served in the Diocese, or allegations from before the Diocese was founded in 1977. Allegations from the latter will be released in the spring by the Diocese of Jackson, the release said.

Pittsburgh Deacon Sentenced, SNAP Urges Outreach

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 24, 2019

A Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been sentenced for criminal sexual solicitation of a minor.

Rosendo F. “Ross” Dacal was sentenced today to two years of probation for two felony convictions related to sending sexually explicit material to an undercover police officer posing as a teenage boy. The clergyman pleaded guilty to the charges in October.

Deacon Dacal will not be jailed, so we worry that he may still pose a risk to others. As a result, we are begging anyone who may have been abused by the Deacon, or anyone who saw or suspected such abuse, to contact law enforcement. SNAP, or groups like us, are available to assist survivors, witnesses and whistle blowers as they come forward.

Deacon Dacal was arrested in 2018 on charges related to sending and soliciting obscene images from an undercover police officer he thought was a 14-year-old boy. Following his arrest, he was suspended from his assignments at All Saints Parish in Etna and the Allegheny County Jail. We also know the Deacon previously taught

Mascoutah priest charged with child porn could undergo mental exam before trial begins

News Democrat

January 24, 2019

By Dana Rieck

The Mascoutah priest accused of possessing child pornography and drugs will undergo a mental examination before moving toward a trial after his lawyer filed a motion for an evaluation last week.

On Jan. 9, 2018, Gerald R. Hechenberger, former associate pastor of Holy Childhood Church and School in Mascoutah, was charged with possessing and distributing child pornography and possession of methamphetamine. He was freed on $25,000 cash for bond after a judge lowered his original $2 million bail.

“Since (Hechenberger’s) attorney has reasonable cause to believe that (Hechenberger) may at the present time may be mentally incompetent so as to be able to understand the nature of the proceedings against him, and unable to assist in the preparation of his own defense, (Hechenberger’s) attorney is requesting that the Court order an examination of the defendant to determine his current fitness,” his defense attorney James A. Gomric wrote in the motion.

Gomric did not immediately return calls for comment.

Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Sallerson said now that his defense attorney has raised a bona fide doubt as to Hechenberger’s mental fitness Judge Zina Cruse has ordered Dr. Daniel Cuneo to conduct the examination.

A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21. This hearing will be to determine where the case will go from here.

As of Thursday, Hechenberger was scheduled to stand trial March 18.

With Catholic Church resistance fading, state set to pass Child Victims Act

Buffalo News

January 24, 2019

By Tom Precious|

State lawmakers on Monday are poised to OK measures raising the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, as the Catholic Church is signaling it will drop its long-held opposition if public schools are specifically included with religious and private schools in one major provision of the legislation.

The bill's Senate sponsor said Thursday afternoon that such a demand is being met in the final bill.

Democrats, now in control of both legislative houses, have vowed since before the November elections that they would push through a series of bills that were blocked when the Republicans were in the Senate majority until this month. They’ve already done so on measures involving abortion, election laws and immigration.

The Child Victims Act, which has been opposed over the years by the Catholic Church and some other organizations, is set to be passed Monday by the Senate and Assembly. It will raise the statute of limitations that victims of child sex abuse can try to bring civil or criminal cases against their abusers and open a one-year “look-back” period – also called a “revival window” – for victims of any age to bring lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse that may have occurred decades ago.

“This is legislation that has been languishing for years under previous Republican majority leadership, and under the current Democratic leadership we recognize how important it is we are finally bringing justice to victims of child sexual abuse," said Sen. Timothy Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat.

The New York State Catholic Conference, which has raised concerns about the one year look-back period, among other provisions, on Thursday declined comment until it could see the actual legislation that will be coming to the Senate and Assembly floors on Monday. The group represents the church’s bishops based in New York State.

The Catholic Church has maintained that previous efforts would carve out for the look-back period just private schools, and not the 700 public school districts in New York. The bill goes beyond just schools, whether private or not, to include other settings, including churches, Boy Scouts or other institutions.

McCandless Catholic deacon in child sex sting gets probation, community service


January 24, 2019

By Natasha Lindstrom

A Roman Catholic deacon from McCandless was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service for convictions related to sending sexually explicit material to an undercover police officer posing online as a teenage boy.

Deacon Rosendo “Ross” Dacal, 74, pleaded guilty in October to felony counts of criminal solicitation of sexual acts via computer files and images and criminal use of a communication facility.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Gary Gilman sentenced Dacal to two years’ probation for each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. Gilman further ordered Dacal to obtain mental health treatment, court records showed.

Dacal’s attorney, Robert Del Greco Jr., could not immediately be reached.

Following Dacal’s arrest last April on five charges , the Diocese of Pittsburgh placed Dacal on administrative leave. His security clearances at the Allegheny County Jail, where he was a chaplain, were revoked.

Dacal had served the All Saints Parish in Etna since 2011.

“The charges against (Dacal) are disturbing,” Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said at the time. “We had no previous knowledge of his alleged activities.”

As of Thursday, Dacal remained on leave and cannot function as a deacon, said the Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, spokesman for the diocese.

Former pastor of Chicago, Waukegan parishes cleared of sexual misconduct allegation

Chicago Tribune

January 24, 2019

By Jacqueline Serrato

A popular Chicago priest who formerly served as pastor at Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan was declared not guilty this week of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Rev. Gary Graf was the pastor of a parish in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood when an underage employee of a sister church accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior in July of last year.

In a bench trial on Wednesday, Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Gallagher declared the priest not guilty, WGN first reported.

The 17-year-old employee initially said he received a phone call from Graf's secretary, who told him that Graf was attracted to him. He also said the priest rubbed his shoulders inappropriately and offered him a free car. The minor said he immediately told his parents.

The Archdiocese of Chicago removed Graf from the ministry pending an investigation. The Department of Children and Family Services investigated the matter and ruled the allegations to be “unfounded.”

From the moment the church alerted authorities and criminal charges were pressed, Graf has maintained his innocence.

It is up to the archdiocese to decide when or if Graf will return to San Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio Parish.

The parish is a consolidation of three churches: St. Francis of Assisi on Taylor Street, Philomena in Hermosa, and Maternity BVM in Humboldt Park. Graf was pastor in Waukegan for 14 years before taking another assignment in 2009, and he also served as pastor at St. Gall in Chicago.

Priest caught on secret recording admitting to sex with teen, complaint says

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

January 23, 2019

By Ted Sherman

A New Jersey priest charged last week with the sexual assault of a teenager nearly three decades ago served as the youth director at St. Ceclia’s Church in Iselin at the time of the alleged incidents, and had sex with the victim in New Jersey, Florida and Washington, D.C., according to criminal complaints filed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The teen also performed oral sex on the priest, the Rev. Thomas Ganley, according to the complaints and affidavits of probable cause released in response to a public records request. Ganley was a parochial vicar at St. Philip and St. James Catholic Church in Phillipsburg and a chaplain at St. Luke’s Warren Campus Hospital until his arrest on Wednesday — just two days after the victim in the case, who is now 42, came forward.

The complaints also revealed that the priest was recorded in a “consensual intercept” with the victim, in which he admitted sexual conduct. In a later interview with investigators, he conceded he had sex with the victim on multiple occasions, according to the affidavit that was filed in the matter.

Lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by former Falmouth pastor settled

Cape Cod Times

January 23, 2019

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite

2 plaintiffs each receive $200K in case that argued church negligence.

Two men who filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused for years by a priest in St. Anthony’s Parish have each received $200,000 settlements.

Their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, announced the October settlements Tuesday as the Archdiocese of Hartford released the names of 48 priests found to have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Garabedian said the list was a “small step in the direction of healing for clergy sexual abuse survivors,” but said the archdiocese should also release “the names of those who participated in the cover-up.”

The link between the Falmouth case and the Hartford archdiocese is the Most Rev. Daniel Cronin, who served as bishop of the Fall River Diocese, which includes the Cape and Islands, from 1970 until 1991 and then became archbishop in Hartford, Connecticut, until his retirement in 2003. Cronin was named as defendant in the lawsuit because he supervised Monsignor Maurice Souza, who was assigned to St. Anthony’s from 1977 to 1986, and the suit said he “knew or should have known” about the abuse.

“Agents” who worked for Cronin and were supervised by him knew the boys spent the night at the rectory with Souza and went on overnight, out-of-state trips with him, the suit said.

Souza died in 1996 at age 83.

How Clergy Abuse Survivors Are Challenging The Church's Cover-Ups

Sojourners Magazine

January 23, 2019

By John Noble

Over the past few decades, sexual abuse survivors, whistleblowers, and journalists have exposed a horrific pattern of sex abuse and cover up in the Roman Catholic Church. As a Catholic millennial, I have never known a church unmarked by the abuse crisis. In the bathrooms at my Catholic high school and my small Midwestern parish, I distinctly remember posters detailing who I should call if I was abused or assaulted by an authority figure. Last year, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick revelations made my generation aware of this crisis in a renewed way. Too often, in responses, the voices of survivors themselves are lost.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss the current state of the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis with Tim Lennon, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Lennon is the president of the board of directors of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a nonprofit support network for survivors of sexual abuse by religious and institutional authorities. The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity.

John Noble, Sojourners: Tell me about the history of SNAP.

Tim Lennon: SNAP was originally founded in 1988 by Barbara Blaine, a survivor of sexual abuse by her parish priest. She found others abused within the Church, started support groups, and that grew and grew. Now SNAP is a network of over 25,000. We’re a peer network. None of us are experts. We’re survivors helping survivors. Our mission is to help survivors, protect children, and do advocacy around laws around exposing predators and those that cover up for predators. Most survivors of abuse, especially child sexual abuse, never come forward. We provide an opportunity for people to tell their story within a community where they are believed and supported.

Chisholm Supports Probe of Clergy Sex Abuse

Wisconsin Public Radio

January 24, 2019

By Mary Kate McCoy

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is calling for a statewide investigation into the Catholic Church’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse over the past 50 years.

The call comes at a time when dioceses across the country are under heightened pressure to release names of priests with credible accusations of abuse against them.

Just last week the Diocese of Green Bay released the names of 46 priests who are known to have committed sexual offenses against minors dating back to 1906. Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith urged victims of abuse to go directly to law enforcement officials — not the church — Friday.

Chisholm told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he hopes to team up with Attorney General Josh Kaul and district attorneys across the state to review decades of clergy abuse allegations.

Peter Isley, a clergy abuse survivor and founding member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the likelihood of an investigation is higher than it ever has been.

‘Nobody Is Going to Believe You’

The Atlantic

March 2019 Issue

By Alex French and Maximillian Potter

The Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has been trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for 20 years. Here, his alleged victims tell their stories.

Over the past two decades, Bryan Singer’s films—The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Superman Returns, four of the X-Men movies—have earned more than $3 billion at the box office, putting him in the top tier of Hollywood directors. He’s known for taking risks in his storytelling: It was Singer’s idea, for instance, to open the original X-Men movie with a scene at Auschwitz, where a boy uses his superpowers to bend the metal gates that separate him from his parents. Studio executives were skeptical about starting a comic-book movie in a concentration camp, but the film became a blockbuster and launched a hugely profitable franchise for 20th Century Fox.

Singer’s most recent project debuted in November. Critics gave Bohemian Rhapsody—which chronicles the rise of the rock band Queen—only lukewarm reviews, but it earned more than $50 million in its opening weekend. By the end of December, it had brought in more than $700 million, making it one of the year’s biggest hits.

The film’s success should have been a triumph for Singer, proof of his enduring ability to intuit what audiences want. In January it won two Golden Globes, including the award for best drama. But Singer was conspicuously absent from the ceremony—and his name went unmentioned in the acceptance speeches. He had been fired by 20th Century Fox in December 2017, with less than three weeks of filming left. Reports emerged of a production in chaos: Singer was feuding with his cast and crew, and had disappeared from the set for days at a time.

On December 7, 2017, three days after The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Singer’s firing, a Seattle man named Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit against the director, alleging that Singer had raped him in 2003, when Sanchez-Guzman was 17. The day after that, Deadline Hollywood published an interview with a former boyfriend of Singer’s, Bret Tyler Skopek, in which Skopek described a lifestyle of drugs and orgies.

Vatican summit to create task force to aid bishops in safeguarding

Catholic News Service

January 24, 2019

By Carol Glatz

Since the work of child protection must continue after the February meeting at the Vatican on safeguarding, one organizer said they plan on creating a "task force" with teams on every continent.

The task force would be just one of a number of "concrete measures that we want to offer the bishops of the world," Jesuit Father Hans Zollner told the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano Jan. 24.

"One of our main ideas," he said, "is that this encounter is another step along a long journey that the church has begun and that will not end with this meeting," which will bring presidents of the world's bishops' conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches and representatives of the leadership groups of men's and women's religious orders to the Vatican Feb. 21-24.

A task force made up of child protection experts "will probably be instituted in the various continents where the church is present," and they will travel from place to place, said Father Zollner, who is a member of the meeting's four-person organizing committee, president of the Centre for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

It's not about women priests

National Catholic Reporter

January 24, 2019

By Phyllis Zagano

The question of women deacons has nothing to do with women priests.

What? And, why?

Well, to begin with, historical documents — canons, liturgical texts, and other writings — speak freely and regularly about women deacons, not priests, "ordained" or "blessed." Facts are facts.

Fact #1: The terms "ordained" and "blessed" were used interchangeably in both the East and the West. For example, Canon 21 of the Council of Auxerre (561-605), about 100 miles southeast of Paris, places restrictions on a priest "once he has received the benediction." We see the same for women deacons: some documents call them "ordained," some call them "blessed." A few revisionist historians have attacked the evidence. A New York seminary priest-professor insists women were "only" blessed. His authoritative text is a book published in 2000 by a former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. More about that book later.

Fact # 2: Women deacons performed some tasks akin to those performed by men deacons, but women deacons also performed tasks men deacons did not. Women deacons anointed women during baptism; women deacons anointed ill women and brought them the Eucharist; women deacons took charge of women in the assembly; women deacons catechized women and children and they looked after their needs. And, we know of a woman deacon who managed a local church's finances. Not every woman deacon did all these things in every time and place, but across space and time they regularly performed diaconal duties.

Abuse scandal takes toll as numbers on Washington March for Life fall

The Tablet

January 24, 2019

by Michael Sean Winters

The annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. was more muted this year as the Catholic Church, which supplies the vast majority of the marchers, continues to lick its wounds from the re-emergence of the clergy sexual abuse scandal last year, writes Michael Sean Winters.

The march, held on 18 January, the Friday before the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion, nonetheless drew tens of thousands of participants, including many Catholic school students.

Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl bowed out of the annual Youth Mass in the sports arena, which was instead celebrated by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre. Cardinal Wuerl had faced questions about when he first learned about allegations that his predecessor, the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, had inappropriate relationships with seminarians.

Just two cardinals and 40 bishops attended the Vigil Mass the night before. The event traditionally attracts almost all of the cardinals and about 100 bishops.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the bishops’ conference’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant at the Vigil Mass, held in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The archbishop, who is considered a leader of the hierarchy’s conservative wing, addressed a range of issues in his homily, including the clergy sexual abuse crisis, immigration, poverty and racism.

Bishops address abuse scandal with U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day

Catholic News Service

January 24, 2019

By Rhina Guidos

As Pope Francis was arriving in Panama Jan. 23, bishops from the United States wasted no time addressing the sex abuse scandal back home during a popular event aimed at American and other English-speaking World Youth Day pilgrims.

“It’s not easy being Christian, it’s not easy being Catholic … especially today when things in the church are difficult,” said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, addressing the sex abuse scandal in a room of hundreds of U.S. young adults attending the FIAT Festival for U.S. pilgrims at Panama’s Figali Convention Center. The event was sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Knights of Columbus and FOCUS.

“How often do we hear our friends say to us: I’m done, I’m bowing out. I will have no more of this, ” Bishop Burns said. “My friends, I want you to tell your friends that you’d never separate yourself from Jesus because of Judas. You’d never do that!”

Many in the room applauded.

“Yes, you look at the church today,” he continued, “and there have been some who have betrayed us, some even in church leadership.”

But he told the pilgrims to “stay strong, stayed focused, stay steady.”

The message was well received by those in the room, including Kennedy Horter, 16, of Indiana.

“I don’t let people come between me and God,” said Horter, wrapped in a U.S. flag.

She said she was not going to judge priests and other good people in the church by the actions of men who likely were never priests “spiritually.”

A church in crisis

The Valley Breeze

January 23, 2019

In a recent newspaper article, I read where the Vatican is preparing to defrock Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, for sexually abusing children.

Another report indicated that the Illinois district attorney is working to expose the names of 500 priests who have also been charged with sexually abusing kids. It’s disgusting. Where does it end?

The shock of widespread clerical sexual misconduct has been reported on an almost daily basis. No crime is more repulsive than the abuse of a child.

Clerical sexual abuse of children may prove to have cataclysmic results. A church with 2000 years of history is passing through a time of crisis.

LA Archdiocese settles suit alleging former Redondo Beach priest sexually abused a Covina boy in 2001 and 2002

City News Service

January 23, 2019

A young man who alleges he was sexually abused by a pastor at the Catholic church he attended in Covina settled his lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, attorneys told a judge Tuesday.

The plaintiff, identified only as John CJ Doe, alleged child sexual abuse and negligence. The lawyers informed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig that the case was resolved, but no terms were divulged. Kendig heard pretrial motions last week prior to the settlement.

The suit was filed in May 2015 and also named as defendants St. Louise de Marillac Church and the Rev. Chris Cunningham. The plaintiff alleged that Cunningham abused him in 2001 and 2002 when Doe was 12 and 13 years old.

Cunningham served at St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach from 1998 to 2001 and is accused of abuse there.

The archdiocese issued a statement regarding the Covina settlement.

“The archdiocese did not know of any allegation of sexual misconduct by Father Cunningham until 2015, when the initial claim was filed, and was not aware of the additional claims until recently advised by plaintiffs’ counsel,” the statement read. “Father Cunningham has been inactive and out of ministry since 2005 after the archdiocese received allegations of improper boundary violations concerning Father Cunningham in August 2005.”

The matter was investigated according to archdiocese policy and an announcement concerning the allegations was made at Father Cunningham’s parish informing the parish community, the archdiocese added.

Hartford List of Accused Clerics Includes A Priest Who Also Worked in NYC

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 24, 2019

A former Staten Island priest was named as a "credibly accused" cleric yesterday by Catholic officials in Connecticut.

The clergyman is Fr. Edward Tissera, a native of Sri Lanka, who also worked at St. Clare's on Staten Island from 1997-2000. The parish had a school with around 700 students and a religious education program with roughly 2000 students. Fr. Tissera also went by the names W. Edward Julian Tissera, Edward J. Tissera, Edward Warnakulasuriya, and Edward Warnakulasooriya.

We implore anyone who may have been abused by Fr. Tissera on Staten Island or elsewhere in NY state, or who witnessed or suspected such abuse, to contact the NYPD immediately. Reports should also be made to the NY's Attorney General by either filling out the online form or calling 1-800-771-7755. Survivors, witnesses and whistle blowers can also contact groups like ours for help and support as they come forward.

SNAP accuses Diocese of Belleville of not releasing complete list of ‘credibly accused’ clergy

Fox 2 News

By Erika Tallan

January 23, 2019

Representatives with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) protested Wednesday in front of the Belleville Archdiocese calling out Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton and his list of “credibly accused” clergy.

SNAP says his list is incomplete because it leaves out 10 names as well as important information like photos, whereabouts, and work histories.

David Clohessy, a SNAP spokesperson, shared a list of 10 names of clergy who have been publicly accused in other communities across the country that he believes should be added to Braxton’s list because they are men who were ordained elsewhere and molested elsewhere but spent time in Belleville and had access to Belleville kids:

Fr. Larry Lorenzoni
Fr. Chester E. Gaiter
Fr. Kenneth J. Roberts
Fr. Fred Lenczycki
Fr. Thomas Gregory Meyer
Fr. Emil Twardochleb
Fr. Michael Charland
Fr. Orville Munie
Fr. Paul Kabat
Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald
Clohessy said he wanted to publicly reveal the names in the community to prevent any more children from being harmed and to help victims heal.

“We believe very firmly that someone in Belleville area tonight there’s a woman or a man who will drink two bottles of wine or three 6-packs of beer to numb the pain of having being sexually violated by one of these priests and that individual needs and deserves to know that he or she is not alone and it is not their fault and that by making these names public at least some tiny measure of justice and comfort will be brought to them,” said Clohessy.

We attempted to reach the Catholic Diocese of Belleville for comment.

Sen. Holland introduces bill to make church clergy mandatory reporters of suspected sex crimes

Lawrence Journal World

January 24, 2019

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, introduced a bill Wednesday to require that church clergy and employees be mandatory reporters of sexual assault.

“Clergy leadership are adults that children must be able to trust to keep them safe,” Holland said during an afternoon news conference at the Capitol in Topeka. “(The bill) mandates that they report suspected abuse or neglect to authorities. It is an extra layer of protection for all Kansas children.”

Holland said the bill would add clergy and employees to already existing laws that require teachers, social workers, firefighters, police, psychologists, therapists and other professionals to relay information of possible sexual assaults to law enforcement.

“Many other states, including Missouri, have laws in place that make clergy mandatory reporters,” he said. “It only makes sense that Kansas add it to our law.”

Holland said he expected support from his colleagues to make the bill law.

Holland introduced the bill alongside a family from Jefferson County who allege that their 10-year-old son was sexually assaulted by teenagers at a rural Lawrence church in 2017. The Journal-World has determined that the case was investigated by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Is the Clergy Required to Report Child Sex Abuse? Not in Some States


January 24, 2019

By Elaine S. Povich

When a Virginia 16-year-old told her parents that their church’s youth leader, Jordan Baird, had been sending her sexually suggestive text messages, they immediately confronted their pastor.

Pastor David Baird, the perpetrator’s father, said the church would investigate, but he did not tell law enforcement authorities — and he wasn’t required under Virginia law to report a suspected case of abuse or face criminal charges. The abuse became physical, and later other girls accused Jordan Baird of assaulting them.

Jordan Baird served eight months in prison after being convicted on five felony counts of indecent liberties with a minor. But church members want state law changed to force pastors like David Baird, who still leads the Life Church in Manassas, Virginia, to join the list of professionals specifically required to report such incidents.

They brought their story to Democratic Virginia state Del. Karrie Delaney, who was a sexual assault crisis counselor in Florida before moving to Virginia.

“Their church was really torn up by the allegation and the fact that the young man who was the perpetrator ended up doing the same thing to another person after the first one wasn’t reported,” Delaney said. “When I sat down with them and heard the story I knew this was something I had to do.”

She and others introduced legislation this year that would add clergy to the state’s list of “mandatory reporters,” people who work with children — such as teachers, counselors and athletic coaches — and who are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse to law enforcement authorities.

While most states have broad laws calling on anyone who learns of child abuse to report it, mandatory reporters can be charged with a crime for failing to do so.

January 23, 2019

Clergy abuse survivors speak out


January 23, 2019

On Tuesday, the Hartford Archdiocese released the names of dozens of priests "credibly" accused of sexual abuse.

For survivors of abuse, those names have opened old wounds, and some claim the names on that list are just the tip of the iceberg.

The group known as SNAP, or, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, came out swinging hard on Wednesday.

A spokesperson called the list put out by the Hartford Archdiocese "incomplete," and said more suspected abusers remain among the ranks of clergy.

SNAP accused the Catholic Church of withholding information on abusive priests, essentially shielding them from accountability.

Calgary Catholic Priest Charged with Sexual Assault

The Iron Warrior

January 23, 2019

By Mridu Walia

Allegations have surfaced against a Catholic priest working at St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Marlborough, a residential neighbourhood in the city of Calgary, Alberta. The priest, Malcolm Joe D’Souza (age 62) is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman on several occasions in the church about six years ago between September and October 2012.

The victim, an adult woman, reported being sexually touched without consent on several occasions by a priest at the church. Following these allegations, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary also received allegations involving two minors and several adults who were allegedly sexually assaulted by the priest between the years 2010 and 2016, when he was assigned as a pastor at St. Mark’s.

The diocese released an official statement on Saturday, October 27 at 5 PM (MDT) stating, “Bishop McGrattan has removed Fr. Malcolm D’Souza from St. Bernard’s and Assumption parishes and placed him on administrative leave. Fr. D’Souza is currently prohibited from exercising priestly ministry in the Diocese of Calgary”. Fr. D’ Souza was put on administrative leave by the diocese last fall and was arrested on Friday, 11 January 2019. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, February 21, 2019.
Allegations have surfaced against a Catholic priest working at St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Marlborough, a residential neighbourhood in the city of Calgary, Alberta. The priest, Malcolm Joe D’Souza (age 62) is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman on several occasions in the church about six years ago between September and October 2012.

The victim, an adult woman, reported being sexually touched without consent on several occasions by a priest at the church. Following these allegations, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary also received allegations involving two minors and several adults who were allegedly sexually assaulted by the priest between the years 2010 and 2016, when he was assigned as a pastor at St. Mark’s.

The diocese released an official statement on Saturday, October 27 at 5 PM (MDT) stating, “Bishop McGrattan has removed Fr. Malcolm D’Souza from St. Bernard’s and Assumption parishes and placed him on administrative leave. Fr. D’Souza is currently prohibited from exercising priestly ministry in the Diocese of Calgary”. Fr. D’ Souza was put on administrative leave by the diocese last fall and was arrested on Friday, 11 January 2019. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

Victims of clergy sexual abuse question Archdiocese of Hartford list of abusive priests

Hartford Courant

January 23, 2019

By Dave Altimari

A group representing victims of sexual abuse by priests is questioning why as many as six alleged abusers were left off a list of “credibly accused” priests released by the Archdiocese of Hartford this week.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon in front of the Archdiocese in Hartford, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) also called on the church to release more information on the whereabouts of living abusers.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Leonard Blair released the names of 48 priests that either had been sued or were “credibly accused” of sex abuse, but Gail Howard, the director of the local chapter of SNAP, said the list is incomplete. As she stood on the steps of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in the shadow of the archdiocese’s offices she held a sign with the names of six clergy members she claims should have been included – priests Donal Collins, Cornelius T. “Neil” Otero, Enrique Vasquez and Walter A. Vichas, and brothers Thomas Sawyer and Michael Benedict Taylor.

The Hartford Archdiocese has released names of priests accused of sexual abuse. Here’s who they are and where they served. »
"SNAP was able to identify six priests within 24 hours, how many others aren’t on there as well?” Howard said. “Where are the priests who are still alive now? You have child molesters trained and assigned to the Catholic Church they are now saying are no longer their responsibility,” Howard said. She called on the church to release photos of all the accused priests.

Chicago priest Gary Graf found not guilty of sexual wrongdoing

WGN Channel 9

January 23, 2019

By Dina Bair

A Chicago priest accused of sexual wrongdoing has been found not guilty.

Rev. Gary Graf was pastor at San Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio Parish in Hermosa. A church employee, who was a minor, accused him of inappropriate behavior in July.

The teenager said he once received a phone call from the church secretary saying Graf was attracted to him. He said Graf would also rub his shoulders and once offered him a free car. The teen said he immediately told his parents.

The Archdiocese of Chicago removed Graf from ministry pending an investigation. The Department of Children and Family Services looked into the matter and found no wrongdoing.

Former Minneapolis rabbi avoids jail time after being snared in online child-sex sting

Pioneer Press

January 16, 2019

By Sarah Norner

A former rabbi at a Jewish learning center in Minneapolis won’t serve jail time for making arrangements online with someone he thought was a child for sex.

Aryeh Cohen, 44, received a stayed 30-day sentence from a Ramsey County district judge at his sentencing hearing Wednesday afternoon.

The St. Louis Park man also was placed on probation for three years, ordered to serve 150 hours of community service, undergo mental health counseling and register as a sex offender.

Cohen was working as a rabbi and director of youth outreach for the Minneapolis Community Kollel when he was arrested last winter as part of a metro-area law enforcement sting aimed at combating online solicitation of sex [https://www.twincities.com/2018/08/02/minneapolis-rabbi-aryeh-cohen-among-those-charged-in-twin-cities-underage-sex-stings] with children. The operation was carried out in advance of Super Bowl LII, which was being held in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

Hartford Catholic Archdiocese defends list of accused clergy despite omission accusations

Fox 61 News

January 23, 2019

By Matt Caron

In the wake of the renewed scandal of clergy sex abuse at the hands of priests, a local victim’s advocacy group is calling out the Hartford archdiocese for what they call a glaring omission. The group revealed six additional names of catholic officials who, they say, have been credibility accused of child sex abuse.

But “credibly” is the key word. It can be interpreted differently. Of these six names, two have been convicted in other countries, and at least two are facing lawsuits. They’ve all been publicly accused.

SNAP is the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. They identified:
-Fr. Donal Collins
-Fr. Cornelius T. “Neil” Otero
-Fr. Enrique Vasquez
-Fr. Walter A. Vichas
-Br. Thomas Sawyer
-Br. Michael Benedict Taylor

SNAP claims these names were left off the list of 48 names released Tuesday by the Hartford Archdiocese. SNAP obtained the names from a database called “Bishop Accountability.” Gail Howard is the Co-Founder of SNAP’s Connecticut Chapter, “The database has been around since the Boston revelations in 2002,” she said.

She called the allegedly incomplete list by the diocese a slap in the face to the 60 survivors in her network and to those who’s alleged abusers were not named. “What about them?” asked Howard. Now they feel even less validated than ever.

Survey assesses views of bishops, diaconate directors on women deacons

Catholic News Service

January 23, 2019

By Mark Pattison

Should the Vatican permit the ordination of women as deacons -- a topic that has been studied by a papal commission -- a majority of U.S. bishops surveyed said they would expect the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to pave the way to implement it.

There was, though, only a minority of U.S. bishops answering the survey who believe the ordination of women as deacons is theoretically possible.

These were two key findings of a report issued Jan. 22 by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Sixty-two percent of U.S. diocesan diaconate directors, who also were included in the survey, said their local bishop would implement the sacramental ordination of women as deacons, but just 54 percent of the bishops themselves said "yes" when asked "if the Holy See authorizes the sacramental ordination of women as deacons, would you consider implementing it in your diocese?"

Pope Francis established a 16-member commission on the diaconate of women in August 2016. Members' task was to review the theology and history of the office of deacon in Roman Catholicism and the question of whether women might be allowed to become deacons.The group met over a two-year period and submitted its report to the pope in late 2018. The findings have yet to be released.

Former Lincoln priest cited for giving alcohol to teen enters not guilty plea


January 23, 2019

By Brent BonFleur

A former Lincoln priest has waived his right to a formal arraignment and entered a not guilty plea to the courts, after being cited for giving alcohol to a minor.

A former Lincoln priest who was cited by police for giving alcohol to a minor has entered a not guilty plea to the courts.

Charles Townsend, 57, was cited on January 9 for giving alcohol to a 19-year-old.

Townsend was formerly a priest at St. Peter's Catholic Church in south Lincoln.

In a written statement, Townsend waived his right to a formal arraignment and entered a not guilty plea.

He is scheduled to be back in court in March.


Associated Press

January 23, 2019

In many states across the U.S., victims of long-ago child sex-abuse have been lobbying for years, often in vain, to change statute of limitation laws that thwart their quest for justice. This year seems sure to produce some breakthroughs, due in part to the midterm election results and recent disclosures about abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

New York state is Exhibit A. The Democrats' takeover of the formerly Republican-controlled Senate seems almost certain to produce a more victim-friendly policy in place of one of the nation's most restrictive laws.

Prospects are considered good for similar changes in Rhode Island and New Jersey, and the issue will be raised in Pennsylvania — which became the epicenter of the current abuse crisis in August when a grand jury accused some 300 Catholic priests of abusing more than 1,000 children over seven decades.

Abuse survivors and their allies are once again proposing a two-year window for now-adult victims to sue perpetrators and institutions over claims that would otherwise be barred by time limits. That provision was approved by the Pennsylvania House last year but rejected by the top Republican in the Senate.

Nationwide, only a handful of states — including California, Minnesota, Delaware and Hawaii — have created these "lookback windows" enabling victims to file civil lawsuits against institutions such as churches and youth groups that bore some responsibility for the abuse. California's one-year window opened in 2003, leading to hundreds of civil actions and more than $1 billion in payouts by the Catholic church; activists and legislators in California hope to create a new lookback window this year.

In California, Minnesota and Delaware, large payouts prompted several dioceses to file for bankruptcy. The Catholic Church, the insurance industry and the Boy Scouts of America have lobbied vigorously against efforts to create lookback windows in other states.

University of Pennsylvania professor Marci Hamilton, an expert on statute-of-limitations reforms, predicts that more states will provide windows despite the vociferous lobbying. She says the Pennsylvania grand jury report has changed the dynamics of the debate, increasing pressure on lawmakers to take victim-friendly actions.

"Before, people were giving the bishops the benefit of the doubt, but this time there was outrage," said Hamilton, the CEO of Child USA, a think tank focused on preventing child abuse. "Politicians now understand that people are behind the victims."

In New York, victim advocacy groups and their allies in the Legislature have tried for a dozen years to loosen the statute of limitations.

Last year, the legislature's Democratic-controlled lower chamber overwhelmingly approved the long-stymied Child Victims Act, which would extend the time frames for pursuing civil and criminal cases in the future, and create a one-year window allowing victims to sue over past abuse claims. Senate Republicans blocked the bill from getting a vote and suggested alternatives that lacked the lookback window.

Diocese of Scranton to Start Paying Abuse Victims

WNEP Channel 16

January 23 , 2019

By Stacy Lange

The Diocese of Scranton has released the details of how they will pay victims of clergy sexual abuse.

This comes after a few dozen former priests were named as child predators in a statewide grand jury report last summer.

Bishop Joseph Bambera announced this victim’s compensation fund last year, and this week, the diocese laid out how it will all work.

The diocese will be providing the money but how much victims receive will be decided by a law firm from Washington D.C.

People who were sexually abused by priests from the Diocese of Scranton can now apply to receive financial compensation from the diocese.

The diocese appointed a law firm based in Washington D.C. to handle the victims’ compensation fund. Lawyers will determine how much money a victim will receive, and they will answer to an independent local committee which includes former Luzerne County District Attorney Robert Gillespie.

“I think, quite frankly, it helps the church only in that it shows the church is now interested in trying to make sure that this never happens again and that the people that were victims are fairly compensated. It’s not about the church. This is about the victims in this point in time,” said Gillespie.

EDITORIAL: Reassigned St. John’s rector is a familiar story — and a problem for O’Malley

Boston Globe

January 22, 2019

It looks like it might be the same old game of musical chairs for problem priests — and that’s a problem for Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

Monsignor James P. Moroney , the rector of St. John’s Seminary, was quietly reassigned back to his home diocese in Worcester while an investigation into sexual harassment allegations at the seminary continues. Moroney himself has not been accused of sexual misconduct, but the transfer raises questions about his role in handling the allegations.

“It seems pretty clear that the rector should not have been reassigned before the independent investigation is completed,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “The public deserves transparency throughout the process.”

In response, Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for O’Malley said: “We agree with the attorney general that the public deserves transparency. We are committed to follow through on the cardinal’s pledge to allow the independent report to be completed and a report made public on the findings along with any recommendations.”

Donilon also said, “we would not draw any conclusions” concerning any connection between the investigation and Moroney’s new assignment.

The probe was launched in August, after two former seminarians made allegations of improper conduct at St. John’s Seminary. The alleged misconduct doesn’t involve minors and doesn’t appear to be criminal in nature, but casts concerns about the church’s internal culture. At that time, Moroney also went on sabbatical leave for the fall semester.

Survivors network calls on bishop to add 10 more names to clergy sex abuse list

News Democrat

January 23, 2019

By Lexi Cortes

A victims group and advocates say Belleville Bishop Edward K. Braxton’s list of priests “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children is missing 10 names.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered Wednesday afternoon outside the Diocese headquarters to request that Braxton update the list, and that he release work histories, photos and current locations of every accused priest or deacon.

The group, known as S.N.A.P., said releasing more details could help victims identify them.

Braxton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The Diocese previously published a list of 17 members of the clergy who had been removed from ministry because of allegations of sexual abuse. In a statement from December, the Diocese said most of them were removed in the 1990s, after a diocesan review board was formed to investigate allegations from victims.

According to S.N.A.P., the priests all have ties to Southern Illinois and should be added to the Diocese’s list because they are accused of abusing children in other places.

David Clohessy, of S.N.A.P., said he believes they were left off the list because they either weren’t ordained in the Belleville Diocese or they belonged to a different religious order.

But the group says they worked in Belleville, Alton, Henry, Sparta, Godfrey, Toluca, Mendota, Bethany, Campus and Carbondale at one point.

The February meeting at the Vatican: its nature and scope

Chicago Catholic

January 23, 2019

By Cardinal Blase Cupich

On Nov. 23, 2018, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis asked Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay and member of the Council of Cardinals; Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, founder and president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and Cardinal Cupich to serve on an organizing committee to plan a historic global meeting at the Vatican, scheduled for Feb. 21-24, 2019, on the topic of “The Protection of Minors in the Church.” Victim-survivors of abuse by clergy and members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, including lay women, lay men and clergy, are involved in the planning.

Pope Francis has made it clear that this meeting will be an assembly of pastors, not an academic conference. The aim is to provide clear direction and concrete steps so that when the bishops return to their home countries around the world, they will know exactly what the church expects of them regarding the prevention of abuse, the need to provide care for victim-survivors and the obligation to make sure abuse is not covered up.

Participants have received a questionnaire as a means of gathering information that will establish a common starting point, and they have been asked to meet with victim-survivors in their respective countries. The Holy Father has assured us of his presence throughout the meeting, which will include plenary sessions, working groups, prayer, listening to the testimonies of victims, a penitential liturgy and a closing Mass.

The abuse of minors is a global problem that requires a global response by the church. Those participating in the meeting will be called to take responsibility not just for their particular church and the clergy and religious under their care and supervision, but for the church as a whole.

As Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who will serve as moderator of the meeting, observed in a Dec. 19, 2018, La Civilta Cattolica article:

“The entire church must choose to live in solidarity, above all with the victims, with their families and with the ecclesial communities wounded by the scandals. As the pope has written, ‘If one member suffers, all the members suffer together’ (1 Cor 12:26), and the commitment to protect minors has to be taken on clearly and effectively by the entire community, starting with those in the highest positions of responsibility.”

The Diocese of C.C. will release list of priests accused of sex abuse next week

KRIS TV 6 News

January 23, 2019

By Veronica Flores

The Diocese of Corpus Christi plans to release the names of priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors at the end of this month.

In October, the Texas Catholic Bishops announced its plan to release the names of priests and clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

The Diocese of Corpus Christi’s Director of Communications Margie Rivera told KRIS 6 News it plans to release the list at the end of this month.

She also said other dioceses across the state have decided to release their lists at the end of this month as well.

The lists trace abuse back to the 1950s.

D.C. attorney general proposes making clergy mandated reporters of abuse

Washington Post

January 23, 2019

By Fenit Nirappil and Michelle Boorstein

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) is proposing legislation to add clergy to the list of mandatory reporters who must tell authorities about suspected child abuse or neglect, the latest fallout from a growing clergy sexual-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Racine’s bill also would require mandatory reporters to attend training on their responsibilities under the law and would increase penalties for failing to report abuse.

Clergy, teachers, health-care workers and others would face up to $2,500 in fines and 180 days in jail upon the first failure to report.

“Teachers, health professionals, and clergy have a special responsibility to protect children, but far too often abuse goes unreported or is covered up,” Racine said in a statement. “To help stop child abuse in the District, this bill requires more adults to report it and trains them on how to spot.”

Clergy are mandatory reporters in 28 states, according to the Children’s Bureau, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Racine’s office has been meeting with faith groups in the nation’s capital to discuss his proposal. His aides originally considered mandatory reporting of sexual abuse even if accusations were revealed in confession — a sacrament in Catholic doctrine for parishioners to seek forgiveness for their sins.

But the bill has an exception in such circumstances, saying ministers are not required to report abuse if “the basis for their knowledge or belief is the result of a confession or penitential communication made by a penitent directly to the minister.”

Texas, West Virginia and a few other states do not exclude the confessional in mandatory-reporting laws.

Priests accused of abuse formerly pastored in Boone

Watauga Democrat

January 23, 2019

By Anna Oakes

The Maryland Province Jesuits and Diocese of Charlotte have said that two Catholic priests who pastored Boone’s St. Elizabeth of the Hill Country in the 1990s are “credibly” accused of sexually abusing minors.

H. Cornell Bradley, who now is 80, is among a list of priests named last month by the Maryland Province Jesuits. Bradley had “multiple allegations of sexual abuse” against him in Ocean City, Md., and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the province, a Roman Catholic order of 17,000 priests and brothers.

“Today, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is releasing the names of Jesuits from our province, and other Jesuits who have served the province, who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1950,” said Father Robert Hussey, provincial superior of the Maryland Province, in a statement Dec. 17.

“We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused to victims and their families. We also apologize for participating in the harm that abuse has done to our church, a church that we love and that preaches God’s care for all, especially the most vulnerable among us,” said Hussey. “The people of God have suffered, and they rightly demand transparency and accountability. We hope that this disclosure of names will contribute to reconciliation and healing.”

The list of names released by the province did not indicate if any of the allegations were reported to law enforcement.

St. Martins priest on leave for alleged misconduct

News Tribune
January 11th, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City has received an allegation of inappropriate behavior by the Rev. Mark Porterfield, pastor of St. Martin Catholic Church in St. Martins and judicial vicar for the diocese.

A statement from the diocese provided to parishioners and staff and shared with the News Tribune on Friday reads: "While the allegation does not involve a minor, it does fall within the protocol of the diocese for clergy conduct and requires further consultation and investigation."

Diocese officials said Porterfield is on administrative leave while the canonical investigation is underway. He is not allowed to function publicly as a priest while on administrative leave.

The Rev. Chris Aubuchon, who serves as chaplain at Helias Catholic High School and diocesan director of vocations, has been appointed temporary pastoral administrator of St. Martin Catholic Church.

Porterfield's duties as judicial vicar have been re-assigned to various personnel, with Monsignor Gregory Higley continuing in the position of adjutant judicial vicar.

The judicial vicar serves as the chief church lawyer for the diocese, diocese officials explained. He oversees the Tribunal, which is the church court. Most cases before a modern Tribunal deal with marriages — most of which are marriages in which the parties have received a civil divorce for the civil marriage but also need an annulment regarding the sacramental marriage.

Milwaukee DA Calls For Statewide Investigation Into Church's Response To Sex Abuse Claims

Wisconsin Public Radio

January 23, 2019

By Mary Kate McCoy

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is calling for a statewide investigation into the Catholic Church’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse over the past 50 years.

The call comes at a time when dioceses across the country are under heightened pressure to release names of priests with credible accusations of abuse against them.

Just last week the Diocese of Green Bay released the names of 46 priests who are known to have committed sexual offenses against minors dating back to 1906. Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith urged victims of abuse to go directly to law enforcement officials — not the church — Friday.

Chisholm told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he hopes to team up with Attorney General Josh Kaul and district attorneys across the state to review decades of clergy abuse allegations.

Peter Isley, a clergy abuse survivor and founding member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the likelihood of an investigation is higher than it ever has been.

We're really hopeful, victims and survivors and our families in Wisconsin"We're really hopeful, victims and survivors and our families in Wisconsin," he said.

Rep. again introduces bill that would give sex-abuse victims more time to file lawsuits

Providence Journal

January 23, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

Spurred by the molestation of her sister by their parish priest in West Warwick when they were both children, state Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee has lined up more than 50 co-sponsors for her reworked bill to extend the time that child victims have, after reaching adulthood, to lodge civil suits against their abusers.

The Rhode Island Catholic Diocese successfully blocked an earlier version of McEntee’s bill in 2018. The church insisted on limiting the application of the proposed law to “prospective” cases of alleged abuse, which McEntee deemed unacceptable. The bill died in the final hours of last year’s session, after hours-long hearings in both the House and the Senate that drew speaker after speaker to the Rhode Island State House with tales of abuse by their family priests and other trusted elders in positions of authority.

The reworked bill which McEntee, D-South Kingstown, introduced on Tuesday would extend Rhode Island’s seven-year statute of limitations on the filing of civil suits against the perpetrators of sex abuse of children to 35 years, to more closely mirror the law in Massachusetts.

EXCLUSIVE: Revised, tougher Child Victims Act set to be introduced in NYS Legislature

New York Daily News

January 22,2 019

By Kenneth Lovett

State lawmakers will soon introduce a revised, tougher bill designed to make it easier for victims of child victims abuse to seek justice as adults, the Daily News has learned.

The latest draft obtained by the Daily News would raise the top age that a child sex abuse survivor can bring a civil lawsuit to 55, up from the current 23.

Gov. Cuomo last week and a previous version of the bill in the Legislature had sought to raise the age to 50.

But with research showing that many survivors don’t begin dealing with what happened to them until later in life, lawmakers ultimately decided giving them even more time to bring a civil lawsuit would be appropriate, Senate bill sponsor Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) explained.

Archdiocese of Hartford makes major sex abuse disclosures

Journal Inquirer

January 23, 2019

By Alex Wood

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford on Tuesday made a major disclosure of information about sexual abuse by clergy, including naming 48 priests it says have been the object of lawsuits or legal settlements — or who have been “credibly accused” of abuse occurring in the archdiocese.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair took an introspective and penitent tone in a statement he issued about the abuse that has occurred in the archdiocese since its establishment in 1953.

“It is a cause of profound sorrow and of soul-searching for me that we bishops, the church’s pastors, have often failed to grasp the spiritual and moral devastation that results from sexual abuse, either in a misguided attempt to ‘save’ an abuser’s vocation or to shield the church from scandal,” Blair wrote in an open letter to “the Catholic faithful” and other Connecticut residents.

“Whatever institutional worries present themselves to me as a bishop as a result of abuse, it takes only one personal meeting with a victim survivor for me to see that any institutional concerns are insignificant compared to the deep spiritual and psychological wounds and suffering that can and often do result from sexual abuse by a priest,” he continued.

But at the same time, the materials released by the archdiocese make clear its belief that it has made significant strides in dealing with the problem in recent decades.

No Archdiocese of Hartford priest currently serving in the ministry in the archdiocese has “had credible allegations of child sexual abuse asserted” against him, Blair wrote in the open letter.

Elsewhere in the materials released Tuesday, the archdiocese defined a “credible claim” as “one that, under the circumstances known at the time of determination, would cause a prudent person to conclude that there was a significant possibility that the incident occurred.”

The archdiocese went on to say that its public identification of the priests “does not necessarily mean that the accusation has been proven in a court of law or definitively shown to have occurred through a formal process, or has been admitted by the person accused.

“It is also important to keep in mind that the priests who died before any allegation was made against them did not have an opportunity to respond to the allegations,” the archdiocese continued.

Ex-Radnor Catholic School Priest Investigated For Sex Abuse

Patch National

January 14, 2019

By Kara Seymour

A priest who once worked at Archbishop Carroll High School is on administrative leave after new allegations he sexually abused a minor.

A priest who once served at a Radnor Catholic school has been placed on administrative leave following new allegations he sexually abused a minor several decades ago, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced this week.

Reverend Monsignor Joseph L. Logrip, 73, who is now on administrative leave amid the investigation, served at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor from 1983 to 1990, according to the Archdiocese.

Law enforcement is now involved in the investigation, and the Archdiocese said it will cooperate fully with authorities.

Priests who served in Chester County face new sex charges

Digital First Media

January 13, 2019

A Catholic priest who served at Bishop Shanahan in the early 1990s was found to be “not suitable for ministry” following an investigation that he sexually abused a minor in the 1980s, and a Catholic priest who served at Saints Philip and James in Exton has been placed on administrative leave after a new claim that he sexually abused a minor in the 1980s.

A Philadelphia-area priest, Rev. John F. Meyers, 64, was also found to be not suitable for ministry following sexual abuse allegations, the Philadelphia Archdiocese announced Sunday, noting that is referring the allegation to law enforcement.

The Rev. Raymond Smart, 74, was employed at Bishop Shanahan High School from 1991 to 1995, when it was located in West Chester, and the Rev. Monsignor Joseph L. Logrip, 73, served at Saints Philip and James in Exton from 2007 to 2008.

The allegations comes on the heels of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that found Roman Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania had covered up decades of child sex abuse dating back to the 1940s involving hundreds of priests and more than 1,000 victims.

Aiia Maasarwe's sister calls out violence against women in emotional Instagram posts

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

January 21, 2019

By Jack Kerr

A sister of killed exchange student Aiia Maasarwe has taken to social media to express her grief over the death, and her contempt for the manner in which it is alleged to have happened.
"A little girl with BIG dreams, that how Aiia was," Noor Maasarwe posted on Instagram alongside a painting of the words "Dare to dream", which was done by her sister in 2014.

"She was living a dream in Melbourne, a dream that ended up being [worse] than a nightmare."

The body of the 21-year-old Arab-Israeli student was found by passers-by near a tram stop in Bundoora, in Melbourne's north, shortly after dawn last Wednesday.

Police allege she was raped and murdered on her way home from a comedy club in North Melbourne shortly after midnight. They have charged 20-year-old Codey Herrmann.

Church scandal hits close to home

Xavier Newswire

January 23, 2019

By Trevor McKenzie

A report issued last month by the Midwest Province of Jesuits revealed that no members of the society currently associated with Xavier face allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

The Province’s Dec. 17 report listed all Jesuit priests with established allegations of sexual abuse of minors since 1955 to a nation of believers and non-believers alike wrestling with the consequences of the 60-year scandal.  

Although no one currently associated with the university was named, four individuals who had at one point been assigned to Xavier appeared in the report: Fr. Mark Finan, S.J., (at Xavier 1956-1958), Fr. David McCarthy, S.J., (1956-1961), Fr. Donald Nastold, S.J, (1979-1991) and most notably Fr. Edward O’Brien, S.J., who was associated with Xavier from 1950-1983 and had a scholarship named for him after his death in 1983. The scholarship is no longer offered by the university. 

Of those named in the report, only O’Brien was the subject of allegations for incidents that occurred while serving in a position at Xavier. Those allegations did not arise until 1990, seven years after his death.  

According to a statement released the same day by Fr. Michael Graham, president, two other individuals formerly associated with Xavier — Br. Jerome Pryor, S.J., (at Xavier 1974-2002) and Fr. Louis Bonacci, S.J., (1994-1999) — were also named in allegations of past sexual improprieties.  

Pryor was removed from Xavier in 2002 after reports of improprieties with students. However, allegations involving Pryor did not involve abuse of minors, and he therefore did not appear in the Province’s report. Bonacci was permanently removed from ministry by the Maryland Province in 2011 following allegations of misconduct with a minor in the late 1970s, prior to his time at Xavier. 

The individuals implicated in the report served in multiple capacities at Xavier, such as faculty and ministry roles.

The report was released four months after an 18-month Pennsylvania grand jury report claimed more than 300 clergy had sexually abused more than 1,000 children throughout several decades.  

Jesuit priests and brothers named in sexual assault accusations

The Loyolan

Januaary 23, 2019

By Isabella Murillo

Over winter break, Jesuits West Province revealed in a press release the names of priests and brothers who had been accused of sexual assault, 11 of whom had worked at LMU in the past 50 years.

The priests were found to have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of "minors and vulnerable adults," according to a letter sent to students' emails from the Office of the President, naming all 11 priests.

The names of the priests and the years they were active at LMU are as follows:

Bethany man named to Diocese of Buffalo sex abuse task force

Batavia News

January 23, 2019

By Scott Desmit

A Bethany man who helped form Genesee Justice and whose work with what was known as ‘restorative justice’ earned him national attention has been named to a newly-formed adult sexual abuse and misconduct task force for the Diocese of Buffalo.

Dennis J. Wittman was one of five people named to the task force, which will review and recommend policies and procedures for “assessing and responding to allegations of sexual misconduct with adults by priests, deacons, religious and lay employees,” according to a news statement issued by the Diocese.

“The Task Force will ensure that the diocesan policies for adult abuse and misconduct complement the existing diocesan policy on child abuse,” the statement says. “In addition, the Task Force will review the investigation framework of sexual abuse allegations to ensure compliance with federal and state law, canon law, and the Diocese of Buffalo Code of Conduct to ensure the protection of all of God’s people.”

The Diocese, which includes Catholic churches in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, has been under strain as it has dealt with a number of allegations in recent years about priests molesting children. In 2018, the Diocese released a list of 78 priests that had been accused and those where allegations were substantiated.

Wittman, of Francis Road, was serving as town of Bethany supervisor in 1981 when he was asked to help form what is now known as Genesee Justice.

At the time it was known as Community Service/Victim Assistance.

Wittman served for more than 25 years, seeing the program grow and gaining national attention for his efforts at restorative justice, which focuses on rehabilitating offenders through reconciliation with the victims and the community.

Shame: Fordham Releases List of Abusive Priests

The Fordham Ram

January 23, 2019

By Collin Bonnell

On Jan. 15, the Office of the President sent out an email containing a “Joint Message from Fordham’s President and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees,” concerning the list of Jesuits accused of sexually abusing minors released earlier that day by the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. The email contained the names of nine Jesuits who had ties to Fordham University and Fordham Prep, and the allegations against these priests reveal a pattern of gross negligence by various parties, including Fordham University, Fordham Prep and the Northeast Province of Jesuits, which endangered members of the Fordham community.

Mirroring a larger trend within the Catholic Church, these priests, whose affiliations with Fordham University and Fordham Prep span six decades, were moved around after accusations against them arose and shifted to different positions so as to not draw public attention. The story of one of the accused, Rev. Philip Conroy, S.J., exemplifies this trend.

According to an article by WKBW, Conroy was accused of groping two female minors in the mid-1970s while employed by Fordham University. Conroy left Fordham after the events took place and was sent to Canisius College, where he became Director of Campus Ministry. The Jesuit remained at Canisius until 2002, when the Buffalo Diocese was informed of the allegations and Conroy was then moved to the Jogues Retreat Center near Poughkeepsie, where he is still a priest and, despite the allegations against him, remains in close proximity to the laity.

While the revelations concerning Conroy are troubling, the circumstances surrounding the relationship between Fordham and two other Jesuits on the list, Rev. Roy Drake, S.J. and Rev. Eugene O’Brien, S.J., were sufficiently incriminating to push two activist groups—the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and BishopAccountability.com—to accuse Fordham Preparatory School of sheltering child molesters in 2008.

The first of these priests, Drake, a former science teacher at Fordham Prep, was accused of raping the friend of a Fordham Prep student while on a ski trip in 1968. That year, Drake left Fordham Prep, but later returned to Fordham as a resident of Murray-Weigel Hall, until he was sent to a “treatment center” for troubled priests in 2006. The church has refused to offer Drake’s accuser an apology.

The other, O’Brien, served as the president of Fordham Prep from 1960 until 1979 and allegedly molested a minor in the early 1970s. O’Brien returned to Fordham in 1986, when he joined the staff of the university, where he would remain until 1991 and during which time he served as vice president for community relations.

Pittsburgh Diocese’s Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program Goes Live


January 22, 2019

By David Highfield

The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese program to help sexual abuse victims went live on Tuesday.

There is no limit on how big cash settlements can be but there are some guidelines. Any victims who accept money will give up the right to take the church to court later on.

The Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program, for people who were victims of child sex abuse by clergy is the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, is now live.

It’s the latest in the diocese response to a scathing grand jury report, which showed sexual abuse by priests. They’ve also held listening sessions, including one last month in Jefferson Hills.

“I do think the Holy Spirit needs to come and clean up this church,” one parishioner said.

Under the compensation program, claims must be submitted by the end of September. New allegations must be registered by the end of July. People who have already settled cannot participate.

Two members of a Washington D.C. law firm will determine eligibility and compensation offers. One of them spoke at a press conference last month.

“There’s no protracted litigation, no roll of the dice in the courtroom, no uncertainty as to whether the claim will be upheld on appeal or anything like that,” settlement attorney Kenneth Feinberg said.



January 23, 2019

By Isabella Basco

The Diocese of Winona Rochester is facing 121 claims of child sexual abuse by clergy and while the process for the bankruptcy is still happening, one priest is speaking out about the Church's scandals.

"Now, they are working towards settlements and towards a final summary of all the claims," Father Jason Kern, the Vocations Director for the Diocese said.

Kern says now is a time of healing for the Church which has been rocked by child sexual abuse claims.

"The church is broken, it has broken members and leaders like myself who are not perfect and we are all in need of healing," Kern said.

Kern is upfront about the fact that the claims have also hurt him.

"I suffer with them in this," Kern said. "It's been difficult, all of the allegations and working through these things for what feels like way too long."

Selina Leang is active in the Church and supports the Diocese's move.

Columna de Óscar Contardo: Los santos en la corte

[Oscar Contardo Column: The saints in court]

La Tercera

January 19, 2019

By Óscar Contardo

Los sacerdotes jesuitas dan entrevistas para diagnosticar el estado de las cosas, para criticar a otros sacerdotes, no para dar explicaciones sobre las miserias que guardan puertas adentro.

Nadie nunca supo nada. Nadie habló. A nadie le contó ningún apoderado lo que sucedía cuando el jesuita Jaime Guzmán Astaburuaga invitaba periódicamente a alumnos adolescentes a un fin de semana al Cajón del Maipo. Nadie nunca dijo que hacerlos desnudarse, sacarles fotos y confesarlos en su falda para preguntarles detalles de cómo, cuándo y en qué pensaban mientras se masturbaban podía ser inapropiado. Eso era diversión, era festivo. El cura Guzmán era el encargado de captar vocaciones, director espiritual de aspirantes, seminaristas y exalumnos del Colegio San Ignacio El Bosque. Tenía un apodo entre los estudiantes, un nombre vulgar con el que el sacerdote se refería al pene. Hablaba mucho de genitales.

Laity must defend the faith not wait for bishops to 'get their act together', says Dreher

The Tablet

January 23, 2019

By Sarah MacDonald

Best-selling author and conservative thinker Rod Dreher has urged the Irish laity not to passively wait for their bishops to “get their act together” but to speak out and defend the faith themselves.

In an address at University Church in Dublin, hosted by the Iona Institute and the Notre Dame Newman Centre for Faith and Reason, the author of ‘The Benedict Option’ told a crowd of 350 that Catholics in Ireland that he knew "from bitter experience that the institutions of the Catholic Church cannot be relied on to teach, defend, and evangelise for the faith”.

The popular blogger and editor at ‘The American Conservative’, who is author of several books, told The Tablet that it would be “a fatal mistake to sit back and wait for them [the bishops] to get their acts together”.

“Pray that they do but in the meantime faithful Catholics must catechise themselves and their children. They must act themselves to deepen their experience of faith through prayer, the sacraments, Bible reading, and embracing spiritual disciplines.”

Ireland: Archbishop Martin Consults Faithful Ahead of Rome Summit


January 22, 2019

Archbishop Eamon Martin, President of the Irish Episcopal Conference, in a letter issued January 22, 2019, has invited the faithful in Ireland to share their thoughts on abuse ahead of a universal Church summit on safeguarding in Rome next month.

As well as consulting with victims and survivors, Archbishop Eamon is also inviting Catholics, in an open letter, to pray, reflect and offer feedback on a number of key questions:

How would you describe the present situation regarding sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church in Ireland?
How would you describe the level of awareness of this topic among the public?
In your opinion, what are the greatest risk factors for the sexual abuse of minors in Ireland?
What are the factors in Ireland that contribute to a lack of adequate response by the Church in dealing with child sexual abuse?
What are the most effective preventive measures that the Catholic Church in Ireland has adopted to protect children from sexual abuse in the Church?
If you had one key message to communicate to the meeting in Rome on this issue, what would it be?

Eric Schmitt should fix Josh Hawley’s feeble Catholic Church investigation

Kansas City Star

January 22, 2019

By David Clohessy

Under pressure from the attorney general, every bishop in the state released or expanded their lists of priests who are proven, admitted or credibly accused abusers. Some 185 names are now public.

Unfortunately, that state was Illinois, not Missouri.

In Missouri, only two of four bishops have divulged such names, and those bishops run the smallest dioceses. Yet Catholics — and all Missourians — recently learned the names of 35 clerics who have worked in the Jefferson City diocese who have also been credibly accused of molesting children, as reported in The Sedalia Democrat.

And to the south, we recently learned the names of three more similarly-accused clerics who have worked in the Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau, bringing the total there to 12.

One-third of U.S. bishops believe church ‘should’ ordain women as deacons

America Magazine

January 22, 2019

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

As Pope Francis mulls a report about women deacons in the early church, a new survey reveals that at least when it comes to U.S. bishops, support for ordaining women as deacons remains uneven.

According to a report released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University on Jan. 22, just 33 percent of bishops in the United States think the church “should” ordain women as deacons.

Late last year, a papal commission wrapped up its work studying whether the early church ordained women as deacons and passed its findings on to Pope Francis. Two of the commission’s 12 members—Phyllis Zagano and Bernard Pottier, S.J.—said in an interview with America last month that their own research supports the idea that women were ordained deacons in the early church.

Christians Must Face The Reality Of Rape Culture

Patheos blog

January 23, 2019

By Beth Allison Barr

I am so pleased to welcome guest blogger Leslie Hahner, PhD, to The Anxious Bench today. Leslie is a brilliant thinker, writer, and professor. I know this because we have been in an interdisciplinary writing group together since 2011. She has two recently published books, To Become an American: Immigrants and Americanization Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century and Make America Meme Again: The Rhetoric of the Alt-right. Her current book project, which she is writing with fellow Baylor professor Scott Varda, focuses on how individuals deny the existence and pervasiveness of sexual assault. Today, Leslie Hahner offers her insights on what the church is called to consider.

In October 2017, actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted a note that asked those who had “been sexually harassed or assaulted” to reply “‘me too’” to her tweet. Within one day, the “post received more than 38,000 comments, 13,000 retweets and 27,000 likes.” The responses then spread from Twitter to Facebook and Instagram. The expanse of the problem, as Sophie Gilbert wrote in the New York Times, could be grasped once the public woke “up to a feed dominated by women discussing their experiences of harassment and assault.” Inspired by Tarana Burke, the hashtag had spawned a movement, a public insistence from thousands that sexual violence was pervasive, systematic, and unabated by current measures of justice. Sparked by the vicious actions of Harvey Weinstein and others, the #metoo movement began to demonstrate the expanse of rape within a culture that enabled the perpetuation of sexual violence.

ADAMCZYK: Sacred is in the mind of the beholder

Niagra Gazette

January 23, 2019

By Ed Adamczyk

Local agencies of the Catholic Church regularly reveal lists of priests, many long dead, accused of sexual abuse against the young. While I never hung around with many Catholic priests, one I once knew recently appeared on such a list. No, he never got me; I have no claim against him, any more than anyone I have ever met who pitched his or her own brand of salvation.

The release of lists of suspected abusers using the church to cover their sins is not new, nor is it confined to Western New York. Australia, for example, is currently reeling from revelations about several high-ranking men within the Catholic hierarchy there, and the resulting civil trials. Yes, out there, courts are actively going after suspected sex abusers in the church.

Any large and entrenched organization can, upon investigation, expose irregularities conflicting with its reason for being. Someone once said that employment anywhere for a period of one year qualifies a person to say “You won’t believe what goes on in there.” It goes for General Motors, the U.S. government, any church or school, and notably for families. It goes for any outfit hiding incidents contrary to law or to its mission.

'Credibly accused’: Complete list of priests named by the Archdiocese of Hartford

Republican American

January 22, 2019

The following priests were accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Hartford:

Altermatt, Gregory – Ordination 3/27/1976
Assistant Pastor, Incarnation, Wethersfield
Assistant Pastor, St. Timothy, West Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Ann, Waterbury
Chaplain, St. Mary Hospital, Waterbury
In residence, Our Lady of Victory, West Haven
Chaplain, St. Raphael Hospital, New Haven
Removed from ministry, 2/3/2012
A civil case is pending

Buckley, Joseph – Ordination 5/21/1932
Assistant Pastor, St. Vincent, East Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. Agnes, Niantic
Pastor, St. Therese, Stony Creek (Branford)
Administrator, St. Mary, Newington
Pastor, St. Mary, Newington
Retired 5/14/1970
Died in 1975 before the single claim against him was received in 2003.

January 22, 2019

Jesuit Sexual Abuse Scandal Shakes University

Fordham University Observer

January 22, 2019

By Courtney Brogle

In a statement released on Jan. 15, University President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Robert Daleo identified nine Jesuit priests credibly accused of sexual assault with connections to the Fordham community.

The statement was prompted by the Northeastern Province of the Society of Jesus, who released a comprehensive list earlier that day of Jesuits with credible allegations of abuse upon minors. Among those listed in the Northeast Province, five Jesuits were assigned by the Province to serve at Fordham University or Fordham Preparatory School.

Additionally, McShane and Daleo disclosed four other Jesuits connected to the university or preparatory school with credible accusations against them. These men were named on lists prepared by the four other American provinces.

The ties between Fordham and the nine men in question date as far back as 1936. Each offender, while employed at Fordham, interacted with students in some capacity: as professors, campus ministry participants and even residents in University housing.

In addition, several men listed by the Northeast Province resided at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit nursing home located adjacent to Fordham College at Rose Hill property. The Northeast Province owns and operates this facility; at Fordham’s request, Jesuits with known allegations against them that still reside there were removed.

The statement to the Fordham community openly condemned the actions of these Jesuits. “As the sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church unfolds,” McShane and Daleo’s joint statement read, “it is incumbent on all of us who are leaders at affected institutions to support the survivors and to acknowledge the inalterable harm that was inflicted on these brave survivors and their families.”

Priest accused of sex abuse scheduled to change plea

Rapid City Journal

January 22, 2019

By Arielle Zionts

The former Rapid City priest accused of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl is expected to change his not guilty plea next month.

John Praveen, 38, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 5 at the state court in Rapid City, according to court records.

It's unclear whether he plans to plead guilty, no contest or make some other kind of plea. Messages to Praveen's lawyer and the Pennington County State's Attorney were not immediately returned.

Praveen previously pleaded not guilty to two charges of having sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl, a class 3 felony that carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison on each count.

Before his duties were suspended, Praveen had worked at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City since June. Before that, he served at churches in Eagle Butte. Praveen joined the diocese for a 10-year assignment in December 2017 after serving in India, where he was born.

Jesuits’ list did not reveal accused priest who served in Norwich Diocese

The Day

January 22. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

A third Jesuit priest “credibly accused” of sexually assaulting minors, served for years in the Norwich Diocese.

But when the USA Northeast Jesuit Province released a list last week of 50 Northeast priests “credibly accused” of sexually assaulting minors since 1950, the Rev. Eugene Orteneau was not listed as serving at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Storrs. In 2007, the Norwich Diocese agreed to pay $300,000 of a $1.2 million settlement — the Jesuits paid the remainder — to Joshua Heathcote of Coventry, who claimed Orteneau repeatedly molested him at St. Thomas Aquinas beginning when he 16.

Instead, the Jesuits only listed Orteneau as serving at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, Mass., from 1976 to '78 and at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine, from 1978 to '79.

Rev. Robert Pecoraro, the president of Cheverus, posted a message on the school website last week saying Orteneau was among seven accused priests who served at the school. He wrote that Orteneau was accused of sexual assaulting a minor during the time frame of 1992 to '95.

Clergy sexual abuse: Justice before forgiveness


January 22, 2019

By Patrick Navin

The latest spate of revelations regarding Catholic dioceses in Illinois protecting and hiding sexually abusive clergy is, sadly, nothing new.

In January 1976, an associate pastor at Ascension Church in Oak Park, Fr. Richard Barry "Doc" Bartz, molested me during an overnight ski trip to Wisconsin. My incident with Bartz, which I reported to the Archdiocese in 1992, was not the only case of sexual abuse in Bartz's file.

My experience dealing with this event and with the Church is a rather long, sordid story, but the short version is that I ultimately reported this incident in May 1992 at the urging of a friend who is a priest. The unsatisfactory nature of the process led to an exchange of letters with Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, then the prelate of the Archdiocese of Chicago. In November of that year, the Cardinal and I had a private meeting to discuss my incident with Bartz, as well as to review a report Bernardin had forwarded to me, "The Cardinal's Commission on Sexual Misconduct with Minors," a policy document on the handling of abuse complaints that the Cardinal had approved in June 1992.

Bernardin may have been well-intentioned, but I discovered he had a massive blind spot when it came to his brethren in the priesthood. His policy failed a crucial test: nowhere in the new policy was it required that substantiated reports of clergy sexual abuse of minors be turned over to law enforcement or prosecutors.

Pittsburgh Diocese's victim compensation program goes live


January 22, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said its "Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program" for those who suffered child sexual abuse by clergy went live Tuesday.

The program was created in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse that was released in August.

"It is about recognizing the harm done by past abuse and continuing our pledge of taking every appropriate action to prevent the occurrence of future abuse," Bishop David Zubik said in a written statement Tuesday.

"It should be noted that no funds for this program will come from Our Campaign for the Church Alive!, Catholic Charities, parishes, schools, or any other funds designated for a specific use by the donor, nor have such funds been used in the past to compensate victims," the diocese said.

Letter to the Catholic Bishops

Patheos blog

January 22, 2019

By David Russell Mosley

Dearest Readers,
Over the past few months I have been part of a group which existed for the express purpose of creating a public letter to the Catholic Bishops. Before the current news cycle makes us forget other problems within our Church, I want to make sure this message gets out. I did not contribute to any of the text, I won’t try to make that claim, Dr. Holly Taylor Coolman of Providence College has been the chief architect. But I am glad I was a part of this from early on. The idea is to get as many signatures as possible. We want this letter to get national coverage. Not to spread anyone’s name, but to ensure that the Bishops respond.

Below is the text of the letter. I ask that you read it and prayerfully consider signing:

Dear fathers and brothers in Christ,

We write with profoundly heavy hearts. The latest wave of revelations regarding sexual abuse in the Church, and the way in which that abuse was covered up and made possible, has pushed us to a breaking point.

Abuse and the enabling of abuse are not simply individual sins to be forgiven. They are a radical and ongoing affront to the Church’s witness to the Gospel. They communicate contempt for the people of God, and particularly the most vulnerable members.

As bishops, successors to the Apostles, you have the roles of teaching, governing and sanctifying God’s people. The response to many cases of reported abuse represents failure to accomplish these on the most fundamental level. We are asking you now to take responsibility as a pastoral body for this failure.

Archdiocese of Hartford Releases List of 48 Clerics Accused of Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 22, 2019

Today the Archdiocese of Hartford has released a list of 48 clerics that have been accused of abuse.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.

However, we believe that Archbishop Leonard Blair could have included more information that would be helpful to survivors. In the list released today, the Archbishop omits photos and the current whereabouts of those accused who are still alive. While he does provide a list of assignments in the Archdiocese, he does not include the dates of those assignments. He also neglects to provide information about when the allegations were received, except in those cases where the priest died prior to the victim coming forward.

Where these priests are now is important, as it provides a warning to those nearby about a potential threat to young people. That is the best step the bishop could take to prevent more horrific crimes against more innocent children.

How these clerics looked in the past, and when they worked in a particular parish, is important because that information helps victims identify those who hurt them. It usually takes decades for survivors to come forward. The victim might only recall the priest’s name, what parish he/she attended when the abuse occurred, and a face. Even parents who were long-time parishioners may have trouble remembering a clergyman who only worked in their parish for a short time.

Diocese of Scranton launches Independent Survivors Compensation Program

Times Leader

January 22, 2019

By Bill O’Boyle

The Diocese of Scranton on Tuesday launched its Independent Survivors Compensation Program designed to compensate survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Participation in the program by survivors is voluntary and the program is run independently of the Diocese.

“Our first priorities are to provide support for survivors of child sexual abuse and to take every step necessary to eradicate abuse from the Church altogether,” said the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton. “This program helps. While no financial compensation can change the past, it is my hope that this program will help survivors in their healing and recovery process.”

The Diocese’s program includes all victims, whether the abuser was a priest from the Diocese of Scranton, from a religious order, or was a lay employee of the Diocese. The Diocese announced on Nov. 8, that the program would be administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution who have overseen similar programs started by five Catholic Dioceses in New York. Feinberg and Biros will have absolute autonomy in determining compensation for survivors, and the Diocese of Scranton has agreed to abide by all of their decisions.

How the Vatican summit's moderator approaches the problem of clerical sexual abuse

Catholic News Agency

January 22, 2019

By Andrea Gagliarducci

The moderator of the Vatican’s February summit on child sexual abuse has written an article outlining his take on the Church’s most effective models of response for addressing its sexual abuse crisis.

The article, written by Fr. Federico Lombardi, is published in the Jan. 19 issue of the Jesuit-run bi-monthly magazine La Civiltà Cattolica. Lombardi, a Jesuit and former papal spokesman, will be a central actor in the Feb. 21-24 meeting, which will convene the leaders of bishops’ conferences from around the world to discuss the clerical sexual abuse of minors.

Lombardi has long known in Italy as a key figure in the fight against sex abuse by clergy.

In 2011, Lombardi was part of a significant moment related to combating sexual abuse: A conference, “Toward Healing and Renewal,” organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University. The work of the conference become the basis for the establishment of the Gregorian’s Centre for Child Protection, which partially inspired the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

In 2017, Lombardi was involved in the organization of the conference “Child Dignity in Digital Age,” which drafted and presented to Pope Francis the “Declaration of Rome”, which proposed new approaches needed to countering sexual abuse in the internet era.

Lombardi is also part of the steering committee of the “Child Dignity Alliance.”

The former papal spokesperson has also gained attention as an expert on sexual abuse issues because of his articles on La Civiltà Cattolica. In an essay last month, he retraced step-by-step the history of the clergy sex abuse crisis and of the Church’s response.

In his most recent article, Lombardi listed some “good practices” for an effective response. Those documents will be likely at the center of the discussions in the February meeting.

Could World Youth Day in Panama give the Pope a boost?

WLS Radio

January 22, 2019

World Youth Day in Panama is supposed to be about young people, from all over the globe, celebrating their Catholic faith with the Pope. But this year, it’s happening during arguably the greatest crisis of Pope Francis’ pontificate and of the modern-day Catholic Church.

The gathering is taking place January 22-27 in Panama City, with the Pope arriving on the 23rd. Panama is 88% Catholic, according to the Vatican, and despite the shadow of controversy, this is a coming home of sorts for Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff. His 10 speeches will be in his native Spanish, which typically means he might improvise instead of sticking to prepared texts.

According to the Vatican, about 150,000 youth have enrolled so far, a much lower turnout than World Youth Days in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in 2016 in Krakow, Poland, which attracted about 3 million each.

The Pope is expected, as he often does, to weave politics into his speeches, particularly issues such as migration, corruption, violence and the role of women, said a Vatican spokesperson.

Will the Pope meet with clergy abuse survivors?

Two clergy abuse survivors from nearby Costa Rica are hoping to meet with Pope Francis in the sidelines of World Youth Day. As is customary, the Vatican has not announced if the pontiff will meet with survivors; but advised reporters the Pope might address the topic.

Survivors Michael Rodriguez and Anthony Venegas, both from Costa Rica, say the Latin American culture of “machismo” justifies the actions of the abusers and revictimizes the victims, making it very difficult for survivors to break their silence.

Catholic Church must embrace reality of the sexual nature of its priests

The Desert Sun

January 22, 2019

By Lou A. Bordisso

Many Catholics and other people of good will are disgusted with the sexual scandal cover-ups, smokescreens and veil of secrecy postulated by bishops and their apologists. The shameless rationalization repetitively advanced by church authorities for being deceptive, deceitful and dishonest is plausible deniability is unacceptable.

My late Irish-Catholic mother often reminded me to “Tell the truth and shame the devil” as I was growing up. Given the enormity of clergy sexual scandals, there is no better time than the present to tell the truth or ever be labeled as a complicit collaborator and/or guilty of the “sin of omission.”

Increasingly, it seems as though not a day goes by without a media story about sexual allegations, charges and convictions against Roman Catholic priests and some bishops. The stories of illicit sexual activity range from the sexual abuse of children by priests to bishops keeping female mistresses or male lovers.

Celibacy research studies among Catholic clergy suggest that gay, straight, and bisexual priests are significantly sexually active, and many priests outright reject mandatory celibate chastity. The largest empirical research to date by Richard Sipe studied 1,500 Catholic priests over the period of 25 years and concluded that fewer than 50 percent of Roman Catholic priests in the United States even attempt celibacy, while only 2 percent achieve total celibate chastity.

Pedophile priest molested boy, then blamed him for it and made him confess

Metro News

January 22, 2019

By Jimmy McCloskey

A pedophile priest abused a young boy – then blamed the child for making him molest him, and made him confess it as a sin.

Mark Belenchia was abused by the Reverend Bernard Haddican from around 1969, when he was just 12 years old. Haddican would tell the child afterwards that he had committed the sin of ‘self abuse,’ then order him to confess the supposed wrongdoing to the man guilty of perpetrating it.

Recalling how Haddican escalated his campaign of abuse, Belenchia told the Clarion-Ledger: ‘That was my first sexual experience with another person. ‘I don’t know if you can call it a sexual experience – a nightmare.’

Belenchia was abused while living in Shelby, Mississippi, and says Haddican charmed locals by dressing in casual clothes, and acting in a far more personable way than his precedessors. He says Haddican began abusing him six months after he arrived, and would invite children over to watch baseball games, before plying them with liquor.

Haddican continued to groom his victims by hosting ‘sleepovers’ at his rectory, before molesting Belencia. The victim, who is now campaigning for justice said: ‘The actual abuse started off slow. I can’t recall all of it, I just know that I ended up in the bed.

Vatican insists no reports of sexual abuse against Argentine

Associated Press

January 22, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican is insisting that there were no accusations of sexual abuse against an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis when he resigned suddenly in 2017 and was promoted to a job at the Vatican.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti repeated Tuesday that the Vatican only received the first accusations of alleged sexual abuse by Archbishop Gustavo Zanchetta a few months ago.

The former deputy to Archbishop Gustavo Zanchetta, the Rev. Juan Jose Manzano, told The Associated Press last week that he had sent the Vatican information in 2015 and 2017 of alleged inappropriate sexual behavior by Zanchetta that included taking naked selfies and reports that he engaged in harassment and misconduct with adult seminarians.

Manzano told AP those reports didn't constitute formal canonical accusations of sexual abuse, but were merely reports of behavior that he, another former vicar general and the rector of the seminary in Oran, northern Argentina, considered important to bring to the Vatican's attention.

He said he didn't believe there had been any cover-up and that he considered Francis a victim of Zanchetta's "manipulation."

In a statement, Gisotti said: "In reference to the articles published recently by several news sources, as well as to some misleading reconstructions, I resolutely repeat what was stated this past 4 January. In addition, I emphasize that the case is being studied and when this process is over, information will be forthcoming regarding the results."

Information on sex abuse cases released by Archdiocese of Hartford

Fox 61 News

January 22, 2019

By Doug Stewart

The Archdiocese of Hartford released information Tuesday, regarding clerical sexual abuse of minors in the archdiocese.

The archdiocese post the information at Promise.archdioceseofhartford.org The website was very slow to respond when it was first released. The list of clergy is below.

Last week, Jesuits in Northeast posted list of priests accused of abuse and 16 of them had Connecticut connections.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford says it has paid $50.6 million to settle priest sexual abuse claims over the last several decades.

The archdiocese said Tuesday that it has settled 142 claims involving 32 clergy members. The archdiocese paid out $24.5 million from its general reserve fund and insurance recoveries covered the rest of the cost of the settlements.

The archdiocese said 98 percent of the settlements paid were over allegations of abuse of minors that occurred before 1990.

Buffalo Catholic Diocese creates Adult Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Task Force


January 22, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has created a task force to review and recommend policies and procedures in dealing with sexual abuse allegations with adults.

According to the Diocese, the Adult Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Task Force will ensure the diocese's policies for adult abuse/misconduct complement the policies on child abuse.

The task force, which in consists of five members, will also review investigation framework of sexual abuse and ensure it is in compliance with federal and state law, canon law and the Diocese of Buffalo's Code of Conduct.

Experto en iglesia compara "en impacto" casos de Renato Poblete y Cristián Precht

[Church expert compares potential impact of Renato Poblete and Cristián Precht abuse cases]

Emol TV

January 21, 2019

Marcial Sánchez, experto en historia de la iglesia, asegura que "sí va a haber condenas" tras los procesos en Fiscalía. Respecto a la situación del sacerdote Óscar Muñoz Toledo, el experto dijo que sí debiera perder el estado clerical.

Priest Continues in Key Position in Vatican Despite Allegations of Sexual Assault

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 22, 2019

Another Catholic cleric has been kept on the job, this time in a key Vatican department, despite being accused of sexually violating a woman in the confessional. The allegations, reported months ago, describe an outrage that should have resulted in immediate action, starting with the priest’s suspension.

At a Nov. 27 event in Rome focused on giving voice to women survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Fr. Hermann Geissler was publicly accused of sexually assaulting a woman during confession in 2009. "He tried to keep me back and kiss me, but I fled from the confessional," Doris Wagner, the alleged victim, recalled.

Despite these very serious allegations, as of January 18 Fr. Geissler was still listed by the Vatican “as head of the doctrinal section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).”

The CDF is where bishops across the world send the abuse reports they receive. Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who will play a key role in the upcoming Feb. abuse summit at the Vatican, is the adjunct secretary for the CDF.

Getting to February: The decisions that could shape the pope's summit

Catholic News Agency

January 22, 2019

By Ed Condon

As the Church continues to wrestle with the fall-out of last year’s sexual abuse scandals, the Vatican faces a series of crucial decisions in the coming weeks. How they are resolved, and in what order, will likely set the tone for the rest of the year.

One month from today, the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences will gather in Rome for a special summit to address the abuse crisis. Ahead of that meeting, the Vatican has attempted to lower what it has called “excessive” expectations.

These efforts notwithstanding, the credibility of its discussions and conclusions will likely play a large part in shaping wider assessments of the Church in 2019. But before the three-day meeting begins, two other events could do much to frame how the February session will be seen from the outside.

The first of these events is the replacement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington, DC. The second is the conclusion of the penal process handling the allegations against Wuerl’s predecessor, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Both are expected imminently, and both seem sure to cast a shadow, for good or for ill, on February’s meeting and whatever it produces.

As has been previously reported, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently concluded the investigative phase of its handling of the McCarrick case. The CDF also confirmed that, instead of a full canonical trial, McCarrick was facing a penal administrative process - ordinarily reserved for handling cases where the evidence is clear and compelling.

Officials in different Vatican departments, if not the CDF itself, have already begun pointedly referring to the former cardinal as “Mr. McCarrick” in a nod to his likely laicization if he is found guilty of sexual abuse.

While Rome appears intent on ensuring the McCarrick case is resolved - one way or another - before the February meeting, how much detail the CDF makes public about the resolution will be important.

McCarrick is accused of a number of grave crimes, including the sexual abuse of minors and adults. What is done and said about his alleged abuse of adults may prove more significant, even if it represents the lesser charge canonically speaking.

'A nightmare.' Man tells all, says he was abused by Mississippi priest more than 75 times

Mississippi Clarion Ledger

By January 22, 2019

Sarah Fowler

Mark Belenchia remembers the first time he saw his would-be abuser.

Belenchia was playing third base, wearing a white, wool baseball uniform with green socks pulled up to his knees. A matching green hat covered his mop of dark brown hair. He was 12 years old.

The year was 1968, and the Rev. Bernard Haddican had just arrived in Shelby, a small town nestled in the Mississippi Delta. From his position on the field, Belenchia saw Haddican arrive, mingling with parents and parishioners of St. Mary's Church, the local Catholic parish. He was in street clothes and was personable. No one in Shelby had ever met a priest like him.

"All of the priests prior to him stayed real close to the church, in the rectory," Belenchia said. "They didn't get out in the community and, when they did, they were always dressed in black, with their collar on. That's the way priests presented themselves.

"He showed up at the Little League baseball game and he wasn't in a collar. Here he was, this breath of fresh air, coming into our town. He was different. He took up with the youth, he was at a baseball game. It was a moment to be proud and to relish, 'Here's our guy.'

"The protestant preachers, their kids were there and they might have been an umpire or a coach or whatever. We just didn't have that...it knocked down a bunch of shields right there, just because he came and saw a Little League baseball game."

Six months later, give or take, Belenchia says, Haddican touched his penis for the first time. The abuse would progress. It continued for years.

In hindsight, Belenchia believes he was being groomed by Haddican from the moment the priest met him.

The church announced in November that dioceses in Mississippi and Alabama would be releasing the names of priests who were removed from the ministry after allegations of abuse. Haddican, who has since died, was never removed from the ministry.

Belenchia said by sharing his story with the Clarion Ledger, he's hoping the Jackson Diocese will feel compelled to go ahead and release the names of priests identified as abusers.

Maureen Smith, communications director for the Jackson Diocese, said the list of names is expected to be released this spring.

Hartford Archdiocese reveals 48 priests accused of sexual abuse

Hartford Courant

January 22, 2019

By Dave Altimari

The Archdiocese of Hartford Tuesday released the names of 48 priests “credibly accused” of sexual abuse, leading to the archdiocese paying out $50.6 million to settle more than 140 claims.

The archdiocese also announced it would hire a retired state judge to review priest personnel files in an effort, according to Archbishop Leonard Blair, to remove the “dark cloud” that still hangs over the Catholic Church.

“I have been a bishop now for almost 20 years and most of them have been overshadowed by the sin and scandal of sexual abuse and its devastating effect on the victims survivors and their families, on the morale of our priests and on the faith and even the practice of the faith among the Catholic people,”Blair said in a statement released on the church website.

“The lingering unhealed wounds from past abuse continue to cry out for further actions and answers,” Blair said.

The priests identified Tuesday include:
Gregory Altermatt, Joseph Buckley, Stephen Bzdyra, Herbert Clarkin, Stephen Crowley, Robert Doyle, Ivan Ferguson, Stephen Foley, Thomas Glynn, Paul Gotta, John Graham, Philip Hussey, Edward Hyland, Joseph Lacy, Robert Ladamus, Felix Maguire, Terry Manspeaker, Richard McGann, Daniel McSheffery, Peter Mitchell, Edward Muha, Howard Nash, John T. O’Connor, Raymond Paul, Louis Patrurzo, Arthur Perrault, William Pzrybylo, George Raffaeta, Edward Reardon, Adolph Renkiewicz, Joseph Rozint, Robert E. Shea, Kenneth Shiner, Edward Tissera, Felix Werpechowski and Peter Zizka.

Twelve others were identified from other religious orders or other dioceses related to allegations that happened in the Hartford Archdiocese. The six from other dioceses are Roman Kramek, Lucien Meunier, Edward Franklin, Bruno Primavera, John B. Ramsey and Jose Rivera. The six priests from other religious orders that were on assignment in Hartford are William Izquierdo, Michael Miller, Robert Leo Pelkington, John Pryor, John Rudy and John Szantyr.

GUEST OPINION: Blaming homosexual priests for sexual abuse scandal is wrong

Cape Breton Post

January 22, 2019

By Robert Coleman

The belief that homosexual priests are the cause of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is gaining traction. While it is widely acknowledged that we need to understand the roots of the problem so as to effect change, healing and justice, we should be wary of being comforted by simplistic answers.

Think for a moment about the claim that homosexual priests are to blame for the abuse. What that suggests is that the homosexual orientation causes, predisposes and compels a man to engage in sexual predatory behaviour against children. Thus it is a risk factor by its very nature. Such a position, however, is not supported by scientific research as conducted by experts in psychology and behavioural studies. In fact, research has shown that the vast majority of sex offenders who victimize children are actually heterosexual men who most often victimize their own family members.

As a heterosexual man, therefore, I am statistically much more of a threat to sexually abuse a minor. Is that because my heterosexual orientation causes, predisposes and compels me to sexually abuse children? Is it a risk factor by its very nature? I somehow think that most people would recognize the absurdity of that proposition and reject it outright. So why don’t we recognize it as being equally absurd when we make such a claim about a person with a homosexual orientation? Could it be that we view heterosexual orientation as normal and homosexual orientation as abnormal? That would indicate that the homosexual orientation is a mental disorder. Again that is simply not supported by science.

We want to see humility, action, but I'm not expecting anything like that from the bishops

National Catholic Reporter

January 22, 2019

By Fr. Peter Daly


That is what I am expecting from the bishops in Rome in February.


Maybe that seems a bit pessimistic, but I think it is realistic. I've been disappointed at their lack of courage and leadership before. So, this time, it is best to expect nothing.

I was disappointed in 2003 when the U.S. bishops drafted the Dallas Charter which rightly held priests accountable for sexual abuse of minors but did nothing about the accountability of the bishops. They thought only Rome could hold them accountable.

I was disappointed in their implementation of the Dallas Charter when some bishops refused to turn over their files to the investigators and when many lay members of the advisory board felt compelled to resign because of bishops' non-cooperation.

I was disappointed last November when the regular meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, which was supposed to be dedicated to the sexual abuse crisis, did absolutely nothing, at the request of the Vatican. I agreed with those who said they should at least have passed some recommendations.

Related: Vatican appears likely to empower archbishops on abuse claims against bishops
I was disappointed this month when Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, didn't deal with the scandal in his retreat. Instead he dismissed the talk of abolishing celibacy. He said celibacy is "eschatologically more advanced in that it approximates the definitive state toward which we are all journeying." What? How in the world would anyone know such a thing? The eschaton and the next life remain an absolute mystery to us. All we know is that we shall be changed. Who knows, there probably will be no such thing as sexes in the next life. (Jesus says there will be no marriage or people being given in marriage.) But that is the sort of airy nonsense that has landed us in this mess. Maybe in the next world there will be no sex and sexuality, but in this world, now, we have to deal with human life as it is lived in this world, in this nature, in this flesh. Airy nonsense.

The Gay Church

New York Magazine

January 22, 2019

By Andrew Sullivan

We have no reliable figures on just how many priests in the Catholic Church are gay. The Vatican has conducted many studies on its own clergy but never on this subject. In the United States, however, where there are 37,000 priests, no independent study has found fewer than 15 percent to be gay, and some have found as many as 60 percent. The consensus in my own research over the past few months converged on around 30 to 40 percent among parish priests and considerably more than that — as many as 60 percent or higher — among religious orders like the Franciscans or the Jesuits.

This fact hangs in the air as a giant, unsustainable paradox. A church that, since 2005, bans priests with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” and officially teaches that gay men are “objectively disordered” and inherently disposed toward “intrinsic moral evil” is actually composed, in ways very few other institutions are, of gay men.

The massive cognitive dissonance this requires is becoming harder to sustain. The collapse of the closet in public and private life in the past three decades has made the disproportionate homosexuality of the Catholic priesthood much less easy to hide, ignore, or deny. This cultural and moral shift has not only changed the consciousness of most American Catholics (67 percent of whom support civil marriage for gay couples) and gay priests (many of whom are close to quitting) but also broken the silence that long shrouded the subject.

Five years ago, Pope Francis made his watershed “Who am I to judge?” remark after being asked about a flawed gay priest. “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” Francis went on. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.” In the final draft of the 2014 Synod on the Family, Francis included explicit mention of the “gifts and qualities” of homosexuals, asking, “Are we capable of welcoming [them]?” These sentiments won 62 percent of the votes of the synod bishops — just shy of what was necessary to pass, but still evidence of a sharp shift in tone in official Catholic teaching.

Pope Francis' critics at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit are vocal online

National Catholic Reporter

January 22, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

Pope Francis is confusing, is weak on enforcing doctrine, and sows discord among believers, according to a cadre of faculty at Sacred Heart Major Seminary here who regularly express their consternation online and in other public forums.

Behind the iron gates of Sacred Heart Seminary, noted for its imposing Gothic architecture, there is a loyal opposition to Pope Francis, with a number of professors questioning the pontiff's approach to doctrinal and moral issues. They say he is too lax on a roster of issues, including LGBT people in the church, capital punishment, and Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Sacred Heart students include 120 seminarians studying for 10 dioceses and an eparchy from the Midwest, as well as four religious orders, and 365 lay students, most of whom are studying for teaching and lay ministry positions in the Detroit Archdiocese.

Some Sacred Heart professors have suggested that the pope should resign. One noted on social media that Francis' most prominent clerical critic, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, should be pope, a post that was quickly edited with an added "(jk)," meaning "just kidding."

Another professor, Edward Peters, argued in an online post Sept. 5, 2018, that if Viganò's accusations are true that the pope knew about sexual harassment and abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Francis should resign.

Peters, a professor of canon law, has argued on his contentious blog that Francis has been pastorally reckless and wrongheaded in his approach. The most outspoken of the pope's social media critics from Sacred Heart, Peters also argues that the pope overstepped his authority with a blanket condemnation of the death penalty last August.

January 21, 2019

Hartford Archdiocese has paid $50 million to sex abuse victims, will identify dozens of ‘credibly’ accused priests Tuesday

Hartford Courant

January 22, 2019

By Dave Altimari

The Archdiocese of Hartford is scheduled to reveal Tuesday that it has paid $50.6 million to settle more than 140 priest sexual abuse claims made mostly by minors, including 20 credible allegations against one priest, according to information shared Monday with area clergy.

The archdiocese also will announce that it is hiring former state Judge Antonio Robaina to do an independent review of church records from 1953, when the archdiocese was formed, until now. Church officials, including Archbishop Leonard Blair, met with priests at the St. Thomas Seminary to share details of the report.

There will be 47 priests named who have either had civil lawsuits filed against them or have been the subject of claims that archdiocese officials deemed credible. Included are six priests from other dioceses who allegedly abused a child while assigned to Hartford and six priests from other religious orders.

Diocese spokeswoman Maria Zone declined to comment on what would be revealed Tuesday.

Priests who gathered Monday were informed that slightly more than half of the $50.6 million was paid by the church’s insurance carrier and that the rest came from the general fund. Of the 142 claims that were settled, about 84 percent involved allegations against nine priests.

One priest had 20 credible abuse claims against him that were settled for $10.7 million.

Lawyer for ex-Maryville priest calls sex-abuse allegations ‘ridiculous’


January 21, 2019

By Mitch Dudek

The attorney representing a Catholic priest who is accused of sexual abuse during his time as head of a facility in Des Plaines that cared for troubled kids called the allegations “ridiculous.”

Attorney Frank DiFranco said Rev. John Smyth “adamantly denies” the allegations that he molested two boys in his office while head of Maryville Academy.

“It never happened. It’s a lie. The stuff that was alleged is nonsense,” he told the Sun-Times on Monday.

“You’ve got this man who’s never been accused of anything … and then you’ve got two convicted felons who concoct a story in prison of how they were abused,” DiFranco said. “It’s ridiculous, especially when you consider the thousands and thousands of kids who went through Maryville.”

Jeanine Stevens — the attorney representing the two accusers, who are both in their 30s and but were ages 13 and 14 when they were allegedly abused — said it’s common for traumatic events to take years to bubble to the surface.

“People spend their lives burying this kind of thing. People don’t concoct these stories. They feel humiliation and shame,” she said.

These are the must-do’s in the Catholic Church’s reformation

Washington Post

January 21, 2019

Regarding the Jan. 17 Metro article “Wuerl apologizes for false statements”:

It has been important to know the facts concerning the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal and Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s involvement in former c ardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct scandal. I trust there will be just as thorough reporting of the Catholic Church’s reform of sexual abuse and abuse-of-authority standards as the global church hierarchy meets at its synod. Church leaders realize they have “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide,” in the words of the Martha and the Vandellas song.

Catholic 'town meeting' in Bennington next Monday

Bennington Banner

January 21, 2019

By Mark Rondeau

Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church will be the site on Monday, Jan. 28, of one of six Catholic "town meetings" to be held around Vermont this month.

The meetings will feature Diocese of Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne. This is part of an overall effort to improve communications within the diocese, which encompasses all of Vermont.

The church is located at 238 Main St. The meeting will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Catholics and anyone else interested may attend.

"I think it's wonderful to have the bishop coming down here to have a town hall meeting and talk to the parishioners," said the Rev. Bob Wiseman, C.S.C., pastor of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales and St. John the Baptist Church in North Bennington. "We're three hours from the headquarters, but the fact he's committing to an hour and a half with the parish, asking questions and answering questions, I think that's very positive."

Coyne announced the town meetings in a Jan. 2 letter to the diocese.

"When I returned from the U.S. bishop's meeting in November, I felt it was important to establish better two-way communication with people in the pews," Coyne wrote. "Because of my schedule, it took a while to plan these meetings in easily accessible locations around the state, but now I am ready to listen and respond to concerns and questions from the Catholic community. I think it so important to be as open and transparent about all matters as much as possible."

Statement Concerning Rev. John F. Meyers

Malvern Retreat House

January 14, 2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write to share troubling news regarding our former Rector, Father John F. Meyers, who served at Malvern Retreat House/St. Joseph in the Hills (MRH) from June 2017 until October 2018, when he resigned his position. The information below and news release was provided to us by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In late 2018, the Archdiocese placed Father Meyers on administrative leave and restricted his priestly faculties following receipt of an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s. It was the first allegation of this kind lodged against Father Meyers. The allegation was referred to law enforcement and the Archdiocese cooperated with authorities in the course of their work. No criminal charges were filed.

The required canonical investigation of Father Meyers was launched after law enforcement declined to press charges. The Archdiocesan Office of Investigations undertook that canonical process. The results of the canonical investigation were provided to the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibilities Review Board. This board recently recommended to the Archbishop that Father Meyers was unsuitable for ministry based on a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Archbishop Chaput accepted that recommendation and determined that Father Meyers is unsuitable for ministry. His case will now be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in keeping with procedure for the formal canonical process.

We felt it was important that we inform our Board, staff, and retreatants of this matter and the determination made by the Archbishop regarding Father Meyers’ suitability for ministry.

US bishops gather in Mundelein as clergy sex abuse outrage grows


January 2, 2019

By Jessica D'Onofrio and Mark Rivera

As high-ranking members of the Catholic Church met Wednesday in north suburban Mundelein, clergy sexual abuse survivors gathered in front of the Archdiocese of Chicago to call criticize the handling of abuse allegations.

"The church has a history of minimizing and denying the unbelievable pain and horror of being sexually abused by a priest," said clergy sex abuse survivor Patricia Gallagher Marchant.

Survivors and activists from End Clergy Abuse and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a letter to Pope Francis calling for Cardinal Blase Cupich's removal from his prominent role organizing a worldwide papal summit on clergy sex abuse next month, and they are demanding action.

An 89-year-old man was killed and a woman critically injired in a fire in a five-story apartment building Wednesday morning in the Dunning neighborhood.

"How are survivors going to trust this process if he's in charge of it," asked Peter Isely, US Spokesperson for End Clergy Abuse. "They can't. How can the public an Catholics trust this process around the world? They can't."

US clergy abuse survivors demand inclusion in Vatican reforms

Channel News Asia

January 3, 2019

Patricia Gallagher Marchant was first abused by a priest who befriended her family when she was seven or eight years old.

More than five decades later, the 61-year-old stood Wednesday (Jan 2) in front of a throng of news cameras outside the downtown Chicago headquarters of the Catholic archdiocese in this sprawling American city, and demanded the church listen to survivors.

"They've counted on our silence," Marchant said. "The horror of what happened to each of us needs to be out and spoken."

Marchant was joined by leaders of two survivors' advocacy groups who sent an open letter to Pope Francis asking to be a part of a historic gathering that the Catholic leader called for in February at the Vatican, to discuss the ongoing crisis roiling the church.

At issue was the very credibility of the pope's conference, they claimed, and whether survivors would have faith in its outcome.

Attorney representing alleged clergy sex abuse victims says he has received 13 settlement offers

WIVB TV News 4

Dec 19, 2018

An attorney representing more than a dozen alleged clergy sex abuse victims released a list of settlement offers from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese's compensation program.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian says he has received a total of 13 offers, ranging from $10,000 to $340,000.

The list goes into detail, stating which priests from which churches were allegedly involved, the date of the alleged abuse and the ages of the alleged victims.

The earliest date is 1959 and the latest is 1988.

Garabedian did not disclose the specific money amount each alleged victim was offered in the settlement.

Disgraced rabbi convicted of sexual assault to be de-ordained

Israel National News

January 20, 2019

By Arutz Sheva

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel began the process of revoking the title of rabbi from Moti Elon following the new allegations against him.

Elon was convicted [https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170666] of performing an indecent act with a minor while taking advantage of being in a position of authority in 2013. He was given a sentence of jail time and fined NIS 10,000.

According to the report of Akiva Weiss in Kan 11, the legal adviser of the rabbinate sent a letter to Rabbi Elon in which the legal adviser wrote that he has three weeks to present his position before the meeting of the disciplinary committee of the Chief Rabbinate.

Many of those who supported Elon in 2013 changed their positions in light of the most recent allegations against him. Rabbi Chaim Druckman, one of the leading religious Zionist rabbis in Israel, called on Elon to cease teaching and avoid all contact with students.

Last week [https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/257541], Rabbi Drickman wrote: "As soon as I received the information, and after conferring with other rabbis, I delivered an order that Rabbi Elon should not be allowed to deliver lectures or host any other public activities for the greater public, and that he should not have any private meetings with youth."

"Obviously, following our obligation to fulfill the commandment, “V’haya machanecha kadosh, and your camps shall be holy,” we must take every necessary action in order to create a safe, protective and respectful environment for everyone."

Mundelein report details heavy security, no arrests during Catholic bishop retreat

Pioneer Press

January 21, 2019

By Rick Kambic

The weeklong retreat that brought hundreds of U.S.-based Roman Catholic bishops to Mundelein Seminary earlier this month was flagged by the FBI as an event worthy of resources despite a government shutdown, according to a recent report from police.

Approximately 280 cardinals and bishops, plus more than 100 assistants and two representatives from the Vatican were at the seminary between Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther said during a Jan. 14 Village Board meeting.

A campus-wide phone outage was the only issue of note, as Guenther said no arrests were made and no threats or acts of vandalism were investigated.

“It was very well run, very smooth, the archdiocese couldn’t have been nicer or more complimentary of how we handled it,” Guenther said during his report.

The FBI issued a level five special event assessment rating for the retreat, according to Guenther.

“It is the lowest level that can be given, but (the event) rose to the point of the (federal) government saying this is a legitimized event that needs to be managed and overseen,” Guenther said.

Pope Francis called for the Mundelein retreat in October after a grand jury report in August documented bishops and other church leaders in Pennsylvania covering up the sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests and other clergy over roughly seven decades.

Then in December, a report from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said accusations have been leveled against 690 Illinois priests, while Catholic officials have publicly identified only 185 clergy with credible allegations against them.

Although the report says that “clergy sexual abuse of minors in Illinois is significantly more extensive than the Illinois dioceses previously reported,” it does not estimate how many of the allegations, some of which are decades-old, should have been deemed credible.

Faded Memories

Faded Memories blog

January 19, 2019

By Dan Carlson

When I was in Air Force technical school many years ago, one of my instructors kept a toy tractor on his desk. As we in the class learned quickly, the tractor was a useful motivational tool … when a student gave a wrong answer in class, the instructor would pass him the tractor telling him to use it to pull his head out of his … well … someplace where it should not have been.

Watching the continuing comedy of errors in Catholic Church leadership, I have a feeling that my instructor’s tractor could be useful. The most recent candidate for this piece of machinery would have to be Cardinal Donald Wuerl who, last week, remembered that he had forgotten about an accusation he had forwarded to Rome in 2004, concerning sexual misconduct by disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Yes, you read that correctly … he remembered that he had forgotten.

It is important to note that this hollow explanation follows upon Wuerl’s repeated obfuscation regarding what he knew about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct, when he became aware of it, and what he did about it. Meanwhile, McCarrick, who has been ordered to a life of seclusion, prayer and penance at a friary in Kansas, awaits disposition of his case in the Vatican justice system.

In the late 1970s, comedian Steve Martin explained how using the words “I forgot” can get us out of trouble. Martin went on to explain that it is possible to become wealthy simply by not paying taxes, and when the IRS comes calling all we have to do is say: “I forgot that I am supposed to pay taxes.” The same thing goes for a charge of armed robbery … according to Martin, all we have to tell the judge is: “I forgot armed robbery is illegal.”


First Things

January 21, 2019

by Dan Hitchens

The story of offshore finance is a familiar one. Individuals or companies want to avoid taxes, fines, lawsuits, or investigations, so they move their wealth to the Cook Islands, or register some part of their business in Switzerland. The millionaire can still live and spend in America, the business can sell Brazilian beef to China, but their cash takes a few detours through tax havens. As the author Nicholas Shaxson puts it, “You take your money elsewhere, to another country, in order to escape the rules and laws of the society in which you operate.”

One aspect of Shaxson’s 2011 book Treasure Islands is especially disturbing, not least for Catholics at the present moment. Shaxson has a skill for finding offshore’s outsiders and telling their stories. They describe a world that, quietly but forcefully, defends wrongdoers. An unnamed “former hedge fund administrator” in the Cayman Islands found that, when he raised concerns about crooked accounting, he began to be shut out of important conversations. It’s typical of the system, he says. No threats are made explicitly, no anger is shown; but those who don’t fit in will be excluded—or given huge amounts of work, or subtly reminded that “If you speak in one place, the network works in a way that you will never get work again.” The ex-banker Beth Krall tells Shaxson that not only do the bank chiefs all know each other, they also know the police and the regulators. A lawyer in Jersey, who spoke up about the corruption he saw at first hand, says bluntly: “I have all the qualifications, and I couldn’t get a job in a law firm to make tea now."

Accused priest remains active at Vatican's doctrinal congregation

National Catholic Reporter

January 21, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

A Catholic priest serving as an official of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation has remained in his role after being publicly accused of soliciting a woman for sex in the confessional.

Although the claim against Fr. Hermann Geissler was brought forward two months ago, he was listed by the Vatican Jan. 18 as taking part in an international meeting of Asian bishops' conference officials in Bangkok, as head of the doctrinal section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Asked about the case against Geissler, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told NCR Jan. 21 that the priest is "under examination by the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who reserve the right to take the appropriate initiatives."

Doris Wagner, a German, recalled being approached by Geissler during confession in 2009 at a Nov. 27 Rome event focused on giving voice to women survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

While Wagner did not name Geissler at the event, she said the incident had occurred with someone who is "now a capo ufficio (section leader) in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

The Society of St. Peter Damian


January 21, 2019

By Jim Hummel

Transparency and openness in the Diocese of Lafayette is being questioned by a group of devout Catholics who have formed an anonymous group called The Society of St. Peter Damian (SSPD). Now, one of their members is coming forward.

“St. Peter Damian, our patron, was very outspoken, he was a priest and very outspoken,” said Quinn Hebert, a member of the SSPD. “We don’t see that among clergy, because it is really not our place to be doing this, and yet we’ve been forced to, because those whose place it is refuse to act.”

Hebert is a former seminarian in the diocese, who says he and others were compelled to do something because of the church’s response to the clergy sex abuse crisis locally and worldwide.

“It’s for the good of the church,” he said. “We love the church, we absolutely adore the church, we love the hierarchy, we have no intention of usurping the authority of the bishop, that’s not our goal. We want to assist the bishop, encourage him to do the right thing.”

In their posts on social media, the SSPD has called into question the effectiveness of the church’s Safe Environment Program and called for transparency in the clergy sex abuse crisis.

17 Years Later, The Impact Of Clergy Sex Abuse On Boston's Catholic Community

WBUR Radio

January 21, 2019

The top Catholic bishops from around the world will gather at the Vatican for a historic summit next month. The topic will be sex abuse by the clergy. Here & Now's Lisa Mullins looks at the impact of the revelations on the once thriving Catholic community in Boston.

This segment airs on January 21, 2019. Audio will be available after the broadcast.

Víctimas de abusos en la Iglesia piden al Gobierno una comisión de investigación y que actúe la Fiscalía

[Clergy abuse victims ask Spain's Government for an investigative commission and action by prosecutor's office]

El País

January 21, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

La primera organización nacional de afectados en España denuncia el desinterés de los políticos y recoge 500.000 firmas para que el delito no prescriba hasta los 65 años

Las víctimas de abusos del clero en España empiezan a movilizarse. Hasta ahora, estas personas denunciaban sus casos de forma aislada en la prensa y habían surgido varias asociaciones, pero de forma local. "No conseguíamos hacer oír nuestra voz, por primera vez vamos a denunciar juntos y así nadie nos podrá parar", ha explicado hoy en rueda de prensa Miguel Hurtado, que ha revelado en EL PAÍS su denuncia de abusos en el monasterio de Montserrat en 1999. Junto a otras víctimas ha fundado la Asociación Nacional de Infancias Robadas (ANIR), cuyo objetivo no es prestar asistencia, por falta de recursos, sino movilizar a la sociedad sobre esta cuestión. Está asociada a un colectivo internacional de organizaciones de varios países, ACA, Fin del Abuso Clerical, en sus siglas en inglés.

Opinión: A un año de la visita del Papa a Chile

[Opinion: One year after the Pope's visit to Chile]

La Tercera

January 21, 2019

La semana pasada se cumplió un año de la visita del Papa al país, la que despertaba grandes expectativas luego de lo vivido tres décadas antes con Juan Pablo II. Sin embargo, el complejo escenario que enfrentaba la Iglesia en Chile por acusaciones hacia religiosos por abusos sexuales y de poder -entre ellos algunas figuras emblemáticas- durante los últimos años, como asimismo de encubrimiento por parte de autoridades del clero, determinaron una menor participación del público en las actividades con el Pontífice. Una situación que adquirió una connotación aún más delicada con la polémica defensa que Francisco hizo del obispo Juan Barros al término de su viaje.

Benito Baranda recalca que sintió “una mezcla de rabia, indignación y dolor” tras acusación contra Renato Poblete

[Benito Baranda stresses that he felt "a mixture of anger, indignation and pain" after accusation against Renato Poblete]

La Tercera

January 21, 2019

By Rosario Gallardo

En línea con lo que dijo en entrevista con La Tercera este fin de semana, el exdirector del Hogar de Cristo no ocultó su decepción por la dura imputación que afecta al fallecido sacerdote jesuita.

El exdirector del Hogar de Cristo y presidente ejecutivo de América Solidaria, Benito Baranda, reiteró que al enterarse de la acusación mientras viajaba a Chile desde Haití, lo que pasó por su mente fue una “mezcla de rabia, indignación y dolor fuerte. Inmediatamente pensé en las personas que les tocó experimentar estos abusos, por ese tormento“, en declaraciones concedidas a la radio Imagina.

Milwaukee DA John Chisholm calls for a statewide review of Catholic Church abuse files

Journal Sentinel

January 21, 2019

By Annysa Johnson

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is calling for a statewide investigation of the Catholic Church's response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors, similar to the Pennsylvania probe that sparked a wave of inquiries across the country.

Chisholm said he would like to work with district attorneys around the state and newly elected Attorney General Josh Kaul to review all abuse allegations over the last 50 years. He said he would hope the state's bishops would voluntarily open their files.

If not, he said, he would be open to other mechanisms, such as a John Doe or grand jury proceeding.

Chisholm said he also would consider asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to share with authorities the names of more than 100 alleged offenders under seal as part of the now-closed Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy.

"I strongly believe that we should have access to all of the dioceses' complaints for the last 50 years, similar to a process we started in Milwaukee County in the early 2000s," Chisholm said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

He acknowledged "criminal prosecutions in most cases would be highly unlikely" because victims or perpetrators may have died or the statute of limitations has run out.

"I still think there's a value in looking at this systematically and assessing what happened, just to make sure it is transparent and there's an honest accounting of it," he said.

Repeated efforts by the Journal Sentinel to reach Kaul to gauge his interest in a statewide probe have not been successful, but a comment from his staff over the weekend suggests he may be considering such a move.

Kaul's office told the Wisconsin State Journal on Saturday that it would not comment on a request by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests for him to open a statewide investigation, “given this relates to a potential investigation.”

Abuse survivor and founding SNAP member Peter Isely called the developments "promising" and heartening for victim-survivors who have been calling on state and federal authorities to launch such a probe for years.

A wake-up call against sexual abuse

National Catholic Reporter

January 21, 2019

By Mary Lilly Driciru

Sexual abuse is a widely discussed topic today. It has cut across families (often in the form of domestic violence), spreads even to religious institutions, and is often used as a weapon in conflict situations. Many have experienced this humiliating trauma, and felt its stigma. We are overwhelmed and concerned about it as if it were a cancer! Few could be aware of its magnitude unless they are close to its reality.

In the Great Lakes Region of Africa, consecrated women and men who have been exposed to the realities of sexual abuse were urged to address its horror through a wakeup call at two formation workshops about "Compassionate Response to Victims of Sexual Abuse in Conflict Situations," held in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kampala, Uganda, in 2017 and 2018 respectively. They were dynamic workshops that drove concepts home with group discussions, presentations, role plays and the like.

I was invited to attend the workshop in Kampala as the Association of Religious in Uganda (ARU) Justice and Peace Executive Committee Secretary, and a member of the hosting team. We felt this was important to chart our way forward to enhance our justice, peace and integrity of creation activities.

The workshops were held in partnership with the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission (JPIC) of the Union of International Superior Generals (UISG) in Rome, at the request of the British government, represented by the United Kingdom Embassy of the Holy See.

The first workshop was organized and hosted in 2017 in Goma, where sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war. As woman activist Lina Zedriga Waru says, "the body of woman is the battle field for the perpetrators."

Women religious shatter the silence about clergy sexual abuse of sisters

National Catholic Reporter

January 21, 2019

By Gail DeGeorge

Galvanized by the #MeToo movement and the sex abuse crisis commanding the attention of the Vatican, women religious are now openly discussing a subject that was once taboo — sexual harassment, abuse and rape of sisters by clergy — in congregational motherhouses and national conference offices.

Slowly, an era is ending in which Catholic women religious were silent victims of sexual abuse by priests and bishops. Consider these developments in the past year:

In Chile, the Vatican is investigating complaints by members of a congregation of sexual abuse by priests and mistreatment by their superiors.

In India, Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar faces charges for raping a former superior of a congregation multiple times. He is the first bishop in India to be arrested for sexual abuse of a nun. He has denied the charges. More than 80 sisters were among 167 signers of a letter in July asking that he be relieved of his pastoral duties. Five sisters of the congregation and other supporters engaged in a highly unusual public demonstration supporting the former superior and protesting initial inaction by church and state authorities.

Zmirak: U.S. Gov’t Should Cut Off Federal Funds to Catholic Charities After Sex Abuse Scandal

Breitbart News

January 20. 2019

John Zmirak, senior editor at The Stream, called for the federal government to end contractual relationships with Catholic Church-affiliated nonprofits in response to revelations of senior Catholic officials’ involvement in sexual abuse and related cover-ups.

He offered his remarks in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour.

Mansour began, “We now have absolute proof that former Washington, DC Cardinal Donald Wuerl totally lied about not knowing that his predecessor, Cardinal McCarrick, was a total sexual predator. We now know for a fact that Cardinal Wuerl lied his behind off, and it’s just appalling and disgusting. He knew exactly what was going on.”

What’s known, and unknown, about pope’s abuse summit in February


January 21, 2019

By Inés San Martín and Christopher WhiteJ

When presidents and other representatives of the world’s nearly 130 bishops’ conferences gather in Rome next month for a summit on clerical sex abuse, many experts are predicting it will be the most-covered Vatican event since the last papal election in 2013.

Whether the gathering lives up to that hype, however, remains to be seen.

The Vatican has sought to downplay expectations for the February 21-24 event, with newly minted editorial director of the Vatican’s dicastery for Communications and veteran journalist Andrea Tornielli labeling the media hype of it as “excessive.” Yet the fact remains that after nearly a year of ongoing sex abuse scandals that have shaken the Church to its core, survivors and rank-and-file Catholics alike are increasingly impatient for results.

As the countdown begins, here’s Crux’s look at what is known - and what remains unknown.

A Catholic University Is Hosting an Art Show That Confronts the Church’s Sex Abuse Scandal

LA Magazine

January 17, 2019

By Catherine Womack

Church was a refuge for Trina McKillen when she was young. Growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during “the Troubles” of the 1960s and ’70s, her neighborhood was a hotspot for political violence. When bomb scares threatened her elementary school, McKillen and her classmates were led into a nearby church for safety.

“That had an unbelievable effect on me,” the artist says. “I felt like, well, they might bomb the school, but they’ll never bomb the church. So I had this sense that the church could never be destroyed, that I was always safe there. I have so many beautiful memories of sitting in church. I remember feeling this sense of transcendence, an escape from the war in our streets outside.”

McKillen eventually left Northern Ireland for Dublin, Ireland, where she attended art school. She then moved to Los Angeles, where McKillen’s made her home since 1989. She doesn’t attend Mass much anymore, and she and her Jewish husband did not raise their son Catholic, but she still prays daily.

“You can’t take the Catholic out of me,” she says.

Montreal priest convicted of sex crimes stands trial for new set of allegations

CBC News

January 21, 2019

Brian Boucher, a Roman Catholic priest who has worked at 10 churches in Montreal over the last two decades, is set to stand trial today for sex-related offences against two minors.

The trial, before judge alone, is expected to get underway Monday at the Montreal courthouse.

Boucher was found guilty earlier this month of sexually harassing and assaulting a former altar boy more than a decade ago. The sentencing hearing in that case has been set for March 25.

One of the alleged victims in the case now before the court testified as a "similar fact witness" at Boucher's first trial.

Boucher was ordained in Montreal in 1996 and served at English-language parishes throughout the greater Montreal region. He also worked as a chaplain at McGill University and at Lakeshore Hospital in Montreal's West Island.

Although Boucher is still a priest, the Montreal archdiocese removed him from all ministry functions, including saying mass in public or hearing confessions, as soon as he was arraigned.

The archdiocese issued a statement immediately after the Jan. 8 guilty verdict in the first court case, saying it "arouses a gamut of feelings among both parishioners in the pew and Church leadership, including bishops and priests: feelings of shame, revulsion and anger as well as confusion, sadness and compassion."

January 20, 2019

Supporters of Catholic priest John P. Smyth accused of sex abuse speak out


January 20, 2019

By Michelle Gallardo

Two days after prominent Catholic priest John P. Smyth was removed amid allegations of sexual abuse, many of his parishioners and former students expressed support for the retired priest.

Smyth has not commented on the allegations, but he is no longer living at the rectory of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where he was prior to his removal.

Cardinal Blase Cupich disclosed the news about Smyth, who is accused of sexually abusing a minor sometime between 2002 and 2003, when the now 84-year-old was at the head of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. The allegations are still under investigation.

"He dedicated his life to take care of kids that were neglected and abused. Fifty years. He's had thousands, not hundreds, but thousands of kids that he has taken care of," said Art Contreras, a Maryville Academy alumnus.

On Sunday, the group of supporters delivered a letter to the church. They say they are upset with the handling of the case because it should have remained a private affair.

"It's so hurtful and how the Archdiocese is handling this. Whatever happened to you're innocent until proven guilty? They're doing the opposite and that's why we totally disagree with what's going on," said John Maher, Maryville Academy alumnus.

However, others disagree.

Larry Antonsen, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said he believes it's not enough to just release the names of the accused. He said the American Catholic Church continues to violate the policies they put in place in 2002, the same year Father Smyth is alleged to have committed his crimes.

Pope Francis Knew Pedophile Priest Took Nude Selfies

Daily Beast

January 20, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

Pope Francis was apparently told in 2015 and again in 2017 that an Argentine priest he once called his “spiritual son” and elevated to bishop before he became pope had taken naked selfies, exhibited obscene behavior including public masturbation, and had harassed seminarians, according to an exclusive report by the Associated Press.

In early January the Vatican confirmed that it had just learned that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who resides in Vatican City with complete immunity, faces credible criminal allegations in Argentina for sexually abusing seminarians in the remote Argentine diocese of Oran.

But Juan Jose Manzano, the former vicar where Zanchetta allegedly carried out the sexual harassment that included sending nude photos of himself in various stages of arousal, told the Associated Press that he first reported Zanchetta’s lewd behavior to the papal nuncio or ambassador to the Holy See, who then delivered the complaints to the Vatican in 2015, two years after Francis was elected.

The Vatican spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about the AP report on Sunday. The pope has summoned Catholic leaders to Rome from Feb. 21-24 for a crisis summit to address the systematic global clerical abuse scandal. Revelations like these that imply that the pope himself may have been involved in the cover-up of errant priests will do nothing to set the stage for much-needed change.

Manzano claims he even sent nudie photos of the priest to Rome as proof to back up the complaint. Manzano told the AP that Francis then actually summoned Zanchetta to Rome to discuss the matter, in direct contradiction with the Vatican press office, which claims the news of sexual impropriety on the part of Zanchetta only came to light in late 2018.

Bill Nemitz: Dangerous times at Cheverus High

Press Herald

January 20, 2019

By Bill Nemitz

At first glance, it was yet another list, released last week by yet another Roman Catholic institution, detailing yet another travesty involving sexual abuse of minors.

But overlay the timelines of the seven Jesuit priests, all admitted or credibly accused predators, who passed through Cheverus High School in Portland over the course of nearly a half century and something startling emerges:

The years 1978 and 1979 were a particularly dangerous time for a vulnerable teenage boy to attend Cheverus. During those years, no fewer than five predatory men worked simultaneously at the school– four so-called “men of God” and one layman coach.

Think about that. Five adults, all prone to sexually exploiting their power and authority in a school where hierarchal discipline ruled the day. All free to roam the teeming hallways, the packed classrooms and, yes, the lonely locker room with an eye out for those who might make an easy mark.

At the same time, we can only wonder: How many more victims, now in their 50s, are still out there, their lives forever damaged, their trauma still raw, their stories shared with no one?

And how much are Cheverus and its alumni community really doing to reach back and help them?

“I’m sure you’re right,” Mark Smith, who graduated from Cheverus in 1972 and went on to teach biology there for 41 years, said in a telephone interview Friday. “I’m sure there have to be some others out there.”

I’m a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Here’s what N.J. should do to protect victims


January 20, 2019

By Mark Crawford

For more than 20 years the local chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has called on the five New Jersey Catholic bishops to release the names, assignment histories and what church officials knew about all known credibly accused clergy who molested children. Years of silence was their only response.

Last summer we learned that New Jersey’s Archbishop Theodore McCarrick had not only sexually abused seminarians and fellow priests under his authority, he abused children as well. The abuse of the subordinate seminarians and clergy was a fact well known to church bishops and officials as he was promoted on up the ladder, becoming one of the most influential cardinals of the Catholic Church.

Last August, the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed allegations that more than 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children in six of the eight Catholic dioceses in that state. The report revealed in horrific detail the systemic abuse of children and church officials’ efforts to cover up such crimes to protect the institution as they abandoned the concerns of the abused.

Sin dar declaraciones llega enviado papal a Puerto Montt

[Papal envoy arrives in Puerto Montt without comment]


January 20, 2019

By Yessenia Márquez and Diego Barría

Durante horas de esta tarde de este sábado llegó a Puerto Montt el sacerdote mexicano Jorge Carlos Patrón. El visitador apostólico fue enviado por el papa Francisco para investigar la arquidiócesis de la zona.

Victims of jailed abuser who remains a priest feel betrayed by Church

The Sunday Post

January 20, 2019

By Marion Scott & Janet Boyle

A Catholic churchman jailed last year for abusing boys as young as five has yet to be stripped of his priesthood.

Father Paul Moore was jailed for nine years last April after he was found guilty of abusing three young boys and indecently assaulting a trainee priest.

But the Bishop of Galloway has revealed that the process of laicisation – removing a priest from the church – has not been completed.

Bishop William Nolan said the process had been held up by Moore refusing to admit his guilt.

One of his victims said he felt “betrayed all over again” by the Church.

Moore was twice sent for “treatment” after confessing to his bishop he had a “desire to abuse minors.”

Letter to the editor: Church has dealt with its sex assault problem

Press Herald

January 20, 2019

The narrative that there is an ongoing widespread and unaddressed rape culture in the Catholic Church in the United States is false. This is not today’s Catholic Church.

In 2002, Catholic bishops passed the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in the wake of revelations by The Boston Globe about sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests.

‘Impossible contradiction’ besets Erie-area priest case

Erie Times

January 20, 2019

By Ed Palattella and Madeleine O’Neill

Parishioners, others reveal shock, dismay in letters of support for Rev. David Poulson, sentenced to up to 14 years in state prison.

Faith was at the center of the Rev. David L. Poulson’s sentencing hearing for sexually abusing two boys while in ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The judge told Poulson he “weaponized” the boys’ faith and abused his authority as a priest when he molested them.

Poulson, 65, said at his sentencing earlier in January that he prays for the victims every day and offers penance for his actions.

It was Poulson’s expressions of faith and reverence over his 39-year career as a cleric that made the crimes so shocking in the traditional Catholic communities he served in northwestern Pennsylvania.

A series of character letters submitted by the defense at the sentencing highlight Poulson’s double life — and the difficult questions the faithful must confront when a spiritual leader is revealed as a predator.

A prison sentence was the final step in Poulson’s fall from grace. He received two and a half to 14 years in state prison from Jefferson County Judge John H. Foradora at the sentencing on Jan. 11.

The defense filed the 19 character letters, sent by Poulson’s friends and former parishioners, with a sentencing memorandum that asked Foradora to issue a much shorter sentence. The Erie Times-News received a copy of the sentencing memorandum, which was filed publicly at the Jefferson County Courthouse, last week.

“We have been crushed by what has come to light since February,” wrote one former parishioner, who said Poulson baptized his children.


Associated Press

January 20, 2019

By Almudena Caltrava, Natacha Pisarenko and Nicole Winfield

The Vatican received information in 2015 and 2017 that an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis had taken naked selfies, exhibited "obscene" behavior and had been accused of misconduct with seminarians, his former vicar general told The Associated Press, undermining Vatican claims that allegations of sexual abuse were only made a few months ago.

Francis accepted Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta's resignation in August 2017, after priests in the remote northern Argentine diocese of Oran complained about his authoritarian rule and a former vicar, seminary rector and another prelate provided reports to the Vatican alleging abuses of power, inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment of adult seminarians, said the former vicar, the Rev. Juan Jose Manzano.

The scandal over Zanchetta, 54, is the latest to implicate Francis as he and the Catholic hierarchy as a whole face an unprecedented crisis of confidence over their mishandling of cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. Francis has summoned church leaders to a summit next month to chart the course forward for the universal church, but his own actions in individual cases are increasingly in the spotlight.

The pope's decision to allow Zanchetta to resign quietly, and then promote him to the No. 2 position in one of the Vatican's most sensitive offices, has raised questions again about whether Francis turned a blind eye to misconduct of his allies and dismissed allegations against them as ideological attacks.

Manzano, Oran's vicar general under Zanchetta who is now a parish priest, said he was one of the diocesan officials who raised the alarm about his boss in 2015 and sent the digital selfies to the Vatican.


Associated Press

January 20, 2019

By Almudena Caltrava, Natacha Pisarenko and Nicole Winfield

The Vatican received information in 2015 and 2017 that an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis had taken naked selfies, exhibited "obscene" behavior and had been accused of misconduct with seminarians, his former vicar general told The Associated Press, undermining Vatican claims that allegations of sexual abuse were only made a few months ago.

Francis accepted Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta's resignation in August 2017, after priests in the remote northern Argentine diocese of Oran complained about his authoritarian rule and a former vicar, seminary rector and another prelate provided reports to the Vatican alleging abuses of power, inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment of adult seminarians, said the former vicar, the Rev. Juan Jose Manzano.

The scandal over Zanchetta, 54, is the latest to implicate Francis as he and the Catholic hierarchy as a whole face an unprecedented crisis of confidence over their mishandling of cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. Francis has summoned church leaders to a summit next month to chart the course forward for the universal church, but his own actions in individual cases are increasingly in the spotlight.

The pope's decision to allow Zanchetta to resign quietly, and then promote him to the No. 2 position in one of the Vatican's most sensitive offices, has raised questions again about whether Francis turned a blind eye to misconduct of his allies and dismissed allegations against them as ideological attacks.

Manzano, Oran's vicar general under Zanchetta who is now a parish priest, said he was one of the diocesan officials who raised the alarm about his boss in 2015 and sent the digital selfies to the Vatican.

Benito Baranda, ex director del Hogar de Cristo: “Siento rabia, tristeza, dolor… La imagen de Renato Poblete va a quedar más afectada cuando hable la víctima”

[Benito Baranda, former director of Hogar de Cristo: "I feel anger, sadness, pain ... The image of Renato Poblete will be more affected when the victim speaks"]

La Tercera

January 20, 2019

By Carla Pía Ruiz Pereira

El exdirector del Hogar de Cristo dice que lo sorprendió la denuncia por abuso sexual en contra de Renato Poblete, y a un año de la visita del Papa Francisco a Chile, quien también fue el coordinador de Estado para ese viaje, señala que “hubo mucha desilusión”.

“En lo primero que pensé fue en la víctima, en la persona que fue abusada. Y en el sufrimiento que vive hasta hoy”. Benito Baranda acaba de llegar a Chile desde Haití, por una visita de América Solidaria. Baranda, antes de aterrizar en Chile, hizo una escala en Miami. Allí, ya conectado a internet, antes de embarcar, antes de apagar su celular, se enteró.

Mácula en el ‘Vaticano catalán’

[Stain on the 'Catalan Vatican']

El País

January 20, 2019

By Francesc Valls

Ver el monasterio a merced de los vientos de la pederastia que azotan a la Iglesia es una mácula difícil de sobrellevar para los monjes

Es muy difícil mantener el secreto en una comunidad monástica integrada por unas decenas de personas. Sin embargo, durante años apenas ha trascendido nada de lo que sucedía intramuros en Montserrat. Mano de hierro. Cualquier información crítica era negada; los sospechosos de haberla facilitado,castigados con el destierro; y los medios de comunicación vehículo de tal denuncia, tachados de enemigos de la Iglesia y de la patria, no en vano Montserrat mantuvo la llama de la catalanidad durante la larga noche franquista y supo ser de puertas afuera suficientemente montiniana. Por eso cobra importancia el testimonio de Miguel Hurtado, que sufrió abusos cuando tenía 16 años por parte del monje Andreu Soler, responsable durante 40 años del grupo scout de Montserrat.

INVESTIGATION: Sacked Scots priest Father Joseph Dunne denies abuse allegations as he’s tracked down in Ireland

The Sunday Post

January 20, 2019

By Marion Scott & Janet Boyle

A Catholic priest who disappeared after being accused of abuse in Scotland and California has been tracked down in rural Ireland.

Father Joseph Dunne was found living with his sister in a bungalow just outside the village of Geashill, in County Offaly.

Asked about the allegations against him, the 77-year-old denied any wrong-doing, saying: “I’ve done nothing wrong. My conscience is clear.”

Last week we told how Dunne was sacked from his Glasgow parish in 1988 by the late Cardinal Thomas Winning, after complaints about inappropriate behaviour towards young girls.

But the police and other Catholic churches were not told and Dunne found a new church in Los Angeles before being accused again.

Ex-Carlsbad Priest Sentenced to Jail for Groping Seminary Student


January 18, 2019

A former associate pastor at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Carlsbad was sentenced Friday to 60 days in jail and three years probation after being found guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery last month.

Rev. Juan Garcia Castillo will also be required to register as a sex offender, the District Attorney's office said. He was convicted Dec. 17 of groping a seminary student in a Carlsbad restaurant on Feb. 4, 2018.

An attorney and former U.S. Naval officer who was studying to become a priest accused Castillo of grabbing his genitals after a night of drinking in a Carlsbad restaurant and bar.

Surveillance video showing the three men drinking in the restaurant was submitted as evidence.

Locals Unite for 3rd Annual Women's March in San Diego
The victim said all the drinking eventually made him sick so he went to the bathroom where he vomited.

"All of the sudden I feel him behind me," the man, who did not want to be identified, said. He testified that Castillo began touching him around his thighs and waist as he stood over a toilet.

"All of the sudden the hand very quickly goes directly to my crotch and grabs my [genitals]," he said.

January 19, 2019

A weekend to forget: A Mount Carmel altar boy's story of clergy abuse

The Berkshire Eagle

January 19, 2019

By Larry Parnass

It was dusk when the car reached the hotel. A priest got out and went in to register and get a room key.

Another priest waited in the car. He wasn't alone. With him were two boys in their early teens who sported 1970s moptops. After a long drive from their homes in Pittsfield, they had no idea where they were.

Forty-six years later, one of them can close his eyes and put himself in those uncertain moments. In that car. In that hotel room. In that bed.

"The movie that I play in my head is what happened that night, with infinite detail," said Michael Carpino, who was 13 at the time. He's now 59 and lives in Colorado. "It doesn't leave you. It's a sentence for life."

On Feb. 10, the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, bishop of the Springfield diocese, will come to Pittsfield to hear concerns about the Catholic Church's handling of clergy abuse, amid renewed and growing attention to the problem worldwide.

The bishop will settle into a seat blocks from the former Mount Carmel Church, where Carpino served as an altar boy for the Rev. Richard J. Ahern, a priest who spent six years in Pittsfield and was named as an abuser by multiple victims around New England.

Carpino won't be around to tell his story to the bishop. He moved to Colorado soon after graduating from the University of Massachusetts in the 1980s and has worked there in the high-tech field.

But he detailed his abuse in phone interviews with The Eagle this past week, nearly three years after he first posted on social media about his abuse.

Los dos últimos abades de Montserrat encubrieron los abusos de un monje denunciado en 1999

[Last two abbots of Montserrat covered up the abuses of monk accused in 1999]

El País

January 19, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

Un menor acusó a Andreu Soler, director de los 'boys scout' del monasterio durante 40 años, y recibió una compensación de 7.200 euros. La única medida fue apartar al fraile un año más tarde

Los dos últimos abades del monasterio de Montserrat, Sebastià Bardolet y el actual, Josep Maria Soler, conocieron desde 1999 la denuncia de abusos de un menor contra un monje, Andreu Soler, y no tomaron ninguna medida. Solo en 2000 el acusado fue trasladado a otro centro de la orden, El Miracle, en Lleida, pero la abadía reconoce, a través de su portavoz, Bernat Juliol, que no lo denunció a la policía, ni abrió ningún procedimiento canónico, según las reglas de la Iglesia, ni lo notificó al Vaticano. Ello a pesar de que la Santa Sede obligó desde 2001 a comunicar a Roma las denuncias de abusos. Tampoco se informó de los motivos del traslado al resto de los frailes. Este monje, fallecido en 2008, era una personalidad muy conocida en Cataluña, pues fue el fundador en 1959 del grupo scout católico de Montserrat, los Escoltes de Servei, o Els Nois de Servei, y su director durante 40 años. Tampoco se explicó a las familias y miembros de la organización los motivos de su marcha. La víctima, Miguel Hurtado, que sufrió los abusos cuando tenía 16 años y el fraile contaba con 65, ha revelado por primera vez su historia a EL PAÍS. También aparecerá en el documental Examen de conciencia, de Albert Solé, que Netflix estrenará el próximo viernes. El monasterio de Montserrat, a raíz de las preguntas de este periódico y un medio catalán, ha decidido divulgar una nota reconociendo los hechos esta tarde.

Abuse victim launches case against pope and ‘criminal’ Catholic church

Dutch News

January 19, 2019

A 74-year-old Dutchman has made a formal complaint against the pope and the Catholic church for the sexual abuse he suffered as a boy in a seminary in Helmond, describing the institution as a criminal organisation.

Theo Bruyns has received financial compensation from the church because of the abuse but says he still believes justice has not been done.

‘If you want to start something against this church, you have to make sure it is branded a criminal organisation,’ Bruyns told RTL Nieuws.

In his formal police complaint, Bruyns alleges that the pope and other church leaders are members of a criminal organisation which aims to ‘make it difficult to hinder or trace sexual abuse, as well as the rape of minors’. ‘

Con agenda desconocida llegará este sábado a Puerto Montt el enviado apostólico del papa Francisco

[Pope Francis' apostolic envoy will arrive Saturday in Puerto Montt but his agenda is unknown]


January 19, 2019

By Emilio Lara and Diego Barría

Con agenda desconocida llegará este sábado a Puerto Montt el enviado apostólico del papa Francisco, el sacerdote mexicano Jorge Carlos Patrón. Lo anterior debido a que la Iglesia Católica todavía no entrega detalles ni ha dado cuenta de las reuniones que sostendrá, tampoco con quienes se reunirá Patrón.

'Please forgive me': A prominent priest's grovelling response to a teenage sex complaint

Manchester Evening News

January 19, 2019

By Damon Wilkinson

A prominent Salford priest has pleaded for forgiveness from a woman who he had 'sexual activity' with when she was a teenager.

Father Peter Conniffe, formerly priest at Our Lady of Dolours in Salford, apologises to the woman in a letter seen by the M.E.N.

He was investigated by police after the woman - who met him after going to confession as a schoolgirl - made a complaint of historic sexual abuse.

The case was not pursued to criminal action, and Fr Conniffe denies 'any accusation of sexual assault'.

However, the woman has been compensated by the religious order he belongs to, the Servite Order.

Following an investigation by the Roman Catholic church, the priest has stepped down from duties at Our Lady's and from his role as chair of governors at St Philip's RC Primary School.

Felipe Berríos por acusación contra sacerdote jesuita Renato Poblete: "Estoy tremendamente impactado"

[Felipe Berríos on accusation against Jesuit priest Renato Poblete: "I am tremendously impacted"]


January 17, 2019

By F. Fernández

El también religioso aseguró que es el momento de "tomar en serio la denuncia y dar la garantía que se va a hacer una investigación seria y abierta".

"Tremendamente impactado", aseguró estar el sacerdote Felipe Berríos respecto a la información que este jueves dio a conocer la Compañía de Jesús, sobre una denuncia por "delitos y situaciones abusivas" en contra del ex capellán del Hogar de Cristo, Renato Poblete. "Estoy muy golpeado. Este fue un segundo golpe fuerte, el primero fue con Cristián Precht. Le tengo mucho cariño a Renato, le tenía mucho cariño a él. Era una persona que me apoyaba mucho. Nunca viví con él, no compartí tampoco el trabajo, pero sí era una persona que me llamaba para explicarme o apoyarme", aseguró el jesuita a CNN Chile.

Madison Diocese considering investigation that will lead to naming clergy members accused of sexual abuse of children

Green Bay Press Gazette

January 19, 2019

By Rob Schultz

The Madison Diocese is considering an investigation to learn how many substantiated sexual abuse allegations there have been against clergy after the Green Bay Diocese announced Thursday that more than 40 clergy members had abused minors.

Madison Diocese staff members were taking steps toward launching an investigation and had begun interviewing consultants for a potential review of files but the unexpected death of Bishop Robert Morlino from a cardiac event in November put those plans on hold, spokesman Brent King said Friday.

"In recent months, and even in the days immediately preceding (Morlino's) death, we have had numerous conversations weighing our options in this very regard," Diocese spokesman Brent King said. "The abuse scandal is something Bishop Morlino took very seriously."

The Madison Diocese was notified by the Green Bay Diocese ahead of its public announcement Thursday that 46 of its clergy members had substantiated allegations they sexually abused a minor, according to King. The Green Bay Diocese posted the names of the clergy on its website Thursday.

Papa respaldó a obispos de la Iglesia chilena y provocó descontento en las víctimas de abuso

[Pope supported bishops of the Chilean Church and provoked discontent among abuse victims]

The Clinic

January 15, 2019

En el encuentro no se tocó el tema respecto al envío del informe de Scicluna y aún es esperado por la Justicia chilena, para poder regularizar de forma concreta los casos de abusos, y según Ramos, tampoco se tocó el tema de una posible aceptación de la renuncia de Ezzati.

El Pontífice respaldó a los obispos chilenos que aún están ejerciendo cargos, luego de su reunión en el Vaticano con el Comité Permanente de la Conferencia Episcopal chilena, y las víctimas de abusos tildaron de arrogantes a los jerarcas de la Iglesia por defender la caducidad de sus renuncias.


The Economist

January 16, 2019


Out of the shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation - a 40-country benchmarking index examines how countries are responding to the threat of sexual violence against children.

It explores the environment in which the issue occurs and is addressed; the degree to which a country’s legal framework provide protections for children from sexual violence; whether government commitment and capacity is being deployed to equip institutions and personnel to respond appropriately; and the engagement of industry, civil society and media in efforts to tackle the problem.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Proves Once Again the Church Will Never Reform Itself


January 18, 2019

By Marci Hamilton

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the Child Victims Act, for which we have been fighting for 15 years, will pass this year with his full support. With both houses controlled by Democrats, the leadership of Sen. Brad Hoylman, now Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, he is surely correct. The barrier to passage until now has been Republican lawmakers kneeling to the Catholic bishops and in particular New York City Archdiocese’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The latter is not going down, though he is decidedly going down on this issue, without a final whining tour about justice for child sex abuse victims.

Dolan’s latest volley was an op-ed in the New York Daily News that is filled with misstatements and ugly implications. He tries two “Hail Mary” passes. First, he says that the governor’s bill will not treat public schools the same as private institutions. This is simply not true, but even if it were, there is no question the intent is to put private and public entities on the same footing and any additional language Dolan wants to further nail home this point can be easily added. The Democratic leadership in New York is 100% on board in wanting to protect children from sex abuse in every arena. Therefore, at least from Dolan’s rhetoric, he should be on board with the CVA. Not so fast.

Anti-Catholic bigotry is alive in the U.S. Senate

Washington Post

January 18, 2019

By Michael Gerson

Those who want to understand how Democrats manage to scare the hell out of vast sections of the country need look no further than the story of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and the Knights of Columbus.

In considering the confirmation of Brian Buescher to a federal judgeship last month, Harris and Hirono submitted written questions that raised alarms about his membership in “an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men.” “Were you aware,” Harris asked, “that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” And: “Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights?” And: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?”

Chicago priest removed from ministry during review of abuse allegations

National Catholic Reporter

January 18, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

A prominent and popular Chicago priest, who for more than three decades headed a five-campus child services organization, has been removed from ministry while the Chicago Archdiocese reviews allegations of sexual abuse of minors against him.

Allegations against Fr. John P. Smyth have been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Cook County State's Attorney, according to a Jan. 18 statement from the archdiocese.

Smyth, who is now retired, was superintendent of Maryville Academy from 1970 to 2003, after serving as assistant superintendent for eight years before that. The allegations date to his time at Maryville's suburban Des Plaines campus, in 2002-2003, the archdiocese's statement said.

Maryville was originally founded as an orphanage in 1883 and still includes some residential programs. It also provides emergency shelter, substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

Known for his fundraising prowess, Smyth often mentioned his years as an All-American basketball player at the University of Notre Dame, in his pitches. He raised millions over his tenure at Maryville, according to a profile from Notre Dame's athletic department.

But the suicide of a 14-year-old girl and reports of physical and sexual assaults perpetrated by residents on other residents prompted the State of Illinois to call Maryville unsafe and remove the children under its care in the early 2000s, according to the archdiocesan newspaper, The New World. Smyth was ousted, and Maryville eventually reopened under new leadership.

Breda O’Brien: The Benedict Option – or how to save Christianity

Irish Times

January 18, 2019

By Breda O'Brien

Lots of Christians wonder how it will be possible to raise their children in the faith in a wider culture that often actively undermines their values. Rod Dreher, who is speaking in Dublin this coming Monday at the Newman Centre for Faith and Reason, believes he has an answer, one which he calls the Benedict Option. He is an American writer, editor and prolific blogger – his blog averages more than 1.3 million page views per month.

He is a hard man to pigeonhole. He writes for the American Conservative and thinks that Trump has been a disaster for America. He started life as a Methodist, became an agnostic and then converted to Catholicism.

Covering the abuse scandals in the American church alienated him from the Catholic Church to the extent that he felt he had to resign his membership. He eventually became an Orthodox Christian, not a very common religious journey, even for an American.

He first came to public attention with his 2006 book Crunchy Cons, which articulates a mix of social conservatism and environmentalism. It also has a healthy dose of scepticism about market capitalism, seeing it as a driver for socially corrosive cultural change.

Papal preacher's good news for US bishops raises doubt about reform

National Catholic Reporter

January 18, 2019

by Ken Briggs

Pope Francis' personal preacher had good news for American bishops on retreat in preparation for the upcoming papal summit on church sex offenses: Despite the church being "overwhelmed" by the clergy sex abuse scandals, "and rightly so," he declared that they had emerged into a "golden age" in comparison to past times when bishops placed territorial needs over pastoral care.

That success was largely due to the refining fires of the crisis itself, said Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, who spoke 11 times to the retreat at Mundelein Seminary earlier this month. At the beginning of his talks, Cantalamessa suggested it was "time for taking a break" from that preoccupation, in order to ponder "root issues" which were "both different and deeper than the issues that usually come to mind."

The ones that usually pop to mind include the continuing scourge of accusations, sanctions against hierarchical cover-up and, perhaps the toughest, a searching critique of clericalism. Cantalamessa promptly declared himself unqualified from talking about those main elements of the uproar still convulsing American Catholics. But it seems he did. Tom Roberts adroitly shows in his NCR review that all 11 messages, Cantalamessa took indirect aim, choosing to reassure bishops that nothing needed urgent repair or re-examination.

He felt their pain. The scandal had damaged their standing, reducing the bishopric from an "honor" to a "burden." He likened their suffering to that of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, innocent victims of the world's sins. His listeners could take comfort that their burden was inflicted by outsiders and that taking on those sins, however agonizing, served the cause of redemption.

Smyth, one-time Maryville leader, accused of child sex abuse

Daily Herald

January 18, 2019

By Christopher Placek and Steve Zalusky

The Rev. John P. Smyth, a well-known Chicago-area priest and one-time leader of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, faces allegations of sexual abuse of minors, Archdiocese of Chicago officials said Friday.

The allegations, which pertain to the 2002-2003 span during the end of Smyth's tenure at the academy, were received by the archdiocese's Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review, according to a statement from the archdiocese.

Jeanine Stevens, the attorney who represents the two men making the allegations, said one was 13 and the other was 14 when they were molested.

One of the boys came forward shortly after the molestation occurred, Stevens said.

"Nobody believed him and nobody did anything about it," she said.

Both boys had been placed at Maryville's Scott Nolan Center by a judge, she said.

"They were permanently harmed," she said. "Both of these men came from unstable households. This significantly compounded issues they already had to deal with."

Vatican summit to help nations lagging on abuse policies, moderator says

Catholic News Service

January 17, 2019

Only about half of the national bishops' conferences in the world have adopted complete, Vatican-approved guidelines for handling accusations of clerical sexual abuse and promoting child protection, said the Jesuit named to moderate the Vatican's February summit on abuse.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said about one-quarter of the bishops' conferences have received feedback on their proposed guidelines from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and are working on the final versions. That leaves 25 percent of conferences "behind for various reasons, among which are different cultural contexts and a scarcity of available competence."

The doctrinal congregation in 2011 had asked every bishops' conference in the world to develop guidelines for handling accusations of abuse and to submit them for approval by mid-2012.

Writing for the Jan. 19 edition of La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal reviewed by the Vatican before publication, Father Lombardi said the February meeting would be an important occasion for bishops to share best practices and to assist conferences that, because of a lack of funds or expertise, have not launched protection and prevention programs.

Pope Francis appointed Father Lombardi to serve as moderator of the general sessions of the meeting Feb. 21-24 of the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches and representatives of the leadership groups of men's and women's religious orders to address the abuse crisis.

Retired Priest, Former Superintendent Of Maryville Academy Accused Of Sexual Abuse

CBS 2 News

January 18, 2019

Father John Smyth has been accused of sexually abusing minors from 2002 to 2003 while he was superintendent at Maryville Academy.

Advocates call for priest abuse list to also include names of those who helped with cover-ups


January 18, 2019

By Kevin Foster

In January of 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge is expected to join more than 70 dioceses and Catholic religious organizations across the country, which have released the names of priests who face credible accusations of sexual abuse involving children, including both the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana. However, noticeably nonexistent lists would contain the names of leaders in the clergy who participated in “covering up” those allegations.

The first list shows a horrifying number of predatory priests operated within the clergy. The second would potentially show direct actions willfully taken by leaders within the Catholic Church contributed to systemic and systematic sexual abuse of juveniles and vulnerable adults within the church.

According to one advocacy organization, it’s important for accountability to find out who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information.

“[Lists] should include every single proven, admitted, or accused church employee: bishops, priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns, and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them and no matter where they originated," the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement.

Make it safe for abuse, assault survivors to speak out

Daily News Miner

January 19, 2019

By Helen Renfrew

When it comes to fighting Alaska’s epidemic of child abuse and sexual assault, silence isn’t the answer. Webs of secrets trap survivors and protect perpetrators. Let me be clear: Survivors get to decide when, how and to whom they tell their stories. They went through an experience where they were unable to control what happened to their bodies, but they should be in complete control over how their story is told. As a society we are responsible for creating an environment where it is safe for survivors’ stories to be told, one that doesn’t blame them for what someone else did to them.

We need to believe them.

National and local media reported on numerous perpetrators over the last year: Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar, Catholic Jesuit priests throughout Alaska and Peter Wilson, who has been accused in Kotzebue to name a few. All of these cases have silence, sometimes decades of silence, in common. Victims feel embarrassed, ashamed and guilty; if they don’t talk about it, they can try to pretend it didn’t happen. Quite often the surrounding community knows what’s going on, but it’s an uncomfortable topic, and no one wants to be the first to mention it. Silence allows offenders to continue assaulting and abusing victims.

A family member raped me when I was 10. He raped a close relative 20 years later. He was arrested five years after that. I was not his first victim. The family knew — after all, most of them had been abused by their father, my grandfather. Keeping silent was a family tradition. How many dozens of children did my uncle victimize over those 25 years? How much damage did he cause? To this day, there are still members of my family who use coercion and guilt to try to keep the secrets hidden.

Weekend sermons will focus on abusive Catholic priests list

Door Co. Daily News

January 18, 2019

By Terry Kovarik

This Sunday Catholics in Door and Kewaunee counties and throughout the Diocese of Green Bay will hear more about the list naming priests involved with sexual abuse of children.

They'll also learn what's being done to help assault victims and their families.

The list of 46 former priests, some living and others dead, was released Thursday. Diocese Communication Director Justine Lodl says the diocese has sent out information to help pastors and church staff reach out to their parishioners.

January 18, 2019

Metro advocacy organization calls for name change of Catholic center, names accused priests

Fox 4 TV

January 18, 2019

By Sherae Honeycutt

A group bringing awareness to victims of priest abuse is asking for a local organization to change its name. It's a well-known center serving the poor, named in honor of a former bishop, but critics say that bishop was in charge during a time of priest sexual abuse.

"Whenever we hear another name coming out, or another hiding of someone, that just sends another dagger into our heart," said abuse survivor Tom Viviano.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, is calling for the Bishop Sullivan Centers to change its name. There are three locations in the metro area. Two in KCMO and one in KCK.

"They do excellent work," said SNAP advocate David Biersmith. "Bishop Sullivan Center is a food pantry, and basically, and that neighborhood needs it."

SNAP Letter to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 18, 2019

We are writing to you as survivors of clergy sexual assault in Wisconsin. Our organization of survivors and the survivors associated with us encompass three generations of victims. Recent developments over the past year in the clergy sexual abuse and cover up crisis has once again engulfed the Catholic church, not only in the United States but around the world. Next month, Pope Francis is convening, for the first time in the history of the church, a global gathering of bishops to address this crisis.

The horror of clerical sexual violence and the failure of the hierarchy to adequately respond to or, worse, actively assist in the continuation of these crimes, is voluminously documented. In the United States, as you probably know, a devastating Grand Jury Report released last summer in Pennsylvania revealed and confirmed the widespread, systematic and institutional complicity in this violence. Since then, fifteen states and the U.S. Department of Justice are now actively investigating sexual abuse and the institutional response by bishops and religious order provincials.

We believe it is long overdue that the State of Wisconsin launch such an investigation, particularly since Wisconsin, unlike many of these other states, already has a large body of evidence of these crimes and cover ups. Of particular concern in Wisconsin is the evidence that has been amassed through a five-year bankruptcy action with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Although concluded, the court record shows that at least 100 never-before identified alleged clerical offenders, who were reported by victims to the court, have not been investigated or named by church officials.

Priest is first charged by state task force launched to investigate clergy sex abuse

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

January 17, 2019

By Ted Sherman

In the first criminal case filed by a state task force set up to investigate allegations of clergy abuse, a well-known Phillipsburg priest has been arrested on sexual assault charges involving a teenager in Middlesex County more than two decades ago.

The Rev. Thomas P. Ganley was a priest at Saint Cecelia Church in the Iselin section of Woodbridge when the alleged assaults occurred, from 1990 through 1994, state prosecutors said in announcing the arrest late Thursday. He is currently assigned to Saint Philip & Saint James Church in Phillipsburg.

Ganley was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree, according to state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. He is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick pending a detention hearing on Friday.

Woodbridge Priest Charged With Sexually Assaulting Teen In '90s

The Patch

January 17, 2019

By Carly Baldwin

Father Thomas Ganley was a priest at Saint Cecelia Church in Iselin. He is charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl from 1990-1994.

A priest who worked for years at a well-known Catholic parish in Iselin was arrested Thursday, Jan. 17 and charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl in the 1990s.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, who now lives in Phillipsburg, N.J., was arrested today at his home and charged with multiple criminal counts; the Middlesex County prosecutor says the sexual assault happened when the girl was between the ages of 14 and 17.

Ganley was a priest at Saint Cecelia Church in the Iselin section of Woodbridge when the alleged criminal acts occurred from 1990 through 1994. He is currently assigned to Saint Philip & Saint James Church in Phillipsburg.

Former Catholic priest in Woodbridge charged with sexual assault of a child

Bridgewater Courier

January 17, 2019

By Susan Loyer

A priest who served at St. Cecelia Church in the Iselin section has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual assault of a child between the ages of 14 and 17 in the 1990s, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced Thursday.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and two counts of second-degree sexual assault.


New Jersey 101.5

January 17, 2019

By Erin Vogt

A Catholic priest who lives in Warren County has been arrested and charged with multiple criminal counts in the sexual assault of a teen girl over several years at his former church in Woodbridge.

Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and two counts of second-degree sexual assault.

Ganley was a priest at St. Cecelia Church in the Iselin section when the criminal acts occurred from 1990 through 1994, prosecutors said.

Catholic Priests Keep Saying They Forgot About Sex Abuse

Vice News

January 16, 2019

The Catholic Church might have trouble remembering, but rank-and-file Catholics don't.

The only difficulty one might reasonably claim when it comes to remembering sex abuse by priests in America is the sheer amount there is to recollect. Close your eyes, and go back no further than 2018, perhaps the most spectacularly disastrous year—and certainly summer—for the Church in recent history. In June, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick became the highest-ranking clergyman ever removed from the Catholic ministry in the US over child sex abuse allegations.

A month later, McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, DC, and confidant to Pope Francis, resigned from the College of Cardinals, the 224-person body that, among its other holy duties, votes on the next pope.

According to a bombshell article in the New York Times that highlighted McCarrick's decades of alleged sexual abuse against both minors and seminarians, he declined to comment but said in a previous statement that he had no recollection of the abuse and believed in his own innocence. (Such statements have become a trope for powerful people accused of sexual violence in the era of #MeToo.)

Meanwhile, in August, a Pennsylvania grand jury reported that at least 300 priests had abused 1,000-plus children in a 70-year span in just some of that state's dioceses. The months since have seen the Church scrambling to address allegation after allegation of abuse, cover-up, and despair.

Yet somehow, even as the Vatican has shown the occasional sign of finally taking this nightmare seriously, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick's successor as the archbishop of Washington, has decided to play the bad memory card, too.

The Catholic Church needs to do more than apologize over residential schools

The Star

January 17, 2019

By Tanya Talaga

Evelyn Korkmaz is not waiting to see if she’ll receive an official invitation from the Vatican to attend the historic Papal Summit on sexual abuse.

While Pope Francis and the world’s Catholic bishops meet inside Vatican City walls from Feb. 21 to 24, Korkmaz, a survivor of the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School, will join other global survivors in Rome as they hold an alternate “Ending Clergy Abuse” event.

Now 61, Korkmaz spent the most horrific years of her life as a student at St. Anne’s, which was run by Oblate Catholic nuns. Children who attended the school, which opened in 1906, were routinely abused, beaten and malnourished. Students lived in fear of the homemade electric chair used to punish them.

Korkmaz was sexually assaulted at the school, which was one of 139 Indian Residential Schools in Canada that existed from the mid-1800s to 1996. Nearly 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken away from their families, homes and communities and placed in government-funded, church-run schools meant to erase their identities and to assimilate them into colonized, Christian Canada.

Pope Francis has refused to apologize for Canada’s residential school experience, even though many of the schools were Catholic. Last year, he acknowledged the abuse suffered at the hands of the clergy in Chile but still Indigenous people in Canada wait. “What have the Aboriginal people done that we don’t have the same respect as those in the other countries?” Korkmaz asks.

Defending the church from Cuomo

New York Daily News

January 17, 2019

I watched Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address, and it unfortunately confirmed what many had warned me but I was unwilling to believe.

For years, I’ve disagreed with those who have observed that certain politicians are using the proposed Child Victims Act, which would extend statutes of limitation for child sex abuse, as a cudgel to attack the Catholic Church. I tried to reason that while there are sadly some who want to single out the church and weaken its ministry, most of our responsible elected officials, Cuomo included, realize the issue of abuse is hardly just a “Catholic problem.”

The governor has proven me wrong. “I am fully aware of the position of the Catholic Church and the opposition of the Catholic Church,” he said, before talking about how he had been an altar boy and how child sex abuse is an offense so dire it demands justice.

I took this as an attack on New York’s Catholic family — singling us out as opponents of legislation that others object to for many reasons.

Bill to Extend Limitations on Child Sex Abuse Claims Is Set to Pass in NY, But Timeline Is Unclear

New York Law Journal

January 18, 2019

By Dan M. Clark

With major reforms already underway in the new session of the New York Legislature, and with both houses now controlled by the Democrats, it’s still unclear when a long-sought-after bill to change the statutes of limitations in cases of child sex abuse will be considered by lawmakers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state lawmakers and advocates for the bill all agree on one thing: the legislation will pass at some point during this year’s legislative session. The question, for now, is when.

This year’s executive budget proposal, presented Tuesday by Cuomo, includes a nearly identical version of the bill pushed by state lawmakers last year.

It would raise the criminal and civil statutes of limitations in cases of child sex abuse to ages 28 and 50, respectively. It would also enact a one-year lookback window for victims over the age of 50 to bring civil claims against their alleged abusers. That window would start after the bill becomes law.

“The Child Victims Act has been too long denied,” Cuomo said. “If you believe in justice for all, then you believe in passing the Child Victims Act.”

A spokesman for Cuomo said if a bill makes it to his desk outside the state budget, which is due at the end of March, he will sign it.

Dolan raps Cuomo for singling out Church over child sexual abuse


January 18, 2019

In a Friday essay for the New York Daily News, Cardinal Timothy Dolan argued that Governor Andrew Cuomo, himself a Catholic, unfairly attacked the Church in his Jan. 15 “State of the State” speech with rhetoric regarding proposals to extend civil statutes of limitation for child sex abuse.

In his speech, Cuomo backed the “Child Victims Act,” which, among other things, would open up a one-time-only, one-year window for victims to file civil claims regardless of when the abuse happened. In its most recent form, the measure would also extend or eliminate the statute of limitations for future criminal cases involving a child under the age of 18, and it would extend the general time limit for victims to sue in civil court to the time they turn 50.

Since the bill was proposed, New York’s Catholic Conference has objected on the grounds that it covers only private institutions such as the Church and not public institutions such as taxpayer-financed schools, orphanages and social service providers.

Judge who guided Pennsylvania grand jury investigations into abuse by priests knew impact ‘would be huge’

Tribune Democrat

January 18, 2019

By Jocelyn Brumbaugh

Judge Norman Krumenacker recalls Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro asking him what kind of attention the statewide investigation into allegations of abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church would bring.

“I told him to get a new tie and suit because he was going to be on '60 Minutes,’” Krumenacker said.

Cambria County's president judge directed the grand jury investigations into priest abuse that led to reports targeting the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese in 2016, and then six more dioceses across the state in 2018.

The two reports combined found sexual abuse by 350 priests or other church officials and involved more than 1,300 children – with accounts dating back decades – and extensive efforts by church officials to cover up the abuse.

Krumenacker said that during a 2014 investigation into reported sexual abuse by a former athletic trainer at a Catholic high school in Johnstown, he began to understand the magnitude of a looming grand jury investigation for the church institution and its members.

"I realized the gravity of what was going to happen," Krumenacker said during an interview in his chambers at the Cambria courthouse.

In his role as supervising judge of the 37th statewide investigative grand jury, Krumenacker first was tasked with deciding whether attorney-client privilege would be jeopardized if files were turned over to the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.

That meant reading through “tens of thousands” of documents from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown concerning Bishop McCort Catholic High School and Brother Stephen Baker, a Franciscan friar from the Third Order Regular accused of violating more than 100 children.

The Cambria County District Attorney's Office referred the Baker case to the state attorney general in early 2014, after Baker died of a reported self-inflicted knife wound to the heart.

Lincoln priest accused of giving alcohol to teen in 2017

Lincoln Journal Star

January 18, 2019

By Peter Salter

The Lincoln priest removed last year from St. Peter’s Catholic Church was charged last week with giving alcohol to a minor -- in July 2017.

Charles Townsend is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 23 on the misdemeanor charge.

The 57-year-old was placed on administrative leave in August, a year after Bishop James Conley learned the priest had an “inappropriate, nonsexual relationship” with a 19-year-old altar server that involved alcohol.

At the time, the bishop sent Townsend to Texas for treatment, though priests and parishioners were told he left for health reasons, and the teen’s parents weren’t told about the incident, according to a statement from Conley on the diocese website.

Townsend returned and served St. Peter’s until Conley removed him, asked the server’s parents for forgiveness and alerted the Lincoln Police Department.

Witnesses ultimately told officers Townsend provided alcohol to the 19-year-old at a Lincoln home in July 2017, and the priest had to drive the intoxicated teen home, according to a statement Friday from Officer Angela Sands. Townsend was cited Jan. 9.



January 18, 2019

The Tri-City area learned last week that seven former priests who served in Morgan City or Amelia had been the targets of sexual misconduct allegations. More revelations may be ahead for priests who served on the west side of the Atchafalaya River.

Friday’s release of names, all of former priests who have faced criminal or civil action or are targets of charges deemed credible, came from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, which extends as far west as Morgan City. St. Mary Parish west of the Atchafalaya is part of the Diocese of Lafayette, which has yet to release a complete list of priests accused or convicted of sexual misconduct.

But the diocese is committed to releasing a list, according to the frequently asked questions posted on its website.

“After prayer and discussion, Bishop (Douglas) Deshotel, along with bishops of other dioceses in Louisiana, have decided that the positive reasons outweigh the negative ones, and so he has committed to releasing a list of priests and deacons removed from ministry because of sexual abuse of a minor.

“The compilation of the list will seek to be done in a way that is as complete and as accurate as possible. …”

A search of media accounts, court records, victim advocacy websites and other sources led to the names of four clergymen accused of sexual misconduct and who served in Lafayette Diocese assignments in St. Mary as far back as the 1950s and as recently as 1998. None of the publicly released allegations involve crimes believed to have been committed in St. Mary.

Former Superintendent of Maryville Academy Faces Sexual Abuse Allegations

NBC Channel 5

January 18, 2019

A retired Chicago priest has been asked to step aside from the ministry after allegations of sexual abuse were levied against him.

Father John P. Smyth, who was the superintendent of the Maryville Academy in suburban Desplaines for over 30 years, was accused of sexual abuse while he was in charge of that facility. The accusations date back to 2002 and 2003, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Father Smyth will be asked to reside away from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe grounds while the allegations are investigated.

In accordance with policy, the Archdiocese reported the allegations to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney.

Maryville Academy is described as an institution that provides “therapeutic and educational services to students with emotional, behavioural, and learning disabilities” on the group’s website.

Bishop Sullivan Center should be renamed, priest victims’ advocacy groups says

Kansas City Star

January 18, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

A victims’ advocacy group on Friday called on the Bishop Sullivan Center to change its name, saying it honors a bishop who oversaw the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese during a period when most priest sex abuse cases occurred.

“Honoring wrongdoers makes already-suffering abuse victims suffer more, and that makes them less apt to speak up in the future, thus endangering more kids,” said David Clohessy, former director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“It also makes witnesses and whistleblowers more apt to stay silent. ‘Why stick my neck out,’ they ask themselves, ‘when even those who are clearly guilty are still held out as model clerics by the church hierarchy?’”

The Bishop Sullivan Center indicated Friday that it had no plans to take any action.

“We are not aware of any misconduct by Bishop Sullivan,” said director Tom Turner in an email to The Star. “On the contrary, we knew him as a man committed to helping people in poverty, which was why the center was named after him. Many people we help are victims of abuse, so we are sympathetic to that pain.”

Bishop John J. Sullivan was head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph from 1977 to 1993. He died in 2001 at 80.

In an email to The Star, the diocese said that the Bishop Sullivan Center “is an independent charity in Kansas City which serves the poor.”

Accused of Abuse, Schools Rush to Reassure

New York Times

January 16, 2019

By Rick Rojas

Hours after the Jesuits this week released the names of dozens of priests who faced accusations of sexual abuse, schools in the Northeast rushed to dispel any notion that they still employed suspected abusers.

Stricter policies are in place, school officials said, and the understanding of sexual misconduct had evolved. Fordham Prep in the Bronx noted that accused priests were no longer living in a nursing home nearby.

Most of the 50 men who were identified on Tuesday by the Society of Jesus, as the Jesuit order is known, are dead. Many of the rest have not worked in Jesuit-run schools for years or had been pulled from public ministry.

Still, one was teaching at the prestigious Masters School just north of New York City, prompting officials there to initiate an investigation and force him to resign. The private prep school has no religious affiliation.

Michigan priest legal defense group ousts two officials amid AG deal

Detroit News

January 18, 2019

By Beth LeBlanc

The president and treasurer of a Michigan group that provides legal and moral support for accused priests across the globe are out following state concerns about the oversight of the tax-exempt nonprofit.

Former Attorney General Bill Schuette reached a settlement with Opus Bono Sacerdotii in December, five months after he filed a July cease-and-desist order against the Lapeer County group for alleged violations of Michigan’s nonprofit and charitable solicitation laws.

Prompted by a 2017 complaint from a former employee, Schuette's 2018 cease-and-desist order came about a month before he launched a far-reaching probe into Michigan's seven dioceses, essentially an investigation into the clergy Opus Bono assists.

Obus Bono Sacerdotii, whose Latin name means “work for the good of the priesthood,” focuses on helping priests who are "experiencing acute difficulties” and was started by founder and president Joe Maher in 2002. According to the group's website, Maher helped fund the defense of a parish priest after he was arrested by Detroit police on a sexual abuse allegation. The priest eventually was acquitted

SNAP calls on Diocese to release additional priest names


January 18, 2019

By Tia Johnson

A national clergy abuse survivor group is urging Wisconsin's Attorney General to investigate the Diocese of Green Bay after the church released names of 46 priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

On Friday, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) held a press conference in front of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier on Madison Street in Green Bay.

SNAP is urging Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to initiate a statewide investigation of church sexual abuse and cover up.

"There are 15 states now and the US Department of Justice that have open investigations of Diocese like this one where there has been demonstrable evidence and proof that there has been a history of decades of covering up child sex crimes," says Peter Isely, founding member of SNAP.

SNAP is asking for Bishop David Ricken to name "additional abusive priests known by church officials to have operated within his diocese."

"That list is partial, it is biased and it is incomplete," Isely says.

First Female Victim Of Clergy Sex Abuse Sues Pittsburgh Diocese

KDKA Radio

January 18, 2019

By Joe Destio

The first female survivor of clergy sex abuse has sued the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese.

The plaintiff’s attorney George Kontos tells KDKA Radio's Joe DeStio

“Not unlike a lot of the abuse that we have already filed complains for it involves a known predator priest in this instance a Father Paul Pindel who was at St. Genevieve church in Canonsburg in addition to various other places. We believe he was transferred about 12 times,” says Kontos

Pindel is named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

The lawsuit alleges the abuse occurred in 1982 when the plaintiff was 15 or 16-years-old while Pindel was counseling her.

Letter to the editor: Jesuits offer lame excuse for handling of priests accused of sex abuse

Press Herald

January 8, 2019

The USA Northeast Province of Jesuits released a list of 50 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse that includes seven priests who worked at Cheverus High School in Portland.

In his statement announcing the release of the names, the Northeast Jesuit provincial, the Rev. John Cecero, S.J., tries to convince us that if he and his fellow Jesuits had known better, they’d have done better.

That is, known better about not letting a pedophile rape a kid a second, third or fourth time.

Here’s what Father Cecero wrote in part in his statement: “We did not know any best practices to handle these violations many decades ago and regrettably made mistakes along the way.”

New Attorneys General to Continue Investigating Clergy Abuse

Associated Press

January 18, 2019

Newly inaugurated state attorneys general said they plan to continue investigations of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church as thousands of victims reach out to state hotlines and online systems to report past abuse.

At least 14 attorneys general around the country have confirmed investigations or reviews of clergy abuse in the wake of a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report in August detailing seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. Six of those offices — New York, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Florida and Delaware — are helmed by newly elected attorneys general, including three of the states reporting the largest numbers of victims contacting them.

Almost 3,000 calls, emails and online reports of clergy abuse have been made in the last five months. Nearly half of those calls were made to the Pennsylvania attorney general's office after its investigation was released.

That number doesn't account for reports made to seven states that declined to disclose numbers from their reporting systems to The Associated Press, including states with large Catholic populations like New Jersey and California with a dozen dioceses. The number could be much higher with those included. Several states are seeing lower responses; Delaware reported only five victim contacts as of the beginning of the year.

"We have an entire team of people dedicated to investigating the allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Michigan's seven Catholic dioceses," said new Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose office had received more than 300 victim calls and emails in just a few months. "I am committed to ensuring we leave no stone unturned as we continue to receive additional information on our tip line and review the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents obtained in search warrants executed last fall."

Inician investigación contra fallecido capellán del Hogar de Cristo Renato Poblete tras denuncia

[Jesuits open abuse investigation against Renato Poblete, deceased chaplain of Hogar de Cristo]


January 17, 2019

By Alberto González and Sebastián Cáceres

La Compañía de Jesús en Chile anunció una investigación canónica previa en contra del excapellán del Hogar de Cristo, el fallecido sacerdote Renato Poblete, por una acusación de abusos sexuales, de poder y conciencia, que habrían ocurrido entre 1985 y 1993. A través de un comunicado, la organización religiosa informó que a comienzos de enero recibió una denuncia de abusos sexuales, de poder y conciencia, cometidos por el sacerdote Renato Poblete Barth, quien murió en febrero de 2010 producto de un ataque cardíaco, a los 85 años de edad.

Jesuits release list of priests credibly accused of abuse, including 22 with Mass. ties

Boston Globe

January 15, 2018

By Laura Crimaldi and Michael Levenson
The governing body for Jesuit priests in eight Northeastern states released a list Tuesday of 50 clergy who were credibly accused of sexual abuse against children dating back to 1950, including 22 who were affiliated with high schools, hospitals, churches, and colleges in Massachusetts.

The list includes 16 Jesuits who worked at Boston College High School in Dorchester, and one priest who ministered in Fall River and Gloucester, but was only stripped of his duties in the last two weeks as officials at the USA Northeast Jesuit Province prepared to publicize his name.

All but five of the Jesuits with Massachusetts ties are listed as deceased. Among the living is James Talbot, who was defrocked in 2013 and jailed last year for sexually assaulting a boy in Freeport, Maine, during the 1990s, according to The Portland Press Herald.

Syracuse bishop supports state law giving sex abuse victims more powers to sue


January 18, 2019

By Julie McMahon

Syracuse Catholic Bishop Robert Cunningham said today he would support a proposed law in New York state giving victims of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits.

Cunningham publicly shared his personal views on the Child Victims Act for the first time in a letter to The Post-Standard. He is part of the New York Catholic Conference, which has historically opposed the bill. Cunningham said today it was time for the New York State Legislature to pass and strengthen the proposed law.

The law in previous years failed to pass in the Republican-controlled state Senate. With Democrats in control of both houses in New York state, the Child Victims Act is expected to pass this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo included it in his budget proposal during his State of the State address earlier this week.

The law would expand the statute of limitation in all criminal felony sex abuse cases involving children. It would allow prosecutors to pursue charges against abusers until the victim turns 28 years old.

Scholarships named for Jesuits with Mass. ties discontinued after order identifies clergy credibly accused of child molestation

Boston Globe

January 16, 2018

By Laura Crimaldi

Scholarships were given in their names, and Catholic institutions in Massachusetts tapped them as leaders.

But after the publication this week of the names of 50 Jesuit priests who were credibly accused of molesting children since 1950, organizations statewide have stripped the men of honors bestowed upon them years earlier. Twenty-two of the Jesuits had local ties, including five who are living.

On Wednesday, Boston College High School in Dorchester said it had discontinued a scholarship named for the late Rev. Leo Pollard, a German teacher and longtime hockey coach who molested children, according to the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus.

Colleen Carter, a spokeswoman for the school, said BC High suspended the scholarship on Jan. 9 when the Jesuits provided its list of accused clergy.

SNAP accuses diocese of concealing names of additional offending priests

Green Bay Press-Gazette

January 18, 2019

By Paul Srubas

An activist group for victims of priest abuse is claiming the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay remains in cover-up mode despite Thursday’s release of suspects’ names by the diocese.

Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is holding a press conference on the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral steps this morning. He plans to call for Bishop David Ricken to name additional abusive priests who he claims were omitted from the list Ricken released Tuesday.

He also will call for Attorney General Josh Kaul to launch a statewide investigation of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up and to investigate the destruction of personnel records ordered in the Green Bay diocese by its former Bishop David Zubik in 2007.

Green Bay Diocese releases names of clergy in sex abuse investigation


January 17, 2019

By Sarah Thomsen

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay says an investigation has found 47 clergy members with "substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."

There are 98 victims.

The names of 46 of the 47 priests were released on the Diocese website. One name is being withheld by the Diocese pending further review.

"It is important to state that there are currently no known priests serving in active ministry in the Diocese of Green Bay who have had a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them," says Rev. John Girotti, Vicar for Canonical Services.

Green Bay diocese releases list of 46 priests it knows to have sexually abused minors since 1906

Green Bay Press-Gazette

January 17, 2019

By Paul Srubas

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay on Thursday morning released 46 names of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

At a press conference on the diocesan campus, Bishop David Ricken apologized to the 98 known victims of sexual abuse by the clergy in the diocese since 1906 and called for other victims, if any, to come forward, to help make sure no abusers remain in the clergy.

"We believe you," Ricken said of the victims, survivors and families, whom he called "my greatest concern."

Diocesan Chancellor Tammy Basten and the Rev. John Girotti, vicar for canonical services, also spoke about the internal investigation conducted at the diocese since September to identify the clergy members.

Disgraced U.S. ex-cardinal could be defrocked soon: Vatican sources


January 16, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick is almost certain to be defrocked in the next few weeks over allegations against him, including sexual abuse of minors, two Vatican sources said.

Last July, McCarrick became the first Catholic prelate in nearly 100 years to lose the title of cardinal. The allegations against him date back to decades ago when he was still rising to the top of the U.S. Church hierarchy.

McCarrick, 88, has responded publicly to only one of the allegations, saying he has “absolutely no recollection” of an alleged case of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy more than 50 years ago.

Diocese of Green Bay Releases List of Clerics Accused of Abuse

SNAP Network

January 17, 2019

For immediate release, January 17, 2019

Today the Diocese of Green Bay has released a list of clerics that have been accused of abuse.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.

What is not helpful for survivors is when church officials carefully curate these lists, leaving off names of priests who are accused because they do not meet the diocese’s ever-changing and nebulous definition of “credible.”

There has been at least some curation in this case as the list released today contains only diocesan priests, eschewing the names of religious order priests that served in the Green Bay area. For example, Bishop Accountability lists the following order priests who have been accused of abuse and spent time in Green Bay but are not disclosed in today’s release: Fr. Angelo Feldkamp, Fr. Camillus Frigo, Fr. Eric Middlecamp, Fr. Rudolph Nocinski, Fr. Loren Nys, Fr. James Stein,

We call on Bishop David Ricken to expand the list to include any religious order priests who have spent time in Green Bay, even if they offended elsewhere. We also encourage Bishop Ricken to release the names of any nuns, deacons or other church staff who may have allegations against them, as we know that abusers can be anyone, not just priests.

Michigan State names new interim president

The Associated Press Videos

January 17, 2019

Michigan State University’s board says interim president John Engler’s resignation is effective immediately. The board acted a day after Engler announced his resignation amid fallout from the case of convicted sexual abuser Larry Nassar (Jan. 17)

Michigan State to hire interim leader after Engler resigns

The Associated Press

January 17, 2019

By Corey Williams and David Eggert

Michigan State University is poised to name a new interim president Thursday after the former governor who was brought in to help it recover from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal resigned under pressure, amid backlash over his comments about some of the ex-sports doctor's victims.

John Engler - who had resisted calls to step down in the past - quit in an 11-page letter to Dianne Byrum, chairwoman of Michigan State's Board of Trustees, effective Jan. 23. It makes no mention of recent criticism of his recent remarks and instead lists what he considers to be his accomplishments in nearly one year of service, saying the university is a ''dramatically better, stronger institution.''

''It has been an honor to serve my beloved university,'' wrote Engler, who is in Texas attending a burial service for his late father-in-law.

With his sudden reversal, Engler joins a long list of people - including his predecessor as president - who have been fired, forced out of their jobs or charged with crimes amid fallout from the school's handling of the once-renowned sports physician stretching back decades.

The final straw for the university's governing board came last week when Engler told The Detroit News that Nassar's victims had been in the ''spotlight'' and are ''still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition.''

Nassar is now serving decades-long prison sentences for sexually assaulting patients and possessing child pornography.

List of Jesuits accused of abuse includes many with Massachusetts connections

The Associated Press

January 16, 2019

By Karen Matthews

The governing body for the Jesuit order in the northeastern United States has released a list of 50 priests under its jurisdiction who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

All but 15 of the Roman Catholic priests on the list released Tuesday by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus are dead, and all of the alleged abuse all took place before 1997.

Two former priests are incarcerated, one for possession of child pornography and one for abuse charges.

“At the heart of this crisis is the painful, sinful and illegal harm done to children by those whom they should have been able to trust,” the Rev. John J. Cecero, the top official for the province, said in a statement, adding, “We did not know any best practices to handle these violations many decades ago and regrettably made mistakes along the way.”

The list includes priests who served in Jesuit high schools and colleges throughout New England, New York and northern New Jersey. Of the 50, 22 have Massachusetts connections.

Top Mass. Lawmaker Accused of Groping a Female Colleague

Boston Magazine

January 17, 2019

By Spencer Buell

State Rep. Paul McMurtry allegedly grabbed a woman's behind at an event.

As Beacon Hill continues to grapple with what women have described as a culture that looked the other way in the face of harassment and inappropriate behavior, a high-ranking state rep is now accused of groping a female colleague.

According to a bombshell report in the Boston Globe, a woman in state government alleges that Rep. Paul McMurtry of Dedham grabbed her behind at an orientation event. An ad hoc committee is investigating whether to pursue the allegations further, McMurtry, who served at the time of the alleged incident as head of the House Committee on Personnel and Administration and is considered part of House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s inner circle, denies the allegations, calling them “absolutely, positively, unequivocally not true” and said he would “participate in any review” of the incident.

Two lawmakers tell the Globe that the woman, who has not been identified publicly, told them McMurtry grabbed her during a cocktail reception at UMass Amherst. A third lawmaker claims she witnessed the alleged groping.

Les Moonves to Pursue Arbitration for $120 Million Severance Denied by CBS

The Wrap

January 17, 2019

By Jennifer Maas and Tony Maglio

Former CBS chief Les Moonves will be pursuing arbitration to fight CBS for the $120 million severance pay he was denied last month when he was fired by the board of directors for cause.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday, CBS stated that Moonves has informed the company of his plan: “On January 16, 2019, Mr. Moonves notified the Company of his election to demand binding arbitration with respect to this matter. The Company does not intend to comment further on this matter during the pendency of the arbitration proceedings.”

The investigation into Moonves — who was ousted in September, after multiple women came forward with sexual misconduct accusations — concluded Dec. 17, with the CBS board announcing at that time the former chairman and CEO “will not receive any severance payment.”

Five reasons the pope's clergy sex abuse meeting in Rome will fail

Religion News Service

January 18, 2019

By Thomas Reese

Next month's meeting in Rome, called by Pope Francis to deal with the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, may well be a failure before it even starts.

The stakes for the meeting have been ratcheted up, at least for the American church, as the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse has summoned up new scrutiny of the church's response, from the pews and from government officials; then, in November, the Vatican squelched a vote at the U.S. bishops' fall meeting on measures designed to hold the hierarchy accountable for not dealing with abuse.

Now, more than 100 presidents of episcopal conferences from all over the world, plus a dozen or so other participants, are headed to Rome for a four-day conference beginning Feb. 21. According to the Vatican, the meeting will focus on three main themes: responsibility, accountability and transparency.

There are five reasons this meeting will fail.

Larry Nassar’s First Known Victim Is A Mother Figure To Hundreds Of Young Survivors

Huffington Post

January 17, 2019

By Alanna Vagianos

This article is part of “One Year Later: Larry Nassar And The Women Who Made Us Listen,” a seven-part series that commemorates the seven days women stood in a Lansing, Michigan, courtroom last year and faced their abuser, former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State trainer Larry Nassar. Read more here.

By all appearances, Sarah Klein leads a relatively ordinary life.

The 39-year-old lives outside Philadelphia with her 3-year-old daughter, Genevieve. A former attorney, she travels a lot for her work as a consultant for a firm based in Florida. She’s driven and passionate, but has a relaxed way about her that would make anyone feel at home.

What most don’t know is how Klein’s life has been shaped, especially in the past few years, by the scandal of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University trainer now serving a life sentence for child sexual abuse. Klein is Nassar’s first known victim. She says he began sexually abusing her in 1988. She was only 8 years old.

Up until this past summer, Klein was only known in court documents as “Victim 125.” Her choice to keep her identity private through Nassar’s various trials and sentence hearings was a “deliberate decision” to maintain privacy while she sifted through and unpacked years of trauma.

Over three decades after the abuse began, Klein tells me these last few years have been a complicated mix of sadness, anger and exhaustion.

“It’s so sad to find out that somebody you loved so much was capable of harming so many people and breaking so many lives,” she said.

Editorial: Reality check was missing at US bishops' retreat

National Catholic Reporter

January 18, 2019

It was a highly unusual event when most of the bishops in the United States gathered for a weeklong retreat earlier in January at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago. The event was driven by a most unusual and debilitating problem, the clergy sex abuse crisis, which has bedeviled the church in the United States for nearly 34 years.

The event itself may have been the primary goal — gathering a group of men publicly divided over a host of issues for prayer and meditation away from daily pressures. Only time will tell if there are long-term benefits.

More immediately, however, the point of the gathering as it relates to the abuse scandal remains quite puzzling, particularly in light of the 11 talks delivered by Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, official preacher of the papal household.

He began by announcing that the charge he received from Pope Francis was that he "lead a week of spiritual exercises for the bishop conference so that the bishops, far from their daily commitments, in a climate of prayer and silence and in a personal encounter with the Lord, may receive the strength and light of the Holy Spirit to find the right solution for the problems that afflict the church of the United States today."

In that regard, he said, "I am not going to talk about pedophilia or give advice about eventual solutions. That is not my task and I would not have the competence to do it."

It is beyond our competence and the space here to deal authoritatively with Cantalamessa's outpouring of erudition, a river of words that took bishops through discourses on the kerygma, Christian asceticism, prayer, spirituality, conversion, the centrality of the person of Jesus, all laced through with biblical scholarship, modern-era theologians, the work of Francis, references to pop culture, and an unremittingly bleak analysis of contemporary culture.

Attorney general: Phillipsburg priest arrested and charged with sexual assault of teen

Morning Call

January 18, 2019

By Kayla Dwyer

A Catholic priest from Phillipsburg has been arrested and charged with multiple criminal counts in the sexual assault of an underage girl in the early 1990s, authorities announced.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Saint Philip & Saint James Church in Phillipsburg, was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 16 — the first criminal case filed by the New Jersey Clergy Abuse Task Force since its formation in September 2018.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced the charges against him in a news release Thursday: one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree.


NBC News

January 18, 2019

By Doha Madani

New Jersey authorities announced Thursday that a priest has been charged with sexual assault based on allegations stemming from the 1990s in the first criminal case by the state’s new Clergy Abuse Task Force.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he sexually abused a minor between 1990 and 1994, while he worked at Saint Cecelia Church in Woodbridge, according to a press release from the state Attorney General’s Office.

The girl was between the age of 14 and 17 when the alleged assaults occurred.

Ganley, whose current assignment is Saint Philip and Saint James Church in Phillipsburg, was charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree.

Ganley is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center and has a court appearance scheduled for Friday.

The task force that filed charges against Ganley was announced by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in September 2018, weeks after a bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report concluded that about 300 priests in the state had sexually abused more than 1,000 children, stretching back 70 years.

Ganley is the first priest to be arrested under the task force’s purview.

“This case illustrates that we are prepared to move swiftly to investigate allegations, and where there are viable criminal charges, to pursue those charges,” Grewal said in a press release.

SNAP to hold a news conference Friday

FOX 11 News

January 18th 2019

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, will hold a news conference Friday.

The group sent a letter to state Attorney General Josh Kaul, to launch a statewide investigation of clergy sex abuse and alleged cover-up.

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay is revealing results of its third-party investigation into its files on priests and deacons. The investigation was focused on finding any incidents of sexual abuse against minors by priests or deacons.

The news conference is at 11:30 a.m. We hope to stream it on fox11online.com.

PD Editorial: Welcome candor and transparency from Santa Rosa’s Catholic bishop

Press Democrat

January 18, 2019

North Coast Catholics waited a long time for their church to name all of the local priests who sexually abused children.

A list was finally released last weekend, and to his credit, Bishop Robert F. Vasa went a step further. His list of 39 priests and deacons with ties to the Diocese of Santa Rosa includes known abusers, others who were credibly accused and two former bishops who are still under review.

Vasa said about 100 children have been sexually abused since the diocese was founded in 1962, with the most recent incidents reported in 2006 and 2008.

This is unprecedented transparency for local church leaders.

Vasa followed up with a public apology for the “evil actions” and a promise to be vigilant.

“Even when I’m fairly certain that nothing untoward had occurred, I will report it to the police because that’s the route I need to take,” he said at a Monday news conference.

That is, of course, the legal standard in California.

Hamburg clergy rape victim's powerful Facebook post: 'The Church didn’t really care'

Buffalo News

January 17, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Harry King, 55, first told a Buffalo Diocese administrator in 2002 that the Rev. Donald Becker sexually abused him when King was a teenager in the late 1970s. He spoke to The Buffalo News this past spring, on the condition that his name be kept out of the story.

Now, King is telling the world, with his name attached.

King posted on Facebook this week a raw and powerful 3,800-word essay about the alleged abuse and its effect on his life. In the essay, King reveals his battles with depression and his multiple attempts to kill himself. He discusses what it was like to meet with two retired judges who are determining how much clergy sex abuse victims receive under a diocesan program to compensate victims.

In March, Becker told The News he had not molested any children, although Buffalo Diocese officials said Becker had been removed from ministry in 2003 because of abuse allegations. Days later the diocese said the allegations against Becker were credible.

Please be warned: King’s story is disturbing and includes graphic accounts of the rape of a teenager. We publish King’s story because it gives a rare look at how sexual abuse — and the church’s response — wounded one person, as a teen and for decades.

January 17, 2019

New Jersey priest arrested in first criminal case from state's clergy abuse task force

NBC News

January 17, 2019

By Doha Madani

New Jersey authorities announced Thursday that a priest has been charged with sexual assault based on allegations stemming from the 1990s in the first criminal case by the state's new Clergy Abuse Task Force.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he sexually abused a minor between 1990 and 1994, while he worked at Saint Cecelia Church in Woodbridge, according to a press release from the state Attorney General's Office.

The girl was between the age of 14 and 17 when the alleged assaults occurred.

Ganley, whose current assignment is Saint Philip and Saint James Church in Phillipsburg, was charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree.

SNAP wants Archbishop to name credibly accused priests

WAVE 3 News

January 17, 2019

By Connie Leonard

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, in Louisville and across the country, called on the Louisville Archbishop Thursday to protect children and release all names of priests who are credibly accused, as he has pledged, ASAP.

“Secrecy is the same,” said St. Louis SNAP volunteer David Clohessy, “the pattern of doing nothing until forced is the same.”

From Chicago to St. Louis, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is asking Archbishop Kurtz to add the names of priests, who they said were shuffled into Louisville after being accused--and in some cases, admitted to abuse in other cities.

Some of the priests have already passed away, but SNAP believes if the Archbishop puts the names out there, victims may come forward and parents will at least know about those still around.

“At least one of them is accused of molesting five Louisville kids, and all of them spent some time in this area,” Clohessy said.

Five priests, SNAP contends, who deserve to be outed.

“If you asked 100 Louisville Catholics about these five names, 98 or 99 of them would not know who they are,” Clohessy said.

They said the accused priests are quietly moved around from other areas.

SNAP demonstrators push Archdiocese of Louisville to release list of accused priests


January 17, 2019

By Chris Sutter

Armed with signs, umbrellas and a message, a group from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests refused to allow rain to dampen the passion behind the reason they posted up outside the headquarters for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

"We're here today to draw attention to five credibly accused child molesting priests," SNAP volunteer leader David Clohessy said.

Some members of the group are survivors of priest abuse in Kentucky and elsewhere.

"I was abused, and we need to get the word out," Larry Anthonsen said.

Each name the group wrote on their signs, they said, is an abusive member of the clergy that spent time in Louisville. They want Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to put out his list of credibly accused priests.

"Every single day that he hides these names, he's putting kids at risk," Clohessy said.

They also want detailed information on those that are still alive, like where the priests are now, their work histories and photos. Similar lists have been shared across the country but not everywhere.

"Bishops never like to acknowledge this crisis," Clohessy said. "They want victims and whistleblowers to stay trapped in silence and shame and self-blame."

SNAP members said that has to change for the survivors, some of whom have overcome what they describe as one of the worst moments of their lives, to advocate for those still suffering the same pain.

Sexual abuse survivors call for list of Louisville priests accused of assault to be released now


January 17, 2019

By Caray Grace

A group of sexual abuse survivors with the group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) stood outside the Archdiocese of Louisville with one message, release their names.

"It should have happened a long time ago. It should happen tomorrow. There's no reason why you can't release a partial list today," said David Clohessy, volunteer director of SNAP.

Four survivors are calling for Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to release the list of priests who have been accused of sexual assault in Louisville. They want him to go a step further, by adding the names of those who didn't always work in Louisville.

"These are five priests who mostly were ordained elsewhere, mostly worked elsewhere, mostly accused of abusing elsewhere but they all were in Louisville," said Clohessy.

We sat down with Archbishop Kurtz in November. He told us they would release a full list of priests in December, but according to a recent leadership briefing, the expected publication date is now late January. In a statement from the Archdiocese regarding SNAP's demands they said:

SNAP survivors call for list, transparency from Archdiocese of Louisville


January 17, 2019

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are calling on the Archdiocese of Louisville to release a list of the names of clergy and others affiliated with the archdiocese who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

"Their world has been shattered because their spirituality and their soul has been shattered," Jeanette Westbrook, a volunteer with SNAP, said.

"If my standing here and somebody hearing my story helps someone else come up with a memory or bring back a memory, then that makes it worthwhile for me because we can't live with this and keep it inside of us forever," Larry Anthonsen with SNAP said.

Anthonsen and other survivors have been traveling around the Midwest to cities like St. Louis and Evansville to call on the local archdioceses to be more transparent by releasing names.

"I was abused and we need to get the word out," Anthonsen said. "It doesn't matter where it happened."

Members of SNAP held a demonstration outside the Archdiocese of Louisville's pastoral building on Poplar Level Road Thursday morning, calling on Archbishop Joseph Kurtz and the archdiocese to follow in the steps of other archdioceses in cities like Indianapolis and Philadelphia.

"Archbishop Kurtz's very first moral duty is to tell parents and parishioners and police, 'Here are all the names of the dangerous men. Don't let them babysit your kids. Don't hire them to be substitute teachers,'" SNAP volunteer Daniel Clohessy said.

Two Days After Asking for “Understanding,” Cardinal Wuerl Offers an Apology

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 16, 2019

Two days after asking for understanding for his role in covering up abuse allegations, Cardinal Donald Wuerl is finally “apologizing.”

We cannot help but feel that this apology is little more than a lame justification for his actions. To attempt to excuse himself by saying he “forgot” about the allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is neither believable nor a sign that Cardinal Wuerl feels real shame for his role in covering up allegations of sexual abuse. Rather, it is yet another example of a high-ranking church official minimizing his role in cover-ups and excusing his lack of action.

In his letter, the Cardinal states that it is “important for [him] to accept personal responsibility.” We agree. If Cardinal Wuerl is truly sorry, he should offer a genuine apology, one that is free of excuses and is backed up by a plan to make amends for his wrongdoing.

For example, Cardinal Wuerl should use his influence to encourage his brother bishops and cardinals to come forward and publish lists of accused priests, nuns, deacons, brothers, bishops, or any other church employees who may have hurt a child or a vulnerable adult. He should petition Pope Francis to ensure that survivor voices and experiences are front and center at next month’s papal abuse summit. He should work with other summit attendees to determine new protocols for prevention of future sex crimes and cover-ups, as well as punishments for any current or future prelate who is accused of doing so.

As administrator of the DC Archdiocese, Cardinal Wuerl should immediately turn over all documents and personnel files to the D.C. attorney general, who has opened an investigation into clergy abuse. By turning over these files and laying his history bare, the Cardinal can begin to show that his apology is sincere.

Bronxville priest accused of inappropriate behavior returns to court

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

January 17, 2019

By Frank Esposito

A Bronxville priest returned to court on Wednesday night on allegations that he inappropriately touched a young girl.

Rev. Thomas Kreiser was serving at St. Joseph's Parish during the time of the alleged incident.

His next court date is set for February 6, 2019.

Kreiser previously worked at St. Patrick's Church in Yorktown and St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Garnerville.

Women strive for larger roles in male-dominated religions

Associated Press

January 17, 2019

By David Crary

Women have been elected heads of national governments on six continents. They have flown into space, served in elite combat units and won every category of Nobel Prize. The global #MeToo movement, in 15 months, has toppled a multitude of powerful men linked to sexual misconduct.

Yet in most of the world’s major religions, women remain relegated to a second-tier status. Women in several faiths are still barred from ordination. Some are banned from praying alongside men and forbidden from stepping foot in some houses of worship altogether. Their attire, from headwear down to the length of their skirts in church, is often restricted.

But women around the world in recent months have been finding new ways to chip away at centuries of male-dominated traditions and barriers, with many of them emboldened by the surge of social media activism that’s spread globally in the #MeToo era.

Millions of women in India this month formed a human wall nearly 400 miles long in support of women who defied conservative Hindu leaders and entered an important temple that has long been off-limits to women and girls between the ages of 10 and 50.

In Israel, where Orthodox Judaism has long restricted women’s roles, one Jerusalem congregation has allowed women to lead Friday evening prayers. Roman Catholic bishops, under pressure from women’s-rights activists, concluded a recent Vatican meeting by declaring that women, as an urgent “duty of justice,” should have a greater role in church decision-making.

Green Bay diocese releases list of priests it knows to have sexually abused minors

Green Bay Press-Gazette

January 17, 2019

By Paul Srubas

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay this morning is publicly releasing the names of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

A press conference is happening now at Bona Hall on the diocesan campus, with Bishop David Ricken, Diocesan Chancellor Tammy Basten, and Rev. John Girotti, vicar for canonical services, set to speak.

Ricken said the names would be posted on the diocese's website at noon. The website appeared to have crashed less than a minute after noon.

Fact Sheet: Accused Louisville Priests ‘Under the Radar’

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
January 16, 2019

-- Fr. Michael (a.k.a. “Miguel”) Baca
He was included in the Gallup diocese's 12/14 list of clergy having credible allegations of sexual misconduct made against them. The diocese provided a partial list of assignments for Fr. Baca, which showed him at St Joseph the Worker in San Fidel NM in 1961. But the Official Catholic Directory lists him as assigned there as Retreat Director for the decade 1961-1970. Baca's 18 years of missionary work took him throughout the US, and he also worked among the Otomi Indians of central Mexico. Besides Gallup, Fr. Baca worked in at least one other diocese (Peoria) and two archdioceses (Louisville and Santa Fe). He also worked at Immaculate Conception Parish in Cuba NM in 1953 and Our Lady of Fatima Parish inChinle AZ in 1978. For 12 years, Fr. Baca wrote the "Life Is for Living" column for the national magazine St Anthony Messenger. He is deceased.




-- Fr. Crispin Butz
He was named among Franciscan alleged clergy perpetrators of sexual abuse in a 12/14 court documents related to Gallup NM diocese's bankruptcy case. Early in his career, he worked in Batesville, IN and Louisville, KY, then was moved to Sacred Heart Parish in Gallup NM. He reportedly abused during 1960-63 when he was at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Gallup. Other assignments included the Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis in Santa Fe where he was rector in 1984-94. He also pastored parishes in Albuquerque, Bloomfield, Cuba and Grants NM.

Visitador apostólico llegará a Puerto Montt ante graves denuncias contra el clero

[Apostolic visitor will go to Puerto Montt due to serious allegations against clergy]


January 17, 2019

By Alberto González, Jonathan Flores and Nicole Martínez.

El papa Francisco enviará un visitador apostólico a Puerto Montt, para informar al Vaticano sobre la situación de la iglesia local, tras denuncias de abuso, tráfico y apropiación indebida. Acogiendo una solicitud del administrador apostólico Ricardo Morales, este sábado llegará hasta Puerto Montt el obispo mexicano Jorge Patrón, quien permanecerá en la capital de la región de Los Lagos hasta el 24 de enero, por instrucción del Papa.

Papa Francisco determina enviar un visitador apostólico a Puerto Montt

[Pope Francis will send an apostolic visitor to Puerto Montt]

La Tercera

January 16, 2019

By Carlos Reyes

"El objetivo del visitador -agregan- será valorar e informar a la Santa Sede sobre el estado de la vida, el ministerio y la disciplina del clero, animará la pastoral de los presbíteros y sugerirá iniciativas para el acompañamiento de los sacerdotes", informó la diócesis mediante un comunicado.

A través de un comunicado, el arzobispado de Puerto Montt informó que el Papa Francisco decidió enviar a la ciudad un visitador apostólico. “El Papa Francisco ha nombrado como visitador apostólico a monseñor Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong, secretario de seminarios de la Congregación para el Clero, quien propiciará un espacio de encuentro y escucha, en que puedan expresarse con libertad todos los sacerdotes, miembros representativos de la vida consagrada y del laicado de Puerto Montt”, indica el texto de la diócesis.

[VIDEO] Rector Sánchez evalúa las medidas y avances en medio de crisis de la iglesia católica

[VIDEO: Rector Sánchez evaluates the measures and advances in the midst of the Catholic Church crisis]

Emol TV

January 16, 2019

El rector de la Universidad Católica, Ignacio Sánchez, analizó los avances tras los abusos cometidos por sacerdotes. Reiteró que hay que "escuchar a las víctimas". La entrevista completa la puedes revisar en el siguiente link.

El “puzle maldito” de la diócesis de Arica

[The "damn puzzle" of the diocese of Arica]

The Clinic

January 16, 2019

By Camila Magnet and Jonás Romero

Abusos a menores, relaciones amorosas entre sacerdotes, protección de obispos prófugos y hasta curas en fuga. La llegada de Julio Barahona a Arica en 1991 es sólo uno de los ejemplos de lo que sobrevivientes han descrito como una “zona de penitencia”. “Arica siempre ha sido el lugar donde algunos van a pagar sus castigos, o a esconderse”, explica el teólogo Paul Endre, quien tuvo un breve paso como seminarista en la zona. Aquí, un vistazo de la desconcertada diócesis nortina.

Another alarm sounds on clergy sex abuse: Will Southern Baptist leaders just hit snooze again?

Baptist News Global

January 17, 2019

By Crista Brown

An exposé by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on clergy sex abuse in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches blared yet another wake-up call to America’s religious leaders, including those of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Baptist News Global columnist Bill Leonard rightly observed that the IFB cases “sound strikingly like predatory acts committed against children by Catholic priests.” They also sound a lot like clergy sex abuse and church cover-up cases in the SBC.

I know because between 2006 and 2012 I main