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April 30, 2019


New Jersey 101.5

April 30, 2019

By Sergio Bichao

A national organization representing sex-abuse survivors are calling on Catholic Church officials to help oust a defrocked priest who was once accused of impregnating an underage girl but who now works in this public school district.

New Jersey 101.5 reported on Monday that a state Department of Education arbitrator blocked the district from firing middle school English teacher Joseph DeShan after parents raised concerns with his past.

The arbitration decision this month said officials could not fire DeShan unless he was convicted of a crime or has done something wrong while employed by the district.

David Clohessy, a past president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said church officials have the "duty" to "warn people about him and beg witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward."

"Victims aren’t inclined to break years or decades of silence unless they’re confident that somebody is really paying attention and someone will take action," he said Tuesday.

"Bishops [need to] stand there in the pulpit and say: Please, if you have any information that might help law enforcement pursue a case against DeShan, it’s your Christian duty, it’s your civic duty to pick up the phone and call 911."

Earlier this school year, the district suspended DeShan — the second time it has done so since 2002, when officials first learned that DeShan had impregnated a 15-year-old girl while he was a priest in the late 1990s in Connecticut. But officials in 2002 could find no cause to fire DeShan, who also had support from parents. Seventeen years later, DeShan no longer has support from a new set of administrators and parents.


New Jersey 101.5

April 30, 2019

By Sergio Bichao

A national organization representing sex-abuse survivors are calling on Catholic Church officials to help oust a defrocked priest who was once accused of impregnating an underage girl but who now works in this public school district.

New Jersey 101.5 reported on Monday that a state Department of Education arbitrator blocked the district from firing middle school English teacher Joseph DeShan after parents raised concerns with his past.

The arbitration decision this month said officials could not fire DeShan unless he was convicted of a crime or has done something wrong while employed by the district.

David Clohessy, a past president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said church officials have the "duty" to "warn people about him and beg witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward."

"Victims aren’t inclined to break years or decades of silence unless they’re confident that somebody is really paying attention and someone will take action," he said Tuesday.

"Bishops [need to] stand there in the pulpit and say: Please, if you have any information that might help law enforcement pursue a case against DeShan, it’s your Christian duty, it’s your civic duty to pick up the phone and call 911."

Earlier this school year, the district suspended DeShan — the second time it has done so since 2002, when officials first learned that DeShan had impregnated a 15-year-old girl while he was a priest in the late 1990s in Connecticut. But officials in 2002 could find no cause to fire DeShan, who also had support from parents. Seventeen years later, DeShan no longer has support from a new set of administrators and parents.

The cardinal who clings to power

Catholic Cultur blog

April 29, 2019

By Phil Lawler

Cardinal Angelo Sodano met with Pope Francis today in a private audience. Which gives us another occasion to note that Cardinal Sodano remains the Dean of the College of Cardinals, at the age of 91.

Since the new Code of Canon Law came into effect in 1983, and with it the expectation that aging bishops would retire rather than die in office, there have been four Deans of the College of Cardinals:

Cardinal Agnelo Rossi resigned in 1993 at the age of 80.

Cardinal Bernardin Gantin resigned in 2002 at the age of 80.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had not yet reached the age of 80 when he assumed another office, from which he resigned in 2013 at the age of 85.

Cardinal Sodano—who has shown a marked penchant for hanging onto his titles, having remained in the office that he had occupied as Secretary of State even after his replacement began work—stays on.

There is no urgent reason why the Dean should resign; his role is mostly ceremonial. But if the Pope dies it is the Dean who presides at his funeral, with the world watching.

Since Cardinal Sodano has been charged with protecting prelates tarred by the sex-abuse scandal, his is not the face that the universal Church should put forward in a time of crisis. More to the point, why would Cardinal Sodano want to continue in office, aside from his well-established desire to continue wielding influence within the Vatican?

Man Says His Alleged Abuser Was Not On Sacramento Diocese’s List

Fox 40

April 30, 2019

By Rowena Shaddox

Kurt Hoffman was a freshman at Jesuit High School and on the swim team when he says his coach, Brother William Farrington, sexually assaulted him.

“I was 14 years old in 1987, in the spring, when he assaulted me,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman addressed the media Tuesday, the same day the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento released a list of more than 40 priests and deacons accused of sexual abuse. Cases were dated from the 1950’s up to as recent as 2014.

Farrington does not appear on the least.

“My question is just if the diocese is really interested in transparency, full disclosure, I’m shocked that Farrington was no on this list,” Hoffman said.

Farrington was named last year, on the Jesuit West Province list of accused abusers.

In a prepared statement, Bishop Jaime Soto says they will update their list to incorporate the information on Jesuit’s list.

A spokesman for the diocese says revealing the names of accused abusers is important.

“We want people to see this,” spokesman Kevin Eckery said. “Because we need to be held accountable. and the only way is to own it and atone for it.”

Hoffman’s parents reported the assault to Jesuit. They say Farrington was gone the very next day.

But Hoffman says he later learned that Farmington was transferred to Loyola in the early 2000’s, where he served as a freshman counselor.

Once Hoffman notified the school of Farmington’s sexual abuse, Farmington was removed and placed in Los Gatos, where he remains at an enfirmery.

“It’s up to the church to make sure they get reported to civil law enforcement and not be transferred to other places where they can prey upon kids,” Hoffman said.

Lawyer names 2 former LI priests accused of decades-old child sex abuse

News 12

April 30, 2019

Famed Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian on Tuesday released the names of two former Long Island priests who he says were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors decades ago.

Garabedian says Father Edward J. Byrne is credibly accused of sexually abusing a boy around 11 years old while he was assigned to St. Barnabas Church in Bellmore in 1971 and '72. Garabedian also named Father Harold H. Paul, of St. Joseph's Church in Hewlett, who he says sexually abused a 10-year-old boy in 1961.

Last week, News 12 reported on a list released by the Archdiocese of New York containing the names of 120 clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children. All have either died or been removed from ministry. The Diocese of Brooklyn has also released a list of accused abusers that includes more than 100 clergy members.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, however, continues to refuse to release its list.

Garabedian says that refusal prevents alleged victims from healing and children from being safe.

Statewide investigation launched into sex abuse allegations in Catholic Church


April 30, 2019

By Shelia M. Poole and Christian Boone

Georgia has become the latest state to launch an investigation into past sexual abuse claims within the Catholic Church, Attorney General Chris Carr said Tuesday.

The repercussions could be widespread. In Pennsylvania, a grand jury report identified hundreds of priests accused of molesting at least 1,000 minors over the past seven decades in that state.

“I think people should be prepared for some bad news, revelations that some people don’t want to come out,” said attorney Darren Penn, who represents an unidentified man in a lawsuit alleging abuse at the hands of former Dalton priest Douglas Edwards.

Carr said the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council will lead the probe. If any prosecutions come out of the investigation, they’ll be handled on a local level, he said.

“I heard from those that I go to church with every Sunday,” he said during an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News. “And I saw the level of anger and frustration and distrust. Both on a personal and professional level, this was important to me. I think it’s important that we hold accountable those that have done wrong but also lift the cloud of suspicion from those that may not have.”

Southern Baptist group overhauls national conference to focus on sex abuse crisis

Houston Chronicle

April 30, 2019

By Robert Downen

Citing a sexual abuse crisis revealed in a recent Houston Chronicle investigation, the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm has overhauled its 2019 national conference in Grapevine to focus on abuse.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is expected to announce Tuesday that it has changed the conference's theme to focus on "the current crisis within the SBC denomination."

The announcement follows a February investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News that found more than 700 people, mostly children, had reported being sexually abused by roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders or volunteers since 1998.

Southern Baptist leaders vowed sweeping changes in the wake of the "heartbreaking" report, titled "Abuse of Faith."

In a statement, commission President Russell Moore said the change was spurred by a "realization" when planning seminars for the conference, which was previously focused on "courage."

Jury finds ex-bishop guilty of trying to sexually abuse teenage boy


April 30, 2019

By Annie Knox

A former Latter-day Saint bishop was convicted Monday of inappropriately touching a teenage family friend in his congregation and being lewd with other boys.

A jury found Jeffrey Byron Head, 54, of Draper, guilty of attempted forcible sexual abuse, a third-degree felony, and two counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor. Jurors also found him guilty of a lesser offense of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor, instead of a more severe count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Prosecutors say Head went to one boy's house in May 2016 and asked about a recent surgery to his genitals, then asked "to see the surgery" before the teen pulled his pants down and Head inappropriately touched him. The same boy said Head rubbed his shoulders and placed the boy's hand on his own thigh during an outing to buy milkshakes in 2016.

At a preliminary hearing in February, the teen testified the behavior happened when he was 16 and 17. Head was his bishop and the teen sometimes attended church but was not very devout, he recalled.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it removed Head from his position, notified police after the allegations surfaced and emphasized that abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated.

Ruckersville man facing child sex charges


April 30, 2019

A Ruckersville man is facing multiple child pornography charges, as well as charges of sex with a minor.

According to the Greene County Sheriff's office, 25-year-old Dustin J. Kramer was arrested and is being held without bond at Central Virginia Regional Jail.

Kramer is charged with five counts of possessing child pornography, three counts of computer solicitation of a minor over the age of 15, and four counts of consensual sex with a minor over the age of 15.

Virginia law distinguishes between child sex crimes involving juveniles under 15 and juveniles over 15, but the age of consent is 18.

Anyone with information connected to Kramer's case is asked to contact Investigator J.M. Tooley (434) 985-2222.

Due to the involvement of a juvenile, no further information is being released by law enforcement.

A social media profile matching Kramer's description lists him as a youth intern at a Charlottesville church and as having studied criminology at Christopher Newport University.

Woodstock police arrest registered sex offender after he was on school property

Northwest Herald

April 30, 2019

By Katie Smith

A previously convicted sex offender remained at the McHenry County Jail Tuesday evening after police said he was present on St. Mary's School property in Woodstock earlier this week.

Woodstock police received a complaint about 3:30 p.m. on Monday claiming that a registered sex offender, was on property at St. Mary's School, 320 Lincoln Ave., according to a news release sent Tuesday.

The man, Michael D. Colberg, told police he was seeking "support from the church," Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said in an email Tuesday.

In Illinois, people convicted of sex crimes are subject to a number of restrictions, which include notifying police when they change addresses and staying away from schools and parks.

Officers arrested 30-year-old Colberg, who is homeless, and charged him with being a sex offender in a school zone.

Upon conferring with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, a charge against Colberg was approved for unlawful presence of a child sex offender within a school zone. The alleged offense is a felony typically punishable by one to three years in prison.

A Sundance Founder Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Abuse

New York Times

April 30, 2019

By Elizabeth A. Harris

A founder of the Sundance Film Festival is expected to go to prison for at least six years after he pleaded guilty in a Utah courtroom on Tuesday to molesting a young girl. The case came to light after he was recorded apologizing to a man he admitted having groped more than 25 years ago.

Sterling Van Wagenen, a director who helped establish what became the country’s most prestigious annual film exhibition, pleaded guilty in Utah County to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. His lawyer, Steven Shapiro, said Mr. Van Wagenen planned to plead guilty to an additional count, involving the same girl, in neighboring Salt Lake County on Thursday. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Mr. Shapiro said he is expected to receive two sentences of six years-to-life in prison that he will serve concurrently.

Mr. Van Wagenen, 71, was charged with molesting the girl on two occasions between 2013 and 2015, when she was between 7 and 9 years old. But this was not the first allegation against him.

Sean Escobar, who as a boy was friends with two of Mr. Van Wagenen’s sons, said that Mr. Van Wagenen had touched his genitals during a sleepover at the director’s house in the early 1990s.

Mr. Escobar, who is now 38, told his parents the next day. They in turn reported it to a local leader in the Mormon Church, to which they belonged.

Mr. Van Wagenen eventually admitted to a Salt Lake County sheriff’s detective that he had touched the boy inappropriately, but the authorities dropped the case after Mr. Escobar’s parents said they did not want to press charges. (The Greater Salt Lake Unified Police Department, which absorbed the sheriff’s department, said its policy today is to move forward with child sexual abuse cases regardless of the parents’ wishes.)

Mr. Van Wagenen received a two-year “disfellowship” from the church, but went on to teach at Brigham Young University, which is closely affiliated with the church, and also directed movies for the church. Brigham Young said it had been unaware of the allegations when it hired him, and the Sundance Institute said he has had no role in the festival since 1993.

Last year, Mr. Escobar reached out to Mr. Van Wagenen, who agreed to meet with him. Mr. Van Wagenen apologized for what he had done, and said that nothing like it had happened before or since.

Mr. Escobar recorded the conversation on an iPhone he had hidden in a potted plant, then released the recording to the Truth & Transparency Foundation, an investigative website that focuses on religious reporting, thinking it might spur any other victims to come forward. Shortly afterward, the girl did.

Ruling lets abuse survivor proceed with suit against California bishops

National Catholic Reporter

April 30, 2019

By Maria Benevento

A Los Angeles, California, superior court has ruled that a survivor of sexual abuse can sue the state's Catholic bishops and the California Catholic Conference.

In a press conference livestreamed from Burbank, California, April 29, survivor of clergy sexual abuse Tom Emens spoke alongside attorneys with the Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm. The firm, based in Minnesota, has a decadeslong history of suing the Catholic church and other organizations over their handling of sexual abuse cases.

Emens is not seeking financial compensation in the lawsuit he filed Oct. 2, 2018, but rather the release of complete information about offenders in each diocese, as well as information regarding the bishops' knowledge of sexual abuse and their handling of victims and abusers.

He and his legal team "seek to uncover what was known, when it was known, and how children can be made safer today," said Mike Reck, one of Emens' attorneys, during the press conference.

The lawsuit alleges "that there is a nuisance, a dangerous condition existing" in the California dioceses from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Reck said. By uncovering concealed information on sex abuse, they hope "to not only heal the past but to protect the future."

A native of Anaheim, California, Emens alleges that he was assaulted at age 10 by Msgr. Thomas Joseph Mohan, who died in 2002 and whose name doesn't appear on a list of over 300 priests accused of abuse in the Los Angeles Archdiocese that Anderson & Associates compiled from public records.

Saying he felt "cautiously optimistic" and considered the court's ruling a "victory," Emens stated during the press conference that his goal in bringing the lawsuit was to help other victim-survivors as well as children who could be currently at risk.

Priests suspended for upsetting seminarians with lewd remarks

Patheos blog

April 30, 2019

By Barry Duke

RICHARD J Malone, above, a Catholic bishop from Diocese of Buffalo, NY, is reportedly investigating three priests who allegedly made ‘pornographic’ remarks at a party in the presence of seminarians.

What the priests actually said has not been revealed, but according to this report, seminarians said they engaged in salacious and inappropriate conversation at a parish rectory party.

A statement from the diocese said that during the April 11 gathering:

Unsuitable, inappropriate and insensitive conversations occurred that were disturbing and offensive to several seminarians in attendance. The complaints did not include or infer any instance of physical sexual abuse of a minor or adult.

The Diocese of Buffalo is thankful the seminarians followed the proper protocol and the Seminary responded correctly by immediately investigating and forwarding the findings to Bishop Richard J. Malone and other diocesan officials, including the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Fr John Staak, interim rector at Buffalo’s Christ the King Seminary noted in a statement:

Our primary mission is the education of our students and the formation of our future priests, deacons, and pastoral ministers.

I am pleased the seminarians stepped forward to voice their concerns about unsuitable, inappropriate, and insensitive conversations which occurred … Several seminarians in attendance found the conversations disturbing and offensive.

Documentary on Catholic Priests Using Nuns as "Sex Slaves" Pulled After Court Challenge

Hollywood Reporter

April 30, 2019

By Scott Roxborough

German-French channel Arte says it will fight to overturn a court injunction that prevents it from rebroadcasting the documentary, which accuses rogue priests of sexually abusing French nuns.
A French television documentary that accuses Catholic priests of sexually abusing nuns has been pulled from the French-German television channel Arte after a priest filed a complaint with a German court.

French director Marie-Pierre Raimbault and investigative journalist Eric Quintin shot the documentary, Sex Slaves in the Catholic Church, over three years, basing it on firsthand testimony of nuns who claim they were used as “sex slaves” by priests. The women say when they presented their allegations to church authorities at the Vatican, they were ignored and often moved elsewhere in a cover-up that stretched across four continents.

Arte first aired the film in March. Some 1.5 million French viewers caught the original broadcast, with a further 1.7 million watching on replay, making it the most-watched documentary of the year for the channel. The film has sold worldwide.

Pope Francis has publicly acknowledged the problem, noting that the Vatican had to dissolve a French order because its sisters had been reduced to “sexual slavery” at the hands of its founder and other priests.

Former St. Landry priest sentenced to seven years hard labor for molesting teen

Lafayette Daily Advertiser

April 30, 2019

By Ashley White

A former St. Landry Parish priest was sentenced to seven years of hard labor and three years of probation for sexually assaulting a teen boy.

Michael Guidry, 76, pleaded guilty to molesting a juvenile in March. He faced a maximum of 10 years.

Guidry was the longtime former leader of St. Peter Church in Morrow. Authorities said they opened the investigation after the victim reported he'd been given alcohol before being sexually molested by Guidry at the priest's home.

The report was made last year, but the abuse happened several years ago when the victim was 16. He's now 20.

Guidry confessed that he provided the victim with alcohol and admitted to the sexual assault, authorities said.

The Diocese of Lafayette placed him on leave and previously said it has not paid for Guidry's legal expenses.

Letitia and Scott Peyton, the parents of the abused teen, also are pursuing a civil suit against Guidry and the diocese, seeking damages for pain and suffering. The suit alleges that although the diocese has paid for counseling since the allegations came to light, a senior church official threatened to halt the payments if the family sued.

Earlier this month, the Diocese of Lafayette released a list of 33 priests and four deacons credibly accused of sexual abuse. Guidry was on that list. The diocese did not offer information on what they were accused of or when the accusations

California bishops, Archdiocese of LA respond to 'nuisance' allegations

The Angelus

April 30, 2019

The following are statements from the California Catholic Conference (CCC) and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from April 29 regarding comments made by attorney Jeff Anderson in a press conference held the same day.

California Catholic Conference statement:
Contrary to statements by Attorney Jeff Anderson today, the ANTI-SLAPP court ruling supported the California Catholic Conference and Dioceses of California’s position against Jeff Andersons’ claims of nuisance. The court dismissed five of the eight claims made by Jeff Anderson. The Court reaffirmed that Anderson’s client had no claim for nuisance. The California Dioceses have established broad policies and programs at parishes, schools and ministries to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement, prevent and protect against misconduct and to help support victim-survivors of abuse. The failures of the Church to address the issue of abuse in the past caused great harm and the trust in the Church has been broken. Victim-survivors such as Mr. Emmens are rightfully angry for the harm that was inflicted by members of the Church in the past. That is why the Catholic Church in California has taken responsibility not just in words but in action and will continue to take the necessary steps to support victim-survivors, cooperate with law enforcement and help make our parishes, schools and ministries safe places for all.

Archdiocese of Los Angeles statement:
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has had a long-standing commitment to supporting victims of abuse, the protection of children and the vulnerable, and the prevention of abuse and misconduct in our parishes, schools and ministries. The Archdiocese was one of the first dioceses in the nation to publish a comprehensive report about the failures of the past to address the issue of abuse which included a list of names of clergy accused of abuse, whether living or deceased.

The 2002 Report to the People of God had been updated throughout the years with the most recent update published in December 2018.

Of the 307 names that Jeff Anderson has released concerning the Archdiocese, only one was a priest of the Archdiocese who had not been disclosed in the Archdiocese’s public releases because that one priest was not accused of sexual abuse. All the other individuals listed have been disclosed, had no affiliation with the Archdiocese, or no allegation of abuse against them was known to the Archdiocese while they were affiliated with the Archdiocese.

West Virginia Diocese Fights Case on Technicalities, not Merits

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 30, 2019

West Virginia Catholic officials are doing what Catholic officials have done for decades: claiming they cannot be sued for clergy sex crimes and cover ups. In a twist, this time the action was not filed by a victim, but rather the state’s top law enforcement officer.

In a new court filing, Church officials claim Attorney General Patrick Morrisey lacks proper legal authority to go after the diocese for its "long pattern of covering up and keeping secret the criminal behavior of priests as it relates to sexual abuse of children."

While AG Morrisey has said that the motion "lacks merit," we find it disturbing that once again Catholic officials prefer to defend themselves on technicalities rather than to address the allegations of the lawsuit in open court.

It would be reassuring – and shocking – to just hear one bishop, anywhere, say “We could battle to try to have this lawsuit thrown out of court. Or we could prove that we’re innocent. And that’s what we’re going to do, because we are indeed innocent of these charges.”

Where is The Vatican's Preliminary Report into Theodore McCarrick?

Survi ors Network of those A used byPriests

April 30, 2019

Last October, Pope Francis called for a "thorough study" into Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and how he was able to advance up the church hierarchy despite the allegations of serial abuse that had been made against him.

It has been six months since then. Surely it is time for at least a preliminary report.

Why such a glacial pace, especially when high ranking church staffers who knew of or suspected McCarrick’s crimes and misdeeds and ignored or hid them are very likely still on the job today (and may still be ignoring or hiding OTHER clergy sex crimes or misdeeds)?

Such a slow pace sends the wrong message. It says to those who conceal or enable powerful priests to hurt youngsters “No worries. We’ll drag our feet on our ‘investigations,’ giving you ample time to fabricate alibis, rehearse excuses, shred documents, quietly retire or whatever.”

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick quickly. So it is clear that, when he wants to, the pontiff can move quickly on abuse and cover up. It is time he publicly disclose and discipline those who essentially helped McCarrick hurt so many.

Activists praise Argentina, press pope on fight against clergy abuse


April 30, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Members of a global anti-clerical abuse network met with the Argentine Ambassador to the Holy See, Rogelio Francisco Emilio Pfirter, on Monday to promote initiatives in support of “zero tolerance” in Pope Francis’s native land.

“Argentina is also the land of Pope Francis, and we thought it was important to bring forward certain requests to the Argentine government,” said Francesco Zanardi, president and founder of Italy’s most prominent survivor network Rete l’abuso, in an April 29 interview with Crux.

Unlike the situation in Italy, Zanardi said, actions to promote accountability and transparency in Argentina are proceeding “very well.”

The Italian clerical abuse survivor and activist led a delegation of “Ending Clarical Abuse,” (ECA), a global network of survivors, during a meeting Monday with the ambassador in Rome only a stone’s throw from the Vatican.

From May 3-6, ECA will launch a series of initiatives in Argentina calling Francis to address the growing concerns about clerical abuse and cover-up in the country.

Former St. Landry Priest Michael Guidry to be sentenced


April 30, 2019

On Tuesday, convicted St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry will be sentenced on child molestation charges.

In March, Guidry, who served at Saint Peter’s Church in Morrow, pleaded guilty to molesting a deacon’s son after giving him alcohol.

Guidry faces 5 to 10 years in prison.

The former pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Morrow was arrested in June 2018 after a deacon’s son came forward to allege the priest had given him alcohol and molested him. In December 2018, Guidry was formally charged with molestation of a juvenile by the St. Landry Parish District Attorney.

KATC’s Abby Breidenbach was LIVE this morning with more on today’s scheduled sentencing.

During a hearing in early April, judge Alonzo Harris ordered that Guidry be placed on the sex offender registry and turn over his passport.

Guidry is listed in both Acadia Parish, where he lives, and St. Landry Parish, where his church was located, as a sex offender.

Letter from SNAP Missouri to Missouri's Attorney General

Surivvors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 17, 2019

The below is a copy of a letter that was sent to Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt from leaders of SNAP Missouri.

Dear Attorney General Schmitt:

We’re very confused. We need your help.

On the one hand, we want to encourage our members to cooperate with you and your probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups. We know many victims find it stressful in the short term but healing in the long term to talk with secular authorities about their betrayal. We know that many victims feel better when they do their part to expose and deter irresponsible behavior that endangers kids.

On the other hand, the very last thing we want is for already-suffering abuse victims to suffer more. We do not want to prematurely and falsely raise hopes for possible justice and healing, only to have those hopes dashed later. We don’t want to urge them to cooperate with a probe that turns out to be a whitewash.

So we don’t know what to do about your office’s supposedly look into clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

We’re particularly puzzled and frustrated by your unwillingness to respond to us. For more than six months now, we’ve tried in various ways to reach you. We’ve sent emails. We’ve send registered “return mail requested” letters. We’ve held news conferences outside your offices. We’ve written op eds.

But we get no reply.

Would you investigate racist crimes and cover ups without talking with the NAACP?

Would you look into harm done to agricultural personnel by chemicals without talking with the Farm Bureau?

Would you claim you’re doing a probe into wage theft without talking to labor unions?

So why on earth would you say you’re delving into clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic institutions without talking with the leadership of SNAP, the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy sex abuse victims?

Please, for the healing of victims and the safety of kids, help us understand this. Please, at this point, at least respond to our letter.

Thank you.

David G. Clohessy

314-566-9790 (cell)


Jim McConnell

Kansas City SNAP Leader



Catholic Charities’ plan to open Oakland center for sex trafficking survivors meets resistance

San Francisco Chronicle

April 30, 2019

By Gwendolyn Wu

The social services arm of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland is seeking to open a home for teenage victims of sexual trafficking, but the church’s plan to help girls who have been abused is facing opposition on multiple fronts.

Claire’s House, named after the mother of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, plans to house up to 12 teenage sex trafficking victims at a location in Sequoyah, a forested neighborhood of the eastern Oakland hills, said Mary Kuhn, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Charities of the East Bay, which will oversee the home.

O’Malley has focused on fighting human trafficking, and when she approached the diocese and other East Bay leaders about a new initiative, the nonprofit offered to convert a former rectory into a shelter.

“If we don’t have housing or some safe place for people to be, what do we expect to happen?” said O’Malley, whose late mother had a reputation for taking in her children’s friends if they needed a place to sleep.

But the proposal has met resistance from some advocates for survivors of sex trafficking, who say the church’s stance on abortion and contraception could harm victims. Meanwhile, neighbors of the home worry that traffickers will bring crime, drugs and guns to their community.

Short-term residential therapeutic programs are usually designed for foster youth and licensed by the California Department of Social Services. Claire’s House, which is still awaiting certification from the state, would differ slightly in that it would provide a bridge to intense support for young sex trafficking victims.

Clients will be able to stay up to 18 months at the facility while accessing mental health services and schooling, Kuhn said. The program will bill Medi-Cal for therapeutic services.

But the shelter will take a strict approach in facilitating access to contraception and abortions.

Catholic Charities of the East Bay will not make appointments for clients at clinics that provide contraception or abortion services, nor will it provide transportation, Kuhn said. Instead, Claire’s House will post a sign in a common area that explains the teens’ medical options.

Beyond that, Kuhn said, they will need to rely on their guardians to arrange for such services.

Ingrid Persson, a former grant manager at Catholic Charities of the East Bay, said she fears the nonprofit will run afoul of regulations that allow minors access to birth control or abortions, which the Oakland Diocese’s top official denied.

April 29, 2019

Catholic Diocese of Sacramento releases list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse


April 30, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento released the names of 46 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse over the past seven decades.

The clergy named in the list have been credibly accused of sexually abusing 130 minors or young adults, aged 25 and under, the diocese said in a news release. The list is based on the personnel records of nearly 1,500 bishops, priests and deacons from 1950 to the present.

“This list is heartbreaking. It is a sickening and sobering account of the history of sex abuse by clergy in our diocese,” Bishop Jaime Soto said in a news release. “It is repulsive to see the evil acts that were perpetrated upon innocent children and young people entrusted to our care."

The list was posted at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday on the diocese’s website. See the list of the 44 priests and two permanent deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse here.

"We believe really strongly, and the bishop here believes really strongly, that if we’re going to recover the trust of the people, the trust of Catholics and the public, that begins with the accounting of what happened in the past," diocese spokesperson Kevin Eckery said. "By having this accounting, by seeing, frankly, what was a catalogue of evil and failure and pain, that it’s always going to stay with us and we’re always going to be, you know, on target watching for this, to make sure it never happens again.”

The list was originally supposed to be released last fall, but it was pushed back to March after the diocese hired an outside consultant to go through the personnel files. The diocese then announced on Sunday that the list would be released this week.

The Diocese of Sacramento serves 1.3 million Catholics across 20 counties and is one of 12 dioceses in California.

Other dioceses in the state have also said they would release the names of priests facing abuse claims in the wake of revelations about priest sex abuse in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Third accusation of sex abuse made against Monsignor Harrison deemed unsubstantiated

The Bakersfield Californian

April 29, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

A third allegation against Monsignor Craig Harrison surfaced Monday when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno confirmed an accusation of sex abuse was reported two decades ago.

In 1998, a man reported the alleged abuse to the Firebaugh Police Department, and then later reported it in 2002 to the Fresno Diocese, according to Teresa Dominguez, communications director for the diocese. The diocese investigated and took no action.

"(The accuser) didn't feel that it got its due attention in 1998 so he did return in 2002 to the diocese," Dominguez said. "The diocese determined it to be unsubstantiated."

The man said the abuse occurred at St. Joseph Church in Firebaugh, where Harrison served as pastor from July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1999.

"However, it's our policy ... if we do discover something comparable that occurred in the past we bring it into the current conversation," Dominguez said.

Harrison's attorney, Kyle Humphrey, said he was surprised the Diocese of Fresno had revealed the latest accusation, given the circumstances of the allegation.

Diocese: Allegation against Bakersfield priest in 1998 was unsubstantiated


April 29, 2019

By Jason Kotowski

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno said an allegation of abuse in 1998 against a well-known Bakersfield priest who is currently facing accusations of sexual misconduct was unsubstantiated.

Msgr. Craig Harrison, who for years has served as pastor of St. Francis Catholic Church, is facing sexual abuse allegations from two men. One is claiming sexual misconduct occurred while Harrison served as a priest in Firebaugh, the other in Merced.

Diocese officials on Monday said an allegation against Harrison in 1998 was unsubstantiated.

The current allegations surfaced Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Harrison has denied wrongdoing.

His attorney, Kyle J. Humphrey, has said, "These people are committing character assassination on a good man. We will continue to fight against these false allegations and we will restore Monsignor Craig’s good name and see him reinstated to his rightful place as pastor of Saint Francis parish."

Harrison has been placed on leave.

Man vows to proceed with California clergy abuse lawsuit

Associated Press

April 29, 2019

A man who says he was molested by his parish priest decades ago vows to proceed with a lawsuit targeting all Catholic bishops in California after a judge dismissed part of the suit.

The so-called "nuisance" lawsuit filed in October by Thomas Emens claims a civil conspiracy among church officials to cover up clergy assault and move offending priests to other parishes.

Last week a judge dismissed 5 of the lawsuit's causes of action, while upholding 3 others.

Emens' attorney, Jeff Anderson, said at a news conference Monday that the judge's decision will still allow him to examine church documents. Anderson says the lawsuit's goal is to force the church to reveal the names of all priests accused of molestation.

Steve Greene, a lawyer for the California Catholic Conference, says the fate of the 3 remaining causes of action remains uncertain and will be determined at a future hearing.

LI diocese declines to release list of priests accused of sexually abusing children


April 29, 2019

By Bart Jones

The Diocese of Rockville Centre will not release a list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children although it may do so in the future, church officials said Monday.

The decision is in contrast with those of the Archdiocese of New York and other dioceses around the country which have published such lists.

“At this time, the diocese believes that while the investigations of claims and allegations are ongoing, it is premature to release a list of accused clergy,” though it remains under consideration, said Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

He added that “not a single priest or deacon of this diocese is currently in ministry who has been the subject of a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a minor,” and that the diocese turns over to law enforcement any allegations of sexual abuse against minors by clergy.

Lawyers for sex abuse victims criticized the decision not to release the list.

“That choice is a continuation of the conspiracy of silence that that diocese and its officials including the bishops … have been perpetuating for decades,” said Michael Reck, a Manhattan-based attorney who represents clergy sex abuse victims in the diocese.

“It flies in the face of the child protection movement and it fails to provide any healing for the survivors who have already been hurt and does nothing to protect children today,” Reck said.


Pacific Standard

April 29, 2019

By Emily Moon

Last year, a California man sued bishops from every one of California's 11 dioceses, arguing that the church's history of concealing abusers' identities is a threat to free speech. This month, a California judge ruled that some of the claims in the lawsuit would be allowed to proceed—a decision that could force church officials to release the names of alleged abusers in dioceses across the state.

In a press conference about the court order on Monday, Tom Emens recalled the first time he spoke about his abuse publicly, in October of 2018, and called the ruling a "small victory":

It's another powerful moment in time. If you're a victim-survivor out there, this is a huge day for all of us. If you read these words here, what the judge said in the ruling, it rings true: This is a very long, difficult battle. ... But it's a moral battle, it's a just battle, and I will stand here with these people, these victims, these survivors, these advocates, and I'll do everything I can to hold the church accountable.

Emens, a 50-year-old Camarillo resident, has accused a now-deceased family priest who was in residence at an Anaheim, California, parish of grooming and abusing him from ages 10 to 12. While he cannot seek justice against his own abuser, Emens told Pacific Standard in a November of 2018 interview that he hopes his lawsuit will force the state's dioceses to confront a widespread pattern of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.

Join Facebook Live conversation with bishop of Erie Diocese


April 29, 2019

Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Catholic Diocese of Erie will take part Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Take part in a live video conversation with Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico and Erie Times-News staff writer Ed Palattella on Tuesday.

Persico and Palattella will be live on the Erie Times-News and www.GoErie.com Facebook page from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. They will discuss the Diocese of Erie’s response to the clergy sex abuse crisis a year after Persico released an unprecedented list of credibly accused clergy and laypeople in the diocese.

Email your questions in advance to ed.palattella@timesnews.com or join the live conversation to ask a question, make a comment or watch and listen.

SBC’s sexual abuse study should include a probe of its own files on reported abuse

SBC Global

April 29, 2019

By Christa Brown

Within hours of each other, two men emailed me with harrowing stories of having been sexually violated as kids on a church trip to Glorieta Baptist Conference Center (now defunct) in New Mexico. They both told of having grown up in the same Southern Baptist church in Louisiana, and they both named the same music minister as their perpetrator.

I asked if the two of them had been in touch, but they said they hadn’t spoken in over 20 years.

This unlikely coincidence happened in 2007 when survivors were flooding my inbox with their stories of Baptist clergy sex abuse and church cover-ups. Because of the providential timing, the story of these two men has remained with me.

The saddest part of it was what they told me about their futile efforts to seek help from Southern Baptist Convention officials.

The first man, whom I’ll call Bill, was the son of an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He was 14 at the time he was abused, and he told of significant physical and psychological harm.

Years later, as an adult, he called the SBC offices, asking to speak with someone about the abuse. According to Bill, the man who returned his call “spent more time trying to show the error of my homosexuality than providing a listening ear.” He insisted that the perpetrator had “turned (Bill) gay,” and emphasized that “the SBC held no responsibility.” He did nothing to extend compassion or care to Bill or to responsibly address his allegations.

The second man, whom I’ll call Brad, was 16 at the time he was abused by his music minister. He told his parents, who informed the senior pastor, but the police were not notified.


New Jersey 105

April 29, 2019

By Sergio Bichao

Times may have changed but a former priest accused of having a sexual affair with an underage girl in the 1980s still has his job as a middle school teacher in this district.

An arbitrator for the state Department of Education has ordered the district to return English teacher Joseph DeShan back to the classroom despite protests by parents worried about his troubling past.

The arbitrator’s April 2 decision says the district had no basis to file tenure charges against DeShan because officials provided no proof that he did anything wrong while he’s been employed in their schools.

DeShan was suspended from his position earlier this school year for the second time in his nearly 21-year career in Cinnaminson. In both cases, the suspensions were the result of the same reports of his sexual affair with an underage girl in the 1980s when he was in his late 20s and a priest in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The woman, who first told her story when she was an adult, said the sex began when she was 14 and continued until DeShan impregnated her when she was 15 or 16.

From published reports, DeShan appears to have never publicly denied the relationship but he was never charged with a crime because the woman went public with her story after Connecticut’s statute of limitations on sex crimes had run out. The legal age of consent in both states is 16 unless the adult is in a position of authority.

DeShan could not be reached for comment for this story and New Jersey 101.5 did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Pope names Archbishop Etienne coadjutor archbishop of Seattle

Catholic News Service

Apr 29, 2019

By Kevin Birnbaum

Pope Francis has named Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage to be coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, meaning he will assist and could succeed Archbishop James P. Sartain in leading the archdiocese.

Etienne, who will celebrate his 60th birthday June 15, has been in Anchorage since October 2016.

Sartain, who will turn 67 June 6, has led the Seattle Archdiocese since 2010.

Etienne was preparing for Holy Week on the morning of Saturday, April 13, when he got a call from Archbishop Christophe Pierre. the apostolic nuncio to the United States, saying Pope Francis had appointed him coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

“To say I was caught off guard would be an understatement,” Etienne told Northwest Catholic, magazine for the Seattle Archdiocese. “You just never expect these phone calls.”

Nevertheless, he said, “My answer was immediately to say yes.”

In his nearly 27 years as a priest and 10 years as a bishop, he’s learned to trust in God’s providence when the pope asks him to take on a new responsibility, “to follow the Lord to another land.”

“My life is at the service of the church,” he said. “I’m a pastor at heart.”

Etienne’s appointment was announced by the nuncio April 29; a “rite of reception” Mass - because Sartain remains archbishop of Seattle - will be celebrated June 7 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.

Admitted Abusive Priest with ties to Chicago arrested in East Timor

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 29, 2019

A priest from a Chicago-based Catholic group has been arrested for molesting little girls in East Timor, one of the poorest countries on earth. We hope Catholic officials in Chicago will mount an aggressive outreach drive so that he might also be charged here.

For decades, Fr. Richard Daschbach has run an orphanage called Topu Honis Shelter Home in East Timor. Last year he allegedly admitted that hesexually abused little girls at the orphanage. As of two months ago he was reportedly refusing to leave the facility and was still saying mass, despite being defrocked. Given the access that Fr. Daschbach has had to children in this vulnerable area, we fear it is very likely that he abused dozens of little girls before finally being arrested.

Fr. Daschbach was ordained at St. Mary’s Mission Seminary in Chicago and was a member of the Chicago-based Society of the Divine Word (SVD). We call on Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich and leaders from the SVD to use every tool at their disposal to encourage officials here to investigate if any crimes were committed in the U.S. by the former priest, with the goal of having him face prosecution in this country as well.

By laicizing Fr. Daschbach but ignoring the fact that he had returned to ministry around young children, Church officials at the Vatican washed their hands of him. But leaders in the Chicago Archdiocese and SVD can show they care and want to prevent abuse by pulling out the stops. They should be appealing to governments in both countries to do everything they can to make sure that Fr. Daschbach is kept away from children for the rest of his life.

Former NH Priest Named in New York List of Abusers, SNAP Urges Outreach

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 29, 2019

A former New Hampshire priest has been named a credibly accused child molester by Catholic officials.

Fr. John Voglio’s name was posted Friday on the Archdiocese of New York’s list of abusers. Voglio had previously been mentioned in a 2003 New Hampshire attorney general’s report but, until last week, there was no admission by church figures anywhere that the abuse allegations against him were legitimate.

We hope Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci will disclose more details about Fr. Voglio’s time in the state and his current whereabouts. Fr. Voglio belongs or belonged to a Catholic religious order known as the Salesians.

And we hope others who may have seen, suspected or suffered abuse in New Hampshire – by Fr. Voglio or others – will find the courage to speak up, make a report to the police and attorney general, and find pathways to start healing.

Another Survivor Comes Forward in the Diocese of Fresno; SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 28, 2019

A second man has now accused Msgr. Craig Harrison of child sexual abuse. He reportedly told the Merced Police Department on Friday that the monsignor inappropriately touched him in 1988 when he was a boy. The priest had been suspended from ministry earlier in the week pending an investigation into similar allegations from another man.

While we have no firsthand information about this case, we know that false allegations are exceedingly rare. Multiple allegations are even less likely to be false.

We also know that it can take decades for a victim to find the courage to speak out. Studies show that the average age to disclose is 52, with the median age 48. So it was infuriating to read that Msgr. Harrison’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, claimed that "When someone comes forward to allege an incident from 31 years ago, their motivation is suspect.”

It was also maddening to have Mr. Humphrey opine that “[T]hese individuals see potential financial gain.” While we understand that the attorney is only doing his job, it seems to us that his comment was beyond the pale.

As far as we know, neither of these men has filed a lawsuit for damages. Moreover, as a lawyer should know, Both are in fact most likely barred from taking that action by California’s predator friendly statutes of limitations.

Most survivors come forward to the Church and police, as these two men have, out of concern for today’s children. Considering the way victims are depicted when they do come forward, it is a wonder than any ever speak out, and certainly not surprising that it takes time to gather the strength and bravery to do so.

We hope that others who may have been abused by Msgr. Harrison or anyone else in the Diocese of Fresno, as well as anyone who witnessed or suspected abuse, will take courage from the fine example of these two men and make a report to law enforcement and to California’s Attorney General.

Vatican reveals more about guidelines on children of priests

The Tablet

April 29, 2019

By Ruth Gledhill

The Vatican has confirmed that guidelines on dealing with Catholic priests who father children are sent to any episcopal conference that requests them.

Mgr Andrea Ripa, of the Congregation for the Clergy, wrote to Vincent Doyle, founder of the Coping International, which defends the rights of children of priests worldwide, confirming the policy of the Vatican concerning the document.

"Should an Episcopal Conference request the text from the Congregation, we are more than happy to send them a copy," he wrote.

Now Mr Doyle is calling on the Vatican to publish the guidelines in full.

The existence of the document has been known since 2017, but it has never been published.

It is not known how many children of priests there are, but Coping International's website has 50,000 users.

In a recent interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, said: "The Dicastery follows the longstanding practices from the time when Cardinal Claudio Hummes was prefect — about ten years — who first brought to the attention of the Holy Father (at the time, Benedict XVI) the cases of priests under the age of 40 with children, proposing that they obtain the dispensation [from clerical state] without waiting for the age of 40, as provided for in the norms [in force] at the time.

"Such a decision had, and has, as its principle objective, the safeguarding of the good of the child, that is, the right of the child to have at his side a father as well as a mother."

Ex-priest convicted of altar boy abuse faces May sentencing

Associated Press

April 29, 2019

The delayed sentencing of a defrocked Massachusetts priest convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy is scheduled for late May.

Officials at York County Superior Court in Maine say 76-year-old Ronald Paquin will be sentenced on May 24. A pair of men testified they were altar boys when he invited them on trips in the 1980s and assaulted them repeatedly. The jury returned guilty verdicts on 11 of 24 gross sexual misconduct charges, involving one of the men.

Paquin had been slated for sentencing in early March, but his attorney filed a motion requesting a mental health evaluation.

He spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts prison for sexually abusing another altar boy in that state and was released in 2015 before being taken into custody in Maine.

A fair and open trial gives justice for victims of abuse — and discourages secrecy

Philadelphia Inquirer

April 29, 2019

Earlier this month, parents of children in a charter school in Arizona found out that the school’s recently hired curriculum consultant had been accused of sexually abusing a minor in his former job. John F. Meyers just last year was removed from his position as rector at St. Joseph’s-in-the-Hills Retreat House in Malvern after an investigation substantiated claims of child sexual abuse. One of his early victims and a team of investigators found him through social media and informed the school.

It is unclear if the charter’s operator knew about the accusations and ignored them, or if Meyers managed to keep them a secret. One reason Meyers could have kept his secret was that he was protected by Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

Under current Pennsylvania law, criminal charges for child sexual abuse can only be brought before the victim is 30 and a civil lawsuit before the victim is 50. That became an issue most recently in the case of Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, more than 300 of whom were named in last summer’s grand jury report detailing decades of child sexual abuse. Charges were brought against only two of the predator priests because of the statute of limitations.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and others have pushed to reform the law since the report came out, but Republicans in Harrisburg have consistently delayed the effort, arguing that a constitutional amendment is needed to extend the window of time to sue . A bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for future child abuse passed the House last week.

The opportunity to take legal action is important, because it creates a public record. Far too often, those accused of abuse and harassment settle their cases under conditions of secrecy. If they have behaved badly, they are not held to account.

This secrecy is becoming increasingly problematic. An Inquirer investigation last week found that Bloomsburg University President Bashar Hanna was quietly ousted from two other Pa. universities for mistreating female employees. Now he is facing similar allegations in Bloomsburg. Had either institution taken legal action, Hanna would have not been able to move on so easily. His actions would have been part of the public record.

Settlements wrapped in secrecy prevent a public record. In January, the city settled a lawsuit against Sheriff Jewel Williams for $127,500, one of two settled on his behalf. Williams claims he is innocent. The taxpayers who paid for his representation, and who are expected to vote for a sheriff in the upcoming primary, would not need to speculate had the case gone to a trial and a judge and jury would have convicted or vindicated Williams.

At the Ecclesial Epicenter: Benedict’s Response to Scandal

National Catholic Register

April 26, 2019

By Ines Murzaku

Chapter 41 of The Life of St. Neilos of Rossano, an Italo-Greek ascetic of the late 10th and early 11th centuries, describes a cataclysmic event (around 973 or 975) happening in the city of Rossano, Calabria, Neilos’ birthplace: after a torrential rain lasting many days and nights, a great earthquake struck the city. In the resulting landslide, the upper part of the city, along with the houses and chapels, collapsed and fell on the lower part, covering houses and churches in the rubble. Nothing was spared, except for the cathedral and the church of Saint Irene.

This event caused amazement and awe in those who witnessed it, as everything was displaced and transformed in appearance. The saint, who at that time was living in seclusion, leading a life of prayer and penance, decided to enter the town and observe what had happened to his people firsthand and teach them what they, in their sin, had forgotten. When reflecting on a current situation in the Church, I thought of this historic, devastating earthquake which transfigured the city by literally bringing the high part of the city into the low.

The 10th-century cataclysm in Rossano is very similar to the situation of a Church in catastrophe and a society that—as Pope Emeritus Benedict identified in his April 10, 2019, letter—is devoid of faith and devoid of God. For Benedict only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such catastrophic offenses possible. When God is absent, he explained, evil replaces the good and the moral in society. In a society devoid of God, evil makes a presence—and it is evil that destroys men.

Benedict points the finger to the dilution of moral doctrine of the Church, or Catholicism becoming Catholicism-lite with a similar diluted and politicized theology or moral teaching – if this is theology at all – that has caused the catastrophe. The formation of young priests in Catholic-theology-lite moral doctrine starting in 1968 caused the downslide and the transformation, and sexual abuse and pedophilia are among the symptoms. Benedict’s lucid theological discernment comes through very clearly in this timely piece of writing, in which he not only detects problems but offers solutions.

This is a theological treatise, not a political or politically-motivated piece, and far less orchestrated by people who are behind Benedict. Benedict is calling for unity in the basics: the Church’s moral teaching. The essay comes from an elderly bishop who loves the Church—who, although in advanced age, as a “grandfather of all grandfathers” as Francis referred to Benedict on Sept. 28, 2014, is sharing his wisdom and faith, which is the most precious legacy. Francis, as he himself has said, considers having Benedict in the Church to be like having a wise grandfather at home.

Why Benedict, and why is he now coming to the rescue?

Church of England leaders 'turned a blind eye' to child abuse claims against teacher

Daily Mail

April 29, 2019

By Rory Tingle

Church of England leaders allegedly 'turned a blind eye' to child abuse claims against a teacher who was allowed to move to an Anglican school in Papua New Guinea despite facing child sex assault claims, an investigation has revealed.

Roy Griffiths, a deputy head teacher at Lincoln Cathedral School, was accused of indecently assaulting a pupil in 1969, but remained employed until 1970 when another boy made abuse claims against him.

He stayed at the school for at least two further months and was able to move to a job at an Anglican school in Papua New Guinea. The late Rt Revd Kenneth Riches, former Bishop of Lincoln, knew about the case from the first complaint.

Neither Lincoln Cathedral School nor Lincoln Diocese informed the police at the time and they only heard 45 years later, BBC Panorama found.

Griffiths admitted abusing six boys at Lincoln Cathedral School last year, and was sentenced to six years and seven months in prison.

One of Roy Griffiths' victims, who now lives in Canada, told Panorama: 'It should have been dealt with right away, and the Church should have instructed the police... and they didn't. They just turned a blind eye and moved on.'

Lincolnshire Police and Lincoln Diocese investigated 25 people over alleged abuse, from a list of 53 names which were passed to officers, with three cases leading to convictions.

Diocese of Sacramento to release list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse


April 29, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento will publish a list of priests and deacons this week that it said have been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors over the past seven decades.

Bishop Jaime Soto released a letter Sunday acknowledging the pain this will cause members of the Sacramento community.

"I am repulsed and heartbroken by the evil acts that were perpetrated upon the innocent by those entrusted with their care. When you read the list you will experience your own feelings of shock, anger and disgust. This undoubtedly will reopen wounds for some," Soto wrote in a letter. "I apologize for the sins and failures of the past. I am determined that such acts of abuse should never again occur in our diocese."

The diocese hired an outside consultant to go through hundreds of files and determine which cases were credible. This comes as dioceses across the country are releasing the names of priests accused of sexual abuse.

Former Catholic school teacher gets 21 years in jail for sex abuse in Spain

Agence France-Presse

April 29, 2019

A Barcelona court sentenced Monday a former gym teacher at a Catholic school to over 20 years in jail for sexually assaulting students, in the latest abuse scandal rocking the church in Spain.

Joaquin Benitez, who taught for nearly three decades at a Barcelona school run by the Marist community, a Roman Catholic order at the centre of a clerical abuse scandal in Chile, got a jail term of 21 years and nine months for assaulting four students.

The court also ordered Benitez to pay the victims a total of 120,000 euros ($134,000). This is the first sentence since public accusations of abuse against Benitez in 2016 triggered a cascade of other complaints at two other Marist schools in Barcelona.

The ruling comes amid sustained criticism of the Vatican's response to a decades-long sexual abuse crisis. The court said Benitez had an office with a bed "where he took students to give massages and treat injuries."

His victims described behind closed doors at the trial in March how Benitez would summon them to his office and sexually abuse them. Benitez apologised to his victims as he left the court after the first day of the proceedings, justifying his behaviour by the fact that he himself had suffered sexual abuse as a student at Catholic boarding school.

The Sexual Revolution and sex abuse scandals: A Protestant take on Pope Benedict's letter

Christian Post

April 29, 2019

By David Closson

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI recently surprised church observers by weighing in on the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal. In an almost 6,000-word article published in Germany, Benedict argued that clerical sexual abuse could be traced to the moral transformation that transpired during the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The rejection of biblical morality and absolute truth, Benedict said, has led to the “dissolution of the Christian concept of morality.”

The public comments represent a rare move for the former pontiff, who, in 2013, became the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign. At the time, Benedict pledged to live out his remaining years in quiet contemplation. Thus, his public letter, which was approved by Pope Francis, is a notable change for the former leader of the world’s largest church.

Initial reaction to Benedict’s letter was mixed. Whereas conservatives praised the former pope’s analysis, those on the theological left immediately criticized the letter for its “thin analysis” of the situation. Critics, such as church historian Christopher Bellitto, attacked Benedict’s letter for omitting conclusions that were reached during a February summit in Rome, such as the claims that “abusers were priests along the ideological spectrum, that the abuse predated the 1960s, that it is a global and not simply Western problem, [and] that homosexuality is not the issue in pedophilia.”

As far as the contents of the letter, it is divided into three parts.

The first section outlines the “wider social context” of the clerical sexual abuse scandal. In scathing language, Benedict attacks the 1960s as a time when the “previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely.”

Specifically, Benedict points to the loss of objective truth as a major turning point for the church.

Michigan residents leaving the Catholic Church as many turn away from religion

M Live

April 29, 2019

By Julie Mack and Scott Levin

The Catholic Church has loomed large over Gloria Emmons’ life.

Growing up in metro Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, her devout Catholic family was surrounded by other devout Catholics. Everybody went to church on Sundays. Nobody ate meat on Fridays. Almost every home had a statue of Mary.

Emmons attended Catholic schools through college. She married in the church, sent her two sons through Catholic schools and the family attended weekly Mass for years.

But today, Emmons describes herself as an “ambivalent” Catholic.

“There are lots of conflicts” between Catholic doctrine and contemporary values such as equality for gays and women, said Emmons, 65, who lives near Kalamazoo. “As we move forward as a society, they stare you in the face."

Emmons still considers herself Catholic. “I still love the Mass,” she said.

But she no longer belongs to a local parish, and when she attends Mass nowadays, it’s typically to accompany her 93-year-old father to his church in Oakland County.

My uncle, a deceased priest now accused of abuse, can’t defend himself

Washington Post

April 28, 2019

Regarding the April 25 Metro article “Baltimore Archdiocese names more priests accused of abuse, all deceased”:

My uncle’s name appeared on the list of priests accused of sexual abuse issued last week by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I would like to call him and ask him what I should think about this, but he died in 1981. Where is the fairness in publicly defaming men who are not here to defend themselves?

The law says a dead person cannot be defamed. But the damage to his reputation and to his memory is very real. The American Catholic Church failed miserably in its handling of this scandal, in its secrecy and its blind allegiance to the priest abusers. But it is no less a failure to throw out to the public the names of people who were not proved to have committed these crimes and who have no chance to be heard.

I am trying to be the voice my uncle was denied. To those who knew and loved the Rev. Regis F. Larkin, I urge you not to be influenced by this list. Remember the easygoing guy with the great sense of humor and brilliant way with words. Those are the memories he deserves.

And to the people who participated in the decision to list my uncle, I hope you understand that you have just increased the length of the list of people who are victims of this scandal.

Maureen Loftus Hogel, Pittsburgh

Survey: Catholics want church to invest funds in line with its values

Catholic News Service

April 28, 2019

By Dennis Sadowski

More than 90 percent of Catholics said they believe that Catholic organizations should invest church funds in ways that are consistent with church teaching and values, according to results of a new survey.

In addition, about 31 percent of respondents to the survey conducted by Boston-based Catholic Investment Services said that news of clergy sexual abuse and the church’s handling of such allegations has caused them to give less to their parish. Still, 7 percent of respondents said they have given more to their parish.

However, 41 percent of respondents said they either plan to donate less to their parish or are considering giving less in the future.

Peter Jeton, the firm’s CEO, said the findings would help Catholic institutions understand the thinking of individual donors in planning future investments to fund church-based operations. The survey results were released April 24.

“My sense is that this (awareness of socially responsible investing) increasingly is a personal issue that people in the pews feel,” Jeton told Catholic News Service.

“There is increasing talk of the notion of donating financial resources and to what kind of causes and there is an implied stewardship that needs to be played there,” he explained. “If you are a parish or a diocese receiving this kind of funding, what kind of obligation is there to invest in a way that could be considered consistent with the church in a whole group of things.”

The question still follows GU President Thayne McCulloh: Did he know? Some are certain that he did


April 28, 2019

By Shawn Vestal

In recent months, a refrain has arisen from many people who live, teach and study at Gonzaga University: There’s no way Thayne couldn’t have known.

That response touches on the insistence by GU President Thayne McCulloh that he was not aware that the Jesuits were sending priests who had sexually abused children to retire on campus, before and during his presidency.

Starting in the 1970s, the leaders of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus sent 24 priests who had “credible claims” of abuse lodged against them to live in Cardinal Bea House – a retirement home owned by the Jesuits and located on the GU campus – or in the GU-owned Jesuit House, which has been replaced by the Della Strada Jesuit Community.

The men sent there included several notorious Jesuits with long and publicly documented histories of abuse, many of them in Native communities in Alaska and the West – histories that were reported in the news media and revealed in lawsuits and bankruptcy actions over more than a decade. A report by Reveal, aired on radio and as a podcast in December, landed like a bomb on campus; while the report was in many ways a compendium of previously reported information, it detailed for the first time the extent of the practice of housing abusive priests on the GU campus.

In a statement after the report, McCulloh offered a seemingly contradictory series of assertions about what he knew and didn’t know. The bottom line: He said he was never notified that Jesuits who were on supervised “safety plans” over abuse allegations were living at Bea House or on campus while they were there.

East Timor: police arrest ex-priest for sexually abusing girls in his orphanage


April 28, 2019

The police in Timor-Leste have arrested a former priest who has been accused of sexually abusing young girls in his orphanage in the country’s enclave Oecusse.

"R.D." was brought before the judge on Friday, April 26, and is now in custody, sources confirmed. Meanwhile the director of the shelter was arrested too on Sunday, April 28, after she organized an attack against a former resident of the orphanage whom she suspected of having given a statement against the priest.

Last November the Vatican dismissed R.D. from his clergy status punishing him for the crimes he allegedly committed when he was a priest. (READ: Vatican defrocks former U.S. cardinal over sex abuse claims) It is the first time that a case of sexual violence against minors by a member of the Catholic clergy has become public in Timor-Leste.

R.D. is an 82-year-old American who was a member of the congregation Society of the Divine Word (Societas Verbi Divini, SVD).

After his ordination in 1964 he went to Indonesia. Later he settled in Oecusse, Timor-Leste’s western enclave, where he established in 1992 Topu Honis Shelter Home, which presented itself as "a safe haven" for orphans, poor children, disabled adults and abused women.

Over the years it served hundreds of children. The sexual abuse took place in Topu Honis’ orphanage for young girls and boys, located in the isolated mountainous hamlet of Kutet. A second location in the coastal village Mahata accommodates the teenagers. R.D. was a respected priest and seen as a savior, who provided food, clothes, and education to the most deprived people in the area. His community called him "father" and "God." But there was a dark side to him and the shelter.

April 28, 2019

A delicate line emerges in defending a popular priest while respecting potential victims of abuse


April 27, 2019

By Stacey Shapard

When a celebrity priest is accused of sexual misconduct, where does the line between defending a beloved pillar of the community end and intimidation of an accuser begin?

The question came up this week after Monsignor Craig Harrison of St. Francis Church was placed on paid leave by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno after it received an allegation earlier this month that Harrison inappropriately touched an altar boy when he served at a church in Firebaugh, northwest of Fresno, years ago. That same day the diocese received a second report of alleged abuse by Harrison, diocesan officials said Saturday, this time at a church in Merced in the 1980s.

The initial allegations reverberated throughout the St. Francis congregation and the greater community — where Harrison has long been a fixture of goodwill, faith and homegrown pride. Immediately, hundreds posted messages of support for Harrison on social media.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal

Voice of America

April 26, 2019

[Audio of 25-minute interview]

Stephen White, Executive Director of The Catholic Project at the Catholic University of America, and Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, Research Associate Professor also at Catholic University, join host Carol Castiel to examine the latest developments in the worldwide Catholic Church sexual abuse crisis and their ramifications for the papacy of Pope Francis and the future of the Catholic Church.

Why I became Catholic at a time like this

B.C. Catholic, Archdiocese of Vancouver

April 25, 2019

By Kasey Kimball

A cradle Anglican, Kasey Kimball grew up in Newburyport, Mass., moving to Vancouver in 2014 to attend Regent College. In 2018, she graduated with her MA in doctrinal theology and was received into the Catholic Church this Easter. She shared her story of conversion at St. Mark’s College April 7 with the talk “The Body of Christ Suffers Together: Reflections from a Convert to a Church in Crisis.” This is a shortened version of that testimony.

Trying to tell one’s own conversion story is a bit like trying to express the ineffable. Yes, there are important moments, important revelations, and important books to mention, but the work of grace is also inherently mysterious. Every time I tell this story, I get more insight into that work of grace, and am newly amazed by it.

Last August, I attended Mass at a small outdoor chapel in Lake Tahoe, Calif. At that time, I was deep in ecclesiastical no-man’s land. I’d flunked out of RCIA a few months earlier (by that, I mean I attended all the classes and went through all the rites but could not in good conscience become a Catholic at Easter).

* * *

When the priest came out, he spoke directly about the McCarrick scandal which had broken that week. He acknowledged the horrors of the abuse, the need for accountability and reform. I appreciated his directness, the refusal to maintain a chain of silence.

I also found myself feeling unexpectedly drawn to the Church. The impression I had in that moment was that if the Catholic Church was the body of Christ in a particular way (and that was still a big if), then I needed to move close to her in this time of crisis. If you find this a strange reaction to the revelation of yet another instance of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, I did too.

The Catholic Church faces a youth retention problem following sex abuse scandals

USC Annenberg Media

April 23, 2019

By Mia Speier

When USC students discuss Catholicism with one another, all too often the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the sexual abuse scandal in the church. That’s what David de la Cruz has experienced during his time on the Caruso Catholic Center Student Advisory Board.

“I think there is a lot of misunderstanding because I know that sometimes when I say that I am Catholic, the punchline eventually gets to, ‘Oh, how many pedophile priests do you know?’” said de la Cruz, a sophomore majoring in classics and informatics. “That is very reductionist, and a hurtful sentiment to hold.”

The topic of sexual abuse in the church goes beyond everyday conversations with Catholics, and has been thrust into the national spotlight.

Pope Francis convened an unprecedented summit in late February to discuss the global crisis of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Leaders from across the world joined in conversation with one another at the Vatican following revelations of thousands of cases of abuse in countries like Japan, Australia, Germany and the United States.

Chilean prelate denies communion to faithful who kneel down


April 25, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Rome - Though far away from the center of the action in Rome, Bishop Celestino Aos, the temporary head of the embattled Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile, has a tough job. He’s replacing a cardinal being investigated for cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, whose predecessor is also being questioned by local prosecutors.

During the Easter season, Aos might have made his own job even harder when on Holy Thursday during the Chrism Mass he was filmed denying communion to at least two faithful who were kneeling down.

Crux received two different videos showing Aos refusing the sacrament to kneelers in a celebration that made several Mass-goers uncomfortable from the beginning. The Chrism Mass is one of the most solemn liturgies of the year, and is often the largest annual gathering of clergy and faithful held in most dioceses. Among other things, it’s during this liturgy that the oils that will be used for various sacraments throughout the year are blessed.

The entrance procession included Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who’s being investigated by civil authorities for cover-up and who’s been named in a complaint for failing to report a rape of an adult man that allegedly took place in Santiago’s cathedral. This led to several priests walking out of the service, with Crux identifying at least two.

Presence of disgraced bishops in Holy Week reopens Chile’s wounds


April 23, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Rome - On the Catholic calendar, Holy Week is a period of meditation on Jesus’ death and resurrection, a time for mea culpas and healing wounds. Yet in Chile, a country deeply scarred by clerical abuse scandals, several bishops being investigated for either abuse or cover-up chose Holy Week to reopen wounds instead.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of eight Chilean bishops over the past year, after all of them offered to step down last May. The country’s bishops find themselves engulfed in scandal due to decades of mismanagement, cover-up and, in some cases, personally having committed abuses. The pontiff also accused them of committing crimes connected to the abuse of minors, including destroying evidence.

Five of those bishops nonetheless showed up at Holy Week celebrations, in some cases discreetly, in others as concelebrants to the apostolic administrators Francis has appointed to replace them. That includes Bishop Gonzalo Duarte, who’s been accused not only of covering up cases of abuse but of abuse of power with sexual connotations against seminarians.

As Father Eugenio de la Fuente summarized on Twitter, during the Holy Thursday Chrism Masses celebrated in five Chilean dioceses, five bishops belonging to the “Pandora’s box” described by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the lead Vatican investigator in Chile, showed up to either to preside or concelebrate.

“It hurts, disappoints [and] wounds,” de la Fuente wrote.

New York Archdiocese releases names of 120 clergy accused of sex abuse


April 27, 2019

By Ray Sanchez

The Archdiocese of New York, the second-largest diocese in the nation, has identified 120 priests and deacons accused of sexually abusing a child or having child pornography in the latest revelations in the Catholic Church's long-running sex abuse epidemic.

The list, which includes Theodore McCarrick, the defrocked and once-powerful US cardinal, comes as the church -- both in the United States and around the world -- wrestles a wave of scandals that have spurred criminal investigations, roiled the faithful and damaged the institution's moral credibility.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a letter released with the list Friday that he realizes "the shame that has come upon our church due to the sexual abuse of minors."

Archdiocese of New York Names 120 Clergy 'Credibly Accused' of Child Sex Abuse


April 27, 2019

By Gabriela Saldivia

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York released the names on Friday of 115 priests and five deacons who have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children.

In a letter to members and family of the archdiocese, New York's archbishop, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, asked forgiveness "for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful."

The disclosure from one of the largest archdioceses in the nation follows similar revelations in recent months that further exposed the depth of a decades-long abuse crisis in Catholic communities across the United States. Last August, for example, a grand jury investigation revealed widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania. In February, Roman Catholic bishops in New Jersey and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn also provided lists totaling nearly 300 clergy members who faced accusations of sexual assault.

List of Archdiocesan Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor or the Subject of Eligible IRCP Compensation Claims

Archdiocese of New York

April 26, 2019

Set forth below is a list of clergy of the Archdiocese of New York who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor or possessing child pornography, or who were the subject of a claim made to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) that was deemed eligible for compensation. This list includes only archdiocesan clergy, which consists of bishops, priests, and deacons who were incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York. It does not include priests belonging to religious orders or institutes, many of which have already released their own lists of accused priests, nor “extern” priests who were ordained in other dioceses.

The inclusion of a cleric’s name on the list does not state or imply that he is guilty of a crime or liable for any civil claim. The criminal justice system presumes that a person who has been indicted by a grand jury, or otherwise accused of or charged with a crime, is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, a defendant in a civil action is not liable unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Where an allegation involving an archdiocesan cleric resulted in a civil settlement, there was not a finding of liability against the archdiocese or the cleric, as is typically the case with civil settlements.

The archdiocese has created a Review Board to assist it in determining whether allegations of sexual abuse of a minor are credible and substantiated, and whether or not accused clergy should be removed from ministry as a result. A determination by the Review Board that an allegation is credible and substantiated, however, is not equivalent to a finding by a judge or jury that a cleric is liable or guilty for sexual abuse of a minor under civil or criminal law. Likewise, the IRCP is a compensatory program and not an adjudicatory body. As such, it is not required to adhere to the same standards as a court of law.

This list, its categorization, and the additional information provided herein is accurate to the best of current archdiocesan officials’ knowledge, as of April 26, 2019. The Archdiocese of New York intends to update this list in the event that additional information is discovered or brought to its attention, or if additional allegations of sexual abuse of a minor are determined to be credible within the parameters set forth above. In the event that any changes are made to the list(s), the revised, modified or updated list(s) will be posted on the archdiocesan website.

California bill targets Catholic priests first, but rights of all religions are at risk

USA Today

April 28, 2019

By Pius Pietrzyk

The Bill of Rights is supposed to protect people from having to choose between the most sacrosanct part of their religious beliefs and imprisonment.

California is considering a proposed law that is nothing less than an attempt to jail innocent priests. California Senate Bill 360 seeks to change its law to force a priest, when he hears of sins in the confessional regarding sexual abuse, to make a choice. He must choose to either maintain the confidentiality of the sacrament and face possible imprisonment or to betray that confidentiality and violate his deepest conscience and the laws of God and the Roman Catholic Church. No priest I know would choose the latter.

In 1813, the New York Court of General Sessions commented on the Catholic sacrament of confession and the government’s proper role in respecting the secrecy of the confessional as a part of its constitutional duty to protect religious freedom. It said: “To decide that the minister shall promulgate what he receives in confession, is to declare that there shall be no penance; and this important branch of the Roman Catholic religion would be thus annihilated.”

If this bill is passed into law, California will commit precisely such an annihilation.

Former Sioux Falls priest: Time to think differently about clergy

Argus Leader

April 27, 2019

By Patrick Anderson

When Bill Walsh left behind the priesthood it was because he saw a problem with the old ways and wanted to move on with his life as much as he had once wanted to be a leader in the Catholic Church.

Walsh served in small towns in South Dakota, in Salem for a year and then in Sioux Falls for the larger part of a decade.

He left because he didn’t think joining the clergy was a lifetime commitment – he chose to value the function of priesthood and leading a church over the form of priesthood emphasized by the old ways, Walsh said.

As Catholic dioceses in South Dakota and other states release the names of priests accused of child sex abuse, it’s time for Walsh and other lay people to again re-asses how they think about the priesthood, he said: Either take charge in protecting the future of the church, or continue to leave that responsibility to clergy.

“I don’t want anybody to leave the Catholic Church because of these accusations,” Walsh said. “You’re just feeding into this clerical culture that puts these guys on pedestals.”

More Catholics are considering leaving the church years after years of revelations about child sex abuse by clergy. Dioceses in Sioux Falls and Rapid City joined other church leaders across the country this year in naming accused priests, a movement that started after a grand jury in Pennsylvania accused dioceses there of covering up abuse by more than 300 priests.

About 22 percent of adults in South Dakota are Catholic, according to Pew Research Center.

Being a priest should be more about the functions of priesthood, not about the old beliefs that granted so much power and responsibility to members of the clergy.

That’s exactly why Walsh left.

Walsh was ordained in 1965 in Mitchell.

He compared his membership in the Catholic clergy to the military. Between seminary and priesthood, Walsh spent 20 years training and serving as a religious leader in the church. That was enough, he said.

“I really feel that very strongly, that a young man or a young woman can put in 20 years, which I did,” Walsh said. “And move on.”

The future of the Catholic Church depends on its followers’ willingness to leave behind ideas that members of the clergy are infallible representations of the church and instead focus on the roles and responsibilities of the entire church community, Walsh said.

In fact, every Catholic who leaves only lends strength to the same culture that assigns too much power and responsibility to the clergy, Walsh said.

“In so doing they just feed into the clerical culture of the church, where they think the bishop or the priest is somehow the church.”

Priests are human, Walsh said.

“With all the frailties of human beings,” he said.

Speakers address role of laity as Church moves forward from abuse scandal

Catholic News Service via Crux

April 27, 2019

By Carol Zimmermann

Washington DC - In introductory remarks during a conference examining the laity’s role in helping the Church move forward from the clergy abuse crisis, a speaker pointed out that what has happened impacts, and continues to affect, the whole Church.

“We can’t fix the Church by our own efforts,” but Catholics, like Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry the cross, “can carry some of the weight,” said Stephen White, executive director of The Catholic Project, a group sponsored by The Catholic University of America in response to the Church abuse crisis.

The group, which organized the April 25 conference at Catholic University, looks at root causes of abuse and ways for the Church to move forward with conferences and consultation with theologians, sociologists, canonists, social workers and historians.

On Pope Benedict XVI and resistance to a world gone mad


April 26, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Over the last ten days, four major milestones have been marked in the U.S. and elsewhere:

- The 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings (April 20)
- The 25th anniversary of the death of former U.S. President Richard Nixon (April 22)
- The 130th anniversary of the birth of Adolph Hitler (April 20)
- The 92nd birthday of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (April 16)

At first glance, putting those four things together almost seems a classic SAT question about “which item does not belong in this list?” The first three seem reminders of a world gone mad - National Socialism, the Watergate scandal, and the scourge of school violence.

Benedict, on the other hand, is one of the most celebrated theological minds in contemporary Catholicism, a figure who inspires intense devotion among a wide swath of the Catholic population.

Yet there’s a scarlet thread running through all four, because one of the cornerstones of Benedict’s thought over the years has been precisely a deep reflection on how such social evil is possible, and how the Church can best resist it. It’s a controversial diagnosis, and, for exactly that reason, it points to one of those deep tectonic fault lines in Catholicism that underlie a host of surface debates.

* * *

In a sense, it’s also the same point Benedict tried to make in his recent essay on the clerical sexual abuse crisis that caused such a tempest. While the hubbub focused on his line about “homosexual cliques” in seminaries and whether he was blaming gays, his ultimate diagnosis was that the real culprits are a loss of faith in God and a collapse of confidence in objective truth.

Once again, his central idea is that only truth - clearly defined, robustly proclaimed, and, when necessary, unabashedly defended, as he suggests John Paul II did with his 1993 encyclical Veritatis splendor - sets limits to the evils sinful human beings are capable of inflicting on one another.

Editorial: Cardinal sins and omissions: Dolan’s honest exposure of the sexual abuse of children

Daily News

April 27, 2019

Why did it have to be so difficult?

Cardinal Timothy Dolan struck a blow for transparency and accountability Friday by releasing a list of 120 priests who had served in the New York archdiocese and been credibly accused of sexual abuse. The list is the result of the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation & Compensation Program, administered by attorneys Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros.

Under the program, survivors shared their experiences with the church. If proven credible, a private settlement was created and survivors agreed to forego further legal action. None of the priests named are still in ministry. Many have since passed — as have their victims.

The sharing of the list brings a certain comfort to other survivors and family members.

NY Archdiocese's List of 120 Accused Clergy Missing Notable Names

Church Militant

April 26, 2019

By Christine Niles

New York - The archdiocese of New York has published a list of clergy credibly accused of abuse of minors, but missing from the list are names of several notorious clergy. Sources confirm Cdl. Timothy Dolan is hiding out in a mansion in Sloatsburg during the list's release.

Published Friday, the list of 120 priests only includes archdiocesan clergy and "does not include priests belonging to religious orders or institutes [or] 'extern' priests who were ordained in other dioceses."

All named clergy have either been removed from ministry or are deceased.

The name of Fr. Thomas Kreiser does not appear on the list, indicted by a grand jury for molesting a minor.

Kreiser, arrested in September for abusing a 10-year-old girl and now facing trial, had reportedly been recommended last year for a pastorship by chancery officials — in spite of the fact that he'd been caught in 2011 embezzling $25,000 from his parish to spend on personal expenses, including online gambling.

JRR Tolkien’s son ‘sexually abused by one of father’s friends’

The Guardian

April 28, 2019

By Catherine Pepinster

Author’s eldest child, a priest himself accused of abuse in 2001, talks of assault in recording made by his own victim

Lord of the Rings fans who settle down to watch the film Tolkien this week will be told the story of love and young friendships that later inspired the author to write his tales of Middle-earth. What the biopic won’t show, however, is the dark scandal of abuse that continues to haunt JRR Tolkien’s family more than 45 years after his death.

Last year the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) heard evidence of how the eldest son of The Hobbit’s author, Father John Tolkien, abused young boys during his time as a Catholic priest in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent.

Now it has emerged that the cleric said that he himself was abused as a boy, and that he was assaulted in the family home by at least one of his father’s learned Oxford friends.

Baltimore releases names of 23 priests accused of abuse after they died

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

April 25, 2019

By Christopher Gunty

Baltimore - The Archdiocese of Baltimore has published an additional 23 names of priests who had been accused of child sexual abuse after they were deceased.

All the allegations have been previously reported to law enforcement, in most cases more than a decade ago. Released April 24, the 23 additional names join 103 other clergy and religious brothers whose names had already been published by the archdiocese.

In 2002, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was one of the first in the country to publish names of those credibly accused of child sexual abuse. At that time, 57 men were named. Other names have been added in the intervening years as allegations became known. More were added in 2018 after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed allegations that included some priests who had served in Maryland or cases where the alleged abuse occurred within the boundaries of the archdiocese.

Baltimore archdiocese names more priests accused of abuse, all of them deceased

Washington Post

April 24, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer


When the Archdiocese of Baltimore first voluntarily published a list of its priests who had been accused of abusing children, shortly after the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposé of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, it was one of the first dioceses in the world to come forward with such a list.

But the list published in 2002, of 57 clergymen, left out many priests alleged to have abused children. In part, that was due to a decision made at the time to leave out the name of any priest who had died before his accuser came forward — amid the concern that the priest never had a chance to defend his name.

On Wednesday, the archdiocese reversed that decision, publishing the names of 23 deceased priests who had been “credibly accused” of abusing children. With other additions over the years, the list now includes 126 clergy members.

“For victims, having that name out there, it’s a public sign that they’ve been believed,” said Sean Caine, a spokesman for the archdiocese and a member of the committee that combed through files to identify the men who had not been previously named.

April 27, 2019

The question still follows GU President Thayne McCulloh: Did he know? Some are certain that he did


April 28, 2019

By Shawn Vestal

In recent months, a refrain has arisen from many people who live, teach and study at Gonzaga University: There’s no way Thayne couldn’t have known.

That response touches on the insistence by GU President Thayne McCulloh that he was not aware that the Jesuits were sending priests who had sexually abused children to retire on campus, before and during his presidency.

Starting in the 1970s, the leaders of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus sent 24 priests who had “credible claims” of abuse lodged against them to live in Cardinal Bea House – a retirement home owned by the Jesuits and located on the GU campus – or in the GU-owned Jesuit House, which has been replaced by the Della Strada Jesuit Community.

The men sent there included several notorious Jesuits with long and publicly documented histories of abuse, many of them in Native communities in Alaska and the West – histories that were reported in the news media and revealed in lawsuits and bankruptcy actions over more than a decade. A report by Reveal, aired on radio and as a podcast in December, landed like a bomb on campus; while the report was in many ways a compendium of previously reported information, it detailed for the first time the extent of the practice of housing abusive priests on the GU campus.

In a statement after the report, McCulloh offered a seemingly contradictory series of assertions about what he knew and didn’t know. The bottom line: He said he was never notified that Jesuits who were on supervised “safety plans” over abuse allegations were living at Bea House or on campus while they were there.

Qantas quietly drops Cardinal George Pell from its secretive Chairman's Lounge - 'the most exclusive club in Australia'

Daily Mail

April 25, 2019

By Stephen Gibbs

Qantas has cut Cardinal George Pell from its Chairman's Lounge - described as 'the most exclusive club in Australia' - as he laungishes in jail for molesting choirboys.

For years Pell had been able to hobnob with movie stars, prime ministers and captains of industry while enjoying fine dining and expensive wines on the airline.

The Chairman's Lounge is an invitation-only club for favoured Qantas customers who are treated to pre-flight massages, seat upgrades and personal service at all times.

Members, who do not pay any fees, simply call it 'CL'.

It is so exclusive that Qantas will not confirm who is a member, how they are chosen or even how many members there are.

Pell was jailed in March for three years and eight months after being found guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 years and four charges of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.

The offences were committed against two 13-year-old choirboys in the sacristy of St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996 when Pell was the newly-ordained Archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell, the third most senior cleric in the Catholic Church, has always denied the offences and has appealed against the convictions.

Qantas would not comment on the 77-year-old's Chairman's Lounge status but it was confirmed to Daily Mail Australia by independent sources he is no longer a member.

Metro East Roman Catholic clergyman charged with sexual assault


April 26, 2019

By Erin Heffernan

A clergyman with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville was charged Friday with sexually assaulting an adult woman on March 1.

Deacon Robert J. Lanter, 68, of Swansea, was charged with felony criminal sexual assault, and is accused of assaulting a 29-year-old woman who was unable to give consent.

Prosecutors did not specify the reason the woman was unable to give consent.

Lanter was ordained in 1997 as a deacon, an member of clergy who can perform many of the same duties as a priest.

Lanter resigned from all his positions with the diocese Thursday, including roles directing the Office of the Permanent Diaconate and providing ministry at St. Teresa of the Child Jesus Parish and St. Luke Parish in Belleville.

"I know that this information will come to you as a surprise and be a source of sadness and concern," Bishop Edward Braxton said in a letter Thursday to the diocese community. "At this juncture, the most important thing for us to do is to pray for Deacon Lanter, his family, and all those who may have been harmed by this development."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released a statement Friday criticizing the diocese and encouraging any other possible victims to come forward to law enforcement.

At least 16 deceased Island clergy on Archdiocese list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse

Staten Island Advance

April 26, 2019

By Joseph Ostapiuk

Advance research has confirmed that 15 deceased priests who have served on Staten Island are among the 120 bishops, priests and deacons found by the Archdiocese of New York to have been credibly accused of sex abuse.

The Advance has previously reported on prominent Island clergy who were brought before the Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program and found to have been credibly accused.

Through the process of cross-referencing in Advance archives, utilizing Archdiocese data, other media outlets and accessing databases of accused priests, the Advance confirmed that 16 of the deceased priests had served on Staten Island at some point in their career.

Fifteen of the 16 clergy who were credibly accused of abuse were never previously connected to a sex scandal, according to Advance archives.

Names on the list include archdiocesan bishops, priests and deacons who have been “credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor or possessing child pornography, or who were the subject of a claim made to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) that was deemed eligible for compensation,” according to a statement by the Archdiocese.

The deceased clergy on this list had already died or left ministry when claims about them were made to the IRCP; however, the program’s independent administrators determined that claims against them were eligible for compensation, the Archdiocese said in the statement.

The compensatory program is not an adjudicatory body, and therefore is not required to adhere to the same standards as a court of law, the statement explained.

April 26, 2019

New York Archdiocese names 120 priests accused of sex abuse

Associated Press

April 26, 2019

By Jennifer Peltz

At least 120 priests accused of sexually abusing a child or having child pornography have worked in the Archdiocese of New York, the archdiocese said Friday in releasing a list of names that includes bishops, high school teachers, a scouting chaplain and a notorious cardinal.

The release, from the nation's second-largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, follows more than 120 such disclosures from other dioceses around the country as the church reckons with demands for transparency about sex abuse by clergy.

In a letter to church members, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said he realizes "the shame that has come upon our church due to the sexual abuse of minors." He asked forgiveness "for the failings of those clergy" who betrayed the trust invested in them to protect young people.

"It is my heartfelt prayer that together we as a family of faith may be healed," Dolan added.

Church abuse watchdogs and lawyers for abuse accusers said the release of the list was a positive step, but some of them saw it as incomplete.

It doesn't include accused members of religious orders who worked in the archdiocese's churches and schools, though some orders have released their own lists. Nor does it list priests who were ordained elsewhere and later served in New York.

And there are no details on accused priests' past assignments or the allegations against them, although some have emerged in news accounts, lawsuits and criminal cases.

"It's certainly a good thing that they've come out with the list," said Terry McKiernan of Bishop Accountability, a watchdog group. But "do they still not see that this very, very reluctant way of offering information about the crisis is the wrong way for them?"

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that "the important thing is that we have released all of the names of priests that have a credible and substantiated charge brought against them," plus those awaiting a church determination on allegations, and those newly accused through an archdiocese-run compensation process.

The program has paid out $65 million to over 350 people in the past three years.

The list includes priests ordained between 1908 and 1988. Many have died, and the archdiocese said none is currently working in the ministry.

Most of the alleged abuse happened in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s, but there have been two credible allegations of sex abuse by active clergy since 2002, according to the archdiocese. It said authorities were alerted about both those cases.

As lists of 'credibly accused' Catholic priests proliferate, so do complaints about why some clerics and information about abuse are left off

Washington Post

April 26, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein and Marisa Iati

The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore this week made a major revision to its list of priests deemed credibly accused of abusing minors - upping the number by 22%, to 126, by adding for the first time some who were accused after their deaths.

The increase highlights the wide range of standards that dioceses are using to compile the lists and has raised new questions about the U.S. church's response to the clergy abuse crisis.

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The church has been promoting the release of accused priest lists - which have grown from 35 in 2018 to more than 120 as of this month, according to BishopAccountability.org - as evidence of a cultural move toward transparency. But even as they represent a significant shift from the aftermath of the 2002 crisis, they are coming under fire from some survivors and advocates for their inconsistent criteria, which in many cases lead to lists that omit names for unclear reasons or fall short on information about priests that are named.

Advocates point to cases such as that of George Stallings, a former priest who wasn't on the list Washington's archdiocese put out in the fall, despite it paying $125,000 in 2009 to a man who said Stallings and a seminarian sexually abused him as a teen. Or that of the Rev. Terry Specht, the longtime director of Child Protection and Safety in Arlington, Virginia, whose name wasn't on Arlington's February list, despite that officials permanently removed his right to act as a priest after he was accused of teen abuse.

Many dioceses don't include on their lists priests who are believed to have abused in their jurisdictions but are technically affiliated with religious orders (such as the Jesuits or Franciscans) or with another diocese. Some dioceses exclude people who are dead or who have only one accuser. Lists often include sparse information about priests' work history or details of the allegations or evidence.

"All of the forces that were at work in keeping this under wraps, those forces haven't gone away; it's just that there are now countervailing forces," such as the media, said Terry McKiernan, president of Bishop Accountability, a leading site that tracks abuse in the U.S. church. "By really reducing the news to a list of names whose stories we really don't know, they take a really negative story and turn it into a positive one."

The lists now being released by many of the country's 178 dioceses were mandated by courts or by settlements with victims, or were initiated by a "new generation of bishops who understand the importance of putting victims first," said Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI agent who in 2002 established and then led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' child protection office and now consults dioceses on topics including misconduct.

"Previous generations were so concerned about scandal and protecting the name of the church they'd never consider" putting out such lists, she said. McChesney believes the lists will be improved over time. They "are a good starting point," she said.

Generally, when lists are announced, victims' praise is faint at best and advocates are fast to point out the holes. Some survivors are fed up that it took so many years for their release and that the lists, even now, are skimpy. Many victims have been and remain silent.

To many victims, the lists are a public affirmation that they told the truth and, in many cases, are not alone in being abused by a specific priest. That's why some feel angry when lists are incomplete or hard to access on diocesan websites.

Lake Charles diocese, with so many ties to Lafayette, opted for transparency with priest abuse lists

The Advocate

April 26, 2019

By ClaireTaylor

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lake Charles and the Diocese of Lafayette have many things in common.

Until January 1980, five civil parishes that make up the Lake Charles diocese were part of the Lafayette diocese. Bishop Glen Provost, who was installed as bishop of the Lake Charles diocese in 2007, was born in Lafayette. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Lafayette by Pope Paul VI in 1975.

Many priests have served in both dioceses.

But when it came to joining in the national trend of releasing the names of priests with credible accusations of child sex abuse, the Lake Charles and Lafayette dioceses had very different approaches.

Belleville deacon arraigned on sexual assault accusations


April 26, 2019

A deacon with the Belleville Catholic Diocese was arraigned on Friday on accusations that he sexually assaulted a 29-year-old woman in March.

68-year-old Deacon Robert J. Lanter of Swansea, is charged with the felony criminal sex assault of a woman who, according to charging documents, was unable to give consent at the time.

Lanter was indicted by a grand jury on April 12 and entered a plea of not guilty. He is free after posting a $100,000 bail.

Reverend Monsignor John T. Myler, spokesman for the Belleville Diocese, confirmed that Lanter was the Diocesan Deacon Coordinator at St. Luke Roman Catholic Church in Belleville. Lanter had been a permanent deacon with the St. Luke parish since 1997.

Myler said the parish received Lanter's resignation on Thursday. He also said the victim was not a parishioner.

The Belleville Bishop's Office released a statement to members of the Diocese on Thursday. "I know that this information will come to you as a surprise and be a source of sadness and concern," the release said. "At this juncture, the most important thing for us to do is to pray for Deacon Lanter, his family, and all those who may have been harmed by this development."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) also released a statement on Friday. It read, in part: "We beg law enforcement to look beyond Lanter himself. We strongly suspect, based on 30 years of experience, that others in the diocesan hierarchy knew of or suspected wrongdoing but kept silent or hid it. We hope police and prosecutors investigate whether others in the church might be prosecuted as well."

The Real “Crisis” And “Scandal” In the Church

Patheos blog

April 25, 2019

By MJ Lisbeth

It is difficult to confront the past: Victims are made to relive their pain; victimizers are forced to face the truth. That, of course, is the reason why histories, whether writ large or in one’s own life, are too often unresolved: The victim’s suffering may just be too much to bear, and the victimizer’s guilt causes him or her to lie, evade or flee.

The unfinished business, if you will, doesn’t go away. It is carried across generations, through history and between families and cultures. As an example, many of the difficulties faced by African-Americans today are direct consequences of their country’s inability or unwillingness to deal honestly with slavery and its aftermath, as well as other aspects of their nation’s history.

There comes a day, however, when there is no choice but to deal with the crimes committed by individuals and institutions that had, and sometimes still have, power. Those crimes are like bubbles that could have been submerged only for so long: Eventually, they must rise from the depths to the light of day.

Just as those bubbles rise, whether they are in oceans or puddles, abuses must find expression by the individuals who experienced them or the societies in which they occur. Such expression might be in works of art, organizing communities, or simply in telling one’s story and someone else listening to it, without an agenda. Otherwise, those bubbles explode, and the people, their communities and cultures do not survive—or, at least, are tainted.

I am one of the people who could have been blown apart, if you will. Less than two years ago, I named the abuse I experience and my abuser—a priest who, half a century earlier, took advantage of my availability and vulnerability. I have, on a number of occasions, come close to destroying myself: whether consciously, through what people readily identify as “suicide attempts”, or unconsciously, through addictive and reckless behavior.

What seems odd to me now is that some might see recounting my abuse and remembering my abuser as the most difficult thing I’ve done, just as some people thought my “coming out” as a transgender woman was a “big step” for me. Yes, it took a lot of emotional and mental work to be able to take the reins away from the abuser and to stop the emotional blackmail he generated. But I realize now that the difficulty, the pain, of “coming out” as an abuse survivor is temporal, if not momentary. At least I know that, whether or not that pain has an end, it at least is something that I can use to forge new paths in my life and, possibly, help someone else do something similar.

New York Archdiocese Names 120 Catholic Priests Accused of Abuse

New York Times

April 26, 2019

By Rick Rojas

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York on Friday identified 120 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing a child, one of the largest disclosures to be made by the church.

The list of priests is the latest in a flood of names that have poured from dioceses and religious orders across the country in recent months as the church grapples with a scandal over its handling of abuse.

The disclosures have aided in illuminating the scope of an epidemic of sex abuse in the Catholic Church that has spurred investigations by law enforcement officials and inflamed a crisis in confidence among many of its followers.

Bishops have used the lists as a way to acknowledge their failures and take a step toward transparency as they try to placate Catholics who have been outraged by the scandal.

The archdiocese in New York is one of the largest Catholic communities in the United States, encompassing Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and several counties north of the city. The list of names covers decades of allegations, but unlike many other dioceses, church officials in New York did not include information detailing the assignments the priests had.

In a letter accompanying the list on Friday, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop, sought to strike a conciliatory tone.

Judge Dismisses Part of Nuisance Suit Filed by Clergy Abuse Victim

City News Service

April 24, 2019

A Los Angeles judge dismissed part of a nuisance lawsuit alleging that Catholic clergy have concealed decades of child sexual abuse, court papers obtained Wednesday show.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court issued her ruling April 17 after having previously taken plaintiff Thomas Emens' case under submission following oral arguments.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a statement regarding the ruling.

"In this case, the court looked at eight instances of disclosure or non-disclosure of information that were alleged to create a nuisance," the statement read. "She found that five of them were an attack on the right of free speech. She also found that those five instances involving protected speech were invalid because Emens could not show the existence of a nuisance and they were dismissed."

Because the judge left the other three matters open to further proceedings, the Archdiocese, the California Catholic Conference and other California dioceses are considering whether to appeal her decision on those three instances, according to the statement.

Emens maintains he suffered emotional distress as a result of clergy abuse. But according to the judge's ruling, Emens failed to show his emotional distress was different from that felt by other victims of Catholic clergy abuse, by parents who let their children interact with priests without supervision or from Catholics in general.

"As plaintiff has not established a probability of prevailing on the merits in his causes of action for private nuisance and public nuisance, his civil conspiracy cause of action also fails," Court wrote. Emens' attorney, Jeff Anderson, said he had not yet seen the ruling.

For many abused by priests, no window for justice


April 25, 2019

By Ken Kolker

A Barry County man said he was looking for justice when he recently called Target 8, along with the church and the Michigan Attorney General, to report a Roman Catholic priest had molested him when he was 12.

He thought his case was recent enough, just 20 years ago, that he could send his molester to jail or make him and the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids pay by suing them.

But while a growing number of states have passed laws allowing survivors in years-old cases to file civil lawsuits, there's nothing he can legally do in Michigan.

"I was pretty crushed," the man, now 31, said. "I was pretty upset because pretty much my whole life, all I wanted was a court of law to say that this guy was guilty, that what happened to me happened and that they're going to hold this guy accountable for what he's done. And after hearing that they couldn't because they were tied by the law, it took a lot out of me."

Michigan's statute of limitations in child sexual abuse civil cases, considered by some experts as one of the most prohibitive in the country, is blocking him.

Some state lawmakers tried to change that last year, but say the Catholic Church and others lobbied against it and won.

Target 8 is not naming the Barry County man, who said he was 12 years old in 1999 when Father David LeBlanc molested him at Holy Family Church in Caledonia, six years after the Grand Rapids diocese learned LeBlanc had molested another boy in another church in 1971.

The Barry County man was in the sixth grade when he was sent to the priest for causing trouble in school.

"After the fact, a lot of it I thought was almost like punishment for what I had done," he said of the sexual abuse.

Catholic Church fights against sexual abuse

The Echo

April 26, 2019

By Abigail Roberts

According to BBC News, the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church continues to globally face the exposure of decades of sexual abuse, specifically the abuse of minors.

Discussion on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church exploded into the U.S. public eye in 2002 after a report by the Boston Globe investigative team, Spotlight.

Spotlight’s publication unleashed a waterfall of victim testimonials, both in the U.S. and around the world, despite the fact that the victims’ ability to legally file a charge had expired on many of these cases.

Taylor is home to almost a dozen Catholic students, primarily from Central and South America.

“As a Catholic it is hard to hear about all of it,” freshman Elizabeth Magallanes said. “It’s really heartbreaking. I can’t even wrap my mind across the fact that there are priests doing this.”

In a time when sexual abuse is more widely discussed, an open platform has emerged for these issues to be brought into the light.

In September, a study revealed that German priests sexually abused 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014. The study was carried out by three German universities and revealed many documents related to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church were destroyed.

“As we look at how the abuse scandals have impacted the churches,” Assistant Professor of Biblical Ministries Hank Voss said. “We see that sin revealed destroys sin concealed. Sin always loses power when it is brought into the light.”

Archdiocese of New York Posts List of Clergy Accused of Abuse, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 26, 2019

We are grateful that the Archdiocese of New York is finally taking the step of list accused priests publicly, belated though it may be. While it's likely this list was only released in response to growing public pressure, we hope that the publicizing of this information will lead to more informed communities and will encourage survivors who may be suffering in silence to come forward and make a report to police and the attorney general.

The list released today by the Archdiocese of New York only includes names, years of ordination, and the current status; information that is good but not enough for a complete list. Cardinal Timothy Dolan should update his list to include, at a minimum, the work histories of each accused priest so that communities where abusers served know to look for survivors in their midst. Similarly, he should include information about when the archdiocese first received the allegations and what they did in response. Only by knowing what went wrong to enable abusers in the past can we best know how to prevent similar situations in the future.

Finally, while we are grateful for the bit of transparency shown by the Archdiocese of New York today, we will be looking to the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by Attorney General Letitia James for the full transparency that the public deserves and needs. If Cardinal Dolan is confident in the veracity of his list, we believe he should aid AG James in her investigation by turning over all of his files related to clergy abuse to her office and demonstrate true transparency and openness that way.

Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Seeks To Dismiss Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Lawsuit

The Intelligencer

April 26, 2019

By Jess Mancini

The attorney general of West Virginia lacks the authority to bring a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, according to a motion from the church to dismiss a lawsuit against it.

The lawsuit by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was filed in March in Wood County and claims the diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield knowingly hired pedophiles, failed to perform employee background checks and didn’t make any such disclosures to parents in violation of West Virginia consumer protection laws.

“The (attorney general) fails to allege that the (diocese) violated the (West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act) as it pertains to credit sales, consumer loans and consumer leases,” claims the motion for dismissal, filed on behalf of the diocese and Bransfield. “Rather, the AG’s allegations relate to the language on (diocese’s) website stating that it provides a safe school environment.”

The diocese in November issued a report of priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors or who had other credible allegations regarding the Charter for Protection of Young People.

In September, the Vatican accepted Bransfield’s resignation and Pope Francis appointed Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Diocese as apostolic administrator of the diocese with the assignment to investigate allegations against Bransfield.

Abuse By Boy Scout Leaders More Widespread Than Earlier Thought


April 26, 2019

By Wade Goodwyn

The Boy Scouts of America's own records show that more than 12,000 children have been sexually assaulted while participating in the organization's programs. The documents came to light through court testimony given by a researcher whom the Scouts had hired to do an internal review. The records reveal allegations against thousands of Scout leaders — allegations that date from the 1940s.

With such a huge number of victims, the organization could be facing multiple lawsuits and, as a result, bankruptcy.

The research also revealed significantly more abusers than previously thought. The names of Scout leaders deemed ineligible because of "reasonable allegations of child sexual abuse" were entered into the Boy Scouts of America's files, and those leaders were subsequently excluded from working with children.

Priest sexual abuse: NY Archdiocese releases comprehensive list

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

April 26, 2019

By Colleen Wilson

One hundred and twenty names of Catholic clergy members accused of child abuse or possession of child pornography was released today by the Archdiocese of New York.

The list includes 53 men who have been deemed by the archdiocese "credibly accused," another eight are awaiting a final determination from the church, and 58 men on the list had accusations that didn't meet the "credibly accused" criteria, but their victims were considered eligible for compensation, according to the Archdiocese website.

None are in active ministry. Some were defrocked, and others have died.

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program was created in 2016 to determine compensation for victims of Catholic priest abuse. More than 350 individuals have been received compensation through the program.

A review board for the program determines those "credibly accused" if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

the allegation is found credible and substantiated;
the accused was laicized or permanently removed from ministry as a result of the allegation;
the accused admitted the allegation; the accused was convicted of a crime in connection with the allegation;
a civil settlement resulted from an allegation prior to the creation of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program

Op-Eds: #MeToo: Why I Didn’t Want Winthrop

The Harvard Crimson

April 25, 2019

By Phoebe H. Suh

Phoebe H. Suh ’22 lives in Weld Hall.

When a frenzied mob chanting, “Winthrop!” burst through my door on Housing Day, I should have been thrilled. After all, Winthrop House was the last House to be renovated before Lowell House. It’s close to the Yard and clean, without the roaches endemic to Eliot and Kirkland Houses. It’s not Mather House. In terms of living spaces, Winthrop is one of the most desirable Houses. And, to be fair, I was quite pleased not to be placed in the Quad. But I also felt a looming dread because of Winthrop Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., and his decision to defend former film producer Harvey Weinstein against numerous charges of sexual assault and misconduct.

My name is Phoebe, and I am a survivor of sexual assault.

My story is similar to many others. I was raped in September after a party, three weeks after first arriving on campus. I spoke to the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the Title IX Office. I filed for a No-Contact order against my rapist and received one.

But Harvard failed me in the month following my assault. The morning after I was raped, I went to University Health Services. They gave me emergency birth control but could not provide me a rape kit there; now I have no physical evidence that I was assaulted. And when I spoke to the Title IX Office, I learned that a formal investigation, an emotionally exhausting process in itself, could stretch for months. I walked away without filing for one, desperate to restore some measure of normalcy to my life and bring an end to a terrible experience that had already gone on for long enough.

Letter From Archbishop Dolan On Clergy Sex Abuse

CBS New York

April 26, 2019

Below is the letter released by Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan on Friday regarding an appeal for the church’s victims assistance outreach and the list of clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors or who were the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

April 26, 2019

Dear Member of the Family of the Archdiocese,

As we continue the Easter season, and affirm once again the central reality of our faith—that the Lord through His Cross has brought us to the new life in the Resurrection—we live as people of hope in the face of all the evil and sin we find in our world, and sad to say, even in our Church.

I write today as someone who himself realizes the shame that has come upon our Church due to the sexual abuse of minors. I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.

More specifically, I write today because after hearing from many victim-survivors, many of you, and many priests, I have decided to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or who were the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program that was determined to be eligible for compensation. That list is now public at archny.org/letter. Along with those clergy’s names, the list also includes their dates of ordination and current status. Please be assured there is not a single priest or deacon of the Archdiocese of New York against whom there has been a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a minor currently in ministry.

The archdiocese has taken numerous steps to strengthen and enhance its procedures to ensure that our children are protected and to comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002. For those who are not familiar with those procedures, here are the key points. Whenever the archdiocese is notified of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the archdiocese reports that allegation to the appropriate district attorney. Even where law enforcement cannot act upon an allegation, the archdiocese removes the accused priest from ministry while the allegation is investigated by outside professionals, all of whom are former federal agents, and refers the allegation to our Review Board to determine whether or not it has been substantiated. If it finds an allegation to be substantiated, the priest is permanently removed from ministry. The names of clergy have also been published in our archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, and among the parishes where the accused was assigned. We have initiated the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, as a way to bring healing and justice to those who were abused by archdiocesan clergy.

Chilean bishops fear new measure would enforce breaking confession seal

Catholic News Service

April26, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Chilean bishops said that while they support legislation requiring priests and religious authorities to report crimes, they also fear that an update to the country's current law would force clergy to break the sacramental seal of confession.

The 155-member Chilean House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure April 23 that would add clergy and religious men and women to the list of police, members of the armed forces, teachers and civil servants who are obliged to report all crimes under article 175 of Chile's penal code.

However, the House of Representatives also rejected a proposal that would exempt crimes reported during the sacrament of confession. The measure will now be debated in the Senate.

Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos, secretary general of the Chilean bishops' conference, told Chilean news site La Tercera that while the church supports laws that will ensure justice to victims of abuse, rejection of the amendment presents a "serious difficulty" because confession "is a sacrament and, consequently, an act of worship that is protected by Chilean law, specifically the penal code."

Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez of San Bernardo said that although the law is a "positive" step, legislators must also "safeguard the beliefs and the consciences of people, which is one of the most fundamental human rights."

"The sacrament of confession always implicates the right to safeguard the identity of the person who comes, and he or she knows that nothing said can be communicated to anyone under any circumstance," Gonzalez told La Tercera.

Fr. Ricardo Morales, apostolic administrator of Puerto Montt, said that priests cannot "violate the conscience of a person who manifests his or her sins before God."

However, he added, priests have the tools so that "a person who confesses a situation of abuse of a minor, for example, is not given absolution or not forgiven unless they report the crime" to authorities.

Diocese seeks dismissal of lawsuit

Daily Times

April 26, 2019

By Jess Mancini

The attorney general of West Virginia lacks the authority to bring a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, according to a motion from the church to dismiss a lawsuit against it.

The lawsuit by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was filed in March in Wood County and claims the diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield knowingly hired pedophiles, failed to perform employee background checks and didn’t make any such disclosures to parents in violation of West Virginia consumer protection laws.

“The (attorney general) fails to allege that the (diocese) violated the (West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act) as it pertains to credit sales, consumer loans and consumer leases,” the motion for dismissal filed on behalf of the diocese and Bransfield said. “Rather, the AG’s allegations relate to the language on (the diocese’s) website stating that it provides a safe school environment.”

The diocese in November issued a report of priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors or who had other credible allegations regarding the Charter for Protection of Young People.

In September, the Vatican accepted Bransfield’s resignation and Pope Francis appointed Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Diocese as apostolic administrator of the diocese with the assignment to investigate allegations against Bransfield.

The investigation into sexual harassment and financial improprieties concluded earlier this year and was forwarded to the Vatican, but did not conclude a crime was committed, a diocese spokesman said in March.


First Things

April 26, 2019

By Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Pope Francis is happy with Benedict XVI’s profound analysis of the reasons behind the abuse crisis in the Church, and grateful to his predecessor for pointing out the conclusions those in positions of responsibility must draw. Benedict XVI has rich experience with these issues: from his ministry as a priest (since 1953), as a theology professor (1957), as a bishop (1976), as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II (1981–2005), and as pope (2005–2013).

In the Church, the crucial instrument against sexual abuse is the Motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (2001). This law goes back to John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger, proving that Benedict was and is the most important figure in the Church’s fight against this crisis. He has the widest view of and deepest insight into this problem, its causes and history. He is in a better position than all the blind who want to lead other blind people—not the truly blind on whom Jesus has mercy, but those he warns against because they see and yet do not want to see (cf. Lk 6:39; Mt 13.13).

At age 92, Benedict XVI is capable of deeper theological reflection than his critics, who lack respect and are ideologically blinded. He is able to get closer to the source of the fire that has set the Church's roof ablaze. The catastrophic fire in Paris, in one of Christendom's most venerable houses of God, also has a symbolic meaning: It makes us appreciate again the work of good firefighters, instead of blaming them for the water damage done in the course of extinguishing the flames. Rebuilding and renewing the whole Church can only succeed in Christ—if we get our bearings by the Church’s teaching on faith and morals.

The recent assembly of the heads of episcopal conferences in Rome (February 21–24, 2019) should have signaled the beginning of getting to the roots of the evil of abuse. Only if we get to these roots can the Church in Jesus regain credibility as the sacrament of redemption for the world, and again communicate the faith that brings salvation which unites us to God. Unfortunately, the practical conclusions drawn from this assembly have not yet been made public, so the U.S. Bishops’ Conference cannot yet put its suspended measures into practice.

Abuse allegations against a nun

CBS 21

April 25, 2019

By Jasmine Brooks

Since the Catholic Church Grand Jury Report was released in August, PA lawmakers have been looking at strengthening laws relating to child sexual abuse.

This woman, Trish Cahill, was paid an out of court settlement by a New Jersey congregation.

but she says money will never heal her deepest wounds.

She now lives in Lancaster.

“I'm am sixty-plus years old and I have never had a sexual relationship in my life."

Trish Cahill says instead she's experienced sexual abuse and rape – and the perpetrators were two Catholic priests and a nun.

One of those priests she says, was her uncle.

"He said, we don't talk about this.” Said Trish Cahill. “When I wear the white collar, everything is under the seal of the confessional."

She was sworn to secrecy by her trusted uncle and the family patriarch, and Cahill says she was first molested at 5 years-old in New Jersey.

She remembers the details of that church visit with her uncle vividly.

Ivory Coast diocese announces priest's suicide

LaCroix International

April 26, 2019

A Grand Bassam diocesan priest in southwestern Ivory Coast who was accused of child sex abuse has committed suicide after he was reported to the local bishop.

Father Richard Bilé, 51, a curate at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Affiénou was found dead on April 24 shortly after morning Mass. Diocesan spokesperson, Father Lambert Lath Yédo, confirmed the news.

Sex abuse accusation Initial findings appear to indicate suicide by hanging, Father Yédo said.

"However, inquiries by gendarmes from Maféré are under way and they will inform us as to the exact cause of death," he added.

Bishop Raymond Ahoua was informed of an accusation of child sex abuse involving the deceased priest the previous week.

April 25, 2019

CUA exhibit reveals abuse survivors' experience of renewal in the church

Catholic News Service

April 23, 2019

By Dennis Sadowski

Eight survivors of clergy sexual abuse are sharing their experiences with The Catholic University of America community in a weeklong exhibit.

The survivors were paired with students, who developed a series of panels that highlight each individual's story to bring to light the impact of abuse.

Karna Lozoya, executive director of university communications, said the exhibit emerged from the school's Catholic Project, which was formed in 2018 to examine the clergy sexual abuse scandal after it erupted again last summer.

"The amazing thing is the involvement of the students and how powerful that experience was for them. It was difficult for the students to hear the stories," Lozoya told Catholic News Service.

The exhibit features 10 panels, each 24 inches wide and 36 inches long. Each panel briefly narrates a survivor's experience. A panel of introduction and a closing prayer bookend the display.

Retired priest who flashed teen asks to be freed from jail to live life in peace


April 25, 2019

By Haley BeMiller

A retired Catholic priest who exposed himself to a teenager is asking to be released from jail after being sent there for a probation violation.

Richard Thomas, 81, was sentenced in February to eight months of conditional jail time after he sought out minors at Bay Motel and Family Restaurant. He asked them personal questions, touched a boy on the shoulder and told a girl he would date her if he were her age.

The incidents violated the three years of probation Thomas received after pleading no contest in 2016 to two felony counts of exposing his genitals to a child. Brown County Judge Timothy Hinkfuss also sentenced him to four months in jail.

After his release from jail, Thomas also had a documented violation for having in-person contact with a minor and accompanying her to Tundra Lodge Resort and Waterpark, court documents show. It's unclear when that occurred.

In a letter to Hinkfuss this month, Thomas said the jail time is exacerbating a digestive system condition that causes him pain. According to Thomas, the jail's doctor is aware of his issues and authorized to send him to a hospital.

Thomas volunteered to discuss the matter further in court, saying he would agree to any conditions required of him. He claimed he can "do what is right and good and not be in any trouble."

Penn State ex-president asks court to overturn conviction related to Jerry Sandusky complaint

Associated Press

April 25, 2019

By Mark Scolforo

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier asked a federal magistrate judge Thursday to overturn his child endangerment conviction with less than a week left before he is scheduled to start serving a two-month sentence.

Spanier's lawyers argued his conviction under a 2007 law for mishandling a complaint about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy in 2001 violated the U.S. Constitution. They also assert that the statute of limitations was not properly applied.

The state attorney general's office wants U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to do what state courts have done and uphold Spanier's misdemeanor conviction for a single count of child endangerment.

Mehalchick did not indicate when she will rule, and it was unclear whether she might order a new trial or take some other action.

Fr. Robert DeLand Sentenced, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 25, 2019

SNAP is grateful that Fr. Robert DeLand has been sentenced to jail. We applaud this outcome and are thankful to the police and prosecutors who helped his victims find justice.

We hope that the sentence handed down to Fr. DeLand will bring some solace to those he hurt. We also hope that this case inspires other victims who may be suffering in silence and encourages them to come forward and make a report to police.

Sadly, finding justice through the criminal system can often be elusive for victims of sexual violence. Archaic statutes of limitations (SOL) prevent many complaints from being prosecuted. Michigan has no statute of limitations for first degree sexual misconduct and charges can be filed at any time in cases where there is DNA evidence. However, it still has among the harshest SOLs in the country for second and third degree child sex crimes, despite small reforms that followed in the wake of the Larry Nassar case.

Legislators in Michigan should work to reform these laws, and also to change the civil SOLs and open a civil window. A look back provision would allow survivors whose claims are beyond the criminal SOL to expose these “hidden predators,” as well as those who enable them. This is the only way to get information about these abusers into the hands of the public, information that will help protect children and prevent future cases of abuse.

Bishop Donald Hying Promoted to Lead Diocese of Madison, WI

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 25, 2019

The Diocese of Madison, WI will soon have a new bishop in place. We hope Bishop Donald J. Hying will take up Pope Francis’ charge from February to wage an “all-out battle” against clergy abuse.

Bishop Hying’s predecessor, Bishop Robert Morlino, blamed the clergy abuse crisis on homosexuality, a position that flies in the face of facts about sexual abuse. We hope that Bishop Hying will take immediate steps to keep children in Madison safe instead of washing his hands of responsibility by blaming scapegoats. We also hope that he will demonstrate the transparency and openness that Church leaders have promised since 2002.

In his previous position as the Bishop of Gary, IN, SNAP repeatedly asked Bishop Hying to add the names of publicly accused Gary priests to his inadequate and inaccurate list of 'credibly accused' clerics. He ignored those requests. We believe that continued secrecy about those who have committed abuse endangers both children and vulnerable adults.

Sexual misconduct allegation levied against Fresno Catholic Diocese priest

Merced Sun Star

April 25, 2019

By Yesnia Amaro

A 59-year-old priest with the Diocese of Fresno is on leave after being accused of sexual misconduct in Firebaugh.

Rev. Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison is being investigated after the allegation was made this month by an adult male, who was a minor when the alleged offense happened, according to a statement from the diocese.

Harrison currently serves at St. Francis Parish in Bakersfield. “I can confirm that there was a report taken, Monday April 15,” said Raquel Tabares, Firebaugh police records supervisor and lead dispatcher. “Right now, (the investigation) is still in the fact-finding stage.”

In a Firebaugh police’s news release issued mid-day Thursday, police say the alleged victim was allegedly inappropriately touched when he was 14 to 16 years old.

The diocese in its statement said the allegation was reported to its staff on April 12. The diocese reported it to the Firebaugh police three days later.

A Firebaugh police officer contacted the person who made the complaint, according to the statement.

The diocese is conducting its own internal investigation, and has notified all the parishes where Harrison has previously served. That includes Our Lady of Mercy and St. Patrick’s in Merced, St. Francis in Mojave, and St. Joseph in Firebaugh.

David G. Clohessy, with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests local chapter in Missouri, called out the diocese for taking three days to make a report to police.

“Three days may not sound like a long time,” he said. “But child sex abuse reports are supposed to be made immediately to police.”

Clohessy said he calls on law enforcement to not only investigate Harrison, “but to also look long and hard at church staff who may have broken the law by their delay or by ignoring or hiding other reports or warnings or ‘red flags’ about Fr. Harrison’s alleged wrongdoing.”

“We call on Fresno Catholic officials, including incoming Bishop Joseph Brennan, to explain this self-serving delay,” he said in an email.

Four other priests in the diocese are currently on administrative leave, pending ongoing investigations.

Late last year, the diocese acknowledged it was investigating three of its priests after complaints submitted to the diocese.

Earlier this year, the diocese said it was also investigating a fourth priest. Plus, last year a Los Banos priest was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading no contest to possessing child pornography.

Mass. Victims' Attorney Expects Wave Of Child Sex Abuse Allegations Against Boy Scouts Of America


April 24, 2019

By Marilyn Schairer

The Boy Scouts of America is coming under increased scrutiny after mounting allegations have surfaced that potentially thousands of scout leaders allegedly sexually abused children in scouting organizations across the country, including in Massachusetts.

Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who successfully sued the Catholic Church on behalf of clergy abuse victims, is representing more than 25 Massachusetts residents who say they were molested as Boy Scouts.

Garabedian said the pattern of alleged abuse at the Boy Scouts follows a familiar script as the clergy abuse.

“You have the sexual abuse of innocent children by a trusted authority figure, and the related secrecy of the abuse and of the perpetrator, and you have supervisors turning their backs on innocent children,” Garabedian said.

Child predator sting: Westchester, Rockland residents accused of trying to lure children for sex

North Jersey Record

April 24, 2019

By Anthony Zurita

A minister and a Ridgewood police officer are among the 16 people accused of luring children for sex.

Five Rockland men and one Westchester man are among 16 people who were arrested in a New Jersey sting operation and accused of trying to lure children for sex.

A teacher, a police officer, and a minister are among the men who were arrested between April 11 and 15 in an undercover operation in which law enforcement officers posed as boys and girls on social media, the New Jersey Attorney General said in a statement Wednesday.

The undercover officers used platforms such as Kik, Skout, Grindr, Tinder, MeetMe and Adam4Adam to pose as children and communicate with the men who were arrested, officials said.

Diputados aprueban proyecto que obliga a autoridades eclesiásticas a denunciar abusos

EFE/The Clinic

April 23, 2019

[Deputies approve project that obliges ecclesiastical authorities to denounce abuses]

Obispos, pastores, ministros de culto, diáconos, sacerdotes, religiosas u otras personas que conforme a las reglas de cada denominación religiosa detenten algún grado de autoridad sobre una congregación o grupo de personas en razón de la práctica de alguna creencia, estarán obligados a renunciar.

La Cámara de Diputados de Chile aprobó un proyecto de ley que obliga a los clérigos a denunciar abusos


April 24, 2019

[The Chamber of Deputies of Chile approved a bill that obliges clerics to denounce abuses]

La determinación de la Cámara Baja tendrá que ser ahora ratificada en el Senado en el segundo trámite legislativo antes de que sea mandado al Ejecutivo para su promulgación como ley

La Cámara de Diputados de Chile aprobó este martes un proyecto de ley que establece la obligación de todas las autoridades eclesiásticas de denunciar ante la Justicia civil cualquier ilícito contra menores o adultos vulnerables, tras los casos de abusos sexuales ocultados en el seno de la Iglesia Católica.

The female Google employees who staged the sexual misconduct protest say they're now being punished by their bosses

Hello Giggles

April 23, 2019

By Olivia Harvey

The female Google employees who staged the sexual misconduct protest say they're now being punished by their bosses
Hello Giggles
Olivia Harvey
Hello GigglesApril 23, 2019
The female Google employees who staged the sexual misconduct protest say they're now being punished by their bosses
Two Google employees who helped organize the 2018 Google Walkout say they're now facing retaliation within the company. Here's what they plan to do about it.
In November 2018, over 20,000 Google employees participated in the Google Walkout, a peaceful protest to draw attention to the company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct reports and to demand change going forward. However, although the seven (all-female) organizers of the walkout were initially supported by their coworkers and company higher-ups, they are now reportedly facing retaliation. According to a letter written by Claire Stapleton and Meredith Whittaker, two of the main organizers, the company is punishing them for their act of protest.

In the letter, published in Wired, Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research, stated that she was informed her role would be “changed dramatically” after Google disbanded its AI ethics council on April 4th. In order to stay at the company, Whittaker was told she must “abandon” her AI ethics work and step down from her position at NYU’s AI Now Institute, a research center she cofounded.

Celestino Aós, administrador apostólico de Santiago: “Yo no soy el salvador de nadie”

La Tercera

April 21, 2019

By María José Navarrete y Sergio Rodríguez

[Celestino Aós, apostolic administrator of Santiago: "I am not the savior of anyone"]

Son, tal vez, los primeros 29 días más ajetreados que ha tenido un obispo a cargo de la Iglesia capitalina. No ha parado. Hay elogios a su gestión exprés. Y una que otra crítica. Aquí repasa su mes debut. La labor de su antecesor, el cardenal Ricardo Ezzati. La influencia del sacerdote Jordi Bertomeu en la arquidiócesis. Su rotundo “no” al supuesto de que se hayan encubierto abusos y su venia para crear una comisión de verdad por los delitos ocurridos.


Diocese of Fresno

April 25, 2019

An allegation of sexual misconduct against Rev. Msgr. Craig Harrison was reported to
diocesan personnel on Friday, April 12, 2019, by an adult male who was a minor at the time
of the alleged abuse. On Monday, April 15, 2019, diocesan personnel reported the allegation
in person to the Firebaugh Police Department. Later that day, the officer who initially
received the report was able to contact and interview the complainant. The Diocese of Fresno
must defer to law enforcement regarding any additional information about the police
department’s investigation.
Concurrent with the investigation being pursued by law enforcement, the Diocese of Fresno
is conducting an internal investigation. This includes notification to all faith communities
where Msgr. Harrison has served, including:
Our Lady of Mercy, St. Patrick’s and Sacred Heart, Merced
St. Francis, Bakersfield
St. Francis, Mojave
St. Joseph, Firebaugh

‘Clergy privilege’ study shapes proposed law on protecting abused children

University of Buffalo

April 25, 2019

By Charles Anzalone

Research studying “clergy privilege” by UB School of Law Associate Professor Christine Pedigo Bartholomew heavily influenced legislation proposed by Assembly Member Monica Piga Wallace to add clergy to the list of people in jobs required to report suspicions of child abuse.

Bartholomew studied clergy privilege — the legal rule shielding confidential communications of priests and clergy — and found priests often wanted to divulge information concerning sensitive encounters about people confessing crimes, helping law enforcement find justice for crimes.

But when it came to accusations of sexual abuse against members of their fellow clergy, these priests often tried to find a way to withhold this information from law enforcement officials, citing their clergy privilege, according to Bartholomew’s study.

Bartholomew’s extensive research reviewed every opinion on clergy privilege from the early 1800s to 2016, the first time a legal scholar examined and recorded every opinion on clergy privilege.'

Robert DeLand receives 2 to 15 years in prison for sexual assault case


April 25, 2019

The suspended Saginaw County Catholic priest known as "Father Bob" will spend two to 15 years in prison.

The Rev. Robert DeLand is accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with males ages 17 and 21. The incidents allegedly took place in Tittabawassee Township and at his condominium on Mallard Cove in Saginaw Township.

He pleaded no contest last month to three charges: second-degree criminal sexual conduct, providing an imitation controlled substance and gross indecency between males. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but the court treats it as one at sentencing.

He made the plea days after a Saginaw County jury found him not guilty in two other cases. One of the cases involved the 17-year-old in today's sentencing, the other case involved a second 17-year-old male.

The most serious charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

There should be no limit on reporting sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church

Baltimore Sun

April 25, 2019

The latest listing of sexually abusive priests testifies to the long history of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy (“Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse,” April 24). Some of the abuse cases date to the 1940s. In several cases, there is a significant gap between the time the abuse occurred and when the victim(s) reported the abuse to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

To me, this is proof of the need to expand the window of time for bringing perpetrators to justice. I have been asked why I did not report the sexual abuse I experienced by a teacher when I was 10 years old. As a child in the late 1970s, I had no words to explain it. It takes a lot of time to process abuse and more time to come forward to authorities. There is no magic timeline.

In my case, the teacher was ultimately found guilty of raping a student at a Baltimore Catholic school. He is serving four consecutive life sentences for his crimes. I hope everybody who has ever committed sexual abuse is rooted out and appropriately charged. Sexual abusers, whether dead or alive, should not be shielded by artificial timelines. Maryland’s current law limits victims’ reporting to the age of 38-years-old. This must change so justice prevails.

Nancy Fenton, Baltimore

After list of SC Catholic priests accused of abuse, no simple path to healing

Post and Courier

April 25, 2019

By Gregory Yee and Rickey Dennis

For victims of abuse by Catholic priests in South Carolina, the past month has opened old wounds but also fostered new hope.

Since the 1990s, reports have surfaced implicating priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston in the abuse of minors dating back to at least the 1950s — cases that for years were treated in isolation.

As in other dioceses across the country, most of these incidents were handled internally by church leadership. Priests quietly resigned or were shipped off to other jurisdictions. Many victims did not wish for the publicity of a criminal investigation or trial.

On March 29, Charleston Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone released four lists with the names of 42 priests that a South Carolina church panel decided had credible accusations of child sexual misconduct made against them.

Many heralded the move as a long-overdue step in the healing process, a public acknowledgement by diocesan leadership of years of pain and betrayal felt by victims, and a chance for the church and its flock to begin moving forward.

In the weeks since the lists’ release, however, attorneys, victims’ advocates and others have been left pondering whether church leaders have done enough and what should come next.

Guglielmone and other local church leaders have taken and will continue to take steps toward helping victims heal, said Maria Aselage, a spokeswoman for the diocese. The bishop has held seven town hall meetings with parishioners across the state since November.

“During those meetings, he answered questions about the sexual abuse crisis within the Diocese of Charleston and the universal Church,” she said. “Moreover, he attentively listened to the pain that victims suffered and the heartache Catholics felt because of child sexual abuse within the Church.”

Parishioners have told church leaders that those meetings were an important step in the healing process, Aselage said.

The feedback on the list itself has been mixed, she said.

“Several callers were supportive of the bishop and his decision to release the names,” Aselage said. “Other communications were from people surprised and hurt to learn certain priests were on the list.”

An arduous road
In March, as he made the names of accused priests public, Guglielmone said he hoped the move would help bring healing to the victims and their families who have been “grievously harmed by the betrayal of priests and church leadership.”

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources"

Bilgrimage blog

April 25, 219

By William Lindsay

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources"

All of us seeking to understand and deal with the abuse of vulnerable people within religious communities owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ruth Krall. In one powerful essay after another, she has unpacked years of her research in this field, making insights and titles available to a wider community. Over the course of several years, Ruth has been producing extensive annotated bibliographies reflecting her years of study in this field. What follows is Ruth's latest contribution to the documentation of abuse in religious communities, of studies of this abuse and its roots, and of resources for combating such abuse. The essay below is Ruth's preface to the study bibliography of resources she is providing with this new document.

Father Craig Harrison placed on leave amid allegations of sexual abuse of a minor

Bakersfield Californian

April 25, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

Msgr. Craig Harrison, the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church since July 1999, has been put on paid leave for investigation of sexual misconduct with a minor, according to The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

In a media release, the diocese said it had received an allegation on April 12 of sexual misconduct by an adult male who was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. The diocese said it reported the matter to the Firebaugh Police Department on April 15.

Harrison previously served as pastor of St. Joseph in Firebaugh, according to the St. Francis of Assisi website. The diocese said he also served at Our Lady of Mercy, St. Patrick's and Sacred Heart in Merced, as well as at St. Francis in Mojave.

The diocese is also conducting an internal investigation.

Harrison answered the door at his downtown home just before 9 a.m. Thursday, before the Catholic Diocese confirmed he was on leave. Harrison was on his cell phone and looked shaken. He told a reporter he hadn't heard anything about being placed on leave and was trying to find out more information.

This is the second recent allegation to rock the local Catholic community.

The Rev. Miguel Flores of east Bakersfield's St. Joseph Catholic Church was placed on administrative leave after senior church officials decided to take another look at 17-year-old sexual misconduct allegations involving him and a then-16-year-old girl.


Associated Press

April 24, 2019

By David Crary

The lawyers' ads on the internet aggressively seeking clients to file sexual abuse lawsuits give a taste of what lies ahead this year for the Boy Scouts of America: potentially the most fateful chapter in its 109-year history.

Sexual abuse settlements have already strained the Boy Scouts' finances to the point where the organization is exploring "all available options," including Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But now the financial threats have intensified.

The reason: States have been moving in recent months to adjust their statute-of-limitations laws so that victims of long-ago sexual abuse can sue for damages. New York state has passed a law that will allow such lawsuits starting in August. A similar bill in New Jersey has reached the governor's desk. Bills also are pending in Pennsylvania and California.

In New York and elsewhere, lawyers are hard at work recruiting clients to sue the Boy Scouts, alleging they were molested as youths by scoutmasters or other volunteers.

Plaintiffs' lawyers "recognize that this is a very unique and lucrative opportunity," said attorney Karen Bitar, who formerly handled sex-crime cases as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before going into private practice.

Attorney Tim Kosnoff, a veteran of major sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, said Tuesday that he and his team have signed up 186 clients from dozens of states in just the past few weeks who want to be part of litigation against the Boy Scouts. Kosnoff said 166 of them identified alleged abusers who have not been named in any of the Boy Scout files made public in past years.

Boy Scouts spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said the organization continues to evaluate its financial situation, and she defended its current abuse-prevention policies. The organization serves more than 2.2 million youths.

A bankruptcy by the Boy Scouts could be unprecedented in its complexity, potentially involving plaintiffs in virtually every state, according to several lawyers. It would be national in scope, unlike the various Catholic Church bankruptcy cases in the U.S., which have unfolded diocese by diocese.

"A Boy Scout bankruptcy would be bigger in scale than any other sex abuse bankruptcy," said Seattle-based attorney Mike Pfau, whose firm is representing more than 300 victims in New York state.

Peruvian archbishop drops criminal complaint against second journalist


April 25, 2019

By Elise Harris

After yesterday’s decision to withdraw his legal complaint against Peruvian journalist Pedro Salinas, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura has decided to retract a second complaint against journalist Paola Ugaz on grounds that both cases disrupted the unity of the local church.

“Given that the renunciation of my right to defend my honor cannot make distinctions, I inform public opinion that I will proceed to withdraw the complaint for aggravated defamation imposed against Ms. Paola Margot Ugaz Cruz,” read an April 25 statement from the Archdiocese of Piura.

The announcement follows Eguren Anselmi’s decision a day prior to drop the case against Salinas, even though he had already been convicted and sentenced with a suspended jail term and a hefty fine.

Ugaz co-authored the book Half Monks, Half Soldiers, with Salinas in 2015, detailing years of sexual, psychological and physical abuse inside the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), a controversial Catholic organization that originated in Peru. Its founder, layman Luis Fernando Figari, has been accused of physical, psychological and sexual abuses and was prohibited by the Vatican in 2017 of having further contact with members of the group.

Eguren Anselmi issued a criminal defamation complaint against Ugaz last summer for her role in a documentary series by Al-Jazeera she helped to produce which named Eguren Anselmi as part of a land trafficking scandal in Piura.

She was also charged for her coverage of Salinas’s case and for a series of tweets that she sent ahead of Pope Francis’s January 2018 visit to Peru in which she described Eguren Anselmi’s history with the SCV, saying he knew of the founder’s abuses and did nothing.

Ugaz recently won an appeal to have her case transferred from Piura to Lima, where she lives. Salinas had also sought to move his case to Lima on grounds that the trial would be more objective, but his appeal was rejected.

After announcing the withdrawal of the complaint against Salinas, Eguren Anselmi’s lawyer, Percy Garcia Cavero, told Crux that the sentence Salinas received no longer applies since the legal basis for it has been withdrawn.

Former priest could face jail after admitting having child porn images

Nottingham Post

April 25, 2019

By Rod Malcolm

A former priest was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register when he appeared in court and admitted having child porn at a city presbytery.

Philip McBrien, 58, faced two magistrates who sent him to Nottingham Crown Court to be sentenced on May 16. They ordered probation officers to compile reports on him.

Dan Church, prosecuting, told the court nine of the images were in Category A, the most serious. He said: "The Crown say it should be committed for sentence.

"Category A includes possession of indecent images of sexual activity involving children.

"On the guidelines, there is a starting point of 12 months imprisonment."

McBrien's title was given as Father on the court list with an address of the Holy Cross Presbytery, Watnall Road, Hucknall. However, when he appeared before the magistrates, he was referred to as Mr McBrien and gave his address as Ruby's Walk, Newark.

WATCH: Shattered Faith: Investigations Ongoing, Reform Sought Following Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

Erie News Now

April 24, 2019

By Paul Wagner

In the second part of his special report, "Shattered Faith," Erie News Now Senior Reporter Paul Wagner looks at how the investigations into the clergy sex abuse scandal are continuing, along with efforts to reform the statute of limitations.

"We have received 1,600 tips to our clergy abuse hotline," said State Attorney General Josh Shapiro during an interview at his Harrisburg office. "Sixteen hundred tips that we have followed up on or passed on to other law enforcement. I think you are going to see action on some of those in the coming months."

Action could come from Washington, D.C., as well as Harrisburg, because the federal government is also investigating.

"While I am not at liberty to speak about any of the details, I can tell you I believe they are taking this very seriously," said Shapiro.

Meantime, efforts at statute of limitation reform continue.

"I am hoping that all the leaders can come together this time and let us get this moving forward," said State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a clergy sex abuse survivor.

Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico, like other bishops around the state, has opposed reforms. He wants a level playing field.

"That means it covers all churches, all institutions and the government, and that there is not anyone who escapes," said Bishop Persico.

While the political battles and criminal investigations continue, parishes in Erie and elsewhere have to cope with the fallout from the scandal.

Buffalo bishop, lay reform group agree on proposals to address abuse

National Catholic Reporter

April 25, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

The Movement to Restore Trust, a church reform group with its roots at Canisius College, a Jesuit institution, has come to an agreement with Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, on recommendations to address the ongoing sex abuse crisis.

It is the latest development in a series of jarring events that has enveloped the diocese, including calls for Malone to resign, as it attempts to recover from disclosures over the past year.

As the result of a meeting between Malone and the Movement to Restore Trust April 11, the bishop agreed to hold a series of diocesanwide listening sessions to hear directly from sexual abuse victims and others. He promised more meetings with Movement to Restore Trust leaders to discuss how the diocese handles information about abusers, and agreed to expand the diocesan finance council to include more laypeople, particularly women.

Malone also agreed to expand the diocese's ethics reporting service, until now focused on financial issues, to also include accepting reports of sexual abuse or harassment.

The agreement was a response to a series of events in 2018 when Buffalo Catholics learned about a retired priest who admitted to dozens of cases of abusing children previously unreported and when the diocese released the names of 42 priest abusers, a list that later grew to 176.

Via a report on CBS' "60 Minutes," Buffalo Catholics also heard from Malone's former administrative assistant that the diocese was not forthcoming on all it knew about sex abuse cases.

It was, said John Hurley, Canisius College president, a case of "wave after wave of bad stories," which "didn't square with people's understanding and what we had been told by previous bishops."

The goal of the April 11 meeting, according to Maureen Hurley, a leader of the Movement to Restore Trust, was to come to an agreement on less-controversial recommendations that emerged from a series of meetings held earlier this year at Canisius soliciting input from Buffalo Catholics about the crisis in the church.

"We called them easy wins," she said.

Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro says clergy abuse shadows Catholics’ Notre Dame response

Tribune Review

April 25, 2019

By Deb Erdley

Pennsylvania Attorney General Joshua Shapiro was impressed with the response of the Catholic Church and Catholics around the world when Notre Dame went up in flames last week.

But he’s disappointed in what he sees as the church’s lackluster response to protecting clergy abuse victims. In an op-ed in the Washington Post Wednesday, Shapiro took the Church to task for spending millions to influence lawmakers to block his recommendation that they open a window of opportunity for abuse survivors with old claims to sue the church.

Under the headline “Repairing Notre Dame is important. Protecting clergy abuse victims is more important,” Shapiro wrote of the Church’s response to a Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed allegations of child sexual abuse against 301 priests.

Clergy abuse bill makes progress at committee

Biddeford Courier

April 25, 2019

By Abigail Worthing

A bill that criminally condemns clergy sexual abuse has been unanimously approved by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to move forward for votes in both the Maine Senate and House.

The bill, LD 913 “An Act To Protect the Public from Clergy Sexual Abuse,” makes it illegal for licensed pastoral counselors from engaging in sexual activity with those they are counseling.

Sen. Susan Deschambault (D-Biddeford) sponsored the bill on behalf of a constituent, and introduced the bill during a public hearing on March 29 at the statehouse before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, of which she is cochairman.

“This bill protects the rights of patients who seek counseling from licensed pastoral counselors in the same way we treat patient rights with other licensed behavior counselors,” said Deschambault in an April 22 press release.

The bill was proposed in 2015 with slightly different language, but was indefinitely postponed. Thirteen other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have passed bills banning clergy sexual abuse among adults.

Also on the committee are Rep. Charlotte Warren (D-Hallowell), Sen. Michael Carpenter (D-Houlton), Sen. Kimberly Rosen (D-Bucksport Rep. Pinny Beebe- Center (D-Rockland), Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth), Rep. Patrick Corey (R-Windham), Rep. Danny Costain (R-Plymouth), Rep. Chris Johanson (R-Monticello), Rep. Victoria Morales (D-South Portland), Rep. Richard Picket (R-Dixfield), Rep. Lois Reckitt (D-South Portland) and Rep. Braden Sharpe (D-Durham). Reckitt also spoke in favor of the bill.

The bill now faces votes in both the Maine Senate and House. If approved, Gov. Janet Mills will have 10 days to either veto the bill, sign it, or allow it to become law without bearing her signature. Non-emergency laws passed during this legislative session will come into effect within 90 days after the adjournment of legislative session.

Bishop called to testify in sex abuse trial of Sicilian ‘Archangel’


April 25, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Despite efforts by the local diocese to distance itself from a lay Catholic association in Sicily whose leader is charged with sexually abusing underage girls, last week the defense lawyer called the bishop to testify in court in May.

By calling local Bishop Antonino Raspanti to testify about “the behavior of the church of Acireale” toward the Catholic Culture and Environment Association (ACCA), defense lawyer Mario Brancato hopes to rehabilitate the reputation of the lay group, he told local reporters April 18.

The group’s lay leader, Piero Alfio Capuana, 75, was arrested in August 2017 for allegedly sexually abusing seven girls who were minors at the time of the incidents. ACCA was founded in 1974 by a well-known Sicilian priest, Father Stefano Cavalli, who considered himself a “spiritual son” of the famed mystic Capuchin friar Padre Pio.

“At the death of Father Cavalli, a founder of the community along with Capuana, the archbishop and other priests were present, and they praised the figure of Father Cavalli, who was also a favorite disciple of Padre Pio with whom he communicated constantly,” Brancato said.

The Diocese of Acireale released a statement shortly after Capuana’s arrest saying that because the group is a “civil association” it had no official ties to the Catholic Church and therefore the diocese was not called to exercise any type of oversight, despite the fact that the group met in a Catholic parish and advertised its activities in the official diocesan paper.

Members of the group believed Capuana to be the reincarnation of the Archangel Michael and that he spoke to the Virgin Mary in his “locutions.”

Diocese puts 2 priests on abusers list

Port Arthur News

April 25, 2019

Two deceased priests who worked in the Diocese of Beaumont have been added to the previous list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, Most Rev. Curtis Guillory, SVD, bishop of Beaumont, said Wednesday.

They are Raymond Woodka, SSJ, of the Josephites order, and Rocco Perone, Perone, CSP, a Paulist priest.

Woodka was assigned to Sacred Heart in Port Arthur in the 1970s and at Our Mother of Mercy, where he was pastor from 1978 to 1987.

Perone was not assigned to the Beaumont diocese, but did visit periodically to work weekends at local parishes.

The bishop said the diocese was not informed about allegations against either man until after the Jan. 31 disclosure that 13 priests here had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since Pope Paul VI established the Diocese of Beaumont in 1966.

The two additional names have been added to that list on the diocese’s website. The names appear as an addendum to the Jan. 31 list of clergy with credible allegations. They can be found on the same link (Letter to the Faithful and Names of Clergy…) as a second page of the original list.

Paprocki and pedophiles

Illinois Times

April 25, 2019

By Bruce Rushton

Images of Bishop Thomas John Paprocki for this article are by Jonah Harjer, a Springfield artist who was born in Chicago and grew up in the 1980s in Miami, where he was influenced by the local skate and street culture. He was drawn to painting graffiti,Illustrations by Jonah Harjer
A quarter-century ago, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago was in crisis.

A priest had been indicted for sexually abusing a child. Lawsuits were pending. Priests were removed from parishes after the church appointed a commission – two laypeople, plus the auxiliary bishop – to investigate sexual misconduct cases and recommend improvements. After the commission issued its report, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1992 turned to Thomas John Paprocki, then chancellor for the Chicago archdiocese and, since 2010, bishop for the Diocese of Springfield.

For a decade, Paprocki was an insider in Chicago as the archdiocese first won praise for policies and practices that ultimately were discredited. Pedophile priests remained in parishes, despite promises, and zero tolerance was adopted only after outside pressure from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Last year, the Catholic church in Springfield and elsewhere fell under scrutiny from the Illinois attorney general’s office, which accused the church of hiding sexual abuse cases. Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who took office in January, has promised to continue his predecessor’s investigation into whether the church has properly handled cases involving sexual abuse of kids by priests.

Meanwhile, Paprocki complains about the Vatican.

Last summer, the bishop criticized Pope Francis for botching the case of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal defrocked in February for sexual misconduct involving minors and adults that had been reported years earlier. Paprocki says Rome still hasn’t been transparent, although the pope in October ordered an investigation to determine how McCarrick had risen to power despite evidence of sexual misconduct. “Here we are in April,” Paprocki says. “(W)e’re still waiting for that release of information from the review of documents that the pope ordered in October.”

Last fall, Paprocki was strident when the pope ordered American bishops to not enact reforms aimed at finding and punishing sexual misconduct between priests and kids. “We are not branch managers of the Vatican,” Paprocki told the press. “Our people are crying out for some action.”

Churchgoers in Chicago also cried for action years ago while Paprocki shepherded sexual misconduct cases.
“If this man has value to the archdiocese, then he should be placed in a situation where he can push papers,” wrote a parishioner in a 2002 letter to her priest after discovering an associate pastor had been sent to her parish despite groping a preteen girl. “We always considered ourselves fortunate to be part of a parish that cared so much about its members. I guess I loved the cocoon in which we obviously lived, and I guess that’s why I feel so deeply betrayed.”

The Chicago way
With Paprocki in the inner circle, the Chicago archdiocese initially won accolades for its handling of sexual misconduct cases involving priests and kids, particularly by establishing a review board consisting mostly of laypeople that considered allegations, determined credibility and recommended what should be done.

Paprocki was the cardinal’s delegate to the board as well as a member of a second committee tasked with deciding where child molesters should work. As chancellor, he kept the church’s records. As a lawyer, he was trained in both canon and civil law.

April 24, 2019

Second victim accuses former Conroe priest of sexual misconduct: officials report


April 25, 2019

By Deborah Wrigley

A second allegation of sexual misconduct has been made against a Houston area priest. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston had already removed Father Jesus Suarez from active ministry last month, when a similar allegation was made.

Both women said they were abused by Suarez when he served as a priest in Colombia in the 1980s. He transferred to the Archdiocese in 2001, serving as a priest at a Conroe parish and more recently, at a parish in east Harris County.

Michael Norris, a leader in SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he has been in contact with both women. The first, he said, accused Suarez of abusing her at the age of 11 into her teenage years, and fathering a daughter.

The second woman, Norris said, had a similar allegation, but does not know is she was underage at the time.

"Her coming forward takes a lot of courage and bravery, because it's not easy talking about something that's so traumatic, that happened to you years ago to come forward. I think she's a very brave woman," Norris said.

He believes there are more allegations pending. Because both complainants are in Colombia, he believes the FBI should be involved with the investigation.

The Archdiocese stated that it only became aware of the most recent accusation on Wednesday, and has forwarded the information to the Houston Police Department.

'It's their word against his': Priest accused of sexually abusing boys goes to court

York Daily Record

April 24, 2019

By Candy Woodall

A compilation what's happened since a sweeping grand jury report on decades of abuse by priests in Pennsylvania. Paul Kuehnel and Brandie Kessler and Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Their stories are strikingly similar, recorded three months apart by a Dauphin County detective.

They have names, but they're known now as Victim 1 and Victim 2. Both men say John G. Allen sexually abused them from 1997 to 2002 while they were altar boys at St. Margaret Mary's Alacoque Church in Harrisburg.

Allen, a 75-year-old defrocked priest who lives in York County, molested them in the rectory and the area where altar boys and priests put on their robes for mass, according to Detective John O'Connor.

As he faced the four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors against him, Allen was unrecognizable as a priest in district court on Wednesday. He wasn't wearing a white collar or black robe, and hasn't since the Diocese of Harrisburg removed him from ministry in 2002.

During his preliminary hearing before District Judge Joseph S. Lindsey in Lower Paxton Township, Allen was wearing khaki pants, a short-sleeve blue checkered shirt and a smile as he walked from a private conference room to a seat next to his defense attorney, Brian Perry.

Allegations of abuse

By 2002, the diocese had received multiple allegations of abuse about Allen. None of them were punishable according to Pennsylvania's statute of limitations on child sex abuse. None of the criminal allegations were reported by the diocese.

Allen was one of 301 "predator priests" identified by a Pennsylvania grand jury report and 71 named by the diocese in August. State laws ensured he was immune to punishment until October and February when two victims called Childline and reported abuse that fell within the statute of limitations.

Attorney: Catholic Church, Boy Scouts ‘Playing The Same Game’


April 23, 2019

By Ken MacLeod

It was a shocking revelation. More than 7,000 former Boy Scout leaders have been accused of more than 12,000 sexual assaults on boys since the 1940’s.

Attorneys for sex assault victims in New York say the information was contained in the organizations so-called “Perversion Files”, which were recently scoured by a woman hired by the Boy Scouts of America.

“And when I saw that today,” says Boston sex abuse survivor Robert Costello, “my stomach just flipped.”

Costello’s time as a Boston Boy Scout back in the 1970’s should be a wonderful memory – but it’s not.

“He would creep into my tent like at 3 a.m. on camping trips,” says Costello, “and then reach into my sleeping bag and fondle me."

He says it was an assistant scoutmaster who molested him – on camping trips and at troop meetings – leaving lifelong emotional scars.

On Tuesday, attorneys in New York went public with 180 names gleaned from their legal research – names of former scout leaders and volunteers tossed from scouting amid allegations of sexual abuse against the boys they were supposed to be helping.

The lawyers argued the public posting was needed to warn others that a child molester might be in their midst.

The Boy Scouts of America had declined to release names.

“They weren’t transparent and they weren’t honest,” says Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian. “They were more concerned about themselves – their group’s reputation and fundraising – than they were about the safety of children.”

Letter: Church leaders must stop blaming others for its woes

Buffalo News

April 22, 2019

It is hard to fathom that at this late stage of the catastrophic damage done to the Catholic Church by pedophile parading as priests, the church hierarchy decides to play the blame game.

Recently, Bishop Richard Malone, when exposed for hiding the names of at least 27 more pedophiles, responded by blame the media. Apparently, he felt that only one complaint against a pedophile priest was not sufficient evidence to add that priest to the list already published.

Hence his illogical conclusion, the media is the root cause of this continuing problem in the church.

This opinion was backed up by the recent letter from retired Pope Benedict. His contention was the blame for this upheaval of epic proportions in the church finds it root causes in the 60s sexual revolution, birth control, liberation theology, liberal theological outlooks and not church leaders turning a blind eye to the problem.

Can these church leaders seriously believe in 2019 that anyone would believe this outrageously condescending explanation for its own inability or unconcern in rooting out and eliminate scores of pedophiles in its own ranks?

The problem is not the media, the 60s, birth control or anything other than the church leaders themselves. Their decadeslong cover up, which continues to this day is the root cause for the mess they created.

Gary Rog


Nearly 8,000 Alleged Child Abusers Identified In Boy Scouts’ Files, Review Finds

The Huffington Post

April 24, 2019

By Nina Golgowski

The BSA also reported 12,254 alleged victims within its organization dating back to 1944.

An expert hired by the Boy Scouts of America to review allegations of child sexual abuse within the organization identified 7,819 alleged abusers among its leaders and volunteers dating back to 1944, according to a newly released court document.

Of the files examined over five years, 12,254 alleged victims were identified, Dr. Janet Warren, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia’s medical school, testified in late January.

“They’re called ineligible volunteer files and these are files that [the BSA] created. Individuals who have had their registration with the Boy Scouts revoked because of reasonable allegations of child sexual abuse,” Warren told the court.

Un cura se declaró culpable por abuso sexual a tres catequistas en un juicio abreviado en San Isidro

Agencia Telam

April 17, 2019

[A priest pleaded guilty for sexual abuse to three catechists in an abbreviated trial in San Isidro]

- El cura Mario Koessler (63) fue condenado a tres años de prisión en suspenso.
- Abusó de tres mujeres catequistas de 75, 63 y 40 años.
- Los hechos ocurrieron entre 2014 y 2015 en la Parroquia San José, en San Isidro.

El cura Mario Koessler, de 63 años, imputado por abuso sexual agravado a tres mujeres catequistas de 75, 63 y 40 años por hechos ocurridos entre 2014 y 2015 en la Parroquia San José, del municipio bonaerense de San Isidro, se declaró culpable en un juicio abreviado que le fijó una pena de tres años en suspenso.

Repairing Notre Dame is important. Protecting clergy abuse victims is even more important.

Washington Post

April 24, 2019

By Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania.

The images were heart-rending. Flames roaring through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, its Gothic spire collapsing into the inferno. A gash into the heart of Catholicism, one observer wrote.

As breathtaking as the fire was the response, from Catholics in France, Rome and around the world, united by their resolve to take swift action. French business leaders pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for repairs. President Emmanuel Macron vowed that Notre Dame will be rebuilt within five years. Other countries promised financial aid. Pope Francis himself reached out to Macron to express his “solidarity with the French people.”

The rapid response is appropriate and affirming, as the followers and leaders of one of the world’s great religions come together, united by their humanity to save a monumental symbol of their faith.

But where is the unity and common purpose to protect the human embodiment of that great faith? Where is the sense of urgency and acceptance of responsibility to support the victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where I am attorney general, a statewide grand jury working with my office led the way last year when it published a groundbreaking report that identified 301 predator priests, more than a thousand victims of sexual abuse and an institutional coverup that stretched all the way to the Vatican.

And yet, after the grand jury released its report, along with a set of recommendations to protect victims and ensure this kind of abuse and coverup never happens again, the response from the church and its leaders was far less affirming and swift than the response to the Notre Dame fire.

Iglesia pide perdón por abuso sexual de cura

La Prensa Grafica

April 15, 2019

By Stanley Luna

[Church asks forgiveness for sexual abuse of cure]

El sábado fue capturado un sacerdote, a quien acusan de agredir a una niña de seis años.

"Desde ya, en nombre de la Iglesia, pido perdón a la víctima y su familia", dijo ayer el arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar, al referirse a la detención del sacerdote guatemalteco José Venancio Boror Uz, acusado de agredir sexualmente a una niña de seis años de edad.

El sacerdote, de 62 años, fue detenido el sábado pasado afuera de la parroquia Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, en el barrio Lourdes, San Salvador.

Frédéric Martel: “Una gran mayoría silenciosa de la Iglesia es homosexual”

La Capital

April 23, 2019

[Frédéric Martel: "A large silent majority of the Church is homosexual"]

Es el autor de "Sodoma: poder y escándalo en el Vaticano". Se trata de una investigación periodística que echa luz sobre uno de los secretos más grandes del Vaticano: la doble vida de cardenales, obispos, monseñores, nuncios apostólicos y seminaristas. El rol del papa Francisco, el sexismo, el encubrimiento de los abusos sexuales en el interior de la Iglesia y el fracaso del celibato.

Con un hilo narrativo atrapante, que lleva a lectoras y lectores de las narices, “Sodoma” es el libro de Frédéric Martel que corre el velo sobre uno de los secretos más profundos de la Iglesia Católica actual: la homosexualidad de “la mayoría” de los clérigos integrantes del Vaticano, según confirma el autor francés, quien es oriundo de Avignon.

Fiscalía de Chile acumula 164 causas por abusos en la iglesia

Prensa Latina

April 18, 2019

[Chilean prosecutor's office accumulates 164 cases of abuses in the church]

Un total de 220 sacerdotes involucrados en abusos sexuales son investigados hoy por la Fiscalía de Chile en 164 causas por acusaciones presentadas por 246 víctimas.

Este es el balance más reciente según lo informado por el fiscal nacional Jorge Abbott, en la cuenta pública del trabajo de esa entidad, durante la cual señaló que el deber de la Fiscalía es favorecer que las víctimas hagan las denuncias para que ejerzan su derecho de ser escuchadas por la justicia.

Anselm Grün: “la sociedad debe hablar abiertamente sobre el abuso sexual”

Vida Nueva Digital

April 24, 2019

By Fredy Pena

[Anselm Grün: "society should talk openly about sexual abuse"]

“Sin renovación, sin deplorar lo ocurrido y sin que los victimarios rindan cuenta, no hay paz en la Iglesia y en la sociedad… ”.

La última vez que el sacerdote benedictino, Anselm Grün, estuvo en Chile (octubre 2018) nos deleitó, en aquel ciclo de “Pensamiento Propio” realizado en el Centro de Extensión de la Universidad Católica donde nos habló acerca de la “fragilidad interior”. Recuerdo que hacía hincapié a la necesidad que tiene el hombre moderno de conectarse consigo mismo: “Estar en contacto con el ser interior es estar en contacto con Dios”. Y reparaba en que “No existe aquello que no se puede cambiar… Ni ninguna muerte que no se pueda transformar en vida…”.

Former Harrisburg priest ordered to trial for molesting 2 boys


April 24, 2019

By Myles Snyder

A former priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is headed to trial on charges he molested two children.

John G. Allen, 75, of York, was ordered held for court after a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. A formal arraignment is scheduled for June 7.

Allen was arrested last month on four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors. Dauphin County prosecutors say he abused the victims between 1997 and 2002 while they served as altar boys for St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg.

Allen is accused of grabbing one boy's buttocks on multiple occasions between 1999 and 2002 when the child was 10 years to 13 years old. The other victim says Allen fondled him on multiple occasions between 1997 and 1999 when he was between 12 and 14 years old.

Allen was removed as pastor of St. Margaret Mary’s Church in 2002 after a man reported to the diocese that Allen abused him as a boy. Pope Benedict XVI formally removed him from the priesthood in 2006.

According to a lawsuit against Allen, he was relocated to St. Margaret Mary's after he spent time in a treatment facility for sex offender priests.

Allen was named as an abuser by a statewide grand jury that investigated clergy in six Pennsylvania dioceses. He also was among 37 priests identified as abusers by the Harrisburg diocese last year.

Priest with “Substantiated Allegations” Found Working for School in Tucson

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 24, 2019

An accused Philadelphia priest found to be “unsuitable for ministry” went on to get a job at an Arizona school until vigilant watchdogs blew the whistle.

Fr. John F. Meyers was just found working at a Tucson charter school despite being ousted by Pennsylvania Catholic officials in January for “substantiated” claims of sexual abuse. We are grateful to Carolyn Fortney and the other survivors and advocates who uncovered this information and alerted the public. Thanks to them, we believe that children in Tucson are safer today.

However, we cannot help but wonder why the duty of tracking down Catholic clergymen with “substantiated allegations” and keeping them from working around children has fallen on the shoulders of survivors and advocates. Should it not be the responsibility of Church officials who recruited, educated, ordained, trained, hired, and transferred these priests to keep them away from children and vulnerable adults?

Dioceses are powerful institutions with vast resources and manpower. They have the ability to do more than just post the names of clerics with “substantiated allegations” online. Church officials need to find ways to inform communities when these men relocate. Dioceses should at the very least report these movements to the public, especially to local schools, community centers and other groups that serve children.

SNAP Stands in Solidarity with Abuse Survivors from the Boy Scouts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 24, 2019

In the past several weeks, hundreds of survivors of abuse at the hands of Boy Scout leaders have come forward . SNAP stands with these brave survivors as they share what happened to them and to seek to prevent future children from being abused.

Like other victims of institutional abuse, the BSA survivors have shared stories of being intimidated into silence, feelings of shame and guilt, and worries that no one would ever believe them. Just like other institutions that have had massive abuse scandals, the BSA has been accused of concealing cases of abuse and working to keep allegations quiet.

We hope that, as these survivors continue to come forward and share what happened to them, their experiences will lead to meaningful change within the structure of the BSA to ensure that no other children are victimized by someone who is supposed to care for them. If abuse does occur, we hope that it will never again be swept under the rug in order to preserve the reputation of an institution over the safety of children.

SNAP Philadelphia Encouraged by Reform Bills in PA Legislature

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 24, 2019

This month, Pennsylvania has continued the fight to reform child sex crime laws as House lawmakers approved two key reform measures and freshman Senators in the other house introduced a third counter bill aimed at similar purposes.

The House overwhelmingly approved two bills that respectively call for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations involving child sex crimes, and call for a constitutional amendment that would lead to a revival of expired statute of limitations. House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, would also remove sovereign immunity in civil claims, meaning that if an institution has known about child sex crimes, it would be held responsible.

On the Senate side, S.B. 540 would lift the statute of limitations for adults who were sexually abused at any age. The Senate bill calls for the abolishment of the criminal statute of limitations and a two-year revival window of expired statute of limitations. The proposal also calls for a six-month delay to allow for the completion of compensation funds already being processed.

"It is important that survivors and advocates keep informed of all measures that are moving this issue forward,” said Mike McDonnell, SNAP Philadelphia Leader. “The only remedy to exposing predators and the institutions who enable them is through retroactivity, a ‘window to justice.’ It is also vital the survivors remain unified, keeping the conversation alive and in front of key legislators. We can never take our eye from the one institution that stands to lose the most in this fight and that is the Catholic Diocese of Pennsylvania. The lobbying arm of the Pennsylvania Catholic conference is present daily in the halls of the capital, so must our voices."

NJ child predator sting: Cop, priest among 16 arrested for trying to lure children for sex

North Jersey Record

April 24, 2019

By Anthony Zurita

A priest and a Ridgewood police officer are among the 16 people accused of luring children for sex.

Through a three-state sting operation, 16 people accused of being sexual predators, including a cop and a priest, were arrested for allegedly trying to lure children for sex through chat apps, announced the state's Attorney General.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that "Operation Home Alone" had nabbed the alleged child predators from across the region. Half the men accused are from New Jersey, seven are from New York and one from Pennsylvania.

The sting operation spannedone week and was executed by a multi-agency task force that included the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, the state police, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, along with others.

The arrests were made over a five-day period, where one accused man drove over 100 miles to meet a person he thought was a child. Despite the high number of arrests, Grewal acknowledged that many more child sex offenders remain in the area.

"If we extended the investigation, we could catch 16 people a week," Grewal said.

The alleged predators came from three different states and all walks of life, including from positions of power and trust with families and children. Peter Tuchol Jr., a Ridgewood police officer who was arrested last week was among the accused.

"Our focus was on the protection of our most vulnerable." said acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo. "[The accused] had a desire to exploit children."

Roger Arroyo, 37, a traveling minister from Philadelphia was arrested for attempted criminal sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. Kevin Roth, 26, a high school teacher from Nanuet, N.Y. was charged with second-degree luring for trying to get in contact with a 14-year-old boy.

Those abused by priests need justice, more protection from the Catholic Church, advocates say


April 24, 2019

By Justin Hoffmann and Michelle Simpson Tuegel

Recently, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill that would give survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey more opportunity to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. This is an important step in addressing the decades of clergy abuse, but for countless survivors in New Jersey, it is too little, too late.

For decades, the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to the child predators in its ranks and refused to be held accountable for the thousands of lives it ruined. In fact, they have worked hard to keep the abuse quiet, knowingly rotating sexual predators around to different communities, offering often meaningless reforms that fail to address the cycle of abuse, and sometimes providing or attempting to provide minimal compensation to survivors behind closed doors.

Take, for example, the recent Vatican conference on sexual abuse of minors that was portrayed by many as a positive step forward by the Catholic church. Unfortunately, the conference failed to establish any real solutions or tangible outcomes for survivors of clergy abuse. Despite a contrite tone, Pope Francis proposed no concrete solutions to deal with the scourge of clergy abuse and failed to promise a zero-tolerance approach from the Church.

Hundreds of former Boy Scouts reveal new sexual abuse claims, exposing 150 alleged pedophiles


April 24, 2019

By Cara Kelly

More than 200 individuals have come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Boy Scouts of America in recent weeks as a trio of law firms seek to uncover unidentified child abusers.

A few of the victims are young, still underage or in their 20s, but many have held their secrets close for decades.

"Nobody would have listened to me," said James Kretschmer, 56, who says a leader groped him at a Boy Scouts camp when he was in middle school. "The problem is, then you think, ‘Is it something I did? What was I doing, was it my fault? If I hadn’t done whatever, he wouldn’t have done that.’ It took me years and years to realize it wasn’t that little child’s fault. It was the adult who had control."

Samuel, 17, said he was fondled by a leader a decade ago, who told him, "Don’t say anything.

Boy Scout leaders accused of molesting boys for decades

Boston Herald

April 23, 2019

By Rick Sobey

Massachusetts cases said among thousands nationwide

Shocking testimony revealing more than 7,000 alleged child sex abusers in the Boy Scouts has sparked questions about the magnitude of the troubling conduct across Massachusetts, with some comparing it to the Catholic Church priest scandal.

On Tuesday, lawyers in New York and New Jersey released the names of nearly 200 Boy Scout leaders who have been accused of molesting boys for decades.

The attorneys said they plan to file lawsuits against the nonprofit Boy Scouts of America. The lawyers said the 130 scout leaders from New York and the 50 from New Jersey are among 7,000 Boy Scout leaders across the country named in the Boy Scouts of America “Perversion Files.”

“It’s a systematic problem,” said Jeff Anderson, whose New York law firm specializes in child sexual abuse cases. “These are perversion files and secrets held by the Boy Scouts of America.”

He called it a system of denial and cover-ups.

Catholics shouldn't remain silent on predator priests

Manhattan Mercury

April 24, 2019

Am I the only Catholic that feels like my religion has been hijacked by spineless cowards? The weak response to predator priests in the church has been the most dismal and embarrassing response I could possibly imagine.

As reported by USA Today, many parishioners are leaving the church for this very reason. I think the wrong people are leaving the church. Our church leaders need to go.

I am tired of trying to justify the church’s lack of meaningful action in my head. Remaining silent on the issue as a Catholic follower only implies that you are complicit with the church’s response to these problems.

Aaron Keck
2525 Bellerive Drive, Apt. 37
Manhattan KS

Clergy sex abuse survivor finds accused Philly priest online, working for Arizona school

Philadelphia Inquirer

April 24, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

When Arizona charter-school operator Rose Management Group offered John F. Meyers a contract position this year, the company either failed to discover or disregarded one important aspect about his past:

His prior job — a 35-year stint as a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — ended abruptly after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor.

It took a group of internet sleuths, one a victim of clergy sex abuse herself, to uncover that record last week. The charter operator then ended its relationship with Meyers.

“This is a prime example of survivors working together to take the law into our own hands,” said Carolyn Fortney, the Harrisburg woman who uncovered Meyers’ new life in Tucson. “We’ll do what we have to do to protect children.”

The community that prompted Fortney’s investigation, the Philadelphia-based online group Catholics4Change, is one of a plethora of internet vigilantes and regional watchdog websites that have sprung up across the United States as the clergy sex abuse crisis continues to roil the church.

As recently as the early 2000s — the start of the scandal for the American church — ousted priests often were able to slip into relative anonymity. But now, groups like Catholics4Change and the Baltimore-based “The Keepers Official Facebook Group” — the inspiration for the eponymous 2017 Netflix documentary series — have harnessed the power of social media and extensive internet archives to organize, conduct research, create repositories of information on abusers, and hold church leaders to account.

Kathy Kane, co-administrator of the Catholics4Change group, said the circumstances behind Meyers’ January removal from ministry stood out.

Archdiocesan officials said little at the time about the accusation that led to Meyers’ ouster except that it stemmed from an abuse allegation dating to the 1980s.

Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse

Baltimore Sun

April 24, 2019

By Jonathan M. Pitts

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has added the names of 23 deceased priests and religious brothers to its online database of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse, signaling a revision in policy on dealing with cases that come to the diocese’s attention only after an accused individual has died.

The change is part of an ongoing effort by the diocese to enhance openness when it comes to the issue of child sexual abuse in the church, said Archbishop William E. Lori, leader of the area’s half-million Catholics.

“It’s part of an overall effort to be more transparent,” Lori said. “In doing this, we hope we’re giving more people who have in fact been abused the courage to come forward.”

The additions bring to 126 the number of clergy considered credibly accused of sexual abuse, with incidents dating as far as 80 years.

The move is “a great step,” said David Lorenz, state director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Even if the allegations date back to the 1950s, I guarantee there are victims of these predators who have never told anyone and who will get some sense of relief and justice,” Lorenz said. “I truly appreciate that.”

April 23, 2019

Two Popes. Zero Solutions. Where's the Hope?


By Anne Barrett Doyle

April 20, 2019

As Catholics celebrate Easter, the institutional church stands more exposed than at any point in its history.

Prosecutors and lawmakers around the world are ending the impunity of Catholic church leaders who enable abuse or commit abuse themselves.

*In the United States, attorneys general in more than 15 states have launched investigations or reviews of their local dioceses.

*In two of the most populous Catholic states, New York and New Jersey, thousands of older church victims may soon be able to file lawsuits, thanks to new changes in the states' statutes of limitations.

*Outside the U.S., in just the last six weeks: Police in India have charged a bishop for raping a nun; a French court convicted the cardinal-archbishop of Lyon for violating the nation's mandatory reporting law; and the Pope's former finance czar, Cardinal George Pell of Australia, was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two choirboys.

Ex-Columbia serial predator priest to stay in jail; Victims applaud new ruling

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 23, 2019

An admitted serial predator priest who worked in Columbia lost his bid for a bond reduction yesterday and will remain jailed in St. Louis County facing more child sex abuse charges.

We are grateful to the two brave Missouri men who are working with prosecutors to keep Fr. Fred Lenczycki away from kids, and to the judge who refused to reduce this admitted predator's bond today.

We hope this news will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Lenczycki's crimes to come forward. We firmly believe others he hurt are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.

The state of Illinois deemed Lenczycki a sexually violent predator, so we hope Missouri officials will continue to do all they can to keep him locked up. And we hope Catholic officials in California will aggressively reach out to anyone he hurt there.

Regresa a Salta el monje Anselm Grn

El Tribuno

April 23, 2019

By Felipe Medina

[Return to Salta the monk Anselm Grn]

Anselm Grn, sacerdote católico de la Orden de San Benito, con 74 años de edad, regresa a nuestra ciudad esta semana. Abordará uno de los temas más controversiales en los últimos meses para la Iglesia católica, los abusos desde las víctimas y los victimarios.

Con agudeza psicológica y fina sensibilidad evangélica, describe e interpreta las áreas de la sociedad, de la Iglesia y de las relaciones personales y familiares en la que hay personas que han sido víctimas de toda tipo de abusos. A estas últimas se dirige con especial cuidado, ya que sin deplorar lo ocurrido y sin acciones concretas de reparación no es posible lograr la paz. Pero también se ocupa de los victimarios, preguntándose por qué se convirtieron en tales y como puede desmontarse su lógica perversa.

Ex arzobispo Francisco Javier Errázuriz en interrogatorio por encubrimiento de delitos sexuales ante la Fiscalía : “Es mejor que en la Iglesia no haya sacerdotes homosexuales”

La Tercera

April 21, 2019

By Leslie Ayala C.

[Former Archbishop Francisco Javier Errázuriz in interrogation for the cover-up of sexual crimes before the Office of the Prosecutor: "It is better that in the Church there are no homosexual priests"]

1 “El caso más horrible fue el de Karadima”
Lo primero que hizo el fiscal de Alta Complejidad Jorge Escobar cuando el cardenal Francisco Javier Errázuriz (85) junto a su abogado, Juan Domingo Acosta, se sentaron frente a él fue leer al exobispo sus derechos como imputado: debía saber en forma específica los cargos por supuesto encubrimiento de delitos sexuales cometidos por sacerdotes que se le atribuyen y por los que la fiscalía, eventualmente, lo formalizará ante la justicia.

Emiliano Arias: En la Fiscalía hay crisis y descontrol, antes no pasaban estas cosas


April 21, 2019

[Emiliano Arias: In the Prosecutor's Office there is crisis and lack of control, before these things did not happen]

"Ésta no es la misma institución que creó Guillermo Piedrabuena y consolidó Sabas Chahuán", dijo el persecutor regional de O'Higgins.

Reconoció que, en el plano personal, ya no tiene deseos de continuar, pero afirmó que lo ata "el compromiso con las víctimas".

Resaltó que la denuncia de Sergio Moya se da ad portas de decisiones en casos relevantes, como el encubrimiento de abusos por los obispos católicos.

Presentan mapa del abuso sexual eclesiástico en Chile


April 7, 2019

[Map of ecclesiastical sexual abuse in Chile presented]

-La Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Sexual Eclesiástico incluye más de 260 casos registrados a lo largo del país.

- La organización afirma que el 12 por ciento del total del clero chileno está involucrado en casos de abusos a menores.

La Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Sexual Eclesiástico lanzó un mapa chileno de los delitos de abuso sexual y de conciencia cometidos en entornos eclesiásticos.

La herramienta interactiva, que fue lanzada este sábado en el Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, "contiene las denuncias públicas contra religiosos y laicos" de este tipo de delitos, con el nombre de los victimarios de Arica a Puerto Natales y dónde ocurrieron los hechos.

Francisco Javier Errázuriz: Resumen de las crudas declaraciones que el imputado dio en 12 horas de interrogatorio


April 21, 2019

[Francisco Javier Errázuriz: Summary of the crude statements that the accused gave in 12 hours of interrogation]

El ex arzobispo respondió 35 veces "no recuerdo" y ante dos preguntas guardó silencio, por recomendación de su abogado. Declaró no haberle creído a James Hamilton ante las acusaciones de abuso sexual y detalló el artículo del Derecho Canónico que lo exime de la obligación de investigar.

El ex arzobispo de Santiago Francisco Javier Errázuriz, declaró en calidad de imputado ante el fiscal de alta complejidad, Jorge Escobar. El interrogatorio duró en total de 12 horas y Errázuriz debió responder a 12 preguntas; en dos de ellas guardó silencio por recomendación de sus abogados.

El monasterio del horror: crudo relato del joven abusado por dos curas en el Cristo Orante

Los Andes

April 10, 2019

[The monastery of horror: crude story of the young man abused by two priests in the Christ Orante]

Nicolás Bustos recapituló las pesadillas que vivió durante más de 5 años en el monasterio de Tupungato. "Que no se repita más", implora.

A priori, Nicolás Bustos (27) podría se descripto como una persona introvertida. Tranquilo para hablar, con un tono bajo; pero con una claridad absoluta en sus palabras. Lleva toda una procesión por dentro; aunque en los últimos meses dicha procesión reclamó casi a los gritos ser exteriorizada. Y es lo que el joven hizo, primero con una denuncia verbal en el Arzobispado -en 2015- y luego con una denuncia penal -en octubre de 2018-. El joven denunció haber sido abusado sexualmente en reiteradas oportunidades por dos monjes del Monasterio del Cristo Orante (Tupungato) -los curas Oscar Portillo y Diego Roqué, hoy detenidos e imputados- mientras estuvo internado. Según destaca, los abusos habrían ocurrido entre 2009 y 2015.

Aseguran que el Arzobispado de Mendoza intentó ocultar una denuncia de abuso sexual

Diario UNO

April 9, 2019

[They claim that the Archdiocese of Mendoza tried to hide a complaint of sexual abuse]

Un nuevo escándalo se suma a la Iglesia en Mendoza luego de conocerse una carta enviada por el Arzobispado hacia el Vaticano para ocultar abusos sexuales que dos monjes habrían cometido en el Monasterio Cristo Orante, del Valle de Uco.

El arzobispo de Mendoza, Marcelo Colombo, envió una carta a la Santa Sede en agosto de 2018, donde le pedía al papa Francisco trasladar la investigación a San Juan y prorrogar el juicio canónico contra los monjes mendocinos Diego Roqué y Oscar Portillo, quienes hoy están con prisión domiciliaria, aseguró el diario La Nación.

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Case Against the Diocese of Palm Beach, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 23, 2019

We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Fr. John Gallagher’s defamation case against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

When clergy whistle blowers find the strength and courage to help speak out on behalf of children, they should be rewarded, not retaliated against by their superiors. Our hearts ache for Fr. Gallagher and the trials and tribulations he has been through.

Church officials at the Diocese of Palm Beach should have been grateful to Fr. Gallagher for helping law enforcement prosecute a priest who showed child pornography to a teenager. Instead, Fr. Gallagher asserts, he was denied a promotion because of his actions. When the priest told the media, the Diocese publicly denounced him as "blatantly lying" and "in need of professional assistance." We are concerned that the SCOTUS decision may set the stage for other dioceses to retaliate against clergy whistle blowers with impunity.

Protecting children requires constant vigilance. We are disheartened to see that vigilance in this case apparently not only went unrewarded, but was also punished. In addition, we are discouraged that the courts chose to see this as an issue of a religious freedom, rather than one of child protection.

Judge denies lower bond for former Hinsdale priest

Associated Press

April 22, 2019

By Jim Salter

A St. Louis County judge on Monday refused to lower bail for a former Hinsdale priest who was previously imprisoned and labeled sexually violent.

Fred Lenczycki, 74, formerly of Glen Ellyn and most recently from Berkeley, was charged in February with two counts of sodomy for allegedly abusing two boys in the early 1990s at a north St. Louis County parish. He is jailed on $500,000 cash-only bond but was seeking an unspecified reduction.

Lenczycki has admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years, according to court and church files. He was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with sexually abusing three boys at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church Hinsdale in the 1980s.

The victims told authorities that "Father Fred" repeatedly molested them, often using the pretense of swaddling them in "Baby Jesus" costumes for pageants that never took place.

He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2008, a year before his release from prison, he became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was committed under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Gloria Clark Reno was expected to hear testimony from the two Missouri accusers, Chris Gensler III, now 37, and Ron Kanady, 38, at a hearing Monday. But prior to the hearing, officials with the Illinois agency that monitors Lenczycki and others classified as sexually violent said it would not be responsible for transporting him to court from his home.

Assistant prosecutor Melissa Price Smith said that if Lenczycki had to take public transportation to St. Louis without supervision, he could be in contact with children.

Based largely on the logistical concern, Reno denied the bond reduction.

Defense attorney Matthew Radefeld said Lenczycki is seeking a re-evaluation to clear himself from the Illinois sexually violent person listing.

Former Pope Benedict ignores institutional reasons for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, instead blames the 1960s

The Highlander

April 22, 2019

By Som Chaturvedi

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is looking to the 1960s sexual revolution in search of a scapegoat for the sexual abuse prevalent amongst the Catholic clergy. In a recent letter, Benedict cited the 1960s sexual revolution as the reason for the recent history of sexual abuse in the Church, suggesting that the solution to the issue is “obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Unfortunately, Benedict’s letter fails to touch on any tangible issue. The question is not whether the Church is being secularized by the lascivious happenings of the outside world. Instead, the Church needs to examine options at the institutional level to ensure that this abuse isn’t allowed to continue. The letter fails to suggest any such option. There is no acknowledgment of the accusations of cover-ups that have been flooding the Church since the 1980s, and Benedict’s insistence that the Church resolves to be more obedient is not actionable enough. Trying to pin the blame on the rest of society serves only as an exercise in pointless moral relativism, and it distracts the Church from addressing the causes for the abuse.

Some supporters of the Church may argue that the prevalence of porn and other examples of sexual liberation during the 1960s brought about an overall degradation of society’s values as a whole, so it stands to reason that the Church was also impacted. One need only consider, however, the fact that the Catholic Church is one of the groups most often cited as having sexual abuse problems. Other similar religious groups do not face the same scandals. The Catholic Church has been facing accusations since as early as the 1950s, a decade prior to the cited sexual revolution, before the scandals achieved media attention in the 1980s with the accusations leveled against Gilbert Gauthe. This suggests that the sexual abuse scandals are not brought on by the degradation of religious morals, but instead by a failure on an institutional level to properly address instances of abuse.

Pope Francis, Benedict’s successor, holds a drastically different view on the causes for the scandal, and he seems interested in addressing the institutional corruption that supported the predators amongst the clergy. The Vatican held a summit of bishops around the world last February that focused on the topic of sexual abuse in the Church. This is significant, as it is a public admission that the Church not only has an ongoing issue with sexual abuse of children within its walls but that it has been actively trying to cover up those crimes.

Fintan O’Toole: Enough shame about the past. What we need is guilt

Irish Tiimes

April 22, 2019

By Fintan O'Toole

What use is shame? In the Dáil last Wednesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the mother-and-baby home report as “gruesome reading” and said that “as a society we inherit a deep shame for what was done back then and we must now endeavour to learn, to atone and to put things right”. But what has this inherited shame done for us? Nothing much. It is ocean-deep: the shame of the torture and rape of children in industrial schools, of the kidnapping and enslavement of women in Magdalene laundries, of the dumping of dead babies in anonymous holes, of the claiming of the corpses of poor children by our most respectable medical schools.

But what have we done except wallow in it? It has become part of our gross national product – we produce more shame than we can consume locally and we export some of it for consumption by the international media.

So enough of shame – what we need is guilt. Shame and guilt are not at all the same thing. The first is about how you feel; the second is about what you’ve done. Shame, as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, is “The painful emotion arising from the consciousness of something dishonouring, ridiculous or indecorous in one’s own conduct or circumstances”. Guilt is “a failure of duty, delinquency; offence, crime, sin … Responsibility for an action or event.” One is about how we perceive ourselves, the other about what we have done, or failed to do, to other people. Though we tend to use the words interchangeably, it is quite possible to have one without the other.

We learn (yet again) from the latest report of the Ombudsman for Children that homeless children are tormented by a sense of shame – even though they are guilty of nothing. We know, conversely, that people who were guilty of wrecking the country in the banking crisis of 2008 felt (and feel) no shame.

Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia

The Tablet

April 22, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia will see the creation of a new “super ministry” dedicated to evangelisation that will take precedence over the once-powerful Vatican doctrinal body.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, is the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema.” For years, it policed theologians, set out the red lines of Catholic doctrine and gave its rubber stamp to all major Vatican documents.

But according to Vida Nueva, the respected Spanish Catholic publication, the congregation will no longer hold the number one spot in the curia. Under Francis the CDF has already lost significant influence, and the new constitution formally sets out that it now comes under the new mission statement of spreading the Gospel.

April 22, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court blocks South Florida priest's libel lawsuit against Catholic Church

Sun Sentinel

April 22, 2019

By Marc Freeman

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ended a South Florida priest’s hopes to sue the Catholic Church for defamation.

After previous legal setbacks, the Rev. John Gallagher had prayed for the high court to revive his three-year-old case against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

Without explanation, the court denied Gallagher’s petition, after allowing a national child protection group to support his claim.

In a text message to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Gallagher, 51, said he had received the ruling but declined to comment. His attorney, Ted Babbitt, could not be reached immediately.

The West Palm Beach priest had insisted the church libeled him after he publicly accused his superiors of trying to cover up another priest’s sexual misconduct involving a 14-year-old boy.

Editorial: One pope is quite enough

National Catholic Reporter

April 22, 2019

We are living in a unique moment in church history with an ex-pope, properly credited for having the courage to resign when the problems he faced became overwhelming, living within the Vatican walls. The resignation is best interpreted as Benedict XVI's act of generosity toward the church. The graciousness Francis has displayed toward his predecessor is equally an act of generosity.

Increasingly, however, Francis must also be calling on the virtue of patience to deal with the interference of a predecessor whose retirement has gone from a promised "life dedicated to prayer" to a life of backseat pontificating.

The most recent – and perhaps most unfortunate – intervention was Benedict's letter theorizing on the causes of the sexual abuse crisis and, of course, defending his role in dealing with it.

That the latest was not a one-off, but part of a pattern that was pointed out by NCR Vatican Correspondent Joshua McElwee in reporting on the letter.

In November 2016 a book-length interview was published in which Benedict defended his eight-year papacy, saying he didn't see himself as a failure. In March of that same year he inserted himself into a Francis initiative when he did an interview in which he expounded on God's mercy while Francis was in the midst of an Extraordinary Jubilee Year, with mercy as its central theme. These interventions may appear anodyne to some, but they set a terrible precedent, making the perception or reality of a rivalry between the former pope and his acolytes and the incumbent pope and his supporters more likely.

La Justicia concedió arresto domiciliario al cura Aguilera

La Gaceta

April 22, 2019

[The Justice granted house arrest to the priest Aguilera]

El juez Adolfo Figueroa hizo lugar parcialmente al recurso de apelación que presentó la defensa del sacerdote.

El juez de la sala IV del Tribunal de Impugnación, Adolfo Figueroa, hizo lugar, parcialmente, al recurso de apelación que presentó la defensa de José Carlos Aguilera, y ordenó su arresto domiciliario.

Inside The Fight For Compensation For Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors

WBAA Radio

April 22, 2019

Attorney Ken Feinberg and his longtime associate Camille Biros are overseeing compensation funds for victims of clergy sex abuse. It’s familiar work for them, after working on other compensation funds for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Deepwater Horizon spill. Feinberg and Biros were featured in a recent New Yorker article.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Biros about her work.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Ceremony, panel discussion aims to address child sex abuse

The Journal

April 19, 2019

By Breanna Francis

While some conversations are uncomfortable, many find that discussing sexual abuse, especially of a child, is among the hardest topics to handle.

But for Tom Stollings, one of the father’s involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit against a local Mormon church, bringing this commonly regarded “dark” topic into the light has become his life’s passion.

“It’s a very touchy subject — child sex abuse — especially in a place that you thought you could really trust the people. It’s dark, and it’s hurtful for anyone to have to deal with or hear,” Stollings said. “We’re human and this tears at everyone’s guts but its one of those things that needs to be talked about because that’s the only way we are ever going to put a stop to it.”

Stollings, as well as five other families in Martinsburg, were a part of a sexual abuse lawsuit against a Mormon Church in the area in which Stollings said several local children were abused by a member of the church.

The case, which began in 2012 and ended in August of 2018, after rotating between three judges and two trips to the West Virginia Supreme Court, began with 19 kids but ended with only nine after what Stollings said was stress, pressure and controversy placed on the families by the church and the coverage of the long, drawn out case.

Relentless Survivor of childhood sexual abuse pursued indictment of her abuser

Key News Journal

March 12, 2019

By Patrice K. Muhammad

In 2017 Tanyqua Oliver attended a church service at House of Prayer in Nicholasville, KY. To her surprise, she said, Darnell Nutter was there.

When Tanyqua was 14, in 2006, the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) and Lexington Police investigated Darnell Nutter for raping her over several years, from the age of 9 until she was most 13 years old.

Tanyqua says that Darnell was not a church visitor like her that day, he started helping out and made the alter call, inviting people to accept Jesus and join the church. During the service Tanyqua could not think of anything except the children, she recalled. Children were at the church, many without parents.

Painfully, she confronted the church’s pastor Tammel Thomas, who is her own mother and who was married to Darnell during the years he raped her in their home.

When asked why Darnell was at the church, around children, after her mother participated and pushed for the 2006 rape investigation, Tanyqua said her mother offered the growing church as an excuse and said, “because I need help”.

Alarmed, Tanyqua contacted the Lexington Police Department. “I spoke to an officer and told them that I remember a social worker came to talk to me many years ago and nothing really happened. I reported that Darnell was preaching and was around children and I wanted to know if he was given any sort of restriction” she said.

Her case, as all rape cases are, was still on record and Tanyqua was assigned a new detective who found out what happened in 2006. Her case had been archived, “pending vaginal exam’’. Tanyqua didn’t recall having an exam as part of the investigation but searched for one just in case. When she called the Children’s Advocacy Center, which operates an on-site medical clinic to evaluate children who have reported inappropriate physical contact, she was told that she had never been a client and there was not any record of a referral for her to have an exam.

Twelve more accused priests are ‘outed’ here

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Some have attracted zero attention in Sac area
Six spent time at prestigious Carmichael school
Most allegedly assaulted children in other places
But each of them is or was in northern California
At least one, however, reportedly hurt two local kids
“Each day a predator is hidden, kids are at risk,” victim says
SNAP: “Catholic officials should post ALL predators’ names NOW”

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, attorneys and clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that twelve publicly ‘outed’ and accused predator priests spent time in Sacramento but remain largely “under the radar.” Most were sued, charged or ousted in other states but escaped scrutiny here.

They will also push Catholic officials to write to school alums urging them to report any abuse at Jesuit High, where at least six of the publicly accused predators worked, including one cleric who is accused of molesting two kids at the Carmichael school.

And they’ll prod Sacramento’s bishop to “stop delaying,”
--post his own ‘accused’ offenders list,
--include ALL alleged predators (nuns, priests, brothers, bishops, seminarians & lay staff), &
--provide photos, whereabouts and full work histories of all the accused.

Friday, April 19 at 11:00 a.m.

'Please give me a reason to be Catholic:' How sex abuse crisis is impacting faith in Nashville

Nashville Tennessean

April 22, 2019

By Holly Meyer

The Rev. Edward Steiner does not think the people sitting in the pews are looking for reasons to leave as the Catholic Church grapples with the recent wave of its clergy sexual abuse crisis.

But Steiner, who leads the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, thinks some are looking for reasons to stay.

That became evident to him as members of the cathedral gathered for coffee and donuts on a recent Sunday after Mass.

"A person that I’ve kind of got a great rapport with, but whose also very blunt and direct just simply said, 'Father, I don’t know that I can take anymore. Could you please give me a reason to be a Catholic?'" Steiner said.

The parishioner is not alone in his questioning.

A recent Gallup poll found that 37 percent of U.S. Catholics say the recent news about sexual abuse of children in the church has led them to personally question whether they should remain Catholic.

The crisis has been grabbing headlines for the last eight months. In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report laid out the "horrifying scale" of sexual abuse perpetrated by 300 priests on more than 1,000 identified victims over nearly 80 years.

Several dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of clergy accused of sexually abusing children. In Nashville, the diocese has named 21 clergy. Attorneys general in a number of states have opened their own investigations as critics of the church continue to call for independent reviews.

At one Catholic Church in Arizona, the abuse scandal brings frustration, but faith remains strong

Arizona Republic

April 22, 2019

By BrieAnna J Frank

The All Saints Catholic Newman Center near Arizona State University's Tempe campus was busier than usual.

It was Palm Sunday, which begins the holiest week of the church year, culminating with Easter. By midafternoon, the Rev. Rob Clements was busy preparing for the 5 p.m. Mass, setting up the altar at the front of the sanctuary and ensuring that tables at the back were stocked with service programs and palm branches, which are distributed to the congregation on this day.

One man entered the empty sanctuary at about 3:45 p.m., made the sign of the cross as he entered the last row of pews and knelt in prayer for several minutes.

He then approached Clements, who had set up a table in a corner of the sanctuary, and the priest began hearing the hushed tones of the man's confession — one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.

The man returned to the pew and prayed for only another minute or two before leaving the church, the first of several dozen people who showed up for confession Sunday afternoon prior to the Palm Sunday 5 p.m. service.

The scene contrasted findings in a Gallup poll published last month showing nearly 40 percent of American Catholics have questioned their involvement in the church because of the child sex-abuse scandals that continue to rock the institution in the United States and elsewhere.

A bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report published last year revealed that more than 300 "predator priests" had abused more than 1,000 children across several decades in that state, providing new fuel to an issue that has hung over the church since widespread reports of abuse — and church leadership cover-ups — began surfacing in the early 2000s.

Clements, pastor and director of the Newman Center in Tempe, said he does not know of anyone who has left his congregation because of the scandal.

He said that though his congregants care about the issues within the larger Catholic institution, what matters most is that they can trust their local church. His, in particular, caters to many younger Catholics because of its location at the northwest corner of University Drive and College Avenue, across from the main ASU campus.

"Politics is local," he said. "For Catholics, it's all about their local connection. What's my parish like, my priest — do I feel a connection to him? This other stuff that's going on, it doesn't impact my world."

Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia

The Tablet

April 22, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia will see the creation of a new “super ministry” dedicated to evangelisation that will take precedence over the once-powerful Vatican doctrinal body.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, is the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema.” For years, it policed theologians, set out the red lines of Catholic doctrine and gave its rubber stamp to all major Vatican documents.

But according to Vida Nueva, the respected Spanish Catholic publication, the congregation will no longer hold the number one spot in the curia. Under Francis the CDF has already lost significant influence, and the new constitution formally sets out that it now comes under the new mission statement of spreading the Gospel.

More Americans than ever are leaving the Catholic Church after the sex abuse scandal. Here's why.


April 22, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

On Palm Sunday, Barbara Hoover exited Brougher Chapel with a palm frond in her left hand.

The 76-year-old retiree sized up the church in front of her and sighed, visibly upset. “I don’t know why I’m still here,” she said, throwing her hands up. “I don’t know why I still go. I guess the ritual.”

In Portland, Oregon, Norma Rodriguez, 51, hustled up the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, eager to get a good seat before the service started.

A lifelong Catholic, Rodriguez attends Mass weekly, praying for everyone she knows. She hasn’t been deterred by the sex abuse crisis that’s engulfed the Catholic Church for the better part of two decades. It’s not her place to pass judgment, Rodriguez said.

“This whole thing, it makes me pray more,” she said. “It just makes me pray for humanity, makes me pray for forgiveness.”

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sara and Nathan Hofflander brought their three young daughters to Palm Sunday Mass, then joined the bustle of people chatting and enjoying a hot meal during St. Lambert’s yearly parish dinner. Plates filled with turkey and potatoes. The parents corralled their girls – ages 5, 3 and 1 – and found a spot near a window.

Sara Hofflander, 32, grew up Catholic and Nathan Hofflander, 40, joined the church in 2011. The fallibility of clergy doesn’t faze him. “We are all broken in some way,” he said. “We’re not all perfect.”

The Catholic Church in the U.S. is at a crossroads. As millions of devout followers filled the pews this Easter season to celebrate the religion’s most important holiday, others hovered at the door, hungry for community and spiritual guidance but furious at the church’s handling of the decades-long sex abuse crisis that’s resulted in young children being raped and abused by priests who were often protected by their superiors.

Seven months after a damning grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed that 1,000 children had been abused at the hands of more than 300 priests, and as state attorneys general across the nation investigate the church, a Gallup poll published in March found that 37% of U.S. Catholics are considering leaving the church because of the sex abuse crisis and the church’s handling of it. That’s up significantly from 2002, when just 22% of Catholics said they were contemplating leaving their religion after The Boston Globe published an explosive series that initially exposed the abuse and subsequent cover-up.

On Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, the USA TODAY Network sent 13 reporters out to parishes across the country to talk with dozens of Catholics about their faith and the scandal that has bankrupted churches after million dollar settlements, exposed thousands of accused priests and left unknown numbers of victims struggling to rebuild their childhoods, families and spiritual lives. Reporters visited white, black, Latino and Asian majority churches in cities and rural areas from California to New York, from Florida to Guam, as priests across the world spoke of repentance, forgiveness and, ultimately, new life.

Church has steep learning curve on abuse

Catholic Register

April 22, 2019

By Mickey Conlon

As an extradition order against a Regina priest for allegedly abusing boys in a Scottish boys’ school plays out in a Canadian courtroom, the archdiocese continues to try to find its way in helping victims of sexual abuse.

“There is nothing easy about this,” said Archbishop Donald Bolen of Regina. “We’re struggling to find a way how to walk with victims.”

While Fr. Robert Mackenzie is not accused of any misconduct from his roughly 30 years in the Regina archdiocese, several complaints have been made against him concerning incidents that occurred at two boarding schools in Scotland from the 1950s through the 1980s. The retired priest, now in his mid-80s, has denied all allegations and is fighting extradition.

The archdiocese had relieved MacKenzie of his priestly duties in 2016 and he has been living at a home for retired priests in Regina, following protocols in place to deal with such situations.

The protocols around abuse have been updated in recent years, but at this point, the archdiocese — and the Canadian Church — is still coming to grips with the scourge of clergy sex abuse that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide.

Bolen knows the Church still has a long way to go.

Attention was ramped up on the issue last summer when a Pennsylvania grand jury report exposed thousands of cases of sexual assault that were covered up, leading to a cascade of calls for change, both inside and outside the Church.

Bolen said his diocese is “committed to transparency and to accountability and to responsibility, and we’re being encouraged to listen to victims and to learn from victims and to walk with victims and to prioritize victims.”

Bolen is under no illusion that the steps being taken now are going to put an end to the scandal and make it go away.

“We make lots of mistakes,” said the archbishop.

“It’s such a big learning curve for us. As Church we simply have such a deeply imbedded instinct of protecting the Church. It’s even more deep than protecting the clergy. Somewhere along the line the voice of victims has been suppressed and that has caused such deep pain.”

In Regina, Bolen said he’s been lucky to have worked with a small group of abuse victims committed to working with the Church to bring about needed change.

“There has been an incredible generosity and willingness from victims to share their experience and let the Church learn from it,” he said.

Pamela Walsh, an abuse victim, has worked closely with Bolen in trying to bring about needed change in the Church. One way to get the victims’ voice heard has been the creation of special services regarding clergy sexual abuse. A service styled on the Way of the Cross has asked people to “move into the trauma of abuse,” Walsh wrote on the archdiocesan website.

Walsh said “the group managed to enter into each other’s wounds, creating a powerful text that invited others to hear the painful torment of clergy sexual abuse.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘The church is imprisoned in its past’

Irish Times

April 22, 2019

By Patsy McGarry

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, turned 74 on April 8th. He has a year to go before submitting his letter of resignation to Rome, as required of all Catholic bishops when they reach 75.

The two auxiliary bishops in Dublin must submit their resignations to Rome even sooner – Bishop Ray Field turns 75 next month with Bishop Eamonn Walsh following in September.

Archbishop Martin, the most influential Catholic prelate in Ireland, is 15 years in his role this month, having succeeded Cardinal Desmond Connell. He is 20 years a bishop and next month marks a half century since his ordination.

Does he think he will be allowed to stand down?

“You never know that,” he says. “At the moment there’s quite a delay on [the appointment of] bishops in Ireland. One thing I would not want is that there would be a vacuum or that there would be a prolonged period of speculation.”

He says the big change will not be him and his auxiliary colleagues moving on but rather the “realities of the diocese”, which are “changing enormously”.

“Others might say that may be a little time in which people can stand back and reflect and ask the questions: Where should we be going? What sort of bishop do we need? But I think there are too many serious problems that have to be addressed from the pastoral, personnel, financial situation – you can’t allow that to drag on.”

He acknowledges Cardinal Connell was persuaded to stay on for three more years after turning 75. “I think it wasn’t a good thing,” he adds.

New accommodation
The archbishop may stay in Dublin post-retirement, in which case he would need to look for new accommodation in the city. “My mother always said that if she could get an apartment in Nelson’s Pillar, that would be her choice,” he smiles.

As to whether his period as archbishop had been overshadowed by the abuse issue – as it was for Cardinal Connell who once said the abuse issue had devastated his ministry – Archbishop Martin responds: “Cardinal Connell always focused on himself an awful lot. I don’t do it in that same sense.

The Protect Every Child Initiative to Combat Child Sexual Abuse

Survivora Network of those Abused by Priests

April 19, 2019

For the past two years, Sam Young has led a one-man charge to reform the LDS church and to protect children within the Mormon faith. Now, Sam is taking his campaign nationwide and is urging everyone to take one of three simple actions that can protect EVERY child.

Here is what Sam is asking everyone to do:

Action 1: Petition
Last year’s petition was directed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This year’s petition will call for all parents as well as all religions, denominations and youth serving organizations to Protect Every Child. The goal is to gather 50,000 signatures.

Action 2: Climb a Mountain, Save a Child
Summit a mountain, a hill, a driveway or any point of prominence. Whether big or small.
Unfurl a banner on that driveway or mountain top. Take a picture. Then share it everywhere.
This year, hundreds of banners will be planted on pinnacles all around the world. The flags are not to be left behind. Rather, they are to be brought home for a subsequent action.
A lovely carol is sung during the Christmas season–Go Tell It On A Mountain. If ever there was a message to shout from the mountain tops, this is it. PROTECT EVERY CHILD.

Action 3: 12 Days of Ascension–July 24 to August 4, 2019
Last summer, a 23 day hunger strike was conducted in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple. This summer, we’ll return to Utah for 12 days, Not to fast…to climb. Peaks will be summitted around the valley. Others will climb mountains across the country. Banners will be unfurled for the entire world to see.

Nigeria: Special Report - the Real Story of the Sexual Abuse Incident At Abuja School for the Deaf


April 22, 2019

By Ini Ekott and Azeezat Adedigba

The seven-year-old had spent just one academic term at his new school in Abuja when he told his mother he would not be returning to the institution, a special facility for children with disability. Using sign language, the boy, born with speech and hearing impairment, said he feared he may be killed.

"They will kill me if I return to that school," Hannatu Usman recalled her son saying.

Alarmed, Mrs Usman, a medical doctor, pressed for details. The boy motioned about being sodomised and being forced to perform oral sex on older school mates. He spoke about being driven in the night to a gathering where men killed and conducted rituals, drew children's blood and forced them to perform erotic acts. The boy said he was brutalised whenever he refused to do as instructed.

On March 26, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, said after weeks of investigation, a government panel had found no evidence of occult or cannibalism in the school. He dismissed the claim by the Usman family as "unfounded and baseless", and said the panel based its conclusion in part on the fact that no other parent reported missing children at the school at Kuje, about 37 kilometres from the Abuja city centre.

Mr Adamu said the allegation of sexual abuse could not be confirmed because Mrs Usman had refused to meet with the panel, alongside her son. "However, the doors are still open for her to come forward and testify," the minister told a news conference. "This is because as things stand today, this report is inconclusive as her major allegation of her son's abuse has not been conclusively established nor can it be dismissed with a wave of the hand."

He, however, acknowledged that a police investigation had confirmed the boy had been sexually assaulted. The Abuja police commissioner, Bala Ciroma, confirmed the finding to PREMIUM TIMES.

The report, first by the Abuja-based Human Rights Radio, that a child with a disability was sexually abused at a school his family hoped will help him with care, terrified parents and angered rights advocates, not less because it happened in the nation's capital. Ahead of the announcement by the minister, a civil society group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, said in a petition to the National Human Rights Commission that "the case is one deserving of immediate and urgent intervention and investigation."

Deschambault clergy sexual abuse prevention bill signed into lawhttp://

Journal Tribune

April 22, 2019

On Thursday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed into law legislation sponsored by State Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford, that criminalizes licensed pastoral counselor sexual abuse.

LD 913, “An Act To Protect the Public from Clergy Sexual Abuse,” would make it illegal for licensed pastoral counselors to engage in sexual activity with those who they are counseling. Licensed pastoral counselors are clergy members who have a specialized degree in behavioral counseling.

“This bill protects the rights of patients who seek counseling from licensed pastoral counselors in the same way we treat patient rights with other licensed behavior counselors,” said Deschambault.

The bill acknowledges that licensed pastoral counselors are in a position of trust and authority over another person, which creates an inherent power imbalance in the relationship. LD 913 would criminalize sexual conduct of any sort between a licensed pastoral counselor and another person if the clergy member uses his or her position of authority and trust to engage in a sexual act.

Non-emergency laws passed in the regular legislative session this year will be effective law 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourns.

A life hiding as the first priest charged in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal

Lafayette Daily Advertiser

April 22, 2019

By Kirsten Fiscus

A small walking path, impossible to travel without bending plants and palm fronds, leads from the roadway to the small, cramped apartment. Behind all the foliage at the end of the path in a courtyard, unseen from the road, is a large chicken coop with a dozen hens nestled together. They roll their heads around to eye the passersby.

An older man, his shoulders hunched, shuffles to the railing outside of an upstairs apartment. His dogs are barking loudly, and he comes forward to see. He looks over his 1970s-style, wire-rimmed glasses, this frail man peering out on to the overgrown court yard.

“Are you Gilbert?” the visitor asked.

The man squints and turns his head to hear better as the dogs continue to bark from behind his apartment's screen door.

“Yes, hello,” he answered, extending his hand.

At 73, Gilbert Gauthe has made his home far away from Lafayette, the place where the world learned his name. Now he’s an older man, dressed in a plain, blue T-shirt and khaki shorts, his bare feet in sandals standing in this courtyard tucked away from the rest of society.

But 36 years ago, he wore a priest’s collar and lived as a man of God in the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette.

That was before the nation learned of Gauthe more than three decades ago as the Catholic priest who admitted molesting 37 boys. The revelation stunned the country, not yet awakened to an emerging priest abuse scandal that would touch nearly every U.S. diocese. Gauthe made the Lafayette diocese ground zero for what Pope Francis would only recently call the scourge that consumed the Catholic Church.

General Assembly committee deals blow to many priest abuse victims

The Day

April 21. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

A General Assembly committee has modified a proposed bill so alleged victims of Catholic clergy abuse will not have a 27-month window to sue the church regardless of their age.

During an April 1 public hearing before the Judiciary Committee, people older than 48 who say they were sexually assaulted by priests urged the committee to support a provision in Senate Bill 3 that would have allowed them to sue the church after that age, which is the current law.

But a substitute bill approved by the committee that now moves on to the legislature for consideration would instead give victims to age 56 to file a lawsuit.

“It’s like another punch in the gut,” said Tim McGuire of New London, who discovered he had missed the filing deadline by three weeks when he decided to come forward 12 years ago.

Now, with the proposed change to age 56, he will miss the filing deadline by four years.

“I was stunned,” said McGuire, who said he heard about the change during a support group meeting late last week with the Connecticut chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

McGuire had broken down when he testified before the Judiciary Committee, telling members how as an 8-year-old altar boy he was sexually assaulted by the late Rev. James Curry at St. Joseph’s Church in Noank and how it has affected his life.

“It may help a few people, but it left me in the dust again,” added McGuire. “Why take away someone’s chance for accountability?”

Gail Howard, one of the co-leaders of the Connecticut chapter of SNAP, said Sunday that of the 20 priest abuse victims who have contacted her since last summer’s release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse there, just two to three will benefit from the increase in age to 56. The others are older.

Howard said that while victims told their stories to the committee in public, the Catholic church lobbied to get rid of the change behind the scenes. It is unclear which legislator made the motion to change the proposed bill.

Howard called the change disappointing but said it took a similar effort in New York seven years to be successful.

“This is our first year. We have to make sure this bill passes and then we can go back next year,” she said, about again trying to eliminate the statute of limitations.

Some alleged victims who have waited to reveal the sexual abuse they suffered until later in life have discovered they are unable to file lawsuits because they did not do so by age 48, under the current statute of limitations. They and their supporters say that due to a number of factors, many victims wait until much later in life to reveal the abuse.

According to bill's original language, a lawsuit to recover damages for personal injury to a minor, including emotional distress, caused by sexual abuse that could not be brought by Sept. 19, 2019, because the legal action would not fall within the current statute of limitations, could be filed on or before Dec. 31, 2021.

The bill also would allow minor victims to bring a legal action at any time in their life if it concerns an incident that took place on or after Oct. 1, 2019, or occurred prior to that date and the applicable statute of limitations had not expired by Sept. 30, 2019.

NJ clergy sexual abuse victims say church compensation program isn't enough

Bridgewater Courier News

April 22, 2019

By Nick Muscavage

Nearly 50 years after the first attack occurred, Todd Kostrub finds it easier to talk about the sexual abuse he said he endured at the hands of a Franciscan clergyman, but the pain never goes away.

Yet, when Kostrub heard New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses created an independent victim compensation program for victims of child sexual abuse, he was initially optimistic — until he learned that he was excluded from making a claim because the man was a brother of a religious order, not a diocesan priest.

“The worst thing you can do to a victim, to a survivor, is to pretend you’re helping — that you’re doing the right thing," Kostrub said, "but in reality, what you’re doing is throwing somebody a drop of water when there’s a raging fire out there.”

On Feb. 11, the state’s five Catholic dioceses announced the creation of the statewide Independent Victim Compensation Program to pay eligible victims who were sexually abused by clergy of the Roman Catholic Church while minors.

The program will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, both of whom oversaw the Penn State sexual abuse claims, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Fund, among others.

"While the Independent Victim Compensation Program cannot remedy the mistakes of the past or take away the pain from those who have suffered, it is hopefully a step, one of many, which we have taken to try to bring healing and renewal to the survivors and our Church," Tara Smith, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Metuchen said in a statement. "The program, which may be opposed by some, has already received positive support from parishioners, legislators and survivors of abuse, some of whom have already inquired to register with the program."

The program, however, prohibits claims of clergy sexual abuse by members of a religious order, who do not answer to the Archdiocese of Newark or the Dioceses of Metuchen, Camden, Trenton or Paterson.

Kostrub, of Surf City, said he was abused between 1972 to 1979 by a Franciscan brother named Kurt Munn. Although Munn was a brother of an independent Catholic order, he worked at Holy Assumption School, which is tethered to Holy Assumption Church in Roebling, and falls under the Diocese of Trenton.

“He was my basketball coach, my baseball coach, he was in charge of the altar boys, and when I became seven years old I became eligible to become an altar boy,” Kostrub said. “And that’s when he began raping me.”

Although Munn did not originate within a New Jersey diocese, the abuse occurred at a diocesan school on a diocesan property, Kostrub claimed.

Rayanne Bennett, executive director of communications and media for the Diocese of Trenton, confirmed that Munn "was the subject of multiple allegations" brought to the diocese first in 1998 and again in 2007, in connection with his service, on behalf of the Franciscans, at Holy Assumption Church in Roebling.

"The allegations were reported by the Diocese to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office," she said. "The Diocese reached out to the Orders of Franciscan Minor, Province of the Immaculate Conception in New York City, but Munn had left the order."

Munn, 72, of DeWitt, Michigan, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

April 21, 2019

Disgraced priest faces new abuse accusations; Hanna Boys Center responds

Sonoma Valley Sun

April 21, 2019

Current Hanna Boys Center CEO Brian Farragher has addressed but not disputed the charges of molestation made against the facility’s former executive director, details of which were dramatically revealed in an outdoor press conference Wednesday at Sonoma’s St. Francis Solano Catholic Church.

Father John Crews, the executive director until 2013, is newly accused of abusing two residents — one young man who lived at Hanna 1984-85 and another 1999-2001. Crews resigned in 2013 after being accused of sexually abusing a boy in the 1970s.

Sacramento attorney Joseph George said he has filed formal complaints with the state Attorney General’s Office. He was joined at the press conference by representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

In a letter made public by his attorney, one of the alleged victims, David Ortega, called for “anyone else who has been a victim to step forward, let your voice be heard and understand that it is not and was not ever a fault of your own.”

Farragher said he had no advance knowledge of Wednesday’s event.

For survivors of clergy abuse, watching a beloved cathedral go up in smoke felt viscerally familiar

Baptist News Global

April 18, 2019

By Carra Greer

On Monday, I watched in horror with those all over the world as Notre Dame Cathedral burned and smoke billowed into the Paris sky. One of the oldest and most famous cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame was erected over 800 years ago. Yet it took only a few hours for the great spire to topple like a child’s block tower. As the fire burned unscathed by the water cannons flooding the structure, virtual onlookers began to speculate if the building would be totally consumed or if enough could be saved and rebuilt.

As I stared at the television screen, I felt a visceral reaction coursing through my body. It was a physical manifestation of what I have felt for the last decade. Sounds horribly dramatic, doesn’t it? But, for those who have experienced harassment, rejection, ostracism, judgment, isolation, sexual assault, physical/mental/verbal abuse, manipulation and even rape at the hands of revered clergy, we have been watching our sacred space burn for years, maybe decades.

And, for many of us, we have watched our faith go up in smoke.

“Survivors deserve an opportunity to be restored in their own way and in their own time.”

Those fortunate enough to worship and practice their faith in a safe space with good, honest clergy and congregants without experiencing traumas of any kind have this week seen and experienced a manifestation of what it is like when a person’s sacred space, spiritual center and place of worship is, in essence, set ablaze. Decimated. Obliterated. Many of us (of varying denominations and religious groups) who have experienced the nastiest, most vile parts of the Church have watched in isolation as our sacred spaces go up in smoke, often feeling like we are the arsonists.

April 20, 2019

Editorial: Ending impunity for child abuse

Sun Star

April 21, 2019

HELP a child being abused and report the crime to civil authorities.

In an article published in the January 2019 issue of the “World Mission” magazine, Fr. Shay Cullen of the Preda Foundation wrote that, “Every one of us has a solemn duty and responsibility to stop (child abuse).”

Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban co-founded the People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (Preda) Foundation, an Olongapo City organization promoting and protecting the rights of women and children.

Cullen singled out what should be the priorities in child advocacy: first, to rescue and provide “protection, care therapy, and support” to “child victims hurt, damaged, and traumatized” by the abusers living “in their own home, in the community and on the internet;” and second, to “(give) justice to the victims, (which) prevents the perpetrators from abusing more children.”

Threatening children are predators in all guises: “The biological fathers, live-in partners and community pedophiles are most frequent offenders but there are clergy too,” wrote Cullen.

Last February 2019, Pope Francis convened the three-day Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church. It was widely anticipated as a “landmark Vatican summit” to get the bishops to take concrete action to address clerical sex abuse.

In his presentation during the Vatican summit, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle admitted that the “lack of response of bishops to victims of clergy sexual abuse inflicts wounds on them,” reported “The Philippine Star” on Feb. 22. The priests abusing minors “inflicted wounds not only on the victims but also on their families, the clergy, the Church, the wider society, the perpetrators themselves and the bishops,” the same report quoted Tagle as saying.

GUEST VIEW: One in 10 will suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18

South Coast Today

April 20, 2019

By Michelle Loranger

The clergy sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church and the abuse of young women and girls at the highest level of amateur gymnastics have commanded most of the headlines.

But the reality of child sexual abuse most often strikes closer to home. And it happens across all racial and ethnic groups, all income classes, and in each and every state.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the reality is that 90 percent of children who suffer sexual abuse do so at the hands of adults they love and trust — often members of their immediate or extended families.

Last year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County handled 815 cases — more than two new cases each day — most of which involved the sexual abuse of children. (The number also includes children who were physically abused, were witness to violence or victims of child trafficking). The annual caseload has more than doubled since the program opened its doors in 2007. And while exposure in the news media has helped more children get help than ever before, many cases of child abuse are unreported and untreated for years — if ever.

Former CJ students asked to report any abuse by ex-teacher

Dayton Daily News

April 20, 2019

By Will Garbe and Josh Sweigart

Former Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School students have been asked to contact authorities if they were abused by an ex-teacher who worked at the school during the late 1970s, according to a letter from the religious order that sponsors the school.

Former Bro. Paul Botty was convicted in 1986 of abusing students at a Cleveland school, according to the April 16 letter mailed to the Chaminade Julienne classes of 1978-1981. The crimes are not connected to his service at the Dayton school.The letter comes as the Marianist Province of the United States reviews its files on those accused of sexual abuse. Following a request from the Dayton Daily News, the order said last month that it is “actively reviewing the decision to release names” of accused members.

An ongoing Dayton Daily News investigation into conduct by Marianist leaders who handled sexual abuse claims over the past several decades will publish in coming weeks.The newspaper asked the Marianists for information about Botty after finding photos of him in a CJ yearbook from the 1977-1978 academic year. Botty became a Marianist two years later.“Current school administration only recently learned from the Marianist Province that the Mr. Botty pictured in the school’s 1978 yearbook was the same person convicted and imprisoned as a Marianist brother for crimes committed more than 35 years ago and not connected to his service at CJ,” said Daniel Meixner, Chaminade Julienne president, in a statement.

VOTF to meet April 22

Midland Daily News

April 20, 2019

Voice of the Faithful will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, at Blessed Sacrament Church, 3109 Swede Ave, Midland.

There will be a group discussion on an article by Father Tom Doyle in which he describes toxic clericalism as the cause of the abuse and gives specific changes needed to stop the sex abuse in the church. The article, "The Sexual Abuse Crisis is not a Crisis" by Doyle can be found at consciencemag.org/2019/04/03/the-sexual-abuse-crisis-is-not-a-crisis and should be read in advance of the meeting.

Doyle was one of the first to warn of the impending crisis. He is a Dominican priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims.

Voice of the Faithful is a group of Catholics that is concerned about the church and its future. Its goals are to support survivors of clergy sex abuse, to support priests of integrity and to shape structural change within the Catholic church.

More information, Norbert Bufka 989-835-2832 or www.votf.org.

One church, two popes: why Catholicism is in crisis this Easter

The Guardian

April 20, 2019

By Peter Stanford

In his pre-Easter address to pilgrims gathering in Rome, Pope Francis highlighted Jesus’s words as he died on the cross on the first Good Friday: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” We all, the Argentinian pontiff stressed, need to find the courage to forgive those who have wronged us.

Those remarks sparked speculation about who exactly Francis was struggling to forgive. Top of most lists in Rome this Easter is his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who decided in 2013 to break with 600 years of work-unto-death papal tradition and retire. This opened Catholicism’s door to the breath of fresh air that is Francis. And, for the past six years, as the winds of change have blown through the church, Benedict has by and large kept a respectful silence, ignoring the ever louder pleas of traditionalist Catholics who want the 92-year-old to join them in opposing Francis’s reform agenda.

That changed earlier this month, when Benedict published a 6,000-word article in a German magazine. It made headlines by blaming the clerical abuse scandal on the moral relativism of the 1960s sexual revolution, and the “homosexual cliques” that allowed this “lawlessness” to infect seminaries. It is a line of argument that directly – and, conservative cardinals insist, pointedly – contradicts all Francis’s efforts (including a summit of world bishops in the Vatican in February) to tackle the damage done by paedophile priests by pointing the finger at a dominant culture within the church; a culture that encourages priests and bishops to operate as if they are above the moral guidelines they preach, and regard themselves as beyond the sanction of civil courts.

Neither explanation has convinced some lifelong Catholics who, as a result this Easter, will stay away from church services. The Francis version at least has the virtue of not flying in the face of all contemporary research, which doesn’t conflate sexual attraction between consenting adults of the same gender with the brutal and systematic violation of children.

April 19, 2019

Diocese says it will add names to accused list if contacted by victims, survivors

Stockton Record

April 19, 2019

By Wes Bowers

The Diocese of Stockton said Friday that it will not add any new names to its list of “credibly accused” unless it is contacted by victims and survivors.

The diocese’s statement comes after the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests came to Stockton on Tuesday to urge the organization to add an additional seven names of clergymen who spent parts of their careers in the area and have been publicly accused of abuse in other regions to its list of “credible accused.”

“The Diocese of Stockton’s list is based on information provided to the Diocese by survivors of unlawful sexual misconduct or their representatives,” the Diocese said in a statement. Neither survivors nor their representatives have contacted the Diocese of Stockton regarding any allegation of unlawful sexual conduct by any of the persons named.”

In 2017, the diocese was required to post the names of 14 members accused of abuse on its website.

SNAP, however, found seven more priests accused of abuse who spent time in Stockton but aren’t listed on the diocese’s list of accused.

Holy Father Removes Former Hunterdon Priest

Tapinto Flemington-Raritan

April 19, 2019

A priest who formerly served in Hunterdon has been permanently removed from the priesthood, according to a press release issued today, Good Friday, by the Diocese of Metuchen.

Mark Dolak, 66, served in various Catholic churches throughout the state, including St. Catherine of Siena in Pittstown. He was ordained in 1979, according to the Diocese.

Dolak “had his priestly faculties removed” more than 20 years ago, the Diocese said.

“He has now been permanently removed from the priesthood by the Holy Father via the laicization process,” today’s press release states. “When a priest is laicized, he is returned to the status of a lay person.”

Dolak was previously identified by the church as “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor.

“Upon receiving the news from the Holy See about the removal from the priesthood of Mark Dolak, my first thought was to pray for the survivors of child sexual abuse,” said Bishop James F. Checchio in a statement. “While his crimes and sins are decades old … they are no less shameful and horrific and their effects sadly remain.

“I asked diocesan staff to let his survivors know of this latest step,” he said. “I pray that this action in at least some small way aids his victims in the healing process.”

US Dioceses Continue Acts of Public Reparation for Sexual-Abuse Scandal

National Catholic Register

April 19, 2019

By Joseph O’Brien

The faithful who entered St. George Church in Guilford, Connecticut, Feb. 16 were met by a scene full of white roses and blue delphiniums filing the church’s interior with their fragrance.

The burst of blooms was a study in contrast to the somber mood of the occasion, as Catholics from around this south-central region of Connecticut were gathering for a “Mass of Reparation” for the victims of sexual abuse.

Picked from the parish’s St. George Healing Garden, which was established by the parish in 2015 for victims of sexual abuse and their families, the church flowers carried a sobering message. As prayer cards handed out for the occasion indicated, white roses symbolize Mary’s sorrow, purity and innocence, while blue delphiniums symbolize protection and a striving for something greater and more important.

On this day, Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford came to St. George’s to celebrate the second of three Masses of reparation for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Along with two auxiliary bishops, Archbishop Blair celebrated the three Masses in three distinct locales of the archdiocese: St. Bartholomew Church in Manchester, east of the centrally located diocesan see, Jan. 27; at St. George’s in the south the following month; and, most recently, March 26 in the western part of the archdiocese at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Harwinton (which, with its sister church, Immaculate Conception, in New Hartford, composes Our Lady of Hope parish).

The three Masses were announced in a Jan. 2 letter by Archbishop Blair, almost three weeks before the archdiocese’s Jan. 22 release of the names of 36 archdiocese clergy (23 deceased), six religious order priests and six priests from other dioceses working in the diocese who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor since 1953. Of the priests named, 23 are deceased and none are in active ministry. None of the abuse cases took place during Archbishop Blair’s appointment.

Via Crucis in Mumbai addresses abuse scandal in Church


April 19, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

Catholics in Mumbai reflected on the abuse scandal facing the Church during a Via Crucis in the city’s historically-Christian Bandra neighborhood.

More than a thousand people attended the event at St. Andrew’s College, which focused on the “Scandals of the Cross.”

Bishop John Rodrigues, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay, led the stations, and said that scandal in the Church is a stumbling block and the opposite of holiness.

“For all abuse victims falling under the heavy burden of anguish too heavy to carry, we pray with them in their pain, fear and confusion, that they may have the endurance and receive the love that enables them to rise again,” read one prayer.

“For our children who have been hurt by their ministers, we pray. For mothers and fathers who have borne the pain of their children’s suffering, we pray. For all our sisters and brothers who are angry, ashamed, saddened and disillusioned by the crimes that have been committed within the Body of Christ, we pray,” it continued.

Statement Regarding Daniel M. Wolfe, Former Teacher of Norfolk Catholic High School

Richmond Cathiloc Diocese

April 11, 2019

The Diocese of Richmond received a complaint from an adult alleging sexual abuse by a former employee when the individual was a minor. In keeping with diocesan policy, the adult individual was encouraged to report the allegation to the Norfolk Police Department. The Diocese of Richmond was recently informed that the accused was arrested and charged by Norfolk Police.

The former employee, Mr. Daniel M. Wolfe, worked for the Diocese of Richmond as a teacher for 11 years in the 1970s to early 1980s. The alleged incident(s) was reported to the diocese as having occurred between 1978-1979 when the victim was a student at what was previously known as Norfolk Catholic High School. Most recently, Mr. Wolfe was a Latin teacher at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School for part of the 2017-2018 school year.

The diocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding the allegation and will continue to do so. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, the diocese refrains from any comment until the civil process is complete.

Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop uses Easter message to reflect on 'shattered' church

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

April 19, 2019

Melbourne's new Catholic Archbishop has used his Easter message to acknowledge the church seems "shattered" and "wounded" after a year in which Cardinal George Pell was jailed for sexually abusing two choirboys.

Archbishop Peter Comensoli did not mention his predecessor by name, but spoke of how the Melbourne church had been "walking through loss and grief".

He said the story of Jesus Christ's resurrection was a reminder of new possibilities.

"Our way ahead with Him does not mean a rejection of our past, but a transfiguration of it. Jesus is our hope of a new path," Archbishop Comensoli said.

"As shattered and as wounded as our local Church can seem, the Risen Lord, in his gloriously wounded body, is inviting us to share in his life and to walk with him."

"This Easter, all of us are being invited to taste something of this joy of the Resurrection, to look on Jesus's resurrected wounds and see hope for ourselves and for the world."

Catholic church to donate $300,000 to CASA

The Courier

April 19, 2019

By Greg Gliddon

BALLARAT'S Catholic Diocese is donating $300,000 to the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), to help the service work with abuse survivors across the city.

Earlier this month it was announced the Ballarat branch of CASA will receive $700,000 in State Government funding as part of a statewide $5 million commitment over two years.

The church's commitment will see that funding now lift to $1 million over two years which it hopes will assist hundreds of people living with the stigma of sexual assault.

Diocese business manager Andrew Jirik said the church had been seeking a way to support CASA.

"We've been supporting victims through various avenues, but it was opportune two weeks ago when we heard about the funding the state government had given CASA's throughout Victoria, so it was timely to see if we could top that off," Mr Jirik said.

German theologians blast Benedict's letter as 'failed and improper' account of abuse crisis

National Catholic Reporter

April 16, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

A group of prominent German-speaking theologians has sharply criticized retired Pope Benedict XVI's recent letter on clergy sexual abuse, saying it "instrumentalized" the Catholic church's continuing crisis to rehash stale, decades-long theological disputes.

In a blunt two-page letter released April 15, the theologians said the former pontiff ignored scientific research on the causes of abuse, neglected evidence of the centuries-long history of the problem, and did not speak from the perspective of victim-survivors.

"The analysis of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is based on a number of false assumptions," said the German Association of Moral Theologians, which represents about 40 prominent academics. "It is assessed by us as a failed and improper contribution to the resolution of the abuse crisis."

Cardinal Müller: Pope Benedict’s letter ‘more intelligent than all’ contributions at Rome Abuse Summit


April 17, 2019

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has given several interviews in recent days defending Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's April 10 letter on the roots of the abuse crisis.

The former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told the German newspaper Die Welt that “in his letter, Benedict has pierced the boil,” and his text “is more intelligent than all the contributions at the Roman 'Abuse Summit' and the know-it-all moral experts at the German Bishops' Conference.”

In a new interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Müller further explains his thoughts and returns to his strong rebuke of the Sex Abuse Summit in Rome. “The nebulous concept of clericalism is the wrong approach,” he explained. “With a false diagnosis, one can never find the right therapy, but, rather, one will only worsen the illness.”

It is about “grave sins against the Sixth Commandment,” Müller points out. He mentions two prelates in Rome who know about the empirical facts: “Cardinal O'Malley and Cardinal Ladaria both know the most concretely about the causes and the conditions of clerical sexual crimes committed against adolescents.”

Theologians condemn Pope Benedict’s letter on abuse crisis on German bishops’ website


April 16, 2019

Since the publication of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI's 10 April letter on the abuse crisis, the German bishops' news website Katholisch.de has published several harsh rebukes of the former Pope. For example, they accuse the Pope of causing a “schism,” of making “absurd” references to the cultural revolution of the 1960s, and also of “abusing” the very “topic of abuse.”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has come to Benedict's defense, rebuking the German moral theologians as “people who neither believe nor think.”

On April 10, Pope Benedict published his 6,000-word-long document, in which he discusses some of the roots of the current sex abuse crisis in the Church, and he thereby points to the moral relativism and laxity that entered the Catholic Church in the wake of the cultural revolution of the 1960s in the West.

Pa. House hopes to approve final sex abuse reforms by week’s end


April 16, 2019

By Katie Meyer

By the end of the week, the state House is hoping to pass every proposal included in last year’s grand jury report on decades of child abuse within the Roman Catholic church.

The measures will then await Senate approval. For some of the provisions, that approval isn’t guaranteed.

The grand jury report gave a number of recommendations, all aimed at stemming abuse and keeping institutions from covering it up.

Lawmakers have been working on them since last year. And on Monday, the three final provisions passed out of committee.

OPINION: For survivors of clergy abuse, watching a beloved cathedral go up in smoke felt viscerally familiar

Baptist News

April 18, 2019

By Carra Greer

On Monday, I watched in horror with those all over the world as Notre Dame Cathedral burned and smoke billowed into the Paris sky. One of the oldest and most famous cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame was erected over 800 years ago. Yet it took only a few hours for the great spire to topple like a child’s block tower. As the fire burned unscathed by the water cannons flooding the structure, virtual onlookers began to speculate if the building would be totally consumed or if enough could be saved and rebuilt.

As I stared at the television screen, I felt a visceral reaction coursing through my body. It was a physical manifestation of what I have felt for the last decade. Sounds horribly dramatic, doesn’t it? But, for those who have experienced harassment, rejection, ostracism, judgment, isolation, sexual assault, physical/mental/verbal abuse, manipulation and even rape at the hands of revered clergy, we have been watching our sacred space burn for years, maybe decades.

And, for many of us, we have watched our faith go up in smoke.

New D.C. archbishop a middle-ground leader

The Washington Post

April 18, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

When the first Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis erupted in the early 2000s, Wilton Gregory led hundreds of defensive and divided bishops in passing the most aggressive action on abuse in U.S. church history.

But Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke remembers something else about Gregory, who was selected this month by Pope Francis to head the prestigious District of Columbia Archdiocese.

As one of the laypeople Gregory appointed to serve on an advisory board to the bishops, Burke was struck by an inquiry he made to her one night when they found themselves alone after a meeting. He wanted to know how she’d been able to visit Vatican officials for her research on abuse.

She’d searched “Vatican,” she told him, selected several offices she thought were related to the abuse issue, then faxed letters asking to visit.

“His face was ashen. ‘You what?’ ” she recalls him saying. At 55, that was, she believed, Gregory’s first experience with laypeople who went outside the chain of command.

The Church Needs Our Help — Let’s Get to Work

National Catholic Register

April 18, 2019

By Adam DeVille

COMMENTARY: Now is the time for the entire People of God to rise up, roll up their sleeves.

As Catholics around the world continue to reel from seemingly endless revelations of abuses of sex and power, do we want to give the devil another unearned victory?

Instead of finding solutions to the crisis, we Catholics are allowing Satan to play both ends against the middle, getting us to fight amongst ourselves about “clericalism” and “lavender mafias” and so forth, all to his advantage.

But let’s remember that Lent is about driving Satan back into the desert and being purified of our illusions so that we can more clearly see and hear the voice of the Lord.

What is the Lord calling the Church to now? The answer to that question is always the same and ever new. He is calling the Church to purification and perfection — as he always does — but one of the ways to do that in 2019 is to introduce new structures of accountability, some examples of which were recently highlighted by Peter Jesserer Smith’s excellent article for the Register of March 12 (“Laity Mobilize to End the Sex-Abuse Crisis and Reform the Church”).

Poll: Church membership in US plummets over past 20 years

The Associated Press

April 18, 2019

By David Crary

The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50 percent last year, according to a new Gallup poll. Among major demographic groups, the biggest drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics.

Gallup said church membership was 70 percent in 1999 - and close to or higher than that figure for most of the 20th century. Since 1999, the figure has fallen steadily, while the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has jumped from 8 percent to 19 percent.

Among Americans identifying with a particular religion, there was a sharp drop in church membership among Catholics - dropping from 76 percent to 63 percent over the past two decades as the Church was buffeted by clergy sex-abuse scandals. Membership among Protestants dropped from 73 percent to 67 percent over the same period.

Among Hispanic Americans, church membership dropped from 68 percent to 45 percent since 2000, a much bigger decline than for non-Hispanic white and black Americans.

Sovereign Grace Calls Outside Investigation ‘Impossible’

Christianity Today

April 18, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

The church network pushed back against renewed scrutiny around SGC and former president C. J. Mahaney’s response to abuse claims.

Despite continued calls for an independent, third-party investigation into Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) and its response to abuse allegations, the network has officially taken the option off the table, calling it “inappropriate, impractical, unjust” and “impossible.”

Controversy has surrounded SGC—previously Sovereign Grace Ministries, or SGM—and its founder C. J. Mahaney since at least 2012, when SGM’s flagship congregation faced a lawsuit alleging a sexual abuse cover-up, which was later dismissed on procedural grounds.

This year, as evangelicals ramp up their response to abuse, top leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention have joined the scrutiny over Mahaney and his current congregation, SGC Louisville, which is also affiliated with the SBC.

In a statement released this week, SGC declared that there hasn’t been enough credible evidence against its leaders or churches to necessitate an investigation and that an outside query would violate the church’s ecclesiastical accountability structure.

Notre Dame needs to be rebuilt but so does the Catholic Church

Irish Central

April 18, 2019

By Diarmuid Pepper

Just like Notre Dame, let the Catholic Church rise from the ashes of its controversial and scandalous past, writes Diarmuid Pepper.

Today, Notre Dame is a shadow of its former self. With the spire collapsing amid gasps and tears, it looked as though the famous bell towers might soon follow suit.

But they didn’t. Notre Dame is so badly scarred, injured, maimed and disfigured, but somehow, it’s still standing. Likewise, the Catholic Church still remains standing despite the controversies which have maimed it in recent years.

As we move throughout Holy Week and into Easter, Notre Dame can act as a powerful metaphor; the Church, for many, still stands secure and strong despite its many scandals.

Woman abused by coach says lawyers trying to make her pay Sacramento Diocese’s court fees

The Sacramento Bee

April 18, 2019

By Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks

The sexual abuse victim of a former St. Francis High School softball coach who sued the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for failing to protect her said Wednesday she is being unfairly made to pay the church’s court fees.

Bailey Boone sued the school and church in 2017 after she was sexually abused as a 16-year-old by her St. Francis softball coach, Michael Martis. Martis pleaded guilty to having sex with minors the same year, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

After she withdrew her lawsuit earlier this year, Boone’s lawyer, Joseph C. George Jr., said attorneys representing the church gave Boone an “extreme” choice: She could promise not to refile and lawyers wouldn’t request roughly $7,330 in a “memorandum of costs” (a court fees bill), or refuse and pay up.

In response, diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said the church does not want money from Boone and is working to get court costs waived. He said the request for her to pay was made by the attorneys hired by the insurance company defending the diocese.

“We have made this point clear to our insurer and the law firm representing our insurer in this case,” Eckery said. “She’s not going to pay a dime.”

Recognising Jesus Christ's crucifixion as sexual abuse would help Catholic Church change – expert


April 19, 2019

David Tombs for The Conversation

The crisis of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, and the institutional denial and cover up, has left many people of faith shocked by the lack of appropriate response toward survivors.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, the president of the Australian bishops' conference, has called for a Copernican revolution on sexual abuse in the church and a shift in Catholic culture so that abuse survivors, not clergy, shape the church response.

Dueling Popes? Maybe. Dueling Views in a Divided Church? Definitely.

The New York Times

April 18, 2019

By Jason Horowitz

Pope Francis dropped in again this week on his predecessor, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, wishing him happy birthday “with particular affection” in a now familiar showing of white-cloaked cordiality.

But behind the friendly visit, the talk of conspiracies and competing power centers is swirling inside the Vatican and far beyond. Just last week, Benedict, who turned 92 on Tuesday, released a 6,000-word letter holding forth on his views on the origins of the Roman Catholic Church’s clerical sex abuse crisis — effectively undercutting Francis on a contentious issue that has roiled his papacy.

For many church experts, the letter marked the most recent, and egregious, example of why having two popes — whose homes are separated by a few hundred meters but whose style, substance and visions of the church are vastly apart — can be so confusing to the faithful.

Amid abuse probe, Glen Mills Schools appeals license revocation by state DHS


April 17, 2019

By Lisa Gartner

Last week, the Pennsylvania agency that oversees the Glen Mills Schools pulled its licenses, closing the nation’s oldest existing reform school amid findings of child abuse and cover-ups by staff and school leaders.

On Tuesday, Glen Mills filed an appeal of the revocations by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) in a bid to keep open the nearly 200-year-old school for court-ordered boys.

In its petition — a copy of the document submitted April 4 to the state appealing an emergency removal order for all boys on campus — Glen Mills leaders again argued that its staff never abused children, and that the school has been scrutinized by too many inspectors to have hidden such violence.

New sex abuse allegations raised against former Hanna Boys Center director

The Press Democrat

April 17, 2019

By Mary Callahan and Guy Kovner

Two past residents of the Hanna Boys Center have come forward to accuse former longtime Executive Director John S. Crews of repeatedly abusing them during their stays at the Sonoma Valley facility up to three decades ago.

A press conference Wednesday publicizing their complaints marked the first time Crews, a Catholic priest now living on the East Coast, has been accused publicly of criminal behavior while at the helm of the center for troubled boys. He worked there for 29 years and was relieved of his duties in 2013 after sexual misconduct allegations emerged against him from a former parishioner at St. Sebastian’s Church in Sebastopol.

David Anthony Ortega, a 33-year-old Seattle resident, said he was molested “on several occasions” at Crews’ house and in his van from 1999 to 2001.

In a letter released at the news conference, Ortega said he experienced “acts of abuse that were not only sexual but highly degrading, shameful and nothing that any little boy should have to ever had to live through.”

Church Group Refuses Deeper Look Into Sex Abuse Claims

Relevant Magazine

April 17, 2019

Sovereign Grace Churches will not submit to a third party investigation. Notre Dame truthers are already concocting conspiracy theories about the fire in Paris. And a measles outbreak in the U.S. is the highest in two decades.

A former pope’s fateful choice: Benedict is pouring salt in old wounds rather than helping the church move forward in combating sexual abuse

New York Daily News

April 17, 2019

By John Gehring

It’s a strange and unhelpful business having more than one pope living at the same time. When Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down in 2013, the first pontiff in six centuries to abdicate his position pledged to "remain hidden to the world.” The humility and grace Benedict showed in making that revolutionary decision to renounce power is now overshadowed by a tone-deaf insistence to weigh in with his opinions, even when those conclusions can be used to undermine Pope Francis.

The “pope emeritus” who still wears white — a title and color that Benedict should stop using to avoid the perception of competing papacies, much as a former police chief or general would take off the uniform when commenting from the sidelines — set off a whirlwind of media coverage and theological head-spinning last week when he weighed in about the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

In a lengthy essay for a German church magazine, published in the United States by conservative Catholic web sites that frequently criticize Francis, Benedict points to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the absence of God in public life, and even moral theologians who challenged aspects of the church’s teachings as contributing to clerical abuse.

Father John Smyth, former head of Maryville Academy accused of sex abuse, dies at 84


April 17, 2019

Father John Smyth, the former head of Maryville Academy who was accused of sexually abusing minors, died Tuesday, multiple sources confirm to ABC7. He was 84.

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Chicago had asked Father Smyth to step aside from ministry after the Archdiocese received and began investigating the allegations.

Church survivors support unlimited time to file sex abuse claims

VT Digger

April 16, 2019

By Kevin O'Connor

The national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is supporting a Vermont bill that would eliminate the state’s six-year statute of limitations for filing civil claims of child sex abuse.

“We pay attention to good legislation when it comes up across the country,” SNAP Executive Director Zach Hiner said in advance of his scheduled phone testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We think this bill is an example of good reform.”

Phoenix Diocese still trying to right the wrongs of decades of coverup


Apr 15, 2019

By Nicole Crites

With the #MeToo movement sparking a social awakening, empowering more victims to seek help and justice the Phoenix Catholic Diocese is still trying to right the wrongs of decades of secrecy and cover-up as they investigate new allegations.

Mary O'Day sent a letter to the Pope in October 2017 detailing claims of being sexually abused in her parish as a child, saying nuns were involved.

"My memories are very clear,” O’Day said.

She implored the pontiff to read what happened to her as a tangible act to help with her healing.

Less than a month later, St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix sent her a response, saying her story was a "crime of terrible proportions," they hope it was "reported to law enforcement," offering "sorrow and support” and prayers.

Anne Vargas-Leveriza, also read O'Day's letter.

She runs the Office of Child and Youth Protection at the Phoenix Diocese and met with O'Day in November 2017 as well.

"I've been in counseling for more than 10 years and they picked up paying for it after my discussion with them,” O’Day said.

So, what happens next with these types of claims, when an adult says they were sexually abused as a child and comes forward decades later asking for help?

“If an allegation comes forward, we address it right away. It doesn't matter if the statute of limitations has expired," Vargas-Leveriza explained in an earlier interview.

Poll: Church membership in U.S. plummets during past 20 years


April 18, 2019

By Leanne Shinkle

According to a new poll, the number of people attending church is on a serious decline across the United States.

The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50 percent last year. That's according to a new Gallup poll released Thursday.

WSAZ spoke to a pastor in Charleston, Jesse Waggoner, who has seen several churches close their doors over the past 30 years.

Waggoner is the senior pastor at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. He started there seven years ago. At that time, the church had about 100 members.

Now in 2019, that number has gone up to 350.

Waggoner says there is no secret formula to building up a church and keeping members, but there are a few key things that help.

He says it is important to preach the same consistent message, but change the way you present the message as times change.

"We have two different styles of worship," Waggoner said. "We have an early service that is contemporary and informal, we have a traditional service that is more of what many people my age grew up with. And so whatever your choice of style, you're going to get the same message just delivered in a slightly different package."

Former Norfolk Catholic school teacher arrested after child sexual abuse allegations


Apr 18, 2019

A former teacher at Norfolk Catholic High School was recently arrested for allegations dating back decades.

According to a statement on the Catholic Diocese of Richmond's website, they received a complaint from an adult alleging sexual abuse by Daniel Wolfe when he was employed in the diocese as a teacher.

The alleged incident took place between 1978 and 1979 when the victim was a student at Norfolk Catholic High School. Wolfe was arrested on March 29 and charged with four counts of crimes against nature. A trial date of June 17 has been set.

The diocese says they encouraged the adult to report the allegation to Norfolk Police.

WAVY's working to find out the exact charges Wolfe's facing, and more details of the circumstances in the case.

Wolfe most recently taught Latin at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach during the 2017-2018 school year.

Wolfe's arrest comes after the Richmond Diocese and the Diocese of Arlington released a list of dozens of priests facing child sex abuse allegations. At least nine of the priests on that list had confirmed ties to Hampton Roads.

April 18, 2019

Accused priest’s records show effort by the church to conceal scandal


April 18, 2019

By Jim Hummel

When the Diocese of Lafayette released its list of accused priests last week, 11 of the 37 members of clergy had never been publicly accused. Among them is the Rev. John de Leeuw, who made arrangements to defend himself in death.

Shortly after publishing the church’s list, KATC was contacted by a friend of de Leeuw, who shared with us more than 100 pages of documents the late priest kept about his case. The documents feature his personnel file, correspondence from the diocese, and notes about the accusations his friend says were handwritten by de Leeuw.

The documents provide de Leeuw’s side of the story, but they also show how the diocese was concerned about “scandal” and tried to minimize publicity on cases of clergy sex abuse as recently as 2013.

The accusations
In 2011, more than 20 years after his retirement, de Leeuw was removed from active ministry by the diocese following accusations of sexual abuse involving minors. His removal was only made public last week, when the diocese released its list of credibly accused clergy.

In January, concerned about diminishing transparency and openness from the diocese, KATC published its own list of accused priests. De Leeuw was not on our list because up until now, there was no public record of a complaint. Concerned about his absence from our list, Nancy Mouton reached out to tell her family’s story.

“Father John de Leeuw, past pastor of St. Leo the Great, sexually abused me and most of my six siblings in our home for many years,” said Mouton. “He was a regular visitor and dinner guest at our home. It was a very large home where the abuse went undetected.”

Documents provided by de Leeuw’s friend indicate one of Mouton’s older sisters, who is now deceased, was his initial accuser.

Stockton diocese urged to add more names to ‘credibly accused’ list

The Record

April 18, 2019

By Wes Bowers

A national support network for survivors of abuse is urging the Catholic Diocese of Stockton to add more names to its list of “credibly accused” clergy.

David Clohessy, former executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, stood outside the Stockton diocese’s offices at 212 N. San Joaquin St. Tuesday afternoon, holding a sign with a list of seven clergymen who spent parts of their careers in the area, and have been publicly accused of abuse in other regions.

“This is the same self-serving pattern we’ve seen for decades,” Clohessy said. “It’s when bishops under pressure claim to be coming clean, when they’re not.”

In 2017, the diocese was required to post the names of 14 clergy members accused of abuse on its website.

However, Clohessy said he was able to find seven more priests accused of abuse who spent time in Stockton, but aren’t listed on the diocese’s list of accused.

He said it makes some think there are many more priests associated with the Stockton diocese that have not been named.

“If the goal is to protect kids and heal victims and help the church, then be truly honest,” he said. “It endangers the kids, hurts victims and alienates Catholics.”

The former priests Clohessy was able to find include the Rev. Mario Cimmarrusti, who spent time at St. Mary of the Assumption in Stockton between 1982 and 1985; the Rev. Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa, who was working at St. Anne’s Church in Lodi in 2013; the Rev. William S. Myers, who was at our Lady of Fatima parish in Stockton from 1988 to 1991; the Rev. Raymond A. Devlin, who was at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton from 1995 to 1997; the Rev. Lynn Richard Caffoe, who was working at the United States Mission in Modesto from 1998-2001; the Rev. James Cairns, who has been a part of several churches in Fresno and Los Angeles, and may be living in Modesto now; and the Rev. Theodore Feely, who was at St. George’s Parish in Stockton in 1982.

He said while some of the seven men were not accused in Stockton, they have all been accused and named on other dioceses’ lists of predators.

Clohessy has been traveling throughout Northern California not only urging other dioceses to do the same, but to urge victims of abuse to come forward to get help, protect other victims and expose predators, he said.

Fifty new reports filed against abusive priest

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Group also ‘outs’ three publicly accused clerics

Victims urge others to contact Attorney General

Holding signs and childhood pictures at a sidewalk news conference, clergy abuse victims and an attorney will disclose
--that more than 50 women have now reported being molested by an Oakland priest, and
--the names of – and details about - at least three publicly and credibly accused abusive clerics who have been left off the diocese’s official ‘accused clerics.

They will also
--urge others who may be “suffering in silence, to also step forward, and
--push Oakland Catholic officials to do “aggressive outreach” to those who may have be hurt by clerics to report to law enforcement, and
--launch a special outside investigation into who in the church knew of or suspected and ignored or hid Fr. Breen’s crimes.

Thursday, April 18 at 1:00pm

Sexual abuse laws poised for massive changes in Washington state

KUOW Radio

April 11, 2019

By Sydney Brownstone and Paige Browning

There will be no statute of limitations for people who survived sexual abuse when they were under 16.

The same bill extends the statute of limitations for adult survivors to 10 or 20 years, depending on the severity of the crime. It also makes a significant change to how rape in the third degree is prosecuted — removing a small but crucial piece of language that advocates say ignored trauma research and prevented cases from being tried in court.

Speaking after the passage of the original Senate bill in February, Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, said the bill was the organization's biggest win in at least five years.

"I think we all realize attitudes are changing — the culture is changing on this issue." Stone said. "Everybody knows so many more people who've been impacted by sexual assault. And there was a collective recognition that it's time to make this change."

Andrea Piper-Wentland of Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs said this means that survivors will have more time to process what happened to them.

She said the law would allow survivors "to get out of a situation that they were in, that was prohibitive for them to report."

"There's a myriad of reasons survivors have for delayed reporting," she said.

Before the bill is signed into law, Washington state's statute of limitations dictates that childhood survivors of sexual abuse have until their 30th birthdays to pursue a case. Adult survivors of rape must report their rapes to police within a year, after which they have 10 years to prosecute their cases. If adult survivors of rape don't report the crime to police, they have just a three-year window to bring a case forward.

As of last summer, 15 states had removed statutes of limitations for child sex crimes.

Mary Dispenza of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said she was excited for a change she and fellow survivors had been fighting for since the 1990s.

That said, the bill, once signed into law is not retroactive; it doesn't apply to cases in which the statute of limitations has already expired.

"Going forward, it will indeed and help survivors of childhood priest abuse," Dispenza said. "But it won't do much to allow the thousands in the past who have been harmed by sexual violence on the part of clergy to to have their day in court."

Abusive former Henderson priest was beaten to death in 2003

Evansville Courier & Press

April 18, 2019

By Jon Webb

No list of predatory priests can tell the whole story.

Both the Evansville and Owensboro dioceses have unveiled inventories in the last two months of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors. The lists contain names, where the priests served and the number of allegations against them.

But they could never convey the hurt these men unleashed, nor the twisted secrecy that allowed the abuse to metastasize.

A lot of information is left unsaid. And in the case of the list Owensboro released last week, that includes a murder.

Joseph Pilger served as a pastor in slews of parishes across several Kentucky dioceses, including at St. Ann in Morganfield from 1964-65 and at Holy Name in Henderson from 1967-69.

Owensboro lists 13 substantiated allegations against him. At one point, he was wanted on 84 felony counts of sexually abusing minors, stemming from a 1993 case where he abused four children in Union County in the 1960s, the Associated Press reported.

He eventually pleaded guilty. He could have served 30 years in prison, but because of a plea deal, he only got probation.

And on Dec. 5, 2003, at his apartment on the southeast side of Lexington, he was found beaten to death with a pickax.

Police eventually arrested then-26-year-old Jason Anthony Russell – a former Henderson man who at one point had been living with Pilger. He pleaded guilty and was handed 30 years in prison.

Catholic Church lobbying in Pa. spiked after damaging investigations

York Dispatch

April 17, 2019

By Logan Hullinger

The Catholic Church has spent millions influencing Pennsylvania politics, but the funds perhaps have been the most useful amid reports uncovering widespread child sexual abuse and attempts to cover it up.

That money is again coming into play as two bills raising the statute of limitations on child sexual crimes and opening a two-year retroactive window for victims to file lawsuits once again head to the state Senate.

“(The expenditures) speak to the very issue of protecting their institutional reputation, which is one of the significant causes of this sex abuse crisis to begin with," said Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

There have been three grand jury investigations in the past decade that have revealed thousands of child sexual abuse cases by Pennsylvanian Catholic priests and attempts to hide them, all of which were welcomed by significant increases in spending on lobbying by the church.

Former Norfolk Catholic High School teacher arrested after report of sexual abuse

News 3

April 17, 2019

By Julia Varnier

A former Norfolk Catholic High School teacher has been arrested after reports of sexual abuse of a minor were made to the Diocese of Richmond.

In respects to diocesan policy, the adult individual was encouraged to report the allegation to the Norfolk Police Department. The Diocese of Richmond recently was informed that the accused was arrested and charged by Norfolk Police.

The former employee, Daniel M. Wolfe, worked for the Diocese of Richmond for 11 years as a teacher in the 70s to early 80s. He has been charged with four counts of crimes against nature.

The alleged incident(s) was reported to have occurred between 1978-1979, which was when the victim was a student at what was previously known as Norfolk Catholic High School.

Sovereign Grace Churches Will Not Seek an Independent Investigation Into Abuse Allegations

Relevant Magazine.

April 16, 2019

"The demand that we subject our entire denomination to an investigation is neither just nor practically possible."

Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly “Sovereign Grace Ministries”) has responded to calls for an independent investigation into allegations of decades of sexual abuse and harassment, writing in a statement that such a third party review would be “inappropriate and impractical for a number of important reasons.” SGC leaders wrote that while they “want the truth to be known about these allegations,” they will “not recommend a third-party independent investigation of our denomination.”

The story of the allegations made against the church planting network Sovereign Grace is lengthy and involves numerous accusations of mishandling claims of sexual abuse. Former members of SGC say they were discouraged from telling the authorities about instances of sexual abuse at the hands of church leaders and observed leaders scuttling allegations and declining to warn churches about known predators. This, accusers say, was all a matter of standard church policy. You can find a thorough summary of the accusations here.

Archdiocese Of Los Angeles Agrees To $8 Million Settlement In Sex Abuse Case

National Public Radio

April 17, 2019

By Francesca Paris

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $8 million to a teenager who was sexually abused and kidnapped by a teacher at her Catholic high school.

The teenager's attorney, David Ring, said that the settlement — finalized by a court last week — is the largest that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has ever paid to a single victim, The Associated Press reports. Over the past 15 years, the archdiocese has paid more than $740 million in sexual abuse settlements.

Juan Ivan Barajas, then-athletic director and health teacher at San Gabriel Mission High School in San Gabriel, Calif., repeatedly sexually abused the student when she was 15 years old, according to a lawsuit filed in 2017. Barajas then kidnapped her and took her to Las Vegas, according to court documents reported by The Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Archdiocese to pay $8 million to sexually abused, kidnapped teen

The Associated Press

April 17, 2019

Juan Ivan Barajas, a health teacher and athletic director at San Gabriel Mission High School, eventually kidnapped her, according to court documents.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $8 million to a teenager who was sexually abused by the athletic director at her Catholic high school who had continued to work despite prior allegations of misconduct, it was announced Tuesday.

A court finalized the settlement last week of a negligence lawsuit, said David Ring, an attorney for the teenager.

The archdiocese has paid out more than $740 million in sexual abuse settlements over the past 15 years. Ring said the $8 million is the largest payment to a single individual in any of the cases.

Girl molested by Catholic school teacher paid $8 million from Los Angeles archdiocese


April 17, 2019

By Ashley May

A teenage girl who was sexually abused by the athletic director of her Catholic high school will be paid $8 million by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, according to a Tuesday announcement.

The archdiocese has paid more than $740 million in sexual abuse settlements over the past 15 years. David Ring, an attorney for the girl, said the $8 million is the largest payment to a single person in any of the cases.

“The archdiocese recognizes that there was serious harm done to the life of the victim-survivor,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “We hope that the settlement will allow her to heal and move forward with her education and lifetime goals. The archdiocese apologizes for the impact that this caused in her life.”

Havre de Grace Police, SARC host training on human, sex trafficking awareness April 18

The Baltimore Sun

April 17, 2019

By David Anderson

The Havre de Grace Police Department and SARC of Harford County are hosting a training session this week for members of the community to learn more about human and sex trafficking and how they can be “active bystanders” to recognize the signs and help prevent it.

The training session is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Havre de Grace Community Center at 100 Lagaret Lane. The class was initially going to be at police headquarters, but it was moved to the community center because an “overwhelming number of people” have said they plan to attend, Police Chief Teresa Walter said during a City Council meeting Monday evening.

Parish roundup: Building a team; lay advisory board; Guam's finances

National Catholic Reporter

April 17, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

An author points to the Cincinnati Reds for lessons on building successful parish teams. Hint: Maybe he should have chosen the Boston Red Sox?

The Catholic bishops remind Congress that many of those fearing deportation are vital members of parishes across the country.

A Wisconsin parish twins with a counterpart in Haiti.

The New York Archdiocese Catholic Charities transforms closed Bronx parish properties into much-needed low-income housing.

A parish in a gentrifying Philadelphia neighborhood remembers the poor in its midst.

Why Sex Scenes on The Magicians Look Different Than Those on the Rest of TV


April 17, 2019

By Rae Nudson

The Magicians is a sexy show. It has been since its pilot episode, which featured levitating sex between Kady (Jade Tailor) and Penny (Arjun Gupta), two students at the magical school of Brakebills. It’s gone on to feature sex magic, sex with magical creatures, threesomes, and more. In a particularly sexy scene in this season of The Magicians, a different version of Penny (it’s a long story) must anoint his friend and former goddess, Julia (Stella Maeve), with oil to perform a ritual that will help her discover why she currently can’t do magic. Penny slowly rubs Julia’s naked body with oil, starting with her face, moving over her shoulders, and down her back. It’s extremely intimate, and Penny takes delicate care while he touches Julia, asking permission before he touches her breasts and warming up the oil so it’s not too cold for her skin.

But before they start the ritual, as Julia stands naked in front of Penny waiting for him to touch her, Penny asks Julia, a rape survivor, if there’s a less painful way to go about this ritual. She tells him that people heal and she’s not broken. Penny says that he’s still not comfortable with how things are going down. “Well, this isn’t really about you,” Julia replies.
And on The Magicians, she’s right.

Australian government says abuse claim monk should face trial in Scotland


April 16, 2019

By Mark Daly

The Australian government has said a former monk accused of sexually abusing children at a Catholic boarding school in the Scottish Highlands should be surrendered to face trial.

Fr Denis "Chrysostom" Alexander has been contesting his extradition back to Scotland on the grounds of ill health.

He denies the claims and is seeking a judicial review of the latest decision.

The BBC revealed allegations against Fr Alexander and other monks from the Fort Augustus Abbey School six years ago.

The latest development was cautiously welcomed by former Fort Augustus pupil Hugh Kennedy, one of Fr Alexander's accusers.

Bishop ‘dismayed’ over university president’s call for his resignation

Catholic News Service

April 16, 2019

A Buffalo diocesan spokeswoman said April 12 that Bishop Richard J. Malone is “disappointed and dismayed” over the president of St. Bonaventure University’s call for his resignation as head of the diocese.

Dennis DePerro, in several interviews, said he admired the bishop’s “unflinching desire to repair the damage” the abuse crisis has caused. “But sometimes, the most courageous thing a man can do is to step aside and recognize that his voice is no longer being heard and that he stands in the way of creating true resolution.”

“We suspect that Dr. DePerro has not fully studied the carefully developed and well-publicized protocols of the Diocese of Buffalo,” said diocesan spokeswoman Kathy Spangler.

Un cura se declaró culpable de abusar a tres catequistas en San Isidro

El Diario 24

April 18, 2019

[A priest pleaded guilty to abusing three catechists in San Isidro]

Mario Koessler, de 63 años, fue imputado por abusar de tres mujeres catequistas entre 2014 y 2015 y se declaró culpable.

El cura Mario Koessler, de 63 años, imputado por abuso sexual agravado a tres mujeres catequistas de 75, 63 y 40 años por hechos ocurridos entre 2014 y 2015 en la Parroquia San José, del municipio bonaerense de San Isidro, se declaró culpable en un juicio abreviado que le fijó una pena de tres años en suspenso.

"El juicio oral que iba a comenzar el lunes 22 de abril en el Tribunal Oral Criminal 2 se suspendió por un acuerdo de juicio abreviado al que llegaron la Fiscalía y la defensa, que fijó a Koessler 3 años de pena en suspenso", dijo hoy a Télam Andrés Bonicalzzi, abogado de las víctimas.

Buenos Aires: “A Jesús se le dice que sí”, dijo un cura antes de cometer abusos

Diario San Rafael

April 18, 2019

[Buenos Aires: "Jesus is told yes," said a priest before committing abuse]

Tres catequistas fueron abusadas por un cura. El acusado es Mario Koessler de la Parroquia San José de San Isidro en Buenos Aires. Antes de ir a juicio oral, el culpable admitió los hechos y finalmente su pena se definirá en un juicio abreviado.

Las tres mujeres lo denunciaron penalmente en la Unidad Fiscal y el juzgado de Violencia de Género número 1 a cargo del doctor Ricardo Costa, por abuso sexual agravado. Los ataques se dieron entre 2014 y 2015.

Uriona manifestó que los casos de abuso han afectado la fe


April 18, 2019

Por Redacción PUNTAL

[Uriona said that cases of abuse have affected the faith]

El obispo diocesano estuvo en Buen Día Río Cuarto y aseguró que episodios como el de Carnerillo marcan la nueva línea dipuesta desde el Vaticano. Instó a los políticos a presentar propuestas para salir de la pobreza.

En el marco de la Semana Santa, el obispo Adolfo Uriona estuvo en Buen Día Río Cuarto donde aseguró que los casos de abuso en la Iglesia han afectado a la fe.

Durante la entrevista en vísperas de Pascua, también se refirió a la crisis y la situación de pobreza en medio de la puja electoral prevista para este año.

Mario Koessler imputado por abuso sexual agravado


April 17, 2019

[Mario Koessler charged with aggravated sexual abuse]

El cura, de 63 años, fue sentenciado por somter sexualmente a tres mujeres catequistas de 75, 63 y 40 años durente el 2014 y 2015 en la Parroquia San José, del municipio bonaerense de San Isidro. Se declaró culpable en un juicio abreviado que le fijó una pena de tres años en suspenso.

"El juicio oral que iba a comenzar el lunes 22 de abril en el Tribunal Oral Criminal 2 se suspendió por un acuerdo de juicio abreviado al que llegaron la Fiscalía y la defensa, que fijó a Koessler 3 años de pena en suspenso", dijo Andrés Bonicalzzi, abogado de las víctimas.

Ex-children's home priest accused of sexual abuse in Illinois dies

Associated Press via Herald Review

April 17, 2019

Chicago - A prominent Chicago area Catholic priest who led a suburban home for troubled youths for decades but was removed from ministry this year amid allegations that he sexually abused minors has died.

The Archdiocese of Chicago on Wednesday confirmed that the Rev. John Smyth died late Tuesday, but didn't immediately provide details.

Smyth became superintendent of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines in 1970 and during more than three decades as its leader he helped turn what was a failing orphanage into a widely praised residential care facility.

But late in his tenure, a state investigation found widespread violence and inadequate supervision and treatment at Maryville and this year the archdiocese said it was removing the by-then retired Smyth from ministry during its investigation of sexual abuse allegations.

Mother and Baby Homes: Fifth Interim Report

Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation

Released April 17, 2019

Summary of Findings

1. The major issues about burials arise in the cases of Bessborough and Tuam. It is not known where the vast majority of the children who died in Bessborough are buried. There is a small burial ground in the grounds of Bessborough. This was opened in 1956 for members of the congregation. It seems to have been assumed by former residents and advocacy groups that this is also where the children who died in Bessborough are buried as there are occasional meetings and commemoration ceremonies held there. The vast majority of children who died in Bessborough are not buried there; it seems that only one child is buried there. More than 900 children died in Bessborough or in hospital after being transferred from Bessborough. Despite very extensive inquiries and searches, the Commission has been able to establish the burial place of only 64 children. The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who owned and ran Bessborough do not know where the other children are buried.

Sacred Heart Homes

2. The burials of children who died in the three Sacred Heart Homes (Bessborough, Castlepollard and Sean Ross) are not recorded at all. More importantly, there is no certainty about where they are buried.

3. The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who owned and ran these institutions provided the Commission with an affidavit about burials generally and specifically about the Castlepollard and Sean Ross child burials but very little evidence was provided to support the statements in it. The affidavit was, in many respects, speculative, inaccurate and misleading.

4. The children who died in Castlepollard are likely to be buried in the burial ground there. However, there is no documentary evidence to confirm this.


5. As already stated, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary do not know where the children who died in Bessborough are buried. The Commission finds this very difficult to comprehend as Bessborough was a mother and baby home for the duration of the period covered by the Commission (1922 – 1998) and the congregation was involved with it for all of this time. The Commission finds it very difficult to understand that no member of the congregation was able to say where the children who died in Bessborough are buried.

Alleged priest abuse victims speak out in Sonoma County


April 17, 2019

By Sanaz Tahernia

Santa Rosa - The Santa Rosa Dioceses is under fire again after two men filed reports of child sexual abuse out of a social services center in Sonoma.

They say it happened at the St. Francis Solano Roman Catholic Church.

Attorney Joseph George represents two men, David Anthony Ortega and a John Doe, in sexual abuse claims against Father John Crews of the Santa Rosa Dioceses.

In their report to the California Attorney General's Office, both men allege Father Crews sexually abused them years ago while at the Hanna Boys Center, a residential treatment center for at-risk teens -- Crews was the Executive Director there at the time.

John Crews is one of 39 priests identified in a report by the Santa Rosa Dioceses as having committed or were credibly accused of committing child sexual abuse.

SNAP criticizes Missouri AG for slow pace of priest abuse investigation


April 17, 2019

By Micheal Mahoney

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says investigation still active

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests doubt the 6-month-old priest abuse investigation is going forward.

"It's gone nowhere and that's unacceptable," said Jim McConnell, who heads up the Kansas City chapter of SNAP.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt's statement said the investigation is active. They are gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, and hope to finish it in a timely fashion.

“Well, that timely manner should not take six months to get at least some information out,” McConnell said.

McConnell said the attorney general’s office has not answered the group’s offer to help.

Gonzaga to create commission on priest sex abuse

Associated Press via KOMO News

April 16, 2019

Spokane, Wash. - Gonzaga University in Spokane will create a commission to study the Jesuit school's handling of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh announced the commission on Monday.

McCulloh noted recent revelations that have thrust the crisis back into the news.

The Spokesman-Review says McCulloh is seeking application letters from those who want to join the commission.

Ireland’s Church Homes Gave Children’s Bodies to Medical Schools for Dissection

New York Times

By Ed O’Loughlin

April 17, 2019

Dublin - For decades, some of Ireland’s church-run “mother and baby homes” gave the bodies of many of the children who died in their care to medical schools for dissection, a government inquiry reported on Wednesday, indicating that the scale of the abuses at the homes for single mothers was greater than previously known.

The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation, created in 2015 by the Irish government, revealed that in Dublin alone, several of the homes run by the Roman Catholic Church had sent the bodies of 950 children, almost all born to single mothers, to medical schools as anatomical subjects. The practice continued until 1977.

Some other homes also kept few, if any, records of what had been done with the bodies of the children who died in their care, the report found.

At just one of the 13 homes examined, the Bessborough Home in Cork, the inquiry said it could find no information about the burial places of more than 800 children who had died there. It also said that it had received limited cooperation from the religious orders who had run the home.

The Bessborough Home in Cork, where the inquiry could find no information about the burial places of more than 800 children who died there.

The nuns of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who ran three of the homes in Cork, did not record the burials of any of the children who died in their keeping, and it was unclear what happened to many of the bodies.

Fr. Gary Hayes, abuse survivor and victim advocate, 66, dies

National Catholic Reporter

April 17, 2019

by Patricia Lefevere

First priest ever to sue church officials over sex abuse charges remembered as 'holy disturbance'

In a week when Christians recall Jesus' passion and death, the homilist at a funeral for Fr. Gary Hayes, a victim of clergy abuse, declared that "Jesus himself was a victim of sexual abuse."

Fr. John Bambrick was referring to theologian Rocío Figueroa's recently published study that followed a research project she did with theologian David Tombs called "When Did I See you Naked"?, a work that Hayes would have loved, said the homilist. Hayes died of cancer April 4. He was 66.

Bambrick told assembled mourners that Figueroa had proven in her writing that Jesus had been sexually humiliated during his passion and crucifixion. He noted that three times in Gospel accounts of his ordeal, Jesus is forced to strip naked in front of cohorts of soldiers. Figueroa "makes the point that there are different forms of sexual abuse including sexual humiliation in the form of forced nudity, mockery, stripping, touching, sexual assault and other physical acts."

April 17, 2019

Editorial: 'We owe forgotten babies the dignity of memory'

The Independent

April 18, 2019

One of the many lessons we have learned historically concerning scandals and the Catholic Church is that the cruellest lies are often told in silence. But what was kept secret or suppressed has repeatedly returned to hound and to haunt.

So it was devastating to hear once more a Government having to plead with religious orders to reveal where babies who died in their care are buried.

L.A. archdiocese pays abuse victim of layman $8 million

Catholic News Agency

April 17, 2019

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $8 million to a female teenager who was sexually abused and abducted by a teacher at her high school in 2016.

The victim attended San Gabriel Mission High School, an all-girls school in San Gabriel, Calif., about 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The then-15-year-old student was abused over numerous months by Juan Ivan Barajas, her volleyball coach and health teacher.

“The Archdiocese recognizes that there was serious harm done to the life of the victim-survivor,” the archdiocese stated. “We hope that the settlement will allow her to heal and move forward with her education and lifetime goals. The Archdiocese apologizes for the impact that this caused in her life.”

The plaintiff’s main attorney, David Ring, said April 16 that the amount is the largest the archdiocese has paid a single victim.

According to the New York Times, Barajas, 39, had sent her sexually explicit messages and images through his phone. He had abused her in several locations on school grounds beginning in April 2016.

After Barajas' wife found out about the abuse, he kidnapped the teenager in July, and took her to Las Vegas. The police found the pair living in his car in Henderson, Nev., and Barajas was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty.

Fr. Gary Hayes, abuse survivor and victim advocate, 66

National Catholic Reporter

April 17, 2019

By Patricia Lefevere

In a week when Christians recall Jesus' passion and death, the homilist at a funeral for Fr. Gary Hayes, a victim of clergy abuse, declared that "Jesus himself was a victim of sexual abuse."

Fr. John Bambrick was referring to theologian Rocío Figueroa's recently published study that followed a research project she did with theologian David Tombs called "When Did I See you Naked"?, a work that Hayes would have loved, said the homilist. Hayes died of cancer April 4. He was 66.

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Bambrick told assembled mourners that Figueroa had proven in her writing that Jesus had been sexually humiliated during his passion and crucifixion. He noted that three times in Gospel accounts of his ordeal, Jesus is forced to strip naked in front of cohorts of soldiers. Figueroa "makes the point that there are different forms of sexual abuse including sexual humiliation in the form of forced nudity, mockery, stripping, touching, sexual assault and other physical acts."

The reality is that the Romans crucified people naked, including Jesus. "The problem is that the Church has never faced the reality of sexuality in a healthy way and if they are not able to also see the sexuality of Jesus, the sexuality of human beings, they are not able to see the perversion that is sexual abuse," the homilist said, quoting Figuerosa.

Bambrick knew this kind of humiliation for a fact. He and Hayes had endured sexual assault as adolescents. The two men shared an unusual bond over decades. Both were priests who had been sexually abused by priests when they were teenagers. They confided to each other the details of their painful past. "My abuse was bad, but Gary's was horrendous," Bambrick told his family and friends. The fact that he survived it is a testament to his resiliency and the miracle of his life," said Bambrick, who is pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Jackson, New Jersey. He is a member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and is a founding member of both Jordon's Crossing and Catholic Whistleblowers. He is a board member of New Jersey Child Assault Prevention, and, in 2002, he testified before the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

When asked years before by reporters how he could become and remain a priest after he had been violated by two Catholic priests, Hayes replied: "God didn't do this; man did." Understanding the difference, Bambrick said, helped Hayes become a compassionate listener for the abused and troubled, a whistleblower and advocate for ridding the church of its abusive priests and a founder of support groups for priests who were abused as children by priests. Jordan's Crossing and Victims of Clergy Abuse Linkup were two of the support networks Hayes and Bambrick worked on together.

Accused Priest John Smyth Has Died


April17, 2019

By Jonah Meadows

A retired Catholic priest removed from the ministry earlier this year in response to allegations sexual abuse of minors has died. John P. Smyth passed away Tuesday night at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, according to the Chicago Archdiocese. He was 84.

Before his retirement in 2014, Smyth spend more than 30 years as the superintendent of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, an archdiocese-run home for troubled youth. After stepping down 15 years ago amid state and federal investigations into the facility, he became president of a Catholic high school.

Smyth was a star basketball player at DePaul Academy and the University of Notre Dame. He was drafted into the NBA in 1957 but turned down a career as a professional athlete and instead entered the priesthood. He was ordained and began his career at Maryville Academy in 1962, becoming superintendent in 1970.

Video: Sonoma press conference announcing new allegations against Father Crews at Hanna Boys Center


April 17, 2019

A Sacramento attorney who represents the two accusers and a Missouri man who was assaulted by a priest and is the former long time head of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, hold a press conference holding signs and childhood photos at St. Francis Solano Catholic church in Sonoma.

April 17, 2019, 1:41PM
Press Conference:

Two former residents of the Hanna Boys Center residential treatment program near Sonoma have come forward as sexual abuse survivors, saying they were repeatedly molested by one-time Executive Director John S. Crews.

Crews was named on a diocese list of clergy accused of child sex abuse. However, the two men said the diocese claimed Crews never molested kids at Hanna.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP) held a news conference at 11:30 a.m. today in front of St. Francis Solano Catholic Church.

At the press conference was a Sacramento attorney who represents the two accusers and a Missouri man who was assaulted by a priest and is the former long time head of the support group, SNAP.

What happens when a priest is falsely accused of sexual abuse

America Magazine

April 17, 2019

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

Until last year, online search results for the Rev. Gary Graf would include stories about his liver donation to a parishioner, his scaling a border wall so he could understand more intimately the experiences of his immigrant parishioners and a hunger strike he staged to draw attention to the plight of Dreamers.

Today, however, the top results relate to Father Graf’s removal from ministry last August following an accusation that he inappropriately touched a minor. That allegation prompted the Archdiocese of Chicago to remove Father Graf from ministry and contact civil authorities, setting off multiple rounds of investigations—including a criminal trial—that ultimately cleared him of any wrongdoing.

As Holy Week begins, Father Graf is back ministering, but his story illustrates the challenges facing priests who are falsely accused at a time when hundreds of true stories of horrific abuse dominate the news.

Monk accused of sex abuse at Highland school faces being surrendered to Scotland for trial

The Press and Journal

April 17, 2019

By Alistair Munro

A monk accused of sexually abusing children at a Catholic school in the Highlands could soon face trial in Scotland.

Father Denis Alexander, 83, has been facing extradition from Australia since the allegations against him and other monks who worked at the Fort Augustus boarding school came to light several years ago.

A Crown Office spokeswoman confirmed that a decision has been taken by the Australian Government that he should be surrendered for trial in Scotland.

He has however applied for a judicial review.

Father Alexander denies the claims and has been contesting his extradition back to Scotland on the grounds of ill health.

The allegations of child abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey were made in a BBC documentary six years ago years ago.

Suffolk DA won't investigate priest molestation allegation


April 17, 2019

By Bart Jones

Diocesan policies call for the allegation against the Rev. Steven J. Peterson to be reported to civil authorities, which the diocese did, a spokesman said.

Suffolk County law enforcement will not investigate an allegation that a parish priest molested a minor more than 40 years ago because the statute of limitations has expired, officials said.

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, 71, a pastor in Nassau County, agreed to step down from ministry while the allegation is investigated, the Diocese of Rockville Centre said this week.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office was informed of the allegation on Saturday, but will not pursue an investigation because the allegation is four decades old, Sheila Kelly, a spokeswoman for the office, said Tuesday.

Under policies adopted nationwide by the Roman Catholic Church and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, "an investigation is begun when an accusation is made," said diocesan spokesman Sean Dolan. Diocesan policies call for the allegation to be reported to civil authorities, which the diocese did, he said.

Caso Maristas: denunciantes interpondrán demanda civil contra la congregación y el Instituto Alonso Ercilla

[Marists case: plaintiffs to file civil suit against Marists and Alonso Ercilla Institute]

La Tercera

April 15, 2019

By María José Navarrete and Sergio Rodríguez

Otras agrupaciones de víctimas evalúan, en conjunto con estudios de abogados, interponer acciones legales respecto de sus casos. Se trata de las primeras acciones tras el fallo de la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, que condenó a la Iglesia capitalina a pagar $ 300 millones a las víctimas de Fernando Karadima

Los denunciantes del denominado caso Maristas interpondrán durante los próximos días una demanda civil en contra de la congregación del mismo nombre y el colegio perteneciente a ella, el Instituto Alonso Ercilla, donde habrían ocurrido los eventuales abusos. Esta semana se darán a conocer los detalles de la acción judicial.

¿Y dónde está Karadima? Ex sacerdote dejó el hogar donde vivía en Lo Barnechea

[And where is Karadima? Former priest left home where he lived in Lo Barnechea]

La Tercera

April 16, 2019

By María José Navarrete and Sergio Rodríguez

El traslado a otro recinto para adultos mayores en Santiago ocurrió a fines de marzo. Sus cercanos no quieren comentar dónde está para evitar funas y presencia mediática. "Sé que él reza mucho", cuenta su médico, Santiago Soto, quien lo visita cada tres semanas. Se especula sobre un problema económico del exsacerdote, expulsado del estado clerical por el Papa Francisco el 27 de septiembre del año pasado.

En silencio, sin que nadie supiera. Hace poco menos de un mes, a fines del marzo reciente, el exsacerdote Fernando Karadima, de 88 años, dejó el Hogar de Ancianos San José de las Hermanitas de los Ancianos Desamparados, donde vivía desde mayo de 2017. Allí, el sacerdote, quizás el mayor símbolo de la crisis que actualmente vive la Iglesia católica en Chile, estuvo recluido poco menos de dos años, una vez que fue trasladado desde el Convento de las Siervas de Jesús de la Caridad, de Providencia.

Celestino Aós desmintió polémica frase en entrevista en el extranjero: "Nunca lo he dicho"

[Celestino Aós denies controversial statement in interview abroad: "I've never said it"]


April 16, 2019

By Valentina González and Nicole Martínez

El administrador Apostólico de Santiago, Celestino Aós, se refirió al encuentro que sostuvo este martes con el presidente Sebastián Piñera en La Moneda. A la salida del encuentro, Aós negó que en la cita se haya hablado sobre la colaboración que podría prestar la Iglesia Católica con las investigaciones de abusos por parte de sacerdotes, calificando de “impensable” tocar esos temas en un saludo protocolar.

Denunciantes de Karadima revelan que Celestino Aós les pidió "perdón por las faltas cometidas por la iglesia"

[Karadima survivors say Celestino Aós asked them "forgiveness for the faults committed by the church"]


April 12, 2019

By Fernanda Villalobos D.

Tras llegar de su encuentro con el Papa en Roma, el administrador apostólico de Santiago se dirigió a la Fundación para la Confianza donde se reunió con José Andrés Murillo, Juan Carlos Cruz y James Hamilton.

El administrador apostólico de Santiago, Celestino Aós, se reunió este viernes con los denunciantes de Fernando Karadima, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton y José Andrés Murillo en la sede de la Fundación para la Confianza, luego de aterrizar en Chile tras su encuentro con el Papa Francisco en Roma para abordar la crisis al interior de la iglesia católica chilena.

Aós lamenta que Chile y la Iglesia tienen "heridas de abuso, de corrupción, de violencia"

[Aós regrets that Chile and the Church have "wounds of abuse, corruption, violence"]


April 14, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

El administrador apostólico de Santiago celebró misa por Domingo de Ramos y reveló que el papa "me dijo que hacia delante con esperanza y tratando de dar cada uno de nosotros lo mejor".

Celestino Aós, el administrador apostólico de Santiago, celebró este domingo misa para conmemorar Domingo de Ramos en la Catedral Metropolitana. "La liturgia nos hace pensar hoy en este Chile, en esta Iglesia nuestra con tantas heridas de abuso, de corrupción, de violencia, en definitiva, de pasión y muerte", comenzó diciendo.

El arzobispo de Santiago pide a los curas “denunciar radicalmente la lacra” de los abusos sexuales

[Archbishop of Santiago asks the priests "radically denounce the scourge" of sexual abuse]

El País

April 17, 2019

Julián Barrio advierte a los sacerdotes de la archidiócesis de que estos casos causan "tristeza y dolor" y generan "perdida de confianza" en el clero

“¡Qué tristeza y dolor están causando los abusos sexuales en la Iglesia, que tanta pérdida de confianza han generado!", ha clamado esta mañana el arzobispo de Santiago, jefe de la Iglesia gallega, ante las decenas de curas de la archidiócesis congregados para la misa crismal. En la iglesia de San Martiño Pinario, escenario de las grandes celebraciones ahora que la catedral compostelana está sumida en obras, Julián Barrio ha hablado con más claridad que nunca, a sus propios sacerdotes, sobre el escándalo que reiteradamente sale a flote en el seno del catolicismo: Los abusos sexuales "son un pecado ante Dios que hiere profundamente a la persona y contamina la vida eclesial", ha defendido en su homilía.

Bishop wins court order in child sex case

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

He can now seek $7,300 from 22 year old woman

She told police Catholic coach was molesting her

Based on her report & testimony, he ended up in prison

SNAP: But church officials ‘exploit technicalities” & “play hardball”

Their goal, group says, is to “scare other victims into staying silent”

Victims deplore “this mean-spirited tactic” and write to Pope Francis


Holding signs and childhood photos, a 22 year old woman who was repeatedly abused as a youngster will

--disclose that Catholic officials are trying to force her to pay $7,300 in costs related to her sexual abuse and cover up lawsuit against them, and

--blast Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto for “trying to shut up victims like me.”

Wednesday, April 17 at 3:00 p.m.


On the sidewalk outside the Sacramento Catholic diocese headquarters (‘chancery’), 2110 Broadway, (corner of 21st St.) in Sacramento


The young victim, her Sacramento attorney, perhaps one other local victim and a Missouri man who is also an abuse victim.


In what’s being called “an outrageous move to silence abuse victims,” lawyers for Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto have won a court order that means they can get $7,300 from a 22 year old woman who was molested by a Catholic school employee when she was 15 years old. The rationale: Her civil abuse lawsuit against school and church officials was voluntarily withdrawn.

But there’s no doubt she was victimized and her one-time coach at a Catholic school is responsible, SNAP says, because it was her report and testimony that landed the perpetrator in prison.

Starting in 2013, Bailey Boone was sexually abused as a sophomore by St. Francis school softball coach Michael Martis. He was 54. She was 15.

In 2016, he was charged with six felonies. The following year, he pled guilty to abusing Bailey and a 15 year old girl. He’s in jail now.

A month later, Bailey filed a civil case against the diocese and St. Francis High School for that abuse and their recklessness.

In January 2019, Bailey dismissed her civil complaint, for technical reasons, though state law entitles her to re-file it any time before she turns 26.

Lawsuit Alleges “Systemic” Abuse at D.C. Synagogue

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 16, 2019

To ignore warnings and expressions of concern about a child care worker brought forward by one person is bad enough, but for an educator to disregard repeated reports by both parents and teachers is unconscionable.

We have no first hand knowledge about the allegations of “systemic” child sexual abuse at the Edlavitch Tyser Early Childhood Center. However, we know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, so our hearts ache for the children and their families who have filed police reports and are suing the Center. We hope that the boys and girls involved are getting the therapy and support they need.

Los Angeles Archdiocese Pays $8 Million to Teen Girl Abused and Kidnapped by Coach

Ne York Times

April 16, 2019

By Liam Stack

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has paid $8 million to a teenager who was sexually abused and later kidnapped by a teacher at her Catholic high school in 2016, her lawyer said Tuesday. The case has drawn attention to the problem of sex abuse at Catholic institutions that is committed by church employees who are not clergy members.

Dave Ring, a lawyer for the victim, and advocates for abuse survivors said the settlement was believed to be the largest amount paid to a single victim by the archdiocese, which has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to abuse survivors in recent years.

“I think the archdiocese has tended to settle cases for larger amounts when priests are involved,” Mr. Ring said on Tuesday. “In this particular case, the fact that it is a lay person and a coach and an athletic director, I think they are starting to realize that even lay people who may not hold a super important position in the church can still wreak havoc on a young person’s life, just as much as a priest can.”

Adrian M. Alarcon, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined Tuesday to confirm the price of the settlement. But she said that a $660 million settlement reached in 2007 with 508 abuse victims included sizable awards to “certain individuals,” although the church did not decide how that money was distributed.

“The Archdiocese recognizes that there was serious harm done to the life of the victim-survivor,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “We hope that the settlement will allow her to heal and move forward with her education and lifetime goals. The Archdiocese apologizes for the impact that this caused in her life.”

The victim has not been publicly identified. She was 15 years old when she was sexually abused by Ivan Barajas, the athletic director and health teacher at San Gabriel Mission High School in San Gabriel, Calif., a parish school owned and operated by the archdiocese, according to court documents in a lawsuit filed in 2017. He was also her volleyball coach.

Priest in leaked document not an abuser, Buffalo Diocese confirms

Buffalo News

April 16, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A Buffalo Diocese priest and high-ranking administrator whose name emerged last week in a confidential diocese document of cases of alleged misconduct was accused of mishandling an alleged abuse case involving a Boy Scout leader – not of sexually abusing anyone.

Diocese attorney Lawlor F. Quinlan III declined to specify what prompted the inclusion of Monsignor Albert Rung on a June 27, 2018, agenda of the Diocesan Review Board along with about 100 other priests, most of whom the diocese has publicly identified as abusers.

But Robert Rung, the monsignor’s great-nephew, said Quinlan told him that Rung’s name surfaced in a complaint alleging that the monsignor didn’t do enough to address an abuse accusation against a scoutmaster.

“He said there were no accusations naming Monsignor Rung for any sexual impropriety at all,” said Robert Rung, whose grandfather was the monsignor’s brother. As for whether Monsignor Rung more than 50 years ago overlooked a case of alleged abuse when he served as vicar general for the diocese, Robert Rung said Quinlan did not have an answer.

“He said there was nothing substantiated,” said Rung.

In a statement to The Buffalo News, Quinlan confirmed that the diocese received no complaints of abuse against Monsignor Rung.

“The diocese would not be mentioning Msgr. Rung or anything about the complaint lodged against him nearly 50 years after he died if it were not for the publicity he unfortunately has received recently,” said Quinlan. “Because of those circumstances, the diocese will confirm only that the complaint received did not involve a claim that Msgr. Rung abused anyone, and the diocese has never received a complaint that he did.”

The review board primarily examines cases of alleged child sex abuse, although diocese officials sometimes ask the board to give recommendations in cases involving other kinds of misconduct or impropriety.

Bishop Richard J. Malone has publicly identified most of the priests on the June agenda as having been credibly accused of sexual abusing children. But the bishop has been silent on 27 of the priests listed on the agenda in connection with some type of complaint, including Rung.

The agenda was leaked to WKBW-TV, which ran a report connecting at least 13 of the priests to complaints involving sex abuse of minors and questioning why Malone hadn’t included the priests on a diocese list of clergy with substantiated claims of abuse. The diocese declined to clarify to WKBW-TV which of the 27 priests were the subject of sex abuse accusations and which were not, other than to say several were not accused of abuse. Quinlan told The News last week that the diocese received no complaint of abuse about another priest whose name appeared on the agenda, the Rev. Carlton J. Westfield. But Quinlan declined to discuss details about why other priests' names were on the agenda.

Livermore Priest Accused Of Sexual Assault Had Prior Accusations


April 16, 2019

A Catholic priest accused of sexual assault in the East Bay also has some serious allegations from his past.

A young former seminarian who does not want to be identified says he was sexually assaulted by a priest he considered a mentor, Father Michael Van Dinh. He says it happened inside the rectory of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Livermore where he says Van Dinh lured him with the promise of helping him find a job.

“When I got there something didn’t feel right,” said the former seminarian. He says Van Dinh led him into a candlelit room and gave him a gift bag. “In those gifts he had oils and underwear thongs and a shirt and chocolate,” said the former seminarian.

Then he says Van Dinh forced him down onto a mattress. “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t react. And he abused me,” he said. Police later recovered the underwear along with a blindfold, a meth pipe and five rubber rings from Van Dinh’s room.

What the former seminarian didn’t know was that Van Dinh was accused of engaging in inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact in the past, even though charges were never filed against him.

“What it shows is the lack of accountability of the church,” said his attorney, Sandra Ribera. She has now filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland and Bishop Michael Barber, alleging they knew about prior allegations against Van Dinh.

“It’s our argument that the diocese had knowledge of these previous allegations and they kept him as a priest in the church and allowed this rape of my client to happen,” said Ribera.

Connecting the Catholic Community

Fairfield Mirror

April 17, 2019

By Sabina Dirienzo

Throughout the 13th annual Commonweal lecture, speaker Dominic Preziosi reminded the audience that a people is known by the story it tells. Preziosi is the editor of Commonweal, a Catholic opinion magazine run by laypeople. The lecture, titled “The Last Catholic Boyhood?” was held in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business dining room on April 10.

The Commonweal lecture was introduced by Paul Lakeland, Ph.D., the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. chair in Catholic studies and professor of religious studies, and Preziosi was then introduced by his predecessor, Paul Baumann.

Preziosi began by telling the audience the story of his first communion day. He asked his mother to play kickball in his white communion pants, and said to the audience, “maybe you can guess what happened.”

He explained that he used this anecdote as a starting point to empathize with fellow Catholic people, and introduced the preceding quote: “a people is known by the stories it tells.” He described his own upbringing as “a wonderful and wonderfully Catholic upbringing.”

Preziosi has two children; while both were raised Catholic, “now neither shows any particular interest in what they dismissively refer to as ‘church.’” Preziosi focused his talk on this idea of his own era of childhood as that last Catholic boyhood; what’s changed?

In his own experience at Fordham University, he found that there were two things which made Catholic religiosity difficult for him: witnessing performative piety, and witnessing the things that are done in the name of Catholicism. Preziosi also read the book “Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children,” regarding clerical sexual abuse in Louisiana. This book was released, and Preziosi read it, before the Boston Globe Spotlight reports on the sexual abuse scandal in Massachusetts.

Woman says Lafayette priest on diocese list of accused sexual abusers assaulted her

Lafayette Daily Advertiser

April 17, 2019

By Ashley White

More than 50 years after she was first abused as a little girl in Lafayette by a priest, Nancy told the diocese her story.

She and her six siblings all gave sworn statements to church leaders. Father John deLeeuw, her parish priest, had assaulted her in her family home on Moss Street near St. Leo the Great, she told them. It started when she was in third grade, at about age 7. It didn’t stop until she was in the sixth.

Then, nothing happened. The diocese had promised money, but none came. The church leaders said deLeeuw would be defrocked. She never heard anything.

That was in 2011.

On Friday, Nancy's younger brother sent her a text. He captured a photo of the list released by the Diocese of Lafayette of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse, and deLeeuw’s name was on it.

She saw his name and she felt finally vindicated.

“When I first saw the text, I said 'they finally caught the (SOB).'”

Nancy, an accuser of Father John deLeeuw
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this all to come out,” Nancy, now 69, said. "When I first saw the text, I said 'they finally caught the (SOB).' "

Nancy, who asked that her family's name not be revealed to protect their identity, said it's unclear if her accusations or others led to deLeeuw being identified by the diocese. The diocese released names of 33 priests and four deacons, but withheld other significant information, like the nature of abuse allegations, when they were accused and how long they served after they were accused.

Benedict is pouring salt in old wounds rather than helping the church move forward

Daily News

April 17, 2019

By John Gehring

t’s a strange and unhelpful business having more than one pope living at the same time. When Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down in 2013, the first pontiff in six centuries to abdicate his position pledged to "remain hidden to the world.” The humility and grace Benedict showed in making that revolutionary decision to renounce power is now overshadowed by a tone-deaf insistence to weigh in with his opinions, even when those conclusions can be used to undermine Pope Francis.

The “pope emeritus” who still wears white — a title and color that Benedict should stop using to avoid the perception of competing papacies, much as a former police chief or general would take off the uniform when commenting from the sidelines — set off a whirlwind of media coverage and theological head-spinning last week when he weighed in about the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

In a lengthy essay for a German church magazine, published in the United States by conservative Catholic web sites that frequently criticize Francis, Benedict points to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the absence of God in public life, and even moral theologians who challenged aspects of the church’s teachings as contributing to clerical abuse.

A culture of sexual permissiveness in the 1960s, he argues, accepted pedophilia as “allowed and appropriate.” Sexual education of children and nudity in advertising created a “propensity for violence.” This is why, in one of his more bizarre claims, “sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes” because “violence would break out among the small community of passengers.”

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In Benedict’s narrative, the mix of social protest and changing sexual mores left the church itself a victim. “Homosexual cliques” corrupted seminaries, he writes, an argument taken to its pernicious extreme by some conservative bishops today who continue to blame gay clergy for the abuse crisis despite evidence to the contrary.

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It’s much easier to point accusing fingers at the secular forces supposedly conspiring against the church or to scapegoat gay clergy than to take a hard look at your own house. In fact, this hunkered-down style of fortress Catholicism — defensive and reactionary — helped shape a mentality that led church leaders to become isolated, privileged and comfortable. Priests and bishops, viewed as a heroic class set apart, were less servants than those who expected to be served, protectors of an institution rather than protectors of children.

Francis, in contrast, has correctly diagnosed the systemic and cultural problems at the heart of clericalism that too often led to abuses of power. “To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism,” the pope wrote in a letter to the Catholic faithful last summer.

Benedict is a kind, gentle man with a deep spirituality. He is also hurting the church he loves. It’s sad to watch him unwittingly give credibility to a small but vocal contingent of reactionary Catholic bishops and right-wing Catholic activists who view the reformist Francis papacy as a threat. At a time when transparency, accountability and decisive action are needed to prevent future abuse, the Catholic Church is not well served by a former pope whose vision is blurred by theological and cultural nostalgia.

#NunsToo: How the Catholic Church has worked to silence women challenging abuse

Washington Post

April 17, 2019

By Lila Rice Goldenberg

On March 26, the eight editors of Women Church World, the monthly Vatican women’s magazine, resigned. They left in protest over the church’s attempts to silence the all-female staff’s reports of clerical abuse of nuns.

The controversy began in February, when the magazine’s writers claim that they were told not to discuss Pope Francis’s revelations about rampant clerical misconduct toward nuns. The authors refused to give in to Vatican pressure. In response, the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, started to run articles that contradicted stories in Women Church World. In a statement to the Associated Press, founder Lucetta Scaraffia said, “After the attempts to put us under control, came the indirect attempts to delegitimize us.”

In the #MeToo era, the Vatican’s attempts to discredit those women who speak out against sexual abuse and harassment by members of the clergy may seem like a desperate ploy to preserve its own fast-eroding moral authority. But this pattern of behavior has been the standard for the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages. For more than a thousand years, the church has denigrated religious women when they challenged clerical abusers.

Historically, the church has opposed groups of religious women who have acted against or outside church control, even if they were acting out of religious conviction. In the Middle Ages, the church used similar tactics with the Beguines, a lay religious movement for women popular throughout medieval cities in the Low Countries, France and Germany.

These women lived semi-monastic lives of prayer and work. Inside their houses, called “beguinages,” they prayed and meditated. They also maintained ties with the outside world. They cared for the sick, taught school for girls and young women, and made textiles and other handicrafts to support themselves. They were prayerful, chaste, charitable and industrious.

In other words, beguines were paradigms of female religiosity.

Catholic Diocese Agrees To Changes In Handling Sex Abuse Cases


April 17, 2019

By Marian Hetherlhy

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Movement to Restore Trust have formed a Joint Implementation Team, facilitated by Leadership Roundtable, to address the clergy sex abuse scandal. Among the first orders of business was to agree to changes in how the diocese handles abuse cases.

Bishop Richard Malone said the team held its first meeting on April 11 and quickly reached agreement on the following initiatives:

Malone will hold Diocesan-wide listening sessions. The first two dates and locations will be announced by the end of April and the first session could be held as early as May.
New Initiatives to Handle Sex Abuse Cases:
Malone will continue meeting with victims and also reserve regular hours on his schedule for individual meetings.
The Diocese’s approach to releasing the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse will be reviewed. The MRT has suggested a more detailed approach, based upon best practices from other U.S. dioceses.
The Diocese’s intake processes for sex abuse claims will be reviewed to insure victims are treated with dignity.
Malone will establish a new process for allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct made against a bishop, modeled after other dioceses, whereby complaints would automatically be referred to the Metropolitan Archdiocesan Review Board. This new process would remain in place until the Vatican or the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops develops a procedure applicable to all dioceses.

April 16, 2019

Former Baptist preachers face abuse charges in Vermont, Mississippi and Guam

Baptist News Global

April 16, 2019

By Bob Allen

Two months after a series of investigative newspaper stories reported widespread sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and while denominational leaders ponder solutions, the numbers of Southern Baptist clergy in the criminal system for alleged sex offenses continues to grow.

Last Friday Michael McNeil, former youth pastor at Christ Memorial Church in Wilton, Vermont, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.

McNeil, 29, served as youth pastor at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, before moving to Vermont in 2016 to intern at The New England Training and Sending Center for Church Planting and Revitalization, a group of congregations affiliated with groups including the Southern Baptist Convention, Sovereign Grace Ministries, The Gospel Coalition, 9Marks and ACTS 29.

McNeil admitted to the crime in exchange for a sentence with no jail time that keeps his name off the sex offender registry if he stays out of trouble for five years.

According to the Burlington Free Press, the unnamed girl was older than the age of consent, but Vermont has a law making it a crime for someone at least four years older acting “in a position of power, authority, or supervision” to engage in a sexual act with a minor. If convicted of abusing his position of power to entice the girl McNeil could have received up to five years in prison.

“The breach of trust is unbelievable,” Chittenden County Superior Court Judge Kevin Griffin told McNeil after accepting his guilty plea. “The dignity and the compassion that [the girl’s] parents have shown you far exceeded what you did to them.”

Also on Friday, Jonathan Michael Bailey, 37, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in 2015 during a trip to the Sea Shore United Methodist Retreat Center in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Bailey, former minister of youth at First Baptist Church in New Orleans, was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for molestation that occurred in Louisiana.

A graduate of Louisiana College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Bailey reportedly passed a criminal background check before joining the staff at First Baptist in about 2013, but after his arrest a previous church reported to police he had been fired there about a decade earlier over an inappropriate relationship with a juvenile.

D.C. synagogue accused in lawsuit of enabling 'systemic, regular' sexual abuse at preschool


April 16, 2019

By Joey Garrison

Eight families say a teacher at a Jewish preschool in Washington, D.C., repeatedly sexually abused their children over the past two years – and they contend the school's top leader and a prominent synagogue did nothing about it despite warnings.

Disturbing claims of sexual abuse against children, between the ages of two and four at the time of the alleged crimes, are outlined in a new civil lawsuit filed late Monday against the Washington Hebrew Congregation, which operates the Edlavitch Tyser Early Childhood Center, and its head of schools, Deborah "DJ" Schneider Jensen.

The suit, filed in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, alleges the defendants enabled sexual abuse of children from the same man – Jordan Silverman, an assistant teacher who arrived at the preschool in 2016 after a long career as a photographer in Vermont.

Attorneys for the parents and children say the abuse, which spanned from March 2016 to August 2018 on the preschool's campus, included the "most grievous, demeaning and damaging forms of sexual abuse," and was "systemic and regular." The victims include both girls and boys, they say.

More child sex abuse bills advance in Pennsylvania House

KYW Newsradio

April 16, 2019

By Tony Romeo

Two more bills crafted on recommendations from the grand jury that investigated clergy child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania has advanced in the state House.

Legislation intended to reform the statute of limitations on child sex abuse passed the House last week.

Now the House Children and Youth Committee has advanced a bill, sponsored by Montgomery County Republican Todd Stephens, based on a grand jury recommendation to clarify and strengthen penalties for someone who is required to report suspected abuse and fails to do so.

Philippine villagers struggle with priest sex abuse shock

UCA News

April 15, 2019

By Ronald O. Reyes

Parishioners of accused American priest say scandal came out of the blue

People in a central Philippine village, where a 77-year-old American priest allegedly molested young boys, are clinging to their faith to overcome the stigma the abuse scandal has brought.

Residents said news about the abuse, which surfaced last year, was "extremely difficult" for the estimated 1,000 people in the sleepy coastal village of Talustosan to come to terms with.

"We’re all hurt," said 38-year-old Nito Olaguer, a father of four and a former acolyte of accused Father Kenneth Hendricks.

Franciscan University president resigns after Church Militant pressure

National Catholic Reporter

April 16, 2019

By Jenn Morson

After months of pressure from the right-wing media organization Church Militant and its supporters, many of them parents of current students at Franciscan University of Steubenville as well as alumni of the Ohio school, Franciscan Fr. Sean Sheridan tendered to the Board of Trustees his resignation as president.

His resignation comes in the wake of a challenging academic year for Sheridan and the university. At a Mass opening the academic year, Sheridan delivered a homily that addressed the sexual abuse crisis in the church at large as well as at Franciscan University, where several incidents of abuse were mishandled and where it was revealed later in the year that credible allegations had been made against a well-known friar at the school.

The final straw, however, may have been controversy over assignment of a novel to a high-level literature seminar that conservatives found objectionable and that Church Militant picked up as a cause against Sheridan.

Committees advance bills related to sex abuse scandal

Altoona Mirror

April 16, 2019

By Robert Swift

Two House committees advanced bills Monday to implement some of the lesser-known recommendations of last year’s state grand jury report on child sex abuse.

The grand jury, which identified more than 300 priests accused of sexually abusing thousands of children over the course of decades, made four recommendations for legislative action. The two proposals concerning Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases have gotten the most public attention so far.

The committees on Monday tackled the jury recommendations dealing with confidentiality agreements for child sex abuse victims and reporting requirements for suspicions of child sex abuse.

The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve House Bill 1171, sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohill, R-Luzerne, to specify that civil confidentiality agreements with abuse victims that include bans on communicating with law enforcement are “void and unenforceable.” The bill would apply to past and present confidentiality agreements.

The bill is a response to a jury finding that Catholic dioceses used these non-disclosure agreements to silence abuse victims from speaking publicly or cooperating with law enforcement, said Toohill.

Passing the bill will enable law enforcement inform to inform victims that they can speak out, she added.

Abuse crisis rooted in ‘egregious’ social changes, retired pope says

Catholic News Service

April 15, 2019

By Carol Glatz

The clerical sexual abuse crisis is rooted in the “egregious event” of the cultural and sexual revolution in the Western world in the 1960s and a collapse of the existence and authority of absolute truth and God, retired Pope Benedict XVI writes in an article outlining his thoughts on what must be done now.

The retired pope said the primary task at hand is to reassert the joyful truth of God’s existence and of the church as holding the true deposit of faith.

“When thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the faith in the reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament,” he wrote.

Australian media challenge 'unprecedented' contempt charges over sex abuse reporting

Mail & Guardian

April 15, 2019

The lawyer defending Australia’s biggest news organisations against contempt charges for their reporting of Cardinal George Pell’s sex crimes conviction denounced on Monday what he called an unprecedented attack on press freedom in the country.

Twenty-three journalists and 13 media companies face fines and prison terms for allegedly breaching a gag order not to report on last year’s trial of Pell for child sex abuse.

Pell, 77, the most senior Catholic cleric convicted of sex crimes, was found guilty in December of abusing two choirboys and is serving a six-year prison term. He has appealed the conviction.
The court had banned all reporting of the case pending a second trial scheduled for this month, but the gag order was lifted in February when that trial was cancelled.

Some foreign media, including The New York Times and the Washington Post, reported Pell’s conviction in December, while local media ran cryptic articles complaining that they were being prevented from reporting a story of major public interest.

Catholic Diocese agrees to changes in handling of sex abuse cases


April 16, 2019

By Marian Hetherly

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Movement to Restore Trust have formed a Joint Implementation Team, facilitated by Leadership Roundtable, to address the clergy sex abuse scandal. Among the first orders of business was to agree to changes in how the diocese handles abuse cases.

Bishop Richard Malone said the team held its first meeting on April 11 and quickly reached agreement on the following initiatives:

Lawsuit alleges child sex abuse at Washington synagogue


April 16, 2019

By Daniel Burke

The families of eight young children have filed suit against a prominent Washington synagogue and one of its leaders, alleging they ignored warnings that a teacher at the congregation's preschool was sexually abusing the children for more than two years.

The families, who are filing the suit anonymously, to protect the children's identities, say the alleged abuse occurred at Washington Hebrew Congregation's Early Childhood Center, a Reform Jewish synagogue founded in the 1850s.

The lawsuit names Jordan Silverman, a teacher at Washington Hebrew Congregation's preschool, as the abuser. Silverman, who was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, could not be immediately reached for comment.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia confirmed to CNN on Monday evening that an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of children at the school is currently ongoing. Police wouldn't confirm or deny that Silverman is a suspect.

Buffalo Diocese, lay people reveal plans to help restore trust in Catholic church


April 15, 2019

By Shannon Smith

Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone is working to restore trust in the Catholic Church. A group of lay people hope their suggestions will help after the sex abuse scandal rocked the Buffalo Diocese.

The Movement to Restore Trust and the Buffalo Diocese met Thursday to give suggestions for the Diocese aimed at restoring faith in Catholic leaders.

John Hurley, president of Canisius College and a member of the Movement to Restore Trust talked about those suggestion on WBEN radio Monday afternoon.

"We put nine, basic, kind of foundational, recommendations in front of the Bishop and we said this is what needs to happen to begin the process of restoring trust in the diocese and he said, I can do those," said John Hurley.

Kentucky diocese IDs priests 'credibly' accused of abuse

The Associated Press

April 16, 2019

The diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky, has released a list of priests it says have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.

The Paducah Sun reports the bishop of the diocese, The Most Rev. William Medley, released the list of 15 priests Friday.

Bishop Malone apologizes in Buffalo diocese, says he was part of no cover-ups


April 12, 2019

The Bishop of Buffalo said in a statement Thursday that despite media reports to the contrary, he has not been part of any cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, though he does intend to be more transparent about clerical sexual abuse and its financial impact on his diocese.

“For all the progress the Church and this diocese have made in preventing child sexual abuse today and in addressing abuse in the past, I recognize that more needs to be done. Of course, I am acutely aware of the times when I personally have fallen short,” Bishop Richard Malone said in his April 11 statement.

Quiet ex-pope emerges at exactly the wrong time

The New Mexican

April 16, 2019

Emeritus Pope Benedict picked a strange moment and an unfortunate topic to return to the public eye — just before Holy Week, writing about the scandal of sex abuse in the Catholic Church and choosing to blame the 1960s for the sins of the church.

The Catholic Church, as with any human institution, has a history of misdeeds that dates back to its very founding, well before the swinging ’60s. Among those — and we can never forget the Inquisition — are abuse of children, the faithful, nuns and others by priests in holy orders. Over the years, such sins were covered up by bishops and the hierarchy because, sadly, institutions seem more intent on protecting themselves than caring for people. That is just a fact of human nature and human history.

What makes abuse by priests and subsequent cover-ups so horrific, of course, is that the institution hiding the sin is supposed to represent Jesus on this Earth, showcasing the gospel through its actions. The Catholic Church seeks to teach, to set an example and to show humanity how good Christians are supposed to live.

Former St. Mary's Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor

Patch National

April 15, 2019

By Ryan Bonner

The alleged abuse occurred more than 40 years ago, but it was only recently reported, diocese officials say.

A former pastor at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in East Islip has been accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 40 years ago.

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, the current pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Manorhaven, "has voluntarily agreed to step down immediately from all ministry" while an investigation takes place, said Sean Dolan, the director of communications for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The alleged abuse was only recently reported through the diocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), Dolan said.

Franciscan releases name of another priest accused of sex abuse


April 16, 2019

Franciscan University of Steubenville has released another name of a priest accused of sex abuse.

Father Joseph Moore was there from 1986 to 1989.

After moving to another Diocese in Connecticut back in 1997, he was removed from the ministry for reports of abuse.

They did not involve his time in Steubenville however.

Former St. Joseph's Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor

Patch National

April 15, 2019

By Ryan Bonner

The alleged abuse occurred more than 40 years ago, but it was only recently reported, diocese officials say.

A former priest at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Babylon has been accused of sexually
abusing a minor more than 40 years ago.

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, the current pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Manorhaven, "has voluntarily agreed to step down immediately from all ministry" while an investigation takes place, said Sean Dolan, the director of communications for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The alleged abuse was only recently reported through the diocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), Dolan said.

'I did as I was told': $1 million lawsuit against Knox for child sex abuse

The Sydney Morning Herald

April 14, 2019

By Peter FitzSimons and Rick Feneley

Greg Dubler was just 10 years old when he was sent to board at Knox, the prestigious private school on Sydney’s upper north shore.

His parents were having marriage troubles and wanted to travel to Europe together to try to work things out. Their three sons, Martin, Robert and Greg, who had been Knox day boys, were sent to board at the school for three months in 1975.


Church Militant

April 15, 2019

NBC News preparing to release huge story on Bishop Malone

With the white heat from the media spotlight intensifying, Buffalo, New York's Bp. Richard Malone is once again rejecting mounting calls for his resignation and proclaiming his innocence — although he grudgingly admits he failed in some aspects.

"I deeply regret and apologize for having signed those letters in support of Fr. Art Smith," Malone said in an April 11 statement, referring to a predator priest Malone promoted. "I also regret not being more transparent about claims involving abuse against adults."

His sudden confession may be the result of getting word of an upcoming NBC News piece on him and his failures. NBC reporter Anne Thompson was in Buffalo last week doing extensive interviews with victims of priests Malone continues to leave in service.

Christians and allegations of sexual misconduct, part two: the Catholic Church

The Huntingtonian

April 15, 2019

By Juliet Wilson

Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination in the world, reporting 1.285 billion members in 2014. In the same year, a study showed that 20.8 percent of Americans identify as Catholic — this makes Catholicism the single-largest denomination in America as well.

Without a doubt, Catholicism has become a prominent presence in America and worldwide. Despite the Catholic emphasis on sanctification, this denomination has fallen prey to the disaster of sexual misconduct within the church. Devastatingly, the history of sexual abuse between Catholic priests and young boys has become common knowledge.

Recently, the problem of sexual abuse within the Catholic church has resurfaced in the media. On March 14, the Roman Catholic Church in Poland released a study concerning the abuse reports church officials received. This study was commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and covered the time period between 1990 and mid-2018.

Women Sexually Abused By Catholic Nuns Speak Up: She Told Me It Was ‘God’s Love’

The Huffington Post

April 11, 2019

By Carol Kuruvilla and Jessica Blank

Two survivors share stories of grooming, emotional manipulation and sexual abuse by nuns in the Catholic Church.

The predator nun walked into Trish Cahill’s life straight out of the blue, on a busy summer day in the late 1960s.

Cahill was a teenager back then, wire thin with long, chestnut brown hair framing her face. She was babysitting her cousins in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and there were eight of them to look after ― a big Catholic family, much like her own.

One cousin was playing outside that day and Cahill had another little one in a high chair in the kitchen. It was quite a common child care tactic at the time, she said ― stick a kid in a playpen in the yard and watch through the window while doing chores and taking care of the others inside.

Diocese: Priest in Manorhaven steps aside after abuse allegation


April 15, 2019

By Bart Jones

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson most recently served at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church. The allegation stems from decades ago, the diocese said.

A parish priest in Manorhaven has stepped down while law enforcement authorities investigate an allegation that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago when he served in Suffolk County, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and officials said Monday.

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, 71, has been serving as pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in the village of Manorhaven. Diocese officials announced the move Sunday during Masses at the church, parishioners said.

Peterson could not be reached for comment.

Michigan lawmaker cries foul against AG’s 'anti-Catholicism'

Catholic News Agency

April 15, 2019

By Jonah McKeown

A Michigan state representative is considering opening articles of impeachment against the state’s attorney general over comments that he says demonstrate an anti-Catholic bias.

State Rep. Beau LaFave told CNA in an interview that he had been worried about various public statements made by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

But the final straw was when Nessel publicly suggested that she thinks retired Judge Michael Talbot, a Catholic who has previously worked with the Diocese of Saginaw, is unfit to help Michigan State University overhaul its Title IX hearing procedures.

“There's a clear pattern of anti-Catholic religious bigotry coming out of our attorney general, and somebody needs to do something about it,” LaFave told CNA.

Our Lady of Hope plants pinwheels at Epiphany Church in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month

South Philly Review

April 15, 2019

By Grace Maiorano

For the first time since its inception, the Archdiocesan Office for Child and Youth Protection included students during its annual pinwheel planting ceremony, known as “Pinwheels for Prevention.”

Swirling in the wind, a sea of glistening blue and silver pinwheels have graced the gardens of Epiphany of Our Lord Church at 11th and Jackson streets.

But the site serves as more than a springtime decoration, striving to represent the happiness, healthiness and safety of our community’s children.

For the first time since its inception, the Archdiocesan Office for Child and Youth Protection included students during its annual pinwheel planting ceremony, known as “Pinwheels for Prevention,” a movement that takes place across the country every April in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Las Vegas Catholic Diocese reveals list of 33 ‘credibly accused’ of child sexual abuse

Los Angeles Times

April 12, 2019

By David Montero

The Las Vegas Catholic Diocese on Friday released the names of 32 clergy members and one volunteer it said were credibly accused of child sexual abuse and who had served in Nevada within the last several decades.

Bishop George Leo Thomas, who opened the broad investigation after becoming head of the diocese in 2018, said the “church has been in secrecy and denial for a very long time.”

The Las Vegas Diocese said of the 33 people listed, 21 are dead and the remainder had been removed from their positions, most before the investigation began.

A volunteer on the list was removed from his post just this year. The former priest had been accused multiple times of abuse in dioceses in other states, and the Diocese of Gary, Ind., showed he'd been removed from the clerical ranks in July 2006.

Thomas said all the information gathered on the accused had been turned over to law enforcement.

Abuse in the Church, how priests are living through the storm

La Croix International

April 16, 2019

By Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner and Marie Malzac

Even when they have not been targeted personally by any disparaging remarks, priests are conscious of the climate of 'suspicion' that has developed

While they will gather around their bishops for the Chrism Mass, a key moment in Holy Week, French priests share with La Croix their distress at the wave of revelations of sexual abuse, but also their need to talk and strengthen the brotherhood amongst them.

Shock, sadness, anger, disillusionment … many priests realized only in the past few months the "scope" of the crisis of abuses in the Church, which is not limited to "individual cases" as first thought, but takes on a "systemic" dimension in their eyes.

As a member of the monitoring organisation in his Diocese of Nanterre, Father Hugues de Woillemont knows the "depth of the trauma" experienced by the victims in all areas of their personal and spiritual lives. But a documentary aired in early March by Arte TV on the rape of nuns by clerics was the final blow for him.

Benedict’s unfortunate letter ignores the facts on the Catholic sex abuse crisis

Religion News Service

April 15, 2019

By Thomas Reese

The recent essay on clergy sexual abuse by Benedict XVI shows why it was such a good idea for him to resign as pope. In the letter released last week, he shows how out of touch he is with the causes of the abuse crisis.

Fundamentally, Benedict lives in a Platonic world of ideas where facts don’t matter.

Most of the media attention since a German Catholic magazine published Benedict’s 6,000-word statement has been focused on Benedict blaming the sex abuse crisis on the collapse of sexual standards in the 1960s.

Actually, he may have a point. Data presented by the 2004 John Jay report on clerical abuse showed that, both in the church and in America as a whole, the number of abuse cases began increasing in the mid-1960s and peaked in the 1970s. Something was happening, not just in the church but in the world.

On the other hand, sexual abuse was occurring prior to the 1960s. The church and America were just better at covering it up.

'A Spiritual Rape': Female Survivors Say Sex Abuse by Nuns Has Been Overlooked by Public


April 11, 2019

By Jeff Truesdell

Female victims says nuns may also be predators whose sexual abuse of minors has been overshadowed by scandals focused on priests

Two women who have been sexually abused by nuns are speaking out, saying that amidst the well-documented scandal of widespread abuse of boys by priests, their traumas have been overlooked.

“It’s a spiritual rape, it really is,” survivor Anne Gleeson tells HuffPost in an exclusive video interview. “It steals your faith. I envy people who have faith.” (A 4-minute clip of the interview is shown above.)

Another survivor, Patricia Cahill, tells the outlet, “The boys thought they were the only ones for a hundred years. The girls [who were abused] think they’re the only ones. They don’t have any other survivors to see.”

Priest’s trial for violating confessional to protect abuser postponed


April 15, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

A long-awaited ecclesiastical trial for a priest who allegedly broke the seal of confession to inform members of a controversial lay group in Italy of a police investigation of their leader for sexual abuse of minors has been postponed indefinitely.

The decision has not played well with alleged victims of the group and their families.

“They are playing with our lives,” said the mother of one of the victims to Crux April 4.

The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous to protect her underage daughter’s identity, claims to have gone to confession with Father Orazio Caputo in the fall of 2017 where she spoke of her concerns for her daughter within the lay-led “Catholic Culture and Environment Association” (ACCA) in the southern Italian town of Acireale.

Former Vatican Doctrine Czar says rift between Benedict XVI and Francis is impossible


April 15, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

In a new interview, the former top doctrinal official at the Vatican praised Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent statement on the clerical sexual abuse scandals and rebuked criticism that the pope did not write it himself or should not speak his mind.

Benedict XVI “has his style, he was helped by a secretary but intellectually he does not need help, because he has great experience and he remembers all those responsible for the fall of moral theology, which is one of the causes behind these abuses,” said German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwing Müller, former Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in an April 14 interview with Italian news outlet Tgcom24.

Despite his 92-years of age, Benedict XVI “is lucid in his thought and in his reasoning, which as seen in that document, is very elaborate and profound,” the cardinal said.

New Vatican constitution will resist centralization in Rome, drafter says


April 15, 2019

Inés San Martín

It took 29 meetings, but the pope’s “C-9” council of cardinal advisers, which is now functionally more akin to a “C-6”, has a new constitution for the Vatican in the form of a draft presentable to all the bishops’ conferences around the world, the heads of the various departments of the Holy See, theologians and canonists.

According to a principal drafter of that document, one core aim, reflecting the electoral mandate given Pope Francis six years ago, is to combat centralization of power in Rome.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias from Bombay, India, a member of the council, was responsible for drafting parts of Praedicate evangelium, which will now be reviewed by bishops around the world who have to send their thoughts in late May, before the council’s next meeting in June.

Gracias spoke with Crux last week at the end of a meeting of the prelates, and he said fighting “centralization” was a principal goal of the drafters. The issue was discussed by the cardinals who elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio to succeed Benedict XVI, “so Francis was elected on a mandate to do this,” Gracias said.

The problem with Benedict’s essay

Catholic World Report

April 13, 2019

By Christopher R. Altieri

Right or wrong, Benedict told us very little—practically nothing—we did not already know.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI attends a consistory for the creation of new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this Feb. 22, 2014, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s release of his letter on “The Church and the Crisis of Sexual Abuse” took most of the world—including Rome, by all accounts—quite by surprise. In the English-speaking world, the Catholic News Agency led the way with the full text, in a well-prepared—even elegant—translation from the original German. The New York Post anticipated the letter’s release in English, with an editorial take that described Benedict’s foray into the public debate over the great matter as, “a post-retirement encyclical.”

Reaction in the press was swift and hot.

The portion of the commentariat usually well-disposed to Francis was quick to decry the intervention of the Pope emeritus as temerarious. Writing for Commonweal, Massimo Faggioli of Villanova University opined, “The publication of Benedict’s essay has already damaged his reputation and sown confusion.”

Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter said the letter seemed a “caricature of both Joseph Ratzinger’s once powerful intellect and of conservative explanations for the sex abuse crisis.”

Opinion: From the Ashes of Notre-Dame

The New York Times

April 15, 2019

By Ross Douthat

How a burning cathedral rebukes a divided Catholic Church.

A first draft of this column was written before flames engulfed the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, before its spire fell in one of the most dreadful live images since Sept. 11, 2001, before a blazing fire went further than any of France’s anticlerical revolutionaries ever dared.

My original subject was the latest controversy in Catholicism’s now-years-long Lent, in which conflicts over theology and sex abuse have merged into one festering, suppurating mess. The instigator of controversy, this time, was the former pope, the 92-year-old Benedict XVI, who late last week surprised the Catholic intelligentsia with a 6,000-word reflection on the sex abuse crisis.

Portions of the document were edifying, but there was little edifying in its reception. It was passed first to conservative Catholic outlets, whose palpable Benedict nostalgia was soon matched by fierce criticism from Francis partisans, plus sneers from the secular press at the retired pope’s insistence that the sex abuse epidemic was linked to the cultural revolution of the 1960s and the 1970s.

April 15, 2019

Manorhaven Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor


April 15, 2019
By Ryan Bonner

A local priest has been accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 40 years ago.

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, the pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Manorhaven, "has voluntarily agreed to step down immediately from all ministry" while an investigation takes place, said Sean Dolan, the director of communications for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The alleged abuse was only recently reported through the diocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), Dolan said.

The allegation against Peterson has been reported to civil authorities. Newsday reported that the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office is investigating.

Peterson was a priest in Suffolk County for 35 years – including lengthy stints at St. Joseph's in Babylon and St. Mary's in East Islip, according to his bio posted online. He left St. Mary's in 2008 for Our Lady of Fatima .

Local priests deny sexual abuse allegations

Andover Townsman

April 15, 2019

By Jessica Valeriani

Two priests who served at the former St. Augustine’s in Lawrence say allegations of the sexual abuse of a boy decades ago are false.

The Rev. Peter Gori, currently pastor of St. Augustine’s Church in Andover, and the Rev. William Waters, who served as pastor at several Merrimack Valley parishes and is now a pastor in Philadelphia, have both been accused by a man in his 40s of sexual abuse some 30 years ago.

Both priests have been placed on leave pending the outcome of investigations.

The alleged victim says Waters abused him from 1987 to 1990 when he was eight to 10 years old, according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is known for representing sexual abuse victims in the Boston area during the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal. The man says Gori sexually abused him repeatedly in the 1990s when he was 10 years old, according to Garabedian.

Terrence Donilon, secretary for communications and public affairs at the Archdiocese of Boston, said the abuse is alleged to have happened at St. Augustine’s in Lawrence. At the time, the victim attended St. Augustine’s School in Lawrence, according to Garabedian.

Gori denied the allegations in a letter sent to St. Augustine’s parishioners Tuesday.

In the letter, Gori writes he was informed of the allegation by the provincial of his Augustinian order last Friday.

“I assure you, as I assured the Provincial, that the accusation is false,” Gori wrote.

Gori goes on to tell parishioners he will not be living in the rectory nor conducting Mass while the investigation is underway.

Waters has also denied the allegation against him, according to a written statement from Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Waters has “voluntarily stepped aside as pastor” pending the outcome of the matter, according to the statement from Gavin. He was placed on administrative leave in his role as pastor at St. Augustine’s in Philadelphia, and the archdiocese has restricted his faculties to function as a priest, pending the outcome of the matter, the statement said.

While on administrative leave, the statement said Waters will not be able to function publicly as a priest and will have no access to parish or school facilities.

Gavin said in the statement the Augustinians received an allegation through a third party that “Waters sexually abused a minor approximately 30 years ago while serving as a priest outside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

“Archdiocesan administration had no knowledge of this allegation until it was shared by the Augustinians,” the statement read. “No allegations of this kind have been lodged against Father Waters previously.”

The statement said the Augustinians reported the allegation to law enforcement.

According to Gavin’s statement, Waters completed mandatory Safe Environment Training programs and obtained appropriate child abuse clearances and criminal background checks, which are standard measures in parishes, schools and ministries throughout the archdiocese.

Waters has served as the pastor at St. Augustine’s in Philadelphia since August 2014. He was previously assigned to St. Augustine’s in Lawrence.

Pa. House committees advance more grand jury recommendations on Catholic clergy abuse

Pennsylvania Capital-Star

April 15, 2019

By Stephen Caruso

House committees advanced legislation Monday that addresses recommendations from last year’s grand jury report on hundreds of “predator” Catholic priests, less than a week after the full chamber gave the OK to a civil window for older sex abuse victims.

Without any dissenting votes, the House Children & Youth Committee advanced a bill to increase penalties for failing to report child abuse, while the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that affirms the right of child abuse victims to break non-disclosure agreements to cooperate with law enforcement.

The penalties bill makes it a felony to knowingly not report child abuse to authorities. As for the NDA bill, those bound to silence by a legal settlement already can break it for a police investigation, according to sponsor Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne.

“Currently the silencing agreements are void, and continue to be void, but victims out there don’t believe it to be the case,” she said following the vote.

Her bill clarifies the provision in state law.

Benedict’s unfortunate letter ignores the facts in the Catholic sex abuse crisis

Religion News Service

April 15, 2019

By Thomas Reese

The recent essay on clergy sexual abuse by Benedict XVI shows why it was such a good idea for him to resign as pope. In the letter released last week, he shows how out of touch he is with the causes of the abuse crisis.

Fundamentally, Benedict lives in a Platonic world of ideas where facts don’t matter.

Most of the media attention since a German Catholic magazine published Benedict’s 6,000-word statement has been focused on Benedict blaming the sex abuse crisis on the collapse of sexual standards in the 1960s.

Actually, he may have a point. Data presented by the 2004 John Jay report on clerical abuse showed that, both in the church and in America as a whole, the number of abuse cases began increasing in the mid-1960s and peaked in the ’70s. Something was happening, not just in the church but in the world.

On the other hand, sexual abuse was occurring before the 1960s. The church and America were just better at covering it up.

But Benedict also wants to blame sex abuse on contemporary moral theologians who challenged the church’s traditional, natural law ethics, especially as it applied to sexual ethics. Contemporary moral theology is less rule-based and, rather, takes a more personalistic and relational approach. Challenging the church’s opposition to birth control, as did most theologians, opened the floodgates to all sorts of sexual sins, including child abuse, in his view.

Church wants 80-plus clergy sex abuse cases moved from local to federal court

Pacific Daily News

April 15, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

The Archdiocese of Agana seeks the transfer of more than 80 clergy sex abuse cases from local court to federal court which it says has jurisdiction over the archdiocese's reorganization bankruptcy filing.

Attorneys for the archdiocese filed notices of removal over the last few days, citing a provision in the U.S. Code that authorizes the removal of claims or causes of action in a civil action that are "related to" bankruptcy cases.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 16 to help settle clergy sex abuse cases and compensate the plaintiffs.

Buffalo Diocese announces reforms in handling sex abuse cases

The Buffalo News

April 15, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone has agreed to review the diocese’s approach to releasing names of clergy accused of sex abuse and to hold a series of “listening sessions” on the abuse scandal.

Those are among several reform initiatives announced Monday morning in cooperation with a group of lay Catholics called the Movement to Restore Trust.

Other initiatives include:

Diocese: Priest in Port Washington steps aside after abuse allegation


April 15, 2019

By Bart Jones

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson most recently served at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church. The allegation stems from decades ago, the diocese said.

A parish priest in Manorhaven Port Washington has stepped down while law enforcement authorities investigate an allegation that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago, the Diocese of Rockville Centre said Monday.

The Rev. Steven J. Peterson has been serving as pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in the village of Manorhaven. Diocese officials announced the move Sunday during Masses at the church, parishioners said.

Peterson could not be reached immediately for comment.

The diocese has notified law enforcement authorities of the allegation, diocesan spokesman Sean Dolan said. The diocese is not aware of any other allegations against Peterson, Dolan said.

The Suffolk County district attorney's office learned of the allegation Saturday, said spokeswoman Sheila Kelly.

Ex-Baptist pastor on trial in Guam for sexual abuse of minor

INQUIRER.net US Bureau

April 15, 2019

A jury in Guam Superior Court will decide the fate of former Baptist pastor Renato Capili Bosi, who is accused of inappropriately touching a then-14-year-old girl’s private parts and sending her sexually suggestive emails.

Bosi’s trial started Thursday, April 11 for second-degree criminal sexual conduct and child abuse. Also known as Pastor Raye or Ray, Bosi was the pastor for the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Guam. The Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention told the Pacific Daily News in December 2017 that Bosi had resigned.

Breaking down some key distinctions in Benedict's abuse crisis diagnosis

Crux Now

April 15, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

After remaining notable mostly for his invisibility the last six years, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made up for it in a big way April 10 by publishing a 6,000-word analysis of the clerical sexual abuse scandals in an obscure magazine for clergy in his native German region of Bavaria.

The retired pope’s analysis is typically multilayered, and his main focus is why the path to recovery from the crisis has to run through stronger faith in God and a deeper personal encounter with Christ.

His diagnosis is that only a Church rooted in Christ, including his real presence in the Eucharist, will have the spiritual wherewithal to begin putting the pieces back together.

Priest Named as 2nd in Charge of Charlotte Diocese

The Associated Press

April 14, 2019

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte says a priest who helps investigate claims of sexual abuse and misconduct by fellow clergy has been named second in command of the 46-county diocese.

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte says a priest who helps investigate claims of sexual abuse and misconduct by fellow clergy has been named second in command of the 46-county diocese.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Bishop Peter Jugis announced the appointment of Father Patrick Winslow on the diocesan website Friday. Winslow is pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte, a position he'll maintain.

Official marks retired pope’s birthday, commenting on his latest letter

Catholic News Service

April 15, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

Marking retired Pope Benedict XVI’s 92nd birthday, the editorial director of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication insisted what the retired pope wrote about facing the clerical sexual abuse crisis is essentially what Pope Francis has said, too.

“Celebrating Joseph Ratzinger’s birthday, it can be useful to underline the approach that both Benedict XVI and his successor, Francis, have maintained in the face of the scandals and the abuse of minors,” Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director, wrote.

The approach of the two popes, he said in an April 15 article, cannot be “reduced to a slogan.”

The retired pope’s birthday is April 16 and just five days earlier, several media outlets published what Benedict described as “some notes” that could help Catholics understand and address the abuse crisis.

How the Catholic Church Is Compensating Victims

WNYC: The Brian Lehrer Show

April 15, 2019

Paul Elie, The New Yorker contributor, talks about how the Catholic Church is compensating victims of abuse, whether it can ever be enough and reckons with his own faith amid the ongoing scandal.

Louisiana bishop celebrates special Way of Cross to ‘heal this wound’ of abuse

Catholic News Service

April 15, 2019

Where there is darkness, light shines; where there is despair, hope.

Bishop Michael G. Duca celebrated a special Way of the Cross for reparation for the sin of sexual abuse within the church April 5 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, offering grace to survivors and asking the church to accompany them on their journey of healing.

“(Praying the Way of the Cross) was important because we need to heal this wound in the church in many different ways; through our policies. But also we need to always remember our deepest healing comes from our faith in Jesus Christ,” the bishop said immediately following the service.

“And the faith on the road to the resurrection is the road to the passion of Jesus, and we can see that in the passion he teaches us how to walk with suffering in the hope of the resurrection.”

He added, “I thought it was important to add this to our many ways we will grow and hopefully heal as a church.”

Group plans rally, wants answers on Catholic Church abuse scandal


April 14, 2019

Road to Recovery will be outside while Bishop Richard Malone leads Mass on steps of St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.

The group Road to Recovery is holding a rally on the steps of St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.

It begins at 10 a.m. Sunday.

At that same time, Bishop Richard Malone will be inside the church leading Mass.

The group wants answers for the current clergy abuse scandal.

OPINION: How Catholic Church used treatment centers to protect priests accused of child abuse


April 15, 2019

By Ian Nawalinski

In 1995, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned an internal church study on child abuse. The two-volume study surveyed bishops in more than 100 dioceses nationwide about their use of treatment centers to assess and care for priests believed to be sexually abusing children.

The result: 87% of bishops (127 out of 145 dioceses surveyed) reported using treatment centers for clergy accused of child abuse.

Two decades later, following the August release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church — one of three released by the state attorney general since early 2000  — dioceses in multiple states and at least one state attorney general have disclosed their own lists of credibly accused priests.

Principal knew about student sex abuse 35 years before teacher was convicted, letter reveals

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

April 15, 2019

By Henry Zwartz

Senior staff at a Catholic school in Tasmania, including the then principal and his boss, were aware of allegations a teacher was sexually abusing multiple children as far back as 1971, and sought to move the teacher to a different parish, a letter obtained by the ABC reveals.

The teacher, Greg Ferguson, was convicted of historical child sex offences against two students in 2007 relating to his time at Burnie's Marist College in the early 1970s.

A letter written by then Marist College principal, Father Bernard Hosie, to his boss Marist provincial Peter Guiren in November 1971 sought advice on whether Ferguson should be moved on after reports he was "fooling around" with young boys at the school.

"I have reports of about 8 boys that Greg Ferguson (they claim) has been fooling around with in his room ... it would ... be very easy to move him if it had to be done overnight," the letter states.

India cardinal mounts strong defense of ‘zero tolerance’ on abuse


April 13, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, a member of Pope Francis’s council of cardinals which advises him on Vatican reform and one of four figures tapped to organize a recent summit on the fight against clerical sexual abuse, says Catholic parents have the right to know the Church is genuinely committed to “zero tolerance.”

The comment takes on special significance in the wake of the Feb. 21-24 summit, where reservations about “zero tolerance” were heard from senior churchmen from the developing world, and where the pope himself didn’t use the phrase.

Some observers detected a creeping redefinition of “zero tolerance” away from what it’s come to mean in the United States and certain other parts of the world, which is near-certain expulsion from the priesthood for abusing a minor, to permanent removal from ministry but not necessarily the priesthood.

The Guardian view on the Catholic church: trouble ahead

The Guardian

April 15, 2019

Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before his death as if he were the messiah, pushing through adoring crowds who sang and waved palm fronds – at least that’s what the story says. By this criterion at least, Pope Francis is further from Jesus than most popes have been. He entered Holy Week this year battered by assaults from the right wing of the American church, the Italian government, and even his immediate predecessor, the former pope Benedict XVI, who published a dense, eccentric reflection on the causes of the sexual abuse crisis: he believes, apparently, that airlines had to stop showing films with sex scenes in them because they provoked outbreaks of violence among passengers.

Old age may have eroded the 92-year-old former pontiff’s faculties, but this makes the bedrock of his deep convictions stand out more clearly: he believes that without an independent source of good, or God, human relationships are only about power; that God can only be truly known through the Christian tradition; and that this knowledge is preserved in his church. This means the church’s most important task is to guard this revelation – and Benedict was for many years the chief doctrinal enforcer of the church. But now he seems to conflate the legal and bureaucratic protection given to academic theologians with those who enabled paedophile priests to avoid expulsion from the church. To be clear, he thinks that child abuse is an absolute moral evil which nothing can ever justify – but also believes that certain styles of theological liberalism are themselves evils which nothing can justify.

Benedict, who blames the abuse crisis on unfettered sexuality, was a weak administrator; Francis, who blames the crisis on unfettered clerical power, has been much more determined in the exercise of his office. He has, as a result, made many more powerful enemies. His advocacy for refugees has upset politically conservative Catholics. His advocacy for the environment – a subject on which he writes with extraordinary passion and urgency – has further alienated the American right for whom it is an article of faith to disbelieve in global warming. While his behaviour over the abuse scandal, and over the church’s teaching on sexuality, has been more equivocal and marked by many false steps, there is nonetheless a significant difference in temperament and style from his predecessor’s approach to morality. Benedict is interested in whether particular acts are evil. For Francis, the more important question seems to be whether they can be forgiven.

The Atlantic’s Commentary on Pope Benedict’s Letter Is Not Its Best Work

National Review

April 15, 2019

By Nicholas Frankovich

Rachel Donadio at The Atlantic weighs in on the long letter that Benedict, the pope emeritus, recently published on the sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. “Benedict said the crisis became most acute in the second half of the 1980s,” she writes. “This is not quite the case.”

Why? Because, she reasons, the public record includes allegations of sexual abuse that occurred both before and after the 1980s.

Either Donadio is not a careful thinker or she is and she’s trying to steal second base. “Became most acute in” doesn’t mean “is unknown to have existed before or after.” Here’s what Benedict wrote:

The question of pedophilia, as I recall, did not become acute until the second half of the 1980s. In the meantime, it had already become a public issue in the U.S., such that the bishops in Rome sought help, since canon law, as it is written in the new (1983) Code, did not seem sufficient for taking the necessary measures.

That sounds about right.

According to CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate), a unit of Georgetown University, cases of clerical sexual abuse alleged to have occurred in 1960–64 were nearly double the number for the preceding five-year period, 1955–59. The numbers continued to rise through the mid 1970s, at which point they plateaued before falling significantly in the period 1980–84. Then they began to plummet. The numbers for the period since 2000 are about 5 percent of what they were at the height of the crisis, in 1970–74.

Benedict’s account is consistent with that data. The National Catholic Reporter began covering the issue in the early 1980s, and in 1985 the case of a Louisiana priest who pleaded guilty to eleven counts of molestation became national news. Just as the problem in the United States was being exposed by the press, the number of allegations here began to decline. Whether that decline can be attributed to the media coverage or was mere coincidence, who can say. In any case, as Benedict notes, the problem had become “a public issue in the U.S.” earlier than elsewhere. It’s plausible that it took the Church elsewhere a few years longer, until the later 1980s, for the scale of the scandals to sink in.

Steve Bannon's Advice Is the Last Thing Pope Francis Needs Right Now

Esquire Magazine

April 15, 2019

By Charles P. Pierce

I think they've hired some new blood in the 2019 writer's room because, I have to admit, this new story arc in which Steve Bannon, lost heir to House Harkonnen, overthrows the pope caught me by surprise. From NBC News:

The populist political consultant has a new target in his crusade against “globalism” — Pope Francis. “He’s the administrator of the church, and he’s also a politician,” said Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump. “This is the problem. ... He’s constantly putting all the faults in the world on the populist nationalist movement.”

Since becoming pope in 2013, Francis has expressed a consistent message on the type of “America First” nationalism championed by Bannon. Two years ago, the pope cautioned against growing populism in Europe, warning it could lead to the election of leaders like Hitler. He has called for compassion toward migrants, saying that fearing them "makes us crazy," as well as other marginalized groups including the poor and gay people. He has also defended diversity. Bannon alleges that Francis has mismanaged numerous sex abuse scandals roiling the church, and says the pope is not treating the issue seriously enough.

I have my own problems with how Papa Francesco has handled the latter crisis, and especially how he has dealt with its more recent iterations. (Of course, I have many of the same problems with every one of his predecessors, largely because too few of their solutions contained the words "full extent of the law.") But the idea that the Church needs the tender ministrations of this vandal is the worst idea to hit Catholicism since the Cadaver Synod, of which Bannon looks like the perfect person to assay the role of the unfortunate Pope Formosus.

But Bannon is not alone in criticizing the pontiff. A raft of conservative Catholics, from bishops to lay theologians to firebrand pundits, have attacked Francis. They were supporters of Francis’s traditionalist predecessor, Benedict XVI, who unexpectedly resigned in 2013. On Thursday, Benedict published a letter outlining his views on the sex abuse crisis. "The crisis, caused by the many cases of clerical abuse, urges us to regard the church as something almost unacceptable, which we must now take into our own hands and redesign," he wrote. Bannon has found an ideological ally in conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former archbishop of St. Louis who was demoted by Francis and has supported calls for the pope's resignation.

Buffalo Diocese and Canisius group agree to 'reforms,' but survivor groups call it a 'whitewash'


April 15, 2019

By Charlie Specht

The Diocese of Buffalo and a group led by Canisius College President John J. Hurley have announced a series of 'reforms' to the diocese, but critics are unimpressed and wonder whether it is a whitewash of abuse.

The diocese and the Movement to Restore Trust described the ideas in four major categories:
A commitment by Bishop Malone to hold Diocesan-wide listening sessions.
New Initiatives in the Handling of Sex Abuse Cases.
Expanding the Diocesan Finance Council.
Expanding the Use of the Ethics Reporting Service.

Diocese of Buffalo - Movement to Restore Trust announcement (Text)

“We are pleased with the progress made over the past month,” Hurley, the Canisius president, said in a prepared statement. “From the start, Bishop Malone has embraced the reform recommendations developed by approximately 150 Catholic lay people who have been working on MRT workgroups since early December. We are working in an active partnership with the Diocese to bring hope and healing to the Church in Buffalo.”

Referring to the "joint implementation team," embattled Bishop Richard J. Malone said in the same prepared statement, “The work of the JIT, bringing together representatives of the MRT and the Diocese of Buffalo, is an excellent example of the call for “co-responsibility” in the church. I am encouraged and energized by the work accomplished by the members of the JIT at their first meeting and pledge to continue to collaborate together."

But advocates for survivors of sexual abuse were unimpressed.

"What's new?" asked Zach Hiner, executive director of SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "They use a lot of weasel language in here, that doesn't make it seem new at all."

Hiner said the document included more calls "to review" and "to continue" processes that were already in place, and which led the diocese to become a national embarrassment on news programs like "60 Minutes" and the subject of a federal grand jury probe.

It makes no mention of concrete changes that could be made immediately, he said, such as listing the assignment histories and photos of accused priests and more information about when the allegations were received and how the diocese responded.

"I try not to be this cynical, but it does just seem like a PR move to [counter] the stories that have been in the media," Hiner said. "It gives them an out there, because they're going to review the policies. They could just say, 'Oh yeah, we're good...we like what we've done."

Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, a national nonprofit that has advocated for many sexual abuse victims in Buffalo, said he was dismayed by how cozy Hurley -- as the leader of a reform group -- has been in recent days with Malone, the bishop who is accused of making dozens of errors in the handling of sexual abuse .

The diocese released a photograph with Hurley and Malone smiling, laughing and engaging in some sort of embrace with their hands.

"I’m very disappointed in President Hurley’s recent comments defending Bishop Malone, and I’m afraid that the report that this commission to restore trust is going to whitewash much of what has gone on here," Hoatson said.

Boston University professor fired for violating sexual harassment policy


April 14, 2019

Boston University has fired a tenured geology professor accused of violating the school's sexual harassment policies during research trips to Antarctica in 1997 and from 1999 to 2000.

BU President Robert A. Brown sent a letter to faculty Friday saying he reviewed the case and concluded Dr. David Marchant's employment should be terminated.

A 13-month investigation conducted by the university's Equal Opportunity Office concluded Marchant created a hostile working and living environment for a female graduate student at the Antarctica camp.

Michigan State basketball rape accuser comes forward: 'I know that there are others'

Yahoo Sports

April 12, 2019

By Jack Baer

A Michigan State student has come forward after alleging in an anonymous Title IX lawsuit last year that three unnamed Michigan State basketball players raped her and that the school’s counseling center discouraged her from reporting it, according to ESPN.

Bailey Kowalski, 22, revealed her identity Wednesday to The New York Times and spoke to a room full of reporters on Thursday. Four years after the alleged rape, Kowalski is nearing graduation and trying to send a message of support to other victims:

"I'm about to graduate in May, and for most of my college career, this has been a heavy burden on me and my family. ... I am no longer afraid. I'm empowered to do this," she said Thursday. "I know that there are others who exist and they too are afraid. I want to be an example for them. The silent survivors matter and are worth fighting for."

In her Title IX lawsuit, Kowalski alleges that she, then a freshman sports journalism major, met members of the Michigan State basketball team at a bar on April 11, 2015, was invited to a party back at one of their apartments, began feeling discombobulated despite not having much to drink, was taken to a bedroom and thrown onto a bed where she was raped by three players.

Missbrauchsopfer: Benedikt-Text geht "völlig an der Sache vorbei"


April 12, 2019

[Abuse victims: Benedict text goes "completely over the thing"]

Ein "entlarvender Text", ein Rückblick "im Zorn", eine "absurde" Beschuldigung der 68er-Bewegung: Die ersten Reaktionen auf die Analyse von Benedikt XVI. zur Kirchenkrise fallen überwiegend negativ aus.

Die Analyse des früheren Papstes Benedikt XVI. zum Missbrauchsskandal sorgt für Kritik. Der Sprecher der Opfer-Initiative "Eckiger Tisch", Matthias Katsch, hält den Aufsatz für einen "entlarvenden Text". Die Analyse gehe "völlig an der Sache vorbei", weshalb man sie "jetzt aber auch nicht zu wichtig nehmen sollte", sagte Katsch am Donnerstag im Bayerischen Rundfunk.

Das ehemalige Kirchenoberhaupt blende die "strukturellen Ursachen für die Übergriffe" aus. "Stattdessen ist am Ende der Teufel Schuld dafür, dass das Böse in die Kirche eingedrungen ist", sagte Katsch. Das sei eine "vormoderne Sicht, die aber zur Lösung des Problems nichts beiträgt". Eigene Fehler und die "Verantwortung der Institution" Kirche benenne Benedikt XVI. nicht. Dafür mache er die Generation der 68er und deren liberale Lebenshaltung für den Missbrauch hinter Kirchenmauern verantwortlich.

Der "Papst emeritus" fördert die Spaltung seiner Kirche


April 12, 2019

Von Tilmann Kleinjung

[The "pope emeritus" promotes the division of his church]

Der Aufsatz von Benedikt XVI. zur aktuellen Kirchen- und Missbrauchskrise klingt wie ein Echo längst vergangener Zeiten, kommentiert Tilmann Kleinjung. Der Text des emeritierten Kirchenoberhaupts sei eine Kampfschrift gegen Papst Franziskus.

Nach dem Anti-Missbrauchsgipfel im Februar in Rom sind wir Berichterstatter hart mit Papst Franziskus ins Gericht gegangen. Weil die konkreten Ergebnisse dieses Bischofstreffens eher mager waren, weil sich die katholische Kirche nach wie vor schwer tut mit einer radikalen Null-Toleranz-Politik gegenüber Tätern und Vertuschern, weil irgendwie alles zu langsam geht bei der Aufarbeitung dieses monströsen Skandals.

Die Gesellschaft ist nicht schuld an der Missbrauchskrise!


April 11, 2019

Von Magnus Striet

[The society is not to blame for the abuse crisis!]

Benedikt XVI. macht die "Abwesenheit Gottes" in der Gesellschaft für den Missbrauchsskandal in der Kirche mitverantwortlich. Der Fundamentaltheologe Magnus Striet findet das absurd. In seinen Augen sollte sich der emeritierte Papst eher für etwas Anderes stark machen.

Für eine Überraschung ist er immer wieder gut, seither er vom Papstamt zurücktrat und ankündigte, künftig im Gebet zu verweilen und ansonsten schweigen zu wollen. Nun hat Benedikt XVI. sich zum Missbrauchsskandal geäußert, und führt das gesellschaftliche "Ausmaß" der Pädophilie auf die "Abwesenheit Gottes" zurück. Daraus muss man wohl schließen, dass Missbrauchstäter im Klerus sich im Gefolge der 68er-Bewegung haben verweltlichen lassen. So erinnert sich Benedikt XVI. an "Sexkoffer", die die österreichische Regierung habe austeilen lassen. Diesen Begriff habe ich bei ihm noch nicht gelesen. Inhaltlich Neues auch nicht.

Police: Minneapolis sex trafficking sting during Final Four ensnares 58, rescues 28

Yahoo Sports

April 11, 2019

By Jason Owens

A sting in the Twin Cities during the Final Four in Minneapolis resulted in the arrest of 58 people while rescuing 28 victims of sex trafficking, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced that 47 people were arrested on probable cause of felony solicitation of a minor or solicitation of prostitution under 16 years of age, and 11 people were booked on probable cause for sex trafficking and promotion of prostitution.

The sting took place from April 4-8.

France sees upsurge in 'debaptism' demand as Lyon abuse scandal festers

The Tablet

April 14, 2019

By Tom Heneghan

Demand in France for “debaptism” is rising as Catholics ask to be struck from Church records in protest against the festering sexual abuse scandal in Lyon.

The Church says baptism cannot be undone and keeps no central record of these departures, but scattered reports from several dioceses show an upsurge. Parishes often simply note in their registers that the person asked to be removed.

About 1,000 French Catholics are estimated to ask for “debaptism” every year, with totals jumping at times of crisis. The latest spike is linked to Lyon, where Cardinal Philippe Barbarin received a suspended sentence last month of covering up for a predator priest but remains in office because Pope Francis refused his resignation letter.

Media inquiries in some of France’s 93 dioceses reported Lyon received about two requests a day last month, which was 10 times the normal rate, while the 15 received in Paris were four times as many as normal.

Reims saw requests jump to 17 in 2018 and already 21 this year. In Soissons, north of Paris, the diocese has 11 requests already compared to 15 for all of last year. Coutances-Avranches in Normandy already had 25 requests by early April after 30 for 2018.

“The two reasons cited are mostly related to paedophile crimes in the Church and, for some, lingering issues linked to the legalisation of same-sex marriage,” Fr Thierry Anquetil, vicar general in the Normandy diocese, told local television. Strong Church opposition to same-sex marriage in 2013 alienated many Catholics.

Advocates for sex abuse victims seeking explanation from Bishop Malone

WIVB News 4

April 15, 2019

On Palm Sunday to kick off Holy Week, including Bishop Richard Malone, who was presiding over the service at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.

But not everyone at the church came to worship; A group standing outside was hoping Malone would hear their plea.

Dr. Robert Hoatson is a former priest for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He founded "Road to Recovery," which has helped more than 5,000 survivors of sexual abuse. Most of them are clergy victims.

Hoatson is in Buffalo waiting on an explanation from Bishop Malone following recent reports of even more clergymen involved in the church's sex abuse crisis.

"Bishop Malone told us there were approximately 42 priests who had credible allegations of sexual abuse against them. Well, we know know that that number is well over 100," Hoatson said.

The Diocese released a statement, saying it "disclosed the complete scope of the crisis."

Archbishop insists his legal actions don’t ‘gag’ free press


April 15, 2019

By Elise Harris

In response to criticisms in recent days that his two criminal complaints against investigative journalists is an assault on the free expression of the press, Peruvian Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi has said that while free press is important, it is not an absolute value.

“It is falsely stated that the complaint made by [Eguren Anselmi] is a threat to the freedom of expression,” reads an April 14 statement from the Archdiocese of Piura, which Eguren Anselmi oversees.

“Freedom of expression, although it is a great value to promote in our democratic society, is not an absolute value and it has limits: Respect for the honor and good name of people,” the statement said, adding that in this sense, the recent guilty verdict and sentencing of journalist Pedro Salinas “does not constitute a gag of freedom of expression.”

Salinas, who has been battling criminal charges of aggravated defamation by Eguren Anselmi since last summer, lost his legal fight on April 8 and was sentenced to a 1-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of $24,000.

Salinas and fellow journalist Paola Ugaz, also charged with criminal defamation by Eguren Anselmi, co-authored the 2015 book Half Monks, Half Soldiers, detailing years of sexual, psychological and physical abuse inside the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), a prestigious Catholic order born in Peru and whose founder, layman Luis Fernando Figari, was prohibited by the Vatican in 2017 of having further contact with members of the group after being accused of physical, psychological and sexual abuses inside the community.

Eguren Anselmi’s complaint against Salinas was made in relation to a series of articles and interviews he published in early 2018 comparing Eguren Anselmi, who is a member of the SCV, to Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, who resigned from his post in the diocese of Osorno after facing accusations that he helped cover up the abuse of his longtime friend and Chile’s most notorious abuser, ex-priest Fernando Karadima.

Brazil bishops issue handbook on dealing with clergy sex abuse


April 15, 2019

By Eduardo Campos Lima

After securing approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Brazilian Conference of National Bishops (BCNB), responsible for the single largest Catholic country in the world, has adopted a new handbook containing measures dioceses must take to deal with sex abuse cases.

Published in March, the document is part of a broad effort by the Brazilian Church to deal with the growing social concerns over the sexual abuse of minors.

According to the BCNB, the first version of the text - which is titled The Pastoral Care of the Victims of Sexual Abuse - had been sent to the Vatican in 2012. In the end of 2018, after several changes were made, the document was finally approved.

Future modifications may be applied, depending on possible new canonical and civil legislation.

“The Brazilian Conference of National Bishops, with this document, reaffirms its unconditional adherence to a zero-tolerance stance regarding cases of sexual abuse of minors, according to what Pope Francis has affirmed: ‘There is no place in the Church’s ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not,’” says the document in its introductory chapter.

Although the title refers to the victims, most of the text offers recommendations for dealing with a priest - or other person working with the Church - who has been accused of abusing a child.

Buffalo priest who advised U.S. presidents about youth was alleged child molester

Buffalo News

April 15, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

In the 1950s and '60s, he was arguably Buffalo's most renowned Catholic priest, writing books on youth and their concerns and regularly traveling the country and abroad to speak at youth conferences. The president of Italy even awarded Schieder a "Star of Solidarity," one of that nation's highest honors for noncitizens.

But behind his accomplishments, Schieder hid a dark secret.

The secret wasn’t revealed until 2018 – more than two decades after Schieder’s death at age 87 – when his name was included on a Buffalo Diocese list of priests with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against them.

The Buffalo News has learned at least five men have complained to the diocese that Schieder abused them when they were minors, and the alleged abuses spanned several decades.

One of the complainants recently accepted a $340,000 settlement offer through a diocese program to compensate victims, according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who said his client was between 11 and 13 when Schieder allegedly abused him more than 100 times between 1960 and 1964.

Another complainant accused Schieder in a Fort Lauderdale police report of sexually abusing him, starting in 1987. The same man who went to Fort Lauderdale police filed a pro se lawsuit in 1993 against Schieder in federal court in Florida. Police didn’t charge Schieder, and the federal court case was dismissed. When the man notified the Buffalo Diocese in 2002, then-Bishop Henry J. Mansell wrote a letter back stating that the diocese had received no other complaints about Schieder.

'Prey': A documentary by Windsor director shines a light on sexual abuse by priests

CBC News

April 15, 2019

Director Matt Gallagher says it was an 'emotional' experience taking on this documentary. (CBC)
It's a documentary that Windsorite director Matt Gallagher has been aspiring to create for about 15 years — and now, his film Prey about sexual abuse by Catholic priests will premiere at Hot Docs, Canada's largest documentary film festival later this month.

The film focuses on one perpetrator in particular, Father William Hodgson "Hod" Marshall, a retired priest and teacher, who several years ago pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 16 boys and one girl at schools in Toronto, Sudbury and Windsor.

Featured in the film is Windsorite Patrick McMahon who, as a boy, fell victim to Marshall.

McMahon has been using his voice to speak out and protest in an effort to hold those within the church accountable.

"It's something I feel passionately about....I will continue to speak out until people who cover this up are brought to justice," he said.

He stressed he hopes the documentary will help make people aware these are not just crimes of the past.

"There are priests today who are still doing this. There are priests being investigated now. There are enablers covering this up," he said.

"We all together have an obligation to make that stop."

McMahon has been represented by Rob Talach, a lawyer based in London, Ont. — known as "the priest hunter" — and he too is a prominent figure in the film.

How a sexual assault victim's lawsuit set a precedent that alarmed the Catholic Church
Gallagher reached out to Talach in an effort to focus the documentary on a case that was unfolding in the present, and so they were able to identify one of Talach's clients who was taking his case to trial, and that's where the documentary begins.

'White knight work'
Having tackled more than 400 cases in his career so far, Talach says after 17 years of representing individuals who have been abused by Roman Catholic clergy, he's become a "six foot tall callus" emotionally.

April 14, 2019

SNAP responds to Franciscan's release of five priests accused of sexual misconduct


April 15, 2019

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has responded to Franciscan University releasing a list of names of five priests accused of sexual misconduct.

According to SNAP Midwest Regional Leader, "14 potential cases of unwelcome sexual contact against students by clergy were found."

"Yet the names of only five offenders were belatedly released to the public. What gives?," questioned Jones.

SNAP responded, saying, "It’s possible these five wrongdoers committed all of the 14 of the instances of ‘unwelcome sexual contact. That seems unlikely. It’s possible that the school knows, but is still hiding the names of more offenders."

"University officials must clear this up immediately. And they must disclose the names of all who committed or concealed crimes or harassment, whether ordained or not, whether still on the school’s payroll or not," Jones added.

The organization went on, saying, "The report claims there were no instances found after 2013, which we find hard to believe. If true, that’s likely because victims of sexual violence and harassment usually take years to understand, acknowledge and act on their suffering. No one should assume that this centuries-old abusive behavior has somehow magically been ended in one year."

Who is Wilton Gregory, Pope Francis’s pick to be Washington’s next archbishop?

Washington Post

April 14, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

When the first Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis erupted in the early 2000s, Wilton Gregory led hundreds of defensive and divided bishops in passing the most aggressive action on abuse in U.S. church history.

But Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke remembers something else about Gregory, who was selected this month by Pope Francis to head the prestigious D.C. archdiocese.

As one of the laypeople Gregory appointed to serve on an advisory board to the bishops, Burke was struck by an inquiry he made to her one night when they found themselves alone after a meeting. He wanted to know how she’d been able to visit Vatican officials for her research on abuse.

She’d Googled “Vatican,” she told him, selected several offices she thought were related to the abuse issue, then faxed letters asking to visit.

“His face was ashen. ‘You what?’ ” she recalls him saying. At 55, that was, she believed, Gregory’s first experience with lay­people who went outside the chain of command.

His shock at her ability to get around protocol startled her, she said, and told her something important — that it was nearly impossible for Gregory to see things from an outside-the-church perspective. “His whole life has been devoted to this institution that’s a bureaucracy — to the point where he doesn’t know how infiltrated he is in that fabric.”

That tendency not to push the boundaries too far was on display in his role at the time as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which he presided over the groundbreaking zero-tolerance policy enacted in what was called the Dallas Charter. The bishops decided to include only priests in the oversight efforts, after considering and then rejecting even an attempt to include any accountability for themselves — an omission that is now a target of criticism.

EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Colleen Marshall's one-on-one with Columbus' new Catholic bishop


April 14, 2019

Christians around the world are observing Palm Sunday today. The day marks the beginning of the holiest week of the year.

For the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, it is also a time of new beginnings. Bishop Robert Brennan came to central Ohio after spending his entire life in Long Island, New York. Right now, he is getting to know his flock and they are getting to know him.

When Bishop Brennan introduced himself to parishioners at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Center, he did so in Spanish and to a warm reception. Brennan is easy to like and he is committed to connecting to the 2.5 million Catholics in the 23 central and southern Ohio counties in his diocese.

“What a rich variety of parish experiences — here in the city, in the suburbs around us, I was down over the weekend in Portsmouth and the southern part of the diocese along the Ohio River and some of our agricultural areas,” Brennan said. “It’s been just a really rich experience.”

Brennan is on the road frequently, traveling to parishes for confirmation, the sacrament that initiates young people into the Church. He is doing so at a time when membership is dwindling, especially among the younger generations.

“It is true for young people, I say this a lot at confirmations, that young people sometimes you sort of feel isolated, but when we are together, we fell a strength and vibrancy in our faith,” Brennan said. “I would like to build upon it. I think we do have some very, very fine young people.”

The young people in central Ohio have so far surprised Brennan however. He said they are showing a commitment to the Church he did not expect.

"Young people are talking about it. I know that is not going to translate into huge numbers, but it is going to make a difference. And I have to say I am a little bit impressed with the ones who step forward, you know the culture is a little tougher, and to me the ones who step forward are heroic," said Brennan.

One of the challenges Brennan is facing is the inescapable child abuse scandal involving priests. The scandal has many Catholics questioning their church, if not their entire faith.

Palm Sunday Protest: The plea group has for Bishop Malone


April 14, 2019

By Kelsey Anderson

Today is the start of Holy Week, commemorating Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and many headed to Palm Sunday Mass this morning. Buffalo Catholic Diocese Bishop Richard Malone was presiding over the service at St. Joseph Cathedral, in Buffalo, and started the morning by blessing the palms. But not everyone there came to worship. A group outside the church was there to get their pleas to Malone heard.

"We're here today to demand that he come 100 percent clean about all that he knows," Dr. Robert Hoatson said.

Dr. Robert Hoatson is a former priest for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He founded Road to Recovery, which has helped more than 5,000 survivors of sexual abuse, many clergy victims. He's in Buffalo wanting an explanation from Bishop Malone after recent reports of even more clergymen involved in the church's sex abuse crisis.

"I want folks of Buffalo to go back to February of 2018, when Michael Whalen went public and created a tsunami of cases of sexual abuse by clergy," he said. "At that time, Bishop Malone told us there were approximately 42 priests who had credible allegations of sexual abuse against them. Well we know know that that number is well over 100, and more recently 25 new names... at least."

Still not on any list released by the Buffalo Diocese is the priest James Faluszczak claims abused him.

"I can't even begin to tell you the fear that I still have... the anxiety that i still have," Faluszczak said. "And even if I've got the presence of mind to talk to you folks, once I go home, the rest of the day I'm pretty miserable. "

Faluszczak came forward, publicly, on St. Patrick's Day of last year. He said in the past year he hasn't seen much change in the church, and Malone.

Some blunt Leon Podles comments on Benedict XVI's statement on sex-abuse crisis

Get Religion

April 14, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

It isn’t everyday that you get to point readers toward a think piece written by a pope, even if we are talking about a retired pope, in this case.

It also helps that retired Pope Benedict XVI wrote about the hottest of hot-button topics in Catholic life — the ongoing scandal of Catholic priests sexually abusing children, with the vast majority of the victims being teen-aged males. That has created all kinds of hot topics to debate or to attempt to avoid debating.

Reactions to the letter have been predictable, to say the least, renewing discussions of the church of Pope Francis and the church of Pope Benedict XVI. The same has been true in the press, with this New York Times story being so predictable that, at times, it verges on self-parody. This Washington Post story hows evidence that reporters tried to gather cheers and boos that were linked to the crucial passages in the retired pope’s text. Here’s the Post overture:

ROME — Breaking years of silence on major church affairs, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written a lengthy letter devoted to clerical sex abuse in which he attributes the crisis to a breakdown of church and societal moral teaching and says he felt compelled to assist “in this difficult hour.”

The 6,000-word letter, written for a small German Catholic publication and published in translation by other outlets Thursday, laments the secularization of the West, decries the 1960s sexual revolution and describes seminaries that became filled during that period with “homosexual cliques.”

It helps, of course, to read the actual text of “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse.” Click here for an English translation, care of Catholic News Agency.

The key is that Benedict — returning to a theme voiced throughout his long public life — warns believers that they are living in an age in which the basics of Christian faith are under attack (even in seminaries). Thus, Christians in a smaller, embattled, church must be prepared to get back to the basics of doctrine and sacraments. Just going to Mass will not be enough. Note this passage:

Faith is a journey and a way of life. In the old Church, the catechumenate was created as a habitat against an increasingly demoralized culture, in which the distinctive and fresh aspects of the Christian way of life were practiced and at the same time protected from the common way of life. I think that even today something like catechumenal communities are necessary so that Christian life can assert itself in its own way.

Oh my, that’s a quotation that could be featured on the next edition of “The Benedict Option,” by my friend Rod Dreher.

Like I said earlier, it’s easy to find cheers and boos for this remarkable intervention by Benedict in the church’s current discussions of topics such as clergy sexual abuse, seminary life, worship, homosexuality and life in post-Christian cultures.

In this think-piece slot, I would like to point readers to a critique of the former pope’s articles by a Catholic conservative — but one whose work on the sexual-abuse crisis has made insiders on the right nervous, as well as the left. I am talking about Leon Podles, author of the blistering, brutal, relentlessly researched book, “Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.” He often cooperated, in his research, with the late Richard Sipe — an important voice on the Catholic left.

In his online look at the Benedict article, Podles opens with this summary, which includes an important correction:

In retirement Pope Benedict has written an article for a Bavarian journal for priests on the causes of the sexual abuse crisis. I largely agree, and the article is not an exhaustive catalogue, but there are still some serious omissions. The causes that Benedict identifies are:

'No way he would do this’

Forum News Service

April 13, 2019

By April Baumgarten

When the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga didn’t show up April 7 for Mass at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Zeeland, parishioners thought he was sick.

Then a statement was read to the congregation, explaining that Katanga was under investigation for alleged misconduct involving a child when he was a priest at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo.

Hearing the news during Mass that day was heartbreaking, said Vivian Schaffner, who has been a member of the Zeeland church for more than 40 years. People in attendance cried, she said, adding that they couldn’t believe the news.

“There is no way he would do this,” she said. “When you see him with our kids, he is not like that. He looks at a kid as a gift from God.”

Not including Katanga, eight clergymen connected to the Fargo Diocese are known to have been accused of sexual misconduct, according to Bishop Accountability, a group that tracks abuse cases involving clergy.

The probe into the allegations against Katanga is still in its early stages, said Fargo police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker. There is no timeline for when the case could be forwarded to the Cass County State's Attorney's Office for review. Criminal charges had not been filed as of Friday.

“After consulting with our investigations division, we are releasing minimal information regarding an allegation of misconduct involving Father Katanga from several years ago since this case is still under investigation,” Schindeldecker said.

It’s unclear whether the child was a member of Sts. Anne and Joachim Church. Police did not divulge when the alleged misconduct occurred, when it was reported or who reported it. Schindeldecker also declined to say whether the allegations were sexual in nature.

Fargo Diocese Bishop John Folda said in a statement that his administration is taking the allegations very seriously.

Victim hopes conviction of Perrault leads to healing

Albuquerque Journal

April 14, 2019

By Colleen Heild

Elaine Montoya was a teenager when she thought she loved the parish priest, the now-convicted child molester Arthur Perrault.

It took years for her realize she was sexually abused, and to discover that her older brother also had been molested.

As young adults living in Denver, the brother and sister decided in 1984 to travel to Albuquerque to try to put a stop to Perrault’s access to kids. But first they had to tell their parents, including their mother, a devout Catholic and former nun.

“Unlike some of the other victims, our parents didn’t question our claim. Instead, they said if we told the archbishop, they never wanted to see us again. Needless to say, that hurt. We left our parents and the home we grew up in – and stayed at a hotel.”

The Montoya siblings, who got nowhere with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, were among the first of Perrault’s alleged victims to go public in October 1992 after they filed a civil lawsuit.

That same month, Perrault skipped town, putting himself a continent away from the mounting child sexual assault allegations against him by settling in north Africa. He taught at an American language school in Tangier, Morocco, where the FBI arrested him last September to face federal sexual assault charges in New Mexico.

Montoya, 59, was in the audience when a jury in U.S. District Court in Santa Fe convicted Perrault last week of the repeated sexual abuse of an altar boy who was befriended by the charismatic priest nearly 20 years after the Montoya siblings.

The unusual federal prosecution hinged on the testimony of a home-schooled boy named Ken Wolter who served daily Mass at St. Bernadette Parish in the early 1990s.

Wolter, now 38, testified that as a boy he was sad when Perrault, whom he considered his “best friend,” abruptly resigned from St. Bernadette to go on “sabbatical” in October 1992.

Priest who investigates sex abuse claims will help lead Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

Charlotte Observer

April 13, 2019

By Joe Marusak

A priest who helps investigate claims of sexual abuse and misconduct by fellow clergy has been named second in command of the 46-county Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, Bishop Peter Jugis announced on the diocesan website Friday.

Father Patrick Winslow, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte, replaces Monsignor Mauricio West, who resigned March 25 after a “credible allegation” of sexual misconduct, the diocese’s newspaper reported.

West has denied the allegation, which involved a former adult student of Belmont Abbey College, the diocesan newspaper previously reported.

West stepped down as the diocese’s longtime vicar general and chancellor after the diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegation of sexual misconduct credible, according to the Catholic News Herald.

Winslow joined the Charlotte diocese in 2002 from the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., the newspaper reported in an article on the Charlotte diocese’s website Friday.

Juicy reminders of ‘be careful what you wish for, for you will surely get it’


Apr 14, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

ROME - Catholic life is almost always chock full of illustrations of the old wisdom, “Be careful what you wish for, for you will surely get it.” Even so, the last week gave us a couple of especially juicy cases in point.

One of those object lessons came in Peru, the other in Rome.

In Peru, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura prevailed in his battle against journalist Pedro Salinas, seeing a local court convict Salinas of defamation and sentence him to a one-year suspended jail term and a fine of $24,000.

RELATED: Peruvian journalist accused by archbishop of defamation found guilty

Eguren had filed defamation charges after Salinas, known for his reporting on abuse scandals involving Peru’s controversial movement Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), accused Eguren of covering up for the group (the archbishop himself is a member) and compared him to a bishop in Chile linked to abuse scandals there.

The thing is, however, Eguren’s win may well turn out to be the most Pyrrhic victory since King Pyrrhus himself won the battle but lost the war against the Romans in the third century BCE.

After the sentence against Salinas was announced, the bishops’ conference in Peru released an extraordinary statement essentially cutting Eguren loose and praising journalists who uncover abuse scandals. Moreover, the conference more or less said Pope Francis is on Salinas’s side.

“The Holy Father has praised and thanked the world of journalists who, through their investigations, contribute to denouncing abuses, punishing the perpetrators and assisting victims. The pope underlined that the Church needs their help in the difficult task of fighting against this evil,” the conference said in an April 10 statement.

He prosecuted sex abuse at N.J.’s women’s prison. Now he’s working for the Catholic Church.

Star Ledger

April 14, 2019

By S.P. Sullivan

Anthony Kearns spent nine years as the top law enforcement official in Hunterdon County, a place that has for several years seen the lowest overall crime rate in the state.

But the problems that plague society do not abide county lines, Kearns says.

“Anything that happens anywhere else can happen here, and we have to be ready for it and have the skillset to address it,” he said.

Murders and suspicious deaths require expert investigations. The opioid crisis is increasing taking lives in every corner of the state.

And then there’s New Jersey’s only women’s prison, which sits on a rolling swath of land in Clinton and Union Townships. Over the last three years, Kearns’ office has been investigating claims of sexual abuse of inmates by staff at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.

The inquiry has led to criminal charges against eight staff members. Five were convicted and one acquitted so far. The other two await trials.

Kearns, who stepped down from his post on Friday, told NJ Advance Media he considers the ongoing investigation into sex abuse at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women “unfinished business.”

Transparency on sex abuse requires more than just clerics


April 11, 2019

By Vincent DeGeorge

While Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori and the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (DWC) invoke “transparency” and “accountability” regularly regarding clerical sex abuse, they struggle to put these concepts into action.

Disconnects between Lori and DWC higher-ups versus our secular authorities and West Virginia Catholics seem almost insurmountable, as Catholic leaders continue evading actual transparency, accountability and too many significant questions.

In October, Lori and the local diocese invoked transparency when releasing a list of West Virginia Catholic clergy accused of abuse that omits former diocese bishop Michael J. Bransfield, even as we hear his name and detailed abuse allegations in lawsuits from our attorney general and former seminarians.

What’s more, they continue to keep hidden the now-completed report of Archbishop Lori’s investigation into Bransfield, despite calls to release it. Both the attorney general and the diocese’s current highest-ranking official, their day-to-day administrator, layman Bryan Minor, have called for its release. “Yes, my recommendation will be, that I will speak up and ask that that [report] be released ... And if it doesn’t come out, call me,” Minor said in a meeting in Bridgeport in December. Transparency requires this report be released.

As the Catholic Church repeatedly shows it cannot police itself, actions like that from the attorney general continue to prove necessary. In response to Attorney General Patrick Morrissey’s lawsuit, the diocese referred to the 2002 Dallas Charter policy protecting children, which Lori helped draft. They did not mention, however, that neither Bransfield, nor Archbishop Lori, nor any other bishop is bound to that policy document. Lori explained the exemption of bishops saying that the committee, “would limit it to priests and deacons, as the disciplining of bishops is beyond the purview of this document.” And this is the problem.

April 13, 2019

How Pope Francis became a hate figure for the far right

Open Democracy

April 13, 2019

Leigh Baldwin, Marcus Lerous, Claudia Torrisi And Stefano Vergine

In April 2016, at a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a grinning Matteo Salvini – now deputy prime minister of Italy, and the leader of its far-right Lega party – photobombed another then-rising star of the populist right, Donald Trump.

For the social media-savvy Salvini, it was a brilliant piece of publicity. It also caught the eye of Steve Bannon. Within 48 hours, the Italian politician was in Washington DC, meeting with the head of the attack-dog Breitbart news network who soon took over Trump’s campaign.

Both Bannon and Salvini are now at the helm of grand plans to unite the right across Europe ahead of the European Parliament’s elections next month. Much of the conversation they had in 2016, before either had tasted triumph at the polls, remains a mystery.

But a senior Lega party insider with knowledge of the events that day, who spoke to investigative journalists at SourceMaterial on condition of anonymity, said that Salvini emerged from his meeting with Bannon with a key piece of advice: attack the pope.

Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting five kids

Hot Tomato Publishing

April 13, 2019

By Jaydan Duck

A CATHOLIC priest has been arrested and charged with nine historical child sex offences in New South Wales.

The 77-year-old man is accused of indecently assaulting five children aged between 12 and 15 at a boarding school at Burradoo, in the state’s Southern Highlands between 1982 and 1988.

The priest was also a dormitory manager, a rugby coach and a band teacher at the college at the time

Detectives were first made aware of the allegations in July last year and, following extensive investigations, arrested the 77-year-old man at a home in the Sydney suburb of Kensington on Friday morning.

The man has since been charged with nine offences including six counts of sexual assault – assault and act of indecency with a person aged under 16 and two counts of gross indecency by a male with a male aged under 18.

He was granted strict conditional bail and due to appear before Waverley Local Court on Wednesday, May 22.

The NSW Police Force encourage anyone who has been victim to, or have information about incidents of child abuse to come forward, and are reminded all information provided is treated with the strictest of confidence.

33 priests, four deacons accused of sex abuse in Catholic Diocese of Lafayette

Associated Press

April 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic diocese in Louisiana where the first widely reported case of U.S. clergy sex abuse became public in the 1980s has released a list of 33 priests and four deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor or vulnerable adult. Lafayette Bishop Douglas Deshotels’ list identifies three priests who were convicted or pleaded guilty but does not indicate where any of the 37 was accused, let alone give details of the accusations.

Released Friday (April 12), the list gives each man’s birth and ordination year, assignments and his status, such as whether he was removed from the clergy, resigned or both. Three were removed last year.

Unlike bishops in some other dioceses, Deshotels did not release the names of people who were in affiliated religious orders and were accused while working in his diocese. He wrote in a pastoral letter that any such disclosures are up to the orders.

Peru journo wins appeal to have case moved out of archbishop’s city


April 13, 2019

By Elise Harris

Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz has won a second appeal to transfer a legal defamation case related to her reporting on sex abuse scandals from the Peruvian city of Piura to Lima, after the Archbishop of Piura filed charges against her last year.

Ugaz’s victory comes days after her colleague Pedro Salinas, who was also facing criminal aggravated defamation charges by Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi, lost his legal battle and was sentenced to a 1-year suspended prison term and a fine of close to $24,000. Like Ugaz, Salinas had sought to transfer his case from Piura to Lima, but his request and subsequent appeals were rejected.

Both argued it would be impossible to get a fair trial in the same city where the complaining archbishop serves, and where the deck is arguably stacked in his favor.

Salinas and Ugaz co-authored the 2015 bombshell book Half Monks, Half Soldiers exposing years of sexual, psychological and physical abuse inside the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), a prominent Catholic lay group born in Peru whose founder, layman Luis Fernando Figari, was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2017 and forbidden to contact members of the group.

Both Salinas and Ugaz in 2018 were served with criminal charges of aggravated defamation by Eguren Anselmi, who is a member of the SCV, for articles, interviews and tweets they had put out alleging that he had been aware of Figari’s abuses but did nothing; that he himself had perpetrated physical and psychological abuse; and that he was linked to a land trafficking scandal in Piura.

Is Pope Francis being upstaged by his opinionated predecessor?

Los Angeles Times

April 13, 2019

By Michaael McGough

In 2005, as the College of Cardinals was preparing to elect a successor to the recently deceased Pope John Paul II, I wrote a column titled “Should the Papacy be Downsized?”

It was inspired by an intriguing book written by John R. Quinn, a retired archbishop of San Francisco. In “The Reform of the Papacy,” Quinn had proposed a lower-profile papal office and a more collegial relationship between the pope and bishops around the world.

I wrote in the column that “a re-imagined papacy also would not have to be a lifetime office, sparing John Paul's successors the anguish he experienced in recent years, which, however edifying, is not an ordeal imposed on other aged bishops.”

The pope elected in 2005, Benedict XVI, did in fact resign in 2013, the first pope do so in almost 600 years. But Benedict, now called the “pope emeritus,” hasn’t abided by any vow of silence in his retirement.

That was clear this week when Benedict published an eyebrow-raising essay about the church’s sexual abuse crisis, the subject of a recent meeting of bishops and other church leaders convened by Pope Francis. NPR reported accurately that Benedict’s analysis of the crisis “differs significantly from that of his successor.”

St. Bonaventure, Archbishop Walsh say they don’t know anything about dead priests’ abuse allegations

Olean Times Herald

April 11, 2019

By Tom Dinki

St. Bonaventure University and Archbishop Walsh Academy officials said Thursday they’re in the dark just like the public when it comes to abuse allegations against two now-deceased friars who once held high-level positions at their institutions.

The Rev. Gervase White — a prominent St. Bonaventure University friar who died in 2002 — and the Rev. James Cairnan Haggerty —a principal of then-Archbishop Walsh High School who died in 1991 — are among more than accused 20 priests whose names were never released by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, according to a report by WKBW Wednesday evening.

Franciscan University names five priests accused of sexual misconduct


April 12, 2019

By Paul Giannamore

Franciscan University of Steubenville has released the names of five priests accused credibly of unwanted sexual advances. The release came as part of a report by an independent consultant hired to review university records amid the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal.

The review of university records from the late 1960s to the present was done by the Husch Blackwell Legal Firm. It found 14 potential cases of unwelcome sexual contact against students by clergy, all reported no later than 2013.

The report found no instances after 2013, when the university undertook reforms and reporting procedures.

The names of five priests with at least one substantiated claim were released.

They include:

Franciscan Friar Sam Tiesi, who died in 2001; Friar John McGuire, formerly Father Conrad McGuire, who lost his clerical state in 1988; and Friar Simeon Daniel Mulkern, who died in 2016.

Additionally, John Bertolucci, a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York, who died in 2015 and Vincent Inghilterra, a Trenton, New Jersey priest who was removed from ministry in 2013, were listed. Bertolucci and Inghilterra both were named as having substantiated allegations against them in their dioceses or other institutions, not while at the university.

The university said the disclosure is not a finding of guilt or civil liability, nor are there clerics with substantiated reports of unwelcome sexual contact currently ministering or working at Franciscan.

The Lists: Differences between KATC’s list and the Diocese list


April 12, 2019

Today, 15 years after acknowledging it exists and more than five months after promising its release, the Lafayette Diocese released a list of priests and deacons the church admits have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Diocese list was limited to abuse of children or vulnerable adults. To read the church’s exact criteria in placing someone on the list, click here.

In January, KATC released a list of accused priests who had served in the Diocese of Lafayette. Our producers and reporters scoured thousands of pages of documents – all public records – to find support for these accusations in the form of criminal charges, civil suit settlements, diocese statements, and court case evidence. Some of those records are recent, some decades old.

We’ve compared the list released by the Diocese and “The List” created by KATC and found the following differences, as well as probable explanations for the differences.

List of priests and deacons on the Diocese list and not on KATC’s list:

Michael Benedict: The Diocese’s list indicate he was allowed to retire and never removed from ministry. KATC found no mention of Benedict in public records of civil or criminal cases.
David Anderson Coupar: KATC found no mention of Coupar in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Herbert de Launay: KATC found no mention of de Launey in public records of civil or criminal cases.
John deLeeuw: The Diocese’s list indicates he was allowed to retire. KATC was contacted by a victim about this priest, but we found no mention of deLeeuw in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Michael DesJardins: KATC found no mention of DesJardins in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Keith Anthony Potier: KATC found no mention of Potier in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Richard Rieboldt: KATC received calls from victims about this priest, but was unable to find any mention of him in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Jean Toussaint: KATC found no mention of Toussaint in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Adrian Van Hal: KATC found no mention of Van Hal in public records of civil or criminal cases.
Cornelius Van Merrianboer: KATC found no mention of Van Merrianboer in public records of civil or criminal cases.

Lafayette accused clergy: Details the diocese didn't report

Acadiana Advocate

April 12, 2019

The Diocese of Lafayette on Friday released limited information on priests against whom credible accusations have been made regarding sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. This information includes: the year they were born; the year they were ordained; church assignments; and current status. They did not include any accusations or when or where the credible accusations occurred.

However, through previous reporting, research and other media reports, The Advocate has added details to many of the named clergy. We will continue to update this list as more details become available.

See names, more about 38 Lafayette-area clergy member's on diocese's official sex abuse list

Acadiana Advocate

April 12, 2019

The Lafayette Diocese on Friday released the names of 38 clergy members who have been credibly accused of child abuse.

The diocese release follows similar ones from four other Louisiana dioceses, including the Diocese of Baton Rouge and the Archdiocese of New Orleans, prompted by new pressure on church officials to disclose the identities of all offenders.

The Lafayette Diocese disclosure is particularly remarkable, as it is often considered “ground zero” for the decades-long Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, since it was the home of the first widely known abuser, Gilbert Gauthe, in the 1980s.

The list below, in alphabetical order, includes biographical information provided by the diocese or found in media reports, court documents and interviews.

Joseph Alexander

Age: Born 1933

Position: Priest

Served: St. Anthony of Padua, Eunice; Our Lady of Wisdom, Lafayette; Holy Rosary Institute; Lafayette; St. Thomas More High School, Lafayette; St. Mary Priory, Union, Kentucky.

Ordained: 1973

Estimated time of abuse: 1963 in Kentucky

Removed from ministry: Removed in 2002

Details: Acknowledged in 2002 that, when a Benedictine Brother in Owensboro, Kentucky, he molested a boy.

Jules Arceneaux

Age: Born in 1953

Position: Priest

Served: Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Church Point; St. Thomas More, Eunice; St. Joseph, Rayne; St. Francis Regis and St. Catherine, Arnaudville.

Ordained: 1990

Estimated time of abuse:

Allegation received: 2004

Removed from ministry: Removed in 2004

Details: Acting on a tip, federal agents in July 2004 raided the rectory at St. Francis Regis in Arnaudville and found what appeared to be child porn on his computer. The charges were dropped because of uncertainty those pictured were children.

April 12, 2019

Questions from survivors group after Diocese releases names

Tri-State Home Page

April 12, 3019

By Amanda Mueller

The Diocese of Owensboro released names of priests on Friday with credible sexual abuse allegations.

Bishop William Medley made a statement and took questions around 2 P.M.

There were 15 names on that list.

One name not among them : Father Joseph Edward Bradley.

He was suspended last month from Owensboro Catholic High School after allegations of sexual abuse.

"There is no question that people have lost faith over this. I hope this is a step toward restoring that," Medley said during the conference,

15 priests have what the Diocese calls a "substantiated allegation" of sexual abuse against them.

"For all the times when Church leaders failed to live out Christ's call to holiness and did not do what was needed to keep you and all children safe, I am sorry," Bishop Medley read from a statement.

Only six of the priests on the list are still alive. They have all been removed from public ministry. A leader with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, in Kentucky says that is not enough.

"Do they report in weekly? Monthly? Are they assigned someone to keep track of their travels? What is the follow-up?" said SNAP Louisville leader Cal Pfeiffer.

Inclusion on the list does not mean that the priest has been found guilty of a crime.

"When we receive an allegation, we report that to authorities. Sometimes we pursue that, sometimes they will not," Medley explained.

The announcement was made ahead of the holiest week of the year for the Catholic Church.

"I found it appropriate to do it during the season of Lent, but frankly, we did it as soon as the committe that was reviewing these files completed their work," said Medley.

Pfeiffer questions the timing.

Anger and confusion over concealed list of 25 accused priests in the Diocese of Buffalo


Apr 12, 2019

By Charlie Specht and Ed Reilly

Reaction to a 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation that found the Diocese of Buffalo was concealing the names of 25 priests accused of sexual misconduct or abuse is generating some strong reactions from priest abuse victims and the president of Saint Bonaventure University, Dr. Dennis DePerro, who is calling for Bishop Richard Malone to step aside so the diocese can begin to heal and move forward.

The Diocese of Buffalo responded with the following statement:

“Bishop Malone is disappointed and dismayed with the comments of Dr. DePerro. We suspect that Dr. DePerro has not fully studied the carefully developed and well-publicized protocols of the Diocese of Buffalo. For example, the name of Fr. Gervase White, OFM, a beloved member of the St. Bonaventure community, was improperly revealed on television even though the allegation against him does not involve child abuse and cannot be investigated because Fr. Gervase died 17 years ago. Following established protocols, the diocese intentionally did not publicize that allegation. The bishop has received helpful input from others, including the President of Canisius College and other members of the Movement to Restore Trust, on how diocesan procedures might be improved. The bishop would have welcomed and still would accept such input from Dr. DePerro, but to criticize the bishop for following established protocols is unjust.”

Internal church records obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show the scope of abuse is much larger than the public has been led to believe -- even with 121 members of the clergy already accused of sex abuse or misconduct.

Perhaps most shocking: the names and allegations against 25 accused priests – including one recently active in the diocese – are still being shielded from the public.

The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team has spent the last six months using the June 27, 2018 review board agenda -- and other documents -- for verification in our reporting. When it became clear that the diocese had no intention of investigating many of the claims made by victims – because the priests were dead or because the diocese was excluding the victims from its compensation program – we began to investigate the claims on our own.

We were able to reach most of the victims who called to report the abuse and to verify many of the basic details of their stories through assignment histories or other documents . In the cases of deceased priests, we reached out to the diocese or the religious order and gave them the opportunity to describe the nature of the allegation and why they felt the name should or should not be reported to the public.

This is what the I-Team found:

(Note: The diocese declined to say whether any of these cases were substantiated or not substantiated. Spokeswoman Kathy Spangler denied that all cases related to sexual abuse, but would not specify which cases to which she was referring. Click here to read the diocese’s full explanation . Also, 7 Eyewitness News does not identify sex crime victims without their permission, and only identified abuse victims when they wanted to be identified publicly.)

Fr. Carlton (CJ) Westfield - A diocesan document in Bishop Malone's "black binder" of diocesan secrets shows that in 2012, Westfield was discussed by Bishop Malone and members of the diocesan review board.

In May 2012, a secretary at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School in Dunkirk reported that Westfield “was discussing inappropriate topics with the sixth and seventh grade boys in religious education class,” a confidential memo to Bishop Malone stated. The memo also said Westfield “had taken pictures of small groups of the boys and girls” and was giving “private lessons” on Catholicism to a seventh grade boy.

During a meeting with Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, Westfield “admitted discussing...pornography and masturbation with the boys” and admitted taking pictures of the children. Westfield stopped teaching at the school, the memo states , and the diocese “arranged for a forensic review of Father Westfield’s computer by the Diocese computer services office.” Nowhere in the memo does it mention calling the police, and the allegations have never been made public.

Diocese of Buffalo - Fr. Carlton J. Westfield (Text)
Kathy Spangler, a diocesan spokeswoman, said, “Although the 2012 matter regarding Fr. Westfield did not involve an accusation of abuse, it was thoroughly investigated and presented to the Review Board.”

In addition, the diocese reviewed an allegation about Westfield from a man in 2018, a different diocesan document confirms. But diocese spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said in an email, “The person who made the allegation in 2018 initially thought that his abuser might be Fr. Westfield and later, after reviewing information and photographs, withdrew the allegation against him. All the information was presented to the Review Board.”

Ordained in 1971, Westfield was pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish in Falconer and Our Lady of Victory Parish in Frewsburg. He became pastor of St. Anthony Church in Fredonia in 1999. He is retired and is listed as pastor emeritus of St. Anthony in Fredonia. Westfield did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment.

Fr. James Bartnik – Florida man Thomas Bunk told 7 Eyewitness News – and a diocesan document confirms – that he reported an allegation against Bartnik in 2018 to the diocese. Bunk said roughly 40 years ago, Bartnik had inappropriate sexual contact with him under the guide of “wrestling.” Bunk said he reported the contact almost immediately, and his family was ostracized from St. John Cantius in Buffalo.

Bunk also described his frustration with trying to report the abuse to the Diocese of Buffalo last summer. He said he called seven times before receiving a call back, and diocesan representatives told him it was “too late for anything to be done,” he said. Bartnik also worked at St. Teresa in South Buffalo. He died in 2013.

Msgr. Ted Berg – When questioned by 7 Eyewitness News, Marc Pasquale of Buffalo said -- and multiple diocesan documents confirm -- that he called the diocese in 2018 to inquire why a priest reported to him years earlier was not on the diocese’s list. Pasquale said he did so because those involved had questioned him about why the 2018 Buffalo Diocese list did not include Berg, and they were concerned there was a cover-up.

Pasquale, while serving as parish administrator of St. Teresa’s in South Buffalo in 1987, said he was told by parish employees that they found child pornography in Msgr. Berg’s room during routine maintenance. Pasquale said he immediately reported the incident to multiple people and Bishop Head was notified.

But records show the diocese allowed Berg to remain pastor of St. Teresa’s until his 2003 retirement. Even after the retirement, he was appointed canonical administrator to three Catholic grammar schools in South Buffalo. He died in 2009.

Fr. Gerald Collins & Fr. Joseph Garin – A Buffalo man told 7 Eyewitness News – and a diocesan document confirms – that he reported an allegation against both priests in 2018 to the diocese. He did not want to be identified and would not go into details of the allegations.

Collins served in churches in the Southern Tier and in Buffalo’s Old First Ward from the 1950s through the 1970s, newspaper archives show. He was also assigned to All Saints Church in Buffalo and the Newman Center at Alfred University. Garin served in churches in Buffalo and Niagara Falls before dying in a fire in the Prince of Peace Church rectory in 1965, according to the Niagara Falls Gazette.

Fr. George Cotter – The diocese reviewed an allegation against Cotter from a woman in 2018, a diocesan document shows. 7 Eyewitness News was unable to reach the woman, but a second diocesan record shows that in 2018, she alleged abuse by Cotter in the 1950s and 1960s, when she was between 7 and 19 years old. Cotter was pastor of Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament Church in the Town of Tonawanda. He is believed to be deceased.

Msgr. Joseph F. Coughlin – A woman told 7 Eyewitness News -- and a diocesan document confirms -- that she reported an allegation against the priest in 2018 to the diocese. The woman said it was the fourth time she or her husband reported the alleged sexual assault (she talked with three bishops and senior administrators of the diocese previously), she said.

The woman said Coughlin, the founding pastor of Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament Church in Depew (he served from 1965 to 1995), sexually assaulted her under the guise of teaching her how to be a Eucharistic minister. She said she was 36 years old in the early 1990s when Coughlin groped her and pinned her down. Years later, Coughlin exhibited “stalking” behavior to her when she moved to another parish, she said.

She was denied compensation from the diocese this year, she said, even though in the late 1990s an auxiliary bishop told her Coughlin had a file that was “two inches thick” with complaints. She said she never reported the incident to police because Coughlin was chaplain of the Erie County Captains and Lieutenants Police Association, the Erie County Police Chiefs Association, the Depew Police Department, and the Cheektowaga Police Department. He died in 2005.

Msgr. Edmund Dietzel - The diocese reviewed an inquiry about Dietzel from a woman in 2018, a diocesan document confirms. 7 Eyewitness News was unable to reach the woman, but a second diocesan document, titled, “COMPLAINTS OF ABUSE FILED WITH THE VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR AND PROCESSED BY BISHOP GROSZ, MARCH 2018,” also confirms the allegation and states the accuser said she was between 3 and 12 at the time of the incident.

Dietzel served as an assistant pastor of St. Rose of Lima, St. Agnes, St. Matthew, Blessed Trinity, St. Nicholas and St. Anthony, all in Buffalo. He was the founding pastor of St. John Vianney of Orchard Park, where he served for 31 years. Dietzel died in 1989.

Fr. John Donnelly – A 57-year-old Buffalo man told 7 Eyewitness News – and a diocesan document confirms – that he reported an allegation against the priest in 2018 to the diocese. The man said Donnelly abused him in the early 1970s when he was a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Monica’s church in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood. The man did not want to be identified. Donnelly is believed to be deceased.

Fr. John Doyle – A woman told 7 Eyewitness News – and a diocesan document confirms – that she reported an allegation against the priest in 2018 to the diocese. She said Doyle abused her in the 1960s, when she was a fifth-grade student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Orchard Park.

She did not want to be identified but she said she was disappointed with how the diocese handled her claim.

“What a nightmare,” she said. “The whole thing is just a huge nightmare.”

She said she was excluded from the diocese’s settlement program because she didn’t report the abuse years earlier. Until now, Fr. Doyle’s name has remained secret because of the bishop’s policy.

“And now, I feel totally slapped in the face,” she said, holding back tears. “I think if they weren’t gonna follow through with this, then I think they should have not said anything at all. Because for me, it was reliving it. And it’s not fair...it’s not fair to all the people who got kicked out because it was only one person who said this priest did this.”

She added, “It's important that people know that it is my faith in God and not the church that carried me through. His peace and healing has helped me survive.”

Doyle is believed to be deceased.

Accused bishops must be held accountable


April 12, 2019

By Patti Koo

It is important to publicize names of credibly accused priests who were in San Antonio, even if their alleged abuses took place in other regions. Although no claims of abuse were made locally, it is naïve to conclude there were no incidents. Statistics show that 1 in 10 victims of sexual abuse will report their abuse, and studies confirm that most sex offenders have more than one victim.

The attorney general of Pennsylvania put it best when he said, “We are sick over all the crimes that will go unpunished. We are going to name their names, and describe what they did ... because that is what the victims deserve.”

In the case of a priest on January’s list, Galeb Mokarzel, who was credibly accused of sexual abuse and housed near two schools in San Antonio, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller replied that he had no power over religious orders.

In the perversion of the eucharistic body: the pornographic society in Benedict XVI’s letter on sex abuse

Patheos blog

April 12, 2019

By Justin Tse

It goes without saying that Benedict XVI’s recently published letter on sex abuse is terrible. I will also leave an obligatory note here about how I have liked Ratzinger’s writings (even as a Protestant), have tweeted my amazement at them, and have read enough people couching their critique of the former pontiff as loving fanboys disappointed in their master that I will do nothing of the sort here.

The letter stands or falls on its merits alone, and there are few to recommend it. The whole thing is about how the student movements of the 1968 were about atheism because they were Marxist (the joke was Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho), and that the absence of God from society led to a sexual revolution, and that that sexual revolution became manifested in the normalization of pornography, and in this way, clergy in the church were influenced by a pornographic society to give in to their basest desires. It’s a facile argument, one that probably most would think belongs more in Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option than in the writings of Benedict XVI.

The counterargument is, of course, that clergy sex abuse was happening before 1968 too, and so were pornography and prostitution. So much for that, then, unless one wants to try their hand at saying that the distinction Ratzinger is making is between the private nature of pornography before the sixties and its public proliferation afterwards. But there are all sorts of problems with that too, not just in terms of Foucault’s reminder that a sexually repressed society does its disciplinary work by talking more about sex (not less), but also because Augustine’s comments on the theatre and the coliseum in the fourth century bespeak a kind of public bloodlust akin to the pornographic and his Confessions, far from relegating those desires to a private sphere, openly channels them to their chaste fulfillment in God.

Benedict’s Untimely Meditation


April 12, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

Retired Pope Benedict XVI attends a consistory for the creation of new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this Feb. 22, 2014, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
On the evening of April 10, six weeks after the conclusion of the Vatican’s summit on the sex-abuse crisis, the “pope emeritus,” Benedict XVI, made known his thoughts on the genesis of that crisis in a five-thousand-plus-word essay sent to a periodical for Bavarian priests, quickly translated into English, and then diffused online by Catholic websites known for their hostility to Pope Francis.

The essay is divided into two parts. The second, theological part is a reflection on the spiritual nature of the church, and mirrors Pope Francis’s own approach to the sex-abuse crisis: the pope and pope emeritus agree that the crisis cannot be resolved with only bureaucratic and juridical reforms. Both believe that the crisis involves a spiritual evil that must be confronted in spiritual terms. Benedict writes: “Indeed, the Church today is widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus. One speaks of it almost exclusively in political categories, and this applies even to bishops, who formulate their conception of the church of tomorrow almost exclusively in political terms. The crisis, caused by the many cases of clerical abuse, urges us to regard the Church as something almost unacceptable, which we must now take into our own hands and redesign. But a self-made Church cannot constitute hope.” All this is in keeping with what Francis has said and written on the subject.

The rest of Benedict’s essay, however, departs not only from the current pope’s analysis of the sex-abuse crisis, but also from that of almost everyone else who has studied it. Ratzinger’s core argument starts from an historical-theological analysis of the post-conciliar period—from 1968 onward—and focuses on the negative effects of the sexual revolution on the church. In his view, these effects were twofold: a moral decay in behaviors and the rise of the relativism in moral theology.

This is a problematic analysis to say the least. It puts the Second Vatican Council at the origin of moral decadence in the church. This contrasts starkly with the way Francis has always spoken about the council. Even worse, Benedict’s claim that the phenomenon of sexual abuse was mainly a product of the sixties is contradicted by all the available studies on the topic, as is his suggestion of a connection between sexual abuse and homosexuality (more on this later).

There is no question that the Catholic Church was hit hard by the Sexual Revolution—not only lay people, but also the clergy and the seminaries. But the history of sexual abuse in the church begins well before the turmoil of the ’60s: one can find evidence of it in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, who coined terms for it that are not found in classical Greek (cf. the studies by John Martens). There is a vast literature on the phenomenon and on the tools developed by the church, between the middle ages and the twentieth century, to combat it.

New diocesan abuse task force is for ‘whole family of our church to heal’

Catholic News Service

April 12, 2019

Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger is calling for comprehensive church reform through an abuse task force focused on accompanying and supporting survivors of clergy sex abuse.

The newly developed task force will establish protocols for greater accountability and increased transparency at all levels of the diocese integrating the healing journey of survivors of clergy sex abuse and their families in the church.

“Most importantly, I want to offer ways for the whole family of our church to heal, because all of us have been incomplete as long as survivors and their family members have suffered in silence and isolation,” Bishop Scharfenberger said April 11 in announcing the new task force. “I know from experience that survivors can be ‘wounded healers’ offering wisdom and grace to the church and to the world.”

The task force will be comprised of diverse points of view and expertise, including survivors, parents, professionals, and community and parish leaders. The independent advisory group will be tasked with assessing and recommending upgrades to existing diocesan protocols and processes and to programs that support development of a trauma-informed pastoral outreach to survivors of clergy abuse and/or family members.

The goal of this advisory group is to evaluate past and present practices and to devise a path forward with regard to a holistic approach to survivor ministry and to the overall well-being of Catholics in the diocese.

Owensboro Diocese releases names of priests accused of sexual abuse

Eyewitness News

April 12, 2019

By Amanda Mueller

On Friday, the Diocese of Owensboro released a list of priests with substantiated allegations of sexually abusing a minor.

The press conference began with an apology from Bishop William F. Medley on behalf of the diocese and the church.

Bishop Medley said inclusion on the list does not necessarily indicate guilt, but it does indicate a finding on behalf of the diocese that there is adequate reason to believe the abuse did occur.

For second time in a week, a new, decades-old claim of New Orleans clergy molestation emerges

The Advocate

April 12, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

For the second time in a week, a man has come forward with new claims that he was molested decades ago by a New Orleans-area Catholic priest who was only publicly identified as a suspected child abuser last year.

A lawsuit filed Thursday by an unnamed plaintiff in Orleans Parish Civil District Court accused Lawrence Hecker, 87, of fondling a group of boys who were attending St. Joseph School in Gretna in 1968, 10 years after his ordination.

The suit against Hecker joins a string of other civil court cases – mostly ongoing – that have been filed against Catholic Church officials in New Orleans following Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s disclosure on Nov. 2 of a list of clerics who had been faced with credible allegations of sexually abusing children.

Hecker appeared on that list and joins other still-living, defrocked clerics on that roster to be confronted by accusers who had not come forward before the release.

According to the new 19-page suit, the plaintiff was in middle school at St. Joseph when Hecker took him and other boys at the school behind the altar at the church. The lawsuit accused Hecker of lining the boys up shoulder-to-shoulder, ordering them to drop their pants and showing them “what it was like to get a hernia exam” by groping the children’s genitals.

Leader of US bishops set for Rome trip to talk bishops’ accountability


April 11, 2019

By Christopher White

Archbishop José Gómez, the de facto head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as the body’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, faces health issues, will travel to Rome the week after Easter to meet Vatican officials to discuss new measures for U.S. bishop accountability.

Crux has confirmed with multiple sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to comment on the matter, that a USCCB delegation, originally intended to be led by DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, will discuss proposals for accountability that the U.S. bishops hope to adopt when they meet again in June.

Monsignor Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the USCCB, along with other senior officials, will join Gómez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, for the visit.

Last month DiNardo was briefly hospitalized for what was termed a “mild stroke.” Gomez is currently responsible for day-to-day operations of the USCCB while the Texas cardinal is recovering.

Buffalo statements assert more transparency, urge privacy for victims

Catholic News Service

April 12, 2019

In a pair of statements issued April 11, the Diocese of Buffalo both asserted greater
transparency in its handling of clergy sex abuse claims and urged respect for the privacy of abuse victims.

The former statement, from Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, was issued to “correct some of those errors” about the diocese’s response to the crisis that had cropped up from the “intense media coverage.”

But he also used the statement to address “the times when I personally have fallen short. I deeply regret and apologize for having signed those letters in support of Father Art Smith,” a diocesan priest whom Bishop Malone had endorsed for a job as a cruise ship chaplain despite complaints by three young men to the diocese in 2011 and 2013 about inappropriate touching and unwanted attention and Facebook messages from the priest.

“I also regret not being more transparent about claims involving abuse against adults,” Bishop Malone added. “As you know from the manner in which we have been addressing more recent claims involving conduct between adults, we are handling those matters differently now. Lessons have been learned.”

Bishop Malone said of the 191 abuse complaints received in “the last audit year” — each U.S. diocese undergoes an annual audit to monitor its compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” — “not a single one of those new allegations involved an incident that occurred after 2000,” and that “there have been no substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against any diocesan priest ordained in the past 30 years.”

The charter has worked, he added, “demonstrated by the fact that there have been very few actual cases of child sexual abuse in our diocese since 2002.”

Moreover, the independent review board process outlined in the charter works, Bishop Malone said. “When adequate information has been obtained, the board will make a recommendation to me about whether or not the claim has been substantiated. No priest with a substantiated claim of child sexual abuse can remain in ministry,” he added.

“My decisions about whether a priest is removed from or returned to ministry are often criticized in the media. Of course, the process needs to be confidential to protect the privacy of all the parties involved, and, as a result, the public may not hear all that went into each decision.”

Diocese of Kansas City Finally Begins Work on List of Accused Clerics

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 12, 2019

Only now is KC MO Bishop James Johnston starting a months-long process to supposedly create a list of proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests.

Yet we see no reason why this process must take months. Bishop Johnston should immediately post the names of and details about the dozens of child molesting clerics he knows to be guilty or 'credibly accused.'

Then, if need be, he can add more later after this review is complete. But every day even one predator is kept hidden, kids are needlessly at risk. And they're given even more time to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers and even flee the country.

Out of about 170 bishops in the US, 113 have completed this process and have posted predators' names on their websites, some as long as 17 years ago. It's incredibly irresponsible that Johnston is just starting to do so now.

Las Vegas diocese IDs 33 priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse


April 12, 2019

By Rachel Crosby

The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list on Friday of 33 priests “credibly accused” of sexual abuse who at some point served in the Las Vegas Valley.

The announcement came a week after the Catholic Diocese of Reno named 12 “credibly abused” priests, eight of whom at some point had served in the Las Vegas area. All of those priests were included in the new Las Vegas list.

Reno’s list included Monsignor Robert Anderson, who died in 1978 but in 1993 was accused of sexually abusing a Henderson boy between 1965 and 1969, according to a lawsuit the victim filed when he was 41. The man said the abuse began when he was about 13.

“The sexual abuse was accomplished, in part, because Monsignor Anderson, a Roman Catholic priest, befriended the minor plaintiff as a parishioner and altar boy and provided him with counseling and guidance,” the lawsuit said at the time. “Monsignor repeatedly assured the minor plaintiff that the sexual contact was appropriate activity.”

Anderson served in churches all over Nevada, including in Reno, Sparks, Ely, Fallon and Zephyr Cove, among other communities, according to the Reno list. But he circled back to the Las Vegas area often.

He first served in Las Vegas at St. Joan of Arc in 1944, then in Boulder City at St. Andrews from 1944 to 1947 before traveling north.

Anderson returned to Southern Nevada in 1962, serving at St. Christopher in North Las Vegas until 1963 and St. Peter the Apostle in Henderson between 1963 and 1969.

The only living priest named in the Reno list was Eugene Braun, who also served in Las Vegas off and on but was removed from the ministry in 1974. He is accused of molesting teenage girls in Northern Nevada, and in the early 2000s, at least one woman settled with the Reno diocese in connection with her decades-old allegations, according to a 2007 story in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Journalist surprised by bishops' support after controversial lawsuit

Catholic News Service

Apr 11, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

After a court ruled in favor of an archbishop's defamation lawsuit against him, Peruvian journalist Pedro Salinas said he was "pleasantly surprised" by a message of support from the country's bishops.

Peruvian Archbishop José Eguren Anselmi of Piura won the case against Salinas April 8, but bishops in the country distanced themselves from the lawsuit and said the church needs the help of journalists and survivors of clergy sex abuse to overcome the current crisis.

"The Holy Father has praised and thanked the world of journalists who, through their investigations, contribute to denouncing abuses, punishing the perpetrators and assisting victims. The pope underlined that the church needs their help in the difficult task of fighting against this evil," the Peruvian bishops' conference said in a statement April 10.

In a message to Catholic News Service April 11, Salinas said he was surprised by the bishops' message "because it is unprecedented."

"We now know that someone (Eguren) is going against the current guidelines established by Pope Francis," Salinas told CNS. "In soccer terms, we could say that the Sodalitium Archbishop José Antonio Eguren of Piura was discovered in an offside position," he added. "An unforgivable offside, if you ask me."

Salinas and fellow journalist Paola Ugaz co-authored a book titled, "Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados" ("Half Monks, Half Soldiers"), which detailed the psychological and sexual abuse, as well as corporal punishment and extreme exercises that young members of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae were forced to endure.

The Peruvian journalist suffered physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Luis Fernando Figari, who founded Sodalitium, a Catholic movement, in 1971.

Recognising Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Abuse

Centre for Theology and Public Issues

April 5, 2019

By Rocio Figeuroa and David Tombs

The sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church compels a reassessment of topics within
both pastoral theology and Christology. The possible connection between the Passion
narratives and the reality of sexual abuse is an obvious, but so far neglected, resource for this

The research project ‘When Did We See You Naked?’ at the University of Otago
(2018-20) investigates three related areas.

1. The historical question: ‘Did the torture and crucifixion of Jesus involve some form of
sexual abuse?’

2. The pastoral question: ‘What difference should this make for the Church today?’

3. The theological question: ‘What consequences does this have for a theological
understanding of God’s gracious and healing presence in the world?’

Diocese where clergy abuse 1st made public to release list

Associated Press

April 12, 2019

The U.S. Catholic diocese where the first widely reported case of clergy sex abuse became public in the 1980s is releasing a list of clery who face credible accusations of sexual abuse.

Bishop Douglas Deshotel (DEZ-oh-tel) of the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana has said he’ll release the list Friday. The names of 33 priests and four deacons are on the list.

Other Louisiana dioceses have reported about 150 priests, deacons and other clerics. There may be some overlap, since the Lake Charles diocese was carved out of the Lafayette diocese in 1980.

The Lafayette Diocese employed the first widely known abuser, Gilbert Gauthe (goh-THAY). He pleaded guilty in 1985 to abusing 11 boys and testified that he’d abused dozens while serving at four churches in the diocese.

‘Credibly accused’ priest worked at St. Joseph, St. Mary’s in Norwalk

Laredo Morning Times

April 12, 2019

By Pat Tomlinson

A priest who once served at a South Norwalk parish were added to the list of “credibly accused” clergy for sexual abuse of minors in the Bridgeport Diocese.

Bishop Frank Caggiano, in a March 22 statement, added 10 names to a list of nearly 30 priests, living and dead, who are accused of sexual abuse and at some point served in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

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“It is with much regret and concern for all those who are survivors of sexual abuse that I must announce that the following ten clergy who served in the Diocese of Bridgeport have been added to our list of Credibly Accused Clergy,” Caggiano wrote.

The Rev. James McCormick is among those added to the list. He served at St. Joseph Parish, 85 South Main St., and St. Mary’s, 669 West Ave., according to Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney, a Bridgeport law firm that has represented dozens of abuse victims in lawsuits against the diocese since 1993.

McCormick served at St. Joseph Parish from 1951 to 1954, during which time he was twice accused of soliciting young men, once in 1953 and another in 1954. Both are believed to have been minors at the time, according to Caggiano’s statement.

One of these incidents was reported to the diocese by the police in 1953, according to Caggiano, but no further action was taken. His ministry was reportedly restricted in 1954 by Bishop Lawrence Shehan.

A full review of McCormick, who was ordained in 1916, was conducted in 2019 — more 50 years after McCormick’s death — and the allegation “deemed credible.”

The Chilean church has lost its credibility. Bishop Aos is hopeful he can change that.

America Magazine

April 12, 2019

By Gerard O’Connell

On March 23, Pope Francis appointed the Spanish-born Capuchin friar, Bishop Celestino Aos Braco as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Santiago, Chile. On the same day, he also accepted the resignation of the much-criticized Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati.

Trained as a psychologist in Spain, Bishop Aos arrived in Chile in 1983 and was surprised when Pope Francis called him four and a half years ago to be bishop of Copiapo. “I didn’t even know where Copiapo was,” he said in an interview with America on April 9. “I didn’t know what it was to live in the desert. But I said I will go there and do my service.”

He was once again surprised on the eve of his 74th birthday when the pope appointed him as the apostolic administrator in the archdiocese of Santiago, where the two former archbishops, Javier Errázuriz Ossa and Ezzati are accused of covering up the abuse of minors by priests.

Vatican imposes 10-year suspension on Irish priest for abuse

Irish Central

April 12, 2019

Vatican imposes 10-year suspension on Irish priest for abuse Fr John O’Reilly
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has banned an Irish-born Legionaries of Christ priest from publicly exercising his priestly ministry for 10 years after he was convicted in Chile of sexually abusing a young girl.

Fr John O’Reilly was convicted in Chile in 2014 and sentenced to four years of ‘supervised liberty.’ When the four years was up in December, he was told to leave the country or face deportation. He moved to Rome, where he still lives, according to the Legionaries.

In accordance with Church law, he also underwent a trial by a tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which also found him guilty of child sexual abuse, the Legionaries of Christ press office said in a statement on Thursday.

In addition to suspending him from ministry, the Legionaries said, the doctrinal congregation imposed “the perpetual obligation to establish residency outside Latin America and the perpetual prohibition of voluntary contact with minors,” as well as recommending he seek “psychological and spiritual accompaniment.”

“The sentence concludes with the mention of the right to appeal,” the Legionaries said.

Fr O’Reilly “is reviewing with his lawyer the sentence, which he received today with faith and with confidence in the authorities of the Church,” the statement said.

KC-St. Joseph Diocese hires ex-FBI agents to compile list of credibly accused priests

Kansas City Star

April 12, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has hired an investigative and consulting firm run by three former FBI agents to compile a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The St.-Louis based firm, Fidelity Consultants, comprises three investigators who each spent more than two decades with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before founding the company, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. announced this week in The Catholic Key, the diocesan newspaper.

The action comes after many other dioceses across the country — including the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas — have released lists in recent months of priests with substantiated abuse allegations.

“It is my desire to do so as well,” Johnston wrote in his column in The Catholic Key this week. “This process, by its very nature, is painstakingly deliberate. I intend for an eventual report to be thorough, accurate, and as complete as possible.

“Like most other dioceses, the review is being accomplished by a highly respected and independent third party. It is my hope that our review will be complete and a list available in the coming months.”

The diocese said the firm would conduct “a thorough review of diocesan files” then write a report that includes the names of priests who have served in the diocese and have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

The priest sex abuse issue erupted last August when a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report finding that church leaders had covered up sexual abuse by hundreds of priests over seven decades. Since then, bishops across the country have been under pressure to release the names of their credibly accused priests.

Sexual assault victim pushes for new 'Time's Up' bill

News 12 Connecticut

April 11, 2019

A New Canaan man who is a victim of sex abuse is urging lawmakers to push a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for child sex crimes.

Mark Fuller, of New Canaan, says he was a 19-year-old student at Notre Dame University when a priest sexually abused him. Fuller's case was detailed in the massive Pennsylvania grand jury report in 2018.

He says when victims of sexual abuse come forward, they often hit road blocks.

"If it's been past the statute of limitations, it's no longer a crime. No harm, no foul. And so, what it does is, bring more depression. Not only was I abused then; I'm getting it again now," Fuller says.

Victims like Fuller would also get more time to sue their attacker under the Time's Up Act. It would give child sex abuse victims unlimited time to prosecute, and they can sue until they're 56 years old.

However, not everyone is supporting the bill. Connecticut's chief public defender says this "will make it impossible for (the) accused to receive due process and a fair trial."

The bill is now headed to the full state Senate.

Imagen que tienen los ticos de la Iglesia decae por escándalos sexuales

[Sexual abuse scandal damages public opinion of Church in Costa Rica]

La Nación

April 10, 2019

By Daniela Cerdas E.

Investigación del Centro de Investigación y Estudios Políticos (CIEP) de la Universidad de Costa Rica señala diferencias con respecto a noviembre

La ola de denuncias contra sacerdotes por presuntos abusos sexuales pareciera haber golpeado la imagen que los costarricenses tienen de la Iglesia católica. De acuerdo con la investigación que publicó este miércoles el Centro de Investigación y Estudios Políticos (CIEP) de la Universidad de Costa Rica, la calificación promedio obtenida por esa institución bajó un punto en marzo del 2019.

Caso Serre: “Sería muy ingenuo pensar que solo abusó de una persona”

[Serre case: "It would be very naive to think he only abused one person"]

El Marplatense

April 11, 2019

Así lo aseguró Patricia Gordon, titular de la ONG En Red, luego de que el Obispo de Mar del Plata, Gabriel Mestre, decidió apartar al sacerdote que se desempeñaba en Necochea y que fue acusado de abusar sexualmente de un menor. “Es hora de terminar con ciertos encubrimientos y ocuparse realmente de las víctimas”, destacó.

Luego de que este lunes el Obispo de Mar del Plata, Gabriel Mestre, comunicó que apartó al sacerdote José Luis Serre tras ser acusado de abusar sexualmente de un menor de edad, la psicóloga Patricia Gordon -quien trabaja hace décadas en la ciudad con las víctimas de abuso sexual desde la ONG En Red- expresó que espera que esta decisión “sirva para que otras personas puedan hablar, porque sería muy ingenuo pensar que solo se abuso de una persona“.

Cristo Orante: el arzobispo de Mendoza dijo que no se ocultaron denuncias de abusos

[Cristo Orante: the archbishop of Mendoza said abuse allegations were not hidden]


April 11, 2019

By Télam (news agency)

"Lo que yo puedo decir es que eclesiásticamente estamos a disposición de lo que determine la justicia", señaló Marcelo Colombo. Tocó el tema luego de que Nicolás Bustos saliera a contar públicamente cómo fue abusado en el Monasterio ubicado en Tupungato.

El arzobispo de Mendoza, Marcelo Colombo, aseguró este miércoles que la Iglesia no ocultó las denuncias de abuso sexual sobre dos sacerdotes del Monasterio del Cristo Orante, en la localidad de Tupungato, radicadas por un exseminarista.

Steve Bannon and U.S. ultra-conservatives take aim at Pope Francis

NBC News

April 12, 2019

By Richard Engel and Kennett Werner

Strolling through St. Peter’s Square, the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, Steve Bannon surveyed the enemy camp.

The populist political consultant has a new target in his crusade against “globalism” — Pope Francis.

“He’s the administrator of the church, and he’s also a politician,” said Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump. “This is the problem. ... He’s constantly putting all the faults in the world on the populist nationalist movement.”

Since becoming pope in 2013, Francis has expressed a consistent message on the type of “America First” nationalism championed by Bannon.

Two years ago, the pope cautioned against growing populism in Europe, warning it could lead to the election of leaders like Hitler.

He has called for compassion toward migrants, saying that fearing them "makes us crazy," as well as other marginalized groups including the poor and gay people. He has also defended diversity.

Bannon alleges that Francis has mismanaged numerous sex abuse scandals roiling the church, and says the pope is not treating the issue seriously enough.

"The Catholic Church is heading to a financial crisis that will lead to a bankruptcy," he said. "It could actually bring down, not the theology, not the teachings, not the community of the Catholic Church, but the physical and financial apparatus of this church."

Sacerdote John O’Reilly es condenado por El Vaticano por abusar sexualmente de un menor de edad

[Vatican condemns priest John O'Reilly for sexually abusing a minor]


April 12, 2019

By Alberto González and Nicole Martínez

Los Legionarios de Cristo pidieron perdón por los abusos sexuales cometidos por John O’Reilly, quien fue suspendido del ministerio sacerdotal y condenado a alejarse de por vida de menores de edad. El Vaticano prohibió al sacerdote John O’Reilly ejercer el sacerdocio por 10 años y además le ordenó permanecer para siempre fuera de América Latina, luego de ser declarado culpable de abuso sexual a menores.

“Se mintió para preservar el buen nombre de la Iglesia”

["He lied to preserve the good name of the Church"]

El País (Spain)

April 12, 2019

By Daniel Verdú

El español Celestino Aós, obispo a quien el Papa ha confiado la reestructuración de la Iglesia chilena, cree que se deberán pagar los errores hasta las últimas consecuencias

La crisis que azota a la Iglesia católica causada por los abusos a menores podría llegar a sintetizarse en el caso de Chile. El ocultamiento masivo de las agresiones sexuales del sacerdote Fernando Karadima, el maltrato a las víctimas o la negligencia del nuncio apostólico en su misión de informar a Roma desembocaron en la renuncia en pleno de todos los obispos y la imputación de parte de la cúpula, empezando por el presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, Santiago Silva. También en la toma de conciencia definitiva del problema por parte del Papa, que ya ha aceptado cinco de esas dimisiones y ha nombrado como administrador apostólico en Santiago al obispo navarro Celestino Aós (Unciti, 1945). Un capuchino austero y directo llamado a ser la referencia moral de la Iglesia en Chile. La difícil reconstrucción, creen en Roma, girará en torno a él.

Top Vatican cardinal says Benedict is only trying to help Francis


April 12, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

A cardinal who once held one of the highest-ranking positions in the Vatican said Thursday that Benedict XVI’s controversial comments on the clergy abuse crisis were motivated by a desire to help Pope Francis, and that it would be “the greatest suffering” for Benedict to be perceived as contradicting his successor.

“I interpret [the letter] as the reflections of a man who, before this terrible scourge of pedophilia in the Church, attempts to help Pope Francis and all of us to emerge from it,” said Italian Cardinal Giovanni Becciu.

“It doesn’t go against Pope Francis, because he does not suggest legislation,” Becciu said. “It would be the greatest suffering for Benedict to be perceived as in contradiction with Pope Francis.”

Last Sunday, Becciu also said gay people should not become priests and suggested financial penalties for whistleblowers who betray Vatican secrets.

“Those with homosexual tendencies would do well not to remain in the seminary and become a priest,” said Becciu, a former sostituto, or deputy, of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, in a lengthy interview with journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona that aired April 8.

Becciu said priests live in close contact with men, especially in religious communities, which puts a strain on their vow of chastity. How can he “easily live out the promised chastity,” the cardinal asked, if he is constantly sharing “time and space” with people of the same sex?

“Isn’t that asking too much of him?” he added.

For those with homosexual tendencies who are already priests, bishops or cardinals, Becciu suggests the same “severity” adopted in cases concerning heterosexual clergy.

“One will have to demand that he observe the priestly promises and, if he were not able, or furthermore brought scandal, it will be necessary for the good of the Church that he retire to private life,” he said.

Becciu, who was the sostituto under Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis from 2011 to 2018, closely experienced the two Vatileaks cycles, which he described as “dark days” where suspicion was rampant and “a world was collapsing.”

Sexual abuse, a troubling text by Benedict XV

LaCroix International

April 12, 2019

A German magazine has published a long essay by the former pope who seems to take the opposite position of Pope Francis on the issue of sexual abuse.

Benedict XVI has linked the 1960s sexual revolution and cliques of homosexuals in seminaries to the ongoing crisis within the Catholic Church over sexual abuse of children.The retired pope, who in 2013 became the first pope in more than 700 years to voluntarily step down, argued that the sexual revolution had led some to believe pedophilia and...

Ex-Hammonton priest added to list of accused in New Mexico

The Press of Atlantic City

April 12, 2019

The Diocese of Gallup in New Mexico has added the name of a New Jersey priest to its list of credibly accused sex abusers.

The Gallup Independent reports the diocese said this week it was adding Thomas M. Harkins, who served three months at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Page, Arizona from October 1981 to January 1982.

The Diocese of Camden removed Harkins from the priesthood in 2002 following allegations of child sexual abuse.

Harkins already appeared on the Dioceses of Camden's listed of 57 credibly accused clergy released in January. He once served at St. Anthony of Padua in Hammonton, according to the list. It does not say how long he served in Hammonton.

The list stated that Harkins had been removed from the ministry, but did not identify what year.

Church officials in Gallup say they are not aware of any complaints or allegations regarding Harkins during his brief time in Arizona.

April 11, 2019

Priest abuse survivors, advocates laud Perrault conviction

New Mexican

Apr 11, 2019

By Rebecca Moss

The verdict issued Wednesday against former Roman Catholic priest Arthur Perrault marked the first time a jury in New Mexico has found a member of the clergy guilty of sex crimes against children.

Legal experts and victims advocates say Perrault’s conviction could mark a new era in how prosecutors try such cases.

While hundreds of civil cases alleging child sexual abuse have been brought against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe over the past several decades — and the archdiocese has admitted at least 78 priests and brothers have been “credibly accused” of abuse — those lawsuits largely have been settled out of court for undisclosed sums, and rarely have priests faced criminal investigations.

“It shows prosecutors that this can be done,” Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall said of Wednesday’s landmark verdict. Hall, who has handled dozens of civil cases alleging child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the state, said, “This case shows you can prosecute a pedophile for childhood sexual abuse decades ago — successfully.”

A 12-member federal jury in Santa Fe found Perrault, 81, guilty of seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact with a 10-year-old altar boy between 1991 and 1992 at Kirtland Air Force Base and the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

Charges were brought by federal prosecutors because of the location of the crimes.

A sentencing hearing for Perrault, who is in federal custody, has yet to be scheduled, but he could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

While the criminal case focused on one boy, Perrault was accused of sexual abuse by at least 38 people during his nearly three decades working as a priest in New Mexico. He fled the country in 1992, just days before a lawsuit was filed accusing him of abusing children, and he lived freely for years. He was finally found in 2016 in Morocco, where he was teaching English as a second language at a boys school.

His location became public in a lawsuit brought by Kenneth Wolter, a man in his mid-30s who was awarded $16 million in damages by a New Mexico judge.

Leaked diocese document reveals names of more accused priests

Buffalo News

April 11, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The names of an additional 27 Catholic priests accused of misconduct emerged this week in leaked Buffalo Diocese documents showing that a review board examined allegations against the priests.

A copy of the June 27, 2018 meeting agenda of the Diocesan Review Board, obtained by WKBW-TV, included the names of nearly 100 priests whose cases were being reviewed by the board.

Bishop Richard J. Malone in 2018 publicly identified most of the priests on that agenda as having been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. But Malone has remained silent on 27 of those priests, including a former superintendent of Catholic schools, Monsignor Ted Berg, and a former high-ranking diocesan administrator, Monsignor Albert Rung.

The Diocesan Review Board’s primary purpose is to examine cases of alleged child sex abuse, but it's not clear how many of the 27 priests were accused of sexual abuse of minors or if the complaints were found to be credible.

The 27 priests listed on the Buffalo Diocesan Review Board agenda in connection with misconduct complaints are:

The Rev. James Bartnik, Monsignor Ted Berg, the Rev. Gerald Collins, the Rev. George Cotter, Monsignor Joseph Coughlin, Monsignor Edmund Dietzel, the Rev. John Donnelly, the Rev. John Doyle, the Rev. John J. Fox, the Rev. Ralph Frederico, the Rev. Joseph Garin, Monsignor Francis Growney, the Rev. Kiernan Haggerty, the Rev. Francis Hannah, the Rev. James H. Kasprzyk, the Rev. Francis Kealy, the Rev. Nelson Kimmartin, the Rev. William Lanphear, the Rev. Joseph M. McPherson, Monsignor Richard O'Brien, the Rev. Joseph Penkaul, Monsignor Albert Rung, the Rev. Paul Salemi, the Rev. Maurus Schenk, the Rev. CJ Westfield, the Rev. Gervase F. White and the Rev. Maurice Woulfe.

Pedophile priests belong behind bars

The Brookhaven Courier

April 8, 2019

In 2015, the movie “Spotlight” redirected media attention to the decades-long controversy of sexual abuse taking place in the Roman Catholic Church. Many abuse cases have surfaced over the past few decades, but did not get enough attention from the public to make news.

This is no longer a local or even a national issue. There have been reports of child sexual abuse in Catholic churches in many countries. Child abuse is a crime and should be dealt with in criminal justice systems.

Incidents of child sex abuse by Catholic priests around the world have forced the public to consider whether or not churches are a safe place for children.

In February, Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, was charged with child sex abuse in Australia for molesting two choirboys in the ’80s, according to USA Today. Pell faces up to a 50-year prison sentence. Pell’s charges came a few weeks after a summit in the Vatican at which Pope Francis called for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors.

The Vatican also announced Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C., would be defrocked, or stripped of his priesthood, for sexual abuse of minors and adults, according to USA Today. McCarrick is unlikely to face criminal prosecution for the alleged abuse because it is beyond its statute of limitations, according to The New York Times.

These statutes of limitations are common across the U.S. and directly correlate with data on clergy abuse in any given state, Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of bishopaccountability.org, a site that tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, said, according to The New York Times.

Nuns sexually abusing minors could become next Catholic Church scandal, experts say

Fox News

April 9, 2019

By Hollie McKay

It wasn’t until Rev. Cait Finnegan gave birth to a baby girl more than three decades ago that the full trauma of all she had withstood was fully unleashed.

“It was my protective instinct, I just didn’t want my daughter to be alone. I stayed with her from the day she was born,” Finnegan, 67, a Catholic school student in 1960s New York and once an aspiring nun, told Fox News. “Because I had been abused in many places to many degrees. This was every day in school, weekends, she would come to my home.”

Starting at just 15, Finnegan alleged that she was repeatedly raped by a Catholic nun and for years, after finally escaping, lived a life on the edge of falling apart. She said she spent much of her life trapped in a state of rage, depression, and agoraphobia, unable to leave the house or be away from her daughter, now 36.

They lived in poverty as Finnegan said she was only able to take on odd jobs at night, as her marriage strained under the emotional weight.

“When my daughter was 12, we thought it would be good to register her at a Catholic School,” Finnegan recalled. “But then the nun opened the door, I had a flashback, I grabbed her and ran.”

Finnegan said her abuser died more than four years ago. But the deep, dark memories she has carried since adolescence remain.

How a past and (maybe) future pope are providing crucial leadership in age of Francis

Get Religion blog

April 11, 2019

By Clemente Lisi

The events of the past few days have truly been monumental for the Roman Catholic church.

You may not have noticed — unless you’ve bothered to read the ever-growing list of Catholic news websites on both the right and left. While liberals and conservatives within the church continue to wage a very public war over everything from the future of Christendom in the West to the ongoing clerical abuse crisis, two prominent voices have led the charge when it comes to these two issues.

Again, it was conservative Catholic media that proved to be the preferred mouthpiece for Cardinal Robert Sarah and Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Both men — with help from right-leaning news organizations — have been very vocal about the problems plaguing the modern church in our ever-secular world.

It is fitting that these two men — one considered a potential future pope, the other already a pope — are the ones leading the charge as the church continues to become polarized. Under Francis’ papacy, the ideological split has become more pronounced. As the curia continues to polarize itself in public on issues like immigration and homosexuality, church leaders like Sarah and Benedict refuse to be silenced. Once again, it’s those Catholic media voices on the right that are helping to spread their message.

Case in point: this past week. At a time when Christians around the world continue on their Lenten journey, Sarah and Benedict are making a statement about the direction of Catholicism, the legacy of Vatican II and where the church is going. Sarah, who hails from the majority-Muslim nation of Guinea in Africa, contrasted Pope Francis’ statements in telling Christian nations they should open their borders to Islamic refugees.

Sexual abuse laws poised for massive changes in Washington state

KUOW Radio

April 11, 2019

By Sydney Brownstone and Paige Browning

There will be no statute of limitations for people who survived sexual abuse when they were under 16.

The same bill extends the statute of limitations for adult survivors to 10 or 20 years, depending on the severity of the crime. It also makes a significant change to how rape in the third degree is prosecuted — removing a small but crucial piece of language that advocates say ignored trauma research and prevented cases from being tried in court.

Speaking after the passage of the original Senate bill in February, Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, said the bill was the organization's biggest win in at least five years.

"I think we all realize attitudes are changing — the culture is changing on this issue." Stone said. "Everybody knows so many more people who've been impacted by sexual assault. And there was a collective recognition that it's time to make this change."

Andrea Piper-Wentland of Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs said this means that survivors will have more time to process what happened to them.

She said the law would allow survivors "to get out of a situation that they were in, that was prohibitive for them to report."

"There's a myriad of reasons survivors have for delayed reporting," she said.

Diocese of Lake Charles list of credibly accused clergy


April 11, 2019

The Diocese of Lake Charles has released a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Clerics of the Diocese of Lake Charles

Juan Alers, Diocesan Priest

Born: 1943
Ordained: 1969 for the Archdiocese of San Juan in Puerto Rico
First Affiliated with the Diocese of Lake Charles: 1987
Assignments in the Diocese of Lake Charles:
Accusation: Sexual Misconduct with minors
Location of Misconduct: Puerto Rico
Date of Misconduct: 1980-1985
Date Allegations Received by the Diocese of Lake Charles: 1997
Number of Victims: More than one
Response from the Diocese of Lake Charles: Removal from Ministry in 2002
Current Status: Deceased (2011)
Mark Broussard, Diocesan Priest

Born: 1956
Ordained: 1986 for the Diocese of Lake Charles
Assignments in the Diocese of Lake Charles:
Accusation: Sexual Misconduct with Minors
Locations of Misconduct:
Date of Misconduct: ca. 1980-1991
Date Allegations received by the Diocese of Lake Charles:
Number of Victims: More than one
Response from the Diocese of Lake Charles: Removal from Ministry in 1994
Current Status:
Gerard (Gerald) Smit, Diocesan Priest

Date of Birth: 1924
Date of Ordination: 1950 for the Diocese of Nijmejen, Holland
First Affiliated with the Diocese of Lafayette beginning in 1958 and then with the Diocese of Lake Charles in 1980
Assignments in the Diocese of Lake Charles (and Lafayette):
Accusation: Sexual Misconduct with Minors
Locations of Misconduct:
Date of Misconduct: 1950s, 1960s
Date Allegations received by the Diocese of Lake Charles:
Number of Victims: More than one
Response from the Diocese of Lake Charles:
Current Status: Sentenced to a Life of Prayer and Penance in 2013, and residing in Pennsylvania

Vatican bans Irish priest from public ministry due to abuse

Associated Press

April 11, 2019

The Legion of Christ religious order said Thursday that the Vatican has banned an Irish priest from public ministry for 10 years for sexually abusing a minor in Chile.

The order said in a statement that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also banned the Rev. John O’Reilly from any contact with minors for life and ordered him to live outside of Latin America. O’Reilly can appeal.

“As a congregation, these acts cause us great pain and we again ask forgiveness for the suffering caused,” the order said.

O’Reilly had worked in Chile since the mid-1980s. He was convicted in a civil court in 2014 of sexually abusing a minor while he was a chaplain at a school operated by the legion in the Chilean capital. The court also banned him from any job near children and included him in a database for registered abusers. Congress had revoked the honorary Chilean citizenship it gave O’Reilly in 2008.

Chile’s government had said that O’Reilly would have to leave after serving his sentence. He obeyed orders in 2018 after finishing a four-year sentence and has been living in Rome since then. He has denied any wrongdoing.

A Homily for Fr. Gary Hayes

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 11, 2019

By Fr. John Bambrick, former director of New Jersey SNAP

Fr. Gary Hayes has gone home to the Lord. I wish to express to his family sincere condolences on his passing. While suffering with Cancer is extraordinarily painful, debilitating and frustrating, it brought Gary home to you because family is where we look for comfort. Your brother once said, “What is most meaningful often comes from your worst suffering”. In his last suffering with cancer he found the most meaningful relationships, you his family. He confided in me just a few weeks ago how incredibly happy he was to have rebuilt and strengthened his ties with each of you and how important those bonds were to his heart and to his healing. He was eternally grateful for your love and incredible care.

Your brother was deeply wounded early in life and that wound festered throughout his life but I truly believe, with all my heart, the wound healed completely because of your love for him. Because of that he died in Peace.

I have spoken, e-mailed or texted many of our friends across the country and each of them said to me, “He is finally at Peace”. Every one of them said exactly the same thing, “He has finally at Peace”.

My decades long friendship with Gary came about because we were both survivors of clergy sexual abuse and Catholic Priests. Two things that are not normally put together, it was our long lasting and common bond. So my reflections are based on that reality.

Ex-Pope Benedict contradicts Pope Francis in unusual intervention on sexual abuse

Washington Post

April 11, 2019

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli

Breaking years of silence on major church affairs, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written a lengthy letter devoted to clerical sex abuse in which he attributes the crisis to a breakdown of church and societal moral teaching and says he felt compelled to assist “in this difficult hour.”

The 6,000-word letter, written for a small German Catholic publication and published in translation by other outlets on Thursday, laments the secularization of the West, decries the 1960s sexual revolution and describes seminaries that became filled during that period with “homosexual cliques.”

The pope emeritus, in emphasizing the retreat of religious belief and firm church teaching, provides a markedly different explanation for the abuse crisis than that offered by Pope Francis, who has often said abuse results from the corrupted power of clergy.

“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” Benedict wrote, according to the Catholic News Agency, which published the full text in English. “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.”

Since abdicating the papacy six years ago, Benedict — living in a monastery inside the Vatican City walls — had remained nearly silent on issues facing the church, in part to yield full authority to his successor. But Benedict’s decision to speak out shows the unprecedented and awkward position facing the ideologically divided Roman Catholic Church, which has — for the first time in six centuries — two potential authority figures who hold sometimes-differing views.

In his intervention, Benedict did not assess his own role in the crisis, during which he held power for decades, first behind the scenes and then for eight years as pontiff. But the letter bears his hallmark: in particular, a conviction that Catholic teaching can show the way out of a crisis.

“He speaks only a little about victims,” said Vito Mancuso, an author who has written books about Catholic theology and philosophy. “It’s almost an excuse for the one thing that he is truly interested in: the traditionalist restoration inside the church.”

SNAP Grateful to Jurors in New Mexico Abuse Case

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 11, 2019

We are relieved that Fr. Arthur Perrault, accused of molesting more than 30 children, has been found guilty. We are grateful to the jurors for listening to the painful testimony heard in this case and for reaching a just verdict.​

We hope this decision will encourage others who were abused by clergy to report to police, regardless of when the crimes occurred. We also hope this process deters other child molesters from fleeing abroad, as Fr. Perrault and so many accused priests have done and still do.

This case sends a message that “where there is a will, there is a way” and we are grateful to the police and prosecutors who were able to bring Fr. Perrault back to the United States to face justice.

Finally, we hope Fr. Perrault is given the longest prison term possible so that he will never be able to devastate one more young life.

Pope Benedict Shifts the Blame for Clergy Sex Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 11, 2019

Pope Benedict is again rubbing salt into the wounds of victims and trying to burnish his own deservedly-tarred reputation by blaming others for the church's decades-old abuse and cover up crisis.

The number one cause of the crisis in Benedict's eyes is the 1960s. Again. And the church's role in all of this, he claims, was just not having the right policies in place to oust the child molesting clerics. By blaming the sexual abuse crisis on the “moral laxity that swept the west in the 1960’s,” Benedict attempts to hand-wave away the serious crimes committed against children and vulnerable adults with the laziest kind of whataboutism.

This attempt, of course, fails to explain why church officials then continued to shield abusers beyond the 60s, 70s, and 80s and well into today. It also says nothing about why Benedict himself was involved in covering up cases of abuse, such as that of Fr. Lawrency Murphy who abused deaf children in Wisconsin. Are we to assume that Benedict himself also fell victim to this moral laxity? How convenient for him.


First Things

April 11, 2019

by Charles J. Chaput

Writing nearly half a century ago (1970), the Italian Catholic philosopher Augusto Del Noce noted that "I often find myself envying unbelievers: Does not contemporary history provide abundant evidence that Catholics are a mentally inferior species? Their rush to conform to the opinion about Catholicism held by rationalist secularists is stunning.

Those words from his essay “The Ascendance of Eroticism” open Del Noce’s brilliant reflections—part analysis, part prophecy—on Europe’s then-current sexual revolution. At a time when a young priest named Joseph Ratzinger was predicting a smaller, more hard-pressed, but purer Church of the future in his 1969–70 German and Vatican radio interviews, Del Noce was explaining how it would happen. He foresaw that “the decisive battle against Christianity [can] be fought only at the level of the sexual revolution. And therefore the problem of sexuality and eroticism is today the fundamental problem from the moral point of view.”

History has proven him right, and for obvious reasons. Sex is both a powerful bond and a fierce corrosive, which is why, historically, nearly all human cultures have surrounded it with taboos that order its harmonious integration into daily life. The naive eagerness—“stupidity” would not be too strong a word for Del Noce's purposes—of many mid-century Church progressives in accepting, or at least accommodating, sexual license as a form of human liberation, spearheaded the intellectual collapse of an entire generation of Catholic moral theology. Since the 1960s, license has morphed into widespread sexual and social dysfunction, conflict, and suffering—also foreseen by Del Noce.

Bishops: In public, humility; in private, arrogance

Tribune Democrat

April 7, 2019

By Richard Serbin

Few records so clearly show how arrogant and callous bishops can be.

I’d never seen the document before, despite representing victims of clergy child sexual abuse for over 30 years, and despite having scoured thousands of pages of church records, purposely hidden away in the “secret archives” of the church.

The document was generated because of the first-ever trial against a Pennsylvania child predator priest, bishop and diocese. I represented the victim. That case was the first and only one in state history to result in a jury verdict in favor of the victim. It was also the longest such case ever, having been dragged out by Catholic officials for more than 20 years.

So maybe I shouldn’t have reacted so strongly when I stumbled across the document only months ago in the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealing decades of clergy sex crimes and the complicity and enabling by the church.

Seeing it revealed publicly, 25 years after it was written, still was disturbing.

Bill overhauling Connecticut’s sexual harassment, assault laws advances

Connecticut Mirror

April 10. 2019

By Jenna Carlesso

Proponents of legislation that would toughen Connecticut’s sexual assault and harassment laws won a victory Wednesday with the Judiciary Committee’s passage of the so-called Time’s Up bill.

The measure would broaden the mandate for sexual harassment training, requiring all workplaces with three or more employees to provide the instruction to every worker.

Currently, employers with 50 or more workers must offer sexual harassment training, and the edict only applies to supervisors. The state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities would create a video and other online material to satisfy the new training requirement.

Sen. Dennis Bradley, D-Bridgeport, said he watched his mother, who worked as a secretary when he was a child, fend off unwanted advances.

“Those days where I had to go to work with her, to see how she was harassed as a woman in the workplace — I think this is not only progressive legislation in protecting women, but it also doesn’t put much of an incumbent on an employer to make sure that people have the sensitivity and the knowledge as to what’s acceptable in the workplace these days,” he said.

Some Republicans took issue with the bill’s stringent training requirements for businesses, especially small companies. They also expressed concern over what they described as a lack of due process for people accused of harassment.

The bill would extend or eliminate the statute of limitations for serious sexual crimes, including rape by force or drugs, sex with an unconscious person, forced sexual contact, sex by false medical pretense and unwanted sexual contact. It would wipe out the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against children, such as statutory rape and sexual contact with a student younger than 16.

“We are among the lowest in terms of the period of time we allow victims of sexual assault access to justice in the country,” said Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, a key backer of the legislation. “This bill will move Connecticut in line with many other states.”

Twenty states have a longer statute of limitations for rape, officials said, and 25 have no statute of limitations for the crime.

Vatican to investigate 1983 disappearance of teenage girl

The Guardian

April 10, 2019

The Vatican has launched an internal investigation into the disappearance of a teenage girl in 1983, in what could be a breakthrough for police investigating one of the country’s darkest mysteries.

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican police officer, was 15 when she was last seen leaving a music class on 22 June 1983.

On Wednesday, the Orlandi family’s lawyer said the Vatican had authorised a new investigation.

“The time has finally come to reach the truth and give justice to this girl after decades of silence,’’ Laura Sgrò told the Guardian.

The Vatican said last month that it was considering opening a tomb within its grounds after Sgrò received an anonymous tip-off telling her to look inside the marble-topped grave.

Sgrò was told to “look where the angel is pointing”, prompting her to ask for the opening of the tomb, which lies close to a statue of an angel holding a sheet bearing the words “Rest in peace”.

The lawyer said the family had requested an investigation of the tomb after Pope Francis announced the opening of Vatican archives on Pope Pius XII, the controversial wartime pontiff accused of failing to condemn the Holocaust.

“Seeing as the pope decided to open the Vatican archives for the pontificate of Pius XII in 2020, we made an appeal to the pontiff,” Sgrò said.

The Vatican tribunal’s promoter of justice, Gian Piero Milano, confirmed to the Ansa press agency that an investigation had been launched.

Priest Named on San Diego’s List Must be Added to Pittsburgh’s List

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 9, 2019

According to a recently published list, a priest who had been removed from his duties for abusing children also has connections to Pittsburgh.

The Rev. Peter Covas, who was named as an abuser on the list released by the Diocese of San Diego, also spent time in Pittsburgh. He worked at Duquense University as a history teacher in 1957.

We call on Bishop David Zubik to add this information to his list and to urge anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes – at the hands of Rev. Covas or any other priest – to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

Benedict's letter about sex abuse crisis is a regrettable text

National Catholic Reporter

April 11, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

When a friend first sent me Pope Emeritus Benedict's article about the root causes of clergy sex abuse, I thought the text was a hoax. Here, it seemed, was a caricature of both Joseph Ratzinger's once powerful intellect and of conservative explanations for the sex abuse crisis. Apparently the text is authentic, so we must search for other reasons why it gets so much wrong — and so much that the retired pope would know is wrong. Let us examine the difficulties with this text.

First and foremost, Benedict knows as few others do, that the crisis is a double affliction: There is the fact of the abuse and the fact of that abuse being covered up. Nowhere in this text does he explore the second affliction. Yet he knows that when, as Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he completed his investigation into the evil deeds of Fr. Marcial Maciel, no action was taken against this most horrible of perpetrators. He would have known about the allegations leveled against then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick before his promotion to the Archdiocese of Washington and to the cardinalate, and that those allegations were unanswered or ignored. He knew the circumstances that forced Cardinal Bernard Law to resign his see and spend the rest of his life occupying a sinecure in Rome. Why no mention of any of this?

Second, the former pope is undoubtedly correct that something happened in the 1960s, that there really was a sexual revolution. Pop culture announced the fact incessantly. As Benedict stipulates, of course that sexual revolution had an effect on preparing men for the priesthood and life in seminaries.

If you look at this chart of when perpetrators were ordained, you will see that the decade that produced the largest number of sexual abusers was indeed the 1960s, but that has no correlation to Benedict's claim that seminary reform created the problem The seminary reforms did not really start until the close of the Second Vatican Council and, in some places, not until the 1970s. What is more, the decade that produced the second highest number of perpetrators was the 1950s, not the 1970s. The former pope would have been more accurate if he had said that pre-Vatican II seminary formation did not prepare men for serving in a post-Vatican II culture. That, I think, we can all agree is the case. And a certain percentage of those men were psycho-sexually immature. It is the post-Vatican II seminary with its emphasis on human formation that began to weed out the immature and to graduate mostly healthy and well-adjusted men.

Third, one of the reasons I have long admired Ratzinger's theology is that he is so systematic, so thorough and careful, with arguments that go only as far as they can and no further. Yet here we get a series of anecdotes about sex education and naughty movies. He states, "The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence. That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers." I have a hard time believing the "no longer" in that second sentence — was there really ever a time when airlines showed dirty movies?

Fourth, Benedict is always described as a gentle soul, yet he seems to take pleasure in the fact that a German moral theologian, Franz Böckle, who challenged the ideas we all knew would be dominant in the 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor, died before the encyclical was published. Is the pope emeritus settling scores? That is not what one would expect of a holy man in advanced years, preparing to meet his maker.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI publishes article on sexual abuse crisis

America Magazine

April 11, 2019

By Carol Glatz

Retired Pope Benedict XVI, acknowledging his role in helping the Catholic Church come to terms with the clerical sexual abuse crisis beginning in the 1980s, wrote an article outlining his thoughts about what must be done now.

Seeing the crisis as rooted in the "egregious event" of the cultural and sexual revolution in the Western world in the 1960s and a collapse of the existence and authority of absolute truth and God, the retired pope said the primary task at hand is to reassert the joyful truth of God's existence and of the church as holding the true deposit of faith.

"When thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the faith in the reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament," he wrote.

The pope's remarks, presented as a compilation of "some notes," were to be published in Klerusblatt, a German-language Catholic monthly journal for clergy in Bavaria. Several news outlets released their translations of the text early April 11.

Given the February Vatican gathering of presidents of the world's bishops' conferences "to discuss the current crisis of faith and of the church," and given his role as pope during "the public outbreak of the crisis," the retired pope felt it appropriate he also help contribute "to a new beginning," he said.

Pope Benedict added that he contacted Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, before releasing the article.

Diocese of Green Bay holding prayer services following sexual abuse allegations


April 11, 2019

By Benjamin Burns

The Diocese of Green Bay is holding two prayer services for those in need of healing following the church's sexual abuse allegations.

The Catholic Church has been under fire for accusations around the world of priests sexually abusing minors. The Diocese of Green Bay has also released the names of 47 of its priests with confirmed allegations against them.

According to the Diocese, the healing prayer services are intended for all those in need of healing from the Church and for others to come together as members of the Church to pray for those in need of healing. All are invited, including survivors of sexual abuse, friends and family members of survivors, and other caring persons.

Spain's Supreme Court confirms jail for pedophile priest

Agence France Presse

April 11, 2019

Spain's Supreme Court has confirmed a jail sentence of more than 17 years for a priest who sexually abused two boys, one of whose parents consented.

The news comes as a trickle of accusations of sexual abuse against priests in schools and seminaries over the past few years has started to erode the wall of silence surrounding abuse in Catholic Spain.

In its verdict made public Wedneday, the Supreme Court confirmed a November 2017 sentence against Jose Donoso Fernandez, a former priest in the southwestern village of Mengabril, whom a provincial court sent to prison for 17 years and seven months.

It also confirmed a jail term of four years for the parents of one of the underage boys for committing sexual abuse "via omission, as they knew about and consented to the priest's sexual relations with their son."

The court said Donoso housed the Romanian couple and their children in 2013 and 2014 in the priest's parish house.

Fight over sexual abuse victims’ lawsuits returns to Senate

Associated Press

April 10, 2019

Pennsylvania's battle over giving now-adult victims of child sexual abuse another chance to sue their perpetrators or institutions that may have covered it up returned to the Senate on Wednesday, as competing bills landed in the chamber.

The movement comes six months after wider legislation to lift criminal and civil limitations on child sexual abuse cases collapsed in the Senate in the wake of a fresh Roman Catholic church scandal that spurred victims to lobby in the Capitol's corridors.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation to relax criminal and civil limitations and to amend the state constitution to create a two-year window for victims to file civil lawsuits if they'd lost that right because they passed Pennsylvania's legal age limit.

Peru bishops rebuke one of their own, back journalist convicted of defamation


April 11, 2019

By Elise Harris

On Wednesday the Peruvian bishops’ conference came out against one of their own after an archbishop won a criminal defamation case against journalist Pedro Salinas, known for revealing various scandals inside a prominent Catholic movement operating in the country.

On April 9, Salinas was sentenced to a 1-year suspended prison term and a $24,000 fine after Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura, in northwestern Peru, launched a criminal case of aggravated defamation against the journalist last year.

After the sentencing, the leadership of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference and the new Archbishop of Lima, Carlos Gustavo Castilla Mattasoglio, issued a statement April 10 backing Salinas and indicating that Pope Francis is also supportive of his efforts to uncover abuse.

In their statement, the bishops’ conference said Salinas “sought to clarify the truth” about scandals happening within the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), and that in the wake of his guilty verdict, Francis had asked them “to prioritize the compensation and attention to the victims of every type of abuse, condemning any form of complicity.”

Francis, they said, “has praised and thanked the work of the journalists who, through their investigations, contribute to denouncing the abuses, punishing the perpetrators and assisting the victims.”

“The pope underlines that the Church needs their help in this difficult task of fighting against evil,” and that the climate of mercy and conversion in Lent “moves everyone to the maximum transparency so that the crimes are recognized, and a just reparation is possible,” they said.

Deceased St. Bonaventure friar, former Archbishop Walsh principal accused of abuse

Olean Times Herald

Aprtil 11, 2019

By Tom Dinki

Two now-deceased friars, who both served in administrative positions in the Olean area’s two most prominent Catholic educational institutions, were reportedly accused of abuse.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo reviewed allegations last year against the Rev. Gervase White, a prominent St. Bonaventure University friar, and the Rev. James Cairnan Haggerty, a principal of Archbishop Walsh High School, according to diocesan documents reported by WKBW Wednesday evening. Both were accused by a different man.

White and Haggerty, according to the report, are among more than 20 accused priests whose names were never released by the diocese despite allegations against them being reviewed last June by the Diocesan Review Board, which reviews abuse claims for the diocese.

White, a Franciscan priest, worked at St. Bonaventure for nearly 50 years before his death in 2002. He served several roles at the university, according to Olean Times Herald archives, including vice president of student affairs, chair of the theology department, dean of men, director of the Third Order of St. Francis and and guardian of the on-campus friary.

St. Bonaventure officials released a statement late Wednesday that, according to their records, no instances of abuse had ever been reported against White during his 47 years at the university. However, they said Franciscans Friars of Holy Name Province, White’s sponsoring province, has informed them an allegation against White is being investigated.

“Until we know with certainty if this allegation is credible, we believe it’s not appropriate to comment further on the case at this time,” said St. Bonaventure President Dr. Dennis DePerro in the statement. “That said, St. Bonaventure University remains steadfastly committed to zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse or harassment — from students, faculty, staff or friars — and we will provide any support service necessary to those who have been victimized.”

The statement did not mention Haggerty, a Franciscan priest who served as a campus minister at St. Bonaventure for two years in the 1980s prior to his death in 1991.

A native of Jessup, Pa., and a World War II veteran, White entered the Franciscan Order at Callicoon in 1948, earned his bachelor’s degree in theology from St. Bonaventure in 1951 and was ordained in 1954.

White is still prominent at the university, as his name is attached to multiple honors bestowed by the institution and often recalled by older alumni in positive testimonials.

The Fr. Gervase F. White, O.F.M. Endowed Scholarship is listed on St. Bonaventure’s website. Additionally, the Fr. Gervase White, O.F.M., Staff Person of the Year award is presented to a St. Bonaventure employee who have “gone out of his or her way, especially in aiding students and enhancing student life on campus,” according to a 2015 St. Bonaventure awards program.

White’s name was also included on the Reilly Center’s video board, installed in the fall of 2016. The display was funded by donations from board of trustee member Albert C. Horton, Class of 1966, who has multiple times credited White as one of three university employees to whom Horton owes his success in life.

El "mapa del horror" de la Iglesia chilena: lanzan registro al detalle de los abusos sexuales de sacerdotes en el país

["Horror map" of Chilean Church records details of clergy sexual abuse, 230 cases]


April 7, 2019

By Gabriel Arce

Se tratan de 230 crímenes sexuales que registra la Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Eclesiástico. El mapa incluye geolocalización de los delitos, el acusado y año de las denuncias.

La Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Eclesiástico de Chile lanzó este fin de semana el "mapa del horror de la iglesia". Se trata de una iniciativa que registra los 230 crímenes sexuales que la agrupación contabiliza en todo el país, y que desde ahora estará disponible al detalle y geolocalizada en línea.

Bishop Malone wants Buffalo to ‘move on.


April 10, 2019

By Charlie Specht

Bishop Richard J. Malone in a recent interview called for Catholics “to see where we've failed, turn to God for forgiveness and mercy, and move on.”

But a group of influential Catholics at Canisius College say there’s no moving on until the diocese comes clean about the true scope of abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo.

“We’re in some senses maybe dying a death of a thousand cuts,” said Canisius College President John J. Hurley. “And wouldn’t it be better if we could just flush this all out in the open and we would know what we’re dealing with?”

Hurley’s group -- the Movement to Restore