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May 31, 2019

California lawmakers threaten to break confidentiality of confession to find abusers

Religion News Service

May 31, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Breaking with a long tradition of clerical privilege, California is edging toward requiring priests and other church employees to inform authorities if they learn of a case of child sex abuse during the sacrament of confession.

On Thursday (May 31), the California State Senate passed a bill that would require priests to report child abuse if they learn about it while hearing the confession of a fellow priest or colleague. The bill — which passed overwhelmingly with a 30-4 vote, with 4 not voting at all — was amended from its original version, which would have required a priest to report abuse they learn about in any confession they hear, not just those of their fellow clerics and coworkers.

But even the altered version of the bill is sparking outrage among Catholic leaders who see it as forcing priests and other clergy either to comply with the law and violate the sacramental seal of confession or defy authorities and risk arrest.

The California Catholic Conference decried the bill in a statement, describing it as an “attack on the sanctity of the confessional” and noting that under church law, any priest who violates the seal of confession is automatically excommunicated.

In a separate interview with Religion News Service, a spokesperson for the conference argued that the narrowing of the bill only sharpens opponents’ argument that it violates religious freedom provisions and is discriminatory.

“The more you narrow it down, the more unconstitutional it gets,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that, while Catholic officials won’t prepare any legal challenges before the bill passes in California’s lower chamber, they wouldn’t rule out potential future lawsuits.

“I do find it quite shocking, because it is a blatant violation of the First Amendment,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told Relevant Radio. “The whole point of the First Amendment, and one of the foundational principles of this country, was to keep the government out of the church. Here is… the government intruding into the church’s affairs.”

Bishop Michael Barber of the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., also forbade any priests in his region from obeying the bill, which was sponsored by State Senator Jerry Hill, if it becomes law.

“(Y)our right to confess to God and have your sins forgiven in total privacy must be protected,” Barber wrote in a letter released on Tuesday.

Are California Catholic dioceses using victim compensation fund to prevent future lawsuits?

ABC 10 News

May 27, 2019

By Lilia Luciano

In California, victims of childhood sexual abuse have until they are 26 years old to file lawsuit damages, a statute of limitations that Assemblywoman Lorena González hopes to extend until those victims are 40 years old.

Introduced by González, AB 218 seeks to significantly extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse.

The bill is exactly the same as the one González (D-San Diego) introduced last year, which passed, but was killed when vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. In 2013 Brown also vetoed a Senate bill that sought to eliminate the statute of limitation altogether.

With a new Governor in the state, supporters of AB 218 are hopeful that it will pass and be signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The timing of the bill’s passing could coincide with the recent announcement by the Sacramento Catholic Diocese that it will participate in the creation of an Independent Victim Compensation Program for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.

The fund will be administered by the Washington D.C. based Feinberg Law Firm, which has handled similar programs in New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.

In the announcement, the Diocese of Sacramento stated “through their efforts, more than 1,200 victims/survivors have received compensation in New York alone.”

The Sacramento diocese released the names of 46 clergymen credibly accused of abusing 130 victims, but Joe George, the leading attorney in Sacramento representing victims of clergy abuse said about the list, “I think games were played with numbers of victims.”

He added that the Church made it seem like the “overwhelming majority of the number of victims were as a result of three or four Mexican-American and Hispanic perpetrators.”

Another whistle-blower among the clergy What's really behind the 'Figueiredo Report' and who is the author?

LaCroix International

May 31, 2019

By Robert Mickens

When Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò called on Pope Francis to resign last summer for allegedly covering up the sexual crimes of the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, it was "like an earthquake for the Church."

That's how Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, a former Vatican official and a longtime consultant for CBS News, described Viganò's "testimony," an 11-page dossier of accusations and innuendos that targeted the pope and nearly a dozen high-ranking Vatican prelates. Msgr. Figueiredo, a priest from the Archdiocese of Newark (New Jersey) who has been living in Rome since 2006, immediately defended Viganò's credibility.

"I know him personally," he told CBS. "I know him as a man of great integrity, honest to the core. He's worked for three different popes, and [was] sent to a Vatican position, a diplomatic position as big as the United States, which means he's a trusted man.

"The very bright and articulate Newark priest vouched for Viganò on Aug. 27, 2018, just one day after the former papal nuncio carefully coordinated with LifeSite News and the National Catholic Register to publish his 11 pages of accusations.

Taking Viganò's leadNow nine months later Msgr. Figueiredo is back in the news. And how!

Following in the footsteps of his friend or acquaintance, Archbishop Viganò, the 55-year-old priest has become the latest clergyman with a public profile to blow the whistle on Church cover-up in the hierarchy.

He did so this past May 28 when he released – simultaneously through CBS and the Catholic publication, Crux – excerpts of personal correspondence with McCarrick, a man whom (you will see in a moment) he once considered a father figure and patron.

These carefully chosen excerpts reinforce claims made by Viganò and others that a number of high-ranking Church officials were aware that Benedict XVI had quietly placed restrictions on the former cardinal but they did nothing to enforce them.

Vatican appoints overseers for scandal-ridden Peruvian lay organization


May 31, 2019

By Elise Harris

A troubled Peruvian lay group has received two new Vatican-appointed representatives to help oversee institutional reform as questions over the group’s identity and stability continue to hang in the air following public scandals involving high-ranking members.

Earlier this month the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life named Franciscan Father Guillermo Rodríguez as delegate ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, or “at the behest of the Holy See,” to the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) to help implement reforms, and Jesuit Father GianFranco Ghirlanda to revamp the group’s formation process.

In 2017 the SCV’s founder, Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, was sanctioned by the Vatican for abuses of power, conscience and sexuality within the community.

In 2018 the Vatican congregation tapped Colombian Bishop Noel Londoño of Jerico to serve as a “commissioner” for the group, essentially taking the reins and guiding the community as they sought to implement their reform.

When the SCV held its fifth general assembly in Aparecida, Brazil in January, Londoño voiced his conviction that his role was no longer needed, and that the SCV could move forward with its own leadership guiding the reform.

During the meeting Londoño also announced that a special Vatican-appointed delegate would be named in the following months to serve as a point of reference with the Vatican to assist the SCV government in continuing to implement changes.

In their roles, Rodríguez will advise SCV leadership on key decisions while Ghirlanda will assist in the revision of the rules guiding the group’s formation process and community life, help to ensure formators are well-prepared for the task, and that new members have the support they need, and develop plans for initial and ongoing formation.

Daniel Caledron, communications representative for the SCV, told Crux that since their nomination is ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, the assignment has no timeline, and for now is “indefinite.”

However, despite the positive review from Londoño, many have voiced skepticism over the depth of the SCV’s reform, with some victims arguing that Londoño’s tenure was ineffective given the fact that he oversees a diocese in Colombia, while the SCV is headquartered in Peru, making it difficult to keep track of the SCV’s progress.

Many victims complained that during his year as commissioner, Londoño never scheduled meetings with them, including those who were former members of the organization and could have offered advice for renewal.

Victims in November 2018 met with the leadership of the Peruvian bishops’ conference and subsequently sent Pope Francis a letter, which Crux obtained, asking him to resolve the situation, saying reform efforts had been poorly handled.

1,455 new Catholic clergy abuse cases surfaced in 2017-18, audit finds


May 31, 2019

By Kim Chatelain

Nearly 1,500 new allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic church were brought forward over a one-year period ending June 30, 2018, a marked rise over previous years, the U.S. bishops’ conference reported Friday (May 31).

The annual report for audit year July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 indicates that 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 new allegations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection reported in a news release.

Based on the findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a Rochester, New York, firm that specializes in forensic, internal and compliance audit services, the report indicated that 92 percent of the offending clergy members identified during the annual reporting period were either already dead, laicized, removed from ministry or missing. The majority of allegations concerned the period between 1960-1990, with a concentration in the 1970s, the audit found.

The report is the 16th of its kind since 2002 when the U.S. bishops’ conference approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a formal pledge to address the problem of clergy abuse that has rocked the Catholic church over the past several decades. The charter involves programs for background checks, safe environment training, review boards enforcing zero tolerance policies and victims’ assistance efforts.

In his preface to the report, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote of his “sincere gratitude” for the courage of victims of abuse.

“Because of their bravery in coming forward, victim/survivor assistance and child protection are now core elements of the Church,” DiNardo wrote. “The Church is a far safer place today than when we launched the charter in 2002.”

The escalation in the number of allegations displayed in the most recent report was attributed to the state-wide adoption of Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs by the five dioceses in the state of New York.

Some Catholics call for an outside investigative entity to hold leaders accountable.

Twenty-six new allegations involving current minors were presented during the report’s window, three of which were substantiated and resulted in a priest being removed from active ministry, according to the report. Seven allegations were listed as “unsubstantiated” by the time the report’s window closed.

Three were categorized as "unable to be proven" and investigations were still in progress for six of the allegations as of June 30, 2018. For the remaining seven allegations involving minors, two were referred to a religious order, two were reported as unknown clerics, and three were not claims of sexual abuse, but were boundary violations, according to the news release.

Catholic Church reports number of sex-abuse allegations has doubled

Associated Press

May 31, 2019

Quantifying its vast sex-abuse crisis, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church said Friday that allegations of child sex abuse by clerics more than doubled in its latest 12-month reporting period, and that its spending on victim compensation and child protection surged above $300 million.

During the period from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations of abuse, according to the annual report of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. That was up from 693 allegations in the previous year. The report attributed much of the increase to a victim compensation program implemented in five dioceses in New York state.

According to the report, Catholic dioceses and religious orders spent $301.6 million during the reporting period on payments to victims, legal fees and child-protection efforts. That was up 14% from the previous year and double the amount spent in the 2014 fiscal year.

The number of allegations is likely to rise further during the current fiscal year, given that Catholic dioceses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have started large compensation programs in the wake of a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August. The grand jury identified more than 300 priests in six of the state’s dioceses who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse committed over many decades.

Since then, attorneys general in numerous states have set up abuse hotlines and launched investigations, and a growing number of dioceses and Catholic religious orders have released names of priests accused of abuse.


Catholic News Service

May, 31, 2019

Michele Gentiloni, Henn’s attorney, said his client was taken into custody May 28 after trying to use his expired U.S. passport as identification to pick up some medicine he needed. A spokesman for the Carabinieri, the Italian police force that apprehended Henn, disputed that version of events, claiming instead that the priest had requested assistance at a city-run immigrant assistance center using a false name.

Henn was assigned by the Salvatorian order to serve at St. Mark Parish in Phoenix from 1978 to 1982. He was indicted on sexual abuse charges in 2003 and arrested in Rome in July 2005 after a request but disappeared before he could be extradited to the United States to stand trial.

“The Diocese of Phoenix is pleased to learn that authorities have located and apprehended former Salvatorian priest Joseph Henn in Italy,” said diocesan officials in a statement. “We support the efforts of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to extradite Henn and return him to the United States in order to face the criminal charges against him.”

Henn is identified on the Diocese of Phoenix website as a priest who has been removed from ministry due to sexual misconduct with a minor.

He was expelled from his order and removed from the priesthood in 2006 and is currently is in Rome’s Regina Coeli prison awaiting questioning, which must happen by June 3, his attorney told Catholic News Service May 31.

Fr. Jeff Wocken, U.S. provincial of the Salvatorians, confirmed to CNS that Henn had been removed from the order and the priesthood in 2006, and that he had left the Salvatorian headquarters before the extradition order could be carried out.

According to the 2004 annual report for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Henn was charged with 10 counts of child molestation, one count of attempted sexual contact with a minor, one count of attempted child molestation and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Henn had been accused of molesting at least three boys under the age of 15 between 1979 and 1981 when he was living and working in Phoenix.

‘Much progress still needed’ DiNardo says as bishops release child protection report

Catholic News Agency

May 31, 2019

The U.S. bishops’ conference has released its annual report on the protection of children. The report records an increase in the number of new allegations of clerical sexual abuse being brought forward following the launch of independent compensation programs in some states.

The annual report on Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was released May 31 by the USCCB’s Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.

Writing in his preface to the report, USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said he offered his “sincere gratitude” for the courage of victims of abuse.

“Because of their bravery in coming forward, victim and survivor assistance and child protection are now core elements of the Church.”

The report covers a year-long period ending June 30, 2018 and is the sixteenth report since the implementation of the Dallas Charter and USCCB Essential Norms in 2002.

According to the report, in new complaints lodged during the report’s annual window, 92% of offenders identified were already either dead, laicized, removed from ministry, or missing. The majority of allegations concerned the period between 1960-1990, with a concentration in the 1970s.

In total, 1,385 adults reported 1,455 new allegations between July 31, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The numbers represent a marked rise over the previous reporting period.

The report attributed the escalation to the state-wide adoption of Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs by the dioceses of New York. The vast majority of all new cases reported concerned historical instances of abuse.

Twenty-six new allegations involving current minors were presented during the report’s window, three of which were substantiated and resulted in a priest being removed from active ministry. Seven allegations were listed as “unsubstantiated” by the time the report’s window closed, with three more classed as “unable to be proven.”

Democratic presidential hopeful: 'Church is wrong on abortion, priests, LGBT'

Catholic News Agency

May 31, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has said that she disputes Church teaching on the priesthood, sexuality, and abortion.

The Democratic presidential candidate made the comments while discussing her own beliefs in an interview for Iowa Public Radio's NPR Politics Podcast on Wednesday.

Gillibrand was raised in the Church and said she still “identifies” as a Catholic, even though she attends religious services at non-Catholic churches. The senator said she disagrees with Catholic teaching on “many things,” listing abortion, LGBT issues, and the all-male priesthood as points of dissent.

“I think [the Church] is wrong on those three issues,” said Gilibrand. “And I don’t think they’re supported by the Gospel or the Bible in any way. I just--I don’t see it, and I go to two Bible studies a week. I take my faith really seriously.”

Gillibrand is an outspoken supporter of abortion rights and has a zero percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee on life issues.

Catholic ministry repulsed by priest's comments

Huron Daily Tribune

May 31, 2019

By Bradley Massman

The Archdiocese of Detroit is standing by its decision to remove a priest, who now resides in the Port Austin area, from ministry three years ago.

"The Archdiocese of Detroit ... is repulsed by comments attributed to him in recent media reports," the archdiocese stated in reference to Lawrence Ventline.

Ventline is a priest who has been temporarily removed from the ministry since 2016. He is also currently facing licensing action by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.

Earlier this week, Ventline indicated he was going to sue the AG's office.

"A lawsuit will be filed by week's end with the finest prosecuting attorney in MI (Michigan) to sue the Catholic axe-grinding same-gender attracted AG Nessel," Ventline previously stated in an email to the Tribune this week.

"Ventline's personal attacks against Attorney General Dana Nessel have no place in public discourse,"the archdiocese stated. "In addition, any threat of a lawsuit by him has absolutely no support or involvement from the Detroit archdiocese."

As of Friday morning, the AG's office has not received a lawsuit from Ventline, Dan Olsen, a spokesperson for the AG, told the Tribune.

Ventline lashed out at the archdiocese in response to its statement decrying his comments about Nessel.

"AoD (Archdiocese of Detroit) are hellish hypocrites losing Catholics daily who seek Jesus and the truth," Ventline told the Tribune.

Not just a billboard: Molested at 12. Sold by Dad. Raped 8 times a day.


May 31, 2019

By Gracie Bonds Staples

There’s a parable about a villager who one day spots a drowning baby and pulls it from a river. The next day, he sees two more and snatches them from the same swift waters. The following day, four babies are caught in the turbulent current. And then eight, then more, and more.

Deborah Richardson, executive director of the International Human Trafficking Institute, retold the story recently to make a point. It’s time, she said, we addressed the root cause of sex trafficking — demand.For far too long, our advocacy and law enforcement efforts have focused on the arrest and prosecution of traffickers, while those who were driving the market demand of exploited children were ignored.

Richardson hopes a new digital billboard campaign her agency launched May 21 will finally do the trick.Having seen those billboards, I don’t see how it couldn’t.

“The Truth in Trafficking,” which will run through June 16, is the brainchild of Legend ad agency CEO Michael Dunn.The billboards, he said, were designed to get into the predator’s mind, deconstruct his motivations and destroy his justifications. He doesn’t see his behavior as destructive but rather transactional. He has blinded himself to the truth, the horrors he creates, the irreparable damage he does to these innocent children who have absolutely no choice — and never have.

Child sex abuse survivor blasts bishop

Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.

May 31, 2019

Victim speaks out now for the first time

He feels ‘abused again’ by recent dealings with church

“If you’re suffering, get help,” he says, “but not from diocese”

His experiences cast doubt on Sacremento bishop’s pay out plan

Man may file formal complaint with the state about church social worker

And his attorney insists that diocesan staffers get informed consent first from victims

At a news conference, a local child sex abuse victim (who is NOT revealing his name or face) was sexually violated by a Sacramento priest will speak for the first time publicly about
--his childhood trauma and
--his recent one hour meeting with a local Catholic staffer who handles abuse cases in which he was told that
--church officials have gotten “so many” abuse reports in the last few weeks,
--he’d be lower on the priority list because his perpetrator is deceased, and
--the diocese would pay for “a few counseling sessions” for him but only if he signed away his privacy rights and let church officials get “updates” from his therapist.

The victim may file a formal complaint with the state agency about the licensed clinical social worker because he believes her professional contact with him violates ethical rules.

He will also warn victims to not trust Sacramento diocesan officials and says that the church’s approach to purportedly “helping” survivors is “one-sided and shameful.”

And his attorney will call on the bishop and his staff to get “informed consent” before speaking with abuse victims.

Friday, May 31 at 10:45 a.m.

Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D., 601 University Avenue, Suite 230, Sacramento, CA

Woman Who Raised Alarm About Pedophile Priest John Geoghan Dies

Associated Press

May 31, 2019

A Boston woman who was one of the first people to raise the alarm about a sexually abusive Roman Catholic priest has died.

Maryetta Dussourd was 74.

She died of cancer on May 24, according to her obituary.

The Mann & Rodgers Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements, confirmed the death.

Dussourd told The Boston Globe for a 2002 story that she was stunned when she learned the Rev. John Geoghan was fondling her three sons as well as her niece’s four sons in the late 1970s.

She said she was warned by church officials to keep quiet and told not to sue. Other parishioners shunned her.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called Dussourd “a hero, plain and simple.”

Geoghan was killed in prison by another inmate in 2003.

John Denham told a court he had remorse for sexually abusing 59 boys, but a judge rejected the claim

Herald News

May 31, 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

THE sadistic Hunter Catholic priest whose crimes against children were the catalyst for a royal commission will spend longer in jail after he was convicted of sexually abusing a 59th victim.

John Sidney Denham, 76, left a young boy bleeding and sobbing after dragging him from a Taree Catholic primary school playground to a nearby presbytery and violently sexually assaulting him in the early 1980s.

Denham then silenced the terrified, traumatised boy, 11, with a warning that: "If you tell anyone, anyone at all, you'll be taken away from your parents, your parents will be thrown out of the church, you will go to hell and maybe be taken away from your parents forever and never see them again, and there will be more trouble."

Denham denied the crimes during a judge-alone trial in 2018 and said he had no memory of the victim.

It was "an entirely cynical basis upon which to prosecute a defence", said District Court Judge Phillip Mahony before finding Denham guilty of four offences, including buggery, and rejecting Denham's claim of remorse.

Denham "has not recognised the pain and suffering caused to the victim of these offences at all", said Judge Mahony in a decision on Thursday.

He sentenced Denham to a maximum 13 years jail, with a non-parole period of seven years and six months. But because the former Hunter priest is already in jail until at least January, 2028, and the crimes against his 59th victim occurred in the same period he committed other offences, he will spend at least another 18 months in jail for the latest convictions.

His earliest possible release date is July, 2029, with his full sentence not ending until January, 2035 when Denham is 92.

Victims beg church staff to “blow the whistle”

Pope’s new abuse policy takes effect Saturday

It protects Catholic whistle blowers

Reporting suspected abuse is now everyone’s responsibility

But SNAP urges employees to tell law enforcement first

They call on US Bishops to create a whistleblower “Reward Fund”

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conferences, clergy abuse survivors and advocates will urge Church officials to take advantage of Pope Francis’ new whistle blower protections by coming forward to police and prosecutors with any information they have regarding cases of clergy sexual abuse. They will also encourage the formation of a Church-run “reward fund” that will benefit whistle blowers who speak out.

Friday, May 31 in Chicago, Washington D.C., and Oakland

Several clergy sex abuse survivors and supporters who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

This Saturday, the Catholic Church’s first-ever world-wide abuse policy officially takes effect. Outlined by Pope Francis earlier this month, the policy says Church staff must report abuse and are guaranteed whistle blower protection when they do. SNAP wants US bishops to “widely publicize these two new rules” to ensure that employees “know about them and will act on them.”

SNAP also wants the US Catholic hierarchy to start a “whistle blowers reward fund” to give more incentive to Church workers to speak up when they see, suspect or suffer wrongdoing. The group is also appealing to current and former employees to call secular authorities first, not Church supervisors, in these cases.

Former Catholic priest in court on Thursday


May 30, 2019

One of five former catholic priests charged with sex crimes in Michigan appeared in court outside of Detroit on Thursday.

Patrick Casey, 55, faces felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He is accused of sexual acts with a 24-year-old man who sought counseling during a 2013 confession.

Casey was dismissed from ministry last year after the man reported the incident to his archdiocese in 2015, which led to a formal investigation.

Church's awareness of pedophilia increasing

LaCroix International

May 31, 2019

The French Senate's Information Mission on Sexual Offenses against Minors, which was created last autumn following a series of revelations of abuse in the Church, published its report on May 29. Senate president Catherine Deroche (Les Républicains) told La Croix International that silence on these issues has also prevailed in other institutions.

The Senate Information Mission on Sexual Offenses against Minors was created in October 2018 following a call by the magazine, Témoignage chrétien, to launch an independent commission of inquiry into abuse in the Catholic Church.

La Croix: After months of hearings, does the Church appear worse than other social institutions involved with young people?

Catherine Deroche: The Catholic Church has been the epicenter of the revelation movement but the phenomenon of sexual assault against minors exists in many institution, religious and secular.

Abused by missionaries

Houston Chronicle

May 31, 2019

By Lise Olsen and Sarah Smith

George Thomas Wade Jr. had been spreading the gospel as a missionary on African training farms and in bush villages for six years when his Southern Baptist supervisors learned a horrifying secret: The supposedly devout man of God was molesting his own daughter.

A supervisor met once privately with the girl, who was attending boarding school in Johannesburg, and later consulted leaders based 7,500 miles away at the Richmond, Va., headquarters of what's now called the International Mission Board. Wade promised to stop, the supervisor said. His daughter said she was told to forgive Wade and was sworn to secrecy.

No one told Wade’s wife, also a missionary, what he had done, court records show.

His daughter was never again asked about the abuse, which continued, even after she attempted suicide at 15.

“I felt stupid for having told anything to anybody,” she later testified. “The concern was for my father. ... It didn’t matter what happened to me.”

The practice of the Southern Baptist mission board — the world’s largest sponsor of Protestant missionaries — has been for years to keep misconduct reports inside the hierarchy of the organization, a Houston Chronicle investigation reveals. The board is a massive charitable organization that as of 2018 fielded more than 3,600 missionaries and “team associates” overseas and managed an annual budget of $158 million or more, nearly all tithes from members of churches that belong to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Sponsors of sex-abuse legislation angry over change to R.I. Senate bill

Providence Journal

May 30, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

On the day the House overwhelmingly approved a bill to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue, Senate leaders served notice they will not support a key feature of the bill that leaves the door ajar for suits based on recovered memories against institutions — such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts — that failed to protect victims from their molesters.

“It looks like the church [has a seat] at the table over in the Senate,” fumed the lead House sponsor, Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, on Thursday morning, on the day after the Senate Judiciary Committee posted a reworked, and conflicting, version of the bill for a vote on Thursday night.

Several of the past victims of clergy sex abuse — including McEntee’s now-66-year-old sister, Ann Hagan Webb, and Dr. Herbert “Hub” Brennan — raced to the State House in hopes of dissuading the senators from approving what they viewed as a weaker version of the bill that in Brennan’s words “is really a shadow of what needs to be done.”

“It is sacrificing the welfare of children at the altar of the Catholic Church,” Webb told reporters.

Clergy abuse survivors, others hope for offers higher than $5.6M for former Accion Hotel

Pacific Daily News

May 31, 2019

By Haidee V Eugenio

Prospective buyers can make offers on the former Accion Hotel in Yona up to Aug. 8, which is the eve of a federal court hearing on the Archdiocese of Agana's ongoing bankruptcy case.

Proceeds of the property sale will go toward paying more than 200 Guam clergy sex abuse claims against the archdiocese, which filed for reorganization bankruptcy protection in January.

The archdiocese, through Idaho-based Attorney Ford Elsaesser, agreed with creditors' request to extend the purchase period, but told the court on Friday about the risk of losing the cash offers that are already on the table.

2 purchase offers
These are the $5.35 million from TF Investment LLC, and $5.6 million from Dr. Saied Safabakhsh, a nephrologist and owner of dialysis centers on Guam.

TF Investment's president is Chieng Tan, who is also president of GPPC Inc., which has been a longtime contractor on Guam, Saipan and other parts of Micronesia.

Safabakhsh, known in the community as "Dr. Safa," intends to turn the former Yona hotel into a clinic, according to real estate broker Alliance Realty LLC.

Both TF Investment and Safabakhsh made an earnest deposit of $100,000 each, and both are ready to close the deal as soon as the federal court approves the sale, Elsaesser said.

Minnesota-based Attorney Edwin Caldie, counsel for the unsecured creditors committee that includes clergy sex abuse survivors, asked the court for a 120-day or four-month period to continue to find buyers for the property for a higher price.

"We do not believe the property was robustly marketed internationally," Caldie told the court.

The archdiocese listed the Yona property in 2018 for $7.5 million.

May 30, 2019

Diocese of Buffalo is Endangering the Faithful

Patheos blog

May 30, 2019

By Mary Pezzulo

I have, on and off, been following the case of the seminarians in the Diocese of Buffalo who were allegedly subjected to sexual harassment and faced a backlash when they went to the press.

Now, another article has come to my attention, about that same seminary and the diocese of Buffalo.

WKBW Buffalo is reporting that the diocese of Buffalo has found three priests guilty of sexual misconduct– and the bishop is returning two of them to active ministry.

Father Joseph C. Gatto was accused of “improper conduct” with adults– please note the plural, “adults” and not one adult, he allegedly made sexual advances at two different men who came to him for counseling and engaged in “sexual activity” with a seminarian– while he was rector of Christ the King seminary and temporarily suspended. He was sent for “treatment” at a facility in Toronto where the diocese has sent sexually abusive priests before. He’s now being returned to active ministry.

Father Samuel T. Giangreco, Junior, was suspended for “a complaint involving a female.” WKBW says that a source tells them that the victim of sexual harassment was a married woman of the parish. He “underwent professional evaluation and remedial measures” as well, and is being returned to ministry.

Father Michael P. Juran was accused of sexually abusing children, and these accusations were “substantiated;” he, at least, will not be allowed back into ministry. But the in the other two cases, the sexual misconduct “did not rise to the level that would require removal from active priestly ministry” in the diocese’s opinion. Those two priests were sent to therapy for a very short time– it must have been short, because Gatto was only suspended in September. And now they’ll be sent back to working with the men, women and children in the Catholic Church.

It feels almost futile to speak out at this point, but then again, I can’t very well remain silent.

Do you know what “remedial therapy” measures have been proven 100% effective to stop sexual abusers from ever abusing again?

New Records Detail Items Seized from Dallas Catholic Diocese


May 29, 2019

New court records detail the records seized about alleged sexual misconduct in raids earlier this month at three Dallas Catholic Diocese locations.

The May 15 raids at the Diocese headquarters at 3725 Blackburn Street, St. Cecelia Church in Oak Cliff and a storage locker on Ledbetter Drive in Southern Dallas were authorized in a search warrant affidavit from Dallas Police Detective David Clark, signed by Judge Brandon Birmingham.

The new evidence inventory includes electronic and paper records, financial, insurance and lawsuit information. Documents concerning deceased Bishops Thomas Tschoepe and Charles Grahmann are mentioned.

The search warrant affidavit said police were seeking records concerning accusations about five former priests including Edmundo Paredes who served at St. Cecelia, but is believed to have left the country.

Attorney Sergio Aleman who has sued the Diocese on behalf of alleged victims of Paredes said some of the seized evidence concerns his case and he could not comment on specific details of the evidence.

Bishops of East Africa develop handbook to guide child protection

Catholic News Service

May 30, 2019

By Francis Njuguna

Catholic bishops of East Africa have introduced a handbook to assist church leaders develop standards to safeguard the safety of children.

Titled “Child Safeguarding - Standards and Guidelines: A Catholic Guide for Policy Development” was introduced May 29 in the Kenyan capital May 29 by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, known as AMECEA.

The release followed a three-day child safety seminar May 28-30 attended by bishops, clergy, religious men and women and laypeople working in various ministries.

George Thuku, AMECEA’s child protection officer, said the handbook is expected to be used by each national bishops’ conference throughout the region as they establish their own safeguarding policies.

“Each of the national episcopal conferences should ensure that it has officially launched its national policy on the issue, child safeguarding,” Thuku said.

Father Emmanuel Chimombo, director of AMECEA’s Pastoral Department, explained that the handbook sets the minimum requirements for individual bishops’ conferences to follow.

“The document is not everything, but has a minimum standards and guidelines that the church in the region can effectively use to tackle matters pertaining to the child safeguarding and protection,” he said.

The handbook includes guidelines on funding the establishment and implementation of child protection policies.

“There should be other avenues through which the issue (of) child safeguarding and protection could equally be tackled under some of the already existing policies within the church structure,” Thuku said during the handbook’s introduction.

Afterward, the release, Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, Zambia, told Catholic News Service that the handbook builds on the discussions by the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences during the Vatican summit on child protection in February.

Why Society Goes Easy on Rapists

Slate Magazine

May 30, 2019

By Lili Loofbourow

I started compiling a list of sexual assailants who got no prison time almost by accident. Twitter makes it easy: You stumble across a case where a man in Anchorage, Alaska, spent no time behind bars for strangling to unconsciousness a woman he masturbated on. You tweet it. Then you read about the Texas doctor who went free after assaulting a patient while she was sedated. You note similarities. Then you read about the high school girl who reported her rape immediately, to no avail—police never even spoke to the alleged attackers. You tack one story like this onto the other, you thread them, and suddenly you have a string of anecdotes that, without much system or method, seems to describe an America disinclined to punish sexual assault. It’s a list that leaves most people who read it terribly angry, including me.

But—and this is maybe the surprising thing—that anger started bugging me. Not because anger isn’t warranted, but because my list a) inflames it and b) seems to imply that the solutions are simple and obvious when they aren’t. Worse still, there’s something almost involuntary about the response: It’s hard not to rage at this collection of facts I’ve strung together. Especially if they’re taken in conjunction with the ongoing evidence of our broken criminal justice system. It’s just so easy to make comparisons: A rapist got no jail time, but a homeless man was sentenced to three to six years for attempting to buy toothpaste and food with a counterfeit $20 bill. Sit back and watch the retweets flow.

The trouble with the anger that a thread like mine provokes—which is ostensibly just pointing out the ways we fail to punish rape—is that it twists all too easily into a call for more punishment. Lists have a rhetoric. They tend asymptotically toward specific arguments, and the implication of mine gave me pause. We know what lies down that road because we’ve tried it: Stricter sentencing guidelines, for instance, always hit minorities and disadvantaged people first and hardest. If anger is an engine, the risk is always that even with good intentions it will power bad outcomes—especially when that anger feels justified by facts. My list represents a set of perfectly true facts. But it gives the impression that those facts are all you need to know about how our society deals with sexual crimes. The thread isn’t properly contextualized. It’s just a string of rage-inducing anecdotes, a random compilation of upsetting incidents that came to my attention precisely because they were scandalous. On its own, in other words, the list isn’t proof of anything.

But when it comes to sexual assault, ditching emotion and sticking to facts isn’t as easy as it sounds, for the simple reason that feelings have already clouded what we can know. Sympathy and suspicion—for suspects and victims, respectively—factor powerfully into every aspect of how law enforcement deals with sexual crimes, fogging up the numbers or erasing them altogether. When you look for facts, what you find is that the few we have are woefully insufficient. Sexual assault is massively underreported, and even when victims come forward, convictions are rare. According to RAINN, only 5 out of every 1,000 rapes committed—that’s 0.5 percent—ends in a felony conviction. The Washington Post puts the figure at 7 out of 1,000, but pretty much everyone agrees it’s under 1 percent. We usually try to make sense of this painfully low number by noting that many rapes aren’t reported, which is true, but the crime is also notoriously under-investigated.

Southern Baptist Membership Hits New Low as Church Tackles Abuse, Racism, and Role of Women

Christian Broadcast Network

May 30, 2019

For the first time in 30 years, membership with Southern Baptist Churches is at a record low.

New numbers from Southern Baptist Churches show that membership fell from approximately 15 million to 14.8 million in 2018. This is the first time in 30 years that it's been below 15 million.

The denomination will hold its annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama in two weeks where the decline will be discussed. Other talking points at the convention will be abuse, racism and women in the church.

President of the Southern Baptists' Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Dr. Russell Moore confirmed that membership decline has been a steady issue.

"This is a problem that is long running. It has to do with a number of things. One of those things has to do with secularization and the outside society, but more than that is the issue within the church. Both in terms of fervency for evangelism and also in terms of moral credibility," he said, referring to recent sex abuse scandals in the church.

Southern Baptists launched a task force last year to study sexual abuse within the church. Dr. Moore said they've begun making successful strides in this area.

"The advisory study group has been working all year. They have really been working very hard and will be bringing a series of recommendations to the convention. This is the beginning of what really has to be year after year after year of vigilance and reform when it comes to these issues."

Dr. Moore agreed that the SBC should take steps to actively remove churches that respond poorly to abuse disclosures. When combating racism, he talked about unity and fellowship.

"I am hoping for, at the annual meaning, continued emphasis on what Jesus has taught us on what His kingdom is to look like, which is a kingdom of people tearing down carnal divisions loving each other and also standing up for one another and bearing one another's burdens, and so I am hoping that that will be the tenor of this year's meeting as well."

2nd offer for former Accion Hotel is $5.6M, to help pay 200-plus clergy sex abuse claims

Pacific Daily News

May 31, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio

The Archdiocese of Agana received a second offer to buy its Yona property for $5.6 million, higher than the initial offer they received, documents filed in the federal bankruptcy court shows.

Proceeds of the sale of the former Accion Hotel will help the archdiocese pay more than 200 Guam clergy sex abuse claims.

The archdiocese listed the property in 2018 for $7.5 million.

The archdiocese in January sought bankruptcy protection to keep its churches, schools, soup kitchen and other social services open while at the same time be able to settle the abuse claims.

The archdiocese received a May 15 offer from Saied Safabakhsh to buy the former Accion Hotel.

Safabakhsh, a medical doctor who owns dialysis centers on Guam, made an earnest deposit of $100,000 for the proposed purchase.

Previously, TF Investment LLC offered to buy the same property for a revised price of $5.35 million. TF Investment's president is Chieng Tan, who is also president of GPPC Inc., which has been a longtime contractor on Guam, Saipan and other parts of Micronesia.

Fr. Fred Lenczycki Convicted, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 30, 2019

One of the most notorious and prolific US predator priests has pled guilty today to more child sex crimes and faces sentencing soon. He worked in Chicago and St. Louis areas and elsewhere.

We are relieved that Fr. Fred Lenczycki’s brave victims won't have to endure a trial. We remain deeply grateful to and impressed by the two St. Louis men who stuck their necks out so that others will not have to worry about Fr. Lenczycki being around children or vulnerable adults in the future. Their willingness to come forward has likely spared others from the horrific pain of sexual abuse.

For the safety of children, we hope Fr. Lenczycki gets the longest possible sentence.

And while Fr. Lenczycki has now been convicted, we hope that others who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Lenczycki’s crimes will avoid the temptation to stay silent. Every time a survivor, witness or whistleblower finds the courage to speak up, more of the truth is revealed, and informed communities are better able to safeguard the vulnerable.

Whistleblowing Mom Who Reported Fr. Geoghan Passes Away

Survivors Network of those Abusedd by Priests

May 30, 2019

A brave, persistent Catholic mom who tried diligently to protect others from Boston’s most notorious predator priest has passed away. Seven boys in her extended family were molested by the cleric, Fr. John Geoghan.

Maryetta Dussourd is a hero, plain and simple. Long before anyone had heard the phrases ‘pedophile priests’ or ‘child molesting clerics’ or ‘church abuse crisis,’ she worked long and hard to warn others about dangerous men like Fr. Geoghan.

We extend our deepest condolences to her loved ones. We hope they take comfort in the fact that Maryetta led the kind of life she read about in the Bible and heard about in church – one of compassion, love and sacrifice and one that the rest of us can admire and try to emulate.

We are very glad Maryetta lived long enough to see attorneys general across the US investigating dioceses, see Vatican officials finally take at least minimal steps and – most important – see thousands of survivors of pedophile priests be believed as they came forward to expose their abusers, thereby making our society and her church safer for all.

Columbus Diocese adds 4 names to priest sex-abuse list

Columbus Dispatch

May 30, 2019

By Danae King

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added four names to its website list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The list was initially released on March 1 with 34 names on it. On March 5, the diocese added two more names.

The four names added May 23 were the late Rev. Walter H. Horan, also known as Walter Hubert Maria Horan; the Rev. Stephan L. Johnson, also known as Stephan Leslie Johnson; the late Rev. Francis M. Sweeney, also known as Francis Michael Sweeney; and the late Rev. John J. Walsh.

All are names the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has previously called on the diocese to add, saying they were made public before the diocese’s original list came out.

Priest labeled as sexually violent admits Missouri crimes

Associated Press

The man who became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent for crimes in Illinois has admitting abusing two boys in Missouri.

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of sodomy for crimes that occurred in the early 1990s, when he was serving at a parish in north St. Louis County. Church and court files show that Lenczycki admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years.

Lenczycki, now 74 and living in suburban Chicago, admitted in the latest case to grabbing the genitals of one boy and trying to force the other to expose himself. The crimes occurred from 1991 to 1994.

Lenczycki was charged in February, and he is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

One of the Missouri victims, 38-year-old Ron Kanady, said Thursday that the guilty plea was vindication."I am so relieved that justice finally didn't give up on me," Kanady told The Associated Press. "For all those years, people looked the other way, it felt like. And now, finally, something's being done."

Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with sexually abusing three boys in the 1980s at a church in Hinsdale, Illinois. The Illinois victims told authorities "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, he became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was committed under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.Lenczycki's attorney, Matthew Radefeld, declined comment.

Victims of clergy sexual abuse have demanded more accountability and transparency from the Catholic church since last year, when a Pennsylvania report detailed seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. The Vatican convened a sexual abuse summit in February to hear the testimony of several victims.In addition to the criminal cases, Lenczycki is named in several lawsuits.

Church's astonishing defence ignores royal commission's findings on notorious paedophile priest

Australian Broadcasting Company

May 30, 2019

By Louise Milligan

As Australia's five-year Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse drew to a close in 2017, it felt as if the winds of change were blowing through the Catholic Church.

Five Australian bishops stood up in the commission courtroom and made a public and historic act of contrition for its terrible history of clergy abuse.

Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher described the response of the church to allegations of child sex abuse as "criminally negligent", Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said the defence of the church made the clergy "blind to individuals" and Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne said, "[Archbishops] just didn't drill down to the reality ... They just sort of floated above it".

"The way we act now is very, very different," said Archbishop Hart, who has since retired.

Fast forward two years, in the Supreme Court of Victoria in the case of JCB v Bishop Paul Bird for the Diocese of Ballarat, and you might question that last claim.

Here were lawyers for the very same Catholic Church launching a defence which rejected some of the royal commission's key findings in relation to one of its most notorious paedophile priests.

The many good Catholics who espouse Christian values of decency and kindness and social justice might question the expenditure of the proceeds of their collective collection plates to mount that defence.

The case refers to one Gerald Ridsdale — not just Australia's most prolific paedophile priest, but one of the country's worst paedophiles full stop — and the knowledge of his offending by the then-bishop of Ballarat, the now-deceased Ronald Mulkearns.

Lawyers for the church in the case minimised Mulkearns' knowledge of Ridsdale's prior offending in 1982, when the victim, JCB, was anally raped at the age of nine in Mortlake, a tiny town in Victoria's western district.

Internal church documents tendered to the commission suggested every boy in one class at the Mortlake parish school, St Colman's, was abused.

Ridsdale himself told Catholic Church insurers he "went haywire there. Altar boys, mainly".

"Mortlake imploded over the Ridsdale saga," Broken Rites advocate Dr Wayne Chamley told me.

"The whole family networks just started tearing themselves apart over what happened — the shocking tragedy in that town."

In a pre-trial judgment in the JCB v Bishop Bird case before the courts now, Justice Michael McDonald alluded to the church seeking to wind back what Mulkearns knew about Ridsdale before he allowed this tragedy to occur.

"By their defence, the defendants have put in issue the extent of Mulkearns' knowledge of Ridsdale's inappropriate sexual behaviour with minors prior to Ridsdale's appointment at Mortlake," Justice McDonald wrote in the judgement.

The judge pointed out that in doing so, they contradict the church's own submissions to the royal commission via its Truth Justice and Healing Commission.

This is an astonishing claim given that from 1993, the church's own insurers would not indemnify for claims past 1975 because of the knowledge that the Ballarat Diocese had of Ridsdale's offending.

This case is historic because it is the first case in Victoria since the State Government eliminated what was known as "The Ellis Defence" — the controversial precedent that the Catholic Church had no legal personality and therefore could not be sued.

It's high stakes and the Diocese of Ballarat, just as it did before the royal commission exposed its terrible history, is strenuously defending the case.

Former priest threatens action against AG

Huron Daily Tribune

May 28, 2019

By Bradley Massman

A priest who has been temporarily removed from the ministry since 2016, and currently resides in Port Austin, has indicated he wants to sue Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

"A lawsuit will be filed by week's end with the finest prosecuting attorney in MI (Michigan) to sue the Catholic axe-grinding same-gender attracted AG Nessel," Lawrence Ventline stated in an email CC'd to the Tribune on Tuesday.

Ventline, who resides in the Port Austin area, is currently facing licensing action by Nessel's office.

Nessel, on Friday, said Ventline allegedly sexually assaulted a Michigan resident, and is still actively counseling children.

The sexual assault investigation was conducted by Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The Tribune contacted the Oakland County Sheriff's Office on Friday for more information on the incident after speaking with Ventline, who continuously said his case was dismissed in Oakland.

A sergeant with the sheriff's office told the Tribune that Ventline's case was "still pending further investigation."

However, on Tuesday, Oakland County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Toth, told the Tribune that is not the case.

"If that's an error on our part, we apologize for that," Toth said, adding the case is closed.

"The bottom line with us is we opened up an investigation in 2016," he added. "It was closed in early 2017, and we cannot substantiate the allegation. We can't unsubstantiate it."

Catholic priest vows lawsuit against AG Nessel after his counseling license suspended

Saginaw News

May 30, 2019

By Cole Waterman

A Catholic priest restricted from religious work by the Archdiocese of Detroit based on a sexual assault allegation said he plans to sue Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for suspending his counseling license, a newspaper reports.

Nessel on Friday, May 24, announced she was charging five priests who once ministered throughout the state with a total of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct. She also stated her office was suspending Lawrence M. Ventline’s license to practice as a limited-license counselor.

In a May 15 order of summary suspension, Nessel alleges Ventline sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy during the 1989-1990 school year, when Ventline was a pastor in a parish and school within the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, communications director for the Attorney General’s Office, told MLive/The Saginaw News Nessel could not criminally charge Ventline due to the statute of limitations running out. The case had been investigated by Oakland County Sheriff’s Office personnel.

Ventline is now 70 and lives in the Port Austin area of Huron County.

The Huron Daily Tribune reports it received a copy of an email from Ventline after Nessel’s announcement, in which he claims he will file a lawsuit to sue the "Catholic axe-grinding same-gender attracted AG Nessel.”

Buffalo Diocese affirms abuse allegations against priest, returns two to ministry

Buffalo News

May 30, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Allegations of child sexual abuse against the Rev. Michael P. Juran were substantiated by Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone after an investigation, and Juran will remain on administrative leave while the Vatican reviews the decision, Malone said Thursday morning.

An allegation of child sex abuse against the Rev. Robert M. Yetter was not substantiated, but Yetter will remain on administrative leave as the diocese continues to investigate allegations of adult sexual abuse by the former pastor of St. Mary Church in Swormville.

Two other priests who have been on leave since last fall due to complaints of misconduct with adults will be returned to ministry, said Malone.

A Diocesan Review Board found that improper conduct by the Rev. Joseph C. Gatto, former president-rector of Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, and the Rev. Samuel T. Giangreco Jr., associate pastor of Our Lady of Victory Basilica, did not rise to the level that would require removal from active ministry, Malone said.

Gatto, 61, who was suspended in September, said in an interview with The News at the time that he made no sexual advances on anyone, after a television station reported that a local man had accused him of improper advances in 2000.

Roman Catholic Faithful founder vows to get to bottom of Harrison allegations

The Californian

May 30, 2019

By Joseph Luiz

The founder and president of a national Catholic advocacy group vowed Wednesday to get to the bottom of the allegations made against Monsignor Craig Harrison.

Stephen G. Brady of the Roman Catholic Faithful — a group whose self-professed goal is to rid the church of clerical corruption — said he is in the process of going through his old files hoping to uncover information that could be useful in his investigation into Harrison’s alleged misconduct.

He said he also plans to work with local law enforcement and track down leads provided by alleged victims in the hopes that he will get to the bottom of the situation.

“I’m going to dig and I'm not going to stop digging,” he said at a press conference held at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Bakersfield. “One way or another, we’re going to prove Father Harrison’s innocence or guilt.”

Harrison’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, said today's press conference perpetuates unfounded allegations.

“These are the same unsubstantiated lies (he’s) been pushing since 2004. There’s no new information here,” he said. “He’s just raising his fists in protest.”

The conference was held after Brady provided The Californian and other news agencies letters from the early 2000s that he recovered detailing allegations that Harrison had sex with two high school students while he was a pastor in Firebaugh.

According to the documents, Harrison would also examine boys’ private parts every morning to check whether they were using drugs.

The accusations surfaced as part of an unrelated investigation conducted in 2004 by a retired FBI agent in Merced.

Brady said he feels Harrison’s family knows more than they’re letting on about the allegations, as two of the alleged incidents took place in the bedroom of one of Harrison’s adopted sons.

In the other case, in which Harrison allegedly had sex with a minor in the back of the priest’s Ford Explorer, the accuser specifically mentions being on a high school football team with Harrison’s son Herculano.

Letter: Teachers must report sex abuse — why not clergy?

Bay Area News Group

May 30, 2019

Re: “Should California force priests to report child-molestation confessions?” (Mercurynews.com, May 26)

I support the bill that would require priests to report. This bill is under fire due to the arguments surrounding religious freedom, however, this bill does not infringe on any religious rights.

The purpose of it is purely to protect children who are being abused by people who confess the act without any repercussions. The Senate passed a bill that requires that clergy will have to report sexual abuse when they hear it in confession. Before, clergy would hear confessions and were not legally responsible for reporting it.

It is important the bill passed because, similar to teachers, church clergy are community members who victims and abusers trust and come to when they need help. And since teachers are responsible to report sexual abuse, why shouldn’t church clergy?

Madeline Glynn
San Jose

The Catholic Church Still Isn’t There on Abuse Prevention

Patheos blog

May 30, 2019

By Libby Anne

Two stories came across my radar earlier this month. Each dealt with different aspects of what the Catholic Church is (and is not) doing on preventing child sexual abuse. The upshot is this: the Church is still dragging its heals. Preventing child sexual abuse and holding abusers accountable is simply not on the top of their priority list. Instead, they’re prioritizing things like protecting the Church from local hostility, and ensuring that penitents have access to confession and the forgiveness it brings, without having to face legal consequences for their actions.

First, there was this article:

Pope Francis issues groundbreaking law requiring priests, nuns to report sex abuse, cover-up

The law mandates that the world’s 415,000 Catholic priests and 660,000 religious sisters inform church authorities when they have “well-founded motives to believe” abuse has occurred.

This is good, right? Well, sort of. The problem is that this new regulation still does not require priests to report sexual abuse (including sexual abuse of children) to local law enforcement. No, really. Have a look:

The law doesn’t require them to report to police. The Vatican has long argued that doing so could endanger the church in places where Catholics are a persecuted minority. But it does for the first time put into universal church law that they must obey civil reporting requirements where they live, and that their obligation to report to the church in no way interferes with that.

Reporting child sexual abuse … could endanger the church? This logic seems suspect to me. Maybe don’t abuse children if you’re worried that civil authorities will be angry with you for abusing children.

The regulation says that the priests and other Catholic Church employees must obey civil reporting requirements where they’re located. Okay. However, many countries don’t have mandatory reporting laws. Additionally, it seems odd to me that one universal organization could have such different rules on something like reporting child sexual abuse. Isn’t part of the point that you can walk into any Catholic Church in the world and find the same prayers, the same rituals, the same format and structure? Why not have something universal here, as well?

Look, I’m glad that priests and nuns will now be required to report suspicions of abuse to church authorities. But I don’t for a minute trust those authorities to do the right thing with that information.

Case in point, the next article. This is an article in a Catholic newspaper. It’s written by Bishop Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Barron is upset about a bill before the legislature in California.

SB 360, a piece of proposed legislation currently making its way through the California state senate, should alarm not only every Catholic in the country, but indeed the adepts of any religion. In California, as in almost every other state, clergy members (along with a variety of other professionals, including physicians, social workers, teachers, and therapists) are mandated reporters — which is to say, they are legally required to report any case of suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement. However, California clergy who come by this knowledge in the context of “penitential communication” are currently exempted from the requirement. SB 360 would remove the exemption.

Oh lord. Seriously.

Catholic Nuns Have Also Sexually Abused Children, and Survivors Are Speaking Out

Friendly Atheist blog

May 30, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

It’s not just Catholic priests who molest children. Catholic nuns do it too.

Trish Cahill tells NPR’s Laura Benshoff in a piece today that she was just 15 when a nun invited her to her home — and the teenager was thrilled to have that opportunity and attention. That only lasted a short while.

… during an outing to a house at the Jersey shore, Cahill said the nun gave her tea laced with intoxicants.

“She took me into the bedroom and I passed out,” said Cahill. “I was not conscious. I was not able to make a decision.” She said this was the first time the religious sister sexually assaulted her, and the start of an abusive dynamic that would last for more than a decade.

The website Bishop Accountability says there are about 100 nuns with credible allegations of abuse against them. They may be even more difficult to prosecute, though, because in addition to all the obstacles that exist for survivors of abuse from priests, women aren’t seen as abusers in general and nuns, specifically, are usually out of the media glare that now accompanies abusive priests. And if the survivors are girls, they run the risk of being shamed for taking part in a “lesbian” relationship (even though it wasn’t a relationship or consensual).

SNAP Calls on Archbishop Gregory to Make McCarrick Review Public

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 30, 2019

The Archdiocese of Washington DC has completed a review of disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s personal correspondence and forwarded the results to Rome, according to a Catholic news source. Now we call on newly-installed DC Archbishop Wilton Gregory to immediately make this review public.

What better way to prove to his parishioners and the public that he is committed to transparency? Some of this correspondence has already been made public by Monsignor Anthony J. Figueiredo, so it should be easy for Archbishop Gregory to do the same. The Archbishop has long talked the talk of openness about abuse. Now it is time for him to walk the walk.

The sooner every person who saw, suspected or suffered wrongdoing by the former Cardinal comes forward, the closer we will be to knowing the truth about every person who ignored or hid Cardinal McCarrick’s wrongdoing. When these truths are revealed, it will help to ensure that innocent children and vulnerable adults will be safer and that future secrecy will be deterred.

New complaint against French priest-therapist

LaCroix International

May 30, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau

The latest alleged victim of Father Tony Anatrella, a priest and psychoanalyst who has been the subject of accusations by his former patients for more than 15 years, was a minor at the time of the events in question.

Father Anatrella was well-known in Rome as an advisor to several Vatican offices. His ecclesiastical counselor, who has consistently denied any inappropriate gesture by his client, did not respond to questions from La Croix.

Anatrella, 77, was earlier accused of having practiced "body therapy" in order to "heal" homosexuality and of having been involved in sexual abuse. On the basis of information gathered during a preliminary investigation, Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris had ruled that "no priestly ministry will henceforth be granted to him."

Double-barreled McCarrick news perfectly captures accountability challenge


May 30, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Sometimes the fates who govern the news business have a wicked sense of timing. After a long stretch of relative quiet regarding Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal who was defrocked over sexual misconduct and abuse charges, Tuesday brought not one but two major new developments.

Crux, along with CBS, published correspondence from McCarrick confirming that he was placed under Vatican restrictions in 2008, claiming that Cardinal Donald Wuerl (the Archbishop of Washington at the time) was aware of those restrictions despite his denials, and also revealing that McCarrick played a major role in backchannel diplomacy with China under Pope Francis.

Roughly an hour after our story broke, a new interview with Francis by Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki made the rounds, in which the pontiff insisted “I knew nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing,” about accusations against McCarrick.

To be clear, the two stories do not contradict one another. While the correspondence at the heart of the Crux report clearly suggests that senior officials under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI knew about the informal restrictions and did not obstruct McCarrick from gradually returning to his activities, they do not speak to what Francis or his team knew.

However, the double whammy of these two stories coming at once does neatly illustrate two of the major questions left hanging by the McCarrick case, which in turn encapsulates the meta-narrative of the entire saga.

One of those hanging questions, obviously, is what Wuerl knew and when he knew it.

One piece of the correspondence in Tuesday’s Crux piece is an August 25, 2008, letter from McCarrick to the late Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi, at the time the Vatican’s ambassador in the U.S., referring to an earlier letter in which the Vatican restrictions were outlined. McCarrick said he wanted to discuss some points in that letter “having shared it with my Archbishop,” meaning Wuerl.

In comments to Crux, however, a spokesman for Wuerl denied that Wuerl ever knew about the restrictions. The clear implication is that McCarrick was lying in his letter to Sambi, misrepresenting the extent to which Wuerl was informed and supportive.

Victims in religious institutions less likely to report sexual abuse, says inquiry

The Independent

May 30, 2019

By Maya Oppenheim

Children who suffer sexual abuse are significantly less likely to report it if it is being perpetrated in a religious institution, according to a major analysis of survivors’ experiences.

A study by the Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), drew upon the experiences of 183 individuals who were abused as children in religious institutions, or by clergy or church staff in other settings.

Almost half said they knew of someone else being abused at the time, but more than two-thirds said they had not reported it – a figure that dropped to 54 per cent among victims in non-religious settings.

Survivors said shame and guilt had prevented them from coming forward, and called for an end to the secrecy that often surrounds religious institutions, saying it enables abusers to operate with impunity.

One survivor, Lucy*, told the inquiry that the abuse she suffered after her family became involved with the Jesus Fellowship Church – formerly known as the Jesus Army – left her with serious mental health problems she is still coping with in her forties.

She said her parents were “brainwashed” by the church, which took all her toys from her when they joined – even her comfort blanket – and made her sleep in the same room with strange adults.

“They were big, big houses with multiple rooms and they would let anyone in off the street,” she told The Independent.

“There were no safeguarding checks on anyone. Nobody was questioned. They let very vulnerable, often mentally unwell people from the streets and criminals in our environment. It meant there was never a safe space.

Chilean bishop-elect apologizes for comments on abuse crisis, women


May 30, 2019

By Inés San Martín

After the uproar caused by his words regarding Chile’s clerical abuse scandals and the role of women in the Church, the newly appointed auxiliary bishop of Santiago apologized for his comments.

“I would like to sincerely ask for forgiveness for the pain and uncertainty my words might have caused,” Bishop-elect Carlos Irarrazaval said May 29.

The Vatican announced a week ago that Pope Francis had appointed him as an auxiliary bishop to Chile’s capital. A day later, Irarrazaval said it’s time to “look towards the future,” implying that the Church needed to put the clerical abuse crisis behind it, using the colloquialism, “stirring reheated rice is worthless.”

Chile is currently ground zero for the worldwide clerical abuse scandal. Santiago’s two living former archbishops have been subpoenaed by the local prosecutors’ office to testify on charges that they covered up cases of the abuse of minors.

But the bishop-elect had more things to say last week: In an interview with CNN Chile, he said that “since there was no woman seated at the table in the Last Supper,” women had no role in the Church. According to Irarrazaval, this was a choice Jesus made, and not “for ideological reasons.”

“Jewish culture is chauvinistic even today,” he’d said a few seconds earlier. “If you see a Jew walking down the street, the woman is 10 steps behind, but Jesus Christ breaks this dynamic; Jesus Christ speaks with women - with the adulterous woman, with the Samaritan woman - Jesus Christ allows for women to care for him. Who did he choose to announce [his] resurrection? Magdalena, a woman.”

In his apology, Irarrazaval said that he understands his comments on women and the “crisis we’re going through” were particularly painful.

“I am committed to working for the communion of the Church, knowing that in synodality we are all builders - women and men - with the richness of our differences, so that the Church becomes more welcoming and inclusive,” he wrote.

Polish advocate for church victims resigns in scandal

Associated Press

May 30, 2019

By Monika Scislowska

The founder and head of a Polish organization dedicated to helping victims of clerical sex abuse has resigned after allegations surfaced that he extorted money from a victim and demanded money from the producers of a documentary about clerical abuse.

The foundation "Have No Fear" said the head of its board, Marek Lisinski, resigned and that it has opened an internal audit into the allegations reported Thursday by the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

In a post on Facebook, Lisinski denied the extortion allegation and insisted that he only borrowed money and intended to return it in December.

"The good of the survivors has always been the supreme goal for me," Lisinski wrote.

Pope Denies Prior Knowledge of Expelled Cardinal's Sexual Misconduct


May 29, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis has denied he knew about sexual misconduct by former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick before the start of Church investigations that found him guilty.

McCarrick, once one of the most powerful men in the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, was expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood in February after he was found guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults.

"I knew nothing about McCarrick, naturally nothing," Francis said in an interview with Mexico's Televisa broadcaster which was published in Vatican media on Tuesday. "Otherwise, I would not have remained silent."

Last August, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano issued a bombshell statement accusing a long list of current and past Vatican and Church officials in the United States of covering up for McCarrick, 88, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador in Washington, said he told Francis shortly after his election in 2013 that McCarrick had preyed on adult seminarians for years.

Vigano claimed that Francis disregarded the information and effectively rehabilitated McCarrick, who had been quietly sanctioned by Francis predecessor, former Pope Benedict XVI, five years before Francis' election in 2013.

Francis says he "does not remember" Vigano ever telling him.

The interview with the pope was published on the same day that Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, McCarrick's former priest-secretary, posted a document on the internet with excerpts of emails and letters between him and McCarrick.

Former bishop not listed as 'credibly accused,' despite diocesan board's finding

Berkshire Eagle

May 29, 2019

By Larry Parnass

When one of the longest-serving Western Massachusetts bishops was accused of child sexual abuse, a successor rose to his defense.

"I would hope that the names of good priests and bishops, who cannot defend themselves, are not being impugned for ulterior motives," the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell said of Christopher J. Weldon, the former bishop, said in a 2005 statement about a civil lawsuit.

"Nothing in our records ... in any way would provide support for these allegations," McDonnell said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Weldon's name did not appear on the diocese's online list of "credibly accused clergy" — eight months after officials with the Springfield diocese came to a different conclusion about Weldon.

Last September, the Diocesan Review Board notified the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski that it found a Chicopee man's story of his molestation by Weldon, more than half a century before, "compelling and credible."

"We want to express our sincere sorrow for the pain and suffering you have endured," the board wrote to the man, according to a letter obtained by The Eagle.

In addition to abuse by Weldon, the man told the board of molestation by two priests, the Rev. Edward Authier and the Rev. Clarence Forand.

"As we explained to you, the Board has no other authority except to notify the Bishop that we find your allegations credible," the letter says.

The newspaper is withholding the man's identity due to his wish to remain private.

As of Wednesday, the diocese also was not listing Authier as among "credibly accused" clergy. Forand's name, though, is included under the category of "clergy who died after having been placed under the sanctions of the Essential Norms," a reference to official Catholic Church policy on responding to abuse allegations.

That policy holds that "when even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from the ecclesiastical ministry."

SNAP Applauds as Vermont Governor Signs SOL Reform into Law

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 30, 2019

We applaud lawmakers in Vermont, especially Rep. Martin LaLonde, for passing this important reform. This law amending the statute of limitations (SOL) is one of the strongest in the nation and the people of Vermont should be proud of their leadership on this issue.

With H.330 signed into law, Vermont is now the latest state to pass sweeping reform to their civil statute of limitations for cases of sexual violence. These changes come as more states around the country are amending their laws to reflect the realities of sexual violence: due to myriad factors such as the fear of being disbelieved or fear of retribution, the average age of a survivor coming forward is 52, and by the time most feel comfortable to come forward, they are barred by the statute of limitations.

Fortunately, that is no longer the case in Vermont.

Survivors Of Sexual Abuse By Nuns Want Greater Visibility For Their Claims

National Public Radio

May 30, 2019

By Laura Benshoff

When Trish Cahill was 15, she received an unexpected request. A nun who taught at a Catholic high school near her home in Ridgewood, NJ., called her at home and invited her to perform at an upcoming 'hootenanny' mass.

"This was [the] 1960s, you know. Peter, Paul and Mary and all that," said Cahill. "I didn't really play guitar, but a nun — a nun! — asked me to."

Cahill grew up in an Irish Catholic family and attended parochial schools. As invitations from the nun kept coming, she said she felt flattered by the attention and her family welcomed the nun into their home.

Then, during an outing to a house at the Jersey shore, Cahill said the nun gave her tea laced with intoxicants.

"She took me into the bedroom and I passed out," said Cahill. "I was not conscious. I was not able to make a decision." She said this was the first time the religious sister sexually assaulted her, and the start of an abusive dynamic that would last for more than a decade.

Similar sexual abuse allegations against Catholic clergy have been in the public eye for decades. In spite of this, victims of sexual misconduct by nuns, such as Cahill, say their claims have been swept aside in the larger reckoning around sexual abuse by male Catholic leaders.

That's in part because church leadership has historically treated misconduct by diocesan priests as separate from accusations against members of religious orders, both male and female. Survivors also say the lack of awareness that nuns commit sexual abuse can make it harder to come forward.

May 29, 2019

Letter: ‘Religious freedom’ no excuse to hide child sex abuse

Bay Area News Group

May 29, 2019

In the May 26 East Bay Times front-page article, “State vs. Church: Senators want confessions of child abuse reported; clergy assert religious freedom,” readers learn that the California Senate resoundingly approved a bill that forces clergy who hear the confessions of child sexual abusers from another priest must report it.

The Senate bill will protect children from sexual abusers. However, the California Catholic Conference opposes the Senate bill and thinks it will dangerously weaken religious freedom.

Steven Pehanich, spokesman for the California Catholic Conference, doesn’t agree with the bill. He states it’s a slippery slope for priests to disclose a confession of sexually abusing a child.

No one wants the seal of confession to be used to protect child abusers. Are we really going to use the “confessional” and religious freedom as an excuse to hide sexual abuse of our precious children? Hopefully, we are better than that.

Jody Benkly
Walnut Creek

Here’s what Dallas police seized from Catholic Diocese offices

Morning News

May 29, 2019

By Cassandra Jaramillo

During their raid on the Dallas Catholic Diocese offices earlier this month, police said they seized previous settlement agreements, files on former bishops and records from the diocesan review board, which looked into allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Court records — first reported by WFAA-TV (Channel 8) and obtained Wednesday by The Dallas Morning News — detailed the numerous records police now have as they continue their investigation. Police are required to return an inventory of seized items to the judge who signed the search-warrant affidavit.

Police officials declined comment Wednesday, but have previously called the raid “wholly appropriate." A detective wrote in a search warrant affidavit that during his investigation, he uncovered new allegations against five priests and that the diocese had stonewalled or handed over incomplete records for months.

The diocese, which has been shaken by allegations of sexual abuse for more than two decades, was critical of the raid. Bishop Edward Burns called the police action “unnecessary” and said church officials were cooperative despite the search warrant affidavit that said otherwise.

Annette Gonzales Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese, said on Wednesday that church officials stand by their previous statements. She said Burns had given police “all of the files” regarding the five priests with allegations.

“We were aware of that they came in and took all of our records. We were not surprised by the inventory,” Gonzales Taylor said.

According to the search warrant return, Dallas police obtained insurance claims, terminated employee records, meeting notes, personnel movement letters and review board documents. Police also seized documents related to Bishop Charles Grahmann and Thomas Tschoepe, who previously led the diocese amid several sexual abuse scandals. Both are now dead.

California Can’t Win its Confession Fight

National Review

By Delcan Leary

May 29, 2019

John of Nepomuk is a name not often heard these days; Wenceslaus IV, even more so. John was a Bohemian priest of the 14th century. As the story goes, he was the confessor to the queen, Wenceslaus’s wife. When John refused to reveal information divulged to him during the sacrament of confession, the king had him drowned in the river Vltava. John considered his religious obligation — the seal of the confessional, an absolute duty of confidentiality between priest and penitent — inviolable, no matter the objections of the secular authority or the punishments threatened.

Nearly 600 years later, at the height of the Cristero War in Mexico — a Catholic uprising against a militant secularist state — another priest, Mateo Correa Magallanes, was arrested while delivering communion to a woman who was unable to travel to Mass. At his captors’ request, Father Magallanes heard the confessions of a number of other prisoners. When General Eulogio Ortiz, commander of the unit that was holding him, demanded that Magallanes reveal what had been told to him in confession, the priest refused. He was shot the next morning.

The seal of the confessional is an ancient tradition of the Catholic Church. Father Pius Pietrzyk, O.P., a lawyer of both U.S. and canon law, has outlined the nature of the seal and the importance of protecting it. It has been enshrined in the law of the Church at least since the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and in practice is even older than that — as old, in fact, as the sacrament itself. For about as long as the sacrament and its seal have existed, there has been a history of secular authorities demanding its violation. To my knowledge, none has ever succeeded.

Nevertheless, they persist. Last week, the California senate passed S.B. 360, requiring priests to violate the seal of the confessional whenever the confession pertains to sexual abuse committed by another priest or employee of the Church. The motivation is understandable — the protection of children is of paramount concern, and an area where the Church has notoriously failed time and time again. But the proposal is, for one thing, unlikely to do any good to this end, even if priests comply; responding to the passage of similar laws in Australia, the Australian Conference of Catholic Bishops observed that “perpetrators of this terrible sin very rarely seek out confession, and if mandatory reporting of confessions were required, they would certainly not confess.” This is not a practical solution to the very real problem at hand. It is a blatant attempt to assert the authority of the secular state over the Church, and a clear violation of the right to religious liberty.

Vatican Clarifies Pope Francis’ Comments on McCarrick

Catholic News Agency

May 29, 2019

By Allyson Escobar

The Vatican’s communications office has released a full transcript of Pope Francis’ interview with Televisa Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki that revealed the pope’s more complete comments about what he knew about Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C., who is the highest-ranking Church clergy member in modern times to be defrocked.

Originally, the Vatican released a partial transcript of the interview in which Pope Francis denied knowing anything about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct. The partial transcript left out the part of the interview in which Pope Francis said “he does not remember” what was told to him about McCarrick, according to the Associated Press.

The distinction is important because last August Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., published documents that said Pope Francis knew about Church-imposed sanctions on then-Cardinal McCarrick, but made him a trusted aide anyway.

The Vatican press office didn’t comment on the distinction.

McCarrick, 88, was dismissed from the priesthood in February after a Church investigation confirmed his abuse of both minors and adults. McCarrick has denied that abuse.

Catholic Church lawyers caught out playing hardball in explosive civil litigation case

The Courier

May 29, 2019

By Andrew Thomson

IN a landmark case for survivors, Catholic Church lawyers have refused to acknowledge that former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns knew pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was a repeat offender.

A Ballarat diocese victim of Ridsdale is pursuing civil damages through the Victorian Supreme Court from current Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird, on behalf of the diocese, and is currently involved in a highly adversarial court process as the church's lawyers play tactical hardball.

The record for court judgement is about $1.25 million, although confidential settlements are understood to have reached $1.5 million.

No Catholic church abuse case has ever gone to judgement in civil court and payouts have been confidential.

The Ridsdale victim was just nine years old when he was raped in a confession box at Mortlake in April 1982.

He said today that it was a tragedy that his life, and the lives of so many other victims, had been ruined by the inaction of Bishop Mulkearns.

"I just wish that the abuse had never happened to anyone," he said.

Victims are now extremely keen to test their cases in court.

They also want to go to court as a symbolic gesture to represent the many victims who have taken their own lives over the past 30 years.

The church's representatives previously acknowledged during the Royal commission into Institutional Abuse that for Bishop Mulkearns to appoint Ridsdale to other parishes, after becoming aware that Ridsdale had offended while at Inglewood in 1975 and in the absence of any clearance from a psychologist or psychiatrist, was "inexcusably wrong".

The church acknowledges there was a one-off incident involving Ridsdale at Inglewood, but denies it was ever known he had a propensity for offending.

An affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by Dr Christine Atmore, of Judy Courtin Legal, claimed former Bishop of Ballarat James O'Collins was informed in about 1963 that Ridsdale had abused a boy in North Ballarat.

The church admitted during the Royal commission that Bishop O'Collins informed Ridsdale there had been a complaint at that time, Ridsdale admitted he molested a boy and the bishop warned him if it happened again he would no longer be able to serve as a priest.

In the current court case, the church denies any knowledge of Ridsdale's repeat offending before he went to Mortlake in the early 1980s.

'Passing the trash' a problem for schools in Ohio and beyond

The Blade

May 24, 2019

By Jay Skebba

When Patrick Murtha first came to Rossford Schools in search of a job, he told school board members that he was “looking for a change.”

It was 2004, and fresh off a stint in southern Ohio working as the Athens City Schools athletic director, Mr. Murtha said he wanted to move to another small town. Hence how he ended up before the school board in nondescript Rossford — a northwest Ohio community few outside the Toledo area could find on a map.

What he didn’t tell the school board, according to a recent investigation conducted by a district administrator, is that he was departing his former job after running into trouble for inappropriately touching members of the Athens school community.

Now Mr. Murtha again finds himself without a job, and again finds himself under scrutiny for acting inappropriately with young people he came into contact with because of his role as a school administrator and assistant principal.

Fifteen years after he was hired, school officials are under fire over how they’ve handled Mr. Murtha’s dismissal, and how he came to work in the district in the first place.

While the district’s report puts the onus on Mr. Murtha for self-reporting his own disciplinary problems, it’s unclear what steps Rossford Schools leaders independently took at the time to check on Mr. Murtha’s past transgressions because, as Superintendent Dan Creps noted in a letter to district families this week, none of the current board members were in place in 2004.

Board members and Mr. Creps largely refused to discuss with The Blade Mr. Murtha’s employment or their investigation until a board meeting Wednesday. All five board members and Mr. Creps admitted mistakes were made in handling the fallout, and offered apologies.

It’s not clear if district leaders went to the police once accusations by at least three Rossford students surfaced about Mr. Murtha’s conduct.

One day after Diocese issues IRCP report, abuse advocate criticizes "entire system"

WBFO Radio

May 29, 2019

By Michael Mroziak

A former priest who now leads an agency advocating for victims of sexual abuse is criticizing the system by which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo processed and compensated abuse cases.

The Diocese of Buffalo, on Tuesday, released the final results of its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which was introduced in March 2018 to address claims of childhood sexual abuse carried out by clergy. The diocese reports paying out an esatimated $17.6 million to date, awarding 127 people an average of $160,000. The compensation per person ranged from $2,000 to $650,000.

In all, 262 claims were filed.

"No one who reported their abuse after March 1, 2018 has been allowed to be part of this program," said Robert Hoatson, founder and leader of the group Road to Recovery. "And according to reports, 135 cases, claims, have been rejected by the two judges who are running this program."

Those judges are retired State Supreme Court Justices Jerome Gorski and Barbara Howe.

WBFO forwarded a message to the Diocese of Buffalo, asking for an official statement on its own behalf but as of Wednesday afternoon no reply was received.


Mann & Rodgrs Funeral Home

May 29, 2019

DUSSOURD, MARYETTA (BOLAND) of Jamaica Plain, Lost her battle to cancer on May 24TH. She was a very involved activist in the community with the warmest of hearts. She leaves behind her elder brother Jack Boland and her 7 children Ralph, Daniel, Edward, Margaret, Marietta, Christopher and Alicia Dussourd. Also survived by her beloved 13 grand children.

Funeral Services from the Mann & Rodgers Funeral Home, 44 Perkins St. JAMAICA PLAIN. Visiting Hours will be Monday, June 3rd from 5-8pm.

Relatives and friends invited. In honor of Maryetta please wear a touch of yellow, as it was her favorite color and one of her last requests.

Interment will be private.


In lieu of flowers please donate in her name to www.childhelp.org, a non profit charity to help victims of child abuse or to the Jimmy Fund at www.jimmyfund.org

EXCLUSIVE: Abp Viganò says Pope is lying in latest denial about McCarrick


May 28, 2019

For what appears to be the first time, Pope Francis has openly denied that he knew anything of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s immoral activities, directly contradicting Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s account of their conversation on the subject.

“I didn’t know anything ... nothing, nothing,” Pope Francis said in a new interview published on Tuesday in Vatican News.

In response, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States has directly accused Pope Francis of lying.

In comments to LifeSite following the release of the interview, Archbishop Viganò said: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. [...] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”

Both interviews coincide with the release of a leaked correspondence between Pope Francis, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, confirming that restrictions were placed on McCarrick by the Vatican in 2008, and that the former cardinal (who has now been laicized over charges of sexual abuse) travelled extensively during the Francis pontificate, playing a key diplomatic role in establishing the controversial Vatican accord with Communist China.

The new interview
In the May 28 interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, Pope Francis sought to explain why he has never openly denied Archbishop Vigano’s original testimony, while issuing a denial seemingly for the first time.

Readers will recall that news of the former US nuncio’s testimony broke last August 25, while Pope Francis was attending the World Meeting Families in Dublin. One day later, during an inflight press conference on his return to Rome, the Pope sidestepped questions about the explosive allegations that he knew of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s abuse.

“Read the [Viganò] statement carefully yourselves and make your own judgment. I am not going to say a word about this,” the Pope told journalists aboard the papal plane (see video here).

“You all have sufficient journalistic ability to draw conclusions,” he said.

“It is an act of trust,” the Holy Father added. “When a little time goes by, and you have drawn conclusions, perhaps I will speak about it, but I would like your professional maturity to do this work. It will do you all good, really.”

McCarrick correspondence confirms restrictions, speaks to Wuerl and China


May 28, 2019

Correspondence obtained by Crux from an ex-aide to Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal laicized over charges of sexual misconduct and abuse, confirms that restrictions on McCarrick were imposed by the Vatican in 2008. McCarrick also claims that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then the Archbishop of Washington, was aware of them and involved in conversations about their implementation.

Though the details of those restrictions have never been made public, the correspondence shows McCarrick promising not to travel without express Vatican permission and to resign from all roles at the Vatican and within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), while contesting an instruction to stop coming to Rome.

In one letter, McCarrick suggests the Vatican wanted to “avoid publicity” and thus kept the restrictions confidential.

The correspondence also shows that despite the restrictions, McCarrick gradually resumed traveling and playing prominent diplomatic roles under both Popes Benedict XVI and, to a greater extent, Francis, including talks with China that may have helped shape a controversial 2018 deal between Rome and Beijing over the appointment of bishops.

McCarrick’s activities were not carried on in secret, as he regularly wrote to Pope Francis between 2013 and 2017 to brief him on his trips and activities.

In the correspondence, McCarrick denies any sexual misconduct.

“I have never had sexual relations with anyone,” he wrote, but he does admit to “an unfortunate lack of judgment” in sharing his bed with seminarians in their twenties and thirties.

“As the problems of sexual abuse began to surface, I realized this was imprudent and stupid and it stopped,” he wrote in a 2008 letter to a senior Vatican official.

From an examination of the correspondence, which involves emails and private letters from McCarrick over the period 2008-2017, it appears that senior Church officials, including the Vatican’s Secretary of State under Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Congregation for Bishops, and the pope’s ambassador in the U.S., were aware of the informal restrictions, and whatever their response may have been as McCarrick resumed his activities, it did not prevent him from doing so.

Letters suggest lax enforcement of restrictions on disgraced D.C. ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick


May 29, 2019

By Anna Matranga and Seth Doane

The former secretary to defrocked American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has released excerpts from private and confidential correspondence among top Vatican leaders which reveal details of restrictions placed on McCarrick by the Holy See following allegations of sexual misconduct. The communications reveal the extent to which the restrictions were known among senior church leaders – and particularly by his successor Cardinal Donald Wuerl – but not enforced.

That lack of enforcement meant McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington D.C., was allowed to continue traveling on behalf of the Holy See despite limitations implemented as part of the church punishment.

The personal letters and emails include correspondence between McCarrick and other senior church figures, including cardinals, the Vatican's Secretary of State and Pope Francis.

Pastor Arrested in Chicago, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 29, 2019

We are grateful to Chicago police for moving quickly to arrest Pastor Jeffery Parks. Now we call on administrators at Good Shephard Church in Chicago to reach out to their parishioners and urge anyone else who may have information on this case to come forward and make a report to police.

It is notable that the young girls in this case were able to identify their abuse following a discussion on inappropriate touching with their mother. While conversations about sexual abuse can be challenging, research and this anecdotal example show that these conversations are critical to protecting children and ending abuse.

Boys and girls are safest when parents and the public are vigilant. We hope that other parents around the country will also have this conversation with their own children, and that other adults who work with children will take the time to learn about the warning signs for child sexual abuse.

Buffalo diocese: Clergy abuse victims have been compensated

The Associated Press

May 28, 2019

By Carolyn Thompson

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo said Tuesday its clergy abuse compensation program rejected more than half the claims filed by alleged victims while offering 127 people awards ranging from $2,000 to $650,000.

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program was established last year amid public scrutiny of the diocese's handling of claims of sex abuse against priests. In a summary, the diocese said that while a few awards are outstanding, the program "is substantially complete."

Awards accepted to date total $17.6 million.

Former aide to 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick spills beans to Crux, CBS on what the Vatican really knew

Get Religion blog

May 29, 2019

By Julia Duin

Every time I think that we’ve heard the last bit of news about former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, another wheel falls off that wagon.

Remember when the disgruntled Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò revealed last summer that McCarrick was punished by Pope Benedict XVI around 2008 for his sexual misdeeds with major restrictions on his movements? There was more. The letter also said that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of the Washington archdiocese, knew all about this?

Lots of folks — including some in the media — trashed Viganò at the time for lying.

Well, lots of journalists owe him an apology for portraying him as a conservative shill. As we’ll see in a minute, Francis did everything he could to add to that impression. I’m not holding my breath for mea culpas, though. For months, Viganò stood alone. For months, some major newsrooms have been avoiding this story, big time.

But more evidence keeps pouring out. News that broke Tuesday revealed that Viganò was telling the truth and that Wuerl was more deceptive than we thought.

The latest revelations, released simultaneously by Crux and CBS and based on allegations by a priest well known to the media, reveal McCarrick’s amazing gall in simply ignoring the restrictions under which he was placed. From Crux:

ROME — Correspondence obtained by Crux from an ex-aide to Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal laicized over charges of sexual misconduct and abuse, confirms that restrictions on McCarrick were imposed by the Vatican in 2008. McCarrick also claims that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then the Archbishop of Washington, was aware of them and involved in conversations about their implementation.

Though the details of those restrictions have never been made public, the correspondence shows McCarrick promising not to travel without express Vatican permission and to resign from all roles at the Vatican and within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), while contesting an instruction to stop coming to Rome. …

The correspondence also shows that despite the restrictions, McCarrick gradually resumed traveling and playing prominent diplomatic roles under both Popes Benedict XVI and, to a greater extent, Francis, including talks with China that may have helped shape a controversial 2018 deal between Rome and Beijing over the appointment of bishops.

Buffalo Catholic Diocese compensates 127 people for clergy abuse

WBFO Radio

May 29, 2019

By Marian Hetherly and Jay Moran

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo says its clergy abuse compensation program rejected more than half the claims filed by alleged victims while awarding 127 people an average of $160,000.

Listen Listening...4:06 WBFO's Jay Moran talks with attorney Kevin Stocker, who is representing local clergy abuse survivors
The diocese Tuesday released final results of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program established last year amid scrutiny of the diocese's handling of claims of sex abuse against priests. To date, it has paid out $17.6 million.

The program was administered by two retired judges tasked with considering only previously reported claims and setting award amounts.

The diocese says it filed numerous objections to claims that hadn't been reported prior to the program's March 2018 start.

In all, 262 claims were filed before the June 1, 2018, deadline and 135 were rejected as ineligible. Award amounts ranged from $2,000 to $650,000.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing hundreds of clergy abuse victims, including some in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, was critical of the report results.

"The report of the Diocese of Buffalo fails to take into account the hundreds of clergy sexual victims who were not eligible for the program because of the early reporting deadline of before March 1, 2018, the realization that clergy sexual abuse victims who were sexually abused in the 2000s will not come forward for years to come, and that history has taught us that the Diocese of Buffalo cannot successfully self-police," Garabedian said in a statement. "The Diocese of Buffalo has issued a report that tries to give the impression clergy sexual abuse crisis has been taken care of to a great extent when nothing can be further from the truth. Instead of promoting healing the report, through deception, adds salt to the wounds of many clergy sexual abuse victims."

Attorney Kevin Stocker is representing two "whistleblowers," who he said were punished by the diocese for bringing a complaint, plus nearly 20 local survivors. He told WBFO only three of his clients have settled.

House committee advances bill that gives abuse victims more time for lawsuits

WLNE Radio

May 29, 2019

For Jim Scanlan, it wasn't easy to go public about the abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of a priest.

"There's this shame, fear, guilt," said Scanlan, of Providence. Lots of different feelings."

But Scanlan is glad he did come forward to testify in favor of a bill that would extend the statute of limitations from seven years to 35 years, after the victim turns 18.

The House Judiciary Committee gave it unanimous approval.

Representative Carol Hagan McEntee, whose own sister came forward as a victim of clergy abuse, sponsored the bill.

"This is the people's bill," said McEntee, (D) South Kingstown. "This is Annie's bill. This will make a difference for Rhode Island children into the future, and Rhode Island victims right now.”

There have been some changes to the bill since it came before the committee last year, including a seven year discovery period to gather evidence.

If the bill passes, anyone under the age of 53 can bring forward allegations -- even if the alleged abuse occurred before the bill goes into effect.

"What this will do is open the floodgates for so many people to come forward and seek some justice, to seek some retribution, and to seek the support and the acknowledgment that this horrible experience happened to them," said Peg Laghammer, Executive Director of the Day One organization.

California threatens to upend Catholic 'seal of confession'

Washington Times

May 28, 2019

By Christopher Vondracek

Catholic priests in California would be legally obligated to report to police sexual abuse confessions brought to them by fellow priests and other church employees if a bill quickly moving through the state legislature becomes law.

Religious liberty advocates, including representatives of Catholic dioceses in California, challenge the legislation, saying it would invade a sacred space and direct priests to violate the “seal of confession.”

“Sometimes the best intentions can lead to bad legislation,” Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said in a statement on California’s Senate Bill 360, which was approved by wide margins last week and now heads to the state Assembly.

Under Roman Catholic teachings, the sins confessed by a parishioner to a priest in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation are secret to all but God, who absolves the sins through the instrument of the priest.

Sex Abuse Attorney Talks About What Cardinal Wuerl Knew, and When

KDKA Radio

May 28, 2019

By Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell

Attorney Alan Perer tells Marty and Wendy what effect, if any, today's news that Cardinal Wuerl lied about knowing of clergy sexual misconduct has on his cases.

W.Va. Catholic diocese releases more accused priests’ names

Associated Press

May 29, 2019

By John Raby

West Virginia’s only Catholic diocese has released the names of two more priests who it says have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the state.

The priests are accused of committing the abuse while working at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Both are deceased.

One of them, Father Raymond Waldruff, previously was accused of abuse in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s. Complaints of decades-old abuse were made against him in March in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and in April in the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky.

Waldruff served at two churches in north-central West Virginia in the 1970s.

The other priest, Father Andrew F. Lukas, was accusing of abusing a minor in the 1960s. The allegation was reported to the diocese in January.

Eight other priests added to the latest list had claims against them in other regions or dioceses but not in West Virginia. None are in active ministry.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register first reported on the updated list, which brings to 40 the number of accused priests or deacons who served in West Virginia.

The diocese posted the list on its website last week. The original list was posted in November.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston spokesman Tim Bishop said in a statement Tuesday that the updated list shows “the Diocese’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Ex-Trinity College teacher to fight charge of failing to report alleged school sex assault

Australian Broadcasting

May 29, 2019

By Rebecca Turner and David Weber

A former teacher at a prestigious Perth Catholic boys' school plans to fight a charge of failing to report the alleged sexual assault of a boy by his fellow students on an overseas trip.

Ian Francis Hailes and his former colleague at Trinity College, Anthony Paul Webb, were each charged under mandatory reporting laws which were introduced in Western Australia in 2008.

Their charges relate to the alleged sexual assault of a young man by his fellow students while they were on an overseas rugby trip in 2017.

The alleged victim's mother told the ABC that it took five months for the incident to be reported to the school principal.

But she said the school took another six days to tell her that her son had been sexually assaulted.

Do you know more about this story? Email turner.rebecca@abc.net.au
Mr Hailes did not attend the Perth Magistrates Court today but his lawyer, Michael Tudori, said he wanted to change his endorsed plea of guilty, entered several weeks ago, to not guilty.

Outside court, Mr Tudori said Mr Hailes had changed his plea due to new information from the prosecution.

"As a result of that, he clearly has a defence now," he said.

Mr Webb has not entered a plea to the charge of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse and is scheduled to appear before the Perth Magistrates Court next month.

No other charges have been laid as a result of the alleged incident.

Roman Catholic Diocese Suspends Fall River Priest Accused Of Misconduct

The Associated Press

May 27, 2019

A Roman Catholic diocese in Massachusetts says a longtime priest has been suspended amid an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The Herald News reports that Fall River Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha said in an email Sunday that Father Bruce Neylon, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, was removed from active ministry.

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Da Cunha said an individual claimed Neylon had sexual contact with him on numerous occasions in the early 1980s, when the victim was aged 14 or 15. He said the victim was not a member of the parish to which Neylon was assigned at the time and the alleged abuse did not occur on church property.

Neylon has denied the allegation.

Da Cunha called the allegation "credible" and said the case was referred to the Bristol County District Attorney's office.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Responds to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Criticism on Priest Abuse List

The Intelligencer

May 29, 2019

By Jess Mancini

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston responded Tuesday to claims that it should be announcing the names of priests that are added to its lists of priests who are credibly accused of abuse, saying the names are readily available online.

The diocese added nine priests to the list, first reported on Saturday by the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, which said the diocese added the priests without an announcement. The story broke in the Sunday News-Register.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who earlier this year sued the diocese asserting it violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act in advertising failing to disclose it employed accused priests and did inadequate background investigations, cited the News-Register report.

“The diocese does not rely upon the news media and its parishioners to stumble upon its responses to our lawsuit — they shout it from the roof tops, and in the same manner, the diocese has an obligation to make robust announcements to potential victims anytime they update their list of credibly accused priests,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Instead, the diocese appears fixated upon its goal of minimizing this scandal with limited publicity about wrong doing and maximum publicity of its public relations campaign to protect the church.”

The Catholic Committee, which calls itself a social justice network, said the diocese added to the list of priests who served in the diocese but were accused of abuse outside of the diocese, and to the list of priests accused of abuse while in the diocese.https://bit.ly/2I4MRlf

May 28, 2019

Priest says McCarrick admitted sharing bed with seminarians in letter to Vatican official

Catholic News Agency

May 28, 2019

By Ed Condon

A former priest-secretary to Theodore McCarrick has issued a report that claims to contain excerpted quotes from correspondence between the disgraced former cardinal McCarrick and various church officials.

The quotes seem to contain admissions of wrongdoing from McCarrick, and to confirm subsequent reports about the Vatican’s response to the former cardinal’s behavior. But some Vatican officials have said Figueiredo’s report does not fully explain the ways in which McCarrick operated in the Vatican.

Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo of the Archdiocese of Newark published a website, “The Figueiredo Report,” May 28 which contains apparent excerpts from private correspondence between McCarrick, the priest, and various other Church officials.

News of the priest’s report was first reported by CBS News and news site Crux.

Neither the full text of the correspondence nor images of the letters have been published on Figueiredo’s site.

“I present facts from correspondence that I hold relevant to questions still surrounding McCarrick.”

“These facts show clearly that high-ranking prelates likely had knowledge of McCarrick’s actions and of restrictions imposed upon him during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. They also clearly show that these restrictions were not enforced even before the pontificate of Francis,” Figueiredo’s report claims.

“It is not my place to judge to what extent the fault lies with the failure to impose canonical penalties, instead of mere restrictions, at the start, or with other Church leaders who later failed to expose McCarrick’s behavior and the impropriety of his continued public activity, and indeed may have encouraged it,” the priest writes.

Report on Key Findings in Correspondence Concerning Theodore E. McCarrick

Newark (NJ)
The Figueriredo Report

May 28, 2019

By Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo

The former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick ordained me to the priesthood 25 years ago today.
I served as his personal secretary in the Archdiocese of Newark (September 1994 – June 1995)
and also assisted him in a secretarial capacity during his many visits to Rome in my 19 years of
ministry there.

After long consideration, I have made the decision to place in the public domain some of the
correspondence and other information related to McCarrick that I possess in my many years of
service to him. I have spent time in prayer and discernment about the moral basis for revealing
these. My decision follows attempts since September 2018 to share and discuss these with the Holy See and other Church leaders.

Realizing full well that the debate about McCarrick has become highly politicized, I wish only to
present facts that will help the Church to know the truth. From the outset of this report, I pledge
my unswerving affection, loyalty and support for Pope Francis and his Magisterium in his tireless
ministry as the Successor of Peter, as I manifested also to Pope Benedict XVI, grateful for their
paternal solicitude and efforts to address the scourge of abuse. Indeed, my actions in releasing this report at this time are encouraged by the Holy Father’s motu proprio “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Mt 5:14), based on the overriding principle that it is imperative to place in the public domain, at the right time and prudently, information that has yet to come to light and impacts directly on allegations of criminal activity, the restrictions imposed on my now laicized former Archbishop, and who knew what and when.

It is my firm hope that this information will help the Church as she further endeavors to create a
culture of transparency. This report, which may form the first of others, is a contribution to the
wish of Pope Francis and the Holy See “to follow the path of truth wherever it may lead” in terms
of the ongoing McCarrick investigation (Pope Francis, Philadelphia, USA, September 27, 2015;
Press Statement of the Holy See, October 6, 2018).

Former Priest Sentenced to 16 Years, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 24, 2019

We are glad that a jury has sentenced Fr. Ronald H. Paquin to sixteen years in prison. Hopefully this sentence will keep a serial predator away from vulnerable children for the rest of his life.

Now that Fr. Paquin has been sentenced, we hope that police and prosecutors will turn their attention to those who enabled Fr. Paquin’s crimes. The only way that we can ensure that institutions like the church are safer for children and vulnerable adults is by exposing and prosecuting everyone who had a hand in child sex crimes.

Crisis of Faith? Even practicing Catholics say Church has done a poor job handling sexual abuse issue

Angus Reid Institute

May 28, 2019

In the popular imagination, the story of the Catholic Church over the last two decades has been one of scandal, attempted reform, and further scandal. Decades of allegations of sexual abuse by clergy – combined with opaque policies for addressing them – have eroded public trust in the Church around the world.

A new public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canada is not immune to this trend. And yet, though most Canadians – including practicing Catholics – say the Church has done a poor job of handling this issue, the general public in this country seems to differentiate between the Church as an institution and people of faith more generally.

Scandal in the Catholic Church has not caused a broader crisis of faith in Canada today, though it has done notable damage to Canadian Catholics’ opinions of their Church.

While some of this damage is almost certainly the result of concerns Canadians have about incidents of abuse that took place elsewhere in the world, it’s notable that one-in-three practicing Catholics say their local Church community has had problems with clerical sexual abuse over the years.

Ultimately, this is an issue that the Catholic Church in Canada will need to effectively address and move on from if it hopes to recover. Most Canadians, and many practicing Catholics, say they expect the Church to emerge from this issue weakened as an institution.



May 27, 2019

By Katherine Hignett

A Chicago pastor was arrested Friday after allegedly abusing twin12-year-old girls he had tutored at home. His arrest was announced by police Sunday, after the clergyman attended a bond hearing.

Jeffery Parks, 51—a pastor at Good Shepherd Church—is accused of inappropriately touching the girls on multiple occasions since 2017. He tutored the twin girls for three years before he was reported to police, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Law enforcement charged him with one felony count of aggravated criminal abuse and one of predatory criminal assault, both against victims below the age of 13. He is being held on a bond of $100,000.

Police spokesman Michael Carroll said in a news release: “The victims relayed that beginning in 2017, the offender tutored the victims and during those tutoring sessions, the offender would inappropriately place his hands on the victims’ bodies.”

The girls told their mother about the alleged abuse after a discussion on inappropriate touching, The Tribune noted.

Chicago has been dogged by sexual abuse scandals involving religious leaders for years. USA Today recently noted that almost 400 Catholic clergy members have been accused of sexual misconduct in Illinois, according to a list compiled by lawyers.

Other Christian denominations in the U.S. have been rocked by sexual abuse scandals in recent months. Over the past two decades, some 380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers have been accused of sexual misconduct, according to reporting by The Houston Chronicle and The San Antonio Express-News.

Bill to extend statue of limitations for sex-abuse lawsuits faces key vote tonight

Providence Journal

May 28, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

A key legislative committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on a bill to give the victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers, and the institutions that failed to protect the victims.

At its most basic, the legislation unveiled over the holiday weekend extends from seven to 35 years the statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims by adults against priests, Boy Scout leaders, teachers, coaches and others who sexually abused them as children.

There is, also an opportunity for people — unaware until even later in life of the harm they suffered — to file claims within seven years of making the connection, or more specifically: “seven years from the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act.”

Victims of child sexual abuse who missed deadlines for filing civil claims against their abusers would have had a three-year window to bring old cases to court under the original version of the legislation that Rep. Carol McEntee, D-South Kingstown, introduced this year.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence and the insurance industry fought the proposed “revival window″ behind the scenes. Key lawmakers also voiced concern about the constitutionality of the window. They hung their arguments on a 1996 decision in a case known as Kelly v. Marcantonio “rising out of the alleged sexual molestation of minors by priests of the Catholic Church.”

Catholic Church’s Handling Of Sexual Abuse Scandal Questioned In Poll

WUSF Radio

May 28, 2019

By Carrie Pinkard

The Catholic Church has been under public scrutiny since 2002, when the Boston Globe published stories showing how leadership covered up a series of sexual abuse cases. Almost two decades have passed, but the church hasn’t been able to shake its tarnished reputation.

A poll released earlier this month by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute revealed that Americans are not happy with the way the Catholic Church handled sexual abuse cases. 81.3% of those surveyed felt that the Catholic Church was slow to identify and act on sexual abuse involving clergy.

When respondents were asked why they think the Church was slow to act, the number one response was that the church wanted to “preserve and protect its influence and reputation at all cost.”

74% of the general population and 84.8% of Catholics listed this as the number one reason.

Leaked Emails Prove Top Catholic Officials Knew Ex-Cardinal Slept With Seminarians

Associated Press

May 28, 2019

Email correspondence shows disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was placed under Vatican travel restrictions in 2008 for sleeping with seminarians, but regularly flouted those rules with the apparent knowledge of Vatican officials under Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

The email excerpts, released Tuesday by a former aide, make it clear that retired Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew about the restrictions, despite claims of ignorance after the McCarrick scandal exploded last year.

Survivors Advocacy Group Sends Letter to Central Valley DAs

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest

May 25, 2019

A support group for clergy abuse victims are calling on district attorneys in California’s Central Valley to use their offices to reach out to survivors directly and to denounce actions by a Bakersfield attorney that make it less likely for victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to the District Attorneys of Madera, Fresno, Kern, Merced, Mariposa, Tulare, and Inyo Counties following an announcement that these seven DAs will be auditing the Diocese of Fresno. They are asking for special attention to be paid to the case of Msgr. Craig Harrison, who has gone on the attack following multiple accusations of sexual abuse.

“We know from our work that substantiating firsthand accounts of child sex abuse is very difficult for law enforcement under the best of circumstances,” wrote SNAP in its letter. “We fear that the tactics being used by Msgr. Harrison and his lawyer are intended to frighten not only his accusers, but also to prevent witnesses from coming forward.”

Former secretary says officials knew McCarrick's ministry was restricted

Catholic News Service

May 28, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Benedict XVI had imposed restrictions on the public ministry of former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in 2008, but they were not formal sanctions and were not followed strictly, even during the papacy of Pope Benedict himself, McCarrick's former secretary said.

Msgr. Anthony J. Figueiredo, who was the former cardinal's secretary for nine months in 1994-1995, but continued to assist him from Rome, released extracts from correspondence May 28, saying he wanted the truth out about what was known about McCarrick, when and by whom.

Besides knowing about the restrictions himself, the monsignor also said he had evidence that recently retired Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington knew about them, as did Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then-prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then-Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who was nuncio to the United States at the time.

Msgr. Figueiredo said he decided to publish online excerpts of correspondence in his possession -- available at http://thefigueiredoreport.com/ -- after attempting "since September 2018 to share and discuss these with the Holy See and other church leaders." He did not publish the full texts of any of the correspondence or emails he quoted online.

The monsignor, who in October was suspended from driving in England for 18 months after pleading guilty for drunk driving and hitting a car driven by a pregnant woman, said in his online report that "the hierarchy's abuse of authority and cover-up, in their various and serious manifestations, have inflicted consequences upon me," including by "seeking consolation in alcohol."

Vatican Whistle Blower Reveals Lax Enforcement of Restrictions on Disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 28, 2019

We are grateful to Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo for having the courage to release these communications and to show to the public that the “restrictions” placed on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick were not taken at all seriously by his colleagues.

While Cardinal McCarrick has been defrocked by the Church, this correspondence not only illustrates that many other high-ranking Catholic officials were aware of the restrictions that bound the Cardinal, but also that they did nothing to enforce them. To us, this demonstrates that cases of clergy sex abuse are still not being handled properly.

It is very troubling to learn of the lax attitude with which Cardinal McCarrick's discipline was treated by his fellow prelates. This fact becomes all the more troubling now that Pope Francis has mandated that all Church staff report cases of clergy abuse internally to those same prelates. It is difficult to imagine that any reports will be treated with the care they deserve when the officials who receive them have shown a willingness to ignore the punishments imposed by the Vatican.

Chaminade grad sued the Marianists for sexual abuse; they moved the case to bankruptcy court


May 28, 2019

By Nassim Benchaabane

A letter Chris Boisaubin received in 2012 from his high school was both a blessing and a curse.

Boisaubin, now 65, was one of about 1,600 former students of Chaminade College Preparatory School to receive the letter from the Marianists, the Roman Catholic order that runs the boys boarding and day school in Creve Coeur.

A graduate had accused two Marianists of sexually abusing him while he was enrolled in the 1970s. The victim asked the Rev. Martin Solma to send the letter to students who had graduated while the two men had worked at the school.

Several alumni wrote back with allegations of abuse by the men and other clergy there. They filed lawsuits, saying the letter had triggered repressed memories of abuse.

Boisaubin sued the Marianists in 2014 alleging John Woulfe, a member of the Marianist order who is now dead, had abused him when he was a minor and that officials knew he had abused two other boys previously.

The order is willing to pay $50,000 to settle Bouisaubin’s case, but he would get none of the money and the Marianists wouldn’t have to admit wrongdoing of any form, said Ken Chackes, Boisaubin’s attorney.

That’s because for the last two years, Boisaubin’s case hasn’t legally been his to pursue. It’s been property of the bankruptcy court in St. Louis.

Boisaubin, a longtime IT worker, has filed for bankruptcy twice in his life and was discharged from both cases; the most recent case, in St. Louis, ended in 2009.

When he sued the Marianists in 2014, they argued that the damages he sought were an asset, like his car or home or anything else he owned, and became the property of the bankruptcy court, to be surrendered to a trustee overseeing the sale of his estate to pay his creditors.

In December, the Marianists struck an agreement with the bankruptcy trustee; the order would pay $50,000 to Boisaubin’s creditors in exchange for the trustee dropping the sex abuse case. They’re now trying to override Boisaubin’s appeal and enforce the agreement in court.

Roman Catholic diocese suspends Fall River priest accused of misconduct

Boston Channel 25

May 28, 2019

A Roman Catholic diocese in Massachusetts says a longtime priest has been suspended amid an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The Herald News reports that Fall River Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha said in an email Sunday that Father Bruce Neylon, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, was removed from active ministry.

Da Cunha said an individual claimed Neylon had sexual contact with him on numerous occasions in the early 1980s, when the victim was aged 14 or 15. He said the victim was not a member of the parish to which Neylon was assigned at the time and the alleged abuse did not occur on church property.

Neylon has denied the allegation.

Da Cunha called the allegation "credible" and said the case was referred to the Bristol County District Attorney's office.

A statement posted on the Fall River Diocese's website said Neylon was ordained in 1975 and listed his past assignments as parochial vicar (or assistant), Holy Name Parish, Fall River (1975); parochial vicar, St. Patrick Parish, Wareham (1982); pastoral care, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Attleboro (1985); pastor, St. Mary Parish, Seekonk (1983); pastor, St. Stanislaus Parish, Fall River (2002); pastor, Holy Trinity Parish, Fall River (2012).

Marianists Exclude Victim From Settlement of Sex Abuse Case

Survivors Network of thoe Abused by Priests

May 28, 2019

Chris Boisaubin is appealing an agreement the Marianists struck with the trustee in his previously discharged bankruptcy where the religious order would pay $50,000 to Mr. Boisaubin’s creditors in exchange for the trustee dropping the sex abuse case.

We deplore this move by the Marianists to deny a victim his day in court and to ensure the full truth about sex crimes that occurred at Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis is concealed. What other possible motive could they have but to protect themselves, their secrets, their reputations and their incomes?

We stand in support of this survivor as he moves to get the justice and recognition he deserves from the Marianist Order and Church officials in St. Louis.

By playing legal hardball against a victim of a known abusive priest, we can only assume that Catholic officials hope this move will prevent others from coming forward. Instead, we hope that their strategy backfires and that even more people who were hurt at Chaminade will find the courage to speak up.

California bill would force priests to report abuse confessions

Mercury News

May 27, 2019

By John Woolfolk

The law has long treated confession of sin to a priest as sacred. Even clergy who hear a fellow priest’s confession to sexually abusing a child generally can’t be compelled to report it to authorities.

But should they be?

California lawmakers are considering that fundamental question amid heightened scrutiny of the child sex abuse scandal roiling the Catholic Church. The state Senate resoundingly approved a bill last week that would force clergy who hear confessions of child sex abuse from another priest to report it. Church leaders say it is an unconstitutional government intrusion and violation of religious freedom.

“Faith leaders have been the only exception to this rule,” the bill’s author, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said, adding that even doctors and spouses must report suspected child abuse reported to them in confidence. “Instead of protecting children, some have been shielding abusers. It is time for California to put children first.”

The California Catholic Conference opposes Hill’s bill, SB360, arguing it will not help protect children and dangerously weaken religious freedom by “interjecting the government into the confessional.”

“The ‘seal of confession’ is one of the most sacrosanct of Catholic beliefs and penitents rely on this unbreakable guarantee to freely confess and seek reconciliation with God,” the California Catholic Conference said. A priest who “breaks the seal,” the group added, “is automatically excommunicated.”

“We are dealing here with an egregious violation of the principle of religious liberty,” Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said in a statement.

However, the bill comes at a time when the Roman Catholic Church is under fire over priests who sexually abused children. Reporting of widespread abuse in the Boston diocese prompted U.S. bishops in 2002 to adopt a Charter for the Protection of Children, known as the Dallas Charter, to prevent child abuse within the church.

But more recent revelations like a bombshell Pennsylvania investigation in August that found widespread child sex abuse and cover-ups over decades in six dioceses has sparked fresh outrage. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is now investigating the Golden State’s dioceses.

Editorial: St. Louis victims have waited long enough for findings on clergy sexual abuse.

Post Dispatch

May 27, 2019

For months now, the St. Louis Archdiocese has been saying it intends to follow the lead of its counterparts around the nation and publicly identify its clergy who have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of children. Since last year, the Missouri Attorney General’s office, under two consecutive office-holders, has said it will complete and release an independent investigation of the issue statewide. To date, neither promise has been fulfilled.

Officials of both the archdiocese and the attorney general’s office told us last week that they remain committed to completing and releasing their respective investigations. But neither office could even hint at a timeline nor justify why the final reports have to be completed before the release of the information confirmed so far can begin.

Why the hurry? Because, with the continued veil of mystery over this issue, there’s no way for the public to be sure that some of those accused aren’t still in positions to commit further abuse. Assurances that the church has already purged any current threats don’t inspire much confidence when they’re accompanied by the same vague vows of sometime-in-the-future disclosure that we’ve been hearing for months.

After an August 2018 grand jury report alleging more than 300 Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania had sexually abused more than 1,000 children over decades, legal authorities in various states have stepped up to assess the situations in their own jurisdictions. In Illinois alone, then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan last year reported accusations against some 500 priests, far more than church officials had acknowledged.

Many bishops around the country have also provided public disclosure, to varying degrees. Two of Missouri’s four dioceses — Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau — have already released lists of priests facing substantiated allegations.

Some activists say that information lacked adequate detail, but at least they released it. Missouri’s remaining two dioceses, in St. Louis and Kansas City, both say they are awaiting results of internal inquiries by hired investigators before releasing anything. With so many other jurisdictions having already done this, why does the St. Louis Archdiocese keep insisting it needs more time?

Given the church’s circle-the-wagons history on this issue, it may not be too cynical to suggest, as has David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, that they’re running out the clock. “Delays help those who commit abuse, and those who cover it up,” says Clohessy. “With every passing day, one more victim dies or gives up … or one more witness dies or moves away.”

Buffalo Diocese pays $17.5M to 106 clergy sex abuse victims

The Buffalo News

May 28, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has paid $17.5 million to 106 childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse, while rejecting 135 applicants it deemed ineligible for its voluntary compensation program.

A total of 127 settlements were offered to the accusers, ranging from $2,000 to $650,000, with an average award of $158,622. Seventeen people turned down the offers. Three people have yet to decide on offers totaling $425,000, and one person who accepted a $60,000 offer has yet to be paid, which means the diocese's total cost could end up at more than $18 million.

Despite its large price tag, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program payments could turn out to be a bargain for the diocese. Dioceses that settled claims brought through litigation ended up paying much more. In 2016, the Buffalo Diocese settled for $1.5 million a single abuse claim brought in a federal court in Hawaii.

By comparison, the largest compensation award offer was $650,000 and went to a man who accused the Rev. Michael R. Freeman of aiming a revolver at his head and repeatedly molesting him when he was a child in the 1980s. The man was one of the 17 people who rejected offers, according to his attorney, Steve Boyd.

Those who took the payments agreed not to sue, so the Buffalo Diocese avoided more than 100 potential lawsuits under a Child Victims Act signed into law in February that will allow previously time-barred abuse cases to be heard in state courts.

It’s unclear how many of the 135 applicants deemed ineligible for the compensation program will now sue, though some of them have told The Buffalo News they plan to file complaints in court when a one-year window to do so opens Aug. 14. It’s also unclear how many people who did not apply to the diocese program will sue.

Catholic clergy have to report abuse, but what will the Church do with that information?

Christian Today

May 28, 2019

By Christine P. Bartholomew

Pope Francis recently changed the Catholic Church law, making it mandatory for clergy to report sexual abuse to church superiors. In the past, such reporting was left to the discretion of a priest or nun.

Pope Francis' proposal is an effort to address gaps in the regulatory process of the church, which has been accused of shielding clergy sexual abuse. It provides a process to report allegations up the pipeline.

As a scholar of law I worry that it fails to address what the church will do with that information.

To date, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have adopted inconsistent positions on whether, and to what degree, they should share information necessary for legal action.

Boyer: Arizona's Statute Of Limitations For Child Sex Abuse Is The Worst In The County

Capitol Media Services

May 27, 2019

By Daniel Perle and Howard Fischer

The arrest of a priest in Arizona on sex abuse charges out of Michigan could lend fuel to legislative efforts to expand the time that victims in this state have to sue their assailants.

Timothy Crowley, 69, was one of five former Catholic priests who Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said are charged with various counts of criminal sexual conduct. She said all five are part of an investigation by her office into reports of clergy abuse which go back decades.

The news comes as Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, is trying to convince colleagues to scrap existing Arizona laws which say that victims here have only until they turn 20 to file civil suits.

Boyer told Capitol Media Services he can't say whether Crowley and other priests accused of incidents of sexual abuse were purposely moved to Arizona because of what he sees as the limited ability of those who are abused and assaulted here to file civil actions.

These 3 N.J. nuns were accused of sex abuse. Here’s what we know about them.

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

May 28, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

When a law firm released a report earlier this month naming 311 Catholic clergy members from New Jersey accused of sexual misconduct there was something striking about the list-- it included women.

Three nuns from New Jersey were among the priests, monks, deacons and other clergy members listed in the report compiled by New Jersey attorney Greg Gianforcaro and Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm that specialized in representing victims of abuse.

The law firm said it used lawsuits, settlements and news accounts to come up with its list of 311 clergy members -- far more than the 188 priests and deacons that were on a list from New Jersey’s five dioceses released in February.

None of the lists from New Jersey’s dioceses -- Newark, Metuchen, Camden, Trenton and Paterson -- have included nuns. Most nuns are overseen by their individual orders, which would probably have handled any accusations of abuse in the past.

May 27, 2019

Australian cardinal won’t fight sentence if he loses appeal

Associated Press

May 27, 2019

By Trevor Marshallsea

Disgraced Australian Catholic cardinal George Pell will not fight for a reduced jail sentence if he fails in his appeal of his conviction for molesting two choirboys in the 1990s, a court spokesman said Monday.

The 77-year-old Pell — the most senior Catholic convicted of sex abuse — was sentenced in a Melbourne court in March to six years in prison. He must serve at least three years and eight months of the term.

Pell will appeal his conviction next month. His lawyers have filed an application arguing it should be overturned on three grounds.

But the application does not include an appeal of the length of the sentence, Andre Awadalla, a spokesman for the Court of Appeal in Victoria state, told the Associated Press.

Editorial: Give sexual abuse victims a path to justice

Argus Leader

May 25, 2019

Two months ago, the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls released the names of 11 priests who faced substantiated accusations of abusing minors between 1958 and 1992 while serving in eastern South Dakota.

The action came on the crest of a recent wave of such disclosures by Catholic leaders across the country. It began in Pennsylvania last year, when a grand jury in that state accused several dioceses of attempting to cover up abuse by 300 former priests.

As such, the public statement from Sioux Falls Bishop Paul Swain seemed a step in the right direction. Swain apologized to victims “as a sign of my and our faith community’s accepting responsibility for failings over the years.”

He urged those who had suffered abuse at the hands of any of the 11 priests named in the statement to come forward, so that “assistance might be offered and justice accomplished.” He acknowledged that many victims “remain silent for fear they will not be believed.”

But Swain’s statement fell short of the level of disclosure from the Rapid City Diocese several weeks earlier. The Rapid City statement listed the assignments, including dates, of the priests with credible claims of abuse against them.

Matt Althoff, chancellor of the Sioux Falls Diocese, defended the absence of that kind of information. Swain’s letter was addressed to victims who “know where the abuse happened,” Althoff said. “Really it is out of a profound sensitivity for the deserved confidentiality of a victim of clergy sexual abuse that all those details, the bishop chose not to include in his letter."

Priests who had been permanently assigned to the Rapid City Diocese were not the only names disclosed in the Rapid City statement. Also included on their list were credibly-accused members of the Jesuit religious order who had been assigned to missions and mission schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations.

'No words to express our shame': Polish bishops apologize for abuse

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

May 22, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

The Polish bishops' administrative council met in emergency session May 22 and later admitted the church failed to act against clerical sexual abuse.

The meeting came amid outrage over a two-hour documentary, "Just Don't Tell Anyone," that included drastic accounts of cover-up of clerical sex abuse in Poland. The film had more than 19 million views within six days of its May 11 YouTube posting.

"The whole church community in Poland has been shaken by the latest painful information — these crimes have caused deep suffering for harmed people," the bishops said in a pastoral letter to be read in parishes nationwide May 26.

"There are no words to express our shame at the sexual scandals clergy have participated in. They are a source of great evil and demand total condemnation, as well as severe consequences for the criminals and for those who concealed such acts."

The bishops said they had been "deeply affected" by "shocking testimonies" in the film, as well as by its portrayal of a "lack of sympathy, sinful neglect and myopia" shown toward abuse victims.

Michigan Attorney General Announces First Arrests in Catholic Clergy Abuse Investigation

New York Times

May 24, 2019

By Elizabeth Dias

Michigan law enforcement officials made their first arrests in a statewide investigation into Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse, the state’s attorney general announced on Friday.

Five former Catholic priests have been charged with criminal sexual conduct, Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a news conference. But hundreds, or even thousands, of alleged victims could still remain across the state, she said.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “We anticipate many more charges and arrests.”

The charges were the latest effort by law enforcement nationwide to hold Catholic officials accountable for sexual abuse in the church. Since Thursday, four of the former priests were arrested in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan. The fifth faces possible extradition from India.

Letter and spirit: Using universal law to guide local churches on abuse

Catholic News Service via Crux

May 24, 2019

By Carol Glatz

Pope Francis’s latest effort to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable came in the form of a new universal law, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”), which takes effect June 1.

Like all universal legislation, the papal document had to factor in the vast diversity of cultures and traditions of the more than 200 countries where the Church is present, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top abuse investigator, told reporters the day the document was released in May.

It had to strike a balance of being clear and precise, but not so narrow that “it would be inoperative. You need something that can be flexible enough to work,” the archbishop said.

But as Jesuit Father Arturo Sosa, the order’s superior, warned during the safeguarding summit at the Vatican in February, the Church also must never use its “multicultural reality” to justify, excuse or ignore abuse. No matter the culture or local attitudes, the fundamental principle guiding everyone must be to follow the Gospel message, always and everywhere, bringing to light the truth that sets everyone free, he said.

Poland’s ruling right-wing party tops the polls

Associated Press

May 26, 2019

By Monika Scislowska

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has emerged as the big winner in the country’s European Parliament election, taking over 45% of the votes following an aggressive campaign against a united opposition in a year of key elections.

Preliminary results from more than 99% of voting stations announced Monday by the State Electoral Commission suggest that the right-wing ruling party has a good chance of winning crucial elections to the national parliament in the fall and continuing its policy of social conservatism and euroskepticism.

It was the first ever win for the right-wing, nationalist party in European balloting and its best showing in any election ever.

Analysts said the intensive campaign, with the participation of party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and quick containment of crises — from leaders’ business dealings to revelations of child sex abuse by priests — mobilized its voters and defenders of the Catholic Church, and contributed to the party’s showing.

Polish bishops admit they haven’t done enough to stop abuse

Associated Press

May 22, 2019

By Vanessa Gera

Poland’s bishops acknowledged on Wednesday that they have not done enough to prevent clerical abuse of minors and said there are “no words” to describe their shame about sex scandals involving priests.

The acknowledgement came as Poland, where Catholic traditions and faith remain strong, is grappling with the problem of abuse in the church. Massive soul searching was triggered by a documentary, “Tell No One,” that includes testimony by victims, priests who admit their wrongdoing and evidence that the church — even recently — moved abusers from parish to parish and let them have contact with children.

“There are no words to express our shame because of sexual scandals involving clerics,” the Polish Bishops’ Conference said in a statement, a message that is to be read out in all churches on Sunday.


Pittsburgh Post Gazette

May 20, 2019

By Shelly Bradbury, Peter Smith, and Stephanie Strasburg

Part 1 in a 6-part series

Mennonites, Amish face growing recognition of widespread sexual abuse in their communities

Huntington, Pa. - Martha Peight stood in the first row of the courtroom, shaking yet resolute, as she held the printout of her victim-impact statement.

In the benches behind her sat members of area Mennonite churches, wearing the traditional plain clothing of a separatist culture she had left behind — the bearded men in work clothes or dark suits, the women in long dresses and head coverings.

Some had come to lend moral support to her father, Daniel R. Hostetler, who sat with bowed head at the defense table, where he awaited his sentencing for sexually violating Ms. Peight years earlier when she was a young teen.

Others had shown up to support Ms. Peight as she sought justice that had been long delayed, in part due to actions of the former minister of the family’s Mennonite church, who was also there in the courtroom Nov. 29 in this central Pennsylvania county seat.

Generations of Pain

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

May 22, 2019

By Shelly Bradbury, Peter Smith, and Stephanie Strasburg

Part 2 in a 6-part series

Plain community sexual abuse victims sometimes pressured to take offenders back

The Old Order Mennonite bishop leveled a finger at the unwed, pregnant teenager who stood before him and jabbed it toward her.

“You,” she remembered him saying, “can’t be a church member until after the baby is born.”

Diane Snyder stood silently beside her boyfriend as the bishop made his declaration. She did not protest when her boyfriend escaped the punishment she was to suffer for the baby growing inside her.

And she stayed silent during the ensuing months, keeping to herself the gnawing fear that she’d die before the baby was born — die and go to hell because she wasn’t a church member.

She married her boyfriend, Jim Burkholder, and for years she never protested when he demanded sex, even when she was pregnant with one child, nursing another. It was her duty to satisfy him, and she couldn’t say no. This was what married women had to do, she believed.

Forced Forgiveness

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

May 28, 2019

By Shelly Bradbury, Peter Smith, and Stephanie Strasburg

Part 3 in a 6-part series

Plain community sexual abuse victims sometimes pressured to take offenders back

Church leaders pulled Kay aside one Sunday and told her she was excommunicated for failing to forgive her husband.

Her conservative Mennonite church demanded that she take a registered sex offender back into her home, that she forgive and forget what he had done to their 1-month-old baby and her sibling who followed.

But Kay had tried that blind forgiveness before, and she couldn’t do it again.

She’d gone to counseling with him, brought the kids to him for supervised visits, eaten meals with him. But this time, he needed to prove to her that he was trustworthy, and in the year since he’d been off probation, he’d ignored her rules and pushed the boundaries and pointed fingers at her for breaking up the marriage.

Bill lengthening amount of time child sex abuse victims can sue heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk

Texas Tribune

May 24, 2019

By Cassandra Pollock

The House initially exempted churches and nonprofits from the extended statute of limitations, but the chamber agreed to include them Friday after sex assault victims pushed back.

A proposal at the Texas Legislature that would give victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers and the organizations they were affiliated with is headed to the governor’s desk.

House Bill 3809, filed by state Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, would let people file civil lawsuits against alleged abusers 30 years after the victims turn 18. Current law only allows for a 15-year threshold to sue. That lengthened statute of limitations would apply to culpable entities, a provision the Senate added back into the legislation after the House stripped language related to those institutions from the bill.

Goldman moved to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill Friday, with members signing off on it unanimously.

Goldman’s bill first surfaced in April, when Becky Leach, wife of state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, shared her story of child sexual abuse before the House committee chaired by her husband. At that hearing, Becky Leach, who testified for the bill, said she wanted to use her experience to help others who haven’t yet come forward.

Former Michigan Priest Charged With 6 Counts of Sex Crimes

Associated Press via New York Times

May 24, 2019

A Catholic priest who admitted when he resigned from a Flint-area parish that he had sexually abused a child has been charged with several counts of sexual assault dating back decades.

The Detroit News and The Flint Journal report that prosecutors charged 80-year-old Vincent DeLorenzo on Thursday with six counts of both first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The Diocese of Lansing says eight people have accused DeLorenzo of sexual abuse and that he's being defrocked.

Court records list DeLorenzo as a Lantana, Florida, resident, but The Associated Press couldn't find a listed phone number for him in that area and wasn't able to reach him for comment.

Italy’s Catholic bishops ‘morally obliged’ to report abuse

Associated Press

May 23, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The Italian Catholic Church hierarchy said Thursday it had approved guidelines establishing a “moral obligation” to report cases of clergy sex abuse to police, after bishops long downplayed the problem and covered it up.

The Italian bishops’ conference didn’t immediately release the text. But the official in charge of child protection, Monsignor Lorenzo Ghizzoni, said it called for bishops to report credible accusations even though Italian law doesn’t designate clergy as mandated reporters.

The main Italian victims’ group, Rete L’Abuso, called the announcement “dishonest” as the conference in 2014 issued similar guidelines saying bishops had a “moral duty” to report. The group said the 2014 guidelines hadn’t resulted in a single church-initiated criminal complaint.

Italy’s church — of which Pope Francis is the titular head as bishop of Rome — has been well behind the curve on confronting clergy abuse, with multiple cases of abuse and high-ranking cover-ups that only recently have begun making headlines.

Just this week, the mother of a victim wrote an open letter calling for the resignation of the powerful archbishop of Milan, Mario Delpini. He admitted under oath that he transferred her son’s predator to another parish in 2011 rather than turning him in to police or keeping him away from children.

Texas Senate restores key part of child sexual abuse bill

Associated Press

May 21, 2019

The Texas Senate has passed a bill that would give child sexual abuse victims more time to sue in civil court after restoring a key provision that allows them to take on institutions.

Senate lawmakers approved the legislation unanimously on Tuesday after former Olympic and U.S. national team gymnasts urged legislators last week to include the provision House lawmakers had quietly removed.

The revised Senate version would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser and institutions up to 30 years after their 18th birthday.

A push to expand statute of limitations laws for child sex abuse victims is underway in statehouses nationwide amid lawsuits against large institutions like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and USA Gymnastics.

5 former Michigan Catholic priests charged with sex crimes

Associated Press

May 24, 2019

By Jeff Karoub

Michigan prosecutors announced Friday that five former Catholic priests are facing sexual abuse charges as part of the state attorney general’s ongoing investigation into clergy abuse going back decades.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said the priests served in dioceses in Detroit, Lansing and Kalamazoo, and that they’ve been charged with various counts of criminal sexual conduct. Four of them were arrested this week in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, and the fifth awaits extradition from India.

A sixth priest faces an administrative complaint and has had his counseling license suspended by the state, officials said.

Nearly all of the charges, which involve victims who were as young as 5 years old when they were abused, came from roughly 450 calls to a tip line and were corroborated by files seized from dioceses last fall and interviews with multiple victims, Nessel said. She added that the cases are just the “tip of the iceberg,” as investigators have only gone through at most 10% of the information they have obtained. They also found many cases in which they could not bring charges because statutes of limitation had expired, priests had died or victims wouldn’t come forward.

As US associates track to surpass women religious, both face 'turning point'

Global Sisters Report

May. 23, 2019

By Dan Stockman

If current trends continue, within five years, the number of associates in the United States will be greater than the number of vowed women religious.

A 2016 study found more than 35,000 associates in the United States, a number Jeanne Connolly, board president of the North American Conference of Associates and Religious, or NACAR, said has likely grown since then.

While NACAR doesn't track numbers, Connolly said communities continue to add associate programs. At the very least, she said, the number has held steady. The number of sisters, meanwhile, continues to fall.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, or CARA, reported 44,117 sisters in 2018, down from 57,544 in 2010. A 2016 actuarial study done for the National Religious Retirement Office projects there will be fewer than 30,000 sisters in 2024.

Peruvian cardinal calls recent scandals a ‘wound’ in the Church


May 25, 2019

By Elise Harris

This is the second installment of a two-part interview with Cardinal Ricardo Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, who serves as vice president of the Peruvian bishops’ conference and who sits on a committee organizing the upcoming Synod of Bishops for the Amazon. Part one can be found here.

Rome - Peruvian Cardinal Ricardo Barreto Jimeno has said recent scandals upsetting the local church, including revelations of sexual abuse within a prominent lay group and a very public case of an archbishop launching criminal complaints against two journalists, have been harmful to Catholics.

Referring to the case of Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura, who recently retracted complaints against two journalists after raising criminal charges of defamation against them last year, Barreto said the fiasco has been “a wound for the Church in Peru.”

Eguren Anselmi is one of the early members of the troubled Sodalitium Cristianae Vitae (SCV) lay group, whose founder, Luis Fernando Figari, was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2017 after being accused of sexually abusing minors and manipulating young men in the community.

German religious orders set up inquiry into sexual abuse

Catholic News Service via Global Sisters Report

May 24, 2019

Catholic religious orders in Germany have set up an inquiry into sexual abuse in their monasteries and convents, following claims that abuse occurred in more than half of all monastic communities.

"We still don't know enough about what happened and is happening in each community, since models of action and prevention are all different," Franciscan Sr. Katharina Kluitmann, chairwoman of the German Orders Conference, said in a May 22 statement to the organization's general meeting in Vallendar.

"Although our path has taken on a clear momentum, we haven't reached our destination. But we have found certain landmarks — and the most important is this isn't about us, but about those affected."

The 55-year-old nun said the inquiry, to be published in early 2020, had been approved unanimously by 200 order leaders at the meeting. She said the inquiry would collect data on victims, prosecution reports, compensation payments and personal files.

May 26, 2019

Archbishop's response to mandatory child sex abuse reporting labelled 'pig-headed'

The Guardian

May 23, 2019

By Melissa Davey and Australian Associated Press

Perth’s Timothy Costelloe says forcing revelations will interfere with the ‘free practice of the Catholic faith’

Perth’s Catholic archbishop, Timothy Costelloe, says forcing religious leaders in Western Australia to reveal knowledge of child sex abuse risks “interfering with the free practice of the Catholic faith” and will be ineffective – a stance that advocates say is “ignorant and pig-headed”.

The state government plans to expand mandatory reporting laws to include religious leaders such as priests, ministers, imams, rabbis, pastors and Salvation Army officers.

The laws already apply to doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, police and school boarding supervisors.

Costelloe said plans to remove legal protections around the confidentiality of religious confessions would cause “great concern and distress” to many people of faith.

Diocese Adds More Names to Priests List

The Intelligencer

May 26, 2019

By Joselyn King

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has added nine additional names to the list of priests associated with the diocese accused in sexual abuse incidents since the1950s, bringing the total number to 40.

The diocese released its original list in November, and updated it this week following a visit to Wheeling by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey called for more cooperation and transparency from the Diocese as investigations continue into sexual abuse claims made against diocese priests — including former bishop Michael Bransfield.

Phone messages left with the diocese Friday afternoon were not immediately returned.

“We are glad that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has updated their list of priests publicly accused of abuse,” said Judy Jones, midwest regional leader for SNAP — The Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests. “We are disappointed, however, that they did so without notifying the public.

Documents: Police knew of allegation against Saginaw area priest a year before removal

Detroit News

May 22, 2019

By Beth LeBlanc

Law enforcement knew about an allegation of misconduct with a minor against a Diocese of Saginaw priest as early as March 2018 and the victim allegedly reported the incident to the diocese years earlier, but the priest wasn’t removed from his position until Sunday.

The Diocese of Saginaw announced Tuesday that the Rev. Dennis Kucharczyk had been placed on administrative leave after law enforcement informed diocesan officials of “an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred many years ago.”

"Father Kucharczyk is to have no contact with individuals under 21, which prohibits him from going on school properties or participating in school and parish activities and functions," the diocese's statement said. "He also was informed that he must refrain from wearing clerical garb, refrain from the exercise of public ministry, and may not present himself publicly as a priest while the allegation is investigated by the Diocese."

A March 2018 search warrant indicates a Midland woman informed police last year of “inappropriate touching” by Kucharczyk, behavior that started in the late 1980s when she was in first or second grade until she “ended the relationship” more than 15 years later. The woman told police she alerted the coordinate for the diocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection about the incident “around 2010," according to the warrant.

Newly suspended Catholic priest was named as sexual misconduct suspect by police in 2018

M Live

May 23, 2019

By Cole Waterman

Saginaw - A priest recently suspended by the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw due to an allegation of sexual misconduct was named more than a year ago in sealed police affidavits as a suspect in a misconduct case involving a minor, documents show.

The documents, unsealed this month, name the Rev. Dennis Kucharczyk, who the Saginaw Diocese said in press release on Tuesday, May 21, was placed administrative leave from priestly ministry on Sunday, May 19.

The diocese took the action after it said it received information from law enforcement regarding an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that occurred “many years ago.”

A 19-page affidavit authored by Saginaw Township Police Detective Scott Jackson and dated March 22, 2018, states police sought personnel records of Kucharczyk, three other priests, and one deacon as part of their investigation.

Archbishop ‘deeply disappointed’ by Senate passing confession bill

Catholic News Service via Crux

May 25, 2019

By Pablo Kay

[Note: The bill discussed in this article is available here.]

Los Angeles - Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said he was “deeply disappointed” by the California Senate’s passage of a bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession.

After legislators voted 30-2 in favor of the measure May 23, the archbishop urged the state’s Catholics “to continue to pray and make your voices heard on this issue, which is so vital to our faith and religious freedom.”

“I continue to believe we can strengthen mandated reporting laws to protect children’s safety while at the same time preserving the sanctity of penitential communications,” he stated. “My brother bishops and I will continue to work with our lawmakers in the Assembly.”

As the bill, S.B. 360, made its way through the Legislature, the California bishops urged lawmakers to strengthen and clarify mandated reporting requirements while maintaining the traditional protections for “penitential communications.”

Clergy abuse victims fighting to extend statute of limitations in Iowa

Des Moines Register

May 25, 2019

By Shelby Fleig

Two years after The Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winningseries in 2002 that uncovered decades of abuse and cover-ups in New England parishes, Iowan John Chambers, 66, regained long-repressed memories of being sexually abused as a sophomore at Dowling High School.

Chambers, a lifelong Des Moines resident, had been in and out of therapy for decades by that point battling crippling depression. His deteriorating mental health led to substance abuse and withered his relationships, he said.

He was 52 when he remembered instances of fondling and indecent exposure by the Rev. Leonard Kenkel, in 1966 and 1967. According to Child USA, a nonprofit think-tank that studies child abuse, 52 is the average age that adults who were victims of child sex abuse first disclose their experiences.

Chambers sued the Diocese of Des Moines and Kenkel in 2004.

The Priesthood Has Meaning, and Not Just for Male Priests

The Atlantic

May 26, 2019

By Kerry Weber

Calls for the abolition of the Church’s clerical establishment ignore something important: the wishes of the faithful.

A few years ago, I was invited to my friend’s ordination to the priesthood. I was thrilled for him—a kind, holy man who’s passionate about justice—and honored to be included. But if I’m honest, I also expected to be a bit bored. Ordination liturgies can run several hours, and the rite requires some parts to be repeated for each candidate. With eight men up for ordination, I knew we’d be in it for the long haul. I imagined the experience as something akin to a graduation ceremony, where you root for the person you know and then tune out.

On the day of the liturgy, however, that repetition of the rite moved me deeply. As I watched this line of men I’d never met become priests in the Church I loved, I was struck by the beauty of this brief overlap in our lives, and by the way in which these men represented only a fraction of those ordained that year. We would all go our separate ways, changed by this experience and renewed in our desire to serve. I needed to root not just for my friend but for all of them.

With every new wave of stories of sexual abuse by priests, it can be much harder not to create a spiritual bunker containing the people I like and leaving out the rest. I have felt despair and frustration at the crisis of abuse and the failure of leadership that got us here. The Church needs healing. It needs a new way forward.

The Catholic Church is tightening rules on reporting sexual abuse – but not swearing off its legal privilege to keep secrets

Penn Live

May 23, 2019

By Christine P. Bartholomew


[Note: The document discussed in this commentary is available here.]

Pope Francis recently changed the Catholic Church law, making it mandatory for clergy to report sexual abuse to church superiors. In the past, such reporting was left to the discretion of a priest or nun.

Pope Francis’ proposal is an effort to address gaps in the regulatory process of the church, which has been accused of shielding clergy sexual abuse. It provides a process to report allegations up the pipeline.

As a scholar of law I worry that it fails to address what the church will do with that information.

To date, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have adopted inconsistent positions on whether, and to what degree, they should share information necessary for legal action.

Clergy across various religions, ranging from Christians to Catholics to Muslims to Jews, are willing to share evidence in cases of violent crimes, such as murders. But when the evidence pertains to clergy misconduct, namely sexual abuse, the tide changes.

Defrocked Mass. priest ordered to serve 16 years in Maine prison

Boston Globe

May 25, 2019

By Patrick Whittle

A Massachusetts priest who was defrocked for child sexual abuse and was portrayed in the movie ‘‘Spotlight” is going to prison for a second time — this time in Maine.

A judge on Friday ordered Ronald Paquin to serve 16 years in state prison for sexually abusing an altar boy during trips to Maine in the 1980s. Paquin, 76, already served more than 10 years in prison in Massachusetts for sexually abusing another altar boy in that state.

Justice Wayne Douglas said he didn’t detect expressions of remorse or responsibility from Paquin, who he said betrayed the ‘‘sacred trust’’ of his victims. He imposed the maximum sentence of 20 years but suspended a portion of the sentence.

One of Paquin’s victims, 45-year-old Keith Townsend, testified before the sentencing that Paquin’s abuse sent him into a spiral of depression and drug abuse, and caused him to question his faith in God. The Associated Press does not normally identify victims of sexual abuse, but Townsend identified himself as the victim and gave permission for his name to be used.

Later, Townsend said he was satisfied with the sentence, and he hopes it motivates more victims to name their abusers.

Polish priest blames 'devil' as he's confronted by alleged victim whose life was ruined


May 26, 2019

By Antonia Mortensen

[Note: The documentary described in this article may be viewed here (with subtitles).]

"Father, I wanted to look you in the eye ... I wanted to ask you why?" demands Anna Misiewicz as she confronts the parish priest she says abused her when she was just seven and eight years old.

"You touched me where you were not supposed to, my private parts," Misiewicz says, matter-of-factly, telling him that his actions "really scarred my adult life deeply."

"I still have nightmares ... I am unable to sleep at night," she tells her alleged abuser. "I still carry it inside me."

The elderly man she is addressing exhales and shifts in his orange and brown striped chair, as a religious service plays out on a TV nearby, in a home for retired priests in Kielce, central Poland.

Court records reveal years of alleged sex abuse by priests across Michigan

M Live

May 24, 2019

By Malachi Barrett

[Note: The affidavits summarized in this article are available here.]

Court documents shared by the Michigan Attorney General’s office reveal shocking details of sexual misconduct allegedly committed by priests for years across the state before their arrest this week.

Five men who were priests in Michigan have been charged with 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday. Nessel said the priests are suspected of abusing five individuals, four who were underage at the time of the sexual assault and one adult who was taken advantage of during a confession.

Nessel shared affidavits and charging documents with reporters after a Friday press conference. The arrests are “the tip of the iceberg,” Nessel said, more will be found as state investigators review hundreds of tips and hundreds of thousands of documents uncovered from a probe into Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses.

Catholics share thoughts on the abuse scandal vs. faith

Associated Press

May 26, 2019

By Melissa Klaric

A faith that is shaken, but not lost. Deep disappointment, but hope for the future. An overwhelming feeling that there is a lesson to be learned and a stronger church if it is taken to heart.

In the wake of the October grand jury report chronicling hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by priests around Pennsylvania, as well as testimonies of victims who say their lives have been turned upside down because of the church’s inaction, Catholics are struggling to deal with the news and the future.

Jill Stanek’s parents taught her to respect and to revere the clergy and the church. Now, the Sharon mother of five is teaching her children differently.

Stanek and others associated with the Catholic Church in the Shenango Valley and Lawrence County came together to talk about those questions - what to think about the scandals, what to believe about their faith and church and what to do next.

Obituary: Bishop Joseph Galante, 80, led Diocese of Camden

Philadelphia Inquirer

May 25, 2019

By Bethany Ao

Retired Catholic Bishop Joseph Galante, 80, of Philadelphia, who led the Diocese of Camden from 2004 to 2013, died Saturday, May 25, at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point after a long illness that led to his earlier-than-anticipated retirement.

The Diocese of Camden announced his death via Facebook. A representative could not be reached for comment.

* * *

The bishop was also known for his zero-tolerance stance on sexual abuse within the church. It earned him a spot on the ad hoc committee on sex abuse of the Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 2002, when sex abuse in Boston provoked an international crisis, Bishop Galante helped draft the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which was overwhelmingly approved by his fellow bishops when they met that summer.

May 25, 2019

Michigan Attorney General Nessel Announces Charges and Arrests in Clergy Abuse Investigation

Office of the Attorney General

May 24, 2019

By Attorney General Dana Nessel

[Note: This announcement includes links to the criminal complaints and affidavits.]

Five men who were priests have been charged with a total of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced at a news conference this morning in Lansing. Four of the men have been arrested; one awaits extradition in India. A sixth Michigan priest is facing an administrative complaint and his license as a professional educationally limited counselor has been summarily suspended by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

“In the last 30 hours, more than a dozen members of our investigative team have been in courtrooms in Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee, Macomb and Berrien Counties while other members of our team have been working with local law enforcement in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan – all in a carefully executed plan to take these charged defendants off the streets,” said Nessel. “Almost all of these charges came as a direct result of calls to our tip line but were then corroborated by files seized from the dioceses last fall, followed by multiple interviews with victims.

“Although we have charged these men with very serious crimes, I want to remind everyone that they are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law,” cautioned Nessel.

Charges were filed as follows:

Timothy Michael Crowley, 69, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and four felony counts of CSC 2 – a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Crowley, who was a priest in various parishes, including St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor, was arrested Thursday in Tempe, Arizona.

Neil Kalina, 63, 63, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Macomb County with four felony counts of CSC 2, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring. Kalina, who was a priest at St. Kiernan Catholic Church in Shelby Township, was arrested Thursday in Littlerock, California.

Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, Lansing Diocese, was charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of CSC 1, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, and three felony counts of CSC 2, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. DeLorenzo, who was a priest at Holy Redeemer Church in Burton, was arrested Thursday in Marion County, Florida.

Patrick Casey, 55, Archdiocese of Detroit, was charged in Wayne County with one felony count of CSC 3, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Casey, who was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, was arrested Thursday in Oak Park, Michigan.

Jacob Vellian, 84, Kalamazoo Diocese, was charged with two counts of Rape, a maximum sentence of life in prison. Vellian was a priest at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Benton Harbor, and now lives in Kerala, India.

5 Catholic priests charged in Michigan sex abuse investigation

Detroit Free Press

May 24, 2019

By Niraj Warikoo

As part of the state's investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday criminal sexual conduct charges against five priests in Michigan.

"Some of these clergy ... preyed on young children," Nessel said at a news conference about the men who were priests at the time of the alleged abuse. She said the five cases were the "tip of the iceberg" as investigators continue to track down hundreds of tips on abuse by Catholic priests.

In some of the incidents, the priests mixed their sexual activity with references to Catholic beliefs or committed the acts during Catholic rituals such as confession, according to allegations in affidavits.

New Saginaw Catholic bishop pledges transparency in priest sexual abuse allegations

Michigan Radio NPR

May 24, 2019

By Steve Carmody

Saginaw’s new Catholic bishop says he’s committed to “transparency and accountability” on matters concerning sexual abuse by priests.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Robert Gruss to take over the Diocese of Saginaw earlier this month. Gruss held his introductory news conference Friday, shortly before Attorney General Dana Nessel announced charges against five Catholic priests in different parts of Michigan. The Attorney General's office is investigating allegations of sexual abuse in all of Michigan's Catholic dioceses.

Gruss has dealt with similar allegations in his current posting in Rapid City, South Dakota. In March, the Diocese of Rapid City released a list of 21 priests accused of sexual misconduct dating back to 1951. Twenty on the list are dead. The sole living priest on the list pleaded guilty in February to sexually touching a 13-year-old girl.

Diocesan Priest placed on Administrative Leave

Diocese of Saginaw

May 21, 2019

A priest of the Diocese of Saginaw, Father Dennis Kucharczyk, has been placed on administrative leave from priestly ministry by Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator, while an allegation of misconduct involving a minor is investigated. Father Kucharczyk is pastor at St. John XXIII Parish, which includes St. Mary Church in Hemlock, Sacred Heart Church in Merrill and St. Patrick Church in Ryan. This leave took effect on Sunday, May 19.

The Diocese of Saginaw has received information from law enforcement regarding an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred many years ago. Based on this information, the Diocese immediately removed Father Kucharczyk from active ministry.

According to the terms of the leave of absence, Father Kucharczyk is to have no contact with individuals under 21, which prohibits him from going on school properties or participating in school and parish activities and functions. He also was informed that he must refrain from wearing clerical garb, refrain from the exercise of public ministry, and may not present himself publicly as a priest while the allegation is investigated by the Diocese.

Michigan charges 5 former priests with sex crimes


May 24, 2019

By Jason Hanna and Elizabeth Joseph

Five former Catholic priests have been charged in Michigan with criminal sexual conduct or rape, the state attorney general said Friday, amid a months-long investigation of alleged clergy sexual abuse in the state.

Four were arrested Thursday in various locations across the country, and Michigan will seek the extradition of a fifth man from India, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

"In this case, some of those clergy who preyed on young children and on vulnerable adults, unfortunately those clergy were hiding in plain sight, purporting to comfort their parishioners, hearing their confessions and taking advantage of their position of faith and authority," Nessel said in a news conference Friday in Lansing.

"And today, we begin holding those clergy accountable."

Five men who were Catholic priests face new criminal charges in Michigan

Washington Post

May 24, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer

Five men who have worked as Catholic priests in Michigan now face charges for sex crimes, state Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday.

Nessel has conducted one of the most aggressive probes of the Catholic Church as attorneys general in numerous states across the country investigate alleged sexual abuse by priests. She said that the charges announced Friday resulted from tips called in to the state’s hotline for abuse victims, as well as documents that state investigators seized from the state’s seven Catholic dioceses.

Four of the men, ranging in age from 55 to 80, were charged with criminal sexual conduct and arrested on Thursday in their current locations — Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan. A suspect who faces the most serious charges, two counts of rape, has not yet been arrested, according to the attorney general’s office. That suspect, Jacob Vellian, lives in Kerala, India, according to the attorney general’s office, which said it will seek his extradition.

‘Revolution’ in Poland as nation confronts priestly abuse

Associated Press

May 25, 2019

By Vanessa Gera

One victim spoke out, and then another, and another. A statue of a pedophile priest was toppled in Gdansk, put back by his supporters, and finally dismantled for good. A feature film about clerical abuse was a box office hit.

Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came: A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.

Poland’s bishops acknowledged this week they face a crisis and made a rare admission that they have failed to protect the young. It’s also a crisis for the country’s conservative government, which is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, putting the ruling Law and Justice party on the defensive before Sunday’s European Parliament vote in Poland.

The documentary ”Tell No One ” was directed by journalist Tomasz Sekielski. Before its release on May 11, ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski had described discussion about clerical abuse as a “brutal attack” on the church and portrayed the LGBT rights movement as the key threat to children in the country. But the revelations in the documentary have pushed the party to face up to the cleric abuse crisis. It has vowed stiffer penalties for pedophilia, although its leaders have avoided pointing a finger at the church specifically.

Defrocked priest, 76, sentenced to spend 16 years in prison for sexually abusing boy in Maine


May 24, 2019

By Megan Gray

A jury convicted Ronald Paquin last year on 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct stemming from incidents in the 1980s.

A former Catholic priest will spend 16 years in prison for abusing a young boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s.

Ronald Paquin, 76, was found guilty in November on 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy.

Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse. He pleaded guilty in 2002 in Massachusetts to repeatedly raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12. He spent more than decade in prison there and was defrocked in 2004.

York County Superior Court Justice Wayne Douglas sentenced Paquin on Friday to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended. Upon release, Paquin will be subject to three years of probation and required to register as a sex offender.

Two More Women Come Forward in Sexual Abuse Allegations Against SD Priest


May 24, 2019

By Anlleyn Venegas, Fabiola Berriozábal and Brenda Gregorio-Nieto

Two more women have come forward and claimed to be victims of child sexual abuse by a priest at the St. Jude's Shrine of the West church in Southcrest.

They claimed it occurred more than 30 years ago in the well-known and beloved parish. The priest involved is named, Monsignor Gregory Sheridan, who has already died and the victims are asking that the church to recognize the alleged crimes.

For decades, families have nurtured their faith in the parish whose masses were also visited by St. Teresa of Calcutta and Luis Donaldo Colosio.

May 24, 2019

Mario Batali Pleads Not Guilty to Criminal Charges in Boston

Boston Magazine

May 23, 2019

By Jacqueline Cain

The celebrity chef has been disgraced by a slew of sexual assault allegations, but he wasn't facing any charges—until now.

NOTE: This post was updated Friday, May 24, after Mario Batali was arraigned in Boston.

After floodgates opened in December 2017 that shed light on a pattern of alleged sexual misconduct by Mario Batali, the celebrity chef is no longer profiting from the restaurant empire that launched him to fame. But he wasn’t facing any criminal charges—until now. The Boston Globe reports that Batali has been charged with indecent assault and battery, and plead not guilty to the charges on Friday morning in Boston Municipal Court.

Boston Police launched an investigation into an incident with Batali in Boston in August 2018, after a local woman told Eater New York that the chef assaulted her at a former Back Bay restaurant in 2017. The woman also filed a lawsuit against Batali.

The victim’s name is redacted in the new criminal charges, but according to the Globe, the account aligns with that plaintiff’s story. Police say the woman told them she was eating dinner with a friend at Towne Stove and Spirits when she spotted the recognizable Batali at the bar. She asked the chef for a photo, and Batali invited her to pose for a selfie with him. The woman told police that an apparently intoxicated Batali took the opportunity to grope her chest and groin without her consent, kiss her, and aggressively pull her face. The woman left the restaurant shortly after the incident, she told police. In the civil complaint she filed last summer, the woman’s lawyers said the uncomfortable ordeal left her badly shaken.

Law firm: Southern Baptist missionary group must reform sex abuse reporting practices

Houston Chronicle

May 23, 2019

By Sarah Smith

The Southern Baptist Convention’s missionary arm knew of sexual abuse allegations against one of its former top missionaries for over 10 years before his arrest — accusations that exploded last year and forced the organization to bring in a third party to investigate its handling of abuse.

Anne Marie Miller told the International Mission Board in 2007 that Mark Aderholt, then a missionary to Central Europe, had initiated sexual contact with her as a teenager. He resigned quietly from the IMB and went on to rise in the Southern Baptist ranks until Miller reported him to police and went public with her story in 2018. No one from the IMB contacted law enforcement during the course of its 2007 investigation.

The law firm retained by the IMB in the wake of the Aderholt scandal put out a release on Wednesday recommending sweeping changes to the organization’s policies for reporting abuse to law enforcement.

Paedophile priest who served in Hamilton and Dunedin defrocked by Catholic church


May 23, 2019

A Catholic priest has been defrocked of his title over historical sexual offending against boys.

The Bishop of Hamilton Steve Lowe said in a statement Magnus Murray has been removed from the priesthood after the conclusion of a formal church judicial process.

Murray, known as Max, was convicted in 2003 on four historic charges of sexual offending against four boys.

He previously served as a Catholic priest of the Dioceses of Dunedin and Hamilton, and was withdrawn from ministry when he retired in 1990.

WV AG Morrisey says his office made 3 criminal referrals for Catholic church investigation

WV News

May 24, 2019

By Jake Jarvis

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office has made three criminal referrals to local prosecutors stemming from an investigation into the Roman Catholic Diocese of West Virginia.

Morrisey, who identified himself as a practicing member of the Catholic church, addressed the lawsuit during a press conference at his office Thursday afternoon. He said he is deeply disappointed that the church diocese continues to conceal documents and is not cooperating with full disclosure.

"Obviously they cooperated a little bit up front," Morrisey said. "After we filed the original submission, they spent a lot of time talking about how old the allegations were. We thought about that a little bit. Some of them obviously go back in time, but it's critical to note that the reason why they're coming to light now is because of our office."

Morrisey's office first filed a lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and Bishop Michael Bransfield earlier this year, alleging they violated the state's consumer protection laws by not alerting parents the accused priests were staffing its schools and camps.


World Religion News

May 23, 2019

By Alison Lesley


The Lifeway Research conducted a 2019 Sexual Misconduct and Churchgoers Study found that about 10 percent of all Protestant churchgoers below 35 years of age have abandoned their church as they harbored the perception of sexual misconduct not being taken seriously. This is twice as many as five percent of all the churchgoers who have previously done the same. When it comes to the younger demographic, about nine percent said that they have stopped attending their congregation due to feeling unsafe from misconduct.

Italian bishops decree ‘moral obligation’ to report abuse to police


May 24, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Italian bishops are running late on several items on Pope Francis’s to-do list, from reducing the disproportionate number of dioceses on the peninsula to streamlining marriage annulments, but when it comes to the protection of minors they say they’re now getting up to speed.

During their general assembly May 20-23, the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) approved “Guidelines for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons,” which will focus on the prevention of abuse and will be added to their previously published 2014 guidelines.

The guidelines will be published in the coming days, but bishops already shared their main novelty, which is a “moral obligation” for clergy to report verified cases of sexual abuse to civil authorities.

“This was, I believe, the real step forward of these guidelines compared to the ones we had before,” said Archbishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni of Ravenna, who heads the commission for the protection of minors at CEI, during a news conference May 23.

Ohio State athlete-abuse scandal: How big will the financial impact be? Who will pay?

Cincinnati Enquirer

May 23, 2019

By James Pilcher

Two Big Ten schools have paid more than $700 million to victims of sex abuse scandals linked to their athletic programs.

Ohio State appears likely to join the group, with mediation sessions scheduled next month for athletes who have sued the university, with more lawsuits likely on the way.

So, how large could a settlement for the victims of Dr. Richard Strauss be? Who will ultimately foot the bill? Since the abuse occurred at the main campus, could there be a financial penalty for the Ohio State regional campuses in Mansfield, Marion, Newark, Lima and Wooster?

Catholic church opposes expansion of child sexual abuse reporting in WA

Australian Associated Press

May 23, 2019

Archbishop urged minister not to broaden law that would oblige priests to report information heard in confession

Religious ministers in Western Australia will be compelled to reveal knowledge of child sexual abuse – even if it is gained through the confessional – but the Catholic church is resisting.

The WA Labor government plans to expand mandatory reporting laws to include all recognised religious leaders who are authorised to conduct worship, services and ceremonies.

This includes priests, ministers, imams, rabbis, pastors and Salvation Army officers.

The laws already apply in WA to doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, police and school boarding supervisors.

Italy bishops adopt new measures on sexual abuse, victims skeptical


May 23, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Italy’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday enacted a new policy on reporting suspected cases of sexual abuse by priests, but they stopped short of making it mandatory to inform police at first instance.

Under the policy, church authorities would carry out a preliminary investigation then decide whether to refer it to police.

The measure drew a skeptical response from victims’ groups mindful of past Church cover-ups of abuses by clergymen.

The policy does however go further than that laid out by Pope Francis earlier this month which mandated the world’s one million priests and nuns to report all suspicion of sexual abuse by clerics of any level to their superiors.

Here’s some penance: The state wants to hear church confessions about abuse, let it

The Sacramento Bee

May 24, 2019

By Marcos Breton

The state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would require Catholic priests to rat out other Catholic priests for admitting that they molested a child – even if it were made during the sacrament of confession.

Authored by Democrat Jerry Hill of the Bay Area, Senate Bill 360 is like a TV drama “ripped from the headlines.” Catholic priests have been the molesting kids for decades and getting away with it some cases. The church has been all-too-slow in responding appropriately, or in fully atoning for unspeakable complicity in the abuse of children by members of clergy. The headlines have endless.

Hill’s bill is a direct response to the outrage over the abuse of children. The fact that Hill’s bill crosses the line supposedly separating church and state seemed of little concern to the 30 state senators – including Sacramento’s Democrat Richard Pan, and Republican Jim Nielsen, whose district includes Roseville and Yuba City.

Italian 'Satanic panic' case returns to court two decades later

The Guardian

May 23, 2019

By Angela Giuffrida

Book says officials manipulated children into making abuse claims, leading to convictions, family separations and deaths

In the early hours of 7 July 1997, Federico Scotta and his wife were woken by an incessant ringing of their doorbell. Police had arrived at their home in Mirandola, a town in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, with a search warrant.

Officers found nothing incriminating, but the couple and their three-year-old daughter and baby son were escorted to the police station. The children were taken away by social workers that day and a few months later a third child was taken from the delivery room. The couple never saw the children again.

The so-called “Satanic panic” phenomenon that had swept through the US and parts of the UK earlier that decade had reached Italy. Scotta and his wife were accused of belonging to a sprawling paedophile network that worshipped the devil and sacrificed children and animals in cemeteries at night.



May 22, 2019

By Woody Gottburg

A Sioux City man who says he was abused by priests joined the Iowa Senate’s Democratic leader today (Wednesday) in calling on Iowa lawmakers to do more for victims of child sex abuse.

Tim Lennon, who grew up in Sioux City, says he was 43 years old when he first remembered being molested by the priest in his childhood church.

Forgery case: Priest arraigned as fourth accused

Express News Service

May 22, 2019

Fr Tony Kallookaran, the vicar of Muringoor Sanjoe Nagar Church, was arraigned as fourth accused in the case.

The police investigation team on Monday arraigned a priest of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church in the case related to defaming Cardinal George Alenchery using forged documents. Fr Tony Kallookaran, the vicar of Muringoor Sanjoe Nagar Church, was arraigned as fourth accused in the case.

The police had arrested a 24-year-old researcher with IIT Madras for forging the documents. According to the police, Adithya Valvi, a native of Konthuruthi, forged the document claiming that bishops, including Alenchery, have investments with a multinational company.

The police on Monday filed a petition at the Kakkanad Judicial First Class Magistrate court stating Fr Kallookaran has been arraigned as the fourth accused. According to the police, it was based on the directions of Fr Kallookaran, Adithya created fake documents. Later, following his directions, Adithya transferred documents to Fr Paul Thelakkat, the first accused in the case.

The wounded body of Christ: a response to Carroll's critics

National Catholic Reporter

May 23, 2019

By Jason Steidl

Pundits criticized James Carroll's Atlantic article, but did they try to understand him?

On May 17, The Atlantic published James Carroll's "Abolish the Priesthood," an overtly personal and lengthy critique of clericalism in the Roman Catholic Church. The author, a former priest, wrote of his anguished decision to take time away from the institutional Catholic Church after decades of disappointment with the hierarchy, including the last few years, which have leveled wave after wave of the sex abuse crisis.

Toward the end of the piece, which treats much more than its clickbait title suggests, Carroll proposes several ways that Catholics can reimagine their tradition to better meet their and the world's spiritual needs. For Catholics exhausted by scandal after scandal in the church, Carroll offers hope that all is not lost. He argues that Catholic community, spirituality and service rooted in ancient tradition have much to offer the world today.

Sadly, this is not how most male Catholic pundits received Carroll's thought. In fact, at a time when the internet-church is easily polarized through social media, the piece brought together condemnations from both the Catholic right and left. EWTN's Raymond Arroyo immediately dismissed Carroll's work as "unserious," an "ahistorical, anti-biblical suggestion with zero constituency in Catholicism." Carl Olson mocked the author as one especially unsuited to speak about the priesthood. Fordham University theologian Charles Camosy rhetorically asked, "What could be less provocative than this centuries' old argument?"

Correspondence from 2004 sheds fresh light on early allegations against Harrison


May 23, 2019

By John Cox

Newly disclosed letters and emails from the early 2000s detail allegations that Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison had sex with two high school students while serving as pastor of a church in Firebaugh.

In addition, an email from August 2004 alleged he would examine boys' private parts every morning as a way of checking whether they had been using drugs.

The accusations surfaced as part of an unrelated investigation conducted in 2004 by a retired FBI agent in Merced. Summaries of his findings were contained in material provided to The Californian Thursday by Stephen Brady, a representative of Roman Catholic Faithful, an organization of church members including investigators and lawyers, whose self-professed goal is to rid the church of clerical corruption.

Former Rapid City priest indictment related to $150K theft of donations


May 23, 2019

By Jack Caudill

A former Rapid City Catholic priest is hit with a federal indictment.

The federal grand jury charged Marcin Garbacz with wire fraud, money laundering and transportation of stolen money.

The indictment lays out what federal prosecutors say happened; starting with his time at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Faith where he was removed in July of 2012 in part because of his financial mismanagement of the parish. Garbacz was then assigned to parishes in Rapid City.

Beginning in July of 2012, and continuing until about April of 2018, Garbacz allegedly devised a scheme to steal from the parishes and deposit the money in his own account.

Garbacz is accused -- starting in July of 2012 -- of stealing cash donations before they were counted. He reportedly did this by entering the parish at night or in the morning when no one else where there or awake.

Michigan Priest Accused of Misconduct With a Minor

9&10 News

May 22, 2019

By Ryan Cole

A priest in the Diocese of Saginaw has been put on administrative leave as the church looks into allegations of misconduct with a minor.

Father Dennis Kucharczyk was the pastor of St. John XXIII Parish and served churches in Hemlock, Merrill and Ryan.

Michigan priest on leave after allegation of misconduct with minor surfaces

The Associated Press

May 22, 2019

A priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is on administrative leave while church officials investigate an allegation of misconduct with a minor.

The decision regarding the Rev. Dennis Kucharczyk was announced Tuesday. The diocese says the alleged misconduct "occurred many years ago," and he was placed on leave Sunday after church officials received information from law enforcement.

The Associated Press sent an email to Kucharczyk Wednesday seeking comment.
A release says Kucharczyk cannot have contact with anyone under 21 or serve in priestly capacities during the investigation.

Sexual misconduct allegation still looms over Evansville diocese priest | Webb

Evansville Courier & Press

May 23, 2019

By Jon Webb

In September, the Evansville Catholic diocese put the Rev. David Fleck on administrative leave.

He’d been accused of sexual misconduct. That’s about all we knew. And eight months later, not much has changed.

Diocese spokesman Tim Lilley confirmed this week that Fleck is still barred from public ministry.

Dinuba priest Father Raul Diaz faces accusations of inappropriate behavior with children


May 22, 2019

By Jason Oliveira

A small, tight-knit community is reeling after news in Dinuba broke of a police investigation centered around Roman Catholic priest Father Raul Diaz.

The longtime pastor at Saint Catherine's Catholic Church is on leave after being accused of inappropriate behavior.

The Diocese of Fresno released a statement from Bishop Joseph Brennan regarding Father Raul:

"It is my responsibility as your Bishop to inform you that I have placed Father Raul Diaz, Pastor of St. Catherine Siena, on "Paid Administrative Leave" effective as of May 17, 2019. This action follows notification that law enforcement has received a report alleging Father Diaz has engaged in inappropriate behavior that may include inappropriate contact with minors.

Former Rapid City priest accused of stealing over $150K from Rapid City Diocese indicted


May 23, 2019

A federal indictment was filed this week against a former Rapid City priest accused of stealing over $150,000 from the Diocese of Rapid City.

Marcin Garbacz is accused of wire fraud, money laundering and transportation of stolen money.

Court documents indicate that from around July 2012 and April 2018, Garbacz allegedly began stealing cash donations from the plate collections passed around during worship services.

At the time, the cash donated during plate collections wasn’t immediately counted after services. Garbacz had access to where the donations were stored and prosecutors say he would enter the parish at night or in the early morning hours to steal some of the cash.

Saginaw priest accused of sexual assault

25 News

May 23, 2019

By Bria Brown

There are new details about an allegation of sexual abuse against Father Dennis Kucharczyk in the Saginaw Diocese.

Kucharczyk was removed from ministry this past weekend after the diocese learned of the allegations.

NBC25/FOX66 talked to Bishop Walter Hurley who told us the diocese first learned about the allegations against father Dennis Kucharczyk this past Saturday from law enforcement.

New DC archbishop’s installation Mass features scandal-plagued Cdls Mahony, Wuerl


May 22, 2019

By Lisa Bourne

The installation Tuesday of Archbishop Wilton Gregory as the seventh archbishop of Washington, D.C. Tuesday conveyed the status quo in clergy sex abuse mishandling by Church hierarchy in having a cardinal who personifies that mishandling on the altar with Gregory.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles, took part in the installation Mass despite his controversial history of cover-up in abuse cases and his having been pulled from public duties in his archdiocese several years ago by his successor.

Catholics remain angry over Church leaders’ handling of the abuse scandal, and family advocate groups and victim advocates consider public appearances by the cardinal a slap in the face for victims of clergy sex abuse.



May 23, 2019

By Jerry Roberts

A nationally prominent law firm that represents victims of sexual abuse confirmed on Wednesday they have been contracted in connection with allegations of improper conduct by leaders of Santa Barbara High School's Multimedia Arts & Design Academy.

“We have been retained,” attorney Stu Mollrich told Newsmakers, speaking for the Irvine-based firm of Manly, Stewart and Finaldi. “We have not yet filed an action.”

Their entry into the local controversy now swirling around the acclaimed MAD Academy raises the stakes in the affair, which escalated last week,when parents of a former student publicly accused Pablo Sweeney, the program’s ousted operations director, of sexual “predation” towards their son, as another parent released a social media video showing Dan Williams, the soon-to-be-retired longtime director, partying with students.

In public comments to the school board, the parents charged that Santa Barbara Unified School District officials turned a blind eye to improprieties and failed to report them as required to law enforcement or child welfare agencies.

New Christ The King President-Rector showed assault victim "lack of support", lawsuit says


May 22, 2019

By Daniel Telvock and Chris Horvatits

The priest who Bishop Richard Malone appointed to President-Rector of Christ the King Seminary on Tuesday is accused of leaving a woman “surprised and disillusioned” by his lack of support over a sexual assault complaint in June 2016.

Malone spoke highly of The Rev. Kevin G. Creagh in a press release to announce the appointment.

“I have come to know Father Creagh as a faithful, gifted and committed priest and educator,” Malone said when he appointed Creagh to the post.

“He will provide inspiring leadership as president-rector of Christ the King Seminary. Most importantly, he understands the heart and mind of Christ. We’re excited to have him guide us in forming missionary disciples with that same heart and mind, ready to proclaim the Good News.”

But News 4 Investigates has learned that Creagh is described much differently in a lawsuit filed May 8 by Niagara University professor Edna Leticia Hernandez De Hahn.

SNAP calls for Sioux City Diocese to amend list of credibly accused sexual abusive priests

Sioux Land News

May 23, 2019

By Cynthia Monroy

More than 100 dioceses across the country have released lists of clergy members accused of sexual abuse including here in Sioux City.

“What happened to me is horrific and damaging,” said Tim Lennon, President of SNAP.

At 12-years-old, Tim Lennon was sexually abused by a priest in Sioux City.

He was one of more than 100 victims that Diocese of Sioux City determined to have a credible allegation.

“I was raped and abused when I was 12 now I'm 72 and every day that I wake up, it's there,” said Lennon.

Harvey Weinstein Reaches $44 Million Settlement With Sexual Misconduct Accusers: Report


May. 24, 2019

By McKenna Aiello

Harvey Weinstein has tentatively reached a $44 million civil agreement with his sexual misconduct accusers, former business partners and other entities, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

Attorney Adam Harris, who is representing his former film studio's board members, was in bankruptcy court Thursday to discuss the matter with a judge presiding over the case. "For the first time, as of yesterday," the WSJ reports he said, "we now have an economic agreement in principle that is supported by the plaintiffs, the [New York attorney general's] office, the defendants and all of the insurers."

The settlement, which is not yet finalized, would reportedly provide approximately $30 million to plaintiffs in the wide-ranging civil suit, which include Weinstein's alleged victims, Weinstein Co. employees and creditors who loaned the film studio money before filing for bankruptcy. The remaining $14 million would cover the legal fees of Weinstein's former business associates, according to the WSJ.

Former Questa priest named in new rape and abuse lawsuit

The Taos News

May 23, 2019

By Cody Hooks

Two men who were parishioners of Questa's St. Anthony Church in the late 1960s have named a former priest as a sexual abuser in a lawsuit filed last week, marking another instance of alleged abuse by clergy associated with the beleaguered Catholic Church in New Mexico.

The lawsuit alleges Leo Courcy sexually abused the two boys on an overnight stay at the church rectory in the summer of 1969. One boy was raped and the other molested, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday (May 16) in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque.

The lawsuit was filed against the Servants of the Paraclete, a largely inactive religious order that was founded in New Mexico in the 1940s, and its private foundation.

Aside from the sexual abuse allegations, the lawsuit also lays blame on the higher-ups of the Servants of the Paraclete for negligently putting known abusers into positions of power in underserved parishes across rural New Mexico.

The Servants ran a facility in Jemez Springs that became known as a dumping ground for sexually abusive priests from other dioceses. The religious order would assign priests to ministerial work as part of a "graduated program of rehabilitation," according to the lawsuit.

Advocates Say Monterey Diocese's Accused Clerics List Is Incomplete

90.3 KAZU

May 24, 2019

By Erika Mahoney

Advocates of those sexually abused by priests spoke out in Monterey this week. They want the Catholic Diocese of Monterey to expand its list of accused clerics.

Standing on Church Street in front of the Diocese of Monterey, advocate David Clohessy called for more transparency.

“If you're going to claim to come clean, then for heaven's sake, come fully clean and tell the flock. Tell the parents, the parishioners, the public, the police,” Clohessy said.

Clohessy is with the support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He says as dioceses across the country have released lists of clerics accused of sexual abuse, many are incomplete.

“Tell them about each and every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric. And that's how kids will be safe,” said Clohessy.

Clohessy says at least three clerics have been left off the local list, but he says they found them on other lists of accused clerics.

SNAP, lawyer hold press conference in front of Diocese of Monterey offices

Monterey Herald

May 23, 2019

By James Herrera

Duo decry alleged incomplete accused clerics list, victim pay-out programs

Victims' group finds the Diocese of Sioux Falls list of abusers short

Survivor's Network for those Abused by Priests

May 23, 2019

Victims' group finds the Diocese of Sioux Falls list of abusers short

They want to see an additional 25 names added

Native Americans survivors will also speak out about abuse in Catholic-run boarding schools

The group will also urge the state to reform the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse

SNAP says that victims in SD need a "Window to Justice"


At a sidewalk news conference child sex abuse survivors will urge the Diocese of Sioux Falls to add 25 additional names to its list of clergy with "substantiated allegations" of abuse. The group will also call attention to the sexual abuse of Native Americans in Catholic boarding schools, as well as the need for statute of limitations reform in South Dakota.


Friday, May 24th, 11 am

Former Flint-area priest facing multiple sex assault charges


May 24, 2019

By Roberto Acosta

A former Flint-area Catholic priest is facing six felony charges dating back to his time in Genesee County.

Criminal charges were filed against Vincent DeLorenzo on Thursday, May 23, including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to 67th District Court records.

The Diocese of Lansing issued a statement Thursday evening in response to an inquiry about DeLorenzo. The statement says, in part, that DeLorenzo is in the process of being defrocked for sexual misconduct.

The 80-year-old is listed as a Lantana, Florida resident in the court records. He has not yet been arraigned, but the diocese spelled out the former priest’s past troubles in its statement.

May 23, 2019

New D.C. leader says Church’s ‘sorrow and shame’ don’t define it


May 21, 2019

By Christopher White

In his opening words as the new leader of Catholics in the nation’s capital, Archbishop Wilton Gregory acknowledged the tempests facing the Church, telling the 3,000 people on hand for his installation that faith in Christ, “not any single minister,” will calm the Church’s storms.

Although he never uttered the phrase “sexual abuse,” Gregory referenced the “waves of unsettling revelations” which he said has “caused even the hardiest among us to grow fearful and perhaps even, at times, to want to panic.”

“We have been tossed about by an unusually turbulent moment in our own faith journeys recently and for far too long,” he said during his homily on Tuesday, before noting that, “Our recent sorrow and shame do not define us; rather, they serve to chasten and strengthen us to face tomorrow with spirits undeterred.”

Gregory succeeds Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the seventh archbishop of Washington. Wuerl’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis in October following scrutiny of his handling of sex abuse cases earlier in his career.

Hierarchy and the need for a 'culture of vulnerability'

National Catholic Reporter

May 22, 2019

By Tom Roberts

Hierarchy and vulnerability are seemingly incompatible ideas. Hierarchy (in the Catholic imagination) signals status, power, privilege and the ability to control. Vulnerability, on the other hand, signals weakness, a flaw of some sort. It is to be avoided.

But vulnerability, properly understood, is precisely what members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy need to embrace as a strength, argues Fr. James Keenan, a Jesuit theologian. If it is ever to understand an essential interior element at the core of our humanity, the absence of which lies at the core of the sex abuse crisis, the hierarchy must develop a culture of vulnerability.

Keenan, Canisius Professor and director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College, is developing an important and fascinating insight into the abuse crisis, elevating the discussion about clerical and hierarchical culture well beyond the changes in law and protocols and institutional structure that the scandal has forced upon the church. So I'm going to stick to one subject this week, with connections to past columns on the same and a hope that the discussion continues in the future.

Two months ago, in a segment of this column, I made extended reference to an insightful piece by Fr. Mark Slatter, associate professor of theological ethics at St. Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, on clerical culture. He generally described culture as "a network of personal meaning and valuing." In the clerical world, that means a psychology that "engenders webs of kinship among priests, bishops and similarly disposed lay groups, bishops and cardinals, wealthy lay Catholics and think tanks."

One in 10 Young Christians Has Left a Church Over Sexual Abuse

Relevant Magazine

May 22, 2019

A new study finds that ten percent of young Christians say they’ve left a church because they felt it didn’t take sex abuse seriously enough, former megachurch pastor James MacDonald is being investigated for murder-for-hire allegations and a new movie that premiered at Cannes is being hailed as a “Christian movie classic.”

Priest is 22nd in Saginaw Diocese ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct


May 23, 209

By Cole Waterman

Another priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is accused of sexual misconduct, adding to those previously named by the diocese.

The Rev. Dennis Kucharczyk is the 22nd clergyman the diocese has named as having had credible allegations of misconduct made against them. Many of those previously named are deceased.

Kucharczyk does not face any criminal charges and law enforcement officials have not said if they are specifically investigating him.

Representatives from both the Michigan State Police and Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office told MLive their agencies were not involved in the Kucharczyk matter. The Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office referred all inquiries to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which is conducting a review of sex-abuse allegations dating back decades in all Michigan Catholic dioceses.

Los Angeles Times updates Scouting abuse: Religion angles? What religion angles?

Get Religion

May 22, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

Journalists who have covered decades worth of stories linked to the sexual abuse of children and teens by Catholic clergy know that there are church leaders and laity who believe all or most discussions of this topic are fueled by some form of anti-Catholicism.

Yes, these in-denial Catholics are out there. Editors will hear from them.

But, in my experience, most Catholics who complain about news coverage of this hellish subject do not attempt to deny the size or the severe nature of this crisis and, especially, they want more digging into topics linked to the sinful and illegal cover-ups of these crimes.

So what angers these Catholics?

Former youth pastor acquitted on sex abuse charges


May 22, 2019

By Sarah Drake

A former youth pastor for Mt. Gilead Baptist Church accused of sexually abusing children has been acquitted after a jury deliberation Wednesday.

William Wesley Williamson disputed the four counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 charges against him Wednesday afternoon in a Houston County courtroom.

The allegations said the abuse took place in the summer of 2017, during a church function known as Wired and also during a summer church event known as Royal Ambassadors

When asked by the defense attorney, if he intentionally or specifically touched any child inappropriately, Williamson responded by saying "I did not intentionally or specifically touch any child inappropriately."

Relic of Catholic saint stops in Nashville; on tour to restore trust during clergy sex abuse scandal


May 23, 2019

By Hannah McDonald

The actual heart of Catholic Saint John Vianney stopped in Nashville Wednesday.

In Catholic tradition, a relic, such as a heart, can be saved after a saint or holy person passes away for Catholics to view and pray with. The object is meant to draw a person closer to God and not for worshiping.

Saint Vianney lived in the 19th Century in France. He is the patron saint of priests. Many members of the clergy consider him to be a model for holiness.

"He was such a hero," said Father Ed Steiner, pastor of the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Fr. Steiner is hopeful that St. Vianney's story can bring people back to the church.

My Take: Sexual abuse forever stays with victims

Holland Sentinel

May 23, 2019

By Mary Johnson

Steve Lenzo (“Letter: Unbelievably light sentence for sexual criminal assault,” Sentinel, May 21) was outraged that the sentence a child predator who served on the West Ottawa School Board was so light and for good reason. But it is more than just a breach of public trust. There is a victim involved. Any sexual crime against a child is abominable, and judges should mete out a sentence that will keep such a person out of society for a long time. It is a well known fact that child sexual predators are rarely rehabilitated and will abuse again.

What about the life sentence the victims suffer? It happened to me when I was a little girl, but nothing was done to the perpetrator because he was a member of my parents’ church and the council did not want to deal with the “embarrassment” since the man had apologized to the council and to my parents. (I learned that much later.)

I remember hating to go to church because I had to see him sitting there in the back seat. I was told to “just try to forget it,” that I should forgive him and never talk about it. Years later, I found out he had molested other girls as well and they were basically told the same thing. Forget it? Not possible. It ruins something deep inside a child, rewires the sexual part of the brain, and the consequences affect forever — even 50 years later.

Polish bishops address clerical abuse crisis in letter to the faithful

Vatican News

May 23, 2019

By Christopher Wells

The Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference is meeting this week to confront the problem of the clerical abuse of minors.

In a letter to be read in churches throughout the country this coming weekend, Poland’s Bishops admit that “as shepherds of the Church, we did not do everything to prevent harm.”

“There are no words to express our shame at the sexual scandals involving priests”, the Bishops say. “They are a cause of great scandal and demand total condemnation, as well as severe consequences for the perpetrators, and for those who conceal such acts.”

The Permanent Council for the Polish Bishops’ Conference was convened this week by the President of the Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki in response to recent public revelations of the extent of abuse and cover-up in the Polish Church.

Abolishing the priesthood will not save the Catholic Church

National Catholic Reporter

May 23, 2019

By Thomas Reese

In an article in The Atlantic’s June issue titled "Abolish the Priesthood," James Carroll provides thought-provoking analysis of the state of the Catholic Church, recounting the history of the sex abuse crisis in the church with special focus on Boston, Ireland, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Theodore McCarrick.

None of this is new, of course, but seeing it all together depresses and angers the reader that such things were possible in the church.

Also not new is the culprit, in Carroll’s eyes. He points to clericalism as "both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe."

"Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction," according to Carroll. "The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim."

Argentine doctor faces prison for refusing abortion; Chilean Jesuit faces abuse accusations


May 23, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A doctor has been condemned in Argentina for refusing to perform an abortion in the fifth month of a pregnancy causing uproar among Catholics, Evangelicals and pro-life groups; Pope Francis has appointed two new auxiliary bishops to the troubled Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile; and an apology from a Chilean Jesuit who “saw nothing and knew nothing,” but says he is now convinced his late friend Father Renato Poblete is guilty of abusing many women.

Here’s the rundown of Catholic news from Latin America this week.

These Rape Victims Had to Sue to Get the Police to Investigate

The New York Times

May 23, 2019

By Valeriya Safronova and Rebecca Halleck

As more women come forward to report sexual assault, some say law enforcement has failed them. ‘There was no collection of evidence,’ one victim said. ‘Except off my body.’

Evidence so neglected it grew mold. Calls to the authorities for help that went unanswered. Witnesses and victims who were never interviewed. These are just a handful of the claims that sexual assault survivors are making against law enforcement in courts around the country.

In at least seven places in recent years — Austin; San Francisco; Memphis; Houston; Baltimore; Greenwich, Conn.; and the Village of Robbins, Ill. — women have filed lawsuits in an attempt to force the police and prosecutors to improve their practices.

The unconnected lawsuits are adding a set of novel legal arguments to the search for solutions in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which exposed failures to recognize and pursue sex offenders. The lawsuits argue that sexual assault victims do not receive equal treatment compared with victims of other violent crimes, and that failure to test physical evidence collected from their bodies amounts to unreasonable search and seizure.

Catholic priests in WA to be forced to report child sexual abuse revealed during confession

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

May 23, 2019

Ministers of religion in Western Australia will soon have to report child sexual abuse — even if the information is gained under confession — under planned changes to the state's laws.

Key points:
- Mandatory child sexual abuse reporting laws already apply to WA doctors, teachers and police
- The legislation will require religious leaders to report child sex abuse or face a $6,000 fine
-Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said it's reasonable to expect ministers of religion to report abuse

The WA Government said it expected to introduce the necessary amendments in the second half of this year.

Mandatory reporting laws in WA already apply to doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, police and school boarding supervisors.

Anyone convicted of failing to report child sexual abuse faces a $6,000 fine.

The new requirements would apply to "recognised leaders within faith communities who are authorised to conduct, religious worship", the WA Government said.

Calls for investigation of Catholic Church, better laws for victims of child sex abuse

Radio Iowa

May 22, 2019

By O. Kay Henderson

Two men who say they were abused by priests joined the Iowa Senate’s Democratic leader today in calling on Iowa lawmakers to do more for victims of child sex abuse.

Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, said the state’s attorney general should investigate the Catholic Church. Petersen also said Iowa’s criminal and civil laws for child sex abuse cases are the most restrictive in the nation.

“Our laws do not protect our communities from sexual predators and I think we cannot continue to ignore this,” Petersen said during a news conference at the Iowa capitol. “There is case after case across this country.”

The time frame for filing criminal charges for child sex abuse is too short, according to Petersen. Child sex abuse victims have until they’re 33 years old to file a civil lawsuit. Sixty-seven-year-old John Chambers of Des Moines said studies show 52 is the average age when a victim reveals they were abused as a child.

Mario Batali Charged With Assault and Battery in 2017 Case, Report Says

The New York Times

May 23, 2019

By Jacey Fortin

The celebrity chef Mario Batali, who built a formidable restaurant empire before retreating amid accusations of sexual harassment by several women, is now facing a criminal assault charge that he groped and kissed a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017.

Mr. Batali, 58, has been charged with indecent assault and battery and is to be arraigned in Boston on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

The criminal complaint was filed last month, The Boston Globe reported, and it said that a woman had told the police that Mr. Batali kissed her and groped her chest and groin at a Boston restaurant two years ago.

Former Newark priest, accused of abuse, defended by his bishop in Brazil

North Jersey Record

May 23, 2019

By Deena Yellin

Weeks after NorthJersey.com/The Record detailed the alleged abuse of a former Newark altar boy in 1991 by a visiting priest, a Catholic bishop in Brazil is defending the priest, who is now serving in his diocese, according to a report.

Bishop Edmilson Amador Caetano implied that the priest, the Rev. Rene Cavalcanti de Lima, is no longer a threat.

"He is a 74-year-old man who is recovering from prostate cancer. What risk can he be for the children of Guarulhos?" Caetano said in a May 1 article in a Brazilian newspaper, Guarulhos HOJE.

He was responding to an April 4 article by NorthJersey.com about Lima's alleged abuse of Newark native Johnrocco Sibilia when Sibilia was an altar boy at the Immaculate Conception Church in Newark in 1991.

Dinuba priest on leave after allegations of sexual abuse, but there's not much to go on, yet

Visalia Times-Delta

May 22, 2019

By James Ward

A Dinuba priest has been put on leave by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno after the church learned of an investigation involving allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

But the case may not be so cut and dry.

On May 19, Bishop Joseph V. Brennan notified the parishioners of St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Dinuba that Rev. Raul Diaz was put on paid administrative leave in a statement.

Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors and Iowa Legislator Call for Changes to Child Sex Abuse Laws


May 22, 2019

By Laura Barczewski

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests held a press conference at the Iowa Capitol with Iowa State Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen on Wednesday to call on legislators and the attorney general to do more for victims of child sexual abuse.

SNAP President Tim Lennon shared his story of being sexually abused when he was 12-years-old by a Catholic priest.

“When I was about 43 I remembered some of the abuse. This priest would molest me in movies, at the park. He would pick me up at home. He was a friend of the family,” Lennon said.

Lennon said he suppressed the memories until they came up again when he was 43 and by then it was too late to pursue any type of justice.

“My viewpoint personally and from the viewpoint of my organization the survivors network of those abused by priests is there should be no statute of limitations.”

Sex abuse by clergy, what if media lead the debate?

Catholic News Agency

May 22, 2019

By Andrea Gagliarducci

No doubt that the scandal of sex abuse by clergy has shocked the Church. No doubt that the Church is called to put measures in action to eradicate the scandal because even one abuse is too much. There is no doubt, indeed, that the contrary is possible. That is, that media report on alleged abuse taking only the side of those who say have been abused.

There have been many stories of “character assassination” of this kind. The latest one is that of Fr. Herman Geissler. Fr. Geissler resigned by the position of head of office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Jan. 28, following allegations of harassment advanced against him by Mrs. Doris Wagner-Reisinger.

Mrs. Reisinger has been a nun, and from 2003 to 2011, she was a member of the Spiritual Family The Work. Also Fr. Geissler is a member of the same Congregation.

James Carroll's call to 'Abolish the Priesthood' is misguided and tiresome

National Catholic Reporter

May 22, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Every sentence of James Carroll's recent article in The Atlantic, "Abolish the Priesthood," is theologically inept, historically anachronistic, self-referential, or all three. None of it is a surprise.

Carroll's embrace of theology is thoroughly opportunistic. At one point, he yearns for the pre-Constantinian church of Jesus' early followers, but later he states, "When the Catholic imagination, swayed by Augustine, demonized the sexual restlessness built into the human condition, self-denial was put forward as the way to happiness. But sexual renunciation as an ethical standard has collapsed among Catholics, not because of pressures from a hedonistic 'secular' modernity but because of its inhumane and irrational weight." But it is in the Gospels themselves that Jesus advocates self-denial, encourages the unmarried to remain celibate, and tells his followers to take up their cross and follow him. Following Jesus can lead down many different paths, but none of them have to do with sexual liberationism.

What Benedict's letter on sex abuse gets wrong

La Croix International

May 22, 2019

By Cathleen Kaveny

This implacable defender of the existence of intrinsically evil acts refuses to call these acts by their most basic moral name: child rape

The debate about Benedict XVI's recent intervention on the sex abuse crisis has focused on his account of its root causes. To the delight of conservatives and the consternation of progressives, he blames the lax sexual morality of the 1960s rather than the enduring phenomenon of clericalism.

In my view, the problem with Benedict's letter is far more fundamental. It also transcends the American progressive-conservative divide. He gets the basic moral description of the acts of sex abuse wrong. He frames them as acts of sacrilege rather than grave injustice.

U.S. Protestants’ Views Mixed about Extent of Clergy Sexual Abuse


May 22, 2019

U.S. Protestants offered mixed views when LifeWay Research inquired about the extent of sexual abuse by clergy in local congregations.

When asked if they “believe many more Protestant pastors have sexually abused children or teens than we have heard about,” 37% somewhat or strongly disagreed, 32% somewhat or strongly agreed and 31% were unsure.

Similar numbers resulted when respondents were asked about clergy sexually abusing adults, with 41% somewhat or strongly disagreeing, 30% unsure and 29% somewhat or strongly agreeing that it happens more than they know about.

Respondents had high views of their church’s ability to respond appropriately to allegations and to help in the healing process of abuse victims.

When asked if church leaders would try to cover up abuse claims, only 7% agreed that they would do so, while 83% disagreed.

May 22, 2019

New Guidelines In Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal


May 21, 2019

By Robert Suhr

In what's being called a revolutionary and landmark announcement by some, Pope Francis recently announced sweeping changes that hold bishops accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up.

So how does the news impact us here in Bismarck?

With the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal a worldwide problem, reporting abuse claims was often a disorganized mess...now Pope Francis is hoping to change that.

"I'm stunned that any priest or anyone representing the church, would ever do this to a child," said David Kagan, the Bishop of the Diocese of Bismarck.

Facing perhaps the largest scandal in the church's history, Pope Francis recently issued what's called a papal decree, forcing every diocese, worldwide, to create an office within the next year to handle the abuse claims confidentially.

Brothers sexually assaulted by priest for 3 years sue Vatican because Church did nothing to stop it


May 22, 2019

Three brothers who were sexually abused by a priest from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Vatican.

They claim that the Holy See bears responsibility because the case was mishandled by former Archbishop John Nienstedt and the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States.

The lawsuit, that includes two other accusers as plaintiffs, attempts to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims to the Vatican, through Minnesota church officials.

Luke, Stephen and Ben Hoffman were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, roughly between 2009 and 2012. They want the names of agents involved in the cover-up, including priests, revealed and for the Vatican to stop internally reviewing cases.

The new lawsuit seeks monetary damages, but the plaintiffs said truth is the goal.

More than 80 clergy members named in sexual abuse report


May 21, 2019

By Lynzi DeLuccia

A trio of sexual abuse survivors took a stand on Tuesday as lawyers released a report with the names of more than 80 Albany Diocese clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

One woman her story about how she was raped and exploited by a man who was a teacher and a counselor at Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons High School in the 70s. One thing she and the other victims had in common was the feeling that they were alone in their experiences.

"Many of us were told when we were being abused that we were the only one,” Mark Lyman said.

This isn’t the first time Lyman has spoken out about the abuse he says he suffered as a child growing up at his church in Troy.

Minnesota attorney sues Holy See for documentation on clergy offenders

Catholic News Service

May 21, 2019

By Maria Wiering

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson announced May 14 that he is representing five sexual abuse survivors suing the Holy See for names of clergy sexual abuse offenders worldwide and the names of church leaders who have been involved in abuse cover-up.

The lawsuit's defendants include Ben, Luke and Stephen Hoffman, brothers abused by then-Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer while he was at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul from 2006 to 2012. He was removed from ministry in 2012, when the abuse was first reported to civil and church authorities, and then laicized in 2015. He is serving a prison sentence in Wisconsin for his abuse of Ben Hoffman there in 2011.

In the wake of its own child abuse scandal, Poland must break the Church’s grip ǀ View


May 21, 2019

By Eoin Drea

I’m one of the Pope’s Children – a generation of Irish children born in the late 1970s and early 1980s – that have come to symbolise Ireland’s deep relationship with the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul’s II visit to Ireland in 1979 saw over 50% of the Irish population attend his events and reaffirm Ireland’s devotion to the Catholic cause. Ireland was poor then, with high unemployment, rampant emigration, a closed and rather isolated society unworried by the issues of immigration or race (we were all white with an excess of people, not jobs). For us, a ‘Protestant’ was exotic and reaching America (or at least England) was, for many, the ultimate objective. Ireland was, as The Economist noted in 1988, “the poorest of the rich.”

Poland leader slams church pathology, backs sex abuse probe

The Associated Press

May 18, 2019

Poland’s ruling conservative party leader said Friday it does not tolerate “pathology” in the Catholic Church and will back a commission to investigate sex abuse of minors in church but also in other circles.

It was the first reaction by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a practicing Catholic, to a documentary film, “Tell No One,” that contains testimony by men and women that they were molested or raped by priests when they were children. Aired Saturday, it has provoked a heated public debate and soul-searching in the Church, which traditionally enjoys respect in predominantly Catholic Poland.

Also, the pro-church ruling Law and Justice party has rushed through parliament a law toughening punishment for pedophilia.

Archbishop says Indian Jesuit convicted of rape ‘totally innocent’


May 21, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

A Jesuit priest convicted of participating in a gang rape in India is “totally innocent,” according to the local archbishop.

Jesuit Father Alphonse Aind and five other people were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in the eastern state of Jharkhand on May 17 for raping five women who were part of an NGO advocating for the rights of India’s marginalized Tribal community.

On June 19, 2018, the victims were performing a street play In the remote village of Kochang to spread awareness of human trafficking in the region.

They were from “Asha Kiran” (“Ray of Hope”), a rehabilitation center managed by the Ursuline Sisters, located about 10 miles south of Ranchi, the state capital.

Brazilian bishop accused of theft, covering up abuse resigns

Catholic News Service

May 21, 2019

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira of Limeira.

The bishop is being investigated by authorities for extortion of priests, mismanagement of the diocese's funds and covering up alleged cases of abuse against minors by area priests. His resignation was announced May 17.

"I request my resignation for the sake of the church of Christ and for the good of this diocese," said the bishop in a statement read to parishioners.

"I take with me in my heart this learning, in the confidence and assurance that this work is from God, and I place myself at the disposal of the Holy Mother church to serve her no matter the place and ministry entrusted to me by God from now on," the bishop said.

According to the Sao Paulo state police, Oliveira took $975 from a local parish to build an artesian well in his beach house in Itanhaem. When faced with the accusation, the bishop confessed he obtained a "donation" from the parish and alleged he was facing financial problems.

Letter alleging Colorado Catholic priest's abuse found a decade after the author took his own life


May 21, 2019

By Kevin Vaughan

Neil Hewitt, a Catholic priest who was assigned to Leadville's Church of Annunciation, is accused of sexually abusing at two teenage boys in the 1960s.

Donna Ballentine was sorting through a box of her late mother’s papers when she came upon a two-page, handwritten letter.

She recognized the handwriting immediately – it was that of a cousin, Stuart Saucke, who’d taken his own life a decade earlier.

“Dear Neil,” the letter began. “It’s been 24 years since you sexually molested me. I also have been an alcoholic for 24 years.”

The letter wasn’t dated or signed, but Donna immediately knew it was meant for Neil Hewitt, a Catholic priest who married her and baptized two of her children at Leadville’s Church of the Annunciation.

.Internal investigation may yield greater sanctions against priests accused of sex abuse

The Californian

May 20, 2019

By Jose Gaspar

While separate criminal investigations are carried out by police in Firebaugh and Merced into allegations that Monsignor Craig Harrison sexually molested minors, there's another internal investigation being done by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. This one is based on a set of rules adopted by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops in June 2002 aimed to "repair the breach" with those sexually abused by church ministers.

Article 2 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People states that "Dioceses are to have policies and procedures in place to respond promptly to any allegations where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor occurred." And perhaps the most controversial requirement states, "Any credible allegations (against a priest or deacon) of sexual misconduct with a minor will result in immediate administrative leave" while an internal investigation is completed. Some priests find a problem with that.

"It's like martial law," said Monsignor Stephen Frost of Christ the King Church in Oildale. Under this process, Frost says due process goes out the window and the accused is accorded none or very little information about the allegations or who the accuser might be. Further, by removing the priest from his parish leaves the perception the priest is guilty before an investigation is begun.

Former Midland priest accused of misconduct

Midland Daily News

May 21, 2019

By Lori Qualls

A Diocese of Saginaw priest who served several area parishes, including Blessed Sacrament in Midland, has been placed on administrative leave from priestly ministry because of an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that occurred years ago, the diocese announced late Tuesday afternoon.

The Rev. Father Kucharczyk was most recently pastor at St. John XXIII Parish, which includes St. Mary Church in Hemlock, Sacred Heart Church in Merrill and St. Patrick Church in Ryan, according to a diocese press release. He was removed from his post on Sunday by Bishop Walter A. Hurley, apostolic administrator.

The diocese received information from law enforcement regarding an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred many years ago, the diocese stated in a press release. Based on this information, the diocese said it immediately removed Kucharczyk from active ministry.

DC Priest Accused of Abusing Girls, Woman Wants Separate Trials


May 21, 2019

A Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children and a woman involved in his D.C. parish wants the cases to be tried separately.

The priest, Urbano Vazquez, was arrested in November and accused of second-degree child sexual abuse. Police say Vazquez was 42 when, in May 2015, he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old female member of his church on two occasions.

Vazquez was arrested again in December on new allegations. A police report and a release from the District's U.S. Attorney's Office said Vazquez was accused of sexually touching a 9-year-old and a woman.

A lawyer for Vazquez says a single trial would be unfair, WTOP-FM reports. Attorney Robert Bonsib says that if jurors hear about the alleged child abuse, they may assume his client is guilty of assaulting the woman.

New D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory Addresses Abuse Scandal, Pledges Honesty

National Catholic Register

May 21, 2019

By Lauretta Brown

In his homily, the successor to Cardinal Donald Wuerl and former cardinal Theodore McCarrick acknowledged that ‘we clerics and hierarchs have irrefutably been the source of the current tempest.’

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was installed as the seventh archbishop of Washington Tuesday in a ceremony that comes at a turbulent time for the local Church under the cloud of his predecessors’ sexual abuse and cover-up scandals.

The newly-installed archbishop addressed the issue head-on in his homily, promising those gathered that he would be committed to transparency about his failings.

“I want to be a welcoming shepherd who laughs with you whenever we can, who cries with you whenever we must, and who honestly confesses his faults and failings before you when I commit them, not when they are revealed,” he said to loud applause from those gathered.

Archbishop Gregory’s appointment follows Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s resignation, which was accepted by Pope Francis last year after he came under scrutiny in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report for his handling of sexual abuse allegations when he served as bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. Wuerl also faced criticism for initially denying that he knew of any sexual abuse claims against his predecessor Theodore McCarrick before later admitting that he had known of McCarrick’s sexual behavior with seminarians.

True Reform Will Come — If You and I Remain Steadfast

National Catholic Register

May 21, 2019

By Msgr. Charles Pope

As the U.S. Bishops’ June meeting draws near, it’s time for faithful Catholics to regain our focus

Bishop Robert Barron recently published Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis. It is an excellent book — a meditation, really. It gives a sobering summary of the sexual-abuse crisis and a historical perspective and offers encouragement to believers in the aftermath of the recent and horrific events.

It also comes at an opportune time. I say this because my concerns that the issue would eventually fade from the focus of Catholics have largely come to pass. Mention of the topic is somewhat rare lately, and mentioned more often in passing. This is problematic for at least two reasons.

First, our diverted attention is precisely what the evil one desires and uses. True reform is going to happen only if we remain steadfast and insist upon it. Bishop Barron calls attention to something that I have also suspected — namely, that this crisis is more devious than clerical malfeasance, cover-up and mismanagement. It is far more: It is diabolical. Bishop Barron, an auxiliary of Los Angeles, writes:



May 22, 2019

By Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.

Fr. Robert DeLand: "To discover that you have some gay tendencies is a fine thing, because then you don’t have to be so confused."

A predator priest in action.

Fr. Robert DeLand: "I love you so much. I mean what I say, I love you so much."

The voice of Father Robert DeLand, now in prison, caught on tape grooming a victim for sex abuse.

Fr. Robert DeLand: "We're gonna get you drunk and you're gonna cry. Does that sound good?"

The victim, a 17-year-old male, secretly capturing audio of his encounters with the high-ranking Saginaw Michigan priest, who targeted the boy when he was grieving the death of his friend to suicide.

German bishops’ plan on sex abuse crisis ‘crazy’, ‘false’: former Vatican doctrine chief


May 21, 2019

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

A proposed approach to dealing with the sex abuse crisis outlined by the German bishops in March of this year, which would involve possibly eliminating priestly celibacy and changing Catholic doctrine on sexual morality, is a “crazy” and “absolutely false” one, according to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Müller also defended Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recently-published analysis of the sex abuse crisis as an accurate one, and blasted its critics as “ideologues.”

Speaking in an interview with the Spanish news service InfoVaticana, Müller said that the German bishops have deeply misunderstood the source of the sex abuse crisis, which stems in part from “moral confusion” in the Church.

Diocese reopens priest-abuse allegations first raised in 1998


May 20, 2019

By John Cox

Decades after the allegations first came to light, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting accusations Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison inappropriately touched a teenager while working at St. Joseph Church in Firebaugh in the 1990s.

"It is under review," diocese spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez said Monday. She declined to elaborate other than to confirm the accuracy of a report by KQED Inc., a Northern California media group, about the case.

The allegations by an unnamed individual were initially reported to the Firebaugh Police Department in 1998. They were brought to the diocese in 2002 and dismissed as unsubstantiated.

Harrison's attorney, Kyle J. Humphrey, rejected the allegations as opportunistic and false.

"No matter how many times that you try to pretend that the world is flat," he said, "you’re wrong."

Abuse statistics undermine church’s credibility | Faith Matters

Jersey Journal

May 19, 2019

By Rev. Alexander Santora

Eight days this month -- May 6 to 13 -- may turn out to be the most consequential in the state for the next phase of the long-running clerical sex abuse scandal.

First, Anderson & Associates released a list of 311 clergy and religious accused of abuse in New Jersey. Then, Pope Francis codified changes for the worldwide church to address sex abuse and hold people accountable. Lastly, Gov. Murphy signed into law legislation that ensures a longer period for victims of sexual abuse to sue and he made it retroactive, as well.

REFILE-Poland's pro-EU opposition takes big lead after Church abuse scandal - poll


May 17, 2019

(Adds dropped word Poland in headline)

Poland’s pro-EU opposition has a 10-point lead over the ruling nationalists ahead of European Parliament elections, a survey showed on Friday, a sharp turnaround that some analysts linked to a film about sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The documentary “Just don’t tell anyone”, which shows victims of child abuse confronting priests who had sexually abused them, has shocked Poles. The powerful Catholic Church has close ties with the governing Law and Justice party (PiS).

The European Coalition, which comprises pro-Europeans from across the political spectrum, would win 43.6% and PiS 32.9% in the May 26 election, according to the poll, conducted on May 14-16 by the Institute for Research into Public Affairs (IBSP) for Newsweek and Radio Zet.

SBC churchgoers split on existence of more clergy sex abuse

Lifeway Research

May 21, 2019

About one-third of Southern Baptist churchgoers believe more revelations of sexual abuse and misconduct by Protestant ministers remain to be exposed. But few know of specific individuals in their church whose misconduct still is hidden, according to a new LifeWay Research study.

The 2019 Sexual Misconduct and Churchgoers Study by LifeWay Research explored the perceptions and experiences of Southern Baptist and Protestant churchgoers.

“Protecting people from abuse of any kind should be of utmost importance to churches and our convention,” said Brad Waggoner, acting CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. “LifeWay decided to sponsor this research because it’s imperative we make our churches safe places for people to hear the gospel and grow in their walk with Jesus Christ.”

The Investigator | Controversial Ohio Bishop reinstated following sex abuse allegations


May 21, 2019

By Tom Meyer

The Bishop’s reinstatement comes about 15 months after allegations of sexual misconduct that were first exposed in an exclusive Tom Meyer investigation.

Bishop Joseph White, the founder of a church with worldwide followers, has been reinstated as Bishop of the Church of the Living God International, which is headquartered in Columbus.

The Bishop’s reinstatement comes about 15 months after the church’s board of directors suspended him following allegations of sexual misconduct that were first exposed in an exclusive Tom Meyer investigation.

The board in its letter to church members said, "Through careful consideration and prayer, the CLGI Board of Directors has reinstated Dr. Joseph White." The letter goes on to say that White established churches all over the world.

The Catholic Church is tightening rules on reporting sexual abuse – but not swearing off its legal privilege to keep secrets

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

May 22, 2019

By Christine P. Bartholomew

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Christine P. Bartholomew, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

(THE CONVERSATION) Pope Francis recently changed the Catholic Church law, making it mandatory for clergy to report sexual abuse to church superiors. In the past, such reporting was left to the discretion of a priest or nun.

Pope Francis’ proposal is an effort to address gaps in the regulatory process of the church, which has been accused of shielding clergy sexual abuse. It provides a process to report allegations up the pipeline.

As a scholar of law I worry that it fails to address what the church will do with that information.

To date, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have adopted inconsistent positions on whether, and to what degree, they should share information necessary for legal action.

Clergy across various religions, ranging from Christians to Catholics to Muslims to Jews, are willing to share evidence in cases of violent crimes, such as murders. But when the evidence pertains to clergy misconduct, namely sexual abuse, the tide changes.

New sex abuse scandal rocks Catholic Church in Poland


May 22, 2019

By Joao Vitor Da Silva Marques

A new documentary allegedly exposing child sex abuse by members of the Roman Catholic Church is forcing Poland's Catholic Church bishops to meet in Warsaw today.

Released over the weekend, the film entitled 'Tell No One' reportedly shows how abusive priests ruined the lives of victims and faced no consequences in Poland.

The Catholic Church's links to the political establishment in the country and its influence over the education system, culture and lawmaking means the scandal is quickly becoming a political issue.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said yesterday that a public inquiry on paedophilia is being launched: "A state committee to examine all paedophilia cases will be set up. I want to stress that Law and Justice government is a guard, a guarantor of physical security of children, of families” He added: “Our party has sought for many years to tighten the penalties for the most bestial, terrible crimes, also for the paedophilia crimes without excluding the Church, without excluding clergy, without excluding all the circles: teachers, artists, everywhere where there is contact with children, carers, coaches."

But the links between the Law and Justice ruling party and the Roman Catholic Church run deep in Poland. The party has a tight alliance with the clergy and many priests, especially those in smaller towns and villages, often openly backing the party.

Man entitled to names of others allegedly abused by priest, High Court rules

Irish Examiner

May 21, 2019

By Ann O'Loughlin

A man suing a priest and a religious order over alleged sexual abuse when he was a child is entitled to information about others who made similar allegations, the High Court has ruled.

The man is suing for damages over the alleged abuse by the priest who was his schoolteacher and a member of an order of priests and brothers whose members worked in education.

As part of the pre-trial process, he sought and obtained discovery of documents he said he needed to process his case. He got it, but certain details were blacked out and he then sought orders from the court that this information also be provided.

The information included the names of people who have made complaints to gardaí of personally experiencing or witnessing abuse by the priest or had brought their own civil actions over alleged abuse.

Confession bill amended, but church leaders say it still targets priests

Catholic News Service

May 21, 2019

By Pablo Kay

Church officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession.

The call came as the Senate measure, known as S.B. 360, advanced in the Legislature after lawmakers "accepted several of the church’s recommendations to strengthen mandated reporting requirements for clergy," as Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez noted in a May 20 statement.

Defrocked Ottawa priest, 85, on trial for historic sex abuse

Ottawa Citizen

May 22, 2019

By Andrew Duffy

Two men have told court that they were sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest as teenagers in the same bed at a church rectory in Richmond.

Barry McGrory, 85, a former Ottawa priest, faces four charges based on two historic sex abuse complaints dating to the late 1960s.

Charges in connection with a third complainant were withdrawn last year after the man died of cancer.

McGrory, who was officially removed from the priesthood last year by the Vatican, has pleaded not guilty.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin ruled Tuesday that Crown attorney John Semenoff will be allowed to use similar fact evidence as part of the case against McGrory.

Law Firms Accuse 83 Clerics Of Abuse In The Albany Diocese


May 21, 2019

By Dave Lucas

Today in Albany, sexual abuse survivors joined representatives of two law firms in releasing the names and photographs of more than 80 clergymen in the Diocese of Albany accused of sexual misconduct. The Diocese disputes the report.

The law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates of New York City and LaFave, Wein & Frament, PLLC, of Guilderland, produced a report they say reveals the identities, histories, photographs and information on the clerics, all accused of child sexual abuse. Jeff Anderson: "The Catholic Bishop in Albany has already released a list of some 47 under some pressure. The number of those we released here today is 83. A large number of names yet to be known are priests in the Diocese of Albany accused, but there's also a number of priests who are members of religious orders, that have never been disclosed."

European elections: sex and religion dominate campaigning in Poland

The Guardian

May 22, 2019

By Christian Davies

War of words over LGBT rights, perceived threats to traditional values and clerical child abuse

Campaigning in Poland for the European elections has descended into a war of words over religion, sex and morality after a documentary on clerical abuse raised questions about the government’s ties to the Catholic church and the ruling party campaign sought to portray LGBT rights supporters as a threat to children.

The release on YouTube earlier this month of the documentary, viewed more than 20m times and featuring several victims confronting their sexual abusers, electrified what had already been a febrile debate over the role of the powerful Roman Catholic church in Polish politics and society, during which homosexuality has regularly been equated with paedophilia.

Lawyers clash over revealing identity of the woman accusing Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church of abuse


May 21, 2019

By Ben Winslow

Attorneys clashed in court over whether to publicly reveal the identity of a woman who has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church, accusing them of "ritualistic sex abuse."

In a hearing on Tuesday, lawyers for ex-FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen and the court-controlled United Effort Plan Trust sought to have the alleged child rape victim's name made public. They argued that it has been difficult to defend against her accusations when they have been bound by a non-disclosure agreement to even utter her name.

But attorneys for "R.H.," as she's known in court documents, told the judge that publicly disclosing her name presented significant security concerns.

Church Volunteer in Rancho Cucamonga Accused of Sexually Abusing Child Over 5-Year Period: Police


May 21, 2019

A church volunteer has been arrested in the alleged yearslong sexual abuse of a girl in Rancho Cucamonga, and police on Tuesday said there may be other victims in the case.

Christopher Sjaarda, 38, was taken into custody last Saturday and booked on suspicion of sexual acts against a child, according to a news release from the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.

An investigation began last month when detectives were notified about possible sexual acts against a child in Rancho Cucamonga, the release read.

Through extensive interviews with the girl, detectives learned she was sexually abused on a number of occasions over the past five years, allegedly by Sjaarda, police said.

Sacramento Catholic diocese settles priest sex abuse lawsuit involving Woodland woman

The Sacramento Bee

May 21, 2019

By Michael McGough

A Woodland woman has received a $200,000 settlement from the Sacramento Catholic Diocese and the current pastor of a Woodland church after filing a lawsuit in 2017 accusing a former priest of sexual assault and claiming church officials largely ignored her pleas for help.

Dorothy Small’s lawsuit alleged that she met the Rev. Renerio Sabuga Jr., the then-new assistant priest at Woodland’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church in 2014. Within months, the lawsuit claimed, Sabuga pursued Small romantically until he allegedly “cornered (Small) in her bedroom and sexually assaulted” her Feb. 17, 2015.

The allegations in Small’s lawsuit went on to say officials with the Sacramento diocese, and others at Holy Rosary, including current pastor the Rev. Jonathan Molina, did not do enough to address Small’s requests for help in the months after she took the complaints to church officials at the diocese – which was her preference over taking the matter to police.

Small, her attorney Joseph George and a coordinator with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) discussed the case and provided a copy of the recent settlement during a Tuesday news conference at George’s office in Sacramento.

Loud Fence ribbons cut off in 'disrespectful' vandalism

The Courier

May 22, 2019

By Jolyon Attwooll

Ribbons were cut off the St Patrick's Cathedral fence in an act of vandalism described as "disrespectful" and "selfish".

Maureen Hatcher, who set up the Loud Fence movement in support of victims and survivors of sexual abuse, said the action was very disappointing.

"It seems to happen every so often," she told The Courier.

Denver Priest Molestation Scandal Breaks Wide Open 5/20/19


May 8, 2019

Playtime: 28:50

Discuss: TheologyOnline.com

West Virginia AG Strengthens His Lawsuit against WV Catholic Diocese

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 21, 2019

We are grateful that West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey is keeping the pressure up on the Wheeling-Charleston diocese by bringing new counts and evidence to his lawsuit. Informed communities are safer communities, and the more that is investigated, the more truth gets exposed.

It is especially troubling to learn that church officials at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston chose not to publicly disclose reports of child sexual abuse by one of their teachers in 2006. Given that this event happened years after the adoption of the “Dallas Charter,” there is no reasonable explanation church officials could use to explain why these allegations remained secret. The same is true for the diocese’s arrogant decision to allow individuals to volunteer at schools without background checks.

These are reckless and dangerous choices that church officials actively made. And until church officials are held accountable for their crimes of enabling and covering up child sex crimes, we fear that church officials will continue this pattern of irresponsible decision-making.

Catholic monk joins Msgr. Craig Harrison accusers


May 21, 2019

By Olivia LaVoice

It's been almost a month since Msgr. Craig Harrison was put on leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

We've seen huge support for Msgr. Harrison, and we've seen support from victim advocacy groups for the men who've come forward.

In an exclusive interview, we hear from someone still part of the Catholic clergy.

Speaking out against another member of the church is something he says he never imagined he'd do, but after much prayer and many sleepless nights, he says he know this is the right thing.

May 21, 2019

'The Church of the abuse scandal is the only Church we know'

La Croix International

May 21, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

University students in the United States offer fresh insights into the clergy sex abuse crisis

St. Augustine is quoted as saying that "one learns by teaching" — docendo discitur. This has never been more true for me than during this past semester when I taught an undergraduate university course on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

My class included 30 students aged 21-22, mostly from the United States. There was a mixture of males and females majoring in a variety of fields, from biology to political sciences. Most of them were Catholics, but there was a substantial minority of non-Catholics and even non-Christians. Almost all of them admitted to wrestling with the "God question" as well as the meaning of the Church.

I learned much while preparing my lectures, mainly from reading scholarly materials that integrated and systematized our knowledge of the various aspects of the abuse crisis from a historical and theological point of view.

On eve of divorce referendum, Irish Church urges more support for marriage


May 21, 2019

By Charles Collins

Ireland should do more to support marriage, instead of making it easier to get a divorce, says Bishop Denis Nulty.

The bishop of Kildare and Leighlin was speaking ahead of a May 24 referendum in the Republic of Ireland to change the Irish constitution which requires couples to have lived apart for four of the past five years before being able to dissolve their marriage.

The referendum is supported by every major party in Ireland and is expected to pass easily.

For most of its history, divorce was prohibited in the Republic of Ireland. In 1995, the constitutional ban on marriage dissolution was repealed in a referendum with just 50.28 percent of the vote.

The new constitutional language required a waiting period before a divorce, and also regulated which foreign divorces would be recognized by the Irish state.

Morrisey adds new allegations to sexual abuse lawsuit against diocese

Charleston-Gazette Mail

May 21, 2019

By Jake Zuckerman

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey amended his lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese of the Catholic Church, submitting new allegations of sexual abuse and subsequent concealment.

Tuesday’s additions to his original suit, filed in Wood County Circuit Court in March, came after calling on victims or former employees of the diocese to come forward.

Among the new allegations:

1 in 10 Young Protestants Have Left a Church Over Abuse

Christianity Today

May 21, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

As the generation most likely to report experiencing misconduct and least likely to tolerate it, Christians under 35 stand to shape how congregations respond.

Surrounded by revelations of #MeToo and #ChurchToo, younger Christians are more keen to recognize sexual abuse—and less likely to put up with it.

According to a new study sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, 10 percent of Protestant churchgoers under 35 have previously left a church because they felt sexual misconduct was not taken seriously. That’s twice as many as the 5 percent of all churchgoers who have done the same.

Among the younger demographic, 9 percent said they have stopped attending a former congregation because they personally did not feel safe from misconduct.

Churchgoers ages 18 to 34 are more likely than older generations to report experiencing sexual harassment—ranging from sexual comments and prolonged glances—at church and to know others at their church who are victims (23%).

Seeking Compensation After Abuse Allegations in Scranton Diocese


May 20, 2019

By Dave Bohman

Time may be running out for some victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests because lawmakers are on the verge of killing a plan to give victims more time to sue for sex crimes.

Those men claim they were sexually abused in the 1970s by the same priest in Scranton, but that priest was not listed in a grand jury report released last year.

The three men we spoke with may not have their day in court, and they worry about pinning their hopes for justice on the diocese's victim's fund.

It is now Divine Mercy Parish in Scranton's Minooka neighborhood. It was St. Joseph's in the 1970s, and Fr. Michael Pulicare was its priest.

"When I was a little kid, he would kind of friend me. He would give me gifts and stuff like that," said John Patchcoski.

Poll: 89.3% of US Catholics say church was slow to take action on abuse

National Catholic Reporter

May 21, 2019

By Maria Benevento

A survey released May 20 by the St. Leo University Polling Institute reveals that 81.3% of Americans in general, and 89.3% of Catholics, believe the Catholic Church was slow to take action on clergy sexual abuse.

The poll also asked respondents how much they agreed that each of a series of reasons had contributed to "slow church action," and asked them to select "contributing factors" for the abuse crisis.

It found that by far the most commonly identified cause of the church's slow response — by 74% of Americans and almost 85% of Catholics — was a desire to "preserve and protect the Church's influence and reputation at all cost."

The second and third most popular options were "to avoid the financial ramifications" and "to protect the 'good old boys' network,' " with both statements earning agreement from between 40% and 42% of both Americans overall and Catholics.

On several other options, Americans in general and Catholics diverged by more than 10 percentage points. Americans overall more likely to indicate that church leadership "believed the clergy instead of victims" (37.6% versus 26.4% of Catholics) or believed "clergy were above the law" (34.1% versus 24%).

Attorneys find no shortage of clients amid clergy abuse reports

New Castle News

May 20, 2019

By Brent Addleman

Although the widespread impact of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic churches came to light just last year, veteran Pittsburgh litigator Alan H. Perer has been representing victims for nearly two decades.

Perer, of SPK – the law firm of Swensen & Perer, located in downtown Pittsburgh, has been working cases against the Pittsburgh Diocese dating back to the early 2000s, long before an August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed an extensive history of sexual abuse committed by clergy members within six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

“I have been doing this for 17 years,” Perer said. “It has been very rough. A lot of cases earlier, we ran into the statute of limitations. We have been fighting this battle for a long time.

“I am hoping the compensation fund will be a compassionate fund. A lot of these people are really hurting and suffering from being abused as a child. I have many who were 10 to 12 years old, 13 years of age, some earlier in age and some that continued (suffering abuse) long after those ages.”

Perer said the abuse has taken a toll on his clients.

Arizona House speaker's bill on child rape is a total joke

Arizona Republic

May 21, 2019

By Laurie Roberts

Opinion: House Speaker Rusty Bowers has magically come up with a bill that does absolutely nothing to help child-rape victims hold their attackers accountable.

A clap of the hands, if you please, for this year’s legislative winner in that coveted category: Most Impressive Sounding Bill That Does Absolutely Nothing.

Naturally, there were a lot of entries in this highly competitive category at the Arizona Capitol. But a latecomer takes top honors – a last-minute bill that would give child victims of sexual assault more time to sue their rapists and the organizations that enable them.

Specifically, until they turn 30, up from 20.

Never mind that the average age that child victims of sexual assault come forward is 52, according to Child USA, a non-profit think tank that works on child abuse issues.

That is, after all, beside the point.

W.Va. AG Morrisey Says Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Failed to Report Abuse or Conduct Background Checks

The Intelligencer

May 21, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sought to add claims Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including a new count of unfair competition and new evidence of the church’s failure to conduct background checks and report abuse.

The amended complaint details allegations the Diocese chose not to publicly disclose a report of child sexual abuse by a teacher in 2006 and permitted several individuals to work or volunteer at Catholic schools without adequate background checks.

Other priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were also allowed to work in the Diocese without adequate background checks. The Diocese only released its list of credibly accused priests after the State of West Virginia issued its subpoena.

LA Archbishop says amended confession bill still targets priests, Catholic employees


May 21, 2019

By Pablo Kay

Catholic officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession that is advancing in the state legislature.

Current California law requires clergy to report suspected abuse or neglect unless the information about the abuse was obtained during confession.

Senate Bill 360, authored by Bay-area Democrat, Sen. Jerry Hill, seeks to eliminate this so-called “exemption” for “penitential communication.”

On May 16, the Senate Appropriations committee voted 4-2 to send an amended version of Senate Bill 360 for a vote of the full Senate.

As amended, the bill, now protects the seal of the confessional - except in cases where a priest is hearing another priest’s confession or in cases where a priest is hearing the confession of a co-worker.

AG Morrisey: New evidence in Wheeling-Charleston Diocese lawsuit


May 21, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sought to add claims Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including a new count of unfair competition and new evidence of the church's failure to conduct background checks and report abuse.

The amended complaint details allegations the Diocese chose not to publicly disclose a report of child sexual abuse by a teacher in 2006 and permitted several individuals to work or volunteer at Catholic schools without adequate background checks.

Other priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were also allowed to work in the Diocese without adequate background checks, the lawsuit asserts. The Diocese only released its list of credibly accused priests after the State of West Virginia issued its subpoena, according to the lawsuit.

“The new information contained within our amended complaint further illustrates how the actions of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its policies of cover-up have harmed children. Parents who pay and entrust the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its schools to educate and care for their children deserve full transparency," Morrisey said.

West Virginia Adds To Complaint Against Catholic Diocese

WCBC Radio

May 21, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced this morning that he seeks to add claims Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, including a new count of unfair competition and new evidence of the church's failure to conduct background checks and report abuse.

The amended complaint details allegations the Diocese chose not to publicly disclose a report of child sexual abuse by a teacher in 2006 and permitted several individuals to work or volunteer at Catholic schools without adequate background checks. Other priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were also allowed to work in the Diocese without adequate background checks. The Diocese only released its list of credibly accused priests after the State of West Virginia issued its subpoena. “How can anyone reasonably argue that these allegations are old when the Church refused to release its list of credibly accused priests until after the issuance of our subpoena in the fall of 2018?”

Attorney General Morrisey said. “The Church needs to come clean and end the secrecy.” “The new information contained within our amended complaint further illustrates how the actions of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its policies of cover-up have harmed children. Parents who pay and entrust the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its schools to educate and care for their children deserve full transparency.”

Former Catholic priest acknowledges 'I did do things that were wrong' after 2 accusations of molestation

9 News

May 20, 2019

By Kevin Vaughan

Neil Hewitt was at 5 Colorado churches in the 1960s and '70s. He answered 9Wants to Know's questions about his past.

For nearly 50 years, Michael Smilanic told no one about a trip he took to Montreal in 1967 with two other boys and a Catholic priest – told no one about the night in a hotel room in Rochester, N.Y.

He was 14 that summer, and it was there, he told 9Wants to Know, that he was molested by a priest he had previously believed was “really cool,” a priest who drove a Pontiac G.T.O., flew airplanes, and took him skiing.

“He seemed more human, I think, than some of the other priests,” said Smilanic, who grew up attending St. Therese Catholic Church in Aurora.

SNAP calls for better reporting of clergy abuse


May 20, 2019

By Sydnie Holzfaster

For nearly 50 years Tim Lennon was silent about his allegations of abuse. He said he was raped by a priest when he was only 12 years old.

“At the time I froze. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t do anything, I didn’t tell anyone,”Lennon said.

Now Lennon is the president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Monday morning members of SNAP held a demonstration in front of the Archdiocese of Omaha to shared their own personal stories of abuse.

Dee Thompson spoke about her sons accusations of abuse. She said her son was groomed and then sexually abused by a priest while he was serving as an alter boy in their church, but he didn’t tell his family until he was 42 years old.

“He went through a really hard time adjusting to what he was going through and we had no clue that he was being sexualy abused,” Thompson said. “They are destroying lives and it doesn’t just destroy it when they are little boys; it continues.”

Bishops preach accountability, say victim compensation funds 'help them now'

Sharon Herald

May 20, 2019

By Melissa Klaric

The Erie Diocese, and the Catholic Church, are taking the priest sex abuse scandal seriously – and are addressing the damage done to victims through openness as well as the compensation fund, Erie's bishop said.

The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico said he does not know how many victims have applied for compensation through the fund set up by the diocese, although he estimated that as many as 100 people could receive payments.

Setting up the fund was the right thing to do, Persico said in an interview with The Herald of Sharon.

"People are grateful that we were doing something to compensate them," he said. "And just the general public thought that at least we were stepping up to try to help people who had been victims. We don't know when or what they would be able to receive. So, by creating this fund, we're trying to help them now."

Nationalists abusing Christian symbols 'greatest threat to EU'

La Croix International

May 20, 2019

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Czech priest warns of increasing xenophobia and populism as European elections loom

An award-winning Czech Catholic priest and intellectual has warned Europeans to be wary of populist politicians who are using Christianity to push their nationalist agendas, saying this is the greatest threat to the European Union.

"We are once again witnessing how God is being confused with the nation and the Christian faith with the dangerous idolatry of xenophobia and populism," said Monsignor Tomas Halik, the 2014 winner of the Templeton Prize for advances in religion and spirituality.

Washington’s new archbishop wants to heal ‘anger at the failure of leadership’

Catholic News Service

May 20, 2019

By Julie Asher

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will have a lot of things on his plate when he becomes the newest leader of the influential archdiocese situated in the nation's capital: the sexual abuse roiling the Catholic Church, the tense political climate on the Hill and the challenges that come with learning about a new archdiocese.

The newest archbishop of Washington knows what his first priority will be however.

The "first and most important thing" is "getting out in the field and meeting the people," Archbishop Gregory told Catholic News Service in a May 17 interview.

Cardinal Sarah Praises Benedict’s ‘Notes’ on Abuse Crisis

National Catholic Register

May 20, 2019

By Edward Pentin

Cardinal Sarah said that he, like the Pope Emeritus, was “deeply convinced” that abuse of minors will increase “if we do not adore the Eucharistic body of our God, if we do not treat him with joyful and reverent fear.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah has praised Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent “notes” on the clergy sexual abuse crisis, saying they have “proved to be a true source of light in the night of faith that touches the whole Church.”

The cardinal, who was expected to discuss his new book Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse at a May 14 event in Rome, instead surprised the audience of invited French intellectuals and Vatican diplomats by dedicating his whole talk entirely to Benedict’s reflections.

Benedict had written the notes to coincide with the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit of bishops on protection of minors in the Church.

In his talk, published in full in French by veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister, Cardinal Sarah said Benedict was a “'martyr' for the Truth” who sees the crisis “correctly.” His reflections were able to touch the “deepest heart” of the crisis, he said, but reactions to them have “at times bordered on intellectual hysteria” and Cardinal Sarah said he was “struck by the wretchedness and stupidity of several comments.”



May 20, 2019

By David Nussman

Unwritten policy of protecting priests after sexual misconduct claims

Retired police officers from Buffalo, New York are confirming they were given marching orders not to arrest Catholic priests after evidence of sexual misconduct, but instead hand them over to the diocese — special treatment they offered to Catholic priests and no one else.

A recent report from Buffalo News sheds light on how the police were ordered to report Catholic clergy's behavior to the diocese instead of arresting them. Former vice squad detective Martin Harrington said, "The department's unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested."

Putting Justice First

Commonweal Magazine

May 20, 2019

By Cathleen Kaveny

What Benedict’s Letter on Abuse Gets Wrong

The debate about Benedict XVI’s recent intervention on the sex-abuse crisis has focused on his account of its root causes, which occupies the vast majority of his letter. To the delight of conservatives and the consternation of progressives, he blames the lax sexual morality of the 1960s, rather than the enduring phenomenon of clericalism.

In my view, the problem with Benedict’s letter is far more fundamental. It also transcends the American progressive-conservative divide. He gets the basic moral description of the acts of sex abuse wrong. He frames them as acts of sacrilege, rather than grave injustice.

So what? Benedict clearly thinks these actions are unacceptable—why quibble about details? Because details matter, both theoretically and practically. If we get the description of a misdeed wrong, we fail to grasp the underlying moral reality of the situation. That, in turn, can lead to disastrous strategies for reform.

SNAP Calls for “Decisive Action” from New D.C. Archbishop


May 20, 2019


SNAP Calls for “Decisive Action” from New D.C. Archbishop

Group Lays Out Three Immediate Steps He Can Take

“It’s time for change in Washington,” they say


Leaders from the Washington, DC/Virginia chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest advocacy group for victims of clergy and institutional sex abuse, SNAP, will call on Archbishop Wilton Gregory to take decisive action to protect children and to reach out to survivors. They will also urge parishioners to stay vigilant and to continue to hold the church to their promises of transparency and accountability.

Former figure skater alleges abuse by former partner, who committed suicide, in Facebook posts

Yahoo Sports

May 20, 2019

By Ryan Young

Former figure skater Bridget Namiotka accused her former partner John Coughlin of abuse on Sunday night in multiple Facebook posts, writing that the late figure skater had “sexually abused” her for two years.

Namiotka was partners with Coughlin from 2004-2007, when she was between the ages of 14 to 17 and he was 18 to 21, according to USA Today. They won three medals on the Junior Grand Prix series and finished ninth at the 2007 U.S. national championships.

Coughlin committed suicide earlier this year. He was 33.

Namiotka, 29, wrote four posts on Facebook about Coughlin alleging abuse on Sunday night.

“I’m sorry but John hurt at least 10 people including me,” Namiotka wrote in the first post. “He sexually abused me for two years. Nobody innocent hangs themself.”

Namiotka followed the first post up with three more just minutes later.

After Ohio State Sex Abuse Report, Governor Calls for End to Statute of Limitations

Tribune News Service

May 21, 2019

By Jeremy Pelzer

In the wake of revelations that ex-Ohio State University athletic doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students between 1979 and 1998, Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday called on Ohio lawmakers to abolish the state's statute of limitations for sexual assault.

During a Statehouse news conference, the governor also urged legislators to extend the statute of limitations for other sex crimes, take a "hard look" at extending the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits, and toughen penalties for sex crimes committed by authority figures.

Strauss, who killed himself in 2005, likely couldn't be prosecuted for most of his crimes if he was alive today, DeWine said, because Ohio's statute of limitations for rape is 20-25 years, depending on the circumstances. The time limit on prosecuting other felony sex crimes is as little as six years, he said. Charges for misdemeanor sex crimes such as groping and fondling must be filed within two years, and civil lawsuits must be filed within 1-2 years.

Orange County Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing 7 Children

The Legal Herald

May 2019

By Laurence Banville

Last week, a longtime pastor at several churches in Southern California was arrested a second time on allegations of child sex abuse. 67-year-old John Rodgers McFarland has been charged with seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14 years old and four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor between 14 and 15. There are allegedly seven victims.

McFarland pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on May 13. If convicted on all charges, he could face up to 179 years in prison.

The former pastor was first arrested in December on suspicion of child molestation in Escondido. While police were investigating those allegations, they reportedly discovered evidence that there were multiple victims of sex abuse by McFarland.

Calling Ohio State abuser Strauss a ‘monster,’ DeWine wants sex crime laws strengthened

The Columbus Dispatch

May 20, 2019

By Randy Ludlow

Citing the Ohio State University sex abuse scandal, Gov. Mike DeWine is calling for eliminating or lengthening statutes of limitations on sex crimes while ordering a new assessment of a decades-old, still-secret state investigation of physician-turned-predator Richard Strauss.

Twice calling the deceased Ohio State doctor a “monster,” DeWine urged lawmakers Monday to eliminate the statute of limitations for rape to allow criminal charges to be filed beyond the current deadline of 20 to 25 years, depending on the circumstances.

DeWine also wants to increase the allowable periods for filing charges for other sexual crimes and to increase the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits against state institutions and other organizations beyond the current one- to two-year window if a victim is assaulted while age 18 or older.

Morrisey to announce new details in Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston lawsuit


May 20, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will be in Wheeling Tuesday with a big announcement.

Morrisey will disclose several new developments in his lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The lawsuit is based on information included in the Diocese's November 2018 public disclosure of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

THE COST OF ABUSE | House-passed abuse bills now in Senate

New Castle News

May 21, 2019

By Nancy Lowry

Earlier this month, the state House of Representatives approved measures to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for child sex crimes and to propose a constitutional amendment to open a window for lawsuits in cases where the statute of limitations has already expired.

The measures moved to the Senate, where a group of Democrats also rolled out new legislation yesterday that would take a different approach, by opening a retroactive window to allow lawsuits for any victim of sex crime, regardless of age.

State Rep. Aaron Bernstine and state Rep. Chris Sainato, each of whom represents a portion of Lawrence County, voted to support the House bills.

DC priest charged with sex abuse of 3 parishioners seeks separate trials


May 20, 2019

By Neal Augenstein

The D.C. Catholic priest indicted on seven counts of sexually abusing two children and a woman — all parishioners — wants three separate trials, according to his lawyer.

Urbano Vazquez, who was a priest at Shrine of the Sacred Heart, is charged with sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman.

In a motion filed in D.C. Superior Court, defense attorney Robert Bonsib said it would be unfair to his client if prosecutors were allowed to try Vazquez in a single trial.

Bonsib told WTOP Vazquez will plead not guilty when he is arraigned Friday.

Clergy abuse victim announces settlement

Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.,

May 21, 2019

She warns others about new church pay out program
Assaulted as an adult by her priest, she told Sac diocese
SNAP: “Sexual exploitation of church-goers is next wave in crisis”
Group urges “anyone who was hurt at any time” to “call AG & police now”

A Catholic woman who sued and settled with local Catholic officials over the abuse
--describe the suffering she endured from both her perpetrator & his supervisors,
--wants church officials to make people who were abused by adults eligible for this new program, and
--warn others to be skeptical about the new diocesan victim pay-out program.​

And advocates for sexual abuse victims will​
-- predict 'next wave' of crisis will be those assaulted as adults, and
--blast Sacramento’s bishop for his “callousness” and “hair-splitting.”

Tuesday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m.

Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D., 601 University Ave, Suite 230, Sacramento

The victim, her Sacramento attorney, perhaps one other local victim and Melanie Sakoda, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Survivor Support Coordinator.

1) A still-devout Catholic woman was sexually violated by her Sacramento pastor, told the Sacramento bishop, and ended up suing them both and recently settling her case.

Now she’s speaking up and urging other victims to be wary of trusting church officials, especially with the just-announced diocesan pay-out program.

In 2014, Dorothy Small, a lifelong Catholic, met her new pastor Fr. Renerio Sabuga Jr. (a.k.a. Fr. Jong) at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland. She was a parishioner and choir member; he had just been re-assigned. Within weeks, he began to confide in her with intensely private thoughts.

Later that year, she called and filed a police report because of “continuous sexual harassment” by Fr. Sabuga.

In 2015, he sexually assaulted her in her home, according to her lawsuit.
The following year, Fr. Sabuga was transferred from Woodland to St. Clare Catholic Church in Roseville. Worried that he “might do the same thing with (another) parishioner,” Small reported the crime to Sacramento church officials and later met directly with Bishop Jaime Soto in person.
In 2017, she sued Fr. Sabuga, another priest (who reportedly told her “what man wouldn't want a piece of a** every now and then?”) and the Sacramento diocese.
Several weeks ago, Small settled her case. (A copy of the settlement agreement will be provided at the news conference.)

Small wants others who were exploited or attacked by clerics to speak up and get healing.
Fr. Sabuga was ordained in 2000 and is believed to still be an active priest in his native Philippines.
Stephen Greene (916 753 1300, sjg@greeneroberts.com) was the defense lawyer for the case.

2) Earlier this month, for the first time ever, Pope Francis adopted a new world-wide abuse policy. “The most eye-catching change was a radical expansion of the definition of ‘vulnerable’ adults, a hotly contested” issue, according to one Catholic news source.

The new policy, which takes effect June 1, defines a vulnerable person very broadly.

In light of this change, Small and other abuse victims are urging those who were hurt as adults by Catholic clerics to come forward, get help, call law enforcement and start healing.” They predict that the ‘next wave of abuse reports to hit the church will be from church employees and members who have been sexually violated or harassed by clerics.

One week after Pope Francis’ announcement, the Sacramento diocese, and five other California dioceses, announced a new victim compensation program.


Small wants church officials to make people who were abused by adults eligible for this new program. And she’s urging survivors to take caution if they choose to participate.


Contact: Dr. Joseph C. George 916 802 7949 cell, 800 700 8613 office, jcg@psyclaw.com email, Melanie Sakoda 925 708 6175 cell, msakoda@snapnetwork.org email, Maricar A. Pascual 707 342 4722 cell, maricar@psyclaw.com

They Hoped the Catholic Church Would Reveal Their Abusers. They Are Still Waiting.

Janet Cleary Klinger, pictured here as a teenager, said she was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. She has been pushing for the diocese, on Long Island, to name alleged abusers.

May 21, 2019

By Rick Rojas

She has watched as diocese after diocese has identified Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children. She saw the victims who, after confronting decades of church silence, could edge toward a sense of closure as bishops apologized and publicly named clergy members who abused them.

Yet for Janet Cleary Klinger, the silence has continued.

She said she had been abused as a teenager by a priest from her family’s parish in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, which sprawls over the suburbs of Long Island.

But the Rockville Centre diocese — one of the largest in the country with an estimated 1.5 million Catholics — has resisted publishing the names of priests credibly accused of abuse. It is the only diocese in New York that has not released a list. Miami, San Francisco and St. Louis are among the others nationwide.

Church leaders in many dioceses have hailed the release of lists of accused priests as a move toward transparency that will help quell tensions with followers.

But the dioceses that have declined to name priests are calling into question the church’s broader efforts to make amends for the abuse scandals, stirring a growing backlash from victims and their supporters.

They argue that the lack of disclosure creates another impediment toward understanding the church’s handling of the sex abuse epidemic across the nation and makes it more difficult to hold its leaders accountable.

“I, along with a lot of other people, have waited a long time to feel validated, and we continually cannot get that from the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” Ms. Cleary Klinger said. “We get nothing from the Diocese of Rockville Centre.”

Officials in dioceses that have not released names contend that declining to make such a disclosure does little to stand in the way of their pursuing a robust effort to help victims and prevent abuse.

“The Diocese of Rockville Centre, as a longstanding practice, works closely with law enforcement to make certain that all accusations of child sexual abuse against clergy — credible or not — of which the diocese is aware are reported,” Sean P. Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese, said in a statement.

The Crisis Continues

First Things

May 21, 2019

by Philip Lawler

Vos Estis Lux Mundi, the new papal directive for handling sex abuse charges, takes a few steps toward reform within the Catholic Church. But the papal document—a motu proprio, carrying the force of canon law—falls well short of an adequate response to a burgeoning scandal.

Pope Francis’s directive requires that every Catholic diocese and eparchy provide a formal system for reporting and addressing abuse complaints. For Americans, already living under the “Dallas Charter” mechanisms set up more than a decade ago, the new rule will have no major practical effect. But in other countries, where whistle-blowers still face strong resistance, it is an important advance.

The motu proprio also insists that abuse victims, and others lodging complaints, must be treated with respect and compassion and given the spiritual and material help they need. Too often, even after winning lawsuits, victims have been handed a check—without an apology—and sent on their way.

California confession bill amended, but still would require priests to violate seal

Catholic News Agency

May 20, 2019

By J. D. Flynn

California’s state senate will vote on a bill that would require priests to violate the seal of confession in certain limited circumstances. An amended text of the bill passed the Senate appropriations’ committee May 16.

The bill, as amended, would require priests to report to law enforcement knowledge or suspicion of child abuse gained from hearing the sacramental confessions of other priests or co-workers.

The bill originally would have required California priests to violate the seal of confession anytime they gained knowledge or suspicion of child abuse from hearing the confession of any penitent.

In a May 20 statement, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the bill remains “an unacceptable violation of our religious freedoms that will do nothing to protect children.”

Retired La Crosse priest accused of sexual assault at library

La Crosse Tribune

May 20, 2019

By Basma Amer

A 94-year-old retired La Crosse priest will appear in court June 3 after accusations of sexual assault.

According to the incident report:

On May 15, the victim told La Crosse Public Library security about an incident that took place on May 11. She said it happened at one of the benches behind the library about 5 p.m.

On May 16, library security reported the incident to La Crosse police.

The victim told police the man said his name was Bill and offered her money for sex. He also took her hand and put it on his genitals, and tried to kiss her.

Library staff was able to identify McGarty from security footage because they recognized him from the news.

Catholic Diocese of Dallas Is in a Place So Dark It’s Almost Incomprehensible

Dallas Observer

By Jim Schutze

May 20, 2019

The whole business about the Catholic Diocese of Dallas in January publishing a list of 31 so-called “credibly accused” priests seemed weird at the time. Credibly, who says so? Now as the story grows only darker, we have to wonder how the diocese, which is the regional headquarters of the church, could not have known what terrible mistakes it was making.

Clearly, based on an affidavit supporting a raid on diocesan records last week (see below), the Dallas Police Department doesn’t believe the diocese has ever played straight on these charges. The affidavit is only that — an allegation or claim. It isn’t a verdict. It isn’t even an indictment. The church deserves its say.

But to believe the claim of Bishop Edward Burns last week that cops who made the raid on his locked trove of sex abuse records only wanted to “probe the wounds,” we would have to believe the police are doing an awful lot of very clever, very detailed on-the-record lying. It doesn’t sound like it.

And if they’re not — if the claims of subterfuge and obfuscation that police made in the affidavit are true — then we have to weigh a different painful possibility. That possibility is that Burns’ entire “credibly accused” campaign has been a con job from the beginning at two important levels.

The first level of the con, if it has been a con all along, would be the conning of the public. Much as we might resent an attempt to fool us and see it as especially unbecoming of the clergy, recent events in Washington should have taught us all by now that it’s not against the law to lie to us.

May 20, 2019

Marching orders kept Buffalo cops from arresting child-molesting priests

The Buffalo News

May 19, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

Hardly any of the more than 100 Buffalo area priests implicated as child molesters spent so much as one day in jail.

For years, most of their victims were too scared or embarrassed to make complaints.

But Buffalo Police had marching orders not to arrest Catholic priests, according to former vice squad Detective Martin Harrington and other retired officers. Instead they alerted the bishop’s office to any illegal activities.

“The department’s unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested,” said Harrington, who investigated vice crimes for 17 years and retired in 1995. “I never had any experience with priests who molested children. I never heard of any priests molesting children. But we had priests we caught with pornography, or masturbating in the city parks, and our orders were to turn them over to the Buffalo Diocese. The diocese would deal with them … but they would not be arrested.”

The policy “only extended to Catholic priests,” Harrington recalled. “If we caught clergy from other religions, we arrested them.”

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases affect New Jersey?

North Jersey Record

May 17, 2019

By Deena Yellin

The ink was still wet on the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last Monday extending the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse when it was put into use:

A former altar boy announced Tuesday morning that he was filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and his former parish, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, a priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Ventnor City.

More lawsuits are likely to come. The question is whether there will be a flood or more like a trickle.

New York state passed a similar law in February and is facing a similar unknown.

Erie Catholic Diocese priest placed on administrative leave


May 18, 2019

Monsignor Charles Kaza facing allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while serving at Erie’s St. John the Baptist Parish in 1980s.

The Catholic Diocese of Erie has placed Monsignor Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway, on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations Kaza sexually abused a minor, Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico announced Saturday.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s, Persico said.

Kaza, who also serves as president of the DuBois Central Catholic School Board, was placed on administrative leave, effective May 13, after the state Attorney General’s Office forwarded the sexual abuse allegation to the Catholic Diocese of Erie and its independent investigators at the K&L Gates law firm.

Kaza is cooperating with the investigation, Persico said in a news release issued Saturday.

A CA Bill Forcing Catholic Priests to Report Child Sex Abuse Passes First Hurdle

Friendly Atheist

May 20, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Earlier this year, California State Sen. Jerry Hill filed a bill to remove clergy members from a list of those exempt from reporting child abuse.

As it stands, if someone walks into a confessional booth and admits to molesting a child, the priest doesn’t have to do anything with that information. Just say a couple of Hail Marys and be done with it. Compare that to public school teachers, who are required by law to tell a social worker if they learn about (or suspect) a child being abused.

The Church, of course, doesn’t want to play by those rules. Vatican officials claim the “seal of confession” is sacrosanct. Anything said in a confessional booth must be kept secret no matter what.

That leads to absurd consequences. In Australia, for example, a priest confessed to committing 1,500 instances of molestation (not a typo) to 30 separate priests over 25 years. Because of the sacred seal, though, no one ever reported his crimes, allowing the abuse to continue.

Former Police Detective: Department Had ‘Marching Orders’ Not to Arrest Catholic Priests

Law and Crime

May 20, 2019

By Jerry Lambe

A general view of a mass for a canonization ceremony of Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on October 14, 2018.

A police department received “marching orders” not to arrest Catholic priests but to instead alert the bishop’s office to any potentially illegal activities involving the priests, according to former a Buffalo Police Detective. This policy “only extended to Catholic priests.” “If we caught clergy from other religions, we arrested them,” he said.

Former vice squad Detective Martin Harrington and other retired Buffalo PD officers revealed this an explosive story published Sunday by Buffalo News. The interviews come just months after the Buffalo Diocese publicly identified 80 priests whom it determined were credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, a number that would soon inflate to over 100.

Liberia: Priest Tells Catholics Allegations of Sexual Harassment are False

Front Page Africa

May 20, 2019

Report by Tecee Boley, New Narratives Senior Justice Correspondent

One of the priests in the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in Liberia has blasted parishioners for what he terms as a betrayal of the church. The Administrator of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rev. Father Alphonsus Momoh told parishioners in the Sunday service of his church that accusations by Fr. Gabriel Sawyer that Archbishop Lewis Zeigler and Bishop Andrew Karnley had bullied and abused him for more than a decade after he rebuffed their sexual advances, were nothing but an effort to taint the church.

“What you are hearing is because an individual is hurt and decided to smear the image of the church. One day the truth will be told by the one who told the lie. Some believe it, some don’t and some are standing firm. But there are some of you here taking notes and recording on your phones to send the recording to them,” Fr. Momoh said.

This is the first public statement coming out of a Liberian clergy since allegations of sex-based misconduct and abuse of power was made public in the media.

Fr. Momoh, in a further rebuke of Sawyer, claimed that it was a quest for material and financial gains that Sawyer and others are ruining the church. “Because of greed! Everybody wants to get rich. Nobody wants to go through the proper channel. You will go and tarnish the name of the institution (s) you belong to. There is no trust. We find in our midst- pulling down each other.”

California 'confession bill' viewed as violation of religious liberty

Catholic News Service

May 17, 2019

By Pablo Kay

A bill making its way through the California Legislature would make the state the first since 1999 to require priests to choose between violating the law or violating the seal of the confessional.

At issue is the serious matter of child sexual abuse. Seven states right now require priests to violate the seal to report child abuse based on legislation passed in the 1970s and through the 1990s.

While many states have tried since 2002 to pass laws resembling the California Senate measure, S.B. 360, none have been successful. Instead, lawmakers around the country concluded similar bills would not protect children and would be a violation of religious liberty.

The summer of 2018 — with its Pennsylvania grand jury report on alleged abuse by priests and other church workers (with many claims decades old), the revelations of sexual misdeeds by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington and investigations by state attorneys general into clergy abuse records — brought the battle against sexual abuse back to the confessional.

In California, priests, along with teachers, social workers, doctors and other professionals, are "mandated reporters." That means they are required by law to report any case of suspected abuse to authorities. Currently, there is an exemption in the law for any clergy member "who acquires knowledge or a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect during a penitential communication."

Catholic Conference apologizes for Facebook post trolling clergy abuse victim


May 16, 2019

By Thomas LeClair

The Catholic Conference, a lobbying division of the church in Pennsylvania, is apologizing after a comment it made on Facebook in response to a victim of clergy abuse.

The conference recently posted on Facebook in support of a proposed limitation to abortion.

Carolyn Fortney is a Dauphin County survivor of clergy sexual abuse. She responded to the post with, "Up next, how about statute of limitations reform?"

The Catholic Conference replied, "Why do you have to troll here Carolyn? Don't you get enough media attention?"

That surprised Fortney.

Conroe police picked lock at Houston archdiocese to uncover priest child sex abuse records

Houston Chronicle

May 16, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

Authorities used a lock pick to open a “bank vault” containing a trove of clergy files that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston failed to hand over following a subpoena, according to court documents.

The picking tool helped Conroe Police Department investigators access the documents last November during a raid at the church’s Houston headquarters, Detective Joe McGrew said while describing the church’s lack of cooperation with their criminal probe. The agency was looking for evidence in the case against indicted priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez and other clergy members who may have committed a crime.

A Dallas investigator said he contacted the Conroe Police Department and Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office regarding their search warrants. A sworn statement states that McGrew told his North Texas counterpart, David Clark, that after issuing a subpoena, his agency later “learned the Diocese of Galveston-Houston did not turn over everything” involving the priest in their investigation.

Archbishop Gregory plans to get 'out in field'

Catholic News Service

May 20, 2019

By Julie Asher

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will have a lot of things on his plate when he becomes the newest leader of the influential archdiocese situated in the nation's capital: the sexual abuse roiling the Catholic Church, the tense political climate on the Hill and the challenges that come with learning about a new archdiocese.

The newest archbishop of Washington knows what his first priority will be however.

The "first and most important thing" is "getting out in the field and meeting the people," Archbishop Gregory said in a May 17 interview.

He has six listening sessions scheduled with priests of the Washington Archdiocese, and "I'm trying to fill up my calendar right now with moments when I can be in the parishes with the people," he said. Like "a Sunday supply priest," he wants to visit local parishes to say Mass and afterward stand at the back of church and greet people.

Archbishop Gregory has "no fancy requirements" for such visits, nor would he expect any "fancy preparation." He just has "the real desire to be there as a listener," he said, adding that "it is that casual encounter with people that often proves to be the most fruitful."

Amended confession bill still targets priests, Catholic employees

Angelus News

May 20, 2019

By Pablo Kay

Catholic officials are urging Catholics to continue to oppose a California bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of confession, which is advancing in the state legislature.

Current California law requires clergy to report suspected abuse or neglect unless the information about the abuse was obtained during confession.

Senate Bill 360, authored by Bay Area Democrat Sen. Jerry Hill, seeks to eliminate this so-called “exemption” for “penitential communication.”

Will India's ecumenical network beat clergy sex abuse?


May 20, 2019

By Cynthia Stephen

Rape charges against Jalandhar bishop force Indian Church to face its own demons, vindicate long-silenced nuns and lay women

Early in April, when police in India filed rape charges against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, he became the first bishop in history to face court proceedings for raping a Catholic nun.

The charges were filed nine months after the nun complained to police of prolonged sexual abuse from the bishop, who also served as the patron of the diocesan women's congregation the nun had led for several years.

The nun and her supporters faced severe repression in the convent for going against the bishop. But the nun's public protest in Kochi, in southern India, last September forced the government, which had dragged its feet for weeks, to act. The bishop was arrested. A special team was constituted to probe the case. And finally, on April 9, a charge-sheet was filed in Pala, Kerala.

Allegation Against Bakersfield Priest Previously Deemed 'Unsubstantiated' Now Under Review By Fresno Diocese


May 19, 2019

By Alexandra Hall

More than 20 years after a man first reported he was abused by a Central Valley priest, the Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting the allegation after several other individuals have come forward accusing the same priest. The diocese and Fresno County law enforcement officials had previously said the claim, first raised in 1998, was unsubstantiated.

The man, who has chosen not to disclose his identity, says that Bakersfield priest Monsignor Craig Harrison — who is currently on leave while under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct — inappropriately touched him when he was a teenager in Firebaugh.

According to the man’s attorney, Joseph George, the alleged abuse happened over the course of a year from 1992 to 1993 while the man was living at the rectory of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Firebaugh.

Former Catholic Priest Calls To 'Abolish The Priesthood'


May 19, 2019

Heard on All Things Considered

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with writer James Carroll, a former Catholic priest, about his piece in The Atlantic, titled "Abolish the Priesthood."

‘Tell No One’: Poland Is Pushed to Confront Abuse of Children by Priests

The New York Times

May 17, 2019

By Marc Santora and Joanna Berendt

WARSAW — Anna Misiewicz was just 7 years old when she was invited into the private chambers of her parish priest, in the small village of Topola in southwest Poland. She thought he wanted her to count church donations.

Instead, she found herself alone with a predator, identified only as Father Jan A. He touched her chest, stroked her body and forced her to use her hands to masturbate him.

Decades later, the smell of milk disgusts her still, she said, “because the priest would drink milk and the taste stayed on his mouth and lingered in mine.”

In a powerful new documentary that is rocking this deeply Roman Catholic nation, Ms. Misiewicz recalls these childhood nightmares, and then goes farther. She summons the courage to knock on the door of her abuser, a feeble old man but still a priest, and pose a simple question: Why?

“I should never have done it,” the priest says quietly in a moment captured on secretly recorded video. It was “some stupid passion,” he says. He then offers an apology and asks to kiss her hand. She can barely contain her disgust.

Clergy Abuse Victims Caution Against Accepting Church Settlements


May 16, 2019

By John Carroll

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests cautioned Thursday against accepting a church-sponsored program to financially compensate them.

At a news conference, several victims gathered with their lawyer and said the program does not hold the church accountable. The victims sat at a table with a banner featuring pictures of young victims and the words “stolen souls.”

One victim named Dede said she wanted people to understand the pain victims suffer at the hands of clergy.

“Do you know what it feels like to be terrorized, tormented, abused and knowing that you can’t do anything about it, that nobody believes and nobody’s gonna care?” she said.

Showdown Looms at Arizona Legislature Over Childhood Sexual Abuse Bills

Phoenix New Times

May 20, 2019

By Elizabeth Whitman

When Annette Schuster was a child, she spent afternoons after school at an uncle’s house. He was kind to her, or so it seemed for a time. She recalled that he made her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, gave her a bed to nap in, and rubbed her back, among other places.

At the age of 12, Schuster informed her mother that she would never return to that uncle’s house, citing the abuse. Schuster's mother told her never to lie like that again, she said. Schuster closed her mind to what had happened and concentrated on graduating from high school.

In later years, she confronted family members, including the uncle, hoping for answers. She was repeatedly dismissed. The uncle’s ex-wife said he never would have done anything to hurt Schuster. The uncle himself told Schuster that he had done no wrong, that he had done nothing Schuster didn’t want, she remembered.

Gymnasts Testify; Lawmakers Won’t Name Abuse Bill Lobbyists

Claims Journal

May 15, 2019

By Clarice Silber

Former U.S. national team gymnasts backing a Texas bill that would allow victims of sexual abuse more time to sue in civil court on Monday urged the state’s lawmakers to restore a key provision allowing those individuals to sue institutions.

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases affect New Jersey?

North Jersey Record

May 17, 2019

By Deena Yellin

The ink was still wet on the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last Monday extending the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse when it was put into use:

A former altar boy announced Tuesday morning that he was filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and his former parish, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, a priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Ventnor City.

More lawsuits are likely to come. The question is whether there will be a flood or more like a trickle.

Harvard Students Felt Unsafe Under Weinstein Lawyer's Watch. Now He's Lost His Dean Post


May 20, 2019

With Meghna Chakrabarti

A Harvard law professor who was part of Harvey Weinstein’s defense team is out as an undergraduate faculty dean after student protests. We look at #MeToo justice and campus culture now.

Minnesota Lawsuit Aims to Make Vatican Publish Names of Sex Predator Priests

Legal Reader

May 17, 2019

By Ryan J. Farrick

Three of the plaintiffs are brothers–and this is their third time suing the Holy See.

Five Minnesota men who claim to have been abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy are suing the Vatican, accusing it of concealing the identities of thousands of sex predator priests.

The lawsuit, filed by three brothers and two other men, was filed in the U.S. District Court in St. Paul. The complaint claims that the Vatican has files on at least 3,400 clergy accused of sexual abuse, including some high-ranking officials.

Reuters notes that the Roman Catholic Church has been embroiled in a global scandal regarding child sex abuse since 2002.

In the past several years alone, dioceses in New York and California—as well as other states and U.S. territories—have paid out billions to settle with victims of abuse.

According to Reuters’ recap, the three brothers claim to have been molested by former Minnesota priest Curtis Wehmeyer for over a half-decade, between 2006 and 2012.

Another plaintiff says they were molested by another priest, Thomas Adamson, in the early 1980s. The remaining man, states the suit, was assaulted by former California clergyman Fidencio Silva-Flores sometime between 1978 and 1984.

THE COST OF ABUSE | Victims may face inconsistent rules, opportunities across dioceses

CNHI News Service

May 19, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Politics, religion, law and finances were all linked in the process that led to the creation of compensation funds for victims of clergy sexual abuse in seven of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

For years, when priests, parishes and dioceses faced allegations of abuse, the matters were often handled in secret — with victims being required to accept non-disclosure agreements as part of settlements.

But then, in 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that provided details about how at least 300 priests allegedly abused thousands of children across six of the commonwealth's dioceses.

THE COST OF ABUSE | Scandal, cover-up painful, but Valley Catholics' faith not shaken

Daily Item

May 19, 2019

By Rick Dandes

For some Valley Catholics, the litany of revelations about widespread sexual abuse of children within the six dioceses of the Church in Pennsylvania, and the subsequent cover-up, compounds their pain.

But their core faith, they said, has not been shaken.

“I wish it had all come out at once,” said Eleanor O’Conner, who attends Sacred Heart Church in Lewisburg. “There has been so much bad news. My fear is that all the good work done by the Church will be overshadowed by this scandal. I’m not downplaying the betrayal of trust, and it makes me angry to think about it. I’m praying for the victims. I have two grandchildren, and I want them to continue as Catholics.”

THE COST OF ABUSE | Victims push for window for statute of limitations, say law prevents closure


May 19, 2019

By Jocelyn Brumbaugh

Brooke Rush sat in a crowded Cambria County courtroom and listened as more than a dozen women shared details of their abuse at the hands of a former Johnstown pediatrician.

Their stories matched her experiences, but she couldn't testify because she was past the statute of limitations – age 30 for child sexual abuse.

"Even though the words weren’t coming out of my mouth, my story was still being told," she said.

Rush said she was 11 years old when, in the late 1980s, Dr. Johnnie "Jack" Barto abused her during an office visit.

Lawsuit: Priest's sexual abuse of Dededo boy under the guise of horseplay, affection

Pacific Daily News

May 16, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio

A priest sexually abused a Catholic school student multiple times in the early '80s "under the guise of horseplay and affection," according to a lawsuit filed in local court on Thursday.

The plaintiff in the sex abuse case is identified in court documents only by the pseudonym A.A. to protect his privacy, according to the lawsuit.

Dallas Police Search Multiple Catholic Church Properties in Sex Abuse Investigation

The Legal Herald

May 15, 2019

By Paul Amess

Dallas Police searched Catholic Diocese of Dallas headquarters and several other church properties as part of their sexual abuse investigation into local churches.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the police say that the diocese has failed to provide full information on sexual abuse allegations against multiple priests. In some cases, the warrant says, the church gave authorities incomplete records on accused priests.

This investigation began with the issue of an arrest warrant for priest Edmundo Paredes, who formerly served at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Dallas. He is currently considered a fugitive.

Former Salvation Army officer now living in Saco accused of abuse

Portland Press Herald

May 20, 2019

By Eric Russell

The Salvation Army says it terminated the officership after Gary Crowell was accused of abusing a teenage girl who lived with him and his wife in New York, but the alleged victim says the organization failed to tell the police.

A Saco man and former high-ranking officer in the Salvation Army in New York has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenager who lived with him for several years in the 1990s.

Nicole Sprout, who lives on Long Island, N.Y., held a press conference last week in front of the Salvation Army headquarters in Manhattan to levy accusations against Gary Crowell.

According to coverage from two local television stations, Sprout said Crowell and his wife, Carol Beth Crowell, took her into their home at age 11 after her mother, who lived with mental illness, could not care for her. Sprout said the abuse started shortly thereafter and progressed to sexual intercourse. It continued until she was 16, often two or three times a week.

Law Firms to Release Names of 83 Perpetrators Accused of Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Albany

Jeff Anderson & Associates

May 20, 2019

On Tuesday in Albany, two sexual abuse survivors and the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave, Wein & Frament, PLLC, will:

· Release a report containing the identities, histories, photographs and information on 83 clerics accused of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Albany;

· A sexual abuse survivor will speak publicly about his abuse by a priest at St. Anthony of Padua in Troy, NY;

· A second sexual abuse survivor will speak publicly about her abuse by a religious cleric Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady, NY;

· Demand full disclosure by the Diocese of Albany and the religious orders, regarding all clergy accused of sexual abuse who worked in the diocese, including their current whereabouts, photographs and histories.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 1:00PM ET

WHERE: Hilton Albany – Chambers Room, 40 Lodge Street, Albany, NY 12207

Whitmer supports 'window' for priest survivors to sue


May 17, 2019

By Ken Kolker

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would support a law to open a legal window in Michigan for survivors of Catholic priests and other molesters to sue over childhood sexual assaults.

In other states, including Minnesota and California, so-called "window" laws, which pauses the statute of limitations, have led to multi-million dollar settlements between survivors of decades-old assaults and the Catholic church.

"I do support expanding the rights of victims to bring lawsuits, for prosecutors to bring charges," Whitmer told Target 8 on Friday. "I think that's something that's really important. So I do personally support it. We've got a legislature that drafts and writes the laws that come to my desk. I would certainly look favorably if they took that action."

State Sen. Winnie Brinks and State Rep. David LaGrand, both Democrats, said they were disappointed last year when window legislation failed in Michigan.

The Catholic church was among those who lobbied against it.

Target 8 recently revealed that 14 priests had molested at least 33 kids in the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese over the decades, most without consequence.

Some of the priests are still living in West Michigan, collecting pensions.

But, because of the statute of limitations, survivors have no legal recourse.

The office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is investigating allegations of priest abuse and cover-ups dating back decades at the state's seven Catholic dioceses. Her office said it expects to file criminal charges soon.

SNAP rally held outside Omaha Archdiocese Monday

KETC Channel 7

May 20, 2019

A rally will be held outside the Omaha Archdiocese Monday morning.

Leaders from the advocacy group for victims of clergy and institutional sex abuse, also known as SNAP, will gather at 11 a.m. to commend the state’s attorney general and urge other survivors of clergy sexual abuse to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and assist the AG in his investigation.

Several members of the organization will be present, along with a victim, who is sharing his story of abuse at the hands of Rev. James Kelly for the first time.

SNAP is calling on other Nebraskans to take steps to prevent future cases of abuse while demanding transparency and justice from the state’s Catholic officials.

SNAP is encouraging Nebraskans across the state to take three steps that can make a difference:

First, survivors of abuse, make a report to AG Peterson’s abuse hotline by calling 1-800-652-1999.

Second, contact the county’s District Attorney and urge them to actively reach out to local communities, urging survivors to come forward and make a report of their abuse. District Attorneys can also encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to share any information they might have related to past or ongoing cases of clerical sexual abuse.

Third, contact state representatives and senators and urge them to create or sponsor legislation that will protect children, benefit survivors, and prevent future cases of abuse. For example, reforming statutes of limitations can help survivors find justice where none existed previously and can get important information about abusers into the hands of the public.

Los 12 curas colombianos en las listas negras de abuso de EE. UU.

[12 Colombian priests on U.S. list of abusers]

El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

Varios salieron de Colombia con denuncias en su contra, cinco fueron deportados al país.

La comunidad católica en Baltimore, Estados Unidos, quedó desconcertada cuando le notificaron que existían denuncias por abuso infantil contra el sacerdote colombiano Fernando Cristancho, quien oficiaba misas en las parroquias El Buen Pastor y San Ignacio. Y la sorpresa fue mayor cuando, en octubre de 2017, su arquidiócesis le confirmó que acababa de ser arrestado, por porte y producción de pornografía infantil. Además, que en 2002 se enteraron de que había engendrado trillizos con una mujer, a través de fertilización ‘in vitro’, y que un tribunal lo acusó de abusar de dos de ellos. Por eso, desde ese año estaba expulsado de la iglesia.

Pope Accepts Resignation of Brazilian Bishop Amid Investigation

The Rio Times

May 18, 2019

Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira of Limeira (SP) is under investigation for alleged extortion and cover-up of sexual abuse, Brazilian media report.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Brazilian bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira, according to the Vatican.

The Vatican did not explain in a statement on Friday what prompted the resignation of the bishop who, according to media reports in Brazil, is under investigation for alleged extortion and cover-up of sexual abuse.

In April, the bishop confessed to police that he had taken US$4,000 from parish funds for personal use, telling them he did so because he was having financial difficulties, according to reports.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by a global clerical pedophilia scandal, with victims coming forward in countries ranging from Australia to Chile, Germany, and the U.S.

Pope Francis passed a landmark new measure this month to oblige those who know about sexual abuse in the Church to report it to their superiors, in a move which could bring countless new cases to light.

As a result of the decree, bishops will be held directly accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up.

But crimes admitted during the sacrament of confession will remain exempt from the new church law.

Survivors’ groups have called for the Vatican to make reporting of suspected abuse to police mandatory – but the Vatican says church law cannot override local civil law.

Obispo de Iglesia Unida Metodista declina referirse a acusaciones de encubrimiento de abuso sexual

[United Methodist bishop declines to discuss accusations of sexual abuse cover-up]


May 19, 2019

By Emilio Lara and Oscar Cáceres

La mañana de este domingo, el obispo de la Iglesia Unida Metodista Pentecostal, Juan Ormeño, declinó referirse a las acusaciones de encubrimiento de abuso sexual que pesan en su contra. Lo anterior, por la denuncia que realizó hace más de dos años una joven de 17 años, por los hechos ocurridos en abril de 2017, en contra del pastor Salomón Morales, de la iglesia de San Joaquín, quien fue denunciado por tocaciones las que él mismo calificó como un impulso.

Is It a Scandal to Leave the Priesthood?

Patheos blog

May 20, 2019

By Deacon Greg Kandra

A few commenters on social media were upset and even angry over the news that Father Jonathan Morris has asked to leave the clerical state. I remarked that this is not, from all appearances and from the statement of Father Morris, scandalous — unlike some other high profile priests who have followed a similar path. I take him at his word that there is no present relationship involved that has led him to this decision, and that he wishes to remain a faithful and committed Catholic — albeit, one who can marry and have a family.

Some readers objected. No, they replied, this is a scandal. One reader told me to look again at the definition of scandal.

Okay. From the catechism:

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.” This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

Internal investigation may yield greater sanctions against priests accused of sex abuse

The Californian

May 20, 2019

By Jose Gaspar

While separate criminal investigations are carried out by police in Firebaugh and Merced into allegations that Monsignor Craig Harrison sexually molested minors, there's another internal investigation being done by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. This one is based on a set of rules adopted by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops in June 2002 aimed to "repair the breach" with those sexually abused by church ministers.

Article 2 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People states that "Dioceses are to have policies and procedures in place to respond promptly to any allegations where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor occurred." And perhaps the most controversial requirement states, "Any credible allegations (against a priest or deacon) of sexual misconduct with a minor will result in immediate administrative leave" while an internal investigation is completed. Some priests find a problem with that.

"It's like Marshall law," said Monsignor Stephen Frost of Christ the King Church in Oildale. Under this process, Frost says due process goes out the window and the accused is accorded none or very little information about the allegations or who the accuser might be. Further, by removing the priest from his parish leaves the perception the priest is guilty before an investigation is begun.

"For those of us who have a sense of justice, it's a scandal the church would treat people like that and not give them any recourse for defense," said Monsignor Frost. In the case of Monsignor Harrison, Frost points out the allegations are many years old, and Harrison is no longer an immediate threat to any of his accusers who are now adults so there was no need to pull him out.

According to the Charter, placing a priest on administrative leave "...does not imply guilt, but is necessary for the good of God's people. All appropriate steps shall be taken to protect the reputation of the cleric during the investigation."

"I understand what the perception is," said Teresa Dominguez, Chancellor and Director of Communications of the Diocese of Fresno. Removing an credibly accused priest is necessary for several reasons including preserving the integrity of the investigation said Dominguez. "An administrative leave is also for his protection. It basically gets him out of the way of the investigation," she said. I can see her point. If the diocese had not put Harrison on administrative leave, that could leave parishioners feeling uneasy about taking their children to St. Francis as a cloud of suspicion hovers over Harrison's head. Others believe the removal of a priest is similar to other cases.

Local DCC priest on leave after charges of sex abuse surface

Clearfield Progress

May 18, 2019

Local priest Msgr. Charles Kaza has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General forwarded the allegation against Kaza, the pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway and president of the DuBois Central Catholic school board, to the Diocese of Erie, according to a press release received from the diocese Saturday.

K&L Gates, the diocese’s law firm, has conducted a preliminary investigation.

The diocese placed Kaza on administrative leave, restricting him from active ministry, effective May 13, while further investigation is underway. During the investigation, Kaza will not be in residence at St. Tobias Parish; he will be living at a private home with family.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish, Erie, in the 1980s.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General at 1-888-538-8541 and K&L Gates at ErieRCD@klgates.com.

A First Step, But Not The Last, For The Catholic Diocese Of Charlotte

WFAE Radio

May 20, 2019

By Tommy Tomlinson

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte is crawling into the 21st century. They should get some credit for finally moving forward. But they should also understand that there’s a long way to go.

For years – for decades – the diocese refused to name its clergy members who had been accused of sexually abusing children. But now the diocese plans to publish a list of those clergy by the end of the year.

That’s probably because some of those names have started coming out anyway. In February, the diocese in Richmond published its own list that included two Benedictine monks who had worked in the Charlotte area. One had been accused of sexual abuse at a Gastonia parish in the 1970s. And both had worked at Belmont Abbey College.

Then in March, the second-in-command of the Charlotte diocese resigned. He was facing allegations of sexual misconduct toward an adult student at Belmont Abbey in the 1980s.

All of this belongs in the bigger context of the gut-wrenching global scandal involving Catholic priests and sexual abuse. The church knew for decades that thousands of its priests had been credibly accused of abusing members of their flocks, often children. The vast majority of the cases never became public – instead, a priest might just disappear from a parish one day, only to surface in another one two or three states away.

Pope Francis recently announced a new church law on sexual abuse. Priests and nuns around the world are now required to report all cases they know about to church authorities -- even ones that happened long ago.

Priest says ‘religious ideologies’ complicate Chile’s abuse crisis


May 20, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Chile, a Latin American nation of 18 million people where the Catholic Church dominated society for centuries and was revered for decades as the main source of moral opposition to Pinochet, more recently has been home to what is arguably the single most intense clerical sexual abuse crisis anywhere in the world.

If you don’t know the story of what’s happened in Chile, it’s hard to appreciate just how massive, and painful, this crisis has been.

In May 2018, every Chilean bishop presented their resignation to Pope Francis, who so far has accepted 9, five of them from prelates who are under the age of 75, meaning they cannot claim the pope released them from their duties because they’re over the retirement age.

Many locals suspect they know why the pontiff yanked these bishops, including Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso, who’s long been accused of covering up crimes allegedly committed in his local seminary, and who’s been summoned by the prosecutor’s office to testify on those charges and also on charges that he abused his position, demanding massages, hugs and kisses from unwilling seminarians.

Just removing bishops, however, seems unlikely to satisfy Chileans scarred by the scandals.

May 19, 2019

Pope Francis’ edict to have little effect on how US priests, nuns report sex abuse

Columbus Dispatch

May 20, 2019

By Danae King

While a recent mandate on child sexual abuse from Pope Francis made headlines worldwide and garnered praise from Catholic leaders and some skepticism from victim advocates, not much about how abuse is reported in the United States will likely change.

The new church law, which was released on May 9 and goes into effect June 1, states that all Catholic priests and nuns have to report clergy abuse of minors and adults to church authorities. However, the edict, called a Motu Proprio, gives precedent to existing local practices, said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the United States, those practices were set by a 2002 document called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that instructs clerics to report suspected abuse to local authorities first, before telling church officials, Nojadera said.

“We are ahead of the curve on that,” he said of the United States’ practices. “From 2002 on, with the charter it’s been very clear that law enforcement is contacted.”

The charter also established training guidelines for people in the church involved with children, including clergy members, other church officials and volunteers. And they are trained on mandated reporting laws in their state.

Ohio is one of 28 states that names clergy as mandated reporters, and it’s a misdemeanor offense in the state if mandated reporters don’t report suspected child abuse to law enforcement, which could be police or children’s services agencies.

Under the pope’s edict, there are no penalties for not reporting sexual abuse — of minors, sexual misconduct with adults and knowing of or covering up any abuse — to the church.

Although clerics are mandatory reporters in Ohio, there are some exceptions to when they are required to report, including “privileged conversations” that take place during the Catholic sacrament of confession.

Columbus Bishop Robert J. Brennan released a written statement on the mandate, praising it as a “significant step” that will provide a framework for the diocese in the future. The diocese released a list of 34 clergy members who had been “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse in its more than 150-year history in early March, shortly before Brennan succeeded Bishop Emeritus Frederick Campbell as Columbus’ 12th bishop.

The most recent abuse case on the list occurred more than 25 years ago. The diocese has added two more names to the list since its release, bringing the total to 36, and diocesan officials said it is still subject to changes and revision.

″(Pope Francis’) order provides standards, expectations, and procedures that will assist the Church in addressing this worldwide problem,” Brennan said in the statement. “It affirms our current commitment to offer spiritual care for survivors and their families, to provide full compliance with all civil laws regarding reporting of allegations of sexual abuse to authorities, to uphold the right of any person to report these crimes, to guarantee prompt and objective investigations, and to assure strong lay involvement.”

Raid on Dallas Diocese inspires Catholics to close ranks or lose faith: 'Enough is enough'

Morning News

May 19, 2019

Catholics across the area wrestled with sadness, disappointment and outright anger after last week's raid on the Dallas diocese, which police say hasn't fully cooperated with a sexual abuse investigation.

The news was devastating to Becky Autrey, a 30-year member of North Dallas' St. Rita Catholic Community who was already struggling with her feelings about the church.

"I think this has lost me for good," she said. "I really don't have that deep faith anymore."

But the Rev. Martin Moreno told parishioners Sunday at the packed St. Cecilia Catholic Church that the raids shouldn't shake their beliefs.

"If this news means you have to go, then leave already," he said. "Those of us that remain will have true faith."

The Oak Cliff church was one of the places authorities raided Wednesday, but Moreno said he wasn't worried.

"Everything that I have, I have given police," he said. "The peace that comes from transparency, nobody can take that from you."

Police say the diocese has hidden records of complaints about priests, including former St. Cecilia pastor Rev. Edmundo Paredes.

Even as some say the new developments continue to test their beliefs, there are Catholics who say the church needs their support more than ever during this latest crisis, expressing almost familial obligations.

Ryan Report that shocked nation offers much but gaps in the detail still remain

Irish Central

May 19, 2019

On 20 May 2009, Ireland made international headlines when the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) was published.

The Ryan Report, as it was to become known, quickly entered the Irish national lexicon as bywords to the Church and State’s shameful treatment of children in institutional care over a period of decades.

The report detailed in shocking detail, the scale of physical, sexual and emotional abuse suffered by children in institutions run by a range of Catholic Orders but which were funded and inspected by the Department of Education.

Abuse was reported by over 1,000 men and women in over 200 residential settings between 1914 and 2000.

The settings included industrial and reformatory schools, children’s homes, hospitals, national and secondary schools, day and residential special needs schools, foster care and a small number of other residential institutions, including Magdalene laundries.

The report identified some 800 known abusers.

The report concluded that physical and emotional abuse were features of the institutions examined while sexual abuse “occurred in many of them” — in particular boys’ institutions.

It found that the Department of Education had a “deferential and submissive attitude” towards the congregations that ran the institutions to the extent that it compromised its ability to carry out its statutory duty of inspection and monitoring of the schools.

Jerry Falwell Jr. plus 6 other church leaders ensnared in sex scandals


May 18, 2019

Last week, Jerry Falwell Jr. made national headlines when it was reported that Michael Cohen allegedly helped stop the release of x-rated photos of the antigay activist shortly before he endorsed Trump for president in 2016.

According to Reuters, Falwell contacted Cohen in 2015 seeking assistance regarding an “embarrassing personal matter” involving him, his wife, and their 20-something pool boy, er, pool attendant from Miami.

Related: Jerry Falwell Jr.’s alleged x-rated photos could get him fired from his own university

Rumor had it, the pool boy possessed dirty pictures of Falwell and was using them to blackmail the evangelical leader to the tune of $1.8 million. Falwell denied any such photos existed, and the pool boy denied blackmailing him, but neither denied the $1.8 million payment, which remains unexplained.

Of course, Falwell is hardly the first antigay church leader to find himself embroiled in a bizarre sex scandal, alleged or confirmed.

Here are six other antigay church leaders who were recently exposed for hypocrisy…

Ernest Angley
The 97-year-old former leader of the Grace Cathedral Church in Akron, Ohio, who made his career out of preaching homophobia and scamming people with dementia out of their life savings, had a scandalous decades-old recording of himself leaked to the media earlier this year.

In the recording, which was made in 1996, Angley is heard admitting to getting naked and masturbating with an unnamed man in his bed, but he insists the encounter wasn’t gay because “I didn’t make him cum.”

“I didn’t ejaculate him,” Angley says. “I didn’t make him cum. … [And] he didn’t make me cum. No, he didn’t!”

Matthew Dennis Patterson
Perv pastor
The 45-year-old pastor of Nolensville Road Baptist Church in Nolensville, Tennessee and self-proclaimed “vocal opponent” of LGBTQ rights was ousted from his post in April 2018 after congregation members began complaining about his requests to “engage in strange activities” with their children.

Patterson was accused of asking numerous boys to strip down to their underpants and sit on his face over the course of 20 years. Police didn’t say how old the children were at the time of the alleged abuse; however, Patterson was indicted on eight counts of aggravated sexual battery with each count being linked to a different child.

In wake of Catholic abuse scandal, little movement to change law

Star Beacon

May 19, 2019

By Jon Wysochanski

If sexual assault or abuse occurred many years ago, victims have limited recourse in Ohio when filing criminal complaints or civil suits — as is the case with many of those victimized by priests.

In Ohio, lawmakers have not eliminated the statute of limitations for rape or sexual battery, though the statute was extended in recent years from 20 to 25 years from the time the offense was committed — when there is an indictment based on DNA evidence.

This change was a response to an overwhelming amount of rape DNA kits that had never been sent to labs, many of which would not have been admissible in court because the crimes were committed more than 20 years ago, said state Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-on-the-Lake.

“This created a window that would enable the prosecution of cases in which DNA could identify a possible perpetrator,” Rogers said.

Rogers, a former prosecutor who has handled a myriad of sexual assault cases, said he supports the idea of delving into this “window of opportunity” concept more and reviewing Ohio’s laws.

Prosecution of rape must commence within 25 years after it is committed, or within 25 years after a person turns 18 in the case of minors, and the statute of limitations varies for other sexual-related crimes such as gross sexual imposition.

Civil claims in sex cases involving juveniles must be brought within 12 years from when the child turns 18, meaning they have until they are 30 years old to file suit. There is also a $250,000 to $350,000 cap on damages that can be awarded to victims bringing forth such civil suits. Rep. Kristin Boggs, D-Columbus, said Ohio has one of the lowest damage caps in the country and it is the only state with a cap applied to victims of sexual violence.

Though Boggs said she supports examining the statute of limitations in such cases and revisiting the cap on civil claims, legislation hasn’t been introduced this session. Lawmakers several times had sought to eliminate the statute of limitations in rape cases, most recently by adding an amendment to the abortion ban bill, which lawmakers voted down, Boggs said.

State Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson, said statute of limitations laws are not something he has examined, and he deferred questions to Rogers.

Boggs said she fully supports removing the statute of limitations for rape, but only if it were to apply to all victims and is not based on whom the offender was. For example, some states have carved out laws to deal with specific instances of large-scale systemic abuse in institutions like the Catholic Church, which changes statutes of limitations for victims in those cases but not others, Boggs said.

“If we’re going to do this we should do it equally for everyone,” she said.

Church abuse, response

In October, the Youngstown Diocese released a list of 34 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse and a dozen of the clergy members named had an assignment passing through Ashtabula County at some point in their careers.

Robert Hill is the most well known, having spent time in prison after being convicted of paying a minor for sex. He spent time at Assumption of Mary in Geneva as well as St. Joseph in Jefferson.

Thomas Crum, who spent most of his career in the Youngstown area, was defrocked in 2009 after admitting to 30-year-old allegations that took place at least a decade prior to Crum’s service in St. Mary in Orwell, which dated from 1988 to 1991.

Robert Reidy, who in 2002 admitted to abusing two Austintown boys in the 1960s when he was at St. Nicholas in Struthers, had a previous assignment at St. Mary in Conneaut.

The Rev. Monsignor John Zuraw, Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, said the Diocese list is always updated when people are credibly accused. The diocese does not release the names of victims or where they live, he said, and since releasing the list of priests credibly accused in October, one person has come forward with allegations about a priest named on the list.

If Senate leaders won’t act on behalf of abuse victims, others need to step up


May 19, 2019

If the Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate won’t step up and take action on behalf of sexual abuse victims who are beyond the statute of limitations, then others – including Wayne Langerholc of Richland Township – must push their stubborn colleagues aside and drive this important issue.

As Sunday’s CNHI in-depth report “The Cost of Abuse” shows, several options have been put forth to give those victims a pathway to justice.

Proposals in Harrisburg would address the plight of abuse victims – including those whose attackers were members of the clergy – through either a legislative change in the law or a movement to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution.

State House reporter John Finnerty’s relentless efforts to interview the Senate’s GOP leadership for this project garnered a repeated “no thanks” from Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, while Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, commented only when cornered in a Capitol hallway.

Corman called any change in how the state handles cases of adults who were sexually abused as children “special legislation” that would need to be referred to the Senate judiciary committee.

Last year, the state House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would provide a two-year window for abuse victims to file civil action. The statute of limitations now denies victims who have reached the age of 30 that right – and age 50 for criminal cases.

The 2018 bill never made it onto the Senate floor for a vote.

But we’re seeing some signs in 2019 that a subtle shift is happening in the Senate.

Republican Langerholc said he “would support a window. I’ve been on record with that before. We need to come together to get something done. It’s something that’s been languishing and needs to be addressed.”

Allegation Against Bakersfield Priest Previously Deemed 'Unsubstantiated' Now Under Review By Fresno

KQED Radio

May 19, 2019

By Alexandra Hall

More than 20 years after a man first reported he was abused by a Central Valley priest, the Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting the allegation after several other individuals have come forward accusing the same priest. The diocese and Fresno County law enforcement officials had previously said the claim, first raised in 1998, was unsubstantiated.

The man, who has chosen not to disclose his identity, says that Bakersfield priest Monsignor Craig Harrison — who is currently on leave while under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct — inappropriately touched him when he was a teenager in Firebaugh.

According to the man’s attorney, Joseph George, the alleged abuse happened over the course of a year from 1992 to 1993 while the man was living at the rectory of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Firebaugh.

Harrison worked as a priest at St. Joseph from 1992 to 1999.

The man said that Harrison would inspect his genitals each night when he returned home under the pretext of checking to see if the teen had used drugs. He was 16 and 17 years old at the time.

In 1998, the man filed a report about the alleged abuse with the Firebaugh Police Department and the case was referred to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, George said.

A spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Harrison was questioned but not arrested. The sheriff's office ultimately declared the allegation "unsubstantiated."

A case against Craig Harrison was submitted to the Fresno County District Attorney's Office's sexual assault unit that same year, according to a spokesperson, but no charges were filed.

Four years later, the man went to the Fresno Diocese to again report the alleged abuse. Diocesan administrative officials interviewed him at the time.

“The interview is curious to say the least,” George said, referring to a transcript he said his client received from diocesan staff when they recently met with him in his home. “It’s biased.”

During the interview, George said, the former director of human resources and former chancellor of the Fresno Diocese questioned the man and described his allegations as "harassment."

They also pointed out that the man’s parents had given their son permission to live in the rectory and that Harrison had spoken to the man’s parents. According to the transcript, the man replied that his parents only spoke Spanish, George said.

“He felt put off,” George said, “and said, ‘at some point I think I’m gonna read about this in The Fresno Bee when other people come forward. […] This happened to others. I’m sure I’m not alone.’”

California law requires that clergy and church records custodians report suspected abuse or neglect of children to law enforcement.

“There’s no way that the information that was conveyed to the diocese in 2002 would not create a reasonable suspicion of child abuse,” George said.

George said the man also provided diocesan personnel with the names of other potential victims.

“He said he never — capital 'N' — heard back from the diocese until this current flurry of reported allegations,” George said.

Since mid-April, three other men have come forward alleging Harrison touched them inappropriately or engaged in other sexual misconduct with them as teenagers. Two allege Harrison inspected their genitals under similar circumstances. Another alleges Harrison pinned him against a wall and rubbed his erect penis against his body through clothing.

All of the allegations were reported to have occurred in Firebaugh, Merced and Bakersfield, cities where Harrison worked as a priest at different points in time since the late 1980s.

Most of the victims came from low-income, Latino families, according to George.

The diocesan review board is now reconsidering the allegation first reported in 1998 and again in 2002, along with an unknown number of other claims of sexual abuse by Fresno Diocese clergy dating back to 1922.

Fresno Diocese chancellor and spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez said she recently visited the man at his home to apologize.

“I personally expressed my concern for him; told him that I believe him, and apologized for the pain this matter has caused him. I told him that I will support him and be an advocate for him in any way that I can,” said Dominguez in an email.

Former Priest: The Catholic Church Must “Abolish the Priesthood” to Save Itself

Patheos blog

May 17, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

James Carroll was a Catholic priest from 1969 to 1974. He was raised in a Catholic family and was proud of that… until he could no longer be. The sex abuse scandals were the tipping point, but the fundamental Catholic beliefs didn’t help either. Carroll says the exclusion of women from leadership, the requirement for celibacy among priests, and the opposition to LGBTQ rights have helped him realize the Church’s problems are far too large to overcome.

Now, in a cover story for the June issue of The Atlantic, Carroll says the Church should “abolish the priesthood.” In other words, the Church should eliminate the tradition that has arguably been the root cause for most of its biggest problems.

What Vatican II did not do, or was unable to do, except symbolically, was take up the issue of clericalism — the vesting of power in an all-male and celibate clergy. My five years in the priesthood, even in its most liberal wing, gave me a fetid taste of this caste system. Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction. The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim. Clericalism is both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe. I left the priesthood 45 years ago, before knowing fully what had soured me, but clericalism was the reason.

I heard the confessions of young people wracked with guilt not because of authentic sinfulness but because of a Church-imposed sexual repressiveness that I was expected to affirm. Just by celebrating the Mass, I helped enforce the unjust exclusion of women from equal membership in the Church. I valued the community life I shared with fellow priests, but I also sensed the crippling loneliness that could result from a life that lacked the deep personal intimacy other human beings enjoy. My relationship with God was so tied up with being a priest that I feared a total loss of faith if I left. That very fear revealed a denigration of the laity and illustrated the essential problem. If I had stayed a priest, I see now, my faith, such as it was, would have been corrupted.

A preliminary investigation opened against a Catholic Priest


May 18, 2019

By David Belmondo

A preliminary investigation is opened against a Catholic Priest after allegations of sexual abuse surface.

Msgr Charles Kaza, Pastor of St Tobias Parish in Brockway, and president of Dubois Central Catholic School Board is accused of sexual abuse while serving at St John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980's.

An allegation of sexual abuse was forewarded to the Diocese of Erie and its independent investigators by the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General.

Bishop Lawrence Persico has placed Kaza on administrative leave restricting him from active ministry effective May 13th.

Retired La Crosse priest accused of sexual assault


May 18, 2019

A retired La Crosse priest, who has a history of sexual misconduct, is once again in legal trouble. Monsignor Bernard McGarty faces charges of fourth degree sexual assault.

According to WKBT, the CBS affiliate in La Crosse, surveillance video from the La Crosse library supports the criminal complaint which alleges the 94-year-old offered a woman money for sex, tried to kiss her, and took her hand and put it on his genitals on May 11.

In a statement to WKBT, the Diocese of La Crosse says: "On May 16, 2019, the Diocese of La Crosse learned of a recent situation at the La Crosse Public Library involving Msgr. Bernard McGarty, 94, a retired priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. According to diocesan policy Msgr. McGarty, from this moment forward, is on a leave of absence from public ministry while this current situation is being investigated. Due to this being an ongoing investigation, the Diocese of La Crosse has no further comment at this time."

McGarty has been released on a signature bond.

In 2014, McGarty was cited in Wausau for disorderly conduct after exposing himself to a massage therapist in a salon.

Abuse statistics undermine church’s credibility

Jersey Journal

May 19, 2019

By Rev. Alexander Santora/

Eight days this month -- May 6 to 13 -- may turn out to be the most consequential in the state for the next phase of the long-running clerical sex abuse scandal.

First, Anderson & Associates released a list of 311 clergy and religious accused of abuse in New Jersey. Then, Pope Francis codified changes for the worldwide church to address sex abuse and hold people accountable. Lastly, Gov. Murphy signed into law legislation that ensures a longer period for victims of sexual abuse to sue and he made it retroactive, as well.

“The Anderson Report on Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese and Dioceses in New Jersey,” released May 6, is more than twice as long as the list of 188 names released by the Catholic church earlier this year. Anderson’s list is longer because it includes religious -- including three nuns, deacons and priests from New Jersey -- who abused elsewhere in the country.

The law firm’s introduction in the report asserts that it relied on “publicly available sources,” like media reports and court cases. It also claims that these mostly are “just allegations” and everyone is “innocent until proven guilty.”

I found listed a priest from the Archdiocese of Newark whose allegation was false and a grand jury declined to indict him. Including him with others whose cases are probably credible is a gross injustice.

Asked about it, Patrick J. Wall -- an advocate with Anderson’s L.A. office and former Benedictine priest who was in the order for 12 years -- could not explain why the priest was included.

“We include all open cases as the litigation moves forward,” he said. Yet, in this case, the case was closed.

In 2010, a detective from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office along with a town policeman went to the priest’s rectory to inform him of an allegation. The priest hired his own lawyer and appeared before a grand jury. Months later, an abuse victim advocate showed up in town seeking dirt on the priest so he informed his parishioners and the archdiocese that he was never charged. It made the newspapers and that apparently justified Anderson including his name.

Marching orders kept Buffalo police from arresting child-molesting priests

Buffalo News

May 19, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

Hardly any of the more than 100 Buffalo area priests implicated as child molesters spent so much as one day in jail.

For years, most of their victims were too scared or embarrassed to make complaints.

But Buffalo Police had marching orders not to arrest Catholic priests, according to former vice squad Detective Martin Harrington and other retired officers. Instead they alerted the bishop’s office to any illegal activities.

“The department’s unwritten policy was that Catholic priests did not get arrested,” said Harrington, who investigated vice crimes for 17 years and retired in 1995. “I never had any experience with priests who molested children. I never heard of any priests molesting children. But we had priests we caught with pornography, or masturbating in the city parks, and our orders were to turn them over to the Buffalo Diocese. The diocese would deal with them … but they would not be arrested.”

The policy “only extended to Catholic priests,” Harrington recalled. “If we caught clergy from other religions, we arrested them.”

El caso de pederastia por el que el arzobispo de Cali pidió perdón

[Archbishop of Cali asked for forgiveness following pedophilia case]

El Tiempo

May 16, 2019

Abogado de cuatro víctimas de sacerdote dice que no se ha cumplido con reparación.

La vida de cuatro niños, entre ellos dos hermanos, cambió en el 2009 en la parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria del barrio Alfonso Bonilla Aragón. Es un humilde sector del Distrito de Aguablanca, en el oriente de Cali, donde muchos de los jóvenes que allí crecen se exponen a ser reclutados por bandas delincuenciales y pandillas.

Ex sacerdote testigo en denuncias contra Renato Poblete: "Sabía que no era un santo y que tenía debilidades"

[Former priest on accusations against Renato Poblete: "I knew he was not a saint and that he had weaknesses"]


May 18, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

Renato Hevia, quien se retiró del sacerdocio para casarse con Clara Szczaranski, habló con Revista Sábado de su amistad con el acusado jesuita. "Qué culpa tiene él de ser picado de la araña, porque lo era", dijo.

Renato Hevia, ex sacerdote que dejó la Compañía de Jesús para casarse con Clara Szczaranski, la ex presidenta del Consejo de Defensa del Estado, ha sido llamado a declarar en la causa por denuncias de abusos que hay contra el fallecido Renato Poblete. "Sabía que no era un santo y que tenía algunas debilidades (...) No creo que Renato Poblete sea un psicópata ni un pervertido sexual ni un sádico (...) Qué culpa tiene él de ser picado de la araña, porque lo era. Debió haberse controlado más", señaló.

"La tentación es más grande": separaron al cura que así se defendió de una denuncia de abuso sexual

["The temptation is greater:" priest who defended himself against sex abuse complaint is removed from clerical state]

Uno Entre Ríos

May 3, 2019

La Justicia canónica le quitó el cargo de sacerdote a Fernando Yánez, que cuidaba chicos en un hogar. Pero no fue por esa acusación sino por otros delitos.

El Obispado de San Rafael, provincia de Mendoza, le quitó el cargo de sacerdote a Fernando Yáñez quien fue recientemente absuelto de las acusaciones de abuso sexual a un menor de edad. "Uno está rodeado de varones y necesita cariño", se le escucha decir al presbítero en un audio que habría sido grabado a escondidas por dos personas que trabajaban en el instituto que dirigía. Sin embargo, la decisión de la Iglesia no es por esta denuncia sino por otros delitos canónicos.

May 18, 2019

How Archbishop Gregory can restore Catholics’ trust

Washington Post

May 17, 2019

By Tim Busch

Catholics are excited for the new head of the church in the nation’s capital. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who will be installed as the leader of the Archdiocese of Washington on May 21, is widely recognized as a principled reformer who seeks the truth and does what’s right. That kind of leadership is desperately needed after a year of disturbing revelations and scandals about senior church leaders, especially ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

In April, Gregory promised that transparency would be at the top of his agenda, a positive sign after the past year. Last June, McCarrick — the city’s archbishop from 2001 to 2006 and one of the church’s best-known leaders — was credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager earlier in his career. In the months that followed, further allegations arose against him involving abuse of seminarians, new priests and boys as young as 11 years old. McCarrick’s successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl , reported at least one such accusation to the Vatican.

As these discoveries unfolded, Catholics demanded accountability. Last summer, Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation as cardinal, a first. The Vatican defrocked McCarrick in February, removing him from the priesthood after an internal investigation. Most recently, Pope Francis unveiled a historic new policy that expedites investigations of allegations against bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Catholics everywhere welcomed these moves.

But the faithful wanted more than punishments doled out after closed-door deliberations. We also wanted to shine a light into the darkness: Who knew what, when did they know it, what did (or didn’t) they do, and how deep does this rot run?

Gregory is the kind of leader who can address these concerns. In 2002, as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops , he oversaw the creation of the Dallas Charter, which enacted strict policies to stop abusive priests and support victims. This gives Catholics hope about what he’ll do to restore the faithful’s trust as the archbishop of Washington.

Catholics have more questions than answers about McCarrick’s actions and the church’s response to (and knowledge of) them. Over the past year, the archdiocese has said little about its internal workings and the handling of accusations, largely telling the media that it either knew nothing about specific allegations or had found no relevant documents in its records. Gregory could let Catholics review all relevant records to verify the church’s claims.

The Case Against Abolishing the Priesthood

New York (NY)
Americ Magazine
May 17, 2019

By James Martin, S.J

In the Dec. 11, 2000, issue of The New Yorker, the magazine’s revered literary critic James Wood began his review of the writings of J. F. Powers with a blunt question, “Does anyone, really, like priests?” I read that article a few months after my ordination to the priesthood. I found it hard to understand not only how an intelligent person could write a sentence like that, but how a prestigious magazine could print it.

It does not take too much creativity to imagine what the reaction might have been had The New Yorker’s literary critic written, “Does anyone, really, like imams?” Or “Does anyone, really, like rabbis?” Firestorms of denunciations would likely have followed. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, we saw a flurry of thoughtful articles distinguishing Islam from the terrorists who committed the atrocities (and the clerics who encouraged them), with commentators correctly making judicious distinctions between the actions of a few and the morality of the many.

But when it comes to priests, it is O.K. to hate them. Or at least wonder if anyone, really, likes them.

I thought of that article when I saw the cover of the latest edition of The Atlantic, which features a darkened photo of St. Patrick’s Cathedral above the headline, “Abolish the Priesthood.”

The cover was bad enough; the accompanying article, by James Carroll, was even more disappointing. If this is The Atlantic’s “deep dive” into the clergy abuse crisis, it represents something of a disservice to readers and the general public. Essentially, Mr. Carroll’s lengthy (and, admittedly, in some places careful) examination of the clergy abuse crisis can be boiled down to: It’s priests. He states his thesis with admirable concision at one point: “The very notion of priesthood is toxic.” Using the old dictum that what is easily asserted is easily denied, I would respond: “No, it is not.”

Mr. Carroll, an astute social critic and often brilliant writer, should know better. The problem is not the priesthood; the problem is clericalism, that malign brand of theology and spirituality that says that priests are more important than laypeople, that a priest’s or bishop’s word is more trustworthy than that of victims (or victims’ parents) and that the very selves of priests are more valuable than those of laypeople. Catholic theology is sometimes used to support this kind of supremacism. At his ordination a priest is said to undergo an “ontological” change, a change in his very being. The belief that this change makes him “better” than the layperson lies at the heart of clericalism and much of the abuse crisis.

Did Dallas Catholic Diocese properly report allegations to CPS?

Morning News

May 16, 2019

By Cassandra Jaramillo

In their search-warrant affidavit that allowed officers to seize boxes of files from Dallas Catholic Diocese offices Wednesday, Dallas police launched a salvo of accusations against church officials about their handling of sexual abuse allegations.

Among them: Diocese’ leaders over the years hadn’t properly reported allegations to Child Protective Services.

State law requires anyone who suspects child abuse and neglect to make a report to the Department of Family Protective Services, which oversees the CPS.

But children’s advocates and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — known as SNAP — said Thursday that the diocese's reporting efforts appeared minimal, and that officials should’ve better involved proper law enforcement agencies from the beginning.

“If someone tells you about a crime that was committed, you tell the police,” said Zach Hiner, SNAP’s executive director.


Diocese of Dallas

May 17, 2019

On May 15, 2019, the Dallas Police Department, supported by an affidavit sworn to by Detective David Clark, executed a search warrant on three properties related to the Diocese of Dallas. While there are a number of technical issues in the affidavit that will be addressed by lawyers and the Dallas Police Department, I feel a need to respond, as a shepherd of this Diocese, to many of the larger claims and implications made within that affidavit. Before I begin, though, I want to make it clear that the sexual abuse of minors is one of the most egregious sins any human being can commit. I am responding to this affidavit so that the faithful may know how important the issue of eradicating the sexual abuse of minors is to me, particularly with respect to how the Church responds to it. There are a number of important areas that I would like to address:

The fact that the Diocese is not in possession of certain names or information in some of its files does not mean that the Diocese has hidden or concealed those names or information.

The fundamental premise of the affidavit is that because a piece of information discovered in an entirely independent police investigation is not in the Diocese’s files, the Diocese must have hidden or concealed that information and is continuing to hide or conceal that information, so that it warrants a raid of religious offices. The affidavit consistently implies that information was not included in files that were turned over and from this fact concludes that the Diocese has, for presumably nefarious reasons, held that information back. But in reality, the Diocese cannot turn over what it does not have. All of the files for the names in the affidavit have been turned over, and the Diocese was working directly with Police on this, spending hours combing through thousands of files, some of which were decades old. In total, we reviewed 115,216 files, encompassing over 221,855 pages, that covered 70 years. Within this process, after files were being submitted to the police, the Diocese discovered additional files, identified by Detective Clark as an “additional 51 pages” in the affidavit. These 51 pages, out of the over 221,855 pages being reviewed, were immediately turned over to the police upon discovery. To imply that these documents were intentionally withheld in any capacity is to truly misrepresent the nature of our correspondence with the Dallas Police Department. In the case of many of the accused, the Diocese had even sought to help find more information not in its possession, tracking down dozens upon dozens of witnesses dating back decades so that additional information might be discovered by the Dallas Police. In fact, the Dallas Police Department was able to gather this additional evidence because of the information the Diocese had given to police in their efforts.

Robbins accused of sexual misconduct, berating abuse victims

NBC News

May 17, 2019

By Daniella Silva and Chelsea Damberg

Self-help guru Tony Robbins has been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances on fans and staff and berating abuse victims in an investigation published by BuzzFeed News on Friday.

BuzzFeed said its report stemmed from an investigation that was based on leaked recordings, internal documents related to Robbins’ work and a series of interviews with fans and insiders. The allegations include sexual misconduct or harassment that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he married his second wife, as well as claims Robbins berated victims of rape or domestic abuse during his self-help sessions.

NBC News has not been able to speak to BuzzFeed’s unidentified sources. It was not clear how many women BuzzFeed spoke to for its report.

Robbins vehemently denied the claims in a response on the website Medium on Friday, saying in part that the news outlet was publishing an “inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods.”

“It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life’s work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years,” Robbins wrote.

KSN Investigates: Sex offenders in church


May 16, 2019

By Stephanie Bergmann

While the priest sex abuse scandal has dominated headlines lately, churches of all denominations are dealing with another dangerous dilemma, whether to allow sex offenders seeking forgiveness to attend services where kids are present.

A church in Derby had to decide whether redemption is worth the risk of welcoming a convicted pedophile into the congregation.

"The prevalence (of child sex abuse) is unbelievable, how much is going on," said Dr. Gary Hackney, a clinical psychologist.

While it's impossible to know for sure how many kids are molested, estimates range from one in 10 to one in three.

Experts like Hackney, who work with pedophiles to try to keep them from re-offending, say the temptation is always there.

"That's what people have to understand, it doesn't go away," said Hackney.

That's why St. Mary Catholic Church in Derby took action, when convicted sex offender, Al Rocheleau, started going to Mass there.

Damage control

Washington Post

May 18, 2019

By Chico Harlan

His missions begin with a phone call from the Pope. "Do me a favour," Pope Francis tends to say, and then Archbishop Charles Scicluna steels himself, packs his bags and books a flight to another country where something terrible has happened.

Within a church besieged by clerical abuse cases, Scicluna, 59, has become the Vatican’s emergency investigator — a priest and lawyer turned sex crimes specialist who is dispatched to scandal zones.

"Nothing prepares you for the wounds," Scicluna said. "You don’t get used to it."

He is sent to places where cardinals or bishops are accused of committing abuse; where officials are suspected of burying evidence or systematically ignoring victims; where the church has profoundly failed and squandered trust. Over the past decade and a half, he has led at least four major investigations on four continents, interviewing hundreds of victims, during feverish days he likens to an "ant working in summer."

For most of that time, he has operated out of public view, refusing to speak about cases, returning to Rome from his missions with dossiers meant for the eyes of the Pope. But recently, with the church facing outside pressure to reform, Scicluna was vaulted by Francis into a broad and public role. The archbishop helped to plan a major anti-abuse summit in February and has worked on subsequent reforms.

As the Roman Catholic Church attempts to prove it can credibly police itself, it is presenting Scicluna as an example of how rigorous and caring it can be.

In interviews in his home country of Malta and inside the Vatican — where documents on the table are labelled in Latin "secreta" — Scicluna said he "hoped and prayed" that the institution, during his lifetime, can "become an example of best practices" for responding to and preventing abuse.

"But we will not solve the problem," he said, calling abuse a pervasive global issue that goes beyond the church. "This will not go away."

Scicluna has developed a reputation — even among some wary abuse victims and advocates — as one of the rare Vatican officials who appreciates the seriousness and scale of the church’s abuse crisis. Victims say Scicluna presents himself as a listener and fact-finder, sensitive but also meticulous in pinning down dates and specifics.

"He cared. It mattered to him," said Juan Carlos Cruz, a whistleblowing Chilean abuse victim now living in the United States, who met with Scicluna last year. Cruz had volunteered to speak with Scicluna via Skype. Instead, Scicluna flew to New York and spoke with Cruz for four hours.

"I’ve been telling my story and dealing with church officials forever," Cruz said. "It was the first time I felt empathy."

Scicluna points to past papal quotes as guiding wisdom for handling the crisis. He chides the church gently, prescribing reforms for handling complaints, urging prelates to listen more openly to victims. He speaks about the importance of transparency and encourages church officials to co-operate with civil authorities, but his own investigations are fully in-house, and not even summaries of his findings are made public.

He has carried out special investigations on behalf of both Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and he considers his missions a "service" for the pontiff.

Vatican Adviser: Days Of Covering Up Abuse Allegations Are Over

Catholic News Service

May 16, 2019

By Carol Glatz

Pope Francis' new norms on protecting minors and strengthening accountability are the latest steps in driving home the message that the days of keeping abuse allegations covered up or ignored are over, said the Vatican's top abuse investigator.

"The good of the church requires condemnation" to the proper authorities when it comes to abuse of minors and abuses of power, said Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told reporters.

The archbishop spoke to reporters about Pope Francis' latest apostolic letter, "Vos estis lux mundi" ("You are the light of the world") at a May 9 news conference. The new document establishes and clarifies norms and procedures for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable when it comes to safeguarding minors as well as abuses carried out against adults with violence, threats or an abuse of authority.

The new norms are important, Archbishop Scicluna said, because they clearly tell people they have an obligation to report already existing crimes, negligence and inappropriate behavior to church authorities.

That obligation "has always been there, but experience shows us that either a closed-shop mentality or a misplaced interest in protecting the institution was hindering disclosure," he said.

The now-universal law of mandating all clerics, as well as men and women religious, to report to the competent ecclesiastical authorities the abuses of which they become aware is important, he said, "because it makes disclosure the main policy of the church."

Church in Chile ‘shocked,’ ‘perplexed’ over abuse crisis, locals say


May 18, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Though it’s been diminishing for a while, more so in some places than others, the influence of the Catholic Church across Latin America is still undeniable. Chile is no exception, especially given that the Church here was at the forefront of the defense of human rights during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The Church’s standing in Chile right now, however, is taking a historic beating.

According to the latest poll by the International Social Survey Program, the credibility of the Church among Chileans is today at a historic low, going from 51 percent of trust in 1998 to 13 percent in October 2018.

In May of last year, Pope Francis diagnosed part of the problem: a culture of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up.

According to Joaquin Silva, a lay man and Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Chile’s Catholic University, the Chilean Church today is in “shock” and cannot overcome its “perplexity” over the pope’s diagnosis.

“As a consequence, the necessary changes, the [pope’s] call to conversion and renovation, doesn’t take the shape of a concrete restructuring of the hierarchy, the ecclesial configuration and the understanding of the priesthood as a ministry,” he told Crux.

On the contrary, Silva said, the shock has led the Church to simply enact some “legal and protocol changes” which, even though they were necessary, don’t address the heart of the problem.

“People don’t commit crimes because we don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, or because we don’t have a protocol in place when a person abuses a minor,” Silva argued. “It takes time to assume the gravity of the problem of clerical sexual abuse, and it’s not only the abuses themselves - the problem of the Church in Chile is much deeper.”

Among the roots of the problem, Silva said, is the way members of the Church interact with one another, the Church’s understanding of society and the Church’s relationship with money, all of which, Silva noted, are also problems of the universal Church.

Some priests accused of abuse and removed from ministry land in jobs working with kids

Tribune Democrat

May 18, 2019

By Bill Bowman

At least two priests who served in the Harrisburg Diocese went onto other rolls involving youth after they left the church.

One who served a parish in Sunbury was removed as a part-time instructor for a Lehigh Valley-based drum corps last year. Another worked for more that two decades as a caseworker in the Mental Health/Intellectual and Development Disabilities section of the Human Services department in York County.

Donald Cramer served at St. Monica parish in Sunbury until the school closed in 2012. According to the diocese report, Cramer was investigated for possible child pornography possession, but the Department of Homeland Security found nothing criminal and didn’t investigate further.

Cramer is alive and, according to the Penn State World Campus website, is listed as a faculty member in labor and employment relations.

Cramer was let go by Youth Education in the Arts, the parent organization of the Cadets, in August, according to a report in the Allentown Morning Call. Leaders of the drum corps – which has members between the ages of 15 and 25 – said Cramer passed background checks since he was not charged in the investigation.

Cramer served St. Monica in Sunbury from June 2010 to August 2012, the year he took a leave of absence. Cramer requested and was granted dispensation from the priesthood by Pope Francis in 2014.

Between his leave of absence and dispensation, the Department of Homeland Security investigated Cramer for child pornography after he communicated online with an unidentified person later arrested on child pornography charges about wanting to “rent” boys in Mexico. The investigation closed after investigators found no evidence of child pornography on his computer. Some of the allegations against Cramer are redacted.

In York County, a priest who served in the Harrisburg diocese until his removal in 1990 spent more that two decades as a caseworker in the Mental Health/Intellectual and Development Disabilities section of the Human Services department according to published reports.

Father David H. Luck was named in last summer’s grand jury report. The grand jury report alleges Luck raped one boy and molested another. He was fired from his job with York County last September, according to the York Daily Record.

‘Beginning to see critical mass’: Dallas police raid shows new push to investigate Catholic clergy abuses

Morning News

May 18, 2019

When they showed up to Catholic diocese office doors with search warrants in hand Wednesday, the Dallas Police Department seemingly broke with tradition.

Except in rare occasions, priests in recent decades have avoided prosecution in Dallas and across the country for sexual abuse — even when criminal evidence came to light as a result of civil lawsuits.

Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said he believes police and district attorneys have generally respected the wishes of local church leaders to handle their own dirty laundry.

“Historically, there has been a lot of deference paid to religious institutions by our secular officials,” Hiner said. “They haven't really wanted to get involved.”

And even if authorities did so, Hiner said, “they didn't have all the information they needed.”

But increasingly, law enforcement agencies across the country are no longer sitting on the sidelines. And they’re not waiting for church higher-ups’ cooperation — a change that has heartened victims’ advocates and prompted cries of, what took so long?

May 17, 2019

Catholic Church: SNAP president to visit Sioux Falls, meet with sex abuse victims

Argus Leader

May 17, 2019

By Patrick Anderson

A top advocate for clergy sex abuse survivors across the United States is set to visit Sioux Falls on May 24 to push for better protections for victims.

Tim Lennon is president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, a nonprofit that works to expose institutional abuse, seek justice for survivors and advocate for better laws to protect children.

Lennon hopes to draw attention to South Dakota’s statute of limitations law during his Sioux Falls visit. He also plans to meet with survivors who said they were abused at the state’s Catholic-run boarding schools.

“It is exceptionally restrictive, and the reasons politicians are giving for not bringing this into the modern world are pretty bogus reasons,” Lennon said Friday.

Dozens of Native Americans filed lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, alleging numerous instances of rape and sexual molestation by priests, nuns and staff at three separate Indian Mission schools between the 1940s and 1980s.

The lawsuits eventually failed after a last-minute bill, written by a defense attorney for one of the schools being sued, passed through the Legislature and became law in 2010. It hurt the ability of child sex abuse victims to seek legal action against institutions responsible for their trauma.

Louise Charbonneau Aamot and her sisters still remember when former-Gov. Mike Rounds signed the bill, damaging their case against the Sioux Falls diocese and other Catholic institutions responsible for operating St. Paul’s Indian Mission school in Marty. She hopes Lennon’s visit will support the work she and other victims have been doing in Pierre since the current statute of limitations became law.

“To have them coming and supporting what we’ve been trying to do for so many years is a blessing,” Aamot said. “It is a huge blessing because we have someone who understands, and we have someone who would listen.”

SNAP has been a vocal advocate for survivors across the U.S., opening a national office in Chicago following 2002 reporting by the Boston Globe.

Catholic Diocese Of Dallas Bishop Edward Burns Issues Rebuttal


May 17, 2019

Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Edward Burns has posted a video rebuttal on Friday with documentation to counter details in a Dallas Police search warrant on Wednesday.

“We were surprised, dismayed and even disappointed by the actions taken on Wednesday,” Bishop Burns said in the video. “That is why I’m saddened that this Wednesday, DPD carried out a highly-publicized search based on an affidavit that contained multiple factual errors.”

“Any suggestion that the Diocese was not cooperating in good faith is simply not true. For this reason, I have prepared a document that shows in detail an outline of the many misstatements made in the affidavit and reported in the media when the affidavit was made public,” Bishop Burns said.

The warrants were related to allegations of clergy abuse against Edmundo Paredes, who was a priest at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in North Oak Cliff for 27 years, and other suspects.

“In addition to the allegations against Mr. Paredes detectives are investigating at least five additional allegations of child abuse against other suspects. These investigations stem from additional allegations made after the case against Mr. Paredes became public,” Dallas Maj. Max Geron said at a morning press conference. “In furtherance of these investigations today we obtained and executed multiple search warrants to collect any data or documentation of previous reports or records of abuse that may be held by the Dallas Catholic Diocese.”

Major Geron said Dallas detectives are “working to complete a through investigation into each allegation – independent of any other entity – to ensure that each victim has a voice within the legal system.”

In the video post on the Diocese website, Bishop Burns lays out his case, saying he believes the affidavit that sparked the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by priests is filled with factual errors.

Church: Sex abuse claim against dead priest deemed credible

Detroit Free Press

May 17, 2019

By Ann Zaniewski

Allegations of child sexual abuse against a priest who died in 1984 have been deemed credible, the Archdiocese of Detroit announced Friday.

Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said the archdiocese received a complaint more than a decade ago — but still after Tyminski's death — about him sexually abusing a minor.

A different victim stepped forward within the last few months with a new complaint, McGrath said. That sparked an investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board. The board, which investigates and considers allegations of clergy sexual abuse and makes recommendations to the archbishop, found the allegations to be credible.

Tyminski was ordained in 1935 in Poland and served in three parishes there. Five years after his ordination, he was incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II.

Tyminski arrived in the U.S. in 1950. He spent a year at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake and then was assigned in 1951 to St. Andrew, in 1954 to Resurrection, in 1963 to SS. Peter & Paul (Westside), in 1966 to St. Cunegunda and in 1969 to Immaculate Conception. He retired in 1976.

Affidavit alleges abuse by former Arkansas priest

Arkansas Democrat

May 17, 2019

By Youssef Rddad, Kat Stromquist

A former Arkansas priest is accused of molesting at least one boy in the 1980s while serving as dean of a Catholic school in Subiaco, with accusations coming to light through court records filed this week in Texas alleging abuse by clergy members.

Authorities say the Rev. Jeremy Myers sexually assaulted a boy several times in Arkansas and Texas while he was dean of the students' dorm at Subiaco Academy, according to an affidavit supporting a search warrant. The document states the abuse started in 1986 at the all-boys school in Logan County -- two years after Myers' ordination as a priest -- and continued when the boy visited the priest in Texas.

None of the church members in the document was criminally charged, but the filing explicitly describes allegations of sexual misconduct.

Myers is one of five clergy members under investigation as part of an investigation into alleged abuse within the Dallas Diocese. Police on Wednesday searched the church's offices and storage buildings in the Dallas metro area, and church officials have said they are cooperating with the investigations.

The document alleges numerous instances in which Myers performed sex acts with the boy in Subiaco and then later in Texas.

Subiaco Academy headmaster David Wright said in a statement Thursday that the school and Subiaco Abbey "are aware of, and have cooperated with, the investigation of Jeremy Myers. Because this investigation is ongoing, and to avoid any possible interference with it, we cannot comment further at this time."

Wright encouraged staff members and students to report any abuse, and said the school and abbey have "a duty to work to bring the truth to light."

Subiaco Abbot Leonard Wangler, who was headmaster at Subiaco Academy at the time, reportedly told Myers to speak to his alleged victim about the claims when they surfaced, an affidavit said.

Students at the school reported concerns about Myers' relationship with the boy after a witness saw the boy sitting on the priest's lap wearing only a towel, records show.

Myers reported back to Wangler that the victim said he was lying about any sexual contact, according to the document.

Abolish The Priesthood

The Atlantic

May 17, 2019

By James Carroll

To feel relief at my mother’s being dead was once unthinkable, but then the news came from Ireland. It would have crushed her. An immigrant’s daughter, my mother lived with an eye cast back to the old country, the land against which she measured every virtue. Ireland was heaven to her, and the Catholic Church was heaven’s choir. Then came the Ryan Report.

Not long before The Boston Globe began publishing its series on predator priests, in 2002—the “Spotlight” series that became a movie of the same name—the government of Ireland established a commission, ultimately chaired by Judge Sean Ryan, to investigate accounts and rumors of child abuse in Ireland’s residential institutions for children, nearly all of which were run by the Catholic Church.

The Ryan Commission published its 2,600-page report in 2009. Despite government inspections and supervision, Catholic clergy had, across decades, violently tormented thousands of children. The report found that children held in orphanages and reformatory schools were treated no better than slaves—in some cases, sex slaves. Rape and molestation of boys were “endemic.” Other reports were issued about other institutions, including parish churches and schools, and homes for unwed mothers—the notorious “Magdalene Laundries,” where girls and women were condemned to lives of coercive servitude. The ignominy of these institutions was laid out in plays and documentary films, and in Philomena, the movie starring Judi Dench, which was based on a true story. The homes-for-women scandal climaxed in 2017, when a government report revealed that from 1925 to 1961, at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home, in Tuam, County Galway, babies who died—nearly 800 of them—were routinely disposed of in mass graves or sewage pits. Not only priests had behaved despicably. So had nuns.

In August 2018, Pope Francis made a much publicized visit to Ireland. His timing could not have been worse. Just then, a second wave of the Catholic sex-abuse scandal was breaking. In Germany, a leaked bishops’ investigation revealed that from 1946 to 2014, 1,670 clergy had assaulted 3,677 children. Civil authorities in other nations were launching investigations, moving aggressively to preempt the Church. In the United States, also in 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury alleged that over the course of 70 years, more than 1,000 children had been abused by more than 300 priests across the state. Church authorities had successfully silenced the victims, deflected law enforcement, and shielded the predators. The Pennsylvania report was widely taken to be a conclusive adjudication, but grand-jury findings are not verdicts. Still, this record of testimony and investigation was staggering. The charges told of a ring of pedophile priests who gave many of their young targets the gift of a gold cross to wear, so that the other predator priests could recognize an initiated child who would not resist an overture. “This is the murder of a soul,” said one victim who testified before the grand jury.

Former assistant principal at Little Rock high school gets 1 year in prison

Arkansas Democrat

May 17, 2019

By John Lynch

A former assistant principal and music teacher whose supporters include the bishop of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas was sentenced to a year in prison Thursday for running over an off-duty Little Rock police officer and a prisoner in a past-midnight collision.

Keith Alan Hearnsberger, 37, did not testify at the sentencing hearing before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza. He pleaded guilty in February to two felony charges -- second-degree battery, reduced from first-degree battery, and failure to stop and render aid.

Prosecutors also withdrew a first-degree battery charge related to the prisoner's injuries in exchange for the guilty plea. Hearnsberger faced up to 12 years in prison, but as a first-time offender was eligible for probation.

More than a dozen supporters submitted written character endorsements for Hearnsberger, citing his compassion, his dedication to his Christian faith and hopes of becoming a priest.

Local Group Cautions Clergy Sex Abuse Victims to Not Rush Into Settlements With Church

NBC 4 News

May 17, 2019

By Melissa Adan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego created a new compensation fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse, and several victims are speaking out against it.

On Tuesday, the Diocese of San Diego joined five other California dioceses with a compensation fund program for victims abused by clergy members.

“Do you know what it’s like to be terrorized, tormented, abused and knowing that you can do nothing about it?” said one victim named Dede.

On Thursday, four victims shared how they were abused by their priest when they were children.

“You’re nine years old -- but you have to be a horrible person, otherwise, why would they do it?” Dede said to a room full of media.

The victims came together through attorney Irwin Zalkin and the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, to speak against the new victim compensation fund.

Zalkin has represented more than 100 victims of childhood sexual abuse involving clergy members.

“What happened to me and others is a crime and should be treated as a crime,” said Bill, a victim of abuse.

Bill said he was first abused by his neighbor and considers himself collateral damage when he confided this with his priest.

He said after sharing his abuse, the priest told him his neighbor had done nothing wrong and then began to abuse him.

“What's going to stop the abuse is mandatory reporting. What's going to stop the abuse is a statute of limitations extension. What's going to stop the abuse is opening up a window, so older people who didn't come forward because of shame, because of feeling a failure that somehow they were to blame,” Bill said.

Esther Hatfield Miller, a member of SNAP, said the compensation fund will not work because survivors will not get their day in court nor be able to expose wrongdoings of coverups or enforce accountability.

“A compensation fund like this does not reform statues of limitations. We need to reform those ancient laws,” Miller said.

Aida Bustos with the Diocese of San Diego said victims can decide to accept the compensation and seek other legal remedies.

Ex-Legionary, Fox News personality asks to leave the priesthood


May 17, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Father Jonathan Morris, a former member of the Legion of Christ who was at one time among the most prominent Catholic priests in America as a contributor to Fox News, has asked to be dismissed from the clerical state, indicating he wants to be free to “marry and have a family” though saying it’s not about an “existing relationship.”

In a statement released Friday, Morris writes that the decision has filled him “with newfound joy,” though he says he knows some people won’t understand his decision to leave the priesthood.

“After taking some months of sabbatical to be with family and to dedicate more time to prayer and retreat, I have decided to ask the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to release me from the duties and responsibilities of the clerical state,” Morris said in a statement, which he made available to Crux.

Morris left the troubled Legion of Christ in 2009, three years after the Vatican suspended its founder, Father Macial Marciel, from his priestly duties, having found Maciel guilty of various forms of sexual abuse and misconduct as well as abuse of power. Morris was incardinated into the Archdiocese of New York with the support of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

He’s appeared on several TV networks and is best known for his role with Fox News, though he was also a theological adviser to Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, and was the program director for “The Catholic Channel,” a project of the Archdiocese of New York, on the Sirius XM radio network for three years.

Vatican acquits priest accused of solicitation in confessional

National Catholic Reporter

May 17, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

The Vatican's highest court has dropped its investigation into a former Vatican official accused of soliciting a woman for sex in the confessional.

The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura confirmed the acquittal of Fr. Hermann Geissler in a brief release May 17, following a statement from the priest's order that acknowledged the accusation but said a panel of five judges from the tribunal had found "no crime" in the case.

Geissler, who is a member of a religious community known colloquially as "the Work," is an Austrian theologian. He resigned as a department head at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in January, after NCR and other outlets reported on Doris Wagner's accusation that he had solicited her during confession in 2009.

Geissler has denied the accusation. In its statement announcing his resignation in January, the doctrinal congregation said the priest had made the decision to step down in order to "limit the damage already done" to his employer.

The Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church, apart from the pope himself. It has been led since 2014 by French Moroccan Cardinal Dominique Mamberti.

In its release, the court said the panel of five judges evaluating the case had been constructed from among its 19 cardinal and bishop members. It said the panel had issued an acquittal decree May 15 after it could not prove "with due moral certainty … the alleged 'grave delict.' "

Wagner, a former member of Geissler's religious community, provided NCR with copies of her communications with the Signatura over the past several months as the court was pursuing its investigation of the priest.

The correspondence, conducted via postal mail and containing the identifying official stamps of the court, indicates that the Signatura was asked to pursue the case Jan. 10 by Pope Francis, likely to avoid the doctrinal congregation having to investigate one of its own former officials.

Although Wagner was allowed to submit a written testimony detailing her accusations against Geissler and was initially asked to make herself available for a deposition, the materials indicate the Signatura later decided such a deposition would be unnecessary for its process.

Affidavit Supporting the Issuance of Warrants to Search

Judicial District Court, Dallas County

May 15, 2019

By Detective David Clark

5. I am currently employed by the Dallas Police Department (DPD) as a police officer. I have been so employed for approximately 20 years and have been a detective assigned to the Child Exploitation Unit, Crimes Against Persons Division, of said department for approximately the last nine years. I am responsible for the investigation of molestation and sexual assault cases involving children and strangers. During my employment as a police officer, I have used a variety of methods during various types of investigations, including, but not limited to, visual surveillance, general questioning of witnesses, defendants, and the use of search warrants, and electronic interceptions. Based on my training and experience relating to the investigation of child exploitation and human trafficking cases, and based upon interviews I conducted with defendants and witnesses, I am familiar with the ways that child sexual abusers groom their victims. My familiarity includes the various means and methods by which sexual predators single out their victims, attempt to befriend their parents and other family members, as well as use their position of power to convince their victims not to tell anyone of the sexual molestation that occurred between the defendant and victim. I have interviewed hundreds of victims of child sex abuse and understand these victims sometimes take several months, years, or sometimes never tell anyone about being a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I have presented an investigative topic on how to effectively investigate child abuse cases at several Child Abuse Conferences across the country.


6. On February 28, 2018, the Chancellor of the Diocese, Mary Edlund, contacted the Dallas Police Department's Child Exploitation Unit regarding allegations against a then-serving priest, Paredes. Chancellor Edlund advised the allegations regarded Paredes sexually abusing, over a period of years, several juvenile members of St. Cecilia Church. I was assigned this case and I made contact with Bill Sims, an attorney representing the Diocese. Mr. Sims stated the Diocese and the victims were in a monetary settlement process and he believed the victims did not want to pursue criminal allegations.

Native American victims of sex abuse at Catholic boarding schools fight for justice

Sioux Falls Argus Leader

May 16, 2019

By Patrick Anderson


MARTY—There is a feel to the old place that still haunts her.

Even with construction crews working the earth and birds chirping noisily in the trees above, she can feel the silence.

Behind the silence, sadness and horror.

Louise Charbonneau Aamot rested her fist on the church windowsill as her eyes welled with tears. Its gray steeple cutting into the sky, the church towered over the grounds of the old St. Paul's Indian Mission boarding school..

The school, tucked away in a woodsy expanse of the Yankton Reservation, is where her childhood was destroyed.

Aamot is not silent.

Abuse victims back statute of limitations reform legislation

FOX 56

May 15, 2019

By Amanda Hoskins

Victims of sexual abuse by a Pennsylvania doctor are asking for their chance to file suits against him and the institutions they say covered it up.

Backing a Senate bill introduced in April, the victims took their stories to the state capitol Wednesday.

Just this week New Jersey's governor signed a statute of limitations bill into law, making it the 11th state to do so.

Victims hope the more they share their stories, the more pressure it will put on lawmakers in Pennsylvania to act too.

“He fondled and penetrated me as an 11 year old,” explained Ashley Krzanowsky.

She said what happened to her inside Dr. Johnnie Barto's office 22 years ago has scarred her.

New Jersey extends statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims


May 14, 2019

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law this week a bill relaxing the state’s statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims.

The law will allow increased time for civil action and will permit victims to seek compensation from institutions as well as individuals.

The Archdiocese of Newark objected to certain portions of the bill, but stressed that overall, the Catholic Church is in favor of its crucial goal of bringing justice and healing for victims.

“While we disagreed on specific elements of this legislation, the Catholic community, the legislature, and the Governor sincerely agree on one key position - the need to restore justice for the victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

Currently, the statute of limitations in New Jersey restricts sex abuse lawsuits to when the victim is 20 years old or two years after they first realize that they were harmed by abuse. In December, the new legislation will allow child victims of sexual assault to file civil lawsuits until they turn 55 or until seven years from the time they become aware of the injury, whichever comes later.

New Jersey Extends Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Victims

Campus Safety

May 15, 2019

By Katie Malafronte

The extension will allow victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their attackers and seek damages from institutions.

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a law on Monday to extend the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse.

Victims will now have more time to seek civil action for their sexual abuse and an easier time seeking damages from institutions, such as a church that may have covered up abuse, reports northjersey.com

Under the state’s current law, survivors of sexual abuse have only two years to pursue litigation and a victim of child sexual abuse has until age 20.

Now, victims of child sexual abuse have up until the age of 55 to sue their abusers, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm.

Survivors who were prevented from taking their abusers to court due to the statute of limitations will now have the opportunity to do so. The new law will allow victims two years to file lawsuits and seek damages.

New Jersey Extends Statute Of Limitations, Allowing Sex Abuse Victims More Time To Sue


May 13, 2019

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that eases restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in court. This comes after a wave of details last year about the abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church.

The legislation allows child victims to sue up until they turn 55 years old, or are within seven years of their first realization that the abused caused harm to them.

“This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system,” said Governor Phil Murphy

Brothers Abused By Minnesota Priest File Lawsuit Against Vatican

The Associated Press, News Partner

May 16, 2019

The lawsuit attempts to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims to the Vatican, through Minnesota church officials.

Three brothers who were sexually abused by a priest from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Vatican, claiming the Holy See bears responsibility because the case was mishandled by former Archbishop John Nienstedt and the Vatican's former ambassador to the United States.

The lawsuit attempts to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims to the Vatican, through Minnesota church officials. Luke, Stephen and Ben Hoffman were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, roughly between 2009 and 2012.

"I have too many nieces and nephews to let something like this happen to anybody else," Stephen Hoffman said about his decision to come forward.

Nienstedt and the former ambassador, Carlo Maria Viganò, have previously denied the allegations raised in the lawsuit. The Vatican's U.S. lawyer, Jeffrey Lena, had no immediate comment. In the past Lena has described sex abuse lawsuits against the Vatican as publicity stunts.

California Dioceses Creating Abuse Compensation Program

Insurance Journal

May 16, 2019

Six Roman Catholic dioceses in California are creating a program to compensate people who were sexually abused by priests as children, in return for them promising not to sue.

The program announced Tuesday includes the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Diego. Together, they cover 36 counties and some 10 million Catholics, or about 80 percent of the state’s Catholics.

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases impact New Jersey?

North Jersey Record

May 17, 2019

By Deena Yellin

The ink was still wet on the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday extending the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse when it was put into use:

A former altar boy announced Tuesday morning that he was filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and his former parish, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, a priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Ventnor City.

More lawsuits are likely to come. The question is whether there will be a flood or more like a trickle.

May 16, 2019

Money and transparency: Are the Diocese of Sacramento's efforts of atonement actually working?

ABC 10 News

May 17, 2019

The Sacramento Diocese announced on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 the creation of a new victim compensation fund for people who have been abused by members of the clergy.

Sacramento is one of five dioceses across the state launching the fund in an effort “to own and atone for the Church’s failure to protect children and young people abused by Catholic priests,” according to Bishop Jaime Soto’s statement.

In April, the Diocese published a list of forty-four priests and two deacons credibly accused of perpetrating sexual abuse. The Diocese defined a credible allegation as one in which, "with the information we have, is it more likely than not that the allegation is true."

In the following weeks, the Bishop also made public the Diocese's commitment to cooperate with California Attorney, General Xavier Becerra’s investigation into whether California dioceses complied with their mandatory reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement.

Since the list was made public, some have questioned whether it is complete and if there are more than the 130 victims reported in it.

Kurt Hoffman told ABC10 about the sexual assault he suffered while attending Sacramento Jesuit High School in 1987 when he was 14 years old.

“I was shocked and to my dismay, he wasn't included on the list,” said Hoffman of Brother William Farrington, the school’s swim coach at the time.

Kevin Eckery, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Diocese told ABC10 that "the name of Mr. Hoffman’s abuser was published by the Jesuits on December 7th of 2018 and distributed widely. There are currently efforts underway to add his name to the Sacramento list."

He added that, "Nuns or brothers may be added later. Staff or volunteers may be added at some point, but no decision has been made."

Hoffman said that after he made the accusation, school authorities fired Brother Farrington and told his parents the man would never work with young people.

Fifteen years later, “in 2002 when the church scandal erupted, I googled him... To my dismay, shock, and outrage, I found out he was working at Loyola Marymount University,” said Hoffman.

In court, Roxborough woman recounts alleged rape by priest also charged with making sex tapes

Philadelphia Inquirer

May 16, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

As a teenager committed to her Roman Catholic faith, she thought she was doing everything right.

She volunteered as an altar server at her Roxborough parish. She sang in the choir and worked nights and weekends as a fill-in secretary at the church office.

And even when, at 16, she gave in to the sexual advances of her priest — the Rev. Armand Garcia — she said she believed him when he told her that God had put him in her life to take care of her.

Then came the time she refused.

“He came up from behind me and pushed me up against a wall. He held my arms down and spread my legs apart,” the now 21-year-old testified in a Philadelphia courtroom Thursday. “I was wearing my school uniform. I didn’t know what to do.”

That alleged 2014 sexual assault in the rectory of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish now forms the basis of one of the first criminal prosecutions of an area priest since the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recommitted itself to cracking down on sexual offenses after a scathing 2011 grand jury investigation that led to charges against six clerics.

The testimony of the woman — offered publicly for the first time Thursday — serves as the backbone of the government’s case. The Inquirer is withholding her name because she is an alleged victim of sexual assault.

Her composed and self-assured account convinced Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew to hold Garcia for trial on charges including rape, sexual assault, and corruption of a minor.

Prosecutors also have charged the 50-year-old priest with filming a sex act involving a child — counts tied to cellphone video his accuser said he shot of their encounters on at least two occasions.

“He said he wanted to have something to remember it by,” the woman recalled. “I could only watch a few minutes. I was very uncomfortable.”

Garcia, who spent much of Thursday’s hearing with his head bowed and hands clenched in his lap, has denied the charges.

But unlike many of the cases of sexual misconduct involving priests that have kicked off a new wave of the global clergy abuse crisis in the last year, Garcia’s alleged assault was preceded by what his lawyer, William J. Brennan, described Thursday as a “long-standing, consensual sexual relationship” with his accuser.

Abused Boy Scout limited to $20,000 award due to ‘archaic’ state law

Boston Herald

May 16, 2019

That law, lawyers and victims say, dissuades sexual abuse victims from coming forward.

“It’s a real slap in the face,” said a 64-year-old man, who was sexually abused by a scoutmaster in Hyde Park, Dedham and Walpole in the late 1960s. He was 12 at the time of the abuse.

“The cap minimizes what happened,” added the victim, whose name the Herald is withholding because he is a sexual assault victim. He received $20,000 a few years ago after suing the Boy Scouts.

“It should be more, especially if it happened to a minor,” he added. His lawyer, Carmen Durso, confirmed the details of the case to the Herald.

Bay State attorneys and lawmakers are looking to abolish the charitable immunity limit on cases against nonprofits. New York, New Jersey and the majority of other states have eliminated the cap.

“We’re usually the leader,” said state Rep. Carmine Gentile, a Sudbury Democrat. “This is one of those rare instances where the rest of the country got the message, but we haven’t yet in Massachusetts.”

Gentile has filed legislation to scrap the charitable immunity cap in Massachusetts, home of the lowest in the country. Other Massachusetts lawmakers have filed bills to raise the $20,000 cap on charities and universities, along with getting rid of the $100,000 cap for medical malpractice resulting in serious injury or death.

Costly legal struggles prompt dioceses to find ways to raise money

Tribune Democrat

May 14, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Back in 2014, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown announced plans to sell the bishop's residence in Blair County.

An acknowledgment was made that some undefined amount of money was needed because of costs associated with legal matters involving clergy sexual abuse. The decision was also presented as a choice by Bishop Mark Bartchak to live in simpler accommodations at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament's rectory.

At the time, the extent of the financial impact of Altoona-Johnstown's scandal was not really known outside of the diocese's inner-most circle, excluding a few instances, such as a settlement in the Michael Hutchinson v. Rev. Francis Luddy case.

But now, a half-decade later, the sale of the property might have been a foreshadowing of the fate that awaits the state's seven other dioceses – Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton – as they attempt to deal with compensating victims.

All of those dioceses started funds that run during different time periods in 2019.

The programs were established after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report in August that provided details about decades of sexual abuse and coverup in six of the commonwealth's dioceses.

Many unknowns remain, though, concerning what will be the total financial impact to the dioceses, including whether any will need to sell off assets.

“The question is who they're going to pay and how much,” said Richard Serbin, a Blair County attorney who has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse in the state. “And what is the limit and what is the minimum. We don't know any of that. None of that is transparent.

Victims may face inconsistent rules, opportunities across different dioceses

Tribune Democrat

May 14, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Politics, religion, law and finances were all linked in the process that led to the creation of compensation funds for victims of clergy sexual abuse in seven of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

For years, when priests, parishes and dioceses faced allegations of abuse, the matters were often handled in secret – with victims being required to accept non-disclosure agreements as part of settlements.

But then, in 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that provided details about how at least 300 priests allegedly abused thousands of children across six of the commonwealth's dioceses.

In response, the Philadelphia Archdiocese and dioceses in Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Allentown, Harrisburg and Greensburg opened their own individual compensation funds with the goal of providing financial assistance to victims. Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico, when announcing his diocese's program earlier this year, said he wants the fund to “provide some measure of justice, closure and validation for the terrible acts that victims endured.”

Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer called his diocese's fund an acknowledgment that “terrible abuses did occur.”

But some victims advocates have pointed out that the dioceses only started the funds after the coverups were publicly exposed and when legislators began considering changing the state's statute of limitations to include a two-year window during which victims could file civil claims for assaults that occurred in the past.

“Victims deserve to get compensation, but what is a better scenario is if the statute of limitations gets lifted and there gets to be a window of opportunity for old cases to come forward,” said Judy Jones, a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests regional leader.

“We mostly think the church officials want to do the compensation thing so that people won't sue. The reason they don't want them to sue is not so much about the money. They don't have trouble spending parishioners' money. It is they don't want to go to trial.”

Differences by diocese

Seeking compensation can be both straightforward and nuanced, according to individuals who have dealt with the process.

'Independent' administrators play key role in compensation fund process

Tribune Democrat

May 14, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Camille Biros and Kenneth Feinberg are arguably the most influential people involved in the process of financially supporting victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

The two attorneys from Washington, D.C., administer compensation funds for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton and Allentown. They determine what – if any – money victims receive.

But Biros and Feinberg play another role – beyond merely financial decisions – as their reputation is used to assuage concerns that the dioceses might be controlling the decisions. They have handled numerous high-profile funds, including ones related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Boston Marathon bombings.

Harrisburg and Greensburg compensation funds are being administered by Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation Inc. from Massachusetts, while Altoona-Johnstown is the only diocese in the state without a fund.

“I'm not familiar with the Massachusetts fund administrators,” said Richard Serbin, a Blair County attorney, who has represented victims of clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania for decades. “But Feinberg and Biros I do not feel – given their reputation – that they would allow the dioceses to control the day-to-day decisions.”

Biros described herself and Feinberg as “totally independent.”

“They hire us with the understanding that we're going to run these programs, and we're going to make these determinations, and we're going to offer amounts of money that we deem to be appropriate,” Biros said. “And they have really nothing to say about it. That's the agreement.”

But “nevertheless, the diocese has a great deal of control,” according to Serbin.


Anchorage Daily News/Pro Publica

May 16, 2019

By Kyle Hopkins

Village Police Officer Annie Reed heard her VHF radio crackle to life in the spring of 2018 with the familiar voice of an elder. I need help at my house, the woman said.

Reed, who doesn’t wear a uniform because everyone in this Arctic Circle village of 421 can spot her ambling gait and bell of salt-and-pepper hair at a distance, steered her four-wheeler across town. There had been a home invasion, she learned. One of the local sex offenders, who outnumber Reed 7-to-1, had pried open a window and crawled inside, she said. The man then tore the clothes from the elder’s daughter, who had been sleeping, gripped her throat and raped her, according to the charges filed against him in state court.

Reed, a 49-year-old grandmother, was the only cop in the village. She carried no gun and, after five years on the job, had received a total of three weeks of law enforcement training. She had no backup. Even when the fitful weather allows, the Alaska State Troopers, the statewide police force that travels to villages to make felony arrests, are a half-hour flight away.

It’s moments like these when Reed thinks about quitting. If she does, Kiana could become the latest Alaska village asked to survive with no local police protection of any kind.

An investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica has found one in three communities in Alaska has no local law enforcement. No state troopers to stop an active shooter, no village police officers to break up family fights, not even untrained city or tribal cops to patrol the streets. Almost all of the communities are primarily Alaska Native.

Seventy of these unprotected villages are large enough to have both a school and a post office. Many are in regions with some of the highest rates of poverty, sexual assault and suicide in the United States. Most can be reached only by plane, boat, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile. That means, unlike most anywhere else in the United States, emergency help is hours or even days away.

No more secrets

News & Review

May 16, 2019

By Stephen Magagnini

During his more than 35 years in the ministry, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto has never shied away from controversy, always standing up for what he believes is right, whether he’s fighting for immigration reform or a more inclusive view of all Catholics regardless of sexual orientation.

The 63-year-old cleric again finds himself in the eye of a spiritual storm—of sexual abuse revelations breaking over Sacramento and the rest of the Catholic world.

“Every week it seems that there are new revelations about the depth and horror of the scourge of sexual abuse,” Soto told SN&R last week. “I am committed to confronting this ugly past. We failed to protect you as children, we failed to tell you the truth as adults.”

On April 30, Soto released a list of 44 priests and two deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors and young people in the Diocese of Sacramento.

The list covered incidents between 1955 and 2014 “and is a necessary reckoning for our local church,” Soto said. None of the priests identified are still working for the diocese; many have died.

Based on a comprehensive outside review of nearly 1,500 clerics throughout the diocese, the victims who reported being sexually abused include 39 girls, 91 boys or young adults and three men.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has been urging Soto to issue such a list, which includes photos of clerics, their whereabouts and full work assignments

Francis Follows Through

America Magazine

May 16, 2019

When the Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse concluded in February, the editors of this magazine argued that its effectiveness would be demonstrated by what happened after it was over. Would it prove more than a public-relations exercise? Would the searing testimony of abuse survivors send bishops home determined to undertake the work of accountability and reform? Would Pope Francis actually deliver the “concrete measures” he indicated were forthcoming? Not all of these questions can be fully answered yet. But just three months after the summit’s conclusion, Francis has proved that at least his own words were not empty promises, handing down Vos estis lux mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), a motu proprio that establishes universal laws for reporting and investigating sex abuse.

The first section of the document states that bishops, priests, and members of religious orders must report to church officials both abuse and the cover-up of abuse. This applies to the abuse not only of minors, but also of vulnerable adults, including those forced “to perform or submit to sexual acts” through threats or “abuse of authority”—a clear reference to seminarians preyed on by those with power over them. The motu proprio takes effect this month, and within a year, “public, stable, and easily accessible” systems for submitting reports of abuse must be instituted in dioceses where they do not currently exist.

The document also provides protections for those who report abuse. Any retaliation or discrimination against whistleblowers is prohibited. The document underscores that reporting abuse does not violate “office confidentiality,” and that those who submit a report have no obligation to “keep silent” about their claims.

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Publicly Attacks Survivor Advocate

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 16, 2019

As a SNAP Leader in Philadelphia and one who works very closely with survivors of clergy sex abuse here in Pennsylvania, I am appalled at the remarks made on a social media platform of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference towards Ms. Carolyn Fortney. The comment lacked professionalism, public opinion etiquette, and good taste, as well the promoted Catholic principles. We stand in solidarity with Carolyn and all other survivors and advocates who have felt insulted or besmirched by the posting.

This remark demonstrates the continued disdain that Catholic lobbyist employees have for survivors fighting for justice and for their lives. No survivor should ever be treated with such disrespect, ever, especially after already suffering harm from the Church. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference should apologize publicly to Carolyn, and take formal disciplinary action on the person responsible.

More victims of child sex abuse show support for bill blocked by Capitol leaders


May 15, 2019

By Dennis Welch

As children, Tim Lennon and Mary O'Day were sexually abused by members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Now they are lending their voices to a fight at the Arizona Legislature over a childhood sexual assault bill.

Written by Sen. Paul Boyer, the proposal grants victims more time to sue their abusers in civil court.

The current law bars survivors from suing after they turn 20 years old.

Boyer proposes giving them seven years after they disclose as adults to file a civil claim. That could happen decades after they were abused.

"We have to give children their voice. Whether they are 12 or 42, the child still needs a voice," O'Day said Wednesday at the Capitol.

Her comments came a week after Boyer made a dramatic stand on the Senate floor.

Since numbers make news, how do we explain America’s religious recession since 2000?

Get Religion blog

May 16, 2019

By Richard Ostling

Numbers make news. Think of how many articles will report breathlessly on U.S. political polls between now and Nov. 3, 2020. And numbers created “the biggest American religion story of the past decade,” says analyst Mark Silk, referring to the increase in “nones” who tell pollsters they have no particular religious identity.

This is news: A new Gallup report says a severe religious recession began to build right around 2000.

What explains this turn-of-the-century turn? Journalists with Gallup numbers in hand should run this puzzle past the experts in search of explanations.

Gallup combines data from 1998–2000, compared with 2016–2018. A topline finding is that Americans reporting membership in a house of worship hit an all-time low of 50 percent by last year, which compares with a consistent 68 percent or more from 1937, when the question was first asked, and all the way through the 1990s. The era since 2000 mingles that loss with declining worship attendance and the “nones” boom.

Since your audiences are already transfixed by the 2020 campaign, consider this detail from Gallup’s internals. Comparing 1998-2000 with 2016-2018, church membership reported by Republicans slipped from 77 percent to 69 percent, but among Democrats plummeted from 71 percent to 48 percent, a remarkable 23 percent drop. (Independents went from 59 percent to 45 percent.) How come

Victims urge boycott of KC MO diocese

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP: “Give elsewhere until there’s honesty”

Bishop still hiding abusers’ names, group says

"At least reveal the living abusers NOW," it argues

Two more publicly accused KC area clerics are 'outed'

“For the safety of kids, stop stalling” victims beg prelate

Current and former church staff must call law enforcement, SNAP says

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--'out' two more publicly and credibly accused priests who spent time in KC MO,
--urge Catholics to donate elsewhere until their bishop releases a list of such abusers.

They will also urge current and former KC area church staff to call the Missouri attorney general and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation – because of on-going probes of clergy sex crimes and cover ups in both states - with any information or suspicions they may have about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

Thursday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Archbishop’s lawyer confirms charges against journalist to be dropped


May 16, 2019

By Elise Harris

A lawyer representing a Peruvian archbishop who last month withdrew criminal complaints against two journalists says that a delay in dropping the second case is due to a procedural issue, not because they are backtracking on the decision.

On April 24, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura announced he was retracting a criminal complaint of aggravated defamation that he had launched against journalist Paola Ugaz last summer. Under Peruvian law, a private citizen can make a complaint of defamation that triggers a criminal investigation and, possibly, trial.

In Sex Abuse Investigation, Police Raid Catholic Diocese of Dallas


May 16, 2019

By Nichole Manna

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas has not been forthcoming in sharing information about priests accused of sexually abusing children, police said Wednesday.

Search warrants were executed Wednesday morning and officers were at the diocese offices at around 7:30 a.m. in connection with their investigation into five priests: Edmundo Paredes, 70; Richard Thomas Brown, 77; Alejandro Buitrago, 77; William Joseph Hughes Jr., 63; and Jeremy Myers, 62.

The warrant says investigators believe all five men sexually assaulted children, but that the diocese has not shared all of its information about them.

In a statement, the diocese said it has been cooperating with the investigation and that it was never subpoenaed. The statement also said that officials in the diocese have given police the personnel files of the five priests named in the warrant and "has been involved in ongoing discussions with DPD investigators."

However, a search warrant written by police says the diocese didn't cooperate with the investigation. In one of the cases, the warrant says, a priest was asked by the diocese to investigate himself.

Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department said the investigation started in August 2018, when police received information from the diocese about allegations against Paredes and financial improprieties.

Geron said the department has interviewed victims, witnesses and suspects. However, the department has not been given a number of personnel files for priests who were flagged for sexual abuse, the warrant says.

Asked if the investigation involves new allegations, Geron said, "I won't address the time frame for the allegations, but I will say they are new allegations that were made to us following the announcement of charges against Paredes."

Victims of Pa. pediatrician who sexually abused children push for reform of statute of limitations

Patriot News

May 15, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

In recent years, the debate over reform of the state’s statute of limitations has overwhelmingly been framed against the clergy sex abuse crisis.

On Wednesday about a dozen victims of convicted serial predator pediatrician Johnnie “Jack” Barto lent their voices to that effort.

In a press conference held at the Capitol Rotunda, the victims, along with state Sen. Katie Muth (D-Montgomery), reiterated long heard arguments for the reform of the state’s child sex crime laws. Muth is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 540, which calls for broad reform, including elimination of criminal statutes and a two-year retroactive window to allow time-barred victims to file civil suits.

Muth vowed to work across the aisle in the Senate to engender support for the bill, which currently has 18 co-sponsors. The freshman senator said victims of all ages need and deserve the protection of the law, adding that her bill would provide victims a choice between pathways to healing, including lawsuits.

“We are failing,” Muth said. “We are failing to give victims a reason to come forward.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro who led the grand jury investigation into the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania as well as prosecuted Barto, has endorsed SB 540.

California confession debate pivots on how to keep children safe


May 16, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

When I started covering the Vatican back in the 1990s, Italian journalist Vittorio Messori was a legend. He was the author of the 1985 Ratzinger Report, the book that made the future Pope Benedict XVI a global lightning rod, as well as Crossing the Threshold of Hope with Pope John Paul II in 1994.

Messori is an epigrammatic guy, and I remember him talking once about stories on the Church no journalist could ever report. Among them, he said, was the story of how many atrocities in human history have been prevented by the sacrament of confession - that unique moment when, in absolute privacy, a priest has the chance to speak heart-to-heart with someone, potentially turning their life around.

The memory comes to mind in light of a bill currently being debated in the California Senate, SB 360, which would effectively shred the seal of the confessional by eliminating an exemption to the state’s mandatory reporting law for “penitential communication.” California is not the only venue in which such a proposal is in the air - both Chile and Argentina, for instance, are other examples.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo, claims it’s necessary because “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”

To state the obvious, Hill’s assault on the Church is a natural byproduct of its well-chronicled failures on the clerical sexual abuse crisis, including the fallout from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report last year as well as the scandal surrounding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick.

The fact the Church has brought all this on itself, however, doesn’t mean every punitive measure one can imagine is necessarily a good idea - and there are multiple reasons to conclude that Hill’s proposal is a spectacularly bad one.

The list begins with the obvious and egregious violation of religious freedom the bill represents. The sacrament of confession is a core element of the Catholic faith, and no state should ever be in the position of dictating doctrine to a religious community.

One might also mention that targeting the Catholic Church ignores the broader context of child sexual abuse.

Recently, the Schools Insurance Authority in California commissioned an audit on the potential impact of another bill currently in the legislature that would make it easier to sue public schools for child abuse. The audit used a baseline 2017 estimate from the U.S. Department of Justice that 10-12 percent of children in public schools suffer sexual misconduct by an employee at some point K-12, and estimated that under the terms of the bill the losses of the California system due to such claims could grow from $813 million over the past 12 years to $3.7 billion.

May 15, 2019

Texas Lawmakers Consider Extending Statute Of Limitations On Child Sex Abuse Cases

CBS 11

May 15, 2019

By Erin Jones

A Dallas-based attorney who represents survivors of sexual abuse believes the investigation of alleged sex abuse by clergy shows why statewide, the statute of limitations needs to be extended for child victims.

One piece of legislation could make that happen.

“I represent a number of survivors of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church,” attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel said.

She said most of these clients are in their 50s and 60s, waiting decades to talk about what happened to them and seek justice.

The statute of limitations for child sex abuse would start counting the years from the age of 18, just like what’s seen in current Texas law.

“There’s a lot of pressure to keep things silent,” Monica Baez said.

Baez said she was abused by a Houston priest as a toddler. His name is in a list of priests credibly accused of abuse.

“It’s very intimidating,” Baez said. “It’s very scary. Shameful. You don’t know if anyone is going to believe you because you’ve tried. It’s very emotional and you just want to hide.”

“I think particularly when you’re talking about abuse connected to someone’s religion – a religious institution, their faith, that makes it even harder to disclose,” Tuegel said.

Tuegel said that’s why she’s calling on Texas lawmakers to vote in favor of House Bill 3809, which would extend the civil statute of limitations from 15 to 30 ye

Retired priest accused of having child porn is sick and can’t stand trial, lawyer argues

Daily News

May 15, 2019

By Trevor Boyer

A 98-year-old retired Catholic priest accused of possessing child pornography will never be fit to stand trial so charges against him should be dismissed, his lawyer argued in a motion filed on Wednesday at Bronx Supreme Court.

Monsignor Harry Byrne resides at St. Lawrence Friary Infirmary in Beacon, N.Y., and requires total care for all his basic needs, according to the filing. If accepted, the motion would dismiss the 74-count indictment that the priest faces.

"He is irreversibly infirm," his attorney, Marvin Ray Raskin, told the Daily News. "There's a lot of hope for rehabilitation, but there's no practical expectation."

Byrne was an activist priest who worked to create affordable housing in the Bronx and Manhattan, and he remained outspoken on church issues even after his retirement in 1996.

He faces 37 counts of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child and another 37 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. He turned himself into police on Oct. 31, 2017, and pleaded not guilty.

Byrne “had dozens of photographs on his computer of girls 8 to 14 years old performing sex acts with men or posing naked,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in announcing his indictment in 2017.

Prosecutors charged that Byrne used internet search engines to find the pornography online. The illegal images were found in a forensic sweep of the priest's computer by the NYPD Computer Crimes Squad, officials said.

In a July 2010 blog post, Byrne railed about the Catholic Church’s mishandling of the pedophile priest crisis.

“Bishops ... quietly reassigned miscreants and thereby exponentially multiplied the number of victims,” he wrote. “In the U.S., not one cover-up bishop has been arraigned before church authorities for his part in the scandal.”

Byrne, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York from 1968 to 1970, was living at the St. John Vianney Center for Retired Priests in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The probe, which was started five months prior to his indictment, was based on complaints from the home, officials said at the time.

How police felt stonewalled by Dallas Diocese at every turn in sex abuse investigation

Dallas Morning News

May 15, 2019

By Jennifer Emily and Cassandra Jaramillo

An affidavit Dallas police used to obtain a search warrant Wednesday to raid Dallas Catholic Diocese offices laid out allegations against five priests and suggested the church subverted police efforts to obtain more information.

The affidavit, signed by Detective David Clark, who is working full-time on sex abuse allegations within the Diocese, sought to seize Diocese records because the church hadn’t handed over all the records it had about allegations against the priests.

All five priests are on the Diocese’s list of 31 “credibly accused” priests, which the church released in January. That list included only accusations against priests that the Diocese concluded were credible after a review by former law enforcement officials and the Diocean Review Board.

But the records handed over to police were not complete, Clark wrote.

The accused priests could not be reached for comment and none have been arrested. One priest previously said he should not be included in the credibly accused list.

Here is a look at the allegations, according to the affidavit:

Edmundo Paredes
Dallas police began investigating a sexual abuse allegation into Edmundo Paredes, 70, after the Diocese told police a victim came forward in August. A warrant was issued for Paredes’ arrest in January. But the details of the allegations by a former altar server were not public until Wednesday in the affidavit.

Three others had previously accused Paredes of sexual abuse and he was included in the list of 31. But police had said the accusers did not want to pursue criminal charges.

Paredes is believed to have fled, possibly to his native Philippines.

The fourth accuser told the Diocese that Paredes sexually assaulted him in the 1990s, when the alleged victim was an altar server at St. Cecilia’s Church, the affidavit says. The boy also attended the church’s school.

The affidavit says Paredes "groomed him by taking him and other altar servers out to eat between Masses and bought them things” after they met in 1991.

In 1994, when the victim was a juvenile, the sexual assaults began: The victim told police "Paredes touched him on his genitals and Paredes placed his mouth on [his] genitals."

Police interviewed several parishioners, office staff members and priests, all of whom corroborated that Paredes brought "several juveniles" into the rectory during evenings and weekends.

The affidavit also states that "some office staff members met with now-retired Chancellor Mary Edlund, in 2006, regarding their concerns over Paredes having juveniles inside the church offices and inside his residence."

According to the affidavit, Edlund told Clark that Paredes' file should contain information about the 2006 meetings.

"That file did not contain any information regarding the 2006 meeting between parishioners and Chancellor Edlund," Clark wrote in the affidavit.

Instead, Clark wrote that he found only notes that appear to have been written by Edlund, which said, "Outcry from adult, send to CPS. ... won't hear back ... letter better than online entry."

In the affidavit, Clark says Child Protective Services officials "had no knowledge of ever seeing the letters" the Diocese says it sent concerning abuse allegations.

Clergy Abuse Survivors Group 'Applauds' Catholic Diocese of Dallas Raid


May 15, 2019

By Noelle Walker

When Monica Baez saw news of the police raid on the Catholic Diocese of Dallas she had a thought.

"Oh, another one," Baez said. "It's overwhelming."

Baez said she was a toddler in the 1970s when she first became a victim of clergy abuse. Her alleged abuser was not in Dallas, but part of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

"It was awful. He was a monster," Baez said. "I knew that it was something wrong because it was painful. He forced... it was child rape. I call it child rape. I call it was it is."

Baez said she was glad to see police outside three Diocese of Dallas properties Wednesday morning, where they executed search warrants looking for records of sexual abuse related to five priests.

"Because who's protecting the children? How can an institution tell on itself? They're not," Baez said. "It is unbelievable how it's still happening."

Baez said she thought similar raids should be conducted globally.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement Wednesday about the Dallas raid.

“We applaud Texas law enforcement officials for raiding the “secret archives” of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. We are glad that police and prosecutors are taking the issue of clergy abuse in Texas seriously and are not just relying on the promises of church officials.

Disturbing undercover video shows elderly priest joking about his sexual abuse of deaf boys


May 7, 2019

By Martin M. Barillas

An elderly Catholic priest, apparently in an Italian hospital, was caught in an undercover video laughing and joking about his own sexual assault of boys — along with assaults of other priests — at a diocesan home for deaf-mute children.

The 2017 video shows Italian Father Eligio Piccoli recounting unapologetically -- almost boastfully -- how he abused boys.

“I lost my head and grabbed him from behind,” he said.

With gestures, Piccoli simulated sodomitic acts that priests and other religious allegedly committed with minors. In one instance, Piccoli pointed at the undercover journalist as if to humor him about homosexual rape.

Abuse survivors say "NJ got it right!: [Video]


May 13, 2019

Monday, May 13, 2019 - Trenton – Senator Joseph Vitale holds a press conference in the Statehouse Annex on legislation he sponsored to expand the statute of limitations for sexual assault survivors being signed into law. Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Survivors seek meeting with Ken Feinberg about compensation programs

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 15, 2019

A support group for clergy abuse victims want a voice in compensation programs being set up by California Catholic officials.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to the firm headed by Ken Feinberg requesting the opportunity to meet soon regarding church-designed and run compensation programs, like the one announced yesterday by six other California dioceses.

The group is critical of any process designed to support and help survivors that does not also include survivor input and experiences. “Let us share our experiences to help create a program that will benefit survivors instead of hurt them,” SNAP says in their letter.

SNAP plans to write soon to the other six California bishops who have already announced the outlines of such a program. They are Los Angeles, Fresno, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Sacramento. The Diocese of Santa Rosa has also announced plans for their own compensation program. The remaining five dioceses that have not yet announced plans are Oakland, San Jose, Monterey, Stockton and San Francisco.

A copy of SNAP’s letter is below:

Dear Mr. Feinberg,

We are advocates and survivors of clergy sex abuse. We organize to support others who have experienced abuse and advocate for change that will protect children and help victims of sexual abuse heal.

We have recently learned about the proposed compensation program you are helping church officials at six of the twelve California dioceses design. We write to you today to urge you to include survivors in this process as you work out the details of this proposed program.

In the past, many survivors in our network have leapt at the opportunity presented by compensation programs, believing that participation in the program will lead to a validation of their abuse, a heartfelt apology, and a chance at justice. And all too often, those survivors have come away feeling like little more than variables in a calculation, with the compensation program being less of a healing process and more of an algorithmic one. Critically, in some of these cases survivors have even been barred from bringing cases against their abuser forward or made to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Given this history, we respectfully submit that the same Catholic hierarchy that got us into this mess is now paying to get themselves out of this mess, with the real intent of continuing to cover up their own past and present complicity. And those prelates got us into this mess, in part, by reserving all the decision-making power to themselves, which they're now replicating by hiring your team and designing these programs with apparently little or no input from experienced survivor organizations like ours.

So we plead with you and ask that you and your team meet with us soon, before any more of these programs are devised, and let us share with you how survivors might best be served – and not be re-victimized – by these plans. We have, unfortunately, too much experience in this arena. Let us share our experiences to help create a program that will benefit survivors instead of hurt them.

We have no illusions of stopping top-down, church-run compensation programs. But they can be better designed to make sure the needs of survivors, both long term and short term, are met. And they can be designed to better expose wrongd

California confession bill won't stop abuse, but threatens religious liberty, critics say

Catholic News Agency

May 15, 2019

The appropriations committee of California’s state senate will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would require priests to violate the seal of confession if they became aware of allegations of child abuse or neglect while celebrating the sacrament of penance. Critics say the bill would deny Constitutional religious liberty protections, and that there is no evidence it would actually prevent child abuse.

The bill, California SB 360, requires clergy members to report to law enforcement knowledge or suspicion of child abuse or neglect, “including when the clergy member acquires the knowledge or reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect during a penitential communication.”

Clergy in California are already required to report knowledge or suspicion of child abuse in most circumstances, though penitential conversations like sacramental confession are exempted, as are other kinds of privileged conversations, among them those covered by attorney-client privilege.

The bill’s sponsor, California state Senator Jerry Hill (D-Calif. 13), has claimed that “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”

The senator has claimed that such abuse has been revealed through “recent investigations by 14 attorneys general, the federal government, and other countries.” Hill’s office declined to respond to requests from CNA for clarity or specific instances of the abuse cited.

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said in a May 15 column that Hill’s claim is “simply not true. Hearings on the bill have not presented a single case — in California or anywhere else ­— where this kind of crime could have been prevented if a priest had disclosed information he had heard in confession.”

“SB 360 claims to solve a crisis that does not exist,” Gomez said.

While priests are forbidden from disclosing the contents of sacramental confessions under any circumstances, and face excommunication for doing so, few believe Hill’s bill would prevent child abuse.

California Catholic Conference executive director Andy Rivas told Angelus News May 15 that “there is no evidence that forcing priests to disclose what is learned in the confessional would prevent a single case of child abuse.”

If penitents report being abused, several priests told CNA, they are generally asked to discuss the matter with the priest-confessor immediately after confession has ended. When such conversations take place after confession, clergy members in California are already required by law to report them.

The bill is not the first time Hill has taken issue with internal Church practices. In 2015, he signed a letter urging San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to end an archdiocesan requirement that Catholic school teachers live in accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

The letter said the requirement had “a divisive tone, which stands in stark contrast to the values that define the Bay Area and its history.”

Dallas police investigating alleged sexual abuse by clergy raid Catholic diocese properties


May 15, 2019

By Ray Sanchez and Rosa Flores

Maj. Max Geron of the special investigations division said the raids are related to five new allegations of sexual abuse that emerged after police issued an arrest warrant for a priest named Edmundo Paredes, who was previously assigned to St. Cecilia's parish in Dallas.

The parish was one of the locations searched on Wednesday, along with the diocese headquarters and a storage facility, Geron said.

"In addition to the allegations against Mr. Paredes, detectives are investigating at least 5 additional allegations of child abuse against other suspects," Geron told reporters.

"These investigations stem from additional allegations made after the case against Mr. Paredes
became public."

In August, the diocese informed parishioners at St. Cecilia of allegations of sexual abuse by Paredes, the former pastor. The alleged criminal offenses occurred more than a decade ago, church officials said.

The raid comes as the church -- both in the United States and around the world -- wrestles with a fresh wave of scandals that have spurred criminal investigations, roiled the faithful and damaged the institution's moral credibility.

The raids took the diocese by surprise since church officials have been cooperating with authorities for months, according to Catholic Diocese of Dallas spokeswoman Annette Gonzales Taylor.

"We feel like we were being transparent," Gonzales Taylor told CNN.

The diocese was not subpoenaed, she said.

The search warrants were executed at various properties Wednesday, including the pastoral center and administrative offices, Taylor said.

Taylor said police were looking for files of priests who were on a list released by the diocese earlier this year of clergy who had been the subject of credible accusations.

In January, every Catholic diocese in Texas released the names of all priests, deacons and other clergy members accused of sexually abusing children in the past decades.

At least 298 clergy members across the state have faced "credible abuse" allegations going back to the 1940s, according to the lists compiled by the 15 Texas dioceses.

Leading the number of clergy members accused is the Archdiocese of San Antonio -- the largest one in the state -- with 56 priests and other clergy listed. Next is the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the dioceses of Dallas, El Paso and Amarillo.

Liberaron a un cura procesado por abusar de nenes de un jardín

[Priest prosecuted for abusing preschoolers released from prison]

Telefe Noticias

May 14, 2019

Tras la difusión de las denuncias que lo involucraban en orgías con el portero y la preceptora de un jardín parroquial de San Pedro, el cura fue apartado de la parroquia San Roque. Pero el Obispado de San Nicolás está a cargo de los honorarios de su defensa.

El cura Tulio Mattiussi, de 58 años, que había sido detenido en diciembre pasado junto al portero del Jardín de Infantes "Belén", de la localidad bonaerense de San Pedro, luego de que la Justicia constatara denuncias de abuso a nenes de esa institución que dirigía el sacerdote y acusara a ambos de abuso sexual agravado, fue liberado hace una semana. El auxiliar Anselmo Ojeda, en cambio, sigue detenido.

Sobrevivientes de Caso Maristas critican a Celestino Aós: Se ha alejado de su discurso

[Survivors of Marist abusers criticize Celestino Aós]


May 14, 2019

By Yessenia Márquez and Nicole Martínez

Este martes los sobrevivientes del Caso Maristas se reunieron con el administrador apostólico de Santiago, Celestino Aós. Este encuentro terminó con un balance poco positivo por parte de las víctimas y se señaló que se ha alejado de su discurso inicial.

12 años de prisión para el franciscano que abusó y pagó a una menor y a un discapacitado

[12 years in prison for Franciscan who abused and paid a minor and a disabled person]

El País

May 15, 2019

By Silvia R. Pontevedra

La Audiencia de Lugo concluye que José Quintela, fraile en el Camino de Santiago, se aprovechó de la "precaria situación personal, familiar y económica" de la muchacha

La chica de 16 años declaró ante la Guardia Civil que el fraile le daba dinero antes, durante o después del sexo, y que la cantidad dependía de la afluencia de visitantes y peregrinos que llegasen al Santuario do Cebreiro (Pedrafita, Lugo), mítica puerta a Galicia del Camino Francés a Santiago. José Quintela Arias, la cara amable que recibía a los caminantes en el templo prerrománico, ha sido condenado por la Audiencia de Lugo a 12 años de prisión y otros 10 de libertad vigilada por abusar de L. de forma continuada y del primo discapacitado de esta en una ocasión. También de elaborar material pornográfico utilizando a la menor para ello, de lo que quedaron sobradas pruebas en su teléfono móvil: desde la cría desnuda y adornada de flores de Pascua en la sacristía hasta el pene del religioso envuelto en billetes de 50 euros.

'Hay curas a quienes se les está pidiendo el pasado judicial'

[Cardinal Salazar admits Colombian Church is lagging in investigations of clergy sex abuse]

El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

By Martha Soto and Jose Alberto Mojica

El cardenal Rubén Salazar descarta una epidemia, pero admite que hasta ahora arrancan indagaciones.

El máximo jerarca de la Iglesia católica, cardenal Rubén Salazar, admitió, en entrevista con EL TIEMPO, que están rezagados en las investigaciones de casos de sacerdotes pederastas y violadores. Y, aunque no tiene cifras en la mano, aseguró que no cree que el problema sea tan grave como se ha registrado en otros países.

Pederastia, la vergüenza de la Iglesia que se va develando en Colombia

[Pederasty, the shame of the Church, coming to light in Colombia]

El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

Hay apenas 57 procesos penales contra sacerdotes por pederastia, la mayoría en Antioquia.

En una celda de la cárcel de Villahermosa, Cali, está recluido William de Jesús Mazo Pérez, párroco en 2009 de la iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, quien paga 33 años por violar a cuatro niños. Y en la cárcel de Manizales permanece Pedro Abelardo Ospina Hernández, párroco de Filadelfia, Caldas, en el 2008, condenado a 21 años por abusar sexualmente de un joven con trastorno mental moderado.

Comunidad clausurada por excesos sexuales tenía sede en Cesar

[Vatican investigates claims of sexual excess within religious community]

El Tiempo

May 15, 2019

Vaticano indaga al Seminario del Pueblo de Dios. Iglesia local dice que en Valledupar no pasó nada.

Un equipo élite de investigación canónica, coordinado directamente desde el Vaticano, tiene abierto un expediente con alcances en territorio colombiano. En efecto, desde la casa matriz de la Iglesia católica se ordenó investigar el proceder de una congregación religiosa que, entre otras cosas, profesaba el sexo libre entre monjas y sacerdotes bajo el precepto de que la sexualidad es el reflejo carnal del amor.

Poland backs paedophilia law after Church documentary rattles ruling party


May 14, 2019

Poland announced plans on Tuesday to tighten sentences for child sex abuse, just days after the country's politics were upended by a documentary on paedophilia in the Catholic Church, closely allied to the nationalist ruling Law and Justice party.

In just three days since it was posted on YouTube, more than 11 million people have viewed the documentary "Just Don't Tell Anyone". It shows Poles confronting priests they said abused them as children, and presents allegations that known paedophiles were shifted between parishes.

The documentary has led to a swift public outcry, with lawyers and journalists calling for the police to launch criminal investigations.

The issue has erupted in the run-up to a European parliamentary election in which issues of sexuality and religion have played a prominent role. Law and Justice (PiS) portrays the Catholic faith as a key element of national identity. Liberals argue that the Church has come to wield too much power.

‘Nos dieron la espalda por acusar al sacerdote que violó a mi hija’

["They turned their backs on us for accusing the priest who raped my daughter"]

El Tiempo

May 14, 2019

Una familia del Cauca lucha para que se haga justicia en el caso contra el párroco Arcángel Acosta.

La historia familiar de Flor Liliana Yatacué Viscunda siempre ha estado atada a la Iglesia católica de Miranda, Cauca. Ella tiene 33 años y vive de una pequeña empresa en la que vende empanadas precocidas, hielo y pulpa de fruta en el barrio El Ruiz.

Police raid Dallas Catholic Diocese offices

Dallas Morning News

May 15, 2019

Dallas police officers on Wednesday morning executed a search warrant at the Dallas Catholic Diocese's offices in Oak Lawn.

Police have not specified a reason for the raid, but said they'd give more information at an 11 a.m. news conference. A police spokesman said warrants will be executed at various diocese offices throughout Dallas.

The Dallas diocese on Wednesday did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The raids come as the Catholic Church locally and worldwide continues to deal with its sex abuse crisis and allegations of cover-ups. As part of a transparency effort, all Catholic dioceses in Texas —including Dallas — in January published lists of clergy members "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of minors since 1950.

Dallas Catholic Diocese officials said they had a team of former law enforcement investigators comb through its files to compile the list of 31 names.

That announcement followed the August revelation that Edmundo Paredes, the longtime pastor at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, was credibly accused of molesting three teenage boys in the parish over a decade ago. Diocese officials said Paredes also allegedly stole from the church.

The Dallas diocese confirmed it had reached a financial settlement with the three male accusers, the details of which were confidential.

But in January, Dallas police — which assigned Detective David Clark to investigate sex-abuse allegations against Dallas clergy members — issued an arrest warrant for the former Oak Cliff priest after a new accuser emerged.

Paredes had gone missing, but it was believed he had fled to his native country of the Philippines, Burns told parishioners during services at St. Cecilia.

Church officials have in recent months called for potential victims to first contact police and have said they are cooperating with law enforcement investigations. But advocates for sex-abuse victims have remained skeptical of the church, which has had a long history of cover-ups.

After Wednesday's raid, advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, released a statement saying they "applaud Texas law enforcement officials" for the raid.

Shame on Pennsylvania GOP as New Jersey, New York Dems deliver justice for abuse victims

Philadelphhia Inquirer

May 15, 2019

By Maria Panaritis

Do not for a moment buy the adage that justice is blind. Not in Pennsylvania. Not this week.

After a stunning change to New Jersey law that became official on Monday, and an equally stunning change to New York law in February, justice for sexual assault victims in Pennsylvania now is a second-tier matter, denied by politics and the poor luck of geography.

The divide is stark. It is absurd. And it is — make no mistake — entirely a product of Republican leadership of the House and Senate in Pennsylvania.

Were you raped as a child by a Pennsylvania priest or schoolteacher? If you want justice, then you had better hope it happened in New Jersey or New York. Only those states, under groundbreaking laws, allow civil action for abuse that happened years ago. It is why a Philadelphia man on Monday announced he is suing the Camden Diocese for alleged clergy abuse in Ventnor, N.J.

If, however, you were violated by a Pennsylvania priest or teacher somewhere between Erie and Philly, your only legal option is to shut up and move on. The men who control the House and Senate have chosen to bow to bishops and insurance underwriters rather than stand for the children damaged for life by abusers.

4 Investigates: New Mexico Sex Abuse Lawyers

Channel 4 News

May 14, 2019

By Chris Ramirez

Many have seen the advertisements on TV and Facebook from groups of lawyers offering to help survivors of clergy sex abuse in New Mexico.

When the Archdiocese of Santa Fe declared bankruptcy, it brought a new deadline for lawsuits and a limited pool of money for sex abuse claims. Now, groups of out-of-state lawyers are setting up shop here.

Clergy sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe must be submitted by June 17. After that, there's no guarantee that sex abuse survivors will get any kind of payout from the church.

Chris Ramirez with 4 Investigates looked into one group called "New Mexico Sex Abuse Lawyers" that's making a lot of noise to collect clients and tap into that money. The group is representing about 70 victims of clergy sex abuse.

Polish lawmaker panned for excusing priest who abused girls

Associated Press

May 15, 2019

Poland's opposition lawmakers demanded Wednesday that a ruling party member be excluded from parliament's work on new laws to curb sex abuse of minors, alleging he had tried to justify the actions of a priest convicted of pedophilia.

The conservative government said this week that the penalty for child sex abuse must be increased following recent revelations about such abuse by priests. Parliament is to debate the government draft Wednesday.

A documentary containing harrowing testimony by men and women of being molested and raped by priests when they were children aired (when) on YouTube, triggering soul searching in the nation's influential Catholic church.

Opposition lawmakers say prosecutor Stanislaw Piotrowicz, who is head of the parliament's justice commission and lawmaker for the ruling pro-church party, should be excluded from parliamentary debate and voting on the law. They claim he had in the past tried to play down the actions of a priest who later was convicted and handed a suspended prison term for inappropriately touching and kissing small girls.

Parliament officials said that the new law will not be sent to the commission he presides over for debate.

Trial date set for David O'Hearn, former Hunter priest accused of indecent assault

The Herald

May 15, 2019

By Nick Bielby

Former Hunter priest David O'Hearn will face a trial in July over child sex charges levelled at him last year.

O'Hearn, who remains in custody following previous convictions for child sex offences, was charged with the fresh counts by Strike Force Georgianna detectives last March.

In Newcastle district court on Tuesday, his legal representative said there was no prospect of resolution without proceeding to trial.

The court heard there was one complainant in the matter, which related to alleged child sex offences in Lake Macquarie in 1994.

The Herald reported last November that O'Hearn pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated indecent assault - under authority.

On Tuesday, Judge Roy Ellis scheduled the trial to begin on July 17.

The trial is expected to run for eight to 10 days.

New mediation program would allow victims of Catholic priest sexual abuse to settle claims outside court

San Bernardino Sun

May 14, 2019

By Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke

Six Catholic dioceses in California, including those in San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties, have formed a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse that allows them to settle claims privately, outside the courts, the California Catholic Conference announced Tuesday.

The voluntary program will be available to any person who has been sexually abused as a minor by priests from the dioceses of San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego.

As an alternative to litigation, victim-survivors can choose to meet with two mediators, in private and without an attorney if preferred, to potentially settle their claims. The mediators, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, will review the claims and determine who should be compensated and the amount offered.

Settlements will occur within 90 days and be determined by the mediators, with no church interference, according to the California Catholic Conference, which is the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in the state.

Feinberg and Biros are mediators for similar victim compensation programs involving Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Colorado. The two attorneys also have represented the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered to be one of the largest petroleum spills ever.

Colombia’s catholic church promises action against child abuse, but plays down extent

Colombia Reports

May 15, 2019

By Adam Veitch

Colombia’s Catholic Church is facing around 100 criminal investigations involving sexual abuse, the religious institution’s leader admitted Wednesday.

Cardinal Ruben Salazar admitted to the ongoing criminal investigations in an interview with El Tiempo, but downplayed the gravity of the sexual abuse claims, saying that sexual abuse by priests is “not an epidemic.”

The national church leader promised an investigation into historical child sex abuse in Colombia “as soon as we have a sufficiently qualified team and the resources to carry it out.”

The Catholic Church’s history of abuse in Colombia
Despite evidence to the contrary, Salazar told El Tiempo that there was no culture of covering up child abuse within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

knowing the bishops in this country as I do, I can tell you that no point has it ever been our desire to obscure the facts

Over the past few years, several cases of abuse have come to light in which church authorities in Colombia have been at best negligent in ensuring the welfare of young victims, and at worst complicit in endangering it.

Journalists reporting on these abuse cases suffered harassment allegedly orchestrated by church leaders.

One particular practice employed by the church hierarchy has been that of transferring priests facing child abuse accusations rather than reporting them to legal authorities.

The Pope Takes a Swing Against Sex Abuse

The Tablet

May 15, 2019

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

My friend and I were at Citi Field on a cool Friday evening. He is not religious, but the Mets were ahead 8-0 in the first inning, and he was ready to believe in miracles. He was in a good mood. Then, out of the blue, he asked me, “What about the Vatican’s new guidelines against sexual abuse? Shouldn’t they have just one simple rule, namely, ‘call 911’?”

He was referring to the “Vos estis lux mundi” (You Are the Light of the World), Pope Francis’ “motu proprio,” or edict, establishing norms for the universal Church against sexual abusers or those who cover up such crimes. It establishes procedures similar to those put in place in the United States by the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002.

For almost a year now, our secular press has been commenting on the grand jury report from Pennsylvania and on other reports of sexual abuse by clergy. Usually, the press fails to note two important facts.

First, the lists of accused priests covers many decades. For example, in February when the Diocese of Brooklyn published a list of credibly accused clergy, the headline in The Tablet was “Diocese of Brooklyn Releases Names of Credibly Accused Clergy,” and the subhead read, “Comprehensive List Dates Back 166 Years.” But many newspapers didn’t mention that detail, and so readers were led to believe that the 108 priests on the list were involved in recent cases.

SNAP Praises Bishop Brennan and Calls for More Action in Fresno

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 14, 2019

We are grateful to Bishop Robert Brennan for his public show of support for survivors of clergy abuse and for calling for civility and understanding in cases of clergy sex abuse. There is power in public statements from church leaders and we are glad that Bishop Brennan chose to use his in this way.

Now that Bishop Brennan has spoken out publicly, we hope that he will continue to use his power on behalf of survivors and take steps to show other priests and parishioners how best to publicly respond and react to allegations against one of their priests.

We have sent a letter to Bishop Brennan, thanking him for his efforts and laying out what further steps we believe he can take that will result in a more informed, civil, and safer environment for all. A copy of our letter is below:

Re: Pastoral Response to Allegations of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Dear Bishop Brennen:

We wanted to thank you for your public words regarding the statements made by attorney Kyle Humphrey on behalf of your priest, Msgr. Craig Harrison. We truly appreciate your acknowledgement of the hurt that the lawyer’s remarks caused victims of Catholic sexual abuse.

Now that multiple victims have come forward, we ask you to go further. Since Mr. Humphrey is a parishioner and Msgr. Harrison is one of your clergymen, we urge you to use your power and authority to put an end to the “ugly, mean spirited, dismissive and unacceptable” language being used in the media.

THE COST OF ABUSE | Attorneys find no shortage of clients amid clergy sexual abuse reports

New Castle News

May 15, 2019

By Brent Addleman

Although the widespread impact of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic churches came to light just last year, veteran Pittsburgh litigator Alan H. Perer has been representing victims for nearly two decades.

Perer, of SPK – the law firm of Swensen & Perer, located in downtown Pittsburgh, has been working cases against the Pittsburgh Diocese dating back to the early 2000s, long before an August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed an extensive history of sexual abuse committed by clergy members within six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

“I have been doing this for 17 years,” Perer said. “It has been very rough. A lot of cases earlier, we ran into the statute of limitations. We have been fighting this battle for a long time.

May 14, 2019

Bishop Barron says book on abuse crisis written from his ‘pastor’s heart’

Catholic News Service

May 14, 2019

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles said his new book addressing the Church’s sexual abuse crisis and urging Catholics to “stay and fight for the body of Christ” comes from his “pastor’s heart.”

“It is simply my statement coming out of my whole life as a Catholic — 33 years as a priest, almost four years as a bishop,” he said in a podcast posted on YouTube May 13, the release date of his book “Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.”

“It was my pastor’s heart that wanted to say something to the people of God,” added the bishop.

The book was published by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, which was founded by Bishop Barron. He gave an overview of the 125-page book in the podcast with Brandon Vogt, Word on Fire’s content director.

In both the podcast and the book’s preface, Bishop Barron strongly emphasized he is speaking for himself and that the new volume is not an official statement of the U.S. bishops.

It is his attempt, he explained, to respond to the pastoral needs of Catholics demoralized by the abuse crisis and who are grieving over what it is doing to the Church. He said he wants to give them encouragement and hope and show “that there is a clear path forward for us today.”

Pope’s new sexual abuse reporting rules protect the church

San Francisco Chronicle

May 14, 2019

By Celia Wexler

Pope Francis’ new rules on sexual abuse have been called “revolutionary,” “groundbreaking” and “exhaustive.”

But will the pope’s mandates, issued on May 9, actually bring about the reforms that Catholics so desperately want?

On paper, the pope scored a home run. Not only is every priest and member of a religious order required to report abuse or the cover-up of abuse, the pope includes misconduct toward minors and also harms to any adult considered vulnerable to clerical intimidation. That category includes seminarians, nuns and those with mental or physical disabilities.

All dioceses also will have to develop a “public and easily accessible” system for victims to submit complaints. Those who report misconduct cannot be retaliated against, and abuse victims cannot be silenced.

But here’s where the rule breaks down: The Vatican puts the responsibility for investigation of abuse in the hands of the bishops, the very people who have done such a terrible job over the past century.

Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, put it this way: “[K]eeping it all within the church has been the problem all along, and this is just really continuing that.”

AZ Legislator and Activists Speak on Behalf of SOL Reform in the State Capital

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 14, 2019

Changes are needed because survivors of child sex abuse can take decades to come forward

The statutory amendments proposed would allow more victims an opportunity to have their claims heard in court

Revealing these 'hidden predators' and their enablers helps to protect boys and girls today

Senator who sponsored the bill has delayed state budget approval until his measure is heard

At a news conference, a legislator and child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors will advocate for the reform of state laws limiting the ability of victims to have their day in court.

California dioceses announce new plan to help abuse victims

Angelus News

May 14, 2019

By Pablo Kay

The Los Angeles Archdiocese today joined five other California dioceses in a new private compensation program that will be available to any person who has been sexually abused as a minor by diocesan priests.

In a letter to Los Angeles Catholics, Archbishop José H. Gomez said the new program would expand the Church’s efforts to provide pastoral care and financial support to victim-survivors of abuse.

“We have been providing pastoral care and financial support for victim-survivors here in the Archdiocese for many years,” Archbishop Gomez said. “We will continue to do so. But we also understand that some victim-survivors are reluctant to come to the Church for assistance. Our hope with this new program is to give these people a chance to seek redress and healing through an independent program.”

The new Independent Compensation Program for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests is independent from Church control, according to a statement issued by the California Catholic Conference.

The Conference said the program will be run by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, nationally respected leaders in private compensation programs.

Feinberg and Biros have been working with the California bishops since late last year to design and administer the program, which will be similar to ones the pair has established for dioceses in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.

The new program will be overseen by an independent board that includes former California Governor Gray Davis and business leader and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Scranton diocese pays $2.2 million to clergy sex abuse survivors; Harrisburg to settle by June 28

Times Tribune

May 14, 2019

The Diocese of Scranton has announced that it has paid 17 victims of clergy child sexual abuse almost $2.2 million during the first 90 days of a special initiative to compensate survivors, according to a report by the Standard-Speaker of Hazleton. The diocese launched its program Jan. 22.

In all, more than 100 individuals, including 54 people who had not previously reported abuse to the diocese, submitted claims to the Independent Survivors Compensation Program during the period, the diocese said.

The diocese said fund administrators Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros completed their review of about two-thirds of those claims and sent determination letters containing compensation offers totaling $3.64 million to 31 survivors, including the 17 people who accepted and received just under $2.2 million.

The other 14 claimants have not indicated if they will accept the offers, the diocese said. No offers have been rejected.

Of the 54 individuals who have come forward with allegations of abuse that were not previously known to the diocese, 51 have been accepted into the compensation program and one remains under consideration, the diocese said.

The Diocese of Harrisburg announced that its Survivor Compensation Program enrollment period ended Monday. The program opened on Feb. 12 and was open for 90 days. Settlements will be offered on or before June 28. The Harrisburg diocese is not involved in the process of determining who is eligible for settlements and the amounts.

The diocese previously stated that funding for the program will come in the form of a loan from the Priest’s Retirement Fund, other existing diocesan assets and “hopefully from insurance proceeds.”

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer announced said the diocese will release a final report on how many survivors it was able to support.

Enrollment period for Harrisburg diocese clergy sex abuse victims compensation program closes

Patroit News

May 14, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg on Tuesday confirmed that its Survivor Compensation Program enrollment period ended Monday even as it hinted at a possible extension.

In a written statement, the diocese indicated that survivors who had not enrolled to participate “should await further announcements” from the diocese.

“The Survivor Compensation Program is a major component in our ongoing efforts to support survivors of clergy child sexual abuse,” Bishop Ronald Gainer said in a written statement. “We have just completed an important phase of this program.”

The fund administrator - Commonwealth Mediation & Conciliation - has indicated that “many survivors” had applied to participate in the program, he said.

Gainer said the diocese would release a final report on the number of individuals who filed to participate in the program once the settlement period has concluded.

The Survivor Compensation Program is poised to pay out millions of dollars to victims of clergy sex abuse. The diocese has not disclosed a specific dollar amount for the fund.

Private settlements to individual victims will be determined by the fund administrator. Settlement offers will be made on or before June 28.

Editorial: Bishops right with priest suspensions, disclosures


May 14, 2019

Priests are people, too.

They do good things and bad things and sometimes very bad things. They make sacrifices and they make mistakes. Priests are no more likely to lie, cheat, steal or hurt someone than a teacher or a banker, a barber or a chef.

The statewide — and to be honest, global — Catholic church sex abuse issue has not reached the breadth and scope that it has because priests are evil. They aren’t, or at least, they are no more evil than any of the rest of us.

The problem was the organization. It was the protection. It was the lies.

It wasn’t that no one reported child sex abuse for 70 years. They did. It wasn’t that parents didn’t demand something be done. They did. It wasn’t that investigations were not conducted. They were.

It was that all of it was kept in the dark.

In the months since the grand jury report release that detailed decades of abuse and cover-up, the dioceses of Pennsylvania have adamantly pushed a message of change. These things wouldn’t happen again. There were policies. There were procedures. There were protocols and safeguards.

It’s hard to live in a world without any crime and abuse because we live in a world filled with people. What we need is a world where we try to stop it when we can and deal with it where we must. Both demand transparency and honesty. Those seem hard to find after so much secrecy.

Then this week both Pittsburgh and Greensburg dioceses released information on newly accused priests just days apart. In Pittsburgh, the diocese suspended a priest from ministry while it investigates allegations of inappropriate contact with women. In Greensburg, law enforcement is investigating new allegations of abuse of a minor 15 years ago.

The difference this time is that nothing was stuck in a file and locked in a box. The situations are being addressed openly.

Call for rise in payments to institutional abuse victims

Belfast Telegram

May 14, 2019

By Gareth Cross

Calls have been made for an increase to payments offered to survivors of historical institutional abuse.

In January 2017 an inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart found widespread and systemic abuse in children's homes across Northern Ireland.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

Sir Anthony recommended a tax-free lump sum payment for all survivors ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

However, the vast majority of respondents to an Executive Office consultation on the findings disagreed that the "standard" compensation amount should begin at £7,500, with the majority saying £10,000 would be a more appropriate amount.

The Executive Office launched the consultation in November 2018 and received 562 responses.

More than one-third of them came from victims and survivors of abuse.

Some 82% of respondents recommended higher redress payments and 69% of those think compensation should reflect the number of childhood years spent in abusive institutions.

One respondent described the £7,500 standard payment as "derisory".

"No amount of compensation can undo or repair the damage inflicted," they wrote. "Nevertheless there ought to be a tangible figure that in some way reflects the loss of a childhood; £10,000 is not an awful lot but at least it's a start. Nothing less."

One of the key issues raised by respondents was a proposal that victims would not be entitled to apply for compensation if they had previously been compensated for the same matter.

The majority proposed that those who had already received compensation should be allowed to have it reviewed and receive any difference awarded.

Poland's Walesa urges Catholic church action on abuse after his priest accused


May 13, 2019

Polish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa has urged the Catholic Church to prevent further sexual abuse of children by members of its clergy after a new documentary film showed his priest to be one of the accused.

The film "Just don't tell anyone", which shows people confronting priests with accusations that they abused them as children, has attracted nearly 7 million views since it was posted on YouTube on Saturday. It presents allegations that known pedophiles were shifted between parishes.

One of the clergymen featured was Franciszek Cybula, who served as Walesa's priest for 15 years - from 1980 when he co-founded the trade union Solidarnosc which helped bring about the fall of Communism, through to his becoming Poland's first democratically elected president in 1990 and until his term ended in 1995.

"It is sad for me that I found out that my chaplain, my confessor, was behaving so badly," Walesa was quoted as saying by Polska The Times daily on Monday.

Poland is one of Europe's most devout countries and Catholic priests enjoy a high level of social prestige. Nearly 85 percent of Poland's 38 million-strong population identify as Roman Catholics and around 12 million attend mass every Sunday.

But Poland has not escaped the sexual abuse scandals that have battered the Catholic Church's reputation around the world along with accusations of senior clergy concealing or mismanaging cases.

In March the Polish Catholic Church published a study saying that between 1990-2018, its officials received reports of sexual abuse by clergy of 625 children since 1950, over half of them aged 15 or younger.

"The church is all of us, we should pray for priests, and the senior clergy - I repeat - must take action," Walesa was quoted as saying.

The documentary by director Tomasz Sekielski has reignited the debate about sexual abuse in the church just as Poland gears up for European Parliament elections on May 23-26.

Election campaigns have been marked by a focus on religion and sexuality amid tensions between liberals who feel the church wields too much power in Poland and ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which considers the Catholic faith as a key element of national identity whose influence must be protected.

PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski promised harsher sentences for child abuse on Sunday.

Franciscans: Credibly accused Gallup priest has died

Associated Press

May 14, 2019

A former Gallup priest listed as a credibly accused abuser by New Mexico's three Catholic dioceses has died.

The Gallup Independent reports the Albuquerque Franciscan province confirmed last week the Rev. Diego Mazon died in November 2018.

The Franciscan province did not issue a public announcement about Mazon's death since both the Diocese of Gallup and the Diocese of Las Cruces listed Mazon as a living credibly accused abuser.

Mazon was removed from ministry at Gallup's St. Francis Parish after an adult woman leveled a complaint against him. She alleged the Franciscan friar sexually abused her when she was a child in Roswell.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mazon's original religious order, settled with the woman in 2006.

N.J. diocese allowed ‘serial molester’ priest to prey on kids, former altar boy says in lawsuit

NJ Advance Media

May 14, 2019

By Rebecca Everett

When Justin Hoffmann was 9 years old, his best friend was a priest in his late 60s. They spent time together almost every day.

But reflecting on that relationship Tuesday, a day after filing a lawsuit alleging the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan sexually abused him over the course of five years, Hoffmann said it wasn’t until 2017 that he realized, “it wasn’t a friendship.”

“When you’re with an authority figure when you’re young, you don’t know if something that they’re doing is right or wrong and I certainly shouldn’t have been expected to know," Hoffmann, now 29, said at a press conference in Cherry Hill with his lawyers.

Hoffmann, who was an altar boy with Sullivan at the former St. James Parish in Ventnor, filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden Monday and its former bishop accusing them of not preventing the alleged abuse. The abuse, which allegedly included inappropriate touching and indecent exposure, started in 1996 when Hoffmann was 7 and lasted until 2001, the suit claims.

Hoffmann calmly described Tuesday how he rationalized Sullivan’s actions.

“While they seemed playful and kind of like just messing around when I was a kid — it seemed O.K. When I look back on the things he was doing, it’s like gross negligence," he said. “I’m like, O.K., how did I get myself into this position.”

School janitor with hidden past as priest left wake of abuse

Times Union

May 12, 2019

By Brendan J. Lyons

A former custodian who has been accused of systematically raping boys at a Catholic elementary school in Albany in the 1970s had allegedly done the same thing years earlier while serving as a priest with a seminary in the Midwest, where he attended college.

Interviews with his former employers and alleged victims, and records obtained by the Times Union, indicate that Eugene Hubert Jr. — a U.S. Army veteran who died in 1997 — also immersed himself in maintenance jobs at various schools for nearly 30 years, including at least two Catholic grade schools in Albany.

SNAP Responds to California Bishops’ Compensation Fund

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 14, 2019

The California Catholic dioceses have announced their plans to create a compensation fund for survivors of clergy abuse. While we appreciate the gesture, we hope that survivors in California will carefully consider their options before signing on.

We believe that the best way to expose wrongdoing and enforce accountability is for crimes to be made public and for punishment and compensation to be meted out by courts, not the institutions that allowed the wrongdoing to happen in the first place. Survivors deserve a chance to have their day in court and shed light on their abuse, and that can only happen when statutes of limitations are reformed, civil windows are opened, and bishops are held accountable in courts of law.

Removing a survivor’s right to sue – as is common in compensation programs – can prevent them from forcing using legal tools in the future that can compel dioceses to release information or correct misinformation. This is especially important as right now there is a bill right now in the California Assembly that will open up a new “window to justice.”

But this announcement also comes with hope that, as the bishops work together to hammer out the details of this compensation program, that they will allow survivors to have a voice in the process. If California’s bishops are serious about creating a compensation program that is to the best benefit of survivors, they should seek to meet with survivors who have had experience with litigation and compensation to help refine and improve this compensation program.

Diocese removes accused priest

Indiana Gazette

May 14, 2019

By Patrick Cloonan

A priest who formerly served in Indiana County has been removed from his ministry in the Fay-West area south of Greensburg and relieved of all parish duties pending an investigation of an allegation.

“The diocese received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Fr. Andrew Kawecki dating back 15 years,” the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg stated Monday night.

“As per diocesan policy the allegation was phoned into the PA ChildLine, and the appropriate district attorney was contacted,” the statement continued. “The investigation is now in the hands of law enforcement.”

From 2002 to 2004 Kawecki, a native of Gdansk, Poland, served as pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, which serves Ernest, Clymer, Glen Campbell, Heilwood and Rossiter in northern Indiana County.

Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty this morning said the matter has not been referred to his office because the accusations are not connected with Kawecki's service in the Clymer parish.

“A credible allegation does not mean it has been substantiated or proven,” the diocese stressed. “This announcement in no way implies Father Kawecki is guilty.”

He was transferred to St. John the Baptist parish in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, where he served as pastor, and St. Joseph parish in Everson, Fayette County, where he served as administrator.

Pope Francis Stops Hiding From the Church’s Sexual-Abuse Epidemic

The Atlantic

May 12, 2019

By Emma Green

Before this week, the Roman Catholic Church had no global policy requiring priests and bishops to report and investigate allegations of sexual abuse. No formal measure held bishops accountable for misconduct and cover-ups, despite a number of high-profile, horrific cases of wrongdoing by the Church’s top leaders. With story after story exposing new abuses around the world, Catholics have grown cynical about the Vatican’s willingness to face the global sickness of sexual abuse, and many have abandoned the Church entirely.

On Thursday, Pope Francis took a significant step toward changing that.

The pope’s moto proprio, which will take effect in June and remain in place as an experiment for three years, is a definitive and concrete step forward for the Church, demonstrating that Pope Francis is taking sexual abuse seriously. The new law is not a panacea, however: It does not detail specific punishments for Church leaders who violate these norms, and it does not mandate the involvement of authorities outside the Church. After years of paralysis on this issue, the Church must grapple with the crisis of confidence among the faithful, along with skeptics who believe the Catholic Church is not capable of policing itself against abuses of power.

The new law institutes a detailed mechanism for reporting allegations against bishops, and offers protections to whistle-blowers. The pope’s definition of sexual abuse is expansive enough to cover children, seminarians, nuns and women in religious orders, and people with mental disabilities—all of whom have been victimized by Church leaders. (It also condemns the possession or production of child pornography.) Perhaps most important, it demands that alleged victims are offered support services ranging from therapy to spiritual counseling, and promises to protect their confidentiality.

Chile bishop says pope’s criticism created ‘painful,’ ‘unfair’ image


May 14, 2019

By Inés San Martín

When the entire Chilean bishops’ conference presented their resignations to Pope Francis in Rome last year amid a massive scandal involving clerical sexual abuse and cover-up, Celestino Aos Braco had been a bishop of a small diocese for just four years.

As it turns out, it was scant preparation for the job the pope gave him in March: Apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Santiago, the capital of Chile and the eye of the local church’s storm.

Santiago is home to two of the country’s most infamous pedophile priests: Fernando Karadima and Cristian Precht, both of whom were expelled from the priesthood last year.

Aos spoke with Crux on May 4th, soon after the local church had signed a deal of cooperation with the Chilean prosecutor’s office - a deal that was rescinded by national prosecutor Jorge Abbott a few days afterwards.

Among other things, Aos said that comments from Francis last year about a “culture of cover-up” among the Chilean bishops led to impressions that all prelates in the country were equally guilty, an image he called “painful” and “unfair.”

Aos also discussed why he chose not to give communion to the faithful who wanted to receive it while kneeling down, even though it’s a practice allowed by the Vatican. He also spoke about his meeting with Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston while the two were in Rome in April.

What follows are excerpts of Aos’s conversation with Crux. The first part of that conversation is available here.

Clergy sex-abuse lawsuit: Camden Diocese priest was a 'serial molester'

Cherry Hill Courier-Post

May 14, 2019

By Jim Walsh

A Catholic priest, previously accused of sexually abusing a child at a parish in Atco, now is alleged to have molested an altar boy at a Ventnor church, according to a lawsuit filed Monday against the Diocese of Camden.

The suit claims a Philadelphia man, Justin Hoffman, was among multiple victims of the late Rev. Brendan Sullivan, who served at 10 parishes and two Catholic high schools between 1960 and 2004.

Hoffman accuses the diocese and a former leader, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of failing “to warn or otherwise protect children of the diocese of Camden" from Sullivan, who’s described as a “serial molester and sexual abuser.”

A representative of the diocese could not be reached for immediate comment Tuesday morning.

The diocese in February included Sullivan’s name on a list of 57 clergymen credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

According to the lawsuit, Sullivan, who was determined no longer eligible to be a priest in 2010, “acknowledged the substantiated allegation of prior abuse” of a 14-year-old boy at Assumption Church in Atco.

’N.J. is going to find out who the hidden predators are.’ Sexual abuse survivors praise tough new law.

NJ Advance Media

May 13, 2019

By Susan K. Livio

Todd Kostrub of Surf City started coming to the Statehouse in Trenton seven years ago to publicly share the dark secret that took him years to admit: His parish priest started raping him when he was a 7-year-old altar boy.

Kostrub said he revisited the shame and terrors of his memories to convince state lawmakers that survivors like him “deserve a taste a justice,” by expanding the window of time they get to sue their abusers in New Jersey. The law allowed childhood victims just two years past their 18th birthday to file a claim.

On Monday, Kostrub joined nearly 100 of fellow advocates at the Statehouse once again, this time to celebrate the enactment of the broadest statute of limitations law in the country for child and adult victims of rape.

Kostrub said he has hired a lawyer and is ready to savor whatever justice he can find.

“This is joy,” he said, hours after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the new statute of limitations legislation into law. “But I would trade anything in my life not to be here, to never have been a victim.”

Victims of clergy abuse sue Vatican, seek names of abusers

The Associated Press

May 13, 2019

Five victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests plan to sue the Vatican and are demanding to know the names of thousands of predator priests they say have been kept secret.

Attorney Jeff Anderson plans to file his lawsuit on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs include three brothers who were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer as recently as 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in connection with his contact with two of the boys, who were 12 and 14.

Butler Co. Priest On Administrative Leave, Accused Of ‘Inappropriate Contact’ With Women


May 13, 2019

A priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate claims that he had “inappropriate contact” with adult women.

The decision regarding Fr. James Young was announced in a May 4 letter from Bishop David Zubik that was distributed this past weekend in the church bulletins of St. Ferdinand in Cranberry Township, St. Gregory in Zelienople and Holy Redeemer in Ellwood City.

Fr. Young is a member of the ministry team for the merged parishes.

Many members of those congregations say their faith remains strong, and this won’t impact the way they serve their church families or their communities.

Suspenden a sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual a menor en Illapel

[Suspended priest accused of child sexual abuse in Illapel]

El Día

May 10, 2019

By EFE (news agency)

Desde el obispado instaron a cualquier persona que disponga de antecedentes o pruebas sobre la denuncia o cualquier otra a que se ponga en contacto con ellos.

Desde el obispado de Illapel se suspendió al presbítero Renato Riveros después de ser informados que el sacerdote fue acusado ante la Fiscalía Nacional de presuntamente haber cometido abusos sexuales a un menor, según informó la diócesis a través de un comunicado.

Opinion: Abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica: causas y responsabilidades

[Opinion: Causes and responsibilities of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church]

El Mostrador

May 12, 2019

By Pablo Torche

En la práctica, la Iglesia Católica ha tendido a “normalizar” los abusos, concibiéndolos como una conducta sexual fuera de lo prescrito, pero sin percibir del todo su carácter deshumanizante, las gravísimas consecuencias que trae para la víctima ni el grado de perversión que revelan. Esta perspectiva puede explicar también que se hayan tratado de presentar como comportamientos excepcionales o aislados, lo que evidentemente constituyen patrones de conducta cada vez más consolidados. La única razón que se me ocurre para explicar esta grotesca confusión se relaciona con la visión misma de la sexualidad que sostiene la iglesia, lo que podría constituir una tercera línea explicativa de los abusos, sobre la que se ha discutido menos.

Las estremecedoras declaraciones de Marcela Aranda sobre la pesadilla que vivió a manos del sacerdote jesuita, Renato Poblete, renuevan la urgencia por tratar de comprender, al menos identificar, las razones o condiciones que hicieron posible estos horribles hechos. ¿Cómo puede entenderse que tantos hombres, que se supone debían consagrar su vida a Cristo, hayan incurrido en este tipo de abusos, de forma tan sistemática, en algunos casos hasta llegar a construir verdaderas cofradías del mal al interior de la Iglesia Católica? Tratar de comprender puede ser un primer paso para prevenir, un fundamento para avanzar hacia un mundo sin abusos.

Obispo castrense detalla a scalía cinco casos de sacerdotes de las FF.AA. denunciados por abusos

[Military bishop details prosecution of five armed forces priests accused of abuse]

La Tercera

May 13, 2019

By Javiera Matus

El presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, Santiago Silva, dio cuenta de desconocidas investigaciones canónicas realizadas contra presbísteros. Además, aseguró que altos mandos de las Fuerzas Armadas fueron informados de estas situaciones.

Desconocidos antecedentes reveló el 27 de agosto de 2018 el presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, el obispo castrense Santiago Silva Retamales. Su declaración en calidad de testigo se la entregó al scal sur Guillermo Adasme, quien investiga presuntos delitos sexuales de sacerdotes. Entre otras materias, contó que tuvo conocimiento de cinco presbíteros de las Fuerzas Armadas denunciados por presuntos abusos sexuales.

Óscar Contardo: “En el tema de abusos sexuales, los jesuitas son iguales que cualquier otra congregación”

[Óscar Contardo: "On the subject of sexual abuse, the Jesuits are the same as any other congregation"]

The Clinic

May 9, 2019

By Alejandra Matus

El autor de “Rebaño” sostiene que la idea de la excepcionalidad de esta Congregación en cuanto a su conducta más abierta y cercana a los que sufren, moderna y tolerante con los temas valóricos, ha persistido gracias a sus redes de poder y en los medios, y no a una conducta distinta en el tratamiento de las denuncias.

May 13, 2019

Victims of clergy abuse sue Vatican, seeking names of thousands of abusers

The Hill

May 13, 2019

By Zack Budryk

Five victims of clergy sexual abuse are suing the Vatican for the disclosure of thousands of predatory Catholic priests’ names, according to the Associated Press.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include three brothers who were abused by ex-priest Curtis Wehmeyer, who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in St. Paul, Minn.

Internal documents indicated local church leaders were aware of Wehmeyer’s history of sexual misconduct when it installed him to lead St. Paul’s Church of the Blessed Sacrament in 2009, and a 2014 internal memo expressed worries that then- St. Paul Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt’s judgment had been affected by his “social relationship” with Wehmeyer, the AP reported.

New legal woes for Catholic dioceses

Bay Area News Group

May 13, 2019

By John Woolfolk

The California attorney general’s recent inquiry into how the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses complied with laws requiring them to report child sex abuse threatens new legal woes for a church still struggling to confront its sex abuse scandal.

But experts warn that if Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking grand jury report on church abuse is any guide, new revelations from the California probe may be too old to bring criminal charges.

The Pennsylvania investigation revealed decades of abuse and cover-up involving more than 1,000 children and more than 300 priests. Only two priests were charged, with grand jurors noting that “almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.”

But more than a dozen new lawsuits followed, including two federal class actions against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A list of “credibly accused” clergy including 46 names was recently released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.

Dating back to the 1950s, nine of the priests identified had worked at Woodland’s Holy Rosary Church and another eight served at other locations around Yolo County. Information provided with the list estimated that 130 children and young adults had been abused.

As it has been so long since the alleged abuse occurred, many of the men have passed. Only a small number of the people named appeared to have faced criminal charges.

Diocese of Greensburg priest removed pending sex abuse investigation

Tribune Review

May 13, 2019

By Jacob Tierney

A Diocese of Greensburg priest has been placed on leave as law enforcement investigates an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the diocese said.

Officials said they received the allegation Monday against the Rev. Andrew M. Kawecki. He served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Everson and St. John the Baptist Parish in Scottdale.

The allegation is in connection with an incident that allegedly happened 15 years ago, according to the diocese.

The diocese reported the allegation to the PA ChildLine.

“A credible allegation does not mean it has been substantiated or proven,” the diocese said in a statement. “This announcement in no way implies Fr. Kawecki is guilty.”

Kawecki was born in Gdansk, Poland. He was ordained in Greensburg in 1980.

He will remain on leave and will not participate in his parish duties until the investigation is complete.

Another pastor will be found for his parishes, according to the diocese.

“We know how important our actions and level of transparency are to survivors, parishioners and clergy,” the statement said. “That is why we are making this public announcement while the investigation is ongoing.

St. Paul victims, attorney suing Vatican for thousands of names of abusive priests

Associated Press

May 13, 2019

By Amy Forleti and Michael Rezendes

Five men who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests when they were minors are planning to sue the Vatican and are demanding the names of thousands of predator priests they claim have been kept secret by the Holy See.

In a Monday news release announcing the lawsuit, St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said he wants to show that the Vatican tried to cover up actions by top church officials, including former St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt. The lawsuit being filed Tuesday seeks the release of 3,400 names of priests who were referred to the Vatican for “credible cases of abuse.” That number was released by the Vatican in 2014.

The lawsuit comes less than a week after Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns worldwide to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities. The law is part of a new effort to hold the

The Catholic Church’s new law could let abuse continue

Washington Post

May 13, 2019

Regarding the May 10 news article “Vatican issues decree requiring clergy to report allegations of sexual abuse”

The article credited Pope Francis with instituting a “sweeping new law.” Instead, the pope should be credited with “sweeping under the rug” child sexual abuse allegations.

The Catholic Church’s new rules mandate internal reporting to church authorities exclusively — not civil authorities. As long as reporting remains internal, abuse will continue. In the United States, sexual assault is a crime and should be reported to civil authorities for investigation and prosecution. Catholic clergy are not above U.S. law.

If a teacher sexually abused a child, the principal would remove the teacher and call the police. Why should we expect any less from a pope? Pope Francis needs to send a clear message to predators: “If you sexually abuse anyone in my church, you will be laicized, the police will be called, and we will cooperate fully in their investigation.” Until then, children and vulnerable adults will remain at risk.

As a society, we must not tolerate the protection of institutional reputations over the safety of children. That children are safe from sexual abuse in church is a very low bar to clear, and anything less is unacceptable.

Maureen Roden, Severna Park

The writer is a member of the board of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

NJ extends statute of limitations, allows sex abuse victims much more time to sue

North Jersey Record

May 13, 2019

By Deena Yellin

New Jersey victims of sexual abuse will now have sweeping new abilities to sue their attackers, and it will be easier for them to seek damages from institutions such as churches that shielded the abuse.

Until now, survivors of sexual assault were prevented from taking their abusers to court because of the statute of limitations: Under New Jersey's current law, survivors of sexual abuse have only two years to pursue litigation, and a victim of child sexual abuse has only until age 20.

After years of fighting, that changed Monday, when Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that offers victims of child sexual abuse the ability to sue their abusers up until they turn 55, or within seven years of their realization that the abuse caused them harm.

In addition, victims previously barred by the narrow statute of limitations from suing their abusers and the institutions that protected them now have two years to file lawsuits seeking damages.

"Survivors of sexual abuse deserve opportunities to seek redress against their abusers," Murphy said Monday after the signing. "This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system."

New Jersey is the 11th state to pass such a statute of limitations bill, and the reform is pending in several other states. But New Jersey's law is distinctive because the window lets those who were sexually assaulted as adults file lawsuits, said Pro

Analysis: 'Vos estis' and 'vulnerability'

Catholic News Agency

May 13, 2019

By Ed Condon

Pope Francis’ recently promulgated policy on sexual abuse allegations made against bishops, Vos estis lux mundi, offers a new and much expanded interpretation of what constitutes a canonical sexual crime by a cleric.

That interpretation has raised real questions about how the law is to be applied, at the Vatican and in diocesan chanceries.

The new policy recognizes as explicitly criminal the abuse of authority in coercive sexual relationships, a move called for often in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal. It also offers a new definition for “vulnerable” adults, a legal category of persons who could be subject to criminally coercive abuse.

The universal law of the Church previously defined a “vulnerable adult” as one who “habitually lacks the use of reason.”

The new definition classifies a “vulnerable adult” as “any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offense.”

That definition could seem to cover a very broad swath of situations, which would be quite distinct from each other. Some Vatican and diocesan officials have told CNA they are concerned that the potentially broad applicability of the new definition could cause unjust expectations, and uncertainty about how to proceed in individual cases.

Specifically, some worry that Vos estis could foster a sense that nearly any sexual act committed by a priest is expected be treated on a par with the sexual abuse of minors, and lead to his removal permanent removal from ministry.

In a Church committed to zero-tolerance for sexual abuse, the new definition for “vulnerable adult” could make clergy discipline a decidedly more complicated undertaking.

Victims Of Clergy Abuse To Sue Vatican, Seek Abusers’ Names

Associated Press

May 13, 2019

Five men who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests when they were minors are planning to sue the Vatican and are demanding the names of thousands of predator priests they claim have been kept secret by the Holy See.

In a Monday news release announcing the lawsuit, Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson said he wants to show that the Vatican tried to cover up actions by top church officials including former St. Paul Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors and adults and defrocked by Pope Francis. The lawsuit, which will be filed Tuesday, seeks the release of 3,400 names of purportedly abusive priests.

The plaintiffs include three brothers who were abused by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer as recently as 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in connection with his contact with two of the boys, who were 12 and 14.

Wehmeyer’s arrest led prosecutors to file criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for failing to protect children. It also led to the forced resignation of Nienstedt, who came under fire for his handling of Wehmeyer’s case.

Internal church documents show that church leaders knew Wehmeyer had engaged in sexual misconduct when they promoted him to lead The Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2009. The behavior included at least two occasions when Wehmeyer solicited men for sex. Yet, church leaders did not warn parishioners about his past.

Charlotte diocese to publish names of Catholic clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

Charlotte Observer

May 13, 2019

By Bruce Henderson

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte said Monday it will publish by year’s end a list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Survivors of abuse have criticized the diocese for not doing so sooner.

In a statement, Bishop Peter Jugis said that the 46-county diocese welcomes new procedures announced last week by Pope Francis that require priests and nuns to report sexual abuse by clergy. The procedures, which will apply to the church worldwide, include some measures already in use in Charlotte, Jugis said.

Jugis hinted at a change of heart when it comes to publishing the names of accused clergy, as other U.S. dioceses have done but Charlotte’s has not.

“Through my discussions with abuse survivors, I have come to believe that a full airing of abuse from the past is crucial in the healing process for victims and for the entire Church,” his statement said.

Victims appeal to Bridgeport bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

“He’s left 15 priests off his accused list,” they say, “including 11 who taught at Fairfield Prep."
SNAP: “Help us get alleged predator out of classroom”
Despite settlement paid, ex-CT cleric now teaches school in NJ. CT’s 5-yr Statute of Limitations prevented criminal charges.
Group says Catholic officials must “beat the bushes” to find more victims

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose names and information about 15 publicly and credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in and around Bridgeport but have been left off the list published by the Bridgeport diocese.

They will also challenge Bridgeport’s bishop to
--add these 15 names to his official ‘accused’ list,
--include photos, whereabouts and work histories of ALL accused clerics, and
--help education officials oust a former Bridgeport predator priest who is now a teacher.

Monday May 13 at noon

SNAP Calls Texans to Action as Case Against Conroe Priest Progresses

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 13, 2019

Earlier this month, a Conroe County Grand Jury indicted allegedly abusive priest Fr. Manuel LaRosa Lopez. Today, that case moves forward.

We hope that this trial will encourage other survivors in Texas to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and find independent sources of healing. We also hope that this trial sends the message that, while one case may be moving in Conroe County, more work is desperately needed throughout Texas to protect children and vulnerable adults and to support survivors of sexual violence.

We are encouraging Texans across the state to take three steps that can make a difference:

First, contact Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and urge to him to follow in the footsteps of nineteen other attorneys general around the country and open an investigation into clergy sex abuse. AG Paxton can make a difference by opening a confidential hotline and email address that survivors can use to report their experiences. And while he is soliciting this information, AG Paxton should be passing information on to local district attorneys in an effort to find cases that can be prosecuted. Sample language can be found here.

Second, contact your county’s District Attorney and urge them to actively reach out to local communities, urging survivors to come forward and make a report of their abuse. District Attorneys can also encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to share any information they might have related to past or ongoing cases of clerical sexual abuse.

Finally, contact your state representatives and senators and urge them to create or sponsor legislation that will protect children, benefit survivors, and prevent future cases of abuse. For example, reforming statutes of limitations can help survivors find justice where none existed previously and can get important information about abusers into the hands of the public.
Similarly, representatives and senators can look to create legislation that would allow AG Paxton to convene a Grand Jury, something that has been effective in other places including most recently in Pennsylvania.

These elected officials are key to the creation and implementation of critical reforms that can help keep the vulnerable in Texas safer, create healing environments for survivors, and find justice for past crimes while preventing future ones. We hope everyone in Texas will

Diocese of Charlotte will Post Names By “End of the Year,” SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 13, 2019

Charlotte's Catholic bishop will has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of most of his brother bishops and release a list of clergy who have been publicly accused of abuse. Yet, for some reason, he was unable to commit to releasing the list promptly, only agreeing to do so “by the end of the year.”

While we are glad that Bishop Peter Jugis is finally taking this much belated and long overdue step, it is challenging to understand why it took so long to reach this decision. In his statement, Bishop Jugis says that he began the review process last fall: why then, can he not put a preliminary list out today and then continue to add and update as more information comes in? That would be the better thing to do, and more in line with the Church’s pledges to be “open and honest” about the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The longer information about abusers remains hidden, the less informed communities are and the greater the risk to the vulnerable. Most bishops around the country have already released names and other information to the public. Bishop Jugis should not need the rest of the year to follow suit and should be able to commit to more than this vague deadline.

When the bishop does release his list, we hope that it is the single-most comprehensive list of its kind in the country. The extra time needed by Church officials in the Diocese of Charlotte should let them ensure that their list contains not only names and current status and whereabouts, but also headshots, work histories for each of the accused, dates the allegations were received and detailed information on what steps Church officials in Charlotte took in response to those allegations.

It is also worth pointing out that in his statement Bishop Jugissays that any allegation he uncovers in his "comprehensive review" will be forwarded to the Lay Review Board for examination, yet makes no mention of police or prosecutors. Institutions cannot police themselves and the only way to get to the bottom of the clergy abuse scandal and determine who knew what, when they knew, and what they did with that information is by involving the secular professionals in law enforcement.

While we are glad that Bishop Peter Jugis is finally taking this much belated and long overdue step, it is challenging to understand why it took so long to reach this decision. In his statement, Bishop Jugis says that he began the review process last fall: why then, can he not put a preliminary list out today and then continue to add and update as more information comes in? That would be the better thing to do, and more in line with the Church’s pledges to be “open and honest” about the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The longer information about abusers remains hidden, the less informed communities are and the greater the risk to the vulnerable. Most bishops around the country have already released names and other information to the public. Bishop Jugis should not need the rest of the year to follow suit and should be able to commit to more than this vague deadline.

NJ Governor Signs Historic Bill to Extend Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse and Open a 'Window to Justice'

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

May 13, 2019

We commend Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Joseph Vitale, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, NJ SNAP leader Mark Crawford, and the hundreds of survivors and advocates who made this dramatic reform of the statute of limitations (SOL) in New Jersey possible. The new law will be one of the best in the nation, granting all sexual abuse survivors the opportunity to access the justice system.

Previously NJ had only allowed child sexual abuse victims two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit against their perpetrators and the institutions that protected them. The new statute will extend the civil SOL to age 55, or seven years after the victims discover the connection of their emotional and psychological harm to their sexual abuse. It also opens a two year 'window to justice' to allow those previously barred by the state's extremely restricted SOL to take action. Finally, the new law extends the SOL for those who were sexually assaulted as adults from two years to seven years. These changes will help to bring accountability to any organization that harbors, conceals or protects those who sexually abuse children or vulnerable adults.

By taking this step today, New Jersey is providing an excellent example to other states of concrete legislation that can help survivors, create informed communities, and safeguard the vulnerable. We hope that legislators throughout the U.S. will seek opportunities to learn more and reform statutes of limitations laws or create "windows to justice" in their own states.

Former Charlotte priest accused of past abuse


May 10, 2019

As the Pope issues a new, groundbreaking law requiring Catholic priests and nuns to report sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors, we're learning the name of yet another former Charlotte priest accused of past abuse.

Sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson listed Father Eugene D. Corbesero’s name alongside more than 300 other publicly accused predators this week. The list shows Corbesero eventually left the Catholic Church but first spent three years at Our Lady of Consolation in Charlotte and St. Dorothy in Lincolnton.

The Diocese of Charlotte said the late former priest served from 1973 to 1976 but was technically a member of a religious order, not the diocese. 30 years later, he reportedly pleaded guilty in New Jersey for molesting a 12-year-old boy who was attending a sleepover at his house.

“I cannot speak to what prompted them to put his name on their list,” Patricia Guilfoyle said.

The new information surfaced after a survivor filed suit this week against bishops in New Jersey, as part of an effort to force them to release a list of all known predators. The Diocese of Charlotte has also so far refused to release list, which remains under consideration.

Corbesero joins a growing list of at least 15 publicly accused priests with ties to the Diocese of Charlotte, including the former chancellor Monsignor Mauricio West. He resigned in March after an adult student accused him of sexual misconduct while at Belmont Abbey in the 80s.

Survivors and advocates here continue to push for the diocese to release its own list of predator priests, not to just document history, but to make other possible victims aware who these people are, where they worked and when.

Just days ago, the Pope demanded more accountability and transparency moving forward, effective June 1.

Attention journalists: New papal decree still avoids laity in process of fighting sexual abuse

Get Religion blog

May 12, 2019

Clemente Lisi

A new decree by Pope Francis that now requires priests and nuns to report cases of abuse by other clergy — including any cover-ups by superiors such as a local bishop — is long overdue.

It’s so long overdue that one has to wonder why this wasn’t something put into practice by the church years ago.

Nonetheless, the pope’s attempt to finally create some accountability and transparency is well intentioned, although misguided given that it largely ignores the role of laypeople and reli