« July 2019 | Main | September 2019 »

August 31, 2019

Ireland's hidden survivors


August 30, 2019

By Leanna Byrne

[This feature has the following sections: William, The Institutions, Mary, The Commission, The Safeguarder, Moving on]

It is 20 years since the Republic of Ireland’s first state apology to children abused in Catholic institutions.

It is 10 years since a government-sponsored report exposed the sheer scale of the abuse carried out by priests, nuns and lay staff.

As the number of surviving abuse victims shrinks and the Irish state closes its survivors' fund, many feel that they have been left without a plan to continue to support them.


Imagine two young brothers. One is visually impaired. His younger brother has brittle bone disease and is severely disabled. Both are forced to witness each other being sexually abused by two priests.

This is William Gorry’s story.

His worst experience was when he was 10 years old. His brother, Thomas, was six.

Nuncio linked to controversial appointments leaves Chile; In Nicaragua, government targets Church


August 30, 2019

By Inés San Martín


Rome - Across Latin America this week, the Church has been dealing with the abuse crisis, speaking out about the ongoing wildfires devastating the Amazon region, and speaking against corruption.

Here’s the round-up of news from Chile, Nicaragua, and the Amazon region.

Chile is arguably the country hit hardest by the clerical abuse crisis outside the English-speaking world, and two items are making news.

First, it was announced on Thursday Pope Francis has transferred Italian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, who had been appointed as the papal representative to Chile in 2011, to Portugal.

The prelate has been in the eye of the storm after he played a key role in the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to the southern diocese of Osorno.

US Needs Predator Database to Effectively Fight Child Sex Trafficking

The Globe Post

August 29, 2019

By Lori Handrahan

August has been a monumental month in the fight to end impunity for child predators.

First, nearly 800 lawsuits were filed against the Boy Scouts of America for facilitating child sex abuse. As more information becomes public, abuse in the Boy Scouts is expected to eclipse similar crimes in the Catholic Church. At mid-month, hundreds of civil lawsuits against perpetrators and the institutions that protected them were filed in New York State when the Child Victims Act’s one-year “look-back” window opened. Thousands of additional suits are anticipated.

Then there is the Jeffrey Epstein case. On August 9, the initial release of previously sealed Epstein court records named former Senator George Mitchell and previous New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as alleged child sex traffickers. The next day, on August 10, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell after an apparent suicide.

Child Victims Act Lawsuit Claims Alleged Sexual Abuser Still Employed at Location

Spectrum News

August 29, 2019

By Wendy Wright

Rochester - As the Child Victims Act floodgates open, one complaint filed in state Supreme Court this week raises a red flag, because it alleges that the accused is currently employed with an entity of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

The alleged victim coming forward in this case is represented by attorney Dan Ellis.

"Really, victims just want to be heard," said Ellis, from Herman Law Firm.

The complaint accuses Dan Charcholla of violently sexually abusing a child repeatedly between 1981 and 1983. The complaint also states that Charcholla is the current director of recreation at DePaul Adult Care.

Lawsuit Under Child Victims Act Filed Against Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome

Fox 40 WICZ

August 29, 2019

By Briana Supardi

Endicott, N.Y. - A lawsuit has been filed against the Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome alleging a former swim instructor, Gerald Berg, sexually abused a 14-year old boy at the club between the years of 1975 and 1977.

Filed on August 16, 2019, the lawsuit comes after the passage of the Child Victims Act, which provides a one-year window for filing old civil claims for child sexual abuse in New York with no age or time limit.

The New York Child Victims Act and its impact on insurers

Insurance Business Magazine

August 29, 2019

By Bethan Moorcraft

At 12:01am on Wednesday, August 14, the New York Child Victims Act came into effect, opening a one-year window for New Yorkers who claim they were molested or sexually abused as children to file claims and seek criminal and civil action against their alleged abusers. By 5:00am that same morning, 200 sexual abuse lawsuits had been filed, and by noon the number of claims had climbed to 385.

This flood of litigation, although it sounds dramatic, was expected ever since the New York State Legislature passed the Child Victims Act on Monday, January 28. As soon as institutions – like private schools, colleges and non-profit organizations – knew the statute was going to be enacted, they started reviewing their general liability insurance policies to see if they had coverage for potential claims.

Robin Cohen, head of McKool Smith’s insurance recovery litigation practice in New York, has been called upon by many institutions in the state to assist in this complex insurance process and mitigate any coverage disputes between policyholders and insurers over compensation for abuse victims. She told Insurance Business: “A lot of these sexual abuse claims date back to the 1960s and 1970s. They used to be barred by a statute of limitations, but because of the New York Child Victims Act, they’re no longer barred.

“The more recent general liability policies, starting in the 1980s, have a sexual abuse exclusion, so it could be complicated for litigators to get around that exclusion. But the policies that go back to the 1960s and 1970s do not have an exclusion. So, a lot of institutions have been trying to locate their old policies, and many have retained a lost policy specialist to help them do this. Another issue is that policies from the 1960s and 1970s usually have less per-occurrence limits, so I’ve been working closely with companies to work out how valuable their dated policies are.”

We need a federal Child Victims Act

Daily News

August 30, 2019

By Theresa Covington

In the wake of high-profile cases involving Jeffrey Epstein and Larry Nassar, child sexual abuse has become a bigger part of the national dialogue. The common thread that runs through both of cases is the multiple institutions that failed to address very visible warning signs for protecting young girls at risk.

In the Epstein case, a lenient federal non-prosecution agreement in 2008 resulted in Epstein serving only 13 months in jail, during which he was allowed out on a daily basis for work release. Police had called for more serious changes involving sexual abuse of underage girls, but the deal resulted in those charges being wiped clean.

In a recent congressional report focused on the Nassar case, investigators found that multiple institutions failed to take proper action to stop sexual abuse by Nassar. These included USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Michigan State University and even the FBI. They all failed to protect victims and enabled their abuse through institutional inaction.

Latest clergy abuse claim questions priest’s name still on parish hall


August 30, 2019

By Eileen Buckley

Another victim announced he is filing a claim against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Mary Immaculate Parish in Pavilion, New York, formerly known as St. Mary’s, under the Child Victim’s Act.

Wayne Bortle, former Western New Yorker, who now lives in New Hampshire, appeared Thursday afternoon in downtown Buffalo with Boston-area attorney Mitchell Garabedian Thursday to announce his civil lawsuit.

Bortle accuses Father Robert Conlin, now deceased, of sexually abusing him nearly 40-years ago at St. ,Mary's parish when he was about 15 years old.

But this is not the first time Bortle has appeared in Buffalo to make his claims. He first disclosed his allegations against Father Conlin in March of 2018. Since that time, Bortle has been asking that Father Conlin's name be removed from the parish hall.

Inside New York’s Child Victims Act

Legal Talk Network

August 23, 2019

Interview of Jeff Dion and Jeff Anderson by Craig Williams

As of August 14, 2019, New York’s Child Victims Act has opened a one year window allowing child abuse survivors, who would otherwise be barred from filing claims due to the statute of limitations, to file civil suits against their abuser, as well as against individuals and organizations that failed to protect them. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed the Child Victims Act on February 14, 2019, has stated that “[t]his bill brings justice to people who were abused, and rights the wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for too long”.

On Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host Craig Williams is joined by attorney Jeff Dion, CEO of the Zero Abuse Project, and attorney Jeff Anderson, a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation, to discuss the NY Child Victims Act (CVA), its impact, and the subsequent wave of litigation.

Child Victims Act Shines Light on the Trauma, Revictimization of Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Spectrum News

August 30, 2019

By Camalot Todd Buffalo

August 14 saw the yearlong “look-back” window open for the Child Victims Act. Hundreds of cases were filed during the first few days.

But the impact childhood sexual abuse has on mental health extends beyond the 12-month window and can last that person’s entire life.

Reporting the abuse to family, friends, and authorities can be traumatic and revictimization adds a layer of damage on top of the abuse.

James Faluszczak, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and former priest, still struggles with the betrayal he felt after he went to multiple people to report the abuse he endured at the hands of his mentor, Father Daniel Martin.

Bakersfield Priest Sues Founder of Catholic Group for Defamation

Valley Public Radio

August 27, 2019

By Monica Velez

A Valley priest who has been the target of several sexual abuse allegations is suing the founder of a Catholic organization for defamation.

According to the civil lawsuit, filed through Kern County Superior Court earlier this month, Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, made statements about Msgr. Craig Harrison that were “false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous.”

Harrison was accused of sexual abuse in April by two people. The abuses allegedly occurred while Harrison worked at churches in Merced and Firebaugh. According to the lawsuit, on May 29, Brady held a press conference at a Holiday Inn & Suites in Bakersfield to revisit allegations of sexual abuse that were made in the early 2000s.

Liberian Catholic Church Mute on New Explosive Book Sex Abuse

Front Page Africa

August 30, 2019

By Tecee Boley

The Catholic Church has refused to respond to the release of a new explosive book detailing top level religious sex abuse in the Liberian Church. Decades of allegations of homosexual assaults on junior priest by superiors, the sexual abuse of minors and gross misuse of power that hung over the church are fully explained in the book titled ‘Vigilant Catholic’.

For two weeks Frontpage Africa has tried to contact the President of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Liberia, Bishop Anthony Borwah. He replied to the first email but failed to reply to a follow-up or answered his phone afterward. Bishop Borwah wrote,

“Dear Tecee,

I am traveling at the moment and will be back in Liberia in three weeks.

By next Friday, August 23rd, you will get the Church’s position from me or a representative of the Church.


Bishop Tony Borwah”

The Secretary of the Catholic Bishop Conference Father Dennis Nimene also failed to respond after a visit to his office did not yield fruit. When contacted by phone, Father Nimene responded, “How can I respond to allegations in a book that I have not read?”

Child Sex Abuse Victims Sue Catholic Church, Boy Scouts

Gay City News

August 30, 2019

By Matt Tracy

New state law opens door for legal action against abusers from decades past

A wave of legal action spurred by the passage of the Child Victims Act has emerged in New York State, where attorneys representing victims of child sex abuse on August 28 announced lawsuits against the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, and the Boy Scouts of America.

The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, which have longstanding reputations for shielding abusers within their ranks, were hit in State Supreme Court with the lawsuits and formal discovery requests, meaning they are being asked to turn over years-old evidence of improper actions toward minors. The lawsuits allege that the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church have deliberately hidden files containing revealing evidence of abuse.

The victims are pursuing legal retribution as part of the Child Victims Act’s one-year “look-back window,” which by temporarily suspending the statute of limitations on abuse crimes allows survivors to seek some level of justice for the abuse they suffered during their youth. Many of those named in the lawsuits allegedly had charges against them substantiated internally decades ago and are deceased — one lawsuit names alleged abusers whose time with the Boy Scouts spanned the 1960s to the 1990s — but in those cases, survivors are still aiming for accountability from the organizations that employed them. In other cases, alleged abusers are still alive.

Ex-Ken-Ton teacher, a Boy Scout leader, and a priest are the latest accused in Child Victims Act cases


August 30, 2019

By Dave McKinley


Four complaints have been filed involving the same teacher regarding abuse alleged more than 40 years ago

A former teacher in the Kenmore Tonawanda School District and a man who served as a Boy Scout leader are among those named in the latest cases filed under the Child Victims Act in Erie County.

The cases were filed in New York State Supreme Court.

Four accuse former Ken-Ton teacher

In all four cases — all filed on Friday morning — men now in their 50's alleged that they were “sexually assaulted, abused, and/or groped” by Arthur Werner, when he was their teacher at Hoover Elementary School in the 1970s.

The complaints are nearly identical in their claims as well, that each was forced to watch Werner “regularly and repeatedly sexually assault other boys in this classroom at Hoover Elementary.”

The Kenmore Tonawanda School district is named as the defendant in the case, due to what the complaint alleges was "negligence, carelessness, lack of supervision and lack of appropriate policies," according to attorney Christopher O’Brien of the O’Brien and Ford law firm who is representing all four plaintiffs.

“This teacher would call children up to the front of the room, particularly boys, to discipline them perhaps after yelling at them,” O’Brien told WGRZ-TV. “He would bring them around the desk, and draw them closely to him with one arm, holding them tightly. He would whisper in their ear that they had to be disciplined and had to learn… while using his other hand to fondle them. And the whole time he’s fondling them the rest of the class could see this.”

South Africa bishop says abusers should not be in the priesthood


August 31, 2019

Yaoundé, Cameroon - A leading bishop in South Africa said clerical sexual abuse is a problem the Church is trying to confront in the country.

Mthatha Bishop Sithembile Sipuka, the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told Crux that “between 2000 and 2016, 44 cases have been reported and investigated. Other cases are still being processed.”

He said the Church must do more to prevent abusers from entering the priesthood.

“The vexing question should really be, how can a priest stain the soul of a young person by sexually abusing him or her? And there is really no answer to that question, except to say that he is sick and abusive of power and should not be in priesthood,” the bishop said.

Sipuka noted the fact that in years past, bishops across the globe have come under severe criticism for engaging in a code of silence when it comes to the clerical abuse of minors. The bishop said it was a grave injustice to the victims when accused priests were transferred to another parish to keep the allegations secret.

Former church worker convicted in sexual assault case

Associated Press and Crux

August 30, 2019

A former church worker has been convicted in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a teenage altar boy at a suburban Detroit church.

Oakland County Circuit Court says 66-year-old Hurmiz Ishak was found guilty Thursday of one count of criminal sexual conduct and acquitted of two others. Sentencing is Sept. 27.

Defense attorney Jalal Dallo argued there was a lack of evidence and said the allegations were fabricated.

Police say the boy’s parents reported alleged assaults last year to a priest at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy.

Former Cardinal Spellman, Stepinac priest accused of sex abuse at Resurrection Church in Rye

Journal News

August. 30, 2019

By Mark Lungariello

A former Rye priest was accused of sexually molesting an altar boy in the 1970s in a lawsuit filed Thursday under New York’s Child Victims Act.

William T. White is accused of sexually abusing the victim at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye multiple times between 1972 and 1973, when the boy was 11 and 12 years old, according to the suit.

These are the latest allegations against White, who has faced accusations that he sexually abused children while an administrator at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and Holy Cross in Manhattan.

White also worked locally at Holy Family in New Rochelle for two years in the 1980s and as principal of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, according to priest abuse records and previous reports. White, now 86, was defrocked in 2002 while working in Florida. He is believed to still live in West Palm Beach.

McCarrick Priest First to Be Prosecuted by NJ Sex Abuse Task Force

Church Militant

August 26, 2019

By Bradley Eli

Father Thomas Ganley was ordained by McCarrick in 1985 and sentenced Monday

New Brunswick - A New Jersey priest ordained by now-disgraced Theodore McCarrick is the first cleric to be sentenced for sex abuse since New Jersey launched its clergy abuse task force in September.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, ordained by McCarrick for the diocese of Metuchen in 1985, faces a four-year sentence for sexually abusing a teenage girl in the 1990s while assigned to Metuchen's St. Cecelia Church in Iselin, New Jersey. He is being sentenced Monday.

Ganley was arrested in January just 48 hours after the victim contacted the task force's hotline set up by the state's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal.

"This case illustrates that we are prepared to move swiftly to investigate allegations, and where there are viable criminal charges, to pursue those charges," said Grewal following Ganley's arrest.

Priest Placed On Leave After Sex Abuse Allegations Surface


August 30, 2019

By Eric Heyl

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has placed the Rev. Robert Cedolia on leave

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has placed a priest on administrative leave after allegations he sexually abused a minor in the 1990s while serving as pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Holiday Park.

The Rev. Robert Cedolia currently is priest and administrator of the parishes of Saint Claire in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas a Becket in Jefferson Hills and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills.

Cedolia has denied the allegation, the first lodged against him in his 41 years as a priest.

Ex-Trumbull priest removed after credible accusations of abuse

Connecticut Post

August 30, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

Bridgeport - A Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave after credible evidence was found that he abused a child 35 years ago, according to the Bridgeport Diocese.

“It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I have put Father Stephen Gleeson on administrative leave and have removed his faculties to exercise public ministry as a priest,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in a letter to parishioners dated Aug. 24.

Gleeson retired on June 30, 2013, after nearly 50 years of service as a priest, most recently as the pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Trumbull. Caggiano said Gleeson is prohibited from any future ministry.

The bishop said his decision was made after the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board ruled that there is credible evidence of an incident of sexual abuse of a minor on the part of the priest more than 35 years ago.

No details of the abuse were released. Representatives of the St. Stephen Parish did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

August 30, 2019

Fort Augustus Abbey alleged abuse victim lodges six-figure compensation claim

The Press and Journal

August 30, 2019

By Alistair Munro

A man who claims he was abused at a Catholic school in the Highlands has launched a six-figure civil action.

Lawyers acting on behalf of former pupil Hugh Kennedy, 56, who now lives in England, are pursuing the last remaining trustee of Fort Augustus Abbey.

The order of Benedictine Monks who ran the Abbey and the Catholic Church are denying any liability to solicitors Digby Brown, who have now lodged a civil action against trustee and priest the Right Reverend Paul Bonnici, whose last known residence is in Malta.

He is not connected to any of the abuse allegations, but is being pursued as the only remaining trustee of the Fort Augustus Abbey board.

Mr Kennedy claims he suffered years of abuse at the Loch Ness-side abbey.

The abbey was an exclusive prep school where parents sent their children for a Catholic education.

First they came for Pell…

Catholic Herald

August 29, 2019

By Tim Stanley

Why do so many Catholics refuse to believe that the Australian cardinal George Pell is guilty of child abuse? The cynical answer is “tribal loyalty”: he’s one of us, so we’ll defend him. But Catholics have had plenty of opportunity to get used to the idea of clerics abusing children and we’d gladly condemn the guilty to prison.

No, part of the Catholic objection is an old-fashioned, non-sectarian concern for justice – that if you’re going to convict a man for such an awful crime, you should be pretty damn sure he’s guilty.

His accusers would say that they are. They say that after a Sunday Mass in December 1996, the archbishop found two boys drinking communion wine in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. Allegedly, he then raped them. Later that year, or in early 1997, it is said that he groped one of them in a hallway. A jury found him guilty last year and two judges in a court of appeal have upheld the verdict. One of the appeal judges, however, dissented – and his opinion contains some interesting observations about how the verdict was reached.

Guest Perspective: Sins of the past continue to haunt Catholic church

News & Citizen

August 29, 2019

By Bishop Christopher J. Coyne

[See the report that Coyne references.]

The Diocese of Burlington this week published a report listing the names of diocesan clergy who, since 1950, have had a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against them. With one exception, all of these acts occurred more than 20 years ago.

None of these priests is in ministry; most of them are deceased. While most of these allegations took place at least a generation ago, the numbers are still staggering. The victims of these priests are still bearing the wounds of what happened to them. Until now, the scope of all of this has been our “family secret.”

Family secrets can be toxic. Harmful past experiences — unspoken, unaddressed and known only by a few — fester like neglected wounds. The innocent victims of the family secret are often made to feel ashamed about what happened as no one seems to listen to them or even, sadly at times, believe them. While these secrets remain hidden, those who have been hurt are often unable to find the healing they need, especially if those who harmed them are still “part” of the family, even if only in memory.

Lawsuit alleges abuse against priest who believed Hubbard broke vows

Times Union

August 28, 2019

By Steve Hughes

The priest who died by suicide after allegedly trying to prove former Bishop Howard Hubbard violated his vow of celibacy with other priests is among the nearly two dozen Albany diocese clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

A 61-year-old man now living in Georgia says in a lawsuit that Father John Minkler abused him when he was an eight-year-old altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church and a student at the parish school in Rensselaer. The abuse began around 1965, according to the lawsuit.

During that time Minkler was a seminary student at Mater Christi Seminary in Albany but assisted at St. Joseph’s, according to the attorneys who filed the lawsuit. He was not an ordained priest until 1972.

Law firms sue Catholic church and Boy Scouts for “secret files” on alleged sex abusers

Queens Daily Eagle

August 28, 2019

By Victoria Merlino

Two law firms say they are suing the Boy Scouts of America, the New York Archdiocese and the Diocese of Brooklyn over “secret files” that they claim would reveal “decades worth of evidence” about alleged child sex abusers.

Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC say they will represent 550 people who claim they were abused by Catholic Church and Boy Scout leaders.

The attorneys say the lawsuits and formal discovery requests will uncover what they call the Catholic Church’s “secret files” and the Boy Scouts’ “ineligible volunteer files,” including information on each of the alleged perpetrators and on each allegation of sexual abuse.

The lawsuits are made possible by the one-year “lookback” window opened by the Child Victims Act. The landmark law’s lookback period enables survivors of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers or the institutions that enabled them, regardless of when the crime was committed.

On the first day of the CVA, more than 400 lawsuits were filed statewide, including six in Queens. One lawyer told the Eagle that he was filing 66 lawsuits against the Diocese of Brooklyn, which also serves Queens.

MP scathing of Catholic Archbishop during parliamentary debate on confessional seal


August 29, 2019

By James Oaten

A Victorian Government MP has revealed his father was sexually abused as a child as the Parliament holds an emotional debate on legislation that would compel religious leaders to report knowledge of child abuse.

Frankston Labor MP Paul Edbrooke also launched a scathing criticism of Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli, after the Archbishop defended convicted paedophile Cardinal George Pell and ruled out ever breaking the confessional seal.

"It certainly takes a man detached from all logic and reality to go on radio and sell our community this rubbish," Mr Edbrooke told Parliament.

Prelate rallies Catholic faithful in wake of sex abuse scandals

Irish Times

August 25, 2019

By Barry Roche

‘We continue to work for healing of memories and hearts,’ says Bishop William Crean

Those who predict the demise of the Catholic Church in Ireland because of clerical sex abuse scandals are mistaken, a bishop has said.

Bishop of Cloyne William Crean said the scale of clerical abuse scandals had shocked and disgusted people in and outside the church and left the hierarchy with a challenge in trying to regain the trust of many, particularly younger people. Bishop Crean said those in leadership roles will continue working towards healing and reconciliation.

“It’s been a tragedy of immense proportions on many levels . . . survivors will take their scars to the grave and we in leadership will always be found wanting in our response to their wounds,” he said. “We continue to work for healing of memories and hearts; the scale of the loss of trust is immense.”

One man files two sex abuse lawsuits against Diocese of Rochester


August 29, 2019

By Jane Flasch

A man suing the Diocese of Rochester claims he was victimized twice: when he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest, then against as a teen by an employee of a church-run youth program.

"The acts we're hearing are simply horrific," said attorney Dan Ellis of Herman Law. "Our client has had to suffer with this for decades."

The startling allegations get at the heart of the alleged ongoing cover-up of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church.

One of the accused remains on the job and currently works in part with mentally-challenged adults. Dan Charcholla runs the recreation center at DePaul Mental Health Services.

In 1981, when he was 16, the alleged victim says he was tied up, beaten and raped with the baseball bat that was used as the weapon. The lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court says the victim, identified only as "J-O", "was kidnapped and held in Charcholla's home for a week. He says he was forced to have sex with other teens and suffered injuries so severe he "underwent emergency surgery."

Survivors demand US investigation of Mississippi abuse deals

Associated Press

August 29, 2019

By Michael Rezendes and Emily Wagster Pettus

Catholic sex abuse survivors in Mississippi and Wisconsin on Thursday demanded that federal authorities investigate allegations from three black Mississippi men who say they were molested by Franciscan friars during the mid-1990s, when they were as young as 9 years old.

Mark Belenchia, the Mississippi leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a statement calling for federal law enforcement agencies to “pursue any federal charges that may be possible due to the interstate transmission of the victims for the purpose of rape and exploitation by abusive clergymen.”

“It’s time for the outside authorities to come in and investigate ... find out what we know, what they know and what they’ve covered up — because I guarantee you, they covered it up. It’s just systemic,” he said at a news conference in front of the offices of the Jackson diocese.

Stephen J. Carmody, an attorney who represents the diocese, told The Associated Press that the diocese took all the proper steps in the case, including making reports to police and social services officials when it first learned in 1998 of abuse allegations against a friar.

Lawsuits against diocese allege horrific abuse at Rochester homes for needy kids

Democrat & Chronicle

August 29, 2019

By Steve Orr

New lawsuits allege that a boy was repeatedly molested by a priest in the chapel at St. Joseph's Villa in the 1970s and that same victim was then savagely abused as a teenager by a staff member while living in a DePaul group home during the 1980s.

The incidents at the DePaul home in Rochester and St. Joseph's Villa, a residential facility for troubled young people in Greece, were connected only by the fact that the victim was the same — a boy orphaned at age 5 in a constant search for a new home.

The alleged victim's lawyer, Dan Ellis, said it may be no coincidence that his client escaped from one hellish situation only to wind up in another.

"We’ve seen it often. I think a predator can sense someone who’s been victimized, and they prey on that," he said Thursday.

A third lawsuit on behalf of a different plaintiff lays new allegations against Eugene Emo, a defrocked priest who worked in the Rochester diocese and who already has done time in state prison for other sexual misconduct.

Catholic Journalist: Buffalo Sex-Abuse Scandal Is ‘Perfect Storm of Horrible Things’

National Catholic Register

August 29, 2019

Interview of Charlie Specht by Peter Jesserer Smith

Charlie Specht, a Catholic award-winning journalist, discusses with the Register the findings of his reporting about the wave of scandalous allegations now enveloping the Diocese of Buffalo.

Buffalo, N.Y. - More than a year ago, practicing Catholic and award-winning investigative reporter Charlie Specht broke a scandalous cover-up of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Buffalo under Bishop Richard Malone, with the help of Siobhan O’Connor, the bishop’s then-secretary. Since then, the diocese has been deluged with criminal and civil investigations amid a steady drumbeat of new allegations of scandal.

Currently, nearly three months have passed since Pope Francis put Vos Estis Lux Mundi, his global norms on investigating allegations of sexual abuse and episcopal cover-up, into effect.

In this Aug. 22 interview with the Register, Specht details the nature of the known and alleged abuse and cover-ups in play that suggest the Diocese of Buffalo could be ground zero for demonstrating how serious or effective Vos Estis Lux Mundi will be and discusses how faithful local Catholics are responding to these traumatic disclosures.

Child Victims Act lawsuit charges award-winning counselor with sex abuse, baseball bat attack

WHEC News 10 NBC

August 29, 2019

The New York State Child Victims Act has brought three new lawsuits alleging sexual abuse in Rochester and Dansville decades ago.

Each lawsuit names the Catholic diocese of Rochester as a defendant.

But one also accuses an award-winning counselor, not a priest, who has never been named publicly before.

The allegations are against a priest, Father Austin Hanna who died in 2006 at the age of 97 and a counselor at the former Wellington Group Home in Rochester. The home was run by DePaul, which is named as a defendant.

The lawsuit says the counselor still works at DePaul in a senior role and now he is now publicly named as doing something criminal in the '70s.

Former Student Files Lawsuit Against Jesuit, Names Priest in Abuse Scandal

Park Cities People

August 28, 2019

By Timothy Glaze

A graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has filed a lawsuit against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, claiming he was sexually abused by a former school president and priest.

The 1983 graduate, now 54, named the Rev. Patrick Koch as the abuser. Koch was also named on a list the Dallas Diocese released in January of priests who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. Koch never faced criminal charges and died in 2006.

The lawsuit alleges that the church, school, and the Jesuit order “failed to protect the student.”

“Patrick Koch was the sexual abuser, but he did not and could not have acted alone,” read the lawsuit. “He was in the position to abuse [the victim] because of the actions of the defendants in this case and their cover-up of the dangers at the school, the danger of Patrick Koch, and the systemic crisis. [Jesuit] created and fostered a community where abuse would occur and the school did nothing to prevent the problem – despite its obviousness.”

Priest from Waterford parish accused of raping child bound over to circuit court in Detroit

The Oakland Press


August 29, 2019

By Aileen Wingblad

A Waterford Township Catholic priest accused of raping a young boy was bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct - sexual penetration with a person less than 13 years old.

At a preliminary exam in a Wayne County district court, visiting Judge Randy Kalmbach advanced the case against Father Joseph “Jack” Baker to the higher court on Thursday after hearing testimony from the alleged victim, now age 23, who said Baker sexually assaulted him in a storage room of St. Mary Catholic Church in Wayne in 2004.

Baker, 57, is currently suspended from his duties as pastor of St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford and all public ministry, as ordered by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The Oakland Press is not identifying the victim of the alleged rape due to the nature of the offense.

Taking the stand in 18th District Court in Westland, the alleged victim testified that the incident unfolded sometime between February 2004 and June 2004 when he was a second-grader at St. Mary. While attending an after-school catechism class there in preparation for the sacrament of First Holy Communion, he said, a teacher asked him to retrieve a book from the church’s storage room or sacristy, which is where he encountered Baker that day.

Wyoming bishop’s decades of abuse destroyed lives, traumatized families


August 28, 2019

By Christopher White

[Part 1 of a three-part investigative series. Part 2 was already posted in Abuse Tracker.]

Kansas City, Missouri - As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come.

Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.

Prior to being named a bishop, Joseph Hart had served in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the first two decades of his priesthood, following ordination in 1956. Although his ecclesial career has spanned over five decades, serving in two states where he was widely popular, he has been trailed by allegations of serial abuse - which he has consistently denied - dodging both civil and canonical adjudication for more than two decades.

Case of Bishop Hart shows role clericalism plays in abuse cover-up


August 30, 2019

By Christopher White

[Part 3 of a three-part investigative series]

Cheyenne, Wyoming - For years, clergy abuse survivors fought to have Bishop Joseph Hart’s name stripped from the building of St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington, Wyoming - a residence for troubled teenage boys known as the Hart’s Children Center.

They had been unsuccessful for over a decade, but after Bishop Steven Biegler arrived in the diocese and deemed two allegations against Hart as credible and substantiated, the name was finally removed in 2018 as a concrete sign that the diocese was acting on the information of abuse.

For Hart’s victims, who were teenage boys themselves when they claim to have been abused by the once beloved priest and bishop, the move was more than mere symbolism - it was a sign of hope that perhaps Hart could still face some form of earthly justice.

Statement about August 27th Associated Press Article

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province of the Franciscan Friars

August 28, 2019

[Response to AP article]

An article came out yesterday, August 27th, from the Associated Press about credible sexual abuse allegations against two men who had served at St. Francis in the mid to late 1990s. The two men's names are Paul West and Donald Lucas. Paul left Greenwood in November 1998 and subsequently left the Franciscan community in 2002. Donald died in August 1999, an apparent suicide.

The sexual abuse involved three men, all related, whose names appear in the article. It is a very graphic article about the sexual abuse that took place and what these men experienced when they were children. All three men attended St. Francis Grade School at the time of the abuse. Paul West had been a teacher and then principal of the school.

It is awful what happened; it is reprehensible; it is painful for the survivors. We, friars, are broken-hearted about the abuse which took place. All of our friars at St. Francis and of the Assumption BVM Province want to help these men as we are able. We have provided assistance to two of the men that is not discussed in the article. While the actions of the two former friars took place over two decades ago, they are still very painful in the lives of these men who suffered so much.

Pittsburgh diocese puts priest on leave amid allegation of sexual abuse dating back to 1990s

WTAE Action 4 News

August 29, 2019

[With diocesan statement]

The Rev. Robert Cedolia formerly served at Our Lady of Joy in Plum; now priest-administrator of parishes in Clairton, West Mifflin, Jefferson Hills, Pleasant Hills

Plum, Pa. - A longtime Catholic priest has been placed on leave due to an allegation that he sexually abused a minor while he was serving at a church in Plum in the 1990s, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday night.

The Rev. Robert Cedolia is priest-administrator of the parishes of Saint Clare in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas a Becket in Jefferson Hills and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills.

"The diocese is responding to an accusation made through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, stating that Father Cedolia allegedly sexually abused a minor in the 1990s while he served as pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Holiday Park," the diocese said in a written statement.

Priest-administrator of several Allegheny County parishes accused of sexual abuse

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 29, 2019


The priest-administrator of several Allegheny County parishes has been placed on administrative leave after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1990s, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Thursday.

The Rev. Robert Cedolia, priest-administrator of the parishes of Saint Clare in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas A’Becket in Jefferson Hills and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills, denies the allegation, the diocese said.

The accusation, which was made to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, alleged that Father Cedolia sexually abused a minor in the 1990s while he served as pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Plum.

This is the first allegation involving Father Cedolia, who has been a priest in active ministry for 41 years, according to the diocese.

Wisconsin Catholic school teacher accused of sex abuse passed 11 background checks, officials say

Green Bay Press Gazette

August 29, 2019

By Haley BeMiller and Duke Behnke

Officials at a Wisconsin Catholic school insist they were unaware of sexual abuse allegations against a former teacher and Franciscan brother who came to the state after serving in Mississippi.

St. John Nepomucene Catholic School in Little Chute, which operates under the purview of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, issued a statement saying Paul West passed background checks before and after the school hired him in 1999.

Meanwhile, an Appleton-area police department confirmed it's investigating West, and a group of clergy abuse survivors has called for a federal probe of allegations that he transported at least one child across state lines to sexually assault him.

The developments came in the wake of an investigation by The Associated Press published this week that revealed West, then a member of the Franklin-based Franciscan Friars of the Assumption, was accused of sexually and physically abusing three boys while they were students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi — including during summer trips to Wisconsin.

New law opens door for priest abuse lawsuits

Rutland Herald

Aug 27, 2019

By Gordon Dritschilo

Law in effect since July 1

As the Diocese of Burlington compiled its report on priest sex abuse cases, the state was moving to give more of the victims a path to hold the priests and church accountable.

This year, the Legislature passed and Gov. Phil Scott signed, a bill eliminating the statute of limitations on civil actions dealing with childhood sexual abuse. The new law took effect July 1, and a Burlington attorney who has represented several victims in successful actions against the church says he has filed five new lawsuits that were barred under the previous statute of limitations, possibly with more to come.

“There are a number of people whose claims had been barred by the statute of limitations who now feel they can come forward,” said Jerome O’Neill, who has represented more than 50 survivors of priest sexual abuse, winning them a combined total of more than $30 million. “We look at each case carefully.”

O’Neill said the five were filed on the day the new law took effect. While the alleged incidents took place all over Vermont, the cases were filed in Chittenden County civil court. He said they remain under seal until the diocese files a response or a motion to dismiss is denied.

Abuse Suit Filed Against Diocese of Scranton, Current and Former Bishop


August 28, 2019

By Dave Bohman

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of four men who claim abuse at the hands of a former priest in the Diocese of Scranton.

The lawsuit names the Diocese of Scranton, Former Bishop James Timlin, and current Bishop Joseph Bambera.

Three of the men spoke out about the alleged sexual assaults against them. The men claiming to be victims say they are not after money.

At a news conference in downtown Scranton, they said they want to hold the diocese responsible for the suffering they say they endured as teenagers at the hands of Fr. Michael Pulicare.

Pulicare was the priest at what was St. Joseph's Parish in the Minooka section of Scranton in the 1970s. Pulicare died in 1999.

In a grand jury report released last year, the state attorney general did not list Fr. Pulicare among the hundreds of accused priests.

Earlier this year, the Diocese of Scranton decided that people claiming to be victims of Fr. Pulicare are eligible to receive money from a diocese settlement fund.

August 29, 2019

Man sues city of New Orleans for damages over alleged abuse at hands of predator cop


Sept. 4, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A man who last year opened up about being sexually molested in the 1970s by a Boy Scout leader, then again by a New Orleans child abuse detective he was relying upon for protection, sued the city for damages on Wednesday, claiming he tried reporting the abusive cop to other police officers years later but was turned away.

Richard Windmann’s suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court also details how Stanley Burkhardt, the former detective who has since been convicted of child molestation and pornography-related crimes, allegedly used a teenage Windmann as “bait” when building cases against other suspected pedophiles.

The city may argue that Windmann’s suit was filed too late and that a statute of limitations prevents him from being able to seek damages. He testified about some of his claims against Burkhardt in a federal courtroom in North Carolina several years ago, meaning he can't now claim he only recently remembered the abuse.

However, the 11-page suit argues that the failure of Burkhardt’s fellow officers to report him to federal investigators amounted to a cover-up and prevented the statute of limitations from taking effect. One of those officers had been married to Burkhardt at one point.

Ivo Scapolo dejará Chile tras ser nombrado nuncio apostólico en Portugal

[Ivo Scapolo will leave Chile after being named apostolic nuncio in Portugal]


August 29, 2019

Fue durante su misión en Santiago que surgieron acusaciones sobre encubrimiento de abusos y el nombramiento de algunos obispos chilenos cercanos a Karadima.

[It was during his mission in Santiago that accusations arose about covering up abuses and the appointment of some Chilean bishops close to Karadima.]

Kozhikode: Laity plan list of nuns who were abused by priests

Deccan Chronicle

August 24, 2019

The CLA is conducting a survey across the state to collect the details of the victims.

The Catholic Laymen’s Association has come to the defence of Sr. Lucy who has been accused by the Church of defaming the nuns by allowing two journalists into the convent through the backdoor.

The CLA, a body of believers based here, said that many priests had defamed the Church by secretly entering the convents through the backdoor and sexually exploiting the nuns. Many nuns were murdered or had committed suicide. The CLA is conducting a survey across the state to collect the details of the victims.

According to CLA secretary M.L. George, Sr. Abhaya of Pius Tenth convent in Kottayam was a victim of the priests’ nocturnal visits. Two priests and a nun are still under a cloud, he said.

In another incident, the body of a pregnant nun was found in the well of a convent at Marakavu under the Mananthavadi diocese. Though the guilty priest is known to the Church, he is still active in the Church, Mr George pointed out.

The body of Sr. Jyothis of Kallurutty convent under the Thamarassery diocese was found in the well of the convent on November 20, 1998. “Though there was injury in her vagina as per the postmortem report, the case was hushed up by the local police,” Mr George said. The priest concerned was just transferred, he said.

New Child Victims Act suit filed against diocese; accuser wants priest’s name taken off of parish hall


August 29, 2019

By Chris Horvatits

A new lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Buffalo is raising questions about the name of a parish hall at a church in Genesee County.

That hall is named after the priest who is accused of sexual abuse in a lawsuit filed by a name named Wayne Bortle.

“I think about what happened every single day,” Bortle told reporters Thursday.

The lawsuit is one of more than 100 that have been filed against the Catholic diocese since August 14th, the day the Child Victims Act went into effect. That state law opened up a one year look-back window for victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their abusers, even if the claim was previously time-barred by statute of limitations.

Bortle claims he was abused by Rev. Robert Conlin in 1980, when Conlin served at St. Mary’s Church in Pavilion. Bortle was 15 years old at the time. The suit claims Conlin gained Bortle’s trust by inviting him to play basketball and play games in the rectory, taking him to high school sporting events, and inviting him to attend mass.


Catholic News Service

August 29, 2019

Responding to criticism of notes he published about the roots of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, retired Pope Benedict XVI said the fact that the critiques barely mentioned God proved his point.

“As far as I can see, in most reactions to my contribution, God does not appear at all,” which is “exactly what I wanted to emphasize” as the central problem, he wrote in a brief note to Herder Korrespondenz, according to KNA, the German Catholic news agency.

In April, the retired pope sent a compilation of what he described as “some notes” on the crisis to Klerusblatt, a German-language Catholic monthly journal for clergy in Bavaria.

Seeing the crisis as rooted in the “egregious event” of the cultural and sexual revolution in the Western world in the 1960s and a collapse of belief in the existence and authority of absolute truth and God, the retired pope said the primary task at hand is to reassert the joyful truth of God’s existence and of the Church as holding the true deposit of faith.

Most of the criticism, though, focused on Pope Benedict seeming to blame the cultural and sexual revolution of the ‘60s, especially when many cases of priests sexually abusing children occurred before that time, even if the public found out only recently.

In the new note, Pope Benedict said the “the general deficit in the reception of my text” was a lack of willingness to engage with his contention that abuse is related to a lack of faith and strong morals.

Clergy Abuse Protest


August 29, 2019

The Survivors Network of those abused by priests– also known as “Snap”– will hold a protest against clergy abuse today in Jackson.

The group wants Jackson’s catholic bishop to remove a staff member. That person reportedly convinced an abused victim to sign a confidentiality clause, and help authorities pursue a cleric who allegedly abused three children.

The group is calling on the Us Attorney’s Office to look into these cases.

The protest will begin at 2:00 pm in front of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

More child sex abuse lawsuits being filed against Diocese of Rochester


August 29, 2019

Three more lawsuits are being filed in Monroe County on Thursday - two of which are against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester - on behalf of child sex abuse victims.

The lawsuits are being filed under the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. The law allows victims to file lawsuits within a one-year window, regardless of when the alleged abuse took place.

Attorney Dan Ellis will discuss the lawsuits and the allegations against the institution at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Nearly 50 cases have been filed in Monroe County alone since the one-year time period began on August 14.

Many of the victims in Monroe County allege abuse by clergy with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, spanning nearly four decades from 1959 until 1996. The diocese serves 12 counties in the Rochester area, including Monroe, Wayne, Livingston, Steuben, Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga, and Yates counties.

"As we have indicated in recent statements, the Diocese is reserving comment on lawsuits out of respect for the legal process and the complainants," said Doug Mandelaro, Director of the Office of Stewardship & Communications for the Diocese of Rochester.

Latest clergy abuse claim questions priest’s name still on parish hall


August 29, 2019

By Eileen Buckley

Another victim will announce he is filing a claim against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Mary Immaculate Parish in Pavilion, New York, formerly known as St. Mary’s, under the Child Victim’s Act.

Wayne Bortle, former Western New Yorker who now lives in New Hampshire, will appear Thursday afternoon in Buffalo with Boston-area attorney Mitchell Garabedian Thursday to announce his civil lawsuit. Bortle accuses Father Robert Conlin, now deceased, of sexually abusing him nearly 40-years ago.

But this is not the first time Bortle has appeared in Buffalo to make his claims. He first disclosed his allegations against Father Conlin in March of 2018.

Bortle’s lawsuit claims Father Conlin, then then pastor of St. Mary's parish, abused him when he was 15 years old.

In 2018, standing outside the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Main Street, Bortle outlined his abuse claims telling a story of Father Conlin asking him to come over and watch television. His suit claims Conlin touched him.

“That night, when I came home and I told my mother, and I’m crying in my bed, she asked me what was wrong – what happened, and I said Father Conlin was touching me and she said what do you mean – and I said mom he was touching me everywhere and he wouldn’t stop,” recalled Bortle.

Accused Bishop Has Job in Rome Despite being “Suspended,” Vatican Tells Argentinian Court

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 28, 2019

An Argentinian bishop who is actively being investigated for sexual abuse against at least two seminarians has been allowed to travel back to Rome due to his “daily work,” this despite being supposedly suspended from his job during the abuse investigation.

Once again, the Vatican is saying one thing publicly and doing the opposite behind closed doors. Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was “suspended” from ministry in February when he was officially charged with sexual abuse. However, despite that suspension Vatican officials appear to be working to ensure that Bishop Zanchetta remains free, telling the court that the demands of his “daily work” require him to be in Rome instead of Argentina while the investigation progresses. This decision is at best questionable and at worst an opportunity for the Argentinian bishop to flee from justice, since there is no extradition treaty between the Vatican and Argentina.

If Pope Francis was serious about his “all-out battle” against cases of clergy abuse, he should order Bishop Zanchetta to remain in Argentina under the supervision of the criminal authorities while awaiting the outcome of the investigation. The Pope should also be personally visiting his home country and urging anyone with information concerning the allegations against Bishop Zanchetta, or any other church official, to come forward and contact law enforcement. He should not be telling the public that the Argentinian bishop is suspended but then submitting documentation to the court that Bishop Zanchetta’s “work” requires his presence in Rome.

Former Bristol Community College professor on Providence Diocese’s list of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

Taunton Daily Gazette

August 29, 2019

By Kiernan Dunlop

When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released its list of clergy “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors in July, it had ripple effects that made their way to the Southcoast.

On Aug. 22, the President of Bristol Community College, Dr. Laura Douglas, sent an email to students alerting them to the existence of the list and stated, “Included in the list was former Bristol Community College faculty member, John Tormey, who is no longer employed by the college.”

Her email went on to say, “Unfortunately, there was no way that the college could have been aware of this allegation, which dates back to 1979, prior to the disclosure being published by the Diocese in the media. When information such as this comes to the college’s attention, it is our duty to address the matter immediately and be as transparent as possible.”

The email never specifies if Tormey resigned, was fired, or retired.

Bristol’s website lists Tormey, 77, as a Program Director of Thanatology, Gerontology, and Funeral Services and Professor of Psychology.

The college recognized Tormey for 40 years of service at a Recognition and Retirees Breakfast on May 11, 2018, according to an event description available on its website, which states that employees with 25 or more years of service are included in the Recognition Garden on the BCC Fall River Campus.

Cleric held after rape of 4 girls in Jomvu church

Standard Digital

August 28, 2019

By Weldon Kemboi

Police are holding the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Jomvu after reports he sexually assaulted four girls under his care.

The 43-year-old cleric was arrested on Sunday in Kanaona village where he had gone into hiding following the incidents between August 21 and 23.

A medical report from Port Reitz Hospital confirmed the children, aged between four and eight, had been sexually assaulted.

Police said the pastor was the children’s Sunday school teacher and also instructed them in martial arts.

The assault was discovered after a parent noticed her daughter walking with difficulty. Upon inquiry, the girl said she had been raped inside the church.

After medics confirmed that the girl had been assaulted, an investigation was conducted that revealed there were more victims.

Lawsuits alleged priest sex abuse happened under church’s nose

Times Leader

August 28, 2019

By Patrick Kernan

Shortly after making a filing in Lackawanna County Court on Wednesday morning, Attorney Kevin Quinn, of Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, spoke before reporters in a hotel conference room in downtown Scranton. His tone was a somber one, as he’s representing four men who claim they were repeatedly raped by a Roman Catholic priest decades ago.

What’s more, Quinn said, the Diocese of Scranton is directly responsible for decades of cover-ups, with both Bishops James Timlin and Joseph Bambera named as defendants in the suit.

Three of Quinn’s four clients — John Patchcoski, Jim Pliska and Mike Heil — appeared to speak with reporters Wednesday morning. The fourth man chose to file his suit anonymously for the protection of his family, and his suit is filed under the initials “M.A.” Each of the four men have their own, separate suits now ongoing in Lackawanna County.

The four men, who all grew up in the Minooka section of Scranton, each claim they are victims of the same priest: the late Father Michael Pulicare, who worked as the assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, which has since been renamed Divine Mercy at St. Joseph’s, on Davis Street, Scranton.

Editorial: Those who dismiss Pell verdict ignore integrity of legal process

National Catholic Reporter

August 29, 2019

The response in certain circles to the Aug. 21 court decision upholding Cardinal George Pell's conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s was as swift as it was irrational.

Edward Peters, a canon lawyer who teaches at Detroit's Sacred Heart Seminary, claimed in a tweet some 40 minutes after the verdict that "the testimony used to convict Thomas More was more plausible."

Hours later, John Paul II biographer George Weigel questioned at First Things whether people would want to travel to Australia anymore because of "mob hysteria." First Things editor Matthew Schmitz likened an aggrieved Pell to the suffering Christ.

In following days, Crux's John Allen said the odds against Pell being guilty are "awfully long." And the editor of Crisis Magazine, Michael Warren Davis, claimed it is "literally impossible" that Pell is guilty.

Even a cardinal joined in, with South Africa's Wilfrid Napier taking to Twitter to characterize Weigel's analysis as "daring," although the cardinal later said he did not mean to praise the biographer's point of view. (Nota bene, the Oxford English dictionary defines "daring" as "adventurous or audaciously bold.")

Forgive the graphic nature of the following, but it serves to indicate the seriousness of what these men dismiss.

According to 12 members of a jury of his peers, and to two appeals judges who just upheld their verdict, Pell, as archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, orally raped one 13-year-old boy and indecently assaulted another. Later, he sought the same boys out again to grab at their genitals at church.

Excuse us — perhaps it comes from 35 years' experience investigating such monstrous predators as Legionaries of Christ founder Marcial Maciel Degollado, who First Things defended for years, once calling him an "innocent and indeed holy person" — but we have some rather firm ideas about the consideration that should be accorded survivors of such despicable and cruel abuse.

In the interest of helping others care for victims — assuming, of course, that those defending the convicted cardinal have such intention — it seems only reasonable that basic courtesy is a minimum. When a person comes forward alleging that they have been abused by a minister in the Catholic Church — be it a priest, bishop, sister, teacher, parish worker or otherwise — they should be listened to, treated with respect, and presented with avenues for justice.

One of five federal death row inmates set for execution says he was molested by priest

Daily Mail

August 28, 2019

By Keith Griffith

Attorneys for one of the five federal death row inmates newly scheduled for execution have opened up multiple last-ditch legal challenges in a bid to spare his life, including petitioning President Donald Trump for clemency.

Wesley Ira Purkey, 67, is scheduled to be executed on December 13, 2019 for the rape, murder and dismemberment of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in his Kansas home in 1998. He was also convicted of beating 80-year-old Mary Bales to death with a hammer.

Last month, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the federal government would resume executions for the first time since 2003, setting execution dates for Purkey and four other death row inmates whom he called 'the worst criminals.'

'Mr. Purkey is not 'the worst of the worst,'' his attorney Rebecca Woodman said in a statement to DailyMail.com on Tuesday. 'He is a man who grew up in a house of horrors, beaten and humiliated by both of his parents and subjected to extensive and ongoing sexual abuse by members of his family.'

Woodman went on to say that Purkey had been 'demeaned and brutalized' by Catholic nuns, and 'repeatedly molested' by a priest.

The persecution of a cardinal, 21st-century version

Angelus News

August 29, 2019

By Msgr. Richard Antall

The great author G.K. Chesterton was once challenged about his skepticism of the judicial system in Great Britain. He replied that Christians often have doubts about official justice because they remember “the unfortunate experience” of their founder with the same.

That skepticism is my response to the latest of Cardinal George Pell’s various legal setbacks in Australia. Although a Vatican statement said something about not disrespecting Australia’s system of justice, I feel no such constraint. What I see is a case of scapegoating and persecution that is not ideological — which is what makes it more frightening.

If someone persecutes the Church saying bluntly that it is because religion is nonsense or that Christ really could not have been both God and man, there would, at least, be a clarity of ideas. The Church is accustomed to such persecution. But if, instead, the persecution pretends to be neutral about religious belief and then makes up incredible charges against a cleric whose position makes him a stand-in for the Church and religion, it is more vicious and insidious.

We have seen such things before, especially in the 20th century. The big change is that it was not the secular, Westernized, capitalist state that was doing the punishing, but the Communist regimes of various totalitarian states. The Hungarian Communists went after Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty not because he was a believer, they said, but because he was a fascist and a monarchist and the biggest landowner in Hungary who had participated in a conspiracy against the People’s Republic. He was physically tortured until he signed a false confession and spent years in prison, sequestered in an embassy and then in exile.

Cardinal Josef Slipyj, a Ukrainian Catholic archbishop, was accused of being a Nazi collaborator, and was imprisoned for 18 years and then sent into exile. Another cardinal, Blessed Aloysius Stepinac of Croatia, was tried, convicted of treason, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Later he was restricted to house arrest.

Buffalo Diocese faces second federal lawsuit over former priest

Buffalo News

August 28, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A New Hampshire man who alleges a Buffalo priest sexually abused him when he was a youngster in Springville is suing the Diocese of Buffalo in federal court.

Arthur Porada Jr., 61, said in court papers filed this week that James A. Spielman molested him multiple times from 1971 to 1976 when Porada was a parishioner of St. Aloysius Church in Springville. Spielman was associate pastor of the parish at the time.

It's the second time in five years the diocese was sued in federal court over a child sex abuse claim against Spielman.

Porada’s lawyer is Michele M. Betti, who sued the Buffalo Diocese in 2014 in federal court in Hawaii on behalf of David Husted of Texas. Husted, 53, also accused Spielman of repeated acts of sexual abuse from 1979 to 1982 when Husted was a student at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean.

Husted’s lawsuit led to a $1.5 million settlement – the largest single settlement that has come to light so far in the Buffalo Diocese for a clergy sex abuse case.

Porada’s case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. He is the first plaintiff in Western New York to use the federal court system under the state’s Child Victims Act, which suspended the statute of limitations in previously time-barred child sex abuse civil cases. It has prompted more than 100 lawsuits to be filed in State Supreme Courts in Erie and Niagara counties since a one-year window for filing claims opened on Aug. 14.

Betti said she was able to file the case in federal court on diversity grounds, because Porada lives in New Hampshire and the defendants are in other states.

A federal lawsuit was likely to proceed more quickly than a case filed in the state court system, said Betti.

“We’re not waiting to have these cases consolidated and have them take years to decide. There’s less tactics defendants can play in federal court. You get your trial date right away,” she said. “And we want to expose the Diocese of Buffalo for their transferring of a serial perpetrator from school to school.”

Federal courts apply the laws of the states in which they operate, so the Child Victims Act’s suspension of the statute of limitations extends to federal cases like Porada’s, said Betti.

Betti took a similar approach with Husted’s case in Hawaii, which offered a two-year window for victims to file lawsuits without being time-barred by the statute of limitations.

Catholic Order Settled Black Men’s Abuse Claims For Thousands Less Than Average

Associated Press

August 27, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

A famed Catholic religious order settled sex abuse cases in recent months by secretly paying two black Mississippi men $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims, The Associated Press has found.

The cash payments are far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received since the church’s abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002.

An official with the Franciscan Friars order denies the two men’s race or poverty had anything to do with the size of the settlements.

In one case, the Rev. James G. Gannon, leader of a group of Wisconsin-based Franciscan Friars, settled an abuse claim made by La Jarvis D. Love against another friar for $15,000, during a meeting at an IHOP restaurant where Gannon met with La Jarvis, his wife and their three small children.

“He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer,” La Jarvis Love, 36, told the Associated Press. “Well, we don’t have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.”

La Jarvis’s cousin, Joshua K. Love, 36, also settled his abuse claim for $15,000 — something he now regrets.

“They felt they could treat us that way because we’re poor and we’re black,” Joshua Love said of the settlements he and La Jarvis received.

Across the United States, settlements have ranged much higher. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, which includes Greenwood, settled lawsuits involving 19 victims— 17 of whom were white— for $5 million, with an average payment of more than $250,000 per victim.

August 28, 2019

Cheyenne diocese struggles with abuse revelations about popular bishop


August 29, 2019

By Christopher White

Nearly three decades had passed since Martin last stepped foot inside a Catholic church.

Yet as he sat in the pews of the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Cheyenne for Good Friday service last April, he knew Bishop Steven Biegler was speaking directly to him.

“Over the last year, we have seen that the Church’s leaders have been weak and sinful,” said the bishop. “Yet, Christ still goes to the cross for us. His death is still stronger than all of our horrible sins. The blood and water flowing from Christ is the greatest force in the universe. So we can be reborn.”

“What does that reborn church look like?” he asked. “In a church reborn, those who have been harmed are restored. They experience their own re-birth. They are restored as we listen to their stories and tell them, ‘I believe you.’”

One year prior to that homily, Biegler had flown to New York to say those very words in person to Martin, a pseudonym, who after nearly two decades of unsuccessfully trying to convince both law enforcement and church officials that he was an abuse victim of Bishop Joseph Hart, finally felt some form of vindication by a bishop who believed him.

St. John: All background checks were clear on former teacher accused of sexual abuse

WLUK FOX 11 News

August 28th 2019

A Little Chute school is responding to recent reports of a former teacher accused of sexually abusing children.

According to the Associated Press, former Franciscan brother and St John Nepomucene Catholic School teacher, Paul West, is being investigated for sexually abusing children in Mississippi in the late 90's.

West's alleged victims say he would sexually abuse them in Mississippi and on summer trips to Appleton.

On Wednesday the St. Francis grade school in Mississippi they are dedicated to the well-being of their students and are requiring priests and faculty to participate in the VIRTUS program, which aims to prevent abuse and improves the lives of those who interact with the Church.

After leaving his position as a principal at a Catholic school in Mississippi in 1998, West began teaching fifth grade at St. John's School in 2000 and remained on the job until at least 2010.

St. John school officials say a background check was completed at the time of West's hiring and it came back clear. References were also checked and no substantiated allegations were revealed.

Group calls on church to send accused former Wyoming bishop to remote Kansas friary

Casper Star-Tribune

August 28, 2019

By Seth Klamann and Shane Sanderson

A national group of victims of priest abuse on Monday called on the Catholic Church to send former Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart to a friary in rural Kansas, which would mean expelling Hart from his diocese-owned home in Cheyenne.

"When an abuser is suspended or gets older, he’s not magically cured, so even after ousting or even defrocking sex offending clerics, the Catholic hierarchy has a duty to safeguard others from them," the group, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, said in a statement Monday.

Hart has been accused since at least the early 1990s of sexually abusing boys, with some victims saying he abused them as far back as 1963. He has consistently denied those allegations. His former diocese, in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, has settled with 10 men who say they were abused by Hart. An additional four men have come forward in Missouri in just the past year, the diocese there told the Star-Tribune.

Priest paced on administrative leave by Buffalo Diocese as initial inquiry wraps


August 28, 2019

A priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as the investigation continues against him.

Rev. Jeffrey Nowak was placed on leave by the bishop, effectively immediately, according to a statement from the Diocese.

Nowak is accused of harassing a former seminarian. The accuser, Matthew Bojanowksi, says he filed a complaint in 2018 but claims no action was taken despite a follow-up complaint.

Bojanowski, who stepped down earlier this month from his role as a seminarian and Christ the King, claims Father Jeffrey Nowak sexually harassed him and broke the seal of confession. Nowak has denied the claim that he broke the seal of confession.

Earlier this month, the diocese announced that Nowak was being removed from ministry, and that he was directed to undergo a behavioral assessment.

Southern Baptist megachurch denies liability in sex abuse lawsuit

Baptist News Global

August 28, 2019

By Bob Allen

Matt Chandler’s Village Church denied any wrongdoing in its response to a $1 million lawsuit stemming from the alleged sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl at a church camp in 2012.

An attorney representing the Southern Baptist Convention megachurch in Flower Mound, Texas, said Aug. 23 his client “generally denies each and every allegation” in the lawsuit filed July 26 in Dallas County and “demands strict proof by a preponderance of the credible evidence.”

The lawsuit, filed using a pseudonym, seeks to hold the multi-site congregation with an average weekly attendance of 10,000 and annual budget of $20 million liable for alleged acts by Matt Tonne, a former children’s minister at Village Church who was arrested in January and charged with felony indecency with a child.

The suit claims that Chandler, the lead pastor at Village Church, downplayed the situation by not telling the congregation the allegations involved a former staffer. It also alleges that Chandler misled church members to believe that Tonne had resigned for alcohol-related reasons, rather than because the 11-year employee was being investigated by the police.

Alleged sex abuse victim comes forward


August 25, 2019

By Jeff Rusack

Richard Brownell has been keeping a secret for over 50 years, Saturday he finally told his story.

Brownell says he was abused by Father John Aurelio in 1968 at St. Gerard's in Buffalo. He stood by his wife and lawyer in front of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese Saturday to announce he's suing the church.

This was not Brownell's first time speaking about Father Aurelio. In 1993, he was interviewed by 7 Eyewitness News and stated "he came in and exposed himself to me was trying to get my pants down wanted me to touch him and I was successful in fighting him off. For some reason he gave up on me."

Brownell says he couldn't tell the truth in 1993 because he was too embarrassed and ashamed. He wants other victims of abuse come forward to share their stories.

He was front and center in Albany when the Child Victims act was passed by the legislature, emotional for what it meant for him and other victims of abuse.

Former Schenectady priest sued over alleged abuse

The Daily Gazette

August 26, 2019

By Stephen Williams

Pastor allegedly lived with woman, fathered child

A one-time Schenectady priest is accused of secretly living with a woman and sexually abusing her children, in one of the two dozen Child Victims' Act cases filed in recent days against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The five grown children of Edith Steve filed the lawsuit Aug. 15 against the diocese, Bishop-Emeritis Howard J. Hubbard, and Francis P. Melfe, who was a priest in the Albany diocese from his ordination in 1954 until he resigned in 1979. His final assignment was a decade at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Schenectady.

Melfe, who was removed from the priesthood in 2012, has been on a diocese list of priests credibly accused of child abuse since 2015.

CVA lawsuit claims former Hoosick Falls mayor, priest abused boy


August 26, 2019

By Steve Hughes

A former Hoosick Falls police officer, Boy Scout leader and mayor who later became a priest is accused of molesting a boy for a period of about three years in the 1980s, according to a civil complaint.

The lawsuit, part of over 500 filed in New York since Aug. 14 under the Child Victims Act, alleges that the Rev. Richard A. Severson abused the boy at St. Mary’s Church in Hudson Falls from about 1982 until 1985, when the boy was between the ages of 10 and 13.

The suit names the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese and St. Mary’s Church as defendants.

Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out


August 25, 2019

By Allan Harris

New Lawsuit Filed Against Diocese

Saturday sexual abuse victim Ricahrd Brownell and his wife held a news conference in front of the Diocese of Buffalo offices to talk about his being abused years ago by Father John Aurielio.

A law suit has been filed according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian:

Other states offer glimpse of ways NY's abuse cases could play out

Times Union

August 24, 2019

By Steve Hughes

Victims and advocates fought for years to get the Child Victims Act passed and waited for the date that would allow them to file lawsuits, seeking a measure of justice for abuse that in some cases goes back decades.

If other states are any indication, that fight for justice is just beginning.

This month, over 500 suits were filed in the window afforded by New York's new law. An examination of similar lawsuits in other states shows such cases can take years to resolve. How much the public will eventually learn about the extent of abuse and how it was covered up depends on many factors.

It also shows that settlements from the lawsuits can be a huge financial blow to institutions implicated in the abuse and also drive meaningful changes in their policies toward children.

New priest named in civil lawsuit under Child Victims Act


August 24, 2019

Another Buffalo priest is being sued under the Child Victims Act. Father John Aurelio and the Buffalo Diocese have been named in a civil lawsuit.

Richard Brownell claims Father Aurelio sexually abused him several times in 1968 and 69 when he was 11 years old serving as an altar boy at Saint Gerard’s in buffalo.

In the lawsuit ,which was filed Friday, Brownell claims Aurelio took him to a hockey game and sexually abused him in the parking lot afterwards.
It also claims father Aurelio gave Brownell alcohol and marijuana and sexually abused him at Aurelio’s home

Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing several victims of abuse, says the number of lawsuits against Buffalo priests will only continue to grow.

After the tumult and the shouting

La Croix International

August 23, 2019

By Michael Kelly SJ

In the eye of the storm, where the tragic drama of Cardinal Pell is more symptom than cause, something very good may grow

George Pell appeal fails, Cardinal to serve out full jail term

The Age

August 21, 2019

By Adam Cooper

Paedophile George Pell will consider taking his case to the High Court, after Victoria's Court of Appeal upheld his child-sex convictions in a majority ruling on Wednesday, meaning he will serve out his six-year prison term.

In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeal upheld the verdicts of the County Court jury that found Pell guilty on five child sex abuse charges last December, over his attacks on two choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne in the 1990s, when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell's lawyers are now considering whether to continue his legal fight. He has 28 days to seek special leave to appeal in the High Court.


The Catholic Telegraph

August 19, 2019

Today, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati learned that a Hamilton County Grand Jury returned a nine-count indictment against Fr. Geoff Drew stemming from alleged crimes during his time at St. Jude Parish, where he served as music director 1984-1999. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati was made aware of these allegations after Archbishop Schnurr removed Fr. Drew as pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish on July 23. We have fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so.

The protection of young people is of paramount importance and can never be compromised. We urge anyone who has any information regarding the accusations against Fr. Geoff Drew to please report it to Cincinnati Police Detective Dana Jones in the Personal Crimes Unit at 513-352-6947 or dana.jones@cincinnati-oh.gov.

'The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse,' seminarian says


August 20, 2019

By Charlie Specht

Says Bishop Malone took no action on priest

Another seminarian in the Diocese of Buffalo has given up his dream of becoming a Catholic priest, blaming alleged sexual harassment by diocesan priest Rev. Jeffrey Nowak and Bishop Richard J. Malone's lack of action when he reported it.

Matthew Bojanowski, whose mother first revealed the allegations of sexual harassment in an interview with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team, announced Tuesday he is resigning from Christ the King Seminary and is calling on the seminary to be shut down and for Bishop Malone to resign.

"The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse," Bojanowski said at a news conference across from the Diocese of Buffalo chancery. "There is no transparency in the Buffalo Diocese and there is no justice for victims of abuse, whether the victims are children or adults."

Deceased Franciscan friar accused of sexual abuse

WCPO.com/9 On Your Side

August 20, 2019

Years after his death, new allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced against a Franciscan priest.

Magdalene Laundries victim Mary Cavner to get compensation


August 21, 2019

A woman denied an education and left malnourished after being forced to work at the age of 11 when her father died has won a battle for compensation.

Mary Cavner, 80, who lives in Hampshire but grew up in County Cork, was sent to work in one of Ireland's notorious Catholic-run Magdalene Laundries.

She said her six years at the workhouse affected her "throughout her life".

She was initially told she was ineligible for compensation but will now receive €76,000 (£69,500).

Probe of church abuse scandal hits one year mark

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 28, 2019

Victims write alleged predators names on sidewalk
They blast MO attorney general for a “half-hearted effort”
Meanwhile, KC KS suspended cleric’s criminal trial is 9/9
Group wants archbishop to “rein in overzealous Catholics”
SNAP: “Once hard-liners, GOP leaders now ‘soft on crime’
It urges Republicans to ‘lean on’ three statewide officeholders
And it gives AG ‘abuse experts list’ that his staff should interview
And victims praise law enforcement officials in KS & neighboring states

Using chalk, clergy sex abuse victims will write two-three dozen names of credibly accused predator KC MO priests on the sidewalk outside the Missouri attorney general’s office and
---blast him for what they call a “half-hearted and slow-paced” look into Catholic sex crimes and cover ups (which was launched one year ago),
---hand-deliver a list of ‘abuse experts’ in Missouri and elsewhere who could help the probe and should be questioned by law enforcement, and
---urge the AG to push KC MO’s bishop to post child molesting clerics on his website (as every other Missouri bishop has done already).

And holding signs and childhood photos, they will
-- discuss the impending criminal trial of a local priest set for next month, and
-- urge KC Catholic officials to insist that parishioners not rally around the accused cleric in public and the courtroom

On the sidewalk outside the AG’s office, 615 E. 13th Street, (corner of Holmes) in Kansas City, MO (816-889-5000)

Diocese of Scranton, bishops facing lawsuit


August 28, 2019

Four men are filing separate lawsuits against the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop James Timlin, and Bishop Joseph Bambera over allegations of sexual abuse.

Michael C. Heil, James J. Pliska, John Patchcoski and “M.A.” (whose identity is being withheld) all claim they were sexually abused by Father Michael Pulicare for a period of seven years between the ages of 7 and 14. Pulicare, who died in 1999, formerly served as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Minooka.

According to a press release from the lawyers, the men seek “to hold the Diocese and the bishops accountable for their role in creating and fostering an environment that allowed and encouraged sexually deviant and predatory priests to prey upon and forcibly rape, sodomize and sexually molest innocent young boys; and then conspiring to withhold and safeguard known information of such heinous acts perpetrated by Diocesan priests.”

Hart, Bransfield and Neinstedt should be Treated like McCarrick, SNAP says

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 28, 2019

No one really knows where three credibly abusive Catholic bishops are now. For the safety of innocent children and vulnerable adults, we call on church officials to insist the clerics live in the same remote Kansas friary where disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is now.

Those three clerics WV Bishop Michael Bransfield, WY Bishop Joseph A. Hart and MN Archbishop John Neinstedt, none of whom are still on the job and all of whom face multiple accusers. Church officials essentially forced Bransfield and Neinstedt out. And police have recommended that Hart be prosecuted.

When a abuser is suspended or gets older, he’s not magically cured, so even after ousting or even defrocking sex offending clerics, the Catholic hierarchy has a duty to safeguard others from them.

And church officials can’t recruit, educate, ordain, hire, supervise, transfer and shield these men only to suddenly cut them loose, providing no oversight or supervision, and let them quietly live among unsuspecting families. When this happens, abusers can pass themselves off as ‘retired’ clerics and befriend vulnerable adults and kids.

At least some in Victoria, Kansas know, because of good journalism, that an abuser lives in their midst. And at least McCarrick is far away from the families in Washington D.C. and New Jersey, some of whom likely consider him cured or falsely accused and would trust him around their kid, teens and young adults.

So for those reasons, we believe Bransfield Hart and Neinstedt should live there too.

Vatican tells Argentinian court accused bishop has job in Rome, despite being suspended


August 28, 2019

By Ines San Martin

Despite being investigated for allegations of having sexually abused two seminarians, an Argentinian bishop close to the pope has once again been allowed by a judge to travel to Rome.

The judge said that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has “collaborated” with the investigation and has a document from the Vatican saying he must return to Rome “to continue with his daily work” - even though he has been suspended from his job.

Crux can confirm that the document being used as justification for allowing Zanchetta to travel back to Rome is a certificate signed by Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, arguably the third highest position in this office.

Peña Parra was appointed to that key role by Pope Francis last year. The Substitute is responsible for the Vatican’s daily workflow, and is usually the only person, including the Cardinal Secretary of State, who can simply walk in on the pope unannounced.

The Venezuelan prelate has been under fire recently, after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the controversial former papal representative to the United States, accused him of of perpetrating sexual abuse; the Venezuelan bishops’ conference released a statement last week strongly defending Peña Parra, calling Vigano’s claims “a series of calumnious accusations.”

Black Victims Of Sexual Abuse By Catholic Priests Got Dramatically Smaller Settlements Than White Victims

Black Entertainment Tonight

August 28, 2019

By Angela Wilson

Two Black male victims who received settlements over sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests are coming forward to revealing that they were paid far less than white victims.

The Associated Press reports the Diocese secretly paid two Black men from Mississippi $15,000 each, requiring them both to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), also known as confidentiality agreements.

In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson settled lawsuits brought on by 19 different victims. Of those survivors, 17 are white and were paid at least $250,000 each — some up to $1.3 million — in similar settlements.

A Franciscan Friars official claims the settlement amounts had nothing to due with the two Black men’s race.

One victim, La Jarvis D. Love, who accused two Catholic priests of sexual abuse when he was 9-years-old, received a $15,000 payout during a meeting at an IHOP restaurant.

“He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer," Love said Rev. James G. Gannon, leader of a group of Wisconsin-based Franciscan Friars replied. "Well, we don't have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.”

At the time, Love was unaware other accusers who were white were paid significantly more in similar settlements when he was confronted by Rev. Gannon with legal paperwork.

After the abuse: A bishop's ministry of healing and trust

Catholic News Agency

August 28, 2019

By JD Flynn

Bishop Andrew Cozzens became a bishop in the middle of a crisis.

“There was this kind of fire that was burning on the front page of the paper everyday,” Cozzens told CNA, “and then I got this call.”

The call was his appointment as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Cozzens was appointed to that role just days after a whistleblower leveled charges of misconduct and cover-up against Archbishop John Nienstedt, who eventually resigned from his post amid scandal.

The archdiocese was in a state of chaos, and, Cozzens said, Catholics were in a great deal of pain.

“I was named a bishop at a very unique time, and it was so unique that it was clear to me God had planned it,” Cozzens told CNA.

He told CNA that he knew, from the time he was appointed, “that the Lord was calling me to be a part of healing. I didn’t have any idea what that meant when I heard that word in prayer.”

August 27, 2019

Priest accused of assault has ties to Fox Cities

WHBY Radio

August 27, 2019

A former brother for the Franciscan Friars accused of sexually abusing boys in Mississippi has ties to the Fox Cities.

59-year-old Paul West taught at a school in Greenwood in the 1990s. The Franciscan Friars reached $15,000 settlements with some victims. West moved to the Appleton area and he taught at St. John Catholic School in Little Chute from around 2000 to at least 2010.

Activists Demand Columbus Diocese Expand List Of Clergy Accused Of Abuse

WOSU Radio

August 27, 2019

By Adora Namigadde

Advocates from SNAP gathered in front of St. Joseph Cathedral to demand the Catholic Diocese of Columbus add the names of three more ministers to its official list of clerics “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.

The Columbus Diocese in March published a list of 36 clergy, both alive and deceased, alleged to have sexually abused minors.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or Clergy says that Bishop Robert Brennan should add to the list Sister Lisa Zuccarelli, Father Stuart Campbell and Father Carleton Parker Jones – all of whom worked at one time in Central Ohio, but were accused of sexual abuse outside of Columbus.

SNAP’s Central Ohio coordinator Carol Zamonski says it is unknown whether these people abused anyone locally.

Dallas Jesuit Graduate Files Lawsuit Claiming Former School President Sexually Assaulted Him

NBC 5 News

August 27, 2019

Three months after members of the Dallas Jesuit community were named on a list of clergy “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor, a lawsuit has been filed by a former student at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

A graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas says the school's former president, who was on a list of credibly accused priests, sexually assaulted him, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The lawsuit says Patrick J. Koch, who died in 2006, was the lone abuser, but that he couldn't have acted alone.

Koch's name was included on a list released by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas in late January of "priests with credible allegations of sexual of abuse of minors since 1950."

Koch served as principal of Jesuit Dallas from 1972-79, president from 1979-80 and director of alumni from 1980-86, according to the school's website.

The lawsuit says the school "created and fostered a community where abuse would occur and the School (sic) did nothing to prevent the problem despite its obviousness."

Former Franciscan brother under current criminal investigation in Wisconsin

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 27, 2019

A lengthy Associated Press investigation published today about a former member of a Wisconsin based Catholic religious under who is under current criminal investigation for multiple acts of felony child sexual assault in Mississippi, Wisconsin and New York State is raising troubling questions as to the treatment of racial or economically disadvantaged survivors of clerical child sex offenders by Catholic church officials.

Over the past nine months, church officials of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption Province, headquartered in St. Francis, Wisconsin, have been actively soliciting secrecy agreements from African American victims of Paul West, 59, a former Franciscan, in exchange for financial settlements which are among the lowest in the United States. The settlements were brokered by church officials of the Jackson, Mississippi diocese. The secrecy agreements are not only in direct violation of the US Bishops policy on abuse but appear to have been engineered to mislead these victims into believing that West could no longer be prosecuted. The criminal statute on West's alleged offenses, however, are currently active in both Mississippi and Wisconsin.

Fortunately, because these courageous victims have come forward, West is finally being investigated in both states, including in Milwaukee and Outagamie Counties, where West allegedly transported children across state lines for the purposes of committing criminal sex acts, a federal crime that should also trigger and investigation by the US Department of Justice.

There are likely many more victims of West, who was the principal of a traditional black Catholic "mission" school in Mississippi. The allegations against him, which the order has confirmed as credible, include "beatings, rape, and other sexual violations" beginning when the victims were as young as 10.

Victims of child sex abuse have new chance to hold abusers accountable in court


August 27, 2019

By Marina Starleaf Riker

John Delaney, a survivor of child sex abuse, wants other victims to know this: Starting Sept. 1, they could have another chance to hold their abusers accountable in court.

Delaney and the San Antonio chapter leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered outside the Bexar County Courthouse Tuesday morning to raise awareness about a new Texas law going into effect next month that allows victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits against abusers up to 30 years after they turn 18.

Right now, the window when they can file a lawsuit, called the statute of limitations, lasts just 15 years after their 18th birthday.

Competency Exam Ordered For Ex-Shelby Township Priest Charged With Sexually Assaulting Boys

WWJ News

August 27, 2019

A former Macomb County priest will undergo testing to determine if he's competent to stand trial on sexual assault charges.

A judge ordered the exam requested by an attorney for 63-year-old Neil Kalina during a brief hearing in 41-A District Court in Shelby Township.

"What they call a competency and culpability exam will be done at a center in Ypsilanti that is known to be backed up with orders," reported WWJ Newsradio 950's Mike Campbell, "so it's probably going to be awhile before there are results."

Kalina faces four counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually abusing young boys when he was a priest at St. Kieran Catholic Church in Shelby Township in the mid-1980s. He also worked in Sterling Heights and Utica.

SBC Rolls Out “New” Prevention Campaign, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 27, 2019

Six months after a massive exposé into cases of sexual violence and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention was published, church leaders have finally responded. Unfortunately, we feel that this response amounts to little more than a public relations effort.

SBC leaders unveiled their new “Caring Well” campaign today, a prevention effort focused on creating new teams and processes for churches in order to create safer environments within SBC churches. According to the Caring Well website, this campaign involves educating pastors about the importance of using secular law enforcement professionals to investigate crimes and how to respond “ethically, legally, and with good shepherding” when abuse is discovered.

Former Avon pastor pleads guilty to having sexual relationship with parishioner

St. Cloud Times

August 27, 2019

By Clairissa Baker and Jenny Berg

An Avon man pleaded guilty Tuesday as part of a plea agreement to engaging in a sexual relationship with a parishioner he counseled while he was a pastor at an Avon church.

Charles Normal Pelkey, 50, was charged in Stearns County District Court with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in July 2018.

A jury trial was scheduled to start Tuesday; it was canceled in light of the plea agreement.

As part of the agreement, the judge will likely stay adjudication of the sentence, presuming Pelkey cooperates with his pre-sentence investigation, signs releases for a psychosexual evaluation and follows all recommendations, according to Ole Tvedten, chief of the criminal division in the Stearns County Attorney's Office.

The remaining terms of Pelkey's probation will be imposed at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 31. Probation violations would result in conviction, predatory offender registration and potential prison time, according to Tvedten.

Minnesota law bars sexual relationships between clergy and those to whom they give counsel; consent is not a defense.

Clergy members are treated similarly to counselors, physicians, psychologists, social workers and therapists who work with people seeking support, Tvedten said.

The abuse crisis and the 'tribunalization' of the Church

LaCroix International

August 27, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

If Vatican officials thought that they could regain control of the narrative concerning the Catholic Church's clergy sex abuse crisis by defrocking Theodore McCarrick just days before the recent abuse summit in Rome, they failed to take into account the cases of Cardinals George Pell and Philippe Barbarin.

What We Need to Know About RICO

National Catholic Register

August 27, 2019

By Joseph O’Brien

The lawsuits are flooding into New York state, after it opened a one-year window in the statute of limitations for abuse survivors to file suit against individuals and institutions accused of abuse crimes — and the new lawsuits filed in the Empire State include one utilizing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

On Aug. 14, 22 plaintiffs filed a federal RICO suit against the Diocese of Buffalo, the Society of Jesus, parishes, high schools and others for an alleged “pattern of racketeering activity” that allowed for and hid clerical sexual abuse. Both current Bishop Richard Malone and his predecessor, Bishop Edward Kmiec, are named personally in the lawsuit.

Among the plaintiffs, who are not named, are several alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse. The lawsuit alleges specific instances of sexual abuse by priests and claims that the diocese failed in its duty of care toward children by allowing abusive priests to have contact with minors through parishes and schools.

Calling the diocese and affiliated organizations an “association in fact” for the purposes of federal racketeering laws, the suit alleged “common purpose” in “harassing, threatening, extorting and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media” to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct.

The suit claims that the various diocesan persons and agencies are legal “alter egos” for the diocese, completely under diocesan control, and were used to “transfer, assign, commingle and conceal assets” totally $90 million, and that the diocese violated federal racketeering laws by using the internet and mail to “deceive the public about the illicit sexual conduct rampant within the Diocese of Buffalo.”

As the RICO lawsuit is being brought by federal law, it does not directly stem from the New York law opening the one-year window. But it was filed at almost the same time as the window went into effect, on Aug. 15.

Tennessee based SBC Ethics Commission debuts sex abuse prevention campaign

WMOT Radio

August 27, 2019

By Mike Osborne

The Nashville based Southern Baptist Ethics Commission has launched a denomination-wide response to sexual abuse.

The campaign is a reaction to the #metoo movement and recent sex scandals within the SBC.

Current Convention President J.D. Greear is out with a video introducing what’s being called “The Caring Well Challenge.” In the video, Greear explains what the denomination hopes the campaign will accomplish.

“It’s a free initiative designed to walk with church leaders step by step towards becoming a church that is safe for survivors and safe from abuse.”

SBC Ethics Commission leader Russell Moore launched The Caring Well Challenge at a Franklin church on Sunday.

The Tennessean quotes Moore saying congregations need to report abuse to authorities immediately, inform the entire congregation, and minister to survivors.

Texas House Bill 3809 to increase CSA SOLs effective September 1

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 27, 2019

We are here today because Texans need to know that the doors to justice just opened a little wider for survivors of child sexual abuse in our state.

House Bill # 3809, passed by the Texas Senate on May 2019, was the result of the emotional testimony of Becky Leach, State Rep. Jeff Leach’s wife, regarding her own abuse as a child. Even though this new law is limited in terms of applying to older cases of childhood sexual abuse, it is still a step in the right direction.

The new law, which becomes effective on September 1, 2019, gives more time for child sex abuse survivors to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser and/or the institution that harbored him or her. It replaces the older law that only gave survivors 15 years past their 18th birthday to file a complaint. Going forward, victims now have 30 years.

Clergy Abuse Survivors’ Advocates Question Illinois AG’s Private Meeting with Chicago Archbishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 27, 2019

“It sends a discouraging message to survivors,” They Say

They Call on the Attorney General to Renew his Outreach to Witnesses, Whistleblowers and Survivors

At a news conference, leaders of two clergy abuse prevention and advocacy organizations will address recent news regarding a private meeting between Chicago’s top Catholic official and Illinois’ Attorney General and will call for a public clarification regarding the current status of the investigation into clergy abuse in Illinois.

Friday, August 23 at 10:30 AM

On the sidewalk outside the Chicago Archdiocesan Headquarters at 835 N. Rush Street (corner of Rush and Pearson)

Victims want action on abusive nun

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 27, 2019

And they ‘out’ another Columbus predator priest
Days ago, a 3rd abusive local cleric was exposed
But none of them are on bishop’s ‘credibly accused’ list
Group wants all 3 added, plus their photos & assignments
Pope recently promised protection for church whistleblowers
So victims urge current & former Catholic staff to “call law enforcement now”

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of – and information about – two more credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or have been in Columbus but are NOT on the diocesan list of alleged clergy offenders.

One is a nun who was suspended and spent a decade in central Ohio.

And the victims will call on Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan to
--post names of ALL publicly accused clerics on their diocesan website,
--include details like their work histories, whereabouts and photos.

Finally, they will urge current and former Catholic church staffers to call law enforcement with “any knowledge or suspicions they may have about clergy sex crimes and cover ups” because the Pope recently adopted a policy guaranteeing them ‘whistleblower protection.”

On the sidewalk in front of St Joseph Cathedral, 212 E Broad St, (corner of N. 5th St.) in Columbus, OH

Pa. Senate still dodging grand jury findings on clergy abuse

Easton Express-Times

August 27, 2019

One year after an investigating grand jury gave Pennsylvania legislators all the evidence they needed to update laws on child sexual abuse – in fact, Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking work led to reforms in other states, including New Jersey – the response in Harrisburg has been little more than “we’ll get to it.”


The grand jury report identified more than 300 priests as sexual predators and thousands of victims. It spawned investigations by other states’ attorneys general and a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Instead of acting to extend the legal redress of survivors who suffered at the hands of Catholic Church clergy throughout the state, as painstakingly detailed by the Pennsylvania grand jury, state Senate Republican leaders have balked at proposals to set up retroactive “windows,” which would allow long-ago victims to file civil claims in court.

One rationale is that exemptions to create limited windows of liability are unconstitutional – and will require a multi-year effort to amend the state constitution.

The state House didn’t seem to have the same problem when it passed a reform package and sent it to the Senate, where it has lingered. Under the existing law, victims must file criminal cases by age 50 and civil cases by age 30.

Another rationale cited by GOP leaders, including Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, is that Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania are reviewing claims by abuse victims and making payouts, a process that is private and unpublicized. While that avenue may be working for some victims, including those who’d rather not go to court, it doesn’t allow for the disinfecting effect and documentation of open court action. More critically, it denies due process – or what should be a latent due process, in a civilized world – to people whose innocence was stolen at a tender age and have endured decades of suffering and wondering.

Some of them are in their 70s and 80s.

We were reminded last week that it is not just the Catholic Church and other religious institutions that have overlooked sexual crimes against children, putting up walls of denial or silence.

In a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia against the Boys Scouts of America, a 57-year-old former Scout claims he was sexually assaulted many times by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1970s. That suit might be the beginning of a wave of litigation, based on allegations raised by about

Here's what we know about the latest abuse allegation in the Evansville diocese

Courier & Press

August 27, 2019

By Jon Webb

Yet another child molestation complaint surfaced in the Evansville Diocese last week.

According to a scant police report, an unnamed accuser told the church they were abused more than 45 years ago in the 1700 block of Lodge Avenue: an address associated with the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and elementary school.

The accuser was reportedly younger than 14 when the alleged abuse occurred.

The report didn’t name the accused and didn’t give the incident an exact timeline. The incident summary on the police report contained all of 25 words.

Since the accused is apparently dead and the accuser now lives outside the area, Evansville police will not pursue an investigation – nor will they name the alleged perpetrator.

As far as the diocese, spokesman Tim Lilley declined to comment last week and reiterated that stance Monday morning.

We aren’t even sure if the latest accused person was a priest or a person affiliated with the church in a different way.

So, what do we know about this latest allegation?

In Mississippi Delta, Catholic abuse cases settled on cheap

Associated Press

August 27, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

The IHOP in Southhaven, Mississippi, was an unlikely place to settle a sex abuse claim against the Catholic Church. But in January a white official from the Franciscan religious order slid into a booth across from a 35-year-old black man and offered to pay him $15,000 to keep years of alleged abuse by another Franciscan secret.

The Rev. James G. Gannon, the leader of a Wisconsin-based group of Franciscan Friars, arrived at the crowded pancake house with copies of a legal settlement for La Jarvis D. Love, who had arrived with his wife and three young children.

As La Jarvis skimmed the four-page agreement, his thoughts flickered back more than two decades to the physical and sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a Franciscan Friar at a Catholic grade school in Greenwood. He told Gannon he wasn’t sure $15,000 was enough.

“He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer,” La Jarvis recently told The Associated Press. “Well, we don’t have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.”

La Jarvis considered his mounting bills, his young family and, with his wife’s consent, signed the agreement, dating it Jan. 11, 2019.

Then Gannon announced it was time to eat.

“He was all smiles then,” La Jarvis said.

August 26, 2019

Coalition agrees to pass laws forcing priests to report child abuse

The Age

August 26, 2019

By Benjamin Preiss

New legislation forcing priests to report child abuse to authorities even if disclosed in confession now has enough support to pass through both houses of Victorian Parliament.

The Andrews government introduced the legislation earlier this month compelling priests to break the seal of confession to report disclosures of child abuse, but the Coalition stopped short of supporting it at the time.

However, on Monday Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien revealed he would back the bill.

COMMENTARY: Cardinal Pell’s Unsuccessful Appeal — and Reason for Hope

National Catholic Register

August 23, 2019

By Gerard V. Bradley

COMMENTARY: Justice Mark Weinberg’s dissenting opinion should provide the basis for Australia’s High Court to finally correct this awful miscarriage of justice.

The Court of Appeal of the state of Victoria late Tuesday (Wednesday morning in Australia) dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal from his sexual-abuse conviction. That conviction came at the end of a second trial on five counts of indecency with a minor, after a first jury could not agree on a verdict. (Reliable reports indicated that a majority of those jurors favored acquittal.) He was sentenced to six years, without the possibility of parole until November 2022. Cardinal Pell’s lawyers plan a further appeal to the Australian High Court. That process is likely to take up to a year. During the interim, the cardinal will remain in a Melbourne prison.

Because the trials were conducted in closed sessions and under a press “gag” order, accounts of the evidence against the cardinal have been incomplete and even sketchy. Until now. It was long widely known that the case involved allegations of assaults on two choirboys, both aged 13 when the crimes supposedly occurred in late 1996. The setting was said to be just after then-Archbishop Pell celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne.

Wyo. County man arrested for 52 counts of sexual abuse against two teens


August 26, 2019

Father Paul Wharton of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley released the following statement Monday in response to revelations of possible abuse inside his Church in May of 2019:

“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston was deeply saddened to learn today of the alleged abuse of a minor by Francis Keiling. Although one of the the instances of alleged abuse purportedly occurred on church property, at no time was Francis Keiling an employee or volunteer at either St. Francis de Sales Parish or School in Beckley.”

A Wyoming County man was arrested on sexual abuse charges Friday.

Francis Stephen Keiling II is charged with 52 counts of Sexual Abuse by a Parent on Guardian.

According to the complaint, the abuse went on from late 2007 to September of 2017, with two teenage females.

Court records indicate one of the victims made the decision to come forward after she was abused three times in just one 24 hour period in the downstairs area of St. Frances de Sales Church in May of 2019.

Priest gets 4 years for raping minor in the 90s in first conviction after AG’s clergy abuse task force

Star Ledger

August 26, 2019

By Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Disgraced Roman Catholic priest Thomas Ganley was sentenced to four years in prison Monday afternoon after pleading guilty to raping and sexually assaulting a minor under the age of 16 in the 1990s.

Ganley, 64, will also register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, is forbidden to contact the victim or her family and cannot be with anyone under the age of 18 unsupervised. He reached a plea agreement with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office after he was arrested in January.

Caso Próvolo: analizan más de 30 horas de video de Cámara Gesell realizadas a las víctimas

[Próvolo Case: they analyze more than 30 hours of video of Gesell Camera made to the victims]


August 21, 2019

Según uno de los abogados de los denunciantes, habrá "unos diez días hábiles mínimo de Cámaras Gesell". La decisión del tribunal apunta a que los chicos abusados no vuelvan a declarar y se escuchen en la sala sus testimonios ya grabados.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION:According to one of the complainants' lawyers, there will be "a minimum of ten working days of Gesell Chambers". The decision of the court indicates that the abused children do not have to testify again and their recorded testimonies are heard in the courtroom. ]

After the appeal: The tragedy of Cardinal George Pell

ABC Religion and Ethics

August 21, 2019

By Patrick Parkinson

The decision of a majority of the Victorian Court of Appeal will no doubt be shattering for very many people – not least Cardinal George Pell himself. There are those who believe, quite passionately, that Cardinal Pell should not only have been given the benefit of a reasonable doubt, but that he is entirely innocent of the charges against him. People are likely to experience grief, anger and a sense of helplessness.

Many have become emotionally invested in the outcome of the case – not merely out of respect for a towering figure in the recent history of the Catholic Church in Australia, but because of a fear that in some way the prosecution, conviction and dismissal of the appeal represent an attack on their faith and the Church they love.

Those feelings are understandable. We live in an age when there is a great deal of hostility in some quarters towards the Catholic Church. Former High Court judge Dyson Heydon quoted a German politician in a speech a couple of years ago to the effect that “anti-Catholicism is the anti-semitism of the intellectuals.” We also live in a country with an unprecedented level of scepticism about institutions, and that distrust may extend to the verdicts of judges and juries.

Survivors’ Group Wants Public to be Aware of Changes in Texas Law

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 26, 2019

Extension of Civil Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Becomes Effective September 1
SNAP Applauds any Improvement that Offers More Victims Their Day in Court
But the State Still Needs a “Look-Back Window” so All Can Seek Justice

Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters will educate the public concerning a new Texas law extending the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, and urge legislators and their constituents to work toward broader reform.

Outside the Bexar County Court House, 100 Dolorosa, San Antonio, Texas

The Strange Case against Cardinal Pell

National Review

August 22, 2019

By Madeleine Kearns

Where is the evidence?

Lady Justice wears a blindfold. She holds a sword in one hand and scales in the other. She is a product of ancient Rome but stands as a potent symbol in our modern age of “your truth,” “my truth” — and nothing but those truths, so help us all.

This week, Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction of “historic sexual abuse” was rejected by a vote of 2–1 at Victoria’s supreme court. Still blindfolded, Lady Justice might very well be shaking her head. The dissenting justice, Mark Weinberg, had reservations. He warned of a “significant possibility” that Pell is innocent, explaining that he found it “impossible to accept” the sole accuser’s testimony, which, uncorroborated, may have been “concocted.” From Justice Weinberg’s judgment:

[From] the complainant’s evidence, it can be seen that there was ample material upon which his account could be legitimately subject to criticism. There were inconsistencies, and discrepancies, and a number of his answers simply made no sense. . . .

An unusual feature of this case was that it depended entirely upon the complainant being accepted, beyond reasonable doubt, as a credible and reliable witness. Yet the jury were invited to accept his evidence without there being any independent support for it.

Weinberg explained that, on these grounds, after assessing the prosecution’s case at the previous trial, he would have acquitted the cardinal of all charges. Pell is expected to appeal next to the High Court of Australia, which could overturn earlier verdicts. Otherwise, he will serve six years behind bars.

So, what is the case against him?

Why Justice Mark Weinberg believed George Pell should go free

The Age

August 21, 2009

By Adam Cooper

One of the three Court of Appeal judges who heard George Pell's appeal believes there is a "significant possibility" the cardinal did not commit the child sex crimes he's in jail for and would have acquitted him.

Justice Mark Weinberg said he was not convinced by the victim's evidence and could not exclude the possibility that some parts of the former choirboy's testimony were "concocted".

Justice Weinberg, a former Federal Court judge who presided over the trial of Melbourne's Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas last year, said there was a body of evidence that made it "impossible to accept" the victim's account.

"From ... the complainant’s evidence, it can be seen that there was ample material upon which his account could be legitimately subject to criticism. There were inconsistencies, and discrepancies, and a number of his answers simply made no sense," Justice Weinberg wrote in his judgment released on Wednesday.

ANALYSIS: As a witness at George Pell's trial, I saw first-hand the strength of his victim

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

By Louise Milligan

Two 13-year-old choristers from humble backgrounds, who received scholarships to an expensive Catholic school because they could sing their little hearts out.

Two boys whose childhoods, a court has again found, were stolen from them in 1996 by a man who was supposed to represent all that was good in the world: the then Archbishop of Melbourne.

Neither chorister was in court this brisk Melbourne morning.

What happens now after Pell's appeal loss?

Victoria's Court of Appeal delivered one of the most significant judgments in Australian legal history. So what's the next step?
One succumbed in 2014 to the heroin addiction that overwhelmed him from the age of 14 — the year after the event that changed their lives.

He was only 31 when he died.

The power and hypocrisy of George Pell’s supporters

The Saturday Paper

August 24, 2019

By Richard Cooke

As the Victorian Court of Appeal affirms the cardinal’s guilt, he retains dogged support from many in the conservative establishment.

In an age when even amateur broadcasters can attain professional production values, few telecasts still look as spartan as a real-life court proceeding. In prelude, the live feed from the Victorian Supreme Court presented only three empty seats, a state seal and a test soundtrack of tinkling piano music. As the judges filled those seats, the court website became inundated with viewers and crashed. Once restored, the video sometimes chopped or slowed under the weight of this absent audience. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson’s delivery of the summary was halting as well – The Saturday Paper’s legal correspondent, Richard Ackland, tweeted that she brought “all the drama of a dead wombat to reading a summary of one of the most important criminal judgments of the year” – but this dour diction was, in its way, more compelling than a mannered performance might have been. The ruling Ferguson delivered was brief, clear and surprising – George Pell’s appeal on child sexual assault charges had failed.

“It is fair to say that his case has divided the community,” said Ferguson, and so it divided the court. There were three grounds of appeal. One was that the defence had been unable to submit an animation, since nicknamed “the Pac-Man video”, purporting to show that the offending inside St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, was impossible. This was dismissed unanimously. So, too, was concern that Pell’s not guilty plea had been entered via video link only, and not in the presence of the jury. But on the most important question, of whether an “unsafe verdict” had been delivered, there was dissent. Justice Weinberg felt the evidence of the complainant, upon which the case hinged, was not satisfactory enough to preclude reasonable doubt. His colleagues disagreed. They found “A”, as he was called in the summary, was “not a liar, was not a fantasist and was a witness of the truth”. It was reasonable for the jury to believe him.

The microphones recorded only silence from the gallery, and it was possible to forget the rest of those present: the press and lawyers, the survivors and supporters, and Cardinal Pell himself – he is not yet Mr Pell – who had arrived to court in a prison van, and would leave by the same means. Depending on their vantage point, court reporters said Pell “barely reacted” to the ruling, was “gripping the dock with his left hand and looking down at the floor”, looked “destroyed” or merely pursed his lips. Abuse survivors thanked the Lord for a decision many thought even more consequential than the cardinal’s earlier guilty verdict.

Media and legal circles had tipped a different result, partly because of matters of law, and partly because of a cruder calculus – that elite power is so seldom brought to lasting accountability. There might yet be another appeal to the High Court by special leave, but “A”, or Witness J as he is better known, has already run an unusually long and vigorous gauntlet. He waited many years to speak to police, only doing so when the other choirboy abused by Pell died of a heroin overdose. It was at his former schoolfriend’s funeral that he decided to seek justice. As other cases prepared against Pell fell away, it was his that proceeded to trial. The first jury was unable to deliver a verdict. The second believed his version of events over the cardinal’s. Now two Supreme Court justices have made the same determination.

George Pell to take his case to the High Court

The Age

August 25, 2019

By Chip Le Grand

George Pell will take his case to the High Court, setting the scene for a final legal battle over the senior Catholic cleric's child sex abuse convictions.

Sources have told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that Pell is determined to pursue his last avenue of appeal after receiving unanimous advice from his legal team that the dissenting opinion of Victorian Supreme Court Justice Mark Weinberg provided reasonable grounds to have his convictions overturned.

Pell has 21 days from last Wednesday's Court of Appeal judgment to formally lodge an application for special leave to appeal to the High Court. It is likely that a short hearing to determine his application will be listed for this year.

If Pell is granted leave, it is likely to be a further four to six months before his appeal is heard.

It is understood that Pell's special leave application will be made by Bret Walker, SC, who argued the cardinal's case before the Court of Appeal and who has extensive experience in High Court cases.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Pell's appeal against his convictions for the oral rape of a choirboy and the sexual assault of another at St Patrick's Cathedral when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

Update: Victims and Survivors' Consultative Panel

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

August 25, 2019

VSCP (Victims and Survivors' Consultative Panel) update

Following recent press coverage around events from 2008, Peter Saunders has resigned from the Victims and Survivors’ Consultative Panel with immediate effect.

The Inquiry will not be making any further comment on this matter.

Child abuse charity boss resigns from government inquiry after sexual encounter with woman in toilet

The Telegraph (UK)

August 25, 2019

A child abuse victim who founded Britian’s leading charity for survivors has resigned from a government inquriy after it emerged that he had a sexual encounter with a victim in a restaurant toilet.

Peter Saunders, 61, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), was arrested following the encounter which took place in February 2008.

He was not charged with any offence but said that he was “deeply sorry” about the incident and that he would carry the shame for the rest of his life.

As a result, he was forced to resign from his post on the Victims and Survivors Panel of the Independent Inquiry into Childhood Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the public investigation into sys­temic sexual abuse in schools, churches and other institutions.

Charity chief quits child sex abuse inquiry over drunken lunch tryst in a restaurant toilet with molested victim

The Mail on Sunday

August 24, 2019

By David Rose

- Peter Saunders had a sexual encounter in a Bella Italia toilet with the woman

- Mr Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, was arrested

- Mr Saunders, 61, was not charged with any crime but last night said he was ‘deeply sorry’

The head of Britain’s leading charity for survivors of child sexual abuse had a sordid sexual encounter in a restaurant toilet with a woman he knew had been molested as a youngster, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Peter Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, was arrested after the encounter, which happened during an alcohol-fuelled lunch paid for on the charity’s credit card.

Mr Saunders, 61, was not charged with any crime but last night said he was ‘deeply sorry’ and would carry the shame of the incident for the rest of his life.

The married father was also forced to resign from his post on the Victims and Survivors Panel of the Independent Inquiry into Childhood Sexual Abuse, the public investigation into systemic sexual abuse in schools, churches and other institutions.

Kentucky Supreme Court Will Not Review Appeal of Priest Convicted of Sexual Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 26, 2019

A priest in Kentucky who was convicted of sexual abuse had his hopes for an appeal shot down yesterday as the Kentucky Supreme Court declined to hear his case. We are grateful for this outcome and hope it brings closure and healing to his victims.

Fr. Joseph Hemmerle was convicted in 2016 for sexually abusing a child in Meade County. He appealed his conviction by arguing that the court had not proven his intent. Fortunately, the jurors on the Kentucky Supreme Court did not buy his argument and Fr. Hemmerle will remain in jail until at least February, 2020 when he is eligible for parole.

Why I Am Suing My School

Safe Horizon blog

August 22, 2019

By Brian Toale

In 1970, a predator working at my high school sensed a vulnerability in me and began “grooming” me. He showed me more attention than I was used to, which made me feel special. When he first touched me inappropriately, I froze. He said I let him do it and used the fear and shame I felt to silence me and escalated the abuse throughout my senior year. My graduation ended the ordeal, and I vowed to myself I would carry my secret with me to the grave.

I moved on, or so I thought. But the shame that was used to shut me up didn’t disappear. I pushed it out of my mind, but it ate away at me from the inside like rust corroding an iron structure in a place no one can see. Over the next twenty years, that structure slowly corroded until I crashed and burned. It took forty-five years before I found the inner strength to report the abuse to my former school. Today, I am grateful for years of therapy and 12 Step recovery and count myself among the lucky survivors who can tell their story.

Valentine’s Day, 2019, marked the signing of the Child Victims Act and the culmination of a 15-year David vs. Goliath battle to change New York State’s archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations law for child sexual abuse. With his signature, the Governor gave survivors an opportunity to right a terrible wrong done to them as children.

Before the Child Victims Act, sexual abuse survivors had to seek justice by their 23rd birthday. Otherwise, their abuser was free to abuse still more children with impunity. The average age for an adult to disclose being sexually abused as a child is fifty-two, thirty years too late. Predators and their enablers had only to run out the clock, which they did over and over again.

In letter to faithful, bishop addresses abuse crisis

Times Union

August 26, 2019

In a letter issued over the weekend, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger said he shared the public's "sorrow and anger" in the wake of the new wave of sexual abuse claims filed against priests and others earlier this month.

"Our beautiful Catholic faith, which gives comfort through hardships and adds joy during life's great moments, can feel shaken," wrote Scharfenberger, who took over leadership of the Albany diocese in 2014. "And, sadly, among you there are many who have suffered other types of abuse or trauma privately but now feel acutely painful memories reawakening when reading the news. My heart goes out to you."

Concerning that 'prominent' 'Mormon' 'bishop' peeping around at a ladies dressing room

Get Religion blog

August 21, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

One of the hardest things to explain to newsroom managers, when you’re making a case for them to hire a religion-beat pro, is the astonishing level of complexity that exists in religion news — in terms of the doctrines, rites, structures, history and language of the religious groups that simply must be covered.

Take, for example, the word “bishop.” What does this term mean in (a) the Church of Rome, (b) the United Methodist Church, (c) the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (d) various Pentecostal denominations and (e) the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (formerly known to newsroom pros as the “Mormons.”)

While we’re at it, what does “evangelical” mean in the title of the ELCA, one of America’s most doctrinally progressive-liberal flocks?

Words matter. So you just knew we were in for a rough ride, journalistically speaking, when headlines like this one began to sprout online: “Peeping Tom in Nashville Store Turns Out to Be High-Ranking Mormon Leader.” Things got really rough when local-TV news kicked in.

Now, I realize that this particular headline ran at a Patheos advocacy site called — Friendly Atheist. But this online post did combine lots of the issues and stumbles one could find elsewhere.

Is Cardinal Pell guilty? Some believe that how a Catholic answers signals virtue or vice

Get Religion blog

August 26, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

So, is Cardinal George Pell of Australia guilty or innocent?

If you say “yes,” is that answer a form of virtue signaling during the ongoing hell of the multi-decade Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis?

If you answer “no,” does that mean that you aren’t taking the crisis seriously and that you want bishops and priests to be able to escape justice?

If you answer “yes,” are you a loving pro-Pope Francis progressive?

If you answer “no,” does that mean that you are a hateful traditionalist who is on the wrong side of history on this issue and many others?

What if you say that you are worried about the quality of the evidence and that you are worried that public officials in Austrailia have listened to an anti-clerical mob and rushed to judgement? If you are hard questions about the evidence — like a good skeptic or journalist would — does that mean you are a hater and don’t care about the victims?

It’s somewhat unusual to run a think piece on Monday, but I really think that readers — especially journalists — will want to read the short Crux essay that ran the other day with this headline: “Ruling cements Pell’s profile as the Dreyfus or Hiss of the Catholic abuse crisis.” The author, of course, is John L. Allen, Jr.

Allen uses a genuinely scary metaphor — if you know your European history — to describe this case. Here is the key, thesis passage, after Pell’s recent appeal was rejected.

New Bishop has a Big Clean-Up Job in West Virginia

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 26, 2019

A new bishop has been installed in West Virginia’s Catholic diocese. We call on him to make the protection of children and prevention of abuse his number one priority now that he is officially at the helm.

Bishop Mark Brennan was installed as the head of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston last week. Now that he is formally on the job, we believe his first priority should be clear and simple: to protect the vulnerable. In order to demonstrate his commitment to this priority, we call on him to take two immediate steps.

First, to use his power and influence to do everything he can to insure that his predecessor, who has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment, lives in an independent, professionally-run, remote and secure treatment center. This will help ensure that former Bishop Michael Bransfield is monitored and kept away from vulnerable members of the community. For the past year, to our knowledge, Bishop Bransfield has been free of any supervision.

If an even higher-ranking abuser, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, can be sent far away from his former diocese to a remote friary in rural Kansas, then so too can Bishop Bransfield.

Cardinal Pell to appeal to Australian High Court

Catholic News Agency

August 26, 2019

By Ed Condon

Cardinal George Pell will appeal his conviction to the Australian High Court, following the decision last week by the Court of Appeal in Victoria to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.

Sources close to the cardinal told CNA Aug. 26 that Pell would be exercising his final appeal and that, while the majority of “special leave to appeal” cases were not granted by the High Court, his case would likely be accepted given the controversy triggered by the split decision of the Appeal Court judgement.

In seeking to take his case to the High Court in Canberra, Australia’s supreme court, Pell will be exercising his last legal avenue to overturn a conviction which has divided opinion in the country and internationally.

Several Australian media outlets have reported that Pell will retain the same legal team which presented his case in Victoria, led by Brett Walker SC.

The cardinal was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two choristers after Sunday Mass while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997.

Victims blast Salina bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

He admits four abuse ‘mistakes’
But no wrongdoer is identified or apparently punished
“Disciplining the deceitful will stop cover ups,” group says
SNAP ‘outs’ 2 ‘credibly accused’ clerics who were left off list
And it worries that high ranking predator is in Salina diocese
They want KS bishop to disclose “others who are or were here too”

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--blast Salina’s bishop for refusing to release a FULL list of child molesting clerics,
--reveal the names of two credibly accused priests who are/were in his diocese but have received virtually no attention here,
--criticize him for hiding the names of church officials who made ‘mistakes’ in four clergy sex cases,
--urge him to ‘come clean’ about any other predators (besides a prominent cardinal) who have been sent into his diocese, and
--beg those with information or suspicions about abuse to contact the Kansas Bureau of investigation.

Outside Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic church, 731 Pierre St. (corner of S. 8th St.) in Manhattan KS (where at least 2 credibly accused abusive priests worked)

Victims to distribute anti-abuse leaflets

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

They name 5 accused priests who were in Eastern KS
SNAP blast KS Catholic archbishop for “still hiding them”
Prelate belatedly posted a list of 22 alleged abusive priests
But his list is “incomplete” and “leaves kids at risk” group says
SNAP: “Church staff should tell KBI what they know about crimes”

As part of a new ‘outreach’ campaign, abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose a list of five credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in/near Topeka but have virtually gotten no public or press attention here, and
--hand out fliers door-to-door seeking “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes” by any of these clerics or others who worked in the Topeka area.

And they’ll urge Kansas City’s archbishop to
---explain why these names were left off his “accused” list,
---add the clerics’ names (along with photos, whereabouts and work histories of all publicly accused clerics) to his website, and
---include the identities of ALL who have sexually abused (including nuns, bishops, brothers, seminarians and priests).

They will also urge
---all Kansas bishops to post similar lists of accused clerics, and
---all current and former church-goers and staff to report known/suspected abuses and cover ups to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Outside Mater Dei Catholic Church, 911 S.W. Clay Street (corner of S. W. 10th Ave.) in Topeka (785 232 7744, materdeiparish.org)


Priest Allegedly Forced Children into Group Sex in Church Rectory

Patheos blog

August 26, 2019

By David Gee

A now-deceased priest from the Diocese of Buffalo (New York) sexually abused multiple young kids and forced them into group sex with each other while he watched and participated, according to a lawsuit.

The plaintiff, whose name is redacted in a version of the complaint that’s online, said he was sexually abused by Rev. Richard P. Judd along with several other children in 1975. In 2018, Judd was included on a list of priests who had been accused of child sex abuse, but further information wasn’t disclosed.

The plaintiff said Judd groomed several young boys and then sexually assaulted them, including by forcing them to have sex with a young girl in front of each other in the church rectory. The complaint says he talked to the boys about inappropriate topics, checked them out of school, and encouraged them to drink and smoke with him.

The specific incident that’s leading to all kinds of headlines occurred on Feb. 23, 1975. and it involved two other young boys, Jerry T. and Matthew W., and a young girl by the name of Grace Anne.

For several hours PLAINTIFF and the other boys and FR. JUDD drank beer, watched sports, and smoked cigarettes, until PLAINTIFF started to become intoxicated. After hours had passed, FR. JUDD asked Jerry T. if he should invite someone named Grace Anne to the apartment…

Shortly thereafter FR. JUDD called to PLAINTIFF and Matthew W. and they entered the bedroom. PLAINTIFF observed Jerry T. engaging in sexual intercourse with Grace Anne, with FR. JUDD assisting by manipulating Jerry T.’s penis and instructing Jerry T. from behind. All three were in a state of complete undress. PLAINTIFF quickly felt uncomfortable as he stood observing Jerry T., FR. JUDD, and Grace Anne naked in bed, the latter of which appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug. PLAINTIFF had never engaged in sexual intercourse before.

After this incredibly disturbing experience, Judd allegedly coerced Matthew onto the bed and repeated the actions he did with the first child. The complaint goes on to say Judd noticed the plaintiff didn’t have an erection and sexually assaulted the child to try to change that. The plaintiff was then allegedly pressured to have sex with the girl — at which point he left the building without even talking to his friends.


Rutland Herald

August 23, 2019

The report released this week by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington names 40 priests accused of sexually abusing children in Vermont since 1950. Many of them were long-serving and notable within their communities.

The findings are painful for what is likely to be hundreds — if not thousands — of Vermonters who were abused and mistreated. It also tears at communities.

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne in his statement, aptly titled “Sins of the Past,” once again attempts to apologize, but it can never truly be that. This report, even without specific claims and numbers of victims, suggests an institutional failure to protect the most vulnerable.

The report, which was compiled from records at the Diocese of Burlington over a 40-week period, is the most comprehensive, independent examination of “credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against” Vermont clergy.

“Until now, the scope of all of this has been our ‘family secret,’” Coyne said in his lengthy statement.

Family secrets can be toxic. Harmful past experiences — unspoken, unaddressed, and known only by a few — fester like neglected wounds. The innocent victims of the family secret are often made to feel ashamed about what happened, as no one seems to listen to them or even, sadly at times, believe them. While these secrets remain hidden, those who have been hurt are often unable to find the healing they need, especially if those who harmed them are still ‘part’ of the family, even if only in memory.”

Priest steps down from northwest Harris County church amid 'inappropriate behavior'


August 25, 2019

By Brandon Scott and Marcelino Benito

A Catholic priest in northwest Harris County is stepping down from his position while the archdiocese investigates allegations of "inappropriate behavior with an adult."

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston confirmed the move Sunday.

"I started shaking," said Eduardo Lopez de Casas. "I wasn't sure if I could continue singing."

Father Alfonso Delgado agreed to withdraw from all ministry until the investigation is complete, the diocese said.

Lopez de Casas was leading music during this morning's mass. He's also a member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"I was in shock," said Lopez de Casas. "As a victim when you hear this, it's almost like you're reliving your own experience."

Priest removed from north Harris County church after sexual misconduct allegation

Houston Chronicle

August 25, 2019

By Nicole Hensley

Another priest accused of sexual misconduct has been removed from a north Harris County parish where a cleric was also suspended earlier this year.

hurch leaders at Prince of Peace Catholic Community announced during services Sunday that parochial vicar Alfonso Delgado was under investigation following an allegation involving another adult.

Pastor Gerald Goodrum divulged the removal after reciting a homily and at least four hail mary’s, said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, a leader of Houston’s Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests who was working a Mass service as a cantor. The nature of the allegation and when it was said to have happened was not revealed.

Goodrum asked that parishioners with any information about the allegation to contact law enforcement.

When it comes to dealing with scandals, the Church must do better than the National Enquirer

Christian Post

August 26, 2019

By Michael Brown

The internet is burning up with news of yet another scandal in the church, this time with serious accusations against Charismatic evangelist Todd Bentley. What is God saying to His people through this current crisis?

Regarding Todd’s situation, I have no specific comment, since: 1) I have not supported him being in ministry since his divorce and remarriage in 2008, and I am on public record to that effect. 2) I have no connection of any kind to Todd and his ministry. (I also disagreed publicly with the way other leaders handled things in Lakeland, where Todd became prominent.)

But, after prayer and reflection, I do believe there are important things to share that are applicable beyond this current, alleged scandal.

First, this is not the time to throw stones at Charismatics, as some non-charismatic critics have been quick to do. To be sure, we Charismatics have done a very poor job of self-policing, which is a major reason I wrote the book Playing with Holy Fire. And, to be sure, we have had more than our share of sexual scandals. (Note that I write “we” and “our” as a Charismatic myself. I will gladly point the finger within my own circles.)

1st Catholic priest charged with sex assault after tip to AG’s clergy abuse hotline to be sentenced

Star Ledger

August 26, 2019

By Sophie Nieto-Munoz

A disgraced Roman Catholic priest who admitted to sexually assaulting a teenage girl three decades ago will be sentenced Monday in Superior Court in Middlesex County.

Thomas P. Ganley, 63, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a girl who was a member of the youth group he led in the 1990s. The priest’s case was the first criminal case prosecuted after the start of the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Task Force, which was formed last year to investigate allegations of clergy abuse.

Ganley, who will be sentenced by Judge Diane Pincus, faces four years in prison. He will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be forbidden to have unsupervised contact with any child under 18.

When he was arrested in January, Ganley was a parochial vicar at St. Philip and St. James Catholic Church in Phillipsburg and a chaplain at St. Luke’s Warren Campus Hospital.

August 25, 2019

Challenges loom for new W.Va. bishop


August 26, 2019

By Peter Smith

The new spiritual leader of West Virginia’s Roman Catholics is big on “hope.” He mentioned it several times during his homily last week when he was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

So, given the cleanup task ahead of him, Bishop Mark Brennan can only hope for more moments like what he experienced after that service.

He had just emerged from the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling behind a train of dozens of priests and bishops in their festive clerical garb, the sounds of organ and brass still reverberating within. He went up to an elevated pulpit in an exterior turret to bless the crowds clustered below, dressed in their Sunday best even though it was a Thursday afternoon.

“Bishop, we’re over here!” shouted Yvette Smith, one of a cluster of women across the street. They were dressed in T-shirts and jeans or shorts in the humid afternoon. They live in apartments across the street or around the corner, and they often enjoy watching people coming and going from the beautiful weddings and other ceremonies that contrast with the otherwise bleak neighborhood.

This time, they weren’t just spectators.

Bishop Brennan accepted their invitation, walking over, talking with the women and offering blessings.

“Nobody’s ever taken the time to come over here,” Ms. Smith said, adding that the visit lifted her spirits on a discouraging day. She plans to attend Mass at the cathedral in the future.

Catholic Church sex abuse: The difference a Pennsylvania grand jury made in lives of survivors

Good Men's Project blog

August 24, 2019

By Brian Clites

It has been one year since the Pennsylvania grand jury report named 300 sexually abusive Roman Catholic priests in the state. After an 18-month investigation, the grand jury concluded that “over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records.”

At the same time, the jury also noted that the real numbers could be much higher. It said,

“We believe that the real number – of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward – is in the thousands.”

As a scholar who has spent the last eight years interviewing Catholic survivors of clergy sex abuse, I know that even though there were only a few convictions in Pennsylvania, the release of the grand jury report was a watershed moment for survivors.

The report opened up space for new conversations and helped communities come to terms with the horror of their past.

Grand juries comprise up to 23 citizens. They investigate potential crimes under the leadership and jurisdiction of a prosecutor.

Each state governs the amount of time that victims have to prosecute a given crime, which is called the statute of limitations. Although the Pennsylvania grand jury report spurred other states to extend their statute of limitations, Pennsylvania has not.

38 former students sue Yeshiva University over alleged sex abuse

New York Post

August 22, 2019

By Priscilla DeGregory

After years of failed attempts to sue Yeshiva University, 38 former students who say they were sexually abused by three rabbis and other school staff decades ago can now seek justice under the Child Victims Act.

The victims say while they attended all-boys Yeshiva University High School, the principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, and four other staffers variously sexually abused them, beginning in 1955 and continuing through 1986, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

The school received more than 20 complaints from parents and students about the alleged abuse but did nothing, the court papers allege.

One victim, Mordechai Twersky, claims he was twice sexually abused by Finkelstein in 1980 — and despite letting school officials know, they kept the rabbi at the school and even gave him the “Educator of the Year” award in 1985.

Church compensation fund dredges up old agonies for onetime altar boy


August 25, 2019

By Deb Erdley

“It’s not about the money.”

In another time and place, Jack (not his real name) said he’d take the $41,990 offered through the Greensburg Catholic Diocese’s compensation fund for clergy sex abuse survivors and toss it back.

Nothing will ever erase what he says the Rev. John J. Nyeste, a trusted priest, did to him 53 years ago in a secluded farmhouse.

These have not been the best of times for Jack.

At 64, struggling to make ends meet and dealing with health problems, the one-time Connellsville altar boy and former seminarian says he’ll likely take what the church is offering. He was given until Monday to make his decision.

He is among hundreds of survivors of clergy child sexual abuse weighing monetary offers that seven Pennsylvania dioceses have extended.

The local dioceses will underwrite such settlements, but they otherwise washed their hands of the process. Church leaders have outsourced the duty of weighing claims to third-party mediators such as Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros or, in the case of the Greensburg Diocese, a Harrisburg-based service known as Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation.

On narratives about popes and allowing oneself to be surprised


August 24, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

[With photo]

Rome - This Wednesday happened to be the feast of St. Pius X, who served as pope from 1903 to 1914 and whose primary claim to fame was unleashing an “anti-modernist” purge in the Catholic Church, the targets of which were a loosely defined network of Biblical scholars, theologians and others trying, in various ways, to reconcile the faith with science and modern thought.

Pius X issued an encyclical in 1907, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, which was more or less the charter document of the campaign, describing “modernism” as “the synthesis of all heresies.” He also imposed an “anti-modernist oath” on all clergy that lasted until 1967.

Here’s what makes this interesting: If you run a Google search using the keywords “Pope Francis” and “modernism,” you’ll get more than a half-million results, most of them accusing Francis of being a modernist himself.

Yet there he was on Aug. 21, attending a Mass for the feast in a side chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica like an ordinary member of the faithful, sitting unobtrusively in the sixth row. While we have no idea what was in Francis’s mind at that moment, it’s hard not to think he wanted to honor the memory of his predecessor - suggesting, among other things, that perhaps Francis’s view of “modernism” and the Church’s efforts to resist it are a bit more nuanced than is often appreciated.

Francis’s surprise drop-in didn’t make headlines - in part, of course, because it came on the same day an Australian court announced its ruling on Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on child sex abuse charges, rejecting that appeal in a 2-1 split decision.

Argentina prelate says clerical abuse crisis ‘just beginning’ in pope’s country


August 17, 2019

By Inés San Martín

San Francisco, Argentina - Although by now Catholics in some parts of the world have lived with the ferment caused by revelations of clerical sexual abuse for decades, a bishop who heads a commission for preventing abuse in Argentina says that in Pope Francis’s native country, the crisis is “just beginning.”

“It’s not that the abuses are beginning, but society’s awareness, with cases becoming public,” said Bishop Sergio Buenanueva, of San Francisco, in the region of Cordoba. “The cases that expose this problem to the public produce a domino effect which, I believe, is positive.”

Buenanueva also told Crux that while he believes Pope Francis is having a deep impact on the local church, no pope, even history’s first from Argentina, has the capacity to reverse a centuries-long trend of secularization.

On the abuse crisis, the bishop insisted that transparency is healthy.

“In the first place, it’s positive for the victims, who’re now being heard by the Catholic Church and society at large,” he said. “The media has been part of this, and the justice system is doing its job too, with priests being condemned with adequately harsh punishments.”

Liberty Twp. church offers discussion series in wake of sex abuse allegations of its former pastor


August 24, 2019

By Michael D. Pitman


St. Maximilian Kolbe is offering this weekend to parishioners a “short, yet powerful book” after each mass in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving a former pastor of the Liberty Twp. parish.

Father Jim Riehle is establishing a series of Discussion and Holy Hour for Healing sessions.In a message to parishioners, Riehle wrote the book “addresses so much of the struggle, the pain, and the anger surrounding the evil of sexual abuse and the stain this has left on our church.”

Former Pastor Geoff Drew was indicted on Aug. 19 in Hamilton County on nine counts of raping a boy who recently came forward in the wake of other allegations.

The book, “Letter to a Suffering Church” by Bishop Robert Barron, directly addresses the issues currently facing the church, wrote Riehle.

Riehle said said he’s “encouraging” parishioners read the book “because I believe it addresses important and difficult topics” and hopes it will spark a conversation. He also hopes the book at the ensuing discussions will be “a small, first step towards the peace and healing and change that we all desire.”

Case of papal aide captures risks of ‘weaponizing’ sex abuse charges


August 25, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Back in long-ago 1998, I spoke to a member of a small conservative Catholic watchdog group in the U.S. that had just publicly accused a prominent local priest of sexual abuse. I asked why all the churchmen this group targeted seemed to be liberals, and the answer was unhesitating: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

What he meant is that if a cleric is doctrinally and politically suspect, at least in this group’s eyes, then there’s likely moral corruption too.

In other words, what one might call the “weaponization” of clerical sexual abuse charges as part of the wars of culture in Catholicism is nothing new. Decisions to lodge such charges or to make them public, as well as whether people are inclined to believe or reject them, often are tied up with politics, try as reasonable souls might to remain objective.

This comes to mind in light of a recent controversy surrounding Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the “substitute,” or number three official, in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. He was appointed to that role by Pope Francis last year, and it’s a key one - the substitute, who’s responsible for the Vatican’s daily workflow, is the only person, including the Cardinal Secretary of State, who can simply walk in on the pope unannounced.

When Peña Parra was appointed a year ago, the Italian newsmagazine L’Espresso published a letter suggesting negative reports about him as a seminarian in Venezuela, but they mostly concerned his sexual orientation and didn’t clearly suggest abuse.

Cincinnati Catholic Raised ‘Red Flags’ About Priest Over a Year Before Rape Indictment

National Catholic Register

August 24, 2019

Father Geoff Drew was arrested Aug. 19 on allegations dating back 20 years, which concern Drew’s time as music minister at St. Jude parish, prior to his ordination as a priest.

Cincinnati - A Cincinnati news station is reporting on the contents of a letter, sent to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer in August 2018, accusing them of ignoring “red flags” related to a priest now indicted on nine counts of rape.

Local news station WCPO reported that in the letter in question, a longtime lay leader at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish told Schnurr he had failed to deliver on his promise of being "unequivocally committed" to children and that the church had ignored "red flags" about Father Drew.

WCPO reported that the author of the letter is a mother of three children who attended St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township, where Father Drew was pastor from 2009 to mid-2018.

CNA reported earlier this month that complaints were raised to at least one archdiocesan official about Drew’s inappropriate behavior with teenage and pre-teenage boys as early as 2013. Complaints were made to auxiliary bishop Joseph Binzer, who is the archdiocesan vicar general, in 2013 and 2015.

‘Francis effect’ in Argentina’s alternate reality a mix of light and shadows


August 24, 2019

By Inés San Martín

After being away from my home country of Argentina for the past five years, only going back to visit with the family for Christmas and the odd long weekend, I decided to avoid Rome’s scorching summer this year and head back on a reporting mission to take the country’s temperature regarding my fellow Argentinian, Pope Francis.

Beyond the specific stories I came to pursue, I wanted to see if I could find a so-called “Francis effect.” I spoke to several bishops, priests and lay people, all of whom acknowledged that when it comes to Mass attendance, vocations, and the like, there is no such impact, at least not one that can tangibly reverse the country’s rapid secularization.

There is, however, a Francis effect in Argentine society. Perhaps predictably, it’s a mix of both lights and shadows, the bitter and the sweet.

And there are those who question his track record when it comes to addressing the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

August 24, 2019

Ruth Krall, A Brief Afterword to "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice"

Bilgrimgage blog

August 24, 2019

By William Lindsey

Ruth Krall has generously prepared a brief afterword to her six-part series of essays entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." I've published those six essays in installments at Bilgrimage, and at the end of this posting, will provide links to the entire series. The basic premise of Ruth's series of essays is that sexual abuse of vulnerable people by leaders is an endemic problem in religious groups across the globe, and, as she states in the afterword below, "Until the world community learns how to accurately assess this world public health/community mental health phenomenon of clergy sexual abuse of the powerless and the vulnerable, the problem will continue to proliferate." Ruth's essay follows.

Erie County Man Sets Record Straight About Alleged Sexual Abuse by Priest

Spectrum News

August 24, 2019

By Madison Elliott

A Springville man spoke openly for the first time Saturday after filing a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo under the Children's Victim Act.

Richard Brownell, 62, alleges Father John R. Aurelio abused him when he was only 11-years-old. He says it started in 1968 when he was a parishioner at St. Gerard's.

Aurelio, who was not a priest at St. Gerard’s at the time but instead at St. Leo’s, was introduced to Brownell through Father Bernard Mach.

On Saturday, Brownell recounted times when Aurelio allegedly gave him marijuana, alcohol and took advantage of him. He says Mach knew of the abuse and did nothing. Mach himself was also accuse of sexually assaulting a young boy in the early 90s.

In court documents, Brownell accuses the church of protecting Aurelio by "providing plaintiff with safe environment to in which to participate in in educational, youth and recreational activities."

In 1993, Brownell spoke to a local TV news station about his abuse, but said he was able to fend off Aurelio’s advances. Now, after hearing the stories of other victims, he was inspired him to speak out.

"I'm still humiliated. I still feel the humiliation, but no more,” said Brownell. “I've come forward to lend my voice to those victims who haven't found theirs yet."

Catholic schools haven't seen fallout from priest scandal

RuTland Herald

August 24, 2019

By Patrick McCardle

The release of a list on Thursday of 40 Catholic Church clergy members who have been the subject of at least one “credible accusation” of sexually assaulting a minor has not affected local Catholic schools which are set to start their fall school year next week.

Whether the scandal, one of the latest involving the Catholic Church, will be discussed during Sunday’s services will be up to the priests at local churches, according to Monsignor John McDermott.

On Friday, Lisa Millard, the new principal at Christ the King School said she hadn’t gotten questions or comments based on the report.

The report, compiled by an independent committee requested by the Diocese of Burlington, listed 39 priests accused of misconduct during their tenure and one facing an out-of-state allegation. From that list, 20 had spent time assigned to Rutland County churches including Christ the King.

Millard said CKS could accommodate about 300 students. During the school year, which is set to begin Thursday, the student body is expected to be 201.

“That’s growing every year,” she said.

While an informational meeting is planned for early in the school year, Millard said she hadn’t decided whether she will address the report. As of Friday afternoon, she said no parents had talked about withdrawing students.

Mike Alexander, principal at Mount St. Joseph Academy, said he expected to start his school year on Thursday as well, with at least 77 students, and possibly one more student expected to join the school.

Alexander said the average number of students through the past 10 years has been 81 so the enrollment for the coming year is about what he expected.

Alexander said he had not heard any concerns in response to the report.

If he believed a meeting for parents on the topic was necessary, Alexander said, he would reach out to the diocese for direction.

McDermott said the diocese has not directed the priests at Vermont’s Catholic churches to respond in a specific way.

A plea agreement calls for prison time for the priest


August 23, 2019

A Catholic priest at a Fremont church has pleaded no contest to five felony counts of lewd acts upon a child for molesting a boy over an 18-month period in 2016 and 2017, according to court records.

The Rev. Hector David Vela, 42, also known as Hector David Mendoza-Vela, entered his plea in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Stevens in Dublin on Aug. 16.

In return for his plea, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office agreed to dismiss 25 additional counts of lewd acts upon a child for inappropriately touching the boy in his genital area between June 2016 and December 2017, when the boy was 14 and 15 years old.

The plea agreement calls for Vela to be get a term of four years and eight months in state prison when he's sentenced on Sept. 27.

Priest accused of abuse in New York once served in Columbus

Columbus Dispatch

August 23, 2019

By Danae King

A priest accused in a lawsuit of molesting an 8-year-old boy in New York City about 30 years ago once served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

The Rev. Carleton Jones, a member of the Dominican Order, served at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Downtown, from 1992 to 1995, according to diocesan spokesman George Jones.

George Jones said the Columbus Diocese has no record of any complaints against Father Jones from his time in Columbus, but the Order of Dominican Friars Province of St. Joseph, which is based in New York, notified the diocese and St. Patrick about an allegation against him in October.

George Jones said the alleged abuse was announced at St. Patrick even though it took place outside the Columbus diocese, but it was later deemed not credible by the Province of St. Joseph.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in New York Supreme Court, alleges that Father Jones abused the 8-year-old boy at a New York City church while preparing him for his First Communion approximately 30 years ago.

“He was brought to the friar to help him learn, and when he was in private, horrible travesties happened,” said Evan Oshan, the plaintiff’s attorney.

The Dispatch is not naming the man because the newspaper doesn’t name potential victims of sexual abuse.

The Columbus diocese directed questions to the province, which did not return phone and email requests from The Dispatch for comment on Thursday and Friday.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sent a news release about Father Jones, saying that Ohio Catholic officials should tell local residents about the allegation “for the safety of children and healing of survivors.”

The lawsuit names as defendants Father Jones, the Province of St. Joseph, and St. Catherine of Siena parish in New York City, where he served at the time. The suit alleges that the defendants were negligent in their duty to protect the child.

The plaintiff first reported in September 2018 that he had been abused years ago, Oshan said, but was able to file the lawsuit because New York state enacted a law giving sexual-assault victims a one-year window to file litigation.

The Columbus Diocese released a list of 34 priests accused of sexual abuse of minors in March and later added to it. There are now 40 names on the list.

For full coverage on sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Columbus, visit www.dispatch.com/catholicsecrecy.

Dispatch Librarian Julie Fulton contributed to this story.


Vermont diocese list of credibly accused clergy shows 2 with Western Mass. ties

The Republican

August 23, 2109

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which covers the state of Vermont, has posted the names of 40 priests it says had credible allegations of sexual abuse filed against them since 1950 by victims who were under 18 at the time of the alleged incidence.

The posting, which is said to contain more than two dozen names not previously made public, is the work of a seven-member committee appointed last October by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne to review diocesan files to compile a list of priests with credible allegations, as many other dioceses have done.

The names of and allegations against two men with ties to Western Massachusetts who appear on the list have already been public for years.

Lawsuits previously settled by the diocese previously revealed accusations against Edward Paquette, who was laicized by the Vatican in 2009 and who has lived in Westfield, Mass. since 1978 when he had his faculties for ministry removed by then Vermont Bishop John Marshall.

Paquette grew up in Westfield, but never ministered in the Diocese of Springfield, though allegations of abuse were made against him here. He was ordained in 1957 for the Diocese of Fall River where he served until 1963 when he had his faculties for ministry removed in that diocese for similar reasons.

He underwent counseling and was hired for seven years by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, which now lists him with seven credible abuse allegations on its website. When he returned to Westfield, he appealed to Marshall to hire him in Vermont, citing counseling he underwent in Indiana. He ministered for six years in Vermont before numerous allegations of abuse forced Marshall to remove him from ministry.

Testimony: Deacon accused of sex crimes with child was accused by anothertv7b8uio

Royal Oak Tribune

August 23, 2019

By Aileen Wingblad

A deacon from Sterling Heights on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage altar boy at a Troy church in 2017 was accused of inappropriate touching of a young girl months before the boy came forward with allegations, according to testimony heard Friday in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Hurmiz Ishak, 66, is charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct involving the boy, who was between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the alleged incidents. And while Ishak was suspended from his duties at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church after the allegations were made in October 2018, one of several of the church’s leaders who’ve testified so far said that it wasn’t the first time Ishak was ordered to stay away from the church due to alleged misconduct.

Earlier in 2018, a young female altar server had reported to a church leader that Ishak had touched her inappropriately, according to one of the church’s priests — who said she was somewhere between 12 and 15 years old at the time.

Assistant prosecutor makes his opening statement, telling jurors Hurmiz Ishak is "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

None of the witnesses called to the stand are being identified, as ordered by Judge Phyllis McMillen, who is overseeing the trial. The Oakland Press isn’t naming the alleged victim either, due to the nature of the alleged crimes.

Ishak’s young female accuser, the priest testified, told him about “inappropriate touching” by the deacon, which was promptly reported to police and Children's Protective Services, he said. No charges were filed, but the allegations did lead to Ishak’s first suspension from his deacon duties. He was allowed to return to the church a couple months later.

What A Committee Reviewing Abuse Allegations Against The Catholic Church Learned

Vermont Public Radio

August 22, 2019

By Jand Lindholm and Ric Cengeri

As the clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic Church continues to unfold, Vermont has not been immune. Last fall, Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington created a committee of lay people to examine the files of Vermont priests for reports of child sexual abuse. We'll hear what they found.

Joining us are Bishop Coyne and John Mahoney, a member of the committee, to discuss how the review was conducted and allegations substantiated.

August 23, 2019

Cincinnati Archdiocese: We're Aghast, Embarrassed

700 WLW News

August 23, 2019

Speaking on 700WLW on Friday afternoon, the Cincinnati Archdiocese Communications Director, Mike Schafer, says church leaders are both aghast and embarrassed after the series of events that's ultimately led to felony charges of rape being filed against a priest.

Father Geoff Drew this week pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape dating back some 30 years. Fr Drew had been accused of "creepy"--though not criminal--behavior in 2013 and 2015. Despite Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer knowing about that, he still supported Fr Drew's transfer to St Ignatius, which has a large student population. When word of the transfer got out, a man came forward to say he was raped as a child by Fr Drew. That led to a nine-count indictment in Hamilton County.

The local representative for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has called for the Vatican to remove both Auxiliary Bishop Binzer and Archbishop Schnurr. Schafer says Binzer is no longer in charge of priest assignments, telling our own Bill Cunningham "some people are great at part of their job and they're not great at another part of their job, and he's been removed from the part of his job that, apparently, he wasn't great at."

Schafer says if church leadership could go back, they would've removed Fr Drew following a second complaint about behavior in 2015. He says no one in the church knew about the rape allegations until Fr Drew was indicted and arrested. He's being held on $5 million.

Juneau Catholic diocese names clergy accused of sexual misconduct;Three priests served in Haines

Chilkat Valley News

August 22, 2019

On Aug. 21, the Catholic Diocese of Juneau released a report naming seven priests credibly alleged to have committed acts of sexual misconduct with minors and vulnerable adults—three of whom served at Sacred Heart Church in Haines from as far back as 1959, to as recent as 2007.

The Dioecies of Juneau established an independent commission in December 2018 to review files of alleged sexual assault dating back to 1951 when the parish was established. The five-member commission included law enforcement officers, lawyers and retired judges.

The commission was charged with evaluating all charges of reported sexual misconduct “to determine whether there was credible evidence to support the belief that any of them had engaged in sexual misconduct, as well as an accounting of improper handling of any sexual abuse cases by those in authority.”

Among the accused are Edmund Penisten, who served in Haines from 2004 to 2007, Javier Gutierrez (1986 to 1988), and Francis Cowgill (1959 to 1964).

Penisten is alleged to have viewed child pornography in 2010, and put on administrative leave in 2019, according to the report.

Raoul urged to subpoena Catholic church about sexual abuse allegations

Sun Times

August 23, 2019

By Mitch Dudek

Advocates for victims of priest sex abuse called Friday for Attorney General Kwame Raoul to use his power of subpoena to compel the Catholic church in Illinois to hand over evidence in an ongoing probe into clergy sex abuse of minors.

Leaders of SNAP and The Archangel Foundation, nonprofit sex abuse survivor advocacy groups, also were critical of a recent private meeting between Raoul and Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Larry Antonsen, a leader with SNAP, said the one-on-one meeting doesn’t lend credibility to the integrity of the investigation.

“The church talks about transparency, and then the cardinal asks for a private meeting with the attorney general, which sounds kind of fishy,” Antonsen said during a news conference outside Cupich’s Gold Coast office.

“Across, the country, there’s still cover-ups going on, and there’s no reason that I know of why we should trust Cardinal Cupich or any other member of the hierarchy. I really think subpoena power should be used. That’s the only way we’re ever going to get where we’re going to actually believe what we see.”

A spokeswoman for Raoul said Friday the meeting Aug. 7 at Raoul’s Thompson Center office was “productive” and the two “discussed a variety of issues that have been important throughout the investigation.”

Cupich asked for the meeting, she said.

An archdiocese spokeswoman was not available for comment.

Victims to distribute anti-abuse leaflets

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 21, 2019

They name 5 accused priests who were in Eastern KS

SNAP blast KS Catholic archbishop for “still hiding them”

Prelate belatedly posted a list of 22 alleged abusive priests

But his list is “incomplete” and “leaves kids at risk” group says

SNAP: “Church staff should tell KBI what they know about crimes”

As part of a new ‘outreach’ campaign, abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose a list of five credibly accused child molesting clerics who worked in/near Topeka but have virtually gotten no public or press attention here, and
--hand out fliers door-to-door seeking “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes” by any of these clerics or others who worked in the Topeka area.

And they’ll urge Kansas City’s archbishop to
---explain why these names were left off his “accused” list,
---add the clerics’ names (along with photos, whereabouts and work histories of all publicly accused clerics) to his website, and
---include the identities of ALL who have sexually abused (including nuns, bishops, brothers, seminarians and priests).

They will also urge
---all Kansas bishops to post similar lists of accused clerics, and
---all current and former church-goers and staff to report known/suspected abuses and cover ups to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

VISUALS: The group will hold signs and childhood photos before leafleting.

Victims blast Salina bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 23, 2019

He admits four abuse ‘mistakes’

But no wrongdoer is identified or apparently punished

“Disciplining the deceitful will stop cover ups,” group says

SNAP ‘outs’ 2 ‘credibly accused’ clerics who were left off list

And it worries that high ranking predator is in Salina diocese

They want KS bishop to discose “others who are or were here too”

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--blast Salina church officials for refusing to release a FULL list of child molesting clerics,
--reveal the names of two credibly accused priests who are/were in his diocese but have received virtually no attention here,
--criticize them for hiding the names of church officials who made ‘mistakes’ in four clergy sex cases,
--urge them to ‘come clean’ about any other predators (besides a prominent cardinal) who have been sent into his diocese, and
--beg those with information or suspicions about abuse to contact the Kansas Bureau of investigation.

Dominican Order Priest Accused in New York also Spent Time in Cincinnati

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 23, 2019

A priest who has just been accused of abusing a New York child also spent time in Cincinnati, according to church documents.

Fr. Carleton Parker Jones, a Dominican cleric, was sued days ago in Manhattan for reportedly sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy while he was preparing for his first confession and first communion with Jones.

An on-line parish document says that he is moving to Cincinnati Archdiocese.

For the safety of children we believe it is the moral and civic duty of Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr to publicly disclose that Jones has been accused of child sex abuse – and disclose any information he has about Fr. Jones, especially other assignments in Ohio that he may have had. Finally, church officials in both Ohio and New York should reveal Fr. Jones' whereabouts and insist that he live in a secure, remote, independently-run facility or treatment center until this troubling case is resolved.

Priest abuse case shows why state investigation needed, advocacy group says

Kalamazoo Gazette

August 23, 2019

By Ryan Boldrey

After two investigations into a former Otsego priest this decade resulted in zero charges, a leading support group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse points to a recent investigation by the Michigan State Attorney General’s Office into the same priest as to just why it is imperative to continue to investigate sexual misconduct where it allegedly occurred.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement in response to Thursday’s charges levied against the Rev. Brian Stanley by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, calling out the Diocese of Kalamazoo for not doing enough when it was warranted.

“Without her team taking a closer look at church records, it is likely that Father Stanley would never have faced criminal charges. Instead, communities are better informed, and children are safer thanks to her ongoing investigation,” said Zach Hiner, the executive director for SNAP.

If convicted, Brian Stanley, 57, could face up to 15 years in prison and would be required to register as sex offender.

Stanley has been charged with felony false imprisonment of a 17-year-old boy, who according to the attorney general’s office, Stanley was asked by the boy’s parents to counsel. Charges by Nessel’s office accuse the priest of “secreting away” the boy and “holding him against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013.”

“Stanley reportedly immobilized the young man by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap, then used masking tape as additional binding to cover his eyes and mouth," the AG’s office states. “Stanley left the victim, bound and alone, in the janitor’s room for over an hour before returning and eventually letting him go.”

The alleged crime, according to Nessel, is considered “sexually motivated” and if convicted, Stanley would be required to register as a sex offender and face up to 15 years in prison.

The incident, according to the diocese, was first reported to the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 2013, prompting Stanley to be placed on administrative leave immediately, according to a statement from the diocese. The diocese states that it reported the allegation to Child Protective Services, who in turn referred the matter to the Otsego Police Department.

Ask Attorney Bernie: How much time do you need to bring your lawsuit in Pa.?

Erie Times

August 23, 2019

By Bernard J. Rabik

Question: What are statutes of limitations?

Answer: Simply put, the statutes of limitations describe how long you have to bring charges or a claim against someone who has victimized you. Each crime has its own statute of limitations, though they are the same for many of them. The idea is that they keep someone from being charged with a crime or sued for a wrongdoing long after the incident is supposed to have happened. If you hit another auto with your vehicle, the justice system says the other driver can’t wait 30 years to bring you to court.

Not all crimes have statutes of limitations, though. For example, someone could never admit to murder feeling secure that time had run out to commence legal proceedings against him or her.

State’s statutes of limitations

You may think that if you are the victim of someone else’s actions, you would be swift in taking them to court. But, this isn’t always the case. For that matter, you may not actually know who was responsible for an accident or injury. If you were hurt, your main concern may be looking after your health in the immediate future. There are all kinds of circumstances, which could delay you from doing the obvious.

When a plaintiff misses the cutoff date, the defendant can use the statute of limitations as a defense against any civil lawsuit that is filed. If the defendant establishes that the statute of limitations applies and has indeed “run,” the court will normally dismiss the case, unless some rare exception applies to extend the filing deadline.

Former Coldwater priest arrested, charged


August 23, 2019

Documents seized by the attorney general's office from Catholic Diocese offices around the state last fall have resulted in a charge being filed against a 57-year-old priest who used to be the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Coldwater and Our Lady of Fatima in Union City.

Father Brian Stanley of Coloma was arraigned by Allegan County Magistrate Daniel Norbeck Thursday on a charge of unlawful imprisonment.

Stanley was able to get his bond reduced from $100,000 to $5,000 on the condition he can not have any contact with minors.

According to documents, a teen was wrapped up in plastic wrap and masking tape with his eyes and mouth covered and left in a janitor's closet for an hour at St. Margaret Church in Otsego in 2013. The teen's parents had taken him to Stanley for counseling due to poor grades and drug use.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says documents from the Kalamazoo Diocese showed a history of such bindings dating back decades by Stanley, and she classified it as a sexual crime. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, and would have to register as a sex offender.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo released a statement Thursday which stated the incident alleged in the Attorney General’s complaint was reported to the Diocese in 2013. They then referred the matter to the Otsego Police Department for investigation. Father Stanley was then placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. But according to the Otseg

Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas church cited in child sex-abuse suit

Arkansas Democrat

August 23, 2019

By Ron Wood

An unidentified person has sued the Diocese of Little Rock and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tontitown, claiming they were negligent for allowing a priest to sexually abuse him.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of "John Doe 201" and says the priest involved was Joseph Correnti, who committed suicide in 2002.

The Washington County Circuit Court lawsuit claims "Doe 201" was sexually battered by Correnti when "Doe" was 14 to 15 years old. The suit says Correnti served at St. Joseph from 1995 to 2002.

"Doe 201" discovered the effects within the past three years of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Correnti, according to the lawsuit.

Rick Woods filed the lawsuit, which contends that there are at least five known victims of Correnti's sexual abuse.

The diocese knew, or should have known, of Correnti's "sexual misconduct, impulses, and behavior," according to the lawsuit. But, it allowed Correnti to have unlimited contact with children, including "Doe 201," the suit claims.

"Defendants had the duty to protect the moral purity of plaintiff and other Roman Catholic children within the Diocese of Little Rock and at St. Joseph's Catholic Church," according to the lawsuit. "Defendants breached their duties by exposing plaintiff to a known pedophile."

The church and diocese failed to follow policies and procedures designed to prevent child sex abuse or failed to implement sufficient policies, and didn't warn parents there was a risk of child sex abuse, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the church failed to report Correnti's actions to police.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for severe and permanent psychological, emotional and physical injuries, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

"Doe 201" also continues to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling, and cannot lead a normal life, according to the lawsuit.

Correnti committed suicide April 3, 2002, according to Fayetteville police and the Washington County coroner.

He left a note alluding to the sexual misconduct scandal within the Catholic Church at the time.

"Especially in circumstances in the church today, I am sure that some may feel this has a connection, but it rather has to do with my long term depression," Correnti wrote.

St. Max mom took Cincy archbishop to task about priest's 'red flags' a year before rape accusations surfaced


August 22, 2019

By Craig Cheatham

In a letter written to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr in August 2018, a longtime lay leader at Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish told Schnurr he had failed to deliver on his promise of being "unequivocally committed" to children and that the church had ignored "red flags" about Father Geoff Drew.

Drew stands charged with nine counts of rape and has pleaded not guilty to all. According to prosecutors, he repeatedly assaulted an altar boy over a three-year period from 1988-'91.

The alleged attacks took place in Drew's office at St. Jude Church, where he was the music minister. The victim, now 41, was 10 and 11 when Drew raped him, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

The WCPO I-Team first reported on the contents of the letter two weeks ago.

It was written by a mother of three children who attended St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township, where Drew was pastor from 2009 to mid-2018. When he left, he became pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola in Cincinnati, a parish with the largest Catholic elementary school in Ohio.

Diocese of Amarillo implements a new safe environment program


August 23, 2019

By Morgan Burrell

Since the formation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, the Catholic Church has been responsible for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' website.

The Charter incorporated instruction on reconciliation, healing and the prevention of future acts of abuse, the Conference site states.

Along with the establishment of the Charter, the Diocese of Amarillo began utilizing a safe environment program.

"Initially, when we started this in 2002, we sort of had our own program we had to work with, with what we had available because it was brand new thing throughout the United States, it was required," said Deacon Blaine Westlake, the director of the safe environment program for Diocese of Amarillo. "As time went on, we found better and better programs. Bishop (Patrick J.) Zurek just recently authorized us to implement the new 'Circle of Grace,' which is the title of the program, throughout the diocese."

Some Catholic dioceses in Kansas still won't release their lists


August 22, 2019

By Bret Buganski

The Catholic Church is promising to be transparent. Its message is to begin healing from the scandal to find the priests who’ve been accused of sexually abusing children. But how forthcoming are the Catholic Dioceses in our area? Decades after some accusations, there are still many questions.

The Catholic Diocese of Salina released a list in March, 2019, including 14 names of priests with what the Catholic Church calls “substantiated allegations” of clergy child sex abuse.

The Salina list, indicates the year the priest was ordained, the list of parishes they served in and the estimated time frame of the abuse. It also lists if there is one allegation of abuse or more than one, but doesn’t list the total number of allegations. In Kansas there are 4 Catholic Dioceses, but only Salina and Kansas City have released theirs. Wichita and Dodge City have not yet released a list to the public.

“It says they can’t afford to be transparent, it looks apparent to me,” said Janet Patterson.

Her pain never goes away. The Patterson family accused Father Robert Larson of sexually abusing their son Eric for nearly a year while he was an altar server in Conway Springs. Eric took his own life in 1999 after years of battling depression. Janet said they didn’t know about the alleged abuse until months before he died.

Larson was convicted of molesting boys in 2001, and a judge sentenced the former priest to five years in prison. He served the rest of his days in a St. Louis treatment facility until his death in 2014. Although Larson’s case is widely known, there is no publicized list from the Diocese of Wichita that includes his name or any other priest.

When KSN News called the Diocese of Wichita and asked an official when the list will be released, the answer provided was that it “wasn’t complete” and was “under audit.” KSN also requested an on camera interview with Bishop Carl Kemme but was told he was “on retreat” and “unavailable.”

On its website, Bishop Kemme writes, “A pledge to heal,” saying the diocese will address “every instance of an allegation of sexual abuse.”

Patterson is frustrated to know a list has yet to be released by the diocese, but not surprised.

Priest and 5 nuns 'accused' of defaming sacked sister

The Tablet

August 22, 2019

Police in India's Kerala state are investigating the actions of a Catholic priest and five women religious after a complaint by a nun who was dismissed from her congregation. The nun accused the six of defaming and harassing her through social media.

Sister Lucy Kalapura, a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, complained to police that Father Noble Thomas Parackal and five women religious of the congregation collaborated to share closed-circuit TV footage of her entering her convent with two male journalists on social media with the intention of defaming her, UCA News reported.

The religious congregation dismissed Sister Kalapura, 54, with Vatican approval, citing several instances of indiscipline and disobedience. However, she appealed to the Vatican against the dismissal and continues to live in the convent.

Along with the video, Father Parackal posted comments that the dismissed nun had used the back door of the convent to invite two men inside. The 54-year-old nun claimed the tone of the comments seemed to question her character.

Sister Kalapura complained to the local police chief in the community where the convent is based.

Retired Buffalo bishop accused of cover-up in new lawsuit


August 23, 2019

By Christopher White

Yet another U.S. bishop has been caught up in the wave of sex abuse cases unleashed by the state of New York’s “lookback window” that took effect earlier this month.

Bishop Edward Kmiec, the now retired bishop of Buffalo, has been named in a lawsuit against the diocese of Buffalo by 23 plaintiffs alleging that the diocese systematically covered up the abuse of minors.

Kmiec, now 83 years old, served as bishop of the diocese from 2004 to his retirement in 2012 after serving as bishop of Nashville and as auxiliary bishop in Trenton, New Jersey. He was succeeded by Buffalo’s current bishop, Richard Malone.

NEW: Clerical abuse scandal makes headlines this week across US

The lawsuit claims the diocese engaged in a “racketeering enterprise” and is in violation of the Racketeers Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which is meant to target criminal organizations.

Using the RICO statute is a rare move in suits against the Catholic Church, although the recent cascade of cases in light of last year’s Pennsylvania Grand Jury — which chronicled over 1,000 cases of abuse at the hands of 300 priests — has led to an uptick in efforts to use RICO as a means of challenging Catholic institutions.

The suit describes an environment of “harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct,” and comes at a time when the diocese and Malone are under Vatican scrutiny for their handling of abuse cases.

August 22, 2019

Hanna Boys Center to hire private eye to seek out abuse victims

Index Tribune

August 22, 2019

By Anne Ward Ernst

Tracking down almost 2,500 boys will be a daunting task, but officials at Hanna Boys Center want to locate any sex abuse survivors whose stories have not come out yet and make reparations. To accomplish this they will hire a private investigator to find them.

“It’s a long overdue move,” said David Clohessy, an advocate of survivors of sexual abuse by priests. “Finally, Hanna Boys Center officials say they’ll seek out those who were molested at the facility. Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa should do likewise, using church bulletins, pulpit announcements and parish websites.”

Clohessy, a former director with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has appeared in a support role in Sonoma with two alleged sex abuse survivors who claim they were sexually molested by Father John Crews when Crews ran Hanna Boys Center between 1983 and 2013.

Brian Farragher, Hanna’s current CEO, said they will be looking for students who were at Hanna between the years of 1983 and 2017. That period covers both the time when Crews was director of the center and, later, when another sexual predator, Kevin Thorpe, worked as a youth counselor and clinical director at Hanna. Thorpe was arrested in 2017 for sexual misconduct and was later sentenced to 21 years in prison for sexual abuse. Hanna and the Diocese of Santa Rosa recently agreed to a $6.8 million settlement with two brothers who were abused by Thorpe.

The former students Hanna seeks will be asked if they were abused in any way, or if they know of anyone who was victimized. And, where appropriate, Farragher said they will be offered treatment, support and restitution.

It May Be Slow, but Change Does Come

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 23, 2019

By David Clohessy

One of my favorite poems begins “Sometimes things don’t go, after all, from bad to worse.”

I think of this line when my spirits sag and our progress seems slow. I stay motivated by finding and clinging to ‘silver linings’ like the one I just noticed the other day.

Fr. Norman Rogge may be the only priest anywhere to have twice pled guilty to child sex crimes, twice gotten probation, and twice been put back to work in a parish.

Fr. Fred Lenczycki may be the only priest anywhere to have twice pled guilty to child sex crimes and twice sent to prison.

Rogge’s encounters with the justice system began in 1974 and ended in the 2000s.

Lenczycki’s encounters with the justice system began in 2004 and ended just last week in St. Louis (when a prosecutor asked for a ten year sentence and the judge agreed).

Slowly and painfully, things DO change. Let’s remind ourselves, often, of this fact.

Harrison strikes back with defamatiion suit

The Californian

August 22, 2019

By John Cox

Accused priest Craig Harrison has filed a slander lawsuit against a Catholic group that recently disseminated letters and emails alleging the Bakersfield clergyman committed sexual abuse while working at a Firebaugh church in the early 2000s.

The suit filed Aug. 6 in Kern County Superior Court says Stephen Brady, president and founder of Illinois-based Roman Catholic Faithful Inc., whose self-professed goal is to rid the church of clerical corruption, shared and published "false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous statements" during a May 29 news conference in Bakersfield.

The correspondence Brady publicized during the news conference detailed allegations that Harrison had sex with two high school students while serving as pastor of the Firebaugh church and that he would examine boys' private parts daily as a way of checking whether they had been using drugs.

The letters and email originated with an unrelated investigation conducted in 2004 by a retired FBI agent in Merced.

Brady said Thursday it was not his goal to harm or defame Harrison, and that he was only sharing information he uncovered while trying to find out whether the accusations against the priest were true. He called the lawsuit unwarranted.

"I have nothing personal against Monsignor Harrison whatsoever," Brady said. "I was just looking for the truth."

Alaska clergy members named in Catholic church review of sexual misconduct allegations

Associated Press

August 22, 2019

By Rachel D'Oro

An independent review has found credible accusations of past sexual misconduct against seven clergy members of an Alaska Catholic diocese, including a former priest who died in a July plane crash and another priest who was placed on administrative leave in recent months, church officials said Thursday.

The Diocese of Juneau released the results of the review, which identified six priests and a religious brother as those accused of misconduct involving minors or vulnerable adults during the diocese's nearly 70-year history.

Bishop Andrew Bellisario could not immediately be reached for comment. At a press conference Wednesday, he offered a "very sincere" apology, the Juneau Empire reported.

"It brings a lot of shame and a lot of regret and a lot of sorrow to me personally as bishop of this diocese, but it is something that needs to be expressed to those who have been harmed," he said.

In a letter Wednesday to church members, Bellisario said he established an independent commission consisting of former judges and a police official last December to review all personnel files going back to the diocese establishment in 1951.

By Ex-U.S. senator accused in Jeffrey Epstein scandal oversaw Philly Archdiocese’s sex-abuse compensation fund

Philadelphia Inquirer

August 22, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

Among the prominent men accused of sexual abuse in a cache of recently unsealed court documents tied to financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged trafficking of underage girls, one name stood out to clergy sex-abuse victims in Philadelphia: George J. Mitchell.

Better known for his stints as a former Senate majority leader and a U.S. special envoy, Mitchell until May had led the board overseeing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s compensation fund for those abused by priests.

Philadelphia Archdiocese opens claims process for sex abuse victims compensation fund
Although he has forcefully denied the claims and his accuser has offered few details of their alleged encounter, the news has drawn consternation and bewilderment from Philadelphia-area victims and their advocates.

Some simply smirked at the optics that the man handpicked to oversee the archdiocese’s most significant attempt to date to compensate abuse victims had himself been accused as an abuser. Others said that Mitchell’s ties to Epstein have only deepened their reservations about the Church’s reparations process — a program many of them already viewed with skepticism.

New Wheeling bishop pledges to address scandal

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 22, 2019

By Peter Smith

Bishop Mark Brennan entered the Cathedral of St. Joseph amid all the pomp, procession and fanfare typical of a bishop's installation.

Less typically, he wasted little time in naming the elephant in the cathedral, acknowledging the alienation of many West Virginia Catholics in the wake of sexual and financial scandals that brought an abrupt end to his predecessor's tenure.

"The scandals we have learned about have caused painful disappointments, anger, confusion and distrust of church leaders," he said in his homily. "We have to face that situation with open eyes and determined spirits to bring about lasting change."

The Boston-born bishop, who spent much of his career as a Maryland parish priest before becoming an auxiliary bishop in Baltimore, was appointed in June by Pope Francis as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston.

The diocese estimates it has nearly 75,000 Catholics across the entire state, with a significant amount concentrated in the Northern Panhandle, where cities like Wheeling and Weirton share the industrial and Catholic immigrant heritage of the Ohio River Valley communities in neighboring states.

Chichester publishes in-depth study of abuse in its diocese

Church Times

August 23, 2019

By Hattie Williams

The diocese of Chichester should not be too hasty in its attempts to consign sexual abuse to history, a new report suggests.

The diocese was marked out by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) for special interest, based on the number of high-profile cases of abuse. An earlier report by Dame Moira Gibb also examined aspects of abuse in Sussex.

This week, the diocese quietly published a third report, Sexual Abuse by Clergymen in the Diocese of Chichester: ‘You Can’t Say No to God’, which was written by Professor David Shemmings from the University of Kent, and his wife Yvonne Shemmings, who works with him in training and research.

The authors warn the diocese “not to be tempted to approach the future by adopting the mantra ‘That was then; this is now’.

“Inevitably there is now an understandable need to move on from what many believe has been a terrible stain on the diocese, but this can, in our view, only be safely and respectfully done by regularly training everyone’s collective eyes and ears on what happened in the past.”

Children were “sexually abused and humiliated” throughout the diocese, at all levels of seniority among the clergy, the authors write. “[Children] were sometimes plied with drink or drugs (and sometimes both). . . They were sometimes made to feel that the abuse they suffered was their fault or, even worse, ordained and sanctioned by God. As one of the individuals interviewed put it ‘You can’t say “No” to God.’”

The Shemmings were commissioned by the diocese to conduct a “small qualitative research study and review of key documents” to understand why the abuse happened. They interviewed 17 people, among them survivors of abuse, investigating police officers, and safeguarding professionals, to discover patterns of offending behaviour and victimisation, as well as possible links between offenders, institutions, and organisational responses.

In their analysis, the authors pick out patterns of secrecy and fear. “The apparent ‘openness’ of a diocese where, theoretically at any rate, people can come and go as they please, requires additional and more subtle levels of coercion. . . The level of fear some of the abusers instilled in the children and young people was pernicious and sometimes extreme.”

The use of alcohol and expensive gifts to groom children was common, and the power wielded by abusers who “mixed with the rich” was clear, they write.

There was a “difference of opinion” among interviewees, however, about whether this abuse was “unique” to Chichester, whether abusers were “predatory” and chose the Church or diocese because it presented an opportunity to abuse, or “whether there was something endemic about the ‘closed’ (some said ‘secretive’) community within the Church, which, coupled with the requirement for homosexual priests to remain celibate, produces in some men an unquenchable and unrequited need for intimate close relationships that can sometimes cross a line and become abusive and even coercive.”

Much More Work Needed at Hanna Boys Center, Survivors Say

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 22, 2019

Hanna Boys Center officials say they will finally seek out those who were molested at the facility. Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa should do likewise, using church bulletins, pulpit announcements and parish websites.

In outreach messages, church and center staff should stress the importance of contacting the independent, unbiased and experienced professionals in law enforcement first, not employees of the diocese or the home. We feel it is especially crucial that those with knowledge or suspicions of wrongdoing at Hanna contact the California attorney general who is investigating sexual abuse by clergy and its cover up in the state.

While helping to heal adults who were assaulted as children is important, we hope that the diocese and the center will be completely transparent with any survivors who come forward and let them know if accepting this help will exclude them from filing a lawsuit in the future. This is particularly important since it is likely that California, like New York, will soon open a civil window, and help is also available through the Sonoma County Family Justice Center.


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 22, 2019

A priest who has just been accused of abusing a New York child also worked in Columbus. For the safety of children and healing of survivors, Ohio Catholic officials must now alert their flock and share with law enforcement here any information they may have on the alleged offender.

Fr. Carleton Parker Jones, a Dominican cleric, was sued days ago in Manhattan for reportedly sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy while he was preparing for his first confession and first communion with Jones. An on-line parish document shows that, from 1992-1995, Fr. Jones was at St. Patrick Church on North Grant Avenue in Columbus.

We believe it is the moral and civic duty of Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan and church officials at St. Patrick’s to use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover-ups involving Fr. Jones and beg them to call police.

Vatican Refuses to Take Action on Cardinal Pell, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 22, 2019

Days after the conviction for sexually abusing two boys was upheld, Pope Francis and the Vatican refuse to take steps to defrock or otherwise discipline Australia’s top catholic official. This is an embarrassing move by Vatican officials and only further underscores how out of touch they are when it comes to cases of clergy sexual abuse.

Cardinal George Pell was the third-highest ranking official in the Vatican before his conviction. Now he will spend the next six years in prison. And yet despite the fact that he has been convicted by a jury of his peers and seen his conviction upheld by a Australian appeals court, Cardinal Pell remains a Cardinal, with all the rights and honors it entails.

The Vatican argues that Cardinal Pell “has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process.” Fortunately for us, most the world’s justice systems do not consider a mere denial of charges as an adequate defense against them. It certainly was not an adequate defense in Australia. It is embarrassing and backwards that church officials in Rome even try to suggest such a denial is a good enough defense for their purposes.

Five adult siblings claim a childhood of abuse by the priest who kept them as his mostly-secret family

The Enterprise

August 22, 2019

By Elizabeth Floyd Mair

Five adult siblings recently claimed a childhood of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by Francis Melfe, a Roman Catholic priest whom, they say, kept them and their mother as his mostly-secret family at a large suburban Guilderland home.

Edith Thomas, the mother of the five adult children, told The Enterprise this week, “They haven’t spoken to me since 1992.”

She has prayed for them every day since then, she said.

She declined further comment except to add, “Whatever they want to tell, they can tell, and anything they say is the truth.”

The children now range in age from 47 to 62. One of them, the youngest, was fathered by the priest, their suit says. One of the plaintiffs declined comment, and the others could not be reached. Francis Melfe did not respond to requests for comment.

The Enterprise has a policy of not naming victims of sexual abuse.

JoAnn Harri of Smalline and Harri, of Albany, called the plaintiffs “proud survivors” and said that they have all been exemplary parents to their own children. Harri is representing the plaintiffs, together with her partner, Martin D. Smalline.

In their complaint, Thomas’s children allege a decade of sexual abuse, from 1969 through 1979, by Melfe against them while the priest maintained an elaborate deceit to try to keep his identity from their neighbors. He left the priesthood in 1979.

The complaint also alleges that the church hierarchy knew, before Melfe ever met this family, that he had been transferred from St. Joseph’s Church in Troy to St. Mary’s Church in Hudson “because he was stealing from St. Joseph’s Church and had been abusing children there.” Asked by The Enterprise how they know that, Harri said that they know “from another witness, an unnamed witness.”

One Year After PA Grand Jury Report, States Continue Probes of Clergy Abuse, Cover-Ups

National Catholic Register

August 22, 2019

By Lauretta Brown

Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia are conducting investigations into child sex abuse and cover-ups by the Church. These investigations continue one year after the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report, which subsequently helped prompt new guidelines from the Vatican on the handling of sexual abuse.

There are known investigations into Church sex-abuse allegations and cover-ups in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, Vermont, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Delaware, California, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. There could be as many as 45 states investigating the Church behind the scenes, as well, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The Pennsylvania report has also reportedly prompted statute-of-limitations reform laws in 21 jurisdictions, which extend or eliminate their statute of limitations for reporting child sex abuse.

On Aug. 14, 22 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools and a seminary, among others, alleging “a pattern of racketeering activity” that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse under federal racketeering laws, called RICO statutes, which primarily are used against organized crime like the mafia.

The state investigations have already spurred thousands of allegations of sexual abuse as well as some arrests.

The office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told the Register that the state’s clergy-abuse hotline has received more than 540 calls since it was created in September 2018 as part of a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy in the state’s dioceses.

Their investigation secured the guilty plea of Father Thomas Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, New Jersey. After an accusation was made through the hotline, Father Ganley was investigated by the task force and pleaded guilty in April to second-degree sexual assault, admitting that he engaged in sexual acts with a teenage girl in the 1990s, when she was 16 or 17 years old and he had supervisory authority over her.

Group calls on Cincinnati archdiocese to take action in wake in priest’s rape indictment

Daily News

August 22, 2019

By Michael D. Clark

An indicted priest, who worked in churches in the Miami Valley and Greater Cincinnati, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to nine charges of raping an altar boy and was called a flight risk by a judge.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz ordered a $5 million bond for Rev. Geoff Drew.“I am concerned about the flight - as is the state - simply based on the fact of the high-profile nature of this case and the particular allegations,” Ghiz said.Drew previously served as pastor of St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Dayton and as parochial vicar at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Beavercreek.And for nine years he was pastor of one of the Cincinnati Archdiocese’s largest churches – St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Butler County’s Liberty Township.

Priest Charged with Kidnapping Thanks to Michigan AG Investigation

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 22, 2019

Another Michigan priest is being charged with child sex crimes because of the outstanding work of Attorney General Dana Nessel and her team. We commend her and the staff for all their hard work in reviewing the files from the Diocese of Kalamazoo. We hope this story inspires others who may be suffering in silence to come forward, make a report to the AG, and start healing.

According to news reports, Fr. Brian Stanley was arrested for kidnapping. The complaint alleges that the priest wrapped a teenager tightly in plastic, taped his eyes and mouth shut, and then left him alone in a janitor’s room at an Otsego, MI parish for more than an hour. Fr. Stanley later returned and released the boy.

The incident was reported to the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 2013. The priest was immediately suspended and, according to church officials, the allegations were also reported to police who said that “the complaint was not criminal and there would be no charges.” Fr. Stanley was then reinstated, it would appear without any internal investigation.

For Abuse Survivors, A New Shot At Justice

New York Jewish Week

August 20, 2019

By Hannah Dreyfus

Mordechai Twersky, one of the plaintiffs in a 2013 lawsuit against Yeshiva University accusing administrators and teachers of a decades-long cover-up of physical and sexual abuse at its affiliated high school, said the flagship Modern Orthodox institution “left us for dead” after a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the suit.

Citing federal and state statutes of limitations, which had expired, the judge wrote in a decision handed down on Jan. 30, 2014, “No exceptions apply.”

As of last week, that is no longer the case.

Michigan priest accused of tying up teenage boy, taping mouth and eyes

The Flint Journal

August 22, 2019

By Ryan Boldrey

The ongoing investigation into sex-abuse claims involving Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses has resulted in more charges by the state Attorney General’s office, this time of a former Otsego priest.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that Father Brian Stanley, of Coloma, is being charged with one felony count of false imprisonment. If convicted, Stanley would face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender, according to state law.

“Stanley is accused of secreting away a teenage boy and holding him against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013,” states a news release issued by Nessel’s office.

The priest reportedly immobilized the young man by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap. He then used masking tape as additional binding to cover his eyes and mouth, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Is it time for regional synod for U.S. church to address abuse crisis?

Catholic News Service

August 22, 2019

By Russell Shaw

Reacting to the scandal of clergy sex abuse and cover-up 17 years ago, eight bishops offered a bold proposal.

The conference of bishops, meeting in Dallas, had lately adopted a charter and norms for the protection of children. Now the eight called for something more.

Convene a plenary council or regional synod, they urged their fellow bishops, and use it to get at the roots of what had happened so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. The signers of their joint letter included Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, then bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, and now president of the national bishops’ conference, and Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, an auxiliary bishop there back then.

More than a hundred bishops expressed interest in the suggestion, which eventually came to focus on the synod option. The bishops’ conference took some note of it. But in time, enthusiasm faded and the proposal died as the hierarchy went about implementing their new child protection measures.

Clerical Spirituality and the Culture of Narcissism

Celibacy, Sex & Catholic Church

Posted August 8, 2019; revised July 30, 2019

By A.W. Richard Sipe, Marianne Benkert, and Thomas P. Doyle

[Note from Tom Doyle: In 1993 Attorney Stephen Rubino came up with the phrase “religious duress” to describe the internal constraint involuntarily experienced by people, in this case Catholics, who have internalized religious indoctrination to the extent that it can seriously impede a person’s capacity to accurately perceive and evaluate abusive actions perpetrated by clergy. In short, the effects of religious indoctrination made it nearly impossible for sex abuse victims to disclose the abuse.

Richard and Marianne Sipe and Tom Doyle developed the idea through extensive research and published several articles about it, including most recently the article linked above. The concept was used in civil cases to overcome the statute of limitations. It met with little success in the U.S. courts. Judges misunderstood it and erroneously thought it somehow violated the First Amendment.

On June 7, 2019 the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a judgment that used the concept extensively. A key article by Doyle and Marianne Sipe is quoted several times as is another by Doyle.]

Diocese of Burlington Releases Names of 40 Abusive Priests

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 22, 2019

The Diocese of Burlington, VT has released the names of proven, admitted and publicly accused child molesting clerics today. This is a long overdue step towards transparency, and there is still more work to do.

With this move, church officials in Vermont are taking a belated step towards transparency and healing. Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the safety of children and healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to deter future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups.

Still, the fact remains that this is a long-overdue move prompted by pressure from media, parishioners and the public that Bishop Christopher Coyne should have taken immediately upon arriving in Burlington four years ago.

Church report accuses 40 Vermont priests of child sex abuse

Vermont Digger

August 22, 2019

By Kevin O'Connor

The statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington knew at least 40 Vermont priests faced accusations of sexually abusing children over the past seven decades but did nothing to alert the public or police, a lay-led church committee announced Thursday.
The committee, given unprecedented access to personnel files once seen by only Catholic leaders and lawyers, issued an online report that named the accused clergy — none whom are currently working but several who are still alive — and acknowledged past officials of the state’s largest religious denomination covered up the claims so as not to spark court suits or scandal.

“While most of these allegations took place at least a generation ago, the numbers are still staggering,” Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne said Thursday. “These shameful, sinful, and criminal acts have been our ‘family secret’ for generations.”

The report showed no current misconduct. All but one of the allegations occurred before 2000.

While the report is public, detailed revelations about priest misconduct have not been made available to the press.

“Many abusers and their victims are deceased, so some might ask ‘Why engage in this process?’” the committee wrote. “Publication of a list may cause harm to the legacy of accused perpetrators, but the list also may offer some long-missed consolation to victims and their families and friends.”

“What is particularly painful is knowing how lives were changed irreparably by what happened to the victims when they were young,” the committee wrote. “For some there might have been the opportunity for healing, but for many there may have been a series of life choices intended to cover scars that only resulted in more pain and disappointment. Lives have been lost because of the abuse that occurred.”

Church leaders acknowledge publicizing the list of priests could subject the diocese to more lawsuits. More than 50 accusers have won nearly $31.5 million in settlements in the past several decades. Their shared lawyer, Jerome O’Neill of Burlington, still has six cases pending in court.

“My reaction is disappointment,” O’Neill said of the report he believes should have been released long ago by previous church leaders. “It was more important for those bishops that they protect the reputations of their child-abusing clergy and the diocese itself than to protect children from being sexually assaulted.”

New abuse reporting system ‘important step’ for Church accountability

Irish Central

August 22, 2019

In advance of a mandated national third-party reporting system for allegations or complaints regarding bishops, the Catholic dioceses of four New England states have launched a third-party, independent system to report abuse by Catholic bishops.

The dioceses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine make up the Boston Province, led by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who is the metropolitan archbishop of the province.

The bishops of the province have agreed to make a reporting system available now in the wake of Pope Francis’ document ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi’ (‘You are the light of the world’) and the bishops’ vote during their spring general assembly in June to implement it.

The Pope issued the landmark document in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.

The motu proprio was one of the measures that came out the Vatican’s February summit on clergy sexual abuse attended by the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences.

“I am grateful to Cardinal O’Malley for his leadership in implementing this important facet of ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi’ here in the Boston Province,” Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said in a statement in response to the August 14 announcement of the Boston Province establishing the independent reporting system.

“This is an important step in assuring accountability for bishops in continuing to be vigilant in our Church for the safe environment of all our members, particularly our most vulnerable,” he said.

Burlington Catholic Diocese to release names of priests accused of child sex abuse

Free Press

August 22, 2019

By Elizabeth Murray

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington will release the names of priests against whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made. The names will be released Thursday morning.

The report was compiled by a lay committee, appointed by Bishop Christopher Coyne, to examine priest personnel files. The committee was comprised of four men and three women, including one priest abuse victim and one non-Catholic.

The allegations against clergy who served throughout the state date back to the 1950s, the Diocese said.

According to a statement written by the Bishop on the Diocese's website, there has only been one credible and substantiated claim of abuse in 16 years. The allegation involved an 18-year-old who formed an emotional relationship with a member of the clergy when that teenager was a minor.

"There are no priests in ministry who have had a credible and substantiated allegation made against them," the Bishop wrote.

Archbishop Gregory Continues Task of Restoring Trust

Washington Informer

August 21, 2019

By D. Kevin McNeir

Since his installation as the leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, May 21, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has provided needed leadership at a time when the Catholic Church has found itself inundated by troubling scandals and revelations.

Throughout his many years of service, Archbishop Gregory has remained a man known for and respected because of his principles and dedication to seeking truth and doing the right thing. That said, his first few months have seen him visiting parishes throughout the Archdiocese — offering solace, guidance and laying out a plan of action.

He spoke with The Washington Informer recently about his life, his new assignment and his plans to restore one of our most fragile human relationships: trust.

Washington Informer: How do you speak to people in today’s current atmosphere of fear in the U.S. when many say their faith has been shaken? How do you inspire people and what do you say particularly to Black Catholics?

Archbishop Gregory: I say the same thing to everyone, Catholic or not. I speak to their dignity as people recognizing the struggles they’ve endured and remind them of the importance of civil discourse. Yes, people are afraid in so many settings. Part of that fear is generated by a loss of the awareness of the dignity we each have as a child of God — no matter what religion or those who do not claim any religious affiliation, they still should be treated with dignity.

Second, you encounter people as Pope Francis says, by speaking and listening. Right now, not a lot of listening has been going on in the human dialogue. A lot of protestations, hostile language — but very little listening, sincere listening. I really try to listen and in that listening come to understand others and their opinions. Hopefully, in that kind of dialogue I can engender a mutual respect.

WI: There have recent challenges in the Catholic church in terms of leadership. Still, we hold those at the top to greater accountability. How do you restore that trust?

Gregory: Trust is a fragile virtue and while it takes time to establish it can be ruptured quickly. I hope to offer to the Archdiocese a strengthening, a reestablishing of trust. But I’m aware that it will not happen overnight, especially because the breakdown occurred within the leadership. Still, as the Bible tells us, to whom much is given, much is required. It will take time to reestablish those trusting relationships — that’s clear to me. There’s no way I can be naïve about the uphill battle I face.

Bishop Stephen Davis says corrupt leaders caused him to resign from New Birth megachurch

Christian Post

August 21, 2019

By Leonardo Blair

When the late Bishop Eddie Long’s named successor, Bishop Stephen A. Davis, announced his resignation from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, after 16 months on the job, he cited the need to attend to his family and church in Alabama.

Last Wednesday during an altar call at New Birth Birmingham — a church planted under the spiritual guidance of Long — Davis revealed he left his spiritual father’s congregation because of the politics of corrupt leaders he described as “fools.”

In a somewhat cryptic segue near the end of a Facebook Live broadcast Davis, who was not available to elaborate when his church was contacted by The Christian Post on Tuesday, explained how he worked free for the entire time he led the church after Long’s death and buoyed the church financially as well.

“They didn’t say anything over there in Georgia when I gave $180,000. I worked the entire 16 months for free. Didn’t take a dime. Paid for my own condo for six months. Kept the debt off the Long family, $3,500 a month that they didn’t have to pay on Bishop Long’s condo. I paid it. I took the car back that I had given him as a gift, taking the pressure off the Long family. I gave $85,000 personally. They allowed wicked men to lead them. They lost their God sent. Now they have to settle for hirelings,” Davis said.

“I tithed every month. They didn’t know I made their payroll, those who work for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Without my funding they wouldn’t have been paid. I want every one of them to know, they lost the best thing that could have ever happened to you,” he said as his congregation applauded.

“Tommy George, Mike Roberts, threatened me,” he continued. “Told me they could have gotten rid of me. I told them they never had me. So go back to your ‘hellatious’ leaders and tell them I’m still coming to Georgia.

Archbishop says sexual revolution could have motivated clergy sex abuse


August 22, 2019

Sweeping changes by the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual revolution of the '60s and '70s may be among the reasons for the rise in clergy sex abuse. That's what Archbishop Michael Byrnes explained during a speech today before local business leaders.

In trying to explain why so many Catholic clergy, including here in Guam, became involved in the far-reaching child sexual abuse scandal, Archbishop Byrnes referenced the reflections of the retired Pope Benedict. He says the Pope believed that an unprecedented 1962 gathering of top religious leaders to discuss church doctrine known as the Vatican Council II lead to a transformation that not all clergy could adjust to.

"It was kind of, at least in the United States, there was just this mass defection of priests. I remember being in a parish in Detroit, the parish I grew up in, and in one year, four of our priests left the priesthood," Byrnes said.

He says many became disaffected and unhappy, and not just with the doctrinal changes.

"A lot of the priests were used to praying like this, the idea was that the priest was leading the prayer and everyone was joining him and he didn't have to look at the people," Byrnes continued. "They literally were turned around and we're comfortable with that now but some of these guys weren't comfortable with that, but it wasn't just that, it was a whole new idea of the priesthood, of engagement of the lay faithful.

"It's not saying that that was bad, this was a time of upheaval, and I even remember my dad, his favorite priest, his friend left the priesthood, it hurt. It hurt."

Byrnes says the changing attitudes toward sex in the 60s and 70s, may have also impacted the church's training of priests, an example.

"It became the practice of teaching moral theology for the sake of confession was that they would show pornographic movies to these seminarians so that when they heard of particular sins they wouldn't freak out somehow," he said. "There's probably a better way of doing that."

His comment was met with laughter from the attending Rotarians.

But the archbishop says the cause may boil down to one thing.

On those who suffer for others less repentant

The Catholic Weekly

August 22, 2019

By Dr. Philippa Martyr

What do you do when something doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped?

I can never read the life story of St Joan of Arc without experiencing a terrible emotional crisis towards the end. Joan’s fate in prison was not yet determined, and there was a chance she would be freed – but then she discovered she was going to be sold to the English armies.

Joan then tried to escape or commit suicide (or both) from her prison cell by leaping from the window, a drop of some 60 feet.

Finding God in suffering – easier said than done
She wasn’t injured, but she later realised that she had done the wrong thing by trying to escape. It showed a lack of trust in God’s plan for her, and she confessed her escape attempt to a priest.

I think this is one of the things that shows her sanctity: that she could completely lose heart and yet walk back from that, knowing that God had ordained a different type of suffering for her future.

Joan is behaving in the same way that Jesus did when He’s described as setting His face bravely towards Jerusalem. It’s an acceptance of the awfulness to come, even though you know it will be awful – and terribly unjust.

George Pell: Judgment gives solace to victims

The Age

August 22, 2019

The dismissal of Cardinal George Pell's appeal against his conviction, vindicates and provides some solace to those who have spoken out against being sexually abused by priests and other paedophiles. May it give them some peace that their experiences have been believed and they have truly been heard. This judgment helps to restore one's faith in the justice system, which so often seems to reward those with the most power and money.

Suzy and Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Don't blame judiciary, blame the hierarchy

For those Catholics feeling bad right now. Feeling hunted. Feeling let down. You have been. Not by the judiciary, but by your hierarchy. The time is now, not to circle the wagons but to look outwards. Look to your fellow Catholics whose lives have been ruined, through no fault of their own, because they or a loved one have been sexually assaulted as a child or because they have called out what they saw and lost their livelihoods as a result.

Julian Guy, Mount Eliza

Now, the defining moment has come

Today all print and TV media outlets are referring to convicted sex offender George Pell as Cardinal George Pell. Technically he is still a cardinal until and if the Vatican defrock him. However the media and the rest of society, if they need to speak of him at all, should refer him as George Pell convicted child abuser.

Peter Roche, Carlton

Woman Says Priest Forced Her to Give Up Her Son for Adoption, Seeks $10 Million

Patheos blog

August 21, 2019

By David Gee

A woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Omaha and others last week, saying a priest from that church forced her to give up her son for adoption decades ago.

Kathleen Chafin has now reconnected with her adult son, whom she says she was forced to give up in 1968, but only after years of searching for him. Thomas Halley, a Jesuit priest, is accused of manipulating her and removing her son from the hospital, according to the Washington Post.

… when Chafin first raised concerns about the adoption in 2015, an investigation from the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus concluded that Halley operated within the law and that his actions were “born of a desire to avoid scandal and find good homes for babies of unwed mothers,” the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Chafin contends the investigation was fraudulent, and she never received a copy of its findings.

“The process of the investigation was full of the same lies and manipulation I have experienced all my life,” she said. “I was furious.”

Whether or not Chafin’s particular allegations have merit, her story isn’t all that unusual. Chafin was told to give up her son because she had the baby out of wedlock. The Church convinced her it’d be better to give her child up for adoption than raise him herself. One source says more than 1.5 million women were told to give up their children for similar reasons around this time. It’s literally called the “Baby Scoop Era.”

World’s oldest living bishop, who is uncle of Chile’s president, accused of abuse


August 22, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera, has urged for the Catholic Church to be investigated over clerical sexual abuse, and he gave his full support to new law that ends the statutes of limitations on abuse cases.

However, when it comes to the allegations made against his uncle, the world’s oldest living bishop, he’s having a hard time believing it.

Archbishop Bernardino Piñera, who served as Archbishop of Serena from 1983-1990 after previously serving as Bishop of Temuco, is being investigated by the Vatican over allegations that he sexually abused a minor 50 years ago. The news was announced by the Holy See’s embassy in Chile on Tuesday.

Soon after, the president said: “As a nephew, I find it hard to believe because I know his behavior, his attitude over a lifetime, and I find it hard to believe a complaint that is made against a man who’s 103 years old today, over an alleged event that occurred 50 years ago.”

The Catholic Church is not getting my sympathy — or my money

Buffalo News

August 22, 2019

By Bruce Andriatch

In the midst of last week’s long-time-coming lawsuit avalanche filed by people who say they were victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, a friend raised an interesting point.

Through the Child Victims Act, some of the plaintiffs were allowed to file anonymously, meaning they were permitted to keep their names a secret. But the men they accused were identified by name. My friend said that didn’t seem fair.

A two-word response immediately popped into my head. One of those words was: “Tough.” (Decorum prevents me from printing the other one.)

The Catholic Church and its leaders do not deserve an ounce of sympathy. Consider for a moment the centuries of damage inflicted on children, much of it tacitly sanctioned by the inaction of bishops and cardinals, all in the name of avoiding scandal and protecting predators, criminals who should have been in a prison, not on an altar. Then cry me a river flowing with milk and honey about “fairness.”

I say this as a Catholic. Disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted, but still a Catholic.

It took me a lifetime to get to this point. A year ago this week, The News published an open letter I wrote, in which I expressed horror that my church, which is like my family, had systematically looked the other way while countless innocent lives were being destroyed. My reason was the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting decades of despicable acts by hundreds of priests, yet another in a string of criminal and journalistic investigations that kept finding the exact same thing: abuse followed by denial followed by cover-up.

August 21, 2019

And They’re Back! MacDonald and Tchividjian Restore Themselves To Ministry

Patheos blog

August 21, 2019

By Anne Kennedy

“Oh Goodie,” says Jesus.

As I said yesterday, this week is full of all manner of little treats. Today let’s look at the completely un-astonishing and yet heartbreaking news that two people properly removed from ministry for the abuse of their pastoral offices and because of sexual sin, are going to leap back into the pulpit anyway, because of course they are, because what else are they going to do. Explains James MacDonald who has been out of the pulpit for what…fifteen minutes? If that:

“We have prayed to practice our biblical teaching on love and God has surely allowed us to be stretched. There is much we could say, as so much is not at all what has been portrayed. But we look to the Lord for forgiveness where I did fail as a leader and for vindication of false statements that will not cover forever what others have done,” he said.

Lawsuit accusing ex-bishop of drunken sexual assault settled

Associated Press

August 21, 2019

By John Raby

A lawsuit accusing the former bishop of West Virginia’s Roman Catholic diocese of molesting boys and men has been settled.

The terms of the recent settlement are confidential, Wheeling-Charleston Diocese spokesman Tim Bishop said in a statement. The diocese declined further comment.

A former personal altar server sued ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield and the diocese in March, saying he was sexually assaulted in 2014 and harassed for years prior. The filing asserted Bransfield would consume at least half a bottle of liqueur nightly and had drunkenly assaulted or harassed seminarians.

Coming on the heels of a new wave of sex abuse allegations in the U.S., the Bransfield scandal added to the credibility crisis in the U.S. hierarchy. Several top churchmen received tens of thousands of dollars in church-funded personal gifts from Bransfield during his tenure in Wheeling-Charleston, which covers the entirety of one of the poorest U.S. states.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in a statement Wednesday it hopes the settlement encourages other clergy abuse victims to come forward.

Catholic Priest Abuse Survivors' Group Says It's 'Cowardly' That Convicted Cardinal Has Not Been Defrocked

TIME Magazine

August 21, 2019

By Gina Martinez

An Australian appeals court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty earlier this year of molesting two 13-year-old choir boys in the 1990s. And yet, Pell still retains his title in the Catholic Church.

The Vatican said it is waiting for Pell to make his final appeal to the High Court, Australia’s supreme court, before launching its own investigation. It noted that Pell has always maintained his innocence. One abuse survivors’ group says the decision to hold off on discipline is “cowardly” and shows the Church hasn’t made it nearly far enough on responding to sexual abuse.

Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, is the highest-ranking church official to ever be convicted of child sexual abuse. He has been imprisoned since an Australian court sentenced the 78-year-old to six years in prison in March.

Tim Lennon, the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says the church should have been decisive following Pell’s conviction and immediately defrocked him.

East Bay priest charged with sexually abusing child facing nearly five years in prison

Bay Area News Group

August 21, 2019

By Joseph Geha

An East Bay priest who repeatedly sexually assaulted a child is facing nearly five years in state prison, officials said.

Hector David Mendoza-Vela on Friday pleaded no contest to five counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child age 14 or 15, court documents show.

Last month, he pleaded not guilty to 30 criminal counts filed against him in April by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Mendoza-Vela is facing four years and eight months in prison under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office, according to Teresa Drenick, a spokeswoman for the office.

He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life, and must stay away from the victim for 10 years, Drenick said.

As part of the agreement, the remaining 25 charges against him were dismissed, court records show. He will be sentenced on Sept. 27 at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin.

Mendoza-Vela, also known as Father David Mendoza-Vela, had served as a priest in Alameda County since 2013, working at St. John’s Catholic Church in San Lorenzo and more recently at Corpus Christi Church in Fremont.

Prosecutors said previously that in an interview with authorities, Mendoza-Vela, “confessed to inappropriately touching” the genitals of a 14- or 15-year-old boy over his pants “at least 20 times” from June 2016 through December 2017, while he was a priest at St. John’s.

40 pedophile priests named in church investigation


August 21, 2019

By Darren Perron

A 10-month investigation into potential pedophile priests is done. The Catholic Diocese of Burlington will release its report Thursday. But our Darren Perron obtained details of that report, revealing decades of abuse by 40 priests.

"I'm 66 years old... This individual had an elevated place in my family's life. So, no, I never told my parents," John Mahoney said.

He didn't tell them that he was repeatedly abused by a priest starting in eighth grade. Mahoney kept the secret-- until now.

"I've been wanting this for a long time," he said. "There may be some small consolation that the world knows this person's name."

That name is Father Edward Foster. The former Burlington priest is one of 40 accused of child sexual abuse in a new report commissioned by the Catholic Diocese and Bishop Christopher Coyne.

"We needed to do this," Bishop Coyne said. "We needed to get the family secrets completely out there."

The bishop created a seven-member committee made up of laypeople to pore over thousands of documents, the files of more than 50 potential pedophile priests.

"If there was one substantiated and credible allegation against the priest, it was enough for his name to be placed on the list," Coyne said.

But in many cases, there were multiple allegations. Some families were paid to keep quiet and priests were moved from parish to parish.

Reporter Darren Perron: Did the church fail these children?
Bishop Christopher Coyne: Oh, definitely. We failed these children. We failed the children, the teenagers, the families. These actions were criminal. They were sinful. They were immoral. They weren't dealt with well. There are no excuses for what we did.

The committee's report on the abuse took about 10 months to complete.

"The files, some of them were 1,000 pages or more. We wanted to make sure we got it right," Mike Donoghue said.

Donoghue, a journalist, is on the committee.

"We expect that there will be some people coming forward," he said.

Donoghue expects more allegations once the list of priests is published and he says the committee is still reviewing some files, so more names could be added to the 40.

"It's a sad number," the bishop said. "It's an awful number."

But Coyne points out all but one of the allegations happened before 2000. The one since is against former priest Stephen Nichols.

The bishop says protocols like background checks, ongoing training to spot abuse and abusers, audits, and mandatory reporting to police are helping to protect Vermont kids now.

"There is absolutely no priest working in the Diocese of Burlington that places children at risk," Coyne said.

Darren Perron: Did it put more kids at risk by not releasing this information sooner?
Bishop Christopher Coyne: I want to put that concern to rest. None of these people have been in ministry since 2000 on.

"It took way too long," attorney Jerry O'Neill said.

For about 20 years, O'Neill has represented more than 50 abuse victims suing the church, which has now paid out $31.5 million. Six cases are still pending.

O'Neill says he tried during settlement proceedings to get the diocese to release the files for 16 years. He says not doing so still put kids at risk outside the church.

"If they had released the files sooner, some of these perpetrators clearly could have been molesting in the meantime. Not within the church, but outside the church, they're still perpetrators," O'Neill said. "So many of the survivors are furious for how long it's taken the church and this diocese to identify the people who were the molesters."

Juneau Catholic diocese names seven local clergymen ‘credibly’ accused of sexual misconduct

Juneau Empire

August 21, 2019

By Ben Hohenstatt

The Diocese of Juneau released the results of an Independent Commission’s review of sexual misconduct allegations since the diocese was established in 1951.

The report identifies seven local clergymen — six priests and one religious brother — that the commission found had been “credibly alleged” to have engaged with sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults.

The Independent Commission was established by the Diocese of Juneau in December 2018 to review files regarding allegations of sexual misconduct since the diocese was established nearly 70 years ago in 1951.

Those named in the report include:

• Francis A. Cowgill, who died in 2000, and is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct involving minors from 1956 to 1964. Cowgill was assigned to Pius X School in Skagway and Sacred Heart Church in Haines from 1952 to 1959, Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage from 1959 to 1964 and St. Mary Church in Kodiak from 1964 to 1966.

• Javier Gutierrez, who was dismissed from the clerical state in 2018, and is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults in the 1980s. Gutierrez was assigned to Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Juneau from 1982 to 1984 and in 1986, Holy Name Church in Ketchikan from 1984 to 1986, St. Peter’s Church in Douglas in 1986 and St. Therese of the Child of Jesus Church in Skagway and Sacred Heart Church in Haines from 1986 to 1988.

• Patrick Hurley, who returned to his religious order — Order of St. Benedict — in 1985, and is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct involving minors from 1984 to 1985. Hurley was assigned to Holy Name Church in Ketchikan in 1983, Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 1984 to 1985 and St. Therese of the Child of Jesus Church in Skagway from 1984 to 1985.

Hanna Boys Center to check for abuse victims among former students

Press Democrat

August 19, 2019

By Mary Callahan

Administrators at the Hanna Boys Center residential treatment facility and school will hire a private investigator to track down alumni from at least the past 3½ decades to root out any previously undiscovered cases of sexual abuse, however old, in an effort to try to make amends.

Once selected, the investigator will be tasked with locating up to 2,500 former students who attended the beleaguered institution dating back to 1983, Chief Executive Officer Brian Farragher said in an interview.

They’ll be asked if they were victimized in any way or if they know others who might have been. If it’s needed, Hanna will work to provide support and treatment and, “where appropriate,” even make restitution, Farragher said.

“We believe that it’s the only way forward for us,” he said.

Farragher revealed the proposal as part of Hanna’s rollout of a long-term strategic plan designed to turn a corner on a period of turmoil at the nearly 75-year-old institution that includes accusations of abuse against Farragher’s predecessor and a high-profile criminal case involving former clinical director Kevin Thorpe, who is in state prison.

Staffers at the Sonoma-area residential center also are suffering through significant cultural upheaval as they adjust to a new treatment framework called trauma-informed care. It has also undergone a reorganization that involved significant layoffs that included many veteran employees who had committed their careers to working with the facility and its population.

Despite speculation among some longtime workers that Farragher might plan to phase out residential care altogether, he and board chairman Tullus Miller said they foresee a future in which Hanna both operates as a model home for at-risk youths and develops national leadership in the area of trauma-informed care through its new research and training arm, the Hanna Institute.

Group calls for Salina diocese to release more names linked to clergy abuse

Manhattan Mercury

August 21, 2019

By Savannah Rattanavong

A victim advocacy group is calling for the Catholic Diocese of Salina to show more transparency in revealing details of sexual abuse by clergy members.

At a meeting with members of the media Tuesday outside the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, where two former priests who have been credibly accused worked, David Clohessy and Larry Davis of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) accused the diocese of withholding names of three more priests with substantiated abuse claims. The men all worked in the diocese’s area at some point. One of the men, Father Donald McCarthy, served in Manhattan in the 1960s and 1980s, but the claim of abuse didn’t take place in town.

SNAP also staged protests at other locations across Kansas Tuesday.

“All those people in the church (who were involved or complicit) need to be brought to justice,” Davis said. “Then also that can start the healing process for the victims. We hope that it finally breaks loose. We want to bring to people who are suffering an avenue for peace and justice.”

In March, the diocese, which oversees the Manhattan area, released a list of 14 clergy members who had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The report included three priests who had served in Manhattan since the 1950s, and several more who served at other area churches. The list included priests William Merchant, who died in 1975, and John Moeder, who died in 2012. Both served at Seven Dolors.

SNAP called for the diocese to include photos, locations and work histories of all “proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics,” name and punish the individuals responsible for “covering up” the abuse and admit wrongdoing in not thoroughly investigating past claims of sexual abuse.

Clohessy, SNAP’s Missouri director, and Davis said they would like to see more consequences through the law or the church for people who have had substantiated claims against them. Clohessy said this endeavor is not only about seeking justice after the fact but also preventing abuse from happening in the first place.

“(Adults) can heal ourselves,” Clohessy said. “It’s a lot easier if people in power positions can help us, but we can take care of ourselves. Kids can’t. The easiest way (to prevent abuse) is to put every name of every predator out there, even if a priest hasn’t been in this diocese for 30 years.”

In a statement Tuesday, the Salina Diocese said it has been cooperating with the KBI investigation looking into sexual abuse of minors by members of the Kansas Catholic clergy, as well as with past investigations into priests.

The diocese said SNAP alleged it had omitted the names of Father Donald McCarthy, who died in 2017, and Ronald Gilardi and Thaddeus Posey, two priests from the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, Colorado.

The Capuchin Province also released a list of substantiated allegations in March, which included Gilardi and Posey.

The Salina Diocese said it cooperated with law enforcement when Texas officials tried McCarthy in 2007. He was found not guilty. The statement said the diocese’ Lay Review Board also reviewed the allegation from Texas, but could not substantiate the claim.

McCarthy’s duties in Manhattan included assistant pastor at Seven Dolors from 1962 to 1963, guidance counselor at Luckey High School from 1963 to 1965 and superintendent at Manhattan Catholic Schools from 1984 to 1986.

“The Lay Review Board of the Salina Diocese continues to evaluate allegations, and cooperate with the KBI as new allegations are made,” it said. “When an allegation is proven to be substantiated, the diocese will add the name of the clergy member to its list, which can be found at salinadiocese.org/home/clergy-abuse.”

Former Dayton priest accused of rape pleads not guilty


August 21, 2019

A former Dayton and Beavercreek priest, who was indicted on nine counts of rape on Monday, pleaded not guilty to all charges in court Wednesday.

Geoffrey Drew, 57, faced a judge on Wednesday in Hamilton County where he pleaded not guilty to all nine counts of rape against him. Drew’s bond was set at $5 million.

According to WLWT in Cincinnati, Drew said through his lawyer that he had no idea who his accuser was or how he would have come in contact with him.

Drew is accused of raping a young alter boy while he served as Music Minister at St. Jude School in Cincinnati. He was employed at St. Jude from 1984 to 1999, although the acts allegedly took place between 1988 and 1991. Drew was not a priest at that time.

Drew was ordained in 2004 and was a parochial vicar at St. Luke in Beavercreek from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005, according to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He then became pastor of St. Rita in Dayton from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2009.

“This is absolutely sickening,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. “I will never understand how someone in a position of authority and trust abuses that trust by sexually assaulting young children.”

“The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so,” Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr said. “The protection of young people is of paramount importance and can never be compromised.”



August 21, 2019

By Jake Maher

A retired bishop in New York State announced he was taking a leave of absence two days after a lawsuit was filed alleging he molested an teenage boy.

On August 16, Bishop Emeritus Howard Hubbard of the Diocese of Albany took an absence from the Diocese of Albany. In a suit filed August 14, a plaintiff identified only as P.R alleged Hubbard sexually abused him repeatedly in the mid-1990s, when P.R. was 16.

Hubbard "used his position as a priest to groom and to sexually abuse" the then-teen between 1994 and 1998, according to WNYT.

The lawsuit was filed the first day New York's Child Victims Act (CVA) went into effect. The statute, which will remain in effect for one year, removes the statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit alleging child sex-abuse. It's already been used to sue the Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses for covering up abuse, and legal experts expect more religious institutions and community organizations to face similar suits.

Hubbard, who notified current bishop Edward Scharfenberger of his decision to take a leave of absence, maintains his innocence.

"With full and complete confidence, I can say this allegation is false. retired in my life," he said in a statement. "I have been a priest for 55 years. My ministry is my life. But stepping aside temporarily now is the right thing to do."

He added that Catholics—and the larger community—"must be assured that our church leaders, active or retired, and indeed all clergy are living in accord with the highest standards that our sacred ministry requires."

It's not the first time Hubbard has been accused of sexual misconduct: In the early 2000s, a California man alleged his brother had a sexual relationship with Hubbard before his brother's death by suicide in 1978, at age 25. Another man claimed Hubbard had solicited sex from him when he was a teenage sex worker in Albany in the 1970s.

Clergy abuse survivor to coordinate Minnesota archdiocese’s outreach

Catholic News Service

August 21, 2019

By Joe Ruff

Paula Kaempffer, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse she suffered as an adult working in the Church, knows firsthand about the kind of healing that can take place.

And as the new outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she said healing “takes a lot of personal work” and “a lot of inner strength to recapture the power that has been taken away from you.”

She said she is grateful that she has done that work and “come out on the other side.”

Now she intends to help other victims/survivors and others across the archdiocese seek ways to move from anger and other difficult emotions into healing.

“I think most parishes have not had an opportunity to talk about this issue,” she said.

Kaempffer’s office also is offering a listening ear and resources to help people who might face a variety of challenges, including the emotions of a property crime or homicide, said Janell Rasmussen, deputy director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, the archdiocesan office that oversees its child protection efforts.

“Her outreach will be much broader than sexual abuse,” Rasmussen said.

Kaempffer said her faith was an integral part of her own healing.

Ruling cements Pell’s profile as the Dreyfus or Hiss of the Catholic abuse crisis


August 21, 2019

By John Allen

Although Australian Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of a conviction on child sexual abuse charges was rejected Wednesday, that ruling may not be the end of the legal road. As of this writing, Pell’s attorneys were still weighing whether to file a final appeal to Australia’s High Court.

Those attorneys told reporters that Pell continues to maintain his innocence, as he has since the charges first became public in June 2017.

Though Pell’s judicial odyssey may not be over, Wednesday’s ruling likely does represent the final word on another aspect of the case: George Pell is now officially the Alfred Dreyfus of the Catholic abuse crisis, meaning that opinions about his guilt or innocence are at least as much a reflection of one’s ideological convictions as about the actual evidence in the case.

Dreyfus, of course, was the French artillery officer of Jewish descent charged with treason in 1894 for allegedly passing military secrets to the Germans, spending five years on Devil’s Island. Dreyfus was eventually acquitted and reinstated to his army position, but for more than a decade, opinions about his guilt or innocence functioned as a bellwether for broader political and cultural tensions, pitting Catholic and traditionalist “anti-Dreyfusards” against pro-Republican and anti-clerical liberals.

One could, by the way, just as easily compare Pell to Alger Hiss, the urbane American diplomat accused in 1948 of being a Soviet spy. Like Pell, Hiss was tried twice, with the first ending in a hung jury and the second resulting in a conviction. In that case, too, opinions for a long time were far more about the clash between hawks and doves during the Cold War than the facts.

Similarly, opinions about Pell today often reveal far more about the prejudices of the observer than about the actual reality of what happened.

Lawsuit accusing Bransfield of sexual misconduct settled

Dominion Post

August 20, 2019

By David Beard

A lawsuit brought by a former seminarian who alleged that former Bishop Michael Bransfield sexually assaulted him and that Bransfield regularly drank himself drunk before engaging in “grossly inappropriate” sexual behavior with other young seminarians has been settled.

The settlement came abruptly, though the reasons haven’t been revealed.

The civil suit was filed in Ohio County Circuit Court in May. The accuser, who goes by the initials J.E., now lives in Pocahontas County, but during the period covered in the suit lived in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and attended the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling.

Along with Bransfield, the defendants were the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and 20 “John Does.” Ten of the John Does are employees or agents of the USCCB and 10 are employees or agents of the diocese.

Diocese spokesman Tim Bishop said in an email exchange, “The Diocese can confirm that the case has been dismissed. The case was settled by agreement of the parties. At the request of the plaintiff, the terms of the settlement are confidential. The Diocese will have no further comment regarding the case.”

J.E. was represented by Warner Law Offices of Charleston. The Dominion Post left phone messages and emails over the course of several days seeking information and comment, but neither of his attorneys responded.

J.E. alleged that Bransfield was a binge drinker, consuming nightly a half or full bottle of Cointreau, an orange liqueur. He would “drink until he was intoxicated, at which point he would engage in grossly inappropriate behavior, including … making sexually suggestive gestures, hugging, kissing, inappropriately touching and fondling seminarians.”

North Dakota Priest Under Investigation for Abuse, SNAP Urges Outreach by Church Officials

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

A Catholic priest may face criminal child sex abuse charges in North Dakota. We call on church officials to use all their resources to encourage anyone with knowledge about these allegations to call law enforcement immediately.

In early April, the Diocese of Fargo disclosed that police were investigating Fr. Wenceslaus Katanga on allegations of child abuse. Just today the Cass County Attorney’s Office announced there are “no corroborating witnesses or physical evidence to support” the accusations in their county.

However, during the probe more allegations against the priest surfaced in another county, and there is a chance charges can be filed by prosecutors in McHenry County.

We believe it is crucial that serious accusations like this be thoroughly examined by law enforcement professionals. If church officials want what is best for children in their diocese, they should want this a complete investigation too. We call on Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo to use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to reach out to anyone who may have information about these allegations. He should urge current and former churchgoers and staff with pertinent knowledge to immediately call police or prosecutors.

Advocacy group calling for more details from Salina Diocese in priest sex abuse cases


August 20, 2019

An advocacy group is calling on the Salina Catholic Diocese to be more transparent in allegations of priest sexual abuse.

Standing in front of a Manhattan church where two accused priests once served, David Clohessy and Larry Davis are demanding action.

“We want to bring the people that are suffering, an avenue for peace and justice,” said Davis.

Davis and Clohessy are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Clohessy serving as the Missouri Director. They said they chose the Seven Dolors parish in Manhattan, because two of the priests that served at this parish, were listed as priests with substantiated allegations of abuse against minors.

The Salina Diocese released a list of 14 names of priests in March of 2019 along with the parishes they served in and the estimated time of abuse. Among the names, Father William Merchant, who died in 1975, and Father John Moeder, who died in 2012. Both served at Seven Dolors, although the Diocese does not list when they served there, or where the men were serving when the alleged abuse happened. That’s one of the things that both Davis and Clohessy are asking to be released.

“The Bishop didn’t disclose their whereabouts, didn’t share their photographs and didn’t go into the full details of their work history, we think that’s the absolute bare minimum he should do to both protect kids and heal victims and help the church turn a page,” said Clohessy.

Seminarian demands Bishop Richard Malone be kicked out of Catholic Church


August 20, 2019

By Steve Brown

A seminarian is calling for Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone to be excommunicated. Matthew Bojanowski, 38, demanded on Tuesday for Malone not to resign, but to be kicked out of the Catholic Church.

Excommunication is a rare and severe punishment in the Catholic Church, it essentially is banishment from the Catholic faith.

Bojanowski was studying for the priesthood, but he announced on Tuesday he was withdrawing. He says leadership in the diocese has failed and pinned that on Malone.

"I am calling on the faithful parishioners of Buffalo to understand that the Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse," Bojanowski said. "There is not transparency in the Buffalo Diocese and there is not justice for the victims of abuse whether the victims are children or adults." agreed to let WGRZ speak with Steve Halter, the director of the office of professional responsibility. He told us that he was able to speak with Bojanowski in March and August of 2019.

"The information I have to date is Mr. Bojanowski has not provided any specifics concerning that violation of the seal of confession," said Halter. "I need to sit down with him (Bojanowski) one more time at least.

$5M bond for priest indicted on 9 counts of rape


August 21, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

Bond was set at $5 million Wednesday for a priest charged with raping an alter boy 30 years ago.

The Rev. Geoff Drew, who was arrested Monday, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape during a brief bond hearing before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced earlier this week Drew raped an alter boy while serving as music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township between 1988 and 1991.

Drew was not a priest at the time, Deters said.

The victim, who is now 41, told authorities the abuse occurred in Drew’s school office after school hours for about two years when he was 10 and 11.

Deters described the victim’s grand jury testimony as compelling, convincing and emotional.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has said they fully cooperated with the investigation. They released a sequence of events related to Drew.

The priest was put on administrative leave last month.

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr wrote in a letter to the priest’s current parish, St. Ignatius Loyota, that Drew was put on leave “due to behavior that violated our Decree on Child Protection.”

PREVIOUS l Cincinnati-area parishioners question archbishop over removal of priest l Hamilton Co. priest on administrative leave following allegations of misconduct

According to the archdiocese, Drew’s alleged behavior involved pattern of things such as uninvited bear hugs, shoulder massages, patting of the leg above the knee, and inappropriate sexual comments about one’s body or appearance, directed at teenage boys.

In addition, there was a report of Drew texting some of the boys “teasing them about their girlfriends.”

Drew has worked at several parishes and Catholic schools since 1984.

He was ordained a priest in May 2004.

After Drew was placed on leave, church officials have said he previously had been accused of inappropriate behavior involving kids in 2013 and 2015 at St. Maximilian of Kolbe parish in Liberty Township.

The Pell verdict: Various shades of justice

National Catholic Reporter

August 21, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

A three-judge panel in Australia has upheld the guilty verdict against Cardinal George Pell. On two of the claims put forward by Pell for overturning the verdict, the three judges were unanimous. On the third claim — the key issue of reasonable doubt — they divided two to one. Pell is already serving a six-year sentence for abusing a minor.

In announcing their decision, the justices emphasized that they found Pell's accuser credible. In the Anglo-Saxon legal system, great deference is given to a jury's assessment of credibility. An appeals court may overturn a lower court decision based on an issue of law, but rarely would they overturn a conviction based on a jury's assessment of credibility. But, the judges went further, positively stating that they agreed with the jury in finding the accuser credible. They also slammed Pell's attorneys who wanted to present an animation of the scene that the judges labeled "tendentious in the extreme."

The other fact that was obvious in the judges' statements was that these cases of sexual abuse rarely have a corroborating witness. That is not how sex abuse works: The perpetrator always tries to conceal the crime. The jury is almost always faced with a "he said/he said" situation. Rarely is there a blue dress offering forensic evidence.

Those of us who were never great fans of Pell can take no delight in this decision: The tragedy of abuse is cancerous, and it affects not only the victim, not only other priests who do not abuse children, not only the entire Body of Christ, but it seems obvious to me that the perpetrator is always himself a sad and sick person, to be pitied as much as punished.

This case, like that of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, has left Pell's friends reeling. Many of them could not bring themselves to believe what 12 jurors found credible. Perhaps they never will.

Illinois attorney general and Cardinal Cupich have private meeting; discuss clergy sex abuse investigation


August 20, 2019

By Chuck Goudie, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner

Amid a protracted state investigation of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, Illinois' top law enforcement official has met with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

The one-hour, one-on-one discussion took place at Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office in the State of Illinois Thompson Center about two weeks ago. The Archdiocese of Chicago and Illinois' five other Roman Catholic dioceses have been subjects of an ongoing investigation by the state attorney general's office for the past year.

In an exclusive interview with the I-Team on Wednesday, Attorney General Raoul said it was important for him to personally meet with the leader of the Catholic Church here-even as his staff investigators have been carrying the caseload in the rest of Illinois. Raoul told the I-Team that both his discussion with the cardinal and the state investigation are aimed at "making sure that there's reconciliation for survivors and make sure abuse doesn't happen anymore."

A spokesperson for Cardinal Cupich and the Archdiocese of Chicago confirms the meeting and says that it was requested by Cardinal Cupich. We are awaiting a full statement from the Church.

The state investigation began under former attorney general Lisa Madigan. Shortly before leaving office last December, Madigan announced that the investigation found child sex accusations against at least 500 priests and clergymen in Illinois had never been made public. Madigan had opened a case here after a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation discovered more than 300 "predator priests" in a "systematic cover-up."

When Raoul was sworn in last January and assumed the clergy sex abuse investigation, he said that it might be necessary to issue subpoenas to Catholic Church leaders in Chicago, Joliet, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield and Belleville if there wasn't sufficient voluntary cooperation. On Tuesday the attorney general said that no subpoenas have been necessary-although information "hasn't all come at the same speed. It's taking prodding at some point and asking more questions."

Pope Refuses to Condemn Pedophile Cardinal Pell, Even After Losing Sex-Abuse Appeal

Daily Beast

August 21, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

On Monday, the shutters of Australian Cardinal George Pell’s lavish apartment in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica were open and cleaners could be seen dusting the window sills. Pell had clearly hoped that he would be free to return to this upper-floor flat and to the life he once enjoyed. But on Wednesday, three Melbourne judges decided that Pell will be staying in an Australian jail after being convicted of child sexual abuse.

“By a majority of two to one, the court of appeal has dismissed Cardinal Pell’s appeal against his conviction,” Chief Justice Anne Ferguson announced.

Pell was said to have been sitting with his head bowed as the decision was announced, while cheers from outside the building could be heard as Ferguson explained the decision.

Ferguson dismissed an argument made by Pell’s defense that there was room for reasonable doubt by the jury.

“It is not enough that the jury might have had a doubt, but they must have had a doubt,” she said. “This was a compelling witness, clearly not a liar, not a fantasist and was a witness of truth.”

Last February, Pell, 78, was convicted on charges he sexually abused two choir boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the late 1990s. He was sentenced to six years in Melbourne Assessment Prison last February, and has spent the last 175 days in solitary confinement.

Prior to his sentencing, his lawyer, Robert Richter, who has since been dismissed, pleaded for a lenient sentence, calling Pell’s abuses, a “plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating.” That clearly did not help his client, who denied he had committed the act.

The Vatican did not oppose Pell’s efforts to reverse the verdict.

The day before the verdict, a Vatican spokesperson pointed The Daily Beast back to its original statement on the matter. “Cardinal Pell has reiterated his innocence and has the right to defend himself to the last degree,” it said in a statement. “Waiting for final judgment, we join the Australian bishops in praying for all the victims of abuse.”

Now that Pell’s appeal has been denied, Pope Francis is in a tight corner. Vatican policy has for years centered on placing blame for the sex-abuse scandal on local dioceses and on the bishops in charge of perverted priests. But in the case of Cardinal Pell, the highest-ranking church official to be convicted, only the pope can decide what to do now. Will he defrock the cardinal who was once in his inner circle? Will he finally take him off the Vatican website, where he is still listed as head of the Holy See Secretariat for the Economy?

Apparently not. The day of the ruling, the Vatican doubled down on its support of Pell’s innocence. “While reiterating its respect for the Australian judicial system, as stated on 26 February after the first instance verdict was announced, the Holy See acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal,” the Vatican said in a carefully worded statement. “As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.”

August 20, 2019

Cardinal George Pell Loses Appeal of Sexual-Abuse Conviction

Wall Street Journal

August 20, 2019

By Robb M. Stewart

Australian judges rule 2-1 to uphold conviction for assaulting two young choir boys

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric ever to be jailed for child sexual abuse, has lost his appeal of his conviction.

A panel of Australian judges ruled 2-1 on Wednesday to uphold the cardinal’s conviction for assaulting two young choir boys inside the cathedral that was the center of his diocese in the late 1990s.

Three judges in the Supreme Court of Victoria, the southeastern state where the 78-year-old cleric first served as a priest and later was archbishop of Melbourne, had been deliberating for months and held an appeal hearing in June.

Cardinal Pell is widely expected to challenge the decision in the country’s top court, the High Court of Australia.

In December, a jury convicted Cardinal Pell on five counts of sexually abusing two choir boys inside a sacristy at a Melbourne cathedral in late 1996 and one of the boys in a cathedral corridor in early 1997, not long after he became archbishop of Melbourne. The former Vatican finance chief was sentenced to six years in prison earlier this year.

The main argument of the cardinal’s appeal was that the guilty verdicts were unreasonable based on the evidence. The cardinal’s lawyers also argued that mistakes were made that prevented him from getting a fair trial. The prosecution countered that the cardinal’s accuser was a compelling and believable witness, who gave testimony a jury could accept.

Cardinal George Pell’s Sexual Abuse Conviction Is Upheld

The New York Times

August 20, 2019

By Livia Albeck-Ripka

An Australian court on Wednesday upheld the sexual abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in a criminal court in the church’s child sex abuse crisis.

The cardinal, 78, who was once an adviser to Pope Francis, had been sentenced to six years in prison in March.

“He will continue to serve his sentence,” said Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of the state of Victoria in Melbourne, who presided over the appeals case with two other top judges.

Cardinal Pell was found guilty in December of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday Mass in 1996 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, and groping one of them again months later. A gag order meant the verdict was not unsealed until February, after a second trial involving Cardinal Pell was canceled.

Cardinal George Pell loses appeal and likely to be stripped of Order of Australia

The Guardian

August 20, 2019

By Michael McGowan

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has released a statement on the appeal.

He says the conference believes “all Australians must be equal under the law and accept today’s judgement accordingly”.

“The bishops realise that this has been and remains a most difficult time for survivors of child sexual abuse and those who support them,” Coleridge said in the statement.

“We acknowledge the pain that those abused by clergy have experienced through the long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell. We also acknowledge that this judgement will be distressing to many people.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to bring healing to those who have suffered greatly and to ensuring that Catholic settings are the safest possible places for all people, but especially for children and vulnerable adults."

Cardinal George Pell Loses Appeal, Will Continue to Serve Sentence

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

Six months ago, one of the world’s most senior Catholic officials was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing children. Today, that cleric has had his appeal denied.

We are grateful for this news and hope it brings comfort to survivors of clergy abuse throughout Australia. Denying the appeal mounted by Cardinal George Pell helps send the message that no matter how powerful a person is, they are still subject to the rule of law. It is extremely rare for any church official to see time behind bars and given the crimes he has been convicted of committing, a prison sentence is clearly deserved.

The sentence imposed on Cardinal Pell – a mere six years in prison – was already light, so we are glad that the sentence was not reduced further on appeal. We are grateful to the police and prosecutors in Australia who have been involved with this case since the beginning and hope that today’s news will encourage others who may have experienced abuse at the hands of Cardinal Pell – or any priest, nun, deacon or other church official – to come forward, find help and start healing.

We also call upon all priests, nuns, prelates and other lay people in the church that have witnessed Cardinal Pell’s behavior over his career to follow Pope Francis’ new motu proprio and report any suspicions about abuse they have. And while the Pope’s law only requires internal reporting, we hope that those with information will report to law enforcement as well. Pope Francis’ new law protects whistle-blowers from punishment or retribution, so we hope that whistleblowers will come forward. Where Catholic leaders once sought to cover up abuse in a dangerously misguided attempt to protect the Church, the pope himself has now demanded the opposite.

Victims to leafet at Lawrence church

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

They ‘out’ 2 new priests accused of abuse
The clerics are not on the archdiocesan list
But other church officials say their accusers are "credible"
So group launches eastern Kansas ‘outreach drive’ to find more victims

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--ask the KS archdiocese why these two clerics are not on its list,
--reveal the names of two publicly accused priests who are/were in Lawence but have received virtually no attention here, and
--beg those with information or suspicions about abuse to contact the Kansas Bureau of Investigation
They will also hand out fliers door-to-door near churches listing several other accused priests who work/live or worked/lived in Lawrence.
Tuesday, August 20 at 10:45 a.m.
Outside St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1234 Kentucky St. (corner of E. 13th) in Lawrence (785 843 0109), where a priest accused of exploiting a vulnerable adult worked


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

A former bishop from Nashville and Buffalo has been accused of actively covering up abuse by more than twenty plaintiffs who just filed a lawsuit in New York. We hope that this lawsuit will encourage others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse to come forward to authorities and make a report.

The lawsuit, centered on Bishop Edward Kmiec’s time as Bishop of Buffalo from 2004 until his retirement in 2012, alleges that the bishop actively engaged in a “conspiracy of ‘harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests’ and of ‘misleading priests’ victims and the media to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct.’” Given what seems to be an ongoing culture of abuse and cover-up in Buffalo, we are not shocked by the allegations in this lawsuit. We hope that parishioners and the public – in both Buffalo and Nashville – will demand answers from their current church officials considering these new allegations.

NY Catholic sex abuse lawsuit: former Nashville bishop part of 'racketeering enterprise'

The Tennessean

August 20, 2019

By Anita Wadhwani

Former Nashville Catholic Bishop Edward Kmiec has been named in a sweeping lawsuit filed in New York by 22 plaintiffs alleging the Diocese of Buffalo systematically covered up sexual abuse of minors by pedophile priests.

Kmiec served as Bishop of the New York diocese between 2004 and 2012. He served as Bishop of the Diocese of Nashville between 1992 and 2004. He is now retired.

Kmiec is one of dozens of Catholic leaders and institutions named in a lawsuit filed last week in state court in Tonawanda, New York.

The lawsuit was filed under anti-racketeering laws — also known as RICO statutes — alleging a conspiracy of "harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct."

Kmiec is singled out for his role in transferring more than $90 million in assets to protect church holdings from victim claims, according to the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Buffalo did not respond to request for comment from Kmiec and the Diocese.

The plaintiffs filed anonymously. The lawsuit came on the first day of a one-time year-long window under New York state law to file civil suits alleging sexual abuse beyond the statute of limitations.

Survivors Sue Child Sex Abusers in Droves Under New NY Law

Ms. Magazine

August 20, 2019

By Carrie N. Baker

For years, child survivors of sexual abuse have been blocked from suing their perpetrators for damages by laws requiring these lawsuits be filed within a short period of time. In New York, survivors had to file by their 21st birthdays.

But in January—after years of fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, insurance companies and the former Republican-led state Senate—the New York State Assembly passed the Child Victims Act, extending the time survivors have to file civil suits against perpetrators until they turn 55 years old. The law opens up a one-year “lookback window,” allowing survivors to file civil actions against perpetrators no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

Temper shock over sex abuse claims with skepticism

Staten Island Advance

August 20, 2019

By Daniel Leddy

New York’s Child Victims Act is well-intended. The sexual abuse of a child is an act of such depravity that it can inflict catastrophic, lifelong damage on an especially vulnerable class of victims. So it’s certainly reasonable that those who commit such atrocities be subject to criminal prosecution and answerable in civil proceedings for compensatory damages.

But – and it’s a huge but – precisely because the sexual abuse of a child is such a heinous act, and an allegation of its commission so damaging to the reputations of those accused, fundamental fairness requires that they be accorded a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves. And therein lies the problem with the Child Victims Act. For far from protecting the due process rights of defendants, the legislation’s dramatically lengthened statute of limitations significantly undermines them.

Its most problematic provision is the creation of a one-year window, which opened last Wednesday, during which any previously time-barred cause of action for child sex abuse can be asserted regardless of how long ago it’s alleged to have occurred. This invites not only questionable claims but cleverly contrived ones, particularly where the individuals cited as abusers are either dead or so incapacitated that they cannot interpose a defense. This, in turn, is extremely prejudicial to the institutions for which they worked or were otherwise affiliated, the real targets of suits under the Child Victims Act. Since these entities are rendered similarly defenseless, the statute effectively gives plaintiffs and their attorneys a license to plunder their treasuries.

Cakewalk to victory

Contrary to a common misconception, a plaintiff need not produce corroborating evidence of claimed abuse. Rather, he can prevail on his word alone, a highly likely outcome in the absence of anyone to challenge the plaintiff’s testimony. It’s this precise cakewalk to victory that has so many lawyers aggressively soliciting cases under the statute.

Activists urge Kansas archbishop to broaden reporting of clergy abuse

Capital Journal

August 20, 2019

David Clohessy and Larry Davis stood on a busy Topeka street corner Tuesday for a moment of silence on behalf of people who committed suicide after abused by priests.

“A lot of people who endure this horror don’t survive and end up taking their own lives dealing with the pain,” said Clohessy, representing the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.

Both men had plenty to say, however, across the street from Topeka’s Mater Dei Catholic Church about their belief Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, hadn’t been proactive enough in reaching out to victims nor in identifying alleged perpetrators involved with Catholic churches.

Evidence of a shortcoming, Davis said, was that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation launched an inquiry of claims of misconduct in four Catholic dioceses in Kansas.

“Because of the lack of proactive behavior on the part of Archbishop Naumann, for the lack of the archdiocese being totally open and truthful, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is now investigating,” said Davis, of Olathe.

In January, Naumann released a list of 22 clerics against whom substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The list reflected acts occurring from the 1940s to 1990s. Of the 22, served as priests of the Kansas City archdiocese. When the list was published, 11 were deceased and seven others had been withdrawn from clerical duties.

“I thank all victims who have courageously come forward with allegations in order to prevent someone else from being victimized, as well as to assist with the progress of their own healing process,” Naumann said.

The KBI’s inquiry of abuse began in February. In July, the attorney general’s office reported the FBI had opened 74 investigations in 33 counties.

Lawsuit accuses two priests of sexual abuse

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 20, 2019

By Peter Smith

A Pittsburgh man is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and Holy Family Institute, alleging he was subjected to the “torture” of sexual abuse by two priests when he was a boy living at the Emsworth children’s home in the 1970s.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 16 in Allegheny County and accuses two priests of sexually molesting him on multiple times.

The lawsuit identifies the alleged perpetrators as the Rev. Larry Smith and a “Father Gerdes.”

Father Smith is a retired diocesan priest. A diocesan statement said as of Tuesday morning, it had not been served with the lawsuit, but it said Father Smith would not engage in public ministry until the diocese could learn more about the allegation. Father Smith “categorically denies the allegation,” the diocese said.

The lawsuit doesn’t give a first name for Father Gerdes but claims he belonged to a religious order, the Spiritans (of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit). However, the order’s Province of the United States says it never had a priest with that or a similar name.

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli would choose jail over breaking confessional seal

ABC Radio Melbourne

August 14, 2019

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne has said he would rather go to jail than report admissions of child sexual abuse made in the confessional.

A bill which would make it mandatory for priests to report suspected child abuse to authorities, including abuse revealed in the confessional, was introduced to Victoria's Parliament on Wednesday morning.

The Catholic Church last year formally rejected the notion that clergy should be legally forced to report abuse revealed during confessions.

Interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne on Wednesday, Archbishop Peter Comensoli said he did not see the principles of mandatory reporting and the seal of confession as being "mutually exclusive".

Cardinal George Pell to find out if child sexual abuse appeal has succeeded

The Guardian

August 19, 2019

By Melissa Davey

Senior Catholic cleric has been in custody in Melbourne since being sentenced in March to six years in prison

On Wednesday the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, will find out if his appeal has succeeded and if he will be released from custody.

The 78-year-old has been in Melbourne assessment prison since being sentenced in March to six years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996 when he was the archbishop of Melbourne. He was ordered to serve a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

The jurors heard Pell sexually assaulted the two boys after Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the priest’s sacristy. Pell orally raped one of the boys during this incident and indecently assaulted both of them. Pell offended a second time against one of the boys one month later, when he grabbed the boy’s genitals in a church corridor, once more after Sunday solemn mass. He was convicted on four counts of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and one count of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

George Pell's rise in the Catholic Church

Australian Associated Press

August 19, 2019


JUNE 8, 1941 - Born in Ballarat, Victoria

DECEMBER 16, 1966 - Ordained a Catholic priest

1971-1972 - Assistant priest Swan Hill parish

1973-1983 - Assistant priest Ballarat East parish

1973 - Shared St Alipius presbytery with Gerald Ridsdale (later revealed as Australia's worst pedophile priest) and Monsignor William McMahon

1973-1984 - Episcopal Vicar for Education in Diocese of Ballarat; founding member of Catholic Education Commission of Victoria

1981-1984 - Principal of Institute of Catholic Education (now merged with Australian Catholic University)

1984 - Administrator of Bungaree parish

Cardinal Pell’s appeal verdict due but may not be final word

Associated Press

August 20, 2019

By Rod McGuirk

The most senior Catholic cleric found guilty of sexually abusing children will learn the outcome of his appeal on Wednesday though the verdict still may not be the final word on his convictions for molesting two choirboys in an Australian cathedral more than two decades ago.

The Victoria state Court of Appeal heard arguments from Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers and prosecutors in June. In recognition of the intense public interest, the court is taking the unusual step of livestreaming its judgment on his appeal.

The 78-year-old former Vatican finance minister would walk free if the three judges acquit him of the five convictions. They also could order a retrial, in which case Pell would be released on bail, or they could reject his appeal.

Florida man accuses Rabbi Joel Kolko of sexual abuse under Child Victims Act

New York Post

August 16, 2019

By Reuven Fenton and Susan Edelman

A Florida man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by two Brooklyn rabbis — one of them accused serial molester Rabbi Joel Kolko — has filed suit under New York’s new Child Victims Act.

Alleged victim Baruch Sandhaus claims the rabbis “would inappropriately touch” his private parts on various occasions between 1978 and 1980, when he was a student at Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Midwood, according to papers filed Friday in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

“Kolko and [Rabbi Joel] Falk exploited their positions of power and trust … with easy access to the then [underage] plaintiff in committing heinous acts of sexual abuse,” the lawsuit contends.

Prior to the passage of the act, which went into effect Wednesday, New York’s statute of limitations resulted in the dismissal of a suit Sandhaus filed in 2006.

Sexual abuse lawsuit filings accuse more than clergy, Boy Scouts and doctors

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

August 16, 2019

By Frank Esposito

Shorty after midnight Wednesday, lawyers flooded the New York state civil court system with hundreds of new lawsuits accusing a variety of institutions and individuals of an array of sexual abuse incidents dating back decades.

One law firm even live-streamed the filings on Facebook.

By the time courts closed for the day, attorneys had filed 427 sex abuse cases against institutions that many had speculated would be named. Chief among them were several Roman Catholic dioceses, the Boy Scouts of America and Rockefeller University Hospital in New York City.

Filings were drastically down on Thursday with only five cases filed in four counties.

Wednesday was the first day to file suits under the Child Victims Act, which allowed anyone to file a lawsuit against organizations in New York despite the statute of limitations.

One year later, still no laws to address grand jury recommendations to combat clergy sex abuse


August 14, 2019

By Mike Tony

Today marks the opening of a one-year window allowing people to file civil lawsuits that were previously barred by state statute of limitations – in New York.

"Somebody had to know:" PA grand jury report one year later


August 14, 2019

By Barbara Miller

As parishioners exited Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Washington last week, the afternoon was warm and blue-sky sunny, much like Aug. 14, 2018, in this area when state Attorney General Josh Shapiro released an 884-page report based on grand jury testimony on a very dark topic: decades’ worth of sexual abuse by priests.

Review Details Sex Abuse Claims Against Boys and Girls Clubs

NBC Washington

August 15, 2019

Boys & Girls Clubs of America has a congressional charter to work with at-risk youth in communities across the country

At least 250 people have said they were sexually abused as children by employees, volunteers and others at Boys and Girls Clubs of America affiliates, according to an investigation by Hearst Connecticut Media.

The review of criminal convictions and civil lawsuits dating to the 1970s turned up 95 abuse cases in 30 states involving people associated with the nonprofit youth development organization, which serves more than 4.5 million young people a year at its 4,600 local centers. Some of the cases involve more than one accuser.

The cases include allegations that leadership at clubs knew about abuse and did not report it to law enforcement, among other examples of local clubs failing to adhere to national protocols, and that, in some instances, background checks apparently failed to keep adults with violent convictions from working with children.

'How America wanted to change the pope.'

La Croix International

August 13, 2019

by Nicolas Senèze

Chapter 1: The man of scandal This book tells how three popes were informed of sexual abuses committed by an American prelate and how this case sparked an attack against Pope Francis

A dazzling rise

Before going any further, we must first look at the face of the man who caused the scandal: Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The accusation filed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is based above all on the fact that the former cardinal would have long benefited from the Vatican's indulgence - that is far from false - but also that Pope Francis himself would have covered it up, which is much less certain.

Now 88 years old, McCarrick was one of the leading figures of the American Church. The son of a merchant navy captain who died of tuberculosis when he was 3 years old, this New Yorker completed brilliant studies that led him to the prestigious Fordham University in New York City before he entered the seminary.

George Pell to learn outcome of appeal for child sex abuse conviction


August 20, 2019

By Benjamin Ansell

Tomorrow, the world's most senior Catholic to be found guilty of historic child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, will find out whether his appeal has been successful.

Pell, 78, has spent the past five months in the Melbourne Assessment Prison after he was sentenced in March to a maximum of six years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996.

Pell was found guilty in December of sexually assaulting the boys at St Patrick's Cathedral in the priest's sacristy after Sunday mass.

He was convicted on four counts of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and one count of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

Pell's appeal was heard in June before a full bench of the Supreme Court, made up of Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, the President of the Court of Appeal Chris Maxwell, and Justice Mark Weinberg.

Pell's conviction was appealed on three grounds by high-profile barrister Bret Walker SC, with the defence relying most heavily on the argument that the jury was "unreasonable" in reaching its verdict.

Cardinal Pell, the highest Vatican official to face justice over abuse, appeals guilty verdict

Washington Post

August 20, 2019

By A. Odysseus Patrick

The most senior priest jailed for child abuse in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church will face a 21st century form of justice: a decision on his appeal beamed live over the Internet.

Australian Cardinal George Pell will appear before three judges of the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday morning in Australia, and learn if he has been able to overturn a conviction for sexually assaulting two choir boys.

Justices Anne Ferguson, Chris Maxwell and Mark Weinberg could uphold the conviction, order a retrial, or dismiss some or all of the charges and allow the 78 year-old to walk out of the court building in downtown Melbourne a free man.

The global broadcast is ironic given the judge who oversaw Pell’s original trial threatened to charge many of Australia’s top newspaper editors, and some overseas, for flouting a gag order covering Pell’s guilty finding by a jury last December.

The Washington Post was among the media outlets that reported on the verdict. Some of the journalists were cited for contempt of court charges that are still pending. The gag order was dropped two months later.

Huge domestic and global interest then led to the broadcast, live on Australian television, of Pell’s sentencing to six years in jail on March 13, and Wednesday’s planned live stream of the appeal decision. The broadcast will be delayed by 15 seconds to allow the court to censor any interruption or other unexpected event.

Lawyers said it was impossible to predict if the cardinal’s appeal would succeed. In their submissions, Pell’s lawyers argued the original trial was unfair because the cardinal wasn’t able to present evidence they say demonstrated it would have been impractical for him to molest the boys given the amount of time available after conducting mass at Melbourne’s grand Catholic cathedral, St Patrick’s, in December 1996.

Pell, who oversaw the Vatican’s finances before he was charged, was found guilty of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys who had snuck into his change room, or sacristy, and drunk sacramental wine.

The conservative prelate’s fate has created a schism among Catholics. Supporters believe Pell, who was convicted on the testimony of a single witness, a victim, is being used to punish an entire church for decades of child abuse around the world.

Detractors say Pell, as Australia’s most senior Catholic, personifies the church’s institutional indifference to the welfare of thousands of boys and girls who were abused in its care.

David Hamer, a professor of evidence law at the University of Sydney, said the case would hinge on the perceived credibility of the alleged victim, whose identity has never been revealed to the public.

Although the three appeal judges didn’t hear from the man in person, they watched a video recording of his allegations against Pell, and the cardinal’s denials in an interview with police detectives.

“So the appeal court, in this sense, can put itself in the position of the jury,” Hamer said in an email. “And appeal courts are more prepared to intervene where cases turn on circumstantial evidence — in this case, the argument that it would have been impossible for Pell to commit the crime.”

Last August the church publicly apologized for the thousands of victims of abuse in Australia and pledged that it would never happen again.

Group accuses Salina diocese of withholding names of priests linked to abuse cases


August 20, 2019

A group working to raise awareness on the issue of clergy abuse accuses the Catholic Diocese of Salina of holding names of priests linked to cases of abuse.

Tuesday, the Survivors Newtork of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) organized protests across the state, including a small group gathered outside the Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Manhattan.

The group has a message for Bishop Gerald Vincke to come clean. In March, the Catholic Diocese of Salina said an investigation found 14 clergy members with "substantial allegations of abuse by a minor."

Vincke hired outside counsel to conduct that investigation and only released names of the 14 clergy members in the investigation.

Members with SNAP chose to gather at the church in Manhattan because they say two priests on the bishop's list worked there at one point. The group also says it found other priests, "credibly accuses" of abusing minors, and says the bishop's list should include these names.

Tuesday afternoon, the Catholic Diocese of Salina released a statement addressing SNAP's allegations that it omitted names of of priests credibly accused of abuse.

"SNAP alleges the Salina Diocese omitted the following names: diocesan priest Father Donald McCarthy, who died in 2017, and two priests from the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, based in Denver: Capuchin Father Ronald Gilardi and Father Thaddeus Posey," the Catholic Diocese of Salina says. "The Capuchin Province released a list of substantiated allegations at the same time the Salina Diocese released its list. Both Father Gilardi and Father Posey were mentioned in the Capuchin list when it was released in March."

The Cathlic Diocese of Salina says it's cooperated with any agency involved with investigating abuse claims, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Full statement from Catholic Diocese of Salina

Today (Tuesday), the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) organized protests across the state of Kansas, including one in Manhattan. A statement dated Aug. 20 on the group’s website claims the Salina Diocese failed to include the names of three priests when the report of substantiated cases of clergy abuse of minors was released by the diocese in March.

SNAP alleges the Salina Diocese omitted the following names: diocesan priest Father Donald McCarthy, who died in 2017, and two priests from the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, based in Denver: Capuchin Father Ronald Gilardi and Father Thaddeus Posey.

The Capuchin Province released a list of substantiated allegations at the same time the Salina Diocese released its list. Both Father Gilardi and Father Posey were mentioned in the Capuchin list when it was released in March.

The ‘Jeffrey Epsteins’ Who Wear Crosses and Clerical Collars

Full Heart, Empty Arms blog

August 16, 2019

By Ivy Blonwyn

Jeffrey Epstein, with his ever present little pædo smile, was a horrible person but his victims were spared one thing: he didn’t abuse, groom and rape them with a Bible in his hand. He considered it though. James Stewart writes in the New York Times that Epstein was seriously considering becoming a minister to earn trust and maintain secrecy in 2018.

There are many like him. But they don’t merely ‘consider’ it. They actually do it. College, seminary, ordination, a ‘calling’, sermons, funerals, Bible studies, praying at deathbeds. They do it all with their motivation carefully hidden: easy access to obedient, brainwashed, intimidated, shame-filled children.

The problem is that it’s terribly hard to tell which clergymen enter the ministry for all the right reasons and which ones have these horrifying ulterior motives. If adults can’t tell, imagine how hard it is for their targeted victims: trusting children. Children who might have an instinctive distrust of certain members of the ministry, but are shamed into submission and obedience.

Although Jeffrey Epstein has allegedly gone to his Eternal judgement for the horrible things he did in life, what about all the ‘Jeffrey Epsteins’ still running around free, leveraging their clerical collar to dominate, their Bible to groom and the privacy of Sunday school classrooms to carry out horrific acts of sexual abuse on children? Who are they? Where are they?

Beyond the physical, sexual and psychological wounds they inflict, they are alienating their victims from God because all the accoutrements of religion bring horrific memories flooding back. What about that? No cash settlement can comfort your soul.

Cardinal Pell’s Groundbreaking Record on Dealing With Clergy Sexual Abuse

National Catholic Register

August 20, 2019

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

In the discussion of clerical sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell now occupies a unique place. He is in fact the highest-ranking Catholic official ever to be criminally charged with the sexual abuse of minors. Other cardinals have had allegations confirmed against them in Church processes — Theodore McCarrick of Washington, Hans Hermann Groër of Vienna — but faced neither criminal charges nor subsequent conviction to date.

The appeals-court verdict, to be delivered Wednesday morning in Melbourne (Tuesday evening in North America), is supremely important, not least for Cardinal Pell’s liberty. But the facts of the case are now widely known, and the appeals-court verdict may not change very many minds. Cardinal Pell, should the conviction be upheld, will remain a man falsely convicted in the considered judgment of many, including this writer.

Should the conviction be overturned, those who have been after Cardinal Pell — including the Melbourne police, who confessed to want to “get Pell” long before there were any allegations against him — will remain convinced that he is guilty of horrible crimes. They were convinced of that before there was any evidence and will remain convinced even if the appellate court rules that that evidence is false.

But before that story dominates the days and weeks ahead, it is important to remember that Cardinal Pell was a key figure in the Church’s sex-abuse scandals long before the current charges were made in 2017. He was, in fact, widely considered to be a pioneering reformer. The travails of the past two years have obscured that.

In two major respects, the Church universal is catching up to where Cardinal Pell was decades ago.

George Pell was named an auxiliary bishop of Melbourne in 1987 and elevated to archbishop in August 1996. Seventy-five days later he established the “Melbourne Response” for victims of alleged sexual abuse.

The Melbourne Response invited victims to come forward, established an independent body to investigate claims and provided apologies, counseling and compensation — at the time, up to $50,000 in Australian currency. (It was later increased to $75,000, and then to $150,000, after Cardinal Pell had left Melbourne.)

A reader puzzles over criticism of the Pope/hierarchy

Patheos blog

August 16, 2019

By Mark Shea

They write:
I want to start by saying the I appreciate your writings, especially on poverty. I was coming to the conclusion that American churches alignment with Ayn Randian economics was related to “faith alone”/antinomian theology, which claims that the Christian life ought to require no sacrifice, and you expressed these thoughts very well in your books and blogging. Some protestants have also come around to that idea, as articulated in David Platt’s book.

I’m unfamiliar with Platt, but I am struck by how much conservative Catholicism in particular (in the US) has taken on the flavor, culture, and sometimes the theology of Evangelicalism. The false political soteriology that opposition to abortion (and voting Republican) taketh away the sins of the world is, in particular, everywhere in the culture right now, to the degree that Trump and FOX, far more than the Holy Father and the Magisterium, tend to form the thoughts and minds of conservative Catholics. This deeply troubles me, as you have no doubt noticed. The idea of comparing one’s thinking to the Magisterium and not to Democrats is foreign to many American conservative Catholics now. And the idea of the Catholic both/and (expressed in, among other things, the concept of the Seamless Garment) is regarded with reflexive contempt. Much that I loved and appreciated in coming into the Church, precisely because it was more capacious than American Evangelicalism’s cramped either/or is now dismissed with a sneer. The Rules, rather than the Person, have come to matter most. The Randian habit of subjecting the person to diagrams, property, and things is one manifestation of this. It breaks my heart.

Why childhood victims stay silent about abuse for decades

Buffalo News

August 20, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

It took Ann Fossler more than 25 years to reveal that she had been repeatedly molested when she was as young as 6 years old.

Fossler said she first confided in a counselor in the 1980s that a Buffalo Diocese Catholic priest who was a close family friend sexually abused her for several years and that she kept it secret because she feared her parents, who adored the priest and were devout Catholics, would be crushed by the revelation.

“Basically, he said, ‘I can listen, but there isn’t anything you can do about any of this because of the statute of limitations,’ ” said Fossler. “So, then, my decision becomes, do I blow up the family by coming out when there isn’t anything I can really do about this anyway?”

Fossler, 68, stayed silent for decades more.

She's making a statement in court now, though, joining more than 100 plaintiffs who have filed or will file lawsuits in Western New York under the Child Victims Act, alleging they were sexually abused as children.


Some of the abuse alleged dates back as far as 1948.

Does Catholic Church have bigger abuse problem than other religions?
Batches of Boy Scouts lawsuits could be next
Sean Kirst: 40 years after a child's days of pain, a search for justice
What is New York State's Child Victims Act?
Child Victims Act filings detail heart-wrenching stories of sexual abuse
The statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse victims to file civil claims going forward changes to age 55, from age 23, under the Child Victims Act. The new law also includes a one-year look-back window that opened Wednesday and allows childhood abuse victims of any age to file claims that previously were time-barred.

Experts said it’s common for childhood victims of sexual abuse not to tell anyone about it for many years. A 2014 study out of Germany found that the average age for disclosing childhood sex abuse was 52. Another study last year showed that it took 24 years, on average, for childhood sex abuse victims to disclose the abuse to anyone.

Marci A. Hamilton, law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on the effects of child sexual abuse, said children don’t understand sex and don’t have a framework of experience to distinguish a truly loving adult from someone who is taking advantage of them.

“These are people who don’t have life experience to help them through situations they just don’t understand and can’t possibly process,” said Hamilton, who founded and runs Child USA, a national think tank and child advocacy organization.

In addition, the trauma of the sex abuse often produces psychological and physical ailments in victims, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, thoughts of suicide and alcohol and drug abuse.

Jeffrey Epstein Chose New Mexico for a Reason

The New Republic

August 15, 2019

By Matt Farwell

If there’s a secret, New Mexico will try to keep it. The Land of Enchantment has gotten a lot of practice over the years, well before the now-late Jeffrey Epstein purchased the Zorro Ranch south of Santa Fe. The world’s first nuclear weapon, code name “Gadget,” was detonated in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.* Tourists can now visit the Trinity Site on the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range to view the epicenter of a highly secret government conspiracy involving top physicists called the Manhattan Project. Trinity is a 111-mile straight line from Zorro Ranch. Consider what lies within this way: Find a map. Make Epstein’s New Mexico operation the center. Put the Trinity site at the edge of its radius. What else is secret and radioactive and inside that circle? Did New Mexico’s other secrets throw off enough chaff to keep Epstein off the radar?

Last month, I went to New Mexico to see what secrets I could find within the circle. Santa Fe, 23 miles away from Zorro as the crow flies, is the oldest colonial capital city in North America, one with a twisted history. The historic center of this small city in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains is the Plaza, an open-air park with a Haagen-Dazs at one corner. This was once a drugstore, Zook’s Pharmacy, that doubled as a base for Russian espionage; in between filling prescriptions and ringing up customers, deep cover Stalinist spies here plotted the death of Leon Trotsky and later coordinated efforts to steal the secrets of the atomic bomb from Los Alamos (distance from Zorro Ranch: 50 miles).

Not Ready To Make Nice

Pittburgh Current

August 20, 2019

By Sue Kerr

On August 14, 2019 the Grand Jury Report was released. Over 1000 victims at the hands of more than 300 priests across six dioceses.

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I was not personally assaulted by a priest. My friends were. Some did not survive to their adulthood. I was one of the Catholic kids caught up in that mire of sexual violence, patriarchical oppression, and guilt. We were the victims of secondary trauma. We knew something was wrong, but no one listened to us. We heard the rumors and the stories and had our own traumatizing interactions with these predators. But no one listened to us.

I grew up in Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin, a parish staffed by known predatory priests from 1984-2006. 22 years is nearly half of my life. To make matters worse, two of these priests are members of my extended family. I’ve been writing about these experiences for years on my blog.

After protest, Buffalo diocese denies allegations of former seminarian

Catholic News Agency

August 20, 2019

Amid a media firestorm and a small protest Sunday, the Diocese of Buffalo disputed allegations made in a letter published by a recently resigned seminarian.

“Earlier today, while many Catholics were attending Sunday Mass, three individuals chose to gather in front of St. Stanislaus Church and Bishop Malone’s residence. These individuals were within their rights, and displayed various poster signs. The Diocese of Buffalo, has responded to these topics previously and it is unfortunate that some have not received or understood the responses,“ the diocese said in an Aug. 18 statement.

The protest staged Sunday, according to local media reports, was attended by three people, one of whom is recently resigned Buffalo seminarian Stephen Parisi, who made headlines last week, when he published a six-page open letter, addressed to Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone, calling for the bishop’s resignation and accusing him of multiple offenses, which included allowing a priest to violate the seal of confession without consequence.

Malone was accused Aug. 6 by Marie Bojanowski, the mother of a Buffalo seminarian, of allowing a priest, Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, to remain in ministry despite allegations that he had violated the sacramental seal, groomed and sexually harassed her son, and abused minors.

A letter from seminarian Matthew Bojanowski to Malone, dated Jan. 24, 2019, is posted on the website of Buffalo television station WKBW. The letter details Bojanowski’s allegations of harassment, and indicates that Nowak disclosed that he had been accused of “inappropropriate actions,” with minors.

The Diocese of Buffalo removed the priest from ministry Aug. 7, and denied reports that Malone had covered up allegations of misconduct against the priest.

The diocese emphasized its response in its Aug. 18 statement.

“Bishop Malone has never allowed any priest with a credible allegation of abusing a minor to remain in ministry. He has stated it is his responsibility to lead the Diocese of Buffalo and he will continue to do so by continuing to offer opportunities to bring healing to victim-survivors of abuse and renewed trust to the people of the Diocese,” the diocese said.

“There has never been an accusation that Bishop Malone violated the seal of the confessional. Mr. Parisi and others make the outrageous and unsupported claim that Bishop Malone has not honored the seal and ignored a complaint that Fr. Jeffrey Nowak violated the seal of the confessional. Bishop Malone has never ignored this complaint.”

SNAP leader: Catholic churches need better vetting for priests


August 20, 2019

The Rev. Geoff Drew, suspended last month after allegations of inappropriate behavior, now stands charged with nine counts of rape — all for incidents that allegedly happened before he entered the priesthood. Dan Frondorf, a local leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Drew never should have been able to become a priest — and the Catholic church should develop a better process for keeping predators out of its clergy.

Real-life priest who starred in ‘The Exorcist’ accused of sexually assaulting student in the ’80’s

Raw Story

August 16, 2019

By Tom Boggioni

According to a report at TMZ, a real-life priest who played Father Dyer in the 1973 film “The Exorcist” has been accused in court documents of sexually assaulting a student during the ’80s while teaching at McQuaid Jesuit High in Rochester, New York.

The report states that Father William J. O’Malley is one of multiple alleged assailants listed in a recently filed lawsuit and accuses him of abusing a then-17-year-old student “multiple times” in 1985 and 1986.

According to the lawsuit, those assaults occurred, “in a classroom, in school hallways and also at school-sponsored events.”

Priest won't face child sex abuse charges in Fargo

Bismark Tribune

August 20, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A Catholic priest in south-central North Dakota will not face criminal charges after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a child in Fargo, but the case could go to a prosecutor in McHenry County after an investigation revealed one incident allegedly happened there.

The Cass County Attorney’s Office announced Monday it would not pursue a criminal case against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who has served as a priest at three North Dakota churches in McIntosh County since 2010. The Fargo Diocese announced in early April that the Fargo Police Department was investigating Katanga concerning “interaction with a youth while ministering at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo.”

Prosecutors will not be able to prove Katanga allegedly had sexual contact with the child twice in Fargo because there are “no corroborating witnesses or physical evidence to support” the accusations, Cass County Assistant State’s Attorney Joshua Traiser said in a letter declining charges.

August 19, 2019

Two More Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 19, 2019

Two more priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh have been named in a lawsuit and accused of child sexual abuse.

The complaint alleges that Fr. Joseph Girdis and Fr. Larry Smith both abused the same unnamed plaintiff when he was 12-years-old and living at the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, PA. Since neither priest was named in last year’s bombshell grand jury report that examined 6 dioceses, including Pittsburgh, we call on Bishop David Zubik and other Pittsburgh church officials to use every means at their disposal to publicize these accusations and urge anyone who may have information related to them to contact law enforcement immediately.

We also hope that this news will encourage others who may have been abused in Pittsburgh to come forward, make a report to police and prosecutors, and find support from family, independent therapists, or support groups like ours.

Long Island Hit With Dozens Of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Under Child Victims Act

Long Island Weekly News

August 19, 2019

By Marco Schaden

Since Aug. 14, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across New York State related to the Child Victims Act, which went into effect that day. The law, signed in February by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives a one-year grace period, eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims. Suits have already been filed against every Catholic diocese in the state, Boy Scouts of America, Rockefeller University, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and other organizations.

In the coming months, more lawsuits are expected to be filed. Other states have passed a similar law, including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Arizona and New Jersey, whose grace period starts in December. California is looking at legislation for a second grace period.

“It just makes this whole thing very real,” Brian Toale said, a member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) who filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Chaminade High School. “At this point, I really want to get a lot of information and [a lawsuit] is the only way to get it. But to actually have it done—to get a text from my lawyer saying your ‘complaint has been filed’—I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.”

Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau, Cochran, Vertetis, Amala PLLC filed a suit against Rockefeller University on Aug. 14 with 45 plaintiffs. They claim to represent 200 sexual abuse survivors of Dr. Reginald Archibald, a professor and physician employed at the university for approximately 40 years. Several of the plaintiffs that filed suit are from Long Island.

“It’s probably one of, if not the largest, sexual abuse cases in the United States,” said attorney Michael Pfau.

In disturbing allegations anonymously filed, three priests accused of abusing seven-year-old together


August 19, 2019

In a graphic and disturbing case filed under the Child Victims Act, three priests are accused of sexually abusing a seven-year-old at St. Francis High School in the late 1970s.

The anonymous plaintiff says that in 1977, Father James Smyka, Father Aurelian Brzezniak and Father Patrick Mendola sexually abused him in a shower room in front of an audience of between 15 to 20 other priests.

The complaint states that afterward, they would console him while he cried, only to sexually abuse him again at least 15 times in a single night.

The lawsuit states the abuse continued until the boy was eight years old.

Both Mendola and Brzezniak are deceased.

New lawsuit filed against Diocese of Pittsburgh accuses two priests of sex assault


August 19, 2019

A new lawsuit accused two priests of sexual assault has been filed against the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth.

The lawsuit was filed by a Pittsburgh man who claimed Father Joseph Girdis and Father Larry Smith sexually assaulted him multiple times in the 1970s when he was 12-years-old. The victim was living at the Holy Family Institute at the time of the alleged assault.

Smith retired in 2015 and Girdis died in 2003.

Neither priest was named in the Attorney General's Grand Jury report released last year that exposed hundreds of clergy members accused of sexual assault.

Prosecutor: Rev. Geoffrey Drew indicted on 9 counts of rape


August 19, 2019

A priest who was placed on leave from St. Ignatius of Loyola last month has been indicted on nine counts of rape, according to the Hamilton County prosecutor.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the indictment for Rev. Geoffrey D. Drew during a Monday afternoon press conference.

The incidents occurred between 1988 and 1991 when Drew was employed as a music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township, Deters said. He was not a priest at the time; he was ordained in 2004.

A Hamilton County Grand Jury handed down the indictment Monday. If convicted, Drew faces life in prison, Deters said.

A 41-year-old man testified before a grand jury last week after the meetings at St. Ignatius of Loyola were publicized, Deters said. The man said he was 10 and 11 years old and was an altar boy when the incidents occurred, Deters said.

"It was very emotional," Deters said. "It was emotional for him. It was emotional for the grand jury. It was a very emotional piece of testimony. And he deserves a lot of credit for coming forward, as difficult as it is. He could’ve just said, ‘I’m moving on with my life,’ but he wanted to stop this behavior. And he’s going to."

Diocese says more abuse victims have come forward

Northern Wyoming News

August 19, 2019

More people who say they’re victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Wyoming clergymen have come forward since the release in early June of a list of 11 men who the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed had faced substantiated accusations of abuse.

That list identified 30 known and substantiated victims of the 11 men. Twenty-nine victims were juvenile boys and girls, while one was identified by the diocese as a vulnerable adult. It’s unclear how many more victims have come forward since the list was released in the diocese’s newsletter and on its website June 12.

“The Diocese of Cheyenne respects the privacy of all victims and survivors of sexual abuse and therefore does not publish their names,” Patti Loehrer, the diocese’s chancellor, told the Star-Tribune in an emailed response to a list of questions previously sent by the newspaper.

Loehrer said the diocese’s list is a “living document and will be updated on the diocesan website if new allegations are made and substantiated.”

The list has not been updated to include new victims or new clergy since it was published two months ago, suggesting the diocese has not completed any subsequent investigations brought by the new victims who’ve come forward. Loehrer said the diocese “does not publicize if it is conducting an investigation. We publicize the results.”

As part of its process in crafting the list of credibly accused priests, Loehrer wrote, the diocese hired Nussbaum Spier LLC, which has a history of conducting such reviews. The law firm interviewed victims and reviewed files, a process that included considering bishops, 253 priests and 45 deacons.”

Diocese “files were studied, and they reflected the previous reports of allegations,” the chancellor added.

Filings detail clergy, school abuse in Niagara CountyFilings detail clergy, school abuse in Niagara County

Niagara Gazette

August 19, 2019

By Philip Gambini

Lawsuits filed in Niagara County reveal the details of abuse suffered by scores of children over the past several decades.

The filings are among the hundreds of court documents that flooded state courts after the opening of the Child Victims Act “look-back window,” which allows survivors to submit civil lawsuits against their abusers that may have lapsed due to the legal statute of limitations.

The majority of the civil legal complaints accuse clergy or employees of the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual and physical abuse. The diocese has named the majority of the accused as having substantiated claims of sexual abuse lodged against them.

More lawsuits are expected to arrive over the next year.

Paul Barr, a local attorney, was among the first in Niagara County to publicly discuss a personal account of abuse by a member of the clergy. Barr said Freeman, who died in 2010, used his position and stature at Sacred Heart parish in the City of Niagara Falls to take advantage of him as a young man.

According to the lawsuit, Freeman served beer to Barr, who was then a minor, while the two were alone in the parish rectory about 1980. The priest told the intoxicated Barr a false story about a medical condition he had encountered as a chaplain at the nearby airbase.

Freeman could examine Barr, but it required Barr to remove his pants and underwear to do so, the priest said, according to Barr. Freeman then backed Barr onto a couch and forcibly fondled Barr's genitals. When he tried to leave, he found the door dead bolted. Freeman unlocked it and Barr left.

"Barr was scared and confused by Freeman's conduct," the lawsuit said. "He felt conflicted and betrayed because these unspeakable acts were being committed by a figure cloaked with spiritual authority and benevolence: the pastor whom Barr had come to trust and admire, and who had claimed that he was simply acting in Barr's best interest," the lawsuit said.

Barr refused a $45,000 settlement offer from the diocese Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), a fund established by the faith-based organization as a compensation mechanism for survivors, earlier this year.

Fr. Geoff Drew Indicted on 9 Counts of Rape, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 19, 2019

Less than a month after being placed on leave, a Cincinnati-area priest has been indicted on nine counts of rape. We hope that today’s charges bring comfort to his victim and encourages others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered his abuse to come forward and make a report to police and prosecutors.

Fr. Geoff Drew, the former head of St. Ignatius Loyola Paris, allegedly abused a young boy while he was employed as the Music Minister at St. Jude School in Cincinnati. Our hearts ache for the victim and we hope that he is finding help as he navigates his healing journey.

While we are glad that Fr. Drew has been indicted, we cannot help but worry that there are other survivors who have yet to come forward. However, we know that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had been warned about Fr. Drew’s inappropriate behavior for at least six years without taking action to keep him away from children, so we are afraid that there are others who are suffering in silence. We call on Archbishop Dennis Schnurr to personally visit every parish where Fr. Drew worked or attended and beg others who have information to come forward to police and prosecutors now.

Priest accused of sex abuse while pastor of Portville’s Sacred Heart

Times Herald

August 19, 2019

By Danielle Gamble

A lawsuit filed last week brought the number of Cattaraugus County priests accused of sexual abuse to four.

The Rev. Duane G. Fimbel was accused of sexually abusing a child more than 40 years ago while serving as pastor of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Portville by an anonymous plaintiff in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Fimbel, who died in 2011 at age 80, is accused of sexually abusing a then-14-year-old child from 1976 to 1977. Defendants in the case include the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, as Sacred Heart merged with St. Mary’s in 2007.

The Rev. Patrick Melfi, pastor of the basilica, said he was not aware of the lawsuit until reached by the Times Herald on Friday.

“We certainly are heartbroken by these stories that are coming out and we continue to pray for the victims, and certainly call for healing in these situations,” Melfi said, directing further comment to the diocese.

Olean Times Herald archives show Fimbel became pastor of Sacred Heart on June 27, 1976. It was announced a year and a half later, Dec. 17, 1977, that Fimbel would be transferred to Frewsburg to become pastor of Our Lady of Victory.

According to his obituary published in The Buffalo News, Fimbel was born in Buffalo and served in 10 locations in the Buffalo area in addition to serving at Sacred Heart.

Fimbel was also a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, according to archived articles.

His case was one of more than 250 suits filed last week in New York state by Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm, under the new “lookback” window established under the Child Victims Act, or CVA. The one-year opening gives sex abuse victims a chance to file formerly expired claims in civil court.

Fimbel was one of 14 priests accused by the firm last week as a sex abuser who had not been previously named by the diocese.

Another former Sacred Heart priest accused of abuse was the Rev. Norbert Orsolits, who kicked off Western New York’s priest sexual abuse scandal in 2018 by admitting to The Buffalo News that he sexually abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Orsolits became pastor in Portville in 1983 after serving as associate pastor at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean. He also taught at Archbishop Walsh High School.



August 19, 2019

By Matthew Lavietes and Jonathan Allen

Scores of people in New York state who were sexually abused as children sued institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church, on Wednesday, the first day a new law temporarily enabled them to file lawsuits over decades-old crimes.

By the close of business of Wednesday, 427 such lawsuits had been filed in courts across the state, according to a courts system spokesman. The vast majority of them were against the Church and its various dioceses in the state, as claimants accused priests of sexually abusing them as children and Church leaders of covering up the priests' crimes, according to state court records.

The state's landmark Child Victims Act includes a provision that lifts for one year a statute of limitations that had barred older complaints and which critics said was too restrictive. Although the majority of the new lawsuits appeared to be against the Church, other people sued schools, hospitals and individuals, and at least two people sued the Boy Scouts of America.

Previously, most victims of childhood sexual abuse only had until the age of 23 to bring criminal charges or to seek damages in civil lawsuits.

Father hopes for justice as Cardinal Pell waits on appeal verdict

Agence France-Presse

August 19, 2019

The father of one of the victims of jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell said Monday he hoped “justice would prevail” as a court prepared to rule on an appeal against his conviction of child sex abuse crimes.

Pell, the former Vatican number three, is appealing against his conviction on five counts of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s, with a court due to hand down its decision on Wednesday.

The case against the 78-year-old relied solely on the testimony of Pell’s surviving victim, as the other — who never spoke of the abuse — died of a drug overdose in 2014. Neither man can be identified for legal reasons.

Lawyer Lisa Flynn, who represents the dead man’s father, said he was anxious about the judgment, as were victims of child sexual abuse worldwide.

She told AFP they were waiting with “bated breath” ahead of “one of the most significant legal decisions in recent history”.

“He just wants closure so he can try to get on with his life and stop thinking about it every single day,” she said of her client.

“He has expressed that he would like to see justice prevail and George Pell kept behind bars where he cannot prey on more unsuspecting children.”

Pell was convicted in December of sexually abusing the two boys in 1996 and 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral shortly after he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne.

The prosecution called the surviving victim “a witness of truth” and defended the jury verdict as “unimpeachable”.

A three-judge panel deliberating since a two-day appeal hearing in early June can either dismiss the appeal, order a retrial or quash his conviction.

Lawyers for Pell, the most senior Catholic church figure to be convicted of child sex abuse, branded the verdict “a disturbing failure of our jury system”.

They raised 13 objections to his convictions including that it was “physically impossible” for the cleric to have committed the crimes in a crowded cathedral.

If the judges accept these arguments and rule in Pell’s favour, he could walk free immediately.

St. Louis County priest already deemed sexually violent sentenced again

Associated Press

August 18, 2019

The first U.S. Catholic priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was convicted in Illinois has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing two boys in Missouri in the 1990s.

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton. Lenczycki is 75.

Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with abusing three boys in the 1980s in Illinois. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In 2008, he was labeled sexually violent under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. Church and court files show that Lenczycki has admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years.

Things Were Simpler Then

Vanishing Predators blog

August 19, 2019

By Daniel Carlson

Growing up, I had the immense good fortune to spend a great deal of time at the home of my grandparents. While each of them influenced me in very powerful and positive ways, it was my grandmother who guided me in the world of the Catholic Church. An unwavering example of faith and devotion, it was she who introduced me to that important part of my life.

Through her, I learned the language and rituals of my religion … prayer … regular confessions … the Rosary … Stations of the Cross … Holy Days of Obligation … and, for those who remember the “old” days … no meat on Friday … no such thing as Saturday Mass … and, of course, if receiving Communion on Sunday, nothing to eat after midnight on Saturday.

Today, though, living the Catholic religion requires much more than simple knowledge of historic liturgical rituals and prayers. Instead, a modern working vocabulary for the faithful has been expanded to include terms like … credibly accused … statute of limitations … laicization …and mandatory reporting. And, of course, if you are a parishioner interested in volunteering in any capacity, make sure you have completed your Safe Environment training.

Clearly, things have changed in the Catholic Church, and the tumult continues. In New York State, for example, the newly enacted Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for future acts of child sex abuse, while providing a one-year “look back” window during which charges can be brought regardless of when the abuse occurred. This new legislation, which went into effect on August 14, is expected to result in hundreds of new lawsuits against the Catholic Church and other entities in New York.

Defrocked Irish American bishop named in ground-breaking child abuse lawsuits

Irish Central

August 19, 2019

An Irish American bishop defrocked for sexual abuse has been named in several suits on the first day of a ground-breaking new child sex abuse law in New York.

August 15 was the first day of a one-year window which will allow victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits, regardless of age, including those victims whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations. Over 400 lawsuits were filed in the state on the first day, reports the Catholic News Agency.

Sexual abuse victims in New York were previously required to file civil lawsuits by their 23rd birthdays. Under the Child Victims Act, which was approved in January, individuals now have until age 55, and for this first year of the law, they can be any age.

Former archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, who was defrocked earlier this year for sexual abuse, was named in a number of the suits.

The 89-year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, was expelled from the priesthood in February this year, marking the first time a bishop has ever been defrocked in the history of the church.

McCarrick, who in 1990 was awarded the Ellis Island Hall of Fame membership in honor of his Irish immigrant roots, was defrocked, or laicized, from the Roman Catholic Church after being found guilty of decades of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians. According to Susan Gibbe, his former spokeswoman, McCarrick is currently living in a friary in Kansas.

James Grein, 61, has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New York, where McCarrick was serving as a priest when he began abusing Grein at the age of 11. The sexual abuse continued for two decades.

The New York Times reports that in 1988, when Grein was 30, McCarrick brought him to meet Pope John Paul II. When McCarrick, then the archbishop of Newark, left the room, Grein revealed to the pope, in front of several Vatican officials, that McCarrick has been sexually abusing him since childhood.

“I told him I had been abused as a child by this man, and I need you to stop it,” recalled Grein. “He put both hands on my head, and told me he would pray for me.”

Nothing else was said or done.

Because his lawsuit claims Grein told the pope about the abuse, his legal team will seek to depose Vatican officials and gain access to Vatican documents.

“The cover-up has ended and now we are going right to the top,” said Mitchell Garabedian, Grein’s lawyer, at a news conference on Wednesday. “We are attempting to show that the Vatican knew that McCarrick was abusing James Grein.”

The reader from Friday writes back

Patheos blog

August 19, 2019

By Mark Shea

They say:

Thank you for getting back to me with this reply. Although I appreciate all of it, two things in it stand out in particular:

While the ChurchMilitant crowd does call out sin in the hierarchy, it fundamentally has a false view that the problem can be fixed by replacing everyone without conservative views or who is gay. So many of those implicated in the abuse crises as enabling abusers, like the Diocese of Lincoln or Cardinal Hoyos, were theologically Orthodox and defenders of the Latin Mass.CM and others in that crowd are, in their own way, covering up the problem by trying to pin everything on one side of the church.

Precisely. Recently, news broke that the Trad priest who happens to be Michael Voris’ priest not only was accused of abuse and removed from his duties but he was co-founder of a group that helped priests accused of abuse under the radar, including priests who had confessed to abuse.
Instead of his customary railing at the evil corrupt Church of Damn Libruls, Voris’ response has been to do nothing but instruct Premium Subscribers that Fr. Perrone categorically denies the charges.

How does Voris Just Know the priest is innocent? Well, he’s a Traditional priest, of course.

School districts face sex abuse claims under Child Victims Act

Times Union

August 19, 2019

By Rachel Silberstein

A female gym teacher who allegedly groomed and sexually abused a 13-year-old girl at a western New York middle school in the 1970s gained access to the pupil by visiting her home to offer comfort when the girl's mother died.

A former science teacher at Buffalo Public Schools is accused of harassing, exposing, and molesting a male student approximately five days a week over the course of two years in the 1980s when the teen was 14 and 15. He was placed in the alleged pedophile's care for study hall, class, tutoring, after-school activities, and summer school, according to court documents.

Face facts, says LCWR president: Sisters have been part of Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal

National Catholic Reporter

August 16, 2019

By Dan Stockman

Catholic sisters must face the reality that they have also been part of the sexual abuse scandal in the church, said the president of the leadership conference representing most women religious in the United States.

Holy Cross Sr. Sharlet Wagner, the 2018-2019 president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), spoke on the issue in her Aug. 15 presidential address at the organization's annual assembly, which drew nearly 700 women religious and guests to the Aug. 13-16 event.

"We have all been affected by this scandal. We have listened to the trauma of survivors, and we have felt shame for the church we love and outrage over the crimes committed," Wagner told the assembly. "We have journeyed with our lay sisters and brothers as they have grappled with what it means to continue to be faithful in this moment in our church. And we have heard the stories of women religious, both in the United States and around the world, who have themselves been abused by clergy or other religious."

But the guilt does not fall on priests and bishops alone, she said.

"It is a source of deep pain for us that in some instances, our own sisters have been perpetrators of the abuse," she said. "This is a truth we must not attempt to avoid."

Wagner said sisters must also recognize that abuse has made it difficult for many to see religious leaders as signs of hope.

Why is the Child Victims Act 'look-back' window so short?

Buffalo News

August 19, 2019

By Lou Michel and Qina Liu

Buffalo News readers have asked a number of questions since Wednesday, when the Child Victims Act opened a one-year window for filing civil lawsuits over old allegations of childhood sexual abuse.

The questions ranged from why the look-back is only a year long to why steps are not being taken against the Vatican.

To answer the questions, The News gathered information from attorneys representing people who say they were abused, attorneys representing priests accused of molesting children, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and past stories in The News.

Digital Engagement Editor Qina Liu helped compile questions from readers.

From Tim Finnegan: Is the Catholic diocese performing better screening of new priests and all the old priests to make sure there are not any more child abusers in the Catholic diocese?

Answer: Don Blowey, safe environment coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, said the diocese conducts criminal background checks every six years on all adults, including active priests and deacons, who work with "youth or vulnerable persons" on behalf of the diocese. These checks involve national data sources and checks of where the person lived in the last seven years. Follow-up checks are conducted on a quarterly basis.

Each month, the diocese sends a list of all new employees or volunteers who work with young people and vulnerable adults to New York State's Sex Offender Registry, according to Blowey. That enables the diocese to determine if the individuals have been designated in any of the three offender classification levels.

Child Victims Act tears open North Country's history of sexual abuse

North Country Public Radio

August 19, 2019

By Brian Mann

Lawsuits filed last week under the Child Victims Act claim children were targeted by abusers and pedophiles over a period of decades in dozens of communities across the North Country. The Boy Scouts are named in at least one of the suits, but most of the cases target the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg.

More than 400 lawsuits were filed statewide last week under the Child Victims Act, after New York temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on sexual violence cases.

At a press conference in Watertown, attorney Taylor Stippel unveiled 14 new lawsuits against the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Stippel said she and other attorneys are still trying to understand the scope of the sexual violence that happened here.

“Over one third of the list that the diocese has deemed as credibly accused [priests] are still alive,” said Stippel, with the firm Anderson Advocates. “We don’t know where they are. That’s a problem. That’s a public safety hazard.”

North Country Bishop Terry LaValley has officially identified 30 priests who face credible allegations of abuse – the most recent case nearly 20 years old. But Stippel says these lawsuits already name four clergy not on the official list.

“How many more survivors have come to the diocese with reports of what they suffered? How many perpetrators are not on that list?” Stippel said.

Stippel says one case filed last week identifies a priest, Father John Downs, still living and working in semi-retirement in Ogdensburg.

August 18, 2019

Priest who starred in 'The Exorcist' accused of sexually abusing student in the 1980s

USA TODAY and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

August 16, 2019

By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Father Bill O’Malley, an outgoing Jesuit teacher who became a Rochester, New York, celebrity after a star turn in the supernatural film "The Exorcist," has been accused of sexually abusing one of his students at McQuaid Jesuit High School three decades ago.

The Rev. William J. O’Malley S.J. joined the McQuaid faculty in 1965. By the time he left the Brighton school in the mid-1980s, he was one of the best-known clergy members in town.

He now lives, at age 87, in the Jesuit community at Fordham University in the Bronx. He is widely known not only for his Hollywood stint, but as the author of more than three dozen books and as a lively ambassador for the Jesuit order and Catholic faith.

Until last week, his reputation had been sullied only by his abrupt dismissal in 2012 from Fordham Prep, whose authorities told the New York Post that O’Malley’s old-school teaching style was too "abrasive."

Recovering and Recreating the Institutions We Need

The Catholic Thing (blog)

August 18, 2019

By Adam A.J. DeVille

Catholics today are caught between two understandable but equally incomplete approaches to the sex-abuse crisis. On the more “liberal” side, Massimo Faggioli has recently rightly written that in an age of profound corruption in the Church, we must resist the temptation of “institutional iconoclasm,” the mentality that leads some people to say “burn the whole thing down.” No serious Catholic can support that.

On the more “conservative” side, Bishop Robert Barron says something similar in Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis, which seems incapable of considering any sort of institutional change. This, too, is unworthy of support from Catholics who are truly serious about major and lasting reform.

What is good in both Faggioli and Barron is the awareness, as Faggioli acknowledges, that “we keep institutions because institutions keep us. On the other hand, institutions need change.” But which institutions? What changes? What if those institutions, even dramatically reformed, prove insufficient to our present moment? Surely there is room in the Church today to contemplate the recovery of institutions that were once common but have, often for no good reason, fallen into desuetude?

OKC man shares story about priest's abuse

The Oklahoman

August 18, 2019

By Carla Hinton

The "monster" that haunted Nick Yascavage for decades didn't come creeping out from under his childhood bed.

It wasn't some faceless stranger that his parents had warned him about.

The Oklahoma City man's nightmare walked into his parents' Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, home one afternoon as a revered guest of honor.

The "monster" came wearing a clerical collar and eventually asked his mother and father if 12-year-old Nicky wanted to go with him to get ice cream

This was no troll or bogeyman. The nightmare was real.

It was the new priest in town.

Yascavage, 53, has spent more than 40 years trying to repress the memories of his encounters with the man who started out as his youth pastor only to turn into his abuser.

The U.S. Army veteran and one-time restaurateur told only one person, a spouse, about the experiences that tainted his childhood.

Opinion: Why my heart and soul remain Catholic

Arizona Daily Star via Tucson.com

August 18, 2019

By Renée Schafer Horton

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

Last August in this space, I wrote about the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing Catholic clergy abuse against more than 1,000 children. The report, which covered a 70-year period ending in the early 2000s, provided evidence that bishops had hid the abuse over decades and that some recently retired bishops knew about this duplicity.

Nearly 17 years after Catholics had been assured our house was swept clean, we discovered that the system that hid abuse hadn’t actually changed. It was a come-to-Jesus moment for many Catholics and I wrote that the only way to prod the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to get their act together was to hold back donations.

Defrocked Irish American bishop named in ground-breaking child abuse lawsuits

Irish Central

August 18, 2019

An Irish American bishop defrocked for sexual abuse has been named in several suits on the first day of a ground-breaking new child sex abuse law in New York.

August 15 was the first day of a one-year window which will allow victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits, regardless of age, including those victims whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations. Over 400 lawsuits were filed in the state on the first day, reports the Catholic News Agency.

Sexual abuse victims in New York were previously required to file civil lawsuits by their 23rd birthdays. Under the Child Victims Act, which was approved in January, individuals now have until age 55, and for this first year of the law, they can be any age.

Former archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, who was defrocked earlier this year for sexual abuse, was named in a number of the suits.

The 89-year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, was expelled from the priesthood in February this year, marking the first time a bishop has ever been defrocked in the history of the church.

McCarrick, who in 1990 was awarded the Ellis Island Hall of Fame membership in honor of his Irish immigrant roots, was defrocked, or laicized, from the Roman Catholic Church after being found guilty of decades of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians. According to Susan Gibbe, his former spokeswoman, McCarrick is currently living in a friary in Kansas.

A year later, Pa. Senate still dodging grand jury findings on clergy abuse | Editorial

The Express-Times

August 18, 2019

One year after an investigating grand jury gave Pennsylvania legislators all the evidence they needed to update laws on child sexual abuse — in fact, Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking work led to reforms in other states, including New Jersey — the response in Harrisburg has been little more than “we’ll get to it.”


The grand jury report identified more than 300 priests as sexual predators and thousands of victims. It spawned investigations by other states’ attorneys general and a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Instead of acting to extend the legal redress of survivors who suffered at the hands of Catholic Church clergy throughout the state, as painstakingly detailed by the Pennsylvania grand jury, state Senate Republican leaders have balked at proposals to set up retroactive “windows,” which would allow long-ago victims to file civil claims in court.

Your View by Allentown Catholic bishop: ‘We can never forget the victims, we can never erase the past’

The Morning Call

August 18, 2019

By Bishop Alfred A. Schlert

The one-year anniversary of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse provides an opportunity for me to report on what the Diocese of Allentown has done, and what we will continue to do, to prevent abuse and to keep children safe.

On this issue, we can never forget the victims, we can never erase the past, and we can never let down our guard.

We have taken many concrete actions during the past year, in addition to the robust prevention and safety programs we already have in place. My first priority is keeping our children safe.

The grand jury acknowledged in its report that much had changed for the better in the Catholic Church in the previous 15 years. Here’s a look at what we have done in the Diocese of Allentown over the past 12 months:

St. Louis County priest already deemed sexually violent sentenced again

Associated Press via KSDK-TV (Channel 5)

August 18, 2019

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton.

The first U.S. Catholic priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was convicted in Illinois has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing two boys in Missouri in the 1990s.

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton. Lenczycki is 75.

Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with abusing three boys in the 1980s in Illinois. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In 2008, he was labeled sexually violent under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. Church and court files show that Lenczycki has admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years.

All San Diego diocesan employees meet to hear new steps in abuse fight

Catholic News Service via Crux

August 18, 2019

By Aida Bustos

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego gathered all 2,500-plus diocesan employees for the first time in its history to announce an expansion of the fight against the sexual abuse of children not just within the local church but in the greater society.

U.S. Church reforms adopted in the early 2000s have contributed to a dramatic decline in cases of child abuse by clergy. The San Diego Diocese has not had a confirmed incident of sexual abuse of a minor by any of its priests in the past 20 years, records show.

But much more remains to be done to confront abuse, McElroy told the employees at the Aug. 13 meeting at the University of San Diego.

Local bishop stepping back from public appearances during sexual abuse lawsuit

WCIV-TV (ABC affiliate)

August 18, 2019

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston will be staying out of the public eye as a sexual abuse lawsuit is ongoing.

ABC News 4 has learned that Bishop Robert Guglielmone said in a letter to Diocese of Charleston churches that he will step back from public appearances until the lawsuit is settled.

More: Lawsuit accuses Charleston Catholic bishop of sex abuse in 1970s

In a letter to @DioceseChas churches, Bishop Robert Guglielmone says he’ll step back from public appearances until a lawsuit against him is settled. He’s accused of sexual abuse of a minor in NY. The bishop denies wrongdoing. @FOX24Charleston #chsnews

The lawsuit alleges that Guglielmone sexually abused a minor in the late 70s while he was a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, New York, according to the diocese.

He has denied what he calls "baseless" allegations, and is cooperating with an investigation requested by the Vatican, according to Charleston Diocese spokesperson Maria Aselage.

Retired Albany Bishop Hubbard says he has ‘never sexually abused anyone’

Catholic News Service via Crux

August 17, 2019

Retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany said in a statement Aug. 16 he “never sexually abused anyone” and is taking a voluntary leave of absence from the Diocese of Albany to deal with the allegations.

The Evangelist, Albany’s diocesan newspaper, reported that a lawsuit filed Aug. 14 accuses Hubbard of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the late 1990s. The suit was filed the day New York state’s Child Victims Act went into effect.

The new law opens a yearlong “window” in the statute of limitations, allowing suits to be filed by victims alleging abuse by priests, church workers and employees of public schools, hospitals and other institutions no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.

Before victims filed claims, some targets of abuse lawsuits moved to shield assets

Albany Times-Union

August 17, 2019

By Brendan J. Lyons

It could take years, and protracted legal battles, for victims of rape and sexual abuse to receive any compensation from the hundreds of lawsuits they began filing across the state last week against their alleged childhood predators or the organizations that employed them.

The lawsuits were among the first round of what are expected to be thousands of claims that will be filed in the coming year, after New York lifted its civil statute of limitations on sexual crimes and opened a one-year window for victims to sue those responsible.

The one-year period was enabled by the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in February. Its ratification suddenly became a reality last November — after more than a decade of political gridlock in the state Legislature — when Democrats who long supported the measure seized control of the Senate chamber from Republicans.

That political shift also provided a months-long warning to abusers and the institutions that harbored them that the Democratic-controlled state Legislature may pass the measure, lowering a shield that had long protected the abusers from being sued for allegations dating back decades.

Religious leaders set to face punishment if they cover up child abuse

1 News, TVNZ, New Zealand

August 18, 2019

Victoria's premier says the culture of covering up child sexual abuse must end after Melbourne's most senior Catholic said he'd rather go to jail than reveal if someone confessed to him.

Archbishop Peter Comensoli also said priests who hear confessions have a similar privileged relationship to journalists and their sources, or lawyers and their clients.

Victoria is introducing new laws making it mandatory for religious leaders to report allegations of child abuse, including if they're made during confession.

Abuse survivor Richard Jabara lashes Archbishop Peter Comensoli

The Australian

August 18, 2019

By Rachel Baxendale

Child sex abuse survivor Richard Jabara was among 52 Catholic Church abuse survivors who lit up the In Good Faith Foundation’s switchboard with phone calls expressing their disgust earlier this month, after The Australian reported the Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli had bought himself a country retreat with an indoor pool as the Church sacks dozens of people as part of his reform agenda.

The charity, which provides case management, advocacy and support services to those affected by institutional sexual abuse, received another flood of calls last week when Archbishop Comensoli told ABC radio he would sooner go to jail than comply with the Andrews government’s proposed law compelling priests to report evidence of abuse revealed in the confessional.

Archbishop Comensoli meanwhile maintains that he does not believe mandatory reporting of abuse and preservation of the sanctity of confession are mutually exclusive, and that he was “deeply hurt” by the reaction to his private purchase of the country property with money left to him by his parents.

Mr Jabara, who was raped as a 13-year-old by Catholic priest and serial child abuse Terrence Pidoto, said he was deeply disappointed in Archbishop Comensoli, who commenced his role just over a year ago.

August 17, 2019

Priest Guilty Of Sex Abuse; List Of DC, Baltimore Accused Priests


August 17, 2019

By Deb Belt

A Catholic priest who served in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., was convicted Thursday of four counts of child sexual abuse against two children that happened on the grounds of his parish, Shrine of the Sacred Heart Parish in Northwest Washington. The Rev. Urbano Vazquez, 47, of Washington, D.C., committed the abuse from 2015 to 2017, prosecutors said. He was arrested in November 2018.

Father Vazquez served his diaconate internship at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish (Western Maryland) from 2013-2014 and later celebrated Mass there on a few occasions. He was on a list of Catholic priests credibly accused of sexual abuse against children that was released in late 2018, including the Baltimore archdiocese. (See below for a list of priests in both the Baltimore and Washington archdioceses who have been accused.)

The guilty verdicts were returned after a nine-day trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Vazquez will be sentenced on Nov. 22. The Archdiocese of Washington said Vasquez will have no authority to serve as a priest in the archdiocese; what happens to his ministry will be decided by his religious the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Prosecutors said that between April 1, 2015 and May 31, 2015, Vazquez molested a 13-year-old girl while speaking with her in a parish office. In addition, between June 2016 and August 2017, Vazquez kissed and molested a second girl of 9 to 10 years old in various places on church grounds, including near the church confessionals. The jury also heard testimony from another teenage girl who Vazquez kissed in a church conference room.

Why victims of clergy sex abuse embrace hope for justice even if lawmakers should fail to enact reforms

Patroit News

August 16, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A peculiar setting is shaping up in Pennsylvania that could pave the way for scores of people who were sexually abused as children to face their abuser in court even though their legal right has run out.

This week the state Superior Court denied a Catholic dioceses its petition seeking to have the court reverse a decision that allows a woman who was sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago the right to bring the alleged predator to court, even though the statute of limitations has long expired for her.

That decision comes ahead of what is expected to be a rancorous debate in the Legislature over several measures that would overhaul the statute of limitations.

Put in simple terms: Even if lawmakers fail to enact reforms (something it has done several times in recent years) victims locked out of the legal system could still have a pathway to justice under the Superior Court’s ruling.

“For the first time in a long time, we have an overwhelming sense of hope,” said Shaun Dougherty, who was sexually abused as a child by his priest in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

“We’ve had the door shut in our faces so many times, we’ve had the court door, the Senate door shut in our faces but we’ve been persistent. We never went away. It looks like the court door just opened up for us and it looks like the Senate door could be cracking.”

Why victims of clergy sex abuse embrace hope for justice even if lawmakers should fail to enact reforms

Patroit News

August 16, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A peculiar setting is shaping up in Pennsylvania that could pave the way for scores of people who were sexually abused as children to face their abuser in court even though their legal right has run out.

This week the state Superior Court denied a Catholic dioceses its petition seeking to have the court reverse a decision that allows a woman who was sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago the right to bring the alleged predator to court, even though the statute of limitations has long expired for her.

That decision comes ahead of what is expected to be a rancorous debate in the Legislature over several measures that would overhaul the statute of limitations.

Put in simple terms: Even if lawmakers fail to enact reforms (something it has done several times in recent years) victims locked out of the legal system could still have a pathway to justice under the Superior Court’s ruling.

“For the first time in a long time, we have an overwhelming sense of hope,” said Shaun Dougherty, who was sexually abused as a child by his priest in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

“We’ve had the door shut in our faces so many times, we’ve had the court door, the Senate door shut in our faces but we’ve been persistent. We never went away. It looks like the court door just opened up for us and it looks like the Senate door could be cracking.”

Corey Feldman Calls for Hollywood Sexual Abuse Victims to Support Bill to Change CA Statute Laws

Hollywood Reporter

August 14, 2019

Corey Feldman is hoping to use his voice and celebrity status to help fellow victims of sexual abuse.

The actor, who serves as Child USA’s ambassador and has spoken out extensively about the alleged abuse he suffered as a child actor, is urging abuse victims in Hollywood to sign a letter that he will be sending on Thursday to the California Senate in relation to current laws about the state’s statute of limitations.

“I’m beyond elated that we have moved the needle to the point that this dream can finally become a reality,” Feldman, 48, says in a statement. “I’m so grateful to all the survivors who are working with Child USA and myself to bring closure and justice to so many lives that have been branded and tarnished at the hands of abusers. I know there is great power in numbers and with this bill, our voices can finally be heard as a unified force for justice.”

In January, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez reintroduced a bill “that would give victims more time to report an assault and create another tool in identifying sexual predators before they harm more children in the future,” according to a press release.

“Assembly Bill 218 would expand both the statute of limitations for the time given to victims of childhood sexual assault, from age 26 to age 40, and the period for delayed reasonable discovery from three to five years,” the press release states. “After enactment, the measure would also allow for a window of three years for the revival of past claims that might have expired due to the statute of limitations.”

Currently, the status of the bill is “In committee: Referred to APPR,” which is the Committee on Appropriations.

The Diaconate and the Abuse Crisis

National Catholic Register

August 17, 2019

By Robert Klesko

I have been thumbing through Dr. Adam DeVille’s book Everything Hidden Shall be Revealed about his proposed reforms for the Church in the face of the current abuse crisis. My perusal, and my recent experience at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius as a deacon formation student, has led me to see the vital importance for the Latin Church to quickly and thoroughly expand its understanding of the role of the diaconate in the hierarchy.

The recent resurfacing of the problem of clerical sexual abuse has two main elements — predatory abuse committed by priests and bishops and the failure of bishops to expose and eradicate such sinful conduct. In the midst of this disastrous formula, we need to consider the role of the deacon as an important “check and balance” within the Church’s hierarchy.

The West, if I may paint in broad strokes, has lost its bearings as to the role of the deacon in the Church. Many view his ministry as superfluous liturgically, as he has only a few functions at Mass. As such, he is a kind of glorified altar boy. Many parishes see a deacon only when one is assigned there temporarily on his way to the priesthood. Subsequently, the diaconate is seen as a “steppingstone” to the more exalted priesthood. The deacon in the West is assigned tasks that he historically never fulfilled, such as witnessing at weddings outside of the Mass and conducting baptisms. Such a view of the role of the deacon has led to many orthodox-minded priests and bishops to question if we need deacons at all. But the role of the deacon, handed down to us from Scripture and Apostolic tradition, is absolutely vital to the governance of the Church.

Diocese of Scranton launches investigation into national shrine rector Rossi

Catholic News Agency

August 16, 2019

By Ed Condon

The Diocese of Scranton has begun an investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

“Bishop Joseph Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, has commenced the process of launching a full forensic investigation into the concerns that have been raised,” about Msgr. Walter Rossi, the diocese told CNA Aug. 14.

“Approximately one year ago, concerns were raised in the public sector regarding Monsignor Walter Rossi, a priest who was incardinated in the Diocese of Scranton but who has served more than 20 years at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.”

“The Diocese of Scranton referred those initial concerns to the Archdiocese of Washington, which investigated certain specific allegations and determined them to be unfounded,” the diocese added.

“Additional concerns have now surfaced, however, requiring a broadened investigation.”

“Bishop Bambera has spoken with Archbishop Wilton Gregory and they have agreed that the Diocese of Scranton and Archdiocese of Washington will work jointly and cooperatively on undertaking a comprehensive investigation,” the statement concluded.

Concerns were raised about Rossi to Archbishop Gregory Tuesday night, during a question-and-answer session at a Theology on Tap, held at the Public Bar Live in the Dupont area of Washington. The event was broadcast live on Facebook.

During that session, Gregory called for an independent, forensic investigation of some allegations against Rossi.

In the first question from the floor at the Aug. 13 event, Gregory was asked about Rossi, who has been the subject of media reports and public speculation in the last year.

SC bishop pushes back against sex abuse allegations in NY lawsuit

Courier Post

August 15, 2019

By Glenn Smith and Stephen Hobbs

Attorneys for South Carolina’s highest-ranking Catholic continued to push back Thursday against allegations that Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone sexually abused a young parishioner in New York in the 1970s, saying the accusations were fabricated in an attempt to squeeze money from the church.

But questions remained as to when the allegations contained in a lawsuit against Guglielmone first surfaced and how they were handled at that time. Also unclear is the scope of an ongoing investigation requested by the Vatican. Church officials in New York declined to answer those and other questions when contacted by The Post and Courier.

The New York lawsuit was filed Wednesday, the same day another suit against Guglielmone was dismissed in federal court in Charleston. That action concerned allegations that Guglielmone improperly retaliated against a priest for reporting sexual abuse the priest had suffered at the hands of clergy in Greenville as a boy. Guglielmone has denied the allegations leveled against him in both suits.

The bishop denies the allegation of repeatedly sexually abusing a young boy beginning in 1978 while serving as a pastor in New York.

The New York case accuses Guglielmone of molesting and performing sex acts on a young boy while serving as a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, N.Y. The suit alleges the abuse began in 1978, when the child was 8 years old, and that Guglielmone told the boy that it was “God’s will.”

Does Catholic Church have bigger sex abuse problem than other religions?

Buffalo News

August 16, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

There were 105 Child Victims Act lawsuits against religious organizations in Western New York in the first two days those cases could be filed.

But only two of them targeted religious organizations that are not Catholic.

One lawsuit was filed against a Lutheran organization and a former Lutheran religion teacher who allegedly raped and molested a 13-year-old girl at First Trinity Lutheran Church in the Town of Tonawanda from 1978 until 1981. The other was filed against Buffalo’s Temple Beth Zion, alleging that a Hebrew tutor there repeatedly molested a 12-year-old female student during a nine-month period in 1970.

Ninety-eight percent of the 105 lawsuits against religious organizations in five Western New York counties named as defendants the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, priests and other individuals and institutions associated with the diocese.

Despite that, Nora Kovach, 54, who accused her former Lutheran religious education teacher, Bruce Arlen Connolly, in her lawsuit, said her case shows that child sexual abuse is not just a problem in the Catholic Church.

Let the handlers of predatory priests pay in full

Register Star

August 16, 2019

Priests are supposed to offer spiritual comfort to adults and counsel young people on the values they will need later in life. They are not supposed to be sexual predators taking advantage of children.

That’s what makes the release of a list of alleged pedophile priests from this area, including one formerly of the Sacred Heart Church in Cairo, a tragedy and a disgrace. The priests were named in lawsuits filed against the Albany Diocese by alleged sexual abuse victims under the Child Victims Act.

It’s an offensive litany of accusations, both legally and morally. Father Sean McMahon, a priest from Ireland, was assigned to the Sacred Heart Church in Cairo. In 1984, according to the lawsuit against him, McMahon engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with an alleged victim who was 16 at the time. Details of the alleged sexual contact were not outlined in the court papers.

McMahon is the second priest from the Cairo area to be accused of sexually abusing a minor. Father Jeremiah Nunan was the former pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham. Nunan was permanently barred from ministry June 30, 2018 by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger after the Albany Diocese Review Board ruled that he had sexually abused a minor in the early 1990s.

It’s horrifying to note that Nunan, McMahon and nearly two dozen other suspected priests in this region were continually moved from one parish assignment to another, always one step ahead of civil litigation or criminal prosecution or both.

Sudden resignation of seminarian at Christ the King Seminary blindsides Buffalo Diocese


August 16, 2019

In the wake of more than 100 child sex abuse lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act, a sudden departure is now blindsiding a Diocese already in crisis.

Stephen Parisi, a seminarian, is announcing his "immediate withdrawal" over what he calls, "alarming and problematic governance" of the Buffalo Diocese and Christ the King Seminary. Parisi served as Dean of Seminarians at Christ the King Seminary, a leadership role among the young men pursuing a vocation in the priesthood.

Parisi wrote a six page letter to Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone explaining why he left the seminary. While speaking to 7Eyewitness News, Parisi described an "unhealthy, hostile environemtn" at Christ the King in East Aurora since he began there in January 2018.

"If you don't go by what they tell you to do, or suggest that you do, you're told that you can be dismissed. You're reminded you can be dismissed for any reason at any time," Parisi said.

The "difficult year," as Parisi calls it, started last September when Father Joe Gatto was placed on leave last September from the seminary after three allegations of sexual misconduct.

"People were trying to climb to the top...there was really no clear organization chart for the Seminary. It was very chaotic."

Not only did he call for Bishop Richard Malone to resign: "We need change. We need somebody to come in and clean house. We need what the church terms as an apostolic investigation of this diocese."

But he also is asking parishioners to take action. "This culture of blackmail and hypocrisy within the clergy and the hierarchy is so deep, it is so entrenched. The only way for the church to survive is for good and honest lay people to reclaim their church and the first step is to stop putting money in the collection basket."

Court allows lawsuit against diocese

Altoona Mirror

AUG 16, 2019

By Russ O'Reilly

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown’s application for re-argument in the lawsuit of a woman who claims a pedophile priest consistently molested her in the 1970s and ’80s in Blair County.

Wednesday’s ruling reaffirming that Renee A. Rice can pursue her lawsuit against officials in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese reflects an evolving legal landscape, according to Rice’s attorney, Richard Serbin of the Janet, Janet & Suggs law firm.

“This decision confirms my position that the lawsuits I have recently filed in Dauphin and Centre counties will be able to go forward with the litigation process, allowing a jury to decide the factual questions raised,” Serbin stated in an email. “This is good news for many child sex abuse survivors.”

A day before the Superior Court’s decision on Rice’s case, Serbin filed two new lawsuits in Centre County against defendants including the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese stemming from the alleged abuse of two boys by a Jesuit seminarian decades ago.

Those lawsuits are filed on behalf of two accusers who attended the Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, where the seminarian repeatedly sexually assaulted both boys and raped one of them in the early 1970s. One of the two took his own life when he was 32.

In another lawsuit Serbin filed in Dauphin County against the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and some of its officials, a man, 67, claims he was raped by two priests from the Diocese of Harrisburg decades ago beginning when he was 9. The statute of limitations has long expired for him.

Those lawsuits, with Rice’s at the forefront, focus not so much on the sexual abuse but rather the failure on the part of the dioceses to fulfill obligations to active members of parish churches.

Rice’s case was previously dismissed by a Blair County judge on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired.

But on June 11, a state Superior Court panel reinstated the lawsuit against the diocese.

The Pa. grand jury report on Catholic abuse inspired new laws nationwide. So why didn’t it happen in Pennsylvania?

The Washington Post

August 14, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer

A year ago, Pennsylvania’s grand jury report on sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy landed with 800 pages of devastating detail and a worldwide impact.

The report led to arrests of priests in Michigan, protests in Maryland, the ouster of a cardinal in Washington, sweeping new legislation in New York, and even new policies at the Vatican.

Yet what did not happen was the one thing that the grand jurors actually called for: legislative action in Pennsylvania.

“It’s just one of the ugliest situations I have ever seen,” said Frances Unglo-Samber, an activist for survivors of clergy abuse. She attended rallies and pleaded with state lawmakers to pass legislation after the grand jury report, which documented abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 named priests, was released last August.

And then, at the last minute, the reform effort fell apart. The state wouldn’t take the actions recommended by the grand jury. Pennsylvania wouldn’t get rid of the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse or open a window so that victims could bring civil suits against past abusers and the institutions that protected them.

“It’s changed in other states,” said Unglo-Samber, whose brother killed himself after finally disclosing that he had been raped by their childhood priest. “How could it not change in Pennsylvania?”

Marci Hamilton, who tracks legislation at the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Child USA, called the past year “an absolutely banner year for statute-of-limitation reform” nationwide, largely propelled by the Pennsylvania grand jury report. “We had a tipping point. … The way that the world and the other states responded was, finally, almost purely pro-victim,” Hamilton said.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia passed laws extending or eliminating their statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse or allowing prior victims to sue, Hamilton said. In New York, the legislature granted a window for lawsuits that opens Wednesday; the state expects a flood of litigation.

Meanwhile, change in Pennsylvania sputtered — a cautionary tale that what works in some states may fail in others. The difference, advocates maintain, often comes down to which party dominates the state legislature.

“In states that are controlled by Republicans, it’s very hard to get around the bishops and the insurance industry,” Hamilton said. “No one knows more about [child sexual abuse] than law enforcement in the state of Pennsylvania, and quite amazingly, that has not moved the staunch Catholic lawmakers who simply are not going to stop protecting their church against lawsuits.”

That’s not to say that Republican-controlled legislatures won’t take action on child sexual abuse. Of the 21 jurisdictions that passed bills changing their statutes of limitations in 2019, nine have Republican-controlled legislatures, and eight have Democratic-controlled legislatures, according to information from Child USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. (The rest have split legislatures or, in the case of Nebraska, nonpartisan lawmakers.)

But the Democratic-led legislatures tended to take more sweeping steps. New Jersey opened a two-year window for any victim to sue and extended the civil statute for future cases to age 55 or seven years after the victim comes forward, whichever is later. Rhode Island made its new, lengthy statute of limitations apply retroactively to old claims against abusers. Vermont went even further, reviving all expired claims against abusers and institutions such as churches. Vermont also got rid of its criminal statute of limitations entirely for many child sexual abuse crimes, as did Washington state, the District and Republican-led Montana.

The steps taken in some Republican-controlled states were more modest: Alabama gave victims up to age 25 to sue, and Montana up to 27; Arizona gave them up to 30 as well as a 19-month window for old cases; Tennessee gave them up to 33.

Republican-led Florida and Mississippi legislatures also considered bills and did not pass them, like Pennsylvania — and like Democratic-led Oregon.

In Pennsylvania, the lobbying effort against the bill was intense. While lobbying spending on specific issues is hard to track in the state, two law firms released a report showing the Catholic Church spent more than $700,000 in Pennsylvania in 2018, more in just one year than it spent in a seven-year period in New Jersey, Massachusetts and several other states.

“The church, every step of the way, has refused to reform and has taken the most cynical path each time,” said Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general whose office released the grand jury report.

Leaders of Pennsylvania dioceses have expressed their desire to cooperate with law enforcement but have also fought in court, including battling to keep some of the priests’ names in the grand jury report sealed.

Republican state senators said they worried lawsuits would bankrupt churches and raised questions about whether cases could be tried fairly after such a long time. With the clock ticking down to the end of the 2018 legislative session, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati proposed allowing suits against individuals but not against institutions. Democrats cried foul. The night ended, in the wee hours, with no bill at all.

Scarnati did not agree to an interview but said in a statement that he was “committed to working with my colleagues to address” this year’s new bills on child sexual abuse. He pointed out that Pennsylvania dioceses have been hearing victims’ cases and doling out payments through their own victim compensation funds, outside of the court system. “Financial assistance cannot change the past, but will aid victims as they attempt to move forward,” Scarnati wrote.

The New York Times reported that several of Scarnati’s former staff members and his chief of staff’s wife work for the lobbying firm representing the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

The grand jury report, which examined six of the eight dioceses in the state, wasn’t the first time that Pennsylvania scrutinized the Catholic Church. Both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown were studied in earlier, similar grand jury reports. Philadelphia was the site of the first criminal trial in the nation holding a priest responsible for his oversight of other priests who abused children.

The nation had also known for at least 16 years, since the Boston Globe’s 2002 expose revealed the scandal to the country, that Catholic clergy had committed crimes against children.

But this time was different, sparking comprehensive investigations across the country. Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia started their own probes, by Hamilton’s count. They set about obtaining secret archives in dioceses’ offices that they had never pursued before. They set up hotlines for victims to call and assigned staff to focus on cases.

Shapiro says he and his staff became consultants to prosecutors nationwide on how to investigate the Catholic Church — they talked to prosecutors from almost every state.

Catholic lay people, too, reacted differently. They threw together protests in at least half a dozen cities, calling for bishops to submit to similar civil investigations or resign. Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl came under scrutiny for his prior actions in Pittsburgh described in the document and eventually stepped down.

The moment was right, for any number of reasons. The influence of the Catholic Church itself has declined precipitously since the 2002 scandal, as have the church’s membership numbers. And months after the Me Too movement began, the nation was ready to listen to victims.

Along with the revelation of sexual abuse committed by the now-defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Pennsylvania report was a major factor pushing the Vatican to address the issue of sexual abuse in this past year. More than 15 years after the Boston Globe exposé, Pope Francis convened the first worldwide summit to address abuse. In the United States, bishops voted on a new plan to police themselves — which, like the Vatican’s actions, has been received by advocates with some skepticism. Many within the church continue to clamor for more-vigorous reforms.

But in Pennsylvania, lawmakers haven’t budged.

Shapiro said he still hopes that a bill can pass when lawmakers return to Harrisburg this fall. A similar version has been reintroduced to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations, which currently blocks cases in the state after the victim turns 50, younger than many victims who have come forward. Some lawmakers are also pursuing a constitutional amendment to allow for a window for victims to sue, which Shapiro said is unnecessary because he thinks it is already constitutional. Some Republicans said the window for old suits might violate the state’s constitution.

Between his meetings with state legislators, Shapiro has even more difficult conversations.

Last week, a man came in, scheduled for 15 minutes with the state’s attorney general. He sat at the wide wood conference table, gazing out at the children playing in the fountain by Philadelphia’s famous LOVE sculpture.

Sitting by the memorabilia in Shapiro’s office commemorating the state’s greatest joys and sorrows — a towel from the Eagles Super Bowl win right beside a memorial bracelet for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting — the man spoke of his abuse. He talked of his drug use and his newfound sobriety, his criminal past and his determination to be a good husband and father.

He stayed more than an hour, just wanting to be heard.

In Harrisburg, state Rep. Mark Rozzi (D) knows something about how that man feels. His own abuse by a priest, when he was a child, has driven him to get statute-of-limitation reform passed. When Francis gathered bishops from across the globe to talk about abuse this year, Rozzi went, too, to speak to the Italian Parliament and U.S. Ambassador Callista Gingrich and the protesters in St. Peter’s Square.

“When we look back at Pennsylvania, is this going to be the grand jury report that finally gets victims on the path to justice?” he asks.

He lists the perpetrators who have victimized people in Pennsylvania: not just those 300 priests in the report and untold numbers more, but Amish and Mennonite abusers, schoolteachers, pediatricians, Boy Scout leaders, Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby. “We’ve been through so many of these infamous cases right here," he says. "When is enough going to be enough?”

August 16, 2019

Natrona County DA would handle clergy abuse prosecutions, sources say


August 16, 2019

By Shane Sanderson and Seth Klamann

Any criminal prosecution resulting from a Cheyenne police investigation of decades-old clergy sex abuse would be handled by Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen, two people close to the case told the Star-Tribune.

The Cheyenne Police Department earlier this week announced it has recommended the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office charge two men, one of whom was a clergy member in the 1970s and ‘80s, when police say they sexually abused boys. Instead of making prosecuting decisions on the case, Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove has recused herself and asked Itzen to handle it, the Star-Tribune’s sources said.

The prosecutor has already started working the case, they said.

Itzen on Thursday said he had not been appointed special prosecutor in any jurisdiction outside Natrona County but declined to say if Manlove had asked him to take the case. Appointment of special prosecutor is done by a judge upon a district or county attorney’s request, and state statute allows for such appointment when a district attorney is “interested or refuses to act in a prosecution.”

Itzen on Friday morning declined to comment further. He noted that prosecutors in Wyoming are prohibited from releasing in advance of district court arraignments information that would identify victims or alleged perpetrators of sexual assault or abuse.

Manlove did not respond to messages left Thursday on voicemail accounts associated with her desk and cell phones requesting comment regarding the decision. She did not respond to a Friday morning voicemail left on her desk and cell phone stating the contents of this story and its anticipated publication time.

A Cheyenne police spokesman said Thursday prosecution of the case was outside his purview. Kevin Malatesta, the spokesman, declined to comment further.

The potential prosecution of the two men — one a clergyman, the other identified as an “altar server” at the time of the alleged abuse — comes after a 16-month investigation by Cheyenne police. While authorities have declined to name the two suspects, citing state statute, the lengthy inquiry that precipitated the affidavits being filed was an investigation into former Bishop Joseph Hart, who oversaw the Catholic church in Wyoming for 25 years.

CVA lawsuits bring spotlight back to St. Colman's Home

Albany Times Union

August 15, 2019

By Steve Hughes

Susanne Robertson was one of seven children. When their mother had a nervous breakdown in 1957, the children were sent to St. Colman’s Home, under the eyes of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There, Robertson and two of her sisters say, one nun sexually abused them, and the order’s leaders permitted other adults to sexually abuse them and failed to notify authorities of the crimes.

Child Victims Act suit names priest previously convicted of child sex abuse

Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Aaron Besecker, Mary B. Pasciak, Matthew Spina, Dan Herbeck and Maki Becker

The only Buffalo Diocese priest in the past 50 years convicted of molesting a child in Western New York is named in a Child Victims Act lawsuit that accuses him of abusing a different child a decade before his arrest.

The Rev. Gerald Jasinski engaged in "unpermitted sexual contact" with an altar boy in the 1970s while he was a priest at St. John Gualbert Church in Cheektowaga, according to the lawsuit.

Jasinski was a priest at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lancaster when Wyoming County sheriff's deputies arrested him June 7, 1986, on felony charges of first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse and a charge of unlawfully dealing with a child. He was accused of having sexual contact with two boys, ages 15 and 18, at a cabin in the Town of Sheldon.

Jasinski pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted sexual abuse and was sentenced to five years' probation.

About 114 Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed Wednesday in five Western New York counties over old allegations of sexual abuse.

Nearly all of the people accused of molesting children were Catholic priests.

But the Boy Scouts of America, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the East Aurora School District, the Jesuits and other organizations are also named as defendants. At least 105 of the lawsuits are against the Diocese of Buffalo.

A one-year "look-back" window opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday under a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court. Below is a look at some of the lawsuits filed.

The News does not identify sexual abuse victims without their consent.

Four more allegations against former Cheyenne bishop made in past year

Casper Star-Tribune

August 16, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Four more allegations of sexual abuse have been made against former Bishop Joseph Hart in the past year, including accusations that span his time in Wyoming, an official with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said Thursday.

“The (Kansas City) diocese has turned over all information we have about allegations pertaining to Bishop Hart to the Diocese of Cheyenne, which I understand they have shared with local law enforcement in Cheyenne,” said Jack Smith, a spokesman for the Missouri diocese.

The allegations are the latest against Hart, who has been dogged by claims that he serially sexually abused boys for decades. At least three Wyoming men have accused Hart, while the Kansas City diocese has settled lawsuits with 10 other alleged victims over the years, Smith told the Star-Tribune.

The true number of Hart’s alleged victims is likely unknown. In addition to the 10 men in Kansas City who have settled, the four who have accused Hart in the past year, and the three identified in Wyoming, there are others who attorneys say have not come forward publicly.

Hart has consistently denied any allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct at any point. An attorney for Hart has not responded to repeated phone and email messages seeking comment.

Smith said the four new allegations came from either the alleged victims themselves or from their relatives. He said the abuse detailed in those allegations span Hart’s entire career, including his 25 years as the leader of the Catholic flock in Wyoming, but Smith said none of the alleged abuse occurred in Cheyenne and that the victims were Missouri residents.

Conviction of DC predator priest leaves victim advocate hopeful


August 16, 2019

By Nick Iannelli

The conviction of a D.C. priest on charges of child sex abuse left a local advocate impressed by the victims and hopeful for the future.

Becky Ianni, who leads a local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that she was particularly struck by the fact that young children had the courage to face a courtroom full of people and talk about what happened to them.

One of those children is a 12-year-old girl, who said Urbano Vazquez abused her when she was 9.

“I was also abused at the age of 9, and I didn’t tell anyone until the age of 48,” Ianni said. “The fact that she told someone and was willing to testify kind of blew me away.”

A jury convicted Vazquez on Thursday of inappropriately touching two children — the 9-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl — at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Northwest D.C. between 2015 and 2017, when he was an assistant pastor at the parish.

Both victims took the stand and answered questions during the trial.

“The average victim doesn’t come forward for decades,” Ianni said. “That gave me a lot of encouragement and a lot of hope that maybe things are changing, and maybe victims are knowing that if they come forward, they will be believed.”

Vazquez is scheduled to be sentenced in late November.

“I hope it’s a very harsh sentence,” said Ianni. “Not only is that what he deserves for what he’s done, but that’s going to be a deterrent to anybody else out there who is going to be thinking about harming a child.”

Hundreds of New Child Sex Abuse Cases Are Flooding New York’s Courts

Mother Jones

August 16, 2019

By Madison Pauley

When 52-year-old Michael Whalen stood up in front of the St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in downtown Buffalo, New York, in February 2018, to tell his story of being sexually abused by a priest as a teenager, it set off a Spotlight-style chain reaction. The accused priest, the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, told a news reporter who knocked on the door of his cottage that he had abused “probably dozens” of boys. Within weeks, the local Catholic bishop released a list of 42 clergy members from the Diocese of Buffalo who had been accused of abuse. Local journalists later identified 85. A federal grand jury reportedly started investigating a potential cover-up in the churches of western upstate New York.

But Whalen, who has spoken publicly about how the abuse had caused him to have problems with drugs, alcohol, and family relationships, could not sue the church for damages. New York state’s statute of limitations for a civil lawsuit had already expired. The church offered him less than $50,000 in a private settlement.

That changed yesterday, as New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA) went into effect, opening a one-year “lookback window” for survivors of child abuse across the state to file lawsuits against individuals and institutions, even if the statute of limitations had previously expired.

U.S. should probe clergy abusers


August 15, 2019

By John Salveson

I grew up attending St. Dominic Church in Oyster Bay, and beginning in 1969, at age 13, I was sexually abused by the Rev. Robert Huneke. He had befriended me and my family soon after arriving at the parish. My parents had no idea I was being abused. I was terrified, confused and paralyzed. I never told them of the abuse while it happened. He counted on my silence, as he did on the silence of the other children he abused.

I have been a survivor of clergy child sex abuse for nearly four decades, and an advocate for victims for 30 years. This summer marks an important anniversary for me: the first public disclosure of my abuse. Thirty years ago, I stood outside St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington after the 9 a.m. Mass. My father, brothers and I handed out copies of a letter to parishioners telling them I was abused by their parish priest, Huneke, and that I had told Bishop John McGann of the abuse nine years earlier. During those nine years, McGann moved the priest from parish to parish and school to school, giving him unfettered access to additional targets.

Our actions embarrassed the Diocese of Rockville Centre into removing my predator from active service as a priest. After he left the diocese, he had access to children as a school guidance counselor for more than 10 years.

Former St. Louis priest leaves Massachusetts state education post under scrutiny

Post Dispatch

August 16, 2019

By Jesse Bogan

One of 64 men recently named by the St. Louis Archdiocese for having at least one substantiated allegation of clergy sexual abuse of a minor, or possession of child porn, left his job last week as an education official for the state of Massachusetts.

Keith M. Westrich, 64, of Boston, was put on administrative leave from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shortly after the archdiocese here released its list of names July 26. Westrich was an associate commissioner who focused on preparing children for life after high school.

Westrich left the Massachusetts education department Aug. 9 with the intention to retire, said Jackie Reis, a spokeswoman for the state agency.

“He left after being placed on administrative leave and after being informed that we were looking into the circumstances of his name being on the St. Louis Archdiocese’s list,” Reis said.

Admitted serial predator priest to be sentenced

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 16, 2019

He’ll likely go back to prison for the second time

And another ‘just outed’ St. L cleric has quit his job

Archdiocese admits he’s ‘credibly accused’ of abuse

Still, he became a high-ranking state education official

SNAP blasts archbishop’s ‘accused’ list as “deceptive & incomplete”

Using chalk, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will write names of dozens of alleged predator priests – most deemed ‘credibly accused’ by church officials elsewhere – who have been left off Archbishop Robert Carlson’s official list of clerics with substantiated abuse reports (which he recently posted on his website).

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, they will also disclose that a just ‘outed’ St. Louis priest has quit his job as a high-ranking state education official in the wake of an abuse report against him surfacing publicly.

And they will urge:
---a judge to issue a long sentence to an admitted predator priest who goes to court Friday afternoon in Clayton, and
---the archbishop to add dozens more names to his ‘credibly accused’ clerics list.

Friday, August 16 at 11:15 a.m.

Fr. Urbano Vazquez Found Guilty, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 16, 2019

A priest who had been accused of abusing at least two young girls in Washington D.C. has been found guilty. We are grateful for this verdict and again applaud the two young victims who testified in open court last week.

The bravery and courage of these young survivors should not have been needed in the first place, but we are glad that their testimony helped secure a guilty verdict against Fr. Urbano Vazquez. We hope that this verdict will encourage anyone who may have seen or suspected crimes by Fr. Vazquez or any other priest, nun, deacon or bishop to stand up and speak out. As these two young survivors have shown, speaking out is hard but it can lead to justice and prevention.

We hope that when he is sentenced that Fr. Vazquez will be giving the maximum possible sentence. Being abused carries a life sentence of pain and trauma and so we hope that a harsh punishment given to Fr. Vazquez can deter other potential abusers from preying on children in the future.

Danny Masterson, Church of Scientology sued for alleged rape cover-up, stalking

Fox News

August 15, 2019

By Tyler McCarthy

Four women who previously accused actor Danny Masterson of rape have reportedly filed a lawsuit against him and also the Church of Scientology alleging that they were stalked and harassed by church members.

The women reported their cases to the LAPD in late 2016 and early 2017 regarding attacks that allegedly took place in the early 2000s. Masterson, who has denied the allegations several times and is a well-known Scientologist, is the subject of an ongoing investigation into the matter by police. However, his accusers are now taking legal action of their own.

RICO suit against Buffalo diocese alleges conspiracy in sexual abuse cases

Catholic News Agency

August 15, 2019

Twenty-two plaintiffs filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 against the Diocese of Buffalo, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools, a seminary, among others, alleging “a pattern of racketeering activity” that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed on the first day of a legal “window” allowing for sexual abuse lawsuits to be filed in New York even after their civil statute of limitations had expired.

Among the plaintiffs, who are not named, are several alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse. The lawsuit alleges specific instances of sexual abuse by priests, and claims that the diocese failed in its duty of care towards children by allowing abusive priests to have contact with minors through parishes and schools.

The suit says that priests named in the lawsuit, “used their positions of authority and trust over Plaintiff(s) to sexually abuse and injure them.”

“All the Defendant(s) knew and/or reasonably should have known, and/or knowingly condoned, and/or covered up, the inappropriate and unlawful criminal conduct activities” of sexually abusing priests, the lawsuit says.

Calling the diocese and affiliated organizations an “association in fact” for the purposes of federal racketeering laws, the suit alleged “common purpose” in “harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media” to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct.

August 15, 2019

Hubbard's past defenses of abusive priests - and of himself

Albany Times Union

August 14, 2019

By Lauren Stanforth

Former Albany bishop believed some pedophiles could be rehabilitated

On the 10th anniversary of Howard Hubbard's 1977 installation as the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, the conversation about his leadership revolved around the topics of the day — from his hard-line stance against abortion to Hubbard's more progressive views on the death penalty and enhancing the role of laypeople in the church.

But only five years later, scandals involving clerical sexual abuse began to rock the Catholic church nationwide — and Hubbard started a journey that eventually saw him arguing that abusive priests could be rehabilitated. Hubbard was also forced to defend himself against accusations that he had been involved in sexual relationships with men, including a claims that he had paid for sex with a teenage boy.

A 2004 investigation paid for by the Albany diocese exonerated Hubbard. But a lawsuit filed Wednesday under the state's Child Victims Act alleges Hubbard and a Ballston Spa priest groomed and repeatedly sexually abused a 16-year-old boy in the 1990s. Hubbard's attorney denied the new allegations.

Diocese: One suspect in pending clergy sex abuse case was clergyman, one was 'altar server'

Casper News Tribune

August 15, 2019

By Seth Klamann

One of the two men Cheyenne police are recommending be charged related to clergy sex abuse decades ago was an "altar server," while the other was a member of the Catholic clergy in Wyoming, the Diocese of Cheyenne said in a statement that was confirmed by police.

The diocese declined to name either suspect, whom police said Wednesday they're recommending be charged in relation to sexual abuse of boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Police also have declined to name the men or provide any details about their identity, citing state statute.

Ex-seminarian tells sordid story of papal ally’s Argentine past


August 12, 2019

By Inés San Martín

For some months now, the scandal surrounding Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a friend of Pope Francis brought by the pontiff to Rome and given a key position in the Vatican’s financial colossus just as abuse charges were exploding back home, has taken center stage in terms of Vatican news.

Few, however, are likely to have the perspective on the story as “Lucas,” the chosen pseudonym of a former seminarian who spent four years in the Diocese of Oran once led by Zanchetta, where the ex-seminarian now claims he was manipulated and pressured into covering up concerns about the bishop.

Independent firm reviewing Charlotte Diocese’s priest files

Catholic News Service via Crux

August 15, 2019

By Patricia L. Guilfoyle and SueAnn Howell

An independent investigative firm is reviewing the Diocese of Charlotte’s priest personnel files as part of the diocese’s effort to release the names of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse, the diocese announced Aug. 12.

U.S. Investigative Security Services Agency of Charlotte is conducting a comprehensive review of all priest files since the diocese was established in 1972, searching for any indication of sexual abuse of a minor. Their task involves reviewing tens of thousands of pages in more than 1,000 files.

Any suggestion of abuse turned up will be forwarded to the diocese’s Lay Review Board to determine whether the allegations are credible, the diocese said in a statement.

Catholic priest found guilty of sexually abusing girls at his D.C. parish

Washington Post

August 15, 2019

By Keith L. Alexander

A Catholic priest was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing two girls at a D.C. church after an emotional trial during which prosecutors said he used his position of trust to victimize the young parishioners.

Urbano Vazquez, 47, showed no emotion as the jury foreman read the guilty verdicts in D.C. Superior Court.

The jurors found that Vazquez groped a 13-year-old girl in 2015 and kissed and groped a 9-year-old girl in 2016. The incidents happened while he was serving as an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Columbia Heights.

“He took vows to act in a Godlike manner, to act like Jesus. But he did not act in a Godlike manner and forever changed the lives of these girls,” federal prosecutor Sharon Marcus-Kurn said in her closing argument as one juror nodded. “He wore priest’s clothes, but underneath was a devil to them, sexually assaulting them.”

Both victims took the witness stand during the nine-day trial in D.C. Superior Court. One told jurors she initially kept the incidents a secret from her mother because she feared “something worser would happen,” like “rape.” Another said she cried after Urbano slipped his hand under her bra as she was resting in a church office.

Vazquez was convicted of three charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a child and one count of misdemeanor sex abuse of a child. The jury also agreed with the prosecution that based on the ages of the victims and Vazquez’s role of leadership at the church, his penalty should be enhanced. Vazquez faces a maximum of 45 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 22.

Vazquez denied the allegations, and members of the church came to court to support him. Other parishioners, some wearing green ribbons, came to support the victims.

“This is a relief for the victims. We are sad for the community. But this is some justice. We now hope for healing moving on,” Alex Taliadoros, 27, a member of the church, said outside the courtroom after the verdict was read.

Prosecutors said Vazquez would isolate the girls and assault them, sometimes during Sunday morning Mass services in rooms outside the sanctuary.

One victim, now a teenager, testified how in 2015 when she was 13, Vazquez cornered her in a church office and, reaching down her blouse, groped her breast as her brother was asleep on the floor nearby.

The youngest victim, now 12, testified that she sang in the church choir and was an altar girl. She said at the end of one service, Vazquez kissed her, put his tongue in her mouth and grabbed her genitalia and buttocks.

“He was brazen. He got a thrill out of doing that during the Mass services, behind closed doors,” Marcus-Kurn argued during closing arguments Wednesday.

Marcus-Kurn told the jury Vazquez, like the other priests in his order, wore a robe with a rope around it. The ropes have three knots that symbolize the priests’ vows of poverty, obedience and chastity.

Marcus-Kurn said Vazquez, a Mexican native and American citizen, betrayed those vows at a place Marcus-Kurn said was more than a church building, but was for many members of the predominantly Latino parish, an extension of their own homes. She said they gathered there for regular celebrations and dinners in addition to worship services.

Vazquez, who was assigned to Sacred Heart 2014, is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a fellowship of priests, and was not ordained by the Archdiocese of Washington. The archdiocese grants some Capuchins permission to work in its churches.

Authorities criticized the former leadership of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart after they learned that as early as 2015, church leaders were told of allegations Vazquez may have sexually assaulted a teenage member of the parish. Vazquez was allowed to remain at the church. After Vazquez’s arrest in November, his supervising priest was removed as pastor, and the church’s child protection coordinator was placed on leave.

Since his arrest, Vazquez has repeatedly denied the accusations. During trial, Vazquez took the stand and denied any of the incidents happened. He described his duties at the church and various missionary trips to El Salvador. He said he was never alone with any of the alleged victims.

There were no eyewitnesses to the incidents. During his closing arguments, Vazquez’s attorney, Robert C. Bonsib, challenged the credibility of the girls’ accusations, pointing out what he identified as contradictions between what they told the jury and what they originally told authorities or said in a grand jury proceeding.

One of the victims at one point told authorities she had stopped going to Vazquez for private confession, but told the jury she continued to see him. One victim testified she told another pastor Vazquez had touched her breast. But the pastor testified she told him Vazquez attempted to touch her breast.

Bonsib also said the girls were not able to give specific dates of the alleged assaults.

The jury deliberated less than a day before returning their verdicts.

Outside the courtroom, Bonsib said his client was “disappointed” in the verdict, but that they plan to appeal. Bonsib said his client was unfairly prejudiced when Judge Juliet J. McKenna allowed the two victims, as well as another alleged victim who was not part of the case, testify. Bonsib said the allegations should have been considered at separate trials.

Vazquez faces another trial of misdemeanor sexual abuse involving a woman who was also a member of the parish in 2017. Prosecutors have also said they identified another potential victim, but the statute of limitations expired in that case.

The U.S. attorney’s office noted it has set up a clergy abuse hotline at 202-252-7008 or USADC.ReportClergyAbuse@usdoj.gov for anyone who wants to report alleged abuse.

DC Catholic priest found guilty on 3 counts second-degree child abuse, 1 count misdemeanor child abuse

Channel 9 (WUSA-TV)

August 15, 2019

By Madisson Haynes, Eliana Block, Samantha Kubota

Vazquez was found guilty of inappropriately touching two underage girls inside the church between 2015-17
WASHINGTON — Father Urbano Vazquez, a Catholic priest at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Northwest, D.C., was found guilty Thursday of three counts of second-degree child abuse and one count of misdemeanor child abuse, Vazquez’s lawyer Robert Bonsib confirmed to WUSA9.

Jury selection began August 5, and the trial wrapped up Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.

Vazquez was found guilty of inappropriately touching two underage girls inside the church between 2015 and 2017.

DC Priest Found Guilty for Sexually Abusing Two Young Girls

Channel 4 TV

August 15, 2019

The Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children of his Washington, D.C., parish has been found guilty.

Urbano Vazquez was convicted Thursday on four felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Vazquez groped a 9-year-old girl and 13-year-old girl in 2016, two years after he was ordained as a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan religious order.

He denied ever touching the girls, and his lawyer said the allegations were fabricated and lacked common sense.

SNAP to NY Victims: “Now go to the police”

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

August 15, 2019

[Media Statement]

Children in New York are much safer now because hundreds of abusers were publicly exposed yesterday by brave victims of sexual violence, thanks to the window opened by the Child Victims Act. Now, we urge those survivors to take the next crucial step: reporting to law enforcement.

Often, the quickest way to protect children is to 'out' perpetrators. Thanks to these courageous victims, that happened many times yesterday. But the very best way to protect the vulnerable is to jail those who would prey on them. That can only happen when survivors call law enforcement and make a report. We urge every single person who filed a suit yesterday to call the police today, if they have not already done so.

It is our moral and civic duty to share with police and prosecutors what we know and suspect about possible child sex crimes and cover ups. It is the duty of law enforcement to determine what information might help charge and convict these wrongdoers and keep them from repeating those offenses.

Lawsuit: Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard sexually abused teen

Albany Times Union

August 15, 2019

By Steve Hughes, Rachel Silberstein and Mike Goodwin

Claim included among first lawsuits filed as Child Victims Act goes into effect

Former Bishop Howard Hubbard is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy during the 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit was among 427 claims filed across the state Wednesday on the first day of the newly enacted Child Victims Act. They name as defendants individuals and organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Catholic dioceses and other religious groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses, which has its world headquarters in Orange County.

The suit accusing Hubbard claims he and the Rev. Paul Bondi of St. Mary's Parish in Ballston Spa abused a boy identified only by the initials P.R.

Former Albany Bishop Accused of Abuse in New York Lawsuit

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

August 15, 2019

[Media statement]

A former Catholic bishop from Albany is being accused of child sexual abuse according to a newly filed New York lawsuit. We hope that this news will encourage others who saw or suspected abuse to come forward and make a report to police.

Bishop Howard Hubbard is alleged to have molested a child in the 1990s while he was working as the Bishop of Albany. According to the lawsuit, Bishop Hubbard and another priest, Fr. Paul Bondi, abused the boy while he and his family were members of St. Mary’s Parish in Ballston Spa, NY.

This accusation now places Bishop Hubbard among dozens of bishops world-wide who themselves have been accused of child sexual abuse. Bishop Hubbard was also not the only Catholic prelate named in an abuse suit in New York; Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, SC was also accused in a lawsuit yesterday. These allegations are shocking but not surprising, especially after the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out earlier this year that one-third of all sitting U.S. Bishops have been accused of concealing abuse, and at least 15 of committing abuse or harassment.

Wyoming police who investigated ex-KC priest recommend charges in sex abuse cases

Kansas City Star

August 14, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

[VIDEO: ‘I couldn’t imagine that a man that I loved this much could do something so evil’]

Wyoming police are recommending that charges be filed against a member of the Catholic clergy and a person who was seeking membership in the clergy who police allege sexually abused male juveniles in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Though the suspects are not named, The Star previously reported that Cheyenne police were investigating allegations against Joseph Hart, a former Kansas City priest who later served as bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne.

Hart would be the highest-ranking Roman Catholic cleric in the country to be charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

In a news release Wednesday, the Cheyenne Police Department said the suspects were not named because of a Wyoming law designed to protect the identity of victims in sex abuse cases.

Six dioceses join Boston archdiocese in implementing system to report bishop abuse

Boston Globe

August 14, 2019

By Emily Sweeney

Dioceses in four New England states have joined the Boston archdiocese in implementing an independent third-party system to report allegations of abuse and misconduct by bishops, church officials announced Wednesday.

The bishops of the dioceses of Fall River; Worcester; Springfield; Burlington, Vt.; Manchester, N.H.; and Portland, Maine, have agreed to join the archdiocese in using EthicsPoint as a way to report allegations and complaints involving bishops, the officials said in a statement.

The EthicsPoint system is made by a company based in Oregon and allows people to report allegations of sexual abuse, negligence, and other misconduct through a website, www.Bishopreporting.ethicspoint.com, or by calling a toll-free hot line, 844-762-5208.

“This confidential and independent system is designed exclusively for the reporting of the personal misconduct of a Cardinal, Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop of the dioceses in the Boston Province,” the EthicsPoint website states. “This may include allegations of sexual abuse, other criminal conduct, personal misconduct which is not criminal, or gross negligence in the function of their ministry. The system is independent from any of the Boston Province websites and intranets.”

At the June meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, a measure was approved to establish a third-party national reporting system for allegations involving bishops by May 31, 2020, officials said in the press release.

“With the understanding that the implementation of the national system is months away, the bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent EthicsPoint website,” church officials said in the statement.

“Those who were sexually abused by clergy, along with their families and loved ones, must always be the central focus of our ongoing response to the sexual abuse of minors,” church officials said. “There is no doubt that they have suffered greatly. In order for the Catholic Church to continue to restore trust and credibility, leadership must be committed to transparency and accountability. We hope and pray that this effort will further strengthen the work begun nearly two decades ago to offer healing.”

Four New England states launch third-party reporting system for bishops

National Catholic Reporter

August 15, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

The U.S. bishops gave themselves until next spring to implement a new nationwide, third-party reporting system for complaints of misconduct against bishops, but at least one region has already launched its own confidential website and toll-free number for such reports.

But victims' groups and at least one attorney are skeptical about the new system, citing a lack of mandated lay involvement that they see as amounting to only "fraternal correction."

The bishops of the Boston Province — which includes the Boston Archdiocese and dioceses in four states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine — announced the new system Aug. 14. It includes a website and toll-free number operated by an outside firm, not directly by any of the dioceses or through their websites or intranets.

Alleged priest sex abuse victim claims he told Pope John Paul II about ordeal in confession

New York Daily News

August 14, 2019

By Michael Gartland

The rot reaches all the way to the top.

That was the message James Grein delivered about the Catholic Church Wednesday outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral when he detailed the lawsuits he’s filing against the church and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked earlier this year.

Grein claims that not only did McCarrick sexually abuse him for years, but that he reported the abuse to Pope John Paul II during a dramatic Vatican confession. The pope, he said, did nothing.

“He blessed me. He put his hands on my head. He dismissed me,” Grein told reporters outside the cathedral in midtown.

Grein, 60, of Virginia, has accused McCarrick of sexually abusing him since he was an 11-year-old boy growing up in New Jersey. Over the course of his church career, McCarrick served as bishop of the Metuchen and archbishop of both Newark and Washington D.C. He resigned last year from the College of Cardinals and moved to a monastery in Kansas. McCarrick, 88, was officially defrocked by church leaders in February.

Dear Catholic Church, Keeping Child Sex Abuse Secret Is Not Your God-Given Right

10 Daily

August 15, 2019

By James Norman

Surely if there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that the right of children to live free from any kind of sexual abuse should be of paramount concern for all citizens in a civilised society.

And in order to protect those rights, anyone who receives knowledge of the abuse of a child surely has a legal and moral responsibility to report it to police. Such laws already exist for doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, police and boarding school supervisors -- and so they should.

This week the Victorian government has introduced new legislation aimed at extending this obligation to religious leaders -- forcing priests to reveal to authorities any admissions of child sexual abuse made during church confessions.

The new law will apply to religious and spiritual leaders of all denominations, and includes a penalty of up to three years in jail for any religious leader who refuses to comply. Similar laws are already in place or soon to take effect in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

Hundreds of Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Flood N.Y. Courts

The New York Times

August 14, 2019

By Sharon Otterman

Wednesday was the first day in a one-year window allowing victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits, regardless of their age.

Theodore E. McCarrick, the prominent Roman Catholic cardinal who was defrocked early this year for sexual abuse, brought one of his victims, James Grein, then 30, to meet Pope John Paul II in 1988.

It was a private audience, Mr. Grein recalled as he became one of hundreds of people to begin filing lawsuits on Wednesday under the Child Victims Act. The new state law says that for one year, sexual abuse victims of any age in New York — including, crucially, those whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations — can take legal action.

After Mr. McCarrick, then the archbishop of Newark, left the room, Mr. Grein said he knelt before the pope and revealed, in the presence of several Vatican officials, that Mr. McCarrick had been sexually abusing him since childhood.

“I told him I had been abused as a child by this man, and I need you to stop it,” said an emotional Mr. Grein, who is now 61. “He put both hands on my head, and told me he would pray for me.”

New revelations on sex abuse hit Chilean Church


August 15, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Just when you thought the situation in the Catholic Church couldn’t get worse, new allegations of clerical abuse and its cover-up have hit the press.

It has also become clear that the crimes committed by one of Chile’s once most-beloved priests exceeded what was originally thought. ...

... In recent months, the third most influential Catholic priest in Santiago’s modern history, the late Jesuit Father Renato Poblete, a Jesuit, fell from his pedestal.

Poblete, who died in 2010, was noted for his work with the poorest of the poor, and was considered by many as the successor of St. Alberto Hurtado, also a Jesuit.

Poblete is accused of sexually abusing 22 women, forcing at least one to have several abortions. Four of the women he allegedly abused were minors. One of them was a three-year-old when the abuse began; she was a daughter of one of the other women he abused.

The information comes from a study into Poblete ordered by the local Jesuit province. Earlier this month, they released some of the material gathered by lawyer Waldo Bown during his investigation into the allegations.

Chilean newspaper La Tercera obtained a copy of the report and published many key elements that had not been previously published by the Jesuits, leading several lay people in Chile to question the desire for transparency from the religious order.

Steve Boyd Files Dozens of Lawsuits Against Buffalo Diocese

WBEN (930AM)

August 14, 2019

"We're all a part of a club that none of us want to be a part of."

The one-year lookback window under the Child Victims Act is now officially open, and we're already learning of hundreds of lawsuits filed against churches, schools and various other organizations throughout New York State.

On Tuesday, attorney Steve Boyd, who represents numerous victims of child sex abuse, announced that his law firm is filing 83 lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, and 30 against the Rochester Diocese on Wednesday.

"It's a big day - important day," said Boyd. "But, it's a day that comes to us because of a lot of suffering."

On this day, it's really all about the abuse victims and survivors who were brave enough the share their stories so that justice may yet be served.

NEW: Two current Diocese of Buffalo priests to be named in abuse suits

WBEN Radio

August 14, 2019

"Yes, there are priests in the Diocese of Buffalo with allegations against them"

As the first day of filing opens under the New York Child Victims Act, dozens of suits have already been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

During an in-studio appearance on WBEN Wednesday morning, priest abuse survivor and advocate James Faluszczak announced suits are being filed against more priests actively serving in the diocese.

Faluszczak says a suit is being filed against Father Paul Nogaro who is currently serving at St. Stephen Church on Grand Island and is accused of abuse while serving at St. Mary of Sorrows. Additionally, Father Peter Popadick, longtime secretary to Bishop Edward Head and currently serving at St. Aloysius, is alleged to have committed abuse at Bishop Fallon High School.

'How America wanted to change the pope.'

La Croix International

August 14, 2019

By Nicolas Senèze

Chapter 2: The accuser: How the ambitious and intriguing apostolic nuncio in Washington, Carlo Maria Viganò, develops his grievances against Pope Francis

Read exclusively the first chapters of the book by Nicolas Senèze, permanent special envoy of "La Croix" in Rome, to be published by Bayard Publishing on Sept. 4. Pre-order from your bookseller.

The man who accuses the pope is not unknown. Those who follow the Vatican closely remember that his name appeared at the very beginning of the "VatiLeaks" affair, those leaks of documents from Benedict XVI's own office and published in the media.

The scandal began on Jan. 25, 2012 when a letter from Archbishop Viganò to Benedict XVI appeared on the set of La7'sGliIntoccabili ("The Untouchables"), presented by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The archbishop, then Secretary General of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, urged Benedict XVI not to appoint him to the prestigious position of nuncio in Washington. "In other circumstances, this appointment would have been a cause for joy and a sign of great esteem and trust for me but, in the current context, it will be perceived by everyone as a verdict condemning my work and therefore as a punishment," he wrote. (1)

Australian court to rule next week on Cardinal Pell’s appeal

The Associated Press

August 15, 2019

By Rod McGuirk

An Australian court will announce its verdict next week on the appeal of the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse.

Cardinal George Pell could walk free if the judges acquit him of the five convictions for molesting two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago. They also could order a retrial, in which case Pell would be released on bail, or they could reject his appeal.

No matter the verdict by the Victoria state Court of Appeal, Pell’s case is likely to end up in the High Court, Australia’s final arbiter.

Timeline of Cardinal George Pell’s career and accusations

The Associated Press

August 15, 2019

An Australian court will rule next Wednesday on the appeal for Cardinal George Pell on his five convictions for molesting two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago.

Some events in Pell’s career and the criminal case:

July 16, 1996: Auxiliary Bishop George Pell is appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. He molests two choir boys that December inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, according to testimony from one of the victims.

March 26, 2001: Pell becomes Archbishop of Sydney.

Oct. 21, 2003: Pope John Paul II makes Pell a cardinal.

Feb. 25, 2014: Pope Francis appoints Pell to the powerful position of Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

April 8, 2014: One of the molested choirboys dies of a heroin overdose without alleging the crime and having told his mother he had not been abused.

Aug. 5, 2014: Victoria state police establish Task Force Sano to investigate how religious and other nongovernment organizations handled abuse accusations.

June 18, 2015: The surviving choirboy gives his first statement to Sano detectives outlining criminal allegations against Pell.

Dec. 12, 2015: Australian media report that Pell has canceled an appearance before an Australian inquiry into how institutions responded to child sexual abuse. Pell said he could not fly back to Australia because of ill health.

Former Saints player's daughter, another man allege New Orleans clergy abuse in new lawsuits

August 15, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The daughter of a former Saints football player is one of two people who filed new lawsuits Thursday in Civil District Court seeking compensation from the Archdiocese of New Orleans over allegations of clergy abuse dating back decades.

In her suit, Linda Lee Stonebreaker, whose father was Saints linebacker Steve Stonebreaker, says she was 4½ years old when a River Ridge priest named Louis LeBourgeois molested her while driving her home in 1968.

Stonebreaker’s suit says she reported her ordeal in 2014 to archdiocesan officials, who agreed to cover her therapy bills, suggesting they believed her. But then the archdiocese omitted LeBourgeois — who died in 2015 — from a Nov. 2 list of 57 clergymen who were considered credibly accused of child abuse.

The suit argues that omission violates transparency policies that the Catholic Church has adopted in its ongoing clergy molestation scandal.

The plaintiff in the second suit is an unidentified man who says he was a 10- or 11-year-old altar boy in 1982 when a Gentilly priest named Michael Fraser started molesting him, abuse he says continued for a decade. Fraser, who is still living, has tried to keep in touch with the plaintiff, attempting to contact him as recently as four years ago, the suit says.

Fraser is on the list of credibly accused priests released by the church.

Generally, statutes of limitation prevent plaintiffs from going to court to pursue damages for long-ago misdeeds.

But in her suit, Stonebreaker, 55, argues that the archdiocese’s decision to pay her therapy bills essentially invalidated any such limitation from applying in her case, because it was an acknowledgment that she had a right to pursue her claim in court.

Liberal white Catholic parish vs. new conservative black priest = clumsy Oregonian story

Get Religion blog

August 14, 2019

By Julia Duin

I attended college in southwest Portland; my first newspaper reporting job was just south of town; I have multiple friends in the area and my brother was an Oregonian reporter for 36 years.

In other words, I know a thing or two about the area, its people and the local media.

Religion coverage at the Oregonian has had some definite highs and lows in past decades. Highs were the coverage of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the 1980s, reporting by Mark O’Keefe in the 1990s and in recent years, Melissa Binder, who was on the beat for a short time. She then left the paper about a year ago.

The beat seems to be at a low point now, if the paper’s recent profile of a Catholic church torn by dissension is any indication. This story is so weak that it’s really hard to read.

Priest who joked about the sexual abuse of deaf kids is put on trial

Patheos blog

August 15, 2019

By Barry Duke

BACK in 2017, Nicola Corradi was filmed in Italy by an undercover reporter joking about the sexual abuse of impoverished boys and girls at Argentina’s Instituto Próvolo for deaf-mute children.

The frail Corradi, together with fellow priest Horacio Corbacho 61, and former gardener Armando Gómez, 49, is now on trial in Mendoza, Argentina. The trio face more than two dozen charges of sexual abuse and corruption of minors who were students at the Insititute, located in the town of Luján de Cuyo about 800 miles west of Buenos Aires.

In a written statement provided to the media, those who suffered abuse at the institution said of the accused clerics:

They’re monsters in cassocks who committed abominable crimes against minors. We note that the Catholic Church has given financial support to the defense of the accused. That the results of the canonical probe by Vatican representatives Dante Simon and Alberto Bochatey have not been released is clear evidence of a cover-up and is a mockery of the judiciary and society as a whole.

In an interview with an Italian journalist, Corradi laughed and unapologetically described the abuse of children. A video recorded at a hospital in Italy showed the elderly priest boasting about his crimes.

In total, 14 individuals stand accused of various crimes in three different cases involving more than 20 victims. All of the victims were minors at the time of the abuse. One boy was aged just four when he was first abused. In one case, Jorge Bordón, 50, has already pleaded guilty to charges. The other two cases involve nuns Kumiko Kosaka and Asunción Martínez, as well as several administrative staff members.

The trial is expected to go to the end of August. However, because there are approximately 200 witnesses who wish to prove that systematic abuse occurred not only in Argentina, but in Italy as well, it may go into September.

Former North Texas Muslim cleric ordered to pay $2.55M in sexual exploitation lawsuit

Dallas News

August 15, 2019

By Sarah Sarder and Dana Branham

A judge ordered a North Texas Muslim cleric to pay millions of dollars to a woman he is accused of sexually exploiting after counseling her for years.

Zia ul-Haq Sheikh, who has served as an imam at Dallas-area mosques, must pay $2.55 million for mental anguish and punitive damages and his accuser's legal fees, District Court Judge Emily Tobolowsky decided Thursday, according to a news release.

Sheikh had been working as an imam at the Islamic Center of Irving, one of the biggest mosques in Texas, when he allegedly exploited the woman, according to a lawsuit filed in July 2018 and later amended to include an allegation of sexual assault.

Sheikh said in an email Tuesday afternoon that he believed the judgment against him "is in error."

"Unfortunately, litigation in this country does not always favor the truth," he said. "In most cases, it boils down to how much financial stamina one has, and whether one has good legal representation."



August 14, 2019

A man who claims he was sexually abused by a local priest as a boy has filed suit against the Diocese of Syracuse and other organizations.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Syracuse, Steven Moran of New Hartford alleges he was sexually abused as a child by Thomas Neary, a priest who was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Church in New Hartford. Moran says from 1954-1960 Neary abused him at several locations in Central New York, including the church, Camp Nazareth in Woodgate, Neary’s parents’ house in Solvay, and in Neary’s car. Moran was approximately ten years old at the time of the alleged abuse.

Moran’s lawsuit alleges personal injuries, emotional distress, and anguish as a result of the sexual abuse. The lawsuit says the Diocese is responsible for monetary damages because they knew or should have known that Neary was a predator and allowed him to be a priest and have access to children anyway. St. John the Evangelist Church and Camp Nazareth are also named as defendants, as well as a second unidentified priest. Neary died in 2001 at the age of 83.

The suit comes on the first day of New York State’s new “Child Victims Act”, which allows people one year to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state's statute of limitations, which were among the nation's tightest. Lawmakers voted this year to extend the statute of limitations going forward and to create the one-year litigation window to give victims a new chance to file lawsuits.

Diocese: South Carolina's top Catholic named in NY sexual abuse lawsuit

Greenville News

Aug. 15, 2019

By Mike Ellis

South Carolina's top Catholic, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, was accused in a lawsuit today of sexually abusing a minor while a priest in New York 40 years ago.

Guglielmone denied the accusations in separate statements from the Diocese of Charleston and from a law firm representing him.

The lawsuit, filed in Nassau County, alleges Guglielmone "was known among the community and the children at the church as a sexual predator" and the South Carolina diocese should have known about his reputation.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a man who alleges that Guglielmone forced him, as an 8-year-old, to perform sexual acts 20 to 30 times in the rectory of St. Martin of Tours Church in Amityville, New York.

The lawsuit says the alleged abuse led the man to "became scared, anxious and (he) remains unable to leave his home." It led the man to cutting class and urinating on himself as a fourth grader and later to drugs and incarceration, according to the lawsuit.

Child Victims Act suits accuse 5 Buffalo priests still in ministry of abuse

Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Jay Tokasz and Maki Becker

Lawyers on Wednesday filed more than 100 lawsuits in Western New York courts alleging child sex abuse by Catholic priests and nuns, Boy Scout leaders, teachers, a choir director, a neighbor and family members.

The vast majority of the lawsuits accused Buffalo Diocese priests of molesting children decades ago, including one case that dates back to 1948. Several priests were the subject of multiple accusations. Most of the priests identified in the lawsuits were deceased or already had been removed from public ministry due to abuse allegations.

But the filings also included the names of at least five priests still celebrating Masses, including the pastors of two suburban parishes who had not previously been accused.

August 14, 2019

Child Victims Act brings ‘hope’ to formerly abused kids: lawyer

New York Post

August 14, 2019

By Priscilla DeGregory, Elizabeth Rosner and Lia Eustachewich

Hundreds of lawsuits hit state courts across New York on Wednesday, the first day the new Child Victims Act was in effect — with the majority of complaints targeting the Catholic Church.

“Today is a new day. It’s a day of hope,” said attorney Jeff Anderson at a press conference. “It’s a day in which . . . the survivors have an opportunity to not only have a voice but have their voice heard and through a public forum.”

One of Anderson’s clients, Jordan Caramanno, was a 16-year-old junior at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School on Staten Island when he was allegedly molested by Monsignor John Paddack.

Paddack, he said, then tried to use his powerful position to silence the then-teen. “That was a very dark time in my life,” Caramanno said of the alleged abuse that occurred in 2001 and 2002. But Caramanno, 34, had a message for his alleged abuser, “You can’t run and hide anymore.”

He, like many others is suing the Archdiocese of New York, as well as St. Joseph by-the-Sea. Reached by phone, Paddack slammed Caramanno’s accusations as “totally false. Totally 100% false.”

Fifteen CVA suits naming three previously unnamed abusers were also filed on behalf of some 170 alleged child sex abuse survivors by the law firm Seeger Weiss LLP.

“Survivors will no longer be silenced,” said Stephen Weiss.

The CVA opened up a one-year window for survivors to file civil actions against abusers, regardless of how long ago the incident happened. Such claims were previously barred under the state’s statute of limitations.

Lex Filipowski, 54, filed his suit some 44 years after his alleged abuse stopped.

Epstein among targets as door opens to old sex abuse claims

Associated Press

Aug 14, 2019

By David Klepper

The Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, schools and hospitals, and the late financier
Jeffrey Epstein are some of the targets named in a flurry of sex abuse lawsuits filed Wednesday in New York as the state began accepting cases that had been blocked by an old statute of limitations.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits are expected as plaintiffs rush to take advantage of the one-year litigation window, created by state lawmakers this year to give alleged abuse victims a second chance to sue over abuse that, in many cases, happened decades ago.

Those suing Wednesday include a woman who says she was raped by Epstein as a teenager in 2002. She is suing Epstein's estate and three of his associates.

Other high-profile lawsuits filed Wednesday include one from 45 former Rockefeller University Hospital patients who say a renowned endocrinologist molested hundreds of boys over more than three decades.

Hundreds of other people sued the church or one of its several New York dioceses. Among them is Peter Vajda, who said a religious brother molested him when he attended a Catholic boarding school in the Bronx in the early 1950s.

The brother is likely long dead, but the church survives. Early Wednesday, Vajda, now 75, filed a lawsuit naming the Archdiocese of New York as a defendant. Justice, he said, may have been delayed, but he won't let it be denied.

Longtime bishop's legacy tainted by sex abuse scandals

London Free Press

August 14, 2019

By Jennifer Bieman

A funeral is set for longtime London-area Bishop John Sherlock, a retired Catholic leader some say has a mixed legacy amid clergy sex abuse scandals that shone a harsh spotlight on his diocese.

The former bishop, who spent more than two decades at the helm of the Diocese of London, died Monday at the age of 93.

Visitation will be held at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, 196 Dufferin Ave, London, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, when Sherlock’s funeral mass will take place.

Born in Regina in 1926, Sherlock was raised in Brantford, one of eight children. He entered St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto after high school. Two of his brothers also became priests.

He was ordained in 1950, became the head of the Diocese of London in 1978 — a district that includes more than 130 parishes from Windsor to Huron County with about 440,000 parishioners.

He spent 24 years as the London-area bishop, championing changes to the diocese’s ministry directives and promoting social justice, Catholic health care and education throughout the region.

Lawsuit accuses bishop of Catholic Diocese of Charleston of sexually abusing minor

WCSC Channel 5 TV

August 14, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Charleston says a lawsuit filed in New York names Bishop Robert Guglielmone and accuses him of sexually abusing a minor.

The lawsuit was filed in state court in Nassau County, New York, according to diocese spokesperson Maria Aselage. In the suit, an alleged victim accused Guglielmone of sexually abusing him during 1978 and 1979 while Guglielmone served as a priest at St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Church in Amityville, New York.

Attorneys Bruce Barket and Aida Leisenring, who are representing Guglielmone, released a statement through the diocese:
“These allegations are false, provably false. As the plaintiff admitted to a family member, he made this up in order to get money from the Church (“it’s worth a try,” the plaintiff said). Bishop Guglielmone is a good man who has devoted his entire career to the church, education, and community service. Although he was under no obligation to do so, he submitted himself to a polygraph examination, which he passed. We will not allow these false allegations to tarnish the outstanding and selfless work he has done throughout his life. We will see the plaintiff in Court and the Bishop will be cleared.”

Guglielmone himself also released a statement on the lawsuit:
“I understand that this individual filed a lawsuit against me today. The allegations are false. I engaged in no wrongdoing. I look forward to being vindicated in Court, and will refer specific questions about my defense to my attorneys, Bruce Barket and Aida Leisenring at Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP.”

Woman Accuses NY Priest of Rape, Kicking Off Dozens of New Clergy Sex-Abuse Lawsuits

Daily Beast

August 14, 2019

By Olivia Messer

A New York woman who has waited decades to publicly accuse a Catholic priest of rape kicked off more than 100 lawsuits filed Wednesday after a new state law opened a one-year window for sexual-abuse survivors to seek justice.

The 36-year-old, identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe, filed suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, claiming abuse by Father Ricardo Fajardo when she was a minor and he was working as a priest at the Church of St. Catherine of Genoa in Manhattan.

Doe’s suit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleges that she was raped by Fajardo, who “used his position as a dignified religious leader to ingratiate himself with [Doe’s] family as a trusted and respected individual.”

After volunteering to give her a ride home one day, Fajardo instead allegedly drove Doe back to the church rectory and invited her to lay in his bed. Then he gave her alcohol, groped and kissed her, and then raped her, according to the lawsuit.

Doe’s case is one of more than 100 lawsuits that were filed so far on Wednesday in 11 counties, mostly targeting Catholic dioceses in New York, by survivors of child sex abuse.

The suits were enabled by the state’s Child Victims Act, which passed in January and went into full effect at midnight Wednesday. The law removes the state’s statute of limitations on sex crimes against children and provides a one-year window, beginning Wednesday, to pursue legal action—no matter the age of the accuser, when the abuse occurred, or if the alleged perpetrator is alive or dead.

In addition to the new window, as of Wednesday, criminal charges can be filed against sexual abusers of children until accusers turn 28—up from age 23—in felony cases, and civil cases can be filed against abusers and institutions until the person making the claim turns 55.

More than 1,000 lawsuits took advantage of a similar one-year window in California in 2003, The New York Times reported.

Harrisburg diocese looks to atone with $12 million in payments to survivors

ABC 27 News

August 14, 2019

By Tin Nguyen

In the year since the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg was reported to have maintained over hundreds of priest accused of sexual abuse crimes, they have attempted to make amends with the community.

Most recently, the Survivor Compensation Program was enacted by the diocese to serve as a means of reparations for the survivors of abuse, managed by private mediation firm Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

112 survivors participated in the program with 106 survivors accepting an offer of compensation. $12.1 million total payments were made to survivors in the program.

The process of attempting to amend began with the removal of all bishops names from positions of honor within the diocese for failing to do enough to prevent childhood sexual abuse and of priests, deacons and seminarians named in the report.

The diocese additionally conducted nine listening sessions for church members and survivors to express their concerns and frustrations with the church.

Moving forward, the Harrisburg diocese looks to continually attempt to right an understated gross oversight by implementing more than a dozen procedures.

The diocese has contracted Janet McNeal, a retired Pennsylvania State Police Captain who oversaw Megan’s Law, to oversee the Diocese’s Safe Environment Program.

Flood of sex abuse lawsuits means we’ll never trust the same way again

Staten Island Advance

August 14, 2019

By Tom Wrobleski

The world is never going to be the same. Not for parents. Not for kids. Not for church parishioners or leaders, not for those involved in Boy Scouts or youth sports.

We may never look at the school teacher or the babysitter the same way, or the neighbor who offers to give our kids a ride home.

We will never again trust like we used to.

The floodgates are open, and lawsuits against accused sexual predators are pouring out. Well-known and popular priests, coaches and youth leaders are being accused of heinous crimes against children, including here on Staten Island.

It’s taken decades for this to come to light. Being a victim of sexual abuse was something that people just didn’t talk about, whether the accused molester was a family member or friend, a clergy member or a coach.

There was no framework for kids to come forward and express what happened to them. Some didn’t even understand that they’d been violated. They might have blamed themselves. Some parents wouldn’t have believed an accusation against a trusted member of the community, even if it meant disbelieving their own child.

Child Victims Act: the accused

Times Union

August 14, 2019

By Steve Hughes and Mike Goodwin

A number of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse within the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese were filed Wednesday.

What follows is a list of some of the religious leaders and others who were accused of sexually abusing children:

Bishop Howard Hubbard, the former leader of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old parishioner at St. Mary's Church in Ballston Spa in 1990s. A lawyer for Hubbard said the accusation is false.

Rev. Paul Bondi, former priest St. Mary's Church Ballston Spa, accused of sexually abusing the same plaintiff as Hubbard when the plaintiff was between the age of 12 and 15.

Rev. Edward Pratt, a former priest at St. Catherine's Center for Children, accused of grooming and sexually abusing a boy between the ages of 11 and 15 in the 1980s.

Rev. Joseph Romano, a former priest LaSalle School in Albany, accused of sexually abusing Steven Narbon when Narbon was between the ages of 15 and 16 in 1980 and 1981.

Brother Clement Murphy, an former administrator at St. Paul the Apostle Parish and School in Schenectady, accused of abusing a girl between the age of 7 and 10 between 1964 and 1967.

New England Bishops Institute Yet Another System to Handle Abuse Allegations Against Bishops, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 14, 2019

Church officials from the Boston Province have instituted a new “independent” system for reporting allegations against bishops. We believe that rather than institute new systems for these kind of reports, people should be encouraged to make reports directly to police and prosecutors instead.

Since 2002, bishops have promised that “fraternal correction” would help ensure that reports of child abuse were taken seriously, routed to the proper places, and that zero tolerance would be enforced. Yet as we have seen, these internal church systems and procedures have not been enough, and what reforms and discipline that we have seen has come from secular officials, not religious ones.

This move by bishops from the Boston Province seems to us to be yet another promise to self-police. The EthicsPoint system will divorce the bishops from the process of investigating themselves, but it remains an internal system, with reports routed to the Apostolic Nuncio instead of police.

Bishops do not conceal or ignore cases of sexual violence because there is a lack of processes or mechanisms. It is hard to see how this move by the church officials in New England will do anything to change that.

It is notable that this news comes the same day that criminal charges appear to have been recommended against former Cheyenne bishop Joseph Hart, charges that were only possible because the current bishop, Steven Biegler, gave information to secular authorities and encouraged them to investigate.

They normalized a culture of child rape and then asked us to sign away our rights

Patriot News

August 14, 2019

By Jay Sefton

If the Catholic Church had offered me any amount of money in 2007 when I reported the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I would not be writing this.

I was a 36-year-old active alcoholic struggling to make ends meet and ruining relationships with the people I loved. My abuse came from a pedophile priest named Thomas Smith who cast 13-year olds in a Passion Play he directed every year at my grade school. It was his way of satisfying his “depraved and sadistic” sexual desires, as documented in the 423-page Grand Jury Report from 2005 covering abuses in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I played Jesus.

The Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP) began in November of 2018 and ends this fall. Catholic Church child abuse survivors can file claims to be reviewed by the administrators of the program, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros. A New York Times article, “From 9/11 to Orlando, Ken Feinberg’s Alter Ego in Compensating Victims,” reports, “The goal with many of these payments is grounded in stark financial reality: Offer victims enough compensation quickly enough, and they will agree not to sue.”

When I called the victims’ assistance hotline in 2007, I was offered therapy. With a skilled therapist, I began the long road of untangling the abuse and deceit I had been exposed to for the first eighteen years of my life. Violent nuns (not all of them) and predatory priests (not all of them) did most of the heavy lifting to shape my self-loathing. I was baptized into a culture of shame and fear that equated being assertive with being selfish, self-love with sinning. I was trained to be a well-behaved Catholic boy who didn’t question authority. During therapy, I regained two things the Catholic Church had stolen from me—my voice and my ability to think critically.

Popular Chicago Priest Accused of Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 14, 2019

A former US senator is defending an accused predator priest using inappropriate and hurtful language that will likely discourage other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from reporting suspected child sex crimes to authorities. We call on her to apologize for her comments that could intimidate survivors.

Last week, Carol Moseley Braun expressed support for Fr. George Clements, a Chicago archdiocesan priest recently accused of abusing a child. She told the Sun-Times that “if somebody is coming now to decap him, then I think that’s terrible. I don’t know the nature of what the allegations are. I can tell you, if there’s anybody I’d take a bullet for, it would be Father Clements.”

She is no doubt well intentioned and within her rights to defend an accused abuser. Unfortunately, her remarks also hurt victims and endanger children.

When influential individuals, especially those who admit knowing little or nothing about an abuse report, immediately rally to the side of an alleged child molester this hurts all victims. It says to them “nothing will ever change,” “people disbelieve those who report,” “powerful people always prevail,” and “your pain does not matter.”

Such words also make it less likely for those who see, suspect or suffer sex crimes to speak up, expose molesters and safeguard others, endangering even more children. Many abuse victims believe the deck is stacked against them and that their perpetrators have powerful friends who will back them and make disclosing abuse futile or even potentially dangerous.

Wyoming Law Enforcement Recommends Charges Against Two Catholic Clergymen, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 14, 2019

Following a review of accusations of child abuse, authorities in Wyoming have recommended that charges be brought against two unnamed Catholic priests. We are grateful for this development and hope that it encourages others who experienced abuse to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

According to the Star-Tribune, the announcement from Cheyenne police said that “the investigation stemmed 'from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018’ amid new information provided to authorities by the Diocese of Cheyenne." Those particulars match what is publicly known about the allegations against former Bishop Joseph Hart.

Though this move is long overdue, we are glad that apparently the accusations against Bishop Hart have finally been investigated by police and that charges have been recommended. At the same time, cases like these are often difficult to prosecute, so we encourage anyone with information or suspicions about the former bishop to find the courage to call law enforcement immediately.

Victims blast US nuns organization

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 14, 2019

It’s meeting now in Scottsdale for 3 days

“Sisters are being reckless,” group says

SNAP: “We’ve been ‘repeatedly rebuffed by nuns

Group wants national data base of predatory sisters

“The nuns are more secretive even than the bishops,” victims say

It’s been 15 years since SNAP 1st sought help, unsuccessfully, from LCWR

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, survivors of abuse by nuns and priests will prod the largest US nuns’ group to
--let adults sexually abused by nuns speak at their conference,
--mount an ‘aggressive outreach drive’ to find and help others violated by nuns, and
--post names of credibly accused child molesting nuns on its website.

They will also
--urge the roughly 17 US attorneys general who are investigating clergy sex crimes and cover ups to include nuns and their victims in these probes and
--beg “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered” wrongdoing by nuns to “come forward, start healing, protect others and call law enforcement.”

Wednesday, August 14 at 2:30 p.m.

Police recommend charges against two men for alleged clergy sexual abuse decades ago

Star Tribune

August 14, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Cheyenne police are recommending charges for two men -- one a clergyman, the other who was attempting to become a clergyman -- who are accused of sexually abusing boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

The announcement by Cheyenne police, who did not name the two suspects, comes after a 16-month investigation, according to a department press release. The affidavits recommending the charges have been forwarded to the Laramie County District Attorney's Office, and the documents "outline how two members of the Catholic Clergy sexually abused male juvenile victims in the 1970's and 1980's," according to the the release.

Cheyenne police originally said both men were clergymen. The department issued a clarification just before 1 p.m. that one of the two men was a member of the clergy at the time of the alleged abuse, while the other man was "seeking membership in the Catholic Clergy at the time of the offenses."

The release says that the investigation "stems from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018" amid new information provided to authorities by the Diocese of Cheyenne.

In 2002, a man told Cheyenne Police that he had been sexually abused by former Bishop Joseph Hart in the mid-1970s. Police recommended that investigation be closed, citing a lack of evidence, and Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Meenan formally did so later that year.

Citing state statute, Cheyenne police spokesman Kevin Malatesta declined to provide any details about the suspects' identities, other than that they were tied to the clergy. He declined to detail the allegations against them, whether their abuse was at all related, or say how many victims authorities had identified of the two men. He said the affidavits providing further information would be made public if and when the two men are charged.

He said police sent the charging documents to the district attorney's office Wednesday and said he wasn't sure what prosecutors' timeline would be. Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove was not immediately available for comment early Wednesday afternoon.

New York court system sets aside 45 judges to deal solely with new child sex abuse lawsuits


August 14, 2019

By Eric Levenson

The New York State Court system is expecting so many lawsuits as part of a new child sex abuse law that 45 judges have been set aside to deal exclusively with them, spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.

The New York Child Victims Act, signed into law on February 14, expands the ways that those who suffered sexual abuse as children can use the legal system to address the damage.
In particular, the law created a one-year period, starting Wednesday, when any adult survivors of child sexual abuse can sue an abuser or a negligent institution, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.

The designated 45 judges, including 12 in New York City, make up just a fraction of the state's 1,350 paid judges, but they are preparing for an "influx" of lawsuits, Chalfen said. Lawsuits are expected to be filed against the Archdiocese of New York, Jehovah's Witnesses, Rockefeller University, the Boy Scouts, Jeffrey Epstein and others on Wednesday.

"The revived Child Victims Act cases are critically important cases, raising numerous challenging legal issues, that must be adjudicated as consistently and expeditiously as possible across the state," Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks said. "We are fully committed to providing appropriate and sufficient resources to achieve that goal."

The idea behind the law is that many victims of child sexual abuse keep it a secret for years, well beyond the previous statute of limitations, out of shame and fear.

Cheyenne Police Recommend Criminal Charges Against Retired Wyoming Bishop

The Tablet

August 14, 2019

By Christopher White

Cheyenne’s police department is recommending that charges be brought against two members of the Catholic clergy for abuse during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

While state law prevents the suspects from being, a press release on Wednesday said the investigation “stems from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018 when new information was produced and provided to the Cheyenne Police Department by an independent investigation conducted by the Wyoming Diocese of the Catholic Church.”

The subject of that 2002 investigation centered around Bishop Joseph Hart, who was bishop of Cheyenne from 1978 until his retirement in 2001.

Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein Raped Me When I Was 15. Now I’m suing his estate and accomplices.

The New York Times

August 14, 2019

By Jennifer Araoz

Ms. Araoz has filed a lawsuit against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein.

The first time I stepped into Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side in the fall of 2001, I noticed his security cameras. They were hard to miss. Inside the front door, he had small TVs playing the footage in real time. I was a child, just 14 at the time. But the message was clear: I was in the house of someone important and I was being watched.

I can still remember watching myself on those screens as I walked into the house of the person I came to know as a predator, a pedophile, my rapist.

I’m filing a civil action against Jeffrey Epstein’s estate and accomplices today, under New York’s Child Victims Act. A key provision of the law goes into effect today and allows survivors to revive claims if the statute of limitations had expired.

Epstein was found dead, apparently by suicide, in his jail cell last week. I’m angry he won’t have to personally answer to me in the court of law. But my quest for justice is just getting started.

Lawsuits alleging sexual assaults filed against Jesuit seminarian, former PSU professor


August 13, 2019

By Sierra Darville

Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday alleging a Jesuit seminarian and former Penn State University professor sexually assaulted two children and raped one of them years after his superiors were made aware of his admission to crime against children.

According to a press release, Father Leonard Riforgiato was transferred from New York to Our Lady of Victory Church in State College.

The release states Riforgiato was an associate professor at the Shenango Valley Campus of Penn State, where he taught for 27 years, and focused on youth activities.

He Says a Priest Abused Him. 50 Years Later, He Can Now Sue.

The New York Times

August 13, 2019

By Rick Rojas

A new law has created a “look-back window,” during which claims that had passed the statute of limitations can be revived.

Major institutions across New York State, from the Catholic Church to the Boy Scouts of America to elite private schools, are bracing for a deluge of lawsuits now that adults who said they were sexually abused as children will be entitled to pursue formal legal action.

New York joined more than a dozen states this year in significantly extending statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits over sexual abuse. Previously, the state had required that such suits be filed before a victim’s 23rd birthday.

Under the new law in New York, the Child Victims Act, which was approved by the Legislature in January, accusers will be able to sue until they are 55.

The new law includes a one-year period, known as a look-back window, that revives cases that had expired, in many instances decades ago, under previous statutes of limitations.

Teacher accused of sexual misconduct at Pa. Capitol touched students’ buttocks, made lewd comments: police

Penn Live

August 13, 2019

By Sean Sauro and Charles Thompson

A Catholic high school teacher from Cambria County who is facing charges of sexual misconduct in the state Capitol is accused of touching two female students on the buttocks and making lewd comments.

That’s according to charging documents filed by Pennsylvania Capitol Police against James E. Luksik, 68, of Johnstown who faces a dozen charges in Dauphin County, including six felonies.

Luksik — who teaches history, geography and sociology at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg, Cambria County — is the husband of prominent Pennsylvania conservative activist Peg Luksik, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018.

Grand jurors put 'heart and soul' into report on clergy abuse, judge says

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 14, 2019

By Peter Smith

He’s heard the often-quoted saying by a New York jurist — that grand jurors are such pawns of prosecutors, they would “indict a ham sandwich” if asked to do so.

But Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III said the grand jurors he supervised were anything but passive when they prepared a landmark report, released a year ago Wednesday, detailing a sordid history of sexual abuse and cover-up within six Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania.

Judge Krumenacker is standing by their work, even if it drew scrutiny to grand jury processes that may make it the the last report of its kind in Pennsylvania.

He was the supervising judge of the 40th statewide grand jury, which issued the report about dioceses including Pittsburgh and Greensburg.

Erie’s Persico: Grand jury report ‘must be remembered’


August 14, 2019

By Ed Palattella

Bishop also urges prayer, healing in letter issued on 1st anniversary of release of report on clergy sex abuse statewide.

Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico said he remains committed to helping victims and eradicating clergy sex abuse a year after the state attorney general released the groundbreaking grand jury report on abusive Roman Catholic clerics statewide.

“My apology is only one step in the long and complex process of healing,” Persico wrote in a letter to the faithful dated Wednesday. “I know words mean very little without action. The Diocese of Erie has taken many important steps in the last year, and will continue on this path.”

“Some could be tempted to want to close this chapter of our history and move on, but that would be a disservice not only to survivor/victims, but also to the faithful who fill our pews every Sunday,” Persico also wrote in the letter, which the diocese said would be shared with parishioners this Sunday.

Pell takes issue with Francis from prison

The Tablet

August 13, 2019

By James Roberts

Pell: 'Amazon or no Amazon, in every land, the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any contrary teaching, to damage the Apostolic Tradition'

Cardinal George Pell has written a letter from prison in which he appears to take issue with the idea of the forthcoming Amazon synod as conceived by Pope Francis.

The letter was posted on Twitter by the Cardinal George Pell Supporters account. Because prison inmates are not allowed to post on social media or ask others to post for them, the justice authorities in Victoria are now investigating whether the letter is in breach of prison rules. “Any prisoner found to be contravening prison regulations faces disciplinary action,” a justice department spokeswoman said.

The twitter account, which used the handle @pellcardinal, has now been deleted.

3rd parishioner testifies that priest groped her as a child

Associated Press

August 12, 2019

A third parishioner has testified that a Washington, D.C., priest groped her as a child, first caressing her thigh during a "face-to-face" confession and then groping her chest.

The 47-year-old priest Urbano Vazquez is on trial on child sex abuse charges.

The Washington Post reports the 18-year-old woman told the court that Vazquez first touched her thigh when she was 13 in spring 2015. She testified that weeks later, Vazquez shoved his hand into her bra as she sat in a church office. Another woman testified Vazquez kissed her when she was 16 in 2015, a year after he was ordained. And a 12-year-old girl testified that Vazquez groped and kissed her when she was 9 and 10.

The priest's lawyer says the allegations are fabricated and lack common sense.

Today's Child Victims Act filings detail heart-wrenching stories of sexual abuse

Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Aaron Besecker, Mary B. Pasciak, Matthew Spina and Dan Herbeck

A monsignor who is now pastor at a Cheektowaga church is among the accused child molesters named in one of the 101 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed early Wednesday in Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus counties.

Monsignor Peter Popadick, who is pastor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church and who was the secretary for former Buffalo Diocese Bishop Edward D. Head, is accused of being one of four priests who raped and molested a boy, beginning when he was 10 or 11.

Most of the lawsuits target the Buffalo Diocese, but the Boy Scouts of America, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the East Aurora School District, the Jesuits and other organizations are also named as defendants. At least 94 of the lawsuits are against the Diocese of Buffalo.

A one-year "look-back" window opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday under a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court. Below is a look at some of the Child Victims Act lawsuits filed Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Information about additional lawsuits will be added as filing continues throughout the day Wednesday. The Buffalo News will try to contact the defendants and people accused of wrongdoing in the lawsuits, and will add their comments. Check back for updates.

Roman Catholic dioceses in four New England states join third-party system for reporting misconduct by bishops

The Republican

August 14, 2019

By Ray Kelly

Roman Catholic dioceses in four New England states have launched an independent third-party system to report misconduct by bishops related to sexual abuse or any cover-up of clergy abuse.

The bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent EthicsPoint website. The Boston Province includes the Archdiocese of Boston; Diocese of Fall River; Diocese of Worcester; Diocese of Springfield; Diocese of Burlington, Vermont; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; and the Diocese of Portland, Maine.

The late Thomas L. Dupre, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States to be indicted on a sexual-abuse claim, resigned as Springfield bishop in February 2004, a day after The Republican confronted him with allegations that he had abused two young men. More recently, allegations have surfaced that late Springfield Bishop Christopher J. Weldon abused a man decades ago. Retired Judge Peter Velis is leading a diocesan probe into the allegations against Weldon.

The Boston Province bishops agreed to make a reporting system available now in the wake of Pope Francis’ Vos Estis Lux Mundi letter on clergy sexual abuse.

“I am grateful to Cardinal O’Malley for his leadership in implementing this important facet of Vos Estis Lux Mundi here in the Boston Province," said the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, bishop of the Springfield diocese, in a statement on Wednesday. "This is an important step in assuring accountability for bishops in continuing to be vigilant in our church for the safe environment of all our members, particularly our most vulnerable.”

Diocese of Harrisburg pays out $12 million to victims of clergy sex abuse

Patriot News

August 14, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

More than 100 survivors of clergy sex abuse accepted compensation payouts totaling $12 million, the Diocese of Harrisburg announced on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the release of the landmark grand jury report into child sex crimes in the Catholic Church across Pennsylvania.

In a written statement, diocesan officials noted that 112 survivors had participated in the compensation program; 106 had accepted offers. Payment amounts totaled $12.1 million. The average payout to those accepting offers was about $114,000.

The diocese launched its compensation program in February. Those wishing to apply for compensation had to do so by mid-May.

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer highlighted the efforts on the part of the diocese over the past year to support survivors and make the diocese a safer place for children.

“In my own name, and in the name of the Diocesan Church of Harrisburg, I express our profound sorrow and apologize to the survivors of child sex abuse, the Catholic faithful and the general public for the abuses that took place and for those Church officials who failed to protect children," he said in the written statement. "We have and continue to take steps forward to support survivors and ensure these abuses never occur again.”

One year after clergy sex abuse report in Pa., much has changed, much has not

Patriot News

August 14, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

One year ago today, Pennsylvania emerged at the epicenter of the global clergy sex abuse crisis.

The 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury outlined in horrific details the criminality and concealment of child sex crimes on the part of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

The report seemed a watershed moment for victims and for advocates looking to reverse decades of legal inaction against church officials.

The 18-month-long investigation - the most exhaustive state investigation into clergy sex abuse - uncovered decades-long abuse and concealment of thousands of children at the hands of more than 300 clergy across six dioceses, including the Diocese of Harrisburg.

"Predators in every diocese weaponized the Catholic faith and used it as a tool of their abuse," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said last August as he released the findings of the investigation, surrounded by several dozen victims of child sex abuse.

The 900-plus page report became the gold standard, and in swift order, galvanized dozens of prosecutors across the country to launch their own investigations. Approximately 20 states attorney generals have launched investigations; dozens of district attorneys have followed suit.

By the fall, federal prosecutors had opened their own investigation, using subpoenas to demand secret files and testimony from high-ranking church leaders. The ongoing investigation marks the first such probe ever launched by the U.S. Justice Department into the Roman Catholic Church.

Momentum from the report renewed efforts in the Pennsylvania Legislature to strengthen laws to protect victims and prosecute predators and those who shield them.

'Long time coming': Emotions run high as survivors file Child Victims Act lawsuits

Buffalo News

August 13, 2019

By Maki Becker

Forty-nine years ago he was told he should be excommunicated when he reported that a priest at Fourteen Holy Helpers Church in West Seneca had molested him.

Twenty-five years ago he was told that he couldn't sue the priest or the church because the statue of limitations on such cases had run out.

On Wednesday, just after the stroke of midnight, Chris Szuflita saw a measure of justice he never dreamed he'd see.

He was among the very first people to sue under the Child Victims Act.

As of about 6 a.m. Wednesday, 95 lawsuits had been filed in Erie County. Ninety-two of them were against the Diocese of Buffalo; the other defendants included the East Aurora School District and the Boy Scouts of America.

At 12:01 a.m., Szuflita stood quietly behind a paralegal and an assistant seated at a computer desk in the Amherst law offices of Steve Boyd as he carefully typed in his name and the defendants' names – the diocese, Fourteen Holy Helpers and five unnamed people – and uploaded a summons and complaint into the court system.

Paper boy reported sex abuse to Bishop McNulty in 1965, got $5 tip in return

Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Retired parole officer Angelo J. Ervolina said he first met Bishop James A. McNulty in 1965 on his newspaper route, which included the bishop's mansion on Oakland Place.

Ervolina said he proudly told the bishop he was heading soon on a trip to New York City with his parish pastor, Monsignor Michael J. Harrington.

But when the bishop asked him later about the trip, Ervolina wasn't so cheerful. Instead of telling McNulty about the sites he had visited, Ervolina said he revealed that Harrington had fondled him while he took a bath in the hotel room he shared with the priest. Ervolina said he was about 10 years old at the time.

McNulty promised he would “take care of it,” Ervolina recalled. The bishop then handed him a generous tip for delivering the newspaper: $5 on a 55-cent subscription bill, he said.

As a boy, Ervolina said he assumed the bishop would take care of it. But in hindsight he believes McNulty dismissed his claim. Harrington spent 25 years as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church on Edward Street, retiring in 1985. The diocese didn't identify Harrington as a child molester until March 2018.

Ervolina refuses to be dismissed any longer. More than a half-century after the alleged abuse, he filed a lawsuit early Wednesday morning against the Buffalo Diocese, saying he wanted to make certain what happened to him doesn’t happen to another child. He’s being represented by Amherst attorney Steve Boyd and the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates in Minnesota.

Diocese of San Diego Bans Communication Between Priests and Minors, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 13, 2019

A Catholic bishop in California is forging ahead on his own to find new ways to combat clergy sexual abuse scandals. We appreciate these efforts but believe that it is only actions and not words that can be taken at face value.

Bishop Robert McElroy took the unprecedented step of calling every member of the Archdiocese of San Diego together in order to discuss responses to the abuse crisis. The district attorney will also be there. But while the scale of this meeting and the representation of law enforcement may be unprecedented, its content does not appear to be.

The simple fact is that many discussions and meetings on the abuse crisis have taken place over the years. From the Pope’s meeting in February to the annual meetings of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, survivors and advocates have watched and waited as meetings of powerful men come and go, often with a lot of tough language but little actual change. We hope that the case will be different in San Diego.

One way of ensuring that it this meeting is different is to give experienced abuse survivors and advocates a chance to speak.

Bishop Zubik reflects on clergy sex abuse 1-year after grand jury report

Tribune Review

August 14, 2019

By Tawnya Panizzi

Bishop David Zubik outlined a renewed commitment to healing victims, financial transparency and continued listening one year after the release of the state’s grand jury report on child sex abuse by Catholic clergy.

“The church is profoundly indebted to those courageous victims/survivors who have helped us grow in understanding the damage caused by sexual abuse and of how the church community can offer them understanding and support,” Zubik, the head of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in a statement released today.

The grand jury report from August 2018 documented allegations of child sexual abuse by 301 Catholic priests and the subsequent cover-ups by church officials. It covered six of the state’s eight dioceses — including those in Greensburg and Pittsburgh — and identified 1,000 victims.

Church leaders have since established compensation funds amid growing calls for changes in the statute of limitations law that could make the church liable in court for incidents dating back decades.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the grand jury report unleashed a wave of new abuse reports. As of Aug. 7, his office had logged 1,862 new complaints since the 2018 release of the report.

Cincinnati archbishop admits to mistakes handling grooming allegations against priest


August 12, 2019

By David Winter

More allegations of inappropriate behavior by a priest were heard this weekend by thousands of Catholics in the Tri-State.

The archdiocese distributed a letter to the area's 150 priests, several of whom chose to share it with their parishioners. The letter refers to Fr. Geoff Drew, who was the pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township before allegations of inappropriate behavior caused his removal.

Since then, the archdiocese reports many from its flock have had questions about what happened. So, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr sent the letter saying Drew was removed as pastor of St. Ignatius for reports he engaged in 'grooming' behavior. The archbishop admitted the diocese made mistakes handling the matter, and, for that, he was deeply sorry.

In 2013, the archdiocese heard concerns from parishioners at Liberty Township's St. Maximilian, alleging Drew gave bear hugs, shoulder massages, patted legs above the knee and made inappropriate sexual comments to boys. More of the same came in 2015. The archdiocese referred the case to law enforcement, which decided not to open an investigation.

In August 2018, Drew became pastor of St. Ignatius. Archbishop Schnurr was notified for the first time about any wrongdoing when another allegation arose from Drew's time at St. Max's. This time, the Butler County prosecutor recommended the archdiocese monitor Drew. In October, another allegation came from when Drew was a music teacher at Elder High School.

August 13, 2019

Child Victims Act lawsuits to peel open decades of secrecy in clergy sex abuse

Buffalo News

August 13, 2019

By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck

The tight lid that the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo kept for decades on clergy sex abuse cases will be peeled open Wednesday with a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court.

Lawyers predicted the diocese would face more than 200 lawsuits by the end of the one-year "look-back" window that will open at 12:01 a.m.

The names of at least a dozen Catholic priests who hadn't before been publicly accused of child sex abuse will emerge in the filings, according to lawyers filing the lawsuits.

Among the newly identified accused priest is the Rev. David J. Peter, who died in 2017.

David J. Harvey of Buffalo alleged that the diocese allowed Peter to rape and repeatedly molest him more than 35 years ago, when Harvey was an altar boy at St. Edmund Church in the Town of Tonawanda.

How D.C. Catholics are leading the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal

America Magazine

August 13, 2019

By M. Kathleen Coogan

This week marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed the alleged crimes of hundreds of priests over seven decades and brought the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church back into the national spotlight.

The failure of church leadership to stop clerical sexual abuse hit Catholics in Washington, D.C., hard. Two months before the grand jury report, claims of abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then archbishop emeritus of Washington, became public. In October, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, then the archbishop of Washington, who had been criticized for his handling of abusive priests during his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh. A few months later, McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis.

In the wake of last summer’s news, my parish, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., embarked on a “Season of Discernment.” We asked: How could a local parish help heal serious wounds—especially wounds of trust born of the scandal—for survivors and their families as well as the broader community of lay faithful? How might we avoid getting stuck in the status quo and move forward to enact meaningful change?

The failure of church leadership to stop clerical sexual abuse hit Catholics in Washington, D.C., hard.

As a member of Holy Trinity’s parish pastoral council and a parent with two boys at Holy Trinity School, I participated in a dialogue with Hans Zollner, S.J., the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Hearing my description of our Season of Discernment, Father Zollner responded, “I can feel that you own it, and that is what will ultimately change the face of the church.”

As I reflect on this past year, I wonder: What does it mean to “own it”?

A response to the crisis had become our parish’s priority. Guided by an Ignatian discernment process, we integrated our response throughout parish activities and became closer as a community. Our Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit identity committee drafted articles on the elements of discernment for our parish bulletin, and the education committee hosted speakers on church history and structure to provide a backdrop to our recommendations.

Chrissie Foster urges MPs to strip Catholic seal of confession's mandatory reporting exemption

ABC News Online

August 13, 2019

Anti-abuse advocate Chrissie Foster has urged Victorian MPs to back a bill before Parliament which would make it mandatory for priests to report suspected child abuse to authorities, breaking legal protection around the confessional seal.

Under current laws, Victorian teachers, police, medical practitioners, nurses, school counsellors, early childhood workers and youth justice workers must tell authorities if they develop a reasonable belief in the course of their professional work that a child has been abused.

But priests and religious leaders have so far been exempt from mandatory reporting laws, despite a recommendation from the child sex abuse royal commission that churches not be exempt from reporting information discovered during religious confession.

In amendments to be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, the Andrews Government will add religious and spiritual leaders to the list of mandated reporters.

The amendments would also ensure that disclosures of abuse during religious confession are not exempt and must be reported to police.

The Catholic Church last year formally rejected the notion that clergy should be legally forced to report confessions of abuse revealed during the confessional, with one archbishop comparing the religious tradition to lawyer-client privilege or a journalist's obligation to their sources.

SNAP Louisiana Calls for Reform Now

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 13, 2019

In recent days we have learned about the lack of transparency and lack of thoroughness by the Archbishop of New Orleans when dealing with the wholesale sexual abuse and exploitation of our precious children. We have also learned that the official list of credibly accused priests should be expanded. This is why we have gathered here today.

Why wasn’t Monsignor Bezou included on the original list of credible abusers? In a recent article in the Times Picayune/nola.com/The Advocate, Archbishop Aymond said the following:

“That’s what my ministry is about — to bring these things to the light so people aren’t abused.”

Then why, as documented over the past year, is it only the courageous survivors and the media that has shed the light on this abuse? When has Archbishop Gregory Aymond ever revealed anything new in these cases? His proclaimed ministry fails in this regard. In addition to the list that he provided, why is it that Archbishop Aymond did not include Monsignor Bezou in his list?

Grondahl: Schenectady priest led secret life — ask his children

Times Union

August 13, 2019

By Paul Grondahl

Each night, after dark, the priest rolled slowly up to the driveway of the green Colonial house on Debutante Manor in his green Cadillac DeVille, and flicked the high beams.

This was their private signal.

One of the four kids turned off the front floodlights, pressed the automatic opener from inside the garage, waited for the big luxury sedan to glide in and then pressed the garage door closed.

The Rev. Francis P. Melfe peeled off his Roman collar and cleric's black shirt and emerged from the car wearing black slacks, black dress shoes and a white T-shirt.

The Catholic priest stepped into the kitchen and greeted the kids, who called him Dad. He kissed their mother, his secret lover with whom he shared a bedroom and fathered a child — despite taking vows of celibacy and obedience as a diocesan priest.

For 1st Time, Thousands of SD Clergy Members Gather to Discuss Abuse Within Church


August 13, 2019

By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan

Thousands of San Diego clergy members will meet Tuesday for a first-of-its-kind gathering to address sexual abuse of children within the church.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy has called for more than 2,500 San Diego area priests, teachers and administrators to attend a mandatory meeting with District Attorney Summer Stephan at the University of San Diego.

It is the first time in its history the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has called every member of the church to order.

The meeting focuses on the steps the church is taking to address the abuse of children and was called to address the responsibilities clergy members have in reporting alleged abuse, according to the diocese.

"In our own day, the Church’s blindness to, tolerance of, and participation in the patterns of sexual abuse of minors by clerics constitute the most grievous sin in the life of the Church, a sin that we must recognize, understand and eradicate," McElroy planned to say, according to prepared remarks.

As part of the effort to address abuse, the Bishop is expected to announce Tuesday the diocese would ban all private communication and direct social media interaction between priests and minors.

McElroy also notes the need for the Catholic Church to play an active role in educating children and parents about the prevalence of abuse and provide resources to combat what he called "an epidemic in our society."

Bishop McElroy Calls All-Staff Meeting on Abuse Crisis, a Diocese First

Times of San Diego

August 8, 2019

By Ken Stone

More than 2,500 employees of the San Diego-Imperial Roman Catholic Diocese have been summoned to what is being called a first ever all-hands meeting here with the bishop.

A press release Thursday said the meeting — 1-4 p.m. Tuesday at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion — is mandatory. It will discuss the clergy sex abuse issue.

San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy slated the meeting in response to Pope Francis’ call in May for a transformation in the way the Catholic Church responds to the sexual abuse of children, said a press release.

“All diocesan employees will hear about the steps the diocese is taking to protect children and young people, and on the moral and legal responsibilities shared by all of the diocese’s employees, not just mandated reporters, to report suspicions of child abuse,” said the news release.

On Friday, a diocesan spokeswoman said employees received a letter from the bishop dated June 21 advising them of the mandatory meeting.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan also is set to make presentations, along with diocesan Chancellor María Galván.

An undated posting on the diocesan newspaper website, The Southern Cross, said the meeting is the latest action taken by McElroy since last summer in response to the sexual abuse crisis across the country.

Window for Abuse Suits in New York Opens

The Tablet

August 13, 2019

By Andrew Pugliese

New York state’s Child Victims Act (CVA) will take effect on Aug. 14, giving those who say they were abused as minors one year to file a civil suit regardless of when the alleged crime occurred.

Similar laws have been passed in Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii and New Jersey. A two-year window for lawsuits in New Jersey is set to begin on Dec. 1.

In New Jersey last week, 30 alleged victims of abuse by priests chose to file their claim with the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program, according to NJ.com. The option is open to alleged victims in the five dioceses in New Jersey, allowing them to bring their claim to an independent mediator where the burden of proof is much less than it is in a courtroom.

The Diocese of Brooklyn is operating a similar program, called the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. That program, which started in June 2017, gives alleged victims a way to settle claims with the diocese. Anyone who elects to participate in the IRCP must agree not to sue the diocese.

Another Scandal in Buffalo as a New Case is Filed Against an Active Priest

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 12, 2019

Another priest assigned to a scandal-ridden diocese in upstate New York has been accused of sexual abuse, and he is still in active ministry.

According to reports, a lawsuit to be filed later this week will accuse a priest assigned to the Diocese of Buffalo of abusing the plaintiff when he was 8-years-old. This news comes less than a week after a report that Bishop Robert Malone kept an accused priest on the job for nearly nine months after he first learned of the allegations.

It is clear that something is deeply wrong in the Diocese of Buffalo and it is time for Bishop Malone to resign. His actions over the past year have included lying to the public about the number of accused priests within his diocese, ignoring zero tolerance policies to return allegedly abusive priests to ministry, and keeping accused priests within active ministry. With a track record as poor as this, we cannot understand why his brother bishops have not yet denounced his behavior, nor why the Vatican has not yet stepped in to discipline the bishop for ignoring the protections laid out in the Dallas Charter.

Tackle clericalism first when attempting priesthood reform

National Catholic Reporter

August 13, 2019

By Fr. Peter Daly

If the priesthood is to be reformed, we must tackle the disease of clericalism. It won't be easy. Clericalism is so deeply engrained in our structures and way of thinking that we almost can't imagine how things could be otherwise.

In his 2018 "Letter to the People of God," Pope Francis condemned the sins of sexual abuse and the abuse of power in the church. He linked those sins to clericalism. "To say no to abuse is to say an emphatic no to all forms of clericalism."

What is clericalism?

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests put out a white paper on clericalism in June 2019. It defines clericalism is "an expectation, leading to abuses of power, that ordained ministers are better than and should be over everyone else among the People of God."

How does a priest get reinstated with three allegations of sexual abuse and a failed polygraph?

WIBV Channel 4

August 13, 2019

Critics describe the investigative report of sexual abuse allegations against The Rev. Dennis Riter as a biased, twisted sham not worth the paper it is printed on.

Scott Riordan, a former sex crimes prosecutor contracted by the diocese to investigate allegations, told News 4 Investigates in an exclusive television interview that he began this case with the same open mind that he had for the other 12 complaints assigned to him.

His goal, he said, was to find the truth. And contrary to what some critics believe, Riordan said he did bring an independent eye to the cases he investigated for the diocese.

“This isn’t simply me going along with the church and saying what they want,” said Riordan, who also is a defense attorney and village justice.

“In fact, in most of the cases that I’ve investigated, the reports have been found to be substantiated or credible.”

Riter, a priest in Dunkirk, was accused last year of sexually abusing three boys in the 1990s.

Argentina’s most pious spot also an epicenter of clerical abuse crisis


August 13, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Argentina’s northern province of Salta, known for colorful mountains, valleys, and small, picturesque towns that intertwine with exquisite wineries, is also known as the most piously Catholic province of the 23 that make up the nation.

The capital city is often referred to as Salta la linda, meaning “the beautiful,” surrounded by hills short enough that they rarely see snow, but high enough that they’re daunting even for regular hikers.

Salta was founded more or less at the same time as Buenos Aires, in the mid-to-late 16th century, and it’s home to both Argentina’s greatest example of popular religiosity and the local version of Medjugorje.

It also happens to be at the epicenter of the country’s clerical sexual abuse earthquake, because Salta is the metropolitan see of the Diocese of Oran. Gustavo Zanchetta, the former bishop, abruptly resigned his position in 2017 after being appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.

Zanchetta’s appointment caused outrage among the Catholics of his former diocese, Quilmes, in the Buenos Aires province, due to what critics charge are “innumerable cases of anti-Christian witness” from the bishop-to-be.

A few months after leaving Oran, Zanchetta reappeared in the Vatican, working at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the Vatican’s most important financial center, and living in the same residence as the pope. As of Jan. 4, he’s been suspended from that position, accused of sexually abusing seminarians.

Charlotte diocese addresses child sex abuse investigation


August 12, 2019

By Joe Bruno

For the first time since the Diocese of Charlotte announced it will release a list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse, church leaders met with Charlotte media organizations for on camera interviews.

Father Patrick Winslow, newly appointed as Vicar General and Chancellor of the diocese, acknowledged the diocese needs to improve its communication about this crucial topic.

"I think it is of utmost importance for the diocese to get this issue correct," Father Winslow said. "We have strict protocols and strict procedures for a zero tolerance policy so nobody may be serving in active ministry that has one single allegation of sexual abuse."

Church leaders are currently preparing a list of all priests credibly accused of child sex abuse since the diocese's inception in 1972. Diocese officials said the list is on track to be released by the end of the year. An independent investigative firm is conducting a review of tens of thousands of documents dating back to 1972.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said a good list includes a photo, nicknames, a full work history.

Nearly 600 priests, lay people have been publicly named in Pa. sex abuse scandal

Tribune Democrat

August 13, 2019

By Nicole C. Brambila

The 2018 grand jury identified 301 priests who had sexually assaulted and abused hundreds of children over the past several decades. As large as that number is, the true scope is much higher.

Last year’s grand jury report has been the largest in scale, covering six of the state’s eight dioceses — including the ones based in Greensburg and Pittsburgh — and identifying 1,000 victims. But it was just the latest in a string of Pennsylvania investigations dating back 15 years.

Following the explosive investigation of the Boston Archdiocese, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynn Abraham sat a grand jury in 2003 that produced two reports on priest sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Her successor, Seth Williams, followed up with his own grand jury report in 2011.

In 2016, former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane uncovered hundreds of child sex abuse cases in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, naming roughly 50 abusers.

Each of the reports identified a systemic cover-up of priests who sexually abused children.

Since the 2018 investigation, Pennsylvania’s dioceses and religious orders — including the Jesuits and the Benedictines at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Unity — have released their own lists. Catholic dioceses across the U.S. also have followed suit with lists of publicly accused clergy and lay people.

Sex abuse victim from Long Island finally has chance to get justice


August 13, 2019

By Bart Jones

Almost from the time Rich Klein learned to walk, his mom worried about his small stature.

When he was just shy of 2, in 1963, she took him to Dr. Reginald Archibald, a growth specialist at Rockefeller University Hospital in Manhattan.

For the next 15 years, Archibald examined the young Klein once or twice a year for his research. The checkups — just the two of them in the doctor's private office with the door closed and his mom in the waiting room — went on for an hour or so. Archibald had Klein strip naked and sit in his lap facing the doctor. He took pictures. He fondled him.

“As a 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8 year-old-kid, you don’t think about it,” Klein said in an interview. “Oh, he’s examining me because of my height.”



August 13, 2019

By Daniel Avery

Two lawsuits being filed this week are targeting the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses for what the plaintiffs claim is a history of child sexual abuse.

Heather Steele, 48, and John Michael Ewing, 48, were abused as children, but they're filing suits this Wednesday, when New York's new Child Victims Act goes into effect. Signed earlier this year, the measure removes the statute of limitations on abuse suits, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

Steele was still a toddler when, she says, a Jehovah's Witness elder started molesting her in the mid-1970s, when her family lived in New York."My first memory would be of him fondling me when I was just about 2 or 3 years old while he held me in the back seat of my dad's car," Steele told The New York Post.

When she was 10, Steele finally told her mother. But rather than tell police, her mom went to the elders. "It was basically them trying to convince us it was in our minds, that none of this stuff actually happened or that we had bad dreams," Steele said. The elders "told us that we should pray for [Nicholson]."

After Steele's parents finally went to secular authorities, Nicholson was arrested and served three-and-a-half-years in prison. But when he got out, he was quietly placed in a New Jersey congregation where few knew of his past.

August 12, 2019

Editorial: Diocese should reject bankruptcy

Buffalo News

August 12, 2019

Observers are speculating that the Diocese of Buffalo may file for bankruptcy protection this week as it prepares to face a barrage of lawsuits from individuals making claims of clergy sex abuse. While some experts say it could, in some ways, be a fairer way to compensate victims, it could also allow the diocese to keep secrets about child sexual abuse and its efforts to hide it.

A Chapter 11 filing would also likely frustrate victims, who might prefer a prompt and public jury trial. For those reasons and others – including a history of cover-ups – the diocese should simply face the music.

Even though bankruptcy would buy the diocese some time, it would not make the civil claims go away. In other dioceses that filed for Chapter 11, victims who proved they were sexually abused received significant financial settlements or court awards.

The Child Victims Act, which became law in February, allows for a one-year look-back period that begins Wednesday. That enables victims of childhood sexual abuse to file claims that were time-barred by statutes of limitations. Potentially thousands of lawsuits could be filed across the state against individuals and institutions such as the Catholic Church, public and private schools, the Boy Scouts of America, day care centers and others that have been named in similar suits.

The Diocese of Portland, Ore., was the first to use bankruptcy to cope with sexual abuse lawsuits, in 2004. Eighteen other dioceses and archdioceses have done the same.

Declaring bankruptcy freezes legal proceedings against an institution, meaning no jury trials occur in state court. That minimizes the pretrial discovery process in which embarrassing details could surface about efforts that were made to cover up past crimes. Far fewer such details will emerge in discovery before a bankruptcy court proceeding.

If an institution is found to be using bankruptcy merely to avoid litigation or to hide assets, the court can find its filing to be in bad faith and shut down the proceedings.

A bankruptcy process that drags on for months is more likely, which is a source of frustration for victims of alleged sex offenders. According to The Wall Street Journal, a typical diocesan bankruptcy case takes more than two years to adjudicate.

Catholic church finance expert Charles E. Zech told The News that bankruptcy can be a fairer way to compensate abuse victims than trials in state courts, which handle cases in the order in which they are filed and may favor large verdicts or settlements in the early cases.

Another Voice: Boycott’s needed to get attention of  Buffalo Diocese

Buffalo News

August 12, 2019

By Kevin Koscielniak

At what point does a person say enough is enough and initiates something to make a change?

How far do you need to be pushed before you are angry enough to act?

But when it comes to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, has the entire Catholic community seriously asked themselves these questions? Have they consciously taken to heart what has happened to these children and adults, and what is continuing to happen? Do they have a full understanding of the trauma that Survivors have suffered and continue to deal with?

Do you want to know what I, and many survivors go thru? Well here it is. Childhood sexual abuse has lifelong effects. Adults who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse often feel “stuck.” Our efforts to build and manage our lives often seem fruitless, hollow and hopeless.

There is a persistent perception that we are somehow different from others. We feel like we are on the outside looking in, and we believe we just don’t belong.

What was done to me, and every survivor, is no different than being nailed to a cross and left there to die. The only difference for us is that we get to continue walking on this earth even though our souls, emotions and psychological well-being are dead and in a body bag.

Do you think that just because we are still moving, we are truly alive? It doesn’t work like that.

What happens to a survivor of sexual abuse affects the entire community. The ancillary damage is reprehensible. It’s not just the survivors who suffer. It is everyone who is tied to each survivor: family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.

Silent No More: Allegations of sexual abuse, cover-ups inside Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization

Hearst Televison

August 12, 2019

A year-long investigation by the Hearst Television National Investigative Unit has uncovered new allegations of child sexual abuse and decades-long cover-ups inside the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization in the United States.

The allegations span states, congregations, and generations and have been the subject of inquiries by attorneys general offices in at least three states, the National Investigative Unit has learned – inquiries that have not been previously reported.

The findings are revealed in a three-part series of news reports this week that shed new light on the burgeoning number of people accusing the Jehovah’s Witnesses of systemic shortcomings in the protection of children within its religious communities.

Tom Unger: Preaching morality while encouraging sin

Post Dispatch

August 12, 2019

By Tom Unger

On July 26, the Archdiocese of St. Louis published a list of 61 members of the clergy with verified allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them, and an additional three with verified allegations of possession of child pornography. Two priests on the list had been stationed at the church I attended when I was growing up, and I knew two others through another parish. One was a close family friend for decades.

The focus of clergy sexual abuse is usually, and rightly, placed on the offenders and direct victims of the abusive behavior. But the radius of the effects is much larger.

For me, the grooming began around fourth grade, as soon as I became an altar boy at our parish church. I went to the grade school connected to our church, so the segue was a given. My path into the inner circle was all but guaranteed since my older brothers had taken that route. It wasn’t long before a close friend and I were favorites of the priests — being pulled out of class to be altar boys for funerals, getting calls to serve weekend weddings, etc.

A select crew of us became the focus of the priests’ attention. We were their companions. Joining in on visits to the country house and boat rides, helping with Christmas shopping, running errands to buy them cigarettes, washing their cars, etc. To a devout Catholic teenager, this was gold.

I felt special and privileged, like I was being treated like a peer. Outside my own home, I spent most of my time in that rectory. In our household no one was more revered than priests. Priests were among the few friends that our family had and socialized with.

Active Buffalo priest accused of abusing 8-year-old, lawsuit says


August 12, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A lawsuit that will be filed later this week accuses an active Buffalo priest of sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy, according to the law firm that will file the suit.

"A lawsuit is being filed on behalf of an adult male who was sexually abused when he was 8 years old by an active priest who is still employed by the Diocese of Buffalo," states a news release sent Monday by the Herman Law law firm.

The news release goes on to state that the suit is one of three locally the firm is filing against the Diocese of Buffalo as part of the Child Victims Act. More than 200 lawsuits are expected to be filed against the diocese and other institutions by other attorneys when the one-year "window" suspending statutes of limitation in civil cases opens up Wednesday.

The news release does not specify the identity of the priest but the lawsuit is expected to do so when it is filed in State Supreme Court on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Herman Law said she could not share the identity of the accused priest until the lawsuit was filed.

More than 150 Buffalo priests and religious have been accused of sexual misconduct, with most of the revelations coming in the last year. Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone is under intense pressure to resign as bishop for his handling of abuse cases involving, minors, adults , and seminarians.

Former Boy Scout says he witnessed abuse

Guam Daily Post

August 12, 2019

By Mindy Aguon

A former Boy Scout says he was ordered to swim naked during Boy Scout outings in the late 1960s and witnessed a priest, who also was a scoutmaster, sexually abuse other scouts.

B.Q.V., who is using his initials to protect his identity, filed a civil complaint against the Capuchin Franciscans and the Boy Scouts of America, alleging he was subjected to the sexually predatory practices of the late Louis Brouillard when he served as a priest and boy scoutmaster on Guam.

B.Q.V. attended church in Mangilao and was a Boy Scout when he was 10 years old.

He recalled visiting the Lonfit River four or five times a month during Boy Scout outings over three years.

“On numerous occasions, too many to count, B.Q.V. witnessed Brouillard fondle the genitals of the other Boy Scouts,” the lawsuit states.

B.Q.V. says he was able to pull away from Brouillard when he attempted to abuse him.

More churches are checking the national sex offender registry. Is it helping?

Religion News Service

August 10, 2019

By Yonat Shimron

Since they were first offered an opportunity to pool their resources and buy background checks on volunteers and employees at a discount 11 years ago, about a third of Southern Baptist churches have signed up for the OneSource program from LifeWay Christian Resources.

Earlier this year, LifeWay reported that 16,000 congregations and other church organizations ran background checks on men and women it hired through a service called backgroundchecks.com. (The Southern Baptist Convention has so far resisted calls to set up a database of its own, saying the national registry was more dependable.)

Other denominations are also increasingly using searchable databases on prospective employees as the #ChurchToo movement begins to shift church attitudes toward sexual abuse and prevention.

Most background checks sift through more than 600 million felony, misdemeanor and traffic records. Perhaps most importantly, they also check the nationwide sex offender registry.

But that may give churches and other religious groups a false sense of security about preventing abuse, experts say.

The Jeffrey Epstein Debacle

The Wall Street Journal

August 11, 2019

By The Editorial Board

The results of the investigations need to be made public.

Attorney General William Barr says he’s appalled by the death of sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein in a jail cell Saturday, and he’s not alone. The death by apparent suicide of the politically connected financier couldn’t have been scripted better to undermine trust in law enforcement and the prison and legal systems.

Jeffrey Epstein wasn't checked on for hours before apparent suicide, source says

Fox News

August 12, 2019

By Nicole Darrah

Correctional officers at the New York City prison that was housing Jeffrey Epstein didn't check in on him for hours leading up to his apparent suicide on Saturday, which occurred after his cellmate was transferred for reasons that were not immediately clear.

Epstein, 66, was found unconscious in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and later pronounced dead, raising questions about how the wealthy financier, imprisoned on sex trafficking charges, could have been able to kill himself while in a high-security facility just over two weeks after being placed on suicide watch.

Analysis Israel's Health Czar, Accused of Aiding Pedophile, Knows He Can Do as He Pleases


August 8, 2019

By Mordechai Kremnitzer

Recent police allegations show that in Yaakov Litzman's case, public interest isn't a priority. But will Netanyahu do anything about it?

In today’s Israel, the man who is ostensibly the deputy health minister, but is the health minister de facto, has prima facie used his governmental powers to confer benefits on those he favors. Judging by the police’s description, this deputy minister, whose status is so exalted that he has made the prime minister forget during a recent government meeting that he is also actually the health minister, acts as if the public gave him power so that he could do whatever he pleases.

The police say Yaakov Litzman rushed to rescue a favorite restaurant – which even named some of its dishes after him – from an impending closure order over its poor hygiene. The listeria bacterium was repeatedly found in its salads, and a woman who ate there had a miscarriage.

Sex Crimes Detective Who Raped Teen Victim While Investigating Her Case Gets 3 Years in Prison


August 12, 2019

By KC Baker

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sex crimes detective was sentenced to three years in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl in 2017 while he was investigating a previous sexual assault she reported, authorities say.

In July, Neil David Kimball, 46, of Agoura, California, pleaded guilty to a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten announced in a news release.

On Thursday, Kimball was sentenced to the maximum term of three years in state prison for sexually assaulting the teen.

Kimball was also ordered to register as a sex offender, pay the victim $50,000 for her pain and suffering and have no contact with her.

'How America wanted to change the pope'

LaCroix International

August 12, 2019

By Nicolas Senèze

From Santiago to Dublin - or how the pope's trip to Dublin in Aug. 2018 marked the beginning of an attack against himRead exclusively the first chapters of the book by Nicolas Senèze, permanent special envoy of "La Croix" in Rome, to be published by Bayard Publishing on Sept. 4. Pre-order from your bookseller.On Sunday morning, Aug. 26, 2018, there was great excitement at The Alex, the small hotel in central Dublin where the Vatican housed journalists following the pope on his trip to Ireland.

Unique one-year window for child sex abuse victims to get justice opens this week in NY


August 12, 2019

They say justice delayed is justice denied, but a provision of a New York state law that goes into effect Wednesday will give child sexual abuse victims a chance to defy that conventional wisdom.

The Child Victims Act, signed into law on February 14, expands the ways that those who suffered sexual abuse as children can use the legal system to address the damage.

In particular, the law specifically said that six months after its passage, there would be a one-year period when any adult survivors of child sexual abuse could sue an abuser or a negligent institution, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.

That one-year “window of justice,” as Child USA CEO Marci Ann Hamilton called it, starts Wednesday.

The idea behind the law is that many victims of child sexual abuse keep it a secret for years, well beyond the previous statute of limitations, out of shame and fear. This law gives them a chance to “reclaim their dignity,” said Michael Polenberg of Safe Horizon, a victim assistance non-profit that worked to pass the law.

“For survivors who understand what has happened to them and know in their hearts what happened to them, they get to name that person in court,” he said.

The one-year reprieve could create new opportunities for lawsuits against people or institutions implicated in child sex abuse scandals, such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, or the estate of the late Jeffrey Epstein.

Pope’s letter to priests helpful, but repentance would be better


August 11, 2019

By Father Jeffrey F. Kirby

Last weekend, in observance of the one-hundred sixtieth anniversary of the death of Saint John Vianney, Pope Francis issued an unexpected but affectionate letter to his sons and brother priests throughout the Church.

The letter was another surprise for the pope who, in the words of the prefect of his household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, “is a person who surprises and welcomes surprises.”

For a pope most known for constructively criticizing his priests, the letter is a welcomed suspension of previous comments. It comes as blessed relief, a letter of paternal reassurance and fraternal charity.

Pope Francis begins the letter: “As an older brother and a father, I too would like in this letter to thank you in the name of the holy and faithful People of God for all that you do for them, and encourage you…”.

After the initial introduction, which provides an outline for the letter, the pope moves into a summary of the pain caused by the current crises, then to words of gratitude, followed by a message of encouragement, and then concludes with praise for the Blessed Mother, who is hailed as an example and model for priests and for the Church.

In the first part of the letter, the pontiff acknowledges the current crises in the Church and the pain they have caused believers and society. He also addresses the suffering of good priests, grieving for the priests whose own faith has been scandalized by the abuse and cover-ups, who are also thrown into an environment of suspicion by people of goodwill, and who have had their own pastoral ministries limited by the questioning and hesitation of others because of the crises.

The Three-Front War on Child Sex Abuse: Law, Society, and the Public

Verdict Justia

August 6, 2019

By Marci A. Hamilton

On August 14, 2019, the New York Child Victims Act will open a window for the victims of child sex abuse—reviving the expired civil statutes of limitations (SOLs) for one year. This isn’t the best window in the United States, but it is the most hard-fought. It took a total of 16 years, a series of lawmakers, and an army of advocates and survivors to pull New York up from being one of the worst states in the country for child sex abuse victims to being in the top third as the “State Civil SOL Ranking” graphic here shows.

Lest anyone think that this SOL reform victory is the end of the line for improving the plight of child sex victims in New York or anywhere else, let me explain how massive this project is. This is a war on three fronts: we need legal reform, civil society reform, and more effective public education.

Reform the Laws
SOL reform is necessary legal reform to end child sex abuse, because it empowers the victims, but it is not sufficient. It needs to be a priority because it is the most effective way to arm victims against the perpetrators, institutions, and society that let the abuse happen. We can’t win this war without giving real weapons to the victims, and civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution are powerful. This is a banner year for SOL reform, with many states reviving expired civil SOLs for the victims, as listed here. Despite recent advances, however, most states could improve their child sex abuse SOLs.

Orthodox Survivor Of Sex Abuse Exposes Traumas In New Film


August 9, 2017

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt

You wouldn’t believe she’s only 20.

With no film schooling or experience, Baltimore native Miryam Rabinowitz has thrown herself into a film project that tells the story of sexual abuse — or rather, its lonely, complex aftermath.

“Still Feeling” [https://www.stillfeeling.org] tells the story of Yuval Goldenberg, a young woman who was abused during her childhood in an Israeli national religious community. Goldenberg, no longer Orthodox, is a singer and composer now. With an earthy voice, standing rather awkwardly, eyes half-closed, she lets song tell her pain.

Still Feeling: Promo - https://vimeo.com/210450474

Rabinowitz is a survivor of sexual abuse herself — and a graduate of the ultra-Orthodox Bais Yaakov girls school system.

“Most people around me don’t acknowledge the fact that I was abused at all,” she told me in an interview. “I have close friends who don’t acknowledge it. My film trailer was the first time I said it publicly. I’m making this documentary for my friends and family to be able to say, ‘This is for you to know how to talk about it with me.’

“I know it’s hard for people to process. When someone says they were raped by a family member, you’ll never be able to understand what that feels like, but you do understand that basic feeling of shame and suffering. It’s by empathy — through art and music — that we can come to understand another’s pain, rather than through intellectual understanding.”

In her forthcoming film, shot mostly in Tel Aviv, Rabinowitz shows Goldenberg talking about her music and her dissociation, as she bounces between her Orthodox family and her artist friends, many of whom are also survivors of abuse.

Here’s the Truth About the Shadowy Group Behind the National Prayer Breakfast

New York (NY)
Raw Story

August 11, 2019

By Matthew Chapman

The National Prayer Breakfast is a relatively uncontroversial affair these days. Presidents from both parties make a habit of attending it, and giving simple speeches about what their faith means to them, and leaders from around the world join them.

But a new Netflix documentary miniseries, “The Family”, explores the shadowy group known as the Fellowship, which originally set it up in 1935.

The Fellowship began as a secretive fraternity of evangelical men, first organized under the leadership of a man named Abraham Veride, who was attempting to gather business leaders to thwart union drives. It evolved into what Rolling Stone described as a “secret theocracy” used by powerful Christian men to influence politics worldwide. Its members include Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Vice President Mike Pence is also reported to have ties to it.

The group has stringent rules against sex and dating, and there is an undercurrent of homophobia — but also simultaneously homoeroticism. “[There’s] a lot of that uneasy joking about masculinity and the potential for it and, at the same time, this desire for intimacy that becomes really challenging for people who have a theological and ideological opposition to that,” said Jeff Sharlet, an author who has written extensively on the Fellowship.

They also have had ties to current and former authoritarians around the world who have committed atrocities in their home countries, for the sake of advancing a conservative religious agenda — including the late former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Survivors report past priest abuse every day in Pa. Will state law ever catch up?

York Daily

August 12, 2019

By Candy Woodall

The most recent total is 1,862.

But to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, it’s more than a number.

They are 1,862 new stories of abuse. They are 1,862 new victims who came forward since he read a landmark grand jury report on Aug. 14, 2018, identifying 301 abusive priests in Pennsylvania and a cover-up that stretched from here to the Vatican. They are 1,862 survivors.

And those 1,862 people, along with the “thousands” of victims tallied by a state grand jury, are still waiting on state lawmakers to act.

Victims in Pennsylvania continue to come forward, calling a state hotline every day to report crimes against them.

Shapiro wants all victims to know, a year later, they can still call the line at 1-888-538-8541.

“Whenever you’re ready to share your truth, we’ll be here ready to listen, and we’ll be here ready to fight for you,” Shapiro said in an interview with the York Daily Record Tuesday.

The attorney general and his team sometimes seem like the only people who are listening, according to abuse survivor Michael McDonnell, a leader with the Philadelphia chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Throughout the investigation, they’d call at 9 p.m. just to see how we were doing,” McDonnell said.

Allegations against priest cause emotional week in Liberty Twp.

Daily News

August 11, 2019

By Denise G. Callahan & Michael D. Clark

Alleged inappropriate touching, texting and sexual comments by a former Butler County pastor prompted action by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that will impact more than 450,000 parishioners.

Late last month, the archdiocese confirmed the Rev. Geoff Drew, former pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Liberty Twp., was suspended for actions involving teenage boys. Drew previously served as pastor of St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Dayton and parochial vicar at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Beavercreek.

There was a week full of activity in the case that caused strong reaction from the local Catholic community. Beginning with a Monday news conference trhat communicated accusations against Drew, officials took actions that included meeting with members of the Liberty Twp. church where he served from 2009-18.

Church officials also said they would change how they handle investigation accusations of inappropriate behavior against priests because of the Drew case, which caused criticism of church officials.

Communications Director Mike Schafer outlined allegations against Drew that led Archbishop Dennis Schnurr to place him on administrative leave July 23 and order him into “comprehensive physical, psychological and spiritual evaluation at an independent in-patient treatment facility.

“In 2013 and again in 2015, the central office of the archdiocese received concerns from St. Maximilian Kolbe parishioners regarding Father Drew’s behavior. The alleged behavior involved a pattern of such things as uninvited bear hugs, shoulder massages, patting of the leg above the knee, and inappropriate sexual comments about one’s body or appearance, directed at teenage boys,” Schafer said. “This behavior naturally made these boys uncomfortable.”In addition, there was a report of Father Drew texting some of the boys “teasing them about girlfriends’.”

Drew is one of two priests on administrative leave in the archdiocese, which covers 19 counties in southwest Ohio. The Rev. Clarence Heis, who previously served at Holy Trinity Parish in Coldwater, St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg, is also on administrative leave.

Survivor Factors His Age, Opts For Victims Compensation Fund

Catholics 4 Change

August 7, 2019

By Susan Matthews

First-person account written by Jim Tucker:
When the Archdiocese announced its’ compensation program last fall, I was extremely skeptical. My first reaction was the church was trying to circumvent efforts to change Statute of Limitation reform in the Pennsylvania Legislature. If the Church could get victim/survivors to accept lesser settlement amounts, the Church would save millions of dollars.

On the other hand, I saw this as the first time the Church has taken any action to help victims of clergy sexual abuse. I was so tired of hearing apologies, begging for forgiveness and other hollow words from those in the Hierarchy. While I can question their motives, this was at least some action.

So I decided to apply for the compensation program, also known as the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program {IRRP]. The first step for me was to contact the Victims Assistance office at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I had never reported the abuse to the Archdiocese directly. I had written several letters but had never sent them. I had been warned by other survivors back in the late 90s, not to do so.

I called the Victims Assistance office and was impressed with the way I was treated. They treated me with compassion, kindness and concern. They offered counseling services. After telling one of the people in the office my story, they promised to request an application form be sent to me. I received the application from the Feinstein Law group late last year.

Archdiocesan Appointment Fail: Mitchell Named In Epstein Sex Trafficking

Catholics 4 Change

August 11, 2019

By Susan Matthews

Experience matters when it comes to leading an independent review of Church policies. Is that why the Archdiocese of Philadelphia chose George Mitchell? According to recent allegations, he has first-hand experience with sexual abuse.

Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking victim names Mitchell in newly-released court documents.

Who better to oversee the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP) for victims of clergy child sex abuse? The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Mitchell’s appointment in November of 2018. The Maine senator is a former U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

The National Catholic Reporter quoted Mitchell at the time. “This is a good faith attempt to remedy a number of wrongs,” he said, and noted “the failure of the archdiocese to prevent these unspeakable crimes, the archdiocese has itself recognized there is a need for reconciliation and reparation after many years of suffering by these victims.”

Did Mitchell consider serving on the committee a personal penance?

'For our children’: Survivors of church sex abuse calling on action


August 11, 2019

By Katherine Mozzone

Almost one year after Pennsylvania’s attorney general called for statute of limitations reform for sexual abuse, SNAP - the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests -- is asking for those same changes here in Louisiana, so victims can pursue justice.

In a shady spot in Jackson Square, Kevin Bourgeois and Richard Windmann stood together Saturday (Aug. 10), united as survivors, feet from St. Louis Cathedral.

“I can’t believe I’m here today. I really can’t. And I can’t imagine being anywhere else today,” Bourgeois said.

Windmann, now a leader with SNAP, is no stranger to publicity. He told his story on FOX 8 last fall, detailing accusations of sexual abuse by Pete Modica, a Jesuit High School janitor and former officer Stanley Burkhardt.

But, Saturday was the first day Bourgeois has appeared on camera, having only recently become public with allegations of abuse against now deceased priest Carl Davidson.

“I feel like a thousand pounds has been lifted off of me,” Bourgeois said.

But that’s not the way he felt at first. Bourgeois said, for 35 years, he didn’t tell anyone what he says happened to him while he attended the now closed St. John Vianney Prep School in the 1980s.

“When Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he was going to release the list of names back in November, I’m like, ‘Wow, my secret is going to be out,’ because it was a secret. I’d never told anybody before,” Bourgeois recalled. “I didn’t have the ability to come forward as a 16-year-old boy. Not at all. No one was going to believe me. I didn’t want to admit it happened. It was horrifying and embarrassing.”

'Nothing's really changed': Year after grand jury investigation on clergy sexual abuse, those affected ‘disappointed’ by lack of legislation

Tribune Democrat

August 12, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Shaun Dougherty and Cindy Leech sat, a few feet away from each other, inside the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Aug. 14, 2018.

Robert Hoatson stood, by himself, with his back against a wall.

Together, they, along with about a hundred other individuals, listened as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro provided details about a grand jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse and cover-up within six Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the commonwealth.

As invited guests, Dougherty and Leech were behind Shapiro.

Leech held a framed photo of her son, Corey Leech, who battled personal demons for years after being sexually abused by Brother Stephen Baker, a trainer at what was once called Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown.

Dougherty, who, as a child, was violated by a priest at St. Clement Church on Lindberg Avenue, had, by last summer, already established himself as a nationally known advocate for victims. Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery, had counseled Leech before his death in 2017.

Now, a year has passed, and all three have watched as victims, their loved ones, advocates, church officials, law enforcement officers and legislators have processed the findings of the grand jury report that pointed to more than 300 priests allegedly committing at least 1,000 acts of abuse.

August 11, 2019

Guam archdiocese hit by 200+ Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Church Militant (blog)

August 9, 2019

By Stephen Wynne

At least 223 lawsuits filed ahead of August 15 deadline

As an Aug. 15 filing deadline nears, a flood of sex abuse claims is sweeping across Guam.

At least 223 lawsuits have been filed against the archdiocese of Agaña, with claimants alleging abuse at the hands of 35 Catholic priests, teachers and Boy Scout leaders, including former Abp. Anthony Apuron.

Anticipating at least $45 million in liabilities, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January.

Claims began erupting in 2016 after lawmakers passed a bill retroactively terminating the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. Scores of men came forward, alleging that between 1955 and 1994, as minors, they were raped and subjected to other forms of sexual abuse by archdiocesan priests, including Apuron himself.

Pope calls for "apostolate of prevention" in sexual abuse

La Croix International

July 24, 2019

By Claire Lesegretain (with Cath-Info)

Francis says the non-protection of minors is a serious problem that has brought "shame to the Church"

The pope has told a workshop on sexual abuse in Mexico City that he would like to see the creation of a "prevention apostolate" because "prevention is a major remedy" in the process of protecting minors.

Anyone who "prevents a young person from coming to Jesus must be stopped in his attitudes, corrected if there is still time, or punished if there is a crime," Pope Francis said in a video message to the gathering held by the Interdisciplinary Research and Training Center for the Protection of Minors or CEPROME, established in 2016.

The failure to protect minors is a serious problem that has brought "shame to the Church," Francis continued, referring to Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesian congregation in the 19th century, who was at the origin of a "preventive system in education."

EDITORIAL: Boy Scouts must be held to account for abuse


August 11, 2019

It’s August, when the news is supposed to slow and people work in their last trips to the beach before school and the obligations of autumn arrive. Maybe it’s the good weather and lack of anything else to chew over that’s led some pundits to ponder why Americans are in such an incongruously crummy mood right now.

Why we are, in fact, glum.

Hey, the thinking goes, the economy is good and we aren’t in a hot war. Happy days are here again!

Well, mass shootings have a way of making you reluctant to click your heels, as does an unstable stock market, an economy that fails to evenly distribute its bounty, a warming climate that could wreak havoc in the lives of our children and grandchildren, a president whose Twitter feed is little more than a noxious stream of score-settling and self-aggrandizement, and on and on.

The lousy mood is justified.

And certainly another factor you can add to the pile of woe is the decreasing trust many Americans are feeling toward institutions that, in theory, are supposed to provide succor and inspiration. We’re on the eve of the first anniversary of the blockbuster report by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro that detailed the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests across the commonwealth over the last several decades, which has led other states to launch their own investigations into the Catholic Church. At the same time, the Boy Scouts of America is confronting serious allegations that its leaders turned a blind eye to predators within its ranks.

A lawsuit filed in Philadelphia last week by an unnamed 57-year-old man alleges that he was assaulted numerous times by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1970s. The suit also alleges that the Boys Scouts worked to keep abuse quiet, and was guilty of “reckless misconduct” in not confronting abuse more aggressively.

Our view: Grand jury report echoes a year later


August 11, 2019

By the Editorial Board

The fallout from the crimes, cover-ups and profound human toll exposed a year ago by a statewide investigative grand jury continue to ripple through the Catholic Diocese of Erie and others in Pennsylvania.

As Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico said earlier this month, coming to terms with the monstrous legacy of predator priests and the hierarchy that harbored and enabled them will continue to roil the church and the faithful in the years ahead. Persico, 68, told reporter Ed Palattella that he expects the sexual abuse crisis to remain at the forefront for the rest of his tenure.

“We just can’t say, ‘Well, OK, that was a year ago. We just move on and it’s business as usual,’” he told Palattella. “It isn’t. It can’t be.”

That’s reflected in the $3 million in claims paid to abuse survivors so far from the church compensation fund Persico established in February. He said the diocese would provide a full report on compensation fund payouts after the claims window closes this month and the remaining claims are processed.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Want the Supreme Court to Help Them Cover Up Sex Abuse


August 11, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

The organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses is currently embroiled in a major legal battle that involves child molestation, religious secrecy, and (possibly) the Supreme Court. The entire story is bananas, and both sides have now made their arguments as to why their case should (or should not) be taken up in the Court’s next term.

While we await the Court’s decision, it’s worth summarizing what this is all about.

The case centers around an incident that took place on July 15, 2006.

J.W., a nine-year-old girl with Jehovah’s Witness parents, was invited to her first slumber party at the home of Gilbert Simental. He had a daughter her age, so that wasn’t too weird. Two other girls (sisters) were also at the party. These families all knew and trusted Simental because, while he was no longer a local Witness leader, he had spent more than a decade as an elder in the faith. He was a religious leader who stepped down, he said, to spend more time with his son. They believed him. They all respected him. It’s why they allowed their girls into his home.

Colorado Catholic Church Investigated For Child Sex Abuse by Priests

The Legal Examiner

August 11, 2019

By Joseph H. Saunders

In February, the three Catholic dioceses of Colorado announced they would open their records and provide information about allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests that go back decades. Led by former U.S Attorney Robert Troyer, the investigation and review is examining alleged abuse of minors by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in Colorado since 1950. The initiative also includes a reparation fund for victims to be paid for by the church, and will incorporate a full review of church policies and procedures for responding to and preventing abuse.

This Colorado inquiry is a direct response to the bombshell report released in Pennsylvania last August that found credible allegations that more than 300 priests had abused thousands of victims in the state over seven decades. After the Pennsylvania report calls from victims began to flood the office of then Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. The Colorado branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) organization also reached out to her office as part of its effort to spur all 50 state attorneys general to initiate investigations and reviews.

Epstein's suicide deprives victims of closure, says counselor


August 11, 2019

by Denise Sawyer

A licensed mental health counselor in West Palm Beach, who spoke with one of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged rape victims in 2012, sats down with CBS12 News after Epstein's suicide. (WPEC file)

A licensed mental health counselor in West Palm Beach, who spoke with one of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged rape victims in 2012, sat down with WPEC News after Epstein's suicide.

"It's infuriating," said Becky Dymond, as she speaks from the victim's perspective. "They're thinking, 'I didn't have the option. I couldn't say no. I couldn't clock out. But he did.' That's enraging."

Faced with the terror of the abuse, dozens of women will not get a chance to face their accused abuser.

The evil of Irvinestown principal John McElholm who 'sexually abused his pupils'

The Impartial Reporter

August 11, 2019

By Rodney Edwards

John McElholm was regarded as a pillar of the Irvinestown community when he was Principal of St. Paul’s Primary School over 30 years ago.

But now it is claimed he abused that position by preying on innocent children and sexually abusing them where they should have been safe - in school.

An investigation by The Impartial Reporter over several months has uncovered serious child sexual allegations against McElholm who died in 1995 and claims that the alleged abuse was well known.

It’s understood specialist detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch are interviewing his alleged victims as part of a major review into historic sex abuse here, even though none of them will ever get justice.

“Everyone in Irvinestown knew what was going on, it was an open secret in the town,” a source from the area told this newspaper.

“It was accepted, as he was treated as a God in the community,” said another source who claims to have witnessed abuse.

Pervert priest was not the only paedophile preying on boys according to witnesses

Liverpool Echo

August 11, 2019

By Neil Docking and Kate McMullin

The Catholic Church paid out £35,000 to another man, who said he had been abused by three priests at St Joseph’s Catholic Seminary

A disgraced Catholic priest who sexually abused boys was not the only clergymen to have betrayed his youthful charges, it has been alleged.

Former Darlington parish priest Michael Higginbottom was jailed for 18 years for the sexual abuse of two teenage boys at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, near Skelmersdale , in the 1970s and 80s.

However shocking allegations have been uncovered suggesting that more boys at St Joseph’s seminary were preyed upon by perverted priests.

At least three Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children at the facility in West Lancashire, with several pupils having reported horrifying mistreatment at the hands of clergy who they should have been able to trust.