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October 31, 2019

North Dakota high court hears appeal in priest attack case

Forum News Service

Nov. 1, 2019

By Matt Henson

A 43-year-old Minnesota man sentenced to 13 years for attacking a North Dakota priest in 2018 is appealing his conviction for attempted murder before the state's Supreme Court.

In January 2018, Chad Vincent Legare of Alexandria, Minn., traveled more than 300 miles to Anamoose to confront Father Robert Wapenski because he believed the priest had sexually abused his girlfriend. He argues that his attack on Wapenski was justified because he wanted to prevent future abuse and claimed that the Catholic Diocese of Fargo and police weren't doing enough to stop the alleged abuse from happening.

The district court handling the case denied Legare's request to use the defense that the attack was justified because it found there was no evidence of imminent danger to his girlfriend. McHenry County prosecutors said the girlfriend recanted part of her story and was not in the area during the attack.

Without the ability to mount a defense based on the justification that he hoped to prevent a sexual assault, Legare entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit to criminal activity but acknowledged a jury could find him guilty based on the evidence.

In February, Legare was sentenced for the attack, where police say he broke into Wapenski’s home and ambushed him, beating the priest and leaving him unconscious after wrapping a computer cord around his neck.

Inside the exclusive school rocked by sex scandal


Oct. 31, 2019

Few would have predicted that a relationship between a pupil at Cape Town‘s elite Bishops Diocesan College and a female teacher would have snowballed this week to a take-down request to a porn site and a group of top lawyers being appointed for everybody involved.

But that is what happened after the news broke that the school, founded by the Anglican Church, is investigating a case of serious sexual misconduct against one of its female teachers.

Situated in leafy Rondebosch, the school is one of the most exclusive – and expensive – private schools in the country, and has produced a wealth of well-known South Africans.

West Virginia bishop seeks 'amends for harm' to church by predecessor

Catholic News Service

Oct. 31, 2019

Bishop Mark E. Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston told Catholics in the statewide diocese he was working to have his predecessor "make amends for harm he caused during his tenure" as mandated by Pope Francis.

The announcement regarding retired Bishop Michael J. Bransfield came in an Oct. 31 letter to West Virginia Catholics on letterhead from the bishop's office.

The brief letter expressed how Brennan was "dismayed by the continued revelations concerning former Bishop Michael Bransfield's misdeeds, as confirmed by the penalties which the Holy Father has imposed on him" and detailed in media reports.

When Pope Francis accepted Bransfield's resignation Sept. 13, 2018, he left under a cloud of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Subsequent media reports during the last 13 months have detailed some of the alleged activity in detail.

Francis announced in July disciplinary actions Bishop Bransfield, prohibiting him from living in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and from presiding or participating anywhere in any public celebration of the liturgy.

As part of those disciplinary actions, a communique from the apostolic nunciature in Washington posted on the diocesan website in July also said Bransfield would be obligated "to make personal amends for some of the harm he caused; the nature and extent of the ame

Joliet Diocese is sued over Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting disabled man at residential center in Kankakee

Chirago Tribune

Oct. 31, 2019

By Madeline Buckley

The Diocese of Joliet is facing a lawsuit in connection to a priest who is accused of sexually assaulting a disabled man while visiting a Kankakee development center to minister to residents there.

Richard Jacklin, 67, was criminally charged in 2017 after a nurse reported walking in on Jacklin performing a sex act on a 39-year-old man who was living at the Shapiro Developmental Center, prosecutors said. The center provides housing and care for people with intellectual disabilities. The man is paralyzed and has an intellectual disability.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses the diocese of failing to properly investigate Jacklin and protect disabled people from the priest. Diocese priests visited Shapiro to provide religious counseling and other services to residents, according to the suit.

The suit was filed by attorneys for the Illinois Office of State Guardian on behalf of the man, who is a ward of the state. Named as defendants are the diocese, Jacklin and Bishop Daniel Conlon. Alex Rechenmacher, a spokesman for the diocese, said he cannot comment on the lawsuit because the diocese hasn’t yet been served.

1,300 Catholics Ask Pope to Look Into Church After Ohio Priest Charged With Rape

Patheos blog

Oct. 31, 2019

By David Gee

At least 1,300 people have signed a petition that was sent to Pope Francis asking for his help holding Cincinnati archdiocese leaders accountable for failures surrounding a priest who was indicted on nine counts of rape.

A group aptly called “Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati” organized the push to encourage the pope to intervene in the scandal surrounding Father Geoff Drew (above) based on their own religious convictions. Drew was accused earlier this year of raping a male elementary school student while he was working as a music minister years ago.

While Drew’s case moves through the court system, those critical Catholics are turning their attention to the people at the local archdiocese who may have allowed or enabled the predatory behavior.

A letter accompanying the list of names of those supporting the investigation was sent to the pope on Friday, and it began by invoking a church principle encouraging lay Church members to express their opinions on “things which concern the good of the Church” (Lumen Gentium in Latin).

Former AG Coffman endorses statute of limitations change following clergy abuse report

Colorado Politics

Oct. 31, 2019

By Michael Karlik

Former Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has endorsed the expansion of Colorado statute of limitation’s to allow child sex abuse victims more time to sue.

Victim advocates and at least one state legislator already support the policy change following last week’s report that Catholic priests in Colorado likely abused at least 166 children from 1950 to 1998.

The Colorado Sun reports that Coffman also would like to see the General Assembly expand the powers of the attorney general to pursue criminal investigations.

“I think there are a number of indicators that there is a broader conspiracy to hide the truth of what happened to these and other victims,” she said.

Survivors of priest abuse to rally at Norwich Cathedral Sunday

The Day

Oct. 31. 2019

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will hold its second annual All Survivors Day on Sunday at 1 p.m. at three cathedrals in Connecticut.

The locations are St. Patrick’s, 213 Broadway in Norwich, St. Augustine’s at 399 Washington Ave. in Bridgeport, and St. Joseph’s at 140 Farmington Ave. in Hartford.

All Survivors Day events will take place across the country. Survivors of sexual assault, their friends and families are invited to attend the rallies.

SNAP is also working with the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Abuse in calling for the General Assembly to eliminate the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse to file civil suits and establish a two-year “window” for all victims, regardless of their age, to file lawsuits. State law currently prohibits those older than 51 from filing lawsuits.

No payouts soon: Archdiocese, clergy sex abuse claimants unable to reach settlement

Pacific Daily News

Oct. 31, 2019

By Haidee V Eugenio

No payouts are expected anytime soon from the Archdiocese of Agana, after its settlement talks with clergy sex abuse claimants' attorneys collapsed.

The two-day settlement conference in the archdiocese's bankruptcy abruptly ended after the first day.

The archdiocese, represented by attorneys John Terlaje and Ford Elsaesser, offered a settlement amount that attorneys for clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants were not able to accept.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Hawaii Robert J. Faris served as the mediator in the settlement conference.

Clergy abuse survivors and attorneys said they could only comment on the general outcome of and expectations about the talks.

'By the Grace of God' explores the church's unimaginable betrayal of child victims of sexual abuse

Star Tribune

Oct.31, 2019

By Glenn Kenny

For a member of the clergy to sexually violate a child is one of the most stark and cruel betrayals imaginable. That an institution would prevaricate and dissemble about these betrayals rather than take immediate, decisive action to pursue justice and provide restitution creates a greater betrayal. After years of such actions, betrayal reaches a near-unimaginable level.

And yet, we don’t have to imagine. In the Roman Catholic Church, these violations have been rife, and the stories behind them are appalling.

In “By the Grace of God,” François Ozon, one of France’s most brazen and talented directors, tells a story of a group of men in Lyon, all childhood victims of a pedophile priest. These adults find each other and form an organization to bring that priest and the church’s higher-ups who covered for him to account for their actions.

This fact-based story — one which, as we learn from the closing credits, has still not reached a conclusion — represents a break from Ozon’s usual fare. The director is known as an unpredictable genre-bender, confidently concocting erotic thrillers, anti-erotic thrillers, musicals, literary adaptations (his 2007 film, “Angel,” was an imaginative and very apt view of Elizabeth Taylor’s tricky, brilliant novel) and more. His movies are almost exclusively stylistically elaborate affairs.

This is not the case here. Ozon’s screenplay — derived from his own research, including interviews with members of the Lyon activist group Lift the Burden — consists of three profiles, so to speak, of the adult survivors of one predator.

Notre Dame Forum to engage Archbishop Scicluna, Vatican sex abuse investigator

Notre Dame News

Oct. 31, 2019

By Amanda Skofstad

In a continuation of the 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum series, Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna, adjunct secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will engage Notre Dame students in a Q&A session at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 (Wednesday) in the Dahnke Ballroom of the Duncan Student Center. Archbishop Scicluna leads the Vatican’s fight against sex abuse, and his visit will be moderated by John Allen, editor-in-chief of Crux.

This event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, called for this year’s Forum, “‘Rebuild My Church’: Crisis and Response,” to examine the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and explore possible reforms. This year’s theme echoes God’s summons to St. Francis of Assisi during a time of Church corruption in the late Middle Ages.

“Notre Dame is honored to host Archbishop Scicluna,” Father Jenkins said. “We look forward to hearing his perspective on the Church’s response to the crisis of clerical sex abuse.”

Buffalo diocese investigation ends, DiMarzio will send report to Vatican

Catholic News Agency

Oct. 31, 2019

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has completed his Apostolic Visitation of the Diocese of Buffalo.

A statement released by DiMarzio’s own Diocese of Brooklyn on Thursday confirmed that the visitation had concluded and he will submit a report to the Holy See.

The bishop offered no comment on his findings in the scandal-hit Buffalo diocese.

The visitation, a canonical inspection and fact-finding mission, was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet of the Congregation of Bishops in Rome, the Vatican department responsible for overseeing the personal and administrative conduct of bishops.

The visitation was announced Oct. 3, after nearly a year of controversy in the northern New York state diocese. The Diocese of Brooklyn confirmed that DiMarzio had made a total of three trips, spending a week in Buffalo as he conducted nearly a series of in-person interviews.

“He met with and interviewed close to 80 individuals; both clergy and laypeople,” the statement from the Brooklyn diocese said, “including members of the Presbyteral Council, Diocesan Consultors, Diocesan Finance Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council, Territorial Vicars, and Senior Priests. He also spoke with representatives of outside groups such as the Movement to Restore Trust, college presidents, and other interested parties.”

“Now that Bishop DiMarzio has finished his interviews, he will compile the information and prepare a report which will be submitted to the Holy See,” the statement concluded.

Boy Scouts sex abuse claimants could get settlement payment by about Nov. 15

Pacific Daily News

Oct. 30, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Men who were molested decades ago by a priest who also served as a Boy Scouts of America scout master could receive settlement payments by middle of November.

District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood approved the Boy Scouts' proposed settlement with 44 additional child sex abuse claimants, all represented by attorney Michael Berman.

All the settlement amounts, however, are confidential.

Berman said the 44 claimants could expect to receive their settlement payments by "approximately Nov. 15."

More: From a culture of silence to cover-ups: How Guam ended up with 280 clergy sex abuse claims

Each child sex abuse claim was evaluated on its own merit, so the amount of payouts vary.

"A lot of my clients have had a very hard life. It's a challenge for them every day," Berman said Thursday.

The U.S. Bishops Travel to Rome

America Magazine

Oct. 29, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

The bond between Rome and local churches around the world has always been crucial to the Catholic Church’s understanding of itself as universal. From the time of the Council of Trent especially, the ad limina apostolorum—the periodic visit of world bishops “at the thresholds of the Apostles” in Rome—has been one of the ways the church works to ensure the strength of this bond. In a few days, the ad limina visit of the U.S. bishops will begin, and by the time it wraps up in February, we might have a fresh sense of just what the bond between the Holy See and the American episcopate is made of.

After all, it’s not as if there isn’t controversy attending the bishops’ visit. In the course of Francis’s papacy, the dynamic between the U.S. church and Rome has grown increasingly fraught. The case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the subsequent “manifestos” of former nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò brought relations between American bishops and the papacy to a new low. That two dozen bishops came out in support of Viganò, without bothering to defend the pope against his unsubstantiated claims, will long remain a stain on the U.S. church. And given that a significant number of American bishops continue to ignore or actively reject key aspects of Francis’s pastoral priorities—from “Who am I to judge?” to Amoris laetitia to Laudato si’—it’s hard to know whether a meaningful rapprochement will be achieved anytime soon.

New allegations surface against former bishop

WTOV 9 News

Oct. 28, 2019

By Jaime Baker

A Washington Post report says Michael Bransfield took $21 million from Wheeling Hospital to use in the "bishop's fund."

New allegations have come up against the former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

A Washington Post report says Michael Bransfield took $21 million from Wheeling Hospital to use in the "bishop's fund."

The bishop's fund was a charity created to help the residents of West Virginia.

According to the report, more than $300,000 from that fund went toward gifts to other clergy members.

New allegations surface against former bishop

WTOV 9 News

Oct. 28, 2019

By Jaime Baker

A Washington Post report says Michael Bransfield took $21 million from Wheeling Hospital to use in the "bishop's fund."

New allegations have come up against the former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

A Washington Post report says Michael Bransfield took $21 million from Wheeling Hospital to use in the "bishop's fund."

The bishop's fund was a charity created to help the residents of West Virginia.

According to the report, more than $300,000 from that fund went toward gifts to other clergy members.

Judge orders police to return some files to Diocese of Dallas taken in May raid

Catholic News Agency

Oct. 30, 2019

By Mary Farrow

A Dallas county district judge has ordered Dallas police to return certain documents to the Catholic Diocese of Dallas that were seized during a raid on diocesan property on May 15.

Documents unrelated to the ongoing investigation of sexual abuse allegations against five priests are to be returned, State District Judge Brandon Birmingham ordered last week after reviewing the files that were taken in the raid, WFAA in Dallas reported.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the investigation is focused on five current or former priests of the diocese: Fr. Edmundo Paredes, Fr. Richard Thomas Brown, Fr. Alejandro Buitrago, Fr. William Joseph Hughes, Jr., and Fr. Jeremy Myers. Paredes is the only suspect to have been formally charged, but he is believed to have fled the United States, WFAA reported.

Former San Andreas priest arrested

Union Democrat

Oct. 30, 2019

By Alex MacLean

A 74-year-old Irish citizen arrested in Portugal last week on suspicion of a crime related to child pornography is reportedly former Catholic priest and convicted pedophile Oliver O’Grady, who served at St. Andrew’s Parish in San Andreas from 1984 to 1992.

Policia Judiciaria released a statement announcing the arrest took place on Oct. 21 in the Algarve area of southern Portugal to enforce a European Arrest Warrant, though it didn’t identify O’Grady by name.

“This individual — who had already served a sentence for similar crimes in the United States — returned to his homeland, where he again committed a new crime,” the statement said. “He then moved to Portugal, the Algarve area, where he was located and detained.”

O’Grady was deported back to his native Ireland in 2000 after serving seven years in Mule Creek State Prison in Ione for molesting two boys while assigned to a Turlock church.

October 30, 2019

Colorado’s former attorney general, who initiated review of priest sex abuse, would have preferred grand jury

Colorado Sun

Oct. 31, 2019

By Jesse Paul

Former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says she would have preferred a criminal investigation of child sex abuse in the state’s three Catholic dioceses and that she talked to former Gov. John Hickenlooper about the prospect of launching one.

But as Coffman worked to find a way last year to account for priests’ behavior, she realized the most realistic route was an independent review with the cooperation of the church. She couldn’t initiate a criminal investigation herself — only the governor could have done that through executive action.

“My preference would have been to have investigative authority through an executive order,” she told The Colorado Sun. “But I recognized the realities created by time and pending elections and changes in administration and the need to move forward with an investigation.”

Another Sexual Assault Case Filed Against Priest in Venice, Florida

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 30, 2019

For the second time this month a lawsuit has been filed against a priest from Venice, FL, this one alleging sexual assault in 2017. We applaud this woman for coming forward and hope that this news encourages other potential victims or witnesses to come forward.

At the beginning of October, a suit was filed against Fr. Nicholas McLoughlin from the Diocese of Venice. In that complaint Fr. McLoughlin was accused of sexually violating a woman in April 2018. The lawsuit filed today contains similar allegations against Fr. McLoughlin, but from 2017. Given this pattern of behavior, we suspect there are likely others who were hurt by this priest.

We commend this courageous victim for coming forward. We call on Catholic officials in the Diocese of Venice, including Bishop Frank Joseph Dewane, to publicize these allegations, taking steps to inform every community where Fr. McLoughlin worked and urging any victims or witnesses to come forward and make a report to police. Finally, we hope that others who experienced sexual abuse – whether by Fr. Nicholas McLoughlin or others – will call independent sources of help like therapists, law enforcement and support groups like ours.

Abusive pastor plans a return to ministry in Memphis

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 29, 2019

An accused abusive pastor plans to start a new church in Memphis. We hope that Baptist officials denounce this move and that parishioners in Memphis choose not to attend this new church.

According to reports, pastor Andy Savage abused Jules Woodson when he was in his 20s and she was 17. At the time Savage worked as a youth group leader at Jule’s Texas church. Two decades later, Savage was a pastor at a Memphis mega-church called HighPoint. Last year, he resigned after confessing to what he called ‘a sexual incident.’ The incident that Savage confessed to would be considered a crime under Texas law.

Despite this, Savage now intends to start a church of his own in Memphis. We think this is a dangerous move and hope that parents and the public will be warned about this new church and choose not to attend. At the same time, we also believe that Savage could be stopped if others with information or suspicions about his actions – in Texas or Tennessee – make reports to law enforcement, attorneys general, and other secular sources. It is especially important that current and former staffers and members at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in suburban Houston – the church where Savage abused Jules – speak up.

According to Religion News Service, “Watch Keep, a blog advocating for abuse survivors in the church, posted audio Saturday (Oct. 26) of Savage reportedly speaking at an interest meeting for a new congregation in Memphis called Grace Valley Church.” That audio can be found here.

In that recording, Savage severely minimizes the harm he’s done. This says to us that Savage has not realized the depth of his crime or the lifelong impact it can have.

Exorcist tells court ‘clock fell’ in house he was blessing

Malta Independent

Oct. 30, 2019

An exorcist has told a magistrate investigating a strange case of rape that he had not seen anything spiritually troubling during numerous prayer visits to the accused’s home.

The case of the 18-year-old Cospicua resident, who cannot be named on the orders of the court, continued before magistrate Nadine Lia this afternoon, just in time for Halloween.

The man is accused of the rape of a vulnerable woman – the mother of his girlfriend – as well as with causing her and another vulnerable woman – her daughter – to perform sexual acts against their will, violent indecent assault on a person who was unable to resist, holding the women against their will and forcing them to perform acts contrary to their decency and slightly injuring them.

Covering up pedophiles while refusing Joe Biden communion

Irish Central

Oct. 30, 2019

The action of the Catholic priest who denied Joe Biden Holy Communion during Mass in South Carolina should be seen for what it is - a hypocritical act, given the sinful history of abuse in that very diocese.

Former vice president Joe Biden was forbidden from receiving communion at the altar rails on Sunday in a catholic church in Florence, South Carolina, where he was canvassing.

Father Robert E. Morey, from Saint Anthony's Catholic Church, said in a statement that he refused the former Vice President the Eucharist at 9 am Mass.

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Father Morey said.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

Obviously the good Father was not living up to the advice of Jesus in the gospels, such as, “let him without sin cast the first stone” or indeed “judge not lest you be judged.”

Let’s look at the institution behind the priest making the moral judgment on the former Vice President.

Exclusive: Brooklyn Bishop meets with clergy as Buffalo Diocese investigation continues


Oct. 29, 2019

A Two On Your Side exclusive hidden camera investigation found that the investigation into the Buffalo Roman Catholic Diocese and Bishop Richard Malone's handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal continued in Amherst on Tuesday.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was spotted at the Amherst Marriott on Tuesday morning as he continues his review. Two On Your Side saw the Bishop emerging multiple times from a private room at the hotel restaurant near the lobby.

The Bishop would escort visitors to the room where he and another priest met with these people. Most interviews lasted from 15 to 30 minutes and most interview subjects appeared to be clergy.

When the investigation is complete, the report will go to the Vatican for review and possible action.

Two On Your Side reached out to the Buffalo Diocese, which released a statement from Bishop Malone.

"Bishop DiMarzio continues to meet with representatives of the clergy and the lay faithful to get a broad perspective as part of his fact-finding mission," the statement from the diocese read.

Abuse survivor calls on Greensburg Diocese to support window of opportunity for clergy abuse claims


October 29, 2019

By Deb Erdley

A clergy sexual abuse survivor whose testimony sent a Greensburg diocesan priest to prison stepped forward Tuesday to blast the church for opposing a law that would allow adults with old claims to sue the church.

Josh Kiley, the 37 year-old man whose tale of sexual abuse as a 10-year-old boy at St. Margaret Mary School in Lower Burrell triggered the investigation that sent the Rev. John T. Sweeney to prison, appeared with his lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, on Tuesday via Skype at a news conference in Pittsburgh.

Kiley says he was silent for too long.

Opinion: I’m the Comedian Who Just Confronted Harvey Weinstein. Here’s Why I Spoke Up.

The New York Times

October 29, 2019

By Kelly Bachman

Survivors of sexual assault shouldn’t have to explain their experiences — or stand in a room with Harvey Weinstein.

Last Wednesday night, I walked into a bar to perform stand-up, and noticed Harvey Weinstein sitting in the room. I didn’t know what to say, but I wanted to say something, so I made a joke that questioned why the event organizers had invited him to the show. Some people booed and one person told me to “shut up.” I let the room know that I have been raped, and cursed at the monster I wasn’t making eye contact with. The next day my world blew up when a video I had posted went viral.

Clergy abuse victims hesitate to speak up


Oct. 30, 2019

I would like to explain why it can take so long for victims of priest sex abuse to come forward [“Suit accusing McGann raises questions,” Letters, Oct. 27]. It’s common for a victim to come forward at age 52. It can take years to overcome a life shattered by abuse that occurred when the victim was a child, especially when the abuser was a priest. The victim is often groomed by the abuser, feels shame and trauma, and does not feel safe to speak up, even to family. Many victims feel that they won’t be believed because the truth is so heinous.

Mary McKenna, Bellmore

Editor’s note: The writer, a retired social worker, leads a monthly group meeting in Bellmore of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

‘I Am Not Going To Take Their Hush Money’: Clergy Sexual Abuse Victim Calls For Statute Of Limitations Reform


October 29, 2019

A victim of the first priest sentenced to prison time as a result of the state Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse says statute of limitations reform is necessary.

Disgraced retired priest, Fr. John Sweeney, of the Diocese of Greensburg, was sentenced nearly a year ago to 11½ months to five years in prison.

Now, one of his victims, who Sweeney admitted to abusing, is calling for changes to the statute of limitations process. He addressed the media Tuesday afternoon, via Skype, during a news conference hosted by his attorney.

Investigators say Sweeney admitted to forcing the victim, who was 10-years-old at the time, to perform a sex act on him in a conference room at St. Mary Margaret Church in Lower Burrell in the 1990s. Sweeney was pastor at St. Margaret Mary’s for 12 years.

Man who was sexually abused by Catholic priest wants reform to Pennsylvania law


October 29, 2019


Greensburg diocese, Pennsylvania Legislature fiercely criticized by former child sex assault victim


October 29, 2019

By Sheldon Ingram

Former child sex assault victim Joshua Kiley and his attorney Mitchell Garabedian unleashed scathing criticism of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg and Bishop Edward Malesic during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Kiley was a victim of sex assault at the age of 10, in 1992, by the Rev. John Sweeney at St. Mary Margaret Church in Lower Burrell. Sweeney is serving a prison sentence but Kiley and Garabedian are seeking a financial settlement.

Garabedian said Malesic has ignored his request to discuss a settlement with attorneys for the diocese

Fall meeting agenda sees US bishops making plans to plan priorities

National Catholic Reporter

Oct 30, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Monday, I began my curtain raiser for the upcoming plenary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, focusing on the election of new officers and committee chairs. Now, the conference has released the agenda and we can look at the items under discussion.

The agenda buried its lede, as the most important item did not appear until the sixth paragraph: "to lead the process of developing a new formal statement and comprehensive vision for Hispanic/Latino ministry in response to the V Encuentro process, to be developed and approved by the bishops during the next USCCB strategic planning cycle, 2021-2024."

Ignore the lousy syntax. The successful Encuentro process in 2014-18 was not just a bit of good news in a sea of bad: The future of the Catholic Church in this country is either Latino or it is nonexistent. The stated need to wait until the next round of strategic planning shows the lack of nimbleness we expect from a bureaucracy, but it shows something else, too.

The U.S. bishops' conference has spent much of the last 15 or so years focused on ephemera. It has made plans about plans. It has conflated its work with that of several special interest groups like the Becket Fund and the National Right to Life Committee. The latest Pew numbers indicate that for the first time, Hispanic Catholics are less than half of all Hispanics in the country. None of the bishops will stand up and insist that the usual planning process be speeded up to focus immediately on the needs of Hispanic ministry, but someone should.

Cardinal Dolan: ‘I would love to be married and have kids’

Patheos blog

Oct. 29, 2019

By Greg Kandra

“Do I regret not being married? Well, I might miss it, but celibacy I find to be extraordinarily rewarding and liberating.”

The subject came up during an interview on CBS This Morning, while discussing the Amazon Synod:

Appearing on “CBS This Morning,” Cardinal Dolan said, “I’m glad they talked about it. We act like it’s a big secret, but heck, my barber asks me why priests can’t get married.”

“Would you like there to be a Mrs. Dolan?” asked co-host Gayle King.

“What are you doing tonight?” Dolan replied. “Look, I would love to be married and have kids. But you know what? Pope Paul VI said you shouldn’t be a celibate if you don’t want to be married and have kids. Celibates are different than bachelors; celibates want to be a father and want to be a spouse, and they transfer it to their allegiance to the church, which is their family.

“So, a desire to be a father and a husband is a healthy, normal, beautiful thing. And I’ve got it. But do I regret not being married? Well, I might miss it, but right now, celibacy I find to be extraordinarily rewarding and liberating.”

Dolan, who has just written a new book, “Who Do You Say I Am?: Daily Reflections on the Bible, the Saints, and the Answer That Is Christ” (Crown), was asked about a decline in the percentage of Americans who consider themselves religious.

Cleveland Catholic Bishop Richard Lennon dies at age 72

Plain Dealer

Oct. 29, 2019

By Cliff Pinckard

The Rev. Richard Lennon, bishop emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland for more than 10 years, died Tuesday morning at the age of 72.

Lennon was appointed the 10th bishop of the Cleveland Diocese in May 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. He served as the bishop for nearly 800,000 Catholics in Northeast Ohio. He resigned in December 2016 because of poor health. At the time of his resignation, the Diocese said Lennon suffered from vascular dementia, a cognitive impairment caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

“In his service to the diocese, Bishop Lennon showed a deep dedication to the faithful governance of the diocese and a tremendous love of the church and the people he shepherded," said the Rev. Nelson Perez, who has succeeded Lennon as bishop. "May the Lord grant him eternal rest.”

Lennon was born in Arlington, Mass. He attended Boston College, then earned an master of arts in church history a master of theology in sacramental theology at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass. He was ordained in the priesthood in May 1973.

Lennon is best known in Cleveland for closing about 30 churches in Northeast Ohio in 2009 and 2010, a decision that sparked fervent backlash from some of the 700,000 parishioners in the diocese. More recently, his career was marked by much-needed and successful fundraising campaigns, raising an estimated $170 million, according to the Diocese.

After Bishops Call for Married Priests, Pope Francis Urges New Ways

Associated Press

Oct. 27, 2019

By Frances D'Emilio

On the heels of a landmark call by Amazon region bishops for married men to become priests, Pope Francis on Sunday exhorted Catholics to be open to fresh ways of evangelization, saying the church must “open new roads for the proclamation of the Gospel.”

He also cautioned against self-righteousness, in an apparent slap at conservative critics who fear he is weakening the church’s foundations.

Allowing married men to be ordained in remote Amazon areas with severe shortages of priests would chip away at the church’s nearly millennium-old practice upholding priestly celibacy. It would also help the church compete with evangelical and Protestant churches that have been increasingly winning converts there.

A three-week-long Vatican gathering, or synod, on the special needs of Catholics in that South American region featured a vote by a majority of the more than 180 synod bishops who proposed the ordination of married men with established families to help minister to the region’s far-flung faithful, where some Catholics don’t see priests for months, even years.

Francis expressed gratitude that the bishops spoke with “sincerity and candor.” He has said he will put his response in writing by year’s end.

Pedophile priest O’Grady arrested in Portugal

Stockton Record

Oct. 28, 2019

An infamous child predator who decades ago served as a priest in the Diocese of Stockton was arrested over the weekend in Portugal.

Oliver O’Grady was taken into custody in the Algarve region of southern Portugal by local authorities on a European arrest warrant, according to the Irish Times.

The 74-year-old former Irish priest and convicted child abuser was arrested on suspicion of additional child pornography offenses, the Times reported. O’Grady allegedly committed the offenses in his native Ireland and is being extradited back.

Born in Limerick, O’Grady immigrated to California in 1971, was a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Stockton up until his arrest in 1993, according to Record archives.

An admitted pedophile, he was convicted in 1994 in San Joaquin County for molesting two boys. He served seven years in prison, and was deported to Ireland after his release in 2000.

Greensburg priest's victim calls on Pa. to ease path for lawsuits against Catholic Church


Oct. 29, 2019

By Shelly Bradbury

The Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused a 10-year-old boy is in prison — but that’s not enough, his victim said Tuesday.

Josh Kiley, 37, of California, called Tuesday for Pennsylvania to make it easier for victims of abuse to file lawsuits against the Catholic church. His remarks came during a Downtown press conference nearly a year after John T. Sweeney, formerly a priest in the Diocese of Greensburg, was sent to prison for abusing Mr. Kiley.

Sweeney, who turns 77 on Wednesday, last year pleaded guilty to abusing Mr. Kiley in the early 1990s when the priest was working at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Lower Burrell. Sweeney was sentenced to up to five years in prison and is housed at State Correctional Institution Mercer in Findley Township, Mercer County.

Mr. Kiley, who is seeking $20 million from the Diocese of Greensburg but cannot file a lawsuit because of the statute of limitations, said Tuesday that state legislators should either get rid of the civil statute of limitations — which requires lawsuits to be filed before the victim turns 30 — or open up a window for victims of priest abuse to file lawsuits against the church.

October 29, 2019

Legal Pathways to host panel on restorative justice

Tacoma Ledger

Oct. 29, 2019

By Mitchell Fermo

UW Tacoma’s Legal Pathways — in partnership with Dr. Cynthia Howson’s Community Based Justice class — will host a panel discussion centering around restorative justice on Oct. 30, during Husky Hour in CP 108. The seminar, titled “The Road to Repair: Restorative Justice in the Aftermath of Violence and Harm” will feature two members of the Tacoma community: DeVitta Briscoe and Shalisa Hayes. Students do not need to register ahead of time to attend the event.

Director of Legal Pathways Patricia Sully discussed how events like this help students learn more about the different ways to participate in criminal justice reform. Legal Pathways — an on-campus organization aimed at promoting and building legal opportunities for students interested in careers in the field of law — have hosted similar events in the past to show students the different opportunities available for those interested in law, criminal justice, alternatives to criminal justice, and reformation of the system.

“Legal Pathways supports students who are pursuing law school and traditional legal work, as well as students interested in law-related careers,” Sully said.

Briscoe and Hayes will lead and facilitate discussion on how to improve community awareness and accountability, how survivors are affected and how to address violence, all in the scope of restorative justice.

Historic judgement against Basilian Fathers means easier road to justice for all abuse victims

Northern Life

Oct. 29, 2019

By Darren MacDonald

Rob Talach has been battling the Catholic Church for a long time.

He has earned the monicker the Priest Hunter, and in his career at Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers, he has launched 395 suits against the church. But an award of punitive damages and one for loss of income in the case of Rod MacLeod, a former student at St. Charles College in the 1960s, has set a new standard, Talach said in an interview with Sudbury.com.

On Friday, an appeals court upheld the full $2.52-million award, including a $500,000 punitive damages award levied against the Basilians Fathers. The priestly order moved pedophile priest William Hodgson Marshall from school to school for almost four decades. Instead of addressing allegations of abuse when they got complaints, the priests moved Marshall to new schools, where he had a new slate of victims to harm.

Indianapolis priest arrested, charged with child sex crimes

Indianapolis Star

Oct. 29, 2019

An Indianapolis priest charged with child sex crimes is in custody.

Father David Marcotte is accused of Child Solicitation, Vicarious Sexual Gratification when the victim is under 16 and Dissemination of Matter Harmful to Minors.

He was booked into the Hamilton County Jail early Tuesday morning.

The allegations against Marcotte go back to 2016. According to the Archdiocese, at that time, Marcotte was an administrator at St. Martin of Tours Parish in Martinsville.

He has worked at more than half a dozen churches across central Indiana since being ordained in 2014.

The complete list of his ministry assignments are as follows: 2014, associate pastor, SS. Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood, and Catholic chaplain, University of Indianapolis; 2015, associate pastor, St. Malachy Parish, Brownsburg; 2016, administrator, St. Martin of Tours Parish, Martinsville; 2017, chaplain, Roncalli High School, Indianapolis, Catholic chaplain, University of Indianapolis, and sacramental assistance, SS. Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood.

Voice of the Faithful surveys US dioceses' financial transparency

National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 28, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

Catholics in the icy north of Anchorage, Alaska, know the warmth of financial transparency in their local church, while Catholics in tropical St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, are getting the cold shoulder.

Those two dioceses represent the polar opposites of this year's financial transparency survey of American dioceses compiled by Voice of the Faithful. The Anchorage Archdiocese rated a perfect 100 score, while the St. Thomas Diocese rated the lowest, at 14 points. A total of 177 dioceses were rated.

This is the third year of studies on financial transparency compiled by Voice of the Faithful, which was founded in 2002 as a lay organization devoted to monitoring church management on sex abuse and finances.

"It's a tale of two churches," said Margaret Roylance, a Voice of the Faithful trustee and chair of the organization's Finance Working Group, announcing the results of this year's survey at the group's annual conference here Oct. 19.

There have been measureable improvements in a number of dioceses, she said, particularly in Pennsylvania, where scores for the dioceses of Harrisburg and Scranton rose considerably, while the Philadelphia Archdiocese rated at the top, garnering a perfect score alongside Anchorage.

Jules Woodson: Andy Savage’s reported return to pulpit is ‘not OK’

Religion News Service

October 29, 2019

“Devastating news today,” Jules Woodson tweeted over the weekend.

“My abuser is back in the pulpit.”

Woodson was responding to news that Andy Savage, her former youth pastor, reportedly is planning to start a new church.

Last year, Woodson drew attention to the problem of abuse in evangelical churches when she spoke out about being sexually abused by Savage when she was a member of the Texas youth group he led two decades ago.

She was 17 at the time. He was a college student in his 20s. Under Texas law, sexual contact between clergy and someone for whom they are a “spiritual adviser” can be considered sexual assault.

Savage, who went on to become teaching pastor at a Memphis, Tennessee, megachurch, eventually confessed to “a sexual incident.” His confession was met with applause from the congregation at Highpoint Church.

He later resigned after a leave of absence and investigation.

Now Savage reportedly is planning to start a new church in Memphis.

And Woodson is worried about the message that sends to those who have experienced abuse — and those who would abuse.

Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Cleveland Richard Lennon dies at 72


Oct. 29, 2019

By Tyler Carey

The Most Rev. Richard Lennon, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland for more than a decade, has died at the age of 72.

The diocese announced Lennon passed away Tuesday morning after receiving the last rites of the Catholic Church. An exact cause of death was not specified, but the bishop had been suffering from vascular dementia that led to his retirement just under three years ago.

"In his service to the diocese, Bishop Lennon showed a deep dedication to the faithful governance of the diocese and a tremendous love of the Church and the people he shepherded," Bishop Nelson J. Perez, Lennon's successor, said in a statement. "May the Lord grant him eternal rest."

Born in 1947, Lennon grew up in the Boston area and was ordained a priest in the Boston Archdiocese at the age of 26. He rose through the ranks over the next three decades, and eventually became Auxiliary Bishop of Boston under Cardinal Bernard Francis Law in 2001.

Diocese of Venice faces second suit alleging priest sexually assaulted female parishioners

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Oct. 29, 2019

By Earle Kimel

The Diocese of Venice is facing its second $15 million suit this month, alleging that the Rev. Nicholas McLoughlin, 77, formerly of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park, sexually assaulted a female parishioner.

Both suits were filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Adam Horowitz.

The latest suit, filed on Oct.25 is on behalf of a plaintiff identified only as J.H. and alleges that on or about Sept. 2017, J.H. had attended Saturday afternoon mass with a female friend at Our Lady of Grace and wanted to seek a special blessing on her upcoming vows with the Franciscan Religious Order.

According to the suit, as the two women approached McLoughlin, “he suddenly grabbed J.H.’s head with one of his hands and forcefully kissed her on the lips and held her head against his lips so she couldn’t pull away.”

The suit closely mirrors but predates the incident from the Oct. 2 lawsuit filed by Horowitz, where, on April 7, 2018, the plaintiff, identified as L.B., was at the church for confession, when — after she told him she had a headache from falling off a horse — he allegedly put his thumb on her forehead and, with his other hand, grabbed her right breast.

L.B. alleged he later groped both breasts and kissed her and when asked if he was preventing her from leaving, she answered yes.

2 Clergy Sexual Abuse Victims Calling For Statute Of Limitations Reform


Oct. 29, 2019

Two of the victims of the first priest sentenced to prison time as a result of the state Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse are speaking out about statute of limitations reform.

Retired priest, Fr. John Sweeney, of the Diocese of Greensburg, was sentenced nearly a year ago to 11½ months to five years in prison.

Now, two of his victims, one of whom Sweeney admitted to abusing, are calling for reform to the statute of limitations process. They addressed the media Tuesday afternoon, one via Skype and the other by phone.

Their lawyer says neither of them took part in the Survivors’ Compensation Program.

Initially charged with felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, Sweeney pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor indecent assault.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan: "I would love to be married and have kids"

CBS News

Oct. 29, 2019

By David Morgan

At a recent regional synod of Catholic bishops from nine Amazonian countries called by Pope Francis, the majority of bishops called for the ordination of married men as priests to address the clergy shortage in the region, and also for the Vatican to reopen a debate on ordaining women as deacons.

The historic proposal, which would upend centuries of Roman Catholic tradition, has been criticized by some conservatives and traditionalists. But Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City, who described the synod as an "anything-goes roundtable and conversation," said Tuesday that he was glad the issue had been brought up.

Appearing on "CBS This Morning," Cardinal Dolan said, "I'm glad they talked about it. We act like it's a big secret, but heck, my barber asks me why priests can't get married."

"Would you like there to be a Mrs. Dolan?" asked co-host Gayle King.

"What are you doing tonight?" Dolan replied. "Look, I would love to be married and have kids. But you know what? Pope Paul VI said you shouldn't be a celibate if you don't want to be married and have kids. Celibates are different than bachelors; celibates want to be a father and want to be a spouse, and they transfer it to their allegiance to the church, which is their family.

"So, a desire to be a father and a husband is a healthy, normal, beautiful thing. And I've got it. But do I regret not being married? Well, I might miss it, but right now, celibacy I find to be extraordinarily rewarding and liberating."

Catholic bishops from across Amazon propose allowing married priests and female leaders
Dolan, who has just written a new book, "Who Do You Say I Am?: Daily Reflections on the Bible, the Saints, and the Answer That Is Christ" (Crown), was asked about a decline in the percentage of Americans who consider themselves religious.

Co-host Tony Dokoupil asked, "I think indisputably one of the reasons why is people look at these sex abuse scandals that the Catholic Church has been plunged into, and they wonder – and I say this as somebody who has three generations of Catholics in New York, stopped with my generation– I ask you as a journalist, but also as somebody with that lineage, how could this have happened, and why the Catholic Church and not Islam or Judaism or evangelical Christianity? Why did this engulf your religion in particular?"

Another try: Church settlement talks begin Wednesday

Pacific Daily News

Oct. 29, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

More than three years since clergy sex abuse victims started filing civil lawsuits, the Archdiocese of Agana is once again trying to see if it can settle nearly 280 claims.

This time around, the settlement talks set for Wednesday and Thursday, will be under the federal bankruptcy process.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Hawaii Robert J. Faris will serve as mediator in the settlement conference in the U.S. District Court of Guam, at no cost to parties involved.

Attorney Kevin Fowler, representing 20 clergy sex abuse claimants, said it's a wait-and-see on whether this conference will get everyone to a point where they can reach an agreement, but he's hoping to see progress. Fowler confirmed participation in the conference.

Most of the abuse claimants are represented by attorney David Lujan and his law firm. Attorney Michael Berman represents 63 victims of clergy sex abuses or about 23% of the filed claims, while about a dozen are represented by attorney Anthony Perez.

Notorious Priest Who Abused 100+ in Guam Was Trained in Colorado

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 29, 2019

One of the most notorious abusers in Guam was trained in a Colorado seminary. We call on Catholic officials in Denver to add his name to their list of accused priests, and to take steps to reach out to any of his victims that may still be suffering in silence.

Fr. Louis Brouillard is named in at least 124 child sex abuse lawsuits in Guam, a US protectorate. However, the priest completed his seminary training in Denver, after having been expelled from a seminary in Minnesota "because of his associating too much with young boys."

After completing his education, Fr. Brouillard went to Guam for his first assignment as a priest. While there, the cleric is accused of abusing boys and girls both as a clergyman and as a Boy Scout leader.

Lawsuits also allege that after Fr. Brouillard was sent back to Minnesota in 1981, in order to avoid arrest and prosecution for child sexual abuse, the priest brought underage boys back to the United States who stayed with him in Minnesota, where he continued to abuse them.

Catholic bishops, as part of their “playbook,” often utilized euphemisms when describing sexual abuse. For example, being "too close to boys" is often code for sexual abuse. The fact that we now know that Fr. Brouillard has abused so many children should gives us pause about statements that he was “associating too much with young boys” while he was a seminarian in Minnesota.

Tucson bishop responds to Oklahoma City Archdiocese abuse report


Oct. 28, 2019

Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Tucson Diocese has responded to a recent report involving clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Weisenburger served as Vicar General in Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2012, and helped investigate claims of misconduct.

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City received a letter from a former resident of Oklahoma regarding abuse by a priest in August of 2018, according to our Oklahoma City sister station, KFOR-TV. The church announced they would review and report all similar allegations.

The findings were published in a 77-page report by the law firm of McAfee & Taft earlier this month.

According to the report, a pastor once shared concerns about a clergy member with Weisenburger. Although no explicit allegation had been brought up yet, the report states Weisenburger did not report the concern to the Archdiocese at the time.

The report also noted that nearly all of Weisenburger’s emails were deleted after he left the Archdiocese, and concluded there were “inadequacies in the Archdiocese’s recordkeeping policies and systems that have resulted in the intentional or accident."

Former Pueblo priest Bonfadini denies rape allegations

Pueblo Chieftain

Oct. 28, 2019

By Anthony A. Mestas

Leo Bonfadini emphatically denies that he ever raped a 17-year-old boy when he was a priest and administrator at Pueblo’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in 1979.

The accusations came rushing back last week.

Bonfadini is one of 43 Catholic priests named in the Colorado Special Master’s Report on child sexual abuse who are accused of sexually abusing at least 166 children in Colorado since 1950. The report was initiated by the Colorado Attorney General’s office, in cooperation with the Catholic dioceses in Colorado, including the Pueblo Diocese.

The former Pueblo priest, who now lives in Denver, drove down for an interview with The Pueblo Chieftain on Monday, with Pueblo attorney Joe Koncilja present.

Framingham’s St. Bridget Parish shaken by abuse allegations

MetroWest Daily News

Oct. 28, 2019

By Jeannette Hinkle

“I’m trying not to be in denial, but my prayers this morning were for him and for the person who accused him.”

Rain poured as parishioners exited St. Bridget Parish in Framingham on Sunday.

Two days earlier, the archdiocese announced the parish’s longtime pastor, Rev. Msgr. Francis V. Strahan, was put on administrative leave after it was alleged the priest had sexually abused a minor around 2006.

The allegation has unsettled members of the congregation, and, for many, it was hard to believe.

October 28, 2019

1,300 people sign petition for Pope to intervene in Father Drew scandal


Oct. 28, 2019

By Sarah Hager

A Cincinnati organization recently began a petition asking for the Pope to intervene in the scandal surrounding a former Cincinnati pastor.

Father Geoffrey Drew, 57, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape. He is held in lieu of $5 million bond at the Hamilton County

Monday, the organization Concerned Catholics announced a petition with nearly 1,300 signatures that made its way to Vatican City asking Pope Francis to investigate ‘Archdiocesan commitment to the Decree of Child Protection.'

“The document requests the investigation into how Archdiocese leaders continued to allow Drew to be around children, ignoring grave lay complaints concerning his behavior,” the statement said in part.

Former Top Priest Faces New Abuse Claims As NJ Crackdown Grows


Oct. 28, 2019

By Tom Davis

A new spate of sexual abuse allegations has been levied against a man once considered New Jersey's top priest — just as the state has announced its crackdown on abusive behavior involving members of the clergy is growing.

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in February after accusations he sexually abused two boys and sexually harassed seminarians, faced new accusations this past week that he abused at least seven boys from about 1970 until 1990, according to The Washington Post. Many of the boys traveled with the then-archbishop to fundraisers.

Six more allegations of sexual abuse by DC seminarians and former seminarians also have been forwarded to Catholic Church officials in Rome, The Washington Post said.

From a culture of silence to cover-ups: How Guam ended up with 280 clergy sex abuse claims

Pacific Daily News

Oct. 27, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

A 9-year-old boy confided in his grandmother on several occasions that the parish priest was sexually abusing him.

The grandmother spanked the boy, identified in court documents only by C.B.D. to protect his privacy. She lectured him that the priest was "God's representative and not capable of such actions."

"Unfortunately, due to priests being held to such a high level of respect and stature, it was unheard of them to be capable of committing immoral behavior such as child sexual abuse," Vincent P. Pereda, a board-certified clinical social worker, said.

The same story is repeated in many clergy sex abuse claims. Pereda said preserving the family's honor became more important than protecting children.

"You certainly didn't want a family to be known as accusing a priest, the spiritual leader of a parish community, of misconduct of any form," he said.

This unquestioned reverence for priests and a "culture of silence" contributed to nearly 280 of Guam's children being raped and molested by priests and others associated with the Catholic Church from the 1950s to as late as 2013.

Is there such a thing as too much church reform?

America Magazine

Oct. 27, 2019

By Colleen Carroll Campbell

Almost a year after the Vatican removed now disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from ministry and nearly five months after U.S. bishops met in Baltimore to address the ongoing sexual abuse crisis, many Catholics are feeling frustrated by the slow pace of reform in a scandal-plagued church. These Catholics may find a kindred spirit and cautionary tale in Angélique Arnauld, one of history’s most fascinating, if often forgotten, church reformers.

Born in 1591 to Catholic nobles hungry for ecclesial power and willing to pull a few strings in the corruption-plagued French church to get it, Angélique was named abbess of the prestigious Port-Royal convent near Paris when she was only 7. She was officially installed at age 11, on the same day she received her first communion—a sacrament she only dimly understood.

Angélique spent the next five years drifting in and out of depression-induced illnesses while her mother and an older nun ran the convent for her. When she was 16, a traveling Franciscan preacher inspired her to dedicate her life to Christ and study her faith. Angélique began living her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the hilt, motivating her lukewarm nuns to follow suit.

Over the next decade, Angélique transformed Port-Royal from a haven for spoiled socialites to a bastion of religious rigor. Her nuns rose at 2 a.m. to pray, ate no meat, spoke only once daily during a recreation period, and divided the rest of their hours between hard labor and highly choreographed prayer. It was a grueling life. And in a culture that equated austerity with holiness, it made them spiritual celebrities.

Report about sexual abuse highlights priest who worked in Aspen

Post Independent

Oct. 28, 2019

By Rick Carroll

Of the 43 priests identified in a report last week by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for sexually abusing minors, one of them assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen over 40 years ago once asked not to be transferred when allegations against him surfaced.

Father Robert Harold White “was the most prolific known clergy child sex abuser in Colorado history” and his career is “a microcosm of virtually all the failures we found elsewhere in our review of the Colorado Dioceses’ child sex abuse history,” the report said.

The report was written by former Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and covers sexual abuse by Catholic priests from 1950 to 2019 in the state. While at least 166 children were abused by priests during that time frame, the state’s three dioceses, who were aware of the abuse, did little to address the allegations they instead suppressed.

Though the 263-page report noted that following 1998 no allegations or abuse by priests in Colorado were alleged, there is no way to tell if that is actually the case. The case with White was emblematic of the church’s failure to address rampant priest abuse, the report said.

“The Denver Archdiocese was frequently dishonest with White’s victims, their parishioners, and the public about his child sex abuse and the Denver Archdiocese’s knowledge of it,” the report said. “White’s file reveals the Denver Archdiocese did all this for decades, deploying euphemism and secrecy to protect itself. His file also reveals that broad, deep and permanent harm to children was the consequence.”

New revelations out of Oklahoma about Tucson’s Catholic bishop are extremely disturbing

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 28, 2019

Survivors fear that he may have employed the same tactics on abuse claims here

Victims’ group urges Church and lay investigations to uncover the truth

SNAP says that if anything has been hidden in this diocese it should now be exposed

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse survivors and their supporters will
-- disclose information from a just-released Church report that reveals alarming actions by Tucson’s bishop, and
--urge Catholic officials and law enforcement to probe the way Tucson’s bishop has handled child sex abuse cases here, as well as in his other assignments

Monday, October 28th at 1 p.m.

Questions linger about church's knowledge of abuse

The Mountaineer

Oct. 27, 2019

By Kyle Perrotti

Former Episcopal priest Howard White has finally been brought to justice for sexual abuse crimes he admitted to committing in Haywood, but with civil litigation still pending, the story isn’t yet over.

Last week in Haywood County Superior Court, White, 78, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of three youths in the mid-1980s and one more in 2004 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The emotional hearing featured not only District Attorney Ashley Welch reading the facts of the cases into record, but also one victim’s powerful statement. Between the two, the details that emerged — details which White agreed were factual — confirmed just how monstrous the crimes committed by the once-respected former rector of Grace Church in the Mountains really were.

The four victims present seemed to agree that seeing White plead guilty while not having to take the stand was worth the relatively short sentence he received. But facts that emerged during that hearing raised new questions about how much the church may or may not have known. The victim who offered a statement, Meg Yarbrough, mentioned specifically the role hig

Is Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church Really No Bigger Problem Than the Rest of Society?

National Catholic Register

Oct. 27, 2019

By Jennifer Roback Morse

A recent study reported, “only 6% of seminarians report sexual harassment.” The McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame produced this path-breaking survey. One optimistic conclusion people might draw from this report is “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is no worse than in any other institution of society. People who keep talking about sexual abuse are just bashing the Church.” In my opinion, comparing sex abuse in the Catholic Church with that in other institutions can serve a valid purpose. But I think we need to be careful. Some such comparisons can be actively harmful.

Let me take as an example, The Catholic League’s response to the Notre Dame survey. I choose them because they make a fair statement of a sentiment many people share:

In 2013, Hollaback! commissioned a College Harassment Survey and found that 67 percent of students experienced harassment on campus. In 2006, the American Association of University Women reported that nearly two-thirds of college students experienced sexual harassment at some point during college. In 2018, an online survey by Stop Street Harassment found that 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men said they experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime.

Definitions of sexual harassment vary widely, and incidents range from a sexual joke to rape, thus making comparisons difficult. No matter, compared to life outside the seminaries, the condition in most seminaries today is far better than on college campuses or in the workplace. And they are a vast improvement over what existed in many seminaries not long ago.

The Catholic League’s mission is to defend the Church from slander. Our highly secularized world is filled with people who hate the Catholic Church and miss no opportunity to criticize her. The truly committed sexual revolutionaries honestly believe the Catholic Church is not only bad, but the worst institution ever. I don’t think we should even dignify that statement with a response, should anyone be blunt enough to just blurt it out. The Catholic League, and anyone who loves the Church, is not wrong to defend the Church against scurrilous attacks.

Upcoming bishops' meeting reflects current state of US church

National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 28, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Two weeks from today, the U.S. bishops will gather in Baltimore for their annual plenary meeting and, in a sense, the gathering is a metaphor for the situation of the Catholic Church in our nation at this moment in time. The meeting, like the church, is traditional, but no one knows what to expect, it will largely be ignored by mainstream society, and it is difficult to feel much confidence in the current leadership.

The biggest challenge is to get back to a sense of normalcy without downplaying the still potentially explosive issue of clergy sex abuse. The last two meetings were dominated by the issue with virtually all other business suspended. There were protesters outside the hotel and hordes of reporters inside. The usual friendly banter at the receptions seemed strained. The bishops as a whole looked haggard. And, the conference's leadership did not seem up to the task, at the last minute, forced to withdraw its inadequate proposals by the Vatican last November.

One of the items on the agenda is to elect a new president and vice president of the bishops' conference. It is widely anticipated that current vice president, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, will ascend to the presidency, and this is the one bright spot of the agenda: At a time when our president is demonizing immigrants and worse, inflicting real harm on real people, the bishops are about to elect a Mexican immigrant as their leader. Additionally, Gomez's statements at home tend to be more powerful than what the national conference issues, and so we can all hope protecting immigrants becomes the bishops' top priority in the year ahead.

ANALYSIS: Jackson Diocese weathers series of controversies in 2019

Starkville Daily News

Oct. 28, 2019

By Ryan Phillips

Editor's Note: This story is an analysis of the controversies facing the Catholic Diocese of Jackson over the last year, meant to be a companion piece with our Sunday story about the current status of the investigation at St. Joseph and the Jackson Diocese.

As the wheels continue to spin on the Lenin Vargas case, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson has also endured several other high-profile controversies since last November.

Most recently, the Diocese was reported to be on the receiving end of a civil lawsuit from its former director of finance, Arie "Aad" Mattheus de Lange, who has sued the Diocese and Bishop Joseph Kopacz, claiming he was fired in retaliation for speaking out against budget practices.

First reported by the Clarion Ledger in Jackson earlier this month, the lawsuit alleges that the reasons provided for de Lange’s termination were “false, pretextual, and did not rise to the level of grave reason.”

“Moreover, it is inexplicable how [the Diocese] could have determined there was a grave reason to terminate de Lange based upon his job performance where there was not a single performance appraisal/review,” the lawsuit states. “De Lange's discharge was retaliatory in nature based upon his reasonable objection to the unrealistic budget proposed for Catholic Charities and the potential adverse impact it posed to the diocese."

According to his LinkedIN resume, de Lange worked as the CFO for the Jackson Diocese from February 2013 until October 2018. The lawsuit alleges Kopacz fired him on Oct. 3, 2018 — roughly a month before news broke of the search warrant involving Vargas.

De Lange’s resume goes on to say he immediately found work as interim CFO of the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, before being named as the Chief Finance Officer and Business Manager of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in Texas.

Schmitt close to finishing referrals in Missouri clergy abuse investigation


Oct. 27, 2019

By Brian Hauswirth

Missouri’s attorney general says his office is close to completing 12 referrals of former clergy members across the state for potential criminal prosecution.

This involves Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s (R) investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church.

“We issued the report about a month ago with our findings and announcing that we had the 12 criminal referrals, so we’re in the process of working with those local prosecutors right now, formally making those criminal referrals,” Schmitt says.

Schmitt’s office notes that in Missouri, the jurisdiction to formally investigate clergy abuse lies with local law enforcement and not the attorney general’s office. Schmitt expects the referrals to be completed soon.

Priest's whereabouts, status of investigation uncertain as anniversary of raids nears

Starville Daily News

Oct. 28, 2019

By Ryan Phillips

Nearly a year has passed since a federal search warrant was carried out at St. Joseph’s parish in Starkville and the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, but few new developments have surfaced since the story first grabbed headlines.

Despite the passage of time and rumors spreading through the church body, questions persist about the investigation’s primary suspect, Father Lenin Vargas-Gutierrez, who has not been formally charged nor exonerated in connection with an investigation that alleges not only years of fraud by the now-disgraced priest, but a coverup at the highest levels of the Jackson diocese.

Nov. 6 marks the one-year anniversary of the filing of a 37-page affidavit in federal court that sought to establish probable cause for a search warrant to be carried out at locations at the Starkville parish and at the Jackson diocese office.

October 27, 2019

Accused of sexual abuse, a priest left Colorado for a safe haven: San Diego

San Diego Union-Tribune

October 25, 2019

By Peter Rowe

In 1953, the Rev. Walter Buetzler was accused of molesting a fifth-grade boy after hearing the child’s confession at St. Joseph Parish in Monte Vista, Colo. After the boy’s father complained to the parish council and later to the Diocese of Pueblo’s bishop, Buetzler left the state.

He quickly secured a new job: professor of classical languages at the San Diego College for Men, then part of the University of San Diego. The German native, who died more than 30 years ago, taught on the USD campus until at least 1961.

On Wednesday, the Colorado Attorney General listed Buetzler among the 43 priests its investigation found to have sexually abused minors. The report concluded that, between 1950 and the present, at least 166 children were molested by employees of the state’s three dioceses. The report found that fewer than one in 10 cases had been reported to civilian authorities. Other dioceses were rarely warned when a suspected abuser moved there.

Trial of Indian bishop charged with rape to begin in November

Catholic News Agency

October 24, 2019

The trial of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jullundur, who was charged with rape in April, will begin Nov. 11 in Kottayam. He has been accused of raping a nun repeatedly over the course of two years, and he denies the allegations.

The summons was issued Oct. 23 by a magistrate in Kottayam.

The nun who has accused Bishop Mulakkal of rape has complained against him to the Kerala women's commission, saying he his harrassing her and others through social media videos.

Kerala Cop Transferred After Serving Notice to Rape Accused Bishop Franco

The Wire

October 27, 2019

While the nun accusing the bishop of rape has said she is being targeted by a YouTube channel, the police officer in her case has been transferred.

New Delhi: The saga of the Bishop Franco rape case continues with a new twist: the police officer who served a legal notice to rape accused Franco has now been immediately transferred from his post. Franco is accused of raping a Christian nun 13 times, and a criminal investigation in the case him is ongoing.

The nun who alleges she was raped by Franco has said she has been harassed for months. Earlier this month, she said that a Malayalam YouTube channel named Christian Times had been harassing her. She alleged that this harassment was being done at Franco’s behest. Her complaint was docked at the Vaikom police station. She has also written complaints to the National Women’s Commission, Kerala’s Women’s Commission and the Kerala Human Rights Commission.

The channel itself appears to have a large following of over 52,000 followers. In just the last one month, the channel appears to have uploaded nearly 40 videos about Franco, many of them titled ‘Bishop Franco Mulakkal Nun Fraud Case’.

'People Are Afraid Of Cinema': François Ozon Takes On Church Sexual Abuse

"Weekend Edition," National Public Radio

October 26, 2019

By Rebecca Rosman


French filmmaker François Ozon (8 Women, Young & Beautiful) is known for portrayals of strong female characters.

But for his latest, By the Grace of God, Ozon says he wanted to focus on something different: the fragility of men.

"Usually in cinema, men are action and women are feelings," Ozon told NPR from his office in central Paris. "So I wanted my next film to really portray [men's] emotions and sensibility."

By the Grace of God succeeds in doing that and more with its fictionalized portrayal of one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the French Catholic Church. Lyon-based priest Bernard Preynat is accused of sexually abusing dozens of young boys over the course of decades.

Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Respond To Report On Clergy Abuse

The Patch

October 26, 2019

"They won't tell us what the worst part is because they simply don't want us to know," a spokesperson for Zero Abuse Project said.

Advocates of child sexual abuse victims and survivors themselves reacted Friday to the recent independent review revealing the abuse of victims from Catholic priests in Colorado. The report released Wednesday said at least 166 children were sexually abused by 43 priests since 1950.

"They won't tell us what the worst part is because they simply don't want us to know," said Joelle Casteix, a founding member of the board of directors for Zero Abuse Project. "We don't know who the abusers are because the church won't tell us, the Olympics won't tell us, the Boy Scouts won't tell us."

Colorado report names four local Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse

KKCO-TV (Ch. 11 - NBC affiliate)

By Erin Crooks

October 25, 2019


In Colorado, forty-three Catholic priests are now facing substantiated allegations of child sex abuse; four with ties to Grand Junction and Montrose.

The Colorado Attorney General released the report after an agreement was made with the state's three dioceses, Archdiocese of Denver, the Diocese of Colorado Springs and the Diocese of Pueblo, following months of prior investigation. It reports allegations that 166 children have been abused by dozens of Catholic priests in the state since 1950.

The report lists the names of four Catholic priests locally. Father Joseph Reade was a priest at St. Mary’s Hospital and the VA Hospital, Father Lawrence Sievers at St. Joseph’s Parish and St. Mary’s Hospital and Father Michael Descoise also at St. Joseph’s, all three in Grand Junction. It also mentions Father Gary Kennedy who was a priest in St. Mary’s Parish out of Montrose. All alleged incidents taking place between 1969 and 1987.

EDITORIAL: The Catholic Church yet again fails to account for its victims

Washington Post

October 25, 2019

By Editorial Board

A FEATURE of the Catholic Church’s rippling sexual abuse scandal is that past predations and coverups are often revealed by journalists, government authorities or victims and their advocates, but rarely by the church itself. That has been the case whether the alleged abusers were small-town priests, prominent bishops or the most renowned of the church’s alleged predators: former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington.

The pattern has reinforced the impression of a church culturally incapable of reckoning on its own with what amounts to a systematic moral collapse. For even after repeated pledges of transparency, zero tolerance, and a new era of accountability from the pope and other senior officials in Rome and the United States, fresh allegations surface of rape, assault, molestation and other outrages, and generally the news comes from sources other than church figures.

An instructive case is that of Mr. McCarrick, who, after he was credibly accused of abusing minors as well as young adult seminarians, was removed from the College of Cardinals last year and defrocked this year by the Vatican — the most severe such punishment meted out to a Catholic cardinal in modern memory. In a Vatican statement more than a year ago, Pope Francis pledged that “we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead” in Mr. McCarrick’s case, combing through “the entire documentation” in church records and making known conclusions and relevant facts.

Nearly 13 months later, that investigation continues without comment from the Vatican beyond a vague statement in February, when Mr. McCarrick was ejected from the priesthood, that a church proceeding had found him guilty of committing “sins” with minors and soliciting sex during confession. At the same time, it has emerged that senior church figures, including Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former archbishop of Washington, and others, knew about allegations that Mr. McCarrick regularly molested young adult seminarians and pressured them to sleep with him years before he was stripped of his titles and publicly rebuked.

Now, new accusations have surfaced from individuals who allege Mr. McCarrick subjected them to abuse as children. According to sources cited by The Post’s Michelle Boorstein, at least seven men have leveled new accusations that Mr. McCarrick abused them as boys. They came forward after Mr. McCarrick gave an interview to Slate magazine, blaming unnamed “enemies” for the allegations against him, which he denied.

Writing under the pseudonym Nathan Doe, one of the seven provided a chilling account of childhood trauma at the hands of a man he describes as “untouchable and in complete control.” In the end, he writes, he and his cohort of victims decided “to defend the truth” by telling their stories. Meanwhile, the promised accounting from the church is still pending.

Please, do the right thing and pay up before we die: Abuse victims’ plea to Catholic De La Salle order over compensation

The Sunday Post

October 27, 2019

By Marion Scott

A wealthy Catholic order is being urged to settle damages claims brought by victims of abuse at five of its children’s homes in Scotland before they die.

The call came after it emerged the De La Salle order, some of whose monks were convicted in court of sexual and physical abuse, is now pursing former volunteer managers of schools, claiming they should also be liable for funding the compensation payments.

The order won a legal battle to take the action but now those volunteers have appealed the ruling, meaning former residents are no closer to receiving compensation for their ordeals.

Dozens of elderly volunteers across Scotland, mostly now in their 80s and 90s, could face lengthy and expensive court proceedings over who should be held accountable for paying claims.

Opinion: Torn between faith and profession

Montrose Daily Press

Oct. 27, 2019

By Dennis Anderson

I’m a cradle Catholic.

I typically avoided movies concerning the Church. Hollywood doesn’t always portray Catholics and our faith in the best of light. When the movie “Spotlight” was released, I had zero interest in watching. “Spotlight” tells the story behind the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team’s efforts to uncover the widespread of child sex abuse by priests in the Boston area. Subsequently they uncovered that the Church not only knew about these priests but made unbelievable efforts to conceal the epidemic. All told, there were more than 90 priests confirmed to have been involved.

The Globe’s investigation revealed that the Church, lawyers and some of the faithful went to great lengths to keep the accusations quiet. The team also exposed the fact that psychologists working with the church believed that these priests could be rehabilitated. Some were declared cured and sent back into parishes only to abuse again. One such priest was John J. Geoghan and since the mid-1990s more than 130 people have come forward with horrific tales of his abuse, according to the original Boston Globe article released in January of 2002. Geoghan was the early focus of the team because the church successfully had the court documents attached to his case sealed.

Released in 2015, the movie was critically acclaimed. Those involved in the movie raked in the awards in 2016 including the Academy Award of Best Picture. I’ll typically search out movies that are this lauded. I just wouldn’t budge on this one. Another shot fired at the faithful I richoceted in my mind. But I had no idea what the movie was about other than a scandal that I was personally in denial about.

From West Virginia to the Vatican: How a Catholic bishop secretly sent money from a church hospital to a cardinal in Rome

The Washington Post

October 26, 2019

By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg

The idea came to West Virginia Bishop Michael J. Bransfield while he was in Rome visiting an old friend, a powerful cardinal at the Vatican. Bransfield thought the cleric’s apartment was barren and lacked a comfortable room for watching television.

After Bransfield returned to West Virginia, in May 2017, he sent the cardinal a $14,000 check. “I fixed that room up for him,” Bransfield said in an interview with The Washington Post.

The gift, one of two Bransfield sent to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, was an extraordinary gesture from a religious leader in a state plagued by poverty. Even more unusual was how Bransfield obtained the cash he gave away.

The untold story behind those gifts illustrates how $21 million was moved from a church-owned hospital in Wheeling, W.Va., to be used at Bransfield’s discretion. It adds a new dimension to a financial scandal that has rippled through the Catholic Church since Bransfield’s ouster last year.

A Post investigation found that the money Bransfield sent to Farrell was routed from Wheeling Hospital to the Bishop’s Fund, a charity created by Bransfield with the stated purpose of helping the residents of West Virginia, tax filings show.

As Bransfield prepared to write the first of his personal checks to Farrell, a church official arranged to transfer money from the Bishop’s Fund into a diocese bank account — and then from there to Bransfield’s personal bank account, an internal email obtained by The Post shows.

“Bishop Bransfield made very specific requests,” said Bryan Minor, a Bishop’s Fund board member and diocese employee who wrote the email and arranged the transfers for the gifts to Farrell. “He wanted to have a discretionary fund.”

Bransfield used Bishop’s Fund money for a variety of purposes, including church projects in West Virginia that burnished his reputation as a generous benefactor.

The bishop also drew on it to send the second check to Farrell for the apartment, this time for $15,000, church financial records and emails show.

In all, $321,000 was sent out of West Virginia, in apparent contradiction to the stated purpose of the Bishop’s Fund, The Post found. Church officials have declined to identify the out-of-state recipients.

The hospital was the charity’s only source of funding, tax filings and hospital audits show. As a nonprofit institution that relies heavily on federal funding through Medicare, the hospital is subject to restrictions on how it uses its money.

In the interview with The Post over the summer, Bransfield defended the cash gifts to Farrell, saying they were “funds that I had raised.” He and his attorney did not respond to subsequent questions about The Post’s findings.

Timothy Egan: ‘My faith is complicated’


October 26, 2019

By John Stucke

Unsettled by his mother’s deathbed words about her long-held beliefs, Timothy Egan, a New York Times winner of the Pulitzer Prize and bestselling author, packed his own lapsed faith, curiosity and Pacific Northwest travel wear and set out to explore his spirituality in his new book, “A Pilgrimage to Eternity.”

The journey took him from Canterbury to Rome along the Via Francigena (pronounced frahn-chee-jeh-na), a 1,300-mile pilgrimage through the medieval history of Christianity. Along the way, he wondered about our “malnutrition of the soul” and allowed himself to ponder the possibilities of faith that he has spent most of a lifetime neglecting.

“I’m still haunted by the last hours of my mom’s life. She was a well-read, progressive Catholic, a mother of seven. ‘I’m not feeling it, Timmy,’ she said, the color fading from her face, the strangling tendrils of her brain cancer closing in, that lethal glioblastoma. ‘I’m not sure anymore. I don’t know what to believe or what’s ahead. I don’t … know.’ “

Joan Patricia Egan died in 2012 after spending her retirement years with her husband, Harry Egan, in Sequim. Her remains were buried at sea in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Her son’s book shares his hope to find “a stiff shot of no-bullshit spirituality.” What he finds is something else: amazement and surprise in way he’d never allowed before.

Egan confronts the child sex abuse crisis of the Catholic Church. He writes of the rage and its effect on his family. And he celebrates the words, humility and actions of Pope Francis, who is trying to hold together the 1.3 billion-member church.

“I had to open a vein to write this,” Egan says. “My faith is very complicated.”

Catholic priest caught trying to meet ‘paedophile’ to abuse his son,

Metro News

October 27, 2019

A Catholic priest has been jailed after a man he arranged to meet in order to abuse his son, two, turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Father Matthew Jolley was duped by the officer he first approached on the Grindr dating app in September. It took the priest less than 20 minutes to tell the undercover officer – posing as a 36-year-old bisexual man – that he was sexually interested in young children.

Over the course of a number of depraved chats, Jolley, 32, admitted while he mainly liked girls, a ‘cute’ boy would also be of interest, the Manchester Evening News reports. After telling the police officer he wanted to ‘do his two-year-old son’ – who did not exist – the priest then sent an indecent image of himself.

October 26, 2019

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese taps restorative justice to heal impact of sex abuse

Star Tribune

Oct. 25, 2019

By Jean Hopfensperger

Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, seems an unlikely frequent flier to Twin Cities Catholic churches. She has been introducing them to a new method for addressing the devastating impact of clergy sex abuse through a process called restorative justice.

A philosophy of justice distinct from the crime and punishment system of courtrooms, it pulls together parties affected by a crime — including victims and their communities — and offers them a safe place and process to heal from trauma.

That’s been happening in Twin Cities churches for more than a year, said Geske. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is a national leader in using restorative justice techniques to address the lingering repercussions of clergy abuse, said Geske, who was among the panelists Friday at a symposium titled “Restorative Justice, Law & Healing” at the University of St. Thomas law school in Minneapolis.

Suspended Indianapolis priest charged with sex crimes

Associated Press

October 26, 2019

A suspended Catholic priest in Indiana is facing charges alleging he sexually abused a child in 2016.

The Rev. David Marcotte of Indianapolis is charged in suburban Hamilton County with child solicitation, vicarious sexual gratification and dissemination of matter harmful to minors.

The Indianapolis Archdiocese suspended the 32-year-old Marcotte from public ministry in February after its victim assistance coordinator learned of the abuse allegations. It said that at the time of the alleged abuse, Marcotte was assigned to St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg and St. Martin of Tours Parish in Martinsville

Roman Catholic bishops propose opening priesthood to married deacons in the Amazon region

Washington Post

October 26, 2019

By Stefano Pitrelli and Terrence McCoy

Roman Catholic bishops from across the Amazon recommended Saturday to allow married deacons to become priests — a proposal intended to address a severe shortage in the region, but also one that breaks from centuries of church tradition.

The document by the Vatican gathering — which still needs to be affirmed by Pope Francis — offers a significant shift in church views and could potentially signal a new strategy to modernize key tenets of Catholic tradition, such a priestly celibacy, as the church faces a worldwide decline in vocations.

The proposal, proponents say, would be narrowly applied to permit only selected men ordained as deacons to become priests. The gathering, however, stopped short of fully endorsing calls to allow women as deacons, an ecclesiastical position that can preside over some rites, such as witness marriages, but cannot celebrate Mass.

The bishops instead urged the Vatican to reopen debate on ordaining women as deacons — an appeal quickly backed by Francis.

For the first South American pontiff, the proposals for the ordination of married men are certain to bring fresh strains within the church. Catholic conservatives have been at odds with the Argentine pope over his broad outreach, including to divorced and remarried Catholics.

There is little disagreement over the church’s challenges in the vast Amazon region. Priest shortages are so acute that some Catholics are left effectively on their own. At the same time, evangelical denominations are an increasing force across all of Latin America and siphon off more Catholics each year.

It was about the Amazon rainforest. But issues over ordination were center stage.

“Many of the ecclesial communities of the Amazonian territory have enormous difficulties in accessing the Eucharist,” the bishops said, citing the celebration of the Mass. “Sometimes it takes not just months but even several years before a priest can return to a community to celebrate the Eucharist.”

The three-week synod was convened to discuss a broad range of issues facing the Amazon region and South America, including the church’s role in helping preserve the rainforest. But it was the proposals on the priesthood and women’s role in the clergy that drew the most attention.

Backers of opening the priesthood to married deacons say it is imperative to keep the church relevant in the Amazon. Conservative critics assailed the plan as potentially opening the door to the end of celibacy and married priests in other parts of the world facing a similar shortage in priests.

The measure, approved 128 to 41, now goes to Francis, who is expected to decide whether he will follow it by the end of the year.

If he does, it will address some problems but exacerbate others.

Since Francis succeeded a far more conservative pontiff, Benedict XVI, the Vatican has been increasingly consumed by culture wars between traditionalists and progressives.

The proposals also come at a time of crisis for the church after decades of abuse scandals and, in Latin America and Africa, added pressure from powerful evangelical movements.

These tensions are particularly acute in Brazil, a country long tethered to the rhythms of Catholic life that is now being reshaped by evangelicalism. Catholics, who once accounted for more than 90 percent of the population, are not expected to be even half of it by 2022, according to recent research.

Pope brings environmental push to Peru’s Amazon region

Evangelicals, meanwhile, are surging. They were a key constituency in the rise of Brazil’s nationalist president Jair Bolsonaro. A former evangelical bishop, Marcelo Crivella, is the mayor of Rio de Janeiro. And they are poised to represent more than 40 percent of the population in the next 15 years.

The difficulties facing Catholics are even more urgent in the Amazon.

Patrícia Cabral, the president of Catholic advocacy organization in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, sees it every day working in the Catholic community. Some parishes serve nearly 100 different communities separated by vast distances.

“There are few priests who act in this region,” she said. “Many of the communities are difficult to access and it’s only possible to get there by boat. . . . In some places, the [priest] can only go one time per year.”

But not all Catholic leaders in Brazil, which hosts more than 60 percent of the Amazon within its borders, were supportive of the proposal.

“The problem of the dearth of priests is a problem for the Catholic Church in the whole world, except in some nations. Why this exception for the Amazon?” said Bishop D. José Luis Azcona of the Amazonian state of Para.

Celibacy in the priesthood has been a central part of Roman Catholic tradition for nearly a millennia, but there are some exceptions. Some married Anglican clergy have become priests after converting to Catholicism. There are also married priests in Eastern Rite churches that are in full communion with Rome.

But the proposal would open room for married clergy in the mainstream Latin Rite church.

Francis has issued conflicting signals on the idea. He has said he does not want to overhaul the requirement of celibacy, but he has indicated he would consider ordaining married men of proven virtue — known as “viri probati” — in “very far places . . . when there is a pastoral necessity.”

That language led some Vatican observers to suspect that Saturday’s announcement was only the beginning.

“The possibility to ordain viri probati exists in all countries across the Southern Hemisphere,” said retired bishop Fritz Lobinger, an advocate for married priests.

A Grave Financial Scandal or Papal “Get Tough” Posturing?

Open Tabernacle (blog)

October 25, 2019

By Betty Clermont

Vatican police raided offices of the Secretariat of State and the Financial Information Authority, the Vatican’s financial “watchdog” agency, on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

“They seized documents, computers, telephones and passports and blocked bank accounts,” Edward Pentin reported.

Five employees were suspended, including a priest. The police issued a circular to all security personnel, including the Swiss Guards, that the four lay persons were banned from entering the Vatican City State. (The priest resides in the city.)

The circular had photographs of the five employees “designed in the manner of a ‘Wanted’ poster or mugshot.”

Two days later, “Pope Francis named a top anti-Mafia prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone, as president of the Vatican criminal court over the alleged financial wrongdoing.”

PA Attorney General calls Allentown Diocese property transfers “deeply concerning”

Morning Call

October 26, 2029

By Emily Opilo

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said he is scrutinizing the transfer of properties into trusts by Allentown and other Catholic Dioceses as they were being investigated by a statewide grand jury.

In a meeting with Morning Call reporters and editors Friday, Shapiro called the property transfers “deeply concerning" and consistent with a pattern of secrecy the Allentown Diocese, and Bishop Alfred Schlert, displayed in the 2018 grand jury report, which revealed the abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 priests in six dioceses.

From a culture of silence to cover-ups: How Guam ended up with 280 clergy sex abuse claims

Pacific Daily News

October 27, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

A 9-year-old boy confided in his grandmother on several occasions that the parish priest was sexually abusing him.

The grandmother spanked the boy, identified in court documents only by C.B.D. to protect his privacy. She lectured him that the priest was "God's representative and not capable of such actions."

"Unfortunately, due to priests being held to such a high level of respect and stature, it was unheard of them to be capable of committing immoral behavior such as child sexual abuse," Vincent P. Pereda, a board-certified clinical social worker, said.

The same story is repeated in many clergy sex abuse claims. Pereda said preserving the family's honor became more important than protecting children.

Parishioners seek answers after monsignor is removed over sexual abuse allegations


October 26, 2019

Parishioners at a Framingham Catholic church attended their first Mass since learning their longtime pastor has been removed due to sexual abuse allegations.

The Rev. Monsignor Francis V. Strahan, who was pastor of St. Bridget Parish, was placed on administrative officials by the Archdiocese of Boston after he was accused of sexually abusing a child. He will not be allowed to have any public ministry during the leave, according to the archdiocese.

"It's certainly a confusing time for all of us," said parishioner Gerard Kelly. "I would say to the church, as a parishioner: 'Shame on you. We deserve to know more. We deserve to know more of the facts.' With regards to whether I believe the accusations or not, I don't know enough.

"The single greatest thing they could have done for us, as parishioners, to find closure, would be allow us to say goodbye."

October 25, 2019

Irish ex-priest who abused at least 25 children in California arrested in Portugal


Oct. 25, 2019

Former priest, Limerick-born Oliver O'Grady arrested on child pornography charges and will be returned to Ireland to face up to his crimes.

The former Catholic priest Oliver O'Grady has been arrested in the Algarve, in Portugal, under a European Arrest Warrant.

O'Grady, born in Limerick, was ordained as a priest in California in 1971. The pedophile was sentenced to 14 years in prison in the United States for the rape and sexual abuse of at least 25 children, including two young brothers.

He was paroled after seven years before being deported back to Ireland in 2000.

In 2006, O'Grady was the subject of an award-winning documentary, Deliver Us from Evil. The movie detailed how he preyed on children and how the Catholic church moved him from parish to parish and knew that abuses were happening.

New Lawsuit Filed in California Against Abusive Monsignor from New York

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 25, 2019

In a new lawsuit, a New York native priest is accused of molesting a California child. He is Monsignor Vito Frances Mistretta, originally of Brooklyn. We urge Brooklyn Catholic officials – from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio down to the parish secretaries and bookkeepers - to aggressively seek out more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who could shed light on these abuse reports.

The case is among the first of such suits to be filed under a just-signed California “civil window” law – similar to one in New York - that gives potentially thousands of childhood sexual abuse victims (regardless of their age) three years to sue those who committed and concealed childhood sexual abuse.

In April, Mistretta was listed on the official Sacramento diocese’s ‘credibly accused clerics’ list for at least two alleged crimes. Since then, that list has been updated and now shows four known Mistretta victims.

Mistretta worked at churches in at least three California towns: Sacramento, Roseville and Citrus Heights.

The victim is Michael Thomas, who was abused as a child at Holy Family Catholic church in Citrus Heights CA in 1969. Thomas is urging others to file reports with the California attorney general if they know of or suspect abuse or cover ups by Christian Brothers.

A church leader's abuse and a woman's long struggle: ''I don't know about normal love'

Washington Post

Oct. 25, 2019

By Justin Wm. Moyer The Washington Post

Lauren Griffis says she was groomed by a Virginia church youth leader from the time she was 11. The man crept into her life, forging bonds with her family before prosecutors say he sexually abused her multiple times at age 16.

Justice was swift. Two weeks after the physical relationship began, Lauren's mother called police. The man was arrested in 2016, serving a year in jail for taking indecent liberties with a child as church leaders struggled to respond to a crisis in their congregation.

With a rise in clergy abuse cases coming to light in the MeToo era, some church leaders are becoming transparent with congregants, rather than sweeping allegations under the rug. More than a dozen investigations of the Catholic church were announced last year in the United States, with other scandals among Southern Baptists and evangelical churches.

Experts broadly agree on best practices for church leaders to come forward in abuse cases, but a lack of data and the historical underreporting of sex abuse in the church can make it difficult to know how to address it.

"This issue should never be behind us," said Boz Tchividjian, executive director of the nonprofit Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. "It should always be on our radar screen."

Catholic priest thought he was meeting paedophile from Grindr to arrange abuse

Manchester Evening Sun

Oct. 25, 2019

By Sam Yarwood and Lynda Roughley

A pervert Catholic priest thought he was meeting another paedophile to arrange the abuse of his 'two-year-old-son' - only to be taken down by an undercover cop.

Father Matthew Jolley was stung by the officer after he started talking to him on the dating app Grindr in September. The child didn't exist.

The cop created a fake profile, posing as a 36-year-old bisexual.

Less than 20 minutes later, he received a message from Jolley saying he was interested sexually in young children.

Accusations against the Rev. John Beno stun Puebloans

Pueblo Chieftain

Oct. 25, 2019

By Anthony A. Mestas

Pueblo politicians who worked with the late Rev. John Beno — and undoubtedly many people in the community — were shocked when they heard the sex abuse allegations levied against the popular and well-known Catholic priest, who also was a former state senator.

Beno was one of 43 Catholic priests named in the Colorado Special Master’s Report on child sexual abuse that accused them of sexually abusing at least 166 children in Colorado since 1950. The report was initiated by the Colorado Attorney General’s office, in cooperation with the Catholic dioceses in Colorado, including the Pueblo Diocese.

As a two-term state senator, Beno, a Democrat, served on the state’s Joint Budget and Senate Appropriations committees. He first was elected to the Senate in 1978 and left office in 1986.

The Pueblo Chieftain reached out to several people who worked with Beno politically. Most did not want to comment about the news because they weren’t entirely familiar with the report, but they did express shock.

The news also rocked Pueblo Catholics, many of whom sent emails to The Chieftain.

Mary Beth Corsentino, leader of Pueblo County Democrats, said Friday that the news hit her hard.

“My earliest memories of Father Beno were as an elementary student. I was a student at St. Therese (a former Pueblo Catholic elementary school at the Shrine of St. Therese),” Corsentino said.

Suspended Indianapolis priest charged in sexual abuse case


Oct. 25, 2019

By Bob Blake

A suspended Catholic priest in Indianapolis has been charged in a Hamilton County sexual abuse investigation.

According to Hamilton Superior Court records, Fr. David Marcotte, 32, has been charged with three felonies — child solicitation, vicarious sexual gratification, and dissemination of matter harmful to minors.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis suspended Marcotte from ministry in February after its victim assistance coordinator learned of the abuse allegations. The Archdiocese alerted authorities and notified the chair of the Archdiocesan Review Board about the allegation.

"The Archdiocese has cooperated with law enforcement throughout its investigation," the Archdiocese said in a statement. "Fr. Marcotte has been prohibited from all public ministry while the investigation and legal process is ongoing."

Marcotte was ordained in June 2014 and has served in a number of assignments since then. He has served at SS Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood, the University of Indianapolis, St. Malachy Parish, Brownsburg, St. Martin of Tours Parish in Martinsville, Roncalli High School in Indianapolis. He has also had second stints at UIndy and SS Francis and Clare Parish.

"Let us hold all victims of sexual abuse and misconduct and their families in prayer," the Archdiocese said in its statement.

Richmond Catholic Diocese adds names of more clergy with credible abuse allegations


Oct. 25, 2019

By Saleen Martin, Amy Poulter and Cleo-Symone Scott

Since February, the Richmond Catholic Diocese has added multiple names to its list of clergy with “credible" abuse allegations, including two with previous assignments in Hampton Roads.

The list has been updated in June, September and most recently on Oct. 4. It includes Anthony M. Canu, Patrick J. Cassidy, Terence Doyle, James J. Gormley, Donald Scales and Aedan Manning, whose name appears to be misspelled on the diocese website.

According to the Richmond Diocese, all of these men are dead.

One of those added to the list in June, Anthony M. Canu, was appointed assistant headmaster and registrar at The James Barry-Robinson High School and Home for Boys in Norfolk in 1972, according to Pilot archives.

He was also included in a 2014 list issued by the St. Cloud Diocese in Minnesota. He died in 2019.

Robert McCartney, executive director of the Barry Robinson Center in Norfolk, said this is the first the center has heard about it.

Indian nun who accused bishop of rape says he’s behind smear campaign

Catholic News Service

Oct. 25, 2019

A Catholic nun who accused a bishop of raping her more than a year ago has approached India’s federal rights commission, accusing the prelate of being behind a defamation campaign against her.

However, a spokesman for the Jalandhar Diocese dismissed the defamation accusations.

Ucanews.org reported the nun, based in Kerala state in southern India, wrote to the National Human Rights Commission Oct. 19 seeking action against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar for allegedly tarnishing her image.

“I have been subjected to extreme humiliation and intimidation in various forms” since the crime was reported to police in June 2018, the letter said.

It said church authorities and church social media forums had spread rumors about her and the nuns supporting her.

False statements and fabricated stories aiming to tarnish their reputation and character were spread through social media channels, particularly internet channel Christian Times, the letter said.

Harvey Weinstein came off badly from his surprise appearance - but the audience came off worse

The Guardian

October 25, 2019

By Steve Rose

Is Weinstein so devoid of self-awareness that he didn’t suspect he’d be called out at the Actor’s Hour? Absolutely – and the crowd’s reaction exposes the iron grip of the culture of silence

It is likely to become a drama school improv scenario for decades to come: you’re about to do your standup comedy set at an event for young actors when Harvey Weinstein walks in and sits down. What do you do? Walk out in protest? Perform a citizens’ arrest? Hide the potted plants?

For better or worse, comic Kelly Bachman found herself in exactly this situation on Wednesday when Weinstein, who is out on $1m bail ahead of his impending rape trial in January, shuffled into the Actors’ Hour, a small “speakeasy” on New York’s Lower East Side. He installed himself at a table and was soon surrounded by a small entourage (described as “younger women and older men in suits”). Bachman, who was up to perform, later confessed she’d had nightmares about spotting Weinstein in her audience. But if this was some kind of audition-by-fire, she passed with flying colours.

The entire episode has been well documented, but to summarise, Bachman adjusted her set on the fly to incorporate the kind of attack lines most people would only have thought of 24 hours later. She began by acknowledging “the elephant in the room”, or rather “the Freddy Kreuger” in the room. “I didn’t know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actors’ Hour y’all,” she jokes to the small room. Incredibly, there are boos (in male voices) and a heckler tells her to shut up. “Shut up? This kills at group therapy for rape survivors,” Bachman responds, adding: “I have been raped, surprisingly by no one in this room, but I never got to confront those guys so … uh … just a general ‘fuck you’ to whoever.”

A comic and an audience member confronted Harvey Weinstein at a show. The venue asked them to leave


October 25, 2019

By Madeline Holcombe

A night of comedy ended in a performer and an audience member being asked to leave a bar in New York City after they confronted Harvey Weinstein in the audience.

Kelly Bachman was one of several performers at Manhattan's Downtime Bar in a variety show sponsored by Actor's Hour Wednesday night where, she told CNN, she spotted the former Hollywood producer. She used her time onstage to call Weinstein "Freddy Krueger" and call out rape allegations against him.
Weinstein currently faces criminal charges of predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act, first-degree rape and third-degree rape, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He maintains that all sexual encounters he's been involved in have been consensual.
The trial is expected to begin in January.

Harvey Weinstein Turned Up At An Event For Young Actors. A Woman Confronted Him And Was Thrown Out.

BuzzFeed News

October 24, 2019

By Amber Jamieson

"It kind of felt like old-school Harvey to me — having his own table in a Lower East Side bar, surrounded by actors."

A woman comedian was booed and two attendees kicked out after they protested the appearance of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at an event for young performers in lower Manhattan on Wednesday night.

Weinstein turned up with an entourage to watch Actor's Hour, a monthly event "dedicated to artists" at the Downtime bar in the Lower East Side.

One comedian, Kelly Bachman, called him out in her act onstage, referring to him as "the elephant in the room" and "Freddy Krueger."

"I didn’t know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actor's Hour," said Bachman in a video posted to Instagram.

Archdiocese of Boston removes monsignor over allegation of sexual abuse


Oct. 25, 2019

The Archdiocese of Boston announced Friday the immediate removal of a pastor who was accused of sexually abusing a child in 2006.

Rev. Msgr. Francis V. Strahan, who was pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Framingham, was placed on administrative leave, archdiocese officials announced. While on leave, the archdiocese said he will not have any public ministry.

"The decision to place Msgr. Strahan on administrative leave represents the Archdiocese’s commitment to the welfare of all parties and does not represent a determination of Msgr. Strahan’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to this allegation," officials wrote in a statement.

Archdiocese officials said they had informed law enforcement about the allegations.

According to the parish website, the 86-year-old Strahan was appointed as pastor in 1983. Previously, he served on the faculty of St. John’s Seminary College and Theologate.

In addition to being the pastor of a church, Strahan is the vicar of the Framingham Vicariate, a collection of parishes within the archdiocese.

Jesuit Prep sued again over sex abuse, this time accusing a priest and coach

Morning News

Oct. 25, 2019

By Jennifer Emily

A fourth former student at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has filed a lawsuit alleging he was abused by priests when he was a student there.

The plaintiff, a Dallas lawyer in his 50s, filed the lawsuit this month against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, saying he was sexually abused in the early 1980s by two Jesuit Prep priests.

The priests named in the suit are the Rev. Peter Callery, a teacher and wrestling coach, and the late Rev. Patrick Koch, a former president of the school.

Aquila: Report on Colorado sexual abuse calls Church to vigilance and holiness

Catholic News Agency

Oct. 24, 2019

After the release of a report on sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses, the Archbishop of Denver said that the Church should learn from its past, and that spiritual renewal is an essential part of ensuring a safe environment in the Church.

Issued Oct. 23, the report examined the archives and personnel files of Colorado’s dioceses dating back 70 years. It found that 43 diocesan priests since 1950 have been credibly accused of sexually abusing at least 166 children in the state.

The report was issued after a seven-month investigation conducted by a former U.S. Attorney, Bob Troyer. Colorado’s bishops and the state’s attorney general decided mutually to support the investigation, which was funded by an anonymous donor.

While nearly 70% of victims were abused in the 1960s and 1970s, the most recent acts of clerical sexual abuse documented in the report took place in 1998, when a now incarcerated and laicized Denver priest sexually abused a teenage boy.

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila told CNA Oct. 23 that after the scandal of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick emerged in June 2018, Colorado’s bishops wanted an independent investigation of their own files. The archbishop said they reached an agreement with the attorney general’s office on the investigation because they wanted to understand the “historic nature of sexual abuse within the state of Colorado among diocesan priests.”

Attorneys: Diocese still paying out benefits to abusive priests


Oct. 25, 2019

The Diocese of Rochester's appearance in a U.S. federal courtroom Thursday was mostly procedural.

However, it was a pivotal day for some survivors of clergy abuse as it was the first time they confronted diocesan leaders in an actual courtroom during bankruptcy proceedings.

“It makes it real," said survivor Carol DuPreè . "This isn’t about dollar signs. This is about people’s lives."

DuPreè is one on a nine-member committee comprised of nine sex abuse survivors who have filed claims against the diocese under New York's Child Victims Act. Their role is to represent all abuse claimants and offer input on how the diocese might compensate them.

13WHAM learned Thursday that the diocese is still paying out dental and medical benefits to seven priests who are known to the Catholic Church to have sexually abused children.

Attorneys for survivors say they aren’t pursuing to have those benefits cut. Attorneys for the diocese say those benefits are due to run out at the end of the year.

Former state lawmaker named in Colorado attorney general's investigation of clergy abuse

9 News

Oct. 24, 2019

Among the priests identified in the report on clergy abuse released Wednesday by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser: Father John Beno of Pueblo's St. Francis Xavier parish.

Beno went by another title: Democratic state senator, from 1979 to 1986.

According to abuse allegations detailed in the report, Beno abused two young girls. One was 5 years old at the time of the rape in 1961. She reported the assault in 1996 to the Pueblo Diocese. During an investigation at the time, Beno denied even knowing her, but the diocese found "his denial is outweighed by corroborating evidence," according to the report.

How New York's Catholic Church protected priest accused of abuse

Al Jazeera

Oct. 25, 2019

By Paul Abowd

When Tim Murphy published his memoir in 2007, it revealed allegations of sexual abuse he said he had faced at the hands of a Catholic priest four decades prior.

Murphy's self-portrait depicted a rebellious teenager who grew up in a devout Catholic family in Millbrook, New York, in the United States of the late 1960s.

As a teenager, Murphy had begun abusing drugs and alcohol and had run-ins with law enforcement. That is when his parents asked a family friend - Father Donald Timone - for help counselling their son.

Murphy wrote that this priest abused his parents' trust - detailing the years of alleged molestation he faced during trips to the country and overnight stays at Timone's residence, beginning when he was aged between 12 and 13.

"At this vulnerable season of adolescence this priest left me mentally crippled, an injury that would last for years and years," he wrote in the memoir entitled From Crack to the Cross: A Journey of Hope.

In 2002, Murphy took the advice of a counsellor and decided to file a police report. In 2003, he also reported Timone to the Archdiocese of New York, testifying in person about the alleged abuse he had faced.

Charlotte Diocese discusses abuse claim review process, preps to release names

Wautauga Democrat

Oct. 25, 2019

By Kayla Lasure

As the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte is in the midst of a comprehensive review of clergy personnel files in search of any indication of sexual abuse of minors, Father Patrick J. Winslow explained the ways the entity’s efforts over the years have focused on education, prevention and accountability.

Winslow met with media on Oct. 23 at the St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory to discuss several issues: how the Diocese of Charlotte has responded to the abuse crisis since 2002, how current abuse allegations are handled and the work of the comprehensive review.

Local ties to allegations

A Pennsylvania grand jury filed a report in 2018 revealing hundreds of priests who were accused of abusing more than 1,000 children and that church leaders took steps to cover up the crimes. As a result of this, several dioceses and orders have decided to release the names of accused priests.

In December 2018, the Maryland Province Jesuits released a list of names of priests who were “credibly” accused of sexually abusing minors. The Diocese of Charlotte has since followed suit, and announced its plan to release names by the end of 2019.

October 24, 2019

Disgust, validation, hope: Survivors, Catholics react to report detailing 70 years of Colorado clergy sex abuse

Denver Post

October 25, 2019

By Elise Schmelzer

Seeing Father George Weibel’s name printed in the newspaper Thursday brought Hazel Lorraine Kroehl back to the Broomfield swimming pool where 60 years earlier the priest abused her.

Emotions flooded Kroehl. Then old shame crept up, before being washed away with gratitude. Finally, the world knew the priest for who he was — a pedophile.

Then Kroehl, 72, burst into tears.

“This is the first time I’ve ever cried over it,” she said Thursday.

Former priest pleads guilty to child sexual abuse spanning decades in North Carolina

Episcopal News Service

Oct. 24, 2019

By Egan Millard

Howard White Jr., a former Episcopal priest who was previously convicted of molesting a student during his time as a chaplain at a Rhode Island boarding school, pleaded guilty on Oct. 21 to 15 charges of child sexual abuse in North Carolina.

White, 78, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the assaults that took place from 1984 to 2004, while he was rector of Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

English cardinal admits ‘extent of failures’ on abuse ahead of inquiry


Oct. 24, 2019

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has issued a statement admitting to “failures” on handling abuse by church officials ahead of a government-established inquiry into sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established by the British Home Office - which oversees similar areas as the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security - in 2014. It is independent and does not answer to the government.

The body is investigating abuse in several institutions, including the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, and different state institutions.

Plaintiffs claiming sexual abuse from 1960s file civil suits against Diocese of Rockville Centre

News 12 Long Island

October 23, 2019

A total of five lawsuits were filed Tuesday against the Diocese of Rockville Centre alleging priest sex abuse from decades ago.

Sheryn Silvestre and Joanne Jack made the allegations in February that they were abused by staff at St. Agnes Parish in the 1960s. Joanne’s brother, Alexander, has now joined the case, alleging that he too was sexually abused.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing the three plaintiffs, filed civil complaints that accuse Msgr. John McGann, who would later become bishop of the diocese. It also includes Msgr. Edward Melton, Father Robert L. Brown, and the parish janitor, John Hanlon.

All four men accused are now deceased.

3 File Lawsuit Against Late Bishop McGann Alleging Sexual Assault


October 23, 2019

By Alex Costello

They also named others in the lawsuit, claiming they were abused as children in the 1960s.

Two women and a man have filed a lawsuit today against the late Bishop John McGann, accusing him of sexually assaulting them when they were children, before he was the leader of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the three by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has made a career of suing the Catholic church for sexual abuse of children. Garabedian filed the lawsuits today under the New York State Child Victims Act, according to Newsday, which created a one-year window for past victims of sexual abuse to file suit against their abusers, even though the original statute of limitations passed.

Garabedian originally announced his intent to file lawsuits in February. Today, he named the three who were filing the charges: Sheryn Silvestre, 64, of Thurman, New York; Joanne Jack, 63, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota; and her brother, Alexander Jack Jr., 66, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Newsday reported.

The Vatican’s new corruption scandal

The New York Post

October 23, 2019

By JD Flynn

Jesus told his disciples: “Nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.” The teaching is playing out in real time at the Vatican, the heart of the church founded by the Nazarene.

Prosecutors and gendarmerie staged a raid this month into the usually serene offices of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, seizing computers and caches of documents from archives and employees. Two weeks later, the longtime head of Pope Francis’ security service resigned after leaked ­reports of alleged financial wrongdoing in the Vatican.

Reports have emerged detailing the movement of Vatican money through slush funds across Europe — and a Vatican investment of more than $250 million into luxury London apartments, brokered through a ­financier who profited even while the Vatican’s investment tanked.

Rose McGowan lawsuit accuses Weinstein of 'diabolical' effort to silence her

The Guardian

October 23, 2019

By Mario Koran and agencies

Movie mogul engaged fixers, lawyers and spies to intimidate actor over her allegations of rape, she says in lawsuit

The actor Rose McGowan alleges in a new lawsuit that the film mogul Harvey Weinstein took “diabolical” actions when he learned she was going to write in a memoir that the producer had raped her decades prior, engaging a team of fixers, lawyers and an international spy agency to intimidate and silence her.

“This case is about a diabolical and illegal effort by one of America’s most powerful men and his representatives to silence sexual-assault victims. And it is about the courageous women and journalists who persisted to reveal the truth,” the actor alleges in the lawsuit filed in a California federal court on Wednesday.

Catholic group accused of plots against Pope Francis deny coup claims


October 23, 2019

By Charlie Bradley

POPE FRANCIS is allegedly facing a multi-layered threat to his papacy from the conservative wing of the Catholic Church, with multiple figures and organisations attempting to thwart his progressive and unconventional policy – but he has received a message of support from enigmatic faction Opus Dei.

Opus Dei had a friendly relationship with Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, But Francis' methods represent a contrast to previous conventions in the Catholic Church. The Vatican has seen a more progressive tenure with cardinals being appointed from less recognised churches to represent all corners of Catholicism across the globe. This led to speculation over a rift between Opus Dei and the new pope, with Wayne Madsen writing in his article for Strategic Culture Foundation that the organisation conspired with other conservatives in the Vatican to undermine Francis.

‘I Feel Lucky That It Wasn’t Me’: Catholics Grapple With Revelations About Prominent Priests

Colorado Public Radio

Oct. 24, 2019

By Andrew Kenney

Joe Lupfer recognized the names of the priests instantly: Lawrence St. Peter and James Rasby.

Rasby had been the priest at Lupfer’s communion. St. Peter was a pastor and the president of Holy Family High School, where Lupfer graduated in 1975.

St. Peter “had kind of an aura about him,” he recalled.

“When he would say mass, it was all very precise.”

But the allegations contained in a new report from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office — no, those didn’t make sense to Lupfer. Not at first.

“I really, honestly, would say it’s skepticism,” Lupfer, 63, said of his initial reaction. “I can’t say that I believe it right now.”

Former Catholic and Anglican Priest to Stand Trial for 22 Sex Crimes

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 24, 2019

A former Anglican priest from Fresno accused of sexually assaulting nearly a dozen victims will stand trial. We applaud this move and hope this news encourages others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered his abuse to come forward and make a report to police.

Fr. Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna is the former head of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church in Fresno, CA. Prior to that he was a Catholic priest in Cowiche, Washington. However, he was fired by Church officials in the Diocese of Yakima, Washington. It was later revealed that Fr. Serna was accused of sexually abusing a man in that diocese.

Church Officials Move Slowly on Abusive KC Priest Promoted to Bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 24, 2019

Catholic officials are keeping kids at risk by dragging their feet with a bishop who has multiple “substantiated” allegations of child sexual abuse.

Bishop Joseph Hart is accused of molesting at least ten Missouri boys, and he has allegations from at least six boys in Wyoming. Yet bishops in Kansas City, Cheyenne and Rome are moving at a snail’s pace to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Kansas City church officials are reportedly putting any diocesan effort “on hold until the process in Rome finishes.” But no matter what happens in Rome, cases have already been settled against Bishop Hart here, and the last diocese he worked in has publicly named him among those clergy with “substantiated” allegations of abuse. Given this, there is nothing preventing Bishop James Vann Johnston, Jr. from warning parents, parishioners, prosecutors, and police about Bishop Hart, using pulpit announcements, church bulletins and parish websites. In fact, we believe it is the bishop’s civic and moral duty to do this, immediately and aggressively.

In Kansas City, there are no doubt still some adults who may trust their kids around Bishop Hart, and we are confident that there are still victims who are suffering because of his abuse.

We believe Wyoming Bishop Steven Biegler took more steps to warn police and the public about Bishop Hart than his predecessors did. But there is so much more he could and should do to safeguard children and help victims now.

Irish ex-priest who raped and abused at least 25 kids in California is arrested in Portugal for child pornography

Daily Mail

Oct. 24, 2019

A paedophile Irish ex-priest who raped and abused at least 25 children in California, has reportedly been arrested on the Algarve.

Portuguese police sources confirmed on Thursday Oliver O’Grady, 74, the subject of a 2006 documentary film called Deliver Us from Evil, was the man they had arrested.

O’Grady is understood to have been held on a European Arrest Warrant by Portuguese police.

In January 2012 O’Grady was jailed for three years for possession of large amounts of child pornography.

The images were discovered after the defrocked priest left his laptop on an Aer Lingus flight.

Prolific Predator Priest Arrested for Child Porn in Portugal

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 24, 2019

One of the world’s most notorious predator priests - who admitted molesting at least 25 children in California, was deported to Ireland and later moving to the Netherlands - has just been arrested again. We hope he spends every remaining minute of his life locked up so that children will be safer.

According to reports, Fr. Oliver O’Grady was caught with child pornography in Portugal. He previously spent years in a northern California prison for molesting kids and received considerable media attention in recent years because he was interviewed for and is featured in a highly acclaimed documentary film on the Catholic sex abuse and cover up scandal. (The award-winning film is Deliver Us From Evil).

Years ago, he was defrocked, convicted in northern California, and deported to his native Ireland. In at least one case, he sexually exploited a vulnerable adult parishioner and went on to molest her daughter and sons.

In 2010, a civil lawsuit charged that O’Grady repeatedly sexually assaulted a five-year-old boy in the early 1990s. The crimes reportedly took place in the rectory of Sacred Heart parish in Turlock, where O’Grady was assigned. He was babysitting the child at the time, according to the suit. It says that the defendants “had knowledge or notice of O'Grady's prior acts of unlawful sexual conduct with minors” but “failed to take reasonable steps to prevent future criminal sexual misconduct and molestation.”

Former De La Salle High School student files lawsuit accusing teacher of sexual abuse


Oct. 23, 2019

By Philippe Djegal

On the sidewalk outside De La Salle High School in Concord, former student Jay Hoey announcing the lawsuit he’s filed against his old school, it’s founders and religious order, the Christian brothers and his former teacher, known as Brother Joseph Gutierrez.

Hoey claims Gutierrez drugged and sexually abused him multiple times from 1968 to 1972.

“I’ve suffered from anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, you know, have been diagnosed with bipolar, PTSD. Pretty much everything you can think of,” Hoey said.

Hoey says he didn’t come to grips with the extent of the abuse until 2015, when he had a brain tumor surgically removed.

Gutierrez is on the official diocese of Oakland’s credibly accused clerics list.

He was also accused in a separate civil lawsuit in 2003, of abusing another De La Salle High School student.

CO Attorney General: 43 Catholic Priests Sexually Abused 166 Kids Since 1950

Patheos blog

Oct. 24, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Yesterday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (below) announced the results of his office’s investigation into child sexual abuse in the Catholic archdioceses across the state. His 263-page report covered a period of 70 years, and what his staff found was damning:

The Report reveals that it is more likely than not that from 1950 to the present there have been at least 127 children victimized by 22 Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Denver, at least 3 children victimized by 2 Roman Catholic priests in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and at least 36 children victimized by 19 Roman Catholic priests in the Diocese of Pueblo. Thus, over the last 70 years in Colorado, a total of at least 166 children have been victimized by 43 Roman Catholic priests.

If that’s not enough, 97 victims were apparently abused even after Catholic leaders were aware the priests in question were predators. They didn’t do anything to punish those priests… and then they struck again.

One priest alone, Rev. Harold Robert White, had 63 victims. He was shifted to six different parishes over the course of 15 years.

While none of the priests in question are currently serving in the ministry, that’s only as far as Weiser knows. Of those priests who are credibly accused of sexual abuse and still working in a Church, he wrote, “We know of none, but we also know we cannot be positive there are none.” Yikes…

If there’s any upside for the Catholic Church here, it’s that leaders appeared to work in conjunction with the AG’s office, though there’s doubt that the Church truly handed over all its personnel files. The AG didn’t have the legal power to obtain documents that the Church didn’t want to give his office.


Church Militant

Oct. 23, 2019

By Anita Carey

Despite calls from the victim and a witness, the bishop of Lansing, Michigan, is refusing to take down an erroneous statement that excuses an abusive priest.

A newly published report on the diocesan records pertaining to British extern priest, Fr. Pat Egan, has exposed the failure of the diocese of Lansing, Michigan, to investigate an abuse allegation dating to the 1990s.

Accompanying the report, Bp. Earl Boyea of the diocese of Lansing issued a statement claiming current allegations have been handled properly, while it was "past diocesan officials [who] did not properly handle a prior case dating back to 1990."

Both the summary of findings, signed by Peter Hurford of Honigman LLP, with the claim they conducted "an investigation of Diocesan records" and the diocesan statement noting it as an "independent external review," show the review was limited to just the diocese's files with no investigation into the accuracy of them.

Jury: Ex-priest not guilty of sex abuse

Eastern New Mexico News

Oct. 23, 2019

A former priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor was found not guilty by a Parmer County jury on Wednesday.

The trial of Peter Mukekhe Wafula began last week in Farwell.

Wafula, 40, served in Hereford, Friona and Bovina before he was removed from the ministry in 2018.

He was indicted by a Parmer County grand jury in October 2018.

Archbishop elected head of national body

Winnipeg Free Press

Oct. 24, 2019

By John Longhurst

Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon will head the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He says he is humbled by the confidence and trust placed in him.

For Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon, being elected president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is a "great honour and privilege."

Gagnon, who leads the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, was elected to the top position during the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) annual meeting in Cornwall, Ont., last month.

"It’s a big responsibility," he said, adding he’s humbled that his colleagues "have placed their confidence and trust in me."

As president, Gagnon will lead the national assembly of the bishops of the Catholic Church in Canada as it addresses various issues.

"We don’t issue orders," he said. "Our role is to provide guidelines" and assist the dioceses in "moving forward" on various issues.

One of those issues is reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and whether the CCCB will invite Pope Francis to Canada to issue an apology for the church’s role in residential schools.

Such an invitation is "an ongoing discussion" Gagnon said, adding the Pope is "open to the idea."

"I realize many people want him to come," he said. But "this is not a box for him (the Pope) to tick off."

A papal visit, he shared, would be just one part of the larger process of reconciliation happening in local dioceses across Canada, although he acknowledged it would be a "powerful symbol."

Another item on the agenda of the CCCB is clergy sexual abuse.

Former Montrose priest among those named in special report highlighting child sex abuse

Montrose Press

Oct. 24, 2019

By Katharhynn Heidelberg

An independent review of Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses’ handling of sexual abuse complaints lists allegations against Western Slope priests, including one who served in Montrose.

The review’s results and recommendations were released Wednesday as a “Special Master’s Report” undertaken by Robert Troyer, a retired U.S. Attorney, as part of an agreement between Colorado’s dioceses and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

The report says Gary Kennedy, a former Montrose priest who retired in 2011, was reported last month for alleged sexual abuse said to have occurred between 1967 and 1969, against a boy who was 13 - 15 at the time.

Troyer’s report says Kennedy, who served St. Mary Parish as assistant pastor during the period of alleged abuse, would take a group of altar boys to the church basement where he had set up a mattress behind a curtain and there, would take turns “wrestling” with each boy. The man who came forward in 2019 alleged Kennedy would grab him and grind his genitals against him.

The Archdiocese of Denver was unable to comment on specific cases, its spokesman said Wednesday, after the report was released. The Montrose Daily Press could not immediately locate contact information for Kennedy.

“We must face the past and learn from it, and we must know if our children are safe today,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila said in a letter and video statement released after the report. “Thanks to our ongoing vigilance, they are.” In his statement, the archbishop commended the survivors for their courage and recognized that more survivors might now step forward; Aquila pledged an open-door policy.

Colorado Report Accuses 43 Catholic Priests of Child Sex Abuse

The New York Times

October 23, 2019

By Liam Stack

Investigators said 166 children were abused since 1950, but victims’ groups said the number could be higher. They criticized the inquiry as overly reliant on the voluntary participation of the Catholic Church.

Investigators in Colorado released a report on Wednesday on child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests that chronicled the abuse of 166 children at the hands of 43 priests across the state since 1950, with most of the acts committed by just five priests who abused 102 children.

But the investigation was criticized by victims’ groups. They called it toothless and faulted its reliance on the voluntary participation of the Roman Catholic Church, which the report itself accused of a decades-long effort to hide potentially criminal activity from parishioners and the authorities.

The report said that instances of abuse peaked in the 1960s and 1970s, but investigators said that because of shortcomings in church record-keeping and reporting practices they could not be sure the abuse was not continuing today.

“Arguably the most urgent question asked of our work is this: Are there Colorado priests currently in ministry who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children?” the report said. “The direct answer is only partially satisfying: We know of none, but we also know we cannot be positive there are none.”

It said that files provided by the church “are not reliable proof of the absence of active abuse.”

The report was the result of an investigation commissioned by Phil Weiser, the Colorado attorney general, and led by Bob Troyer, a former United States attorney for Colorado. It came amid a cascade of similar revelations over the past year across the country, as prosecutors investigated past abuse and dioceses themselves released information about accused abusers.

“It’s unimaginable,” Mr. Weiser said at a news conference on Wednesday. “The most painful part for me, we’ve had stories told of victims coming forward — and they weren’t supported.”

Victims’ groups said they were frustrated by the investigation, which relied heavily on files provided by the state’s Catholic dioceses — Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo — under an agreement between the Church and investigators. Investigators in other states, including Texas and Pennsylvania, had used search warrants or subpoenas.

“That’s all well and good but how do you enforce that you got all the files?” said Zach Hiner, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “I appreciate that the A.G. is leaving the door open for a true grand jury investigation, and I hope that he will push for that authority now.”

The agreement also significantly limited the scope of the investigation, the report said.

“It does not chronicle abuse committed by religious-order priests in Colorado or by Diocesan priests before they were ordained,” the report said. “It does not report clergy sexual misconduct with adults, including adult Church personnel like religious sisters or adult seminary students.”

The report said that there were at least 100 occasions since 1950 when church officials received information about child sex abuse that they could have reported to the police, but that they chose to do so fewer than 10 times.

That was driven by “a strong culture of reluctance” to report allegations that might harm the reputation of the church or a fellow priest and it was reinforced, as late as the 1980s, by punishment meted out to those who did report child sex abuse to the authorities, the report said.

One priest was convicted in 2007 of assaulting a child and was removed from the priesthood in 2013, the report said. But it said the statute of limitations meant there was little that could be done to prosecute other abusers now.

Unlike in other states, investigators in Colorado didn’t refer any child sex abuse allegations to the district attorney’s office because most of the cases were too old and many of the accused abusers are dead. Four allegations were already known to prosecutors, it said.

In a statement, SNAP urged Colorado lawmakers to change those laws so that abuse victims could seek justice.

Samuel J. Aquila, the archbishop of Denver, said in a video statement on Wednesday that his archdiocese “would not hide from the past and must face the historical sexual abuse of minors by its diocesan priests.”

“As a result of the attorney general and the church’s shared efforts to have this issue investigated and a report published, several survivors have come forward for the first time and more are likely to come forward in the days ahead,” the archbishop said. “If any survivor wishes to meet personally with me, my door is always open.”

The report contained disturbing descriptions of sexual violence and detailed a decades-long cover-up that included church files that euphemistically categorized sex abuse as a series of “boy troubles” or “boundary violations” that were caused by “nervousness.” It said church personnel in Colorado stopped using those euphemisms only in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Although most of the abuse happened decades ago, the number of allegations reported each year rose steadily as adults began to open up about childhood trauma, the report said.

At least nine children were allegedly abused in the 1980s and at least 11 in the 1990s. The most recent abuse allegation involved four children and one Denver priest in 1998.

The report said two cases of grooming a child for abuse, or taking actions to build trust that could later be exploited, had been reported since 2000. The most recent was in 2011, it said.

Dioceses took an average of 19.5 years to take action against a priest after they were informed of a sexual abuse allegation, and more than half of the victims were abused by a priest after the church had already been notified of an allegation against him. Seven abusers faced no repercussions at all during their lifetimes, the report said.

For survivors like Jeb Barrett, 80, who said that he was sexually abused by a priest as a teenager, the report did not go far enough.

“Survivors and families affected by the abuse are going to be retraumatized,” said Mr. Barrett, who lives in Aurora. “It is further victimization that the church won’t tell the whole truth.”

[Elizabeth Dias contributed reporting.]

October 23, 2019

List of Catholic priests in western NC accused of sexual abuse to come in December

Record and Landmark

Oct. 23, 2019

By Megan Suggs

The Catholic Church in western North Carolina is conducting a review of personnel documents going back to the creation of the diocese in 1972 to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. The plan is to release the list by December.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Patrick Winslow, the vicar general and chancellor for the Diocese of Charlotte, came to St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory to discuss the review process.

The Charlotte diocese is made up of 46 counties, including Iredell.

Winslow said the church adopted a charter in 2002 to prevent sexual abuse by the clergy. The charter includes a zero tolerance protocol where priests accused of sexual abuse are put on temporary leave. A review board determines whether the accusations are credible, and if they are found to be so, the priest is permanently removed from ministry.

Tainted Kerala bishop faces fresh harassment charges

Gulf Today

Oct. 23, 2019

A nun, who had filed a rape case against Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is out on bail, approached the national and state Women’s Commissions and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), alleging that the priest and his supporters harassed her through various online platforms.

“Attempts to intimidate and defame me and my colleagues through the social media were made by the bishop and his followers. False statements, imputations and fabricated stories tarnishing our reputation and character are being systematically spread through the YouTube channel, Christian Times, run by Bishop Franco and his aides,” the complaint said.

The actual intention of these videos was to insult and harass her, her fellow nuns who are witnesses in the case. The idea was also to exert immense pressure on the investigation officials. Though the Kuravilangad police booked a case against the You Tube channel in May this year, the channel continues to upload more videos, she added. Ever since the FIR was registered, she and her fellow nuns were subjected to character assassination, the nun said in the complaint. The nun stated that such actions are a violation of the bail conditions laid down by the Kerala High Court.

The complaint was filed on Oct.19 according to a spokesman of the Save Our Sisters (SOS), an outfit formed in solidarity with the nun against the bishop. “There is a concerted effort to defame her. All kinds of stories are doing the rounds. They started character assassination after all efforts to cow her down failed,” said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, the trial against the tainted bishop will begin at the Additional District Sessions Court 1 in Kottayam on Nov.11. The Additional District Sessions Judge Gopakumar has already issued a summons seeking the bishop to appear for a preliminary hearing on the charge sheet.

Colorado releases new report on Catholic sex abuse in state

Religion News Service

October 23, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has unveiled a new independent report detailing allegations of sex abuse against at least 166 children by 43 Roman Catholic priests over the course of 70 years.

Weiser announced the more than 250-page report during a news conference on Wednesday (Oct. 23), describing the documented abuse of children by Catholic priests going back decades as “unimaginable.”

“The most painful part for me is that we have had stories told of victims coming forward, and they weren’t supported,” Weiser told reporters in Denver. “We can’t make up for that. What we can do is build a culture that going forward, when people come forward and tell their stories, they are supported.”

Weiser also made mention of a new reparations program for victims, which will be funded by dioceses and orchestrated by Kenneth Feinberg.

The report states that 97 of the victims were sexually abused “after the Colorado Dioceses were on notice that the priests were child sex abusers.”

Jury finds former priest not guilty of sexual abuse charges


Oct. 23, 2019

By Kaitlin Johnson and Arianna Martinez

Oct. 23, 2019

A Parmer County jury found Peter Wafula, the former priest accused of sexual abuse of a child, not guilty today.

The courtroom heard the closing statements today before the jury went into deliberations. During the closing statements, the defense told the courtroom, “There is no greater crime on earth than to convict an innocent man.”

On the other hand, the prosecution said, “A person who knows he should never be alone with a child has him alone in a place where he has control.”

The jury had three options to consider, including indecency with a child, assault or not guilty.

Fresno ex-religious leader accused of sex assaults will get trial, judge says

Fresno Bee

Oct. 23, 2019

By Robert Rodriguez

After nine days of testimony from 15 witnesses, Judge Jane Cardoza ruled Wednesday there is enough evidence to send former Anglican priest Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna to trial for allegedly sexually assaulting nearly a dozen of his adult parishioners.

Serna is charged with 22 felony and misdemeanor counts, including sexual battery, battery, attempted sexual battery and attempting to prevent a witness from testifying. With the exception of one woman, all of the alleged victims are men.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he could face 23 years and six months in prison.

Serna’s attorney Ralph Torres said he will prove to a jury Serna’s accusers may have had other motives for seeing him removed from his position in the church.

Diocese of Buffalo Updates List of Accused Priests Yet Continues to Omit Names

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 23, 2019

Church officials in Buffalo have updated their lists of accused priests. However, while providing more information, they continue to omit names, not presenting parishioners and the public with the full truth.

Buffalo church officials split hairs when they refuse to list the names of deceased priests who have “only” one allegation against them. If it weren’t for the Church’s history of obfuscating allegations, minimizing knowledge about them, and declining to investigate them in the first place, it is likely that some of those claims would have been corroborated many years ago. We also know that it is often after seeing that someone else has named an abuser that other victims realize they are not alone and come forward too. This has happened in the #MeToo movement, with university abuse scandals, and within the church abuse scandal.

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Msgr. Rossi, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 23, 2019

This morning, a grand jury declined to indict a Houston-area church official who had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman who had come to him for counseling.

Our hearts ache for Laura Pontikes, the alleged victim in this case. We know that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo himself told Pontikes that he believed her when she first came forward with the allegations against Monsignor Frank Rossi. We also agree with Baylor Professor David Pooler that this case seemed to be a clear example of nonconsent and are saddened for the victim that she was not believed by the grand jurors. We hope that she is getting the help and support that she needs in this challenging time.

To us, this case shows the challenges of recognizing the issue of consent, especially in relationships that have a power imbalance such as in the clergy-penitent relationship. It is nearly impossible for there to be an equal relationship when one person is coming to the other in time of emotional and spiritual crisis.

Attorney General's Report into Clergy Abuse in Colorado Released, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 23, 2019

Today, the Colorado Attorney General released the results of his voluntary review of church records in Colorado. Unfortunately, absent subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony under oath, we are not confident that the attorney general was able to review the full scope of abuse and cover-up in Colorado.

According to this report, over the course of 70 years in Colorado, 166 children were abused by 43 priests. Our hearts ache for each one of these victims and their families. We hope that this report will now compel legislators in Colorado to take steps to institute legislative reform that can help prevent future cases of abuse and support survivors, such as reforming the statute of limitations laws that often bar survivors from bringing claims forward and exposing abusers and their enablers. At the same time, we doubt that these numbers represent the full scope of abuse in the state, especially given the revelations that church officials only reported abusers less than 10 times since 1950.

For A Different Kind Of Catholic: St. William’s Activism, Unorthodox Practices

Louisville Eccentric Observer

Oct. 23, 2019

By Danielle Grady

Members of St. William Catholic Church stood shoulder to shoulder on the steps of their Park Hill church, holding signs and banners declaring: “Refugees and Immigrants Welcome.”

“This morning, we reaffirm our long-standing commitment as a sanctuary parish,” Dawn Dones, the pastoral associate for St. William, told a huddle of TV cameras and reporters.

With that, St. William, located at the corner of 13th and Oak streets, became the first Catholic church in Louisville in recent times to publicly declare itself a sanctuary, but the parish has had many firsts.

St. William has long been known as an advocate for progressive, social justice causes, despite — and sometimes at odds with — the often-conservative nature of the Roman Catholic Church. The congregation’s activism goes back to the ‘60s when it opposed the war in Vietnam and began advocating for fair housing. Since then, the parish has voiced support for other groups and causes, such as Black Lives Matter.

“We believe in what we’re doing. We’re not bashful about it,” said Bob Eiden, a member of the church since the 2000s. “Plus, we’re the progressive center for Louisville.”

This forward-thinking spirit is represented in the way St. William is run and in the way it performs its Masses, as well. The parish is the only one in the Archdiocese of Louisville to be headed by a pastoral administrator (and a woman, at that) instead of a male priest. Decisions are made by the congregation as a whole, instead of being handed down unilaterally by its leader. And during Mass, norms are broken, including the use of gender-neutral language throughout the ceremony, not kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer and reflections given by congregation members over Bible readings instead of a homily from the priest.

Vatican still investigating claims against former bishop

Torrington Telegram

Oct. 23, 2019

By Seth Klamann

The Vatican’s “administrative penal process” into former Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart — which could see the cleric removed from the priesthood — has yet to resolve, the church said Tuesday, and investigations in Kansas City are on hold until the process in Rome finishes.

Current Wyoming Bishop Steven Biegler announced in June that Hart, who has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 10 men, would face adjudication by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The body was first formed to safeguard church doctrine and to investigate heretics nearly 500 years ago.

More recently, the CDF has been the highest court overseeing the penal process into disgraced clerics. Earlier this year, for instance, it upheld the conviction by a church court of the archbishop of Guam. The CDF also investigated former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was accused of sexual abuse. In January, the body issued a decree finding McCarrick guilty and removing him from the priesthood.

According to Crux Now, a Catholic news outlet that’s covered Hart extensively, the former bishop is likely to face a trial in front of five judges. A similar process was followed when the CDF investigated McCarrick and Anthony Apuron, the Guam archbishop. Crux Now also reported that former Wyoming bishop Paul Etienne asked the CDF to investigate Hart in 2010. It’s unclear why the case didn’t move forward then.

At least 166 children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, new report finds

Coorado Sun

Oct. 23, 2019

By Jennifer Brown and Jesse Paul

Catholic priests in Colorado sexually abused at least 166 children since 1950, according to a damning, 263-page report released Wednesday by an independent investigator who found the church expunged files and covered up abuse for decades.

It took nearly 20 years on average for the church to stop an abusive priest after receiving an abuse allegation, and more than half of the child victims were sexually abused after the diocese was aware that the priests were abusers, the review found.

The report accuses 43 priests, but most of the abuse was committed by five. In the Denver archdiocese, three priests alone abused at least 90 children. The report said there were 100 instances in which the church could have reported abuse to police dating back to 1950, but did so fewer than 10 times.

The findings come after a seven-month investigation into the church led by Colorado’s former U.S. attorney, Bob Troyer, and after an agreement between the state’s attorney general and the Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo dioceses. The report is the most comprehensive accounting of abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado to date and comes after similar reckonings across the nation.

The investigation — which was paid for by a private, anonymous donor — did not find any priests currently in ministry who have been credibly accused of abusing children, though the report cautioned that “we cannot be positive there are none.”

Seton Hall Silent on Allegations of Homosexual Subculture at Its Seminaries

National Catholic Register

Oct. 23, 2019

By Lauretta Brown

More than a year after the explosive allegations of sexual abuse of minors and seminarians by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, one of the important unanswered questions is exactly what kind of misconduct the disgraced former bishop committed at Seton Hall University’s two seminaries — and whether this misconduct was situated in the context of an alleged long-standing homosexual subculture that could still be in place today.

In August, Seton Hall released a statement regarding an outside review that the university commissioned last year in the immediate wake of the McCarrick revelations. But although that statement indicates the review has been completed and found that McCarrick had engaged in historical “sexual harassment” of Seton Hall seminarians, it conspicuously failed to discuss the issue of homosexuality directly and whether a homosexual subculture had been found to still exist at Immaculate Conception Seminary and St. Andrew’s Hall College Seminary.

And the statement does not disclose what changes, if any, are contemplated to screening procedures for seminary candidates or the formation of seminarians to address the alleged homosexual subculture.

But according to some of the individuals who provided testimonies to the review, one thing is clear: The response to date by local Church authorities has been very inadequate.

In August 2018, Seton Hall University’s board of regents announced that it had retained Gibbons P.C. as “special counsel to commission an independent review of McCarrick’s influence and actions at the [Immaculate Conception] Seminary. Gibbons retained the law firm of Latham & Watkins to conduct the independent, unrestricted review.”

This review was commissioned shortly after a Catholic News Agency report that featured allegations from seven priests that McCarrick made sexual advances on the seminarians at Seton Hall over a period of decades, initially during his time as an aide to Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York and later as bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, from 1982 to 1986 and as archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, from 1986 to 2000.

Sex abuse crisis: Rev. Donald Becker’s case now in Rome

Batavia News

Oct. 23, 2019

By Matt Surtel

The case of the Rev. Donald Becker is currently in Rome, according to a revised list of priests accused of sexual abuse.

The newly reformatted list was released Tuesday by the Buffalo Diocese. It provides some information not previously available.

Although Becker, 77, was removed from ministry in 2002 and is described as retired, the case in Rome would decide his future standing within the church.

Becker served at St. Mary’s Church in Batavia from 1992 to 2002 when he was placed on sick leave in the aftermath of sexual abuse allegations.

He has been named in a total of six lawsuits filed since Aug. 14. In one, Becker is accused of molesting a boy beginning when he was 11 years old.

Danny Masterson's Alleged Sexual Assault Victims Serve Scientology's David Miscavige With Legal Papers

The Blast

Oct. 22, 2019

By Ryan Naumann

The four women suing Danny Masterson for alleged sexual assault have slapped the Church of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige with legal papers.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Masterson’s alleged victims are informing the court they have legally served Miscavige with their lawsuit. The service was done at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International on Hollywood Boulevard.

The papers were given to an employee at the front of the center. The documents being served will allow their suit to continue on against Miscavige

Back in August, the four women - two of whom are identified by name, the other two are Jane Does, sued Masterson, the Church of Scientology and Miscavige. They accused the defendants of stalking them in an effort to silence their sexual assault allegations against Masterson.

In Bad Faith: Child Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church

Al Jazeera

Oct. 23, 2019

In a series of exclusive interviews with Fault Lines, several men across New York City come forward with painful memories of abuse by a Catholic priest.

They say that Father John Paddack - who was ordained in 1984 and had been ministering in New York until he was suspended in July - molested them during confession and counselling sessions in different Catholic schools across the city.

They are allowing these predator priests to frolic around aimlessly on the streets of New York, with open access, under the shield of a collar.

The men allege years of abuse by Paddack, sparking the latest revelations in a decades-old scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church to its foundation.

And they say that, in the intervening decades, Paddack remained in ministry - working in close proximity to children.

The church should "stop hiding", says Joseph Caramanno, one of the men who says he was abused by Paddack while in high school, and one of the first to open a public case against the priest.

"They are allowing these predator priests to frolic around aimlessly on the streets of New York, with open access, under the shield of a collar," he says.

KATC's The List receives Regional Emmy nominations


Oct. 22, 2019

KATC's news team has received two Suncoast Regional Emmy Award nominations for their programs focusing on the accusations of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Lafayette.

The nominations, organized by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, were announced Monday.

In a half-hour special report, KATC-TV exposed a long-kept secret in the Diocese of Lafayette: The List of priests who faced credible accusations of sexual abuse involving children.

In the 1980s, the diocese was home to the first reported case of clergy sex abuse in the country. The scandal persisted in this devoutly Catholic region for decades and the diocese eventually acknowledged that 15 priests were credibly accused. Over the years abuse survivors called for the 15 names to be made public, yet the diocese refused. As recently as 2014 a former bishop said he saw "no purpose" in releasing the 15 names.

In January 2019 KATC revealed the scandal was far more extensive than the church let on-- and published the names of 36 priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse involving children. This report followed years of research, and months of waiting for the church to release its list. The decision to publish this list ahead of the church's "official" list was based on several factors: an increasing lack of transparency from the diocese, the unwillingness to commit to a release date as other Louisiana dioceses had done, and most importantly the public's right to know.

Springfield Diocese wants to add investigator for clergy abuse reports

The Republican

Oct. 22, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is seeking to hire a new investigator to look into reports of clergy sexual abuse of minors for the Diocesan Review Board.

Jeffrey L. Trant, who recently was appointed to lead the diocese's newly designated Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance that oversees such allegations, said the person hired will succeed the first person to hold the position, retired State Police Officer Kevin Murphy. A search for his successor is underway.

"As a result of an ongoing review that the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance is completing since my appointment as director of the office in June, it was determined that there was a need to hire new investigative staff," Trant said. "Around the same time, Kevin Murphy, who has served as the only investigator for the review board, notified Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski and me of his decision to retire."

Murphy has been the sole investigator for the Diocesan Review Board since 2004.

"The new investigator will succeed Mr. Murphy in conducting investigations of reports of clergy sexual abuse against children, youth and other vulnerable persons once we are cleared to do so by the district attorney for the jurisdiction where the abuse is reported to have occurred," Trant said.

New names added to Buffalo Diocese's list of nearly 100 accused priests

Buffalo News

October 22, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese has added 19 names since last November to its growing list of priests with substantiated claims of child sexual abuse.

That list now includes 97 priests – 75 from the diocese and 22 religious order priests who worked in the diocese.

The list of names has more than doubled in the less than two years since Bishop Richard J. Malone first began identifying priests accused of molesting children.

The diocese’s latest list still represents only a fraction of the roughly 150 clergy who have been publicly accused of sexual impropriety with children and, in a handful of cases, adults. However, it does name three priests who previously had not been outed publicly – in media accounts or in lawsuits – as accused abusers: the Rev. Ramon Aymerich, the Rev. Richard J. Bohm and the Rev. Terrence N. Niedbalski.

Aymerich is identified as having left the Catholic Church in 1982 to become an Episcopal priest. Bohm and Niedbalski are deceased.

Abuse claims put Catholic Church in New York City under scrutiny

Al Jazeera

Oct. 23, 2019

By Paul Abowd

Gabriel* was a young Catholic student when Father John Paddack arrived at his school in 1984. The priest taught at Incarnation School, said mass at its parish and was involved with the altar boy programme. Before long, Gabriel says Paddack began calling him into a secluded place in the church, where the boy was instructed to confess his sins.

That is where Gabriel said Paddack molested him - about twice a week for two years, starting when he was between the ages of 11 and 12 years old.

Gabriel was familiar with the Catholic ritual of confession, but he said Paddack did things differently: There was no barrier separating them. In fact, he said, Paddack sat close to him, placing one hand behind his neck and the other on his inner thigh.

"How do you get alone with someone?" he said. "Confession. You don't have a crowd. It's a one on one thing."

Gabriel kept the trauma of this abuse mostly to himself for decades. He was angry and ashamed. When Al Jazeera's current affairs programme Fault Lines interviewed him in June, he asked to use a pseudonym, fearing retribution from the Catholic Church hierarchy.

October 22, 2019

Prosecutor: Warning to archdiocese about Father Drew was verbal, not written

FOX 19

Oct. 22, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser is clarifying remarks he made recently regarding a warning he said he issued to the archdiocese about one of their priests.

Gmoser recently confirmed to FOX19 NOW he warned the Archdiocese of Cincinnati through a letter in September 2018 to keep the Rev. Geoff Drew away from children and to monitor him.

He now says he realizes that warning was verbal, not written.

“I came to learn later after conferring with the representative, a representative of the Archdiocese, that it was not a letter so there is not some document that they are hiding from you. I stand by what I told them but they were kind enough to inform me that ‘no, Mike, it was not a letter, it was a conversation and that communication was by telephone, not in the written form.'

Illinois chief justice distrusts church hierarchy to police itself on abuse

National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 22, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

Don't count on the bishops to clean up sex abuse in the church, Anne Burke told the annual gathering of Voice of the Faithful here Oct. 19.

Burke, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and a justice of the court's First Judicial District, formerly served as interim chair of the National Review Board for the U.S. bishops' conference; she last addressed Voice of the Faithful in 2012. At that time, she saw reason for optimism that the bishops were willing to address the sex abuse crisis.

"Unfortunately, the hope I extended to you in 2012 has been severely eroded," she said. "I no longer have faith in the hierarchy."

Voice of the Faithful was founded in 2002 in response to the sex abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese, where this year's convention was held. The group now boasts affiliates around the country, which monitors progress on transparency by the church hierarchy on sex abuse and finances.

"I am disheartened to say we continue to learn of new instances of clerical misconduct and discover anew that some members of the hierarchy have engaged in secrecy and cover-ups," Burke said.

‘Save Catholic church' by lifting ban on female priests, activists say

The Guardian

Oct. 22, 2019

By Angela Giuffrida

Campaigners have gathered in Rome to call for the lifting of a ban on female priests that would “save the Catholic Church” where it is failing to ordain enough men.

Activists from the Women’s Ordination Worldwide (Wow) group protested outside the Vatican on Tuesday as the church’s hierarchy pondered the idea of allowing married men in the Amazon to become priests in order to plug the shortage in the region.

The activists argue that ordaining women priests would solve the issue as effectively and should be prioritised.

‌”Empowering women would save the church,” said Kate McElwee, a Rome-based representative of Wow. “Our church and our Earth are in crisis – and empowering women in roles that they are already serving in their communities is a solution. We’re advocating for equality and that includes ordination.”

Diocese of Buffalo reveals newly formatted lists for priests with substantiated sex abuse claims


Oct 22, 2019

By Troy Licastro

The Diocese of Buffalo has a newly formatted list of Diocesan and Religious Order priests with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.

According to the Diocese, these lists include priests whose names were previously published. Deceased priests who have received only a single allegation after their death are not included in the public listing.

“This is not to minimize the allegation, but to point out how difficult it is to substantiate an allegation. Every accused person is entitled to due process and to defense of his reputation. Yet, a deceased priest cannot defend his good name. However, if a deceased priest receives two or more allegations his name will be added to the list,” the Diocese says.

Clergy mandatory reporter laws to protect children from abuse or neglect in the USA

Pearls and Irritations (blog)

October 22, 2019

By James E. Connell

Many, but not all, of the fifty States of the USA have statutes that prevent members of the clergy (of whatever faith) from reporting to civil authorities information about child abuse or neglect that the clergy person acquires in a confidential setting. An effort to repeal or revise these statutes is underway and this effort is rooted both in the sense of urgency placed on the subject by the American people and in a critical moral value that is being violated.

Unquestionably, secrets have a proper place in our lives. At times governments need secrets, businesses need secrets, families need secrets, individuals need secrets, and even churches need secrets. But, if secrets contribute to the abuse or neglect of a minor, that form of secrecy is immoral and perhaps illegal, depending on the civil laws at hand.

However, Americans have taken steps to curtail secrecy that might harm children. All fifty States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories have enacted statutes that require certain persons to report to civil authorities any information these persons acquire regarding abuse or neglect of a child. These persons are referred to as mandatory reporters.

One of the first of many sexual abuse lawsuits expected under a new California law targets Modesto megachurch

Baptist News Global

Oct. 22, 2019

By Bob Allen

A survivor of childhood sexual abuse is suing a California church and her former youth pastor in one of the first of many lawsuits expected to be filed under a new law greatly extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims.

Tracy Epler of Los Osos, California, filed a lawsuit Oct. 17 seeking damages for sexual abuse she claims she endured while attending the high school youth group at First Baptist Church in Modesto in the mid-1970s.

The congregation, now called CrossPoint Community Church, recently settled a lawsuit with another woman claiming that a different youth pastor molested her for in the 1980s.

Two weeks ago Epler could not have filed the lawsuit, because she waited too long to disclose abuse that she says started when she was 17. That changed with the stroke of a pen Oct. 13, when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218, giving victims of childhood sexual abuse either until age 40 or five years from discovery of the abuse to file civil lawsuits.

The previous limit had been 26, or within three years after a survivor discovers that psychological injury or illness experienced in adulthood was caused by abuse suffered in childhood. The bill also includes a three-year “lookback” window allowing victims of any age to bring claims that would otherwise be barred by statutes of limitation.

“This historic state law will make California safer for thousands of families,” said her attorney, Joseph C. George, “but only if victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in schools, camps, churches and day care centers do as Tracy’s doing — find the strength to pick up the phone and call a source of help, be it a therapist, the police, or an attorney.”

Settlement Process Ends in Diocese of Duluth

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 22, 2019

The bankruptcy reorganization at a Minnesota diocese has ended and now dozens of survivors of sexual abuse will be compensated for the abuse and cover-up they experienced. We hope that this process has brought healing to these survivors and that parishioners in Minnesota will be vigilant in keeping an eye out for signs of abuse in the future.

We are grateful to the survivors of sexual abuse from the Diocese of Duluth who stood up for their rights and for all victims. Because of them, hundreds of thousands of pages of previously secret files will be released for all to read and absorb. Understanding the actions of Catholic church officials in suppressing evidence and testimony will go a long way towards helping Minnesota lawmakers shape more effective laws that prevent future abuse.

It is important to note that, while $40 million is a lot of money and is justly deserved by those who have suffered decades in silence, in the grand scheme of things it is but a drop in the bucket given the wealth of the church. In less than one year, if each parishioner in this small diocese made a weekly contribution of $20, the settlement will be paid off in full. For the cost of a stackable washer and dryer per parishioner, ($888), this egregious abuse of children has been settled.

Feinberg begins receiving claims from victims of clergy abuse in Colorado

Colorado Politics

Oct. 22, 2019

By Michael Karlik

Kenneth Feinberg has begun receiving claims from victims of Catholic Church sexual abuse in Colorado, under a voluntary compensation program created by the dioceses of Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

Feinberg, who also managed compensation payouts to victims of 9/11, the Aurora Theater shooting, and the Boston Marathon bombing, told CPR that money is only part of what makes people whole in the wake of their trauma.

Where to watch and stream The Keepers – is the series on Netflix?

Radio Times

Oct. 21, 2019

By Penny Young

The Keepers is a 2017 documentary web series about the true story of the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a nun who taught at a school in Baltimore. Her students believed that her murder was part of a cover-up of a sexual abuse scandal that she had knowledge of.

Directed by Ryan White, the series has been met with critical acclaim for its honest and sensitive treatment of the subject – it does not come to a clear conclusion as to whether the allegations against the authorities have any truth, but leaves viewers to decide for themselves.

Church helping moms involved in Maricopa County assessor’s alleged adoption scheme


Oct. 21, 2019

People here in the Valley are working to help the mothers and families caught up in Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen’s alleged adoption scandal.

Pastors Barmon Langbata and Greg Pratt along with the Life Church at South Mountain in Phoenix are stepping in to help the victims in this case.

Langbata says the tight-knit church is shocked by the whole situation, surrounding Petersen and the alleged baby-trafficking business.

“Everybody’s very sad as far as Marshallese community right now here in Phoenix. We’re trying to get together and do something for them,” he told 12 News.

Langbata had a chance to speak with the mothers recently and says they’re doing pretty good, considering the circumstances.

Texas grand jury declines to indict priest for sexual assault in consent case

Associated Press

Oct. 21, 2019

A Texas grand jury has declined to indict the onetime deputy to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo on charges he sexually assaulted a married woman in a case that raised questions about consent in the #MeToo era.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office had presented the case against Monsignor Frank Rossi on Monday, more than a year after Laura Pontikes filed a criminal complaint with Houston police.

"A grand jury was presented all the evidence and determined that no criminal charges are warranted," said Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office. "If new evidence is discovered at a later date, prosecutors have the option of presenting that evidence to another grand jury for consideration."

Vatican denies risk of default over structural deficit

Associated Press

Oct. 22, 2019

A top Vatican administrator is denying the Holy See risks default over its structural deficit, saying claims in a new book about possible financial ruin are overblown.

Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the office that manages the Vatican's real estate and other assets, told the Avvenire newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference Tuesday that all that is needed is a "spending review" to bring down costs.

Galantino was responding to claims in a new book published Monday, "Universal Judgment" by Italian author Gianluigi Nuzzi, that has added to speculation about the Vatican's finances and the state of Pope Francis' promised reforms.

The Vatican hasn't published a budget since 2015 and has been without an in-house auditor or economy minister for more than two years, fueling conspiracies about its financial health.

Facing fresh charges of financial scandal, all the pope’s men strike back


Oct. 22, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Back in 2009, a frenzy broke out around the then-editor of the newspaper of the Italian bishops, a layman named Dino Boffo, with lurid media accounts first of his alleged homosexual misconduct, and then, when the charges turned out to be bogus, speculation about who’d set him up. Many theorized a complex plot involving the Vatican’s Secretary of State, the head of the Vatican gendarmes, and the editor of the Vatican paper.

Through it all, the Vatican stayed mute for 18 long days until it finally issued a rebuttal. At that point, people had already assumed silence signified consent, with one Italian daily breaking the news under the following headline: “The Vatican denies everything … No one believes it.”

Judging from Tuesday in Rome, all the pope’s men are determined not to let history repeat itself.

Facing a new wave of purported financial scandals, with a major piece in Italy’s most widely-read newsmagazine by one well-known journalist on Sunday and the launch of a new book by another Monday night, on Tuesday the empire struck back, with two of the pope’s closest counselors going on the offensive.

Ex-St. George’s chaplain pleads guilty again to sexually abusing children

Providence Journal

Oct. 22, 2019

A former North Carolina Episcopal priest who was previously imprisoned for child sexual abuse has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexually abusing children in a different case.

WLOS-TV reports 78-year-old Howard White Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of second-degree forcible rape, eight counts of second-degree forcible sex offense and seven counts of indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

White was charged last year with abusing a boy and a girl in the 1980s while he worked at Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville. Those charges came while he was serving an 18-month sentence for pleading guilty in 2017 to sexually assaulting a student in Boston while serving as chaplain at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Report shows credible child sexual abuse allegations against multiple Boise priests

Idaho Statesman

Oct. 21, 2019

By Kelsey Grey and Ruth Brown

Fifteen Catholic priests and one deacon who worked at or were associated with the Diocese of Boise have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor since the 1950s, according to a report released Monday by the Diocese.

Those priests have since been removed from the ministry. The cases date back to 1950, and were reported as recently as 2018. Six of the 15 priests were clergy members of the Diocese of Boise, while nine were from other dioceses but were at one point assigned to Boise.

Since 1950, more than 300 priests have served in the Diocese of Boise.

The cases were presented to the Diocesan Review Board for Sexual Abuse of Minors in 2002. The Diocese of Boise informed law enforcement “in appropriate cases where the alleged perpetrator was known to be alive,” according to the report.

October 21, 2019

Graphic witness testimony describes former Fresno Anglican priests so-called 'healing massages'


Oct. 21, 2019

By Jason Oliveira

Jesus Serna, who was known to his followers as Father Antonio, served from 2007 until 2017 at Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Anglican Church in Fresno.

It was during this time police say he used his power in the church to sexually assault multiple victims --mostly men-- while at his East Shaw office location. He has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of felony sexual battery involving 10 members of his former church.

Cameras and recording devices were not allowed in the courtroom as Serna listened to Monday's testimony through a court-appointed translator as his former office assistant told the court he "saw some very unsavory things while at the office."

According to police, parishioners believed Serna had healing powers through a special massage ritual that could cure everything from drug addiction to body pain to even a person dealing with marital issues.

But Police say the so-called ritual was just a way for Serna to sexually assault his victims.

His former office assistant testified: "Victims would be on the massage table covered with a blanket but I could tell Father's hands were underneath the victim's underwear"

The prosecutor then asked: "Would you say you witnessed Father touch the genitals of around 30 parishioners?

Former Mountain Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Charges, Survivor Forgives


Oct. 21, 2019

By Rex Hodge

A former mountain priest is sentenced to a dozen years in prison. 78-year-old Howard White pleaded guilty to multiple child sex abuse charges during his tenure at Waynesville’s Grace Church in the Mountains. White was rector at the church from 1984 until 2006.

“He pleaded guilty to all 15 counts that we had indicted him on for offenses,” says District Attorney Ashley Welch. “All in the 1980's except for onein 2004...3 men and one woman,” says Welch.

Four of his victims were in court Monday to hear White's guilty plea to second degree forcible rape, second degree child sexual abuse, and indecent liberties with a child.

Margaret Yarbrough defines herself as a survivor.

“I forgave the defendant long ago,” she says, “because I had to do so in order to...it would have cost me my life had I not done it.”

“I would encourage any victim to tell someone whether you report it or not, tell someone, so that you can move forward,” she says. “I came forward because I expect my children to do the right thing and I cannot expect them to do the right thing if I do not do the right thing.”

Two years ago, White pleaded guilty to child sex charges in Massachusetts., serving a year in prison before being returned to Haywood County to face the local charges.

What Is Owed To Victims Of Abuse In The Catholic Church?

Colorado Public Radio

October 21, 2019

By Anthony Cotton, Andrea Dukakis, and Alex Scoville

It’s a difficult job, but one attorney Kenneth Feinberg has taken on — again and again.

After 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Aurora Theater shooting, Feinberg has been responsible for deciding how much money is owed to victims of those tragedies and others. By his own admission they aren’t easy decisions.

"This is a judgment that one has to make based on the credibility of the claim, the nature and scope of the abuse and the damage suffered by the victim,” Feinberg said.

Now he’s being asked to make that judgement again, this time for the victims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Colorado.

The formation of the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program was announced by Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Attorney General Phil Weiser in February along with a review of church records to determine which priests in the dioceses of Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo have had credible allegations of sexual abuse made against them.

Feinberg has done similar work with other Catholic Church victims in other states, including California, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

Guam clergy sex abuse survivors may receive payments in 2020

Associated Press

Oct. 21, 2019

Officials say Guam’s clergy sex abuse survivors could begin receiving compensation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in the first half of 2020.

The Pacific Daily News reported a U.S. District Court judge has given the archdiocese more time to calculate payment amounts to nearly 280 clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants.

Officials say victims and church officials are scheduled to go into mediation Oct. 30, with a church reorganization plan to follow.

The judge has granted an archdiocese request for a second extension of a deadline to file a reorganization plan and disclosure statement to Jan. 16, 2020.

Duluth diocese concludes bankruptcy

Minnesota Public Radio

Oct. 21, 2019

By Martin Moylan

Scores of child sexual abuse victims in the Diocese of Duluth will soon share tens of millions of dollars in compensation, following a federal judge’s final approval Monday of a bankruptcy reorganization plan for the diocese.

The plan provides abuse survivors with about $40 million and access to the records of priests who molested them.

“The diocese (must) turn over to us and eventually make public thousands of pages of documents on the credibly-accused priests within the Diocese of Duluth,” said Mike Finnegan, an attorney representing victims.

He said the church also agreed to implement broad child protection measures to make sure children are better protected in the future.

MPR News investigationBetrayed by Silence
In MaySettlement reached in Duluth diocese church abuse cases
“This is a day where the survivors stood up, had their voices heard, had their courage acknowledged in court by the judge, by the bishop and by everybody else that was there,” Finnegan added.

Bishop Paul Sirba said his first thoughts are with the innocent people harmed by clergy.

Insurers Face Wave of Costly Child Sex-Abuse Claims

Wall Street Journal

Oct. 20, 2019

By Nicole Friedman and Ian Lovett1

New state laws encouraging child sex-abuse victims to come forward are expected to spur a wave of lawsuits against insurance companies.

Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C., have laws going into effect this year that extend or eliminate the statute of limitations for child sex-abuse claims against alleged abusers or the institutions they were affiliated with, according to advocacy group Child USA.

Most of these institutions, such as churches or schools, are expected to try to use liability insurance to cover some of the cost of defending against these lawsuits and paying potential damages.

But almost every aspect of these insurance contracts could end up under dispute. In some cases, it might be difficult to find a contract at all.

“The insurance litigation wave is just beginning,” said Robert Chesler, an attorney at Anderson Kill, which represents insurance policyholders.

Contributions to Catholic Church plunge amid sex abuse crisis as Vatican 'faces default'

The Telegraph

Oct. 21, 2019

By Nick Squires

Worldwide donations to the Catholic Church have plunged in the wake of sex abuse scandals that have eroded faith in the Vatican, a new book claims.

The Church’s finances are in such a dire state – a result of a toxic mix of incompetence, internal wrangling and corruption – that the Vatican risks a default by 2023, according to the expose.

The amount of money donated by ordinary Catholics to the Church, known as Peter’s Pence, has plummeted from €101 million in 2006 to €70 million in 2016 and may now be less than €60 million.

Only a fifth of the total goes to helping the poor and needy, with the rest held in bank accounts or used to plug gaps in the finances of the Curia, the Vatican’s governing body.

The revelations are based on scrutiny of 3,000 confidential documents obtained by an Italian investigative journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi.

In his book, Universal Judgment, which was published on Monday, he portrays the Vatican as a viper’s nest of jealous cardinals, warring departments and avaricious officials who are adept at parallel book-keeping.

Court upholds defrocked priest’s conviction

Beeville Bee-Picayune

October 17, 2019

By Gary Kent

Bee County District Attorney José Aliseda announced recently that the 13th Court of Appeals has upheld the early March 2018 conviction of a former Catholic priest here.

Stephen Tarleton Dougherty had been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2016 and indicted in June of that year.

Although the defendant’s initial trial ended in a mistrial in March 2017, the second trial started in early 2018 for the first degree felony offense when he was 61 years old.

Jurors deliberated close to three hours before returning to 156th District Court Judge Patrick Flanigan’s courtroom with a guilty verdict.

Jurors then returned after less than 40 minutes with a recommendation for a 60-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.



Oct. 21, 2019

By Mohammed-Al-Hilli

Child abuse revelations have rocked the Catholic church in the last generation, leading to lasting damage to how the Church is viewed worldwide and even shaking the faith of some believers.

Some speculate that a similar scandal is brewing in Shia Islam, with abusers exposed to be using egregious misrepresentations of religious law to facilitate their attacks.

The limelight has been shone on this in a recent BBC documentary, provocatively titled "Undercover with the Clerics." Girls as young as 13 were essentially pimped out by Iraqi men who claimed religious legitimacy. Specifically, the men stated they were followers of Grand Ayatollah Syed Sistani, despite the fact that the cleric has condemned their actions as abhorrent not only to Islam's values but to Iraqi law and human rights.

Those human rights have come on in leaps and bounds in Iraq since the toppling of Saddam and his dictatorship in 2003.

Civil society has gone from being all but non-existent to becoming one of the more vibrant examples of life in the region. Iraq's constitution guarantees that at least a quarter of the country's members of parliament are women (a slightly higher percentage than in the current U.S. House of Representatives.)

Diocese of Lansing apologizes for mishandled 1990 sexual abuse case

Lansing State Journal

Oct. 21, 2019

By Justine Lofton

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing failed to investigate allegations of a priest sexually assaulting a man during a boxing training camp in 1990, a new report shows.

Nearly 30 years later, the diocese has apologized to the victim, The Associated Press reports. The priest in the case was stripped of his priestly faculties in 2018 after an investigation into a similar case that occurred in 2014.

Roman Catholic Diocese hired law firm Honigman LLP to investigate the 1990 case, The AP reports. The firm’s report released Thursday, Oct. 17, determined the case was mishandled.

The victim sent a letter in 1990 to the Rev. Patrick Egan that said Egan sexually assaulted him the year before, when he was 25 years old, The AP reports. The diocese learned of the accusation in early 1990s but didn’t investigate because the victim was not a minor when the alleged assault occurred.

Boise Priest Defrocked by the Vatican, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 21, 2019

A Boise priest whose trial uncovered incredibly violent child pornography and chat logs was defrocked by the Vatican today. While it is unlikely that this priest will ever get out of prison, we hope that church officials continue to keep tabs on him instead of simply washing their hands.

Fr. W. Thomas Faucher was sentenced last year to 25 years in prison for the possession of incredibly violent child pornography. During his trial, online conversations were revealed in which Fr. Faucher spoke in detail of his desires to rape and murder young infants.

It is clear that an offender like Fr. Faucher should receive the stiffest penalties possible from both the state and his employer. And even though he was sentenced without the possibility of parole, we hope that church officials will continue to monitor his whereabouts and status. This is especially crucial given the recent AP News investigation that discovered nearly 1700 abusive priests were living without oversight from church officials, giving them an opportunity to offend again.

‘Jane Doe’ settles priest sexual abuse lawsuit against Diocese of Rockville Centre

News 12

Oct. 18, 2019

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has publicly named a priest accused of sexually abusing a child more than 35 years ago.

A woman, known only as Jane Doe, settled a lawsuit against Fr. Joseph D. Casaclang with the diocese. She claims that she was between the ages of 10-13 when she was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Parish in Kings Park. According to the suit, Father Casaclang visited the family and sexually abuse the girl at her family’s home.

The alleged abuse occurred between 1979 and 1982.

In a phone call, Jane Doe says she settled the lawsuit for an amount in the low six-figures.

Long Island Lawmaker Seeks To Ease Financial Burden Of Child Sexual Assault Victims

WSHU Radio

Oct. 17, 2019

By J.D. Allen

A state senator from Long Island has proposed legislation that would establish a legal fund for sexual assault victims who want to take advantage of a one-year window offered by New York to file civil lawsuits against their alleged offenders.

More than 850 cases have been filed since the Child Victims Act was signed into law in August. Most of the cases have targeted institutions with significant financial backing, like the Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church.

State Senator Jim Gaughran of Long Island plans to introduce a bill when the legislature reconvenes in January. It would have a state agency manage a private fund to cover the legal fees associated with filing such cases. New Yorkers would be able to donate to the fund.

At Least Seven More McCarrick Survivors Come Forward, SNAP Urges Outreach

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 17, 2019

At least seven more men have come forward to allege that a now-disgraced cardinal abused them as children. We applaud these survivors for coming forward and hope that these men are getting the help and support that they need.

Sadly, these latest allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick are likely not the last. Studies have shown time and again that that most cases of sexual violence are never reported in the first place. This is why it is critical that church officials use their substantial resources and standing to warn parishioners and the public about abusers, urge victims and witnesses to make reports to police, and, critically, continue to do so regularly.

Even more importantly, this is why we believe that civil authorities such as Attorneys General or state police should open investigations into the dioceses into their state, armed with subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony under oath. We know that institutions cannot police themselves and that the best way for the fullest truth to emerge is for all records to be reviewed by independent professionals in law enforcement.

This is especially critical for the safety of children, as we also know that there is no special age at which an abuser stops abusing. There have been many cases where abusers have gone on to abuse again, despite being monitored as McCarrick supposedly is. We hope that church officials in Kansas will warn the public about McCarrick’s presence and that their colleagues in every diocese in which he served will again reach out to their flocks to share this news and urge other victims to come forward.

Judge denies retrial for DC priest found guilty of sex abuse


Oct. 20, 2019

By Jack Pointer

October 18, 2019

A Catholic priest convicted this summer of sexually abusing two girls at a Northwest D.C. church will not get a new trial, a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

Urbano Vazquez was found guilty Aug. 15 on four counts of sexual abuse for acts involving two girls between 2015 and 2017.

The 47-year-old had served as assistant pastor at Shrine of the Sacred Heart.

In filing a motion for retrial last month, Vazquez’s defense attorney cited errors that deprived the priest of a fair trial, including denying a request to try him separately for each victim. In addition, prosecutors used evidence of other alleged acts for which he wasn’t charged, lawyer Robert Bonsib said.

Judge Juliet McKenna ruled that those arguments had been argued and ruled upon before the jury trial.

Vazquez faces a maximum of 45 years plus 270 days in prison when the judge sentences him Nov. 22.

Catholic Church strips Boise priest of title, cuts ties with sex offender

Idaho Statesman

Oct. 21, 2019

By Ruth Brown

The Vatican formally cut ties with W. Thomas Faucher, a former Boise priest who pleaded guilty last year to some of the most violent, depraved child pornography seen in recent Ada County history.

Faucher, 74, pleaded guilty to five felony crimes and was sentenced in December to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

On Saturday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise issued a press release announcing the Vatican’s decision. The Diocese said Bishop Peter Christensen informed Faucher of the decision, which the Vatican called “serious and unappealable,” according to the press release. That means Faucher will no longer be able to call himself a priest or exercise any of the duties of a clergy member.

Extra jail time for rapist ex-priest who assaulted boy at summer camp

Morning Herald

Oct. 21, 2019

By Adam Cooper

A former Catholic priest who was jailed for raping a boy at a notorious Victorian boarding school will spend more time in prison for sexually assaulting another child.

Michael Aulsebrook, a one-time deputy principal at Salesian College Rupertswood, is in prison after he was last year found guilty of raping an 11-year-old boarding student at the Sunbury school in 1988.

After the rape, a trial in the County Court heard, Aulsebrook told the boy: ‘‘Get out of my sight, you disgust me.’’

On Monday, the 63-year-old had his jail term increased after pleading guilty this year to indecently assaulting another boy, then aged 11, at a camp away from the school in 1985 or 1986.

Utah woman to sue LDS Church using California law that helps child sex assault survivors


Oct. 16, 2019

By Cristina Flores

Kristy Johnson, now a resident of Utah, is preparing to sue The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under a newly-passed California law designed to help adults who were sexually assaulted as children.

California Assembly Bill 218 becomes law in 2020.

Unlike Utah law, which allows adults who were victimized as children to sue perpetrators as individuals, the California law also allows victims to sue entities and institutions that covered up the sexual assault or allowed it to happen when they had the power to stop it.

“These places that have purposely covered up, I don’t care who you are, it’s time to pay the price for that,” Johnson said.

Case Against Accused Priest that Ended in Hung Jury to be Re-tried

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 18, 2019

We are thrilled by the decision to re-try a Kansas City archdiocese priest whose trial last month ended in a hung jury. We believe this move will help keep children in Kansas safer and sends the message that abuse will not be tolerated.

The formal charges against Fr. Scott Kallal stemmed from abuse allegations from one girl, but during the trial at least two other girls testified. Going through a trial even once demonstrates real courage by this teenager and her family and they are to be applauded for their willingness to go trial a second time. We hope any others with knowledge of or suspicions about Fr. Kallal will be inspired by this bravery and step forward so these young girls who testified won’t have to shoulder this burden alone.

If the full truth is to be exposed here, it is crucial that victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers come forward to law enforcement officials and report any information or suspicions. We hope that church officials in Kansas City, KS will take steps to urge parishioners and the public to share what they know with police and prosecutors now.

Another Lawsuit Filed Against Msgr. Vincent Breen

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 18, 2019

A new lawsuit has been filed by three survivors of childhood sexual abuse who allege they were abused at the hands of a priest in the Diocese of Oakland. Suits were previously file in 2003 and 2010. We applaud these courageous women who have persevered to bring more information about the abuse by Msgr. Vincent Breen to light. Without the recently passed AB 218 signed by Governor Gavin Newsom and championed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, there would be no opportunity to fully reveal the monsignor’s predations.

Of note is the repeated failure of multiple adults – including nuns, bishops, school principals and other priests – to defend and protect children. Instead, they allowed Msgr. Breen to prey upon young girls for at least 22 years. All, it appears, because of his prodigious fundraising prowess.

Also of note is the terrible corruption evident in the "deal" made by then-Bishop John Cummins with the Alameda County District Attorney’s office. Msgr. Breen had been arrested in 1981, with Fremont police having identified at least eight victims. But instead of going to jail, the monsignor was let off the hook on condition he move out of the county. He was permitted to retire a priest in "good standing" and never faced criminal justice.

Last church Chapter 11 funds are handed out

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 21, 2019

Four non-profit groups that help prevent and heal the wounds of child sex abuse will soon get $150,000 as a decade-long process of resolving predator priests cases in the Davenport Catholic diocese comes to a close.

In 2008, more than 180 victims of child molesting clerics resolved the diocesan bankruptcy which church officials began in 2006. The victims insisted, however, that $1.5 million be preserved for ten years to compensate other victims who “were still trapped in silence, shame and self-blame” and could not come forward in time for the court-established deadline, said Davenport attorney Craig Levien, who represented them.

Twenty victims later applied for and received awards from that ‘future claimants’ fund. Back in 2008, the bankruptcy court set a deadline of ten years for that fund, which expired last summer.

Whatever monies were left over, the original victims ensured, would eventually go to groups that prevent or expose abuse and help those wounded by abuse.

Bransfield extreme, but most US bishops have no meaningful spending controls

National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 21, 2019

By Fr. Peter Daly

The former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, represents the worst in the corrupted tradition of the priesthood over the centuries. He saw the church and its resources as his personal plaything. He saw the people of the church, both clergy and laity, as his servants. He sees himself as a feudal lord. Unlike Jesus, he did not see himself as a servant, especially to the poor.

Bishop Michael Bransfield is not alone. There are many other bishops and priests like him. They are the spiritual heirs of the Borgias and the Medici.

Before Bransfield went to West Virginia, he was the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. There, at the largest Catholic Church in North America, he got accustomed to access to enormous amounts of money and to powerful friends. He also employed and hosted many young seminarians and priests from various seminaries and religious houses that surround Catholic University of America.

SBC president offers blunt sermon on sexual abuse

Wichita Falls Times Record News

Oct. 20, 2019

By Terry Mttingly

For decades, Southern Baptist leaders rolled their eyes whenever there were headlines about clergy sexual abuse cases.

That was – wink, wink – a Catholic thing linked to celibate priests. Then there were those mainline Protestants, and even some evangelicals, who modernized their teachings on marriage and sex. No wonder they were having problems.

This was a powerful, unbiblical myth that helped Southern Baptists ignore their own predators, said SBC President J.D. Greear, during a recent national conference hosted by the denomination's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the new SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group.

"The danger of this myth is that it is naive: It relegates abuse to an ideological problem, when it should be most properly seen as a depravity problem. … It fails to recognize that wherever people exist in power without accountability abuse will foster," said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church near Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Bishops: Inside the exclusive school rocked by sex scandal

News 24

Oct. 20, 2019

By Jenni Evans

It's the scandal that rocked Bishops Diocesan College in Rondebosch, Cape Town: a 30-year old teacher is accused of having an illicit relationship with an 18-year-old matric pupil.

Few would have predicted that a relationship between a pupil at Cape Town's elite Bishops Diocesan College and a female teacher would have snowballed this week to a take-down request to a porn site and a group of top lawyers being appointed for everybody involved.

But that is what happened after the news broke that the school, founded by the Anglican Church, is investigating a case of serious sexual misconduct against one of its female teachers.

Situated in leafy Rondebosch, the school is one of the most exclusive - and expensive - private schools in the country, and has produced a wealth of well-known South Africans.

October 20, 2019

Vatican rejects appeal from Indian nun over 'lifestyle' dismissal

United Press International

October 20, 2019

By Nicholas Sakelaris

The Vatican has rejected an appeal from an Indian nun who's fighting her dismissal two months ago from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation.

Sister Lucy Kalappura's expulsion came after she reported a rape involving another nun and a powerful bishop -- and ran afoul of the Catholic Church for publishing books and songs, and gaining money from the endeavors. She came under fire after supporting a group of nuns who publicly condemned the rape.

Different clicks, same prayer: Pope asks Catholics to pray the rosary

Catholic News Service

October 20, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

Told that some people think Pope Francis isn’t exactly a fan of the rosary, Jesuit Father Federic Fornos practically shouted, “What?”

“Pope Francis says the rosary is the prayer of his heart. He prays it every day,” said the international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer.

Father Fornos was at the Vatican press office Oct. 15 to launch the latest effort to respond to what he said was Pope Francis’ explicit request that the network help young people learn to pray and love the rosary.

The Click to Pray eRosary is both a free app for Apple and Android and an actual high-tech rosary bracelet that connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth. Making the sign of the cross with the rosary automatically opens the app on the phone, while clicking one of the prayer beads allows the person praying to advance through the prayer texts, music and images on the screen.

AUTEUR SERIES: FRANÇOIS OZON: The French filmmaker on shifting his narrative focus towards men, losing his religion, and his 18th feature By the Grace of God.

Anthem Magazine

October 20, 2019

By Kee Chang

This past March, a French archbishop was found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese in what has been dubbed “the trial of silence” by the French media in yet another crushing blow to the Catholic Church. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was handed down a six-month suspended prison sentence for failing to report to the authorities accusations made against Father Bernard Preynat. This is the subject of François Ozon’s most politically engaged and incendiary film of his career, By the Grace of God, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival—where it won the Silver Bear (the Grand Jury Prize)—a month prior to the verdict being delivered. The film’s title comes from a now legendary press conference given by Barbarin in 2016 (portrayed in the movie) when he shocked France: giving thanks to the lord that the statutes of limitations had run out on alleged abuse. The phrase became so well-known i

Religion Is on the Decline as More Adults Check ‘None’

Wall Street Journal

October 17, 2019

By Ian Lovett

Less than half of American adults attend church regularly, while 26% claim no religious affiliation

Religiosity in the U.S. is in sharp decline.

Less than half of American adults attend church regularly, while 26% claim no religious affiliation, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center on Thursday, with the ranks of people who don’t adhere to any faith growing fast while church attendance has fallen steeply.

Christians make up 65% of the U.S. adult population, according the 2018-2019 study, down from 77% in 2009. At the same time, those who don’t identify with any religion—often known as “nones”—now make up more than a quarter of the population, compared with 17% a decade ago. Only 45% of adults said they attended church at least once a month, down from 52% in 2009.

The data reflect a seismic social reordering that has seen the population shift away from Christianity and toward religious disaffiliation.

Some “nones” are atheists or agnostics, while others consider themselves to be spiritual but don’t adhere to a particular religious tradition.

Every age group, racial group and region of the country is less Christian than a decade ago, according to the study.

Less than half of millennials, the youngest demographic group in the study, identify as Christian; 40% of them are unaffiliated. The oldest demographic group, born between 1928 and 1945 and known as the Silent Generation, is 84% Christian and 10% unaffiliated.

Protestants fell to 43% of the population, down from 51% in 2009, while Catholics fell 3 percentage points, to 20%. Other Christians—neither Catholic nor Protestant—make up the other 2%.

Within the 26% of U.S. adults who are religiously unaffiliated, atheists grew to 4% of the overall population from 2%; agnostics grew to 5% from 3%, and those who identify as “nothing in particular” rose to 17% from 12%.

Non-Christian religions largely held steady. Jews remain at 2% of the population and Muslims are at 1%.

[Write to Ian Lovett at Ian.Lovett@wsj.com]

Priest admits sexual contact with minor, leaves parish, Arlington Diocese says

Washington Post

October 20, 2019

By Martin Weil

The priest of a Northern Virginia church has admitted to sexual contact with a minor at a different church and has resigned from his post, according to the Arlington Diocese.

In a letter released by the diocese Saturday, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge disclosed that the Rev. Christopher Mould was no longer be pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton.

Mould admitted Tuesday that he “had sexual contact with a minor on one occasion” while parochial vicar at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Reston from 1992 to 1995, according to the bishop’s letter, which was posted on the diocese’s website.

After hearing Mould’s admission, Burbidge said, he reported it to Fairfax County police. Burbidge’s letter said Mould “holds no ecclesiastical office” after resigning.

Fairfax County police said Sunday that there is an active investigation into the case and that anyone with information should call detectives at 703-246-7800.

Mould did not immediately respond to a message left on his cellphone or a text.

In the letter, the bishop said the diocese is “fully committed to a zero-tolerance policy related to sexual abuse of minors.” Any such abuse, the letter said, “is a grave sin and a profound betrayal of trust.”

He expressed “heartfelt regret” to the individual who was harmed by Mould’s actions.

In the letter, Burbidge emphasized that before the recent “admission of guilt,” the Arlington Diocese had never received a complaint of sexual abuse or misconduct against Mould.

The letter said Mould has “expressed deep contrition” and accepts that the consequences will be “serious and severe.”

According to the letter, the bishop, acting in accordance with church policy, arranged for Mould to leave the rectory of St. Andrew the day of the admission. He was to reside at a place where he would not have contact with “any minor near a church or school property.”

The bishop wrote that he understood the information about Mould was “difficult” for parishioners to receive.

He said the actions taken were made necessary by “justice and a commitment to the protection of children and young people.” He also said he was sad about the effect they would have on the St. Andrew community.

Burbidge said he would provide in a timely manner for pastoral leadership of the Clifton parish.

[Paul Schwartzman contributed to this report.]

Local survivors of clergy abuse attend special mass in Little Italy


October 19, 2019

At one of the few structures to survive the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, survivors of a different kind arrived Saturday.

Many local survivors of clergy abuse showed up Saturday to Holy Family Church in Little Italy.

“To know we’re not alone and that there are other people who believe you,” Jim Hoffman said. “That’s the ultimate goal of today’s liturgy.”

Fairfax County priest admits to sexual contact with a minor


October 19, 2019

By Kyley Schultz

Father Christopher Mould, Pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Church, admitted to the sexual contact on Tuesday, according to Arlington Diocese officials.

Arlington Diocese officials revealed that a Clifton, Virginia priest admitted to having sexual contact with a minor.

According to a release sent by the Arlington Diocese on Saturday, Father Christopher Mould admitted to the Bishop of Arlington, Michael F. Burbidge, that he had sexual contact with a minor during his time as Parochial Vicar at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Reston, Va.

Mould served as Parochial Vicar for three years, from 1992-95.

According to the release, Bishop Burbidge reported the admission immediately to Fairfax County Police and made arrangements for Mould to relocate to a residence at, "a place where he would not be in contact with any minor near a church or school property."

Ex-D&C employee accused in Child Victims Act lawsuit once arrested for touching paperboys

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

October 19, 2019

By Steve Orr

As horror stories about sexually abusive priests began to dot the Democrat and Chronicle front page, two readers contacted the newspaper out of the blue.

They challenged reporters to turn the same scrutiny on their own house. Look into a former newspaper employee named Jack J. Lazeroff, the readers said.

Democrat and Chronicle reporters did begin an investigation and have found evidence that Lazeroff, who worked in the newspaper’s circulation department in the 1980s, might have been a sexual predator — and Democrat and Chronicle paperboys might have been among his prey.

Can Catholic parish schools be saved?

Albuquerque Journal

October 20, 2019

By Dave Menicucci

Angst is coursing through our Catholic community following the closure of Queen of Heaven’s K-8 school a few months ago. While some are dishearteningly musing whether this hearkens the demise of our Catholic parish schools, many of the remaining Catholic schools are gleefully welcoming the displaced students to bolster steadily declining enrollment.

Catholic schools have been under pressure for decades. Enrollment has fallen about 25% since 2005. Public charter schools, which focus on educational quality, have been a factor in luring families away from Catholic schools.

The Catholic clergy sexual-abuse scandal and the many diocesan bankruptcies across the country have staggered the faithful everywhere, especially in New Mexico with its large Catholic population. A recent Wall Street Journal article states that 37% of U.S. Catholics said the abuse crisis had led them to question their membership. What’s more, there is a nationwide movement to deemphasize or eliminate religion in American life, especially among young, politically liberal folks. All of these factors are contributing to the diminishing enrollment in Catholic schools.

EXCLUSIVE: Rev. Orsolits abused kids after Buffalo Diocese's cover-up of assault, according to lawsuits

The Buffalo News

October 20, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese removed the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits from a South Buffalo Catholic parish in 1968, shortly after parents complained that Orsolits had molested a 14-year-old boy in the back seat of his car at a drive-in theater.

But Orsolits quickly wound up in another Buffalo parish.

And he went on to molest other boys across Western New York, according to several lawsuits filed over the past two months.

Michael Tatu's story shows that the diocese concealed one of Orsolits' earliest alleged crimes, enabling the priest to victimize other children over a career that spanned four decades.

Lawsuit: Boy abused by second priest after he was molested by Orsolits

The Buffalo News

October 20, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Michael Tatu felt some relief 51 years ago when the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits was transferred from St. John the Evangelist Church.

Tatu said he grew fearful of Orsolits after the priest molested him at a drive-in theater when he was 14.

But the priest who replaced Orsolits, the Rev. William F. J. White, turned out to be no better for Tatu.

Tatu, 65, said White sexually abused him on two occasions inside the rectory of the church, within a year of his being molested by Orsolits.

Commentary: Roman Catholic Revival Talk, Part II

Church Militant (blog)

October 20, 2019

By Michael Voris, S.T.B.

VIDEO: The second part of Michael Voris' talk in Crookston, MN.

Michael Voris spoke at the Roman Catholic Revival in Crookston, Minnesota on Sept. 14 — a well-attended event in spite of Bp. Michael Hoeppner's prior criticisms of Church Militant as "divisive." Just days before the talk, news broke that Hoeppner became the first bishop in the world to be investigated for abuse cover-up under the pope's new norms in Vos Estis.

Above is part II of Michael's talk in Crookston.

Watch part I here.

Back Story: The statue of limitations on child sex claims has expanded. Now what?

San Diego Tribune

October 20, 2019

By Kristina Davis

For this week’s In Depth, reporter Kristina Davis took a deeper look at what we can expect now that AB 218 has passed, opening the litigation process to significantly more people who claim they were sexually abused as children.

Here’s more behind the story:

Q: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law last Sunday. Was this expected?

A: Yes, he had indicated early support for the law, but he signed it on the last possible day, which had many people on edge.

Q: How big of a deal is this law?

A: I’d say it’s a pretty big deal. Not only is it opening up a three-year window allowing anyone to file a lawsuit on child sex assault claims, no matter how old the alleged incident or the plaintiff is, the law also permanently expands the statute of limitations, allowing people as old as 40 to sue.

California braces for onslaught of child sex assault lawsuits under new law

San Diego Tribune

October 20, 2019

By Kristina Davis

Potentially thousands of plaintiffs are preparing to file against churches, the Boy Scouts, schools, youth sports organizations and other institutions with passing of AB 218

Matt Smyth’s secret was spilled his senior year of high school with a knock on the front door of his family’s Fallbrook home.

Two plainclothes sheriff’s detectives were investigating reports that Smyth’s former assistant scoutmaster — the one who’d driven kids to Boy Scout meetings, chaperoned campouts and hosted fishing outings on his bucolic property — had molested several boys.

To the shock of his parents, Smyth shared that he’d been a victim, too.

October 19, 2019

‘By the Grace of God’: A real-life tale of sex abuse in the French church

America Magazine

October 17, 2019

By John Anderson

The title of François Ozon’s only slightly fictionalized film “By the Grace of God” is invoked by the very fact-based Cardinal Philippe Barbarin (François Marthouret) during a press conference about the myriad sex abuse allegations made against his underling, Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley).

“By the grace of God,” Barbarin says, regarding most of the cases, “the statute of limitations has expired.” He is immediately challenged by a reporter, realizes his mistake and backpedals like the polished politician he is.

Former Catholic priest takes plea deal in sexual abuse investigation

Michigan Radio

October 8, 2019

By Steve Carmody and the Associated Press

A former Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after a Detroit-area jury said it was having trouble reaching a unanimous verdict in his sexual abuse trial.

The Michigan Attorney General's office says Patrick Casey pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault. He was accused of engaging in sex acts with a younger man who was struggling with his Catholic faith and homosexuality and had sought Casey's counsel in 2013.

The maximum penalty is a year in jail.

Former Boise priest dismissed by Vatican for child pornography conviction


October 19, 2019

The Vatican in Rome has dismissed a former Boise Catholic priest from the clerical state after hearing that he was sentenced to 25 years in prison, for possessing and distributing child pornography, Saturday morning.

Last December, William Thomas Faucher pleaded guilty to four child exploitation charges and a single count of possession of a controlled substance back in September.

The official term for the dismissal is called laicizes, a decision which the Vatican calls "serious and unappealable".

The decision came in a letter from Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the Diocese of Boise Bishop Peter F. Christensen and states that Faucher’s case was presented to Pope Francis, after which the Pope decreed that Faucher is involuntarily laicized (removed) from the clerical state.

Priest sex abuse victims speak up to help others

Albany Times-Union

October 19, 2019

Recently, we shared with Paul Grondahl our story of child sexual violation and trauma by Francis P. Melfe, a pastor employed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. We made the difficult decision to use our real names, and share intimate details of our abuse, because we wanted to openly acknowledge the trauma and pain that keeps so many silent — and had kept us silent.

Our family's mission from the start has been truth and accountability. By breaking our silence, we hope to change the future for generations ahead. We have confidence in the spirit of justice established by the state's Child Victims Act and the early messages of support from the church recognizing their failures in protecting children.

We are humbled, strengthened, and grateful for the care, interest and support from our communities. We wish this for all survivors. Survivors need empathy, compassion and kindness as they step into the light of truth and justice. For many, their journey has been long and painful. Research has shown that most child sexual abuse survivors tell their story for the first time between the ages of 45-65.

We must do better to create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories, access resources and help communities learn how to prevent, treat and mitigate child sexual abuse. Our community has an unprecedented opportunity to learn from survivors how to best keep children safe, healthy and happy within institutions charged with their care.

Robert Steve, Sandra Sculli, JoAnn Stevelos, John Steve and David Melfe

Report: Diocese of Lansing mishandled 1990 sexual abuse case

Associated Press

October 18, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing says an independent investigator determined that the diocese failed to investigate allegations that a priest had sexually assaulted a man at a boxing training camp decades ago.

The diocese on Thursday released the findings of an independent investigation conducted by a law firm it hired to look into the matter.

The investigators say the man sent the Rev. Pat Egan a letter in 1990 saying Egan had sexually assaulted him the previous year, when the accuser was about 25 years old. They say the diocese learned of the accusation in 1990 but didn’t investigate because the accuser wasn’t a minor at the time he said he was assaulted.

The Lansing State Journal reports that Egan was also accused of sexual assault in 2014. After an investigation, the diocese revoked Egan’s priestly facilities and extern status last year.

Bishop Earl Boyea says he’s “deeply sorry” the diocese’s past failure.

Witnesses continue to testify in trial of former priest accused of sexual abuse


October 18, 2019

By Arianna Martinez


The trial of Peter Mukekhe Wafula, a former priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor, continued today with more witness testimonies.

The courtroom heard from six witnesses today and watched a video of the original statement from the child.

The video also showed the child praying as the examiner stepped out of the room.

Three of today’s witnesses were friends of the child who said he wouldn’t make something like this up.

Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Local Diocese

NBC -TV San Diego

October 18, 2019

By Alexis Rivas


Cathie Ray says she can still feel her priest's tongue in her ear, licking her neck, while she helped him organize his stamp collection at the rectory.

"He would try to kiss me while rubbing his hands all over my body," recalls Ray.

She was 9-years-old when she says he started molesting her – a ritual that would continue roughly twice a month for years.

Her parents would drop her off at the rectory, at the priest's request, on Saturdays. Ray says the priest liked to pick her up and sit her on his lap, bouncing her against him until she could feel an erection.

Ex-N’West Iowa priest accused of sex abuse


October 19, 2019

By Mark Mahoney

A Catholic priest with N’West Iowa ties who died in May has been accused of sexual abuse.

In a 13-page civil complaint filed on Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Woodbury County District Court in Sioux City against the Diocese of Sioux City, 60-year-old Samuel Heinrichs accused the Rev. Dale Koster of physically and sexually abusing him when he was about 10 years old.

According to the lawsuit, Koster’s alleged sexual abuse of Heinrichs started in 1968 and continued through at least 1970, and it happened inside the school and rectory office of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church northwest of Carroll.

Editorial: Payouts show volume of victims


October 20, 2019

The Greensburg Catholic Diocese announced Thursday the amount of money paid out of a compensation fund for victims of clergy child sexual abuse.

The local totals came to $4.35 million distributed among 57 adults. That breaks down to an average of $76,315.

That’s a significant amount of money. It’s more than the U.S. Census Bureau pegs the Westmoreland County median household income of $56,702. It’s enough to buy a starter home or put a down payment on something bigger.

But does it heal wounds? Does it buy trust? Does it fix what has been broken?

That’s hard for anyone other than the victims to say, and there are a lot of them out there. The statewide grand jury report released in August 2018 detailed 70 years of abuse by 301 priests.

Diocese of Duluth's $40 million bankruptcy settlement set for approval

Forum News Service via West Central Tribune

October 18, 2019

By Tom Olson

A judge on Monday will be asked to sign off on the plan, which has received overwhelming support from abuse survivors.

Nearly four years after filing for bankruptcy, the Diocese of Duluth will go before a judge Monday, Oct. 21, for final confirmation of a reorganization plan that would provide approximately $40 million in compensation to victims of child sexual abuse.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel will review the proposed settlement at an 11 a.m. hearing at the federal courthouse in Duluth. If he signs off, up to 125 survivors who filed claims could soon begin receiving payments and the diocese would finally emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The diocese voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2015 in the wake of a $4.9 million jury verdict. That award came in the first lawsuit in the state to go to trial under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which opened a three-year window for victims of decades-old abuse cases to file suit. An onslaught of claims followed in the bankruptcy process.

Three San Diego women file suit against Catholic Diocese

Yahoo News

Days after Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law aimed at child sex abuse, three San Diego women came forward to announce a lawsuit against the Diocese of San Diego.


New law expands litigation rights for survivors of child sex abuse

Associated Press via KUSI-TV


October 18, 2019

A new California law approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom will open the door to more civil lawsuits from the survivors of child sex abuse.

Three women who say they were abused by a Catholic priest in San Diego are using that law to take legal action.

This is newly possible because the law that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved on Sunday gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.

More than 400 lawsuits were filed in New York state in August on just the first day that state opened a one-year window for victims to sue. New York and New Jersey this year both raised their statutes of limitations to age 55, with New Jersey’s law taking effect in December.

Why ending the secrecy of ‘confession’ is so controversial for the Catholic Church

Durango Herald

October 19, 2019

By Mathew Schmalz, College of the Holy Cross

After the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, there is a worldwide push to end the guarantee of secrecy of confession – called “the seal of the confessional.”

On Sept. 11, 2019, two Australian states, Victoria and Tasmania, passed bills requiring priests to report any child abuse revealed in the confessional.

Australia has been at the center of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. In December 2018, influential Australian Cardinal George Pell was convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy.

Australian bishops have, however, made it clear that the seal of confession is “sacred,” regardless of the sin confessed. With regard to Tasmania’s new law, Archbishop Julian Porteous argued that removing confession’s protection of confidentiality would stop pedophiles from coming forward. That would prevent priests from encouraging them to surrender to authorities.

October 18, 2019

Born out of Wedlock and Forced Into Servitude: an Irish Story

Courthouse News

October 18, 2019

By Cain Burdeau

His first memory finds him walking for the first time beyond the walls of the big gray building where he’d been locked up since birth. He’s 4½ years old. He had never seen an automobile. He had never seen a dog.

“I remember that as if it was yesterday,” says Peter Mulryan, now in his mid-70s, reflecting on the first part of his life cruelly stolen from him by the circumstances of his birth: He came into the world born out of wedlock in an Ireland ruled by a repressive Roman Catholic Church. “My first memory is the day I was taken out of there when the gates opened.”

The gates that opened on a January day in 1949 were those of the St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, an institution run by Catholic nuns in western Ireland’s County Galway where unmarried women and their children were housed in harsh conditions between 1925 and 1961. The home in Tuam is now the focus of a government inquiry looking into the deaths of hundreds of children whose bodies were likely buried in a sewage tank at the back of the building.

Outside the gates, an ambulance waited to take him to a new life: But it was going to be a harsh, cruel and twisted life.

“I’d never seen a vehicle before that,” he says, sitting at a table in the kitchen of his home, telling in detail the story of his life in an interview with Courthouse News.

All this is still new to him. He’s begun telling strangers about his life only in the past few years, ever since he joined a movement of people talking out against horrors inflicted upon them for being the children of unmarried women in Ireland.

‘Jane Doe’ settles priest sexual abuse lawsuit against Diocese of Rockville Centre

News 12

October 18, 2019

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has publicly named a priest accused of sexually abusing a child more than 35 years ago.

A woman, known only as Jane Doe, settled a lawsuit against Fr. Joseph D. Casaclang with the diocese. She claims that she was between the ages of 10-13 when she was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Parish in Kings Park. According to the suit, Father Casaclang visited the family and sexually abuse the girl at her family’s home.

The alleged abuse occurred between 1979 and 1982.

Religious order targeted in suits says Child Victims Act is unconstitutional

The Buffalo News

October 18, 2019

By Mike McAndrew

The Child Victims Act is unconstitutional, and a decades-old childhood sexual abuse case filed under the new law should be dismissed, a Catholic religious order is asserting.

The Province of St. Anthony of Padua of the Conventual Franciscans and related entities have asked a State Supreme Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Rev. Mark Andrzejczuk of sexually abusing a female student in the 1970s at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda.

Attorney Dennis Vacco, who represents the Franciscan order, also said in court papers that the lawsuit should be tossed because the plaintiff waited too long to sue.

In appeal to young Catholics, Vatican unveils the ‘eRosary’ — an electronic way to pray

The Washington Post

October 17, 2019

By Hannah Knowles

Pope Francis has made waves as a modernizer of the Roman Catholic Church as he signals new openness to divorced worshipers and considers loosening celibacy requirements for priests.

This week, the Vatican turned heads with another nod to changing times: a wearable “Click to Pray eRosary” complete with a smartphone app, the religious organization’s latest attempt to connect with young people.

Made of 10 dark beads and a “smart cross” to store data, the $110 rosary, which can be worn as a bracelet, syncs up with what Vatican News calls “the official prayer app of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.”

After activating the device by making the sign of the cross, users can then choose to pray a standard rosary, a contemplative one or different kinds of thematic rosaries that will be updated every year, Vatican News said. The smart rosary keeps track of the user’s progress.

Utah woman to sue LDS Church using California law that helps child sex assault survivors


October 16, 2019

By Cristina Flores

Kristy Johnson, now a resident of Utah, is preparing to sue The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under a newly-passed California law designed to help adults who were sexually assaulted as children.

California Assembly Bill 218 becomes law in 2020.

Unlike Utah law, which allows adults who were victimized as children to sue perpetrators as individuals, the California law also allows victims to sue entities and institutions that covered up the sexual assault or allowed it to happen when they had the power to stop it.

“These places that have purposely covered up, I don’t care who you are, it’s time to pay the price for that,” Johnson said.

‘No one ever talked about McCarrick and the boys’

Catholic Herald

October 18, 2019

By Ed Condon/CNA

A man claiming to be a former child victim of McCarrick says the ex-cardinal sexually abused a series of minors

A man claiming to be a former child victim of Theodore McCarrick has written an open essay in response to a recent interview given by the former cardinal. Writing under the name Nathan Doe, the man says that McCarrick sexually abused a series of minors during his years as a cleric.

Media reports have detailed a string of allegations made against McCarrick since the announcement of a Vatican investigation in June 2018. Those reports have referred to McCarrick’s alleged victims as including eight former seminarians and three minors.

“The ‘third’ accuser they were referring to in those news articles was me,” Doe said.

A Powerful Tale Of Abuse Survivors Finding Their Voice 'By The Grace Of God'


October 17, 2019

By Andrew Lapin

In the opening scenes of the new French drama By The Grace Of God, we see a Catholic family man named Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) taking his wife and five kids to church. He's happy, excited to share his faith with his family. In voiceover, though, we hear him say he'd been molested repeatedly by his priest thirty years prior. What's more, he's recently learned the priest has returned to the area, and is again in close contact with children.

This is something new in our growing canon of films about institutionalized sexual abuse: a survivor who isn't being filtered through the lens of some neutral character, and who's able to live a well-adjusted life many years after the fact, despite living in an environment filled with the trauma of that time. Later in the movie, we'll meet other men who had been abused by the same priest, and they haven't always fared as well. They've suffered deep emotional scars, and they want some kind of retribution. Finding it won't be easy.

Denver Archdiocese vocations director speaks on priest hiring process ahead of new abuse report


October 16, 2019

By Joe St. George

Rev. Ryan O'Neill, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Denver, is responsible for every new priest that joins the seminary.

"That's something I definitely take seriously," O'Neill said.

Ahead of a new Colorado Catholic Church report set to be released by the Attorney General's Office in the new few weeks, O'Neill sat down with FOX31 to discuss how the archdiocese works to keep abusers out of the church.

"Are you confident that the young men studying to be priests in this seminary are good guys?" FOX31 reporter Joe St. George asked.

"I am," O'Neill said.

Updated: Archbishop knew of priest sexual abuse before complaints: testimony

Glacier Media

October 17, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

“He was molesting people,” archbishop says of priest

Kamloops Roman Catholic Archdiocese officials knew of the sexual activities of a priest before a schoolteacher reported her abuse at the man’s hands in 1977, the former bishop told B.C. Supreme Court Oct. 17.

“He was misbehaving,” testified Adam Exner, later archbishop of Winnipeg and Vancouver. “He was a playboy.”

Four N.Y. priests placed on leave; accused of abuse dating back decades

Catholic News Service

October 17, 2019

The New York Archdiocese has placed four of its priests — three pastors and the director of priest personnel — on administrative leave following an allegation of abuse with minors dating back several decades.

The three pastors are Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary Parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament Parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Parish in Mamaroneck. The fourth priest is Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the archdiocesan Priest Personnel Office. Their ministries have been temporarily restricted.

"As is our practice, we reported this to the District Attorney's Office," New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said in letters sent to the three parishes Oct. 3. "The archdiocese will now follow its policy and protocols, which include having outside independent investigators look into and assess the allegation, before presenting it to our independent Lay Review Board.

October 17, 2019

Opinion: Damage from Greer case extends to local community

New Haven Register

Oct. 19, 2019

By Steven R. Wilf

Where is the community in the Rabbi Daniel Greer child-rape case? Greer was convicted on four charges pertaining to risk of injury to a minor. According to testimony, Greer repeatedly engaged in sex with Eliyahu Mirlis, a student in his New Haven school, and propositioned with offensive touching another student. The abuse began when Mirlis was 14 years old. Even more devastating was the 2017 civil trial where Greer was found liable with a $15 million judgment for these actions. In the civil case, evidence was presented that Greer abused another student over a period of years.

As in most criminal trials, the focus was largely on the perpetrator and the victim. Yet the Jewish community loomed unexpectedly large. Was it an enabler that provided the cultural fabric to allow the sexual abuse to proceed? Did the particular fraught power dynamic between rabbi and student impede reporting by the victim? And was the tightly knit character of Orthodox Jewish communities critical in allowing the years of sexual exploitation to occur without being detected?

Expert testimony by forensic psychologist Gavriel Fagan did as much to exoticize the Orthodox Jewish community as it did to make its world more transparent. The question that loomed over the trial was why Mirlis did not report the sexual abuse earlier and why he maintained contact with Greer after his marriage — and even honored him at his son’s circumcision. Much was made of the charismatic authority of rabbis, religious sexual repression and the Orthodox Jewish insistence upon remaining isolated from the outside world.

‘He begged me not to call the police’: Trial begins for former priest accused of sexual abuse


Oct. 17, 2019

By Arianna Martinez and Kaitlin Johnson

The trial of Peter Mukekhe Wafula, a former priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor, began today with opening statements and testimonies from several witnesses.

Wafula served in Hereford, Friona and Bovina before he was removed from the ministry in 2018.

The courtroom heard from several witnesses today, including some priests who work at the churches Wafula provided ministry to.

The first witness, Father Nestor Lara who works at San Jose Church in Hereford, spoke about a conversation he witnessed between Father Ramon Molina Mora, Wafula and the child’s family.

He described Able De La Cruz Jr., the child involved in the case, as scared and crying during the conversation.

Corey Feldman celebrates new California child sex abuse law

Global News

Oct. 17, 2019

By Katie Scott

Corey Feldman is celebrating a new California law that gives victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers.

“It was a great day,” Feldman told Radar after Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the law on Sunday.

The law gives victims until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.

“The most important part is it creates a three-year lookback window. For the next three years, people are able to bring cases forward that happened prior to 2017,” Feldman told the outlet.

Feldman has publicly stated that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

“I’m able to bring my abusers to justice” thanks to the law, he said. “I can take them to court. I can at least get a civil trial going.”

Feldman filed a report with Los Angeles police in early November 2017 after publicly naming some of his alleged abusers while appearing on The Dr. Oz Show.

The LAPD previously said that it dropped its investigation into Feldman’s claims that a pedophile ring had been victimizing young actors in Hollywood because too much time had passed since the alleged incidents.

“They’re going to have to listen now,” Feldman said to Radar. “They can’t say this is beyond the statue. Now they can’t say that anymore.”

Hyannis conference sheds light on child sexual abuse

Cape Cod Times

Oct. 17, 2019

By Cynthia McCormick

When Sacha Pfeiffer broke the story about the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse as part of The Boston Globe’s investigative Spotlight team, silence was an enemy.

Church officials stonewalled reporters seeking answers, Pfeiffer said during a keynote talk with WCAI’s Mindy Todd Thursday as part of this year’s annual Champions for Children conference sponsored by Children’s Cove.

At one point, a spokeswoman for the church said officials would not only not answer questions, they did not even want to see them, said Pfeiffer, who with other members of the Spotlight team won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service.

These days the sheer amount of noise on social media can diminish the impact of important news stories, Pfeiffer said.

“People have what I consider outrage fatigue,” said Pfeiffer, who is now a reporter for NPR’s national investigative team.

United Methodist clergyman accused of sexual misconduct, says UMNS report

Religion News Service

Oct. 17, 2019

By Emily McFarlan Miller

A formal church complaint accusing a United Methodist clergyman of sexual misconduct has drawn the United Methodist Church into the #MeToo movement.

Four women have filed a formal complaint against the Rev. Donald “Bud” Heckman — an elder in the denomination’s West Ohio Conference who is well known in interfaith circles — of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, according to a United Methodist News Service report published Thursday (Oct. 17).

The women include Heckman’s ex-wife, Laura Heckman.

The West Ohio Conference did not identify the church charges against Heckman, according to UMNS. However, it confirmed to the denomination’s news outlet that the elder has been suspended from ministry and faces “the strong likelihood” of a church trial, which tentatively has been scheduled for Dec. 2-4.

Report: Diocese of Lansing failed to investigate 1990 sex abuse case

Lansing State Journal

Oct. 17, 2019

By Kara Berg

The Diocese of Lansing did not handle a sexual assault case from the 1990s appropriately, according to a report commissioned by the diocese, which was released Thursday.

The Rev. Pat Egan, who was found to have sexually assaulted a man in 2014, had also sexually assaulted someone in the 1990s.

An independent law firm reviewed how the diocese handled the two reports of sexual assault against Egan and found that, while the diocese handled the 2014 case well, it failed to investigate the 1990 report.

“I repeat publicly now what I have said privately and personally to the victim in question: I am deeply sorry for the Diocese’s past failure and all should know that the allegation would have been handled differently today,” Bishop Earl Boyea said in a statement.

In September, the diocese released a list of 17 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. All 17 priests are either dead, have been removed from active ministry or are defrocked.

Egan, now 82, first arrived in Lansing from the Archdiocese of Westminster in England as an extern priest in 1983. He has lived on-and-off in the Ann Arbor area since then, according to the diocese.

A 27-year-old man wrote to Egan in February 1990, telling the priest he had sexually abused him, according to the report, which was compiled by Patrick Hurford and his law firm, Honigman LLP.

The man said Egan sexually abused him while taking part in boxing training the year prior. Egan disputed the report, and the diocese was made aware of it.

No investigation, however, was done into the man's allegation and no action was taken against Egan, according to the report.

Diocese of Sacramento Helped Abusive Priest Obtain Position in Mexico, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 17, 2019

According to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento assisted a priest in obtaining a new position in Mexico following four sexual abuse accusations in Northern California. The legal complaint includes a letter, reportedly written by the diocesan attorney and approved by the bishop at the time, allowing the cleric to work in Mexico as long as the diocese there assumed “full responsibility” in the event the clergyman committed a sex offense while working in in that country.

We applaud the brave survivor, Juan Ricardo Torres, for coming forward. He was promised 30 years ago that Fr. Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos would be kept away from children. Instead, Juan is the one that is making the world a safer place, as his abuser’s current whereabouts are unmasked and he will hopefully be removed from ministry once and for all.

Fr. Castellanos is on the list of “credibly accused” clergy released by the Diocese of Sacramento on April 30, 2019, under the name of Jose Antonio Pinal. However, contrary to what the letter says, the list claims that the priest’s faculties were removed in 1989, and that he fled to Mexico. There is absolutely no mention of the deal with the Diocese of Cuernevaca to allow Fr. Castellanos to continue functioning as a priest.

Clergy Sexual Abuse

Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Oct. 10, 2019

By William Lindsey

Since 2002, when the public became widely aware of sexual abuse of minors by clergy members, an international movement has developed to address such abuse. In January 2002, the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team published a ground-breaking series about abuse in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, and its extensive cover-up for years. This exposé brought international attention to the problem and led to criminal investigation of Catholic officials in Boston. When the files of the Boston archdiocese were opened due to legal actions following the “Spotlight” report, it was found that abuse by priests was documented in many dioceses other than Boston, leading more cases to come to light. Individual clergy of various denominations have been exposed as abusers in Arkansas over the years, but only in the twenty-first century has the systemic extent of such abuse started to come to light thanks, in large part, to ongoing monitoring of such abuse. However, the exact scope of sexual abuse by clergy in the state remains poorly documented, with documentation currently limited to Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist denominations.

As a precursor to the “Spotlight” reports, journalist Jason Berry published an investigation of abuse in the Catholic diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, titled Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992). This book provided one of the first glimpses of the problem of sexual abuse by clergy and how it was being treated by Catholic officials. In response to the Boston Globe series, when the U.S. Catholic bishops met in Dallas in 2002, they adopted the “Dallas Charter,” which promised a zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse of minors in Catholic institutions. As the bishops met, journalists Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin published an article in the Dallas Morning News reporting that two-thirds of bishops had allowed priests accused of abuse of minors to work in their dioceses.

GU commission hosts inaugural listening session on priest abuse

Gonzaga Bulletin

Oct. 15, 2019

By Luke Kenneally

The University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis met with GU students and community members on Sunday to engage in a Q&A inviting community feedback. Approximately 20 people attended the event.

The commission was formed in response to news stories in December detailing that priests who had credible claims of sexual assault against them were housed in the Jesuit-owned Cardinal Bea House in the middle of GU’s campus, near St. Aloysius Church.

The formation of this commission was announced in April and the group has met six times since.

Members of the commission include co-chairs Michelle Wheatley, acting vice president of mission and ministry, and Megan McCabe, assistant professor of religious studies. Also on the commission is Vince Salyers, who serves as dean of the School of Nursing and Human Physiology, Steven Robinson, chair of GU’s board of regents, Patrick McCormick, GU professor of religious studies, licensed psychologist Fernando Ortiz, GU class of 2020 student Lindsay Panigeo, Fr. Tim Clancy, associate professor of philosophy and Jerri Shepard, an associate professor in the School of Education.

Not present were Ed Taylor, Ph.D., (BA ’82, MA ‘83), Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington and a GU trustee, and Jerri Shepard, associate professor in the School of Education.

Several themes were reiterated throughout the event including keeping victims and survivors at the forefront, moving forward as a community and making a meaningful contribution to discussion surrounding these issues.

Greensburg diocese pays $4.4m in abuse compensation

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

October 17, 2019

By Peter Smith

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg has paid out nearly $4.4 million to 57 victims of sexual abuse by its clergy and seminarians through an out-of-court compensation program, it announced Thursday.

Most Pennsylvania dioceses set up compensation funds in the wake of a 2018 grand jury report detailing a 70-year history of allegations of sexual abuse by priests and coverup by bishops.

Most of the report dealt with abuses that happened decades ago, but amid a push for legislation to create a window in the Pennsylvania statute of limitations allowing for lawsuits over long-ago abuse, most of the state’s dioceses set up compensation programs to reach settlements with victims.

The Greensburg diocese said it paid $4,350,000. That averages out to about $76,000 each for the 57 claimants, although such programs typically vary compensation depending on factors such as the severity and frequency of abuse and the age of the victim.

‘By the Grace of God’ Review: A Devastating Film About Survivors of Abuse

The New York Times

October 17, 2019

By Glenn Kenny

The often irreverent French director François Ozon gets serious with a fact-based story about a group of men who were childhood victims of a pedophile priest.

For a member of the clergy to sexually violate a child is one of the most stark and cruel betrayals imaginable. That an institution would prevaricate and dissemble about these betrayals rather than take immediate, decisive action to pursue justice and provide restitution creates a greater betrayal. After years of such actions, betrayal reaches a near-unimaginable level.

And yet. We don’t have to imagine. In the Roman Catholic Church, these violations have been rife, and the stories behind them are appalling.

In “By the Grace of God” François Ozon, one of France’s most brazen and talented directors, tells a story of a group of men in Lyon, all childhood victims of a pedophile priest. These adults find each other and form an organization to bring that priest and the church’s higher-ups who covered for him to account for their actions.

Staten Island church sued over laicized priest with sex-abuse conviction


October 17, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A priest allegedly sexually abused a teen at Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church prior to his conviction on sex charges for an incident involving a youth at a parish in Dutchess County, according to a lawsuit and Advance records.

The West Brighton parish and the Archdiocese of New York have been sued by an anonymous victim under the Child Victims Act in the lawsuit filed on Aug. 14 by Jeff Anderson & Associates.

Although not listed as a plaintiff, the lawsuit names Daniel Calabrese, a defrocked Roman Catholic priest, as the alleged abuser.

‘Our innocence was stolen:’ Priest molestation victims file lawsuit against Oakland Diocese

Bay Area News Group

October 16, 2019

By Angela Ruggiero

Monsignor Vincent Breen accused of molesting 100s

It’s been more than 50 years since Sharon McCann reported being sexually abused by her priest to her principal, regarding one of the “most prolific” child molesters in the Bay Area.

She was 6 years old when the abuse started, and now at 65, she and two other sex assault victims have filed a lawsuit against the Oakland Catholic Diocese, alleging that the diocese knew about decades of abuse by Monsignor Vincent Breen, and did nothing.

Breen was at Holy Spirit parish in Fremont for 29 years from 1953 to 1982, and was accused of molesting at least eight girls ages 7 to 14. But the actual number is estimated at closer to 100.

Monsignor in Bridgeport diocese disputes sexual abuse report findings, demands apology

CT Insider

October 16, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

A recently retired senior official of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, cited in a report for actively participating in hiding clergy sexual abuse, claims he was “thrown under the bus,” and is demanding the bishop apologize.

“Now, normally people have to wait until after death to be canonized, but you and the current Archbishop of Baltimore (William Lori) found a way to attain saintly status right here and now and I’m far from being alone among God’s people to have noticed that,” Monsignor Laurence Bronkiewicz states in an email to Bishop Frank J. Caggiano that was obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media. “Unfortunately, the Caggiano report and your press conference accomplished their objective by throwing me under the bus as the saying goes and ‘me’ includes [sic] my good name and reputation which has taken me a lifetime to build with God’s help.”

Butte County man alleges priest abuse in lawsuit


October 15, 2019

By Doug Johnson

This past weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill into law that allows victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file civil suits.

Now, a 48-year-old Butte County man is suing the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, claiming it allowed his alleged abuser to continue to work as a priest in Mexico just months after he reported that priest had abused him.

At the time, Juan Ricardo Torres was only 15 years old. His lawsuit is likely one of the first of many this new law has opened the door for.

“Since this happened I’ve always like tried to forget about it but you can’t,” Torres said. “The more you try to forget about it the harder it is.”

Assembly Bill 218 becoming law is allowing child sexual abuse victims like Torres to finally share their stories.

‘By the Grace of God’: Film skewers pedophile priests in France

People's World

October 17, 2019

By Eric A. Gordon

François Ozon’s new film By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) is a gripping true story of three adult men who banded together to expose the code of silence in the Catholic Church that continued to enable a priest who abused them as boys.

The powerful indictment of the ecclesiastical hierarchy that allowed scandalous priestly behavior to go on unrestrained for decades is brought up to date with legal developments in the case as recently as the summer of 2019.

Former Anglican dean jailed for raping boy in Australia

BBC News

October 17, 2019

A former Anglican Dean of Newcastle in Australia has been jailed for raping a 15-year-old boy in 1991.

Graeme Lawrence, now 77, is reported to be the second most senior Australian religious figure to be convicted of child sexual abuse, after Catholic Cardinal George Pell.

Lawrence was Anglican dean in the New South Wales city when he lured the boy to his home and raped him.

Jury selection begins for trial of former priest accused of sexual abuse in Parmer County


October 16, 2019

By Arianna Martinez and Kaitlin Johnson

Jury selection began today for the trial of a former priest accused of sexual abuse in Parmer County.

Peter Mukekhe Wafula is accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Wafula served in Hereford, Friona and Bovina before he was removed from the ministry in 2018.

He was indicted by the Parmer County Grand Jury in October of 2018.

His name was among those of 30 former priests who served in the Diocese of Amarillo and have been accused of sexually abusing a minor. The names were released in January by the Diocese of Amarillo.

Monk who raped me may be my father, witness tells UK abuse inquiry

Irish Examiner/Press Association

October 17, 2019

A former pupil at a Catholic boarding school has told how he was raped by a monk who he suspects to be his father.

The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had a statement about his time at St Columba’s in Largs, North Ayrshire, read to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on Thursday.

The man, now in his 50s, claims to have suffered a serious sexual assault at the hands of a monk before enrolling at the school.

Winnipeg Centre Liberal candidate raps NDP rival over Facebook post calling Catholics complicit in sex crimes

CBC News

October 16, 2019

By Bartley Kives

Robert-Falcon Ouellette calls Leah Gazan rhetoric unacceptable; she pledges to be more careful on social media
The Liberal incumbent candidate for Winnipeg Centre is accusing his NDP opponent of intolerance over a 14-month-old Facebook post that implied all Catholics are complicit in sex crimes committed by priests.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Liberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette demanded New Democrat Leah Gazan explain an August 2018 Facebook post that stated "Every practicing Catholic is complicit in the rape and sexual abuse of children by predatory priests."

This line of text, which appeared over a link on Gazan's personal Facebook page, takes readers to a story entitled "Supporting the Catholic Church means supporting the rape and sexual abuse of children," published by the religion and spirituality website Patheos.

Under NYS Child Victims Act, 54-year-old man sues Diocese of Ogdensburg for childhood abuse


October 17, 2019

By McKenzie Delisle

The day M.G. turned 23, he lost the chance to sue his childhood abuser. Now, nearly three decades later, the Child Victims Act has returned his voice.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation earlier this year, loosening up some state regulations surrounding child sexual abuse claims.

A key piece of the act was its one-year revival period, which beginning mid-August temporarily lifted New York’s statute of limitations on such cases, allowing victims of any age to step forward.

Since, hundreds have filed cases statewide with many against Catholic clergymen and their institutions.

M.G., 54, was one of those plaintiffs.

Priest's sexual relationship 'would make him a much better bishop' - Children's author Joy Cowley


October 16, 2019

By Phil Pennington

A high-profile Catholic woman says a bishop would not have had sex with a woman unless he loved her.

Joy Cowley, a celebrated children's author of books like The Silent One and Nest in a Falling Tree, told RNZ the sexual relationship would have made Charles Drennan a better bishop.

The Pope accepted the resignation of Father Drennan, as Bishop of Palmerston North, after he admitted to inappropriate sexual behaviour with a young woman.

Man who claims abuse at St Patrick's training school receives £50,000 High Court payout

The Irish News

October 16, 2019

A MAN allegedly subjected to "horrific" abuse at a Catholic-run school in Belfast 60 years ago is to receive a £50,000 payout.

The 73-year-old claimed he suffered beatings with a strap and bunch of keys, and was forced to sleep on a mattress with bare springs at St Patrick's training school.

His legal action against the De La Salle Order, who ran the facilities on the Glen Road, was settled at the High Court today.

Mr Justice Maguire was told an award of £50,000 plus costs is to be made.

Vatican congregation says claim against Texas bishop ‘manifestly unfounded’

Catholic News Service

October 16, 2019

A Vatican congregation said an allegation of abuse made against Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz of Galveston-Houston “is manifestly unfounded” and he has returned to public ministry.

In an Oct. 10 statement, the Texas archdiocese said it had received the allegation against the bishop, who also is chancellor, in June and referred it to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, “who in turn referred it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has competency in these matters.”

“The CDF has determined that the allegation against Bishop Sheltz is manifestly unfounded,” the statement said. “The Congregation for Bishops has notified us and this brings the matter to a close and Bishop Sheltz is restored to full public ministry.”

Therapist names St. Louis priest she says abused her — in 1939

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

October 17, 2019

By Nassim Benchaabane

A longtime therapist who has counseled dozens of abusive Catholic priests on Wednesday named for the first time the priest who she says molested her as a child in 1939.

Sue Lauber-Fleming, 84, has long told stories of the suffering she endured, but decided Wednesday it was time to publicly identify Monsignor George Dreher, who died 57 years ago, as her abuser.

“I thought it only right in my heart to name him just in case someone else might be out there that had been abused by him,” Lauber-Fleming said.

October 16, 2019

Benefit of the Doubt?


Oct. 17, 2019

By Nicholas Frankovich

Two national news stories about sexual abuse coincided late last year. On August 14, 2018, the grand jury investigating abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania released their report, documenting hundreds of cases and rekindling public indignation at the long history of crimes and cover-ups committed by priests and bishops. Meanwhile, in July, Christine Blasey Ford told her congresswoman in California that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her thirty-six years earlier, when they were in high school. By mid-September, Ford’s allegation, which had been forwarded to the FBI, was blazing across the media landscape, where it dominated the headlines for the next three weeks. The controversy continues to smolder a year later.

Public reaction to the first story remains markedly different from public reaction to the second. Any allegation against a priest or bishop tends to elicit swift and near-universal denunciation of the accused, on the assumption that any skepticism would only compound the wrong done to the putative survivor. Ford, by contrast, has been met with almost as much suspicion as sympathy. True, more Americans believe her than him, according to polls conducted shortly after their Senate testimonies; in explaining why they find her account credible, some women cite their own experience. At the same time, however, Kavanaugh benefits from an army of media advocates who defend his innocence with vigor, picking apart the case brought by Ford and, in effect, putting her on trial, accusing her of lying and defaming Kavanaugh or, at best, of being confused about the identity of her assailant.

His defenders, her opponents, begin with the legal principle that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. Although Ford v. Kavanaugh was not a court trial, it assumed the form of one, so the inclination to consider him innocent until proven guilty was not irrational. It meant, however, that Ford was presumed to be dishonest, or honest but mistaken. Few of us these days would presume that of anyone filing an accusation of sexual abuse by a priest. Behold the double standard.

No speedy trial for Paige Patterson’s ‘break her down’ lawsuit

Baptist News Global

Oct. 15, 2019

By Bob Allen

A woman who claims in a lawsuit that she was mistreated after reporting rape at a Southern Baptist Convention seminary won’t get her day in court before 2021.

The lawsuit against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former president Paige Patterson alleges that seminary officials dismissed claims that the woman identified as Jane Roe was repeatedly stalked and raped at gunpoint in 2014 and 2015 by a male student who also worked on campus as a plumber.

Jane Roe claims in her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Texas that Patterson — a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and key leader in the denomination’s rightward shift during the last quarter century — called her rape “a good thing” and waited to “break her down” in a private meeting before turning her story over to campus police.

The incident, coupled with reports that Patterson also mishandled a rape allegation years earlier at another SBC seminary, led to his firing in 2018.

Impact of predatory priest, Father Epoch, SJ begins to unfold locally

Manitoulin Expositor

October 16, 2019

By Warren Schlote

By mid-1990s, victims start to share their stories publicly

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story contains information about sexual abuse that took place in Wiikwemkoong during the mid-to-late 20th century. This information may be disturbing to those who have suffered from sexual abuse. Support is available 24/7 through the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or the Manitoulin Family Resources crisis line at 1-800-465-6788.

When The Expositor began reporting in the 1990s on the news of Father George Epoch’s abuses as well as the associated lawsuits taking place at the time, more victims found the courage to reconcile with what had happened to them and stepped forward to share their stories. A meeting in late August 1996 at Rainbow Lodge in Whitefish River First Nation offered a chance for survivors to meet, discuss the lingering impacts of these abuses and see that they were not alone in their strife.

Although much of the attention in this case has been paid to Father Epoch, a man who has been labeled as one of the worst sexual abusers in Canadian history, the lawsuits from the ‘90s extended to Brother Norman Hinton as well. The current lawsuit also names a Brother O’Meare.

Cincinnati priest accused of rape returns to court


October 16, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

A priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago is set to return to court Wednesday.

The Rev. Geoff Drew, 57, is scheduled to enter a plea or have his trial date set. He’s expected to appear at 9 a.m. before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz.

Last week, the judge denied a request from Drew’s attorney to reduce his $5 million bond.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced 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.

Missoula priest removed for inappropriate contact with woman

The Associated Press

October 15, 2019

A Missoula priest has been removed from his parish after acknowledging he had inappropriate contact with a woman.

The Missoulian reported Tuesday the Rev. Rich Perry was relocated to the Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, a retirement community for church leaders accused of misconduct.

The Rev. Joseph Carver, the pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish, said the woman came forward on Oct. 2, Perry was confronted the same day and was relocated to California on Oct. 7. Perry is a former pastor of the church and has been an associate pastor in recent years.

Former Pastor In Area Accused Of Child Sex Abuse

White Plains Daily Voice

October 15, 2019

By Kathy Reakes

A longtime area Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of child abuse from years ago.

Monsignor Edward Weber, the director of Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, is one of four priests in the Archdiocese of New York to be placed on leave following new allegations, said an article in the Catholic New York, the archdiocese's newspaper.

The three other priests include Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle, and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck, have had their ministries temporarily restricted, the diocese said.

Letters were sent from Cardinal Dolan to parishioners of the three parishes on Thursday, Oct. 3.

Sacramento Catholic Diocese Helped Accused Priest Obtain Clergy Position In Mexico, Lawsuit Claims.

Capital Public Radio

October 15, 2019

By Bob Moffitt

A new lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the Catholic Church’s Sacramento diocese assisted one of its priests in obtaining a new position with a parish in Mexico after sexual abuse accusations in Northern California in the 1980s.

The lawsuit includes a letter allegedly written by Diocese of Sacramento attorney Louis N. Desmond and indicates that former Bishop Francis A. Quinn approved a request by Priest Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos to begin working in Mexico.

Castellanos was accused by four boys of sexual assault, then fled the United States.

The agreement was contingent that the diocese in Mexico “assume full responsibility,” including financial liability, if Castellanos committed a sex offense while working in Mexico.

Former Rockland pastor accused of child sex abuse

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

October 15, 2019

By Matt Spillane

A Catholic priest who spent years as a pastor and vicar in Rockland County is now facing an allegation of child abuse from decades ago.

Monsignor Edward Weber was one of four priests in the Archdiocese of New York to be placed on administrative leave following such an accusation, according to Catholic New York, a newspaper run by the archdiocese.

Weber has served as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in West Nyack since 1994 and as regional vicar of Rockland County since 2002. He will leave those positions. Before that, he served as parochial vicar at St. Margaret of Cortona, the Bronx; and St. Margaret Mary and St. Sylvester’s, both on Staten Island. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 and named a monsignor in 2006.

He recently served as a weekend associate at St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Garnerville.

If only we'd listened to our young athletes


October 10, 2019

By Abigail Pesta

Abigail Pesta is an award-winning journalist whose investigative reporting has appeared in major publications around the world. She is the author of the new book "The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down." The views expressed here are hers. Read more opinion on CNN.

Fifteen years ago, Brianne Randall-Gay might have stopped one of the most prolific sexual predators the world of sports has ever known -- if anyone had listened. She was a 17-year-old soccer and tennis player when she and her mother went to the Meridian Township Police Department in Michigan to report that Larry Nassar had sexually abused her. The police interviewed Brianne, then Nassar. They listened to him, and dismissed her. Case closed.

Nassar went on to abuse hundreds of young women and girls.

When Nassar got sentenced to prison last year, the police publicly apologized to Brianne for their profound failure. She told me about it in an interview for my book "The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down," saying the apology left her with "complicated" feelings. While she appreciated the gesture, she wrestled with the fact that if the police had listened, years of abuse could have been stopped.

That has all changed now in the #MeToo era, right?

Sex discrimination lawsuit against St. Joseph alleges Jim Calhoun, others in athletic department involved in ‘boys club’ behavior

Hartford Courant

October 9, 2019

By Dave Altimari

The former associate athletic director at the University of St. Joseph has filed a federal lawsuit against the school alleging sexual discrimination by former longtime UConn basketball coach and current St. Joseph coach Jim Calhoun and his longtime assistant Glen Miller. The suit alleges disparaging comments the coaches made about her, including Calhoun calling her “hot” and Miller telling her he’d “swipe left.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Jaclyn Piscitelli against the university also names former athletic director Bill Cardarelli for failing to take any action when she brought allegations against Calhoun to him and alleges that the former UConn basketball coach turned the athletic department into a “male-dominated, hostile work environment” for any females.

Piscitelli was fired from her job in June of this year and replaced by Josh Ingham, the sports information director.

Matt Lauer Accuser Speaks Out in Ronan Farrow’s New Book

The New York Times

October 9, 2019

By Jim Windolf, John Koblin and Rachel Abrams

The revelations prompted a denial from Mr. Lauer, the former “Today” host. His accuser, Brooke Nevils, called the response “victim shaming.”

For more than 20 years, Matt Lauer was a star anchor of NBC’s most profitable franchise, “Today.” His downfall came in November 2017 when the network fired him after receiving a complaint of sexual misconduct against him. The accusation was soon followed by others.

Now, the circumstances of that firing have resurfaced in a book by the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow that contains new details from Mr. Lauer’s primary accuser, including her account of a rape. The book, “Catch and Kill,” is expected to be released on Tuesday.

The accuser provided an account of her interactions with Mr. Lauer to The New York Times nearly two years ago, but said she was not willing to go public with her story at the time. On Wednesday, Variety reported that Mr. Farrow had secured an on-the-record interview with the woman, Brooke Nevils, who allowed the author to name her.

Popular priest from the Hudson Valley accused of sex abuse


October 15, 2019

A popular priest from the Hudson Valley is the latest to be accused of sexual abuse.

Monsignor Edward Weber, who preached at Saint Francis of Assisi in West Nyack, is facing charges for allegedly raping a boy at least 150 times while at a parish in Staten Island in the 1970s and 1980s.

Weber was the pastor in West Nyack between 1994 and 2012. Part of the West Nyack church is even named in his honor – an educational center for kids.

Terri McCullagh says she's known Monsignor Weber for decades. She says he baptized all her three children and remains a close friend.

“I've known him for so long and I just can't see him doing this. He is the most kind, gentle person you could ever meet,” she says.

Lonely voice in Brazilian episcopate speaks against synod document


October 14, 2019

By Eduardo Campos Lima

In Brazil, most of the criticism directed towards the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon came from the government, not from members of the hierarchy.

Bishop José Luís Azcona is among the minority of Brazilian prelates to raise concerns about the synod, calling the Vatican meeting’s preparatory document “weak and inconsistent.” Still, he has sought to distance his criticism from that of President Jair Bolsonaro, who he said wants to meddle in the Brazilian Church.

In the past few months, the Spanish-born Azcona, bishop emeritus of the Prelature of Marajó - located in the Amazonian State of Pará - has been vocal in his strong criticism of the working document, called the Instrumentum Laboris.

October 15, 2019

Statement from Archdiocese re: Auxiliary Bishop Sheltz

Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston

Oct. 10, 2019

In late June, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston received an allegation of abuse against Most Reverend George A. Sheltz, our Auxiliary Bishop and Chancellor.

The allegation was referred to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, who in turn referred it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has competency in these matters. The CDF has determined that the allegation against Bishop Sheltz is manifestly unfounded.

The Congregation for Bishops has notified us and this brings the matter to a close and Bishop Sheltz is restored to full public ministry.

We are very grateful Bishop Sheltz is resuming his normal ministry activities effective immediately.

Alleged victim of priest accused of sex crimes tells court massages left him bruised

Fresno Bee

Oct. 15, 2019

By Robert Rodriguez

A former Anglican priest charged with multiple counts of sexual battery told one of his followers that he was cursed and was going to die unless the alleged victim agreed to one of his special healing massages.

Police say the massage given by Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna wasn’t special at all, and was just a way for the accused priest to sexually assault his victims, nearly all adult males.

Serna was arrested in February and has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of felony sexual battery involving 10 members of his former church, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church in Fresno.

It’s time to talk about predators in the church

The Christian Chronicle

October 14, 2019

By Bobby Ross Jr

'Christian Chronicle Live' panel tackles sexual abuse in Churches of Christ.

The predator repented. Or so he claimed.

He’d done his time and confessed his sins. He was a changed man. Or so he told the elders of a congregation willing to forgive.

He was welcomed into the fold. But to protect children, the leaders determined that they couldn’t be too careful.

Church report provides lesson on transparency

The Oklahoman

October 13, 2019

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

With its approach to determining which of its priests may have committed sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City impressed even a group that’s been one of the Catholic Church’s most vocal critics throughout the clergy abuse scandal. There's a lesson to be learned here.

Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the archdiocese’s report “goes into much greater detail than most other reports commissioned by church officials.”

“Notably, it is one of few that goes into detail about crucial information which church officials often leave off their own reports: when were allegations received, and what actions church officials took in response,” Hiner said.

Ex-Abilene pastor, Christian musician Jeff Berry arrested on child sex crime


October 14, 2019

By Nick Bradshaw

Jeff Berry -- best known in Abilene as the worship leader in the late 90's at Grace Bible Study, a non-denominational bible-study for college students -- was arrested on a child sex crime.

Berry -- who now lives in Franklin, Tennessee -- was arrested around 4:30 p.m. by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office on a sealed indictment out of Taylor County.

He's charged with being a fugitive from justice.

Berry's bond was set at $10 million.

Oklahoma Joe: Church must learn from its mistakes

The Journal Record

October 14, 2019

By Joe Hight

I’ll never forget attending an Oklahoma City-area Catholic Church in 2002 after the release of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team’s series. The pastor was blaming the media for revealing that priests had and were sexually abusing children.

I was outraged. Credible evidence and interviews with victims had already shown the “pure evil” intentions of the abusers, Walter “Robby” Robinson, editor of the Globe’s investigative team, said during the Oklahoma Pulitzer Centennial in 2016.

At that time in 2002, according to a recently released report from the law firm McAfee & Taft, the Oklahoma City Archdiocese had been actively involved in covering up sexual abusers. Perhaps the same could be said of the Tulsa Diocese.



October 14, 2019

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Stephen Brady: 'Los Angeles archdiocese will be one of the biggest hit in the country'

California just became the sixth state to drop its statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse.

The law signed on Sunday by California's Gov. Gavin Newsom gives all victims of childhood sexual abuse a three-year period beginning Jan. 1 to file lawsuits. Following that period, the new law will extend the age limit of the victim filing from 26 to 40 and the time limit of when the abuse is discovered to when the case is filed from three to five years.

Church Militant reached out to Stephen Brady, head of watchdog organization Roman Catholic Faithful, on the impact this law will have on the Church in California.

"This situation in California will make New York and other states that passed similar laws look like small-time cases," remarked Brady. He then explained:

Church in Crisis: More names added to clergy sex-abuse list


October 14, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has learned of five more men that are now being investigated had connections to the diocese.

Lehigh County priest removed from ministry following allegations of sexually abusing a minor


October 14, 2019

By Virginia Streva

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82 was the pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill

Authorities are investigating allegations that a Lehigh County priest sexually abused a minor.

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry services. Potts is accused of sexually abused a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday.

Potts was the pastor at St. George Parish in Shenandoah during the time of the alleged abuses.

New law opens window for child sex abuse lawsuits in California

The Press Democrat

October 15, 2019

By Mary Callahan

Attorneys who specialize in child sex abuse cases say Sonoma County residents can expect to see a slew of fresh lawsuits against Catholic institutions and others under a new law granting greater leeway to adult victims who want to file claims against their abusers — including a three-year suspension of the statute of limitations beginning Jan. 1.

The floodgates already are opening, with a lawsuit to be filed Tuesday by three former clients of Hanna Boys Center who claim they were abused repeatedly by Father John S. Crews, the facility’s executive director for 29 years until 2013.

“We’re eager to get moving,” said Sacramento attorney Joseph George, who represents the three men and is filing the cases under a provision of the new law that extends the statute of limitations to cases that are pending on Jan. 1. “These guys have been waiting for a long time.”

Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse While Pastor of Church in Shenandoah


October 13, 2019

By WNEP Web Staff and Brit Purdy

A priest in the Diocese of Allentown has been accused of abusing a child years ago while serving at a church in Schuylkill County.

Fr. Robert Potts was currently serving as a priest in Bethlehem, but he's accused of molesting a child while working in Schuylkill County back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Potts, 82, is accused of sexually abusing a child decades ago while serving at the former St. George Parish in Shenandoah.

Four Archdiocese Priests On Leave Amid New Church Sex Abuse Accusations


October 14, 2019

As the sun shines down on Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, N.Y., a cloud of suspicion hovers over its parish priest and three other priests in the New York archdiocese now facing allegations of abusing children several decades ago.

The four clergy of the Archdiocese Of New York have been accused of abuse with minors, cases not included in the special investigation released two weeks ago.

The men, three pastors and a member of the archdiocese administration office, have been placed on administrative leave.

The accusations include Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck. Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese.

Church volunteer John Chu jailed for raping 14-year-old girl

Warrington Guardian

October 15, 2019

By Adam Everett

A PENSIONER who raped a 14-year-old more than three decades ago has been jailed.

John Chu gained the trust of his victim by working alongside her as a volunteer at a Whitecross church in the 1980s before sexually assaulting her in his car and raping her.

Decades later, the 74-year-old was handed nine years behind bars for his sickening abuse.

The Church’s ‘mea culpa’ must be genuine | Aaron Zahra

Malta Today

October 14, 2019

by Raphael Vassallo

Rocked by over a decade of child abuse scandals, the Catholic Church is in the process of renewing its structures and policies. Fr Aaron Zahra – abbot of the Dominican Priory in Vittoriosa, and author of a dissertation about sex abuse in Catholic schools – argues that the Church has a lot to learn from its past mistakes

Recently, you wrote an opinion piece criticising the Church for its mishandling of the international child abuse scandals of recent years. How seriously do you think this issue has dented the credibility of the Church, both globally and locally?

Let’s start with this: when it came to cases of abuse of minors by priests and members of religious orders, the Church thought it could grab the bull by the horns by keeping everything behind closed doors because it gave more importance to its own reputation on the outside, than to the good of the victims. The Church’s priority was, so to speak, to sweep everything under the carpet; and to safeguard the reputation of the priesthood, so that the figure of the priest would be kept on a pedestal as ‘a man of God’… as if priests were, by definition, incapable of doing such things.

Meanwhile, as far as the victims were concerned… it was as though the Church used them to glean information about what happened; and then stopped there. Even worse than that, I have heard of many cases where victims were even offered money to keep their mouths shut. Or where perpetrators were transferred to other parishes, where they continued to abuse other victims… It’s a bit like playing chess: you move your pieces around on the board… as if the abuse will stop happening, once the perpetrator is in a different place.

Responses to domestic violence in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Presbyterian Outlook

October 15, 2019

By Katrina Pekich-Bundy

“Don’t walk alone at night.”

“Always carry pepper spray.”

“Never leave your drink unattended at a party.”

“When walking alone in a parking garage, always put your keys between your fingers.”

Most females have heard these recommendations at some point. They are the sacred conversations that happen from woman to girl — words of wisdom and warning. Grandmothers and mothers continue this oral tradition from generation to generation. The terminology and situation change over time. Now the conversation includes: “Never meet a man you met online in a private place.” The sentiments remain: Stay safe.

Swansea abuse survivor Brett Sengstock said Scott Morrison's support for Brian Houston 'beggars belief'

New Castle Herald

October 15 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

BRETT Sengstock was seven when he was sexually abused by prominent evangelical Christian Frank Houston, and close to death in July last year when the church Houston founded slammed the door on compensation.

"There was no Christ in how they treated me," said Mr Sengstock, 58, about Australian Christian Churches and its most prominent entity, the Hillsong Church led by Frank Houston's son, Brian.

"I think Hillsong is nothing but a business."

Man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable for abuse


October 11, 2019

By Phil Pennington

The dark past of the Dunedin diocese and its clutch of clerical paedophiles** still ensnares Marc. But he means to be free of it.

One drunken night in 2013 in Melbourne, Marc* wrote an email to the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He was drunk a lot back then.

"I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you," he said. Not now, now he's dry.

He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn't remember sending the email.

"The first line, and this was five years ago, was, 'If there's ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence'.

Glenmary releases list of credible claims, hopes it helps bring ‘healing’

Catholic News Service

October 15, 2019

Father Dan Dorsey, president of the Glenmary Home Missioners, said the religious community of priests and brothers “has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults.”

“We have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures,” he said Oct. 11. “We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.”

Dorsey made the comments in an open letter released with a list of men credibly abused of sexual abuse. The list is the result of a yearlong forensic review commissioned by Glenmary.

Former Chile nuncio defends himself; topless protesters attack cathedral in Argentina


Oct. 15, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A shirtless protest in front of one of the world’s largest cathedrals. A discredited papal representative heading to Portugal from Chile acknowledges failures in responding to allegations of clerical sexual abuse. And as murder rates continue to rise, a Mexican cardinal says that killing cannot be the solution to conflict.

Here’s a roundup of news coming from the Catholic Church in Latin America.

In Argentina, activists again call for burning down churches

A rally happening during Argentina’s annual “National Encounter of Women” on Sunday included a protest against the cathedral of La Plata, the city hosting the event this year.

The rally, organized by Argentina’s leading leftwing party, wasn’t officially supported by the organizers of the women’s event.

As in previous years, participants at the rally threw Molotov cocktails and human excrement on churches.

Jesuit Officials Trying to Force Victims to Reveal Their Names

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 15, 2019

In their latest effort to dodge the deluge of lawsuits from survivors of clergy abuse, Jesuit officials are deploying a new tactic that is obviously aimed at scaring victims and witnesses into silence. We hope their tactic is thrown out in court today, and that survivors will be protected as they exercise their legal rights.

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 3:00 PM EDT, at 111 Centre Street (75 Lafayette Street, between White and Franklin Streets), Courtroom 1127, Judge George Silver presiding.

As lawsuits continue to move forward thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act, church officials from the Jesuit order are demanding that survivors filing lawsuits as Jane or John Doe must instead use their real name publicly.

This is a move designed to be hurtful and scare additional survivors from coming forward. Not every victim is ready to share the details of their abuse with their communities and they should not be prevented from coming forward and filing a lawsuit due to fear of being exposed by the very people who were responsible for the abuse they suffered in the first place.

Rochester diocese pressed on use of donations

Rochester Beacon

Oct. 15, 2019

By Will Astor

Might the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester consider altering a promise made to donors and use some charitable contributions to compensate survivors of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of its priests?

The question, posed by an abuse survivor to Rochester diocese Bishop Salvatore Matano last week, comes as the diocese simultaneously kicks off its annual Catholic Ministries Appeal and begins to thread its way through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy it filed in September.

The diocese did not rush to embrace the suggestion, but also did not definitively turn it down.

The overseer of the Roman Catholic churches in a 12-county region of Upstate New York, the diocese sought court protection from creditors last month, stating that it made the move in anticipation of a flood of sex-abuse claims that could make it liable for as much as a $100 million payout.

Not yet known is the number of claims it will be hit with during a one-year window in which victims of long-buried abuse by priests and other church functionaries can file claims that otherwise would have been barred by a statute of limitations.

So far, the diocese has taken pains to assure donors that their contributions would not be used to satisfy sex-abuse claims.

California sex abuse law likely to spur thousands of claims

The Associated Press

October 14, 2019

By Don Thompson

Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.

The California School Boards Association called the new law an "existential threat" to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.

They are newly possible because the law that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved on Sunday gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.

New CA law allows survivors of child sexual assault more time to come forward


October 14, 2019

By Melissa Newman

Victims of child sex abuse have more time to seek justice as part of a new bill AB 218, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom Sunday.

The bill changes the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against an alleged abuser, allowing people who are up to 40 years old to file suits and provides a three-year window for survivors to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the abuse occurred and regardless of their current age.

San Luis Obispo attorney Taylor Ernst says the previous laws forced them to turn some people away.

Child Sex Abuse Law Signed by Gov. Newsom Likely to Spur Thousands of Claims Against Accused Molesters, Institutions

Associated Press

October 14, 2019

Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.

The California School Boards Association called the new law an “existential threat” to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.

New California Law Gives Child Sex Assault Victims More Time to File Suit

The Epoch Times

October 14, 2019

By Bowen Xiao

The state of California is giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to decide if they want to file lawsuits, the latest in a growing trend among states to loosen statute of limitation laws in the United States.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law into effect on Oct. 13 to give childhood sexual abuse victims until the age of 40, or five years from the discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. Previously, the limit was at 27 years old, or within three years of the discovery of the abuse.

The new law also entirely suspends the statute of limitations for three years, beginning from January 2020, allowing victims of any age the ability to bring lawsuits if they wish.

A statute of limitations blocks prosecutors from having the power to charge someone once a certain number of years have passed since a crime was committed.

Fourth Allegation Made Against Former Bishop Hubbard

Spectrum News

October 14, 2019

A fourth allegation has been made against former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard.

A lawsuit filed under the umbrella of the Child Victims Act in Albany County Supreme Court on Friday also contained allegations against Gerald Kampfer, a former pastor.

The alleged abuse is said to have happened at St. John the Baptist between 1988 and 1990.

While the lawsuit does not go into specifics, the filing claims the church received a number of complaints against Hubbard and Kampfer — saying policies didn’t protect children.

Here’s why N.J. may be hit with more Boy Scout sex abuse lawsuits than any other state

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

October 13, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

Scott remembers he wasn’t feeling well when his mother dropped him off for his first camping trip with his Boy Scout troop back in the early 1960s.

But Scott, then 12, didn’t want a routine childhood illness to keep him from hiking in a beautiful canyon near Amarillo, Texas, and sleeping beneath the stars. One of his troop leaders assured his mother he would keep a close watch on him and have the boy share his tent, Scott recalls.

“That was the first night I was basically attacked and sexually abused,” said Scott, now 69, who asked that his last name not be used.

He says the sexual abuse that began in the tent that night continued for more than a year as he was abused by two Boy Scout leaders until he finally quit the group and moved away. Scared and confused, he says he never reported the alleged abuse.

October 14, 2019

Did Stolen Pope Charity Cash Fund Priest Party Pads?

Daily Beast

Oct. 15, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

A few hours before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Vatican counterpart Pietro Parolin in Rome in early October, the Swiss Guard gendarmes raided a key office in Parolin’s department.

They were acting on orders from “up high,” and cleaned out the offices of the Holy See’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), which is essentially meant to be the watchdog agency set up to keep an eye out for any illicit activities at the Vatican Bank, which has been embroiled in dozens of scandals over the years. The gendarmes carted away computers, documents, and as many secret hard drives as they could find. Then they left and sealed the office.

The investigators were looking into what may seem like just the latest scandal within the Vatican’s beleaguered financial system. But this time it touched Pope Francis personally with allegations that money meant for his beloved charities for the poor was actually going into pricey London property and seedy apartments alleged to be used for sinful activities.

Five people, including AIF director Tommaso Di Ruzza, were banned from entering the Vatican’s fortified walls while the investigation tied to the raid was carried out. A wanted poster—featuring photos of the five people who worked in the office and meant for Swiss Guards’ eyes only to know who not to let in—was inevitably leaked to the press.

Pope Francis, to put it mildly, was pissed off that the wanted poster was leaked and the reputations of those on it—who may not be guilty of anything—sullied. A Vatican statement condemned the outing of those on the wanted poster as “prejudicial to the dignity of the people involved.” The pope turned to his security chief Domenico Giani to find out exactly who leaked the photo. On Monday, his detective work still fruitless, Giani resigned.

In his official letter of explanation, he blamed his inability to smoke out whoever leaked the photos. “I felt shame for what happened and for the suffering of these people,” he wrote, according to the letter sent to Vatican accredited journalists. “Having always said I was ready to sacrifice my life to defend the Pope’s, in the same spirit I made the decision to resign.”

Retired Diocese Of Greensburg Priest Accused Of Sexually Abusing A Minor Dies


Oct. 14, 2019

A retired priest from the Diocese of Greensburg who was placed on administrative leave after credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor has died.

Michael W. Matusak, who retired in July after he was placed on administrative leave due to accusations of sexually abusing a minor, died at age 69 at the diocese’s residence for retired priests.

The Diocese of Greensburg says law enforcement did not make the results of their investigation known to them at the time of Matusak’s death.

McCaffrey: To the finish, we’ve kept the faith

MetroWest Daily News

Oct. 13, 2019

By Arthur McCaffrey

This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the start of the grassroots Parish Vigil Resistance Movement (PVRM) which began in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) during September-October in 2004. This Occupy movement — unique in the 200 year history of the archdiocese — saw parishes organize 24/7 vigils inside their churches to protest Archbishop O’Malley’s plans to close over 80 diocesan parishes in 2004. While the newly arrived bishop claimed he was only responding to changing demographics in his diocese, we knew better.

After the mess left behind by his fugitive predecessor, Cardinal Law, who escaped to Rome, O’Malley was faced with a very large bill for paying financial settlements to abuse victims. So he targeted for closure a broad swathe of both weak and strong parishes as revenue generators, like my own in Wellesley, St. James the Great, which was both financially and religiously viable, with a strong, vibrant congregation, including young families with children in CCD classes, and money in the bank— not to mention eight very attractive acres along Rte. 9.

O’Malley sent out his dreaded Fedex letters in the summer of 2004, notifying which parishes were getting the axe. In response, 24 parishes grouped together to challenge O’Malley’s decision, using legitimate canon law appeals to both the archdiocese and the Vatican. In an act of spontaneous combustion, about a dozen of us went one step further by going into full-time vigil to prevent a lockout in our parish churches.

Msgr. William Williams, former vicar of Ulster County, dies at 85; was cleared of sexual abuse charge in May

Daily Freeman

Oct. 14, 2019

By Patricia R. Doxsey

Msgr. William Williams, a former vicar of Ulster County, has died five months after being cleared by a Vatican-authorized tribunal of sexually abusing a child.

Williams was 85 when he died at the Ten Broeck Commons nursing home in Lake Katrine on Oct. 9, according to his obituary.

Williams' name appeared on an April 26, 2019, list released by the Archdiocese of New York that contained the names of 120 priests who had been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Williams was among 12 priests in the Mid-Hudson Valley who appeared on the list.

Wannabe Catholic priests can expect interrogations about porn, psych evaluations and abuse prevention training

Colorado Sun

Oct. 14, 2019

Jennifer Brown

Investigators examining decades of child sexual abuse by Colorado priests are expected to release their report within weeks. The reckoning is due, say Catholic leaders, but the public account will sting as it brings a fresh round of damage to the church.

“Our psyche at large as a church, as the body of Christ, has just taken so many strikes to the same wound, that just becomes a traumatic experience,” said Father Ryan O’Neill of the Archdiocese of Denver. “Is this stabbing of the same wound over and over again going to hamper the church’s ability to move forward? That’s what trauma does. It makes you turn on yourself.”

Bracing for the report’s release, church leaders detailed the changes in policy over the years intended to prevent abusers from entering the priesthood. They include psychological evaluations of men who want to become priests, including probing questions about pornography, sexual urges, homosexuality and narcissism.

Crooks, Quacks, Kooks, Creeps and Cruds in the Clergy

Patheos blog

Oct. 14, 2019

By James Haught

[Editor’s Note: For readers who hail from my home state, today’s post is relevant since New York’s Child Victims Act recently took effect. This law opens a one-year window for victims of child sexual abuse, who were previously shut out by the statute of limitations, to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and the churches and other organizations that sheltered them. As with other issues, statute-of-limitations reform was blocked for years by Republicans (who were doing the bidding of the Catholic church’s lobbyists), and was swiftly passed when Democrats took control of the state senate. —Adam]

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Pentecostal evangelist Mario Leyva of Columbus, Ga., sodomized more than 100 church boys. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 1989. Two assistant pastors got 15 and 12 years for transporting the boys state-to-state for orgies.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

The Rev. Roy Yanke of Beverly Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in 1991 to robbing 14 banks of $47,000 to pay for his daily use of prostitutes. He got seven years in prison.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Some 400 U.S. Catholic priests have been charged with child molestation in the past decade, and the church has paid an estimated $400 million in damages and costs. One priest, James Porter, is accused of abusing perhaps 100 victims in three states — including a boy in a full body cast who couldn’t move to resist.

“It’s good enough for me….”

Born-again con-artist Michael Douglas of Antioch, Ill., who specialized in investments for wealthy fundamentalists, got a 12-year sentence in 1991 for swindling 131 people out of $31 million.

“It was good for Paul and Silas…”

Army chaplain aide Steven Ritchie of Fort Lewis, Wash., was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 1990 for raping a six-week-old baby girl.

SNAP Applauds as California Governor Signs SOL Reform into Law

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 13, 2019

We applaud lawmakers in California, especially Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez for introducing this important reform bill and Governor Gavin Newsom for signing it into law yesterday. Californians can be proud of their leadership on this issue.

With AB 218 signed into law, California is now the latest state to pass sweeping reform to their civil statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse. These changes come as more states around the country are amending their laws to reflect the realities of sexual violence: the average age of a survivor coming forward is 52, and by the time most feel comfortable to come forward, they are barred by the statute of limitations.

Fortunately, for the next three years that is no longer the case for victims in California.

By opening a “window to justice” and allowing survivors whose cases were previously barred by SOL to be heard in court, important information can be exposed that can help create safer, more informed communities. We hope that other legislators around the country will look to California as an example as they begin to take up SOL reform in their own states.

Jesuit Officials Deploy Obvious Intimidation Tactic in their Attempts to Defeat Lawsuits for Clergy Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 14, 2019

In their latest effort to dodge the deluge of lawsuits from survivors of clergy abuse, Jesuit officials are deploying a new tactic that is obviously aimed at scaring victims and witnesses into silence. We hope their tactic is thrown out in court and that survivors will be protected as they exercise their legal rights.

As lawsuits continue to move forward thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act, church officials from the Jesuit order are demanding that survivors filing lawsuits as Jane or John Doe must instead use their real name publicly.

This is a move designed to be hurtful and scare additional survivors from coming forward. Not every victim is ready to share the details of their abuse with their communities and they should not be prevented from coming forward and filing a lawsuit due to fear of being exposed by the very people who were responsible for the abuse they suffered in the first place.

Church officials have long hidden the name of abusive clerics from public view. In fact, only in the past several months have Jesuit leaders started to post the names of abusers publicly. To us, this move seems to me like a spiteful reaction to having their own veil of secrecy pulled back and seeing their crimes exposed.

Director: Victims call new film on abuse ‘the French Spotlight

Catholic New Service via Crux

October 13, 2019

By Mark Pattison

Anybody who sees “By the Grace of God,” a new French-language film that details a true-to-life French clerical sex abuse scandal, may be struck by similarities to the U.S. drama “Spotlight,” which dealt with the abuse scandal that erupted in Boston in 2002.

“The two films are complementary,” said Francois Ozon, director of “By the Grace of God.” “In ‘Spotlight,’ the story is told from the point of view of the journalists. In my film, it’s from the point of view of the survivors.”

He added, “When I met the victims, I was very touched. And they all talked to me about ‘Spotlight.’ It was, of course, a big success. I understood, they trusted me, and they told me their story. In a certain way, they wanted me to do the French ‘Spotlight,’ because they knew ‘Spotlight’ won an Oscar (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay) and was a big movie in America. And they were right.”

Law gives child sex assault victims more time to file suits

Associated Press via ABC News

October 13, 2019

By Adam Beam

California is giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to decide whether to file lawsuits, joining several states in expanding the statute of limitations for victims over warnings from school districts that the new rules could bankrupt them.

The law signed Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, or five years from discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. The previous limit had been 26, or within three years from discovery of the abuse.

It also suspends the statute of limitations for three years — beginning Jan. 1 — giving victims of all ages time to bring lawsuits if they wish.

"The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous," said Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of the bill.

California is at least the third state this year to take this step. Earlier this year, New York and New Jersey raised their statutes of limitations to age 55. New York also suspended its statute of limitations for one year, leading to hundreds of lawsuits against hospitals, schools, the Roman Catholic Church and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

California grants more time for filing child sexual abuse allegations under new law

Los Angeles Times

October 13, 2019

By Patrick McGreevy

Sacramento - Victims of childhood sexual abuse will have more time to report allegations and file a lawsuit under a California law signed Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The legislation was introduced following widespread allegations of abuse of minors by Catholic priests as well as the 2018 conviction of Larry Nassar, a former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor, for molesting young athletes.

“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill’s author. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now.”

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims

Morning Call

October 13, 2019

By Emily Opilo

[Includes list of properties and photographs.]

Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church.

To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims.

Diocesan officials see the fund as a step toward righting some of the wrongs documented by an explosive grand jury report in 2018, which named dozens of Allentown Diocese priests among the 301 accused of abusing about a thousand children across Pennsylvania.

The payouts will also cause “severe financial stress," the diocese cautioned in December, four months before it opened the fund to claims. It said then that it would tap available cash, borrow money and sell assets “to the extent possible” to cover the fund, noting no money would be taken from parishes.

But public records show the diocese has left one of its largest collective assets — more than $323 million of property it controls in Lehigh and Northampton counties — largely intact.

Diocese Disputes Main Premise of Morning Call Articles

Diocese of Allentown

October 13, 2019

For three straight days this week, The Morning Call newspaper has published articles claiming that the Diocese of Allentown has $323 million in property in the Lehigh Valley.

That is wrong.

For three straight days, the implication of these website articles has been that the Diocese could have sold this property to raise cash, but has chosen not to.

That also is wrong.

In one article, there is a list of “Highest-value Allentown Diocese parcels.” Most of them are thriving parishes like St. Thomas More, St. Joseph the Worker and St. Catharine of Siena. Others are thriving high schools like Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic and Notre Dame. The implication? These are properties owned by the Diocese, and they could be sold.

Wrong again.

Priest removed from ministry during investigation

Diocese of Allentown

October 13, 2019

[Includes assignment history.]

Father Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill (Bethlehem), has been removed from ministry pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The allegation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, who then notified the Diocese. The Diocese had no prior knowledge of the allegation until being notified by program administrators. The program was established by the Diocese to provide compensation to abuse victims as one part of their healing.

On the day he was notified of the allegation, Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Father Potts from ministry and immediately directed that law enforcement be notified.

The removal of Father Potts from ministry at this time is not a determination of guilt, but rather a precautionary measure until the appropriate investigations are completed.

The abuse allegedly occurred when Father Potts, now 82, was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah. He was ordained in March 1964.

Allentown Diocese removes priest over sex abuse allegation

Morning Call

October 13, 2019

By Nicole Radzievich

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, seen in this 1999 photo, has been removed from ministry pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to the Allentown Catholic Diocese.

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry pending the investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Allentown Diocese said Sunday.

The allegation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, and they notified the diocese the week of Sept. 24. Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Potts from the ministry and notified law enforcement, a news release said.

The release said Potts’ removal is a precautionary measure until the investigation is completed and not a determination of guilt.

Parishioners of St. Ursula were informed of the allegation at all Masses this weekend. The diocese’s announcement was done in consultation with the district attorney’s office in Schuylkill County, where the alleged abuse occurred.

Pennsylvania Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor


October 13, 2019

By David Chang

A Pennsylvania priest was removed from the ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Father Robert J. Potts, the pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Potts, 82, allegedly abused the victim while he was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah.

The accusation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program who then notified the Diocese of Allentown. The program was established by the Diocese to provide compensation for abuse victims.

Letter to the Editor: Statute of limitations needs to be reevaluated

Hartford Courant

October 13, 2019

By Thomas F. Morrissey, Jr.

I read with interest the in-depth reporting by Daniela Altimari [Oct. 6, Politics, “After scathing report on sex abuse by clergy in Bridgeport Diocese, victims press for changes to Connecticut’s statute of limitations law”]

I retired as a New Haven detective with 27 years of service, half as the department’s community youth coordinator. Sexual abuse of an innocent child by criminals within the Catholic Church and wherever else causes permanent damage to the victims, thus the Connecticut state statute of limitations that protects these perpetrators must be eliminated now.

State Sen. Mae Flexer is correct in stating that such legislation “was thwarted by the Catholic Church’s lobbying effort.” State Sen. Martin Looney is President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut Senate; his influence is enormous. Everyone who cares about this matter should contact him and ask that he commit to advocating the abolishment of this cruel and unjust obstacle.

Thomas F. Morrissey, Jr., Cheshire

Statement in light of the most recent court filing under the Child Victims Act

Times Union

October 13, 2019

By Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard

The most recent court filing names me as a known sexual abuser dating back to the beginning of my episcopate in 1977.

The first allegation of such misconduct was in 2004. This complaint was thoroughly investigated by Mary Jo White, the former attorney of the Southern District of New York who prosecuted John Gotti and the terrorists at the World Trade Center. She investigated my entire life going back to grammar school years till 2004. She interviewed over 300 people, offered a toll free hot line to receive any complaints of misbehavior on my part, reviewed my medical and financial records and had me take a polygraph test administered by a former FBI specialist in this regard. Ms. White included that there was no evidence I ever abused anyone sexually and stated that any further allegations should be reviewed with the greatest skepticism.

Fourth lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by former bishop

Times Union

October 13, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Complaint accuses Hubbard, another priest of abusing a young boy in the late '80s

A lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Friday is the fourth civil action to accuse former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard of child sex abuse.

The complaint, which does not include specific details, alleges that Hubbard and a second priest — now deceased — abused a child in the late 1980s while the plaintiff served as an altar boy at St. John the Baptist church in Chestertown.

Hubbard, who retired in 2014 after nearly four decades at the helm of the diocese, said in a statement Sunday that he "adamantly" denies any accusations of child sex abuse lodged against him.

Peter Saghir, the plaintiff's attorney, said the alleged abuse involving Hubbard was a one-time incident that occurred when the boy was roughly nine or 10 years old and visited the home of the second priest, Gerald Kampfer.


The first claim against Hubbard, filed in August, alleged that the former bishop abused a teenage boy in the 1990s. A second filed the next month accused him and two other Capital Region priests — Francis P. Melfe and Albert DelVecchio, both now deceased — of repeatedly assaulting a teenage girl in the late 1970s at a now-shuttered church in Schenectady.

A third filed earlier this month claimed that Hubbard and a second priest abused a teenage boy at a Troy church in the 1970s. The second priest is identified in the complaint as "Joseph Mato," but the Times Union could not confirm if a priest by that name served at the church. A deceased priest with a similar name was employed by the diocese during that time.

Sex abuse lawsuit alleges fraud and conspiracy by Bishop McCort High School & Diocese


October 11, 2019

By Crispin Havener

A new civil lawsuit filed Thursday alleges fraud and conspiracy against Bishop McCort Catholic High School, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, over allegations of sexual abuse made by a former student who attended the school from 2000 to 2002.

The plaintiff, listed in the complaint as "A.L.", said the abuse by an unnamed "priest and athletic trainer" employed by the school in Johnstown, the diocese, and the Third Order Regular Friars, started after the student suffered an injury during a freshman day camp. The athletic trainer, according to the complaint, rubbed the plaintiff's leg under the guise of treatment but proceeded to assault the student.

Other abuses are alleged in the complaint to have happened over the two year period, including in a bathroom at the Visitation Church near the school. The plaintiff said other students mentioned getting "rub downs" from the "John Doe" athletic trainer.

The victim, who is older than 30 and has aged out of the statute of limitations for civil suits, is filing suit claiming allegations of abuse by others were not known to him until the 2016 grand jury report into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown came out. This summer, a state Superior Court panel reinstated Renee Rice's lawsuit alleging the diocese and two bishops illegally tried to cover up her abuse to protect their reputations and that of the parish priest she claims abused her, which she did not know about until the report came out.

October 13, 2019

Valley priest sues accusers, Diocese

Tribune Chronicle

October 12, 2019

By Ed Runyan

Suit calls claims false and defamatory

Youngstown - Father Denis G. Bouchard, who was placed on administrative leave in November after the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown received an allegation that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor, has filed a libel and slander suit against the accuser, his mother and the diocese.

The lawsuit, filed late last month in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, names the alleged victim, who lives in Chardon, his mother, who lives in Orwell, and the diocese as defendants.

It says the allegations are false and defamatory.

Monsignor John Zuraw, chancellor of the Diocese of Youngstown, when asked about the lawsuit, said, “Because there is a civil suit that is active, we cannot make any comment because of the legal ramifications.”

Retired Youngstown police Sgt. Delphine Baldwin-Casey, diocese victim assistance coordinator, said in November the purported victim was a minor at the time of the alleged incidents but is now an adult.

The Diocese said in November its Diocesan Review Board had recommended to Youngstown Bishop George V. Murry that further investigation be done to determine the credibility of the allegations against Bouchard, who was pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish on Scoville Drive in Vienna.

Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Jenik Accepted

Catholic New York

October 11, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John J. Jenik, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops turn in their resignation to the pope.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, made the announcement Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C.

In October 2018, Bishop Jenik was removed from public ministry pending a Vatican review of a decades-old accusation of sexual abuse made against him, a claim he denies.

He stepped down as pastor of Our Lady of Refuge parish in the Bronx, where he had been pastor since 1985.

He has been an auxiliary bishop since 2014.

Insurance firm sues Buffalo Diocese to avoid paying for sex abuse claims

Buffalo News

October 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A Chicago-based insurance company has launched an opening salvo in what are expected to be bruising legal battles between the Buffalo Diocese and its insurers over payouts on clergy sex abuse claims under the Child Victims Act and the legal costs of defending the diocese against the claims.

Continental Insurance Company is arguing in court papers that insurance policies it may have issued to the diocese more than 40 years ago don’t apply to childhood sex abuse lawsuits being filed now against the diocese.

Potentially millions of dollars in legal costs and sex abuse claims are at stake in the case.

Continental urged the court to rule that the company was not obligated to pay for sex abuse claims or for the diocese’s legal costs in defending itself against the claims. The insurer also argued that it wasn’t obligated to provide funds to help offset the expenses of the diocese’s voluntary compensation program, which already paid $17.5 million to 106 abuse victims.

Vatican Expert Looks to Calm Parishioner Fears Amid Diocese of Buffalo Probe

Spectrum News

October 8, 2019

By Mark Goshgarian

After months of parishioners voicing mistrust toward the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo over the handling of the clergy abuse crisis, Pope Francis has sent Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio to Buffalo.

"It's the pope saying, ‘I hear you.’ The alarm over Buffalo is so significant to have risen at that top most level," said Rocco Palmo, Vatican expert.

The Diocese is the third placed under a visitation since the pontiff became leader of the Church in 2013.

"This visitation has come from the highest level of the Catholic Church. This is the equivalent in the Catholic Church of either an FBI investigation or a grand jury. It's kind of like, in a way, being charged with a crime, and kind of hanging in that limbo," said Palmo.

Palmo has known DiMarzio for 20 years, and says the Bishop's fact-finding mission will be handled quickly and responsibly.

"And they're sending in someone again with the universal reputation for being tough. Anyone who calls this guy soft has no idea who they're dealing with," said Palmo.

DiMarzio is expected to interview stakeholders, evaluate Bishop Richard Malone's handling of clergy cases, review files and documents, as well as more than 200 Child Victims Act lawsuits.

Pope names new apostolic nuncio to Chile

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 7, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City - Pope Francis named Spanish Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin as the new apostolic nuncio to Chile, the Vatican announced.

Ortega, 56, served as nuncio to Jordan and Iraq prior to his appointment to the South American country, the Vatican said Oct. 7.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1990, Ortega entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1997, serving in posts in Nicaragua, South Africa and Lebanon. He was ordained a bishop in 2015.

His appointment comes at a time when the Catholic Church in Chile is under continuous scrutiny over its handling of cases involving the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

Ortega's predecessor, Italian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, whom Francis transferred to Portugal in late August, often was criticized by survivors for his alleged inaction and complicity in covering up cases of abuse.

Cardinal Sarah: To oppose the Pope is to be outside the Church

Catholic Herald

October 9, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

The cardinal said accusations that he is against Pope Francis are 'diabolical'

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said the people who portray him as an opponent of Pope Francis are being used by the devil to help divide the Church.

“The truth is that the Church is represented on earth by the vicar of Christ, that is by the Pope. And whoever is against the Pope is, ipso facto, outside the Church,” the cardinal said in an interview published on October 7 in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily.

The Corriere piece was published to coincide with the release of a new book-length interview with Cardinal Sarah, “The Day is Now Far Spent.” The English edition was released on September 22 by Ignatius Press in the United States.

“I would add that every Pope is right for his time,” the cardinal said. “Providence looks after us very well, you know.”

However, Cardinal Sarah’s new book is filled with warnings about how a lack of faith, trust in God and adherence to tradition is threatening the Catholic Church, particularly in Europe and the wealthy West. But he especially focuses on clerical sexual abuse and how that has meant “the mystery of betrayal oozes from the walls of the Church.”

Still, in the chapter, “The Crisis of the Church,” the book includes the cardinal saying, “I would like to remind everyone about Jesus’ words to St Peter, ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church’ (Mt 16:18). We have the assurance that this saying of Jesus is realized in what we call the infallibility of the Church. The spouse of Christ, headed by the successor of Peter, can live through crises and storms.”

Papal visit organiser to become Scouting Ireland chief executive

Irish Times

October 11, 2019

By Jack Power

Youth organisation has been embroiled in a a historic sex abuse scandal in recent times

A woman involved in the management of last year’s papal visit to Ireland is to become the chief executive of Scouting Ireland.

Anne Griffin is to take over as head of the youth organisation from Dr John Lawlor in January, and will be the first woman to hold the role in the organisation’s history.

Ms Griffin was the general manager of the World Meeting of Families, a major religious gathering which saw Pope Francis deliver a Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in August of last year.

She was also the general manager of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, another major international Catholic Church event, which was held in Dublin in 2012.

She was also employed as a consultant advise on the running of the 2015 and 2020 congresses.

Dr Lawlor has been chief executive of Scouting Ireland since 2012, and previously held several national volunteer roles in the youth organisation, which has more than 50,000 members.

Scouting Ireland has been at the centre of controversy over the last two years, following several governance and child protection scandals which were revealed by The Irish Times.

François Ozon on dramatising the biggest abuse scandal to hit the French Catholic church

The Guardian

October 13, 2019

By Kim Willsher

[With English-subtitled trailer.]

The director’s new film, By the Grace of God, retells the story of a paedophile priest. Ozon reveals how the victims’ stories unlocked his own painful memory

For most film directors, the nail-biting action unfolds on screen. Not, however, for François Ozon. The theatrics over his latest film played out in the French courts as he fought a last-minute attempt to stop it being released and found himself at the centre of a legal and national controversy. Today, Ozon can almost but not quite laugh about his starring role in the off-screen drama that earlier this year came perilously close to having his €5.9m (£5.2m) film By the Grace of God – the story of a real-life scandal involving a paedophile priest – canned.

“I suppose I was naive to think there wouldn’t be attempts to stop it coming out,” he says. “There was huge tension over the court case and we really didn’t know if the film could be released. The judgment was on the Tuesday; the film was due out on the Wednesday. We only knew the decision the night before.

“There were two court cases, but each time there has been legal action the judges have found in our favour. Fortunately.”

Even for Ozon, who is known for zigzagging across cinematic genres – farce, horror, comedy, psychosexual – By the Grace of God is a departure from style, a dramatised retelling of the story of the victims of Bernard Preynat, a former Catholic priest in the city of Lyon who is believed to have abused 70 children over three decades.

Colorado attorney general announces new settlement fund for victims of Catholic priest abuse

Colorado Sun

October 7, 2019

By Jennifer Brown

The announcement comes ahead of the release of an investigative report into abuses by priests going back decades

Victims of sexual abuse by Colorado priests can now apply for financial reparations from a settlement fund announced Monday, part of a healing process after years of scandal in the Catholic Church.

Those who have already come forward will receive packets with instructions on how to apply for compensation — 65 packets were going out Monday to alleged victims already known to the church. Those who have yet to come forward must register by Nov. 30 for an eligibility review, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

The fund, officially called the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, was a joint project by the state attorney general’s office and the Catholic Church. It is independent of church control. Two nationally known victims’ fund administrators will administer the program, with oversight from a committee headed by former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown.

Possibility of women deacons proposed on day three of the Amazon Synod

America Magazine

October 9, 2019

By Luke Hansen, S.J.

Most bishops who lead dioceses in the Amazon support the ordination of married men of proven virtue, or viri probati, as a way of addressing the lack of priests in the region, said the retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil, speaking to journalists after a Vatican press briefing on Oct. 9. “I guess that [of] the bishops who are in the Amazon region, two-thirds are in favor of the viri probati,” he said.

At the briefing, Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, said that synod members have described the uniqueness of the Amazon region, which has “dioceses as big as nations.” He added, “Viri probati does not mean changing the law of celibacy in the church” but, “depending on the discernment” that takes place in the synod, “this law, like all human laws, can have exceptions in concrete cases.”

On this point, Bishop Kräutler said there are thousands of indigenous communities in the Amazon that “do not celebrate the Eucharist except perhaps one, two or three times a year.”

“The Eucharist, for us Catholics, is the source and summit of our faith,” the bishop continued. “For the love of God, these people don’t have it!” The bishops in favor of ordaining married men, he said, “are not against celibacy. We just want these brothers and sisters of ours not to have just a celebration of the word but also the celebration of the Eucharist.”

Several speakers at the synod have also proposed the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate.

‘Marching to hell’: Why young men are still choosing to become Catholic priests


October 13, 2019

By Gary Nunn


They’re in their sexual prime — but these men and others like them are flocking to a career that demands they swear off sex for life.

Why are young men still choosing to become Catholic priests? It’s a fair enough question to ask any trainee priest in the current Australian climate: who, today, is choosing to devote their entire lives to the Catholic Church?

In the context of George Pell’s imprisonment, the Catholic Church having the most cases in the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, stories of paedophile priests moved from parish to parish and plummeting church attendance, few would dispute that the once juggernaut institution is in crisis.

The answer, then, might surprise you.

I was given rare access within the Catholic Church’s notoriously tight PR machine to three young trainee priests all based within Australia’s largest seminary: Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College — where Pell himself studied and the heartland of a network of paedophile priests who operated there in the 1970s.

I ask what motivated them to give their lives over to an institution facing such momentous challenges.

Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio begins visitation of scandal-hit Buffalo diocese

Catholic News Agency

October 10, 2019

Buffalo, N.Y. - Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has begun his apostolic visitation of the scandal-hit Diocese of Buffalo.

A statement released by the Diocese of Brooklyn Thursday said that DiMarzio had traveled to the diocese of Bishop Richard Malone and interviewed more than 30 people earlier this week.

“The Bishop takes his role as Visitator seriously and is determined to continue the fact-finding mission he has been directed to carry out by the Holy See,” said the Diocese of Brooklyn in the Oct. 10 statement.

“Both lay faithful and clergy, members of the Diocesan staff, and others have been invited to be a part of this process so that Bishop DiMarzio can gather information from several perspectives as part of this fact-finding mission of the Buffalo Diocese.”

DiMarzio was appointed to inspect the Buffalo diocese by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, last week. In an announcement released Oct. 3, the apostolic nunciature to the United States released a statement underscoring that the process was “non-judicial and non-administrative,” meaning that no formal charges are currently being considered against the scandal-plagued Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo.

Priest molested woman seeking help after father’s death, court hears

Coast Reporter

October 8, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

'He shoved his ugly tongue in my mouth. I hated it. I prayed to God to stop it.'

A woman seeking help from a Kamloops Roman Catholic priest dealing with grief from her father’s death in 1976 instead found herself being groped by him in his office, BC Supreme Court heard Oct. 8.

Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Father Erlindo “Lindo” Molon, now 86, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole in the claim.

The court has heard Anderson went to then Bishop Adam Exner with her concerns about Molon.

Anderson had moved to the Interior city to take up a teaching job with the diocese after doing practicum work in Rock Creek and later in Greenwood.

Vatican Accepts Resignation of Credibly Accused New York Bishop

Church Militant

October 10, 2019

By Stephen Wynne

New York - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York prelate accused of sexually abusing a minor.

On Thursday, the Vatican announced that New York Auxiliary Bp. John Jenik is stepping down, nearly two years after he was first accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

Jenik, 75, was removed from ministry in October 2018 after a nine-month investigation by the archdiocesan lay review board.

Arrested Lowestoft priest re-released as police investigation continues

Eastern Daily Press

October 10, 2019

A vicar who was suspended after being arrested has been re-released by police as an investigation continues.

Matthew Payne was vicar of Christ Church, Lowestoft, until he stepped down on Sunday, September 29.

The vicar was arrested on Thursday, September 19 as part of a police investigation, and was released on bail until Thursday, October 10.

Mr Payne was arrested as part of an "ongoing police investigation", officers said, and was taken to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning until he was released on bail.

October 12, 2019

Diocese: Priest accused of sex abuse 'not suitable for priestly ministry'

The Blade

Oct. 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo announced Saturday that allegations the Rev. Nelson Beaver sexually abused minors roughly 25 years ago were deemed valid by the Diocesan Review Board, which voted unanimously that he is “not suitable for priestly ministry.”

Bishop Daniel Thomas has accepted the review board's recommendation and the case will be presented to the Holy See Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome, for their review and final determination, according to a diocese news release.

Father Beaver was pastor of Resurrection Parish in Lexington and St. Mary of the Snows Parish in Mansfield at the time he was placed on leave last year. Church officials have said he denies any wrongdoing.

He retired earlier this year, but is still on administrative leave, meaning he, “cannot exercise public priestly ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself as a priest,” according to the diocese.

Narcissism a hallmark of religious abusers

Catholic Sentinel

Oct. 11, 2019

By Ed Langlois

It’s a Friday evening at Kennedy School, a pub in Northeast Portland. Revelers lift their glasses and guffaw.

But in a quiet back room, two dozen spiritually serious people have gathered quietly. They are grappling with the feeling that they have been manipulated and conned by leaders they saw as conduits to God.

The Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education, SAFE, is a Portland-area support group for those who have suffered mind control, financial swindling and overbearing manipulation by religious leaders.

In the Kennedy School crowd, mostly made up of people in their 30s and 40s, is Julie Anne Smith. A former Catholic, Smith began speaking out about what she saw as spiritual abuse at Beaverton Grace Bible Church.

In 2008, when a church employee was fired, Smith confronted the pastor because she felt the dismissal was unjust. The pastor responded by ordering Smith to recant her complaints, which did not sit well with her. Smith left the church and began posting Google reviews about what she saw as abuse, including alleged sexual assault. She called the church “creepy” and unsafe.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati: We anticipate Vatican may order full investigation into handling of Father Drew case


Oct. 11, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Friday it has submitted a report to the Vatican concerning the handling of allegations of abuse against one of its priests who is accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago, an archdiocese spokeswoman said Friday.

The report related to the Rev. Geoff Drew was sent Aug. 30 and they are waiting for the Vatican’s response, said Jennifer Schack in a statement to FOX19 NOW.

“We anticipate that the Vatican may order a full investigation into the handling of this case. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr takes any accusation of sexual abuse very seriously, as well as any possible lapse in internal procedures for handling allegations.”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced this to FOX19 NOW when we sought comment from them after a coalition of concerned Catholics called for Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders to conduct a complete investigation of the Archdiocese.

A small group of concerned parents from Saint Ignatius Loyola, Sacred Heart, and others, has joined with nearly 600 other concerned Catholics from over 50 parishes within the Cincinnati Archdiocese to petition them to investigate Archdiocesan commitment to the Decree of Child Protection “after the recent scandal involving Drew.”

Buffalo native David Wright has been reporting on priest sex abuse since the 1990s

Buffalo News

Oct. 12, 2019

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo native David Wright’s journalistic crusade to investigate sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church started when he was a radio reporter in Boston in the 1990s.

The issue has taken the ABC News correspondent back to his hometown to cover the scandal surrounding Bishop Richard J. Malone’s handling of the crisis in the Buffalo Diocese.

He interviewed Malone for a compelling July 26 edition of “Nightline” that included interviews with Malone, whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor and an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

Wright isn’t finished with the story. He expects to eventually do a follow-up report for “Nightline.”

“We are talking about it all the time,” Wright said by phone. “We were very close to talking to the second whistleblower (Rev. Ryszard Biernat) who came forward. We had an agreement ... but unfortunately, he kind of got cold feet in terms of going to a national audience.”

“We have not given up on this story at all,” Wright added. “In fact, we want to own it.”

The story was advanced last week when the Vatican directed Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn to investigative the Buffalo Diocese through an “apostolic visitation.”

“It seems like a first step,” Wright said. “But it’s less than what Malone’s critics have called for.”

Sioux City Diocese named in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by priest in late 1960s

Sioux City Journal

Oct. 11, 2019

By Mason Dockter

An alleged victim of sexual abuse has sued the Diocese of Sioux City, claiming he was victimized by a diocesan priest as a young child in the late 1960s.

Samuel Heinrich said in the lawsuit that The Rev. Dale Koster sexually and physically abused him, beginning in 1968 when he was about 9 or 10 years old, and continuing through at least 1970. The alleged abuse occurred at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic school and at the parish's rectory, according to the suit, which was filed Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court.

Koster retired in 1996 and died at the end of May at age 94, according to his obituary. He was not among the 28 priests the Sioux City Diocese identified earlier this year as being credibly accused of sexual abuse, dating to the 1940s.

Diocese spokeswoman Susan O'Brien said in an email Friday night that she could not specifically comment on Heinrich's allegations.

French court allows release of Francois Ozon's Church abuse film

Deutsche Welle

Oct. 10, 2019

A French court ruled on Monday that Francois Ozon's film By the Grace of God, which won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize on Saturday at the International Film Festival, may be released in France, according to news agency AFP.

The domestic theatrical release of Ozon's work, which tackles France's most important church child abuse trial to date, was threatened as the priest at the center of the case had gone to court to try to prevent it from being shown in the country.

The judge determined that film meets the requirements of the law since a text in its epilogue mentions that the priest is presumed innocent until found guilty. However, the priest's lawyer said they would appeal the decision, even if it would not prevent the movie's release. "It's a question of principle," the attorney said, adding that it would otherwise open the door to films interfering with legal action.

Five former Charlotte Catholic clergy on list of credibly accused abusers


Oct. 11, 2019

A Catholic society of priests and brothers headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio has released a list of 11 men it believes are credibly accused of sexual abuse. The list includes five men who formerly served in Charlotte.

Glenmary Home Missioners commissioned the forensic review that gave rise to the list in 2018. The goal of releasing the list is to promote transparency and help bring about healing for the victims, Glenmary President Father Dan Dorsey stated in a letter.

“Glenmary has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults,” Dorsey said. “In addition, we have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures. We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.

Glenmary defines a credible allegation as one in which a preponderance of the evidence suggests the allegation is true, Dorsey explains, or where there is a conviction in court or an admission of truth by the accused.

The list of 11 men includes seven priests and four brothers. It is available here.

Five of those men formerly served in Charlotte, according to the list.
Al Behm
Adelbert (Del) Holmes - Deceased
Ed Smith - Deceased
Gino Vertassich - Deceased
Tony Jablonowski

Why ending the secrecy of ‘confession’ is so controversial for the Catholic Church

The Conversation

October 10, 2019

By Mathew Schmalz

Following sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, there is a worldwide push to end the guarantee of secrecy of confession – called “the seal of the confessional.”

On Sept. 11, 2019, two Australian states, Victoria and Tasmania, passed bills requiring priests to report any child abuse revealed in the confessional.

Australia has been at the center of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. In December 2018, influential Australian Cardinal George Pell was convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy.

Australian bishops have, however, made it clear that the seal of confession is “sacred,” regardless of the sin confessed. With regard to Tasmania’s new law, Archbishop Julian Porteous argued that removing confession’s protection of confidentiality would stop pedophiles from coming forward. That would prevent priests from encouraging them to surrender to authorities.

In the U.S., a California bill proposing ending priestly confidentiality regarding the abuse of minors was withdrawn in July 2019 after a campaign by Catholics and other religious freedom advocates.

Catholic confession has been formally safeguarded by the U.S. Supreme Court since 1818. But therapists, doctors and a few other professionals are required to break confidentiality when there is an immediate threat of harm. Priests are not.

Why is confession so important in the Catholic Church?

Politician Wants Catholic Churches to Post Signs Warning Children of Dange


October 11, 2019

By K. Thor Jensen

Melbourne City Council member Nic Frances Gilley has introduced a proposal to require Catholic churches to comply with the province of Victoria's new mandatory abuse reporting laws or have signs posted outside warning parents that the houses of worship might pose a danger to children.

The Age reports that Gilley is requesting the state "write to all churches and places of worship requesting assurances that all staff and associates will abide by the law of mandatory reporting," and if they do not provide those assurances the state should erect appropriate signage.

In September, Victoria passed the Children Legislation Amendment Act 2019, which added religious leaders to the list of individuals who are legally mandated to report child abuse to the authorities when they learn about it. That list already included police, teachers, nurses, midwives and other occupations.

Buffalo native David Wright has been reporting on priest sex abuse since the 1990s

Buffalo News

October 12, 2019

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo native David Wright’s journalistic crusade to investigate sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church started when he was a radio reporter in Boston in the 1990s.

The issue has taken the ABC News correspondent back to his hometown to cover the scandal surrounding Bishop Richard J. Malone’s handling of the crisis in the Buffalo Diocese.

He interviewed Malone for a compelling July 26 edition of “Nightline” that included interviews with Malone, whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor and an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

Wright isn’t finished with the story. He expects to eventually do a follow-up report for “Nightline.”

“We are talking about it all the time,” Wright said by phone. “We were very close to talking to the second whistleblower (Rev. Ryszard Biernat) who came forward. We had an agreement ... but unfortunately, he kind of got cold feet in terms of going to a national audience.”

Cardinal refers handling of sex abuse case to Vatican

Otago Daily Times via Radio New Zealand

October 12, 2019

By Chris Morris

The handling of historic sexual offending within the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin by then-Bishop John Kavanagh has been referred to the Vatican by New Zealand's top Catholic.

It was confirmed yesterday Cardinal John Dew, the Archbishop of Wellington, has written to the Vatican to refer the matter to higher authorities.

The move came after Pope Francis, earlier this year, issued new procedures for the handling of sexual abuse and cover-ups, including that bishops be held accountable for past actions.

Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley, contacted overseas, confirmed the move yesterday, but said the National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS) - part of the Catholic Church in New Zealand - was also involved.


Confirmation of the Vatican's involvement came after ODT Insight, in its Marked by the Cross series, revealed significant offending by priests, religious brothers and lay teachers within the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, much of it dating back decades.

That included the actions of a former Catholic priest, Magnus Murray, whose offending against boys in Dunedin - from the 1950s to the 1970s - was brought to Bishop Kavanagh's attention in 1972.

Author criticises celibacy for priests, says young women flirt

Radio New Zealand

October 11, 2019

By Phil Pennington

A prolific children's author says she is sorry for women who had sexual relations with a Catholic Bishop, but that she has seen young women flirt with priests.

"Do they think that a vow of celibacy guarantees immunity?" asked Joy Cowley, in an online post in response to the resignation of Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan.

He quit after admitting inappropriate sexual behaviour with a young woman.

An older woman several years ago made a confidential complaint about him.

Ms Cowley, a Catholic great-grandmother in her 80s, also writes books on spirituality.

The pope should have said "who am I to judge" (a phrase he is famous for), rather than accept Bishop Drennan's resignation, she wrote online at CathNews New Zealand.

Her primary target was celibacy for priests.

"I am sorry that a reputable magazine connected with the church, should send emails to subscribers giving details of Bishop Charles Drennan's resignation," she said.

Lawsuit Says Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg Covered Up Sexual Abuse by High School Teacher


October 11, 2019

By Brett Sholtis

A lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald Gainer and the diocese’s former bishop, Kevin Rhoades, alleges the church turned a blind eye while a teacher drugged and raped a student.

The plaintiff and his attorney say the lawsuit points to the limits of the victims’ compensation funds that are paid for by the Catholic church and supported by some state senate Republicans.

In 1974, Patrick Duggan was a 13-year-old student at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic High School in Harrisburg.

Duggan says that’s when his history teacher invited him and other boys to his house. That teacher, Ronald Stewart, allegedly gave Duggan and other boys alcohol, marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs, the filing states.

List of Credibly Accused

Glenmary Home Missioners

October 11, 2019

By Father Dan Dorsey GHM, President, Glenmary Home Missioners

[List appended below letter.]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Glenmary has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults. In addition, we have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures. We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.

In a spirit of accountability and transparency we are publishing a list of all Glenmarians against whom there are credible allegations of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. It is our hope that publishing these names will be a step in the healing process for the victims.

Glenmary defines a credible allegation as a preponderance of evidence that the allegation is more likely true than not after investigation. Credibility can also be established by conviction in a court, or by the admission of the truth by the accused.

The list includes name, birth year, the year the accused joined Glenmary, current status and dioceses where each man served. The nature of Glenmary’s missionary work means most members have served in a variety of ministries across several dioceses.

11 clergy named as 'credibly accused' sexual abusers from Glenmary Home Missioners

Cincinnati Enquirer

October 11, 2019

By Madeline Mitchell and Cameron Knight

A Fairfield Catholic society identified 11 of its members in a list of credibly accused sexual abusers on Friday, according to a press release from Glenmary Home Missioners.

Seven priests and four brothers from Glenmary Home Missioners, located at 4119 Glenmary Trace in Fairfield, were revealed in the list. According to the release, the list is the result of a year-long forensic review commissioned by Glenmary to promote transparency and healing for victims.

Most members have served in a variety of ministries across several dioceses due to the nature of Glenmary's missionary work, the release states.

Glenmary Home Missioners released a letter from President Father Dan Dorsey with the list of abusers.

Catholic organization releases list of priests, brothers accused of sex abuse


October 11, 2019

by Angela Ingram

Fairfield OH - Seven priests and four brothers associated with a Cincinnati-based organization are accused of sex abuse.

Glenmary Home Missioners released a list Friday. The report was self-initiated. The religious organization hired a retired FBI investigator to look into potential abusers and come up with this list.

The names go back as far as 1941. They are the names of four brothers and seven priests who were members of Glenmary Home Missioners.

A spokesman for the religious organization says Glenmary did its own investigation after the scandals of sex abuse involving former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked.

“This list is the result of more than a year-long forensic review that Glenmary leadership commissioned,“ John Stegeman of Glenmary said. “Glenmary determines a credible allegation as a preponderance of evidence that is more likely true than not true.“

October 11, 2019

Bishop McCort school, Altoona Diocese named in sex abuse lawsuit

The Tribune-Democrat

October 11, 2019

By Dave Sutor

An allegation of sexual abuse – made by an anonymous male victim identified only as “A.L.” – has led to the filing of a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Bishop McCort Catholic High School and Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular.

The plaintiff, represented by Aaron Rihn, a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney, has accused the defendants of negligence, fraud, constructive fraud, conspiracy and fraudulent concealment, according to a complaint filed on Thursday in the Cambria County Court of Common Pleas.

No priest accused in the 2016 grand jury report that exposed alleged abuse and cover-up within the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese is listed as having been at Bishop McCort during the time when the alleged abused occurred from 2000 to 2002.

The alleged abuser is listed as “John Doe” in the filing, but identified as a priest, Franciscan and athletic trainer employed by the school and ostensibly by the diocese. He is deceased.

Brooklyn bishop investigating Buffalo Diocese interviewed dozens of clergy, lay people

Buffalo News

Oct. 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Brooklyn bishop investigating the Buffalo Diocese and Bishop Richard J. Malone interviewed more than 30 people in a visit to Western New York this week.

The Diocese of Brooklyn released a statement Thursday afternoon stating that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio “is determined to continue the fact-finding mission he has been directed to carry out by the Holy See.”

“Both lay faithful and clergy, members of the diocesan staff, and others have been invited to be a part of this process so that Bishop DiMarzio can gather information from several perspectives as part of this fact-finding mission of the Buffalo Diocese,” the statement reads.

DiMarzio was in town as part of an “apostolic visitation” announced last week in statements from the Buffalo and Brooklyn dioceses and from the office of U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the pope’s ambassador to the U.S.

The statement from the Brooklyn diocese said DiMarzio plans to return to Western New York for additional meetings later this month.

7 priests, 4 brothers accused of sex abuse at Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners


Oct 11, 2019

Eleven men – seven priest and four brothers – are accused of the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.

Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners released a list of men accused of sexual abuse. Officials with the Catholic institution said the accusations are credible.

Eight of the 11 men involved have served in the Cincinnati area. Only two of the 11 men identified are still living.

Officials with Glenmary Home Missioners said the list is the result of a yearlong forensic review, that they themselves commissioned to promote transparency. Glenmary Home Missioners is a Roman Catholic religious institute of priests and brothers.

Surviving, healing: painful reality of life after sexual assault

Gonzaga Bulletin

Oct. 11, 2019

By Anonymous sophomore male Gonzaga student

I don't know how I feel about the time I was sexually assaulted.

There are feelings, remnants of memory and some general mental health problems.

I have thought about it daily since it happened all those years ago. It’s disjointed, unclear and foggy in my mind. One of the first unknowns that confronts me when I think about the assault is details. I might have a murky memory because of repression or the usual fading of memory, I'm not quite certain. The fact that I didn’t comprehend the assault at the time furthers the confusion.

Like so many others who have been assaulted, at the time sex wasn’t in my vocabulary, much less what abuse was. The memories became less distinct even as my ability to comprehend it sharpened.

Being honest with myself was hard. When I first accepted what happened was the first time I confided in my best friend. I couldn’t say the words, I typed it out on my phone and refused to look at them while they read it. It's hard to think about of how I felt telling my friend then.

The feeling before revealing something so deeply personal is more physical than emotional. It feels like looking down over the edge of a cliff, gazing at the water I will jump into below. I know that when I land I’ll be alive, I’ll probably even be better off for the experience. The knowledge of what comes next doesn’t make what has to be said any better. You can’t take it

Ex-Dunedin man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable

Otago Daily Times

Oct. 10, 2019

"I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you," he said.

Not now, now he's dry.

He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn't remember sending the email.

"The first line, and this was five years ago, was, 'If there's ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence'.

"And as I said, I didn't remember writing it, and I got contacted three weeks later by the Church and it was a surprise."

He has come back and has given evidence in Christchurch recently.

It is Marc's second attempt to get some kind of justice for how he was robbed of his childhood in Dunedin in the 1980s by four Catholic leaders who sexually violated him for years.

'Vos estis' should guide diocesan policy, advocacy group says

Catholic News Agency

Oct. 11, 2019

The Catholic Benefits Association said last week that sexual abuse norms introduced by Pope Francis in May will likely require U.S. dioceses to amend their own internal policies regarding the definition and reporting of sexual abuse and misconduct.

In an Oct. 3 webinar, L. Martin Nussbaum, general counsel for the Catholic Benefits Association, told diocesan leaders and administrators that Vos estis lux mundi, the motu proprio on sexual abuse and misconduct issued by Pope Francis May 7, takes important steps to provide a safer environment in the Church, which require implementation by dioceses.

Vos estis, Nussbaum said, expands diocesan duties regarding vulnerable persons and abuse of authority, protects Church whistleblowers, increases the role of laity in receiving reports and in conducting investigations, improves transparency regarding discipline of bishops, heightens the ecclesial role of metropolitans, and expands offers of assistance to the families of abuse victims.

Catholic parents must stand up to church leaders and reject them for sex abuse cover-ups

Clarion Ledger

Oct. 11, 2019

By Mark Belenchia

Former Diocese attorney Frank Vollor referred to me as having a vengeance. I take issue with that assessment.

I and many other survivors of sex abuse do have grievances.

I will continue working to expose the Catholic Church’s wrongdoing. Using phrases like “we’re sorry”, “please forgive us”, “we will pray for you” — without accountability — are hollow and calculated diversions. I will not debate Vollor on different legalese, he is the attorney. I won’t cloud the issues by referring to Mississippi Code or speculate as to how and why there is no police report on file. I will not discuss the legal expungement process. All of that is nothing more than ‘gaslighting’ and I stand behind my previous statements.

Let’s discuss the facts. The Jackson diocese fitness review board now in place has deemed the allegations against Brother Paul West credible. Father James Gannon, the Franciscan prelate, has deemed them credible as well. Raphael Love, a 9-year boy, reported West to officials in 1998. At that time, West left Greenwood and had psychological testing done in St. Louis.

For a former newspaper religion editor, a Catholic clergy sex abuse case hits close to home

Get Religion blog

Oct. 11, 2019

By Bobby Ross

Last week, I got a news alert from The Oklahoman, my local newspaper and former employer, with a headline that certainly grabbed my attention: “Damning report rips Oklahoma City Archdiocese for poor responses to credible child sexual abuse allegations against priests.”

For anybody paying attention to the latest Catholic clergy sex abuse scandals, the basic storyline probably sounds familiar.

The Oklahoma City Archdiocese is just one of many dioceses nationwide that have produced such reports.

This is the blunt summary from The Oklahoman:

For more than a half-century, Oklahoma City's Catholic Archdiocese responded to reports of child sexual abuse by its priests with bungled internal investigations that masked the problems and often enabled the abuse to continue for years, according to a damning report released Thursday.

"The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City failed to take prompt action despite credible evidence and warning signs of sexual abuse of minors," the McAfee & Taft law firm said in a report commissioned by the Archdiocese that was made public Thursday.

The report identified and named 11 priests in the Archdiocese who had been "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse since 1960. McAfee & Taft made it clear that its investigation is not yet complete.

"There are additional files still under investigation and as those investigations conclude, additional names of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors will be released as warranted," McAfee & Taft said.

In some respects, that sounds like the same old, same old — but then I got to a part of the story that made my jaw drop.

Mainly because I realized that the coverup alleged had occurred right under my nose — or at least my notepad — when I served as religion editor for The Oklahoman in 2002. You’ll remember that the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal blew up that year amid Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage by the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, later featured in an Oscar-winning movie.

October 10, 2019

Vatican cardinal stirs controversy by saying it’s time to ‘exit’ abuse scandals


Oct. 11, 2019

By Elise Harris

When a top papal advisor earlier this week suggested that Catholic prelates “exit” the clerical abuse scandal, in order to lift the “cloud” hanging over the Church, there was an understandable uproar from victims.

In effect, the resulting controversy involving Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is a clear illustration of the pressures the abuse crisis has generated - both on victims, who want to be heard and not dismissed, as well as on Church officials, who feel the crippling effect of the crisis and want to see the Church get up off the mat.

In such a context, sensitivities are on high alert, something Turkson discovered the hard way on a recent trip to Ireland, home to one of the most damaging clerical abuse scandals anywhere in the world.

Diocese of Scranton Names Two More Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse


Oct. 10, 2019

The Diocese of Scranton has named two more priests they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

The priests are Albert Oldfield, a diocesan priest, and James Gormley, S.J.

Fr. Oldfield served at about a dozen parishes in the diocese.

Fr. Gormley served at Scranton Prep in the 1940s and 1950s.

The release of the names is part of a pledge to be open and transparent in the way that the Diocese of Scranton handles occurrences of child sexual abuse, according to a release issued Thursday.

Catholic school teacher gave boy drugs, alcohol, then molested him, claims lawsuit against Harrisburg Diocese

Patriot News

Oct. 10, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A newly filed lawsuit against the Diocese of Harrisburg underscores the debate over the argument that victims compensation funds barred scores of people who had been sexually abused as children by employees of Catholic dioceses.

In his lawsuit, Patrick J. Duggan of Harrisburg claims that starting when he was 13, his history teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School began to ply him with alcohol and drugs to then sexually molest and rape him.

Duggan, 58, claims that teacher Ronald Stewart, who lived next to the school playground and across the church, continued to abuse him until he was 17. Stewart died in 2010.

In addition to the diocese, the lawsuit names former bishop Kevin Rhoades and current Bishop Ronald Gainer.

Duggan was barred from making a claim with the victims compensation fund that the diocese established in the wake of the 2018 grand jury report that uncovered widespread and systemic sexual abuse of minors across seven decades across the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. St. Francis of Assisi is within the Diocese of Harrisburg.

The diocese’s compensation fund - like the other programs established across the state - narrowly defined eligibility in the program to victims claiming they had been sexually abused as children by priests. Victims claiming that their predators were teachers, nuns or other employees were barred from making claims.

With $300 million in real estate, Allentown Diocese has no excuse to cry financial distress

Morning Call

Oct. 10, 2019

By Paul Muschick

I hope Catholics didn’t buy the Allentown Diocese’s story this summer that it had to cut jobs so it could pay victims of priest sex abuse.

It was common knowledge that the diocese was flush with real estate — some in prime locations for development.

A Morning Call investigation published online this week revealed just how flush the diocese is. It controls more than $300 million worth of property on more than 1,200 acres in Lehigh and Northampton counties. And little of that property has been tapped to raise cash for its victims compensation fund.

That figure doesn’t include more real estate in Berks, Carbon and Schuylkill counties.

I argued in July when the diocese claimed “severe financial stress" that it could sell more of its assets instead of creating new victims, diocese employees. Twenty-three workers were let go, many through attrition and a voluntary retirement program, and pay was frozen for others.

The diocese said in a news release then that “cost reductions were necessary to enable charitable and pastoral programs to continue.”

I’ll argue that was preventable.

The release of a grand jury report in August 2018 should have expedited property sales. The report detailed sexual abuse accusations against 301 priests statewide. They had abused more than 1,000 children over several decades.

The report named 37 priests from the Allentown Diocese, and the diocese itself added another 19 names. The diocese had to know it was going to have to pay a price for its sins of the past. It could have sold real estate and stocked money away sooner. It didn’t have to wait for the grand jury to conclude its investigation, which took two years. All signs pointed to it being damning.

Morning Call investigative reporter Emily Opilo reported this week that in the past year, the diocese has sold four properties, for a total of about $1.65 million, across the five counties it covers. A fifth sale is pending. The diocese told her it intends to sell more to raise millions for the compensation fund.

I recognize it takes time to sell real estate. But other dioceses were more proactive.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese sold its 16-room, 23,350-square-foot bishop’s mansion to St. Joseph’s University for $10 million in 2012, following a grand jury investigation that prompted criminal charges against a church official and priests.

Allentown Bishop Alfred Schlert, as previous bishops did, lives in an 11-room, five-bathroom home on Chew Street in the city’s West End. The 5,000-square-foot brick Tudor Revival is assessed at $487,000, according to Lehigh County records, and valued at around $580,000.

Last spring, the diocese transferred that property for $1 to the Allentown Diocesan Priests Retirement Plan Trust. The trust leases the property back to the diocese, generating income for the plan.

That’s an example of the church taking care of its own. It should have been just as focused on taking care of others.

Catholic diocese admits liability in sex assaults

Vancouver Sun

Oct. 10, 2019

By Keith Fraser

The Catholic diocese in Kamloops is admitting liability at the civil trial involving a priest accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a school teacher more than 40 years ago.

On Wednesday, John Hogg, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, made the admission of vicarious liability by the defendant diocese for the conduct of Rev. Erlindo Molon, the priest in question.

Hogg had been pressed for his position on the case by a lawyer for Rosemary Anderson, who said that Molon sexually assaulted her between 70 and 100 times in 1976 and 1977, while she was employed as a teacher at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Kamloops.

Hogg told B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Crossin that he had made a similar admission when the Vancouver trial opened on Monday and in a letter to the plaintiff’s lawyer in August.

The scope of the liability remains at issue. Hogg is expected to challenge Anderson in cross-examination on the time frame and number of attacks that she said occurred in the priest’s rectory and Anderson’s apartment.

Molon, now 88, suffers from dementia and lives in a care home in Kingston, Ont.

He was initially named as a defendant in the case with his litigation guardian, the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee, filing court documents denying the allegations. But neither Molon nor any lawyers acting on his behalf have shown up at the trial.

Also at issue is the involvement of Adam Exner, the bishop Anderson claims was grossly negligent in his handling of the matter.

Cardinals Pell and Muller v. Jesus, Pope and the suffering little children

Australian Times

Oct. 5, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Just hours before the Amazon Synod will start, in what amounts to a Declaration of War against Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller has released two films on YouTube based on his written Manifesto of Faith.

Cardinal George Pell’s malevolent crusade against Pope Francis remains as vigorous as his disdain and notorious self-professed disinterest for victims of child sex abuse.

In shocking and curious timing on 1 August, Cardinal George Pell’s supporters published a seemingly innocuous two-page letter the convicted paedophile had apparently penned and sent whilst in prison, on their Twitter account.

That letter was deleted and now the Twitter account "Cardinal George Pell Supporters" @PellCardinal has gone to god.

But the sentence below is what grabbed the media’s attention. It was vintage, self-aggrandising Pell, invoking the name of Jesus, hauling the Messiah into Pell’s messianic and squalid orbit.

As usual with Pell, it was all about him:

'The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction.'

Just how can Cardinal George Pell’s “small suffering” be used for “good purposes” is anyone’s guess. And in what way is Pell joined to Jesus’ suffering? Jesus was neither charged nor convicted of paedophilia.

I dare not cast the first stone for obvious reasons, but surely Pell might better compare his suffering with some of the millions of victims of global clergy sex abuse, including his own victims — perhaps even pray for the soul of his victim, who died as a result of a heroin overdose.

The truth about George Pell’s prison letter

Australian Times

Oct. 2, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Just hours before the Amazon Synod wasndue to start, in what amounts to a Declaration of War against Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller has released two films on YouTube based on his written Manifesto of Faith.

Cardinal George Pell’s malevolent crusade against Pope Francis remains as vigorous as his disdain and notorious self-professed disinterest for victims of child sex abuse.

In shocking and curious timing on 1 August, Cardinal George Pell’s supporters published a seemingly innocuous two-page letter the convicted paedophile had apparently penned and sent whilst in prison, on their Twitter account.

That letter was deleted and now the Twitter account “Cardinal George Pell Supporters” @PellCardinal has gone to god.

Southern Baptist Convention president gets blunt on sexual abuse. What now?

News Sentinel

Oct. 10, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

For decades, Southern Baptist leaders rolled their eyes whenever there were headlines about clergy sexual abuse cases. That was – wink, wink – a Catholic thing linked to celibate priests.

Then there were those mainline Protestants, and even some evangelicals, who modernized their teachings on marriage and sex. No wonder they were having problems.

This was a powerful, unbiblical myth that helped Southern Baptists ignore their own predators, said Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear during a recent national conference. The event was hosted by the denomination's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the new SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group.

"The danger of this myth is that it is naive: It relegates abuse to an ideological problem, when it should be most properly seen as a depravity problem. ... It fails to recognize that wherever people exist in power without accountability, abuse will foster," said Greear, pastor of the Summit Church near Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

"What part of society has not been affected? It happens on Wall Street, in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, in academic institutions, sports programs, Catholic and Protestant churches, liberal and conservative," he added. "I want to say something as an evangelical to evangelicals: We evangelicals should have known this. Didn't Jesus say there would be wolves in sheep's clothing that would come into the flock in order not to serve the flock, but to abuse the flock?"

Diocese’s insurer: If you concealed abuse, we don’t have to pay


Oct. 10, 2019

By Charlie Specht

The Diocese of Buffalo's insurance company is arguing in court that it is not liable for sex abuse judgments because the diocese concealed the abuse for decades.

In documents recently filed in state court, Continental Insurance Company -- whose predecessor insured the diocese for much of the 1970s -- says that its policy only covers "accidents" which are reported in a timely manner to the insurer.

"Continental has no obligation to provide insurance coverage to the Diocese with respect to any sexual abuse claim, to the extent that the Diocese knew prior to the abuse that the relevant priest had: (i) engaged in earlier sexual abuse; (ii) posed a danger to children; or (iii) a propensity to commit sexual abuse," the company states.

Apostolic visitation for Buffalo diocese

The Tablet

Oct. 9, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

The Holy See has assigned Brooklyn, New York Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to conduct an apostolic visitation of the diocese of Buffalo, New York. The Vatican nunciature in Washington made the announcement. Bishop Richard Malone has faced allegations from whistleblowers that he covered up cases of inappropriate sexual conduct.

In announcing the visitation, the nunciature noted that it was not being conducted under the terms of Vos Estis Lux Mundi, Pope Francis’ motu proprio outlining procedures for evaluating allegations of abuse and covering up abuse made against a bishop. The apostolic visitation, being conducted on behalf of the Congregation for Bishops, has a wider mandate, and can assess issues such as the morale of the clergy and laity and the financial situation of the diocese.

Justice shouldn’t have an expiration date

Pitt News

Oct. 9, 2019

By Grace McGinness

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may soon win the right to prosecute their cases in court no matter how long ago their trauma occurred. Pennsylvania’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a forum on Oct. 2 to debate whether or not to eliminate the state’s statute of limitations — a law set that restricts how long an alleged victim has to bring a case to court — for sexual abuse civil cases.

The hearing was not intended for a final decision to be made on Bill 540, which calls for the complete removal of the state’s statute. Rather, for several hours, the committee listened to testimonies from alleged victims, their advocates and those in opposition to the bill to help inform their decision. Despite the state’s hesitancy, it’s clear that statutes of limitations are an outdated caveat to our current judiciary system that do not properly serve the people of this country. Pennsylvania needs to eliminate these statutes by passing Bill 540 and finally rectifying the harmful effects of this law.

As it stands, the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes in Pennsylvania limits people to a window of 11 to 20 years to bring their case to court. The time frame varies depending on the specific crime, but any statute of limitations for sex crimes is an unnecessary restriction of the law that strips the judiciary system of its main purpose of protecting people.

City Man Alleges Past Abuse At Local Church

Oct. 10, 2019

By John Whittaker

A Jamestown man is alleging he was sexually abused by a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.

According to documents filed Monday in state Supreme Court in Erie County, the Jamestown man is alleging that Father John Lewandowski sexually abused the boy during his time as a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church.

The allegations are one of four contained in the lawsuit.

Lewandowski had previously been identified by the Diocese of Buffalo as a priest who had been accused of child sexual abuse. He died in 1982, according to Jeff Anderson and Associates.

The Jamestown man, represented by James R. Marsh of White Plains, states in the lawsuit that he was abused by Lewandowski when the man was 13 and 14 years of age when the youth and his parents were parishioners of Ss. Peter and Paul. The lawsuit alleges Lewandowski gained the youth’s trust before sexually molesting the youth several times, including incidents that allegedly took place in the church’s basement.

Marsh alleges in the lawsuit that diocese officials knew or should have known Lewandowski was a known child sex abuser and that diocese and church officials concealed the abuse.

Pope accepts resignation of NYC bishop accused of abuse

Associated Press

Oct. 10, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York City bishop after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in the 1980s.

Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik is the latest head to roll in the ongoing abuse scandal. The Vatican announced his resignation had been accepted Thursday.

For decades the Vatican turned a blind eye to bishops and cardinals who abused minors and adults or covered up the crimes.

Jenik had denied the allegation when it was first brought to the New York City archdiocese last year. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, however, said the archdiocese’s lay review board had found the allegation to be “credible and substantiated.”

It was Dolan’s archdiocese that received complaints against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, cases that launched the new reckoning in the U.S. hierarchy.

Four Priests Placed on Administrative Leave

Catholic New York

Oct. 10, 2019

Four priests of the archdiocese—three pastors and the director of Priest Personnel—have each been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of abuse with minors dating back several decades.

The three pastors, Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck, have had their ministries temporarily restricted. The fourth priest is Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, whose ministry has also been temporarily restricted.

Letters were sent from Cardinal Dolan to parishioners of the three parishes Oct. 3. “As is our practice, we reported this to the District Attorney’s Office. The Archdiocese will now follow its policy and protocols, which include having outside independent investigators look into and assess the allegation, before presenting it to our independent Lay Review Board. At the conclusion of their deliberations, the board will determine whether the allegation has been substantiated, which will determine whether (the priest) is suitable to return to ministry.”

Pennsylvania’s child sex abuse scandal still is a mess

Patriot News

Oct. 10, 2019

By John Baer

Recent news related to the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal underscores an unending saga and a common irony: a high-purposed institution placing self-interest above the interests of those it exists to serve.

Sorta like our legislature, where self-protection is the prime directive.

Lately, that directive’s playing out in response to the child sex scandal, which continues to stun, and remains, legislatively, a mess.

For example.

A nine-month Associated Press probe found hundreds of Catholic clerics countrywide, credibly accused child abusers, never prosecuted or monitored, who ended up teaching kids, fostering kids and living next to day care centers, some committing sexual assault.

AP’s first example is former Pennsylvania priest Roger Sinclair, booted from the Greensburg Diocese in 2002 for alleged abuse of a teen boy, arrested in Oregon in 2017 for repeatedly abusing a developmentally disabled young man.

This is what happens when institutions choose coverup over responsibility.

Year after accused priest goes on leave, NJ parish remains pastorless

National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 10, 2019

By Sarah Salvadore

During Mass at St. Andrew Church here, the traffic slows down. A few parishioners can be found standing on the sidewalk with signs in hand while drivers catch a glimpse.

A year after NCR reported on the divisions within St. Andrew over abuse allegations against its pastor, the church is without a full-time priest. Dismayed that the Newark Archdiocese has not sent them a new pastor, some parishioners have taken to protest.

Demonstrators are circulating a petition among churchgoers, urging the archdiocese to send them a pastor. Many parishioners say they are against the picketing, stating it brings negative attention to the church." "But I'll sign the petition because we need a pastor. What's taking Newark so long?" asked one parishioner.

The cloud over St. Andrew emerged in January 2018, when Fr. James Weiner was named pastor. Just 48 hours later, some parishioners learned that he had been accused in a clerical abuse case.

The allegations date back to 1988. Fr. Desmond Rossi, a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York, accused Weiner and another priest, now deceased, of sexual assault at St. Benedict Parish in Newark. Rossi, a seminarian at the time, said two transitional deacons assaulted him in the rectory after a night of drinking. While one of them threw him on the bed and began kissing him, the other tried to force oral sex on him. Rossi identified Weiner as one of the attackers. An archdiocesan review board found the charges credible but unproven, and Weiner was allowed to continue as a priest.

As Pa. compensation programs end, church victims wrestle with the price put on abuse

WHYY Radio

October 10, 2019

By Laura Benshoff

Last year’s grand jury report detailing sexual assault allegations against 301 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania raised the question: how would the church respond?

In the months that followed, seven of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania launched compensation funds, following the model set by dioceses in New York.

These programs, which started winding down at the end of September, offer a lump sum to victims in return for signing away the right to sue the church over their allegations.

Some victims have used the program to put their fight with the church behind them. Others scoffed at the price tag put on their trauma. This is the story of two men who came to different conclusions.

‘What if it didn’t happen this way? Where would I be?’
Growing up in Philadelphia, John Quinn bounced between his family’s home and a half dozen Catholic orphanages around the region.

“I ended up in St. John’s, St. Joe’s, St. Mary’s, St. Francis’, St. Michael’s and a foster home,” said the 67-year-old, rattling off his stops.

October 9, 2019

Bangladesh cardinal says Church has updated its abuse reporting policy


Oct. 10, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

Bangladesh’s bishops’ conference has decided to have each diocese appoint a designated priest to handle sex abuse accusations, and not establish a central office at the bishops’ conference for child protection.

Bangladesh has two archdioceses and six dioceses for the country’s fewer than 400,000 Catholics, approximately 0.5 percent of the predominantly Muslim population. Most of the Catholics come from the country’s most marginalized communities, and the Church is relatively poor.

“At our CBCB [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh] meeting, it was unanimously agreed, that since there has not been a single reported case of abuse of a minor by a clergyman, it was decided that to start an office was not a requirement,” Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, told Crux.

“However, in every diocese, the bishop will appoint a designated priest who will immediately investigate any reported instance of abuse of minor by a clergy, when and if it arises,” the cardinal said.

Pervert priest, 61, admits to producing disgusting child porn videos

Daily Mail

Oct. 9, 2019

By Kylie Stevens

A former Catholic priest tried to import vile child pornography into the country, a court has heard.

Peter Andrew Hansen, 61, pleaded guilty to 23 child exploitation charges when he faced Central Local Court, in Sydney, on Wednesday.

Hansen, a Labor party branch president, from Cabramatta, has been behind bars since last October when he returned home from a four month teaching stint in Vietnam.

Hansen was initially charged with three offences after he was arrested at Sydney International Airport when Australian Border Force officers found child pornography on an external hard drive in his luggage.

He was later charged with an extra 22 charges, two of which have since been withdrawn.

On Wednesday, the court heard disturbing details of the child pornography material Australian Border Force officers found in Hansen's luggage, including seven videos of boys engaged in sexual acts.

According to the police fact sheet, the videos showed boys who were 'instructed to remove their clothing and perform sexual acts on themselves and other children'.

The fact sheet also stated a title page at the start of the video listed the names and ages of the minors aged 12-15.

Judge Denies Fr. Drew’s Motion to Reduce Bail, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 9, 2019

A Cincinnati judge has denied a request from priest accused of abuse to reduce his bail. We are grateful for this move as it will ensure that the survivors of this priest will have their day in court.

Fr. Geoff Drew is being held on a $5 million bail on nine charges related to allegations that he raped a young altar boy in the late 1980s. In denying his request for a lower bail, Judge Leslie Ghiz said that she considered Fr. Drew a flight risk and that she was “more concerned about him fleeing, than anything else.”

We believe Judge Ghiz made the right call. We have seen many cases of accused clergy fleeing from justice, with the most recent example coming earlier this year in California. There, Fr. Alexander Castillo was facing charges of sexual abuse and was able to flee from justice after police began an investigation. We are glad that the same will not be happening with Fr. Drew.

As this case moves closer to trial, we hope that victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers will feel encouraged to come forward, make a report, and start healing. And we hope that church officials in Cincinnati will pull out the stops as they reach out to other victims of Fr. Drew and encourage them to report to local law enforcement.


Tribune Review

Oct. 9, 2019

By Deb Erdley

A woman is suing the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, claiming she was repeatedly raped by a priest in her Seward parish in 1972 after the priest was transferred there because of earlier abuse allegations.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, said she suffered horrific sexual abuse by the late Rev. George Pierce between 1973 or 1974, when she was about 11 years old, until 1978.

The lawsuit is the most recent allegation to surface against the late clergyman, who was singled out in the August 2018 grand jury report detailing abuse allegations against 301 Pennsylvania priests charged with abusing more than 1,000 children over several decades.

Doe’s attorney, Altoona lawyer Richard Serbin of Janet, Janet & Suggs, said Doe, who is now in her 50s, initially applied to the Greensburg diocese’s compensation fund. She opted to pursue a lawsuit instead after she was offered $88,100 and informed that was the maximum the church would be offering anyone.

Former female Catholic school teacher accused of sexual contact with two girls

Buffalo News

Oct. 9, 2019

By Mike McAndrew

For nearly 30 consecutive years, Most Precious Blood Parish in Angola had priests accused of molesting boys assigned to work at the church and its elementary school.

But lawsuits filed Tuesday allege a former female teacher, Dianna Vacco, sexually abused two girls who were in her Most Precious Blood School class decades ago.

An Angola woman’s lawsuit accuses Vacco of having sexual contact with her on at least 50 occasions when she was 10 to 13 years old, from about 1976 to 1980.

An Ellicottville woman’s lawsuit accuses Vacco of having sexual contact with her on at least 200 occasions when she was 11 to 15 years old, from 1980 to 1985.

The cases allege Vacco had sex with the girls in New York State and Florida, spending time with them at Vacco’s home, Vacco’s parents' home, in her car, and at Vacco’s home in Florida.

The lawsuits name as defendants Dianna Vacco, the Buffalo Diocese, Most Precious Blood Parish and Most Precious Blood School.

Vacco, who is also known as Dianna Mroz, did not respond to a message from The Buffalo News seeking her comment. Vacco resides in Florida and has a Florida teaching certificate valid through 2022, according to the state’s Department of Education website. Vacco has also been associated with several Florida businesses that promote professional and youth dancing.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing the women suing Vacco, declined to comment on the cases.

Australian prosecutors argue no grounds for ex-Vatican treasurer's final sex crimes appeal


Oct. 8, 2019

Prosecutors have urged Australia’s High Court to refuse to hear a final appeal by former Vatican treasurer George Pell against his convictions for sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in the late 1990s.

In opposing arguments put by Pell’s lawyers to Australia’s highest court, prosecutors said there was no error in the approach taken by the Victorian state Court of Appeal.

The state appellate court upheld Pell’s convictions, in a 2-1 ruling in August, on five charges of abusing the two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne when he was archbishop there.

“The appeal raises no question of law of public importance,” the prosecutors said in a filing to the High Court on Tuesday. The facts of the case were “carefully and thoroughly explored by the majority of the Court of Appeal”, they said.

Pell’s lawyers have seven days to respond, after which a panel of High Court judges will decide whether to hear the appeal, a High Court spokesman said. That decision can be made just on the submitted applications or following a hearing.

The earliest the case could be heard would be in 2020, should the court decide to take on the appeal.

Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic worldwide to be convicted of child sex offences. He was jailed in March for six years and will be eligible for parole in October 2022, when he will be 81.

Two of the three judges at the Victorian appeal court ruled that “it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty of the offences charged”.

North Belmont Church of God Pastor Nicholas Martin Accused of Sexually Abusing

Legal Herald

Oct. 9, 2019

At least 4 people have accused a music and youth pastor at North Belmont Church of God of sexual abuse.

North Belmont Church of God music and youth pastor Nicholas Martin was arrested on Saturday, October 5 for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. Since that initial arrest, another three accusers have come forward with similar allegations of sexual abuse.

Martin has been charged with several sex crime charges, including four counts of indecent liberties with a child, four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of felonious indecent exposure to a minor.

Since his arrest, three other people have contacted the police and the district attorney’s office to report that Martin had also abused them.

Martin lived next to the North Belmont Church of God. In the first case, he is accused of giving the 14-year-old girl alcohol before abusing her multiple times. According to the authorities, the girl was abused several times between October 2018 and September 2019.

Pedophile Fr. George Epoch, SJ, cut a wide swath of destruction

Manitoulin Expositor

Oct. 9, 2019

By Warren Schlote

It was on April 23, 1990, according to the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, that the story of Father George Epoch began to unravel. That’s the date when the priest at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Cape Croker reported the allegations he had heard from one of his parishioners about what Father Epoch had done to the complainant.

Two years later on August 30, 1992, Jesuit Provincial Superior Father Eric Maclean travelled to Cape Croker and offered an apology to the victims of Father Epoch. A further two years later, the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada published an institutional apology on Page 27 of The Manitoulin Expositor’s December 7, 1994 edition.

Polish court orders compensation for 1980s victim of pedophile priest

Agence France-Presse

Oct. 9, 2019

Pedophile acts by a Catholic priest in the 1980s were like "torture", a Polish court has said, as it lifted the statute of limitation and ordered compensation to the victim – an unprecedented decision in Poland.

The appeals court in the northern city of Gdansk ordered the accused priest, his former parish and diocese to pay 400,000 zlotys (92,500 euros) to Marek Mielewczyk, 50, the victim of sexual abuse from 1982-87.

"Sexually abusing minors unaware of the criminal nature of the acts perpetrated on them is to treat others in a humiliating and inhumane manner, which is the same as torture," judge Dorota Gierczak said, according to the PAP news agency on Tuesday, October 8.

The judge said the statute of limitation did not apply because it involved "acts incompatible with the rules of society".

French abuse victims urge Vatican to have archdiocese pay compensation

The Tablet

Oct. 9, 2019

By Tom Heneghan

'Successive bishops knew that Bernard Preynat was a criminal pedophile and they chose to keep him in contact with children.'

Victims of sexual abuse by a Lyon priest have urged the Vatican to recognise the responsibility of his archdiocese in the affair, which could open the door to compensation payments by the Church.

About 15 of them sent their demand to the Vatican after the admitted abuser, Bernard Preynat, was removed from the clerical state in July. The archdiocesan court said at the time that he could now concentrate on considering the financial demands of his victims.

More than 20 of his alleged victims have filed for damages of over 10,000 euros each.

But Preynat is insolvent and the archdiocese had no answer to questions about how the victims could otherwise be compensated.

The victims argued in their messages to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's top court, that the archdiocese was responsible for keeping him in ministry until 2015 and thus enabling his abuse.

Pastor lingers in limbo after disputed 2016 accusation of exploiting heiress

National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 9, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

Her friends recall Marion Knott McIntyre as the type of woman who was quick to pick up the tab after Sunday post-Mass breakfast, and would spontaneously offer gifts, sometimes monetary, to people she felt had need. She rarely took no for an answer.

That legacy – Knott McIntryre died a childless widow in December 2017 at 86 years old – has long been in dispute. Was she simply naturally generous? Or was her generosity exploited?

Fr. Christopher Senk, pastor of St. Isabel Church here, was charged by his bishop with improperly influencing McIntyre, a St. Isabel's parishioner, who gave him $25,000-30,000 in gifts over a six-year period, as well as naming the priest in her estate, to the objection of some members of her Maryland-based family.

"Please understand it is my obligation to exercise careful vigilance," Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, which includes St. Isabel's, wrote to the parish after Senk was expelled from his rectory in October 2016. Senk, pastor at St. Isabel's since 2003, was placed on administrative leave at that time.

The case has played out in an atmosphere both of distrust of the church hierarchy and, conversely, the response of bishops sensitive about criticism of failure to act against ethical lapses by clergy in the past.

A vocal group of parishioners who support Senk have long disputed Dewane's vigilance. They say Dewane is guilty of railroading a popular pastor, known for opening his rectory on holidays to parishioners bereft of family, with the pastor cooking the meals.

Repressed memories: Veteran alleges sex abuse by Catholic priest. He's suing decades later.

Clarion Ledger

Oct. 9, 2019

A civil lawsuit has been filed against the Biloxi diocese, a Mississippi church and the estate of the Rev. John Scanlon.

Scanlon's name was not on lists of credibly accused priests with Mississippi ties.

Lawyer argues that statue of limitation has not run out, since man only remembering now.
When he was 12, Robert McGowen went to catechism class. His mother was Southern Baptist, but his father was Catholic, so he attended classes at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg.

It was the mid-1980s and his priest was the Rev. John Scanlon.

Some days, McGowen's dad would be late picking him up from class. When that happened, McGowen said, Scanlon would take him into the rectory. For 35 years, McGowen said he repressed the memories of what happened to him.

Now he can't forget.

His attorney, John Hawkins, believes McGowen's repressed memories of sexual abuse have delayed the statute of limitations. Under that unique approach, a civil suit was filed last month against Scanlon's estate, Church of Sacred Heart and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, which the church falls under.

New Lawsuit Filed Against the Diocese of Biloxi

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 8, 2019

A new sexual abuse and cover up case has been filed against a Mississippi diocese. We hope that this brave survivor’s decision to come forward will encourage others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes in the Diocese of Biloxi to make a report of their own.

According to the filing, Robert McGowen was abused in the rectory of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg, MS by Fr. John Scanlon from 1984-1985. Mr. McGowen alleges that Fr. Scanlon verbally, sexually, and emotionally abused him when he was 12 to 13 years old and argues that “the Diocese of Biloxi wholly failed to conduct an adequate investigation” into Fr. Scanlon. Had they done so, he argues, Fr. Scanlon never would have been in a position of authority over children.

Fr. Scanlon is now deceased and Mr. McGowen now lives in Arkansas.

As part of his lawsuit, Mr. McGowen is demanding that the Diocese of Biloxi release a list of accused clergy, lay employees, and volunteers “accused of abuse or infliction of emotional distress on minors.”

Judge keeps $5 million bond for priest accused of raping altar boy

Cincinnati Enquirer

Oct. 9, 2019

By Kevin Grasha

A Hamilton County judge on Wednesday said bond for a priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago will stay at $5 million.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz said her primary concern is that the Rev. Geoff Drew is a flight risk.

"Your client is charged with anally and orally raping a…child," Ghiz told Drew's attorney, Brandon Moermond. She added: "I'm more concerned about him fleeing, than anything else."

Drew was not in the courtroom for the hearing. He is being held at the Hamilton County jail.

In August, Moermond filed a motion to modify Drew's bond. Among his arguments was that Drew is a priest, has no criminal history, and has "extensive family in the area, including his ailing mother, his siblings and close family friends."

Moermond also said Drew's case has been handled differently than others because of media coverage. In his motion, Moermond said Ghiz had set Drew's $5 million bond at a hearing “in front of no less than six television reporters and cameras."

Michigan priest pleads guilty to assault in clergy abuse case

Detroit News

Oct. 8, 2019

By Mark Hicks

A Michigan priest pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault in a case part of the Attorney General Office's investigation of clergy sexual abuse, state officials announced.

The Rev. Patrick Casey, who was among several priests charged in May in connection with the probe, is the first convicted, Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Tuesday.

He had been accused of engaging in sexual acts during confession with a 24-year-old man who came to him for counseling in 2013.

When the man reported the incident to the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2015, Casey admitted the acts occurred and the archdiocese removed Casey from ministry, according to the attorney general’s complaint.

Casey, who was most recently assigned to St. Theodore of Canterbury in Westland, had been barred from representing himself as a priest or conducting any sort of church ministry, according to the archdiocese. His case was listed as under canonical review in Rome.

Pittsburgh clergy abuse compensation fund receives a total of 367 claims


Oct. 9, 2019

By Kathleen Davis

The firm overseeing the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse says it’s received 367 claims. The deadline to apply was September 30.

Camille Biros is with the D.C.-based Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg. She says the next step is to verify the claims made by the applicants, using corroborating evidence.

“Things like medical notes from therapy sessions,” Biros said. “It could be correspondence or communications with law enforcement, or the Diocese, or relatives.”

Biros said the team has gone through about 50 of the claims so far, and most were verified.

“We don have a large number of claims that were received at or near the deadline,” Biros said. “So we’re months away from finishing our work for the Diocese.”

Lawsuit alleges abuse by another legendary Staten Island priest, this time Monsignor Gaffney at Sea

Staten Island Advance

Oct. 9, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A former principal and prominent monsignor on Staten Island is accused of sexually abusing a student decades ago at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot.

The allegations against Monsignor Thomas Gaffney, who died in 2004, are detailed in a recent lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of New York and the high school, which is located at 5150 Hylan Blvd. in Huguenot.

The priest is one of three monsignors accused of sexual misconduct who held prominent positions decades ago both at Sea and in the Island Roman Catholic church.

Whistleblower priests and seminarians are finally talking to reporters, but suffering major consequences

Get Religion blog

Oct. 9, 2019

By Julia Duin

Back in the days when I was digging around after rumors about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rumored sexual predations, I’d run into priests and laity who told me about all of the dark secrets that they knew. But they didn’t want to go public because, for the priests, it was a career-ender to spill the church’s dirty secrets.

Most, like Robert Hoatson, a New Jersey priest, were simply pushed out. Only now is he being vindicated.

But some even told me they were afraid of being killed. One former employee for the Archdiocese of Washington said that if she told me everything she knew, she’d end up at the bottom of the Potomac attached to some concrete blocks.

Sting of abuse scandal hits Oklahoma Catholics

The Oklahoman

Oct. 9, 2019

Like their peers in so many parts of the country, Roman Catholics in Oklahoma are experiencing the heartbreak and anger that come with learning of priests who abused children and the Church’s mishandled of abuse allegations.

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma released a list last week of 11 priests and other individuals who had been credibly accused of sex abuse against a minor since the diocese’s inception in 1973. One day later, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said an investigation dating to 1960 revealed 11 current or former priests were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

In both dioceses, the reports were issued by outside, and highly regarded, law firms — GableGotwals in Tulsa, and McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City. The firms had free rein to investigate every file — a commendable and wise move. Any hint of interference or control by the diocese and archdiocese would have clouded the findings.

Those findings are distressing. For example, McAfee & Taft cited a now-deceased priest who was accused of child sexual abuse in 1989. Damning videotapes were recovered from the priest’s home, but the law firm found no evidence the priest was reported to law enforcement or the Department of Human Services, and eventually he was assigned to two parishes in other states.

The report also found that the archdiocese in 2002 paid the legal fees for a priest to file a defamation lawsuit against a man who had accused him of sexual abuse — even though the priest had admitted his actions to former Archbishop Eusebius Beltran and former Vicar General Edward Weisenburger.

Church accused of covering up priest’s abuse, and paternity

Associated Press

Oct. 9, 2019

When Sabina Losirkale went into labor, her sister Scolastica recalls, priests and religious sisters filled the delivery ward waiting to see the color of the baby's skin — and if their worst fears had come to pass.

Scolastica and dozens of villagers peered in from behind the clinic fence, as well.

A nun screamed. The boy was white — "a mzungu child," Scolastica said, using Kiswahili slang.

"How will we cover up this shame?" the sisters fretted, she recalled.

The shame that brought this baby into the world: An Italian missionary priest, her family alleges, impregnated this Kenyan girl when she was just 16. But the nuns need not have worried about the scandal spreading.

The priest — who to this day denies paternity — was transferred, and a Kenyan man was found for Sabina to marry. He would be listed as the father on the boy's birth certificate.

The church's efforts to conceal what is alleged to have happened here would stretch over three decades — a testament to the extraordinary ways in which church officials have dealt with accusations that priests in the developing world have had sex with girls and young women. Here, the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis is just beginning to force a reckoning.

The boy who was born to Sabina Losirkale on that day in 1989 has been an outcast of sorts for all of his life. Tall and light-skinned, with wavy hair, Gerald Erebon, now 30, looks nothing like the dark-skinned Kenyan man who he was told was his father, or like his black mother and siblings.

"According to my birth certificate, it is like I am living a wrong life, a lie," he said. "I just want to have my identity, my history."

Victims advocate Dougherty named to SNAP board

Tribune Democrat

Oct. 9, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Shaun Dougherty first learned about the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests when he watched the 2015 movie “Spotlight” that told the story of work being done by journalists, SNAP and attorney Mitchell Garabedian to expose clergy sexual abuse in the Boston area.

Around the same time, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse and coverup within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in which Dougherty’s own alleged victimization was mentioned.

Dougherty, a Westmont resident, soon started attending SNAP support meetings and advocating for victims.

Those two paths recently converged with Dougherty being named to SNAP’s Board of Directors.

October 8, 2019

Could the future of Catholicism be taking shape in this church basement?

Boston Globe

October 8, 2019
By Neil Swidey

In Fall River, a group of parishioners won the chance to run their crumbling church. If their experiment works here, it might just work anywhere.

I WAS SURE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH had lost the ability to wound me — or even to make me care.

Like so many others brought up in the church, I had drifted away in the face of its leaders’ princely arrogance, never mind outright criminality. There are only so many times you can hear about yet another bishop covering up for yet another predator in a collar, who had shredded the life of yet another vulnerable child. Or see a pastor call the cops to clear a church of its most loyal parishioners, as one did in Natick in 2004, leading to arrests on Christmas morning.

Many people made the difficult decision to stick with the Roman Catholic Church after the revelations in 2002 about widespread clergy sex abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, only to feel a new wave of violation a few years later. They were forced to watch their local church get shuttered as part of a diocesan real estate sell-off meant to confront dwindling attendance and mounting legal bills. Church closings tend to be the ultimate local issue, though. If yours is on the chopping block, you care passionately. Otherwise, it can seem like somebody else’s problem.

These Women Say a Trusted Pediatrician Abused Them as Girls. Now They Plan to Sue.

The New York Times

October 8, 2019

By Roni Caryn Rabin

State officials stripped Stuart Copperman of his medical license almost 20 years ago. Armed with a new law, his former patients hope to file civil lawsuits.

Stuart Copperman was, to all appearances, an old-fashioned pediatrician. For 35 years, he ran a bustling practice in Merrick, Long Island, where he was revered by parents as an authority on everything from colic to chickenpox. Well-dressed, affable and tan year-round, he was always available in an emergency, and even made house calls.

When he told mothers that their daughters were old enough to see him alone — without a parent in the room, so the girls could speak freely — they accepted it as sound medical practice. Girls who told their mothers that the pediatrician had rubbed their genitals or inserted his fingers into their vaginas were often met with disbelief.

“He was such a charming, affectionate, involved man — we all thought he was a god,” said Dina Ribaudo, 43, who lives in Arizona. “You just couldn’t imagine this bright, shining light ever hurting anyone.” Mr. Copperman started molesting her when she was 8, she said.

Durham pastor leads Southern Baptist summit on abuse

North State Journal

Oct. 9, 2019

By David Larson

After a series of high-profile sex abuse revelations in 2018 and 2019, church leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention met in Dallas, Texas, last week to confront the issue. The event, billed as the “Caring Well Conference,” took place over the Oct. 4-6 weekend and was organized by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the SBC.

Despite already approving legislation on abuse during their 2019 annual convention, the amendments cannot go into effect until they are affirmed again at 2020’s convention in Orlando, Florida. Rather than wait another year, SBC leaders decided to hold this conference in Dallas to begin the process of addressing abuse in the church.

J.D. Greear, the pastor of Summit Church in Durham and current SBC president, rose to his role in 2018 as the scandal was beginning to gain headlines. It has defined his time in leadership as he’s looked for ways to keep the country’s second-largest denomination together.

The major initiative that Greear and the SBC presented at the weekend conference is called the “Caring Well Challenge,” which the SBC hopes will give member churches some tools as they wait to vote on more concrete measures in 2020. The SBC also created a website and a video of Greear describing the program.

Vatican’s Choice of Bishop DiMarzio in Buffalo a ‘Sign of Trust’: Archbishop Pierre

The Tablet

Oct. 7, 2019

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio to the United States, said that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was selected to lead an apostolic visitation to the troubled Diocese of Buffalo because of the “trust” the Vatican has in him.

“The Holy Father said, ‘We need to do a total investigation to go to the roots of the problem,’ and Bishop DiMarzio, because of who he is, was given this task […] Certainly, it is a sign of trust toward Bishop DiMarzio,” Archbishop Pierre said.

The Diocese of Buffalo has been under a cloud because of cases of sexual abuse and cover-up. On Oct. 3, Archbishop Pierre announced that Pope Francis had decided Bishop DiMarzio will make an apostolic visitation to the diocese to conduct a fact-finding mission.

On Oct. 6, Archbishop Pierre celebrated the French-language Mass as St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, Carroll Gardens, where he spoke to The Tablet.

Archbishop Pierre explained that Bishop DiMarzio’s mission was to listen to the people in the Diocese of Buffalo, collect the facts and send the results of his investigation to the Vatican.

“It is not a judgment, it is an investigation,” Archbishop Pierre said. “It is a service that the Holy Father has asked [Bishop DiMarzio] to do, to examine what is really going on.”

Asked about the Pan-Amazonian Synod that was starting at the Vatican that day, Archbishop Pierre explained that ecology has been an important topic for Pope Francis from the beginning of his papacy. He said that the pope made clear in his encyclical, “Laudato si” that caring for our “common house” is an important issue for the church.

Belleville bishop fights new sex abuse suit

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 8, 2019

As they have for decades, Belleville Catholic officials are trying to exploit a technicality to evade responsibility for the alleged crimes of a credibly accused child molesting priest. Shame on them. https://www.bnd.com/news/local/community/belleville/article233303452.html

Just once, we'd love to see a Catholic official say "Instead of fighting this abuse victim with legal loopholes, we're choosing to fight on the merits." But in 30 years, we've never seem that happen.

Nearly every time abuse and cover up reports surface, bishops work long and hard to convince us that they've changed. Yet in this most crucial way, none of them have: they continue to hide behind and exploit every technicality their shrewd lawyers can find to make sure their wrongdoing stays concealed and won't be exposed in court.

We hope Bishop Edward Braxton's latest legal maneuver fails. We hope this brave victim gets his day in court. And we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Msgr. Joseph Schwagel will come forward and get help.

Third lawsuit accuses former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard of sex abuse

Times Union

Oct. 8, 2019

By Cayla Harris

A third lawsuit accusing retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of sexual abuse was filed Thursday in state Supreme Court in Albany.

The latest complaint accuses the former longtime leader of the Albany Diocese and another priest of abusing a teenage boy at a Troy church between 1976 and 1978 but does not provide details of the alleged sexual abuse.

The second priest is identified in the court filing as Joseph Mato, though the Times Union could not determine if a priest by that name served at St. Michael's in the late 1970s. Mary DeTurris Poust, a spokeswoman for the Albany Diocese, said she could not confirm that the diocese employed a man by that name, though a priest with a similar name did work at St. Michael's during that period. That priest died in 2016.

"Because of his childhood abuse, plaintiff ... is unable to fully describe all of the details of that abuse and the extent of the harm that he suffered as a result," the lawsuit states. It adds that Hubbard and the other priest allegedly used their roles to "entice" and "take control of" the plaintiff and sexually assault him.

Anonymous No More: NJ Man Details His Abuse As A Boy Scout


Oct. 8, 2019

By Russ Crespolini

He says he survived repeated sexual abuse, stalking and harassment by a Boy Scout leader who went on to become a Catholic priest.

What made it worse was that the accused was also a family friend.

But for so long, Westfield's Michael Mautone kept his story anonymous.

Not anymore.

Mautone is now sharing his story of survival and recovery in the hopes that it will encourage others to face the truth as he did.

Fr. Patrick Casey Pleads Guilty, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 8, 2019

A Michigan priest who was charged with sexual abuse has pled to a lesser charge. For the safety of the vulnerable, we hope the cleric is put behind bars for as long as possible.

Fr. Patrick Casey was accused of sexually coercing and abusing a man who came to him for counseling. This kind of abuse of power can be very damaging and we are hopeful that the victim in this case is getting the help he needs.

We are very grateful to the brave victim in this case and to the law enforcement professionals who pursued it. We hope that others who were abused in Michigan, whether by Fr. Casey or others, will come forward, make a report to police, and start healing.

Two Popes director cut down sex abuse scandal scenes to avoid over-powering film


Oct 8, 2019

A new film about Popes Benedict and Francis originally contained much more material about the sex abuse scandal but was cut down for fear of it over-powering the film, its director Fernando Meirelles has said.

The Brazilian filmmaker, who is responsible for films such as City Of God and The Constant Gardener, said an earlier cut of The Two Popes originally contained more scenes about the topic.

Arriving at the movie's premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, he told the PA news agency: "Of course we tackle these issues, because we couldn't make a film on the church without tackling it, but we had more scenes on child abuse that we cut from the film because we had too much.

"That is what we felt when we first cut the film, if we talked too much about it, it becomes the film, because it's such a topic.

"And that was not the film, this film was really about tolerance, tradition and a spiritual issue, a political issue, and we don't want it to all become about sexual abuse.

"So we tackle it but we don't go thick because it would steal the whole film, it would be a film about it."

Meirelles added he had little interest in the Catholic Church before he made the film, which stars Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, saying: "I knew nothing about what was happening and I had no interest at all about the relationship but I like Pope Francis very much, that is what dragged me to the story.

"For the film I think the relationship between both of them is the most interesting part of the film because they don't agree on anything, they really think in opposite ways but they have to find a common ground.

"So the story is about two persons who really don't like each other and having to deal with each other, which is something that is happening in the world.

By Denying Jehovah’s Witnesses Appeal, Supreme Court Sides with Transparency over Secrecy

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 8, 2019

In a win for transparency and the public good, an appeal that sought to give more leeway to church officials in how they handle allegations of abuse will not be heard by the Supreme Court. We are grateful for this decision and hope that it will lead to safer, more informed communities.

By choosing to reject the argument put forth by Jehovah’s Witnesses church officials that internal documents related to allegations of abuse are covered by clergy-penitent privilege, the Supreme Court has put common sense ahead of the institutional privilege often enjoyed by churches. It is clear to most folks that memos circulated among staff are not the same as a confession between a parishioner and pastor, and we are glad that this argument was rejected by the Court.

When church officials can quietly dismiss one of their own who has been accused of abuse, all this does is put other children at danger. A recent AP investigation has shown exactly how this situation has played out over the years when they revealed that 1,700 priests accused of abuse are living without oversight, and many of them have gone on to become school counselors, youth workers, or foster parents. If the argument put forth by the Jehovah’s Witnesses had been accepted, we can only imagine how many more pastors, rabbis, elders, and other religious leaders would be able to abuse children, have their crimes covered up internally, and then be quietly sent off to different communities where they could abuse again.

Former Michigan priest charged with sex abuse pleads guilty to lesser charge


Oct. 8, 2019

Patrick Casey, a former priest who was charged with sex abuse, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in court on Tuesday. This came after a jury was deadlocked during deliberations, which began Monday afternoon.

Casey, 55, was charged with one felony count of criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of performing sexual acts on a man he was counseling. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

His attorney argued that he should be acquitted of the crime, saying the sexual acts were consensual, but a judge denied the request.

Casey is expected to be sentenced next month.

Priests in Hawthorne, New Rochelle placed on leave amid abuse accusations

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Oct. 8, 2019

By Matt Spillane

Two more pastors of Catholic churches in Westchester County have been placed on leave amid decades-old accusations of child abuse.

Monsignor Edward Barry of Holy Rosary in Hawthorne and Rev. William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament in New Rochelle have been temporarily restricted from ministry, Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote in letters to parishioners of those two congregations on Oct. 3.

Barry and Luciano have each been accused of inappropriate conduct with a child decades ago, Dolan said. Luciano's allegation stems from the 1980s, Dolan said. No other details were available on the nature of the accusations.

Dolan added that both priests are presumed innocent while the Archdiocese of New York investigates.

Rev. Sebastian Pandarathikudiyll will serve as temporary administrator of Holy Rosary, while Bishop Gerald Walsh will temporarily oversee Blessed Sacrament.

Dolan's letters to Holy Rosary and Blessed Sacrament parishioners were sent a day after he sent a similar letter to parishioners of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church in Mamaroneck.

Monsignor James White, the pastor of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity, was placed on administrative leave after someone accused him of abuse dating back to the 1980s, when he was the dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School, an all-boys school in the Bronx.

Christian charity: Managers knew for years that missionary abused kids

NBC News 4

October 7, 2019

A Christian nonprofit has stated that two managers knew for years that an employee had confessed to a history of sexual offenses against minors but still allowed him to serve their organization as a missionary to Haiti.

Jeriah Mast, 38, from Millersburg, Ohio was indicted in a Holmes County court on July 3 with seven felony charges of gross sexual imposition and seven misdemeanor charges of sexual imposition.

Those crimes, which according to court documents allegedly involved children under the ages of 16 and some under 13, took place in Ohio between 1998 and 2008, Holmes County Prosecutor Sean Warner said. Mast pleaded not guilty to all charges, his lawyer John Johnson Jr. told NBC News.

Mast also faces allegations of sexually abusing minors during his time serving Christian Aid Ministries in Haiti, according to the Berlin, Ohio-based nonprofit.

“It is already well known that our former employee, Jeriah Mast, has confessed to molesting boys while working for our organization in Haiti,” Christian Aid Ministries’ board of directors wrote in an open letter on June 17.

Christian Aid Ministries said in the same letter that two managers at the organization had known about Mast’s behavior since 2013, when he had admitted to Christian Aid Ministries staff to “sexual activity” with boys under the age of 18 “that had taken place several years prior in Haiti,” Robert Flores, an attorney representing Christian Aid Ministries, told NBC News.

The managers did not return repeated calls and messages seeking comment.

By 2013, Mast had already been working for the organization in Haiti for six years. He had several roles there, including post-hurricane aid, distributing medicine to clinics and a school aid program.

The Supreme Court Rejected a Case About the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sex Abuse

Patheos blog

Oct. 8, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not take up a wild case concerning the organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the case won’t be overturned. (In that link, it’s case 19-40 on page 42.)

The case, which involved child molestation and religious secrecy, centered 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.

During that party, everyone got into a pool in the backyard… including Simental. And he proceeded to molest J.W. and the sisters. He did it again later that night. The sisters eventually told their parents, who reported Simental to local Witness elders (which is what they’re taught to do in these situations).

Simental confessed to some of the allegations, and the elders basically gave him a faith-based slap on the wrist: a reprimand that had no meaning outside church circles.

Priest Who Admitted Abuse on Video Also Spent Time in St. Louis and Kansas

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 8, 2019

In a newly published investigation, a priest who was in the St. Louis archdiocese admitted on video molesting several young boys and a developmentally disabled young man.

For a year, from June 1983 to June of 1984, Fr. Roger A. Sinclair was on sick leave from the Greensburg PA diocese and was sent by for therapy at the now-closed House of Affirmation in Webster Groves Missouri, according to the Associated Press and a report by a grand jury report issued by the Pennsylvania attorney general.

In a letter dated May 23, 1984 to then-St. Louis Archbishop John May, then-Greensburg Bishop William Connare said Fr. Sinclair had been in Webster Groves "for emotional problems" and that the priest would leave the program soon. Connare assured May that Sinclair had his permission to work in such a setting if it were agreeable to May.

Later, Fr. Sinclair worked as an Air Force chaplain and in Kansas at the Topeka State Hospital where he "managed to gain access to a locked unit deceitfully" and tried to check out teenage boys from the hospital to go see a movie at least twice. However, the hospital refused to allow Fr. Sinclair to escort the minors out of the building. He was subsequently dismissed from the hospital.

Fr. Sinclair is now behind bars in Oregon.

This news reinforces what we in SNAP have long charged: that St. Louis Catholic officials have – and continue to – put kids in harm’s way by knowingly, secretively and deceitfully importing proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics from across the US.

Victim Wants More Done About Clergy Sex Abuse


Oct. 7, 2019

By Mike Massaro

The Diocese of Bridgeport recently settled a clergy sexual abuse claim against the late Monsignor William Genuario, in the amount of $725,000. Monday the survivor of that abuse, maintaining anonymity, spoke out for the first time.

“I was in such bad shape I was on the verge of death. I was about to die,” said the survivor, referencing the years of emotional torment he’s suffered through.

As an 11 year old in 1988, the man, now 42, says he was sexually abused multiple times by Genuario, at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Greenwich.

“From 1978 to 1987 he was vicar general and he’s a child molester and that should be added to his resume,” said the survivor’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.

In the years since his molestations, the survivor says his life has been “infested with horror.”

“I have been under a total, I guess you can say, a demonic kind of life that I’ve lived after the abuse took place,” he said.

A report released last week by the Bridgeport Diocese revealed 281 victims of sexual abuse by clergy over the past 65 years within the that diocese.

OPINION: The truth about George Pell’s prison letter

The Australian Times

Oct. 8, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Just hours before the Amazon Synod was due to start, in what amounts to a Declaration of War against Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller has released two films on YouTube based on his written Manifesto of Faith.

Cardinal George Pell’s malevolent crusade against Pope Francis remains as vigorous as his disdain and notorious self-professed disinterest for victims of child sex abuse.

In shocking and curious timing on 1 August, Cardinal George Pell’s supporters published a seemingly innocuous two-page letter the convicted paedophile had apparently penned and sent whilst in prison, on their Twitter account.

That letter was deleted and now the Twitter account “Cardinal George Pell Supporters” @PellCardinal has gone to god.

UB Law panel talks Child Victims Act

WBFO Radio

Oct. 8, 2019

By Mike Desmond

The University at Buffalo Law School on Monday hosted a look at the Child Victims Act, the new state law that has reopened New York's history of sexual abuse for a one-year window. The law allows victims to go to court against abusers, even if the abuse occurred decades ago.

For months, the CVA has been an issue in the state's legal system. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed, mostly against the Catholic Church around the state, although more are now being filed against public schools.

A bankruptcy, for example, of a Catholic diocese, might mean there will be no chance for a victim to testify or internal church records on priests to become public. State Assemblymember Monica Wallace said she has legislation to make sure it never happens again.

"I have a piece of legislation that's called the CARE Act, Child Abuse Reporting Expansion Act, which is intended to make clergy from all denominations mandatory reporters, because we need to recognize that they weren't mandatory reporters is part of the reason that this abuse was allowed to proliferate for so many years," Wallace said. "So what we want to do is make sure that we look prospectively and make sure that nothing like this happens again."

Cardinal says Church needs to 'exit' clerical abuse scandals

The Tablet

Oct. 8, 2019

By Sarah Mac Donald

The Church needs to “find a way of exiting” the negativity of the abuse scandals “otherwise it will suffocate us”, according to a senior cleric who is based in Rome.

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, also criticised Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin for apologising "too much".

In his keynote address to the Autumn conference of the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) at the Emmaus Centre in Dublin, Cardinal Turkson recognised the abuse crisis as one of four “signs of the times”.

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims

The Morning Call

Oct. 8 2019

By Emily Opilo

Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church.

To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims.

Diocesan officials see the fund as a step toward righting some of the wrongs documented by an explosive grand jury report in 2018, which named dozens of Allentown Diocese priests among the 301 accused of abusing about a thousand children across Pennsylvania.

The payouts will also cause “severe financial stress," the diocese cautioned in December, four months before it opened the fund to claims. It said then that it would tap available cash, borrow money and sell assets “to the extent possible” to cover the fund, noting no money would be taken from parishes.

Second priest in a week accused sexually assaulting a child

News 12

Oct. 8, 2019

Parishioners at the Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne have received a letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan telling them about allegations against their pastor, Monsignor Edward Barry.

October 7, 2019

Survivors of Clergy Abuse vs. Catholic Church Lobbying Dollars

Fox 43 TV

Oct. 7, 2019

By Rachel Yonkunas

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are up against big money in politics as they push for criminal and justice reform. A recent report showed the Catholic Church spent $10.6 million lobbying in northeast states since 2011. FOX43 Reveals how much money the Church paid out to lobby lawmakers in Pennsylvania, fighting bills that would have helped child sexual abuse survivors like the Fortney sisters.

The five Fortney sisters have gone public with their story of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted priest after they were silenced for nearly three decades.

“We were made to believe it was just us,” said Lara Fortney-McKeever.

In August 2018, a blockbuster grand jury report changed the trajectory of their story. The Fortney sisters learned there were hundreds of other children sexually abused by Catholic priests. The sisters’ traumatic stories of abuse were also detailed in that report.

“To know how many people are living the torture that you’ve lived, it’s shocking,” Theresa Fortney-Miller said through tears. “But it kind of makes you feel like you’re not alone too.”

Priest admits to another Vic child assault

Associated Press

Oct. 7, 2019

By Marnie Bangers

A former priest who has been convicted of drugging and raping a 12-year-old boy has admitted assaulting another child.

Michael Aulsebrook, 63, pleaded guilty at the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday to indecently assaulting a boy aged 11 or 12 at a summer holiday camp he was managing when he was a Catholic brother in the mid-1980s.

The victim told police in 2016 about the assault, in which Aulsebrook touched his genitals and digitally penetrated him.

Will ordaining married priests save the Catholic Church from decline?


Oct. 7, 2019

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

You know that moment in a once hugely popular, now hobbling along in its ninth season TV show when you watch a Nielsen grab in real time? Maybe it’s an abrupt time jump. Maybe it’s a surprise pregnancy. Maybe it’s the addition of a troubled yet cute boy that the family has to take in, for some reason. For the Roman Catholic Church, I think it’s this new "let's bring in some husbands" development.

The biggest Christian religion in the world is facing a serious ratings slump. Thanks to increasing acceptance of secularism, and a seemingly bottomless array of sex abuse scandals and stonewalling about meaningful reform, the numbers of self-identified Catholics have been falling off sharply in almost all parts of the world. According to the Pew Research Center, 13% of all U.S. adults identify as former Catholics. And even among those who currently claim the affiliation, the percentage of Catholics who are members of a church has likewise fallen off in the last two decades. In once sturdy Catholic footholds, the drop-off is even more dramatic — in 1970, 92% of Latin America was Catholic. It’s predicted that in the next decade, Catholics will be the minority there.

Fewer Catholics, as well as continuing bad optics for the profession itself, have also led to a shortage of priests everywhere but on prestige TV shows. Back in March, the Vatican announced that the numbers of priests and candidates for the priesthood worldwide had dipped for the first time in a decade. Maybe it needs some fresh cast members!

On Sunday, Pope Francis formally opened up a three-week summit of his bishops that will focus on “faith, sustainability and development” in the Amazon region. It will feature open debate about one of the church’s longest held traditions, potentially paving the way for some married men to be eligible for ordination. In this remote area of the world, priests are already scarce and their numbers are only dwindling. Religion News reported back in August that Catholics in the region typically only attend mass once a year — a crisis for an institution that prizes the sacrament of communion as “the fount and apex of the whole Christian life.” One workaround the Vatican is considering is allowing a few married guys to wear the collar.

Priest sexual assault allegations civil case starts in Vancouver

Richmond News

Oct. 7, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

A 42-year-old case of allegations of sexual assault by a Kamloops priest against a grieving woman and the diocese’s responsibility in the situation is not a case of determining damages but how much those damages will be, BC Supreme Court heard Oct. 7.

“This is a clear-cut, simple, civil, sexual assault case,” diocese lawyer John Hogg told the court.

Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Father Erlindo “Lindo” Molon, now 86, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole, in the claim.

Anderson was working as a diocese teacher at the time.

Editorial: Catholic Church is still lax on oversight

Times Herald Record

Oct. 7, 2019

The scope of the child sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, which was exposed early in this century, grew dramatically last year when U.S. dioceses began releasing names of clergy considered to be credibly accused. More than 5,000 names have now been disclosed. But that’s not the end of it.

As an exhaustive report by the Associated Press reveals, of the approximately 2,000 men still alive, nearly 1,700 are living with virtually no oversight from church or law enforcement agencies. Many are in positions of trust which afford access to children. And, AP reports, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography,

It’s the result of the decision by many dioceses to ignore recommendations made when the scandal became public to reveal names of priests credibly accused of sex abuse and to create programs to counsel and oversee the activities of the men. While the church grudgingly began reporting some abusers to police — which placed the offenders in the oversight of official authorities — most dioceses chose to simply defrock the priest and return them to private life.

As AP reports, this often meant working as teachers, counselors, nurses, volunteers in community groups and living near playgrounds and daycare centers.

SNAP to Maryland AG: Time to Investigate the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 7, 2019

A new internal report released by church officials in Connecticut has serious implications for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Judge Robert Holzberg concluded that the Diocese of Bridgeport continually ignored laws regarding the reporting of abuse and failed in their duty to protect children under their care. One of the bishops specifically called out for this practice, the late Cardinal Lawrence J. Shehan, went on to become the Archbishop of Baltimore. We are concerned that Cardinal Shehan continued to cover up the sexual abuse of children in Maryland as well.

Another Baltimore Archbishop also came to Maryland from the Diocese of Bridgeport. Current Archbishop William E. Lori was the bishop of Bridgeport from 2001 to 2012, just prior to coming to Baltimore.

Judge Holzberg’s report says when at the helm in Bridgeport, Archbishop Lori acted quickly to remove abusive priests and implemented a new approach to handling allegations. However, he also engaged in a lengthy court fight to conceal documents on the Bridgeport scandal. The Bridgeport report acknowledges that the court battle “somewhat undercut” the diocese’s progress on transparency.



Oct. 7, 2019

By Sonja Livingston

It’s not an easy time to be Catholic. In fact, I hadn’t regularly attended Mass since the 1990s, but like many lapsed Catholics, I still kept tabs, feeling gutted with every new scandal and disclosure of abuse. Things began to look up with the arrival of Pope Francis in 2013. Even so-called cultural Catholics like me could feel hopeful. With Francis, the church played to its strength, which has always been love. “Who am I to judge?” Pope Francis famously said, and even my most cynical friends responded in kind. “Maybe, I’ll go back to Mass.” All such talk ended by 2018, when a Pennsylvania Grand Jury alleged that more than 300 priests had abused 1,000 children across the state, setting off a flurry of subsequent revelations and horrors.

For years, the church has refused to budge on issues the culture has largely accepted, especially related to issues of sexual morality and gender. How long could the voter who supported reproductive rights, the man in love with his boyfriend, or the divorced mother continue to warm the seats? Catholics began abandoning their pews decades before the first wave of scandals broke in 2009, though the sexual abuse crisis certainly ushered more out the door.

In an essay calling for the abolishment of the priesthood in The Atlantic this past June, author and former priest, James Carroll describes a church crippled by clericalism and misogyny, racked by predatory behavior and the much more insidious culture of looking the other way. The message of Carrol’s article was clear: If it’s to survive, the church’s clerical structure must be eliminated. “The very priesthood,” Carroll wrote, “is toxic.”

Meanwhile, my home diocese of Rochester, N.Y. filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 12, making it the first of New York State’s eight dioceses to do so. When the state’s Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse this past August, a one-year window opened to file claims. More than 600 lawsuits were filed statewide in the first month alone, with the bulk naming Roman Catholic dioceses for past abuse by priests. Like many communities throughout the northeast, New York’s cities have been plagued by lagging attendance and church closings for the past few decades. In other words, Rochester's bankruptcy was less of a shock than a sign of the times.

Lawsuit filed against Diocese of Venice for inappropriate contact during confession

Herald Tribune

Oct. 7, 2019

By Earle Kimel

An Avon Park woman has filed a $15 million suit against the Diocese of Venice, alleging that the Rev. Nicholas McLoughlin, 77, formerly of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park, attempted to grope and sexually assault her during confession in April 2018.

The Oct. 2 lawsuit filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Adam Horowitz on behalf of the woman — who was identified only as L.B. — alleges the Diocese and Bishop Frank. J. Dewane should have known that McLoughlin was “unfit, dangerous, and/or a threat to the health, safety, care, health and well-being of their parishioners such as L.B.”

McLoughlin was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese in November, while the Diocese of St. Petersburg reviews a complaint of “inappropriate physical contact with a minor” lodged against him.

That allegation occurred while McLoughlin served as pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Temple Terrace from 1973 to 1982.

Last November, in a letter to parishioners, Dewane said that allegation had “a semblance of truth.”

Previously, McLoughlin was a co-defendant in two lawsuits involving his brother, Ed McLoughlin, a former priest who was accused of molesting teenage boys in the 1980s and 1990s.

A Diocese of Venice spokeswoman said via email Monday that the Diocese has not yet been served with the Avon Park lawsuit and McLoughlin is retired and no longer in the ministry.

The Avon Park complaint was looked into by Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Anthony P. McGann but based upon lack of evidence or other witnesses, Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchins told him that the case would not be prosecuted.

According to McGann’s report, L.B. moved to from Homestead to Highlands County in February, to be closer to her sister. After a web search, she determined Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church was the Catholic Church closest to where she lived.

Westmoreland County trust sought to pay Pittsburgh diocese’s sex abuse claims

Tribune Review

Oct. 7, 2019

By Tom Davidson

An Allegheny County judge will decide whether a trust that a Westmoreland County farmer and former state representative bequeathed to the Roman Catholic church to help needy boys can be used by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to help pay victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office opposes using the 120-year-old Toner Trust — now valued at more than $8 million — for the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

“This distribution would be inconsistent with the charitable intent of James L. Toner,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Gene Herne wrote in a brief opposing use of the trust to settle sexual abuse claims.

Diocesan spokeswoman Ellen Mady declined comment. The diocese is awaiting a hearing to be set in the matter, she said.

Shapiro’s office didn’t return requests for further comment.

Priest Sex Abuse Trial: Man Testifies Of Encounter During 'Confession'

Deadline Detroit

October 3, 2019

By Michael Betzold

In the first trial of a priest swept up in Attorney General Dana Nessel’s May dragnet, a 31-year-old man man gave dramatic graphic testimony Thursday, detailing how he had sought to confess his sins to Patrick Casey but instead the priest shocked him by initiating oral sex in January 2013.

The victim testified that he was so convinced he was headed for hell, because of homosexual urges, that he broke up with his boyfriend of six years and attempted suicide just before the encounter in Casey’s church office in Westland. The man was in his mid-20s at the time.

The case is one of seven charged to date based on more than a million documents seized by the attorney general last October from all seven of the state's Catholic dioceses. In May, Nessel rounded up priests nationwide and charged them with sex crimes in various Michigan courts. The Casey case differs from the others because it does not involve a minor victim and is based on a relatively recent incident. (The others involve priests who left the state after allegedly abusing minors decades ago.)

The John Doe who testified in Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans’ courtroom was converting as an adult to Catholicism and spent six months seeking spiritual and personal counsel from Casey, who was transferred during that period from St. Thomas a'Becket in Canton to St. Theodore in Westland.

He knew the church condemned homosexuality and became troubled, he said on the witness stand, just by looking at the bodies of strangers on the street or sitting in certain positions. Because Casey was aware of the victim’s anxious state, Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark told jurors in her opening statement: “This case hinges on one word — coercion.” She charges Casey abused his authority in the case.

At least 65 Coloradans abused as children by Catholic clergy eligible for reparations from dioceses

Denver Post

Oct. 7, 2019

By Elise Schmelzer

At least 65 people who were abused as children by Catholic clergy in Colorado are eligible to apply for reparations from the state’s three dioceses, officials said Monday.

As part of a review of the dioceses’ handling of sex abuse reports, the dioceses hired a nationally-known firm to decide which victims should be compensated outside the court process and how much each victim should receive. Kenneth Feinberg, one of the compensation administrators, said Monday that his firm already sent paperwork to start the reparations process to 65 victims who previously reported abuse.

The number offers the first glimpse of the scope of abuse in the state as the independent review ordered by the Colorado Attorney General’s office nears completion.

“Sixty-five, relative to some other states, is not a huge number, thank goodness,” Feinberg said.

AG keeps agreement with bishops secret

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 7, 2019

He rejects SNAP’s Sunshine Act request
So victims ask AG & bishop for voluntarily release
SNAP: “If you’ve nothing to hide, disclose the deal”
Group says Schmitt’s abuse report is “the worst ever”
And it reveals 60 pages of never-seen-abuse records
Some are about ‘sex ring’ with three St. Louis seminarians

After a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will try to hand-deliver a letter to the Missouri attorney general’s St. Louis office calling on him to voluntarily release
-any formal agreement he signed with bishops limiting his probe, and
--the names of all non-victims he and his staff met with (like experts and church officials).
(He’s already rebuffed a Sunshine Act request. SNAP’s also asking bishops to release such agreements.)

Jury deliberations begin in sexual assault case against former Michigan priest


Oct. 7, 2019

Jury deliberations have begun in the case of a former Detroit Archdiocese priest charged with sexual assault.

Patrick Casey, 55, was charged with one felony count of criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of performing sexual acts on a man he was counseling. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Casey's attorney argued that he should be acquitted of the crime, saying the sexual acts were consensual, but a judge denied the request.

Both attorneys spoke to the jury on Monday and gave closing arguments.

Fund for Needy Kids in Pittsburgh Targeted by Diocese to Use in Paying Abuse Claims, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 7, 2019

A catholic diocese in Pennsylvania has run afoul of the state attorney general for attempting to use funds earmarked for impoverished children to help pay for compensation for victims of clergy sexual violence.

This latest news out of the Diocese of Pittsburgh is a depressing look at how church officials act when their money is on the line. It is terrible that people were subjected to abuse in the first place. It is sad that those victims have no recourse criminally or civilly in Pennsylvania. And it is disappointing that church officials want to use funds earmarked for needy children to dodge the financial burden of these lawsuits.

Church officials have other options when it comes to raising money. Rather than pickpocket from poor children, they could borrow funds from the Knights of Columbus as Cardinal Bernard Law did in Boston. They could sell auxiliary church property and land in order to make up the shortfall. Or they could take up a collection explicitly for the purpose of making whole those victims and survivors who were hurt by priests, nuns, deacons, and other church staff.

We believe that when wrongdoers experience no real sacrifices for wrongdoing, they have no incentive to do right in the future. So we oppose any effort by church officials to rob a fund for needy kids to help victims of church officials’ criminal behavior. We hope that Attorney General Josh Shapiro is successful in his challenge and that the Diocese of Pittsburgh will have to look elsewhere to make up its monetary shortfall.

SNAP Criticizes Archdiocesan Policy to Keep Names of Deceased Abusers Hidden

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 7, 2019

It is irresponsible, hurtful and self-serving for Catholic officials – in Chicago and elsewhere – to arbitrarily declare “We don’t investigate abuse reports against dead priests.” This decision hurts nearly everyone involved and helps only church bureaucrats who care about their comfort and careers.

It hurts victims, obviously, because it rewards their courage in coming forward with more insensitivity.

It hurts Catholics because it is another violation of bishops’ repeated pledges to be ‘transparent’ about abuse and because it perpetuates the gradual, painful unearthing of the truth about predators which is demoralizing.

And it hurts children and vulnerable adults because every time a fellow victim is ignored or rebuffed, it discourages others who know of or suspect abuse from speaking up and protecting others.

It is true that dead priests can’t defend themselves. But it’s also true that secular and church officials have found, buried deep in secret church files, admissions of guilt by child molesting clergy. Or reports from dozens of other victims – and some witnesses and whistleblowers – which lend tremendous credibility to other abuse reports.

Think about this scenario: Imagine that in 2017, Fr. Bob admitted in writing that he molested Sally. In 2018, Fr. Bob dies. And in 2019, Sally reports her abuse. In this scenario, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich would, according to his practice and policy, keep Fr. Bob’s name and the accusations against him secret.

And what if Fr. Bob admitted sexually assaulting three other girls too, but none of them have yet found the strength to come forward to church officials? Or none of them were deemed credible by church officials? (Remember: three of every four abuse reports to Illinois Catholic officials are determined ‘unsubtantiated,’ according to former attorney general Lisa Madigan).

Shifting the tide of rape culture

Stamford Advocate

October 5, 2019

By John Breunig

Luke Robbins has only been director of counseling for the area’s sexual assault resource center for a few days, so it almost seems unfair to engage him in conversation about the new report that exposes the depth of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s decades of covering up incidents of priests sexually assaulting children.

He’s up to the task.

The Stamford-based agency was recently rechristened The Rowan Center after The Rowan Tree, a symbol of resilience.

Past banners signaled more clarity about the agency’s mission (such as the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis and Education). But I can respect that people, like Robbins, who do this for a living need to use metaphors, similes and euphemisms. I’ll take any euphemism over vile lies like the ones perpetuated in the diocese for a few generations.

Catholic Church: Could Pope Francis say 'yes' to married priests?

BBC News

October 6, 2019

By Lebo Diseko

Catholic bishops from around the world are meeting at the Vatican to discuss the future of the Church in the Amazon.

Over the next three weeks, some 260 participants will talk about climate change, migration and evangelism.

Pope Francis opened the talks on Sunday by blaming destructive "interests" that led to recent fires in the Amazon.

"The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits," he said.

But one topic has dominated the headlines: whether married men will be allowed to become priests.

Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes

The Associated Press

October 5, 2019

By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer

Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.

These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.

And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.

A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.

James Franco sued by 2 women over 'inappropriate and sexually charged behavior'

Yahoo Celebrity

October 3, 2019

By Taryn Ryder

James Franco was named in a lawsuit Thursday by two former students, Toni Gaal and Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who claim they were sexually exploited at his acting school, Studio 4. Tither-Kaplan is one of the women who publicly accused the actor of inappropriate behavior in 2018. A lawyer for Franco is calling it a "publicity seeking lawsuit."

According to documents obtained by the New York Times, Gaal and Tither-Kaplan allege Franco and his partners "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects."

Accusers' lawyers dispute latest Archdiocese sex abuse report, reconciliation program

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

October 2, 2019

By Frank Esposito

Lawyers for those who have accused clergy of sexual abuse said any current abuse would not be reported until years later, casting doubt over a claim no recent credible claims since the early 2000s.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan sat on the edge of his seat while the findings of an independent investigation into the Archdiocese of New York's handling of sex abuse claims was read at a press conference in New York City on Monday.

A former federal judge and prosecutor Barbara Jones and a team of attorneys had combed through archdiocese records, and found the archdiocese hadn't had any credible claims against its priests since the early 2000s.

For the archdiocese, it's a light at the end of the tunnel, the epidemic of child sex abuse in the 20th century seemingly has a end.

Attorneys for plaintiffs, like Mitchell Garabedian, a prominent Boston-based attorney who represents more than 250 clergy sexual abuse plaintiffs in New York, see it as the light of another train.

Church leaders gave predator priests ‘getaway vehicle’ to abuse kids, lawyer says

Providence Journal

October 2, 2019

By Brian Amaral

The attorney for a former altar boy suing the Diocese of Providence urged people to come forward with information that could shed light on what church leaders and others knew about the sexual abuse of children.

Timothy J. Conlon, attorney for now 53-year-old Philip Edwardo, said at a news conference Wednesday that the church and its leaders should be considered “perpetrators” of the abuse Edwardo suffered as a child, just as much as the abusive priest himself.

“The problem is the institution,” Conlon said at his office. “You don’t sue the cockroaches for being in a restaurant. You sue the restaurant for letting them breed.”

Edwardo, who now lives in Florida, said he was inappropriately touched, molested or otherwise abused from 100 to 300 times by the Rev. Philip Magaldi, then a parish priest at St. Anthony Church in North Providence. Magaldi died in 2008. In July, the diocese placed him on its list of “credibly accused” clergy.

Edwardo’s suit, filed Monday in state court, takes aim at the diocese’s role in the abuse crisis as part of an effort to overcome possible barriers to the litigation.

The Catholic Church in Sweden received pedophile-accused priests

The Teller Report

Oct. 6, 2019

The Swedish Catholic Church is now being pulled into the international pedophile scandal, with priests suspected of committing child abuse.

It is in new documents that came from two Catholic parishes in the United States that the two priests are named. They have also worked in Sweden during the 2000s, and have been accused of abuse here as well.

An increasing number of Catholic parishes in the United States have opened their archives and published lists of priests that the churches' own investigations have shown have so-called "credible accusations" of sexual offenses against children.

One of the cases that Meredith Colias-Pete of the Post Tribune newspaper in Gary outside Chicago has examined concerns a priest who was later moved to Sweden. He was active in three different parishes in Gary during the 1980s. In the document the congregation published last year, the priest is listed as "credibly accused" of abuse against six children.

"The problem is that it is the church's own investigation that has determined which have been" credibly accused ", and that they have not handed over the cases to the police," says Meredith Colias-Pete.

Mamaroneck priest placed on leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Oct. 7, 2019

By Matt Spillane

The pastor of a Catholic church in Mamaroneck has been accused of abusing a child decades ago.

Monsignor James White has been placed on administrative leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church because of the accusation, which he denied in a letter to parishioners last week.

"I was profoundly shocked, disturbed and saddened by this news," he wrote in a letter on Oct. 2.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan sent a letter to parishioners on Oct. 3 about White's ministry being "temporarily restricted."

White said in his letter that he was informed on Sept. 26 of "an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor." He said it dates back to the 1980s, when he was the dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School, an all-boys school in the Bronx.

"I can assure you that I have never been inappropriate with a minor at any time during my almost 37 years as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York," he said, "and I ask you to believe in my innocence."

White said he trusts that his name will be cleared.

Dolan said in his letter that the accusation is being investigated by prosecutors as well as the Archdiocese's Lay Review Board, which helps determine whether an accused priest can return to ministry.

"This leave is not a punishment, and no judgment has been made about the accusation," Dolan said. "Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence."

SNAP Stands With Seminarians Speaking Out

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 7, 2019

We applaud these Catholic seminarians who are increasingly speaking out about clergy sexual abuse and cover ups. Thanks to them, more change will be made.

Over the years, our group has also heard from more current and former seminarians and seminary staff about clergy sexual abuse, misdeeds and cover ups. Sadly, many are in fear of losing their jobs, status or careers if they 'blow the whistle.' Still, we encourage everyone - inside and outside the church - to find the courage to come forward and share what they know.

If deeply wounded victims of clergy sexual violence can find their voices, so too can betrayed seminarians and other church staff. Collectively, we are making both the church and our society safer for all. But it takes continued courage.

Ex-priest freed because crime he was convicted of didn't exist at time

Brisbane Times

Oct. 6, 2019

By Lydia Lynch and Warren Barnsley

A Catholic priest found guilty of indecently dealing with a schoolboy while he has a teacher at Brisbane's Villanova College has been acquitted after the Court of Appeal found the law he broke did not exist at the time.

Michael Ambrose Endicott, 75, was convicted of three counts of indecently dealing with a child in the 1970s and 1980s after a five-day trial in Brisbane District Court in March this year.

At a hearing in April, the Court of Appeal ordered his convictions and 18-month jail sentence be set aside.

In their judgement published on Friday, Court of Appeal president Walter Sofronoff along with Justices Philip Morrison and Elizabeth Wilson explained why.

Mr Endicott's trial was told he was in charge of pastoral care and religious education at Villanova College during the 1970s.

A jury found Mr Endicott indecently photographed his young victim three times, the first time being on a school hiking trip in 1975 when he asked the nine-year-old to accompany him to a creek area in dense bush.

Man whose claim sparked Buffalo clergy abuse scandal wants to forgive priest

Buffalo News

Oct. 4, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Michael F. Whalen Jr. wants to sit down with the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits someday and forgive the priest he says molested him when he was an impressionable boy in need of a role model.

“You know, I’ve carried the pain that he caused me for 40 years. For the rest of his days, I want him to wonder why one survivor forgave him,” said Whalen, a former U.S. Army private who lives in South Buffalo.

“It’s because of my faith. Something he didn’t believe in. He used his as a weapon to hurt kids. Me, I want him to know that I forgive him. That’s what our religion, what our faith, what our church is supposed to be,” Whalen said.

It was Whalen’s public accusation against Orsolits that set off a Buffalo Diocese clergy sexual abuse scandal, which now includes the identification of more than 100 Buffalo area priests who were credibly accused of abuse, ongoing federal and state investigations into whether diocese officials tried to cover up abuses and more than 165 lawsuits against the diocese. On Thursday, the Vatican directed Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to investigate the Buffalo Diocese through an "apostolic visitation.”

Within hours of Whalen’s new conference on Feb. 27, 2018, outside the diocese’s Main Street headquarters, Orsolits admitted to The Buffalo News that he had molested "probably dozens" of boys decades ago.

Whalen, 54, has come a long way from that news conference. He’s now at ease talking about a secret that had kept him in silent shame for decades. He’s developed a network of new friends who share a common bond as survivors of abuse, but who talk regularly on all manner of subjects. He said he's grown closer to his family, including three grandchildren, with a fourth due in November.

Whalen also has developed a passion for the Child Advocacy Center, which provides a variety of services for children and families affected by child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse.

Pittsburgh diocese, Pa. AG's office spar over use of trust fund

Post Gazette

Oct. 7, 2019

By Peter Smith

The office of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro is pressing its opposition to a bid by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to draw money from a $8 million-plus trust fund, dedicated to needy children, to pay compensation to adult victims of sexual abuse.

State law does not “allow a charitable trust to be terminated to pay the potential legal obligations of the trustee for its alleged criminal activity in direct contravention to the terms of the trust,” said a legal brief filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Orphans’ Court by Gene Herne, senior deputy attorney general.

But the diocese says aiding survivors of abuse would fit within the spirit of the century-old trust fund, which has aided needy children even into their young adult years, with a particular mission of educating them and providing vocational and living skills.

“These funds will provide for the care, education, training, maintenance and treatment of those who were abused as children to assist them to make an adjustment to life and work in accordance with their abilities,” attorney Robert Ridge, representing the diocese, said in a court filing Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the Diocese of Pittsburgh filed a petition in Orphans’ Court, seeking permission to use the fund as part of its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, for payments to victims of sexual abuse by its priests through an out-of-court process. After the attorney general’s office lodged its opposition to the move, Judge Lawrence O’Toole in August called for each side to argue its case in the legal briefs that have now been filed.

Abuse survivors urge Southern Baptists to listen, then act

Houston Chronicle

Oct. 6, 2019

By John Tedesco

For years, victims’ advocates have called for sweeping changes in how the Southern Baptist Convention responds to sexual abuse in its churches.

Last week in Grapevine, Baptist leaders said it’s time to listen. But critics are skeptical that their rhetoric will result in meaningful change.

More than 1,600 Southern Baptists gathered in Texas for the SBC’s “Caring Well” conference, which aimed to help the largest coalition of Baptist churches in the United States do a better job preventing abuse and assisting victims.

The conference was organized in response to a February investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News that revealed hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers had been accused of sexual misconduct in the last two decades. They left behind more than 700 victims, a number that leaders agree is only a sliver of the problem. Speakers at the conference emphasized that sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches existed long before the newspapers’ investigation — but many churches ignored the warnings.

“Southern Baptists won’t have a future unless we are willing to acknowledge our tendency to protect the system over survivors,” said Phillip Bethancourt, the vice president of the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which organized the conference. “If the system is more important than the survivors, then the system is not worth saving.”

Belleville Diocese responds to lawsuit alleging child sex abuse by senior priest in ’80s

News Democrat

Oct. 7, 2019

By Lexi Cortes

The recent civil lawsuit alleging a boy was sexually abused by a Belleville priest in the ’80s was filed 18 years too late to seek damages for the trauma he says he suffered, the Belleville Diocese’s attorneys are arguing in court.

The now 38-year-old man filed his complaint July 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, within today’s statute of limitations: 20 years after his 18th birthday or 20 years after realizing he was harmed by past abuse, if he repressed the memories, for example.

But the diocese says his complaint should instead be subject to the law as it was in 1999, when the man turned 18. At that time, the statute of limitations expired within two years.

The man, who filed under the pseudonym John Doe, alleged the Rev. Joseph Schwaegel sexually abused him when he was between 6 and 8 years old and a student at Cathedral Grade School in Belleville.

At the time, Schwaegel was the school’s superintendent and in charge of the diocese’s largest parish, Belleville’s St. Peter’s Cathedral. He would call Doe and other students out of class to be alone with him, and the lawsuit states that is when the priest abused Doe.

At Caring Well conference, SBC leaders hear criticism of abuse response

Religion News Serevice

October 5, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Southern Baptist leaders wrestled with questions of procedure and accountability during a gathering on sexual abuse this week, grappling with how best to address an issue some say the denomination took far too long to address.

After a first day focused on stories of abuse survivors, the Caring Well conference, organized by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, devoted its second and third days to hearing from critics of the denomination’s response to abuse.

“The SBC has, over and over again, trampled on these precious (abuse) survivors, and that is why they are afraid to speak up — that fear is deserved,” said Rachael Denhollander at a question-and-answer session Saturday morning. Denhollander, an attorney, was the first person to publicly accuse former Michigan State physician Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. She said that the first time she was abused — before encountering Nassar — was in a church at age 7.

A series of breakout sessions also offered pastors and church leaders practical lessons for dealing with sexual abuse and covered a broad range of issues that fall under the broader category of abuse: how to screen for child sex abusers, prevent domestic violence and how to talk to abuse survivors.

Catholics hail report for thoroughness, 'essential step forward'

The Oklahoman

October 7, 2019

By Carla Hinton

[Related coverage:

- Read Archbishop Coakley's letter

- Read McAfee & Taft's report

- Read the Oklahoma City archdiocese's list of priests with substantiated allegations, along with supporting materials]

A law firm's report on the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was praised Sunday not only for its listing of priests who preyed on minors but its detailed description of the ways the faith organization's leaders dealt with the perpetrators.

Several parishioners attending services at St. Monica Catholic Church in Edmond said information included in Oklahoma City-based McAfee & Taft's report was disturbing but they lauded Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley for having the firm conduct an independent report and for releasing those findings on Oct. 4.

The Chicago Archdiocese does not publicly identify deceased priests accused of sexual abuse. Here’s why one suburban deacon is trying to change that.

Chicago Tribune

October 7, 2019

By Elyssa Cherney

The first time it happened, the priest offered Terry Neary a cookie.

Neary, then an eighth grade student, was working an after-school job in the rectory of St. Ethelreda in Chicago. He followed the Roman Catholic priest into the kitchen, where, Neary has alleged, the 75-year-old man sexually abused him that day and a few more times in 1971.

The Archdiocese of Chicago later determined the abuse was “possible," according to its own records, but it has not added the priest’s name to a list on its website that identifies nearly 80 clergy members believed to have abused children.

That’s because of a controversial church policy that doesn’t require full investigations into allegations made against deceased priests. By the time Neary first reported his abuse to the archdiocese in 2001, the priest, the Rev. William R. Leyhane, had been dead for two decades.

October 6, 2019

Jerry Sandusky’s son, other sexual assault survivors and activists urge Latter-day Saint church to stop private interviews

Fox 13 TV

October 5, 2019

By Adam Herbets

Hundreds of people gathered at the Salt Lake City-County Building on Saturday to take part in the March for Children. The inaugural rally was organized by Protect Every Child, a foundation dedicated to ending child abuse.

Speakers at the rally discussed numerous topics and methods to keep children safe, criticizing some institutions for caring more about their image than the children they are supposed to protect.

Sam Young, the founder of Protect Every Child, was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for being so outspoken in his criticism of certain church policies. His attempt to rejoin the church by filing an appeal was denied last year.

Diocese: Sexual abuse allegations lodged against West Newton priest unsubstantiated

The Observer-Reporter

October 5, 2019

Allegations of child sexual abuse against a West Newton priest were found to be unsubstantiated during a canonical investigation, according to the Greensburg Diocese.

However, the Rev. Joseph Bonafed, of Monessen, will not return as pastor for Holy Family Parish in West Newton and St. Edward’s Parish in Herminie, diocese officials said.

During the course of a six-month investigation, conducted by an independent diocesan review board, officials said they discovered Bonafed had engaged in “inappropriate conduct in the workplace.”

“In the course of the investigation into child sexual abuse allegations, allegations relating to inappropriate conduct in the workplace, in violation of the Diocesan Pastoral Code of Conduct, were reported and investigated,” the diocese stated in a release.

Excommunicated LDS bishop leads 800 in a march to end child abuse and hold all religions accountable

The Salt Lake Tribune

October 5, 2019

By Courtney Tanner
They marched for blocks across Salt Lake City, some solemnly humming church hymns and peaceful chants that started in the front but were just getting to the beginning verse by the time the notes carried to the back of the massive crowd.

“We’ll love one another and never dissemble, but cease to do evil and ever be one,” a few sang.

The nearly 800 people — mostly members or former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — walked to the Utah Capitol on Saturday, on the first day of General Conference weekend, in protest. They passed by the faith’s iconic Salt Lake Temple on their way but didn’t stop. Their goal, they said, was more important.

Abuse-survivors group set for Conway

Arkansas Democrat Gazette

October 5, 2019

By Francisca Jones

A new support group for survivors of abuse will soon be available to people of any faith through the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock.

The Maria Goretti Network will hold the first meeting of its Arkansas chapter at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway in November.

Miguel Prats, a sexual abuse survivor, co-founded the Texas-based nonprofit with the Rev. Gavin Vavarek in 2004. Prats suggested they name the organization in honor of Maria Goretti, the patron saint of rape victims and abused children.

At Caring Well conference, SBC leaders hear criticism of abuse response

Religion News Service

October 5, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Southern Baptist leaders wrestled with questions of procedure and accountability during a gathering on sexual abuse this week, grappling with how best to address an issue some say the denomination took far too long to address.

After a first day focused on stories of abuse survivors, the Caring Well conference, organized by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, devoted its second and third days to hearing from critics of the denomination’s response to abuse.

“The SBC has, over and over again, trampled on these precious (abuse) survivors, and that is why they are afraid to speak up — that fear is deserved,” said Rachael Denhollander at a question-and-answer session Saturday morning. Denhollander, an attorney, was the first person to publicly accuse former Michigan State physician Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. She said that the first time she was abused — before encountering Nassar — was in a church at age 7.

Advocates call for Missouri to join other states in lifting time limits on child sex abuse lawsuits

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

October 6, 2019

By Nassim Benchaabane

Missouri should join a move by other states to change the statute of limitations that keeps survivors of long-ago child sexual abuse from suing former priests, victims’ advocates say.

Removing the limitation, or temporarily reviving expired cases, would be the “most effective short-term step” lawmakers could take to help victims — the vast majority of whom struggle with trauma for decades before they are able to report the abuse — as well as uncover other abuses, said David Clohessy, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“There are predators who remain under the radar around kids, despite having hurt many, simply because they’ve run out the clock,” he said.

Third sexual abuse lawsuit filed against former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard


October 6, 2019

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard has been accused of sexual abuse in a third civil complaint.

The latest complaint accuses the former leader of the Albany diocese and another priest, identified as Joseph Mato, of abusing a teenage boy between 1976 and 1978, according to The Times Union. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in state Supreme Court in Albany.

Hubbard previously denied claims of sexual abuse.

Previously, two other complaints filed allege that Hubbard and two other priests sexually assaulted a girl in a Schenectady church in the late 1970s. The other priests named in the complaint are Father Albert DelVecchio and Father Francis Melfe who were both priests at the now-closed Immaculate Conception.

Former middle school principal pleads guilty to sex charges

Associated Press via WWMT

October 5, 2019

KINGSLEY, Mich. (AP) — A former middle school principal in northern Michigan accused of inappropriately touching students has pleaded guilty.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Karl Hartman pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of assault with intent to commit sexual contact stemming from accusations he spanked two former students for sexual gratification in his office when he was the principal at Kingsley Elementary School in 2004. He retired in January.

The 55-year-old Hartman is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1. The felony convictions carry a maximum five-year prison sentence that Hartman would serve concurrently if a judge accepts the terms of a plea agreement under which prosecutors dropped six felony and two misdemeanor charges.

Sexual abuse lawsuit against retired Kamloops bishop and pastor starts Monday

News 1130

October 5, 2019

By Renee Bernard

The complainant says she was sexually abused by a pastor in the late 70s

The pastor is now disabled and lives in a long-term care facility in Ontario

A retired Catholic bishop will be in BC Supreme Court next week, defending himself against allegations he allowed sexual abuse to take place back in his Kamloops diocese in the late 70s.

The case is expected to be heard in Vancouver over seven days.

Also named in the case is the man accused of being behind a series of sexual assaults, Fr. Erlindo Molon.

Westchester priest placed on administrative leave by archdiocese over child abuse allegation


October 5, 2019

The pastor of the only Catholic church in Mamaroneck has been placed on “administrative leave” over allegations under the Child Victims Act.

The letter sent out by Dolan, obtained by PIX11 News.

Monsignor James E. White has had his ministry “temporarily restricted” according to a letter sent by Archbishop Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan of New York and obtained by PIX11 News.

“The leave is not a punishment and no judgment has been made about the accusation,” Dolan wrote. “Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence.”

Palmerston North parishioners process Bishop Charles Drennan's shock resignation

Manawatu Standard

October 6, 2019

By Paul Mitchell

A prayer meeting has been set up for Palmerston North's Catholic community in the wake of the news of Bishop Charles Drennan's fall from grace.

Pope Francis has accepted Bishop Charles Drennan's resignation, which was announced on Friday night, over a complaint made by a young woman in regards to "unacceptable" behaviour of a sexual nature. On Saturday it was revealed it was not the first sexual misconduct complaint made against Drennan.

It wasn't until Sunday mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on Broadway Ave, the church where Drennan was officially acknowledged as the city's bishop in 2012, that many of his parishioners heard about his resignation.

Editorial | Statute of limitations continues to impede justice for abuse victims

The Tribune-Democrat

October 6, 2019

Will this be the time the Pennsylvania Senate responds to voices of sexual abuse victims seeking justice?

State law says individuals who have turned 30 have no right to file lawsuits against their abusers.

On Wednesday, the Senate judiciary committee heard testimony from many who were violated as children but who have passed the age limit.

Twice, the Pennsylvania House has passed bills that would have opened windows in the statute, and twice the bills were ignored in the Senate, where the Republican leadership has opposed any movement on behalf of the victims.

After scathing report on sex abuse by clergy in Bridgeport Diocese, victims press for changes to Connecticut’s statute of limitations law

Hartford Courant

October 6, 2019

By Daniela Altimari

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims say they will ask lawmakers to consider extending the civil statute of limitations, providing those victims with more time to file lawsuits.

Mark Fuller of New Canaan says it took him 25 years to seek help for the lingering trauma of clergy sex abuse.

He is still waiting for a legal reckoning.

"I should be able to sue for the usual things, like any other citizen who has been wronged: pain and suffering. Lost wages. Medical expenses. Reimbursement for counseling services,'' Fuller told members of the Connecticut legislature earlier this year. “But the statutes prevent justice in this area.”

Connecticut law currently allows child victims to file suit but they must do so before their 51st birthday. Experts say some victims don’t come to terms with the anguish of sexual abuse until later in life, sometimes until after the deadline for legal claims has passed.

Lawmakers had considered opening a legal window to enable Fuller and others who were sexually abused as children to file lawsuits against predators and the institutions that hid the abuse. But in recent years, such efforts have fallen short in Connecticut.

Victims and their advocates aren’t giving up and they hope a scathing report released Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport on the alleged sexual abuse of hundreds of victims by clergy since the early 1950s will provide their drive with fresh momentum.

Editorial: We need to stop calling the pattern of sex abuse in the Catholic Church a travesty. It was a criminal conspiracy and the state hasn’t done enough to hold the guilty accountable.

Hartford Courant

October 6, 2019

The latest revelations about sexual abuse aren’t new but they are nonetheless shocking: Edward Egan, during his tenure as bishop of the Bridgeport diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, methodically covered up allegations that priests in the diocese had sexually abused children. The man who would become a cardinal in New York aided and abetted the depravity of priests who found sexual pleasure in fondling innocent children.

We use a lot of melodramatic words to describe the actions of men who by virtue of the collars they wore were able to get away with child abuse: scandal, travesty, nightmare.

But there’s one word we don’t use enough: crime.

October 5, 2019

Brooklyn Bishop investigating Buffalo Diocese known as no-nonsense 'tough guy'


Oct. 4, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A Vatican investigation of the Diocese of Buffalo has brought many Catholics hope that Rome is finally taking action on a diocese in crisis .

“It is a milestone here that we finally have had some response, that they aren't ignoring us completely,” said Catholic whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor.

The move has brought some caution, since the man the Vatican has picked for the job -- Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio -- is a fellow bishop from New York State.

Some Catholics are also asking why the investigation will take place outside of Pope Francis’ new abuse and bishop accountability law -- Vos Estis Lux Mundi -- passed last year.

But Rocco Palmo, a Catholic journalist and Vatican expert who runs the widely read “Whispers in the Loggia” news site , thinks it may actually be better that the Vatican is choosing to undertake an “Apostolic Visitation” rather than a Vos Estis probe.

“The fact that this is a full Apostolic Visitation, which is essentially the Catholic Church's equivalent of a grand jury or an FBI investigation, is massive,” Palmo said in a phone interview.

Palmo said his sources indicate the decision was made directly by Pope Francis, even though Bishop Malone’s spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said in an email, “We have been given no reason whatsoever to believe that what Rocco Palmo is suggesting is true.”

Former Baltimore archbishop Cardinal Shehan transferred abusive priests in Connecticut, new report says

Baltimore Sun

Oct. 2, 2019

By Alison Knezevich

A prominent former Baltimore archbishop, the late Cardinal Lawrence J. Shehan, transferred priests accused of sexual abuse to new posts without disciplining them or warning parishioners when he led the Bridgeport, Connecticut, diocese decades ago, an independent report has concluded.

Shehan, who died in 1984 at age 86, is among several former Bridgeport bishops scrutinized in a report commissioned by the diocese there in response to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. He was Bridgeport’s first bishop, serving in the role from 1953 to 1961 before coming to Baltimore.

“The diocese’s practice of a bishop’s reassigning a priest following an abuse accusation began during Bishop Shehan’s tenure," states the Bridgeport report, which was made public Tuesday. "He knew of multiple specific incidents of abuse by then-active priests in the diocese, and assigned the priests to new postings with no discipline, and no warnings to the communities to which the priests were reassigned.”

Current Bridgeport Bishop Frank J. Caggiano ordered an investigation last year into the diocese’s history of sexual abuse and church officials’ response. A retired Connecticut judge led the investigation and prepared the report.

Shehan served as archbishop of Baltimore from 1961 to 1974, becoming a cardinal in 1965. Baltimore’s Cardinal Shehan School on Loch Raven Boulevard is named for him.

In Dallas, Southern Baptist leaders gather to address church abuse

Religion News Service

Oct. 5, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

On Thursday, members of the Southern Baptist Convention kicked off a three-day summit focused on confronting sexual abuse, with church leaders and abuse survivors calling for the rejection of a religious cultures that can perpetuate abuse and for new systems to protect the vulnerable.

Hundreds of pastors and SBC members filled the sprawling meeting room at the “Caring Well” conference, organized by the denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. They will hear addresses from church leaders, attorneys, prominent advocates for abuse survivors and survivors themselves in the wake of several high-profile sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the SBC over the past two years.

“This is the time, normally, at one of our conferences [when] I would say how glad we are to have you here,” said Phillip Bethancourt, the ERLC’s executive vice president, as the conference began. “But the key emotion we’re feeling right now is not one of gladness, but grief.”

Among the speakers on the meeting’s opening day was Megan Lively, who last year charged that her allegations of rape made while she was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003 were mishandled by its then president, Paige Patterson. Patterson was forced from his post at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in May of 2018.

Public awareness of the issue broadened in February, when the Houston Chronicle unveiled the results of an investigation into widespread sexual abuse in SBC churches. The Chronicle identified some 700 victims over the course of 20 years, some of whom had reported their abuse and were urged to forgive their abusers or get abortions.

October 4, 2019

Readers sound of on child abuse in the Catholic church

Daily News

Oct. 5, 2019

In response to “Purged of pervs” (Oct. 1): Really? Cardinal Timothy Dolan expressed that those who harbor mistrust can find it in their hearts to be thankful for the church’s good-faith efforts to right past wrongs. “I’m trying my best to serve my people,” he said.

Let’s get one thing straight, for all of the church’s pontificating, if it weren’t for some victims coming forward and the rest that followed, the church would still be operating in the shadows of human decency and abusing young children. The gates of deception and sex scandals opened up to a widespread massive cover-up with priest reassignments and secret perv priest name lists. The church had not once brought any one of them to justice but kept it all internal and squeaky clean, so as to not upset the parishioners and to maybe lose them.

The church first responded that it was only a small number of priests. They responded wrongly and they knew it. But hey, what’s a little lie when you have a gigantic sex scandal erupting? This was going on for decades.

Then when the real numbers started to surface, what did the church do? Damage control posthaste! They hired the best lawyers and lobbyists, and tried to prevent any laws being passed that would implicate the church for past misdeeds and cost them millions of dollars in compensation the very victims they are crowing about now and saying that they are “helping.” To have such a widespread sex abuse scandal of young children for many decades and the church pretending that for the most part, they knew nothing about it, is more than criminal.

Mike Pedano

Catholic seminarians speaking out about sexual misconduct are being shunned

Washington Post

Oct. 4, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

The text from Stephen Parisi's fellow seminarian was ominous: Watch your back.

Parisi, dean of his class of seminarians in the Buffalo Diocese, and another classmate had gone to seminary officials about a recent party in a parish rectory. At the party in April, the men said, priests were directing obscene comments to the seminarians, discussing graphic photos and joking about professors allegedly swapping A's for sex.

"I just wanted to be sure that you guys are protected and are watching your backs," the seminarian's text said. Authorities are "fishing to figure out who the nark [sic] is."

Parisi and Matthew Bojanowski, who was academic chairman of the class, have made explosive news nationally recently after alleging that they were bullied by superiors, grilled by their academic dean under police-like interrogation and then shunned by many of their fellow seminarians after going public with sexual harassment complaints about those up the chain of command. The Vatican on Thursday announced it is investigating broad allegations that church leaders have mishandled clergy abuse cases.

As striking as the charges is the fact that the men are speaking out at all. Parisi and Bojanowski - who both left seminary in August - are among a small but growing number of Catholic priests and seminarians who in the past year have gone to investigators, journalists and lawyers with complaints about their superiors. While still rare, such dissent has until now been nearly unheard of in a profession that requires vows of obedience to one's bishop and offers no right to recourse, no independent human resources department.

NZ bishop resigns over 'unacceptable' sexual relationship

Associated Press

Oct 4, 2019

By Nicole Winfield,

Pope Francis on October 4 accepted the resignation of a New Zealand bishop over what church officials said was his "completely unacceptable" sexual behavior with a young woman.

Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan, 59, had offered to resign following an independent investigation into the woman’s complaint, according to a statement from Cardinal John Dew, head of the church in New Zealand.

The Vatican said Friday that the pope had accepted the resignation.

The removal is significant since the Catholic Church has long considered sexual relationships between clerics and adult women to be sinful and inappropriate, but not criminal or necessarily worthy of permanent sanction.

However, the #MeToo movement and the scandal over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an American defrocked by Francis for sexual misconduct, have forced a reckoning about the imbalance of power in relationships between clerics and lay adults, nuns and seminarians _ and whether such relationships can ever be consensual.

As SBC Continues to Ignore Victims, Survivor Calls for Action

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 4, 2019

Survivor of Sexual Assault by SBC Pastor to Attend SBC Convention

“It is time for action, not more discussion,” she says

WHAT: At a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention aimed around abuse prevention, survivors and advocates will
--Push SBC leaders to act on abuse instead of continuing to just talk about it,
--Urge them to take seriously the ideas of abuse prevention advocates, and
--Pass out flyers touching on how the SBC has consistently ignored survivor outreach

WHEN: From Friday, October 4 through Saturday, October 5

WHERE: Outside the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, TX (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas 76051 USA). Advocates will be at the hotel, please contact for specific location.

Ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield Again Accused of Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 4, 2019

The disgraced former bishop of a West Virginia diocese is again being investigated for abuse, this time for allegedly abusing a 9-year-old girl on a field trip.

According to reports, former Bishop Michael Bransfield is accused of a inappropriately touching a 9 year old during a 2012 field trip to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We applaud the bravery of this young victim. It is incredibly challenging to come forward and report abuse at any time, so we hope that the victim in this case is getting the support and help she needs from her community.

We hope that this news will encourage any others who were hurt, whether by Bishop Bransfield or others, to come forward and make a report to law enforcement. And we hope that church officials in both Washington D.C. and in Wheeling-Charleston will make every effort to encourage other survivors to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and start healing.

New Study Shows Hundreds of Abusive Priests are Unsupervised

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Oct. 4, 2019

A lengthy new investigation into the whereabouts and status of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics reveals that:

--almost 1,700 of them are “largely unsupervised,”
--more than 500 of them “live within 2,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, childcare centers or other facilities that serve children,
--more than 160 “continued working or volunteering in churches, including dozens in Catholic dioceses overseas and some in other denominations,”
--roughly 190 “obtained professional licenses to work in education, medicine, social work and counseling - including 76 who, as of August, still had valid credentials in those fields,”
--91 of them are/have been licensed to work as teachers, principals and other school personnel,
--a handful of the “adopted or fostered children, sponsored teens and young adults coming to the U.S. for educational opportunities, or worked with organizations that are part of the foster care system, though that number could be much higher,”

We applaud The Associated Press for this sorely-needed investigation and believe that this is critical information that can lead to more informed – and safer – communities.

The investigation showed that nearly every US Catholic bishop continues to recklessly do the bare minimum – suspending or defrocking child molesting clerics but refusing to monitor them and adequately warn the public about them, actively putting kids at risk of terrible harm.

It also shows the need to repeal or reform archaic, predator-friendly laws like the statute of limitations, which prevents many predators from ever being prosecuted or exposed in court. The best way to safeguard children are to ensure that the people who abuse them can be criminally prosecuted and that the institutions who enabled them can be held civilly liable.

And it shows the hypocrisy of church officials who want to have their cake and eat it too - recruiting, training, hiring, ordaining, supervising, shielding and shuffling predators but suddenly ousting them when pressured to do so, and pretending to be powerless to control their whereabouts and activities.

Lawyer to SNAP advocate, abuse survivor: You are 'not interested in presenting the truth

Clarion Ledger

Oct. 4, 2019

By Frank Vollor

In response to the same article that appeared under two different titles, “Catholic Church Needs to Help DA Investigate Abuse Charges” in the Clarion Ledger, September 29, 2019, and “Response to Clergy Abuse has been Love” in the Greenwood Commonwealth on September 14, 2019, Mark Belenchia flippantly suggests that as fitness review officer for the Diocese of Jackson, I lied about reporting the alleged child abuse in 1998 involving Rapheal Love and that the receipt or acknowledgement of my report from the Greenwood Police Department is my fabrication.

His justification for this accusation is the report does not contain a case number. The receipt or acknowledgment from the Greenwood Police Department I have in my possession was faxed on October 18, 1998, as reflected by the fax information at the top of the transmittal. The report was faxed on City of Greenwood Police Department letterhead, listing the then Mayor Harry L. Smith. The fax was personally signed by Det/Lt Mel Andrews who later retired as Captain Andrews in 2016. The faxed report was from the Greenwood Police Department fax number and faxed to my then number as Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial District.

I left that position in 2009 and have not had access to that number since then. The report attached is a law enforcement computer printout styled Offense/Incident Report, Greenwood Police Department. It lists the primary reporting officer and investigating officer as Lester Martin, along with the facts I reported. The boxes of whether the report was accepted or denied are blank, as is the approving supervisor’s signature line. This may explain why it was never assigned a number. The Greenwood PD may have never accepted the report as credible.

Devil In the Red Hat: What the Bridgeport Diocese Abuse Report Can’t Say

The National Review

Oct. 4, 2019

By Michael Brendan Dougherty

Besides being the bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., and then cardinal archbishop of New York, the Reverend Edward Egan was a monster. Now that he is safely dead, this can be said. And much more. In the Diocese of Bridgeport he was preceded by other monsters, Bishop Walter Curtis and Bishop Lawrence J. Shehan. This was known as a kind of folk wisdom in the diocese and patched together from the years of stomach-turning testimonies and news items. But now, at least some of the truth is documented extensively in a report by a judge and law firm commissioned by the Bridgeport diocese itself.

Those three abovementioned men reigned, between 1953 and 2000, over a diocese in which over 70 priests abused nearly 300 children in various ways. The response of these three men to this reality evolved. One bishop would simply instruct subordinates to handle abusive priests and then not look too much into it. Some shredded and destroyed incriminating documents. Egan perfected the art of legal s