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November 30, 2019

Viewpoints: Healing, Reconciliation, Reform: A path forward for the Diocese of Buffalo

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

November 30, 2019

By John J. Hurley

Special to The News

Last December, the Movement to Restore Trust empaneled six working groups involving about 150 Catholics who developed a series of reports and recommendations for reform in the Diocese of Buffalo. These reports were released to the public this past July. The Movement was working with the diocese on the early stages of implementation of various reforms when it determined in early September that it did not believe that it could make further progress on its reform agenda while Bishop Richard J. Malone remained in office. The Movement called for the bishop’s resignation on Sept. 5. He has refused to resign.

In early October, the Vatican ordered an apostolic visitation of the diocese by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn. DiMarzio completed his visitation in October after interviewing 80 priests and lay people, including two representatives of the Movement’s Organizing Committee. He has submitted his report to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.

Bishops sex scandal inquiry complete without teacher’s testimony

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
AfricansLive.com

November 30, 2019

An inquiry conducted by Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town into alleged sexual abuse of pupils is complete, but the soon-to-be-released report will not include a testimony from history teacher and water polo coach Fiona Viotti, 32, the woman at the centre of drama.
“My client was not interviewed,” said Viotti’s lawyer William Booth.

“I advised her not to (comment) because it wasn’t a hearing. There was no disciplinary inquiry because she had already resigned.”

In mid-October, Bishops was rocked by the news that Viotti had immediately resigned after it was claimed she had a sexual relationship with a matric pupil.

Press Release: Fortney Family to Announce Filing Lawsuit at December 2 Press Conference in Newark

NEW JERSEY
InsiderNJ.com

November 30, 2019

WHAT: At a press conference in Newark, New Jersey on December 2, 2019, Fortney Family sisters Patty Fortney-Julius and Lara Fortney-McKeever, along with their attorney, Benjamin D. Andreozzi, Esq., will announce the filing of a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Harrisburg (PA) under New Jersey’s newly enacted civil window legislation. Patty and Lara’s lawsuit outlines priest Augustine Giella’s heinous sexual abuse of multiple of the Fortney Family sisters, including Patty and Lara, and the cover-up of his crimes by the Newark Archdiocese and Harrisburg Diocese. As the lawsuit outlines, Giella was incardinated into the Newark Archdiocese, but transferred to the Harrisburg Diocese, where he met the Fortney Family. He then abused the Fortney Family sisters in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Editorial: Boston Seminary Report Models Key Post-McCarrick Reforms

BOSTON (MA)
National Catholic Register

November 30, 2019

EDITORIAL: The response to allegations has been concrete, transparent and authentically Catholic, in its efforts to discern what is wrong at the seminary and how to rectify those shortcomings
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It would hardly be appropriate to characterize the recently released findings of the independent investigation undertaken at the Archdiocese of Boston’s St. John’s Seminary as “good news,” given that it did confirm that isolated instances of sexual misconduct and excessive alcohol consumption have taken place there in recent years.

But the outcome does appear to be a positive indication that key Church leaders are aiming in a better direction, when it comes to addressing sexual misconduct and other problems in seminaries.

Bishop Franco's bail extended

INDIA
TheHindu.com

November 30, 2019

The Additional District Sessions Court here on Saturday extended the bail granted to bishop Franco Mulakkal in a nun rape case and posted the case for further hearing to January 6.

Marking the commencement of the trial proceedings in the case, the bishop appeared before judge G. Gopakumar here on Saturday following a summons to appear for preliminary hearing. Alongside extending the bail, the court also permitted the defence counsel to substitute the existing bail bondsmen with the bishops brother and a nephew.

Appointment order

Meanwhile, special public prosecutor Jithesh J. Babu officially handed over his order of appointment to the court. The case has now been posted for a preliminary hearing on the charges on January 6 and after hearing both the defence and the prosecution, the court will frame its charges against the accused bishop.

Lawsuit wave expected as New Jersey eases sex abuse limits

NEWARK (NJ)
Associated Press

November 30, 2019

By David Porter and Mike Catalini

The loosening of limits on sexual abuse claims in New Jersey is expected to create a tectonic shift in the way those lawsuits are brought, giving hope to victims who have long suffered in silence and exposing a broader spectrum of institutions to potential liability.

A law passed last spring goes into effect Sunday and allows child victims to sue until they turn 55, or within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The limit was two years before the new law. Adult victims also have seven years from the discovery of the abuse, and victims who were previously barred by the statute of limitations have a two-year window to file claims.

Ray Hadley reveals the sentence for ‘Australia’s worst paedophile’

(AUSTRALIA)
873 AM Radio

Nov. 29, 2019

The man Ray Hadley believes is “Australia’s worst paedophile” has been sentenced to a further 18 years behind bars.

Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath committed the most heinous offences imaginable at a boys’ home north of Sydney, between 1978 and 1985.

He oversaw a reign of terror at the Kendall Grange boys’ at Morriset, where several brothers from the Order of St John of God raped and abused boys aged between seven and 13.

McGrath was extradited from New Zealand in 2014 and charged with 256 offences against 43 boys, as detailed extensively by the Newcastle Herald.

Due to the enormity of the case against McGrath his trial was split into two.

In 2018, he was found guilty of a range of offences and sentenced to a maximum of 34 years in jail, with his earliest release date in 2035.

Now, his second trial has finished and Ray Hadley has revealed the result.

Bernard Kevin McGrath has been found guilty of most of the offences and been sentenced to a further 27 years behind bars, backdated to 2026.

The 73-year-old’s sentence will now expire in 2053, making his full term 39 years but he will be eligible for parole in 2044 at the age of 97.

Investigating officers have told Ray Hadley this is the most sickening case of paedophilia they’ve ever encountered.

Ray agrees saying, “the deeds of this creature usurp most of the stuff I’ve dealt with over the past 30 years”.

“I’ve been reporting on these sort of cases for much of my broadcasting life. This is Australia’s worst paedophile. I mean that quite sincerely."

Pennsylvania’s sexual abuse laws leave survivors conflicted

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Nov. 30, 2019

By Marc Levy

When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes.

Some sexual-abuse survivors and victim advocates felt conflicted by the compromise package: Missing was a cornerstone of the recommendations by last year's landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse inside six of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses.

That recommendation was for a two-year window in state law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue over claims that are past Pennsylvania's statute of limitations.

Republicans who control Pennsylvania's Senate, in a party-line vote, defeated it, 28-20, after longtime opposition by bishops and insurers. As an alternative, they offered the longer, more deliberative process of amending the state constitution to create a two-year window to sue.

That has left survivors and victim advocates knowing they have little choice but to trust lawmakers to pass a resolution to amend the constitution in the 2021-22 legislative session. Then they may have to fend off a legal challenge or a well-funded campaign to defeat it in a statewide voter referendum.

"We had hope up until the end," said Mary McHale, a Reading resident who told the grand jury of her experience 30 years ago as a 17-year-old in a Catholic high school. "And we're not done. We're not finished, this is just a different route. But it's hard when something's right there and it's tangible, and you have hope and then it's gone again."

Among the provisions signed into law is one giving future victims of child sexual abuse until their 55th birthday to sue their perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

Editorial: Nothing to Inspire Trust

GLOVERSVILLE (NY)
Leader Herald

Nov. 29, 2019

Sometimes it seems every pledge of reform by the Roman Catholic Church is matched by one –or more — reports of outrageous behavior.

A permissive policy toward predator priests who molested children appears to have characterized church policy for decades, not just in the United States but also in many other countries. Church officials say they will crack down on that. No longer will molesters be shielded, they vow.

But those pledges of turning over a new leaf have been coming forth for several years.

In 2017, reports surfaced that some church officials working with the Caritas International charity were engaged in pedophilia. The Rev. Luk Delft, a Belgian priest who had been working in the Central African Republic, was accused.

Officials in the Vatican had said they learned of allegations against Delft in 2017, but decided his Caritas International superiors should handle the matter. They did little; Delft remained as Central African Republic director of Caritas International until this year.

A few days ago, it was reported that Delft was appointed to the post even though he had been convicted in 2012 of child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography in Belgium.

Indian Bishop goes on trial for raping nun

WASHINGTON (DC)
Raw Story

Nov. 30, 2019

A Roman Catholic bishop went on trial in southern India on Saturday accused of repeatedly raping a nun.

Franco Mulakkal arrived in court in Kottayam, Kerala state, with a group of supporters after attending morning prayers.

While the Catholic church has been rocked by sexual assault and abuse cases in many countries, Mulakkal is the first Indian clergy to go on trial.

The bishop is charged with raping the nun several times between 2014 and 2016, while head of the Missionaries of Jesus order.

Mulakkal did not immediately make a plea in court but he has denied the accusations in the run-up to the trial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if found guilty.

‘They looked the other way’: Sexual abuse claim dismissed by church foreshadowed years of allegations against Catholic bishop

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

Nov. 29, 2019

By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg

Michael J. Bransfield was just a couple of years into his tenure as West Virginia’s bishop in 2007 when one of his former students called a church sexual abuse hotline. Decades earlier, at a Catholic high school, Bransfield had repeatedly summoned him from class, escorted him to a private room and fondled his buttocks and genitals, the caller said.

The former student said he was a freshman when the unwanted touching began.

It was a stark warning about a cleric who allegedly went on in the next decade to grope and sexually harass seminarians and young priests in West Virginia.

The former student’s allegation, first reported to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where Bransfield taught, was eventually referred to the highest levels of the U.S. Catholic Church and the Vatican, as well as to the police, according to the findings of a recent church investigation obtained by The Washington Post.

But no action was taken against Bransfield — and the church’s own investigators now say the allegation may warrant further examination.

Mysuru Bishop booked for kidnapping, criminal intimidation, sexual harassment

BANGALORE (INDIA)
The News Minute

Nov. 30, 2019

By Alithea Stephanie Mounika

Nearly a month after a Catholic Bishop was accused of intimidating a survivor of sexual harassment, the Mysuru police on Friday registered an FIR against him. KA William, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Mysuru has been booked for kidnapping (Section 506), criminal intimidation (Section 563) and outraging the modesty of a woman(354). He is, however, yet to be arrested by the police.

It was on November 5 that a complaint was filed against the Bishop by Robert Rosario, Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), a citizen’s group. This came after a video of a woman surfaced in March this year alleging that the Bishop threatened her, after she accused another priest of sexual harassment.

In the video, the woman, who formerly worked in the diocese, alleged that she was harassed by a priest, Leslie Moras, and later was allegedly threatened by the Bishop last year.

“I was called to the office after my field work at around 6 pm on the pretext of giving a report of what I had been doing. At that time, he [Leslie Moras] was grazing himself against me lustfully. Later, he directly approached me for sex, and said, ‘only if you compromise with me, you will have a job.’ I decided to quit my job thereafter, in May 2018,” she alleged.

French cardinal’s career at stake in sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

Nov. 30, 2019

By Nicolas Vaus-Montagny

A French cardinal said Thursday he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, speaking at an appeals court hearing that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after his original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended sentence for “non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors.”

He told the court that he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”

The appeal occurs at a time of increasing scrutiny around the world of the Catholic Church’s role in hiding abuse.

The case involves French priest Bernard Preynat, who has admitted to abusing Boy Scouts from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston responds to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s comments

WHEELING (WV)
Weirton Daily Times

Nov. 30, 2019

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are locked in a war of words over the church’s handling of its internal investigation into clergy sex abuse and various misdeeds by its former bishop.

Shortly after Bishop Mark Brennan announced punishment Tuesday against former bishop Michael Bransfield for allegedly sexually harassing other priests and his lavish spending while overseeing the diocese for more than a dozen years, Morrisey blasted the church for what he said was its lack of transparency.

Morrisey, who sued the diocese in March under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, called for the diocese to release internal investigative reports about Bransfield and improve its protection of children and assisting victims of sex abuse.

On Wednesday, Brennan responded directly to Morrisey in a written statement, refuting his accusations and claiming the diocese holds “rigorous controls regarding the protection of young people consistent” through its Safe Environment program and policy. He also said the diocese began a review of “credibly accused clergy” in July 2018, several months before Morrisey’s office issued a subpoena.

Brennan also alluded to a Nov. 6 ruling by the Circuit Court in Wood County that dismissed Morrisey’s lawsuit, pending confirmation by the state Supreme Court that “was obviously adverse to the Attorney General.”

“We can only assume this is why he continues to criticize the diocese and the Church,” Brennan said.

For those claiming clergy abuse, a window long shut is about to open

TRENTON (NJ)
NJ TV

Nov. 29, 2019

By Brenda Flanagan

Sunday has been a long time coming for Bruce Novozinsky.

Decades ago, the 58-year-old Monmouth County resident claims, a Catholic priest tried to rape him in a hotel room while he was on a church trip with other altar boys. But he’s been barred from seeking justice in court by the New Jersey’s statute of limitations.

Now, armed with a new law that as of Dec. 1 opens a two-year window for those like Novozinsky who were thwarted in pursuing claims of past abuse by a trusted adult, his attorney says he will file lawsuits in the name of some 40 clients.

“For me, personally? It’s absolutely a day of vindication and validation,” Novozinsky said.

In his lawsuit, Novozinsky accuses the Diocese of Trenton and St. Mary of the Lake Church in Lakewood of covering up alleged abuse by the late Father Gerry Brown. His recollection of the incident is all-too-vivid.

“Within seconds, I turned and I elbowed him in the face,” he recalled. “He was bleeding from his nose, from the elbow. His underwear was down, just above his knees. He went into the bathroom — door wide open — and continued to masturbate.”

Novozinsky was 15. He claims church officials at the time called him a liar and covered up multiple cases involving Brown, whose name eventually appeared on a list of 188 priests credi

Argentine victim calls bishop’s apology for abuse a ‘mockery’

KEY WEST (FL)
Crux

Nov. 30, 2019

By Elise Harris

After hearing the recent apology of an Argentinian bishop who asked forgiveness from all those abused by priests and religious in her country, one victim said that instead of being a comfort, the plea made her angry.

“I don’t believe anything, for me it’s a mockery,” said Valeria Zarza, a former member of Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista, an order which was suppressed by the Vatican in June after numerous allegations of sexual and psychological abuse arose against the founder, Father Agustin Rosa, and other prominent members.

Speaking to Crux, Zarza said that after leaving the Hermanos, she tried “for years and years” to raise an alarm about abuses inside the congregation but was ignored by church personnel.

For the victims who’ve made canonical complaints, she said, the process was long, painful and costly, with little personal follow-up. In some cases, she said, victims have been waiting for more than a year for an update on their cases but have had no communication from the Church.

Referring to a recent apology issued by Bishop Alberto G. Bochatey, auxiliary bishop of La Plata, to survivors of sexual abuse by clergy and religious, Zarza called the apology too little, too late for those who have sought ecclesial justice unsuccessfully.

Holding Bransfield accountable

CHARLESTON (WV)
Gazette-Mail

Nov. 30, 2019

Regarding former Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston bishop Michael Bransfield, who is accused of sexual assault and reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lavish lifestyle, new diocese Bishop Mark Brennan said he’s “a brother in Christ” who “has gone astray in some ways.”

The Catholic Church has a penchant for understatement.

Brennan made the remarks during a news conference in Wheeling on Tuesday, where he also unveiled a restitution plan for Bransfield, which would require the disgraced former clergyman to pay back $792,000 to the church. That’s not the total sum of what Bransfield is reported to have spent on personal gifts, private planes, luxurious accommodations and jewelry, among other things, during his 13-year stint as the head of the diocese. It’s still quite a staggering amount of money. Brennan is also calling for Bransfield’s monthly living stipend that he receives as a retiree of the church to be cut from $1,900 (more than what a large number of West Virginians are lucky to make in the same time period in exchange for actual work) to $736. Bransfield would also have to apologize for his actions.

The question remains whether the proposal is enough to adequately punish someone who so viciously abused the trust of West Virginia parishioners and the overall mission of the church. Brennan said the proposed agreement is not intended to “impoverish the former bishop.” Should it be? The Christian doctrine is one of forgiveness, not revenge, but consequences have their place.

Another troubling question that remains, as raised by Judy Jones of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, is what happens if Bransfield doesn’t live up to the agreement? If there’s a plan in place should Bransfield not cooperate, no one from the church has mentioned it. That’s one thing the church needs to clarify immediately.

In the meantime, Bransfield has other problems. According to the church, he owes $110,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. The former bishop also faces civi

November 29, 2019

Cardinal Cupich: How can we end clerical sex abuse and purify the church?

CHICAGO (IL)
America Magazine

November 29, 2019

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Editor’s note: This article is based on a talk delivered by Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, at the Latin American Congress on the Prevention of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church, held at the Pontifical University of Mexico on Nov. 8, 2019.

One day, a man in his mid-50s came to my office and shared the painful story of being sexually abused by his pastor. He started serving Mass when he was 9 years old, and the pastor always asked him to stay afterward to tidy up the sacristy. One day the priest took him to the basement and sexually abused him. He did this every Sunday over four years. After abusing him, the priest would walk the boy home and have dinner with the boy’s family. Adding another demonic layer of pain to the sexual abuse itself, each Saturday the priest would drive the boy to another town and force him to confess his supposed sins to another priest. Finally, the boy had the courage to tell his father, and the abuse stopped. Seeing the suffering in this victim-survivor’s eyes, witnessing his courage in sharing this horrible experience with me, I knew I had to act.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey bishops ask Vatican for McCarrick report

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service via America Magazine

November 29, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

The bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey discussed sexual abuse with Pope Francis in a Thanksgiving Day meeting, according to Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, who was present at the meeting.

The gathering was a central part of the bishops' "ad limina" visit, during which the bishops also asked the Vatican to release the results of its investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick, who had served in two New Jersey dioceses before being named archbishop of Washington and a cardinal, then was dismissed from the clerical state when the Vatican determined he had abused minors.

Paedophile priest defrocked by the Pope

SCOTLAND
BBC News

November 29, 2019

A paedophile priest has had his clerical status removed by the Pope.

Paul Moore, who was a parish priest in Ayrshire, is serving an eight-year sentence for the sexual abuse of three young boys 40 years ago.

He was informed of the Pope's decision by the Bishop of Galloway, William Nolan, who visited him in Dumfries Prison on Friday.

Moore, who is 83, will no longer be able to call himself "father" or offer spiritual care.

Dioceses grapple with ‘credibly accused’ priests

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canadian Catholic News via the Catholic Register

November 29, 2019

By Brian Dryden

A first of its kind publicly-released review of historic cases of sexual abuse within a Canadian Catholic diocese may have far-reaching repercussions across the country as other Canadian dioceses review what has been done in Vancouver.

The review, made public on Nov. 22 by an Archdiocese of Vancouver review committee on clerical sexual abuse, makes 31 recommendations and names Vancouver priests who have been criminally convicted, are named in already settled lawsuits or are the subject of other public cases. But the public report does not name “credibly accused” priests, something that survivors of abuse have been demanding and which the report also recommended.

Sex Abuse Scandal Hits Home for Pope Francis

Legal Examiner (blog)

November 29, 2019

By Joseph H. Saunders, Esq.

A court in Argentina has convicted two Catholic priests of sexually abusing deaf children at a now shuttered school in Argentina.

Mr. Corradi, 83, was sentenced to 42 years in prison, and another priest, the Rev. Horacio Hugo Corbacho Blanck, 59, of Argentina, was sentenced to 45 years in prison. A former gardener at the school, Armando Ramón Gómez Bravo, 49, of Argentina, received a sentence of 18 years.

Priests across the country will be forced to report child sex abuse admitted at confession or could face charges themselves under strict new laws

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

November 29, 2019

By Sahar Mourad

Australia's chief legal officers have agreed to standardise laws making it mandatory for priests to report child abuse revealed to them during confession.

Federal and state attorneys-general meeting in Adelaide on Friday agreed to three principles for the laws, which were recommended following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Those principles say that 'confessional privilege' can't be relied upon to avoid a child protection or criminal obligation to report beliefs, suspicions or knowledge of child abuse.

They also dictate that clergy would not be able to use that defence to avoid giving evidence against a third party in criminal or civil proceedings.

Work on such laws is already well under way in most states and territories, but legal expert Luke Beck said the agreement will implement a nationwide standard.

'Some states are already in compliance with this and they don't have to do anything else,' said Mr Beck, an associate professor at Monash University.

'Now, all have signed up and said 'yes, we're going to do it'.'

Reckoning with clergy abuse: Is the Catholic Church falling short on its commitments?

NEW YORK (NY)
City University of New York (CUNY) and Associated Press

Event: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM EST

Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
219 W 40th St, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10018

It has been 17 years since the Catholic Church vowed to end the scourge of sexual abuse by clergy and to take responsibility for the suffering it has caused. In an Associated Press series called “The Reckoning” and in this panel we examine the state of the clergy abuse crisis today and the effectiveness of the measures the church has taken.

Moderator: David Gibson, director, Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture

Panelists:

- Michael Rezendes, AP investigative reporter and former member of the Boston Globe Spotlight team
- Nicole Winfield, AP Vatican correspondent
- Juan Carlos Cruz, Chilean abuse survivor
- Robert S. Bennett, former federal prosecutor and former member of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Minors established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Edward T. Mechmann, director of Safe Environment Program, Archdiocese of New York

The event will feature photographs by AP photojournalists
Maye-E Wong and David Goldman.


Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

November 28, 2019

By Almudena Calatrava

An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis appeared voluntarily for a court hearing Wednesday ahead of a trial on charges of sexual abuse of two former seminarians in one of several cases that have shaken the Church in the pontiff’s homeland.

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta had returned to Argentina from the Vatican to attend the session before Judge María Laura Toledo Zamora in the northwestern city of Oran, where he had served as bishop before resigning in July 2017.

No charges for North Dakota priest accused of sexual misconduct

FARGO (ND)
Forum News Service via Williston Herald

November 27, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A priest in south-central North Dakota will not be criminally charged after a girl accused him of sexual misconduct while he was a clergyman in Fargo and Towner, but Catholic leaders will decide at a later date whether he can resume missionary work.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Joshua Frey announced Tuesday, Nov. 26, that he will not file charges against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who is on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Fargo Diocese. The announcement comes three months after the Cass County State’s Attorney's Office declined criminal charges amid similar allegations in Fargo.

Former Shelby Township priest found competent to face criminal charges

MACOMB TOWNSHIP (MI)
Macomb Daily

Nov 27, 2019

A former Shelby Township priest accused of sexually assaulting a boy decades ago has been found mentally competent to face the allegations.

Neil Kalina, 63, is charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for alleged behavior with a boy while Kalina was assigned to St. Kieran Catholic Church during the mid-1980s, according to police.

Kalina was among several men in the clergy charged this year with sexual-conduct-related allegations while serving at churches in Michigan as part of a special investigation under state Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Kalina had been referred for a mental exam to determine whether he understands the charges against him and can assist in his defense.

He was determined to be competent Tuesday, according to a court official.

A preliminary examination in the case is scheduled for Dec. 16 in front of Judge Douglas Shepherd in 41A District Court in Shelby Township.

He remains held in the county jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring.

In 'The Two Popes,' an imagined conversation expresses a universal need for tolerance

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

November 28, 2019

By Sr. Rose Pacatte

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce star in "The Two Popes." (Peter Mountain)
Days after his historic election on March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, tries to book a ticket to Lampedusa to visit refugees there, but the booking agent hangs up on him because she thinks he is pretending to be the pope.

The film, "The Two Popes," then flashes back to 2005 to the election of Francis' predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins), following the death of the long-reigning, now canonized Pope John Paul II. It is a contested election and Ratzinger obviously wants the job. He is openly worried when Milan Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) of Buenos Aires, Argentina, receive significant support in early voting. Ratzinger does not try to hide his disdain for the liberation theology-loving Jesuit from Latin America when they walk past each other, even after he is elected and takes the name Benedict XVI.

French cardinal’s career at stake in sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

November 29, 2019

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A French cardinal said Thursday he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, speaking at an appeals court hearing that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after his original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended sentence for “non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors.”

Correction: Reckoning-Where Are They Now story

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

November 27, 2019

In a story sent Oct. 4 and 5 about clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse living with little to no oversight from authorities, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Massachusetts does not have a public database of teacher licenses. The state added a license look-up page to its website in 2016.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes

An Associated Press investigation found that nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living with little to no oversight from authorities, decades after the first wave of the Catholic church abuse scandal

Buffalo Diocese is defendant in 221 Child Victims Act suits, as most-sued entity in the state

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

November 29, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Richard Watroba grew tired of waiting for leaders of the Buffalo Diocese to acknowledge they had protected the Rev. James E. McCarthy.

He decided to force the issue earlier this month, filing a lawsuit that accuses McCarthy of sexually abusing him, beginning in 1973 when he was a 10-year-old altar boy. The suit claims the diocese hid McCarthy’s alleged abuses.

“I want them to stand up and admit what they did to all of us kids,” said Watroba, who is 57. “I want to see accountability, man. I want them to stand up and say, ‘We did it.’ ”

Just three months into a yearlong window under the Child Victims Act that allows childhood victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits even in old cases, Watroba is among 213 plaintiffs that have accused 107 Catholic priests in claims against the Buffalo Diocese. In addition, 24 plaintiffs have accused five nuns, six Catholic school lay teachers or administrators and one choir director of sex abuse in lawsuits since the opening of the window on Aug. 14.

Prosecutor Asks French Court To Clear Cardinal Over Sex Abuse Cover-up

FRANCE
International Business Times

November 29, 2019

By Pierre Pratabuy

A French prosecutor asked an appeals court on Friday to quash Cardinal Philippe Barbarin's conviction for failing to report sex abuse by a priest, eight months after a verdict that rocked the French Catholic Church.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended jail sentence in March for failing to report allegations that a priest in his diocese abused dozens of boy scouts in the Lyon area in the 1980s and 1990s.

Barbarin, 69, has denied the charges, but tended his resignation to Pope Francis, which the pontiff rejected pending the outcome of his appeal.

The cardinal, who has nonetheless stepped back from his duties, is the most senior French cleric to be caught up in a global clerical paedophilia scandal, which has seen clergy members hauled before courts from Argentina to Australia.

Attorney General Morrisey Reacts to Diocese Plan for Bransfield Amends

WEST VIRGINIA
Huntington News (WV)

November 29, 2019

By WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued the following statement in response to Bishop Brennan’s plan for his predecessor to make amends for alleged wrongdoing within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

“While today’s announcement by Bishop Brennan represents a step forward, justice will not be served until the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese releases all of its investigative reports on Bishop Bransfield, tightens its internal controls to protect children, and implements concrete measures to provide assistance to the many victims of sexual abuse and pedophilia needing medical, social, or mental health services. It is time for the Diocese to truly come clean and begin to put this horrific scandal behind it.

“The subpoena from our Office is likely the only reason we have a list of Diocese priests who are credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. The Diocese shouldn’t need more prodding from our Office to do the right thing.

November 28, 2019

The World Holds Pope Francis Accountable for Clerical Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
Open Tabernacle - Here Comes Everybody (blog)

November 25, 2019

By Betty Clermont

Pres. Donald J. Trump is more admired than Pope Francis in a worldwide poll.

Trump is ranked at No. 14, Pope Francis at No. 15 as the world’s most admired man in 2019, according to YouGov’s annual study “of which public figures the people of our planet look up to.” The study “covers the views of people in 41 countries with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.”

Contributions made by individual Catholics around the world for Pope Francis’ charities have “plunged amid the sex abuse crisis” according to author, Gianluigi Nuzzi. While the collection totaled €378 million in 2013, the first year of this pope’s reign, as reported by Emiliano Fittipaldi, the donations have “plummeted to €70 million in 2016 and may now be less than €60 million,” according to Nuzzi.

Belgian Salesians defend decision to send convicted pedophile to Africa

OXFORD (ENGLAND)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

November 27, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Belgium's Salesian order defended its decision to send a priest convicted of child abuse to work with Caritas in Central African Republic, where he has been accused of abusing children again.

Father Carlo Loots, Belgian provincial vicar and spokesman for the Salesians of Don Bosco, also said the order had learned from the incident and changed some procedures.

"We've learned that all communications involving such cases must be written and documented, rather than exchanged verbally at the risk of being passed over and forgotten," Loots told Catholic News Service Nov. 26.

Crooks, Quacks, Kooks, Creeps and Cruds in the Clergy

The Good Men Project

Nov. 28, 2019

By James A. Haught

“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.

Bishops struggle to put out fires across a Latin America ‘in flames’

KEY WEST (FL)
Crux

Nov. 28, 2019

By Elise Harris

On the way back from Thailand and Japan this week, Pope Francis turned his attention to upheaval in his home continent of Latin America, evocatively insisting that it’s currently in “flames,” largely due to what he called “weak governments” unable to bring peace.

The pope isn’t alone. As tensions mount and crises in individual countries gain force, bishops in the region are scrambling to keep things from spinning out of control.

Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, Peru, president of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), has issued several statements over the past week urging both political leaders and citizens in the region to keep the peace.

As president of CELAM, Cabrejos said the organization is following “with great interest the recent events of political and social upheaval that are occurring in the region of Central America,” urging parties to “end all forms of violence, wherever it comes from, and to continue looking for paths of dialogue that will allow us to achieve permanent peace.”

Anglican church founder abused trainee priests & other young men

Patheos blog

Nov. 28, 2019

By Barry Duke

A DAMNING investigative report released in the US this week reveals that Eric Dudley – founder of St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee and an outspoken opponent of homosexuality – abused aspiring priests and other young men.

After Dudley was forced to resign, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) – an independent group that helps churches with abuse inquiries – conducted an investigation into allegations against the priest and found that he pursued attractive young men, showering them with attention and gifts and giving them jobs at the church.

And all the while he railed against homosexuality!

GRACE found that the Florida church – turned into a cathedral at the beginning of 2018 – did not take “substantive action” in response to complaints against him for a number of years. Its report said some members and leaders at St Peter’s knew about misconduct complaints against Dudley since 2011 but that nothing was done until more allegations surfaced last year.

St Peter’s said in a statement:

This has been a sad chapter in the history of this extraordinary Church. The report documents the profound pain suffered by the victims of this abuse, and we are deeply sorry for what happened and especially for any actions or inactions that the church and its members may have taken that increased their suffering.

St Peter’s notified its congregation of the GRACE report and its findings in a Monday letter and posted the document online Tuesday. It includes a dozen recommendations, including revising policies on sexual misconduct and the protection of children and putting in place a safeguard team to respond to violations and help victims.

Diocese: Sex abuse allegations ‘credible’ against 4 Pittsburgh-area priests

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Nov. 27, 2019

By Megan Guza

A review board has found sexual abuse allegations against four Pittsburgh area priests credible enough to forward them to the Vatican, a Diocese of Pittsburgh spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Bishop David Zubik has agreed not to return the three living priests to the ministry in the meantime.

The Rev. John Bauer and the retired Rev. Bernard Costello were placed on leave in August 2018. Bauer is accused of abusing a child in the 1980s, according to a statement released when he was placed on leave.

An earlier allegation against Bauer had been included in the August 2018 state grand jury report, but officials said last year it was discounted “because the victim said Bauer did not sexually abuse him.”

Costello is alleged to have sexually abused a child in the mid-1960s.

According to a 2001 notice from the diocese, Costello was moved from parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Harrison to the same position at Mary, Mother of the Church in Feb. 5, 2001.

He retired from the Charleroi parish in 2011. The allegation was levied Aug. 22.

The Rev. Joseph Reschick, of St. Rosalia in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield, was placed on leave in October 2018, though diocesan officials provided no information regarding when the alleged abuse took place. They noted only that it was the first allegation leveled against Reschick.

A fourth priest, the Rev. Richard Lelonis, was placed on leave in November 2018, accused of abusing two children in the 1970s and 1980s. He died Oct. 20, according to diocesan spokeswoman Ellen Mady.

The allegations against the four priests all surfaced in the weeks and months following the scathing grand jury report accusing multiple dioceses across the state of covering up decades of abuse by hundreds of priests. The victims, the report found, totaled in the thousands.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has an independent review board to which it forwards all allegations of abuse, which also go to the District Attorney’s Office, Mady said in a statement.

2nd prosecutor refuses to charge North Dakota priest

FARGO (ND)
Associated Press

Nov. 28, 2019

For the second time in three months, a North Dakota prosecutor has decided against charging a priest accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

The Diocese of Fargo said in a statement Wednesday that the McHenry County States Attorney’s Office announced it will not pursue a case against Father Wenceslaus Katanga. Authorities say a young girl accused Katana of inappropriately touching her in the late 2000s, in Fargo and in Towner.

The Cass County State Attorney’s Office in late August said it would not charge Katanga, citing insufficient evidence.

Katanga currently serves at churches in Ashley, Wishek and Zeeland. Bishop John Folda says Katanga will remain on administrative leave until the Fargo Diocese completes an internal investigation.

Former Northern Colorado priest sentenced for sex abuse set for parole hearing

FORT COLLINS (CO)
Fort Collins Coloradoan

Nov. 27, 2019

By Sady Swanson

A former Fort Collins Catholic priest serving three sentences in prison for sex abuse is up for parole.

Timothy Evans, now 57, was sentenced in 2007 for three sexual assault cases — one in Larimer County and two in Jefferson County — for sexual abuse that occurred while Evans was a priest in three different parishes.

His hearing is set for Monday morning at Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City. Hearings begin at 8 a.m. Inmates can choose to decline their hearings.

He is currently serving three sentences — 14 years to life, 2 years to life and 4 years — in the Fremont Correctional Facility.

Evans was first eligible for parole in January 2018, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections. Evans was one of four priests from different parishes in Fort Collins and Loveland named in a special report from the Colorado Attorney General's Office released last month detailing credible claims of abuse by Catholic priests and the Archdiocese of Denver's handling of the acts.

Evans' case was the most recent case in Larimer County, and the only one in the county that resulted in criminal charges.

Colorado Reparations Deadline Could Bring New Wave Of Catholic Clergy Accusations

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Public Radio

Nov. 28, 2019

By Andrew Kenney

People who were abused by Catholic priests in Colorado will face a series of tough decisions as they navigate the state's new reparations program.

The program's administrators already have reached out to 65 people who previously alleged abuse, inviting them to apply for financial settlements from the church. About 21 have filed claims so far, according to the administrators.

Time is limited for victims to file new claims of abuse. Anyone who didn't receive an invitation must register themselves by Nov. 30. That will start a longer process.

Survivors of abuse have approached the program cautiously, according to Jeb Barrett, the leader of SNAP Colorado. Several people in his network are filling out the paperwork, but he's urged them not to make a final decision until later.

Applicants will be asked for evidence of their claims and other information by Jan. 31. The program's independent administrators will look over the evidence and then offer financial settlements.

NBC’s survey of Catholic Church employees reveals divisions

Patheos blog

Nov. 26, 2019

By Greg Kandra

A vast survey of the Roman Catholic Church workforce in America shows the people who know best how the church is run – the employees themselves – are deeply split on key issues facing parishes across nation. The survey reveals diocesan priests are far more likely to view clergy abuse as a problem of the past, while nuns and other religious employees often consider sex abuse and misconduct to be major problems even today. And just as Pope Francis considers expanding the role of married men and women in the church, the survey highlights vivid differences in how female and male employees view a host of religious reforms under the Vatican’s consideration.

Among the survey’s most striking findings are:

1 in 3 Catholic Employees Say Sex Abuse/Misconduct “Still a Major Problem”

While national headlines often involve clergy abuse dating back decades, about 39% of the church employees who responded to the survey said they believe abuse or misconduct “is still a major problem” in today’s parishes and Catholic organizations. That compares with just under 14% who said abuse or misconduct “is no longer a major problem.” About 46% percent of respondents said abuse or misconduct was never more of a problem in the Catholic Church than it is in other fields that involve the care of minors.

Diocese Responds to Attorney General

WHEELING (WV)
News Register

Nov. 28, 2019

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are locked in a war of words over the church’s handling of its internal investigation into clergy sex abuse and various misdeeds by its former bishop.

Shortly after Bishop Mark Brennan announced punishment Tuesday against former bishop Michael Bransfield for allegedly sexually harassing other priests and his lavish spending while overseeing the diocese for more than a dozen years, Morrisey blasted the church for what he said was its lack of transparency.

Morrisey, who sued the diocese in March under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, called for the diocese to release internal investigative reports about Bransfield and improve its protection of children and assisting victims of sex abuse.

On Wednesday, Brennan responded directly to Morrisey in a written statement, refuting his accusations and claiming the diocese holds “rigorous controls regarding the protection of young people consistent” through its Safe Environment program and policy. He also said the diocese began a review of “credibly accused clergy” in July 2018, several months before Morrisey’s office issued a subpoena.

Schönborn spells out shocking reality of clerical sex abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 27, 2019

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Clerical abuse is a “massive reality” in the Church caused among other factors by “closed systems” and the overinflated authority of priests, according to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

In a 50-minute lecture at Vienna University, one of a weekly series the University is holding on “The Sexual Abuse of Minors: Crime and Responsibility” in the winter semester, Cardinal Schönborn described in detail how, after listening to abuse victims over the past 20 or so years, he had come to the conclusion that clerical spiritual and sexual abuse – but above all the abuse of clerical power – was a “massive reality” in the Catholic Church.

Independent Investigation of Saint Peter’s Anglican Cathedral

FOREST (VA)
Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)

November 22, 2019

I. INTRODUCTION

In the Summer of 2018, a staff member of Saint Peter’s Anglican Cathedral (“St. Peter’s” or “the Cathedral”) disclosed to the Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese (“the Diocese” or “GAD”) a pattern of clergy misconduct allegations concerning the Dean of the Cathedral, Father Eric Dudley.1 Under the direction of the Bishop, the Diocese appointed a canonical investigator and launched an inquiry into the allegations. Two additional individuals subsequently came forward with allegations of behavioral misconduct by Father Eric. In response to the allegations, the Cathedral, in concert with the Diocese, entered into an agreement with Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (“GRACE”) for GRACE to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations, provide a final report summarizing its investigative findings, and propose recommendations.

II. METHODOLOGY

A. Scope

The Engagement Agreement between St. Peter’s and GRACE specifies that “GRACE shall investigate any and all allegations of clergy misconduct by Eric Dudley, including but not limited to, whether St. Peter’s had any knowledge of such allegations, and if so, how St. Peter’s responded to such allegations.” It further specifies: “GRACE shall also investigate any and all known allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by St. Peter’s staff and/or volunteers, including but not limited to, whether the Cathedral had knowledge of such allegations and how it responded.”2 Due to the significant amount of information received related to the allegations of clergy misconduct against Father Eric, as well as time and budget constraints, GRACE focused this investigation on the allegations pertaining to Father Eric.3


Barbarin appeals conviction in Catholic Church sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Euronews

November 28, 2019

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is appealing his conviction for failing to act on sexual abuse in his diocese.

The highest-profile French cleric in the Catholic Church implicated in the abuse scandal, 68-year-old Barbarin received a six-month suspended sentence in March for failing to report allegations of the sexual abuse of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s. Father Bernard Preynat, the priest accused of the offences, is due to go on trial in January.

Barbarin has been Archbishop of Lyon since 2002 and was once tipped as a possible future pope.

Vatican still refusing to expel priests condemned in Próvolo case

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

November 27, 2019

By Mariana Sarramea

Convictions and sentencing of two priests for rape and sexual abuse of minors reignites controversy around Holy See's protection of members of the Catholic Church facing such allegations, many of whom continue to be supported by the institution.

This week's convictions of priests Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi for the sexual abuse of minors at the Antonio Próvolo Institute in Mendoza exposes yet another failure by the Vatican to act and respond to judicial sentences against members of the Catholic Church.

In a historic judgment, both priests were convicted for the repeated rape and abuse of deaf students at the school in Luján de Cuyo. Corbacho received 45 years in prison for his crimes and Corradi received 42 years. The institution's former gardener, Armando Gómez, was given 18 years behind bars.

French court considers cardinal’s appeal in sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press via ABC News

November 28, 2019

By Nicolas Vaux-Monyagny

A French cardinal’s career is at stake as he appears Thursday in a Lyon appeals court that will decide whether to uphold his conviction for covering up sexual abuse of children

A French cardinal said Thursday he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, as an appeals court hearing began that will decide whether to uphold his conviction.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after the original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, had been given a six-month suspended sentence for "non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors.”

Barbarin told the court he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”

Diocese: Sex abuse allegations ‘credible’ against 4 Pittsburgh-area priests

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

November 27, 2019

By Megan Guza

A review board has found sexual abuse allegations against four Pittsburgh area priests credible enough to forward them to the Vatican, a Diocese of Pittsburgh spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Bishop David Zubik has agreed not to return the three living priests to the ministry in the meantime.

The Rev. John Bauer and the retired Rev. Bernard Costello were placed on leave in August 2018. Bauer is accused of abusing a child in the 1980s, according to a statement released when he was placed on leave.

An earlier allegation against Bauer had been included in the August 2018 state grand jury report, but officials said last year it was discounted “because the victim said Bauer did not sexually abuse him.”

November 27, 2019

Abuse Claims Against Diocesan Chancellor and Vicar General in Charlotte Found “Credible,” SNAP Calls for AG Investigation

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 27, 2019

The Diocese of Charlotte has found more claims of sexual misconduct by the diocese’s former vicar general and chancellor, one of the men in charge of investigating reports of abuse, “credible.” Now Catholic officials in Charlotte must pull out the stops in order to discover if other abusers were protected by this man, and the North Carolina attorney general should launch an investigation into this situation.

Now that multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and kissing by Fr. Mauricio West have been found to be “credible,” Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte has an obligation to do much more. Prior to stepping down in March, Fr. West was the second most powerful official in the diocese, and as Vicar General and Chancellor he had significant influence over reports and investigations of sexual abuse. Since it now appears that he was compromised, it may be that those accused in Charlotte were given a pass, and that abuse reports were swept under the rug. The losers in that case are the wounded victims who made reports in good faith, and members of the public who are in danger whenever an abuser is allowed to stay hidden.

50 years later, former R.I. man finds peace as priest he says abused him is named for first time

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

Nov. 27, 2019

By Brian Amaral

Bob Young is on his couch looking at his computer screen, where a picture of the Pawtucket church he attended as a boy in Rhode Island is bringing back memories from more than 50 years ago.

The first thing he remembers is the majestic lighting inside St. Teresa of the Child Jesus on Newport Avenue. He’d stare up at those ornate light fixtures in awe. Then he remembers the area where he and the other altar boys would change into their Mass attire, a role he cherished as a faithful Catholic. Then he remembers the priest who taught him the difficult words in the Old Testament.

He remembers, too, the Latin phrases that were then standard in Catholic Mass. They would echo around the vaulted ceilings — dominus vobiscum, the priest would say. Et cum spiritu tuo, the faithful would repeat. The Lord be with you, and with your spirit.

The other memories about that priest are harder to access, but they are there.

The confessional where, Young says, the priest molested him, beginning when Young was about 8. The bathroom where Young locked himself to get away. The bed where, according to Young, the priest took off his shirt, unbuckled his pants, and tried to rape him.

More than a year after report on Catholic Church abuse, Pa. overhauls child sex abuse laws

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Nov. 27, 2019

By Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo

Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws Tuesday, more than a year after a landmark grand jury report showed the cover-up of hundreds of cases of abuse in most of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses over seven decades.

The central bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf gives future victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits and ends time limits for police to file criminal charges.

The grand jury report spurred many states to change their laws and others to begin similar investigations.

Wolf said the new laws will help repair "faults in our justice system that prevent frightened, abused children from seeking justice when they grow into courageous adults."

The legislative package was based on recommendations in last year's report on six of eight dioceses in the state.

Wolf, a Democrat, also signed bills to invalidate secrecy agreements that keep child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators, and to increase penalties for people who are required to report suspected abuse but fail to do so.

On papal flight, Pope Francis talks Vatican financial scandal

KUALA LUMPUR (MALYASIA)
The Herald

Nov 27, 2019

By Hannah Brockhaus

Although investigators are looking into a controversial Vatican investment in a luxury London property development, whether the deal was corrupt is still an open question, Pope Francis said Tuesday.

Answering questions aboard the papal plane from Tokyo to Rome Nov. 26, the pope said that investing funds from Peter’s Pence is an acceptable form of financial management if the investments are solid.

The pope also said Vatican financial reforms are working well, and he is happy the Vatican prosecutor, called the Promoter of Justice, had filed reports about some instances of corruption inside the Vatican. While acknowledging ongoing investigations in several cases, the pope did not weigh in on the London property investment, saying it is “not yet clear.”

Thomas Doyle traces the disintegration of clerical/hierarchical culture

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 27, 2019

By Tom Roberts

I have thought recently that one way to understand the revived interest in the priest sexual abuse scandal, post-Theodore McCarrick and the Pennsylvania grand jury report of little more than a year ago, is in the context of the Kübler-Ross stages of grief. You know: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

I think certain of us in the Catholic community have gone through several of those cycles, depending on when we were introduced to the crisis, how deeply we were involved in it, and whether it involved anyone we knew either as victim or perpetrator. No doubt the cycles will go on.

But in one peculiar and important sense, regarding the hierarchical culture at the heart of the scandal, perhaps we can now say with some certainty that significant portions of the community have arrived at acceptance of the death of the clerical/hierarchical culture.

That may appear a grand statement, but I think it safe to say that the culture is finished as we've known it. It no longer enjoys automatic deference as it once did from the wider culture; it has lost most of its credibility and influence in that wider culture; it has lost much of its credibility among Catholics; and, in Francis, it encounters a pope whose blistering criticism of the culture leaves no doubt that the old form is on its way out.

Watching the disintegration of a culture, however, is not understanding what caused it to crumble, how to rebuild it, or what will replace it. I'd like to end the year considering two important voices from inside the culture who have distinct insights into what went wrong and what will be necessary in the future.

The first up is Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer, inactive priest and former member of the Dominican order. Regular readers of NCR are familiar with him; he was that extremely rare cleric who, from the very beginning, took a different approach from most in the clerical culture. Once deep inside the culture, in recent decades he has been largely on the outside, an unflagging advocate for victims of abuse and an itinerant expert for lawyers throughout the United States and in many other corners of the globe bringing cases against the church.

He recently gave a talk at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. It was a significant event, for despite the wealth of insight he brings to the subject, he is rarely invited to Catholic campuses to share his views.

Brennan outlines amends sought from Bransfield

WHEELING (WV)
Weirton Daily Times

Nov. 27, 2019

By Linda Comins

The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, announced his plan Tuesday to seek $792,638 in restitution from former bishop Michael Bransfield.

In addition, the diocese is reducing Bransfield’s monthly compensation package from $6,200 to $736, Brennan said. A stipend of $736 is equal to the pension of a priest who served 13 years, which is the length of time Bransfield was in West Virginia.

The previous package included pension, insurance, housing and administrative staff. It was based on standards recommended by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for retired bishops.

“All the other benefits (to Bransfield) go away,” Brennan said. But, he added, “The diocese will continue to pay a small Medicare supplement for him.”

Regarding a car given to Bransfield in retirement, “he can either return it to us or buy it at fair market value,” the new bishop said.

The Hidden World of Abusive Catholic Nuns

NEW YORK (NY)
Epoch Times

Nov. 26, 2019

By Bowen Xiao

As a growing number of Roman Catholic dioceses across the United States investigate child sex-abuse claims against clergy and are releasing the names of priests accused of such crimes, another hidden problem has begun to surface—nuns who sexually abuse children.

At least 20 local, state, or federal investigations, either criminal or civil, into church clergy have begun since a Pennsylvania grand jury report released in 2018 detailed abuse by priests. But while those investigations could potentially lead to the release of even more names and accusations, victims’ advocates told The Epoch Times that religious orders should start listing the names of abusive nuns as well—a far less-reported problem, with fewer concrete statistics.

BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit corporation that tracks cases of sexual abuse by clergy members, has identified over the years “a little over 100 known accused nuns,” Terry McKiernan, the founder of the website, told The Epoch Times. Its database, meanwhile, has tracked more than 6,000 accused priests across the United States.

“The numbers are fairly small, but that’s the number that is known,” McKiernan said, referring to the number of publicly accused abusive nuns. “Its a matter of some debate how big the problem actually is.”

Some of the names of the nuns are incomplete because the alleged victims couldn’t recall, according to a list of the names published in August. More names have since been added to the database that don’t appear on the list. The alleged victims are from across the country and come from a wide array of different religious orders.

McKiernan said most of the nuns his organization identified were accused of abuse “between the 1960s and the 1990s.” One group of accused nuns that stood out came from an orphanage in Louisville, Kentucky, where McKiernan said they saw the “highest concentration” of abusers in the database.

PRIEST PLEADS GUILTY TO HAVING SEX WITH WOMAN PARISHIONER

ST. CLOUD (MN)
WJON Radiio

Nov. 27, 2019

By Lee Voss

A St. Cloud Priest has pleaded guilty to 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct after having a sexual relationship with a woman he was counseling.

Fifty-three-year-old Father Anthony Oelrich was put on administrative leave and suspended of his priestly duties at Christ Church Newman Center after the claims surfaced in December 2017.

The St. Cloud Police Department began investigating after the woman came forward alleging a number of sexual encounters in late 2013 and early 2014.

The woman told investigators she began seeing Father Oelrich for spiritual guidance following a sexually abusive relationship. The abuse came to light during confession in December 2013.

Eric Dudley, St. Peter's founder and outspoken LGBT critic, subjected men to sexual misconduct

TALLAHASSEE (FL)
Tallahassee Democrat

Nov. 27, 2019

By Jeff Burlew

Eric Dudley, the founder of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee and an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, subjected aspiring priests and other young men to sexual misconduct and harassment and abused his power as long-time rector before he finally was forced to resign.

That's according to a report by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), an independent group that helps churches with abuse inquiries and investigated allegations against Dudley.

The report, released Tuesday, illustrates how he pursued attractive young men, showering them with attention and gifts and giving them jobs at the church, even as he publicly espoused anti-gay views.

Beyond the misconduct committed by Dudley, the organization found that the church did not take "substantive action" in response to complaints against him for a number of years.

The report said some members and leaders at St. Peter's knew about misconduct complaints against Dudley since 2011 but that nothing was done until more allegations surfaced last year.

Sex Scandal Comes Closer To Francis

WASHINGTON (DC)
The American Conservative

Nov. 26, 2019

By Rod Dreher

Finally some good news: an Argentine court does what the Argentine pope did not: hold sexually abusive priests accountable:

An Argentine court on Monday found two priests and a lay worker guilty of the sexual abuse of 10 former students of a Catholic school for the deaf, the first legal victory for a community of victims stretching from Italy to the Andes whose complaints about one of the clerics to church officials, including Pope Francis, went unheeded for years.

The verdict was another stain on the church’s handling of sex abuse cases in Francis’s native Argentina. Prosecutors last week requested an arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a longtime associate of the pope accused of abusing two seminarians.

A Washington Post investigation this year found years of church inaction in the case of at least one of the priests convicted Monday in the abuse of male and female students at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the western Argentine city of Luján de Cuyo between 2004 and 2016.

The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse.

If you can stand it — these testimonies are strong stuff — here is a video report about the abuses of the deaf and mute children, both in Verona and in the sister school in Argentina. It features adults telling specifically what was done to them as children by their abusers (trigger warning). If you want to see the true face of evil, go to just before the 2:00 mark and watch the bedside hidden camera interview of a priest called Don Eligio Piccoli, identified by the abuse survivors as one of their attackers. He is bedridden and living in a church home — a church investigation found him guilty of the abuse, and sentenced him to prayer and penance — but apparently in his right mind. He admits that the stories of sodomy and sexual abuse are true, but he laughs about them and downplays them. Some life of prayer and penance that dirty old man is living! There is a second section continuing the interview later in the clip below:

Longing for Light

EAST HAMPTON (NY)
East Hampton Star

Nov. 27, 2019

By Mark Joseph Williams

We all face darkness along the human journey. I have. On the eve of another Advent, as Christmastime nears, I give thanks to him, Emmanuel, God, father, son, and the Holy Spirit for his grace alive in me, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse.

Sr. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine author, wrote, “Weeping is a very life-giving thing. It wisens the soul of the individual and it sounds alarms in society. The Book of Ecclesiastes may be nowhere more correct than here. There is definitely a time for weeping. If we do not weep on a personal level, we shall never understand other human beings.”

At the beginning of Lent in 2011, a few months before the landmark John Jay College of Criminal Justice report was released about the possible causes of clergy sexual abuse — a study commissioned by the American Roman Catholic bishops — news came out of Philadelphia: Thirty-seven priests credibly accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior toward minors remained largely active in some ministerial capacity. Twenty-one have since been suspended. Back then, too, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston led a delegation to Ireland to evaluate the life of the church there. He proclaimed in so many words that Catholicism would be virtually gone from the rhythm of Irish culture in 10 years.

No criminal charges for North Dakota priest accused of sexual misconduct with a child

FARGO (ND)
Dickinson Press

Nov 26, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A priest in south-central North Dakota will not be criminally charged after a girl accused him of sexual misconduct while he was a clergyman in Fargo and Towner, but Catholic leaders will decide at a later date whether he can resume missionary work.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Joshua Frey announced Tuesday, Nov. 26, that he will not file charges against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who is on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Fargo Diocese. The announcement comes three months after the Cass County State’s Attorney's Office declined criminal charges amid similar allegations in Fargo.

“I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing as well as questionable grounds for jurisdiction lying in McHenry County,” Frey said in his letter of declination. “Therefore, it is my opinion that I would be unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."

Investigation into Cincinnati, Covington dioceses raises concerns over tracking abusers

CINCINNATI (OH)
Crux

Nov. 27, 2019

By Nick Mayrand

New concerns about the handling of abuse accusations in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the neighboring Diocese of Covington surfaced last week in an investigative report that aired as a four-part local television series, “Culture of Silence.”

In the wake of the August indictment of a Cincinnati-area priest, Father Geoff Drew on nine charges of rape, the WCPO I-Team conducted a three-month investigation into the ways in which priests and religious brothers accused of abuse are tracked and monitored in the region.

The resulting report alleges that the I-Team “discovered a disturbing pattern in which local Catholic Church officials failed to track priests accused of abuse, didn’t disclose to the public all of the names of priests with credible allegations, and still refuse to answer questions about why more information isn’t available.”

Abuse survivor calls on London diocese to publish list of accused priests

ONTARIO (CANADA)
Windsor Star

Nov. 26, 2019

By Trevor Wilhelm

A Windsor abuse survivor charged Tuesday that the London diocese’s reconciliation attempts, after decades of misconduct by predator priests, are insincere if it won’t publish the names of “credibly accused” clergy.

Brenda Brunelle said she emailed a letter to Bishop Ronald Fabbro early last week asking him to “do the right thing” and release the names of accused and convicted priests. She has not heard a response.

Four days after she sent her email, the Archdiocese of Vancouver, in a Canadian first, published the names of abuser priests in its ranks going back six decades.

“What’s very insulting is Ronald Fabbro is known publicly as the guy that has great empathy and strong desire to get a handle on this crisis,” said Brunelle, head of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) for Southwestern Ontario. “He speaks very polished words and certainly inspires hope to the faithful. But what’s actually happening is his actions are not marrying up with his words.”

Brunelle wants the diocese to publish a list of priests credibly accused of abuse including those charged or convicted, and anyone the church has paid out settlements for in civil cases.

November 26, 2019

West Virginia bishop calls for predecessor, accused of sex and financial misconduct, to pay $792,000 in restitution and to apologize

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

Nov. 26, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

West Virginia’s new bishop Tuesday called for his predecessor, Michael Bransfield, to pay the diocese $792,638, apologize to victims and to the diocese, and lose his place in the diocesan cemetery as part of a restitution package for alleged financial and sexual misconduct that some church experts say is a first for a bishop.

The announcement by Bishop Mark Brennan follows a statement in July by Pope Francis that Bransfield’s replacement should decide how the ousted leader “make personal amends.”

“I wish to make clear that it is not my intention to impoverish the former bishop,” wrote Brennan, saying the dollar figure isn’t exactly the amount of diocesan money Bransfield is accused of misspending or using for lavish personal expenses. “We regard the former bishop’s acceptance of this plan of amends as an act of restorative justice. It is also for his own spiritual good and his own healing as a man who professes to follow Christ. All proceeds from Bishop Bransfield’s repayment will be directed to a special fund to provide for the counseling, care and support of those who have suffered sexual abuse.”

‘Don’t let the bastards get away with it’

AUSTRALIA
The Weekend Australian Magazine

November 22, 2019

By Greg Bearup

A long-lost school friend calls out of the blue with a shocking revelation. Has nothing changed since the royal commission?

I’ve just come from a paintball combat zone with a dozen overhyped 13-year-olds when my phone rings. It’s Sunday, July 14, and on the line is a bloke called Mick McCudden, an old classmate who ­disappeared from school in 1985. “Greg, I need you to tell my story. I don’t want these bastards to get away with what they’ve done to me.”

I know the broad outline of Mick’s story. I’ve followed what happened to him, and others. Mick was sexually abused by a teacher at the boarding school in northern NSW we both attended and I know his life has been a mess ever since. The teacher pleaded guilty to crimes against Mick and a dozen other boys; the saga has been going on so long that this teacher has since died in jail. I know the order that ran the school, the Marist Fathers, has dragged its feet over compensating Mick for the damage he has suffered.

He has come to me because I am a journalist – but as I stand on the outskirts of the paintball field, I’m thinking: “I don’t even know if I can get his story into the paper. Will my editor even be interested? What’s new? What’s different? We’ve heard this all before.” I promise to get back to him during the week. What I don’t know is just how close to the edge Mick was when he made that call.

The next night my phone buzzes with this text message: “Gidday Greg mate. I’m over all this bullshit with the Marists/Catholic church. No one is prepared to take ownership of what’s happened to me… I plan to kill myself and join…” He mentions two of at least 10 boys who attended our school in the 1980s who killed themselves not long after leaving. “You probably won’t hear from me again, I’m sorry.”

Brennan outlines plans of amends required for Bransfield

WHEELING (WV)
WTOV Channel 9

Nov. 26, 2019

In fulfilling the requirement of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, that former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield make amends for “some of the harm” he caused during his tenure and related to actions of sexual harassment of adults and misuse of Diocesan funds for personal benefit, Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark E. Brennan has outlined a detailed “plan of amends” that has been presented to the former bishop for his cooperation.

The plan calls for apologies to those adults whom he was found to have sexually harassed, as well as to the Catholic faithful of the Diocese for the harm he caused and the reputation damage to the Catholic Church in West Virginia. In addition, he is required also to apologize to members of the Chancery staff who were subjected to a culture of intimidation and fear of retribution in performing their responsibilities. The plan further defines significant financial restitution to the Diocese in the amount of $792,638.00 that is being required of former Bishop Bransfield, reflecting the amount determined to have been related purely to personal expenditures and unrelated to the performance of his official duties during his tenure.

The plan for amends has been detailed in a Letter to the Faithful by Bishop Brennan which can be accessed here: www.dwc.org

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan to Announce Bransfield’s ‘Amends’

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

Nov. 26, 2019

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Most Rev. Mark Brennan will make public the amends requirement of former bishop Michael Bransfield for his actions while leading the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

Bransfield retired last September. Since his departure, he has been the center of allegations of sexual harassment and financial mismanagement during his time as bishop. According to a report commissioned for the Vatican, Bransfield spent millions of dollars in diocesan funds on his personal travel, jewelry and his home.

He’s also accused of sexually harassing seminarians during his time leading the church in West Virginia.

Bransfield also allegedly diverted more than $20 million from Wheeling Hospital into the Bishops Fund — a fund he created to “establish his legacy.” The Bishops Fund board included the Rev. Kevin Quirk, the group’s secretary and then chairman of the boards of both Wheeling Hospital and Wheeling Jesuit University; Lawrence Bandi, the board’s treasurer and president of Central Catholic High School in Wheeling; Bryan Minor, the diocese’s human resources director and executive director of the West Virginia Catholic Foundation; and the Rev. Frederick Annie, one of Bransfield’s three monsignor deputies that also included Quirk.

Catholic order moved pedophile priest to church property with summer camp after CNN investigation

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Nov. 26, 2019

By Katie Polglase

Catholic order placed a pedophile priest on church property where a summer camp for children was taking place after a year-long CNN investigation revealed new allegations of child abuse against him.

Father Luk Delft was recalled to Belgium in June this year after CNN informed the order that two boys in the Central African Republic had accused Delft of abusing them.

The Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order established specifically to protect children, housed the convicted abuser on the campus in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in Belgium after the 50-year-old priest was removed from his role as country director of the Catholic charity Caritas in the CAR.

Sex abuse crisis can lead to conversion church needs, theologian says

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 26, 2019

By Matthew Gambino

Since the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church broke open in 2002 in the United States and intensified globally last year, responses to it have focused on legal matters and administrative reforms.

But theologians and other faithful thinkers are focusing now on a higher dimension, and the question of where God is calling his people at this moment.

Villanova University launched the first in a series of four conferences on the theological perspectives of the sexual abuse crisis Nov. 1. Some 20 Catholic scholars from around the world heard a dozen presentations on the topic in a daylong seminar, according to Villanova professor Massimo Faggioli, a lead organizer of the series.

In a keynote talk to cap the first conference, Father Richard Lennan said the long-term response of the Christian community to the crisis should be an inner conversion of heart and fearless self-criticism — and not only among bishops and clergy, but all members of the church.

A professor of theology at Boston College and a priest of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in Australia, he told 25 people, including scholars and visitors from the community, why conversion is critical at this time.

"A theological response to the abuse crisis recognizes that (it) is not simply an issue of governance, formation for ministry or pastoral practice. The sexual abuse crisis gnaws at the faith," he said. "It casts a pall of suspicion over belief in a capacity of any human instrument, let alone the church, to mediate grace."

Lennan found in the working document of the recent Synod of Bishops for the Amazon a three-point formula that he believes may serve as a road map for the church's conversion. A process of unlearning, learning and relearning can facilitate a renewed openness to grace and conversion.

In his first interview since being sentenced, Bill Cosby says he doesn’t expect to show remorse at parole time

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Nov. 26, 2019

In his first interview since he was sentenced to prison for sexual assault, comedian Bill Cosby said he doesn't expect to express remorse when it comes time for his parole.

"I have eight years and nine months left," Cosby said, according to an article by National Newspaper Publishers Association's BlackPressUSA.com. "When I come up for parole, they're not going to hear me say that I have remorse. I was there. I don't care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren't there. They don't know."

Cosby, 82, gave the website the exclusive interview from SCI Phoenix, a state prison near Collegeville, Pennsylvania, where he is serving three to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.

In the article, Cosby referred to his jail cell as "my penthouse," and said he was in good spirits in the prison.

Cosby filed an appeal in June arguing his criminal conviction was flawed because the testimony of five accusers was "strikingly dissimilar" to that of Constand.

Cosby said unless he is successful in his appeal, he expects to serve his full sentence, according to the article. Cosby said he wasn't guilty, the article reported.

Child Sex Abuse Task Force Gives 19 Recommendations; Some Say It Lacks a Big One

PHOENIX (AZ)
New Times

Nov. 26, 2019

By Ali Swenson

A governor-appointed task force has finished studying Arizona's laws on child sex abuse and issued 19 recommendations to improve them.

Among its suggestions are changes that would expand the criminal statute of limitations for child sex trafficking, broaden the definition of sex abuse perpetrators who are in a position of trust, and increase funding for police investigations, awareness campaigns, and reporting technology.

Notably missing, as first reported by the subscription-based political tipsheet Yellow Sheet Report, is an explanation of how the state might expand the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. The task force says the current age limit of 30 for filing lawsuits is "not sufficient" and suggests that a third party should conduct research on what might be an appropriate age, but the group doesn't suggest a legal pathway to changing it.

GOV. WOLF SIGNS THREE BILLS TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

BERKS COUNTY (PA)
Berks Weekly

Nov. 26, 2019

Governor Tom Wolf, joined by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, bill sponsors Reps. Mark Rozzi, Todd Stephens, and Jim Gregory; legislators; advocates and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, signed three bills that mirror the Grand Jury’s recommendations after its investigation into child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“After tireless and passionate work on the part of so many, especially countless brave victims, these bills will today become law, and victims of one of the most unimaginable forms of abuse will receive the support and rights they deserve,” Gov. Wolf said. “And while we celebrate the monumental victory of many survivors of childhood sexual abuse finally receiving their opportunity for justice, we must continue pushing forward until every survivor, of every age, has the chance to tell his or her story.”

“These reforms fundamentally change our justice system and will protect generations of children who experience abuse from this day on,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “While we still must address justice for those survivors who made this day possible, seeing this progress gives me hope that bravery and activism will win over entrenched interests and powerful institutions."

The Two Popes - A Review

The Film Stage blog

November 26, 2019

By Jordan Raup

Do the principles of God change with the shifting tides of culture? This theological question is at the heart of The Two Popes. As unanswerable as the question may be, it presents an engaging-if-scattered platform for the spiritual sparring that Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins devour. Directed by Fernando Meirelles with the kind of hyperactivity that worked so well in his kinetic breakthrough City of God, that trait is unfortunately not helped here with Anthony McCarten’s script, which attempts to pack a life’s worth of history in between a few conversations.

The life at the center of the story–which takes place over many decades, but mostly 2012–is that of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pryce), who is not shy about his desire for the Catholic Church to change their stodgy, conservative ways. As the planet is being destroyed and the inequality gap continues to grow, the world built walls–figuratively and literally–and fought over hot-button issues rather than getting to the humanitarian heart at the center of Christianity. In order to attract a base of followers that continues to dwindle, Bergoglio believes the only path forward is through change. Pope Benedict XVI (Hopkins), the man of the highest cloth, diverges in this opinion with his traditional views, which leads to heated quarrels about dogma and the future of the Catholic Church when Bergoglio is invited to visit. As written in recent history, the Pope would eventually be the first one to resign in centuries, handing over the papacy to Bergoglio, who would become Pope Francis.

Harvest Bible Chapel releases financial records review exposing misuse of church funds

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Post

Nov. 26, 2019

By Brandon Showalter

A legal and financial review of Harvest Bible Chapel's records has revealed that their founding and now former pastor James MacDonald was paid over $1 million annually, amid other instances of malfeasance.

Earlier this year, MacDonald was ousted from his leadership post at Harvest Bible Chapel, a church he founded over 30 years ago. His termination ultimately came about as a result of lewd comments he made on a hot mic that were aired on a local radio station amid controversy over allegations that he had presided over an abusive church culture and had mishandled church resources while living an opulent lifestyle.

The review looked at financial statements from January 2016 through mid-February of this year, according to The Daily Herald.

This ‘Fox Chase Boy’ and his courage brought down the house

{HILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Nov. 26, 2019

By Maria Panaritis

Sometime after the 1980s one-hit wonders stopped playing, but before he put on a fire-engine-red Members Only jacket, Gerad Argeros stood completely naked in front of 100 of his best pals in the basement of the Rockledge Hook and Ladder Room on Saturday night in Montgomery County.

Only a microphone separated this 49-year-old performer from the smart-alecky crowd of grade school friends and relatives from Fox Chase. They’d all grown up just over the county line in Northeast Philadelphia. And until two years ago, when I helped make Gerad’s biggest lifelong secret become painfully public to the world at large, everyone here had known him as just good old Gerry.

Two Priests who Abused Deaf Children in Argentina Sentenced to More than 40 Years in Prison

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 25, 2019

Two priests who were accused of abusing multiple students while working at a school for the deaf and hearing impaired have been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison. We applaud this sentence and hope that it encourages other survivors in Argentina to come forward and get help.

Now that Fr. Nicola Corradi and Fr. Horacio Corbacho have been sentenced, we call on church officials in Argentina to take steps to publicize the information and urge others who were hurt by these men or suspected their crimes to come forward and make a report to police.

Pennsylvanians to get more time on sex abuse charges, suits after grand jury report

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Nov. 26, 2019

By Mark Scolforo

The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges.

The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.

“This has been a long and trying process, and we are finally at the finish line,” the statute-of-limitations bill’s prime champion, Berks County Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi, told fellow lawmakers. “Justice is coming.”

Wolf’s office said he intends to sign the bills and a third measure that increases and clarifies penalties for mandated reporters who do not report suspected child abuse.

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Spokesman J.J. Abbott said Wolf “thanks the brave victims that made these changes possible by sharing their stories and fighting for justice.”

November 25, 2019

A Program for Reform, Part Three

Patheos blog

Nov. 25, 2019

By Gabriel Blanchard

Financial corruption is another major element that runs throughout the Church’s scandals. It takes money to cover things up, spin them when they get out, fight lengthy court battles, and pay for victims’ compensation. It overlaps with some of the sexual scandals in themselves, too: in not a few cases of sexual predation on young people, the grooming of the victims involved expensive gifts and vacations. And then there’s the good old-fashioned brazen self-centeredness of men like the recently disgraced Bishop Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston: nothing complicated, just the lifestyle of an opulent jetsetter in a diocese where some people don’t have little luxuries like running water.

II. Financial Reform

1. All bishops shall be required to make a vow of personal poverty. As successors of the Apostles and ministers of Christ, it is the responsibility of bishops to care for the poor; and nothing is so likely to keep someone conscious of the poor as being one of the poor. Magnificent churches are one thing—it is appropriate to give God our best and loveliest, not because he needs it (he made it after all) but as a gesture of thanks and praise; episcopal palaces and splendorous chanceries are something else entirely, and the money that such things both represent and require would be better spent on the poor: the parallel of Judas’ complaint about Jesus being anointed at Bethany applies to churches, not to mansions and seaside condominiums, still less to the unsavory behavior that such mansions and condos have been used to conceal.

Cheyenne prosecutor confirms priest abuse investigation in Casper DA's hands

CASPER (WY)
Star Tribune

Nov 25, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Natrona County's top prosecutor was handed the criminal investigation involving retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart three months ago and was tasked with handling any prosecutions related to the case, the district attorney in Cheyenne confirmed last week in response to a Star-Tribune public records request.

"I don’t have the current investigation, so the 2019 case," Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove said in a voicemail left for a reporter last week. "I have nothing. Because my office is not handling that case. All of that investigation, everything, the affidavit of probable cause ... everything went to the district attorney in Casper, Dan Itzen."

Manlove was responding to a public records request sent by the Star-Tribune last week to a number of law enforcement agencies that may have been involved in an investigation into retired Bishop Joseph Hart, who has faced repeated allegations that he sexually abuse boys throughout his 45-year career as a priest and bishop. The requests were specifically for any public records mentioning Hart.

The response by Manlove is the first direct confirmation that the criminal investigation involves the man who was once the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in Wyoming.

Editorial: Grand jury reports are trust and truth

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

Nov. 25, 2019

A grand jury report is not the kind of thing that is released every time it is issued.

We may not know every grand jury that is impaneled. We are not told when they hear a case. We do not know what witnesses appear before them. We may never hear about the charges that are not recommended.

But when we do, the reports mean something. Usually, the something is big.

In 2011, an investigating grand jury recommended child sex abuse charges against retired Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

In 2018, another uncovered details of 70 years of child sex abuse in Catholic Church dioceses.

But a task force wants to prevent reports like those from being released.

A two-year review of the state grand jury system resulted in a 4-3 recommendation to abolish the public reports. That decision was noted, ironically enough, in a report released publicly.

The grand jury process is conducted largely under a veil of secrecy. That makes sense for the job that is being done — investigating issues of public corruption and organized crime.

But the report, especially a report like that on the church scandal that explored decades of wrongdoing across so many jurisdictions, occupies an area of public trust and truth that should absolutely be maintained.

It should be allowed because it does not just show where the defendants fell down. It shows where the state does, too.

Without the 2011 report that showed holes in the fences that protected children in the reporting process, would the public have demanded action? Would the state have made changes to the requirements for background checks and mandatory reporting?

Church Leaves Southern Baptist Convention, Avoiding Inquiry of Predator Priest

Patheos blog

Nov. 25, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

How bad is the abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention? An investigation earlier this year by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News exposed the predatory behavior of so many Baptist leaders that the SBC itself vowed to make things right. They even identified ten SBC churches themselves that required additional scrutiny.

One of those was Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas. Its pastor, Dale “Dickie” Amyx, admitted to raping and later impregnating a teen girl in the 1970s. While a civil case was settled out of court in 2008, he was still preaching sermons as if he had never committed a crime.

When faced with the prospect of further investigations by the SBC, Bolivar Baptist Church made a simple decision: Rather than face more scrutiny, they would leave the SBC altogether. Amyx insists that decision, made back in May, has nothing to do with his predatory behavior.

Amyx, reached Wednesday in the foyer of his church, told the Denton Record-Chronicle why the church left the convention. He said the reasoning was independent of the moves the SBC was making to hold the church accountable. He said the church left so it could be a more independent Baptist church.

He said the church hadn’t been sending money to the SBC or sharing the the convention’s literature or teachings with Bolivar Baptist churchgoers for many years…

“The past is the past,” Amyx said when asked directly about the accusations detailed by Vasquez and the investigation. “That’s where it should have stayed.”

Montreal archdiocese hires retired judge to conduct investigation of priest found guilty of sexual abuse

MONTREAL (CANADA)
The Canadian Press

Nov.. 25, 2019

By Sidhartha Banerjee

Montreal’s archdiocese enlisted a former Quebec Superior Court justice on Monday to investigate the case of a priest found guilty of sexually abusing two boys.

Pepita G. Capriolo will conduct the investigation into Rev. Brian Boucher, a Catholic priest who was sentenced in March to eight years behind bars.

The archbishop said the recently retired judge will examine how the church handled complaints and concerns about Boucher.

“One of the issues concerning Brian Boucher is there were people who came to talk about the problem ... what’s the story about who knew what, when?” Archbishop Christian Lepine said in an interview.

Following a trial, Boucher was convicted in January 2019 of sexually assaulting one of the victims. In the second case, he pleaded guilty to sex-related charges as a trial was set to begin just under two weeks later.

Boucher worked in 10 Montreal-area churches between 1985 and 2015.

Father George Clements, Iconic Priest Accused Of Sex Abuse, Has Died

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS TV

Nov. 25, 2019

The Rev. George Clements, a renowned Chicago priest who was accused of sexual abuse in a 1974 allegation, has died.

According to Father Michael Pfleger, Clements died in a hospital in Hammond, Indiana.

The Chicago Archdiocese also confirmed Clements’ passing.

Clements family said it will hold a news conference Monday afternoon.

In August of 2019, the Chicago Archdiocese asked Clements to step down from ministry after a sexual abuse allegation from 1974.

Blase Cardinal Cupich asked Clements to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation into the 1974 allegation. At the time, Clements was pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Chicago.

He was considered one of the most celebrated priests in Chicago history. It was the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that’s sparked his activism.

“That said to me, if they’re willing to go ahead and kill this saint, well, you don’t know how much time you have left,’” Clements said.

But when you ask Clements about his greatest achievement, he points to his four sons. He made history as the first American priest to adopt a child, a story that ended up on the big screen.

Local Abuse Survivors React to NBC Survey of Catholic Church Employees

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC 4

Nov. 25, 2019

By Jodie Fleischer and Rick Yarborough

For the roughly two million Catholics who live in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, clergy sex abuse has caused heartache and distrust within an institution gripped by scandal for nearly two decades.

The News4 I-Team partnered with NBC-owned stations around the country to ask those who know the church best where they think it stands now. We sent a 26-question survey to more than 32,000 priests, deacons, nuns and other church workers around the country.

Nearly 3,000 responded — including more than 400 priests, more than 240 nuns, and nearly 1,900 lay employees — answering questions about everything from ordaining women and married men as priests to whether the Church should recognize gay marriage.

Two local survivors shared their reaction to responses about the handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Florida law deemed many of Jeffrey Epstein’s teen victims were not sex-crime victims

PALM BEACH (FL)
The Ledger

Nov. 24, 2019

By John Pacenti

Law deemed many of Jeffrey Epstein’s teen victims were not sex-crime victims. Some state lawmakers want to change that.

Palm Beach police handed State Attorney Barry Krischer in 2006 the names of five victims and 17 witnesses to build a case of rape and serial sexual molestation against Palm Beacher Jeffrey Epstein.

The girls had been lured with the promise of $200 for an hour’s work giving Epstein a massage only to find themselves trapped with a modern-day Caligula.

Eight of the witnesses were 16- and 17-year-olds. All said Epstein had molested them.

But under Florida law, those eight were too old to be molested. And that remains the case today.
Any potential charges filed against Epstein for what he did to these girls would never have risen above misdemeanor battery.

Under state law, anyone over the age of 16 who is molested but not penetrated can at best hope their assailant spends a year behind bars — the penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor.

For victims, that means the potential punishment for their abuser is far less than a sex crime and the statute of limitations is far shorter.

Sexual battery, a felony charge, applies to instances of intercourse or digital penetration, not fondling. Lewd or lascivious offenses for fondling or indecent exposure also constitute a felony but only for victims under 16.

While much attention has been paid to how Krischer — and subsequently the U.S. Justice Department — fumbled the case against the multimillionaire, the renewed interest in everything Epstein gives advocates a chance to urge legislators to close this loophole.

“A misdemeanor battery is not a sex offense crime,” said Palm Beach Gardens attorney Michael Dolce, himself a sex abuse survivor.

“So when somebody feels they’ve been subjected to a sex offense, the expectation is that the law will respond by categorizing it as a sexual crime.”

Our view: State falls short on abuse reform

GREENCASTLE (PA)
Echo Pilot

Nov. 25, 2019

By the Editorial Board

The 2018 release of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report exposing decades of Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse offered state lawmakers the opportunity to level a gross imbalance of power and speed justice to damaged victims.

They failed to deliver in full.

Landmark legislation guaranteed to protect future victims is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to be signed into law.

The state Senate on Wednesday advanced reforms recommended by the state grand jurors who uncovered, through church records and wrenching testimony, the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 victims by more than 300 clergy in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses, including the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The bills eliminate the statute of limitations for filing criminal child sex abuse charges and give future victims until the age of 55 to sue for damages. They clarify penalties for failures to report abuse and prohibit confidentiality agreements that bar victims from reporting crimes. That is monumental, as state Rep. Mark Rozzi, of Berks County, a priest abuse survivor and reform champion, noted.

But when it comes to the grand jury recommendation that victims be given a time window to sue the church retroactively, those victims who want to confront their abusers independently and transparently in a court of law again must wait.

With that recommendation staunchly opposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County and church and insurance lobbyists, lawmakers instead voted to seek a constitutional amendment that would allow victims time to sue retroactively.

Harvest report pins ‘massive corporate governance failure’ on MacDonald

CHICAGO (IL)
Religion News Service

Nov. 22, 2019

By Emily McFarlan Miller

A “massive corporate governance failure apparently developed over several years” at Harvest Bible Chapel primarily because of its former senior pastor, James MacDonald, according to a report released Thursday evening (Nov. 21) by the Chicago-area megachurch.

The report by Chicago-based law firm Wagenmaker & Oberly pinned that failure on MacDonald’s “powerful and subversive leadership style,” his development of an inner circle of leaders through which he could control the church, his marginalization of the church’s elders and other leaders and other “aggressive tactics” by the former pastor.

And it’s “most glaring” when it comes to the church’s finances, according to the report.

The report comes at the request of the Harvest 2020 team of congregants, staff, elders and outside professionals formed this spring to review the church’s oversight, accountability and transparency.

That team asked Wagenmaker & Oberly to review the church’s finances and management practices to “determine what might’ve gone wrong and to put forth corrective policies and procedures to get us on the right course for the future,” according to Harvest treasurer Tim Stoner.

“It is our sincere desire to do the right thing even when it is hard, and in the process, to see the Lord repair what has been broken and to move us to a deeper and sweeter walk with Jesus. We want to follow the admonition in Micah chapter 6, verse 8, to do justly, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God,” Stoner said.

Priests who sexually abused deaf children get 40-year jail terms

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

Nov. 25, 2019

Two Catholic priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison for sexually abusing deaf children, a court in the western city of Mendoza ruled Monday.

A three-judge panel in Mendoza sentenced Italian priest Reverend Nicola Corradi to 42 years in prison and the Argentine priest Reverend Horacio Corbacho to 45 years, for abusing children at the Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Luján de Cuyo, a municipality in northwestern Argentina, between 2004 and 2016.

Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and Corbacho, a 59-year-old Argentine, were arrested in 2016. The institution's gardener, Armando Gómez, was also jailed for 18 years for sexual abuse. The victims are 10 former students.

The court said the sentences took into account the aggravating circumstances that the priests were responsible for the children's wellbeing, as well as the fact that the victims were minors.

The accused declined to make statements ahead of the judges’ ruling. They appeared somber as they arrived in the courtroom, with Corradi in a wheelchair, his gaze fixed on the ground.

utside the court a group of young people celebrated, after waiting for the ruling with banners supporting the victims.

Corbacho, 59, and 83-year-old Corradi had been held in preventive detention since their arrest three years ago on charges of child sex abuse at the school.

Is A Priest's Eulogy In Suicide Case Protected By 1st Amendment? We'll Find Out

DETROIT (MI)
Deadline Detroit

Nov. 24, 2019

By Michael Betzold

After militant homophobes in the Westboro Baptist Church began picketing funerals of gay people in the 1990s, Michigan was among many states to make it illegal to disrupt a funeral.

Now, in a case that has made headlines nationwide, a Toledo law firm representing a grieving mother hopes to persuade a Wayne County jury that a priest conducting a funeral can be liable for deliberately mishandling it.

Featured_detroit_archdiocese_34554
“It was an ambush,” says attorney Wesley Merillat – characterizing how Fr. Don LaCuesta sabotaged Maison Hullibarger’s funeral mass last December at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, Mich. LaCuesta had agreed earlier in a meeting with the parents to deliver a message of love and kindness to celebrate their son’s life, but the priest somehow found out the death was a suicide.

His homily revealing that fact amounted to a “heartless condemnation” of the young man, according to the lawsuit. The sermon about the eternal damnation of Maison’s soul continued even after the deceased’s father approached the pulpit and implored him to stop.

It’s a potentially groundbreaking case on the limits of the First Amendment and what might constitute “hate speech.” David Clohessy, a national leader of SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), knows of no prior lawsuit challenging what a priest can say in a sermon. After decades of scandal stemming from physical clerical abuse, a case raising the issue of verbal abuse in the guise of spiritual instruction is new territory for the church.

Does state law apply?

In response to the Westboro protests, a Michigan statute makes it a felony to “make any statement ... that causes a breach of the peace” at a funeral. How that criminal statute might affect this civil case remains to be seen.

Also named as a defendant in the civil action is the Archdiocese of Detroit. For almost a year, Archbishop Allen Vigneron has refused to remove LaCuesta from his post at Mount Carmel – and won’t say why. Vigneron has unrestricted power to move priests to different parish assignments – and often exercises it. But he allegedly ended a meeting with Hullibarger’s parents shortly after the funeral last December, saying he wouldn’t discuss LaCuesta. He then announced the priest wouldn’t conduct any more funerals until he got more instruction on how to handle them.

Catholic Church of Montreal orders 'independent, external' investigation into rapes by pedophile priest

MONTREAL (CANADA)
CTV News Montreal

Nov. 25, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal has ordered an "independent, external" investigation into the case of Brian Boucher, a Montreal priest who sexually assaulted two boys.

In March, Boucher was sentenced to eight years in prison for raping the two minors, now adults. Boucher worked in 10 Montreal-area churches between 1985 and 2015. The abuse took place at two churches, between 1995 and 1999 in the case of one victim and between 2008 and 2011 in the other.

The investigation will be conducted by Pepita Capriolo, a retired Quebec Superior Court justice, the Archdiocese announced Monday.

"We want to get to the bottom of things to uncover the truth regarding how the concerns and complaints about Brian Boucher were received and handled, " Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine said. "Ms. Capriolo's mandate is twofold: first, determining 'who' knew 'what' and 'when', and then making recommendations to ensure that our policies and procedures improve, thereby avoiding that such crimes would occur again."

Lepine said the Archiodocese would provide Capriolo with "all the resources needed to conduct a thorough investigation" and will make the results of her completed investigation public.

Vancouver's Catholic archbishop apologizes for churches 'betrayal' to 26 abused children

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
NEWS 1130

Nov. 24, 2019

Vancouver’s Catholic archbishop is apologizing for the trauma suffered by at least 26 children who have been betrayed by the church.

A letter written by Michael Miller is being read at churches within the Greater Vancouver area Sunday.

On Friday, a 12-page report from the Archdiocese of Vancouver named nine priests convicted or accused of abuse, dating back to 1950.

Five men convicted related to the report include, Paul J. Blancard, George Gordon, John McCann, Harold McIntee and Alfred Frank Louis Sasso, but not all five have spent time in prison.

Verdict nears for priests accused of abuse in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

Nov. 24, 2019

By Almudena Calatrava

Pope Francis’ homeland faces a complicated week of reckoning with the sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Roman Catholic church.

Judges were scheduled to rule Monday in the case of two priests who face up to 50 years in prison for alleged sexual abuse of deaf children at a Catholic-run school — a sister institution to a school that suffered a similar scandal in Italy.

Meanwhile, a bishop once close to the pope announced he would arrive back in the country Tuesday to respond to prosecutor’s allegations of sex abuse.

Both cases have raised questions about how quickly Pope Francis acted to deal with the complaints.

A three-judge panel in the northwestern province of Mendoza was set to rule on charges against the Rev. Nicola Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and the Rev. Horacio Corbacho, a 59-year-old Argentine, who worked at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the Mendoza municipality of Lujan de Cuyo. Both were arrested in 2016.

More Harm Than Good

Patheos blog

Nov. 25, 2019

By James A. Haught

Surprisingly, an important theologian and Catholic scholar says all religions do more harm than good.

Writing in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin (spring-summer 2019), Dr. Robert Orsi of Northwestern University delivers a blistering indictment titled “The Study of Religion on the Other Side of Disgust.”

He says that, “on balance, in the long perspective of human history, religions have done more harm than good.” He repeats that all scholars of faith should “pause to stare into the depths of the truth that religions have, over time, done more harm than good.”

Dr. Orsi describes how he grew up in a devout Italian-American Catholic family, went to mass several times weekly, and devoted his life to faith as chairman of Catholic studies in the Religion Department at Northwestern. He has written several religious books.

He focuses most of his disgust on the Catholic pedophile scandal and on bishops who tried to hide the sordid abuse of thousands of children. In fact, he says he’s writing a new book “about the role of Catholic sexuality and sexual abuse in the formation of boys at a Jesuit high school in New York City in 1967-71.”

Vatican charity knew in 2017 of pedophilia concerns about Central African Republic director

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

Nov. 23, 2019

The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year.

CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week, reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

CNN identified two new alleged victims in Central African Republic since he was posted there.

Michel Roy, former secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis from 2011-2019, said in a statement Saturday that he didn’t know about the criminal conviction until this year.

But he said he had been informed in 2017 by a therapist that Delft shouldn’t be in contact with children.

Vatican charity knew in 2017 of pedophilia concerns about Central African Republic director

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

Nov. 23, 2019

The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year.

CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week, reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

CNN identified two new alleged victims in Central African Republic since he was posted there.

Michel Roy, former secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis from 2011-2019, said in a statement Saturday that he didn’t know about the criminal conviction until this year.

But he said he had been informed in 2017 by a therapist that Delft shouldn’t be in contact with children.

Josh Shapiro focused on being Pa. attorney general, not what’s next

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Nov. 23, 2019

By Megan Guza

Don’t ask Josh Shapiro what’s next. There’s work to do right now.

Shapiro, three years into his first term as Pennsylvania attorney general, has risen in profile since taking office. That’s due in no small part to the explosive 2018 grand jury report accusing a half-dozen Catholic dioceses across the state, including the ones in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, of covering up decades of child sexual abuse by priests.

In that regard, there is more to do. The abuse hotline set up in the aftermath of the report has gotten nearly 2,000 reports in just over a year. Those must be investigated.

He’s also in the process of hammering out a $50 billion settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of OxyContin, following a two-year investigation by Shapiro and attorneys general from three other states.

In the meantime, thousands continue to die of drug overdoses across Pennsylvania. There is more to do, he said.

Seniors are still being scammed. Students have lost money to predatory for-profit colleges. There are still fraudsters and predators and drug dealers.

So don’t ask the attorney general what’s next – it visibly annoys him.

“Look. If you can’t tell, we’re pretty busy, and I really love this work,” Shapiro told the Tribune-Review.

November 24, 2019

SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS FACE TRAUMA IN SILENCE AS CLAIMS GROW AGAINST CATHOLIC CLERGY IN WISCONSIN

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wisconsin Watch

Nov. 24, 2019

In the past year, some dioceses and religious orders have for the first time listed their accused clergy. At others, the decades of silence continues.

When she was 7, Patty Gallagher was chosen to bring the priest who served her parish and school in Monona, Wisconsin, his daily milk. The Rev. Lawrence Trainor was practically a member of the family. He came over for dinner and visited the family cottage. Gallagher’s father and Trainor played cards and drank together. Trainor, a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, ingratiated himself with her parents.

And then, Gallagher said, he “raped me in every way possible.”

“I had to make my first confession with this man and say the words, ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,’ to the man who raped me in the most horrific ways,” said Gallagher, of Milwaukee, whose last name is now Gallagher Marchant. “There are no words to describe that.”

Gallagher Marchant, a psychotherapist, said she repressed these traumatic memories for decades. She was aware that she had been hurt, but she could not remember by whom. When Gallagher Marchant was 35 and her daughter turned 7 — the same age she was in 1965 at the time of her own abuse — the memories came flooding back. She knew she had to tell someone, so she reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Madison. The year was 1991.

Historic reforms for statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases headed to Governor Wolf's desk

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW Newsradio

Nov. 23, 2019

By Mark Abrams

A historic package of reform measures to Pennsylvania's statute of limitations on child sex abuse is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, and the governor says he'll sign them into law.

Under the new laws, future victims of child sex abuse will be allowed to sue their alleged perpetrators and the institutions which hired them. Also, any future victims will have an extended period of time, up to age 55, to file criminal charges against those who abused them.

Another provision is that confidentiality agreements signed by victims with institutions or organizations to prevent them from talking to police will be gone.

The reforms were recommended in an August 2018 state grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

One class of victims, however, will have to wait for relief.

Adults who were victimized as children, many of whom suffered at the hands of clergy cited in the grand jury report, are NOT included in the latest reforms.

Instead, lawmakers decided those claims for relief should be folded into a proposed constitutional amendment which would be put before lawmakers one more time and then the voters.

"I continue to believe we do not need a constitutional amendment as part of that process," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who championed the grand jury reforms. "It really just delays justice for victims."

Vatican charity knew in 2017 of Africa sex abuse concerns

TOKYO (JAPAN)
Associated Press

November 23, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year.

CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week, reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

CNN identified two new alleged victims in Central African Republic since he was posted there.

Former Tullytown priest accused of sex abuse to face trial

BUCKS COUNTY (PA)
Bucks County Courier Times

November 19, 2019

By Christopher Dornblaser

Francis Trauger, 74, is accused of molesting two boys at a Tullytown parish between 1996 and 2000.

The former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two altar boys at a Tullytown parish now faces trial in county court.

Bucks County District Attorney’s office spokesman James O’Malley said Francis Trauger, 74, stipulated to the criminal complaint only for the purpose of his preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon.

That means no testimony was necessary.

Trauger’s charges, which are misdemeanor offenses of indecent assault of someone younger than 16, indecent assault of someone younger than 13 and corruption of minors, were held for county court.

Pennsylvania lawmakers approve package of bills designed to fight child sexual abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
TheCenterSquare.com

November 24, 2019

By Kim Jarrett

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign three bills addressing child sexual abuse passed by the Legislature. A fourth bill will require a constitutional amendment and another vote by lawmakers next year.

Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Temple, sponsored House Bill 962, which eliminates the statute of limitations for prosecuting childhood sexual abuse.

House Bill 1051, sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens, R-North Wales, clarifies who is required to report suspected child abuse and what the penalties are for not reporting.

Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Hazleton, said she sponsored House Bill 1171 in honor of a woman who was molested by her priest and forced to have an abortion but felt she could not report the abuse because she signed a nondisclosure agreement. Victims will not be prohibited from talking to law enforcement because they signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Why the D&C commits resources to covering child sexual abuse in Greater Rochester

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

November 24, 2019

By Michael Kilian

"It’s time, Robby. They knew and they let it happen! To kids! This coulda been you, it coulda been me, it could have been any one of us."

-- Mark Ruffalo, playing Boston Globe reporter Mike Rezendes, in "Spotlight"

If you've never seen the Academy Award-winning film "Spotlight" from 2015, I highly recommend you watch/stream it at home this winter.

Featuring stellar performances from Rachel McAdam and Mark Ruffalo and from old pro Michael Keaton, this film is riveting in exploring how The Boston Globe unearthed an extensive cover-up by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boston of sexual abuse of children by priests and other religious figures.

It wasn't a story the substantially Irish-Catholic community of Boston necessarily wanted to hear in 2002. It certainly wasn't a story the church wanted revealed, after decades of shifting abusing priests from parish to parish without repercussions.

Pennsylvanians to Get More Time on Sex Abuse Charges, Lawsuits

PENNSYLVANIA
Associated Press via News 10 (NBC-TV affiliate)

By Mark Scolforo

November 24, 2019

"We need to open the window and allow the light of truth to shine in this dark place. Anything less is justice denied"

The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.

"This has been a long and trying process, and we are finally at the finish line," the statute-of-limitations bill's prime champion, Berks County Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi, told fellow lawmakers. "Justice is coming."

Wolf's office said he intends to sign the bills and a third measure that increases and clarifies penalties for mandated reporters who do not report suspected child abuse.

Brooklyn bishop discussed abuse allegation with Pope Francis, declares his innocence on “humiliating” charges brought by one-time altar boy

BROOKLYN (NY)
New York Daily News

November 23, 2019

By Larry McShane

Pope Francis stunned long-time Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio by mentioning the sexual abuse allegations leveled against the New York priest when the pair met last week in the Vatican.

The 75-year-old DiMarzio recounted the unexpected encounter in a column for the Brooklyn Diocesan newspaper The Tablet, and once again asserted his innocence against the charge of abusing a Jersey City altar boy in 1974-75.

“I was amazed that the false accusation made against me was already known to him,” wrote DiMarzio. “(He) expressed his hope that the matter presented against me would be cleared up quickly for the good of the Diocese of Brooklyn.”

Editorial: Sexual Abuse and Its Widespread Damage

BROOKLYN (NY)
Tablet (diocesan newspaper)

November 20, 2019

During the last two decades, we have learned more about sexual abuse than we ever expected or wished to know. The suffering that victims and their families endured has been twofold — the abuse itself and the trauma of being silenced or ignored.

Much has changed in the church since the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the Dallas Charter) in June 2002, but the pain continues.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio understood the gravity of the crisis early on and responded quickly. A statement last week from the Diocese of Camden, N.J., shows that even before the Dallas Charter, Bishop DiMarzio created protocols to protect children and help victims.

Pope Francis wants sex-abuse claims against Brooklyn bishop ‘cleared up quickly’

BROOKLYN (NY)
New York Post

November 23, 2019

By Sara Dorn

This papal visit took an awkward turn.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was with his boss, Pope Francis, when allegations surfaced last week that he abused a New Jersey altar boy in the 1970s.

DiMarzio divulged details of the uncomfortable meeting in a Wednesday op-ed in the Brooklyn Diocese’s Tablet newspaper.

“As we left the meeting, I was amazed that the false accusation made against me was already known to him,” DiMarzio wrote, referring to the pontiff.

DiMarzio, 75, faces claims that he and another priest abused then-11-year-old Mark Matzek at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City between 1974 and 1975.

Editorial: Pennsylvania lawmakers deliver victory, if an incomplete one, to victims of childhood sexual abuse

LANCASTER (PA)
Lancaster Online

November 24, 2019

By the LNP Editorial Board

More than a year after a landmark grand jury report detailed a decadeslong cover-up of child sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses, the Republican-led state General Assembly finally has passed statutes of limitations reform that offers relief to victims of such abuse. As The Associated Press reported last week, the state Senate passed House Bill 962 on Wednesday, and the House passed it Thursday, sending it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is expected to sign it early this week, his spokesman, J.J. Abbott, said.

This is not a complete victory for victims of child sexual abuse, but it is a significant one.

Under current law, victims have only until their 30th birthday to file civil claims against those who abused them and those who enabled their abuse.

That’s not nearly enough time, as we’ve argued repeatedly. It can take decades before a victim is able to understand what was done to him or her during childhood. Because of the terrible trauma involved, delayed reporting in such cases is normal.

Under this new law, victims will have until they turn 55 to file civil claims.

That will apply only, however, to victims of childhood sexual abuse for whom the civil statute of limitations has not yet expired.

And the existing criminal statute of limitations will be eliminated, but only for future cases. Nevertheless, this is an important change.

Task force recommends eliminating state grand jury reports

GREENSBURG (PA)
TribLive.com

November 23, 2019

By Deb Erdley

Pennsylvania should consider abolishing the kind of grand jury report that detailed extensive allegations of child sexual abuse among Catholic clergy, a task force of lawyers, judges and legal scholars said.

In the report released last week, the result of a two-year review of the state grand jury system also recommended beefing up the secrecy surrounding state and county grand jury proceedings, including conducting sessions in buildings where witnesses could enter and leave without public scrutiny.

Josh Shapiro focused on being Pa. attorney general, not what’s next

GREENSBURG (PA)
TribLive.com

November 23, 2019

By Megan Guza

Don’t ask Josh Shapiro what’s next. There’s work to do right now.

Shapiro, three years into his first term as Pennsylvania attorney general, has risen in profile since taking office. That’s due in no small part to the explosive 2018 grand jury report accusing a half-dozen Catholic dioceses across the state, including the ones in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, of covering up decades of child sexual abuse by priests.

In that regard, there is more to do. The abuse hotline set up in the aftermath of the report has gotten nearly 2,000 reports in just over a year. Those must be investigated.

Statement: Diocese of Metuchen addresses indictment, alleged crimes predating accused’s tenure as priest

PISCATAWAY (NJ)
Diocese of Metuchen

November 22, 2019

The former pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Middlesex, Fr. Patrick J. Kuffner, identified on the list of names of clergy currently under investigation by civil authorities as released by the Diocese of Metuchen in Feb. of this year, was arrested Nov. 20 by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department on three counts of sexual assault of a minor that date back more than three decades to when he was a layperson and while in Massachusetts.

“First and foremost, our prayers are with the person who came forward last year with these allegations, after many years of carrying this burden, and all those who are survivors of sexual abuse,” said Anthony P. Kearns III, Esq., spokesperson and chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen. “While the alleged crimes date back to the early 1980’s, more than 35 years ago, and involve an incident from before Fr. Kuffner was a priest or even a seminarian, the charges are nevertheless shocking and are being taken seriously by the Diocese of Metuchen,” he said.

Former pastor in Diocese of Metuchen accused of sexually assaulting minor

MIDDLESEX (NJ)
News12.com

November 23, 2019

[VIDEO]

A former pastor in the Diocese of Metuchen was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor.

Father Patrick Kuffner was on a list released earlier this year of clergy under investigation.

Kuffner served as a pastor at Our Lady of Mount Virgin parish in Middlesex.

He faces charges that date back to more than three decades, before he was a priest.

The Diocese said in a statement, “While the alleged crimes date back to the early 1980’s, more than 35 years ago, and involve an incident from before Father Kuffner was a priest or even a seminarian, the charges are nevertheless shocking and are being taken seriously by the Diocese."

November 23, 2019

Police say no plans to look into 2002 investigation into bishop, despite criticism from victim's family

CASPER (WY)
Casper Star-Tribune

Nov. 23, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Cheyenne police say they have no plans to reexamine that year’s most high-profile sexual abuse investigation. In April 2002, recently retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in Cheyenne in the 1970s. The Cheyenne police investigation that followed lasted two months before the allegation was declared unfounded because of a lack of victim cooperation.

Nor is there interest by either of the two men who followed Hart as bishops of Wyoming to look backwards. David Ricken, now a bishop in Wisconsin, and Paul Etienne, now the archbishop in Seattle, both said they couldn’t investigate Hart during their respective reigns atop Wyoming’s Catholic church. The victim wouldn’t cooperate, they said. Neither answered when asked by email if they regretted how they handled the matter. Throughout both of the men’s tenures, Hart’s alleged victims were coming forward in Kansas City, all alleging abuse. The church settled lawsuits with 10 of them.

A spokesman for the Denver archdiocese, which oversees Wyoming, declined to comment when asked if the church would look into why nothing was done about Hart for so long.

Over the past two years, the investigation has been reignited. The unfounded claim has turned into the basis for a Vatican trial and a criminal case in Wyoming that now awaits a decision by prosecutors that could prove to be historic. The victim who wouldn’t cooperate has now spoken with civil and church authorities. His account has been deemed substantiated by the church.

Advocacy group urges changes to Catholic abuse review boards

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Associated Press

Nov. 22, 2019

By Margaret Stafford

The bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Roman Catholic diocese, who was recently appointed chairman-elect of the U.S. Catholic church’s national committee for protecting abuse victims, should lead an effort to change boards that review abuse allegations to make them more transparent, inclusive and willing to publicly identify predator priests, an advocacy group said Friday.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests sent a letter to Bishop James Johnston Jr., Friday criticizing the current methods of the review boards, which were mandated in dioceses across the country in 2002 after allegations of widespread sexual abuse by priests began to surface. Johnston was appointed last week as chairman-elect of the church’s Committee on Protection of Children and Young People, although he won’t become chairman for a year.

SNAP was reacting to an Associated Press report on Thursday that found the review boards repeatedly failed to support abuse victims and to oust abusive priests. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy often intimidate victims, reject sex abuse claims and help the church avoid payouts, the AP reported.

Vatican accused of harbouring bishop in sex abuse claims

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Premier

Nov. 23, 2019

By Ruth Sax

The Vatican has been accused of harbouring a bishop wanted for alleged sex abuse offences, as Pope Francis railed against the evils of sexual exploitation on a visit to Thailand.

Prosecutors in Argentina have issued an international arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is accused of sexually abusing young trainee priests, known as seminarians. He denies the charges.

Bishop Zanchetta, 55, who is close to his fellow Argentine Pope Francis, lives in the Vatican.

He reportedly resides in Casa Santa Marta, an accommodation block in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica where Francis has lived ever since his election six years ago.

Argentinian prosecutors have complained that the bishop has failed to respond to repeated emails and telephone calls about the abuse allegations, which were made last year by two young seminarians. The trainee priests also accused him of mismanagement of the diocese’s finances and abuse of power.

If convicted, the bishop would face up to 10 years in prison, but there is no extradition treaty between Argentina and the Vatican and for now he seems to be safely ensconced in Rome.

The stand-off emerged as Pope Francis made an impassioned speech in Bangkok on behalf of victims of sex trafficking, prompting accusations of a double standard in the Catholic Church’s stance on sex crimes.

“Despite being suspended from ministry, the Vatican has argued that Zanchetta's ‘daily work’ requires him to be in Rome instead of facing trial in Argentina. This decision is at best questionable and at worst a Vatican-sponsored opportunity for Zanchetta to flee from justice,” said Zach Hiner, the executive director of victims’ pressure group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Próvolo case: Legal team expects justice for Church sex abuse victim

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

Nov. 22, 2019

By Carly Graf

Victims of alleged sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of priests and educators at the Instituto Antonio Próvolo in Mendoza may finally find justice Monday.

After nearly three months of gruelling closed-door testimony, plaintiff lawyers from the Mendoza-based human rights organisation Xumek asked Tuesday for the maximum sentence possible under Argentina’s current penal code for those in the dock.

If judges agree, that could see sentences of 50 years in jail for 61-year-old Argentine Horacio Corbacho, and up to 15 years for Nicola Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian priest who ran the institute, and the site’s former gardener Armando Gómez, 50.

Collectively, they are accused of rape, sexual abuse, the corruption of children and mistreatment at a Catholic school for deaf children.

In total, the priests face a total of 28 charges. Victims total around 20 minors.

A fourth person was charged, 57-year-old administrator Jorge Bordón. He agreed to a plea deal just over a year ago, trading an acknowledgment he’d participated in at least 11 acts of abuse for a shorter trial and a 10-year sentence.

Though trials started in August, the wait for victims and their families has been much longer. The first victims came forward in 2016, leading to the prompt arrest of Corradi, but according to Sergio Salinas, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, the abuse dates back at least to the previous decade.

Clergy sex abuse: NJ priest charged with sexual assault of teen in 1980s

ASBURY PARK (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

Nov. 22, 2019

By Joshua Chung

The sexual assault charges against a New Jersey priest arrested Wednesday in Ocean County involve incidents that happened more than 35 years ago before the man was a priest, according to the Diocese of Metuchen.

Patrick J. Kuffner, 72, is facing three counts of sexual assault of a minor between the ages of 13 and 16, according to court records. But in a statement, the Diocese of Metuchen said that Kuffner — the former pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Middlesex — said the incidents took place in Massachusetts more than 35 years ago, and before Kuffner was a seminarian or ordained as a priest.

“First and foremost, our prayers are with the person who came forward last year with these allegations, after many years of carrying this burden, and all those who are survivors of sexual abuse,” said Anthony P. Kearns III, spokesperson and chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen, noting that the incident took place in the 1980s.

“The charges are nevertheless shocking and are being taken seriously by the Diocese of Metuchen,” Kearns said.

Survey Reveals Employees of Catholic Church Divided on Clergy Abuse and Reforms

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC Channel 4

Nov. 22, 2019

By Chris Glorioso and Evan Stulberger

A vast survey of the Roman Catholic Church workforce in America shows the people who know best how the church is run – the employees themselves – are deeply split on key issues facing parishes across nation. The survey reveals diocesan priests are far more likely to view clergy abuse as a problem of the past, while nuns and other religious employees often consider sex abuse and misconduct to be major problems even today. And just as Pope Francis considers expanding the role of married men and women in the church, the survey highlights vivid differences in how female and male employees view a host of religious reforms under the Vatican’s consideration.

NBC Owned Television stations around the nation distributed the survey to more than 32,000 employees listed in the Official Catholic Directory. 2,700 members of the church workforce responded (see methodology here), including nearly 500 priests and deacons, more than 280 religious sisters and brothers, along with nearly 1,900 lay employees – everyone from educators to administrative staff. Among the survey’s most striking findings are:

1 in 3 Catholic Employees Say Sex Abuse/Misconduct "Still a Major Problem"

While national headlines often involve clergy abuse dating back decades, about 39% of the church employees who responded to the survey said they believe abuse or misconduct “is still a major problem” in today’s parishes and Catholic organizations. That compares with just under 14% who said abuse or misconduct “is no longer a major problem.” About 46% percent of respondents said abuse or misconduct was never more of a problem in the Catholic Church than it is in other fields that involve the care of minors.

November 22, 2019

Quinquennial Report summary from the Diocese of Erie PA

ERIE (PA)
Diocese of Erie

November 21, 2019

[See also: News Release - Bishop Lawrence Persico Heading to Rome]

Summary: This Quinquennial Report tracks the period from January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2018. The key events in the Diocese of Erie during this time were the ordination of Bishop Lawrence Persico as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Erie on October 1, 2012; the initiation in 2014 of the ongoing comprehensive Pastoral Planning process; and the diocese’s response to the sexual abuse crisis together with the release of the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report.

News Release: Archdiocese of Boston Announces Completion of Saint John Seminary Review

BOSTON (MA)
Archdiocese of Boston

November 22, 2019

[Click here to see the report of the inquiry into St. John's that was published today. The inquiry was commissioned by Boston archbishop Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, OFM Cap.]

The Archdiocese of Boston today announced the completion of the independent inquiry into St. John’s Seminary following allegations published on social media last year by two former seminarians. The allegations included claims that the Seminary tolerated illicit sexual behavior and excessive alcohol consumption on the part of seminarians and faculty.

The inquiry began in October 2018 and was conducted by former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern, with the assistance of Attorney Doug Salvesen and others at the firm Yurko, Salvesen & Remz. The process was extensive, including more than 80 interviews of current or former seminarians, faculty members, staff and Trustees. The inquiry found no evidence of criminal behavior or any sexual activity between seminarians and faculty members. It did conclude that “the Seminary had inadequate (and sometimes absent) leadership and oversight. This contributed to a lack of robust financial controls, a low tolerance for dissenting views, and insufficient attention paid to the seminarians’ human formation.” In addition it discovered only isolated incidents of sexual conduct and alcohol use that are inappropriate in a seminary setting.

Western Canada: Vancouver Archdiocese uncovers dozens of priest sex abuse cases

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail

Nov. 22, 2019

By Wendy Cox and James Keller

A painstaking examination of 70 years worth of files by a task force formed by the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has uncovered instances of sex abuse by 36 priests, 25 of them involving children.

The document identifies only nine of the 36 priests whose names have been made public through court documents or lawsuits, but the archdiocese said it is working to find a way to release more, those “who have not been convicted, but of whose guilt we are morally certain.”

Ian Bailey reports that the archdiocese explains in its report that privacy rules prevent it, as the employer of the priests, from disclosing more.

But the spare details of the nine cases are chilling if familiar.

They include the case of Paul Blancard, who was accused of the sexual assault of a girl, aged six or seven, in St. Helen’s Parish in Burnaby in 1967 or 1968. No charges were laid, but he later pleaded guilty in 1992 to abusing six- and seven-year-old children while he was a priest in the Diocese of Victoria. He served a year in prison and has not been active in the priesthood since.

John McCann, who died last year, was charged and convicted in 1991 of six counts relating to sex abuse of girls under 16 in the 1970s. The abuse happened at two diocese churches and he was defrocked. But unbeknown to the Archdiocese, he was able to serve as a priest on Salt Spring Island in the Diocese of Victoria and in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

Lawrence Cooper began a relationship with a 15-year-old girl when he was a 27-year-old seminarian and the relationship became sexual several years later. Similar complaints were made against him after he transferred to the Archdiocese of Portland. A civil lawsuit against him was settled out of court in 2012.

DC priest sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing kids

WASHINGTON (DC)
FOX 5 DC

Nov. 22, 2019

A Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday after he was found guilty of sexually abusing two young girls at his Northwest DC parish.

Father Urbano Vazquez’s supporters broke down in tears as the sentenced was handed down Friday afternoon. Vazquez also received 15 years of supervised release following his prison sentence and will be required to register for the rest of his life as a sex offender.

Vazquez was found guilty on all counts in a nine-day long trial back in August after two girls testified that 46-year-old priest groped them and kissed them on the mouth when one was 9 years old and the other 13.

One of the girls said Vazquez cornered her in an office and groped her breast. The assaults took place inside the Shrine of the Sacred Heart church complex - including near the church confessionals, in the church basement, and in the church sacristy - in Northwest D.C. in 2015 and 2016.

Vatican accused of harbouring bishop wanted for alleged sexual abuse of young priests

ROME (ITALY)
The Telegraph

Nov. 22, 2019

By Nick Squires

The Vatican has been accused of harbouring a bishop wanted for alleged sex abuse offences, as Pope Francis railed against the evils of sexual exploitation on a visit to Thailand.

Prosecutors in Argentina have issued an international arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is accused of sexually abusing young trainee priests, known as seminarians. He denies the charges.

Bishop Zanchetta, 55, who is close to his fellow Argentine Pope Francis, lives in the Vatican.

Not only that, he reportedly resides in Casa Santa Marta, an accommodation block in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica where Francis has lived ever since his election six years ago.

Nagasaki Catholic priest accused of sexual harassment

NAGASAKI (JAPAN)
Japan News

November 22, 2019

A female Catholic in Nagasaki Prefecture has lodged a complaint that she was sexually harassed by a priest in the prefecture, Jiji Press learned Friday.

The Archdiocese of Nagasaki has suspended the priest but failed to disclose the scandal to other followers, informed sources said.

The archdiocese, the second-largest diocese in Japan in terms of the number of followers, cited medical treatment as the reason behind the absence of the priest.

A source expressed concern, saying, “If we don’t bring problematic behavior to light, we can’t prevent a reoccurrence.”

Sexual abuse by clerics is a problem seen around the world. Systematic cover-ups of such crimes by church authorities have been criticized.

Pope Francis, set to visit Japan from Saturday, issued in May an order obligating the clergy to report any sexual abuse by clerics to the Vatican.

In May 2018, the priest in his 40s allegedly told the woman to come to a church where he serves in Nagasaki and committed indecent acts, including hugging her and touching her body, according to informed sources.

UN suspends work with Catholic charity in CAR after CNN investigation into pedophile priest

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Nov. 22, 2019

By Richard Roth, Samantha Tapfumaneyi and Sebastian Shukla

The United Nations has temporarily suspended its work with the Central African Republic branch of Caritas Internationalis after it emerged that the director of the Catholic charity there was a convicted pedophile.

The decision by the UN comes a day after CNN reported that Father Luk Delft was appointed to a key role in Caritas despite a prior conviction for abusing children in Europe. He was only removed from his post after CNN revealed the new accusations against him to his superiors in the Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order established specifically to protect children.

Jens Laerke, the UN's Humanitarian agency deputy spokesperson, told CNN on Friday that work with the aid organisation in the CAR was on hold while investigations into Delft continued.

"The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is aware of the serious allegations of abuse against minors by the former Caritas Director in CAR," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

Prominent Houston Parish Invites Deacon Accused of Sexual Impropriety to Speak

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network

Nov. 22, 2019

A local Houston church has invited a Catholic deacon to speak about traditional Latin masses, but that deacon was at one time suspended from ministry, reportedly for "failure to comply with the vow of celibacy."

Prince of Peace Church in Houston, TX, has invited Dom. Alcuin (Scott) Reid to speak on November 23. However, the cleric, who is described on the parish’s website as an “author and foremost expert in liturgical studies,” had his faculties as a deacon removed in 1991 by the Archdiocese of Melbourne. According to at least one source, the deacon “made repeated inappropriate and sometimes aggressive sexual advances while in the seminary.” The Australian Church apparently “strenuously and repeatedly urged Scott [Alcuin] Reid to seek laicization,” but he refused to do so. Dom Reid has countered that he asked for a leave of absence. A French bishop later reinstated him as a deacon.

Alleged clergy sex assault victims claim they were pressured into settlements

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

Nov. 22, 2019

By Emily Saul

Two cousins from Mississippi claim in a new lawsuit they were sexually assaulted by two Franciscan missionaries — and then pressured into taking a measly settlement designed to silence their allegations.

La Jarvis Love and Joshua Love allege in their Manhattan federal suit that they were repeatedly abused by Brother Paul West sometime in the mid-1990s in Mississippi, where they attended Catholic school, in New York in a Manhattan hotel and en route to Camp Alvernia in Centerport.

The court papers accuse West of “raping and sexually assaulting [the cousins], making them perform sex acts on him, and encouraging them to perform sex acts on each other.”

The Loves first reported their abuse to the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, according to the complaint, filed Thursday. The lawsuit does not specify when the alleged abuse occurred.

Joshua Love met with Franciscan Rev. James Gannon and Valerie McClellan, the victim assistance coordinator for the Jackson Diocese, last year and was pushed to settle his claim for $10,000, the suit says.

Cardinal Tobin: Church working to rebuild 'shot' credibility in wake of abuse scandals

BERGEN (NJ)
Bergen Record

Nov. 22, 2019

By Deena Yellin

Just a week before state law may unleash a torrent of new priest abuse lawsuits, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese said the church is working hard to rebuild trust with the more than 1.3 million Catholics under his watch.

The church's credibility was "shot" after a series of scandals came to light last year, Tobin said in an interview Friday. But the archdiocese has taken steps to inject more transparency, he added, including pressing local pastors to address the abuse issue from the pulpit and making financial audits public.

Getting back trust “is not easy or instantaneous,” Tobin told NorthJersey.com and the USATODAY Network New Jersey. “We have to act like we’re trustworthy.”

Tobin, leader of the archdiocese covering Bergen, Union, Hudson and Essex counties, unveiled a six-point "Forward in Faith Together" initiative earlier this year focused on increasing protection for minors and seminarians, education of priests and support for parishioners, among other goals.

Argentine bishop blasts prosecutors for seeking arrest order

BUENOS AIRES (Argentina)
Associated Press

Nov. 21, 2019

The spokesman for an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis who has been accused of sex abuse criticized Argentine prosecutors for requesting an arrest order, saying the release of information in the case hurt his image and his presumption of innocence.

Spokesman Javier Belda denied that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was in “rebellion” for not responding to calls or messages, as Argentine prosecutor María Soledad Filtrín asserted this week. Belda said Zanchetta had cooperated with judicial authorities throughout the case.

Zanchetta has been formally accused of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse” of two seminarians, charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The alleged abuse began in 2016 in Oran, about 1,600 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires. He has denied the charges.

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Br. Paul West, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 22, 2019

A Franciscan brother who was the subject of a major AP News investigation for his abuse of three young boys in Mississippi has been served a federal lawsuit. The case against Br. Paul West was filed in the United States District Court in Southern New York.

As a survivor and an advocate I am encouraged by this case being filed federally because of the interstate transport of the victims when they were small children. These brave men were denied the opportunity to have a normal healthy childhood by Br. West. They were further harmed after coming forward as adults by the Church leadership.

I am hopeful they can receive justice and reach some closure to a lifetime of fear, doubt and shame. They deserve to be heard and understood as to the magnitude of injustice they have endured. As the local leader for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in Mississippi I will stand with them as they go forward.


Reparations After Clergy Abuse Puts A Price On Trauma, Victims Say

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR Morning Edition

Nov. 22, 2019

By Laura Benshoff

Following the 2018 grand jury report in Pennsylvania, Catholic dioceses launched reparations programs. Hundreds of people have now received more than $50 million, but not all are satisfied.

Sex abuse crisis can lead to conversion church needs, theologian says

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Philly

Nov. 22, 2019

By Matthew Gambino

Since the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church broke open in 2002 in the United States and intensified globally last year, responses to it have focused on legal matters and administrative reforms.

But theologians and other faithful thinkers are focusing now on a higher dimension, and the question of where God is calling his people at this moment.

Villanova University launched the first in a series of four conferences on the theological perspectives of the sexual abuse crisis Nov. 1. Some 20 Catholic scholars from around the world heard a dozen presentations on the topic in a day-long seminar, according to Villanova professor Massimo Faggioli, a lead organizer of the series. (Read more about the series here.)

In a keynote talk to cap the first conference, Father Richard Lennan said the long-term response of the Christian community to the crisis should be an inner conversion of heart and fearless self-criticism — and not only among bishops and clergy, but all members of the church.

A professor of theology at Boston College and a priest of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in Australia, he told 25 people, including scholars and visitors from the community, why conversion is critical at this time.

“A theological response to the abuse crisis recognizes that (it) is not simply an issue of governance, formation for ministry or pastoral practice. The sexual abuse crisis gnaws at the faith,” he said. “It casts a pall of suspicion over belief in a capacity of any human instrument, let alone the church, to mediate grace.”

Priest testifies in Maine murder trial, says he lived with victim

BANGOR (ME)
WMTW TV

Nov. 22, 2019

By Renee Clark

A Catholic priest, the friend of a Hampden woman who was murdered in July of last year, took the stand Thursday in the trial of the man accused of killing her.

The prosecution has rested its case against Philip Clark, 56. He's pleaded not guilty to the murder of Renee Clark.

Defense witnesses include Rev. Anthony Cipolle. Cipolle was living at the same home as Renee Clark during the months leading up to her murder, but says he was renting a separate space from her.

The defense questioned Cipolle about his relationship with Renee Clark. He said she was his best friend.

When questioned if it was a romantic relationship, he said no. The defense considers Cipolle one of the key witnesses in the trial.

Cipolle testified to a physical altercation between him and Philip Clark the night that Clark allegedly shot Renee 10 times.

NY lawsuit: Catholic Church pressured sex abuse victims into unfair settlements

SYRACUSE (NY)
Post Standard

Nov. 22, 2019

Two impoverished Mississippi men who say they were sexually assaulted by Franciscan missionaries filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming that Catholic officials pressured them into signing settlements that paid them little money and required them to remain silent about the alleged abuse.

The lawsuit, filed in New York, claims the church officials drew up the agreements a year ago to prevent the men from telling their stories or going to court — a violation of a 2002 promise by American bishops to abandon the use of nondisclosure agreements, as part of an effort to end the cover-up of sexual abuse within the church.

“The confidentiality provisions contained in the disputed agreements were intended to silence” the two men “in direct contradiction” to the U.S. Catholic Church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the lawsuit says.

Children’s rights group says ‘third wave’ of abuse scandals hitting Latin America

DENVER (CO)
Crux

Nov. 22, 2019

By Charles Collins

A children’s rights group is warning that a “Third Wave” of clerical sex abuse scandals is hitting Latin America, with revelations showing how the Catholic Church has continued to try and hide the extent of the crisis.

The London-based Child Rights International Network (CRIN) released The Third Wave: Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Latin America on Nov. 20. It looks at the scale of abuse and cover-up by the Church in every Latin American country, as well as reviewing whether national laws on child sex crimes adequately protect children.

CRIN says the first wave of abuse scandals took place in Ireland and North America, with the second taking place in Oceania and continental Europe.

“There is a growing global wave of demands for accountability of the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse of children, especially now in more Catholic majority countries,” said Leo Ratledge, CRIN’s legal and policy director.

The report says the Catholic Church in Latin America has systematically tried to suppress abuse complaints and scandals in a number of ways that will seem familiar to many U.S. Catholics who lived through the clerical abuse crisis of the past 20 years.

November 21, 2019

Survivor of alleged abuse by Catholic priest now hopes story inspires others

MEMPHIS (TV)
News Channel 3

Nov. 21, 2919

By Nina Harrelson

As the number of priests and clergymen accused in the Catholic church sex abuse scandal grows, one survivor is sharing his story and hoping it will encourage others to come forward.

More than 40 years have passed, but for Ger Prendergast, not even decades can heal the emotional scars left behind from the sexual abuse he endured as a young boy in Ireland.

“I can’t even remember how many times, to be honest,” he said. “‘In the church or in his house. It happened in the school a couple times.”

He said a priest enticed him with little packets of heart candies with messages on them — “which I’ve never eaten since, can’t stand them,” he said — a slice of marble cake and a red apple.

He recalls the moment his priest hand-picked him from the classroom, at just 9 years old, asking for a volunteer.

Caritas expresses outrage over former director in Africa accused of abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 21, 2019

By Carol Glatz

Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of 165 national Catholic charities, has expressed sadness and outrage over incidents of child abuse by a Belgian Salesian priest who had been the national director of Caritas in the Central African Republic.

Caritas Internationalis in Rome released a written statement Nov. 21, the same day CNN published an investigative report outlining new accusations against Father Luk Delft, including his 2012 conviction in Belgium of two counts of child abuse and of possession of child pornography.

“Caritas Internationalis is assisting the local Caritas in the Central African Republic as it investigates the allegations, strengthens its safeguarding mechanisms and offers care and support to any possible victims and their families,” the statement said.

The new president of the US bishops has a broad appeal

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

Nov. 20, 2019

By Jordan Bloom

Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at the bishops’ general assembly in Baltimore last week. He received the votes of 176 other bishops, making him the overwhelming favourite. Archbishop Gómez, who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first Latino bishop to hold the position.

“The election to @USCCB president is an honor – not only for me, but also for @lacatholics and for every Latino Catholic in the country,” the archbishop said in a tweet. “I promise to serve with dedication and love, and to always try to follow Jesus Christ and seek his will for his Church here in the US.”

Archbishop Gómez is an outspoken supporter of immigration reform – a fact the media took notice of following his election. “The choice, on the same day that the Supreme Court heard the Trump administration’s argument to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, reflects the increasing importance of immigration as a moral and political issue for the church,” the New York Times wrote. “It also is a sign of the Church’s future: nearly 40 per cent of American Catholics are Hispanic.”

In a statement prior to DACA’s Supreme Court hearing, the archbishop said: “In this great country, we should not have our young people living under the threat of deportation, their lives dependent on the outcome of a court case.”

Archbishop Gómez is the author of Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation, which was favourably reviewed by Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter and by a Catholic Worker publication, suggesting that his appeal extends beyond conservative circles in the US Church, which regard the Opus Dei archbishop as a reliable defender of doctrine.

After years of defeat, two measures to overhaul child sex crimes laws are bound for governor’s desk

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Nov. 21, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

After years of fierce opposition and constitutional hurdles, Pennsylvania lawmakers on Thursday passed measures that will ease up restrictive child sex crime laws and give victims of sexual assault more time to file lawsuits against their abusers.

One measure - an amendment to the state Constitution - would give victims long barred from taking legal action against predators the opportunity to file civil lawsuits. Voters must ultimately approve the constitutional amendment.

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign the measures, which could be on his desk as early as today pending sign-off from both chambers of the Legislature.

“Governor Wolf is eager for the grand jury recommendations to be implemented and looks forward to signing the three bills into law,” J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for Wolf, said in a statement. “He thanks the brave victims that made these changes possible by sharing their stories and fighting for justice.”

Rep. Mark Rozzi, who had for years shepherded measures to reform the laws but consistently met with defeat, stood to a standing ovation from House members. Rozzi is a victim of clergy sex abuse.

The House approved Rozzi’s bill (House Bill 962) to revise the statute of limitations by a 182-5 vote.

“Justice is coming," Rozzi said. “On behalf of victims of sexual abuse across this Commonwealth, thank you."

The provisions of House Bill 962 and House Bill 963 will open a pathway for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek legal recourse. The measures, which had been stalled in the Legislature for years, broadly reform the statute of limitations and address the recommendations made by the scathing 2018 grand jury report into clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church statewide.

European priest sent to Africa abused kids

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Nov. 21, 2019

By Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, Katie Polglase, Bryony Jones and Alex Platt

A pedophile priest was sent to work for an aid organization helping vulnerable families in an African country, even though his Catholic order knew he had been convicted of abusing children years earlier in Europe, a CNN investigation has found.

Father Luk Delft is accused of abusing at least two other boys in the Central African Republic (CAR) while in a key role at Caritas, a leading Catholic charity.

The 50-year-old priest, from Belgium, was only removed from the post after CNN revealed the new accusations against him to his superiors in the Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order established specifically to protect children.

For years, the Salesians covered up Delft's abuse, moving him from post to post, and sending him to work in some of the world's most troubled places.

Despite the allegations he faced, and being convicted of abuse, he was allowed to maintain a high profile -- even receiving the sacrament at a service presided over by Pope Francis at the Vatican this year.

Delft's case also raises serious questions about the vetting process at one of the world's largest Catholic non-governmental organization (NGO) networks, and comes as the church struggles to turn the page on decades of sexual abuse scandals involving members of the clergy.

Alban Alain, now 17, and his family told CNN that Delft repeatedly sexually abused the teenager when they met at a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Kaga-Bandoro, CAR, four years ago.

"It's a horrible thing that he did to me," Alban, who was 13 when the alleged abuse began, told CNN.

Argentine prosecutor calls for international arrest of bishop accused of sex abuse

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Reuters

Nov. 21, 2019

By Cassandra Garrison

An Argentine criminal prosecutor has requested the arrest of a Catholic bishop after officials said he ignored repeated calls and emails about an investigation of sex abuse allegations against him.

The prosecutor in charge of gender violence and sex crimes for Oran, in the northern province of Salta, called for the arrest of Gustavo Zanchetta. The official request would need to be made by an Argentine judge, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said on Thursday.

Zanchetta, the former bishop of Oran, told Argentine officials that he lived in Vatican City, where he previously held a position in a top financial department, but could not be reached, according to a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.

Two Missouri dioceses criticized in new AP abuse investigation

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 21, 2019

Both the St. Louis archdiocese and the Kansas City diocese come under fire in a lengthy and alarming new Associated Press investigation into secretive, internal church panels that supposedly 'investigate' abuse reports. We call on bishops in both places to immediately revamp their boards and be more honest about who’s on them and how they operate.

In St. Louis, members of Archbishop Robert Carlson’s 'review board’ are not public identified. So it’s possible a fearful abuse victim could walk into a meeting and see their boss, neighbor or next door neighbor on that panel. This scares and discourages many victims from ever reporting the priest, nun, bishop, seminarian, brother or monk who sexually assaulted them. And that, in turn, keeps kids in harm’s way.

In Kansas City, members of Bishop James Johnston’s ‘review board’ “didn't always tell the review board about complaints against priests or give members all the evidence, according to an outside report commissioned by the diocese in 2011,” the AP reports. “Such failures enabled one priest (Fr. Shawn Ratigan) to stay on duty for several months after church workers found child pornography on his computer. In the end, he was caught again with more pornography and arrested, and Bishop Robert Finn was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse to secular authorities.”

The KC board now includes a nun, a priest and two lawyers. We have little or no faith that meaningful reforms have been taken by Johnston or his hand-picked panel.

We believe the flaws identified in the AP report are not accidental, isolated ‘mistakes’ or ‘oversights.’ Bishops and their lawyers are smart. They intentionally set up these panels to help with public relations and legal defense. They deliberately give the panels little power or access to information. Their goal is to give the appearance of change, rather than making actual change.

Senate passes long-sought lawsuit reforms for clergy sexual abuse victims

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital Star

November 20, 2019

By Elizabeth Hardison

Concluding more than three years of fervent and emotional activism, the state Senate gave its approval late Wednesday to package of bills that would give childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to sue and press criminal charges against their abusers.

Survivors and their advocates hailed the action by the Pennsylvania state Senate as a partial victory Wednesday night, though they lamented the fact that it may be years before they can take advantage of a provision allowing them to bring decades-old cases to court.

“What we did here tonight is monumental,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, a childhood victim of clergy abuse who has led the reform effort in the Capitol. “It’s been a long time coming but we can finally move victims on a path to justice.”

The legislation the Senate approved Wednesday implements four recommendations included in a 2018 grand jury report released by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office that that uncovered decades of abuse and coverup by thousands of priests in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses.

That report expanded a 2016 probe into clergy abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, which ignited the statute of limitations reform movement in the Commonwealth.

AP Investigation Lays Bare the Failures of Diocesan Review Boards

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 20, 2019

A new investigation by the Associated Press has shared with the public a disappointing and depressing truth that survivors and advocates have been talking about for years: that internal church review boards too often put the reputation of the institution above care for survivors and the protection of children. Now that this report has been widely published, we hope the public will join our calls for dramatic change into how dioceses handle allegations of abuse.

Diocesan review boards ostensibly exist to be a tool for church officials to investigate and respond to allegations of clergy abuse. But the report by the AP contains numerous experiences of survivors who felt like the review board existed to do the opposite and instead investigate the survivor who brought the claims forward and not the accused priest. Some boards do not even bother to hear from the survivor directly before dismissing their claims as “not credible” or “unsubstantiated,” terms that vary wildly from diocese to diocese.

Making matters worse, review board members are often kept secret from the public, allowing church officials to stack the boards with people who are sympathetic to the church. In some cases, priests accused of abuse have themselves served on these boards. It is no wonder then why so many survivors leave the review board process feeling victimized instead of validated. Similarly, keeping the identities of review board members secret means far fewer victims will step forward. What victim will report abuse fearing they may see their boss or next door neighbor or biggest customer sitting on that church panel when they walk into the room?

As the new head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for The Protection of Children and Young People, Kansas City Bishop James Johnston must take steps to reform these boards immediately. He can start by demanding that all dioceses around the country make their review board rosters public. He can follow that demand up by creating clear evidentiary standards, uniform across every diocese, that emphasize a focus on the credibility of the person coming forward and making an allegation, not adhering to some arbitrary number of accusers in order for an allegation to be “substantiated.”

Review board have long been a problem and we are grateful for this report for drawing attention to the many problems that exist with boards today. We hope that this pressure from the public and the media will finally make church officials recognize these problems and take steps to fix them. And we urge anyone who is considering reporting their abuse to make sure and report to secular law enforcement officials first.

A Program for Reform, Part Two

Patheos blog

Nov. 29, 2019

By Gabriel Blanchard

Let’s start with some suggestions for reforming authority structures in the Church, shall we? The power to avoid, dissemble, conceal, and reassign responsibility turned what might have been a series of local tragedies into a nationwide epidemic. The authority structure that enabled that needs to be checked, if not dismantled completely.

Now, I am not a professional canonist any more than I am an expert theologian, so some of the details and terminology in the following proposals may be off. I hope that doesn’t obscure any genuine value they have.

I. Reforms of Authority

1. A permanent papal legate (legatus a latere) shall be established, with authority over every diocese in the country. This office is not to be confused with the nunciature, an essentially diplomatic function; his office is closer to that of the apostolic visitor, but permanent. His principal task will be overseeing the conduct of the clergy, authorizing the immediate laicization of offending priests without further recourse to the Vatican, and the deposition of offending bishops and heads of religious communities with the Vatican’s confirmation. The idea here is both to place a check on bishops and religious, who have thus far shielded themselves pretty effectively from enduring any consequences either for abuses they have committed or for protecting guilty priests, and to accelerate the laicization of offenders in order to help protect victims and potential victims.

Catholic Boards Reviewing Sex Abuse Fail Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

Nov. 21, 2019

By Reese Dunklin, Matt Sedensky and Mitch Weiss

Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.

These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.

But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.

The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities. In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct. And many abuse survivors told the AP they faced hostility and humiliation from boards.

November 20, 2019

New Report Casts Doubt on Catholic Abuse Review Process

NEW YORK (NY)
National Review

Nov. 21, 2019

By By Tobias Hoonhout

An Associated Press investigation of the U.S. Catholic Church’s independent review boards for clergy sexual abuse found that they “broadly failed” to uphold accountability and fairness– by undermining abuse claims, protecting accused priests, and helping the Church avoid payouts.

The investigation “checked all the roughly 180 dioceses in the U.S. for information, reviewed thousands of pages of church and court records, and interviewed more than 75 abuse survivors, board members and others to uncover a tainted process where the church hierarchy holds the reins of power at every stage.”

Of the roughly 80 review boards it inspected, the AP found at least 40 bishops who created potential conflicts of interest by appointing “high-ranking aides and attorneys who defended the church or its priests in sex-assault cases.”

The AP found “dozens” of cases reviewed by independent diocesan boards that were later affirmed by secular authorities. It also found three cases of clergy serving on boards despite being accused of sexual misconduct themselves.

While many bishops contacted by the AP did not respond to requests for comment, several bishops defended the review boards as proof of the Church’s ability to reform. Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore acknowledged potential improvements, but said his diocese’s board “inspires confidence in the process.”

Accused priest's mental-health records to stay sealed

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post Gazette

Nov. 20, 2019

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday authorized the release of the name of a Catholic priest accused in a grand jury report of sexual abuse, but it kept a seal on references to his mental-health records.

The court voted 6-1 to grant the request of the petitioner, which it identified by initials as RML, to keep his mental-health history redacted, citing strict statutory restrictions on the release of mental-health medical records. The court prothonotary has 14 days to unseal the name of the priest and other details not pertaining to his treatment.

The ruling involved unfinished business from the mammoth 2018 grand jury report alleging sexual abuse by 300 Catholic priests from six dioceses across seven decades.

A small group of priests had petitioned successfully last year to the Supreme Court to keep their names redacted entirely, saying the accusations violated their right to reputation under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

RML, however, was not challenging the report for including his name, only for including information from his mental-health treatment. The court kept his name confidential while it considered that petition.

Celebrated LGBT priest Bernard J. Lynch abused Bronx Catholic school student: suit

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

Nov. 20, 2019

By Priscilla DeGregory

A Pennsylvania man claims that a gay Irish priest — who is celebrated for his work advocating for LGBT and AIDS causes — abused him 40 years ago at a Bronx Catholic high school, according to a new lawsuit.

The 57-year-old, who filed the court papers anonymously, says he was 16 when Campus Chaplain Bernard J. Lynch sexually abused him after Christian Club meetings at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx in 1978 and 1979, a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday alleges.

The accuser brought the case against the archdiocese, the high school and several other religious orders for negligently failing to look into why Lynch had “frequent transfers between assignments,” the court papers say.

The suit claims the school should have warned the teens family about Lynch.

“Defendants further breached their duties by hiding a pedophile and engaging in a cover-up of abuse perpetrated by Fr. Bernard Lynch,” the court documents charge.

The alleged victim has filed the suit in the wake of the Child Victims Act that went into effect in August, which allows people who were abused as kids to bring claims that have already passed outside the statute of limitations.

Pennsylvania Senate Committee Advances Three Reform Bills -- One Controversial

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 20, 2019

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced several reform bills aimed at increasing protections for children and supporting survivors of sexual violence. We are grateful for the continued attention to this critical issue and hope that Pennsylvanian stakeholders and victims can find a reform solution that works for all.

One of the bills, HB 962, would amend the state’s archaic statute of limitations law to allow victims until age 55 to file a lawsuit. Another bill, HB 963, would give survivors in Pennsylvania a two-year “window to justice,” allowing those victims whose claims were previously barred by statute of limitations an opportunity to bring their cases forward. However, the vehicle for this reform – using a constitutional referendum – is a controversial one. House Bill 1171 would clearly state that confidentiality agreements cannot prohibit someone from speaking to law enforcement. All three bills implement the recommendations made by last year’s grand jury, who uncovered horrific cases of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

But while HB 963 addresses a critical need, it unfortunately does so in a way that most survivors and advocates do not favor. Since it is an attempt to reform the state constitution, HB 963 will lead to a protracted process, one that will involve years of work and could still potentially fail. While we are supportive of the goal of this reform, we believe that legislators in Pennsylvania should be acting to reform those laws today, not kicking the can down the road. Consequently, victims are divided as to whether or not they should support this bill. Ultimately, however, we simply want to see this much needed reform get across the finish line.

These are critically needed bills that would put Pennsylvania’s laws more in line with the realities of sexual violence – many survivors suffer in silence for years due to shame, self-guilt, or fear of being disbelieved. The average age of a victim coming forward is 52. Due to these factors, reforming these laws is the only way that many survivors can have their day in court. Additionally, these lawsuits would bring to light previously hidden information about abusers and their enablers. Getting this documentation into the hands of parishioners and parents can help to protect children and the vulnerable in the present time.

Statute of limitations reform has been a challenging fight in Pennsylvania, and Catholic officials in the state have spent much money and energy working against these new laws. We hope that Church leaders will use their funds in other ways and stop working to prevent survivors from having their day in court.

Dallas Police Department Investigation into Clergy Abuse Stalled Due to Legal Order

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 20, 2019

Six months after raiding diocesan offices, investigators with the Dallas Police Department have had their attempts to review files stymied by diocesan lawyers and legal technicalities.

Once again it feels like Catholic officials treat transparency as a buzzword to be trotted out for the media but not followed. It is disappointing to learn that the records seized by the DPD have yet to be seen by investigators, and frustrating to know that Church leaders in Dallas are still impeding the efforts of law enforcement.

Six months ago, when investigators first raided his diocese, Dallas’ Bishop Edward Burns defiantly told the press “and so we say, by all means, look.” If Catholic officials really believed in transparency and wanted the public to be informed, they would let the DPD do their job. But by quietly operating behind the scenes they show that they care more about their reputation than the truth.

Church leaders claim that files were taken at random and that the police took too many documents during the raid. Yet multiple secular investigations – from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma to Colorado – have shown that allegations of abuse can be scattered throughout various files and kept in odd places, so Dallas’ Catholic officials request to the judge that files “that do not involve allegations of abuse” be returned seems counter to the public statement of "by all means, look.” More to the point, how will investigators at the DPD even know which files are related to abuse and which are not unless they are able to review the files themselves?

Former Alaskan Chancellor Avoids Criminal Charges in Michigan

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 20, 2019

A formerly high-ranking Alaskan Catholic official – once accused of molesting and threatening to kill a ten year old – just dodged criminal charges. We call on every current and former Alaska church employee to take steps to help police and urge others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by the cleric so he might be charged again, convicted and kept away from children and the vulnerable.

Last year, Fr. Timothy Crowley was arrested and charged with eight counts of child sexual abuse. Last month, however, citing the statute of limitations, a judge reluctantly said those charges had to be dropped.

Abusers commonly have more than one victim and we believe that there are likely others who were hurt by Fr. Crowley and could pursue new charges against him. Catholic church staff now have a moral duty to help find and support those other victims.

First, Juneau BishopAndrew Bellisario (Alaska’s highest ranking church official and the temporary head of the Anchorage archdiocese) should lead this effort and encourage his flock help. He can start by posting a list of credibly accused child molesting cleric on their diocesan website and including Fr. Crowley on that list. Many survivors suffer in silence but seeing the name of the person who abused them listed publicly as an abuser can encourage them to come forward, make a report, and seek help.

But other church workers can’t passively and irresponsibly sit back waiting – perhaps fruitlessly – for the church hierarchy to act responsibly. They must do all in their power to spread the word about the case against Fr. Crowley so that the full truth about his wrongdoing can be told. Action helps justice happen. Inaction helps predators escape justice.

Volunteer Charged with Sexually Abusing a Child at Vacation Bible School, More Victims Suspected

CHARLESTON (WV)
Legal Examiner

Nov. 20, 2019

A man who volunteered at a Charleston church’s Vacation Bible School has been accused of sexually abusing a child at the school. 50-year-old Rhett Aaron Bowen is charged with first-degree sexual abuse.

Police have accused Bowne of engaging in sexual contact with an underage boy while working as a volunteer for the Vacation Bible School. It is not clear when this alleged abuse is believed to have taken place.

According to the Charleston Police Department, more victims have contacted the department to report that they were also sexually abused by Bowen. According to a press release, Bowen is suspected of frequenting locations in Kanawha City where children often congregate.

Anyone with information related to this case has been asked to contact the Charleston Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 304-348-6480.

Interview with Monsignor Craig Harrison's Attorney

BAKERFIELD (CA)
23 ABC-TV Bakersfield

November 14, 2019

[VIDEO]

INTERVIEW: Monsignor Craig Harrison's Attorney Kyle Humphrey speaks after Merced County District Attorney’s Office said it will not file criminal charges.

Merced County District Attorney’s Office will not file criminal charges against Monsignor Craig Harrison

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 24 News

Nov. 15, 2019

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office has decided to not file criminal charges against Monsignor Craig Harrison.

Officials said in a news release on Friday, that its investigation into allegations of inappropriate touching by Monsignor Harrison was conducted by the Merced Police Department and was started after a confidential victim came forward in April. All of the incidents that witnesses detailed allegedly happened in Merced County in 1987 and 1988, officials said.

In July, The Bakersfield Police Department closed an investigation on Monsignor Craig Harrison involving allegations of misdemeanor sexual battery that happened in the early 1990s. The department claimed that the case does not meet established standards for a recommendation for filing of criminal charges.

According to the release from the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, officials determined, "that all available evidence and leads had been identified and exhausted" in October. The district attorney's office added, "Based upon the factual circumstances of this case, the filing of charges is prohibited by the applicable statute of limitations; therefore, no charges will be issued."

In September, Monsignor Harrison filed a second slander lawsuit over sexual misconduct accusations made against him by alleged victims.

Bills paving way for lawsuits by child sex abuse survivors move closer to approval in Harrisburg

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

Nov. 20, 2019

By Ford Turner

A pair of bills that would open new legal avenues in Pennsylvania for action by survivors of child sexual abuse ― sponsored by two lawmakers who are themselves survivors ― have moved ahead in Harrisburg this week as the result of a bipartisan deal.

Both measures were approved by the state House in April and by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. They received a preliminary approval Tuesday from the full Senate. A final vote could come Wednesday.

Berks County state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat who is prime sponsor of one of the bills and who has pushed for legislation on behalf of victims since his 2012 election, said a deal with Republican legislative leadership allowed the bills to progress.

In it, Rozzi agreed that instead of seeking a change in state law to carry out a key component ― the opening of a two-year window for civil lawsuits by victims regardless of when they were abused ― proponents would seek a change in the state constitution.

Catholic priest sentenced to 45 days in jail for assault after sex crime charge dropped

DETROIT (MI)
Fox 2 Detroit

Nov. 20, 2019

A Detroit Catholic priest was sentenced to jail time and probation Wednesday after pleading guilty to aggravated assault while his sex crime charge was dropped.

Officials say 55-year-old Patrick Casey of Archdiocese of Detroit was initially charged with one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. That charge was for allegedly performing oral sex on a man during confession "while acting as the victim's spiritual counselor," according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Casey, who was a priest at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish in Westland, took a plea to a lesser charge after the jury came back hung in his October trial. Prosecutors dropped the criminal sexual conduct charge, while he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.

On Wednesday, Casey was sentenced 1-year probation with 45 days in jail.

Verdicts against Próvolo priests accused of sexually abusing deaf children due Monday

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

Nov. 20, 2019

Verdicts against Próvolo priests accused of sexually abusing deaf children due Monday
Lawyers ask for sentences of up to 50 years in the 'Próvolo' abuse case, in which two priests and a gardener are accused of rape and sexual assualt of minors at institute for deaf children in Mendoza.

Sentences in the so-called 'Próvolo' abuse case, in which two priests and a gardener stand accused of sexually abusing deaf children in their care, will be handed down next week as the curtain begins to close on a case that has sent shockwaves through Argentina's Catholic Church.

Priests Nicola Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and 61-year-old Argentine Horacio Corbacho, as well as former gardener Armando Gómez, 51, are accused of sexual abuse, corruption of children and mistreatment at a Catholic school for deaf children, for which they could face up to 50 years in jail. Criminal Court No. 2 of Mendoza, led by judges Carlos Díaz, Aníbal Crivelli, and Mauricio Juan, will hand down their verdict on Monday.

The case relates to the alleged abuse of around 20 children from the Próvolo Institute in the western town of Mendoza, founded in 1995, which Corradi headed until his arrest in November 2016. The priests have been charged with 28 alleged crimes, including rape and sexual abuse, aggravated by their positions as guardians of minors.

A fourth person was charged, 57-year-old administrator Jorge Bordón. Just over a year ago, he broke his silence to acknowledge participation in at least 11 acts of abuse. In a shortened trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail, after lawyers for the defence and the prosecution agreed a plea deal.

Priest sentenced in AG’s clergy abuse investigation

LANSING (MI)
Fox 17 News

Nov. 20, 2019

One of six Catholic priests charged in an investigation by the attorney general’s office received his sentence Wednesday.

Patrick Casey, 56, will serve 45 days in jail, one year of probation and have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in October.

Charges came amid Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation of clergy abuse. Prosecutors say Casey coerced a man who came to him for counseling into performing sexual acts in 2013, which was reported to the Archdiocese in Detroit in 2015.

He has been barred from priestly ministries while his case is under review at the Vatican.

Two priests from West Michigan have also been charged in the probe: Brian Stanley of Coloma and Jacob Vellian of Benton Harbor.

Stanley is charged with one count of false imprisonment for allegedly wrapping a teen boy in plastic wrap and holding him against his will in the janitor’s room at St. Margaret’s Church in 2013.

Former altar boys sue Pittsburgh diocese alleging years of sexual abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Nov. 20, 2019

By Tom Davidson

Two former alter boys have accused a priest of more than three years of almost daily sexual abuse in the 1980s, according to a 27-page lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop David A. Zubik and St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in McDonald.

The diocese has yet to be served with the suit, filed Tuesday in Allegheny County court, according to spokeswoman Ellen Mady, who said she couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

The suit was filed on behalf of two men who live in McDonald who are represented by Texas-based attorneys.

The Rev. Francis Pucci is the priest accused of the abuse, which allegedly started in 1981 when the boys were 11 and 13. Pucci groomed both boys and others who served as altar boys at the church, according to the lawsuit.

Pucci’s alleged actions were mentioned in a grand jury report of priest sexual abuse in Pennsylvania released in 2018 and was said to be part of a ring of predatory priests who preyed on children in the Pittsburgh Diocese, according to the lawsuit.

In 1988, abuse by Pucci was investigated but not prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired, according to the lawsuit. Pucci retired in 1992 and died in 2002.

Pucci, who was ordained in 1957 and served as a priest for 30 years, was transferred to different parishes 13 times in his career and spent the last five years of his priesthood on what the church called medical leave. The lawsuit states that leave was treatment for sexual disorders.

Poly Prep grad from class of ’76 files sexual abuse suit

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

Nov. 19, 2019

By Larry McShane

A newly-filed sexual abuse lawsuit recounts how a former Poly Prep high school football star was allegedly kissed, groped and rubbed by a predatory Episcopal priest teaching at the scandal-scarred Brooklyn school in the mid-1970s.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, was “filled with confusion, anxiety and self-loathing,” read the 16-page Brooklyn Supreme Court suit filed Tuesday. “He had suicidal thoughts as a way to make the pain and shame stop ... He was haunted by the fact that the first person that ever kissed him was (his teacher)."

The accuser, now more than 60 years old, was just 15 when he was first targeted over a two-year period, according to the lawsuit. He told no one about what happened for decades, but finally filed his suit 43 years after graduation as part of the Child Victims Act look-back period.

Priest seeks light sentence, says he was ‘too busy’ to abuse girls

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP TV

Nov. 20, 2019

By Neal Augenstein

A Catholic priest who faces more than 45 years in prison when he’s sentenced Friday for sexually abusing two girls is maintaining his innocence, telling a judge he “was too busy to do a crazy thing.”

Urbano Vazquez, 47, was found guilty of child sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances for sexually assaulting two girls from his parish — 13 and 9 years old — between 2015 and 2017, while Vazquez was an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Northwest D.C.

On Friday, Vazquez will be sentenced by Circuit Judge Juliet McKenna, who oversaw his jury trial.

In a pre-sentencing memo, defense attorney Robert Bonsib asked McKenna to consider Vazquez’s lack of previous criminal record, years of service in the religious community, as well as punishment already endured.

The defense’s plea included a nine-page handwritten note from Vazquez to the judge. In the letter, Vazquez detailed his life story: from being born in Mexico, participating in volunteer work and his religious training to being ordained a priest five years ago in Pittsburgh.

After being transferred to Sacred Heart, located at the junction of the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods, his duties include leading wedding masses, funerals, first communions, confirmations and hearing confessions.

However, Vazquez’s note made no mention of his victims, or the crimes he was convicted of committing.

Priest protest staged outside Bishop of Motherwell’s residence

LANARKSHIRE (SCOTLAND)
Motherwell.Times

Nov. 20, 2019

Supporters of a Roman Catholic priest suspended after making gay bullying claims have staged a protest outside their bishop’s residence in Bellshill.

More than 60 demonstrators, many holding placards, demanded the reinstatement of Fr Matthew Despard who is from Motherwell.

The protest was held exactly six years after the priest was suspended from his parish position in Blantyre.

Fr Despard, 54, was disciplined after writing and publishing ‘Priesthood in Crisis’ .

The book made claims of sexual bullying within the church.

It was withdrawn after a church tribunal ruled the contents were defamatory.

Fr Despard was suspended in 2013.

He formally quit his role at St John Ogilvie Church three years ago.

Advocate for victims of clergy abuse taking his message to Asia, Europe

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB TB

Nov. 19, 2019

By Chris Horvatits

A Western New Yorker is taking his fight against clergy sex abuse overseas. James Faluszczak, a critic of how the abuse crisis has been handled by the Church worldwide and in the Diocese of Buffalo is visiting Japan and Rome this month.

“I will stand in solidarity with victims in Japan and in Rome,” Faluszczak said.

Faluszczak, a former priest now working locally as an advocate for victims, has frequently stood outside the Catholic Center in Buffalo in protest of the diocese and Bishop Richard Malone. Now, he’s preparing to stand side-by-side with victims in Japan, 6,000 miles away, where Pope Francis will be visiting later this week.

“I hope to draw greater attention to the Church’s internal proceedings of secrecy that govern the investigation of priests and bishops,” Faluszczak said.

Pope Francis left Rome Tuesday for his Asian tour, which will also include a stop in Thailand. Faluszczak will then follow the pope back to Rome, where the bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey will make an “ad limina” visit, similar to the one the bishops of New York State, including Malone, made last week.

On Monday, Malone said he had a brief discussion with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, while he was in Rome. Malone said the congregation is currently in possession of a report prepared by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas Dimarzio, who was sent to Buffalo on an Apostolic Visitation by Pope Francis in October.

Sports coach, Scarsdale Catholic school named in child sex abuse suit

ROCKLAND COUNTY (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Nov. 19, 2019

By Frank Esposito

A former youth sports coach is accused of molesting a student at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Scarsdale in a Child Victims Act case filed earlier this month.

Edwin Gaynor, of Ossining, was accused of fondling David Fox and possibly others during gym class during the early 1960s, according to a case filed in Westchester County civil court.

The suit also accuses that the Archdiocese of New York knew about the abuse and instead of dealing with the issue, moved Gaynor to other schools. No other schools are mentioned in the lawsuit.

The moving of Gaynor from facility to facility was consistent with a practice called "move the trash," said plaintiff attorney Barbra Hart of White Plains-based Lowey Dannenberg in the lawsuit.

This latest lawsuit is one of more than 1,000 cases filed under the New York Child Victims Act, a law which allows people to sue for abuse regardless of the statute of limitations.

The final Mass at St. Mary's Church in Haverstraw, during the Feast of the Assumption, was held Aug. 15, 2015. The church is being merged with nearby St. Peter's Church under the Archdiocese of New York's "Making All Things New" plan. The church was founded in 1898.

The jazz writer: Jason Berry's quest to understand the place where he's from

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 20, 2019

By Tom Roberts

Jason Berry loves character-driven narrative. He's good at writing it, sending wonderfully drawn figures, whether wretches of the clerical sort or zany, colorful Louisianans, on journeys along a tight weave of data and history.

And himself? Berry, who recently turned 70, is a character who's bounced between those poles, the weave supporting him a mix of his intense examination of the ugliest side of Catholic reality and the soul-restoring gumbo of Louisiana life, particularly his hometown New Orleans.

NCR has run tens of thousands of Berry's words on our pages in the past three-plus decades, but we've never spoken to him or about him much in these spaces. This is a stab at doing that, a gathering up of conversations that have gone on for years and, more recently, during the months since the release of his latest work, City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at Year 300.

Full disclosure is warranted: Berry and I count each other as friends, meeting first as deliverer and recipient, respectively, of pitches for stories about the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal; then as writer and editor going round for round over the words, the data, the characters, the numbers; and spending hours on conference calls with lawyers vetting stories that delivered the details of ecclesial corruption — sexual and financial.

Sexual abuse: The challenge facing the African Church

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

Nov. 19, 2019

By Lucie Sarr

La Croix Africa conducted a survey to find out how Pope Francis' motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world), has been received in Africa and how the African bishops' conferences have absorbed its message to tackle sexual abuse in the Church.

"Our local culture is sometimes a culture of shame. If there are subjects we are not sure about, we do not know how to talk about them," Burkinabe Jesuit Father Paul Béré, a teacher at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, said in June.

The 2019 Ratzinger Prize winner analyzed the resistance in Africa to the issue of sexual abuse in the Church. He also felt that the binding nature of Pope Francis' motu proprio, published in May, would be an opportunity for Africa to overcome the cultural barriers to managing sexual abuse.

Could priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse be walking among us - without our knowledge?

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO TV

Nov. 19, 2019

By Paula Christian, Craig Cheatham and Dan Monk

The month after the Vatican removed Pater from priestly ministry, a small Episcopal Church in Lincoln Heights hired him as the director of music. He played the organ there for more than five years and prepared choir music.

It’s part of a disturbing pattern in which local Catholic church officials failed to track priests accused of abuse, didn’t disclose to the public all of the names of priests with credible allegations and still refuse to answer questions about why more information isn’t available.

In a three-month investigation the WCPO I-Team also discovered more than 50 Roman Catholic priests and brothers with ties to the Tri-State who had accusations of sexual abuse, but do not appear on any local list published by church leaders.

“The Catholic church has still not developed any mechanism for following these priests,” said attorney Konrad Kircher, who has represented 90 alleged abuse survivors in lawsuits against the church in Ohio.

Attorney Konrad Kircher has represented 90 survivors in lawsuits against the Catholic Church.
As a young priest, Pater worked at St. Charles in Kettering from 1979 to 1982, where he started a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl who was grieving over the sudden death of her brother.

From there Pater joined the Vatican diplomatic corps, serving in Africa, Australia, India and Rome. When he returned home on vacation, the abuse survivor, who is known as Jane Doe in court filings, claimed Pater continued a sexual relationship with her.

Hollywood Woman Is Suing LA's Catholic Archdiocese Under A New Child Abuse Law

LOS ANGELES (CA)
LAist

Nov. 19, 2019

By Aaron Shrank

A Filipino American woman from Hollywood who says she was abused by a Catholic priest in Gardena as a child is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The case may be the first civil suit to target the country's largest Catholic diocese since California passed a law last month extending the statute of limitations for child abuse survivors.

Aimee Galicia Torres, 34, says Fr. Honesto Bayranta Bismonte, who she knew as 'Lolo Nes' or 'Grandpa Nes' began sexually abusing her in 1993, when she was 8. The abuse allegedly continued until Torres was 12.

Torres' civil lawsuit, filed in L.A. County Superior Court last week, alleges the abuse took place at her aunt's house while Bismonte was serving as a priest at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Gardena.

"No matter how much I tried, he was always stronger — pulling me closer and groping me harder," said Torres, at a news conference Tuesday announcing the suit. "I had always wished my aunt would come through the door and stop what was happening to me. I carried this big secret for years. I came from a very strict Filipino Catholic upbringing, so how could I tell my family what was going on?"

Defrocked priest will head to court, accused of molesting altar boys in Bucks County

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Nov. 19, 2019

By Vinny Vella

A defrocked priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will head to court next month, accused of fondling two altar boys at a Bucks County church more than 20 years ago.

Francis Trauger, 74, faces charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors for allegedly fondling two preteen altar boys at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Tullytown, his last assignment before being defrocked in 2005. The incidents took place in the late ’90s and early 2000s, according to investigators.

During a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, District Judge Robert L. Wagner Jr. held Trauger’s case for trial on all charges. Wagner rejected a motion from Trauger’s attorney, Brian McVan, that the prosecution is improper and violates federal law.

McVan acknowledged that filing charges against Trauger was permissible under state law because of recent extensions to the statute of limitations, but said federal courts have ruled that judges should apply the law that was in place at the time of the alleged crimes.

Reverend Gori Accused of Abuse and Still on Board of Trustees

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Villanovan

Nov. 19, 2019

By Thomas Hughes & Emily Cox

After conducting basic research on the Board of Trustees, we stumbled upon an allegation of sexual abuse against a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, Reverend Peter G. Gori O.S.A., JCD. Last April, Rev. Gori was accused of sexual abuse against a minor by a man over allegations of abuse from the late 1980s and early 1990s. The man alleged that the abuse occurred when he was ten years old. Following the reports of this abuse, the Archdiocese of Boston announced that Gori was placed on administrative leave at his Andover Church.

“The Archdiocese immediately informed law enforcement as well as forwarded the matter to his religious provincial, the Augustinian Order of St. Thomas of Villanova,” the Archdiocese of Boston said in a statement. “The Augustinian Province will be responsible for investigating the case involving Fr. Gori,” the statement continued.

After Gori’s dismissal, he wrote a letter to his parishioners in which he denied the allegation. “I assure you, as I assured the provincial, the accusation is false,” Gori wrote. “I cannot live in the parish rectory, and I cannot publicly celebrate the sacraments without special permission. So, you will not be seeing me for a while, and I appreciate your prayerful support.”

Earlier this year, additional allegations of verbal abuse were also levied against Gori from a former member of his parish from incidents that had allegedly occurred over 25 years ago. In response to the allegation of verbal abuse, he issued a statement to the Boston Globe saying that he is “forbidden to comment on any matters pertaining to any specific annulment cases” but insisted that be had “acted with professional skill, integrity and compassion at all times.”

Gori has sat on the Board of Trustees at Villanova since 2013. When asked for comment on the matter, the University provided The Villanovan with the following statement:

“This past spring, the University was made aware of allegations made against Father Peter Gori, an Augustinian priest and member of our Board of Trustees. The Augustinian Order directed that an independent investigation be conducted regarding the allegations. While that investigation was proceeding, Fr. Gori was on leave from the Board. The investigation was recently concluded, and the Augustinian Order informed us that the investigation found the complaint to be unfounded and exonerated Fr. Gori, who has now returned to the Board of Trustees.”

94-year-old priest from La Crosse to be tried next year for sexual assault

LACROSSE (WI)
WIZM Radio

Nov. 19, 2019

By Brad Williams

A Catholic monsignor from La Crosse is scheduled to go on trial next year on a 4th-degree sexual assault charge.

A trial date of April 17th has been set for Bernard McGarty, who’s accused of trying to pay a woman for sex outside the La Crosse Public Library.

McGarty will turn 95 in January.

He entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ back in June.

Besides allegedly offering a woman money for sex, McGarty is accused of putting the woman’s hand on his genitals.

Police say the incident happened earlier this year, on a park bench outside the library on Main Street.

The monsignor was placed on leave by the La Crosse Diocese after he was charged.

Former altar boys sue Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese over alleged sexual abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE TV

Nov. 19, 2019

Two men who were formerly altar boys at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in McDonald, filed a 28-page lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging sexual abuse by a priest at the church in the 1980s.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, current bishop David Zubik and St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

An attorney for the men writes the abuse began in the early 80s, with his clients joining St. Alphonsus Catholic School when they were 11 and 13 years old. Both soon became altar boys.

Both claims they were abused by Rev. Francis Pucci, who, according to the lawsuit, was ordained in May 1957 and transferred 13 times in his 30-year career.

Pucci retired in 1992 and died in 2002.

The lawsuit alleges the boy who was 11 when he joined the school was groomed by Rev. Pucci, who allegedly used information about the boy’s desire for a girlfriend to make him feel closer to the priest.

The boy who was 13 when he joined the school said the sexual abuse by Rev. Pucci included molestation on trips outside the church.

Rev. Pucci was named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report that came out in August 2018 that named 300 members of clergy in the state who were connected to or involved in sex crimes.

According to the attorney for the plaintiffs, the report established

a long history and pattern of child sex abuse by catholic clergy, include Rev. Pucci, as well as the practice of hiding and protecting priests who were accused or suspected.

The plaintiffs in the case are demanding a jury trial.

November 19, 2019

Syracuse diocese puts priest on leave amid new sex abuse allegations

SYRACUSE (NY)
Post Standard

Nov. 20, 2019

By Geoff Herbert

A Central New York priest has been placed on administrative leave amid new sex abuse allegations in a lawsuit.

The Utica Observer-Dispatch reports Rev. Paul Angelicchio, a pastor at St. John the Baptist Church and Transfiguration Church in Rome, has been accused of child sexual abuse between 1980 and 1981 in a new civil lawsuit. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse announced this week that Angelicchio is taking a voluntary leave while the church investigates the allegations.

Additional details of the allegations have not been disclosed, but the diocese notified the district attorney in Onondaga County, where the abuse allegedly took place.

According to NewsChannel 9 WSYR, the unidentified accuser is seeking monetary damages relating to the alleged abuse.

Angelicchio was previously accused of child sexual abuse in 2016, but Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said his office found no proof, evidence or corroborating witness to back up the allegation. Angelicchio was similarly placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Before coming to Rome in 2011, Angelicchio was pastor of Our Lady of Pompei/St. Peter Church in Syracuse for eight years and served as pastor of Holy Family Church in Syracuse. He also was a parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Valley Drive in Syracuse during the 1980s.

From 1977 to 1999, he also served as police chaplain for the city of Syracuse.

POPE FRANCIS AND THE AMERICAN BISHOPS

NEW YORK (NY)
First Things

Nov. 19, 2019

By Philip Lawler

During the most significant debate of last week’s meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia rose to decry any suggestion that the American bishops are at odds with Pope Francis, “because that isn’t true.” That interpretation of the relationship between the U.S. and Rome “sets up an artificial battle between the bishops’ conference of the United States and the Holy Father which isn’t true,” he said. He rejected a brother bishop’s argument, based on that interpretation, “because it isn’t true.”

In the space of less than 30 seconds, Chaput said three times that a popular narrative “isn’t true.” Was he stating a fact, or voicing a plaintive hope? Or was he protesting too much?

The perception of tensions between the USCCB and the Roman pontiff might be traced back to the pope’s remarks during an in-flight interview in September, when he told a New York Times reporter: “For me it’s an honor that Americans attack me.” (To be fair, the pope was not then referring to the American bishops; he was speaking about a new book, How America Wants to Change the Pope, in which author Nicolas Seneze posits an American media campaign to subvert papal authority.) Father Antonio Spadaro, the pope’s close Jesuit adviser, has on several occasions complained that Americans are leading the opposition to the papal agenda.

Or the tensions could date back to last year’s USCCB meeting, when the Vatican intervened at the eleventh hour to stop the American bishops from voting to hold bishops accountable for negligence in handling sex-abuse complaints—and then hinted to reporters, inaccurately, that the American prelates had not given the Vatican proper notice of their plans.

Or the tensions could reflect the “great frustration” that Cardinal Sean O’Malley reported last week, as he told his fellow Americans that the Vatican was still not ready to produce a long-overdue explanation of Rome’s involvement in the rise of Theodore McCarrick.

Then, on the eve of the bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, the leadership of the USCCB felt compelled to issue a highly unusual negative appraisal of a book about the pope. Wounded Shepherd, by Austen Ivereigh, “perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the US bishops’ conference,” lamented the USCCB’s administrative board. It is noteworthy that the same book was reviewed favorably by the Vatican News Service.

Ohio News Investigation Reveals More Secrecy from Catholic Officials in Ohio and Kentucky

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 19, 2019

A three-month investigation into cases of clergy sex crimes and cover ups by Cincinnati journalists has revealed disturbing facts and secrets, including that more than half of the accused priests in the tri-state area have never been publicly listed by Catholic officials.

Once again, secular investigations have resulted in more transparency and openness than has been shown by Church officials. The WCPO investigation clearly demonstrates that children and vulnerable adults are still at risk in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky because Catholic leaders still put their convenience and reputation ahead of keeping communities informed and children safe.

According to WCPO, at least 92 priests who worked or lived in the Diocese of Covington KY or Archdiocese of Cincinnati OH have been publicly accused of abuse. Yet Catholic officials in the two dioceses have less than half of that number listed. And making matters worse, WCPO has discovered at least 12 of those clergymen are neither monitored nor known to the public, echoing findings from investigations by USA Today and the AP.Catholics in Covington should demand that their Bishop, Roger Foys, immediately release a list of proven, admitted and publicly accused child molesting clerics. This step has been taken by most of the bishops in the US and it is inexcusable that this information was released by journalists before it was released by the Church officials who ordained, trained, and then quietly moved those priests accused of abuse.

Similarly, Catholics in Cincinnati should demand that Archbishop Dennis Schnurr not only update his list of accused clerics, but should also publicly explain the discrepancies between his list and that released by WCPO. Especially in the light of the Fr. Geoff Drew scandal earlier this year, it seems to us that Church officials in Cincinnati have a lot of explaining to do.

Three Jesuit Priests Named in Abuse Lawsuits in Albuquerque

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 18, 2019

Three Jesuit priests in New Mexico have been named in newly filed lawsuits for clergy sexual abuse. One of them was still an active clergyman until this complaint was filed. We applaud the brave survivors who brought forth these claims and hope the news inspires other victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers to come forward to police and prosecutors.

All three cases allege abuse while the victims were parishioners at Immaculate Conception Church in Santa Fe and involve allegations ranging from 1968 up to 2011. In the latter case, the survivor claims that he was abused by Fr. Patrick Hough and that Jesuit officials knew the priest was interested in teenage boys. In the former case, the victim alleges that she was plied with alcohol and abused by two priests, Fr. Gerald Armstrong and the Fr. Alvin Pilie, beginning when she was in the first grade at a nearby school.

This is the first allegation made against Fr. Hough. Church officials have known of the claims against Fr. Armstrong and Fr. Pilie since at least 2009 when it was first reported but determined that the report was "not credible" through an internal investigation.

Former Alaskan Chancellor Avoids Criminal Charges in Michigan

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 19, 2019

A formerly high-ranking Alaskan Catholic official – once accused of molesting and threatening to kill a ten year old – just dodged criminal charges. We call on every current and former Alaska church employee to take steps to help police and urge others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by the cleric so he might be charged again, convicted and kept away from children and the vulnerable.

Last year, Fr. Timothy Crowley was arrested and charged with eight counts of child sexual abuse. Last month, however, citing the statute of limitations, a judge reluctantly said those charges had to be dropped.

Abusers commonly have more than one victim and we believe that there are likely others who were hurt by Fr. Crowley and could pursue new charges against him. Catholic church staff now have a moral duty to help find and support those other victims.

First, Juneau Bishop Andrew Bellisario (Alaska’s highest ranking church official and the temporary head of the Anchorage archdiocese) should lead this effort and encourage his flock help. He can start by posting a list of credibly accused child molesting cleric on their diocesan website and including Fr. Crowley on that list. Many survivors suffer in silence but seeing the name of the person who abused them listed publicly as an abuser can encourage them to come forward, make a report, and seek help.

Four statute of limitations reform bills pass committee, head to Senate for a vote

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Chelsea Koerbler

Four bills that will reform statute of limitations laws for child sex abuse survivors are headed to the senate for a vote. The bills were unanimously voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday afternoon.

Just moments before the vote, State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a democrat from Berks County, long time fighter for reform, sponsor of one of the bills, and a child sex abuse survivor himself address the committee.

“I believe it’s time we protect little Mark Rozzi in the future," said Rozzi. "That it never happens to another child in the Commonwealth again.”

All three child sex abuse reform bills based the Senate Judiciary Committee. Following the votes Representatives Rozzi and Jim Gregory embraced as their partnered bills now head to the Senate floor.

“To be able to speak and make a difference for the people who are joining mark and I thrivers," said Rep. Gregory, a republican from Blain County. "We were victims and survivors but now we want to thrive.”

Rozzi's bill would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations and raise the age a child sex abuse survivor can file a civil suit to 55-years-old. Gregory's bill would create a ballot question to amend the state's constitution to allow survivors a two-year window to sue their abuser.

Friar travel conditions to be revised

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

Nov. 19, 2019

By Kay Stephens

Travel conditions are to be revised for the pair of Franciscan friars sentenced in May 2018 to five years’ probation on a child endangerment misdemeanor count in connection with a fellow friar and suspected child predator.

Senior Judge Jolene G. Kopriva said Monday that she would prepare an order, with input from the Blair County Adult Parole and Probation Office, to address travel-related requests from Robert D’Aversa, 72, and Anthony Criscitelli, 65, of Hollidaysburg.

Attorneys for both friars asked in court Monday for their clients’ probation to be modified in ways that will make it easier for them to travel.

The attorneys did not ask for the probation to be terminated early as reported incorrectly in Saturday’s Mirror. Early termination, however, may be an option about a year from now when D’Aversa and Criscitelli finish half of their five-year probationary sentences, as long as they remain in compliance with all probationary conditions.

In support of their request, attorney Robert Ridge, on behalf of D’Aversa, and attorney James Knaus, on behalf of Criscitelli, referred to travel-related issues their clients have been encountering while on probation.

Judge: Trust fund can’t be used to pay victims of clergy abuse in Pittsburgh diocese

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Nov. 19, 2019

By Tom Davidson

The Pittsburgh Diocese can’t use an $8 million trust fund intended to help needy boys to pay victims of clergy sexual abuse, an Allegheny County judge has ordered.

Judge Lawrence O’Toole issued a three paragraph order last week dismissing the diocesan request to use the 120-year-old Toner Trust that’s valued at more than $8 million to pay claims filed with the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program on the diocese.

Diocesan spokeswoman Ellen Mady and its attorney, Robert Ridge, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The attempt to use the trust fund to settle abuse claims was opposed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Allegheny County Orphan’s Court.

“The Pittsburgh diocese unlawfully attempted to use the Toner Trust to avoid transparency and accountability. Clergy abuse victims deserve better. That’s why we went to court to stop the diocese and successfully block this unlawful misuse of charitable funds,” Shapiro said in a statement.

The trust was left to the diocese by Westmoreland County farmer and politician James L. Toner of Derry Township.

Christianity is declining at a rapid pace, but Americans still hold positive views about religion’s role in society

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

Nov. 15, 2019

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Despite public concerns about religious groups and a loss of respect for clergy in general, a new poll from the Pew Research Center suggests many Americans still see religion generally having a positive role for Christianity.

Christianity has been rapidly declining in the United States while the number of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated is growing. Gallup polls have found a massive, three-decade fall in confidence in “organized religion” from as high as 66 percent in the mid-1980s to 36 percent in 2019. Pope Francis’s image has declined in multiple surveys in the wake of new revelations about sex abuse scandals.

But Pew’s survey, published Friday, finds that Americans hold more positive views of religion’s role overall and concerns about it declining. Fifty-five percent say churches and religious organizations do more good than harm in society (compared with 20 percent of people who think it does more harm than good). Similar majorities say religious organizations strengthen morality in society (53 percent), and 50 percent say they bring people together.

Senate committee approves child sex abuse legislation

HARRISBURG (PA)
WHTM TV

Nov. 19, 2019

By Matt Heckel

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed three bills aimed at reforming the state’s statute of limitations law on Monday.

House Bill 962 would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse until the age of 55 to file a lawsuit against their abuser. The current law gives them until age 30. The bill would also eliminate the criminal statute.​

The bill was amended to allow payment for counseling to be paid from the victims’ compensation fund.​

House Bill 1171 would clearly state that confidentiality agreements cannot prohibit someone from speaking to law enforcement.​

House Bill 963 would amend the state constitution to allow older sexual abuse survivors a two-year window to retroactively file lawsuits against their offenders and organizations. It would have to pass in two consecutive sessions before voters decide whether to pass it.​

‘These victims want their day in court’: In surprise move, state Senate poised to vote this week on statute of limitations reform

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital Star

Nov. 18, 2019

By Elizabeth Hardison

A year after it dealt a devastating blow to survivors of sexual assault who wanted more time to bring their predators to court, Pennsylvania’s state Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would overhaul the Commonwealth’s statute of limitations on certain childhood sex crimes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday to advance a bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, that would eliminate the time limits for victims of childhood sexual abuse to press criminal charges against their offenders and extend the timeframe for them to bring civil lawsuits.

The committee also approved a proposed amendment to the state Constitution, which would create a two-year retroactive window in which survivors of sexual abuse could bring civil suits against offenders in old cases.

The amendment is sponsored by Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Blair, who, like Rozzi, was sexually abused as a child.

Both measures were recommended in a 2018 grand jury report that uncovered decades of child sexual abuse and coverup in six of Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses.

Vancouver Catholic archdiocese set to release details of clergy sex abuse report

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Vancouver Sun

Nov. 18, 2019

By Susan Lazaruk

The Vancouver headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is expected to release 31 recommendations on Friday to locally address what it calls “the worldwide crisis” of sexual abuse by priests.

The recommendations were submitted by a committee that reviewed church records to determine the extent of clerical abuse in the archdiocese of Vancouver, which presides over 443,000 parishioners in Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, Powell River and parts of the Interior and northern B.C.

Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller appointed the 13-person committee after news in 2018 of a grand jury naming 300 priests accused of abusing 1,000 victims in Pennsylvania. The Vancouver committee, which included “highly respected lawyers,” a psychologist and four abuse survivors, reviewed 36 sexual abuse cases dating to 1950.

Miller didn’t respond to an interview request.

“The archdiocese of Vancouver will be publishing all 31 recommendations of the case review committee, our response to each recommendation and our future commitment with respect to supporting victims and survivors,” said spokeswoman Melissa Godbout in an email.

The committee submitted its recommendations in the summer and the archdiocese “has been working determinedly to implement these recommendations,” said Godbout.

She wouldn’t say whether or not the archdiocese would name offending priests, as called for by advocates for the survivors.

Preliminary Hearing For Former Bucks County Priest Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 2 Boys

TULLYTOWN (PA)
CBS3 TV

Nov. 19, 2019

A former Catholic priest faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday on child sexual abuse charges. Authorities say 74-year-old Francis Trauger sexually assaulted two altar boys, ages 11 and 12, while he was assigned at Saint Michael the Archangel Church in Tullytown from 1993 to 2003.

Trauger was also named in a 2005 grand jury report detailing abuse allegations against 63 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests. Now, years after the abuse was reported, Trauger is finally being tried under the law.

In announcing the charges, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said the abuse happened during the robing process prior to mass.

“He abused his position of power in the name of God and the Catholic church to molest these young men,” Weintraub said.

Priest Accused of Groping Teen Pleads Guilty to Indecent Assault

WILKES-BARRE (PA)
WNEP TV 16

Nov. 19, 2019

By Brittany Lovette

A Catholic priest from Pottsville accused of groping a teenager pleaded guilty to indecent assault.

Father Kevin Lonergan lives in Pottsville but worked at a church in Allentown.

He was removed from the ministry last year.

Lonergan is set to be sentenced early next year.

November 18, 2019

The history of statute of limitations reform in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 News

Nov 18, 2019

There have been mounting concerns over child sexual abuse within certain institutions in Pennsylvania, particularly the Catholic Dioceses, going back several years. Because of this, victims and victim advocates have been calling for changes to state law so those victims can pursue justice against their abusers. The vast majority of those victims cannot pursue criminal or civil charges, because of the state’s statute of limitations. The push to reform the state’s statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse began following multiple investigative reports detailing abuse by clergymen.

The first investigation began in September of 2001 when a grand jury began investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by clergymen in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Members of that grand jury expected to hear testimony about a series of isolated incidents spanning several decades, and the Philadelphia Archdiocese had released a statement saying it had “received credible allegations of child sexual abuse against a total of thirty·five priests,” according to court documents submitted in September 2003.

13 years later, on March 1st, 2016, another grand jury reported on its investigation into Clergy sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. Like the report in Philadelphia, this one detailed alleged abuse by predator priests going as far back as 1955.

Details in those reports not only showed abuse, but also cover ups by the dioceses. Pennsylvania’s Statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims does not allow accusers sue their alleged abusers or the institutions that covered up the alleged abuse. Under current law, someone who was sexually-abused before their 18th birthday has until age 30 to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser. If they want to press criminal charges, they have until age 50 to do so.

Dallas police investigation into sex abuse claims by priests stalled while attorneys sort through records

DALLAS (TX)
Morning News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Jennifer Emily and David Tarrant

Six months after Dallas police raided Dallas Catholic Diocese offices for records related to allegations of sexual abuse by priests, the investigation appears stalled.

Attorneys for the diocese and the city of Dallas are sorting through the records seized in the May 15 raid on diocesan property to determine which ones involve the five priests named in the search warrant, according to documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

State District Judge Brandon Birmingham, who signed the search warrant for the records, ordered that Dallas police must return all records that are not related to the investigation or any record that “exceeds the scope of the search warrant as written,” court records show. Some records are exempt from disclosure because they are protected by attorney-client privilege.

Dallas police officials carry cardboard boxes Wednesday into the Catholic Diocese of Dallas as they continued to gather evidence. Dallas police on Wednesday morning raided several Dallas Catholic Diocese offices after a detective said church officials have "thwarted" his investigations into allegations of sexual abuse by priests. Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns said at an afternoon news conference that the diocese had given personnel files "for all the priests named in the warrant" and had been has been cooperating with the police requests.

The court said the diocese and the police have until Dec. 6 to complete their review of the seized documents.

Annette Taylor, spokeswoman for the Dallas diocese, said some records have already been returned.

Josh Duggar: Was His Home Raided By the FBI?

LOS ANGELES (LA)
Hollywood Gossip

Nov. 18, 2019

By Tyler Johnson

Strange news out of Arkansas today, as an anonymous source claims that Counting On reality star/pariah Josh Duggar's home was raided by the FBI on Saturday night.

The report originated on Facebook and was later reported on the Patheos website.

And what was the alleged cause of this visit from federal agents in Arkansas?

Well, that's not entirely clear at the moment, but not surprisingly, there's been a good deal of conjecture on social media, most of it related to Josh's controversial past.

Here's what we know about the situation thus far:

1. Josh's Shame
An insider claims that Josh Duggar's home in Arkansas was raided by the FBI on Saturday, November 17. Details are scarce at the moment, but if the rumors are true, this would be quite an embarrassing situation for his famous family.

Buffalo bishop says Pope ‘understands the difficulties and distress’ of diocese

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

Nov. 18, 2019

By Christopher White

Following his return from Rome this weekend, Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone says Pope Francis is aware of the difficult situation that both he and the diocese are facing.

In a statement released on Monday, he said that “In a few words spoken privately to me, it was clear that the pope understands the difficulties and distress we have here in Buffalo, and I personally, have been experiencing. He was very understanding and kind.”

Malone was in Rome last week with bishops from New York state for regularly scheduled ad limina meetings with the Roman Curia and Francis. Malone’s diocese has been engulfed in scandal for over year following accusations that he has covered up for priests accused of abuse.

Church sex-abuse scandal shows importance of trials in society, says lawyer

ONTARIO (CANADA)
Law Times News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Anita Balakrishnan

A sexual abuse victim’s victory against church leaders shows the “catharsis” offered by trial — despite the common belief that settlement is the best course for a client, says one lawyer.

“I think there’s a lesson for all of us in the legal world: Trials are necessary for the good of the client and the good of society. That does not always hold true, but sometimes in the most egregious circumstance, the trial serves a positive purpose for the plaintiff,” says London, Ont. lawyer Rob Talach, a partner at Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers who has filed 395 suits against the church. “This is a perfect example of what trials do. The ultimate outcome here is an appellate level approval of half a million dollars in punitive damages in cases of insitutions that are complicit in sexual abuse. That makes a big difference in society.”

Judge reduces legal fees, costs by 7% in church bankruptcy case

HAGATNA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News

Nov. 19, 2019

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

A federal judge reduced by 7% or about $23,218.67 the legal fees and reimbursable costs in the Archdiocese of Agana's bankruptcy case, after finding duplicate, inconsistent and erroneous billing entries.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood approved a $302,164.20 payment, down from $325,382.87, to Idaho-based Elsaesser Anderson Chtd., the archdiocese's bankruptcy counsel.

The archdiocese sought bankruptcy protection in January, under the weight of clergy sex abuse claims totaling more than $1 billion.

Efforts to settle the cases, however, have recently collapsed and parties await direction from the court.

This is Elsaesser Anderson's first professional fee application filed, for services rendered between Jan. 16 and July 31 this year.

"The compensation sought in the First Fee Application, as adjusted at the November 8, 2019 hearing, is reasonable compensation for actual and necessary services that benefited the estate," the judge wrote in her order.

Catholic Church cannot be trusted to deal with priests accused of sexual abuse, says lawyer

ONTARIO (CANADA)
CBC Radio

Nov. 18, 2019

The Catholic Church cannot be trusted or relied upon to address clerical sex abuse within their ranks in Canada, says a lawyer who has worked on more than 400 sex abuse-related cases.

"Why do we keep looking to the church to solve this problem?," asked Rob Talach, a lawyer based in London, Ont.

"I've been at this almost two decades and ... if I was holding my breath for the Catholic Church to change on this issue, I'd be a very rich hue of purple right now," he told The Current's interim host Laura Lynch.

"I just don't understand why they can't do something bold and definitive here, and [instead] always find a reason, a rationale, an excuse not to do the right thing."

A CBC investigation has obtained the results of an internal review of cases of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, dating back to the 1950s.

The documents show the archdiocese was aware of 36 cases of abuse by clergy under its jurisdiction, including 26 involving children. The review also found three of their priests had fathered children.

Package of Statute of Limitations Bills Heads to Senate Floor

ERIE (PA)
Times News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Cody Carlson

A package of Bills aimed at changing the Statute of Limitations laws in Pennsylvania is making its way through the Legislature. Four Bills were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday and will now head to the Senate Floor.

“It’s time that we get something passed here. It’s time that they pass something that gives victims the right to go into a court of law,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi ( D-Berks) following a public hearing on the statute of limitations Bills in October.

Rep. Rozzi is the sponsor of House Bill 962. That Bill, along with House Bills 963, 1051, and 1171 were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday morning. House Bill 962 would extend the civil statute of limitations for child victims to 55. House Bill 963 would call for a constitutional amendment that would open a two-year window for child victims to seek justice. Advocates say these Bills will help victims heal, and increase public safety.

“We’re going to know who’s in our community. We’re going to know what coach, what schoolteacher, what priest, what parishioner, is a pedophile. They’re all being hidden right now by the cloak of this silence and the statute of limitations,” explains Jennifer Storm, the Commonwealth Victim Advocate.

Disgraced former Ottawa priest skips sentencing, arrest warrant issued

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

Nov. 18, 2019

By Gary Dimmock

Disgraced former Catholic priest Barry McGrory skipped his sentencing at the Ottawa courthouse Monday morning.

Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin has issued an arrest warrant for the convicted sex predator, believed to be living in Toronto.

McGrory, 85, showed no emotion back in June when the same judge found him guilty of sexually abusing two teenage boys in historic crimes dating back to the late 1960s. McGrory molested the boys in a church rectory.

McGrory used his position as a parish priest to exploit vulnerable and naïve young men for his own sexual satisfaction, the judge ruled.

The now-defrocked priest used booze and drugs to groom his victims

“He infiltrated their families and used their faith in him to take advantage of the complainants,” the judge said in June.

The complainants came forward to Ottawa police in 2016 after this newspaper published a story in which McGrory admitted to sexually abusing three young parishioners at Holy Cross Parish in the 1970s and 80s.

In a May 2016 interview with reporter Andrew Duffy, McGrory said that as a young priest, he was a sex addict who suffered from a powerful attraction to adolescents. McGrory said he told then-archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde about his sexual problems in the mid-1980s, and asked for treatment.

Superior Diocese details convicted sex offender Thomas Ericksen's time as priest

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

Nov. 18, 2019

By Laura Schulte

The Catholic Diocese of Superior has released new details about convicted sex offender Thomas Ericksen's time as a priest in northern Wisconsin.

The Catholic Herald, which is published by the diocese, on Thursday put out a story addressing the former priest's time with the diocese and his sentencing in September.

The article also said the Superior diocese has hired a law firm to review allegations of sexual abuse by other priests, and expects to release that information next year.

Ericksen was sentenced on Sept. 26 to 30 years in prison for molesting young boys in the 1980s. He pleaded no contest to two charges of abuse, but, in all, at least 11 men claimed they were abused by him, either by filing reports with police or in speaking with USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

He is serving his sentence at the Dodge Correctional Facility in Waupun, where he was moved from the Sawyer County jail in Hayward on Oct. 22, according to Wisconsin Department of Corrections records.

Bishop Malone releases video statement addressing visit to Rome

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ S TV

Nov. 18, 2019

Back from a trip to the Vatican for less than a day, Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone Monday released a video statement addressing the trip.

In it, the leader of WNY's Roman Catholic diocese says the report put together on the Buffalo Diocese priest sex abuse scandal has been handed over to the Holy See. Malone would only say he would have more information on that at a later time.

By releasing a video, Bishop Malone was able to share his thoughts about his trip without taking questions from reporters.

When Bishop Malone returned to Buffalo on Sunday following his "ad limina" visit to the Vatican, protesters and the media were waiting for him at the Buffalo airport.

He never encountered those protesters or our cameras. Instead, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) officials whisked the bishop away, unseen, through a side door upon his arrival following a weeklong visit to the Vatican.

The bishop's return to Western New York comes days after a report said Bishop Malone was on the verge of resigning.

The Diocese of Buffalo last week denied that report.

Christopher Lamb, the Rome correspondent for The Tablet, a Catholic international weekly publication, tweeted on the morning of November 13 that he heard from sources that Bishop Malone's resignation was in the hands of Pope Francis.

The next day Diocese spokesperson Kathy Spangler, speaking for the bishop, said the resignation tweet was "false." At the time, Spangler added that he would talk about his trip "next week."

Bishop Malone was in Rome for a weeklong "ad limina" visit to the Vatican, which ended on Friday with meeting among all the bishops from New York State and Pope Francis.

Taoiseach backs ‘courageous’ priest after Quinn complaint to Vatican

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

Nov. 18, 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has expressed his support for Co Cavan priest Fr Oliver O’Reilly for “offering moral leadership in a difficult time” after it emerged that Seán Quinn complained about him to the Vatican.

In a homily in September, Fr O’Reilly, who is based in Ballyconnell, condemned the attack on Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Kevin Lunney.

Fr O’Reilly denounced the “barbaric and horrific” assault, as well as condemning “the paymaster or paymasters” responsible for the attack.

In a letter to the Vatican, which was first reported in the Sunday Independent, Mr Quinn again denied any affiliation to the attack.

“I and my family have also been frightened and intimidated by my being falsely accused of complicity in the attack from the altar in public, by my own local priest,” the letter said.

In a statement on Monday evening, the Taoiseach said that Fr O’Reilly’s homily “spoke from the heart and the head”, adding that he “offered leadership to a distressed community”.

“He offered moral guidance to his community, he condemned the savagery of the kidnapping and the ongoing campaign of intimidation, and called on everyone to cooperate with the authorities,” Mr Varadkar said.

“I believe that Fr O’Reilly showed considerable courage in giving this homily and I commend him for doing so.”

Does the Church get it on sex abuse? Classic Catholic reply is, ‘sic et non’

KEY WEST (FL)
Crux

Nov. 17, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Since last summer’s twin eruptions of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and the scandals surrounding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, many Catholics have found themselves wondering if anything’s truly changed in the Church vis-à-vis the clerical abuse scandals.

After decades of crisis and repeated vows of reform, they ask, is it possible the Church still doesn’t get it?

Over the last fortnight, a constellation of events spanning different continents and time zones has issued a reminder that the answer to that question is messy, complicated and classically Catholic - it’s both/and, yes and no. In other words, we’re probably living right now, as generations of Catholics before have on other fronts and in other circumstances, in both the best and the worst of times.

Those recent events which have helped tell the tale include:

A Nov. 6-8 workshop on the abuse scandals in Latin America organized by CEPROME, an interdisciplinary center for child protection in the Pontifical University of Mexico.

A Nov. 13 forum at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend featuring Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s point man on the clerical abuse issue.

A Nov. 14-15 international conference on “Promoting Digital Child Dignity,” held at the Vatican under the auspices of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, as a follow-up to a 2017 summit on child protection in the digital realm held at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

Documentary sets stage for challenging dialogue

TORONTO (CANADA)
The Catholic Register

Nov. 16, 2019

By Bishop Thomas Dowd

The fall meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops brought with it an unexpected invitation. The group SNAP (Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests) organized a viewing in Cornwall of the documentary Prey, a film that sheds light on the predatory actions of Hod Marshall, a now-deceased Basilian priest who was convicted for sexually abusing minors.

I first saw Prey at its premiere in Toronto in April. I had been invited to attend by Mike, a victim of clergy sexual abuse. He had reached out to me not long after one of our own priests in Montreal had been sentenced for the crime of abuse. Mike had gotten my name through the media coverage surrounding that judgment.

My experience of Prey involved more than watching a film. More than 200 people, including victims of clergy sexual abuse, their families and others connected with the cases, attended the viewing at the TIFF theatre.

Mike and I were joined by his wife, and over supper we shared our own stories. People came over to our table at the restaurant to say hi to Mike, people whose faces I would soon see in the documentary itself. I realized that this was more than a film: I was being given a chance to share the experience of a community of survivors.

Given its subject matter, Prey is, of course, hard to watch. More than once, something would be said that I found jarring, even disagreeable. But I could not deny the raw authenticity on the screen, including scenes expressing trauma, anger and also hope. I tried to keep my heart open to everything being revealed. It was the only way I could think of to honour the moment.

After the premiere ended there was a brief but intense Q&A. Mike introduced me to the audience and the spontaneous reactions of some was quite negative.

Allentown Diocese priest pleads guilty to indecent assault, faces 2 years in jail

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

Nov. 18, 2019

By Laurie Mason Schroeder

An Allentown Diocese priest faces up to two years in jail after admitting in Lehigh County Court Monday that he groped a 17-year-old Allentown Central Catholic High School student and sent her nude photos.

Rev. Kevin Lonergan, 31, of Pottsville also will be a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law for at least 15 years. He’ll be sentenced in about 90 days and remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail.

Lonergan was charged in August 2018 with indecent assault and corruption of minors, just days after a statewide grand jury report that outlined widespread clergy abuse.

Lonergan and the teen met at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Allentown. Chief Deputy District Attorney Matthew Falk said Lonergan sent the teen at least two nude photos through the Snapchat app, and grabbed her buttocks in a church hallway following a confirmation service.

Longeran pleaded guilty to indecent assault, a misdemeanor, before Judge Maria L. Dantos. The plea occurred just before a jury was to be seated for Lonergan’s trial.

Falk praised the victim, referred in court as “Jane Doe,” for speaking up about the abuse.

“I think Jane Doe is very brave for coming forward. It’s amazing that she was able to do that,” Falk said.

Lonergan did not testify and declined to comment as he left the courtroom with his attorney.

How Vermont’s Catholic Church stashed away a half-billion dollars in assets

BURLINGTON (VT)
VTDigger

Nov. 17, 2019

By Kevin O'Connor

When Vermont’s Catholic Church recently came clean about its half-century-long history of child sex abuse claims against 10% of its clergy, many wondered how much money the state’s largest religious denomination had on hand to deal with a potential new wave of lawsuits.

The statewide Diocese of Burlington’s latest public financial statement lists $16 million in unrestricted net assets.

But that figure doesn’t include an estimated $500 million in property that church leaders stashed into trusts more than a decade ago to protect those assets from priest abuse settlements.

In the spring of 2006, then-Bishop Salvatore Matano began to see how much the scandal, first exposed by the Boston Globe, would cost the church.

The Vermont diocese had paid one accuser $20,000 to drop his court case in 2003. A year later, two more men demanded $120,000 and $150,000 respectively before they agreed to settle. In 2006, the church, facing a six-figure debt and a seemingly endless series of civil lawsuits, saw individual settlement claims rise to nearly $1 million.

That’s when Matano hatched an idea. The bishop told his attorney to place each of the diocese’s local parishes — some 130 at the time — into separate trusts whose holdings could only be tapped for “pious, charitable or educational purposes,” shielding the property from potential multimillion-dollar jury verdicts.

“In such litigious times, it would be a gross act of mismanagement if I did not do everything possible to protect our parishes and the interests of the faithful from unbridled, unjust and terribly unreasonable assault,” Matano wrote in a private letter to concerned Catholics.

Rochester diocese files action against insurers

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon

Nov. 18, 2019

By Will Astor

A battle is shaping up between insurance companies that could be on the hook for what the Roman Catholic of Diocese of Rochester expects to be tens of millions of dollars in costs to cover a rash of newly filed sexual abuse claims

If one insurance company has its way, what the diocese knew about its priests’ behavior and when it knew it could be key to how claims are covered. The diocese and abuse survivors say paying heed to such considerations could skew the case.

Diocesan officials have previously stated hopes that liability insurance would cover all or a substantial portion of what could be a $100 million payout for a mounting pile of claims filed under New York’s recently passed Child Victims Act.

In a complaint filed Nov. 14 in the Rochester division of the Western District of New York Bankruptcy Court, the diocese targets more than a dozen insurers, alleging that the insurers breached contracts by backing away from CVA abuse claims against the Rochester Catholic diocese.

Many of the insurers it targets “have advanced similar reservations with respect to the availability of coverage,” the diocese notes in the filing. But only one—the Chicago-based Continental Insurance Co.—so far has filed a court brief publicly staking out a position. For starters, the insurer wants to argue key elements of its case in state court.

Why These 5 Accusers of Jeffrey Epstein Want More Than Money

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

Nov. 17, 2019

By Jesse McKinley

By now, the contours of Teresa Helm’s account have become familiar. She was 22 when she met the man that she now knows was Jeffrey Epstein.

She came to Mr. Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion for what she believed to be an interview with a wealthy client for a job as his traveling masseuse, she said. There was talk of lavish parties, exotic travel and educational opportunities.

With no one else in the room, Ms. Helm said, the man, whom she knew only as Jeffrey, asked for a foot rub. Once she began, she said, he moved his foot into her “intimate parts.” When she tried to leave, he grabbed and sexually assaulted her.

“Don't do anything I wouldn’t do,” she recalled him saying as she left.

Ms. Helm returned home to California, deeply disturbed by the experience. Embarrassed and scared, she did not call the police, and she did her best to banish the episode from her memory. It was only 17 years later, when she heard Mr. Epstein’s name while listening to a YouTube channel shortly after his arrest in July, that she began to realize who had assaulted her in 2002.

“I can’t even describe, it was beyond my heart sinking,” said Ms. Helm, now a 39-year-old mother of two living in Oakwood, Ohio. “It was something like a force. I was literally overtaken by horror.”

Ms. Helm is one of five women who sued Mr. Epstein’s estate in Federal District Court in Manhattan last week, accusing him of rape, battery and false imprisonment and seeking unspecified damages.

But the lawsuits have another purpose: to build momentum for changing the statute of limitations in New York and elsewhere for civil claims stemming from sex crimes, which are under growing scrutiny across the United States.

Here come the diocese ‘bankruptcies’: How New Yorkers seeking justice under the Child Victims Act should approach new pleas of poverty

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Brad Hoylan, Linda B. Rosenthal and Marci A. Hamilton

For years, we’ve fought hard for the Child Victims Act (CVA), transformative legislation that is already helping survivors secure justice while increasing transparency for the public. Both are sorely needed to end the epidemic of child sexual abuse.

In the process of passing this legislation, we heard from many large, well-funded institutions that lobbied against the legislation claiming that they’d go bankrupt if the CVA were to pass. Now that the CVA is the law, one such institution — the Rochester Diocese — has filed for bankruptcy and others may well follow. (The Rockville Center Diocese is suing to have the law overturned entirely.)

In order to truly help survivors of child sexual abuse, it’s important to get the facts straight about how bankruptcy proceedings would impact their cause.

For two brothers, two traumas and no justice

DENTON (TX)
Denton Daily

Nov. 17, 2019

This article was produced in partnership with ProPublica. This is the second article in a continuing series,

The two brothers sat a few houses apart, each tending to his own anger. Justice is slow in Alaska villages, they have learned. Sometimes it never arrives.

Chuck Lockwood, 69, grew up in this village of 400 along the Norton Sound coast but left as a child for boarding school. His rage is fresh.

Two years ago this month, the body of his 19-year-old granddaughter, Chynelle “Pretty” Lockwood, was . Alaska State Troopers have refused to say how she died, citing an open investigation. It appeared she had been dumped there, said Chuck, who believes it was a homicide. “Brutally murdered. Beaten up.”

Near Chuck’s family home, his younger brother Lawrence Lockwood Jr. watches crime dramas alone in his living room. His rage is long simmering. Lawrence grew up here too, but unlike his brother he didn’t go away for school.

He was among an entire generation of children, now mostly in their 50s and 60s, who survived years of sexual abuse by Jesuit priests and Catholic church personnel shipped to the village of St. Michael. His wife was abused too.

Nine Jesuit priests, volunteers and laypersons who served in St. Michael between 1949 and 1987 were later credibly accused of sexual abuse, the Diocese of Fairbanks . The church for the abuse.

Will Pennsylvania legislators leave victims of priest sex abuse out in the cold?

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Kathryn Robb and Marci Hamilton

There is a dark chill in the air. And, it is not the advancing cold winds of Old Man Winter.

It is the bitter chill of injustice.

That chill is swirling in the chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, as legislative leaders continue to fail victims of child sexual abuse and the future safety of the children of this Commonwealth.

Many Pennsylvanians, and indeed, many Americans, were appalled when Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the chilling Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report in August 2018, detailing the abuse by 301 priests accused of sexually assaulting over 1000 young children.

However, what may be lost in the minds of many citizens and in the headlines of faded newspapers, is that another report was released in 2005. In September 2005, the Philadelphia Grand Jury released a 400-page report on child sexual abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the report revealed shocking facts about the horrific grooming and sexual abuse committed on hundreds of children by dozens of priests.

Many of these dangerous predators were carelessly shuffled from parish to parish, and community to community, with no warning to trusting parents and the public at large. That report was released almost 15 years ago, all the while the legislature took no action. How many children were sexually assaulted by unidentified predators during that period?

We’ll never know exactly, but the social science data indicates that everyday approximately 160 children fall victim to sexual assault. Given the science, the number of children harmed during this 15-year period of legislative inaction is undoubtedly high.

Cardinal Pell’s Appeal and Australia’s High Court: What’s In Play?

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Register

Nov. 18, 2019

By Edward Pentin

What does the decision of Australia’s High Court this week on the appeal of Cardinal George Pell mean for the cardinal, and what is likely to happen next?

On Tuesday, two High Court judges, Michelle Gordon and James Edelman, referred the cardinal’s application for special leave to appeal to a full bench of the High Court’s justices after Cardinal Pell’s lawyers argued a lower appellate court had made mistakes.

At that hearing, expected in March or April next year, up to seven justices will listen to arguments presented by all parties on whether the cardinal should or should not be granted leave and the substantive appeal.

The cardinal, who has always vigorously protested his innocence, was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two choir boys as archbishop of Melbourne after Sunday Mass in the city’s St. Patrick’s cathedral in 1996 and 1997.

Sentenced to six years in prison, the 78-year-old former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy must serve at least three years and eight months before being eligible to apply for parole. The cardinal appealed against the verdict earlier this year, but in August the Court of Appeal in Victoria upheld his conviction.

The High Court is his final chance to be freed from prison and clear his name.

He is therefore “clearly pleased” with the High Court referral, sources close to him told the Register Nov. 14. He will not be seeking bail but rather “concentrating on the High Court appearance” and although in solitary confinement, unable to celebrate Mass and without natural light, they say he is in good spirits and allowed to tend the prison garden each day — a request he made to give his days purpose. “The cardinal is well,” a friend of his told the Register Nov. 13. “He is writing — a lot, and still receiving a lot of mail.”

“This week’s surprise court decision marks a turning point in Cardinal Pell’s prospects for release, but he is not out of the woods yet,” cautioned John McCaulay, a former altar server at Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the offenses are alleged to have happened, and who attended Cardinal Pell’s mistrial, retrial and appeal.

Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver aware of 36 cases of clergy sex abuse since 1950s, CBC learns

TORONTO (CANADA)
CBC News

Nov. 17, 2019

By Laura Clementson and Gillian Findlay ·

The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver was aware of 36 cases of abuse by clergy under its jurisdiction, including 26 involving children, results of an internal review of cases of clergy sexual abuse obtained by CBC's The Fifth Estate show.

The review, commissioned in 2018 by Archbishop Michael Miller, examined church files dating back to the 1950s. No Catholic entity in this country has ever made this kind of information public before.

The Vancouver review also found three of their priests had fathered children.

I think that the church has an ethical and moral responsibility to reveal those names.
- Leona Huggins, clergy sexual abuse survivor
The information was uncovered in a Fifth Estate investigation into how the Catholic Church has dealt with abuse allegations over the years.

Vancouver's archbishop has not released the results of the case review committee's work, but in February he promised transparency. In a letter posted to the archdiocese website, Miller committed "to correcting any systemic flaws that contributed to abuse or cover-up."

The Fifth Estate investigation also reveals details about how the archdiocese handled allegations of abuse.

‘It’s reconstructive surgery. This is not cosmetic surgery’

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canadian Catholic News

Nov. 18, 2019

By Michael Swan

When Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax-Yarmouth visits his old friend Sister Nuala Kenny, he likes to find a chair and get comfortable.

“I will be sitting in a chair and she will be walking and talking. Nuala is a lecturer. She’s a person who speaks to an audience of one or an audience of 500, it doesn’t matter,” said Mancini.

“She brings insights to the conversation. … She doesn’t have a lot of time for chit-chatting. You know, she never talks about the weather. I don’t think she even notices it.”

Mancini and Kenny worked together for years hashing out revised guidelines for Canada’s bishops on handling sexual abuse by priests. In fact they worked on Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation for far longer than Kenny would have liked.

“She said, ‘What the hell? Why is it taking so long?’ ” he recalled.

The committee’s work was done in the spring of 2017 and the document was in bishops’ hands in time for their fall plenary meetings. But the new Canadian guidelines didn’t resemble abuse policies in the United States or anywhere else in the world — which made some bishops nervous. They decided not to vote on them. By 2018, after the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Pope Francis’ Aug. 20 Letter to the People of God, Canada’s bishops had to act.

Kenny knows not all bishops want to hear what she has to say on sexual abuse. Not because they don’t care and not because they think she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It’s because they’ve faced calls for radical, root-and-branch solutions from all quarters for 30 years. Root and branch is hard to do.

“They’re tired. We’re all tired,” Kenny told a small, largely academic audience that turned up for the Toronto launch of her new book on the abuse crisis, Still Unhealed: Treating the Pathology in the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis.

For 30 years — longer than anyone else — Kenny has been in the business of figuring out how and why a Church that claims to be founded on the radical compassion of Jesus could tolerate and even foster abuse.

Be open with investigation

PARKERSBURG (WV)
News and Sentinel

Nov. 17, 2019

Unfortunately, our new Bishop, Mark Brennan doesn’t get it. He was sent to our state after the betrayal of the Diocese by former Bishop Michael Bransfield. Bransfield took $21 million from the Diocese and Wheeling Hospital to spend on an extravagant lifestyle and gifts for high ranking priests and clerics. In addition, he was credibly accused of sexually harassing seminarians; reports to the Diocese of Philadelphia that he had sexually molested a minor were never investigated. To his credit, Bishop Brennan says that “people want this issue to be resolved.” However, he is insulting and dangerous when he states “people want the scandal to kind of go away.” That is the fantasy language of children. Make the boogeyman go away. Boeing had a scandal when the 737 Max’s crashed. We don’t want “the scandal to kind of go away;” we don’t want planes to crash. Boeing had to dig for the truth, be open about all their failures, and compensate their victims.

Brennan should do no less. Investigate thoroughly. Everything. What happened? How did the leadership fail to pick up Bransfield’s sexual harassment of young men or his financial dealings? Prosecute criminal acts. Implement professional procedures. Complete the investigation into reports he molested a minor. Publicize the whole report by Bishop Lori before the media does. Open the books to everyone. Name those credibly accused of abusing others.

Follow the money. Bishop Lori got a $10,000 gift from Bransfield, and Lori withheld that information from the Pope. Lori should not have been asked to investigate a man who gave him a $10,000 gift, not if trust is at risk. Establish safe processes for people to report abuses. Hold whistleblowers in high esteem. Urge people to question you and your policies and procedures til there is no doubt left that you are doing everything possible. Sexual abuse by clerics should automatically be reported to law enforcement and not handled by the diocese alone. Respectfully ask what the victims want for restoration/compensation. Ask experts for help in keeping the church safe from pedophiles. The Catholic leadership must hold itself accountable because it is accountable to the people it serves. To restore trust, you must restore a process which ensures the next plane will not crash, the next child will not be abused. Jesus never said sin would “kinda go away.” Brennan underestimates our love for our children, the church, and the truth.

Wendy Tuck, Parkersburg

2019 Is a Banner Year for SOL Reform, But There Is Much More to Do

Justia blog

Nov. 18, 2019

By Marci Hamilton

This is a historic year for child sex abuse victims. Millions have been empowered by statute of limitations, or SOL, reform in the United States.

Never before have we seen this many states step up. In recent years about a dozen states would consider such legal change and less than a handful would pass something. Those numbers are dramatically higher in 2019. Forty states and the District of Columbia introduced SOL legislation and over half, 23 states, and D.C. have passed progressive reforms for the victims. In 2019, 18 states have extended or eliminated the criminal SOL; 14 states have extended or eliminated the civil SOL; and 9 states have revived civil SOLs. Click here for even more details of this historic year.

What is SOL reform? It hands victims power and society the truth. It puts perpetrators in jail. It forces the ones who endangered children to release their confidential files to the public. It warns institutions that they must change or suffer consequences. There is no good reason not to pass SOL reform.

The #MeToo movement invited every victim to come forward. The SOL Reform movement says to every victim—it’s not fair of us to ask you to tell your story and then ignore how our laws kept you silent. You deserve more than a microphone—you have a right to power against those who hurt you. This is a revolution that is reorganizing dangerous power structures.

Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden?

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO TV

Nov. 18, 2019

By Craig Cheatham, Paula Christian and Dan Monk

He was a young science teacher at the all-boys Purcell High School in 1978, when he said a sobbing student came to him and another teacher with a shocking story.

“Brother Frank Russell raped me,” the student said.

“At first it was disbelief,” the teacher said. “But then I thought ‘Oh my God, here it is again.’”

That teacher spoke for the first time to WCPO, requesting anonymity because of his own sexual abuse by a priest as a child. When he encountered abuse again, this time as a teacher, he said he reported it to the school right away. The Marianist Province denied seeing a report back then.

“He was in charge of detention at the high school … and we learned from this student that Brother Russell would take students, those who had misbehaved, to a local motel and have sex with them,” he said.

The teacher said Russell, who was a brother in the Marianist Catholic order and an assistant principal, never returned to Purcell, and the principal told him Russell went to Boston.

In its three-month I-Team investigation WCPO discovered the Catholic Church often moved priests and brothers to new parishes and schools after they are accused of abuse or inappropriate behavior, without sharing that information with the public.

Proposed legislation concerns Catholics

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

Nov. 18, 2019

By Mary Haley

Two state House representatives, one from Hollidaysburg, the other from across the state, are hopeful that sexual abuse reform legislation they’ve proposed will pass today in the state Senate and eventually become law.

But the measures have plenty of critics, chief among them the Roman Catholic church, which claims it is the prime target of the legislation.

Church representatives have said that they have acknowledged the past sins of clergy sexual abuse, and they’re atoning for those with compensation funds and counseling for victims.

They’ve said they’ve also instituted reforms to avoid future problems.

State Reps. Jim Gregory, a Republican representing Blair County, and Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat representing Berks County, put forth the pair of bills earlier this year.

Their bills, to be voted upon today in the Senate, would eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual abuse criminal charges and provide a two-year window on outdated civil lawsuits against alleged sexual abuse offenders.

Both bills raise the age of victims who can file claims from 30 to 55. Rozzi’s piece refers to eliminating the criminal statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes.

Gregory’s part calls for the two-year window that requires amending the state constitution, which means it must pass two consecutive legislative sessions.

It then must receive a favorable vote in a state referendum before it becomes law. The process would take about two years.

The bills are connected, which means both must pass or neither will become law.

Catholic church representatives have said the fallout from the legislation proposed will be the same in Pennsylvania as what has occurred in other states that have passed similar measures, particularly from the two-year window provision.

In most states that have passed such windows, Catholic dioceses have declared bankruptcies. Nationwide, 20 Roman Catholic dioceses have declared bankruptcy as of September 2019, according to media reports.

Bishop Malone returns to Buffalo, avoids protesters at airport

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ TV

Nov. 18, 2019

When Bishop Richard Malone returned to Buffalo on Sunday evening after his visit to the Vatican, protesters and the media were waiting for him at the Buffalo airport.

He never encountered those protesters or our cameras. Instead, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) officials whisked the bishop away, unseen, through a side door upon his arrival following a weeklong visit to the Vatican.

The NFTA provided a statement Sunday night:

As a matter of security and safety to our traveling public, measures were taken that are routine and common for high profile travelers. When there is the potential for a security issue at the airport, it is in the best interest of the public to do everything possible to avoid risk and or threats, Especially during the busy travels times.

The bishop's return to Western New York comes days after a report said Bishop Malone was on the verge of resigning.

The Diocese of Buffalo last week denied that report.

Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility

CONCONNNATI (OH)
WCPO TV

Nov. 18, 2019

By Craig Cheatham, Paula Christian and Dan Monk

Christy Miller doesn’t want the Catholic Church’s money. She just wants the church to pay.

“It was never about the money for me. It was about justice,” she said. “If it hits their pocketbook, they’re more apt to change. That’s why the money plays a role.”

Miller sued the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2003, alleging her high school religion teacher, the Rev. Thomas Brunner, sexually abused her for two years in the mid 1980s.

Brunner resigned in 2003 prior to the Vatican removing him from the priesthood for abusing teenage girls.

But that didn’t matter to the Ohio Supreme Court, which dismissed Miller’s case because she didn’t file before she turned 20, as required by state law on civil statute of limitations at the time.

These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO TV

Nov 18, 2019

By Craig Cheatham, Paula Christian and Dan Monk

Overview: What did WCPO I-Team find in investigation into sexual abuse in Catholic Church?

Part 1: Could priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse be walking among us - without our knowledge? Part 2: Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden? Part 3: Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility Part 4: These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State

The Diocese of Covington suspended the Rev. Jack Goeke from ministry in 1994 after two women accused him of sexually abusing them while they were as young as 11.

More than two decades later, local Catholic Church and community leaders participated in a celebration to honor Goeke.

A Facebook photo from June 2018 shows a smiling Goeke at a groundbreaking ceremony for a legacy house honoring his quarter-century of work at Housing Opportunities for Northern Kentucky, a nonprofit that renovates and builds homes for low-income families.

At the event, Goeke posed for photos with the Rev. Joseph Gallenstein, who is on the organization’s board of directors and emceed a dinner honoring Goeke.

November 17, 2019

UK lawyers ask Cardinal Nichols to ‘step down’ over mishandling sex abuse cases

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
LifeSite News

November 11, 2019

After hearings of the government-founded Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) conducted last week in London, two lawyers have written a public statement asking Cardinal Vincent Nichols – the archbishop of Westminster and successor to the controversial Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (d. 2017) – to step down.

The two lawyers, Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon, and David Enright of Howe and Co, have been representing almost 50 victims and survivors at the IICSA hearings concerning clerical sex abuse in the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

Cardinal Nichols had been questioned during several sessions of the IICSA last week. Evidence suggested that he had been negligent with regard to abuse victims, even going so far as to delay starting proper church investigations or to meet with victims.

Apostolic Nuncio to the US’ address to the US Conference of Bishops

PARRAMATTA (NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)
Diocese of Parramatta

November 18, 2019

Address of His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre at the USCCB General Assembly, Baltimore, Maryland, November 11, 2019

My Dear Brothers in Christ,

Once more, I am happy to be with you here in Baltimore, and I greet you in the name of Pope Francis, even as you prepare to greet him in person on your Ad Limina visits. I am grateful to His Eminence Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the USCCB, and to Msgr. Bransfield and the staff of the USCCB for the invitation to speak to you. I assure you of the Holy Father’s closeness, prayers, and gratitude for your ministry as you engage in the New Evangelisation.

It is unfortunate that I could not be with you personally last June, but the Holy Father called all the nuncios to Rome and gave us a “Decalogue” of qualities of a nuncio, which forced each of us to examine ourselves, posing difficult questions about our mission and ministries. In late July, I went to Atlanta to address the African Conference of Clergy and Religious in the United States. I thought I would follow Pope Francis’s example and pose questions to these missionary priests and religious working in the United States. Just last month, I went to Orange, California for a gathering of Vietnamese Priests, and I did the same thing. I proposed to them some topics for reflection, and this prompted a lively discussion; the themes were challenging and intended to reawaken a sense of mission. As the ad Limina visits begin, it is also useful to reflect on our sense of mission.

Your Quinquennial Reports provide a clear picture of how the Church in the United States is carrying out its mission. You have many challenges, some of which we have spoken about over our years together: demographic changes; growing numbers of religiously unaffiliated people; the need to engage young people and to build a culture of vocations; welcoming and integration of migrants, especially Hispanics; continuing the fight against all forms of racism; and, defending and accompanying the human family. These are but a few of the challenges.

Although there are challenges, there are also many dedicated Catholics who daily live their faith. The Church in the United States has been strong not only in its defence of human life and religious liberty but also in its defence of the rights of migrants and families. The generosity and willingness of Catholics to sacrifice is witnessed in the charitable works during times of national disasters or through Catholic Relief Services, in addressing global issues of poverty, hunger, healthcare, water and sanitation. The 2015 World Meeting of Families, the Convocation of Catholic Leaders, and the Fifth National Encuentro were all signs of hope for the Church in this country, even as many of us worry about the lasting impact of the sexual abuse crisis. I want to offer you words of encouragement. Christ is with us. He accompanies us, and He is alive – in us and in the People of God.

Rockville Centre diocese challenges Child Victims Act over due process

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Catholic News Agency

November 15, 2019

The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed a suit challenging New York's Child Victims Act on Tuesday, claiming it is barred by the due process clause in the state constitution.

The act opened a one-year window for adults in the state who were sexually abused as children to file lawsuits against their abusers. It also adjusted the statute of limitations for both pursuing criminal charges and civil suits against sexual abusers or institutions where the abuse took place.

The diocese's motion, filed Nov. 12 in the New York Supreme Court in Nassau County, says that “the Due Process Clause allows the legislature to revive formerly time-barred claims only where they could not have been raised earlier,” which it adds “is not so here.”

“The formerly time-barred claims revived by the legislature pursuant to the Child Victims Act all could have been brought within the then-applicable three- or five-year period, after plaintiffs attained the age of majority,” according to the diocese.

Pope’s point man on abuse to U.S. Church: Be prepared for new revelations

DENVER (CO)
Crux

November 15, 2019

By Christopher White

South Bend IN - One of Pope Francis’s closest allies in fighting clergy sex abuse praised the American church for going “a step further” than the Vatican’s new global guidelines for bishop accountability by requiring a third-party reporting system, which is set to take effect next year.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who serves as the adjunct secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), said the U.S. Church had been “prophetic” in its response to the clergy abuse scandals nearly two decades ago in requiring all deacons, priests, and anyone who works with minors to undergo background checks and requiring independent diocesan audits.

He also said, however, that the decision to exclude bishops from the same oversight in the Dallas Charter in 2002 was a “lacuna.”

At the same time, in remarks at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday, Scicluna warned that Americans must be prepared for further revelations similar to those in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, which chronicled decades of past abuse of minors at the hands of clergy, particularly as numerous states are undergoing their own similar investigations.

Vatican's top investigator on abuse crisis addresses Notre Dame forum

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 15, 2019

By Ann Carey

South Bend IN - U.S. Catholics "have to be prepared for another wave of traumatic narrative" regarding the clergy sex abuse crisis, Archbishop Charles Scicluna said Nov. 13 at the University of Notre Dame.

Scicluna of Malta is adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Vatican's chief investigator on clergy sexual abuse. He spoke at the University of Notre Dame as part of the school's 2019-2020 forum titled "'Rebuild My Church': Crisis and Response."

The archbishop's remarks were made in a conversational format, in which he first answered questions from moderator John Allen, longtime Vatican reporter and editor of Crux, an online Catholic news outlet. He then fielded questions from the mostly student audience.

Bishop Thomas Dowd: Documentary sets stage for challenging dialogue

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Catholic Register

November 16, 2019

By Bishop Thomas Dowd

The fall meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops brought with it an unexpected invitation. The group SNAP (Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests) organized a viewing in Cornwall of the documentary Prey, a film that sheds light on the predatory actions of Hod Marshall, a now-deceased Basilian priest who was convicted for sexually abusing minors.

I first saw Prey at its premiere in Toronto in April. I had been invited to attend by Mike, a victim of clergy sexual abuse. He had reached out to me not long after one of our own priests in Montreal had been sentenced for the crime of abuse. Mike had gotten my name through the media coverage surrounding that judgment.

My experience of Prey involved more than watching a film. More than 200 people, including victims of clergy sexual abuse, their families and others connected with the cases, attended the viewing at the TIFF theatre.

Pa. reps push abuse bills: Gregory, Rozzi team up to change state constitution

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

November 17, 2019

By Mary Haley

State Reps. Jim Gregory and Mark Rozzi say they share a bond no one would envy, but it’s a connection that’s brought them together for a fight that, if successful, they think could help others with similar histories.

Both have said they were abused as children, in separate incidents, and they hope that this week the state Senate will vote on a pair of bills they’ve proposed dealing with sexual abuse. The bills would change the state’s constitution and alter major civil and criminal abuse laws.

The proposed legislation passed the state House with overwhelming support and is currently in the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing on the two bills in early October.

Rozzi’s bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for most sexual abuse crimes. Gregory’s bill would amend the state constitution and allow a two-year window for otherwise outdated civil lawsuits against alleged sexual offenders.

There is a “connector” bill that states the two bills must pass or neither will go forward.

Survivors wait Senate action on abuse lawsuit fix

SUNBURY (PA)
The Daily Item

November 16, 2019

By John Finnerty

Harrisburg PA - Adult survivors of child sex abuse will be watching the Senate when the General Assembly returns to the Capitol on Monday, to see if there is going to be a breakthrough on the stalemate over whether to allow survivors to sue organizations that covered up for child predators even if the statute of limitations is expired.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said earlier this month said that the Senate plans to move legislation, including a proposal calling for a Constitutional amendment to allow a two-year window for lawsuits "this fall". The Senate has no days scheduled in November after this week.

Meanwhile, in a statement released Friday, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm for the Catholic bishops in the state, signaled that it won’t oppose a proposed Constitutional amendment to allow lawsuits.

Does the Church get it on sex abuse? Classic Catholic reply is, ‘sic et non’

DENVER (CO)
Crux

November 17, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Key West FL - Since last summer’s twin eruptions of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and the scandals surrounding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, many Catholics have found themselves wondering if anything’s truly changed in the Church vis-à-vis the clerical abuse scandals.

After decades of crisis and repeated vows of reform, they ask, is it possible the Church still doesn’t get it?

Over the last fortnight, a constellation of events spanning different continents and time zones has issued a reminder that the answer to that question is messy, complicated and classically Catholic - it’s both/and, yes and no. In other words, we’re probably living right now, as generations of Catholics before have on other fronts and in other circumstances, in both the best and the worst of times.

Two new lawsuits accuse Jesuit priests of sexual abuse

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

November 17, 2019

By Colleen Heild

Allegations of clergy sexual molestation of children struck at the heart of a Downtown Albuquerque church Friday with the filing of two lawsuits claiming abuse by three Jesuit priests who once ministered there – one as recently as 2011.

In one of the two cases, the alleged victim, now 25 years old, contends he was sexually abused eight years ago at Immaculate Conception Church in Albuquerque. His lawyer says he is one of the youngest survivors to come forward in recent years.

In the other lawsuit, a woman contends she was molested by two Jesuit priests from Immaculate Conception Church, beginning in 1968, when she attended first grade at a nearby school. Sometimes both priests abused her at the same time, and often she was forced to drink large amounts of alcohol beforehand, her lawsuit alleges.

The defendants, including Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province, denied the allegations through a spokeswoman, Toni Balzano, who said their investigations did not support the claims.

What did WCPO I-Team find in investigation into sexual abuse in Catholic Church?

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

November 17, 2019

By Craig Cheatham, Paula Christian, Dan Monk

When a Hamilton County grand jury indicted the Rev. Geoff Drew on nine charges of rape in August, it was the first time in nearly a decade that a Tri-State priest had been charged with the sexual abuse of a child.

Survivors say Drew’s arrest brought back memories of their own abuse from decades ago and a renewed distrust of Catholic Church leaders who had promised change and transparency.

Questions re-emerged about how church leaders handle these accusations — almost exactly 16 years after a judge convicted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati of failing to report sexually abusive priests for the first time anywhere in the nation.

Sexually abused as a child, Minnesota priest feels revictimized by attorney's disclosure

DULUTH (MN)
Duluth News Tribune from Forum News Service

By April Baumgarten

November 17, 2019

Fertile MN - Like any other Sunday, the Rev. Joseph Richards led Mass on Nov. 10 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fertile, a northwest Minnesota town in Polk County with almost 850 residents.

But this was the first Sunday Richards would address the congregation since it was revealed he was sexually abused as a child by his great-uncle. It was also disclosed that he sought help after having sexual fantasies about children and that he admitted to inappropriately touching a 5-year-old when he was 14.

“Those who know me and know my story are dumbfounded as to how this can be happening, as I was a minor . . . who was being sexually abused myself at the time,” Richards wrote in an email interview.

November 16, 2019

Survivors await Senate action on abuse fix

HARRISBURG (PA)
Sharon Herald

Nov. 16, 2019

By John Finnerty

Adult survivors of child sex abuse will be watching the state Senate Monday to see if there is going to be a breakthrough on the stalemate over whether to allow survivors to sue organizations that covered up for child predators even if the statute of limitations is expired.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said earlier this month said that the Senate plans to move legislation, including a proposal calling for an amendment to the state Constitution that would allow a two-year window for lawsuits. The Senate has no days scheduled in November after this week.

Meanwhile, in a statement released Friday, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm for the Catholic bishops in the state, signaled that it won’t oppose a proposed amendment to allow lawsuits.

“The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is neutral on the issue of a constitutional amendment,” said Eric Failing, executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. “To help survivors immediately, Pennsylvania dioceses have created compensation programs administered by credible and independent third parties. To date, they have paid millions to survivors across the commonwealth and other cases are still pending. We have much to atone for, and it’s our hope these settlements help survivors now — rather than have to wait several years.”

The Catholic Conference has been one of the staunchest opponents of efforts to allow victims to sue and Shaun Dougherty, a Johnstown resident, who has been one of the most outspoken survivors lobbying at the Capitol, said he’s not convinced by the group’s statement on Friday.

Long Island Catholic diocese challenges NY Child Victims Act

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

Nov 15, 2019

By Karen Matthews

Catholic officials on Long Island have filed a legal challenge arguing that the Child Victims Act that loosened statutes of limitations on molestation cases violates the New York state constitution.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville said in a court filing Tuesday that a provision of the law enacted this year violates the due process clause of the state constitution.

"A basic tenet of every legal system, including New York's, is that statutes of limitations protect a fundamental right of repose that benefits both potential defendants and society at large by ensuring that individual rights are protected and the courts can function properly," the motion filed in Nassau County state Supreme Court says.

Jennifer Freeman, an attorney who represents plaintiffs who say they were sexually abused as children, says the diocese is "moving to shield predators" and "hide the heinous crimes that occurred under their watch."

"With this motion, the Diocese of Rockville and officials within the Catholic Church are demonstrating their cowardice, hypocrisy, and refusal to do what is right," Freeman said.

The Child Victim Act, passed earlier this year, extended the state's statute of limitations for onetime victims of child sexual abuse to file criminal charges or civil lawsuits. The law also created the one-year litigation window, which lawmakers said was needed because before the change this year New York had one of the nation's tightest statutes of limitations. More than 400 cases were filed on the first day of the litigation window in August against defendants including religious institutions, public and private schools and the Boy Scouts of America.

Freeman said the Rockville Centre diocese's motion is apparently the first to directly challenge the constitutionality of the law.

Transparency still an issue within Roman Catholic Church

MINOT (ND)
Minot Daily News

Nov. 16, 2019

A variety of potentially divisive issues, ranging from immigration to gun control, were being discussed by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops during a national meeting in Baltimore this week. Dealing with the elephant in the room ought to be at the top of their agenda.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is archbishop of the Galveston-Houston diocese, is ending a three-year term as head of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops. Much of his time in the post has been dominated by controversy over the church’s handling of predator priests — and those with even higher positions in the church.

DiNardo has been involved personally in the scandal. He has been accused, like many others in the church, of not acting decisively enough after receiving reports of abuse. At one point, according to The Associated Press, investigators in Texas raided DiNardo’s chancery in search of documents involving one priest accused of molesting a child.

During a speech to the church officials gathered in Baltimore, DiNardo said meetings with abuse survivors “forever changed” his life. “When too many within the church sought to keep them in the darkness, they refused to be relegated to the shadows,” he said.

During the past few years, there has been much talk of reform from within the church. It was being discussed again this week in Baltimore.

Three former alter boys claim they were abused in Vatican

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

Nov. 15, 2019

Three more former altar boys have claimed they were sexually abused by two priests in the Vatican, as the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church zeroed in for a second time on its headquarters.

The allegations of abuse in the Vatican’s youth seminary, to be set out in an Italian TV show on Sunday, date back to the 1980s and 1990s when the boys were aged between 10 and 14.

The accusations come two months after the Vatican said it would seek to indict Fr Gabriele Martinelli (28) for allegedly abusing several altar boys in 2012 when he trained at the St Pius X youth seminary. That move was prompted by the Italian show Le Iene’s first investigation into the school in 2017.

The Vatican said in September that an indictment was also being sought against a former rector at the youth seminary, Fr Enrico Radice, who was accused of aiding and abetting the alleged crimes.

The Catholic church has faced thousands of child sexual abuse allegations from around the world but Le Iene’s investigation in 2017 was the first time claims of paedophilia within the Vatican’s walls were exposed.

“We decided to keep digging as we had the feeling that the previous cases were not isolated,” said Gaetano Pecoraro, one of the two authors of the investigation. “There were more victims and more priests involved in sexual abuse within the Vatican.”

Merced County DA’s Office won’t file charges against Fresno Diocese priest

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

Nov. 15, 2019

By Yesenia Amaro

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office on late Friday announced it won’t file criminal charges against a Diocese of Fresno priest accused of sexual misconduct because the statute of limitations has run out.

In a news release, the office said the Merced Police Department conducted an investigation into allegations of inappropriate touching by Monsignor Craig Harrison. The police department opened the investigation into Harrison after an unidentified person came forward with accusations in April, following allegations by a different alleged victim in Firebaugh.

Harrison was placed on administrative leave in late April after the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office worked with the police department, according to the release. Last month, both agencies determined “that all available evidence and leads had been identified and exhausted.”

‘I was such a little kid’: As Wisconsin Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse grows, the trauma lingers

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wisconsin Watch

Nov. 15, 2019

By Erica Jones

When she was 7, Patty Gallagher was chosen to bring the priest who served her parish and school in Monona, Wisconsin, his daily milk.

The Rev. Lawrence Trainor was practically a member of the family. He came over for dinner and visited the family cottage. Gallagher’s father and Trainor played cards and drank together. Trainor, a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, ingratiated himself with her parents. And then, Gallagher said, he “raped me in every way possible.”

“I had to make my first confession with this man and say the words, ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,’ to the man who raped me in the most horrific ways,” said Gallagher, of Milwaukee, whose last name is now Gallagher Marchant. “There are no words to describe that.”

Gallagher Marchant, a psychotherapist, said she repressed these traumatic memories for decades. She was aware that she had been hurt, but she could not remember by whom.

Why we examined Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wisconsin Watch

Nov. 15, 2019

By Dee J. Hall

The story of clergy sex abuse might seem like an old one. But in 2019, the decades-old scandal was back in the headlines.

That is because this year, Catholic dioceses and religious orders in Wisconsin began releasing names of credibly accused clergy — in some cases for the first time. Wisconsin Watch wanted to examine the Catholic Church’s efforts to alert parishioners and the public about child sexual abuse within the institution — and the efforts to prevent it.

We also sought to illuminate the legacy of trauma left behind. We reported on recommendations to better root out the abuse, and ways the church can mitigate the damage it has caused.

The reports we released were a group effort.

November 15, 2019

Pope tells tech companies they are responsible for child safety

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

November 14, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis said on Thursday that technology company executives and investors must be held accountable if they put profit before the protection of children, including from easy access to pornography on the web.

Francis spoke at the start of a Vatican conference on “Promoting Digital Child Dignity” that brought companies like Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp and Facebook together with child protection groups and law enforcement and judicial officials.

“Companies that provide (internet) services have long considered themselves mere suppliers of technological platforms, neither legally nor morally responsible for the way they are used,” Francis said.

“There is a need to ensure that investors and managers remain accountable, so that the good of minors and society is not sacrificed to profit.”

New report raises questions surrounding Bishop Malone’s future & Brooklyn Bishop’s recent Apostolic Visitation

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

November 13, 2019

By Marlee Tuskes

The Buffalo Diocese has denied a report coming out of Rome that Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation is “imminent.”

A correspondent for The Tablet – a Catholic news organization – tweeted the news Wednesday morning.

Catholic clergy abuse survivor traces rocky path from abuse to action

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wisconsin Watch

Nov. 15, 2019

By Erica Jones

In the living room of his Marshall, Wisconsin, home, 62-year-old Ted Lausche has a clock that reads aloud Bible verses every hour.

For Lausche, these readings trigger memories of the years of physical and sexual abuse he endured at a Catholic orphanage in Louisiana. But he chooses not to shut them off because the readings also remind him of his late partner, a spiritual woman who loved him despite his personal demons.

In the decades since he escaped from the orphanage at age 13, Lausche has suffered from alcohol abuse, drug addiction, mental health problems, three failed marriages and homelessness. Now, he said he is choosing to “take the best and leave the rest,” looking for positivity in an often tough life.

Sex abuse survivor: 'I'm still on the rise'

TOLEDO (OH)
The Blade

Nov. 15, 2019

By Allison Dunn

Despite years of sexual abuse at the hands of her church pastors, Taniece Temple never lost her faith in God.

Her trust in God helped her through some of her darkest days, when she was passed around solely for her body between Toledo pastors Anthony Haynes, Kenneth Butler, and Cordell Jenkins. Faith kept Ms. Temple on the right path and now leads her to help others through their struggles.

“I still called on God’s name even when I was in church and they would be up there preaching and they were sexually abusing me. I would pray to God in those moments,” Ms. Temple said. “... we all have free will and that is one of the things society needs to capitalize on — a person who chooses to hurt you, to set your house on fire, to kill somebody, to molest you, to do anything that is ungodly — that is on them because He gave them the choice to do right or wrong, and they chose wrong.”

While The Blade does not normally identify victims of sexual assault, Ms. Temple agreed to identify herself and publicly share her story in the wake of the criminal case against the pastors concluding.

Burnsville church investigating sex abuse claims against pastor

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

Nov. 15, 2019

By Erin Adler

Allegations that a Burnsville pastor had inappropriate sexual relationships with two 18-year-old women 17 years ago in Indiana have shaken the congregation at his south metro megachurch, resulting in a leave of absence for him and his removal from consideration for hire by a church in Tennessee.

“We understand the nature of these claims and we take them very seriously,” Berean Baptist Church elders said in a statement released on Twitter and given Sunday at the church. Berean Baptist has been noted in recent years as among the nation’s fastest-growing Protestant congregations. A neutral party has been enlisted to investigate, the statement said.

The Rev. Wes Feltner, now 41, is being accused of simultaneously dating the congregants in 2002 when he was a youth pastor in southern Indiana. The accusations have been deemed credible by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, where Feltner taught and has been suspended, and came to light after he applied for a position this fall at a church in Clarksville, Tenn.

In an e-mail to the Star Tribune, Feltner said he had permission from their parents to date both women but that he deeply regretted the hurt he caused. He said that he’s offered to speak to the women multiple times, including with a mediator, which he said was how the Bible says such accusations should be addressed.

He said that he and his family are facing “a withering barrage of online attacks,” some of them threatening.

WNY Survivors of Clergy Sex Abuse Meet to Share Stories, Start Healing

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

Nov. 14, 2019

By Fadia Patterson

After suffering in silence for decades, survivors of clergy sexual abuse are now speaking out and have formed a peer support group to help others do the same.

While doing so, the Buffalo Survivors Group hopes to educate the public about the signs of abuse.

The group met for the first time Thursday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in East Amherst, at a time when many are watching to see whether Bishop Richard Malone is going to resign.

For many in that room, the abuse they endured may have happened years ago, but the wounds are still fresh.

"We're all in a club that I don't think we signed up for," said Angelo Ervolina, one of five founders and an abuse survivor.

Pope’s new clerical abuse investigator allegedly abused an altar boy

Patheos blog

Nov. 15, 2019

By Barry Duke

Last month Pope Francis put Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, head of the Brooklyn Diocese, in charge of investigating a sex-abuse scandal in the Buffalo Diocese.

This happened after Bishop Joseph Malone had come under fire for allegedly bungling that investigation.

Now its reported that DiMarzio is himself an abuser and that his alleged victim – Mark Matzek, 56 – had repeatedly been molested when he served as an altar boy at St Nicholas Church and a student at St Nicholas School in Jersey City between approximately 1974 and 1975

Matzek’s lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, told the New York Post that, at the time, Matzek was between 11 and 12 years old and DiMarzio was a parish priest in New Jersey in his 30s.

A second priest, the late Rev Albert Mark, also allegedly participated in the abuse, Matzek said. He and his lawyer are preparing a lawsuit against the church over the alleged abuse.

Accused Kansas City area priest to be retried this spring

KANSAS CITY (MO)
KMBC 9 TV

Nov. 14, 2019

By Emily Holwick

A priest who served in Kansas City, Kansas and Overland Park is being retried on charges of sexual misconduct with a child, stemming from incidents that prosecutors say happened in 2015. Fr. Scott Kallal faces two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. KMBC 9 spoke with the attorney representing one of his accusers, who says the process is grueling for her client.

Attorney Rebecca Randles has represented hundreds of alleged clergy abuse victims in her career, including one who testified against Fr. Kallal at his first trial in September. Randles says the mistrial was a shock. “Our client was devastated, she was absolutely devastated,” she said, “and I think the other witnesses were as well.”

Fr. Kallal had ties to St. Patrick's Church in Kansas City, Kansas, but was most recently Associate Pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Overland Park.

Randles says the best-case scenario would be a plea deal. “Sometimes with a plea agreement, you can also include into it the terms of the probation, that could include not being with children, to a longer probation,” she said.

November 14, 2019

The Backstory: 'I've had it with 'victims.' Why we won't stop reporting on sexual abuse

ARLINGTON (VA)
USA Today

Nov. 15, 2019

By Nicole Carroll

I'm USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll and this is the Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you'd like to get the Backstory in your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.

Reporter Lindsay Schnell and her editor, Cristina Silva, heard a disturbing story. A man told a state lawmaker that a Catholic school teacher had abused him 30 years earlier – and the teacher was still in the classroom.

How was that possible?

The answer is found in our investigation into former priests, Catholic brothers and Catholic school officials credibly accused of sexual abuse,but never brought to trial in part because so many state statute of limitation laws make it nearly impossible for victims to pursue criminal charges decades after alleged abuse.

The majority of U.S. Catholic dioceses have released names of credibly accused priests – many of whom were defrocked, or laicized, meaning they no longer work with the church. But neither the government nor the church keeps track of (or are required to keep track of) the credibly accused.

Christ the King Seminary and Sexual Misconduct: What’s the Best Path Forward?

BUFFALO (NY)
National Catholic Register

Nov. 13, 2019

By Peter Jesserer Smith

“How’d he get through?”

Huddled with his priest-secretary, vicar general and vicar for priests, Bishop Richard Malone repeated the question raised in the room: How did the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, end up with a priest whom they believed had not only aggressively pursued a seminarian for an inappropriate relationship and sought revenge when spurned, but had the ability to do an enormous amount of damage due to the blackmail he held over other priests?

As detailed in Part 1 of this report, Father Jeff Nowak, a graduate of Christ the King Seminary, faces allegations of sexually pursuing a seminarian, violating the seal of the confession, hearing invalid confessions via FaceTime and working with two other priests who came out of that seminary to emotionally blackmail and then slander in revenge his target after refusing his advances. That seminarian, Matthew Bojanowksi, quit in August, citing Bishop Malone’s failures to protect his seminary career and reputation.

But secret audio recordings taken in March by Father Ryszard Biernat, Bishop Malone’s former priest-secretary, reveal that the group is concerned about the seminary’s image if Father Nowak’s actions get out and that homosexual persons collectively would be unfairly blamed.

They characterized Father Nowak, and two of his seminary classmates who are now also priests, as an apparent “homosexual triumvirate” spreading rumors and “cat-fighting” against other priests in the diocese they wanted to take down, including Father Biernat.

The group noted the obvious signs that should have barred Father Nowak from ordination: He left seminary twice, refused to show up for seminary assignments; but despite this record, he was ordained in 2012.

Beyond looking into his file and wondering how he was deemed suitable for ordination, nobody in the recordings suggests the need for a formal investigation into how the priest made it through the seminary’s safeguards, or whether his actions and those of the other members of the alleged apparent “homosexual triumvirate” pointed to the existence of an active homosexual subculture at Christ the King Seminary.

In fact, the March recordings show Bishop Malone and his inner circle agree there is a “larger group” of possibly homosexual priests with “unresolved” personal issues, in addition to Father Nowak and his associates, who are “not gonna go down quietly” and “will take anybody down” they have issues with.

The fear of Bishop Malone and his inner circle regarding these priests, who are products of Christ the King Seminary, did not abate months later.

More Than 100 Catholic Clerics Accused Of Sex Abuse In Colorado

DENVER (CO)
Patch

Nov. 14, 2019

By Amber Fisher

More than 100 Colorado Catholic clergy members are accused of sexual abuse in a new report published by a law firm that represents sexual abuse victims in the United States. The firm's report was published several weeks after a long-awaited document on sexual abuse cases was released by the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

The law firm, Jeff Anderson & Associates, released information about 59 additional clergy members who were not named in the state attorney general's 263-page document, which was authored by former Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. Both reports name clergy members in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said the attorney general's report, which names 43 priests who are accused of assaulting at least 166 children, is "far, far from complete in revealing the true peril."

Anderson's law firm, which is based in Minnesota, held a news conference Wednesday with survivors of abuse by Catholic priests. One of the survivors, John Murphy, said he and his two brothers were molested by a clergy member at a camp in the 1950s.

Investigation Reveals a Catholic Monk Required to Register as a Sex Offender in California Quietly Moved Out of State

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 13, 2019

A Franciscan brother who has been convicted of child sexual abuse has quietly moved from California — where he was a registered sex offender — to Oregon, where he is not required to register. We call on Catholic bishops in Portland and Los Angeles to warn the public about him and seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes.

Robert Van Handel, a monk who founded a boys choir and was principal of a seminary in Santa Barbara, admitted that he abused young boys for nearly 20 years. He pleaded guilty to “lewd and lascivious behavior,” went to prison and was required to register as a sex offender.

An investigation by USA Today found him living at Courtyard Fountains, a senior living center in Oregon, where he has been since 2013. But the Franciscan brother is not on the sex offender registry in that state because it has a different system for evaluating abusers.

We strongly suspect that few in Oregon know that Van Handel has been accused of abuse by nearly two dozen victims. Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, OR, should now take steps to warn parents and parishioners about the Franciscan’s presence, using all resources at his disposal including announcements on church websites, in parish bulletins and from pulpits.

New York Diocese Argues Child Victims Act is Unconstitutional, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 14, 2019

Once again, Catholic officials are trying to avoid consequences for clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by attempting to prevent all survivors from having their day in court. We hope this latest legal maneuver fails and that victims throughout New York can continue to exercise their legal rights.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island is arguing that the Child Victim’s Act is unconstitutional and that survivors who are currently bringing suits thanks to it should be stopped from doing so. However, there is no constitutional guarantee to a statute of limitations, so this last ditch effort seems like nothing more than a bald-faced attempt to prevent parishioners and the public from learning more about the extent of clergy abuse and cover-ups. Catholic officials have long lobbied against reform that benefits survivors, so this latest move is not a surprise.

Bishop Malone denies report claiming resignation "imminent"

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN News

Nov. 13, 2019

A report from Rome indicates that Bishop Richard Malone's resignation as head of the Diocese of Buffalo may be imminent, but the Bishop is disputing that claim.

Christopher Lamb, Rome correspondent for The Tablet, is reporting reliable sources have told him Malone's resignation may be close.

The apostolic visitation into the troubled diocese has been completed by Bishop DiMarzio

Bishop Malone is under fire for mishandling sexual abuse in his diocese

However, Catholic Herald reporter Chris Altieri said that Malone himself told him on Thursday that report was false.

"Bishop Malone continues to serve as the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo. He is currently engaged with the other bishops of New York State in their Ad Limina visit, discussing with officials of the Holy See and with Pope Francis the areas of challenge and progress of the Catholic Church in New York State and the scope of the vibrant ministries serving the needs of New Yorkers, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike," the Diocese of Buffalo said in a prepared statement.

"When Bishop Malone returns to Buffalo he will be communicating further about his meeting with the Holy Father and the other participating bishops."

Malone was in Rome on Wednesday and said Mass in Vatican City at St. Paul's Basilica. An investigation into Malone and the Diocese conducted by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio from the Diocese of Brooklyn concluded on October 31. Any resignation would need to be accepted by The Pope. Lamb said that the papal nuncio to the United States first learned of the bishop's resignation last week.

"The wheels of the Vatican bureaucracy can run very slow at times," Lamb said. "Sometimes things can be held up that can be a slip between cup and lip. "From what I'm hearing it's in the days zone (for his resignation)."

A Catholic Diocese in New York Is Trying to Stop More Child Sex Abuse Survivors From Suing

NEW YORK (NY)
VICE News

Nov. 13, 2019

By Carter Sherman

A Roman Catholic diocese wants the New York supreme court to throw out new lawsuits filed by childhood sex abuse survivors, challenging the constitutionality of a groundbreaking law that lets survivors sue no matter how much time has passed.

The motion, filed Tuesday by the diocese of Rockville Centre, comes three months after the law, the Child Victims Act, took effect in New York. The Act temporarily suspends statutes of limitations on childhood sex abuse for a one-time, one-year window. But it has already triggered an avalanche of lawsuits against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and other groups that allegedly sheltered abusers.

Those lawsuits will probably force New York dioceses to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars. They’ve already led at least one, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

New York isn’t the first state to open up a so-called “lookback window”: At least 16 other states and Washington, D.C., have set up similar legislation, according to Child USA, an anti-child abuse group that supports the windows.

But the Rockville Centre’s filing argues that the Child Victims Act violates the New York state constitution’s due process clause. Survivors could have sued before the statute of limitations on the abuse ran out, the motion also argues.

The average age when childhood sex abuse survivors come forward is 52, according to Child USA.

The diocese’s opposition to the Child Victims Act breaks with the Catholic Bishops of New York State’s lobbying arm, the Catholic Conference. That group had long opposed the Act — but days before it passed, when its success looked all but assured, the Conference tweeted that it would now support the bill after an amendment made it clear that public institutions could be sued.

“We therefore remove our previous opposition and pray that survivors find the healing they so desperately deserve,” the Conference wrote.

Sentencing concludes long road to justice

SUPERIOR (WI)
Catholic Herald

Nov. 14, 2019

By Anita Draper

Thomas Ericksen, a former priest of the Diocese of Superior, was sentenced Sept. 26 in Sawyer County Circuit Court to the maximum 30 years in prison for molesting boys while serving in diocesan parishes decades ago.

Although the church long ago settled the question of Ericksen’s fitness for the priesthood – he was removed from ministry in 1983, began a counseling program in the Twin Cities and was permanently removed from the priesthood through laicization in 1988 – Catholics may still have questions.

First, why was Ericksen permitted to stay in ministry for so long? Second, why wasn’t he prosecuted decades ago? Third, how much has abuse cost the Diocese of Superior? Finally, what has the diocese – and the wider church – changed to ensure such crimes are never again perpetrated by priests?

The bishop

Bishop George Albert Hammes, a Diocese of La Crosse native who instituted Second Vatican Council reforms from 1960 to 1985, was holding the crosier when Ericksen was a priest. Hammes died in 1993.

Ericksen was ordained June 2, 1973, in Phillips. He was in active ministry, mostly as an associate pastor, but also as a chaplain and pastor, until his removal in August 1983. He had 10 assignments in as many years – Rice Lake, Cumberland, Ladysmith-Bruce, Superior, Hudson, River Falls, Webster, Eagle River, Merrill and Winter.

Information shared at Ericksen’s sentencing indicates as many as 11 victims have come forward from those 10 years. Articles about Ericksen, which can be traced online back to at least 2010, include many inconsistencies and do not conclusively tell when Bishop Hammes was first notified of Ericksen’s behavior.

Prosecutors: KCK priest in child sex case to get new trial date after jury deadlocks

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

Nov. 14, 2019

By Katie Bernard

The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office intends to bring a new trial against a Kansas City, Kansas, Roman Catholic priest accused of child molestation.

The trial against the Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, will likely be scheduled in April and held in May, Jonathan Carter, the office’s spokesman, told The Star on Wednesday.

Kallal faces two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. His original trial, held in September, ended in mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas suspended Kallal in July 2017 after receiving allegations of inappropriate conduct involving two people, one a minor.

Witnesses at the trial and other hearings detailed two alleged 2015 incidents.

The first was at a friend’s graduation party in Bonner Springs, according to testimony at a 2017 preliminary hearing. Kallal allegedly tickled a 10-year-old girl’s breasts twice, against her wishes.

The second came a few months later in the parish hall gymnasium at St. Patrick’s Church when he allegedly touched another young girl’s breasts.

The second victim’s adoptive mother testified in September that she did not see Kallal touch her daughter’s breasts but that she did see him carrying the girl in a way he shouldn’t have.

According to the woman’s testimony she was helping to coordinate appointments for the church’s pictorial directory when she heard her daughter, who was in the gym, scream.

Her daughter ran out the gym door and into the women’s restroom, where she tried to lock herself in a stall, her mother said. Kallal followed behind her, and came out carrying the girl.

Bishop DiMarzio Categorically Denies Sexual Abuse Allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

Nov. 13, 2019

By Christopher White

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is strongly refuting an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the 1970s while he was still a priest in the archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey.

“I am just learning of this allegation,” DiMarzio said in a statement sent to the priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn on Nov. 12. “In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never engaged in unlawful or inappropriate behavior and I categorically deny this allegation. I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

DiMarzio’s statement comes in response to lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has notified the Archdiocese of Newark that he intends to sue for damages of $20 million next month when New Jersey opens its two-year “look-back” window that will allow sex abuse victims to file lawsuits without a statute of limitations.


A report from the Associated Press on Nov. 13 based on Garabedian’s notice, claims that when DiMarzio was a priest at St. Nicholas Parish in Jersey City that he repeatedly abused now 56-year-old Mark Matzek when Matzek was an altar boy at the church. The alleged victim also claims he was abused by a second priest, the late Father Albert Mark.

DiMarzio submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis in June as required by church law when a bishop turns 75. Francis, however, has yet to accept the resignation.

In early October, DiMarzio was appointed by the Vatican to lead an investigation into the Diocese of Buffalo’s embattled Bishop Richard Malone, who has been accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse of minors. DiMarzio completed his investigation late last month, and his report will be submitted to Francis for a review and findings of fact.

Victims Of Catholic Church Sex Abuse Want Statute Of Limitations To Be Dropped

DENVER (CO)
CBS 4 News

Nov. 13, 2019

By Rick Sallinger

An attorney who represents victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests called on Colorado legislators to drop the statute of limitations on such crimes on Wednesday. Jeff Anderson also presented names and photos of around 100 priests who served in Colorado who have been accused sex abuse.

One name on the list was now-former Jesuit Father Patrick O’Liddy. CBS4 featured him in a news story several years ago.

“Hi Rick Sallinger from Channel 4. We’d like to talk to you about why you left the priesthood.”

In 2002, he was convicted of sexting with a minor. His picture is now on a board that was presented at a news conference in Denver. Several who said they were victims from different priests stood by as Anderson spoke.

“If a law would pass it would help survivors like Joe McGee who sign.d agreements for $10,000.”

McGee was about 9 years old in Iliff, Colorado when he says he was abused. Father John Francis Stein was later convicted of taking indecent liberties with another minor boy.

“I am sorry to say my sex education comes from a Catholic priest at the hand of a Catholic priest,” he told CBS4.

November 13, 2019

Buffalo’s Troubled Christ the King Seminary

BUFFALO (NY)
National Catholic Register

Nov. 13, 2019

By Peter Jesserer Smith

The scandalous allegations that have engulfed the Diocese of Buffalo — and especially its center for forming priests, Christ the King Seminary — is sufficiently grave that it triggered a Vatican decision in September to authorize an apostolic visitation of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Now, as Catholics in Buffalo and elsewhere in the U.S. await the findings of that visitation, the Register is publishing an in-depth report on the allegations of a long-standing culture of sexual misconduct at Christ the King, dating back more than 20 years and apparently still present today.

The highest-profile recent scandals involving the seminary include allegations of adult sexual abuse made in September 2018 against Father Joseph Gatto, its then-rector and a longtime member of its formation team, who was chosen by Bishop Richard Malone in 2013 to lead the seminary. Following those allegations, Father Gatto stepped down as rector.

The seminary came under greater scrutiny in April 2019, after a Christ the King employee leaked a report indicating a handful of Buffalo priests, including a Christ the King spiritual director, had invited seminarians to a pizza party and allegedly engaged them there in pornographic, misogynistic and humiliating conversations.

While the seminary acted swiftly to address that situation, seminarians allege they were subjected afterward to retaliation by deacons, priests and employees in the Diocese of Buffalo for reporting the abusive conduct.

New molestation suit accuses Jesuit of using parent, alumni donations to pay abuse settlements

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

Nov. 13, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A new lawsuit filed by a man who alleges he was in his first year at Jesuit High School in the late 1970s when a predator janitor raped him on campus claims the school has used millions of dollars in parent and alumni money to cover abuse-related settlements.

The 19-page suit is the latest in a series of complaints attributing acts of sexual abuse to Peter Modica, a former minor league baseball player who got a job on Jesuit’s groundskeeping staff despite having previously pleaded guilty to molesting two teenagers.

Yet the suit stands out for a couple of reasons. Others who have identified themselves as victims of Modica were not Jesuit students but instead lived in the surrounding neighborhood. And this filing is the first to claim to know how the 172-year-old Catholic prep school has paid out settlements involving abuse allegations blamed on Modica as well as clergy and other religious personnel.

In a statement Wednesday, Jesuit officials said, “We received the (former student's) claim when it was first brought forward out of pastoral concern and in keeping with school policy. But, as with any claim, we have the responsibility to thoroughly assess the efficacy and legitimacy of the claim.”

Law firm releases report naming Colorado Catholic clerics accused of sexual abuse

DENVER (CO)
News Channel 9

Nov. 13, 2019
.
By Janet Oravetz

A law firm that has published more than two dozen reports about sexual abuse in the Catholic church released a report Wednesday that includes information about 102 clerics who are accused of child sexual abuse and worked within the Archdiocese of Denver, and the dioceses of Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

The report from Jeff Anderson and Associates includes 95 names. Seven priests in the report are unidentified.

It comes on the heels of an independent review from former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, which named 43 Catholic priests who were accused of sexually abusing children in those same three dioceses.

The report from Troyer was limited and did not include religious order priests or other religious clerics associated with the dioceses. It only included "credible" abuse reports since 1950.

The so-called "Anderson Report" is one of 26 released in various jurisdictions where Anderson said there was a "gross underreporting of the perils that have existed both past and present."

Catholic bishops’ new anti-abuse hotline to be ready soon

BALTIMORE (MD)
Associated Press

Nov. 13, 2019

By David Crary and Rgina Garcia Cano.

A new national hotline to report sexual misconduct accusations against Catholic bishops in the U.S. could be operating by the end of February, three months ahead of the deadline set by Pope Francis.

That forecast came Wednesday from Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as the bishops concluded a three-day national assembly. The early start-up date would require all of the nearly 200 dioceses to be ready; church officials sounded optimistic that would happen.

The closing session also featured a blistering denunciation of the Trump administration’s tough policies for asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. via Mexico. Anna Marie Gallagher, head of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, assailed the policies as cruel and illegal.

The abuse-reporting hotline, to be operated by a private company, was approved by the bishops in June in response to a new wave of damaging developments in the church’s long-running clergy sex abuse crisis. The bishops had previously established a reporting system covering abusive priests and deacons that did not extend into their own ranks.

Picarello said the committee assigned to develop the new system obtained bids from three companies, and subsequently signed a two-year contract with Convercent, a Denver-based firm which describes itself as expert in the field of corporate ethics and compliance.

The Vatican has set May 31 as the global deadline for new anti-abuse measures that encompass Catholic bishops. However, Picarello said the U.S. reporting system could be operating by the end of February.

Several bishops questioned Picarello about the next steps in the process. He replied that each diocese could decide how to publicize the toll-free number that will be created for people to make reports.

Covington Diocese to review priest files amid I-Team investigation into abuse in Catholic Church

COVINGTON (KY)
WCPO TV 9

Nov. 13, 2019

By Craig Cheatham, Paula Christian and Dan Monk

The Diocese of Covington hired two former FBI agents to review its records on priests over the past 59 years to determine if all allegations of child sexual abuse have been reported to authorities.

A diocese spokeswoman announced the independent review on Tuesday, just days before the WCPO I-Team is scheduled to publish and air a three-month investigation into how local Catholic Church leaders handle allegations of priest sexual abuse.

Spokeswoman Laura Keener did not respond to the I-Team’s numerous requests for information or an interview over the past several weeks, until she forwarded a Messenger story to the team on Tuesday. Messenger is the Catholic newspaper for the Diocese of Covington.

In the online story , Keener wrote that an independent review of priest files began after Bishop Roger Foys announced it at a priest retreat in early October. Chief Investigative Reporter Craig Cheatham first reached out to the diocese in September.

“Bishop Foys and the Diocesan Review Board initiated the independent review as a way to continue to assure the priests and people that the Diocese of Covington has, as far as is humanly possible, addressed the scourge of sexual abuse of minors by its priests,” Keener wrote.

The Diocese of Covington has never published a list of credibly accused priests and is one of only 10 dioceses nationwide that has not announced an intention to do so, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Buffalo’s Bishop Rumored Resignation Should Not Prevent Investigations into the Diocese from Being Made Public

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 13, 2019

A new report is giving strength to rumors that the top Catholic official in Buffalo may soon be resigning. Regardless of whether or not this happens, we hope that that there will still be an investigation into the multiple scandals and lies that have come out of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Bishop Robert Malone is under investigation not only by Church officials in Rome, but reportedly also by federal and state law enforcement officials. His resignation – deserved though it may be – should not prevent the results of these investigations from being released to the public. And while we would prefer to see Bishop Malone disciplined by Catholic leaders for his deception instead of being allowed to quietly resign, we are most concerned about the other secrets and actors within the Diocese of Buffalo.

Bishop who investigated sex abuse accused of sex abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

Nov. 13, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

A Roman Catholic bishop named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo, New York, has himself been accused of sexual abuse of a child, an attorney for the alleged victim notified the church this week.

The attorney informed Catholic officials in New Jersey that he is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of a client who says he was molested by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in the mid-1970s, when DiMarzio was a parish priest in Jersey City.

DiMarzio said there is no truth to the accusation.

“I am just learning about this allegation,” he said in a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press. “In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never engaged in unlawful or inappropriate behavior and I emphatically deny this allegation. I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

In a letter sent Monday to the church’s Newark, New Jersey, archdiocese, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said 56-year-old Mark Matzek alleges he was repeatedly abused by DiMarzio and a second priest, the late Rev. Albert Mark, when he was an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church and a student at St. Nicholas School.

Diocese comments on reports that Bishop Malone's resignation is 'imminent'

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW T V

Nov. 13, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Buffalo said Wednesday that she has received "no information" that Bishop Malone has submitted his resignation to Vatican officials.

"We have received no information in that regard," diocesan spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said in an email to 7 Eyewitness News.

Spangler was responding to widespread speculation that the embattled bishop, who is in Rome with other bishops to meet with Pope Francis, is about to become the first bishop in the 172-year history of the Diocese of Buffalo to resign.

Speculation began after Christopher Lamb, the Rome correspondent for The Tablet, a British publication, wrote on Twitter -- citing "reliable sources" -- that Malone's resignation was "imminent."

An Abusive Priest from Steubenville Lives near Seattle, WA. and Worked with Vulnerable Teens, SNAP responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 13, 2019

An accused priest from the Diocese of Steubenville, Elwood Bernas, until recently had a job near Seattle that gave him access to vulnerable young people. We call on bishops in both states to aggressively seek out anyone else he may have been hurt to warn police, prosecutors, parents and the public about him.

A year ago, Elwood Bernas's name appeared on the Steubenville diocese list of credibly accused priests. And according to a newly-released investigation by USA Today, Bernas has been working as “a compliance specialist at Newport Academy, a treatment center outside Seattle for teens who struggle with substance abuse.” Additionally, since 2009 Bernas has been an active figure in a Bremerton, Washington church where he has worked as an organist.

In both of his roles, Bernas has access to children and vulnerable adults. This is exactly why it is so irresponsible for bishops to recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, supervise, transfer and shield abusive priests, only to oust them when their crimes surface and do little or nothing to alert vulnerable families, neighbors and co-workers.

Seattle's Archbishop Paul D. Etienne must now take steps to warn parents and parishioners about Bernas’ presence, using all resources at his disposal including announcements on church websites, in parish bulletins and from pulpits.

SNAP Disappointed that Kansas City Bishop Appointed as Head of Committee on Child Protection

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 13, 2019

We are deeply disappointed that the head of the Kansas City, Missouri diocese has won his bid to head a national panel on child sexual abuse. This choice will almost certainly maintain the troubling status quo and do little or nothing to stop abuse or cover ups.

At the annual meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop James Johnston of Kansas City beat Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City for the chairmanship of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. SNAP had backed McKnight for the position.

Bishop McKnight hasn’t been a bishop long and has been both criticized and praised by our organization. But Bishop Johnston did a poor job in Springfield MO initially and is doing a poor job in Kansas City currently.

One year later, still no answers from Vatican on McCarrick scandal

Catholic Culture blog

Nov. 13, 2019

By Phil Lawler

Just about one year ago, the members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted down a resolution that would have, in respectful terms, “encouraged” the Vatican to release documents relevant to the case of the disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

This week, in a report to the USCCB, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that he expected the Vatican to provide a report on the McCarrick affair “soon.”

When they voted against that resolution last year, the American bishops were expressing their confidence that the Vatican would provide some clarity “soon,” without unnecessary prodding. No such luck.

Last year at this time, “soon” might have meant prior to the meeting in Rome this past February, at which bishops from around the world discussed the abuse scandal and the resulting crisis of conscience in Church leadership. But No.

We know where to look for the documents in question. They’re in the files of the apostolic nuncio in Washington, and/or the offices of the Roman Curia. It shouldn’t take a year to dig them out.

Cardinal O’Malley reported this week that he has reminded the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, that the American bishops want to know “who knew what and when” about McCarrick’s misconduct. He said: “The long wait has resulted in great frustration on the part of bishops and our people and indeed a very harsh and even cynical interpretation of the seeming silence.”

The seeming silence? If it seems to you that the Vatican is silent, there’s a reason for that impression. Sixteen months after the scandal became public—sixteen months after outraged American Catholics began demanding honest answers to obvious questions—the Vatican has not responded.

But don’t worry, and above all don’t become “even cynical.” We’ll have the answers—well, we’ll have some answers—“soon.”

A time of great crisis

AUKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
NZ Catholic

Nov. 13, 2019

By Dan Stollenwerk

Like so many of the faithful, I was greatly saddened to read that Bishop Charles Drennan had resigned — a complaint having been made against him of “unacceptable behaviour of a sexual nature”.

He was the new face of the hierarchy: young, able, polished, strong in financial discipline, a spokesman for economic justice and committed to cleansing the Church of the scourge of paedophilia.

And now this.

“Jerusalem Athens Alexandria / Vienna / London / Unreal.” T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland comes to mind. To which we might now add Palmerston North.

Things are falling apart.

I suppose, like so many as well, I’ve become weary of the scandals — financial, sexual, paedophiliac. Angry too, of course. Especially if one knows victims of sexual exploitation, one understands a bit of the soul-destroying nature of the sin.

There’s a reason why Dante Alighieri places traitors in the innermost circle
of hell — Judas getting the centre seat. Traitors break trust. And it’s but a short leap from political traitor to sexual betrayer. Adultery, after all, is one of the top 10 Mosaic sins.

Sexual betrayal consumes not just the victim; it poisons a web of social
relations in ways that the sinner could never imagine. As Genesis pointed out ever so long ago and Sigmund Freud confirmed much more recently, sexuality runs deep — very, very deep.

Which is why the sexual scandal of the Church will not go away. In fact, the repercussions of the scandal have only just begun. (Whence, for example, our future leaders?)

Some have said that a healthy ecclesial purification may be in store. Maybe. Not all fire destroys.

U.S. bishops examine challenges faced by church, society

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 11, 2019

By Carol Zimmermann

On the agenda for the U.S. bishops' Nov. 11-13 meeting in Baltimore were elections and discussions of key challenges in the church and the nation. Unlike recent previous meetings, their response to the clergy abuse crisis was mentioned but was not the primary focus.

On the second day of the meeting, Nov. 12, the bishops elected Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles to a three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit as conference vice president.

Archbishop Gomez, the first Latino to be elected to this role, was chosen with 176 votes from a slate of 10 nominees. He has been USCCB vice president for the past three years and his new role begins at the end of the Baltimore gathering.

Among the other votes Nov. 12, the action item that received the most discussion was about new materials to complement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," their long-standing guide to help Catholics form their consciences in public life, including voting. The bishops voted to approve the additions, including the addition the statement prompting the discussion that called abortion the preeminent social issue of our time.

The second day of bishops' meeting coincided with oral arguments at the Supreme Court over the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA and bishops at the Baltimore meeting spoke up in defense of DACA recipients on the floor and in interviews with Catholic News Service.

Bishops also heard a wide-ranging report on immigration Nov. 12 which included updates of policy, how programs to resettle refugees, including those run by the Catholic Church have closed or reduced activity because the administration has moved to close the country's doors to those seeking refuge, and efforts on the border to help asylum cases.

UPDATED: Australian High Court refers Cardinal Pell's appeal of sex abuse conviction

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Agency

Nov. 13, 2019

The Australian High Court announced Wednesday that Cardinal George Pell's application for special leave to appeal has been refferred to the full court for decision. Pell is seeking to appeal an August decision by the Court of Appeal in Victoria to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.

His application will now be considered by all the members of Australia's highest court, and a decision is expected in March or April.

Pell’s appeal to the High Court in Canberra, Australia’s supreme court, is his last legal avenue to overturn a conviction which has divided opinion in the country and internationally.

Responding to the decision, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney said he "welcomed" the progress of the case at the High Court.

"The Cardinal has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so," Fisher said. "The divided judgment of the Court of Appeal reflects the divided opinion amongst jurors, legal commentators and within our community."

"For the sake of all involved in this case, I hope that the appeal will be heard as soon as possible," Fisher said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, the Vatican also issued a statement "reiterating its trust in the Australian justice system."

"The Holy See acknowledges the decision of Australia’s High Court to accept Card. George Pell’s request of appeal, aware that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence," the statement said.

"At this time, the Holy See reaffirms once again its closeness to those who have suffered because of sexual abuse on the part of members of the clergy."

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

He was sentenced to six years in prison, of which he must serve at least three years and eight months before being eligible to apply for parole.

HEALING SERVICE FOR CLERGY SEX ABUSE VICTIMS TO BE HELD

UTICA (NY)
Nov. 13, 2019

Nov. 13, 2019

By Jim Rondenelli

A Healing Service for victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse will be held Thursday night at 7:00 at Our Lady of the Rosary Church on Burrstone Road in New Hartford.

The service was planned by two victims-survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse, Dan Paden and Matt FitzGibbons.

Paden and FitzGibbons have openly discussed the affects of their abuse on their lives and their journey to survive and heal.

Sex abuse prevention expert says “no simple answers to complex problems”

DENVER (CO)
Crux

Nov. 13, 2019

By Shannon Levitt and Ines San Martin

[Editor’s note: This is part one of an hour-long interview with Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a member of Pope Francis’s commission for the protection of minors. Part two will be published tomorrow.]

Last week, Father Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit who is a member of Pope Francis’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, showed an uncharacteristic moment of impatience during a Q&A when he was asked by a priest why he wasn’t focusing on homosexuality as the real cause of clerical sex abuse.

The moment came after one of the talks he gave during a Nov. 6-8 conference on abuse prevention in Latin America organized by the interdisciplinary center for child protection of Mexico’s Pontifical University, CEPROME.

In an interview following the event, he explained that he was a bit under the weather so he was off his game somewhat, however, he stood by the core of his response to the priest: “There are things that you can repeat over and over again and people don’t get it. As I said in my response to him, it’s the same when people repeat over and over again that it is celibacy that causes the abuse.”

“You can quote whatever scientific report and government report out there stating that it is not the case, but people still think so,” Zollner said.

Some people continue to insist that the root cause for clerical sex abuse is either celibacy or homosexuality, but having reviewed the evidence, the priest - who also heads the Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Gregorian University - believes both of these ideas demonstrate that “people ask for simple answers to very complex problems, and they cling to a certain kind of idea simply because it seems to explain very easily where the problem is and how you can get rid of it."

Most priests accused of sexually abusing children were never sent to prison. Here's why

ARLINGTON (VA)
USA Today

Nov. 11, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

The Catholic Church has been under scrutiny from survivors, victims’ advocates and, in some cases, law enforcement, since early 2002, when the sex abuse crisis that involved church administration covering for thousands of priests first became public knowledge.

In the last two decades, there’s been major church reform, including the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which established guidelines for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Meanwhile, dioceses across the country have released lists of credibly accused priests, many of whom are deceased.

Most of these men have never faced criminal prosecution, often because of statute of limitation laws that advocates across the country are trying to change. And some claim they have been wrongly accused.

How many Catholic priests have been accused of sexual abuse?
There’s some debate about the total number of Catholic priests, brothers and school officials who have been accused of sexual abuse.

As of Nov. 11, Bishop Accountability, a website that tracks accusations, has named 6,433 priests, brothers and Catholic school officials accused of abuse. Additionally, 154 archdioceses and dioceses have released the names of 4,771 credibly accused clerics, according to Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm that specializes in representing sex abuse survivors.

The church has drawn scrutiny from survivors’ groups for sometimes leaving known abusers off its credibly accused lists and for naming the same clergy members multiple times. Some archdiocese and dioceses have declined to release lists.

Australia’s Cardinal Pell Given Special Leave to Appeal Conviction on Child Sexual Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 13, 2019

In a blow to victims of clergy sexual abuse and a challenge to the Australian criminal justice system, a cardinal, unanimously convicted of six charges of sexual abuse of a minor by a full and impartial jury of his peers, has been granted special leave to appeal his convictions.

We are disappointed that Cardinal George Pell and his lawyers will have yet another opportunity to attack and revictimize the former choirboy from St Patrick’s Cathedral. We are especially dismayed at the aspersions of credibility cast on the survivor after a full jury and the majority of appellate judges ruled to the contrary. While the final arbitration has now been granted Cardinal Pell, the circumstances are working against future victims coming forward to expose wrongdoing and citizens performing their civic duty and devoting a portion of their lives to the search for truth and justice on a criminal trial jury. May the High Court weigh all the matters before them in the appeal by Cardinal Pell and guarantee the integrity of the Australian legal system.

5 recently charged priests reported to Michigan police, prosecutors years ago

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit News

Nov. 13, 2019

By Beth LeBlanc

After resigning from Holy Redeemer Parish in 2002, the Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo penned a letter to Burton parishioners admitting to “inappropriate sexual contact with a minor” in the 1980s.

The former Flint area priest was removed from ministry and moved to Florida a little less than six years later, free of charges because the statute of limitations barred prosecution.

More than 17 years later, DeLorenzo was arrested in the backyard of his Summerfield, Florida, home on remarkably similar allegations by the Michigan attorney general's office.

On May 23, police collected the 80-year-old priest's medicine and took him to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, where he waived his Miranda rights and allowed police to search his phone, according to a Michigan State Police report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

DeLorenzo is one of at least five priests charged this year with sexual misconduct in Michigan who had been reported by the state's dioceses to police or prosecutors years before — in some cases multiple times by multiple victims. The other priests are the Revs. Neil Kalina, Jacob Vellian, Brian Stanley and Timothy Crowley.

But, in large part, charges earlier weren't filed because the statute of limitations had run its course and barred prosecution, or because a victim was unwilling to file a police report,according to a Detroit News review of government documents.

Each of the priests charged by Nessel had been removed from ministry in Michigan by their dioceses based on the allegations months or years prior to being charged.

Some of the latest misconduct charges are possible due to new allegations or old victims who finally filed a police report. In others, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel used a legal provision to charge priests whom local prosecutors believed couldn’t be prosecuted due to the passage of time.

The state has "an obligation, a responsibility and the authority" to pursue justice in the clergy abuse investigation, Nessel said in a Tuesday statement.

"One of the most important things our office can do for crime victims — especially those victims who have suffered in silence and have been ignored for so long — is to honor them and their stories by aggressively continuing to pursue the investigation begun by my predecessor," Nessel said.

Priest who was arrested in Mascoutah pleads guilty in child porn case

BELLEVILLE (IL)
Associated Press

Nov. 12, 2019

A priest who served at several Southern Illinois parishes has pleaded guilty to the distribution of child pornography and the possession of methamphetamine.

The Rev. Gerald Hechenberger faces up to 26 years in prison after pleading guilty last week to three counts of possessing pornographic photos of children and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

Hechenberger was arrested at Holy Childhood Church in Mascoutah by Belleville police on Jan. 8, 2018, after they received a tip from the organization Internet Crimes Against Children. He was stripped of his priestly duties the same day.

Hechenberger had been serving as an associate pastor of Holy Childhood of Jesus Parish in Mascoutah, St. Pancratius Parish in Fayetteville and St. Liborius Parish in St. Libory when he was arrested.

Jury fails to reach verdict in case against priest accused of indecent assault 50 years ago

CORK (IRELAND)
Echo Live

Nov. 12, 2019

By Liam Heylin

A JURY failed to reach a verdict today in the case against an 86-year-old priest who denied indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy 50 years ago.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to six charges of indecent assault which allegedly occurred on unspecified dates between September 1969 and June 1971.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan asked the nine men and three women of the jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court if any further time would be of benefit after three-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

The jury indicated that more time would not be of any benefit to break the deadlock. In those circumstances, a disagreement was recorded as the outcome of the trial.

It will now be a matter for the DPP to decide on the possibility of a re-trial in front of a new jury.

The accused is not named for legal reasons.

The complainant said in respect of the six alleged incidents of indecent assault that it actually happened 12 times.

The 86-year-old defendent said: “I state categorically and without any qualification that what [complainant’s name] alleged, is totally untrue with regard to me.

“I never touched him or any person male or female in a wrong sexual manner.

“If after 50 years he thinks — he honestly thinks so — then he is gravely mistaken.”

Multiple students come forward after man with Bethel College ties arrested for sexual battery

NEWTON (KS)
KWCH TV

Nov. 12, 2019

North Newton police say multiple women are coming forward with accusations of sexual battery after the arrest of an 84-year-old man with ties to Bethel College.

Ted Mueller was arrested in October, accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his North Newton home on Aug. 1, 2018.

“The female victim contacted the North Newton Police Department this past January about the incident,” said Harvey County Attorney David Yoder in a news release. “Police investigated, submitting their information to the Harvey County Attorney’s Office in February.”

Mueller is charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct.

Catholics form new group to fight for transparency and disclosure of secret records

LAKE CHARLES (LA)
KPLC TV

Nov. 13, 2019

By Theresa Schmidt

They call themselves Catholics of Louisiana for Church Reform.

They are convinced the future of the church depends on total transparency concerning the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.

Despite the release of lists of credibly accused clergy, victims and their advocates have challenged the completeness and accuracy of the information made public in Southwest Louisiana and beyond. Luke Jones founded Catholics of Louisiana for Church Reform.

"This is an issue that’s going to continue unless people at the ground level in every church in every parish stand up to bishops and say, ‘No! We’re not going to stand for cover-up anymore. We want full transparency. We want full disclosure of documents from the past. We want to know what the past bishops were guilty of to go forward. How can you expect us to forgive you if you’re not willing to let us know what you did wrong?’“

Take for example, Mark Broussard, an ex-priest in prison for crimes against children.

The Lake Charles list indicates the Diocese first became aware of complaints against Broussard in 1994 yet a letter from the late Monsignor Irving DeBlanc to Broussard was written six years before in 1988, while Broussard was at Servants of the Paraclete treatment center in New Mexico. The letter, with a note to then Bishop Jude Speyrer, discusses DeBlanc’s decision to pay Broussard’s salary and other fees including insurance, and a car allowance while Broussard is in treatment. In all, DeBlanc agrees to pay $1021 a month. He also mentions the need for a Diocesan policy for such circumstances.

Jones had this reaction to the letter and DeBlanc’s decision to pay Broussard’s salary and other needs.

November 12, 2019

If You Measure It, You Can Manage It

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

Nov. 5, 2019

By Thomas J. Healey & Michael J. Brough

Catholic church officials have made significant strides in recent months to address bishop accountability on sexual abuse and other failures of leadership. Whether they can actually restore trust remains to be seen. In June 2019, one month after Pope Francis issued the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi calling on episcopal conferences around the world to put measures in place for holding bishops accountable, the USCCB reacted swiftly and approved a series of directives and protocols aimed at doing just that. But it defined no mechanisms for external oversight or mandatory audits, without which it’s hard to know whether these, or any other procedures put in place since the 2002 Dallas Charter, are being adequately monitored. What happens when there is no meaningful oversight of bishops was made freshly clear last summer with the case of Michael J. Bransfield, the Wheeling-Charleston bishop accused of financial malfeasance, sexual misconduct, and an ensuing cover-up. At their general assembly meeting next week, the bishops have the opportunity to further demonstrate their commitment to accountability and transparency by adopting a principle from corporate best practices: What gets measured gets managed.

This would be the obvious next step, given the measures the bishops adopted in June. These included the establishment of a third-party reporting process, and implementation of a new model whereby reports of abuse or misconduct by bishops would be referred to the appropriate metropolitan archbishop and the papal nuncio. The metropolitan, in turn, would be responsible for making these reports available to civil authorities and for cooperating in any investigation that may ensue. Bishop Jaime Soto, of the diocese of Sacramento, also made a proposal to mandate an audit-review process of the newly approved bishop-accountability procedures.

Victims of child sex abuse still face significant legal barriers suing churches - here’s why

The Conversation

November 12, 2019

By Laura Griffin

Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we are witnessing a wave of legal reforms across Australia aimed at helping survivors seek justice.

Most visibly, there is the National Redress Scheme, which provides victims access to counselling, a response from the institution where they were abused and payment of up to $150,000.

But for those who slip through the cracks of the scheme, as well as future victims, pursuing justice through civil litigation is still hugely important.

As traumatising as legal action can be, suing is not just a means to access compensation. It can also provide formal legal recognition of the abuse, and is a powerful way to hold the institution directly accountable.

USA Today hunts for 'The Priest Next Door,' in sex abuse feature that breaks little new ground

Get Religion blog

Nov. 12, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

If you follow mainstream news coverage of clergy sexual abuse cases in the Catholic church, you know that there are two common errors that journalists keep making when dealing with this hellish subject.

First, there is the timeline issue. Many editors seem convinced that the public first learned about this crisis through the epic Boston Globe “Spotlight” series that ran in 2002.

This may have been when Hollywood grasped the size of this story, but religion beat reporters and many other journalists had been following the scandal since the Louisiana accusations against the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, which made national headlines in 1984. Jason Berry’s trailblazing book “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” was published in 1992. Reporters covering the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chased this story all through the 1980s.

USA Today Investigation Reveals Dangers of Laicizing Abusers Without Oversight

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 12, 2019

A new investigation into Catholic clerics who have left or been expelled from the priesthood has confirmed many of our deepest fears about this scandal: that dangerous men are set loose upon unsuspecting communities, without oversight, allowing them to find jobs, positions, and homes near children and the vulnerable.

The USA Today report echoes findings from an Associated Press report earlier this year, showing how Catholic leaders have simply washed their hands of abusive priests after laicizing them or otherwise forcing them out of the Church. And while taking steps to remove clergy who abuse children or vulnerable adults is an obvious and necessary result, as these investigations show it is not enough. Church officials cannot ordain and train abusive priests only to ignore their responsibility to monitor and warn communities about them after they have hurt children.

Survivors Lay Out Steps New USCCB President Can Take Immediately on Clergy Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 12, 2019

As US Catholic officials are set to vote on new leadership, survivors of clergy abuse are hoping that this new leader will immediately take steps to improve how the body has addressed cases of clergy abuse and cover-up.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will elect their new president tomorrow. This new leader will succeed the outgoing Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, a prelate who leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, have castigated as continuing the cover-up and failing to take decisive action to protect children and support survivors.

“The new president has an opportunity to address this scandal better than any prior leader has,” said Becky Ianni, SNAP Board Member and volunteer leader in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas. “We hope that he will listen to our asks and take steps to protect children from sexual abuse today.”

How a priest got cleared of sexual abuse allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB TV

Nov. 11, 2019

By Daniel Telvock

The Rev. Roy Herberger may have been cleared by the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual abuse allegations, but he’s still scarred by the bishop’s decision to publish his name before anyone looked into the veracity of the claims.

Herberger is a priest at University at Buffalo’s Newman Center, where he returned to active ministry in December after a six-month investigation of allegations that he sexually abused a child beginning in 1985.

News 4 Investigates obtained the secret investigative report that the diocese used to clear Herberger, who described the time off waiting for a decision as “hell.”

Although Herberger was eventually reinstated, he said he is disappointed with Bishop Richard Malone, who he said should resign, and the Diocese of Buffalo for running an “unfair” process to vet sexual abuse allegations.

Similar to the sentiments of his fellow priest The Rev. Samuel Venne, who remains suspended from the diocese pending a decision from Rome on sexual abuse allegations against him, Herberger said the process the Diocese of Buffalo follows makes priests feel guilty before any fact-finding begins.

For starters, Herberger takes offense to the diocese releasing the name of accused priests, alive or dead, prior to any investigation.

Poland abuse scandal led to slump in vocations

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 12, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland's Primate has said that the paedophile scandal in the Catholic Church has contributed to a drastic fall in priestly vocations, which have plummeted by a fifth this year, according to newly published Church data.

"Of course, demography has an important part in these falling numbers, but it most certainly isn't the only cause", Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno told the Catholic Information Agency (KAI). "I'd also pose questions about the faith life of contemporary young people, and about our witness to faith in the Church and the world – about testimony within our families, and about our capacity and determination to resolve difficult and shameful issues in our Church life".

Do non-disclosure agreements hurt or help women?

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hill

Nov. 12, 2019

By Scott Altman

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment and assault cases are now at the center of a heated feminist debate. On one side, #MeToo leaders point out that repeat predators like Harvey Weinstein have used NDAs to silence victims and avoid detection and punishment while continuing to offend. The Catholic Church followed the same pattern in protecting pedophile priests. These scandals came to light in part because brave victims came forward in defiance of NDAs. The recent book “She Said” suggests that victims’ lawyers share some blame for abuse because they advise clients to sign NDAs.

On the other side, some feminists defend the use of NDAs. Gloria Allred, a feminist lawyer who has been targeted for such criticism, has defended her regular use of non-disclosure agreements. Allred points out that many victims value their privacy and reasonably prefer not to relive their assaults and harassment in public or to become publicly known as victims. As well, she argues that victims often have good reason to settle their claims rather than litigating, and without NDAs, perpetrators will not settle. According to Ms. Allred, NDAs expand victim choice — letting them decide whether to speak or be silent and whether to litigate or settle. Demanding that they sacrifice these benefits for the common good is unreasonable.

Former Mascoutah priest pleads guilty to child porn distribution, meth possession

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News Democrat

Nov. 12, 2019

By Hana Muslic

A Mascoutah priest who was charged last year with possessing and distributing child pornography and possessing meth has pleaded guilty to both crimes.

Rev. Gerald R. Hechenberger, a former associate pastor of Holy Childhood Catholic Church and school, entered his plea during a hearing in St. Clair County in front of Circuit Judge Zina Cruse on Nov. 7.

Hechenberger pleaded guilty to four of the 17 counts against him, including three counts of possessing pornographic photos of children and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

The case was handled by special prosecutor Jennifer Mudge, who stepped in to oversee the case when James Gomric was announced as the new St. Clair County State’s Attorney last year.

New report slams ex-Salina bishop

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 11, 2019

It shows he destroyed abuse records
SNAP: Revelations are ‘very alarming’
Group seeks two investigations of him
It also seeks more funding for KBI investigation
Probe was requested by KS attorney general one year ago
And SNAP ‘outs’ another local predator priest not on bishop’s list

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose
--excerpts of a just-released church report that reveals “serious wrongdoing” by the former head of the Salina diocese, and
--the name of another credibly and publicly accused child molesting cleric who was in the Salina diocese but is NOT on the official diocesan ‘accused’ list and has attracted no local attention.

They will urge
--Catholic officials in Rome, Salina and Arizona to investigate his handling of ALL abuse cases, in each diocese where he worked, and
--local and state law enforcement to also investigate him for potentially destroying evidence and other potential crimes.

They will also urge
--the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to issue an update on its statewide probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups,
--lawmakers to increase funding for the on-going investigation, and
--“every current and ex-church staffer and member who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse to call the KBI immediately so kids are safer, wrongdoers are exposed and cover ups are deterred.”

ALABAMA CATHOLIC PRIEST ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF CRUISE SHIP MASSEUSE

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

Nov. 11, 2019

By Rosie McCall

An Alabama priest is due to attend court Wednesday having been accused of sexually harassing a masseuse aboard a cruise ship in August.

According to The Associated Press, Reverend Amal Samy from the Archdiocese of Mobile in southwest Alabama is being trialed after allegations emerged revealing the priest had tried to get a female technician aboard the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship to touch his genitals. It has also been claimed Samy had repeatedly attempted to touch the technician, federal court documents show.

Witness statements additionally allege that Samy had exposed himself to the masseuse by removing the covering sheet during his massage. However, Samy himself denies committing any wrongdoing.

Victims to share stories of impacts of childhood sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

November 12, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

“Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the parish center of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse will discuss how the abuse has affected them over their lifetimes.

The event is being organized by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who said they were sexually abused as minors by priests in the Buffalo Diocese. Among the founders are Michael Whalen, whose public accusation in 2018 against the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits helped prompt dozens of people to report that they had been abused by a priest, and Christopher Szuflita, who first went public with his claim of abuse against the Rev. Joseph Friel with a lawsuit in 1994. Kevin Koscielniak, Gary Astridge and Angelo Ervolina are the other founders of the group.

Lawsuit accuses priest of sexually abusing St. Sylvester’s student in 1960s

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
siadvance.com

November 11, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A lawsuit accuses a priest who was a prominent member of the Augustinian Order on Staten Island of sexually abusing a child at St. Sylvester’s R.C. Church in Concord in the 1960s.

The Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed by Jeff Anderson & Associates on Aug. 14 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of an anonymous alleged victim identified only as ARK63 DOE. Named as defendants in the lawsuits are the Archdiocese of New York, the Augustinian Order and related entities, including the former Augustinian Academy on Grymes Hill, and St. Sylvester’s Parish.

Accused in the lawsuit is the Rev. Thomas Burke, whose Island assignments included leadership positions at the former Augustinian Academy.

French bishops vote to compensate abuse victims with Church funds

LOURDES (FRANCE)
CNA

November 11, 2019

The bishops of France on Saturday approved plans to offer financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

According to the Associated Press, any person recognized by their bishop as a victim will be eligible to receive money, and the Church in France will appeal for donations to cover the costs.

The French bishops also voted to allocate 5 million euros, or $5.5 million, to an independent commission examining Church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts, the AP reported.

The bishops made the decision at their biannual assembly in Lourdes. They plan to consider additional details of the plan, including compensation amounts for victims, at their next meeting in April 2020.

Poland abuse scandal led to slump in vocations

POLAND
The Tablet

November 12, 2019

by Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland has seen a 60 per cent drop in priestly recruits in the past two decades.
Poland's Primate has said that the paedophile scandal in the Catholic Church has contributed to a drastic fall in priestly vocations, which have plummeted by a fifth this year, according to newly published Church data.

"Of course, demography has an important part in these falling numbers, but it most certainly isn't the only cause", Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno told the Catholic Information Agency (KAI). "I'd also pose questions about the faith life of contemporary young people, and about our witness to faith in the Church and the world – about testimony within our families, and about our capacity and determination to resolve difficult and shameful issues in our Church life".

The 54-year-old was speaking after November figures from Poland's Church Statistics Institute showed 498 ordinands had begun training this year at the country's 83 Catholic seminaries, 20 percent fewer than in 2018, confirming a 60 per cent drop in priestly recruits in the past two decades.

Second allegation of sexual abuse of minor made against former local priest

SIKESTON (MO)
Standard Democrat

November 11, 2019

By David Jenkins

A second allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been made against a priest that spent time in the southeast Missouri area.

According to a release from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, a second allegation was made against Fr. William E. Donovan that occurred between 1968 and 1972. Donovan, who died Feb. 9, 1975, is already listed as a clergy against whom prior allegations of the abuse of a minor occurred.

Civil authorities have been notified of the allegation following procedures outlined in diocesan Safe Environment Policies.

Donovan was born in 1930 in Rome, NY and was ordained a priest in 1955 in St. Louis for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was formed in 1956 from territory that was prior to 1956, part of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Kansas City.

Donovan was the assistant pastor at Guardian Angel Parish in Oran, Mo., from 1955-1958 and the assistant pastor at St. Mary of the Annunciation Cathedral in Cape Girardeau, Mo., from 1958-1960. He was the area director of Catholic scouting in Cape Girardeau from 1960-1962 before becoming the pastor at St. John Valley Parish in Mountain View, Mo. and chaplain of Mountain View Memorial Hospital in 1962.

Bishop Malone in Rome, meeting with the Pope

ROME
WBFO

November 12, 2019

By Marian Hetherly

Bishop Richard Malone is in Rome Tuesday through Friday with the bishops of New York State. The bishops are meeting with the Pope as part of their "Visit to the Treshold of the Apostles," also known as "ad limina."

The Pope holds the ad limina every five to seven years with the bishops of each geographic region to receive detailed reports about what has been happening in local dioceses, express concerns and share advice.

In a statement from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, Malone said he is "carrying with him the prayers and intentions of all the people" of the diocese, as well as his "prayer for the healing of the diocese."

Cardinal Nichols tells child sex abuse inquiry Church ‘shocked to core’

WESTMINSTER (ENGLAND)
CNA

November 9, 2019

By Christine Rousselle

Cardinal says priests would sooner die than violate the Seal of Confession

The Archbishop of Westminster has admitted that he did not properly handle an accusation of abuse in his archdiocese, as he also rejected calls for priests to violate the seal of confession.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said during an independent inquiry hearing earlier this week that he “failed” a woman who claimed she was sexually abused by a member of the Servite Order. Nichols did not answer her emails, and agreed that he effectively “shut out” the victim from any assistance.

The first Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing was held in 2016. The IICSA works to investigate child sexual abuse in various institutions throughout the UK, including the Catholic Church, the Church of England, and by members of parliament.

How a priest got cleared of sexual abuse allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

November 11, 2019

By Daniel Telvock

Fr. Roy Herberger last year was accused of sexually abusing a child in 1985. But the diocese returned him to ministry. Why?

The Rev. Roy Herberger may have been cleared by the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual abuse allegations, but he’s still scarred by the bishop’s decision to publish his name before anyone looked into the veracity of the claims.

Herberger is a priest at University at Buffalo’s Newman Center, where he returned to active ministry in December after a six-month investigation of allegations that he sexually abused a child beginning in 1985.

News 4 Investigates obtained the secret investigative report that the diocese used to clear Herberger, who described the time off waiting for a decision as “hell.”

Although Herberger was eventually reinstated, he said he is disappointed with Bishop Richard Malone, who he said should resign, and the Diocese of Buffalo for running an “unfair” process to vet sexual abuse allegations.

Child abuse survivors call for archbishop of Westminster to resign

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

Nov.12, 2019

By Harriet Sherwood

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has given evidence in person twice in the past year to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty
Lawyers acting for child abuse survivors have called for the resignation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in England and Wales, saying the church has treated survivors with disdain.

In a letter to the Catholic weekly, The Tablet, the lawyers say Nichols, who is the archbishop of Westminster and was formerly the archbishop of Birmingham, “cannot credibly lead the Catholic church on these issues in the future”.

Nichols has given evidence in person twice in the past year to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), first on his period as archbishop of Birmingham and last week on safeguarding and support for survivors in the archdiocese of Westminster.

November 11, 2019

Australian court to say if will hear Cardinal Pell’s appeal

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

November 11, 2019

By Rod McGuirk

The most senior Catholic to be found guilty of sexually abusing children will learn this week whether Australia’s highest court will hear his appeal against convictions for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral two decades ago.

The High Court of Australia confirmed on Monday that two judges will announce their decision Wednesday morning on whether all seven judges will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal next year. The names of the two judges who will make the decision won’t be announced until Wednesday.

A unanimous Victoria state County Court jury in December found Pope Francis’ former finance minister guilty of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1990s shortly after Pell became archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city.

Decision imminent on fate of Cardinal Pell High Court appeal

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Agency

November 11, 2019

Australia’s High Court will announce on Wednesday whether it will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on sexual abuse charges.

Two judges on the country’s highest court will announce whether the full court’s seven judges will hear their appeal, the Associated Press reports.

The court rejects about 90% of appeals.

In August, sources close to the cardinal told CNA that they thought Pell’s case would likely be accepted given the controversy triggered by the split decision of the Court of Appeals of Victoria, which rejected the cardinal’s appeal.

The cardinal, now 78, was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two 13-year-old choir boys after Sunday Mass while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997.

Bill would create state-run fund supporting sex abuse survivors

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times-Union

November 11, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Fund would offer aid to nonprofits pursuing civil suits against alleged abusers

State lawmakers are proposing legislation to create a state-operated private fund to help survivors of child sex crimes pursue civil cases against their alleged abusers.

The legislation, spearheaded by Sen. James Gaughran, D-Long Island, would create a "Child Victim Foundation Fund" run jointly by the Department of Taxation and Finance, the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the comptroller's office. New Yorkers would be able to donate to the fund when they file their taxes, and people convicted of child sex crimes would contribute to the pool in the form of a $1,000 fine.

Under the proposal, the state would also allocate grants to nonprofit organizations that help survivors litigate child abuse claims.

Catholic bishops’ agenda: immigrants, gun deaths, sex abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Associated Press

November 11, 2019

By David Crary and Regina Garcia Cano

US Catholic bishops received a challenging to-do list Monday as they opened their national assembly — notably to support immigrants and refugees, extend the campaign to curtail clergy sex abuse and work harder to combat gun violence. They also were urged by Pope Francis’ envoy to be more vigorous in promoting sometimes-divisive segments of the pope’s agenda.

“The pope has emphasized certain themes: Mercy, closeness to the people... a spirit of hospitality toward migrants, and dialogue with those of other cultures and religions,” Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio, told the bishops as they opened a three-day meeting. “Do you believe these are gradually becoming part of the mindset of your clergy and your people?”

Pierre said the bishops should find tangible ways of showing they supported the pope’s merciful message and flexible doctrine, which includes an emphasis on protecting the environment. The remarks came just weeks after Francis acknowledged he was under attack by some conservative Americans and spoke openly about the risk of “schism.”

The meeting’s opening session also featured the last presidential address from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who is ending his three-year term as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal O'Malley: Pope Francis will publish Vatican McCarrick report 'soon'

BALTIMORE (MD)
Catholic News Agency

November 11, 2019

By Matt Hadro

The results of the Vatican’s investigation of Theodore McCarrick should be published by early 2020, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston told U.S. bishops on Monday.

“The intention is to publish the Holy See’s response soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year,” Cardinal O’Malley said on Monday afternoon

O’Malley presented a brief update on the status of the Vatican’s McCarrick investigation during the annual fall meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, Maryland, held from Nov. 11-13.

Retired State Supreme Court judge has strong words for Bishop Malone

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW-TV

November 11, 2019

By Charlie Specht

[VIDEO]

Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone is on his way to Rome for a face-to-face meeting with Pope Francis.

It’s part of a regular visit to the Vatican by New York State’s Catholic bishops, but this time the visit comes on the heels of a massive sexual abuse scandal exposed in part by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team over the last two years.

Now, a state judge is taking the rare step of speaking out against a sitting bishop.

“He goes on and it's like an actor on the stage,” retired State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Drury said in a recent interview, speaking about Bishop Malone. “He's got his crook. He's got his mitre. And there he is, on the stage again, thinking he can do this.”

Thousands of Catholic priests were accused of sexual abuse, then what happened? An investigation reveals most have become the priest next door.

ARLINGTON (VA)
USA Today

Nov. 12, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell and Sam Ruland

John Dagwell said he’s earned the right to live in peace as he tries to put his past behind him.

The former Roman Catholic brother, 75, pleaded guilty in a New Jersey criminal case in 1988 to molesting a student when he taught at a parochial school. His religious order, the Xaverian Brothers, transferred him to the Boston area, where he went to work in a homeless shelter and soon faced new abuse accusations that were never reported to police. Four years later, personnel files from the Boston Archdiocese revealed Dagwell as a clergyman accused of sexual abuse. His name was also included in a list released by the Xaverian Brothers.

Despite his past, Dagwell was never required to register as a sex offender. He moved on to a new life in a new community, a place where children fill the local pool during school vacations and where his history remained a secret from neighbors. He began teaching again, this time at Keiser University, a 16,000-student school based in Fort Lauderdale.

“I’ve stayed away from adolescents. I’ve been trying hard not to put myself in a situation where I was going to be tempted,” Dagwell said recently while sitting in an apartment he shares with his sister. As he spoke, three teddy bears sat on his television and a half-dozen stuffed Disney dolls – Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Jiminy Cricket – were carefully arranged on a China cabinet.

Dagwell is one of more than 1,200 former priests, Catholic brothers and Catholic school officials identified in a USA TODAY Network investigation who were accused of sexual abuse but were able to move on with little or no oversight or accountability. Most never faced criminal charges.

As thousands of abuse victims across the U.S. continue to search for justice and closure decades after being molested by some of the most trusted people in their lives, these men have become the priest next door. They live near schools and playgrounds, close to families and children unaware of their backgrounds or the crimes they’ve been accused of. In some cases, they’ve taken on leadership roles in new communities, becoming professors, counselors, friends and mentors to children. Their movements are unchecked by both the government and the Catholic Church in part because laws in many states make it nearly impossible for victims to pursue criminal charges decades after alleged abuse.

DiNardo Praises Abuse Survivors for Speaking Out, As U.S. Bishops Begin Fall Meeting

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Tablet

November 11, 2019

By Christopher White

In his final remarks as president of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo encouraged the U.S. Church to continue to press ahead in the fight against clergy abuse and in defense of migrants and unborn human life.

DiNardo began his remarks on Monday at the start of the general assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) by recalling several highlights of his time as president of the conference over the past three years.

Among the stories he recounted were those of visiting a border detention center and seeing the hand drawn pictures of Jesus and Mary made by children separated from their families, the work of crisis pregnancy centers across the country, and meeting with clergy abuse survivors.

“When too many within the Church sought to keep them in the darkness, they refused to be relegated to the shadows,” DiNardo said.

Religious Studies Professor Highlights Challenges Faced by Jehovah’s Witnesses Sexual Abuse Survivors

WORCHESTER (MA)
Holy Cross College

Nov. 11, 2019

It’s been months since the New York Child Victims Act was signed into law allowing adult survivors of child sexual abuse to sue an abuser or a negligent institution regardless of when the abuse took place, and hundreds of new cases are still flooding the courts, many of them targeting members of the Jehovah’s Witness organization.

In a recent VICE article, Mathew Schmalz, professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, comments on the unique challenges faced by sexual abuse survivors within the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith, especially given its controversial “two-witness rule.”

The church at its best and its worst, in one day

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov 11, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

It was the best of our church. It was the worst of our church. It was a time for evangelization and a time for churlish retrenchment. It was a time for looking out. It was a time for looking in. It was the spirit of the Gospel and it was the demon of self-pity. It was the age of Francis. It was the age of Pio Nono.

It was last Thursday.

About midday, I was pleased that NCR published the text of a speech given by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. Asked to address how the church in this country should move forward after the bitter return of the sexual abuse issue, McElroy began by recalling his participation in the synod of the Amazon last month. Turning to the situation of the church in this country, he said, "My suggestion would be to embrace the type of synodal pathway that the church in the Amazon has been undergoing — one filled with deep and broad consultation, the willingness to accept arduous choices, the search for renewal and reform at every level, and unswerving faith in the constancy of God's presence in the community."

Bishop Malone to meet with Pope Francis this week

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Nov. 11, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

While most of the U.S. Catholic bishops are gathered in Baltimore this week for the 2019 Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone and other bishops from New York State traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis.

The “ad limina” visit to the Vatican, today through Friday, comes as New York bishops grapple with hundreds of new child sex abuse lawsuits allowed under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Malone and the heads of the seven other dioceses and archdioceses in New York prior to the visit each prepared quinquennial reports giving a detailed overview of the life of the Catholic Church in their diocese. Various departments of the Vatican reviewed the information and will meet with the bishops to discuss the material.

It’s not clear if Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese, who was tapped by the Vatican to conduct an investigation into Malone and the Buffalo Diocese over a clergy sex abuse scandal, will deliver a report on his findings to the pope.

DiMarzio made three trips to Western New York and spent seven days interviewing area clergy and lay people before wrapping up the Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation at the end of October.

Survivors Of Clergy Sex Abuse Call For Church To Release Names Of Leaders Accused Of Abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ TV

Nov. 11, 2019

By Rachel Menitoff

Survivors of clergy sex abuse and their supporters are outlining their requests for Catholic Church leaders ahead of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which began Monday in Baltimore.

Among the changes victims want to see are archdioceses nationwide releasing the names of clergy and anyone in the church who has been accused of abuse.

Leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) group said that list can be validating for victims.

“When survivors see the names of their abusers listed, they feel a sense of validation and that they are not alone. I know I felt this way when I saw my priests name listed in the Arlington Arch Diocese,” said Becky Ianni with SNAP.

Victims seek update on church abuse probe

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 11, 2019

KBI should issue ‘preliminary report,’ SNAP says
Group also wants more outreach and funding for it
KS attorney general asked for investigation one year ago
Bishops must update & expand their ‘accused’ lists, SNAP pleads
Victims to prelates: “Warn your flock about clerics who prey on adults too”

WHAT
Clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers door-to-door near churches listing recently-disclosed predator priests who are or were in eastern Kansas. Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conference, they will urge the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to
--issue an update on its statewide probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups,
--do more outreach so that “every victim, witness and whistleblower can be heard.”

They will also urge lawmakers to
--increase funding for the on-going investigation, and
--reform archaic, predator-friendly Kansas child safety laws.

And they’ll urge all four Kansas bishops to
--expand their recently but ‘inadequate’ lists of accused clerics, and
--add clerics who sexually exploited adults.

Finally, they’ll urge “every current and ex-church staffer and member who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse to call the KBI immediately so kids are safer, wrongdoers are exposed and cover ups are deterred.”

Australian Priest to be Extradited to UK for Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 11, 2019

We applaud the court's decision to extradite Fr. Denis Alexander for the harm he has caused. Too often priests abuse and then flee to other countries to avoid justice. The worldwide shuffling of abusive priests will not end until secular authorities step in using the full power of their offices - arrests, subpoenas and the like, to stamp out this problem.

The excuse that the abuser is "old" is disingenuous. Pedophiles are dangerous whenever they are in society at whatever age. In California, a 90 year old ex-priest, Hernan Toro, is in jail after he sexually molested two minors when he was 87.

Just as important, the victims of Fr. Alexander deserve justice and the acknowledgement that this extradition represents. Too often, victims of sexual violence are denied their day in court. We are grateful that this will not happen in this case.

Mexican Summit Continues to Grapple With Harsh Realities of Sex Abuse Scandal

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Nov. 11, 2019

We applaud Fr. Hans Zollner for his skill in articulating a major problem that exists within the Catholic church today: the referral of allegations of sex abuse by clerics to Catholic church lawyers, canonists and psychiatrists who then crush the victim and obscure the truth.

Fr. Zollner points out excuses that are often bandied about by defenders of the Church’s record on sexual abuse, highlighting the myths and catch-phrases succinctly,:
"...I fear for the church..."
".... other institutions are just as bad..."
"....I can't deal with it anymore..."
"....it’s the media' fault..."

And Fr. Zollner rightfully debunks these as the excuses they are. He even speaks the dreaded truth by saying the cover-up continues. Indeed, there are media stories nearly every day about contemporary sex abuse by priests and nuns against children and vulnerable adults. As often as not, these are also stories about cover-up and the priority of the church's financial assets over its most precious human asset, the children. Just read the recent Colorado AG report for the latest version of the cover-up story.

Priest's abuse still hurts McMahon

SAULT STE. MARIE (CANADA)
Sault Star

Nov. 11, 2019

By Brian Kelly

The morning after Rev. William Hodgson Marshall molested Patrick McMahon, he celebrated mass in the same residence for priests where the assault happened.

McMahon served as an altar boy.

“It was like the darkness of the night just covered the whole memory too,” said McMahon. “It wasn’t like I got up in the morning and thought about what he did. I never thought about it, until I’d hear the door open the next night.”

McMahon estimates he was assaulted by Marshall, a close friend of his parents, over about a two-year span in the early 1980s. Some of those assaults happened during March breaks in 1982 and 1983 at Crawley Hall, the residence at St. Mary’s College in Sault Ste. Marie for members of the Basilian Fathers. Marshall was principal of the Catholic high school for boys. The McMahons travelled from Windsor to ski at hills including Searchmont Resort and Boyne Highlands in Michigan.

McMahon’s father and brothers were put up in the hall’s second floor. Marshall directed McMahon to “the bishop’s suite” on the floor below. He’d come in at night and abuse him.

“I don’t generally talk about it in great detail,” McMahon told The Sault Star in a telephone interview from his Windsor home. “For me, he always came in darkness.”

Survivors of clergy abuse gather for vigil, protest

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBFF TV

Nov.10, 2019

By Maxine Streicher

Survivors of clergy abuse and their supporters gathered in downtown Baltimore ahead of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting that begins Monday.

They came together to announce which candidate they are supporting for the next President of the U.S.C.C.B.

Becky Ianni remembers when she became a victim of clergy abuse.

“He abused me over a period of four years. He became a friend of the family so he would come and have dinner. He went on vacation with us. He bought us our first color television so it was a very grooming process,” she said.

Ianni says she wasn’t his only victim, there were many including her own brother.

“I felt like it was my fault and that I was a bad dirty little girl so I didn’t think about it, and I came across a picture of myself with my perpetrator when I was 48 in 2006 and everything came rushing back,” she said.

Australia to extradite alleged abusive priest to Scotland

Patheos blog

Nov. 10, 2019

By Barry Duke

FOR years, former Catholic monk Fr Denis “Chrysostom” Alexander, 83, has been fighting attempts by the Scottish authorities to have him extradited from Australia to face charges of sexually abusing six children aged between 11 and 15. He was arrested in Sydney at the beginning of 2017.

The Crown Office launched extradition proceedings against Alexander, who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in December 2016 but since then he has contested the move on health grounds.

But the federal court has finally ruled that he must be sent back for trial.

The 13-page federal court ruling includes a summary of the charges the ex-monk faces.

It is alleged that between 1970 and 1976 he “engaged in acts of physical and sexual abuse” against six complainants, aged between 11 and 15.

Brothers of Saint John denounce sexually abusive founder

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 11, 2019

By Tom Heneghan

The community announced in 2013 that Fr Marie-Dominique, who died in 2006, had sexually abused several women

The Brothers of Saint John, a Catholic movement launched in France in 1975, have officially renounced their sexually abusive founder Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe and pledged to revise their rules without reference to him.

A general chapter held near Lyon concluded the community could no longer recognise the Dominican priest as its inspiration.

The community also decided to take down his photographs in their houses and stop selling his books and promoting their study.

Case of notorious Calvert Hall priest Laurence Brett cited in recent report on clergy abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

November 11, 2019

By Alison Knezevich

https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-county/bs-md-brett-connecticut-report-20191111-4utipcm7ivgnznhikktsdidvzq-story.html

The case of a notorious Baltimore-area Catholic priest is cited in a recent report as a key example of how church officials shuffled clergy accused of sexual abuse, leaving more children at risk.

Church leaders in Bridgeport, Connecticut knew about allegations against Laurence Brett in the 1960s, according to an independent review of how the diocese there handled abuse cases. Brett later went on to teach at Calvert Hall College, a Towson high school where more than a dozen students eventually accused him of abuse.

The Bridgeport diocese has paid more than $2.7 million in settlements to people who accused Brett of abuse — representing 5% of all its abuse payouts, according to the report released last month. The report does not specify the number of people who received settlements related to Brett.

In Baltimore, the archdiocese has reached voluntary settlements totaling $326,000 with six people who accused Brett of abuse, spokesman Sean Caine said in response to an inquiry from The Baltimore Sun.

After Bransfield disinvitation, will other bishops follow suit?

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 11, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

After last week's announcement that retired West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield had been formally disinvited from the Nov. 11-13 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, representatives of dioceses where other bishops have resigned or been removed for sexual misconduct or cover-up say they are unlikely to initiate similar action.

Visit EarthBeat, NCR's new reporting project that explores the ways Catholics and other faith groups are taking action on the climate crisis.

Three dioceses and archdioceses contacted by NCR — Milwaukee, Cheyenne and St. Paul-Minneapolis — indicated that the prelates in question already do not attend the bishops' twice-yearly meetings.

The only bishop convicted of the crime of failure to report a priest suspected of abuse to civil authorities, however, continues to show up.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn reportedly was in the room this past June when the bishops passed the new "Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops," under which Bransfield was disinvited.

Section 12 of that protocol allows the bishops' conference president, in consultation with the administrative committee, to disinvite any retired bishop "who resigned or was removed from his office due to sexual abuse of minors, sexual misconduct with adults, or grave negligence in office, or who subsequent to his resignation was found to have so acted or failed to act."

Cardinal admits failure to support abuse survivor

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Catholic News

November 11, 2019

Source: IICSA

During the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last week, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said he had failed to support a survivor of abuse.

Cardinal Nichols was questioned on Wednesday by the lead counsel for the inquiry, Brian Altman QC. Mr Altman asked the Cardinal about the treatment of one survivor who had approached him for help two years ago. Identified as A711, she was abused as a teenager by a priest in the Servite Order, and raped when she was 24. She was not pursuing a criminal case or seeking compensation. In May 2017, she went to Cardinal Nichols in his capacity as Archbishop of the Westminster Diocese, to complain.

Altman said: "She wrote to him again repeatedly. She was directed by Cardinal Nichols' private secretary to the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, but the NCSC told her it had no jurisdiction over individual dioceses, effectively leaving her with nowhere to go."

November 10, 2019

High Court to decide on Pell appeal bid

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

November 11, 2019

A decision on whether disgraced cardinal George Pell can appeal his child sexual abuse conviction in the High Court will be made this week.

The court will announce its decision at 9.30am on Wednesday in Canberra.

Pell, 78, was found guilty by a jury of the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996 but Australia's most senior Catholic has always denied any wrongdoing.

If the leave is granted, the jailed cardinal's lawyers will need to lodge a formal appeal.

Confirmed: Embattled Buffalo Bishop in Rome Next Week for Ad Limina Visit

BUFFALO (NY)
The Tablet

November 6, 2019

By Christopher White

Buffalo’s embattled bishop, Richard Malone, will be in Rome next week as part of the New York region’s scheduled meetings with Vatican officials.

Kathy Spangler, a spokesperson for the diocese, confirmed on Wednesday that Malone will be in attendance.

The meetings, known as the ad limina visits, are part of the regularly scheduled meetings between bishops and officials from the Roman Curia which normally occur every five years, however the last time the U.S. bishops traveled to Rome for their ad limina was eight years ago in 2011 and 2012.

Among the regularly scheduled meetings is a session with the pope, which will bring together face to face, Francis – who has pledged an “all-out battle” on sex abuse – and Malone, the most senior U.S. bishop currently being investigated for his handling of abuse cases.

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Diocese Wheeling-Charleston

WHEELING (WV)
WBOY-TV (Channel 12)

November 8, 2019

Brand new details now on the ongoing lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.

A Wood County judge has dismissed the case and sent it to the state Supreme Court for guidance.

The case alleges that the diocese and its former bishop knowingly employed pedophiles.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the case in March.

Officials are waiting on the Supreme Court to rule whether the case violates rules about the separation of church and state.

Australia to extradite alleged abusive priest to Scotland

AUSTRALIA
Patheos (blog)

November 10, 2019

By Barry Duke

FOR years, former Catholic monk Fr Denis “Chrysostom” Alexander, 83, has been fighting attempts by the Scottish authorities to have him extradited from Australia to face charges of sexually abusing six children aged between 11 and 15. He was arrested in Sydney at the beginning of 2017.

The Crown Office launched extradition proceedings against Alexander, who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in December 2016 but since then he has contested the move on health grounds.

But the federal court has finally ruled that he must be sent back for trial.

The 13-page federal court ruling includes a summary of the charges the ex-monk faces.

It is alleged that between 1970 and 1976 he “engaged in acts of physical and sexual abuse” against six complainants, aged between 11 and 15.

Hispanic immigrant in line to lead US Catholic bishops

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

November 10, 2019

By David Crary

Clergy sex abuse is once again on the agenda as U.S. Catholic bishops meet this week — but so is a potentially historic milestone: Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, an immigrant from Mexico, is widely expected to win election as the first Hispanic president of the bishops’ national conference.

Gomez, 67, is currently the conference’s vice president — a post that by tradition serves as springboard to the presidency. In terms of doctrine, Gomez is considered a practical-minded conservative, but he is an outspoken advocate of a welcoming immigration policy that would include a path to citizenship for many immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Catholic abuse awareness group endorses Texas bishop for leadership role

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

November 10, 2019

By Phil Davis

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] endorsed a Texas bishop to become the new president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying several other candidates are tainted by the church’s history of sexual abuse in the clergy.

At a news conference Sunday, the day before the annual meeting of the conference, members of the group said they endorse Bishop Daniel E. Flores from Brownsville, Texas.

Becky Ianni, the director of SNAP, said the group is recommending Flores because the conference “should be looking to younger bishops like Flores” to combat the church’s problems with child sex abuse.

“We need someone who’s willing to step outside the box and take the necessary steps to protect children,” Ianni said.

Panelists Call for Diversity Following Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
Georgetown Hoya

Nov. 8, 2019

By Caroline Hecht

Including leaders from diverse backgrounds is critical to reestablishing the Catholic Church’s credibility as it works to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis, panelists said at a Nov. 4 event.

The panel included Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse who challenged Pope Francis to take decisive action on the crisis; Bishop Steven Biegler, the bishop of Cheyenne, Wyo., who reopened an investigation into one of his predecessors for child sexual abuse; Christopher White, a journalist who reports on the crisis; and Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, who is vocal about the lasting costs of the crisis.

The Gaston Hall event, “Where Are We Now? Where Do We Need To Go?”, was moderated by John Carr, director of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, and Kim Daniels, associate director of the initiative and an adviser to the Vatican.

At the event, Daniels shared the results of the report from the June 2019 “National Convening on Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation,” which gathered over 50 invited Catholic leaders, survivors, journalists and others. The National Convening was organized by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life and focused on strategizing responses to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Separating Church And State?

WHEELING (WV)
News-Regsiter

Nov. 10, 2019

By Mike Myer

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, filed in Wood County, is an interesting attempt to hold the diocese accountable for years of failure to crack down on predator priests. He filed it under the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, accusing diocesan officials in the past of knowingly hiring sexual predators to work at schools and summer camps for children.

Parents who trusted the church — and paid tuition and camp fees — did so in the belief they could trust diocesan officials but found they could not. In effect, the church misrepresented itself in selling the parents a product — education and summer recreation.

But last week, Wood County Judge J.D. Beane ruled against Morrisey — tentatively. He put the lawsuit on hold and asked the state Supreme Court to answer two questions. Both involve the doctrine of separation of church and state that is central to religious freedom.

Beane wrote that the lawsuit is “an excessive entanglement of government and religion which is prohibited under federal and state constitutions.” He suggested dismissing the suit is necessary “to remain vigilant in protecting religious freedom and in protecting religious institutions from substantial government intrusion.”

NJ TEACHER ACCUSED OF RAPING ADOPTED STUDENT LOSES CREDENTIALS

TRENTON (NJ)
WKXW Radio

Sergio Bichaon

Nov. 9, 2019

A teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student she adopted after he was kicked out of his family's home has lost her teaching credentials while she defends herself in court.

The State Board of Examiners, the governing body that regulates teaching certificates, voted in September to suspend Rayna Culver's Grades K-8 certificates and principal and supervisor certificates beginning this month until the criminal charges against her are resolved.

Culver has been on leave from her middle school job in Trenton since she was arrested in May 2017.

She was indicted in July 2018 on two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, four counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree child endangerment.

Culver first met the boy when he was a student at Rivera Middle School. She became his guardian when he was 15 in 2016.

Her attorney has said that the troubled boy fabricated the allegations.

Even though she has not been found guilty, the State Board of Examiners this month said that "Culver’s potential disqualification from service in the public schools of this State because of her indictment for such serious offenses provides just cause to take action against her certificates."

It was one of many actions the board took against suspected and convicted perv teachers this month.

The board revoked the Russian teaching certificate of Eric Komar, of Hillsborough, who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to distributing images of child sexual abuse. Prosecutors said Komar had more than 600 such images of minors younger than 12. Komar told authorities that he had "thousands of images and videos," and that he "masturbates to images of child pornography on a daily basis."

He was sentenced October 2018 to 82 months in federal prison and supervised release for 10 years with computer monitoring, restricted contact with minors and treatment for sex offenders.

The board also revoked the principal certificate of James Kuntz, a priest who was head of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City in the 1980s. He was working at St. Peter's College as a vice president when he was arrested in 2008. He was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised released.

Priests accused of abuse still getting paid by diocese, some for decades

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

November 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

About two dozen Catholic Diocese of Buffalo priests removed from ministry due to child sex abuse complaints continue to collect a salary or pension from the diocese.

Three of those suspended priests remain on the diocese’s payroll even though they haven’t functioned as clergy in more than 25 years, and six priests removed at least 15 years ago continue to get monetary support from the diocese, according to a Buffalo News analysis.

If each priest were to receive $25,000 annually, an amount that's at the low end of the priest pay scale, the diocese would pay $600,000 per year in "sustenance" to the 24 suspended priests.

In the three cases dating back decades, diocese officials have yet to send legal paperwork to Rome asking the Vatican to rule on whether the priests should be defrocked.

Since 2002, the church has required that bishops send child molestation claims against priests to the Vatican for adjudication, a process that can result in priests being “dismissed from the clerical state” or “laicization” – Catholic phrasing for defrocking.

Girl,11, uses phone to record herself being sexually abused by priest after parishoners refused to believe her

MEAWW News

Nov. 10, 2019

By Smita M

An Italian priest has been arrested after an 11-year-old girl recorded herself being sexually abused on her mobile phone. Father Michele Mottola, the accused priest, began grooming the girl in 2017, soon after he took up his post as parish priest of Trentola Ducenta located in Campania, near Naples, according to the Church Militant report. The abuse began when the girl was 10 and lasted till February 2018. The girl, too ashamed to talk about the abuse with her parents, first approached two parishioners who refused to believe her. This is when she made the recording on her mobile phone as evidence.

In the recording, the priest is heard saying: "Do you want a kiss?” While the girl protests, he said: “There is no one here. Are you afraid? Kiss me, hug me.” In a second recording, after the sound of heavy breathing and sounds of the girl protesting, he is heard saying: “Take this to dry yourself.” After the girl told the priest she had reported the matter to other parishioners, he said: "You didn't have to do it, because now they will understand other things. Things will get very bad. I will come to your home to talk to your parents."

He also told her: "You can tell lies. Did you understand you can lie? You're like Islamic suicide bombers, throwing a bomb, killing people and leaving. The mud ends up also on your family and on you." The parishioners intervened and spoke to the girl's family and the girl's mother finally reported the crime to the bishop.

Abuse crisis shows need for holiness, renewal in church, priests say

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 10, 2019

By Mark Zimmermann

Four Catholic priests who serve in various ministries and are on the front lines facing the aftershocks of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church gave their perspective on helping the church address the problem.

They participated in an Oct. 29 panel discussion sponsored by the Catholic Project, an initiative of The Catholic University of America. The event was held at the university’s Heritage Hall.

“These men have felt the same anger and betrayal in recent months as the rest of us, but they have also borne the sins of their brothers,” said Stephen White, executive director of the Catholic Project, who moderated the discussion on “Shepherds to a Wounded Flock: How our Priests See the Crisis.”

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse: French Bishops To Support Payment To Victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
International Business Times

By Thomas Kika

November 9, 2019

A group of French bishops this weekend voted to offer payments to known victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. The bishops now intend to reach out to victims and offer them a lump sum. The movement was approved by the 120 attendees of the biannual meeting of the Conference of French Bishops in Lourdes, France.

Acknowledging that neither the Church nor the French government has made such payments a requirement, the bishops said that they are intended to recognize the transgressions of the Church and not to act as any sort of reparations. The set amount for these payouts has yet to be decided, as the fund has yet to be established.

“It aims to recognize that the victims’ suffering hangs on various failings within the Church,” the group said in an official statement.

Editorial: Remembering Bishop Lennon, 1947-2019

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland Plain Dealer

November 10, 2019

The Catholic catechism says a bishop is to act “as Christ’s vicar.” But circumstances force some, including the late Richard G. Lennon, emeritus Catholic bishop of Cleveland, to be crisis managers, too.

Bishop Lennon, born into a family of suburban Boston firefighters, died Oct. 29 at age 72, apparently from complications of vascular dementia. The condition had forced him to retire in 2016 after ten years as Cleveland’s bishop.

As bishop of a diocese serving eight Northeast Ohio counties, Bishop Lennon faced heavy challenges. Population is one. The number of Catholics is dropping nationwide, the Pew Research Center reports, adding that Catholicism has had “a greater net loss due to religious switching than [any] other [U.S.] religious tradition.” American Catholicism’s geographic center also is moving South and West. And, as recognized in the choice of Lennon’s successor, Nelson J. Perez, a growing proportion of adult Catholics claims Hispanic heritage.

Gazette opinion: Center for healing sexually abused Montana kids

BILLINGS (MT)
Billings Gazette

November 10, 2019

A room at RiverStone Health has become a safe place to break the silence on crimes against children. The Yellowstone Valley Children's Advocacy Center exists to start the healing process for children who have been sexually abused.

The CAC team includes two deputy county attorneys, two professional therapists and representatives of Billings Clinic, Billings Police Department, Laurel Police Department, Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, Child Protective Services and Youth Court.

The CAC team strives to avoid re-traumatizing children with repeated interviews about their abuse. Instead, one specially trained interviewer will talk to the child. The goal is to get the truth when the child is ready to talk. The interviewer doesn't ask leading or unnecessary questions.

French bishops approve payments for church sex abuse victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press

November 10, 2019

By Claire Parker

French bishops on Saturday approved plans to financially compensate people abused sexually within the Roman Catholic Church.

Any person recognized by their bishop as a victim will be eligible to receive money, they said, and the church will appeal for donations to foot the bill. Bishops also voted to allocate 5 million euros ($5.5 million) to an independent commission examining church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts.

Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the archbishop of Reims and president of the Conference of French Bishops, said payments to victims will recognize both their suffering and “the silence, negligence, indifference, lack of reaction or bad decisions or dysfunction within the Church.”

November 9, 2019

Roman Catholic Priests Will Not Break Confession to Report Child Abuse, U.K. Inquiry Told

NEW YORK ( NY)
TIME Magazine

Nov. 9, 2019

By Rachel Bunyan

The Roman Catholic Church says it would reject any recommendation from a U.K. inquiry that would require priests to break confession to report child sexual abuse.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, told the Independent Inquiry into Sexual Abuse in the U.K. on Thursday that he views confession as “a nexus between my sinful humanity and the mercy of God.”

“The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in [defense] of the seal of the confession. It might come to that,” he said.

The public inquiry was set up following serious concerns that institutions in the country—including churches—had failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and continue to do so. The inquiry, which covers England and Wales, is expected to make recommendations in 2020.

Women raped by Colorado priest call for accountability from Archdiocese of Denver

DENVER (CO)
Channel 7 News

Nov. 9, 2019

By Tony Kovaleski

Three sisters of the Catholic Church are breaking their silence, accusing a Colorado priest of violating their childhood, in the hope their confession will inspire others to come forward.

Their message doesn’t stop there. A significant part of their motivation is holding the Archdiocese of Denver accountable for what they say was an overt cover-up that last more than five decades.

Cate Stover, Carol Clear and Marcia Stover decided to speak about the painful memories they’ve kept inside since they were little girls, following a special investigation into Colorado’s Catholic Church that found at least 166 children were sexually abused by 43 priests since the 1950s.

Their report cards and grade school picture show memories of their days of Catholic school at St. John’s in Loveland. But behind those faces, the sisters kept secret the abuse they endured by someone they thought they could trust.

November 8, 2019

Professor seeks to break academic silence on clerical sex abuse

SOUTH BEND (IN)
Crux

Nov 9, 2019

By Jack Lyons

For much of the American public, the narrative of clergy sex abuse is told by the media.

However, the issue hasn’t been at the forefront of academic study, and to break the “academic silence” surrounding clergy sex abuse, one religious studies professor is shedding light on the stories told by survivors.

“Historians, in particular in my subfields of American religious history and Catholic studies, were not talking about the abuse crisis,” Dr. Brian Clites, of Case Western Reserve University, told Crux.

To address this lack of research, Clites is writing a book focused on the historical origins of clerical sex abuse in America. The manuscript, currently titled Surviving Soul Murder, is an ethnography of clergy sex abuse survivors, collected in communities hit hard by abuse in the Church - such as Chicago, Boston and Erie, Pennsylvania.

Advocates Call For Action From Diocese Amid Hubbard Allegations

ALBANY (NY)
Spectrum News

Nov. 8, 2019

Child Victims Act advocates called for more action by the diocese Friday following the latest lawsuit filed against Bishop Howard Hubbard.

The lawsuit details allegations from a then-16 year old boy who claims that while he was working at a Jesuit retreat house in Glenmont back in 1956, he was sexually abused by Father Edward Leroux. The plaintiff accused Hubbard of knowing about the abuse, and doing nothing about it.

Bishop Hubbard has responded with this statement, saying “I was just graduating from high school in June 1956. I did not even enter the seminary until the following fall, and I was not ordained as a priest until 1963. No one ever came to report an allegation of clergy sexual abuse to me during those years.”

This all comes as the bishops of New York State prepare to meet with Pope Francis next week in Rome.

Retired priest, 88, found guilty on 6 of 8 counts in child sex abuse case dating back to 2001

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE TV

Nov 8, 2019

By Bob Mayo

A judge has reached a split verdict in the trial of an 88-year-old retired Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a then-11-year-old boy in the basement of a Munhall church in 2001.

The Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty of one felony and five misdemeanor counts, and not guilty of two felony counts. Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli reached the verdict Friday after a non-jury trial that saw the victim, now 30, return from Southeast Asia to testify against Lang.

Lang was on the witness stand for nearly an hour Friday, testifying in his own defense. The retired priest insisted he does not know the victim and never abused him.

Lang remains free on bond. Sentencing will occur at a later date.

Survivors Win as New York Judge Rules in Favor of Preserving Anonymity, SNAP Reacts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

A New York judge has ruled that alleged survivors of childhood sexual trauma can take legal action anonymously, like victims of other sex crimes have been able to do for decades. Jesuit officials in New York had hoped to force victims to disclose their identities when suing those who committed abuse against them or concealed that abuse.

That effort was an obvious intimidation tactic that we believe would have only endangered children by scaring survivors into staying silent. We are glad that this maneuver was struck down and hope that it encourages other victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

Former Priest Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

A former priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been found guilty of sexually abusing a child in the early 2000s. We are grateful for the outcome of this case and hope it encourages other survivors to come forward and seek help and healing.

Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty today on 6 of 8 counts related to charges that he abused a then-11-year-old boy in 2001. We applaud this brave victim who had to travel from the other side of the world to testify against this abuser. We hope that his courageous example will inspire other victims, whether of Rev. Lang or any other priest, nun, deacon, or church staffer – to come forward and make a report to law enforcement professionals.

We are especially glad that this verdict was reached after Rev. Lang’s defense team tried to impugn the integrity of the victim for filing a civil lawsuit. Now that this tactic of attacking victims failed so spectacularly, we hope that other defense attorneys around the country will try to defend their clients in the future on the merits of the case as opposed to ad hominem attacks on survivors.">Former Priest Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh, SNAP Responds

A former priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been found guilty of sexually abusing a child in the early 2000s. We are grateful for the outcome of this case and hope it encourages other survivors to come forward and seek help and healing.

Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty today on 6 of 8 counts related to charges that he abused a then-11-year-old boy in 2001. We applaud this brave victim who had to travel from the other side of the world to testify against this abuser. We hope that his courageous example will inspire other victims, whether of Rev. Lang or any other priest, nun, deacon, or church staffer – to come forward and make a report to law enforcement professionals.

We are especially glad that this verdict was reached after Rev. Lang’s defense team tried to impugn the integrity of the victim for filing a civil lawsuit. Now that this tactic of attacking victims failed so spectacularly, we hope that other defense attorneys around the country will try to defend their clients in the future on the merits of the case as opposed to ad hominem attacks on survivors.

Decline of Icelandic Church: Scandals And Controversy Lead To Mass Exodus

REYKJAVIK (ICELAND) 
Reykhjavik Grapevine

Nov. 8, 2019

By Sam O'Donnell

The number of Icelanders who trust the National Church has decreased by half since the turn of the century. Only one third of the nation now trusts the Church, according to a Gallup poll published on October 28. In a nation without a separation of Church and State, it’s hard to read those numbers as anything but a crisis for the National Church.

There are many reasons for the decline in trust in the institution. The simplest is that immigrants to Iceland are largely from countries with strong Catholic beliefs. People born in Iceland are registered with the church automatically, so long as their parents are also in the church. However, immigrants have to go through the process of registering themselves if they want to join the National Church. Since the largest percentage of immigrants to Iceland are Polish, the majority of them choose to register instead with with the Catholic Church. The Icelandic National Church is Lutheran.

Additionally, Icelanders are leaving the National Church in droves because of the church’s notoriously tone-deaf method of handling social issues. For example, in 2006, Guðrún Ögmundsdóttir submitted a bill to Parliament on various legal benefits for homosexuals, which, among other things, allowed them to get married and adopt children. Former Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson of the National Church objected strongly to the proposal.

For Many #MeToo Accusers, Speaking Up Is Just The Beginning

UNITED STATES
NPR

November 5, 2019

By Yuki Noguchi

Dina Lee Almeida says that three years ago, the CEO of a TV distribution firm for which she produced shows grabbed her and propositioned her for sex. As he became more aggressive, she complained to the company's lawyer. Nothing happened. Later, she says, the CEO pressured her to sign what amounted to a confidentiality agreement.

"I absolutely refused; I would never, ever sign that," Almeida says.

After that, the West Palm Beach, Fla., company, Olympusat, terminated her contract.

Louis C.K. Doubles Down on the Value of Saying the Wrong Thing

RICHMOND (VA)
The New York Times

November 4, 2019

By Jason Zinoman

On his first tour since admitting misconduct, the comedian’s theme was the cathartic release of transgression as he delivered bits about his mother’s death and religion.

On Saturday, under a candy-colored proscenium arch, Louis C.K. told a story about the day he learned “all the bad words.” He was 7 when an elderly stranger with one dark tooth approached him and listed obscenities like a fairy-tale version of George Carlin.

Louis C.K. described vibrating with excitement. Then he went to school and put this information to work, cursing at his teacher. She cried and the students laughed. “I liked both,” he said, with a half-embarrassed shrug.

In the context of the return of Louis C.K., this anecdote has the feel of a twisted origin story. And this defiantly perverse new set, whose jokes come with so much baggage they threaten to obscure the performer, will inspire heated, divisive reactions.

Pope Francis on brink as Vatican leader issues warning on future of Catholic Church

LONDON (UK)
Express

November 6, 2019

By Charlie Bradley

POPE FRANCIS has issued a damning warning to his growing critics, stating that Catholic Church must change and "evangelise" as conservative opponents within Christendom circle on their leader.

In an excerpt from a new book-length interview, published on November 4 by Fides, the Pope said his "church on the move” philosophy is not a “fashionable expression” but a summary of his mission. His comments appear to be a reiteration of his desire to revolutionise the Catholic Church. He added: “The Church is either on the move or she is not (the) Church. Either she evangelises or she is not (the) Church. If the Church is not on the move, she decays, she becomes something else.

Why 2 women are speaking up about pastoral abuse 17 years after being told to stay silent

CLARKSVILLE (TN)
USA TODAY/Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle

November 6, 2019

By Jennifer Babich

Corrections & clarifications: Megan Frey and JoAnna Hendrickson are from Indiana. A previous headline for this story misidentified their state of residence.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — The first time the two women came forward to disclose allegations of pastoral abuse, they were 18. They were told to keep quiet and that speaking up would be bad for their reputations.

Recently, they tried again to speak up, and once again, they were urged to stay silent.

Their accusation: The top candidate for lead pastor at First Baptist Clarksville in Tennessee manipulated them both into secret relationships – one of them sexual – while he was serving as their youth group leader in 2002.

The two women say their calls for action by the church have gone unheeded, not just when the abuse happened 17 years ago, but again today, with the chairman of the FBC pastoral search committee continuing the cover-up.

U.S. bishops continue to deal with it, but crisis is not over

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 8, 2019

By Greg Erlandson

It has been a rough 18 months for the U.S. bishops. Much as they would like it to be over, some observers, including a fellow bishop, think they still have a long way to go.

The cascade of bad news started in June 2018 with the revelation that credible accusations of sexual abuse had been leveled against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. The flood of bad news continued, first with reports, investigations and scandals, then with the steady drip of dioceses opening their archives and detailing their own histories of dead, defrocked and, more rarely, active priests who had been accused of abuse.

Both the Vatican and the U.S. bishops have instituted major reforms to hold bishops accountable when accused of abuse or the cover-up of abuse, including a toll-free number that will allow allegations of abuse by bishops to be collected and investigated.

This is why there is an almost palpable hope among many church leaders that the worst is behind them and a bit of normalcy can be restored.

Not so fast, seems to be the conclusion of panelists at Georgetown University convened to discuss the crisis and its impact on the church. The Nov. 4 gathering was the official unveiling of a 50-page report titled “Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation: Lessons, Directions and Paths Forward.”

U.S. bishops have their plates full during next week’s USCCB meeting

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

Nov. 8, 2019

By Christopher White

As U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore next week for their general assembly, they will continue their efforts to turn a page on the clergy sex abuse scandals, navigating a tightrope act of returning to the regularly scheduled business affairs of the conference while duly acknowledging the Church’s damaged public credibility.

Most notably, the bishops will face the two-pronged challenge of electing new leadership for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as they seek to improve a strained relationship with the Vatican and also prepare to engage in the public square at home ahead of a national presidential election.

Among the most closely watched business items will be a vote on the new USCCB president to replace outgoing president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

DiNardo, who will give his final presidential address on Monday, is widely expected to be succeeded by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who has served as his vice-president for the past three years.

If elected, Gomez - who leads the nation’s largest Catholic diocese - would become the first ever-Hispanic leader to head the conference at a time when Catholic leaders have openly clashed with President Donald Trump over his treatment of migrants.

SNAP backs Texas prelate for USCCB President

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

Survivors of Clergy Abuse Gather Outside USCCB Meeting
“It is time for new leadership to take clergy abuse more seriously”
SNAP backs Texas prelate for USCCB President
Group “vigorously opposes” likely winner from California
Election will be held at USCCB meeting in Baltimore on November 11

WHAT:
At a press conference and vigil in advance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fall Meeting, clergy sex abuse survivors and their supporters will
--Announce which candidate they are supporting for the next President of the USCCB,
--Explain their reasons for their choices, and
--Hold a vigil for the survivors and leaders who have helped build and guide the survivor movement

WHEN:
Sunday, November 10 at 4:30 PM

WHERE:
Outside the meeting of the USCCB at 700 Aliceanna St, in Baltimore, MD

Catholic Church probes two pregnant nuns

LAGOS (NIGERIA)
The Nation

Nov. 7, 2019

Catholic church has commenced an investigation to uncover how two nuns who were on a missionary trip to Africa returned pregnant.

The report indicated that the two nuns returned to Italy expecting babies even after taking a vow to chastity.

In Catholic morality, chastity is placed opposite the deadly sin of lust and is classified as one of seven virtues.

According to New York Post, the two nuns who belonged to different orders in Sicily had both traveled to Africa for a mission.

It is reported that one of the nuns who is 34 years learned of her pregnancy after going for check-ups when she developed stomach pain.

Priests will not report child abuse confessions

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times of London

Nov. 8, 2019

By Sean O’Neill

The Roman Catholic Church will oppose calls for priests to break the seal of the confessional to report admissions of child abuse, a public inquiry was told yesterday.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said the church could not accept any recommendation from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to require priests to disclose matters admitted to them during the sacrament.

Cardinal Nichols said that maintaining the confidentiality of the confessional was “an essential part of the exercise of priesthood”.

He added: “The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in defence of the seal of confession. It might not come to that.

Clerical abuse: Catholic cardinal says church was ‘shocked to the core’

Patheos blog

Nov. 8, 2019

By Barry Duke

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols – leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales – has spoken of the ’embodiment of evil’ among church members.

Giving evidence for the second time to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Nichols, above, said:

The experience in the Catholic community in this country over the last 20 years has been one of struggling to cope with the presence of evil embodied in its members, which has shocked it to the core.

Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who acts for 27 abuse victims in the inquiry, responded to Nichols’ latest claim that he was still struggling to get his head around the extent of clerical abuse by saying:

Cardinal Nichols’s evidence will cut little ice with victims. The Catholic Church has spent the last two decades promising to get safeguarding right, but the evidence in this inquiry has exposed these promises as so much hot air.

Scorer said improvements had been “lamentably slow”, treatment of survivors was “consistently poor” and the Catholic Church’s structure and culture meant it was:

Incapable of delivering the changes survivors need.

SPAC Nation Scandal: Church Fighting Knife Crime Fails To Act On Rogue Pastors Flourishing In Its Ranks

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Huff Post UK

Nov. 8, 2019

By Nadine White

A pioneering church that has been hailed by politicians as a beacon of hope for ex-gang members has created the conditions for fraudsters to flourish within its ranks and is failing to act on pastors financially exploiting the young people it claims to help, we can reveal.

Ex-congregation members have spoken out to reveal shocking cases at the church, SPAC Nation, of pastors targeting young black people from impoverished areas and “broken homes” and isolating them from their families – before exploiting them for money.

A HuffPost UK investigation has found evidence that some pastors at the church - whose leader was pictured in the second row for Boris Johnson’s speech at this year’s Conservative Party conference - have pressured the young people they supposedly help into taking out substantial loans of up to £5,000.

Once these loans arrive in their bank accounts, the congregation member is asked to transfer the money to the SPAC Nation pastor, sometimes on the basis that the clergymen will set them up as “crypto-traders”.

While young people are left in debt, SPAC Nation’s pastors put on an extravagant show of wealth – flashing rolls of £50 notes, buying Rolex watches, driving Lamborghinis and other sports cars, buying Louboutin shoes and hosting cash giveaways to tempt more youngsters in.

Church leaves Southern Baptist Convention after abuse allegation

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

Nov. 7, 2019

By Robert Downen

A Texas church led by a pastor accused of sexually abusing and impregnating a teenager has left the Southern Baptist Convention, a spokesman confirmed Thursday.

Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas, north of Denton, is the latest to end its affiliation with the convention after being named in a Houston Chronicle investigation into widespread sex abuses within the faith group.

Georgetown initiative spotlights work that remains on abuse crisis

DENVER (CO)
Crux

Nov. 8, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

In his 1850s classic The Idea of a University, now-Saint John Henry Newman offered his view of the aim of higher education.

“A university training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society,” Newman wrote. “It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them and a force in urging them.”

With allowances for the sexist language of the day, Newman’s point was that education should aim to equip a person to contribute more intelligently to the society to which he or she belongs.

America’s flagship Catholic universities this year seem to be channeling their inner Newman with regard to the society of the Church, launching major research initiatives, internal dialogues and public forums on the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

Notre Dame, for instance, has devoted $1 million to research related to the abuse scandals, including a first-ever survey of Catholic seminaries on the issue of sexual harassment by the university’s McGrath Institute for Church Life. Results were released Sept. 25, in conjunction with a major event on the ND campus featuring veteran Catholic journalist Peter Steinfels, longtime lay leader Kathleen McChesney, Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

Testimony corroborated, contradicted in priest's trial

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post Gazette

Nov. 8, 2019

By Peter Smith

In the second day of the trial of a Catholic priest charged with sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 2001, some witness testimony Thursday corroborated the previous day’s account of the accuser, and some conflicted with it.

A friend of the accuser confirmed that the latter confided in him about the abuse on two highly emotionally occasions years before he ever went to the police.

But two lay leaders at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Munhall, who helped organize the summer program where the alleged assault took place, contradicted his testimony on who was doing what and where. They said the priest didn’t show up for the program and said the church basement area would have been filled at lunchtime with children and supervisors, not an isolated area where an assault could take place undetected.

Father Hugh Lang, 88, a former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, is on trial at Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on eight counts related to the alleged assault at St. Therese, where he had been pastor in 2001. He has pleaded not guilty and, like the previous day, was supported by numerous former parishioners and others attending on his behalf.

Testimony is expected to wrap up Friday with Father Lang taking the stand in his own defense. Judge Mark Tranquilli, who is presiding at the bench trial, would then decide on a verdict.

The accuser, now 30 and living abroad, testified Wednesday that when he was 11, he made a derogatory joke about Father Lang during a summer training program for altar servers at St. Therese.

He testified that later that day, a visibly flushed Father Lang took him to a room in the church basement, ostensibly for discipline. Instead, he alleged the priest forced him to strip, took a photo of him, fondled his body, used the boy’s hand to masturbate himself, ejaculated on the boy’s body. He testified the priest later reminded him he had the photo and warned him never to tell anyone what happened.

Priest accused of sexually abusing six children will be extradited to the UK to face charges

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

Nov. 8, 2019

A retired Sydney priest accused of sexually abusing six children in the United Kingdom in the 1970s has lost a legal bid against extradition.

Denis Alexander, 83, was arrested in Australia in January 2017 after the UK requested his extradition over allegations he'd physically and sexually abused children at a Catholic boarding school in Scotland between 1970 and 1976.

The children were aged between 11 and 15 at the time.

More than two years after his arrest, federal Attorney-General Christian Porter made a decision to surrender Alexander to the UK in March 2019.

Alexander then filed an application in the Federal Court to have the decision reviewed.

Alexander's barrister, Greg Smith SC, argued the advice given to the attorney-general paid 'insufficient attention' to the priest's age and the risk to his health if he was forced to travel to the UK.

The court was told Alexander suffers from several chronic and ongoing health problems and has been diagnosed with cognitive impairment. He has a preliminary assessment of early dementia.

The women who made Colorado's priest abuse investigation possible

DENVER (CO)
Nov. 7, 2019

Channel 9 News

By Anusha Roy

It was August 2018, the phone calls and e-mails started flooding the Attorney General's Office asking if Colorado would investigate allegations of sexual abuse.

A report last month named 43 Catholic priests in Colorado who are accused of sexually abusing juveniles.

The report said these priests were credibly accused of sexually abusing at least 166 children between the 1950s and now, with a majority of the cases occurring in the 1960s and 1970s.

Since the report was announced, the public has heard from three main players: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, independent investigator Bob Troyer and Archbishop Samuel Aquila -- all men who had prominent roles in this investigation.

However, it was three women who are responsible for launching the investigation in the first place.

Former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and her former senior staff sat down with 9NEWS' Anusha Roy to discuss the investigation, the collaboration with the church and the still unanswered questions.

Catholic Church opposes calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Irish Post

Nov. 8, 2019

By Jack Beresford

THE ROMAN Catholic Church is vehemently opposed to calls for priests to break the seal of the confessional to report admissions of child abuse.

That’s according to a leading figure in the Roman Catholic Church who told a public inquiry they would rather die than violate “an essential part of the exercise of priesthood”.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, made the comments during an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The Cardinal said the church would rebuff any recommendation from the IICSA calling on priests to disclose matters admitted to them during the sacrament.

Cardinal Nichols, who is President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, added that throughout history priests have fought and died to defend their role in confession and that “it might come to that” again.

Schrader: Report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse leaves a big question unanswered

DENVER (CO)
Denver Post

November 8, 2019

By Megan Schrader

What did Colorado’s archbishops know and when?

That question is left unanswered by the Special Master’s Report into “Roman Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children in Colorado from 1950 to 2019.”

In sharp contrast, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released in 2018 began with a proclamation that because so much of the abuse had exceeded the statute of limitations or the abusers were dead the only recourse was to “name their names, and describe what they did — both the sex offenders and those who concealed them.”

Colorado’s report got the first half right but punted on holding the enablers of these rapists accountable. Not a single name of any church leader is included in the report, which was produced through the Attorney General’s office by special investigator Bob Troyer.

Yes, each individual is responsible for his own actions. But when five priests are allowed to abuse 100 children in the course of several decades, I believe the responsibility also falls on those who knew and did nothing. From 1950 to 2009, only one case was voluntarily reported to law enforcement although the church received dozens of reports of abuse, Troyer wrote in his report. (It must be noted that since then — under the leadership of Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila who took over in 2012 — every single report of abuse has been given to law enforcement, even in cases where it might not have been required by law.)

Baptist Minister Who Worked in Five States Accused of Abusing Children

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

A Baptist minister from the Twin Cities has been accused of sexually abusing at least one teenager and has been suspended from his teaching job. We hope his former supervisors, colleagues and church members will call police with any suspicions or information about his behavior immediately. We also hope Baptist officials will immediately publicize this information, warn parents and parishioners, and encourage victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers to step forward.

Rev. Wesley Leon Feltner is lead pastor of preaching and vision at Berean Baptist in Burnsville, Minnesota. Until this week, Rev. Feltner was also on the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville and a pastoral candidate for First Baptist Church in Clarksville, kenticky. However, on Nov. 5, it came out that two women had accused Rev. Feltner “of manipulating them into secret relationships while he was their youth pastor at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana,” according to Baptist News Global.

‘I expected more’: Why whistleblowers are surprised by the Buffalo inquiry

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

Nov. 7, 2019

By Christopher Altieri

When the Vatican announced the new law Vos estis lux mundi, reforming the way the Holy See investigates claims of abuse cover-up, veteran Church-watcher Rocco Palmo summed up the thoughts of observers everywhere in a single tweet: “For all the ink [spilt] and reaction around [the world] over the Pope’s new norms,” he said, “US Catholicism’s litmus test on Vos estis boils down to three words: ‘Buffalo or Bust’.”

As the Catholic Herald has noted, the Diocese of Buffalo is not only among the most highly publicised trouble spots in the US, but is also a microcosm of a global leadership crisis. In Buffalo, an abusive clerical party was deeply entrenched and operated with a degree of cover, if not outright impunity. The embattled bishop of Buffalo, Richard J Malone, has acknowledged that he “inherited a decades-old horrific problem” when he took the reins in 2012.

He has faced allegations that he mishandled abuse cases, and has admitted failure to take proper action on some of those that emerged on his watch. He has been accused of treating victims callously and of opaque record-keeping practices that allowed him to claim the abuse problem was far smaller than it really is. He was slow to sanction at least one priest he suspected of serious wrongdoing and believed to be dangerous.

Bishop Malone and his auxiliary, Bishop Edward Grosz, have also both been accused of applying pressure on priests and seminarians to stay quiet about abuse, though Bishop Malone stands by his record of leadership generally. Bishop Grosz has denied accusations that he threatened to block a whistleblower’s ordination to the priesthood.

November 7, 2019

Judge sends WV diocese sexual abuse lawsuit to Supreme Court

CHARLESTON (WV)
Gazette Mail

Nov. 7, 2019

By Jake Zuckerman

A judge asked the West Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday to consider the viability of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s lawsuit alleging that the Wheeling Charleston-Diocese knowingly hired employees at its camp and schools who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane ruled against Morrisey, but he put the case on hold and asked the high court to weigh in on whether the lawsuit is even viable under the state’s consumer protection laws.

He specifically sent up two questions:

Does the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, as it pertains to unfair methods of competition and or deceptive practices, apply to religious institutions?
Would applying the law as Morrisey requested be “an excessive entanglement of Church and State,” which is prohibited by the state and federal constitutions?
Beane ruled against Morrisey on both counts. He said, if the law is “to remain vigilant in protecting religious freedom and in protecting religious institutions from substantial government intrusion,” it must refrain from mingling between church and state.

“A panoramic view of the entire relationship between Church and State arising from application of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to religious schools reveals, not dimly but clearly, an excessive entanglement of government and religion which is prohibited under federal and state constitutions,” he wrote in a 40-page ruling.

However, Beane put the case on hold and sent the issue to the Supreme Court, which would weigh in on those two questions.

US bishops counter narrative of resistance to Pope Francis

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

Nov. 7, 2019

The U.S. bishops' conference issued Thursday a statement responding to a recent book which the conference says perpetuates a myth that it is resistant to Pope Francis.

Austen Ivereigh's “Wounded Shepherd” was published Nov. 5 by Henry Holt and Co.

The book “perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the U.S. Bishops Conference,” James Rogers, chief communications officer for the conference, said Nov. 7.

Ivereigh claims that Msgr. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference, and Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, dean of canon law at the Catholic University of America and a consultant to the conference, drafted proposals for a bishops' code of conduct and lay commissions in the wake of the McCarrick scandal that were subsequently rejected by Rome. Ivereigh said the proposals were meant to bypass Roman input.

Rogers called the claim disparaging of Bransfield and Jenkins, and said Ivereigh's account “is false and misleading.”

According to the conference, its president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, began in August 2018 to consult bishops on measures that would strengthen the Dallas Charter. Draft proposals were written by the next month “under the direction of the Executive Committee” and with the help of the committees on clergy, consecrated life, canonical affairs, and child protection, as well as the doctrinal secretariat and the general counsel's office.

“It was intended that the proposals stop short of where the authority of the Holy See began,” Rogers wrote.

Florida Sex Offender Arrested After Using Popular Bible App to Contact Girls

Patheos blog

Nov. 7, 2019

By Sarahbeth Caplin

Apparently, a registered sex offender in Florida used his profile to befriend underage girls, join their Bible groups, and chat with them outside the purview of authorities.

Douglas Kersey (whose username was a not-so-cryptic “Doug K”) was only caught when a member of the girls’ congregation saw that “he friend requested several teenage girls in their youth group.”

The tipster learned Kersey was a registered sex offender after looking up his name. She told investigators Kersey’s list of friends consisted mostly of young females. The girls in her church group who accepted his friend request are all minors and “that was concerning to her.

According to the court documents, Kersey did not disclose to [Hillsborough Conty Sheriff’s Office] any email addresses, websites, and profiles to social media accounts he was using, including the Bible App. Failure to report the information is a third degree felony.

Friend said priest's accuser told him years earlier of assault

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post Gazette

Nov. 7, 2019

By Peter Smith

Driving his friend home after a night of drug use back in 2010, David Hamilton said his passenger directed him through unfamiliar streets and had him stop outside St. Therese Catholic Church in Munhall.

“He started flipping out and breathing heavily and said he was going to kill the priest who molested him,” Mr. Hamilton testified Thursday in the second day of the trial of the Rev. Hugh Lang, who faces charges of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 2001.

Mr. Hamilton, an active-duty U.S. Marine corporal attired in dress uniform, said he quickly drove off before his friend could act on his threat.

Mr. Hamilton testified that this was the second time that the alleged victim spoke to him of the assault, in both cases years before the accuser brought the case to the police. In neither instance did Mr. Hamilton testify that his friend identify the priest by name, although St. Therese is where the alleged victim says he was abused and where Father Lang had been assigned.

Creative Lawsuit by West Virginia A.G. Against Catholic Officials is Dismissed, SNAP Reacts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 7, 2019

The creative angle taken by West Virginia’s attorney general in order to force more transparency in his state’s Catholic leaders has been dismissed by a circuit court judge. We hope that A.G. Patrick Morrissey will appeal this ruling soon and that he prevails before another judge.

We continue to be disappointed that West Virginia's new bishop is exploiting legal technicalities to evade responsibility for the crimes and cover ups of his predecessors. It would be better if Church officials at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston would cooperate with external probes by secular law enforcement in order to prove to the public that their record is as clean as they claim. Absent such proof, we can only assume that the scandals that have repeatedly been demonstrated by investigation after investigation are also occurring in West Virginia.

We are not attorneys, but believe that the issue raised by A.G. Morrisey in his suit is fundamentally about the safety of children. It is terribly disingenuous for Catholic officials to take advantage of church-state separation when it is advantageous for them - such as when it enables them to keep hidden information about clergy sex crimes - while simultaneously trying to erode that separation when it is disadvantageous, such as when lobbying against state and federal laws.

Pastor suspended from teaching at seminary after pastoral abuse claims

CLARKSVILLE (TN)
Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle

Nov. 7, 2019

By Jennifer Babich

Wes Feltner, the top candidate for lead pastor at First Baptist Clarksville, is feeling the fallout of the pastoral abuse charges leveled against him.

In a statement released late Wednesday, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary announced they've suspended the teaching responsibilities of Feltner, who served as an adjunct professor.

The statement by seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. said that knowledge of the allegations first came to him Monday via social media. It went on to say: "Immediately, I sent the information received to our response team, and within an hour it was determined that credible accusations of misconduct had been presented. Accordingly, all teaching responsibilities for this individual were suspended and classes reassigned to other instructors."

The statement went on to say they'd reviewed Feltner's dissertation, titled "Pastoral Influence Tactics," and determined it was acceptable for continued public circulation.

Feltner, who is lead pastor of preaching and vision at Berean Baptist in Burnsville, Minnesota, has been accused by two women of manipulating them into secret relationships — one of them sexual — while he was their youth pastor 17 years ago at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana.

Cardinal says Church will not agree to break the Seal of Confession in abuse cases

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 7, 2019

By Liz Dodd

The Catholic Church in England and Wales will reject any attempt to compel priests to break the seal of confession, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said today.

On his second day giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Cardinal Nichols said that priests would rather die than disclose details of a confession.

He agreed that there was a tension between the importance of mandatory reporting in abuse cases and confidentiality in confession.

Asked how this could be resolved he said: “The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in defence of the seal of confession. It might come to that.”

Southern Seminary removes adjunct professor, reviews dissertation, following abuse allegations

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

Nov. 7, 2019

By Bob Allen

News reports that a pastoral candidate for a Southern Baptist church in Kentucky is accused of misusing his authority to sexually abuse two teenagers 17 years ago prompted a review of his doctoral dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Seminary President Albert Mohler said Wednesday afternoon on social media he became aware two days earlier of allegations made against Wesley Leon Feltner, who has taught at Southern Seminary as an adjunct professor in fields of pastoral and organizational leadership.

Within an hour, he said, Mohler’s leadership team determined that accusations of misconduct were credible and suspended Feltner from all teaching responsibilities.

Mohler said he asked that Feltner’s 2009 doctoral dissertation – which is titled “The Relationship Between Pastoral Influence Tactics, Follower Outcome Levels, and Types of Congregational Change” – be withdrawn from public circulation pending review. The review “found nothing that would prevent public access,” Mohler said, and by Thursday morning the paper was accessible online.

#iGiveCatholic Empowers Catholics, Giving Millions to Peripheries of US Church

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
National Catholic Register

Nov. 7, 2019

By Peter Jesserer Smith

When the sex-abuse scandals hit the Church afresh in 2018, the Catholic students at Nicholls State University (NSU) in Thibodaux, Louisiana, decided with their priests to take direct action. They wanted to build a perpetual adoration chapel on their campus as a permanent place of intercession for the sanctification and protection of their university, their families and Catholic priests.

So the “Colonel Catholics” of NSU turned to the #iGiveCatholic campaign to raise the funds on Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events.

They raised $230,000 on Giving Tuesday, and nearly one year later, on Oct. 13, 2019, the Two Hearts Perpetual Adoration Chapel at NSU opened its doors..

Judge dismisses AG's consumer claim against Diocese, sends two questions to Supreme Court

CHARLESTON (WV)
West Virginia Record

Nov. 7, 2019

By Chris Dickerson

A circuit judge has dismissed one claim filed by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and certified two questions to the state Supreme Court.

Wood Circuit Judge J.D. Beane’s Nov. 6 order granted the Diocese’s motion to dismiss claims by the AG’s office under the state Consumer Credit and Protection Act. It also stayed the litigation until the certified questions are answered.

“A panoramic view of the entire relationship between church and state arising from application of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to religious schools reveals, not dimly but clearly, an excessive entanglement of government and religion, which is prohibited under federal and state constitutions,” Beane wrote.

Morrisey’s office had claimed the Diocese violated the act by failing to disclose sexual misconduct by school and camp employees with minors to parents, the diocese knowingly hired pedophiles and did not conduct background checks on employees.

Lack of cooperation stalled Hart investigation, say bishops

CASPER (WY)
Casper Star-Tribune

Nov. 7, 2019

By Seth Klamann

The two bishops who succeeded retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart say investigations into the disgraced cleric, who’s been accused of sexual abuse by at least 16 men, were hamstrung by a lack of cooperation by at least one of Hart’s alleged victims years ago.

Bishop David Ricken took over for Hart when the latter cleric retired as the head of the Catholic flock in Wyoming in 2001. The two also lived together briefly. Ricken is now the bishop in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His successor, Paul Etienne, served in Wyoming until 2016. He was recently appointed archbishop of the diocese in Seattle.

Ricken’s tenure was quickly marked by the first Wyoming allegation against Hart, made initially in 2002 by a “second-party family member,” said Justine Lodl, a spokeswoman for the Green Bay diocese. Cheyenne Police later spoke with the victim who now lives out of state, records show. Lodl said that Ricken “turned this allegation against Bishop Hart over to the police department and district attorney, who did their own independent investigation.”

“The investigation concluded with the police and district attorney dropping the case because of a lack of cooperation of the alleged victim,” Lodl wrote in an email in response to a list of questions sent by the Star-Tribune last month.

Minnesota bishop defends conduct in sexual abuse case

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Associated Press

Nov. 6, 2019

By Steve Karnowski

A Minnesota bishop who's the subject of a Vatican-ordered investigation said in sworn testimony released Tuesday that he was trying to protect the confidentiality of a man who said he was sexually abused by a popular priest when he certified to other church officials that the priest was fit for ministry and to work with children.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston in northwestern Minnesota acknowledged in the videotaped deposition last year that he stated in writing to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2012 that Monsignor Roger Grundhaus was "a person of good moral character and reputation" and that he was unaware of anything in the priest's background that would "render him unsuitable to work with minor children."

French bishops to discuss payment to victims of church sex abuse

PARIS (FRANCE)
France 24 TV

Nov. 7, 2019

French bishops are considering a plan to provide financial compensation to victims of church sex abuse.

The 120 bishops convening for their biannual assembly in Lourdes will spend Thursday and Friday discussing the plan for a “financial gesture” toward victims. They pledged in principle to create such a fund last year.

Conference of French Bishops spokesman Thierry Magnin told France Info radio the church could begin disbursing money to victims in 2020.

He called the proposed fund “an allowance in recognition of suffering” in an interview with Europe 1 ahead of the gathering.

How US Church tried and failed to get abuse plan past Rome

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 7, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Church officials in the United States drew up a secret plan to judge bishops on abuse which they hoped Pope Francis and the Vatican would accept as a "fait accompli", a new book reveals.

Mgr Brian Bransfield, the General Secretary of the US Bishops’ Conference, and Mgr Ronny Jenkins, the Dean of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America drew up proposals for a code of conduct for bishops and lay-led commissions to judge them.

The proposals were designed as badly-needed reforms to rebuild the Church's battered credibility. However, when studied in Rome, it was decided they breached long-standing Catholic laws and traditions stating bishops can be judged only by the Pope.

In “Wounded Shepherd”, a new book on the Francis pontificate, Austen Ivereigh argues the more troubling feature of the Bransfield-Jennings plan was the attempt to carry out an ecclesiastical power play against the Pope in what was a quick-fix solution attempting to shore up the US bishops’ reputations.

Shapiro takes on everything from big pharma to the president to the Catholic Church -- and wins

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Nov. 6, 2019

Attorney General Josh Shapiro boasts about taking on the big fights, and in the three years since he’s been in office, his fights indeed have been doozies.

He’s taken on pharmaceutical companies to hold them responsible for practices that addicted thousands of people to opioids.

He’s taken on the Catholic Church to hold pedophile priests responsible for the life-long trauma they brought to thousands of children trusted into their care.

He’s taken on the National Rifle Association and gun rights advocates who want no compromise on second amendment rights.

And he’s even taken on President Donald Trump, battling his policy of forced separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. southern border; his violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and his efforts to deny women access to no-cost contraception.

“I’ve taken the president to court 29 times, Shapiro told PennLive’s Editorial Board last week. “Seventeen have come to fruition.”

One of those 17 was a big win for Pennsylvania’s women. The Trump Administration tried to advance a policy to limit access to no-cost birth control. Shapiro sued, and a federal judge sided with Pennsylvania, slapping a hold on the Trump administration’s rule, not only here but nationwide.

Religious vocations endure despite distractions, scandal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Philly

Nov. 6, 2019

By Gina Christian

As the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov. 3-9), Father Steven DeLacy looks forward to the day when “religious vocations will come so naturally” that he’ll be out of a job.

“I’m actively trying to eliminate my position,” joked Father DeLacy, who serves as vocation director for the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Since 1976, the U.S. bishops have annually dedicated a week to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), vocations have declined significantly in the U.S. over the past 50 years, with the total number of priests (both diocesan and religious) down by some 38% and the number of religious sisters down 73%.

Indian bishop denies claims of misconduct, says accusers oppose reforms

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 6, 2019

A Catholic bishop in southern India has dismissed allegations of being a womanizer and fathering two children; he says the claims are a retaliatory response from priests opposed to his administrative reforms.

Ucanews.org reported that Bishop Kinnikadass William of Mysore told a news conference Nov. 5: "There is no truth in the allegations. A group (of priests) are behind it because of administrative reforms I introduced."

The 54-year-old bishop spoke to the media after 37 of the 100 odd priests in the diocese wrote to the Vatican and its papal representative in India, plus other heads of church bodies in India.

Child sex abuse inquiry: Catholic Church 'shocked to core by evil of clergy'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC News

Nov. 6, 2019

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has told an inquiry the Church was "shocked to the core" by child sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said the community had struggled to cope with "the presence of evil embodied in its members".

He said the Church's culture had improved "radically" in recent years, but there was still "more to achieve".

Victims said changes had been "slow".

Giving evidence for the second time to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Archbishop Nichols said he had learned lessons about tackling abuse at a summit called by the Pope at the Vatican for senior bishops.

A letter the cardinal wrote to bishops in England and Wales following the meeting was shown to the inquiry.

He wrote that, during the meeting, "in me, something deeper changed".

"A change of perspective. I began to see everything from the perspective of the victim/survivor," he added. "That is a sobering perspective for us to take."

Archbishop Nichols told the inquiry the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales had already implemented some of the measures discussed at the summit.

Mexican prelate says bishops should admit moving predators was a mistake

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Crux

Nov. 7, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A Mexican archbishop has said it’s time for prelates to own up to the mistakes they’ve made handling clerical sexual abuse cases, including what he euphemistically called the “geographical solution” of simply moving predators from one assignment to another without addressing their behavor.

“We bishops need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past: we weren’t conscious of the seriousness of the issue, and the solutions we gave weren’t the right ones,” said Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera, of Monterrey, president of the Mexican bishops’ conference and treasurer of the Latin American Conference of Bishops (CELAM).

“The geographic solution of thinking that the [problem] is solved by moving the criminal from one place to another made everything worse, because the problem spread,” Cabrera said.

Every bishop who’s been a bishop for more than 10 years, he said, “has to confess that our solutions were not the best.”

Lawyer for priest on trial says different cleric abused the victim

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nov. 6, 2019

By Peter Smith

The trial for a retired Catholic priest on sexual abuse charges began with dramatic testimony and a contentious cross-examination Wednesday after the priest refused a prosecutor’s plea-bargain offer and his defense attorney suggested a different, now-deceased priest is to blame.

The Rev. Hugh Lang, 88, a former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, faces eight counts related to an alleged assault on an 11-year-old boy in 2001 at St. Therese Parish in Munhall, where Father Lang was a priest at the time.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli is presiding at the bench trial, which will resume Thursday after a full day of attorneys bringing motions and calling witnesses.

The accuser, now 30 and living abroad, testified in graphic detail about the alleged sexual assault.

“I would like Father Lang to be held accountable for what he did to me,” he said. “I want justice.”

Bishop Fabbro attends opening of documentary Prey to support abuse survivors

WINDSOR (CANADA)
Windsor Star

Nov. 7, 2019

By Dave Waddell'

It was more than just another night out at the movies at the 15th annual Windsor International Film Festival when Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the London Diocese accepted an invitation from sexual abuse survivor Patrick McMahon to view the documentary Prey at the Capital Theatre on Wednesday night.

Fabbro brought along three priests from London and there was another local group of Basilian priests in attendance to see Windsor-born director Matt Gallagher’s film on the journey of survivors of pedophile priest William Hodgson Marshall.

“It’s important for me because of the survivors,” Fabbro said of his attendance.

“One of whom was in touch with me and I know how much it would mean to him and I was pleased to come and show my support for the survivors.”

Fabbro was invited by McMahon, the first victim to file a successful criminal complaint against Marshall. McMahon also appears in the documentary.

Polish Catholics condemn decision to drop Popieluszko charges

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 7, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Father Jerzy Popieluszko was killed in 1984 after opposing his homeland's authoritarian government.

Prominent Polish Catholics have condemned a Warsaw court decision to drop charges against a group of former secret police agents, who were accused of planting weapons and explosives on the Solidarity martyr, Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, a year before his murder in 1984.

"It's scandalous and a great source of shame that the guilty are again avoiding punishment", Piotr Dmitrowicz, a director of Warsaw's newly opened John Paul II Museum, told Poland's Catholic Information Agency (KAI).

Retired Pittsburgh area priest on trial for sexual assault of 11-year-old boy in 2001

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE TV

Nov. 6, 2019

By Bob Mayo

On the first day of the child sex assault trial of retired priest Hugh Lang, his now 30-year-old alleged victim who traveled from southeast Asia testified to how he alleges Lang abused him when he was an 11-year-old boy.

The alleged victim testified for nearly 1 1/2 hours for the prosecution about the alleged sex assault in the basement of St. Therese parish church in Munhall in 2001.

He told Judge Mark Tranquilli in the non-jury trial that at an altar servers summer camp at the church, Lang led him to the church basement, ordered him to undress, took a photo of him naked, and performed sex acts on him.

The alleged victim testified that Lang threatened to show the photos to others if he told.

The courtroom was packed with about 40 observers, including several priests. Also present was a victim's advocate who says the alleged victim contacted him after the Pennsylvania grand jury report about cases of sex abuse by priests.

"He was a mess. He was ashamed. He felt like he'd be blamed. He didn't want anyone to know who he was. He's still in that position but i have watched him become stronger and through education and a little bit of understanding of what took place, he now realizes that this wasn't his fault," James VanSickle, of the Courage2Heal, told Pittsburgh's Action News 4.

The defense began cross-examining the alleged victim late Monday afternoon. The initial questions from Lang's defense attorney, J. Kerrington Lewis, focused on when the witness contacted authorities and what he told them.

During brief opening statements, Lewis told the judge he will present witnesses and evidence to show that the alleged victim's claims are "absolutely false" and that the alleged victim is dishonest and unreliable. Lewis also noted a civil suit for $1 million has been filed in the case. The defense attorney alleged that the alleged victim has "a motive other than the truth."

Files Ordered Released in Msgr. Harrison Case, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 7, 2019

A California judge has ruled that the Diocese of Fresno must release documents related to allegations of abuse by one of their priests. We are grateful for this development and hope it will bring healing to survivors of abuse and encourage others with information to come forward and make reports to law enforcement.

We applaud Judge Eric Bradshaw for opting towards transparency in regards to complaints made against Msgr. Craig Harrison. Msgr. Harrison faces several allegations of child sexual abuse reports and is currently suing a Catholic activist who has been investigating the reports.

‘Silence doesn’t work’: Man alleges abuse by two clergymen at East Bay Catholic high school

HAYWARD (CA)
Bay Area News Group

Nov. 7, 2019

By Angela Ruggiero

A man now in his 50s has filed lawsuit alleging that the Catholic church should have known about two clergymen who abused him as a high school student at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward.

George Houle publicly stepped forward Wednesday and is alleging that two men during his time at Moreau in Hayward sexually abused him — Brother John Moriarty and the Rev. Gordon Wilcox, who was a priest and the principal at Moreau. Both men have since died: Moriarty in 2013 and Wilcox in 1984.

Houle, now 58, was 15 when the abuse started with Moriarty, a brother who would come to Moreau to recruit students for spiritual retreats in St. Helena or elsewhere, according to the lawsuit. It was there that Moriarty became Houle’s spiritual counselor, and would provide him alcohol and question his sexual activity, the lawsuit says.

Moriarty allegedly abused Houle on multiple occasions at a retreat house in St. Helena, other retreat locations and in hot tubs, according to the lawsuit. The abuse allegedly continued for two years.

A year later in 1976, Houle had academic difficulties at school and was told Wilcox would tutor him at his private residence. It was during these tutoring sessions that Wilcox allegedly gave Houle, who was around 16 years old, alcohol and sexually abused him.

Editorial: Genuine dialogue takes church into unscripted territory

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 7, 2019

As the recent Synod of Bishops for the Amazon amply demonstrated, the discussion quickly becomes thick and complex, as well as challenging to the status quo, when genuine dialogue is the order of the gathering. What Pope Francis has introduced in the synod process is literally unscripted territory for a church that, in recent decades, has merely pretended at dialogue about important issues.

What will finally issue from a synod considering the plight of both Earth and church in one of the ecologically most important and most imperiled spots on the planet is ultimately in the hands of the pope. If his approach to the synodal process in the past is any indication, however, the apostolic exhortation he produces, probably yet several months in the future, will reflect both the discussion as well as the decisions of those in attendance.

Collegiality was an idea that gained a foothold during the four years of deliberations at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and was institutionalized in the form of a synod by Pope Paul VI. But the meetings became largely meaningless showcases under St. Pope John Paul II, with tight boundaries around permitted discussion and with the presumption that the final document would reflect the pope's pre-synod views, regardless of the discussion.

On the other hand, Francis has used the Synod of Bishops as "a signature feature of this pontificate and ... as a means of advancing his program of reform," according to ecclesiologist Richard Gaillardetz.

The model is closer to that envisioned by bishops at Vatican II, who saw a standing synod as a way for bishops to exercise more authority more consistently in the governance of the church. Bishops were in a better position than Vatican bureaucrats to understand the needs of local people in a global church where cultures such as those in the Amazon, tucked away from wide scrutiny, might be misunderstood at best or completely ignored.

The outspoken resistance to this and previous Francis-inspired synods is largely a product of conservative Catholics in America, as papal biographer Austen Ivereigh points out elsewhere. In this case, the objections were largely to the possibility of ordination of older, married men; the possibility of women deacons; and variously to the primary substance of the synod, which had to do with limiting exploitation of resources and continued destruction of portions of the rainforest for such pursuits as mining and cattle production.

Georgetown University issues report on sex abuse, makes recommendations

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 6, 2019

By Jesse Remedios

In order to best address the twin crises of clergy sexual abuse and leadership failure, a report released Nov. 4 by Georgetown University recommends placing victim-survivors at the center of the response and confronting clericalism.

The report titled, "Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation: Lessons, Directions, and Paths Forward," was created by Georgetown's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. It reflects and summarizes key ideas and proposals from a June 14-15 national convening here of more than 50 mostly lay Catholic leaders from across the United States.

According to the report, participants engaged in candid and strategic discussions on four linked goals: sharing lessons learned from the clergy sex abuse crisis, strategizing on directions for reform and renewal; examining neglected costs of the crisis, and exploring how principles of Catholic social thought can help advance protection and accountability.

The report outlines 10 strategic directions that emerged from discussions at the national convening:

In explaining its first strategic direction, the report writes that the "failure to listen and believe victim-survivors" were the "original sins of the sexual abuse crisis."

"As the church seeks repentance, justice, reform, and renewal, we must listen to victim-survivors, their families, and all those affected by clergy sexual abuse. There are still not enough victim-survivors in the rooms when decisions are made," the report states.

The report also states that the clergy sexual abuse crisis "cannot be discussed honestly without recognizing the toxic culture of clericalism." Clericalism, the report argues, can lead to abuses of power and contributes to institutional cover-ups.

"We need a new culture of candor that calls on laypeople inside and outside of ecclesial structures to challenge the insular and self-reinforcing culture of some chanceries and ecclesial institutions," it states.

Cleanup underway for Argentine order after Catholicism’s own ‘nuclear option’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Nov 7, 2019

By Elise Harris

According to one expert in Church law, carrying out the recent suppression of an Argentine religious institute is a complicated, messy and time-consuming process that no churchman looks forward to. Yet for victims thirsting for justice, explanations aren’t enough, but they want action.

“Suppression is what we call the ‘nuclear option.’ That’s the very last straw,” Father Francis Morrisey, a Canadian canonist, told Crux.

Usually an order is given a warning and offered a specific timeframe to clean up its act. If this doesn’t happen within the allotted time, then the Vatican pulls the plug, he said, noting that this is a last resort.

Trial date changed for Waterford priest charged with raping young boy

TROY (MICHIGAN)
Oakland Press

Nov. 6, 2019

By Aileen Wingblad

The trial date for the pastor of a Waterford church charged with raping a young boy 15 years ago has been rescheduled.

Jury selection will begin Feb. 10, 2020 for the case against Father Joseph “Jack” Baker, pushed back from the Dec. 9 trial date that had been scheduled in Wayne County Circuit Court. According to court records, the change came “at the request of the court.”

Baker, 57, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct - sexual penetration with a person less than 13 years old. The crime allegedly occurred sometime between February 2004 and June 2004 at a storage room in St. Mary Catholic Church in Wayne, involving a boy who was a second-grader at the time.

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

November 6, 2019

Two men allege harassment by Harrison supporters in new legal filings

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Californian

Nov. 2, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

Two men being sued by Monsignor Craig Harrison for defamation said in a legal filing last week they are being harassed and intimidated by the priest's family and supporters, possibly in an effort to silence them.

The allegations were made in an anti-SLAPP motion filed by the defense that seeks to have the lawsuit dismissed on grounds that it targets legitimate free speech about issues of public significance. (SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.)

Defendant Stephen Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful, an Illinois-based Catholic watchdog group, said in the filing he received "a series of bizarre emails" from Harrison's brother, Rick Harrison, in August and September, "apparently intended to harass and intimidate me."

The same filing contains a statement from Ryan Dixon, a former mentee of Harrison's who is now a Catholic monk known as Brother Justin Gilligan, that says his mother has been the subject of harassment. It says she has moved out of state because she feared what might happen to her.

Craig A. Edmonston, Harrison's attorney in the case, said he is unaware of such harassment.

"The case is simply about defamation, lies and restoring Monsignor's reputation and clearing his name," Edmonston said, adding that he will file an opposition to the motion in the coming weeks.

Catholic Church investigates after two nuns found to be pregnant

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Star

Nov. 5, 2019

By Michael Moran

Two nuns have been found to be pregnant after returning from missionary work in Africa.

A major investigation is now underway after the two pregnancies, which are not thought to be related, were discovered.

One of the nuns, reportedly based at a convent in Sicily's Nebrodi mountains, didn’t realise she was pregnant until she consulted a doctor about a stomach pain.

The nun, who is aged 34, has been moved to Palermo where she is expected to give birth to the child.

In the second case the mother superior of an institute for the elderly at Ragusa – also in Sicily – was discovered to be several weeks pregnant after visiting her home country of Madagascar.

Twin Cities attorney demands that pope remove Crookston bishop

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

Nov. 5, 2019

By Mary Lynn Smith

Twin Cities attorney Jeff Anderson on Tuesday appealed directly to Pope Francis, demanding the leader of the Catholic Church immediately remove the bishop of the Crookston Diocese for interfering in clergy abuse cases and allowing accused priests to continue their ministries.

While calling for Bishop Michael Hoeppner's immediate removal, Anderson also urged the pope to remove Bishop Richard Malone of the Buffalo Diocese in New York for the way he has handled a sex abuse crisis there.

Both men are among the first sitting U.S. bishops to be scrutinized under new Vatican protocols for reviewing and disciplining bishops. Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis oversaw the investigation into Hoeppner and submitted his report last week to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome.

"That report includes all investigative information gathered, as well as summaries, analysis, findings of fact and recommendations," Hebda said Tuesday in a written statement. "Final resolution of this matter will be determined in Rome." The Congregation for Bishops will determine what actions, if any, are necessary, he added.

Anderson, however, urged the pope to take immediate action.

"The peril is present and real," Anderson said. In an hourlong news conference, Anderson reviewed transcripts and played video from a deposition in which he questioned Hoeppner about allowing priests who were accused of sexual abuse to remain on the job. He charged that Hoeppner, as well as Malone, have concealed predators and protected themselves.

"Both have engaged and are engaging in the dangerous practice of deceit, deception and concealment of crimes by predators and crimes in which they both are complicit," Anderson said. "No excuses. No more time. Remove Hoeppner and Malone and remove them now."

Anderson made his direct appeal while abuse survivors Ron Vasek and Pat Matuseski stood alongside him. The two are among 15 abuse survivors who reached a $5 million settlement with the Crookston Diocese in July. As part of that settlement, the personnel files of 19 offenders along with investigative documents, deposition videos and other files related to the Crookston case are being made public.

Survivor of clerical sexual abuse provides support to victims of trauma

ONTARIO (CANADA)
Guelph Today

Nov. 4, 2019

By Anam Khan

After much healing, a recovered alcoholic and survivor of clerical sexual abuse is trying to provide support to victims of trauma in Guelph.

Following his trial, which officially ended in May 2019, Robert McCabe began his charity, Recovery Speaking to provide support to help those with limited means recover from the trauma they experienced, whether it is from abuse, addiction or other incidents in their lives.

“I always knew once the trial was over that I wanted to do this for trauma victims,” said McCabe.

On Nov. 16 McCabe is sponsoring a free viewing of the 2019 Hot Docs winner PREY, a documentary that tells the story of survivor Rod Macleod as he pursues justice through a public trial hoping to bring attention to the hidden stories of clergy sexual abuse.

US priest who gave out gifts in Philippines accused of abuse

TALUSTUSAN (PHILIPPINES)
Associated Press

Nov. 6, 2019

By Tim Sullivan

The American priest‘s voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village.

“I should have known better than trying to just have a life,” the priest said in the November 2018 call. “Happy days are gone. It‘s all over.”

But, the young man later told the Associated Press, those days were happy only for the priest. They were years of misery for him, he said, and for the other boys who investigators say were sexually assaulted by Father Pius Hendricks.

His accusations ignited a scandal that would shake the village and reveal much about how allegations of sex crimes by priests are handled in one of the world‘s most Catholic countries.

Anniversary of credibly accused clergy list in New Orleans brings lawsuits, calls for investigations

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

Nov. 5, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

When the Archdiocese of New Orleans published a list one year ago of priests and deacons who had been credibly accused of molesting children, it started a one-year clock for lawsuits by people claiming that seeing the list had rekindled memories of their abuse at the hands of Catholic clergymen.

The looming arrival of that deadline on Monday of this week prompted the filing of several clergy-abuse lawsuits in recent days at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, where the list of such cases has been steadily growing since the church’s decades-old molestation crisis reignited more than a year ago.

Boston Archdiocese opts for transparency to protect minors

ROME (ITALY)
Vatican News

Nov. 5, 2019

By Devin Watkins

As the first group of US Bishops begin their “ad limina Apostolorum” to Rome, Bishop Mark O’Connell explores how the Archdiocese of Boston is working for the protection of minors.

The Archdiocese of Boston was at the epicenter of controversy in 2002 when the clerical sex abuse scandal first broke in the United States.

A report that year by the Boston Globe brought the issue of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy into the national spotlight, and 5 priests from the Archdiocese of Boston were sentenced to prison.

Now, 17 years later, the Archdiocese is working to be a model of transparency when dealing with whatever allegations of sexual abuse may emerge.

Church: Wyoming sex abuse queries lacked victim cooperation

CASPER (WY)
Associated Press

Nov. 6, 2019

Two Catholic Church officials who succeeded a Wyoming bishop accused of sexual abuse say a lack of victim cooperation hampered the investigations.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports at least 16 men said they were abused by former Bishop Joseph Hart, who retired in 2001.

Bishop David Ricken took over for Hart in Wyoming before transferring to Wisconsin in 2008. He was followed by Bishop Paul Etienne, who headed the Cheyenne diocese until 2016.

The diocese says a 2002 allegation against Hart was forwarded by Ricken to police but was dropped due to a lack of alleged victim cooperation.

The church says Etienne requested a Vatican investigation into Hart in 2010, but did not initiate his own investigation because alleged victims “were not willing to speak.”

Last week, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri said three people who accused Hart of sexual abuse are credible.

The three had raised allegations against the bishop over the past year.

November 5, 2019

US bishops arrive in Rome for ad limina visit with Pope Francis

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Agency

Nov. 5, 2019

By Courtney Mares

Every American diocesan bishop will travel to Rome over the next four months for meetings with Pope Francis assessing the state of the Church in the U.S.

The U.S. ad limina visit will be not only the first with Pope Francis, but the first since the Church in the US was shaken by a crisis of mistrust in episcopal leadership due to mishandling of sexual abuse allegations against Theodore McCarrick and others.

An “ad limina apostolorum” visit is a papal meeting required for every diocesan bishop in the world to provide an update on the state of one’s diocese. The trip to Rome, usually made together with all the bishops from a country or region, also serves as a pilgrimage to “the threshold of the apostles,” giving the bishops, who are the successors of the apostles, the opportunity to pray at the tomb of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Ad limina visits typically take place every five years, as the world’s more than 5,300 bishops rotate through Rome. However, some countries have gone 10 years without an ad limina visit, as was the case with Taiwan. During Benedict XVI’s pontificate, bishops from nearly every diocese in the world visited within seven years.

Church urged to boost response to needs of clergy sexual abuse survivors

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 5, 2019

By Dennis Sadowski

A Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse pleaded for Catholic Church leaders to follow the example of a Wyoming bishop who continues to seek justice and answers for other survivors.

Juan Carlos Cruz expressed support for the work of Bishop Steven R. Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, during a panel discussion at Georgetown University Nov. 4, saying the prelate’s efforts to resolve questions surrounding a retired predecessor’s alleged abuse demonstrates that someone within the church cares enough to raise up the needs of survivors.

“For so long, we have seen nobody doing anything,” Cruz said during the program sponsored by the university’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

Cruz and other survivors have led a decade-long effort to hold Chilean bishops and cardinals accountable for committing abuse or covering up reports of abuse. He and two other survivors were invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis in 2018 to discuss their experience.

Southern Baptist Convention Needs Leadership Willing to Tackle Cases of Clergy Sex Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 5, 2019

Al Mohler wants to lead the Southern Baptist Convention, but when it comes to dealing with clergy sex abuse, he has not shown leadership. To the contrary, he has long dragged his heels and has found himself forced to acknowledge a problem only because of courageous survivors, determined attorneys and tenacious journalists.

For example, it was only after massive media exposure that Mohler finally admitted to "serious errors" in his support for C.J. Mahaney, a pastor at the heart of claims about a longstanding cover-up of abuse reports involving 13 alleged perpetrators.

That is not leadership; that is belated bare-bones acknowledgment of a problem.

And now, though Mohler has learned to say nice-sounding words, they are words that we as survivors have all heard before. So words are not nearly enough nor are they evidence of leadership. The time for meaningful action is overdue.

Mohler is right, of course, that the SBC "can - and should - do more to track predators who've worked in affiliated churches." But absent a concrete plan, Mohler's words remain as just words.

SNAP remains wary of seeing too much praise and hope heaped onto any single individual who might lead this denomination, which is the country's second-largest faith group.

Father Tom Doyle's Recent Lecture, "What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church"

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimmage blog

Nov. 5, 2019

By William Linsdey

I'd like to point you today to a resource Ruth Krall has told me about: as the video at the head of the posting indicates, recently, a lecture that Father Tom Doyle gave last month at Gonzaga University has come online in video format. The lecture is entitled "What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church," and was presented under the auspices of Gonzaga's Flannery Lecture series.

Drawing on his thirty-five years of intense involvement with the abuse problems of the Catholic church, Tom Doyle focuses on the ways in which the abuse situation reveals something deeply concerning about systemic corruption within the Catholic institution itself. His thesis is that the abuse phenomena are "deeply embedded in the very fiber of the institution itself."

Washington Post: Catholics should follow Germany's gospel when seeking future growth

Get Religion blog

Nov. 5, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

When it comes to Catholic demographics — think birth rate, membership and new clergy — researchers know where to look if they want to find the good news and the bad news.

It you are seeking new life and growth, all roads lead to Africa — where the Catholic population has grown by nearly 250% since 1980.

Anyone seeking bad news can examine trends in Europe.

Take Germany, for example. The Catholic church lost 216,078 members in 2018, according to the German Bishops’ Conference. Researchers at the University of Freiburg predict that Catholic membership totals will fall another 50% by 2060. How is the priesthood doing? Things were already pretty bad in 2005, with 122 diocesan priests ordained in Germany. That number fell to 58 in 2015.

Lawsuits: Woman sexually abused students in NY before teaching in PBC

PALM BEACH (FL)
Palm Beach Post

Nov. 5, 2019

Civil lawsuits filed last month have raised allegations of sexual abuse involving a longtime Spanish River High School teacher, three years after Palm Beach County School District police investigated a similar, anonymous complaint.

The suits filed under New York’s Child Protection Act accuse Dianna Vacco of sexually abusing two young students hundreds of times in the early 1980s when she taught fifth- and sixth-grade science at a Catholic school in Angola, a village outside Buffalo.

In their complaints, the two former students claim that the sexual abuse occurred both in New York and Florida when they were between the ages of 10 and 15. Court documents do not detail where in Florida the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

Vacco, 65, who appears to live in St. Augustine after moving from Wellington, could not be reached for comment. Court records do not list an attorney representing her in the civil cases.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented numerous sexual abuse victims in high-profile cases, including cases against the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, is one of several attorneys representing the two women in the civil suits. Reached by telephone last week, Garabedian declined to comment.

With Ad Limina Visits, Pope Francis Should Renew Call for “All-Out Battle” on Clergy Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 5, 2019

Starting this week, virtually all U.S. Catholic bishops will begin travelling to Rome to meet face-to-face with Pope Francis. During these “ad limina” visits, we hope that Church officials and the pontiff will focus almost solely on combatting cases of clergy abuse and improving how Catholic leaders respond to victims and protect children.

They can start by exhorting Pope Francis to expand his reporting directive to require that all allegations of abuse must be reported to secular law enforcement. U.S. Bishops wrote this directive into their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People way back in 2002, but as recent reports have shown, those directives have had no teeth and bishops have been free to ignore them. Perhaps if the pope deigned to use his considerable power and require that these measures be taken seriously, Church officials would actually listen.


Harvest Elders Say James MacDonald Is ‘Biblically Disqualified’ From Ministry

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

Nov. 5, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have concluded that their former pastor James MacDonald is biblically disqualified from ministry and can never return to leadership at their congregation.

A church investigation into charges against MacDonald—who was fired in February— found he failed to meet the elder qualifications laid out in Scripture. They attested he instead “had a pattern of being disruptive,” “insulting, belittling, and verbally bullying others,” “improperly exercising positional and spiritual authority,” and “extravagant spending utilizing church resources resulting in personal benefit,” according to a statement released Sunday.

The announcement said while the Bible doesn’t teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent, his damage to Harvest would prevent him from serving again as an elder or pastor there.

“We believe James could be restored to ministry someday, but in order for that day to come, the fruits of repentance must be evident. Based on Harvest Bible Chapel’s interpretation of the Scripture, we have not yet seen evidence of this,” wrote the eight-member elder board (all of whom assumed their positions earlier this year, when the elders who served during MacDonald’s leadership stepped down).

Argentine order classic case of ‘be careful what you wish for’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Nov. 4, 2019

By Elise Harris

[Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a four-part series by Elise Harris.]

When Chrystian Contreras Javier Gomez, entered Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista at age 15, he thought he was walking among spiritual giants whose life of contemplative prayer fueled a heroic service to the poor.

Yet it wouldn’t take long for him to discover that there were more sinners than saints behind the community walls.

Within his first three years in the order, Contreras was sexually abused by the order’s founder and later raped by a deacon belonging to the community. After leaving, he attempted to make a civil complaint against the two but gave up after being humiliated at the police station. He eventually made a canonical complaint, but almost a year later, he has heard nothing more about it.

The order has now been suppressed and the founder and another prominent member are currently facing criminal charges of alleged sexual abuse from two other victims, however, Contreras still has no clue about the status of his case, where his rapist is, or if he is still in ministry.

Contreras’s story is not unique. And while the suppression of his order might seem like a victory for himself and other victims, the chaos left in the aftermath might well be a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.”

Diocese of Lansing Fails to Properly Handle 1990 Sexual Assault Case, Leads to Second Victim

Legal Examiner blog

Nov. 5, 2019

By Kelly McClintock

A report just released, commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, states that the Church failed to keep parishioners safe from a priest abusing his power and sexually assaulting at least two young men. Patrick Egan sexually assaulted a man in his 20s during a Church boxing session in the 1990s, which he reported to the Church. However, the Lansing Diocese failed to properly investigate when the survivor made his disclosure in 2003. Later, in 2014 Patrick Egan sexually assaulted a second young man during a boxing session at the Church.

According to the report (the Catholic Church hired their own lawyers to conduct), Patrick Egan’s “priestly faculties” have been revoked, “essentially removing him from the Diocese of Lansing.” The Lansing State Journal reports the Lansing Diocese has requested Egan return to the Diocese of Westminster, England, where he originates.

An accused pastor’s suicide: The pain we see and the pain we don’t

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

Nov. 5, 2019

By Christa Brown

Last week, confronted with criminal charges of having repeatedly raped a teenage girl, the Rev. Bryan Fulwider killed himself while out on bail. At the time of the alleged offenses, he was senior pastor at First Congregational Church of Winter Park, Florida.

Many will no doubt think that the pastor’s death should put an end to the disturbing questions about what he may have done during his life: Let the dead rest in peace.

But the problem is this: The death of a child molester doesn’t automatically bring peace for his victims. To the contrary, it often brings greater pain. Having already had their innocence, trust and bodily autonomy stolen, a perpetrator’s untimely death may then rob victims further by depriving them of the opportunity for vindication and justice in a court of law.

As reported, the arrest documents said Fulwider had raped the girl “well over 100 times” beginning when she was 14. Though Fulwider pleaded not guilty, prosecutors described their case as “extremely strong,” pointing to an hourlong recorded phone call in which Fulwider admitted to having a “sexual relationship” with the victim when she was younger than 18 and that he was a predator in the “eyes of the law.” Fulwider’s own sons have said “we believe the victim.”

If we assume the truth of the victim’s allegations, then Fulwider’s suicide will not spare her the traumatic fallout from all that he did to her. For many clergy sex abuse survivors, trying to heal from such a soul-murdering offense is a lifelong process.

Mysuru priests accuse Bishop of sexual misconduct, corruption, shoot letter to Pope Francis

NODIA (INDIA)
India Today

Nov. 5, 2019

Agroup of 37 priests from the Mysuru Diocese has written a letter to Pope Francis requesting his urgent intervention in the affairs of the Bishop of Mysuru KA William. The priests have demanded that the Bishop be removed over his alleged involvement in criminal offences, misappropriation of funds and sexual misconduct.

The Bishop has also been accused of practising factionalism, favouritism and also getting married.

Melwyn Fernandes of the Association of Concerned Catholics, has released a press note stating, "This is an issue involving crimes of moral turpitude by Bishop William of Mysuru, involving financial irregularities, sexual misconduct, kidnapping and suspected murders."

Speaking to India Today TV, Fernandes said, "There are allegations with regard to children. We demand that paternity tests should be done so that the innocence of the Bishop can be proved. We also demand an enquiry be conducted into the alleged kidnapping of a girl at the behest of the Bishop and how that girl's child was shown to her through a CCTV camera when she was at a different location."

David Joseph Perrett pleads not guilty to New England historical child sex abuse offences

MOREE (AUSTRALIA)
Moree Champion

Nov. 5, 2019

By Breanna Chillingworth

A FORMER Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing 40 children over three decades has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

David Joseph Perrett appeared in Armidale District Court for an arraignment hearing on 139 historical sex abuse charges.

The child abuse allegations stem from when Perrett was a serving Catholic priest in the Armidale, Walgett, Moree, Guyra and wider New England area, as well as Sydney and the coast, between the 1960s and 1990s.

Perrett has been living on strict bail in Armidale.

Judge Jeffery McLennan is yet to set a date or location for the trial of the charges, which include assault; buggery; carnal knowledge of a child; and maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16.

The trial - which could take three months - has not been set down yet, but Perrett will return to court in February next year.

Priest accused of misconduct has strong New Bedford ties

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
South Coast Today

Nov. 4, 2019

By Kiernan Dunlop

One of the two Roman Catholic priests put on administrative leave for alleged misconduct has strong ties to New Bedford.

Fr. Daniel W Lacroix grew up in the city and attended St. Mary’s Parish and the accompanying school as a child, according to a profile on the priest by The Standard-Times when in 2017 he returned to be the pastor of the parish where he grew up. This year, Lacroix was named co-pastor at three North End Churches — St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes — before being placed on administrative leave.

In the profile Lacroix said, “I never thought I would be so blessed as to return to St. Mary’s,” and explained that it’s very rare for a priest to be assigned to his home parish.

Lacroix was ordained a priest in 1988 and over the past three decades he was assigned to Holy Name Parish in New Bedford, St. Patrick Parish in Wareham, and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet, along with parishes in Chatham, Mansfield, Hyannis, and Seekonk, according Director of Communications for the Fall River Diocese John Kearns.

In 2016, Lacroix was named dean of the New Bedford district which, according to the Fall River Diocese website, means the bishop appointed Lacroix to assist him in the promotion of coordination of apostolic and pastoral activity in that area.

The Wolf in Priest’s Clothing: Victim of former Niagara Catholic priests sues diocese for $5.2 million

ONTARIO (CANADA)
Catholic diocese was told of Grecco’s sex abuse, alleges victi

The St. Catharines Standard

Nov. 5, 2019

By Grant LaFleche

Niagara Catholic diocese knew a serial sex abuser was among its ranks of priests but did nothing about it, alleges one of the man's victims in a lawsuit against the church.

In a statement of claim filed in a St. Catharines court in May, William O'Sullivan says the Diocese of St. Catharines — which governs Catholic churches and priests in Niagara — was told now ex-priest Donald Grecco had sexually abused a child, but did nothing to protect them.

"(The diocese) failed to remove Grecco from his duties upon learning of the allegations of sexual and other inappropriate conduct thereby leaving the plaintiff exposed to Grecco and his actions without protection," says O'Sullivan's statement of claim, which also alleges the diocese failed to investigate Grecco's actions once it was made "fully away of his shortcomings in an effort locate and assist any victims."

Colorado Report Shows Need for Further Investigation into Clergy Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 5, 2019

An in-depth report from the Denver Post has reinforced findings from an earlier AP report that large numbers of accused child abusers are alive and remain dangerous in whichever communities they live. We call on Catholic officials throughout Colorado to take steps to warn communities where these dangerous men live and work, so that children and the vulnerable are protected and so that parents, parishioners, and the public are better informed.

According to the Attorney General's report on Catholic abusers; at least 22 diocesan priests in Colorado have been accused of abuse. While any number is too high, this figure does not include clergymen from religious orders – who were not covered in the scope of the Special Master’s report – so this count is more likely incredibly low.

Of those 22 diocesan priests, at least 11 are alive. Their diaspora has included Ecuador, Florida, other Catholic dioceses, other religions and other communities in Colorado. They have new jobs as priests, therapists and in other related professions that keep them in touch with children. Several have spent time in prison. Each is a dangerous man, and representatives of the three Colorado dioceses say they do not actively track the location andactivities of the clerics named in the report. As clergymen changed their location or left the Church, they faded from the dioceses' radar.

After their order’s suppression, victims struggle to move forward

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Nov. 5, 2019

By Elise Harris

[Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a four-part series. Part one can be found here.]

ROME - When the Vatican suppressed Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista, this summer, the act was welcome news for ex-members, some of whom have been waiting for years to get justice for alleged abuses suffered under the group’s founder and other members.

Scandals in new movements and communities such as the Legion of Christ founded by the late Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado or the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) launched by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, have become all too familiar a story in global Catholicism in recent years.

Like the Legionaries and the SCV, members of the Hermanos allegedly endured a wide range of abuse and manipulation, including psychological abuse, abuse of power/authority, and sexual abuse, including the abuse and rape of minors.

November 4, 2019

Is There A Fundamental Flaw In the Institutional Church’s Approach To Sex Ethics?

Patheos blog

Nov. 4, 2019

By Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Recent statements by theologian and former president of Ireland Mary McAleese have been making a stir in Catholic circles, prompting reactions in the extremes of both negative and positive.

According to an article by Sarah Mac Donald, McAleese stated that the Catholic priesthood is based around a “fundamental lie”:

She told a conference in TCD on Saturday attended by up to 400 people, including the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, that a clericalised priesthood was not attracting vocations today and that many of those who are attracted to priesthood have a “deeply problematic” sexuality because the Church demands that those priests and seminarians who are not heterosexual pretend to be.

Recalling the six years she spent studying for a doctorate in canon law in Rome, living in the environs of a seminary and monastery, she said she had encountered many young seminarians and priests.

“I became very much aware of the dysfunction at the heart of seminary life and the dysfunction at the heart of much of the priesthood.”

“The number of fake-hetero misogynistic homophobic gays I met frightened me. The homophobia of people who are gay is a lie – it is a vicious lie. But they live it and in living it, apart from making themselves miserable, they also make a lot of other people miserable.” She said that as pastors, “their capacity for dispersing misery is really immense. That worries me greatly.”

Charleston priest retired over Wheeling bishop's costly renovation to Sacred Heart

CHARLESTON (WV)
Gazette Mail

Nov. 4, 2019

By Ryan Quinn

From the late 1980s until a couple of years ago, the physical heart of the church at the heart of downtown Charleston’s Catholic complex was made of mahogany.

At what is now the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, that fine wood made up the ambo (or pulpit) from which Monsignor Edward Sadie read the gospel, and the altar from which he gave Mass.

The bishop’s chair, called the cathedra, in which Sadie could not sit, also was mahogany. The cathedral, in which that chair sits, is technically the bishop’s church.

So, until he left his post last year, the chair belonged to Michael Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. So did the church.

And Bransfield, now notorious for spending Diocese money on personal luxuries, wanted a marble chair, a marble ambo and a marble altar.

The Bishop’s Fund — the nonprofit that, as reported by The Washington Post, Bransfield created and then funded entirely through Wheeling Hospital money — paid for about $2.3 million worth of renovations to Sacred Heart in 2017.

These renovations, done within the past few years, replaced the mahogany with marble. The renovations covered the floor with marble, too.

Ex-evangelical pastor says supporting Trump has been 'damaging' to church

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hill

Nov. 4, 2019

By Aris Folley

Former megachurch pastor and evangelical author Joshua Harris said in a recent interview that he believes some of the massive support President Trump has enjoyed from the evangelical community has been “incredibly damaging to the Gospel and to the church.”

Harris, an influential evangelical teacher and writer during the late 1990s and up until he announced he'd abandoned his faith earlier this year, added that having "a leader like Trump I think is in itself part of the indictment" of Christians.

Evangelicals have been staunch supporters of Trump since his 2016 election, with his job approval higher than average among white evangelical Christians throughout the three years of his presidency, according to Pew Research Center data. In a poll earlier this fall conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, about 77 percent of evangelicals approve of the president’s job performance, compared to an average 43 percent in other polls.

But Harris told Axios's Mike Allen that he's concerned about the end result of the church becoming "identified with President Trump."

“I don’t think it’s going to end well," Harris said in a clip of an interview on "Axios on HBO” released Monday.

“And I think, you know, you look back at the Old Testament and the relationship between the prophets and really bad leaders and kings, and oftentimes it was, it's not something you unwind because it's, it's actually in the scriptures presented as God's judgment on the False Religion of the day,” Harris said.

“You think Christians today who are embracing President Trump are due for a judgment?” Allen asked.

“I think it is the judgment,” Harris responded. “I think it is part of the judgment.”

“What do you mean by that?” Allen asked.

“To have a leader like Trump I think is in itself part of the indictment, that this is the leader that you want and maybe deserve,” Harris answered. “That represents a lot of who you are.”

Harris, who served as the senior pastor at the Covenant Life megachurch Gaithersburg, Md., for more than a decade before resigning from his post in 2015 amid controversy over the church's handling of a child sexual abuse scandal, rose to prominence shortly after the 1997 publication of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" at age 21. The book was once highly influential to evangelical youth group teaching.

Suit claims retired Albany bishop told sex abuse victim to 'forget about it'

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

Nov. 4, 2019

By Cayla Harris

A newly filed lawsuit claims retired Bishop Howard Hubbard told a teenage boy more than 60 years ago that he should “forget about” alleged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of another priest who had what Hubbard allegedly described as "a moment of weakness.”

SNAP Calls for More Action

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE TV

Nov. 4, 2019

By Rob Masson

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered in front of Notre Dame seminary Monday with several demands. They want the list of credibly abused priests expanded and they want more statewide prosecution.

They met outside the seminary with stories that have become all too familiar.

"He put a pillow over my head to quiet me, and control me, and kill me...i don't think he cared," said National SNAP president Tim Lennon, talking about his own abuse in Iowa, some 40 years ago.

Members of SNAP want the Archdiocese of New Orleans to expand, a list of credibly accused clergy that was released one year ago this week. They want it expanded, from 57 names to 81, as outlined on the webisite 'Bishopaccountability.org'.

"It wasn't good enough because most of the priests on that list were dead and statute of limitations prohibits suing anyone who is dead in civil law," said Louisiana SNAP president Kevin Bourgeois.

The archdiocese says many of the names on the Bishopaccountability.org list, includes non priests, who were members of religious orders, and not under the archdiocese. They put out a statement saying,

'Our goals as we work to address the clergy abuse crisis are to walk with victims towards healing and to work diligently through our safe environment program to prevent abuse from occurring. we continue to address and investigate allegations that are reported to us and once again pledge our full cooperation with any law enforcement investigations into criminal actions.'

New Orleans archbishop acknowledges 57 abusive clergy

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 4, 2019

Catholic watchdog site lists 81 perpetrators

SNAP analytics suggests there are still others not yet reported

Revealing these "hidden predators" and their enablers helps to protect children today

Survivors’ group calls for AG investigation and statute of limitation reform

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child sex abuse survivors and their supporters will
-- call on Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond to expand his list of abusers,
-- urge a statewide investigation into clergy sex crimes by the AG's office, and
-- advocate for the reform of state laws limiting the ability of victims to have their day in court.

Diocese of Steubenville Should Continue Outreach About Abusive Former Teacher

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 4, 2019

A former priest from the Diocese of Steubenville was arrested last week for sexual misconduct with a minor. We are glad that church officials took steps to warn the public about him and urge them to undertake further outreach.

We believe that Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla is right to be concerned that there might be more victims of Ronald S. Burkhead. Child predators rarely stop abusing with just one or two.

It was acknowledged by the Steubenville diocese that Burkhead worked as a teacher at St. Francis Central in Toronto, OH from 2000-01 and Holy Rosary Central in Steubenville from 2004-05 . Yes, the Diocese of Steubenville officials did the right thing in regard to Burkhead, but they need to do more.

We call on Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton to do outreach to any possible victims at each of the schools at which Burkhead worked. Bishop Monforton should also make it a point to send a letter to the alumni from both schools urging them to contact police if they have any knowledge about abuse or may have been harmed by Burkhead themselves. It is very possible that they would be within the SOL to get him in jail and away from kids. Finally, Bishop Monforton should add Burkhead’s name, picture, and assignment history to the list of accused clerics on their diocese web site.

Romanoff criticizes Hickenlooper over handling of clergy abuse

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Politics

Nov. 4, 2019

By Michael Karlik

Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff asked in a Nov. 1 tweet why his opponent, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, had not initiated a grand jury investigation of suspected child abuse in the Catholic Church.

“This is a devastating account of children abused & justice denied,” Romanoff wrote. “Why didn’t Gov. Hickenlooper request a grand jury investigation?”

Romanoff referenced a report that the attorney general’s office released on Oct. 23 detailing how at least 166 children appear to have been the victims of sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses from 1950 to 1998.

The Colorado Sun reported last week that during Hickenlooper’s final months in office, then-Attorney General Cynthia Coffman discussed with him the allegations she had heard. She would have needed the governor to authorize any grand jury investigation.

Film: By the Grace of God

Independent Catholic News

Nov. 4, 2019

By Jo Siedlecka

A heartbreaking film about the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Catholic Church. The canon of films on this subject from countries around the world continues to grow. Earlier this year there was the documentary 'Tell No One' by Polish director Tomasz Sekielski. Now we have 'By the Grace of God' - a soberly-told docudrama from French director Francois Ozon.

This film tells the true story of Alexandre Guérin, (Melvil Poupaud) a committed Catholic who lives with his wife and children in Lyon. One day he discovers by chance that a priest, Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley) who abused him when he was a boy scout is still working with young people - and long repressed frightening memories, (shown in flashback), are awakened. Horrified, Alexandre writes to Cardinal Philipe Barbarin, confident that he will sort the matter out. But the diocese doesn't seem to be a hurry to respond.

Eventually they agree to set up a face-to-face meeting with Alexandre, Preynat, and an insipid archdiocesan employee, Régine Maire (Martine Erhel). Alexandre, his wife and friends fear and assume Preynat will deny what happened.

El Salvador archbishop apologizes over priest sex abuse case

SAN SALVADOR (EL SALVADOR)
Associated Press

Nov 4, 2019

El Salvador's top Roman Catholic cleric apologized Sunday for the alleged sexual abuse by a priest of an unidentified minor 25 years ago.

"We have apologized to the victim and now I am repeating it publicly, and we also ask for forgiveness from the community for the scandal that this has caused," San Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas said in a news conference after celebrating Mass.

"At the same time we pray for the victim and also for the priest," he said.

The victim was received by the Archdiocese's Commission on Childhood Protection, which according to Escobar, "found merit in their accusation and suggested that the proper canonical process be initiated."

The priest, identified as Leopoldo Sosa Tolentino, was suspended, the archbishop said.

Diocese Right To Act Swiftly

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

Nov. 4, 2019

Ronald S. Burkhead, of Rayland, was arrested last week and charged with various offenses involving alleged sexual misconduct with a minor. Burkhead, 41, had been employed by the Buckeye Local school system as a traveling teacher who worked at various schools.

After the arrest, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said another minor with whom Burkhead allegedly had a relationship had been identified. The sheriff speculated there may have been other victims, and he encouraged parents whose children may have come in contact with Burkhead to discuss the matter with them.

Then it was revealed — by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville — that Burkhead had taught for a time at diocesan schools. They were St. Francis Central in Toronto from 2000-01 and Holy Rosary Central in Steubenville from 2004-05, diocesan Permanent Deacon Paul D. Ward said.

Ward added that anyone who has been harmed by anyone serving on behalf of the church should contact the diocese and law enforcement authorities.

Fall River Diocese puts 2 priests accused of misconduct on leave

FALL RIVER (MA)
WJAR — NBC 10 News

Nov. 3, 2019

Two priests were put on administrative leave from the ministry pending an investigation of alleged misconduct from decades ago, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River.

The diocese identified the priests as the Rev. Richard Degagne, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Easton, and the Rev. Daniel Lacroix, co-pastor of St. Joseph- St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima parishes in New Bedford.

Officials said the alleged misconduct of Degagne dates back to before he was a priest.

Parishioners were informed of the allegations in a letter from Bisop Edgar da Cunha which was read at all weekend Masses.

"Nothing is more important than the welfare of survivors, children and our community at-large," said da Cunha. "We have pledged to handle all matters of abuse in a pastoral and professional way and have implemented many new reforms since 2017. I continue to pray for anyone who has been affected by the scourge of sexual abuse."

At least 11 priests accused of sexually abusing children in Colorado report are still alive

DENVER (CO)
Denver Post

November 4, 2019

By Elise Schmelzer

One Colorado priest left the church after allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old and went on to work as a U.S. Veterans Affairs therapist and a wellness director tasked with leading a children’s club at a Trinidad nonprofit. Another priest, after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a minor, became a counselor to drug users before finding a new religious group to lead.

At least 11 of the 44 men named as predators in a report published Oct. 22 on clergy sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses are still alive. After leaving or being forced from the priesthood, some men became social workers, religious leaders and counselors. Others who remain priests are now retired and live in Denver and Pueblo.

At least three of the priests’ whereabouts are unknown — it’s not even clear if they’re alive. The Diocese of Pueblo does not know where Clifford Norman or Lawrence Sievers are, a spokeswoman said. Norman left the diocese in 1975 and moved to Mexico, and Sievers left the priesthood in 1973. Similarly, the Diocese of Colorado Springs does not know where William Martinez lives or whether he is alive. Martinez permanently left the priesthood in 2004.

The Colorado dioceses do not actively track the location and activities of priests named in the report, representatives of the three dioceses said. Those abused by the priests often did not report their assaults until decades later and the dioceses often did not report the allegations to law enforcement. As priests moved locations or left the church, they faded from the dioceses’ radars.

November 3, 2019

Catholic Leaders: Totally Corrupt Financially, Too!

Patheos blog

Nov. 2, 2019

By Captain Cassidy

As if one huge, long-running, top-level scandal wasn’t enough for Catholics, they’ve now got a new one to contend with. And it’s exposed at the worst time possible for their leaders. Join me today for a look at Catholicism’s newer scandal, and how hardline Catholics are reacting to the news.

The news broke recently: the Vatican has yet another scandal on its hands.

This time, it didn’t involve the rape of underage children or the murder of vulnerable infants and women, so that’s good, I suppose. Those scandals went on for many centuries before finally poking up from a sea of submerged fear.

The inevitable results of giving unlimited power and no ethical barriers to entry to any group. (NSFW for, well, everything.)

Instead, this new scandal involves the discovery of troubling financial corruption at the highest levels of Catholicism.

I suspect most people–especially non-Catholics–know by now that this group regularly commits enormous financial shenanigans. The news constantly confirms this opinion. (See endnote for a truly hilarious example.)

Jesus, Mary, and Mary

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Review of Books

Nov. 1, 2019

By Elizabeth Bruenig

In January the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, suffered a minor scandal concerning the virtue of the Mother of God. It came to light that an English professor had taught Emmanuel Carrère’s 2014 book The Kingdom—a self-consciously provocative work about the author’s struggle with his Catholic faith and the unlikely survival of the early Church—to a group of five upperclassmen as part of an elective course in the spring of 2018. The Kingdom is something of an odd elegy to faith by an agnostic who finally couldn’t believe, and thus Carrère takes aim at the religion’s more incredible dogmas; the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary never seems to escape this particular kind of complaint. “This woman knew a man in her youth,” Carrère muses, somewhere between argument and fantasy. “She had sex. She might have come, let’s hope so for her, maybe she even masturbated.”

When word of The Kingdom’s use on campus began to circulate among the wider Catholic community, Franciscan initially came to its professor’s defense. But a day later, as outrage mounted, the university banned the book, and the professor who had assigned it was removed from his post as the English department’s chair. There’s more than enough in The Kingdom for a Catholic to dispute, but it was the doubt cast on Mary’s virginity that got the book banned and its unfortunate instructor chastened. If the Church and world persist for another two thousand years, the subject will still be maddeningly controversial.

Why is this particular doctrine of the faith so deeply important? The virgin birth emphasizes Christ’s divinity by giving him appropriately mystical origins. Permanent celibacy also maintains for Mary a special category of sinlessness, marking her as free of lust. And, set against her historical background, Mary’s perpetual virginity would have lent her a unique singleness of purpose. Scripture is full of people whose loyalties are divided between the earthly and heavenly—David is divided between his Lord and his lust; Peter is divided between Christ and cowardice—but Mary’s cause is one and all-consuming: “Her prerogative is the consequence of her divine motherhood which totally consecrated her to Christ’s mission of redemption,” as Saint Pope John Paul II put it in a Vatican audience in 1996.

Love in the face of evil: Steamboat’s Catholic church looks for solutions after release of statewide report on child sexual abuse

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS (CO)
Steamboat Pilot

Nov. 3, 2019

By Derek Maiolo

As Rev. Ernest Bayer prepared to lead Mass on Thursday, Oct. 24, some horrific news dampened what is usually a celebratory service at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat Springs.

The previous day, investigators in Colorado released a 263-page report chronicling the abuse of 166 children at the hands of 43 Roman Catholic priests across the state dating back to 1950. Bayer later described the report as the Roman Catholic Church’s “confession,” the first step in a path toward healing.

But as he addressed his congregation before a life-sized statue of Jesus on the cross, he felt too wounded to speak. He tried to raise the chalice of wine meant to consecrate the blood of Christ. Suddenly, he fell to his knees, hands clasped.

Catholic Sex Abuse Victims Gather On All Survivors Day

CHICAGO (IL)
WBBM Radio

Nov. 3, 2019

By Andy Dahn

Sunday marked the second annual All Survivors Day for victims of sexual abuse but the story of one local gathering for Catholic clergy abuse survivors was its dismal turnout.

"Where is everybody?" asked Kate Bochte, a spokeswoman of the Chicago chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "It's so hard to find the strength just to even come out here on the sidewalk."

Larry Antonsen said he was sexually abused by a priest at St. Rita High School on the southwest side when he was 15. He called the lack of progress in addressing the issue "frustrating."

"One in four girls, one in six boys will be sexually abused before they're 18-years-old," Antonsen said. "We're here to help protect them. We want things in place by the church to protect kids. That's what this is all about."

What had Bochte frustrated was the small crowd outside of Holy Name Cathedral. Located on the near North Side, Holy Name Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"Survivors cannot hear you pray," she told reporters. "Survivors cannot hear your little conversations with your children or your friends about how much you support survivors. Tell them that. They don't hear you."

Antonsen said keeping children safe shouldn't be so difficult.

Demonstrators demand accountability for Catholic clergy sex crimes

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

Nov. 3. 2019

By Sten Spinella

A small group of demonstrators stood outside the Cathedral of Saint Patrick on Sunday to mark All Survivors' Day, which recognizes survivors of sexual abuse.

As men and women in military dress exited the Cathedral following the 28th annual Red, White & Blue Mass's reception, they strode past the group of demonstrators, which fluctuated between four and eight survivors and their supporters.

Protesters in Norwich from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests "stood in solidarity with survivors and supporters from CT Alliance to end Sexual Violence and other groups," according to a release before the event. People affiliated with SNAP held similar events at cathedrals in Hartford and Bridgeport on Sunday.

The main goal of the event was to call for the state legislature to eradicate all statutes of limitation for sex crimes. At the moment, those who allege they were sexually assaulted by priests cannot file civil lawsuits against the church if they are 51 or older.

Tim McGuire of New London, who alleges that he was sexually assaulted by a priest in Noank as an 8-year-old altar boy, has become an ardent advocate for survivors. On Sunday, he held a sign reading "Say no to the Catholic fondling of state laws. Your laws!"

Bridgeport priest reinstated after allegations of sexual abuse deemed ‘unfounded,’ church says

CHICAGO (IL)
Sun Times

Nov. 3, 2019

By Sam Kelly and Tom Schuba

A Bridgeport priest who was r