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January 24, 2020

Multiple child sex abuse lawsuits filed against Catholic Diocese of San Diego

ENCINITAS (CA)
The Coast News

January 23, 2020

By Tawny McCray

Alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Encinitas, are looking for a little bit of closure as they pursue legal action against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Six lawsuits were filed Jan. 2 against the Diocese and numerous local parishes on behalf of the 20 alleged victims — 14 of them male and six of them female.

The suits allege that the abuse took place in the 1960s and 70s and involves accusations of priests engaging in inappropriate behavior with minors that includes touching, fondling and massaging; kissing; oral copulation; masturbation; and simulated anal intercourse.

The victims were previously unable to pursue legal action against the Diocese, but recently enacted AB 218 expands the statute of limitations and opened a three-year window, starting this year, for victims to file suit.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin, whose office filed the six lawsuits, said his clients are seeking some sort of monetary compensation for the harm that’s been done.

“For these victims they’ve lived a life of incredibly difficult emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxieties, depression, difficulties in relationships, and substance abuse,” Zalkin said Jan. 20. “The impact of child sexual abuse is devastating, it’s lifelong and it really derails the normal development of a human being.”

Alleged victim of sex abuse by North Jersey priest breaks silence, sues Archdiocese of Newark

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

January 23, 2020

By Kaitlyn Kanzler

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/verona-cedar-grove/2020/01/23/newark-archdiocese-sued-victim-alleged-sex-abuse-verona-priest/4540653002/

Chris Rodgers is no longer a man of faith.

After struggling for years just to get up each morning after allegedly being sexual abused by a man he trusted, Rodgers' faith is limited to believing there is a spiritual side to things.

Rodgers, who now lives in New York, is among the latest to file suit against the Catholic Church after New Jersey extended its civil statute of limitations on Dec. 1, allowing survivors a two-year window to bring a sex abuse case. Rodgers filed his suit against the Archdiocese of Newark for alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Eugene Heyndricks, a former priest at Our Lady of the Lake in Verona.

Heyndricks, who died in 2007, was already on the list of credibly accused priests that the Archdiocese of Newark released last year. Heyndricks was placed on administrative leave in the early 2000s after he was caught in a police sting in Montreal soliciting an underage male prostitute. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation.

Former Catholic priest pleads no contest to indecent exposure in Michigan’s Thumb

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
M Live

January 23, 2020

By Cole Waterman

Bad Axe MI - A former Catholic priest has pleaded no contest to a criminal charge stemming from him exposing himself in public.

Lawrence M. Ventline, 70, on Jan. 15 appeared in Huron County District Court and pleaded no contest to the lone count he faced, that of indecent exposure. The charge is a one-year misdemeanor.

Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski said his office had surveillance video footage recorded the morning of Aug. 26 showing Ventline inside Murphy’s Bakery, 110 W. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe, with his privates exposed.

In pleading no contest as opposed to guilty, Ventline did not admit to having committed a crime. The presiding judge relied on court documents to enter a conviction on the record.

Dioceses come under scrutiny as they change legal structures

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 23, 2020

By Jack Lyons

South Bend IN - As dioceses across the country continue to face multi-million dollar payouts related to clerical sex abuse, some bishops have relied on advice from lawyers to reconfigure the property of their dioceses into charitable trusts.

The practice - which has been implemented by several dioceses after the clerical sex abuse revelations of the early 2000s - creates significantly different outcomes for dioceses and abuse victims in the case of bankruptcies.

Critics say the moves shield assets that could be paid to victims of clerical abuse and may even be illegal. However, Church officials defend the practice, saying their actions were intended to better align the dioceses’ corporate status with canon law. Other dioceses say they acted to ensure the long-term viability of the Church.

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy, which was resolved in 2016, the archdiocese calculated its assets at $45 million, while advocates for abuse victims argued that other church entities brought the sum up to $1.7 billion. That means individual victims could receive tens of thousands of dollars more in a bankruptcy settlement depending on how courts define the assets of the archdiocese.

Pope Francis Replaces Conservative Archbishop of Philadelphia

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

January 23, 2020

By Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, has long been known as a theological and political conservative, often at odds with Pope Francis.

Washington - Pope Francis, facing growing conservative opposition to his papacy from Catholics in the United States, on Thursday replaced the popular archbishop of Philadelphia, one of his most prominent critics and a prelate admired by church traditionalists.

Pope Francis announced in a statement that he had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, who had reached retirement age, and that he would elevate Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland, a Cuban-American born in Miami and relative newcomer to the national scene, to the role.

The move is a sign that the pope, who has installed key allies in Chicago and Newark, is still intent on changing the ideological direction of the American church by setting a new tone in one of its most traditionalist dioceses.

Though Archbishop Chaput will move to an emeritus role, he plans to maintain an active speaking presence around the country. That means he will almost certainly remain influential as a prominent conservative thought leader in the church.

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[Perez] also acknowledged the complexities of his new assignment, apologizing directly to victims of clergy sexual abuse, and he addressed Hispanic Catholics, at times in Spanish, raising concerns about anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.

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Archbishop Chaput was also a firm administrator, tapped to reform a region in financial and spiritual disarray after extensive allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in the area. A county grand jury in 2005 reported that leaders of the Philadelphia archdiocese, including two cardinals, had covered up extensive sexual abuse of minors.

A second grand jury in 2011 accused the archdiocese of not stopping the abuse, and Pope Benedict appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead the archdiocese about five months later.

Archbishop Chaput removed priests accused of abuse, closed 49 schools and sold the archbishop’s mansion for $10 million as part of a plan to reduce the operating budget deficit.

9 Catholic priests, 1 church employee within Fall River Diocese accused of sexually abusing children decades ago, attorney says

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

January 23, 2020

By Jackson Cote

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/01/9-catholic-priests-1-church-employee-within-fall-river-diocese-accused-of-sexually-abusing-children-decades-ago-attorney-says.html

Nine Catholic priests and one church employee within the Diocese of Fall River were accused of child sexual abuse, an attorney announced this week.

The 10 men allegedly sexually abused at least one minor during a span of nearly 40 years, from 1947 to 1986, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said in a statement.

The diocese announced Sunday that two other retired Catholic priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, were suspended from the ministry over allegations of child sexual abuse committed decades ago.

“I believe that the Catholic Church, although saying the right things, has not made meaningful changes to protect children and help victims try to heal,” said Garabedian, who is representing one of Byington’s alleged victims.

Roving activist calls on Fall River Diocese to release list of accused priests

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI

January 21, 2020

By Bill Tomison and Kim Kalunian

Fall River MA - Dr. Robert Hoatson drove up to Massachusetts from New Jersey with one goal: demand the Diocese of Fall River release a list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors.

Hoatson is the president of Road to Recovery, a group for sexual abuse survivors. On Tuesday, he stood outside the Diocese’s Chancery Office and held a sign reading, “Bp. da Cunha release abusive clergy list.”

“We think it is outrageous that victims in Fall River are continuing to live with the fact that secrecy continues and cover-up continues,” he said. “The longer that Bishop da Cunha does not release the list of abusive clergy in this Diocese, the less safe children are and the more revictimized victims are.”

Hoatson is a former priest and has been running Road to Recovery since 2003. He said he served with Bishop Edgar da Cunha in the Archdiocese of Newark.

Columbus bishop creates task force, hires attorney to tackle abuse allegations

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Columbus Dispatch

January 24, 2020

By Danae King

Bishop Robert Brennan, of the Diocese of Columbus, has started a task force to look into diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse of minors by priests. The diocese has also hired a local law firm to look into its records and see if more priests should be added to a list of 50 clergy members who have been accused thus far.

Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan says he wants to look at the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members with “new eyes.”

Since being installed as the 12th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus in March 2019, Brennan has started establishing what he calls a baseline of knowledge about the topic.

Brennan said he has hired a law firm to audit diocesan files to see whether more priests should be added to a list of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse that was released on March 1, 2019. He also has started a task force to examine diocesan policies related to sexual abuse and how the diocese reaches out to survivors to help them heal.

Strongsville priest facing child pornography charges in two counties pleads not guilty

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

January 22, 2020

By Cory Shaffer

A Strongsville Catholic priest pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Cuyahoga County court to a 21-count indictment that charged him with possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Robert McWilliams, who is also charged with possessing child pornography in Geauga County, made his first court appearance since a grand jury last week handed up the indictment.

Common Pleas Court Judge Shannon Gallagher continued McWilliams’ original bond of 10 percent of $50,000.

McWilliams is also under a $150,000 bond that a Chardon Municipal Court judge set at his first appearance in that courtroom on Jan. 8. McWilliams will have to post that bond in order to be released from custody.

January 23, 2020

Christian Brothers child sex abuse survivor John Lawrence said attacker made him feel 'worthless'

AUSTRALIA
ABC

January 22, 2020

By Eliza Borrello

An elderly man who was sexually abused by the Christian Brothers as a child has described the pain and fear he experienced being repeatedly raped as a nine-year-old boy at a group home for vulnerable children.

WARNING: This story contains material that some readers may find upsetting

Perth man John Thomas Lawrence, 75, has become the first child sex abuse survivor to testify about his ordeal in court since Western Australia removed time limits on such cases being heard.

Today, he detailed to the court the protracted abuse he suffered at the hands of Christian Brother Lawrence Murphy.

US BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE SUED FOR LYING AND STEALING

PROVIDENCE (RI)
ChurchMilitant

January 22, 2020

By William Mahoney, Ph.D.

Peter's Pence donors invited to join lawsuit

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is being sued for obtaining millions of dollars in charitable donations under false pretenses and privately investing that money into ventures such as luxury condominium developments and Hollywood movies.

Texas-based legal firm the Stanley Law Group filed a class-action lawsuit against the USCCB on Wednesday, alleging the organization fraudulently promotes Peter's Pence as a papal charity when recent reports show as little as 10% of donations are used for its stated purpose.

Catholic sues US bishops for ‘misleading’ faithful to donate millions to ‘fraudulent’ Vatican charity

RHODE ISLAND
LifeSiteNews

January 22, 2020

By Lianne Laurence

The suit alleges that US bishops 'actively' misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to Peter's Pence would be used to help the poor.

A Dallas law firm filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for “unlawful, deceptive and fraudulent practices” in promoting and collecting funds for the papal charity Peter’s Pence.

The suit alleges the American bishops “actively” misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to the collection would be used to help “victims of war, oppression, natural disaster, or disease,” when in fact much of the money was funneled into private investments, such as Hollywood’s sexually explicit Elton John biopic, “luxury condominium developments” and “hefty, multi-million dollar commissions” to fund managers.

Stanley Law Group filed the lawsuit January 22 in the United States District Court in Rhode Island on behalf of David O’Connell, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in East Providence, who is seeking a jury trial, it stated in a press release.

“USCCB must come clean and give back the money it took from well-intentioned people who thought they were giving urgently-needed funds to help the destitute around the world,” said lead attorney Mark Stanley.

Cleveland bishop named Philadelphia’s next archbishop

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 23, 2020

The bishop of Cleveland will become the new leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Vatican announced Thursday, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.

Nelson Perez, who spent most of his early pastoral career in the Philadelphia area, was introduced Thursday in a news conference at the archdiocese's Philadelphia headquarters. He will succeed Archbishop Charles Chaput, a conservative culture warrior who is stepping down after turning 75 last year, the traditional retirement age for Catholic bishops.

Chaput welcomed Perez to his new post, which he will assume Feb. 18. He called his successor “a man who already knows and loves the church in Philadelphia."

Perez shared his enthusiasm for the city, saying "it's awesome to be back in Philadelphia with people who are faith-filled, who love the Lord, love the church.” Perez also praised Chaput's tenure in the diocese, saying he faced challenges in Philadelphia with “great courage and steadfastness.”

The case for suppressing the Legion of Christ

MEXICO
Catholic Herald

January 22, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

A new scandal shows that only the 'nuclear option' will help to restore the Church's credibility

The Legion of Christ is back in the news, with AP reporting on a gruesome story in Mexico, not only of abuse and cover-up, but also of failure to reform in the wake of revelations regarding the outfit’s founder: a charismatic sociopath called Fr Marcial Maciel. He started the Legion, which served him as a front for his perverse criminal double-life. He also founded a lay arm, Regnum Christi, which served as his cash cow.

“The papal envoy who ran the Legion starting in 2010,” AP reports, “learned about the case [in Mexico] nearly a decade ago and refused to punish or even investigate the priest or the superiors who covered up his crimes, many of whom are still in power and ministry today.”

AP noted that the story “has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself” and “has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile”.

News 8 Now Investigates-‘Breaking the Silence’

LA CROSSE (WI)
WKBT/NEWS8000

January 22, 2020

By Martha Koloski

As the La Crosse Diocese releases names of credibly accused clergy.... a survivor tells his story of faith and forgiveness

It’s been 18 years since the Catholic Church announced a zero-tolerance policy in hopes of ending sexual abuse by clergy.
But just this past weekend, the Diocese of La Crosse released its own list of credibly accused clergy.

And this past December Pope Francis made an important change to something called the “Pontifical Secret.” It is the church’s highest level of confidentiality.
He abolished its use in cases of clergy committing violence or sexual assaults against minors or anyone under their authority.

The new policy also includes cases related to a lack of reporting abuse and attempts to cover up accusations.

Resignations and Appointments

VATICAN CITY
Holy See Press Office

January 23, 2020

Resignation of archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and appointment of successor

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, United States of America, presented by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

The Pope has appointed as metropolitan archbishop of Philadelphia, United States of America, Bishop Nelson Jesus Perez of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Archbishop-elect Nelson Jesus Perez was born on 16 June 1961 in Miami in the archdiocese of the same name, in Florida. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Montclair State University in New Jersey (1983) he taught at the elementary school, at the Colegio la Piedad in Puerto Rico. He carried out his ecclesiastical studies at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, where he obtained a master’s degree in theology (1985 to 1989).

He was ordained a priest on 20 May 1989 for the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Since priestly ordination, he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the Saint Ambrose parish in Philadelphia (1989 to 1993); vice director of the archdiocesan office for Hispanic faithful (1990 to 1993); director and founder of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993 to 2002); parish priest of the Saint William parish in Philadelphia (2002 to 2009); and parish priest of the Saint Agnes parish in West Chester (2009 to 2012). In addition, he has been member of the presbyteral council of the archdiocese of Philadelphia (2003 to 2005), and professor of psychology and religious studies at the La Salle University in Philadelphia (1994 to 2008).

Querido Nelson, Welcome Home – Bearing Shades of Krol and Bevy, Cleveland Returns to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Whispers in the Loggia

January 22, 2020

By Rocco Palmo

Now 212 years into our life as a local church, God's People here in Philadelphia came to accrue an odd distinction in American Catholicism... well, one among others: given the insularity of this place, we've become the last major Stateside diocese that only ever had white bishops....

That is, until now – and the streak ends with a memorable splash onto the Chair of St John Neumann.

Per three Whispers ops, Pope Francis is set to name Nelson Perez – the 58 year-old son of Cuban exiles, until now the bishop of Cleveland, ordained a priest of Philadelphia in 1989 – as his adopted home's 10th Archbishop on Thursday, 23 January.

The move comes four months after the 75th birthday of Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap., who widely aired his wish to be retired quickly after 32 years as an active prelate, the last eight of them embroiled in attempting to rescue the 1.1 million-member Philly fold from a financial and managerial free-fall – an ongoing plate which now includes an unprecedented Federal investigation into clergy sex-abuse across the entire province (i.e. state) his successor will inherit.

Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland named Philadelphia’s next archbishop, replacing Charles Chaput

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 23, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck

Pope Francis announced Thursday that the bishop of Cleveland, Nelson Perez, will be the next head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.

Born in Miami, raised in New Jersey and ordained at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Perez, 58, served as a parish priest for more than two decades in West Chester and the Olney and Lawncrest sections of Philadelphia before being elevated to the hierarchy as an auxiliary bishop in Long Island, N.Y. in 2012.

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Chaput, who arrived from Denver in 2011, has been credited with stabilizing an archdiocese roiled at the time by financial shortfalls and fallout from a damning grand jury report that implicated the city’s church hierarchy in covering up decades of sexual abuse.

During his time here, his frank rhetoric and willingness to engage in secular political debates on issues including divorce, statute-of-limitations reform, and gun control have earned him a following among conservative U.S. Catholics, while occasionally putting him at odds with the likes of Mayor Jim Kenney, some clergy sex-abuse victims, and — seemingly, at times — Francis himself.

Accused of sex abuse, Buffalo priest fires back with defamation lawsuit

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A Buffalo priest who was accused in a Child Victims Act lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s is firing back with a lawsuit of his own that alleges his accuser lied about the abuse and slandered the priest.

The Rev. Roy T. Herberger, former longtime pastor of SS. Columba & Brigid Church, filed the defamation suit Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Erie County. The lawsuit is the first known defamation case in Western New York filed against a person over allegations made in a Child Victims Act suit.

Herberger said he wanted “to take a stand” to prevent people from making false claims.

“Know that you can be sued. It’s not just so simple that you can make an accusation,” Herberger said in an interview with The Buffalo News.

The Buffalo Diocese put Herberger on administrative leave in June 2018 after receiving a complaint that the priest had sexually abused an 8-year-old boy in the 1980s. Herberger vehemently denied the allegation in a letter to parishioners and friends. Following a diocese investigation that determined the allegation was unfounded, he was returned to active ministry in December 2018.

Fresno-area priest dies seven months after being named in church’s sexual misconduct probe

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

January 22, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A longtime San Joaquin Valley Catholic priest died over the weekend.

Supporters called the Rev. Eric Swearingen a great man, but sexual misconduct allegations dogged him for years and key questions remained unanswered at the time of his death.

Swearingen, 58, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. Church officials declined to comment on his medical condition.

“Our focus, and sole focus, is on comforting the family, friends and parishioners that are deeply mourning the passing of Fr. Eric Swearingen,” Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said in an emailed statement.

His more than three decades of service included postings in Fresno, Bakersfield, Atwater and Lemoore and, most recently, Visalia.

Swearingen’s death comes seven months after he was placed on leave amid renewed investigations into decades-old sexual abuse allegations. Dominguez declined to say whether Swearingen was still on administrative leave at the time of his death.

Lawyers amend sex abuse lawsuit against local school, diocese, and religious order

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
WJAC

January 21, 2020

By Crispin Havener

Lawyers filing a civil lawsuit alleging fraud and conspiracy against a local catholic school, the diocese, and a religious order over allegations of sexual abuse made by a former student have amended their lawsuit.

The plaintiff, listed in the complaint as "A.L.", said the abuse by an unnamed "priest and athletic trainer" employed by Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, and the Third Order Regular Friars, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the United States, started after the student suffered an injury during a freshman day camp. The athletic trainer, according to the complaint assaulted the student on and off campus over a two-year period.

Adam P. Murdock of Robert Peirce & Associates tells 6 News the changes to the lawsuit, filed in October 2019, better reflect the name of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the United States and their proper address in Hollidaysburg. Murdock said the initial complaint "inadvertently identified the incorrect Franciscan party" as the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Loretto but they were in no way involved in the case.

Priest at Summit Catholic Prep School on Leave Pending Probe

SUMMIT (NJ)
Patch

January 22, 2020

By Caren Lissner


'The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct,' said a spokeswoman.

A priest who once worked in law enforcement in New York City is now on leave from a Catholic school in Summit pending an investigation into "complaints issued in the past several days," according to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark.

Spokeswoman Maria Margiotta would not elaborate on the nature of the complaints against Rev. Salvator "Sal" DiStefano, who was serving as a chaplain at Oratory Catholic Preparatory School. But she said in a statement, "The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, religious, lay staff and volunteers of the Archdiocese."

She confirmed he has been placed on administrative leave. "The Archdiocese also stresses that Fr. DiStefano's leave should not be interpreted as punishment and he continues to have the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise," she said. "At the conclusion of a review and external investigation by civil authorities, a determination will be made regarding Fr. DiStefano's status."

Rev. Eric V. Swearingen 1961 - 2020

VISALIA (CA)
Legacy and Visalia Times Delta

January 22, 2020

Surrounded by his loving family and many friends, Rev. Eric V. Swearingen completed his early mission on January 18, 2020, having served as a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Fresno for more than 32 years.

Eric Van Swearingen was born August 8, 1961 in Visalia, California. He was the second son of Richard and Connie (Goodreau) Swearingen. His early years were spent on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, where his family farmed in the Riverdale/Five Points area. Those early lessons of farming, working side-by-side with people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds would serve him well in his later life of ministry. He was blessed with the opportunity for a Catholic education first at Mary Immaculate Queen school in Lemoore and then George McCann Memorial Catholic School in Visalia. After completing his high school years at Redwood High School in Visalia, the realization that he might be called to the Catholic priesthood led him to St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo. Having earned his Bachelor Degree in Philosophy, he was sent to complete his theological studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. On May 23, 1987 he was ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Fresno.

Fr. Swearingen served in various parish assignments throughout his more than 32 years of priestly ministry, including: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Bakersfield; Our Lady of Victory, St. Alphonsus, St. Helen and Holy Spirit Parishes, Fresno; St. Anthony Parish, Atwater; St. Jude Parish, Easton; St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Lemoore; and the united Catholic communities of Good Shepherd Parish, Visalia.

January 22, 2020

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold.

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

January 21, 2020

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Failing to empower women narrows the church’s vision and makes it less equipped to be a force for good in the world.

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.

Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

Two ultra-Orthodox young women jump to their deaths in Jerusalem

ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post

January 21, 2020

By Maayan Hoffman

Suicide note indicates at least one girl was leaving faith and feared disappointing her family.

One of the two young cousins who jumped to their deaths from the top of a Jerusalem building overnight Sunday may have been sexually abused by a relative, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

Hani Solish, 19, from Netanya, and Sarah Klapman, 24, from Jerusalem, jumped from the top of the Mercaz Sapir building in Givat Shaul. The young women, both members of the Chabad movement, were found by Magen David Adom paramedics.

They left behind a suicide note explaining why they wanted to die.

Channel 12 said that the relative who had abused one of the girls was arrested and convicted for abuse, and sentenced to service. He was released on parole a decade ago. It was also reported that the young woman had sought therapy but stopped going for treatment due to family pressure shortly after the incident.

Also, one of the two women had recently been struggling with commitment to her faith, according to news reports. The suicide note allegedly included that one of the girls feared disappointing her parents.

One-man protest outside Fall River Diocese demands list of credibly accused priests

FALL RIVER (MA)
Herald News

January 21, 2020

By Deborah Allard

Victim advocate and former priest Robert M. Hoatson of New Jersey held a one-man protest outside the Fall River Diocese on Highland Avenue Tuesday morning to ask that Bishop Edgar da Cunha release a complete list of priests accused of sexual abuse.

“It’s outrageous that he hasn’t released this already,” Hoatson said.

Hoatson’s protest came just two days after an additional two Catholic priests, Fr. James F. Buckley and Fr. Edward J. Byington, both retired, were suspended amid allegations of two separate accounts of sexual abuse of a minor. Both served in Fall River churches and in other local towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

But the Fall River Diocese said it is still conducting an internal review of sexual abuse allegations of its clergy. Da Cunha in January 2019 announced the hiring of former FBI Assistant Director William Gavin to review claims as an independent consultant. A list was expected to be released last spring.

Priest added to abuse list worked 8 Oklahoma churches

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
NonDoc

January 21, 2020

By Matt Patterson

A former Catholic priest who worked in seven communities across Oklahoma has been added to a list of clergy with at least one “substantiated allegation” of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced today.

Father Marvin Leven, 94, was accused in 1993 of sexual abuse on a 15-year-old boy by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid, the archdiocese said in a press release.

Man who killed convicted Griffin aide charged with sex abuse of child

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 20, 2020

By Aaron Besecker

A man who went to prison for killing a convicted child molester almost 20 years ago has been charged with sexually abusing a child, according to Buffalo police and court records.

Richard Tyes, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2001 homicide of Robert J. Tatu, an aide to former Mayor James D. Griffin, has been accused of first-degree sexual abuse of a child younger than 13, according to the records.

Tyes, 39, of Grider Street, also was charged by Buffalo police with child endangerment for a Jan. 4 incident. He was being held on a parole violation before being charged Thursday. He pleaded not guilty to the new felony and misdemeanor charges Friday before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane and was being held at the Erie County Correctional Facility.

Tatu, 42, a former Cub Scout volunteer and Griffin aide, was found shot to death on May 22, 2001, on a staircase leading to his Elmwood Avenue apartment. He had been shot in the eye and chest.

Why Does an Accused Sex-Predator Priest Say He’s a ‘Senior Vice President’ in Rudy Giuliani’s Consulting Firm?

NEW YORK (NY)
Rolling Stone

January 21, 2020

By Seth Hettena

Giuliani and Alan Placa have long-standing personal and business ties

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer who frequently boasts about his personal character and those of his associates, has had a long personal and business association with an accused pedophile priest.

Few people are closer to Giuliani than Monsignor Alan Placa, who is part of the former New York mayor’s innermost circle of friends and advisers. The two have been friends since childhood, and Placa played a key role in many of Giuliani’s major life events, most recently when he officiated at the 2017 wedding of Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who works at the Trump White House as a sports liaison. Placa also has had an ill-defined role at Giuliani’s consulting business, listing himself on his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles as a “senior vice president” at the firm.

Placa has long been dogged by allegations that he sexually abused children in the 1970s at a Catholic high school on Long Island. Those allegations — which Placa has long denied — were revived again in recent months when two former students sued him in previously unreported lawsuits filed in New York Supreme Court.

Outing the French Literary World’s Jeffrey Epstein

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Daily Beast

January 19, 2020

By Erin Zaleski

For decades, Gabriel Matzneff got a pass from French culture mavens as he extolled the pleasures of sex with underage boys and girls. No longer.

Long before Jeffrey Epstein was shuttling underage girls to the U.S. Virgin Islands on his private jet, Gabriel Matzneff was engaging in sexual activities with young adolescents in his Paris apartment, in hotel rooms, and on trips to Southeast Asia—and then writing about his exploits.

“Once you have held, kissed, caressed, possessed a 13-year-old boy, a girl of 15,” Matzneff once wrote, “everything else seems bland, heavy, insipid.”

People have less unprotected sex after the Pope visits a town and abortion rates fall by a fifth, study finds

UNITED KINGDOM
MAILONLINE

January 18, 2020

By Jemma Carr

- Towns and cities see drop in number unwanted pregnancies after a papal visit
- But birth rates don't increase meaning couples abstaining or using protection
- Scientists who conducted study were led by team from University of Sussex

The Pope reduces the number of abortions when he visits a town because his presence makes people have less unprotected sex, a study found.

Scientists, led by a team from the University of Sussex, found that couples have less unprotected sex when the Pope is in town to avoid having an abortion and breaking Catholic doctrine.

Even after the pope leaves the area, his influence remains as researchers found abortions plummeted by up to a fifth for as long as 14 months after a papal visit.

Freeholder E. Marie Hayes Offers Help to Other Victims of Sexual Abuse

NEW JERSEY
MediaWize

January 18, 2020

By Maddy Vitale

When Cape May County Freeholder E. Marie Hayes wrote a Letter to the Editor and sent it to local news outlets, she put her private life in the spotlight, much more than any time sparring in political debates, on the campaign trail or speaking in public.

She told of how she endured pain, grief and anguish, that she was sexually assaulted, long before the “Me Too” movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, and when she was even too young to go to school.

A family friend, now deceased, abused her when she was growing up, she said.

And although decades had gone by, nightmares continued to haunt her until Hayes, a retired law enforcement captain who helped so many people in her career, got the help she needed to live the best life she could, without hiding the past.

Rome summit to examine clerical sex abuse

ROME
The Tablet

January 21, 2020

By Christopher Lamb

Fr Hans Zollner, the Church’s leading child protection expert, wants more systematic theology done on abuse crisis

Rome is to host a summit examining how the clerical sexual abuse crisis is forcing the Church to go back to its core mission and re-think its model of the priesthood.

The gathering of around 90 theologians from across the world, hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, will look at the ecclesiological impact of abuse, in a way that is not simply legal, or procedural. The 11-14 March meeting is to look clericalism, ecclesial reform and rediscovering the mission of Jesus in Church structures.

At a theological level, the abuse of children by priests, and the failure by bishops to respond adequately, is doubly shocking because it betrays the Church’s mission. Historians talk about it being the greatest crisis since the Reformation and for organisers of the forthcoming summit, the response to abuse requires deep soul searching about what it means to be the Church.

But Fr Hans Zollner, the centre's director and the Church’s leading child protection expert, said that while the abuse crisis has been under discussion in the Church for 35 years there has been “very little attempt to do systematic theology” on it.

Catholic prof fired by bishop after posting Viganò’s criticisms of Pope Francis online

BUENOS AIRES
LifeSiteNews

January 16, 2020

The professor said he posted Vigano’s letter on Facebook 'in order to make manifest that things are not going well in the Church.'

A Catholic professor of philosophy has been dismissed by a bishop from his teaching post at an Argentine school of theology after the scholar posted criticisms of Pope Francis made by Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Bishop Gabriel Mestre of Mar del Plata, Argentina, dismissed Dr. Maximiliano Loria from the diocesan University School of Theology. According to Dr. Mario Caponnetto, a respected Catholic physician and blogger, the reason for the dismissal was because Loria posted on his Facebook page a letter by Archbishop Viganò, who once served as the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Washington D.C. Vigano has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis and has even called for the current pontiff to resign.

According to Dr. Caponnetto’s report at the AdelanteLaFe website, Loria said that he posted Archbishop Vigano’s letter on Facebook “in order to make manifest that things are not going well in the Church. I respect the Pope,” he said, but added that many of the Pope’s words and gestures are “incomprehensible.”

As an example, Loria cited the adoration of pagan idols that the Pope countenanced in the Vatican Gardens and inside the Basilica of St. Peter during the Amazonia Synod that was held in Rome in October.

Leader of Visalia's Catholics dies after long illness

VISALIA (CA)
Visalia Times-Delta

January 22, 2020

By James Ward

Rev. Eric Swearingen, a Tulare County native who rose through the church's hierarchy to lead Visalia's Catholics despite an allegation of sexual abuse, died on Jan. 18 at 58 after a long illness.

Swearingen, who was named head pastor over Visalia's four Catholic congregations, George McCann School and the Bethlehem Center in 2014, was put on administrative leave in June 2019 after Bishop Joseph Brennan received more information about a civil case dating back to 2006 in which Swearingen was sued by an ex-altar boy for alleged sexual abuse. The boy said the alleged abuse by Swearingen occurred in the late 1980s and early '90s.

No criminal charges were ever filed in that case but a civil jury ruled that Swearingen did abuse the victim. The lawsuit required that the jury find the abuse happened and that the diocese did not have any prior knowledge of the incident.

Because of the split decision, the judge ruled the case a mistrial. A second trial was scheduled, but the two sides agreed to binding arbitration well before the court date — a settlement that both sides agreed to keep private.

Brennan and the church did not reveal what additional information led to Swearingen's 2019 administrative leave decision.

Clergy abuse victim keeps her faith, finds healing in the Church

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 21, 2020

By Dave Hrbacek

Gina Barthel went to a priest while in New York to find healing from childhood sexual abuse. She got the opposite.

In 2004 at age 28, a priest from a religious order listened to her stories about being sexually abused from age 4 to 9, then took her down the same path.

As the abuse took place, she moved back to the Twin Cities. Thanks to another priest, who serves in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she not only got out of the abusive relationship, but reported it and played a role in the abusive priest being removed from ministry.

Even so, her struggles continued, and she felt unable to continue practicing her Catholic faith. Finally, six years after reporting the abuse, she found a path to healing with the help of Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who started meeting with her regularly in January 2014 and still does.

Barthel will share her story at an upcoming conference on restorative justice and reconciliation Jan. 23 at Holiday Inn & Suites in Lake Elmo. It will feature Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who will talk about the settlement of civil charges against the archdiocese in 2015 and how the archdiocese has made changes to improve the handling of clergy sexual abuse.

French Predator Priest: Church Should Have Stopped Me

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

January 21, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Self-accused cleric says multiple cardinals knew of his crimes

A self-accused pedophile in France's biggest clergy sex abuse trial is saying multiple Catholic superiors, including certain cardinals, were aware of his crimes but did not stop him.

Bernard Preynat, a priest of the diocese of Lyon, France is blowing the whistle on his Catholic leader, who enabled him to abuse minors for decades.

"Had the church sidelined me earlier, I would have stopped earlier," testified Preynat, at his trial taking place last week in Lyon.

The archbishop of Lyon, Cdl. Phillipe Barbarin, was in charge of Preynat since 2002, but kept silent. Barbarin was convicted by a French court in 2019 of covering for Preynat's crimes. Allegations of sex abuse against Preynat surfaced in 1991. The 68-year-old cardinal, however, kept Preynat in active ministry until 2015.

Preynat, who is 74, testified in court that his sexual obsession for young boys began when he was in his early teens and was well-known by his supervisor at that time, while he was in the minor seminary. He also says he told his bishop of his proclivities prior to his ordination.

CARA study finds bishops are satisfied with their life and ministry

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 22, 2020

By Susan Klemond

Minneapolis - Catholics may be surprised to learn that many U.S. bishops describe their lives as both all-consuming and satisfying, a priest-researcher said.

“These are guys who generally get up very, very early in the morning, pray about two hours every day and work about 10 hours a day,” said Father Stephen Fichter, a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, which conducted the survey. “(They) just really do some interesting things and there are a lot of difficulties that they’re dealing with all the time.”

*
Respondents were not asked about the clergy sexual abuse crisis, Fichter explained, because the survey was conducted before the issue arose again with the start in 2016 of a months-long Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into alleged clergy abuse and supposed cover-up by church officials in six Pennsylvania dioceses, Fichter explained.

Child sex abuse substantiated against ex-Oklahoma priest

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Associated Press via Crux

January 22, 2020

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said Tuesday that it has substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against another priest.

The archdiocese said in a news release that allegations of abuse of a minor were substantiated against Father Marvin Leven by the archdiocese following an investigation by the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft. It said the allegations date to 1993, when Leven, now 94 and retired, was assigned to Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid.

The allegation was made by a then-15-year-old boy, who said the abuse resumed later when he was an adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond, the archdiocese said.

The archdiocese said it also substantiated a separate allegation against Leven of inappropriate behavior with a minor at the Enid church.

Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

January 21, 2020

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of Father Marvin Leven to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor. Leven, 94, is retired from active ministry.

Archbishop Coakley added Father Leven to the list following an investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis. Davis was hired by the McAfee & Taft law firm at the request of the archdiocese to investigate older allegations of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Leven that started when the man was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

Retired priest with ties to Enid added to clergy abuse list

ENID (OK)
Enid News & Eagle

January 21, 2020

By James Neal

The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, retired priest Marvin Leven, 94, who served at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the 1990s, has been added to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

Archbishop Paul Coakley made the announcement following an investigation by retired Oklahoma City police detective Kim Davis. Davis was hired by the McAfee & Taft law firm at the request of the archdiocese to investigate older allegations of abuse of minors, according to an archdiocese press release.

Coakley commissioned McAfee & Taft in August 2018 to conduct a review and write a report on clergy sex abuse in the archdiocese after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed clergy abuse of more than 1,000 victims by more than 300 priests there, dating back to 1947.

3 victims come forward with allegations of child sex abuse against priest

YONKERS (NY)
News 12 Westchester

January 21, 2020

Three new victims are coming forward with allegations of child sex abuse against a Catholic priest who previously pleaded guilty to forming a sex club and molesting dozens of children.

Convicted child molester Father Edward Pipala is once again at the center of a child sex abuse scandal and alleged church cover-up.

"For decades, he was given license and permission by the Archdiocese and top officials to continue one of the most predatory paths we've seen,” says attorney Jeff Anderson.

Anderson is the attorney who is now representing five of Pipala's alleged victims and live-streamed a news conference Tuesday from Manhattan about three new lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese under New York's Child Victims Act.

Archdiocese adds to list of priests accused of sexual abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

January 22, 2020

By Carla Hinton and Randy Ellis

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has revoked the authority of the Rev. Marvin Leven to serve as a priest after substantiating allegations that he had sexually abused parishioners in Enid and Edmond, archdiocese leaders said Tuesday.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said an investigation has substantiated allegations that Leven, 94, sexually abused a minor in 1993 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid and the same person as a young adult after moving to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

Contacted by phone Tuesday, Leven said: "I'm not aware of what you're talking about."

The investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis also substantiated another allegation of "inappropriate behavior with a minor" at the Enid parish, Coakley said in a news release. He said Davis was hired by the law firm McAfee & Taft at the archdiocese's request to investigate older abuse allegations.

Leven retired as a parish priest with the Oklahoma City archdiocese in June 1999 but served as assistant chaplain at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City until 2013, Coakley said in his statement. In addition to the parishes in Enid and Edmond, Leven served at Holy Trinity in Okarche, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus, Holy Family Catholic Church in Lawton, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Tulsa, St. Eugene Catholic Church in Oklahoma City and Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa.

Ottawa diocese sues insurers to cover clergy sex abuse costs

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

January 22, 2020

By Andrew Duffy

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has launched lawsuits against three insurance companies in an effort to compel them to cover the costs of 12 clergy sexual abuse cases.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has launched lawsuits against three insurance companies in an effort to compel them to cover the costs of 12 clergy sexual abuse cases.

The civil suits, filed mostly in the past three years, involve allegations of sexual abuse that date back as far as 1971. Among the priests named in those suits are Revs. Jacques Faucher, Kenneth Keeler and Dale Crampton, the most notorious criminal in Ottawa’s clergy sex abuse scandal, who is credibly accused of abusing at least 15 children, many of them altar boys.

Two of the cases cited by the archdiocese in its insurance lawsuits were settled out of court so the alleged sexual abusers remain unknown.

The archdiocese has never released a list of priests credibly accused of sexual assault.

The Jesuits of Canada, a Catholic religious order, announced last month that it will release the names of all of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Dozens of Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have already released similar lists.

Anchorage: Credible Evidence of Sexual Misconduct

ANCHORAGE (AK)
Archdiocese of Anchorage

January 16, 2020

By Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario, C.M.
Apostolic Administrator of Anchorage

I am writing to you today to report on the progress of the Independent Commission's review of the personnel files of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

But first, to the victim-survivors of clerical sexual abuse, I want to say that there are no words that can restore the innocence that was cruelly and unjustly stolen from you. That your trust was betrayed by a priest or other minister of the Church whom you had a right to expect would protect you compounded the harm done to you. It is with humility, sorrow, and shame that I apologize to you, your family, friends, and community in the name of the Church for the
grievous harm you suffered.

*

There is credible evidence to support the belief that fourteen people who have served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage since 1966 engaged in sexual misconduct against minors and/or vulnerable adults. I am releasing those names today.

Why Bernard Preynat and sex abuse in the Church is a feminist issue

PARIS (FRANCE)
RFI

January 17, 2020

Interview of Christine Pedotti by Sarah Elzas

Bernard Preynat, a former Catholic Priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s is on trial. In court he claimed that he himself was a victim. For Catholic activist and journalist Christine Pedotti, this trial, and that of the Bishop who covered up the abuse, reveals a systemic problem in the French Catholic Church, which has its roots in the masculine domination of the clergy.

The trial of Preynat and that of Bishop Barbarin are part of the biggest crisis in the French Church in decades.

Christine Pedotti, the editor of the weekly Catholic newspaper Témoignage Chrétien, was part of a group calling for a commission to look into the wider problem of sex abuse in the Church. The Catholic Church set up an independent commission in February 2019, and has so far collected over 2000 stories.

Elzas: You are active as a feminist, and have questionned how the Church approaches the issue of women, and sexuality and homosexuality. How is this current crisis of sex abuse a feminist issue?

Pedotti: I see the issue of paedophilia as a symptom of an inward-focused, masculine clerical culture, in which sexuality is always seen as a sin.

What's terrible is that deep down, some clergy consider that sexual acts with children are less serious than sexual acts with women. This shows there is a very negative view of women.

The Catholic Church doesn't know how to talk about sexuality, because it's incapable of seeing women as desirable. That’s where this meets feminism.

Man says suspended priest abused him after a religious retreat

ATTLEBORO (MA)
Sun Chronicle

January 21, 2020

By Jim Hand

An alleged victim of sexual abuse by a priest says the assault took place in a church rectory after he attended a religious retreat for teens in 1971, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the victim alleges he was assaulted by the Rev. Edward J. Byington after attending a retreat called Encountering Christ in Others.

Byington allegedly offered the then-teenager a ride home but took him to a rectory in Taunton and assaulted him, Garabedian said in a statement.

Byington had previously served at St. John the Evangelist Church in Attleboro and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Seekonk.

He and another priest, the Rev. James Buckley, were suspended by the Diocese of Fall River Sunday.

Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
KFOR

January 21, 2020

By Kaylee Douglas

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of a now-retired Oklahoma City priest who served in churches across the state to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Marvin Leven, 94, that started when the victim was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

Father Leven was returned to the parish with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”

Victims’ lawyer releases credibly accused clergy list for Fall River Diocese

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
South Coast Today

January 21, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

Fall River - The Diocese of Fall River is being pressured to release a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

On Tuesday, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, released his own list of nine priests and one Catholic Church employee within the Diocese of Fall River that he says have been “accused of sexually abusing one minor in which this office has successfully brought child abuse claims against.”

In a statement he sent with the list, Garabedian said “As a matter of moral responsibility, it is time for Bishop da Cunha to immediately publicly list the names of credibly accused priests and Catholic Church employees who sexually abused minor children when working within the Diocese of Fall River.”

Not releasing the list, Garabedian said, is a re-victimization of sexual abuse victims, whereas releasing it will help sexual abuse victims try to heal and empower other victims.

In January 2019, the diocese announced plans to release a list of credibly accused clergy following an external review of their documents conducted by former FBI Assistant Director William Galvin.

The review has since been taken over by Kinsale Management Consulting.

January 21, 2020

French ex-priest, accused of sex abuse, may get 10 years

ANKARA (TURKEY)
Anadolu Agency

January 21, 2020

By Cindi Cook

Lyon was setting for trial of Bernard Preynat in alleged abuse of at least 80 young boys in 1980s and 1990s

Paris - The four-day trial of a former priest who, accused of sexually abusing at least 80 Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s, was concluded on Friday in Lyon, France.

Bernard Preynat, 74, is charged with committing lecherous acts against the young boys between 1971 and 1991, when he served as scout chaplain in the Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon region of eastern France.

The prosecutor of the Republic, Dominique Sauves, requested a prison sentence "which is not less than eight years" against the ex-priest.

Preynat faces a possible decade in prison and a 150,000-euro (nearly $167,000) fine.

He is accused of abusing dozens of young boys during his time in charge, although only 10 of the abused testified against him in the trial last week. Those who came forward have also charged the church leadership with covering up the acts, therefore allowing Preynat to remain in contact with youths.

Vatican Orders Sex Abuse Investigation of Brooklyn Bishop

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC 4

January 21, 2020

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is accused of molesting a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey

The Vatican has ordered an investigation of a sexual abuse allegation against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who was previously named by Pope Francis to investigate the church's response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York received instructions on Jan. 7 to begin an investigation of allegations that DiMarzio molested a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey in the mid-1970s, according to a statement released over the weekend by Dolan's spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” Zwilling said.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian notified church officials in November that he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of his client, who alleges to have been repeatedly abused by DiMarzio and a second priest as an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City.

DiMarzio denied the allegation, telling The Associated Press “I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

2 former Cape Cod priests suspended during sexual abuse investigation

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 20, 2020

By Jessica Hill

Two retired priests who previously served in parishes on the Cape have been suspended from ministry after separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to a statement from the Diocese of Fall River.

The Revs. James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington have denied the allegations, which stem from incidents said to have occurred decades ago, the statement says.

Buckley was ordained in 1959. Among his assignments were St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans, St. Augustine Parish in Vineyard Haven, St. Margaret Parish in Buzzards Bay and Holy Redeemer Parish in Chatham, the statement says. He retired in 2001.

Byington, ordained in 1970, was assigned to 10 parishes, including St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis, before he retired in 2006.

Although neither priest is currently assigned to a parish, both have assisted with the celebration of Mass in various churches since their retirement, the statement says. Byington also has taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island, and the Fall River Diocese has notified the Diocese of Providence about his suspension, according to the statement.

Lawyer details sex abuse claim against retired priest

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
SouthCoastToday

January 20, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

Fall River - Details are coming to light about allegations of sexual abuse against a retired priest recently suspended by the Diocese of Fall River.

On Monday, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, sent out a statement detailing a claim against the Rev. Edward J. Byington.

Byington was one of two priests named by the Fall River diocese Sunday as having been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor going back several decades.

Garabedian said he represents a sexual abuse victim “who claims he was sexually abused by Father Byington when he was approximately 16 to 17 years old.”

According to Garabedian, that abuse occurred in 1971 when Byington offered his client a ride home from the ECHO (Encountering Christ in Others) retreat, but instead drove him to the rectory of Sacred Heart Church in Taunton even though Byington was not assigned to that church at the time.

Diocese of Fall River suspends retired Catholic priests James Buckley, Edward Byington over claims of child sex abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

January 20, 2020

By Jackson Cote

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/01/diocese-of-fall-river-suspends-retired-catholic-priests-james-buckley-edward-byington-over-claims-of-child-sex-abuse.html

Two retired Catholic priests were suspended from the ministry over allegations they sexually abused children decades ago, the Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday.

The suspended priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, are not assigned to a parish but have assisted with masses at various churches since their retirements in the 2000s, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.

Byington has also taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The Diocese of Providence was notified of Byington’s suspension, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of all members of our diocesan community, especially anyone who has been harmed or impacted by abuse in any way,” Bishop Edgar da Cunha said in the diocese’s statement. “The Diocese of Fall River remains committed to resolving these matters in as fair and as transparent a process as possible and to ensuring the safety of all youth and vulnerable adults.”

The separate claims of abuse, denied by both priests, are unrelated and remain under investigation by the diocese. The allegations were also referred to law enforcement. Suspension is required by diocesan policies, the statement said.

A man accused Byington of sexually abusing him in the 1970s when he was roughly 16 years old. The alleged victim was not Catholic but was introduced to the priest at Encountering Christ in Others, a weekend retreat program for Christian teenagers on the Cape and Islands. The man was invited by two friends to attend the retreat with them, according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian.

January 20, 2020

10 years after Vatican takeover, Legion in new abuse crisis

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

January 20, 2020

By Maria Verza and Nicole Winfield

The administrator of the elite Catholic school in Cancun, Mexico, used to take the girls out of class and send them to the chapel, where the priest from the Legion of Christ religious order would sexually abuse them.

“As some were reading the Bible, he would rape the others in front of them, little girls aged 6 to 8 or 9,” said one of his victims, Ana Lucia Salazar, now a 36-year-old Mexican television host and mother of three.

“Afterward, nothing was the same, nothing went back to the way it was,” she said through tears at her home in Mexico City.

Salazar’s horrific story, which has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself, has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile.

But more importantly, it has called into question the Vatican reform itself: The papal envoy who ran the Legion starting in 2010 learned about the case nearly a decade ago and refused to punish or even investigate the priest or the superiors who covered up his crimes, many of whom are still in power and ministry today.

Church sexual abuse: French priest Preynat admits 'caressing' boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

January 14, 2020

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts has admitted "caressing" children in ways he knew were wrong, at the beginning of his trial in France.

"It could be four or five children a week," Bernard Preynat, 74, told the court in Lyon on Tuesday.

He is accused of assaulting at least 80 young boys in the 1980s and 1990s and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

Ten of his accusers are expected to give evidence in the four-day trial.

The men were all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

This is the first time that Mr Preynat has appeared in a French court to answer questions about these allegations.

What happened at the court?

Speaking on the first day of his trial, Mr Preynat said he did not initially see his actions as "committing sexual assault, but giving caresses... hugs".

He admitted to the court, however, that the interactions - which frequently occurred at a scout camp he organised at weekends - "did bring me sexual pleasure".

French trial exposes how church covered for predator priest

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press via WTOP

January 19, 2020

One of the first people to notice Bernard Preynat’s unhealthy obsession for young boys was the supervisor at the seminary where, still a teen, the future priest started training for his career in the church.

“At 14, 15 years old, I became interested in the youngest boys and the supervisor summoned me to tell me that I was abnormal and sick,” the self-confessed child abuser said at his trial in France this past week. “I explained this to the bishop.”

And yet, after a two-year church-imposed course of psychotherapy, Preynat was still ordained into the priesthood. This chance, the first of many, to keep him away from children was spurned by the church hierarchy, which instead consistently — and successfully — long kept his abuses under wraps.

Now, at Preynat’s trial in the city of Lyon, a fuller picture of the damage he wrought on dozens of boys and their families is emerging. Four days of hearings also gave a long-overdue airing to the enabling role played by French church officials. Aware of his abuses, Lyon cardinals told him to stop but didn’t report him to police, he said.

Clergy named in report held multiple assignments throughout La Crosse Diocese

LA CROSSE (WI)
WKBT

January 19, 2020

By Mal Meyer

A report on clergy sexual abuse released by the Diocese of La Crosse shows the clergy members moved around several times. They served in churches, hospitals and schools throughout its 19 county area, and some served outside the Diocese.

A total of 25 clergy members with ties to the diocese were named in the child sexual abuse report released this weekend. They spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse, which has parishes throughout much of Western and Central Wisconsin.

The report goes on to list where these priests and deacons served. A number of those accused worked at the same places at some point, such as St. Joseph the Workman, Holy Trinity, St. James the Less and Aquinas High School in La Crosse.

Others had pastoral assignments with the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis or at the Diocese of La Crosse as curia staff. Two of the clergy members were assigned to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tomah.

Sarah’s last hurrah? 2020 could see major Vatican shakeups

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 18, 2020

By Elise Harris

Rome - At the beginning of the week, the insider Catholic universe imploded when news broke that retired Pope Benedict XVI and Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah had co-authored a new book defending priestly celibacy just as Pope Francis is considering an exception to the rule proposed during the Amazon synod.

In the fierce and polemical debate that ensued, the role of a pope emeritus was questioned while Catholicism’s conservative and progressive camps exchanged arguments over Benedict XVI’s intentions with the book, titled From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church, which hit shelves Jan. 15 in France.

The saga culminated with Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary for Benedict XVI, saying the emeritus pope had asked that his name be withdrawn as a coauthor and removed from the book’s introduction and conclusion. Citing the Chicago Manual of Style, however, the English-language publisher, Ignatius Press, said it considers the publication “coauthored.”

Though unprecedented is perhaps the wrong word to describe the bizarre episode, it was certainly odd, as Sarah, an active sitting cardinal who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, took to social media to defend his credibility, issuing several statements and publishing correspondence between himself and Benedict - things that heads of Vatican departments don’t typically do.

However, this week’s episode could well have been Sarah’s “last hurrah,” as the Guinean cardinal is set to turn 75 in June, meaning he will be required to submit his resignation after having reached the formal age of retirement for bishops and cardinals.

Sarah is just one of many possible shakeups that could take place around the Vatican this year as Francis’s reform of the Roman Curia unfolds, with several major department heads already 75 or older, who have yet to step down.

Statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn about the ‘Vos estis lux mundi’ probe

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet of the Diocese of Brooklyn

January 19, 2020

By Adriana Rodriguez

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has categorically denied the allegation against him. He will vigorously defend himself against this false claim and is confident the truth will prevail. As the Church investigation is a Vos estis lux mundi probe, it does not require that Bishop DiMarzio step aside during the preliminary investigation. As such, his status has not changed.

Since the allegation was announced two months ago, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support for Bishop DiMarzio, from here in the Diocese of Brooklyn and from the people he has served throughout his 50-year ministry, including parishioners from his time as parochial vicar at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City.

Bishop DiMarzio is recognized as a leader in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Even before the mandates of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop DiMarzio created protocols when he was the bishop in the Diocese of Camden from 1999-2003 to ensure that children were protected and that victims received the care they need.

DiMarzio welcomes investigation, points to personal record fighting abuse

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 19, 2020

Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has issued a statement welcoming an investigation into an accusation of sexual abuse made against him last year.

In a statement released to CNA on Sunday Jan. 19, the Diocese of Brooklyn said that Bishop DiMarzio had done nothing wrong and had no intention of stepping aside during the Vatican-ordered enquiry into the allegation, which dates back to the 1970s and DiMarzio’s time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark.

“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has categorically denied the allegation against him,” the statement said. “He will vigorously defend himself against this false claim and is confident the truth will prevail.”

On Jan. 18, the Archdiocese of New York confirmed that Cardinal Timothy Dolan had been asked by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to conduct an investigation into the allegations of 56-year-old Mark Matzek.

Matzek alleges that DiMarzio and another priest, now deceased, repeatedly abused him when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Diocese of Newark in the 1970s.

Although lawyer Mitchell Garabedian sent a letter to the Archdiocese of Newark in November saying he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of Matzek seeking $20 million, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn diocese told CNA on Sunday that no suit had yet been filed.

Retired Priests Suspended from Ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 19, 2020

The Diocese of Fall River has announced that two retired priests have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, said to have occurred decades ago.

The suspended priests are Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington. The separate, unrelated claims of abuse were referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and remain under investigation by the Diocese. Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by Diocesan policies. The Diocese is committed to resolving both cases in a fair and expeditious manner.

Both priests are retired and are not assigned to a parish (see service records at the end of this release). However, both have assisted with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since their retirements. The Diocese was informed that Father Byington has also taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island and has, in turn, notified the Diocese of Providence about his suspension.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of all members of our diocesan community, especially anyone who has been harmed or impacted by abuse in any way,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. “The Diocese of Fall River remains committed to resolving these matters in as fair and as transparent a process as possible and to ensuring the safety of all youth and vulnerable adults.”

2 Priests Suspended Amid Decades Old Abuse Complaints

FALL RIVER (MA)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 19, 2020

Two retired Catholic priests in Massachusetts have been suspended amid separate allegations of sexual abuse.

Two retired Catholic priests in Massachusetts have been suspended amid separate allegations of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Fall River said Sunday that Fathers James Buckley and Edward Byington have been accused of abusing minors decades ago.

The diocese didn't specify the nature of the abuse other than to say they are separate, unrelated claims and have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Both priests deny the allegations, according to the diocese.

Buckley and Byington have not been assigned to a specific parish since their retirement, but have assisted in church services in various communities, the diocese said.

Buckley was ordained a priest in 1959 and retired in 2001 after serving in Fall River, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, according to the diocese.

Byington was ordained 1970 and retired in 2006 after serving in churches across southeastern Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island.

2 Fall River retired priests suspended over sex abuse allegations

CRANSTON (RI)
WJAR 10 NBC

January 19, 2020

Fall River, Mass. - The Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday it has suspended two retired priests after sexual abuse allegations were made against them.

The separate, unrelated accusations against Father Edward J. Byington and Father James F. Buckley are said to have happened decades ago and are under investigation by law enforcement.

Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by Diocesan policies, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.

Both priests are retired and are not assigned to a parish, the statement said. However, both have assisted with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since their retirements.

Fall River Diocese suspends 2 retired priests over sex abuse allegations

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI 12

January 19, 2020

By Jacqui Gomersall and Brittany Schaefer

Fall River, Mass. - Two retired Catholic priests in Southeastern Massachusetts have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

The diocese identified the priests as Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington.

The allegations date back decades and both priests have denied them.

The unrelated allegations have been referred to law enforcement and remain under investigation by the diocese.

January 19, 2020

Law professor, 61, tells of horrific sex abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

Jan. 19, 2020

By Chantalle Edmunds

A professor whose vicar sexually assaulted her while saying 'this is what God wanted' 40 years ago has today condemned him as a 'predator' who had taken advantage of her faith.

Brave Julie Macfarlane has waived her right to anonymity to speak out against disgraced Church of England priest Meirion Griffiths, who was this week convicted of molesting her when she was a teenager.

The university law professor, now 61, was subjected to a year-long campaign of 'disgusting' and 'repulsive' repeated sexual abuse.

Griffiths, 81, now faces jail after he was convicted on Monday of indecently assaulting Prof Macfarlane and another woman from his congregation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Griffiths was a rector from the Diocese of Chichester, West Sussex, at the time and Portsmouth Crown Court, Hants, heard he grew 'obsessed' with his victims before 'systematically' abusing them.

Prof Macfarlane, who has since moved to Canada and lectures at Ontario's University of Windsor, said she turned to Griffiths when she was 17 and had doubts with her faith.

She said: 'He was a very big authority figure for me. I was a very earnest Christian girl.

Cardinal Dolan conducting 'Vos estis' investigation into Brooklyn's Bishop DiMarzio

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 18, 2020

New York City - Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, following an allegation of sexual abuse.

The investigation is being conducted under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, the Church law issued by Pope Francis last year on dealing with accusations against bishops.

In a statement released Jan. 18, Joseph Zwilling, director of communications in the Archdiocese of New York, confirmed the investigation.

“As directed by Vos estis, Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark. On January 7, 2020, the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation.”

On Nov. 13, 2019, DiMarzio publicly announced that he was the subject of an allegation of sexually abusing a minor, dating back to his time as a priest in the 1970s in Jersey City.

Two popes, plotting cardinals and the fallout of an explosive book

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 19, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida

Benedict and his inner circle are accused of intervening to halt Pope Francis relaxing celibacy rules as the battle between conservative and liberal factions takes a new twist

The pilgrims filing into the papal audience hall last Wednesday were mostly oblivious to the saga enveloping the Vatican over an explosive new book that pits the retired Pope Benedict XVI against the reigning Pope Francis. But they were clear on who their favourite is.

Director Fernando Meirelles and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis during the filming of ‘The Two Popes’.
FacebookTwitterPinterest Director Fernando Meirelles, and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis, during the filming of ‘The Two Popes’. Photograph: Peter Mountain/AP
“I would not have come all this way for Benedict,” said Marisol Durán Vergora, a first-time visitor to the Vatican from Spain. “He is an extremist, whereas Francis is more human and closer to the people.” Another pilgrim, who wished to remain anonymous, speculated after being briefed on the goings-on: “Benedict decided to abdicate and should keep his promise of staying silent.”

*
Benedict has come forward on a variety of issues over the past seven years, most controversially writing last year that the sexual revolution of the 1960s and “homosexual cliques” among priests were to blame for the church’s paedophile-priest scandals. The opinion came two months after an unprecedented Vatican summit on tackling clerical sexual abuse, and sharply contrasted with that of Francis, who blamed the scandals on a clerical culture that elevates priests above the laity. Benedict also wrote a letter complimenting Cardinal Joachim Meisner – a fierce critic of Francis who spoke out against the pontiff allowing remarried divorcees to receive holy communion – who died in 2017.

Viganò comes out of hiding to protest German bishops’ ‘synodal path’ of destruction

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSite News

January 18, 2020

By Maike Hickson

In first public appearance since McCarrick report in 2018, Archbishop Viganò participates at Munich prayer event

In his first public appearance since going into hiding over a year ago, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò joined other prominent Catholics in Munich today in prayer and protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President Cardinal Marx. The Vatican whistleblower joined Catholic laity to oppose the German prelates’ plan to embark on a “synodal path” that critics say would create a “new church” that departs from Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, contraception, homosexuality, and fornication.

Viganò had gone into hiding after he published on August 25, 2018 his McCarrick report accusing Pope Francis of ignoring Pope Benedict XVI's earlier restrictions on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on account of McCarrick’s preying upon and abuse of seminarians. Viganò said that Francis should resign.

Pope Francis abolished the pontifical secret with regard to sex abuse cases in December 2019. He issued a decree according to which the pontifical secret binding Church officials to confidentiality in specific matters, “does not apply to accusations, trials and decisions” concerning sexual abuse of adults, minors and vulnerable persons, and the production, possession and distribution of pornography (cf. Vos estis lux mundi, art. 1). This will enable a person who files an accusation of sexual abuse, for example, as well as “the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.”

It is perhaps in light of this new decree that Archbishop Viganò feels less restrained in appearing in public. In any event, he continuously raised his voice with regard to important moral and doctrinal aspects of the current Church crisis, such as the clerical sex abuse crisis, some problematic developments during and since the Second Vatican Council, the important role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the recent 6-27 October 2019 Amazon Synod in Rome.

Pastoral letter regarding clergy disclosures

LA CROSSE (WI)
Diocese of La Crosse

January 18, 2020

By Bishop William Patrick Callahan

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ:

The Protect and Heal initiative of the Diocese of La Crosse, our response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis, now includes a most essential ingredient: the disclosure of the names of clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse.

This disclosure of names is an important step: the Church must again confess to this evil and pledge our prayers and support to all victims and their families. To all victims and their loved ones, everywhere: I and so many others continue to offer prayers and assistance. I realize that our promise of continued prayer and support may not seem to be enough; for your pain, suffering and anguish will always be a part of you. I am sorry, however, for all you’ve suffered.

The disclosure of names is a necessary step. Victims inform us that it assists in their healing process and it provides them with no small sense of justice. Victims and their loved ones must no longer suffer in silence and isolation.

This is also a painful step. It’s painful to all victims, certainly, for their nightmare resurfaces yet again with this public release; and it is painful, too, for all good and faithful laity and clergy who continue to feel anger and humiliation for the abuse of both power and conscience committed by these men.

Even with that, the disclosure of names is the right thing to do, for all of us!

The list of names of clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse, found on the Protect and Heal page on our website, will remain public and up-to-date: names will be added if and when future allegations are sufficiently confirmed. As promised and as needed, prudent transparency has replaced unacceptable secrecy.

Clergy with Substantiated Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

LA CROSSE (WI)
Diocese of La Crosse

January 18, 2020

The following clergy on this list have had a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse. None are in public ministry.

An allegation is deemed to be substantiated if it has been sufficiently confirmed so as to believe that abuse occurred. This determination follows a process of consultation and is not a legal judgment.

The fact that a specific parish is on the list does not mean that an act of abuse occurred at said parish. It’s only significance is that a priest on our list once served at that parish.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. Questions about this list should be in writing and directed to the Office of Safe Environment, Diocese of La Crosse, P.O. Box 4004, La Crosse, WI 54602-4004.

The names on this list are divided into three categories:

(1) Diocesan clergy
(2) Non-Diocesan clergy with a substantiated allegation in the Diocese of La Crosse
(3) Non-Diocesan clergy who spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse and whose name appears on a list in another diocese or religious order

La Crosse Diocese names 25 former priests who abused children

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

January 18, 2020

By Laura Schulte

[Photo caption] David Clohessy, of St. Louis, who is the Missouri director and former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, holds a list of Catholic priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abused and have spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Wausau, Wis.

La Crosse - At least 25 priests who served in the Diocese of La Crosse over the past several decades sexually assaulted children, the diocese disclosed Saturday.

The disclosure, posted at 4 p.m. on the diocese website at diolc.org, brings the total number of Catholic priests with substantiated accusations of sexual abuse in Wisconsin to nearly 160.

The La Crosse diocese serves nearly 200,000 Catholics in counties across central and western Wisconsin, including those in Marathon, Portage and Wood counties.

The list was published after an audit of the diocese clergy files dating back to 1868 by the Texas-based firm Defenbaugh & Associates Inc..

The list included 18 clergy members who were part of the La Crosse diocese:

Bruce Ball, Raymond Bornbach, Eugene Comiskey, Thomas Dempsey, James Ennis, James Finucan, John Thomas Finucan, Tom Garthwaite, Richard Herrmann, William Hertzenberg, Thomas Langer, James E. Mason, Garland Muller, Charles Rasmussen, Albert Sonnberger, James Stauber, Patrick Umberger and Raymond J. Wagner.

The diocese also named two priests who were part of other Catholic orders but were accused of abuse while serving in the La Crosse diocese: Timothy Svea and Bogdan Werra.

The list also included five priests who spent time in the diocese and whose names appeared on other Catholic diocese and religious order lists of suspected abusers: Dennis Bouche, Daniel Budzynski, Orville Munie, Joseph Smetana and Francis Zimmerer.

In addition to the 25 names, the diocese released the service history for each priest including ordination date, pastoral assignments and their current status, including dates of death. Most of the priests are now dead, and the diocese said none of the surviving abusers is serving in the ministry.

Parish leaders across the diocese also were instructed to read a letter from La Crosse Bishop William Patrick Callahan during Masses this weekend. Callahan did not make himself available for reporter interviews Saturday.

January 18, 2020

Vatican orders Cardinal Dolan to probe Bishop DiMarzio sex abuse allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Post

January 18, 2020

By Sara Dorn

The Vatican has ordered Timothy Cardinal Dolan to probe allegations that Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sexually abused an altar boy at a New Jersey church in the 1970s, The Post has learned.

On Jan. 7, “the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation. As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” said New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Diocese of La Crosse to release list of priest abuse allegations

LA CROSSE (WI)
WXOW-TV (Channel 19)

January 17, 2020

On Saturday, the Diocese of La Crosse plans to publish a list of clergy with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.

The diocese said it would release the list on its website Saturday at 4 p.m.

In a statement Friday, the diocese said as the list is released, a pastoral letter from Bishop William Callahan will be read at all weekend Masses in the diocese.

According to the diocese, the list was created after an audit of clergy files dating back to 1868 when the diocese was founded.

Diocese of Madison determines sexual abuse allegations against former priest as credible

MADISON (WI)
Channel 3000

January 17, 2020

The Diocese of Madison announced Friday that sexual abuse allegations against a former priest who served parishes near the Wisconsin River were determined to be credible.

According to a news release, Rev. Patrick Doherty, 85, will be placed on the diocese’s list of priests or former priests who have been credibly accused of acts of sexual abuse against minors. Doherty has been out of ministry since 1993.

Doherty previously worked in a number of smaller parishes along the Wisconsin River, including St. Barnabas, Mazomanie and St. John the Baptist.

Doherty’s accuser, who does not want to be named, said the abuse happened over 40 years ago. The release said Doherty has had struggles with alcoholism and reported disreputable behaviors with adult men that were known to the public.

Friendship with Prince Charles made paedophile bishop Peter Ball 'impregnable'

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

January 14, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

BBC2 documentary shows how establishment figures rallied round cleric

The disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball made himself apparently “impregnable” by cultivating friendships with Prince Charles and other senior establishment figures who later rushed to support him when he was accused of sexual abuse, according to a BBC documentary.

Ball, the former bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester who died last year, boasted of his role as “counsellor to royalty”, Cliff James, one of his victims, says in the programme. He cultivated friendships with Margaret Thatcher, peers of the realm, senior judges and headmasters of leading public schools.

The former bishop was investigated by police in the early 1990s, which resulted in a police caution. In 2015, he was convicted of sexual offences against 17 teenagers and young men and jailed for 32 months. He was released in February 2017 after serving half his sentence.

Survivors, bishops say legal campaign against Peruvian journo is ‘harassment’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 13, 2020

By Elise Harris

As Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz faces ongoing legal threats over her reporting on a controversial Catholic lay group, both sexual abuse survivors and members of the hierarchy have come to her defense, arguing that the onslaught of legal action amounts to “harassment” in a bid to stop her investigations.

Last year, Ugaz received five criminal citations for aggravated defamation, more than any other journalist in Peru in 2019. On Dec. 30, Ugaz got two separate legal notices in the mail summoning her to hearings, one on Jan. 17, and one on March 22.

“When the whole world was preparing to celebrate the new year, I had to start working with my defense lawyer to see how to face this systematic harassment of me,” Ugaz told Crux, attributing this “persecution” to the group she has been reporting on.

Michigan AG Nessel Authorizes CSC Charges Against Upper Peninsula Clergymen

LANSING (MI)
Office of Michigan Attorney General

January 17, 2020
Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-335-7666

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two more priests by her department’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Multiple charges have been filed in three Upper Peninsula counties against Gary Allen Jacobs and Roy Joseph, both former priests associated with the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

Strongsville Catholic priest hit with 21-count child pornography indictment in Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com

January 17, 2020

By Cory Shaffer

Robert McWilliams, the Catholic priest at St. Joseph Church in Strongsville, is arraigned on a child pornography charge in Chardon Municipal Court.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury has handed up a 21-count indictment charging a Strongsville Catholic priest with possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 20 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a second-degree felony. He is also charged with possessing criminal tools.

McWilliams is currently jailed in Geauga County on a $150,000 bond. He is set to return to Cuyahoga County to answer to the new charges at a Wednesday arraignment.

JOAN SULLIVAN: Gemma Hickey’s memoir a courageous journey through interior and exterior landscapes

CANADA
The Chronicle Herald

January 18, 2020

“Almost Feral,” By Gemma Hickey; Breakwater Books; $24.95; 272 pages.

In July 2015, Gemma Hickey set out from Port aux Basques to walk across the island, via the Trans-Canada Highway. Their goal was to raise funds for and awareness of Pathways, which Hickey had founded to help survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Hickey publicized their efforts through a steady stream of events and interviews along the route, as well as continual interactions with passers- and drivers-by (the reason Hickey took the road and not the shorter but less-accessible railway bed).

“There was no confessional in the world big enough to hold what I heard. The stories were easier to carry while I was moving. But when I lay still in my bed at night, they haunted my dreams.” (Because so much of the material is very sensitive, Hickey doesn’t name many people in the book, not even their former spouse.)

“One woman, who was driving home from the mainland with her daughter for a visit, told me the nuns abused her at Belvedere Orphanage in St. John’s. Even though she had been living in Ontario for some time, I could still hear her Newfoundland accent …

Attorney General charges two priests from U.P. with child sexual abuse

LANSING (MI)
Daily Press

January 18, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two more priests by her department’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Multiple charges have been filed in three Upper Peninsula counties against Gary Allen Jacobs and Roy Joseph, both former priests associated with the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, of Albuquerque, N.M., is charged with multiple criminal sexual conduct counts, with incidents reportedly occurring between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1984, in Ontonagon County and between March 1, 1984, and April 30, 1984, in Dickinson County.

Jacobs faces a total of seven charges in two separate cases in Ontonagon County. He’s being charged with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 16 and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 16. In Dickinson County, Jacobs faces one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13 years old.

Religious Privilege: priest confessed to child abuse 1500 times

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)
QN

January 18, 2020

By Destiny Rogers

While religious extremists agitate for legislation extending their religious privilege at the expense of the rights of other Australians, a victim of child abuse is attempting to obtain compensation.

Father Michael McArdle wrote in a 2004 affidavit that he made confessions of child abuse 1,500 times over 25 years. Each time, he walked out of the confessional booth with his sins absolved.

Rockhampton Bishop Brian Heenan barred McArdle from contact with children in 1996 after hearing allegations from victims. Although McArdle never denied the allegations, Heenan failed to contact the police.

The China/Vatican Agreement: A Human Tragedy

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle (blog)

January 18, 2020

By Betty Clermont

Pope Francis “has effectively given Xi Jinping a stamp of approval when the latter’s hostility to religious freedom couldn’t be clearer,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch.

“Watching a major world faith come to an agreement with an authoritarian government that’s notorious for repressing religious freedom and to effectively cede some authority to that government sets a very worrying precedent,” Richardson explained. “The deal came as the religious-freedom environment in China reached its worst level in years, as the government has detained Muslim citizens in illegal detention camps, increased control over churches and temples, and sought to incorporate party ideology directly into religious doctrine.”

Knoxville Diocese is silencing sex abuse victims, breaking church rules on settlements, according to survivors group's complaint letter

TENNESSEE
Chattanooga Free Press

January 17, 2020

By Wyatt Massey

The Tennessee chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is requesting the Catholic Church's U.S. governing body investigate of the Diocese of Knoxville for allegedly silencing victims of sexual abuse through a practice outlawed by the church nearly 20 years ago.

The complaint letter, sent Thursday to the National Review Board, said the diocese pushed for a nondisclosure agreement in the December settlement of a sexual abuse case brought by Michael Boyd. In July, Boyd filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly sexually abused between 1991 and 1995 in Knoxville by Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, visiting priests and diocesan employee William Michael Lovelace.

Boyd's settlement contains a nondisparagement agreement, which bars him from speaking negatively about the diocese. The complaint letter says non-disclosure and nondisparagement agreements violate the Catholic Church's 2002 charter on addressing abuse, which states dioceses are "not to enter into settlements which bind the parties to confidentiality."

Major evangelical nonprofits are trying a new strategy with the IRS that allows them to hide their salaries

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

January 17, 2020

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Several major evangelical organizations have in recent years moved to a new strategy where they shift from a nonprofit status to a “church” status with the IRS, allowing them to keep private exactly how their money is being spent and the salaries of their most highly paid employees.

That strategic shift was highlighted recently by MinistryWatch, an independent, donor-based group that monitors evangelical institutions. The IRS status change allows these groups, including Focus on the Family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, to avoid filing a form that makes details of their institution’s finances public.

Leaders of the groups say they are changing their status to avoid administrative costs; some also believe that this status with the IRS could allow them extra religious-freedom protections in potential lawsuits over LGBT rights. The potential cost of applying to be a church is that the organizations cannot campaign on behalf of politicians or devote a substantial part of their work to lobbying on legislation. Critics say the option deprives the public of important information about how the tax-exempt organizations are operating.

“Transparency and accountability send an important message to the world, which is why this trend is so potentially destructive,” said Warren Cole Smith of MinistryWatch.

For decades, the U.S. tax code has allowed nonprofit organizations, including religious ones, to be exempt from most taxes. Donors can also deduct gifts to the nonprofit groups on their own taxes.

But tax-exempt organizations that are not houses of worship must also complete an annual Form 990. The form includes information about annual revenue, salaries of the highest-paid employees, names of board members and large contractors, and the amount of money the organization spends on administrative costs and fundraising. In lieu of a 990, some houses of worship (which are all generally described as “churches” by the IRS) choose to publicize their own audits, but doing so is not required.

MinistryWatch recently published a list of highly paid Christian ministry executives, but several pastors and nonprofit executives were excluded because many don’t file 990s. While these kinds of ministries range in purpose, they typically do not operate the same way most churches do, with at least one weekly worship service that is open to the public.

Catholic Group Calls on Ljubljana Archbishop to Resign Over Inaction on Multiple Rape Allegations Against Priests

SLOVENIA
Total Slovenia News

January 16, 2020

A Catholic civil society group dedicated to fighting sexual abuse in the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church has called for the resignation of Slovenia's most senior cleric, Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore, due to the church's persistent failure to tackle sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy.

The church keeps adopting and updating recommendations on how church workers should deal with allegations of sexual abuse, but "everything remains dead ink on paper", said Igor Vovk, a senior member of the Dovolj.je (It's Enough) group and director of the Catholic pro-life NGO Zavod Iskreni.

The group has so far received 38 reports by victims against 22 priests. And while some have been handled adequately, in particular in the Murska Sobota Diocese, others continue to be ignored, it said.

It highlighted the case of priest Jože Planinšek, the director of the pastoral and youth centre Saint Joseph Home in Celje, who had been reported by five victims for sexual assault dating between 1990 and 2010. "He is still doing his job as if nothing has happened," priest Janez Cerar said.

Mary Grace Gallagher: The Capital didn’t report on Key School sex abuse allegations 25 years ago. It was a different world.

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
The Capital Gazette

January 18, 2020

By Mary Grace Gallagher

We sat at Carolyn Surrick’s kitchen table for so long, talking and crying, that we had gotten hungry. She pulled out a bowl of edamame beans steamed the night before and showed me how to eat them right out of their shells.

I was, at the time, a young reporter for The Capital, following up on a phone call she had made the previous week. She had told me that, when she was a student at Key School in the early 1970s, she and many other students had been raped and sexually assaulted by a handful of their teachers.

I cried more than she did that long afternoon as she detailed stories of predators and lost childhood. She told of an art teacher who decorated the library with plaster casts of the breasts of pre-pubescent girls. She told me that grooming for abuse started when girls and boys were 13- to 14-years old.

Two former Upper Peninsula priests charged with with sex crimes

MICHIGAN
MLive. com

January 17, 2020

By John Tunison

Two former priests who served in the Upper Peninsula have been charged with sex crimes, the state Attorney General’s office announced Friday.

Both men had ties to the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

The charges come as state Attorney General Dana Nessel continues investigations into clergy abuse.

Advocate wants former Belmont Abbey priest named as child sexual abuser

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC-TV

January 17, 2020

By Nathan Morabito

[VIDEO]

Father Timothy Kelly, named in a sex abuse lawsuit out of New York last year, worked at Belmont Abbey from 1989 to 1991.

The names of more than 40 clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children before, during or after their time in the Diocese of Charlotte are now public, but just weeks after church leaders released that long-awaited list, we've learned there are still others who served in our area who were not named.

"The point is that other church entities have recognized various perpetrators, whether it's Franciscan or other [religious orders] and they have served there," advocate Patrick Wall said.

Wall, a former monk, worked under Father Timothy Kelly at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. Kelly later spent three years at Belmont Abbey in Gaston County from 1989-1991 as an administrator.

Kelly, who did not work with the Diocese of Charlotte, has faced sex abuse allegations from multiple victims in other parts of the country.

Priest abuse

CONNECTICUT
The Day

January 18, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

[PHOTO: Tim McGuire of New London protests Wednesday, July 10, 2019, outside of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Mystic to raise awareness of the fight to bring accountability to the Diocese of Norwich for alleged sexual abuses, including his own that he alleges occurred when he was 8.]

In August of 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report that found 301 priests had abused more than 1,000 children in the state’s Catholic dioceses. That news prompted six southeastern Connecticut men, now in their 50s, 60s and 70s, to tell The Day how they too had been sexually assaulted by priests and a nun assigned to the Diocese of Norwich when they were children.

One, Deacon Mark King, accused Gregory Mullaney, the current pastor at St. Agnes Church in Niantic, of repeatedly propositioning him and trying to sexually assault him while on a trip to Rome in 2006.

The Day also revealed how more than two dozen young men had sued the diocese alleging they were sexually assaulted as teens while attending a school for troubled boys in Deep River that was headed by former Bishop of Norwich Daniel Reilly. One alleged victim, Tim McGuire of New London, began picketing local churches and others calling for a victim compensation fund.

The Day published their stories and reported that the attorney general and chief state’s attorney had no plans to investigate the issue. The newspaper also questioned the diocese why it was not releasing lists of accused priests as the Hartford diocese and others across the country had done.

Sexual misconduct charges filed against 2 Michigan priests

LANSING (MI)
Associated Press

Criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two priests who worked in the Upper Peninsula’s Catholic diocese of Marquette, Michigan prosecutors announced Friday

The charges against Gary Allen Jacobs of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Roy Joseph were announced Friday by Attorney General Dana Nessel office’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Jacobs, 74, faces seven counts of criminal sexual conduct involving the alleged abuse of a child between the ages of 13 and 16 in Ontonagon County. The alleged conduct occurred between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1984. The alleged misconduct in Dickinson County that took place between March 1, 1984, and April 30, 1984, involved a person under 13 years old.

January 17, 2020

Madison Diocese identifies ninth priest 'credibly accused' of sexual abuse

MADISON (WI)
Winconsin State Journal

January 17, 2020

By Emily Hamer

The Madison Diocese on Friday added a ninth priest to its growing list of clergy members who have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children.

The diocese determined that allegations against Rev. Patrick Doherty, 85, have the "semblance of truth," according to a statement released Friday. The alleged victim, who did not want to be named, said the abuse happened more than forty years ago, the diocese said.

The allegation came to light after an outside review of all clergy personnel files was started in June. The diocese hired Texas-based investigations firm Defenbaugh & Associates to conduct it.

The alleged victim came forward to submit a formal allegation against Doherty after the review was launched.

Utah’s Catholic diocese and House speaker oppose clergy confession bill

UTAH
Salt Lake City Tribune

January 17, 2020

By Kathy Stephenson
·
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and the Utah House speaker have come out against a bill that would force clergy to report allegations of child abuse obtained in a religious confessional.

Sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, HB90 specifically calls for removing the exemption that clerics now have in certain circumstances for reporting abuse.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children," Jean Hill, government liaison for the diocese overseeing Utah’s more than 300,000 Catholics, wrote in a recent statement, “but HB90 will not have this intended effect."

Man says diocese knew about accusations months before acting

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Associated Press

January 17, 2020

An East Tennessee man says the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville knew about abuse allegations against a music teacher nearly a year before it took action against him.

Michael Boyd said he told church officials he had been abused by William Lovelace in August 2018. But diocese spokesman Jim Wogan said the bishop only learned of the accusations when Boyd sued the diocese last July. The competing claims were first reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Statement of the Diocese of Buffalo Regarding the Return of Monsignor Peter Popadick and the Reverend Paul Nogaro to Ministry

BUFFALO (NY)
Diocese of Buffalo

January 17, 2020

The Independent Review Board of the Diocese of Buffalo announces that, based on the information available at this time and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, it is unable to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that were brought against Monsignor Peter Popadick and Reverend Paul Nogaro in August 2019. Consequently, both priests have been taken off administrative leave and returned to ministry. Msgr. Popadick returns to his position as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cheektowaga, and Rev. Nogaro returns to ministry as a retired priest of the Diocese. Both Msgr. Popadick and Fr. Nogaro have successfully served the diocese and parishes in many capacities and for numerous years in priestly ministry. The Diocese of Buffalo maintains a rigorous process for evaluating any and all allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of the clergy and Diocesan employees, relying on the impartial expertise of the members of the Independent Review Board, as well as a third-party reporting capability, the details of which can be found on the Diocesan website at: https://www.buffalodiocese.org/report.

Two Priests Return to Active Ministry

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN Radio, 930 AM

January 17, 2020

By Tom Puckett

Diocese says not enough evidence to substantiate allegations

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese says two priests accused of abuse are being returned to active duty.

The Independent Review Board of the Diocese of Buffalo says based on the information available and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, it is unable to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that were brought against Monsignor Peter Popadick and Reverend Paul Nogaro in August 2019. Consequently, both priests have been taken off administrative leave and returned to ministry.

Msgr. Popadick returns to his position as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cheektowaga, and Rev. Nogaro returns to ministry as a retired priest of the Diocese.

No breaking seal of confession for abusers, church insists

MYANMAR
Catholic News Service CatholicPhilly.com

January 17, 2020

The president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the latest of the country’s senior clerics to push back against legislation to lift the seal of confession for child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane made a submission to the Queensland state government opposing draft legislation that would see priests face up to three years in jail for failing to report confessions of child sexual abuse to the police; the penalty would be five years for “failure to protect.”

In his submission, Archbishop Coleridge said a confession is between the penitent and God, and the priest’s task is to enable that dialogue.

Review: The #MeToo Reckoning by Ruth Everhart

UNITED STATES
Patheos bog

January 17, 2020

By Kristy Burmeister

“Each new revelation triggers shock waves that ripple through faith communities and through the faith of each member. Who and what can we trust? On a societal level, the word church no longer means trustworthy, not even for true believers. Churches must confront this hard reality. The trust they betrayed can never be rebuilt. Instead—and only if they address the extent of the betrayal—faith leaders can begin to build trust anew. This is a long-term and costly proposition, so buckle up.” –Ruth Everhart, The #MeToo Reckoning

My plan was to write a formal review for Ruth Everhart’s new book, The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct, but that would require a level of distance from the material that I don’t have. What I can share are my reactions to reading the book over the past three days.

As a Presbyterian pastor, Everhart weaves scripture into real-life stories of abuse within her denomination. Stepping from scripture into horrific stories of sexual assault, then back into scripture again was uncomfortable in the best sort of way. We need to be reminded of the drastic difference between what is holy and what we find in so many of our churches.

It Is 2020 — Have All the Abusive Priests Been Exposed Yet?

UNITED STATES
Legal News Blog (law firm blog)

January 17, 2020

We predict that, if surveyed, 90% of US Catholics would agree with this statement: “These days, after decades of horrific scandal, bishops report suspected child sex crimes promptly to law enforcement.”

The trouble is, that’s not true. Look no further than this week’s news from Alaska.

As recently as 2016, a New York man was working there as a parish priest. He’s now in a Maryland treatment center for the sexually troubled. This week, he was ‘outed’ by his supervisors as a ‘credibly accused’ abuser, having reportedly viewed child porn on his computer.

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2020/01/16/archdiocese-accuses-14-southcentral-alaska-clergy-and-church-employees-of-sexual-abuse/

But the cleric, Fr. Robert Leising, says “no police were involved.”

What? How can that be? Haven’t bishops promised, time and time again, that they’ve ‘learned from the past’ and nowadays ‘immediately call police’ if they suspect child sex crimes?

Auxiliary Bishop Grosz asks to retire, Buffalo Diocese leader says

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, who will turn 75 in February, has written to Pope Francis asking for permission to retire, according to Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator of the Buffalo Diocese.

“He told me that he sent a letter to the Holy See,” Scharfenberger said when asked recently about Grosz’s status. “It’s customary for a bishop to … put in his request for retirement at or around his birthday. So that’s what he did.”

Grosz turns 75 on Feb. 16. Catholic canon law dictates that bishops relinquish their administrative duties at that time.

Advocates for clergy sex abuse survivors increasingly have questioned what role Grosz played in helping to keep cases of abuse under wraps in his nearly 30 years as a top diocese administrator. Grosz, who was installed as auxiliary bishop in 1990, often reached out to victims on behalf of the diocese, while at the same time leading inquiries with priests into clergy misconduct complaints.

New charges: Strongsville Catholic priest charged 21-count child pornography indictment

CLEVELAND (OH)
News 5 (CBS affiliate)

January 17, 2020

By Kaylyn Hlavaty

A Cuyahoga County grand jury handed down a 21-count indictment against a Strongsville Catholic Priest who is accused of possessing child pornography.

Reverend Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 19 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a matter, one count of illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and one count of possessing criminal tools, according to court documents.

McWilliams was arrested on Dec. 5 at St. Joseph Catholic Church for allegedly possessing child porn.

Duterte resumes attacks on Philippine Catholic bishops

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
UCA News

January 17, 2020

President claims he is first Filipino politician to win a war against church officials

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for cursing critics in public speeches, renewed his attacks on the country's Catholic bishops this week.

Speaking to members of the Philippine Baptist Church, the president expressed wonder at the apparent silence of Catholic Church leaders despite his attacks.

"I cannot tell you why but they are now ordered to... There’s an… I cannot — it’s supposed to be in confidence. But you notice they are no longer complaining," said Duterte.

"Even if you say b******, they don't respond anymore. That is — that is how to win the war against the Catholic Church. All you have to say, m***** f*****. You're a winner."

Still Inadequate

Patheos blog

Jan. 17, 2020

By D. G. Hart

George Weigel has lots of counsel for Roman Catholics in the New Year, especially how to endure a church going through a serious crisis on many fronts. None of his advice involves other Christian communions as an alternative:

During and after the grim martial law period in the early 1980s, many freedom-minded Poles would greet each other on January 1 with a sardonic wish: “May the new year be better than you know it’s going to be!” As 2020 opens that salutation might well be adopted by Catholics concerned about the future of the Church, for more hard news is coming. So let’s get some of that out of the way, preemptively, before considering some resolutions that might help us all deal with the year ahead in faith, hope, and charity.

Financial scandals in the Vatican will intensify. It’s been clear for some months now that the dam of secrecy, masking irresponsibility (and worse), is cracking. So expect more disturbing revelations about corrupt self-dealing, misuse of charitable funds, stupid investments, and general incompetence behind the Leonine Wall.

Aggressive and politically motivated state attorneys general will continue to issue reports on historic sexual abuse cases. The response from cowed Church leaders will be tepid, at best. And what will get lost again—as it got lost after the now-paradigmatic Pennsylvania attorney general’s report—are two realities ignored by too many media outlets, too many institutions with responsibility for the safety of the young, and too many Catholics: that the Catholic Church today is arguably the safest environment for young people in the country; and that, from bitter experience, the Catholic Church has learned some things about creating safe environments from which the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, public schools, and public school teachers’ unions could all learn.

That is not a description that should encourage Protestants to convert to Rome. It looks bad.

So what should Roman Catholics do (and those tempted to convert)? The answer is not go to confession, and go to Mass:

Resolve to be a missionary disciple at the retail level. Amid these and other troubles, concerned Catholics constantly ask me, “What can I do?” To which I always respond, “Between now and next Easter, try and bring at least five disaffected Catholics back to Sunday Mass, and try to introduce at least one unevangelized person to Christ.” Retail evangelization is essential to authentic Catholic reform; it’s also deeply satisfying. Let’s get on with it, irrespective of the troubles.

Amid Benedict book controversy, Vatican officials see need for rules on ex-popes

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 17, 2020

By Philip Pullella

An imbroglio over former Pope Benedict’s involvement in a book has sparked calls by some Vatican officials for clear rules about the status of any future pontiffs who may resign rather than rule for life.

Senior official sources said they hope Pope Francis addresses the issue after the death of Benedict, who in 2013 became the first pope in 700 years to abdicate and who is now a frail 92-year-old.

The idea of such rules, which is being discussed informally, is important because, as people live longer than they did in the past, it may become the new normal for popes to step down, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Francis, 83, has said he too would resign if ill health prevented him from properly running the 1.3 billion-member Catholic Church, as Benedict did.

Francis finishes work on Amazon synod text, publication expected within weeks

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 16, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis has completed work on his highly anticipated response to last year's Vatican gathering of Catholic bishops from the Amazon that may allow for the ordination of married men as Catholic priests in the nine-nation region, NCR can reveal.

Catholic bishops around the world are receiving a letter from the Vatican this week, advising them that the document, which is also expected to lament devastating environmental destruction in the region and may detail new ministries for women in the church, is nearing publication.

"The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated," states the letter, which is signed by retired Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes and was obtained by NCR.

"Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February," writes Hummes, who served as the synod's lead organizer.

Editorial: Ask Legislators to Oppose HB90

SALT LAKE CITY (UTAH)
Intermountain Catholic

January 15, 2020

By Jean Hill, Director, Diocese of Salt Lake City Peace and Justice Commission

Anyone who has ever confessed to something they were utterly embarrassed and/or ashamed of doing knows just how difficult it can be to walk into the confessional to face a priest. Knowing the priest is serving as Christ in his role of confessor does not make the task any easier. What does help is remembering that incredible feeling after confession when you know God has forgiven you and the priest provides a penance that puts you back on the right path.

A proposed state law would interrupt that sacred moment in a manner that could permanently destroy the relationship between our priests and ourselves in the confessional, without furthering the stated goal of the legislation.

Critics: Utah bill on confession would criminalize priests, not counter sex abuse

UTAH
Catholic News Agency

January 16, 2020

By Kevin J. Jones

A Utah legislator’s proposal to remove protections for priests and other clergy who hear confessions of the sexual abuse of minors has drawn significant criticism from Catholics and other commentators.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but H.B. 90 will not have this intended effect,” said Jean Hill, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Peace and Justice Commission.

Removing the clergy exemption would be “making it a crime for the priest to maintain the Seal of Confession,” Hill said in a column for the Jan. 17, 2020 edition of the Intermountain Catholic, the diocesan newspaper. The proposal “could permanently destroy the relationship between our priests and ourselves in the confessional, without furthering the stated goal of the legislation.”

Nearly 60 years of abuse: Sexual misconduct uncovered in Alaska archdiocese review

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
KTVA-TV (Channel 11)

January 16, 2020

By Elizabeth Roman

More than a dozen people in Alaska have been accused of sexual misconduct while serving in the Catholic Church, an independent commission review found. The allegations span nearly 60 years, with the latest abuse happening in 2015.

The review began in 2018 when the commission was tasked with combing through sexual misconduct files in the possession of the Archdiocese of Anchorage since its creation in 1966. The commission included a former police chief and two former prosecutors.

According to the findings released Thursday by a church leader, the commission found credible evidence of sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults against 14 people who served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage at one point in their careers.

14 with church ties named in Alaska misconduct review

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
Associated Press

January 16, 2020

By Becky Bohrer

A review commissioned by the Archdiocese of Anchorage found credible evidence of sexual misconduct by 14 people who served in the archdiocese dating to 1966, a church leader announced Thursday.

The findings were made by a commission that the archdiocese said included a former police chief and two former prosecutors, one of whom is also a retired judge. The commission was charged with reviewing personnel files of “clerics and religious men and women” who served in the archdiocese dating to 1966, as well as reviewing allegations of sexual misconduct of lay volunteers and employees reported to the archdiocese.

Half of those identified as credibly accused are now dead, the report states.

The report, which had limited details, included allegations of sexual misconduct involving vulnerable adults or those younger than 18 and viewing child pornography. Allegations against four of the 14 individuals identified came while serving in another diocese, according to the report.

January 16, 2020

Documents contradict Knoxville diocese's timeline of knowing about sexual abuse allegations against priests and teacher

TENNESSEE
Chattanooga Free Press

January 16, 2020

By Wyatt Massey

After months of publicly discrediting and denying sexual abuse allegations against prominent priests and a diocesan employee, documents obtained by the Times Free Press suggest the Diocese of Knoxville may have known about those allegations for almost a year before suspending the accused employee.

In December, the diocese settled a July lawsuit by East Tennessee resident Michael Boyd alleging he was repeatedly sexually abused by Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, visiting priests and diocesan employee William Michael Lovelace. The abuse allegedly occurred between 1991 and 1995 when Boyd was a preteen student at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Knoxville.

Information gathered from a variety of documents — including a copy of the lawsuit, a police report, multiple diocese releases and Boyd's 18-page, handwritten statement given to police— create a timeline that contradicts the diocese's claims of not knowing about abuse allegations made against Lovelace until summer 2019.

The documents point to Lovelace being identified in the summer of 2018 and being allowed to have contact with children for another school year.

'Greatest measure of justice': $21M for survivors, other claimants in Archdiocese plan

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 17, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Guam's clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants may be able to receive some $21 million in restitution from the Archdiocese of Agana, if the church's reorganization plan to solve its bankruptcy gets court approval.

This is the first public disclosure of the amount the archdiocese and its insurers plan to pay claimants, including those allegedly molested and raped by bishops, priests and other clergy dating back to the 1950s.

The proposed $21 million is from the sale of church properties of about $7 million, payments from insurers totaling about $13 million, and about $1 million expected from Catholic parishes.

Former Danbury Priest Charged With Sex Assault Of A Minor

DANBURY (CT)
The Patch

January 15, 2020

By Rich Kirby

The former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor has a plea hearing scheduled later this month after being arrested on sexual assault charges.

The Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, turned himself into the Danbury Police Department on a warrant, and remains in custody on a $500,000 bond. He has been charged with three counts of illegal sexual contact, three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to child.

Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona Charged with Several Child Sex Abuse Offenses

DANBURY (CT)
Legal Herald (law firm blog)

January 16, 2020

A former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Danbury faces several criminal charges after being accused of sexually abusing a child who attended the church. 51-year-old Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona is charged with three counts of illegal sexual contact, three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, and three counts of risk of injury to child.

Marin-Cardona has a plea hearing scheduled later in January.

The Diocese of Bridgeport removed Marin-Cardona from the ministry in September after the diocese received a letter from parents who were worried about his “contact with a family member who is a minor,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in a statement.

These charges stem from allegations of abuse in 2014 and 2016, when Marin-Cardona was at Our Lady of Guadalupe. He most recently served at Saint Mary Parish in Bridgeport. He has also served at Saint Joseph Parish in Norwalk and Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Bridgeport.

They allege abuse decades ago in Boy Scouts. Now they’re suing, thanks to new California law

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

January 16, 2020

By Brianna Calix and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks

Fresno man comes forward about being molested by a Boy Scouts leader in the 1970s

David Green learned valuable skills during his few years in the Boy Scouts of America Sequoia Council – first aid, CPR and many survival techniques.

“Now I don’t even go camping anymore because of what happened on the campouts at the Boy Scouts camp they had, Camp Chawanakee, up there at Shaver Lake,” the 62-year-old Fresno man said.

Green alleges that he and his fellow Scouts were sexually abused by Alan Craig Dunlap, a former assistant Boy Scout leader, who was convicted of child molestation.

Archdiocese accuses 14 Southcentral Alaska clergy and church employees of sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
Anchorage Daily News

January 16, 2020

By Michelle Theriault

The Archdiocese of Anchorage for the first time has named 14 Catholic clergy members accused by church investigators of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults in Alaska.

The report released Thursday is the result of a 15-month investigation by a church commission into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, church employees and volunteers over a 54-year period.

The clergy members named by the archdiocese range from a deacon to an assistant to the archbishop to the chaplain of a homeless shelter. Some of those named had not previously been identified publicly as potential offenders.

An initial review of state and federal court records shows many, if not all, were never convicted of sex crimes in Alaska.

Queensland archbishop opposes planned law to compel priests to report child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

January 16, 2020

Mark Coleridge says move to legislate against the sanctity of the confessional will fail to make children safer

A move to compel Queensland priests to report child sexual abuse offences disclosed during confessions would fail to make children safer, Brisbane’s Catholic archbishop has said.

Mark Coleridge has opposed a state government plan to legislate against the sanctity of the confessional as an excuse, defence or privilege.

In his submission to the committee considering the bill, the archbishop claimed it would be unworkable and fails to understand the practicalities of a confessional.

“The mechanism within this legislation which deals with the confessional seal quite simply will not make a difference to the safety of our young people,” he wrote.

The Church’s Enduring Legacy of Abuse

BROOKLYN (NY)
SLATE

January 15, 2020

By LEÓN KRAUZE

Marcial Maciel’s crimes should have ended his organization.

In Fernando Meirelles’ film The Two Popes, former Pope Benedict XVI, played by Anthony Hopkins, confesses his sins to Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. It is a crucial scene, in which Benedict aims to convince Bergoglio, played by Jonathan Pryce, of the reasons for his resignation as head of the church.

As Bergoglio listens, Benedict mentions Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, an influential, ultraconservative organization present in more than 20 countries, where it operates more than a dozen colleges and almost 150 schools while maintaining close ties to the upper echelons of political power. Maciel, an infamous pedophile who victimized dozens of children in over six decades in the priesthood, enjoyed the active protection of the church for years, especially during John Paul II’s papacy, in which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—later Benedict XVI—was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s authority on policy and discipline. Although Meirelles precludes the audience from listening to Benedict’s full confession on Maciel, the inference is clear: Benedict’s inaction on Maciel and others like him burden him to the point of spiritual exhaustion.

Archdiocese to hold conference for clergy abuse survivors

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

January 15, 2020

By Joe Ruff

Victim/survivors and others impacted by clergy sexual abuse are invited to a Jan. 23 conference on restorative justice and healing organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The daylong conference in Lake Elmo, east of St. Paul, will include Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi providing an update on the impetus for the conference: The settlement of civil charges filed by the county in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

“Mr. Choi always felt restorative justice should be part of the archdiocese taking accountability for its actions and providing a means of healing for the community,” said Stephanie Wiersma, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who will participate in the conference and has been involved in the case since the beginning.

Bill requiring clergy to report child abuse confessions opposed by Utah Catholics, House speaker

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

January 14, 2020

By Katie McKellar

As religious opposition both in and out of Utah mounts against a proposed bill that would require all allegations of child abuse to be reported to authorities — including those stated in religious confessionals — a powerful legislative leader has opposed the bill.

House Speaker Brad Wilson won’t support the bill in its current form, according to a statement he sent to the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

“I have serious concerns about this bill and the effects it could have on religious leaders as well as their ability to counsel members of their congregation,” Wilson, R-Kaysville, said in the statement circulated by the Catholic League Tuesday. “I do not support this bill in its current form, and unless significant changes are made to ensure the protection of religious liberties, I will be voting against this bill.”

U.S. Virgin Islands Sues Jeffrey Epstein Estate Over Alleged Sex Trafficking

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
HuffPost

January 15, 2020

By Sara Boboltz

The U.S. Virgin Islands has filed a civil lawsuit against the estate of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein for running a sex trafficking operation at his properties there, Denise N. George, the attorney general of the Virgin Islands, announced Wednesday.

The suit alleges that Epstein and unnamed “associates” trafficked underage girls as young as 12 in the territory, where they “held them captive, and sexually abused them, causing them grave physical, mental and emotional injury.”

George said her office began looking into Epstein’s conduct last year after being “inundated with inquiries from local and national media” about his activities in the islands.

Epstein “maintained a deliberately complex web of Virgin Islands corporations, limited liability companies, foundations and other entities, not all of which are yet known to the Government of the Virgin Islands, through which he carried out and concealed his criminal conduct,” according to the suit.

French priest admits 'caressing' boy scouts for 20 years in sex abuse trial

LYON (FRANCE)
RFI

January 15, 2020

Accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s, a French Catholic priest has confessed in court to "caresses" he knew were forbidden, saying for 20 years "it happened every weekend".

Bernard Preynat told a court in Lyon on the first day of his trial that it could have been "four or five children a week".

"For me, at the time, I was not committing sexual assault but giving caresses, hugs," he said. "I was wrong."

Preynat's voice reportedly faltered as he admitted the interactions "brought me sexual pleasure".

But while he knew the actions were forbidden, he said he only finally understood that they were illegal thanks to "the accusations of the victims".

Texas diocese fighting lawsuit from deacon on list of accused abusers

LUBBOCK (TX)
United Press International

Jan. 17, 2019

By Pamela Manson

The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock, Texas, is fighting a defamation lawsuit from a former deacon who claims he was falsely labeled a child molester as the Roman Catholic Church grappled with a worldwide scandal over clergy sex abuse.

The diocese is taking the case to the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that allowing the claims to be heard in a civil court would unconstitutionally impede the church's authority to manage its own affairs. The Seventh Court of Appeals of Texas rejected that argument last month and upheld a judge's ruling denying a request to dismiss the suit.

Jesus Guerrero, 76, sued after he was included on a list titled "Names of All Clergy with a Credible Allegation of Sexual Abuse of a Minor" posted Jan. 31, 2019, on the diocese website.

In September 2018, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops decided to release the names of "credibly accused" clergy members. Dioceses across the United States released such lists as the Catholic Church faces thousands of new abuse allegations, and law enforcement agencies are opening investigations.

Mexico bishops urge no statute of limitations for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

Jan. 15, 2019

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico called on the country’s government Tuesday to modify the legal code and do away with statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of minors.

“We want to ask in the name of the bishops of Mexico for there to be no expiration for this crime,” said Rogelio Cabrera, president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.

He called it “unjust” that nothing can be done about such cases starting 10 years from the date of the offense, “since the wrong done lasts for the lifetime of the person who has been a victim.”

Cabrera said the church admits sex abuse complaints up to 20 years from the time a victim reaches adulthood.

The church has had a serious and longtime problem with clerical sex abuse in Mexico.

According to data presented Tuesday at a news conference, the Bishops’ Conference has investigated 426 priests in the last 10 years, 271 of them for sex abuse.

Alfonso Miranda, secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said 155 of those cases have gone before prosecutors, up about 50 from the number as of last March.

He noted that those are just preliminary figures and added that 217 priests have been defrocked, though without saying whether all were for sex abuse or other offenses.

In our opinion: Eliminating clergy-penitent privilege raises First Amendment red flags

UTAH
Deseret News

January 16, 2020

By the Deseret News Editorial Board

This week the Catholic League came out strongly against proposed legislation in Utah aiming to eliminate an exemption for clergy when it comes to reporting confidential confessions detailing abuse. Meanwhile, the Montana Supreme Court recently cited clergy-penitent exemptions in a decision overturning a jury verdict of $35 million against local Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting abuse discovered in the mid-2000s. The court ruled, unanimously, that under Montana law, “Clergy are not required to report known or suspected child abuse if the knowledge results from a congregation member’s confidential communication or confession and if the person making the statement does not consent to disclosure.”

Commentary: Is He the Real Deal?

UNITED STATES
Church Militant (blog)

January 15, 2020

By Rodney Pelletier

Catholics in the diocese of Buffalo are still reeling from Bp. Richard Malone's atrocious handling of clerical sex abuse cases. But the men charged with investigating the diocese and overseeing things after Malone stepped down are showing themselves to be cut from the same cloth.

In October, Brooklyn Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio concluded his fact-finding mission, conducted at the behest of the Vatican. As of now, no report has been issued and Buffalo's clerical sex abuse survivors are waiting for answers.

It's not known, however, if answers will ever come; The Vatican's announcement called the investigation "a non-judicial and non-administrative process that requires confidentiality."

Retired priest fails to block sex abuse extradition bid

SCOTLAND
BBC Scotland

January 15, 2020

By Reevel Alderson

A retired Scottish priest accused of offences against boys at Fort Augustus Abbey School has failed in his bid to block an extradition order.

The minister of justice in Canada, where Robert Mackenzie has been living since 1988, agreed to a request from the Crown Office last year.

But Fr MacKenzie, who denies the allegations against him, applied for a judicial review of the decision.

That has now been refused and he now has until 3 February to appeal.

The Crown Office has made no comment on the case, but earlier said it had received a report in connection with alleged historical offences.

Fr Mackenzie's legal team in Canada has said he has been charged with a total of 16 offences following allegations made by 16 individuals.

They are understood to involve allegations of physical and sexual abuse over a period from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Report claims ‘widespread’ child sex abuse cover up in Amish communities; dozens of victims silenced

UNITED STATES
CrimesOnline (blog)

January 15, 2020

By Jacquelyn Gray

A yearlong investigation has reportedly revealed at least 52 official cases of child sexual assault in the Amish community that spans seven states over the past 20 years.

Cosmopolitan magazine and Type Investigations allegedly found in a joint investigation that many of the victims were discouraged from reporting the assault by relatives and church leaders. The victims were reportedly instructed not to seek outside help and were threatened with excommunication if they did so.

Cosmopolitan called the scandal a “widespread, decentralized cover-up of child sexual abuse by Amish clergy” and suggested that there are more victims — who are likely being silenced due to the religious group’s secretive culture.

Book by Pope Emeritus on Celibacy Gets Shrug in France

PARIS (FRANCE)
Voice of America

January 15, 2020

By Lisa Bryant

The former pope Benedict XVI reportedly wants his name removed from a controversial book that appears to undermine his successor, Pope Francis, on issues of priestly celibacy. The book hit stores Wednesday in France, the first country to publish it. But despite the furor the book has stirred in the press, many French readers appear underwhelmed.

The book, "Des Profondeurs de Nos Coeurs," meaning "From the Depths of Our Hearts," defends priestly celibacy at a time when Pope Francis is considering whether to lift restrictions on married priests in remote areas. Cardinal Robert Sarah, who co-authored the book, rejects accusations he manipulated Benedict regarding the content.

Paedophile French priest says Church 'could have helped' him

LYON (FRANCE)
FRANCE 24

January 15, 2020

Former Catholic priest Bernard Preynat, on trial for sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 1980s, said on Wednesday that he warned the Catholic Church about his sexual impulses but they failed to take appropriate measures.

“When I was 14 years old, during my Junior Seminary, I already knew (that I was attracted to little boys). People told me ‘you are sick’, but they got rid of me. They sent me to another seminary," Preynat told the court on the second day of trial.

A former priest in Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon, in the suburbs of Lyon, Preynat could face up to 10 years in prison. But he claims that his sexual inclinations did not prevent him from being ordained in 1971.

“They should have helped me… They let me become a priest instead," he explained, after he had undergone therapy at the Vinatier Psychiatric Hospital, near Lyon, in 1967 and 1968.

French priest accused of sex abuse tells trial he had been abused

LYON (FRANCE)
CNA

January 16, 2020

A defrocked French Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts decades ago told his trial on Wednesday (Jan 15) that he himself had suffered similar assaults in his youth, in an unexpected twist to his defence.

After confessing in court on Tuesday to "caresses" he knew were forbidden, after victims testified to the horrors they suffered, Bernard Preynat, 74, faulted the church for failing to help him deal with his own urges.

During the second day of the trial in the French city of Lyon, Preynat surprised even his own lawyer in raising for the first time in court the abuses he said he suffered in his youth.

He referred to a letter written in the summer to Michel Dubost, the apostolic administrator in Lyon, where he said he had been repeatedly sexually abused by a priest, a sacristan from his parish and a seminarian.

January 15, 2020

Sexual abuse lawsuit against Mormon church may be dropped

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Associated Press

Jan. 16, 2019

A woman who accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering for a former missionary leader who she says raped her in the 1980s said Tuesday she may be ready to drop her lawsuit against the faith.

McKenna Denson said during a court hearing that she still doesn’t have an attorney. Her previous lawyer withdrew in May for unknown reasons, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I’m not sure I want to secure counsel at the time,” Denson told U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead over the telephone.

Deson asked Pead if she could refile the lawsuit if she found “illegal activity” occurred during the course of the litigation. Pead told Denson he could not give her legal advice, advising her those were questions for her attorney.

Pead gave Denson two weeks to make a decision. He said she needs to file a motion to dismiss the case, express interest in mediation or choose to go to trial.

It’s unknown why her previous lawyer, Craig Vernon, dropped the case. His court motion is sealed and he he has declined to discuss it publicly.

Denson of Pueblo, Colorado, accused Phoenix-area resident Joseph L. Bishop of sexually abusing and raping her in 1984 at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, where he was president.

Bill Would Give Sexual Assault Survivors One Year 'Look Back Window' To File Cases

MIAMI (FL)
WLRN Radio

Jan. 15, 2020

By Stephanie Colombini

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would give survivors of childhood sexual assault a "look back window" to address previously unreported claims. It would allow them to open cases with an expired statute of limitations for one year.

This follows a recent wave of states passing look back laws. Currently sixteen states and the District of Columbia have created similar opportunities for abuse victims to have their voices heard.

The issue is personal for bill sponsor Sen. Lauren Book (D-Broward), who was assaulted by her nanny as teen.

"It takes a long time for survivors to report these types of crimes,” she said. “75% of children don't tell within one year of the abuse, I know I waited six years…and many never do"

The nonprofit thinktank Child USA advocates for statute of limitations reform and tracks legislative progress in states across the country.

CEO Marci Hamilton said Florida has done a lot to help current and future survivors of sexual assault by eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual battery in 2010. But that law wasn’t retroactive.

“That iceberg of victims from the past who were shut down by the short statutes of limitations before still need help," she said.

Child USA estimates at least 1,000 new cases could come forward in Florida is this bill passes. In New York, which opened a year-long window last August, plaintiffs have already filed more than 1,300 civil cases.

Four men from various states use new law to sue Boy Scouts in NJ for alleged sex abuse

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

January 14, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

Four men from other states are using a new New Jersey rule to sue the Boy Scouts of America, alleging that Scout leaders sexually abused them as children — even though the alleged abuse took place in other parts of the country.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Superior Court in New Brunswick because the Boy Scouts of America had its national headquarters in Middlesex County decades ago, when the alleged abuse took place, according to court documents.

The men said they were abused as Scouts while growing up in Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas and Arkansas. Five Scout leaders are accused, including two who were criminally convicted of sex abuse in the 1980s. None of the plaintiffs were part of the criminal cases, their attorneys said.

If the New Jersey suit holds up in court, it could lead to a flood of similar lawsuits from around the country being filed in New Jersey, said Jason Amala, a Seattle attorney whose firm, PCVA Law, represents the plaintiffs.

Former Student Sues Catlin Gabel For Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse By Teacher

PORTLAND (OR)
OPB

January 13, 2020

By Elizabeth Miller

Kim Wilson was a sixth grader in 1994 and 1995. Richardson Shoemaker was her math teacher.
Wilson said Shoemaker repeatedly made her sit on his lap during class, where he ran his hand up the front of her shirt at least 80 times during the year, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County circuit court.

Standing in front of a photo of herself from sixth grade, Wilson was flanked by her brother on one side and one of her attorneys, Gilion Dumas, on the other.

“I am coming forward today because I was quieted and devalued by the school for so many years,” Wilson said Monday at a press conference.

Ending time limits for child sex abuse lawsuits gets support from Missouri lawmakers

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

January 15, 2020

By Tynan Stewart

For two decades, Bryan Bacon kept the memories of his abuse locked away.

In 1985, Bacon was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by an assistant principal at St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood. He repressed the traumatic memory for years, he said, but it resurfaced in 2005 when he was 35.

Bacon told his story to the House Children and Families Committee in a hearing Tuesday. He was there to support a proposal that would remove the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits in cases of childhood sexual abuse. Currently, the law gives survivors of abuse 10 years to file civil claims.

The proposal comes after Missouri removed the statute of limitations for criminal cases in 2018.

The Amish Keep to Themselves. And They’re Hiding a Horrifying Secret

UNITED STATES
Cosmopolitan

January 14, 2020

By Sarah McClure

The memories come to her in fragments. The bed creaking late at night after one of her brothers snuck into her room and pulled her to the edge of her mattress. Her underwear shoved to the side as his body hovered over hers, one of his feet still on the floor.

Her ripped dresses, the clothespins that bent apart on her apron as another brother grabbed her at dusk by the hogpen after they finished feeding the pigs. Sometimes she’d pry herself free and sprint toward the house, but “they were bigger and stronger,” she says. They usually got what they wanted.

As a child, Sadie* was carefully shielded from outside influences, never allowed to watch TV or listen to pop music or get her learner’s permit. Instead, she attended a one-room Amish schoolhouse and rode a horse and buggy to church—a life designed to be humble and disciplined and godly.

Why it’s problematic to have 2 popes weighing in on key issues for Catholic Church

ROME
PBS NewsHour

January 14, 2020

Rome is being roiled by a series of unusual developments in which a former pope appeared to be weighing in on a sensitive issue facing his successor, Pope Francis. The debate is over the law of clerical celibacy, which divides many Catholics. But now, the retired pope, Benedict, is distancing himself from the controversy. Father Thomas Reese of Religion News Service joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

Victim of disgraced paedophile Bishop Peter Ball claims he felt 'lucky' to be in his presence due to his friendship with Prince Charles in a new documentary

ENGLAND
MAILONLINE

January 13, 2020

By Monica Greep

- and argues the clergyman's affiliation with royalty made him 'impregnable'

- Cliff James lived with Peter Ball at age of 18 at Littlington in Lewes, East Sussex
- In 1977 Peter became Bishop in East Sussex and established residential project
- Cliff tells of abuse faced at hands of bishop in new BBC2 documentary tonight
- Says he was 'ripe' when he met the bishop, in desperate need of a father figure
- Bishop said he 'got on with Queen Mother' and often spoke of Charles friendship

A victim of the disgraced paedophile Peter Ball has claimed the bishop's friendship with Prince Charles made him 'impregnable'.

Cliff James first met the bishop at the age of 17 while interviewing to become part of Littlington, his residential project established in 1977 for young people in need of 'spiritual guidance'. He later permanently moved into the Lewes home.

At the age of 18, Cliff's relationship with Ball quickly took a disturbing turn as the religious figure began 'grooming' him and making him feel 'guilty' if he did not do what he asked.

In the new BBC2 documentary Exposed: The Church's Darkest Secret, Cliff told of the abuse he endured at the hands of Ball within the home, including taking part in 'humiliation' rituals while naked, being ceremoniously beaten and forced to take part in mutual masturbation.

Cosby Accusers Find Their Voice in New Podcast that Follows Path to His Conviction for Sex Assault

UNITED STATES
People

January 14, 2020

By Jeff Truesdell

Few outside of the courtroom heard all the evidence that sent Bill Cosby to prison in 2018, capping a shocking downfall that began in 2005 with a woman’s public allegation that he’d drugged and sexually assaulted her, the first of more than 80 similar claims to follow.

From the start, reporter Nicole Weisensee Egan was on the story. The former PEOPLE senior staff writer’s 2019 book Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad chronicled the stop-and-start prosecution that put the disgraced comic and TV icon behind bars for three to 10 years.

That reporting informs a new podcast, Chasing Cosby, from the Los Angeles Times and executive produced by Egan, that lets Cosby’s initial accuser, Andrea Constand, and 13 other women share their experiences. The six-part podcast debuts with two episodes Tuesday, with new episodes dropping each week thereafter.

Exposed: The Church's Darkest Secret

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC

January 2020

[VIDEO- series]

Crookston Diocese places Bemidji priest on administrative leave

CROOKSTON (MN)
Forum News Service

January 14, 2020

By Alex Derosier

A Bemidji priest has been placed on administrative leave for his conduct, including "boundary violations," the Catholic Diocese of Crookston announced in a statement.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner placed Father Bryan Kujawa on leave effective Tuesday, Jan. 14, after his fitness to be a priest was repeatedly called into question, the statement said.

Kujawa will remain on leave until the diocese has completed its investigation, conducted a professional assessment and gotten recommendations from its review board.

Diocese of Crookston Statement re: Fr. Bryan Kujawa’s Administrative Leave

CROOKSTON (MN)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston

January 10, 2020

By Janelle Gergen, Director of Communications

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner has placed Fr. Bryan Kujawa on administrative leave, effective Tuesday, January 14. Several issues concerning Fr. Kujawa’s fitness for ministry have been brought to Bishop Hoeppner’s attention over time, including non-criminal, non-sexual, boundary violations. Accordingly, Fr. Kujawa will remain on leave until these matters have been further investigated, a professional and comprehensive assessment is complete, and the Diocesan Review Board makes further recommendations.

As this is a personnel issue, no further comments will be offered.

Google legal chief leaving amid sexual misconduct troubles

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

The company said Drummond is not getting an exit package as part of his departure. His compensation package for 2018 was worth $47 million, making him one of the company's highest-paid employees, according to regulatory filings.

David Drummond, the legal chief of Google parent company Alphabet, is leaving at the end of the month, following accusations of inappropriate relationships with employees.

Alphabet did not give a reason for Drummond's departure in a short regulatory filing Friday.

The company said in November that its board was investigating sexual misconduct cases against executives. Claims against Drummond were included in the investigations.

Thousands of Google employees walked out of work in 2018 to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims. The board investigation followed lawsuits brought by shareholders after reports of sexual harassment at Google received national attention.

The Fugitive

ISRAEL
Tablet

January 14, 2020

By Sarah Krasnostein

Israel is harboring the woman accused of being Australia’s worst Orthodox Jewish sexual predator. Could today’s court ruling finally send her home to face her accusers?

“You have to be as normal as possible so you don’t have black marks against your name, so that you can get married, and your children can get married,” Dassi Erlich explained to me the first time we met, at a café in Melbourne. “As soon as you have mental illness, sexual abuse, someone going off the derech”—off the religious path—“in the family, you start having black marks against your name. And when you’re not from a very wealthy family, those marks mean a lot.”

Growing up as one of seven siblings in an ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, home in Ripponlea, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Erlich knew about black marks. She was born with a whole mess of them. “A, my mother is Sephardi,” she said. “B, my parents joined the community as adults, they didn’t grow up in it. C, my parents are not wealthy. So growing up, my mother drilled into us that we had to be perfect students, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t get married. … No matter what was going on, we knew we would face severe punishment if we didn’t get A’s in everything.” The severe punishment to which she is referring included being denied food and locked for extended periods in a dark cupboard under the stairs. “We were absolutely petrified to explain to anyone what was going on at home because we knew that would be used against us,” Erlich told the television news program Australian Story. An abusive home was another black mark.

Legion of Christ accused abuser removed from priesthood

MEXICO CITY
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Maria Verza

The Catholic Church has removed Mexican Fernando Martínez from the priesthood after considering him guilty of various sexual abuse crimes against minors, the Legion of Christ religious order said Monday.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided that Martínez could not continue his priestly duties, but allowed him to remain as a member of the Legion of Christ and the church, a decision that upset his victims.

One of them, Ana Lucía Salazar, who had reported being raped by the priest when she was 8 years old, commented with irony on Twitter.

“The Pope decided that the gentleman continue in the church ranks after raping children,” Salazar wrote Monday. “There's zero tolerance.” The punishment comes nearly three decades after the abuses were reported to Martínez's superiors in the 1990s.

Bishops find hope, and humor, during ‘ad limina’ meeting with pope

ROME
Catholic News Service

January 14, 2020

The ad limina visits bishops are required to make to the Vatican are occasions to be honest about challenges, while also being encouraged to hope, said Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo, North Dakota.

“It’s tempting at times to lose hope when all you hear is bad news and with some of the challenges we face in our dioceses at home; it’s extremely important to maintain a spirit of hope and the ad limina I think has been that for me,” Folda told Catholic News Service Jan. 13 after a two-hour meeting with Pope Francis.

Bishops from U.S. Region VIII - North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota - met the pope on the first day of their visit. The region’s 10 dioceses have one archbishop, one auxiliary bishop, six bishops, one bishop-designate and two diocesan administrators.

Benedict removes name from book on celibacy after dispute over his involvement

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 14, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Retired Pope Benedict XVI's name is being removed as a coauthor of a controversial new book defending the Catholic Church's practice of clerical celibacy after dueling accounts emerged of the ex-pontiff's involvement in the preparation of the volume.

The removal, confirmed in a tweet Jan. 14 by Cardinal Robert Sarah, the other author of the book, comes after an odd and dramatic public dispute between Sarah and Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict's private secretary.

In fact, announcement of the change in authorship came only 90 minutes after Sarah had tweeted a statement defending the choice to list Benedict as a coauthor, claiming the former pope had reviewed the entire manuscript of the volume, the cover design, and also consulted on the publication date.

Sarah, who leads the Vatican's liturgy office, even quoted a Nov. 25 conversation with Benedict, in which the cardinal said the ex-pontiff had told him: "I agree that the text be published in the form you have foreseen."

Within an hour, Gänswein had told Italian and German-language news agencies that Benedict only thought he was preparing an essay for the volume, and did not intend to be listed as a coauthor.

"He never approved any project for a coauthored book, and never saw nor authorized the cover," the archbishop told Italy's Ansa agency.

Former Spokane priest, admitted child sex abuser lives near schools in Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON (WA)
KREM-TV, Ch. 2

January 13, 2020

By Ian Smay

Patrick O'Donnell admitted to sexually abusing kids while a priest in Spokane. He now lives .6 miles from two schools in Mount Vernon.

Patrick O’Donnell is a name that draws a strong reaction in Spokane.

He’s a large part of the reason the Catholic Diocese of Spokane went bankrupt after it agreed to pay millions of dollars to 28 victims who O’Donnell admitted to sexually abusing in the 1970s.

O’Donnell now lives in a retirement community for people 55 and older, just over half-a-mile from two schools in Mount Vernon, Washington, a suburb an hour north of Seattle.

Hudson Valley priest accused of sexually abusing the son of a missionary

OSSINING (NY)
The Journal News

January 14, 2020

By Frank Esposito

The son of a missionary claims he was sexually abused by a priest from a local order, according to a Westchester County court filling.

The case,filed by an anonymous plaintiff, accused Ronald Boccieri, a Maryknoll priest, of sexually abusing him at a cabin in the Catskills.

Boccieri was accused ofinitially grooming the plaintiff while at the Ossining Maryknoll campus.

Church sexual abuse: French priest Preynat admits 'caressing' boys

LYON (FRANCE)
BBC News

January 14, 2020

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts has admitted "caressing" children in ways he knew were wrong, at the beginning of his trial in France.

"It could be four or five children a week," Bernard Preynat, 74, told the court in Lyon on Tuesday.

He is accused of assaulting at least 80 young boys in the 1980s and 1990s and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

Ten of his accusers are expected to give evidence in the four-day trial.

The men were all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

This is the first time that Mr Preynat has appeared in a French court to answer questions about these allegations.

Victims of paedophile priest face attacker in court for first time

LYON (FRANCE)
The Guardian

January 13, 2020

By Kim Willsher in Paris

Bernard Preynat, 74, is believed to have sexually abused scores of boys over a 30-year period

The victims of a paedophile priest at the heart of the biggest scandal to hit the Catholic church will face their attacker in a French court.

Bernard Preynat, 74, who has been defrocked, is believed to have sexually abused scores of boys over a 30-year period, many of them while they attended catechism classes or Boy Scout camps he ran.

Even after he admitted he was “sick” and had a problem with children, he was allowed to remain a priest in his diocese in Lyon.

French priest recounts how he abused boy scouts over decades

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A former priest detailed Tuesday how he systematically abused boys over two decades as a French scout chaplain, and said his superiors knew about his “abnormal” behavior as far back as the 1970s.

The shocking testimony of Bernard Preynat is likely to further shake up the French Catholic Church as it reckons with sexual abuses that were long covered up. His account in court Tuesday suggested as many as five cardinals were aware of his behavior over the years, but didn’t report it to police or prosecutors.

Preynat, now 74, is charged with sexually abusing multiple minors and faces up to 10 years in prison in what is France’s biggest clergy sex abuse trial to date. He’s suspected of abusing around 75 boys, but his testimony suggests the overall number could be even higher.

He said he abused up to two boys “almost every weekend” from 1970 to 1990 when he worked as their scout chaplain, and as many as four or five a week when he led one-week scout camps.

He said parents first alerted the diocese in the 1970s, but his hierachy never punished him.

“I often said to myself ‘I have to stop’ but I started again a few months later. I blame myself today,” he told a hushed courtroom.

“It seemed to me that the children were consenting,” he said. “I was wrong."

January 14, 2020

Baltimore Priest Joseph O’Meara Removed From Parish For Inappropriate Behavior

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ-TV (CBS affiliate)

January 14, 2020

[VIDEO]

A Baltimore priest at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish has been removed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore after he was accused of touching three women inappropriately.

Father Joseph O’Meara has been removed from active ministry and will no longer reside at St. Agnes/St. William of York, the Archdiocese said.

Retired Baltimore County priest removed from active ministry, residence over alleged inappropriate touching

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

January 14, 2020

By Hallie Miller and Lillian Reed

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has removed from active ministry a retired priest accused of inappropriately touching three women.

Father Joseph O’Meara, who lived at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish in Catonsville near West Baltimore, was “recently ... separately accused by three adult women of touching them inappropriately,” according to a letter signed by Father Isaac Makovo sent to parishioners in December. He no longer lives at the parish’s residences, according to the letter.

All three incidents were reported to church officials within the same day. Two of the women told church officials the incidents took place that same day and the third woman, who decided to come forward after learning of the other women, said she was inappropriately touched two days earlier, Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said in an email.

Mexico bishops urge no statute of limitations for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico called on the country’s government Tuesday to modify the legal code and do away with statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of minors.

“We want to ask in the name of the bishops of Mexico for there to be no expiration for this crime,” said Rogelio Cabrera, president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.

He called it “unjust” that nothing can be done about such cases starting 10 years from the date of the offense, “since the wrong done lasts for the lifetime of the person who has been a victim.”

Cabrera said the church admits sex abuse complaints up to 20 years from the time a victim reaches adulthood.


The church has had a serious and longtime problem with clerical sex abuse in Mexico.

According to data presented Tuesday at a news conference, the Bishops’ Conference has investigated 426 priests in the last 10 years, 271 of them for sex abuse.

Alfonso Miranda, secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said 155 of those cases have gone before prosecutors, up about 50 from the number as of last March.

He noted that those are just preliminary figures and added that 217 priests have been defrocked, though without saying whether all were for sex abuse or other offenses.

Analysis: After investigation, when will Pope Francis act on Hoeppner?

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

January 14, 2020

By J. D. Flynn

Alongside bishops from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, Bishop Michael Hoeppner met with Pope Francis Tuesday, for a two-hour meeting some bishops called “open,” and “hopeful.”

But Hoeppner is unique among his brother bishops: he is the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under the norms of Vos estis lux mundi, the 2018 policy from Pope Francis on investigating bishops accused of mishandling or obstructing allegations of clerical sexual abuse. In fact, alongside Hoeppner at the Jan. 13 papal meeting was Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archbishop who conducted the investigation.

Two popes -- one retired, one reigning -- cause a furor

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Ever since Benedict XVI announced he would become the first pope in 600 years to resign, Catholic theologians, canon lawyers and others warned of the potential confusion in having two popes living side by side in the Vatican, one reigning, the other retired but calling himself “emeritus pope” and still wearing the white cassock of the papacy.

Their worst fears came true this week.

In a saga befitting the Oscar-nominated movie “The Two Popes,” Benedict co-wrote a book reaffirming the “necessity” of a celibate priesthood. There was nothing novel with his position, but the book is coming out at the same time Pope Francis is weighing whether to ordain married men in the Amazon because of a priest shortage there.

Catholic Diocese of SLC opposes clergy abuse reporting bill, sponsor says pushback makes her determined to pass it

SALT LAKE CITY
Fox 13 TV

January 14, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is opposing a bill that requires clergy to report disclosures of abuse to law enforcement to investigate.

In an editorial being published Wednesday in the Diocesan newspaper Intermountain Catholic and shared with FOX 13, the faith outlines its objections with House Bill 90.

"The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but HB 90 will not have this intended effect," the Diocese wrote in the op-ed.

The Diocese said in the editorial the confession is central to the practice of the Catholic faith going back millennia, giving members the opportunity to reveal their conscience to God.

Cardinal denies he manipulated retired pope on celibacy book

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican cardinal who co-authored a bombshell book with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI reaffirming priestly celibacy on Tuesday strongly denied he manipulated the retired pope into publishing.

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, spoke out after news reports quoting “sources close to Benedict” claimed the retired pope never saw or approved the finished product.

Sarah reproduced letters from Benedict making clear the 92-year-old pope had written the text and approved of publishing it as a book. “These defamations are of exceptional gravity,” Sarah tweeted.

The controversy underscores the conservative-progressive battle lines that have deepened in the Catholic Church following Benedict’s 2013 decision to retire, and his successor Pope Francis’ more reform-minded papacy.

Benedikt XVI.: Ich bin nicht Co-Autor des Buches von Sarah

[Benedict XVI .: I am not co-author of Sarah's book]

VATICAN CITY
KathPress.at

January 14, 2020

Privatsekretär Gänswein: Emeritierter Papst war nicht über tatsächliche Form und Aufmachung von Buch über Priestertum und Zölibat informiert - Name und Bild Benedikts XVI. soll von Buchcover entfernt werden - Beitrag des emeritierten Papstes im Hauptteil des Buches allerdings "100 Prozent Benedikt"

[Private secretary Gänswein: Pope Emeritus was not informed of the actual form and layout of books on priesthood and celibacy - name and image of Benedict XVI. to be removed from book cover - contribution of the emeritus pope in the main part of the book, however, "100 percent Benedict"]

Pope ends a secrecy rule for Catholic sexual abuse cases, but for victims many barriers to justice remain

UNITED STATES
The Conversation

January 13, 2020

By Christine P. Bartholomew, Associate Professor of Law, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Pope Francis recently removed one of the barriers facing sex abuse victims looking for justice – the “Rule of Pontifical Secrecy.”

The rule is an obligation under the church’s laws to keep sensitive information regarding the Catholic Church’s governance strictly confidential. This rule allowed church officials to withhold information in sexual abuse cases, even where there was an alleged cover-up or a failure to report allegations. The clergy could claim secrecy even from victims or legal authorities.

Pope Francis stated on Dec. 17, 2019, in a press release “On the Topic of Confidentiality in Legal Proceedings,” that his intention in ending papal secrecy was to increase transparency in child abuse cases.

As a legal scholar, I have extensively analyzed the use of evidence rules that shield confidential communications with clergy. I argue that even with the removal of the papal secrecy rule, transparency might remain illusive for abuse victims.

The Catholic Church has other practices it can rely on to conceal information.

State continues to investigate child sex abuse

TAMPA BAY (FLORIDA)
Fox TV 13 News

January 14, 2020

[VIDEO]

The Florida Attorney General’s office is not releasing the number of tips it has received since 2018 when then-state attorney general Pam Bondi launched a statewide investigation into all reports of past abuse in the Catholic Dioceses, including a website where victims can submit tips about abuse - past and present.

Cleared in sex abuse case, healing priest wants bishops to lift ban

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
ABS-CBN News

January 14, 2020

By Christian V. Esguerra

A Filipino priest, known for his supposed ability to heal and even raise people from the dead, said bishops should now lift their ban, citing the Vatican’s findings that he was “not guilty” of sexually abusing minors.

Fr. Fernando Suarez, 53, said there was no more reason to prevent him from practicing his healing ministry in at least 4 dioceses that earlier shut their doors on him and members of his Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor (MMP).

He said many other bishops had not allowed him in their dioceses since the complaint was lodged more than 5 years ago.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), last December, ruled that Suarez had been “falsely accused” of sexual abuse, according to a decree of notification signed by Bishop Antonio Tobias, who heads the Philippine Catholic Church’s National Tribunal of Appeals.

Church sexual abuse: Trial of French priest Bernard Preynat

FRANCE
BBC News

January 14, 2020

The trial of a former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s is set to begin in France on Tuesday.

Bernard Preynat, 74, is alleged to have assaulted more than 80 individuals and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

His trial was scheduled to start on Monday, but was delayed because of a lawyers' strike over pension reforms.

Ten of his accusers, all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, are expected to give evidence.

Also linked to the case is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was found guilty last March of failing to report the allegations against Preynat.

January 13, 2020

Former Pontiff's Book Draws Criticism, Highlights Problem of 'Two Popes'

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 13, 2020

Roman Catholic scholars rebuked the former Pope Benedict on Monday for his comments in a new book regarding the delicate matter of priestly celibacy, saying his words were helping to destabilize the reigning Pope Francis.

It is not the first time that Benedict has spoken out on Church matters despite a public vow he made in 2013, when he became the first pontiff in 700 years to resign.

The situation also underscores the polarization between conservatives and progressives in the 1.3 billion-member Church.

"One pope is complicated enough. This is a mess," John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life, a U.S. group, said in a tweet.

Catholic Church Moves Funds Around to Shield $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

UNITED STATES
National Review

January 13, 2020

By Mairead McArdle

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has moved around more than $2 billion in assets in order to prevent the funds from going to alleged abuse victims who sued the Church.

As more victims of sexual abuse by priests sued various dioceses around the country, churches began transferring and reclassifying assets, and filing for bankruptcy, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek review of court filings by lawyers representing churches and victims over the last 15 years.

Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has allowed the dioceses to reach universal settle­ments and protected them from further victim claims. Dioceses have chosen the bankruptcy option more than 20 times since 2004.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the “decision on whether to seek Chapter 11 protection in a given case is the diocese’s alone.”

Jehovah's Witnesses not negligent in $35M child abuse case, court rules

CHICAGO (IL)
ABA Journal

January 13, 2020

By Amanda Robert

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses for failing to report that one of its members had been sexually abusing children for years.

In its 7-0 decision, the court held that even though Montana law requires clergy and other officials to report child sexual abuse to authorities, Jehovah’s Witnesses fell under an exemption in this case “because their church doctrine, canon, or practice required that clergy keep reports of child abuse confidential.” NPR and the Associated Press have coverage.

Holly McGowan, one of two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, told elders in the Thompson Falls Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1998 that her stepfather, Maximo Reyes, had inappropriately touched and fondled her, the court’s opinion states.

Israel to speed up extradition of woman in sex-abuse case

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Josef Federman

Israeli officials are seeking to expedite an extradition hearing for a woman facing dozens of sexual-abuse charges in Australia after a psychiatric panel concluded she had lied about suffering from mental illness, the Justice Ministry announced Monday.

The panel's decision last week that found Malka Leifer fit to stand trial marked a major breakthrough in a years-old case that has strained relations between Israel and Australia and antagonized members of Australia's Jewish community.

In its announcement, the Justice Ministry said the psychiatric panel had “unanimously and unequivocally” concluded that Leifer had faked mental illness in order to avoid extradition.

“The prosecution believes that the psychiatric panel's definitive conclusions have removed the obstacles that stood in the way of any significant progress in this case,” the ministry said. “The psychiatric panel's findings lead to the inevitable conclusion that over the past five years, the court and the mental health system have fallen victim to a fraud perpetrated by Leifer and her supporters.”

Leifer faces 74 counts of sexual assault related to accusations brought forward by three sisters who say they were abused while she was a teacher and principal at the ultra-Orthodox religious school they attended in Melbourne. In 2008, as the allegations surfaced, the Israeli-born Leifer left the school in Australia and returned to Israel.

Sex offender coached kids for 20 years after Boy Scouts discovered abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

January 13, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Alleged molester now lives in Depew

In the 1980s, the Boy Scouts discovered a dirty little secret about one of their Scoutmasters: he was an accused child molester.

Leaders of Depew Troop #565 appear to have secured Douglas W. Nail’s resignation within days.

But because the matter was handled “internally” and not reported to law enforcement, Nail spent the next 20 years coaching youth hockey, where he is alleged to have struck again -- this time molesting an 8-year-old.

Those allegations against the hockey coach are included in a lawsuit filed last week in State Supreme Court alleging Nail molested a child when he was coach of the Depew Saints Hockey Club from 1985 to 1992.

Rome finds ‘healing priest’ Fr. Suarez not guilty of sexual abuse of minors

PHILIPPINES
Manila Bulletin

January 13, 2020

By Leslie Ann Aquino

“Healing priest” Father Fernando Suarez was found not guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CPCP) National Tribunal Appeals, informed the priest of this development in a decree of notification dated Jan. 6, 2020.

“By order of the Most Rev. Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri, in his letter of December 13, 2019 — I was instructed to notify the Rev. Fr. Fernando M. Suarez of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Occidental Mindoro of the decree of ‘not guilty’ of the accusation lodged against him of sexual abuse of minors which this National Tribunal of Appeals submitted to Rome on May 8, 2019,” the notification reads.

Evolving door: New Year may bring new opportunities for women at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 12, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis opened 2020 with a strong call to acknowledge the dignity of women, end violence against them and stop the exploitation of women’s bodies.

His homily Jan. 1 was not generic: it referenced prostitution, rape, coerced abortions, pornography and even advertising.

And Francis called for the involvement of women in decision-making processes in civil society, specifically when it comes to promoting peace.

At the Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, he said the Church is “woman and mother,” but he did not use the homily to address the roles of women in formal church structures.

Sarasota bishop facing additional charge of sexual battery on child, police urge victims to come forward

SARASOTA (FL)
WWSB/ABC7 Staff

January 13, 2020

A 72-year-old bishop in Sarasota is now facing two charges of sexual battery on a child under 12 years of age after police say another victim has come forward.

On Friday, police charged Henry Lee Porter, Sr. with the additional count. The second victim tells police the abuse happened between April and November in 1990 when the victim was attending the school at Westcoast Center for Human Development.

Police began investigating Porter in October 2019 after learning of a video on social media alleging sexual abuse. Detectives reached out to the alleged victim, who told them that Porter sexually abused him beginning in 1989 when he was 11 after his parents went out-of-state for an extended period of time to stay at a hospital.

Catholic Priest Dies Before Being Sentenced for Child Sexual Abuse

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Lexology

January 13 2020

Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Disgraced former Catholic Priest James Joseph Cunneen, who was found guilty of indecent assault against six teenage boys in New South Wales in the late 1980s, has died before he could be sentenced.

60-year old Mr Cunneen was due to be sentenced in Downing Centre District Court on 14 February 2020. He was arrested, charged and prosecuted last year after information given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2014.

After an extensive investigation, police extradited Mr Cunneen back to Australia in 2017 where he was charged.

Utah bill requiring clergy to report child abuse confessions draws criticism

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

January 13, 2020

By McKenzie Stauffer

An organization dedicated to defending and protecting the Catholic Church is speaking out against a new bill that is set to be discussed in Utah's 2020 Legislative session.

President of the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, William Donohue Ph.D., wrote a letter to Rep. Angela Romero, the sponsor of H.B. 90, to express his concern.

The new bill would remove the clergy exemption from reporting child abuse. Meaning if the bill passes, religious leaders would be required, by law, to report confessions of child abuse in Utah.

Donohue claims the bill would violate "the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Roman Catholic Church."

"You are treading on dangerous territory," Donohue wrote.

Ex-Pope Benedict undercuts Francis on priests and celibacy

VATICAN CITY
CNN

January 13, 2020

By Amy Woodyatt, Vasco Cotovio and Hada Messia

Retired Pope Benedict has issued a passionate defense of priestly celibacy, saying he "cannot remain silent" as his successor Pope Francis considers easing the prohibition on married men serving as priests.

What has Benedict said?

Benedict made the comments in a book that he co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah, which will be released in France on Wednesday.

In the book, titled "From the Depths of Our Hearts," the 92-year-old pontiff argues in favor of the centuries-old tradition of celibacy within the church, defending the ability to "put oneself completely at the disposition of the Lord" as a criterion for those wishing to be ordained as priests.

"We can say: 'Silere non possum! I cannot remain silent!'" Benedict and Sarah wrote in a joint introduction to the book, according to excerpts released by French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Sunday.

Papal clash: Benedict accused of ‘interfering’ with a synodal process

UNITED STATES
Patheos

January 13, 2020

By Barry Duke

DOMINATING religious and secular media outlets today is the ‘shocking’ news that Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has co-authored a book in which he insists that priestly celibacy must be retained by the Catholic Church.

Former cardinal named in sex abuse scandal moves from Kansas friary

VICTORIA (KS)
KWCH/CNA

January 11, 2020

Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Theodore Edgar McCarrick, retired American prelate of the Catholic Church., Photo Date: January 24, 2008 / Cropped Photo: World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (MGN)
CNA reports a spokesperson for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad said McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas last week.

CNA reports McCarrick, a former cardinal, was the subject of two legal settlements in 2005 and 2007. These settlements concerned men who said McCarrick sexually abused them while they were seminarians for the New Jersey dioceses he headed before moving to the Washington archdiocese in 2001, the agency reports.

According to CNA, senior church officials, McCarrick moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry. Sources tell the agency that he made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

“McCarrick remains a guest at his new accommodation, but he is funding his own stay and is there by his own choice - no one can make him stay if he does not wish to,” a Church official told CNA.

Israel arrests alleged sex abuser Gershon Kranczer 10 years after he fled there

ISRAEL
Forward

January 10, 2020

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt

An American rabbi who fled to Israel ten years ago after being accused of sexually abusing female relatives was arrested by Israeli police on Sunday, according to Israel’s Justice Ministry.

Jewish Community Watch, a watchdog organization that tries to combat child sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community, identified that man as Rabbi Gershon Kranczer, a former principal of a Brooklyn yeshiva. An American law enforcement official who has direct knowledge of this case also independently confirmed Kranczer’s identity to the Forward.

“We have been shocked at the horrific, drawn-out process that the victims have been forced to endure, all the while facing denial and ambivalence from so many in their community,” Jewish Community Watch said in a statement on Tuesday. “The authorities in both the U.S. and Israel have much to answer for, in allowing this case to drag on for so long.” The group also thanked Israeli police and intelligence for their work on the case.

The arrest came after a five-year search by Israeli authorities trying to comply with an American extradition request, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry.

Obsession with sexual morality

FRANCE
La Croix International

January 11, 2020

By Isabelle de Gaulmyn

By sticking to a naturalist version of sex, the Church left many Catholics in the lurch

Unholy real estate strategy: Catholic churches shuffle properties to shield billions from sex abuse victims, report says

UNITED STATES
TRD NATIONAL

January 11, 2020

At least 20 dioceses use bankruptcy and legal entities to limit payouts to victims

Catholic church dioceses across the country are moving around their real estate portfolios and using Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect assets in sex abuse lawsuits.

Over the last decade and a half, the U.S. Catholic Church has shielded more than $2 billion worth of assets from people who were abused by clergy, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report. In some cases, that has significantly reduced the amount of money available to compensate those victims.

More than 20 dioceses have chosen to go the bankruptcy route since 2004 rather than face lawsuits.

#MeToo Cases’ New Legal Battleground: Defamation Lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

January 12, 2020

By Julia Jacobs

The Weinstein trial is rare because most sexual misconduct allegations are too old to litigate. But women, and men, are finding an alternative way to get to court.

Ashley Judd was one of the first women to attach her name to accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, but like many of the claims that followed, her account of intimidating sexual advances was too old to bring Mr. Weinstein to court over.

Then a legal window opened to her. After reading about a director’s claim that Mr. Weinstein’s studio, Miramax, had described Ms. Judd as a “nightmare to work with,” she sued the producer for defamation in 2018.

Mr. Weinstein’s rape trial in Manhattan, which began with jury selection last week, is a spectacle not only because he is the avatar of the #MeToo era, but also because it is one of the few sexual assault cases to surface with allegations recent enough to result in criminal charges.

Code of silence reigns amid scandals, misbehavior at all-boys Catholic schools

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press (TNS)

January 13, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

When word got out that a football player at De La Salle High School was sexually hazed in the locker room, about a dozen athletes clammed up, including the victim, who police said doesn’t want charges.

The same thing happened after a brawl broke out in December between students from Birmingham Brother Rice and Catholic Central: The case has gone nowhere because one victim doesn’t want charges, police said, and no one else is talking.

Students at U-D Jesuit in Detroit were equally quiet in 2014 after a former teacher was charged with videotaping hockey players changing in a locker room. Students vented privately but refused to speak publicly.

A contribution on priestly celibacy in filial obedience to the Pope

VATICAN
Vatican News

January 2020

By Andrea Tornielli

A book by the Pope emeritus and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship addresses a theme on which Pope Francis has expressed himself several times.

A book on the priesthood that bears the signatures of Pope emeritus Joseph Ratzinger and of Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will be released in France on 15 January. The pre-publication material provided by Le Figaro shows that with their contribution, the authors are entering into the debate on celibacy and the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops “in filial obedience to Pope Francis” who “are seeking the truth” in “a spirit of love for the unity of the Church” — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it. The question of celibacy occupies 175 pages of the volume, with two texts — one from the Pope emeritus and the other from the Cardinal — together with an introduction and a conclusion signed by both.

In surprise, Benedict openly defends clerical celibacy as Francis considers married priests

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 12, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has coauthored a new book defending the Catholic Church's practice of a celibate priesthood, in a shocking move that comes as Pope Francis is considering the possibility of allowing older, married men to be ordained as priests in the Amazon region.

According to excerpts from the volume released Jan. 12 by the conservative French outlet Le Figaro, the ex-pontiff says he could not remain silent on the issue as Francis is contemplating the move, which was requested by the bishops from the nine-nation Amazon region at October's Vatican synod gathering.

The book is co-written with Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Vatican's liturgy office. It is to be released in France Jan. 15 and carries the title Des profondeurs de nos cœurs ("From the Depths of Our Hearts).

El Vaticano expulsó al cura pedófilo defendido por el obispo Martínez

[The Vatican expelled the pedophile priest defended by Bishop Martinez]

ARGENTINA
El Diario Misiones

January 9, 2020

Ocurrió luego que el sacerdote santafesino Néstor Fabián Monzón (51) fuera condenado por “abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante, calificado, en concurso real” a dos niños.

[It happened after the Santa Fe priest Néstor Fabián Monzón (51) was convicted of “severely outrageous, qualified sexual abuse in royal contest” to two children.]

One year later, Fall River diocese’s list of ‘credibly’ accused priests still not done

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI-TV

January 10, 2020

By Eli Sherman

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River wrote a letter to parishioners last January announcing the church had hired a former FBI agent to review allegations of sexual abuse against minors dating back to the 1950s.

The plan, he wrote, was to complete the review by spring of last year, and produce a list of credibly accused clergy members, following what a growing number of dioceses – including Providence – have already done across the country.

“I wish that this information could be made available sooner; yet it takes time and diligence to compile a list that is accurate and complete,” da Cunha wrote at the time.

In New Book, Retired Pope Benedict Breaks Silence To Speak Out On Priestly Celibacy

VATICAN CITY
National Public Radio

January 13, 2020

By Scott Neuman

Retired Pope Benedict XVI, who promised to remain silent when he resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church seven years ago, has stepped back into the ongoing debate over priestly celibacy with a new book defending the traditionalist view.

The surprise move is seen as a rebuke to Pope Francis, who is weighing the possibility of a revolutionary move to relax the strict celibacy requirement for ordination in some South American countries where the shortage of priests is particularly acute.

Trial delayed for French priest accused of abusing 75 boys

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing around 75 Boy Scouts went on trial Monday, but the proceedings were delayed for a day because of a strike by lawyers.

The case is France’s worst clergy abuse drama to reach court so far, and its repercussions reached all the way to the Vatican.

Bernard Preynat admitted in the 1990s to abusing boys, but was only removed from the priesthood last year. The church defrocked him in July, after French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted of covering up for Preynat’s actions.

Several other church officials were also accused of failing to alert police or prosecutors of his actions, including a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Luis Ladaria. The Vatican shielded Ladaria from trial, invoking his immunity as an official of a sovereign state.

January 12, 2020

‘Healing priest’ cleared of sexual abuse case

PHILIPPINES
Tempo

January 12, 2020

Controversial “healing priest” Father Fernando Suarez can exercise his ministry again after the Vatican found him “not guilty” of sexual abuse accusations, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday.

Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the CBCP National Tribunal Appeals, informed the priest of the “not guilty” verdict of his case in a decree of notification dated January 6, 2020.

“By order of the Most Rev. Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri, in his letter of December 13, 2019—I was instructed to notify the Rev. Fr. Fernando M. Suarez of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Occidental Mindoro of the decree of ‘not guilty’ of the accusation lodged against him of sexual abuse of minors which this National Tribunal of Appeals submitted to Rome on May 8, 2019,” read the notification.

“This means that he has been falsely accused of these crimes and, therefore, nothing now stands in the way for him to exercise his healing ministry, provided it is done properly in coordination with the ecclesiastical authority of every ecclesiastical jurisdiction,” it further read.

Opinion: Church, judges in unholy union

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 13, 2020

By Chrissie Foster

I see red when I think about the Red Mass. The Red Mass is a Catholic mass said at the end of each January for the legal fraternity marking the beginning of the legal year. The Red Mass is a ­European tradition dating back to the year 1310 in England and ­earlier in Paris — 1245.

An invitation to attend the Melbourne Red Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral appeared on the Victorian Bar website. The Victorian Bar is a “professional association of barristers”. The invitation reads: “As this is Archbishop Comensoli’s first Red Mass since becoming Archbishop of Melbourne, it is important for the legal community of Melbourne to welcome His Grace with as many members of the profession in attendance as possible.”

This is the same archbishop who recently said he would defy new child protection laws rather than report admissions of child sexual assault made in the confessional. Victoria recently passed legislation removing clergy exemption from mandatory reporting of a reasonable belief that a child has been sexually abused. Archbishop Peter Comensoli said he would rather go to jail than obey the new law.

Why should our legal profession “welcome” such a man? A man who publicly announced his intention to commit a crime? And not just any crime, one that disobeys child safety laws? The archbishop is the highest-ranking cleric of the Catholic Church in Victoria. Many clergy obey and follow him. Priests have promised obedience to him. Comensoli’s words and actions are replicated in communities all over Victoria. Why should the legal fraternity welcome someone who dictates that priests should commit a criminal offence by failing to report to the police information about child sexual abuse?

The new law lifting the secrecy of confession was debated in the Victorian parliament last August 29. It was an extraordinary day in parliament. At least 15 members of parliament rose and stated how shocked they were that the Archbishop of Melbourne would choose to protect paedophiles rather than children. Their anger was palpable. And angry they should be, for the reality of Comensoli’s words is to knowingly allow adults to continue to rape and sexually assault children. The archbishop is apparently happy to hear admissions of crimes against children and just let child molesters and rapists go unpunished, unchecked and uncured. This failure to obey the law would allow sexual crimes against children to continue for decades.

In 2003 Catholic priest Michael McArdle swore an affidavit stating that during confession he had disclosed more than 1500 times that he was sexually assaulting children. He made this confession to 30 different priests over 25 years. Not one of those 30 priests stopped him. For decades they just forgave him. This is precisely the situation Comensoli says should remain. What finally stopped McArdle was not the church, but a child going to the police. The church could have reported him to police decades earlier and saved countless children.

Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence to reaffirm priest celibacy

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence to reaffirm the value of priestly celibacy, co-authoring a bombshell book at the precise moment that Pope Francis is weighing whether to allow married men to be ordained to address the Catholic priest shortage.

Benedict wrote the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” along with his fellow conservative, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office and has been a quiet critic of Francis.

The French daily Le Figaro published excerpts of the book late Sunday; The Associated Press obtained galleys of the English edition, which is being published by Ignatius Press.

Benedict’s intervention is extraordinary, given he had promised to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013 and pledged his obedience to the new pope. He has largely held to that pledge, though he penned an odd essay last year on the sexual abuse scandal that blamed the crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Benedict defends priestly celibacy as Pope Francis considers changes

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

January 12, 2020

By Chico Harlan

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has issued an ardent defense of clerical celibacy, breaking his pledged silence on major church affairs just as Pope Francis is considering an exception that would allow some married men to serve as priests.

Benedict’s remarks, revealed in a new book excerpt published Sunday by the French newspaper Le Figaro, cast light on a once-unthinkable dynamic inside the Roman Catholic Church: A former pope trying to influence his successor in whether the church heeds or breaks with its traditions.

“The ability to renounce marriage in order to place oneself fully at the disposal of the Lord has become a criterion for priestly ministry,” Benedict XVI writes in the book he has co-authored.

In the excerpts, Benedict invokes his own ordination and calls celibacy a sometimes “painful” but necessary step. Though Francis has also defended celibacy — calling it a “gift” to the church and saying it should not be optional — some of the Argentine pontiff’s allies have pushed for exceptions, saying the priesthood needs to modernize and find ways to make up for a severe shortage of vocations.

Bishops meeting in Rome last year recommended that Francis allow the ordination of married men in the particularly remote Amazon region, an endorsement that some traditionalists warned might set off a broader weakening of the church’s millennium-old celibacy requirement. Francis is considering whether to affirm the recommendation.

But no matter what Francis decides, Benedict’s willingness to speak out risks the kind of inner-church tension that analysts worried about when he abdicated seven years ago.

After he stepped down, Benedict — who lives inside a Vatican monastery — vowed silence on key issues to give room for Francis. But he has twice broken that vow in less than a year, with the excerpt Sunday and the release in April of a lengthy letter devoted to clerical sexual abuse in which his theories often contradicted Francis’s.

Benedict and Francis have spoken admiringly of each other, but their different views about the church — Francis has pushed for changes that his predecessor opposed — have caused some traditionalists to rally around Benedict as an alternative authority figure.

“One Pope is complicated enough,” John Gehring, the Catholic program director at the Washington-based advocacy group Faith in Public Life, wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “This is a mess. With great respect to Benedict XVI, it’s time for him to live up to his promise to be ‘hidden from the world.’ ”

“From the Depths of Our Hearts,” was co-written by Benedict and the Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, with each authoring certain passages. Sarah, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is far more direct than Benedict, speaking to Francis directly about the dangers of altering the church’s celibacy practices.

“I am humbly pleading for Pope Francis to protect us definitively of such an eventuality by putting his veto to any weakening or lessening of priestly celibacy, even limited to one region or the other,” wrote Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s liturgical office. “The possibility to ordain married men would represent a pastoral catastrophe, an ecclesiastical confusion and an obfuscation in an understanding of the priesthood.”

A passage jointly written by Sarah and Benedict mentions that they had taken note of the “uproar” surrounding the bishops’ meeting on the Amazon last year. Benedict and Sarah wrote that they could not stay silent.

“If ideology divides, truth unites hearts,” they wrote. “Examining the doctrine of salvation can only unite the Church around its divine Master. We do it in a spirit of charity.”

Benedict, 92, uses a walker and talks barely above a whisper, according to recent footage, but remains mentally sharp. His contributions to the book, according to the excerpts, are steeped in church language. He makes the case that celibacy is a way for priests to give themselves fully to the service of the priesthood.

“To be with God is to set aside what is only the self,” Benedict writes.

Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, did not respond to a request for comment.

As the church debated last year whether to allow the ordination of married men in the Amazon, traditionalists warned about the destruction of the priesthood. There are already some celibacy exceptions within the church: married Anglican ministers, in some cases, can join the Catholic priesthood after conversion. But some conservatives worry that the rationale for the Amazon could also be applied to other parts of the world, including Europe and North America, that have shortages of priests.

Sarah argues that lifting the celibacy requirement would not help such areas, but deprive them of true priests.

“We cannot offer them ‘second class’ priests,” Sarah wrote.

Editorial: Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy must not be a sanctuary for sin

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 12, 2020

By News Editorial Board

Now we know that Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger is more than bankruptcy curious. The leader in charge of Buffalo’s Catholic diocese told a Buffalo News reporter on Monday that filing for Chapter 11 protection is probable as the diocese faces an onslaught of lawsuits from individuals making claims of clergy sex abuse.

As we have noted before, that would be unfortunate. If it happens – and there are defenses for it – the diocese needs to be as forthcoming about the abuses its priests and bishop committed as it would if the matter were left in state court. There can be no more hiding in dark corners.

While having claims against the diocese moved to bankruptcy court may ultimately result in a more equitable financial settlement for some of the victims than if their cases remain in civil court, it can still leave many feeling they are denied a full hearing.

Legal errors blamed for George Pell convictions

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 4, 2020

By James Madden

George Pell’s legal team will seek to have the cardinal’s conviction for child sex offences overturned on the grounds that the Victorian Court of Appeal erred by overlooking the fact that there was reasonable doubt about whether opportunity existed for the crimes to have occurred, and that the onus of proof wrongfully lay with the defendant.

Pell’s final submissions, filed with the High Court on Friday, were signed by barristers Bret Walker and Ruth Shann.

In a hearing set down for March 11 and 12, all seven High Court judges will decide whether to hear the jailed cardinal’s argument that he is in prison only because two judges on Victoria’s Court of Appeal ­rejected his ­appeal after engaging in circular logic and making a ­series of legal errors.

In the submissions, Pell’s legal team argued that his convictions risk a fundamental ­departure “from the defining safeguards of the accusatorial system of criminal justice”.

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.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal in August upheld Pell’s convictions by two votes to one.

He is serving a maximum six-year jail term.

Convicted Australian cardinal moved to new prison after drone incident: media

AUSTRALIA
Reuters

Jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell, convicted over child sex offences, was moved to another prison last week after a drone flew over the facility where he was being held, local media reported.

Pell is the most senior Catholic official worldwide imprisoned for child sex offences. The former Vatican treasurer is serving a six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two teen-aged choir boys.

“Corrections Victoria can confirm that there was an incident involving a drone flying over the Melbourne Assessment Prison on Thursday,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman said on Sunday in an e-mailed statement.

She declined to comment on Pell, but said that the incident has been referred to the state police for investigation.

Scientology argues for religious arbitration in sex assault case

CALIFORNIA
Express Digest

January 8, 2020

The Church of Scientology has argued that they should be able to handle sexual assault allegations against That 70s Show actor Danny Masterson through ‘religious arbitration’ instead of in court.

Four women, including two ex-girlfriends, filed a lawsuit against Masterson in California last year claiming the actor drugged, raped and sexually assaulted them in the early 2000s.

The Church of Scientology is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit after the women claimed they were stalked and harassed by the church in a bid to silence them after they complained.

Masterson is a member of the church while some of women were members around the time of the alleged assaults.

In new court papers filed on Tuesday, the church argued that the women consented to ‘ecclesiastical rule’ when they became members and therefore relinquished their rights to sue.

Holy Cross hit with lawsuit from former student who alleges sexual abuse 50-plus years ago

RUMSON (NJ)
The Monmouth Journal

January 10, 2020

Holy Cross School in Rumson has been hit with a lawsuit by a former student claiming that a nun at the school sexually abused her more than half a century ago.

Carole Clark, of Cliffside Park, claims in the lawsuit filed in Monmouth County Superior Court that she attended the school from kindergarten to seventh grade “in the 1960s.”

According to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Eric G. Kahn, when Clark was in first grade at Holy Cross, Sister Mary Nazareen, a teacher at the school at the time, “coerced and/or forced” Clark “to engage in improper sexual conduct during the school year when (Clark) was in the first grade.”

The lawsuit further claims that Sister Mary Nazareen “engaged in improper sex acts, sexual assault, sexual contact and sexual abuse” of Clark, while on the grounds of Holy Cross School while Clark was in the first grade.

The lawsuit names Holy Cross School, Holy Cross Parish and the Diocese of Trenton as defendants. It states Clark has suffered “severe and permanent personal and emotional injuries” as a result of the abuse.

The lawsuit seeks judgment against the school, parish and diocese and compensation for damages, together with interest and costs of the lawsuit.

New documents support George Pell as appeal decision nears

AUSTRALIA
Lawyers Weekly

January 7, 2020

By Naomi Neilson

The lawyers for disgraced Cardinal George Pell have lodged new court documents that allege previous findings failed to eliminate doubt about his opportunity to offend.

Barrister Bret Walker SC and Ruth Shann said the majority erred in finding opportunity for Cardinal Pell to commit the offences. His lawyers argued in court documents there was insufficient time for the convicted paedophile to sexually abuse two choirboys.

“The majority concluded that if any of the evidence showed impossibility in one respect or another, then the jury must have had a doubt,” the court documents read. “The facts as found by them were the only time the room was empty for five-six minutes was a time when the complainant and the other boy, on the Crown case, were not in the room.”

In November, the High Court of Australia agreed to hear appeal arguments in a special Full Court sitting. The decision will consider both the application for leave and the case, which means there is a chance the court may not grant special leave application.

The 21-page appeal document will be the basis for Cardinal Pell’s final bid to overturn his historic child sexual abuse convictions. His lawyers noted they are seeking no more than four hours for the presentation of an oral argument before the court.

The Wanderer Interviews Cardinal Burke (Part 2) . . . He Is With Us: Trusting In The Lord In Turbulent Times

UNITED STATES
The Wanderer

January 8, 2020

By Don Fier

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. On December 9, His Eminence graciously granted The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview and offered many illuminating insights on matters that concern the Church in the present time. Below is part two of this two-part of interview; part one appeared in the issue of December 26, 2019.)

PART TWO

Q. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is the editor of a soon-to-be-published volume entitled Catechism of the Catholic Church with Theological Commentary (its publication has been delayed for several months, but it appears it will now be available in early 2020). Can you tell us anything about this new catechism and what its authoritative scope will be?
A. This new issue of the Catechism will not have the authority of the text that was approved for promulgation in 1994, which will continue to be the authoritative text. Whatever commentary Archbishop Fisichella and other contributors offer in the new volume will have the worth of their fidelity to the unchanging doctrine of the Church. This is not some new Catechism of the Catholic Church and should not be viewed as such. I, for my part, urge people to study the officially released Catechism. Once again, I emphasize that whatever authority the new edition has will depend on the correctness of its fidelity to doctrine.

Oprah backs out of sexual assault documentary bound for Apple TV+, film will not air on Apple service

HOLLYWOOD (CA)
Apple Insider

January 10, 2020

By Mikey Campbell

Oprah Winfrey on Friday said she is no longer attached to a high-profile documentary that explores sexual misconduct in the music industry, adding that the film will not debut on Apple TV+ as planned.

Winfrey in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter said she is stepping away from the as-yet-untitled documentary citing creative differences with filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. The film, which was set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January, follows a former music executive who accused industry titan Russell Simmons of rape.

Abuse case seeking church records moves forward in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

January 12, 2020

By Deb Erdley

Nearly 18 months after a Pennsylvania grand jury report unmasked decades of allegations of clergy sexual abuse in Catholic parishes across the state and church leaders paid $84 million to abuse survivors, fallout from the report continues to mount in the courts.

State lawmakers began the process of amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to give abuse survivors with old claims a day in court even as the state Supreme Court weighs a lower court ruling that could set the stage for such claims even sooner.

Locally, court records show there are more than 20 such suits pending against the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese as well as one in Westmoreland County.

In the latest legal development, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward last week ruled a class-action suit seeking to force the Pittsburgh Diocese to open its abuse archives to survivors may move forward in court.

The ruling comes weeks after a year-end report found seven of the state’s eight dioceses had paid $84 million to 564 abuse survivors who agreed not to sue the church.

January 11, 2020

Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Associated Press and WJAC

January 9, 2020

By Crispin Havener

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also the text of the Class Action Complaint.]

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations.

The ruling this week granted a preliminary dismissal to the state's other dioceses because the lawsuit did not include specific allegations against them. However, Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit to include plaintiffs who believe they have standing before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

Shapiro heads into reelection year with $3M in account

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 10, 2020

By Marc Levy

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will report that he headed into his 2020 reelection year with more than $3 million in his campaign bank account, about 40% of what he spent to get elected in 2016 to his first four-year term.

In a preliminary report his campaign gave to The Associated Press, Shapiro, a Democrat, will report to the state that he raised $3.3 million in 2019 and had $3.1 million left over as of Jan. 1. He spent $523,000 last year, partially offset by the $365,000 that he had left over from 2018, according to the report.

His biggest individual cash donor at $250,000 was the Democratic Attorneys General Association, a national fundraising organization. Labor unions poured in more than $800,000, and Philadelphia-area developer Israel Roizman gave $75,000, according to the report. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who is close with Shapiro, chipped in $20,000.

Shapiro spent nearly $8 million in 2016 when he beat former state Sen. John Rafferty by nearly 3 percentage points in that year’s general election after winning a low-turnout, three-way Democratic primary.

This time around, no Democrat has stepped forward to challenge Shapiro in the primary.

*

Shapiro’s time as attorney general is perhaps best-known for his office’s groundbreaking grand jury report in 2018 on the cover-up of child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. The report spawned more than 20 similar investigations in other states and helped prompt the nation’s bishops to approve new steps to deal more strongly with sexual abuse by clergy.

Arizona priest charged with sexual abuse in Phoenix

TUCSON (AZ)
Associated Press via KVOA

January 10, 2020

A Catholic priest in Phoenix has been indicted on charges of alleged sexual misconduct with two boys under 15, prosecutors for Arizona’s largest county said Thursday.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office said a county grand jury Wednesday indicted John Dallas Spaulding, 74, on six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Spaulding could not be located to comment on the charges. Defense attorney Greg Meell did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Prosecutors say the boys were sexually abused between 2003 and 2007 when Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel parish in Phoenix and St. Timothy parish in suburban Mesa.

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said Thursday it contacted law enforcement after receiving a report in June 2019 from a man who said Spaulding sexually abused him when he was a minor.

'The church knew he was a predator': Victim advocate speaks out on former Phoenix priest's indictment

PHOENIX (AZ)
Fox 10

January 10, 2020

By Danielle Miller

A former catholic priest in the valley was charged with child sex crimes dating back to the 2000s.

Father John Spaulding, 74, is accused of sexually abusing two young boys in the early 2000s, and Thursday, he was indicted by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

According to the Diocese of Phoenix, Spaulding is removed from the ministry and can't publicly identify himself as a priest.

Mary O'Day works with an organization, SNAP, that advocates for victims and says his alleged abuse dates back several years. "We are very excited that they got a grand jury indictment. It means they found enough evidence and put enough pieces together," she said.

2012 lawsuit alleges son died as a result of abuse by Father John Spaulding

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News NBC

January 10, 2020

By Bianca Buono

Spaulding was indicted Thursday, accused of sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 15 from 2003 to 2007.

A Valley father tried suing the Diocese of Phoenix back in 2012 claiming his son was molested by Father John Spaulding and died because of it.

Nearly a decade later, that priest has been indicted, accused of sexually assaulting two other boys under the age of 15.

In June of 2010, David Michael Pain Jr.'s body was found in a hotel parking lot in Mesa. He had been shot by his father, David Michael Pain Sr. in an act of self-defense.

Pain Jr. had broken into his father's Scottsdale home while under the influence of meth.

In a lawsuit, Pain Sr. says his son's behavior was out of control. He says he was suicidal and was abusing drugs. He says it's because he was molested by his priest, Father John Spaulding.

Children at Aberlour Orphanage were physically, emotionally and sexually abused

ABERDEEN (SCOTLAND)
Press and Journal

January 8, 2020

By Tom Peterkin

Children were subjected to horrendous levels of physical, emotional and sexual assault while at the Aberlour Orphanage in Moray, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

One youngster considered suicide after being sexually abused at the institution and others were punched, kicked and beaten with implements including belts, slippers and a table tennis bat.

Children were humiliated for wetting the bed and were force fed after being sick on their plates.

Others were so traumatised by abuse at the hands of those in whose brutal care they found themselves they could barely function when they were present.

The inquiry yesterday published a harrowing account of the appalling treatment handed out at the Moray orphanage before it closed in 1967 and in smaller homes operated by the organisation elsewhere in Scotland.

A 150-page document outlined horrendous cruelty suffered by vulnerable children in the care of the Aberlour Child Care Trust and two other Scottish-based residential institutions – Quarriers in Renfrewshire and Barnardos – between 1921 and 1991.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Publishes Third Case Study Findings

EDINBURGH (SCOTLAND)
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

January 7, 2020

Children were physically, emotionally and sexually abused in harsh regimes

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has today 7 January published its findings into residential institutions run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo’s (QAB) between 1921 and 1991. They conclude that children did suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

During the case study, the Inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any abuse of children in care at institutions run by the QAB providers at various locations across Scotland.

The Inquiry also examined any systems, policies and procedures in place at these institutions, and how these were applied.

Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “Children were physically abused, emotionally abused, and sexually abused in harsh, rigid regimes. Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed. Scant regard was paid to their dignity.

“The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

“The QAB providers could have made a real and positive difference to every child, but that did not happen. For many, further damage was inflicted upon them.”

The 43 day case study took place between 23 October 2018 and 12 February 2019, during which time the Inquiry heard evidence from 110 witnesses.

Children were abused in East Lothian homes, inquiry finds

HADDINGTON (SCOTLAND)
East Lothian Courier

January 9, 2020

By Cameron Ritchie

Children in homes in Pencaitland and North Berwick suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Barnardo’s had residential establishments across Scotland, including at Glasclune in North Berwick, which cared for 348 children, and Tyneholm in Pencaitland, which cared for 289 children.

The inquiry heard from more than 100 witnesses between October 2018 and February last year.

Witnesses spoke about physical abuse, force-feeding, chores, washing and bathing, and emotional and sexual abuse.

In a just-released 150-page report, statements from witnesses told of different instances of abuse at the two facilities.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: Children in charity homes 'did suffer abuse'

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC Scotland

January 7, 2020

Children in homes run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo's suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Lady Smith, who is chairing the inquiry, said children who were at the institutions between 1921 and 1991 lived in "harsh, rigid regimes".

She also said "scant regard was paid to their dignity".

Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo's have apologised for the abuse suffered.

In her findings, Lady Smith said: "Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed.

"The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB (Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo's) providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

Child abuse inquiry: Travel bans 'not being enforced on sex offenders'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

January 9, 2020

UK authorities are failing to use the powers they have to stop British sex offenders travelling abroad to abuse children, according to an inquiry.

Only a small fraction of orders made against offenders included a ban on foreign travel, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found.

It cited the case of shamed rock star Gary Glitter, who abused children abroad after an earlier conviction.

The IICSA says the burden of proof for travel bans should be lowered.

The inquiry's report found measures applied to people convicted of a sexual offence - such as a sexual harm prevention orders (SHPO) - have only had a minimal impact on restricting foreign travel.

Other offenders have been able to breach bans in an attempt to abuse outside of the UK.

Inquiry report finds gaps in UK legal system are allowing known offenders to sexually abuse children abroad

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

January 9, 2020

The Inquiry has published its report on the protection of children outside the UK, focusing on the legal measures designed to prevent British child sex abusers from offending overseas.

The report finds that offenders from England and Wales are travelling to commit extensive abuse of children across the world, including in eastern Asia and Africa.

It concludes that civil orders are not being used effectively to stop offenders visiting other countries where poverty and corruption have left children vulnerable.

High profile cases have highlighted these issues, including Paul Gadd (aka Gary Glitter) who went to Asia to abuse young girls after being convicted of possessing indecent images of children in the UK.

The Inquiry found that civil orders placed on sex offenders rarely include travel restrictions, meaning many known offenders can still go abroad to abuse children.

As of 31 March 2018, only around 0.2 percent of the 58,637 registered sex offenders in England and Wales had their foreign travel restricted. Very small numbers of civil orders restricting travel are made: only 11 Sexual Harm Prevention Orders to this effect were made in 2017/2018 and as at March 2019 there were only six Sexual Risk Orders in place with such a restriction.

The report finds that the disclosure and barring system, including the International Child Protection Certificate which overseas institutions can request when recruiting British nationals, is confusing, inconsistent and in need of reform.

Former Passionist priest, who once served in Pittsburgh, gets probation for ‘unnatural acts’ on a minor

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press via Tribune-Review

January 6, 2020

A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to two counts of “unnatural acts” with a minor for accusations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.

James Randall Gillette was sentenced to five years of probation in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Jan. 2, according to court records. More serious charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a minor were dismissed, but he still has to register as a sex offender.

Gillette is affiliated with Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, a religious order commonly known as the Passionists. Dan Flynn, director of health and social service at Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, said Gillette has not been defrocked but has been on restrictions that ban him from identifying as a priest or serving in church functions since the 1990s. Flynn said Gillette is currently living privately in Massachusetts. He declined to comment further.

Gillette was briefly in Pittsburgh. According to BishopAccountability.org, Gillette served in 1993 and 1994 at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in the South Side. As a religious order, it is not part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

January 10, 2020

Troubling complaint against ex-Phoenix priest, Father Spaulding, detailed in 2012 lawsuit

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC15

January 10, 2020

By Joe Enea

Details have emerged about another sexual misconduct complaint against a former Valley priest indicted this week on charges including sexual conduct with a minor.

This week, a Maricopa County Grand Jury charged Father John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. He is accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were under the age of 15, between the years of 2003 and 2007.

During that time span, Spaulding was a Priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's in Mesa.

Woman sues church for reporting her husband’s sex abuse confession to the police

PENDLETON (OR)
CNN WIRE

January 10, 2020

An Oregon woman whose husband is in prison for sexually abusing a child is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for reporting his confession to state authorities.

In the lawsuit, Kristine Johnson said her husband confessed his sexual abuse to clergy as required by church rules. That confession was passed along to state authorities, forming the basis of their investigation, she says.

She filed the lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court last week and seeks $9.5 million for loss of income, emotional distress and her family’s loss of her husband’s companionship. The lawsuit, which argues the church went against its own policy that considers confessions confidential, also seeks an additional $40,000 for his criminal defense.

Allegations against former priest go back 40 years

PHOENIX (AZ)
12News

January 9, 2020

By Mackenzie Concepcion

Jack Spaulding allegedly sexually abused boys at several parishes within the Phoenix Diocese over multiple decades.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged a former Catholic priest on Wednesday in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007. But the allegations against John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, go back for decades.

Spaulding was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

He was a priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged crimes took place.

But Spaulding is accused of sexually abusing multiple other boys in the years before that. The allegations stretch back to the 1970s -- to when he was a young priest in Glendale.

Judge Allows Lawsuit Alleging Pittsburgh Diocese Created ‘Public Nuisance’

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA

January 9, 2020

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled a lawsuit can move forward against the Catholic Diocese of
Pittsburgh.

The suit by parents and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members claims the diocese became a public nuisance because they didn’t fulfill obligations under state law to report abusers.

It was originally filed in September of 2018 against each diocese in the state.

Child Victims Act sponsor moves to extend ‘lookback window’ for abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
Queens Daily Eagle

January 9, 2020

By David Brand

The state senator who sponsored legislation that allows victims of child sex abuse to sue their alleged predators, no matter when the abuse occured, has introduced a bill to extend the window for new lawsuits.

The Child Victims Act took effect in August 2019, eliminating statutes of limitations and enabling survivors to sue their alleged abusers during a one-year “lookback window” that expires Aug. 13, 2020. State Sen. Brad Hoylman sponsored the bill, which passed last legislative session after years of advocacy, and has introduced a new piece of legislation that would extend the “lookback window” for one more year.

“Other states, including California and New Jersey, have instituted multi-year revival windows for civil lawsuits because it can take decades for adult survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward,” Hoylman said in a statement. “To ensure the maximum number of survivors have time to seek justice and further protect the public, New York should extend the Child Victims Act’s revival window for another year before it expires in August.”

Guam's Catholic Church facing at least 280 child sex abuse lawsuits

GUAM
RNZ

January 9, 2020

The Catholic Church on Guam is now facing more than 280 child sex abuse lawsuits, as attempts to settle them get underway.

In the latest lawsuit, a man alleges he was raped and molested by Father Louis Brouillard between 1977 and 1979.

Louis Brouillard admitted to being a paedophile before his death in 2018.

But several other Catholic Church figures, and the institution itself, are named in dozens of other lawsuits for both sex abuse and the subsequent cover-up.

Survivors' group, archbishop back journalist sued by Sodalitium members

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 10, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

A network of clergy abuse survivors has joined calls for an end to lawsuits against a journalist who investigated alleged sexual abuse and financial irregularities within a controversial Catholic group.

In an open letter released Jan. 9, the Ending Clergy Abuse organization, also known as ECA, expressed concern regarding five lawsuits against Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz by several members of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

The lawsuits, the ECA said, are a form of "judicial harassment" meant to punish Ugaz for exposing alleged criminal activities within Sodalitium.

"It is true that we recognize the legitimate right of every person who feels that his or her honor was damaged to take legal action," the group said. "However, it is unlawful for anyone to abuse this right. In the abusive case of legal actions against Paola Ugaz, it is clear the intention is not to seek justice but to silence her."

Another Rochester Priest Named in Abuse Lawsuit

ROCHESTER (NY)
Spectrum News

January 8, 2020

Another lawsuit has been filed under the Child Victims Act, this time with new allegations of abuse against a local priest.

Several local churches and parishes are named, including St. Boniface in Rochester and St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian accuses the defendants of providing Father Otto Vogt with access to young parishioners.

The attorney's client alleged the priest abused him on 60 occasions, starting when he was 10 years old in 1989.

"For me it's about the emotional aspect," said John Mchugh, the Rochester-area man who claims Vogt sexually abused him. "I want recognition that it happened. I want a guarantee that there will be systems in place so it never happens again."

13 Years After A Baptist Pastor Assaulted Her, A Survivor Gets Her Day In Court

BALTIMORE (MD)
HuffPost

January 9, 2020

By Carol Kuruvilla

After months of grooming and emotional manipulation, Sarah Jackson says the pastor of her Maryland Baptist church called her into his private study and kissed her. She was 17, trembling and numb, while he was 29, married with children. It was the first time she had ever been touched this way.

That was Jan. 3, 2007. The date was imprinted in Jackson’s mind as sexual abuse continued over the ensuing months. Jackson claims the pastor, Cameron Giovanelli, used it as a secret code to initiate intimate text conversations. Giovanelli would text “Jan,” and if she was alone, she would reply “3rd” ― signaling that the coast was clear for him to text freely.

Thirteen years later, Jackson has become a vocal advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. And on Jan. 3 this year, she was composing a victim impact statement to read out loud at a Baltimore County court at Giovanelli’s sentencing for sex offense and assault.

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

UNITED STATES
Bloomberg

January 8, 20020

By Josh Saul

Dioceses are aggressively moving and reclassifying holdings to shrink the value of their bankruptcy estates.

For most of the 20th century, the Catholic Church in the U.S. minimized the damage wrought by pedophile priests by covering up the abuse. When the bishop of the Davenport, Iowa, diocese was told in the mid-1950s that one of his priests was sexually abusing boys at a local YMCA, he kept it secret. “It is consoling to know that no general notoriety has arisen, and I pray none may result,” he wrote to a priest, capturing the strategy of the era.

Cover-ups worked when victims and their families could be intimidated or shamed into silence. But in the 1980s and ’90s, victims started filing civil lawsuits against the dioceses where the alleged incidents took place. Church leaders across the country kept these suits quiet by settling out of court and demanding nondisclosure agreements in return. Church leaders paid out about $750 million from the early ’80s through 2002, according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse.

Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 9, 2020

By Claudia Lauer

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state’s other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

The lawsuit filed in 2018, a month after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the state’s landmark grand jury report, asked that the dioceses be compelled to publicly release all information they had given to the grand jury and to provide a mechanism so that alleged victims could review records to make sure their allegations exist in the church’s files, are accurate and have been sent to law enforcement

‘My intention is to pursue truth’: Child sex abuse victim of convicted Brighton priest James Gillette encourages other survivors to come forward

BRIGHTON (MA)
MassLive

January 07, 2020

By Jackson Cote

Anthony Sgherza was 10 years old when he was first sexually abused by a priest. The 58-year-old said he is now seeing justice nearly a half century later.

James Randall Gillette, a former Catholic priest at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Brighton, was sentenced to five years of house arrest last week for sexually abusing two children in the 1970s, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office said in a statement.

One of the victims in the criminal case was Sgherza, who said he is still processing Gillette’s prosecution.

“I’m 48 hours removed from having remained silent for 42 years,” Sgherza told MassLive. “Right now, I’m just trying to feel my feet on the ground and breathe and be present with this plethora of emotions.”

FBI Interviewed Papal Foundation Staff about McCarrick

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

January 8, 2020

By Ed Condon

Washington, D.C. — Law enforcement officials have conducted interviews with several senior figures at the Papal Foundation, a U.S. based charity which supports the charitable works of the Holy Father.

Officers from the FBI have spoken to at least three foundation staff members over last several months, with enquiries focused on the role of Theodore McCarrick, who served as a board member until his removal from the College of Cardinals in 2018, following charges of sexual abuse of minors. Last year, McCarrick was laicized following a Vatican investigation and his conviction by a canonical process.

“There were questions on how the foundation operates,” one person contacted by the FBI told CNA, though they declined to be named citing confidentiality concerns. “It seemed to be linked to [McCarrick’s] sexual abuse.”

As a cardinal and one of the most senior figures in the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, McCarrick was known to wield considerable influence across the Church, both in America and in Rome. He was also a prolific fundraiser, securing millions of dollars in donations for various causes, sitting on the board of several grant making bodies, and running his own private charitable fund.

Pressing questions remain unanswered about McCarrick’s ability to buy influence and insulate himself from rumors and allegations, and a Vatican report on McCarrick’s career, and how he was able to rise so high despite decades of apparent sexual misconduct and abuse, is due to be released in early 2020.

$1.7M settlement in child sex abuse case involving priest

EVERETT (WA)
The Herald

January 10, 2020

By Zachariah Bryan

Rev. Dennis Champagne served at St. Michael parish from 1979 to 1999. He’s accused of abusing a child.

Snohomish - The Archdiocese of Seattle announced Thursday it has reached a $1.7 million settlement involving a Snohomish priest accused of sexually abusing a child in the 1980s.

The Rev. Dennis Champagne served at St. Michael parish in Snohomish from 1979 to 1999. He was put on administrative leave in 2002, after the archdiocese received a complaint of sexual abuse.

In 2006, he was placed on “permanent prayer and penance,” a penalty by the Roman Catholic Church that removes a priest from public ministry, but stops short of removing his title.

“He is not permitted to administer sacraments, wear clerical attire, or present himself publicly as a priest,” a statement from the archdiocese says. “He is asked to pray for healing and to do penance on behalf of those who have been abused.”

Where or how the alleged abuse took place was not specified. By the time the abuse was reported, it was past the statute of limitations for a criminal investigation, according to the archdiocese. The statement from the archdiocese did not identify who would receive the settlement money.

The agreement was reached through mediation, archdiocese spokeswoman Helen McClenahan wrote in an email.

We used to believe bishops told the truth. What happened?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

January 9, 2020

By Fr Raymond de Souza

One of the biggest stories of 2019 took place exactly a year ago. The Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington had, in fact, known about Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct, despite his claims to the contrary.

The revelations on January 10, 2019 were a mortal blow to the credibility of prelates, precisely because of Cardinal Wuerl’s prestige and well-earned reputation for being careful and exact. That loss of credibility has poisoned the relationship between bishops and priests. It began long before Cardinal Wuerl, but that he would offer misleading statements so brazenly on such a high-profile case had far-ranging consequences.

Indeed, the Cardinal Wuerl affair was part of a larger story. It was one of the most important of 2019, namely that even the Vatican no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. To the contrary, media outlets are now quite serene about stating flatly that Church officials are not telling the truth.

Recall the facts. In the summer of 2018, after the first allegations against Theodore McCarrick were made public, Cardinal Wuerl was asked what he knew. He insisted that he had no knowledge of any accusations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick. But he went further, insisting that he had never even heard “rumours” about McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians. He compounded his statements to the media by gathering his priests to tell them the same thing.

Yet in 2004, when still Bishop of Pittsburgh, he had heard complaints against McCarrick from a former priest, who alleged abuse by McCarrick when he was a seminarian. Wuerl, nothing if not punctilious about protocols, reported the matter to the apostolic nuncio, the Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed. In 2006, he was appointed McCarrick’s successor in Washington.

Former Arizona priest accused of sexually abusing several boys indicted by grand jury

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News NBC

January 9, 2020

By Mackenzie Concepcion

Jack Spaulding allegedly sexually abused boys at several parishes within the Phoenix Diocese over multiple decades.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged a former Catholic priest on Wednesday in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged crimes took place.

But Spaulding is accused of sexually abusing multiple other boys in the years before that. The allegations stretch back to the 1970s.

The Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement Thursday that Spaulding was placed on leave from St. Timothy Parish in June 2011 after an investigation found that an allegation of sexual misconduct against him was credible.

Spaulding was prohibited from publicly identifying himself as a priest when he was removed from the ministry.

Since he was suspended, several more similar accusations against Spaulding surfaced.

Ex-priest indicted on charges of sexually abusing 2 boys in Phoenix diocese

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

January 9, 2020

By Lauren Castle

A former Catholic priest was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury Thursday on charges of sexually abusing two boys under age 15 more than a dozen years ago.

John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding faces six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child between the years of 2003 and 2007.

Spaulding, 74, was removed from ministry from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix in 2011. While serving in the diocese, he was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale, Christ the King in Mesa, Santa Teresita in El Mirage, St. Louis the King in Glendale, St. Raphael in Glendale, St. Helen in Glendale, St. Maria Goretti in Scottsdale, St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, St. Gabriel the Archangel in Cave Creek and St. Timothy in Mesa.

He was a priest at St. Gabriel’s and at St. Timothy’s when the alleged acts took place, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Court Reverses $35 Million Verdict Against Jehovah’s Witnesses

HELENA (MT)
Associated Press via Huffington Post

January 8, 2020

The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a $35 million judgment against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting a girl’s sexual abuse to authorities.

Montana law requires officials, including clergy, to report child abuse to state authorities when there is reasonable cause for suspicion. However, the state’s high court said in its 7-0 decision that the Jehovah’s Witnesses fall under an exemption to that law in this case.

“Clergy are not required to report known or suspected child abuse if the knowledge results from a congregation member’s confidential communication or confession and if the person making the statement does not consent to disclosure,” Justice Beth Baker wrote in the opinion.

The ruling overturns a 2018 verdict awarding compensatory and punitive damages to the woman who was abused as a child in the mid-2000s by a member of the Thompson Falls Jehovah’s Witness congregation. The woman had accused the church’s national organization of ordering Montana clergy members not to report her abuse to authorities.

Former Phoenix priest indicted on sexual abuse charges

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC 15

January 9, 2020

By Mike Pelton

A former Valley priest has been indicted on charges including sexual conduct with a minor.

This week, a Maricopa County Grand Jury charged Father John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. He is accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were under the age of 15, between the years of 2003 and 2007.

During that timespan, Spaulding was a Priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's in Mesa.

Back in 2011, Spaulding was suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor were deemed credible, according to the Diocese of Phoenix.

Montana Court Reverses $35 Million Child Abuse Verdict Against Jehovah's Witnesses

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

January 9, 2020

By Merrit Kennedy

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah's Witnesses for failing to report child sexual abuse.

A lower court had found that the church illegally failed to report a child sexual abuser to authorities, which allowed him to continue sexually abusing another child.

The unanimous decision from seven state Supreme Court justices found that religious authorities are not always obligated to report child sexual abuse to authorities due to an exemption in Montana state law.

"This is a very disappointing decision, particularly at this time in our society when religious and other institutions are covering up the sexual abuse of child victims," Neil Smith, a lawyer for the women who were abused as children, said in a statement.

Lawyers for the Jehovah's Witnesses did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment. "No child should ever be subjected to such a debased crime," lawyer Joel Taylor said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Tragically, it happens, and when it does Jehovah's Witnesses follow the law. This is what the Montana Supreme Court has established."

Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.

Monk accused of child abuse extradited to Scotland from Australia

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC Scotland

January 10, 2020

A former Catholic monk who is facing child abuse claims, has been extradited from Australia to Scotland, BBC Scotland understands.

The 83-year-old Australian priest, Denis "Chrysostom" Alexander, taught at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands.

He has been at the centre of an extradition battle since 2015.

His arrival in Scotland comes seven years after BBC Scotland first revealed claims against him.

Fr Alexander, who had claimed he was too ill to face trial, is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court later to answer multiple charges of child sex abuse. He denies the allegations.

DA's office issues statement on Catholic priest abuse

WAYNESVILLE (NC)
The Mountaineer

January 9, 2020

By Kyle Perrotti

Following the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte’s list of clergy that have been “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse since the diocese’s creation in 1972, District Attorney Ashley Welch’s office has released a statement noting that two of the members worked in her prosecutorial district, which includes Haywood County, back in the 1970s and 1980.

The statement highlights that those who have allegations of abuse by members of the clergy can still come forward. That’s because North Carolina has no statute of limitations on sexual offenses committed against children. In fact, the statement specifically mentions the recent conviction of a former Episcopal priest who admitted to abusing children during the 1980s.

The statement notes Adelbert “Del” Holmes was “credibly accused” of committing child molestation against three minors in Murphy, in 1976 while he was a clergy member.

“The Catholic church became aware of the allegations against Holmes in 1988. Holmes was removed from the ministry in 1991. He died in 2013,” the statement reads. “Holmes was a clergy member at the St. William Catholic Church in Murphy and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Mission in Hayesville. There is no recorded documentation that the Catholic church notified local law enforcement nor the District Attorney’s Office of these allegations when the church was notified in 1988. ... Holmes died in 2013, and his death prevents the District Attorney’s Office from being able to prosecute him for crimes he is alleged to have committed in 1976.”

In addition, the statement mentions Al Behm, who was credibly accused of offenses in Kentucky during the 1970s. Behm eventually served as a campus minister at Western Carolina University, although he was not accused of committing any crimes while at the school. He left the ministry in 1993.

The state encourages anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse who wishes to file a report to contact their local law enforcement agency and recalls the successful prosecution of former Waynesville Episcopal Priest Howard White for crimes committed over two decades ago.

“If you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, we are committed to seeking justice for you,” Welch said in the statement. “We are able to prosecute individuals when there is probable cause even decades after the crime.”

McCarrick Mystery: The Hunt Is On

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

January 10, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to this exclusive, breaking news report from Church Militant — news about the potential whereabouts of Theodore McCarrick.

Here's what we know: After having been defrocked, he took up residence in the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas for roughly the past 17 months.

Approximately a week ago he left the friary — this has been confirmed — and his whereabouts have become the subject of much speculation in the Catholic world.

Church Militant has learned from very reliable sources that his apparent destination was Jacksonville, Florida in the diocese of St. Augustine.

Within the territorial boundary of the diocese is a residence within a gated community — a house where the notorious predator priest Fr. Marcial Maciel died in 2008 — and that house was at the time owned by the Legionaries of Christ, the community Maciel founded decades earlier, and many of whose members were victims of his homosexual predation.

That residence is not directly affiliated with the diocese of St. Augustine, but is geographically within the diocese.

Our sources tell us that they believe McCarrick may be in that house, somewhere in the Jacksonville area. Church Militant is looking and searching for that house.

The timing of all of this is raising a lot of speculation because the Vatican investigation into the McCarrick scandal is due to be released soon, and Church Militant has learned further from sources that "soon" may be as early as this coming weekend.

'Unprecedented’: Pennsylvania judge rules parents can sue Catholic diocese over sex-abuse reporting

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Associated Press and Morning Call

January 8, 2020

By Claudia Lauer

Philadelphia - A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh Diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state's other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

The lawsuit filed in 2018, a month after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the state's landmark grand jury report, asked that the dioceses be compelled to publicly release all information they had given to the grand jury and to provide a mechanism so that alleged victims could review records to make sure their allegations exist in the church's files, are accurate and have been sent to law enforcement.

Lawsuit on disclosure of abuse claims allowed to proceed against Diocese of Pittsburgh

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 9, 2020

Pittsburgh, Pa. - A judge in Pennsylvania is allowing a lawsuit to move forward arguing that the Diocese of Pittsburgh has created a public nuisance by failing to properly report and disclose information on sexual abuse of children.

The lawsuit is filed by both abuse victims and parents of children in the Catholic Church. Their attorney, Benjamin Sweet, said the ruling is unprecedented in supporting a suit filed by individuals who are not alleging abuse against themselves or a family member.

“This is the first time a cause of action has been brought by a non-survivor member of the public and the first time a court has said that is a viable legal strategy, that a private citizen can compel the church to prove it’s complying with the mandatory reporting law,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

He noted that none of the plaintiffs or attorneys are seeking monetary awards or damages in the suit, but said that they hope to push for additional transparency in the Church.

The plaintiffs are asking that the diocese be required to publicly release all of the information given to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury for its 2018 report on sex abuse in the Church in Pennsylvania. They also want a way for people making claims of clerical abuse to ensure that their allegations have been properly filed with the Church and secular authorities, the AP reported.

January 9, 2020

CVA lawsuit: Honeoye Falls priest bounced from church to church in 5 counties

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM 13 ABC

January 8, 2020

By Jane Flasch

Honeoye Falls, N.Y. - A priest in the Rochester Diocese was bounced from church to church in an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse, says a new lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act.

It is the first lawsuit to name Rev. Otto Vogt. It alleges the abuse happened 30 years ago at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.

John McHugh says he was 10-years-old in 1989 when he was singled out by Vogt.

"He ingratiated himself into the family, became friends with the family, went to the family home," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston. He has filed hundreds of suits on behalf of victims of clergy abuse.

In this one, he contends Vogt sexually assaulted and abused the child in the office and the rectory over a four-year period. The abuse is alleged to have occurred on "over 60 occasions."

Vogt would later retire from that parish. Yet from 1951 to 1955, he was moved around eight different churches in five different counties. Garabedian said Vogt was assigned to some of the parishes more than once, and at others he served only about a year.

CVA lawsuit claims Vogt was moved between eight churches in five counties to cover up alleged child abuse.

The lawsuit accuses church leaders of concealing information that Vogt "posed a danger" to children.

"They got him out of Dodge. They just shipped him to the next church," Garabedian said. "Where were the bishops? Why weren't they protecting innocent children?"

Indian nun allegedly threatened after leaving convent

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 9, 2020

By Nirmala Carvalho

Mumbai, India - A 28-year-old nun who left a convent in India claiming mental and sexual harassment, is now facing threatening calls, according to her family.

The nun had been living at St. Joseph’s convent in Kerala, the same state where another nun has accused a bishop of sexually assaulting her on several occasions.

The woman has since left her vows, and is planning on getting married.

Kerala is considered the heart of Christianity in India, and Christians make up nearly 20 percent of the population; in India as a whole, Christians make up only around 2.3 percent of the population.

The woman left St Joseph’s - in Pachalam - in May 2019, after 11 years of service.

On Jan. 4, 28 protesters, led by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCCRM) held protest at the convent, which belongs to the Assisi Sisters of Mary Immaculate Congregation.

They demanded that the convent provide compensation for the services given by the former nun during the past 11 years.

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings

VATICAN CITY
Holy See

January 9, 2020

By Pope Francis

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2020/january/documents/papa-francesco_20200109_corpo-diplomatico.html

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A new year is opening before us; like the cry of a newborn baby, it fills us with joy and hope. I would like that word, “hope”, which is an essential virtue for Christians, to inspire our way of approaching the times that lie ahead.

Certainly, hope has to be realistic. It demands acknowledging the many troubling issues confronting our world and the challenges lurking on the horizon. It requires that problems be called by their name and the courage be found to resolve them. It urges us to keep in mind that our human family is scarred and wounded by a succession of increasingly destructive wars that especially affect the poor and those most vulnerable.[1] Sadly, the new year does not seem to be marked by encouraging signs, as much as by heightened tensions and acts of violence.

*

Tragically however, as we know, not a few adults, including different members of the clergy, have been responsible for grave crimes against the dignity of young people, children and teenagers, violating their innocence and privacy. These are crimes that offend God, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to their victims, and damage the life of whole communities.[4] Following my meeting in the Vatican last February with representatives of the world’s episcopates, the Holy See has renewed its commitment to bring to light abuses already committed and to ensure the protection of minors through a wide range of norms for dealing with such cases in accordance with canon law and in cooperation with civil authorities on the local and international level.

Given the gravity of the harm involved, it becomes all the more urgent for adults not to abdicate their proper educational responsibilities, but to carry out those responsibilities with greater zeal, in order to guide young people to spiritual, human and social maturity.

For this reason, I have planned a worldwide event to take place on 14 May next with the theme: Reinventing the Global Compact on Education. This gathering is meant to “rekindle our commitment to and with young people, renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education, including patient listening, constructive dialogue and better mutual understanding. Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity”.[5]

Pope hints at broader vision of ‘recovery’ from sex abuse scandals

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 9, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - From the beginning, two things have been true about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The first is that the Church failed, and failed miserably, in its duty to protect children and vulnerable adults entrusted to its care. Unearthing those failures, and doing justice for them, is a long-term challenge that’s far from over.

The second is that despite those failures, the Catholic Church also carries generations of wisdom about raising children successfully, about parenting and education and formation, but it’s been difficult to get any of that across in a context in which you put the words “children” and “Church” into a sentence. For most people the third word that automatically comes to mind is “abuse.”

On Thursday, Pope Francis may just have unveiled a strategy for addressing that imbalance, getting the Catholic Church back on offense after decades of being on the defensive.

*

There in the middle of it all, however, was a lengthy treatment of the abuse scandals.

“These are crimes that offend God, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to their victims, and damage the life of whole communities,” the pope said.

Francis referred to the extraordinary summit he called in February 2019 with the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences of the world, designed to identify “best practices” in the fight against clerical abuse and to promote a uniform global culture of prevention, detection and prosecution of abuse. Among other things, it was the February summit that prompted Francis to abolish the requirement of pontifical secrecy in abuse cases in December.

What came next is the decisive part.

Analysis: Why the McCarrick report could be delayed

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 8, 2020

By JD Flynn

Vatican City - The news that Theodore McCarrick recently moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living has fueled speculation that a report from the Vatican’s internal investigation on McCarrick will soon be released.

But while the report may be completed in Rome, its release may not be imminent, and some U.S. bishops may be quietly hoping for further delays.

The report is the fruit of an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick, who was a cardinal and the archbishop of two major American sees before he was found canonically guilty of serial sexual abuse and laicized.

In October 2018, just months after sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick first emerged, the Vatican said that Pope Francis had commissioned a study of the Vatican archival files on McCarrick, “in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”

Since the study was announced, American Catholics have called for the release of its findings. In recent months, the report’s release has become highly anticipated.

In November, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told the U.S. bishops’ conference that the Vatican intended to publish the report “soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year.”

O’Malley said that he had seen a “hefty document,” which was being translated into Italian for the benefit of Pope Francis, before its imminent release.

McCarrick moved from Kansas friary to ‘undisclosed’ location

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
LifeSiteNews

January 7, 2020

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

A report on how McCarrick was able to become a senior churchman―despite allegations of sexual predation on boys and young men, including seminarians and priests―will likely be released soon.

Victoria, Kansas - Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has become the face of clerical sexual misconduct in America, has moved out of his Kansas refuge.

Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported today that former cardinal and defrocked priest McCarrick has left the Capuchin community in which he resided since the summer of 2018. CNA stated also that senior Church officials told them that McCarrick had recently moved to a “residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry.” CNA’s sources told the agency that the residence is “rather secluded and away from public attention.” Its location has not been disclosed to the public.

McCarrick is said to be paying for his own rent and board and that he voluntarily took up residence in his new home. The reason given for the disgraced ex-prelate’s move is the pressure his stay at the St. Fidelis Friary was putting on his Capuchin hosts. This was expected to intensify when the report of the Vatican’s investigation into how McCarrick was able to become a senior churchman―despite allegations concerning his sexual predation on boys and young men, including seminarians and priests―is released.

The friary is next to an elementary school.

Utah lawmaker aims to remove clergy exemption for reporting child abuse

PROVO (UT)
Daily Herald

January 8, 2020

By Connor Richards

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/utah-lawmaker-aims-to-remove-clergy-exemption-for-reporting-child/article_4a4de860-7ddb-55bb-9d79-77d742911d5b.html

Every Utah adult is required under state law to report confessions of child abuse to law enforcement — unless that adult is a religious leader who learned about the abuse during a confidential confessional.

A state lawmaker wants everyone, regardless of their religious title, to be legally obligated to report child abuse to authorities. So she sponsored a bill that would amend the law to require just that.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, introduced House Bill 90 in the 2020 legislative session. The bill would delete “provisions that exempt, under certain circumstances, a member of the clergy from being required to report child abuse and neglect,” according to its text.

“For me, this is really about protecting children,” Romero said, who proposed the bill after years of discussion with other legislators and child abuse victim advocates. “Children are some of our most vulnerable members of society” and, as a lawmaker, Romero wants vulnerable groups to feel safe.

Utah Code mandates that anyone who “has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect … shall immediately report the alleged abuse or neglect to the nearest peace office, law enforcement agency, or office of the division.”

A sordid secret life? Priest, now dead, accused of raping 7-year-old girl, fathering another child

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 8, 2020

By Peter Rowe

San Diego - Decades after his death, the Rev. Efrén Neri is accused of leading a sordid secret life, raping a 7-year-old girl and fathering a child out of wedlock in the 1950s.

At that time of both incidents, he was assigned to Christ the King parish in Rialto, in San Bernardino County, then part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Outside the diocesan offices Wednesday morning, “Jane Doe” accused Neri of raping her in 1958. Wearing a heavy coat, hat and sunglasses to hide her identity, the 68-year-old woman told reporters that she had spent decades beset by depression, anxiety and a deep sense of shame. After contacting the diocese last summer, she received a letter from Mary Acosta, the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator.

Acosta offered “deep sympathy,” 12 counseling sessions and information on the diocese’s Independent Compensation Program.

Doe rejected the offer of mediation — “They can’t be trusted,” she said of the church — and last November sued the dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Mormon leaders reported a child molester’s confession. Now his wife is suing the church for $9.5 million

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

January 9, 2020

By Antonia Noori Farzan

In recent years, prominent religious institutions have been dogged with accusations that they persistently covered up sexual abuse and failed to report heinous crimes.

But a new lawsuit makes the opposite argument, claiming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints violated a child molester’s confidentiality by turning his confession over to the authorities.

The $9.54 million suit was filed Friday by Kristine Johnson, whose husband, Timothy Samuel Johnson, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a child. As the Salem Statesman Journal first reported, the lawsuit alleges that Johnson became aware of her husband’s misdeeds in 2016, but chose not to involve the police. Instead, the couple went to the leaders of their church ward in Stayton, Ore., so that the matter could be handled through Mormon doctrine.

“The Mormon Church is, for lack of a better word, a unique institution,” Bill Brandt, the attorney representing Kristine Johnson, told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “They firmly believe that they can deal with their parishioners better than law enforcement.”

Timothy Johnson, now 47, went before a council of lay clergy and confessed to the abuse so that he could begin the process of working toward absolution through “fairly intensive” spiritual counseling, Brandt said. But one member of the panel notified the authorities. In 2017, Johnson was arrested on charges of first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration for sexually abusing a child under the age of 16. He pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse the following year.

Jury deliberating sexual assault case against Ord priest

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 8, 2020

By Steve White

Ord NE - A Catholic priest may learn Thursday if he’s going to prison, as a jury decides if he’s guilty of first degree sexual assault of a woman who insists she was trying to document his missionary work.

Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil’s case went to the jury at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, after attorneys made their final arguments.

”This is not okay. This is not okay. This is not okay,” prosecutor George Welch recounted the woman’s words, as she said she found the priest on top of her.

A freelance writer who went to a priest’s home on Thanksgiving night 2018 to do an interview says she awoke in his bed to find him sexually assaulting her.

'Having nightmares to this day': Former Barrigada altar boy sues for priest's sex abuses

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 9, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Some 40 years after he said a priest raped and molested him several times, a former Barrigada altar boy is now suing the entities that he thinks enabled and then covered up the abuses.

To this day, he continues to have nightmares of being sexually abused by the priest, the lawsuit says.

Father Louis Brouillard allegedly raped and molested him in or about 1977 to 1979, according to the $5 million lawsuit filed in local court Wednesday.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only with the initials D.E.F. to protect his privacy, said Brouillard sexually abused him at least twice a week for about three to four months.

New lawsuit against Diocese of San Diego claims sex abuse by Rialto priest

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KGTV

January 8, 2020

By: Marie Coronel

A 68-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually abused decades ago by a priest in Rialto, the latest in a wave of litigation targeting the Diocese of San Diego.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, claims she was abused by Father Efren Neri while he served at Christ the King, a San Bernardino County parish that was then part of the Diocese of San Diego.

“For many years, I just lived with it,” the woman said in an interview. “A lot of shame, anxiety all my life.”

Father Neri died in 1982, according to the Diocese. In a statement, the Diocese said there are no reports Neri was ever accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. “None in San Diego, none in San Bernardino and none in Fresno,” the statement said.

Ex-seminarians charged with harassing official outside diocese offices

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 7, 2020

By Jay Tokasz and Mike McAndrew

Two former seminarians were charged Monday with harassing an employee of the Buffalo Diocese, a sign of the ongoing tension between diocese officials and those protesting over the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Matthew Bojanowski, 38, of West Seneca and Stephen Parisi, 46, of Williamsville were arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane on one count of second-degree harassment, a violation, and released on their own recognizance, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced.

*

The two former seminarians said they left Christ the King Seminary after becoming disenchanted with how the diocese handles complaints of clerical abuse and harassment. Bojanowski accused the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak of violating the Catholic church’s seal of confession, sexual harassment and attempted blackmail, and has alleged that former Bishop Richard J. Malone ignored the complaints for months. Nowak, who was put on leave in August, has denied the allegations through his attorney. The Erie County District Attorney's Office launched an investigation into the allegations against Nowak in September, and a spokeswoman said Tuesday the probe found that no crimes had been committed.

‘House of evil’: Law firm expects to file hundreds of lawsuits against California Catholic dioceses in coming weeks

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento News & Review

January 9, 2020

By Raheem F. Hosseini

Standing in a hotel near the Oakland waterfront, James Brogan didn’t quite know where to begin, so he did something most sexual assault survivors don’t do—he gave his name.

“It’s wrecked my entire life, every aspect of my life,” he said, not looking past the lectern behind which he stood. “Where do you go?”

Because of a new California law, Brogan and countless other survivors of rapists masquerading as holy men can go to court.

Brogan is a plaintiff in one of a dozen new lawsuits against eight California Catholic dioceses that a law firm filed in concert with a new state law. Jeff Anderson & Associates, a national law firm that represents survivors of clergy sexual abuse, announced the lawsuits in a series of wrenching press conferences designed to spread awareness of Assembly Bill 218, also known as the California Child Victims Act.

Priest included on list of accused was exonerated

AGOURA HILLS (CA)
Thousand Oaks Acorn

Jan. 9, 2019

Concerning the front-page story which ran in the Dec. 19 Thousand Oaks Acorn, a highly respected local Catholic priest is listed as an “accused area priest” in a box on Page 8 of said Acorn.

The Acorn failed to clarify this priest’s standing in the archdiocese, and the priest’s inclusion in these articles is a gross injustice to his reputation that needs to be rectified.

Fr. Michael Roebert was investigated and exonerated of allegations made by a single accuser many years ago.

A careful study of the website cited in the Acorn as the source for the list, bishop-accountability.org, has a notation from Sept. 16, 2004, stating: “As a result of the investigation and considering the matter in accord with Archdiocesan policy and the requirements of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, the Archdiocese concludes the allegations against Fr. Roebert are unfounded.”

Since none of this information is available in your article, please clarify this for your readers. Guilty priests need to be held accountable, and good priests who are falsely accused need to be given the respect and support they deserve.

Bonnie Bates
Newbury Park

Ramona priest named in Diocese sexual abuse lawsuit

RAMONA (CA)
San Diego Union Tribune / Ramona Sentinel

January 9, 2020

Multiple lawsuits were filed Thursday against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego and numerous local parishes on behalf of alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse, with recently enacted legislation allowing such legal action even if the alleged abuse occurred outside of the statute of limitations.

The suits allege abuse in the 1960s and 70s by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Ramona. The victims were previously unable to pursue legal action against the Diocese, but recently enacted AB 218 expands the statute of limitations and opened a three-year window starting this year for victims to file suit.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin said that each time abuse was discovered, priests were simply moved to other parishes where they could continue their behavior, with free access to new victims.

According to Zalkin, the Diocese routinely dealt with the problem of “bad priests” by sending them to desert communities, “where they thought they could hide, where they thought that the people there – mostly Hispanic – would not speak up, and they would be out of the limelight, so to speak.”

Zalkin’s office filed six lawsuits Thursday, Jan. 2, on behalf of 20 victims, but he said around 60 additional lawsuits are still being prepared and will be filed within the next 60 to 90 days.

January 8, 2020

'Uncle Ted' McCarrick is on the move again: Is this a major Catholic news story or not?

Get Religion blog

Jan. 8, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

So, let’s say that there is a major piece of news that breaks concerning the life and times of the man previously known as Cardinal Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick.

This is something that happens quite frequently, even though the disgraced former cardinal moved into the wide open spaces of West Kansas, living as a guest in a Capuchin friary.

Ah, but is he still there?

That leads us to this simple, but important, headline at the Catholic News Agency: “Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary.” As I write this, I am not seeing follow-up coverage of this development at any mainstream media websites. Here’s some of the key CNA material:

A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA Jan. 7 that McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, just days ago. He has moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry, senior Church officials told CNA.

The former cardinal made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, sources say, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

The story notes that McCarrick’s new home remains unknown or a secret and that he is paying his own rent. So why move now?

A chance to listen to victim-survivors

ARLINGTON (VA)
Catholic Herald

Jan. 8, 2020

By Zoey Maraist

Angela Boggs was sitting in a small group when her fellow parishioner uttered those words. They were at a listening session at St. John Neumann Church in Reston in the immediate aftermath of the 2018 clergy sexual abuse crisis, and it would’ve been easy to feel dirty after hearing about the terrible crimes committed. But this woman said she was disgusted by her own complicity as a member of the Catholic Church.

“That really touched me,” said Boggs. “(Victim-survivors) have been harmed terribly by our church and we’re accountable. We may not be legally accountable but we are accountable to God for that. We have a responsibility to support people who’ve been damaged by our church.”

Boggs and her fellow parishioners felt angry, hurt and discouraged, but they decided they weren’t powerless. A month later, they gathered to form the Action Committee, an acronym for advocacy, change, transparency, inclusion and ongoing reform regarding clergy sexual abuse.

Of the many facets of the crisis, they decided to focus on the victim-survivors. They read as much as they could and invited speakers to educate them, such as Frank Moncher, the victims assistance coordinator for the diocese, and the victims assistance coordinator of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, the religious order that staffs St. John Neumann.

Oregon woman sues Mormon church over husband’s abuse disclosure

PORTLAND (OR)
Associated Press

Jan. 8, 2020

An Oregon woman is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for $9.54 million after her husband’s confession to church leaders led to his arrest, conviction and imprisonment on child sexual abuse charges.

The lawsuit, filed in Marion County Circuit Court, involves a Turner man convicted of abuse after he confessed to Stayton clergy that he had repeated sexual contact with a minor.

Church officials did not respond to the Statesman Journal for comment.

The man’s confession was meant to be confidential, said the family’s attorney Bill Brandt.

Timothy Samuel Johnson and his wife Kristine Johnson were members of a Stayton, Oregon, Mormon ward when his wife learned he had “engaged in inappropriate conduct” with a minor known to him, according to the lawsuit.

After learning of the sexual abuse, the couple followed church doctrine by having Johnson confess and repent his sins before church clergy and the official church court.

Brandt also said church leaders represented “that whatever the scope of Mr. Johnson’s evil transgressions, the Church and its clergy will spiritually counsel Mr. Johnson to bring peace within his life and family.”

Johnson confessed to local leaders and members of the church court that he had sexually abused a minor.

But what leaders failed to advise Johnson of is that if he confessed to the abuse, they would report his actions to local law enforcement, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson, 47, was arrested in 2017 on charges of first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration for sexually abusing a girl under the age of 16.

He later pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Former Student Accuses Nun Of Sex Abuse At Holy Cross School

RUMSON (NJ)
Patch

Jan. 8, 2020

By Tom Davis

A former student of a Catholic school in New Jersey says she was sexually abused by a nun while she was in first grade, according to a lawsuit filed in state Superior Court.

Holy Cross School in Rumson, Holy Cross Parish and the Diocese of Trenton were named as defendants.

The woman, a Cliffside Park resident, she was abused by Sister Mary Nazareen while she was a teacher at Holy Cross School during the 1960s, according to the lawsuit.

The student was enrolled at Holy Cross from kindergarten until seventh grade, during which Nazareen used her position as a teacher to gain her confidence, according to the lawsuit.

Nazareen ultimately engaged in improper sexual sexual contact with the student while she was in first grade.

The teacher engaged in improper sex acts, sexual assault, sexual contact and sexual abuse of the student, causing the woman to experience severe and permanent personal and emotional injuries, the lawsuit says.

The school, parish and diocese failed to exercise care in supervising the sister in her role and failed to take any action to investigate, the lawsuit states.

Why is the Vatican keeping Bishop Scharfenberger in the dark?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

Jan. 8, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, New York, is in a tough spot. Appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo after the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop Scharfenberger is the public face of the Church in a place riddled with scandal and in dire need of urgent repair. But he apparently has little power to effect reform and little information with which to work.

Bishop Malone resigned after 18 months of intense public scrutiny of his leadership, which produced significant evidence of serious mismanagement and attracted the attention of state and federal prosecutors.

“I didn’t know quite what to expect,” Bishop Scharfenberger told Charlie Specht of ABC local affiliate WKBW in a wide-ranging interview that aired earlier this week, “because I really hadn’t been briefed at all.”

The bishop continued: “All I knew is what I read in the papers, to tell you the truth.”

He would have read enough, then, to know that there is a great deal amiss in the diocese, but not always enough to take informed and prudent steps toward remedy.

Observers – the faithful and clergy of Buffalo and beyond, as well as reporters – were surprised to hear Bishop Scharfenberger say that he had not received a copy of the report, which Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn prepared after conducting a fact-finding mission to the diocese late last year.

“I was not given that,” Bishop Scharfenberger told WKBW, “I don’t know what it contains.

“I was not given any documentation or any marching orders that ‘you’re here to clean things up,’ or anything. I was just told to be the administrator of the diocese.”

Anglican priest accused of sexual abuse charges dies in hospital

TORONTO {CANADA)
Anglican Journal

Jan. 8, 2020

By Joelle Kidd

The Rev. Gordon William Dominey, pictured in 1980 (left) and 2016 (right), was awaiting trial for multiple sexual abuse charges at the time of his death. Photo: Edmonton Police Service
An Anglican priest awaiting trial for multiple sexual abuse charges died Nov. 7.

The Rev. Gordon William Dominey, a priest in the diocese of New Westminster, was alleged to have committed sexual abuses against boys who were inmates at the Edmonton correctional facility where Dominey worked as a prison chaplain in the 1980s. He was charged with 18 sexual assault charges and nine gross indecency charges.

According to the CBC, the Dominey’s two trials, originally scheduled to take place in 2020, were to be adjourned because he was too ill to travel.

Defense lawyer Kent Teskey told the CBC that Dominey was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and had been undergoing chemotherapy since that time.

A lawsuit has been filed in Court of Queen’s Bench that also names the province of Alberta and the diocese of Edmonton. The group behind the suit is seeking to have the case certified as a class-action lawsuit.

Dominey worked at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre, a youth jail, from 1985-1989.

How Michelle Simpson Tuegel Fought the Good Fight Against USA Gymnastics

DALLAS (TX)
D Magazine

Jan. 2020

By Kathy Wise

Michelle Simpson Tuegel was a key player in the largest settlement ever reached in a sexual abuse case involving an American university. She is also a world-champion water skier and a former capital defense attorney, having represented clients on death row. Those three things are all related, more so than you might imagine.

The eldest daughter of a trial attorney father and dental hygienist mother, Tuegel grew up in Bridgeport, Texas, a small town north of Fort Worth with a sizable lake where she spent her childhood on skis. When I met the 36-year-old attorney in the law office she opened last January, in an exposed brick loft building in Deep Ellum, she was fresh out of a four-hour ESPN interview with some of her gymnast clients. Wearing a stylish floral-print dress and heels, her fingernails painted black, she still exuded athleticism. It was easy to imagine that even at a young age she was taller than average and had that fearlessness that comes from physical confidence, thriving on speed and the challenge of staying upright on a fluid surface.

She made the junior U.S. water ski team and went pro at 15, competing around the world on the national team for six years. It’s still not an Olympic sport, but if it were, it’s a good bet she would have medaled. As it was, the U.S. Olympic Committee paid for her training and she won the collegiate national championship and the World Cup championship as an undergrad at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida.

A Victim’s Account Fuels a Reckoning Over Abuse of Children in France

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

January 7, 2020

By Norimitsu Onishi

A French author wrote for years about his predilection for children and continued to win acclaim. Now one of them has spoken out.

Paris - The French writer Gabriel Matzneff never hid the fact that he engaged in sex with girls and boys in their early teens or even younger. He wrote countless books detailing his insatiable pursuits and appeared on television boasting about them. “Under 16 Years Old,” was the title of an early book that left no ambiguity.

Still, he never spent a day in jail for his actions or suffered any repercussion. Instead, he won acclaim again and again. Much of France’s literary and journalism elite celebrated him and his work for decades. Now 83, Mr. Matzneff was awarded a major literary prize in 2013 and, just two months ago, one of France’s most prestigious publishing houses published his latest work.

But the publication, last Thursday, of an account by one of his victims, Vanessa Springora, has suddenly fueled an intense debate in France over its historically lax attitude toward sex with minors. It has also shone a particularly harsh light on a period during which some of France’s leading literary figures and newspapers — names as big as Foucault, Sartre, Libération and Le Monde — aggressively promoted the practice as a form of human liberation, or at least defended it.

A day after the publication of Ms. Springora’s book, “Le Consentement,” or “Consent,” which sold out quickly at many Paris bookstores, the fallout continued. Prosecutors in Paris announced that after “analyzing” its contents, they had opened an investigation into the case and would also look for other victims in and out of France.

In France, it is illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor under the age of 15. But it is not automatically considered rape, unlike in countries with statutory rape laws where people who are underage are considered incapable of giving consent.

Bishop Scharfenberger says he was given no ‘particular mission’ in Buffalo

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald from Catholic News Agency

January 8, 2020

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo, has said he was not given the results of a Vatican-ordered investigation into the scandal-hit diocese.

“I was not given that,” Bishop Edward Scharfenberger told local news station WKBW in an interview on Monday, regarding the Vatican’s report of the investigation. “I don’t know what it contains,” he said.

Scharfenberger also told WKBW that he was not given a clear mandate by the Vatican when he was appointed as apostolic administrator of the Buffalo diocese in December after the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone.

“I was not sent with a particular mission,” Scharfenberger said of his temporary appointment to Buffalo, emphasizing that Malone resigned and was not “forced out.”

“I was not given any documentation or any marching orders that ‘you’re here to clean things up,’ or anything. I was just told to be the administrator of the diocese.”

Testimony underway in former Ord priest trial

BROKEN BOW (NE)
Sandhills Express and KSNB

January 7, 2020

Ord NE - The trial for a priest accused of sexually assaulting an Ord woman last year is underway.

Fr. John Kakkuzhiyil, former pastor in Ord, is charged with first-degree sexual assault.

14 people, including two alternates, were chosen Monday to serve on the jury for the trial. The 14 include three men and 11 women.

Testimony began late Monday after jury selection.

Kakkuzhiyil was arrested in early January 2019 after a month-long investigation by the state patrol into a claim by an Ord woman who said the priest raped her at his home in late November. Court records indicate that the woman also claims Kakkuzhiyil gave her a couple of drinks beforehand, that she blacked out, and when she awoke she was naked and the priest was performing a sex act.

Kakkuzhiyil pled not guilty in Valley County District Court in Ord on February 18, 2019.

If found guilty on the felony sexual assault charge, Kakkuzhiyil could get up to 50 years in prison.

Up until late 2018, Kakkuzhiyil was a parish priest in Ord and Burwell.

Accuser takes stand in Ord priest sexual assault trial

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 7, 2020

Ord NE - A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest took the stand Tuesday in Day 2 of the anticipated four-day trial in Ord.

Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil is facing one count of forcible sexual assault in Valley County District Court from a November 2018 incident, and he has maintained a not guilty plea. Kakkuzhiyil was placed on leave in December 2018.

The woman claimed she visited him at his home on professional business, saying she was interviewing him for a project she was working on. She told the court that Kakkuzhiyil asked her to wear a red dress to his home for the interview and asked her to pack a bag.

Update: Jury hears opening statements in priest sexual assault case

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 6, 2020

Ord NE - A woman confronts the man many trust as a spiritual adviser, a man she accuses of sexual assault.

Now a Catholic priest defends himself as he faces a felony trial in Valley County.

Father John Kakkuzhiyil is accused of violating the trust others placed in him, while his attorney paints a picture of two adults who made a mistake that became regret.

"I had no intention of taking advantage of you my dear," Kakkuzhiyil is heard on a recording made by Sheriff Casey Hurlburt, as he listened to his accuser call the priests.

The Catholic Church’s Strategy to Limit Payouts to Abuse Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Bloomberg Businessweek

January 8, 2020

By Josh Saul

In the past 15 years, the church has shielded more than $2 billion in assets by aggressively moving and reclassifying them before declaring bankruptcy.

For most of the 20th century, the Catholic Church in the U.S. minimized the damage wrought by pedophile priests by covering up the abuse. When the bishop of the Davenport, Iowa, diocese was told in the mid-1950s that one of his priests was sexually abusing boys at a local YMCA, he kept it secret. “It is consoling to know that no general notoriety has arisen, and I pray none may result,” he wrote to a priest, capturing the strategy of the era.

Cover-ups worked when victims and their families could be intimidated or shamed into silence. But in the 1980s and ’90s, victims started filing civil lawsuits against the dioceses where the alleged incidents took place. Church leaders across the country kept these suits quiet by settling out of court and demanding nondisclosure agreements in return. Church leaders paid out about $750 million from the early ’80s through 2002, according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse.

The veil of secrecy on these transactions was pierced when the Boston Globe published its investigations into church sex abuse in 2002, sparking public outrage at how clergy had protected their own. From 1950 to 2002, 4,392 priests were accused of abuse, according to a study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Parties other than archdiocese have settled with many clergy sex abuse claimants

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 8, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

With the exception of the Archdiocese of Agana, defendants in Guam's approximately 280 clergy sex abuse cases have either settled with abuse claimants or they are actively negotiating settlements.

While each sex abuse lawsuit has more than one defendant, almost all have the archdiocese in common as a defendant.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy a year ago and has not reached any settlement yet.

The Boy Scouts of America and Capuchin Franciscans have settled with many of the claimants, based on reports of settlement status filed in federal court by attorneys representing defendants and plaintiffs.

Bishops and Bribes

MANASSAS (VA)
CatholicCulture.org

January 7, 2020

By Phil Lawler

As a minor public official in the little town where we live, I am required each January to re-read a summary of conflict-of-interest laws in Massachusetts, and sign a statement indicating that I understand them. So every year I am officially reminded that I cannot participate in a zoning decision involving property that abuts my own, and I cannot accept employment with a firm that needs my board’s approval for a development project. Above all—first and foremost—I am reminded that I cannot solicit or accept gifts because of my official position.

Maybe you have great confidence in my integrity. Maybe you believe that I could render a fair and impartial judgment, even after having been handed an envelope full of cash. But some people are suspicious, and the government of Massachusetts drives home the message that the appearance of impropriety is itself impropriety. So I don’t accept cash gifts (not that any have been offered).

But in recent weeks we have learned about Catholic bishops who lavished gifts on Church officials whose decisions could influence their ecclesiastical careers. Former cardinal Ted McCarrick gave $600,000 to ranking prelates. Bishop Michael Bransfield spread around another $350,000. That’s nearly $1 million in gifts—cash gifts—provided by two prelates who are now living in disgrace, to other prelates who remain in good standing.

Pope’s early 2020 likely to be dominated by documents rather than deeds

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 7, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Normally when one looks ahead at a pope’s new year, it’s either things the pope is expected to do over the coming 12 months that loom largest - foreign trips, for instance, and bishops’ appointments - or things he’s likely to say, such as milestone speeches or sensational media interviews.

There will be all of that for Pope Francis in 2020, but at least for the early part of the year, it seems more likely the biggest papal bombshells will instead come in things the pope is expected to publish, especially two keenly awaited texts: Francis’s conclusions to last October’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, and the Vatican’s report on the case of former cardinal and former priest Theodore McCarrick.

Also on that list probably should be Praedicate Evangelium, Francis’s long-awaited overhaul of the Roman Curia, though it’s probably not destined to be the thunderclap the other two texts will represent. Many of its main conclusions have already been made public, including the pope’s plan to make evangelization and mission the engine driving the Vatican’s train.

Both the synod conclusions and the McCarrick report could be out within the first third of the year, and both are likely to fuel debate and controversy for some time to come.

A Utah bill would require clergy to report child abuse confessed to them

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake City Tribune

January 7, 2020

By Kathy Stephenson
·
Utah clergy would be required to report all allegations of child abuse — even those gathered in a religious confessional — under a bill proposed for the 2020 legislative session.

HB90, sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, would, if passed, remove the exemption that clergy now have in certain circumstances for reporting abuse.

Romero said many survivors of sexual abuse — as well as relatives of those who have been victimized — have contacted her to say they support such a change to state law.

“Their perpetrators went to confession, confided in a religious leader, and nothing ever happened," she said. “The purpose is to get rid of the exemption and hold religious leaders to the same standard as teachers and doctors.”

January 7, 2020

Judge issues $150,000 bond for Strongsville priest facing new child porn charges

CHARDON (OH)
WKYC TV

Jan. 8, 2020

A Strongsville priest who is already facing charges stemming from a child pornography investigation in Cuyahoga County was arraigned on new charges in Geauga County Wednesday morning.

Rev. Bob McWilliams, 39, faces charges of pandering obscenities on accusations he solicited photos from a minor. He was transferred to the Geauga County Jail after posting bail for similar charges in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court last week.

Prosecutors on Wednesday requested a $150,000 bond, which Judge Terri Stupica ordered.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.

The investigation started with allegations the priest sent an inappropriate text to a teenager at St. Helen’s Church in Newbury, where McWilliams led the church’s youth program.

In the text exchange, McWilliams posed online as a teen girl and asked a teen boy to send him photos, authorities said.

Once Geauga County officials learned of the texts, they obtained a search warrant for electronics belonging to McWilliams, including a laptop, iPad and cell phone.

Scicluna hails abolition of pontifical secret in clerical sex crimes

SAN GWANN (MALTA)
Malta Today

Jan. 7, 2020

By Matthew Vella

Malta’s archbishop Charles Scicluna has hailed the abolition of the pontifical secret in cases of sexual violence and clerical abuse of minors, as an important step in working for justice for victims.

Scicluna, whom Pope Francis appointed as the Holy See’s prosecutor on clerical sex abuse cases, said the abolition will mean certain jurisdictions cannot be excused from not collaborating with authorities on such cases.

The abolition of the pontifical secret applies on the reporting, trials and decisions on cases of violence and sexual acts committed under threat or abuse of authority, sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons, cases of child pornography, as well as the lack of reporting and the cover-up of the abusers on the part of bishops and superiors general of religious institutes.

“Certain jurisdiction would have easily quoted the pontifical secret because that was the state of the law, in order to say that they could not, and that they were not, authorised to share information with either state authorities or the victim,” Scicluna told Vatican News.

“Now that impediment, we might call it that way, has been lifted, and the pontifical secret is no more an excuse.

“However, the law goes further… information is of the essence if we really want to work for justice. And so, the freedom of information to statutory authorities and to victims is something that is being facilitated by this new law.”

Priest charged with child porn moved to Geauga County Jail

CHARDON (OH)
WJW FOX 8

Jan. 7, 2020

A local priest accused on child porn charges was moved to a new location.

Father Robert McWilliams is now locked up in the Geauga County Jail.

Court documents said the priest posed as a teen girl to solicit nude photos from a teen boy. The incident happened in May 2017 and was reported in Munson Township.

McWilliams was arrested last month at Saint Joseph Parish in Strongsville. He faces charges in Cuyahoga County, including illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. He pleaded not guilty.

A bill in the Utah State Legislature removes ‘priest-penitent’ privilege when it comes to child abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Fox 13 News

Jan. 7, 2020

By Ben Winslow

A bill made public ahead of the 2020 legislative session would remove the “priest-penitent” privilege when it comes to reporting abuse cases.

House Bill 90, sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, would demand that a priest, a bishop or any other clergy who receives a disclosure of abuse turn around and report that to law enforcement to investigate. If that clergy member doesn’t, they could face a misdemeanor charge. It also allows for the possibility of civil litigation by a victim, she told FOX 13.

“We’re not attacking their religion. We’re looking to protect children from being harmed,” Rep. Romero said Tuesday.

FOX 13 first reported on Rep. Romero’s proposed legislation back in July. It has garnered the support of the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). But now that the bill has been made public, Rep. Romero said she is expecting that some faith groups will weigh in.

“We are still reviewing the legislation and its constitutionality,” said Jean Hill, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace.

A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told FOX 13 it would need to “review the bill and its implications before taking a position.”

Rep. Romero said her legislation is trying to combat cover-ups involving clergy who either do not report abuse, or move abusers around.

“We’ve seen this in the Catholic church. We’ve seen this in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we’ve seen this in a variety of religions,” she said. “People get shuffled around, they get moved around.”

Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

Jan 7, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

The disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018.

A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA Jan. 7 that McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, just days ago.

He has moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry, senior Church officials told CNA.

The former cardinal made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, sources say, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

McCarrick moved to the friary shortly after he was accused in 2018 of sexually abusing minors, seminarians, and young priests.

McCarrick’s new location remains undisclosed. Sources told CNA that the former cardinal arranged his new accommodation for himself, adding that the residence to which he has moved is “rather secluded and away from public attention.”

“McCarrick remains a guest at his new accommodation, but he is funding his own stay and is there by his own choice - no one can make him stay if he does not wish to,” a Church official told CNA.

All Bets Are Off as Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Assault Trial Opens Today

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

Published January 5, 2020; Updated Jan. 7, 2020

By Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor and Jan Ransom

[Follow The Times’s coverage of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Weinstein trial.]

Since the Harvey Weinstein story broke more than two years ago, everything about it has been outsize: the scope of the allegations of sexual harassment and assault, stretching back decades; the number of his accusers, who total more than 80; and the global scale of the reckoning their stories have inspired.

Now, as the Hollywood producer’s criminal trial begins Monday in Manhattan, the outcome already is anticipated as a verdict on much more than one man’s alleged wrongdoing.

Many supporters of the #MeToo movement that Mr. Weinstein’s accusers helped ignite are looking to see whether the legal system can deliver justice for victims. Lawyers for Mr. Weinstein, who lost his company, his reputation and his marriage, are arguing that the case is proof that #MeToo has gone too far. At the courthouse, media from around the world, demonstrators outside and spectators in packed galleries will be watching.

Harvey Weinstein's rape trial in New York begins as new charges are filed in Los Angeles: What we know

NEW YORK (NY)
Yahoo Celebrity

January 6, 2020

By Taryn Ryder

Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial began Monday in New York City where the disgraced producer faces a possibility of life in prison. There was no shortage of drama both outside and inside the courtroom — and in Los Angeles. It was also announced Monday he will face sexual assault and rape charges stemming from encounters with two women in 2013.

Weinstein, who was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, hobbled into a Manhattan court on a walker passing by a group of accusers — including actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette — who call themselves the "Silence Breakers." They said in a release they were "representing the more than 90 women who bravely came forward to report Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct."

"He doesn’t realize what he’s done at all and I don’t think he ever will," McGowan told the crowd on Monday. "He has something sick in his head like many serial rapists."

Lawsuit claims Trautman, former Buffalo diocesan leader and Erie bishop, covered up clergy abuse case

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

January 2, 2020

By Chris Horvatits

A new Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Thursday details the lengths the accuser says Church officials took to cover up clergy abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo. It specifically blames Donald Trautman, who served as vicar general and auxiliary bishop in Buffalo before becoming the Bishop of Erie in 1990.

“In the lawsuit, we state that Bishop Trautman covered this abuse up,” said Paul Barr, who represents the alleged victim.

The abuse in question is alleged to have been committed in the early-to-mid 1980s, while Trautman was still in Buffalo, by Rev. Gerald Smyczynski. Smyczynski’s name appears on the list of clergy who are credibly accused of abuse against a minor in the Diocese of Buffalo. He died in 1999.

The lawsuit alleges, “Bishop Trautman expedited an annulment for a member of the plaintiff’s family with the hope of ensuring their silence about the abuses perpetrated by Smyczynski.”

Priest who served in Brighton during 1970s pleads guilty to child sex crimes

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

January 6, 2020

By Danny McDonald

A Catholic priest who served in a Brighton parish decades ago has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two children during the 1970s in Suffolk County, according to prosecutors.

James Randall Gillette, 77, pleaded guilty during a Jan. 2 appearance in Suffolk Superior Court to two counts of unnatural and lascivious acts on a child, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Gillette was sentenced to five years under house arrest, during which time he must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet. Additionally, he must register as a sex offender, undergo sex offender treatment as ordered by the probation department, stay away and have no contact with the survivors or any witnesses in the case, and have no one-on-one contact with any child under the age of 18 unless the minor’s parents are present, according to the district attorney’s office.

He did not receive any prison time.

Messages left with Gillette’s attorneys were not immediately returned Monday evening. It was not immediately clear where he was living or whether he had been defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church.

According to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented one of the case’s two victims in a separate civil case against Gillette, the priest was ordained in 1971 and was assigned to St. Michael’s in Union City, N.J. between 1972 and 1974. He was then assigned to St. Gabriel’s in Brighton from 1975 to 1978. After that, he had assignments in Mexico City, Honduras, and Pittsburgh. He also lived in New York.

BREAKING: 100s of Southern Baptist Churches subpoenaed in sex abuse lawsuit

TUSCALOOSA (AL)
Capstone Report

Jan. 6, 2020

The very future of the Southern Baptist Convention could be in the balance as a lawsuit threatens to undermine church autonomy—a key feature of Southern Baptist polity. Making the situation even more dire, one Southern Baptist entity, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has in a separate case advanced a legal theory that undermines claims of church autonomy. Now lawyers for sex abuse victims are set to attack this vulnerable area.

Hundreds of Virginia Southern Baptist Churches were subpoenaed in a $82 million sex abuse lawsuit. There are at least 2,000 pages of subpoenas to SBC churches, according to Will McRaney. McRaney revealed the startling information during a Facebook live broadcast Monday evening. McRaney’s sourced included a subpoena recipient and a search of courthouse records. McRaney said he was provided copies of a couple of the subpoenas. The lawsuit was
filed over the summer now includes the local church Immanuel Baptist Church, the Petersburg Baptist Association—the local association, the Baptist Convention of Virginia and the Southern Baptist Convention. The lawsuit was filed in Chesterfield County.

According to Baptist News Global, the lawsuit “involves Jeffrey Dale Clark, a former youth group leader at Immanuel Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Virginia, serving a 25-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of indecent acts with child by a custodian in 2016. Eight individuals with ages now ranging from 14 to 24 allege they were sexually molested by Clark while he worked as an assistant and leader of the youth group between 2008 and 2015.”

Lawyers expanded the case to assert the Southern Baptist Convention’s failure to do anything about sex abuse among its congregations made it liable for the abuse of children.

McRaney is embroiled in his own lawsuit against the alleged illegal activity of the North American Mission. McRaney claims NAMB and its director Kevin Ezell forced his termination. The evidence made public supports McRaney’s claims, but so far that evidence hasn’t been considered in court. His lawsuit was dismissed and is now on appeal before the federal appellate court.

Revised law paves way for new lawsuit alleging Reedley priest abused women

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30 KFSN

January 6, 2020

By Corin Hoggard

A new state law has paved the way for a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

It claims a priest active in Reedley right now sexually abused at least two girls decades ago.

One of the women came forward last June about alleged abuse by Monsignor John Esquivel in 1983. The other one is still anonymous, but she says he abused her in 1971. And a new law means there's no statute of limitations right now.

The memories feel fresh for Sylvia Gomez Ray.

"It was inappropriate touching, groping, massages that were inappropriate that led to groping my butt," she said.

Six months ago, she accused Esquivel of sexual abuse in 1983 when as a 17-year-old, she worked as a secretary at St. Joseph's in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield church, Fresno Diocese, accused of covering up child sexual abuse claims

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
KBAK / KBFX

January 2, 2020

By Emma Goss

The Diocese of Fresno and St. Philip the Apostle church in Bakersfield are being sued. They're accused of covering up sexual misconduct by a pastor for decades.

Fr. Anthony Moreno, who served as priest at St. Philip the Apostle from July 1979 to December 1980, is being accused of molesting multiple children, according to a law suit filed in Fresno court this week.

"As a 12 year old, I was confused, and I thought I had done something wrong," Toni Moreland, a Fresno woman who filed the law suit, said at a press conference Thursday morning. She claims she was molested by Moreno while he was serving as priest in Bakersfield between 1979 and 1980. Her father reported the sexual abuse to the church soon after Moreland claims it happened. By December of 1980 he was moved to serve at Church of the Sacred Heart, in Fresno.

"I think that was the most troubling of all things, was to realize that they just moved Anthony to another parish. I thought that was what just happened to me." Moreland said.

‘We call them out for their failure to respond.’ Diocese of Fresno sued under new abuse law

MERCED (CA)
Merced Sun-Star

January 2, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A child sexual abuse lawsuit was filed against the Catholic Diocese of Fresno on Thursday, accusing another one of its priests.

Father Anthony Moreno joined the growing list of priests in the Diocese of Fresno who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

The lawsuit was filed under the state’s new Child Victims Act, also knows as Assembly Bill 218, which lawmakers passed last year. St. Philip the Apostle in Bakersfield is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Lawsuits filed in Oakland, SF allege child sexual abuse by priests

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle and Bay City News Service

January 1, 2020

An expected wave of lawsuits made possible by a new state law continued Tuesday as attorneys announced new filings in Oakland and San Francisco by victims of alleged childhood sexual abuse by priests.

The lawsuit are permitted by California's Assembly Bill 218 of 2019, which opened a three-year window for childhood sexual abuse survivors to file lawsuits regardless of when the molestation occurred.

The statute also allows a tripling of financial damages compensation in cases where an effort to hide evidence of child sexual abuse is proved.

On Tuesday, two men in their 50s sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging they were sexually abused by priests at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

James Brogan, 56, who grew up in Hayward, alleges he was sexually assaulted by Father George Crespin beginning when he was 11 years old.

Attorney bares his past as child sex abuse victim in ad seeking clients

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 6, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

Five months ago, Niagara Falls attorney Paul K. Barr had a tough decision to make as he prepared to record a radio advertisement inviting clients to file lawsuits against molesters under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Barr kept asking himself if the commercial should mention that he, too, was allegedly molested by a priest in 1980.

He decided that it should.

“I was 16, a budding athlete. Father Mike took notice,” Barr's commercial begins.

The ad goes on to tell the story of how the Rev. Michael R. Freeman allegedly molested him at a Niagara Falls church. “I was a victim,” the ad continues. “I know what it’s like and I will take your call.”

Now that the commercial has been running for three months in Buffalo, New York City and in several other states, Barr said he is at peace with his decision to let radio listeners in on one of the most traumatic incidents of his life.

Fargo and Bismarck Catholic Diocese Release List of Known Clergy Who Sexually Abused Minors

FARGO (ND)
Legal Examiner - O'Keefe, O'Brien, Lyson, Foss Law

January 6, 2020

By Timothy O'Keefe

Nearly six months after publicly calling for the release of a list of known offending priests in the diocese, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo released the names of 31 leaders in the church connected to the sexual abuse of minors. The Bismarck Diocese also released a list of 22 clergy members who likely sexually abused a minor on January 2, 2020.

Notably, the list only includes those involving “substantiated allegations” of minor sexual abuse. The Fargo Diocese has explained its definition of substantiated allegation as “one for which sufficient corroborating evidence establishes reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged abuse in fact occurred.”
The lists include only the clergy member’s name, year of ordination, year of death, and basic status in the church. Twenty-two of the 31 clergy are deceased from the Fargo Diocese’s list, while 20 of the 22 on the Bismarck Diocese’s list are deceased. The Bismarck Diocese also notes there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the dioceses since 1989.

As noted in the New York Times by Tim Lennon, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, without additional details like “work history, photographs, when the allegations against each clergy member were received and what actions were taken in response,” the release of the list comes off as a “public relations ploy to appease the public.” The Fargo list does not provide where any timeline of when the church learned of the substantiated allegation or took action against these individuals. Further, neither the Fargo nor Bismarck lists provide information about where the living clergy are currently residing.

Media outlets and other organizations tracking public accusations of clergy abuse have also noted some names appear to be missing from the dioceses’ lists. BishopAccountability.org is an organization which maintains a database of publicly accused priests based upon dioceses’ published lists, publicly-filed court records, and news articles. Between the dioceses’ lists and the database, there are at least five clergy members who have allegedly abused individuals but are not on the lists publicly released by the dioceses yesterday. For example, as of August 2019, at least two priests not named on the dioceses’ lists were under investigation for sexual abuse.

The church must face its own role in violence against women

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

January 7, 2020

By Jamie Manson

Of all of the religious instruction classes that my mother took as a girl, one lesson in particular always seemed to stay with her: the day that the nun explained the church's teaching on divorce.

A girl in the class asked the sister whether it would be okay to leave her husband if he hit her.

"No," the nun replied. "Even if he beats you, you have to stay with him."

When she got home from class, my mother told my grandparents about the lesson. Horrified, they vehemently disagreed with the nun and told her she would have to divorce any man who put his hands on her.

My mother has recounted this story many times throughout my life, and what strikes me most about it is that she, in fact, did stay with a man who hit her. He was my stepfather, and I was 4 years old when I witnessed him punch her. I was never the same again.

Meeting of Church heavy-hitters calls for ‘adjustments’ to priestly formation

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 7, 2020

By Christopher White

New York - A major gathering of ecclesial heavy hitters focusing on the future of the priesthood concluded with a call for a reimagining of priestly formation - one that incorporates the laity and women in the process and better reflects the racial and cultural diversity within the U.S. Church.

The two-day symposium at Boston College took place January 2-3 and was organized around “To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry,” a document first published in December 2018, which was the result of a series of seminars sponsored by the college’s Department of Theology and School of Theology and Ministry.

*
Both Hanlon Rubio and Groome noted that the abuse crisis was “always in the room,” but the aim of the conference was forward thinking and meant to challenge all parties present.

Citing Pope Francis and his condemnation of clericalism, Groome said that the conference sought to consider what causes it, but more importantly, how to avoid it going forward.

Church hires third-party counselor for abuse victims

SAINT ALBANS MESSENGER
Saint Albans Messenger

January 6, 2020

Burlington - In response to a recent report detailing past sexual abuses by members of the clergy, Vermont’s Catholic Church has hired an independent victim assistance coordinator to support abuse survivors and their families.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington announced last week they had contracted with Sheila Conroy, a licensed mental health counselor, to help victims and their families in “bringing about healing, justice and peace” after cases of abuse by church employees and clergy.

As the victim assistance coordinator, Conroy would provide a confidential listening services and work as a liaison for victims to communicate their needs with the Catholic Church, while also promoting support groups, workshops and other healing services for abuse survivors and members of their family.

Priest Gets Probation for ‘Unnatural Acts’ on a Minor

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press via NBC 10 Boston

January 7, 2020

The defendant has not been defrocked but has been on restrictions that ban him from identifying as a priest or serving in church functions since the 1990s

A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to two counts of "unnatural acts" with a minor for accusations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.

James Randall Gillette was sentenced to five years of probation in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Jan. 2, according to court records.

More serious charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a minor were dismissed, but he still has to register as a sex offender.

January 6, 2020

State must take action on statute of limitations Senate bill

MARIETTA (OH)
Marietta Tiimes

Jan. 2, 2020

As victims in Marietta are interviewed about encounters with a possible serial rapist when they were children, a bill that would have extended their ability to seek justice for those crimes seems to be dormant in Ohio.

Senate Bill 162, which would have eliminated the statute of limitations for rape, was introduced in 2019 and had hearings late in the year. Now, there is no word about its future. We hope it can be reintroduced in this new year and put into law. Seven other states have already removed the statue of limitations for felony sex crimes, including West Virginia, and it’s time for Ohio to do the same.

The case in Marietta is a perfect example of why. Richard Decker, 62, has been charged with rape in a case where he apparently started raping the victim when she was 5, with the assaults continuing on until she was 18. She’s now in her 30s. Police and prosecutors believe Decker had multiple other child victims and have already interviewed as many as 10.

What if some of these instances they dig up in this investigation reveal crimes that occurred more than 25 years ago, the current statute of limitations for rape? Should there be no chance for justice because the victims were too young, too scared, too traumatized to speak out when they were only children? Should Decker no longer be considered a threat to society because an arbitrary amount of time has passed?

Clergy abuse conviction shows more needs to be down by church, lawyer

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

Jan. 6, 2020

By Erin Tiernan

The sentencing last week of a still-ordained priest who admitted to abusing children while he served in Brighton shows church leaders have taken “no substantive action” to stop abuse, said sex abuse lawyer Mitchell Garabedian.

“Bishops have spoken. Cardinals have spoken. Cardinal (Sean) O’Malley has spoken. They’ve all said words but taken no substantive action. It’s time to take action,” Garabedian said Monday.

The Rev. James R. Gillette pleaded guilty to two counts of unnatural acts with a child under the age of 16 in Suffolk Superior Court on Jan. 2 in a plea deal with prosecutors. The charges stemmed from abuse that occurred between 1972-1975.

Judge Beverly J. Cannone sentenced him to five years of probation with GPS monitoring, ordered him to register as a sex offender and complete a sex offender treatment program.

Standing beside Garabedian at a press conference on Monday was Anthony Sgherza, who said he was an altar boy at a New Jersey church from age 10 to 13 when Gillette abused him in the early 1970s.

Gillette transferred to St. Gabriel’s in Brighton in 1975 where he tricked Sgherza into visiting to attend a Boston Red Sox game and again abused the boy, Garabedian said.

Were you sexually abused as a child?

PLATTSBURG (NY)
Press Republican

Jan. 7, 2020

By Penny Clute

Have you thought about suing the abuser, or reporting what happened to the police? Maybe you didn’t even know you could do this, since it was decades ago? Or, you did try to, but were told it was too late? New York has changed the law, giving victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to bring abusers to court. If you were victimized before you turned 18, this law applies to you.

When you were a child, probably no one talked about this. You thought you were alone; you likely thought it was your fault, but it was not. Perhaps the abuser made you keep it a secret, threatening to harm you or your family if you told. You felt ashamed and afraid. You thought no one would believe you, that everyone liked the person who abused you. You didn’t know it was happening to other kids, too. As a child, even a teenager, you couldn’t imagine standing up and saying out loud what he or she did to you. Or maybe you didn’t even realize until later that it was abuse; and that you are not responsible for it.

If the abuse has haunted your life, this big change in the law may help you.

The Statutes of Limitations are the time periods for bringing civil lawsuits and criminal charges in particular cases. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed changes that the governor signed into law on August 14. These new time limits apply to sexual crimes against children that occurred in New York State.

Criminal charges can now be brought by prosecutors until the victim turns 28 for felonies, or 25 for misdemeanors. The period of time available depends upon the victim’s age now, not on when the crime occurred.

In civil cases, where victims can sue abusers for money damages, the time period has been greatly extended.

Houston Islamic Religious Leader Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault And Indecency With Children

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Public Media

Jan. 6, 2020

By Elizabeth Troval

A Muslim religious leader is accused of indecency and sexual assault of children in Fort Bend County.

Imam Mohamed Omar Ali is charged with three counts of indecency with a child and one count of sexual assault of a child, according to Fort Bend County officials.

Ali, who immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia, was arrested on January 3, 2020.

“We do believe that he’s been in several of the victim’s homes,” said Michael Alexander, lead detective of the case for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s part of what he does, he goes to people’s homes and teaches Quran lessons and that’s how he comes into contact with a lot of people is through some of the mosques and then he eventually goes to their homes.”

Assaults allegedly started in 2013 and officials believe there are more victims who are afraid to come forward because of the stigma.

“The investigation originally started off a little bit slow due to a lack of cooperation from some of the victims, because of that stigma, moving forward we did find that there are some people willing to come forward, which is why we are here,” said Alexander.

Ali spent time as a religious leader in multiple mosques in Houston and Fort Bend County, although officials wouldn’t specify which locations.

The 59-year-old is being held at a Fort Bend County jail and also faces deportation.

Church doesn’t seem serious about abuse

FAIRMONT (MN)
The Sentinel

January 6, 2020

By Gary Andersen and Lee Smith, Editorial Board

Hundreds of clergy accused of sexually abusing children, including some convicted of crimes, were left off lists released by the Roman Catholic Church in reaction to a worldwide scandal, The Associated Press found.

In terms of rebuilding trust with those of the faith, the church seems to be in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back posture. When claims of transparency are exposed as hollow, what are those skeptical of the church to believe?

AP investigators examined lists released by Catholic dioceses across the country, of clergy “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse. “An AP analysis found more than 900 clergy members accused of child sexual abuse who were missing from the lists,” the news agency reported.

One former priest in Iowa, who had served time in prison for sex offenses, was placed on that diocese’s list only after the AP asked why his name had been missing. A church official blamed the omission on “an oversight.”

Lawsuit Filed Against Diocese, Randolph Church

JAMESTOWN (NY)
The Post-Journal

January 6, 2020

By John Whittaker

An unnamed woman has filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Randolph.

The four-page court filing was received Dec. 30 in state Supreme Court in Erie County, where the headquarters for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is located. A woman accuses Father Joseph P. Friel of sexually abusing and sexually assaulting her while Friel was serving as priest at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church while the woman was a child taking religious instruction at the church.

“Father Joseph P. Friel threatened the minor plaintiff not to tell anyone about the sexual abuse and if she did ‘the devil would get her,'” the woman’s lawsuit filing states.

Our view: Diocese falls short with its list

GRAND FORKS (ND)
Grand Forks Herald

January 6, 2020

By the Herald Editorial Board

The Catholic Diocese of Fargo has released a list of clergy, deacons and religious leaders accused of sexual abuse of children. In an accompanying statement, Bishop John Folda said “even one instance of abuse would be too many, and I know this list of clergy and religious (leaders) is a cause of deep sadness to us all.”

We stop short of saying it must be a difficult time for the church, since it’s obviously a much more difficult time for any abuse victims. The diocese should not be commended for releasing the names, since doing so is right and only one part of the process to heal these wounds.

And while we appreciate the church’s list – accompanied by pre-written comments from Folda and answers to a list of frequently asked questions – we believe the effort still falls short.

For example: The list shows the names of the clergymen accused via substantial allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Included is the year of ordination and also a “status” section; most of the accused are dead, although those still alive have been removed from the ministry.

What’s missing is where those clergymen served. And that’s important, because the people of Pembina, for instance, deserve a reminder that Jules Belleau possibly served there for a time between 1925 and 1973. And people in Grand Forks deserve to know Richard Sinner apparently was pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at UND and also a chaplain at St. Michael’s Hospital at times in the 1950s. And that Julius Binder possibly served in Grand Forks at times between 1939 and 1991.

Fargo Diocese releases list of 31 church officials accused of sexually abusing children

FARGO (ND)
Fargo Forum via Grand Forks Herald

January 2, 2020

By April Baumgarten

The Catholic Diocese of Fargo has released a list of 31 clergy and religious members who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

The list, which only includes allegations the diocese believes are credible, was sent to news media Thursday, Jan. 2. It comes after the diocese reviewed its files dating back to 1950. It includes clergy members — priests, deacons and bishops — as well as other non-ordained religious figures.

“It is my hope that this release of names will open the way to a purification of our Church, especially in our own diocese,” Bishop John Folda said in a statement. “We all know the experience of grace that comes with the confession of sins, and I pray that our diocese will experience a similar outpouring of grace through acknowledgement of these sinful acts by those in positions of authority.”

Over the years, many dioceses around the country have released similar lists. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead has previously pressed the Fargo Diocese on if and when it would release its own list. The Diocese of Bismarck also released its list of 22 clergy members Tuesday.

NJ dioceses extend deadline for victims fund

TRENTON (NJ)
Associated Press via Fox29 Philadelphia

January 5, 2020

By Mike Catalini

New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses have given a six-week extension to childhood victims of sexual assault considering applying for compensation from a fund the church set up, the account’s co-administrator said Thursday.

Camille Biros, the co-administrator of the fund covering all five dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Newark, said in a phone interview that so far more than $9 million in 76 different cases has been paid out.

The new deadline for claims to be filed is Feb. 15. It had been Dec. 31.

The deadline was pushed back so the dioceses could be “as inclusive as possible,” Biros said.

Former North Dakota governor's brother on list of clergy accused of sexually abusing children

GRAND FORKS (ND)
Grand Forks Herald and Forum News Service

January 3, 2020

By April Baumgarten

https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/crime-and-courts/4848169-Former-North-Dakota-governors-brother-on-list-of-clergy-accused-of-sexually-abusing-children

Fargo - The brother of former North Dakota Gov. George A. Sinner has been named in a list of Fargo Diocese officials who were accused of sexually abusing children — a revelation that “absolutely stunned” his family, one relative said.

Catholic leaders released on Thursday, Jan. 2, the Fargo Diocese's list of 31 clergy and religious brothers who the diocese believes were credibly accused. On that list was the late Rev. Richard W. Sinner, who was ordained in 1952 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. He was 78 years old when he died Jan. 28, 2004.

Former North Dakota Sen. George B. Sinner, a Fargo Democrat who is the late Gov. Sinner's son and the Rev. Sinner's nephew, said he first heard about his uncle's inclusion on the list through news reports.

“I’ve talked to several of my family members, and it’s all the same way. Nobody knew anything,” George B. Sinner said. “We were never told anything about any accusations whatsoever.”

A Fargo Diocese spokesperson did not return messages for questions regarding the Rev. Sinner. The list doesn’t disclose the details of the allegations against the Rev. Sinner or other clergy.

Former North Dakota governor's brother on list of clergy accused of sexually abusing children

GRAND FORKS (ND)
Grand Forks Herald and Forum News Service

January 3, 2020

By April Baumgarten

https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/crime-and-courts/4848169-Former-North-Dakota-governors-brother-on-list-of-clergy-accused-of-sexually-abusing-children

Fargo - The brother of former North Dakota Gov. George A. Sinner has been named in a list of Fargo Diocese officials who were accused of sexually abusing children — a revelation that “absolutely stunned” his family, one relative said.

Catholic leaders released on Thursday, Jan. 2, the Fargo Diocese's list of 31 clergy and religious brothers who the diocese believes were credibly accused. On that list was the late Rev. Richard W. Sinner, who was ordained in 1952 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. He was 78 years old when he died Jan. 28, 2004.

Former North Dakota Sen. George B. Sinner, a Fargo Democrat who is the late Gov. Sinner's son and the Rev. Sinner's nephew, said he first heard about his uncle's inclusion on the list through news reports.

“I’ve talked to several of my family members, and it’s all the same way. Nobody knew anything,” George B. Sinner said. “We were never told anything about any accusations whatsoever.”

A Fargo Diocese spokesperson did not return messages for questions regarding the Rev. Sinner. The list doesn’t disclose the details of the allegations against the Rev. Sinner or other clergy.

Bismarck Diocese releases list of priests with substantiated claims

DICKINSON (ND)
The Dickinson Press

January 2, 2020

By Kayla Henson

Bismarck - The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has called forth greater accountability and transparency of bishops and dioceses in the resolution of cases of substantiated claims.

Bishop David Kagan stated, “In the interest of transparency and accountability, I have chosen, as part of our ongoing process of reaching out to the diocesan community, to publicly identify those priests who have carried out ministry in the Diocese of Bismarck, and against whom there is a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The list of priests who have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor was published on the website today at www.bismarckdiocese.com, as well as in the January issue of the diocesan publication, the Dakota Catholic Action, which was scheduled to be delivered to Catholic households the week of Dec. 30.

Suit claims more abuse by late Goshen priest

MIDDLETOWN (NY)
Times Herald-Record

January 3, 2020

By Heather Yakin

Goshen - A man who attended St. John Catholic School and the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Goshen during the tenure of notorious pedophile priest the Rev. Edward Pipala has filed suit against the Archdiocese of New York, the church and the school.

The lawsuit charges that Pipala victimized the plaintiff, John Figliaccone, during his seventh- and eighth-grade years. The suit, filed in Supreme Court in New York County on Figliaccone’s behalf by lawyer James Monroe of Dupee & Monroe, charges that Pipala sexually assaulted and molested more than 50 boys during his time at St. John, spanning from July 2, 1988, through July 10, 1992.

Pipala’s abuses came to light when a family came forward, leading to Pipala’s prosecution and conviction on state and federal charges for raping, sodomizing and otherwise abusing boys he had plied with alcohol, pills, cigarettes and pornography as part of a secret “club” he called “the Hole.” He ran the same “club” during his time as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Monroe from 1981-1988.

January 5, 2020

Vermont diocese hires counselor for sex abuse survivors

BURLINGTON (VT)
Associated Press via Crux

January 3, 2020

In response to concerns raised by survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their families, the Catholic Diocese of Burlington and Vermont Catholic Charities have contracted with a mental health counselor to assist them, the organizations said Thursday.

“In many conversations and communications with survivors, Bishop Christopher Coyne and other church leaders have been told that it is often difficult for survivors to approach the church directly, especially since it was an agent of the church that was responsible for their abuse,” the groups said in a news release. “Many felt that there needed to be another way to get the help and support they need.”

The counselor, Sheila Conroy, will serve as a victim assistance coordinator “to assist in bringing about healing, justice and peace for those suffering from sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and others employed by the church in years past,” the news release said.

12 major religious newsmakers — and stories — from the past decade

UNITED STATES
The Washington Post

January 3, 2020

By Yonat Shimron

The decade that ended Tuesday saw the rise and fall of many newsmakers who stood out, in part or in full, because of their beliefs or religious traditions. This list is far from comprehensive and mostly U.S.-based. Still, it offers a one-time retrospective on the personalities (and issues) that dominated the religious scene:

They rose

Pope Francis: The first Jesuit to become pope, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Buenos Aires was elected in 2013.

He has welcomed open debate in the church, often incurring the wrath of the Roman Curia, unrelenting in its desire to hold the line on traditional doctrine. He has become a premier spokesman on climate change, inveighed against the mistreatment of migrants, declared the death penalty “inadmissible” in all cases and the use and possession of atomic weapons as “immoral.”

Francis has not always dealt well with the sexual abuse crisis. In 2018, he defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering for a notorious priest. His critics say much more needs to be done. And there are signs of discontent with Francis among Catholics on the political right.

But the vast majority of U.S. Catholics, while critical of his handling of the sex abuse crisis, have a favorable opinion of the pontiff.

Lawsuit charges Bishop Trautman, Buffalo diocese with abuse cover-up in 1980s

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic News Agency

January 3, 2020

By Kevin J. Jones

A lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo and retired Bishop Donald Trautman claim they covered up a New York priest’s sex abuse of a 10-year-old boy in the mid-1980s, though the bishop has previously denied accusations he has ever covered up abuse.

Trautman, now 83, retired as Bishop of Erie in 2012. He served in various roles in the Buffalo diocese under Bishop Edward Head, including chancellor and vicar general. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the diocese in 1985. He had been Bishop of Erie since 1990.

Trautman told the Erie Times-News Jan. 2 that he had not been served with the lawsuit.

As regards the alleged abuser, Fr. Gerard A. Smyczynski, the former bishop said, “I don’t recall the case at all,” adding, “I don’t recall the name.”

Former Sarasota bishop accused of sexually assaulting children over four decades

SARASOTA (FL)
Herald-Tribune

January 3, 2020

By Michael Moore Jr.

A former bishop and founder of the Westcoast Center for Human Development was arrested Thursday by Sarasota Police after multiple investigations “demonstrated more than four decades of children and adults suffering sexual abuse by Henry Lee Porter Sr.,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Although there are eight victims listed in court documents, Porter, 72, was arrested Thursday by Sarasota Police for one count of alleged sexual battery of a child under 12 years of age — a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Porter founded the Westcoast Gospel Chorus and was pastor of the church he incorporated in 1971 for 45 years before stepping down in June 2016 and allowing his son, Henry Porter II, to take over.

Walnutport priest removed from ministry after taking ‘disturbing’ photos of wrestlers, diocese says

BETHLEHEM (PA)
Morning Call

January 5, 2020

By Riley Yates

A Catholic priest in Walnutport was removed from ministry after he was seen taking “disturbing” photographs of wrestlers at a high school tournament last month, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday.

The Rev. Thomas A. Derzack, 70, pastor of St. Nicholas Parish, took the photos Dec. 27 without the wrestlers’ knowledge during the event at the Bethlehem Catholic High School gym, the diocese said. Using his phone, Derzack photographed the wrestlers from behind as they were waiting to compete, leading to a complaint by a concerned spectator, the diocese said.

In a prepared statement, Bishop Alfred Schlert said Derzack’s actions violated church standards for acceptable behavior. Derzack was suspended as a precaution while the diocese investigates, and he is also barred from school events and property, the statement said.

Newcastle child sex survivor Peter Creigh says a confidential report's findings about archbishop are a 'vindication'

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

January 6, 2020

By Joanne McCarthy

ARCHBISHOP Philip Wilson is being treated for bowel cancer only months after release of a highly critical report about his handling of child sex allegations about Hunter priests Jim Fletcher and Denis McAlinden.

The retired Catholic archbishop and former Maitland-Newcastle priest will not be responding to the report, which Fletcher victim Peter Creigh described as a "vindication", after the archbishop in 2018 successfully appealed his landmark conviction for concealing Fletcher's crimes.

Commissioner Margaret Cunneen's findings that Philip Wilson's evidence was "improbable", "implausible" and "unsatisfactory", and that he should have reported serious allegations about McAlinden to police in 1987, showed Philip Wilson had "failed as a moral leader", Mr Creigh said.

10 scandals that rocked the church in the last decade

KENYA
SDE - The Standard

January 5, 2020

By Mercy Adhiambo

In the last decade, a new wave of evangelism swept the country.

Self-proclaimed prophets sprouted in different parts and they all had one message: “God had sent them to relieve many people from the suffering …”

We examine some of the scandals that rocked the church:

Kanyari and his fake miracles

From the moment he first appeared on TV, his message was consistent. God was a loving and forgiving being who could heal all diseases and transgressions.

All God needed, Kanyari said, was tithes. “Send Sh310 to my number and get your blessings”. It was dance and jubilation, always live on TV, until an investigation led to the truth.

Everything was scripted, including the miracles. He has since rebranded and now calls himself Pastor Mwangi. He still seeks for donations to pray for believers.

Leadership wrangles in churches

It has been a season of blows, abuses, locked churches, splinter groups and boycotts, all in the name of fighting for leadership.

The Nairobi Central branch of the SDA church dominated news last year. But before that, African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) had fought for decades forcing President Uhuru Kenyatta to broker peace.

At Got Kweru in Migori where the remains of the founder of the Legio Maria church Simeon Ondetto lies, many endless leadership battles have been fought.

Pastor Ng’ang’a and his vile mouth

Pastor Ng’ang’a of the Neno Evangelist church, has transitioned from the young man whose opening line was the Sindano song about the metaphorical “injection” that Jesus gave him and taken a path where he liberally abuses his followers, threatens his bishops, excommunicates those who disagree with him, and goes on social media to spew abuses.

“I am two in one. Ng’ang’a the man, and Ng’ang’a the spirit,” has been his style of explaining his ways.

Sex and the church

Catholic priests have made headlines for going against the celibacy oath.

Pope Francis’s recent lifting of pontifical secret rule where victims of sexual abuse and the priests who were involved were kept under lock was received positively.

There have also been many cases of defilement in other churches, including the recent case where a pastor in Kitui allegedly impregnated more than 20 girls.

Lawsuit: Pastor's abuse of boy allowed by convention

ARKANSAS
Arkansas Democrat Gazette

January 5, 2020

By Bill Bowden

Lawyer: Leaders failed to report it

A former pastor at Millcreek Baptist Church in Garland County sexually abused a minor in his care from 2014 to 2018, according to a lawsuit filed last month in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Also, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and its executive director didn't report the abuse after being told about it, according to the lawsuit filed Dec. 16 by Joshua Gillispie, a North Little Rock attorney.

Teddy Leon Hill Jr., former senior pastor at Millcreek, met the boy, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, when the boy was 13 years old, wrote Gillispie, who is with the law firm of Green and Gillispie.

"Doe was drawn to Millcreek at a time when his troubled home life led him to seek comfort in the church," according to the lawsuit.

Editorial: Protect children, ensure accountability, lift statutory limits

CONNECTICUT
The Day

January 4, 2020

By The Day Editorial Board

Removing statutory limits on the age at which adult survivors of child sexual abuse may sue for damages is simply justice, given what we now know about the lasting effects of psychological trauma. It also will signal that complicity in shielding perpetrators from accountability is over, and that Connecticut will put the protection of children before the interests of institutions.

The state's legislative task force on the statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and sexual assault is nearing the deadline for its assignment. By Jan. 15 it is to recommend whether and how much to extend the age limit for victims to sue their alleged abusers; whether to open a "look-back window" for those already past the current age limit of 51; or both. The most recent session extended the age limit by three years and created the task force to study further action. Experts have testified that 52 is the average age for a person to be ready to come forward.

The task force's mandate applies not only to accusations against clergy. However, the Roman Catholic dioceses in Connecticut are getting much of the committee's attention because of the church's lobbying against extending the limits, and because the victims who testified at a recent hearing focused on abuse by priests.

Mum beaten and abused by nuns' abuse sues for £750k

SCOTLAND
The Herald

January 5, 2020

A mum from Renfrewshire who claims she was beaten and abused at an orphanage has launched a £750,000 legal action bid against the Catholic order.

Annemarie McGuigan said she was beaten with a stick and locked in cupboards during her five-year stay at the Nazareth House children's home in Aberdeen.

The 59-year-old was 'force-fed' her own vomit and is now taking legal action against the Sisters of Nazareth.

Sisters Alphonso and Hildegard have now been exposed in criminal courts and the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) for their parts in the sickening attacks on children in the 1960s-70s.

More than 1,300 lawsuits filed since NY allowed old sex abuse claims

NEW YORK
Newsday

January 5, 2020

By Yancey Roy

Albany - By New Year’s Day, more than 1,300 lawsuits had been filed during a special “look back” period during which New York is allowing molestation lawsuits previously blocked by time limits, according to court records.

The Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and even the late Jeffrey Epstein have been sued under the “Child Victims Act,” enacted by state lawmakers in 2019. An even greater number of lawsuits is expected this year.

One Catholic diocese has filed for bankruptcy and another has asked the courts to declare the law unconstitutional.

And, according to one attorney, the community of survivors of childhood sexual assaults has been “transformed."

“There has been striking impact every single day,” Jeff Anderson, a lawyer whose firm already has filed 300 claims, said.

Dad of man whose wife left him for pastor hits out at church over scandal

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

Jan. 6, 2020

By Brett Campbell

The father of a man whose wife was caught having an affair with her pastor 18 months after he married the couple has criticised a Co Down church for its "shameful" response to the scandal.

Pastor Gareth Mills (41) was sacked from the super-church he helped found in Newtownards after details of his affair came to light last Thursday.

The betrayed husband's dad said he believed the church was more concerned about protecting itself and "paying the mortgage on their big new building than they are with helping my son who is completely and utterly devastated by this".

"So are we, his mother is absolutely distraught too. It is shameful," he said.

Members of Thriving Life Church (TLC) yesterday wiped away tears as they were told that the "unrepentant" father-of-one has no intention of ending the illicit relationship with the 22-year-old family friend who began attending the church around four years ago.

It was there she met her husband and the pair were both baptised by Pastor Mills.

The Belfast Telegraph has seen pictures of the young woman posing alongside the heartbroken wife of her new lover before the affair was uncovered.

Her father-in-law said there had been suspicion for the past six months, although it is not known for certain how long the affair has been going on.

"It's all on the phone, there are pictures of them out on dates and up the Mourne Mountains together," he said.

"It's obviously been going on for a while and now they've just tripped themselves up. My son works night shift, so it was easy for the pastor."

'When my uncle died, I found out he was a paedophile. Then I remembered my childhood differently.'

NEW SOUTH WALES (AUSTRALIA)
Mamamia

Jan. 5, 2019

Uncle Dinny had always been around, he was part of the fabric of my family. He was the local parish priest where my mum grew up on the NSW Mid North Coast. I don’t remember life without him. According to an urban myth within my family, Uncle Dinny had even taught me to crawl as a toddler.

Once I had started school, Uncle Dinny would drop around and stay at our house.

Mostly unannounced he would pop in 3-4 times a year and stay a few days before he moved on to his next parish. At this stage, he was a supplementary priest. When another priest was moving or went on holidays Uncle Dinny would fill in, so he was always on the road and travelling.

He also did stints of mission work overseas. He would share with us around the dinner table, his stories of helping in PNG, The Philippines, New Zealand and his Aboriginal mission work within remote communities in Western Australia.

Whenever he came to stay we would find lollies suddenly popping up everywhere in our house. We all loved it when he came to stay. He was like a kind and wise old grandfather. He was always asking about our welfare and he was always raising money or working on programs for disadvantaged youth.

Out of all of my siblings, I was the closest to him. While I was at school and he was travelling we would write to each other. I would tell him about school and boys and what was happening day to day in my family.

He would tell me about his mission work here or overseas or just where ever he was going to be posted next. It was a tradition that we started when I was 10 years old and we kept writing to each other after I got married and had children of my own.

When I would visit my grandparents up on the Mid North Coast, and Uncle Dinny was around we would spend time together going for walks or just chatting. I remember when I was about eight or nine, he picked me up from my grandparents’ house and I spent the whole day with him at the local church, while he worked on church admin, I was free to muck around exploring the church and playing on the organ.

Diocese faces new decade to right itself

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

Jan. 5, 2019

Debate will continue about whether the decade of the 2020s really began on Jan. 1 of this year or whether that actually will occur on Jan. 1, 2021.

Either way, the period of time has been traumatic for the Roman Catholic Church here, across Pennsylvania, across the nation and, indeed, around the world.

The reason is the ongoing horrific, unconscionable child-sexual-abuse scandal.

That scandal of mind-shattering proportion — one that has challenged even the most devout Catholics’ beliefs, attitudes and trust — is destined to span the decade of the 2020s and perhaps beyond.

News reports during the final days of 2019 showed why.

On Dec. 27, the Mirror published a front-page Associated Press article “Pa. dioceses pay $84M to abuse victims,” which reported on the status of victim compensation involving seven of the eight Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses.

The Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, which previously paid out $15.7 million on an earlier program of compensating clergy-abuse victims, was not at the center of last month’s article. Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that allegations leveled against several Altoona-Johnstown priests in 2019 could, if proven, result in additional compensation being paid to alleged victims.

A statewide grand jury report released in March 2016 revealed hundreds of children had been sexually assaulted by approximately 50 Altoona-Johnstown Diocese priests over 40 years.

The $84 million total payout by the seven dioceses in question was not troubling from the perspective of having compensated victims; actually, those victims probably were entitled to more, considering the physical horror and emotional damage the victims endured.

But, what is tragic is that the money paid out limited positive diocesan efforts that those payouts otherwise could have financed.

January 4, 2020

Jury selection underway in trial of priest accused in sexual assault

KEARNEY (NEBRASKA)
KHGI TV

Jan. 6, 2020

Jury selection began Monday in Valley County District Court as the trial of an Ord priest got underway.

John Kakkuzhiyil is charged with forcible sexual assault, according to court records.

They say an Ord woman claims the priest poured her a drink that caused her to black out and she woke up to find Kakkuzhiyil assaulting her.

A jury of 12 and two alternates will be picked out of a pool of 75.

Many in that pool admitted they knew either Kakkuzhiyil or the alleged victim.

Opening statements could begin as early as Monday afternoon.

Church doesn’t track minority survivors of clerical abuse

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

January 4, 2020

By Gary Fields, Juliet Linderman and Wong Maye-e

The Samples were a black Chicago family, with six children and few resources. The priest helped them with tuition, clothes, bills. He offered the promise of opportunities — a better life.

He also abused all the children.

They told no one. They were afraid of not being believed and of losing what little they had, said one son, Terrence Sample. And nobody asked, until a lawyer investigating alleged abuses by the same priest prompted him to break his then 33-year silence.

“Somebody had to make the effort,” Sample said. “Why wasn’t it the church?”

Even as it has pledged to go after predators in its ranks and provide support to those harmed by clergy, the church has done little to identify and reach sexual abuse victims. For survivors of color, who often face additional social and cultural barriers to coming forward on their own, the lack of concerted outreach on behalf of the church means less public exposure — and potentially, more opportunities for abuse to go on, undetected.

Ballarat survivor memorial momentum builds

BALLARAT (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

January 5, 2020

By Alex Ford

Since before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, survivors and their supporters have called for a public, permanent acknowledgement and memorial to the people affected in Ballarat.

Several efforts have been made, and have stalled - it's a complex issue, as while some survivors of clerical abuse want a prominent memorial, for others, it would bring back too many awful memories.

The colourful Loud Fence ribbons attached to many Ballarat institutions across town - from fire stations to primary schools to St Patrick's Cathedral - remember the people affected by the abuse, including people who have since died.

Clergy abuse survivors closer to compensation

NEW ULM (MN)
Marshall Independent

Jan. 3, 2020

By Clay Schuldt

Survivors from the clergy sexual abuse are a step closer to receiving compensation from the New Ulm Diocese.

On Dec. 20, the U.S. bankruptcy court approved the disclosure statement and joint Chapter 11 plan of reorganization filed by the Diocese of New Ulm and the Committee of Unsecured Creditors.

The reorganization plan provides the means for settling and paying all claims against the diocese related to sexual abuse and misconduct by establishing a trust.

This trust will be funded by contributions from the diocese, parishes and settling insurers. The trustee will liquidate the trust assets and fairly distribute the proceeds to the survivors.

In May 2013, the Minnesota Legislature enacted the Minnesota Child Victims’ Act (CVA). CVA altered, expanded and eliminated certain statutes of limitation to civil cases involving sexual abuse. The CVA allowed victims who were sexually abused when they were younger than 18 to bring a civil lawsuit for damages regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.

In ‘Broken Silence,’ a composer brings a note of hope to the church’s sex abuse crisis

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

Jan. 3, 2020

By Maggi Van Dorn

Craig Shepard and I have something in common: We have been laboring with the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and have made it the focal point of our creative work. Craig since 2014, me since 2018. He’s a composer, I’m a podcast producer. I first heard about Mr. Shepard’s musical meditation “Broken Silence” in the oppressive heat of August, but now, on a cold, dark and blustery afternoon in December, we finally meet in a coffee shop in Brooklyn to discuss this project, five years in the making.

“Broken Silence” is a 75-minute musical contemplation that “support[s] listeners to engage with text drawn from court testimony connected with the ongoing scandal in the Catholic Church.” More specifically, the steel-string acoustic guitar and saxophone ensemble is composed around Margaret Gallant’s 1982 letter to Cardinal Humberto Medeiros.

“Broken Silence” is a 75-minute musical contemplation on a infamous letter directed at Catholic leaders in Boston for failing to take action against Father John Geoghan.
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In that four-page, handwritten letter, we hear Ms. Gallant reprimanding the cardinal for failing to take action against Father John Geoghan, the priest who molested seven boys in Ms. Gallant’s extended family and, as The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team later uncovered, 150 children in total.

The letter is galvanizing; I remember it well from my own research. Ms. Gallant writes as a devout Catholic, struggling to balance her love for the church with the personal agony her family has experienced and an obligation to protect other children. Even of the molesting priest himself, she writes: “Truly, my heart aches for him and I pray for him, because I know this must tear him apart too; but I cannot allow my compassion for him to cloud my judgment on acting for the people of God, and the children in the church.”

The sense of betrayal, anger and heartbreak in this letter is palpable. And the problems Ms. Gallant underscores remain with us today: the damage of remaining silent, the failure of some church leadership to take clear and decisive action, the persistence of clericalism and the need for co-responsibility in the church.

Ms. Gallant’s letter has been used in investigative reporting and court testimonies, but it is also written with the moral force of St. Catherine of Siena or St. Thomas More, rebuking those in power for “sitting on their fannies” and admonishing them to protect the Mystical Body of Christ.

Now Mr. Shepard presents the letter as a sacred text for us to contemplate: “The text on its own is gorgeous. I think it’s an inspired text.”

Amid clergy abuse, survivors of color remain in shadows

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press

Jan. 4, 2020

By Gary Fields, Juliet Linderman and Wong Maye-E

The Samples were a black Chicago family, with six children and few resources. The priest helped them with tuition, clothes, bills. He offered the promise of opportunities — a better life.

He also abused all the children.

They told no one. They were afraid of not being believed and of losing what little they had, said one son, Terrence Sample. And nobody asked until a lawyer investigating alleged abuses by the same priest prompted him to break his then 33-year silence.

“Somebody had to make the effort,” Sample said. “Why wasn’t it the church?”

Even as it has pledged to go after predators in its ranks and provide support to those harmed by clergy, the church has done little to identify and reach sexual abuse victims. For survivors of color, who often face additional social and cultural barriers to coming forward on their own, the lack of concerted outreach on behalf of the church means less public exposure — and potentially, more opportunities for abuse to go on, undetected.

Of 88 dioceses that responded to an Associated Press inquiry, seven knew the ethnicities of victims. While it was clear at least three had records of some sort, only one stated it purposely collected such data as part of the reporting process. Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Hawaiians make up nearly 46% of the faithful in the U.S., according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, an authoritative source of Catholic-related data. But the Catholic Church has made almost no effort to track the victims among them.

“The church has to come into the shadows, into the trenches to find the people who were victimized, especially the people of color,” Sample said. “There are other people like me and my family, who won’t come forward unless someone comes to them.”

Former St. Viator Coach Arrested, SNAP Calls for Outreach

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

Jan. 3, 2020

Charges are now pending against a former coach at a Chicagoland Catholic school, and we are calling on church officials from the Archdiocese of Chicago to spread this news among their parishioners and to do outreach to other potential victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers.

Joe Majkowski was arrested on Dec. 27 regarding allegations made in May that he sexually abused a minor. The coach is also accused of sending inappropriate messages to four 15 year old students.

While we have no firsthand information about this case, studies have shown that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare. Cardinal Blase Cupich and school officials at St. Viator in Arlington Heights should now make every effort to seek other victims and widely publicize these accusations. Additionally, steps should be taken to fully vet Majkowski’s work history and ensure that parents and alumni at every school where he worked are informed of this charge.

January 3, 2020

More Accusations of Clergy Sex Abuse and Cover-up After 2 More CVA Lawsuits Filed

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

January 2, 2020

By Mark Goshgarian

Clergy abuse survivor and advocate turned investigator James Faluszczak and Niagara Falls attorney Paul Barr filed two Child Victims Act lawsuits Thursday.

"Two separate clients, two separate instances of abuse," said Faluszczak.

The first suit against the Diocese of Buffalo alleges the late Father Gerard Smyczynski abused their client in the early ‘80s.

It states now-former auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, Donald Trautman, covered up the abuse, paid off the victim, and expedited an annulment for his parents.

"Bishop Trautman never called the police. He never called the district attorney. As a result, this priest was permitted to go on and abuse at least another child," said Barr.

Tennessee Catholic diocese settles priest abuse lawsuit

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Associated Press

January 2, 2020

A Catholic Diocese in Tennessee has settled a lawsuit out of court with a man who alleged two priests sexually abused him as a child.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed by the Knoxville diocese on Tuesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

While admitting no wrongdoing, “the diocese also recognizes that further pursuing this matter through the legal system would be time-consuming, costly, and detrimental to its mission of service,” diocese spokesman Jim Wogan said in a statement.

Former Bishop Trautman, Erie Diocese Named in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit, Accused of Maintaining a Coverup

ERIE (PA)
Erie News Now

January 2, 2020

Bishop Trautman allegedly knew about the abuse, and the Buffalo Diocese is accused of paying a small sum of money in a legal settlement and fast-tracking an annulment to keep it under wraps.

A clergy sex abuse survivor who testified before a Pennsylvania grand jury and attorney who is an abuse survivor announced the Diocese of Erie and former Bishop Donald Trautman are being sued in a child sex abuse case in New York.

James Faluszczak, abuse survivor, former priest and whistleblower before the 40th Pennsylvania Grand Jury, and Paul Barr who has represented injured victims on the Niagara Frontier and is an abuse survivor himself, detailed the case Thursday morning in front of St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.

Father Gerard Smyczynski reportedly abused a child in 1980s while Bishop Trautman was Vicar General of the Buffalo Diocese.

Bishop Trautman allegedly knew about the abuse, and the Buffalo Diocese is accused of paying a small sum of money in a legal settlement and fast-tracking an annulment to keep it under wraps.

Man alleging abuse by clergy at San Jose’s Bellarmine Prep files lawsuit under new law

SAN JOSE (CA)
KRON4

January 1, 2020

By Rob Fladeboe

“It’s time because we’re coming at you. We’re coming at you with the survivors and their truth. We’re armed not just with the law, but with their truth.”

Attorneys for a man who claims he was sexually abused by a member of the clergy at San Jose’s Bellarmine Prep have filed a lawsuit against the school.

The lawsuit is the first of an expected wave of legal action made possible by a new state law.

“We’re talking about three decades of this guy being allowed to be in and around kids and in schools as a teacher, as a coach, under the supervision of the Catholic bishops,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents the plaintiff.

Anderson pointed the finger at a picture of Brother William Farrington at a news conference Wednesday announcing a lawsuit against Farrington’s former employer, Bellarmine Prep School and the Diocese of San Jose.

Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse at San Jose Bellarmine College Preparatory

SAN JOSE (CA)
NBC

January 1, 2020

By Marianne Favro

A San Jose man claims he was sexually assaulted as a teenager by Jesuit Brother William Farrington while attending Bellarmine College Preparatory in the 1960s.

The alleged victim is now pursuing a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of San Jose and Bellarmine. He is able to pursue legal action decades later because of a new California law.

"The law says no matter how long ago the abuse happened you can come forward today with civil action and expose the offender, expose the institution that concealed the abuse and hold them accountable," Attorney Jeff Anderson said.

Motivated by #MeToo? Vetting jurors in Weinstein case will be a challenge, experts say

NEW YORK (NY)
Reuters

January 2, 2020

By Gabriella Borter

As former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein goes to trial on rape charges next week in Manhattan, lawyers will need to keep an eye out for jurors who want to use the case to make a statement about sexual abuse following the rise of the #MeToo movement, legal experts said.

Once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York, one in 2006 and the other in 2013.

In all, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct dating back decades.

Those accusations helped fuel the #MeToo movement, in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, politics, the news media and entertainment of sexual harassment or assault. Weinstein has denied the allegations and said any sexual encounters were consensual.

PHOTOS: #MenToo: The hidden tragedy of male sexual abuse in the military

UNITED STATES
Yahoo News

December 31, 2019

Award-winning photojournalist Mary F. Calvert has spent six years documenting the prevalence of rape in the military and the effects on victims. She began with a focus on female victims but more recently has examined the underreported incidence of sexual assaults on men and the lifelong trauma it can inflict.

_____

Last March, Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force combat pilot, disclosed that she had been the victim of multiple sexual assaults by fellow officers, putting the issue of sexual assault in the military on the national agenda. Two months later, a required biannual Department of Defense report found that sexual assault within the ranks had increased by 38 percent over two years. Much less attention has been given to the problem of sexual assault against men in uniform. The report estimated that “20,500 Service members, representing about 13,000 women and 7,500 men, experienced some kind of contact or penetrative sexual assault in 2018, up from approximately 14,900 in 2016.”

Although the military has made efforts to encourage victims to come forward, most assaults are still not reported, and victims who do make reports sometimes still face retaliation. Although men are less likely to be victimized than women, the stigma and psychological trauma can be equally devastating. A DOD report released on Nov. 5 determined that military sexual assault might be more likely to cause PTSD than combat.

The Catholic rosary got a digital upgrade — but it's a mixed blessing

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

December 31, 2019

By Melanie Ehrenkranz

Members of the Catholic Church who spoke to NBC News acknowledged that while not the most traditional offering, it did provide a new way for people to connect with God.

At the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in New Jersey, there's a continuing conversation around technology, life and religion. Sister Mary Catharine hears a lot about it, particularly from younger women who join the fold.

“I think the biggest change was smartphones, because most of us don’t need to have one, and we don’t live off of it,” she said. “Meanwhile, the rest of the world does.”

But even those younger, more smartphone-friendly sisters were puzzled by the Vatican’s newest effort to engage people: a rosary that can be paired with a smartphone to track everything from prayers offered to steps taken.

Lawsuit alleges sexual abuse at Catholic church in Hemet

SAN BERNARDINO (CA)
Orange County Register

December 30, 2019

By Sean Emery

A former altar server and youth group member has filed a lawsuit alleging he was abused while underage at a Catholic church in Hemet, marking the latest civil case to be filed on the eve of a new state law that gives alleged victims of childhood sexual assault more time to come forward.

In a lawsuit filed last week in San Bernardino Superior Court, attorneys with the Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm allege that their client, during his early teens, was sexually abused over a period of several years in the early 1990s by former Fr. Louis G. Perreault.

The law firm, which specializes in representing childhood abuse survivors, late last week announced similar lawsuits alleging abuse and systematic cover-ups at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana and St. Francis High School in La Canada Flintridge.

The lawsuits were made possible by Assembly Bill 218, which extends the time that victims of childhood sexual abuse can sue, and provides those for whom the previous statute of limitations had run out a three year window to bring claims.

Lawsuit: Famed Jesuit abused boy 1,000 times around world

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press

December 30, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

A globe-trotting Jesuit priest with ties to Mother Teresa sexually abused an American boy “more than 1,000 times, in multiple states and countries,” a lawsuit filed Monday in California state court in San Francisco alleges.

In the lawsuit and in interviews with The Associated Press, Robert J. Goldberg, now 61, describes years of psychological control and sexual abuse he suffered from age 11 into adulthood while working as a valet for the late Rev. Donald J. McGuire.

McGuire died in federal prison in 2017 while serving a 25-year sentence for molesting other boys who came under his sway.

Goldberg says he remained in the Jesuit’s thrall for nearly 40 years, even volunteering to testify in McGuire’s defense during criminal trials in Wisconsin and Illinois.

As window for sex-abuse lawsuits opens, alleged victims begin filing against Catholic Church and Boy Scouts

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 2, 2020

By Greg Moran

Half a dozen lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego accusing now-deceased clergy of sexually abusing 20 men and women decades ago were filed in Superior Court on Thursday, one day after a new state law lifting the legal time limit on when such lawsuits can be filed went into effect.

The lawsuits are the first of what will likely become a swarm of legal action in the coming months against churches and other institutions such as the Boy Scouts of America over long-ago sexual abuse of minors. Irwin Zalkin, the San Diego lawyer who filed the six lawsuits Thursday, said at a news conference that he plans to file another 60 cases over the next several months against the diocese.

“This is only the beginning,” said Zalkin, the lawyer who spearheaded a $198-million settlement of sexual abuse claims against the diocese in 2007. Those lawsuits, filed under a previous state law that opened a one-year window for claims against institutions for abuse that had occurred years earlier, drove the diocese to declare bankruptcy.

The new wave of litigation is made possible by AB 218, sponsored by San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. The law expands the maximum age at which someone can bring a claim for sexual abuse from 26 years old to 40. It also opened a three-year window for those of any age to revive past claims that may have been prohibited from being filed as lawsuits because the legal time limit to bring such claims, known as the statute of limitations, had run out.

Pope Francis Struggles to Escape Scandals of 2019

ROME (ITALY)
Wall Street Journal

January 3, 2020

By Francis X. Rocca

Pope Francis ended 2019 in embarrassment when he angrily slapped the hand of a woman who had pulled on his own while he was greeting pilgrims on New Year’s Eve. He began 2020 with a public apology for losing his patience and setting a “bad example.”

It was a fitting coda to a year in which the pope addressed one scandal—the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse crisis—only to become embroiled in another, over the Vatican’s murky finances.

Pope Francis entered last year near the low point of his pontificate. In 2018, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston chided him for insensitivity to sex-abuse victims, the pope admitted to “grave errors” in handling clerical sex abuse in Chile, and his former envoy to the U.S. accused him of ignoring sexual misconduct by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington. The year 2018 ended with an Australian court convicting the pope’s finance chief, Cardinal George Pell, of sexual abuse of children.

During 2019, Pope Francis responded by rolling out high-profile initiatives on combating sexual abuse, beginning with the defrocking of Cardinal McCarrick, the first cardinal to receive such a punishment in modern times.

Over succeeding months, the pope convened a global summit on sex abuse, tightened the laws against abuse within Vatican City State and unveiled new legislation making it easier to discipline bishops who abuse or cover up abuse. In December, he relaxed the secrecy rules for church documents relating to abuse, which advocates for victims said could make it easier for church officials to cooperate with police and prosecutors.

The new rules for bishops and the lifting of the so-called pontifical secret were “very good moves toward greater accountability and transparency, but it’s the application that matters,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior analyst for Religion News Service and author of “Inside the Vatican.”

“The church has thousands of bishops all over the world,” who will require vigilance “to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” he said.

Some important issues regarding sex abuse remain unresolved.

The Vatican still hasn’t released a long-promised report explaining how Mr. McCarrick rose to power despite widespread rumors of his misconduct going back years. Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a longtime protégé of Pope Francis, is facing charges of sexual harassment in their native Argentina. He denies the charges. And if Australia’s high court declines to overturn Cardinal Pell’s conviction on his final appeal—after he has already begun serving a six-year sentence—the pope will have to decide whether to discipline a prelate who was one of his most important aides.

Meanwhile, a new shadow has fallen over the pope, who was elected in 2013 with a mandate to overhaul the Vatican’s finances and administration.

“We are seeing the practically complete failure of the attempts at cleansing, reform and transparency with regard to Vatican finances,” said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert who writes for Italy’s L’Espresso magazine. Last year “brought the fall of the myth of Francis as the purifying pope.”

The Wall Street Journal revealed in September a gaping budget deficit at the Holy See. The pope had instructed Vatican officials to address the deficit as an urgent problem that imperiled the future of the Holy See, which consists of the Catholic Church’s central administration and the papal diplomatic network abroad.

The Journal also revealed in December that the bulk of the pope’s world-wide annual charity collection wasn’t going to the poor but being used to plug the Vatican’s budget deficit.

Impending bishop appointments set to put a stamp on US church in 2020

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

January 3, 2020

By Michael Sean Winters

What should we be looking for in the life of the church in 2020? What issues and personalities will likely change the trajectory of ecclesial history?

In December, Pope Francis named Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to become prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, historically known as the "red pope." He will be responsible for creating the ternas from which the pope will select bishops for missionary dioceses.

I am told that this appointment was the first of several and we can expect a new prefect at the Congregation for Bishops sooner rather than later as the incumbent, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, has asked to be replaced. Ouellet's congregation has often dragged its heels, frustrating the appointment of more pastoral prelates, and a new, dynamic leader might shake things up.

January 2, 2020

Buffalo lawsuit claims Erie’s Trautman covered up abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
GoErie.com

January 2, 2020

By Ed Palattella

Suit cites Trautman’s tenure as official in Catholic Diocese of Buffalo but also names Erie diocese, which he later led.

Retired Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit that claims he covered up clergy sexual abuse when he was auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, a post he held before he was named head of the Erie diocese in 1990.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Erie County Supreme Court in Buffalo, New York, claims the abuse occurred in the Diocese of Buffalo in the mid-1980s and not in the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

But an amended version of the suit, filed on Thursday, adds the Catholic Diocese of Erie as a defendant, claiming that Trautman continued to cover up abuse allegations while he was bishop of the Erie diocese through his retirement in 2012.

North Dakota dioceses release list of accused clergy members

FARGO (ND)
Associated Press

January 2, 2020

By Dave Kolpack

North Dakota’s Roman Catholic dioceses on Thursday released a list of 53 clergy members who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Bishop John Folda of the Fargo Diocese said in a statement that the list is the result of a “thorough review” of files dating back to 1950. Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck said there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that have occurred after 1989.

The list includes 31 people in the Fargo Diocese and 22 in Bismarck. Some of them were not ordained in North Dakota but served in the state at some point.

Longtime St. John the Baptist pastor accused of abusing teen in '70s

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 2, 2020

By Barbara O'Brien and Lou Michel

A new lawsuit alleges that a retired Buffalo priest and pastor at two parishes abused a 15-year-old parishioner at Holy Cross Catholic Church on the Lower West Side in the early 1970s.

The Rev. Richard Reina and the Buffalo Catholic Diocese are named as defendants in the suit, which was filed Thursday under the Child Victims Act.

"When I was approximately 15 years old, approximately 1972, Richard Reina (Fr. Reina) abused me on the premises of Holy Cross Church. The sexual abuse included inappropriate touching," the unnamed plaintiff said in court papers.

Reina denied the allegations in a telephone interview with The Buffalo News on Thursday morning and said he has contacted an attorney to defend him.

“The first I’ve heard of it was this morning. I positively, absolutely deny any and all charges,” Reina said. “This person maybe was molested by someone and I feel sorry for the person, but it wasn’t me.”

First lawsuit filed against Diocese of Fresno under new law

FRESNO (CA)
Fox26 TV

January 2, 2020

[VIDEO]

The first lawsuit has been filed against the Diocese of Fresno under the new Child Victims Act (AB 218).

A lawsuit has been filed against Fr. Anthony Moreno alleging child sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Fresno and St. Philip the Apostle in Bakersfield are both named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the diocese refuses to release a promised list of accused clergy while attempting to settle cases without notifying the public.

Jeff Anderson & Associates is representing Toni Moreland, the plaintiff, who says she was sexually abused by Moreno in approximately 1979-1980 at St. Philip the Apostle in Bakersfield.

San Diego law firm to file multiple lawsuits against Catholic dioceses across California

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Channel 8, CBS-TV affiliate

January 2, 2020

The lawsuits allege that six priests sexually abused the victims while they were serving as altar boys or during other church activities.

A local law firm is expected to announce the filing of over 100 new sexual abuse lawsuits against the San Diego Catholic Diocese and other California Dioceses on Thursday.

One of the lawsuits will be filed on behalf of four men who claim they were sexually abused by Father Anthony Rodrigue. Rodrigue was assigned to 10 parishes across San Diego, Imperial, San Bernadino and Riverside Counties over his 29-year career. During that time, attorney Irwin Zalkin said Rodrigue molested more than 150 boys and was routinely moved from one parish to another without punishment from church officials.

Following his removal from the priesthood, Rodrigue pleaded guilty in 1998 to molesting an 11-year-old developmentally disabled boy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Rodrigue died in 2009.

The lawsuit alleges that despite numerous complaints against him, Father Rodrigue was shuffled around parishes instead of being turned in to authorities.

Advocates of new R.I. child sex-abuse law defend their work after Roman Catholic Diocese calls it unconstitutional

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

Jan. 2, 2020

By Brian Amaral

The lawmakers and advocates behind a new state law giving people more time to sue over child sexual abuse, even though time had run out under the old law, are defending their efforts after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence described the effort in legal papers as unconstitutional.

“Why would a court essentially want to give defendants a get out of jail free card when thousands of helpless victims would lose?” said state Sen. Donna Nesselbush, a Pawtucket Democrat who pushed for the legislation.

The diocese’s legal position came in response to a lawsuit filed by a Florida man who said he was abused while a child in Rhode Island. Philip Edwardo, 53, sued Bishop Thomas Tobin, former Bishop Louis Gelineau, the diocese and a North Providence parish over his abuse at the hands of the Rev. Philip Magaldi. Magaldi is now dead, but the diocese itself is to blame for enabling and abetting his abuser, Edwardo argued.

Edwardo sued after the General Assembly passed a law this summer extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits to 35 years after a victim’s 18th birthday.

For lawsuits against “perpetrators,” the law said victims still had until 35 years after their 18th birthday, even if the statute had already run out under the older versions of the law. But the new, longer statute of limitations doesn’t apply for suits based on conduct that “caused or contributed to” child sexual abuse if the statute had already expired under the old law. Those would stay expired.

Much of the legal wrangling that will follow in the next few months, and perhaps years, is about whether the church can be held liable as a “perpetrator.” The diocese, in a widely anticipated move, argued that it could not. The perpetrator was the person who actually engaged in the abuse, not an institution accused of concealing it, the diocese said.

The Rochester diocese’s unique case

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon

Jan. 2, 2020

By Will Astor

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s bankruptcy—the 20th diocesan Chapter 11 to be filed in the United States—is unlike its predecessors, parties in the case say.

Where the previous U.S. church settlements came only after protracted battles, the Rochester case could shape up differently, Ilan Scharf, attorney for the Creditors Committee, said during a November court hearing.

A bankruptcy lawyer with Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones LLP in New York City, Scharf has represented abuse survivors as a creditors committee attorney in Chapter 11s filed by the North American branch of the Ireland-based Christian Brothers Catholic teaching order and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings in Montana.

“This case is unique,” Scharf said to the court in November. “It was not filed after years of litigation. The difference is the (Child Victims Act).”

Opening a floodgate

Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in February, the CVA has unleashed a torrent of sex-abuse claims, many aimed at the Catholic church.

The act temporarily lifts a statute of limitations that would have barred most of the roughly 1,000 sex-abuse claims the Rochester Diocese believes it will see this year. The statute of limitations previously required individuals claiming to have been sexually abused as children to file claims by their 23rd birthday. When the CVA kicked in last August, it raised the upper age limit to 55. The new limit remains in effect for one year.

Speaking at an October meeting with the diocese’s creditors, a group overwhelmingly made up of abuse survivors, Bishop Salvatore Matano explained the Rochester diocese’s decision to ask for court protection as driven by “the number of claims that have come forward and our resources to satisfy those claims.” The costs of adjudicating those claims in state court would exhaust the diocese’s resources, leaving virtually no funds to compensate the survivors, he said.

In an earlier court filing that month, made some three weeks into the case, the diocese tallied its CVA-claim debt at $22 million and estimated that additional claims totaling $90 million would be submitted. The filing states the diocese’s assets including real estate and legally restricted donations at $67.95 million.

The McCarrick report – and other things to expect in 2020

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

Jan. 2, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

As the year 2020 opens, the Church appears to have entered into the slogging phase of its leadership crisis. Part of that is due to what one might call “scandal fatigue” – the sense that no wickedness, incompetence or rot has the power to surprise once discovered. It is also partly due to the nature of protracted crises, which periodically flare up or explode in scandal and then fall into a gruesome routine.

Here are three things likely to happen in 2020, followed by three that could happen – by “could” I mean something in between “possible” and “likely as not”.

Things that are likely to happen in 2020:

1) The Vatican will release its report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. It will be brief. Rumours put it at about 250 pages, which is light for a dossier supposed to be an exhaustive treatment of the Vatican’s engagement with a churchman who had a 60-year career, especially when the report is produced by an organisation that writes everything down and never throws anything away.

The report is likely to make things worse for the Vatican, at least in the short term.

It will answer some questions, keep the commentariat talking and give reporters solid leads. But it will not add to the picture of the last six decades as much as (or in the ways) people expect.

2) There will be more bad news on both the financial and abuse cover-up fronts.

This one is pretty much a no-brainer. There is little hope that the higher-ups in the Vatican will either experience a change of heart or learn good crisis communications practice, so expect news of this sort to come piecemeal. Some things that are very big deals will make very little noise (given our crisis fatigue), and others of relatively minor scale will generate a good deal of noise, especially if they contain all three elements of the scandal trifecta: sex, money and power.

3) Francis will promulgate the new apostolic constitution reforming the Roman Curia.

Lawsuit: Buffalo diocese official fast-tracked annulment to cover priest's abuse

BUFFALO {NY)
Buffalo News

January 2, 2020

By Jay Tokasz and Barbara O'Brien

An unnamed plaintiff alleged in a lawsuit that a former Buffalo Diocese administrator, who later became bishop of the Erie Diocese, fast-tracked an annulment in the 1980s to make sure that a family kept quiet about a priest’s abuse.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday claimed that the Rev. Donald W. Trautman, during his time as chancellor and vicar general of the Buffalo Diocese, expedited an annulment for a member of the plaintiff’s family “with the hope of ensuring their silence about the abuses perpetrated by Fr. Smyczynski and covering up those abuses.”

Catholic Church doctrine stipulates that divorced Catholics must receive an annulment, or “declaration of nullity,” if they want to remarry and continue to receive Communion, a central practice of the faith. But applying for an annulment was an often intimidating, mysterious and slow church court process.

The plaintiff said the Rev. Gerard A. Smyczynski abused him multiple times when he was a 10-year-old student and altar boy at Infant of Prague Church and school in Cheektowaga in the mid-1980s. The alleged abuse lasted about a year, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by Danielle George of Phillips & Paolicelli law firm in New York City and Paul K. Barr of Fanizzi & Barr in Niagara Falls.

Trautman, 83, was second-in-command of the Buffalo Diocese for several years under Bishop Edward D. Head, until he was installed as bishop of the Erie Diocese in 1990. He retired in 2012.

He did not respond to an email seeking his response to the allegations in the lawsuit.

Trautman told The News last June that he didn’t cover up any sexual abuse when he was chancellor in the Buffalo Diocese.

Trautman also has disputed a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that criticized him for allowing Erie priests who had been accused of abuse to continue in the priesthood.

The plaintiff still lives in Erie County and is now 45. Smyczynski died in 1999.

Clergy Abuse Survivor, Attorney to Detail Allegations of a Coverup by Former Erie Bishop Trautman

ERIE (PA)
Erie News Now

Jan. 2, 2020

James Faluszczak, abuse survivor, former priest and whistleblower before the 40th Pennsylvania Grand Jury, and Paul Barr who has represented injured victims on the Niagara Frontier and is an abuse survivor himself, will address the two new court filings at 11:30 a.m. in front of St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.

They will detail allegations of coverup by defendant Bishop Donald Trautman, former Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo and now retired Erie Bishop, who they said maintained the coverup from the Erie Diocese. Faluszczak and Barr will also identify active Buffalo priest Fr. Richard Reina as an alleged abuser for the first time.

When the Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop Richard Malone published an incomplete list of abuser priests in March 2018, they left out the timing and nature of alleged abuse, preventing the community from knowing about Fr. Gerard Smyczynski’s propensity to abuse children, according to Faluszczak and Barr.

Bishop Donald Trautman is alleged for have concealed this information by two specific actions in his capacity as Vicar General of the Buffalo Diocese, causing harm to an innocent child. They say it established a pattern of coverup that Trautman carried across state lines when he later became Bishop of Erie.

Reina is alleged to have sexually abused a minor child while he was a priest at Holy Cross Church in Buffalo. Reina then spend multiple years forming future priests in seminary work and is presently serving Christ the King Church in Snyder, NY.

Perspective: The promise and peril of the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
The Washington Post

January 2, 2020

By William Schultz

The conflict between obedience and hierarchy and social justice.

James Fulton Engstrom was delivered stillborn on Sept. 16, 2010. Sixty-one minutes later, his heartbeat resumed. His mother credited his recovery to prayers she said to Fulton Sheen, the Roman Catholic bishop who today is best remembered as the host of the 1950s television program “Life Is Worth Living.” Investigators from the Vatican concluded that the recovery was a miracle, placing Sheen one step closer to sainthood.

Media coverage of Sheen’s beatification has focused on his television career — not surprising, given “Life Is Worth Living” attracted tens of millions of viewers and made Sheen as recognizable a television personality as Ed Sullivan. The show symbolized the hopes of the American Catholic Church in the 1950s: It seemed proof one could engage in the modern world while remaining authentically Catholic.

Recently, however, the Vatican took the unusual step of delaying Sheen’s beatification (originally scheduled for Dec. 21) as officials investigate a once-forgotten chapter of Sheen’s life: his three years as bishop of Rochester, N.Y. Officials are focused on the assignment of priests in Rochester during Sheen’s tenure, an investigation tied to the ongoing issue of priestly sexual abuse.

What role, if any, Sheen played in the assignment of sexually abusive priests remains unclear. But Sheen’s time in Rochester is worth examining for reasons that go beyond the crisis of sexual abuse. His tumultuous career as Rochester’s bishop reveals how the Catholic Church’s attempt to reconcile social justice with a commitment to authority and hierarchy has at times led to disaster.

The ironic moral career of Cardinal Law

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The Irish Catholic

January 2, 2020

State Papers: Echoes of the past from the archives

The annual release of files often reveal historical ironies in the private papers of the state that how perspectives on events and individuals in public life change constantly.

In the summer of 1989 Cardinal Bernard Law made a pilgrimage to Ireland to visit the shrines at Knock with a party of 100 from Boston. Though that was their main objective, the Cardinal also took the opportunity to visit the North with Dr Cathal Daly, then still Bishop of Down and Connor to guide him and to gain his own impressions of what was happening there from a nationalist point of view.

Bishop Daly had famously declared in the context of Irish affairs that “evil must be rejected totally and unequivocally. There must be no ambivalence, no double standards, no selective indignation.”

Code of silence reigns amid scandals, misbehavior at all-boys Catholic schools

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

January 2, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

When word got out that a football player at De La Salle High School was sexually hazed in the locker room, about a dozen athletes clammed up, including the victim, who police said doesn't want charges.

The same thing happened after a brawl broke out in December between students from Birmingham Brother Rice and Catholic Central: The case has gone nowhere because one victim doesn't want charges, police said, and no one else is talking.

Students at U-D Jesuit in Detroit were equally quiet in 2014 after a former teacher was charged with videotaping hockey players changing in a locker room. Students vented privately but refused to speak publicly.

This is the culture of silence that for years has reigned at metro Detroit's all-boys Catholic schools, where scandals involving misbehavior of all sorts put students, alumni and families on high alert as many are all too aware that reputation rules the day — and sports is king.

January 1, 2020

RNS reporters look ahead at 2020

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

Jan. 1, 2020

The past year on the religion beat began with a prayer meeting and weeklong retreat by U.S. Catholic bishops, hoping that by fasting and prayer they might find a way forward in response to the ongoing abuse scandal in the church. It ended with a pair of attacks on faith groups: five people stabbed while attending a Hanukkah party and three people killed during a church service in Texas.

In between were moments of grief and scandal, hope and resilience.

As we enter the new year, we asked Religion News Service's reporters to give us a glimpse into the stories they'll be following in 2020.

Adelle M. Banks
Southern Baptists have started the journey of addressing sexual abuse within their ranks but they have a long way to go. They focused on the issue and held a time of prayer and lament at their 2019 annual meeting and have offered new resources. It will be worth watching to see what happens next, including how a new committee handles accusations of abuse against local churches and what role a new president, who will be elected in June, will play in the denomination’s next steps.

African American voters of faith are bound to have an influence on the coming election year. Many may be in Joe Biden’s corner and few seem to support Pete Buttegieg. How will this group, which has organized “Souls to the Polls” events in past elections, work toward Election Day 2020? Will they be successful in achieving voter turnout?

Religious freedom issues will remain a focus of the Trump administration. What shape its actions take in the next year and how much difference the administration makes in reducing religious oppression across the globe remains to be seen.

A Tale of Two Cardinals — One Past, One Present

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

Jan. 1, 2020

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

At year-end, two cardinals were confined to quarters, unable to celebrate Holy Mass. The stories of Cardinal George Pell and now Mr. Theodore McCarrick are the dominant Catholic news stories of 2019, at least in the English-speaking world, but with universal implications.

Cardinal Pell is incarcerated in a Melbourne jail, having been sentenced in March to a six-year term after being convicted of sexual assaults in the Melbourne cathedral in 1996. His appeal at Australia’s highest court will be heard in March 2020.

Cardinal McCarrick was laicized in February after being found guilty in a Church trial of sexual abuse of minors, abuse of power and solicitation in the sacrament of confession. He lives in seclusion in a Kansas friary with no public contact. No longer a cleric, McCarrick cannot celebrate Mass or exercise any priestly ministry.

Both situations are astonishing, both in their own ways unprecedented. And both raise questions about the course of justice, both civil and canonical, and how the two coincide, or come into conflict.

Archdiocese plugs budget hole as revenue gains, land sales add to coffers and stave off default

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

Jan. 1, 2020

By Jerry DiColo

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has plugged a multimillion-dollar hole in its budget through land sales, a jump in fee revenue for church services and higher payments from parishes, even as sexual abuse claims and other costs continue to weigh on its financial outlook.

The local Catholic church, which had an operating deficit of more than $14 million for 2018, shrank the deficit to under $1 million in its 2019 fiscal year, which ended in June, according to financial documents filed last week. It was the smallest operating deficit since 2011.

Investment income from its endowment fund provided a boost that helped the archdiocese finish the year with $78.8 million in net assets, up $3.4 million from 2018.

Priest granted bond reduction despite prosecutor objections

CLEVELAND (OH)
WJW TV

Dec. 31, 2019'

By Peggy Gallek

A priest facing several charges including three counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance has been granted a bond reduction.

The 8th District Court Of Appeals on Tuesday granted Father Robert McWilliams' request to be able to post 10 percent of a $50,000 bond.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors objected to any reduction in bond.

Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Carl Sullivan previously told the court that in addition to charges here there are also allegations in Geauga County that the priest posed as a stranger to extort children into sending him nude videos and pictures.

McWilliams, who remains held in the Cuyahoga County Jail, has entered not guilty pleas to the charges filed in Cuyahoga County. No charges have been filed against him in Geauga County.

An attorney for the priest filed a motion in the appeals court last Friday, a few days after a Cuyahoga County judge denied his request to reduce the bond.

Vulnerability as strength: Keenan's key to dismantling clericalism

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

December 31, 2019

By Tom Roberts

Jesuit Fr. James Keenan really wants to turn the whole deal on its head. The highly regarded theologian, taking in the endless discussion of the priest sex abuse crisis, had one of those moments of recognition — of seeing the thing right in front of us that everyone else has been looking past in search of answers.

And here's what I perceive to be the bottom line, the ultimate question he raises out of that awareness: "Is the God we worship vulnerable?"

If that is the case, and he believes so, then he asks: "Why couldn't we develop an ecclesiology based on the risk-taking vulnerability of God?"

If that were to happen, we'd have a church that would look and act quite differently from the one we know today. Imagine the seminary recruitment brochure that highlighted vulnerability as a quality the institution treasured and hoped to develop in the men who applied.

Former priest with ties to McDowell is on church's list of abusers

McDOWELL (NC)
McDowell News

December 30, 2019

A former Catholic priest with ties to Marion and Morganton in the 1980s was credibly accused of abuse in Ohio, according to a review by the Diocese of Charlotte, which looked at decades of records.

In October of 2018, Richard C. Evrit was named on the Diocese of Youngstown (Ohio) list of clergy for credible allegations of sexual abuse from the early 1970s in that state.

Evrit served in the Diocese of Charlotte in the late 1980s until his home diocese placed him on indefinite medical leave in 1989. No local allegations of abuse were documented here, the diocese said.

Appeals court lowers bond for Strongsville priest accused of possessing child pornography

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com

December 31, 2019

By Cory Shaffer

An appeals court on Tuesday reduced the bond for a Strongsville Catholic priest accused of sending and receiving child pornography.

A three-judge panel at the 8th District Court of Appeals unanimously agreed to grant the Rev. Robert McWilliams’ writ of habeas corpus and lowered his bond to 10 percent of $50,000.

The decision by Judges Sean C. Gallagher, Mary Eileen Kilbane and Kathleen Ann Keough means McWilliams will have to pay $5,000 plus fees to secure release from the Cuyahoga County Jail. He will have to wear a GPS ankle monitor if he leaves jail.

Read list of 14 priests accused of child sex abuse since Charlotte Diocese was established

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WSOC-TV

December 30, 2019 - 6:56 PM

Donald Philip Baker
Baker was ordained in 1980 and left the ministry in 1994. In 2017, a man reported that Baker had sexually abused him when he was a teenager in his Lenoir parish from 1986 to 1989. The diocese said it contacted Caldwell County DSS and Lenoir police but no charges were filed. Baker was living in Arizona at the time of the allegation and worked in the Diocese of Phoenix. In 2019, the Charlotte Diocese’s Lay Review Board deemed the allegation was credible.

Charles Jeffries “Jeff” Burton
Burton was ordained in 1967, removed in 2007 and died in 2011. In 1994, a man reported that Burton made advances and inappropriately touched him when he was a teenager in 1982 at a youth ministry center in Flat Rock. Burton had been assigned by the Maryland Province of Jesuits to work in the Charlotte Diocese. The diocese said it reported the allegation to his supervising religious order, which sent Burton for treatment and returned him to ministry in New Jersey. The Jesuits said Burton was removed from ministry in 2007 after the Flat Rock allegation resurfaced and he acknowledged the incident.

Eugene D. Corbesero
Corbesero was ordained in 1962, dismissed in 1983 and died in 2016. In 1995, a man reported that he had been abused by Corbesero when he was a teenager at Our Lady of Consolation Church in Charlotte sometime between 1973 and 1975. The diocese said it alerted his Corbesero’s order at the time of the allegation to verify he was no longer in ministry. In 2007, the former priest pleaded guilty and served five years in prison for sexually assaulting a child in New Jersey in 2006, according to reports.

[cont'd]

Two lawsuits filed against Oakland Diocese allege child abuse at Union City church in the 1970s

OAKLAND (CA)
Bay Area News Group via the Mercury News

December 31, 2019

By Thomas Peele

One of the priests named in the suits was not on a list of abusive priests the diocese released in February

OAKLAND — Two people who say they were sexually abused as children by a pair of Catholic priests at a Union City church in the 1970s sued the Diocese of Oakland on Tuesday alleging it helped cover up their exploitation.

“This has wrecked my entire life, every aspect of my life” one of the victims, James Brogen, said at a press conference announcing the suits. “It’s hard to feel like a survivor when you’re still suffering.”

The suits allege that diocese officials worked to hide abuse at Our Lady of the Rosary church in Union City in the 1970s involving two priests, Stephen Kiesle and George E. Crespin.

Brogen, who grew up in what his suit described as a devout Catholic family in Hayward, called Our Lady of the Rosary a “house of evil.”

Diocese of Providence challenges RI statute of limitations expansion

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Catholic News Agency

December 31, 2019

In July, a bill was signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) extending the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases from seven to 35 years in Rhode Island. The 35-year window would commence from the victim’s 18th birthday. The law also includes a “seven year discovery” provision allowing victims to file lawsuits up to seven years after they have re-discovered childhood abuse as an adult, such as through therapy sessions.

Several months later, in September, a lawsuit was filed by Philip Edwardo against the Diocese of Providence alleging that he was abused by a diocesan priest, Phillip Magaldi, hundreds of times in the 1970s and 1980s.

#ChurchToo moment tops poll of religion news stories | Terry Mattingly

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Knoxville Sentinel

January 2, 2020

By Terry Mattingly

Protest rallies have been common during the #MeToo era, but many of the demonstrators outside the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention were quoting scripture.

As a teaching tool, they offered a large model of a millstone. That was a reference to the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus warns that for anyone who leads "little ones" astray, "it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

Protesters come and go. Inside the convention center in Birmingham, Alabama, Rachael Denhollander warned SBC leaders that it was past time for them to focus on the faces and stories of sexual-abuse survivors in their own pews. Abuse survivors are trying to get church leaders to stop hiding abusers and the institutions that shelter them, she said.

Far too often, "we do this in the name of unity: 'Don't say anything negative. We need to be unified.' But brothers and sisters ... we are to be unified around the holiness of God. We are to be unified around our confrontation of sin and our confrontation of the darkness. We are to seek light."

Headlines about sexual abuse among Southern Baptists are "not a surprise" to survivors, she added. "What you need to understand is these men and women have been pleading with the church to hear their voices for decades, and they have been shut out over and over and over again in the name of Christ. That's what the SBC has done to these survivors. You need to understand the perspective that they have come from. You need to feel the grief and the betrayal and the harm and the hurt they have felt."

OPINION: Diocese of Orange healing and thriving here at 2020

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Register

January 1, 2020

By Timothy Freyer, Ron Lowenberg and Darlyne Pettinicchio

January 1 represents a new beginning, marked by hope and promise for the year ahead. The new year is a time for goal-setting and resolutions. It is a time for us to reflect upon our past with the spirit of heart and mind to make positive change in our own lives and for the benefit of others. We seek strength and wisdom to fortify us to be better and truer to the best versions of ourselves, and we seek courage to help us overcome our challenges.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is in the midst of its own resolutions for the year that lies ahead, as it charts its continuous journey in care of the faithful.

As it does so, it gives special attention to those most vulnerable and precious among us – our children. And so, the Diocese of Orange reaffirms its long-standing commitment to promote a safe environment and eradicate sexual abuse of children; to ensure that the dark chapter of the Diocese’s past never recurs; and, to provide a voice to those who previously suffered in silence.

Top Stories from the Vatican in 2019 (and what’s next in 2020)

VATICAN CITY
America Magazine

January 1, 2020

By Colleen Dulle

Happy New Year from Inside the Vatican!

For our New Year’s Day episode, Gerry and I are taking a look back at some of the biggest Vatican stories of 2019.

We start with February’s Vatican summit on the protection of minors, which Gerry and I covered together in Rome. We talk about the steps Pope Francis has taken to follow up on that meeting, including the elimination of the “pontifical secret” in December which paved the way for the long-awaited Vatican handbook that will establish universal norms for handling cases of clerical sexual abuse. Gerry also gives us a timeline on when to expect that document.

Diocese of Knoxville settles sexual abuse lawsuit out of court

KNOXVILLE (TN)
News Sentinel

Dec. 31, 2019

By Amy McRary

The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville has reached an out-of-court settlement with a Blount County man whose lawsuit alleged he was sexually abused as a child by two priests.

The settlement means the July suit bought by attorneys for Michael Boyd of Blount County will not proceed in Knox County Circuit Court.

The terms and amount of the financial settlement were not disclosed in a seven-paragraph announcement issued today by the diocese. The diocese and church officials also admit no wrongdoing in the settlement.

The money paid to Boyd will be covered by the diocese's insurance and won't impact its budget or charity work.

"The diocese has throughout denied the validity of the claim. However, the diocese also recognizes that further pursuing this matter through the legal system would be time-consuming, costly, and detrimental to its mission of service," the statement issued by diocese's spokesman Jim Wogan read in part.

Boyd's attorney could not be immediately reached by USA Today Network-Tennessee. In the suit, attorneys asked for both compensatory and punitive damages but did not list a dollar amount.