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February 29, 2020

Facing Sex-Abuse Claims, Buffalo Diocese Declares Bankruptcy

The New York Times

February 29, 2020

By Jesse McKinley and Liam Stack

The diocese said it was seeking Chapter 11 protection because of old accusations revived under New York’s Child Victims Act.

The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy on Friday, becoming the latest entity to seek financial protection after a 2019 state law allowed victims of historical childhood sexual assault to sue.

The Catholic diocese, the largest in upstate New York, cited the Child Victims Act in a statement posted on its website, saying that the maneuver was necessary “to continue uninterrupted its mission throughout Western New York, while working to settle claims with existing Diocesan assets and insurance coverages.”

The Child Victims Act was passed last year by the Democratic Legislature in Albany, after years of opposition from religious groups and private schools, among others. It created a so-called look-back window, starting in August and lasting one year, allowing old claims that had passed the statute of limitations to be revived.

Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against the Catholic Church in the days after the look-back window opened, with more than 1,000 complaints brought under the Child Victims Act by Jan. 31, according to victims’ advocates. The sheer volume of claims led to speculation that one or more of the eight dioceses in New York could declare bankruptcy.

In September, the Diocese of Rochester became the first to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a month after the child victims law went into effect, and suggested that it was the best way to serve the growing number of plaintiffs. Buffalo is the second diocese to do so, and observers believe more could follow suit.

“I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see other dioceses in New York file,” said Terence McKiernan, the president of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks claims of wrongdoing in the church. “That’s partly because of the enormous number of legal claims being brought under the Child Victims Act, but also because there is potential there to control various aspects of that process of accountability.”

“This is a way of managing their exposure,” he added.

The Rev. Joseph Grasso, former Siena Academy principal, accused of molesting student

Democrat and Chronicle

February 28, 2020

By Sean Lahman and Steve Orr

Rochester diocese says no complaints about Grasso were ever received

Grasso taught in the late 1990's at Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit

He assumed the principal position at Siena at the start of 1998-99 school year

A priest who served as principal at three area Catholic schools and taught at a fourth has been accused of sexually abusing a student in the early 2000s.

A lawsuit initiated late last week alleges that the Rev. Joseph A. Grasso abused the student at Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton and the adjacent St. Thomas More Church.

The male victim, who was not identified by name in court papers, was approximately 12 years old when the alleged abuse began in 2002. Legal papers say the abuse continued into the following year.

No other information about the alleged abusive acts was included in the lawsuit, which was amended Tuesday to correct an error in some of the dates that are cited.

Grasso, 64, told a reporter Friday he was not aware of the litigation or any allegations of abuse.

"I don’t know what this is all about," said Grasso, who has been chaplain at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany since 2008.

Grasso later engaged a lawyer in Rochester, Michael Wolford, who said this week that his client denies he abused anyone.

"Father Joseph Grasso has had a stellar reputation in this community and other communities where he has worked and we are very disappointed that this unmeritorious lawsuit has been filed by these Buffalo attorneys," Wolford said. "We intend to vigorously defend Father Grasso and ultimately I am confident he will be vindicated."

A member of the Congregation of Missionaries of the Precious Blood religious order, Grasso was ordained as a priest in 1992.

Grasso taught in the late 1990's at Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit before assuming the principal's job at Siena at the start of the 1998-99 school year.

He was at Siena for six years before leaving to be principal at Aquinas Institute and then at DeSales High School in Geneva, though his short tenure at each school raised questions at the time about the reasons for his departure.

He spent less than a year at Aquinas, departing midway through the 2004-05 school session. In a statement at the time, the school said Grasso resigned "to pursue other interests" and Grasso himself told a reporter he left due to "reassignment — we’ll leave it at that."

Three months after he left Aquinas, Grasso was introduced as principal at DeSales High School in Geneva, which was operated then by the Rochester diocese but has since closed due to declining enrollment.

Grasso would spend just two years there, departing in July 2007 in what appeared to be an unplanned move. He left to "pursue other work in his ministry for the Precious Blood order of priests," according to a statement that summer from the diocese.

Red flags?

In a brief interview by phone Friday, Grasso acknowledged that his abrupt departures from the two schools were red flags in the context of the Catholic Church's child sexual abuse scandal, where there is a long history of church leaders shuffling around priests who fall under suspicion.

But Grasso said allegations of abuse had nothing to do with either departure. He said he left Aquinas because he and the school's board president "didn't see eye-to-eye," and he left DeSales because of a "difference of opinion" between himself and diocesan officials about the school's operation.

A spokesman for the Rochester diocese, Douglas Mandelaro, said that "no complaint of sexual abuse of a minor was ever received by the diocese" against Grasso.

And Aquinas spokesman Joseph B. Knapp said this week that officials at that school had never been made aware of such allegations against Grasso until a reporter called this week about the lawsuit.

David Carapella, Siena's current principal, said Wednesday that he was not at the school at that time and offered no other comment on the case.

The lawsuit seeks damages only from Grasso, not the school or the diocese.

That is likely due to the fact that the Rochester diocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and civil suits against it for past abuse are legally barred. The plaintiff would be free to file a claim against the diocese or its school in the bankruptcy proceeding.

As of earlier this week, Grasso remained in good standing with the Precious Blood province in Toronto, Canada, of which he is a member.

"Joe has always been well-received wherever he was. When he left the schools, it was because of, how should I put it, ideological differences between him and staff or administration." said the Very Rev. Mario Cafarelli, the order's provincial director in Toronto. "I’m surprised. He has always been very careful. Knowing him, he would die before doing any of that."

Discorso del Santo Padre trasmesso ai partecipanti al Capitolo Generale dei Legionari di Cristo, e alle Assemblee Generali delle Consacrate e dei Laici Consacrati del Regnum Christi, 29.02.2020

[Address of the Holy Father to the participants in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, and to the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Consecrated Laity of the Regnum Christi, 29.02.2020]


February 29, 2020

Pubblichiamo di seguito il discorso del Santo Padre Francesco trasmesso ai partecipanti al Capitolo Generale dei Legionari di Cristo, e alle Assemblee Generali delle Consacrate e dei Laici Consacrati del Regnum Christi:

Discorso del Santo Padre

Cari fratelli e sorelle,

sono felice di questo incontro con voi alla conclusione di una tappa del cammino che state percorrendo sotto la materna guida della Chiesa. Voi, Legionari di Cristo, avete da poco concluso il Capitolo Generale e voi, Consacrate e Laici Consacrati del Regnum Christi, le vostre Assemblee Generali. Sono stati eventi elettivi dei nuovi governi generali, conclusione di una tappa del cammino che state facendo. Ciò significa che esso non è compiuto, ma deve proseguire.

I comportamenti delittuosi tenuti dal vostro fondatore, il P. Marcial Maciel Degollado, che sono emersi nella loro gravità, hanno prodotto in tutta l’ampia realtà del Regnum Christi una forte crisi tanto istituzionale quanto delle singole persone. Infatti, da una parte non si può negare che egli è stato il fondatore “storico” di tutta la realtà che rappresentate, ma dall’altra non lo potete ritenere come un esempio di santità da imitare. È riuscito a farsi considerare un punto di riferimento, mediante una illusione che era riuscito a creare con la sua doppia vita. Inoltre, il suo lungo governo personalizzato aveva in una qualche misura inquinato il carisma che originariamente lo Spirito aveva donato alla Chiesa; e ciò si rifletteva nelle norme, nonché nella prassi di governo e di obbedienza e nell’impostazione di vita.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: We publish below the speech of the Holy Father Francis sent to the participants in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, and to the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Lay Consecrated Persons of the Regnum Christi :

Speech of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am happy with this meeting with you at the end of a stage of the journey you are traveling under the maternal guidance of the Church. You, Legionaries of Christ, have recently concluded the General Chapter and you, Consecrated and Lay Consecrated Persons of Regnum Christi , your General Assemblies. They were elective events of the new general governments, the conclusion of a stage on the path you are taking. This means that it is not accomplished, but must continue.

The criminal behavior of your founder, P. Marcial Maciel Degollado, which emerged in their gravity, produced in the whole wide reality of Regnum Christia strong institutional and individual crisis. In fact, on the one hand it cannot be denied that he was the "historical" founder of all the reality you represent, but on the other you cannot consider it as an example of holiness to imitate. He managed to make himself considered a point of reference, through an illusion that he had managed to create with his double life. Furthermore, his long personalized government had to some extent polluted the charisma that the Spirit originally had given to the Church; and this was reflected in the norms, as well as in the practice of government and obedience and in the way of life.

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo declares bankruptcy, looks to settle almost 250 child sex abuse lawsuits


February 28, 2020

By Christina Carrega and Aaron Katersky

The Diocese of Buffalo has $100 million in liabilities and almost 250 lawsuits.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy as it looks to settle over 250 lawsuits filed under the state's modified Child Victims Act law.

"We have no more urgent work than to bring about justice and healing for those harmed by the scourge of sexual abuse," said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo, in a statement. "The intense emotional, mental and spiritual pain inflicted on these innocent victim-survivors is a heavy burden they are forced to carry throughout their lives."

Francis calls Legionaries of Christ to 'continuous conversion' at end of Rome meeting

Catholic News Agency

February 29, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis Saturday told the Legionaries of Christ religious order to look toward the future as they continue to reform themselves, seeking continuous conversion under the guidance of the Church.

The pope’s message was sent to the religious order of priests at the end of the congregation’s 2020 Ordinary General Chapter in Rome, which began Jan. 20, to elect new leadership and to discuss handling of abuse.

The pope told the Legion there is still much that “must be discerned on your part. So the journey must continue, looking forward, not backward. You can look back only to find trust in the support of God, who has never failed.”

“Returning to the past would be dangerous and meaningless,” he said.

The nearly six-week-long meeting took place during a time of widespread public criticism of the Legionaries of Christ, which reported in December 2019 that since its founding in 1941, 33 priests of the congregation have been found to have committed sexual abuse of minors, victimizing 175 children, according to the 2019 report.

Pope urges Regnum Christi to continue along path of renewal

Vatican News

February 29, 2020

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis invites the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi members to continue along the path of discernment to reform the Federation, in remarks prepared for an audience on Saturday.

The Legionaries of Christ recently held their General Chapter in Rome, as the wider Regnum Christi Federation held its General Assemblies.

Pope Francis was scheduled to address the group on Saturday, but had to cancel due to a “slight indisposition”. The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said the Pope did celebrate Mass and keep his scheduled appointments in the Casa Santa Marta on Saturday morning.

Difficult past

In his prepared remarks which were read out to the group, Pope Francis said the “criminal behavior” of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado generated “a major institutional and personal crisis” within the Regnum Christi Federation.

Pope tells scandal-marred Legion they still haven’t reformed

Associated Press

February 29, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis told the Legion of Christ religious order Saturday it still has a long road of reform ahead, making clear that 10 years of Vatican-mandated rehabilitation hadn’t purged it of the toxic influences of its pedophile founder.

In a prepared speech, Francis told the Legion’s new superiors a “very vast field” of work was needed to correct the Legion’s problems and create a healthy order. He encouraged them to work “energetically in substance, and softly in the means.”

“A change of mentality requires a lot of time to assimilate in individuals and in an institution, so it’s a continual conversion,” Francis said. “A return to the past would be dangerous and senseless.”

The Vatican took over the Legion in 2010 after revelations that its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually abused dozens of his seminarians, fathered at least three children and built a secretive, cult-like order to hide his double life.

Even though the Vatican envoy tasked to run and reform the Legion declared the order cleansed and reconciled with its past in 2014, new sexual misconduct scandals have called into question whether his mission was really accomplished.

Victims of other Legion priests have come forward, indicating that a culture of abuse extended far beyond Maciel’s crimes and involved a high-level cover-up by superiors who are still in power.

List of Memphis clergy 'credibly accused' of child sex abuse released by Catholic Diocese

Commercial Appeal

February 28, 2020

By Katherine Burgess

Months after promising survivors to release a list of clergy credibly accused of child abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Memphis has done so.

Its list includes 20 names. The list is predominantly made up of names already included in lists compiled by other dioceses or religious orders along with clergy named publicly by victims.

The two exceptions appear to be James Gilbert and Floyd Brey, who do not appear in ProPublica’s database compiling the lists released by dioceses and religious orders or on bishopaccountability.org, which lists accused clergy.

Buffalo Diocese Embarks on Path Toward Reorganization

Western New York Catholic

February 28, 2020

Chapter 11 filing aims to provide resolution for the most number of individuals who have been harmed by past by sexual abuse while continuing the work of Catholic ministry

The Diocese of Buffalo has formally filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy code with a primary aim of enabling financial resolution for the most number of individuals who have filed claims under the Child Victims Act - a year-long window that opened on August 14, 2019 that suspends the statute of limitations related to allegations of past sexual abuse. A further objective of reorganization is that it allows the Diocese to continue uninterrupted its mission throughout Western New York, while working to settle claims with existing Diocesan assets and insurance coverages.

"We have no more urgent work than to bring about justice and healing for those harmed by the scourge of sexual abuse. The intense emotional, mental and spiritual pain inflicted on these innocent victim-survivors is a heavy burden they are forced to carry throughout their lives," said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo. "Our decision to pursue Chapter 11 reorganization - arrived at after much prayer, discernment and consultation with the College of Consultors and our Diocesan Finance Council - is based on our belief that this approach will enable the most number of victim-survivors of past sexual abuse in achieving fairness and a sense of restorative justice for the harm they have experienced. It will also allow the vital, mission-driven work of faith that is so essential to the residents of Western New York to continue uninterrupted."

Buffalo Catholic Diocese Files for Bankruptcy

Wall Street Journal

February 28, 2020

By Ian Lovett

Diocese is second in New York to seek bankruptcy protections since state law temporarily lifted civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., filed for bankruptcy on Friday, following a number of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against it since August.

Buffalo is the 22nd Catholic diocese to seek bankruptcy protections since 2004, when a wave of sexual abuse allegations against the church began, and the second in New York since a new state law last year temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. The law, known as the Child Victims Act, allows those who say they were sexually abused as children to sue, no matter when it occurred.

In the bankruptcy filing, the diocese estimated its total assets at between $10 million and $50 million and its liabilities at between $50 million and $100 million. It has at least 200 creditors, according to the filing.

The former bishop of Buffalo resigned late last year following accusations he covered up clergy sex abuse.

Priest sexually abused me for years and N.J. diocese knew he was a danger, woman says in suit


February 28, 2020

By Anthony G. Attrino

A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden accusing a priest of sexually abused her decades ago when she was a child while church officials allowed it to happen.

Patricia Cahill, 67, of Bergen County, claims the Rev. Daniel Francis Marks Millard, sexually abused her from 1957 to 1965, according to the suit, filed Feb. 4 in Camden County Superior Court.

While NJ Advance Media does not typically name victims of sexual abuse, Cahill been speaking publicly about the alleged abuse for years. The lawsuit is another in the flood of litigation against churches and other groups since a two-year window opened on Dec. 1 under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy that expanded the amount of time that victims of sexual assault may bring a lawsuit.

The abuse began when Cahill was age 5 and ended when she was age 13, the suit alleges.
Cahill, who was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family in Ridgewood, participated in youth activities and “developed great admiration, trust, reverence, and respect” for the church and Millard, the suit states.

The diocese placed Millard “in positions where (he) had access to and worked with children as an integral part of his work,” the lawsuit states.

Fighting abuse in lay movements: Vatican mandates norms, guidelines

Religion News Service

February 28, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Organizations, Catholic or not, led by a charismatic leader who is followed uncritically and commands or demands control over members are at risk for cases of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

The Vatican office that grants official recognition to international Catholic lay movements and organizations ordered the groups to develop detailed child-protection guidelines and norms for handling allegations of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

The international organizations include hundreds of thousands of Catholics around the world, so "this is an important step," said Father Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Buffalo Diocese files for bankruptcy protection amid sexual abuse lawsuits

WRGB-TV, Channel 6

February 28, 2020

According to the filing, the Diocese is claiming 10 to 50-million dollars in assets, and 50 to 100-million dollars in liabilities, saying they need financial help to settle many of the lawsuits.

The Buffalo Diocese officially filing for bankruptcy protection today in the wake of legal action regarding sexual abuse.

The Child Victims Act became law last August, allowing victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged victims.

MORE: Albany Catholic Diocese releases statement following Rochester Diocese filing Chapter 11

According to the filing, the Diocese is claiming 10 to 50-million dollars in assets, and 50 to 100-million dollars in liabilities, saying they need financial help to settle many of the lawsuits.

Buffalo Roman Catholic Diocese seeks bankruptcy protection

Associated Press

February 28, 2020

By Carolyn Thompson

The embattled Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, taking another major step in its effort to recover from a clergy misconduct scandal that’s been the basis for hundreds of lawsuits, Vatican intervention and the resignation of its bishop.

With its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the western New York diocese became the second in the state to file for Chapter 11 reorganization, and one of more than 20 dioceses to seek bankruptcy protection nationwide. Most recently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed Feb. 19.

The Buffalo diocese has faced particular turmoil in recent months, culminating in the Dec. 4 resignation of Bishop Richard Malone following a Vatican-mandated investigation. Malone had faced intense pressure from members of his staff, clergy and the public to step down amid criticism that he withheld the names of dozens of credibly accused priests and mishandled reports of misconduct against others.

Catholic Diocese releases list of 20 priests ‘credibly accused’ of child sexual abuse

Daily Memphian

February 28, 2020

By Bill Dries

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis has released a list of priests accused of child sexual abuse during their time in Memphis and West Tennessee.

The list of “credibly accused” priests spans more than 50 years and was compiled at the request of Bishop David Talley shortly after he became leader of the Diocese that covers West Tennessee including Memphis.

“Our Diocese of Memphis realizes the extent of damage caused by the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Catholic clergy,” Talley wrote in a letter posted on the website of the Diocese Friday, Feb. 28.

February 28, 2020

Woman's fraud case against LDS Church for alleged cover-up sent to settlement

KUTV-TV, Channel 2

February 24, 2020

by McKenzie Stauffer

A woman, who accused The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering up an alleged sexual assault by the president of its Provo Missionary Training Center, had the last two items of her lawsuit sent to a settlement hearing.

McKenna Denson's allegations against Joseph Bishop and the Church were dismissed more than a year ago, because of the statute of limitations had passed.

A judge, however, ruled the two counts of fraud still stand because an alleged-cover-up was discovered.

Erzbistum München beauftragt externes Missbrauchs-Gutachten

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: Archdiocese of Munich commissions an external abuse report]


February 27, 2020

Der scheidende Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz ringt im Missbrauchsskandal mit internen wie externen Kritikern. In seinem Münchner Erzbistum will Kardinal Marx nun mit einem neuen externen Gutachten für mehr Aufarbeitung sorgen - auch bis in höchste Ämter.

Google Translate: The outgoing chairman of the German Bishops' Conference grapples with internal and external critics in the abuse scandal. In his Archdiocese of Munich, Cardinal Marx now wants to provide more work with a new external report - even to the highest offices.

Ratzinger and the Pedophile Priest


February 26, 2020

A priest convicted of sexually abusing children says that, on a winter day, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is standing on his doorstep. Now, an investigation conducted by CORRECTIV and Frontal21 reveals the ties of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with the priest. The stories shared by alleged victims who came forward during the investigation show how the Catholic Church’s prosecution of sexual abuse within its own ranks is insufficient.

In the outskirts of the Bavarian town of Garching, the chapel in Simetsbichl is a whitewashed building with a gabled roof. Benches are lined up inside, where an aureoled Virgin Mary gazes from the apse to an altar with candles, flowers and guest books brimming with personal pleas: for healing, for a new job, to get pregnant. And then, on a yellow notepad in a child’s scrawly handwriting:

There is no date above the entry, so it is impossible to determine when the boy wrote his appeal to the Blessed Mother. Some requests in the books go as far back as the 1990s, but it is also possible to write at the back of an empty book. Maybe the boy wanted to hide his petition behind blank pages until newer prayers could catch up over time.

Today, Stefan’s note points to a time when Priest Peter H., one of the most widely known perpetrators of sexual abuse in the German Catholic Church, led the parish in Garching. Until 2008, the priest also lived and worked just 30 minutes away by foot at the Church of St. Nicholas in Garching. For decades, he abused minor boys at both congregations. In response, the Church simply moved him from parish to parish, allowing his behavior to continue.

In Garching and in Engelsberg, in Essen and in Bottrop, a new investigation by CORRECTIV and Frontal21 reveals how Priest Peter H. abused young boys at congregations throughout Germany.

An Update on Abuse by Women Religious - Talk by Mary Dispenza

Archangel Foundation

February 25, 2020

Nun and priest sexual abuse survivor Mary Dispenza, who serves as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests' Leader on Nun Abuse, talks about the painful realities and statistics of abuse by nuns at the 2020 2nd Annual Survivors' Summit in Rome.

Rhode Island man says in lawsuit he was abused by priest

The Associated Press

February 28, 2020

A Rhode Island man alleges that he was molested as a child by a Catholic priest who also trafficked children for sex while church leaders looked the other way, according to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Providence.

Robert Houllahan, 51, of Providence, said in the suit filed Thursday that he was sexually abused by the late Father Normand Demers, who received the “protection and affirmative assistance” of the diocese and its leaders, The Providence Journal reported.

The diocese, current Bishop Thomas Tobin and retired Bishop Louis Gelineau are among the defendants named in the suit.

Former St. Xavier High School priest accused of psychological sexual abuse


February 21, 2020

By Katherine Barrier

A former St. Xavier High School priest has been accused of psychological sexual abuse, according to the school.

Fr. Ed Pigott was part of the St. Xavier community from 1969 to 2018. After the school published a list of Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics who had established allegations of sexual abuse against minors in 2018, allegations were brought against Pigott. The school said the reported abuse happened between 1992 and 1994.

After the allegations, Pigott was not allowed to have unsupervised access to students and was then removed from his duties at the school on Dec. 19, 2018.

Catholics still don't get it: sexual abuse is not about sex

La Croix International

February 27, 2020

By Robert Mickens

Jean Vanier violated the Second Commandment, not the Sixth

We continue to hear of incidents that more than suggest that Catholics – and, in particular, their bishops – have learned very little from the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Legion of Christ vows better abuse response amid new sex abuse scandal, cover-up

The Associated Press

February 27, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Legion of Christ religious order is promising accountability and transparency after damaging new revelations of sex abuse and cover-up that have undermined its credibility, a decade after revelations of its pedophile founder disgraced the order.

The Legion vowed to investigate the confirmed cases of past abuse by 33 priests and 71 seminarians. The Mexico-based order said it would reach out to the victims, publish the names of those found guilty of abuse in either a church or a state court, and punish superiors responsible for “gross negligence” in the handling of abuse accusations.

The measures described in a statement late Wednesday were responding to a burgeoning new scandal involving the order. The Vatican took over the Legion 10 years ago following revelations that its late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, raped his seminarians, fathered at least three children and built a secretive, cultlike order to hide his double life.

Facing 250 sex abuse lawsuits, Diocese of Buffalo declares bankruptcy


February 28, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Second diocese in New York to file

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which is facing nearly 250 lawsuits involving clergy sexual abuse, has declared bankruptcy.

Aside from the obvious financial implications, the diocese's formal Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing means that many of the victims of clergy sexual abuse may not anytime soon get the answers that have long been hidden in secret diocesan archives regarding pedophile priests.

But there is still a chance that those hidden files could be forced as part of a bankruptcy settlement, as has happened in other dioceses.

Vatican task force offers help to church on abuse prevention

The Associated Press

February 28, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican is launching a task force of experts to help Catholic dioceses and religious orders develop guidelines to handle cases of sexual abuse by clergy and tend to survivors.

The initiative was proposed last year during Pope Francis’ summit on preventing abuse. It was considered necessary given Catholic leaders in some parts of the world — mostly poor, conflict-marred areas in Africa and Asia — have failed to comply with a 2011 Vatican directive to develop the guidelines.

Task force participants said Friday that the aim is to provide legal expertise and help to dioceses and religious orders that simply don’t have the professional resources or have otherwise neglected to comply with the 2011 directive.

Congressman seeks investigation of church's sex abuse deals

The Associated Press

February 27, 2020

A congressman is asking the Department of Justice to investigate settlements to two men who say they were victims of clergy abuse at a Catholic school in Mississippi.

In a letter, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson says Catholic officials "exploited" the young men, The Clarion Ledger reported.

They were paid far less than what others have received through legal settlements with the church, the Mississippi Democrat said.

The request for an investigation comes after The Associated Press made details of the cases public in a story last year.

The two cousins told the AP they were repeatedly abused during the 1990s, as elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi. The cousins were each paid $15,000.

Lori Falce: Why we write about sex abuse


February 27, 2020

By Lori Falce

“But why do you have to put it up there in black and white? Why does there have to be a headline? Why can’t you just let it go?”

I‘ve had this conversation before.

“Why do you have to write about Jerry Sandusky? It makes Penn State look bad.”

“Why do you have to write about the grand jury report? It makes the Catholic church look bad.”

Pope urges church workers to fight child abuse, even when facing threats


February 25, 2020

By Inés San Martín

In a video message sent to an abuse prevention formation center in Mexico, Pope Francis condemned the fact there are people willing to hire a hit man to stop abuse prevention and child protection.

“You will be misunderstood, [some] will tell you are wasting your time,” Francis says in the video sent to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), an interdisciplinary center for child protection at the Pontifical University of Mexico. “You will be threatened, because there are those who are threatened. More than one will tell you that they are capable of hiring a hit man to clean up the field.”

“Be prudent,” he adds. “Take care of yourselves, but continue to be brave and work. Preventing the abuse of children, the abuse of those who are at a disadvantage due to their social situation or an illness, is an act of love.”

Victims and survivors of abuse remembered by Church in Ireland

Vatican News

February 28, 2020

The Annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse is being marked in Ireland on 28 February, the first Friday of Lent.

Candles of Atonement will be lit in Cathedrals and Parishes throughout the country.

On this day the Bishops of Ireland are asking people to remember and pray for all those who carry with them life long suffering as a result of abuse.

Speaking about the Day of Prayer, the CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, Teresa Devlin said, “it is one day in the year which is really important”, but she added that, “every day is important and we are consistently reminding Church leaders of the need to communicate their child safeguarding message.”

‘Church is no longer a safe place:’ State prison for local priest in indecent assault of girl


February 25, 2020

By Sarah Cassi

A former Allentown priest was sentenced Monday to state prison for the indecent assault of a girl he met through his city parish.

Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos noted it was a maximum sentence of one to two years in state prison for 31-year-old Kevin Lonergan, who has been free on bail in the case since he was charged.

Lonergan pleaded guilty in November to indecent assault of the girl, who was 17 at the time.

In addition to commending the bravery of the teen girl who came forward, Dantos took note of a prior accusation against Lonergan in another county.

'One step at a time': The path to a new sex abuse bill

Colorado Politics

February 27, 2020

By Michael Karlik

For the first time in 14 years, both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly will consider eliminating the civil statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse — and, for that matter, a range of sexual misconduct against children and adults.

House Bill 1296 comes in the wake of an October 2019 report from the attorney general’s office detailing the extent of childhood abuse from Catholic clergy in Colorado and follows other scandals involving the Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics and perpetrators outed through the #MeToo movement. The proposal would allow unlimited time for victims of sexual assault, sex abuse and unlawful sexual contact to sue their perpetrators or the institutions that harbored them, but only for future cases.

Currently, survivors generally have six years to sue their abuser after they turn 18, and two years to sue an institution.

Lawsuit: Former Providence priest trafficked children for sex

Providence Journal

February 27, 2020

By Brian Amaral

And, the suit says, the Diocese actively thwarted efforts to stop the predator priest, instead giving him a new assignment, to St. Martha Church in East Providence.

A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence trafficked children for sex, using the guise of international charitable work to prey on boys at orphanages in Haiti and rectories in Rhode Island, a lawsuit filed Thursday says.

The diocese and its defenders looked the other way and actively thwarted efforts to stop the predator priest, the suit says. In one instance, a parishioner who later became associated with the diocese’s legal counsel reported leaving a party at a rectory because he was made uncomfortable by the presence of boys, some dressed in diapers, according to the suit.

Mo. Attorney General Urged to Investigate Baptists


February 27, 2020

By Brian Kaylor

Groups that advocate for the survivors of clergy sexual abuse called on Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to investigate clergy in the Missouri Baptist Convention for sexual abuse or misconduct — as he already has done with the Catholic Church. In a Feb. 26 rally outside the MBC’s headquarters in Jefferson City, advocates from two different groups addressed a specific case as they called for more proactive actions to weed out abusers and those who enable abusers.

“Sexual violence happens when those who commit or conceal it escape consequences. We fear that’s what’s happening now, in part, because of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” explained Cheryl Summers, an advocate with “For Such A Time as This Rally” that advocates for abuse victims within the Southern Baptist Convention. “When wrongdoing or alleged wrongdoing is ignored or rewarded, more people are apt to do wrong.”

Disgraced Catholic order vows to turn page on abuse with new norms


February 27, 2020

By Philip Pullella

The new leader of the disgraced Legionaries of Christ Catholic religious order, whose founder was a serial sexual abuser, has promised to turn a page as the group enacted new norms to protect children.

Father John Conner, 51, an American who was elected this month as superior general, announced the changes on Wednesday night as he wrapped up a general chapter attended by 66 representatives from around the world.

Conner, the order's first non-Mexican leader, said in a statement the Legionaries wanted a "change of the institutional culture that allowed so much suffering to occur".

The chapter approved documents outlining commitments for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and for reckoning with its scandalous past.

Well-known ex-Jesuit employee Brother Everard Booth named a suspected sex abuser


February 27, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A religious brother who worked several years at Jesuit High School in New Orleans — and had an endowed scholarship set up in his honor — was among four names added Thursday to a list of members of the Jesuit order suspected of sexual abuse while they worked in a region including Louisiana.

The update to the list marks the first time Jesuit officials have acknowledged they believe Everard J. Booth, who died in 1986, was an abuser.

Booth was the subject of “more than one” credible allegation, the order said. It didn’t specify where the alleged abuse occurred but said the “estimated timeframe” was in the 1960s. In a separate statement, Jesuit High officials said Thursday that the allegations do not involve students or Booth's work at the school.

Besides Jesuit High and regional administrative offices in New Orleans, Booth was stationed at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau in St. Landry Parish, as well as two colleges in the country now known as Sri Lanka.

Other names newly added to the Jesuit order’s list are priests Jose Angel Borges, James Loeffler and Benjamin Smylie, who are all dead. Of those three, Loeffler was the only one ever stationed in Louisiana, serving a stint at Grand Coteau's Christ the King Parish.

Statement by Cheryl Summers, founder of For Such a Time As This Rally


February 26, 2020

We're here to protect innocent kids and vulnerable adults. We’re not here to punish or persecute anyone. This is about public safety and victims’ healing. When those happen, then it may be time for forgiveness or redemption,which are, in fact, private actions, not public actions. Public actions are what will keep others safe and help others heal.

We start with a simple truth: Sexual violence happens when those who commit or conceal it escape consequences.

We fear that's what's happening now, in part, because of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

The Convention has tapped Dr. Mike Roy to be on the board of trustees at Southwest Baptist University.

--This all stems from the case of Shawn Davies, who pled guilty in 2007 to molesting boys at First Baptist Church of Greenwood. Roy was the senior pastor there. Davies was youth and music minister. https://www.snapnetwork.org/news/baptist/baptist_minister_convicted.htm

Warning: Fr. Tetherow Is Back at an Independent Latin Mass Chapel

Patheos: Through a Catholic Lens (blog)

February 27, 2020

By Fr Matthew P. Schneider, LC

A year ago, I reported on how the diocese had dealt well with a priest once child pornography was found on his computer. Fr. Virgil Bradley Tetherow, who also goes by Fr. Gabriel Francis, was quickly suspended and later defrocked. I think the diocese did what they could to deal with the situation and they can’t really do much except warn people once he’s defrocked.

When I wrote the article in January 2019, it looked like Fr. Tetherow was no longer involved in the independent Latin Mass chapel as his name had been scrubbed from their website and Facebook page. (I should have used the Wayback Machine to save this, but I did not think of it at the time and nobody else saved the clergy/pastor page either.) However, his name is back on the St. Michael the Archangel website as the pastor. (See the image on the right.) Also, regular homilies by Tetherow from the past year are posted on the site.

Springfield Diocese names investigators for abuse allegations

Daily Hampshire Gazette

February 27, 2020

By Michael Connors

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has appointed three people to its newly created team of investigators in its Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance.

Retired Springfield Police Capt. C. Lee Bennett, retired Springfield Police Lt. Norman F. Charest and Brenda Burge, an investigator for the state Department of Children and Families, have been named as the new investigators, according to a press release. They will serve as administrative investigators in abuse claims made to the Diocesan Review Board, the release said.

Jeffrey J. Trant, the office’s director, said in the statement released Monday that the hirings were part of a number of changesin how allegations of abuse are handled by the diocese. In 2019, the Berkshire Eagle reported that the Springfield Diocese tried to repress molestation accusations against Bishop Christopher J. Weldon by a former altar boy, who served in the 1960s. Last June, the diocese announced the reorganization of its Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, saying the office will build on abuse awareness training, among other measures, to fulfill its mission.

Suffern monastery priest sexually assaulted at least two congregants: Cops

The Journal News

February 21, 2020

A priest in the Tagaste Monastery and Sacred Heart Church in Suffern sexually assaulted and raped multiple women, Suffern police said.

A woman congregant told a priest in the monastery that she was sexually assaulted by 51-year-old Fidel Hernandez in 2018, according to police.

The clergy member contacted the Archdiocese, which contacted the Rockland District Attorney's Office.

During the course of a joint investigation by the Suffern police and DA's office, a second victim came forward, saying she was sexually assaulted by Hernandez too.

Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn said, at this time, they don't know of any other victims, but if there are, he urges them to come forward.

"This is an ongoing investigation and we ask that anyone that feels they were a victim or knows of a potential victim to come forward and contact either the Suffern Police Department or the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office," Suffern police said in a statement.

The announcment of Hernandez's arrest was made at last weekend's masses, Osborn said.
Hernandez was arraigned today in Suffern village court on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching and released on $50,000 bail pending a future court date.

Suffern priest accused of rape faces more charges following grand jury indictment

The Journal News

February 27, 2020

By Christopher J. Eberhart

A Suffern priest accused of raping two women faces more charges after he was indicted by a grand jury in Rockland County Court on Wednesday.

Fidel Hernandez, 51, was indicted on charges of first- and third-degree rape as well as three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and three counts of third-degree criminal sexual act.

He was originally charged with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching.

[ARREST: Suffern monastery priest sexually assaulted at least two congregants: Cops]

“This indictment sends the message that this office will prosecute those whom are to be trusted by their congregants," Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh said in a statement. "We cannot turn a blind eye to clergy sexual abuse cases. I hope that this indictment encourages others who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to come forward and make a report to their local police or district attorneys."

Legion of Christ vows better abuse response amid new scandal

Associated Press

February 27, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Legion of Christ religious order is promising accountability and transparency following damaging new revelations of sex abuse and cover-up that have undermined its credibility, a decade after revelations of its pedophile founder disgraced the order.

The Legion vowed to investigate the confirmed cases of past abuse by 33 priests and 71 seminarians. The Mexico-based order said it would reach out to the victims, publish the names of those found guilty of abuse in either a church or a state court, and punish superiors responsible for “gross negligence” in the handling of abuse accusations.

The measures described in a statement late Wednesday were responding to a burgeoning new scandal involving the order. The Vatican took over the Legion 10 years ago following revelations that its late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, raped his seminarians, fathered at least three children and built a secretive, cult-like order to hide his double life.

Recent revelations have shown the Legion’s abuse problem went far beyond Maciel. Newly public cases exposed generational chains of abuse and high-level cover-up by superiors who are still in power. The cases indicated that the Vatican envoy who was tasked with reforming and purifying the order was part of the cover-up.

3 lawsuits accuse former Maryvale teacher of sexually abusing students

Buffalo News

February 28, 2020

By Mike McAndrew

Three former Maryvale School District students have accused their music teacher of sexually abusing them decades ago, according to Child Victims Act lawsuits against the district.

Stanley Bratt, a Maryvale East Elementary School teacher who died in 1980, according to the school district, is accused of abusing a 9- to 12-year-old boy from 1968-1971, a 9- to 10-year-old student from 1970-71 and an 11- to 15-year old student from 1973-1977.

The plaintiffs were not identified in the legal papers.

Attorney Julia Hilliker, who represents the school district, said that the district received no complaints about Bratt abusing children prior to the lawsuits being filed.

Sexually abused by a local priest? Here's how you can file a claim

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

February 28, 2020

By Steve Orr

Claimants must get their form to Stretto, a bankruptcy-support company based in California hired by the diocese to handle claims.

Aug. 13 deadline has been set as the deadline for filing claims against the Rochester diocese for past sexual abuse of minors by priests and other church ministers.

An order signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren on Tuesday also specified the means by which people can file claims and laid out a plan to advertise the process throughout New York state.

Diocesan officials have said they've received notice of more than 200 allegations of past abuse by church ministers, though the final number of claims is likely to be higher.

The deadline and other details of the claims process were set as part of the diocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in which diocesan officials are hoping to raise funds to pay abuse claimants while preserving sufficient assets to continue their ministry.

Boy Scouts may be forced to sell Rockwell paintings

USA Today

February 28, 2020

Money would help pay victims of sexual abuse

“Norman Rockwell is really an American icon. He hits the heartstrings of people when they see it. His images resonate with nostalgia.” Barbara J. Sussman an accredited member of the American Society of Appraisers

Potentially worth millions, artwork could be at risk of liquidation to satisfy creditors. Buried in the fine print of a document filed as part of the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy last week is a brief mention of a potentially huge asset: “original Rockwell paintings.”

The disclosure that the organization owns works by Norman Rockwell, the American painter and illustrator, is hardly a surprise since the artist and Scouts have been linked for more than a century. But the acknowledgment of those valuable assets, potentially worth millions to creditors, could set off a legal fight over their future.

With the Boy Scouts estimating they’ll face about 1,700 lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse dating back decades, the nonprofit is under pressure to sell off its holdings to pay victims. By filing for bankruptcy, the organization has tried to provide itself a path to carry out that process in an orderly way.

Buffalo Diocese files for bankruptcy

Buffalo News

February 28, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese, awash with lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by priests, nuns and others, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, marking another chapter in a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Western New York since early 2018.

The Buffalo Diocese already is named as a defendant in 260 cases, more than any other institution in the state, and potentially faces huge losses if the cases go to trial.

The filing puts the lawsuits on hold and stops efforts by debtors to collect from the diocese. It does not mean that the diocese or its parishes are going out of business.

The diocese's voluntary petition for non-individuals listed assets of $10 to $50 million and liabilities of $50 to $100 million and said the diocese had between 200 and 999 creditors.

February 27, 2020

Retired Catholic priest in southeast Mo. pleaded not guilty on child sex abuse charges

KFVS-TV (Channel 12)

February 19, 2020

By Amber Ruch

A retired Catholic priest in the Heartland was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse with children.

According to Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz was arrested at his home in Springfield on a Stoddard County warrant for charges of forcible sodomy, two counts of statutory sodomy second degree and felony sexual abuse related to allegations of sex crimes that happened while Lutz served as the priest at St. Joseph Parish in Advance, Mo. His bond was set at $125,000 cash only.

He was taken to the Stoddard County Jail on Wednesday afternoon to be booked.

Federal court sets deadline for filing claims against the Rochester Diocese


February 26, 2020

By Alex Crichton

Law firms representing clients in sex abuse lawsuits against the Rochester Catholic Diocese are urging survivors to file their claim before August 13, a deadline handed down by the bankruptcy court presiding over the Diocese’s bankruptcy filing.

Last fall, the Rochester Diocese was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection due to numerous lawsuits filed against the diocese under the Child Victims Act. James Marsh, founder of the New York City-based Marsh Law Firm, says the bankruptcy court has issued an August 13 deadline, called a bar date, for survivors to file their claims. After that date, no further claims can be filed.

Congressman Bennie Thompson asks DOJ to investigate Catholic sex abuse settlement

The Clarion-Ledger

February 24, 2020

By Sarah Fowler

Congressman Bennie Thompson has asked the Department of Justice to investigate settlements given to two victims of clergy abuse, saying in a letter that Catholic officials "exploited" the young men.

Last August, cousins La Jarvis Love and Joshua Love told The Associated Press they were repeatedly abused by Brother Paul West during the 1990s, when they were elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi.

West's name is on the list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse released by the Jackson Diocese last March.

In a letter dated Feb. 20, Thompson outlined the abuse inflicted on La Jarvis, Joshua and Raphael Love by West and the $15,000 settlement La Jarvis and Joshua Love each received from the Catholic Church.

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

Congressman seeks investigation of church’s sex abuse deals

Associated Press

February 26, 2020

A congressman is asking the Department of Justice to investigate settlements to two men who say they were victims of clergy abuse at a Catholic school in Mississippi.

In a letter, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson says Catholic officials “exploited” the young men, The Clarion Ledger reported.

They were paid far less than what others have received through legal settlements with the church, the Mississippi Democrat said.

The request for an investigation comes after The Associated Press made details of the cases public in a story last year.

The two cousins told the AP they were repeatedly abused during the 1990s, as elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi. The cousins were each paid $15,000.

The settlements, Thompson wrote, were “far less than what many other sex abuse victims have received through legal settlements with the Catholic church.”

Former Arizona Catholic priest dies before trial on child abuse charges

The Republic

February 26, 2020

By Lauren Castle

A former Catholic priest who was indicted on child sex crimes has died before his trial, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding died Tuesday at the age of 75.

He was facing six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. The two boys were under the age of 15 during the alleged incidents, which were reported to have occurred in 2003 and 2007.

A pediatrician's lament: My 30-year journey with clergy sexual abuse

LaCroix Internationa

February 26, 2020

By Sister Nuala Kenny OC, MD

"See, O Lord, how distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me (Lamentations 1:20)

'I pray for this effort to finally address coherently the theologies necessary to reform the cultural and systemic factors operative in the clergy abuse crisis'

As a pediatrician, I know the devastating harms of the physical and sexual abuse of children and youth by family members and trusted others in society.

I have held the shaking and bleeding body of a raped 12-year-old boy and tried to comfort a seven-year-old girl terrified of being touched after assault.

As a religious sister, I have wept often in 30 years of work on sexual abuse by clergy.

February 26, 2020

Diocese knew in 2002 of ex-Springfield priest's sex abuse allegation. Why wasn't he fired?

Springfield News-Leader

February 25, 2020

By Harrison Keegan

A spokeswoman said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was aware in 2002 that one of its priests had been accused of sexually abusing a teen.

But the accused clergyman was allowed to keep working as a priest for the next nine years, until he retired in 2011.

That now-former priest, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz, was arrested at his Springfield home last week on charges of forcible sodomy, statutory sodomy and sexual abuse for acts that allegedly occurred in 2000 in Stoddard County in southeast Missouri.

The criminal charges stem from those same allegations that the diocese says it found out about in 2002, involving a 17-year-old boy.

Missouri Baptist trustee tussle returns spotlight to old allegations of mishandled abuse

Baptist News Global

February 26, 2020

By Bob Allen

Advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse criticized the Missouri Baptist Convention for electing a university trustee accused in 2005 of not cooperating with police in what media at the time described as Missouri’s biggest clergy sex-abuse case to date.

The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests and the For Such A Time As This Rally announced Wednesday they will urge Missouri’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation into Baptist child sex crimes and cover ups similar to one conducted last year involving the state’s four Roman Catholic dioceses.

Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, announced Feb. 24 that trustees will launch their own investigation into whether a newly elected trustee “imposed” on the university by the Missouri affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention mishandled child sexual abuse allegations against one of his staff members in 2005.

La Iglesia chilena a dos años de la misión Scicluna: lo que cambió y lo que quedó

[The Chilean Church two years after the Scicluna mission: what changed and what remained]

La Tercera

February 21, 2020

By Juan Paulo Iglesias/Sergio Rodríguez

El 19 de febrero de 2018 el prelado de Malta llegó, enviado por el Papa Francisco, para ver qué pasaba con el obispo Juan Barros. Terminó recibiendo decenas de testimonios de abusos, que detonaron la crisis. Dos entidades laicas analizan lo recorrido

Child sexual abuse survivors deal with bankruptcy, old evidence after laws extend statute of limitations


February 24, 2020

By Kevin McCoy

Raul Diaz envied the kids from his New York City neighborhood who’d joined the Boy Scouts of America during the 1960s. Hoping to go on camping trips, too, he convinced his mother to let him sign up.

The decision led to a half-century-long saga — not of pitching tents, paddling canoes and earning merit badges, but of anguishing over the sexual abuse he suffered.

Diaz, now 60, is among thousands of people who have taken advantage of sweeping legal changes that extend statutes of limitations to allow the abused to sue their attackers.

Would your church offerings be used to settle sex-abuse claims in Harrisburg Diocese?

York Daily Record

February 25, 2020

By Sam Ruland

As the sun began to go down and the shadows of the church vanished from the sidewalk, Shannon Bailey hustled up the steps of St. Patrick’s Church of York, eager to get a good seat before the service started Sunday.

A lifelong Catholic, Bailey, 54, attends Mass weekly, praying for everyone she knows — her dozens of nieces and nephews, the neighbors in the house next door, her daughter’s volleyball team, the feral cats that infiltrate her back yard. She hasn’t let her faith be dissuaded by the sex abuse crisis that’s engulfed the Catholic Church.

It’s not her place to pass judgment, she said.

Detroit Catholics say archdiocese fabricated rape charge against pastor


February 25, 2020

By JD Flynn

A group of Detroit Catholics has filed a lawsuit claiming that the Archdiocese of Detroit fabricated an allegation of rape against their pastor in order to avoid media criticism about its handling of abuse allegations, and has mishandled the canonical case against him.

The Archdiocese of Detroit said it can not speak on the specifics of the case, but that it takes allegations of clerical abuse very seriously.

The lawsuit alleges that an archdiocesan official “twisted...allegations and fabricated a rape charge against Fr. Perrone in order to force the AOD to remove Fr. Perrone, and, thereby, shield the AOD and [Msgr. Michael] Bugarin from a negative AP story.”

Former priest in Dansville, Avon named in new child sex abuse lawsuits

Livingston County News

February 26, 2020

By Matt Leader

A former Catholic priest who served at churches in Avon and Dansville in the 1980s is named as a defendant in two Child Victims Act lawsuits, filed earlier this month in Livingston County Supreme Court.

Joseph Edward Larrabee, who was ordained in 1980, is accused of sexually abusing two teenagers at least 19 times between 1982 and 1984 by exploiting his position as a priest at St. Agnes Church in Avon.

Larrabee could not be reached for comment. The former priest’s accusers, now in their 50s, brought their civil suits Feb. 4. They’re both represented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, a national firm with offices across the country, and the Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston firm that’s represented victims of the Catholic Church for decades. Larrabee’s accusers are both demanding jury trials.

Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy could result in compensation for more abuse survivors


February 24, 2020

By Pamela Foohey

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy to figure out how to fairly compensate thousands of survivors of alleged sexual abuse who accuse the Scouts of neglecting to protect them.

Revelations regarding decades of the abuse of children and long-running institutional failures to stop the abuse are raising questions about the future of the Boy Scouts and what will become of its troops. The Scouts’ initial bankruptcy documents state that 275 lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts across the country, and that attorneys for survivors estimate another 1,400 claims will be filed. The Scouts disclosed that they have spent $150 million on settlements and legal fees between 2017 and 2019.

I’m a legal scholar who has studied the bankruptcy cases filed by hundreds of nonprofits, including religious ones like Catholic dioceses. Based on what I’ve observed, I anticipate that this step may allow the Boy Scouts to continue operating and to establish an effective way to adjudicate and pay sexual abuse survivors.

School for the Deaf Reports Dozens of Decades-Old Sexual Abuse Cases

The New York Times

February 25, 2020

By Neil Vigdor

The oldest school for the deaf in the United States has reported dozens of cases of sexual and physical abuse by nine former staff members that it said took place over more than three decades — including instances in which some students were forced to eat until they vomited or were confined in closets as a form of corporal punishment.

The learning institution, the American School for the Deaf, which was founded in 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut, detailed the pattern of abuse in a report after a yearlong investigation by an outside lawyer hired by the school.

The report, which was released Friday and based on interviews with 81 alumni, former faculty and staff members and other witnesses, said the abuse occurred from the 1950s through the 1980s at the main campus, now in West Hartford, and at the school’s Camp Isola Bella summer facility in Salisbury, Connecticut.

No, Jean Vanier is not 'like all of us'

National Catholic Reporter

February 25, 2020

By Jamie Manson

Since the news broke Saturday morning that Jean Vanier had coercive, nonconsensual and abusive sexual encounters with at least six adult women, my social media feeds have been filled with folks trying to make sense of these revelations.

I admit that Vanier was not someone I looked to for spiritual inspiration. Though he was not a priest, my years of experiencing the clericalism of both the clergy and the laity had made me weary and wary of the Catholic tendency towards hero worship, particularly of grand older men.

The fact that I did not have an emotional tie to Vanier may have helped me take an unflinching look at L'Arche's 10 page report on the abuses that he and his mentor, Dominican Fr. Thomas Philippe, perpetrated against vulnerable women.

L'Arche should be commended for its support of Vanier's victims and for its fearless transparency about its founder's misconduct. Tina Bovermann, national leader/executive director of L'Arche USA, has modeled for all church leaders how to deal with abuse with integrity and compassion.

Bishop shakeup: West Virginia Catholic diocese issues audit

Associated Press

February 24, 2020

By John Raby

The net assets of West Virginia’s Catholic Diocese dropped by $4.8 million during a fiscal year that coincided with the resignation of its bishop amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, an audit shows.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released the audit last week spanning the period from June 30, 2018, to June 30, 2019. Net assets totaled $352.3 million, down from $357 million a year earlier, according to the findings made public by current Bishop Mark E. Brennan. Liabilities totaled $70.3 million, up from $65.2 million.

Brennan’s predecessor, Bishop Michael Bransfield, resigned in September 2018 and has denied wrongdoing.

Australian High Court releases submissions for Cardinal Pell’s appeal

Catholic News Service

February 24, 2020

Australia’s High Court has released the full set of submissions for Cardinal George Pell’s March 11 and 12 final appeal hearing against historic child sexual abuse crimes.

The first appeal by Pell - who continues to claim he is innocent - was dismissed 2-1 by a panel of judges of the Victorian Supreme Court in August. The documents released in late February show that the High Court requested submissions from Pell’s counsel about the fact that the three judges of the Victorian court decided to view the original video testimony from Pell’s only living victim as they considered his appeal.

As the only living witness to the crime, the victim’s testimony sits at the center of Pell’s conviction. The other victim, one of two 13-year-old choirboys he is convicted of assaulting in 1996 while archbishop of Melbourne, is deceased. The victims’ identities remain secret due to their age at the time of the offenses.

MBC Backs Embattled Trustee


February 25, 2020

By Brian Kaylor

Leaders of the Missouri Baptist Convention defended a pastor accused by police of not properly handling a case of a staff member sexually abusing boys. However, they did not address the key allegation, and they misrepresented the nature of the claims.

After old allegations against a Baptist pastor resurfaced over the weekend, Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, announced Feb. 22 it would investigate the claims involving Mike Roy, who was elected by the MBC in October to serve as an SBU trustee. Roy was among five trustees chosen by the MBC’s Nominating Committee after that committee rejected nominees by SBU and misled MBC messengers about the nomination process.


Church Militant

February 25, 2020

By Martina Moyski

Crookston faithful call for prayer, fasting, sacrifice, witnessing

Working to reverse the tide of corruption in their scandal-wracked diocese, laity in the northern Minnesota diocese of Crookston launched a website Feb. 24 to rally the faithful to prayer.

The website, called TruthDOC (Truth Diocese of Crookston), has been designed and is financed entirely by faithful lay people of the diocese "who are committed to praying, fasting, sacrificing and witnessing for truth, purification, conversion and justice."

The initiative comes amid a series of controversies — chief among them, allegations of clerical sex abuse cover-up by Crookston Bp. Michael Hoeppner, who has the distinction of being the first prelate in the world to be investigated under the new Vatican protocol designed to hold Catholic hierarchy accountable for concealing the crimes of predator priests.

A project organizer told Church Militant that multiple purposes for the website exist, one being to give Catholics a "big picture" of what's going on in the Church rather than "bits and pieces of incomplete information."

CHILD USA and SNAP Film Screening


February 19, 2020

By Kathy Kane

Join CHILD USA and SNAP on Wednesday 2/26 for an exclusive sneak peak of ‘A Peloton of One,’ a documentary following Dave Ohlmuller’s journey across the country to bring awareness to child sex abuse advocacy and statute of limitations reform. As part of the CHILD USA Film Series, the screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Professor Marci A. Hamilton, featuring grassroots activist Art Baselice and Executive Producer/Survivor Joe Capozzi, co-directors John Bernardo and Steve Mallorca. Viewers are invited to stay for a complimentary reception afterwards!

Padre pervert: in the US, loving the boys, the priest was impersonating a girl in social networks

The Saxon

February 24, 2020

By Maria Batterbury

Despite the fact that the Catholic Church is determined to deal with cases of sexual abuse of priests on young parishioners, cases of exposure lustful pedophiles in cassocks are constantly growing.

Another scandal, sexual violence occurred recently in the United States, where a Catholic priest from the city of Strongsville (Ohio) charged with possession of child pornography.

In addition, arrested Robert McWilliams also suspected of involvement in a number of other sexual crimes, reports news portal WTRF.

Catholic diocese mulls options, including bankruptcy, amid clergy abuse lawsuits

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

February 25, 2020

Catholics in northern New York received a message from the Diocese of Ogdensburg on Sunday.

A one-page letter, which was either handed out to churchgoers or included in the bulletin, was not distributed by all parishes Sunday. Some will distribute the letter on March 1.

The letter details the struggles the diocese has faced in the wake of the passage of the Child Victims Act which opened a one-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring lawsuits that were previously barred due to statutes of limitation. That window closes on Aug. 13.

Since the window opened, 23 lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese of Ogdensburg, headed by Bishop Terry LaValley.

“We want to be transparent,” Diocese Director of Communications Darcy Fargo said. “The diocese is made of the people who reside in the 12,000 square miles the diocese encompasses, and they deserve to know where we stand.”

“We anticipate that more lawsuits may be filed, and we are unable at this time to determine the total number of claims that will be made while the CVA window is open,” the message read.

S. Dakota kills bill from survivors of Catholic school abuse

Associated Press via National Catholic Reporter

February 25, 2020

By Stephen Groves

Louise Aamot Charbonneau couldn't make her annual trip to the South Dakota Legislature this year to confront lawmakers with her story of surviving childhood rape and abuse at the hands of priests and nuns at a boarding school for Native Americans during the 1950s and 1960s.

The 69-year-old died suddenly three weeks ago. But her sisters, bonded both through family and survival, showed up, along with their daughters and granddaughters.

They continued their push for lawmakers to open a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against organizations in which the abuse occurred. The proposal has died every year, but they keep coming back to confront lawmakers with their testimony that priests and nuns at St. Paul's Indian Mission School systematically perpetrated rape, abuse and even forced abortions.

For nearly a decade, Charbonneau, along with her eight older sisters, has made their case to lawmakers. Geraldine Dubourt, one of the sisters, said in some ways she was glad her sister Louise died peacefully at her home so she didn't have to continue the fight.

Survivors stunned after Bishop Scharfenberger celebrates Mass with abusive priests


February 25, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Survivors of sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo reacted with outrage and despair Tuesday to news that interim Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger celebrated Mass the day before with multiple priests the diocese admits are credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

Scharfenberger invited priests of the diocese to Mass and lunch at St. Leo the Great in Amherst on Monday. At the Mass, dozens of priests dressed in robes and concelebrated, or shared the Mass and Eucharist with, the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski.

"I'm so very sad and confused today," said Stephanie McIntyre, who said she was abused by Maryanski starting when she was 15 years old. "This is an all time low moment that hit me just when I thought I was ready to begin healing."

Maryanski had been accused of abusing McIntyre decades ago at a parish in Barker, and he denied the allegations. But on Jan. 7, 2019, the diocese included both Maryanski and the Rev. Mark J. Wolski on its official list of "priests with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.”

‘Make your voices heard’: Gonzaga lecturer urges strong response to priestly sexual abuse crisis


February 25, 2020

By Jared Brown

Jennifer Beste acknowledged the message she brought to Gonzaga University on Tuesday evening wasn’t going to leave her lecture audience in a good mood.

It was a message about how the Catholic Church has the power and wealth to address the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis and is complicit in abuse as long as it doesn’t act.

She said young adults have the power to sway Church leaders as fewer young people stay religiously affiliated.

“The Catholic bishops are acting differently than they did the first decade of the 2000s. They are apologizing. They are trying to gain the trust of the laity,” Beste said.

And she urged people to turn those feelings of anger and exasperation into action because a majority of Catholics are necessary to sway the opinion of Church leaders.

“I ask you to please make your voices heard,” Beste said. “We need to organize. We need to protest.”

In aftermath of sexual abuse scandal, DC-area churches see slight dip in attendance


February 26, 2020

By Dick Uliano

In the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, churches in the D.C. area report there has been a decrease in church attendance, but not by much.

“From my perspective, we have not lost a lot of people going to church, we have lost some,” said Monsignor John Enzler, a priest in the Washington Archdiocese and the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Parish donations in the D.C. area are also remaining steady, he said.

Explained: Why the Boy Scouts Just Filed for Bankruptcy - It's not a good situation.

The National Interest

February 26, 2020

by Pamela Foohey

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy to figure out how to fairly compensate thousands of survivors of alleged sexual abuse who accuse the Scouts of neglecting to protect them.

Revelations regarding decades of the abuse of children and long-running institutional failures to stop the abuse are raising questions about the future of the Boy Scouts and what will become of its troops. The Scouts’ initial bankruptcy documents state that 275 lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts across the country, and that attorneys for survivors estimate another 1,400 claims will be filed. The Scouts disclosed that they have spent US$150 million on settlements and legal fees between 2017 and 2019.

Timlin defends attending installation Mass in Philly

Citizens' Voice

February 26, 2020

By Joseph Kohut

Barred from representing the Diocese of Scranton at public functions, retired Bishop James C. Timlin dressed in his clerical attire and sat among his peers at last week’s installation Mass of Philadelphia’s new archbishop.

Diocese spokesman Eric Deabill confirmed Tuesday that Timlin attended the Feb. 18 installation of Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez but added “he wasn’t representing the diocese in any way.”

Video footage taken at the Mass and posted by CatholicPhilly.com, the archdiocese’s digital news organization, show Timlin entering the church dressed in clerical attire, including his bishop’s mitre.

Reached at Villa St. Joseph in Scranton, Timlin, 92, said he did not violate any restrictions laid down by Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera.

“I am free to live my life,” Timlin said.

He said he does not represent the diocese and does not attend public events within the Diocese of Scranton.

He stressed he is still a bishop, however, and will attend events outside the diocese.

February 25, 2020

Pope urges church workers to fight child abuse, even when facing threats


February 25, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rome - In a video message sent to an abuse prevention formation center in Mexico, Pope Francis condemned the fact there are people willing to hire a hit man to stop abuse prevention and child protection.

“You will be misunderstood, [some] will tell you are wasting your time,” Francis says in the video sent to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), an interdisciplinary center for child protection at the Pontifical University of Mexico. “You will be threatened, because there are those who are threatened. More than one will tell you that they are capable of hiring a hit man to clean up the field.”

“Be prudent,” he adds. “Take care of yourselves, but continue to be brave and work. Preventing the abuse of children, the abuse of those who are at a disadvantage due to their social situation or an illness, is an act of love.”

CEPROME works with the Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

Standing next to Francis in the video is Father Daniel Portillo, president of CEPROME, who was in Rome recently and who met the pope to discuss the center’s ongoing initiatives.

Western Massachusetts priest pleads guilty to child pornography possession; diocese reveals abuse allegation

Episcopal News Service

February 24, 2020

By Egan Millard


The Rev. Gregory Lisby, a priest in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on Feb. 21, having been charged after FBI agents raided the rectory where he was living in September. The same day, the diocese also revealed that, since Lisby’s arrest, it has “received devastating credible evidence” that Lisby sexually abused a teenager.

Lisby had been living with his husband, then the rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester, in the church’s rectory with their two children when the FBI found nearly 200 images and videos of child pornography in a Microsoft account Lisby used, according to court records.

At the time, Lisby was working as a kindergarten teacher in a public school in Holyoke, having been suspended in 2018 from his position as rector of All Saints Church in Worcester “for an inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact,” Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher wrote in a letter to the diocese shortly after Lisby’s arrest. Fisher added in that letter that the diocese had “no reason to believe that children in our diocese have been victimized in this situation.”

Attorney General’s inquiry leads to sex abuse charges against retired Missouri priest


February 25, 2020

By Nassim Benchaabane


A retired southeast Missouri priest charged with sexually abusing a teen 20 years ago is the first to be prosecuted in connection with a yearlong investigation by the Missouri Attorney General’s office into sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

At least 11 other cases have been referred to county prosecutors, said Chris Nuelle, with the attorney general’s office.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis said Monday that the archdiocese could not confirm whether any former priests here were included in Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s referrals.

Schmitt, Missouri’s top prosecutor, began the referrals in November, following a yearlong statewide review of church records dating to 1945 that reported 163 former clergy had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Former Danbury priest accused of sexual abuse pleads not guilty

News Times

February 24, 2020

By Kendra Baker

Not guilty pleas have been entered in the case against the former priest accused of sexually assaulting one boy and groping another.

Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact.

Marin-Cardona turned him in to Danbury police on a warrant Jan. 3.

The warrant alleges that he groomed two boys over the course of four years, and sexually abused one of them over the same period of time.

The alleged abuse began in 2014 — the same year Marin-Cardona became a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Golden Hill Road.

He was placed on administrative leave Dec. 11, after the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Sexual Misconduct Review Board learned that the state Department of Children and Families had substantiated allegations of abuse against him.

‘The church we so believed in abandoned us,’ mom of assault victim says at sentencing of Allentown Diocese priest

Morning Call

February 24, 2020

By Laurie Mason Schroeder and Daniel Patrick Sheehan


After the father of a 17-year-old Allentown Central Catholic High School student who was groped by an Allentown Diocese priest lamented to Lehigh County Judge Maria L. Dantos that he was unable to do more to protect his daughter, the judge posed a question:

“Would it surprise you to learn that he was transferred here in 2016 after a similar incident?" she asked the father.

It was a stunning moment in an emotional hearing that ended with the Rev. Kevin Lonergan, 31, being sentenced to one to two years in state prison, the maximum allowed by law.

Lonergan, of Pottsville, will also be a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law for 15 years.

While the prior allegation did not lead to Lonergan’s arrest and was previously revealed in a 2018 news release and letter to parishioners, the judge still had strong words for the Catholic Church, noting that the practice of moving troublesome priests from one church to another has been condemned since the early 1980s.

“We are still transferring priests that molest children?” she asked, her voice raised. “If he had been sanctioned and fired, this victim would not be a victim."

The diocese said in a statement that it wasn’t accurate to say it transferred a priest who committed an offense.

“Father Lonergan received a new assignment in 2016 only after Northampton County Children and Youth determined that the accusation was unfounded,” the diocese statement said.

Clergy Abuse Survivors Mark Summit Anniversary With Protest at Vatican

National Catholic Register

February 24, 2020

By Edward Pentin

According to the victims, there has been insufficient progress in making meaningful changes since the 2019 summit.

Vatican City - A group of clerical abuse survivors gathered in Rome on Feb. 21, one year after the Vatican summit of bishops on clerical sex abuse, to accuse Pope Francis of knowing about the abuse of Argentine deaf children by an Italian priest but not acting to stop it.

The group, who included some of the Argentinian survivors as well as advocacy leaders for abuse victims, also said little progress had been made since the Feb. 21-24 summit last year on protection of minors in the Church.

In a Feb. 13 statement, the survivors argued that the Vatican and Pope Francis could have acted to prevent the widespread sexual and physical violence perpetrated against them at the Antonio Provolo Institute, an educational and religious institution for the deaf in the province of Mendoza, Argentina.

More than 20 deaf victims testified last year to being sexually assaulted and physically abused at the Institute from 2005 to 2016, some from the age of five. Nine more alleged offenders are expected to go on trial, including two nuns, later this month.

Italian priest Father Nicola Corradi, 83, was identified as the ringleader of the pedophile ring who his accusers say had already been reported to the Vatican in 2009 for molesting deaf children in Verona, Italy. Both he and Argentine priest Father Horacio Corbacho, 59, were convicted in November and respectively sentenced to 42 and 45 years in jail.

After abuse scandals, seminarians pledge to ‘get it right’

Associated Press

February 16, 2020

By Matt Sedensky

Wynnewood PA - The seminarians walk along a hallway lined with photos of classes of priests who came before them. Some are pious alumni who have become their teachers and mentors; others climbed the Catholic hierarchy to be revered as bishops and cardinals.

But there are others: Raymond Leneweaver, Class of 1962, subject of at least 14 victims’ reports of abuse, who even made matching T-shirts for those he raped and molested. And Edward Avery, Class of 1970, who pleaded guilty to molesting a 10-year-old altar boy in a church sacristy. And Francis Trauger, Class of 1972, who admitted to molesting a boy in a seminary shower, according to grand jurors.

The 156 young men who call St. Charles Borromeo Seminary home are deeply aware of both the sacred and the profane. They appear unflinchingly optimistic, reverent and committed, yet they prepare to enter ministry at a time when scandals have driven the faithful from pews, shaken the church’s highest tiers and cast doubt on the motivations of those who say they’re answering a call to serve.

“If anything, it probably made the desire to respond to God’s call even more urgent,” says Tucker Brown, a 27-year-old seminarian for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who finished medical school but felt drawn to the priesthood when it came time to apply to residencies. “It was really a desire to be what a priest is supposed to be, to be a spiritual father and really a source of healing.”

February 24, 2020

Priest placed on leave after Oakland Diocese acknowledges earlier sexual impropriety allegation

San Francisco Chronicle

February 23, 2020

By Matthias Gafni

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland has placed an embattled priest on leave and opened a new investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation against him after The Chronicle informed church officials of a 2002 complaint by a parishioner who says he groped her.

The discipline came after the diocese had previously told this newspaper that the Rev. George Alengadan — who has been moved out of two parishes since July after five women came forward alleging sexual harassment and Alameda police opened a criminal probe — had no earlier allegations of sexual impropriety.

The parents of the alleged victim said they reported the 2002 fondling allegations to the diocese in the immediate aftermath, deciding against going to police because they trusted the church to handle it internally. But they said they never received a response. The mother again alerted the diocese of the complaint in 2016, sending an email to Bishop Michael C. Barber, but said again nothing was done.

It was only after an inquiry from The Chronicle and a series of articles about its controversial reassignment of the 67-year-old priest that the diocese acknowledged the earlier claim. In a town hall at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill on Wednesday night, furious parishioners fumed at how the diocese had quietly moved the priest there, many asking how the church could continue such actions almost two decades after the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal broke in Boston.

All Saints priest says he is unaware of any alleged abuse by Lisby in Worcester

Telegram & Gazette

February 23, 2020

By Brad Petrishen

The top priest at All Saints Episcopal Church said Sunday that he has not heard any allegation that former rector Gregory Lisby abused anyone in Worcester.

Lisby, a rector at the Irving Street church from about 2015 to 2018, was accused by his diocese Friday of abusing a teenager at an undisclosed location sometime after he became a priest in 2007.

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts made the revelation in a letter to congregants ahead of Lisby’s guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Worcester to one count of possession of child pornography.

It is not clear whether Lisby, who was a kindergarten teacher in Holyoke at the time of his September 2019 arrest, has been investigated by police in connection with the diocese’s allegation.

The diocese – which said it received “devastating credible evidence” against Lisby after his arrest – has declined to release further details or say whether police are involved, citing the alleged victim’s privacy..

Bishop visits Swormville church to reassure pastor, parishioners

Buffalo News

February 23, 2020

By Jonathan D. Epstein

Hoping to smooth tensions, Buffalo's interim bishop paid a visit Sunday afternoon to a church whose pastor has been outspoken in his criticism of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and even withheld payment of the church's annual assessment.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator for Buffalo, spoke to 150 to 200 parishioners and answered questions at St. Mary's Church on Transit Road in Swormville for nearly an hour, before presiding over 6 p.m. Mass.

He sought to reassure those in attendance that he took their complaints and pain seriously, and would work to respond to their concerns. And he cited the need to heal and reunite as a community.

"Each and every one of us has the right to feel they are part of who we are. We’re a family," he said.

Paul Snyder, a prominent deacon in the church who was among the first to openly criticize former Bishop Edward Malone and call for his ouster, said he liked what he heard so far. But he still wants to see that translate into actions, noting that the community is suffering from pain and betrayal.

L’Arche International announces findings of Independent Inquiry

L'Arche International

February 22, 2020

[With links to report annd documents.]


On February 22nd, 2020, the leaders of L’Arche International sent a letter to the Federation of L’Arche Communities, which operates in 38 countries worldwide, publishing the results of an inquiry that had commissioned from an independent organization. The inquiry included testimony implicating its founder, Jean Vanier, and his historical link to Father Thomas Philippe, who he thought of as his spiritual father.

The investigation was carried out by GCPS, an independent U.K. consultancy which specializes in improving procedures for the prevention and reporting of abuse. In addition, L'Arche International established an Independent Oversight Committee made up of two former senior civil servants in France, to assess the integrity and reliability of the inquiry’s process and findings. Following their review of the report they stated: “We have no reason to question the methodology of the inquiry and the seriousness with which it was carried out. We therefore consider these conclusions to be well founded.”

The inquiry received credible and consistent testimonies from six adult women without disabilities, covering the period from 1970 to 2005. The women each report that Jean Vanier initiated sexual relations with them, usually in the context of spiritual accompaniment. Although they had no prior knowledge of each other’s experiences, these women reported similar facts associated with highly unusual spiritual or mystical explanations used to justify these behaviors. The relationships were found to be manipulative and emotionally abusive, and had a significant negative impact on their personal lives and subsequent relationships. These actions are indicative of a deep psychological and spiritual hold Jean Vanier had on these women and confirm his own adoption of some of Father Thomas Philippe’s deviant theories and practices.

The inquiry made no suggestion that Jean Vanier had inappropriate relationships with people with intellectual disabilities.

Alongside the GCPS inquiry, L’Arche International commissioned a major piece of historical research based on previously unseen archives. Analysis of the various archives reveals the sources of Jean Vanier's attitude towards these women, and confirms that he adopted some of Father Thomas Philippe's deviant theories and practices.

Report finds Catholic charity founder sexually abused women

Associated Press

February 22, 2020

By Sylvie Corbet

A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for the developmentally disabled for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released Saturday by the France-based charity he founded.

The report produced for L’Arche International said the women’s descriptions provided enough evidence to show that Jean Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims.

Although he was a layman and not a priest, many Catholics hailed Vanier, who was Canadian, as a living saint for his work with the disabled. He died last year at age 90.

“The alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions,” the report,commissioned by L’Arche last year and prepared by the U.K.-based GCPS Consulting group, said. It did not rule out potential other victims.

Founder of French Charity Is Accused of Pattern of Abuse

New York Times

February 23, 2020

By Eva Mbengue

The French-based charity, L’Arche International, revealed that its founder, Jean Vanier, had engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” with women from 1970 to 2005.

Feb. 23, 2020

Paris - The founder of a French charity who helped improve the lives of people with learning disabilities for over half a century had also engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” with at least six women, the charity has revealed in a new internal report.

The report, released last week by the French-based charity, L’Arche International, said that Jean Vanier, the charity’s founder, had relationships with women from 1970 to 2005 that were at turns “inappropriate,” “coercive” or “non-consensual.” It also said he had a “psychological hold” over some of the victims.

None of the women who said they had been abused by Mr. Vanier had a disability. Some worked in the community, and some were nuns, according to the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Vanier, a Canadian religious leader who founded the charity in 1964, died in Paris last year at age 90.

Renowned Catholic figure Jean Vanier has been accused of sexual manipulation and abuse


February 22, 2020

By Anya van Wagtendonk

Once considered a near-saint, Vanier is accused of sexual abuse by six women.

L’Arche founder Jean Vanier speaks at a London press conference in 2015. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
A man venerated in Catholic circles and beyond is alleged to have sexually abused six women over the course of decades, according to an internal report commissioned by the charity that he founded.

Jean Vanier, a Canadian who founded the nonprofit L’Arche to serve adults with intellectual disabilities, and who died last year at age 90, engaged in “manipulative and emotionally abusive” sexual relationships with at least six women under the guise of providing spiritual guidance, according to a report conducted by L’Arche and released on its website Saturday.

Between 1970 and 2005, Vanier allegedly exerted a “psychological hold” over his alleged victims, all women living in France, and none of whom had disabilities themselves. The report does not conclude whether there were additional alleged victims beyond the six who came forward and detailed their abuse.

“The women each report that Jean Vanier initiated sexual behaviours with them, usually in the context of spiritual accompaniment. Some of these women have been deeply wounded by these experiences,” reads a summary of the report released by L’Arche International. The report found the allegations to be “credible.”

David Joseph Perrett to stand trial on historical sex abuse charges

Tenterfield Star

February 24, 2020

By Laurie Bullock

A former Catholic priest, accused of sexually abusing or molesting children while he was working in the New England region, will face trial early next year.

David Joseph Perrett appeared in Armidale District Court on Friday morning where a trial date was set down for two weeks, from January 18, 2021.

But the court head the trial could be as long as four weeks, with hearing days to only run for three or four hours due to Perrett's poor health.

Perrett had been facing charges in relation to 37 separate complainants, but his defence counsel requested the case be reduced to three or four complainants and be heard before a judge alone rather than a jury.

One year after abuse summit, church reviews progress, additional needs


February 23, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Rome - Since Pope Francis convened a historic summit at the Vatican one year ago to address clergy sex abuse and accountability, much has been done, but advocates say more is needed.

Dozens of experts, abuse survivors and their advocates came to Rome the same week as the summit’s anniversary to emphatically reiterate the need to never let ignorance, complacency or denial ever take hold again and to make the church safe for everyone.

The advocacy groups held media events and worked on talking to as many Vatican officials and religious leaders as possible to highlight still unaddressed concerns such as abuse by women religious, transparency in past and current Vatican investigations of known abusers and the likelihood of ever seeing “zero tolerance” for known predators.

However, significant measures have been rolled out piecemeal over the year. Here is a rundown of the most major changes:

Mexican bishops back repeal of statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases

Catholic News Agency

February 22, 2020

Mexico City, Mexico - The Church in Mexico has expressed its support for several bills to eliminate the statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of minors, which stands now at ten years. The bills were introduced in the country’s Federal Congress and would only apply to future, not past cases.

The Mexican bishops do not anticipate that reported abuse cases will be comparable in number to those seen by the Church in the United States, and the Church in Mexico has not seen lawsuits filed on a comparable level.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language news partner, Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, secretary general of the Mexican bishops' conference, said the country's bishops support lawmakers' efforts to eliminate the statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of minors and have been “respectfully proposing to members of the House and Senate to introduce this kind of proposal.”

“These new legislative proposals are a good thing for the nation,” he said, since “they are legal instruments to take actions, correct, eradicate the evil, care for the victims and prosecute the perpetrators,” Miranda said.

Siaya priest arrested after being found with girl in lodging

Daily Nation

February 23, 2020

By Dickens Wasonga

Police in Siaya County have arrested a priest accused of defiling a primary school girl.

Sub-County Police Commander Justus Kucha said 38-year-old Isaac Omondi was taken to Siaya police station.

Mr Kucha said members of the public called police after the priest was seen with the girl at a lodging house in Siaya town.

"Our officers promptly responded and arrested the priest together with the juvenile at around 3pm on Saturday," the police commander said on Sunday.

He said the two were examined at Siaya County Referral Hospital and the minor given medication and handed over to her parents.

She is expected to testify in court once investigations are completed.

February 23, 2020

Priests of disgraced Legion face trial for obstruction claim

Associated Press

February 17, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Maria Verza

The Vatican effort to reform the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order is coming under new scrutiny, with four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer due to stand trial on charges they tried to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 12 in Milan. The case is significant because it calls into question the effectiveness of the Vatican reform since the alleged crimes occurred at the end of the Holy See’s four-year effort to turn the Legion around.

In addition, evidence obtained during the investigation, including documents seized when police raided the Legion’s Rome headquarters in 2014, showed an elaborate cover-up that stretched from Milan to Mexico, the Vatican to Venezuela, prosecutors say.

The charges at the heart of the Milan trial center around a settlement proposal offered by the Legion to Yolanda Martinez on Oct. 18, 2013, to compensate for the sexual abuse her son suffered at the hands of a Legion priest at the order’s youth seminary in northern Italy.

Deaf Argentine victims of clergy sexual abuse protest at Vatican


February 21, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests at a school for the deaf in Argentina staged a protest at the Vatican on Friday to bring attention to an upcoming trial of more alleged abusers.

Last November a court in the province of Mendoza convicted two priests and the former gardener at a Catholic Church-run school on 28 counts of sexual abuse and corruption of minors.

Trials for about 10 others who worked at the Antonio Provolo Institute for the deaf, including teachers and a nun, are expected to start in a few months. They are accused of abetting the abuse by the priests.

About 20 people, including several former students, held up signs reading “Zero Tolerance,” “Don’t Forget,” and “We Are Not Going Away” in front of the building housing the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith, which handles abuse cases. The victims’ lawyers and other victims of abuse were among those who joined the protest.

Study identifies 16 child sex abuse rings in Victorian Catholic Church

The Age

February 23, 2020

By Debbie Cuthbertson

A three-year research project into paedophile Catholic clerics in Victoria has identified 16 child sex abuse networks operating over six decades involving 99 priests and Christian Brothers.

The investigation found that clergy paedophile rings shared patterns of behaviour with criminal gangs, the Mafia, terrorist cells, corrupt police, drug dealers, money launderers and price-fixing cartels.

The research showed their abuse was facilitated and reinforced by church hierarchy, including five successive archbishops of Melbourne from Daniel Mannix, appointed in 1917, through to George Pell (himself appealing against a conviction for child sex abuse) in 2001.

The researcher, Sally Muytjens, spent more than three years investigating "dark networks" of paedophile clergy in Victorian dioceses. She published the research late last year, receiving a doctorate from Queensland University of Technology.

Muytjens’ research found the largest and most active dark networks were at schools including St Alipius in Ballarat and Salesian College, Rupertswood, and orphanages including St Vincent de Paul’s in South Melbourne and St Augustine’s in Geelong.

Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Deals a Blow to Catholic Families

National Catholic Register

February 21, 2020

By Peter Jesserer Smith

The BSA now joins Church dioceses in filing for bankruptcy over sex-abuse claims, although the legal contexts are different in some respects.

Buffalo NY - For Jennie Marinaro, a Catholic and a scouting parent, the Boy Scouts of America’s announcement of bankruptcy as a result of decades of failures to protect children from sex abuse was heartbreak upon heartbreak.

“It bothers me now that two organizations I am involved with are involved in covering up sexual assault,” Marinaro told the Register. The Buffalo-area mom said she had stopped donating money to the Catholic Church as her own diocese goes through a painful reckoning of the sex-abuse scandal. And while she feels her own scouting troop cares about protecting children, the bankruptcy announcement has her feeling deeply conflicted.

The Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware on Feb. 18. The 110-year-old youth organization is seeking to put an end to hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits as well as protect from further litigation its 261 local councils and hundreds of local organizations chartering its youth units.

The BSA put up a special website that explained the national organization filed for bankruptcy in order to restructure and fulfill two mandates: first to “social and moral responsibility to equitably compensate all victims who were abused during their time in scouting” and “a duty to carry out our mission for years to come.”

Employee pay, millions of dollars in assets discussed at first Harrisburg Diocese bankruptcy hearing


February 21, 2020

By Priscilla Liguori

Up for debate in federal court Friday were the assets of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg. It was the first of multiple hearings in the Chapter 11 proceedings.

This comes less than 48 hours after the diocese filed for bankruptcy, and months after it paid more than $12 million to survivors of clergy sex abuse.

No church leaders were at the hearing the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse.

For now, the diocese’s 177 employees will continue to be paid, as operations go on as normal.

The diocese says it has 200 creditors and estimated liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million.

February 22, 2020

One year after global abuse summit, reaction mixed on progress made


February 22, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Photo Caption: Abuse survivors and advocates from the organizations of SNAP, Ending Clergy Abuse and Bishops Accountability stand in front of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 to demand action on the anniversary of Pope Francis's global summit on child protection.

Rome - As the Boy Scouts of America slide further into scandal with allegations of widespread sexual abuse continuing to go public, the Catholic Church also finds itself on the public hot seat again one year after a global summit on child protection.

Exactly 12 months after Pope Francis’s historic Feb. 21-24 abuse summit, attended by the presidents of all episcopal conferences worldwide, both survivors and experts have reflected on what the institution has accomplished, and what has yet to be done.

Speaking to Crux, German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, who was part of the summit’s organizing committee, called the event “a milestone” in both recognizing and accepting that the abuse of children and vulnerable people is a global problem, and that the Church “must be at the forefront” of developing and implementing best practices for safeguarding.

How a committee report offered comfort to sex abuse survivors

National Catholic Reporter

February 22, 2020

By Mark Redmond

In 2018 Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, announced that he would be forming a committee comprised of lay people to produce a report which would list those priests who had been credibly accused of abusing children. When I read that, I emailed him offering to serve on the committee. I have spent my entire career, almost 40 years, in the field of child protection and safety, I am a Catholic, and I knew Bishop Coyne from prior matters. He emailed back, "Thank you, because I was going to ask you."

There were seven of us on the committee, including one survivor of abuse by a priest. At the first meeting, Coyne announced that this report was ours and only ours to write and that he would not attend future meetings unless we invited him. He vowed not to change one name, one comma. He also promised us total and complete access to any file of any priest: living, deceased, retired, active — it did not matter, we could see them all, at any time.

A lawyer, a retired state's attorney, was named head of the committee, but in short order he had to take time off for medical reasons, and I was asked to take over, which I accepted. We started meeting in October of that year and predicted to Coyne that our report would be complete by the end of the year. Once we started digging into the 50-plus files, some of which dated back to the 1940s, we had to tell him we would need many more months. "Take the time that you need in order to get it right," was his response, which we all appreciated.

The first thing we had to establish was our definition of "credibly accused," because unfortunately we learned there is no one universally accepted definition among Catholic dioceses. We reviewed reports already done by other dioceses and settled upon that used by the Diocese of Syracuse, New York, which is that an allegation that, based upon the facts of the case, meets one or more of the following thresholds:

1. Natural, reasonable, plausible and probable
2. Corroborated with other evidence or another source
3. Acknowledged/admitted to by the accused

Internal report finds that L’Arche founder Jean Vanier engaged in decades of sexual misconduct

America Magazine

February 22, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

When Jean Vanier, the charismatic founder of a global network of institutions serving adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, died last May, tributes poured in from around the world, with The New York Times describing him in an obituary as a “savior of people on the margins.” Less than a year later, one of the communities he founded, L’Arche, finds itself confronting troubling details of Mr. Vanier’s past, including his participation in a shadowy group with ties to a priest accused of sexual and spiritual abuse, lies related to what Mr. Vanier knew about that priest and allegations from women who say Mr. Vanier engaged in similar behavior over several decades.

In a report that will soon be released conducted by L’Arche, Mr. Vanier is accused of sexual misconduct with six adult, non-disabled women who sought spiritual direction from the late activist, author and philosopher. According to a press release from L’Arche USA, the investigation “reveals that Jean Vanier himself has been accused of manipulative sexual relationships and emotional abuse between 1970 and 2005, usually within a relational context where he exercised significant power and a psychological hold over the alleged victims.”

According to the release, the inquiry “has found the allegations to be credible.”

According to L’Arche USA, an investigation “reveals that Jean Vanier himself has been accused of manipulative sexual relationships and emotional abuse between 1970 and 2005.”
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“Independently from one another, the witnesses describe similar occurrences, which had a long-lasting and negative impact on their personal lives and subsequent relationships.”

The investigation, commissioned by L’Arche International in 2019 shortly before Mr. Vanier’s death, found that Mr. Vanier engaged in unethical and abusive behavior with the women that mirrored the abusive behavior committed by his spiritual mentor and an early advisor to his organizations, the Rev. Thomas Philippe, who died in 1993.

Attorney: Bankruptcy compensation won't match jury awards

New Castle Times

February 22, 2020

By John Finnerty

While the move by the Harrisburg Catholic Diocese to declare bankruptcy puts the brakes on civil lawsuits, it opens the door for other victims to seek compensation regardless of the state’s statute of limitations.

The diocese has already paid out almost $13 million to 111 victims of child sexual abuse, but officials on Wednesday said church officials believe there may be another 200 victims who could seek compensation through the bankruptcy proceeding.

Since the intent of the bankruptcy is to resolve all possible claims, it’s likely that the proceeding will allow victims to seek compensation even if the state doesn’t open a window to allow lawsuits for victims whose cases are beyond the state’s statute of limitations, said Richard Serbin, an attorney who has represented victims in several high-profile church abuse cases.

“Victims will be compensated,” said Serbin. “The question is: ‘How much?’”

The diocese told the court it has estimated its potential liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million. It listed creditors that include a $30 million loan from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority and 12 blacked-out names that were represented by lawyers.

Former Kalamazoo priest accused of sexual abuse

FOX 17

February 21, 2020

Kalamazoo MI - The Diocese of Kalamazoo says it is looking into a credible allegation of sexual abuse by a former priest.

The allegations are against now-retired Rev. Richard Fritz and date back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. Fritz retired after 35 years with the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 2015 while facing allegations of embezzlement.

Fritz faced criminal charges for the alleged embezzlement but they were ultimately dropped by St. Joseph County prosecutors.

The diocese says the Michigan Attorney General’s Office is aware of the allegations and a clergy review board is looking into the matter.

Attorney General's Priest Abuse Probe Yields First Charges

Riverfront Times

February 21, 2020

By Danny Wicentowski

He was "Priest 80," but after a Missouri prosecutor filed criminal charges alleging sexual assault, that unnamed priest was revealed this week to be Frederick Lutz. Until now, the retired priest living in Springfield had been identified only by a number in a report issued last year by the Missouri Attorney General — just one among 163 cases of reported priest abuse.

On Thursday, Lutz, 76, pleaded not guilty in the Circuit Court of Stoddard County. He's currently in custody on a $125,000 bond, charged with two counts of statutory sodomy, one count of sexual abuse and one count of forcible sodomy.

According to the probable cause statement, all four charges involve the same then-seventeen-year-old victim; He told investigators that the abuse occurred in 2000 while Lutz was a priest in a parish southeast Missouri.

The fact that Lutz is even facing charges is notable, considering the fact that the allegations against him were known for years to Catholic officials and recorded in the church's personnel files.

Allegations of abuse against former St. Xavier HS teacher deemed credible


February 21, 2020

St. Xavier High School officials say they have established allegations of psychological sexual abuse against a former priest, Father Ed Pigott.

Pigott’s name has accordingly been added to a list published by the U.S. Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus. The list enumerates Jesuits with such established allegations of abuse.

Establishing allegations means “there is a reasonable certainty that the accusation is true,” according to a letter released by the school.

The letter, signed by school principal Terry Tyrrell and school president Tim Reilly, says Pigott was removed from his duties in 2018 after the allegations came to light.

The alleged abuse happened between 1992 and 1994.

Former St. Xavier High School priest accused of psychological sexual abuse


February 21, 2020

By Katherine Barrier

Springfield OH - A former St. Xavier High School priest has been accused of psychological sexual abuse, according to the school.

Fr. Ed Pigott was part of the St. Xavier community from 1969 to 2018. After the school published a list of Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics who had established allegations of sexual abuse against minors in 2018, allegations were brought against Pigott. The school said the reported abuse happened between 1992 and 1994.

After the allegations, Pigott was not allowed to have unsupervised access to students and was then removed from his duties at the school on Dec. 19, 2018.

On Friday, the school said an independent investigation shows allegations against Pigott to be established, meaning the allegations are based on facts and circumstances where "there is a reasonable certainty that the accusation is true." Pigott's name has been added to the list of Jesuits with established accusations of psychological sexual abuse against minors.

February 21, 2020

Weinstein jury indicates it is split on most serious counts

Associated Press

February 21, 2020

By Tom Hays and Michael R. Sisak

Jurors deliberating in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial indicated Friday that they are deadlocked on the most serious charges, but the judge told them to keep trying.

In a note sent to the judge during their lunch break, jurors asked if it were permissible for them to be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault while reaching a unanimous verdict on other charges.

After consulting with prosecutors and Weinstein's lawyers, Judge James Burke told the jury of seven men and five women to keep working toward a unanimous verdict on all charges and sent them back to continue deliberating.

Weinstein's lawyers said they would accept a partial verdict, but prosecutors said no and Burke refused to allow it.

In a Deluge of Sex-Abuse Claims, Bankruptcy May Not Save the Boy Scouts

The New York Times

February 19, 2020

By Mike Baker

Hoping to contain a growing deluge of sexual-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America took shelter in bankruptcy court Tuesday, filing for Chapter 11 protection that will let it keep operating while it grapples with questions about the future of the century-old Scouting movement.

The bankruptcy filing was made by the national organization, which said that it did not involve the local councils across the country that run scouting programs day to day. Even so, the case sets up what may be one of the most complex and uncertain financial restructurings in American history. Thousands of people have already come forward with allegations that they were abused as scouts, and many more are expected to do so.

The Boy Scouts, whose mission to promote patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues was enshrined in a rare congressional charter in 1916, said it plans to continue its work “for many years to come.”

How St Kevin's College supported a child sex offender coach to the horror of his student victim


February 17, 2020

By Louise Milligan, Mary Fallon and Lauren Day

A top Catholic boys' school is facing accusations of a culture of cover-up, after revelations its principal and dean of sport gave references for a now-convicted child sex offender but gave no support to the victim during the court process.

St Kevin's College in Melbourne hit the headlines last year when its students were filmed singing a sexist chant on a Melbourne tram.

The incident tarred the reputation of the school and ignited wider debates about private boys' school culture.

In recent years, St Kevin's was also caught up in one of the biggest scandals to hit the Catholic Church. A jury found Cardinal George Pell guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral. The two victims were on scholarships at St Kevin's.

Review: Ronan Farrow on Harvey Weinstein and the structures of deceit

America: The Jesuit Review

February 21, 2020

By Megan K. McCabe

In October 2017, The New Yorker published Ronan Farrow’s now-famous story identifying the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as the perpetrator of numerous acts of sexual assault and harassment against women in the film industry. Weinstein is facing sex crime charges in Los Angeles and is currently on trial in New York City.

Boy Scouts' bankruptcy plan follows similar path as USA Gymnastics and Catholic diocese


February 20, 2020

By Eric Levenson

The Boy Scouts of America's bankruptcy filing Tuesday puts it into similar company as almost two dozen US Catholic dioceses and USA Gymnastics.

Each of the organizations faces scores of sexual abuse lawsuits that allege the organization failed to stop serial predators from abusing young children. And each has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to figure out a way to pay those victims.
Despite those broad similarities, there are differences in the scale of the lawsuits and abuse claims against each organization.



February 13, 2020

By Paul Murano

Collections from the archdiocese of Washington's "Annual Appeal" are plummeting after almost two years of scandal involving clerical sex abuse and cover-up.

The Annual Appeal is an yearly fundraiser that finances some archdiocesan programs. Owing largely to the well-documented sexual misconduct scandals that sparked what many Catholics have dubbed "the summer of shame," the appeal took a big hit this past year, taking in nearly one-third less money in 2019 than it did in 2018.

The archdiocese of Washington, which includes the District of Columbia and its Maryland suburbs, took in $10,350,027 in its 2019 annual appeal, compared to the $14,192,188 it received in 2018. Before this sharp decline, the appeal took in around the same amount each year since 2013.



February 17, 2020

By Kristine Christlieb

A former monk and self-described "fixer" for the Catholic Church claims Missouri is uniquely favorable to predator priests.

Speaking to St. Louis' Fox 2 News this week, Patrick Wall noted that "Missouri law has been very favorable to the Church," explaining that has fueled the creation of "treatment" centers — housing offender priests — in the state.

Rebecca Randles, a Kansas City attorney who represents clergy abuse victims agrees. She told Church Militant: "All you have to do is start from the top down. Just think about who some of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Missouri have been in the last three decades."

How Jewish American pedophiles hide from justice in Israel

CBS News

February 19, 2020

By Ian Lee

It's a tense stakeout, waiting for Jimmy Julius Karow to appear. He is a wanted man and is considered dangerous. Accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in Oregon in 2000, he fled to Israel before authorities in the U.S. could apprehend him or figure out where he went. Karow has been running from U.S. law enforcement ever since. Currently INTERPOL, an inter-governmental policing organization that works with 194 countries, has a Red Notice to alert police worldwide that he's a fugitive.

Two years after he fled the U.S., Karow was convicted by an Israeli court of child molestation in a separate case. He served time and was released. Now another alleged Israeli victim has come forward, saying he began abusing her when she was 5-years-old, and continued for years.

Karow has successfully evaded authorities by moving between communities in Israel for almost two decades, and he is not alone.

After the Fall: 8,000 miles from justice


February 19, 2020

By Ken Kolker

Father Jacob Vellian is a revered religious scholar and author in his native India. He’s known for his singing voice and his knowledge of the Syriac language, which predates Christ.

In Michigan, almost 8,000 miles away, he is known as an accused pedophile priest.

But it’s unlikely he’ll ever face a judge, even though he was one of five Catholic priests charged in May 2019 with sexually abusing children in Michigan.

Sexual misconduct accusers want statute of limitations on lawsuits removed

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 20, 2020

By Kevin Landrigan

Sexual assault victims and their advocates offered emotional testimony Thursday in support of eliminating the statute of limitations to bring civil lawsuits against abusers.

Currently, victims under 18 years old have until they turn 30 to bring a lawsuit for damages against an abuser.

Anyone older than 18 only has three years after the offense to sue.

This bill (SB 508) before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday would eliminate that statute of limitations and also erase any immunity any government entity might have against being sued.

Committee will not consider bill to eliminate statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims

The Day

February 20, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

Victims of childhood sexual assault suffered another setback Thursday as they learned the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee has decided not to consider a bill that would have eliminated the statute of limitations that prevents older victims from filing lawsuits.

The revelation comes after a state law passed in last year’s session created a task force to study the issue and make a recommendation. That task force, headed by state Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, recommended the elimination of the statute of limitations, which currently prohibits those older than 51 from suing the person who assaulted them and organizations such as the Catholic Church.

"This is heart-wrenching news," said Beth McCabe, one of the leaders of the Connecticut chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and a sexual assault victim herself. "They (the victims) will be hurting tonight. And they will be hurting until we get this law passed."

Lucy Nolan, director of policy and public relations for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said, "We know there are some very powerful opponents out there that can block this kind of legislation. They are stopping survivors from getting the help they need to move forward with their lives."

Bankruptcy court could force Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg to disclose secret archives of clergy sex abuse


February 21, 2020

By Ivey DeJesus


In 2015, amid a wave of sex abuse lawsuits, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

Amid the financial wrangling that came with the move, the bankruptcy court ordered the archdiocese to release all of its secret archives on predator priests.

The order tore open the shield that the archdiocese had for decades used to protect priests who sexually abused children. The records showed how church officials had moved predators from one church to another, affording them new victims at every new assignment.

In the end, 91 clergy members were identified as sex abusers. And almost four years later, the archdiocese closed a $210-million settlement with more than 400 survivors, the largest such settlement in the nation. In recent years, other Catholic dioceses have been forced to release files confidential files detailing claims of abuse.

This week, when the Harrisburg Diocese announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection, officials focused on the financial matters at hand.

The matter of confidential church archives at this point has yet to factor in the discussion - at least publicly. But experts in the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandal point out the matter is poised to be a pivotal turning point for the Harrisburg Diocese.

“The 40th Statewide Grand Jury report did a good job,” said Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, a non-profit that tracks clergy sex abuse cases. “But their staff was limited. Time was limited. There’s a whole lot more to understand about Harrisburg than was contained in the report.”

Diocese of Brooklyn sued for nun’s alleged sexual abuse of boy

Daily News

February 20, 2020

By Shant Shahrigian

Charles Pellegrino was just in second grade when he allegedly suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his Catholic school teacher in Queens.

“He was really savagely beaten by this Sister Mary Jeremy — kicked in his groin and otherwise really injured,” his attorney Diane Paolicelli told the Daily News. “He had to leave the school.”

Earlier this week, he became the latest New Yorker to sue the Catholic Church thanks to the Child Victims Act, which opened a one-year window for survivors to seek justice even if the statute of limitations had already expired.

Pellegrino, 66, is suing the Diocese of Brooklyn and its Flushing-based St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Queens Supreme Court for enabling Jeremy to savagely attack him.

“This poor child went through hell,” Paolicelli said of her client’s time at the academy, which came during the 1959-1960 school year.

Lawyers in Boy Scout bankruptcy case to go after local councils' properties

Westerly Sun

February 19, 2020

By Brady McCombs and Randall Chase

Salt Lake City - Like millions of other Americans the 1950s and '60s, Duane Ruth-Heffelbower spent his formative years learning to tie knots, build campfires and pitch tents with the Boy Scouts, whose wholesome reputation was burnished by Norman Rockwell's paintings of fresh-faced Scouts, brave, courteous and cheerful.

Though he's no longer involved in Scouting, the 70-year-old Mennonite minister from Fresno, California, has followed the slow deterioration of the national Boy Scouts of America from afar and cringes to think what this week's bankruptcy filing over a blizzard of sex-abuse lawsuits might mean for an organization already grappling with a decline in membership.

"It's really sad. I'm afraid that people are going to be more skeptical than they were once about the organization and will be more inclined to look for other alternatives to Scouting," said Ruth-Heffelbower, who grew up in Kansas. "These days there are so many things pulling at kids."

With its finances and its reputation for moral rectitude damaged by scandal, the Scouts resorted to Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday in hopes of pulling through the crisis by setting up a victims' compensation fund for thousands of men who were molested as boys by Scout leaders over the decades.

Catholic Whistleblower Threatens Countersuit against Accused CA-Priest

Church Militant

February 20, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Stephen Brady: 'I'm confident the truth will come out'

The finding of "credible" homosexual abuse allegations against California priest Msgr. Craig Harrison by local law enforcement not only discredits the priest's defamation suit against a whistleblower, says an attorney, it also opens the priest up to a counter lawsuit.

According to attorney Paul Jonna, Friday's statement by the Fresno County district attorney (D.A.) regarding the existence of credible allegations against Harrison undermines the priest's defamation lawsuit against Jonna's client, Stephen Brady, and Brady's organization, Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF).

On Tuesday Jonna told media, "Because the Fresno DA has now found 'credible' allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Harrison, there is no way he can maintain a defamation case against Brady and RCF."

One year after Vatican abuse summit, survivors grade Pope Francis with 'D minus'

Religion News Service via National Catholic Reporter

February 21, 2020

By Claire Giangrave

One year after Pope Francis called for a summit of Catholic bishops at the Vatican, abuse survivors flocked to the Eternal City on Feb. 20 to report a lack of progress and accountability in the fight against clergy sex abuse.

Three Argentine deaf abuse survivors of the notorious pedophile priest Nicola Corradi, who in November was convicted and sentenced to prison for the abuse of students at the Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children, gave a press conference in Rome on Feb. 20 and stood in St. Peter's Square demanding justice and reparations from the Catholic Church and Francis.

"We demand a law that obligates the Vatican to stop the coverup and change the situation decisively," said Daniel Sgardelis, one of the Argentine survivors, with the help of an interpreter at the press conference.

"The deaf have always suffered abuse from priests, and we need this to change. That's enough!" he added.

Another survivor, Ezequiel Villalonga, explained that the group had just returned from a meeting with United Nations officials in Geneva where they accused the Catholic Church of withholding crucial evidence, failing to collaborate with civil authorities and refusing to pay reparations to the 24 victims of Corradi in Argentina.

"In Argentina we haven't gotten justice," Villalonga said. "Now we are survivors and we know our rights and we demand for this to stop."

The deaf victims of Corradi and other members of the Catholic clergy in Argentina were accompanied by their lawyers and representatives from other international survivor networks, Ending Clergy Abuse and bishopaccountability.org.

NH chapter of Boy Scouts to continue state operations


February 20, 2020

By Alex LaCasse

Concord NH - The Daniel Webster Council responded to Tuesday’s news the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by stating the move would have no effect on the programming offered to scouts across New Hampshire.

Daniel Webster Council (DWC) Scout Executive Jay Garee said the council would continue to provide “programming, financial, facility and administrative support to local units and individual scouts in New Hampshire,” in wake of BSA filing for bankruptcy.

“Daniel Webster Council... has not filed for bankruptcy,” Garee said. “Meetings and activities, district and council events, other scouting adventures and countless service projects are taking place as usual. In short, there is no change to the local scouting experience.”

However, BSA’s decision to file for bankruptcy casts the public spotlight on the more than 290 outstanding lawsuits against the organization, the vast majority filed by individuals claiming they were molested by scout volunteer leaders.

BSA officials said the decision to file for bankruptcy would pave the way to setting up a trust for victims of abuse to claim damages, similar to individual Catholic dioceses filing for bankruptcy protection in response to allegations of sexual abuse within their ranks.

“The BSA cannot undo what happened to you, but we are committed to supporting you and to doing everything in our power to prevent it from happening to others. It is a social and moral responsibility that I and the entire organization take extremely seriously,” Jim Turley, national chair of BSA, wrote in an open letter to victims, which ran as a full-page ad in Wednesday’s USA Today. “We believe that all victims should receive our support and compensation - and we have taken decisive action to make that possible.”

Mitchell Garabedian, whose Boston law firm represents victims of sexual abuse, is one of the 25 lawyers with the most outstanding lawsuits against BSA seeking damages for victims alleging they were molested during their time in scouting. He said BSA filed for bankruptcy in response to several states adopting legislation eliminating statutes of limitations with respect to victims of sexual assault pursuing civil damages, such as New York and New Jersey.

New questions raised about Cardinal Ratzinger and abusive priest

National Catholic Reporter / Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur

February 20, 2020

Munich - New details seem to emerge in a case involving a priest found guilty on several counts of sexual abuse who had held positions in the Munich archdiocese under then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger — the later Pope Benedict XVI., now Pope emeritus.

New investigations by the German television programme "Frontal21" and the research centre CORRECTIV indicate that there were more points of contact between the priest identified only as "H." and Ratzinger than previously known.

The case sparked worldwide attention in 2010 when American media learned that in 1980, the suspected clergyman, with the approval of then Archbishop Ratzinger, was given a position in pastoral ministry on condition of undergoing therapy. H. would go on to serve for decades in the archdiocese of Munich-Freising.

This did not change even after he received a suspended sentence in 1986 following a new abuse case. There would follow further accusations about abusive behaviour towards minors before H. was ultimately suspended from the priesthood in 2010.

The research published on Feb. 18 points to supposition that Ratzinger, who between 1982 and 2005 led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, during that period might have known about the continuing employment of the priest. From 2001 onwards Ratzinger, in his position as prefect, was in charge of the worldwide prosecution of abuse crimes by catholic clergymen.

Former priest sentenced to 30 years for molesting boys gets parole hearing after seven months

Daily Herald

February 20, 2020

By Laura Schulte

Hayward - A former Northwoods priest convicted of sexually assaulting boys could be released on parole less than a year after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Thomas Ericksen will go before the Wisconsin Parole Commission in April, according to a letter the state Department of Corrections sent to one of his victims, who shared it with the Wausau Daily Herald. The hearing doesn't mean Ericksen will be released, only that he is eligible for parole.

The Parole Commission will take into consideration statements from victims about how Ericksen's crimes affected them and their feelings about whether he should be released early, the letter said.

Steve Weix, a Merrill educator, was one of the first victims to go to investigators a decade ago, and was the first to reach out to the Daily Herald about the former priest. Weix said he plans to respond to the potential parole and let it be known that Ericksen shouldn't walk free this soon.

He said he's shocked the letter arrived so soon.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "A lot of people just spent 10 years trying to get him convicted, and it finally happened in September. Now they're already looking at paroling him in April? It doesn't make any sense."

Abuse survivors seek more progress 1 year after papal summit

Associated Press

February 20, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Survivors of church sex abuse have descended on Rome this week, marking the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ summit of church leaders on preventing abuse with calls for more accountability and acknowledgment of their pain.

On Thursday, three deaf Argentines marched to St. Peter’s Square. They were among the victims of violent sexual abuse by priests in the Argentine branch of the Provolo Institute, a Catholic-run school for the deaf that also saw dozens of victims at its school in Verona, Italy.

Recently, an Argentine court convicted two Provolo priests of repeatedly violating the children — including one who also was flagged to Francis as early as in 2014 as an abuser in Verona. “Support the Provolo survivors,” read a banner carried by the victims in front of St. Peter’s Square.

Also marching was Mary Dispenza, a survivor of abuse by both a priest and a nun. She and members of the U.S.-based victims’ advocacy group SNAP walked to the headquarters of the umbrella group of religious sisters and secured a meeting with its executive secretary, Sister Patricia Murray.

US bishop orders priest to delete blog criticizing Church’s sex abuse cover-up

LifeSite News

February 20, 2020

By Doug Mainwaring

Fr. Mark White used his blog to spotlight the ineffectiveness of the Church in dealing with the sexual abuse scandal.

Martinsville VA - A Catholic priest who joined Archbishop Viganò’s call for Pope Francis’ resignation over the McCarrick scandal has been ordered by his bishop to take down his popular blog and to refrain from commenting on social media.

Fr. Mark White serves as pastor of two rural parishes in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. He used his blog to spotlight the ineffectiveness of the Church in dealing with the sexual abuse scandal, especially regarding the Church’s handling of the McCarrick revelations. He was, at times, critical of Pope Francis, and sometimes used infelicitous language when pointing out the incompetence as well as the cover-up he witnessed in the Church’s hierarchy.

The drama began on November 2, 2019, when Bishop Barry Knestout and Vicar General Michael Boehling showed up unexpectedly as the noon Mass concluded at White’s St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Fr. White said that during the twenty-minute meeting, Bishop Knestout “ordered me, in no uncertain terms, to keep silent. To remove my blog from circulation entirely, and to publish nothing further–not even my Sunday homilies.”

In that same meeting, White said Knestout “sternly threatened to remove me as pastor here if I did not silence myself.”

Prosecutor files sex crime charges against retired priest arrested in Springfield Wednesday


Feb 20, 2020

Advance MO - A retired Catholic priest faces multiple counts of sexual abuse with children while working at a church in southeast Missouri..

Stoddard County authorities arrested Frederick Lutz, 76, at his home in Springfield on a warrant for charges of forcible sodomy, two counts of statutory sodomy second degree and felony sexual abuse related to allegations of sex crimes. Investigators say those crimes happened as Lutz served as the priest at St. Joseph Parish in Advance, Mo.

Lutz served as priest in several parishes across the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, including Mount Vernon and Springfield.

On Thursday, February 20, Lutz appeared in court in Stoddard County. Lutz entered a not guilty plea. A judge set bond at $125,000. He is scheduled to reappear on Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. to address the issue of bond. Another hearing is set for March 12 at 1 p.m.

Flagler Beach priest named in Pennsylvania probe into child sex abuse cover-up

News 4 JAX

February 20, 2020

Msgr. Michael Servinsky accused of knowing about sex abuse allegations, failing to tell police

The Diocese of St. Augustine has worked since 1989 to reform their reporting policies for sexual abuse hoping to avoid the pain that other dioceses across the country have experienced as lists of credibly accused priests have become available.

But church records show the Diocese of St. Augustine has also welcomed a priest accused of covering up some of the very same abuses.

Msgr. Michael Servinsky was ordained in 1970. He spent most of his service to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in Pennsylvania as a member of the Bishop’s Office. He began as a notary and eventually acted in the capacity as tribunal judge. He was appointed the Judicial Vicar in 1989 and later became Vicar General. He’s now a priest in residence at Santa Maria Del Mar Catholic Church in Flagler Beach.

In 2016, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania released a report detailing how more than 50 priests allegedly molested and raped kids within the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The accounts date back as far as the 1950s and stretch into the 90s.

February 20, 2020

Boy Scouts failed to heed church’s lesson

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

February 20, 2020

Since the 1960s, the official organization of Boy Scouts have amassed more than 14,000 documents alleging complaints of sexual abuse by scoutmasters or volunteers.

Boy Scouts of America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect the organization and its multibillion-dollar assets from seizure amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. A once-venerable institution, credited by generations of business and military leaders with grounding them in the fundamentals for success in life, finds itself in the same kind of crisis of trust facing the Catholic Church.

Sex Abuse Cases Push Harrisburg Catholic Diocese into Bankruptcy


February 19, 2020

By Steven Church

- Diocese faces claims from about 200 sex abuse victims
- Victims, church leaders at odds over payment for past abuses

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, facing sex abuse claims it says it may not be able to pay, filed for bankruptcy protection, citing changing laws and an increasing number of victims.

The church “has struggled to remain financially viable while funding compensation for survivors and continued litigation by survivors,” the Pennsylvania diocese said in court papers filed Wednesday.

Early last year, church officials launched a compensation program for victims, giving them 90 days to file claims. The program paid more than $12.5 million to more than 110 victims, according to court papers.

Colorado Catholic dioceses continue processing abuse claims

Associated Press

February 20, 2020

Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses have paid $1.2 million to 10 victims who were abused by priests as children and program administrators have 77 additional claims to process.

There have been 87 people applications for reparations under the program, which allows victims to seek compensation without filing a public lawsuit, The Denver Post reports.

Victims who accept the money can avoid an adversarial court process, but must agree to not file a lawsuit against the church.

Victims of church-related abuse asked to come forward

ITV News

February 19, 2020

Victims and survivors of church-related abuse are being asked to come forward as part of a safeguarding review across all 42 dioceses in the Church of England.

In Rochester this is the second time the second time it's been carried out, to ensure that all concerns about clergy and church staff have been reported, assessed, and acted upon.



February 19, 2020

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Victims advocate: 'They'll lose their right to have their day in court'

The diocese of Richmond, Virginia is agreeing to compensate childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse but only if they agree to never sue the diocese.

On Monday, the diocese headed by Bp. Barry Knestout launched its "Independent Reconciliation Program" (program). A protocol of the program stipulates that a victim or "claimant" in signing the agreement or "release" forever surrenders the right to have the abuse case publically litigated in court.

Maryland lawmakers to weigh whether sexual abuse survivors should have more time to sue

Baltimore Sun

February 20, 2020

By Pamela Wood

As he’s done countless times before, Del. C.T. Wilson will sit at a dark wooden table in an Annapolis hearing room Thursday and plead with his colleagues to give victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers and the institutions that failed to stop the abuse.

He’s hoping to make Maryland the latest state to relax restrictions on when adults can file lawsuits stemming from abuse endured as children.

He acknowledges that he’s fighting an uphill battle.

Court to hear arguments on publicizing Saints' emails to Catholic church

WWL Radio.com

February 20, 2020

By Chris Miller

Today a New Orleans Civil District Court judge will hear arguments about whether or not emails that the head of public relations for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans sent to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, advising them on how to handle the church's sex abuse scandal, should be made public.

The Associated Press says due to the high profile nature of the Saints and the church, the community should see emails, which may be used as evidence in a court case pending against the church over the sex abuse scandal.

NFL's Saints Head to Court in Catholic Church Email Dispute

The Associated Press

February 20, 2020

The New Orleans Saints headed to court Thursday in a bid to block the release of hundreds of confidential emails detailing the behind-the-scenes public relations work the team did for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese amid its sexual abuse crisis.

The request comes amid claims that the NFL team joined the Archdiocese of New Orleans in a “pattern and practice” of concealing sexual abuse — an allegation the Saints have vehemently denied.

Attorneys for some two dozen men suing the church say the emails show team officials had a say in deciding which priests the archdiocese named on a 2018 list of dozens of “credibly accused” clergy members, a roster an Associated Press analysis found was undercounted by at least 20 names.

Southeast Missouri authorities arrest retired priest in Springfield in sex abuse case


February 19, 2020

By Frances Watson

Stoddard County, Mo. authorities arrested a retired Catholic priest living in Springfield after prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of sexual abuse.

According to Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz was arrested on a Stoddard County warrant for charges of forcible sodomy, two counts of statutory sodomy second degree and felony sexual abuse related to allegations of sex crimes that happened while Lutz served as the priest at St. Joseph Parish in Advance, Mo. His bond was set at $125,000 cash only.

Prosecuting Attorney Oliver said the offenses are alleged to have happened between January and February 2000.

87 people file claims of abuse against Colorado Catholic church


February 19, 2020

By Dara Bitler

The Colorado Independent Oversight Committee says 87 victims have filed abuse claims against Catholic priests in the Dioceses of Colorado as of January 31.

The IOC met in January to check the progress of the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program. According to the IOC, administrators have issued payment to 10 claimants. More than $1,200,000 has been paid to nine victims since the program launched.

“This is a very important program for victims of childhood sexual abuse. I am pleased that through this unique program, we are helping so many victims. The IOC is satisfied with the administration of the program thus far and looks forward to assisting the remaining victims in the program on their path to healing.” said Chair of the IOC, Hank Brown.

Notre Dame funds research, raises awareness on sex abuse crisis


February 20, 2020

By Jack Lyons

As the US Catholic Church’s “summer of hell” drew to a close in Oct. 2018, where major revelations of abuse toppled some of the most senior clergy in the nation, the president of the University of Notre Dame felt the school needed to do something.

“We must look at Notre Dame’s own history, actions and policies and also look for ways in which it can assist the Church,” Holy Cross Father John Jenkins said in a statement. “We will not single-handedly solve problems, but we can contribute to understanding, healing and constructive change.”

In that same statement, Jenkins established two task forces to produce recommendations on what the University could do.

Pennsylvania Diocese, Facing More Abuse Claims, Files for Bankruptcy

The New York Times

February 19, 2020

By Michael Levenson

The Harrisburg Roman Catholic diocese became the latest to seek Chapter 11 protection. It faces claims from an estimated 200 victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, becoming the latest Roman Catholic diocese to seek protection from creditors as it faces tens of millions of dollars in outstanding claims from people who were sexually abused by clergy members.

The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing came nearly two years after a devastating state grand jury report found that bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement agencies not to investigate it.

Danbury priest accused of sex abuse appears in court without plea

News Times

February 19, 2020

By Peter Yankowski

A former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe accused of sexually abusing one boy and groping another over the course of several years made a brief appearance in court Wednesday, but did not enter a plea.

Jaime Marin-Cardona was charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact after turning himself in to Danbury police on a warrant Jan. 3.

Marin-Cardona was present in Danbury Superior Court Wednesday, where his case was continued to March 13, the clerk’s office said.

Police learned of the abuse last September, after they were contacted by a church official about boundary violations and possible grooming of two children by the priest, according to the warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest.

Paul Canonici, former Catholic priest credibly accused of sexual abuse, dies at 92

Clarion Ledger

February 19, 2020

By Sarah Fowler

A former priest who was removed from the ministry after being credibly accused of sexual abuse has died.

Paul Victor Canonici, 92, died Saturday, according to his obituary. A cause of death was not listed.

A native of Shaw, Canonici joined the priesthood when he was 30 years old. Over the course of his tenure, he served as the diocesan superintendent of education, assistant principal and then principal of St. Joseph High School in Madison, as well as the priest for multiple parishes throughout the Jackson metro area.

He retired when he was in his mid 70s. Despite his five decades with the diocese, he's not listed on the church's website of retired priests.

Canonici was removed from the ministry in 2002. He was on the list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse released by the Diocese of Jackson last spring.

87 people file claims of sexual abuse by Colorado catholic priests

9 News

February 19, 2020

By Janet Oravetz

The deadline to file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program was Jan. 31. It came after an independent review found that 43 priests abused 166 children.

Nearly 90 people have filed claims related to sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado, according to the oversight committee, which was assigned to administer the Independent Compensation Program (ICP).

The final deadline to file claims was Jan. 31 and only included abuse by clergy who worked for Colorado dioceses, not members of independent religious orders. A total of 87 victims filed claims with the administrators.

Details of the program to provide compensation and support for victims who were sexually abused as minors by clergy of the Archdiocese of Denver, Diocese of Colorado Springs and Diocese of Pueblo were revealed last October.

It coincided with an independent review of church sex abuse in Colorado that was led by former Colorado U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer, which launched last February and was completed in October.

Chilean bishop seeks management training amid abuse crisis cleanup


February 20, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - Living with acute poverty, inequality and the aftermath of what is arguably the Catholic Church’s worst clerical sexual abuse crisis, Chilean Bishop Tomislav Francisco Koljatic Maroevic is seeking what for some seem like a basic: Management training.

The head of the Chilean Diocese of Linares, Koljatic is currently in Rome for a two-week intensive course as part of the Program of Church Management offered by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. And he’s using his vacation to do it.

Speaking to Crux, Koljatic said he decided to enroll in the course because “I will learn important things for my life, for my work, for my duties, and basically to open my mind, to learn new things that are happening in the world now.”

“That’s the most important thing for me, learning new things and improving my work as a leader and as a bishop in Chile,” he said.

Survivors storm Rome to mark anniversary of global abuse summit


February 20, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - This week clerical abuse survivors from around the world have flocked to Rome to mark the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’s global summit on child protection, which took place at the Vatican in February of last year.

Groups such as Bishops Accountability and Ending Clergy Abuse, two prominent American advocacy organizations, have put together a week of events in Rome and Geneva designed to offer an evaluation of progress made and gaps that still need to be filled.

Things got started with a press conference from Bishops Accountability on Monday, during which survivors and advocates were honest in recognizing progress made since the summit, but largely critical of the follow-up, arguing that enforcement of new procedures is still unclear, and many bishops haven’t implemented them at all.

In Geneva, representatives of these organizations on Monday met with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on Disabilities.

Retired Catholic priest charged in Missouri with sex abuse

Associated Press

February 19, 2020

By Heather Hollingsworth

A retired Catholic priest has been charged in Missouri with multiple counts of child sexual abuse stemming from a statewide investigation of abuse by Catholic priests.

Seventy-six-year-old Frederick Lutz, of Springfield, was charged Tuesday with forcible sodomy, sexual abuse and two counts of statutory sodomy. His bond was set at $125,000 cash only. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

He was among 12 former priests that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt referred for criminal prosecution following a 13-month investigation.

According to charging documents, Lutz sexually assaulted a 17-year-old in 2000, while he was the priest at the St. Joseph Parish in the 1,350-person southeast Missouri town of Advance. The documents said Lutz called the teen to the rectory, where he was drinking and watching a pornographic movie. The document said the teen was forced to perform sexual acts before he could leave.

February 19, 2020

Another Catholic diocese seeks bankruptcy after abuse deals

Associated Press

February 19, 2020

By Mark Scolforo

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, six months after disclosing it had paid millions of dollars to people sexually abused as children by its clerics.

The diocese joins at least 20 others across the United States in seeking protection from creditors through the federal bankruptcy system, but it is the first diocese in Pennsylvania to take such a step.

In August, the diocese said it paid 106 people a total of just over $12 million to compensate for claims of sexual abuse they suffered as children from its clerics, deacons and seminarians. Six others did not accept payment offers from the diocese.

The filing in Harrisburg federal bankruptcy court said the diocese “faces potentially significant exposure from remaining claimants” and wants Chapter 11 reorganization to provide money for unresolved claims and perform its ministry and other operations.

The diocese told the court it has more than 200 creditors and estimated liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million. It listed creditors that include a $30 million loan from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority and 12 blacked-out names that were represented by lawyers.

Harrisburg Catholic diocese declares bankruptcy, the first to do so in Pa. under weight of clergy sex abuse claims

Philadelphia Inquirer

February 19, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck and Angela Couloumbis


The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, becoming the first of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses to seek protection from financial claims in the aftermath of a scathing 2018 grand jury report that revealed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up by the church’s top leaders.

Diocesan officials are expected to discuss their bankruptcy protection plans at a 3:30 p.m. news conference, two sources familiar with the matter have told The Inquirer and Spotlight PA.

In its petition with the bankruptcy court, the diocese reported having an estimated $1 to $10 million in assets. Among its top 20 creditors, 19 were accusers with unresolved clergy sex abuse lawsuits work their way through the courts.

The move comes six months after the diocese announced it had paid out $12 million to more than 100 victims of decades-old sexual abuse as part of an independently run compensation program similar to those launched by most of the state’s other Catholic dioceses.

Church officials said they hoped the funds would provide compensation to victims whose claims were too old to pursue in court. But victims and their lawyers have viewed the programs with skepticism, saying that while the funds’ payouts are better than nothing, they have allowed the dioceses to limit the crushing financial penalties they might face should Pennsylvania voters approve a proposed “window law” that would allow accusers with expired claims to sue.

Retired priest who previously worked at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond accused of child abuse

Richmond Times-Dispatch

February 14, 2020

By Bridget Balch


The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Friday that a retired priest, Raymond Barton, has been accused of child sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in the early 1970s.

A representative of the alleged victim, who is dead, came forward to report details of the abuse to the diocese, which reported the allegations to civil authorities, according to a news release.

The diocese, which could not be reached immediately for comment Friday afternoon, did not identify the victim, the location of the alleged crime or the agency that it notified of the accusation in the release.

Barton, who retired from ministry in 2011, was an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, a faculty member at St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland County and a pastor at Sacred Heart in Norfolk, St. Nicholas in Virginia Beach and Holy Comforter in Charlottesville. He was also co-pastor for Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach.

Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy filing could yield key evidence in abuse cases, Boston lawyer says

Boston Globe

February 18, 2020

By Meghan Sorensen

The Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy filing on Tuesday could yield important evidence in the thousands of sexual-abuse cases against the century-old organization, according to a Boston lawyer who has represented dozens of victims.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said he looks forward to the opportunity to gain access to the information, which he believes will explain what the organization knew about the abuse, when they learned about it, and how it was handled.

“They’re going to have to fairly compensate victims of sexual abuse and hopefully reveal all files in their possession concerning sexual abuse — so there’s going to be a cost here,” Garabedian said.

Since the 1920s, the BSA has kept confidential files about staff and volunteers implicated in sexual abuse. As of January, a court deposition listed 7,819 suspected abusers and 12,254 victims.

A Denver priest — his dad’s best friend — raped him. The state’s Catholic Church abuse report revealed the secret.

Colorado Sun

February 19, 2020

By Jesse Paul

Neil Elms says he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Lawrence St. Peter, a Colorado priest who rose to high ranks in the Denver Archdiocese. St. Peter wasn’t removed from clergy despite “numerous, reliable, consistent reports” he was abusing boys.

Great Barrington MA - Neil Elms planned to carry his biggest secret to his grave. He thought no one would ever know what he’d kept hidden for 37 years.

Elms never told his mother or father, or any of his six siblings. He concealed it through two marriages, two children, nearly 10 years in the Army and jobs that took him across the globe.

Looking back, Elms says, he never even came close to revealing what happened to him as a young boy at Holy Family School in northwest Denver — not a breath about his father’s best friend, the priest who sexually abused him. Elms’ front was so unbreakable that he attended the funeral Mass for Monsignor Lawrence St. Peter in 2003, sitting with his own grieving family to honor the life of the man who upended his.

“What’s your earliest memory?” Elms asks. That’s how far back the mistreatment goes.

But one day in October, while he was fishing for small-mouth bass near his home in southwestern Massachusetts, his father phoned from Arvada. He had just read a report from Colorado’s attorney general on priest abuse at Catholic churches in the state.

The investigation concluded that there had been at least three credible allegations of child sexual abuse by St. Peter and hinted there were probably many more victims. “Did St. Peter ever lay a hand on you?” his dad wanted to know.

Catholic Diocese to offer settlements to sexual abuse victims who won’t sue

Virginia Gazette

February 18, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says it will offer monetary settlements to sexual abuse victims if they give up the right to sue.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the diocese announced the offer on Monday.

Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout said in a news release that the offer is “the best course for our diocese to reach a just reconciliation with our victim survivors.”

In February 2019, the diocese released a list of 42 clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse against them, according to Virginia Gazette archives. None of the named clergy were listed as active members. Thirteen were dead. Most were classified as suspended or removed; five were “laicized,” meaning they were removed from ministry.

Previous news reports and information on the diocese website show at least seven have ties to Hampton Roads. Three had ties to Williamsburg.

Bankruptcy filing probably means less compensation for Scout victims who ‘wanted their day in court,’ attorney says

Dallas Morning News

February 18, 2020

By LaVendrick Smith and Catherine Marfin


The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday as it faces a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits.

By Tuesday afternoon, Paul Mones said his inbox had at least 400 new emails, many of them from men who were upset they’ll never see their day in court.

Mones represents hundreds of men nationwide who say they were sexually abused as children in the Boy Scouts of America.

The Irving-based organization filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday as it’s facing a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits. The move puts those clients’ cases on hold and forces victims to seek compensation through a claims system.

“A lot of them are very angry,” Mones said of his clients. “A lot of them are feeling resentful that the Boy Scouts didn’t take care of the problem when they were a viable organization when they could have. And now they’re left to file in a cold and calculated climate.”

The bankruptcy filing comes after years of sexual abuse accusations against BSA and declining membership. The organization said that by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and establishing a trust for payments, it will “ensure that victims of past abuse in Scouting are equitably compensated."

How Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy is bad news for sex abuse victims

Morning Call

February 19, 2020

By Paul Muschick

I never thought anyone would find a way to treat sexual abuse victims worse than the Catholic church, but the Boy Scouts of America has done it.

By filing for bankruptcy Tuesday, the Boy Scouts likely blocked victims from being able to confront their accusers in court and force them to confess their sins and divulge their secrets. That’s because the bankruptcy halts all litigation, nationwide.

There aren’t many lawsuits in Pennsylvania because, unlike in some other states including New Jersey and New York, state lawmakers haven’t opened a window for retroactive lawsuits by people who were abused as children and lost their right to sue because of the statute of limitations.

And that’s at least partly because of the church’s influence.

Church liable for sex assaults

Brandon Sun

February 19, 2020

By Erin DeBooy

[The Anglican C]hurch is liable for the sexual assaults a woman experienced more than 50 years ago at the hands of a priest.

"It is clear that the Anglican Church of Canada did not and does not condone the sexual abuse of children by priests acting on their behalf. However, that fact is not determinative in deciding if the Diocese of Brandon should be held vicariously liable for the sexual assaults inflicted on the plaintiff by (Jack) Hopper," Justice John Menzies wrote in his decision delivered last month.

"The sexual abuse committed by Hopper and the placement of Hopper as priest in the community of Grand Rapids by the Diocese of Brandon are strongly connected. I have little hesitation in finding that the Diocese of Brandon is vicariously liable for the sexual abuse inflicted on the plaintiff by Hopper."

In the lawsuit against The Anglican Church of Canada, The Diocese of Brandon filed in 2014, the plaintiff, now 63, claimed she was sexually assaulted twice by Hopper, an Anglican priest, in the basement of an Anglican church in Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids First Nation).

The woman told the court during a three-day trial for the lawsuit in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench in September that Hopper assaulted her on two occasions after Sunday school a few months apart.

Reformers' ideas gain momentum in German synodal way

National Catholic Reporter

February 19, 2020

By Donald Snyder

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany's defense minister, agrees with advocates of radical change in the nation's Roman Catholic Church.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 57, often known as "AKK" in German media, a member of the governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told journalists on Feb. 3 that she wished there were many more women in church leadership, beginning with their serving as deacons.

"And I am for the abolition of celibacy. It would help to make more people enthusiastic to serve the church," she said, adding that the decision to live without a family poses too great an obstacle for those wanting to dedicate their lives to the church.

Kramp-Karrenbauer's fellow CDU member, Heribert Hirte, said in a telephone interview that AKK entered a political minefield when she called for an end to celibacy in the priesthood. He said the church opposes such political intervention into its internal affairs. Still, he praised Kramp-Karrenbauer for her courage in making a public statement.


The original impetus for the dialogue was concern about a massive sexual abuse scandal documented in a 2018 report, which had come under immediate attack from conservatives like the bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer, who charged that the study was unscientific and unprofessional.

"It was an aggressive challenge to the accuracy of the sexual abuse study, and an attempt to destroy the Frankfurt meeting," said Philipp Gessler, a Berlin resident who was formerly a religion editor at Deutschlandfunk, German public radio. Gessler is the author of three books on religion.

The Catholic Difference: Beyond Amazonia

Catholic Standard - Archdiocese of Washington

February 19, 2020

By George Weigel

The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia [Dear Amazonia] did not accept or endorse the 2019 Amazonian synod’s proposal that viri probati – mature married men – be ordained priests in that region. So until the German Church’s “synodal path” comes up with a similar proposal (which seems more than likely), a period of pause has been created in which some non-hysterical reflection on the priesthood and celibacy can take place throughout the world Church. Several points might be usefully pondered in the course of that conversation.

The first involves celibacy and the Kingdom.

Christians live, or ought to live, in a different time-zone because the Kingdom of God is among us, by the Lord’s own declaration in the gospels. Different vocations in the Church bear radical witness to that truth and remind the rest of us of it. The vocations that live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in a consecrated way do that. So should the celibate priesthood.

It was said openly during the Amazonian synod, and it’s often muttered in other contexts, that celibacy makes no sense to many people. Which is quite true – if those people are living in pagan societies that haven’t heard the Gospel or post-Christian societies that have abandoned the Gospel and haven’t been re-evangelized. Celibacy, a total gift of self to God, only makes sense in a Kingdom context. So if celibacy doesn’t make sense in Amazonia or Dusseldorf or Hamburg, that likely has something to do with a failure to preach the Gospel of the inbreaking Kingdom of God in Amazonia, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg.

All of which is to say that the failures of Catholic Lite and Catholic Zero aren’t going to be addressed by lighter Catholic Lite or less-than-zero Catholic Zero.

The second point to ponder involves celibacy and the broader reform of the priesthood.

This Indiana bill could possibly help victims of priest sex abuse

Courier & Press

February 19, 2020

By Jon Webb

It’s been more than a year since a former Evansville man stood before the Indiana Senate to share something private and devastating.

On Feb. 13, 2019, Chris Compton told the Judiciary Committee that the late Rev. Raymond Kuper had sexually abused him while Compton was a 9-year-old student at Christ the King.

He was there to advocate for a Senate bill that would have given accusers of childhood sexual abuse more time to pursue civil cases in incidents that had long eclipsed the statute of limitations.

Now, a similar-but-compromised bill is working its way through the legislature.

SB 109 blitzed through the Senate 44-2 earlier this month. And Wednesday morning, it landed in front of the House committee on courts and criminal code, chaired by Evansville-area Rep. Wendy McNamara.

February 18, 2020

Catholic Diocese of Richmond sets up program to help, pay people sexually abused by clergy

13 News Now

February 17, 2020


The Independent Reconciliation Program allows people who were abused sexually as children to submit claims. They may be eligible to receive a monetary payment.

Richmond VA - The Catholic Diocese of Richmond said it set up a program to help people who were children when they were abused by clergy members.

The Independent Reconciliation Program is administered independently by BrownGreer PLC, which is based in Richmond. The diocese said the firm specializes in settlement administration.

The program has its own website which allows people to file a claim if they were abused by the Catholic clergy in the diocese. The claims administrator will review the claims and determine any monetary payment the filer should receive. The Richmond Diocese will not reject or change the administrator's decision in any way.

Windsor woman calls Pope's vows a 'failure,' one year after sex abuse summit

CBC News

February 18, 2020

It's been about one year since Pope Francis vowed to confront sexual abusers in the Catholic church with "the wrath of God," end the coverups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this "brazen, aggressive and destructive evil."

Now, a Windsor, Ont. woman and a group of victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy are heading back to Rome to take stock of the promises made at last year's summit on the issue.

"[Pope Francis] came out strong. He came out hard, with a lot of promises to the world that he was going to put an end to this and put safety measures into place to ensure that there was no more — or to prevent future coverups," said Brenda Brunelle, who was abused from age 12.

"Speaking as a survivor and an advocate for those abused by priests, I'm afraid to say that my report card — our report — card is a failure."

Pope says new Vatican finance laws, norms are working

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

February 17, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

The decade-long process of updating the laws of Vatican City State is part of the Vatican's support for international commitments to protect people and safeguard vulnerable groups, who are "frequently the victims of new, odious forms of illegality," Pope Francis said.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have made major changes to Vatican City legislation to strengthen laws against money laundering, tax evasion, child sexual abuse and child pornography.

Meeting officials of the Vatican City State court Feb. 15, Francis repeated his conviction that the latest financial scandal being investigated by the Vatican City police and tribunal is a sign of progress because the report of suspicious activity originated with the Vatican general auditor.

While the investigation continues into the financing of a London real estate investment and while the parties involved have the right to a presumption of innocence, the pope said the flagging of the irregular activity "shows the efficacy and efficiency of the counter-actions as requested by international standards."

Will compulsion succeed where conversion has failed on Vatican financial reform?


February 18, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - When Pope Francis recently addressed the ongoing financial reform of the Vatican, he couched the argument in largely spiritual, pastoral and moral terms.

Financial breakdowns recently brought to light, the pope said, “beyond their possible criminality, are hard to reconcile with the nature and purpose of the Church, and they’ve created confusion and worry within the community of the faithful.” He was speaking to Vatican judges on the occasion of the opening of their judicial year.

Though the pope avoided specifics, the reference almost certainly was to a recent contretemps involving a $220 million land deal in London (mostly financed by collections from Peter’s Pence) in which the Vatican’s Secretariat of State allegedly tried to skirt reporting requirements for a loan intended to buy up the remaining shares of the property. That’s an especially alarming development, given that the Secretariat of State also bears the lion’s share of responsibility for enforcing the Vatican’s own accountability and transparency measures.

Facing a Wave of Sex-Abuse Claims, Boy Scouts of America Files for Bankruptcy

New York Times

February 18, 2020

By Mike Baker

The nonprofit group, which counts more than two million youth participants, follows Catholic dioceses and U.S.A. Gymnastics in seeking bankruptcy protection amid sex-abuse cases.

The Boy Scouts of America, an iconic presence in the nation’s experience for more than a century, filed for bankruptcy protection early Tuesday, succumbing to financial pressures that included a surge in legal costs over its handling of sexual abuse allegations.

Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts have long maintained internal files at their headquarters in Texas detailing decades of allegations involving nearly 8,000 “perpetrators,” according to an expert hired by the organization. Lawyers have said in recent months that former scouts have come forward to identify hundreds of other abusers not included in those files.

The bankruptcy filing, in Delaware, is expected to disrupt continuing litigation and establish a deadline for when former scouts can pursue claims.

Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits


February 18, 2020

By Laura Ly

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, according to a court document filed in Delaware bankruptcy court early Tuesday.

The youth organization, which celebrated its 110th anniversary February 8, listed liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million, but $50,000 or less in assets.

The bankruptcy filing comes at a time when the organization faces hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, thousands of alleged abuse victims and dwindling membership numbers. As a result of the filing, all civil litigation against the organization is suspended.

Paul Mones, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing "hundreds of sexual abuse victims in individual lawsuits," called the organization's bankruptcy filing a "tragedy."

"These young boys took an oath. They pledged to be obedient, pledged to support the Scouts and pledged to be honorable. Many of them are extremely angry that that's not what happened to them and the Boy Scouts of America did not step up in the way they should have," Mones said.

Boy Scouts files Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of thousands of child abuse allegations

USA Today

February 18, 2020

By Cara Kelly, Nathan Bomey, and Lindsay Schnell, and Alexis Arnold

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection early today amid declining membership and a drumbeat of child sexual abuse allegations that have illuminated the depth of the problem within the organization and Scouts’ failure to get a handle on it.

After months of speculation and mounting civil litigation, the Chapter 11 filing by the scouting organization's national body was unprecedented in both scope and complexity. It was filed in Delaware Bankruptcy Court overnight.

The exact effects on Boy Scouts' future operations are unknown, leading to speculation about the organization's odds for survival, the impact on local troops and how bankruptcy could change the dynamic for abuse survivors who have yet to come forward. Some fear that at a minimum it will prevent survivors from naming their abuser in open court.

“They’re going into bankruptcy not because they don’t have the money,” said Tim Kosnoff, who has tried thousands of child abuse cases, including many against the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church. “They’re going into bankruptcy to hide ... a Mount Everest in dirty secrets.”

In a statement, the organization said: "The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting."

Medical Update

On This Rock

February 13, 2020

By Fr. John Hollowell

As you are aware, a one day trip to the Mayo Clinic this week has turned into a four day trip. I want to begin by saying I have so much gratitude in my heart for the wonderful medical professionals I've been able to work with through this entire process...such a great blessing in our country, and the Mayo Clinic is certainly a bright spot in our world. My family doctor, Dr. Keith Landry has been wonderful, as well as my cardiologist, a Roncalli dad, Dr. Michael Barron. I have a nurse, Lauren Alcorn, that has been such a kind help through all that has come up these past 12 months. That care has continued here at Mayo. Each person has played a key role in this process, and I am very thankful and amazed by the state of medicine in the US in 2020.

One request: When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church. I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that. I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly. I would love to have a list of victims of priestly abuse that I could pray for each day. I would like to dedicate each day of this recovery/chemo/radiation to 5-10 victims, and I would like, if possible, to even write them a note letting them know of my prayers for them. IF YOU KNOW OF A PERSON OR YOU ARE A VICTIM YOURSELF, with the victims permission, please send me the name and, if possible, a mailing address so that I can send them a note, that would be much appreciated. my email address is fatherjohnhollowell at gmail.

Also, I would like to pass this word on to SNAP, so if you know someone that is in leadership for SNAP, please let them know I'm interested in speaking with them to see if there's some way I could get the names of people to pray for and, if possible, send a note to in the midst of all of this.

Priest with brain tumor 'embraces it willingly' for victims of clergy abuse

Catholic News Agency via Catholic Herald

February 18, 2020

When Fr John Hollowell went to Mayo Clinic for brain scans after what doctors thought was a stroke, he received a shocking diagnosis. The scans revealed that instead of stroke, he had a brain tumor.

While it is a serious diagnosis, Hollowell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said he believes the tumor was an answer to prayer.

“When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church,” he wrote in his blog, On This Rock.

“I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that. I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly.”

McCarrick was a 'devourer of souls,' former priest secretary tells parish

Catholic News Agency

February 15, 2020

Washington D.C. - A priest who was the personal secretary of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick said he is sickened by manipulative fundraising tactics employed while McCarrick was Archbishop of Washington. The priest called McCarrick a “manipulator” and a “devourer of souls.”

“For a portion of my priesthood, I worked directly for the foremost fund-raiser in the Church – in the whole Church, the universal Church.”

“He was a master of the art, and knew every technique and tactic to its finest point. He paired with that an extraordinary, even preternatural sense of people, what they wanted and what they needed,” Monsignor K. Bartholomew Smith wrote Feb. 15 on a blog he maintains for parishioners of St. Bernadette’s parish in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“My stomach churns at the recollection, and not only because of how successful he was at this; but also because of what he obtained by this. He received the gratitude, the affection, and the emotional dependence of untold numbers of people high and low, rich and poor, because he made himself the bestower of the approval that they craved, told them that they were good and God Himself was grateful to them, and delivered them from the authentic demands of Jesus and His Gospel.”

Priest sexually abused student more than 100 times decades ago at N.J. Catholic school, suit says


February 18, 2020

By Anthony G. Attrino

The Diocese of Paterson is facing a lawsuit accusing a priest who taught at the now-shuttered Don Bosco Technical High School of sexual abusing a student more than 100 times in the 1970s.

Former priest Sean Rooney abused the student at various locations including the Paterson school from 1973 to 1975 beginning when the victim was 13 years old, according the suit filed Feb. 7 in Superior Court in Bergen County. The victim, identified only by his initials in the suit, is now a Florida resident.

Rooney is not on the list of 188 priests and deacons deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuses involving children released last year jointly by New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses. The Diocese of Paterson, which did not return messages seeking comment on the suit Monday, had 28 names on that list.

The website bishop-accountability.org, a group that tracks allegations against priest, includes Rooney and notes he was accused in a 2013 lawsuit of a sexually abusing a 14-year-old seminary student at a retreat house in Massachusetts and at a seminary in New York. The Catholic church has been criticized for leaving hundreds of names off its list of credibly accused priests.

Priest accused of abuse in New Jersey moved to Alabama


February 17, 2020

By Greg Garrison

A Catholic priest who was accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 100 times in the 1970′s in New Jersey was later assigned by his religious order to Birmingham, where he lived and worked for 20 years and helped run a youth outreach to the Marks Village housing project.

The Diocese of Paterson, N.J., is facing a lawsuit accusing the priest, who taught at the now-defunct Don Bosco Technical High School, of molesting a student, according to a report by NJ.com.

Sean Rooney was assigned in 1983 by his religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, to Birmingham and remained in residence as an administrator through 2003. The Salesians for decades maintained a priest residence in Gate City next to Holy Rosary Catholic Church and ran a youth oratory, an outreach to young people in the nearby housing project. Salesian priests were assigned to oversee both Holy Rosary and St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Woodlawn.

Court evidence suggests abuse cover-up by high ranking Legionaries of Christ

Catholic News Agency

February 18, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

Milan, Italy - Evidence to be presented in an upcoming criminal trial suggests an elaborate cover-up of sexual abuse allegations against a former priest of the Legionaries of Christ whom an Italian court has convicted of sexual abuse of a minor.

The case, set to begin in March, names four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer who are accused of attempting to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

The names of the priests and lawyer in question have not been released, and the Legion did not respond to CNA’s request for comment.

The Legion of Christ, a religious congregation consisting of fewer than 1,000 priests worldwide, was long the subject of critical reports and rumors before it was rocked by Vatican acknowledgment that its charismatic founder, Father Marcial Maciel, lived a double life, sexually abused seminarians, and fathered children. Maciel abused at least 60 minors.

In 2006 the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Benedict XVI, removed Maciel from public ministry and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. The congregation decided not to subject him to a canonical process because of his advanced age, and he died in 2008.

Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Valasio De Paolis, a highly respected canon lawyer, to lead the religious order in 2010.

De Paolis, who died in 2017, has faced criticism for leaving much of the leadership of the congregation from Maciel’s time in place and failing to investigate claims of cover-up.

Little progress since Vatican's sexual abuse summit, say activists

The Guardian

February 17, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida

Pope yet to implement crucial reforms to canon law one year on from summit

The Vatican has done little to seriously address the problem of clerical sexual abuse one year on from an unprecedented summit at which bishops and cardinals heard the testimony of victims, activists have said.

Pope Francis closed the four-day summit last February promising that the Catholic church would “spare no effort” to bring to justice paedophile priests and the bishops who covered up their crimes, but so far he has failed to implement crucial reforms to canon law that would allow that to happen.

About 190 bishops and cardinals attended the summit, where they heard traumatic testimony from people who had been raped and molested by priests, and about the indifference that the Catholic church’s hierarchy had shown towards them.

Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-founder of Bishop Accountability, which tracks clergy sexual abuse cases, said that while the summit did a tremendous amount of good by raising the profile of the issue, increasing media coverage of cases and encouraging victims to come forward, it had not led to a “zero-tolerance” policy.

“By that I mean ‘one strike and you’re out’ for abusers, at least out of the ministry, and ‘one strike and you’re out’ for enablers,” Doyle said on the sidelines of a press conference in Rome on Monday.

Survivor advocacy group accuses pope of cherry-picking abuse reforms


February 18, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

As the one-year mark of Pope Francis’s landmark summit on child protection approaches, survivors of clerical abuse are arguing that the pope, while taking positive steps, is inconsistent in his response to the problem.

Survivors have also called for the publication of the report on the Vatican’s lengthy investigation into former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and criticized Francis for apparently backing out of a commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to the issue.

In the past year, zero tolerance has “dropped out of the pope’s lexicon,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the Bishops Accountability advocacy group, who spoke to journalists Feb. 17.

Pope Francis has done ‘too little’ on sexual abuse crisis, victims say


February 17, 2020

Activists representing the victims of predatory priests in the Catholic Church said that Pope Francis and the Vatican had failed to properly address the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Abuse survivors’ groups held a news conference in Rome to pass judgment on the Vatican’s record a year after a global bishops’ summit in which Francis promised bold action.

What has been done since is “too little and too late and still not enough,” said Matthias Katsch, a spokesman for German abuse survivors’ organisation Eckiger Tisch.

“This crisis affects the whole church worldwide. It will not end until all stories have been told and have been heard, all crimes have been solved and all victims have been compensated,” he added.

Phil Saviano, a victim and campaigner from the U.S. who helped uncover the infamous “Spotlight” abuse cover-up scandal in Boston, also addressed reporters.

Speaking on behalf of the Bishop Accountability group, he said that studies in the U.S., Australia and Germany suggest that the percentage of child molesters within the Catholic clergy is at least 5 per cent.

He called it “a highly believable number.”

At the end of last year’s summit, Francis said the Catholic Church would stop covering up the crimes of paedophile priests “as was usual in the past.”

He followed up with two key reforms: He made it compulsory for clergy to report cases of abuse or cover up to their church superiors (but not to police), and abolished Vatican secrecy laws for such cases.

But according to Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-director of Bishop Accountability, church rules are still not strict enough.

“It is entirely possible today, as it was a year ago, for a bishop to knowingly keep an abuser in ministry or return him to ministry and for neither one of them to suffer a consequence under canon law,” she said.

“It is preposterous that a global organisation that cares for millions of children still finds it OK to return a child molester to his job under certain circumstances,” Barrett Doyle said.

Las víctimas consideran que el Vaticano está a “medio camino” para acabar con los abusos

[Victims believe that the Vatican is "halfway" to end abuses]

Vida Neuva Digital (Spain)

February 17, 2020

“Sabemos que la Iglesia por sí misma no va a cambiar las cosas, la opinión pública tiene que presionarla”, sostiene Matthias Katsch, de la red ‘Ending Clergy Abuse’

Los responsables de Bishopaccountability.org aplauden los pasos dados un año después de la conferencia sobre protección de menores, aunque consideran que queda mucho por hacer

[We know that the Church itself will not change things, public opinion has to press it," says Matthias Katsch, of the 'Ending Clergy Abuse' network

[Those responsible for Bishopaccountability.org applaud the steps taken a year after the conference on child protection, although they believe that much remains to be done]

Missbrauchs-Opferverbände vom Vatikan enttäuscht

[Abuse victim associations disappointed by the Vatican]

Deutsche Welle

February 17, 2020

Auch ein Jahr nach dem Gipfel im Vatikan zum sexuellen Missbrauch tut sich die katholische Kirche bei der Aufklärung schwer. Kardinäle und Bischöfe reagieren oftmals erst auf öffentlichen Druck hin, wie Opfer monieren.

[Even a year after the Vatican Summit on Sexual Abuse, the Catholic Church is struggling to educate. Cardinals and bishops often only respond to public pressure, victims complain.]

February 17, 2020

I Have a Story for Pope Francis about Priestly Celibacy

New York Times

February 13, 2020

By Mimi Bull

Who pays the price when a priest breaks his vow?

Want the human story on priestly celibacy? Talk to someone who’s paid the price.

I am bitterly disappointed by the news that Pope Francis will not be relaxing priestly celibacy rules in remote parts of the Amazon. The idea — intended to make it easier to recruit priests in underserved areas — was supported by a Vatican conference in October, but in his papal document, released on Wednesday, Francis ignored their suggestion.

My interest in this isn’t the mild curiosity of a lapsed Catholic. I am the child of a priest who broke his vow of celibacy and left a legacy of secrecy that was devastating to him, to my mother and particularly to me.

To hide my father’s broken vow, I was told that I was adopted. I did not know until I was 35 that my “adoptive mother” was actually my grandmother and my “adoptive sister” was, in reality, my mother. But even then, I wasn’t told the whole truth. At the time, I was told my father had been a businessman from Pennsylvania.

If only I had known that my real father was the beloved young pastor of our local Polish parish in Norwood, Mass. He was a regular guest in our home, and we attended weekly Mass in his church. He died at the end of my freshman year at Smith College. I didn’t find out until the age of 50, on the day of my birth mother’s funeral, that the man I adored as “Pate” — my own nickname, short for the Latin “pater” — and the community knew as “Father Hip” was my father.

I was more fortunate than most children of priests. The man and woman I now know to have been my birth parents, chose to raise me, nurture me and, in the depths of the Depression, give me as normal a life as they could manage within a complex web of secrecy. My father chose to be involved in my life; he referred to himself as my “guardian,” and I found out after my mother died that he had held this title legally.

Nonetheless, all the secrecy took a toll on a sensitive child. I knew I was somehow different. I knew instinctively that there were things I could not mention casually — the frequency with which my mother, Pate and I got together alone, for instance, including trips to Boston for dinner. Secrecy became second nature.

Bills would give more time to punish pedophiles

Sioux City Journal

February 17, 2020

By Rod Boshart

Des Moines - Iowa lags behind other states when it comes to aiding childhood victims of sexual abuse by adults — oftentimes family members, teachers, clergy or other close associates, according to experts.

“We would love to see Iowa step forward from being one of the worst in the country to being one of the best,” said Marci Hamilton, chief executive officer and academic director for Child USA, a Philadelphia nonprofit think tank working nationally to end child abuse and neglect.

Iowa ranks among the worst states in terms of its statute of limitation on child abuse laws and is “in the middle of mediocre land” for limits on child abuse civil actions. Meanwhile, it can takes years for abuse survivors to fully understand wrongs that were perpetrated against them, Hamilton said.

Last year saw a flurry of changes spurred by public outrage over a series of high-profile abuse situations. Twelve states eliminated their criminal statutes of limitations and nine — including Iowa — extended their time frames. A number of states extended or eliminated their civil provisions, and nine provided windows for victims to seek redress for alleged abuses that occurred before the period to bring claims had “timed out.”

The Conspiracy of Catholicism

Alachua Today

February 2, 2020

By Robert Wilford

Dear Most Holy Father:

Thank you for attempting to humanize the office of pope.

The majority of Catholics have blindly viewed pontiffs as God-like and incapable of making mistakes because of being infallible.

Your actions, so far, do give me hope. I pray you will lead us toward renewal (retaining the good stuff), reformation (discarding the bad stuff), and rebirth (uncompromising justice and renewed spirituality).

I first contacted John Paul II in 1993, and again in 2002. I contacted Benedict XVI several times during his papacy.

I challenged them to reform an indifferently corrupt and a conspiracy-driven theocracy for the innumerable crimes the hierarchy had committed for centuries.

Mandated priest celibacy, the murder of Joan of Arc, persecution of Martin Luther, imprisonment of Galileo, unjust inquisitions and crusades and the coddling of clergy sexual predators are examples of the church’s abuse of power.

The current crisis is attributable to the disreputable leadership of John Paul and Benedict for not putting the needs of victims first over predator priests.

John Paul and Benedict shamefully elected to shelter sodomizers and the institution of Catholicism itself above all else.

I urge you to stand on your perch at Saint Peter’s this Ash Wednesday and declare:

“We, the popes, cardinals, bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church have been grievously and sinfully wrong since the very beginning of the church’s history in protecting predator priests at the expense of the victims of clergy sexual abuse. Humbly, we openly admit our culpability, and, in professing our shame, ask for forgiveness from God and all humanity for the unspeakable crimes we have committed against victimized children and their families for nearly 2,000 years.”

Menlo Church pastor allowed volunteer attracted to minors to work with children

Daily Post

February 7, 2020

By Emily Mibach

A popular pastor at Menlo Church in downtown Menlo Park was put on leave for two months because he allowed a volunteer who had unwanted thoughts about children to continue volunteering with the youth in the church.

The congregant told pastor John Ortberg in July 2018 that he had “an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors,” according to a letter from church Elder Board Chair Beth Seabolt to church members.

The congregant claims to have not acted on this attraction attraction, and was seeking Ortberg’s support, according to the letter. Ortberg prayed with the church member and provided referrals for counseling, the letter says.

“However, John failed to take the required steps to prevent the person from volunteering with minors at the Menlo Park campus and did not consult anyone else at Menlo Church about the situation,” the letter says.

A Sin or a Crime?


February 5, 2020

By Ruth Krall

Sentence: 38-76 years of imprisonment: This means that Smucker will likely die in jail. The crime: 20 felony counts for sexually molesting children, i.e., rape, of his grandchildren.

I have been following this case by means of media coverage. Mennonites often idealize the Amish —while not wanting to be Amish. I have never done this kind of idealizing.

I don't know what my Lutheran father knew but he was quite clear with me that many Amish men and many Mennonite men were not nice men and that, as I began to date, I needed to protect myself. It was an explicit message about not dating and not marrying a Mennonite man.

Even as a very young girl I absorbed the warning and protected myself. As I became a teenager on the cusp of adult life he was much more explicit with me about the need to protect myself when he could no longer do this as my father — because he was not going to be present as I matured into young adult life.

My answer, therefore, to the sin or crime dilemma is that sexual abuse of children and adolescents, i.e., rape, by their grandfather, is a crime and a sin phenomenon. It is a sin problem for the perpetrator’s religious community to manage and it is a crime problem for the perpetrator's secular community to manage. It is, therefore, simultaneously both a sin and a crime problem. For the victims of child or adolescent sexual abuse, the act of sexual violation is a sin against them and it is also a crime act against them.

Disgraced religious order tried to get abuse victim to lie

Associated Press

February 17, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and María Verza

The cardinal’s response was not what Yolanda Martinez expected - or could abide.

Her son had been sexually abused by one of the priests of the Legion of Christ, a disgraced religious order. And now she was calling Cardinal Valasio De Paolis - the Vatican official appointed by the pope to lead the Legion, and to clean it up - to report the settlement the group was offering, and to express her outrage.

The terms: Martinez’s family would receive 15,000 euros from the order. But in return, her son would have to recant the testimony he gave to Milan prosecutors that the priest had repeatedly assaulted him when he was a 12-year-old student at the order’s youth seminary in northern Italy. He would have to lie.

The cardinal did not seem shocked. He did not share her indignation.

Instead, he chuckled. He said she shouldn’t sign the deal, but should try to work out another agreement without attorneys: “Lawyers complicate things. Even Scripture says that among Christians we should find agreement.”

The conversation between the aggrieved mother and Pope Benedict XVI’s personal envoy was wiretapped. The tape - as well as the six-page settlement proposal - are key pieces of evidence in a criminal trial opening next month in Milan. Prosecutors allege that Legion lawyers and priests tried to obstruct justice, and extort Martinez’s family by offering them money to recant testimony to prosecutors in hopes of quashing a criminal investigation into the abusive priest, Father Vladimir Resendiz Gutierrez.

West Michigan dioceses refuse to release pedophile priests lists


February 14, 2020

By Ken Kolker

Kallmazoo MI - n the face of an ongoing Michigan Attorney General’s investigation, most of the state’s Catholic dioceses have released lists of priests credibly accused as pedophiles.

Those lists include 135 names, 85 of which are in the Detroit archdiocese alone.

The only two of the state’s seven dioceses that haven’t released their lists: Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

Church leaders in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids have refused not only Target 8’s request to release the lists, but the requests of a survivor support group and survivors themselves.

For survivor Ann Phillips Browning, it raises questions:

“Do you care about little kids? Do you really care about us survivors? Do you care that there might be other survivors out there that are living in pain and shame because they think they’re the only one?”

Boris Johnson sacked him, but Julian Smith is a hero to us, the victims of abuse in church care

The Guardian

February 15, 2020

By Margaret McGuckin

Ex-Northern Ireland secretary pushed through law promising justice for children abused in orphanages

Regardless of what the prime minister thinks of the minister he swiftly sacked last week as Northern Ireland secretary, for victims of institutional abuse Julian Smith remains our guardian angel.

For those who have been campaigning for justice, Julian’s brief time in Belfast should be remembered for championing our struggle. Julian did more to ensure survivors of sexual and physical abuse in state-funded institutions got recompense and recognition than any other politician over many years.

He had the drive and the decency to single-handedly push the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act through the House of Commons in November – only a few months after becoming secretary of state. This will create a redress board that will compensate the victims/survivors of abuse that occurred in places such as orphanages and care homes here.

I have been campaigning for an inquiry into institutional abuse in Northern Ireland since 2008, on hearing about the Ryan report into the serial abuse of children in the Republic of Ireland. No matter how much I tried not to listen or read of the horrific accounts of child sexual and physical abuse, neglect and humiliation, in those harsh and very dark places, in the south of Ireland, something finally took hold of me. I had to face a painful truth: this was what I had endured from the age of three to 11.

I listened to one BBC report from Dublin where a lady talked of being almost drowned in baths of disinfectant, beaten, starved, humiliated, neglected, and horrifically abused in so many ways, as had her brothers, sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Editorial: One year, six months: Survivors have a closing window to seek justice long-denied

Daily News

February 16, 2020

Friday was the one-year anniversary of Gov. Cuomo coming to the Daily News, which led a drumbeat of survivor advocacy over the last few years, to sign the Child Victims Act into law. The statute is bringing a modicum of justice to those sexually abused as minors by extending the statute of limitations for many offenses on both the criminal and civil side.

Friday also marked the midway point of a key CVA provision: a year-long lookback window permitting survivors previously blocked by the statute of limitations to file lawsuits against abusers and the institutions that allowed abuse to happen or subsequently covered it up.

Since the window opened on Aug. 14, there have been 1,547 CVA court filings statewide. Given New York’s population, that’s not an outrageous number. Some supporters already are calling for the lookback extended beyond next August’s end date. So far, it’s a bit premature to make that call.

NY’s Child Victims Act at the midpoint: Syracuse Diocese sued nearly 40 times so far


February 14, 2020

By Julie McMahon

Today marks the halfway point for a “look-back” window in New York’s Child Victims Act, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse already has been sued nearly 40 times.

The Child Victims Act, passed by the state legislature in January 2019, gave child sex abuse victims previously barred by statutes of limitations more time to sue. It also created a one-year window for victims who had previously been barred from suing. The window opened Aug. 14 last year.

Former Boy Scouts, school districts and an elite youth volleyball coach have faced claims here in Onondaga County.

An analysis by Syracuse.com shows the vast majority of Child Victims Act cases filed locally were against the Syracuse Catholic Diocese. Syracuse.com found 45 cases filed under the Child Victims Act, mostly in Onondaga County.

Across the state, the Syracuse diocese was named in 38 cases.

Few abusers are sued as Child Victims Act lawsuits target institutions

Buffalo News

February 16, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Twenty-five years after being sent to prison for sexually abusing his 10-year-old daughter, Thomas D. Skowronski faces more legal fallout over his crimes.

Andrea D’Alimonte, now 35, recently sued Skowronski, her father, under the state’s Child Victims Act. D’Alimonte also named her mother, Patricia L. Saar, as a defendant. D’Alimonte said suing her parents gives her a chance finally to set the record straight about the abuse and its lifelong impact on her.

“I don’t want the pity. I am who I am because of what happened, but I want to be the voice to it,” she said.

D’Alimonte’s case is a rarity.

Halfway into a one-year window under the Child Victims Act that allows victims of childhood sex abuse from decades ago to press their claims in court, more than 95% of the 350 lawsuits filed in Western New York have targeted institutions such as the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, school districts and the Boy Scouts of America.

February 16, 2020

'I told him about my problems': Priest's confession of child abuse used to boost case against Catholic Church

CBC News

February 15, 2020

By Scott Anderson, Lynette Fortune, Mark Kelley

Questions raised over why police and justice officials haven’t pursued church hierarchy

The confession a Quebec priest made just before he died in prison is being used by his victims to try to hold the Catholic Church accountable for decades of child abuse.

Defrocked priest Paul-André Harvey alleged that over a 20-year period when he served in parishes in the Saguenay region, his direct superiors were not only aware of his crimes against children, but they also enabled his abuse and covered up for him.

"I wish to inform you of the circumstances regarding the multiple charges of sexual assault over a period of 20 years," Harvey wrote in 2017. "I was a priest in many parishes in the diocese of Chicoutimi. My victims were female minors."

The lawyer for the archdiocese of Chicoutimi dismissed the confession in La Presse as "the lonely tale of a deceased pedophile who, sadly, will never be cross-examined."

But an investigation by CBC's The Fifth Estate and the Radio-Canada program Enquête into Harvey's years of unchecked child abuse raises wider questions about why police and justice officials have not pursued the church hierarchy in Canada.

New Jersey dioceses push victims fund deadline to Feb. 29

Associated Press

February 14, 2020

By Mike Catalini

New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses have given a two-week extension to childhood victims of sexual assault considering filing for compensation from a fund the church set up, the account’s co-administrator said Friday.

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 $10 million in 81 different cases has been paid out. The previous deadline for submissions to be filed with the fund was Feb. 15. It is now Feb. 29.

This is the second time the deadline had been extended.

Biros said the reason for the extensions was simple.

“We just wanted to extend it to get as many people into the program,” she said.

According to Biros, 593 claims have been filed are are being reviewed. Eight were deemed not eligible for a variety of reasons, including that the clergy were either not diocesan priests or the victim was not a minor, she said.

The fund does not cover abuses by religious order priests, such as Jesuits, who may serve in parishes or schools but are not ordained by the diocese.

Father Josh: A married Catholic priest in a celibate world

Associated Press

February 14, 2020

By Tim Sullivan

The priest wakes up at 4 a.m. on the days he celebrates the early Mass, sipping coffee and enjoying the quiet while his young children sleep in rooms awash in stuffed animals and Sesame Street dolls and pictures of saints. Then he kisses his wife goodbye and drives through the empty suburban streets of north Dallas to the church he oversees.

In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.

The Roman Catholic church has demanded celibacy of its priests since the Middle Ages, calling it a “spiritual gift” that enables men to devote themselves fully to the church. But as a shortage of priests becomes a crisis in parts of the world, liberal wings in the church have been arguing that it’s time to reassess that stance. On Wednesday, Pope Francis sidestepped the latest debate on celibacy, releasing an eagerly awaited document that avoided any mention of recommendations by Latin American bishops to consider ordaining married men in the Amazon, where believers can go months without seeing a priest.

Even the most liberal of popes have refused to change the tradition.

It is “the mark of a heroic soul and the imperative call to unique and total love for Christ and His Church,” Pope Paul VI wrote in 1967.

Then there’s Josh Whitfield.

No Sexual Abuse Charges Against Fresno Priest Despite ‘Credible’ Allegations from 1990s


February 15, 2020

Despite “credible” allegations of sexual abuse against a central California priest, prosecutors said Friday that they are unable to file charges against him because the statute of limitations has expired.

Monsignor Craig Harrison was placed on administrative leave from the Diocese of Fresno last April after an alleged victim, now an adult, claimed the priest molested him when he was a teenage altar boy.

“While the allegations made against Monsignor Harrison appear credible to investigators, they reportedly occurred in the 1990s. These allegations were not reported to law enforcement until April of 2019,” the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

List of Catholic priests suspected of abuse is incomplete

Grand Forks Herald

February 15, 2020

By Jim Shaw

Fargo - The Catholic Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck should be commended for finally releasing the dozens of names of clergy and religious members who have been accused of sexually abusing children. Better late than never. Full disclosure: One of the priests on the list has been a longtime family friend, and co-officiated my wedding.

“I first ask forgiveness for the shameful acts of those clergy who caused harm to young people and abused the trust placed in them by God and the faithful,” Fargo Bishop John Folda said in a statement. “No excuse can be made for these actions, nor does this release of names fully address the pain of victims of abuse.” Folda’s comments are sincere, direct and comforting.

Fargo attorney Tim O’Keeffe represents several victims of sexual abuse committed by area Catholic Church officials. “It’s a good first step,” O’Keeffe said. “We’ve waited a long time for this list.”

Nancy (not her real name) was sexually abused by a North Dakota priest when she was 12-years-old. “It was so scary,” Nancy said. “He told me not to tell anybody.”

Nancy is still receiving therapy for the abuse, and that abuse permanently changed her. “I’m still afraid of people,” Nancy said. “I used to be outgoing, but now I’m introverted. I still feel the horror.”

Seeing the name of the priest who abused her finally publicly identified by the diocese means a lot to Nancy. “I’m not the bad person anymore for accusing him,“ Nancy said. “Now, I feel so relieved. I feel totally vindicated.”

Still, O’Keeffe is not satisfied. He said the dioceses need to release more information, such as the dates of the misconduct, the parish assignments of the offenders, and where they are living. He also said the list is incomplete. “We know of more cases of priests who should be on that list,” O’Keeffe said.

Attorney Mike Bryant agrees. He represents four clients in North Dakota, who are victims of sexual abuse from priests. Bryant said the church is not naming priests involved in fairly recent incidents because the dioceses don’t want any more lawsuits.

“They clearly held names back,” Bryant said. “These are all old offenses. There are no names from the last 30 years. The idea that nothing happened recently is ludicrous.”

Bryant said one of his clients, from Fargo, was abused by a priest whose name was not on the list, and he’s still serving as a priest. “I’m 100% convinced that she was sexually abused,” Bryant said. “I’m convinced because of her story, her emotion, and the way the church has dealt with it.”

In his statement, Folda said he considers the list of clergy “complete for now,” but “not a closed list.” He went on to say, “I am encouraged that there have been very few substantiated cases of abuse in recent decades.”

However, Folda has declined to answer any questions about the list. The issues raised by O’Keeffe and Bryant deserve answers.

‘Secrets in our culture’: Victims of child sex abuse urge lawmakers to take action

Pratt Tribune

February 15, 2020

By Sherman Smith

Kathryn Robb wanted lawmakers to know about the monsters.

Her voice rising in volume and urgency, Robb delivered a sermon on the evils of child abuse in a legislative hearing Tuesday. She focused fury at coaches, religious leaders, pediatricians and others who have preyed on hundreds of victims apiece.

“Folks who have access to children are abusing children at alarming rates,” Robb said. “So now we’re learning. We’re learning that things were not the way we thought they were — that there are secrets in our culture, there are secrets in our society, there are secrets in our institutions that we’re just now learning about. We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic.”

She is the executive director of Child USAdvocacy and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Robb and others testified in support of legislation that would lift the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits filed in response to child sex abuse. Current law requires lawsuits to be filed within three years after the victim turns 18.

Editorial: Child crimes should have no statute of limitations

Daily Press

February 15, 2020

When the child molestation scandal in the Roman Catholic Church was at its height several years ago, many Americans were mortified to learn that statutes of limitation across the country precluded prosecution of predatory priests. Some states quickly made adjustments in their criminal law to deal with that injustice.

For some reason, Oklahoma lawmakers have only turned a tentative corner in that regard, but not for lack of trying on the part of Carol Bush, R-Tulsa. She introduced legislation in 2017 to remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children, as well as prosecution of child-trafficking cases. This year, her repeat bill passed the House Judiciary Committee, but its chances for passage looked good in 2017, too - until revamps on the bill changed the statute of limitation to expire at age 45 for victims.

This time around, maybe the Legislature will see fit to remove all obstacles to punishing those who harm our most precious and vulnerable citizens: our children.

Bush explained what most people already know - that sometimes, because of the nature of these crimes and the trauma they cause, victims often don't come forward until many years later. In fact, sometimes they block the terrible memories of the abuse. It takes emotional maturity to face the chain of events that lead to prosecution, not to mention the abusers themselves - and that type of maturity takes many years to acquire. In fact, Bush pointed out, the average victim doesn't report the crime until he or she is 52.

‘I kept my story quiet.’ They were abused as children, but will Kansas let them sue?

Wichita Eagle

February 16, 2020

By Jonathan Shorman

One detailed how her father sexually abused her decades ago. Another recalled a priest fondling him as a teenager. And yet another remembered walking directly back to class after a priest raped her in the fourth grade.

One by one, they pleaded with lawmakers. Their main message: Please help us. Please help victims.

Kansas generally gives victims of childhood sexual abuse three years to file lawsuits once they turn 18. The limited window shuts out a vast array of victims, including many struggling well into adulthood.

But legislators are weighing whether to eliminate the time limit. And victims are pushing for a “lookback” window allowing lawsuits to be brought over abuse that occurred decades ago. Researchers are in widespread agreement that child victims frequently don’t disclose their abuse until adulthood.

As more states move to reform their statutes of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits, victims are watching to see whether Kansas will be next. Can the change they desperately want advance all the way through the legislative process and become law amid the swirl of election-year politics and other issues demanding attention?

Judge refuses to lower bond for former Dallas priest accused of sexually abusing children

Fox 4 KDFW

February 16, 2020

A judge refused to reduce the bond of a former Dallas Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting children.

Bond for Richard Thomas Brown is still $100,000.

The arrest affidavit describes psychologist reports from the 1990s in which Brown admitted to abusing several children during his time with the Dallas Catholic Diocese.

Brown was arrested last month in Missouri.

He is among 32 priests the diocese lists as "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children over the past 70-years.

Some of those priests are no longer living.

Mandatory reporting laws for religious institutions come into effect

The Age

February 16, 2020

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

Laws requiring clergy to report child abuse to authorities — even if it's heard in the confession box — will come into effect on Monday, ending the "special treatment" for Victoria's religious institutions.

The seal has now been lifted for the suspected sexual abuse of children, with spiritual and religious leaders required to report the abuse or face up to three years in prison.

"From [Monday], our promise to put the safety of children ahead of the secrecy of the confession is in full effect and there is no excuse for people who fail to report abuse," said Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.

The changes bring religious and spiritual leaders in line with teachers, police, medical practitioners, nurses, school counsellors, and early childhood and youth justice workers, who are required to report the abuse and mistreatment of children.

The Catholic Church was a staunch critic of requiring priests to break the seal, with Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli publicly declaring he would rather go to jail.

Former Richmond priest accused of child sex abuse


February 14, 2020

They say the representative of a deceased victim has shared allegations of sexual abuse by reverend Raymond Barton.

The Richmond Catholic Diocese has added another clergyman's name to their list of priests accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Diocese officials said Friday the representative of a deceased victim has shared allegations of sexual abuse by Rev. Msgr. Raymond Barton.

A representative of the victim came forward with a report detailing allegations of child sex abuse by Barton.

The report claims the abuse happened back in the early 1970s when the victim was a minor.

Church officials say Barton has been a pastor at six catholic churches across Central Virginia and Hampton Roads since 1966.

Retired priest accused of sexual and physical assaults


February 14, 2020

A retired priest has been charged with 18 offences allegedly committed at schools in the Highlands and East Lothian between the 1950s and 1980s.

Robert MacKenzie, 87, from Cupar, Saskatchewan, in Canada, has been accused of sexual and physical assaults.

The offences allegedly took place at Fort Augustus Abbey and a preparatory school in North Berwick.

February 15, 2020

An abusive priest was ordered not to wear clerical garb or celebrate Mass. He did anyway


February 14, 2020

By Andrew Wolfson

When the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2005 confirmed that the Rev. J. Irvin Mouser had molested five boys — several at drive-in movies — the Vatican ordered him to stop functioning as a priest.

The Holy See commanded Mouser to live a life of "prayer and penance," meaning he could no longer wear clerical garb, celebrate Mass publicly, administer the sacraments or present himself publicly as a priest.

But Mouser did all of those things, The Courier Journal found.

While the archdiocese listed him in its ministers directory as "retired" and "removed from public ministry," the Sisters of Loretto, which is south of Bardstown in Marion County, put him to work as the chaplain in its motherhouse.

There, according to photos on its website, while wearing full clerical garb, Mouser gave blessings and celebrated Mass.

"My role is to meet the spiritual needs of this ever-growing community," he was quoted in the winter 2018 issue of Loretto Magazine.

On Friday, just a few hours after The Courier Journal asked the order why it was allowing Mouser to serve as chaplain — and provided links to photographs of him in clerical robes — a spokeswoman said it was removing him from the community.

Retired local Catholic priest accused of child sexual abuse


February 14, 2020

A retired priest for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond who served in Hampton Roads has been accused of child sexual abuse. according to a statement by the Diocese of Richmond.

According to the diocese, a representative for a deceased victim came forward with a report sharing allegations of child sexual abuse by Rev. Msgr. Raymond Barton, who was ordained in 1966. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early 1970s.

Barton served as an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, and as a faculty member at St. John Vianney Seminary, Goochland. He was a pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk; Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Virginia Beach; and Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville.

He also served as a co-pastor for Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach.

More suits claim sex abuse by late Orange County priest

Times Herald-Record

February 14, 2020

By Chris McKenna

At least 10 people who say they were sexually abused as children by a priest who worked in Orange County for a dozen years in the 1980s and ’90s have now sued the Catholic Church under a recent law that gave them the ability to file those cases.

The latest lawsuit involving Father Edward Pipala, who died in 2013 after serving seven years in prison, was brought by two Orange County men who say he abused them many times while they were parishioners at Sacred Heart Church in Monroe, where Pipala worked from 1981 to 1988 and ran the youth ministry.

One victim says Pipala began abusing him when he was 13 and did so about 150 times over five years.

The other estimates Pipala assaulted him as many as 200 times while the priest was at Sacred Heart and then at St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, which he led as its pastor until 1992.

The assaults took place in the church basement and rectory at Sacred Heart and at a Jersey Shore condo where Pipala used to bring groups of boys for overnight stays, according to a case the two plaintiffs jointly filed on Monday against Sacred Heart and Catholic Archdiocese of New York in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Retired Bishop Clark to be deposed within next 30 days, judge rules


February 11, 2020

A federal judge has ruled retired Bishop Matthew Clark will be deposed amid ongoing bankruptcy proceedings against the Diocese of Rochester.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy last year amid the filing of lawsuits under the Child Victims Act.

Attorneys had asked a judge to put the retired bishop on the stand. They say Clark, who presided over the diocese for more than three decades, knows the answers to questions only he can answer related to “his knowledge of sexual abuse”, “transfers of sexual abusers” and how complaints against priests were investigated.

In September, the diocese announced Clark had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnosis was announced less than a month after lawsuits began to be filed under the Child Victims Act, and less than two weeks before the diocese declared it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Attorneys for CVA victims said it was critical Clark answer questions related to their cases “before he is no longer able to testify.”

St. Rocco's priest's legacy is questioned: Sexual abuse victim calls for removal of name from church

Long Island Herald

February 13, 2020

By Ronny Reyes

The Rev. Eligio Della Rosa served the parish of the Church of St. Rocco for more than 15 years. Although he first arrived in Glen Cove in 1965 for a four-year stay, it wasn’t until he returned in 1975 that he solidified his legacy in the city by reinstating the famous Feast of St. Rocco’s, a five-day festival celebrating the church and the city’s Italian-American heritage.

The annual festival, known locally as the “Best Feast in the East,” attracts hundreds of visitors to the city. For Della Rosa’s work at St. Rocco’s, the church named a parish center after him. Della Rosa died while serving at the church in 1991.

While he is remembered for his service in Glen Cove, an allegation of sexual abuse against him recently resurfaced: The attorney for a man who claims the priest abused him more than 50 years ago, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rocky Point, is demanding that the priest’s name be removed from the St. Rocco parish center. The attorney, Mitchell Garabedian — who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s series of stories detailing the abuse allegations against priests in Boston — said he had reached an out-of-court, low-six-figure settlement with the Diocese of Rockville Centre last September for Della Rosa’s alleged abuse of the man when he was a teenager in 1964, a year before Della Rosa came to Glen Cove.

“He asked my client to meet him in the pews of the church, and my client did,” Garabedian said by phone at a news conference outside the Church of St. Rocco on Feb. 5. “And that’s where my client was sexually abused by Father Della Rosa, by Father Della Rosa instructing my client to perform oral sex on Father Della Rosa at the age of 14.”

Philly’s Catholic archdiocese paid a six-figure clergy sex-abuse settlement

Philadelphia Inquirer

February 14, 2020

By Mensah M. Dean and Jeremy Roebuck


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia last year paid a six-figure settlement to a man who alleged he was abused by the Rev. John J. Bradley at St. Charles Borromeo parish in the 1980s. But the accuser’s lawyer and church officials couldn’t agree Friday on which John J. Bradley was accused.

The issue, a church spokesperson said, is that two priests by that name worked at the Drexel Hill parish — one between 1963 and 1968, the other between 1977 and 1996. The archdiocese maintains that its victim compensation fund settled the case over the alleged conduct of the latter priest, who died more than two decades ago.

But at a news conference outside the archdiocese’s Center City offices Friday, the accuser’s lawyer and an activist blamed the other priest, who is still alive, and criticized the archdiocese for letting him retire quietly to an archdiocesan home in Darby Borough.

Three hours later, they admitted they had accused the wrong man after The Inquirer raised questions about the discrepancies between their account and that of archdiocesan officials.

“I believe that the sexual abuser in this matter was the late Father John J. Bradley and not any other priest, given the recent admission by the representative of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” Mitchell Garabedian, the accuser’s attorney, said three hours after the news conference.

Either way, neither Bradley appears on the archdiocese’s public list of credibly accused priests, raising questions over how comprehensive and transparent it is.

In this time of great scandal, faithful priests need your love more than ever

USA Today

February 15, 2020

By Tim Busch

In this time of great scandal, faithful priests need your love more than ever

After suffering the anguish of the abuse among their ranks, priests across our nation are battling feelings of profound defeat.

There’s a crisis in the Catholic Church that no one’s talking about. It’s not abuse. It’s not cover-ups. It doesn’t spring from Vatican infighting. It starts much closer to home, with the shepherds who guide the flock. Many good and godly Catholic priests are struggling with their vocation.

I realized this in January after hosting a conference for nearly 200 American priests. At a similar event in 2019, I could tell that morale was low. It hadn’t been that long since the summer of shame, when the Pennsylvania grand jury report peeled back the curtain on terrible abuse mostly during the 20th Century and former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was removed from ministry for abusing children and seminary students. It was a low point for every Catholic, including — or perhaps, especially — priests. I assumed that the mood would improve over the year. It got worse.

Nearly every priest I spoke with in January admitted it’s a tough time. Father John Riccardo, a Midwestern priest whose job includes encouraging his peers, told me “it’s never been this bad.” They’re also beat down by the sins of priests who perpetrated terrible crimes. Most priests already deal daily with struggling and suffering parishioners, so they particularly feel the wounds inflicted on God’s people.

Federal judge: Archdiocese seeking counsel of Saints PR man on priest abuse list was my idea


February 14, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey says the PR man -- Greg Bensel -- is a longtime, trusted personal friend and a skilled practitioner of his craft

A federal judge in New Orleans said Friday that he gave Archbishop Gregory Aymond the idea of bringing in the Saints’ top public relations executive to advise the archdiocese as it prepared to release a list of allegedly abusive clergymen.

Jay Zainey, a devout Catholic who has sat on the U.S. District Court bench in New Orleans since 2002, said he told Aymond before the November 2018 release of the list that Greg Bensel, the NFL team’s vice president of communications and a longtime friend of Zainey, could help manage the latest flare-up in the abuse scandal and ensure that parishioners and the public understood that safety measures were now in place to prevent “sins of the past” from recurring.

Zainey offered the suggestion during a chance encounter with Aymond at a Mass, he said.

Valley Catholic priest accused of abuse will not face charges

ABC 30

February 14, 2020

By Corin Hoggard

A Catholic priest accused of abuse by people across the Valley will not face criminal charges in the last active investigation.

The Fresno County district attorney's office released a statement late Friday afternoon announcing they will not file a sex abuse case against Monsignor Craig Harrison, despite a police report filed by a man in Firebaugh deemed credible by their investigators.

Police in Bakersfield and Merced have previously announced they would not pursue charges against Harrison for abuse reports in their jurisdictions.

Both Fresno County prosecutors and Merced police mentioned the statute of limitations as an issue with their investigations.

The state only allows prosecutors to file most sex abuse cases until the victim turns 40 years old unless there's DNA evidence or "independent corroborating evidence."

Priest accused of abuse won't face charges in Fresno County


February 14, 2020

The Fresno County District Attorney's Office has decided it will not file sexual assault charges against Monsignor Craig Harrison, citing the statute of limitations.

Even so, "the allegations made against Monsignor Harrison appear credible to investigators," a news release from the District Attorney's office reads.

The office had been investigating sexual misconduct accusations dating back to the 1990's, while Harrison had been assigned to a church in Firebaugh.

But the allegations were not reported to law enforcement until April of 2019.

"The District Attorney’s decision is based upon the statute of limitations that applies to criminal cases. A different statute of limitations may apply to civil actions," says a news release.

In November, the Merced County District Attorney decided not to file charges.

Saskatchewan priest sent back to Scotland to answer for decades old sexual abuse charges

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

February 14, 2020

By Alec Salloum


The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina was informed on Thursday afternoon that Robert MacKenzie was extradited.

A Catholic priest who spent decades serving in Saskatchewan has been extradited to Scotland to face a slew of sexual abuse charges.

On Friday the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina confirmed that Robert MacKenzie, 87, had been sent back to the United Kingdom. The BBC has reported he made no plea at a private appearance on the charges.

According to previously reported information, MacKenzie faces allegations spanning 30 years — between the 1950s and 1980s — when he served as a Benedictine monk at two boys’ boarding schools.

Eric Gurash, director of communication for the Archdiocese, said they were told on Thursday afternoon that MacKenzie had left the country.

February 14, 2020

Former Priest Convicted in Cold-Case Murder Dies in Prison

Courthouse News

February 13, 2020

By Erik De La Garza

Edinburg TX - John Feit, the former Catholic priest who spent more than five decades shrouded in suspicion for his involvement in the 1960 murder of McAllen schoolteacher Irene Garza, died in prison on Tuesday. He was 87.

Preliminary reports indicate that Feit, who resided in Scottsdale, Arizona, before being extradited to Texas in 2016 to face murder charges for Garza’s Easter weekend suffocation death, died of cardiac arrest, said Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Hurst said Thursday evening that Feit was pronounced dead at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday at Huntsville Hospital after being found unresponsive just before 5 a.m. in his cell at the Estelle Unit.

Terence McKiernan, president of the watchdog group BishopsAccountability.org who attended Feit’s trial in Edinburg called Garza a “saintly person” whose life and death inspired activists to bring Feit to justice. Feit preyed upon Garza’s devout Catholic beliefs, and her rape and murder “is especially important and heartbreaking,” McKiernan said.

“This case brings together many essential aspects of the clergy abuse crisis. Despite his crime, Feit was transferred away from McAllen, and he had a second career as an important priest of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, New Mexico,” McKiernan said.

In that role, Feit formulated and implemented a “disastrous” policy allowing pedophile priests in treatment with the Servants to work and reoffend in surrounding communities, according to McKiernan. That policy led to former Catholic priest James Porter’s sexual abuse of dozens of children, for which he was convicted of in the 1990s, with Feit in the center of a new phase in the abuse crisis.

For Denver Comedian Ben Roy, Opening Up About His Abuse in the Catholic Church Was About Standing Up for Himself

Colorado Public Radio

February 14, 2020

By Xandra McMahon


Ben Roy was 7-years-old when the abuse first took place at his Catholic summer camp.

He didn't tell his parents until years later. But no action was taken — until now.

Roy, a Denver comedian, spoke with CPR in 2018 about the abuse he endured at a New Hampshire summer camp run by the Diocese of Manchester called Camp Fatima.

He's part of a wave of survivors demanding acknowledgment in some form from the church of the abuse they endured.

For some survivors in Colorado, that means financial reparations. The state’s Catholic Church has paid out about a million dollars to nine survivors of abuse since the Jan. 31 deadline to submit claims.

The reparations are one of the few ways abuse survivors can pursue justice in Colorado if their abuse happened before the '90s, when the statute of limitations was much more limited.

But for survivors like Roy whose abuse occurred in other states, the windows are left open for decades, allowing criminal cases to be made.

Since his initial interview, Roy was contacted by the New Hampshire Attorney General and an investigation was opened.

He returned to Colorado Matters to talk about what it’s like to pursue legal action decades after abuse, and how the results might not be what survivors expect.

Cardinal Tobin says he wants transparency, but is silent about result of some sex abuse cases


February 14, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

A Catholic church tribunal has arrived at a long-awaited decision in the case of Monsignor George Trabold — more than five years after he stepped down as pastor of a Millburn parish amid allegations of child sex abuse from decades earlier during his time at a parish in Bergen County.

But the Newark Archdiocese declined last week to reveal the verdict in the internal canonical trial.

The archdiocesan response underscored what victims' advocates said has been a continuation of secretive policies even as Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the leader of the Newark Archdiocese, has promised to be more open generally and about sex abuse cases in particular.

Last year, the cardinal said that the Catholic Church's credibility was "shot" in the aftermath of new revelations of sex abuse and cover-ups, and said the archdiocese would take steps to be more transparent to regain public trust. The church, he said, needed a better way forward.

So far, some victims' advocates say, those words have not translated into substantial action, with parishioners and survivors continuing to be left in the dark as secret internal church investigations churn on for years. Tobin, they said, has done little to improve on the performance of his predecessor, Archbishop John J. Myers, when it comes to openness about such cases.

"This is just another example of not being open and honest and transparent," said Mark Crawford, the New Jersey director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. "We've come to expect this type of behavior of Cardinal Tobin. If his true intention is to be better than his predecessor, we want more."

Defrocked Catholic priest appeals sex abuse conviction

Associated Press via Salem News

February 13, 2020

Alfred ME - A defrocked Massachusetts priest is appealing his conviction of sexually abusing a young boy during trips to Maine in the 1980s.

A judge ordered Ronald Paquin, 77, to serve 16 years in state prison in Maine in May after he was found guilty of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct in 2018. He had already served more than 10 years in prison in Massachusetts for sexually abusing another alter boy in that state.

In a hearing on Wednesday, Paquin's attorney argued that the trial judge in the Maine case should have required the prosecutor to disclose the details of the victim's criminal record, the Portland Press Herald reported.

He also said the judge should have barred an expert witness from testifying that male victims often wait to disclose sexual abuse they've experienced.

Paquin was charged with assaulting two boys between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport when the victims were 14 years of age or younger. He was released from prison in 2015 after completing his sentence in Massachusetts and then taken into custody in Maine.

Retired Bishop with Alzheimer’s will testify in Rochester Diocese bankruptcy case


February 11, 2020

By Kayla Green

Retired Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark will deposed to testify in an upcoming hearing for the Diocese of Rochester’s bankruptcy case, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Clark’s deposition will happen in the next 30 days.

The Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of last year, less than one month after a flurry of lawsuits were filed against the Catholic organization related to the Child Victims Act.

The Child Victims Act opened a one-year litigation window in New York allowing people to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state’s statute of limitations, which was one of the nation’s most restrictive before lawmakers relaxed it in 2019.

The federal judge ruled that within the next 30 days, Clark will be deposed, despite the former Bishop’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

Bankruptcy judge rules sexual-abuse victims’ attorney can question bishop emeritus

Catholic Courier - Diocese of Rochester

February 12, 2020

By Mike Latona

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Feb. 11 that — with specific limitations — an attorney for sexual-abuse victims may question Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark under oath about his knowledge of sexual abuse during his years as leader of the Rochester Diocese. The ruling was issued during a hearing in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

In January, victims’ attorneys had filed a motion requesting the right to interrogate the 82-year-old prelate about extent of his knowledge of abuse during his 33-year tenure as Rochester’s Catholic bishop, which concluded with his retirement in 2012.

Bishop Clark’s attorney, Mary Jo S. Korona, argued during the Feb. 11 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that the bishop is not competent to give a deposition, having been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in July 2019. The bishop made his diagnosis public approximately one month later.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren ruled that Bishop Clark could be questioned by an attorney representing the unsecured creditors’ committee in the bankruptcy case. Acknowledging the possibility that the bishop’s medical condition could cause him to become forgetful or confused, Warren said the deposition must take place within 30 days of his ruling; be conducted in a single day; last no more than three hours and include breaks; and take place with only one attorney each representing the diocese and the unsecured creditors’ committee, plus Bishop Clark’s attorney. No attorneys representing insurers were permitted.

Power shift in Senate could reignite push to help adult survivors of childhood sex abuse

Daily Item

February 13, 2020

By John Finnerty

Harrisburg - The retirement of Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, will mean the departure from the Capitol of the most prominent opponent of efforts to open a window to immediately let adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse sue when their cases are beyond the statute of limitations.

Advocates for adult survivors of abuse say Scarnati’s departure will provide an opportunity for Pennsylvania to pass the window legislation that has already passed in other states, in many cases, states that acted in response to the public outcry inflamed by the Pennsylvania grand juries into the handling of priest abuse by the Catholic Church.

“We clearly will revisit the issue,” said Kathryn Robb, executive director of ChildUSA Advocacy, a Philadelphia-based think tank focused on child sexual abuse and statute of limitations reform. “Why should victims suffer in perpetuity but predators are protected by the passage of time?”

Scarnati announced late Wednesday that he is not seeking re-election to a sixth term in office when his term ends at the end of 2020. He has been Senate President Pro Tem for the past 14 years.

“After many conversations with family and close supporters, I have made a personal, and not political, decision that I will not be filing my petitions” to seek re-election," Scarnati said.

Shaun Dougherty, an adult survivor of abuse by a Johnstown priest, said Scarnati was “the biggest hurdle to justice” for abuse survivors.

Dougherty is now running for Senate as a Democrat in the 35th Senatorial District, represented by state Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria County.

A Pedophile Writer Is on Trial. So Are the French Elites.

New York Times

February 12, 2020

By Norimitsu Onishi

For decades, Gabriel Matzneff wrote openly of his pedophilia, protected by powerful people in publishing, journalism, politics and business. Now cast out, he attacks their “cowardice” in a rare interview.

Paris - Gabriel Matzneff, the French writer under investigation for his promotion of pedophilia, was holed up this month inside a luxury hotel room on the Italian Riviera, unable to relax, unable to sleep, unable to write.

He was alone and in hiding, abandoned by the same powerful people in publishing, journalism, politics and business who had protected him weeks earlier. He went outside only for solitary walks behind dark sunglasses, and was startled when I tracked him down in a cafe mentioned in his books.

Hiding is new for Mr. Matzneff. For decades, he was celebrated for writing and talking openly about stalking teenage girls outside schools in Paris and having sexual contact with 8-year-old boys in the Philippines.

He was invited to the Élysée Palace by President François Mitterrand and socialized with the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. He benefited from the largess of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, the business tycoon Pierre Bergé.

But Mr. Matzneff has been summoned to appear in a Paris court on Wednesday, accused of actively promoting pedophilia through his books. Mr. Matzneff could face up to five years in prison, yet the case is also an implicit indictment of an elite that furthered his career and swatted away isolated voices calling for his arrest.

In a widening investigation, prosecutors announced Tuesday morning that the police would start seeking witnesses to find other possible victims of Mr. Matzneff.

The support of Mr. Matzneff reflected an enduring French contradiction: a nation that is deeply egalitarian yet with an elite that often distinguishes itself from ordinary people through a different code of morality, a different set of rules, or at least believing it necessary to defend those who did.

A decade ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was forced out as the leader of the International Monetary Fund after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper. A supporter dismissed it as “trussing a domestic,” a comment that recalled France’s feudal past.

“We’re in a very egalitarian society where there is a pocket of resistance that actually behaves like an aristocracy,” said Pierre Verdrager, a sociologist who has studied pedophilia.

Readers Say Our Database of Accused Priests Is Incomplete. They’re Not Wrong. Here’s Why.

Pro Publica

February 11, 2020

By Lexi Churchill

Since we published a database of Catholic priests deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and misconduct, we’ve heard from dozens of frustrated Catholics and readers who want fuller transparency and more complete lists from the church.

Two weeks ago, ProPublica launched the first-ever searchable database of clergy deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and misconduct by the Catholic Church in the United States.

The database has gotten more than a million views since it was published, and we have received a steady stream of feedback from users. Dozens of them have written to us with questions and concerns. Often, they’ve sent us missing data about individual clergy in our database. Sometimes, they’ve suggested priests they believe belong on our list.

We have not added anything to our database outside of the information released by dioceses about credibly accused clergy. You can find out why by reading our questions and answers about what is included in our database.

Christ the King priest says Buffalo Diocese should have handled closing news differently


February 12, 2020

By Danielle Church


The staff was told last Tuesday at a meeting that it would ceasing operations in May.

East Aurora NY - Last week the seminarians and staff at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora found out it'll be closing in May, after operating there for more than 45 years.

The Buffalo Diocese says the plan to cease operations was approved by the seminary's board of trustees and the five governing members of the corporation.

It means 30 staff members and seminarians will be without a job.

One of them is Rev. John Mack who says the news was "devastating" to everyone, especially because they had no idea it was coming.

"A staff of folks who included people who had been in the seminary for long terms were somehow dumbfounded because they had never been consulted, they had never been involved in the decision," Mack said.

A spokesperson for the Diocese says that's not true saying "contrary to implication, the Seminary community was the first to learn of this decision, prior to communicating to the media or the broader public."

Likelihood of Diocese bankruptcy prompts questions for other Catholic nonprofits

Buffalo Business First

February 11, 2020

By Tracey Drury

With a bankruptcy filing expected soon by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, other Catholic-based local nonprofits find themselves working to preserve donors and their financial position by highlighting their independent status.

The likelihood of bankruptcy was cited in a financial report by the Central Administrative Offices of the Diocese and posted in the February edition of the Western New York Catholic newsletter. It’s tied to the hundreds of lawsuits filed in the wake of a state law that opened a window for past victims of sexual assault to sue for damages.

But though they were also founded on Catholic ideals and it’s part of their name, Catholic Health and Catholic Charities of Buffalo are not legally or financially tied to the diocese and will be unaffected by a bankruptcy filing. Still, confusion remains for donors, especially those from other states where such programs are often part of the local diocese.

As Buffalo Diocese's bankruptcy looms, Catholic Health not at risk

Buffalo News

February 14, 2020

By Matt Glynn

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future, due to its dire financial situation stemming from a slew of sexual abuse lawsuits.

But if the diocese takes that step, Catholic Health – one of the region's largest health care systems – would not be impacted, Catholic Health leaders say.

"Catholic Health institutions have been serving the health care needs of our community for more than 170 years and that will continue, apart from the challenges facing the diocese," said Mark Sullivan, Catholic Health's president CEO.

While the two organizations share a mission related to the Catholic Church, they operate separately.

Here's a look at the reasons:

Q: Why wouldn't a bankruptcy filing by the diocese affect Catholic Health?

A: The health system and the diocese are separate entities. Catholic Health fully owns its assets and those are separate from the diocese, Sullivan said.

Op-Ed: Buffalo Diocese needs to be transparent with its finances

Buffalo News

February 13, 2020

By Michael S. Taheri

When asked by parishioners and the media, Diocese of Buffalo officials have steadfastly refused to fully disclose the costs associated with the decadeslong clergy sex scandal. The recent Buffalo News article succinctly explained the decrease in parishioner donations.

While we know that approximately $17 million has been paid through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, parishioners remain completely in the dark about the total cost to the diocese, and ultimately the loss suffered to various vital ministries in this community.

For example, how much has been paid out in parishioner funds for undisclosed settlements over the past five decades? How much has been paid to the diocese lawyers and investigators? To clinics, hospitals and treatment facilities on behalf of priests for sexual-related issues? This list is not exhaustive.

Is the diocese being a responsible steward of parishioner gifts and donations, spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ such as feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and welcoming the stranger?

Or, is this diocese merely a large institutional organization generating revenue for purposes unrelated to Christ’s teachings?

February 13, 2020

Columbus Diocese adds priest to sex-abuse list

Columbus Dispatch

February 11, 2020

By Danae King

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added a new name to its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added a name to its website list of priests credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors.

The list was initially released on March 1 with 34 names. On March 5, the diocese added two names. Fourteen names were later added, making the total 50.

Now the diocese has added the name of the Rev. Richard J. McCormick, 79, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco order of priests, to the credibly accused list. His name was put on the list on Monday after the diocese confirmed information contained in an anonymous letter it received.

McCormick’s name was added under the category of external or religious clergy members who served in the Columbus diocese but were accused elsewhere. That means the alleged abuse happened outside the diocese, according to the list.

Former Dallas priest accused of sexually assaulting a child makes first court appearance


February 10, 2020

By Rebecca Lopez


A frail Richard Brown appeared in a Dallas court Monday wearing shackles and handcuffs.

The 78-year-old former priest was arrested in January in Missouri on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Visiting Judge Mike Snipes asked Brown in court if he understood the charge against him.

"Yes," Brown answered.

It was the first court appearance by an accused priest in Dallas County since Rudy Kos was convicted in 1998 of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to life in prison.

Brown was booked into jail in Dallas on Feb. 6. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

He is accused of molesting a girl he met at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano.

Brown's attorney wants him released on bond. There will be another hearing Thursday morning to determine whether Brown can be released from jail before trial.

Court records link him to dozens of other assaults.

NFL team’s deep Catholic ties behind role in abuse crisis

Associated Press via WWLP

February 12, 2020

By Jim Mustian, Reese Dunklin, and Brett Martel

Why would an NFL team, even one called the Saints, strike a behind-the-scenes alliance with the Roman Catholic Church on an issue as emotionally fraught as clergy sex abuse?

It’s a question even die-hard Saints fans in this heavily Catholic city are asking, and the answer appears to lie in the powerful bond that the team’s devoutly Catholic owner, Tom Benson, and his now-widow Gayle built for years with church leaders.

An Associated Press review of public tax documents found that the Bensons’ foundation has given at least $62 million to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and other Catholic causes over the past dozen years, including gifts to schools, universities, charities and individual parishes.

Along the way, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who knew the couple separately before they married in 2004, has become almost a part of the team, thought by some to bring the beloved Saints help from a higher power.

Aymond has been spotted on the field at Saints games and inside the team’s Superdome box and has flown on the owner’s private jet. He is known for celebrating stirring pregame Masses, including one before the team’s lone Super Bowl appearance in 2010, when he correctly predicted victory and joined in a rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

The archbishop arranged a 2011 meeting of the Bensons with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, where Tom Benson kissed the pontiff’s ring and flashed his own Super Bowl ring. A few years later, he served as a witness to the signing of the will that cut out Tom Benson’s estranged daughter and grandchildren and gave third wife Gayle control of a business empire that included ownership of both the Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

Arizona church sued over decades-old abuse allegations

Associated Press

February 13, 2020

By Jacques Billeaud

Two children were sexually abused by Catholic priests about 40 years ago in an Arizona parish and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix covered up the problem, according to newly filed lawsuits.

Both lawsuits were brought Monday under a 2019 state law that extends the right of people who say they were abused as children to sue until their 30th birthday — a decade longer than before.

The law also opened a one-time window for people who missed the cutoff. They now have until the end of this year to file suit.

Robert Pastor, one of the attorneys who filed the new lawsuits, said the law will help hold the church accountable.

“We are able to uncover the pattern and practice of transferring (sexually abusive) priests,” he said.

In one suit, a man alleged he was sexually abused by the then-Rev. Joseph Henn in the St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish in Phoenix during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In addition to the civil claim, Henn faces child molestation and other sex charges. Authorities say Henn, who has been defrocked, fled Arizona for Italy in 2003 after being charged with the crimes. He was returned to Arizona last year.

The other lawsuit was brought by a woman who alleges that the Revs. Donald R. Verhagen and James Bretl sexually abused her in the same parish around the same period. Verhagen died in 2001, and Bretl died in 2010.

Why Catholics should welcome ProPublica’s clergy sex abuse database

America Magazine

February 11, 2020

By Kathleen McChesney

Transparency can be hard to look at.

On Jan. 28, the nonprofit news organization ProPublica published a report headlined “Catholic Leaders Promised Transparency about Child Abuse. They Haven’t Delivered.” This report contains the names of the 5,800 priests and deacons who have been publicly identified by the bishops or superiors of 174 dioceses and religious orders as having had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor made against them in recent decades. In other words, ProPublica has created the only “List of Lists” of Catholic clergy abusers in the United States.

The names of many of the men on this list were previously known through the decades-long, dedicated work of BishopAccountability.org or discoverable in various open-source websites and blogs. But ProPublica has developed a new, comprehensive, interactive database whereby anyone can identify a “credibly accused” priest, deacon or brother who has been previously reported by his diocese or religious order, simply by searching his name. A handy “sounds like” function is included to assist in looking for someone whose exact name is unknown. The site also allows one to search by the name of a parish, diocese or religious order, and it provides a spreadsheet of any known data about an individual’s year of birth, ordination, status and assignment.

Defrocked priest appeals conviction for sex crimes in Maine


February 12, 2020

By Megan Gray

Last year a judge ordered Ronald Paquin to serve 16 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s.

A former Catholic priest is appealing his conviction for sexually abusing a young boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s.

Ronald Paquin, now 77, was found guilty in 2018 of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy. A judge sentenced him last year to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended.

Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse. He pleaded guilty in 2002 in Massachusetts to repeatedly raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12. He spent more than decade in prison and was defrocked in 2004. Once he was released, he was indicted on criminal charges in Maine, and he was arrested in 2017.

Paquin is now incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren, and he did not attend oral arguments Wednesday at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court hearing in Portland.

His attorney, Rory McNamara, raised multiple issues on appeal, but the justices focused on two during the hearing Wednesday.

McNamara argued first that the trial judge should have required the prosecutor to disclose the victim’s criminal history to the defense attorneys, saying that information was not available to the defense attorneys, but should have been available to the prosecutor through a federal database. The details of the victim’s criminal record were not disclosed during the trial or the appeal hearing.

Parishioners sue Detroit Archdiocese over ouster of priest


February 13, 2020

Parishioners at Assumption Grotto Catholic Church are demanding their priest return to worship. They have now filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against their own archdiocese.

Father Eduard Perrone was barred in July of 2019 after sex abuse allegation.

The lawsuit names the Archdiocese of Detroit, Roman Catholic Archbishop and Mike Bugarin. The lawsuit claims Bugarin is an internal sex abuse investigator for the church. The parishioners said in the lawsuit they've been defrauded.

"There's a catholic service appeal fund that the archdiocese rusn and they expect," said Christopher Kolomjec, the attorney representing the parishioners. "Every parish throughout the archdiocese contributes to these fund[s], its mandatory, it's like a tax, and that's the fund used to run the operations and programs including these investigations."

Video: Defrocked Priest Convicted of Sex Abuse Files Appeal in Maine

News 10

February 13, 2020

Portland ME - A former priest [Ronald Paquin] found guilty of abusing boys in Maine and Massachusetts after a sex abuse sweep in the early 2000s is [seeking to appeal] his conviction.

Bishop prohibits priest from broadcasting opinion after criticizing sex abuse scandals


February 12, 2020

By Laura Taylor and Caroline Eaker

Martinsville VA - A local Catholic priest broke his silence on the way the church handled one of the biggest controversies.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has released the names of more than two dozen priests that are facing 'credible and substantiated' allegations of sexual abuse against a minor in February of 2019.

The priest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church is refusing to stay silent despite the threat of losing his priesthood.

Father Mark White's blog led Bishop Barry Knestout to order White's silence.

"He said that he thought what I had written was disrespectful and not appropriate so he ordered me to remove everything that I had on the internet and to be silent on the internet from now on under pain of being removed as the pastor if I do not obey," said White.

White voiced his frustration and disgust about how the church responded to the many sexual abuse scandals, particularly the cases involving former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick.

“I was hoping that as a church we could live in our truth and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ that he came to allow us to live in our truth and find our way by doing that and of course what we are all about it believing in something and we need to be a church that people can believe in," said White.

Parishioners of St. Joseph's in Martinsville said they stand behind White.

Detroit Catholic church parishioners sue to get back ousted priest accused of molestation

Detroit Free Press

February 13, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

After 41 years in the priesthood, Father Eduard Perrone wasn't prepared for the hellfire that tore through his parish last summer: he was accused of molesting an altar boy decades earlier, and ousted from his church.

The sex abuse claim blindsided the pastor's loyal flock, though they believe he is innocent — and have launched an unorthodox crusade to clear his name.

In an unprecedented lawsuit in Michigan, and possibly the country, 20 parishioners from Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Detroit are suing the Detroit archdiocese for $20 million, claiming it caused them emotional distress by taking away their priest.

The lawsuit alleges church officials "fabricated" a rape charge against Perrone because they didn't like his conservative views and wanted him out, and because they wanted to avoid bad press. Perrone was removed from the clergy one month after reporters started asking questions about a fondling claim against him.

Man sues Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony and ex-priest at center of abuse scandal

Los Angeles Times

February 12, 2020

By Richard Winston

A 32-year-old man filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony and an ex-priest who was returned to parish duties even after admitting to molesting children.

Mahony went on to reassign Michael Baker to several other Roman Catholic parishes, where he abused more boys, many of them immigrants.

The lawsuit is one of the first cases filed against Mahony, formerly the Archbishop of Los Angeles, since California enacted legislation last year that sets aside the state statute of limitations and provides more time for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek civil damages.

Baker has been accused of molesting at least 23 men as young boys during his decades in the priesthood. He was convicted in 2007 of abusing two boys and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Wednesday’s lawsuit was filed by a man identified only as John Doe, who alleges he was repeatedly sexually abused from about age 6 to 10, between 1993 and 1997, at St. Columbkille Church in South Los Angeles. Baker had confided to Mahony in 1986 that he had molested two boys.

The Survival of David Clohessy

Riverfront Times

February 12, 2020

By Danny Wicentowski

On June 13, 2002, David Clohessy stepped into the light of history. A former altar boy in a rural Catholic church in Moberly, Missouri, he stood at a podium in a massive hotel ballroom in Dallas — and staring back at him from row up upon row of tables, packed into the room ten-deep, were some 280 Catholic bishops.

Many in that audience were already familiar with Clohessy as the national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the country's longest-active support group for victims of clergy abuse. Clohessy had spent years trying to grab the bishops' attention.

Indeed, Clohessy seemed to be quoted in every other newspaper story about a predator priest going back to the early 1990s. He'd show up at churches with fliers listing support group meetings for victims, and he'd prod reporters to cover the protest. He held press conferences with tearful victims announcing lawsuits. He insisted on calling accused priests "perps."

He was, in a word, a nuisance to the Catholic Church. And until that moment in 2002, that's all he had ever been.

That day, with his square-framed glasses slightly askew and his outfit of a simple gray suit and white shirt, the SNAP director looked more like an accountant than the radical victims' rights advocate. But this meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was focused specifically on the exploding clergy abuse scandal — and it had drawn the eyes of the world.

February 12, 2020

Successor to Father Baker accused of molesting boys in two lawsuits

Buffalo News

February 11, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A priest who for years oversaw the legacy of Father Nelson H. Baker – the Buffalo Diocese’s sainthood candidate – is accused in two recently filed lawsuits of sexually abusing boys in Our Lady of Victory programs he oversaw.

A 76-year-old Depew man alleged in one of the filings that Monsignor Joseph M. McPherson molested him in 1951, when he was 8 years old and living at St. Joseph’s Male Orphan Asylum in Lackawanna.

In the second case, a Hamburg man accused McPherson of plying him with alcohol and molesting him from 1966 to 1967, when he was 14 to 15 years old and a student at Baker Hall, a residential school for troubled youth.

The orphan asylum and Baker Hall were part of Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity, a conglomerate of human services agencies led for years by Baker, whose legendary work on behalf of the poor and orphaned children prior to his 1936 death is the basis of a canonization cause.

The lawsuits were the first to allege abuse by McPherson, who died in 1982 at age 73. In 2018, the Buffalo Diocese added McPherson to its list of priests with substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor.

Two new lawsuits filed Tuesday claim sexual abuse by former priests in Phoenix

ABC 15

February 11, 2020

By Mike Pelton

Two new lawsuits filed Tuesday claim sexual abuse by former priests in Phoenix.

The lawsuits, filed by unnamed plaintiffs, allege abuse by priests at St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish in Phoenix, when they were stationed there in the late 1970s and early 1980's. The lawsuit names the Diocese of Phoenix, among others.

"That's what these lawsuits are about," said Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "The Catholic Diocese and the head of the Salvatorian order transferring these priests and allowing predators access to kids."

Anderson said the lawsuits are the direct result of a new Arizona law signed last year, allowing additional opportunities for victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

"We want the lawsuits to allow the full disclosure of all the offenders known to the top officials that have been hidden and kept secret," Anderson said.

One of the lawsuits involves allegations against Fr. Joseph Henn. He was caught in Italy last year and brought back to Arizona, after he disappeared in 2005 while facing sexual abuse charges, according to the Diocese of Phoenix.

The other lawsuit names two priests who attorneys for the plaintiffs say have not been publicly accused before. They are Fr. Donald Verhagen and Fr. James Bretl. Both have since passed away.

Victims of priest sexual abuse respond to Saints owner’s statement on email


February 11, 2020

By Chris Finch

A group of people who say they have been abused by priests want Saints owner Gayle Benson to release the emails exchanged between the Saints and Catholic officials, according to the group.

Benson sent a release Monday saying that the team wanted to clarify its stance regarding its advice to the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The owner said her team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused.”

She also said in her statement that she did not make payments to help the church pay legal settlements to victims embroiled in the scandal.


The group, SNAP, said if the team has nothing to hide, it should produce the emails in question. They claim this would clear Benson and the Saints of having any malicious influence.

“We are especially concerned about this case because the archdiocese admits to 57 abusers, but independent watchdogs at BishopAccountability.org name at least 79. There obviously is a math problem in Louisiana, and this math works out to more danger for the vulnerable in the state,” SNAP said in a statement.

FOX 8, along with The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and two of the city’s other television stations have filed a motion asking that they be allowed access to a court hearing on the question of whether emails and other communications between the Archdiocese of New Orleans and executives of the New Orleans Saints should remain confidential.

Former Bishop Matthew Clark ordered to testify on priest abuse

Democrat and Chronicle

February 11, 2020

By Steve Orr and Sean Lahman

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark must provide sworn testimony about the history of child sexual abuse in the Rochester diocese.

Clark's attorney Mary Jo Korona had argued that his Alzheimer's disease left him unable to competently testify and said questioning him would place him under stress and worsen his symptoms.

But after 20 minutes of oral arguments at a court hearing Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren interrupted lawyers to say he had decided that Clark would have to sit for a deposition of three hours' length.

Lawyers for abuse victims had asked for at least seven hours of questioning.

It was the second significant ruling of the day in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, in which the diocese is seeking to resolve several hundred claims of child sexual abuse while retaining enough resources to continue its ministry.

Earlier in the hearing, Warren ordered that all claims be filed with the bankruptcy court by Aug. 13.


The Aug. 13 bar date, as it's called, coincides with the end of a one-year window during which people can bring suit for past child sexual abuse under New York's Child Victims Act.


Warren also ruled that Clark must turn over any diaries, notes, letters or other personal written records still in his possession that shed light on past abuse.

That written material is distinct from the diocese's confidential personnel files, often called the sub secreto files, that the bishop keeps under lock and key. Victims' lawyers say those files often contain evidence of abuse by church ministers and attempts by higher-ups to protect the abusers.

The diocese's lawyer, Stephen Donato, said "thousands and thousands" of these documents have been pulled from the diocese's files and are now being reviewed by a firm in India hired to redact names of victims and other personal information.

That process should be completed in "a few more weeks," he said, after which copies of the records will be given to victims' lawyers.

Pope avoids question of married priests in Amazon document

Associated Press

February 12, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis declined Wednesday to approve the ordination of married men to address the priest shortage in the Amazon, sidestepping a fraught issue that has dominated debate in the Catholic Church and even involved retired Pope Benedict XVI.

In an eagerly-awaited document, Francis didn’t even refer to recommendations by Amazonian bishops to consider the ordination of married men and women deacons. Rather, he urged bishops to pray for more priestly vocations and send missionaries to the region, where the faithful living in remote communities can go months or even years without Mass.

Francis’ dodging of the issue disappointed progressives, who had hoped he would at the very least put it to further study. And it relieved conservatives who have used the debate over priestly celibacy to heighten opposition to the pope, whom some have accused of heresy.

The document, “Beloved Amazon,” is instead a love letter to the Amazonian rain forest and its indigenous peoples, penned by history’s first Latin American pope. Francis has long been concerned about the violent exploitation of the Amazon’s land, its crucial importance to the global ecosystem and the injustices committed against its peoples.

Former Catholic “fixer” explains why accused priests come to Missouri

Fox 2 Now

February 11, 2020

By Chris Hayes

Patrick Wall describes himself as a former fixer for the Catholic Church. The former monk says his job was to clean up after a report of sexual abuse.

“Every one of my assignments was to follow a monk who had been credibly accused of child sexual assault and they had to remove him because the knowledge became public,” he said.


After leaving the church, Wall started working with attorneys who sued on behalf of children who say they’ve been abused. He says many of the accused priests are finding homes around the St. Louis area.

“Missouri law has been very favorable to the church,” Wall said. “That’s why these facilities pop up.”

He’s talking about places like a Dittmer property Fox 2 featured last month, owned by the Servants of the Paraclete. It’s where priests and former priests get help and rehabilitation. Last month, a priest was arrested there – accused of abusing as many as 50 children.

“Is there proper supervision at these facilities? Those are real concerns,” Wall said. “I know the neighbors over the years, especially in Dittmer, have not been happy.”

“It’s a public safety question, you know, where are the perpetrators that have been acknowledged either by a court or by the various religious institutes? Who’s supervising them?”

A viewer pointed out there’s also a children’s camp near the Dittmer property.

Fox Files: Accused sex offender priests find home in Missouri

Fox 2 Now

January 30, 2020

By Chris Hayes

Dittmer MO - Dallas police arrested an accused sex offender priest in Dittmer, Missouri on Wednesday, at a retreat where priests and former priests get help and rehabilitation.

The Catholic property is owned by Servants of the Paraclete, which has a mission of providing a safe and supportive environment for rehabbing priests.

Richard Thomas Brown, 78, was wanted on charges related to his reported abuse of as many as 50 children between 1980 and 1994.

Michael Stenzhorn, who lives across the street from the Catholic property, said he’s used to it.

“I sent the Archbishop a letter last year and told him about the pedophiles walking up my neighbor’s driveway,” he said.

Stenzhorn said the church has bought every house around his.

February 11, 2020

Clergy sex abuse class action lawsuit against Pittsburgh diocese seeks to add Greensburg, others


February 10, 2020

By Deb Erdley

Lawyers in a class action suit trying to force the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to open its clergy abuse archives expanded their campaign to include the Greensburg, Harrisburg and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses as well as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The move comes one month after Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Ward ruled the lawsuit could move forward with regard to the Pittsburgh diocese.

The suit was filed in September 2018 by a pair of Pittsburgh diocese families with children in the church’s parochial schools. It seeks the disclosure of records, rather than monetary awards.

The families who filed the complaint contend that records that were made public in a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report contained gaping holes that suggest the church failed to meet mandatory reporting laws and poses a public nuisance.

Now, they want the court to include the other dioceses and archdiocese in an amended complaint that includes families and abuse survivors of those church bodies.

Priest put on administrative leave over decades-old child sex abuse allegations


February 11, 2020

By WNYT Staff and Jill Konopka

The bishop of the Albany Catholic Diocese put an 81-year-old clergyman on leave over decades-old child sex abuse allegations.

The priest has been retired from active ministry in the Albany Diocese since 2008. He was cleared of similar accusations as recently as 2005.

NewsChannel 13 broke the news last week that an independent review board was investigating two recent cases involving allegations of sex crimes against children.

"I did have within the year, at least one person, you know, one or two maybe, come forward and you know say to me this happened to me in this period of time. In one case, the priest was not in active ministry,” said Bishop Edward Scharfenberger.

NewsChannel 13 now knows Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger was referencing 81-year-old retired Albany Diocese Reverend Daniel Maher in an interview late last month, as the priest the bishop put on administrative leave Saturday over sex abuse allegations to a minor in the 1960s and 1970s.

There's a whiff of a tiff when the pros try to pick the past decade's top religion stories

Get Religion

February 6, 2020

By Richard Ostling

What were the past decade’s top religion stories?

In the current Christian Century magazine, Baylor historian Philip Jenkins lists his top 10 in American Christianity and — journalists take note – correctly asserts that all will “continue to play out” in coming years.

His list: The growth of unaffiliated “nones,” the papacy of Francis, redefinition of marriage, Charleston murders and America’s “whiteness” problem, religion and climate change, Donald Trump and the evangelicals, gender and identity, #MeToo combined with women’s leadership, seminaries in crisis and impact of religious faith (or lack thereof) on low fertility rates.

Such exercises are open to debate, and there’s mild disagreement on the decade’s top events as drawn from Religion News Service coverage by Senior Editor Paul O’Donnell. Unlike Jenkins, this list scans the interfaith and global scenes.

The RNS picks: “Islamophobia” in America (with a nod to President Trump), the resurgent clergy sex abuse crisis, #ChurchToo scandals, those rising “nones,” mass shootings at houses of worship, gay ordination and marriage, evangelicals in power (Trump again) as “post-evangelicals” emerge, anti-Semitic attacks and religious freedom issues.

You can see that the same events can be divvied up in various ways, and that there’s considerable overlap but also intriguing differences.

Pennsylvania opens grand jury investigation into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ cover-up of child sex abuse

Reveal - Center for Investigative Reporting

February 10, 2020

By Trey Bundy

For decades, leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion have kept allegations of child sexual abuse in their congregations secret from police as a matter of policy. They have maintained an internal database containing the names of alleged abusers in their U.S. congregations, but repeatedly have violated court orders to hand it over.

Still, they have avoided reckoning with law enforcement agencies – until now.

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has opened a grand jury investigation into how Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders handle allegations of child sexual abuse, according to three people who have been called to testify in closed-door hearings.

Mark O’Donnell, a former Jehovah’s Witness, told Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting that Pennsylvania investigators visited his home in Baltimore in June and interviewed him for three hours.

O’Donnell, 52, was a Jehovah’s Witness for 30 years. He left in 2014 after learning about child abuse cases, locally and elsewhere, that were covered up by the organization. Since then, he has become a vocal critic of the Watchtower, the religion’s parent organization, traveling around the country to observe civil court cases against the organization and publishing stories online. As a result, O’Donnell has become a popular recipient of leaked information from inside the Watchtower and local congregations, much of it pertaining to child abuse.

Dunkirk parish mourns pastor who was cleared by diocese of child sex abuse allegations

Buffalo News

February 10, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Rev. Dennis G. Riter, a Dunkirk pastor who was accused of sex abuse in two Child Victims Act lawsuits despite a Buffalo Diocese investigation that cleared him of the claims, died Saturday in Buffalo General Hospital after a brief illness. He was 74.

Riter was the longtime pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Dunkirk. He was the first active priest in the Buffalo Diocese to be put on leave in 2018 due to a newly reported child sex abuse allegation. After a three-month investigation, a diocese review board recommended that Riter be returned to the parish because the initial claim and a second that also surfaced could not be substantiated.

Riter, who was assigned to Dunkirk since 2008, maintained he was innocent.

The parish welcomed back Riter, but the allegations continued to linger, as the two men who had reported their claims to the diocese in 2018 sued under the Child Victims Act.

One of the men alleged Riter abused him in the 1990s when he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in South Buffalo; the other man claimed he was abused in 1992, when Riter was assigned to a Lackawanna church.

Child Victims Act leads to insurance woes

City & State NY

February 10, 2020

By Kay Dervish

Some institutions facing or at risk of facing child sex abuse lawsuits have lost coverage.

About six months into the implementation of the Child Victims Act, more than 1,400 child sex abuse cases have been filed in New York. The law – which provides a one-year window for people to bring forward such lawsuits regardless of the statute of limitations – has resulted in a flood of lawsuits against Catholic Church in particular. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of the law’s implementation – which victims’ advocates argued allowed it to bypass scrutiny for the alleged crimes – with the Buffalo Diocese expected to follow suit soon.

But the law’s financial and logistical challenges have affected many other institutions, such as schools and nonprofits, who have faced increased insurance costs and difficulties finding old insurance providers as they confront lawsuits regarding crimes dating back decades. Some have lost coverage for sexual abuse altogether.

“What’s happening is that insurance policies from this point forward are excluding this risk from the policy,” Robert Chesler, an attorney at Anderson Kill who represents insurance policyholders, told City & State.

Catholic Church OK'd $11M in settlements to NJ abuse victims, but 400 claims await decisions


February 10, 2020

By Deena Yellin

The Catholic Church in New Jersey has promised $11 million to victims of clergy abuse thus far through its compensation fund, but there are at least 460 more claims to process and administrators say it could take several months to make determinations on all of them.

More than 560 people applied for settlements from the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program, which was established by the state's five Catholic dioceses to compensate victims without their having to go to court.

The 8-month-old program is now closed to new requests, but victims who already started applications have until Feb. 15 to complete them.

New Jersey suspended its statute of limitations for sex abuse cases on Dec. 1, spawning a wave of lawsuits against the dioceses. Victims who accept the compensation fund's cash settlements forfeit their right to sue, but they also avoid the potentially painful, drawn-out process of litigation, the church argues.

Retired priest, 89, sentenced for sexual assault of boy

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

February 6, 2020

By Peter Smith

Following an emotional hearing, a judge on Thursday sentenced a retired Catholic priest to a jail term of nine to nearly 24 months over his conviction last year for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in 2001.

But the priest walked free for at least another month due to a last-minute legal plot twist, complicated by a sudden turnover in two of the key players in his November trial, his own defense lawyer and the judge.

The Rev. Hugh Lang, 89, a one-time school superintendent for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, sat stoically as the sentencing was read, leaning forward with his arms folded on the defense table.

The victim said he flew thousands of miles from his current home in Southeast Asia here, requiring him to “rip open this wound all over again.” But he said it was important to bring “some justice to the 11-year-old boy I was.”

In words similar to his testimony in November, the victim recalled being at a summer program for altar servers when, in a shy boy’s awkward attempt to impress his peers with humor, he joked that Father Lang probably drank all the excess communion wine.

He said an enraged Father Lang later took him to an isolated basement room, forced him to undress, took a Polaroid photo of him, fondled him and forced the boy to use his hand on Lang’s penis to perform a sex act.

Priest Charged with Child Sex Crimes Booked into Dallas County Jail


February 6, 2020

Richard Thomas Brown arrested in Missouri last month on a warrant out of Dallas

A former priest charged with child sex abuse is now in the Dallas County Jail.

Richard Thomas Brown, 78, was being booked into the county jail Thursday afternoon.

Brown is on the Dallas Diocese's list of priests credibly accused of sexually assaulting children.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained last month, Brown admitted to police that he was sexually attracted to young girls. The document details the allegations of just one victim, but also details interviews detectives had with Brown.

The affidavit said Brown, who served in at least four parishes beginning in the 1980s, admitted to sexually abusing multiple children in North Texas. Brown told detectives that the Diocese of Dallas "knew about sexual abuse allegations against him in 1987."

Former Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark not capable of testifying about priest abuse, doctor says

Democrat and Chronicle

February 10, 2020

By Steve Orr


Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark's Alzheimer's disease has left him unable to provide useful sworn testimony about the history of child sexual abuse in the Rochester diocese, his physician and lawyer say.

Lawyers for abuse victims had filed a motion in the diocese's bankruptcy case asking that Clark be directed to answer questions under oath about abuse by priests and other church ministers during his 33 years as the diocese's leader.

The lawyers for accusers believe Clark knows a great deal about abuse and about actions taken by diocesan leaders to shield accused ministers from public scrutiny. They have said they're aware of Clark's Alzheimer's diagnosis but believe they should be able to question him and make their own determination about his abilities.

"I think those abused under his tenure should have the right to test his competency in a deposition," said Leander James, an Idaho lawyer who represents a number of people who say they were sexually abused by Catholic ministers in the Rochester diocese.

Bishop's Letter about HB90 Child Abuse Reporting

Intermountain Catholic - Diocese of Salt Lake City

February 7, 2020

By Bishop Oscar A. Solis

To be read in all parishes on the weekends of Feb. 8-9 and 15-16. Parishioners are asked to sign the letter that will be presented at the parish, gather signed letters and send them to Bishop’s Office by Feb. 23.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

There is a time when Catholics have to stand and speak for truth and our faith conviction. I am writing to you about a bill introduced in the Utah legislature, HB90 Child Abuse Reporting Amendments. I ask all parishioners to help defend our religious rights and speak out our opposition against this bill that would take away the full right to Confession from priests and other leaders of faith denominations, as well as break its sacred seal of confidentiality.

I do not question the good intentions of our legislators of wanting to prevent child sexual abuse and protect innocent and vulnerable children. However, there is no evidence that this legislation will help achieve that. Instead, it threatens a practice that is essential to our faith and religious identity. It is a government encroachment or intrusion into our religious practice.

The Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation (what we call “Confession”), is an important practice of our Catholic faith. The Bible records its divine origin. It was the first gift that Jesus gave to the world after rising from the dead. On the first Easter night, he breathed his Holy Spirit into his apostles, his first priests, and he granted them the awesome power to forgive sins in his name (John 20:22-23). Jesus gave us this gift so that we could always personally come to him to confess our sins, and seek his forgiveness and the grace to continue on our Christian journey. The Sacrament of Confession is purely religious, and thus protected as one of our first freedoms under the Constitution.

Toledo Diocese quietly updates accused clergy list, includes new name

Toledo Blade

February 4, 2020

By Nicki Gorny

The Diocese of Toledo quietly updated its list last year of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse amid calls for transparency in a rekindled sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

The update included a new name: Paul Knapp, a religious order priest who served as the associate pastor of St. Gerard Parish in Lima, Ohio, between 1981 and 1983.

The majority of dioceses and religious orders in the country have released lists of clergy who have been found credibly accused of sexual abuse while under their jurisdiction. The lists are an effort toward transparency that have drawn particular attention since August, 2018, when a grand jury report detailing the extent of decades of abuse and coverup in Pennsylvania called renewed attention to a sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.


New Orleans Saints

February 10, 2020

By Gayle Benson

This past weekend, our organization received an interview request from The Associated Press. The email stated that an article was coming out Tuesday. It stated that we could expect questions that "would include things about the nature of Gayle's relationship with Aymond and why, no matter how good a friend he is, would she feel compelled to have her pro sports organizations affiliated in any way with the clergy-molestation scandal? And maybe how she views the decision to do so in hindsight?"

I have decided to take this opportunity based on the request from The Associated Press to send out this statement in order to bring clarity to questions about my relationship with the Archdiocese. While I appreciate the opportunity and thank The Associated Press for kindly reaching out to me to appear in this article, we have had subpoenas served to get emails, and calls made for me to pay into a victim's fund. I have decided to no longer stand idly by while stories are written about our role in this matter and speak to this in my own words. This is a profoundly sad time for the Church, but more so for the victims that live with the daily pain that was inflicted upon them.

Greg Bensel, our senior vice president of communications, was asked if he would help the Archdiocese prepare for the media relative to the release of clergy names involved in the abuse scandal. In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 2, 2018 release of clergy names, Greg met with the Archbishop and communications staff.

Greg informed me that his recommendations were consistent with the Archdiocese and included: be honest, complete and transparent; own the past wrongs and find a solution to correct them and then define those solutions that are in place now to protect victims; be a leader in the Church by being the first Archdiocese in the country to release the full list of names, release all of the names of clergy that have credible evidence against them, regardless of whether they are male/female, dead or alive; and make sure that all law enforcement are given these names prior to the Archdiocese releasing them so they can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Saints owner denies team had role in clergy sex abuse list

Associated Press

February 11, 2020

By Jim Mustian

The owner of the New Orleans Saints said Monday that the NFL team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused” clergy published by the area’s Roman Catholic Church.

Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic who has donated millions of dollars to church causes, also said in a lengthy statement that she has never “contributed nor will ever make payments” to pay for legal settlements to the victims of clergy abuse.

“To suggest that I would offer money to the Catholic Church to pay for anything related to the clergy-molestation issue sickens me,” she added. It was not clear who had made that suggestion.

The statement marked Benson’s first remarks since The Associated Press reported last month about hundreds of confidential Saints emails that allegedly show team executives did behind-the-scenes public relations damage control amid the archdiocese’s clergy abuse crisis — communications the Saints have gone to court to keep from being made public. A hearing is scheduled in New Orleans next week to determine whether they may be released.

Martinsville priest refuses to sign order to silence from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Martinsville Bulletin

February 10, 2020

By Bill Wyatt


That truce reached last week in a dispute between a Martinsville priest and a Richmond bishop that preserved the priest’s job now appears to have been short-lived.

About 24 hours after that meeting last Wednesday, Father Mark White, priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount, was visited in Rocky Mount by officials of the Diocese of Richmond and again was threatened with the loss of his position.

But White refused to sign the order, presented to him orally, because he wasn’t given the directive in writing, and he said he questioned its legality in the first place.

Bishop Barry Knestout late last year had ordered White to silence and threatened to remove him from the priesthood because of a popular blog White populated with comments of frustration and disgust about how the church hierarchy had responded to the many sexual abuse scandals in the church and particularly the cases involving former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, who had ordained White as a priest.

Clergy abuse crisis gets a fresh reading in parish study group

Catholic San Francisco - Archdiocese of San Francisco

February 10, 2020

By Nicholas Wolfram Smith

“He (Bishop Barron) really calls those who read it to take action, do something and be part of the solution. We need to be responsible, too.”
– Susan Arms, St. Gregory parishioner

A year-and-a-half after the Catholic Church in the U.S. suffered devastating and disheartening revelations of systematic abuse, have Catholics moved on?

Months after the coverage of sexual abuse has died down, a group of parishioners convened at St. Gregory Parish in San Mateo to discuss it again and how Catholics should respond.

Cindy Gherini, a parishioner at St. Gregory, said after now-laicized Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was accused of sexual abuse and a grand jury in Pennsylvania published a report on how state dioceses handled clergy abuse, her parish held a community discussion about what was going on. During that meeting, Gherini said, there was an outpouring of grief and anger.

“And then it died after that, so to speak. Nobody led us forward,” she said. “How much longer can we stay in those emotions and not move forward?”

What gave her direction was a short pamphlet written by Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron and published by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, “Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.”

Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd

National Review

February 6, 2020

By Daniel Mahoney

In the first year or two of Pope Francis’s pontificate, conservative-minded Catholics made heroic efforts to place the perplexing ways of the new pope in continuity with the thought and deeds of his immediate predecessors. It was said that he had been a forceful critic of liberation theology, at least in its Marxist expressions, that he was a man of traditional piety, that he spoke about the machinations of the Evil One with surprising regularity, and that his style — brash, critical of established ways, anxious for dialogue with the modern world — was a refreshing way of bringing Christian orthodoxy to bear on the modern world. But there were early signs that challenged this reassuring consensus. Francis seemed suspicious of the most faithful Catholics — they were, in his estimation, rigid, obsessed with the evils of abortion and sexual sins, closed to the need for a Church open to humanitarian activism and a de-emphasis on dogma and even truth.

If Pope John Paul II stood up to Communist savagery and mendacity with a courage and integrity that helped ignite the revolutions of 1989, and if the immensely learned Pope Benedict XVI gave soft nihilism a remarkably descriptive and accurate name, “the dictatorship of relativism,” Pope Francis stood for nothing less than accommodating the world in the name of “change” and deference to the alleged “signs of the times.” As Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong once noted, Francis could see Communists as merely the victims of Latin American military dictatorship and lovers of the poor and thus more Christian than Christians in decisive respects. The gulags, and massive religious persecution, did not fit into this vision of relatively benign Communists.

While the Church remains largely silent about (in the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) “crimes and sins that cry out to Heaven” — the terrible clerical and episcopal sexual abuse and the hideous cover-ups that followed — Francis puts much of his energies into promoting ecological activism (with an apocalyptic edge) and any number of simplistic progressive causes. One sometimes hears the voice of a politically charged functionary of the United Nations more than that of the Vicar of Christ on earth. The institutional Church, meaning its assorted bishops and their conferences, responds to this revolution in the Church with silence, passivity, and those time-serving bureaucratic and self-protective habits that led the Church into crisis in the first place. The crisis is just that deep.

February 10, 2020

In hopes of healing, abuse survivor shares his story

St. Paul (MN)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

February 10, 2020

By Dave Hrbacek

Michael Callaghan’s healing from clergy sexual abuse took a big step forward after he saw the movie “Spotlight” in 2015.

The Academy Award-winning fact-based drama detailing the clerical abuse scandal in Boston moved Callaghan deeply and continues to drive him to help the healing process in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“I watch that movie every six months or so,” said Callaghan, 70. “Everyone should see that movie.”

Within weeks of seeing the film, he was making his way to leaders of the archdiocese to share his story and offer help.

Staff members of the archdiocesan Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment listened to and affirmed him, and invited him to convene with a group of priests and laypeople in early 2019 to discuss how the archdiocese can address clergy sexual abuse. The first two meetings took place in his south Minneapolis home.

Restorative justice, healing circles address trauma caused by abuse

St. Paul (MN)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

February 10, 2020

By Joe Ruff

Father Dan Griffith has held the stone.

He has felt the emotional weight and lifting of that weight in a healing circle where people are invited to take turns holding a stone or other “talking piece” and tell their story as others respectfully listen.

“It’s humbling and you’re vulnerable,” Father Griffith said of sharing in a healing circle his story of secondary trauma from the church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis.

The priest is quick to point out that his secondary trauma cannot be compared with the deep and long-standing harm done to those directly traumatized by a priest.

It is vitally important to have the church acknowledge the harm done, foster accountability and offer roads to healing, he said.

Where are the credibly accused priests?


February 7, 2020

By Tierra Smith

KPRC 2 Investigates found 1 priest living around the corner from a school

A year ago, there was hope: justice for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

"We want to substantiate what those young people who have suffered, the victims, the survivors, that's what today is all about," said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston on Jan. 31, 2019 in an interview with KPRC 2.

But one year later, what has come of these revelations that accused over 40 priests from the Archdiocese of an unthinkable act?

Where is the transparency?

"We at SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are calling for true transparency, not the opaque transparency of a stained glass window from a church in denial," said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, co-leader of SNAP Houston and clergy abuse victim.

Lopez de Casas grew up in church, rarely missing a Sunday Mass even in his darkest times.

"I was abused over 40 years ago, and I never left the church," Lopez de Casas said.

Dr. Leonard Shengold, 94, Psychoanalyst Who Studied Child Abuse, Dies

New York Times

February 10, 2020

By Richard Sandomir

He said mistreating and neglecting children amounted to “soul murder” — a deliberate attempt to crush or eradicate the personality of a vulnerable young person.

Dr. Leonard Shengold, an esteemed psychoanalyst who in two books vividly described the terrifying impact of long-term abuse and neglect of children as “soul murder,” died on Jan. 16 at his home in Stone Ridge, N.Y. He was 94.

His son David said the cause was complications of leukemia.

During 60 years of psychoanalytic practice, Dr. Shengold observed the damage childhood abuse had wreaked on numerous adult patients. (He also treated patients outside that category, including the renowned writer and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks.)

He described “soul murder” as a crime committed by psychotic or psychopathic parents and other adults through sexual abuse, emotional deprivation and physical or mental torture. He equated this mistreatment with the “deliberate attempt to eradicate or compromise the separate identity of another person,” as he wrote in “Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation” (1989).

Dr. Shengold had been treating adult victims of childhood abuse for about 25 years when he wrote “Soul Murder.” The term that gave the book its title was coined in the 19th century and later found its place in a noted case history of Freud’s based on the memoirs of a mentally ill judge.

Dr. Shengold drew on decades of clinical cases and the literary works of writers like Kipling, Chekhov and Dickens, all of whom, he wrote, suffered neglect or abuse in childhood. Helpless children, he believed, are easily victimized by their tormentors because of their physical and emotional dependence on them. And their reliance on them inevitably compels many to seek solace from the abusers themselves.

“The most destructive effect of child abuse is perhaps the need to hold on to the abusing parent or parent figure by identifying with the abuser,” he wrote. “This becomes part of a compulsion to repeat the experiences of abuse — as tormentor (enhancing sadism) and simultaneously as victim (enhancing masochism).”

Archdiocese pays $38 million to sex abuse survivors

Catholic Philly - Archdiocese of Philadelphia

February 7, 2020

By Matthew Gambino

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has paid out almost $39 million to survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the past year through the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP) set up for the archdiocese, administrators confirmed this week.

The program began in November 2018 as a process independent of the archdiocese to offer money to people abused by clergy in the past. Program administrators assess claims and offer compensation with no monetary cap, either individually or in total.

The archdiocese has pledged to pay all awards as indicated by the plan and agreed to by the survivors.

A total of $38.9 million has been paid as of this week to 181 survivors who accepted the amount determined by the program’s administrators, according to Lawrence Stengel, a retired federal district judge who serves on the Oversight Committee of the IRRP.

Accused Buffalo Priest Dead

Church Militant

February 10, 2020

By Christine Niles

Fr. Dennis Riter goes to grave with secrets

A Buffalo priest accused of abusing multiple boys is dead.

Father Dennis Riter passed away Saturday after spending more than a week in the hospital from a heart attack.

In response to Church Militant's query, the diocese confirmed Riter's death "after a brief illness" but had no further details.

Riter was at the center of serious sex abuse allegations in 2018 involving at least three alleged victims.

One of them, Matthew Golden, was featured in an ABC Nightline exposé.

Matthew Golden: "I definitely was molested by Fr. Riter — 100%."

Another was interviewed by Church Militant.

Lawsuit: Father Duenas School student raped by one priest, molested by second in '70s

Pacific Daily News

February 6, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Nearly 50 years ago, a Father Dueñas Memorial School teacher-priest allegedly raped a student repeatedly, while another teacher-priest at the school allegedly molested the same student at least three times, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday.

The plaintiff, a student at Father Duenas between 1972 and 1974, was identified in court documents only with the initials O.O.O. to protect his privacy.

His $5 million lawsuit named Father George Maddock and Father Louis Brouillard as his abusers. Both priests are now deceased.

Man alleging molestation by a priest says Diocese of Orange officials tried to intimidate him

Orange County Register

February 4, 2020

Irvine - A man who has alleged in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Orange that he was molested by a Roman Catholic priest when he was 6 years old in 1994 said Monday that Diocese officials have attempted to “intimidate” him.

Last week, a judge cleared the way for the public identification of the priest, Father Edward Poettgen, who was most recently assigned to St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. The man suing him held a news conference Monday from the offices of his attorneys to say the Diocese has treated him “like an enemy of the church.”

The man, whose name was not released, said he reported the priest in January of 2019 so he could find some sort of healing.

“Instead of treating me with compassion Bishop (Kevin) Vann has treated me as an enemy of the church,” he said. “They served subpoenas on my mother, my girlfriend and my employers, hoping to intimidate me but I will not be intimidated. I find strength in knowing that my actions will protect other children.”

Ex-FBI director to probe sex abuse claims against Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio: report

NY Post

February 8, 2020

By Sara Dorn

The New York Archdiocese has hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to probe sex abuse allegations against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, according to a new report.

DiMarzio, 75, is accused of repeatedly molesting Mark Matzek when he was an altar boy and student at St. Nicholas Church and School in Jersey City in the 1970s, according to Matzek’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian.

Garabedian took Matzek’s claims public in November, and announced plans to file a lawsuit against DiMarzio.

“We look forward to the filing of the lawsuit so Bishop DiMarzio can have his day in court,” DiMarzio’s attorney Joseph Hayden told the Diocese-owned Brooklyn Tablet. “Bishop DiMarzio is ready, willing and able to defend this lawsuit . . . because the allegation is not true.”

Graduate of Loyola University Chicago elected as Superior-General of the Legionaries of Christ

America Magazine

February 7, 2020

By Gerard O’Connell

Vatican City - The Legionaries of Christ have elected the Rev. John Connor, 51, a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, as their new superior general. He is the first American to lead the order, which has today less than 1,000 priests. His election took place during the general chapter of the order and is meant to signal a change of direction.

Father O’Connor is the first non-Mexican to lead the order that was founded in 1941 by the Mexican priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel. Benedict XVI removed Father Marcial from public ministry in 2006, after finding him guilty of sexually abusing minors, and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. He died in 2008. It was subsequently revealed that he had sexual relations with more than one woman and had fathered children, and this news led Benedict to decide that the Vatican would take control of the order in 2010.

Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Velasio De Paolis as his delegate to renew the order. The cardinal supervised the revision of its constitution and its process of renewal, but he failed to take action on specific cases of abuse and appears to have left unanswered many questions regarding the finances of the Legion and how they were misused by the founder.

Last December, before holding its general chapter, the Legion published a report in which it revealed that 33 of its priests had abused 175 minors over the years, revealing also that a third of those priests had been victims of abuse. The report also said its founder had abused 60 minors. But the report gave rise to demands for much greater information. At the same time, accusations of cover up of abuse allegations resurfaced in Mexico, raising many questions about how deep the reform of the order has been.

NDAs 'should not silence sexual harassment claims'


February 10, 2020

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should not be used to prevent someone from reporting sexual harassment in the workplace, according to new guidance.

Arbitration service Acas has published advice for firms and workers about NDAs, including how to avoid misuse.

Several high-profile scandals have exposed how NDAs are often used to silence mainly women alleging sexual harassment and misconduct.

Acas said misusing these agreements can be "very damaging" to an organisation.

NDAs are contracts or parts of contracts that typically prevent staff and ex-staff making information public.

They can apply to commercially sensitive details such as inventions and ideas, or anything likely to damage an organisation's reputation, and are sometimes known as "gagging orders" or "hush agreements".

Pope to visit Malta on May 31 in first foreign trip of 2020

Associated Press

February 10, 2020

Pope Francis will visit the Mediterranean island nation of Malta on May 31, the Vatican said Monday, confirming the Pope’s first foreign trip for the year.

Other rumored trips for Francis include a visit to Indonesia and East Timor in the second half of 2020.

Malta’s top two church leaders are very close to the Pope, and have echoed his concerns about the plight of migrants, families experiencing difficulties and the need to combat sexual abuse.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna is the Vatican’s longtime sex crimes prosecutor who helped turn Francis around on the issue after the Argentine pope botched his handling of the abuse scandal in Chile. Scicluna is based in Valletta but also retains a senior position in the Vatican office that handles abuse cases.

Bishop Mario Grech heads the Catholic Church on the Maltese island of Gozo. He was named by Francis last year to take over the Vatican office that coordinates the synod of bishops, the meetings to debate matters of importance to the church.

Staten Island man, 72, files Child Victims Act suit over alleged 1960s abuse by Poly Prep teachers

Daily News

February 2, 2020

By Larry McShane

For Brooklyn Poly Prep County Day School alum Richard Rubin, the typical 3 Rs of education came with a fourth: Rape.

Rubin, now a genteel 72-year-old Staten Island resident, alleges in a newly-filed Child Victims Act lawsuit that he was sexually abused on a weekly basis between 1960-65 by a cabal of five predatory teachers at the prestigious school. Rubin was even taken to the apartment of the most aggressive instructor for one-on-one assaults, according to court papers.

“It would be really nice to kick Poly in the teeth and let them take notice of what went on,” Rubin told the Daily News after the Brooklyn Supreme Court suit was filed. “If not for the money, Poly might not take any notice. The headmaster, the dean of boys, the athletics department— they basically all let this go on.

"It was a horrible time.”

His attorney David Oddo, after vetting the incredible tale of long-running abuse, said Poly operated more like a ’70s bathhouse than a college preparatory school.

The predatory quintet “anally raped and viciously sexually assaulted the plaintiff on a weekly basis ... on school premises, including but not limited to the locker room, classrooms and under the stairwells,” the lawsuit alleged.

New Brighton man, 72, files Child Victims Act sex-abuse lawsuit against Poly Prep

SI Live

February 4, 2020

By Joseph Ostapiuk

A 72-year-old New Brighton man filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against his alma mater, Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, for alleged abuse he suffered on a weekly basis on the grounds of the institution when he was between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

The newly-filed lawsuit alleges that Richard Rubin endured “multiple rapes and vicious and brutal sexual assaults” by five separate teachers at the school, including being assaulted in classrooms, stairwells, a locker room and the apartment of one of the abusers.

Poly Prep “failed to take steps” to prevent the teachers from raping children in their care, instead leaving the accused individuals in charge of the children who attended the school, the court filing claims.

February 9, 2020

Albany-area priest on administrative leave following allegations


February 8, 2020

By Rick Karlin

Daniel Maher, 81, served in a number of Capital Region parishes

Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said Saturday he has placed a priest who retired from active ministry in 2008 on administrative leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1960s and 70s.

The Rev. Daniel Maher, 81, served as pastor of Holy Cross (now All Saints), Albany, from 1994 to 2008; pastor of Sacred Heart (now Immaculate Heart of Mary), Watervliet, from 1973 to 1994; associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales, West Albany (now Christ Our Light, Loudonville), from 1966 to 1973; associate pastor of St. Mary’s, Clinton Heights, from 1965 to 1966, and associate pastor of St. Teresa of Avila (now Mater Christi), Albany, from 1962 to 1965.

Maher denies the allegations, according to the statement from the diocese.

Scharfenberger’s decision came after a preliminary investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, which recommended administrative leave pending the completion of the full investigation.

Pope Francis Fills Two Episcopal Vacancies in Chile Left by Sex Abuse Scandal

Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

February 7, 2020

According to Reuters, Chilean officials have investigated 120 allegations of sexual abuse or cover-ups involving 167 Church officials or church workers.

Santiago, Chile - Pope Francis on Wednesday appointed bishops to the dioceses of Osorno and San Bartolomé de Chillán, both of which had been left vacant in 2018 amid the sex abuse scandal of the Church in Chile.

On Feb. 5 Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo was named Bishop of Osorno, and Father Sergio Hernán Pérez de Arce Arriagada, was named Bishop of San Bartolomé de Chillán. Both had been serving as apostolic administrators of their new respective sees.

The chanceries of both Bishop Osorno and Bishop Chillán had been raided in September 2018 amid an investigation into sexual crimes against minors committed by members of the Church.

The Diocese of Osorno had been vacant since the June 2018 resignation of Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, who had been accused of covering up abuses of Father Fernando Karadima.

Dunkirk priest accused of sexual abuse, then reinstated, dies


February 8, 2020

Father Riter led St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Dunkirk. The Diocese of Buffalo said he died 'after a brief illness.'

The Rev. Dennis Riter, who was accused of sexual abuse before being cleared and reinstated by the Diocese of Buffalo, has died.

The Diocese said through a statement on Saturday night that he died "after a brief illness."

Father Riter led St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Dunkirk, which confirmed his death on its website.

"We sadly announce that Father Dennis Riter passed away Saturday afternoon, February 8, 2020. Please keep his family in your prayers during this most difficult time," the message read.

Father Riter was placed on administrative leave in March of 2018 during the investigation before eventually being reinstated months later, in late June.

Riter was originally accused by at least two men who said the priest abused them in Buffalo while Riter was serving at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Dunkirk pastor dies following medical emergency


February 8, 2020

We are learning that Father Dennis Riter has died.

That's according to a source close to the parish where he worked in Dunkirk.

Father Riter was the pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

The church's website says Father Riter suffered a serious medical emergency earlier in the week.

Father Riter was accused of child sexual abuse by multiple victims, yet was returned to ministry by Bishop Richard Malone.

He was the focus of a 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation.

The Bishop defended his decision saying there was no evidence to support the allegations.

Gymnast Sexual Abuse Victims Offered $215 Million Insurance Payout to Settle Claims

Insurance Journal

February 4, 2020

By Will Graves

USA Gymnastics has filed a bankruptcy plan that includes an offer of $215 million for sexual abuse survivors to settle their claims against the embattled organization.

The $215 million total is the amount the insurance carriers for USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee are willing to provide in hopes of ending years of legal battles with athletes who were abused by former national team doctor Larry Nassar. Survivors have been in mediation with USA Gymnastics since the organization filed for bankruptcy in December 2018.

Nassar is serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography in Michigan. Hundreds of athletes have come forward over the last three years saying Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment, including reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman.

Bankruptcy law requires businesses to provide an exit plan within 18 months, and the exit plan is another step in a still lengthy process. USA Gymnastics President Li Li Leung told The Associated Press on Thursday that the organization wants to “work toward a true consensual settlement” with survivors.

Lincoln diocese safeguarding team 'envy' of Anglican church


February 7, 2020

Children and vulnerable people are safe in the care of the Anglican church in Lincolnshire, a senior clergyman says.

A BBC investigation in 2019 found two former Bishops of Lincoln had failed to act when informed of alleged abuse.

The current Bishop, Christopher Lowson, was later suspended for a separate alleged failure to act in relation to a safeguarding children inquiry.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln said the diocese was "doing its best to get it right" and had "first class staff".

The BBC investigation found clergy and staff from the diocese were referred to police in 2015 over allegations a "blind eye" had been turned to claims of historic child abuse.

Police and the Lincoln Diocese investigated 25 people over alleged abuse from a list of 53 names passed to officers, with three cases leading to convictions.

Price tag for priest sex abuse in New Jersey? $11 million and climbing


February 9, 2020

By David Madden

Over $11 million has been paid out, or soon will be, by five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey to dozens of victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. And that effort is far from finished.

564 claims have been filed all told and 105 have been addressed according to Camille Biros, who along with fellow Washington-based attorney Ken Feinberg, is administering an independent fund. They have done the same for the Catholic Church in four other states including Pennsylvania after a similar effort on behalf of 9/11 victims.

Of the 105 claims addressed, all but seven are getting a settlement payment. The remaining 459 claims are still under review.

“We are no longer taking any information about new allegations,” Biros told KYW Newsradio. “We are taking the completed claim forms from individuals who we’ve determined already to be potentially eligible to participate in the program. So they have the information. They just need to complete that paperwork and get that to us by February 29th.”

Child Victims Act lawsuit: Boy was sexually assaulted in 1985 at Binghamton Salvation Army

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin via PressConnects

February 7, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A Binghamton man has accused a former staff member at the Salvation Army's Youth Center of sexually assaulting him when he was a homeless 16-year-old during the latter months of 1985.

The now-51-year-old man's lawsuit, filed Monday in Supreme Court of Broome County under New York's Child Victims Act, doesn't name the suspected abuser but it refers to him as a "John Doe" — an agent, administrator and/or officer with the Salvation Army.

Alleged repeated acts of sexual abuse, including rape, harassment and violence, were committed between September and December of 1985, according to the lawsuit. Seven defendants are listed: the Salvation Army, its Open Door Youth Center now known as the Salvation Army of Binghamton, and five "John Does," one of them described as the "principal abuser."

The lawsuit accuses the abuser of grooming the 16-year-old victim while working as a counselor at the Youth Center, someone who became a guiding force in the victim's life.

A Twist of Fate Led a Main Line Doc and Her Patient on a Fight for Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights

Philadelphia Magazine

February 8, 2020

By Victor Fiorillo

It wasn’t until a patient revealed her abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar that psychiatrist Liz Goldman decided to go public with her own sexual assault in the Lower Merion School District.

Hi, this is Dr. Liz Goldman. Please feel free to leave me a message, and I will return your call within 24 hours. I apologize, but I am not accepting new patients.


Those are the words that Sarah Klein heard when she called Bryn Mawr-based psychiatrist Liz Goldman in November of 2015. Klein, 36 at the time, had recently moved from Florida to the Main Line and just had a baby, and she was looking for a therapist, in part because her doctors told her she might be suffering from postpartum depression.

Klein, an intense, stylish attorney with piercing eyes, delicately asked around for references, the way you do when you’re new to the area and in search of something a bit more personal than, say, a plumber or an auto mechanic. She’d get the number of a therapist and make the call, but she heard the same thing over and over again: no new patients.

Eventually, one therapist who couldn’t fit Klein in gave her Liz Goldman’s number. Klein made the call. In spite of what she heard on Goldman’s voicemail greeting, Klein left a message. Goldman retrieved Klein’s message just after a longtime patient canceled an appointment scheduled for the next afternoon. She immediately called Klein and offered her the spot.

“To this day, I have no idea why I did that,” says Goldman, a comparatively introspective woman who’s been in private practice since 2003, when she was chief resident of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. “I never do that. I hadn’t seen a new patient in maybe 10 years.”

Klein sat on the couch in Goldman’s ground-floor office in a sprawling brick apartment complex just off Lancaster Avenue and told the doctor about some of her struggles. What Klein had to say at that time was pretty garden-variety compared to some of the cases Goldman has handled, which have ranged from psychosis to full-blown personality disorders. But Klein clearly needed help, and she continued seeing Goldman regularly for the next two years. Then the regular visits stopped, and Klein vanished from Goldman’s world.

February 8, 2020

'It's painful': Why didn't a former Valley priest accused of sexual abuse appear in court?

12 News

February 7, 2020

By Bianca Buono


John "Jack" Spaulding was indicted in January. His lawyer says days before the indictment, Spaulding was diagnosed with a "mortal illness."

A former Valley priest accused of molesting multiple children did not appear in court on Friday morning.

In January, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced that Father John "Jack" Spaulding was indicted and accused of sexually abusing at least two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

Spaulding was due in court Friday for his arraignment. He did not show up. But families of victims, clergy, and Bishop Thomas Olmsted did.

It was an emotional morning for those like Katy Soukup.

“It’s painful and it’s hurtful," Soukup said.

According to a lawsuit, her brother, David, was sexually abused by Spaulding in the 1980s. After turning to drugs and crime to cope with his trauma, David's father shot and killed him in self-defense in 2010.

Pope dismisses founder of Miles Christi Institute from clerical state

Catholic News Agency

February 4, 2020

La Plata, Argentina - Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state Argentine priest Roberto Juan Yannuzzi, founder and superior of the Miles Christi (Soldier of Christ) Institute, who has been found guilty of abuse.

The order has locations in the U.S. dioceses of San Diego and Detroit, as well as Argentina, Mexico and Italy.

Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, where the institute was founded, said in a Feb. 2 statement that Pope Francis made the decision because Yannuzzi “has been found guilty of crimes against the sixth commandment with adults, the absolution of the accomplice, and the abuse of authority.”

The abuse involved male religious who were members of the Miles Christi Institute, which Yannuzzi founded, the statement said.

Our View: Father White should be praised, not silenced

Martinsville Bulletin

February 4, 2020

The First Amendment, the mission statement of our democracy, holds self-evident two primary rights for each of us: to say freely what we think and to practice the religion we prefer without interference from the government. Oppression against those tenets is why a group fled England on boats and why their (and our) ancestors made those protections the first in our Constitution.

So it is with ultimate irony that a proceeding today in Richmond could determine if a free religion can limit free speech – even to the point of firing and keeping quiet an employee for doing the job he is supposed to be doing, which is comforting the afflicted.

Maybe what Father Mark White really has been doing is inflicting the comfortable of the Catholic Church, because we find the steps the church has taken to censor his comments and threaten his calling to be both repugnant and ridiculous.


But among those were the eyeballs of his superior – Barry Knestout, the bishop in Richmond — and quite possibly others from the Vatican. Because someone decided Father White needed to keep his fingers still and his mouth shut when it came to the church’s practices. We suspect those orders were handed down from above the bishop’s pay grade.

Now Father White did not hesitate in his writings to be frank about what he saw as his church’s failings. He was enflamed by the fact that one of the guilty was Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the man who had ordained him as a minster. Father White told Bill Wyatt of the Bulletin that he began to recognize how McCarrick had conducted himself, that he now sees how McCarrick might have signaled his interest in the men who said he had abused them.

Fueled by righteous anger and his oath to protect the innocent from the abuse of anyone in any way, Father White challenged the way his church was protecting the perpetrating priests more aggressively than they were those injured innocents.

Priest pulls lawsuit against Ft Worth’s Bishop Olson, but allegations remain dizzying

Catholic News Agency

February 3, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

Fort Worth TX - A Fort Worth diocesan priest who resigned his post and later attempted to rescind his resignation has dropped a lawsuit against Bishop Michael Olson and the Diocese of Fort Worth— a lawsuit which alleged that the bishop had defamed him by implying he is a threat to children.

In June 2018, Olson asked Father Richard Kirkham, former pastor of St. Martin de Porres parish in Prosper, Texas, to resign his pastorate, because the priest did not report to authorities what appeared to the bishop to be a case of a priest abusing a vulnerable adult.

Last week, Kirkham dropped the lawsuit he had filed in June 2019. In that lawsuit, Kirkham and his attorney had argued that the bishop had, in interviews with the Star-Telegram, implied that Kirkham’s removal was because he posed a danger to minors and the vulnerable.

According to Kirkham's attorney, John Walsh, the lawsuit was dropped because Olson eventually clarified that Kirkham’s resignation did not result from any failure to report the sexual abuse of child, and there are not any allegations that Father Kirkham has sexually abused a child.

How is the Catholic Church spending “Peter’s Pence?” A R.I. parishioner sues to find out

Boston Globe

February 3, 2020

By Amanda Milkovits Globe Staff,Updated February 3, 2020, 6:01 a.m.

Providence RI - A parishioner in East Providence has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, after media reports that as little as 10 percent of collections go to charity.

Every year, the Conference of Catholic Bishops solicits for donations from parishioners at Catholic churches around the country for the “Peter’s Pence Collection." The fund is advertised as a collection to help victims of war, natural disasters and disease throughout the world.

David O’Connell says in his lawsuit that he donated to Peter’s Pence at Sacred Heart Church in 2018 because he thought the money was going to the needy.

Then, last month, the Wall Street Journal and other media in Italy reported that millions of dollars were actually going to “plug holes in the Vatican’s administrative budget" -- along with investments in other unusual projects.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars over the last several years has been diverted into various suspicious investment funds, which in turn have funneled the money into such diverse ventures as luxury condominium developments and Hollywood movies, while paying fund managers hefty, multi-million dollar commissions,” Providence lawyer Peter N. Wasylyk and Marc R. Stanley of the Stanley Law Group in Dallas, Texas, wrote in the lawsuit filed Jan. 22 at U.S. District Court.

Marriage, family therapist to chair U.S. bishops’ National Review Board

Catholic News Service via Crux

February 8, 2020

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has appointed Suzanne Healy, the former victims assistance coordinator for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as the new chair of the National Review Board, effective in June.

Healy, a retired marriage and family therapist, served as the victim assistance coordinator for the Los Angeles Archdiocese from 2007 to 2016 and for the past three years she has been a member of the National Review Board.

Prior to her work in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, she served as a high school counselor and before becoming a therapist, she served in strategic planning experience for AT&T Pacific Bell.

Healy will succeed Francesco Cesareo, who concludes his term as chair after the bishops’ June 2020 meeting. Cesareo, president of Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, has served as the review board chairman since 2013.

Pope’s Amazon document due Wednesday amid married priest row

Associated Press

February 7, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis will release his eagerly-awaited document on the Amazon next Wednesday, with attention focused on whether he will approve calls by the region’s bishops to ordain married men to address a priest shortage there.

Speculation about Francis’ decision has intensified in recent weeks after retired Pope Benedict XVI co-authored a book insisting on the “foundational” need for a celibate priesthood. The book, excerpts of which were published Jan. 12, appeared to be a direct attempt by the retired pope and his conservative allies to influence the thinking of the current one.

Vatican officials sought to defuse that idea Friday, saying Francis had turned over his document to the Holy See for translation on Dec. 27, before “From the Depths of Our Heart” came out. They said Francis’ text did not undergo any changes since then.

Fordham Rescinds Professor’s Honors Following Clerical Abuse Allegations

Fordham Ram

February 6, 2020

By Erica Scalise

Rev. Nicholas J. Langenfeld, former social welfare professor in the Graduate School of Social Services, prior recipient of the President’s Medal and the eponymous figure of the Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Langenfeld Chair in Social Research at the university’s Graduate School of Social Sciences, has a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against him listed by the Diocese of Green Bay.

The university revoked Langenfeld’s honors in 2019, posthumously, following its knowledge of the allegation. The Langenfeld Chair was renamed the Sister Thea Bowman Chair according to Bob Howe, director of communications for the university. The Fordham community was not notified of these changes.

According to Howe, there is no central list of revoked honors.

The university publicly rescinded Bill Cosby’s honorary degree in 2015 in light of sexual misconduct allegations against him and Charlie Rose’s honorary degree in 2017 following sexual assault allegations brought against him. In the case of Langenfeld, Howe said the university did not make a formal statement because he was long deceased when the university revoked the honors.

Langenfeld is not on Fordham News’ list of priests connected to the university with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Howe said the lack of update was an oversight.

New Legionaries of Christ superior accused of mishandling priest allegations

Catholic News Agency

February 7, 2020

By JD Flynn

Women who made allegations against a priest in the Legionaries of Christ say the religious order’s newly elected superior general mishandled the situation, allowing the priest opportunities to cross boundaries with women even after complaints against him had been made.

But the Legionaries of Christ say that Fr. John Connor, who was this week elected worldwide leader of the group, has not been negligent in his oversight responsibilities in the religious order.

“He does, however, believe there is room for improvement when working toward a culture of zero abuse,” Gail Gore, a spokesperson for the Legion told CNA Feb. 7.

Connor became the North American territorial director for the Legionaries of Christ in 2014. Three years later he received two reports about boundary violations on the part of Fr. Michael Sullivan, a priest of the order.

In that year, one woman reported that Sullivan had treated her in a way that seemed to cross boundaries, while she was still an adolescent.

Letters to the Editor: Your thoughts on Catholic confusion, the continuing abuse crisis and more

National Catholic Reporter

February 7, 2020


It should not surprise anyone that the public disclosure of the crimes committed by sex predator priests has made being a priest more difficult and less pleasant for their non-predator colleagues.

Nevertheless, the "turmoil" caused by the public's knowledge of these criminals and their crimes vanishes when contrasted with the lifelong damage that is inflicted on the innocent children who have been raped and otherwise used for the sexual gratification by men who are said to be the servants of God.

We should save our sympathy for the raped children and let the non-predator priests resolve their own "turmoil." Perhaps the solution is for the priesthood to rid itself of the sex predators among its members and see to it that more predators are prevented from joining.

Please consider reporting how many of America's 17,000-plus Catholic parishes were not "served" by a sexual predator priest between, say, 1951 and 2000. I picked the last five decades because of the very long time between (a) the average age of the victim at the first rape (11) and (b) the average age of the victim when such rapes are reported (44).

San Antonio, Texas


These are the men (priests mentioned in article) who should be running our archdioceses. They know the real heartbeat of the parishes that make up the archdioceses are not the cardinals and bishops that parishioners rarely encounter.

I am tired of receiving "My dear brothers and sisters" letters from someone who doesn't know who is part of their archdiocese and stays behind a partition of staff to fend off questions!

Emerson, New Jersey


I empathize with U.S. priests who feel the pressure and turmoil. The situation in Ireland is not dissimilar.

A factor unnecessarily adding to the pressure is a failure to recognize how much has changed in the understanding of child sexual abuse in the past 40 years. The article refers to "This cover-up … a lot are angry at bishops and the institutional church for screwing up."

We insist today on the highest standards of dealing with allegations of abuse. It is unjust, and anachronistic, to judge the actions of those dealing with allegations 40 or 50 years ago as if they had our knowledge. The wisdom and best-practice of those times are the folly and outrage of today. They did not have our knowledge of how widespread abuse is, nor of the effects on those abused, nor how to deal with abusers. This is true of priests and of legal, medical and social professionals.

Dublin, Ireland


This excellent article described well how hard it must be to be a good priest in the midst of a severe shortage of ministers.

There is a simple solution: Ordain women. Give parishes to women who have already been ordained as Catholic priests. I have been to two of these ordinations. As I see these women, in vestments at the altar proclaiming the gospel, performing the Eucharist, my first thought is: what is the church afraid of?

A man says, "I have been called to the priesthood" and everyone rejoices. He then works to pass the requirements of the seminary and enhance his spiritual life. A young woman says, "I have been called to the priesthood" and the church says, "No, you haven't."

From the beginning, with the great women saints, until today when sisters are at the border and women are running schools and parishes, what more do we have to do prove that we are the equal of men in our love for the message of Jesus? The church would rather close parishes than share priestly power with women. One might say that the church has brought this burden of overworked priests on itself.

Evanston, Illinois

February 7, 2020

Legionaries elect U.S. leader as superior general

Catholic News Service

February 7, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

During a general chapter meeting largely devoted to their order’s sexual abuse crisis, the Legionaries of Christ elected U.S. Father John Connor as superior general for the next six years.

Connor, who will celebrate his 52nd birthday Feb. 15, has been the territorial superior for North America since 2014. He was elected superior general Feb. 6 in Rome.

A native of Severna Park, Maryland, Connor is the first superior general of the Legionaries who was not born in Mexico, where the order was founded in 1941.

Ordained to the priesthood Jan. 2, 2001, Connor has ministered mainly in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta. He holds a degree in finance from Loyola College in Baltimore and studied philosophy and theology in Rome.

Oxygen series focuses on McAlester abuse case

McAlester News

February 6, 2020

By James Beaty

A two-night series on the Oxygen television network focuses partially on a case that went through the Pittsburg County court system in 2013 and 2014.

Details of the case and what preceded and followed it are included in a new investigative series called "The Witnesses," set to air at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8 and 9, on Oxygen, a pay television network owned by NBCUniversal.

The program covers what the network calls a five-year investigation into policies of the Jehovah's Witness organization by Trey Bundy, of the Center for Investigative Journalism. It tells the stories of four individuals who reported to police that they were sexually abused as children, including two women from McAlester.

After struggle to cope, abuse survivor finds ‘healing in heart of church’


February 3, 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.

Settlement reduction ‘unethical and unfair’, says abuse survivor

Church Times

February 7, 2020

By Hattie Williams

A SURVIVOR of clerical abuse had his settlement reduced by more than one third by the Church’s insurer, Ecclesiastical, based on the evidence of a psychiatrist who had never met the claimant, his lawyer has confirmed.

The story was first reported in the Insurance Post on Tuesday. The survivor — referred to as Tony — alleges that he was abused by two individuals. He suffered from mental-health issues after he first disclosed the abuse — an experience that he described as a “reawakening” of the trauma.

In 2017, Tony rejected an offer of settlement from Ecclesiastical. He was in hospital, having attempted to take his own life, when a lower offer was made. A Part 36 offer is routinely made by either the claimant or the defendant as a tactical step to convince the other party to settle the claim early, without the matter having to go to court. It must be accepted within 21 days.

Trying to build a church family in the #churchtoo era

The Brookings Register

February 7, 2020

By Terry Mattingly

The email was signed “Worried Wife,” and contained a blunt version of a question Bronwyn Lea has heard many times while working with women in and around churches.

The writer said her husband had become friends with another woman his own age. There were no signs of trouble, but they traded messages about all kinds of things. This was creating a “jealous-wife space” in her mind.

“Worried Wife” concluded: “I need a biblical perspective. What is a godly view of cross-gender friendships, and how should they be approached within the context of marriage?”

Memphis-based COGIC facing allegations of sexual abuse

FOX 13

February 4, 2020

By Leah Jordan

Memphis-based Church of God in Christ is named in a lawsuit which details decades-old allegations of sex crimes.

The suit also names two New York churches, and an assistant pastor.

Warren Curtis alleges he was sexually abused in a New York church when he was a child.

Colorado priest abuse reparations program paying victims

Associated Press

February 6, 2020

A Colorado reparations program for people abused by Catholic priests when they were children paid more than $1 million to nine of 78 people who submitted claims.

The filing deadline was Friday and 60 cases are under review, The Colorado Sun reports.

One of the independent administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program for the Archdiocese of Denver, the Diocese of Colorado Springs and the Diocese of Pueblo said another $500,000 in payments are due to four other victims.

‘I want it to be known what this man did to me.’ Long Beach resident joins wave of sex abuse lawsuits against Boy Scout leaders

Long Beach Post

February 6, 2020

By Kelly Puente

Long Beach resident Manny Lemos joined the Boy Scouts of America in the early 1970s after his father died, hoping the organization would give him a sense of belonging.

Lemos said he was 11 when an assistant scoutmaster befriended him and then began sexually abusing him during camping trips to Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. The abuse, which continued until he was 14, had a profound affect on his life, he said.

“I was too afraid to tell anyone because I didn’t think anyone would believe me,” said Lemos, now 61. “But now I’m ready. I want it to be known what this man did to me.”

Should clergy in Utah be required to report confessed child abuse? Catholic Church opposes proposed bill

St. George News

February 3, 2020

By Hollie Reina

In the 2019 fiscal year, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services received 42,428 reports of child abuse or neglect, according to their annual report. Of that number, 21,401 were accepted for formal assessment by Child Protective Services and 10,828 confirmed child victims were found.

All of those numbers were up from 2018, according to the same report.

Kristy Pike, director of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center, said that rising numbers are not necessarily a bad thing. In most instances, that means better reporting of child abuse and neglect, she said.

Authorities investigate abuse allegations against Pevely-area church day care employees

Leader Publications

February 4, 2020

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and state authorities are investigating abuse allegations against former employees at a day care program run by Victory Church, 1 Victory Drive, southwest of Pevely.

The Victory Children’s Center of Victory Church is under investigation, Sheriff’s Office Capt. Gary Higginbotham said Jan. 31.

On Jan. 15, the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services notified the Sheriff’s Office that it was investigating alleged abuse that occurred this year, Higginbotham said.

Burnsville church investigation finds abuse allegations made against former pastor are credible

Star Tribune

February 05, 2020

By Erin Adler

Two young women made credible claims against a former Burnsville church pastor when they accused him of having inappropriate sexual relationships with them more than 15 years ago, an investigation by the church has concluded.

The Rev. Wes Feltner, a former lead pastor at Berean Baptist Church, was found by the investigation not to be "above reproach," meaning that he behaved in a shameful way not "free from sinful habits" and deserving of "rebuke or censure" in the eyes of church elders, according to a recent statement from the church to congregants.

A meeting for the congregation was held Jan. 23 to explain the investigation's results. Church leaders didn't return phone calls, and a relative of Feltner's said he didn't want to comment.

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness recounts sexual abuse in doc, organization denies trying to cover it up

Fox News

By Stephanie Nolasco

Sarah Brooks was sitting next to her father in his pickup truck when she confessed to him she had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of two church members.

Brooks was just 17 at the time, but she claimed it all started when she was just 15.

“I deliberately chose that moment,” she told Fox News. “I didn’t want to look at him in the face. I knew something wasn’t right and I just didn’t know what to do about it. He said, ‘The best thing to do is tell the truth. That’s the only thing you can ever do.’ That’s when I proceeded to tell him what had happened to me, all the touching and kissing that occurred.”

Ask Dr. Land: Sexual abuse in the Church — part 1 (the children)

Christian Post

February 7, 2020

By Richard Land

Question: There have been disturbing reports about child sex abuse in churches, sometimes even the father being the perpetrator, and pastors and counselors saying that the perpetrator has repented and pushing reconciliation and forgiveness even though the victim believes the perpetrator is faking it and feels unsafe. Church leaders have even pushed for children to forgive and live with the father who sexually abused them and some have resulted in continual abuse. How do you balance repentance, forgiveness, born-again theology, and protecting the victim and preventing further abuse – both in a counseling setting and in a church setting? How do you deal with a convicted child sex abuser joining the church and setting up proper protection while also needing to recognize someone beyond their past sins?

Jesuit High, plaintiffs reach settlements in 2 lawsuits claiming long-ago molestation by janitors


February 6, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Two men who filed lawsuits claiming they were raped as children by janitors at Jesuit High School’s Mid-City campus have moved to dismiss their cases after receiving financial settlements.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Roger Stetter, said Thursday that both sides had agreed not to disclose the amounts and terms of the settlements, which were negotiated through a mediation process.

As is standard with such agreements, neither the school nor the religious order that runs it acknowledged any wrongdoing. But Stetter said his clients stood by their claims that they were sexually molested decades ago by Gary Sanchez and the late Peter Modica.

The Church must do more to rebuild trust in the wake of the abuse scandal

Scottish Catholic Observer

February 7, 2020

An audit of two Scottish dioceses reveals scale of healing abuse wounds but some progress is being made, reports Peter diamond

More work is needed in building trust, an independent audit of safeguarding practices in two Scottish dioceses has recommended.

Both the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh and Galloway Diocese welcomed the report, which was published on Thursday, January 30, yet reviews of safeguarding processes within the two dioceses have noted ‘healing’ was still ongoing and called for more support for abuse survivors.

Germany’s church synod draws praise, criticism

Catholic News Service

February 6, 2020

The first synodal assembly on the future the Catholic Church in Germany drew both praise and some criticism, with many of the 230 participants lauding what they called a special atmosphere in the debates on key reforms.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said the spirit of the talks had been “positive and encouraging” and referred to the synodal path process as a “spiritual experiment,” reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, which represents laypeople, said: “No one is disputing the other’s piety here.” A “new image of the church” had been seen in the Frankfurt talks, he said.

Francis fills two episcopal vacancies in Chile left by sex abuse scandal


February 6, 2020

Pope Francis on Wednesday appointed bishops to the dioceses of Osorno and San Bartolomé de Chillán, both of which had been left vacant in 2018 amid the sex abuse scandal of the Church in Chile.

On Feb. 5 Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, O.F.M., was named Bishop of Osorno, and Father Sergio Hernán Pérez de Arce Arriagada, SS.CC., was named Bishop of San Bartolomé de Chillán. Both had been serving as apostolic administrators of their new respective sees.

The chanceries of both Osorno and Chillán had been raided in September 2018 amid an investigation into sexual crimes against minors committed by members of the Church.

Catholic investigations are still shrouded in secrecy

The Sumter Item

February 7, 2020

By Brian J. Clites

Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone resigned in December 2019 after intense public criticism for his handling of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the diocese of Buffalo, New York.

His departure came three months after the Vatican announced what's called an "apostolic visitation" - a religious investigation that allows the pope to swiftly audit, punish or sanction virtually any wing of the Roman Catholic Church - into Malone's diocese or region.

Clericalism cited as root of sex abuse crisis

National Catholic Reporter

February 4, 2020

By Sarah Salvadore Accountability

At Villanova event, Hans Zollner calls out past systemic failure in reporting, stopping abuse

In a Jan. 29 talk at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner said that clericalism is the root cause of the damage done to the church and called out past systemic failure in reporting, punishing and stopping abuse.

"There is general mistrust and suspicion on cardinals and bishops. This is not just happening in U.S. and Australia — the level of trust on bishops is below zero. And this has devastated an institution that is built on trust and faith," he said.

Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Center for Child Protection, at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, spoke as part of a series examining the sex abuse crisis. Zollner spoke on the situation of the church across the globe.

Former Michigan Priest to Stand Trial on Rape Charges

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

February 6, 2020

A former Roman Catholic priest in Michigan will be tried on sexual assault charges for allegedly abusing a 5-year-old boy after a 1987 family funeral, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Wednesday.

Vincent DeLorenzo was bound over for trial after a hearing before Grand Blanc District Court Judge Christopher Odette. The judge also increased DeLorenzo’s bond from $100,000 to $200,000. He remains in Genesee County Jail.

DeLorenzo, 81, is accused of abusing the boy from 1995 to 2000. The child was a student at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church school in Burton. The alleged victim testified he was raped by DeLorenzo in the second grade. Defense attorney Michael Manley has said his client ``maintains his innocence.”

Although the alleged crime took place more than 10 years ago, Michigan’s statute of limitations is suspended when a defendant leaves the state for any reason. DeLorenzo admitted when he resigned from a Flint-area parish in 2002 that he had sexually abused a child. He wasn't charged at the time.

Attorney general to release report on clergy abuse claims

Associated Press via National Catholic Reporter

February 6, 2020

By Jennifer McDermott

Rhode Island's attorney general said Feb.6 he expects to release a public report later this year with findings from his review of allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics in the state.

Democrat Peter Neronha continues to review the allegations to figure out what happened, what the response was and whether anyone can be held responsible in Rhode Island, one of the most heavily Catholic states.

Neronha, who met with reporters at his office Thursday, said he couldn't yet say whether any criminal charges will be filed. The challenge with such cases nationwide is that many perpetrators are dead, he added.

At a minimum, Neronha said he anticipates writing a public report and releasing it later this year to describe the allegations, the response, whether he deems the response appropriate and whether sufficient safeguards are now in place.

The goal is to write it in the style of the 2018 landmark grand jury report on sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania, he added.

Neronha gained access in July to nearly 70 years of records from the Diocese of Providence for his review, shortly after the diocese released a list of 50 clerics, religious order priests and deacons it deems to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, dating to 1950.

The diocese voluntarily agreed to a new memorandum of understanding to give the attorney general and the Rhode Island State Police access to all complaints since 1950, whether deemed credible by the diocese or not.

Cardinal Parolin: On McCarrick Report Release, Pope Francis Has ‘Final Word’

Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

February 6, 2020
By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis will make the final decision on when to publish a highly-anticipated report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Thursday.

“I think that [the report] will come out soon, I cannot tell you exactly when,” Cardinal Parolin told a small group of journalists Feb. 6.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on holiness, the cardinal said “we are trying to speed up the time to arrive” at the publication of the report on the Vatican's internal investigation into the disgraced former cardinal.

Cardinal Parolin did confirm that he expects the document to be released “in the near future.”

“However, the publication depends on the pope. The work that is done is done, but the pope must give the final word,” he added.

The Vatican announced that it would conduct an internal review of files on McCarrick’s career in October 2018. McCarrick was a cardinal and the archbishop of two major American sees before he was found guilty of serial sexual abuse and laicized in 2019, following a canonical process.

Why didn't a former Valley priest accused of sexual abuse appear in court?

News 12

February 7, 2020

By Bianca Blanco


Father John "Jack" Spaulding was indicted in January. His lawyer says days before the indictment, Spaulding was diagnosed with a "mortal illness."

Father John "Jack" Spaulding was due in court for his arraignment.

But he did not show.

According to a motion filed by his lawyer, Greg Meell, the 74-year-old was diagnosed with a terminal illness just a few days before Spaulding's indictment in January, so he was too sick to appear in court.

The document said Spaulding is weak and called attending Friday's hearing a "threat" because of illnesses like the flu spreading around.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced in January that Spaulding was indicted and accused of sexually abusing at least two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

McCarrick report expected soon but pope has last word: Vatican official


February 6, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Work on a Vatican report into disgraced ex U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is complete and it may be released in the near future but Pope Francis will have the final word on timing, the Vatican's number two said on Thursday.

McCarrick was expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood a year ago after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults and abuse of power.

The 89-year-old, once a power-broker as Archbishop of Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2006, is the highest profile Church figure to have been dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.

In 2018, Francis ordered a through study of all documents in Holy See offices concerning McCarrick. The four U.S. dioceses where he served - New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, D.C. - carried out separate investigations to feed into the Vatican report.

Abuse crisis damaged people more than Church

Catholic News Service via The Tablet

February 6, 2020

By Gia Myers

Up to 200 people gathered at the conference to broaden their understanding of the global sex abuse crisis.

The Church has been damaged by the sexual abuse crisis, but people have been damaged more, according to a leading Vatican safeguarding expert.

Fr Hans Zollner SJ, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told a conference in the US: "Much damage has been done to the church" due to clergy sexual abuse, said Fr Zollner, "but more damage has been done to human beings." In responding to this crisis, "many people are engaged in the same mission: a safer church and a safer world," he said.

Almost 200 people filled the Driscoll Hall Auditorium at the Augustinian Catholic University of Villanova in Pennsylvania, looking to deepen their understanding about global perspectives on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

The evening event was the third conference in the four-part series of discussions with Catholic theologians hosted by Villanova to examine the abuse crisis. It featured Fr Zollner, a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church's leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors.

La Crosse diocese names seven more priests accused of sexual abuse

La Crosse Tribune

February 6, 2020

By Kyle Farris

The Diocese of La Crosse has released the names of seven more priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

These additions, made Wednesday, include two priests who held assignments in La Crosse and four who worked at a now defunct Jesuit boarding school in Prairie du Chien.

They are:

- Benedict Adams (St. Anthony Retreat Center, Marathon)
- J. Michael Cannon (Campion High School, Prairie du Chien)
- Thomas R. Haller (Campion High School)
- J. Roger Lucey (Campion High School)
- Charles Meyer (St. Rose Convent, La Crosse)
- James V. O’Connor (Campion High School)
- Michael A. Spegele (St. Francis Hospital, La Crosse)

At least five of the priests have died, and the other two were long ago dismissed by the Society of Jesus. It is unclear whether Cannon (dismissed in 1997) and Haller (dismissed in 1982) are still alive, still working with children or still serving in religious roles.

States use Catholic clergy abuse lists to screen applicants

Associated Press

February 6, 2020

By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer

In the wake of revelations that scores of Roman Catholic priests and religious workers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living unsupervised in communities across the country, state officials face a quandary: Should they screen former clergy members who seek licenses for jobs that put them in contact with children? And, if so, how?

An Associated Press investigation last fall found nearly 200 accused clergy members had been granted teaching, mental health or social work licenses, with roughly six dozen still holding valid licenses to work in those fields in 2019.

Since then, at least 20 states have started using church-released lists of priests and employees who faced credible allegations to screen applicants or check for current state teaching, foster care and therapy licenses -- and, in some cases, have revoked credentials.

As part of the church’s attempt to be more transparent about its ongoing sexual abuse crisis, more than 170 dioceses and religious orders have publicly released lists of clergy members they found to be credibly accused of abuses ranging from rape to child pornography.

Over 5,300 priests, clergy members and a handful of lay employees -- more than 2,000 of them still living -- are on the lists. But because most were never convicted of a crime, the allegations of child abuse never appeared in licensing background checks, the AP’s investigation revealed.

Church and law enforcement officials have said there is little they can do to monitor or restrict the nearly 1,700 mostly former clergy members the AP found living without supervision because many voluntarily left the church or were laicized, which means they are permanently restricted from the priesthood and return to private citizenship.

Retired priest, 89, convicted of abusing boy at church in 2001 sentenced


February 6, 2020

Munhall PA - An 89-year-old retired priest who was found guilty of sexually abusing a then-11-year-old-boy in 2001 was sentenced to nine to 23 months and 29 days on Thursday afternoon.

The Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty on six of eight charges he sexually abused a boy in the basement of Saint Therese Church in Munhall.

The judge shaved one day off of the sentence so Lang would not go to state prison. The execution of the sentence does not start immediately because there are issues over a motion to dismiss because of statute of limitations.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli convicted Lang in a non-jury trial but Judge Anthony Mariani will be the new judge, because Tranquilli has been ordered not to hear any cases after he allegedly made a racially charged remark during a closed-door meeting involving an assistant district attorney and a defense attorney.

The victim returned from Southeast Asia last year to testify against Lang.

Lang was on the witness stand for nearly an hour during his trial, testifying in his own defense. He insisted he does not know the victim and never abused him.

Lawyer says former Valley priest accused of sexual abuse is too sick to go to court

News 12

February 6, 2020

By Bianca Buono


Father John "Jack" Spaulding was indicted in January. His lawyer says days before the indictment, Spaulding was diagnosed with a "mortal illness."

A former Valley priest accused of molesting multiple children is due in court Friday morning. The only problem? The priest likely won't have to show up.

“When the innocence of a child is taken from them, it is an absolutely unspeakable act," said Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel shortly after the indictment.

In January, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced that Spaulding, 74, was indicted and accused of sexually abusing at least two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

Legion Elects U.S. Superior Amid New Abuse, Cover-Up Crisis

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

February 7, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Legion of Christ religious order, discredited years ago by its pedophile founder, has elected an American priest as its new superior as it seeks to recover from new sex abuse and cover-up scandals that have renewed calls for it to be disbanded.

The Rev. John Connor, 51, is the first American to lead the Mexico-based order. His election Thursday was a sign that the Legion's heavily Mexican hierarchy realized it needed to send a signal that it is changing course, 10 years after it first promised reform.

Among Legion priests, Connor is seen as a reformer. But he has also been accused of mishandling a case of a priest accused by several women of crossing physical and emotional boundaries in the U.S. The priest was only recently removed from ministry even though initial reports about his behavior were received in 2017.

Connor, who has been in charge of the Legion in North America since 2014, has apologized for those who were hurt. And he has acknowledged that the Legion overall has not handled abuse cases properly and must now "wade through the sins of our past" to try to regain the trust of the faithful.

The Vatican took the Legion over in 2010 after determining that its late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually abused at least 60 seminarians, fathered at least three children, and built a cult-like order to hide his crimes.

Pope Defrocks Founder of Another Latin America-Based Order

Associated Press via Southeast Missourian

February 5, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Another founder of a Catholic religious movement has been defrocked for sexual misconduct and abusing his power, the latest in a string of purportedly orthodox, charismatic priests who turned out to be predators.

Pope Francis defrocked the Argentine priest, Roberto Juan Yannuzzi, after a four-year investigation determined he had sex with adults under his authority, absolved them of the sin during confession and otherwise abused his power.

The pope’s decision was made public this week in a statement by the archbishop of La Plata, Argentina, where Yannuzzi in 1994 founded the Miles Christi community. The name is Latin for “Soldier of Christ.”

The movement is a religious order of priests, religious brothers, consecrated women and laity with a presence in Argentina, Italy, Mexico and in the U.S. dioceses of Detroit and San Diego, according to its website.

In a statement, Miles Christi said its members had denounced Yannuzzi’s abuse and “irregularities” starting in 2016.

Second alleged sex crimes victim sues Fresno Catholic Diocese over decades-old claims

Fresno Bee

January 31, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

The Diocese of Fresno faces a second lawsuit in less than a month filed under the state’s New Child Victims Act.

The suit accuses Father Miguel Flores of sexual abuse claims of which he was acquitted after a criminal trial in 2002.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court also names as defendants St. Paul, Tranquility Roman Catholic Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church. The alleged victim, who is only identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe was about 16 years old when the alleged abuse by Flores took place. She is now 34.

Flores was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 28, 2019, after a report from a third party came to light in connection with the 2002 case in which he was acquitted. He was serving at St. Joseph Church in Bakersfield when he was placed on leave.

Archbishop Hebda to further investigate Crookston bishop

Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

February 4, 2020

By Maria Wiering

The Congregation for Bishops in Rome has authorized Archbishop Bernard Hebda to further investigate claims that Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston interfered with an investigation of clerical sexual misconduct, according to a Feb. 4 statement from the archdiocese.
Judge Tim O’Malley, director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, will oversee the investigation, serving as the archbishop’s delegate.

The statement says that the investigation will continue to look into claims that the bishop, “had engaged in ‘acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct’ as prescribed by the motu proprio, ‘Vos estis lux mundi.’”

Pope Francis promulgated the “motu proprio,” meaning an edict personally issued by the pope, in May 2019 to set new worldwide norms for reporting sexual abuse and to hold bishops accountable for abuse and/or its cover-up. It states that if a bishop is accused of misconduct, the Holy See will mandate his metropolitan archbishop to investigate the claim. As archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop Hebda is metropolitan archbishop of the bishops in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Bishop Hoeppner, 70, is reportedly the first sitting U.S. bishop to be investigated under the new norms. In September 2019, The Catholic Spirit reported that Archbishop Hebda had been mandated to conduct a preliminary investigation of Bishop Hoeppner’s actions. Archbishop Hebda noted at that time that he had engaged qualified laypeople, including staff from the archdiocese’s Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment and its Ministerial Review Board, to conduct the investigation.

In Philly, $39 million in clergy-abuse payouts so far — about $215,000 per damaged life

Philadelphia Inquirer

February 6, 2020

By Maria Panaritis

At first, the number seems huge: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has paid out nearly $39 million to 181 sexual-abuse victims through the compensation fund it opened last year.

Wow, you might think to yourself. Finally, the institution whose leaders allowed generations of children to be destroyed by the sexual depravity of countless priests while bishops and monsignors helped cover it up, is paying up from the treasury it so immorally had fought to protect.

But don’t be fooled. This is a mammoth number only when you consider how difficult victims have found securing just compensation in one of the nation’s largest Catholic dioceses thanks to resistance by the church itself.

Accountability has arrived, yes. But at discount rates.

The $39 million tally, provided to me this week about the clergy-abuse compensation fund created after the 2018 grand jury report into Catholic clergy abuse in Pennsylvania, is well below what the five-county archdiocese would likely have paid in court — if it had not helped block a state law that would have allowed a flood of lawsuits.

Catholic priest from Burton, Flushing parishes heading to trial on sex charges


February 5, 2020

Bond doubled as Flint-area priest bound over to trial

A former Catholic priest is facing trial on sex charges dating back to his work at parishes in Burton and Flushing in the 1980s to 2000s.

Vincent DeLorenzo is facing three counts of first-degree and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct from 1995 to 2000 in one case and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct from 1987 in the second case.

DeLorenzo is accused of touching a boy inappropriately more than a hundred times from 1995 to 2000. The now-30-year-old testified he was in elementary school at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Burton.

The man said the abuse ranged from groping to DeLorenzo digitally penetrating him.

"I thought it was tickling. I thought it was fun. And he turned it into somewhat of a game at first," he testified.

The alleged abuse stopped when the boy left the school in 2000.

DeLorenzo also is accused of touching a 5-year-old boy inappropriately in 1987 after a relative's funeral at Holy Redeemer.

"He said if you tell anyone your uncle will not become a priest," the now-38-year-old testified.

How New Legislation Could Help Victims of Sexual Abuse

Oxygen Media

February 5, 2020

By Jill Sederstrom

Last year, 23 states and the District of Columbia adopted some reform impacting statute of limitations laws, giving victims of sexual abuse more opportunities to have their voices heard.

Statute of limitations laws have long silenced the voices of sexual abuse victims—but new legislation in multiple states could give victims of abuse more power in legal battles.

Just last year New York passed the Child Victims Act, a legislative move that could finally give many victims of childhood sexual abuse their day in court.

But New York isn’t alone. In 2019, 23 states and the District of Columbia had reform go into effect that impacted the statutes of limitations, according to data from ChildUSA, a think tank for child protection.

Some states made changes to their criminal child sex abuse laws, other states made changes to civil child sex abuse laws and some of the states made changes to both types of laws, a spokesperson from the organization told Oxygen.com.

An increasing number of states are also eliminating the statutes of limitations for criminal cases to be filed for some crimes, which depending on the state, could include child molestation, rape or first-degree felonies.

February 6, 2020

NM priest accused of rape found not guilty


February 4, 2020

A former Catholic priest, accused of raping a six-year-old boy, was found not guilty, according to a spokesperson with the attorney general's office.

Prosecutors claimed Marvin Archuleta, 81, raped the boy in 1986 inside Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz.

The former priest was arrested in 2019 at his northeast Albuquerque apartment. The arrest was the result of a two-year investigation conducted by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.

Victim speaks out after Catholic priest was acquitted on child rape charges


February 5, 2020

By Chris Ramirez

A former New Mexico Catholic priest who was acquitted of child rape is now walking free, but some victims feel that justice was not served.

Isaac Casados of Española was one of those people hanging on to hope that Marvin Archuleta would be found guilty. Casados said he suffered abuse at the hands of Archuleta in the early 1990s when he was an altar boy at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz.

“He would touch you on the chest, then on the leg, then he would brush his hands on your buttocks and it was though he was testing you—grooming you as to what comes next,” he said.

Casados said light touches evolved into full-on sexual assault.

House committee advances legislation to eliminate statute of limitations for child sex abuse

Tulsa World

February 4, 2020

By Randy Krehbiel


A bill that would repeal the statute of limitations on sex crimes involving minors advanced from an Oklahoma House of Representatives committee over concerns about defendants’ right to a fair trial.

House Bill 3024, by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, passed the House Judiciary Committee, 12-5 on Tuesday, with most of the opposition coming from attorneys.

“How does this impact the defendant’s right to a fair trial, when you seemingly endlessly extend the statute of limitations,” said Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa. “From my perspective as an attorney, a defendant is entitled to a trial while memories are fresh (and) witnesses are available. Extending the statute of limitations, doesn’t that impair the defendants’ access to that potential evidence?”

Diocese of Crookston - Hoeppner will no longer be involved in investigations

Crookston Times

February 5, 2020

Congregation for Bishops in Rome says archbishop in St. Paul will instead be involved in cases of abuse

The Congregation for Bishops in Rome recently specified that during the investigation of Crookston Diocese Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner, the faculty to deal with cases of sexual abuse against clerics of the Diocese of Crookston has been transferred from Bishop Hoeppner to Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

In an official statement released by the Diocese of Crookston Tuesday, it was announced that the Archbishop was authorized by the Congregation to conduct further investigation related to claims that Bishop Hoeppner had engaged in “acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct” as prescribed by the motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi.

Judge Timothy O’Malley, Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, will serve as the Archbishop’s Delegate for the investigation.

Memphis-based Church of God in Christ facing lawsuit following sexual abuse allegations


February 3, 2020

By Janice Broach

COGIC being sued by man alleging sexual abuse

The Memphis-based Church of God in Christ is being sued by a man who says he was sexually abused in the 1970′s. The allegations involve two churches in New York State.

The sexual abuse claims in this lawsuit allegedly happened decades ago and that is why it was filed under the Child Victim’s Act, a law in New York that extends the statute of limitations involving sexual abuse.

The Memphis based Church of God in Christ is named in this lawsuit because the headquarters is in Memphis. The now 57-year-old man from South Carolina filed the lawsuit in Albany County Supreme Court in the state where he alleges the crimes happened.

The lawsuit names St. John’s Church of God in Christ in Albany, New York and the former assistant pastor Dirome Williamson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Also named St. Mathew’s Temple Church of God in Christ in Utica, New York.

Senate passes bill extending sex crimes statute of limitations

Indiana Lawyer

February 5, 2020

By Katie Stancombe

A bill that would have done away with the statute of limitations for certain child sex abuse crimes is making headway in the 2020 Indiana General Assembly. But some advocates are disappointed in how the bill has panned out.

Indiana Senate Bill 109, proposed by Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, initially aimed to extend the amount of time survivors have to bring criminal charges against their abusers. Under current state law, Hoosiers who were sexually abused as children have until age 31 to criminally prosecute those who harmed them.

An amendment authored by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, to SB 109 would ultimately keep the statute of limitations in place, but allow for three exceptions to the rule if one of three things occurs: DNA evidence sufficient to charge the offender is discovered, a recording of the crime is revealed, or a confession is made.

From that point forward, law enforcement would have five years to pursue a criminal prosecution, even if the age 31 statute of limitations has passed. Those exceptions are also offered for survivors of rape, introduced in a 2015 bill authored by Crider known as “Jenny’s Law.”

Ivereigh's 'Wounded Shepherd' documents Francis' first seven years with clarity, color, skill

National Catholic Reporter

February 3, 2020

By Michael Sean Winters

Pope Francis poses with people during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 29. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Next month, we will celebrate the seventh anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. In some ways, it is hard to remember what we were feeling before it became obvious that this first pontiff from the Americas would be a reforming pope. In other ways, it seems like yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI resigned from his office and flew off to Castel Gandolfo. And, so before we start the looks back and looks ahead for this anniversary's occasion, it is good to ground ourselves. Fortunately, at hand is just the book to do it, Austen Ivereigh's Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church.

Just as Ivereigh's 2014 biography The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope helped many of us better understand what experiences had formed the new pope before his election, this new book provides a much needed, lucidly written, look at the past seven years. Remarkably, he does so in part by taking a swipe at his earlier biography! At a June 2018 meeting, the pope warned Ivereigh against the "great man" myth in writing his book:

I realize now that 'The Great Reformer' contributed to that myth, written in the dizzying first months of his pontificate, the parallels with his life — how he appeared at moments of crisis in the church — offered an irresistible narrative: cometh the hour; cometh the man. I cringe now that I even likened him to a gaucho riding out at first light.

Okay, okay: The gaucho reference was cringeworthy. But, Ivereigh's biography, combined with Elisabetta Piqué's Pope Francis: Life and Revolution were indispensable early volumes that helped the rest of us understand Jorge Maria Bergoglio's life before March 13, 2013.

I suspect that Chapter 5 of the current volume will be the one that most engages an American audience, as it focuses on the pope's real conversion on the clergy sex abuse issue. At first, the pope had received lousy information about the situation in Chile. After he was faced with ongoing and credible objections, he dispatched Archbishop Charles Scicluna to investigate, and Scicluna documented the depth of the problem and how wrong the pope had been. The pope took this very public self-correction to heart.

Calls made to remove name of accused priest from Glen Cove building

News 12

February 5, 2020

There are calls for the name of a priest accused of sexually abusing a child to be removed from a building in Glen Cove.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian says his client was sexually abused by Father Eligio Della Rosa in 1964 at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church.

"He asked my client to meet him in the pews of the church and my client did," says Garabedian. "And that's where my client was sexually abused by Father Della Rosa, by Father Della Rosa instructing my client to perform oral sex on Father Della Rosa at the age of 14."

Garabedian, who has represented other abuse victims, says his client wants Della Rosa's name removed from a building at the Church of Saint Rocco in Glen Cove.

Attorney: Abuse victim wants priest's name off Glen Cove Catholic church


February 5, 2020

By Zachary R. Dowdy

The attorney for a former parishioner of a Rocky Point Roman Catholic Church — who claims a priest abused him in the pews there a half century ago — is demanding the clergyman’s name be removed from a Glen Cove church.

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney representing people who claim they were abused by priests, said he recently reached an out-of-court settlement with the Diocese of Rockville Centre against Father Eligio Della Rosa, who allegedly forced his client to perform oral sex on him in the pews of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rocky Point in 1964.

The alleged victim was 14 at the time, Garabedian said, adding that he reached a settlement in the “low six figures” in September through the church’s voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. The mechanism, which was established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2017, operates outside of the court system.

Empty Suit? Still No Lawsuit Nearly Three Months After Attorney Mitchell Garabedian Made Sex Abuse Allegation Against Bishop DiMarzio

The Tablet - Diocese of Brooklyn

February 5, 2020

By Christopher White


Despite claims that he intended to file a lawsuit with an allegation of child sex abuse against Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in December, attorney Mitchell Garabedian says he is still preparing his case.

When asked by The Tablet on Jan. 30 about the delay, Garabedian replied that he’s “just preparing” the lawsuit.

Joseph Hayden, Bishop DiMarzio’s attorney, told The Tablet that the bishop is eager to clear his name, adding the allegation is from more than 45 years ago, which he believes raises credibility issues from the outset.

“We look forward to the filing of the lawsuit so Bishop DiMarzio can have his day in court,” said Hayden, an experienced trial attorney. “Bishop DiMarzio is ready, willing and able to defend this lawsuit as soon as the court will be able to hear the matter, because the allegation is not true.”

February 5, 2020

Francis MacNutt's colorful life, controversial marriage and (now) death gets sparse coverage

Get Religion

February 4, 2020

By Julia Duin

A few weeks ago, a giant in the Catholic and charismatic Christian world died quietly in Florida at the age of 94. Francis MacNutt was a man who in his time was as radical as another Francis, the current pope, is today.

I also still have a copy of a terse statement from the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal that ran in the April 1980 issue of New Covenant magazine, which was the voice of the renewal. The statement said in part:

“Francis’s decision to leave the priesthood without laicization and to marry saddens us greatly. We know that his action is objectively, seriously wrong and we believe that for him it is a tremendous personal mistake…We strongly believe in the principles of obedience in the) Catholic Church and we cannot support what Francis has done …

But MacNutt never looked back. His wife quickly gave birth to a daughter, then a son. They relocated from Clearwater to Jacksonville at the invitation of then-Diocese of Florida Bishop Frank Cerveny to operate an ecumenical healing center in conjunction with the diocese. When MacNutt spoke with Pugh, he was even more adamant that celibacy should not be a requirement for priests and that clergy who ask to leave in order to marry shouldn’t be punished by the church.

Years later, I did a piece for the Washington Times on men like MacNutt who left the priesthood and one of the most common questions from these ex-priests was why they were excommunicated — while sexually abusive priests were not. Even former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked following revelations of his sexual abuse of seminarians and under-age boys, was not excommunicated.

House Bill Removes Statute of Limitations That Could Revive Sex Abuse Claims


February 4, 2020

By Lee Strubinger

South Dakota lawmakers will hear a bill that strips the statute of limitations for adults who bring lawsuits on sexual abuse they experienced as children.

Similar bills have failed in the past.

It’s been 10 years since state lawmakers placed a statute of limitations on child sex crimes. It says any over the age of forty can only recover damages from any person or entity that perpetrated the sexual abuse act.

Since then, one group of Native women have been trying to overturn that statute of limitations. They are trying again this year.

Louise Charbonneau alleges she and her nine sisters are the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated at the St. Paul Indian Mission in Marty in the 1950’s and 60’s.

They allege being deloused with the insecticide DDT, being shown Nazi propaganda and being told their parents will go to hell if they tell them about their abuse.

Charbonneau says the bill will protect South Dakota children by giving them a window for child sex abuse victims to come forward.

Longtime Seattle police victim advocate was accused of child sex abuse while he was a priest

Seattle Times

February 5, 2020

By Asia Fields

Before Garry Boulden was a victim advocate with the Seattle Police Department — guiding victims and their families through the aftermath of tragedies — he was a Catholic priest in Spokane, where he was accused of molesting a child.

The accusation wasn’t public when Boulden was hired 31 years ago but the department knew of it by at least 2003, when Spokane police investigated a report of possible child sex abuse by Boulden in the 1970s and ’80s. That investigation didn’t go forward at the alleged victim’s request, and no charges were filed.

The accusation became public knowledge in 2004 when the woman sued the Spokane Diocese, which settled with her and more than 100 other people who filed unrelated lawsuits in bankruptcy. A search for Boulden’s name online now brings mixed results: those about his work with homicide victims’ families next to articles about the lawsuit and his name on the Spokane Diocese’s and Seattle Archdiocese’s lists of credibly accused priests.

McCarrick report: Questions needing answers

National Catholic Reporter

February 4, 2020

By Thomas Reese

The Vatican is getting ready to release a report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was found to have sexually abused minors and slept with seminarians. The report, mandated by Pope Francis, will need to be detailed and comprehensive if it is going to satisfy the public's demand for more transparency in the church.

Few scandals have rocked the Catholic Church like the story of McCarrick's sexual abuse of minors and seminarians.

His actions are shocking enough, but the fact that such a predator could rise to be a cardinal in the Catholic hierarchy is flabbergasting. Well-connected with the rich, McCarrick was a superb fundraiser. He was also respected by political and religious leaders around the world. He often played an unofficial diplomatic role for the Vatican. The scandal is especially devastating to progressive Catholics who saw McCarrick as a moderate on church issues and a strong supporter of Catholic social teaching.

The McCarrick report needs to respond to simple questions that may require complex answers: Who knew what, when and where about McCarrick's activities? What do we know already?

No one appears to have known about McCarrick's abuse of minors until the first victim came forward in 2017 to request assistance from the New York Archdiocesan Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. The victim said the abuse had taken place in the early 1970s when McCarrick was a priest in New York. The archdiocese immediately reported it to Rome, and the pope told New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan to investigate. In the meantime, McCarrick was banned from public ministry. He was forced to resign from the College of Cardinals and was dismissed from the clerical state in February 2019.

Charlotte Diocese List Could Have Had at Least One More Name: Harold Johnson


February 5, 2020

By Sarah Delia

It’s been more than a month since the Charlotte Diocese released its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse involving minors. The diocese says the process to publish the list was a thorough one that included hiring an independent investigative firm to review its files. But the list has received criticism about being incomplete.

Since the Charlotte Diocese list was released in the waning days of December, Terrence McKiernan of the watchdog group Bishop Accountability.org has repeatedly said names are missing.

One of those names is Harold Johnson.

"Harold Johnson was a Boston priest, ordained in 1949 who worked for most of his career in Boston but spent three years working at St. Patrick’s in Charlotte," McKiernan said.

Johnson was included on a 2011 list released by the Boston Archdiocese of credibly accused clergy. His assignment history — where he served and correlating years — are included. He died in 2009.

From February 1957 to October 1959, Johnson worked at St. Patrick in Charlotte. At that point the entire state was under the jurisdiction of the Raleigh Diocese. The Charlotte Diocese wasn’t formed until 1972.

Sex abuse victim advocates call Anchorage Archdiocese report too little, too late

Alaska Public Media

February 4, 2020

By Casey Grove

None of the Catholic priests reported to have been involved in sexual misconduct in a 50-year review of records released last month by the Anchorage Archdiocese was ever convicted of a crime. There is also no indication the report has prompted any new criminal investigations since its release.

The report, made public Jan. 16, is based on an independent commission’s review of the church’s records. It lists 14 employees of the Anchorage Archdiocese, 13 of whom it says engaged in sexual misconduct with minors or vulnerable adults and one who was caught viewing child pornography. The allegations span from 1956 to as recent as 2015.

Ten of the men are alleged to have engaged in misconduct while in Alaska. Four are accused of misconduct elsewhere, after serving in Alaska.

'End of an era': Christ the King Seminary slated to close in May

Buffalo News

February 4, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Christ the King Seminary, which for 163 years trained men to become Catholic priests, will be shut down in May at the end of the current academic year, as the Buffalo Diocese slashes costs amid a clergy sex abuse scandal that’s led to a dramatic downturn in giving.

The Rev. Kevin Creagh, seminary rector and president, announced the decision on campus this afternoon to faculty, staff and students, following votes of the board of trustees and members of the seminary corporation.

Creagh cited diocesan financial constraints and “uncertainties surrounding future vocations” in explaining the closure.

"This is very difficult for us. It's a very sad and disappointing moment in our history. It's the end of an era," he said.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, chairman of the seminary board of trustees, said the seminary has been operating for the past decade with average annual deficits of $500,000 and was no longer sustainable.

“The bottom line is the task of the seminary, which is primarily academic, is something that cannot be sustained given the resources that we have right now,” he said. “We can’t continue to operate at a deficit budget.”

The announcement followed a fiscal year 2019 in which the diocese suffered $5 million in operating losses, due primarily to a steep decline in donations from parishioners who have been stunned and angered by the diocese’s handling of clergy sex abuse allegations.

Syracuse Catholic diocese reinstates priest accused of abuse after review


February 4, 2020

By Patrick Lohmann

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has reinstated a priest who was accused of sexually abusing a boy in the early 1980s.

Rev. Paul Angelicchio went on voluntary leave in November while a diocese review board investigated the person’s allegation of abuse.

The review ruled it could not substantiate the allegation, the diocese said in a news release this weekend:

“Based on the information available at this time and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, the Diocesan Review Board was unable to substantiate the allegation. Bishop (Douglas) Lucia has accepted the Board’s findings.”

Angelicchio was restored to his position as pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Rome on Saturday, according to the diocese.

Crookston bishop faces further investigation, loses authority to handle sex abuse allegations

West Central Tribune

February 4, 2020

By Alex Derosier


Crookston MN - The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has been cleared by Catholic Church leadership to continue its probe into the Crookston bishop’s alleged cover-ups of clerical sexual abuse.

The Congregation for Bishops in Rome authorized Archbishop Bernard Hebda to proceed with further investigation into Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who has been under investigation since September, according to a Tuesday, Feb. 4, statement from the Catholic Diocese of Crookston.

In addition to the continued investigation into the Crookston bishop, the authority to handle priest sex abuse cases has been transferred to Hebda, the Crookston Diocese said.

Judge Timothy O’Malley, director of ministerial standards and safe environment for the archdiocese, will serve as Hebda’s delegate in the investigation, the diocese said.

The investigation by Twin Cities church authorities came after an allegation surfaced in 2017 that Hoeppner silenced a victim of abuse.

The bishop was named in a lawsuit brought by Ron Vasek that claimed he was sexually abused by Crookston Diocese priest Monsignor Roger Grundhaus about 40 years ago. According to the complaint, Hoeppner coerced Vasek to sign a letter denying his own allegations.

Colorado’s Catholic priest abuse reparations program received 78 claims, has already paid out over $1M

Colorado Sun

February 5, 2020

By Jesse Paul

The deadline to file claims with the reparations program, created voluntarily by Colorado’s three dioceses, was Friday. There are still more than 60 claims to sort through.

Colorado’s reparations program for people abused by Catholic priests when they were children has already paid out more than $1 million to nine of the 78 people who submitted claims by Friday’s filing deadline.

Another $500,000 in payments are due to four other victims and more than 60 cases still are being reviewed, said Camille Biros, one of the independent administrators of the reparations program.

The reparations program was created through a voluntary agreement between the Catholic Church and Colorado’s Attorney General’s Office after a third-party investigation into child sexual abuse by priests in the state’s three Catholic dioceses.

The investigators’ report was released in October. It found that at least 166 children had been molested by at least 43 priests since 1950.

Biros said she’s not expecting other claims to be filed since the deadline has passed. “The only way we would be expecting more is if somebody calls and there clearly is a legitimate reason why they couldn’t get it to us on time,” she said Tuesday in an interview with The Colorado Sun.

Priests on sex offender registry find a home in alternative ministry

CBS News

February 5, 2020

By Li Cohen

Father Jamie Forsythe has always felt his purpose was to be a priest. He pursued that calling even after he pleaded guilty in 1989 to a charge of attempting to take indecent liberties with a 15-year-old boy in Kansas, serving time in prison, and being laicized — officially removed from the priesthood — by the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City.

Forsythe, then in his 30s, was released from prison after less than four months of his one-to-five-year sentence, and eventually found work at Metropolitan Community Church of the Black Hills, a progressive Christian church in South Dakota that primarily serves LGBTQ worshippers. Forsythe was ordained within the Metropolitan Community Church denomination in 1996, according to the Rapid City Journal, and began working at the Black Hills church in January 2000. But when the congregation discovered in 2002 he had failed to register as a sex offender in the state, he resigned from his post and made his way to Wilton Manors, Florida.

That's where Forsythe found a job at Holy Angels, nestled in a strip mall between a tapas bar and a Peruvian restaurant.

It is part of a church system called The National Catholic Church of North America, but it is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Forsythe was hired as a priest there in 2005, according to the church. The alternative diocese is home to about 200 parishioners in seven parishes in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Washington, D.C.

The La Crosse Diocese says 25 former priests sexually abused kids. Its report omits key details.

Wausau Daily Herald

February 5, 2020

By Laura Schulte

La Crosse - The Diocese of La Crosse has so far released no information about the number of children who were sexually assaulted by the 25 priests on its list of abusers, nor any details about when or where the abuse happened.

The diocese released the list of credibly accused abusers on Jan. 18 but said Bishop William Patrick Callahan would not take questions about the release, nor did the Catholic institution provide any background information about the firm that conducted the review, Defenbaugh & Associates, of Kaufman, Texas.

Since the day the list was released, diocese spokesman Jack Felsheim has not responded to multiple messages from the Wausau Daily Herald requesting an interview with the bishop. The founder of Defenbaugh & Associates told the Daily Herald he couldn't disclose information about the investigation.

The review found that 25 priests who served in churches and schools in the diocese over several decades had been credibly accused of abusing children, but left out many details.

February 4, 2020

Woman says she was raped by ex-Visalia priest. Now she's suing Diocese of Fresno

Visalia Times-Delta

February 3, 2020

By James Ward

The Diocese of Fresno is being sued by a woman who says she was sexually assaulted as a teenager by a Roman Catholic priest who once served in Visalia.

The case had previously been the focus of a 2002 Kings County criminal case in which Rev. Miguel Flores was found not guilty of three counts of rape, two counts of witness intimidation and one charge of criminal threats.

Flores was put on leave by the diocese in 2019 after new allegations surfaced about the 2002 case involving the 16-year-old girl.

Flores' suspension came after the Diocese of Fresno announced in February 2019 it would review charges of sexual abuse by priests and other church officials dating back to 1922.

After suspending priest, Fresno Catholic Diocese is sued over his 2002 abuse case

The Sun

February 4, 2020

By Alex Tavlian

A now-suspended priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is the subject of a new lawsuit centering on allegations of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl in the early 2000s.

Los Angeles attorney Paul Mones filed a lawsuit against the Diocese and two of its churches alleging they were negligent in supervising Father Miguel Flores and failing to warn about his potential actions, given prior knowledge.

The suit was raised under a new law, Assembly Bill 218, which grants sexual abuse victims previously barred by the statute of limitations a three-year window to initiate action. The law came into effect Jan. 1.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe due to her status as a minor at the time of the alleged abuse, filed a complaint with law enforcement in 2001 after incidents while Flores served at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hanford.

Majority of Utahns support removing clergy exemption for reporting child abuse, poll finds

Daily Herald

February 3, 2020

By Connor Richards


More than three-quarters of Utahns support legislation to remove reporting exemptions for clergy and other religious leaders who learn about abuse during a religious confession, a new poll has found.

The poll was conducted by The Salt Lake Tribune and Suffolk University between Jan. 18-22. Of all respondents, 67% said they “strongly support” legislation removing clergy exemptions for reporting child abuse while 11.2% said they “somewhat support” such legislation.

Only 7% of respondents said they were “strongly opposed” to legislation removing reporting exemptions for religious leaders and 4.4% said they were “somewhat opposed.” 10.4% of respondents said they didn’t know how they felt. The poll included 500 respondents and has a margin of error of 4.4%.

While Utah law mandates that any adult who learns about child abuse report it to legal authorities, there is an exemption for religious leaders who learn about abuse from a perpetrator during a confidential confession. Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, is sponsoring a bill, House Bill 90, to remove this exemption.

February 3, 2020

#MenToo gains support in Ontario where male sexual abuse survivors are speaking out

CBC News

February 3, 2020

By Kerry McKee

Canada's Justice Ministry found approximately 13 per cent of men are sexually abused. The majority never tell.

[Photo Caption] William O'Sullivan has been picketing every Sunday for 18 months outside the parish in Welland Ont. after being sexually abused by a priest as a child.

There's a growing trend in Ontario.

Men are speaking out about the sexual abuse they have suffered and demanding resources, or setting up their own groups, to access support.

"We call it the MenToo movement," said Bob McCabe, a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest.

To tackle sexual abuse, Catholic Church must match words with concrete action: survivor

The abuse started in 1963 when McCabe was 11. He didn't tell anyone about it for 29 years, when he finally told his mother. It took another two decades for McCabe to speak out publicly and take legal action against his perpetrator.

Girl's suit alleges 7 St. Mary's High students sexually abused her

Buffalo News

February 2, 2020

By Mike McAndrew

Seven St. Mary's High School students had sexual contact with a female student in a boys' locker room four years ago, and the school responded by expelling the girl instead of calling police, according to a new Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Friday.

The plaintiff, who was not identified in public records, alleged in the lawsuit that she was a minor who was left unsupervised with the seven students in a locker room of the Lancaster school on Feb. 9, 2016. The students, who were not identified, had unpermitted sexual contact with her, she alleged.

The seven students had been recruited to St. Mary's to play on the school's sports teams, the lawsuit alleges.

Instead of reporting the incident to police, school officials expelled the girl two weeks after the incident, the lawsuit claims.

The girl sued the Buffalo Diocese and St. Mary's High School under the Child Victims Act. The case alleges that the diocese and the school were negligent in failing to supervise the seven students, that they knew or should have known of other similar incidents involving the seven students, that they failed to protect the girl, and that they retaliated against the girl.

Shaun Dougherty, victim advocate and survivor of clergy sex abuse, makes a bid for the state Senate


January 31, 2020

By Ivey DeJesus

One of the most outspoken and recognizable faces in the clergy sex abuse survivor community is taking his public advocacy up another notch: Shaun Dougherty is making a bid to represent the state’s 35th Senatorial District.

Doughtery, a Democrat from Johnstown, on Friday officially filed his candidacy with the state, and by Monday expects to launch his campaign.

The 35th District represents Cambria and Bedford counties, along with parts of Clearfield County.

Dougherty’s candidacy brings him full circle to a pivotal moment that changed his life and, he said, marked the beginning of his healing.

Local veteran calls on 2020 presidential candidates to support military rape survivors

CBS 12

February 2, 2020

By Lexi Nahl

A Port St Lucie woman is taking her fight for justice for survivors of military rape to Washington D.C.

Harmony Allen has been pushing for justice since her rapist walked free in 2018.

She says she was raped by her Sergeant on an air force base in Texas 20 years ago.

Veteran Harmony Allen pictured the day after she said her instructor raped her.

“He slammed me up against the wall and he held his forearm against my throat,” Allen told CBS12 News of the violent attack.

Harmony Allen said she reported the rape multiple times, but the military kept sweeping it under the rug because she was afraid to name her perpetrator.

Her rapist was eventually convicted and sentenced to jail time in 2017, but was released just two years later after a military court of appeals ruled on the statute of limitations for these cases.

French skating head questioned amid sex abuse claims

Associated Press via Seattle Times

February 3, 2020

By Samuel Petrequin

The head of the French skating federation will be grilled Monday by the country’s sports minister following a string of accusations of sexual abuse and rape by a coach on underage skaters.

Didier Gailhaguet is not directly targeted by the claims but will be asked about coach Gilles Beyer, who has been accused of rape and continued to work with the federation following an investigation that raised suspicion in the early 2000s.

Gailhaguet was called in following the publication of a book last week in which Sarah Abitbol, a 10-time French champion and bronze medalist in the pairs at the 2000 world championships, accused Beyer of raping her between 1990 and 1992 when she was a teenager.

“I’m expecting him to give me explanations on how, and why these cases took place,” French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said.

A Statement Regarding Archbishop Emeritus John J. Myers

Archdiocese of Newark

January 28, 2020

By Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The physical and mental health of the Archbishop Emeritus John Joseph Myers has suffered a serious decline.

After a recent visit with his family in central Illinois, Archbishop Myers decided to remain in the region of his birth where he is receiving specialized care and can be visited by his family as well as the clergy of the Diocese of Peoria.

I ask all the faithful in our Archdiocese to pray for Archbishop Myers that the mercy of God comfort and strengthen him in this moment of fragility.

The Archdiocese has begun preparation for the sale of his retirement residence in Hunterdon County. After members of his family have collected his personal possessions, the home and property will be sold and the funds will be returned to the Archdiocese.

Sincerely yours in Christ the Redeemer,

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.

Newark archbishop moves to Illinois, controversial NJ retirement home to be sold


January 28, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

Archbishop John J. Myers, the former head of the Newark Archdiocese who was criticized for his handling of priest abuse scandals, has moved to Illinois to be near family for health reasons, and the church will sell his Hunterdon County retirement home — which stirred controversy six years ago when church funds were used to build an expansive wing and an indoor pool.

Myers, who led the archdiocese for almost 16 years, held on to the house amid criticism that included a 2014 petition containing 17,000 signatures urging him to sell it. At the time, Pope Francis urged clergy to live simply, removing a German bishop because of his lavish lifestyle, and a Catholic leader in Atlanta agreed to sell a mansion built as his residence.

Retired NJ archbishop decides to move to Illinois; controversial mansion can now be sold


January 31, 2020

By Christopher White

New York - After a long delay, the archdiocese of Newark will finally be able to sell the mansion of retired Archbishop John Myers, who has now moved to Illinois.

In a statement earlier this week, Cardinal Joseph Tobin said that Myers’ physical and mental health is now in “serious decline.”

“After a recent visit with his family in central Illinois, Archbishop Myers decided to remain in the region of his birth where he is receiving specialized care and can be visited by his family as well as the clergy of the Diocese of Peoria,” wrote the New Jersey cardinal on January 28.

Lawmakers push for extension of Child Victim's Act window


February 3, 2020

By Mike Baggerman

Victims only have until August 14 to file civil action against abusers

More than 1,300 civil suits have been filed since the one-year look-back window for the Child Victim's Act took effect last August. Now, there is a push in Albany to extend the window for another year.

The current look-back window for victims to file civil claims on old cases expires on August 14. That means as of that date, past instances of sexual abuse against a minor cannot have any civil litigation, unless it is within the statute of limitations. New instances of abuse can have civil suits brought up to the age of 55.

Extending the Child Victim's Act look-back window has received near unanimous praise from those who pushed for its original passage. The Catholic Church and insurance companies lobbied against the original bill because of its financial impact on lawsuits and settlements.

"This first year of the CVA window in New York State has been liberating for a lot of survivors of not just clergy abuse but of all kinds of different types of institutional sexual abuse," James Faluszczak, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, said. "It takes a little bit of time, especially for those who are maybe unaware of that possibility of seeking discovery or restitution or whatever the goal is, to come to terms with the fact that I might have to talk to someone now. It's not an easy decision to make."

Church of England maintains sex guidance, despite apologizing for it

Catholic Herald from Catholic News Agency

February 3, 2020

Pope Francis meets Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
The Church of England will not be withdrawing its recent pastoral guidance affirming that sex is reserved for married, heterosexual partners, despite an apology over the statement from two of the ecclesial community’s bishops.

The guidance, “Civil Partnerships – for same sex and opposite sex couples. A pastoral statement from the House of Bishops of the Church of England”, was issued last month after civil partnerships were first made available to heterosexual couples.

The guidance draws a clear distinction between marriage and civil partnerships, noting that sexual relations are not proper to the latter.

Pope Francis, what is his project for the Church in Italy?

Catholic News Agency

January 30, 2020

By Andrea Gagliarducci

Genoa, Italy - The selection of new bishops has been a central topic of discussion during the meetings of the C6 Council of Cardinals, tasked with drafting the reform of the Roman Curia. A new procedure being used to select a successor to the Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, could be a trial run for a new method.

On Jan. 14, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, turned 77 and ended the twoyear prorogation of his mandate Pope Francis granted him. There will be no further extension of his mandate. On Jan. 23, the Apostolic Nuncio to Italy, Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, , was in Genoa to deliver a lecture on “Pastoral Conversion in Pope Francis’ teaching.” It was expected that the nuncio would give some clue on who the next archbishop of Genoa would be. It was not so. Archbishop Tscherrig confirmed that Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Bagnasco’s resignation, and he then informed the audience of the Pope’s intentionto follow a new procedure for choosing the next shepherd for the Church in Genoa.

According to standard – and long-established – procedure, the Apostolic Nuncio conducts the consultations before the appointment of a new bishop. The Nuncio sends questionnaires and letters to priests, lay people involved in the Church’s activity, and other interested people, in order to draft a profile of the possible bishops-elect. After this process, the Nuncio sends to the Congregation of Bishops a set of three potential candidates, and this set of three is then submitted to the Pope. The Pope can choose any person he wants, also outside of the set of three.

In Genoa, however, Pope Francis is using a different method this time. He sent a circular letter to the priests of the archdiocese, asking them to draft a reflection on the state of the Church in Genoa and to suggest their own short list of three possible new archbishops.

It is the first time this procedure takes place. It is yet to be seen whether Pope Francis will use it according to circumstances or if he will institutionalize the new method in the Curia reform.

Analysis: Pope Francis and the Germans

Catholic Herald

February 3, 2020

By Ed Condon

Whether he turns his attention to the furthest corner of the Amazon, or to reforming his own curia in Rome, Francis may find that all roads lead through Berlin in 2020

The year 2020 is one month old and already stacked high with expectation for Pope Francis.

The long-awaited McCarrick report is due “early” this year; so too is an expected apostolic exhortation following the Synod on the Amazon. Also on the horizon is a long-trailed but still to be delivered new constitution reforming the Roman curia.

But bubbling under the surface is one question which could ultimately define the whole of Francis’s papacy: what will he do about the Germans?

The issue of clerical celibacy has been a contested topic in Rome, before and after the Amazon synod. Cardinals Marc Ouellet and Beniamino Stella made public interventions defending the discipline in October. More recently, Cardinal Sarah published a book with contributions from Benedict XVI mounting a resolute defense of the practice.

While official papal spokesmen have underscored Francis’s personal commitment to celibacy, the settled wisdom is that a narrow carve-out for the Amazon might meet with papal approval. But the pope’s freedom to treat the Amazonian question discretely may prove limited.

An end to mandatory celibacy is widely touted as one of the expected outputs of the German synodal process, and the bishops there have been explicit that they would seize on any exception made for the Amazon.

Archbishop Viganò raises concerns about Cardinal in charge of next papal election

LifeSite News

January 31, 2020

By Diane Montagna

In a new testimony touching upon the election of the next Pope, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has alleged that the cardinal whom Pope Francis recently approved to preside over the next papal conclave was involved in covering up the misdeeds of infamous Legionary of Christ founder, Marciel Maciel.

In a statement released on January 31 and titled “The faithful have the right to know” (see official English text below), Archbishop Viganò asserts that Pope Francis’s confirmation of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals is a “masterpiece of deception.”

On Saturday, January 25, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had confirmed the election of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 86, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 76, as Dean and Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals respectively. The announcement came one month after Cardinal Angelo Sodano, 92, resigned as Dean of the Sacred College.

February 2, 2020

Church concludes investigation of former Evansville youth pastor

Evansville Courier & Press

February 1, 2020

By Michael Doyle

A church-led investigation into a former Evansville youth pastor who was accused of pastoral abuse by two Evansville women last year has found that the women's claims were credible.

A public statement from Berean Baptist Church of Burnsville, Minnesota, concluded that Wes Feltner's treatment of, and relationships with, Megan Frey and JoAnna Hendrickson about 17 years ago when he was youth pastor at First Southern Baptist of Evansville were inappropriate.

The church also found that Feltner misused church funds to pay for his own personal expenses, that he had made misleading statements to Berea elders regarding his job candidacy at another church and that he was generally unreliable and often absent in stewarding church initiatives.

‘Angels’ in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret

The New York Times

February 1, 2020

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Katherine Rosman, Sapna Maheshwari and James B. Stewart

A Times investigation found widespread bullying and harassment of employees and models. The company expresses “regret.”

Victoria’s Secret defined femininity for millions of women. Its catalog and fashion shows were popular touchstones. For models, landing a spot as an “Angel” all but guaranteed international stardom.

But inside the company, two powerful men presided over an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment, according to interviews with more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and models, as well as court filings and other documents.

Ed Razek, for decades one of the top executives at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, was the subject of repeated complaints about inappropriate conduct. He tried to kiss models. He asked them to sit on his lap. He touched one’s crotch ahead of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

People continue to ask Texas AG’s office to investigate clergy sexual abuse

The Texas Monitor

February 2, 2020

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office is being pressed by citizens to investigate clergy sexual abuse, although his office has said it cannot began an examination on its own, KXAN reported.

The TV station’s open records request shows that a dozen people have asked the AG’s office to launch an investigation since Catholic dioceses across the state released lists on Jan. 31, 2019, of priests accused of abuse.

One of the letters to the AG’s office came from 18-year-old Juleanna Culilap. Her AP government teacher encouraged her senior class last spring to write letters to political leaders about issues important to them.

Editorial: Time for the Buffalo Diocese to confess

Buffalo News

February 2, 2020

By News Editorial Board

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo faces many agonizing questions, two of which are how best to handle the tsunami of sexual abuse allegations against its priests and how to reclaim the support of parishioners who have stopped giving as a result of the revelations.

Both factors are leading the church toward a decision to seek protection in federal bankruptcy court. Both factors also share a solution: Don’t hide.

The diocese says it is on the verge of seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is facing at least 230 lawsuits while simultaneously struggling with a catastrophic loss of support. The diocese ended 2019 $5 million in the red as many members refused to donate to an organization that tolerated the sexual assaults of children, and did it in ways that ensured further abuses would occur.

The diocese is in its own pain – agony of its own making – but the way forward is clear. To best serve the adults who were abused as children and to regain the trust and support of those who have turned away, the diocese needs to be open about what its leaders did to children and, even more important, what it did to cover up those abuses. It needs, in other words, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

“The Two Popes” Gives Way to Pope vs.. Pope on the Issue of Celibacy in the Priesthood

The New Yorker

February 2, 2020

By Paul Elie

February 2, 2020

[PHOTO: The conflict between traditionalists and progressives in the Roman Catholic Church has hardened around Popes Benedict XVI and Francis and tipped toward an open dispute.]

Of the many fanciful scenes in the movie “The Two Popes,” the most striking is one set in 2012, in which Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope, from Argentina, teaches Benedict XVI, the current Pope, from Germany, how to tango. Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) has spent two days in private meetings with Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). No such encounter took place, but the screenwriter dreamed it up in order to present the very real differences that have emerged between the progressive Bergoglio and the traditionalist Benedict over the future direction of the Church. When the time comes for Bergoglio to depart, the men exit the papal apartments, via a tourist-thronged Sistine Chapel, and go to where a black Mercedes-Benz is waiting to take Bergoglio to the airport. Apropos of nothing, Benedict points out that even the radical Saint Francis of Assisi, Bergoglio’s future namesake, got some things wrong. Bergoglio replies that the saint loved to dance and suggests that if he’d lived in modern times he would have done the tango. “Come, I’ll show you,” he says. The camera moves in, and they dance: two men, both past threescore and ten, one in black, one in white, face-to-face, hand-in-hand, lurching across the paving stones.

Investigation: Victoria police reopen investigation into 2018 abuse accusation against priest

Victoria Advocate

January 31, 2020

By Elena Anita Watts

Victoria police have reopened an investigation into a 2018 abuse accusation into a priest who worked in Victoria after new information surfaced.

Victoria police have reopened an investigation into a 2018 accusation by a Nazareth Academy student of abuse by a priest after receiving new information, police and diocese officials said Friday.

Police have declined to reveal details about the case, including the priest’s name, the nature of the abuse and new information, because the investigation is ongoing, said Senior Police Officer David Brogger, spokesman for the Victoria Police Department.

“This is an active investigation so the department cannot release information,” Brogger said. “The accusation was originally reported in 2018, and more information prompted the police department to reopen the case.”

Aston Hall survivor: 'If I can survive and change my life, anyone can'

BBC News Online

February 2, 2020

By Sandish Shoker

A man who spent his childhood locked in a cellar, only to then be abused when he was taken into care, has said it took years to get used to the real world.

Stephen Smith was beaten by his parents and kept hidden away until he was 13, when he found himself at the notorious mental health hospital Aston Hall in Derbyshire.

The 59-year-old musician and artist said this "strange childhood" led to him struggling to cope as he grew older.

The harrowing details have now been put into a book which he hopes will encourage more male victims to speak.

Mr Smith grew up in Sherwood, Nottingham, and from birth, was only allowed out of the cold, dark cellar for hospital trips for a fractured skull or broken bones inflicted by his father.

One day, after having his back split open by a spade, medical staff raised the alarm and he was rescued.

Mr Smith said he has never had answers on why his parents kept him hidden throughout his childhood.

"I never saw them after I was taken away and they died while I was in care," he said.

"I couldn't imagine my life being any worse and then next thing I found myself at Aston Hall. It's like I was out of the fire and then thrown back in again."

Letter to the Editor: Diocese must offer the truth


February 2, 2020

To the editor:

The Diocese of Steubenville, under the leadership of Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, should follow the recent example of Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Columbus in an article published on Jan. 25. The Diocese of Columbus has taken steps to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors with the creation of a task force, and hired a law firm to determine whether more names should be added to a list of credibly accused priests. The diocese in March released a list of 34 clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

The list now includes 50 names. Monforton should follow Brennan’s lead and hire an independent law firm (possibly the same law firm the Diocese of Columbus utilized) to review its files for additional credibly accused priests.

Poland’s establishment is at last waking up to the scandal of abuse in the Catholic Church, thanks to a new film.

New Humanist

December 30, 2019

By Madeline Roache

In the early hours of a February morning, three men dressed in black, carrying a ladder and ropes, slipped through the quiet streets in the northern Polish city of Gdansk. They decided to do what the city council had refused to. It was still dark, only hours before the opening of a Vatican summit on child abuse. The men slung a rope around the clay neck of a high-up statue and pulled hard until it toppled over, breaking away from its stand and crashing to the ground.

Chip Minemyer | New report shows church response to abuse remains inconsistent, insufficient


February 2, 2020

By Chip Minemyer

Many Roman Catholic dioceses are now releasing the names of priests who have had credible allegations of child sexual abuse brought against them.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that those lists are often “inconsistent, incomplete and omit key details,” according to a report out this week from ProPublica, a nonprofit watchdog news agency, and the Houston Chronicle.

Reporters Lexi Churchill, Ellis Simani and Topher Sanders pulled together 178 lists from U.S. dioceses and religious orders that represent the postings as of Jan. 20.

They created a searchable database “that allows users to look up clergy members by name, diocese or parish.”

OPINION: Philadelphia Archdiocese clears abuse victim’s $95,000 debt in act of true mercy | Maria Panaritis

Philadelphia Inquirier

February 2, 2020

By Maria Panaritis

After 18 years of chronicling the horrors of clergy abuse within the Pennsylvania Catholic Church, including cover-ups that helped hundreds of predator priests avoid a single day in jail, the church may finally be due a round of applause.

Namely, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

I usually have fierce criticism for this institution that serves 1.3 million Catholics across five counties. Today, I urge congratulations. It has shown itself capable of something that has been tragically elusive for years regarding children harmed by the scourge of abuse.

It happened a few days ago in a Bucks County courtroom. And apparently, coincidentally, the gesture came the day before the official naming of Archbishop Nelson Pérez as the successor to Charles Chaput.

Church leaders swept issues under someone else’s rug

The Australian

Febraury 2, 2020

By John Feguson

The Warren report is another depressingly familiar indictment of old school religious dysfunction and mendacity.

No minutes, no records, plenty of complaints and plenty of victims. Got a problem? Shift it around like a bishop on a chess board.

The net effect is twofold.

First, children’s lives are destroyed and then the modern church leadership must deal with the bitter carnage that flows from the sins of the fathers.

Exclusive: Review unearths years of sex abuse by Jesuits priests

The Australian

February 2, 2020

By John Ferguson

Sex-offence allegations against 21 Jesuit priests and lay staff have been unearthed in an independent review into the society’s ­duplicitous handling of serial pedophile and former brother Victor Higgs.

Former Victorian Supreme Court chief justice Marilyn ­Warren said the 21 other offenders were accused of misconduct between 1968 and 1971, with Higgs transferred to Sydney’s St Ignatius at Riverview from Adelaide’s St Ignatius at Athelstone in 1970.

It is the first time the extent of offending across the order in the late 1960s and early 70s had been made public and was cited by Ms Warren as relevant to the society’s decision-making when dealing with Higgs.

Higgs, now in his 80s and in jail, was sent from Adelaide to Sydney despite the order’s hierarchy knowing that he had ­assaulted children at the Athelstone campus.

Ms Warren’s review into Higgs has revealed an extraordinary lack of documentation previously kept by the order in Australia, including three of its marquee schools — Riverview, Xavier College in Melbourne and St Ignatius in Adelaide.

She found that at least three complaints about Higgs’s behaviour were made to St Ignatius’s then Athelstone rector, the late Father Frank Wallace, before Higgs was shifted to Sydney in a state of internal disgrace.

Ms Warren found that the order’s then provincial, the late Father Francis Kelly, knew that Higgs had offended against children at the Adelaide campus.

Despite these complaints, Higgs was moved to Sydney, where his offending intensified while working at Riverview’s boarding school.

The current-day Society of Jesus provincial, Father Brian McCoy, told The Australian that anyone with complaints about wrongdoing should approach the order, stressing it had been a lamentable chapter in its history.

“Certainly we would want people to come forward and feel free to come forward,’’ he told The Australian.

The full report of Ms Warren’s review was sent to survivors of Higgs at the weekend and comes after relentless debate about what the order knew, and when, about his depraved ways.

Higgs was an overweight ­alcoholic who preyed on dozens of children in Adelaide and Sydney, despite authorities being told very early that he was an offender. He has been convicted in both states off multiple offences.

Higgs also worked at Xavier College in Melbourne and St Aloysius in Sydney.

Victims said Higgs was a ­voyeur who also touched them on their genitalia in the guise of monitoring their sexual development. He picked on sexually underdeveloped children.

In conducting the inquiry, Ms Warren has exposed a culture where the order in the late 1960s would deliberately leave out of meeting minutes discussion about pedophiles.

“In my view, the fact of these complaints was a factor in the ­decision to move Higgs from Athelstone to Riverview in 1970,’’ she found. She wrote to the society in December seeking more documents and answers in relation to the 21 other accused.

The first of the allegations ­relating to the 21 did not surface until decades after the offences occurred and not all allegations were substantiated or referred to police, sometimes because the ­accuser did not want to progress through the courts.

Only two of the 21 accused are still with the order, one having been exonerated and the other is on restricted duties.

Regarding Higgs, Father McCoy said: “I need to apologise. … We dropped the ball and people got hurt and they’ve carried the burden. We let people down. And, yes, we failed to keep records and I think that some of the Jesuits and others didn’t think it was as serious as it was.’’

Higgs pleaded guilty in 2016 to two counts of indecent assault at St Ignatius in Adelaide and was sentenced to 2½ years’ jail for ­offences between 1968 and 1970. In 2018, he was found guilty of 16 counts of indecent assault at Riverview against six boys.

The Warren review was set up by the Jesuits to determine what the order knew and when about Higgs. Father Wallace, now dead, was the principal at the school and the review found he had been told at least three times that Higgs was an offender.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly was at Athlestone, as a scholastic, and denied knowing about Higgs’s ­activities, despite the disgraced former brother being widely lampooned by students at the time.

Ms Warren did not find against Bishop O’Kelly, although he did concede he had heard ­rumours about Higgs many years after the bishop was moved to Riverview in 1982. This was after Higgs was moved from Riverview.

“I might have heard it ­(rumours of voyeurism) once or twice, then in a way I thought it was an issue that was dead and gone because he had been moved out of a boarding school,’’ Bishop O’Kelly told the review.

The review heard that a meeting 50 years ago of the order’s consultors would not record evidence of pedophiles within their midst. Instead, these matters were recorded simply as dots.

There were no headmaster’s diaries held by St Ignatius in ­Adelaide from 1968-1971 and all the Jesuit consultors of that era are dead.

The Warren inquiry was ­conducted, in effect, as a full ­judicial review of Higgs’s movement by the order, minus coercive powers.

The current-day Jesuits have been hamstrung by a lack of records and the death or sickness of most involved.

Ms Warren said that understanding the way the order had handled the other allegations might help instruct her investigations into Higgs.

Michael Advocate, who uses a pseudonym, is a high-profile critic of the Catholic Church’s handling of the abuse scandal.

He told The Australian that the church would never rise above its past.

“It’s totally impossible for the Catholic Church to recover any relevance or self-worth,’’ he said.

Priest: Kobe Bryant sought redemption through his Catholic faith [Opinion]


January 30, 2020

By Father Edward Beck

Father Edward L. Beck, C.P., is a Roman Catholic priest and a religion commentator for CNN. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

There is a line in the Leonard Cohen song "Anthem" that reads, "There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in." Kobe Bryant had some cracks, but there was bright, redemptive light there, too.

Bryant was a practicing Catholic who took his faith seriously, walking the talk. He attended Mass on Sundays -- and some weekdays, too. He supported multiple charitable causes, including his own family foundation dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need.

He said his faith is what got him through the tough times. These would include a grave and hurtful one of his own making: a rape allegation against him in 2003 by a 19-year-old Eagle, Colorado, hotel employee.

At the time of the alleged sexual assault, in a troubling series of events, Bryant claimed that he thought the sex was consensual (even though he admitted to police that he had not explicitly asked for consent); his legal team tried to discredit the accuser by portraying her as promiscuous, and said her name in open court multiple times; and the court system leaked it to the media.

Ultimately, prosecutors dropped the criminal case, citing the woman's unwillingness to continue to cooperate. She did however file a civil lawsuit against Bryant that resulted in an undisclosed settlement.

SBC leader’s tweet renews scrutiny of pastor’s past and shows limits of sex abuse reforms, say activists

Houston Chronicle

January 31, 2020

By Robert Downen and Sarah Smith

Three decades after he was sued for sexual misconduct, pastor Terry Smith is again facing public scrutiny.

This time it’s from abuse survivors and activists who say Smith’s continued ministry, following a judge’s ruling that his conduct was “improper and outrageous,” shows the limitations of the Southern Baptist Convention’s efforts to combat sexual abuse.

The renewed attention to Smith started with former SBC President Paige Patterson tweeting earlier this month that Smith’s congregation, Victory Baptist Church in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, had honored him as a “defender of the faith.”

Many abuse survivors and activists quickly denounced the decision to recognize Patterson, citing his recent ouster as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary over his handling of multiple abuse claims.

Attention then turned to Smith, who has a record of abuse allegations and was sued by a woman who said he took advantage of counseling sessions to sexually abuse her. Critics asked why that history — easily available by googling his name — hadn’t kept him and others with similar histories out of Baptist pulpits.

Peace be with you

Martinsville Bulletin

January 31, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

Martinsville priest Father Mark White's popular blog has drawn lots of readers and the scorn of leaders of the Richmond Diocese because of his criticism of the Catholic Church's handling of sexual abuse cases. But his voice and his words have been silenced. This week he could be out of a job.

In February 2019 the sexual abuse scandal that has bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church landed in Martinsville when the Diocese of Richmond named two former priests at St. Joseph Catholic Church among 42 across central and Southwest Virginia who it said had been sex abusers.

The diocese, in its statement identifying John Joseph Munley, who was pastor between 1971 and 1975 and died in 1995, and Harris Markam Findlay (1955-59), did not say how many accusers the men faced, simply releasing a statement from Bishop Barry Knestout: “To those who experienced abuse from clergy, I am truly, deeply sorry.”

That announcement, though, was only a byproduct of a much more troubling announcement that same month that has started a process that could threaten the appointment of a third priest in Martinsville, one whose only contribution to the sex scandal were his widely consumed comments about how badly he thought the church was handling it.

That February, former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick had been dismissed from the clergy about eight months after his resignation in July 2018 from the College of Cardinals and was accepted by Pope Francis. A church investigation and trial had found him guilty of sexual crimes against adults and minors and abuse of power.

The Catholic News Agency reported three weeks ago that McCarrick voluntarily had left the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kan., and would only describe his new residence as “a community for those removed from the ministry.” And a much-anticipated report from the Vatican concerning McCarrick has remained sealed. Both of those facts have outraged many Catholics.

Among those critics was Father Mark White, priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount.

But now he speaks no more.

The Diocese in Richmond late last year ordered White to silence and possibly could dismiss him from the priesthood for the disgust he has expressed about how the church has responded to the sexual abuse scandal and McCarrick’s involvement in it in both a widely read blog and from the pulpit.

White’s comments about McCarrick and other issues related to sexual abuse in the church not only are based in his understanding of how the church works but also from a deep and very personal angst: He was ordained by McCarrick, who was once one of the most recognized Cardinals in American history.

“I’m from D.C.,” White said. “I served in the Archdiocese of Washington from 2003 to 2010. I was in Montgomery County, Rockville, Maryland, for a period of time. I was in Prince George County for a period of time."

Victim-survivor says 'ripple effects' of clergy sex abuse 'go on and on'.

Catholic News Service via the Boston Pilot

January 31, 2020

By Joe Ruff

For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending.

"It's like a stone in a pond," he said, "the hole disappears, but the ripple effects go on and on."

The director of the southwest Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Meuers described the anger he lived with for years -- and the help he received through therapy. He shared that and more as part of a five-person panel of victim-survivors at a recent conference organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Ramsey County Attorney's Office.

More than 60 people listened -- most of them also victim-survivors gathered for a day especially set aside for them. They nodded in recognition or teared up in empathy and understanding as Meuers and others on the panel discussed broken but healing families, difficulties forging lasting relationships and struggles with their faith.

Priest: No Communion for R.I. lawmakers who supported abortion law

Providence Journal

February 1, 2020

By Katherine Gregg

The Rev. Richard Bucci, pastor of the West Warwick church where a lawmaker’s sister has said she was sexually molested repeatedly as a child by a now-dead priest, marked the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision by issuing a flier listing the names of every Rhode Island legislator who voted last year to enshrine the right to an abortion in state law.

Father Bucci’s flier was handed out to his parishioners at Sacred Heart Church last Sunday. The lawmakers’ names appeared below this message:

“In accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church for 2000 years, the following members of the legislature may NOT receive Holy Communion, as are all the officers of the state of Rhode Island, as well as Rhode Island’s members of Congress. In addition, they will not be allowed to act as witnesses to marriage, godparents, or lectors at weddings, funerals or any other church function.”

Investigative report shines light on culture of sexual assault, rape in Amish communities

York Daily Record

January 16, 2020

By Shelly Stallsmith

Amish men in communities around the U.S. have helped to continue a culture of sexually assaulting their daughters, sisters and employees, according to an investigative report by Cosmopolitan magazine and Type Investigations.

More than three dozen Amish people were interviewed for the story that was posted this week. Reporters also talked to members of law enforcement, judges, attorneys, outreach workers and scholars in seven states, including Pennsylvania, that have Amish populations.

Read the entire Cosmopolitan story here.

The stories were similar.

Girls as young as nine were being inappropriately touched and raped by family members, neighbors and church leaders. When confronted, the men confessed and were punished by the church.

February 1, 2020

How a woman from Wells helped expose a paedophile bishop scandal

Somerset Live

February 2, 2020

By Anna Gladwin

Peter Ball sexually abused teenagers and young men over decades

A woman from Wells was among the individuals who helped expose a dark secret in the Church of England, a television programme has revealed.

A BBC documentary, Exposed: The Church's Darkest Secret, recounted the decades of sexual abuse carried out by former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball, who was the subject of a shocking cover up by the Church of England.

Teenager and novice monk Neil Todd was the first victim to tell senior clergy about Peter Ball’s sex crimes.

Among Ball's sickening actions, he would sleep naked with his victims, watch them take cold showers and strip them naked to beat them, the documentary explained.

Rome priest returns to active ministry; diocese ‘unable to substantiate’ sexual abuse allegations


February 1, 2020


Allegations of child abuse against a Rome priest are not credible, according to a review board with the Syracuse Catholic Diocese.

Reverend Paul Angelicchio has returned to active ministry as pastor of Saint John the Baptist Church and Transfiguration Church in Rome.

He was placed on leave in November of 2019 while allegations accusing him of sexual abuse from 1980-1981 were being investigated.

The Syracuse Catholic Diocese released a statement saying that the review board found no evidence to “substantiate” the allegations against Father Angelicchio based on the information available.

Rev. Angelicchio was also accused of alleged sexual abuse in a different lawsuit, but the Onondaga District Attorney’s office found those accusations to also not be credible in August of 2019.

Texas Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Many Children Found in Jefferson County


February 1, 2020

A Catholic priest from Dallas, Texas, credibly accused says the Dallas Diocese, of sexually abusing around 50 children, was found and arrested Wednesday in Jefferson County.

78-year-old Richard Thomas Brown was hiding out in the Dittmer area on land owned by the Catholic group “Servants of the Paraclete”.

According to the group’s website, this place, located at 6476 Eime Road, is to “give assistance to priests and brothers with vocational-psychological difficulties”.

This place is also home to several other sex offenders according to the Missouri Sex Offender Registry.

Landmark priest abuse retrial now missing its key witness


February 1, 2020

The first US church official ever imprisoned over priest abuse complaints will soon be retried in court without a single victim.

A landmark 2011 case first began the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, 69, who was eventually convicted of "felony child endangerment" for his time working as a secretary for the clergy at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Twice, Lynn's conviction has been overturned. Now, a retrial is set for March 16, but the key witness may not be called this time.

The key witness is an accuser who alleges he was assaulted by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher in the late 1990's. These priests transferred to the accuser's parish by Lynn, known to be a threat and marked as "known predators" by the Monsignor.

French cardinal is acquitted of sex abuse coverup as country faces its own legacy of pedophilia

Religion News Service

January 31, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

The French appeals court has acquitted Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon of charges that he failed to report sexual abuse cases.

In 2017, Barbarin was charged and later convicted for not reporting the abuse of a minor, which resulted in a six-month prison sentence. His was the most high-profile case of a member of the Catholic hierarchy to be tried and sentenced for sexual abuse coverup.

The prosecutors accused Barbarin of not reporting the notorious paedophile Bernard Preynat, who was convicted in July for sexually abusing up to 45 young Boy Scouts under his care in the diocese of Lyon. The Catholic Church removed him from the clerical state, meaning Preynat is no longer a priest.

On Thursday, an appeals court acquitted Barbarin.

Lyon is an important diocese in France, overseeing more than 1.2 million Catholics, and traditionally a stepping stone for becoming a cardinal and occupying other prestigious positions.

The victims who accused Barbarin of covering up abuse plan to appeal the matter to France’s highest court, the Court de Cassation. Victims may also present the case before the European Court of Human Rights. In either case, a final decision over Barbarin's guilt or innocence may not be made for several years.

Bill sponsored by Sen. Crider could enable more sex crimes prosecutions

Greenfield Reporter

January 31, 2020

By Jessica Karins -

A new bill sponsored by Greenfield’s representative in the Indiana State Senate could allow more adult victims of childhood sex crimes to seek justice — but it would create narrower conditions for prosecution than its author originally envisioned.

Current law requires prosecutions for sex crimes perpetrated against child victims to commence before the victim is 31 years old. The change would create exemptions to that rule if law enforcement finds DNA evidence of a crime; discovers a recording that provides evidence of a crime; or if a perpetrator confesses to a crime. This would apply to cases that occurred in the past, which could be revived if no charges were filed at the time.

The bill was amended after committee discussion from its original version, which would have entirely removed the statute of limitations for such crimes.

Judge allows AP to be heard in dispute over Saints emails

Associated Press

January 31, 2020

By Jim Mustian

A judge ruled Friday that The Associated Press may be heard in a court dispute over whether to release hundreds of confidential emails that detail the New Orleans Saints’ behind-the-scenes public relations work to help area Roman Catholic leaders deal with a sexual abuse crisis.

The news organization filed a motion urging the release of the emails, which surfaced in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans but remain confidential, calling them a matter of public interest. That request was opposed by the archdiocese and the Saints, who argued the communications were private.

Judge Ellen Hazeur of Orleans Parish Civil District Court agreed the emails were of “public concern” and ordered a special master to determine next month whether the documents should be made public. That hearing was scheduled for Feb. 20.

Mary Ellen Roy, an attorney for the AP, told reporters after the hearing that Louisiana law is clear on the issue of whether the news organization may be heard in court. She called the emails “an issue of extraordinary interest” for the heavily Catholic community, adding it’s also “important for the victims and advocates.”

Illness prompts former Catholic Diocese leader John Myers to return to Peoria

Peoria Journal Star

February 1, 2020

By Nick Vlahos

The former leader of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria has returned to his former home. Under unfortunate circumstances, apparently.

Ill health has prompted John Myers, the archbishop emeritus of Newark, N.J., to remain in the Peoria area after a recent visit.

A recent statement from Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the current Newark archbishop, noted Myers’ physical and mental health have suffered serious declines.

Former Macomb County Priest Accused Of Abuse Bound Over For Trial

WWJ Radio

February 1, 2020

A former Macomb County priest accused of sexual abuse has been bound over for trial.

Neil Kalina waived his rights to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Macomb County District Court. He's scheduled to be arragined Feb. 10 on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person between the ages of 13 and 16. The incidents reportedly occurred in 1984.

Kalina was also originally charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13-years-old. However, after further investigation and the discovery of new information, the Attorney General’s office dismissed those charges.

When the assaults reportedly occurred, Kalina was a priest at St. Kieran Catholic Church in Shelby Township. He also worked in Sterling Heights and Utica. Kalina is believed to have provided the victim with alcohol and drugs.

How Policies Of The Jehovah's Witnesses Keep Child Sexual Abuse From Police


January 31, 2020

From clergy-penitent privilege to disfellowshipping, here are the findings of a five-year investigation into the child abuse policies of Jehovah's Witnesses.

(This story was produced by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization. Get their investigations emailed to you directly by signing up at revealnews.org/newsletter.)

For decades, the Jehovah's Witnesses have claimed a legal right to keep reports of child sexual abuse by members of their congregations secret from police.

Attorneys for the religion argue that when congregation leaders learn of child sexual abuse, those reports are considered confidential spiritual communications -- like a priest hearing a confession -- even when the report comes from the victim.

The Montana Supreme Court agreed with the Witnesses’ this month, overturning a $35 million court judgement and allowing the Witnesses to avoid accountability for their decades-long practice of keeping child sexual abuse allegations from police and prosecutors in certain states where the Witnesses have determined they have the legal right to withhold.

Abuse accuser testifies against ex-Santa Cruz priest

Santa Fe New Mexican

January 31, 2020

By Phaedra Haywood

Marvin Archuleta’s accuser’s voice quavered as he described in graphic detail being given punch and cookies before being raped at the age of 6 by the man he is “110 percent sure” was the former Santa Cruz priest.

But Archuleta’s defense attorney, Ryan Villa, challenged the witness’s certainty during cross-examination Friday in District Court, reminding him that he’d answered with less conviction when asked to identify the priest during a deposition for his civil case in 2017.

The man — whom The New Mexican is not identifying because he says he is the victim of sexual assault — said the picture of Archuleta he was shown during the deposition depicted the priest clean shaven without his glasses on.

When Archuleta, now 82, assaulted him during the 1986-87 school year, the man said, the former priest was unshaven and wearing glasses.

Alexander Brunett, Seattle archbishop who oversaw expansions amid burgeoning sex-abuse scandal, dies at 86

Seattle TImes

January 31, 2020

By Lewis Kamb

Alexander Brunett, an assertive, retired archbishop of the Seattle Archdiocese who led an aggressive expansion of schools, parishes, charities and scholarships as a clergy sex-abuse scandal exploded into public consciousness, died in Seattle on Friday. He was 86.

Brunett, who grew up in a large family in Detroit and eventually ascended from a parish priest to bishop, retired after 13 years as Seattle’s fourth archbishop in 2010. His health had declined since a stroke in 2013 left him partially paralyzed, and since suffering head trauma during a fall in April, church officials said.

Music performance allows contemplation on sex abuse crisis

National Catholic Reporter

February 1, 2020

Composer starts with Margaret Gallant's 1982 letter

In 1982, Margaret Gallant wrote a four-page letter to the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros of Boston, professing her love for the Catholic Church, and expressing her anger for its failure to protect seven boys in her family who were abused by a priest. The letter laid bare the church's efforts to systematically cover up clerical sex abuse and later became an important document in the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" investigation into sexual abuse cover up.

Years later, Gallant's letter takes center stage once again in composer Craig Shepard's, "Broken Silence." A musical contemplation, "Broken Silence" is is about 80 minutes long, intended to combine words and music for listeners on the subjects of abuse and corruption.

The Jan. 8 performance at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York begins with silence. Musicians sit in a circle at the center of the theatre, surrounded by the audience. Before beginning the performance, Shepard carefully scans the room, gauging his audience and making eye contact with them. He then starts reading Gallant's letter, which is set to the music of steel string acoustic guitar and saxophone. The performance is peppered with meditative pauses. Audience members seem to slip into a meditative mood.