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March 31, 2020

Perhaps the craziest claim by anti-SOL zealots

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 31, 2020

The momentum has shifted from the selfish wrongdoers to the selfless innocent, from the secret-keepers to the openness advocates, from those who ignore common sense and psychology to those who understand common sense and psychology and from those who want to protect institutions and companies to those who want to protect kids and vulnerable adults.

That’s why 2019 was a banner year for removing these out-of-date deadlines that stop victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sexual abuse in court.

And in response to this long-overdue trend toward justice, self-serving lobbyists who are pro-arbitrary deadline, pro-secrecy and anti-victim are becoming ever-more-creative in dreaming up outlandish ‘the sky will fall!’ claims.

Pastor cleared of sexual abuse charge, returns to church

ANDOVER (MA)
Eagle Tribune

March 31, 2020

By Paul Tennant

Gori reinstated at St. Augustine

The Rev. Peter Gori has been reinstated as pastor of St. Augustine Church, the Archdiocese of Boston announced Monday.

He is expected to resume his duties by Sunday – which is Palm Sunday – according to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.

Gori, a member of the Order of St. Augustine since 1973, was placed on administrative leave in April 2019 after a man, now in his 40s, claimed that he and another priest, the Rev. William Waters, sexually abused him more than 30 years ago.

“I assure you, as I assured the provincial, that the accusation is false,” Gori wrote in a letter to parishioners when the allegation surfaced. The provincial, the regional leader of Augustinian priests in the eastern U.S., had informed Gori of the accusation.

The Augustinian order relied on an independent investigator, Praesidium Inc., as well as the order’s independent review board in concluding the allegation could not be substantiated, according to a press release issued by the Archdiocese of Boston.

Dioceses Announce Staff Cuts, but Federal Aid Could Help

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNA

March 31, 2020

By Matt Hadro

As dioceses across the country work to scale back payrolls, one lawyer who works with religious institutions says that new federal policies that could pay for employee leave and provide emergency loans to non-profits.

As Catholic dioceses and parishes begin to cut staff during the coronavirus pandemic, they could be eligible for unprecedented federal relief to keep their employees on their payrolls.

Bishops across the United States have suspended public liturgies and closed church buildings in response to state-issued public safety policies, and Catholic leaders have warned of an immediate revenue shortfall. Consequences of that shortfall include staff reductions, furloughs, and decreased hours.

The Diocese of Buffalo, which had already declared bankruptcy last year and announced plans for a reorganization, said on March 19 that it was “accelerating” the reorganization process for its Catholic Center. In all, 21 positions are being eliminated and three more positions moved from full-time to part-time staff.

Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor to Resume Duties

ANDOVER (MA)
The Associated Press

March 31, 2020

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Massachusetts who was accused of sexually abusing a minor over 30 years ago has been reinstated.

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Massachusetts who was accused of sexually abusing a minor over 30 years ago has been reinstated.

The Rev. Peter Gori is expected to resume his duties at St. Augustine's Church in Andover by the end of the week, the Archdiocese of Boston announced Monday.

Gori was placed on administrative leave in April 2019 after a man, now in his 40s, claimed that he and another priest, the Rev. Williams Waters, sexually abused him.

Religious reform school closes after former students allege abuse & neglect

WINONA LAKE (IN)
WNDU

March 30, 2020

By Carli Luca

A reform school in Kosciusko County, facing allegations of neglect and abuse from former students, has closed.

The school has confirmed that they've closed permanently. This comes after a 16 news now investigation just over a month ago.

Hephzibah House sent a letter to their supporters saying they sent their last student away and that the closure came after their insurance carrier dropped them.

Compensation scheme for survivors of historical abuse opens for applications

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

March 31 2020

By Rebecca Black, PA

Payments will be made to those who suffered harm when they were in homes run by the church and state.

The opening of applications for a compensation scheme for survivors of historical institutional abuse has been welcomed.

A planned public event for the launch was cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.

However the opening of the application process for the Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board was announced by Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers.

With Conferences Canceled, UMC Split and SBC Votes Wait for Next Year

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

March 30, 2020

By Megan Fowler and Kate Shellnutt

Besides budget approvals, most denominational business can be rescheduled.

Major conferences held by the two largest Protestant denominations in the country have joined the long list of events canceled by coronavirus.

Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) called off its annual meeting scheduled for June 9-10, its first cancellation since World War II 75 years ago. The week before, the United Methodist Church (UMC) announced it would have to push back its quadrennial General Conference another year after its venue, the Minnesota Convention Center, canceled events through mid-May.

Famed Jesuit priest abused boy 1,000 times around the world: lawsuit

CHICAGO (IL)
Gruntstuff

March 31, 2020

By Donna Miller

A globe-trotting Jesuit priest with ties to Mom Teresa sexually abused an American boy “greater than 1,000 times, in a number of states and international locations,” a lawsuit filed Monday in California state court docket in San Francisco alleges.

In the lawsuit and in interviews with The Related Press, Robert J. Goldberg, now 61, describes years of psychological management and sexual abuse he suffered from age 11 into maturity whereas working as a valet for the late Rev. Donald J. McGuire.

McGuire died in federal jail in 2017 whereas serving a 25-year sentence for molesting different boys who got here underneath his sway.

Many sexual abuse stories in the news leaving us all shaking our heads

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 30, 2020

Many stories in the media about sexual abuse leave us sometimes shaking our heads. From time to time on this blog, we’ll mention some of those stories under the headline “How come?”

—A Texas man pleaded guilty to child sex crimes back in the 1990s when he worked for the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene.

According to news accounts, Jeff Berry “has been sentenced to ten years probation, a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, and “has to turn himself in on or before September 20.”

https://sanangelolive.com/news/crime/2020-03-20/former-church-worker-pleads-guilty-lewd-acts-minor

Six months? That’s a long delay, especially for an admitted abuser. How come?

— A California megachurch recently put its pastor on leave after learning he let a volunteer who admitted an “unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors” to keep working with kids for about a year and a half.

Rev. John Ortberg admits he “offered prayers and referrals for counseling” to the volunteer but didn’t consult anyone else at the church – about the situation.

But officials at Menlo Church re-instated Ortberg three months later.

https://www.almanacnews.com/news/2020/02/28/menlo-park-pastor-placed-on-leave-for-poor-judgment-to-return-to-the-pulpit

What does COVID-19 mean for Southern Baptist abuse reforms?

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

March 30, 2020

By Robert Downen

Sexual abuse survivors this week called on Southern Baptist leaders to commit to sustained action on abuse reforms despite the faith group not meeting this year because of COVID-19.

They hope that leaders such as SBC President J.D. Greear, who will now have a third term as president because the faith group’s annual meeting was canceled, will push for more robust policies on abuse.

This year’s meeting would have been the second since the publication of Abuse of Faith, a Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News investigation that found hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors and church leaders had been convicted of sexual abuses in the last 20 years. They left behind more than 700 victims, nearly all of them children.
All the stories, all the time

Rachael Denhollander, who has been advising leaders on abuse policies, said she hopes Greear uses his platform to push back against those who’ve been complacent or, in some cases, hostile to reforms.

News Release: Archbishop Fulton Sheen's Niece Speaks

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Carmel Communications

March 24, 2020

Joan Sheen Cunningham writes about her unique relationship with her beloved uncle in new book

The whole world got to see Bishop Fulton Sheen on their televisions and hear him on their radios, but what was he like when he wasn't in the public eye? His closest living relative and niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham, writes in her book, MY UNCLE FULTON SHEEN, a compelling story of how he became her second father and reveals both amusing and serious attributes about Sheen that only more deeply show his path to sainthood is well-deserved.

Sheen was to be beautified in Peoria, Illinois, on Dec. 21, 2019, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops postponed it on Dec. 2, per the request of Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester, due to concerns that Sheen could be cited in the New York attorney general's ongoing investigation into whether any of the state's eight Roman Catholic dioceses had covered up acts or allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

‘The Keepers’: All the best true crime on Netflix to watch next

Film Daily

March 30, 2020

When your Netflix queue runs dry, 'The Keepers' and other content may provide you just the true crime to bingewatch next.

We get it, truly. You’ve rewatched Making a Murderer and the Aaron Hernandez docuseries too many times. You’ve cleaned the house on all the Dateline episodes available. You even binged American Vandal because you were desperate for something that felt like a true crime docuseries.

But trust us, you probably still haven’t dug to the bottom of the barrel yet. Just when you think you’re out of content, Netflix comes by with its big sack of originals, dropping true crime shows out the wazoo. So when your Netflix queue has run dry, turn to these films and series to get your true crime fix. ...

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The Keepers

The beloved Sister Cathy Cesnik met her untimely end in 1969. But The Keepers says that Cesnik met the Angel of Death in a coverup against Priest A. Joseph Maskell and the sexual abuse charges against him. Releasing shortly after the award winning Spotlight, The Keepers takes a close look at just one case of sexual abuse in a large web of problems with the Catholic church.

With an investigation led by former students of Sister Cathy’s, The Keepers not only dives into the circumstances around the murder, but the long-standing claims of sexual abuse at the hands of Maskell. The truth of Sister Cathy’s murder is out there, and The Keepers gets one step closer.

The 29 Best True Crime Documentaries You Need To Watch After Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’

Internewscast.com

March 31, 2020

It’s no secret that true crime is having a moment RN. Seriously, it seems like there’s always a new true crime documentary, TV show, podcast, or book (remember those?) to get completely lost in. And by “completely lost,” I’m talking about going down hours-long rabbit holes into articles, Reddit threads, and any other details you can find wedged into the random corners of the internet. ...

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The Keepers

Who killed Sister Cathy? The case still isn’t all-the-way cracked, but the search for the nun’s murderer upturned years of shocking clergy abuse and a massive cover-up from both the church and local authorities. Hearing what harm was done to young girls in a supposed safe space will make your stomach turn. The doc centres on two women acting as amateur detectives, in an effort to keep Sister Cathy’s story and compassion alive.

March 30, 2020

Child abuse concerns rise as school closures mean fewer eyes on kids

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Bakersfield Californian

March 30, 2020

By Stacey Shepard

In the midst of a virus pandemic that has shuttered schools and workplaces and is creating financial and job-related stress for families, some social workers have another concern on their mind: child abuse and neglect.

An average of 41 Kern County kids a day were referred to Child Protective Services in 2018, and most of those referrals come from teachers, doctors and counselors, mandated reporters and people whose jobs involve interacting with children on a daily basis, according to Tom Corson, the director of Kern County Network for Children. On average, eight of the calls were substantiated neglect, he said.

"My fear right now is nobody has eyes on these kids," Corson said.

Redress a 'jail-free card' for churches

NEW SOUTH WALES (AUSTRALIA)
AAP

March 30, 2020

By Heather McNab

A Christian minister has labelled the national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse as a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for churches.

Pastor Bob Cotton has called for churches to be stripped of their tax-free status if they are not willing to accommodate their abuse victims.

The senior pastor at Maitland Christian Church in NSW says the redress scheme's compensation cap of $150,000 is far too low and "everything is weighted far too heavily in the favour of the church".

"To me, the redress scheme is almost a 'get-out-of-jail-free card' for the church," Pastor Cotton told a federal parliamentary committee via teleconference on Monday.

Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline sees 50 percent drop in calls

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Northeast News

March 30, 2020

By Elizabeth Orosco

The Department of Social Services (DSS) has seen a 50 percent drop in Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline calls since March 11, 2020, roughly the same time schools began going on spring break and students have not returned due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

This drop, representatives believe, is due to the lack of reports from teachers as students are out of school.

Teachers, educators, child care providers, and other professions are mandated reporters and are required to report suspected child abuse. Educators and child care providers make the largest number of hotline calls during the year.

In a recent release, Jennifer Tidball, acting director for the Department of Social Services said they are “often our state’s best radar on a child’s well-being because children are in school or at child care each day.”

Priest steps down at Laflin parish amid abuse allegations

WILKES-BARRE (PA)
Wilkes Barre Times Leader

March 29, 2020

By Kevin Carroll

The pastor of a Catholic church in Luzerne County has stepped down from his post amid sexual abuse allegations.

A statement released by the Diocese of Scranton outlined multiple accusations against the Rev. James J. Walsh, pastor at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Laflin.

Walsh, while denying the accusations leveled at him, resigned as pastor in lieu of being removed by Bishop Joseph Bambera.

“On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, the Diocese of Scranton received an allegation of sexual assault involving Father James J. Walsh, pastor of Saint Maria Goretti Parish, Laflin. Upon receipt of this allegation, the Diocese immediately notified the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office,” reads the statement.

The initial accusation against Walsh was made regarding an alleged incident that took place in 1979, while Walsh was serving as an assistant pastor at the Church of Saint Gregory in Clarks Green, Lackawanna County.

The accuser was an adult at the time of the alleged assault.

A case of the man who knew too much | The Pell saga [Op-Ed]

AUSTRALIA
BigNewsNetwork.com

March 30, 2020

By Chris Friel

Cardinal George Pell's accuser claimed to be familiar with the layout of a renovated sacristy and this fact means we have a crucial experiment for the truth of his claims. This important insight has not been apprehended even by those who have studied the affair most closely.

That's an astonishing claim that I hope to make plausible by examining the rulings in the intermediate court. However, the point I want to make here is that only if we understand this point will we have a clue as to why the jury made its perverse judgement in finding Pell guilty of the crimes alleged against him. There are three claims here and I will take them in turn beginning with the idea of a crucial experiment.

Third-party hotline for reporting on Catholic bishops is launched

OKLAHOMA
The Oklahoman

March 28, 2020

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently established a third-party system for reporting and assessing allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse of minors made against current and retired bishops.

The new Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service, launched March 16, is operated by Convercent Inc., an independent, third-party entity that provides intake services to private institutions for reports of sensitive topics such as sexual harassment through a secure, confidential and professional platform, according to an Archdiocese of Oklahoma City news release.

Individuals may make a report by calling 800-276-1562 or by going to reportbishopabuse.org.

The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service (CBAR) is for reporting allegations of sexual abuse involving bishops only. The archdiocese of Oklahoma City has an Abuse of Minors Pastoral Response hotline at 720-9878 to report sexual misconduct by anyone in diocesan ministry who is not a bishop — such as priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters or lay persons working or volunteering for the Church.

Are Insurers Collaterally Damaged by New State ‘Child Victims Acts’? [Opinion]

UNITED STATES
Bloomberg Law

March 30, 2020

By Michael L. Zigelman and Rita Y. Wang, attorneys with Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck

States retroactively enlarging the civil statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases effectively increase insurers’ exposure beyond what they initially agreed to assume, Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP attorneys say. The impact could be severe for insureds with substantial exposure to these claims, like the Boy Scouts, Catholic dioceses, daycare centers, and other facilities that oversaw operations involving minors.

Boy Scouts of America filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy Feb. 28 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, citing an influx of childhood sexual abuse lawsuits—indeed hundreds have been filed to date in various federal and state courts, with well over a thousand more anticipated.

The direct factor contributing to the sudden increase of these lawsuits is legislation recently enacted by many states allowing previously time-barred child sexual abuse claims to go forward, i.e., revival statutes, usually entitled “Child Victims Act.”

In 2019, 14 jurisdictions alone amended their civil statute of limitations (SOL) for child sexual abuse claims. Among which, eight jurisdictions enacted revival statutes allowing previously time-barred claims: New York, the District of Columbia, Montana, New Jersey, Arizona, Vermont, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.

St Joseph Home sex abuse victims lose appeal for damages from Church

MALTA
MaltaToday.com

March 29, 2020

By Matthew Agius

Court of Appeal confirms damages claim by victims of the St Joseph Home clerical sex abuse is time-barred

More disappointment for the victims of the St Joseph Home clerical sex abuse, as the Court of Appeal confirmed that their case was time-barred.

Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi, Mr Justice Tonio Mallia and Madam Justice Miriam Hayman, in a decision handed down on Friday, upheld a judgment of the First Hall Civil Court, ruling the claim to be time-barred.

Lawrence Grech, together with ten others, had filed a case for damages against two priests, the St Paul’s Missionary Society, the Archdiocese of Malta, and the government in 2013.

March 29, 2020

Highland woman alleges youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Hammond raped her in 1970s: ‘He knew exactly what he was doing’

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

March 27, 2020

By Alexandra Kukulka

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-hyles-lawsuit-st-0329-20200327-qhcr4b7utbbatna2io7e2j7j5q-story.html

Sitting in her apartment in Highland, Joy Ryder looks back on two years of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of her youth pastor and said it made her reevaluate her relationship with God and religion.

“I never lost my faith in God,” Ryder said. “I’m not about religion, but more of a relationship with Christ.”

Ryder recently filed a lawsuit against the estate of Jack Hyles, his son David Hyles, Hyles-Anderson College and First Baptist Church of Hammond alleging that David Hyles raped, sexually assaulted and sexually abused her and that church leadership covered it up in the late 1970s.

“You aren’t special, he does that with everyone,” Ryder said Jack Hyles, the then-lead pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, told her.

Ryder, then 14, recalled that was Jack Hyles’ response when she approached him to tell him that a senior-ranking member of the church — his son — was abusing her.

“He is probably the most cruel, and cunning person I’ve ever known in my life, and I don’t say that easily,” Ryder, now 57, said of David Hyles. “He knew exactly what he was doing."

Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell's appeal

KEW EAST (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)
News Weekly - National Civic Council

March 28, 2020; publication date April 4, 2020

By Peter Westmore

The hope is that the High Court justices will set upright a distortion of justice.

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal to the High Court took place on March 11 and 12. The case was heard by a Full Bench of the High Court, which includes all seven justices currently on the court.

Cardinal Pell was not present – he is confined in Barwon Prison, a high-security facility in Victoria.

He was appealing against a 2:1 majority verdict of the Victorian Court of Appeal of last August. It has taken over six months for this matter to reach the High Court of Australia. He was not directly appealing against the original jury verdict, but against the majority verdict of the Court of Appeal.

His case rested on two propositions:

1. The majority in the Court of Appeal erred in their assertion that the complainant was so credible that Cardinal Pell had to establish that the offending was impossible. In other words, that Cardinal Pell was required to prove his innocence, rather than the prosecution proving his guilt.

2. The majority of the Court of Appeal erred in finding that the jury verdicts were not unreasonable, in light of all the evidence contradicting it.

One day was given to Cardinal Pell’s barrister, Bret Walker SC, to put Cardinal Pell’s case. The second day was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Victoria, represented by Crown prosecutor Kerri Judd SC, to support the decision of the Court of Appeal.

Compensation scheme for abuse survivors ‘must be launched’ despite lockdown

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

March 26, 2020

By Rebecca Black

Jon McCourt said a virtual launch can deliver progress on the much-delayed scheme without the need for people to attend.

A compensation scheme for survivors of historical abuse must be launched as scheduled next week despite the coronavirus lockdown, a campaigner has said.

Jon McCourt, of the group Survivors North West, said a virtual launch could deliver progress for victims without compromising safety with a public gathering.

Victims have already endured long delays in their campaign for recognition and compensation.

Paying compensation to those who suffered harm when they were in homes run by the church and state was among recommendations from the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) public inquiry in 2016.

SNAP Calls on Diocese of Richmond to Extend Deadline to Register for Compensation Program in Light of Coronavirus

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

March 26, 2020

In February, the Diocese of Richmond quietly announced a compensation program for survivors. Their program has an incredibly short registration window, barely lasting two months. Now, in light of coronavirus concerns that have paralyzed a nation, we are calling on Catholic officials in Richmond to extend the deadline for their compensation program and make efforts to ensure that survivors of clergy abuse are aware of the program’s existence.

Richmond’s compensation program is currently set to close on April 3, less than two months after it was announced on February 17. This already-short window for survivors to learn about the program and make a decision on participation is made all the worse now that Coronavirus is rewriting daily routines and lives. We believe that the right thing to do in this case is for church leaders in Richmond to extend the deadline for participation in the program for an six months.

If Catholic officials in Richmond truly care about the suffering that survivors have gone through, they would take steps to ensure that victims are adequately recognized and compensated. Instead, they have very quietly announced a program with a narrow participation window, a move that seems more about being able to say “see, we did something” than to actually help survivors heal. Jesus did not tell his followers “I will heal you, but only if you come to me for help by a certain time.”

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Sexual Assault Claim in Michigan

TAMPA (FL)
Legal Examiner - Law Firm Blog

March 27, 2020

Sexual assault is a serious crime than can have significant effects on a victim’s physical, mental, and psychological well-being. Understanding your rights as a sexual assault survivor and knowing what to do in the aftermath of assault can be a confusing and scary process.

It’s common for victims of sexual assault to have difficulty processing what’s happened, feel reluctant to identify the incident as assault, and be fearful of reporting the incident to authorities and reaching out for support.

An additional barrier sexual assault victims can face is the differences in how sexual assault is defined and handled on a state-by-state basis. Sexual assault laws in Michigan, for instance, differ from those in some other states. If you live in Michigan, it might be helpful to know how your state defines and charges various forms of sexual assault cases under state law.

Governor signs law giving assault victims more time to seek justice

GREENSBURG (IN)
Daily News

March 25, 2020

By Lacey Watt

Indianapolis - Legislation that allows rape victims extra time to seek justice against their assailants represents progress, even if it falls short, says the state senator who pushed for the reforms in the 2020 session of the General Assembly.

“I’m pleased to have made some progress being made,” Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, said. “It’s another opportunity for victims to hopefully find justice, and while it’s not a complete elimination of the statute of limitations, it does give detectives a reason to speak with the accused, and see if they can get a confession or find evidence.”

Crider’s bill, Senate Enrolled Act 109, was among dozens of bills Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed into law since the end of the legislative session. Three of the bills, including SEA 109, affect the criminal justice system. The others SEA 146, which allows assault victims to get emotional support, and SEA 216, which protects the personal information of people working in the criminal justice system.

Court reinstates child rape charges against former Milton Academy teacher

QUINCY (MA)
Patriot Ledger

March 26, 2020

By Joe DiFazio

Boston - The state Supreme Judicial Court has reinstated four child rape indictments against former Milton Academy teacher Reynold Buono.

The state’s highest court on Thursday partially reversed a decision by Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Thomas Connors, who last year dismissed six rape charges against Buono, who is accused of sexually assaulting a student in the 1980s.

The dismissal hinged on questions of whether prosecutors had presented enough corroborating evidence to a grand jury, evidence required by law because the alleged child rape happened more than 27 years ago, and whether, because Buono had moved to Thailand, that 27-year requirement had paused when he left.

Buono’s alleged victim, 53-year-old Jamie Forbes, who now lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said he was pleased by the decision.

'Blue wall of silence': When the sexual assault suspect is a police officer

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

March 28, 2020

By Briana Bierschbach

Former Pine County Sheriff's Office clerk is now the face behind a bill to mandate that the BCA investigate allegations of sexual assault by officers.

Elisabeth Samson Lee sat alone in her office one quiet afternoon stuffing envelopes when a co-worker came up behind her, reached into her lap and rubbed his fingers across her crotch before grabbing an envelope.

Horrified, she shot up and pushed her way past the man, who was blocking her cubicle. She then asked to file a police report.

Samson Lee was in the right place: She was a records clerk working for the Pine County sheriff, and the assailant was a sergeant. The same sergeant had grabbed her from behind three weeks earlier, an incident she also reported to her supervisors. Her superiors assured her he would be reprimanded. A report wouldn’t be necessary.

“It’s not like I was going to the newspaper or something,” Samson Lee said. “I was just telling the people around me, watch out for me, protect me, I don’t feel safe here.”

After a long battle with law enforcement agencies and the courts, Samson Lee, a 54-year-old single mother of two, is now the face behind a bill to mandate that allegations of sexual assault by police officers be investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the statewide law enforcement agency.

UM blasted for hiring firm to investigate doctor scandal without waiving privilege

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit News

March 28, 2020

By Kim Kozlowski

The University of Michigan says it will issue a "non-privileged report" from a new law firm it has engaged to investigate claims of sexual abuse regarding the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson — a move that produced pushback from advocates for the late doctor's accusers.

The investigation will be conducted by WilmerHale under attorney-client privilege to protect the confidentiality of all sexual misconduct survivors and witnesses, the university said, but the findings will be released to the public and the university at the same time.

Regent Ron Weiser — the board chair who recently came forward with his story of abuse by Anderson — said during a phone interview that the attorneys working on the investigation are top-notch, trained investigators and will be reporting to the regents, who work for the public, not administrators who work for the school.

He emphasized that the report that will be prepared for the public will not include names of those who come forward, since not everyone wants to be public about a sexual abuse claim.

Weiser said the report will be released to the public at the same time as the regents get it, and that the board will not see it before the public.

"This is the most transparent report anybody is going to have," he said. "No one is going to have any influence over what it says."

But UM's decision stunned many who are advocating for alleged victims of Anderson, who served as the head of University Health Service and the team physician for the Athletic Department from 1968-2003. He died in 2008.​​​​​​

Clerical sex abuse victims mulling next legal steps after appeal is dismissed

BIRKIRKARA (MALTA)
Times of Malta

March 29, 2020

Request for compensation was time-barred

We have been let down by the system, we have been betrayed somewhere along the way. - Victim

The victims of clerical sex abuse at St Joseph Home are considering their next legal steps after an appeals court confirmed that their bid for compensation is time-barred.

In a decision handed down on Friday, Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi, Mr Justice Tonio Mallia and Madam Justice Miriam Hayman, upheld a previous judgment ruling the victims’ claim was time-barred.

Lawrence Grech and ten other victims had filed a case for damages against two priests, the St Paul’s Missionary Society, the Archdiocese of Malta, and the government back in 2013.

Contacted on Sunday morning, Grech told Times of Malta that this was not the end of the victims’ legal struggle.

“We are assessing our options and will decide whether to take this case to the Constitutional court or to the European courts. What is certain is that we have been let down by the system, we have been betrayed somewhere along the way,” he said.

In 2011, two priests of the missionary society, Carmelo Pulis, 69, and Godwin Scerri, 78, were convicted of sexually abusing 11 boys who had been in their care at St Joseph’s Home in Santa Venera in the 1980s.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Pandemic will not get in the way of child abuse inquiry

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Herald

March 27, 2020

The judge presiding over the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has vowed that the coronavirus crisis will not stop her investigators from continuing their work.

Judge Lady Smith said yesterday on Thursday that people could still continue to contact the inquiry if they wish to do so.

It comes after public hearings were cancelled earlier this month.

However, the inquiry is still continuing to probe claims of historic abuse at 10 new care institutions.

On Thursday, Lady Smith said that staff at the inquiry would continue to work remotely.

She added: “I know some will be anxious about whether they can continue their ongoing contact with the inquiry or indeed about whether it is possible at the moment to contact us for the first time.

“The answer to both of these is ‘yes’.

Child abuse inquiry chairwoman urges witnesses to keep coming forward

ABERDEEN (SCOTLAND)
Evening Express

March 26, 2020

The chairwoman of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has urged anyone who wants to give evidence to come forward, despite a pause in public hearings.

Judge Lady Smith announced last week that proceedings relating to child migration have been postponed until further notice due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

She has now released a video message hoping to reassure those who may wish to take part in the inquiry, saying that preparation and investigative work continues.

Lady Smith said: “I know some will be anxious about whether they can continue their ongoing contact with the inquiry or, indeed, about whether it is possible at the moment to contact us for the first time.

March 28, 2020

Scottish abuse inquiry appeals for victims to continue to contact them

MARKET HARBOROUGH (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

March 27, 2020

By Madoc Cairns

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has appealed for victims to continue to contact them despite the coronavirus outbreak halting public hearings for the time being.

In a video message, the chair of the Inquiry, senior judge Lady Smith, assured anyone who wished to contact the inquiry that they would remain able to do. Although face-to-face meetings have been ruled out due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic, witness support teams will continue to operate phone lines. This follows an announcement last week that planned hearings relating to child migration have been suspended indefinitely.

Staff members of the inquiry, which began in 2015, will work remotely to investigate claims and prepare for the next phase of the inquiry, focussed on boarding schools and originally scheduled to begin in July of this year. Ten new institutions from across Scotland were identified earlier this month as subject to investigation, including four young offenders institutions.

The analysis of previous case studies, relating to Catholic religious orders – the Christian Brothers, Benedictines and Marists – will continue, with the inquiries findings intended to be published as soon as possible.

I have a few issues with the bishop's letter

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

March 27, 2020

By Father Mark White

Dearly Beloved of St. Joseph and St. Francis, I regret having to write you like this, when we all struggle with difficulties of a once-in-a-lifetime seriousness. I miss seeing you at Mass. Please remember that the church remains open for prayer, and I would love to see you, if you stop by the office.

Perhaps you read in last Sunday's Bulletin a letter to you from Most Reverend Barry Knestout, Roman Catholic Bishop of Richmond. I want to make a couple points about the bishop's letter ("My case against Father Mark White's blog," March 22).

First, I want you to know that I wrote Bishop Knestout six days before his letter to you. In my letter to him, I discussed the state of affairs with my weblog. He received my letter that day, Friday, March 13. He has yet to respond to my letter, or even acknowledge it.

Second, there is a significant factual inaccuracy in the bishop's letter to you. He writes that he invited me "to meet with him privately," yet each time I "refused or demurred." This is not true.

In early September of 2018, the bishop ordered me to remove a post from my blog, and I complied. That led to a written dialogue, which you can read at https://frmarkdwhite.wordpress.com/bishop-knestout-letter-to-parishioners/.

Vatican statistics show decline in number of consecrated men, women between 2013-2018

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service via Crux

March 26, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

The decrease in the number of religious brothers and of women in religious orders is “worrying,” according to the Vatican statistics office.

While the number of religious brothers in Africa and Asia continues to increase, the number of religious brothers worldwide experienced an 8 percent drop between 2013 and 2018, while the number of women religious fell 7.5 percent globally in the same period, the Vatican Central Office for Church Statistics reported.

However, the number of baptized Catholics increased by 6 percent between 2013 and 2018, reaching 1.33 billion or almost 18 percent of the global population, the statistics office reported March 25.

Two priests removed from ministry after investigations into 'serious misconduct'

SASKATOON (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Star Phoenix

March 27, 2020

By Matt Olson

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon announced that two priests have been removed from service by the diocese after internal investigations into “serious misconduct.”

Ephraim Mensah and Michael Yaremko were both removed from priestly ministry and service after investigations into two separate cases of misconduct.

Two priests removed from ministry after investigations into 'serious misconduct'

According to a notice from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Mensah had recently retired from his position as pastor of the parish at Holy Family Cathedral and Yaremko was most recently an associate pastor in Humboldt.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen, the head of the Saskatoon diocese, assured the community that the allegations were not related, did not involve children or minors, and no criminal charges were expected. He said he could not go into further detail for the protection of the people who came forward with the allegations.

Two former St. Augustine priests removed from ministry

HUMBOLDT (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Humboldt Journal

March 27, 2020

By Devan C. Tasa

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has removed two priests, who both served at Humboldt’s St. Augustine Church sometime during their careers, from ministry.

Fr. Ephraim Mensah, who was once a pastor at St. Augustine, and Fr. Michael Yaremko, who was an associate pastor, were removed after two separate investigations determined they engaged in serious misconduct. The incidents were unrelated.

Bishop Mark Hagemonen, the head of the diocese, said he couldn’t comment on the nature of the misconduct in both cases. He did say that there are no criminal charges and they did not involve children.

Mensah was serving as pastor of the Cathedral of the Holy Family of Saskatoon when he resigned. Yaremko has been on leave for almost two years since he left his first appointment as associate pastor of St. Augustine.

How the coronavirus may reshape Pope Francis’ to-do list

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Angelus

March 23, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Pope Francis suspended the activities of the Vatican City State’s tribunal Thursday, March 19, in keeping with similar measures adopted by the Italian government, as the latest step to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In effect, the decision means that unless a criminal trial or prosecution is judged to be incapable of delay, it’ll have to wait.

It was one of the many examples this month of how things in the Vatican essentially have been frozen in place, from the sweeping reform of the Roman Curia Pope Francis has pledged to the long-awaited report on sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Someday, however, the pandemic will ebb. When that happens, will the effect of the coronavirus be tantamount to a “pause” button, and we’ll just pick up the movie where we left off? Or, will the pandemic give the Vatican new priorities that would not have been the case without the shock of a global public health crisis, one which, to boot, is hitting his own backyard in Italy right now harder than anywhere else on the planet?

Experts fear child abuse will increase with coronavirus isolation

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News

March 27, 2020

By Sakshi Venkatraman

People trained to recognize abuse, like teachers and child care workers, are not seeing kids who may be confined to abusive households.

School closures and self-isolation have led to a drop in the number of child abuse cases reported to several state hotlines, worrying experts who say rules intended to halt the spread of coronavirus may be making conditions worse for victims of child abuse trapped at home with their parents.

Hotlines in Colorado, Texas and Illinois and California have received fewer reports of child abuse since stay-at-home orders have been put into place, say experts who attribute the decline to children no longer attending school or day care, where teachers and child care workers are mandated to report suspected abuse.

“We are concerned about this significant drop in calls, particularly because children and youth who may be experiencing abuse and neglect are now home all day and isolated,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, in a news release.

As pandemic halts Child Victims Act filings, lawmakers rally for extension

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times-Union

March 24, 2020

By Cayla Harris

As the COVID-19 pandemic has put all non-essential court filings on pause, lawmakers and activists are ramping up calls to extend the Child Victims Act's "look-back" window that is set to expire this summer.

Last August, the Child Victims Act opened a one-year period for survivors of all ages to pursue previously time-barred claims against their alleged abusers – but, as some survivors have faced difficulty finding attorneys or coming to terms with their abuse, legislators have looked to extend the window another 12 months. Those calls are more pressing now, lawmakers and activists say, after the state court system on Sunday suspended most civil filings as the COVID-19 emergency has significantly reduced staff and operations.

Advocates hope to include an extension in the state's annual budget package, due by April 1.

"This is an extraordinary time for New York state, and circumstances around the budget are unusual to say the least, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that adult survivors of child sexual abuse will be further harmed by our legal system if we don’t move to extend the window," said state Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, a sponsor of both the Child Victims Act and the extension proposal.

March 27, 2020

We must rise above our ‘Catholic bubble’

VANCOUVER (BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
The B.C. Catholic - Archdiocese of Vancouver

March 26, 2020

By James Borkowski

Photo Caption: If it hadn’t been for Bernadette Howell, an abuse survivor working with the Archdiocese of Vancouver, James Borkowski’s “Catholic bubble” might still be in place, he writes.

I have always loved being Catholic.

I was raised in a very Catholic home. Our family frequented the sacraments, prayed the Rosary daily, and promoted the faith in many ways.

As a seemingly natural consequence, I was taught to revere priests and assume they could do no wrong.

In Grade 6, I asked my teacher, “Can a priest sin?”

I don’t remember her being surprised. She thoughtfully stated that, “priests sin less than us but they can still sin.”

And so, my Catholic bubble was established.

That bubble might still be in place if it wasn’t for Bernadette, a victim of clergy abuse I met several years ago. Although she was abused in the UK and Ireland, she has become a leading advocate for victims/survivors in Vancouver. We have had many meetings and conversations. Not all have been pleasant.

I spent the first three years of our relationship often saying the wrong words or doing unintentionally hurtful things. Thankfully, Bernadette appreciates honesty and the willingness to take risks while trying to do the right thing and we have found a productive tension around this issue. Now, I consider her an ally and a friend. We disagree often but she has changed my life by teaching me how to understand and care for two groups of people – victims/survivors, and priests.

Opinion: Will the Supreme Court Protect ‘Ministers’ from Their Church?

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 26, 2020

By Linda Greenhouse

A case will determine the extent to which religious groups are shielded from employee lawsuits.

The Supreme Court, now even more invisible than usual, may seem beside the point these days, although we saw from the batch of opinions handed down on Monday that the justices are still at work. The 11 cases that were fully briefed and ready for argument this week and next will be heard eventually. I want to focus on one of those cases, a largely overlooked religion case that will have a great deal to tell us about the court’s receptivity to the increasingly audacious claims of religious supremacy now hurtling its way.

Ordinarily, at this point in a column about a Supreme Court case, I would write: “The question in the case is … ” But in fact, the two sides view this case as presenting fundamentally different questions. I can’t recall such a crucial divergence between the way petitioners and respondents — the terms the Supreme Court uses for the opposing parties — frame the issue to be decided. The justices’ choice of which question to address will very likely determine the answer they give.

The petitioners in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru are two Catholic schools in Los Angeles County, each of which dismissed a lay fifth-grade teacher, giving reasons that may or may not have been the real reasons. Each of the teachers — the respondents — brought suit under federal law for employment discrimination, one for disability discrimination (St. James School refused to renew Kristen Biel’s contract after she told them she had breast cancer and needed time for treatment and recovery) and one for age discrimination.

Here is the question the schools present to the court:

“Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions.”

And here is the question the teachers are asking the court to decide:

“Whether the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses prohibit lay teachers at religious elementary schools from bringing employment discrimination claims.”

Note that the first question incorporates the assumption that the teachers, Agnes Morrissey-Berru and Ms. Biel, each of whom taught an ordinary fifth-grade curriculum along with a religion module they taught by following a workbook, were performing “important religious functions.” The second question refers only to “lay teachers.” It contains no suggestion that either teacher was serving in a religious capacity; in fact, neither school required members of its faculty to be practicing Catholics, and Ms. Morrissey-Berru was not. She had taught full time at Our Lady of Guadalupe School for 16 years and was in her 60s when the school’s principal asked her if she wanted to retire. When she said no, she was demoted to a part-time position and her contract was not renewed for the following year.

These facts along with the difference between the two questions are important because this dispute is playing out against the background of a 2012 decision in which the Supreme Court first recognized a “ministerial exception” that shields religious employers from discrimination claims by their employees. The unanimous opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts in that case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, relied on an amalgam of the First Amendment’s two Religious Clauses: the Establishment Clause, which the Supreme Court has long interpreted as barring government “entanglement” with the affairs of churches, and the Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits government obstruction of religious practice.

Our Lenten Journey, March 26: St. Mary MacKillop and Clergy Abuse

WILMINGTON (DE)
The Dialog

March 26, 2020

By Virginia Durkin O'Shea

How many saints do you know of who have been excommunicated? Joan of Arc comes to mind, however, she met a tragic end. You may not have heard of St. Mary of the Cross, the Australian nun whose fate was much better than that of St. Joan.

Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Melbourne on Jan. 15, 1842 to Flora MacDonald and Alexander MacKillop, Scottish immigrants who met and married in Australia. Alexander was a former seminarian, and had a good heart, but was unsuccessful at most professions, so the family struggled.

The oldest of eight children, Mary began working as a clerk at age 14. She later took a job as a governess for her aunt and uncle, followed by more teaching positions and running a school in Penola. During her teaching career, she always made an effort to include poor children from the area in her lessons. She felt that educating people was serving God.

In 1866, she met a young priest, Fr. Julian Tenison Woods, who invited her and two of her sisters to open a Catholic school in Penola. They opened a school in a former barn; it was a “free” school, taking no funding from the government (which was the norm) and accepting only what parents could pay. Mary wished to dedicate her life to God by serving the poor, and began wearing all black.

*

By 1871, 130 nuns were working in more than 40 schools and charitable institutions across South Australia and Queensland. Then things took a strange turn for Sister Mary and the order. Accounts say that she and several other sisters reported a local priest for suspected abuse. The priest was sent back to his home country, but one of his peers launched a revenge campaign against Sister Mary that included accusations of alcoholism. Sister Mary refuted the claims, and argued with Bishop Sheil — who at the time also wished to take control of her order. As a result, Sister Mary was excommunicated by the bishop for insubordination in 1871. Many of the schools were closed and the nuns became homeless. The order survived, with the sisters living on charity from supporters. A year later, on his deathbed, Bishop Sheil admitted that he had been misled, and lifted the excommunication.

Diocese Suspends Abuse Victims' Compensation Program, Citing 'Economic Turmoil'

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

March 26, 2020

By Tom Gjelten

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/26/822211994/diocese-suspends-abuse-victims-compensation-program-citing-economic-turmoil

Among the people affected by the downturn on Wall Street are some alleged victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

The Diocese of Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania, identified in 2018 by the state attorney general as one of the places where clergy abuse had been especially egregious, has announced that it is suspending the processing of victim claims in response to what it calls the "economic turmoil" brought about by the coronavirus.

In February 2019, diocesan authorities in Erie launched an Independent Survivors' Reparation Program for the purpose of compensating people whose claims of abuse were substantiated. The diocese said funds for the compensation were to come from a line of credit secured by diocesan investments. Dozens of claims were subsequently filed, and by December 2019 the program was said to have cost the diocese nearly $12 million.

New claims of child sexual abuse by Cardinal George Pell exposed in ABC TV’s Revelation

ULTIMO (AUSTRALIA)
ABC via BlackBox

March 27, 2020

Watch the concluding 2 episodes of the ground-breaking documentary series on ABC TV and iview on Tuesday 31 March and Thursday 2 April at 8:30pm

Across two compelling nights of must-see television, an exclusive interview with one of the Church’s most prolific sex-offenders, Bernard McGrath. In a tense encounter filmed in a maximum-security prison, he identifies the religious leaders responsible for the cover-up of his crimes.

And in Revelation’s cinematic, feature-length finale, explosive new allegations of child sexual abuse by Cardinal George Pell are exposed.

The world-first exclusive reveals the gripping story of an individual from a small town in Australia, pitted against a former Prince of the Church. “I chose to remain silent, never to tell a soul, and I got through a good 40 years of that,” says the survivor of sexual abuse, who publicly reveals the story of his tormented boyhood for the first time. “I want to heal now. I’ve carried that burden for long enough.”

Erie diocese suspends victim payments due to COVID-19

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times-News

March 24, 2020

By Ed Palattella

Letter says decline of stock market related to the coronavirus prompted compensation fund’s 90-day pause.

The COVID-19 pandemic has gone far beyond keeping parishioners out of church and absent from Mass in the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The diocese said the crisis has so affected its finances that the diocese has suspended payments from its special fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The 13-county diocese, which on March 17 suspended public Masses due to the coronavirus, has halted operation of the compensation fund for at least 90 days because of the sharp decline in the stock market related the coronavirus outbreak, the fund’s administrators and the diocese said on Tuesday.

They both indicated that the downturn on Wall Street has significantly reduced the value of the diocese’s investments.

Neither the fund nor the diocese detailed the amount of the losses, but they put more pressure on financial resources that Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico said were under stress even before the pandemic.

The diocese’s expenses related to the clergy abuse scandal, including payments to the victims, had strained the diocese’s finances but they remained solvent, Persico said on Feb. 19, after the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy.

Chicago Archdiocese builds site for parish donations, emergency fund

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic News Service via CatholicPhilly.com

March 25, 2020

By Michelle Martin

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial disruptions not only to households and businesses, but also to local parishes, who have suspended public Masses at which they can take up offertory collections.

To help Catholics support their local parishes, the Archdiocese of Chicago has created a website that donors can use to make a one-time or recurring gift to any parish they choose.

The site, along with a donation site for the archdiocese’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund, can be accessed at www.archchicago.org/support. Both funds accept credit card payments or electronic payments directly from a bank account.

“About 70% of our parishes have an online giving program,” said Brendan Keating, chief development officer in the Office of Stewardship and Development. “Of course, that means 30% don’t.”

All parishes still have bills to pay even if they are not holding public Masses, Keating said.

With Masses suspended, parishes face collection shortfalls and perilous finances

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

March 20, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

It started off as a trickle, with only the Archdiocese of Seattle—located in one of the hardest-hit regions in the nation in terms of the coronavirus—announcing on March 11 that it would suspend public Masses to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Then the announcements from other dioceses followed in a deluge: The Archdioceses of Washington, Newark, Chicago and Boston announced similar suspensions less than two days later. In less than a week, with more than 10,000 cases of Covid-19 reported in the United States, nearly all of the nation’s Catholic dioceses suspended public Masses—and several confirmed that the suspension would run through Holy Week and Easter.

Church leaders are responding to this new reality by live-streaming Masses, pointing to online spirituality resources and even adjusting how confession works to respond to the reality that many Catholics cannot leave their homes.

Part-time church workers have seen their income halted, major charities are worried about missed collections, and at least one diocese has temporarily laid-off employees.
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But when it comes to church finances, parishes and those who work in them are facing an uncertain future the longer the crisis drags on. Part-time church workers have seen their income halted, major charities are worried about missed collections, and at least one diocese has temporarily laid-off employees.

Humboldt priest one of pair removed from service by Diocese: No criminal charges are expected

MELFORT (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Melfort Journal

March 26, 2020

By Susan McNeill

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon announced that two priests have been removed from service by the diocese after internal investigations into “serious misconduct.”

According to a notice from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Mensah had recently retired from his position as pastor of the parish at Holy Family Cathedral and Yaremko was most recently an associate pastor in Humboldt.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen, the head of the Saskatoon diocese, assured the community that the allegations were not related, did not involve children or minors, and no criminal charges were expected. He said he could not go into further detail for the protection of the people who came forward with the allegations.

“What was announced is that both had been removed from ministry,” he said. “Father Mensah’s (removal) … was in early March, where Father Yaremko’s situation goes back two years.”

March 26, 2020

Way Stations for a Pilgrim Church: The Changing Landscape of American Parishes

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

March 26, 2020

By Susan Bigelow Reynolds

Some people mark out eras in their lives by the places they’ve lived or the jobs they’ve held. I measure mine in parishes.

I grew up in a Catholic parish south of Denver that sat on a hill and faced the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The church was the apotheosis of post–Vatican II architecture, rounded and dark and a little odd. The walls were built of brown brick, the kind that clung to your clothes like Velcro if you leaned against them. Olive-green and burnt-orange carpet blanketed the floors, and ruddy tile gave the narthex a smoldery, numinous glow. The western-facing wall was made of plate-glass windows. As a kid, I spent most of Sunday Mass transfixed by rose-colored rays of sunlight shooting through the clouds onto the snowy face of Mt. Evans, a view that lent an organic logic to the sacraments: God, too, could be both grand and intimate, both transcendent and earthy.

Every summer, my parents shuttled my siblings and me off to visit our great-aunts in Streator, Illinois, a small, rural town ninety miles south of Chicago where my mother’s side of the family had lived for generations. Once there, we melded into life at their parish, St. Stephen’s. The church was the oldest Slovak parish in the United States, a distinction my Slovak-American family wore with pride. My siblings and I spent our summer breaks helping our aunts and the other ladies of the Altar and Rosary Society run the parish rummage sale, sell rozek, and lead the rosary at the local Catholic nursing home. At St. Stephen’s, the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council were still being received in the 1990s. Mass-goers still knelt at the extant altar rail to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, a practice as foreign as it was enchanting to a nine-year-old future Millennial. St. Stephen’s was like an immersion trip into the Catholic past, into a world of ethnic religious enclaves that otherwise only existed for me in old family photos.

*
Shifting, too, are boundaries of belief, affiliation, and practice. An increasing number of U.S. Catholics locate themselves on the peripheries of the church. Disagreement with church teachings, dissatisfaction with the role of women and the treatment of LGBTQ persons, and disillusionment wrought by the sex-abuse crisis have caused many to reevaluate their relationship to the institutional church and, in turn, to their parishes. Such displacements are harder to quantify—statistics on Catholic disaffiliation tell only part of the story—but they are supremely evident to anyone who has spent time in Catholic communities recently. In a particular way, the relentless tide of abuse revelations has exposed the fragility of authority, the deceptiveness of charisma, the insufficiency of Catholics’ formation on issues of sexuality, and the dark consequences of patriarchy and secrecy. The crisis has forced lay people, many for the first time, to wrestle in a sustained way with the reality of the church’s sinfulness and the limits of their own power. Some have chosen to leave altogether. Together, these transformations are upending perceptions of the parish’s storied stability. Parishes today are spaces of ambiguity, uncertainty, and change—unstable communities of the faithful.

Archdiocese, New Haven private school settle sex abuse lawsuit

NEW HAVEN (PA)
New Haven Register

March 24, 2020

By Daniel Tepfer

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford and officials of the Hopkins School in New Haven have agreed to settle a lawsuit that claimed a decades-long coverup of sexual abuse of young boys by a teacher.

Notice that a settlement had been reached in the two-year-old civil case was filed in Superior Court in New Haven.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed in the filing.

Last October, Cindy Robinson of the Bridgeport law firm Tremont, Sheldon, Robinson and Mahoney, which represented the plaintiff in the suit, offered to settle the case against the archdiocese and the school for $7.48 million.

Church suspends payments to victims in wake of virus

SHARON (PA)
The Herald

March 26, 2020

By Melissa Klaric

Erie - Citing economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Diocese of Erie has suspended payments from its fund for clergy abuse victims.

“As a result of the economic turmoil caused by the onset of COVID-19, the Diocese of Erie has temporarily suspended its work with the Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program effective March 20, 2020,” the diocese stated in a press release. “The suspension will last at least 90 days.”

The move will affect approximately 40 remaining claimants whose requests have yet to be determined, the diocese said.

All claimants who have accepted settlements have already been paid. The diocese also will pay victims with pending payments.

People with claims affected by the temporary suspension will be notified when the fund resumes processing claims.

An official from the diocese said it would not provide additional information about the suspension.

Adam Horowitz, of the Horowitz Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the Diocese of Erie and its bishop, The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, should have taken steps to ensure that the fund would be preserved and claimants paid.

Trinity College former principal 'stunned' by alleged sex assault of student on rugby tour

ULTIMO (AUSTRALIA)
ABC

March 25, 2020

By Rebecca Turner

The former principal of a prestigious Perth Catholic school was "stunned" to hear allegations that one of his students had been sexually assaulted with a carrot by some teammates while on a rugby tour to Japan almost three years ago, a Perth court has been told.

Ivan Banks, who was principal of Trinity College for almost 11 years, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of two former Trinity teachers who have been charged under mandatory reporting laws.

Ian Francis Hailes and Anthony Paul Webb have both pleaded not guilty to failing to report an incident of child sexual abuse.

Funeral Mass scheduled for former Cincinnati Archbishop

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

March 26, 2020

A funeral Mass will be held Friday for a former Cincinnati archbishop who led Catholics there for more than a quarter century.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk had been in declining health for years before he died Sunday at the age of 85. His funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati.

An archdiocese spokeswoman said the Mass will be private, meaning the public will not be allowed to attend due to restrictions now in place due to the coronavirus. However, the service will be livestreamed on the archdiocese’s website.

A memorial Mass open to the public will be held at a later date.Pilarczyk led the archdiocese for 27 years and was the nation’s longest-serving bishop when he retired in 2009. His final years leading the region’s Catholic congregation included a public struggle with widespread allegations of clergy abuse.

March 25, 2020

Request to Vatican to investigate Archbishop Nienstedt in limbo

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

March 24, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

Clergy abuse ombudsman sees it as a test case of new Vatican rules to discipline bishops.

Tom Johnson, the clergy abuse ombudsman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, submitted a formal request to the Vatican last July to investigate possible misconduct by former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

He’s still awaiting a response.

The Vatican announced new protocols in May for holding bishops, not just priests, accountable for clergy abuse. Johnson, a former Hennepin County attorney, said he still doesn’t know why the Vatican isn’t adhering to its own standard of responding within 30 days.

“It’s a huge problem when the church is trying to restore trust,” said Johnson, who called it a “test case” of the Vatican’s much-touted protocols.

The Vatican’s representative in Washington, D.C., did not respond to questions about the Nienstedt case.

Priest accused of sexual assault

WILKES-BARRE (PA)
The Citizens Voice

March 25, 2020

By Frank Wilkes Lesnefsky

The Lackawanna County district attorney’s office is investigating a 40-year-old sexual assault allegation against a Diocese of Scranton priest.

The diocese announced Monday the Rev. James J. Walsh had resigned as pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Laflin after diocesan officials launched an investigation into a sexual assault allegation.

The allegation did not involve minors, the diocese said.

The alleged incident took place in 1979 while Walsh was serving as assistant pastor at the Church of St. Gregory in Clarks Green. The diocese learned of the incident on March 6, 2019, and notified the district attorney’s office, according to the diocese.

Catholic priest from the Fens steps down following historic child sex abuse claims

MARCH (CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND)
Cambs Times

March 25, 2020

A Roman Catholic priest from March has voluntarily stepped down while he is investigated for historic child sex abuse claims relating to his former ministry in Peru.

A statement released by Bishop Alan Hopes and the Diocese of East Anglia on Friday (March 20) explains Father Ryan had recently been accused of the non-recent sexual abuse of children.

It says he voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities while the investigation is ongoing and that the accusations have been reported to the relevant authorities, including police.

The statement, uploaded to the Catholic Church in March website, reads: “Whilst the investigation is ongoing, Father Ryan has voluntarily withdrawn from all public ministry.

On Forgiveness, Clergy Abuse, and the Need for New Understandings

NEW YORK (NY)
The Revealer

March 2, 2020

By Kaya Oakes

What should survivors do when the Church asks them for forgiveness?

In March of 2019, the Catholic archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut, decided that a dramatic public statement needed to be made about the 48 priests in his diocese who had been accused of sexual abuse. Archbishop Blair held a special “Mass of Reparations,” during which he told the congregation that he was there to ask forgiveness “especially of all the victims of sexual abuse and their families. I ask it for all the Church leadership has done or failed to do,” and he prostrated himself in a gesture of repentance. It was a vivid moment that received national press attention. But for many victims and their allies, it was just that: a moment.

For decades, Catholic dioceses throughout the country have had to embark on what can only be described as apology tours, during which clergy have again and again asked abuse victims for forgiveness. Nick Ingala, from the lay activist group Voice of the Faithful, told the New York Times that Archbishop Blair’s Reparations Mass was not going to be enough for many victims. “Apologies,” Ingala said, “will only go so far. Where is the responsibility? The accountability? You can’t say ‘I’m sorry’ over and over and over again.” Among the reader comments on the New York Times article, one of the most upvoted was from “Janet,” who stated that “apologies are fine,” but that “nothing, absolutely nothing, ever compensates enough for the heart-heavy, dirty-soul feeling that remains with [victims] until we die.”

While clergy abuse is not my primary focus as a journalist who writes about the Catholic Church, it is one that my colleagues and I have been forced to return to many times as continued revelations of abuse surface. In fact, every person who writes about the Catholic Church is a de facto reporter on abuse. Journalists often become victim advocates simply because we are the first people victims think to contact, especially when distrust of diocesan offices and the Church hierarchy is at an all-time high.

But in spite of the many cases of abuse coming to light around the world, the clerical impulse to plead for forgiveness, and what that does to victims, has rarely been discussed. In 2018, I pitched a story on the role of forgiveness in clergy abuse to a Catholic magazine for which I occasionally write. My hunch was that, like many of the women who were being asked to forgive abusive men as #MeToo revelations unfolded, many victims of clergy abuse might be hesitant to grant forgiveness to those who had violated them because of the corrosive nature of trauma.

Church on Fire: What Must Be Done?

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo Rising

March 4, 2020

The “Church on Fire” lecture series on church reform kicks off Thursday evening at Blessed Sacrament Church as scandal continues to dog the Buffalo diocese. After enduring months of bombshell after bombshell shaking the foundations of Catholic western New York to its foundations, the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone and the appointment of his temperamental opposite, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany as apostolic administrator seemed to signal a better day.

Yet recent developments have proven worrisome. Last week the Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy, something unimaginable just a year ago, and a private Mass last week with Bishop Scharfenberger that included priests tainted by the clergy abuse scandal has left reform-minded Catholics stunned. And this week, according to a new story by investigative reporter Charlie Specht, we learned that the priest who hosted that controversial Mass at his church may have been involved in covering up a credible accusation of clerical abuse when he was vice-chancellor of the diocese.

The seemingly endless drumbeat of scandal has had many Catholics asking, “should I stay with the church?” and others, “what must be done?” The lecture series ambitiously attempts to answer both questions, with the answer to the first question inherent in its title, Church on Fire: Stay With Us! The later question, “what must be done?” just happens to be known as “The Vincentian Question,” closely associated with St. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentian religious order he founded (see the brief video below). Appropriately then, kicking off the series will be Rev. Aidan Rooney, a Vincentian priest, who will speak about ecclesiastical reform from the perspective of his order and its founder.

Priest Is Flying Around the Diocese, Previously Accused of Sex Advance on Seminarian

FORT LAUDERDALE (FL)
Horowitz Law Blog

March 23, 2020

https://adamhorowitzlaw.com/father-anthony-manuppella-is-flying-around-the-diocese-previously-accused-of-sex-advance-on-seminarian/

A New Jersey pastor, Anthony Manuppella is in the news today, comparing himself to popes and praying in Latin while flying a plane around his diocese for two hours with a parishioner, a priest on his staff.

Fr. Anthony Manuppella told a reporter that he wants to do his part. . .to contain the Covid-19 spread and minimize its impact (while squeezing into a small airplane with at least two other men, none of them six feet away from each other).

But in a lawsuit, Fr. Manuppella – along with another priest – was accused by a young seminarian of making unwelcome advances, discussing homosexuality, asking him to join them at gay bars and talking often about “sexual acts prohibited by the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Fred Lutz's sexual abuse made worse by diocese withholding information

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
News-Leader

March 22, 2020

By Robert Ballay

Letter to the Editor

Thank you and Harrison Keegan for the articles about the sexual abuse perpetrated by Fred Lutz, who is an ordained Catholic priest. Lutz sexually abused me in 1972 when I was 17 years old. There are two more reports of sexual abuse by Lutz of adolescent boys, one in the 1990s and one in 2000. Lutz is being prosecuted for the 2000 report now. The 2000 case was reported in 2002 to the diocese, and I reported my 1972 case in 2006. I regret that I did not report it sooner. We know that the diocese had two sexual abuse reports on Lutz in 2002 and 2006. We don't know when the 1990s report was made because the diocese has never made that report public. However, you would think if there were two separate reports of sexual abuse by Lutz, the diocese, the bishop would begin to doubt Lutz's denials.

The diocese did not make any of Lutz’s sexual abuse reports public until 2018, when they finally revealed that I had reported my 1972 abuse in 2006. Why they decided to finally report it then is unknown, since no new knowledge had come to light as far as I know. A friend of mine said they finally reported it because the Missouri attorney general announced the clergy sexual abuse investigation of all Missouri dioceses about a month earlier. The diocese has still not made public either of the 1990s or the 2000 reports of sexual abuse by Lutz.

The diocese has not been honest with me or the public about the sexual abuse by its priests. As recently as 2018 and 2019, I was told that there were no other abuse reports made on Lutz. The diocese said they would cooperate with the investigation, but the Stoddard County prosecuting attorney indicated that in no way did the diocese cooperate.

March 24, 2020

'Just another Indian': Surviving Canada's residential schools

DOHA (QATAR)
Al Jazeera

March 24, 2020

By Brandi Morin

A survivor of schools that took Indigenous children from their families shares her story of abuse, neglect and healing.

Alberta, Canada - Alsena White, aged 67, is illiterate. She gets by with the help of her children and grandchildren.

Alsena was taught at the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St Paul, Alberta. From the age of five to 16, she lived at the federal government-funded school, ushered through grade after grade. Yet no one seemed to notice - or to care - that she could neither read nor write.

"[To them] I was just another Indian," she says of the Catholic nuns and priests who administered her education. Leaning slightly forward, as if to make sure it is safe to speak, Alsena continues: "I tell people I spent 10 years in jail even though I never committed a crime."

It has been more than 50 years since she felt enslaved inside the walls of the school, but the memories still haunt her.

Vatican says general absolution may be permissible during pandemic

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

March 20, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

In places particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and with severe limits on people leaving their homes, conditions may exist to grant general absolution to the faithful without them personally confessing their sins first, the Vatican said.

The Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, including confession, issued a notice March 20 that while individual confession and absolution is the normal means for the forgiveness of sins, “grave necessity” can lead to other solutions.

In a separate decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary also offered the spiritual assistance of special indulgences to people afflicted with COVID-19, to those in quarantine, to medical personnel caring for coronavirus patients and to all those who are praying for them.

“This Apostolic Penitentiary holds that, especially in places most impacted by the pandemic contagion and until the phenomenon subsides, there are cases of grave necessity” meeting the criteria for general absolution, the notice about confession said.

Priest on PBS special offers frank accounting of past, hope for future

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Courier - Diocese of Rochester

March 24, 2020

By Mark Pattison

Washington - If you tune in to the PBS special "Inside the Vatican," slated to air 9-11 p.m. EDT April 28, you'll have to wait more than an hour and a half to see him, and to hear what he has to say.

But German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner's words are a necessary tonic, even if it's sonic castor oil to some.

Father Zollner wears many hats. He is the president of the Center for Child Protection in Rome, head of the Institute of Psychology and academic vice rector at the Pontifical Gregorian University, also in Rome, and serves as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and as a consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy.

What he has to say in the special about the scourge of clergy sexual abuse should be required listening.

Priest chaplain at Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse had abuse record

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

March 24, 2020

By Sarah Salvadore

Volunteers were caught off guard by recent discovery

In January, Lindsey Faust and her partner visited the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky, for a mini vacation. Faust was a former volunteer with Loretto Volunteers and shared a rapport with the sisters and community members. It was almost like home to her. During their stay, Faust's partner, out of curiosity, inquired about the priest who lived there, celebrating daily Mass. It was then that a community member revealed details about Fr. J. Irvin Mouser that no volunteer knew.

Mouser, a priest from the Archdiocese of Louisville, was removed from public ministry in 2002 on charges of child sex abuse. He is accused of abusing five boys during his time as a priest at the parishes of St. Helen in Barren County and St. Francis of Assisi in Jefferson County. The Holy See directed Mouser to live a life of "prayer and penance" — he was not to serve in any active ministry as priest, celebrate Mass publicly or don clerical garb.

But Mouser did all of that while living in Loretto, where he served as chaplain to the Sisters of Loretto. There he was also in close proximity to children, since students from a nearby high school and young children would often visit the motherhouse and the adjoining farm.

Martinsville priest Father Mark White defies bishop's orders to stop blogging

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

March 19, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

https://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/news/local/martinsville-priest-father-mark-white-defies-bishop-s-orders-to/article_70fb4b83-d061-5511-b9c2-fdf9bb1a90ab.html

A Martinsville priest has defied his bishop’s order to stop communicating online and resumed posting to a blog he made popular with his critical comments of the Catholic hierarchy’s handling of its sex abuse crisis.

Father Mark White, the priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount, in February received an order from Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond to remove his blog completely and cease his online communication with more than a million visitors under threat of removal as a priest.

White complied initially, but then COVID-19 happened. In response to the pandemic and in keeping with the Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders that church assembly not include more than 10 people, Knestout issued a public letter earlier this week closing the doors to “public celebrations of Mass, on Sundays, holy days and weekdays in the Diocese of Richmond.” White’s parishes in Martinsville and Rocky Mount are assigned to the Richmond Diocese. Even Knestout is finding a need to expand his own use of online communications.

Post-reformation theology of the priesthood influenced abuse crisis, author says

DENVER (CO)
Crux

March 24, 2020

Interview by Charles C. Camosy of Clare McGrath-Merkle

Camosy: You’ve done a lot of work on the theology of the priesthood. Can you give us the short version of your central view or a couple central ideas that could give Crux readers some insight into how you are thinking about this topic?

McGrath-Merkle: My work has been focused mainly on the theology of the priesthood and its possible role, if any, in the crisis of sexual abuse and cover-up. The causes of the crisis are, of course, varied, but I have wanted to try to understand how this theology might have somehow contributed to a clerical identity prone to the abuse of power.

The understanding I’ve come to is that what we think of as the official theology of the priesthood is actually a 400-year-old revolutionary one, linked to clerical formation spirituality. Its underlying spiritual theology has influenced the training of seminarians up until Vatican II and has had a major resurgence since the 90’s. Interestingly, it hasn’t been of much interest to most systematic theologians.

This theology was proposed in the early 17th century by a little-known cardinal-Pierre de Bérulle, the founder of the French School of Spirituality, and is a rather psychologically and spiritually unhealthy one. Leading up to my research on the possible historical roots of the crisis as found in this theology, I explored some current serious psychosocial maladaptions in priestly identity in a 2010 article.

Arguably, Bérulle’s innovations have contributed to an unhealthy priestly identity and culture over centuries, principally through both an over-identification with Christ and an exaggerated sacrificial spirituality.

Diocese finds 1976 sexual abuse allegations against former St. Augustine priest ‘credible’

ST. AUGUSTINE (FL)
St. Augustine Record

March 23, 2020

By Matt Bruce

https://www.staugustine.com/news/20200323/diocese-finds-1976-sexual-abuse-allegations-against-former-st-augustine-priest-rsquocrediblersquo

A retired St. Augustine Catholic priest was accused of sexually abusing a minor 44 years ago in a recent complaint, the Diocese of St. Augustine announced in a statement Monday.

Father John H. Dux, a former clergyman at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine, was immediately suspended indefinitely in May 2019 after the alleged victim’s attorney sent the Diocese a copy of the complaint. In release Monday, the Diocese said church officials reviewed the claims and deemed them credible.

“To determine the truth, and to ensure the safety and well-being of our vulnerable populations, the Diocesan Review Board conducted a thorough review of the claim,” Monday’s statement read. “They determined there was a semblance of truth and found the allegation to be credible.”

The alleged sexual abuse took place in 1976, when Dux was assigned to the St. Patrick Parish in Gainesville as a parochial vicar. The information was forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County, but prosecutors did not begin an investigation because Florida’s statute of limitations had expired for the charges, Monday’s press release indicated.

To heal the church from the sex abuse crisis, we need apologies, not just policies

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

March 23, 2020

By Colleen Duggan

The day after New Year’s my husband and I packed up our six children and drove to the Encounter Conference, in Toledo, Ohio, where 3,000 Catholics gathered for three days of inspiring talks, Eucharistic adoration and Mass.

I’ll admit it: I limped into the Encounter.

Since the summer of 2018, the revelations of grave sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy in the highest echelons of the church hierarchy has left me devastated and grieving. I am disillusioned with the Catholic Church, in general, and especially the clergy, whom I have always held in high regard. The continually unfolding news about the sinful actions of cardinals, bishops and priests revealed to me the serious level of corruption within the institution and highlighted a lack of virtue and piety among too many priests.

Heartbroken by what has happened in my church and impatient with the spiritual mediocrity I experience with clergy at all levels, I dragged myself to this conference desperate for the revival I believe is needed within the body of Christ today.

March 23, 2020

Kathleen McChesney, director of USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection, to receive University of Notre Dame Laetare Medal

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

March 23, 2020

By Carol Zimmermann

Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI executive assistant and the first person to lead the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection, will receive the 2020 Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame.

“It is often the church’s darkest moments that call forth great faith and courage,” said Notre Dame’s president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, in announcing the award.

He said the university is recognizing McChesney’s efforts in response to the church’s abuse crisis and honoring her “courage, tenacity and love for the church in a tireless pursuit of justice for victims, accountability for abusers and measures that prevent this crisis from continuing.”

New Program to Report Sexual Misconduct Involving U.S. Bishops Launched

HARTFORD (CT)
Norwich Diocese

March 23, 2020

New Program to Report Sexual Misconduct Involving U.S. Bishops Launched

Hartford – In May 2019, Pope Francis released his apostolic letter, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”) to address the issue of sexual abuse and bishop accountability in the global Catholic Church. Vos estis calls upon the metropolitan archbishops to receive and investigate reports pertaining to sexual abuse and related misconduct involving bishops. In June 2019, one month after Pope Francis issued his order, the bishops of the United States approved an implementation plan for carrying out the directives of the Holy Father here in the United States.

As part of this ongoing commitment to carrying out Vos estis, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) was launched on March 16, 2020. The service is operated by Convercent, Inc. an independent, third- party entity that provides intake services to private institutions for reports of sensitive topics through a secure, confidential, and professional platform. Individuals may go to ReportBishopAbuse.org in order to make a report of certain misconduct by a living U.S. bishop. Reports are also accepted by phone at (800) 276-1562.

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case continued to April

DANBURY (CT)
News Times

March 23, 2020

By Kendra Baker

The pre-trial hearing of the former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys has been rescheduled from March 27 to April 21.

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. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

The warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest alleges that he groomed two boys over the course of four years, and sexually abused one of them over the same period of time.

Convicted paedophile Bernard McGrath abused dozens of children. The Catholic Church failed to report his offending

AUSTRALIA
ABC

March 23, 2020

By Sarah Ferguson

Former brother of St John of God, Bernard McGrath, will be eligible for parole in December 2044.

McGrath, who is serving two prison sentences in NSW for sex crimes against children, says his religious order and the Catholic Church covered up his offending at schools in Australia and New Zealand.

In the early 1990s, after decades as a sex offender, new reports emerged about McGrath's behaviour at a residential school he'd run for street kids in Christchurch, New Zealand.

To learn how to handle the growing number of complaints against McGrath, the head of St John of God in Australia at the time took McGrath to meet Father Brian Lucas.

Former Gainesville priest accused of sexual abuse

GAINESVILLE (FL)
WCJB

March 23, 2020

By Patricia Matamoros

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which presides over catholic churches in much of North Central Florida, is saying that a former priest in Gainesville has been accused of sexual abuse.

In a complaint filed with the church by a lawyer representing the victim, Father John H. Dux allegedly committed the abuse in 1976 when he was serving at the St. Patrick parish in Gainesville.

Since it was 44 years ago, that puts the case beyond the statute of limitations for state charges, but the church finds the allegations credible and father Dux has been removed from his priestly faculties.

He currently resides in the Dioceses of Charleston.

Davenport priest suspended amid inquiry into sex misconduct claim

IOWA CITY (IA)
Associated Press

March 20, 2020

A well-known professor and priest at a Roman Catholic college in Iowa has been suspended while the church investigates a sexual misconduct allegation dating to the 1990s, the school said Wednesday.

St. Ambrose University in Davenport said school officials recently learned of the complaint against theology professor Rev. Robert L. “Bud” Grant and are taking it seriously.

The allegation dates to the early 1990s, when Grant was a teacher and coach at St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs.

Daniel Pilarczyk | 1934-2020: Former Cincinnati archbishop led southwest Ohio Catholics for 27 years

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

March 23, 2020

By Dan Horn

Former Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, who guided southwest Ohio’s Catholics through some of the church’s most trying times, died Sunday in Cincinnati. He was 85.

Pilarczyk, who had been in declining health for years, led the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for more than a quarter century and was the nation’s longest-serving bishop when he retired in 2009. His final years in the top job came as the church struggled with widespread allegations of clergy abuse.

Court-appointed official says Vatican failing on accountability in Nienstedt case

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 23, 2020

By Christopher White

A court-appointed official for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is alleging that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops is failing to comply with new protocols for bishop accountability created by Pope Francis with regard to a potential investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Nienstedt led the archdiocese from 2008 until resigning under fire in 2015 after charges of failing to protect children from sexual abuse. In addition to allegations that he actively covered up for abusive priests, Nienstedt has been the subject of investigations regarding his own misconduct.

According to documents obtained by Crux, on July 17, 2019, Thomas Johnson, who serves as ombudsman for clerical sexual abuse for the archdiocese, submitted a formal complaint against Nienstedt to Archbishop Bernard Hebda outlining two instances in which he argues Nienstedt should be subject to a Vos Estis Lux Mundi investigation, referring to an apostolic letter issued by Francis in May 2019 for bishop accountability.

A welcome, long-overdue, smart step by a bishop

WEST VIRGINIA
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 20, 2020

Is there anything worse than an omission or mistake in the law that enables wrongdoers to go unpunished?

YES! A perfectly crafted law that goes UNENFORCED!

Ditto with ‘policies’ – internal rules an organization or company adopts that supposedly forbid certain harmful behaviors.

Policies go unenforced all the time. Here’s one simple reason why.

In a crisis, CEOs and bishops and Boy Scouts executives and university presidents typically holler “Get me the lawyers and the PR people!”

They sit down and write up a policy, procedure or plan. On paper at least, it addresses the situation at hand. Then, they shout from the rooftops “We’ve fixed everything.” (Or, if they have really smart public relations staff, they’re a tad more realistic-sounding and say “We’re FIXING everything.”)

Sooner or later, public pressure and media attention wane, the policies are quietly shelved and the old patterns re-emerge.

Is the Volunteer at John Ortberg’s Menlo Church a NOMAP (Non-Offending Minor Attracted Person) and What Does This Mean in the Long Run?

UNITED STATES
The Wartburg Watch (blog)

March 9, 2020

Before I begin the post, I want to make four points.

- I believe that pedophilia is a profound psychiatric disorder. It is not *normal* and I reject any attempts to make it appear normal.

- I believe that pedophiles, as well as those who have similar paraphilias, can learn to control their impulses with intensive help from psychiatrists, psychologists, trained counselors and the support of family, friends, and, for those who are believers, the church. I do not believe that it is curable at this time.

- I have reason to believe that the volunteer is a male so I will use the pronoun *he.*

- I will not allow any folks who consider themselves NOMAPS or MAPs to hijack the comment thread at TWW or troll my Twitter account. Also, I will decide which comments will be allowed.

What in the world is a MAP and a NOMAP?

Over the weekend, I was made aware of a new advocacy group called MAP which stands for *minor attracted person*. At first, I believed that these were people who had accepted that they were pedophiles, had received and are receiving intensive psychiatric intervention and were doing the hard work of staying away from minors in order not to offend or reoffend. However, a MAP is merely a *minor attracted person.* This descriptor does not address their actions.

Pastor John Ortberg allowed volunteer who was attracted to minors to work with children

CALIFORNIA
Religion News Service

February 2020

By Bob Smietana

John Ortberg, a popular evangelical author and megachurch pastor, betrayed a "bond of trust" by allowing a church volunteer who admitted being attracted to minors to still work with children, according to a statement from the elders at the Bay Area church he leads.

"In July of 2018, a person serving in the Menlo Church community came to John and shared in confidence an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors," the church's elder said in a statement. "The person assured, to John’s satisfaction, that the person had not acted on the attraction and sought John’s support. John believed the person and provided prayers and referrals for counseling."

But Ortberg took no steps to bar the person from working with minors, according to the elders. He also did not talk to other staff or church members about the situation.

Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Pilarczyk has passed away

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

March 22, 2020

The Archbishop Emeritus of Cincinnati, Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, passed away this morning, according to a Facebook post by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The Archbishop was 85 years old.

Archbishop Pilarczyk earned an M.A in classics from Xavier University in 1965 and a Ph.D in classics from the University of Cincinnati in 1969.

He led the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for 27 years, taking over when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin left Cincinnati for Chicago. He was ordained as bishop in 1974 and installed as archbishop in 1982.

He resigned from his position as Archbishop of Cincinnati in 2009, after 50 years of priesthood. At the time, he was the longest-tenured archbishop and longest-serving active bishop in the United States.

The Rev. Pilarczyk is widely known for working to guide the Archdiocese of Cincinnati through its guilty plea in connection with priest sex abuse cases in 2003.

Notre Dame's Laetare Medal to be awarded to expert on Catholic sex abuse crisis

SOUTH BEND (IN)
South Bend Tribune

March 23, 2020

The University of Notre Dame’s 2020 Laetare Medal will be awarded to Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI executive assistant director and a leading expert in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

The medal, which was first awarded in 1883 to honor a Catholic who embodies the church’s ideals, will be given to McChesney at Notre Dame’s commencement, currently scheduled for May 17, though the university has acknowledged it may have to change its plans based on developments related to the coronavirus.

Sinead O’Connor is still in one piece

BRAY (IRELAND)
The Washington Post via Portland Press-Herald

March 22, 2020

By Geoff Edgers

Sinéad O’Connor’s office is a glass, pentagon-shaped porch that’s also the entryway to her house. Most days, before the sun rises over the Irish Sea, she’ll be sitting there, smoking a cigarette, nursing a sugary cup of coffee or shuffling through her iPad. She may even pick up a guitar.

When the water ripples in the wind, the spot can be hauntingly beautiful, “Ulysses” sprung to life. Not that O’Connor, born just four stops up the train line in the Dublin suburb of Glenageary, feels particularly romantic about the setting.

“I (expletive) hate living in Ireland,” she says. “My spiritual home is America. I know that my stork should have dropped me in America. But he got drunk in Dublin. It’s freezing, it’s miserable. Everything’s really expensive. I love America, but I can never leave Ireland. I wouldn’t leave my grandchildren or my children.”

There are four children, a pair of grandchildren, four ex-husbands and an ex-boyfriend, Frank, who lives a short walk down Strand Road with their son, Yeshua, 13. There is her father, a sister and three brothers, all within a drive. They know her not as the pop star who rose to fame singing “Nothing Compares 2 U,” but as a witty, compassionate, difficult, fearless, playful and unpredictable woman who has struggled, personally and professionally, ever since she ripped up that photograph of the pope on “Saturday Night Live” in 1992. And they remember the last time O’Connor left home

High-ranking WNY priest put on administrative leave following sexual misconduct allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB-TV

March 21, 2020

A high-ranking Diocese of Buffalo priest has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Rev. Peter J. Karalus, Vicar General andModerator of the Curia for the Diocese is accused of sexual misconduct in 2011 by a person who was a minor at the time of the alleged incident.

An independent investigator will look into the accusation.

Rev. Karalus denies the allegations, saying in a statement to News 4:

Letter to the Editor: Fred Lutz's sexual abuse made worse by diocese withholding information

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
Springfield News-Leader

March 21, 2020

Dear Editor,

Thank you and Harrison Keegan for the articles about the sexual abuse perpetrated by Fred Lutz, who is an ordained Catholic priest. Lutz sexually abused me in 1972 when I was 17 years old. There are two more reports of sexual abuse by Lutz of adolescent boys, one in the 1990s and one in 2000. Lutz is being prosecuted for the 2000 report now. The 2000 case was reported in 2002 to the diocese, and I reported my 1972 case in 2006. I regret that I did not report it sooner. We know that the diocese had two sexual abuse reports on Lutz in 2002 and 2006. We don't know when the 1990s report was made because the diocese has never made that report public. However, you would think if there were two separate reports of sexual abuse by Lutz, the diocese, the bishop would begin to doubt Lutz's denials.

The diocese did not make any of Lutz’s sexual abuse reports public until 2018, when they finally revealed that I had reported my 1972 abuse in 2006. Why they decided to finally report it then is unknown, since no new knowledge had come to light as far as I know. A friend of mine said they finally reported it because the Missouri attorney general announced the clergy sexual abuse investigation of all Missouri dioceses about a month earlier. The diocese has still not made public either of the 1990s or the 2000 reports of sexual abuse by Lutz.

MY WORD: My case against Father Mark White's blog

RICHMOND (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

March 21, 2020

By Bishop Barry C. Knestout, Diocese of Richmond

I write directly to the brothers and sisters of St. Joseph and St. Francis of Assisi as your bishop, regarding the matter of your pastor, Father Mark White, which weighs heavy on my heart. For months, you may have read his written public communications or his words within the secular media. For months, I have chosen to remain silent in the hopes of remedying the situation internally. But, relying on the Holy Spirit, I feel a pressing need to address my concerns with you as members of this diocese entrusted to my care.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Doctor of Unity,” wrote: “Your excellent presbyters, who are a credit to God, are as suited to the bishop as strings to a harp. So, in your harmony of mind and heart the song you sing is Jesus Christ. Every one of you should form a choir, so that, in harmony of sound through harmony of hearts, and in unity taking the note from God, you may sing with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father.”

Harmony. Unity. St. Ignatius deliberately selects these words when touching on the hierarchy, order and structure of the Church intended to protect the unity of Christ’s flock. As such, The Code of Canon Law indicates that Clergy have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Holy Father and to their own bishop. All clerics are reminded that they are “working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the Body of Christ.” They are always to do their utmost to foster among God’s people peace and harmony based on justice.

March 22, 2020

Abuse plaintiff calls committee's work 'awesome responsibility' to uncover truth

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Richard Brownell recalled watching a 1993 television newscast in which the Rev. Bernard “Corky” Mach, a popular Catholic priest assigned to a Lockport parish at the time, tearfully denied molesting a 14-year-old boy.

Brownell immediately turned to his wife during the newscast and said the priest was lying. He told her the Rev. John Aurelio had sexually assaulted him when he was 11 or 12 years old, and Aurelio was a close friend of Mach. It was the first time he had told anyone about the abuse.

More than 50 years after he alleges Aurelio molested him, Brownell, 62, still isn’t comfortable discussing his own abuse in detail. But he said he’s ready to represent hundreds of survivors of childhood sex abuse in their efforts to seek some measure of justice from the Buffalo Diocese.

Anne Hailes: New book a disturbing examination of modern Irish Catholic Church

IRELAND
Irish News

March 23, 2020

By Anne Hailes

TEN years ago during a writer's weekend in The Burren a young man sat and talked with me about his desire to become a writer. It was obvious when we met that Declan Henry had a dedication about his work and now, in 2020, he has published his seventh book, which has been described as explosive.

Forbidden Fruit: Life & Catholicism In Contemporary Ireland is a disturbing examination of the Irish Catholic Church, which he claims is crumbling. However, it is not a spiteful attack on the Church – rather, he pulls aside a curtain to look into the situation.

“The clerical abuse scandals of the 90s sparked this irreparable demise which continues to disintegrate at an alarming rate,” he says.

Retired Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk is dead, led Cincinnati Catholics for quarter-century

CINCINNATI
Cincinnati.com

March 22, 2020

By Dan Horn

Former Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, who guided Southwest Ohio's Catholics through some of the church’s most trying times, died Sunday in Cincinnati. He was 85.

Pilarczyk, who had been in declining health for years, led the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for more than a quarter century and was the nation’s longest-serving bishop when he retired in 2009. His final years in the top job came as the church struggled with widespread allegations of clergy abuse.

Pilarczyk's life in the church began as a Catholic schoolboy in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, where classmates knew him as the bright, witty kid who “never got in trouble with the nuns.”

Letter to the editor: New trial for accused priest heartbreaking

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

March 22, 2020

The Rev. Hugh Lang, who was convicted in November on charges that he sexually abused an 11-year-old boy in 2001, had his conviction vacated this month because a new judge believes Lang did not receive a fair trial. We are dismayed that the victim will have to go through yet another trial, but are hopeful that Lang will once again be found guilty.

Despite the fact that the victim in this case traveled from the other side of the world to testify against his abuser, a new trial was ordered. Our hearts ache for this victim and the fact that his chance at justice has been taken away. We hope that this is only a temporary setback.

The victim’s attorneys are appealing to the state Supreme Court. We are hopeful the appeal is granted and this dangerous abuser’s conviction will stand, and he will be given a sentence that keeps him away from children for the rest of his life.

Judy Jones
Marthasville, Mo.

Sexual harassment victim wins landmark apology from Anglican Church

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

March 22, 2020

By Kirsty Johnston

A parishioner who fought the Anglican Church for 15 years after being sexually harassed by a priest has won a landmark settlement and apology, including an acknowledgment the Church can be held to account for its ministers' behaviour.

Until now, the Church has refused to be held liable for clergy, saying they were not its employees but were essentially employed by God.

However, in a successful settlement negotiated after the woman took her case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, the Church admitted it was responsible, and will now improve its vetting, training and complaints process.

The Church will also pay the woman $100,000 in recognition of the gravity of humiliation and hurt she suffered, and in recognition of its flawed handling of the complaint.

Child protection pioneer McChesney to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 22, 2020

By Christopher White

Kathleen McChesney, a leading trailblazer in the fight against clergy sexual abuse, will receive the highest honor in the U.S. Catholic Church.

On Sunday, the University of Notre Dame announced that McChesney, who worked for decades in law enforcement before being tapped to establish and lead the Office of Child Protection for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will be awarded the 2020 Laetare Medal, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic award.

Her career in law enforcement dates back to the 1970’s, where she first worked as a police officer and then a detective in Washington State, investigating homicides and sex crimes, including that of the serial killer Ted Bundy. She then entered the FBI, eventually reaching the third highest position in the bureau until she was recruited by the U.S. bishops to parlay that experience into helping restore trust in an institution struggling to respond to the escalating scandals of clergy abuse and cover-up.

March 21, 2020

High-ranking Buffalo Diocese priest accused of misconduct

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 21, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

An allegation of sexual misconduct against one of the region’s most high-profile priests led to another shakeup in the Diocese of Buffalo on Saturday.

The Rev. Peter J. Karalus, one of the closest aides to acting Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, was placed by the bishop on administrative leave while an independent investigator looks into the allegation made against Karalus, the Buffalo Diocese announced Saturday.

The allegation involves an incident that allegedly took place in 2011 when the man who made the claim was a minor, authorities told The Buffalo News.

In a statement Saturday afternoon, Karalus said, "I emphatically deny and confidently declare as false the allegation that I offered words of inappropriate content to a penitent during the Sacrament of Reconciliation nine years ago. ... I trust and will fully cooperate in the process that will investigate this misplaced allegation. I am confident I will be fully exonerated."

Buffalo Diocese #2 administrator suspended for sex misconduct allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW-TV

March 21, 2020

By Charlie Specht

The Diocese of Buffalo's No. 2 administrator has been suspended for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Fr. Peter Karalus, the vicar general of the diocese, was placed on administrative leave Saturday "following an allegation of sexual misconduct by a person who was a minor in 2011," interim Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said in a news release.

The news release gave no further details about the allegations but said they were referred to the Erie County District Attorney.

Diocese of Buffalo puts priest on leave over 2011 allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ-TV

March 21, 2020

The allegation involving the Rev. Peter J. Karalus has also been forwarded to the Erie County District Attorney.

The Rev. Peter J. Karalus has been placed on administrative leave, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced Saturday.

The Diocese, in a statement, said the decision stems from "an allegation of sexual misconduct by a person who was a minor in 2011, when the incident allegedly occurred."

The Diocese said the allegation has also been forwarded to the Erie County District Attorney.

Message to Priests Regarding Fr. Peter Karalus

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

March 21, 2020

From the Office of the Apostolic Administrator

My Brother Priests and Colleagues -

Today, I am announcing that I have placed Father Peter Karalus on administrative leave, given that an allegation of sexual misconduct has been received from an individual who was a minor in 2011 when the person alleges that an incident occurred. This is a source of great sorrow and regret for me personally, as I know it is for you.

According to our rigorous protocols and procedures, an independent investigation into this allegation will now be conducted, with the findings to be reported to the Independent Review Board in order that its members might consider the facts and make an appropriate recommendation. It is important to emphasize that this administrative leave is for the purpose of investigation and does not imply any determination about the truth or falsity of the complaint.

Opinion: Kerri Judd redaction adds to difficulties following Pell legal process

AUSTRALIA
BrisbaneNews.net

March 18, 2020

By Chris Friel

"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said. "Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on."i

This note discusses a redaction in prosecution counsel Kerri Judd's presentation to the High Court of Australia Thursday 12 March during the Cardinal George Pell appeal. The audio video of the whole (unredacted) presentation has been uploaded by the High Court here.ii I have placed the transcript along with references in the left margin here.iii The video at 3.01:39 corresponds to the redaction at 5940, namely:

Back to blogging, Catholic priest disobeys order in crisis

RICHMOND (VA)
Channel 8 (ABC-TV affiliate)

March 20, 2020

By Kerri O'Brien

A Catholic priest banned from blogging is back online to help parishioners through these uncertain times. In November of 2019, Father Mark White was ordered by the Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond to stop blogging or lose his job.

The pastor at St. Joseph’s in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount had been critical of the church’s handling of its sexual abuse cases. Bishop Barry Knestout ordered him into silence.

Father White has been obeying the order, until now. For about week, he’s been back at it. He’s been blogging about the pandemic, past pandemics, church closures as well as the felony sex abuse charges filed this week against a Virginia priest.

Tidbits of Encouraging News

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 18, 2020

In this era of political, environmental and public health difficulties, we can all use some positive news!

–On Tuesday night, progressive challenger Marie Newman won her primary against longtime Illinois incumbent Representative Dan Lipinski. Marie is the founder of an anti-bullying nonprofit and signed on to lead a coalition of 70 anti-bullying groups working nationwide.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/marie-newman-dan-lipinski-illinois-third-district-democrats-primary-2018-a8088421.html

https://theslot.jezebel.com/hell-yeah-marie-newman-1842393738

–Prosecutors in Pittsburgh are appealing a judge’s decision to vacate the conviction of Fr. Hugh Lang, who is accused of having assaulted a boy in 2001.

Judge Anthony Mariani had ruled earlier that the priest had been denied a fair trial because the previous judge had let prosecutors submit evidence that Fr. Lang had searched the internet for ‘defense attorney’ before the 2018 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on allegations of clerical sex abuse.

Just to be clear, Judge Mariani had sentenced Fr. Lang to 9-24 months in jail, but is delaying implementation. Now, there’ll be a second trial.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/prosecutors-appeal-dismissal-of-pittsburgh-priests-conviction-for-sex-abuse-39109

Where's McCarrick? Where's the Report?

UNITED STATES
Church Militant (blog)

March 20, 2020

by Kristine Christlieb

Continual coverage of the COVID-19 scare has served to drive other pressing stories off the front pages.

For Catholics, one important story is suffering from inattention — the long-promised report on the crimes of disgraced former cardinal and abuser Theodore McCarrick is yet to be delivered. It was 612 days ago (July 16, 2018) when a story in the New York Times on the former cardinal's double life as an abuser of young men and seminarians broke.

March 20, 2020

Exclusive video: Ex-Abilene church worker pleads guilty to child sex crime, gets probation

ABILENE (KS)
KTXS-TV

March 20, 2020

By Jamie Burch

An ex-Abilene church worker pleaded guilty to a child sex crime and got probation.

KTXS was the only TV station in court Friday morning when Jeff Berry pleaded guilty to indecency with a child by contact.

Berry was accused of touching the genitals of an underage boy in 1996 when Berry worked for Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene.

Chillán: Vaticano quitó estado clerical a dos curas investigados por abuso de menores

[Chillán: Vatican removed clerical status of two priests investigated for child abuse]

ÑUBLE (CHILE)
Cooperativa.cl

March 16, 2020

Se trata de los presbíteros Jaime San Martin y Renato Toro.

El primero puede apelar, mientras el segundo pidió él mismo la dispensa de sus obligaciones sacerdotales.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: They are priests Jaime San Martin and Renato Toro.

The first can appeal, while the second asked for the dispensation of his priestly obligations himself.]

Fight Covid-19 by letting prisoners go? Let’s be careful!

AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 19, 2020

A 75-year-old who relies on a walker probably can’t be a car-jacker.

An 80-year-old who uses a wheelchair probably isn’t going to hold up a 7-11.

But let’s remember that either of them could hurt a child.

Some say that because of Covid-19, we should let many inmates leave prison early. That might be a good idea in some cases.

Still, let’s keep the sex offenders locked up. They do incredible damage. They’re among the most likely to commit more crimes. And they don’t need to be fast or strong to inflict harm.

Diocese of Des Moines investigating priest accused of sexual misconduct

DES MOINES (IA)
Des Moines Register

March 18, 2020

By Philip Joens

A Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Des Moines after allegations of sexual misconduct in the 1990s surfaced.

The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant was placed on leave March 4, the diocese said Wednesday morning. A complaint about sexual misconduct was made to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office last fall, the diocese said. The complaint involves an incident that allegedly occurred in the early 1990s, according to the diocese.

Law enforcement agencies in Scott, Polk and Pottawattamie counties also were notified, the diocese said. Diocesan officials were first made aware of the complaint Feb. 27. An investigation was then opened by Diocese of Des Moines Bishop William Joensen. While on leave, Grant is restricted from all public priestly ministry.

Davenport priest investigated for sexual misconduct

DAVENPORT (IA)
Southernminn.com

March 18, 2020

By Alma Gaul

The Rev. Robert "Bud" Grant, a St. Ambrose University professor known for his activism on environmental issues, is being investigated for sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s when he was serving at St. Albert's High School in Council Bluffs, part of the Des Moines Diocese.

Grant's faculties to minister as a priest have been suspended by the bishops of the Des Moines and Davenport dioceses, according to news releases from both dioceses.

He also has been suspended from teaching at St. Ambrose, Davenport, and from his assignment as sacramental minister to St. Andrew Church, Blue Grass, until the report is investigated and the process is concluded according to church law, according to a news release from the Davenport diocese.

Update: Iowa priest suspended amid inquiry into sex misconduct claim

IOWA CITY (IA)
The Associated Press

March 18, 2020

By Ryan J. Foley

A well-known professor and priest at a Roman Catholic college in Iowa has been suspended while the church investigates a sexual misconduct allegation dating to the 1990s, the school said March 18.

St. Ambrose University in Davenport said school officials recently learned of the complaint against theology professor Rev. Robert L. "Bud" Grant and are taking it seriously.

The allegation dates to the early 1990s, when Grant was a teacher and coach at St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs. A prosecutor said the complaint involved one person who was a minor at the time and that it is too old to be criminally investigated under Iowa law.

St. Ambrose said Grant's suspension would last pending the outcome of an investigation by the Diocese of Des Moines, which ordained Grant as a priest in 1984.

Former French priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors

LYON (FRANCE)
CNA

March 18, 2020

Bernard Preynat, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Lyon, was convicted and sentenced by a civil court Monday for the sexual abuse of minors.

He abused dozens of minors between 1971 and 1991, and he had been found guilty by an ecclesiastical tribunal last year.

He was charged with sexual assault of 10 minors from 1986 to 1991.

He was found guilty, and sentenced March 16 to five years in prison. He could have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, and prosecutors sought eight years.

Retrial of US Catholic Official Delayed Over Virus Concerns

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Associated Press

March 16, 2020

The retrial of the only church official who has ever gone to prison in the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal was delayed Monday because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The retrial of Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese, had been to start Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court but was put on hold until January amid court shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the pandemic.

After an appeals court found his sweeping 2012 conspiracy trial flawed and his conviction was twice overturned, Lynn, 69, now faces only a single child endangerment count. Prosecutors contend he endangered children by transferring a known predator priest to their parish without warning in 1993.

Convicted paedophile Vincent Ryan confessed to a priest — then he continued abusing children

AUSTRALIA
ABC

March 16, 2020

By Sarah Ferguson

Vincent Ryan is a Catholic priest and a paedophile, convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 children. In Australia's first television interview with a convicted clerical sex abuser, Ryan said there was no reason why he should not remain a priest.

"It's a duty. I've committed myself to it," he said. "It'd have to be a very serious reason, unless I'm stopped by authority, for me to make that decision and at this moment I don't see it."

In the ABC's Revelation series, filmed on the eve of Ryan's 2019 criminal trial, the paedophile priest is seen performing mass in his home, wearing holy vestments and blessing the communion wine and bread.

Following his fourth conviction in March 2019 on charges of sexually abusing two boys in the Newcastle region in the 1970s and 1980s, Ryan, 81, is currently serving a prison sentence in NSW of three years and three months.

Diocese of Buffalo cutting jobs at its Catholic Center

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 19, 2020

Financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the temporary discontinuation of masses and other liturgical celebrations given as the reason.

Financial struggles brought on by the priest sex abuse crisis forced the Diocese of Buffalo to file for bankruptcy last month. Now the coronavirus pandemic is adding to those financial challenges.

The global pandemic, which has required social distancing, means masses and other liturgical celebrations have been temporarily discontinued.

The Diocese announced Thursday that 24 employees at its Catholic Center on Main St. downtown are being impacted. Three full-time positions are being made part-time and another 21 are being eliminated.

“While we deeply regret the very personal impact that this process of realignment will have on dedicated employees of the Catholic Center, we must assess how best to deploy the resources of the Diocese in ways that reflect responsible stewardship and which offer the greatest benefit for our parishes,” said Fr. Peter Karalus, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

Catholic Priest Who Abused 30+ Kids Says He Should Retain Priesthood

AUSTRALIA
FriendlyAtheist.Patheos.com (blog)

March 19, 2020

By David Gee

A Catholic priest in Australia who was convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 children says that’s not a good enough reason to give up his title as a priest.

Vincent Gerard Ryan (above), who served a 14-year prison sentence for abusing dozens of boys under the age of 13 — only to be hit with another prison term for abusing altar boys — was interviewed by the nation’s ABC network.

“It’s a duty. I’ve committed myself to it,” he said. “It’d have to be a very serious reason, unless I’m stopped by authority, for me to make that decision and at this moment I don’t see it.”

In the ABC’s Revelation series, filmed on the eve of Ryan’s 2019 criminal trial, the paedophile priest is seen performing mass in his home, wearing holy vestments and blessing the communion wine and bread.

Following his fourth conviction in March 2019 on charges of sexually abusing two boys in the Newcastle region in the 1970s and 1980s, Ryan, 81, is currently serving a prison sentence in NSW of three years and three months.

Opinion: Your thoughts on revelations of abuse by Jean Vanier

National Catholic Reporter

March 20, 2020

It's a crazy world out there. Just a month ago, the Catholic world was reeling with the news that Jean Vanier, the beloved founder of L'Arche International had sexually abused six adult women. NCR columnist Jamie Manson reminded us that the patriarchal system of the church gave Vanier power and control. And columnist Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese wrote about what happens when saints fall. Letters to the editor are edited for length and clarity. Join the conversation by following the rules listed below.

Opinion: Indian women wait for when Cardinal Gracias 'walks the talk'

INDIA
National Catholic Reporter

March 20, 2020

By Astrid Lobo Gajiwala

Cardinal Oswald Gracias' recent NCR interview has not gone down well with Indian Catholic women.

While it is refreshing to hear the archbishop of Bombay, and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, or CBCI, admit, without evasion, that there has been a bias against giving women more leadership roles in the church, and that it is time the male hierarchy "shed this prejudice," it is also disconcerting to learn that he is a recent convert to the cause of women.

For Indian women who have been advocating for women's rights in the church since the 1980s, the cardinal's comment seems like a denial of all their efforts, and raises serious doubts about their credibility.

How is it possible for someone who is a member of a bishops' conference that instituted a women's commission in 1992, and is the only conference in the universal church to issue a gender policy, way back in 2010, to claim to become convinced only in 2019, about the need for women's leadership?

Theologian says clerical sexual abuse ‘always about abuse of power’

BELGIUM
Crux

March 20, 2020

By Joke Heikens

Karlijn Demasure taught religion at a secondary school for girls in Belgium when she first came across child abuse. It turned out a girl was sexually abused at home and no one at the school knew exactly what to do.

“The psychiatrist associated with the school was also unable to help us,” said Demasure. “Should we address the father that we knew about it and that it shouldn’t be happening? Should we send the girl to therapy? Nobody knew. This episode made me decide to go back to university for further study, and to specialize as a theologian in this field. We must help these children.”

A short time after the episode at the girls school, the first reports started to pour in from the United States about child abuse in the Church, and in 2010 the bomb went off in Belgium. In her homeland, Demasure was a theologian on the committee which investigated abuse within the Belgian Church. In 2014, she was appointed a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where she also headed the Center for Child Protection.

March 19, 2020

Editorial: A D.C. Council member discloses he was the victim of sexual abuse and sets a powerful example

WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington Post

March 19, 2020

By Editorial Board

THE INDICTMENT last week of a former Catholic priest from Northern Virginia on a charge of sexually abusing a minor more than 30 years ago might have attracted little notice. The news is dominated by the novel coronavirus, and, sad to say, reports of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy are not all that uncommon. But the disclosure by D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) that he was the victim put a face to this terrible crime that hopefully will encourage other survivors to step forward and seek justice.

“The minor he assaulted was me,” Mr. Grosso wrote in an emotional email released on Monday, the same day the arrest of Scott Asalone, 63, the former rector of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Loudoun County, was announced by Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring. An indictment returned by a Northern Virginia multi-jurisdictional grand jury charged Mr. Asalone with one felony count of carnal knowledge of a minor. The indictment doesn’t name Mr. Grosso — the press release from Mr. Herring’s office refers only to a “former parishioner in 1985” — and Mr. Grosso had been assured he could remain anonymous.

Mr. Grosso, 49, said it was difficult to revisit this painful part of his life. Contacted by Virginia State Police, who had received a tip from a hotline set up in 2018 when Mr. Herring launched a probe into clergy abuse, he debated what to do. The investigation “ripped open old wounds, stirred dark memories and caused fresh trauma,” and was a factor in his decision not to seek reelection to a third term on the council. But he cooperated with investigators “to prevent Mr. Asalone from ever hurting another child,” and he decided to make the public statement “because I understand the tremendous burden that victims of sexual assault and abuse carry throughout their lives [and] we must find the courage to come forward.”

By telling his story, Mr. Grosso sets a powerful example, though he stressed it is important for victims to know their names can remain confidential. Credit also to Mr. Herring, who decided no crime of this heinousness is too old to investigate; he launched a probe into possible criminal sexual abuse and coverups in Virginia Catholic dioceses after reading an explosive report by a Pennsylvania grand jury in 2018. Mr. Asalone’s indictment is the first to result from that investigation. The number for the VirginiaClergyHotline.com is 833-454-9064.

Sixth person accuses former Santa Fe mayor, Boys & Girls Club official of abuse

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

March 18, 2020

By Amanda Martinez

A sixth lawsuit has been filed against the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Fe, accusing former executive director and onetime Santa Fe Mayor Louis Montaño of sexually assaulting a boy in the 1970s and ’80s.

The man is the sixth person to accuse Montaño of sexually grooming, abusing and manipulating individuals since April 2019. The group includes five men and one woman who say Montaño abused them during his tenure at what was then called the Boys Club of Santa Fe.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Albuquerque-based law firm Hall & Monagle LLC, which specializes in representing survivors of child sex abuse and has brought cases against Catholic organizations and the Boy Scouts of America.

Justiça de Araras aceita denúncia e padre responderá por atentado violento ao pudor contra 4 vítimas

[ Araras Justice accepts complaint and priest will respond for indecent assault on 4 victims ]

BRAZIL
March 12, 2020

Ministério Público entrou com o processo em dezembro de 2019. Pároco, que está suspenso de suas funções, irá responder em liberdade; defesa informou que irá constetar a denúncia.

[Google Translation: The Public Prosecutor's Office filed the lawsuit in December 2019. Pároco, who is suspended from his duties, will respond in freedom; defense informed that it will establish the complaint.]

Analysis: What Could Happen Next for Cardinal Pell

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

March 17,2020

By Ed Condon

Cardinal George Pell remains in prison, while the seven justices of the Australian High Court consider his petition for special leave to appeal. After two days of arguments from lawyers, the justices reserved their judgment last week as Pell seeks to overturn his conviction on five counts of child sexual abuse.

It is not known how long they will take to deliver a decision, but there are four options open to the court.

The first option is to grant Cardinal Pell special leave to appeal and find in his favor, overturning his conviction and immediately setting him fre

Former Priest-Turned-Bookstore Owner From Asbury Park Charged With Having Sex With Teen

NEW JERSEY
Daily Voice

March 18, 2020

By Jon Craig

Authorities in Virginia charged a former priest and current independent bookstore co-owner from Asbury Park with having sex with a minor.

Scott Asalone, 63, was arrested in Asbury Park this past weekend by Virginia State Police and New Jersey law enforcement officers, authorities said.

Asalone -- an author, speaker and poet who's also worked as a consultant for private and non-profit groups -- has co-owned a bookstore on Cookman Avenue for more than a decade.

He was being held pending extradition proceedings.

A grand jury in Virginia indicted Asalone three days earlier on what is known there as "carnal knowledge of a minor" between 13 and 15 years old.

DC Council member David Grosso alleges he was sexually abused by former Virginia Catholic priest as a child

AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 18, 2020

According to media reports, on Saturday, March 14, 2020, a former Catholic priest from northern Virginia was charged with the sexual abuse of a minor between 13 and 15 years old that occurred in 1985. The following Monday, DC Council member David Grosso said, “The minor he assaulted was me.”

“I am making this statement because I understand the tremendous burden that victims of sexual assault and abuse carry throughout their lives,” Grosso said. “As I did many years ago, we all must find the courage to come forward, tell our stories, and seek justice and accountability from the perpetrator, as well as the churches and other institutions that have hidden or excused their behavior.”

The councilman’s alleged abuser, Scott Asalone, 63, is the former rector of St Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Virginia. At the time of his arrest he was a management consultant and bookstore owner in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He will be extradited to Virginia to stand trial.

Allegations against Robert 'Bud' Grant stem from early 1990s in Council Bluffs

IOWA
Quad-City Times via The Gazette

March 18, 2020

By Alma Gaul

The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, a St. Ambrose University professor known for his activism on environmental issues, is being investigated for sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s when he was serving at St. Albert’s High School in Council Bluffs, part of the Des Moines Diocese.

Grant’s faculties to minister as a priest have been suspended by the bishops of the Des Moines and Davenport dioceses, according to news releases from both dioceses.

He also has been suspended from teaching at St. Ambrose in Davenport and from his assignment as sacramental minister to St. Andrew Church in Blue Grass, until the report is investigated and the process is concluded under church law, according to a news release from the Davenport diocese.

Grant served at St. Albert’s from 1988 to 1994 when he came to Davenport to teach at St. Ambrose. At St. Albert’s, he was chairman of the religion department, taught religion, was chairman of ministry and was the soccer coach, according to a former student.

Iowa priest suspended amid inquiry into sex misconduct claim

IOWA CITY (IA)
Associated Press

March 18, 2020

By Ryan J. Foley

A well-known professor and priest at a Roman Catholic college in Iowa has been suspended while the church investigates a sexual misconduct allegation dating to the 1990s, the school said Wednesday.

St. Ambrose University in Davenport said school officials recently learned of the complaint against theology professor Rev. Robert L. “Bud” Grant and are taking it seriously.

The allegation dates to the early 1990s, when Grant was a teacher and coach at St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs. A prosecutor said the complaint involved one person who was a minor at the time and that it is too old to be criminally investigated under Iowa law.

Former St. Albert priest accused of sexual misconduct faces diocese investigation

DES MOINES (IA)
Nonpareilonline.com

March 19, 2020

By Tim Johnson

A priest who once served on the faculty at St. Albert Catholic Schools has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, according to a press release distributed Wednesday morning by the Diocese of Des Moines.

The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, a priest of the Diocese of Des Moines, has been on the faculty at St. Ambrose University in Davenport since 1994 but served on the faculty of St. Albert Catholic Schools from 1988-1994.

The complaint alleges that sexual misconduct occurred in the early 1990s, the press release stated. Diocese officials were first made aware of the complaint on Feb. 27. Bishop William Joensen directed the opening of a preliminary investigation, placed Grant on leave and restricted his ministry of March 4.

Boy Scout Sex Abuse Class Action Sidetracked by Bankruptcy

UNITED STATES
PacerMonitor.com (corporation's blog)

March 19, 2020

By Juliette Fairley

When the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy, the class action suit over allegations of child sex abuse was automatically stayed in favor of a plan that will create a Victims Compensation Trust.

Just how much money will be set aside is hard to tell, but if Catholic Church litigation is any indication, it could be millions of dollars.

“BSA consistently misrepresented itself as a safe, wholesome, values-based organization where scouts would be prepared for life, when BSA knew, in fact, that its programs were infested with pedophiles, its organization-wide abuse problem dated back to the 1910s, and the rampant abuse in its programs was doing serious harm to thousands of boys,” wrote plaintiffs’ attorney Carl S. Kravitz in the Jan. 6 complaint.

March 18, 2020

Editorial: Bishop who promised transparency should release personnel records

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 18, 2020

A cult of secrecy protected serial sex abusers in the Catholic Church for decades. Many victims of childhood sexual abuse had their pain multiplied when adults refused to believe their stories, because few could accept the idea that members of the clergy could perpetrate such crimes.

Abuse survivors and their advocates work to puncture the church’s cover-up culture. Secrecy and silence are their enemies. For many, justice means not getting paid a settlement, but exposing the past misdeeds of the perpetrators.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger’s promise to promote transparency after he took over as apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Buffalo is so far ringing hollow. The bishop pledged in January that abuse survivors would be able to examine diocese files on their alleged abusers at the chancery offices. However, survivors making that request have gotten little or no response.

Catholic church attendees can now anonymously report abuse

RAPID CITY (SD)
NewsCenter1.tv

March 18, 2020

By Claudia Contreras

Last year, Pope Francis called for a solution to the ongoing issue of child abuse within Catholic churches across the world.

Now worldwide catholic churches are mandated to use a third-party reporting system in order to hold bishops accountable.

The reporting system was created by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The system is referred to as CBAR, which stands for Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service.

Church attendees can now anonymously report sexual abuse from a bishop online or via phone. This includes holding bishops responsible for trying to interfere with investigations of the alleged abuse.

Judge grants defense’s motion for mistrial in City of Pewaukee priest case

WAUKESHA (WI)
GMToday.com

March 13, 2020

By Nikki Brahm

The defense’s motion for a mistrial was granted by Circuit Court Judge Michael Maxwell Friday morning due to the disclosure that the mother of the accuser is an undocumented resident in the case of a City of Pewaukee priest accused of touching a teen girl inappropriately.

The trial of Rev. Charles Hanel will now be postponed; a status conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 22.

Hanel, 62, was charged in 2018 with second-degree sexual assault of a child after a girl, then 13, reported he touched her breast in a confessional at Queen of Apostles Church.

The trial for a Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting a teen parishioner ends in mistrial

PEWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

March 13, 2020

By Steven Martinez

After nearly a week of testimony, a Waukesha County Circuit judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting a teen parishioner in a confessional.

The decision Friday from Judge Michael Maxwell comes shortly after the alleged victim's mother's attempts to gain legal status to stay in the U.S. became public.

Defense attorneys Jerome Buting and Kathleen Byrne Stilling of Buting, Williams and Stilling S.C. successfully argued that the "late disclosure" of that information fundamentally shifted the defense strategy for their client, the Rev. Charles Hanel — and would have had they known about it from the start.

Hanel is accused of second-degree sexual assault for allegedly groping a then-13-year-old girl as she spoke to him in December 2017 inside a confessional at Queen of Apostles Church in the city of Pewaukee.

Former St. Ambrose priest accused of sexual misconduct in early 1990s

DES MOINES (IA)
Radio Iowa

March 18, 2020

By O. Kay Henderson

A priest on the St. Ambrose University faculty has been accused of sexual misconduct in the early 1990s and the bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese has placed the priest on administrative leave.

According to a news release from the Diocese, authorities in Scott, Polk and Pottawattamie Counties have been notified of the complaint. Reverend Robert Grant, who goes by the nickname Bud, taught at Council Bluffs St. Albert High School from 1988 to 1994. In that same year — 1994 — he began teaching at St. Ambrose in Davenport.

‘Spotlight’ Attorney Faces Defamation Charges

MANHATTAN (NY)
The Tablet

March 18, 2020

By Christopher White

Prominent attorney Mitchell Garabedian may face defamation charges following a ruling from a U.S. District judge that Garabedian never intended to bring charges against a teacher his client accused of sexual abuse. That teacher maintains his innocence.

Judge Jan DuBois of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania said in an opinion this week that statements Garabedian made to an employer of a man he was threatening to sue could void the judicial immunity given to lawyers.

DC Council member David Grosso confirms he was sexually abused by Catholic priest as a child

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

March 18, 2020

By Tom Jackman

‘Though the deep scars remain, I largely believed this incident was behind me, especially after I underwent intensive therapy in the 1990s,’ says Grosso

After a former Catholic priest from northern Virginia was accused of sexual abuse that occurred in the 1980s, and his arrest was announced Monday, DC Councilmember David Grosso said he was the victim. Mr Grosso said the opening of an investigation into his childhood trauma played heavily into his decision not to seek another term on the city council.

The alleged abuser, Scott Asalone, 63, is the former rector of St Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Virginia, and more recently a management consultant and bookstore owner in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He was a member of the Capuchin Friars order who was removed from public ministry in 1993 and dismissed from the friars in 2007, according to records released last year by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. The diocese included Asalone’s name in a list of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse in northern Virginia.

Service to report sex abuse of US Catholic bishops goes live in midst of coronavirus pandemic

UNITED STATES
LifeSite News

March 17, 2020

By Paul Smeaton

The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service allows complainants to file confidential reports with an independent, third-party service.

A new system paid for by the 197 dioceses and eparchies of the United States was launched yesterday to report “sexual abuse or misconduct” committed by U.S. Catholic bishops. The service was launched in the midst of the country reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service (CBAR) allows complainants to file confidential reports with an independent, third-party service, either via telephone or an online form. Reports will then be forwarded, unedited, to the appropriate Church authority, which is usually a Metropolitan archbishop, or a Senior Suffragan bishop if the report is about the Metropolitan.

‘Learn. Protect your children from clergy.’ The ABC’s Revelation reveals a tragic story

AUSTRALIA
Eternity News (blog)

March 18, 2020

By John Sandeman

The ABC’s Sarah Ferguson has taken us into a place where most Christians have not wanted to go – up close and very personal with pedophile Christian leaders in her series Revelation on the ABC. The series focuses in scarifying detail on abuse by pedophile Catholic Priests.

“They are men living among us like Lucifer’s fallen angels – they look like ordinary men,” is how Ferguson begins her narrative. “Their very ordinariness is what I find disturbing. They should look like monsters but they don’t.”

Chrissie Foster, who has seen extreme family tragedy from clergy pedophilia, tells Eternity her response to Revelation: “If you have a child in the Catholic system you will learn that your child is worthless to the Catholic priesthood.

New poll shows Catholics have more favorable opinion of Church than last year

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 18, 2020

By Christopher White

While Catholics in the U.S. continue to grapple with fallout stemming from the clergy abuse scandals, new polling suggests that Catholics have a higher opinion of the Church than they did this time last year.

According to data from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, the favorable opinion - those who responded strongly and somewhat favorably - was recorded at 73.5 percent, up from 69.3 percent in November 2019.

In addition, the new data shows a significant increase from April 2019, where U.S. Catholics only expressed a 57.1 percent level of favorability.

More on Forgiveness and Clergy Abuse Situation: Kaya Oakes on Need for New Understandings

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage (blog)

March 5, 2020

By William D. Lindsey

A month ago, Ruth Krall offered us a valuable statement about the "sin or crime" dilemma facing religious bodies as they deal with sexual abuse of vulnerable people by religious authority figures. Should a community frame sexual abuse of the vulnerable by pastors, priests, religious authority figures primarily in terms of forgiveness? Or should religious communities begin from the starting point of recognizing that sexual abuse of minors is a crime, as they deal with these issues?

Ruth's essay was a meditation on what forgiveness means in a religious or theological context. It provoked a lively, fruitful discussion which signals to me how much this theological investigation is needed right now. As I noted in a posting building on Ruth's essay, one of its important contributions was to highlight what Christian communities of faith might learn from Jewish discussions of sin and forgiveness.

Given our recent discussion of these issues, I'm interested to see in Kaya Oakes' recent essay "On Forgiveness, Clergy Abuse, and the Need for New Understandings" the following testimony:

But in spite of the many cases of abuse coming to light around the world, the clerical impulse to plead for forgiveness, and what that does to victims, has rarely been discussed. In 2018, I pitched a story on the role of forgiveness in clergy abuse to a Catholic magazine for which I occasionally write. My hunch was that, like many of the women who were being asked to forgive abusive men as #MeToo revelations unfolded, many victims of clergy abuse might be hesitant to grant forgiveness to those who had violated them because of the corrosive nature of trauma.

Diocese says abuse victims can see secret priest files, but blocks access

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Gary Astridge has spent much of his adult life cobbling together dribs and drabs of information about the Rev. Edward Townsend, the priest he says molested him multiple times in the 1960s, starting when Astridge was 7 years old.

So, when Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger first suggested in January that abuse survivors could examine Buffalo Diocese files on their alleged abusers at the chancery offices, Astridge left three messages with Scharfenberger’s office seeking an appointment.

Two months later, the City of Tonawanda resident said he has yet to receive a return call.

“To me, once again, it’s just words, empty,” said Astridge, who last August sued the diocese over the abuse. “Emotionally, it’s so disheartening, so discouraging. It’s a slap in the face.”

Oregon Ducks administrator Jim Bartko beat his demons to the finish line

OREGON
Herald and News

March 18, 2020

By John Canzano, Oregonian Sports Columnist

We met at 9:30 a.m. at a Starbucks a couple of months ago. He picked the spot. And when I arrived, Jim Bartko was tucked against a large window, corner table, mentoring a college student.

He’s frozen there in my mind forever.

Bartko died on Monday. He was 54. And before you can say, “that’s way too young,” which is true, let me tell you what killed him — his childhood.

Officially, the long-time University of Oregon athletic department administrator collapsed during a workout on Monday. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died in surgery. But I’m left with no doubt that he would be alive today to do good deeds if only someone years ago would have just done one for him.

A church.

A priest.

A pile of abuse, denial and betrayal.

Bartko had been outspoken about all of it recently. He’d gone public, as part of his recovery a couple of years ago. He’d spilled his guts, talking in horrific detail about Father Stephen Kiesle, a convicted serial molester. The since-defrocked Kiesle wreaked havoc on the children of Pinole, Calif., 7-year old Jimmy Bartko among them.

Former Priest From Asbury Park Charged With Sex With Minor

ASBURY PARK (NJ)
Patch.com

March 18, 2020

By Tom Davis

A 63-year-old former clergyman from Asbury Park was charged with having sex with a minor, according to a release

A 63-year-old former clergyman from Asbury Park has been charged with having sex with a minor, according to a release from the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced charges against former clergyman Scott Asalone, 63, of Asbury Park for one felony count of carnal knowledge of a minor between 13 and 15 years old, according to the release.

Asalone was identified through Herring and Virginia State Police's investigation into clergy abuse in Virginia. Asalone was indicted by the Northern Virginia Multi-Jurisdictional Grand Jury on Thursday, March 12 and the case will be tried in Loudoun County Circuit Court.

Letter to the Editor: Where does the church go from here?

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Gazette

March 18, 2020

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury exposed clergy sexual abuse, pay-offs and systematic cover-ups in our Diocese. Now, in response to Bishop David Zubik’s letter sent last month to all members of the Diocese, in which he implied we have been negligent in our monetary giving, I have the following to say.

Bishop Zubik has held many listening sessions, but has not yet begged the entire laity for forgiveness.

Accordingly, the laity have listened to his words, but are not giving.

We, the laity, had a sacred relationship with the clergy, which Bishop Zubik and many of his fellow clergy have violated. They are servants of the Church, not masters of the castle. However, they seemed to care more for material goods and reputation than they did for the people, who are the real church. They must first love Christ, who is in the people: “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

Such a gross violation of trust as we have recently endured requires deep, heart-felt, on-the-knees, sack cloth and ashes confession, apology and radical reformation if there is any hope of salvaging the relationship at all. The status quo is not acceptable. The church saying, “we already have it under control” is not acceptable. This impasse might be more obvious to those of us living a marriage covenant.

In contrast, the arrogant deafness with which the clergy leadership has proceeded is a testament against itself and an offense to the laity: “ whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

We are the church. We are listening and waiting.

MICHAEL MARTINO, M.D.
Whitehall
The writer is a member of Catholics for Change in Our Church and a parishioner at St. Thomas More/​St. John Capistran Parish.

Remembering Mart Crowley

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Bay Area Reporter

March 17, 2020

By Brian Bromberger

Mart Crowley, whose landmark 1968 play "The Boys in the Band" became the first American stage production to deal openly and candidly with gay lives, over a year before the Stonewall Riots, died March 7 at age 84, from complications following heart surgery after suffering a heart attack. Without "Boys," other breakthrough gay dramas such as "Torch Song Trilogy," "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and "Angels in America" would have been inconceivable, as its popular success opened doors for honest depictions of LGBTQ people in mainstream theater and films. Its witty, acerbic banter ("Who do you have to fuck to get a drink around here?") became part of gay vernacular. And its portrayal of gay men leading ordinary existences with similar issues such as the search for meaning and love, just like their straight counterparts, helped spur acceptance of queer folk in the prevailing cultural landscape. ...

... Meanwhile, Crowley wrote several other dramas, including 1992's "For Reasons That Remain Unclear," about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church (he had been molested as a child) a decade before the scandal arose, and 2002's "Men from the Boys," a sequel to "Boys." None were winners. Wood's widowed husband, actor Robert Wagner, made him producer and executive script consultant on his hit 1980s TV series "Hart to Hart." Crowley also stopped drinking.

Catholic Diocese of Arlington responds to announcement that former Capuchin priest is charged with abuse

ARLINGTON (VA)
Catholic Herald

March 17, 2020

The Virginia Attorney General’s office has announced that Mr. Scott Asalone, a former Capuchin priest who was assigned to St. Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville from 1984-1993, has been arrested on charges involving sexual abuse of a minor in 1985.

Mr. Asalone was removed from the parish by the Capuchin order in January 1993, and the Diocese of Arlington subsequently was advised that the Capuchins had received an allegation against him. He was dismissed from the Capuchin order in 2007, and was living in New Jersey at the time of his arrest.

The Diocese of Arlington has cooperated fully with all law enforcement agencies and will continue to do so in an effort to help ensure anyone guilty of abuse is brought to justice. Our concern and prayers are for the victims of abuse at any place and time. The Diocese has a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of a minor, and no one with a credible accusation of abuse is serving in the Diocese. Mr. Asalone was included on the Diocese’s list, published in February 2019, of priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Erie, other dioceses unveil system to report bishops

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times-News

March 17, 2020

The creation of the nationwide Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service grew out of the clergy abuse crisis.

Roman Catholic dioceses nationwide have launched a system to report claims of abuse against bishops, the Catholic Diocese of Erie announced on Tuesday.

The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service, which started operating on Monday, grew out of a document called “Vox estis lux mundi,” or “You Are the Light of the World,” which Pope Francis issued in May 2019 after an international meeting of bishops in Rome in February 2019 to address clergy sexual abuse.

March 17, 2020

France's Worst Case of Clergy Abuse Is Over

FRANCE
Newser Editors and Wire Services

March 17, 2020

Ex-priest who abused at least 75 boys is sentenced to 5 years

A French ex-priest who acknowledged sexually abusing at least 75 boys over decades was sentenced Monday to five years in prison, in France’s worst case of clergy abuse to reach trial. The court in Lyon issued the verdict against 74-year-old Bernard Preynat behind closed doors because the coronavirus outbreak has shuttered most activity in France. Preynat’s case forced the first serious reckoning with sex abuse within the Catholic Church in France. Preynat testified that multiple cardinals and other senior church officials were aware of his misconduct dating back to the 1960s, but he wasn’t removed from the priesthood until last year, the AP reports. Victims of Preynat’s abuse, primarily boy scouts, welcomed his conviction for sexually abusing minors. Preynat was a scout leader.

Former Priest Gary Jacobs Returns to Michigan, Arraigned on Additional CSC Charges

LANSING (MI)
White Lake Beacon

March 16, 2020

In the latest update from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation into sexual abuse by members of the clergy, Gary Allen Jacobs was formally arraigned late Tuesday, March 10, in Ontonagon County on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Jacobs was originally charged in January on seven additional criminal sexual conduct charges in three separate cases that reportedly occurred in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties.

Since January, two new victims came forward making sexual assault reports against Jacobs, 74, now of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the two cases, he is charged with three criminal sexual conduct counts stemming from incidents that reportedly occurred between the dates of Jan. 1, 1981 and Dec. 31, 1984 in Ontonagon County.

Diocese of Allentown to implement new abuse reporting service

ALLENTOWN (PA)
69 News

March 17, 2020

The Diocese of Allentown says it's using a new system that lets people report sexual abuse allegations against bishops.

It's called the "Catholic Abuse Reporting Service."

Officials say the reports go to an independent group that will oversee an investigation.

Prosecutors appeal dismissal of Pittsburgh priest's conviction for sex abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
CNA

March 17, 2020

Allegheny County prosecutors are appealing a judge's decision to vacate the conviction of Fr. Hugh Lang, who is accused of having assaulted a boy in 2001.

On March 9 Allegheny County Commons Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani said he was granting Fr. Lang a new trial.

He said the priest had been denied a fair trial because the previous judge had allowed prosecutors to submit evidence that Fr. Lang had searched the internet for defense attorney shortly before the 2018 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on allegations of clerical sex abuse of minors.

Prosecutors have said the internet search demonstrated “consciousness of guilt,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, while Mariani responded that the search could have been for other reasons, such as looking on behalf an accused colleague, or out of fear of being falsely accused.

Church of England accused of 'marking own homework' after Dean returns to work following safeguarding scandal

ENGLAND
Telegraph

March 16, 2020

By Gabriella Swerling

The complaint was brought by the Church of England's national director of safeguarding Melissa Caslake

The Church of England has been accused of “marking its own homework” after a Cathedral Dean left her post amid an abuse scandal - but was allowed to return to work following extra training.

The Very Reverend Christine Wilson took a leave of absence in April 2019 following a complaint about how she handled a safeguarding allegation concerning the Cathedral’s chancellor. The Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, Very Reverend Christine Wilson - who was the first woman to assume the role and whose appointment in October 2016 was approved by The Queen - said that she needed to take a leave of absence for “personal reasons”.

Former Purcellville Church Friar Indicted in 1985 Sexual Abuse Case

LEESBURG (VA)
LoudounNow

March 16, 2020

Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced former clergyman Scott Asalone, 63, of Asbury Park, NJ, was indicted on one felony count of carnal knowledge of a minor between 13 and 15 years old.

The indictment is related to alleged sexual contact by Asalone in 1985, while he was a friar assigned to St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville involving a former parishioner in 1985.

Asalone was taken into custody on Saturday, March 14 by the Virginia State Police and New Jersey law enforcement officials in Asbury Park, NJ and will face extradition to Virginia. The case will be tried in Loudoun County Circuit Court.

Summit held to address church’s ‘twin crises’ of abuse, leadership failure

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

March 16, 2020

By Mark Zimmermann

A summit of U.S. Catholic leaders was convened recently in Washington “to continue to respond to the twin crises in our church, a crisis of abuse and a crisis of leadership failure,” said Kim Smolik, CEO of the Leadership Roundtable, which organized the gathering.

The Catholic Partnership Summit, held Feb. 28-29, had as its theme, “From Crisis to Co-Responsibility: Creating a New Culture of Leadership.” It drew 260 Catholic leaders from 63 U.S. dioceses, including bishops, diocesan staff, Catholic university presidents, corporate leaders, abuse survivors, philanthropists and more than 30 young adults.

DA’s office appeals tossed conviction of Pittsburgh-area priest accused of abuse

ALLEGHENY (PA)
TribLive

March 16, 2020

By Tom Davidson

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office on Monday appealed a judge’s decision last week to vacate the conviction of a retired priest who was accused of sexually abusing an altar boy two decades ago.

The office filed the appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court to reconsider a county judge’s decision.

The Rev. Hugh Lang, 89, who was formerly superintendent of schools for the Pittsburgh Diocese, was found guilty in a nonjury trial last year. He was sentenced in February to nearly two years in jail by Allegheny County Judge Anthony Mariani.

Once McCarrick report issued, church urged to ‘make reparation, learn’

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNS

March 17, 2020

By Mark Zimmermann

Once the Vatican releases the McCarrick report, the church must listen to the reaction to it in a “spirit of humility” and must seek to “make reparation, learn and keep moving forward in a new way,” said a leading U.S. woman religious.

Sister Carol Zinn, a Sister of St. Joseph from Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, who is executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, made the comments in a call with news media following the Catholic Partnership Summit, held Feb. 28-29 in Washington.

She said she hopes that as Catholics react to the report, “the church would take a listening stance rather than a defensive one,” to acknowledge it and recognize that “the institutional church, cannot govern itself the way it has governed itself before.”

Reporting system to record abuse complaints against bishops begins

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

March 16, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

A reporting system accepting sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. bishops and eparchs is in place.

Called the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, the system became operational March 16.

The mechanism incorporates a website and a toll-free telephone number through which individuals can file reports regarding a bishop.

New Group Set Up To Deal With Church Workplace Abuse

AUSTRALIA
Vision Christian Radio

March 17, 2020

An advocacy group is aiming to make churches better places to work by supporting those employees who are being bullied, abused, or unfairly treated.

Eternity News reports the Gospel Workers Advocacy Group has been set up to help church workers facing difficult situations at work.

This can include abuse, bullying, and in some cases the unfair termination of their jobs.

Madison Catholic Church Confirms 2nd Sexual Abuse Allegation Against Priest

MADISON (WI)
State News

March 16, 2020

The Diocese of Madison says a second person has come forward to make a sexual abuse allegation against a priest.

That person stepped up when the diocese released the names of priests credibly accused saying one name was missing from the list – the Reverend Patrick Doherty.

End safeguarding self-regulation, IICSA urged

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

March 17, 2020

By Ruth Gledhill

Forty years of public scandal has "forced" the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches to admit they have a problem of child sex abuse, the latest hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has been told.

"No current Catholic or Anglican leader would come before this inquiry now and seriously try to maintain that clerical sex abuse scandals had never happened," Richard Scorer, representing several core participants, told the first day of the hearing into child protection in "religious organisations and settings".

7 Years Of The First Non-European Pope

ROME
National Public Radio

March 16, 2020

By Sylvia Poggioli

Seven years after Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, the first non-European pontiff is under attack from traditionalists who think he's leading Catholics astray.

You'll need a strong stomach to digest Revelation's insights into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

March 17, 2020

By Brigid Delaney

ABC’s documentary about a convicted paedophile priest is difficult to watch, but perhaps it’s necessary to bear witness

Despite an extensive royal commission, scores of criminal trials and excellent books such as Louise Milligan’s Cardinal and David Marr’s The Prince, there are still some unanswered questions about child sexual abuse in the now-tattered narrative of the Catholic church in Australia.

These include: why did these priests do such horrible things? How did they justify their crimes to themselves and to God? What kind of conversations may they have had with, say, their archbishop or monsignor, once they were rumbled by a parent or teacher or victim?

Accounts from the paedophiles themselves that may go some way towards answering those questions are also missing from this narrative. Perhaps this is because paedophiles do not want to talk due to shame or due to the media’s preference for – in some cases – giving victims airtime and denying a platform to abusers. And then there’s us, the audience. Do we really want to hear from them?

D.C. Council member David Grosso alleges he was sexually assaulted by Va. clergyman

WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington Post

March 17, 2020

By Tom Jackman

After a former Catholic priest from Northern Virginia was accused of sexual abuse that occurred in the 1980s, and his arrest was announced Monday, D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) revealed that he was the victim. Grosso said the opening of an investigation into his childhood trauma played heavily into his decision not to seek another term on the city council.

The alleged abuser, Scott Asalone, 63, is the former rector of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Va., and more recently a management consultant and bookstore owner in Asbury Park, N.J. He was a member of the Capuchin Friars order who was removed from public ministry in 1993 and dismissed from the Friars in 2007, according to records released last year by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. The diocese included Asalone’s name in a list of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse in Northern Virginia.

Asalone was the first person indicted as a result of an investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and Virginia State Police into Catholic clergy abuse, after the Pennsylvania attorney general in 2018 uncovered hundreds of unprosecuted cases and more than 1,000 child victims. A multi-jurisdictional grand jury met in Fairfax County last week, Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s office said Monday, and issued an indictment Thursday charging Asalone with one felony count of carnal knowledge of a minor between 13 and 15 years old. The victim is identified in the indictment as “D.G.,” which said that the abuse occurred between April and September of 1985, when Grosso was 14 and Asalone was 29.

Asalone was taken into custody Saturday in New Jersey, Herring’s office said, and is awaiting extradition to Virginia. After Herring’s office made the announcement Monday, Grosso issued a statement about the arrest of a former clergyman for criminal sexual abuse of a minor. “The minor he assaulted was me,” Grosso said.

“This occurred during a very difficult time of my life,” Grosso said in the statement. “Though the deep scars remain, I largely believed this incident was behind me, especially after I underwent intensive therapy in the 1990s.”

Grosso said investigators in Virginia had recently obtained the Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s internal file on his case, contacted him several times in the past year and asked him to testify before the grand jury in Fairfax. “I did so,” Grosso said, “only to prevent Mr. Asalone from ever hurting another child.”

Grosso apparently reported the incident to the Catholic church in the 1990s and received a financial settlement at the time. In 2015, when Grosso was pushing for legislation to expand the statute of limitations in Washington for civil claims in sexual abuse cases, he told WAMU that “I had a situation happen to me when I was a teenager, so it’s personal for me.”

Grosso said that because he reported the abuse “in my early 20s and told my family about it, the reality was that there was nothing we could do because the statute of limitations in Virginia was so low that I couldn’t go after them in a court.”

Grosso told WAMU that he received a settlement and that the priest was removed from the church but faced no legal consequences. Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for filing civil actions in personal injury cases. The state has no statute of limitations on felony crimes.

In 2018, Grosso helped pass the Statute of Limitations Amendment Act, which took effect in May 2019 and opened a two-year window for victims in the District to file civil claims even if they had been time-barred under the former three-year statute of limitations.

Grosso said in his statement that the investigation into “a crime the Diocese attempted to bury for decades” had “caused fresh trauma as I have been forced vividly to relive the tragic events of my childhood. I have again received therapy and made difficult decisions to advance my recovery. My conclusion not to seek another term as a council member was heavily influenced by this new case.”

In a brief interview on Monday, Grosso said it was important to “get the message out that people should speak up and that there is a chance for justice to happen.”

Grosso said: “It’s important, I think, when you have a platform like I do, to use it for the better of the community and to encourage people that it’s okay to speak the truth and to talk about what happened to you in an open way as best you can so that you can find some justice.”

Grosso said he decided to go public “because I understand the tremendous burden the victims of sexual assault and abuse carry throughout their lives. As I did many years ago, we all must find the courage to come forward, tell our stories, and seek justice and accountability from the perpetrator, as well as the church and other institutions that have hidden or excused their behavior.”

Grosso has been on the city council since 2013. He is a lawyer who earned his degree from Georgetown University. He announced in November that he would not seek a third term on the council.

Asalone was ordained as a Capuchin Friar in 1983, according to church records. The Arlington diocese said Monday that he served in Northern Virginia from June 1984 to January 1993. His only assignment during that time was at St. Francis de Sales. In January 1993, he was removed from St. Francis de Sales Parish by the Capuchin order, a diocese spokeswoman said. The Arlington diocese said it later learned that the Capuchins had received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Asalone when he was a clergyman. The Capuchin order did not return a request for comment.

Catholic friars typically are sent to places where there are few Catholic priests or churches, such as rural areas or inner cities. Initially, Purcellville was sparsely populated, but it and St. Francis grew rapidly in the 1990s. Asalone was the pastor when the congregation built a new church in 1992, and a story in The Washington Post in 1997 said that Asalone was “on a sabbatical working as a Wall Street stockbroker.”

Asalone went on to work for Merrill Lynch and formed his own consulting firm in New Jersey in 1999, according to biographies he has posted over the years. He has spoken at many public gatherings about the need for positive psychology in the workplace. It was not clear whether he has retained a lawyer. The case will be tried in Loudoun County.

Reporting system to records complaints against bishops begins

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Service via Boston Pilot

March 16, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

A reporting system accepting sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. bishops and eparchs is in place.

Called the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, the system became operational March 16.

The mechanism incorporates a website and a toll-free telephone number through which individuals can file reports regarding a bishop.

The website is ReportBishopAbuse.org. Calls can be placed at (800) 276-1562.

The nationwide system is being implemented by individual dioceses under the direction of each respective cardinal, archbishop or bishop. The information gathered will be protected through enhanced encryption.

Former Fresno State athletics director Jim Bartko dies during surgery at age 54

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

March 16, 2020

By Robert Kuwada

Jim Bartko, the former Fresno State athletics director and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, died Monday while undergoing surgery after collapsing during a morning workout. He was 54.

Bartko, who was back at the University of Oregon in a fundraising position, had filed a lawsuit last Thursday against the Diocese of Oakland under AB 218, the California Child Victims Act and recently published a book, “Boy in the Mirror,” detailing the abuse and its impact on his personal and professional life.

Hired by Fresno State in 2014, Bartko had pushed a transformative Bulldog Stadium renovation plan, hired coach Jeff Tedford, oversaw the return of a wrestling program and addition of women’s water polo, taking on an athletics department overburdened by 21 sports programs while dealing with insomnia and anxiety issues that went back to his childhood.

Former priest in northern Virginia charged with sexual abuse

FALLS CHURCH (VA)
WRIC-TV

March 16, 2020

By Alonzo Small

A former Catholic priest in northern Virginia has been charged with sexually abusing a teenager in a case that dates back nearly 35 years, and a city councilman for the District of Columbia came forward to say he was the victim.

Scott Asalone, 63, of Asbury Park, New Jersey, was charged in Loudoun County with carnal knowledge of a minor, Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said Monday.

Asalone was arrested Saturday in New Jersey and will be transferred to Virginia, Herring’s office said.

After Asalone’s arrest was announced, D.C. Councilman David Grosso issued a statement saying, “The minor he assaulted was me.”

Prosecutors file notice of appeal of ruling in abuse case

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Associated Press

March 16, 2020

Prosecutors have filed a notice of appeal of a western Pennsylvania judge’s ruling throwing out the conviction of a retired Roman Catholic priest accused of having assaulted a boy almost two decades ago.

A spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney’s office said Monday that the brief setting out reasons for the appeal to Superior Court in the case of the Rev. Hugh Lang will be filed at a later date.

Judge Anthony Mariani said last week that he believed that Lang hadn’t received a fair trial. He said prosecutors should not have been allowed to submit evidence that Lang did an Internet search for defense attorneys before the release of a grand jury report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Coronavirus pandemic postpones Catholic priest trial to June

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle via Pressfrom.info

March 17, 2020

By Nicole Hensley

The trial of a Catholic priest accused of molesting three children at a Montgomery County parish will be postponed to June amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was made out of concerns for public health. A lawyer for accused cleric Manuel La Rosa-Lopez said the case will be tried in June, rather than later in March. A jury was slated to be picked Friday.

The lawyer, Wendell Odom, said in an email the trial will now begin on June 15.

“Following the Texas Supreme Courts emergency declaration, the Judge and all parties agree the safety of everyone would be best served by rescheduling the trial until June,” Odom said in an emailed statement.

"It was foreseeable because of current circumstances," said Nancy Hebert, of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

As of Monday afternoon, four people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Montgomery County.

Jason Millsaps, chief of staff to Montgomery County Judge Mike Keough, said courts were exempted from an order to cancel events that would bring together large groups of people. Each judge was allowed to decide how their court operations would proceed.

The case is being tried before 435th District Court Judge Patty McGinnis, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

La Rosa-Lopez, who is free on bond, is facing five counts of indecency with a child.

Former priest living in Asbury Park charged in Virginia sex case with minor

ASBURY PARK (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

March 16, 2020

By Joshua Chung

A former priest living in Asbury Park has been indicted on charges of with [sic] carnal knowledge of a minor, according to Mark R. Herring, attorney general for Virginia.

On March 12, Scott Asalone, 63, was indicted for carnal knowledge of a minor between 13 and 15 years old, after Herring and Virginia State Police conducted an investigation of clergy abuse in the state, officials said. Asalone's case will be tried at the Loudoun County Circuit Court in Leesburg, Virginia.

In 1985, Asalone was allegedly connected to a sexual contact case, which involved a former parishioner, officials said. During this time, Asalone was a member of the clergy assigned to St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Virginia.

Ex-Priest in France Is Convicted of Abusing Dozens of Scouts

LYON (FRANCE)
The New York Times

March 16, 2020

By Aurelien Breeden

Bernard Preynat, 75, received a five-year sentence after admitting to assaulting boys over a 20-year period, a scandal that embroiled a top cardinal.

A former Roman Catholic priest in France was convicted and sentenced on Monday to five years in prison for sexually assaulting dozens of Boy Scouts several decades ago, in a case that embroiled a top cardinal in the country’s growing reckoning with clerical sexual abuse.

The former priest, Bernard Preynat, 75, was found guilty by a court in Lyon, in central France, according to his lawyer, Frédéric Doyez. Prosecutors had asked for an eight-year sentence, slightly less than the maximum 10 years for such offenses.

The hearing for the verdict was held behind closed doors in Lyon after the French authorities enforced new restrictions on public gatherings because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus epidemic.

Pierre Emmanuel Germain-Thill, one of Mr. Preynat’s victims, told Agence France-Presse that the sentence was “correct” given the former priest’s age.

“I am very relieved by this ruling,” Mr. Germain-Thill said. “We want to turn the page of this affair and continue to build our lives.”

Mr. Doyez, the lawyer, said in an email that he was considering an appeal but that it was ultimately Mr. Preynat’s decision. Under French law, Mr. Preynat has 10 days to appeal the conviction.

Mr. Preynat was accused of using his position as a Boy Scout leader to sexually abuse dozens of boys from the 1970s to the 1990s. A church tribunal pronounced him guilty of the abuse last year and stripped him of his clerical status.

At the criminal trial, held in January, Mr. Preynat admitted to some of the abuse and asked for forgiveness, testifying that as a scout chaplain he had abused as many as two boys “almost every weekend” and as many as four or five a week on camp outings — although he said he did not remember some of the specific acts that the victims had accused him of.

“For me, at the time, I was not committing acts of sexual assault but caresses, cuddles,” Mr. Preynat said at trial, according to news reports. “I was wrong.”

Many of the accusations against Mr. Preynat were past the statute of limitations, and only a few of victims were plaintiffs. But the case against him, which first emerged in 2015, led to a much wider indictment in France of the Catholic Church’s culture of silence about sexual abuse allegations.

Attention quickly focused on Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, then the archbishop of Lyon — one of France’s highest-ranking clergymen.

Although the abuse occurred before Cardinal Barbarin was appointed to his post in the Lyon Diocese in 2002, some of Mr. Preynat’s victims accused the cardinal of having failed to report the allegations to the authorities when they were brought to his attention. During his trial, Mr. Preynat testified that senior church officials had been aware of the abuse but had done nothing to remove him from office.

Cardinal Barbarin later acknowledged that he had heard about the abuse as early as 2010, but he said that he had personally questioned Mr. Preynat at the time and had left him in office after receiving assurances that no abuse had occurred since 1991. Mr. Preynat was removed from office in August 2015.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Cardinal Barbarin in 2016 after an investigation, but some of Mr. Preynat’s accusers used a special procedure to force the cardinal to stand trial.

The cardinal was found guilty last year of failing to report the abuse, but was acquitted in January on appeal. His resignation was accepted by Pope Francis this month.

During his trial, Mr. Preynat said for the first time that he had himself been the victim of abuse by clergymen in his youth, though lawyers for some of the plaintiffs said that they were skeptical of that last-minute allegation, calling it yet another lie from a man who for years had evaded punishment for his crimes.

An independent commission created by the Bishops’ Conference of France to shed light on sexual abuse by the country’s clergy has already heard from thousands of people reporting such cases, and a report is expected in 2021.

March 16, 2020

Court dismisses discharge petition filed by Bishop Franco in rape case

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Express News Service

March 16, 2020

The claim of the accused that the prosecution witnesses are not trustworthy and there was no cogent evidence in the entire episode was turned down by the court.

In a major setback to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, former head of the Latin Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Kottayam, on Monday dismissed the discharge petition filed by him in connection with the rape case registered against him by the Kuravilangad police.

The judge G Gopakumar directed bishop Mulakkal to face the trial in the case, which was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a Catholic nun of the same diocese.

Bishop Franco, who didn’t turn up before the court on the day, had filed the discharge petition on January 25, while the court was supposed to commence preliminary hearing on charges against him.

Rape accused Bishop Franco has to face trial

KOTTAYAM (KERALA)
IANS

March 16, 2020

A court here on Monday dismissed the discharge petition filed by former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of sexually assaulting a nun between 2014 and 2016.

This means that the bishop will now have to face trial in the case, which will begin very soon.

It was on January 7 that Mulakkal, who is on bail, filed the petition in the Kottayam additional district sessions court.

Mulakkal's ploy was to delay the trial and now with the lower court dismissing his discharge petition, it remains to be seen if he will approach a higher court.

French priest gets 5-yr jail term for sex assault of boy scouts

LYON (FRANCE)
AFP

March 16, 2020

A defrocked Catholic priest was given a five-year jail term Monday for sexually abusing boy scouts in his care several decades ago, a case that roiled the French Church over claims he was shielded from prosecution by his superiors.

Bernard Preynat, 75, had confessed at his trial in January in the southeastern city of Lyon to "caresses" he knew were forbidden after victims testified of the abuses they suffered at his hands.

The accusers were aged seven to 14 when the alleged crimes were committed between 1971 and 1991, when Preynat was a scout leader in Lyon.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s discharge plea dismissed by trial court

KOTTAYAM (KERALA)
Tribune India

March 16, 2020

A trial court here on Monday dismissed a discharge petition filed by Bishop Franco Mulakkal, in connection with the case of alleged rape of a nun in which he is the prime accused.

In his plea filed before the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Mulakkal had claimed that prima facie there was no case to frame charges against him.

Dismissing the plea, the trial court said the bishop should stand for trial in the rape case.

Advocate struggles to reconstruct 5 to 6 minutes in life of G. Pell

AUSTRALIA
China News

March 16, 2020

By Chris Friel

Before the High Court of Australia Bret Walker used the word "illogic." He was referring to the failure of the majority appellate judges to properly understand what I have called the "hiatus theory." In this paper I want to suggest that a similar illogic pervades the misguided approach of prosecutor Kerri Judd, presenting her case on the next day after Walker.

The context, I trust, will be familiar. The allegation was that two choristers endured a five to six minute assault in the sacristy at St. Patrick's. However, that place was described as a hive of activity after Sunday Mass and so the defence argued that it was impossible for such a thing to happen. There was just no opportunity; other people would have noticed what was going on. To the contrary, the prosecution wrestled with the problem of how to make this scenario possible by postulating a gap or "hiatus" in the activity that would somehow be consistent with the evidence heard in court.

My conversations with Jean Vanier raised many questions. I have no answers.

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

March 13, 2020

By John J. Conley

Lent began early this year.

Several weeks ago, L’Arche International released a report detailing credible accusations of sexual abuse by Jean Vanier, the charismatic founder of the L’Arche communities and the Faith and Light movement, apostolates devoted to the service of and solidarity with people with intellectual disabilities. The accusations by six women, all of whom were adults and none of whom were disabled, followed a similar pattern. Facing difficulties in their lives, each had sought out Vanier as a spiritual director. Preying on their vulnerability, Mr. Vanier pressured each of them into sexual relations, claiming that these relations had a mystical justification. According to one woman, Mr. Vanier told her, “This is not us; this is Mary and Jesus. You are chosen, you are special.” Each woman was sworn to secrecy. Years later, the women are still wrestling with the brokenness and the disorientation wrought by Mr. Vanier’s actions.

Farewell to a familiar news story angle? Argentina shows that pope's policy clout is fading

ARGENTINA
Get Religion

March 12, 2020

By Clemente Lisi

Past popes have exerted an enormous amount of influence on politics around the world. A pope’s influential reach — and the large number of Catholics around the world — has often been vital in the shaping of laws and policy.

The best example is Saint Pope John Paul II. The Polish-born pontiff was instrumental in the fall of communism some three decades ago. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, had a different approach. Not a media star like JPII, Benedict focused his efforts on Africa. With help from humanitarian aid organizations, the Vatican exerted a great amount of influence in many African nations where the church matters. The church continues to grow there.

This has helped shape how journalists cover the papacy and, thus, the Catholicism. Shaping world politics? That’s news. Shaping doctrines and how people worship? That’s news— maybe. It depends. Do the doctrines have anything to do with gender or sex?

Sleeping woman sexually assaulted, court hears

GALWAY (IRELAND)
Connacht/CityTribune

March 11, 2020

By Ann Healy

A 28-year-old man who sexually assaulted a woman as she slept in a friend’s house, went to his parish priest to look for guidance before telling his family about what he had done.

Brian Finnegan, from Kilsallagh, Williamstown, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last October to sexually assaulting the then 22-year-old woman in a house at University Road on October 15, 2017.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had initially directed the charge could be dealt with at District Court level if Finnegan entered a guilty plea, but he pleaded not guilty when the matter came before Galway District Court in 2018 and was sent forward for trial to the higher court.

Judge orders Buffalo Diocese to release secret files of 2 ‘notorious’ priests

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 11, 2020

By Charlie Specht

But Orsolits, White files still barred from others

Two weeks before the Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy, a state judge ruled that the diocese must turn over the “secret files” of two of its most “notorious” pedophile priests.

But most Catholics -- and by extension, dozens of the priests’ alleged victims -- are still barred from seeing the files because of conditions the judge placed on their disclosure.

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Chimes ruled Feb. 13 that after months of fighting their release, lawyers for the diocese must disclose the personnel files of Fr. Norbert F. Orsolits and Fr. William F.J. White.

Archdiocese paid settlements for priest accused of sex, would not answer questions about bankruptcy, report says

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE

March 11, 2020

A New Orleans Archdiocese attorney said Wednesday the church paid out four financial settlements in cases involving former priest Lawrence Hecker, who is accused of sexually molesting children.

According to The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, attorney Dirk Wegmann also said in court the church found out about at least one abuse allegation against Hecker in 1988.

That is 14 years before he was removed from public ministry.

New Orleans priest's abuse complaints started coming in 1988, led to 4 settlements: church lawyer

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
nola.com

March 11, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Alleged victim's attorney twice asked church lawyers if church was contemplating bankrupcty, didn't get answer

An attorney for the Archdiocese of New Orleans said Wednesday that the church learned of at least one abuse allegation against accused predatory priest Lawrence Hecker in 1988, or 14 years before he was removed from public ministry and three decades before archdiocesan officials informed the community that he was a suspected serial child molester.

The lawyer also revealed that the archdiocese has paid out financial settlements in four cases involving Hecker, who worked at more than a dozen Catholic churches in the New Orleans area over 44 years before his forced retirement in 2002.

The statements from archdiocesan attorney Dirk Wegmann came in what was supposed to be a routine status conference in a lawsuit filed by an alleged Hecker abuse victim before Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott. However, the proceeding was often far from routine.

Former U.P. priest charged with more sexual assaults

LANSING (MI)
Daily Press

March 12, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation into sexual abuse by members of the clergy resulted in Gary Allen Jacobs being formally arraigned late Tuesday in Ontonagon County on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases. Hee allegedly committed the offenses in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Jacobs was originally charged in January on seven additional criminal sexual conduct charges in three separate cases that reportedly occurred in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties.

Since January, two new victims came forward making sexual assault reports against Jacobs, 74, now of Albuquerque, N.M. In the two cases, he is charged with three criminal sexual conduct counts stemming from incidents that reportedly occurred between the dates of Jan. 1, 1981 and Dec. 31, 1984 in Ontonagon County.

Former priest arraigned in Ontonagon County on new CSC charges

ONTONAGON (MI)
WLUC/TV6 News Team

March 11, 2020

A former Upper Michigan priest is in jail and facing more charges in a criminal sexual conduct investigation.

According to the Michigan Attorney General's Office, Gary Allen Jacobs was formally arraigned late Tuesday in Ontonagon County District Court on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Jacobs is currently in the Ontonagon County Jail. The court denied him bond.

Jacobs was originally charged in January on seven additional criminal sexual conduct charges in three separate cases that reportedly occurred in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties.

Monsignor in landmark church abuse case goes back on trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

March 16, 2020

By Maryclaire Dale

Nearly two decades after the Roman Catholic priest-abuse scandal exploded in the U.S. in 2002, only one church official has ever gone to prison over it: Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese.

After an appeals court found his sweeping 2012 trial flawed and his conviction was twice overturned, Lynn, 69, is set to be retried Monday on a single child endangerment count. Prosecutors contend he endangered children by transferring a known predator priest, after a year of inpatient therapy, to their parish without warning in 1993.

The landmark case, now trimmed to its core, will look nothing like the gut-wrenching, four-month trial that unearthed the church’s “secret archives,” drew more than 20 haunted victims to the witness stand and led the judge to conclude that Lynn allowed “monsters in clerical garb … to destroy the souls of children.”

This time, a new judge plans to steer clear of the broader priest-abuse crisis that has cost the church an estimated $3 billion or more, and plunged dioceses around the world into bankruptcy and scandal.

5-year sentence for French priest who abused boy scouts

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

March 16, 2020

A French priest who acknowledged sexually abusing at least 75 boys over decades was sentenced Monday to five years in prison, in France’s worst case of clergy abuse to reach trial.

The court in Lyon issued the verdict against 74-year-old Bernard Preynat behind closed doors because of the spreading coronavirus that has shuttered most activity in France.

Preynat’s case forced the first serious reckoning with sex abuse within the Catholic Church in France. Preynat testified that multiple cardinals and other senior church officials were aware of his misconduct dating back to the 1960s, but he wasn’t removed from the priesthood until last year.

Victims of Preynat’s abuse, primarily boy scouts, welcomed his conviction for sexually abusing minors. Preynat was a scout leader.

University regrets not telling victim to go to police

GREENVILLE (SC)
Associated Press

March 15, 2020

Bob Jones University in South Carolina said it regrets not encouraging a teenager to go to police after she said she was sexually assaulted on campus by a former pastor.

The woman reported the assaults in 2005, saying four years earlier when she was 16, a then 37-year-old pastor took her to a university-owned apartment while visiting Greenville and attacked her, The Greenville News reported.

Jonathan Alan Weaver, 56, was charged last month by Greenville Police with two counts of first-degree assault and battery. South Carolina does not have a statute of limitations for any criminal offense.

Cardinal Pell's lawyers move quickly to file documents

AUSTRALIA
CathNews

March 15, 2020

Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell have already filed supplementary material with the High Court amid hopes of a quick decision in his appeal. Source: The Herald-Sun.

The Cardinal’s legal team were asked to file a short note on the evidentiary relationship between the two separate incidents of abuse of which he was convicted.

The note was filed on Friday night following the second and final day of his appeal.

Sources close to the case doubt the issue will impact the decision in any significant way.

Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, QC, now has until early next week to file a response to the note.

The full bench of the High Court has reserved its decision to be handed down at a later date.

Disgraced priest disputes law firm's report, seeks certain rights from OKC Archdiocese

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

By Carla Hinton and Randy Ellis

March 16, 2020

A retired Catholic clergyman named in a list of predatory priests wants to retain the right to carry out priestly functions like officiating at weddings and funerals.

Enid attorney Stephen Jones said he will appeal to Rome on behalf of the Rev. James Mickus if the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City does not restore the retired priest's "priestly faculties."

Jones' disagreement with the archdiocese stems from allegations against Mickus that were included in a report compiled by Oklahoma City-based McAfee & Taft. The law firm was hired by the archdiocese to investigate and report on its findings concerning priests with substantiated allegations of sex abuse against a minor.

The 77-page report released in October 2019 included an allegation that Mickus, 75, had sexually abused a minor while serving as an archdiocese priest at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid.

Jones said Mickus acknowledges having a "consensual romantic relationship" with the person who made the allegation, but contends the man was an adult at the time.

Smyllum: Abuse survivor’s questions for scandal-hit charity as he pleads for chance to say final goodbye to loved one

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Sunday Post

March 15, 2020

by Gordon Blackstock

For years he didn’t think about him. Now he can’t stop.

Every night Eddie McColl, 75, says he remembers his kid brother Francis, who died at the age of 13. Both siblings, along with older brothers John and Willie, were taken from their widowed mother, Ellen, in the early ’50s. After coalman dad John died from tuberculosis, the family had been left on its uppers.

Eddie remembers being so poor, he would raid bins for clothes to wear to school in the tough area of Maryhill in Glasgow. Soon, the three younger brothers were taken to Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire to be protected and cared for. Or so they hoped.

In 2018, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry heard evidence that the orphanage – run by the religious order of nuns, the Daughters of Charity – was rife with physical and sexual abuse suffered by many of the children taken there.

John, a streetwise teenager, escaped life at Smyllum, originally running away before being allowed to live with an aunt. Francis, the youngest and not yet at school, was kept away from his brothers in the nursery wing.

Newcastle Herald editorial: It's time to challenge the Catholic Church over whether it's really changed

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

March 16, 2020

HUNTER paedophile priest Vince Ryan is good at playing the victim, despite truly horrific crimes against children that include forcing boys as young as nine to attempt anal intercourse in a church with other boys, for his sick pleasure.

Men died too young after they were raped and sexually assaulted by Ryan. He was a protected species who could and should have been stopped from the early 1970s, but wasn't because of the senior clerics above who covered up his crimes.

Hunter Catholics have been warned that the ABC series Revelation, presented by Sarah Ferguson from Tuesday and featuring an interview with Ryan, will be confronting. That's if they watch it, and they should.

Bill advances that aims to deliver justice for adults abused as children

GEORGIA
Georgia Recorder

March 16, 2020

By Ross Williams

After a couple of failed attempts in recent years, Georgia lawmakers are again advancing legislation to allow adults who were victims of sexual abuse more time to sue organizations that employed their abuser.

This latest version of the Hidden Predator Act passed the House late last week and its fate is now in the state Senate. Its author, Warner Robins Republican Heath Clark, said the bill raises the age a victim can bring a civil suit for child sexual abuse from 23 to 38 years and expands the amount of time a victim can bring suit from two years after becoming aware of the abuse to four years.

If the bill becomes law, it would open a one-year window for victims whose statute of limitation has run out to file suit against a person who committed abuse or an entity that had an obligation to report the abuse but knowingly allowed it to continue or attempted to conceal it.

Cruel legacy for abuse victims whose church hid the guilty

ENGLAND
News & Star with the Cumberland News

March 15, 2020

By Phil Coleman

I CAN see the pain in his eyes.

As he sits in his living room, the walls adorned with original paintings of two stunningly beautiful Lake District valleys, Richard is reliving the terrible day 36 years ago when a trusted Church of England vicar cynically and brutally destroyed his childhood.

Decades have passed but deep anger remains.

Richard’s anger is not for Ronald Johns, the disgraced and later defrocked former Carlisle Cathedral canon who sexually abused him when he was a child. It’s for the bishop who turned a blind eye when Johns finally confessed he was a child abuser.

March 15, 2020

Victims expect more dioceses to declare bankruptcy

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Tribune-Democrat

March 15, 2020

By John Finnerty

Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer announces Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, that the diocese has filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of looming lawsuits over priest abuse.

The diocese has already paid out almost $13 million to settle claims filed by victims of priest abuse through a compensation fund set up by the church.

Adult survivors of priest abuse across Pennsylvania expect that other dioceses will follow the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and declare bankruptcy to force victims tons seek damages through bankruptcy court rather than civil court.

Mary McHale, a Reading women involved with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said "I think it’s only a matter of time” before other dioceses in Pennsylvania declare bankruptcy, a move announced by the Harrisburg diocese in mid-February.

“It’s not a shock,” she said. “It’s another play in their playbook.”

McHale was abused by a priest in Reading, who began grooming her after she disclosed to him that she was gay. She only came forward after another woman publicly accused the same priest of abuse.

'Those told of abuse must report it,' says Workington MP

ENGLAND
News & Star

March 15, 2020

By Phil Coleman

Any person in a position of responsibility who is told about the sexual abuse of a child should report it to the police, says Workington MP Mark Jenkinson.

The politician spoke out after the News & Star reported on the cases of two Allerdale men whose abusers were clergymen - one with the Catholic Church and the other with the Church of England - and both were allowed to continue working after they confessed their paedophilia.

Neither was reported to the police by their church bosses.

One was a victim of former Carlisle Cathedral canon Ronald Johns and he said he was appalled to learn about the case of former Workington priest Peter Turner, who was allowed to continue his 'ministry' in Workington after telling his abbot he had abused a child

In church abuse crisis, some call for 'restorative justice'

WHEELING (WV)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Peter Smoth

March 15, 2020

In a Wheeling University room normally used for musical recitals, groups of Catholics sat in small circles, each with a single lit candle in the middle, and took turns discussing their struggles to remain Catholic in an era defined by scandal.

“As a parent of four children, and a health-care provider for children, I am just unable to comprehend how an organization would not protect vulnerable people, especially one that professes to have a moral authority,” one man said. And when that authority “starts unraveling, I have a lot of questions. What else am I believing that you tell me? Why should I believe you anymore?”

The exercise was a model for what’s known as “healing circles,” used as a tool for what’s known as “restorative justice,” and the aim of the conference was to promote its use in area parishes.

Missouri Pastor Indicted for Sex Abuse Then Worked at Church for 5 More Months

MISSOURI
forsuchatimeasthisrally.com (blog)

March 13, 2020

New details on the abuse case at First Baptist Greenwood and a timeline of events based on news reports. More questions are raised about the role of the newest Southwest Baptist University trustee, Mike Roy.

Shawn Davies was under indictment for sexual abuse in Kentucky as of May 18, 2005 according to court records. Shawn was a pastor on staff at First Baptist Greenwood, MO and later convicted of abusing 7+ boys at the church.

He was not fired by the church until October 2005 - five months following the indictment.

Here's the timeline that we've pieced together after reviewing dozens of news articles:

2001 - Sheriff in Kentucky begins first known investigation into sexual abuse by Shawn Davies according to court records. Abuse occurred in Davies' role as pastor.

August 2003 - Shawn Davies is hired by First Baptist Greenwood / church senior pastor, Mike Roy. Abuse incidents at First Baptist Greenwood begin this same month.

May 18, 2005 - Shawn is INDICTED in Kentucky on sexual abuse charges.

Will attorneys general go after abuse & cover-up in other churches?

UNITED STATES
adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

March 15, 2020

Now it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Maybe soon it will be the Baptists. We say: Bring it on!

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General has announced a new investigation into Jehovah’s Witnesses clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Activists are urging Missouri’s attorney general to launch a probe into Baptist clergy abuse and cover up.

https://revealnews.org/article/pennsylvania-opens-grand-jury-investigation-into-jehovahs-witnesses-cover-up-of-child-sex-abuse/

https://wordandway.org/2020/02/27/mo-attorney-general-urged-to-investigate-baptists/

Again, we welcome these moves. For decades, law enforcement officials have tended to pursue smaller, easier cases against less influential and unpopular defendants. And their reluctance to believe that widely-respected officials would tolerate or enable heinous crimes, and then conceal them, proved problematic too.

Finally, that mindset is beginning to change.

In 2002, the first formal law enforcement probes into Catholic officials and their cover ups began. But there’s no question that child molesting clerics seek out and can be found in every religious group.

(A terrific list of grand jury investigations into church groups can be found here: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/reports.htm)

“But why focus just on churches?” some believers and religious officials complain. “Why single us out?”

Former Hyde Park pastor arrested in 2001 incident, accused of 2005 sexual assault

NEW YORK
Poughkeepsie Journal

March 14, 2020

By Ariel Gilreath

A former Hyde Park priest is being accused of the sexual assault of a 17-year-old in 2005.

And, a South Carolina university is apologizing for not doing more to assist the teen 15 years ago, in the wake of the priest’s arrest.

Shielagh Clark said she was sexually assaulted by her former pastor at Hyde Park Baptist Church, Jonathan Alan Weaver, but said she was too afraid at the time to pursue police charges.

Late last month, Weaver, 56, was arrested by the Greenville Police Department in South Carolina, and charged with two counts of first-degree assault and battery. Those charges are tied to an incident that allegedly occurred in 2001 when Clark was still in high school and on a trip with Weaver and other teenage students to Bob Jones University, according to warrants. Greenville police charged Weaver with assault and battery because that's what the evidence supported, Lt. Alia Paramore said.

The High Court decision on the fate of convicted cardinal George Pell may be delivered as early as next week.

AUSTRALIA
The Saturday Paper

March 15, 2020

By Rick Morton

The final bid for George Pell’s freedom began with a test of faith.

Addressing the full bench of the High Court in Canberra this week, the cardinal’s silk, Bret Walker, SC, drew his line in the sand: believing the surviving victim was not enough to convict Pell to six years in prison for historical child sexual abuse. Faith can be wrong, he argued. Faith is slippery.

“It does not mean that all of us when we say, in or out of court, that we believe something are therefore also saying, let alone making true, the fact that we cannot be wrong in that to which our belief leads us,” Walker told the court. “The belief does not drive from the field the possibility of reasonable doubt.”

This was the scaffold upon which Pell’s defence would rest.

The credibility of the victim was not in question, Walker argued, but was he reliable? In asking the court to dismantle the faith placed in the survivor of abuse, he urged them to look elsewhere, at the “whole of the evidence”.

A powerful moment has turned ugly

CANADA
The Catholic Register

By Annabel Quinn

March 15, 2020

Last year I attended an incredible spiritual retreat in Trosly-Breuil, France, the birthplace of the first L’Arche community.

Jean Vanier was too ill to facilitate the retreat, but he attended Mass with us daily and allowed us to kiss his cheek, shake his hand and pose for many pictures. He warmly received our gift, a large canvas print of Corinthians, “Love is patient, love is kind….”

One evening the retreatants walked by candlelight into the cave-like sanctuary to sit in silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I sat on the floor against the back wall. Total silence and peace.

I realized I was sitting beside a pair of feet. I looked up and saw that I was sitting at the feet of Jean Vanier. I am ashamed to admit that I felt a little smug; I was the beloved child sitting at the feet of a living saint.

That was one of my most powerful moments as a Catholic. Today that memory has been shattered by the news that Vanier sexually coerced six (non-disabled) women under the guise of giving them spiritual direction.

I learned about his abuse when a friend sent me a “You OK?” text, along with one of the articles (the first of many) that detailed what Vanier had done. I was utterly gutted.

Former Priest Returns To Michigan To Face Additional Sex Abuse Charges

ONTONAGON (MI)
WWJ News

March 14, 2020

A former Michigan priest who relocated to New Mexico has returned to the state to face additional charges for allegedly sexually abusing children decades ago.

Gary Allen Jacobs was formally arraigned late Tuesday in Ontonagon County on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Jacobs was originally charged in January on seven criminal sexual conduct charges in three separate cases that reportedly occurred in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties.

Since January, two new victims came forward making sexual assault reports against Jacobs, 74, now of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the two cases, he is charged with three criminal sexual conduct counts stemming from incidents that reportedly occurred between the dates of Jan. 1, 1981 and Dec. 31, 1984 in Ontonagon County.

The new charges include two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 15, and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 15. Both cases arise from his abuse of his authority status as the victims' priest.

Jacobs faces up to life in prison if convicted as charged.

Jacobs was arrested Jan. 17 in New Mexico on three previously charged cases of criminal sexual conduct. Rather than await extradition from New Mexico, Jacobs voluntarily returned to Michigan to be arraigned on the new charges.

US Hispanic Catholics are future, but priest numbers dismal

PHOENIX (AZ)
Associated Press

March 13, 2020

By David Crary

Maria Chavira, a senior administrator in the Diocese of Phoenix, says Spanish-speaking Catholic parishes in her area are “bursting at the seams” and celebrates the emergence of Hispanics as the largest ethnic component of the church nationwide.

Throughout the Southwest, where the surge has been dramatic, Roman Catholic leaders are excited by the possibilities -- and well aware of daunting challenges.

Hispanics now account for 40% of all U.S. Catholics, and a solid majority of school-age Catholics. Yet Hispanic Americans are strikingly underrepresented in Catholic schools and in the priesthood — accounting for less than 19% of Catholic school enrollment and only about 3% of U.S.-based priests.

March 14, 2020

Plaintiff seeks record $2.4 million in damages in sex-assault case involving former Kamloops priest

KAMLOOPS (BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
Vancouver Sun via Kamloops this Week

March 13, 2020

Keith Fraser / Vancouver Sun

Rosemary Anderson claims Father Erlindo Molon committed the assaults against her after she was hired as a teacher at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in North Kamloops in 1976

A former schoolteacher who alleges she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Kamloops more than 40 years ago is seeking a record $2.4 million in damages for such cases in B.C.

Rosemary Anderson claims Father Erlindo Molon committed the assaults against her after she was hired as a teacher at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in North Kamloops in 1976.

She testified that, at the time, she was grieving the death of her father and seeking spiritual guidance from the priest, who is now 88 years old and suffering from dementia.

In final submissions at Anderson’s civil trial this week, her lawyer, Sandra Kovacs, outlined the quantum of damages being sought from the defendant, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops.

Police's sex abuse investigation into retired Cheyenne bishop finishes

WYOMING
Casper StarTribune

March 10, 2020

By Seth Klamann.

Cheyenne police’s follow-up investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by a retired Catholic leader in Wyoming concluded last week, right around the time that another alleged victim of the clergyman came forward in Missouri.

The investigation into retired Bishop Joseph Hart will turn 2 years old in April. Cheyenne police have said they began investigating in spring 2018, after the Diocese of Cheyenne launched its own investigation into Hart and concluded he’d sexually abused at least two then-adolescents in the 1970s and 80s. Since then, four more victims have been identified in Wyoming alone.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Hart served as a priest for roughly 20 years, before becoming bishop in Wyoming in 1976. He has faced allegations there by more than a dozen men.

Victims irritated by bishops’ secrecy

MONTREAL (CANADA)
Catholic News Service

March 14, 2020

The Canadian bishops’ standing committee for the Responsible Ministry and Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons met for the first time in January, but the fact that the identities of the majority of its members is kept secret irritates victims, who see a lack of transparency.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, chairman of the standing committee, said it was clear “from our first meeting that they are eager to work and bring forward real change to prevent abuse from ever occurring, as well as to assume their critical role as advocates for the healing of victims-survivors.”

While not a decision-making body, the standing committee will assist and advise the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on its national safeguards. Its role is to “bring forward research-based information and identify emerging issues and best practices. It will address matters related to healing and prevention, act as a sounding board and consultative forum, and recommend priorities and initiatives for consideration by the appropriate CCCB bodies,” said a CCCB statement.

Shaw: Abuse victims should be able to take civil action

FARGO (ND)
The Dickinson Press

March 14, 2020

By Jim Shaw

It is time for the North Dakota Legislature to open a new window, so victims of sexual abuse can seek civil action against their abusers. Many of the perpetrators were or are Catholic priests. Many of the victims were children. They were frightened, ashamed and traumatized. By the time they realized the seriousness of the offenses against them or had the courage to come forward, the statute of limitations had expired for them to take legal action.

So, the Legislature should open a new window of at least two years to allow all survivors to file suit against their alleged offenders. Experts say a lot of survivors in the state would like to take action now.

In just the last two years, 15 states revised their laws to open new windows or suspend their statutes of limitations. Minnesota opened a three-year window that ended in 2016. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that led to an astounding 850 new child abuse sex claims, including roughly 500 against Catholic clergy.

One of those who filed a claim was Frank Meuers of Plymouth, Minn. Meuers says he was abused by a priest when he was 16. “I was devastated and confused when it happened,” Meuers said. “The shame is smothering. You blame yourself.”

Retired Wyoming bishop could soon be criminally charged for child abuse

WYOMING
Crux

March 14, 2020

By Christopher White

Cheyenne, Wyoming’s police department has concluded the latest round of its investigation into Bishop Joseph Hart, who could soon become the first U.S. bishops to be criminally charged for abusing minors.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, the investigation concluded last week and marks the second round of the investigation.

An earlier investigation completed in August 2019 recommended that charges be brought against a member of the Wyoming Catholic clergy and another person “seeking membership” in the clergy of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s.

Child sex abuse victim says Anglican Church fobbed her off, then offered payout in exchange for silence

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

March 10, 2020

By Josh Robertson

Anglican Church officials wrongly told a woman who was sexually abused more than 60 years ago they had to hold off resolving her complaint, then offered a payout and an apology if she agreed to a gag clause.

Its apology for causing her "additional trauma and distress" through "unacceptable delays" came a day after the ABC questioned its latest missteps in the case, which led to Dr Hollingworth's public downfall but still fuels calls for him to be stripped of millions of dollars of public benefits.

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case to resume later this month

DANBURY (CT)
The Register Citizen

March 13, 2020

By Kendra Baker

The case of a former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys is scheduled to resume in two weeks.

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. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

The warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest 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.

Trustee in Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy appoints 7 abuse victims to creditors committee

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 13, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A trustee for the federal bankruptcy court has selected seven people suing the Buffalo Diocese over clergy sexual abuse to serve on a creditors committee that will investigate the diocese's finances and negotiate a bankruptcy settlement.

U.S. Trustee William K. Harrington interviewed at least 20 people for seven spots on the committee, which will represent all unsecured creditors and play a major role in formulating a reorganization plan for the diocese.

“It’s a very important group. They will have a substantial amount of meetings to discuss the future of the Diocese of Buffalo and what the Diocese of Buffalo has to provide in terms of finances and documents so that victims can feel validated,” said attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents several dozen clients suing the diocese under the Child Victims Act.

Madison Diocese announces 2nd credible sexual abuse allegation against former priest Patrick Doherty

MADISON (WI)
Wisconsin State Journal

March 14, 2020

By Emily Hamer

Madison Diocese announced Friday a second credible allegation of sexual abuse against former priest Patrick Doherty.

Doherty, 85, was identified by the diocese in January as a priest who was “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children after an alleged victim came forward with a story of abuse from more than 40 years ago.

The most recent allegation stems from about 45 years ago when Doherty was a pastor in Boscobel, the diocese said. The alleged victim came forward after the January announcement.

The diocese said after conducting an investigation and receiving input from the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board, it determined the Boscobel allegation has the “semblance of truth.”

The case has been forwarded to the Vatican for review and possible further action.

March 13, 2020

Bankruptcy judge approves New Ulm Diocese's clergy sex abuse settlement

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic News Service

March 12, 2020

By Joe Ruff

A U.S. bankruptcy judge gave final approval March 10 to a $34 million settlement agreement between 93 victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse and the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, as well as parishes within the diocese.

Claimants voted unanimously to approve the settlement.

Judge Robert Kressel's final approval clears the way for the 93 clergy abuse survivors to begin receiving compensation under the settlement. It also marks the end of a three-year bankruptcy process for the diocese. The diocese also has committed to 17 child protection protocols.

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case to resume later this month

DANBURY (CT)
The Register Citizen

March 13, 2020

By Kendra Baker

The case of a former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys is scheduled to resume in two weeks.

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. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

The warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest 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 Catholic Church Pays “Fixers” to Cover Up Sexual Abuse – Now They’re Speaking Out

LANSING (MI)
Legal Examiner

March 12, 2020

By Mick S. Grewal Sr.

As survivors of child sex abuse continue speak out against the priests that attacked them, the Catholic Church continues to hide credible accused priests, allowing them to live, shop, walk, and freely roam communities throughout the US. But the communities the Catholic Church have chosen to set up these places of respite, where hundreds of priests die peacefully, without ever facing criminal charges, are carefully chosen.

One former monk says his main task while employed by the church was to cover up and displace child molesting priests. He says the communities which housed many priests were purposefully selected in states that have laws favorable to the Church, such as Missouri.

Walking with ‘suffering Christ’ means standing with victims, says priest

CHICAGO (IL)
CNS

March 12, 2020

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the world’s leading experts on safeguarding minors, said the church is suffering “institutional trauma” from clerical sexual abuse, trauma that it must learn to integrate into its theology and understanding of salvation if it is to overcome it.

He visited the Archdiocese of Chicago March 1-3 to speak with seminarians, clergy and members of religious congregations on “The Present Status of Safeguarding in the Church,” which also was the topic of his March 2 DePaul University talk.

Christopher Howarth: Sex abuse priest dies in custody

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

March 12, 2020

A Church of England priest and former teacher jailed for sexually abusing two young boys has died in hospital.

The Reverend Christopher Howarth, who was an inmate at HMP Lewes, died on Tuesday.

The 72-year-old was convicted in 2015 of 26 offences against the boys who he met through his work at Holy Trinity Church near Uckfield, East Sussex.

The Prison Service said his death would be investigated by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman.

The "appalling abuse" had a "devastating effect" on his victims, the Crown Prosecution Service's Jaswant Narwal said when he was sentenced.

Madison Diocese determines 2nd credible sex abuse allegation against former priest

MADISON (WI)
WKOW

March 13, 2020

The Diocese of Madison says that they've received a second credible sexual abuse allegation against a former priest, according to an announcement Friday.

Bishop Donald Hying says they've determined that a second allegation of sexual abuse brought against Rev. Patrick Doherty has "the semblance of truth."

This comes after the Diocese announced another credible sexual abuse allegation against the former priest on January 17.

West Virginia bishop requires new protocols for anti-sexual abuse program

WHEELING (WV)
Catholic News Service via America magazine

March 11, 2020

By Colleen Rowan

Expanding the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston's Safe Environment Program, Bishop Mark E. Brennan is requiring additional protocols to increase safety and reduce risk of sexual abuse in Catholic schools and parishes.

In a Feb. 20 letter to all pastors, administrators and principals of Catholic schools, the bishop announced he is expanding the requirement for fingerprinting to be part of background checks and that the diocese has engaged Corporate Security and Investigations of Pennsylvania as a third-party service provider that will conduct Safe Environment spot checks, site assessments and training.

Top anti-abuse expert says ‘paternalistic’ attitude is worse than clericalism

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

March 13, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s leading experts in child protection, has said that more dangerous than clericalism in the clerical abuse crisis is a “paternalistic” attitude within the Church that both devalues laypeople and puts clergy on a pedestal.

While clericalism has become a hot-button issue under Pope Francis and while it certainly contributes to the problem of abuse, “What I think is a deeper problem is the paternalistic attitude that exists,” said German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner in an interview with Crux.

The problem with this attitude, he said, “has two sides: Both with those in the hierarchy not involving the gifts of a wide variety of faithful, and on the other hand, we have laypeople who enable a paternalistic attitude by believing bishops to be omniscient and having the power to affect immediate change.”

Settlement between New Ulm Diocese, victims approved

NEW ULM (MN)
Redwood Falls Gazette

March 13, 2020

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Kressel gave final approval to the $34 million settlement between the Diocese of New Ulm, parishes within it and those who have filed sexual abuse claims against the diocese and parishes March 10.

Claimants voted unanimously to approve the settlement.

This final approval clears the way for 93 survivors of sexual abuse to begin to receive compensation under the settlement, and it marks the end of a three-year bankruptcy process for the Diocese of New Ulm.

5 lessons Pope Francis has taught with his actions more than his words

VATICAN CITY
America Magazine

March 13, 2020

By Marcus Mescher

Friday, March 13, marks the seventh anniversary of the Francis papacy. Over the last seven years, Pope Francis has introduced and popularized memorable phrases meant to inspire the church. His call to build a “revolution of tenderness” reminds us that mercy is who God is and what God wants for and from God’s people (“Evangelii Gaudium,” No. 88). Francis has called on all people of goodwill to create a “culture of encounter” (No. 220) that resists the modern “throwaway culture” (“Laudato Si’,” No. 22), affirms human dignity and promotes the global common good.

Longtime Buffalo high school principal accused of molesting child

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 12, 2020

By Mike McAndrew

A former longtime principal of Lafayette High School in Buffalo is accused of molesting a student in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Frederick D. Ganter is accused by an Erie County man of molesting him when the plaintiff was a 16- and 17-year-old sophomore at Lafayette in 1989 and 1990.

Ganter, 79, who now resides in Wilton Manors, Fla., was a principal at Lafayette from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s.

Mother of victim testifies in jury trial of Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting girl

PEWAUKEE (WI)
Fox 6 News

March 12, 2020

By Christina Van Zelst

The jury trial for a Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting a girl during confession continued Thursday.

It was the fourth day of the trial where the focus was on the victim's mother. The accused, Father Charles Hanel, allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in December 2017 during reconciliation at Queen of the Apostles Church.

The defense says the victim's mom, who took the stand Thursday, is an undocumented immigrant, calling it an issue in the case and asking for a mistrial.

What the Utah State Legislature did to your life this year

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Fox 13 News

March 13, 2020

By Ben Winslow

It began with pulling back an overhaul of Utah’s tax code after public pushback and ended with a pandemic.

The Utah State Legislature adjourned the 2020 session after 45-days, spending $20 billion to fund government services we all use and passing 510 bills. ...

... A bill to require clergy to report disclosures of abuse by perpetrators was introduced in the legislature and immediately drew heated pushback. Rep. Angela Romero’s inbox was flooded with angry -- and sometimes threatening -- communications after The Catholic League began lobbying hard against the bill. The legislation never got a hearing, but Rep. Romero said she plans to bring it back again next year.

House passes bill allowing more child abuse survivors to file charges

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

March 13, 2020

By Sarah Kallis

The Georgia House passed a bill on Thursday that would allow more survivors of childhood sex abuse to file charges against their abusers and organizations that covered it up.

House Bill 479 would raise the age limit for victims to file abuse charges from 23 to 38. Under current law, if victims realize childhood abuse has caused them psychological problems, they have two years to take legal action. HB 479 would extend that time limit to four years.

SBU to consider renaming building after claim of sexual abuse

ST. BONAVENTURE (NY)
The Bona Venture

March 12, 2020

By Sean Mickey

St. Bonaventure University is considering renaming its administrative building, Hopkins Hall, after learning of a credible claim of sexual abuse.

The university was unaware of the claim until its connection was uncovered by The Bona Venture.

Msgr. James F. Hopkins is listed in the Diocese of Erie public disclosure list, which was last updated on April 5, 2019.

The list names individuals credibly accused of actions that “disqualify that person from working with children.”

March 12, 2020

Lawyer: Archdiocese moved assets before bankruptcy filing

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Associated Press

March 12, 2020

A creditors committee of clergy abuse survivors believes the Archdiocese of Santa Fe moved assets to hinder creditors before it filed for bankruptcy protection, a lawyer said.

Attorney James Stang told a federal judge Monday that the committee may seek standing in the case to challenge the movement of assets, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

“The committee is ready to move forward on standing motions to avoid fraudulent conveyances that we believe occurred when the archdiocese corporately reorganized,” Stang said. “We believe there’s a basis for us bringing those fraudulent conveyance actions.”

George Pell: high court reserves decision on granting special leave for an appeal

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian

March 12, 2020

By Melissa Davey

Judges ask for further written submissions which the bench will consider before delivering their decision at a date yet to be determined

Melissa Davey

The full bench of the high court in Canberra has reserved its decision about whether to grant Cardinal George Pell special leave to appeal his case for a final time, after listening to two days of arguments from his barrister and the prosecution.

The seven judges asked for further written submissions from the legal parties and have given them two business days to deliver. The bench will then consider those materials before returning to deliver their decision at a date yet to be determined. Once they return to court, if the court does grant special leave, the bench may then immediately decide whether to accept the arguments from Pell’s team and acquit him, or they could dismiss the appeal in which case the verdict would hold.

Msgr. Lynn on trial again for covering up clergy sexual abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WHYY radio (NPR affiliate)

March 12, 2020

By Aaron Moselle

More than three years after his release from state prison, Monsignor William Lynn is scheduled to face a familiar, but unwelcome sight: a Philadelphia jury.

Lynn, the first U.S. Catholic Church official to be convicted of covering up clergy sex abuse, will also face familiar allegations next week, when the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office begins retrying the 69-year-old on one felony count of child endangerment.

While he was secretary for clergy, city prosecutors say Lynn recommended the Archdiocese of Philadelphia transfer a priest, who had been credibly accused of abusing children, to St. Jerome parish in Northeast Philadelphia. And that priest, Edward Avery, sexually molested a 10-year-old altar boy there in the late 1990s.

Judge OKs $34M sex abuse settlement with New Ulm Diocese

NEW ULM (MN)
Associated Press

March 10, 2020

A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved a $34 million settlement between the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota and nearly 100 people who say they were sexually abused by priests and others.

Bishop John LeVoir apologized to sexual abuse survivors during the hearing, where U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel gave final approval to the settlement. Several survivors of clergy sexual abuse testified tearfully at the hearing, the Star Tribune reported.

“I apologize again on behalf of the church to all who have been harmed by clergy sexual abuse,” LeVoir said.

The diocese serving Catholics in southern and west-central Minnesota also agreed to implement 17 child protection protocols.

Attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, who represents many of the survivors, told The Associated Press that both the settlement and the hearing were “powerful.”

Pell round two: the prosecution says the verdict should stand

AUSTRALIA
Eternity News (blog)

March 12, 2020

By John Sandeman

On day two of the High court’s Pell hearing Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, is setting out to establish that the guilty verdict is sound, the jury did consider all the evidence and the Court of Appeal got it right as well.

(Yesterday Pell’s lawyer Brett Walker SC argued that a balance of improbabilities had been set out by defence witnesses and that this evidence was not fully taken into account.)

The morning opens with the question of whether the video evidence of the complainant should have been viewed by the Court of Appeal. And ultimately whether they were swayed by it.

Australian highest court to rule on Cardinal’s appeal later

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

March 12, 2020

By Rod McGuirk

Australia’s highest court on Thursday said it will deliver a verdict at a later date on whether to overturn the convictions of the most senior Catholic to be found guilty of child sex abuse.

Cardinal George Pell’s lawyer, Bret Walker, told the High Court that if it found a lower court had made a mistake in upholding Pell’s convictions, he should be acquitted.

Prosecutor Kerri Judd told the seven judges that if there were a mistake, they should send the case back to the Victoria state Court of Appeal to hear it again.

Timeline of Cardinal George Pell’s career and accusations

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

March 10, 2020

By Rod McGuirk

Australia’s highest court on Wednesday began hearing an appeal by Cardinal George Pell against his convictions for molesting two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago.

Some events in Pell’s career and the criminal case:

July 16, 1996: Auxiliary Bishop George Pell is appointed archbishop of Melbourne. He molests two choirboys that December inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, according to testimony from one of the victims.

March 26, 2001: Pell becomes archbishop of Sydney.

Oct. 21, 2003: Pope John Paul II makes Pell a cardinal.

George Pell's appeal 'glosses over' evidence that supports conviction, DPP says

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

February 2, 2020

By Luke Henriques-Gomes

Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions rejects Pell lawyers’ argument in submission to high court

George Pell’s appeal to the high court “glosses over” evidence that supports his conviction for child sexual abuse, Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has argued.

Pell, who has won the right to have Australia’s top court review his conviction, argues in legal submissions that the Victorian court of appeal erred when it found that jurors were not unreasonable to believe the testimony of his victim.

But in its own submission to the court, Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions said Pell’s appeal “glosses over evidence supportive of the account of the complainant”.

Hearing focuses on Cardinal Pell's movements after Mass

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Herald-Sun via CathNews

March 12, 2020

By Shannon Deery

Much of yesterday’s High Court hearing focused on the issue with Bret Walker, SC, arguing Cardinal Pell routinely spent 10 or more minutes on the steps after Mass.

Mr Walker told the court if it was accepted that this occurred, it would have been impossible for him to offend.

For four-and-a-half hours Mr Walker spelled out Cardinal Pell’s appeal arguments, discussing evidence and acute legal points at length, before a full bench of the court.

But the court kept coming back to Cardinal Pell’s post-mass routine, and whether or not he would have had the time to commit the offences of which a jury found him guilty.

Judges reserve decision on Pell leave to appeal

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Tablet

March 12, 2020

By Mark Bowling

Australia’s highest court has reserved a decision whether Cardinal George Pell will be allowed to appeal his conviction for child sex offences.

After two days of arguments from Cardinal Pell’s barrister and the prosecution, a seven-judge panel of the High Court of Australia has called for further written submissions.

Australian court defers sex offence appeal by ex-Vatican treasurer Pell

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Reuters

March 12, 2020

By Sonali Paul

Australia’s highest court on Thursday deferred ruling on an appeal to overturn the conviction of former Vatican treasurer George Pell for sexually assaulting two teenaged choirboys in the 1990s.

After two days of legal arguments, the High Court of Australia said it was still considering whether to allow the appeal, the last avenue for the 78-year-old cardinal to clear his name.

If the court does agree to consider the appeal, the seven-member panel of justices will then move straight into deciding whether to acquit Pell or uphold his conviction, a process that will not require another public hearing. A third option - sending the case back to a lower court - is also possible.

Poll shows pope’s country doesn’t know what the Church does, doesn’t go to Mass

ROSARIO (ARGENTINA)
Crux

March 12, 2020

By Inés San Martín

As bishops from Pope Francis’s native Argentina figure out how to pay their own salaries instead of taking funds from the state, a new poll shows that while seven in ten Argentines declare themselves to be Catholic, six in ten don’t know what activities the Church is doing in the country and seven in ten attend Mass less than once a month.

At first glance, the results of the study, commissioned by the bishops after they announced the progressive end of public funding for the Church late last year, aren’t all bad news: 67 percent of Argentines identify as Catholic, and most know the main missions of the Church: Evangelization, education and guidance, providing spiritual and emotional support, and material aid.

In addition, seven in ten Argentines believe that the basic sense of religion is to give meaning to life in this world.

WA Bishop Christopher Saunders steps down over ‘serious sex abuse allegations’

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Australian

March 11, 2020

By Victoria Laurie

West Australian Catholic Bishop Christopher Saunders has stood down from his senior role administering the Broome diocese amid claims of serious but undisclosed sex abuse allegations.

The Catholic Church in Perth issued a communique from the Vatican, dated 10 March, indicating that Bishop Saunders, 70, had “voluntarily stood aside from the ordinary administration of the diocese.”

The church move was in response to a Channel Seven TV report that police have been investigating historic allegations by two men that they had been victims of sex abuse by Bishop Saunders.

According to the Seven report, WA police have interviewed past and present members of the Bishop’s staff, including priests, who allegedly laid complaints against his behaviour. No charges have been laid against him.

WA Police minister Michelle Roberts confirmed to The Australian that she had “directly referred correspondence in relation to Bishop Saunders to police.”

When confronted by a reporter in Broome outside his church, Bishop Saunders said: “Without any reservation, without any doubt whatsoever, that has never happened, and it never would happen.”

He is one of the Kimberley’s most prominent religious figures, respected as an advocate and outspoken commentator on indigenous affairs and education in the region.

He spent his early life at missions throughout the northwest of the state before moving to the Kimberley. He arrived in Broome as a deacon in 1975 before becoming a priest the following year.

He served at La Grange Mission, 200 kilometres south of Broome and then at Kalumburu Mission, in the far north Kimberley, until 1988. As Bishop, he has been a regular visitor to far-flung Aboriginal communities.

Former Broome mayor Ron Johnstone, a friend of the bishop, said the airing of the allegations would be “a shock to Broome and the Kimberley.”

“Bishop Saunders is a visionary who has done fantastic work for the community,” he said. “He is a generous spirit, and I will not desert him in his hour of need,” he said.

George Pell appeal: Prosecution shifts ground on vital minutes; Pell lawyers say appeals court adopted ‘piecemeal approach’

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

March 12, 2020

High Court delays final verdict

The High Court will weigh whether to acquit George Pell of child sex abuse after the prosecution dramatically shifted its position on key evidence on Thursday.

Bret Walker SC for Pell on Wednesday submitted that Pell, 78, be acquitted of molesting two choirboys in 1996 and 1997.

In a dramatic day, Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions Kerry Judd QC shifted position on the timeframe for when Pell could have molested the boys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne.

Instead of arguing that there was a five to six minute window of opportunity for offending, Ms Judd said it could not be stated for certain how long the private prayer time lasted that, according to the prosecution case, ultimately created the chance for the cardinal to strike.

Melbourne University law professor Jeremy Gans said the second day in the High Court had been a “good day for Pell’’ and there was a chance the Pell may be acquitted.

It is also possible the case will be referred back to the Victorian Court of Appeal.

The High Court rose late yesterday to consider the appeal, with special leave yet to be formally granted.

It appears to be a mere formality that the appeal will be formally heard.

Ms Judd on Thursday abandoned the prosecution’s previous position over the amount of time that private prayer was held after Solemn Mass.

She said the five to six minutes of private prayer time may now have been longer, depending on what unfolded in the cathedral on the day.

The private prayer had occurred after the procession started to leave the church, the High Court was told.

The altar servers did not start clearing the altar for several minutes after mass ended to give parishioners time for private prayer to be conducted.

On the amount of time allowed for private prayer, Ms Judd said: “They are approximate times. It was not a precise five or six minutes.’’

George Pell: Court reserves ruling in cardinal's sexual abuse case

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
BBC News

March 12, 2020

Australia's top court has reserved its ruling on whether Cardinal George Pell's bid to quash his sexual abuse convictions has been successful.

The ex-Vatican treasurer is serving a six-year jail sentence after a jury found he abused two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

He is the most senior Catholic globally to be jailed for such crimes, but maintains his innocence.

Pell has challenged the verdict in the High Court of Australia.

During hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, defence and prosecution teams sparred over whether the jury had fairly considered all evidence.

The seven appeal judges then reserved their decision until a later date. They did not specify when.

Catholic Diocese of New Ulm reaches settlement with sex abuse victims

NEW ULM (MN)
Learfield Wire Service

March 11, 2020

Ninety-three victims of clergy sexual abuse will share 34-million dollars under a settlement with the Diocese of New Ulm. The reorganization plan was approved during a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday in Brown County. The settlement includes 17 new child protection protocols enacted by the diocese. Bishop John Le Voir said, "the Diocese of New Ulm and the Catholic church must do everything possible to protect the vulnerable so that this tragedy never happens again." Around 26-million of the 34-million-dollar settlement will come from insurance, the diocese will pay seven-million cash and all the parishes will contribute a total of one million dollars.

Lay Catholic group presses W. Virginia diocese for action on Bransfield

WEST VIRGINIA
National Catholic Reporter

March 12, 2020

By Peter Feuerherd

A group called Lay Catholic Voices for Change has sent a letter to Bishop Mark Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, asking that the diocese investigate charges of sex abuse of minors by former Bishop Michael Bransfield. The letter also asked that Bransfield be ordered not to use the title bishop emeritus to describe himself.

Bransfield served as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, which includes the entire state of West Virginia, from 2005 to 2018. He retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Information from a church investigation released in June of last year said he misused millions of dollars from diocesan funds and sexually harassed adult seminarians.

March 11, 2020

Clergy and laity share ‘co-responsibility’ in Church, bishop says

SOUTH BEND (IN)
CRUX

March 11, 2020

By Jack Lyons

When Bishop Frank Caggiano wanted to launch a tech-savvy initiative for the evangelization of young adults, he recruited a handful of laypeople experienced in youth ministry.

Together, they assembled a polished, multi-faceted program, including catechetical videos, through which teens could explore their faith online.

Then he asked some teens what they thought.

“The first thing out of their mouth: ‘Bishop, videos? Oh, come on. Podcasts!’” Caggiano said, who leads the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Broome bishop Christopher Saunders stands down over serious allegations

AUSTRALIA
WAtoday

March 11, 2020

By Marta Pascual Juanola

One of Australia's highest-ranking Catholics has voluntarily stood aside amid serious allegations.

On Wednesday afternoon the Catholic Church issued a statement saying Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders, 70, had stepped aside from the administration of the diocese and Monsignor Paul Boyers had been appointed to take care of the day to day running of the parish.

Police sources would not confirm the nature of the allegation, but agreed they were serious and local police were briefed about an incoming media presence in the town on Wednesday morning.

Bishop Saunders is one of Australia's longest-serving bishops well-known for his interest in Indigenous affairs and involvement in Aboriginal study groups.

Catholic Bishop of Broome, Chris Saunders, stands aside from position

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

March 11, 2020

By Michael McGowan

As police reportedly investigate serious allegations, Perth Archbishop says Saunders had ‘voluntarily stood aside’

One of the highest ranking members of the Catholic church in Australia, bishop of Broome Chris Saunders, has voluntarily stood aside from his position amid serious allegations.

On Wednesday the Perth archbishop, Timothy Costelloe, said Saunders had “voluntarily stood aside” from his position after the Vatican announced an internal investigation into the diocese.

It comes as Seven News reported on Wednesday that Western Australia police had been investigating claims of sexual misconduct made against the bishop since October 2018. The Guardian has confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into a complaint of an historical sexual assault, however no charges have been laid.

Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders centre of police investigation into historical sex offences

AUSTRALIA
7NEWS

March 11, 2020

By Chris Reason

One of the highest-ranking Catholics in Australia has been under police investigation for 18 months, 7NEWS can reveal.

Reverend Christopher Saunders, the Bishop of Broome, has been with the Church for the past 44 years.

However, since October 2018, the 70-year-old bishop has been under investigation for alleged historical sexual assault complaints.

Catholic leaders’ summit seeks to respond to abuse crisis through new culture of leadership in Church

UNITED STATES
Catholic Standard

March 11, 2020

By Mark Zimmermann

A recent summit of Catholic leaders from across the United States was convened “to continue to respond to the twin crises in our Church, a crisis of abuse and a crisis of leadership failure,” said Kim Smolik, the CEO of the Leadership Roundtable that organized the gathering.

The 2020 Catholic Partnership Summit that met Feb. 28-29 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C, had the theme, “From Crisis to Co-responsibility: Creating a New Culture of Leadership,” and drew 260 Catholic leaders from 63 U.S. dioceses, including bishops, diocesan staff, Catholic university presidents, corporate leaders, abuse survivors, philanthropists and more than 30 young adults.

Speaking in a press conference call with three other summit participants, Smolik noted that the Leadership Roundtable was founded after the 2002 sexual abuse crisis “to transform the leadership and management culture in our Church.”

The Problem With the Term 'Child Porn' – From a Survivor Who Was in Front of the Camera

UNITED STATES
The Mighty

March 10, 2020

By Rachel Undoed

This topic is probably the hardest part of my story of survival. Or maybe it is just taking the longest to heal. I’ve had to speak so much about other aspects of the abuse to officials, lawyers, investigators and so on. But this topic… it still drags me deep down and I speak of it to almost no one, because acknowledging it, “admitting” it, means I am admitting to be immersed in a dark world, whether I chose it or not.

Being used in what the world calls “child pornography” brings a whole separate level of shame than other things I have experienced at the hands of my abuser. It leaves a thread connecting my past forever to my present. A thread that just cannot fade over time, and that prevents a certain level of closure I so desperately yearn for. When people speak of “leaving the past in the past,” or when therapists have me remind myself that “it’s over,” there is a deep part of me that can not fully hold onto that. With this, it feels like it will never be over.

Court approves $34 million clergy abuse settlement with Minnesota diocese

NEW ULM (MN)
Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

March 11, 2020

By Dan Browning

After tearful testimony by several survivors of clergy sexual abuse and a heartfelt apology from Bishop John LeVoir, the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and area churches won approval Tuesday of a $34 million settlement with nearly 100 claimants.

Just as important to the victims: The diocese agreed to adopt 17 protocols designed to protect children from abuse going forward and to turn over its files on credibly accused priests.

Nineteen people — abuse survivors and their supporters — stood inside a Brown County courtroom to witness the resolution of the Diocese’s bankruptcy case and hear a formal apology from LeVoir from the witness stand.

Catholic Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders voluntarily steps down amid investigation into allegation of sexual misconduct

AUSTRALIA
ABC Kimberley

March 11, 2020

By Erin Parke, Sam Tomlin and Ben Collins

One of Australia's most senior Catholic Bishops has voluntarily stepped down after the Vatican ordered a review into the diocese of Broome, amid an ongoing police investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders, 70, voluntarily stepped down on Monday, pending the review.

Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe said in a statement the Emeritus Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham, had been appointed to oversee the diocese effective from Tuesday.

"Bishop Christopher Saunders … has voluntarily stood aside from the ordinary administration of the diocese for the duration of the visitation," he said.

SNAP calls for bishop to resign, list names of priests accused of abuse

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Channel 12 TV

March 10, 2020

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are renewing calls for Bishop John Barres to resign and for him to release the names of all of the priests credibly accused of abuse.

The group is speaking out after a priest was sentenced to one to two years for indecent assault in Pennsylvania.

Barres was the bishop who appointed the priest to the parish where the abuse took place. That priest was removed from his prior parish after abuse allegations there.

Attorney Mitch Garabedian has represented hundreds of survivors of sexual abuse by priests over the years.

"There's no reason that Bishop Barres should not have just gone to the police when he first learned of these accusations instead of practicing a cover-up," said Garabedian.

Former Michigan Catholic priest charged with additional child sexual abuse charges

MICHIGAN
MLive.com

March 11, 2020

By Justine Lofton

A former Catholic priest who allegedly abused his power to sexually abuse children while working in the Upper Peninsula was arraigned on more criminal sexual conduct charges on Tuesday, March 10.

Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, was arraigned on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the early 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Attorney General announced.

In January, Jacobs was charged with seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in three separate cases that allegedly occurred in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties, the release said.

Former priest returned to Michigan for sexual abuse arraignment

LANSING (MI)
WZZM-TV, Channel 13

March 11, 2020

Former priest Gary Jacobs was arrested in January in New Mexico. He was returned to Michigan for his arraignment.

A former priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula was returned to Michigan for an arraignment on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he committed back in the 1980s, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.

Gary Allen Jacobs was formally arraigned on Tuesday in Ontonagon County. He was originally charged in January on seven criminal sexual conduct charges in three separate cases that happening in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties, a press release from the attorney general's office said.

Since January, two new victims have come forward making sexual assault reports against the 74-year-old, who now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In both cases, he was charged with three criminal sexual conduct counts stemming from incidents that happened between Jan. 1981 and Dec. 1984.

Australian bishop steps aside during Vatican abuse investigation

BROOME (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Agency

March 11, 2020

Australian Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome has temporarily stepped back from his duties following allegations of historical sexual abuse. The Vatican has begun an investigation into claims that Saunders sexually abused boys several decades ago.

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, SDB of Perth, metropolitan archbishop of the province, announced that Saunders voluntarily stepped aside on Tuesday, March 10, in a letter to the diocese.

Bishop Peter Ingham, emeritus bishop of the diocese of Wollongong has been named as the Apostolic Visitor of the Broome diocese while the investigation continues.

“The Holy See, conscious of the particular situation in the Diocese of Broome and concerned for the pastoral care of the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese, has appointed Most Reverend Peter W Ingham, Emeritus Bishop of Wollongong, Apostolic Visitator to the Diocese, effective today,” wrote Costelloe on March 10.

Lawyer claims 'reasonable doubt' on Pell conviction

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Tablet

March 11, 2020

By Mark Bowling

The High Court of Australia has heard from Cardinal George Pell’s lawyer that trial evidence presented to jurors raised reasonable doubt that Pell sexually abused two choirboys after Sunday Mass more than two decades ago.

Prime amongst the questions of doubt raised by top appeals barrister, Bret Walker SC, is how Cardinal Pell could have sexually assaulted the boys in the priests’ sacristy of Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, when according to the congregation’s master of ceremonies, the cardinal was on the front steps greeting parishioners.

Cardinal Pell’s Lawyers Make Final Case in High Court Appeal

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

March 11, 2020

The legal team for Cardinal George Pell laid out their case for appeal before Australia’s High Court Wednesday.

Cardinal Pell himself remained in his prison cell, not permitted at the proceedings, while his lawyers presented arguments before the seven-judge court in Canberra March 11.

Cardinal Pell is seeking to appeal the 2-1 split decision of the Court of Appeal in Victoria to sustain his 2018 conviction on five counts of child sexual abuse over two separate instances.

Cardinal Pell lawyers say child sex conviction 'wrong'

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
AFP

March 11, 2020

Lawyers for disgraced Cardinal George Pell claimed Wednesday he remains behind bars for child sex abuse based on "wrong" and "egregious" legal decisions, as they concluded a last-ditch appeal in Australia's top court.

The 78-year-old former Vatican treasurer is trying to overturn a six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s.

Pell, who once helped elect popes, is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to be convicted of child sex crimes.

He was not present for the two-day hearing at the High Court in Canberra, but supporters and protesters gathered outside, waving Australian flags and carrying rival signs that read "keep the faith Cardinal Pell" and "Burn in hell Pell".

The court's seven judges could decide to reject the appeal -- leaving Pell to serve the remainder of his sentence -- or allow it, giving him the prospect of walking free. They could also send the case back to a lower court to reconsider.

George Pell may face new sex abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

By John Ferguson

March 10, 2020

Lawyers for sex abuse survivors have quietly weighed further legal action against George Pell and the Catholic Church as the cardinal’s home diocese of Ballarat fights to fund payouts and run its day-to-day operations.

Legal sources have revealed that several people have surfaced to discuss allegations against Pell, 78, with potential civil action also flowing from some of the criminal charges that did not go to trial.

As Pell’s last-gasp High Court deliberations begin on Wednesday, The Australian can reveal that his incarceration has prompted inquiries from several people considering taking legal action against the cardinal.

The diocese of Ballarat or the church’s insurers are most at risk of having to fund any claims relating to his younger days in the church. Diocese of Ballarat business manager Andrew Jirik confirmed that other than Pell, the church still had dozens of outstanding abuse claims it was processing, and the church believed it could fund payments.

“We don’t know when this is going to end,’’ he said.

“We’d have dozens (of abuse claims) still outstanding.’’

Pell appeal an “incredibly difficult issue for many people”: Chris Kenny

AUSTRALIA
SkyNews.com.au

March 11, 2020

Sky News host Chris Kenny says there has been an “incredible and understandable amount of public interest in this country and around the world,” over Cardinal George Pell’s child sex abuse conviction.

George Pell will remain behind bars in Victoria on Wednesday, while his legal teams appeals his case in Canberra.

The High Court appeal will be Pell’s last chance to have his conviction overturned, as the 78-year-old’s fate lies in the hands of a full bench of high court judges.

Over the two-day hearing they will assess whether the jury‘s verdict was unreasonable when finding Pell guilty on five charges of abusing two choir boys in the 1990s while he was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne.

Australian court hears final appeal by ex-Vatican treasurer Pell

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Reuters

March 11, 2020

By Sonali Paul

Lawyers for George Pell began a final bid on Wednesday to overturn the former Vatican treasurer’s conviction for sexually abusing two choirboys, arguing in Australia’s highest court that he could not have committed the offences.

Cardinal Pell, 78, began serving a six-year prison sentence a year ago, becoming the highest ranking Catholic clergyman worldwide to be jailed for child sex offences.

The High Court of Australia began a two-day hearing on Wednesday that marks Pell’s last avenue of appeal. The seven justices could throw out his application. If they proceed, they have the options of acquitting Pell, rejecting his appeal or sending the case back to a lower court.

Pell was convicted by a jury in December 2018 and sentenced in March 2019 on one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four charges of an indecent act with a child under 16. The offences occurred in the 1990s when Pell was archbishop of Melbourne.

'Sheer unlikelihood in the sequence of events' around Pell child abuse, High Court told

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Sydney Morning Herald

March 11, 2020

By Chip Le Grand

The case of George Pell, now before Australia’s highest court, has returned to the problem that has plagued this extraordinary legal saga in the five years since a former choirboy first told his story to police – when exactly, could the alleged abuse have taken place?

In putting forward Cardinal Pell’s arguments to have his conviction for historic child sex offences overturned, Bret Walker SC led the High Court through the needle the prosecution was required to thread to show Pell had an opportunity to commit these appalling crimes.

To anyone who has followed this case through its protracted judicial course, Mr Walker’s recounting of select evidence to the full bench will be familiar:

How could the then Archbishop of Melbourne have sexually assaulted two boys in in the priests’ sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 when, according to Monsignor Charles Portelli, the congregation’s master of ceremonies, Pell would have been on the front steps, greeting parishioners after Sunday Mass at the time of the offence?

George Pell ‘didn’t have time to abuse boys’, High Court hears

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

March 11, 2020

By Olivia Caisley and John Ferguson

George Pell’s habit of talking to parishioners on the front steps of St Patrick’s Cathedral for at least 10 minutes after solemn mass and the alleged improbability of his sexual assault of two boys are the defining factors­ in his High Court appeal.

On Wednesday his silk, Bret Walker SC, outlined what he claimed was a series of problems with the Victorian Court of Appeal­’s majority judgment, argui­ng that Pell’s convictions were wrong.

Amid doubts over the Court of Appeal’s use of video evidence while reviewing the convictions, Mr Walker said the cardinal would spend between 10 and 20 minutes on the steps greeting parishioners after mass — effect­ively providing him with an alibi.

Pell's case done in High Court appeal bid

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Associated Press via Canberra Times

March 11, 2020

Karen Sweeney

Disgraced Cardinal George Pell is one day closer to knowing his fate, but he still has to cross a major hurdle before release from prison even becomes an option.

After a full day of arguments, his specialist appeals barrister Bret Walker SC is yet to convince the High Court's full bench of seven judges that Pell's case is deserving of a final chance at appeal.

That means they could drop the case at any time, without deciding one way or another.

"We're not here to prove anything ... except to show, to demonstrate, that there was unexplored possibilities that meant it was not open to the jury to convict," Mr Walker told the court on Wednesday.

It was a case worthy of their consideration, he said.

The hearing is scheduled to run for two days and he wrapped up his arguments with a minute to spare before the end of day one.

He spent hours breaking down the case, facing tough questions from Australia's top legal minds, while arguing for Pell to be immediately released from prison and that his five convictions for sexually abusing two choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral in the 1990s be quashed.

March 10, 2020

The word is George Pell will walk free ... but first the high court must have its say

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

March 9, 2020

By David Marr

On Wednesday the court sits to decide Pell’s fate. Legal argument will be dense, but watchers of the case think he may yet be acquitted

The word around the bars is: George Pell will walk free. These barristers don’t have a heads up. They’re only talking among themselves. But those who have followed this prosecution as it has made its slow and dramatic way to the high court must face the possibility that the cardinal is about to be acquitted.

Historic child sex assaults make difficult cases. The facts are frequently bizarre. So often there is no corroborating evidence and the word of the accuser is simply pitted against the denials of the accused. These trials test the criminal law.

But Pell’s accuser was undoubtedly convincing. We will never know everything he had to say about events at St Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996 and early 1997 – he gave all his evidence in camera – but we do know that after convincing the police and prosecution authorities in Victoria, he convinced a jury and then two out of three judges of the court of appeal that Pell raped him.

Pell’s lawyers disagree, of course, but acknowledge how compelling the unknown young man’s evidence has been. Indeed, it’s the lynchpin of their case. Pell’s counsel, Bret Walker SC, argues the jury and the court of appeal were so swept away by the cardinal’s accuser – by his testimony and his demeanour in the witness box – that they downplayed the evidence in Pell’s favour.

George Pell: high court to decide today if disgraced cardinal's appeal will go ahead

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
AAP via The Guardian

March 11, 2020

The full bench of Australia’s high court will hear arguments from Cardinal Pell’s legal team on Wednesday in what could be his final bid for freedom

The disgraced Cardinal George Pell’s future could be decided by Australia’s highest court this week, but he won’t be there to see it.

The full bench of the high court will hear his legal team’s final bid for his freedom in Canberra on Wednesday.

The 78-year-old was jailed for six years last year for sexually abusing two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, shortly after being appointed archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.

He was convicted by a jury in 2018 of the rape of one 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another. The first boy gave evidence against Pell while the second died in 2014.

Pell maintains his innocence.

Victoria’s court of appeal last year upheld the verdict in a 2-1 ruling.

The high court has not formally granted Pell’s application for appeal, instead referring it “for argument”.

That means after the hearing, which is scheduled to continue on Thursday, the court may refuse the application for special leave, or approve it and either allow or dismiss the appeal.

Pell’s lawyers are arguing the appeal on two grounds.

First, they say the court of appeal majority – the chief justice Ann Ferguson and president Chris Maxwell – made an error in finding Pell was required to prove the offending was “impossible” in order to raise reasonable doubt against the surviving boy’s evidence. (The third judge, Mark Weinberg, found in favour of Pell’s appeal.)

Second, they argue the majority found there was a reasonable doubt as to the existence of any opportunity for Pell to have offended, so they made an error in concluding the guilty verdicts were not unreasonable.

They want Pell’s convictions on five charges to be quashed, which would mean he is released from prison immediately.

Last month it was revealed the high court had also raised legal questions over the use of video evidence in Pell’s previous appeal, rather than relying on written transcripts alone.

Victoria’s three most senior court of appeal judges watched the recorded evidence of 12 witnesses, including the complainant, visited St Patrick’s Cathedral and examined robes.

While Pell has been in court for all his hearings so far, he will remain in Barwon prison, near Geelong, this week.

The proceedings also will not be live-streamed like his previous appeal was, meaning he’ll have to rely on information being fed back through his lawyers.

Viv Waller, who represents the surviving choirboy, said he understood appeals were part of the checks and balances within the criminal justice system.

“Both my client and I are deeply respectful of that process,” she said in November.

Lisa Flynn, who represents the father of the boy who died, says he’s hopeful the high court will uphold Pell’s convictions.

“This has been a very drawn-out process for him,” she said, adding that his faith in the legal system will be lost if Pell is freed.

ROSEMARY O’GRADY. The Pell Appeal : A Hail Mary Pass

AUSTRALIA
Pearls and Irritation (blog)

March 11, 2020

The Full Bench of the High Court sitting in Canberra this week is listed to hear the Appeal in M112/19 Pell and The Queen on Wednesday 11th March.

When the Pell ‘appeal against conviction’ pursuant to S. 276 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) lost 2:1 in the Supreme Court of Victoria: Court of Appeal in August 2019, much comment was devoted to observations that the determining majority, comprising Chief Justice Ferguson and Court of Appeal President Maxwell, were not lawyers with long, specific expertise in Criminal Law. Busy retired and recalled Appeal Justice Mark Weinberg, by contrast, was expert in the field. Such comment seemed aimed at inducing a general preference for the Weinberg position, set-out in a remarkably long dissenting judgement, detailing in embarrassing application just what was wrong with the Crown case against George Pell – in the learned Appeal Judge’s opinion.

There was a feeling amongst those who took the trouble to digest the Weinberg dissent that he had set-up a metaphorical Catherine Wheel and let fly. He had done the Applicant-Pleaders’ job for them. So it appeared, at least to the untutored eye, when the Appeal documents were filed in the High Court and detailed submissions seemed gratifyingly-consistent with the Weinberg approach.

High Court to consider Cardinal Pell case today

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
AAP via CathNews

March 11, 2020

By Karen Sweeney

The 78-year-old was jailed for six years last year for sexually abusing two choirboys at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral, shortly after being appointed Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.

He was convicted by a jury in 2018 of the rape of one 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another. The first boy gave evidence against Cardinal Pell while the second died in 2014.

Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence.

Victoria's Court of Appeal last year upheld the verdict in a 2-1 ruling.

The High Court has not formally granted Cardinal Pell's application for appeal, instead referring it "for argument".

That means after the hearing, which is scheduled to continue tomorrow, the court could refuse the application for special leave, or approve it and either allow or dismiss the appeal.

Cardinal Pell's lawyers are arguing the appeal on two grounds.

A year later, Catholic Church checks progress on abuse

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

March 10, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Since summit, Vatican continues to develop significant measures

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:

• Pope Francis approved a sweeping new law and set of safeguarding guidelines for Vatican City State and the Roman Curia in March, just a month after the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit.

George Pell may face new sex abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

March 10, 2020

By John Ferguson

Lawyers for sex abuse survivors have quietly weighed further legal action against George Pell and the Catholic Church as the cardinal’s home diocese of Ballarat fights to fund payouts and run its day-to-day operations.

Legal sources have revealed that several people have surfaced to discuss allegations against Pell, 78, with potential civil action also flowing from some of the criminal charges that did not go to trial.

As Pell’s last-gasp High Court deliberations begin on Wednesday, The Australian can reveal that his incarceration has prompted inquiries from several people considering taking legal action against the cardinal.

WVUE-TV, other media outlets seek to have records unsealed in church sex abuse case

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE

March 10, 2020

WVUE-TV, along with The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and two other television news outlets filed a motion on Monday asking a judge to release court records on how the Archdiocese of New Orleans handled a retired priest who is accused of being a child molester.

Attorneys for the plaintiff suing the priest, Lawrence Hecker, and the archdiocese already have the documents, but the archdiocese is arguing to prevent their release.

The media has argued that Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott should release the documents.

Attorney seeking other victims of accused priest from Avon, Dansville

AVON (NY)
Livingston News

March 10, 2020

By Matt Leader

For the young people of Avon in the early 1980s, Joseph Larrabee was a different kind of priest.

“He was a younger guy, probably mid to upper 20s,” recalled Travis Regan, a 1984 graduate of Avon Central Schools. “Cool guy – really cool to hang out with. Just something you never really thought a priest would be.”

Regan was a 15- or 16-year-old rising junior in the summer of 1982, a period of time when he and his circle of friends saw a good deal of Father Larrabee, who’d recently been reassigned from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dansville to Avon’s St. Agnes Parish.

Regan recalls Larrabee as an adept social operator, good at inserting himself into existing friend groups and ingratiating himself with a younger crowd – both in church and outside it. But according to a pair of lawsuits, filed last month in Livingston County Supreme Court, those qualities hid Larrabee’s underlying nature.

Nigerian pastor and wife jailed in UK for rape of church-goers as young as nine in ‘holy baths’

NIGERIA
face2faceafrica

March 10, 2020

By Mildred Europa Taylor

A self-styled pastor who raped church members, including children after “holy baths” has been jailed for 34 years in the UK.

60-year-old Michael Oluronbi repeatedly raped his church-goers, including six girls and a boy over a period of 20 years, asking them to partake in the “spiritual baths.”

Oluronbi, who has been based in the UK but originally from Nigeria, claimed those baths would cleanse them of evil spirits. His wife Juliana Oluronbi, who helped him abort the pregnancies of some of his victims, was also jailed for 11 years.

Indian women seek gender equality in Catholic Church

INDIA
UCA News

March 9, 2020

Demonstration part of a global campaign to give Catholic women more decision-making roles

Catholic women demonstrated outside Mumbai's cathedral demanding gender equality within the Church as part of a global campaign marking International Women's Day on March 8.

Six women stood holding posters outside the Holy Name Cathedral after Sunday Mass seeking more roles for women in the decision-making processes of the Church.

The demonstration was part of a global campaign to claim equality and dignity for women in the Catholic Church, said Virginia Saldanha, a theologian who was part of the demonstration.

She said Voices of Faith, an international voluntary group, launched the global campaign as part of its effort to empower Catholic women to take more decision-making roles.

The group has urged its network members across the globe to join each country or create their own programs to "call for equality and dignity for women in the Catholic Church."

Women petition Cardinal Gracias for more decision-making roles

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

March 10, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

About 150 Catholic women in India have delivered a petition to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, asking that he take concrete steps to better include women in decision-making roles in the global church.

The women are partly responding to a February NCR interview with Gracias, in which the cardinal acknowledged a bias among the members of the Catholic Church's all-male hierarchy against giving women more leadership roles. In that interview, he also said he and his peers must "shed this prejudice."

The three-page memorandum praises Gracias' words in the interview, but asks for "changes in the policies, practices and structures of the Church so that women can participate fully in … leadership."

Boys Brigade seeking damages from Fife lawyer convicted two decades ago of sexual abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
The Courier

March 9, 2020

By Craig Smith

The Boys Brigade has raised a civil action against a prominent former Fife lawyer and football club chairman convicted of sexually abusing two boys more than two decades ago.

Julian Danskin, who is now 68, was sentenced to 18 months in jail in 1999 after he was found guilty of offences towards two ex-BB members over a seven-year period while he was captain of the 1st Methil company.

The Courier has now learned the organisation is seeking damages from Danskin through the Court of Session in a case likely to be heard later this year.

Danskin’s solicitor Nigel Cooke, from principal acting solicitors McKenzies Solicitors, said: “All I am in a position to say is that the action raised by the Boys Brigade against Julian Danskin will be vigorously defended.”

The disgraced former solicitor and one time chairman of East Fife Football Club was found guilty of three charges of a sexual nature following a two-week trial before a jury at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court in 1999.

Peruvian cardinal says Sodalitium should be 'dissolved'

PERU
Catholic News Service

March 10, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo said he believes Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and any other religious movement mired in sexual abuse should be dissolved.

In an interview with Peruvian radio station Radio Santa Rosa March 9, Cardinal Barreto said that while "there are good people in Sodalitium," the cases of sexual and physical abuse, as well as financial irregularities, cannot be ignored.

"Personally, I think that when a religious organization has committed a crime, because it has to be said that way -- from the point of view of sexual abuse and the economic side where there are also problems -- it has to be dissolved," he said.

Filipino bishops say abuse of women is an 'affront to God'

BORONGAN (PHILIPPINES)
Catholic News Agency

March 10, 2020

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has highlighted the value of women, noting that abuse of women is “an affront to God.”

“God made man and woman according to his own image and likeness. Every offense against the dignity of women is a direct offense against God himself,” said Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan, chairman of the CBCP's Commission on Women.

“Every woman is entitled to the respect of every man and other women; no woman should ever be treated as a mere object for another person’s satisfaction.”

The prelate issued a statement following International Women’s Day on Sunday. He decried the terrible actions women often face, such as prostitution, sexual abuse, violence, and discrimination.

New church sex abuse allegation filed

GUAM
KUAM News

March 10, 2020

Another claim of child sexual abuse has been filed using the initials JJJ to protect her identity, she alleges that when she was around 9 or 10 years old she was sexually molested and abused by Father Kieran Hickey. He is now deceased.

JJJ alleges that while he was a priest at St Jude's Church in Sinajana he would repeatedly sexually molest her. JJJ is seeking no less than $5 million in damages as well a jury by a jury of six.

Child sex abuse victim says Anglican Church fobbed her off, then offered payout in exchange for silence

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

March 9, 2020

By Josh Robertson

Anglican Church officials wrongly told a woman who was sexually abused more than 60 years ago they had to hold off resolving her complaint, then offered a payout and an apology if she agreed to a gag clause.

The church's Brisbane diocese has admitted to again failing Beth Heinrich over her 1995 complaint, which culminated in then-governor-general Peter Hollingworth publicly blaming her for a priest sexually exploiting her as a 15-year-old.

Its apology for causing her "additional trauma and distress" through "unacceptable delays" came a day after the ABC questioned its latest missteps in the case, which led to Dr Hollingworth's public downfall but still fuels calls for him to be stripped of millions of dollars of public benefits.

Former Lansing youth group leader pleads no contest to sex assault of 3 teens

LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

March 10, 2020

By Kara Berg

A former youth group leader at a Lansing church pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting three teenage boys.

Jessica Leese, 36, initially was charged with seven counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Former Trinity College Colac teacher Kevin Myers jailed for child sexual abuse, current principal praises victims' bravery

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

March 10, 2020

By Nicole Mills and Steven Schubert

The principal of a Catholic school in country Victoria has praised the "unbelievably courageous" child sexual abuse survivors who brought a former teacher to justice for his crimes.

Warning: This article contains a description of child sexual abuse.

Trinity College Colac principal Paul Clohesy attended the court hearings of former teacher Kevin Wilmore Myers, who pleaded guilty to 12 charges involving nine victims spanning from the 1980s to 90s.

Myers was sentenced in the County Court to 15 years in jail for the historical child sexual abuse offences.

Myers, now aged 74, worked as a science teacher at Trinity College Colac, where he met most of his victims.

Morris Catholic teacher met in hotel, bought sex toy for student, police say

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

March 9, 2020

By Nicholas Katzban

A former Morris Catholic High School teacher arrested on sexual assault charges allegedly engaged in years-long relationships with two female students that included sending nude pictures and a sexually explicit gift to at least one victim.

In an affidavit filed in Denville municipal court on Sunday, local police said Carlos Franco-Leon, 42, of Rockaway Township, also arranged a rendezvous at a nearby hotel with one girl and engaged in sexual activity with another in the classroom. The girls' names and ages were not released by police.

On Sunday, Morris County Prosecutors announced the charges against Franco-Leon, who had also been volleyball coach at the school. He left Morris Catholic in 2018 and later became the varsity girls volleyball coach at Roselle Catholic High School in Union County, but has been suspended from that job as well, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark said over the weekend.

Former Victorian teacher jailed for abuse

AUSTRALIA
Port News

March 10 2020

By Caroline Schelle

Pedophile teacher Kevin Myers molested schoolboys and then lied about his family dying to get sympathy from a Victorian judge.

The predator worked as a science teacher at Trinity College in Colac when he abused boys aged between 13 and 17 in the early 1980s.

The 74-year-old admitted sexually assaulting seven boys during his time at the Catholic school.

Myers claimed his wife and child died in a car accident, and that his sister died of bowel cancer.

Second suit alleges sexual abuse at St. Hilary School

WASHINGTON (PA)
Observer-Reporter

March 10, 2020

By Barbara Miller

A woman who said she was victimized by a St. Hilary Elementary School teacher around 1973 when she was in sixth grade filed suit Monday in Washington County Court.

The woman, who is identified only by the initials “D.W.M.,” calls the male teacher “John Doe,” although a footnote in the complaint said his name will be made available during confidential pretrial evidence gathering known as discovery.

Named as defendants in the suit are St. Hilary parish, 320 Henderson Ave., Washington, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

George Pell's final bid for freedom rests on six missing minutes

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Sydney Morning Herald

March 10, 2020

By Chip Le Grand

The full bench of the High Court has set aside two days to hear the case of George Pell. If his lawyers are correct, the guilt, reputation and legacy of Australia’s most influential living clergyman will turn on six minutes.

In its final argument submitted in preparation for Wednesday’s hearing, Cardinal Pell’s legal team drew the court to the greatest doubt that lingers over Pell’s conviction for child sex offences.

When, after saying a Solemn Sunday Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, would the archbishop of Melbourne find himself alone in the priests’ sacristy with two choirboys for the five to six minutes required to assault them?

And, when this grotesque abuse of trust was being perpetrated, where were the seven altar servers who, at the completion of the mass, file into the sacristy to bow to the crucifix?

These questions mean little to anyone unfamiliar with the arcane liturgical practices of the Catholic Church. They also go to the heart of the central issue before the High Court; whether it was open to the jury, on the whole of the evidence, to find Pell guilty.

The listing of the case in the cavernous Courtroom 1 of the High Court building in Canberra, indicates that all seven judges are presiding. There are three possible outcomes.

In November last year, the two most junior members of the bench, Justice James Edelman and Justice Michelle Gordon, referred a decision on special leave to the full bench. This means that, even though the court has cleared its calendar to deal with Pell, it hasn’t yet decided whether to grant leave.

The second is the court may grant leave and dismiss the appeal.

In either of these scenarios, Pell would remain a convicted child sex offender and serve the remainder of his minimum, three year and eight month prison sentence.

La Trobe University law professor Patrick Keyzer, a former associate to retired High Court chief justice Gerard Brennan, believes this is the most likely outcome.

Australia’s High Court to hear Pell abuse appeal Wednesday

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

March 10, 2020

By Rod McGuirk

The most senior Catholic to be convicted of child sex abuse will take his appeal to Australia’s highest court on Wednesday in potentially his last bid to clear his name.

Cardinal George Pell was sentenced a year ago to six years in prison for molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral while he was the city’s archbishop in the late 1990s.

He was convicted by the unanimous verdict of a Victoria state County Court jury in December 2018 after a jury in an earlier trial was deadlocked.

A Victoria Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against his convictions in a 2-1 majority decision in August last year.

Jury gets case of former Rapid City priest

RAPID CITY (IA)
KOTA-TV

March 9, 2020

By Jack Caudill

The trial of a former Rapid City Catholic priest accused of stealing from church collections is now in the hands of the jury.

The jury got the case of 41-year old Marcin Garbacz after closing arguments Monday morning..
Garbacz is facing a total of 65 charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, transportation of stolen money and filing a false tax return.

In his closing statement Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson told the jury that they believe Garbacz stole nearly $260,000 from parishes in the Rapid City Diocese, depositing the money in his bank account, then taking that money across state lines when he moved to Missouri and didn't declare the money on his tax return.

Patterson said, "The scheme to defraud is astounding. The evidence is overwhelming."

Judge throws out conviction of retired priest in abuse case

PITTSBURGH
Associated Press

March 9, 2020

A judge in western Pennsylvania has thrown out the conviction of a retired Roman Catholic priest accused of having assaulted a boy almost two decades ago.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani said Monday he believed the Rev. Hugh Lang hadn’t received a fair trial. He said prosecutors should not have been allowed to submit evidence that Lang did an Internet search for defense attorneys before the release of a grand jury report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

A spokesman for the county district attorney’s office vowed an appeal to Superior Court, saying officials believed the decision was “contrary to the law.”

The 89-year-old defendant was convicted last year of indecent assault and other charges involving a preteen boy in 2001 when he was pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Munhall. Authorities alleged that during altar boy training, Lang molested and photographed the child. Lang testified that he didn’t know the alleged victim and denied any abuse.

More Appeals Expected After Judge Throws Out Pittsburgh Judge Mark Tranquilli’s Conviction Of Retired Priest

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA-TV (CBS affiliate, Ch. 2)

March 9, 2020

By Andy Sheehan

After being convicted by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli in December 2019, a retired priest accused of sexually abusing a boy in Munhall almost two decades ago will be getting a new trial.

On Monday, Judge Anthony Mariani overturned the conviction handed down by Tranqulli that Hugh Lang molested an 11-year-old back in 2001.

Mariani ruled that Tranquilli allowed evidence that should have been inadmissible and convicted Lang on a felony charge that was past the statute of limitations.

“I am ordering a new trial,” Mariani said from the bench. “I do not believe this was a fair trial.”

Tranquilli was reassigned to administrative duties last month after KDKA first reported he allegedly referred to a black woman juror as “Aunt Jemima”.

President Judge Kim Berkley Clark has temporarily removed Tranquilli from the bench and reassigned Lang’s case to Mariani for sentencing. But now other Tranqulli rulings are also in doubt.

Accused priest in Rock Island sues Peoria Diocese: 'I am innocent'

ROCK ISLAND (IL)
Quad Cities Online

March 10, 2020

By Linda Cook

Sometimes, John Onderko celebrates Mass alone in his home in Rock Island.

Other times, he hears confessions from people who knew him from the old days, before he was barred from priestly duties by the Roman Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations. A priest for 58 years, Onderko served from June 1981 through June 1993 at St. Mary's in Moline, then was reassigned to LaSalle, Ill., and served at numerous other parishes in Illinois.

Onderko, 83, no longer can publicly represent himself as a priest or engage in any priestly functions. Yet he maintains his innocence. Where other accused priests have quietly retired or admitted their guilt, Onderko is suing the Diocese of Peoria, saying he was denied due process and stripped of priestly duties by a church eager to quell public outcry over the global sex-abuse scandal.

March 9, 2020

Any wiser? Sarah Ferguson's macabre journey into the mind of a paedophile

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

March 10, 2020

By Barney Zwartz

Father Vincent Ryan was a vile and depraved man, a sex abuser with no compunction, who was guilty of sexual assault of altar boys and even trying to make prepubescent boys have sex with each other. So it is difficult to make sense of the slight, elderly, occasionally bewildered and apparently remorseful priest – yes, despite everything he is still a priest – in Sarah Ferguson’s new ABC documentary Revelation.

In the first of a three-part series, Ferguson tries to get into the mind of a paedophile who abused 33 boys aged six to 17 – with the connivance, one could almost say, of the leadership of the Catholic Newcastle-Maitland diocese, who knew what was going on and simply moved him from parish to parish.

In 1997, Ryan was jailed for 14 years for his crimes, which he committed over 20 years from 1975. Last year, he was tried on two new charges and, according to the documentary, for the first time in an Australian court ABC cameras were allowed to film the trial. Although the first episode does not contain the verdict, Ryan was sentenced to another three years’ jail.

Victims of clergy sex abuse and powerful legal firm named to Harrisburg Diocese bankruptcy case

PENNSYLVANIA
PennLive.com

March 9, 2020

By Ivey DeJesus

One of five Dauphin County sisters who were sexually abused as children by a priest in the Harrisburg Diocese has been selected as a member of the committee that will oversee the diocese’s federal bankruptcy case.

Lara Fortney-McKeever along with two other survivors of clergy sex abuse have been appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee’s Office to serve on the committee.

The other two survivors are Mark J. Padula Jr., and Patrick Duggan.

The court on Friday also named Rob Kugler as the lead legal counsel to the committee. Kugler, a Minneapolis attorney, has represented sexual abuse survivors in lawsuits against the Catholic Church.

The committee - known as the Official Committee of Tort Claimants - will represent the interests of all other parties and survivors in the case, and will have a saying in critical decisions, including determining what monies and diocesan assets will be tapped to make final determinations on settlement.

News Release: Eighteen years later, concerned Catholics still addressing clergy abuse

NEWTON (MA)
Digital Journal

March 9, 2020

Eighteen years after The Boston Globe brought to light widespread clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston, Voice of the Faithful, founded within weeks of the Globe's revelations, continues to address the scandal. VOTF members and others will gather later this year to promote their visions of a just Church. The organization's 2020 Conference: Visions of a Just Church will take place on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel in Newton, Mass.

Offering her own vision of a just Church, the conference's featured speaker will be internationally acclaimed theologian and Catholic studies scholar Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. Dr. Zagano has lectured widely in this country and abroad, and she is a member of the Papal Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. She has published hundreds of articles and reviews in the popular press and peer-reviewed journals and is the author or editor of twenty books in religious studies, including groundbreaking work on women in the diaconate, several of which have received awards from the Catholic Press Association and College Theology Society.

New Vatican Panel. Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for Change

AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 9, 2020

Feel like playing along with a little experiment?

Let’s imagine you wanted to set up a panel on the Catholic abuse and cover up crisis.

BUT. . . you want to make sure it’s totally ineffective.

How would you do it? Here’s our recipe.

First, we’d appoint only Catholics. More insularity in an institution that’s been insular for centuries can’t help.

Second, we’d pick only men. More male dominance in an institution that’s been dominated by men for centuries can’t help.

Third, we’d tap only ordained clerics. More clerics in an institution that’s been crippled by clericalism for centuries can’t help.

Times-Picayune, 3 TV stations seek unsealing of records on accused predator priest

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

March 9, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and the city’s three leading television news outlets filed a motion Monday asking a judge to publicly release court records detailing the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ handling of a retired priest who stands accused of being a serial child molester.

Attorneys for an alleged victim suing both the priest, Lawrence Hecker, and the archdiocese already have the documents in question, but the archdiocese has claimed the records are confidential and subject to a protective order preventing their release.

The media outlets’ motion argues that Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott should release the documents because they contain information that community members could use to protect themselves.

Peruvian cardinal calls for suppression of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae

LIMA (PERU)
Catholic News Agency

March 9, 2020

A Peruvian cardinal has said that the Vatican has been asked to dissolve the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Peruvian religious community whose founder sexually and psychologically abused members, and committed other abuses of power.

“I personally think, when a religious organization has committed a crime, and it must be said that way, from the point of view of sexual abuse and the financial matters, that there are problems and it must be dissolved; and that is the point where we are on this road, and I know that the Holy See is on that road,” Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno said March 10 during an interview with Peru’s Radio Santa Rosa.

“There are good people within the Sodalitium, so we cannot put them all in the same bag. The underlying problem is that the founder is, not only seriously questioned, but I repeat, with much regret, he is a perverted person and such a person cannot transmit and encourage the sanctity of life that Pope Francis himself in an apostolic exhortation manifested.”

Bishop asks people to pray for imprisoned former Mascoutah priest who died

BELLEVILLE (IL)
Belleville News-Democrat

March 7, 2020

By Teri Maddox

Bishop Edward K. Braxton of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville has sent a letter to priests and deacons, asking them to pray for a former Mascoutah priest who died Friday while serving a prison sentence for child pornography and methamphetamine.

“From the perspective of the Christian faith, his death is a call to each of us to pray for him in the hope that God in his love and mercy will give him a share in the eternal life that is promised to those who strive to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ,” Braxton wrote.

The bishop noted that he had visited the former priest, Gerald R. Hechenberger, when he was in St. Clair County Jail, and that Braxton had serious concerns about his well-being due to health problems.

Judge Throws Out Retired Priest’s Sexual Assault Conviction

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA

March 9, 2020

By Chris Hoffman

The conviction and sentencing of a retired priest accused of sexually abusing a boy in Munhall almost two decades ago have been vacated.

A judge threw out Father Hugh Lang’s conviction Monday.

The 89-year-old had been previously found guilty of molesting a then 10-year-old boy in 2001 while serving as a priest for St. Therese in Munhall.

He had been accused of making the victim take off his clothes, touching him inappropriately and taking naked photos of him.

Retired priest’s sentence for sexually abusing boy thrown out

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WPXI

March 9, 2020

The sentence for a local retired priest who was found guilty of sexually abusing a boy was vacated Thursday.

Father Hugh Lang, 89, will get a new trial, but a date has not been set.

Lang, a former priest at Saint Therese in Munhall, had been found guilty in November of felony unlawful contact with a minor, along with three other misdemeanors.

The Catholic Church Is Apparently Fine With Child Abuse as Long as Priests Move Around a Lot

UNITED STATES
Jezebel

March 8, 2020

By Garrett Schlichte

The Catholic Church has a well-documented, albeit severely under-addressed, history of child abuse that has occurred at the hands of its priest for decades. Dioceses have attempted to hide it, to payout survivors of abuse, and now, according to a report released by ProPublica in conjunction with the Houston Chronicle, it would appear priests who’ve been credibly accused of abuse have been finding work in new dioceses abroad with the Church’s blessing.

Starting in 2018, U.S. dioceses began compiling and releasing lists of priests in their churches who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. ProPublica and the Chronicle analyzed 52 of those lists, 30 of which had the highest number of credibly accused clergy, and found that 51 people on those lists were able to find work in the Church abroad, some still working with children.

Opinion: Letters- Is Priestly Celibacy Still Viable?

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

March 8, 2020

Readers wonder if it has a role to play in today’s Catholic Church; another defends the tradition.

To the Editor:

Re “What Is the Power of Celibacy?” (Op-Ed, Feb. 25):

Celibacy is a gift to the church from those who are called to it, like those called to the religious life as monks or nuns. In the Bible, and in subsequent centuries, it was not a condition for priesthood. There were even married men elected to be bishop.

Making it a condition for priesthood, even for those not called to it, results in a priesthood that does not represent the church at large and results in the many evils we have seen brought to light in recent years.

Celibate clergy and lay people can do what married clergy and laity cannot, but equally the married can serve Christ in ways that the celibate cannot. The experience of married clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Anglican Ordinariates (established by Pope Benedict for those Anglicans who have entered full communion with the Catholic Church) needs to be called upon and listened to if the Catholic Church is to have a rounded view of what kind of priesthood is needed in our time.

Priest accused of sex abuse cleared by Madison Diocese

MADISON (WI)
GazetteXtra

March 7, 2020

By Frank Schultz

The Catholic Diocese of Madison has deemed allegations of sexual misconduct against the Rev. William A. Nolan not credible.

Nolan served in several southern Wisconsin parishes.

“In the coming days, Fr. Nolan will be reinstated to his previous status as a retired priest of the Diocese of Madison in good standing,” according to a news release from diocese communications director Brent M. King.

Jury trial begins for Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting girl during confession

WAUKESHA (WI)
FOX6 News

March 9, 2020

The jury trial begins on Monday, March 9 for a Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

Father Charles Hanel served at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Pewaukee. He's accused of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old girl during confession.

North Dakota priest says he's not sorry for sexually abusing two kids, but regrets the emotional trauma

NORTH DAKOTA
Mea Worldwide

March 9, 2020

By Akshay Pai

New documents have named more than 50 priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against a minor

A disgraced former North Dakota priest said he's not remorseful for sexual assaults he carried out on young children decades ago.

New documents released following an investigation into more than 50 Catholic Clergy from the Fargo and Bismarck Dioceses have named 53 priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, including one Martin Cullen.

Cullen from Fargo was removed from the ministry in 1992 because of the allegations and admitted to Valley News Live that he sexually abused two children but said he wasn't sorry for his crimes. He did concede he regretted the emotional abuse his victims may feel now but said no more.

Other priests mentioned in those documents include Fernando Sayasaya, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting two children in Cass County, and Abraham Anthony, who was charged in Stutsman County for sex crimes against boys in 2000 but fled to India and died before he could be arrested.

Diocese: Claims against retired Wisconsin priest uncredible

MADISON (WI)
Associated Press

March 8, 2020

Sexual misconduct allegations made against a retired Wisconsin Catholic priest who was acquitted last year on charges he sexually assaulted an altar boy are not credible, the Diocese of Madison said.

The diocese announced Saturday that William Nolan will return to his previous status as a retired priest of the Madison Diocese “in good standing.” The announcement comes after the church’s investigation into two separate allegations made against Nolan and his acquittal during a weeklong trial in September on charges that he sexually assaulted an altar boy over several years, starting in 2006.

Bishop Donald Hying said Nolan is owed “the presumption of innocence and right to a good name,” especially after his acquittal and the lack of evidence found in support of the allegations against him. Nolan will be allowed to minister publicly as a priest again, the diocese said.

Who's missing on the Vatican's new abuse task force?

ROME (ITALY)
Crux Now via Angelus

March 9, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Recently the Vatican announced Pope Francis has created a task force to help bishops’ conferences around the world address the clerical sex abuse crisis. The lineup is impressive, but much like a high-profile February 2019 summit on child protection, laypeople — women in particular — are the missing link.

The eight-man lineup for the task force includes seven clerics, two of whom are regarded by all sides as part of the solution to the abuse crisis: Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, once the Vatican’s top prosecutor on priestly abuse of minors; and German Father Hans Zollner, SJ, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and director of the Center for Child Protection of Rome’s Gregorian University.

Jesuit priest removed from prestigious St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow over historical child abuse disclosure

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
Daily Record

March 9, 2020

The Jesuit was removed from “ministry” on February 22 and the school informed four days later.

By Keith McLeod

A Jesuit priest has been removed from a prestigious fee-paying Catholic school and reported to police amid a “disclosure” of historical abuse against children.

The man was taken out of £13,455-a-year St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow after it received a report from the Jesuit safeguarding officer in London.

The Jesuit was removed from “ministry” on February 22 and the school informed four days later.

St Aloysius’ College then contacted Police Scotland and passed on the information it had received.

Last year, the school was rocked by historical allegations of sexual abuse against children.

In an email to parents, headmaster Matthew Bartlett said the individual “came into the school in their capacity as a Jesuit, which required minimal interaction with children whilst carrying out his duties.

“However, all appropriate safeguarding procedures were in place, as always is the case with anyone coming into the school. We have been informed by the Jesuits that the reason for his removal from ministry is not related to his time at St Aloysius’ College, but a period of time over 35 years ago.”

Catholic women seek changes in policies, practices of church

MUMBAI (INDIA)
The Hindu

March 9, 2020

By Jyoti Shelar

Memorandum to Archbishop calls for equal participation

On International Women’s Day on Sunday, women have demanded equality in the Catholic Church of India. In a memorandum submitted to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and advisor to Pope Francis, women have called for a prophetic church where their voices count, and demanded respect from the clergy in their communication.

“We seek changes in the policies, practices and structures of the church so that women can participate fully in its life and leadership,” said the memorandum, which has 140 signatures and is being circulated to gather more endorsements. “Every year, we celebrate International Women’s Day with the full support of the bishops and clergy, but the concerns and frustrations of women within the church remain the same. We have leadership training for women but there are no spaces for them to exercise this leadership,” it said.

Former Morris Catholic HS coach charged with sexual assault of two minor girls

MORRISTOWN (NJ)
Morristown Daily Record

March 8, 2020

By William Westhoven

A former Morris Catholic High School volleyball coach was charged with aggravated sexual abuse of two minor female students between 2015 and 2019, Morris County prosecutors announced Sunday.

Carlos A. Franco-Leon, 42, of Rockaway Township was taken to the Morris County Correctional Facility to await a court hearing on six first-degree counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

Three Rahway men have been arrested and cocaine, heroin and cash were seized drug the execution of a search warrant at a Fulton Avenue address.
Three Rahway men have been arrested and cocaine, heroin and cash were seized drug the execution of a search warrant at a Fulton Avenue address. (Photo: ~File)

He is alleged to have committed sexual acts on female students known to him while he was working as a teacher and volleyball coach at Morris Catholic in Denville.

Study finds more than 50 accused priests active outside the US

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 9, 2020

By Christopher White

A new analysis of diocesan lists of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse in the United States finds that more than 50 such clerics have been able to continue in ministry in another country, including work with minors, suggesting global gaps in the Church’s response to the abuse crisis.

The findings, published jointly last week by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle, is a follow-up to an investigative effort commenced last year and published in January that includes the launch of an independent database listing nearly 6,000 priests accused of abuse in America.

Reporters from the two outlets analyzed lists from 52 U.S. dioceses, which revealed 51 priests facing allegations who continued in new assignments outside of the U.S., including Nigeria, Ireland, the Philippines, and Mexico, which proved to be the most common destination for such priests.

Philippines: Abuses against women are a sin, Philippine bishop says

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
UCA News

March 9, 2020

Activists take aim at Duterte during International Women's Day marches

The exploitation of women and other abuses committed against them are “an affront to God,” according to an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Every offense against the dignity of women is a sin, said Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan, chairman of the CBCP's commission on women.

He cited sexual abuse, violence, prostitution and discrimination as being the main violations against the “intrinsic being” of women.

“Man and woman are equal in dignity,” Bishop Varquez stressed. “Their true relationship is to complement and complete each other.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of Filipino women set aside coronavirus fears and took to the streets of Manila and other cities for a rally to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

During the rally protesters burned a large effigy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whom they accuse of being the country’s chief misogynist.

March 8, 2020

George Pell Case: The Wine in the Wardrobe Revisited [Op-Ed]

AUSTRALIA
BigNewsNetwork.com (blog)

March 7, 2020

By Chris Friel

"He didn't say in evidence or committal or anywhere that the wine bottle was in the sink area. He said it was in the alcove area So he always maintained that the wine bottle was there in the alcove. He never maintained it was in that new sink area we know exists now." Mark Gibson, Closing Address.

In Locating the Wine in the Alcove I argued that the video we have of the police interview with Pell in Rome undermines the claim that, as far as the original story goes, the complainant was right about the wine. He did not locate wine in the alcove but rather in what was called a "storage kitchenette" immediately to the left of the door.[i] If this argument can be sustained it is significant for two reasons. First, it removes the Crown's contention that the complainant's knowledge of the "correct" location of the wine enhances his credibility, and second, it positively damages his credibility. This is because the complainant's so-called knowledge of the layout is actually a knowledge about furniture that was only put in after 1996 which in turn suggests a visit or a coach with up-to-date information.

High drama and even higher stakes: it’s the moment of truth for George Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

March 7, 2020

By John Ferguson

It is a measure of George Pell’s lot that he finds himself in notionally better surrounds but not necessarily better company.

The cardinal, still Australia’s most senior Catholic, will monitor next week’s High Court developments while in isolation in his ­relatively new home at Victoria’s maximum-security Barwon Prison, near Geelong.

Barwon is a hole that swallowed gangland murderer Carl Williams but it’s not quite as deep as Pell’s former holding cell in the centre of Melbourne.

Pell, 78, now has more room to move, with a more modern but still austere toilet, shower and general living facilities. He is served shoddy food and his main human contact is with the prison guards who bring him his medication for twin heart conditions.

It remains a life of deprivation.

Given his convictions, most people will be happy with Pell’s plight. For others who have followed the facts of the case closely, including the brightest minds in the law, next week’s High Court appeal will be a significant moment in Australian legal history.

There are deep divisions about whether Pell should even be in jail.

“If you look at all of the case law about unreasonable verdicts, it’s (the Pell convictions) right on the borderline of what’s reasonable and what isn’t,’’ Sydney University academic Andrew Dyer told ­Inquirer.

Dyer, who has co-authored a paper on the Pell case with the university’s Professor David Hamer, is not predicting in any way how the High Court will act. Nor is anyone else with any certainty.

But the paper, published in the Sydney Law Review, makes clear what many independent voices suspect: Pell’s convictions may be flawed.

Dyer and Hamer write that it appears open to the High Court to overturn the Pell verdicts on the basis of the cumulative effect of the evidence, but they doubt the court will make this finding.

They express concern about the impact that rejection of the Pell decision would have on the standing of juries.

Dyer and Hamer’s views are not black and white. They also make clear that the law allows for convictions based largely or solely on the complainant’s evidence and a different tack would “undermine the prohibition against child ­sexual assault’’.

This is a tick to the prosecution’s heavy reliance on the surviving choirboy, whose evidence was central to the Pell convictions.

Eastern African Bishops review implementation of child protection

KENYA
Vatican News

March 7, 2020

By Benedict Mayaki

AMECEA organizes meeting of Child Protection Officers to examine policy implementation in member conferences

One year ago, Pope Francis urged Bishops to renew child protection guidelines during his address at the conclusion of the meeting for the protection of minors. This week, the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) organized a three-day meeting with the goal of examining the effects of policies regarding the protection of children and vulnerable adults in its member countries.

The meeting, from 3 – 5 March, took place in the diocese of Nakuru, Kenya. It is the second of its kind, after a similar one was held in Ethiopia last year.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, the Secretary-General of AMECEA, Fr. Anthony Makunde said: “After a year, we have taken some time to do a bit of self-monitoring, a self-evaluation as a region to see for ourselves how far we have managed to journey this road, which the mother Church has called us to journey on.”

Congolese bishops hold session on the protection of minors

KINSHASA (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)
La Croix International

March 5, 2020

By Lucie Sarr

Papal nuncio reminds bishops they can be removed if they are not vigilant

The bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have held their first training session on the protection of minors in the Church.

Meeting from Mar. 2-4 at a Caritas center in Kinshasa, the session was the Congolese Church's latest effort to implement Pope Francis' "motu proprio," Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world), on sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons.

The training session was funded and facilitated by the apostolic nunciature in DRC.

Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, who has been the pope's representative to the county since July 2018, reminded the bishops of their responsibilities in the area of child protection.

"The universal Church is giving the bishops a great deal of space for the exercise of their function as judges in their respective dioceses," he explained.

He warned them that bishops are called to account and could be dismissed if they have been seriously negligent in the exercise of their pastoral office.

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo of Kinshasa, vice-president of the national bishops' conference (Cenco), presided at the Mar. 2 opening Mass.

In his homily, the Capuchin Franciscan spoke of the situation of children in the city of Kinshasa, the seat of his archdiocese.

Archbishop Marcel Utembi of Kisangani, who is currently Cenco president, said the Church has a duty to administer justice well when dealing with crimes that violate the dignity of the child.

Measures for the protection of minors

Father Georges Kalenga, second secretary general of Cenco, outlined the measures the bishops have taken to protect minors in an interview last October with La Croix Africa.

He noted that in 2013 they published a text entitled "Guidelines for dealing with cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors", which emphasize that special attention must given to the victims.

It states that "in the prevention of abuse and the protection of minors, another two-fold attention is needed: the training of clerics, as well as all the faithful, and the treatment of the accused in appropriate facilities to ensure they do not offend again".

Training

"The bishops of Cenco also insist that clerics be informed of the damage that priest sexual abuse causes the victim and that the cleric must be held responsibility at the canonical and civil level," explained Father Kalenga in that interview.

This is being reiterated in training sessions priests must take concerning sexual abuse.
Such training is offered to all Church employees and and those who deal in any way with children in Church structures: schools, hospitals, and the Catholic Action Movement. All coordinators of Catholic schools in DR-Congo are also given child protection training.

In addition, every diocese is urged to take initiatives to promote a frank dialogue within the Living Ecclesial Communities (CEV) on the issue of sexual abuse.

The Congolese bishops' conference has also mandated that each diocese set up an office where people can report alleged abuse.

Corte constitucional ordena la iglesia entregar archivos sobre pederastia periodista articulo

[Constitutional Court orders the church to deliver files reserved to a journalist]

MEDELLÍN (COLOMBIA)
El Espectador

March 3, 2020

La Arquidiócesis de Medellín tendrá que entregar información sobre los antecedentes de 43 sacerdotes pedida por el periodista Juan Pablo Barrientos. El alto tribunal señaló que esta información era de carácter semiprivada y que primaba el derecho a la información frente a la privacidad de los miembros del clero.

El periodista Juan Pablo Barrientos es reconocido por sus investigaciones relacionadas con violaciones y abusos sexuales cometidos por el clero en Colombia. Archivo El Espectador
Una nueva victoria judicial tuvo el periodista Juan Pablo Barrientos, reconocido por sus investigaciones sobre actos de pederastia cometidos por miembros de la iglesia católica colombiana y por su libro "Dejad que los niños vengan a mi". En esta ocasión, la Corte Constitucional le dio la razón frente a la solicitud de los antecedentes de 43 sacerdotes que hacían parte de la Arquidiócesis de Medellín. Por eso, el alto tribunal le ordenó a esta comunidad que entregue estos datos solicitados por el comunicador.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: The Archdiocese of Medellín will have to provide information on the background of 43 priests requested by the journalist Juan Pablo Barrientos. The high court said that this information was semi-private and that the right to information prevailed over the privacy of clergy members.

A new judicial victory was the journalist Juan Pablo Barrientos, recognized for his investigations into acts of pedophilia committed by members of the Colombian Catholic Church and for his book "Let the children come to me." On this occasion, the Constitutional Court gave him the reason for the request for the background of 43 priests who were part of the Archdiocese of Medellín. Therefore, the high court ordered this community to provide this information requested by the communicator.]

‘Open to High Court to insist Pell’s convictions were unreasonable’

AUSTRALIA
Lawyers Weekly

March 5, 2020

By Naomi Neilson

With the special hearing to determine George Pell’s hearing approaching fast, Sydney law professors have looked into whether or not the cardinal stands a chance.

The High Court of Australia has been asked to decide whether the Court of Appeal of Victoria (VSCA) was right in finding, by majority, that it was open to the jury at Cardinal Pell’s trial to convict him of sexually abusing two young children.

Ahead of the Full Court sitting at Parliament House on March 11 and 12, professors in Sydney Law School Andrew Dyer and Professor David Hammer argue that if the HCA grants Cardinal Pell special leave to appeal, it should reject his argument that VSCA majority reversed the onus of proof when reaching the conclusion that it did.

“[Cardinal] Pell’s claim that the VSCA majority reversed the onus of proof is dubious,” Mr Dyer and Professor Hammer wrote. “But the evidence that Pell had no opportunity to offend was strong; and it does seem open to HCA plausibly to insist Cardinal Pell’s convictions were unreasonable. Against that are considerations of judicial restraint.”

Allegations against former St Kevin's head of junior school referred to police by child safety authorities

AUSTRALIA
"Four Corners," Australian Broadcast Corporation

March 2, 2020

By Louise Milligan

Child safety authorities have made numerous referrals to Victoria Police over allegations about teachers following a Four Corners investigation into Melbourne's prestigious boys' school, St Kevin's College.

St Kevin's new acting principal, John Crowley, Victoria's Commissioner for Children and Young People (CCYP) and the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) have been given information containing potential concerns of conduct about several teachers which has then been passed on to police for investigation.

Four Corners understands that at least four referrals by the CCYP to Victoria Police relate to Peter Finnigan, who had been a very senior member of staff at St Kevin's and other prominent Catholic boys' schools around Australia.

St Kevin's has been in the spotlight since a Four Corners investigation in mid-February revealed how the school did not support a student victim through a child sex offence trial.

Five teachers have left St Kevin's College since the story aired including the headmaster and his deputy following criticism of the school's handling of complaints.

Turning the abuse crisis discussion to deeper themes

WASHINGTON D.C.
National Catholic Reporter

March 6, 2020

By Tom Roberts

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Sr. Carol Zinn speak with NCR

Two Catholic leaders recently turned the discussion about the crisis in the church away from a focus on institutional change to the less measurable work of transformation, the significance of relationships and the need for members of the hierarchy to confront that culture's past.

Sr. Carol Zinn, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia and executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, widely considered one of the most significant forces in revealing the truth of the sex abuse crisis, advanced their ideas in separate interviews.

The two were among participants and panelists in a Feb 28-29 session organized by the Leadership Roundtable, an organization formed in 2005 following the revelations of widespread abuse and cover-up in Boston. The Leadership Roundtable event, "From Crisis to Co-Responsibility: Creating a New Culture of Leadership," was held at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington. The two-day event explored ways in which mostly structural change could lead to more transparency and accountability and greater involvement of laypeople in the life of the church.

LA Priests Among Those Allowed To Work Abroad After Sexual Abuse Accusations

LOS ANGELES (CA)
LaIst

March 6, 2020

By Jessica P. Ogilvie

The Catholic Church let at least 51 priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse move to different countries to continue working as clergy, according to an investigation from ProPublica released Friday. Of those, a handful were accused in Los Angeles prior to going elsewhere.

Among the Los Angeles-based offenders is a man ProPublica reporters describe as, “One of the most notorious cases of an accused priest moving across international borders.”

Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera was transferred to L.A. after being accused of sexual abuse in Tehuácan, Mexico. Once here, Rivera allegedly molested 10 boys. Rather than strip him of his priesthood or report him to the police, however, church leaders transferred him to Mexico once again.

The news outet’s report comes from an analysis of their own database, which gathered lists of credibly accused clergy and made them public and searchable.

Ex-Fort priest acquitted of sex abuse cleared by Madison Diocese

MADISON (WI)
Jefferson County Daily Union

March 8, 2020

By Frank Schultz

The Catholic Diocese of Madison is reinstating the Rev. William A. Nolan to his status as a retired priest after deeming that allegations of sexual misconduct against him were not credible.

Father Nolan served in several southern Wisconsin parishes, including St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson from 2002-07.

“In the coming days, Fr. Nolan will be reinstated to his previous status as a retired priest of the Diocese of Madison in good standing,” according to a news release from diocese communications director Brent M. King.

Former pastor found guilty of sexually assaulting 2 minors

VICKSBURG (MS)
Associated Press

March 6, 2020

A Mississippi church pastor was found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls between the ages of 14 and 16.

The Rev. Troy Anthony Piccaluga was arrested in March 2018 and charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery.

A Warren County jury found Piccaluga guilty Thursday of one count of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery, The Vicksburg Post reported.

No hiding place for child molesters in our ranks, say Seventh-day Adventists

JAMAICA
Jamaica Observer

March 8, 2020

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica has moved to distance itself from one of its former pastors accused of sexually grooming, before sodomising, a teenaged boy in St Ann.

The pastor, who was initially based at the Adventist church in Claremont, St Ann, before being assigned to the church in Little London, Westmoreland, has since resigned and emigrated, claiming that allegations of immorality against him and threats on his life had forced him to leave Jamaica.

Late last week the leadership of the Adventist church confirmed that they were aware of the allegations against the pastor and that he had resigned.

But the church, in response to questions from the Jamaica Observer, made it clear that there would be no shielding of persons accused of child abuse in its ranks and that the pastor was not transferred because of the allegations.

The Canadian Church Struggles to Confront Sex Abuse

CANADA
Commonwealth Magazine

February 11, 2020

By Michael W. Higgins

It was early December of last year when I heard an extraordinary interview with a Canadian bishop on CBC Radio One, Canada’s premier English-speaking public broadcaster. Extraordinary, because it was thirty minutes long; extraordinary because it was on Sunday Edition, a coveted spot on the award-winning network’s flagship news roundup; and extraordinary most of all because it was a Canadian bishop being interviewed on the subject of clerical sex abuse in a way that was vigorously interrogatory without being adversarial.

Most importantly, the bishop, Thomas Dowd, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal, was non-defensive, persuasively contrite, uncharacteristically spin-free and transparent in his responses, and genuinely warm and nonjudgmental in his pastoral approach.

Dowd was on air because of the controversy surrounding the allegations, trial, and sentencing of Brian Boucher, a priest-abuser of long standing. Dowd had listened to Boucher’s accusers, believed them, advocated on their behalf, and daily attended Boucher’s trial in order to be with them, the survivors.

Diocese of Sacramento priest, dozens of others found work abroad despite abuse allegations

SACRAMENTO (CA)
ProPublica

March 8, 2020

By Katie Zavadski, Topher Sanders and Nicole Hensley

This story was produced by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle

▪ ▪ ▪

The Rev. Jose Antonio Pinal, a young priest from Mexico, arrived at his first parish near Sacramento in 1980, fresh out of seminary. The priest befriended the Torres family, helping the parents, also immigrants from Mexico, to fill out an application for food stamps. Pinal became an occasional dinner guest and took the children to theme parks and on road trips along the Pacific coast. He encouraged 15-year-old Ricardo Torres to become an altar boy.

But in the priest’s quarters at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the small city of Gridley, Torres said, Pinal, then 30, gave him alcohol, showed him movies with sex and nudity, and groped and raped him. The teenager told another priest in 1989 and the family was assured by lawyers for the diocese that Pinal would not be allowed around children, Torres said.

Thirty years later, in the spring of 2019, the Diocese of Sacramento put Pinal’s name on its list of credibly accused priests. The list had five allegations of sexual abuse against Pinal dating to the late 1980s.

Pinal had “fled to Mexico,” according to the list, and the diocese had prohibited him from performing priestly work in public in the 20 counties that make up the diocese. But an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle shows the Catholic Church allowed or aided dozens of priests — including Pinal — to serve abroad as priests after being credibly accused of abuse in the United States.

March 7, 2020

How the Irish State has compounded the abuse of religious institution survivors

IRELAND
Irish Central

March 7, 2020

Ciaran Tierney

Survivors of Ireland's notorious religious institutions feel they were re-traumatized as the Irish State attempted to construct a Redress scheme

The Irish State has been accused of compounding the physical and sexual abuse experienced by survivors of religious institutions through a redress scheme which has traumatised thousands of people and blocked them from speaking out about what happened to them as children.

A brilliant two-part documentary series which aired on Irish national television this week has exposed how survivors were forced to sign waivers before receiving financial compensation, imposing “gagging orders” on them which compounded their abuse with the threat of imprisonment and financial penalties.

The “Redress: Breaking the Silence” documentary, aired by RTE television over consecutive nights, exposed how survivors have been prevented from naming their abusers, or even where the abuse took place, and how much compensation they received from the Redress Board.

Ex-North Charleston pastor accused of child sex abuse pleads guilty to assault, avoids jail time

CHARLESTON (SC)
Post and Courier

March 7, 2020

By Sara Coello

Months after his arrest on child sex charges, a former North Charleston pastor has pleaded guilty to assault and avoided jail time.

Karey Montrel Heyward, originally charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 16, pleaded guilty Thursday to second degree assault and battery.

Judge Markley Dennis sentenced Heyward in North Charleston to the maximum penalty of three years in prison, but suspended the punishment to 18 months probation, according to court records.

French cardinal exits over failure to report alleged sex abuser

FRANCE
Agence France-Presse via France 24

March 6, 2020

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a French cardinal who failed to report an alleged paedophile priest, the Catholic Church in Lyon said Friday.

Archbishop of Lyon Philippe Barbarin is the most senior French priest to be caught up in a global paedophilia scandal that has seen clergy hauled before courts from Argentina to Australia.

Barbarin, 69, a staunch conservative who became archbishop of the French city in 2002, has long been accused by victims' groups of turning a blind eye to decades of child abuse in his diocese that blighted many lives.

Lyon is preparing for the post-Barbarin: "It's time to turn the page"

The Limited Times

March 6, 2020

On January 30, a few hours after being released on appeal in the trial for non-denunciation of sexual assaults on minors under 15 years of age in his diocese, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, had resigned to Pope Francis. The Archbishop of Lyon said he wanted to “turn the page” on the Preynat affair, the ex-parish priest accused of pedophile acts on young scouts. Friday March 6, the sovereign pontiff finally relieved him of his pastoral charge. A year ago, he had refused "out of respect for the presumption of innocence" a first proposal from the primate of Gaul, just sentenced to six months suspended by the correctional court of Lyon (Rhône) in the same case.

Retained in the Palestinian territories by the epidemic of coronavirus, the cardinal could not announce the papal decision himself, but he sent a message to the faithful of Lyon via Twitter.

Hunting For Old Dirt On The Church – OpEd

UNITED STATES
Eurasia Review

March 6, 2020

By William Donohue

The media can’t find new dirt on the Catholic Church, so they resort to finding old dirt. Any ethical media source would just move on, but there are some that bear an animus so strong that they can’t. The latest example is a report jointly issued by ProPublica, a liberal non-profit investigative internet outlet funded by establishment sources, and the Houston Chronicle.

The report is a bomb. It breaks no new ground. It focuses on the way the Catholic Church deals with a few priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse and who are either no longer in ministry or have moved to another country. All the priests named in this anecdotally driven article of more than 5,000 words are alleged to have offended decades ago.

This exact same game was played last fall when the Associated Press, the Denver Post, USA Today, and WCPO (the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati) did stories on credibly accused, not convicted, priests who are either inactive or have been removed.

Priest convicted of child porn dies in Illinois prison

PINCKNEYVILLE (IL)
Associated Press

March 7, 2020

A former southern Illinois priest sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty last year to distributing child pornography and processing methamphetamine has died, authorities announced Friday.

Perry County Coroner Paul Searby said Gerald Hechenberger was pronounced dead Friday morning at Pinckneyville Community Hospital. He was serving his sentence at Pinkneyville Correctional Center. The Belleville News-Democrat reports Searby did not give a cause of death.

Hechenberger formerly pastored Holy Childhood Catholic Church in Mascoutah. He was arrested at the church in January 2018 after police received a tip about his activities. Investigators seized electronic devices and found drug paraphernalia, methamphetamine and images and videos of child pornography in the priest’s possession. Prosecutors said none of the children depicted in the pornography were southern Illinois residents.

New Court filings accuse Archdiocese of New Orleans of continuing to support priest credibly accused of child sex abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE-TV

March 6, 2020

By Kimberly Curth

New court filings accuse the Archdiocese of New Orleans of buying the silence of a priest credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Attorneys for an alleged victim say the church kept Lawrence Hecker on the payroll and even paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2002 when the church claimed he was removed from the ministry.

The court filings are part of a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Father Lawrence Hecker. That lawsuit claims Hecker is a serial pedophile who has sexually abused countless children. In a new motion filed Friday, attorneys for one of Hecker’s alleged victims, say they believe the Archdiocese continues to support him.

Pope lets French cardinal embroiled in abuse cover-up resign

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

March 6, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of a French cardinal who was convicted and then acquitted of covering up for a pedophile priest in a case that fueled a reckoning over clergy sexual abuse in France.

Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 69, had offered to resign when the Lyon court in March 2019 first convicted him and gave him a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report the predator priest to police.

Francis declined to accept it then, saying he wanted to wait for the outcome of the appeal. He allowed Barbarin to step aside and turn the day-to-day running of the archdiocese over to his deputy.

Pope accepts resignation of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

March 6, 2020

By Benedict Mayaki

Cardinal Barbarin’s resignation as Archbishop of Lyon follows his acquittal after being accused of covering up sexual abuse cases by a priest.

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin as the Archbishop of Lyon, France.

Cardinal Barbarin had first submitted his resignation to Pope Francis on 18 March 2019. Pending the end of his court case, the Pope did not accept it at that time. Rather, he preferred to allow him to “make the best decision for the diocese.”

On 30 January, Cardinal Barbarin was acquitted of a suspended six-month sentence by a French court in March 2019. He was originally convicted of failing to report cases of sexual abuse of minors by a priest in his diocese to legal authorities.

Vatican halts Mexico abuse prevention mission, cites virus

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

March 7, 2020

By Maria Verza, Nicole Winfield and Christopher Sherman

Mexico’s bishops said Friday the Vatican had suspended a clerical sex abuse fact-finding and assistance mission to Mexico due to the spreading coronavirus in Italy and now the Vatican.

The Mexican Episcopal Conference said in a statement the Holy See had suspended all foreign activities after registering its first positive test Thursday. The Vatican announced no such ban publicly and the Vatican spokesman didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

The mission to Mexico, which was announced Monday, was known to have alarmed some in the Mexican hierarchy, and abuse survivors said they doubted the virus was the real reason it was scuttled. On Tuesday, the Vatican ambassador to Mexico, Archbishop Franco Coppola, revealed that the Vatican had been investigating four Mexican bishops since May for allegedly covering or mishandlinguse cases.

Georgia 'Hidden Predator' house bill widens statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits

ATLANTA (GA)
Capitol Beat News Service

March 7, 2020

By Beau Evans

State lawmakers are mulling whether to broadly expand the statute of limitations in Georgia for people to sue who were sexually abused as children by members of businesses and nonprofit groups like the Catholic Church or Boy Scouts of America.

State lawmakers are mulling whether to broadly expand the statute of limitations in Georgia for people to sue who were sexually abused as children by members of businesses and nonprofit groups like the Catholic Church or Boy Scouts of America.

Since 2015, victims in Georgia have been able to sue their abusers and organizations that covered up the abuse before they turn 23 years old or within two years after those victims realized what they suffered was in fact abuse.

Victim advocates have praised that statute-of-limitation window as a tool for securing justice for people who repressed memories of their abuse for decades. But they argue Georgia law is still too limiting.

Ex-Hillel House director convicted of molesting 9-year-old

IOWA CITY (IA)
Associated Press

March 7, 2020

A former director of a Jewish center in Iowa City has been convicted of molesting a 9-year-old boy.

A Johnson County jury found 29-year-old David Weltman guilty Thursday of second-degree sexual abuse. Prosecutors said Weltman abused the boy last year as he gave the boy Hebrew lessons at the Hillel House.

The boy reported to investigators that Weltman once picked him up, carried him into another room and touched him inappropriately. Weltman also confessed to a one-time friend that he has touched a child and that he is sexually attracted to young boys, police said.

Diocese offers findings on allegations against Rev. William A. Nolan

MADISON (WI)
Catholic Herald

March 7, 2020

Following is a statement released by the Diocese of Madison.

Following a thorough investigation and subsequent recommendation by the Diocese's Sexual Abuse Review Board, the Diocese of Madison now announces Bishop Donald Hying's determination that previously announced allegations of sexual misconduct made against Rev. William A. Nolan are deemed not to be credible.

In May 2018, two separate allegations of sexual misconduct against Fr. Nolan were brought forward and made public: one involving a man who claimed abuse from the time he was twelve or thirteen years old, until he was seventeen or eighteen (2006-2011), another involving a single incident with a man when he was twenty-one years old (2012). Upon receiving the allegations, Bishop Robert Morlino immediately excluded Fr. Nolan from sacred ministry and pledged cooperation with local law enforcement. In order to avoid impeding the work of law enforcement, the bishop postponed further canonical investigations into the alleged misconduct until all criminal investigations had concluded.

In early June 2018, the Janesville Police Department informed officials of the Diocese of Madison that it would not be pursuing any criminal investigation against Fr. Nolan concerning the alleged incident in 2012. However, regarding the alleged incidents from 2006-2011, the Jefferson County District Attorney charged Fr. Nolan with six counts of sexual assault of a child. On July 12, 2018, Fr. Nolan entered a plea of not guilty and his case proceeded to a full jury trial.

On September 12, 2019, Judge William F. Hue dismissed one of the six counts, and on September 13, 2019, Fr. Nolan was acquitted on all of the five remaining counts.

'It was now or never': Abuse survivor on why he spoke out on RTÉ programme in 2009

IRELAND
The Journal

March 3, 2020

Michael O’Brien created one of the most powerful moments in Irish television, when he passionately told his story on RTÉ in 2009.

ABUSE SURVIVOR MICHAEL O’Brien explained why he felt he had to speak about his experience on a 2009 RTÉ programme that discussed redress for victims of institutional abuse.

Michael O’Brien was a member of a live studio audience for RTÉ’s Questions and Answers programme in 2009. As a child he had spent eight years in St Joseph’s Industrial School, also known as Ferryhouse, in Co Tipperary where he was raped and severely beaten.

Among the panelists on the RTÉ programme were Leo Varadkar, who was in opposition at the time, and the then Minister for Transport, Fianna Fáil’s Noel Dempsey.

O’Brien asked Dempsey if the government would freeze the assets of religious institutions if they didn’t pay more into the Redress Board Fund, which had been a topical issue at the time.

Redress: Has the State delivered for abuse survivors?

IRELAND
RTÉ

March 4, 2020

Twenty-one years ago, the RTÉ television documentary series States Of Fear, profoundly changed the conversation about residential institutions in Ireland and caused a national outcry.

Now, using the personal testimonies of survivors of residential abuse who sought redress, a new two-part RTÉ series examines the Irish State's response to those survivors.

Below, reporter Mick Peelo introduces Redress: Breaking The Silence - watch it here, via RTÉ Player.

I thought I was sensitive to the sufferings of survivors of childhood abuse. I've made television documentaries on the subject for years, so when it came to survivors of abuse in residential institutions, I thought we had addressed the mistakes of the past, made amends and helped them find healing and closure as best they could. I thought redress was done and dusted. I was wrong.

In 1999, in a series called States of Fear, my late colleague, Mary Raftery used powerful, first-person testimonies of survivors of abuse in residential institutions to tell a scarcely believable story from the darker edges of modern Irish history. Before the broadcast of the last programme in that series, the reaction of the Irish public was such that the then taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, apologised on behalf of the State to those children who had been abused while in its care. He promised "to address the injustices of the past".

Diarmuid Ferriter: No redress for a botched scheme

IRELAND
Irish Times

March 7, 2020

By Diarmaid Ferriter

Too many who needed to be helped were instead subjected to new trauma

In 1972, A J Wallace, a 24-year-old former inmate of Artane Industrial School, who moved to London after his release, wrote to Taoiseach Jack Lynch: “It is now eight years since I left the Republic a free individual. Unfortunately for me, I can never forget one day of my 16 years in your country... I was admitted to an orphanage at the age of two years; at the age of 10 I was transferred to Artane where I was to stay another six years. I do not intend to put in writing at this very moment the treatment to which helpless children are subject to while in the care of the Irish Catholic authorities. I do not know if it could be possible, but I sure wish I had the opportunity to speak with you personally… I do believe that if I had a chance to tell my story a great deal of good could be done.”

Like many others, in reacting to the Ryan report in 2009, I highlighted its importance as a monument to the victims because it laid bare what went on in devastating but necessary detail and was a reminder it took decades for people like Wallace to tell their stories and get acknowledgement of the pain they suffered.

But there was to be no neat resolution, and what is appalling is that more than 10 years later, as heard in RTÉ’s powerful two-part series Redress, aired this week, some victims are still having to cope not just with the original abuse, but its compounding by church and state. Too many who needed to be helped by those with expertise in trauma were instead subjected to new trauma arising out of a badly mismanaged redress scheme.

Erie’s Trautman denies claims in Buffalo abuse suit

BUFFALO (NY)
GoErie.com

March 7, 2020

By Ed Palattella

Former bishop, accused of cover-up, is disputing constitutionality of New York law that lets plaintiffs sue in old cases.

Retired Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman is challenging New York’s landmark Child Victims Act as he seeks to dismiss a lawsuit that claims he covered up clergy sex abuse of a minor when he was a top official in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in the 1980s.

The Child Victims Act “is unconstitutional,” lawyers for Trautman wrote in his initial legal response to the suit, filed in December in Erie County, New York.

The lawyers also wrote that the law violates Trautman’s rights to due process under the New York constitution, and that Trautman denies all the claims in the suit.

The complaint should be dismissed “in its entirety,” according to the response, filed Thursday. The 11-page response lists denials for the claims in the suit without providing details, as is customary in the early stages of litigation. The claims and counterclaims are expected to get more detailed as the case proceeds.

Trautman, 83, was vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and then its auxiliary bishop for five years before he became bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Erie. He led the 13-county Catholic Diocese of Erie from 1990 to 2012.

Catholic writers reflect on Vanier revelations

WINNIPEG (MANITOBA, CANADA)
Winnipeg Free Press

March 7, 2020

By John Longhurst

Jean Vanier, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together.

The recent news about Jean Vanier’s coercive and abusive sexual encounters with at least six adult women has rocked the Christian world — and beyond.

A lot has been written about the revelations. Since Vanier was Roman Catholic, I wondered what some writers from that church were saying about it.

Writing for Catholic News Service, Jamie Manson noted Vanier’s abuse follows a pattern in the Catholic church of men in authority abusing children and women.

For him, the Vanier case reaffirmed that "the church’s radically patriarchal leadership structure and theology are at the root of most sex abuse cases in the church."

Priest offers suffering from brain tumor for victims of clergy sex abuse

INDIANA
Crux

March 7, 2020

Father John Hollowell cried as he sat in the confessional of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Greencastle.

It was the summer of 2018 - a time when the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse surfaced again through government investigations and media reports.

Hollowell cried as he thought of the suffering of abuse victims across several decades.

From these tears came a prayer. Hollowell asked God to let him bear a cross on behalf of the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

About 18 months later, it would seem that prayer was answered. After having several fainting spells and spasms in 2019, Hollowell was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota earlier this month with a brain tumor.

Dioceses. Boy Scouts. USA Gymnastics: The Real Reason They’re Crying “BANKRUPTCY”

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 7, 2020

Increasingly, venerable institutions like the Boy Scouts, the USA Gymnastics and Catholic dioceses say they are going into bankruptcy because of child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits.

So maybe it’s time to re-think those suits and the laws that enable them?

To put it bluntly, that’s a crazy idea. Bear with us as we explain.

For starters, let’s look more closely at why big non-profits like this sometimes seek Chapter 11 protection.

Are they being “forced to” (as some headline writers suggest)? Or are they doing so for selfish reasons?

Our bet is the latter.

Abusive New Orleans priest enjoys six figures' worth of financial support, victim claims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

March 6, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Attorneys for a man who claims he was molested as a child by a predatory priest estimate that the clergyman has received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of financial support from the Archdiocese of New Orleans since his forced retirement, according to court documents filed Friday.

The filing in the lawsuit targeting former priest Lawrence Hecker, 88, and the archdiocese calls attention to a church practice that is common nationwide but infuriates abuse victims and advocates.

The church provides retired priests with a monthly income, car insurance and a choice of living quarters, even when, like Hecker, they filed retirement papers in the wake of a credible accusation of child sexual abuse.

FIVE YEARS AGO, “SPOTLIGHT” ROCKED FILM AUDIENCES

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 7, 2020

Five years ago, “Spotlight” rocked film audiences

And it’s worth watching a second (or 3rd, 4th) time!

This is the five year anniversary of the release of an incredible film, Spotlight.

We agree with one of the public relations professionals who works with Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley. When the film came out, he said the archdiocese “would not discourage people from seeing it” and that viewing it “should be an individual choice.”

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/13/spotlight-reporters-uncovered-catholic-child-abuse-boston-globe

Yes, it’s your choice of course. And we hope you choose to see it (or see it again). It’s a powerful yet also entertaining reminder of how deceptive and powerful church officials have been (and largely still are) while also being an uplifting reminder of the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said “No lie lives forever.”

It’s great film.

Don’t just take our word for it. Look at these facts and figures about Spotlight from Wikipedia:

Damning Report Shows How the Catholic Church Dumped Predator Priests in Mexico

FriendlyAtheist.Patheos.com (blog)

March 6, 2020

By Hemant Mehta

According to a damning new report from ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle, dozens of priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse found new homes in foreign countries where it would be much harder for local authorities to find them. The Catholic Church facilitated or looked the other way in many of those cases.

It’s just incredible work from journalists Katie Zavadski, Topher Sanders, and Nicole Hensley.

ProPublica and the Chronicle analyzed lists published by 52 U.S. dioceses — encompassing the top 30 in terms of the number of credibly accused living clergy and those located in states along the U.S.-Mexico border. Reporters found 51 clergy who after allegations of abuse in the U.S. were able to work as priests or religious brothers in a host of countries, from Ireland to Nigeria to the Philippines. At least 40 had worked in U.S. states along the southern border, including 11 in Texas. No country was a more common destination than Mexico, where at least 21 credibly accused clergy found refuge.

As recently as Wednesday, one of the priests in question told reporters that his time with a 15-year-old boy — a boy he allegedly got drunk before groping and raping him — was “screwed up, but whatever happened was consensual.”

March 6, 2020

Citing coronavirus, Mexican bishops announce delay in Vatican sex abuse probe

ROME
Crux

March 6, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Claiming that it’s due to the outbreak in Italy of coronavirus, the Mexican bishops’ conference announced Friday that a planned visit by two top papal aides to address a local clerical sexual abuse crisis has been “postponed.”

According to the statement released Friday afternoon, the mission of Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Father Jordi Bertomeu has been “postponed” because the Holy See has “suspended all activity abroad.”

“To be carried out from March 20 to 27, [the investigation] has been postponed due to the health situation in Italy, which has already touched the Vatican City, concerning the coronavirus (Covid-19),” the statement says.

Dozens of Catholic Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse Found Work Abroad, Some With the Church’s Blessing

UNITED STATES
Houston Chronicle

March 6, 2020

By Katie Zavadski, Topher Sanders, ProPublica, and Nicole Hensley

The Catholic Church allowed more than 50 U.S.-based clergy to move abroad after facing credible accusations of sexual abuse. Some continued to work with children.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

This story is co-published with the Houston Chronicle.

The Rev. Jose Antonio Pinal, a young priest from Mexico, arrived at his first parish in rural Northern California in 1980, fresh out of seminary. The priest befriended the Torres family, helping the parents, also immigrants from Mexico, to fill out an application for food stamps. Pinal became an occasional dinner guest and took the children to theme parks and on road trips along the Pacific coast. He encouraged 15-year-old Ricardo Torres to become an altar boy.

But in the priest’s quarters at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the small city of Gridley, Torres said, Pinal, then 30, gave him alcohol, showed him movies with sex and nudity, and groped and raped him. The teenager told another priest in 1989 and the family was assured by lawyers for the diocese that Pinal would not be allowed around children, Torres said.

Thirty years later, in the spring of 2019, the Diocese of Sacramento put Pinal’s name on its list of credibly accused priests. The list had five allegations of sexual abuse against Pinal dating to the late 1980s.

Whistle-blower priest seeks lifting of suspension imposed by disgraced bishop

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 6, 2020

By Christopher White

As Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, the temporary leader of the Diocese of Buffalo, considers whether to reinstate a whistleblower priest, further questions have emerged about both whistleblower protections and potential conflicts of interest regarding the priest in question.

Father Ryszard Biernat last year secretly recorded private conversations with Bishop Richard Malone in which the now disgraced bishop raised serious questions about his handling of abuse cases and diocesan personnel matters - including a matter involving Biernat himself.

Last September, Biernat - who served as Malone’s secretary - released the audio recordings to Buffalo’s WKBW, in which he and Malone discuss a situation involving correspondence that suggests a romantic relationship between Biernat and a former diocesan seminarian who had recently resigned.

LA Priests Among Those Allowed To Work Abroad After Sexual Abuse Accusations

LOS ANGELES (CA)
LAist

March 6, 2020

The Catholic Church let at least 51 priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse move to different countries to continue working as clergy, according to an investigation from ProPublica released Friday. Of those, a handful were accused in Los Angeles prior to going elsewhere.

Among the Los Angeles-based offenders is a man ProPublica reporters describe as, “One of the most notorious cases of an accused priest moving across international borders.”

Sao Paulo Archdiocese creates commission to investigate abuse complaints

SAO PAULO (BRAZIL)
Catholic News Service

March 6, 2020

By Lise Alves

The Archdiocese of Sao Paulo announced the creation of a commission to investigate allegations of sexual abuse linked to the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Sao Paulo said the measure follows Pope Francis’s May 2019 document establishing new procedures for reporting abuse and violence within the Catholic Church. He said the commission will not only receive reports of sexual abuse committed by clergy and religious, but it will look at all areas of the church’s life in order to prevent abuse.

In a news conference March 5, Scherer said the commission would have up to 90 days to conclude its inquiries. He said the commission would “welcome people, listen and try to characterize the complaint.”

Clearfield police arrest former youth leader on multiple child sex abuse charges

CLEARFIELD (UT)
Standard-Examiner

March 6, 2020

By Mark Shenefelt

Clearfield police arrested a man Thursday on suspicion of multiple felony sexual abuse charges involving a 14-year-old boy.

A police probable cause statement alleges that Brad Isakson, 38, of Clearfield, committed six felony crimes against the boy, including masturbation and oral sex. He also enticed the boy via text message to have anal sex and sent him a video of himself masturbating, the police document alleged.

Isakson had occupied a position of trust as a youth leader of the victim, the statement said.

Pope Accepts Resignation of French Cardinal Acquitted of Covering Up Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
The Wall Street Journal

March 6, 2020

By Francis X. Rocca and Noemie Bisserbe

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin’s 2019 conviction was overturned by an appeals court in January

The pope has accepted the resignation of France’s most-senior Catholic cleric, the Vatican said, weeks after a French court overturned his conviction for failing to report child sex abuse.

Expert: No system ‘will ever be perfect’ but Church abuse prevention is improving

ROME
Crux

March 6, 2020

By Inés San Martín

According to one of the lay members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, it would be “naïve” to think that every case of abuse can be prevented, though much can be done to greatly reduce the number of cases and stop repeat offenders.

“If we would expect that with all the guidelines we have in place we can prevent abuse 100 percent, we would be naïve,” said Dr. Myriam Wijlens of the Netherlands. “We cannot prevent it in the Church in as much as we cannot prevent it in the Scouts or sports. No system will ever be perfect.”

However, she told Crux in an interview, “we can, and I believe we do, learn to be more attentive, listen and see the signals better and thus improve our reaction. This goes for those in leadership as well as parents and other faithful in the church: we are indeed all more attentive. There is also a better culture that encourages victims to speak and report. The preventive measures will hopefully mean that abusers are not moved and that thus repetitive abuse may be prevented.”

Catholic Church in Germany to increase payments to abuse survivors

MAINZ (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service

March 6, 2020

The German bishops, responding to criticism from survivors of clergy sexual abuse, will begin paying more compensation, reported the German Catholic news agency, KNA.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier said the Catholic Church in Germany will orient itself to compensation tables and the corresponding court rulings applied in civil law cases.

Those payments currently range between 5,000 euros ($5,650) and 50,000 euros per case. The bishop said the church will always pay sums “at the higher end of the margin of discretion.”

Australian court to hear ex-Vatican treasurer's final appeal on sex offences

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Reuters

March 5, 2020

By Sonali Paul

Australia’s highest court will hear a final bid on March 11 by former Vatican treasurer George Pell to overturn his conviction for sexually assaulting two teenaged choir boys in the 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell, 78, is in jail serving a six-year sentence which began a year ago after he was convicted by a jury on one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four charges of an indecent act with a child under 16.

The highest ranked Catholic worldwide to be jailed for child sex offences is appealing to the High Court of Australia after Victoria’s Court of Appeal upheld his conviction last August by a 2-1 majority.

Trial continues for accused Rapid City priest

RAPID CITY (SD)
KOTA-TV

March 5, 2020

By Jack Caudill/Caroline Pettey

The jury in the trial of a former Rapid City Catholic priest hears an interview with police where he admits to stealing from the church collection.

41-year old Marcin Garbacz is facing a total of 65 federal charges including wire fraud, money laundering , transportation of stolen money and filing a false tax return.

In the interview from June 2018, Rapid City Police Sergeant Michael Shine asked Garbacz if it was him caught on surveillance video taking the collection bags at St. Therese Church in Rapid City.

He said it was and admitted to taking more than $200.

In that interview, Garbacz also admitted to four other thefts at the church, saying he took between $100 and $120 each time.

He said he took the tamper proof bags into the confessional at the church, took some of the money and then replaced the bags with new ones.

4 Mexican bishops investigated since May for hiding abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

March 5, 2020

By MARÍA VERZA

The Roman Catholic Church began investigating four Mexican bishops last May for allegedly covering up cases of pederasty, the Vatican’s representative in Mexico said.

Nuncio Franco Coppola said the inquiries were part of measures put in place recently to end “the culture of silence and fear” surrounding sexual abuse in the church.

Priests abusing minors in Mexico was a long-running problem, but until Pope Francis laid out new guidance last spring it wasn’t clear how to handle the issue of the cover-ups, which proved more complicated than looking into the actual cases of abuse, Coppola said in an interview Wednesday.

Diocese of Youngstown adds to list of ‘credibly accused’ priests

YOUNGSTOWN (OH)
WKBN-TV

March 5, 2020

The Diocese of Youngstown added two names to its list of priests that were “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Diocese added Reverend William Hohman and Reverend Daniel Cipar to that list.

Rev. Hohman was ordained in 1938 and came to Youngstown in 1943.

He served at St. Stephen Parish in Niles, St. Brendan Parish in Youngstown, St. George Parish in Lisbon, St. Joseph Parish in Alliance, St. Ann Parish in East Liverpool and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Aurora.

Rev. Hohman died in 1988.

Rev. Cipar was ordained in 1961 and came to the Diocese of Youngstown as a missionary in 1993.

March 5, 2020

Ex-Fargo priest says he isn't remorseful for sexually abusing kids

FARGO (ND)
Valley News Live (KVLY)

March 4, 2020

By Joshua Peguero

A former Fargo priest says he is not remorseful for sexual assault incidents that happened dozens of years ago.

New documents revealed his name, Martin Cullen, as well as 52 other North Dakota Catholic priests who were moved to other churches after being accused of sexually abusing minors.

Three lawyers held a press conference in Fargo on Thursday stating they are making it their business to change state laws for victims of sexual abuse.

Demographics are destiny: How bad could U.S. Protestants’ money woes become?

UNITED STATES
GetReligion

February 29, 2020

By Richard Ostling

THE QUESTION:

Are U.S. Protestant congregations facing a dangerous plunge in income?

THE GUY’S ANSWER:

Note the subtitle of this recent book release: “The Coming Revolution in Church Economics: Why Tithes and Offerings Are No Longer Enough and What You Can Do About It” (published by Baker). Will many churchgoers no longer be able to keep the doors of their churches open? How bad will it get?

Authors Mark DeYmaz and Harry Li are evangelicals who lead the Mosaix Global Network based in Little Rock, Ark., which promotes and aids multi-ethnic churches. In addition to the book, they discussed their scenario and solutions in an article for www.christianitytoday.com. Their analysis pertains to Protestant congregations, so this Q & A article will do the same.

Southern Baptist wars: The untold story is the rage of evangelical women

UNITED STATES
GetReligion (blog)

February 23, 2020

By Julia Duin

When it comes to fights, the Southern Baptists don’t mess around. Whereas other denominations and religious bodies (Methodists, Episcopalians) at least try to keep things looking civil on the surface, not so America’s largest non-Catholic flock.

When these Baptists want a street brawl, the rest of us need to clear the decks. And what’s interesting in this newest set of battle lines is how women are getting involved and helping redefine this battle as something bigger than theological jousting. It’s even more than sexual abuse and #ChurchToo.

It’s about whether women will ever be taken seriously in the SBC when problems first arise, not when things have gotten so bad, the police are being called in.

The more recent unrest bubbled to the surface about a week ago. Outside of the denominational press, Religion News Service has been the main outlet covering the fracas. This story gives some background.

Former Irish president threatens to quit Catholic Church over Vanier revelations

LEICESTER (UNITED KINGDOM)
Crux

March 5, 2020

By Charles Collins

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has written Pope Francis threatening to quit the Catholic Church if it comes to light the Vatican “failed to act to protect members of the L’Arche community” from the organization’s founder Jean Vanier.

Vanier founded L’Arche in 1964 to work with the intellectually disabled under a community model where those with disabilities and the people who assist them live together. Although Vanier was Catholic, L’Arche isn’t affiliated with any religious denomination.

Vanier died at the age of 90 on May 7, 2019. After his death, Francis thanked God for his ministry and called him a “great witness.”

Opinion: Pope Francis’ Seven-Year Reign Brought Division in the Vatican and the Rest of His Church

OPEN TABERNACLE (blog)

March 5, 2020

By Betty Clermont

Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013. Since then, he has been directly responsible for past, present and future sexual torture and brutalization of children. He has obstructed the battle for women’s and LGBTQ persons’ equal rights and appeased tyrants. The pope has also created intentional and unnecessary acrimony with Vatican employees and within his Church.

VATICAN

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, Vatican police raided offices of the Secretariat of State and the Financial Information Authority, the Vatican’s money-laundering “watchdog” agency, as authorized by Pope Francis. “They seized documents, computers, telephones and passports and blocked bank accounts,” Edward Pentin reported.

Priests with same last name mixed up on New Orleans archdiocese's list of abusive clergy

NEW ORLEANS
NOLA.com

March 5, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Archdiocese of New Orleans recently dropped one priest from a list of clergymen facing credible claims of molesting children and replaced him with another priest from the same religious order who had the same last name.

Officials with the archdiocese and the religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, this week chalked up the correction to a case of mistaken identity.

Both priests are dead.

The Salesian priest now named in the list is Joseph Sokol, who was born in 1908 and died in 1970. The priest who was removed is Alfred Sokol (no relation to Joseph), who died in 2004 at age 93, after spending much of his career at New Jersey’s prestigious Don Bosco Prep.

German bishops approve guidelines for abuse case payments

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press

March 5, 2020

Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday approved new guidelines that likely will provide for payments ranging up to about 50,000 euros ($55,700) each for victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

The church has been shaken in recent years by scandals in several countries, including Germany. A church-commissioned report in 2018 concluded that at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014 — more than half of them 13 or younger and nearly a third of them altar boys. A top bishop has apologized for the abuse.

The German Bishops’ Conference said at the end of a regular meeting Thursday that compensation payments would be decided by “a central and independent body on the basis of an examination of plausibility.”

Maryland state senator compares bill on child sexual abuse lawsuits to Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process

BALTIMORE
Baltimore Sun

March 5, 2020

By Pamela Wood

A Maryland senator ruffled feathers in Annapolis by sending a lengthy letter to his fellow Republicans, urging them to vote against a bill that would give survivors of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers.

In his letter, Sen. Robert Cassilly draws parallels to the confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was questioned about allegations that he assaulted a young woman at a teenage party decades ago. He suggests that giving abuse survivors unlimited time to sue would be akin to the “travesty” of the Kavanaugh hearings.

“As the Kavanaugh hearing showed, every day after an event occurs justice becomes less likely as it becomes increasingly more difficult to capture the truth,” wrote Cassilly, a Harford County Republican who also is an attorney.

The letter, which was sent Feb. 10 to Republican members of the House of Delegates, frustrated Del. C.T. Wilson, who has been working for years to make it easier for adult survivors of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

AP Explains: Vatican to send abuse investigators to Mexico

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

March 5, 2020

By Maria Verza

The Vatican’s announcement that it is sending an investigative commission to Mexico later in March to look into cases of clergy sex abuse could become a turning point in the country that’s home to the second largest number of Catholics in the world. That is, if the information gathered by investigators leads to concrete results within the church and the criminal justice system. With a strong connection to church, a history of abuse denial and a cultural reticence about discussing sexual abuse, Mexico has trailed other countries where far more abuse has been revealed.

__

WHY IS THE VATICAN SENDING THIS MISSION TO MEXICO AND WHY NOW?

More victims, especially of the Legion of Christ religious order, came forward in Mexico and media attention mounted, putting more pressure on the church. Mexico’s Vatican representative Franco Coppola said the Catholic church’s large presence in Mexico means how the abuse cases are handled could serve as a good or bad example for other countries. He cited the “seriousness” of the situation in Mexico for the decision to send the mission now.

Leading Catholic figure Francis Sullivan calling for changes after sex abuse crisis

AUSTRALIA
The Catholic Leader

March 5, 2020

By Mark Bowling

LEADING Catholic figure Francis Sullivan has criticised Church authorities for a “glaring lack of moral leadership” over the child sex abuse crisis and has called for the Church to change its “terms of engagement” if it is to remain relevant and engaged in Australia.

“Unless we break the shackles of entitlement and cronyism, become inclusive and more representative in our decision-making we risk losing any claim to renewal and reform,” Mr Sullivan, former chief executive officer of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, told the biennial Catholic Social Services national conference in Melbourne on February 27.

“In a society that regards religion as just another lifestyle choice at best, we need to resist trying to pump air into old tyres that have run their course."

Former Mormon church leader federally indicted for child porn

UNITED STATES
MSN

March 5, 2020

By Christine Byers

The attorney for a former Mormon church leader said Wednesday that his client was never a bishop and that the federal child pornography charges he is now facing are the result of a "very unique situation," between the alleged 16-year-old victim's family and his client's.

Larry Deutsch, 54, appeared with his attorney, Gregory Wittner, Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley Padmore Mensah wearing an orange prison sweatshirt and pants with his legs and hands shackled.

St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar charged Deutsch with child pornography on Feb. 21. St. Charles County police described Deutsch as a bishop of a Mormon church in the Lake St. Louis area in court documents.

Police also said they had reason to believe Deutsch might have other victims because he had unsupervised contact with children as a part of his leadership and service activities at various churches throughout St. Charles County and Troy, Missouri.

Attorneys say North Dakota needs to open up on clergy abuse

FARGO (ND)
The Associated Press

March 5, 2020

By Dave Kolpack

Three attorneys who conducted an investigation into clergy sex abuse said Wednesday the North Dakota Legislature should open up the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits and demanded that the state’s two Roman Catholic dioceses release more files on accused priests.

The Fargo and Bismarck dioceses in January released a list of 53 clergy members with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, but it did not include the assignment histories that were compiled and released Wednesday by attorneys Michael Bryant, Tatum O’Brien and Tim O’Keeffe. The lawyers said they hope their findings will help lay out timelines and encourage victims to come forward.

“I think that it’s really important for our victims to know and really important for the public to know where these priests were located at different times,” said O’Keeffe of Fargo. “Obviously it’s a very private issue for the victims. It’s a tough thing to talk about.”

Walking with ‘suffering Christ’ means standing with victims, says priest

CHICAGO (IL)
CNS

March 5, 2020

By Michelle Martin

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the world’s leading experts on safeguarding minors, said the church is suffering “institutional trauma” from clerical sexual abuse, trauma that it must learn to integrate into its theology and understanding of salvation if it is to overcome it.

He visited the Archdiocese of Chicago March 1-3 to speak with seminarians, clergy and members of religious congregations on “The Present Status of Safeguarding in the Church,” which also was the topic of his March 2 DePaul University talk.

Pope Francis names Savannah archbishop as new leader of the Catholic Church in Atlanta

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

March 5, 2020

Pope Francis has named Savannah Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer as the new leader of the Catholic Church in Atlanta.

Pope Francis has named Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer as the new leader of the Catholic Church in Atlanta.

Hartmayer, 68, replaces Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who took over as head of the church in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of the 2018 explosion of the sex abuse and cover-up scandal.

Hartmayer, a Conventual Franciscan, has been bishop of Savannah, Georgia since 2011.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Hartmayer worked as a guidance counselor, school director and teacher in a variety of Catholic schools in Baltimore, New York and Florida.

Denied full participation, Catholic women mobilise for change

BOSTON (MA)
The Conversation

March 5, 2020

By Kathleen McPhillips and Tracy McEwan

Women still make up the majority of the Catholic workforce and Catholic congregations, but their participation in church life is in decline.

Indeed, each generation of Catholic women in Australia is less likely than the previous one to attend church and participate in parish life.

There are a number of reasons for this decline, one of which is a continued lack of action by church leadership in including women in agenda-setting and decision-making processes in church life.

The quiet, often painful work of LA's abuse oversight board

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Angelus News

March 5, 2020

By Tom Hoffarth

For almost the last 20 years, a handful of men and women — among them attorneys, mental health professionals, a couple of priests, a woman religious, even a pediatrician — have met regularly to provide a service Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez couldn’t do his job without.

Known as the Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board (CMOB), the independent board has reviewed every case of suspected sexual impropriety committed by priests and deacons in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since 2002. Some are survivors of sexual abuse by clergy themselves.

Their task: to carefully evaluate every accusation before advising the archbishop on what actions should be taken, whether related to policy or outreach to those affected by abuse.

Sexually abused gymnasts have ally in fight for accountability from US Olympic leader

UNITED STATES
USA TODAY

March 3, 2020

By Nancy Armour

Sexual abuse survivors have made it clear they will not accept a settlement offer from USA Gymnastics that releases the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) without it making a significant financial contribution.

They have a powerful ally: the judge overseeing the case.

During a Feb. 10 status call, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robyn Moberly took the USOPC to task, saying it needed to be “actively participating, particularly with their pocketbook.”

“It isn’t news to anybody on this phone call, nor is it news to me, that the U.S. Olympic Committee needs to be an active participant, and I mean beyond just throwing in their insurance coverage in this,” Moberly said, according to a transcript of the call obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

Mountain View Police Arrest Missionary From Utah In Child Porn Investigation

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CA)
CBS SF

March 5, 2020

Mountain View Police arrested a teen who was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of a child pornography investigation.

According to police, officers arrested 19-year-old Hayden Hunter on suspicion of child pornography and child pornography distribution. Hunter, who is from Pleasant Grove, Utah, was stationed as a missionary in Fremont at the time of his arrest Wednesday morning.

Police said they received a tip in September of a private Facebook Messenger group chat linked to suspected child pornography, with members possibly as young as 13-years-old. Over the course of the investigation, detectives identified “numerous videos and images” that they determined were child porn.

Survey of sex abuse victims hopes to dispel myths about survivors

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

March 4, 2020

By Heidi Schlumpf

A survivor of sexual abuse is conducting what she believes is the first broad survey of victims of sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church, with the hopes that the information will clarify and counteract common misperceptions about the survivor community.

Among those myths: that all the victims are male and were abused by priests.

The survey, which was launched Sunday, already is finding "a lot more women are survivors than generally thought," said Joelle Casteix, an author and advocate for survivors of child sexual assault and institutional cover-up.

Former St. Louis Priory Priest Who Stalked Woman By Hiding In Bushes Gets 2 Years’ Probation

CLAYTON (MO)
Moose Gazette

March 4, 2020

A priest who formerly worked at a St. Louis County Catholic school was sentenced Wednesday to two years’ probation for stalking a woman last year and hiding in the bushes outside her home.Michael McCusker, 37, who was once a theology teacher at St. Louis Priory School in Creve Coeur, was sentenced by Associate Circuit Judge Mondonna Ghasedi. While working at the school, McCusker referred to himself by his religious name, the Rev. John McCusker.McCusker pleaded guilty in January to two misdemeanor counts of second-degree stalking and resisting arrest.His lawyer, Jesse Ullom, said Wednesday he thought the judge “gave fair consideration to everybody’s concerns.” Other conditions of McCusker’s probation include 80 hours of community service, no alcohol consumption and no contact with the victim.

The Rev. Michael McCusker, a former teacher and priest at St. Louis Priory School, was charged Feb. 4, 2019, with stalking and resisting arrest.

Richmond Heights police said in February 2019 that officers were called to a home in the 9000 block of Greenridge Drive where a woman reported a man looking through her windows.Officers spotted McCusker hiding in the bushes, prompting McCusker to run, police said.McCusker now lives in Maryland and is still a priest, his attorney said. He hopes to join the armed forces and become a chaplain.

In Europe, church taxes are voluntary. People pay them anyway. But for how long?

Christian Century

March 5, 2020

By Philip Jenkins

I would love to see Americans’ reaction if a US politician proposed a law requiring most citizens to pay a tax for the upkeep of churches (albeit with the right to opt out). Surely the vast majority would reject the idea as blatant theocracy, even the first move toward a Republic of Gilead.

Yet that is the prevailing system in several countries in Europe, including Scandinavian lands that we normally think of as highly secular. And that system is surprisingly popular.

The European system is a vestige of an older world of established churches that once exercised great control and influence. Long after churches ceased to exercise any kind of monopoly, millions of believers continued to affirm their membership in a church of one denomination or another, and the state cooperated by collecting the taxes associated with membership.

Views from Kansas: Church should back legislation [Opinion]

LAWRENCE (KS)
Lawrence Journal-World

March 5, 2020

What the Kansas Catholic Conference might consider giving up for Lent is its official neutrality on a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for civil suits filed by victims of childhood sexual abuse.

To do otherwise would give the surely mistaken impression that the Catholic Church still doesn’t understand and/or care about the extent of the damage caused by its long history of covering up abuse perpetrated by priests.

If you understand abuse at all, you know that it takes even most adult victims many years to come forward. The average age of disclosure is 52.

So Kansas law, which gives childhood victims only three years after they turn 18 to file lawsuits, desperately needs the overhaul that it might finally get, though legislators have opposed such an update in the past and many are hesitant still.

Missouri youth group leader charged with sex crimes

MISSOURI
Associated Press

March 5, 2020

A Missouri youth group leader has been charged with raping one girl and exchanging nude photos with two others.

Twenty-two-year-old Benjamin Blake, of Rogersville, was freed on bond Wednesday after he was charged last week with the rape count and five other felonies.

The probable cause statement says he convinced one of the girls whom he is accused of exchanging photos with to perform a sex act on him and threatened to harm himself if the other girl didn’t send pictures, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

The statement says Blake, who was a youth group leader at Temple Baptist Church in Marshfield, was 18 and 19 at the time, while the girls were 13 and 14.

His attorney didn’t immediately return a phone message from the News-Leader or The Associated Press.

Healing Together

SOUTH BEND (IN)
Notre Dame Magazine

March 5, 2020

By Margaret Fosmoe ’85

A leader among lay Catholics in the response to the abuse crisis calls for a broad coalition to institute meaningful reform.

Responding to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church requires the active involvement of survivors, the clergy and other religious, as well as lay men and women, according to Kerry Alys Robinson, who has devoted much of her life to the Church.

“Diversity matters. Who is at the tables of decision-making matters,” said Robinson, founding executive director and global ambassador of Leadership Roundtable, an organization dedicated to promoting ethics, accountability and best practices in the Church through lay involvement. “We all need to solve the myopia. We are all myopic, on our own or within our own narrowly defined groups.”

Called and co-responsible

Robinson’s spoke March 4 at the Morris Inn during the first day of a conference, “Called & Co-Responsible: The Mission of the Church,” organized by Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life. The conference continues until March 6 and many of the sessions are being livestreamed.

High court judge spends a year fighting low-dollar fine

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

March 5, 2020

By Edward Fitzpatrick

A R.I. Supreme Court justice has been fighting a $200 ethics fine for months — using a taxpayer-funded insurance policy

The fine came to just $200.

But a Rhode Island Supreme Court justice has spent the past year fighting a legal battle, paid for by a publicly financed insurance policy, to avoid that ethics code penalty.

In February 2019, the state Ethics Commission fined Justice Francis X. Flaherty $200 for failing to disclose that he was the president of a Catholic legal group while he was ruling on a priest sexual abuse case.

Flaherty appealed the ruling nearly a year ago, and oral arguments are set for Wednesday morning in state Superior Court before Judge Brian P. Stern.

“Normally, people settle for a nominal fine, but Justice Flaherty seems to be trying to make some points about his view of the code of ethics,” said John M. Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. “It seems like a giant waste of time and resources.”

Flaherty declined to comment Tuesday, and his lawyer, Marc DeSisto, said he won’t comment until the case is over.

Malone suspended priest secretary who leaked chancery tapes

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic News Agency

March 4, 2020

The day before he left his office, Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo forbade his former priest secretary from celebrating sacraments, after the priest leaked audio recordings that showed Malone knew about clerical sexual abuse allegations months before he acted on them. Buffalo’s temporary leader is now considering reinstating the priest.

A Dec. 3 document, titled “Decree Imposing A Penal Remedy,” is addressed to Fr. Ryszard Biernat, who served as Malone’s secretary and vice chancellor of the diocese, until he was placed on leave by the bishop in August 2019.

In September 2019, Biernat took recordings of several conversations with Malone to a local media outlet. In those conversations, Malone acknowledged the legitimacy of accusations of harassment and a violation of the seal of confession made against a diocesan priest, Fr. Jeffrey Nowak, by a seminarian, months before the diocese removed Nowak from active ministry.

Regina Catholic School Division commits to renaming Jean Vanier School

REGINA (SASKATCHEWAN)
Global News

March 4, 2020

By Jonathan Guignard

The Regina Catholic School Division is moving forward with changing the name of Jean Vanier School, after sexual abuse allegations against its namesake surfaced last month.

The decision was made at their board meeting on Tuesday night.

“It’s important to rename the school so the school isn’t painted with the same brush that came from the reports of sexual abuse,” said Twylla West, Regina Catholic School Division spokesperson.

“Our prayers remain with the victims and all victims of sexual abuse.”

According to a report released by L’Arche International on Feb. 22, there was enough evidence to show that Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” over a period from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over six alleged victim

‘Hidden Predator’ bill widens statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits in Georgia

ATLANTA (GEORGIA)
Augusta Chronicle

March 4, 2020

By Beau Evans

State lawmakers are mulling whether to broadly expand the statute of limitations in Georgia for people to sue who were sexually abused as children by members of businesses and nonprofit groups like the Catholic Church or Boy Scouts of America.

Since 2015, victims in Georgia have been able to sue their abusers and organizations that covered up the abuse before they turn 23 years old or within two years after those victims realized what they suffered was in fact abuse.

Victim advocates have praised that statute-of-limitation window as a tool for securing justice for people who repressed memories of their abuse for decades. But they argue Georgia law is still too limiting.

House Bill 479, dubbed the “Hidden Predator Act,” would expand the age range and timeframe for many more adults in Georgia to file lawsuits for sexual abuse they suffered as children.

March 4, 2020

Vatican Officials Investigating Sex Abuse Cases to Visit Mexico on 'Zero Tolerance' Drive

MEXICO CITY
Reuters

March 3, 2020

Two Vatican officials charged with investigating accusations of sexual abuse by clergy will visit Mexico for a fact-finding mission later this month, the Church said on Tuesday.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu will meet with church leaders and alleged victims during their week-long visit to the world's second largest Roman Catholic country, the Mexican bishops' conference said.

Auxiliary Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, general secretary of the bishops' conference, told a news conference in Mexico City that the Church had requested aid from the Vatican in order to help the youngest and most vulnerable in Mexico.

Mexican Clerical Abuse Victims Skeptical of Vatican Mission

MEXICO CITY
Associated Press

March 3, 2020

Victims of clerical sex abuse have expressed skepticism over a Vatican investigative commission that will collect statements and information about abuse in Mexico, though most said they would meet with Pope Francis' investigators.

“Only by speaking with them can you demand results,” said Biani Lopez-Antunez, who was abused by a Legion of Christ school director in Cancun between the ages of 8 and 10 years old. “The results of this visit must be measured only based on the facts, the reports, because I'm already tired of the fake action that operates at all levels of the Church.”

The Vatican announced Tuesday that two investigators, Charles Scicluna, archbishop of Malta and deputy secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Jordi Bertomeu, will be in Mexico City March 20-27. They will meet with bishops, leaders of religious orders and victims who want to speak with them. They promise confidentiality.

West Warwick priest at center of controversy injured in crash

PROVIDENCE (RI)
NBC 10 News

March 4, 2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said Wednesday that a West Warwick priest who became embroiled in a controversy over comments he made about pedophilia and abortion was hurt in serious car crash north of Boston.

The Rev. Richard Bucci of Sacred Heart Parish was injured in the single-car crash on the Lynnway in Lynn at about 1 p.m. Tuesday. The front end of the car was ripped apart.

State troopers said they believe the driver struck a tree and a pole, trapping him inside the car.

N.Y. bishop explains why priests accused of abuse joined private Mass

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic News Service

March 4, 2020

The bishop serving as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo said he regretted the “pain and further disillusionment” of clergy sexual abuse survivors caused by the participation of priests credibly accused of abuse in a private Lenten Mass at which he presided.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, New York, said March 1 in a statement that the Mass at the start of Lent for all priests of the diocese emphasized “the need to atone for and work toward the healing of all who have been harmed by the scourge of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.”

His statement came in response to angry reaction to the Mass by Robert Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery, an sexual abuse victims’ advocacy group.

Lawyers demand North Dakota Catholic dioceses 'end cover-up of clergy abuse,' release files

FARGO (ND)
Inforum

March 4, 2020

By Patrick Springer

Lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clerics released a report detailing the assignments of priests the church has identified as having been accused of sexual abuse and demanded the public release of church files.

The lawyers released information about the church assignments of 53 priests, deacons and others who face substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in a news conference on Wednesday, March 4. The Catholic dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck had released the names of the priests and others in January, but did not provide details about which parishes they had served.

The church has a responsibility to release "files pertinent to the histories of each perpetrator to the public and law enforcement," the lawyers said. Failure to do so, they added, will make the Catholic dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck "complicit in concealing this hazard."

"There's still potential dangers to children," said Michael Bryant, a lawyer from Waite Park, Minn., who spoke at the news conference. "That's what we're trying to prevent."

Fermanagh producer’s series on Australian clerical sex abuse

IRELAND
The Impartial Reporter

March 4, 2020

By Rodney Edwards

A ground-breaking documentary series by a Fermanagh born filmmaker on the criminal priests and brothers of the Catholic Church and their crimes in Australia will be laid bare for the first time in their own words next month.

In a series of television firsts, Revelation by Nial Fulton features interviews with two of Australia’s worst serial paedophiles, an ordained priest and a religious brother, and takes cameras into court to follow the drama of their criminal trials.

The compelling interviews, carried out by journalist Sarah Ferguson, are the first insiders’ accounts of the system of protection and cover-up that allowed its members to get away with such heinous crimes for so long.

Controversial West Warwick priest seriously injured in Mass. crash

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

March 4, 2020

A West Warwick priest who’s been in the news recently for comments on abortion and pedophilia was seriously injured in Lynn, Massachusetts, Tuesday afternoon when his vehicle veered off the road and hit a tree and a pole.

The Diocese of Providence confirmed Wednesday morning that the Rev. Richard Bucci was the person injured in the crash, and requested prayers for Bucci, his family, friends and the parish.

Bucci, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick, was freed from the wreckage and taken by helicopter to Salem Hospital, then to another hospital, according to the Massachusetts State Police.

New York Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger explains why priests accused of abuse joined private Mass

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic News Service

March 3, 2020

The bishop serving as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo said he regretted the “pain and further disillusionment” of clergy sexual abuse survivors caused by the participation of priests credibly accused of abuse in a private Lenten Mass at which he presided.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., said March 1 in a statement that the Mass at the start of Lent for all priests of the diocese emphasized “the need to atone for and work toward the healing of all who have been harmed by the scourge of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.”

His statement came in response to angry reaction to the Mass by Robert Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery, a sexual abuse victims’ advocacy group.

Hoatson charged March 1 in front of diocesan headquarters that Bishop Scharfenberger “disrespected” and retraumatized sex abuse survivors by having the accused priests at the Mass. Hoatson, a former priest, called on Bishop Scharfenberger to resign.

Albany Diocese Considers Uncertain Future During Siena Panel

ALBANY (NY)
WAMC

March 3, 2020

By Jackie Orchard

It is a troubled time for the Catholic church and its flock. Roughly 80 priests in the Albany Diocese have been accused of sexual abuse and roughly 70 priests have been accused in Buffalo. Amid that troubling backdrop, Siena College hosted a “Let’s Rebuild Our Church” panel Saturday.

The panel included a priest, a professor of theology, and a survivor of sexual abuse who gathered to answer questions about how abuse in the church occurs and what is being done to stop it.

Father Tom Konopka of the Albany Diocesan Counseling Center is a social worker. He says when he entered the seminary in 1984 there were psychological tests, IQ tests, and several interviews. He says the process is even more thorough today, as New York state’s Child Victims Act helps focus attention on decades of alleged abuse within the church.

Victims to Continue Sexual Abuse Claims Despite Buffalo Diocese Bankruptcy, Lawyer Says

BUFFALO (NY)
Law.com/New York Law Journal

March 3, 2020

By Tom McParland

The diocese, a spokeswoman emphasized, was reorganizing, not liquidating, and survivors would be a "No. 1 priority" among its creditors.

The Diocese of Buffalo’s decision last week to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was expected to complicate, but not foreclose, efforts to recover on behalf of alleged victims of child sexual abuse, an attorney for some of the accusers said Tuesday.

Mary McAleese will leave Catholic Church if abuse allegations were ignored

IRELAND
Extra.ie

March 4, 2020

By Graham McGrath

Mary McAleese said that she will leave the Catholic Church if abuse claims from within a community for people with disabilities were ignored by the church.

The former President of Ireland has written to Pope Francis for answers about allegations of abuse from L’Arche Community founder Jean Vanier and priest Fr Thomas Phillipe.

L’Arche International is an organisation for people with intellectual disabilities and it has centres in 39 countries, including four centres in Ireland.

Commentary: The Catholics on South Avenue

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester City Newspaper

March 4, 2020

By David Andreatta

On Sunday, a retired Catholic priest unknown to these parts visited a handful of churches around Rochester and spoke to congregants at the end of Mass.

He was the Rev. John Cusick, a straight-shooter from Chicago, where he was known for reviving a parish and preaching to young adults in barrooms. It has been reported that he delivered his homilies off the cuff.

Cusick told parishioners at Church of the Assumption in Fairport that he had been sent — by whom he didn’t say — to “fire up the troops,” and he invited congregants to join him the following evening for some sort of pep talk.

McAleese threatens to leave Catholic Church if Vanier story not explained

IRELAND
Irish Times

March 3, 2020

By Patsy McGarry

Church must say how it commended ‘a man whose predatory proclivities it was aware of’

Former president Mary McAleese has written to Pope Francis saying she will leave the Catholic Church “if it transpires that the Holy See failed to act to protect members of the L’Arche Community”.

She said people should have been alerted to “the known predatory activities” of the community’s founder Jean Vanier and his mentor, Dominican priest Fr Thomas Philippe.

“I have to say that this will be my final line of least resistance. I could not in conscience continue to support an institution capable of such gross negligence,” Mrs McAleese said in the letter.

Serious allegations against Archdiocese of New Orleans and credibly accused priest detailed in new court filings

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE

March 3, 2020

By Kimberly Curth

Serious allegations against the Archdiocese of New Orleans and a former priest credibly accused of child sex abuse. New court filings detail the accusations as part of a civil lawsuit against the church.

In a rare interview, we tracked down Lawrence Hecker, the former priest accused of being a “serial pedophile who has sexually abused countless children” in a new civil court filing.

Attorneys for alleged church sex abuse victims ask the court to declassify confidential documents from the Archdiocese of New Orleans. According to the court filing, “The crux of almost all of these documents are underlying sexual crimes against children and the Archdiocese’s decades-long cover up of these crimes, which is potentially criminal in and of itself.”

“Unbelievable allegations and some of them could still be within the statute of limitations arguably so once again the argument that it should be released is also pressure on the Archdiocese because we’re going to expose you but it’s also possibly criminal exposure that’s going around here so it’s this, as usual, a big bombshell,” said FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Attorneys give insight on PA Supreme Court reviewing child sex abuse time limits decision

HARRISBURG (PA)
Local 21 News

March 3, 2020

By Brian Sheehan

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says it will consider whether some victims of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church have a right to file lawsuits.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy.

The high court plans to consider whether survivors can sue Pennsylvania diocese’s for allegedly covering up sex abuse, even though statute of limitations in their cases ran out several years ago.

“I totally understand why they’re hearing it. This is an important case,” Rice’s Attorney, Richard Serbin, said.

4 Mexican bishops referred to superiors in sex abuse cases

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

March 4, 2020

By Maria Verza

The Vatican’s representative in Mexico said Tuesday that four Catholic bishops had been referred to their superiors for alleged connections to cases of sexual abuse as part of the church’s efforts to gather information about the possible cover up of abuse.

Nuncio Franco Coppola did not provide details on the bishops’ possible roles, but noted that in January and December an email address opened to receive abuse allegations took in dozens of allegations, mostly accounts of cover ups.

Coppola made the comments at a news conference to announce that the Vatican would send its top sex abuse investigators to Mexico later in March. He acknowledged that the magnitude of the problem “eludes” them because while the Mexican Episcopal Conference says 217 priests are being investigated there are cases in which the religious order sent the complaint directly to Rome, meaning the number could be higher.

Sexual abuse lawyer: ‘It’s not too late to come forward’

ROCHESTER (NY)
WROC-TV, Ch. 8

March 3, 2020

[VIDEO]

A call to victims of sexual abuse Tuesday in Rochester, from a lawyer who says “It’s not too late to come forward.”

Attorneys announced two new legal claims against several churches in our area.

A priest who worked for the Diocese of Rochester in the 1980s was named in legal claims, as were the churches where he presided.

Father Joseph Larabee, who worked at Saint John the Evangelist in Greece, and Church of Good Shepherd in Henrietta, was named in the latest sexual abuse case filed under the Child Victims Act.

Since the alleged incidents took place, one of the churches has been converted into a school. Still, attorney Mitchell Garabedian says he hopes to see this go to trial.

Editorial: Just as the McCarrick saga seemed at its worst, more scandal and stonewalling

WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington Post

March 3, 2020

JUST WHEN it seems there can be nothing more to learn about how former cardinal Theodore McCarrick misused his position and violated the public trust, another rock gets turned over. The latest disclosure: He funneled large sums from a charity account to a controversial religious community whose founder was found guilty by the Vatican of sexual misconduct. In keeping with the sorry way it has handled the decades-long clergy sexual-abuse scandal, the Catholic Church has decided to stonewall rather than be forthcoming.

Only because of reporting by The Post’s Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr. have we learned that Mr. McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006 and last year was defrocked for sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults, gave nearly $1 million to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) from 2004 to 2017. The religious community was founded in Argentina in 1984 by priest Carlos Buela, who the Vatican in 2016 determined had committed sexual improprieties with adult seminarians. Mr. McCarrick had helped the order as it expanded into the United States in the early 2000s, giving it control of a church-owned property in suburban Maryland to launch a small seminary, but the extent of the ties and flow of money between the two clerics was not known.

What exactly was the purpose of these gifts — some as large as $50,000 — from a charitable account Mr. McCarrick controlled at the Washington Archdiocese? Who or what was the source of the money? A spokeswoman for the archdiocese, Paula Gwynn Grant, told Post reporters that Mr. McCarrick himself raised the money for the special fund and spent it as he chose. “Therefore, any information needed about these donations, including the specific amount, must be asked of Mr. McCarrick,” she said. Never mind that Mr. McCarrick has been squirrelled away to live at some undisclosed location. When we pressed for more information, Ms. Grant emailed that the money was used by IVE and its sister branch “to support their mission to educate, house, care for and serve many of the most disadvantaged members of our community.” She directed further questions to those religious orders.

It is likely that Mr. McCarrick raised the money under the auspices of his church position (the fund was titled “Archbishop’s Special Fund”), so it is disingenuous for the church to act as if it had nothing to do with these donations. And since the church has a religious exemption from having to file tax forms required of other nonprofits detailing their finances (called Form 990s and available to the public), people who gave money have no way of knowing what it was used for.

Time and time again, as scandals have besmirched the church’s reputation and mission, Catholic officials have said they have learned their lesson and will do better and be transparent with information. Time and time again, they fall short. The refusal to get to the bottom of — and explain — these questionable transactions is another sad sign of the church’s failure to come to grips with the harm it has caused and its disdain for parishioners whom it looks to for financial support.

Commentary: An oft-accused priest, one victim's story and the true meaning of bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 3, 2020

By Sean Kirst

Bankrupt.

The word has a new imperative for the Buffalo Diocese, which last week sought protection in federal court after 260 men and women went to court over the past six months under the state’s Child Victims Act, alleging they were abused by Catholic clergy or staff in Western New York.

Yet Michael Eames, 60, has his own definition of bankruptcy.

He learned it at 15, through the behavior of a priest Eames describes as "a wolf."

Eames is one of 15 men who have filed Child Victims Act lawsuits maintaining they were abused as youths by Donald Becker, who is now 77 and living in retirement in Florida. The sheer number of CVA allegations against Becker, who has never faced criminal charges, dwarfs those of any other priest from greater Buffalo, living or dead.

Diocesan officials say they removed Becker from active ministry in 2003 because of credible evidence of abuse. They reached a settlement with another Becker accuser even before the Child Victims Act process began. According to court documents, the diocese is not providing Becker with any legal help against his accusers.

Becker, for his part, has publicly denied sexually abusing children.

"No, I did not," Becker told Dan Herbeck of The News, two years ago this month. "Certainly not sexual. … This is quite shocking."

Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Ending the Statute of Limitations on Sex Assault

CONCORD (NH)
InDepthNH.org

March 3, 2020

By Gerry Rayno

Victims of childhood sexual abuse urged lawmakers Tuesday to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual abuse.

Children with that traumatic experience need time to heal before disclosing what happened and that is often longer than the current time limit for prosecution of 22 years, said Catherine Devine, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney.

“Closing the courthouse door on an arbitrary time limit does not change prosecution,” Devine told the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. “A victim should always be heard.”

House Bill 1586 would eliminate any time limit for prosecuting sexual assault cases while the current limits vary depending on the crime and circumstances.

Leading clergy-abuse expert addresses impact of the crisis on global Catholic Church

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Catholic

March 3, 2020

By Michelle Martin

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the world’s leading experts on safeguarding minors, said that the church is suffering “institutional trauma” from clerical sexual abuse, trauma that it must learn to integrate into its theology and understanding of salvation if it is to overcome it.

Zollner, a German, is a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology, the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy. He was one of four leaders appointed by Pope Francis to organize the February 2019 Summit on Abuse for the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences.

He visited the Archdiocese of Chicago March 1-3 to speak with seminarians, clergy and members of religious congregations on the same topic as his March 2 DePaul University talk, “The Present Status of Safeguarding in the Church.”

Lawsuit alleges abuse by order priest who led middle school

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic Courier

March 3, 2020

By Mike Latona

A lawsuit was filed Feb. 19 charging Father Joseph Grasso, CPPS, with sexual abuse of a student in the early 2000s while the priest was principal of Brighton’s Siena Catholic Academy, a diocesan junior high school.

The suit against Father Grasso, a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, was filed in Monroe County Supreme Court by the Buffalo law firm of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria.

According to the complaint — which was amended Feb. 25 to correct the dates and locations of the alleged abuse — Father Grasso “sexually assaulted and committed battery” against an unidentified male student between early January 2002 and sometime in 2003. The suit charges that the abuse took place at Siena Catholic Academy and/or St. Thomas More Church, which are on the same campus. It states that the alleged victim was born in 1990, making him approximately 12 or 13 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.

The complaint was filed only against Father Grasso and not the Diocese of Rochester, St. Thomas More Parish or Siena Catholic Academy. Doug Mandelaro, diocesan director of communications, told the Catholic Courier that the diocese has never received a complaint against Father Grasso for sexual abuse of a minor.

Cupich on new Catholic Church abuse protection task force: ‘Regaining trust has to begin with a profound sense of responsibility’

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

March 3, 2020

By Javonte Anderson

In their first interview since Pope Francis named them among the leaders of a new worldwide task force on sexual abuse protections, Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Rev. Hans Zollner this week sketched out how they plan to help Catholic leaders across the world comply with new protection guidelines.

The task force was created by Francis to help bishops write new local guidelines to adhere to universal church rules issued last year.

Zollner, who heads the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, called the latest move by Francis “unprecedented,” as it is the first time the pope has taken measures to ensure rules to protect children are quickly adopted and practiced around the world.

“This is the first time the (pope) has taken into his own hands the speeding up of the process,” Zollner said in an interview he and Cupich gave Monday to the Tribune.

Zollner was in Chicago for his first appearances following the creation of the task force: a talk with Chicago priests and a lecture at DePaul University.

Cardinal on new task force: Regaining Catholics’ trust begins with ‘a profound sense of responsibility’

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune via GazetteXtra

March 3, 2020

By Javonte Anderson, Chicago Tribune

In their first interview since Pope Francis named them among the leaders of a new worldwide task force on sexual abuse protections, Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Rev. Hans Zollner this week sketched out how they plan to help Catholic leaders across the world comply with new protection guidelines.

The task force was created by Francis to help bishops write new local guidelines to adhere to universal church rules issued last year.

Zollner, who heads the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, called the latest move by Francis “unprecedented,” as it is the first time the pope has taken measures to ensure rules to protect children are quickly adopted and practiced around the world.

“This is the first time the (pope) has taken into his own hands the speeding up of the process,” Zollner said in an interview he and Cupich gave Monday to the Tribune.

Supernatural bankruptcy

PENNSYLVANIA
Gettysburg Times

March 4, 2020

Out of the eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, the Harrisburg diocese is the first to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.

They won’t be the last.

Due to widespread sex-abuse lawsuits, 20 other Catholic diocese have also filed, nationwide.

It has been less than two years since the Pennsylvania state attorney general’s office released a grand-jury report of over a 1,000 allegations of sex abuse against 300 clergy dating back decades that now includes a growing number of lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Some states have relaxed their statutes of limitations allowing additional litigations. Pennsylvania isn’t there – yet. However, in 2019, a state appeals court ruled that a case accusing the Altoona-Johnstown diocese of a conspiracy to cover up abuse could continue. Similar cases have been filed statewide.

In an effort to assuage the pain, if such a thing is possible, the diocese’s Survivor Compensation Program formed last year has dished out more than $12 million to 111 victims. Those who accepted settlements are excluded from suing the church.

Vatican acknowledges some countries still lack guidelines on preventing abuse

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 29, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Vatican officials acknowledged on Friday that bishops in about 10 countries still have no guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse cases, as it unveiled a new “task force” to help them and others.

The group of experts in preventing sexual abuse will assist bishops conferences in those countries put them into place and help revise guidelines in countries where they exist so they adhere to recent changes in Church law.

At a news conference presenting the task force, the officials said countries still lacking no guidelines are in that situation because of wars, political upheaval or lack of resources resulting from extreme poverty.

March 3, 2020

'I keep asking why,' victim tells court during Barry McGrory sentencing hearing

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

March 3, 2020

By Andrew Duffy

The victim of a Catholic priest’s sexual abuse says the incident caused him to lose his desire to be a priest, his faith in God, and his trust in the church.

In a victim impact statement read at the sentencing hearing of defrocked priest Barry McGrory, the man, now an adult, said the betrayal has affected every aspect of his life.

“The worst thing is I lost my faith for a long time: I felt so terrible without God in my life,” he said in the written statement, read in court.

The victim, whose identity is protected by court order, said McGrory became a trusted mentor after his father died. “You are told you can always talk to your priest,” he said. “To be betrayed was devastating to me. It has been a daily struggle. Alcohol, drugs, nothing helped the pain I was in. I keep asking why?”

MinistrySafe to Lead 'Church Safety Workshop' to Reduce Risk of Sexual Abuse in Ministry Contexts

LOUISVILLE (KY)
PRNewswire

March 3, 2020

MinistrySafe, a leading organization that helps ministries meet legal standards of care and reduce the risk of sexual abuse, will lead a "Church Safety Workshop," March 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville in partnership with Philadelphia Insurance Companies and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

MinistrySafe Founder, Gregory Love, is a leading sexual abuse trial attorney and expert in training churches and ministries to prevent child sexual abuse. Love will lead sessions to equip leaders to establish safe-guards in their places of ministry by focusing on topics such as:

Vatican sends abuse experts to Mexico to help church in safeguarding

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

March 3, 2020

By Carol Glatz

After receiving a request from Mexico's bishops for assistance in handling cases of the abuse of minors, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is sending its top abuse investigator to Mexico.

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the doctrinal congregation, will be accompanied by Spanish Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, a congregation official, on a visit to Mexico City March 20-27 to help church leaders with safeguarding and to listen to victims.

Pope Francis had sent Archbishop Scicluna and Father Bertomeu to Chile in 2018 to listen to survivors and investigate charges of abuse and its subsequent cover-up. Their report and supporting documentation -- totaling more than 2,300 pages -- helped correct the pope's belief that abuse accusations were exaggerated; after a later meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, every bishop in Chile offered his resignation.

Vatican sends sex crime investigators to assist Mexican church

MEXICO
Al Jazeera

March 3, 2020

Mexico is dealing with decades of clerical sexual abuse of children.

The Vatican is sending its top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the Catholic hierarchy in the world's second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu teamed up in 2018 to investigate the Chilean church and its wretched record of protecting paedophile priests - a bombshell expose that resulted in every active Chilean bishop offering to resign.

Legion of Christ Seeks Forgiveness, Change with New Norms

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Agency

March 2, 2020

Father Connor decried the failures brought under the community but expressed hope that reconciliation and healing will take place.

Following the conclusion of the Legionaries of Christ’s general chapter, the religious order’s new leader has vowed to instill ideals for protection and transparency in the face of the sexual abuse crisis.

Father John Connor, the first U.S. leader of the order, announced Feb. 28 the release of two documents containing the reflections of the 2020 General Chapter in Rome, which included over 66 representatives from the order around the world.

Vatican dismisses Indian priest jailed for rape

KOCHI (INDIA)
UCA News

March 2, 2020

Completion of laicization takes away all the rights and responsibilities of priesthood from the jailed priest

A diocese in southern India has announced completion of the process of laicization of a priest who is serving a 20-year jail term for raping and impregnating a minor girl three years ago.
The laicization of Father Robin Vadakkumcherry has been completed with his acceptance of the Vatican's dismissal decree and by informing the Vatican of his acceptance, Mananthavady Diocese in Kerala state said in a press release on March 1.
Police arrested Vadakkumcherry, now 51, in 2017 on charges of raping a 17-year-old girl and fathering her child. Sex with a girl under 18, a minor under Indian law, is considered a crime.
Vadakkumcherry was then parish priest of St. Sebastian's Parish in Kottiyoor under Mananthavady Diocese and manager of the school in which the girl studied.

Cardinal Zen says Pope Francis being ‘manipulated’ on China

CHINA
Crux

March 2, 2020

In a new letter, retired Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen says Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin is “manipulating” Pope Francis on the issue of China.

Zen, a fierce critic of a 2018 Vatican-China deal on the appointment of bishops in the communist country, was responding to the contents of a letter by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the new dean of the College of Cardinals.

In a Jan. 26 letter to the rest of the cardinals obtained by La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Re defended the China deal, which is an attempt to unite the Catholic Church in mainland China, which has been divided between a state-sponsored “Patriotic” Church not under the authority of the pope, and an “underground” Church pledging allegiance to Rome.

How Long Do Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse Have to Take Legal Action?

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Legal Examiner

March 3, 2020

By Mike Bryant

If you were abused by a member of the Catholic Church, you may have only a limited amount of time to sue for damages. While revisiting such a traumatic experience will undoubtedly be challenging, putting off your legal action could prevent you from obtaining fair compensation and the sense of justice that comes with it.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go up against the Catholic Church alone. A personal injury attorney can gather evidence, estimate a fair settlement figure, and help you fight for the highest possible compensation. Your lawyer can also help you avoid missing critical deadlines.

In the state of Minnesota, the statute of limitations for civil suits involving sex abuse is six years, but only if the victim was at least 18 years old when the incident occurred. If the victim was younger than 18, there is no filing deadline—unless he or she wants to sue for vicarious liability.

Msgr. Zapfel, host of controversial Mass, knew of priest's abuse in 1987

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 3, 2020

Decision on Gatto also questioned

Msgr. Robert Zapfel, pastor of St. Leo's Catholic Church in Amherst, allowed his parish to be used last week for the controversial Mass Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger celebrated with priests with substantiated child sexual abuse claims.

At that Mass, Fr. Thomas Gresock was invited to bring up the gifts -- bread and wine, to be consecrated into what Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ -- even though Zapfel himself investigated child sexual abuse claims against Gresock in 1987 and determined them to be credible, internal documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show.

State Supreme Court to review Altoona-Johnstown child sex abuse time limits decision

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Associated Press

March 2, 2020

By Mark Scolforo

A mid-level appeals court decision issued last summer that allowed some victims of childhood sexual abuse a way to pursue lawsuits despite time limits will be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the justices announced Monday.

The high court granted a request to hear the case that was made by the defendants, three priests and the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese.

The Superior Court ruled in June that Renee Rice could pursue claims that church officials' silence about a priest who she says molested her amounted to fraudulent concealment.

Witness testifies, third allegation presented against retired Catholic priest

MISSOURI
Southeast Missourian

March 3, 2020

By Ben Matthews

One witness took the stand and publicly testified to his allegations of being sexually assaulted by retired Catholic priest Fred Lutz at a bond hearing Monday.

The retired priest was arrested Feb. 19 at his home in Springfield, Missouri, and charged with the unclassified felony of forcible sodomy, two class C felony counts of second-degree statutory sodomy and one class C felony count of sexual abuse.

Lutz’s case was referred to Stoddard County prosecutors after a yearlong investigation by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office into allegations of sexual abuses committed in Missouri by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church.

In August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation showed more than 300 priests were accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children in six Roman Catholic dioceses, and inspired multiple investigations in other states.

Q & A with Sr. Bernardine Pemii, protecting children from abuse in Ghana

GHANA
Global Sisters Report in National Catholic Reporter

March 3, 2020

by Doreen Ajiambo

Sr. Bernardine Pemii is known for being a devoted mother to the large brood of children she has rescued from violence, exploitation and abuse.

The African nun, who recently completed a course on child protection at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, is committed to protecting children from abuse at home, at school, at church, in the community and during humanitarian emergencies.

Kids are victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation, physical and humiliating punishment, and harmful traditional practices, she said, and they can be recruited into armed forces.

Does your community minister to those who are homeless or lack adequate shelter? Tell us about it.

"Parents should protect their children, from home to the school and to the church," Pemii told Global Sisters Report. "Children are being exploited every day in ways that are shocking to their well-being."

L'Arche founder's printed legacy damaged in sex-abuse report fallout

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (CANADA)
Winnipeg Free Press

March 3, 2020

By John Longhurst

A report last month revealed that L'Arche founder Jean Vanier, a respected Canadian religious figure, sexually abused at least six women.

Revelations that Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, sexually abused at least six women continues to reverberate throughout the Roman Catholic and wider church world.

Vanier, who died in 2019 at age 90, wrote 30 books. Christian bookstores and publishers are among those dealing with the fallout of last month’s report on Vanier’s "manipulative sexual relationships."

In Winnipeg, Stephanchew’s Church Goods took the only book by Vanier in the store off its shelves.

"The news shocked and horrified me," said owner Gilles Urquhart. "I expected more of him. What he did was unacceptable. I will not sell his books anymore."

Monsignor William Lynn Back In Court, Prepping For Retrial For Allegedly Covering Up Clergy Sex Abuse Reports

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS3 TV

March 2, 2020

Monsignor William Lynn was back before a Philadelphia judge on Monday. The former archdiocesan official is prepping for his retrial in two weeks.

Lynn and lawyers won’t comment because of a gag order.

Prosecutors are arguing pretrial motions to get certain evidence admitted, including grand jury testimony and testimony from his first trial.

Lynn was the first highest ranking church official convicted of covering up reports of clergy sex abuse.

An appellate court overturned the conviction, ruling the jury may have been prejudiced.

Lynn spent almost three years in jail on a three- to six-year sentence.

Ethnos360 and Child Safety

SANFORD (FL)
Ethnos360, formerly New Tribes Mission

February 2020

Forward
While this document is written primarily to our members, our first apology is rightly to the
MKs [Missionary Kids] who were victims of abuse and to their families.

To those who have been impacted by abuse as a result of the failures of individuals and our
organization, we want to express our deepest sorrow. The things we have learned through
the investigative reports, and those things we still may not know about, should never have
happened to you or to any child or family. May we never forget the cost of these failures to
our children, our members, and the God we endeavor to represent

Introduction
The stories of the Missionary Kids (MKs) who suffered the atrocities of abuse are a grim
reminder of the ongoing consequences of the sins committed against them. Sadly, abuse and
mistreatment of children is part of the history of New Tribes Mission. There is no excuse for
the wrongs that occurred. Nothing can justify the actions of those individuals who harmed
children or protected abusers. In writing this document, we do not want to forget or
minimize the consequences of these actions. We believe it is appropriate and right that the
MKs have come forward with their stories, and we thank them for their bravery and
tenacity. We believe it is appropriate to make known this history. Additionally, we hope
that anyone reading this will learn from our mistakes. We do not want to see this history
repeated. The damage is long lasting. The cost is too high. We implore any reader to
remain vigilant in your ministry, your life, and the opportunities you have to care for and
protect children.

Retired New Orleans priest likened in court docs to notorious Boston clerical abuser

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Nola.com

March 2, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A trove of still-hidden church documents show a retired New Orleans priest was “a serial pedophile” who abused children for decades and was never reported to all relevant law enforcement authorities by Archdiocese of New Orleans officials, according to allegations in a court filing Monday by attorneys representing a person claiming to be one of the priest’s victims.

The filing in Orleans Parish Civil District Court is aimed at unsealing the documents as part of a lawsuit against the church and the Rev. Lawrence Hecker, who worked at more than a dozen churches across the area over four decades, including St. Frances Cabrini in New Orleans, St. Francis Xavier in Metairie and Christ the King in Terrytown.

Though the attorneys represent only one person claiming to have been abused by Hecker, the 14-page motion alleges that the documents in question — which the lawyers already have — show Hecker to be “a serial pedophile who has sexually abused countless children.”

While church leaders removed Hecker from ministry in 2002, the motion says the allegations against him weren’t publicly acknowledged until 2018 and have yet to be fully disclosed to law enforcement.

Víctimas del Próvolo: el Papa todavía no responde si los recibirá

[Victims of the Próvolo: the Pope still does not respond if he will receive them]

GENEVA (SWITZERLAND)
MDZol.com

February 17, 2020

Los sobrevivientes de los abusos en el Instituto de Luján acompañados por abogados de Xumek están en Ginebra para presentar un informe contra el Vaticano por encubrimiento. El próximo destino será Roma, donde entre otras actividades pretenden ver a Francisco, al cual ya le pidieron audiencia formal.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: Survivors of the abuses at the Lujan Institute accompanied by Xumek lawyers are in Geneva to present a report against the Vatican for cover-up. The next destination will be Rome, where among other activities they intend to see Francisco, who was already asked for a formal audience.]

Sobrevivientes del Instituto Próvolo y los abogados de la ONG Xumek, Lucas Lecour y Sergio Salinas, ya se encuentran en Ginebra, Suiza. Como parte de su agenda ante los organismos internacionales, tuvieron una reunión con miembros de Ending Clergy Abuse, una organización que lucha por el fin del abuso eclesiástico en el mundo y pieza clave junto a Bishop Accountability de las gestiones que actualmente desarrollan los mendocinos en Europa.

Supreme Court to review child sex abuse time limits decision

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

March 3, 2020

By Mark Scolforo

A mid-level appeals court decision issued last summer that allowed some victims of childhood sexual abuse a way to pursue lawsuits despite time limits will be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the justices announced Monday.

The high court granted a request to hear the case that was made by the defendants, three priests and the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese.

The Superior Court ruled in June that Renee Rice could pursue claims that church officials’ silence about a priest who she says molested her amounted to fraudulent concealment.

The Rice case has since been cited by other litigants to support their own claims, Rice’s lawyer, Richard Serbin, said Monday.

“Of course I’m disappointed that they’re taking the appeal. But I understand the reason why,” Serbin said in a phone interview. “Because issues were decided which there’s not much case law on. And therefore, while I think the Superior Court decision is sound and will be upheld, the Supreme Court may very well want to put its stamp on it. Because we’re talking about a lot of cases.”

Oakland diocese, ex-priest sued over alleged 1985 assault on 5-year-old in closet

OAKLAND (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

By Matthias Gafni

March 3, 2020

As a future pope and officials from the Catholic Diocese of Oakland weighed the fate of a convicted child molester priest more than three decades ago, the Rev. Stephen Kiesle took a 5-year-old boy into a closet of a Pinole church and sexually assaulted him, according to a claim filed Monday in Alameda County Superior Court.

The boy, now a 39-year-old man living in Del Norte County, sued Kiesle, the diocese and retired Bishop John Cummins, claiming that they knew the priest was a danger to children but allowed him to continue working with children. It has previously been reported that internal church letters found that Cummins had been communicating about Kiesle’s behavior with then-Vatican official Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI, in 1985, the same year the plaintiff alleges he was assaulted.

“What makes this case unique is literally everybody in the chain of command knows and yet they allow this guy to go back to the parish,” said the plaintiff’s attorney John Manly. “They put him in his target population. To me, that’s not a mistake or reckless, it’s malicious."

March 2, 2020

Vatican sends top 2 sex crimes investigators to Mexico

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

March 2, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Maria Verza

The Vatican is sending its top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the Catholic hierarchy in the world’s second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu teamed up in 2018 to investigate the Chilean church and its wretched record of protecting pedophile priests — a bombshell expose that resulted in every active Chilean bishop offering to resign.

Their new mission to Mexico, due to take place March 20-27, was announced Monday in Mexico and at the Vatican. Officials stressed it was not an investigation per se but an assistance mission to help the Mexican church combat abuse.

Nevertheless, the Vatican embassy in Mexico City expressly asked victims to come forward to speak with the two prelates, offering victims an email address to arrange meetings or send their testimony, a phone number to call and total privacy and confidentiality. It stressed that Scicluna and Bertomeu would be “at the disposition of all those who want to share their experiences or to receive direction or assistance.”

'I keep asking why,' priest's victim tells court

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

March 2, 2020

By Andrew Duffy

The victim of a Catholic priest’s sexual abuse says the incident caused him to lose his desire to be a priest, his faith in God, and his trust in the church.

In a victim impact statement read at the sentencing hearing of defrocked priest Barry McGrory, the man, now an adult, said the betrayal has affected every aspect of his life.

“The worst thing is I lost my faith for a long time: I felt so terrible without God in my life,” he said in the written statement, read in court.

The victim, whose identity is protected by court order, said McGrory became a trusted mentor after his father died. “You are told you can always talk to your priest,” he said. “To be betrayed was devastating to me. It has been a daily struggle. Alcohol, drugs, nothing helped the pain I was in. I keep asking why?”

Call to defrock Catholic priest accused of sex abuse on Guam

GUAM
RNZ Pacific

March 2, 2020

A support group for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests on Guam has backed moves to laicize a priest.

Father Adrian Cristobal is named in several lawsuits accusing him of sexual abuse against several minors between 1995 and 2013.

An investigation by the Archdiocese of Agaña recommended that Mr Cristobal be defrocked, although he has taken an appeal to the Vatican.

The Pacific Daily News reports that when allegations against him were first made in 2018, Mr Cristobal was off island and he never returned, defying archdiocese orders for him to do so.

The support group, Concerned Catholics of Guam, has described him as a fugitive, who would probably face a criminal trial if he returned to Guam.

Strongsville priest awaiting indictment by federal grand jury

STRONGSVILLE (OH)
The News-Herald

March 2, 2020

By Andrew Cass

Strongsville priest Robert McWilliams is now in the custody of the U.S. Marshals as he waits indictment from a federal grand jury on child sex crime charges.

McWilliams, 39, who was previously a seminarian at St. Helen’s Catholic Church in Newbury Township appeared in federal court Feb. 27 where court records show he waived a preliminary hearing on charges of child pornography, child exploitation and juvenile sex trafficking.

Federal court records show that McWilliams also waived his right to a detention hearing and is being held without bail.

McWilliams was previously being held in the Geauga County Jail before being moved into federal custody.

Savage murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl by a twisted priest, Father Gerald Robinson, profiled on ID

OHIO
MonstersandCritics.com

March 1, 2020

By Jerry Brown

This week, The Lake Erie Murders examines the death of a nun in a hospital chapel in Toledo, Ohio, in 1980. Sister Margaret Ann Pahl’s body was found on the floor of the vestibule of the former Mercy Hospital on Holy Saturday, a day before Easter. It was also a day before her 72nd birthday.

Her killer was a priest, Father Gerald Robinson, who was the chaplain at the hospital. Church historians have said this is the only recorded case of a priest murdering a nun.

A particularly gruesome murder

An autopsy revealed that Sister Margaret Ann had been choked to the edge of death before being stabbed in the head, neck, and face. She had been draped with an altar cloth, and nine of her stab wounds were in the shape of an upside-down cross. There was a smear of blood across her forehead as if she had been anointed in the last rites.

Stars Walk Out Of French Award Show In Protest After Roman Polanski Wins

FRANCE
HuffPost

March 1, 2020

By Cole Delbyck

Numerous actors walked out of France’s César Awards, the country’s equivalent to the Oscars, after convicted rapist and disgraced director Roman Polanski took home one of the top prizes at the ceremony.

Nominated for 12 awards, Polanski’s “An Officer And A Spy” had already garnered plenty of controversy before the award show even kicked off in Paris on Friday night, as the 21-person board that oversees the event abruptly resigned en masse earlier this month in protest of his nominations and the organization’s “opaque decision-making process.”

Though Polanski — who pleaded guilty in 1977 for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl — refused to attend the award show for fear of a “public lynching,” he won best director for the film, which prompted multiple attendees to storm out of the ceremony.

Actor Adèle Haenel, who was nominated for her performance in Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” stood up and exited the Salle Pleyel after Polanski won the award, appearing to yell “shame” as she left the hall.

Aly Raisman insulted by USA Gymnastics' Nassar settlement, accuses them of 'cover-up'

NEW YORK (NY)
Yahoo Sports

March 2, 2020,

By Liz Roscher

Former gymnast and three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is speaking out about USA Gymnastics’ proposed settlement to the survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse, and she’s not just unhappy about it — she’s angry. In an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” on Monday, Raisman slammed the proposal and accused USA Gymnastics of covering up who knew about the abuse and when they knew.

Raisman offended by USA Gymnastics settlement offer
The settlement has two main prongs. The first is financial: $215 million would be divided among Nassar’s 150-plus victims in a four-tiered system based on how far they progressed in their gymnastics career and where the abuse happened. The second is legal: the settlement would release former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, former coaches Martha and Béla Károlyi, and other officials and gymnastics leaders from any liability. They would not be able to be sued or prosecuted for ignoring or enabling Nassar’s decades-long abuse, which as a doctor he was able to disguise as “medical treatment.”

Raisman, who was sexually abused by Nassar, didn’t mince words when discussing the settlement.

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Buffalo’s Bishop Edward Grosz

VATICAN CITY
CNA

March 2, 2020

By Courtney Mares

Pope Francis Monday accepted the resignation of Bishop Edward Grosz, the auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, who has been accused of mishandling a sex abuse allegation.

Grosz, who turned 75 on February 16, offered his resignation at the age required by canon law. The Vatican’s March 2 announcement accepting Grosz’s resignation did not indicate whether it will conduct any investigation into the allegation against the bishop.

His retirement comes following a year of allegations of a cover-up of clergy sex abuse made against the leadership of the Diocese of Buffalo, including an allegation of negligence on the part of Grosz himself.

Catholic school sues parents for not paying tuition after daughter went to different school

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

March 1, 2020

By Dave Altimari

An all-girls Catholic school in Milford has taken the rare step of filing a civil lawsuit against a New Canaan family, seeking payment of more than $20,000 in tuition even though their daughter never went there and instead decided to attend a different Catholic school.

The lawsuit by Lauralton Hall is seeking to recover the money from the Gervolino family, who in 2018 visited the well-known school and agreed to pay a $1,000 non-refundable deposit to have their daughter become a member of the 2019 freshman class. The family also looked at other Catholic schools and applied to one in the Bridgeport area, eventually deciding to attend that school.

The contract that the family signed with Lauralton said they had until June 30, 2018, to inform the school their daughter would not attend, but Kelly Gervolino said she missed that deadline because she was in the hospital for several weeks recovering from viral meningitis. She said she notified Lauralton officials on Aug. 13, 2018, that her daughter wouldn’t be attending the school.

Charlotte Diocese Adds 2 New Names To List Of Clergy 'Credibly Accused' Of Abuse

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WFAE

March 2, 2020

By Sarah Delia

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has made additions to a list of clergy it considers credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The diocese initally published a list in late December that included 14 former clergy members and 23 clergy members who were assigned here but were accused elsewhere.

The update, noted on the diocese’s website, includes two new names. The first is Harold Johnson, a Boston priest who served at St. Patrick in Charlotte in the late 1950s. Johnson was listed on the Archdiocese of Boston’s list of credibly accused clergy members, first published in 2011.

Likely mediator named; claim deadline, forms set in bankruptcy

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic Courier

March 2, 2020

By Mike Latona

In late February, U.S Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren tentatively approved a mediator in the Diocese of Rochester’s Chapter 11 case, approved a form for filing victim claims, and set an Aug. 13, 2020, deadline for such claims to be filed.

These actions came two weeks after Warren ruled that an attorney for sexual-abuse victims could question Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark under oath about his knowledge of sexual abuse during his tenure as bishop.

ND Forum examines Catholic laity's role in responding to sex abuse crisis

NOTRE DAME (IN)
University of Notre Dame

March 2, 2020

By Anna Bradley

The 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum series, “‘Rebuild My Church: Crisis and Response,” continues March 4-6 with a look at the relationship between clergy and laity in addressing the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. Called & Co-responsible will be an academic and pastoral conference hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.

Drawing upon Pope Benedict’s 2012 speech, the conference will address questions about the nature of leadership in the Church, and how lay people are not to be merely collaborators with the clergy, but are rather truly co-responsible for the Church’s being and activity.

“Pope Francis says that all of us are asked to obey the Lord’s call to go forth, and that this will involve leaving the comfort zones we have all established for ourselves and for the Church,” said John Cavadini, professor of theology and McGrath-Cavadini director of the McGrath Institute. “How do we form the laity to become co-responsible for the Church’s mission? How do we form priests to nurture co-responsibility, in themselves and in the laity?”

Letter from Rome: Sexual abuse is not about sex

VATICAN CITY
UCA NEWS

March 2, 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.

This is quite alarming and depressing because the Church in North America has been dealing with issues regarding priests who abuse children and teenagers for at least 30, if not 40, years.

ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson on making Revelation and coming face to face with two of the Catholic Church’s worst serial paedophiles

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

March 1, 2020

By Natasha Johnson

Sarah Ferguson spends her working life wading through murky waters, tackling difficult, confronting and harrowing stories but none has tested her like the project that consumed her for the past year: Revelation — a three-part documentary investigation into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, in which she comes face to face with two of Australia's most notorious serial paedophiles.

"I'm used to intense projects but this one has been more intense and more challenging than anything I have ever done," says Ferguson.

"Throughout the long-running scandal of clerical abuse in Australia, there was one voice we hadn't heard and that was the perpetrators.

"I wanted to ask them how they led their double lives and how the church enabled them, but how do you interview men whose crimes are so vile and disturbing, who've committed crimes against vulnerable children?

"It was a struggle not to let my revulsion at their crimes drag me off course."

'A fugitive from justice': Concerned Catholics backs move to laicize priest over abuse

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 2, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Concerned Catholics of Guam, which helped lead efforts to expose Guam's clergy sex abuse of minors, backs the Archdiocese of Agana's move to laicize Father Adrian Cristobal over alleged sexual abuse of multiple minors.

"Father Adrian is a fugitive from justice, living outside of Guam, in an unknown location. Obviously, he is afraid to face his accusers for the alleged sexual abuse of children," Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan said.

The archdiocese held an administrative penal process, or investigation, on Cristobal after four men alleged that Cristobal sexually abused them when they were minors. Cristobal also faces four civil lawsuits over sexual abuse of minors, from 1995 to 2013.

Beth Moore says memorising Scripture helped her to heal from sexual abuse

ENGLAND
Christian Today

March 2, 2020

Christian author and speaker Beth Moore has opened up about the emotional trauma she suffered after being sexually abused as a child.

The evangelist was asked about her experience and her subsequent journey to recovery on a recent episode of Ainsley's Bible Study on Fox and Friends.

Moore has never named her abuser and, in the show, only described them as someone who should have been a protector in her life.

She spoke candidly about how she fell victim to childhood sexual abuse despite being part of a committed churchgoing family.

Papal task force to help revise local abuse guidelines

VATICAN CITY
The Tablet/CNS

March 2, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Pope Francis has set up a task force of qualified experts and canon lawyers to help bishops' conferences and congregations of men and women religious to draw up or revise guidelines for the protection of minors.

The Vatican will also be releasing, at an "imminent" but unspecified date, a handbook or vademecum prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to help bishops and religious superiors clearly understand their responsibilities and the procedures for handling allegations of abuse.

Jacksonville realtor accused of sexual battery with child

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News4Jax

March 2, 2020

Police say sexual abuse on a boy

Officers investigating a report of ongoing sexual abuse of a child went to arrest a 41-year-old man Thursday at his real estate office and he did not go quietly, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives with the Special Assault Unit had obtained an arrest warrant charging Michael Linkenauger with sexual battery, lewd or lascivious exhibition, and lewd or lascivious conduct involving a child. When they went to his office on Bartram Park Boulevard, he resisted arrest. He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being booked into the Duval County jail.

According to the arrest report, church members had alerted police that Linkenauger had forced sex on the boy numerous times between August 2017 and June 2019. Officers said Linkenauger befriended the boy and his mother at the church and that he had taken the boy out of town on golf trips and invited the victim to spend nights at his home.

Redress: Has the State delivered for abuse survivors?

IRELAND
RTÉ

March 2, 2020

Twenty-one years ago, the RTÉ television documentary series States Of Fear, profoundly changed the conversation about residential institutions in Ireland and caused a national outcry.

Now, using the personal testimonies of survivors of residential abuse who sought redress, a new two-part RTÉ series examines the Irish State's response to those survivors.

Here, reporter Mick Peelo introduces Redress: Breaking The Silence.

I thought I was sensitive to the sufferings of survivors of childhood abuse. I've made television documentaries on the subject for years, so when it came to survivors of abuse in residential institutions, I thought we had addressed the mistakes of the past, made amends and helped them find healing and closure as best they could. I thought redress was done and dusted. I was wrong.

Sex abuse victims frustrated over diocese bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN

March 2, 2020

By Mike Baggerman

Bankruptcy will have notable impact on evidence about a case

Victims of clergy sex abuse are concerned that the bankruptcy filing by the Diocese of Buffalo will not give them the right level of justice, despite an expected financial settlement to be determined through the bankruptcy courts.

"It's very frustrating (not being able) to delve into the files and the particulars of a case," Gary Astridge said. "Bishop Scharfenberger had put on record that he was going to be transparent and make the files open to survivors. I called January 14 and 15 asking what the process was and just got a voicemail and not a return response. As a survivor, it was extremely insulting not getting any kind of word back."

Astridge, a victim of sex abuse from the ages of 7 to 11 allegedly by Father Edward Townsend at Cardinal Dougherty High School, said he feels nothing has changed in the process despite new leadership in Buffalo and said Catholics should be screaming to the Vatican over this instance.

Vanier abuse revelations prompt Catholic soul-searching

ROME
Crux Now

March 2, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

When news went public last week that Jean Vanier, the renowned Canadian theologian who transformed the way the world views the disabled, had sexually abused several women seeking his spiritual counsel, the revelations provoked not just shock, but also serious reflection.

Given that the news was so unexpected from a figure such as Vanier, many Catholic experts and admirers pondered deep questions, such as just how widespread this form of manipulative abuse of adults is within the Catholic Church; the speed at which such towering figures as Vanier are popularly declared as saints; as well as the complex intersection of sin and virtue, as Vanier is someone who clearly exhibited both deviance and inspiration.

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

HARRISBURG (PA)
York Daily Record

March 2, 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 a recent service started.

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 backyard.

She hasn't let her faith be dissuaded by the sex-abuse crisis that has engulfed the Catholic Church.

Holland Public Schools, local church sued over sex abuse allegations

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
Holland Sentinel

March 1, 2020

By Carolyn Muyskens

Victims of a former youth group leader and middle school lunchroom worker are suing Holland Public Schools, saying a principal and vice principal didn’t follow up on a student’s complaint that the man was molesting her friends.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, claims a middle school student told school leadership in 2006 about Jonathan Meyer’s alleged abuse, and the school didn’t investigate beyond asking Meyer if the allegations were true. Meyer denied them.

Guest editorial | Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg should fully reckon with the harm caused to victims of childhood sexual abuse

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
The Tribune Democrat

March 2, 2020

The following editorial appeared in LNP. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tribune-Democrat.

The Catholic prayer known as the “Act of Contrition” is prayed when seeking forgiveness.

The prayer says nothing about shielding oneself from the consequences of one’s sins. It’s a simple and penitential plea, an acceptance of responsibility and a resolution to do better.

If only that had been the guiding principle of the Roman Catholic Church in its handling of priestly sexual abuse of children.

Instead, church officials – in the Diocese of Harrisburg and around the world – sought to cover up the sins of their priests and the horrific harm they had done to vulnerable children.

Why aren’t Ohio officials investigating Catholic sex abuse cases?

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch

March 2, 2020

By Danae King

Though only county prosecutors in Ohio can call a grand jury, victims advocates say there are things the attorney general could do — actions that officials in several other home rule states have taken to investigate sex abuse cases against Catholic priests.

A year after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released its list of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse, some survivors and advocates still are pressing Ohio officials to take action.

The list, one of many released by dioceses across the country, was spurred in part by a state grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, released in August 2018.

But when asked why Ohio doesn’t investigate the issue, state officials point to a home-rule law stating that county prosecutors must request such an investigation before the attorney general can initiate it.

Home rule isn’t a reason not to investigate the issue on a state level, said Marci Hamilton, founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank tracking state efforts on child abuse.

Victimas de abuso reclamarán al Papa la destitución permanente de sacerdotes pederastas, Como así también de los obispos encubridores

[Victims of abuse will call on the Pope for the permanent removal of pedophile priests, as well as the bishops who cover up]

ROME (ITALY)
Ellitoral

February 18, 2020

Varias asociaciones de víctimas de abusos en el seno de la Iglesia están en Roma para reclamar al Papa reformas canónicas que permitan la destitución permanente de sacerdotes pederastas y obispos encubridores cuando se cumple año de la Cumbre de Protección de Menores en la Iglesia católica, que reunió en el Vaticano a la mayoría de los episcopados del mundo.

"Lo que más echamos de menos son las reformas canónicas, indispensables para combatir el problema. Una para eliminar permanentemente a los sacerdotes que han cometido abusos y otra para despedir a los obispos o superiores que no han finiquitado a los abusadores", apunta la directora de Bishopaccountability.org, Anne Barret Doyle, una asociación de EEUU dedicada a denunciar el encubrimiento de la Iglesia católica en ese país.

Talley’s call for repentence in Lenten season comes with list of accused priests

MEMPHIS (TN)
The Daily Memphian

February 29, 2020

By Bill Dries

The weekend before he released a list of priests “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse, Catholic Bishop David Talley marked the coming season of Lent with a video on the Diocesan website.

Talley, who became bishop of the Memphis Diocese last April, quoted the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark.

“What we want to do during this holy season of Lent is to focus on that last line of verse 15 — ‘repent and believe in the Gospel,'” Talley said. “It means a conversion of all that you are, turning away from everything that is destructive in yourself, within your family, within society. While turning at the same time toward the light — the light that lightens up your heart, your family, society.”

The Diocesan Review Board report that followed largely repeats the names of priests made public a decade ago when The Daily News filed suit in Circuit Court for more than 6,000 pages of internal church documents and depositions taken of every Diocesan leader at the time.

Clergy sexual abuse survivor calls for Scharfenberger's removal

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO radio (NPR affiliate)

March 2, 2020

By Mike Desmond

More fallout about Apostolic Administrator Bishop Edward Schargenberger's decision to hold a meeting with Catholic Diocese priests, including some suspended as credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The bishop met with most of the diocese's priests a week ago today in St. Leo the Great Church to talk about probable bankruptcy and participate in Mass. "He doesn't get it" was the response Sunday from former priest and sexual abuse victim Robert Hoatson. Hoatson is now calling for New York City Cardinal Archbishop Timothy Dolan to remove Scharfenberger as apostolic administrator.

After Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy, lawyers change strategy for abuse claims

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo Times

March 2, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

South Buffalo resident Dennis Archilla filed a childhood sex abuse lawsuit in September to expose the Buffalo Diocese for protecting a pedophile priest.

“I wanted the public to know just how deep the deception is in the Catholic Church,” Archilla said.

Archilla believes that deception continued when the diocese on Friday filed for bankruptcy – effectively bringing his and more than 250 other Child Victims Act lawsuits to a grinding halt.

“It will bury the discovery process,” said Archilla. “I think it’s a strategy on their part not just to protect their resources, but also to not get that information out to the public.”

Archilla, 45, alleges the Rev. William F.J. White molested him in 1987 when he was sixth grade student at Queen of Heaven elementary school in West Seneca.

Despite the bankruptcy, J. Michael Hayes, Archilla’s lawyer, said he thinks Archilla’s case will continue to trial.

That’s because Hayes filed two lawsuits on behalf of Archilla in State Supreme Court.

Germany's under-fire Catholic Church seeks new leader

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Agence France Presse via France 24

March 2, 2020

German bishops gather for key talks from Monday where they will choose a new leader to help steer the country's Catholic Church through a controversial reforms process and settle compensation demands from sexual abuse victims.

The four-day episcopal gathering in the western city of Mainz comes at a time of fierce debate about how to modernise Germany's Catholic Church, pitting conservative bishops against more progressive ones.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a driving force behind efforts to renew the under-fire Church, last month unexpectedly announced he would not seek another six-year term as head of the German Bishops' Conference, saying he was too old at 66.

March 1, 2020

Statement of Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger

BUFFALO (NY)
Western New York Catholic

March 1, 2020

"It is clear that my efforts to address the disappointment and anger voiced by some over my decision to allow certain priests of the Diocese of Buffalo who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse to participate last week in a private Mass for priests have not been sufficient.

"First, I wish to reiterate that I deeply regret the pain and further disillusionment that this private gathering of priests - which included those not in good-standing with the Diocese - has caused to victim-survivors who rightly demand justice and accountability for the horrific and lasting harm they have experienced.

Bishop Scharfenberger explains why he believes abusive priests are part of church "family"

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW-TV

February 28, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Survivors say bankruptcy hides truth

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger on Friday first apologized for -- and then doubled down on -- his support of abusive priests, saying they are still part of what he calls the “family” of the church.

BISHOP SCHARFENBERGER: "I really consider every single person, including our priests who may have abused people, as part of our family that I'm responsible to take care of in some way.”

REPORTER:
“I'm sorry, did you just say that the abusive priests are part of the family, as you call it?”

SCHARFENBERGER: “That's correct.”

REPORTER: “So why would a survivor want to be a part of a family where the father figure of the family invites child molesters to be part of the family?”

SCHARFENBERGER: “Well, first of all, Charlie, I assume you're referring to what happened last Monday.”

SNAP calls Catholic Diocese of Memphis 'credibly accused' list incomplete, "insult to victims"

MEMPHIS (TN)
LocalMemphis.com

February 28, 2020

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests claim many more names are missing.

By Rebecca Butcher

There are twenty Mid-South priests, most of them no longer alive, that the church now admits had credible claims against them of sexually abusing children.

Although the list is out, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests claim many more names are missing. One victim called a director in tears because their abuser wasn't named.

David Brown with SNAP claims most of the names were already known, and the list is missing many others.

"To me it was woefully shameful," said Brown, a SNAP. "It's lacking names that it should be naming, it's many, many more."

Is Vatican anti-abuse task force ‘Tale of Two Cities’ or ‘Remembrance of Things Past’?

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 29, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr

Anyone watching the Vatican under Pope Francis try to come to grips with the clerical sexual abuse crisis could be forgiven for feeling themselves trapped in A Tale of Two Cities, constantly oscillating between the best and worst of times.

Friday brought another chapter in that long-running drama, as the Vatican presented a new high-level task force intended to help national and regional bishops’ conferences around the world, as well as religious orders, to develop and update guidelines on child protection and the fight against abuse.

From a glass-half-full perspective, this is a further sign, one year after an historic summit to discuss the abuse crisis with the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences of the world, that Francis is serious about reform. This task force is designed to harness the entire resources of the Roman Curia, and it’s a signal that Francis wants episcopal conferences and religious orders to be in earnest about having policies.

Opinion: Outlier South Dakota Legislature Again Fails to Protect Children

UNITED STATES
Legal Examiner (law firm blog)

March 1, 2020

By Mike Bryant

The South Dakota Legislature has again had the chance to vote to open the statue of limitation for survivors of child sexual abuse. The politicians again have voted it down, unlike 14 other states in the country.

This is nothing new. They went so far in 2010 as to pass one of the most restrictive laws for survivors in the country. They do this despite examples of ongoing abuse such as at the St Paul’s Mission School. When will the South Dakota Legislature start protecting the children, not the predators?

Editorial: Finally, serious research into sexual harassment in Jamaica

JAMAICA
Jamaica Observer

March 1, 2020

Amidst the understandable preoccupation with the novel coronavirus, news related to another virus of sorts — pernicious sexual harassment — has been somewhat overshadowed.

On Friday, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport signed a memorandum of understanding with The University of the West Indies (UWI) to commence research on sexual harassment in Jamaica.

We welcome this development. The twinned institutions will be the core of a consortium including the Ministry of Labour, Hugh Shearer Labour Studies Institute and The UWI Institute for Gender and Development Studies.

Sexual harassment is, by definition, behaviour characterised by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social setting. It is widely accepted as a major problem in Jamaica and indeed worldwide.

Scourge of child sexual exploitation takes on added deviance online

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Service via Crux

March 1, 2020

It is bad enough there are adults who sexually abuse children and minors. What makes it worse is that the abusers take video and still images of the abuse and share them online with their fellow abusers.

Just one case in point: Police in the Maryland suburbs of Washington arrested a 37-year-old man Feb. 20 and charged him with having sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy and taking photos of the incident in January. Using a search warrant of the suspect’s home, they found photos involving the victim among 1,000 exploitative images and videos that date back to September 2016.

When Is A Girl Ready For Marriage? After Her First Period Says High Court In Pakistan

PAKISTAN
Forbes

March 1, 2020

By Ewelina U. Ochab

What qualifies a girl to be ready to marry? According to the High Court of Sindh in Karachi, Pakistan, a girl is ready to marry after she has had her first period. The ruling, which appears to rely entirely on the Court’s restrictive interpretation of Shari’a law, was released on February 3, 2020. The case involved the alleged abduction, forced conversion, forced marriage, enslavement, and ongoing rape and sexual abuse of a Catholic girl, Huma Younus.

It was alleged that Huma Younus was abducted from her parents’ home in Karachi on October 10, 2019, by a man named Abdul Jabbar of Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab Province. Younus, born on May 22, 2005, was 14 years of age at the time of the alleged abduction. A text message was allegedly sent to Younus parents stating that she had converted to Islam and had married Jabbar “of her free will.” (Even if true, it is also questionable whether her marriage was conducted in compliance with Islam. Marriage contract in Islam requires (1) a clear proposal, (2) clear acceptance or consent (although silence is just as acceptable), (3) at least two competent witnesses and (4) a marriage gift, little or more, by the bridegroom to the bride.)

Media Statement: Notice Regarding Rev. Msgr. Raymond A. Barton, Retired

RICHMOND (VA)
Diocese of Richmond

February 14, 2020

A representative of a deceased victim has come forward with a report sharing allegations of child sexual abuse by Rev. Msgr. Raymond Barton. The report identified the victim and described details of the abuse. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early-1970’s. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has reported the allegations to civil authorities.

Msgr. Barton, retired since 2011, is not currently serving in ministry. Msgr. Barton will not be permitted to engage in active ministry until the allegations are investigated and resolved.

Msgr. Barton was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Richmond in 1966. He 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 the following parishes: 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.

Allentown Diocese says earlier accusation against now jailed priest was ‘unfounded.’ Prosecutors disagree

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

March 1, 2020

By Peter Hall, Daniel Patrick Sheehan and Sarah M. Wojcik

In May 2016 a 15-year-old girl told someone that the Rev. Kevin Lonergan had touched her inappropriately.

The allegation triggered investigations by the Northampton County Children, Youth and Families Division, Forks Township police, and the district attorney’s office.

Lonergan was suspended during the investigation, and the Allentown Catholic Diocese said Monday that it reinstated him a few months later because Children and Youth determined the accusation was “unfounded.” But the Northampton County district attorney’s office didn’t classify the case that way. And neither did the diocese’s own private investigator, who called it “unsubstantiated.”

“It was never unfounded,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Tatum Wilson, who investigated the allegation with Forks police, said Thursday.

“It’s not that we made a determination one way or the other whether there was criminal activity,” she said. “It was closed because we didn’t have a victim who would be able to testify about any criminal activity.”

It would be more than two years, and only after a second girl accused Lonergan of inappropriate sexual contact, before the Catholic priest would be charged with a crime.

When Lonergan, 31, was sentenced to one to two years in prison Monday for groping a 17-year-old girl as she helped clean up after a confirmation Mass in 2018, Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos raised the earlier complaint of “hands-on molestation” and questioned whether the Allentown Diocese was still transferring priests to cover up abuse — a practice for which the church has drawn intense criticism and scrutiny.

Don’t Fall for the Claim that Bishops Are Being More Open

UNITED STATES
Adam Horowitz Law (law firm blog)

February 22, 2020

More bishops are being more open about abuse, right?

Nope. Not really.

Consider these cases from Mississippi, Virginia and Missouri publicized just this week.

—–Case One: Fr. Paul Victor Canonici just died. He’s a credibly accused child molesting cleric who was ‘outed’ by Bishop Joseph Kopacz.

But according to the local newspaper in Jackson:

Over the course of his tenure, Fr. Canonici 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.

What possible reason would Bishop Kopacz have for keeping Fr. Canonici OFF his ‘retired priests’ list?

Other diocese bankruptcies offer clues for Catholics uncertain about future

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 1, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese’s plunge this week into federal bankruptcy court marked a new period of uncertainty for more than 500,000 Western New York Catholics concerned about the future of parishes, schools and diocese employees.

It could take years before it becomes clear what a reorganized Buffalo Diocese will look like but what happened in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in Wisconsin, which has roughly the same number of Catholics as in Buffalo, may provide some insight.

The Milwaukee archdiocese emerged from federal bankruptcy court in 2016 with a deal to pay $21 million to childhood victims of clergy sex abuse. Four years later, it appears to be better off financially than when it first filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011.

Its total revenues in 2019 were $6 million more than in 2011, according to its latest audited financial statements. Its net assets – after dipping to $50 million in the immediate aftermath of the reorganization – climbed back to $71 million last year, surpassing pre-bankruptcy levels.

Priest accused of having child porn faces new charges

CLEVELAND (OH)
Associated Press

February 21, 2020

A Cleveland-area Roman Catholic priest arrested in December was accused of several new charges, including sex trafficking involving a minor, federal prosecutors said Friday.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court also charged the Rev. Robert McWilliams with receiving or distributing child pornography and sexual exploitation of children.

Federal investigators said in a court document that McWilliams, 39, would pretend to be a female on social media and entice boys to send sexually explicit photographs and videos. He also met with a boy on several occasions and paid him for sex, prosecutors said.

A message seeking comment on the new charges was left with his public defender.

Authorities arrested McWilliams in December at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville, where he was a parochial vicar at the church’s school. The church then placed him on administrative leave.

Jandy’s Story: A Stunning Tale of One Woman’s Courage and Strength to Carry On After Serious Childhood Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Wartburg Watch (blog)

February 24, 2020

“You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren’t alone.” ― Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children

What I am about to present is merely a tiny portion of the pain and suffering that Jandy has suffered at the hands of David, as well as other men who lived with the family or were acquaintances of the family. I mean for this to be an overview. I have left so much of the story out and I feel bad about that. I hope to write more of her story in the coming weeks.

It is a difficult story to tell. Jandy suffered greatly as a child and teenager. However, in the end, there is some justice.

Jandy’s parents: Naiveté born of wanting to help others.
Jandy’s parents were well meaning but naive. They were young when they married and were committed Christians. They believed in caring for those less fortunate than they were. This resulted in allowing men, one who had schizophrenia, to move in with their family. Their unsuspecting nature caused them to overlook the possible danger of such actions. It also caused them to trust neighbors and friends.This would be a major factor in Jandy’s relationship with David.

Pope Francis removes Kerala priest convicted for raping 16-year-old girl from priesthood