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June 30, 2020

Bill to close teacher-student sex loophole clears Senate

Associated Press

June 29, 2020

A bill prohibiting sexual contact between New Hampshire teachers and students regardless of a student’s age is back on track after a rocky path toward passage.

Lawmakers proposed multiple bills in response to the arrest last year of Concord High School teacher Primo “Howie” Leung, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a student off school property in Massachusetts in 2015 and 2016. In a separate incident, students reported seeing him kiss a different student in Concord in 2018, but school officials did not notify police because state law allows teenagers 16 and older to consent to such contact if they are not being coerced.

While there was bipartisan support for closing that loophole, differences emerged over the scope of the legislation.

Media Statement: Marianists release list of accused priests, SNAP calls for more action

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

June 20, 2020

Finally, 18 years after US Catholic officials began posting the names of priests accused of abuse on church websites, the Marianist Order has released a list of 46 clerics and brothers found to have sexually abused a minor. Parents, police, parishioners, prosecutors and the public should look closely at this list and demand answers from the provincial as to why it took so long for it to be published.

Fr. Oscar Vasquez, Provincial of the Marianist Order, must explain this irresponsible delay. We also want Fr. Vasquez to take two further steps immediately:

First, the provincial should include the photos and whereabouts of every accused priest and brother, as well as the dates for each of his assignments. Additionally, the list should include information about when the Marianists were first informed of the allegations and what actions were taken in response.

Former Prattville church employee indicted on sex abuse sentenced


June 30, 2020

A former Prattville church employee charged with sex abuse has been sentenced.

According to court documents, John Edgar Harris was convicted of second-degree assault. Harris, previously an employee at Glynwood Baptist Church, was indicted on first-degree sexual abuse, facilitating the travel of a child for an unlawful sex act, and enticing a child for immoral purposes.

The court dropped two of the charges and downgraded the sex abuse charge to second-degree assault after Harris pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 13 months in the Autauga Metro Jail.

Harris, who was also fined $1,000, was given credit for time served.

Polish group seeks pope’s action against sex abuse, cover-up

Associated Press

June 29, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican says Pope Francis has been informed about an appeal launched by a group of Catholics in Poland urging intervention into cases where bishops have continued to cover up for priests who sexually molest children.

The group “EnoughHarm” took out a full-page advertisement on Monday in Rome daily La Repubblica, addressed to the pope. It urged Francis to “repair our church” and heal the wounds of abuse victims.

“The lack of a decisive reaction by the church hierarchy to reports of reprehensible behavior by some bishops is cause for public scandal and harms the good of the church,” the ad said. “It harms its unity, because it divides those who are concerned for the image of the institution and those who have the good of victims at heart.”

Former Catholic Deacon George Brignac dies at 85; was awaiting trial for rape


June 30, 2020

Former Catholic Deacon George Brignac died Monday at the age of 85, according to his attorney Martin Regan.

Brignac was removed from the Catholic ministry in 1988 after he was accused of sexually abusing young boys in the 1970s and 80s.

Abuse in Poland: Pope informed, ‘the guilty will be punished’

Vatican News

June 2020

The Director of the Holy See Press Office responds to journalists after a Polish group of faithful publishes an appeal in the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica.” “The Church must do everything possible so that cases of abuse are brought to light”.

“The Holy Father is informed of the appeal. He is praying for those who sent it. The entire Church must do everything possible so that the canonical norms are applied, cases of abuse are brought to light and those guilty of these serious crimes are punished.”

Report: Disgraced deacon George Brignac dies while awaiting 1980s child rape trial


June 30, 2020

By Mike Perlstein and Ramon Antonio Vargas

Brignac was named in the November 2018 list of credibly accused sexual abusers within the Catholic Church. He stood accused of raping a child in 1980s.

A disgraced Roman Catholic deacon who was awaiting trial on allegations of raping a child in the 1980s died Monday, according to his attorney.

While George Brignac had been free since posting a $1 million bail in December, he never made it home, attorney Martin Regan said Tuesday.

While briefly locked up in the Orleans Justice Center as his bail was being processed in mid-December, Brignac broke a vertebrae when he fell inside the lock-up. He never recovered, Regan said, bouncing between hospital stays and a rehabilitation home.

Lawsuit alleges sex abuse by priest in Greensburg diocese in 1990s


June 30, 2020

By Tony LaRussa

The Diocese of Greensburg and Bishop Edward Malesic are being sued by a man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest who has since died.

The lawsuit, filed June 22, claims the Rev. Joseph L. Sredzinski began abusing the victim in 1991 when he was 11 years old and continued until the victim was 17.

Sredzinski served at the former St. Joseph Church in Everson, Fayette County, from 1989 to 1999. He died in 2015.

20 suits filed against Diocese of Ogdensburg for alleged priest sexual abuse


June 30, 2020

Two law firms are filing 20 child sex abuse claims against the Diocese of Ogdensburg, including cases involving seven priests not previously accused.

Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament filed the cases Tuesday under the New York Child Victims Act.

The firms have now filed a total of 34 lawsuits against the diocese. The cases had been stuck in limbo after courts closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The seven priests newly accused of sex abuse are:

Eastbourne man who exposed abuse in church is awarded for ‘outstanding service’

East Bourne Herald

June 30, 2020

By Ginny Sanderson

An Eastbourne man who exposed sexual abuse in the Church of England has been awarded by the church for ‘outstanding services’ to improving safeguarding.

From the age of around nine, Phil Johnson was abused by priests, and for 20 years has fought for justice and greater support for survivors of abuse within the Diocese of Chichester.

Today (June 29), he was awarded the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He said, “I’m in two minds about it. It’s good to be recognised for the contribution that I have made, along with many others.

Archdiocese will stop monthly payment for ex-Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron on July 1

Pacific Daily News/USA TODAY Network

June 30, 2020

The Archdiocese of Agana on Tuesday announced it would halt monthly honorarium payments effective Wednesday, July 1, for former Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Apuron was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors by the Vatican's Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2018.

Former New Orleans Deacon, 85, Dies Awaiting Rape Trial

The Associated Press

June 30, 2020

A former Roman Catholic deacon awaiting trial on rape charges in New Orleans has died, his defense attorney said Tuesday.

George F. Brignac, 85, had been accused of sexually abusing children for years before being removed from the ministry in 1988.

He was charged last year with first-degree rape after a former altar boy told police Brignac had repeatedly raped him beginning in the late 1970s. Police said the abuse began when the boy was 7 years old and continued until he was 11.

Story of Fr. Antonio Demonstrates that Abuse Thrives When Church Officials Stay Silent

SNAP Network

June 29, 2020

An excellent piece of investigative journalism from KQED lays bare an intrinsically dangerous truth within religious institutions: abuse thrives when those in charge do not do their jobs. (A Spanish version of this story is available here.)

KQED followed the story of Fr. Jesús Antonio Castañeda Serna – known to his parishioners as Fr. Antonio – from the first instances of wrongdoing by this priest in Washington state, where he was first allowed off the hook, to the scene of his alleged crimes in Fresno, California, and then back down to where Fr. Serna continues to head a church despite criminal charges related to dozens of allegations of sexual abuse.

Marianists release names of priests in U.S. who have abused minors; Archdiocese releases two new names

Archdiocese of St. Louis

June 25, 2020

Marianist Province also publishes names of members who sexually abused a minor in the U.S.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has added two former priests to the list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The Marianist Province of the United States also released a list of names of their clergy who have sexually abused a minor.

The archdiocesan priests were brought to the attention of the archdiocese, which triggered a thorough investigation of the allegations by independent investigators, according to a statement from the archdiocese. Their findings were presented to the Archdiocesan Review Board, composed mainly of lay Catholics who are not employees of the archdiocese. The Review Board made a recommendation to Archbishop Robert J. Carlson that the allegations should be considered substantiated, a recommendation that Archbishop Carlson has adopted.

Pope prays for Poles who asked him to intervene in abuse cases

Catholic News Service

June 30, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Pope Francis said he was praying for the hundreds of Catholics in Poland who turned to him directly, urging him to "rebuild our church" and criticizing the country's bishops for hiding cases of abuse against minors.

Matteo Bruni, head of the Vatican press office, said the pope was aware of the appeal paid for by more than 600 Catholics in Poland so that it could be published as a paid ad in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, June 29.

The pope "is praying for those who have turned to him," Bruni said in a written statement June 30.

Disinfecting denial and secrecy

La Croix International

June 29, 2020

By Nuala Kenny OC, MD

"Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known" (Matthew 10, 26-28)

Courageous proclamation of the "good news" of God's love for us is the heart of Jesus' mission. He is unwavering in acknowledging the truth of this mission, even at great personal cost. And he is relentless in denouncing denial of the truth of God's love.

The infection of Silence and Secrecy

Silence, secrecy and denial have been evident at every level of the clergy sexual abuse crisis – from the abuse of individuals to leadership's response to victims' stories and its minimization of the harm done, as well as its pursuit of gag orders, non-disclosure agreements and active cover-up.

Priest accused of misconduct resigns position

News Tribune

June 30, 2020

By Joe Gamm

Although allegations against a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Jefferson City could not be corroborated, he has agreed to resign as pastor of a Mid-Missouri parish.

Although allegations against a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Jefferson City could not be corroborated, he has agreed to resign as pastor of a Mid-Missouri parish.

The Rev. Mark Porterfield, who was pastor at St. Martin Catholic Church in St. Martins, was accused of misconduct involving a former adult employee.

His resignation as pastor is effective today.

"After a thorough investigation conducted by independent investigators, the allegation of misconduct could not be corroborated," according to a diocese announcement made this weekend at the parish.

The diocese placed Porterfield on administrative leave in early 2019. He has regained his priestly faculties, which is the permission a bishop gives to a priest to perform sacraments.

"It was determined that the allegation was credible, but it could not be corroborated," diocesan Director of Communications Helen Osman said.

Axing of child sex body by Catholic Church praised

The Australian

June 30, 2020

By Victoria Laurie

The Catholic Education body representing more than 764,000 students in 1,746 Catholic-run schools has welcomed the controversial move by the church hierarchy to disband an agency set up to audit the risk of child sex abuse.

The National Catholic Education Commission says it endorses the church’s decision to create a new national body to replace the role of the Catholic Professional Standards Ltd.

CPSL was established in consultation with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to audit and report on child safety standards within the Catholic Church. It is conducting independent safety audits of 264 Catholic Church entities, including religious orders that were the subject of harrowing sex abuse testimony in the Royal Commission.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference confirmed on Monday it will create a new national body to replace the CPSL by January. Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Conference president, says it will reduce costs to the church and form “a comprehensive response to safeguarding and professional standards needs.”

Supporters of the well-credentialed board of CPSL, headed by former Federal Court judge Geoff Guidice, have raised concerns over whether the new body will retain the strict independence and public reporting of safety audits currently conducted by the CPSL.

Catholic Education’s executive director Jacinta Collins says she welcomes the creation of a new single entity “to help provide streamlined support to Catholic schools in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe.

“The Royal Commission identified the need for institutions to have stronger leadership and governance processes to address child safety failings,” Ms Collins said.

“A consolidated national office will provide greater clarity and shine a light on the areas that still need to be addressed.”

John Warhurst, chairman of Concerned Catholics Canberra-Goulburn, says the Bishops Conference has not provided Catholics with any detail about how the new national body will operate.

“It’s still opaque, and there must be transparency around this whole area of standards.”

“It appears the new body, as an agency of the ACBC, will not be legally independent,” he said. “It’s a major issue that needs to be discussed and explained.”

Peter Johnstone, convener of the Coalition for Catholic Church Reform, says Catholic parents should be asking questions about the adequacy of the new arrangement for safeguarding safety standards in church schools.

“It could permit a return to the lack of accountability that led to the church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse,” he said.

Safeguarding office to be independent

The Catholic Weekly

June 30, 2020

By Marilyn Rodrigues

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has hit back at claims that a new national safeguarding office may be a step backwards from the work of Catholic Professional Standards Ltd over the past three years.

CPSL was established by the ACBC in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse to conduct audits of church entities’ compliance with child safe standards and to deliver safeguarding training.

It was set up as a not-for-profit company operating independently of the church hierarchy and runs at a cost of around $1.8 million a year. It is expected to be replaced early in 2021 by a national approach to streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Some Catholics are worried that the new approach being considered by the bishops may lack the independence and transparency of CPSL, with The Australian reporting that there is “concern that old habits of secrecy and non-transparency are creeping back into the church”.

National streamlined approach to child protection announced by Bishops conference

The Sector (blog)

June 30, 2020

By Freda Lucas

A new national office will be charged with safeguarding, streamlining and coordinating the efforts of the Catholic Church to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are adequately protected from harm.

The news will be of interest to those working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector who follow child protection issues closely, and also to those who are employed by one of the many Catholic owned and managed ECEC services around Australia.

The creation of the office,which will bring together several national agencies working in the area of child protection and safeguarding into a single entity, was announced at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference by president Archbishop Mark Coleridge who said the development of the entity has been on the cards since 2016,when Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) was established.

The work of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) has been pivotal to the Church’s progress in the past four years, in the final stages of and beyond the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Archbishop Coleridge said.

New national office will streamline, coordinate safeguarding efforts

Blog of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

June 29, 2020

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge says a new national office for safeguarding will streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to protect children and vulnerable adults.

“The Catholic Church in Australia is bringing into a single entity several national agencies working in the area of child protection and safeguarding,” he said.

“This has been intended since 2016, when Catholic Professional Standards Limited was established.”

Opinion: We need to talk about David Haas

National Catholic Reporter

June 30, 2020

by Jamie Manson

I first heard about sexual abuse allegations against composer David Hass from a Facebook friend in a post last week. "I haven't heard much talk about this among progressive Catholics," she wrote. "Maybe our hearts are too broken."

Since the story first came to light, three of Haas' victims have come forward, telling Soli Salgado for NCR about the ways they were groomed, forcibly kissed and relentlessly pursued by the lionized composer of well-known post-Vatican II hymns.

The news stunned the progressive Catholic world, whose liturgical soundtrack is filled with Haas' tracks. His lyrics, so imbued with calls for love, justice and inclusion, earned him a place in the canon of luminaries of the Catholic reform movement.

Mary McAleese blasts Catholic Church’s ‘disorderly and intrinsically evil’ teachings on homosexuality


June 30, 2020

By Eva Wall

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has blasted the Catholic Church’s ‘disorderly and intrinsically evil’ teachings on homosexuality.

Ms McAleese, 69, is a renowned Catholic academic, obtaining a Licentiate of Canon Law in 2014 and a Doctorate in Canon Law in 2018 from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

A law lecturer by profession, Ms McAleese has been an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church’s exclusion of women from the priesthood, its legacy of institutional abuse and its stance on homosexuality, which she maintains ‘conduces to homophobia’.

Cliffside Park pastor resigns over allegation of abuse from before he was ordained


June 30, 2020

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

The pastor at the Church of the Epiphany in Cliffside Park has voluntarily stepped down after the Archdiocese of Newark received a report that he allegedly abused a minor before he became a priest almost 20 years ago, church officials said Monday.

The Rev. Bruce Harger, 66, announced his resignation from the parish this past weekend.

"The alleged abuse occurred before Fr. Harger was associated with the Archdiocese of Newark, and before he was ordained," Maria Margiotta, an archdiocese spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

She did not provide further information about the allegations. Harger, who was ordained in 2001, started working at the Church of the Epiphany as an administrator in 2018 and was installed as a pastor in 2019. The priest has denied any wrongdoing, according to thearchdiocese.

Bankrupt archdiocese stops $1,500 monthly financial support to Apuron

Guam Daily Post

June 30, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Bishop Anthony Apuron, Guam’s former archbishop convicted by a Vatican tribunal in connection with sexual abuse of minors, will no longer receive a $1,500 monthly allowance from the Archdiocese of Agana, the archdiocese announced Tuesday.

Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes's decision will become effective July 1, according to the archdiocese.

"The monthly honorarium has been, to say the least, very difficult for the victim-survivors of sexual abuse to comprehend,” Father Ron Richards, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Agana, said in a letter to Apuron last week.

June 29, 2020

Clerical sex abuse survivor calls on Bishop Rozanski to resign over report

Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 27, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

A clergy sex abuse survivor who leads a New Jersey organization that supports survivors and their families is calling on Mitchell T. Rozanski to resign as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield after a report this week described the response to abuse allegations against a late bishop as “woefully deficient.”

Robert M. Hoatson, who co-founded Road to Recovery Inc. in Livingston, New Jersey, held a press conference Friday morning in Springfield that also asked Pope Francis to rescind the appointment of Rozanski as archbishop for St. Louis.

Hoatson argues that Rozanski spent six years mismanaging the case reported by an anonymous Chicopee man who alleged being abused by the late Bishop Christopher Weldon. The allegations were first reported to the Diocese of Springfield in 2014 but were only confirmed in a report completed by retired Judge Peter A. Velis this week.

The Velis report determined that the allegation against Weldon was “unequivocally credible,” yet the diocesan investigation, led by an appointed Diocesan Review Board, failed to investigate fairly and accurately claims of clergy sexual abuse.

New Sexual Abuse Allegations Surface Against Boise Catholic Diocese Priest

Boise State Public Radio

June 29, 2020

By Frankie Barnhill


Note: the following text and audio contains discussions of sexual assault.

It’s been nearly three decades since Lisa Houser first came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest at Gonzaga University in Spokane.

Houser, who now lives in the Midwest, says a well-known priest who ran the school’s abroad program in Florence, Italy assaulted her when she was a student in the early 1990s. His name is Father Bruno Segatta.

That same priest now leads a congregation in McCall, Idaho.

This story came to light because of our guest today. Emily Schwing is a reporter with the investigative public radio show and podcast “Reveal.” She joins Idaho Matters today to tell us more about her investigation into Father Bruno and his connections to the Boise Catholic Diocese.

Opinion: We Find the Diocese of Syracuse’s ‘Reasons’ for Its Bankruptcy Hard to Believe

HorowitzLaw.com (blog)

June 28, 2020

Always wanted to read Alice in Wonderland but never gotten around to it? Here’s another idea.

Try reading why the Syracuse Catholic diocese claims it is ‘bankrupt.’

Sound weird? Well, believe us, some of its claims are fascinating/

Sound daunting? Well, some of the MOST fascinating parts are just a few paragraphs long.

And if it didn’t deal with the awful and largely preventable crisis of kids being assaulted by clergy, it could even be considered somewhat laughable.

Earlier this month, Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia basically stonewalled dozens of clergy sex abuse victims who need and deserve healing and justice by stopping their lawsuits, exploiting Chapter 11 protection and going into bankruptcy court.


Lawsuit Filed Against The Catholic Diocese Of Greensburg Over Alleged Sexual Abuse

KDKA-TV (Channel 2)

June 29, 2020

A lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, alleging a priest raped and sexually abused a boy from 1991 to 1997.

The lawsuit alleges the late Father Joseph Sredzinski started to abuse the boy when he was 11 years old. According to a news release, the Diocese of Greensburg allowed him to continue working after being made aware of accusations against him.

The lawsuit alleges clergy members and the former bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, are named as “co-conspirators.”

The plaintiff was only identified as John Doe MR. The suit was originally filed in Washington D.C. June 5, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia confirmed the filing was accepted June 22.

Father Sredzinski died in 2015.

Survivors want action on redress holdouts

AAP via Channel 9 News

June 30, 2020

The federal government must follow through with its threat to impose financial sanctions on the institutions that refuse to join the national child abuse redress scheme, an advocate and Labor say.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will stop further public funding for those organisations that fail to sign up by the June 30 deadline and has warned their charitable status and tax concessions are also at risk.

The non-participating institutions will be named and shamed on Wednesday, when Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will also announce what action the federal government will take against them.

Child sexual abuse survivors want the "redress laggers" to lose their charity tax status, says the Care Leavers Australasia Network, which advocates for people who grew up in orphanages and children's homes.

Lawsuit filed against Diocese of Greensburg alleges years of abuse, orgies involving minor


June 29, 2020

by Sierra Darville

A lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg in western Pennsylvania alleges that a former priest raped and sexually abused a minor for nearly six years.

The 25-page complaint was first filed on June 5 by attorneys Richard Serbin and Andrew Janet on behalf of the victim. The lawsuit was officially confirmed for filing pseudonymously on June 22.

It claims that Father Joseph Sredzinski abused a minor, identified as John Doe MR, beginning in 1991 when he was 11 years old and until 1997. The alleged abuse had occurred during Sredzinski's time at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

The lawsuit also claims that the diocese and other parties affiliated with the church knew about the abuse and failed to take action against Sredzinski.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, Bishop Edward C. Malesic, St. John the Baptist and St. Joseph (formerly known as Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church) and Donald Wuerl.

Polish group seeks Vatican action against sex abuse, coverup

The Associated Press

June 29, 2020

The Vatican says Pope Francis has been informed about an appeal launched by Catholics in Poland urging Vatican intervention into cases where bishops have continued to cover up for priests who sexually molested children. The group “EnoughHarm” took out a full-page advertisement on Monday in Rome daily La Repubblica addressed to the pope urging him to “repair our church” and heal the wounds of abuse victims. Largely Roman Catholic Poland has become the latest country to face a reckoning of sexual abuse by priests and cover-up by their superiors. The scandal has hit particularly hard in Poland given the church’s enormous influence in all aspects of life and the pride of Poles in their native son, St. John Paul II.

New archbishop of York sorry for response to domestic abuse allegations

The Guardian

June 29, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

Stephen Cottrell failed to ensure disclosure was properly documented and action taken

The incoming archbishop of York has apologised for failing to take proper action relating to allegations of domestic abuse by a priest which were disclosed to him 10 years ago.

Stephen Cottrell, who will be confirmed as the Church of England’s second most senior cleric next week, failed to ensure that the disclosure had been properly documented and that further action had been taken.

“I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry,” he said in a statement on Monday. He added: “In my new position as archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.”

My Turn: Message from diocese’s Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance

Greenfield Recorder

June 28, 2020

By Jeffrey J. Trant

On Wednesday, June 24, the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Springfield, announced that he accepted the finding of credibility by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis’ independent investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against the late Christopher J. Weldon, former bishop of Springfield.

On behalf of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance for the Diocese of Springfield, I would like to publicly recognize the strength and resilience of the survivor who continued to pursue justice and truth since first reporting his abuse to diocesan officials in 2014.

Prosecutor to reconsider pressing charges against accused Wyoming bishop

National Catholic Reporter

June 22, 2020

By Christopher White

A Wyoming prosecutor has agreed to another review of the recommended charges against retired Cheyenne Bishop Joseph Hart, less than two weeks after informing the alleged victim at the center of the case that he would not pursue the matter.

The reversal came June 19 following a conference call between Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen and Cheyenne Police Department officials who said they felt "very strongly" about their recommendations that charges be brought against Hart following a two-year review of the case.

Police officials told the Casper Star-Tribune that the prosecutor misunderstood the police files and will meet again to discuss the case this week.

Clergy sex abuse allegations triple, U.S. Catholic bishops report

The Associated Press

June 26, 20201

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Thursday that the church tallied 4,434 sex abuse allegations against clergy in the 2018-19 audit year, triple the number seen the previous year, with much of the increase stemming from a wave of lawsuits and claims by survivors of decades-old molestation.

In the latest annual report on clerical sex abuse, dioceses and other Catholic entities reported paying out $281.6 million during the year for costs related to allegations, including payments for cases reported in previous years.


Catholic News Agency

June 28, 2020

By Matt Hadro

A federal judge on Friday ruled that New York must allow indoor and outdoor religious services in the same way it would allow mass outdoor protests, or indoor shopping malls.

Judge Gary Sharpe of the Northern District of New York said that the state cannot limit outdoor religious services during the pandemic, provided that attendees follow social distancing requirements. For indoor services, he said, the state has to make the same allowances for churches as it does for other businesses.

The judgement follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of several different religious groups by the Thomas More Society. No Catholic diocese or parish was party to the suit.

Morrison threatens charity status of organisations refusing to join abuse redress scheme

Sydney Morning Herald

June 29, 2020

By Fergus Hunter

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has threatened the charity status and government funding of organisations that refuse to sign up to the child sexual abuse redress scheme by the Tuesday deadline.

In a letter to 25 organisations named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but yet to join the scheme, Mr Morrison and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the institutions' resistance was "reprehensible" and warned of heavy consequences.

The religious, community and sporting organisations – which include the Jehovah's Witnesses and a number of Catholic groups – have been told they have until June 30 to provide a clear statement of intent to join the scheme by the end of the year.

Mr Morrison and Senator Ruston said those that refused to commit would be "publicly identified and the government is considering other actions including the appropriateness of future funding and tax status".

Depok case shines light on sexual abuse in Indonesian Catholic Church

The Jakarta Post

June 29, 2020

By Tri Indah Oktavianti, Ivany Atina Arbi and Alya Nurbaiti

A recently uncovered case of child sexual abuse at a Catholic church in Depok, West Java, has put a spotlight on sexual abuse in the wider Indonesian Catholic Church, causing adherents throughout the country to call for justice and reform.

On Sunday, the Catholic Women Human Rights Activists, a group made up of 194 Indonesian Catholic women, condemned the sexual assaults allegedly carried out by 42-year-old church caretaker Syahril Parlindungan Marbun, who has been accused of molesting at least 20 altar boys between the ages of 11 and 15 since 2012.

The group said one of the victim’s parents had reported the alleged assault to St. Herkulanus Church in 2014.

“However, at that time, the issue was solved through mediation by the church and the suspect was not removed from his position as the altar boys’ mentor but was instead promoted to head of the mentorship subsection,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.

The group called on the Diocese of Bogor and St. Herkulanus Church to establish a “safe place” maintained by a team of independent experts to manage and document the rehabilitation of victims and their families.

“No Credible Evidence” Found Against Monsignor Walter Rossi

The Tower (student newspaper of Catholic University)

June 28, 2020

By Renee Rasmussen

A statement released on June 12 by the Diocese of Scranton announced that the investigation into Monsignor Walter Rossi, Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, found “no credible evidence” regarding allegations of personal misconduct. An additional statement released by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory found “no unreasonable or inappropriate expenditures or significant issues in the financial administration” regarding a financial investigation against Rossi.

The investigations began nine months ago in response to accusations of financial and sexual misconduct, according to the Washington Post. Rossi was cleared by the Archdiocese of Washington in 2018 of similar accusations and stepped down from Catholic University’s Board of Trustees in September amid the most recent allegations. He remained active in his role as the Rector of the Basilica throughout the investigation.

The investigations opened in August 2019 following a question directed at Gregory during a question-and-answer session at a Theology on Tap, held at the Public Bar Live in the Dupont area of Washington on August 13.

Editorial: Partial disclosure of church abuse raises as many questions as it answers.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

June 28, 2020

By the Editorial Board

There’s a familiar pattern in a new revelation by a St. Louis-based Catholic order of former members who worked at area schools and allegedly abused kids: The revealed cases are old ones — so much so that many of the accused are already dead — and details about what the church knew and when it knew it remain murky. As the church should know by now, there’s a difference between really offering full disclosure and trying to appear to offer full disclosure.

The Marianist Province of the United States, which staffs Catholic high schools across the nation, on Wednesday released the list of members of the order credibly accused of child abuse, including 18 members who worked in St. Louis-area schools. It was based on a review of more than 2,500 personnel files starting as long ago as 1950. They include former teachers, counselors and coaches at Catholic institutions like St. Louis University High School, Chaminade College Preparatory Academy in Creve Coeur, Assumption High School in East St. Louis and others.

ABUSE CHARGE Catholic priest charged with alleged child sex offences and removed from Glasgow parish

The Scottish Sun

June 28, 2020

By Rebecca Gray

A CATHOLIC priest has been charged over alleged child sex offences, we can reveal.

Father Neil McGarrity, 56, was removed from his parish in Riddrie, Glasgow, after he was arrested by cops over the allegations.

The clergyman, who leads services at St Thomas the Apostle Church, is accused of alleged offences over a number of years.

A source said: “The allegations have left the congregation stunned.

“Father McGarrity is the senior priest at St Thomas and has been there for a long time.

“Everyone is in complete shock.”

All the alleged incidents are said to have taken place between December 2017 and March of this year.

Cops said a man aged 56 was arrested as part of a probe into alleged “sexual offences involving children”

Trial lawyer Ray Boucher on his career helping injured plaintiffs

Lawdragon (blog)

June 28, 2020

By Katrina Dewey

It’s in the moments of solitude at the base of a Colorado mountain that you might begin to understand Ray Boucher.

He’s completed The Fourteeners, and many more in tribute to his father upon his death, which became his pact with himself. He lawyers in the most difficult way, as well, with his heart firmly entrenched in every case, every cause.

Guaranteed to cause wreckage. And, if you survive, lead to truth and beauty.

Boucher made his name as a California trial lawyer long before he took on the Mt. Everest of litigation: speaking up for hundreds of individuals who had been molested by priests and stayed silent – often for a lifetime – because of their faith. It was early days in what would become a tidal wave of reform when Boucher started to talk to fellow Catholics about horrific harm the church had allowed, covered up, and then denied. The battles he was required to lead against his own church cut deep, but not as much as did the stories of his clients.

June 28, 2020

Vatican hands down its word in case of Father Mark White

Martinsville Bulletin

June 27, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

[Includes a video of a parish prayer and tribute to Fr. Mark White.]

At issue is long-running dispute with the Bishop of Richmond, and a missing word may have allowed the appeal to run out of time.

The word has come down from the Vatican in an appeal by the suspended Catholic Priest Father Mark White of a decision by the Bishop of Richmond to strip him of his pastoral duties, and that word also means White's appeal likely has run out of time.

Those may sound like cliches, but, according to a letter dated June 2 from Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy Beniamino Stella, they appear literally true and mean White's appeal never was considered and now probably won't be.

“Unfortunately, the petition as presented is unable to be accepted, inasmuch as you have received from this cleric a mandate to act only as an Advocate and canonical consultant,” Stella wrote to White’s canon lawyer, Michael Podhajsky.

The letter explains the appeal only will be accepted if it comes from White or someone he designates as a “procurator.”

White updated the parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount and St. Joseph in Martinsville with the news.

“The cardinal [Stella] noted that my lawyer’s first submission in the case omitted one word, a word I myself had never heard before: ‘procurator,’” White wrote in his blog. “According to the Cardinal, that omission of one word has nullified our entire case.

“I think it’s safe to say someone invented the term ‘technicality’ for situations just like this.”

Germany: Catholic Church sees record drop in membership

Deutsche Welle

June 26, 2020

More than half a million people officially left the Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany in 2019, new figures show. Just over half the population now belongs to one of the two main denominations.

Germany's top Catholic body said Friday that a record 272,771 people left the country's Catholic Church in 2019, and that the number of baptisms and weddings taking place in churches also dropped sharply.

The number compares with some 216,000 people canceling their membership in 2018, and beats the previous record of around 218,000 in 2014 by a large margin.

The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing, said the statistics could not be made to look good in any way and that the drop in baptism and wedding ceremonies showed the "erosion of a personal attachment to the church" particularly clearly.

The German Protestant Church (EKD) also had cause to be concerned about its membership numbers, with 270,000 people leaving in 2019, an increase of 22% on the year before. The figure equals that of 2014.

Judge orders transcript of Bishop Emeritus Clark deposition to be released


June 25, 2020

A federal judge has ordered attorneys involved in bankruptcy hearings for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester to release the bankruptcy hearing deposition transcript of Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark within ten days.

The order by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren was filed on June 24. The Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019, less than one month after roughly 50 civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at the hands of clergy were filed against them over New York's Child Victims Act.

Warren acknowledged that deposition transcripts are generally not filed on the docket, but said an exception will be made in this case "for the sake of transparency and for the sake of disclosure."

When bankruptcy hearings initially began, the court ruled the transcript was to be made available to the public 90 days after it had been delivered to the committee of creditors and the bishop. The deposition was held on March 3, meaning the transcript should have been released no later than June 1.

Fitch Downgrades Archdiocese of NOLA Revs to 'D'; IDR Affirmed at 'D' in Bankruptcy

Fitch Ratings

June 26, 2020

Fitch Ratings has downgraded approximately $40.1 million in outstanding series 2017 fixed-rate revenue bonds issued by the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority on behalf of the Archdiocese of New Orleans (LA) to 'D' from 'CC'. The Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of the Archdiocese has been affirmed at 'D'.


The 2017 bonds are secured by payments made by the Authority, and the source of these payments is solely a general unsecured obligation of the Archdiocese.

Key Rating Drivers

Trustee Notice of Non-Payment: The downgrade of the bond ratings to 'D' reflects the virtual certainty of a payment default on July 1, 2020 while in bankruptcy. The Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 1, 2020. The trustee gave notice on June 26, 2020 that the July 1 debt service payments will not be made, as the Archdiocese has not paid the trustee for debt service payments due on July 1, and the trustee does not have funds on deposit to make debt service payments. The IDR of 'D' reflects the Archdiocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

ESG - Social Impacts: The Archdiocese has an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) relevance score of '5' for Social Impacts due to potentially significant liability from abuse claims, which appear to be a key driver of the Archdiocese's bankruptcy filing.

Boys still sexually abused by Scout volunteers despite reforms, arrest suggests

Orange County Register

June 27, 2020

By Teri Sforza

Lawyers lining up clients to sue bankrupt organization before Nov. 16 deadline to lodge claims
He played Santa Claus at a charity Christmas breakfast. He volunteered at tree plantings and neighborhood clean-ups. He worked the pancake breakfast to raise money for Boy Scout programs in low-income Long Beach schools.

“I love to help,” says Lewis Brownson’s Facebook page by way of introduction.

Brownson, 43, has been feted in the city’s “Sparks of Change Neighborhood Leadership Program” for his contributions and hard work. But, in an agonizingly common twist, the Boy Scout leader was arrested June 16 on two counts of lewd acts upon a child under age 14, with an allegation of multiple victims, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

A preliminary investigation by Long Beach police found that an 8-year-old boy had been sexually abused while participating in an after-school program over several years — from 2016 through 2018, according to a police spokesperson. Brownson was booked at the Long Beach city jail, with bail set at $1.2 million.

“The Boy Scouts say they’ve put safeguards in place, that abuse is a problem of the past,” said Andrew VanArsdale, a lead attorney with AbusedInScouting.com. “But we represent the families of children who were abused in the past year, the past two years.

“If the Boy Scouts of America has proven anything over its history, it’s that they allowed this to happen and never cared enough to stop it.”

So far, AIS represents more than 4,500 men and boys who say they were abused in Scouting. The oldest is 93. The youngest is 8.

Catholic Church moves to axe sex-abuse watchdog

The Australian

June 29, 2020

By Victoria Laurie

The Catholic Church is quietly closing an agency set up to audit risks of sex abuse and enforce new standards of child protection in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Church reform groups say Catholic Professional Standards Ltd is being dismantled amid concern that old habits of secrecy and non-transparency are creeping back into the church.

CPSL was formed in early 2017 to act on 60 recommendations by the royal commission, which heard harrowing evidence of child sex abuse and cover-ups.

The new body was instructed by the powerful Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to set national standards for the treatment of children within the church, and conduct independent audits of 264 Catholic Church entities, including all archdioceses, religious orders and lay groups.

But halfway through its audit process, and with only one of seven archdioceses having­ delivered its safety audit, the archbishops have said CPSL will be replaced with “a new national safeguarding entity” in January.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, confirmed the CPSL would be replaced by a new body as a “comprehensive response by the church to safeguarding and professional­ standards needs”. He said the new body would continue the audit process “with appropriate independence”, and oversee a new national protocol to respond to complaints and allegations.

Australian Coalition for Catholic Church Reform convener Peter Johnstone said the church appeared to be taking back control “from an independent body of expert­ members of the laity providing­ independent scrutiny and advice”. “One must ask if this is back to business as usual, of the kind that led to the cover-up of child sexual abuse,” he said.

La historia del sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual y lavado de dinero del narcotráfico que irá a juicio oral


The story of the priest accused of sexual abuse and money laundering of drug trafficking who will go to oral trial

June 27, 2020

By Andrés Klipphan


[Google translation: Agustín Rosa Torino allegedly abused two seminarians and a nun. The Vatican opened a canonical investigation and the complaints reach 30. Pope Francis ordered the closure of the Religious Institute that in 1986 the priest had founded in Salta

One of the many judicial cases for abuses committed in the Argentine Church will add a new chapter. In Salta, the priest Agustín Rosa Torino will be tried for the alleged crimes of grossly outrageous sexual abuse to the detriment of two victims and simple sexual abuse against a third victim.The elevation to trial was filed in Chamber IV of the Salteño Trial Court. Now Judge Maximiliano Troyano will define the starting date of the oral and public trial.

The transit of the file was not easy. Along the way, the complaints and the prosecution encountered obstacles such as abuse of power, requests for annulments, requests for dismissal, and even a counter-complaint against one of the nuns who denounced the priest and who has already been dismissed.

It was because a cousin of another priest, a friend of the questioned religious, denounced the nun - now a former religious - Valeria Zarza, the woman abused by Agustín Rosa Torino.

The intention to discredit one of the three victims - the other two are men - failed. That's how rare the judicial process was until reaching the oral trial.

Scandal at the Vatican

The priest who faces earthly justice is not just any priest. He knew how to influence the politicians and the local bishopric. Also in the Vatican.

In 1986, and with the approval of the then Pope John Paul II , Father Rosa Torino founded, in the province of Salta, the religious institute of diocesan law Brothers Disciples of Jesus of Saint John the Baptist.

The institute also has offices in Mexico, Chile and Spain and is made up of priests, permanent deacons and consecrated non-clergy who issue perpetual public vows and exclusively practice contemplative, monastic or hermitic life.

Thirty-three years later, on June 18, 2019, and by order of another pope, in this case of Francis , the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life decreed the suppression of the Institute led by the alleged abusive priest.]

Agustín Rosa Torino habría abusado de dos seminaristas y una monja. El Vaticano abrió una investigación canónica y las denuncias llegan a 30. El papa Francisco ordenó cerrar el Instituto Religioso que en 1986 el cura habían fundado en Salta

Uno de los tantos casos judiciales por abusos cometidos en la Iglesia argentina sumará un nuevo capítulo. En Salta será juzgado el sacerdote Agustín Rosa Torino por los presuntos delitos de abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante en perjuicio de dos víctimas y de abuso sexual simple contra una tercera víctima. La elevación a juicio quedó radicada en la Sala IV del Tribunal de Juicio salteño. Ahora el juez Maximiliano Troyano definirá la fecha de inicio del juicio oral y público.

El tránsito del expediente no fue sencillo. En el camino, las querellas y la fiscalía se encontraron con obstáculos como abuso de poder, solicitudes de nulidades, pedidos de sobreseimiento, y hasta una contradenuncia contra una de las monjas que denuncio al cura y que ya fue sobreseída.

Fue porque una prima de otro sacerdote, amigo del cuestionado religioso, denunció como abusadora a la monja -ahora ex religiosa- Valeria Zarza, la mujer ultrajada por Agustín Rosa Torino.

La intención de desacreditar a una de las tres víctimas -las otras dos son hombres- fracasó. Así de enrarecido fue el trámite judicial hasta llegar al juicio oral.

Editorial - Weldon verdict must produce real change

Berkshire Eagle

June 25, 2020

The finding of a retired judge that the claims of a former altar boy that the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon sexually molested him were "unequivocally credible" is painful for many Catholics in the Springfield diocese, including the Berkshires. Bishop Weldon was a revered figure for 27 years.

But the finding, however painful, is part of the process that the diocese, and dioceses across the globe, must go through to address decades of abuse of minors by clergymen and cover-ups of that abuse by the church hierarchy.

Judge Peter A. Velis was hired by the diocese almost a year ago to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations brought forward by an unidentified Chicopee man after an in-house probe unraveled amid dissent over the conclusions of that investigation. Coverage in The Eagle about the man's frustration led to the decision to conduct an independent investigation, according to the Velis report.

The abuse of the Chicopee man began in the 1960s when he was nine years old and was violent in nature. Judge Velis, who was assisted by a chief investigator, Dennis O'Connor, said he took into consideration that Bishop Weldon, who died in 1982, was not able to defend himself. But what the judge described as the bishop's "evil deeds" were clear, declaring at a public appearance Wednesday alongside Bishop Mitchell Rozanski that he had "reached an informed and indisputable conclusion." The nearly 400-page report is now available on the diocese's website.

The bishop apologized to the victim, who met with stonewalling and skepticism from the diocese hierarchy since making his allegations to them in 2014. The Rev. Rozanski, who will be leaving to become Archbishop of St. Louis, acknowledged "chronic mishandling" of the case over those six years that led to the diocese "failing this courageous man." Judge Velis said that the investigations by the diocese failed largely because the intent was to protect the memory of the popular Bishop Weldon.

The Velis report shatters the credibility of the diocese's internal review board process, as many, although not all, of those serving on review committees are biased in favor of the accused. Former Berkshire Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ford will head a task force that will make recommendations about how the diocese should handle future allegations. The diocese's agreement with district attorneys within the diocese to report allegations against clergy should assure that they are brought to light before they are buried by diocesan allies of the accused.

Bishop Weldon, whose name will be struck from a rehabilitation hospital in Springfield, has been disgraced, just as his accuser has been vindicated. Going forward, the diocese must, along with notifying the authorities, institute measures to assure that if such crimes occur again the will be addressed quickly, rather than institute a cover-up that could last for years. That is a task that the Catholic Church must undertake with all humility and sincerity if it is to compensate for decades of evil deeds and regain lost credibility with Catholics all over the world.

Diocese committed to real change

Berkshire Eagle

June 27, 2020

By Jeffrey Trant - Director, Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, Diocese of Springfield

Springfield - On Wednesday, June 24, the Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Springfield, announced that he accepted the finding of credibility by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis' independent investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against the late Christopher J. Weldon, former bishop of Springfield.

On behalf of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance for the Diocese of Springfield, I would like to publicly recognize the strength and resilience of the survivor who continued to pursue justice and truth since first reporting his abuse to diocesan officials in 2014.

As Archbishop-designate Rozanski noted Wednesday, "In almost every instance we failed this courageous man who nonetheless persevered thanks in part to a reliable support network as well as a deep desire for a just response to the terrible abuse he endured."

As a result of the investigation, Archbishop-designate Rozanski took the following steps: (1) directed that Trinity Health remove the former bishop's name from its rehab facilities; (2) communicated to the diocesan cemeteries office to make the necessary plans to remove the former bishop's remains to a less prominent location marked with a simple gravestone; (3) instructed all Catholic facilities to immediately remove honorable mentions, references, memorials and pictures of the former bishop; and (4) ordered that his name be placed on our diocesan website listing all those with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. Truly, it was through the continued advocacy by survivors of clergy sexual abuse and ongoing support from the survivor community that this unfortunate matter finally reached a conclusion.

Judge finds allegation against former Bishop Weldon 'unequivocally credible'

Berkshire Eagle

June 24, 2020.

By Larry Parnass and Caroline White

The Springfield Diocese sought to protect the reputation of the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, a retired judge says, despite a former altar boy’s “unequivocally credible” complaint that the bishop sexually molested him repeatedly in the early 1960s, in group assaults joined by other clergy.

Now, Weldon’s name and likeness will be purged from Catholic church venues — and his remains moved from a place of honor.

Judge Peter A. Velis said in a report made public Wednesday that a Chicopee man’s allegations of repeated sexual assaults by the bishop are believable.

Velis was hired by the diocese last July to prepare "an independent and outside" probe, with help from a chief investigator, Dennis O’Connor.

Velis said he reached that conclusion about the bishop’s “evil deeds,” even as he strove to consider that Weldon isn’t alive to defend himself. The bishop died in 1982, after serving the diocese, including Berkshire County, from 1950 to 1977.

“I conducted the process in the light most favorable to him,” Velis said of Weldon. “However … I still reached an informed and indisputable conclusion.”

In an appearance Wednesday alongside the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Velis affirmed the outcome of his investigation, which he acknowledged will dishearten Catholics throughout the region.

“The finding I made I stand behind as an indisputable truth,” he said.

Rozanski said he accepted the report’s conclusions and called for mentions of Weldon to be removed from view.

Rozanski directed not only that Weldon’s name be struck from a Springfield rehabilitation hospital, but that his remains in a diocesan cemetery be moved from a place of honor and “marked with a simple gravestone.”

'Entering a convent led me to the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate'

The Guardian

June 14, 2020

By Monica Hingston

[With link to letter from Hingston to Cardinal Pell.]

Monica and Peg’s relationship was ‘strictly taboo and vehemently condemned’, but that did not prevent them from building a life together

Sixty years ago, as an idealistic 21-year-old seeking to do good, I made the unusual decision to enter the convent. Twenty years later, on the other side of the world, that decision would play a major part in meeting the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate.

I came from a typical Catholic family of that time. We accepted without question all the church teachings, a slow-drip indoctrination. I happily embarked on this path, becoming a “bride of Christ” (a peculiar, inexplicable ritual) and donning the veil and habit to signify I was set apart from the enticements of the world.

I loved teaching, but after some years I became disenchanted with the path I was on, and requested leave of absence from religious life. I travelled to South America. It was the first step towards meeting Peg. I still can’t explain why I chose to return to the convent, but that choice, at the fork in the road, took me on the path to her.

Those same years have revealed the horrors, the pain and anguish the prelates of this church have inflicted on innocent, vulnerable children by the millions across the globe. They have lost all credibility, especially in claiming the moral high ground on any issue.

I would hope that the good and decent Catholic believers may one day soon decide they no longer need this clerical caste to serve their God and return to meeting in small groups like the early Christians, sharing eucharist, striving to be humane and compassionate people.

Attorney Blog: Debtors Need Not Apply? Continuing Developments on the SBA’s Authority to Deny PPP Loans to Debtor

Morgan Lewis via JD Supra

June 26, 2020

The Small Business Administration on April 24 issued an update to an interim final rule, crystalizing its view that applicants that have sought protection under the US Bankruptcy Code are not qualified borrowers under the Paycheck Protection Program. Subsequently, dozens of debtors have looked to the bankruptcy courts for relief from the SBA’s unilateral clarification. This LawFlash covers debtor eligibility under the PPP as well as recent legislation and key court decisions moving the needle in this space.

Almost simultaneously with the SBA’s release of its interim final rule stating its view that debtors are not qualified PPP borrowers, a Texas bankruptcy court temporarily enjoined the SBA’s authority to enforce that determination. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated that decision after determining that the SBA is protected by limited sovereign immunity. In the intervening period, numerous debtors have looked to the bankruptcy courts for relief, with most courts deciding the issues on the merits—including one district court—leading to a split over the SBA’s discretion to deny PPP loans solely on the basis of a borrower’s bankruptcy. Meanwhile, debtors obtaining their PPP loans prior to filing have seen few challenges to their requests to use PPP proceeds to fund operations during bankruptcy.

Subsequent PPP legislation, including the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 enacted on June 5, clarified several points and further extended the maturity and forgiveness period of the PPP, but did not address the ineligible debtor issue, which continues to be fought in the courts. The second round of funding of the PPP has not been exhausted and remains available for eligible borrowers, although the deadline to borrow will expire shortly.

Attorney Blog: Confusion in Bankruptcy Courts Regarding Debtor Eligibility for PPP Loans

Varnum Law via JD Supra

June 25, 2020

The Small Business Administration's (SBA) rules and regulations concerning the eligibility of businesses for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans when the business is involved in bankruptcy have recently been a source of substantial uncertainty, with the nationwide split of authority in bankruptcy courts. While these cases deal with a very small minority of PPP recipients and are a relative novelty in that regard, these decisions could foretell future issues for companies who have received PPP loans but are later forced to file Chapter 11, specifically regarding their eligibility for loan forgiveness.

The SBA is enabled with emergency rulemaking authority to adopt rules and regulations to manage application and qualifications for PPP loans under the CARES Act. Pursuant to this authority, the SBA publishes Interim Final Rules (IFR). The SBA's April 28, 2020 IFR expressly disqualified applicants who are debtors in a bankruptcy proceeding at any time between the date of application and when the loan is disbursed.[1] Several companies in bankruptcy proceedings, whose loans have been denied, have challenged the SBA's rulemaking authority in this regard, leading to a nationwide split on this issue in bankruptcy courts.

Specifically, these courts have rendered opinions to decide whether the SBA can impose a policy disqualifying a business in bankruptcy proceedings from participating in the PPP and whether the SBA violates other laws for doing so.[2] More than a dozen cases have been decided in the last two months, with the recent decisions highlighting the confusion that bankruptcy courts face in discerning the intent of Congress and the purpose of the CARES Act.

Real Estate Listing: 14 Lourdes Drive - 22.64 Acres


June 24, 2020

[Note: This property is part of the Servants of the Paraclete complex in Jemez Springs NM. It was originally known as the Lourdes Retreat, then Our Lady of Lourdes Novitiate, and most recently (earlier his year) Lourdes House of Prayer: "We offer opportunities for spirituality and hospitality to priests and brothers who want to 'come away to a quiet place' for a time." This listing provides photographs and a drone video of the property. It is a few miles north of the main compound of the Servants of the Paraclete. That compound used to extend between Villa Louis Martin Drive and St. Joseph Drive on the west side of NM Route 4 (see map). Some years ago, the buildings along Villa Louis Martin Drive were bought by the National Park Service to house the administrative offices of its Valles Caldera National Preserve. But most of the main compound is still owned by the Servants of the Paraclete, including Mary, Mother of Priests Church across from the Jemez Historic Site. The main complex is now called the Father Fitzgerald Retreat and Renewal Center.]

14 Lourdes Drive - 22.64 Acres
Jemez Springs, NM 87025
United States
Land: 22.64 acres (approx.)
Web #: 0576287
MLS ID: 201804504

Situated in the heart of majestic Jemez Springs, New Mexico, this magnificent compound property sits on 22.64 +/- acres of lush and usable land surrounded by trees and grass. The Jemez River, as well as a long lived acequia waterway run through/flank the property. Three homes/structures are surrounded by dramatic valley views and evergreen tree laden mountain-scapes where wildlife and native birds can be seen traversing the scenery. Jemez Springs is best known for its nearby and off-property natural hot springs warmed by the ancient waters of the Valles Caldera. The property is just an hour drive away from the larger city of Los Alamos or Bernalillo/Albuquerque.

Second Annual Report of the IRG on implementation of the McLellan Report recommendations

Bishops' Conference of Scotland

June 26, 2020

Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Report by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland

1.1 When the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (BCOS) accepted in full the recommendations from the review into safeguarding chaired by Dr Andrew McLellan, they established an Independent Review Group (IRG) to monitor progress in implementing the recommendations.

1.2. This is the second annual progress report from the IRG. The remit of the IRG has been reviewed by BCOS and is included as Appendix 1 of this report.

1.3. The findings within this report are based on discussions between the BCOS and the IRG; the production of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties ( see Appendix 2); the response of the BCOS to the recommendations from the first report (see Appendix 3) ; the process and outcome of the first 2 external audits of diocesan safeguarding practices and the outcome and analysis of the diocesan internal audits for 2019. Details of the IRG’s membership and a summary of its main activities are in Appendix 4.

1.4. 2019 saw a deepening understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities for safeguarding delegated to the IRG by the BCOS. The introduction of entirely new and entirely independent scrutiny of all aspects of the implementation of safeguarding policy, procedures and practice within the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was a courageous and decisive initiative by the BCOS. The agreement with the IRG was that two Dioceses in 2019 would be audited by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as part of a wider commitment by the Bishops to commission external audits of all eight Dioceses over a four year period. This showed a willingness to open all aspects of safeguarding to intense professional scrutiny and to learn lessons. Almost inevitably there were teething issues as commitments and shared values were teased out into effective behaviours and comprehensive relationships.

Scottish Church must make it easier for survivors to come forward, report says


June 27, 2020

By Charles Collins

Leicester, United Kingdom - While noting improvement in safeguarding standards in the Church in Scotland, a new report says putting in place structures that safeguard the vulnerable still presents challenges.

The Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Commission by the Catholic Church was released on June 26.

Safeguarding practices in the Scottish Catholic Church were first reviewed by the McLellan Commission, set up in 2013. In August 2015 the commission published a report recommending external and independent scrutiny of polices and practice, and the bishops responded by establishing the review group in May 2017. The IRG is headed by Baroness Helen Liddell, the former UK Secretary of State of Scotland.

“We must never forget that survivors of abuse are at the heart of our work. We need to learn from them and through that put in place structures that safeguard the vulnerable. All of us have a part to play, not just clergy but laity too,” Liddell said.

June 27, 2020

Scandals, compensation programs lead Catholic clergy sex abuse complaints to quadruple in 2019

Washington Post

June 26, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: For the first time in 13 years, since the report about the data for 2006, this new report doesn't show the aggregate total responses to the survey. In previous years, the surveys were reproduced at the back of the report, with the total responses added for each question. See, for example last year's report. In this this year's report, those responses are omitted.

In last year's report, the survey for religious orders omitted the question: "Of the total number in item 32, the number that have had one or more previous allegations reported against them prior [to the period of the report]. See that question in the report on data for 2016-2017, and see its omission in the report on data for 2017-2018. Dropping this question from the religious order survey meant that it was not possible to calculate the number of religious order priests accused for the first time during the survey period. That question was restored in this year's report, but the number was not provided, either in the copy of the survey at the end of the report or in the text. This means that for a second year we don't know how many religious order priests were accused for the first time in the survey period.

By contrast, it is possible to calculate that number for diocesan priests:
2017-2018: 156 diocesan priests accused for the first time (436-280=156; see the survey)
2018-2019: 598 diocesan priests accused for the first time (1,391-(1391x.57)=598; see the text)

The number of priests accused for the first time each year is significant. It allows a running total to be calculated as BA does on this page, which is being updated to include data from the new report.]

The number of allegations of Catholic clergy sex abuse of minors more than quadrupled in 2019 compared to the average in the previous five years, U.S. church officials reported this week, in part the result of new church-run compensation programs for victims as well as survivors driven to come forward by several major clerical abuse scandals.

The annual audit of nearly 200 dioceses and church entities across the country has been done since 2002, when reports of clergy abuse and coverups exploded and U.S. bishops approved reforms, including a yearly review of complaints and compliance. The reform package is often called the “Charter."

[Photo caption: James Grein is among the men alleging sexual abuse or harassment by now-defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Here Grein shows postcards from McCarrick. The McCarrick scandal is among the reasons experts think complaints against the church went up in 2019.]

The report released Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the 2019 report — which covered July 2018 through June 2019 — counted 4,434 allegations of clergy sex abuse against minors. That number was 1,451 in 2018, 693 in 2017, 1,318 in 2016 and 903 in 2015.

Of the 4,434 allegations covered in the report, about half — 2,237 — were deemed credible by the church.

Thirty-seven of the 4,434 allegations came from people who were minors during the time period the report covered — eight of which the church-run bodies deemed substantiated, according to the report. In recent years, that’s about average for substantiated, past-year claims. There are about 37,000 diocesan and religious order priests in the country.

The complaints the church deemed credible were analyzed further by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a church-affiliated research center on the Catholic Church. CARA found that of those whose time frame could be determined, 57 percent of credible allegations that came in 2019 happened before 1975, 41 percent between 1975 and 1999, and 2 percent since 2000, the report said.

Church officials said the fact that there remains such a small number of claims of recent abuse shows that their reforms are working and that the jump in reporting of older claims reflects confidence complaints will be taken seriously.

Some survivor advocates saw other things in the report. SNAP, a clergy-abuse survivors’ organization, emphasized the report’s finding that the status of 863 allegations is “unknown” and another 956 are ongoing.

Annual audit shows more than 4,400 allegations of clergy abuse reported

Catholic News Service via The Dialog of the Diocese of Wilmington

June 25, 2020

More than 4,400 allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy were reported during the year ending June 30, 2019, a significant jump from the previous auditing period, according to a report on diocesan and eparchial compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

Released June 25, the 17th annual report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection states that 4,220 child sexual abuse survivors filed 4,434 allegations. In the 2017-2018 audit period, 1,381 survivors filed 1,451 allegations.

[Photo caption: David Lorenz, holding the microphone, addresses a crowd gathered outside the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington Aug. 26. He was joined by Catholics who showed up to support sex abuse victims.]

While the number jumped, the report said only 37 allegations involved current minors. Of these, the report said, eight allegations were substantiated, seven were unsubstantiated, six were unable to be proven, 12 remained under investigation, three were referred to religious orders and one was referred to another diocese.

The report attributed 37% of the new allegations to lawsuits, the introduction of victim compensation programs by dioceses and eparchies, and bankruptcies. An additional 3% of allegations emerged after a review of clergy personnel files, according to the report.

US Catholic bishops: clergy sex abuse claims tripled in 2019

Associated Press

June 26, 2020

By David Crary

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Thursday that the church tallied 4,434 sex abuse allegations against clergy in the 2018-19 audit year, triple the number seen the previous year, with much of the increase stemming from a wave of lawsuits and claims by survivors of decades-old molestation.

In the latest annual report on clerical sex abuse, dioceses and other Catholic entities reported paying out $281.6 million during the year for costs related to allegations, including payments for cases reported in previous years.

Only 37 of the new allegations were made by people who were minors in the audit year ending June 30, 2019. Of those, eight allegations were substantiated, while most of the others were either still under investigation or had been deemed unsubstantiated.

There has been a huge overall surge in allegations over the past three years as dioceses faced unprecedented pressure to address the decades-old problem of clergy sex abuse. There were 693 allegations tallied in the 2017 report, and 1,451 in the 2018 report.

The cases cited in the new report involved 2,982 priests and other church personnel. Of the allegations, 1,034 were substantiated; many other remained under investigation or were unable to be proven, it said.

U.S. Bishops Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection Releases Annual Report


June 25, 2020

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the 2019 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organization nation-wide. A survey on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is also included as part of the report.

This is the seventeenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. bishops established and adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People a comprehensive set of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and made a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.

The 2019 report for audit year July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 states that 4,220 adults came forward with 4,434 allegations. Compared to 2018, the number of allegations has increased significantly. This is in part due to the additional allegations received as a result of lawsuits, compensation programs, and bankruptcies.

5 Marianists accused of sexual abuse worked at former Hamilton high school


June 26, 2020

By Michael D. Clark and Josh Sweigart

[See the list.]

Hamilton OH - Five men appearing on a recently released list of Marianist priests and brothers who the order says sexually abused children were assigned to the former Hamilton Catholic High School at some time during their careers, according to a Journal-News review of the documents.

Leaders of the Marianists, a Catholic religious order with a 170-year history in the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton region, released a list Wednesday of 46 priests and brothers they say were found to have abused children since 1950 in the United States.

Marianist officials listed five men who spent some of their careers working at the former Hamilton Catholic High School under the category of “members found to have sexually abused a minor.”

The school, which was located at 533 Dayton Street, closed in 1966, and students transferred to the then-new Badin High School in west Hamilton.

The building has for years been the central office of the Hamilton public schools.

The five — Francis A. Russell, John J. Keegan, Julius F. May, Ralph A. Mravintz and Thomas J. Doyle — all spent some years of their careers working at the former Hamilton Catholic High School. The exact years of employment are not noted in the document.

Religious order releases list of members who allegedly abused kids, many with Dayton ties


June 24, 2020

By Josh Sweigart

Leaders of the Marianists — a Catholic religious order with a 170-year history in Dayton — released a list Wednesday of 46 priests and brothers they say were found to have sexually abused children since 1950 in the United States.

The list includes 19 men with ties to the Dayton area and Marianist institutions such as the University of Dayton and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. Sixteen Marianists on the list served in the Province of Cincinnati, which was headquartered in Dayton until it merged with the other Marianist provinces in 2002.

Chaminade Julienne President Daniel Meixner said in a statement Wednesday that allegations against one of the men, Bro. Francis Russell, stemmed from his assignment to the school during the 1965-1966 school year. He said the Marianists notified the school about Russell in November 2019 and letters were sent to alumni from that year.

Russell joined the order in 1939 and died in 1991, according to information released by the order. He worked at four schools in Ohio, including in Hamilton and Cincinnati.

Meixner said 13 men on the list released Wednesday worked at Chaminade Julienne or its predecessor, Chaminade High School, all prior to 1999, including six Marianists “not previously known to our school.” Russell is the only one with a credible claim of abuse while assigned at the school, Meixner said.

Lawsuits allege decades of abuse by local priests


June 6, 2020

By Seth Wallace

Earliest case claims abuse at St. Paul’s in 1945

A deluge of lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Syracuse under the state Child Victims Act allege a long-standing, secretive and effective system for concealing clergy sex abuse.

Hundreds of cases are pending against the diocese, which last week filed for bankruptcy in the face of the overwhelming legal battle. Multiple complaints allege sexual abuse of children by priests associated with Oswego parishes. For this story, The Palladium-Times editorial team spoke with attorneys for the alleged victims, reviewed hundreds of pages of court and diocese documents and aggregated credible information from community members who claim to have knowledge of the situation. The names of all alleged victims are being withheld with identities redacted and replaced by the terms “the victim,” “the plaintiff” or “the child” where applicable.

The cases differ in decades, institutions and individuals but many components follow the same sad pattern: an underage male, involved with the Catholic Church through schooling or worship, is sexually abused by a clergy member.

“The Diocese of Syracuse knew for decades that its priests, clergy, religious brothers, religious sisters, school administrators, teachers, employees and volunteers were using their positions within the diocese to groom and sexually abuse children,” reads the opening of one complaint alleging abuse that began more than five decades ago.

Savannah priest took life as he found it from Irish farm to gunman’s Cathedral attack

Savannah Morning News

June 26, 2020

By Jan Skutch

By his own admission, Monsignor William Oliver O’Neill is “a person who likes mischief and excitement.”

So when the retired rector at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in downtown Savannah sat down to pen his life’s stories beginning in Ireland and continuing for the past 53 years in the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, that showed through.

“Some of the stories in this collection may seem to be outlandish or hard to believe!,” he wrote in his introduction. “They are all actually true stories.”

In the recently published “Stories from Ireland and America,” available from Amazon.com, O’Neill writes 124 stories from his childhood on a farm near Tipperary in Ireland to his confrontation with an armed arsonist who tried to burn the Cathedral to the ground. The reader is presented with an entertaining saga — at times challenging to take at face value.

But for those who have celebrated Mass with O’Neill at the pulpit, they find a priest who sees humor in daily lives, as well as one who was dedicated to his chosen path of leading his flock to God’s message. And as a fierce critic of the church’s handling of those guilty of cleric sexual abuse.

'He Played With People’s Minds': Fresno Priest Left a Trail of Sexual Abuse Allegations


June 26, 2020

By Alexandra Hall

Luis said he couldn’t tell the doctor what had really happened.

It had been several days since he first noticed the blood in his urine and the bruising around his groin.

The 40-year-old native of Jalisco, Mexico, had been meeting with a popular local priest in Fresno, Jesús Antonio Castañeda Serna, who went by the name Father Antonio. His family had introduced him to Father Antonio in hope of the priest helping Luis, who had struggled with an addiction to meth, get back on his feet.

“A lot of people would come looking for him,” said Luis, which is not his real name. KQED is not using the real names of alleged sexual assault survivors in this story. “They said it was something … like a gift from God he had.”

At the time, Father Antonio was lead pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Spanish-language congregation of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. The priest’s charismatic leadership drew in hundreds from Fresno’s Latino community and his rumored healing abilities had earned him the nickname “el padrecito que hace milagros” — the priest who performs miracles.

During sessions in Father Antonio’s office that Luis said took place over the course of several years, he would lie down on a bench or massage table wearing only his boxers, while Father Antonio prayed and rubbed oil onto his skin. The intensity of the massage was so forceful that the priest often left bruises, Luis later testified.

Evansville Diocese says claims of sex abuse against late priest 'unsubstantiated'

Courier & Press

June 26, 2020

By Abbey Doyle

Bishop Joseph M. Siegal said Friday he found claims of sexual misconduct against a now-deceased priest were "unsubstantiated" after an Evansville Diocese investigation.

In response, the family of the accuser called the announcement, and the investigation itself, "absurd and offensive."

Testifying in front of the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee in February 2019, Christopher Compton said the Rev. Raymond Kuper sexually abused him multiple times when Compton was 9 years old.

He accused of Kuper of "borderline brainwashing" him.

Kuper died in 2012.

Speaking to reporters at the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Center, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, said: "On the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board, I have found that this allegation cannot be substantiated."

Advocate for victims of clergy abuse calls for Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to resign

Springfield Republican via Mass Live

June 26, 2020

By Ron Chimelis

The press conference consisted of a single person, but Robert Hoatson said he spoke for thousands of victims who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse — and any who still may.

The former priest and president of Road to Recovery, an advocacy group for victims of church-related sexual abuse, called for the resignation of Mitchell Rozanski, the outgoing bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. Hoatson also called on Pope Francis to rescind the bishop’s reassignment as Archbishop of the Archdiocese in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hoatson said he expects neither result, but promised to keep speaking out on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse. Speaking in front of diocesan headquarters in Springfield Friday, he said retired Judge Peter Velis’ findings of “unequivocally credible” sexual abuse claims against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon — and failures in the diocese’s handling of the allegations — stood as a scathing commentary on Rozanski’s tenure in Springfield.

Former Winnipeg priest sentenced to 15 months for sexually abusing teenage boy


June 26, 2020

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty earlier this month to offences dating back to 1980s

A former Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused a 15-year-old boy almost four decades ago has been sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault earlier this month.

His jail sentence will be followed by two years of supervised probation, during which time he must not work or volunteer in a position of trust involving children, a recommendation made by Crown attorney Dayna Queua-Guzzi.

At Lanoie's sentencing on Thursday, provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston talked about the importance of a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offence and the responsibility of the convicted person. The multiple sexual assaults suffered by the victim resulted in trauma, Rolston said.

Pope dismisses former Athens County priest


June 26, 2020

By John Lynch

Steubenville OH - Pope Francis decreed that Henry Christopher Foxhoven be dismissed from the clerical state. The Pope’s decision was communicated to Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton on June 3 and to Foxhoven on June 19.

Foxhoven pled guilty to three counts of sexual battery in front of Athens County Judge Patrick Lang, Nov. 27, 2018 and is serving a 12 year prison sentence.

Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton said, “We must remain vigilant in assisting victims of sexual abuse. We take every accusation very seriously and we will continue to do so.”

Retired priest jailed 15 months for sex abuse

Winnipeg Free Press

June 25, 2020

By Dean Pritchard

A retired Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 months in jail after admitting to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago.

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of sexual assault for offences dating back to 1982.

The abuse began shortly after the boy had been sent to live at St. Boniface Minor Seminary following the death of his mother.

"Mr. Lanoie was his priest and his parents all at once," provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston said Thursday. "It is difficult to imagine a more profound and multi-layered breach of trust."

Why are more Catholic Churches closing their doors?


June 25, 2020

By Ike Bendavid

Winooski VT - Three Catholic churches in Vermont are set to close within the next week-- the latest sign of the times for Vermont's largest church community. Our Ike Bendavid takes a look at what's behind the closures and what's next.

I'm told it's several things. Weekly Mass attendance and access to other churches in the area make it easier to consolidate, but the main reason is not enough priests to lead the parishes in the state.

After near 90 years, St. Stephen's Church in Winooski will ring the bells one last time this weekend.

The number of churchgoers has also been falling for years, driven by aging demographics, a decline in religious interest among younger people and priest sex abuse scandals that have driven away some parishioners.

According to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, there were 142,000 Catholics in Vermont in 1990. In 2019, there were 112,000 statewide.

In 1990, there were 2,097 baptisms. In 2019, there were only 384.

Also in 1990, there were 1,290 Catholic funerals. Last year, there were 1,127.

Allegation Against Longtime Columbus OH Priest Found “Credible”

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 25, 2020

By Judy Jones

A longtime Catholic priest in Ohio is the subject of a “credible allegation” of abuse, according to the Diocese of Columbus. We call on diocesan officials to use every tool and resource at their disposal to share this information with parishioners and the public in every community where this cleric worked and to encourage victims and witnesses to come forward to local police and prosecutors.

We hope that the findings by the diocesan review board will bring comfort and healing to the survivors of Fr. Kevin Lutz. We know that abusers rarely have only one victim, so we believe there are likely others who he hurt during his four decades as a priest. One public allegation that is found to be "credible" by Catholic officials will often bring others forward. Outreach by diocesan leaders in Columbus can help bring those who were wounded forward so they can find healing and accountability.

We call on Bishop Robert Brennan to personally visit each parish where Fr. Lutz worked and urge others who may have suffered, seen or suspected crimes to come forward to law enforcement. We also hope that prosecutors in Columbus will look closely at this case to determine if there are any chargeable offenses, so that children in Ohio will be safer and survivors will have an opportunity for justice.

The ties that bind: How the Catholic Church can respond to the cult of personality

National Catholic Reporter

June 25, 2020

By Phyllis Zagano

The sudden appearance of new communities, linked to the personality of some preachers … can conceal the danger … of enclosing the experience of faith in protected and reassuring environments.
— Pope Francis, to participants at the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Sept. 28, 2019.

The cult of personality is a very scary thing. No matter where or how it forms, it usually crashes and burns with the death or diminishment of the individual who gained a following. What Pope Francis spoke of here, to the assembled participants at the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was the theme of their conference: "Pentecostals, charismatics, and evangelicals: Impact on the concept of unity." His words found their way into the final document of the Amazon synod about a year later.

The dynamics in the Amazon region are clear: The largest numbers of former Catholics there now affiliate with one or another of these groups, too often tied to a single preacher in a single village for a limited time.

Why? One would hope that the gospel is the principal attraction for the adherents to whatever Pentecostal, charismatic or evangelical preacher has won their hearts. But one must recognize the underlying circumstances causing people to gather around him or, increasingly, her.

It often has to do with language and culture. The local preacher comes from the people, or somehow is inserted into the locality, and gains a following. He, or, we must remember, she, is, or at least becomes, a known quantity whose joys, hopes and fears echo those of the followers. The preacher knows them, knows how to heal their wounds, knows how to salve their sorrows. The people hear common sense mixed with promise.

Ignatius Press to publish Cardinal Pell prison journal in hopes to help with legal costs

Catholic News Service via The Dialog of the Diocese of Wilmington

June 26, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Rome - Ignatius Press will be publishing Australian Cardinal George Pell’s prison journal and it is also appealing for donations it will give the cardinal for outstanding legal expenses incurred in defending himself against allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.

Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, editor of the U.S.-based Ignatius Press, said, “I’ve already read the first half of the journal and it is extraordinary. I think it’s going to be a spiritual classic.”

The complete journal, he said, is about 1,000 pages, “so we will print it in three or four volumes” with the first volume expected to be out in the spring of 2021.

“With your help, we can proceed with this project and offer Cardinal Pell appropriate advances on these volumes, which he can then use to remove much of the worry he now has about his legal debts,” the priest said in a message published in June on the Ignatius Press website.

The “Cardinal George Pell Donation Project,” found on Ignatius.com, said donations made through the publisher’s website or its parent company, Guadalupe Associates Inc., were tax deductible.

A jury in Australia had found Cardinal Pell guilty in December 2018 on five counts of abuse and the Victoria Court of Appeal upheld that verdict in a 2-1 decision.

The 79-year-old cardinal had served nearly 14 months out of a six-year sentence when, in April, seven judges of the High Court of Australia dismissed his conviction on charges of abusing two choirboys in 1996. He was in solitary confinement 23 hours a day for 405 days.

Trinidad: Woman claims assault by priest in viral Facebook video

Stabroek News

June 26, 2020

Deeply disturbing.

These are the words used by Mount Saint Benedict in responding to a viral Facebook video of a woman claiming she was sexually assaulted by a priest from the Mount from age seven to 12.

The Mount said the allegations in the video are currently under review.

“We shall continue to monitor our policies and controls to prevent incidents of this nature,” the Mount said in a statement on its Facebook page yesterday.

The Mount said the monk against whom the allegations were made is formerly associated with the Mount Saint Benedict Monastery and St Bede’s Vocational School.

Virginia music teacher, minister pleads guilty to producing images of child sexual abuse

WTVR via True CrimeDaily

June 25, 2020

A former Richmond City Public Schools elementary music teacher and minister pleaded guilty Wednesday to producing images of child sexual abuse.

Kellen Thomas Donelson, 32, was charged by Homeland Security Agents following an investigation and search warrant on his Richmond home.

The Richmond man came to the attention of law enforcement in 2019 for uploading multiple images of child pornography via Snapchat and Kik Messenger, according to court documents. In the summer of 2019, Homeland Security received tips that Donelson, under the name "love4muziq," uploaded images of child porn to Snapchat and the messaging app Kik.

George Carey: Former archbishop suspended over abuse inquiry


June 18, 2020

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has had his permission to officiate as a priest revoked.

The Church of England said new evidence linking Lord Carey, 84, to a review into allegations of abuse against the late John Smyth, had emerged.

There are no claims of abuse against him, and in a statement he said he was "dismayed" by the revocation.

Mr Smyth was accused of attacking boys whom he had met at a Dorset Christian camp in the 1970s and 1980s.

The independent inquiry was launched into the Church's handling of allegations against Mr Smyth, a barrister who died aged 77 last year.

Permission to Officiate (PTO) is required for any Church of England priest to preach or minister.

In a statement Lord Carey said: "I am bewildered and dismayed to receive the news a short time ago that due to 'concerns' being raised during the review of John Smyth QC I have had my PTO revoked.

Monastic hospitality... but to what extent?

La Croix

June 24, 2020

By Céline Hoyeau and Gauthier Vaillant

Famous for their hospitality, monasteries are often asked to house criminals or priests guilty of being pedophiles

A year ago, Jean-Claude Romand traded his prison cell for the monastic cloister.

He was released on parole on June 28, 2019 after spending 26 years in jail for murdering his wife, their two children and his parents.

Romand was an impostor who pretended to be a medical doctor for 18 years prior to the murders. He converted to Catholicism while in prison and, since being paroled, he's been living at the traditionalist Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault in central France.

He is not the first notorious criminal to seek refuge in a monastery.

In the late 1970s, the Benedictine Abbey of Sainte-Anne de Kergonan, near the Bay of Biscay, took in the double murderer Guy Desnoyers.

There was also Michelle Martin, companion of the Belgian pedophile murderer Marc Dutroux. She spent three years in a Poor Clare monastery near Namur after being paroled in 2012.

In recent years, bishops have also begun to use monasteries as residents for priests guilty of or awaiting trial for sexual abuse.

Marianists Release Names Of Members They Say Abused Children

Associated Press via The Citizen's Voice of Wilkes-Barre PA

June 26 2020

By Jim Salter and Margaret Stafford

[See the list.]

The Marianists religious order on Wednesday released the names of 46 living and dead religious leaders who they claim sexually abused minors, the latest of several Catholic organizations to complete an investigation and publicly name the accused.

“For decades, despicable and evil acts of abuse committed by clergy and vowed religious of the Catholic Church dwelled in the shadows,” the leader of the St. Louis-based order, Oscar Vasquez, wrote in a letter posted on the Marianists’ website. “Hidden and ignored by church members and leaders, these abhorrent sins festered, stifling the light of our Church.”

Vasquez said investigators looked at files of 2,500 U.S. priests and brothers dating to 1950. Of the 46 men on the list, 33 are deceased.

Of the remaining 13 Marianists determined to have committed abuse, five who are still members of the order are on “safety plans” and eight are no longer with the order.

June 26, 2020

Pope Moves Against Polish Bishop Accused of Hiding Predators

Associated Press

June 25, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Monika Scislowska

Pope Francis has ordered a Polish bishop to leave his central diocese while he is under investigation for covering up cases of sexual abuse that were featured in a second clergy abuse documentary that has rocked Poland’s Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has ordered a Polish bishop to leave his central diocese and let someone else run it while he is under investigation for covering up cases of sexual abuse that were featured in a second clergy abuse documentary that has rocked Poland's Catholic Church.

Francis on Thursday named the archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys, to temporarily take over as head of the Kalisz diocese.

The Vatican's ambassador, in explaining the decision, said the current Kalisz bishop, Edward Janiak, 67, retains the title of Kalish bishop for the time being. But the explanation, posted late Thursday on the Polish bishops conference website, said Janiak must leave the territory of the diocese and can't have any form of influence on how it is run.

In May, the online documentary “Playing Hide and Seek,” exposed two cases of pedophile priests that Janiak handled, first as an auxiliary bishop of Wroclaw and then as bishop of Kalisz, which he has headed since 2012.

It featured court testimony about Janiak’s role helping transfer one priest, subsequently convicted and defrocked, from Wroclaw to another diocese even after a criminal investigation had begun. The film also documented another case of alleged cover-up of another priest during Janiak’s time as Kalisz bishop.

The film suggests Janiak didn’t follow the Vatican’s own in-house rules to report allegations against the Kalisz priest to the Holy See, and did so only after the case gained media attention. The diocese maintains no actual victims had lodged a formal complaint, though the parents of one victim did. An audiotape of their 2016 meeting, in which Janiak berates the parents, provides one of the more chilling moments of the documentary.

Trump Overhaul of Campus Sex Assault Rules Wins Surprising Support

New York Times

June 25, 2020

By Michael Powell

The new approach finds unlikely allies among some feminist scholars, who say colleges and universities were failing to sufficiently protect the rights of young men accused of sexual misconduct.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fired a shot last month in the nation’s culture wars, overhauling how colleges handle investigations of sexual assault and ending what she called Obama-era “kangaroo courts” on campus.

The new Education Department rules give more protections to the accused, primarily young men who face discipline or expulsion as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct.

The move set off a liberal uproar, denounced by unions representing teachers and college professors, by the National Organization for Women and by an array of Democratic senators. The Trump rules, they said, constitute a radical rollback of protections for victims who seek justice after sexual assaults.

But Ms. DeVos’s actions won praise from a surprising audience: an influential group of feminist legal scholars who applauded the administration for repairing what they viewed as unconscionable breaches in the rights of the accused.

“The new system is vastly better and fairer,” said Prof. Janet Halley, who specializes in gender and sexuality at Harvard Law School. “The fact that we’re getting good things from the Trump administration is confusing, but isn’t it better than an unbroken avalanche of bad things?”

Ex-judge upholds sex abuse claims against late bishop

Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 24, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: The Velis report was released in a 100 megabyte PDF that was not searchable. We made the PDF searchable and reduced its size by half without changing the content in any way. The link above is to the searchable and smaller PDF. This smaller PDF is still 52 megabytes and will be difficult for some readers to download. So we have also posted the reduced-size searchable report in pieces: the text, the exhibits, and the photo exhibits with appendix. The 100 megabyte report with OCR is available here.]

Springfield - Those investigating sexual abuse complaints against late bishop Christopher J. Weldon failed in their duties to report their findings to prosecutorial authorities, a reluctance likely caused by Weldon’s “prominence and revered legacy in the religious community,” retired Judge Peter A. Velis wrote in his investigative report into the allegations released to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

In his 373-page report, released Wednesday, Velis criticized how the Diocesan Review Board handled the initial allegations of sexual abuse against Weldon, calling the response both “weak” and “woefully deficient,” and finding that the allegations by a Chicopee man are legitimate.

“These accusations are unequivocally credible,” Velis said at a press conference at the Bishop Marshall Center Wednesday afternoon, noting that there will be a great deal of pain felt by members of the diocese for calling out the bishop’s “evil misdeeds.” Velis added that he allowed for the highest standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, to be fair to the bishop, who died in 1982 and has been unable to defend himself.

Velis wrote that he was disappointed in how investigators assessed the complaint.

“In response to my charge in assessing how the diocese responded to the complainant, I conclude from the myriad of evidentiary factors expressed in my final report that from the inception of the complaint through the follow-up process, the procedure was greatly flawed,” Velis wrote.

Archbishop-designate Mitchell T. Rozanski, who appointed Velis, said he accepts the findings and as such ordered the immediate removal of Weldon’s name from the rehabilitation facility at Mercy Medical Center, that his remains be moved from its current cemetery to a less prominent location, and that all honorable mentions and photos of Weldon in churches, offices and other buildings be taken down. In addition, Weldon’s name will be placed on the diocese website alongside other priests, deacons and bishops, who have faced credible accusations of sexual abuse of children or adults.

Abusive Bishop Busted

Church Militant

June 24, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Judge: allegations 'unequivocally credible'

Springfield, Mass. - An independent report released by the diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts is asserting that sex abuse claims against Springfield's former Bp. Christopher Weldon are unequivocally credible" and the diocese covered for him.

In a 375-page report released by the diocese on Wednesday, retired judge Peter A. Velis removed all doubt about the credibility of the allegations against the late Bp. Weldon.

"Therefore, I find the allegations of the complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bp. Christopher J. Weldon," wrote Velis, "that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible."

He added, "The allegations that were investigated and examined are not dubious, vague or ambiguous in any essentials, nor are they the product of any chimerical conception, fabrication or schematic design."

The late Weldon, who died in 1982, was the subject of an independent investigation owing to allegations first heard by Springfield's Diocesan Review Board in June 2018. Velis, who was tapped the following year to conduct an independent investigation, was critical of the board's gross mishandling of the allegations.

Springfield Diocese Report Finds Allegations Against Weldon 'Unequivocally Credible'

New England Public Radio

By Nancy Eve Cohen

June 24, 2020

An independent investigation commissioned by the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese found allegations of sexual abuse against the late bishop Christopher J. Weldon to be credible.

Retired judge Peter Velis — who led the investigation resulting in a report released Wednesday — interviewed members of the Diocesan Review Board that heard the complaint against Weldon, Archbishop-elect Mitchell Rozanski, and the individual from Chicopee who said he was abused by Weldon when he was a young altar boy.

Velis said the handling of the complaint was "woefully deficient."

Rozanski said he wanted to apologize to the victim, and not just for the abuse.

“I want to apologize for the chronic mishandling of this case time and time again since 2014,” Rozanski said. “In almost every instance, we have failed this courageous man, who nonetheless persevered — thanks, in part, to a reliable support network, as well as to a deep desire for a just response for the terrible abuse which he endured.”

Child sexual abuse claim made against former Springfield Catholic Bishop Christopher Weldon deemed credible


By Ariana Tourangeau and Mike Masciadrelli

June 25, 2020


Springfield, Mass. - An investigation into a sexual assault claim against late Springfield Bishop Christopher J. Weldon was released Wednesday afternoon and according to the report, the claim is credible.

Judge Peter A. Velis, now retired, and Archbishop-designate Mitchell T. Rozanski held a briefing at the Bishop Marshall Center to share what the investigation revealed.

The report, which was sent to 22News states that on July 25, 2019, Judge Velis was contacted by Jeffrey Trant, director of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to conduct an “independent and outside” investigation respecting allegations made by a certain individual of sexual abuse committed by the late Bishop Christopher Weldon.

That certain individual, a man, claimed Weldon abused him when he was a child back in the 1960s.

The purpose of the investigation was to assess and determine the credibility of the individual’s allegations, to analyze how the complaint was handled by the Diocesan personnel responsible for protecting children and vulnerable adults and to help identify opportunities for improvement in how the diocese handles these matters.

Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital in Springfield to be renamed after sexual abuse claim against Catholic bishop


June 24, 2020

By Lianne Zana


Springfield, Mass. - A rehabilitation center will be renamed following a report of child sexual abuse by a Springfield Catholic Bishop, deemed ‘credible’ by the Springfield Diocese.

The Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Mercy Medical Center on 175 Carew Street, will be renamed after a newly released report from Retired Judge Peter Velis. The report contained an investigation involving sexual abuse by Springfield Catholic Bishop Christopher Weldon in the 1960s.

Victim advocacy group calling for Springfield Bishop Rozanski's resignation

Western Mass News WGGB/WSHM

June 25, 2020

By Morgyn Joubert

A victim advocacy group is calling for the resignation of Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski.

Road To Recovery Inc., an organization based in New Jersey is also pushing for Pope Francis to rescind Bishop Rozanski's appointment as Archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri.

They claim that Judge Peter Velis's validation of the sexual abuse claims made against late Bishop Christopher Weldon shows Bishop Rozanski and his diocese review board are unable to fairly and accurately handle claims of clergy sexual abuse and they must all resign immediately.

June 25, 2020

Report on the Independent Investigation of Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Bishop Christopher J. Weldon

Diocese of Springfield

Released June 24, 2020

By Peter A. Velis

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This report was released in a 100 megabyte PDF that was not searchable. We made the PDF searchable and reduced its size by half without changing the content in any way. The link above is to the searchable and smaller PDF. This smaller PDF is still 52 megabytes and will be difficult for some readers to download. So we have also posted the reduced-size searchable report in pieces: the text, the exhibits, and the photo exhibits with appendix. The 100 megabyte report with OCR is available here.]

Excerpt from the Executive Summary

The processing of the complaint was replete with differing evaluations of the allegations and included conflicting analyses, opinions and conclusions. This reflected a clear lack of industry and concern for the quality of the entire process in terms of the scope of the investigation.

It was clear in my examination that the process included an inexplicable modification and manipulation of the reports received by and acted on by the Diocesan Review Board. Additionally the complaint process was compromised in that mandatory reporters failed in their duties to report the allegations to prosecutorial authorities.

Significantly, in evaluating the actions of those involved in the Weldon assessment, I found that there was a reluctance to fervently pursue an evaluation of allegations against him due to his prominence and revered legacy in the religious community.

Therefore, in response to my charge in assessing how the Diocese responded to the complainant, I conclude from the myriad of evidentiary factors expressed in my final report that from the inception of the complaint through the follow-up process, the procedure was greatly flawed.

I conducted an intensive and in-depth investigation. Concomitant with it was a haunting consciousness of Bishop Weldon's inability to refute the complainant's allegations. Consequently, I conducted the process in the light most favorable to him. However, notwithstanding, I still reached an informed and indisputable conclusion. I found the allegations of the complainant concerning the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon to be unequivocally credible.

List of Marianist members found to have sexually abused a minor

The Marianists - Province of the United States

By Fr. Oscar Vasquez SM

June 24, 2020

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This list requires that the reader click dozens of times to read the FAQs and assignment histories of each priest and brother with allegations. We have cached a copy of the list with all the FAQs and assignments expanded.

Note that the assignments for the priests and brothers do not provide start and stop years, let alone dates, and the assignments are shuffled into alphabetical order, so that even the sequence of assignments is not represented. The assignment lists also omit some assignments, and the position of the accused Marianist at each assignment is not given. The impact of these features of the list may be assessed by comparing the Marianists' entry for Fr. Charles H. Miller SM with our assignment history for Miller].

A Journey Towards Healing

Our intent was to publish the list during the recent Lenten season. However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the provincial council discerned it was in the best interest of the Province and our institutions to postpone the announcement to a more prudent time. The decision was later made to publish this list in June 2020.

A Message from the Provincial

Marianist Provincial Father Oscar Vasquez along with Assistant Provincial Brother Bernard Ploeger announce the publication of a list of names of Province members found to have sexually abused a minor.

Dear Friends in Christ,

For decades, despicable and evil acts of abuse committed by clergy and vowed religious of the Catholic Church dwelled in the shadows. Hidden and ignored by church members and leaders, these abhorrent sins festered, stifling the light of our Church.

The actions of some have wounded victims, sparked righteous outrage, and severely damaged the trust of the faithful. The failure to shed light on sexual abuse in recent decades demands a contrite and transparent response from Church leadership.

Today, in a spirit of sorrow and accountability, and with a sincere desire for reconciliation and healing, we are confronting the darkness of these sins.

To those who have survived sexual abuse at the hands of a member of the Society of Mary, we profoundly regret and apologize for the serious harm you have suffered. We apologize for the betrayal and pain you and your family have endured. Words will never heal your wounds, but we pray that our actions today will help bring you some solace.

Marianist Province releases names of vowed religious members credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors

St. Mary's University

June 24, 2020

By Thomas M. Mengler, St. Mary’s University President

Today, I share a joint statement from the Marianist Ministries in the San Antonio area with the link to the names of Marianist vowed religious members credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. No Marianist brother or priest who is provided in the list is currently at St. Mary’s, nor will any be allowed to live in any of the Marianist residences near or on our campus or to visit the University.

Dear members of our Marianist communities:

The Catholic Church crisis regarding sexual abuse of minors by vowed religious members entrusted with the pastoral care of our children and young adults has been devastating to us and our communities. The Marianist Province of the United States has taken another step in addressing this crisis by releasing the names of Marianist brothers and priests, living and deceased, who were found to have sexually abused a minor since 1950 in the United States.

Over the past two years, the Province has reviewed approximately 2,500 personnel files of Marianists who have served since 1950 in the Province of the United States, which includes its four predecessor provinces (Cincinnati, New York, Pacific and St. Louis) before their merger in 2002. Today, to be accountable and transparent, the Province has published the names of these individuals on their website at marianist.com/healing. Some of those individuals lived and worked at one or more of our institutions in San Antonio or at Tecaboca in Mountain Home, Texas.

Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Columbus Priest Found Credible

WCBE Public Radio

June 25, 2020

By Alison Holm

The Columbus Catholic Diocese says allegations of sexual abuse by a Columbus priest have been ruled credible.

69-year old Father Kevin Lutz has been placed on administrative leave. He retired from St. Mary's Parish last year. The allegation of abuse of a 14-year old boy in 1986 was made the day after his retirment.

Columbus Diocese finds allegation of sex abuse of child by longtime priest to be credible

Columbus Dispatch

June 24, 2020

By Jim Wilhelm

An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Rev. Kevin Lutz, a priest in Columbus and central Ohio for four decades who retired last year from St. Mary parish in German Village, has been found credible, the Diocese of Columbus announced Wednesday.

Bishop Robert J. Brennan has accepted a June 17 recommendation by the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children that Lutz’s name should be added to the published Diocesan list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Lutz, 69, continues on administrative leave pending further canonical and administrative processes, the diocese said.

The diocese emphasized that a determination of credibility is not considered proof of guilt. The public announcement of a finding of credibility is made in accordance with the Catholic Church’s Charter and practices and policies by the Diocese for prevention of sexual abuse of minors and response to such allegations.

Lutz announced his retirement last Sept. 9 from St. Mary, where he had supervised a years-long renovation of the historic building. A day later, the accusation that Lutz had sexually abused a minor during his tenure from 1983-1986 at St. Christopher Parish on the Northwest Side was reported, the diocese has said.

The diocese said it reported the allegation to Columbus police the same day it found out about it, and also told Lutz. The abuse is alleged to have occurred from 1982 to 1986.

A Columbus police report obtained by The Dispatch stated the victim was a 14-year-old male and that the incident occurred in 1984. No specific date or location was given.

Priest accused of abuse leading mass at Catholic church in McCall, popular podcast says

Idaho Statesman via MagicValley.com

June 25, 2020

By Ruth Brown


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise responded Wednesday after an investigation done by Reveal, a national public radio show and podcast, outlined past abuse allegations made against a current Idaho priest.

The podcast, “Unrepentant,” was posted online June 20 and outlines the story of two priests accused of abuse and their victims’ attempts to report it. One of those priests, the Rev. Bruno Segatta, is currently assigned to McCall’s Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Cascade’s St. Katharine Drexel Station and Riggins’ St. Jerome’s Chapel.

“Father Bruno Segatta denies these allegations of an incident that allegedly occurred nearly 30 years ago while he was employed by Gonzaga University,” the Diocese of Boise said in a written statement Wednesday. “The matter was handled internally between Gonzaga University and Father Segatta.”

Segatta is also listed as visiting priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise. The Our Lady of the Lake’s parish website has been posting videos of mass during the coronavirus pandemic, and Segatta was last seen offering mass as recently as Sunday.

Reported by Emily Schwing, the podcast dives into the story of a woman who claims she was abused by Segatta while studying abroad in Italy. At the time, Segatta worked for Gonzaga University, a Catholic university in Spokane, and he led tours for students in Italy, according the report. The woman claimed Segatta harassed her after the abuse, and the church ignored her complaints.

Newry priest Canon Francis Brown reinstated after being cleared of historical abuse allegation

Belfast Telegraph

June 25 2020


A Newry-based priest has been reinstated to his role after being cleared of an historical abuse allegation.

Canon Francis Brown voluntarily stepped aside from his role as administrator of Newry Cathedral in May 2018 after a safeguarding allegation was made against him which dated back to 1984.

He strongly denied any wrongdoing at the time and agreed to cooperate with a police investigation.

At the time, the Diocese of Dromore was at the centre of a scandal over its handling of abuse claims made against paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan.

In August last year, the Public Prosecution Service said they were dropping the case against Canon Brown after a "thorough and robust investigation".

An internal church probe has since concluded the claims were "unsubstantiated".

Canon Brown's immediate return was announced yesterday during evening mass in Newry Cathedral by the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin.

Dunedin man posed as priest abusing children online

New Zealand Herald

June 24, 2020

By Rob Kidd

A Dunedin man posed as a priest while fantasising with others online about violating children, a court has heard.

Andrew Lee Gardner, who has his own computer repair business, was jailed for six months when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday — his third time in the dock on sex offences.

He was first convicted in 2007 of sexual connection with a young person, indecent assault and possessing an objectionable publication.

Gardner was ordered to attend the STOP sex offender programme in Christchurch as part of his sentence but the court heard yesterday he was evicted because of his negative attitude.

Judge Kevin Phillips noted the man thought his offending was less severe than others in the group and became disengaged.

Untreated for his sexual predilections, Gardner was again before the court in 2010 for grooming.

Yesterday, the court heard the defendant initially came to the attention of Canadian authorities for his conduct on a chat website under the username "tkoguynz".

Gardner used the site from early 2018 to conduct "age-play", which involves two or more users fabricating an illegal scenario with a child, then describing the sexual liaison.

Police Reform Must Start With Holistic Officer Training

Rivard Report

June 24, 2020

By Anthony J. Pogorelc

For years now, as I followed television and online news, I have seen police officers brutalize individuals. Consistently, I have asked myself: Why do they do this? As a Catholic priest who works at the diocesan seminary training future priests, I wonder: How were these officers trained or formed?

The Catholic Church certainly has its problems. The history of sexual abuse and its cover-up is a horror in which those charged with caring for people abused them. One avenue of response by the church was to examine and reform the process of formation for those who aspire to the priesthood.

As a sociologist, I know that formation socializes someone into a culture constituted by shared, socially learned behavior. Reforming a formation process requires a serious examination of the culture and its values. What are we forming aspirants to be a part of? Individual and social change goes hand in hand. Today, it is essential to do this for the institution of policing. Enabling those on the front lines to properly carry out the institutional mission is an essential investment in human resources.

In the church we realized that formation is not only about the acquisition of skills; it is about shaping the human being. In priestly formation, we focus on four dimensions that could also be relevant to the formation of aspiring police officers:

June 24, 2020

Abuse allegations against former Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon ‘unequivocally credible,' investigation finds

Springfield Republican via Mass Live

June 24, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn


A retired superior court judge’s review of sexual abuse allegations against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for more than 25 years, found the accusations to be “unequivocally credible.”

Meanwhile, mandatory reporters in the diocese who first heard the alleged victim’s account failed to report the matter to law enforcement officials, according to the executive summary for a 350-plus page report released Wednesday by the diocese. The report is the product of an investigation by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis, who was hired a year ago to investigate the matter.

In an executive summary, Velis criticized the diocesan review board that heard the alleged victim’s account in June 2018.

“It was clear in my examination that the process included an inexplicable modification and manipulation of the reports received by and acted on by the Diocesan Review Board,” Velis wrote. “Additionally the complaint process was compromised in that mandatory reporters failed in their duties to report the allegations to prosecutorial authorities.”

Five elderly Catholic clerics arrested in Joliette for alleged sexual abuse of minors

CBC News

June 23, 2020

The men, members of Clerics of St. Viator religious order, allegedly abused boys between 1961 and 1989

Quebec provincial police have arrested five elderly members of a Catholic teaching order, the Clerics of St. Viator, for allegedly sexually abusing boys in their care over the span of almost 30 years.

The Sûreté du Québec's major crimes unit carried out arrest warrants for the men, who are between the ages of 78 and 88, in a home in Joliette belonging to their congregation, known in French as the Clercs de Saint-Viateur.

The men are facing more than 30 charges in total, including gross indecency, sexual assault and indecent assault. The men were interviewed by investigators and arraigned Tuesday via teleconference in courthouses in Joliette, Valleyfield and Montreal.

The alleged crimes took place between 1961 and 1989, when the men were responsible for instructing minors in religious educational institutions in the Montérégie, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspé and Laurentians regions, the SQ said in a statement.

Three women who accuse David Haas of sexual misconduct speak with NCR

National Catholic Reporter

June 24, 2020

By Soli Salgado

Ali met Catholic composer David Haas when she was 14 years old, attending his Music Ministry Alive camp for three years starting in 2002. She recalled him being a hands-on mentor, remembering names and affirming the talents of the 150-or-so music students who attended the program each summer.

It wasn't until five years later that unwelcome sexual advances tainted the relationship, when Ali and Haas ran into each other at the Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles, Ali told NCR.

Taking her to a more secluded area with benches outside the congress, Haas surprised Ali by "aggressively" kissing her and trying to put his hands down her shirt, she said.

Ali, who was 19 at the time, pulled away and turned down his invitations to his hotel room that night. Several times throughout the years, he'd continue to seek her out when he knew they were at the same event through their professions.

Ali learned only recently that her encounter with Haas was part of a pattern of abusive and manipulative tactics that Haas allegedly deployed on dozens of young people who knew him through the Catholic music community.

In Philippines, a child alleges abuse by priest and tests Vatican promise for global reckoning

Washington Post

June 23, 2020

By Shibani Mahtani and Regine Cabato

[Includes video with interview of teacher.]

Cadiz City, Philippines — The girl, her long hair in a ponytail, stepped into the cramped, dimly lit courtroom, her first time in such a place. Clinging to her mother, she scanned the dozens of faces assembled before her. The girl, then 5 years old, eventually pointed to a bald man in a striped shirt, his spectacles resting on his head.

She appeared nervous and did not speak his name.

Her slight gesture in September — identifying the Rev. Aron Buenacosa as the man who sexually assaulted her — began the rare trial in the Philippines of a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Her case, in this quiet village on a central Philippine island, will also test Pope Francis’s pledge of an “all-out battle” to confront sexual abuse in all corners of the Catholic world.

The historical reckoning over abuse and coverups has gripped the church in the West for decades. But far fewer public cases have come from other parts of the Catholic world, including Africa, Asia and the pontiff’s homeland in Latin America.

A Philippine family takes on the Catholic Church after priest is accused of molesting their daughter
In some cases, the reasons are institutional: legal systems not built to handle abuse cases, the traditional role of church leaders in politics, and prosecutors unwilling to go against the powers of the church.

How the Vatican deals with new allegations of abuse from these regions could define Francis’s papacy and reflect on his acknowledgment that the church has unfinished business in dealing with its scandals.

The trial in the Philippines — Asia’s largest Catholic-majority country — is such a moment.

Child Victims Act lawsuit: 10-year-old was abused by Binghamton priest in 1982

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

June 23, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

[Updated version of June 19, 2020 story.]

A former Binghamton priest faces more decades-old sex abuse accusations in a lawsuit under New York's Child Victims Act.

Father Edward C. Madore, who has already been implicated in at least four prior abuse lawsuits, is accused in a new complaint filed Friday in state Supreme Court of Broome County of abusing a boy who was 10 years old in 1982. It happened while Madore served at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Binghamton.

The lawsuit says Madore used his position to groom the boy to gain his trust and to "gain control over him."

Other lawsuits previously filed under the Child Victims Act have accused Madore of sexually abusing other children during the late 1970s. He was accused, in lawsuits filed Wednesday, of sexually abusing two children at St. Catherine Church during the late 1970s.

Madore has been laicized, which, according to the Diocese of Syracuse, means he voluntarily sought to be dispensed from clerical obligations and no longer has affiliation with the diocese.

Springfield Diocese to release report Wednesday on sexual abuse allegations against late Bishop Christopher Weldon

Springfield Republican via Mass Live

June 22, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn


A much anticipated investigative report by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis into sexual abuse allegations against the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon will be released Wednesday, June 24, by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the diocese, said the report will be posted on the diocese’s website at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Velis, who was hired by the diocese last July to investigate the allegations that date back to the 1960s, will meet members of the press at the time, along with Archbishop-designate Mitchell Rozanski, and retired Superior Court Judge Daniel Ford.

Ford heads a diocesan task force that will review any recommendations contained in the report for improving outreach to alleged survivors and how their clergy sexual misconduct claims are handled.

Diocese to release report on sexual abuse claims against late bishop on Wednesday

Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 23, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

Springfield MA - Details of an investigation into sexual abuse claims made against late Springfield Catholic Bishop Christopher J. Weldon will be released Wednesday afternoon.

Retired Judge Peter A. Velis this week delivers to the Diocese of Springfield his report, which not only documents the claims made against Weldon, some of which date to the early 1960s, but how the diocese handled the complaint and opportunities for improving how future abuse allegations are addressed.

The full report will be released Wednesday at 2 p.m. on the diocesan website www.diospringfield.org.

At that same time, Velis and Archbishop-designate Mitchell T. Rozanski will hold a press conference at the Bishop Marshall Center, located behind St. Michael’s Cathedral to respond to the report and answer questions.

Despite Vatican’s ruling, Virginia priest who blogs about clergy sex abuse remains defiant

WRIC via WJHL in Johnson City TN

June 23, 2020

By Dean Mirshahi

"There's nothing I want more than to serve in peace as a parish priest. But I can't give in to something that goes against our own principles."

A Catholic Diocese of Richmond priest who frequently blogs criticism over the church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse had his petition to remain the pastor of two southwest Virginia parishes rejected by the Vatican.

Rev. Mark D. White was suspended from the ministry by Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout last month after being ordered in April to leave two parishes, St. Joseph’s in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount, and relocate to a retreat center in Abingdon, Virginia.

“As your Advocate, Mr. Podhajsky, has told you, the Congregation for Clergy has directed you leave the assignment as pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Martinsville, and St. Francis of Assisi, Rocket Mount, in accord to my original letter of April 13, 2020,” Knestout wrote in a letter dated June 17 to White.

Catholic Church rejects Martinsville priest’s appeal of removal as pastor of two local parishes; ordered to take down viral blog critical of Church’s handling of sexual abuse


June 23, 2020

By Colleen Guerry and Santiago Melli-Huber


Martinsville VA - For months now, Father Mark White has been in a fight with the Diocese of Richmond over the Bishop’s attempts to re-assign him as a prison chaplain, a direct result of Father White continuing to maintain his viral blog.

Father White announced mid-April he had been removed from his posts in Martinsville and Rocky Mount due to concerns about his blog, which is often critical of the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse of minors and calls for more transparency from the Church about who helped cover it up.

In May, Father White says the Bishop changed the locks on both of his churches and the residence in Rocky Mount. However, Father White says he was able to stop the locksmith from changing the lock at the Martinsville residence, so he still has a roof over his head.

The priest decided to submit an appeal to the Vatican regarding the Bishop’s decision to move him.

Father White sent WFXR News a copy of the letter his canonical consultant and advocate, Michael J. Podhajsky, received from the Vatican earlier this month. In that letter, Vatican officials say Father White’s petition against his removal as a pastor for the Diocese of Richmond was filed improperly and thus rejected.

Investigative report uncovers allegations of sex abuse against priest in western Alaska

Alaska Public Media

June 23, 2020

By Casey Grove

[Includes audio interview with Emily Schwing about her recent Reveal report.]

A Jesuit Catholic priest who visited Alaska off and on for many years is among nearly a dozen who worked at a prominent university in the Pacific Northwest and are also accused of sexual misconduct.

Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington has been home to more priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse in comparison to all other 26 Jesuit Universities in the nation.

Emily Schwing, a reporter with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, has been investigating Jesuits and allegations of sexual abuse against them for about three years now. Schwing spoke with Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove about her latest piece, “Unrepentant.”

Allegation of sexual abuse that led to U. Catholic Chaplain Father Gabriel Zeis’s resignation found ‘not credible’

The Daily Princetonian

June 23, 2020

By Marie-Rose Sheinerman

Former University Chaplain Father Gabriel Zeis, who resigned in September 2019 amid a sexual abuse allegation dating back to 1975, was cleared of the charge on June 16 by an independent investigation, which found the allegation “not credible,” the Diocese of Trenton has announced.

According to a Sept. 11 email sent to student members of the Aquinas Institute, the University’s on-campus Catholic ministry, Zeis denied the allegation at the time but resigned immediately, both from his position as the ministry’s director and chaplain and as Diosecan Vicar for Catholic Education in the Diocese of Trenton.

The misconduct, which surfaced in August 2019, was alleged to have taken place at St. Francis Seminary in Loretto, Penn., in 1975, five years before Father Zeis’s ordination to the priesthood but shortly after his “solemn profession of vows,” according to the Diocese’s statement.

Zeis was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1980 and has since served in a variety of institutions of higher education, including as President of Saint Francis University from 2004 to 2014 and as Chaplain at Princeton University from July 2016 to September 2019.

June 23, 2020

In Archdiocese bankruptcy case, creditors committee wants clergy abuse documents to be made public

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

June 22, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

James Adams had helped run the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ fundraising arm for years, even serving as president of its board of directors, when his lawsuit alleging sexual abuse at the hands of a Metairie priest compelled him to step down nearly two months ago.

Now, Adams leads a different board: one formed after the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections May 1, tasked with representing the interests of those who say they are owed money by the church, including fellow clergy abuse claimants.

While securing financial compensation for abuse victims and other creditors is the committee's key aim, it also intends to fight for the disclosure of documents outlining exactly how the church handled priests and deacons faced with child molestation allegations, Adams said during an interview that marked the first time he publicly identified himself as a clergy abuse survivor.

“We want to know how this happened, how it was allowed to continue to happen, how these pedophiles ended up in the seminary to begin with,” said Adams, who recalls being a fifth-grader at the time of his abuse in 1980. “There’s a healing quality to having this information out there that really validates (the idea) that this was not your fault.”

Police: Wyoming prosecutor says bishop abuse case still open

Associated Press

June 22, 2020

A criminal investigation into a retired Roman Catholic bishop accused of childhood sexual abuse by more than a dozen men remains open, police in Wyoming said.

A victim advocate from the Natrona County district attorney’s office had told an alleged victim that retired Bishop Joseph Hart would not be charged, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Asked why he wasn’t pursuing charges, District Attorney Dan Itzen told Cheyenne police Friday that he is still pursuing charges and the case has not been officially closed, police spokesman David Inman said.

Police and Itzen realized the prosecutor misread or misunderstood details in a probable cause affidavit, Inman said.

Itzen’s office in Casper had received the case after the district attorney in Cheyenne recused herself. Part of the misunderstanding arose from a difference in how police in Cheyenne and Casper handle paperwork, Inman said.

“Basically it was, ‘Oh I didn’t know this and this is what you meant by this and this.’ That’s what’s causing the case to come back to life,” Inman said. “They’re going to convene with their guys, they’re going to call the chief, and we’re going to meet again.”

Communication between police and prosecutors had been difficult, Inman said.

Larry Nassar abused gymnasts for decades. 'Athlete A' film shows what it took to stop him

Indianapolis Star

June 22, 2020

By David Lindquist

Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk say everyone involved in bringing down former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar — the athletes who spoke publicly about sexual abuse, their attorneys, a Michigan State University police detective and a Michigan assistant attorney general — did what was needed to stop Nassar after decades of molesting children.

If anyone faltered, it's possible Nassar still would be treating athletes and abusing them under the guise of legitimate medical procedures.

The list of crucial participants in Nassar's downfall includes four IndyStar journalists featured prominently in "Athlete A," the Cohen-Shenk documentary that arrives June 24 at Netflix.

IndyStar reporters Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans worked with investigations editor Steve Berta on coverage that led to more than 500 women coming forward to accuse Nassar of sexual abuse.

The first gymnast to speak publicly about Nassar's crimes was Rachael Denhollander, who contacted the IndyStar investigative team after it published a 2016 report about USA Gymnastics failing to alert authorities when coaches were accused of abuse.

Three priests accused of abusing a Binghamton boy in the 1970’s

NewsChanel 34

June 22, 2020

A lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse alleges a gross pattern of heinous sexual crimes against a Binghamton boy by 3 priests at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Central High School in the 1970’s.

The suit, filed by attorneys at Hinman, Howard and Kattel under the state’s Child Victims Act look-back window, accuses the priest at Saint Thomas and a teacher and an administrator at Catholic Central of repeatedly raping, sodomizing and sexually abusing the boy from the time he was 10 until he graduated at age 18.

Attorneys say the victim, who is now 61 years-old, suffered severe physical and psychological abuse leading to PTSD, anxiety, severe depression and chronic migraines.

NewsChannel 34 does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

The accused are former priests Robert Kloster who was the rector at Saint Thomas, David Pichette, who was a teacher at Catholic Central, and Thomas Zedar who served as the school’s principal and later the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Broome County.

“Schwarze Pädagogik”: Black Pedagogy

Süddeutsche Zeitung

June 10, 2020

By Bernd Kastner

[Google translation: Former students from the St. Michael church boarding school report abuse and ill-treatment. The focus is on a director who has since passed away

The Archbishop's Study Seminar St. Michael in Traunstein is a special facility within the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. It is a boarding school for boys, they attend classes in nearby schools. For decades, the church has been investing a lot of money in homes and students in order to attract young people. The cadermaker on the Wartberghöhe is proud of one of her former pupils: Joseph Ratzinger visited her from 1939. He was young at the time for twelve years. From 1977 to 1982 he was archbishop of Munich, later he spent many winter holidays in St. Michael until he was elected pope. There is a permanent exhibition about Ratzinger, a "Benedict bell" rings in the church tower of the seminar.

From 1976 to 1985, beyond Ratzinger's time as an archbishop, Engelbert Siebler was the director of the study seminar. Siebler became auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese in 1986, and for many years he headed the Education and School Commission at the German Bishops' Conference. In 2018 he died at the age of 81. The name Siebler always comes up when you speak to ex-schoolchildren who lived in the seminar in the 1970s and '70s, he was the dominant man at the top. So far, the past of the seminar is not a public issue. The diocese has been aware of serious allegations for at least four years.

In January 2016, Leon Härtl (name changed) called the abuse officer of the archdiocese. Härtl, who had come to boarding school at the end of the 1970s, accused Siebler of drastically saying that he "consistently exposed him, tortured him sadly and massively beat him" at the boarding school. His "specialty" was to "pull the sideburns with massive force". The abuse officer noted it in a memo. When asked whether Siebler had also committed sexual abuse, Härtl said: “There had been strange physical advances. Nothing had actually happened, however. "]

Frühere Schüler des kirchlichen Internats St. Michael berichten über Missbrauch und Misshandlungen. Ein inzwischen verstorbener Direktor steht im Mittelpunkt

Das Erzbischöfliche Studienseminar St. Michael in Traunstein ist eine besondere Einrichtung innerhalb der Erzdiözese München und Freising. Es ist ein Internat für Jungen, den Unterricht besuchen sie in Schulen der Umgebung. Seit Jahrzehnten investiert die Kirche viel Geld in Haus und Schüler, um Nachwuchs zu gewinnen. Die Kaderschmiede auf der Wartberghöhe ist stolz auf einen ihrer früheren Zöglinge: Joseph Ratzinger besuchte sie von 1939 an. Zwölf Jahre war er damals jung. Von 1977 bis 1982 war er Münchner Erzbischof, später verbrachte er, bis zu seiner Wahl zum Papst, viele Winterurlaube in St. Michael. Es gibt dort eine Dauerausstellung über Ratzinger, imKirchturmdes Seminars läutet eine „Benediktglocke“.

Von 1976 bis 1985, also über Ratzingers Zeit als Erzbischof hinaus, war Engelbert SieblerDirektor imStudienseminar. Siebler wurde 1986Weihbischof der Erzdiözese, in der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz leitete er über Jahre die Kommission für Erziehung und Schule. 2018 starb er im Alter von 81 Jahren. Der Name Siebler fällt immer wieder, wenn man mit Ex-Schülern spricht, die in den Siebziger- und schtzigerjahren im Seminar lebten, er war der dominanteMannan der Spitze. Bislang ist die Vergangenheit des Seminars öffentlich kein Thema. Dabei sind der Diözese seit mindestens vier Jahren schwere Vorwürfe bekannt.

Im Januar 2016 rief Leon Härtl (Name geändert) den Missbrauchsbeauftragten derErzdiözese an. Härtl, derEndeder Siebzigerahre ins Internat gekommenwar, beschuldigte Siebler mit drastischen Worten: Dieser habe ihn im Internat „konsequent bloßgestellt, sadistisch gequält und massiv geschlagen“. Seine „Spezialität“ sei es gewesen, „mit massiverKraft an den Koteletten zu ziehen“. So hielt es derMissbrauchsbeauftragte in einem Gesprächsvermerk fest. Auf seine Nachfrage, ob es auch zu sexuellemMissbrauch durch Siebler gekommen sei, habe Härtl gesagt: „Es habe komische körperliche Annäherungsversuche gegeben. Konkret sei allerdings nichts geschehen.“

Six lessons for police reform from the Catholic Church

America Magazine

June 22, 2020

By John W. Miller

In the 1990s, Steve Hurley was a police officer in Ocean City, Md., chasing down speeding teenagers and locking up beach bums driving drunk. At 34, he traded the badge for a collar, and he is now a monsignor in the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. “People see a 180-degree turn, but in both jobs the primary responsibility is care for souls,” he says.

The Catholic Church and the U.S. law-enforcement system have something else in common: They are both powerful institutions with fiercely loyal agents who have covered up misdeeds—clergy sex abuse and police brutality—and have been in need of reform.

The outcry over the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis on May 25 has forced a reckoning with the philosophy and culture of U.S. policing. Across the country, demonstrators have marched to demand an end to police brutality and a change in the tasks assigned to the roughly 18,000 police departments and agencies across the country.

The Catholic Church and the U.S. law-enforcement system have something else in common: They are both powerful institutions with fiercely loyal agents who have covered up misdeeds.
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Local, state and federal agencies from Phoenix to New York are now considering efforts to revamp policing and police culture. Already President Trump has ordered the creation of a database that tracks violent officers and has approved guidelines restricting the use of chokeholds, although critics said his proposals are not serious about tackling bigger issues of systemic racism.

In that conversation, is there anything to be gained by looking at the Catholic Church and how it has tried to better train and manage its priesthood, if not always successfully?

The parallels are not perfect, but they abound. Priests and police both wear iconic uniforms and perform service work for their communities. Both have at times commanded immense public trust that has now been eroded. Both are fiercely loyal to their “professional” communities with good and bad consequences: Catholic priests struggle with clericalism and U.S. police are reluctant to cross the thin blue line.

Archbishop Cordileone Decries “Oppression” Despite Oppressing Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 22, 2020

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone decries the toppling of a statue of St. Junipero Serra and suggests that the Catholic Church is the victim of oppression by today's protesters for social justice. However, he admits there may be "historical wrongs" committed by the saint and that those wrongs, perhaps, deserve discussion.

But what about current wrongs caused by the Archbishop's actions? Oppression comes when facts are suppressed and people are prevented from knowing about dangers in their community and protecting their children from them. Archbishop Cordileone may eloquently argue to defend a saint, but we at SNAP want him to eloquently support current survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Archbishop still has not published a list of abusers from the San Francisco Archdiocese. As such, his Archdiocese is only one of about two dozen dioceses nationwide that have failed in this basic outreach to survivors.

Vatican confirms actively gay Dutch priest’s suspension; diocese hopes he will return to ministry


June 22, 2020

By Sanne Gerrits

Last year, 55-year-old Father Pierre Valkering published an autobiographical book in honor of his 25th anniversary as a priest. In the book he talks openly and in detail about his homosexuality, his sexual relationships and also says he visits gay saunas and “dark rooms,” and likes to watch porn.

As a result now-retired Bishop Jos Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam, asked Valkering to lay down his priestly duties and enter into a period of reflection. According to the diocese, Valkering refused to do so and was therefore removed from his parish in Amsterdam.

Valkering decided to lodge an appeal to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. The priest also appealed directly to Pope Francis. Both have now ruled that Punt’s decision to remove Valkering was valid.

On June 1 Punt was succeeded by Bishop Jan Hendriks.

Hendriks expressed his respect for Valkering as a person and as a priest. According to the diocese, the bishop also said it’s very important to him to find a satisfactory solution for Valkering, so that he might return to work in another parish after a period of reflection and guidance.

Child Victims Act lawsuit: 10-year-old was abused by Binghamton priest in 1982

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

June 23, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A former Binghamton priest faces more decades-old sex abuse accusations in a lawsuit under New York's Child Victims Act.

Father Edward C. Madore, who has already been implicated in at least four prior abuse lawsuits, is accused in a new complaint filed Friday in state Supreme Court of Broome County of abusing a boy who was 10 years old in 1982. It happened while Madore served at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Binghamton.

The lawsuit says Madore used his position to groom the boy to gain his trust and to "gain control over him."

Other lawsuits previously filed under the Child Victims Act have accused Madore of sexually abusing other children during the late 1970s. He was accused, in lawsuits filed Wednesday, of sexually abusing two children at St. Catherine Church during the late 1970s.

Madore has been laicized, which, according to the Diocese of Syracuse, means he voluntarily sought to be dispensed from clerical obligations and no longer has affiliation with the diocese.

A saint for our times: This man would be a relevant, revolutionary choice

National Catholic Reporter

June 20, 2020

By Kathleen Sprows Cummings

The Catholic Church may soon name another American saint. In late May, Pope Francis, affirming the verdict of medical and theological experts, credited the Connecticut priest Michael McGivney for the 2015 healing of a pregnant woman. This paves the way for his beatification, tentatively slated for next fall. McGivney, who died in 1890, is best known for founding the Knights of Columbus, the fraternal organization that has sponsored McGivney's cause.

In a dramatic turn, it is now Sheen's stint as Rochester's bishop that has stalled his cause for canonization, perhaps permanently. After the body question was settled by protracted legal proceedings (he's back in his home town after all), Sheen's beatification was scheduled for last December. Preparations for an elaborate celebration in Peoria were in place when the Vatican abruptly cancelled the event, reportedly because of concerns that Sheen's name might surface in a state attorney general's investigation into clerical sexual abuse in New York.

Whether or not there are specific allegations that Sheen covered up abuse is unknown and largely beside the point. Allowing Sheen's cause to languish would be a tacit admission of a horrific truth many Catholics are just beginning to grasp. Levels of complicity surely vary, but no man who has held high office in the Catholic church over the last half century should be presumed to be blameless in this ongoing crisis. None of them are the models of heroic virtue we need today.

Report on sexual abuse allegations against late Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon could prove pivotal

Springfield Republican via Mass Live

June 21, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn


A soon-to-be-released report nearly a year in the making could shed light on decades of sexual abuse by clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and forever change how one of its most influential bishops is viewed.

Last July, retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis was asked by Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct made against the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon dating back to the early 1960s. The report is expected to be released before Rozanski is installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on Aug. 25.

The findings will impact not only the alleged victim — who reiterated to Rozanski a year ago his claim that he was sexually abused as a boy by Weldon and two diocesan priests — but also questions that continue to linger around how early in time the diocesan hierarchy may have participated in, covered up and enabled clergy sexual abuse of minors. It could either encourage or discourage other alleged survivors of clergy sex abuse to continue to come forward.

Weldon’s 27 years as Springfield’s fourth bishop, starting in 1950, were influential ones in the growth of the diocese. However, they also have emerged as ones during which many allegations of sexual abuse by clergy occurred — as well as the murder of an altar boy in which a former priest, Richard R. Lavigne, remains the only publicly identified suspect.

June 22, 2020

Opinion: Why lawmakers should reform law to help child victims of sexual abuse

Colorado Sun

June 20, 2020

By Mark Crawford

I read with great disappointment the failure of Colorado state lawmakers to once again take action which would have granted access to our legal system for child victims of sexual abuse.

It was right for victims and advocates to pull support from House Bill 1296, eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse only going forward. The bill as proposed, failed to address the needs of past child sexual abuse victims.

Some legislators expressed concerns any retroactive provision would violate the Colorado constitution. The lawmakers could have advanced two separate bills simultaneously if they feared a “look back” provision of the bill would later be ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

Many other states have in fact passed such “look back” provisions that have survived constitutional challenges. I do understand laws differ from state to state, but where there is a will, there is a way!

Mental health professionals have told us one in four girls and one in six boys will be the victim of unwanted sexual contact by the age of 18. The average age a child of sexual abuse reports such crimes is 52 years of age. Astonishing facts, some may ask, why did these child victims wait so long?

Former Binghamton priest and a former Catholic school teacher accused in new Child Victims Act lawsuit

WBNG 12 News

June 19, 2020

By Anne Sparaco

As the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, more survivors are coming forward with decades-old accusations against a local former priest and a former Catholic school teacher.

The Diocese of Syracuse announced in a press conference on Friday it is declaring bankruptcy in wake of dozens of recent lawsuits and pandemic-related financial struggles.

Many of the victims are just now coming forward because the Child Victims Act signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2019 opens a "one year look back window" in which anyone who was under the age of 18 when sexually abused can file a civil suit.

Former priest of St. Catherine of Siena in Binghamton, Father Edward C. Madore, has five cases against him, accusing him of years-worth of sexual abuse. He was ordained back in 1970 and stayed until 1987 when he left priesthood and disappeared from church records. Madore is believed to be somewhere in Upstate New York, but his specific whereabouts are unknown.

Hundreds of priests receive JobKeeper payment as church income flatlines

Sydney Morning Herald

June 21, 2020

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons

Large Christian churches and other major religions have applied for the JobKeeper scheme to fund clergy salaries, after the government belatedly opened it up to religious practitioners.

The Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches, as well as the Great Synagogue in Sydney, have confirmed hundreds of religious ministers across NSW are receiving the JobKeeper Payment of $1500 a fortnight, to plug a "dramatic" shortfall in income caused by the pandemic lockdown.

The suspension of religious services meant no collection plates or other donations connected to a service, while public health orders also shut down community hire of church property for events.

US Bishop Says Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing Will Ensure Victims Will Be Treated 'Justly'

Catholic Universe

June 22, 2020

By Nick Benson

The US Diocese of Syracuse has filed for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, citing the financial implications of more than 100 lawsuits alleging past child sexual abuse as well as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘From the start of my ministry among you, it has been my intent to make reparation to all of the victims of sexual abuse for acts perpetrated against them by clergy, employees or volunteers of the Diocese of Syracuse,’ Bishop Douglas J. Lucia wrote in a recent letter to the faithful.

‘However, the growing number of CVA (Child Victims Act) lawsuits against the diocese,’ he wrote, ‘presents a risk that those claimants who filed suits first or pursued their claims more aggressively would receive a much greater portion of the funds available to pay victims, leaving other claimants (potentially, even some who have suffered more) with little or nothing.

‘In order to ensure that victim claims are treated justly and equitably, I feel it is necessary to enter into Chapter 11 where available funds will be allocated fairly among all victims in accordance with the harm each suffered.’

Filing for Chapter 11 is a voluntary action taken by an entity to reorganise financially with the goals of being able to respond to financial claims and to emerge with its operations intact, the diocese explained in an FAQ; this filing also immediately stops all efforts at debt collection and legal actions against the entity.

38 more people sue Syracuse Catholic Diocese, claiming abuse by priests


June 17, 2020

By Marnie Eisenstadt

Nearly 40 new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, alleging child sex abuse by priests and a teacher.

The suits filed today alleged allegations of abuse that happened at the hands of priests in parishes across Central New York, spanning more than 50 years.

The lawsuits were filed under the New York State Child Victims Act, and join 40 suits already filed against the diocese under the act.

Four priests named in today’s filings are being sued by multiple people, according to lawyers from Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave, Wein & Frament, which together filed 32 suits. Lawyers from Marsh Law also filed six new cases.

The claims include ...

June 21, 2020


Reveal - Center for Investigative Reporting

June 20, 2020

By Emily Schwing

Despite revelations of clergy sex abuse and promises of transparency, a prominent Jesuit university is doing little to punish priests who cross the line.

In this follow-up investigation about the Jesuit order in the Pacific Northwest, reporter Emily Schwing has two stories about Gonzaga University, which among Jesuit schools has the highest number of predatory priests who worked as staff and faculty. The first story takes us to a remote Alaska Native village where a prominent priest was accused of sex abuse by four young men.

Then Schwing tells the story of a former Gonzaga student who’s been trying for almost three decades to convince the university to investigate the priest who she says behaved inappropriately when she spent a year abroad in Italy.

We end with a story about a creative response to the pandemic that’s spreading throughout Native American communities. COVID-19 has prompted many of them to cancel powwows and other summer gatherings. So culture bearers are taking their songs and dances online, creating a virtual powwow movement that is keeping traditions alive while maintaining social distancing.

Cardinal Pell to publish prison diary musing on case, church

Associated Press

June 21, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican finance minister who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, is set to publish his prison diary musing on life in solitary confinement, the Catholic Church, politics and sports.

Catholic publisher Ignatius Press told The Associated Press on Saturday the first installment of the 1,000-page diary would likely be published in Spring 2021.

“I’ve read half so far, and it is wonderful reading,” Ignatius’ editor, the Rev. Joseph Fessio, said.

Fessio sent a letter to Ignatius’ email list asking for donations, saying Ignatius wanted to give Pell “appropriate advances” for the diary to help offset his legal debts. The publisher envisages putting out three to four volumes and the diary becoming a “spiritual classic.”

Pell served 13 months in prison before Australia’s High Court in April acquitted him of molesting two choirboys in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne while he was archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city during the 1990s.

At Los Angeles toppling of Junipero Serra statue, activists want full history told

Los Angeles Times

June 20, 2020

By Carolina A. Miranda

It began with a prayer and ended with a loud clunk.

On Saturday afternoon, a group of about five dozen indigenous activists of all ages — children and elders included — gathered at Father Serra Park in downtown Los Angeles, just south of Olvera Street. As Tataviam/Chumash elder Alan Salazar burned sage and invoked the spirit of his ancestors, a group of young activists bound the nearby statue of Father Junipero Serra with ropes and tore him off his pedestal to chants of “Take it down! Take it down!”

After the statue flew off its pedestal, the crowd erupted with shouts and drumming.

Statues of Serra, the 18th century Franciscan friar who served as principal architect of the California mission system during the era of Spanish colonization, have long been a flashpoint among indigenous activists. The mission system was designed to convert and acculturate the Native population to Catholicism and European culture, and this was done by confining them to missions up and down the coast. Natives who tried to escape were captured. Those who disobeyed were beaten. Indigenous beliefs and customs were banned.

Nonetheless, the Catholic Church — quite controversially — canonized Serra in 2015.

Priest facing sexual assault related charges served in Plover


June 20, 2020

Richmond served as an Associate Pastor at St. Bronislava in Plover from 2017 to 2019.

Chippewa Falls WI - Father Charlie Richmond, a Catholic priest facing charges related to sexual assault of a child in Chippewa Falls served as an Associate Pastor at St. Bronislava Parish in Plover from July of 2017 to July 2019.

Richmond served as the former chaplain for the Notre Dame Middle and McDonell Area Catholic High Schools in Chippewa Falls. He was also Associate Pastor at St. Charles Borromeo and St. Peter the Apostle Parishes. He currently lives in Viroqua.

NewsChannel 7’s sister-station in Eau Claire reported on Wednesday that Richmond is facing charges related to contact he had with a student at McDonell, including touching her back, shoulders and butt.

The alleged incidents happened between September 2016 and May 2017.

The student said that Father Richmond would have her sit on his lap and give him hugs, as well as being in constant communication with the student over social media apps.

In May, Richmond was interviewed by investigators and admitted to three to four incidents of sexual contact, according to the criminal complaint.

„Unser Versagen ist nicht zu beschönigen: Our failure cannot be glossed over“

Süddeutsche Zeitung

June 13, 2020

By Bernd Kastner

[ As a student, Franz Kurz seeks help from a monk - but he abuses him. The order later vows to keep the priest away from young people - but it breaks its promise. Now the head of the Minor Franciscans admits fundamental mistakes

Franz Kurz is a level-headed man. He reports in a differentiated and analyzing manner, and when he no longer remembers, he says so. He sits at the dining table in his house; calmly and factually he tells of his school days. "The whole thing is somewhere in the closet," he says, "and every now and then the door opens". Suddenly he cries.

Franz Kurz, whose real name is not mentioned by SZ to protect his personal rights, is one of the countless people who have been abused by clerics of the Catholic Church. Kurz' history with the Church consists of four chapters. The first two are about how he was disregarded and abused; the third, how he feels taunted; Chapter four tells what he had only feared so far, but now knows that the man who abused him had been in contact with young people for years - despite all the promises to stop him.

Kurz grew up in a Catholic parental home in the country, where a pastor was considered the "moral authority" and "half God" as he describes it today. At ten he moved to the Archbishop's seminary in St. Michael in Traunstein. The Diocese of Munich and Freising endeavored to recruit young priests from their boarding school. Kurz describes his time there until he graduated from high school in the mid-1980s in a three-page letter. “What triggers this deep anger in me today when I think about my time in Traunstein is the presumptuous negligence with which we were managed as adolescents. I lacked a minimum of interest in myself, that someone would have asked me how I really am, what moves me, what touches me, what is currently bothering me." ]

Als Schüler sucht Franz Kurz Hilfe bei einem Mönch – doch der missbraucht ihn. Später gelobt der Orden, den Pater von Jugendlichen fernzuhalten – doch er bricht sein Versprechen. Jetzt räumt der Oberste der Franziskaner-Minoriten fundamentale Fehler ein

Franz Kurz ist ein besonnener Mann. Differenziert und analysierend berichtet er, undwenn er sich nicht mehr erinnert, sagt er das.Er istAnfang 50, lebt mit seiner Familie an einem sehr schönen Fleckchen in Oberbayern. Er sitzt am Esstisch seinesHauses, erzählt ganz ruhigundsachlich von früher, aus der Schulzeit. „Das Ganze steckt irgendwo im Schrank“, sagt er, „und ab und zu geht die Tür auf“. Plötzlich weint er.

Franz Kurz, dessen echten Namen die SZzumSchutz seinerPersönlichkeitsrechte nicht nennt, ist einer der unzähligen Menschen, die von Klerikern der katholischen Kirche missbraucht wurden. Kurz‘ Geschichtemit der Kirche besteht aus vier Kapiteln. Die ersten beiden handeln davon, wie er missachtet und missbraucht wurde; das dritte, wie er sich verhöhnt fühlt; Kapitel vier erzählt, was er bislang nur befürchtet hat, jetzt aber weiß: Der Mann, der ihn missbrauchte, hatte über JahreweiterKontakt zu Jugendlichen – allen Versprechen zum Trotz, ihn zu stoppen.

Kurz ist in einem katholischen Elternhaus auf dem Land aufgewachsen, wo ein Pfarrer als „moralische Autorität“ und als „halber Gott“ galt, wie er es heute beschreibt. Mit zehn zog er ins Erzbischöfliche Studienseminar St. Michael in Traunstein. Die Diözese München und Freising war bestrebt, in ihrem Jungeninternat Priesternachwuchs zu rekrutieren. Seine Zeit dort bis zum AbiturMitte der 1980er- Jahre beschreibt Kurz in einem dreiseitigen Brief. „Was in mir heute diese tiefe Wut auslöst,wenn ich an die Zeit in Traunsteindenke, ist die anmaßendeFahrlässigkeit, mit der wir als Heranwachsende verwaltet wurden. Mir fehlte ein Minimum an Interesse an meiner Person, dass jemand einmal nach mir gefragt hätte, wie es mir denn wirklich geht, was mich bewegt, berührt, wasmich gerade beschäftigt.“

Former Chippewa Falls Catholic school chaplain charged with sexual assault of a child


June 17 2020

Chippewa Falls WI - A former chaplain for the Notre Dame Middle and McDonell Area Catholic High Schools in Chippewa Falls is facing charges related to sexual assault of a child.​

This week, 30-year-old Father Charlie Richmond was charged in Chippewa County Court with repeated sexual assault of a child.​

He was also the Associate Pastor at St. Charles Borromeo and St. Peter the Apostle Parishes. Richmond currently lives in Viroqua.

According to the criminal complaint, the alleged incidents happened between September 2016 and May 2017.​

An officer with the Chippewa Falls Police Department interviewed the victim on March 5 of this year.​

She told the officer that Father Richmond inappropriately touched her while at McDonell Area Catholic School, including touching her back, shoulders, and butt.​

June 20, 2020

About-face: Wyoming prosecutor to re-examine ex-KC priest’s sex abuse case, police say

Kansas City Star

June 19, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

A bizarre twist surfaced Friday in what was thought to be the closed criminal sexual abuse case of a former Kansas City priest who later became a Wyoming bishop.

The prosecutor, whose office last week informed one of the alleged victims that no charges would be filed against retired Bishop Joseph Hart, is now going to re-examine the case, according to Cheyenne police, who conducted the investigation.

Police spokesman David Inman said Friday that Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen in Casper, who was serving as special prosecutor on the case, had “misinterpreted” part of the probable cause statement that police had sent him. The document recommended that charges be filed against Hart, who retired as Bishop of Cheyenne in 2001.

“Basically, some new information came to light during our meeting,” Inman said, “and now they’re going to re-examine what they have.”

Inman said Cheyenne police spoke with Itzen in a conference call Friday.

“It was something that we brought to his attention in the PC (probable cause) affidavit,” he said. “Upon reviewing all the paperwork, they looked at something and they’d misinterpreted what was said. So now, there’s an understanding of what we were trying to get across.”

Lawyer for Argentine prelate in Vatican confident he’ll be cleared


June 16, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina - An Argentinian bishop suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct with seminarians went back to work in his Vatican post after the restrictions due to COVID-19 coronavirus were lifted. His lawyer told Crux that the Church process against him is “almost over” and that he’s confident the bishop’s name will be “cleared.”

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was sent by Francis to the diocese of Oran, in northern Argentina, in 2013, making it one of his first episcopal appointments. However, in 2017 the bishop resigned, alleging health reasons. A few months later, the pontiff appointed him to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which functions as the central bank for Vatican City and which administers the Vatican’s financial portfolio.

In APSA Zanchetta works as an “assessor,” a position created for him. However, on Jan. 4, 2019, the bishop was suspended from the post pending an investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct with seminarians dating to his time as a diocesan bishop.

Former Binghamton priest Edward Madore accused in new Child Victims Act lawsuits

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

June 19, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A former Binghamton priest faces more decades-old sexual abuse accusations in two lawsuits filed Wednesday under the New York Child Victims Act.

Father Edward C. Madore, who has already been implicated in at least three prior abuse lawsuits, is accused in the new complaints of sexually abusing two children during the late 1970's while he served at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Binghamton.

One lawsuit alleges Madore committed sexual abuse beginning when the victim was 8 years old, between 1978 and 1980. The second lawsuit claims he abused a child beginning when the victim was 9 years old, from 1977 to 1980.

The lawsuits, which do not name the victims, were among 32 Child Victims Act complaints filed in courts Wednesday by the Albany-area law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament. As with similar lawsuits, these complaints name the institutions as defendants — in this case, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.

Sexual abuse allegation against Princeton U. chaplain found not credible, officials say


June 19, 2020

By Chris Sheldon

An allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor leveled against Princeton University chaplain Father Gabriel Zeis last year was found not to be credible, the Third Order Regular Franciscans announced Thursday.

The Third Order Regular Franciscans notified the Diocese of Trenton in August about the allegation against Zeis, who was employed by diocese and also served as the diocese’s vicar for catholic education, officials said.

He resigned his positions with the diocese and was placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation of the accusation.

The sexual misconduct was alleged to have occurred in 1975 at St. Francis Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania, five years prior to his ordination to the priesthood, the order said in a statement.

The allegation was reported to Office of the District Attorney for Cambria County (PA) in September 2019 and on Dec. 16, 2019, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s office called into question the credibility and accuracy of the allegation and announced the case closed, officials said.

Syracuse Catholic Diocese files for bankruptcy


June 19, 2020

By Julie McMahon

The Roman Catholic Diocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just days after 38 people filed Child Victims Act lawsuits against the church.

Since last year, the diocese has faced dozens of claims that its priests sexually abused children and that officials covered up the abuse for decades. Wednesday, 38 more victims filed lawsuits, including a Central New York grandmother.

Bishop Douglas Lucia, who was installed last year, in court records said diocese officials filed for bankruptcy in order to respond to the Child Victims Act claims, while continuing the church’s ministry.

The diocese has not yet commented on the bankruptcy filing. It has scheduled a news conference for 12:30 p.m. today.

The filings in court show the diocese has assets of more than $10 million but less than $50 million. Lawyers for the diocese from Syracuse firm Bond, Schoeneck & King estimated the diocese has between 100 and 200 creditors and up to $100 million in liabilities.

The filings also revealed the diocese received a $1.3 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to help cover expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Catholic dioceses across the country have filed for bankruptcy as the church has faced an onslaught of sex abuse cases.

The dioceses in Rochester and Buffalo have filed for bankruptcy, and the Rockville Centre diocese on Long Island has signaled it will likely file. There are eight Catholic diocese in New York state.

Syracuse Catholic Diocese’s move shifts sex abuse claims against priests to bankruptcy court


June 19, 2020

By Marnie Eisenstadt

More than 100 alleged victims of priest sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse will no longer get their day in state court.

Instead, their cases will end up as part of the diocese’s bankruptcy case. The diocese filed for bankruptcy Friday after 38 more victims, including a grandmother, came forward with allegations of priest sex abuse under the Child Victims Act this week.

In bankruptcy court, those victims become “creditors” who have to prove they are owed something by the diocese.

Bishop Douglas Lucia said Friday he decided to file for bankruptcy to ensure that all of the victims could get something for the pain while also making sure that the diocese would not be destroyed by the onslaught of claims.

Expert warns child protection took ‘severe blow’ during pandemic


June 19, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - In a webinar on child protection, a top Catholic expert warned that the risks of online child sexual abuse or exploitation has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, yet attention to the issue has faded.

“I believe honestly that safeguarding and safeguarding minors in the Church, in the States, in the (other) countries, has suffered a severe blow in terms of public attention and in terms of public funding and other funding,” German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner said June 18.

Speaking to more than 300 people representing religious orders and Catholic institutions during a webinar on “Safeguarding online in times of lockdown,” Zollner said natural disasters, war, health crises and economic instability combined with the coronavirus pandemic might make it harder to double down on safeguarding efforts.

“It may be very difficult for society and the Church to focus on the safeguarding of minors, because there are such pressing needs, there are such heavy burdens on people that they think safeguarding minors is an extra and you cannot afford to think about that because we need to survive first,” he said.

“Yes, that is true, the need to survive is first, but there is also the need to respect and protect the dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable,” he said, urging participants to “stick together to bring safeguarding up the ladder of priorities.”

Zollner said he believes this will be a difficult task not only because of the current pandemic and its aftermath, but also because “this is such a challenging and such a nasty topic, that people don’t want to engage or commit easily to it.”

June 19, 2020

Syracuse Diocese, facing Child Victims Act sex abuse lawsuits, files for bankruptcy

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

June 19, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, as it faces more than 100 lawsuits under New York's Child Victims Act for past sex abuse by priests and clergy members mount in the courts.

The Diocese, which filed its petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York's Northern District, estimated its assets as $10 million to $50 million. Its financial liabilities were estimated as $50 million to $100 million.

A document included in federal bankruptcy court said Friday's filing was "in order to respond to claims stemming from the Child Victims Act in an equitable and comprehensive manner, and to reorganize the financial affairs of the Diocese in order to permit it to continue to fulfill its ministries to the Catholic faithful of the Diocese."

Without a reorganization, the Diocese and claimants will face a slow, unpredictable and costly process that would require years of court involvement.

Fargo Diocese completes abuse investigation of retired priest

790 KFG

June 18, 2020

By Jim Monk

The Diocese of Fargo says an investigation of abuse claims against a retired Fargo priest has been completed.

In a 2019 interview with KFGO News, a woman reported that she was sexually abused as a teenager by Father Jack Herron. The woman said the abuse happened over the course of three months in the 1970’s in the rectory at St. Anthony of Padua Church.

“He pulled me to his lap, smoking his cigar, holding me and all that kind of stuff and before you know it, there’s kissing and hugging and touching. Inside, I was having a battle in my mind, thinking ‘Oh God, I’m dirty, I’m dirty, I’m dirty. No one knows this secret. I’m dirty. I’m dirty.”

Priest accused of ‘inappropriate behavior’ cleared to resume duties at Northfield parish

The Republican via Mass Live

June 18, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Rev. Thomas Lisowski has been cleared to resume his full duties as a priest in Northfield after being placed on administrative leave in November in connection with an allegation of “inappropriate behavior involving a vulnerable adult.”

According to an announcement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, the recommendation to lift the temporary suspension was made to Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski by the diocesan review board after receiving a report from its investigative services.

Lisowski, ordained in 1986, has ministered for the last decade at St. Patrick’s Parish, a small parish of about 110 members near the Vermont border.

Lawsuit alleges former Waukegan episcopal priest abused Lake Bluff boy in 1980s

Chicago Tribune

June 18, 2020

By Emily K. Coleman

The former head of a Waukegan church, who was sentenced to four years under Illinois Department of Corrections supervision in the 1990s for sexually abusing children, is the subject of a lawsuit filed in Cook County late last month.

The anonymous plaintiff accuses Richard Kearney, who was the head pastor at Annunciation of Our Lady Episcopal Church — now in Gurnee but at the time located in Waukegan — of abusing him in the 1980s when he was between the ages of 5 and 11, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also names the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the church itself, arguing that church officials knew, or should have known, Kearney had a history of abusing children.

“We are saddened that (the plaintiff’s) attorney has found it necessary to file suit against the diocese,” the Rev. Courtney Reid, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago’s director of operations, said in a statement.

Reid said the diocese has been “in conversations with him for more than a year in an effort to determine the facts in this case” and, eight months ago, had been “promised the opportunity to examine records that might help us to determine whether (the plaintiff) was sexually abused in the early 1980s by Richard D. Kearney, a former priest of the diocese.

French Investigation: Sex Abuse of Minors in Catholic Church Tops 3,000 Victims Over 70 Years

Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

June 18, 2020

In November 2019 the Catholic bishops of France approved plans to offer financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Paris - Over the last seven decades at least 3,000 children were sexually abused by Catholic clergy or officials in France, according to the latest statements from an investigating commission, with many more feared to have been abused.

About 1,500 clergy and Church officials are believed to have perpetrated the abuse, according to the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church, making an average number of victims 40 per year, Newsweek reports.

“We must remember this suffering, we must account for it. We are confronted with the shock of the suffering of the victims,” commission head Jean-Marc Sauvé said. “We can only be touched and transformed by meeting these victims.”

The commission was established in June 2019 to examine abuse claims dating back to the 1950s. A hotline resulted in 5,000 phone calls. The commission does not yet know how to consolidate cases from its own inquiries and from the hotline, Sauvé said.

About 30% of the victims are over 70 years old, and about 50% are between 50 and 70 years old.

“I am profoundly convinced that there are many more victims,” said Sauvé, who is a longtime civil servant, former vice-president of the French State Council, and president of the French Institute of Administrative Sciences.

The commission has asked for victims to come forward through the end of October. Reviews of Church archives have now resumed after being suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic, but its final report is delayed, Agence France Presse reports. It is expected to be released in September or October 2021.

61 Schritte gegen Missbrauch: 61 steps against abuse

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

June 13, 2020

By Tobias Rosmann

[See the report and implementation plan.]

[ An "indescribably great amount of misery and suffering"

In almost a year of work, 70 experts have developed 61 specific measures to prevent sexual abuse of children and adolescents in the diocese of Limburg in the future. The 420-page summary of the project “Hearing those affected - preventing abuse” was handed over to the client, the Bishop of Limburg Georg Bätzing and the president of the Limburg diocesan assembly, Ingeborg Schillai, on Saturday in the Paulskirche .

Bätzing promised: "We will implement the measures." Not always exactly according to the expert suggestion, but always according to its spirit, intention and direction. "We owe that to those affected."

Because Bätzing has also been chairman of the German Bishops' Conference since March , his handling of such a critical study is considered important for the other 26 German dioceses. Schillai said: "The results of the study cry out that we can finally take effective action against sexual abuse in the church and its cover-up." ]

Dem Bistum Limburg werden in einer Studie Fehler im Umgang mit Betroffenen und Tätern attestiert. Der Bischof verspricht, den Änderungsvorschlägen der Experten zu folgen.

In knapp ein Jahr währender Arbeit haben 70 Experten 61 konkrete Maßnahmen erarbeitet, um sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern und Jugendlichen im Bistum Limburg künftig zu verhindern. Die 420 Seiten dicke Zusammenfassung des Projekts „Betroffene hören – Missbrauch verhindern“ wurde am Samstag in der Paulskirche an die Auftraggeber, den Limburger Bischof Georg Bätzing und die Präsidentin der Limburger Diözesanversammlung, Ingeborg Schillai, übergeben.

Bätzing versprach: „Wir werden die Maßnahmen umsetzen.“ Nicht immer exakt nach dem Expertenvorschlag, aber stets nach dessen Geist, Intention und Richtung. „Das sind wir den Betroffenen schuldig.“

Weil Bätzing seit März auch Vorsitzender der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz ist, gilt sein Umgang mit einer solch kritischen Studie als wichtig für die anderen 26 deutschen Diözesen. Schillai sagte: „Die Ergebnisse der Studie schreien danach, dass wir endlich wirksam gegen sexuellen Missbrauch in der Kirche und gegen seine Vertuschung vorgehen.“

Ein „unbeschreiblich großes Maß an Elend und Leid“

Zu den Maßnahmen, die von Wissenschaftlern, Kirchenvertretern und Betroffenen erarbeitet worden sind, gehören eine Reform der Priesterausbildung, eine Doppelspitze in der Gemeindeleitung aus einem Priester und einer hauptamtlich beim Bistum beschäftigten Theologin, anders strukturierte Entscheidungsgremien, eine professionelle Aktenführung, eine intensive Prävention, eine Kommunikation, die sich den Betroffenen zuwendet und deren Perspektive in den Fokus nimmt sowie eine wirksame Disziplinarordnung für Kleriker. Die einzelnen Punkte wurden in neun Teilprojekten erarbeitet. Das Limburger Projekt vertieft die Erkenntnisse aus der MHG-Studie zum Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche von Herbst 2018. Auch andere Bistümer haben mit einer eigenen weitergehenden Aufarbeitung begonnen.

Die von vielen Betroffenen gewünschte öffentliche Nennung der Täter und Vertuscher könne es „aus juristischen Gründen“ nicht geben, sagte Josef Bill, ehemals Vorsitzender Richter am Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt. Seine Teilprojektgruppe hatte sich mit der Aufklärung von 46 erfassten Missbrauchsfällen beschäftigt. Die Klarnamen der Kleriker könnten daher nur den Auftraggebern des Projekts genannt werden.

Religious groups voice support for Lubbock diocese in defamation suit

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

June 18, 2020

By Gabriel Monte

Religious groups are decrying a Texas appellate court ruling that allows a former deacon to sue the Catholic diocese in Lubbock saying the decision could infringe upon religious liberty protected by the First Amendment.

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, The Baptist General Convention of Texas, The Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, and the Texas Legislature have filed amicus curiae briefs in the Texas Supreme Court supporting the Catholic Diocese of Lubbock in its quest to dismiss a former deacon’s defamation lawsuit.

The briefs are in response to the January 2019 defamation lawsuit filed in the 237th District Court by Jesus Guerrero, a former deacon at Our Lady of Grace, after the Lubbock Catholic Diocese included him in a list of five clergymen deemed to have a credible allegation of sexual abuse against minors.

Along with posting the list online, the Catholic diocese issued a news release to local news media, including the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, that stated the decision to release the names was part of an ongoing effort to protect children from sexual abuse.

Violences sexuelles dans l'Église: Sexual violence in the Church

France Info

June 17, 2020

[Sexual violence in the Church: more than 5,000 testimonies collected, the Sauvé commission extends its call to testify

The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (Ciase) or Sauvé Commission reveals this Wednesday, June 17, having identified several thousand victims in a few months. La Ciase has decided to extend its call for testimony until October 31, 2020.]


Plus de 5 000 témoignages recueillis, la commission Sauvé prolonge son appel à témoigner

La Commission indépendante sur les abus sexuels dans l'Église (Ciase) ou commission Sauvé révèle ce mercredi 17 juin avoir recensé plusieurs milliers de victimes en quelques mois. La Ciase a décidé de prolonger son appel à témoignages jusqu’au 31 octobre 2020.

Il y a un an, la Commission Sauvé lançait un appel à témoignages auprès des victimes. Mercredi 17 juin, elle révèle avoir reçu plus de 5 300 appels et dévoile quelques chiffres alors que le recueil des témoignages - ralenti pendant le confinement - est prolongé de cinq mois.

Parmi ces coups de fils, il n’y a pas que des victimes, il peut y avoir également des témoins. Mais la commission le précise, la grande majorité de ces appels proviennent bien de personnes - des enfants à l’époque des faits - qui ont été agressés sexuellement par des hommes d’Église.

Retired Fargo priest banned from public ministry after abuse investigation

Fargo Forum / Inforum

June 18, 2020

By Thomas Evanella

A retired priest accused of sexually abusing a teen in the 1970s has been banned from public ministry following an internal investigation by the Diocese of Fargo, a spokesman said Thursday, June 18.

The victim, who spoke to The Forum anonymously in June of 2019, alleged that Father Jack Herron groped her and made inappropriate advances in the rectory of Saint Anthony of Padua, located south of downtown Fargo. She was about 15 or 16 years old at the time, she said.

After she reported the allegations to the diocese in March 2018, a diocese advocate accompanied her to report the claims to the police.

"When the allegation was first received, it was referred to law enforcement. The canonical investigation and review by the diocesan review board is complete," the Diocese said in a news release. "It was determined that Father Herron would not have faculties to engage in public ministry," the release continued.

At least 3,000 sex abuse cases in French church

The Tablet

June 18, 2020

By Tom Heneghan

Paris - More than 3,000 people have been sexually abused by about 1,500 priests and employees of the French Catholic Church since 1950, the head of the most extensive study into the scandal said in a preliminary balance of its work.

Jean-Marc Sauvé, a retired senior judge due to deliver his final report in autumn 2021, said his commission would continue seeking out and interviewing victims until October and scouring judicial archives. This phase was supposed to end this month but was prolonged due to a delay during the cornavirus lockdown.

The commission’s hotline has received 5,300 calls so far but some were victims calling several times. This was the first such overall estimate made for France, Sauvé said, adding he was “deeply convinced” there are many more victims.

“The number of calls is impressive, but we are convinced that still not all victims have come forward because their suffering is too great or they doubt any use in speaking out,” he told a videoconference on Wednesday.

The bishops’ conference, under pressure amid mounting evidence of abuse scandals – especially in Lyon – that sapped its image and authority, gave Sauvé a free hand to choose the 21 doctors, lawyers, sociologists and theologians serving in the commission.

Landscape: Sons of Fray Damaso

Manila Bulletin

June 10, 2020

By Gemma Cruz Araneta

Who was Padre Damaso? He was the biological father of Maria Clara, the sweetheart of Crisostomo Ibarra, but she was the last to know. You can imagine how tormented she must have felt when she found out; she fell ill with anguish and was compelled to betray her beloved Ibarra by turning over his letters to Padre Salvi, in exchange for his silence. Padre Salvi had stumbled upon her deceased mother’s letters to Padre Damaso and had threatened to expose her true paternity, if she did not surrender Ibarra’s letters, which he was sure were incriminating. Padre Salvi was blackmailing the hapless maiden who felt duty-bound to protect the honor of her late mother and the public image of her putative father, Capitan Tiago, who loved her dearly. Needless to say, if that had happened today, Maria Clara, Ibarra and their relatives and friends would have laughed it off. The lovers would have gotten married royally at the Manila Cathedral and lived happily ever after. Ibarra may have gotten entangled with the Anti-terrorism Law for teaching socialism in his school, but that would have been a minor glitch that Capitan Tiago, an influential man, could have smoothened out with expensive gifts to the powers that be.

Last February, Pope Francis dared to speak about the unspeakable—sexual abuse of nuns by priests of the Catholic clergy. In recent times, he may not be the first pontiff to be aware of the crimes committed by men of the cloth; nor is he the first one to try to do something about it. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI very quietly closed a contemplative order of nuns somewhere in France, because its very founder, a Catholic priest, had turned the convent into a pitiful den of sexual slavery. We do not know if the guilty priest or priests ever faced an ecclesiastical or a civil court; neither do we know what happened to those nuns and the children of rape, if any. No one wants to touch the elephant in the basilica.

In first land sale since bankruptcy, archdiocese eyes auction of old St. Elizabeth campus in Kenner

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

June 18, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

In its first move to raise funds through selling land since filing for bankruptcy protection, the Archdiocese of New Orleans is set to auction off a campus that St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School moved out of last year, a church attorney said at a federal court hearing Thursday.

The former owner of New Orleans' Fair Grounds race course, residential developer Bryan Krantz, offered to buy the vacant complex at 4119 St. Elizabeth Drive in Kenner for $1.8 million on May 26, according to court documents. But a committee of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy case — which includes clergy abuse claimants — objected, saying there was no sign the property’s market value had been appraised before the archdiocese agreed to sell to Krantz.

"One concern we had was what basis was there (for the price), what marketing had been done, is there an appraisal?" committee attorney Davin Boldissar said during Thursday's phone-in hearing.

Archdiocese attorney Mark Mintz told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Meredith Grabill that his clients now planned to auction the facility through a process allowing for the possibility of higher bids. Mintz said he would file the details surrounding that auction ahead of a hearing which Grabill tentatively set for June 25.

June 18, 2020

Diocese of Rockville Centre faces bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits

Long Island Herald

June 18, 2020

By Jill Nossa

The Diocese of Rockville Centre could face bankruptcy if the nearly 100 child sex-abuse lawsuits filed against it are not put on hold, according to court papers.

Last month, the Diocese filed a motion in Nassau County Supreme Court for a stay pending an appeal, claiming it is straining under the legal defense costs and that it has lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In its motion, the Diocese said, “These litigation expenditures—that are only going to increase on a monthly basis, absent a stay—are placing a very significant stress on the diocese’s finances, which are also being decimated by the COVID-19’s pandemic.”

When the parishes closed in late March, donations declined by 77 percent, according to the filing, no payments were received between March 23 and April 3, and during April – which included Holy Week, a normally significant source of revenue, donations were down 60 percent, according to the diocese.

The diocese, under the leadership of Bishop John Barres, has spent $3.7 million in its defense against 94 lawsuits filed against it under New York’s Child Victims Act, which provides a legal window to revive decades old abuse claims.

The diocese said bankruptcy is “a last resort” that is “not an attempt to turn its back on victims or shield predators from any punishment they deserve.”

In April, the diocese lost its challenge to the law’s constitutionality when Nassau Supreme Court Justice Steven Jaeger ruled the law “a reasonable response to remedy the injustice of past child sexual abuse.”

'Fierce and Vicious'

Church Militant

June 18, 2020

By Kristine Christlieb

Rockville Centre diocese's legal hardball with sex abuse victims

Rockville Centre, N.Y. - The diocese of Rockville Centre — comprising Long Island, New York — is begging a judge for a timeout from the tsunami of nearly 100 pending clergy sexual abuse cases, saying otherwise it will have to declare bankruptcy.

Rockville Centre is one of the largest dioceses in the nation, serving approximately 1.4 million Catholics. It is the latest New York diocese to be in, or close to, bankruptcy. Within the last year, both the dioceses of Rochester and Buffalo have become Chapter 11 debtors, and now Rockville Centre appears to be not far behind.

The dioceses of New York feared this legal and financial reckoning would one day arrive, which is why they fought to defeat the state's Child Victims Act (CVA). The New York State Catholic Conference (NYSCC) never supported the CVA, but the group did ultimately drop its opposition in January 2019.

The organization refused to endorse the legislation because it did not want New York's statute of limitations extended, allowing abuse cases from the more-distant past to proceed. Plus, it favored legislation with a preference for mediation over litigation. According to reporting in the Daily News, the bishops' chief fear was having to provide records as part of a lawsuit's discovery process, a requirement that could potentially be avoided in mediation.

Larry Nassar's victims are requesting the report on FBI's handling of its investigation into alleged abuse


June 17 2020

By Jean Casarez and David Shortell

More than 120 alleged sexual abuse victims of Larry Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor, sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting a copy of a report on the FBI's handling of its investigation into Nassar.

The letter, sent Wednesday to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, says the alleged victims don't want the report "withheld and then have authorities claim they cannot indict and prosecute the people involved in criminal conduct because the statute of limitations has expired."

"It is important for our healing for all the facts to come out and for wrongdoers to be held accountable. It is also important to maintain public confidence in our federal law enforcement agencies by exposing the truth and initiating reforms so that this never happens again," the signers, including Olympic athletes Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and Jordyn Wieber, say in the letter.

The DOJ Inspector General's office is "investigating allegations concerning the FBI's handling of the Nassar investigation, and the victims and the public should rest assured our findings will be made public at the end of our investigation," Stephanie Logan, the office's spokeswoman told CNN when asked for comment.

Late priest from Lake Luzerne parish among those named in child sex abuse lawsuits


June 15, 2020

By Michael Goot


Lake Luzerne - A late priest that served at a church in Lake Luzerne was named in one of 52 sex abuse lawsuits filed Monday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The Rev. Charles A. Gaffigan, who retired from Holy Mother and Child Parish in 2011, is accused of sexually abusing a minor from 1992 to about 1994 at what was then Holy Infancy Church in Lake Luzerne, according to a news release from Jeff Anderson & Associates. The law firm has filed a total of 74 lawsuits against the diocese.

Gaffigan died in 2015 after battling cancer.

Gaffigan was appointed to serve as pastor of what was then Holy Infancy Church in Lake Luzerne in 1991, according to his obituary. In 2003, he picked up the responsibility for Immaculate Conception Church in Corinth. The churches ultimately merged in 2009 to form Holy Mother and Child Parish. He retired as pastor in 2011, but continued to fill in throughout the diocese.

Gaffigan died on April 19, 2015, at the age of 79 at the Gateway House of Peace in Ballston Spa.

He also served as associate pastor in St. Michael’s in South Glens Falls in the 1970s and at St. Mary’s in Glens Falls in the early 1980s.

Three new lawsuits were also brought against Gary Mercure, who was sentenced to more than 25 years in prison in Massachusetts on child sex abuse charges. Mercure served at Our Lady of Annunciation Church in Queensbury and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Glens Falls.

Polish bishop lashes out at archbishop for reporting abuse cover-up to Vatican


June 17, 2020

By Paulina Guzik

A bishop at the center of a documentary on sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Poland has tried to defend himself, but has only generated more controversy.

The film “Hide and Seek” documented a dramatic case of abuse of power by Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz in central Poland. In 2016, when a family visited him to report that their son was abused by their parish priest, Janiak expelled them from his office and didn’t report the case to the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, as the law required.

The documentary was released on May 16, and on the same day Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland and Delegate of Child Protection at the Polish Bishops Conference, reported the case to the Holy See through the Vatican embassy, using the procedure outlined in a new Vatican law – Vos Estis Lux Mundi – which was promulgated by Pope Francis on June 1, 2019. It was the first time the law had been utilized in Poland.

Janiak responded with a June 13 letter to the Polish bishops rejecting the accusations and attacking Polak for reporting him.

Now Janiak has two problems: The letter was leaked to the media, and was filled with factual errors.

Servants of the Paraclete seeks dismissal in Catholic priest abuse lawsuit; victim speaks out

Alamogordo Daily News

June 17, 2020

By Nicole Maxwell


The Servants of the Paraclete, named in a lawsuit over child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, asked a New Mexico court to dismiss the case in a June 10 response.

The Servants of the Paraclete is one of several defendants, including two Alamogordo Catholic parishes, named in the case filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County. The suit was filed by "John Doe" and alleged negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, public nuisance and racketeering.

The Servants of the Paraclete denied the allegations in the original complaint, admitting only that, acting as a nonprofit corporation, it ran a facility in Albuquerque and Jemez Springs in 1971. The Servants of the Paraclete was originally founded as a recovery and rehabilitation facility for alcoholic and drug addicted clergy before they started receiving priests with pedophilic tendencies.

"The complaint fails to state claims, in whole or in part, upon which relief can be granted as a matter of law," the response states.

Fr. David Holley was a patient at Servants of the Paraclete in the early 1970s before he was sent to Alamogordo to what was then St. Jude Mission Church. It is St. Jude Catholic Parish now.

The Servants of the Paraclete's response states that many of the allegations are "completely irrelevant and immaterial to this action and/or because they constitute argument, not alleged facts."

While the name of the victim in New Mexico who filed the suit remains anonymous, one of Holley's Worcester Diocese victims remained vocal about his experience.

Holley abuse victim shares story

Phil Saviano was 11 years old when he first met the late Fr. David Holley in March 1964.

Saviano spoke to the Alamogordo Daily News via phone on May 11.

Saviano was in a catechism class in Holley's second parish assignment at St. Denis Church in Douglas, Massachusetts. Holley was assigned to St. Denis for 18 months before being reassigned to another church within the Worcester Diocese, Saviano said.

"I was one of his earliest victims," Saviano said. "My family lived just up the street from the church and the rectory. I was not an altar boy but I was Catholic."

Notice posted for class action suit alleging sexual abuse by priests in Halifax-Yarmouth

Chronicle Herald via Saltwire

June 17, 2020

By Francis Campbell

Hundreds of Nova Scotians who say they were sexuallly abused by Roman Catholic priests dating back to 1960 are likely to be part of a lawsuit launched against the Halifax-Yarmouth Archdiocese and its archbishop.

A notice appeared recently on the websites of both the archdiocese and the McKiggan-Hebert law firm in Halifax, who filed the class action with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in August 2018 on behalf of Douglas Champagne and other sexual abuse survivors.

“There is a court order in place that has established the steps that need to be taken to notify potential class members of the claim and this is one of the steps,” said lawyer John McKiggan.

“One of the requirements is to provide notice to potential class members telling them there is a class action out here and you can participate if you want to.”

Champagne, according to the court filing, suffered lasting and permanent effects from sexual abuse at the hands of Father George Epoch while Epoch worked as a priest at the Canadian Martyrs Church in Halifax and Champagne was an altar boy.

The class action says priests employed by the archdiocese, which amalgamated the former dioceses of Halifax and Yarmouth in 2011, had for decades “sexually assaulted and battered Catholic worshippers who attended their parishes.”

Responsible for the spiritual guidance and care of the claimants, the lawsuit says priests developed a relationship of psychological intimacy with their victims that provided them the opportunity to “engage in acts of sexual assault and battery.”

Grandmother accuses CNY school priest of molesting her when she was a girl: ‘They can’t get away with this’


June 18, 2020

By Marnie Eisenstadt


Whitesboro, N.Y. — It was always old Frankenstein movies. Or ghost stories.

“Any little thing where he got you alone in the dark,” Mary McLoughlin recalled. Then the priest at her family’s church would sexually abuse her, she said.

She was 11; the abuse happened numerous times, according to a lawsuit McLoughlin filed against the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese Wednesday.

McLoughlin’s suit was one of 38 filed against the diocese this week, a new wave of complaints under the New York Child Victims Act.

McLoughlin’s is one of the few filed against the diocese by women; most of the accusers have been men who alleged the abuse happened when they were boys.

McLoughlin, 66, says her abuser was the Rev. Conrad Somerville. At the time, he was in his 30s at St. Joseph’s school and parish in Utica.

Somerville has not been named in the diocese’s list of known offenders. He died in 2013 at 85; his last post was at the Franciscan Place at Destiny USA.

A spokeswoman for the diocese said they have not seen the new cases yet, but they take seriously all allegations of sexual abuse.

“We continue to pray for the healing of those who have been harmed in the past and continue to be vigilant in our safe environment protocols in order that this very dark chapter in the Church will never happen again,” said Danielle Cummings.

The priest was trusted by McLoughlin’s family and that of the other girls in her school, according to the lawsuit. The sexual abuse happened in movie theaters, church youth outings and in Somerville’s car, according to the lawsuit.

Somerville used his position at the school and church to groom McLoughlin and other girls so he could molest them, according to the suit. The allegations outlined in the lawsuit happened between 1964 and 1965.

“I hope it makes people like Father Conrad realize they can’t get away with this. For over 50 years, I’ve been wondering who else, or how many other kids did he hurt,” said McLoughlin, who lives in Troy now and is a funeral director.

June 17, 2020

Regina Catholic School Division renames Jean Vanier School

Global News

June 17, 2020

By Jonathan Guignard

It’s official: the Regina Catholic School Division has changed the name of Jean Vanier School in Regina.

The school is now named St. Maria Faustina School, the division announced at its board meeting on Wednesday.

“When we read headlines about Jean Vanier earlier this year, we were concerned about how the association might impact our community,” said Lesley Perrault, principal.

Former archbishop ‘dismayed’ as permission to officiate as priest revoked

Shropshire Star

June 17, 2020

New information about Lord Carey is said to have emerged during a review into a barrister who was accused of abusing boys.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is “bewildered and dismayed” to have had his permission to officiate as a priest withdrawn.

Lord Carey is no longer authorised to minister within his diocese, the Church of England said, after new information emerged in relation to a review being carried out into a barrister who was accused of abusing boys.

There has been no allegation of abuse made against Lord Carey.

An independent inquiry was announced last year into the church’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth QC, who allegedly abused boys at Christian camps.

Police had been planning on questioning Mr Smyth when he died in South Africa in 2018 at the age of 77.

Mr Smyth was alleged to have beaten children in the 1970s and 1980s while he was a leader at the Iwerne Trust camps.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford said that in the course of the review “new information has come to light regarding Lord Carey, which has been passed to the National Safeguarding Team for immediate attention”.

St. Cloud Diocese declares bankruptcy

Star Tribune

June 15, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

The Diocese of St. Cloud filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Monday, just weeks after reaching a $22.5 million settlement with clergy abuse survivors.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing provides a "framework for resolution" of the clergy abuse claims filed by 70 individuals against 42 priests dating to the 1950s, the diocese said.

The diocese announced its intent to file for bankruptcy in 2018 to pay for the claims, and has been negotiating with attorneys for the survivors since.

"This Chapter 11 reorganization represents the diocese's commitment to finding a fair resolution for survivors," said the diocese news release announcing the filing.

"It's been a long haul, a long process, for survivors," added survivors' attorney Mike Finnegan. "We're glad that they're on the path to resolution and putting the lawsuits behind them."

Archdiocesan Priests Removed From Ministry

Archdiocese of New York via Catholic New York

June 17, 2020

Three archdiocesan priests have been removed from ministry.

Msgr. Edward Barry, 72, former pastor of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, and Father Andrew Florez, 67, have had allegations of the sexual abuse of minors found to be credible and substantiated by the archdiocesan Lay Review Board. In each case, the priest retained the presumption of innocence and was allowed to participate in his defense. As is archdiocesan protocol, the allegations were shared with law enforcement, investigated by outside professionals and the entire matter carefully examined by the archdiocesan Lay Review Board, which concluded that the allegations had been substantiated. Both priests have been permanently removed from ministry, and may not publicly present themselves as priests.

Michael O’Leary, 51, a former priest of the archdiocese, has had his request for a return to the lay state granted by the Holy See. (Although he subsequently withdrew his request, the Holy Father still returned him to the lay state.) He was arrested in March 2019 and charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. His legal case is still pending.

38 more people sue Syracuse Catholic Diocese, claiming abuse by priests


June 17, 2020

By Marnie Eisenstadt

Nearly 40 new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, alleging child sex abuse by priests and a teacher.

The suits filed today alleged allegations of abuse that happened at the hands of priests in parishes across Central New York, spanning more than 50 years.

The lawsuits were filed under the New York State Child Victims Act, and join 40 suits already filed against the diocese under the act.

Four priests named in today’s filings are being sued by multiple people, according to lawyers from Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave, Wein & Frament, which together filed 32 suits. Lawyers from Marsh Law also filed six new cases. A spokeswoman for the Syracuse diocese has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The claims include:

-- Monsignor Charles Eckermann, who was defrocked over allegations of child sex abuse in 2014 and died in 2016, was accused by four more people. The complaints of abuse span nearly 30 years: from 1958 to 1983. Eckermann was removed from the priesthood after the church deemed credible allegations that he molested an altar boy in Manlius.

-- The Rev. Chester A. Misercola is named by three people, who alleged that he abused them when he was at Bishop Cunningham Catholic High School in Oswego. He worked there from 1970 to 1992, according to the firm. Misercola was removed from ministry in 2002 over allegations of child sex abuse. He died last year.

-- The Rev. Edward C. Madore was named by three people in the new suits; he had already been accused by two others in suits previously filed, lawyers said. One of those suits alleges that Madore, who had worked at churches in Rome and Binghamton, abused an 8-year-old altar boy in 1976.

-- The Rev. Bernard A. Garstka is named in three of the complaints. Two of the allegations of abuse come from his time at St. Patrick in Taberg, according to the lawsuits. Garstka died in 1982.

Former priest accused of stealing money from church


June 16, 2020

By Sarah Doiron

A former priest was arrested Tuesday after allegedly stealing money from the church while he worked at.

Steven Matthew Glover, known to parishioners as Father Matthew Glover, used to be a pastor at St. Rose and Clement Parish in Warwick.

He has been charged with obtaining money under false pretenses, larceny of over $1,500 and fraudulent use of a credit card.

At Least 3,000 Children Were Victims of Sex Abuse in French Catholic Church


June 17, 2020

By Brendan Cole

There have been at least 3,000 child sex abuse victims in the Catholic Church in France stretching back decades—and it's feared there may be many more, according to an investigation.

Last June, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) was set up to look into abuse claims committed by the clergy in France since the 1950s.

A hotline for victims to come forward has so far received more than 5,000 phone calls. The number of estimated victims represents an average of 40 cases per year over seven decades.

Former Warwick priest accused of stealing from church

WJAR/NBC 10 News

June 16, 2020

By Jessica A. Botelho

A former Catholic priest has been accused of stealing from a Warwick church, according to Rhode Island State Police.

State police said Steven Matthew Glover, 42, of Coventry, was arrested on Tuesday.

Glover is facing multiple charges, including the following:

Saints official gave earlier help to New Orleans Archdiocese on sexual abuse crisis


June 17, 2020

By Mike Triplett

The lawsuits calling for the public release of emails between the New Orleans Saints and the local Roman Catholic Archdiocese have mostly been put on hold since the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy last month, but new details in a Sports Illustrated report on the case confirm that a team official began offering public relations counsel to the church regarding its sexual abuse crisis months earlier than initially reported.

The Saints and owner Gayle Benson have long had a close relationship with the Catholic Church and Archbishop Gregory Aymond, and they have maintained that they did nothing wrong by offering PR input to the archdiocese on how to work with the media, suggesting the church offer full transparency while releasing the names of clergy members who have been credibly accused of abuse.

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City launches training program to protect children

Enid News & Eagle

June 16, 2020

By James Neal

Volunteers, staff members and clergy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City who work with children will be required, starting July 1, to complete a new training program designed to protect children from abuse.

The curriculum, Safe & Sacred Training Program for Catholic Dioceses, "provides online training in several areas, including appropriate and inappropriate interaction with minors, proper boundaries, potential red flags and how to report suspected child abuse," according to an archdiocese press release.

Stottville, Ravena priests accused in child-sex complaints

Johnson Newspaper Corp.

June 16, 2020

By Kate Lisa

Priests from Stottville and Ravena are among the newly identified defendants in child sexual abuse complaints against the Albany Catholic Diocese on Monday under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Father Andrew J. Lenahan is accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1960 to 1963 at Holy Family in Stottville and Father Bernard Turner is accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1981 to 1982 at St. Patrick in Ravena.

“The diocese takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously,” Albany Diocese Director of Communications Mary DeTurris Poust said in a statement Tuesday. “Behind every claim is a suffering person who needs our compassion and assistance.”

Sexual misconduct allegations surface against Church of the Harvest pastor


June 16, 2020

By Ali Meyer

The sprawling campus of Church of the Harvest opened in 1989 with just one building.

Three decades of prosperity under the leadership of the Pankratz family and the church grew to a small empire.

Kirk and Nancy Pankratz are the founders. Their son, Grant Pankratz, was promoted to Senior Pastor in March of 2018.

There is a chink in the armor, though.

A swarm of angry ex-followers are now calling Church of the Harvest a “Christian concentration camp.”

Two priests defrocked in Kerala following allegations of sexual abuse

Deccan Herald

June 17, 2020

By Arjun Raghunath

Two priests of the Tellicherry Archdiocese at Kannur district in Kerala have been defrocked in the wake of sexual allegations.

Abuse scandal linked to status of women in Church

The Tablet

June 16, 2020

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

It is a ‘matter of urgency’ to have more women in leading positions: Cardinal Marx

Cardinal Reinhard Marx has reiterated how urgent it is to appoint more women leaders in the Church.

“Changes in this field are really urgent and must be pressed ahead with,” he warned. “We talk a lot about the Church’s new social form and on no other point is this reflected more clearly”, Marx said last week.

Diocese of Ogdensburg named in new child sex abuse lawsuit


June 16, 2020

By Keir Chapman

There are new allegations of child sexual abuse being leveled against the Diocese of Ogdensburg. However, the accused priest is not on the diocese’s list of offenders.

New litigation has been brought against the Diocese of Ogdensburg. That's according to documents filed in Clinton County on June 8.

The filings claim Monsignor John M. Waterhouse sexually abused the plaintiff listed as Anonymous GF from 1973 to 1978.

Former church members seek accountability for alleged misdeeds

The Oklahoman

June 17, 2020

By Carla Hinton

Former members of a metro area church said the house of worship should close immediately and its founders should be held accountable for a litany of alleged misdeeds.

More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition alleging misconduct by leaders at Church of the Harvest, 6800 N Bryant, and 16000 N Western in Edmond. The church was founded by the Rev. Kirk Pankratz, a former Ward 7 Oklahoma City Council candidate, and his wife Nancy. Their son Grant Pankratz served as senior pastor for awhile.

Our Opinion: Bishop made progress but didn't lead

The Berkshire Eagle

June 15, 2020

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski cleared the low bar set by his predecessor when it came to issues of communication and response to clergy abuse. Opportunities were missed to do so much more. ("Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski named to top post in St. Louis," Eagle, June 11.)

At his introduction as the new Archbishop of the St. Louis diocese, Bishop Rozanski spoke of initiatives he had taken in Springfield as if they were entirely his own. But they came only after pressure was applied by activists like Olan Horne of Chester, an abuse survivor who advocates for other victims, and by The Berkshire Eagle.

Au moins 3 000 victimes d’abus sexuels dans l’Eglise depuis 1950 en France, selon une commission indépendante

At least 3,000 victims of sexual abuse in the Church since 1950 in France, according to an independent commission

Le Monde avec AFP

June 17, 2020

Ces données provisoires proviennent d’enquêtes menées dans les archives de l’Eglise catholique et d’appels sur la plate-forme qui recueille des témoignages. Selon le président de la commission, cette estimation est une « première ».

Le président de la commission indépendante sur les abus sexuels sur mineurs dans l’Eglise catholique (Ciase), Jean-Marc Sauvé, a estimé mercredi 17 juin à au moins « 3 000 » le nombre de victimes en France depuis 1950. Autrement dit, le nombre d’auteurs d’agressions sexuelles au sein de l’Eglise ne peut pas être « inférieur à 1 500 » sur la période, a-t-il ajouté lors d’une visioconférence.

Ces chiffres provisoires proviennent d’une première remontée d’enquêtes menées auprès des archives de diocèses et de congrégations religieuses par la Ciase, mise en place en 2018 par l’épiscopat.

Une victime d’un prêtre abuseur salue le projet de loi 55

Victim of Abusing Priest Welcomes Bill 55

La Tribune

June 16, 2020

By René-Charles Quirion

« Le clergé ne pourra maintenant plus se cacher derrière le délai de prescription. Les victimes ont maintenant accès à la justice. »

Victime d’un prêtre pédophile dans son enfance, Gaétan Bégin est extrêmement heureux du dépôt du projet de loi 55.

Le Sherbrookois de 79 ans militait depuis de nombreuses années pour qu’un projet de loi comme celui déposé la semaine dernière à l’Assemblée nationale soit proposé.

Ce projet de loi abolit le délai de prescription pour que les victimes en matière d’agression à caractère sexuel, de violence subie pendant l’enfance et de violence conjugale puissent intenter des recours civils.

« La CAQ a livré la marchandise. Ça faisait 66 ans que j’étais pris dans un piège. Le 12 juin à 12 h 48 quand le projet de loi 55 a été annoncé, j’en ai été libéré. Ç’a été l’une des plus belles journées de ma vie », assure Gaétan Bégin.

Charged in Iowa in 1996, Pennsylvania man who set up Kenya orphanage pleads to sex abuse charges

Associated Press

June 15, 2020

A Pennsylvania man accused by federal authorities of preying on children under the guise of missionary work at an orphanage he established in Kenya has pleaded guilty to sexually molesting four girls.

Gregory Dow, 61, of Lancaster pleaded guilty Monday in a federal court hearing to four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign place between 2013 and 2017 while running Dow Family Children's Home in Boito, Kenya, which he established in 2008.

Twenty New Abusers Exposed in New York Following the Filing of 52 Lawsuits


June 16, 2020

52 lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Albany on Monday, and thanks to those lawsuits the names of twenty new abusers have been made public. We applaud these survivors for coming forward and know that children and the vulnerable will be safer because of these filings.

Notably, of the new names of abusers revealed by these lawsuits, seven of them are nuns. This means that 10% of all publicly identified abusers in Albany are nuns. This helps highlight an often-ignored part of the clergy abuse scandal and brings public attention to the fact that sexual abuse is not just a priest issue, but an institutional issue. As more and more windows are opened nationwide, more and more reports about abuse by nuns are coming out and we believe that it is time that bishops publicly address the issue of abuse by nuns.

How Much Did the Saints Help the Catholic Church on Its Sex Abuse Crisis? More Than They Admitted

Sports Illustrated

June 17, 2020

New Orleans's favorite team has acknowledged providing “minimal” public relations help to the local archdiocese as it handled revelations of sexual abuse by clergy—but an SI investigation found that the team's aid was more extensive. Survivors, who feel betrayed by both institutions, want answers.

Kevin Bourgeois’s phone was ringing. It was a Wednesday in January, three weeks after the Saints’ season had ended, and he was standing in the parking lot outside the team’s headquarters in Metairie, La., wearing a black-and-gold Taysom Hill jersey. Around him, a small group was assembling: One man sported a Drew Brees jersey, another that of LSU’s Joe Burrow.

Bourgeois recognized the number calling. The 53-year-old New Orleans native has been a Saints season-ticket holder for a decade, with seats in a row of the Superdome’s terrace level where he can stand the whole game without blocking anyone. Usually, when he sees the team’s switchboard pop up on his phone, it’s a sales rep asking about renewing his seats. But he knew that wasn’t the reason for this call: The Saints’ top legal counsel wanted a word.

Five days earlier, on Jan. 24, the Associated Press had published a story revealing that the team had performed public relations work for the Archdiocese of New Orleans related to its spiraling sexual abuse crisis. The news sent shockwaves across the deeply Catholic city, which has been rocked over the last two years by ongoing revelations of abuse by clergy members and Church employees.

French Catholic Church Counts Over 3,000 Child Victims Of Sex Abuse

Agence France-Presse

June 17, 2020

By Karine Perret

At least 3,000 children have fallen victim to sex abuse in the French Catholic Church since 1950, a commission set up to examine claims estimated Wednesday, adding that the real number may be much higher.

The commission's president Jean-Marc Sauve said preliminary figures suggested some 1,500 clergy and other Church officials carried out the abuse.

The commission was set up last June at the request of French bishops after a series of paedophilia cases that rocked the Church in France and abroad.

A hotline urging victims to come forward has received 5,300 calls over the past year, Sauve told journalists in a video conference.

The number of estimated victims represents more than 40 cases per year on average over the past seven decades.

"I am deeply convinced that there are many more victims," Sauve said.

"What we do not know is how to consolidate these two sources" of potential cases -- the hotline and the commission's own inquiries, he said.

The call for witnesses has been extended to October 31 and reviews of Church archives have resumed after being suspended during France's coronavirus lockdown.

The Many “Good Things” That Abuse Survivors are Denied

AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

June 5, 2020

Everyone knows that many abuse victims do BAD things as a result of their pain.

But few notice the GOOD things abuse victims do NOT do as a result of their pain.


–The perpetrator was a teacher, so the victim ends up dropping out of school and never returns.

–The perpetrator was a counselor, so the victim doesn’t feel safe turning to a therapist for help.

–The perpetrator was a masseuse, so the victim never again feels comfortable seeking a massage.

–The perpetrator was associated with athletics, so the victim ends up deprived of pursuing sports as an outlet for relaxation, fitness and social bonding.

–The perpetrator was a religious figure, so the victim ends up deprived of the solace and sense of community that a spiritual life brings.

Man who set up Kenya orphanage pleads to sex abuse charges

Associated Press

June 15, 2020

A Pennsylvania man accused by federal authorities of preying on children under the guise of missionary work at an orphanage he established in Kenya has pleaded guilty to sexually molesting four girls.

Gregory Dow, 61, of Lancaster pleaded guilty Monday in a federal court hearing to four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign place between 2013 and 2017 while running Dow Family Children’s Home in Boito, Kenya, which he established in 2008.

LNP newspaper reported that during a teleconference hearing Monday, Dow told the judge that he acknowledged the truth of the prosecution’s allegations. Under terms of his plea agreement, he would serve 15 years and eight months in prison and then have to register as a sex offender, the newspaper said.

Local priest says Bishop changed the locks on his churches and residence


June 16, 2020

By Santiago Melli-Huber

Father Mark White, a priest with churches in Martinsville and Rocky Mount, says Reverend Barry Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, sent a locksmith to change the locks on the doors of White’s churches and residences, as part of an ongoing battle between the two.

For months now, White has been in a fight with the Diocese of Richmond. The Bishop is trying to re-assign him as a prison chaplain, a direct result of White continuing to maintain his viral blog.

In the blog, White is often critical of the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse of minors. He uses the blog to call for more transparency from the Church about who helped cover it up.

Haas, Twin Cities Catholic composer, denies sexual misconduct allegations

The Catholic Spirit (publication of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis)

June 16, 2020

By Maria Wiering

With two 2018 allegations against Haas, archdiocese declines letter of recommendation
Catholic composer David Haas denies allegations of sexual misconduct with adult women that led his music publisher, GIA Publications, to suspend its relationship with him.
In a June 16 statement, Haas said he “denounces Into Account Inc.’s allegations as false, reckless and offensive.”

Into Account, a nonprofit that supports abuse survivors, emailed Haas’ associates in late May to notify them that Haas had been accused of “repeated, unethical abuse of the professional and spiritual power he has had in church music circles,” including “sexual offenses.”

“The allegations we’ve received also contain a disturbing component of spiritual manipulation. Haas reportedly focuses attention on women with past histories of abuse, then uses the vulnerabilities created by trauma to create intimacy,” according to a letter that was emailed May 29 by Into Account executive director and founder Stephanie Krehbiel.

Want to make systemic change? Pope Francis has some ideas.

Religion News Service

June 16, 2020

By Claire Giangravé
When Pope Francis was elected pope, the Vatican was in trouble.

The Roman Catholic Church’s mishandling of sexual abuse and a series of financial scandals had challenged the credibility of the institution and emptied its pews.

For Francis, the root of the church’s problems was clericalism: the belief that religious people belong to a superior caste, insulated by favoritisms, which has helped promote an air of moral superiority among clergy.

“Clericalism is our ugliest pervasion,” the pope told seminarians last year. “The Lord wants you to be shepherds; shepherds of the people, not clerics of the state.”

The mentality behind clericalism, according to Francis, has helped spread corruption within the Catholic Church. Victims of sexual abuse were not taken seriously, and predator priests were moved instead of removed in order to save face. The belief that only those who are ordained have authority has helped marginalize laypeople in the Catholic Church, especially women.

New St. Louis archbishop connects with a pope who 'connects the dots'

National Catholic Reporter

June 17, 2020

By Don Clemmer

Archbishop-designate Mitch Rozanski acclaims value of mercy, dialogue

For Mitch Rozanski, the archbishop-designate of St. Louis, "The Joy of the Gospel" is foundational to how a Christian should live in the 21st century. He refers to the 2013 exhortation of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, which laid much of the groundwork for this pontificate.

Known for his bright demeanor and open smile, Rozanski has worked to "Serve the Lord with Gladness" — his episcopal motto — most recently as bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, since 2014. He was appointed to his new post on June 10 to succeed Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Belying his pastoral, unpretentious manner, Rozanski's move to St. Louis brings together two U.S. cities with rich histories for the Catholic Church. A Baltimore native, Rozanski served in the "premier see" (first diocese in the country) for 20 years as a parish priest before his appointment as an auxiliary bishop at age 46 in 2004, a role he served in for a decade. Now he becomes the 10th archbishop of "Rome of the West."

The Biases of a Royal Commission

First Things

June 17, 2020

By George Weigel

A brief dip into Latin helps us understand how preconceptions can lead to biased judgments that falsify history—as they did when an Australian Royal Commission on sexual abuse recently impugned the integrity of Cardinal George Pell.

The Latin maxim is quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur—literally, “what is received is received according to the mode [or manner, or condition] of the receiver.” Less literally, the maxim holds that our predispositions—our mental filters—color our perceptions. Put another way, we often perceive things not as they are but because of what we are.

However abstract it may seem at first blush, the maxim is confirmed by everyday experience. People draw different conclusions about the same facts, the same personalities, and the same situations. More often than not, those differences are explained by different filters at work in our minds.

June 16, 2020

Quebec moves to eliminate time limits for filing civil sexual assault suits

The Canadian Press

By Jocelyne Richer

June 4, 2020

Sexual assault victims in Quebec will soon be able to pursue justice against their abusers regardless of how long ago crimes took place, according to proposed legislation tabled Thursday.

The bill tabled in the provincial legislature by Justice Minister Sonia LeBel would eliminate the 30-year time limit for bringing a civil suit against an alleged assailant.

Quebec and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces to maintain a time limitation for this type of lawsuit.

Victims have long called for the province to eliminate the statute of limitations, including those who were assaulted by pedophile priests as children.

Agressions sexuelles: la loi 55 adoptée à Québec

[Sexual assault: law 55 adopted in Quebec]

La Presse Canadienne

June 12, 2020

By Jocelyne Richer

Quel que soit leur âge, les victimes d’agressions sexuelles hantées par leur enfance peuvent désormais réclamer que justice leur soit rendue, même si les actes reprochés remontent à plus de 30 ans.

Déposé le 4 juin, le projet de loi 55, parrainé par la ministre de la Justice, Sonia LeBel, a été adopté en un temps record, vendredi, à l’unanimité.

Du coup, le délai de prescription de 30 ans qui était fixé pour pouvoir intenter une poursuite civile contre un présumé agresseur est aboli.

Il n’y a donc plus aucune limite de temps.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: Regardless of their age, victims of childhood sexual assaults can now claim justice for them, even if the alleged acts date back more than 30 years.

Tabled on June 4, Bill 55, sponsored by the Minister of Justice, Sonia LeBel, was adopted in record time, Friday, unanimously.

As a result, the 30-year limitation period that was set for bringing a civil action against an alleged attacker was abolished.

There is therefore no longer any time limit.]

Argentine bishop resumes work in Holy See as Vatican abuse probe wraps

Buenos Aires Times

June 15, 2020

Vatican spokesman confirms Archbishop Gustavo Zanchetta has resumed work in Holy See, but claims it in no way interferes with investigations probing alleged sexual abuse.

An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis has gone back to work at the Holy See’s financial administration office while under investigation in his native Argentina and at the Vatican for alleged sexual abuse.

The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, confirmed Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta had resumed work at the APSA patrimony office but said it in no way interferes with the investigations. He said Zanchetta remains at the disposition of Argentine judicial authorities.

The developments came as Francis on Monday named a new number two at the office, an Italian layman and auditor, Fabio Gasperini.

Catholic Composer David Haas Accused of “Sexually Predatory & Abusive Behavior”


June 14, 2020

By Hemant Mehta

For decades now, the music of David Haas has been played in churches around the country, primarily Catholic but also other denominations with more traditional services. He was even nominated for a Grammy in 1991. Basically, his music was the soundtrack for a generation of worshipers with an average age of… older. Just older. His biography is several paragraphs long and there’s no shortage of awards he’s received, places he’s lectured, books he’s published, and groups he’s worked with.

Stottville, Ravena priests named in complaints

Johnson Newspaper Corp.

June 15, 2020

By Kate Lisa

Priests from Stottville and Ravena are among the newly identified defendants in child sexual abuse complaints against the Albany Catholic Diocese on Monday under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Father Andrew J. Lenahan is accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1960 to 1963 at Holy Family in Stottville and Father Bernard Turner is accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1981 to 1982 at St. Patrick in Ravena.

The 52 cases remained in limbo while state and local courts were closed through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release from the law firms of New York-based Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament, of Guilderland.

Catholic composer David Haas denies 'sexual battery' and coercion allegations


June 16, 2020

By JD Flynn

Catholic composer David Haas has denied allegations of serial sexual misconduct and spiritual manipulation, and says the advocacy group bringing allegations forward aims to destroy his livelihood.

“David Haas denounces Into Account Inc.’s allegations as false, reckless and offensive,” the composer said in a press release issued June 16.

Haas “is also sad and disappointed that Into Account Inc. chose to use social media- a public forum- to deprive him of a fair and legitimate venue to face his accusers, but instead launched a marketing effort with the mission to destroy his reputation and livelihood,” the composer added.

Former student alleges years of abuse

Daily Post

June 17, 2020

A former Catholic school boy alleges he was sexually abused and molested for nearly three years while attending San Vicente Catholic School in the late 1960s.

A civil complaint was filed against the Capuchin Franciscans, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and San Vicente Catholic School on Tuesday on behalf of a man who was identified as A.A.A.A. to protect his identity.

The lawsuit alleges he was sexually abused repeatedly by the late Monsignor Zoilo Camacho between 1967 and 1970.

Camacho died in September 2007.

Abuse victims’ advocate was ‘open’ about Catholic church role

News Letter

June 16, 2020

By Mark Rainey

A Stormont-appointed advocate for institutional abuse survivors “has been open” about his training for the position of deacon in the Catholic church, the NI Executive has said.

Paedophile priest found free in Switzerland after conviction in Belgium

The Brussels Times

June 15, 2020

By Gabriela Galindo

A Swiss priest found guilty of abusing a minor in Belgium has been arrested in Switzerland, where he was living free despite being sentenced to prison in 2017.

The Brussels Court of Appeal sentenced Frédéric Abbet to three years’ imprisonment after finding him guilty of sexually abusing a nine-year-old boy in a Brussels boarding school between 2010 and 2011.

EXCLUSIVE: Catholic composer accused of sexual battery worked with known predator for years

The Worthy Adversary

June 15, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

Over the weekend, Catholic hymn composer, performer, and youth conference organizer David Haas was dropped by his publisher after the company learned the musician was under investigation by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for sexual battery and other offenses.

Allegedly Abusive Catholic Composer Dropped by Prominent Hymnal Publisher


June 15, 2020

Following an open letter detailing allegations of inappropriate sexual advances and sexual harassment, we have learned a prominent Catholic composer has been dropped by one of the companies with which he worked. We applaud this move and hope that this news will encourage other still-silent victims to come forward and make a report to police.

David Haas has reportedly been accused by dozens of women of being a serial sexual harasser and manipulating women into inappropriate or unwanted relationships. His decades of impropriety was first made public by the organization Into Account, which sent an open letter to the organizations employing the composer, informing them of the numerous allegations against Haas and urging those organizations to take action. Last week, SNAP wrote in support of these efforts by survivors and Into Account. Following the publication and dissemination of our statement, SNAP heard from several more victims. To us, this means there are many women who have felt silenced out of fear and who did not realize that they were not alone.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to Speak on Race Relations, SNAP Calls for Replacement


June 15, 2020

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has been tapped by Houston’s ABC 13 to lead a discussion on race relations in communities of faith. Given Cardinal DiNardo’s history of obfuscation and minimization when it comes to cases of sexual abuse, we believe ABC 13 can and should find a better person to represent Houston’s faith communities.

For years, Cardinal DiNardo has misled the people of Houston about cases of clergy sexual abuse. From leaving abusive priests in ministry until the day that allegations were made public to choosing a twice-accused abusive priest to lead outreach to local Latino communities to reportedly deceiving an abuse victim and quietly moved her perpetrator – Monsignor Frank Rossi, one of his highest-ranking deputies – to another parish, even after telling the victim that Msgr. Rossi would never be a pastor again, there are numerous examples of Cardinal DiNardo’s failures of leadership. Someone who has been shown to be less than honest with the public should not, in our view, be involved in a discussion on this critical issue.

Rockville Centre diocese faces bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits

Catholic News Agency

June 15, 2020

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has requested a pause in the proceedings of numerous sex abuse lawsuits it is facing, and said it may have to declare bankruptcy if it is not granted.

Two fellow New York dioceses, Buffalo and Rochester, have filed for bankruptcy within the last year. Each diocese had been named in hundreds of clergy sex abuse lawsuits following the opening of a window in the statute of limitations in the state in cases of sexual abuse under the Child Victims Act.

Sean Dolan, director of communications for the Rockville Centre diocese, said it had requested “a stay pending an appeal of the court’s denial of its motion to dismiss approximately 35 cases.” He said the request reflects the diocese’s “dedication to the fair and just treatment of all abuse victims, rather than continuing on a course that is marked by exhausting litigation expenses for the benefit of those racing to the courthouse ahead of others.”

New sex abuse case filed against Capuchins, San Vicente School


June 16, 2020

By Nestor Licanto

A new civil suit alleging clergy sexual abuse has been filed against various Catholic Capuchin entities, including San Vicente School in Barrigada.

The complaint in Guam district court seeks a jury trial on behalf of "AAAA" who was allegedly assaulted in the mid-1960's by the late Monsignor Zoilo Camacho while he was a student at the school.

Court documents allege that when the plaintiff was a third-grader he was disciplined by Camacho, who spanked him with a paddle, and then ordered him to remove his shorts and was sexually assaulted. The complaint says the alleged abuse continued for two to three years, and that Camacho would give the plaintiff money to buy candy and soda "as a way to groom him to become and remain a victim of sexual abuse."

Interim advocate for survivors of abuse Brendan McAllister is urged to step down after helping Catholic church service

Belfast Telegraph

June 16, 2020

By Claire McNeilly

Survivors of historical institutional abuse (HIA) in Northern Ireland have called for their Stormont appointed advocate to resign after he assisted in a Catholic church service on Sunday.

Brendan McAllister was appointed interim advocate for HIA by the head of the civil service in July 2019 when the Executive and the Assembly were collapsed.

Mr McAllister, who has previously said he was a candidate for ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church in 2021, sparked outrage in some victims circles by wearing clerical dress to assist in the liturgy at St Peter's church in Warrenpoint, Co Down.

Catholic Church says data laws ‘detrimental to efforts to safeguard children’

Irish Times

June 15, 2020

By Patsy McGarry

Report confirms the church sought to have data protection legislation amended but failed

Current data protection legislation is a threat to the safety of children and has made their welfare difficult to guarantee, the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in 2018. The church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children, based at Maynooth, Co Kildare, said the current legislation was “detrimental to the efforts to safeguard children”.

It was also the case that due to the current legislation its “inability to analyse and monitor allegations [against priests] is, in the view of the national board, a significant loss to the Catholic Church”.

The board said all its efforts to have the legislation changed and allow it do its child protection work have “failed”.

The observations were contained in the board’s annual report for 2019.

It had “made representations to Government Ministers, civil servants, Tusla and the Data Protection Commission in the Republic of Ireland, seeking support to have legislation amended to enable sensitive personal data to be shared with the national board on allegations against clerics and religious. These efforts have failed.”

It said the situation was similar for Northern Ireland. The Catholic Church in Ireland – as with all main churches –is an all-island body, so the board’s remit extends to include Northern Ireland.

“We have also engaged with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and the safeguarding board for Northern Ireland. But due to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the time of the discussions, officials were unable to progress any discussions, but did indicate their support for the important work of the national board in helping to keep children safe.

“We will pursue this further now that a Minister has been appointed, and has taken office,” it said.

It said that under the 2018 data protection legislation in the Republic, the board “cannot fulfil its monitoring function, track trends year to year, nor offer assurances that church bodies are consistently applying safeguarding standards in relation to their notification and management of cases outside the scope of a specific review of that church authority”.

Detail removed

It was also the case that “while allegations are still notified [to the board], the information is anonymised and significant detail is removed. As a direct result we cannot advise with any certainty on whether reports we receive may also have been forwarded by another church authority,which would result in double-counting”.

It said that for instance in 2019, 116 notifications were forwarded to the national board. It checked whether these had been notified to State authorities but “beyond that we are not able to analyse the information, and therefore cannot offer comment on developing patterns or on the time period to which the allegations relate”.

As it is required to report on its activities it has set out in the annual report for April 2019 to April 2020, “the range, type, and ‘quantity’ of advice offered” during that year.

“On 260 occasions, advice was requested by and offered to church personnel – broken down into advice offered to dioceses on 128 occasions (49 per cent); to religious orders on 100 (39 per cent) occasions; and to independents on 32 occasions (12 per cent) – “independents” include complainants of abuse; those accused; lay apostolates; other church agencies; and Irish missionaries working overseas”, it said.

Archdiocese of OKC announces new training program for those required to work with minors


June 15, 2020

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced a new training program for volunteers, staff members and clergy that will be required before working with minors in Catholic churches or schools.

The program, which launches July 1 and is called Safe and Sacred Training Program for Catholic Dioceses, provides online training in several areas. A news release states those areas include appropriate and inappropriate interaction with minors, proper boundaries, potential red flags and how to report suspected child abuse.

52 new suits against Albany Diocese allege sex abuse by priests, nuns

The Daily Gazette

June 15, 2020

By John Cropley

Some allegations date back 60 years; local law firm preparing additional lawsuits

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany was the target Monday of 52 new lawsuits alleging sex abuse of children by priests and nuns as much as 63 years ago.

The Guilderland and Minnesota law firms teaming up to represent the victims in these cases have previously filed 22 such lawsuits and say they are preparing 36 more.

Other law firms are separately bringing similar cases.

The state Legislature last year opened a one-year window for sex abuse victims to sue for incidents alleged to have happened far beyond the normal statute of limitations for such litigation.

The COVID-19 crisis put New York’s court system in virtual hibernation this spring, raising the potential that some claims would be shut out, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the window five months before the Legislature extended it by a year.

The blackout was briefly worrisome to the survivors, said Cynthia LaFave, whose Guilderland law firm LaFave, Wein & Frament is filing the lawsuits with Jeff Anderson & Associates of St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I think it was another trauma on people who had suffered a great deal of trauma, to [potentially] have justice denied again,” LaFave said. “But they handled it with immense grace.”

More than 50 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed against Albany Diocese

The Telegraph

June 15, 2020

By Cayla Harris

More than 50 Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on Monday, alleging abuse by dozens of clerics as far back as 1957.

The cases mark the latest round of abuse complaints after courts temporarily closed during the coronavirus pandemic, blocking non-essential filings for about two months. The lawsuits allege abuse as recently as 1994 in parishes across the Capital Region and also target 20 previously unidentified clerics or diocese employees.

A handful detail new allegations against individuals already labeled by the church as "credibly accused" of molesting children.

June 15, 2020

Analysis: Archbishop Gregory promised the truth. Has he told it?

Catholic News Agency

June 10, 2020

By JD Flynn

At the press conference announcing his appointment as Washington’s new shepherd, Archbishop Wilton Gregory made a pledge: “I will always tell you the truth as I understand it.”

A year after the archbishop’s installation in Washington, the credibility of that promise has come under scrutiny, during a moment of profound difficulty for the entire country.

"First of all, I believe that the only way I can serve this local archdiocese is by telling you the truth,” Gregory said April 4, 2019.

That day was meant to be a moment of hope for Washington Catholics, who had spent nearly a year at the center of tumult surrounding the abuser Theodore McCarrick, and his successor in D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who had himself been accused by many Catholics of misdirection, obfuscation, and dishonesty.

Statement Of The Diocese Of Scranton Regarding The Investigation Into Monsignor Walter Rossi

Diocese of Scranton

June 12, 2020

In August 2019, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, announced an investigation of allegations of personal misconduct on the part of Monsignor Walter Rossi, Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Monsignor Rossi was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Scranton in 1987 and remains incardinated in the Diocese of Scranton at this time. Since 2005, he has served as Rector of the Basilica.

The investigation of allegations of personal misconduct was led by outside counsel assisted by a retired FBI agent with over thirty years of investigative experience. The investigation included interviews with numerous witnesses who have known Monsignor Rossi throughout his years in ministry. These witnesses included current and former Basilica employees, former CUA students, and current and former members of the clergy who were assigned to the Basilica or who worked with Monsignor Rossi.

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case pushed to July

New Canaan Advertiser

June 12, 2020

By Kendra Baker

DANBURY - The pre-trial hearing of the former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys has been rescheduled from June 19 to July 24.

Jaime Marin-Cardona, 52, 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.

SNAP to Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina: Nine Names Missing from Your List of Credibly Accused Clergy Need to Be Added

Bilgrimage (blog)

June 10, 2020

In January this year, I reported that after the Catholic bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina, Peter Jugis, and his diocese released a list of clergy credibly accused of having abused minors, survivors spoke out to say that the list Jugis released was incomplete. The January 2020 posting to which I have just pointed you provides an excerpt of a statement SNAP made on 30 December 2019, which states the following:

Catholic officials in Charlotte, NC have finally followed in the footsteps of the vast majority of dioceses around the country and released a list of priests accused of abuse. Unfortunately, the list released today is incomplete and leaves off allegations related to other church staffers. We call on them to update this list immediately in order to provide a clearer and more complete look at abuse within the Diocese of Charlotte.

My posting also points you to statements by several local media outlets questioning whether Jugis's s was complete, and warning that it would not serve the diocese's stated aim of transparency if the list were found, in fact, to be missing names.

Scranton diocese: ‘No credible evidence’ against Msgr. Rossi

Catholic News Agency via Catholic World Report

June 12, 2020

The Diocese of Scranton released a statement Friday regarding Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The statement said that after an exhaustive investigation, investigators found no credible evidence to support allegations of misconduct against Rossi.

“The investigation of allegations of personal misconduct was led by outside counsel assisted by a retired FBI agent with over thirty years of investigative experience. The investigation included interviews with numerous witnesses who have known Monsignor Rossi throughout his years in ministry,” the statement, released June 12, said.

“These witnesses included current and former Basilica employees, former CUA students, and current and former members of the clergy who were assigned to the Basilica or who worked with Monsignor Rossi.”

Guest view: No pass for pedophiles

Montana Standard

June 15, 2020

By James C. Nelson

Often, history does not flow like a river. Rather it erupts like a geyser, spewing hot, toxic water and fumes all over the place, until it settles back into the earth only to heat up and explode again.

We’re in the aftermath of one such eruption now. We’re demanding that law enforcement officers who abuse, assault, and even murder people in their custody should be held to account. No person is above the law — especially those sworn to enforce it.

Still, we continue to ignore another group of abusers who hold themselves to be above the law; those nobody dare touch. These are men and women of the collar and the cloth. These are the preacher-predators, the sectarian pedophiles that sexually abuse and forever ruin the lives and psyches of their child victims.

Yet, unbelievably, these, the Lord’s stewards, commit their heinous acts under the protection of man-made laws designed to enforce man-made religious doctrines and practices.

Historical Institutional Abuse: Call for Brendan McAllister to resign

BBC News

June 15, 2020

Some abuse victims have called for the interim advocate for survivors of historical institutional abuse to resign after he assisted in a Catholic church service on Sunday.

Brendan McAllister was appointed to the role in July 2019.

Victims' campaigner Margaret McGuckin said it was a "conflict of interests".

Mr McAllister has said he was a candidate for ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church in 2021.

He robed in vestments to assist in the liturgy at St Peter's church in Warrenpoint, County Down.

Ms McGuckin, from Savia (Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse), claimed that it was a "big conflict of interest" since many survivors in the group are victims of clerical abuse in the Catholic Church.

"We knew last year he would be ordained as a Catholic Church deacon.

"We let it be as he wasn't going to be ordained until after his role was over," she said.

Bishop Zanchetta returns to work at the Vatican amid abuse trial in Argentina

Catholic News Agency

June 15, 2020

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has returned to work at the Vatican amid an ongoing trial in Argentina, where he has been charged with sexual and financial misconduct.

Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni told CNA June 15 that Zanchetta had resumed his work at the Vatican while “remaining available to the Argentine judicial authorities.”

Bruni said that Zanchetta’s work at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) -- the Vatican’s central reserve bank and sovereign asset management body -- “does not interfere in any way with the investigations.”

Zanchetta, the former Bishop of Orán, Argentina, has been accused of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse” of two adult-aged seminarians, as well as fraud and mismanagement of funds. He denies the charges.

Former Mangilao altar boy says priest abused him in early '70s

Guam Daily Post

June 15, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Some 50 years ago, a priest frequently told a Mangilao altar boy to trust him and not to be scared, according to documents filed in federal court.

Attorney Michael Berman, on behalf of a clergy sex abuse survivor, on Friday filed a sexual abuse proof of claim in the Archdiocese of Agana's ongoing bankruptcy case.

The latest claimant alleged that Father Louis Brouillard, now deceased, sexually abused him on the grounds of the Santa Teresita Catholic Church in Mangilao and at Lonfit River during Boy Scouts of America outings, in or around 1971 to 1973.

The incidents occurred once or twice a month, over a two- to three-year period, while the boy was around 10 to 12 years old.

Sex claims force removal of two Indian priests

UCA News

June 15, 2020

By Saji Thomas

The action comes after audio and video recordings went viral on social media accusing Kerala priests of sexual abuse

In the latest in a series of clerical sexual abuse cases in India, two Catholic priests have been removed from priestly duties following allegations of sexually abusing women in a parish in Kerala state.

The Archdiocese of Tellicherry, where the priests worked, said in a note on June 14 that Fathers Mathew Mullapally and Jose Poothottal were banned from priestly duties as part of a diocesan investigation. Both priests served Pottanplav parish successively.

Father Poothottal is a religious priest belonging to the Congregation of St. John the Baptist Precursor. The diocese has also urged his superiors to take action against him, the note said.

The archdiocese has set up a three-member panel to probe the charges against Father Mullapally, a priest of the archdiocese.

Records of telephone conversations and video that have gone viral on social media claim the priests forced and coerced several women in the parish to have sex with them.

New biography portrays a dark side of John Paul II's reign: French authors have no mercy for sainted pope who led the Church for nearly three decades

La Croix International

June 4, 2020

By Christophe Henning

The long pontificate of John Paul II extended beyond 26 years (1978-2005) with great fanfare.Did the Polish pope think he was reviving the Catholic Church? Or did his forced march further weaken and divide it?

There is no dispute over whether John Paul made a deep impression on the Church. But the question is whether it was for better or for worse.

French authors Christine Pedotti and Anthony Favier have no doubt about the answer to that. In a new biography of Karol Woytila -- Jean-Paul II: L'ombre du saint -- they are uncompromising in their analysis of the damage he did as temporal head of the Catholic Church.

"The canonization of John Paul II marks the end of a long cycle in the history of Catholicism, that of dreaming for a return of power, which the Polish pontiff carried out from start to finish, " they write in their 330-page book, currently available only in French.

The authors, who are both self-confessed Catholics of the left, look at 19 symbolic moments and thorny issues in the life of the late pope.They are searing in their criticism of the pontificate, brushing aside broader questions such as the liturgy, the priesthood, inter-religious dialogue, anti-communism and so forth.


Though there are some obvious things to condemn -- such as the pontificate's impunity of Marcial Maciel and its negligence in managing clergy sex abuse -- it is nevertheless regrettable that Pedotti and Favier consider even Wojtyla's accomplishments to have been wrong.

Just a few examples: his advancing inter-religious dialogue, shaping a new generation of Catholics through the World Youth Days, and elaborating the Church's doctrine on life issues (which may offend some Catholics, remains a heritage that others have claimed).

It is hardly surprising that Pedotti, a Catholic feminist, would list John Paul's greatest sin as promoting "re-clericalization of the Church" and "a supernatural view of the priesthood".

This line of attack is engaged several times in the book, in particular when it speaks about the suffering pope.

"Here he is, playing Christ, ascending little by little to his Golgotha," the authors write."When a pope burdened with illness does not complain, who can say that the task is too heavy, the sacrifice too great?"

Persistent ambition

With little concern for governing the Rome Curia during the 26 years of his pontificate, John Paul II made his mark on the Church in the year 2000.

"In the doctrinal rearmament the pope was carrying out, there was no room for doubt. The truths of the catechism were firmly reasserted. Morality, especially concerning affectivity and sexuality, were firmly re-established. And there was no need to rethink the sacraments for the sake of mission," the authors denounce.

In fact, from one subject to another, the book depicts a tenaciously ambitious Karol Wojtyła who ardently wanted a powerful, political and missionary Church, while it was an exhausted John Paul II who remained at the helm.This is the contradiction of a pope who was solitary and stubborn while the boat was taking on water, as his successor Benedict XVI said.

Pedotti and Favie also make much of the image of the elderly and feeble John Paul II pushing open the door of St. Peter's Basilica to inaugurate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

"Human weakness in the face of this massive door... Is it not a metaphor for the fragility of the Church?"

Review: The continued fight to eradicate clergy sex abuse

America magazine

June 12, 2020

By James F. Keenan

[PHOTO: Sex abuse survivors Denise Buchanan and Alessandro Battaglia are pictured in front of St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Feb. 24, 2019, on the final day of the Vatican's four-day meeting on the protection of minors in the church. (CNS photo/Yara Nardi, Reuters)]

A Canadian pediatrician and woman religious who has worked on issues of sexual abuse for more than three decades, Nuala Kenny, S.C., offers her diagnoses and prescriptions for treating the “sick soul” and the “global septic shock in the Body of Christ” in Still Unhealed.

Kenny has been working in this area since she joined the one-of-its-kind, lay-led Archdiocesan Commission of Inquiry on Clergy Sexual Abuse in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1989. Still Unhealed follows on her earlier work, Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis (2012). Kenny brings to this study all the investigative curiosity that one would expect from a physician confounded by a patient’s failure to heal. In fact, in the case of treating the church, the physician seems far more interested in recovery than the patient itself does

SNAP Slams Decision by Utah Supreme Court in Mitchell v. Roberts

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

June 12, 2020

We are dismayed and disappointed by the decision in Mitchell v Roberts out of the Utah Supreme Court. This decision will only make it harder for victims of sexual abuse to come forward, put more children at risk of abuse, and prevent law enforcement from getting dangerous criminals out of the community.

The fact is that the reform bill overturned by this decision was a rare example of modern bipartisanship in which legislators from both parties, in both legislative chambers, as well as the executive branch, agreed that the state’s statute of limitations needed to be reformed. The resulting reform not only gave survivors of sexual violence hope for a shot at justice, but also helped to ensure that abusers could no longer hide behind archaic statute of limitations and escape from their crimes while living quietly among children and the vulnerable.

Now, despite the will of the people in Utah, victims are left in the cold. Our hearts break for Terry Mitchell, the brave survivor of childhood sexual abuse who fought for years for the rights of survivors, only to be denied a chance for justice by this example of judicial activism.

Buffalo Diocese relies on insurance policies to cover abuse claims in bankruptcy

Buffalo News

June 15, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese’s lists of assets and liabilities filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court identifies multiple investment funds and bank accounts holding in excess of $28 million, dozens of properties and a fleet of vehicles.

What the schedule doesn’t mention is insurance coverage, which has played a huge role in the resolutions of other Chapter 11 reorganizations by dioceses and archdioceses facing child sex abuse lawsuits.

Eight insurance companies, for example, agreed in 2018 to pay $137 million toward a $210 million fund to settle abuse claims in the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis.

Of the nearly $800 million in bankruptcy settlements reached by 15 Catholic dioceses, archdioceses and religious orders since 2004, more than half of the funds have come from insurers, according to research by Pennsylvania State University law professor Marie T. Reilly.

Catholic composer David Haas accused of 'sexual battery' and 'spiritual manipulation'

Catholic News Agency

June 14, 2020

by JD Flynn

The composer of several well-known songs used in Catholic liturgies has been dropped by a prominent hymnal publisher, amid accusations of serial spiritual manipulation and sexual misconduct.

“Early this year we became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by David Haas, and we learned the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was considering a decision not to provide him a letter of suitability,” GIA Publications said in a June 13 Facebook post.

“In response, we suspended our sponsorship and publishing relationship with Mr. Haas, and have not sponsored his work since late January,” the publisher added.

June 14, 2020

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski cites Pope Francis school, increase in Latino deacons as part of his Springfield legacy

The Republican

June 11, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Speaking at the St. Michael’s Cathedral campus a day after his introduction in Missouri as archbishop-elect of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski reflected Thursday on his legacy as Springfield bishop for the last six years.

“As I reflect on the different decisions I have had to make one was the very, very difficult decision to combine Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic high schools into Pope Francis Prep School,” said Rozanski in response to a question about his legacy.

“That was one of the more difficult decisions that I have had to make in my life and I said after that I pray that I am never put in a position like that again, but I think that what has emerged has shown to be a good decision, the right direction for secondary education here in the Diocese of Springfield.”

Se demora el juicio contra el cura, acusado de abuso sexual, que había sido designado para Balcarce

[The trial against the priest, accused of sexual abuse, which had been designated for Balcarce, is delayed]

La Vanguardia

June 13, 2020
[See also our summary of the allegation against Rev. Serre in our Publicly Accused Priests, Brothers, and Nuns in Argentina]

En la jornada del viernes, desde el Obispado de Mar del Plata reconocieron algunos avances en la investigación contra el ex sacerdote José Luis Serre (59), quien iba a llegar a Balcarce y fue apartado de la Iglesia tras verse involucrado en una denuncia por la violación de un nene durante 2017, pero señalaron que la irrupción de la pandemia del coronavirus "frenó lo que podría haber sido un inicio de juicio" en este 2020. Al cumplirse poco más de un año del caso, monseñor Gabriel Mestre dijo que "todavía no hubo avances visibles en la causa" pero al mismo tiempo aclaró que eso "no significa que no se haya avanzado" en la pesquisa que intenta esclarecer el aberrante hecho. "La instancia judicial sigue su curso, por el momento, y aparentemente lo que sí sabemos, de manera definitiva, es que Serre no sería juzgado en ninguna jurisdicción de nuestra diócesis", afirmó el máximo referente que tiene la Iglesia católica en Mar del Plata al portal 0223. En la conferencia de prensa que tuvo lugar el 8 de abril de 2019, el Obispo puntualizó que los hechos ocurrieron en 2017 y que fueron denunciados por los padres del menor en enero del año siguiente, aunque evitó dar mayores precisiones para evitar que la víctima sea identificada.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: On Friday, the Mar del Plata Bishop recognized some progress in the investigation against the former priest José Luis Serre (59), who was going to arrive in Balcarce and was removed from the Church after being involved in a complaint about the rape of a young boy during 2017, but he pointed out that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic "stopped what could have been a start of trial" in this 2020. When it was just over a year since the case, Bishop Gabriel Mestre said that "there were still no visible advances in the cause" but at the same time he clarified that this "does not mean that no progress has been made" in the investigation that attempts to clarify the aberrant fact. ...]

Colorado: Refusing to settle for a second rate law

The Worthy Adversary (blog)

By Joelle Casteix

June 13, 2020

Legislative work can be complicated. Take my word for it. And sometimes the hardest decision to make is the best one: if a law protects predators, it’s not a good law.

That is what happened in Colorado. And Colorado did the right thing.

Yesterday, the sponsors of a potential law to help future victims of child sexual abuse decided to pull the bill. The move caused confusion and disappointment among advocacy groups, but the sponsors knew they had a solid reason.

The pulled bill—Colorado HB 1296—only applied to survivors in the future. That’s called a “prospective” bill. What the bill didn’t do—and what sponsor state Senator Julie Gonzales realized was the essential element—was open the courthouse doors for past victims of abuse.

Effort to give Colorado child sex assault survivors unlimited time to sue abusers is rejected

Colorado Sun

June 12, 2020

By Jesse Paul

House Bill 1296, brought in the wake of a damning report on Colorado’s Catholic church, was set aside at the request of one of its prime sponsors in the hopes of bringing future legislation that will also benefit past survivors of abuse. The decision to sideline the measure drew disappointment.

In a stunning reversal on Friday, a lead sponsor on a bill that would have given future child sexual assault victims in Colorado unlimited time to sue their abusers and those who allowed their abuse to happen asked that the measure be rejected.

Instead, state Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, said she wants to bring legislation that would also allow prior child sex assault victims to sue to their accusers as other states have done — sometimes called a “look-back window” — despite caution from the legislature’s attorneys that doing so may violate the Colorado constitution.

“I’m not willing to pass a bill that lets perpetrators off the hook,” Gonzales said. “I will not settle for watered-down justice. I believe we have to do better. All victims of sexual assault deserve to see their abusers held accountable.”

News Release: Additional name added to list of clergy likely to have abused minors

Diocese of St. Cloud

June 12, 2020

Bishop Donald Kettler added an additional name to the list of clergy likely to have abused minors: Father Charles Meyer, a member of the Society of the Precious Blood.

Meyer was added to the list following notification by the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, that it added him to its list of “extern clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to a June 12 news release from the diocese.

Meyer was ordained on May 14, 1931, in Ohio. In the Diocese of St. Cloud, he served as chaplain of Memorial Hospital in Perham (1966-70) and pastor of St. Lawrence in Rush Lake (1966-85). He died in 1997. No reports of alleged abuse against Meyer have been made to the Diocese of St. Cloud, the release noted. Bishop Kettler will hold a listening session at 6:30 p.m., July 28, at St. Lawrence in Rush Lake.

Former St. Cloud priest added to list of those credibly accused of abuse

St. Cloud Times

June 12, 2020

St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler has added a new name to the diocese's list of clergy who have been credibly accused of abusing minors.

According to a news release issued Friday, the St. Cloud diocese was notified that the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, had added Charles Meyer to its list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

In the St. Cloud Diocese, Meyer served as chaplain of Memorial Hospital in Perham from 1966-1970 and as a pastor of St. Lawrence in Rush Lake from 1966-1985, according to the church. The St. Cloud Diocese has not received any reports of abuse by Meyer.

Meyer was ordained in Ohio in 1931 and died in 1997, according to the release. He was a member of the Society of the Precious Blood

Families' Lawsuit Claims Child Abuse At Church Day Care

The Patch

June 13, 2020

By Kristin Danley-Greiner

Families involved in a lawsuit demand Howard County police and state officials investigate alleged child abuse at a church day care.

In 2019, the families of five children aged 4 and 5 attended the Glen Mar Early Learning Center, an extension of the Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott City. The families believed their children were safe there, but according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of those children, an employee sexually abused them during naptime and possibly elsewhere at the facility.

Proposed WA law angers survivors

Catholic Weekly

June 14, 2020

By Debbie Cramsie

Amendments to strip the seal of confession in cases of discussion about child abuse “betrayal of every survivor’s journey of recovery”, say survivors in a petition.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse from across Western Australia feel betrayed and angry over the interference of the Seal of Confession by the State’s Minister for Child Protection.
Non-Catholic and Catholic survivors are petitioning members of WA’s Legislative Council to reject proposed amendments to the Children and Community Services Act, which will require Catholic priests to report knowledge of child sexual abuse when received through the practice of confession.

James Parker, who runs peer support groups for child abuse survivors in Western Australia, said the proposed legislation was a “betrayal of every survivor’s journey of recovery”.

June 13, 2020

When adversity is your gift

The Worthy Adversary (blog)

June 12, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

There are voices that have been silenced—or simply ignored—in the clergy sex abuse crisis.

We have known for years that “priest dumping” has been a common practice in the Catholic Church: bishops and other officials send white, English-speaking predator priests to indigenous, refugee, or immigrant communities, or communities of color. These communities are devoutly Catholic. These can be communities where language, fear, and cultural barriers keep children from having the words to tell their parents what is happening to them.

These are communities where poverty, food insecurity, language barriers, immigration fears, and/or flat-out racism ensure the silence of victims.

Because the church knows: when the Catholic Church is feeding you, helping you, baptizing and burying your family members, and keeping your family members’ spirits up, victims will learn quickly that no one wants to hear about them. And if they do speak, those who listen will punish the victim—if they bother to listen at all.

As the sex abuse statute of limitations bill falters again, echoes of 2006 defeat

Colorado Politics via The Colorado Springs Gazette

June 13, 2020

By Michael Karlik

History repeated itself on Friday when the legislature killed a bill to give childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their perpetrators and the insitutions that harbored them — the first such measure that came close to passage since 2006.

At that time, and still, victims generally had only six years after they turned 18 to file a civil suit against their abusers. The window was an even narrower two years for a lawsuit against an organization.

At that time, and still, Colorado was fresh from hearing about incidents within the Catholic Church. The Denver Post in the summer of 2005 reported on a series of clergy abuse survivors that would result in lawsuits from more than two dozen victims. In October 2019, the attorney general’s office reported that 43 priests had likely abused at least 166 children in the state since 1950.

Diocese of Rockville Centre threatens bankruptcy in face of child sex-abuse lawsuits

New York Post

June 13, 2020

By Kathianne Boniello

One of the nation’s largest Catholic dioceses is threatening bankruptcy if a Long Island judge doesn’t pause the nearly 100 child sex-abuse lawsuits it faces.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which serves more than 1.4 million Catholics in Nassau and Suffolk counties, claims it’s in an “ever-more serious financial situation,” straining under the legal costs of defending itself in court while its income has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to court papers.

For two weeks during New York’s months-long virus shutdown, which canceled mass and church gatherings, the diocese received no money from parishioners — donations that usually account for 40 percent of the diocese’s income, it said.

The Moral Demise of American Catholic Bishops

Open Tabernacle (blog)

June 13, 2020

By Betty Clermont

After Trump held up a Bible while standing in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, non-Catholic religious leaders expressed anger and disgust.

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, Episcopal bishop of Washington tweeted, “I am outraged.” “Everything Trump has said and done is to inflame violence. We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us,” Budde said.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, stated: “Seeing President Trump holding a Bible in response to calls for racial justice … is one of the most flagrant misuses of religion I have ever seen.”

Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he was “brokenhearted and alarmed” by everything from the death of George Floyd to Trump’s response.

SSPX pedophile priest arrested in Switzerland

Church Militant

June 13, 2020

By Christine Niles

Three weeks after Church Militant broke the news that a pedophile priest of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) was roaming free in Switzerland, authorities have arrested Fr. Frédéric Abbet.

According to Swiss media outlet Le Nouvelliste, Abbet was arrested by local authorities in Valais Friday.

As Church Militant reported in our May 21 Spotlight: 'He's a Good Liar,' a Belgian court found Abbet guilty of child sex crimes in 2017, sentencing him to five years in prison. After requesting that he be allowed to serve out his sentence in his native Switzerland, however, Abbet ended up walking free, living in the town of Fully and even seen taking his nephews to a local swimming pool.

Church Militant contacted local authorities in Fully in May to ask why Abbet had never served his prison time, as required by Belgian law, and why a convicted pedophile was allowed to roam freely in their town. Officials did not comment.

Argentine bishop accused of sexual misconduct returns to work at Vatican central bank


June 13, 2020

By Inés San Martín

As the Vatican resumed its activities after the two-month COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, Crux has confirmed an Argentinian bishop suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct with seminarians quietly went back to work.

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was appointed by Francis to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which functions as the Vatican’s central bank, in 2017, where he works as an “assessor,” a position created for the Argentine.

Zanchetta served as Bishop of Oran from 2013 until July 2017, when he resigned alleging health reasons. Soon after, he was transferred by Francis to Rome.

The bishop had worked closely with the pope when then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio headed the Argentine bishops conference, and Zanchetta was one of Francis’s first episcopal appointments after being elected to the papacy.

The bishop was suspended from his Vatican post Jan. 4, 2019 after reports he had sexually abused seminarians and had homosexual pornography on his phone. The allegations against Zanchetta do not involve minors.

Judge rejects Catholic dioceses’ suit to access coronavirus relief

Catholic News Agency via Catholic World Report

June 12, 2020

A federal judge on Wednesday denied attempts by the Catholic dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester to obtain emergency small business loans.

In April, the dioceses had sued the Small Business Administration (SBA) after they were blocked from emergency small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because of their bankruptcy debtor status.

Congress had initially allocated $349 billion in short-term relief for small businesses and eligible non-profits in March, to help them keep employees on payroll during the pandemic.

As part of the conditions for loan applications, entities could not be undergoing the bankruptcy process. The Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy in September of 2019 and the Buffalo diocese followed suit in February. Each diocese had been named in hundreds of clergy sex abuse lawsuits following the openning of a window in the statute of limitations in the state in cases of sexual abuse.

No sex abuse charges for former Wyoming bishop, but successor praises 'courageous' victims

Catholic News Agency

June 12, 2020

While Wyoming prosecutors have declined to press criminal sexual abuse charges against Bishop emeritus Joseph Hart, Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne has repeated that the diocese considers allegations against Hart to be credible. He commended alleged victims who have come forward, emphasizing the need for justice.

“This decision not to pursue a criminal case does not mean that the victims are not credible. Once again, I commend the victims who have spoken courageously about their abuse,” Bishop Biegler said in a June 11 statement. “I also stand behind the determination made by the Diocese of Cheyenne that allegations of sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible.”

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office has told an alleged victim that there was “insufficient evidence” to support a charge against Hart. The allegation concerned sexual abuse in the 1970s, the Casper Star-Tribune reported June 9.

Church investigations clear DC clergy member a 2nd time on sexual, financial misconduct allegations


June 12, 2020

By Ken Duffy

Church investigations into the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. found no credible evidence of sexual and financial impropriety.

Monsignor Walter Rossi has served as rector since 2005 and was accused of sexually assaulting male students at the Catholic University of America.

Those allegations reportedly came from Archbishop Carlo Viganò who relayed the accusations during an interview last year with The Washington Post, claiming the Vatican embassy in D.C. received documentation on the matter.

Biegler: Victims credible even if retired prelate won't face criminal charges

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

June 12, 2020

A district attorney's decision not to pursue criminal charges against retired Bishop Joseph H. Hart of Cheyenne over sexual abuse claims does not mean "the victims are not credible," said Bishop Steven R. Biegler, who has headed the statewide diocese since 2017.

"Once again, I commend the victims who have spoken courageously about their abuse," he said in a June 11 statement. "I also stand behind the determination made by the Diocese of Cheyenne that allegations of sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible."

He added, "The Diocese of Cheyenne has fully cooperated with law enforcement during the past two years that they have been investigating this case."

Former Mount Loretto resident was sexually abused by priest, religious brother, suit alleges

Staten Island Advance

June 13, 2020

By Frank Donnelly

A former resident who was placed in the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto more than 60 years ago said he only stayed for a few months.

The reason: A priest and a religious brother at the mission sexually abused him multiple times, a lawsuit alleges. So, he ran away back home.

Recently filed against the Archdiocese of New York and Catholic Charities of Staten Island, the suit is the latest claim of sexual abuse brought by a former resident of the Pleasant Plains shelter, which for decades was a haven for homeless and destitute children.

Trump 'honoured' by Viganò letter

Catholic News Service via The Tablet (UK)

June 13, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS

President Donald Trump said he was “honoured” by an open letter from a former Vatican official who claimed that restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were part of a Masonic plot to establish a new world order.

In the letter released by LifesiteNews, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, also claimed that “civil disturbances” in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody were provoked by “deep state” operatives because “the virus is inevitably fading” and “the social alarm of the pandemic is waning”.

So-called “deep state” is a conspiracy theory alleging the existence of a hidden cabal in countries and within government offices that are attempting to undermine or usurp the authority of the legitimately elected government.

June 12, 2020

9 file lawsuit against Pittsburgh diocese over alleged sexual abuse


June 12, 2020

By Megan Guza

Nine people have filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging sexual abuse by seven priests and years of cover-up by diocesan officials.

The seven priests named in the lawsuit had already appeared and had allegations leveled against them in the August 2018 grand jury report blasting the Pittsburgh Diocese and others for decades of abuse and cover-ups.

The accusers are identified only by their initials, and it includes the estate of one person suing on their behalf. The living plaintiffs all are adults, according to the lawsuit.

Vatican Names Springfield Bishop Rozanski To Lead St. Louis Archdiocese

New England Public Radio

June 10, 2020

By Adam Frenier

Springfield Roman Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is leaving western Massachusetts to become the Archbishop of St. Louis. The announcement was made by the Vatican on Wednesday.

Rozanski came to Springfield from his native Baltimore in 2014. During a Wednesday morning press conference in St. Louis, Rozanski said he was grateful to the people of western Massachusetts "for their welcome to me when I first arrived, for their collaboration with me over these six years."

"I want them to know," he continued, "they are in my prayers as they now experience this time of transition."

During Rozanski's tenure, the Springfield Diocese faced criticism from the Hampden District Attorney for not turning over all claims of clergy sexual abuse for investigation.

Pope Francis, Vatican Finances and the Papal Court

National Catholic Register

June 11, 2020

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

COMMENTARY: In the last few weeks, Pope Francis’ financial reforms have moved into high gear again.

The last few months have shut down much ecclesial life, but at the Vatican the financial reforms are going from strength to strength, with major new developments coming every few weeks.

The financial reforms of Pope Francis, which began with a bang in 2014, were largely dead by 2017. Now they live again. What happened? The ups-and-downs reveal something of how popes govern; the Roman Curia really is the last “royal” court for a “monarch” how holds virtually unlimited authority. Every pope governs that way to a certain extent; power is determined not by office alone but by those to whom he grants access. Pope Francis, in choosing to bypass much of the usual structures of the Roman Curia, has accentuated this.

Church condemns malicious emails about Pell and the pandemic

Catholic Herald

June 9, 2020

A series of emails falsely claiming to be sent from Catholic institutions have been denounced by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) as “offensive, unChristian and, in some cases, defamatory”.

The contents of the defamatory emails typically concern Cardinal George Pell’s convictions, the role of the complainant in his criminal trial, the spread of coronavirus pandemic and, in recent cases, the upcoming July 4 Eden-Monaro by-election.

Fr Stephen Hackett, ACBC general secretary, said: “It is deeply regrettable that a number of people are being maligned in these emails, which seem designed to attack Cardinal Pell, Witness J, the Catholic Church and now even politicians.”

Savio Rodrigues on sexual abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church of India


June 12, 2020

By Sahil Mishra

Savio Rodrigues separates the faith from the organisation that the Church has become and highlights the corruption that has permeated into it. The faith is under pressure because of the allegations of sexual abuse and the harsh treatment meted out to those who highlight them. A must watch!

Clearwater woman drops lawsuit against Scientology alleging child sexual abuse

Tampa Bay Times

June 11, 2020

By Tracey McManus

Originally filed last year in Miami-Dade circuit court, the case was transferred to Pinellas County in May and dropped June 5

A woman has dropped the lawsuit she filed last year against the Church of Scientology that alleged she was repeatedly sexually abused as a child in Scientology’s care, including as a kindergartner at the church’s Clearwater Academy.

The woman, named as Jane Doe in court records, filed her complaint in Miami-Dade circuit court in September, becoming the third lawsuit lodged against Scientology and its leader David Miscavige in 2019.

Four People Added to National Abuse Review Board, SNAP Responds


June 11, 2020

Four people have been added to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board. Rather than bring on outsiders, every single person named has close ties with their local diocese, something we do not think bodes well for the efficacy of this review board now and into the future.

Especially concerning is the fact that several of the new members come from dioceses that have lagged behind the rest of the nation when it comes to transparency and accountability. For example, one of the new members, Steven Jubera, works on the review board for the Diocese of Jackson, MS, a diocese that has come under national scrutiny for its unequal treatment of black survivors and which did not release any information on accused clerics until March of 2019.

Sexual-abuse survivors encouraged to speak out as Royal Commission continues to investigate


June 13, 2020

By Mandy Te

Mike Ledingham, who was abused as a child by a Catholic priest, has renewed faith in the Royal Commission in charge of investigating abuse cases in state and faith-based care.

Ledingham and his brothers, Chris and Gerry first spoke out in 2002 about the sexual abuse they experiencedand, while he's still dealing with his demons, the 70 year old is encouraging other survivors to come forward.

“When you have been abused and cover it up and you see what the Church does, you get a bit jaded and your soul is jaded.

Indian bishop denies 'baseless' murder, fraud claims

UCA News

June 11, 2020

By Saji Thomas

Former judge sends a legal notice to church authorities seeking removal of a Karnataka bishop

A retired Catholic high court judge has sent a legal notice to church authorities seeking the removal of a bishop, accusing him of crimes such as murder, corruption and moral turpitude, among others.

Former Justice Michael F. Saldanha alleged that Bishop Kannikadass Antony William of Mysore in Karnataka state was responsible for the deaths of four priests, two of them suspected to be murdered.

The legal notice, a copy of which has been released to media, was sent to Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) president Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore. Mysore is a suffragan diocese of Bangalore.

Nine Survivors Come Forward to File Suit Against the Diocese of Pittsburgh


June 11, 2020

A new lawsuit has been filed on behalf of nine brave survivors (eight living, one deceased) who allege abuse at the hands of seven different priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. We applaud these brave survivors for coming forward and hope that they are finding support and comfort on their healing journey.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of these nine victims accuse seven different priests – all of whom were named in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report – of abuse. Each of these survivors deserves praise for coming forward and sharing their painful stories in an effort to secure justice and help prevent future cases of abuse. We are grateful to them.

Jamaica church, ex-teacher sued twice for child sex abuse under state victim’s law

Queens Eagle

June 11, 2020

By David Brand

A former scoutmaster and teacher at a Greek Orthodox school in Jamaica has now been sued twice for sexually abusing kids in the 1970s and 80s.

The latest complaint, filed Tuesday in Queens Supreme Court, accuses former St. Demetrios Jamaica Day School teacher Lawrence Svrcek of “sexually assaulting, abusing and molesting” a student throughout 1978 and 1979. The plaintiff was in seventh grade when the abuse occurred, according to his attorney, Eric Siegle.

Svrcek has been sued at least one other time under the Child Victims Act, a 2019 law that enables survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil complaints against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them regardless of when the abuse occurred.

Wyoming bishop accused of abuse won’t be charged, prosecutors say


June 12, 2020

By Christopher White

Following a decision by Wyoming prosecutors not to charge retired Bishop Joseph Hart for sexual abuse against minors, his alleged victims are looking to the Church’s canonical process as a last chance for the 88-year-old prelate to be brought to justice.

As first reported by the Kansas City Star on Tuesday, and confirmed by Crux on Wednesday, a Wyoming witness coordinator informed one of Hart’s accusers that the prosecutor would not advance the case, citing insufficient evidence. This comes nearly two years after the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed the allegations from the same individual to be credible in 2018.

In a statement on Thursday, Bishop Steven Biegler, the current bishop of Cheyenne, said he stands by the diocese’s determination and noted that Hart’s case is still under review in Rome.

Catholic Charities of Springfield sends amicus brief for Supreme Court case


June 11, 2020

Catholic Charities of Springfield has sent an amicus brief for a Supreme Court case.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, the case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, focuses on whether a religious organization can demand government contracts to provide child welfare services while they do not comply with LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination requirements.

The amicus brief discusses how the state of Illinois terminated Catholic Charities' foster care services after the organization declined to assess and qualify same-sex couples as foster parents, although they agreed to refer the same-sex couples to DCFS offices who can provide these services or refer them to other private agencies that could.

According to the amicus brief, Catholic Charities of Springfield acted as a foster care agency from 1965 to 2011. In 2011, while the organization was serving about 325 foster children, the state terminated its services following the enactment of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act.

Numerous victims of childhood sex abuse file lawsuits against Trenton diocese

The Trentonian

June 12, 2020

By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

The Diocese of Trenton is facing numerous lawsuits alleging it failed time and again to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

These civil-action complaints in Mercer County Superior Court are a microcosm of the widespread sex abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

“It’s an epidemic in the Catholic Church, and it has been going on for centuries,” attorney John W. Baldante told The Trentonian in an interview. “The Catholic Church has largely ignored this behavior.”

Baldante represents at least 10 plaintiffs in lawsuits accusing the Diocese of Trenton of negligence, saying the institution failed to provide a safe environment and protective culture to children and other parishioners within the churches, sacristies, schools, rectories and other facilities overseen by the diocese.

Ex-high court judge sends legal notice seeking removal of Indian bishop

Catholic News Service via Crux

June 12, 2020

A retired Catholic high court judge has sent a legal notice to church authorities seeking the removal of a bishop, accusing him of crimes such as murder, corruption and moral turpitude, among others.

Ucanews.com reported that former Justice Michael F. Saldanha alleged that Bishop Kannikadass William Antony of Mysore, India, was responsible for the deaths of four priests, two of whom were suspected to have been murdered.

The legal notice, a copy of which was released to media, was sent to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore. Mysore is a suffragan diocese of Bangalore.

Próvolo: reanudarán audiencias por el segundo juicio

[Próvolo: hearings will resume for the second trial]


June 12, 2020


It will be on Tuesday the 16th, as confirmed by the plaintiff Oscar Barrera. 9 people are charged, including two religious.

Justice will resume on Tuesday the 16th the preliminary hearings of the second trial for the abuses in the Próvolo Institute, in which nine people are accused, among them the nuns Kumiko Kosaka and Asunción Martínez. The resumption of the process was confirmed to Unidiversidad both from the press office of the Judiciary and by one of the complainants, Oscar Barrera.

After three months of restricted activity in Courts as a result of the mandatory quarantine, the parties were notified of the resumption with a new preliminary hearing of the process, which will take place on June 16 at 8:30 on a semi-face-to-face basis.

Será el martes 16, según confirmó el querellante Oscar Barrera. Están imputadas 9 personas, entre ellas dos religiosas.

La Justicia reanudará el martes 16 las audiencias preliminares del segundo juicio por los abusos en el Instituto Próvolo, en el que están imputadas nueve personas, entre ellas las religiosas Kumiko Kosaka y Asunción Martínez. La reanudación del proceso fue confirmado a Unidiversidad tanto desde la oficina de prensa del Poder Judicial como por uno de los querellantes, Oscar Barrera.

Luego de tres meses de restringida actividad en Tribunales a raíz de la cuarentena obligatoria, las partes fueron notificadas de la reanudación con una nueva audiencia preliminar del proceso, que se concretará el 16 de junio a las 8.30 de forma semipresencial.

Despite no charges, accusers in ex-KC priest sex case still credible: Wyoming bishop

Kansas City Star

June 11, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

[VIDEO: 'I couldn’t imagine that a man that I loved this much could do something so evil.' Susie McClernon is still dealing with the trauma of the sexual abuse her youngest brother, Kevin Hunter, suffered years ago. Hunter died in 1989.]

A Wyoming prosecutor’s decision not to file child sexual abuse charges against a former Kansas City priest who later became Bishop of Cheyenne doesn’t mean the alleged victims were not credible, the leader of that state’s Catholics said Thursday.

“I commend the victims who have spoken courageously about their abuse,” said Bishop Steven Biegler, head of the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, in a strongly worded statement. “I also stand behind the determination made by the Diocese of Cheyenne that allegations of sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible.”

Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen in Casper, Wyoming, could not immediately be reached for comment. Cheyenne is in Laramie County, but Itzen was appointed as special prosecutor in the case because of a conflict of interest within the Laramie County District Attorney’s office.

Bankrupt NY Dioceses Not Entitled To $2.8M Virus Relief Loan


June 11, 2020

By Rick Archer

A New York federal judge has rejected a pair of Roman Catholic dioceses' challenge to a U.S. Small Business Administration rule barring coronavirus relief loans to bankrupt businesses, saying the agency was within its rights to deny them $2.8 million in loans.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford rejected the arguments by the bankrupt Catholic dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester, New York, that the SBA had no legal grounds for its rule denying Paycheck Protection Program loans to organizations in Chapter 11, saying the agency is under a legal requirement to make sure its loans are likely to be repaid.

The PPP, created under March's coronavirus relief package, is an SBA-administered program that offers loans of up to $10 million from third-party lenders to firms with 500 or fewer employees to cover their costs while they are shuttered by local COVID-19 shutdown orders.

President Trump tweeted about Archbishop Viganò. So, who is he?


June 11, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

President Trump posted a tweet on June 10 saying he was “so honored” by a letter written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States who, in a series of missives in recent years, has blamed the church’s sexual abuse crisis on gay priests, accused Pope Francis of championing schism and called for the pope to resign because of his alleged mishandling of abuse allegations against former Cardinal Thedore McCarrick.

What did Archbishop Viganò say in his letter to President Trump?

On June 6, LifeSiteNews, a Catholic website that covers “culture, life, and family,” posted a public letter that Archbishop Viganò wrote to President Trump. In the three-page letter, dated June 7, the archbishop expresses his belief in a number of conspiracy theories, including the existence of a “deep state” opposing Mr. Trump from within the U.S. federal government and a “deep church” comprised of “children of darkness”; a belief that the Covid-19 pandemic response represents “a colossal operation of social engineering”; and the notion that recent anti-racism protests in the United States evoke “the Masonic ideals of those who want to dominate the world by driving God out of the courts, out of schools, out of families, and perhaps even out of churches.”

June 11, 2020

Nine sue diocese over alleged sexual abuse

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 11, 2020

By Peter Smith

Nine plaintiffs filed suit Wednesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, alleging past sexual abuse by seven of its priests.

The lawsuit was filed in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas by eight individuals and the estate of a ninth, all identified by initials. They are represented by Harrisburg attorney Benjamin Andreozzi, who has previously represented plaintiffs in numerous sexual-abuse lawsuits against Catholic dioceses.

The lawsuit accuses the diocese of fraud, conspiracy, fraudulent concealment, breach of fiduciary duty. Also named as defendants are churches of the diocese where the accused priests worked.

All seven priests accused of abuse in the lawsuit were named in the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report into sexual abuse in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and five other Catholic dioceses.

Top U.S. Swim Coaches Abused Teens, Impregnated Them, Covered It Up for Decades: Lawsuits

The Daily Beast

June 10, 2020

By Pilar Melendez

As an 11-year-old chosen to train under legendary swim coach Andrew King, Debra Grodensky believed she was destined to become an Olympic star. However, by 15, she had quit the sport out of fear following years of disturbing alleged sexual assault by King that culminated in her coach, then 37, asking her to marry him.

“My sexual abuse was 100 percent preventable,” Grodensky, 51, said on Wednesday as she filed a lawsuit against USA Swimming. “I believe my life trajectory would have been drastically different if USA Swimming did not have a culture that enabled coaching sexual abuse. It was that culture that allowed Andy King to abuse me for years without consequence.”

Grodensky was one of six women to file a series of lawsuits against USA Swimming on Wednesday, alleging the governing body ignored signs of sexual abuse by former U.S. Olympic coach Mitch Ivey and several other staff members in a decision that cultivated a culture of abuse for decades.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests hold protest in response to new St. Louis archbishop


June 10, 2020

By Kayla Wheeler

The protest was held outside Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) held a protest Wednesday morning in response to the new St. Louis archbishop-elect.

On Wednesday it was announced that Pope Francis had named Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski as the 11th bishop and 10th archbishop of St. Louis.

SNAP has criticized Rozanski for refusing to name three priests who had been suspended after allegations of sexual abuse in Massachusetts.

SBC Delays Vote on Clergy Abuse Reforms and Ignores Suggestions from Baptist Advocates, SNAP Responds


June 3, 2020

A critical vote to advance reforms aimed at curbing cases of clergy sexual abuse was delayed when the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was canceled. While we recognize that the spread of COVID-19 has caused plans nationwide to change, we also recognize that “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and believe that the SBC should use alternative means in order to have this needed vote and continue the work of preventing cases of sexual violence within the SBC.

As Ashley Easter said during this year’s virtual “For Such a Time as This” rally, no substantive change has occurred in the SBC since a massive exposé into cases of sexual violence and cover-up within the church was published. This scheduled vote would not have brought the needed change that survivors and advocates have been asking for, but it at least would have been a step in the right direction. By abandoning the vote without a plan to move forward, it seems that the SBC is content to just ignore the issue, as they ignored the problem of racism for so many years.

Marist College's Black Lives Matter conflict 'an abuse of teacher power' - Collins


June 11, 2020

Marist College students are accusing their school of racism after they say staff took down Black Lives Matter posters they had put up.

At least one student took her allegations to the board. It met last night, and in a statement said there would be a formal investigation into the concerns raised, and the Catholic diocese would also mediate between the school and students.

The principal has not specifically responded to Checkpoint's requests for an interview. The Auckland Catholic Diocese has also been approached for comment.

Its Vicar of Education, Catherine Ryan, said they wished to support the students and staff in resolving the current issues.

She said until they have had the opportunity to listen to the concerns raised it was not appropriate for her to comment.

Charity to run Church support service for survivors of abuse

Independent Catholic News

June 11, 2020

By Diana Fawcett

Victim Support has been awarded the contract to manage Safe Spaces, a joint Anglican and Catholic project to provide a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse. This leading national charity, well known for its specialist services and work with people affected by crime, abuse and traumatic events, was awarded the contract following a competitive process.

Diocese of Richmond Investigating Allegations against Four Former Priests


June 9, 2020

The Diocese of Richmond has announced investigations into four former priests following allegations of child sexual abuse. We call on Catholic officials in Richmond to do outreach at every parish where these men worked so that other victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers will be encouraged to come forward.

According to a release from diocesan leaders in Richmond, the four former priests are:

OPINION: Catholic bishops need to give up the secrecy

Canberra Times

June 12, 2020

By Terry Fewtrell

Australia's Catholic bishops seem to have learned little from the sexual abuse scandal and its associated cover-ups. Pushed by a royal commission report to implement reforms, they recently reverted to standard operating procedures of delay and secrecy in suppressing a major report on governance reform. While hoping to delay and control discussion, the bishops were outmanoeuvred by the leaking of the highly significant report. It will now be available to and discussed by all Catholics - as it should be.

Second Man Comes Forward to Accuse Brooklyn Bishop of Sexual Abuse


June 4, 2020

A second man has come forward to accuse a prominent Brooklyn bishop of child sexual abuse. We applaud this survivor for coming forward and call on Cardinal Dolan to immediately remove the bishop from his position while the allegations are investigated.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was first accused of abuse in a lawsuit filed in November 2019, where it was alleged that he had abused a boy while he was a priest in Jersey City. This latest allegation is also related to DiMarzio’s time in New Jersey and alleges that Samier Tadros was abused at age 6 at Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City. We are grateful to Mr. Tadros for coming forward and potentially helping to protect others from abuse.

This latest lawsuit comes as Bishop DiMarzio is already under investigation by the Vatican, but we believe that the best information will come from an investigation by external, secular law enforcement officials. Currently, New York A.G. Letitia James is investigating cases of clergy abuse and we hope this latest news will bring more survivors forward to her office and draw investigator’s attention to the situation in Brooklyn.

Judge Extends Time for Local Boy Scout Councils to File for Protection

Insurance Journal

June 11, 2020

By Randall Chase

The judge presiding over the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy has approved an agreement among attorneys to extend an injunction halting child sex abuse lawsuits against the organization’s 261 local councils until Nov. 16.

Under the agreement approved this Monday, local councils wanting continued protection from litigation must sign agreements by July 6 requiring them to provide information to the Boy Scouts about their finances, including real estate holdings, for sharing with creditor committees.

The road to perdition: hardliners at the heart of the Trump administration and the fringes of the Church

The Tablet

June 11, 2020

By James Roberts

They are dismissed as further evidence of the fondness of Americans for cults and conspiracies. But the followers of the enigmatic Q are said to include close advisers to President Trump – and some on the conservative fringes of the Catholic Church

In August 2018, during Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Vatican nuncio in Washington D.C., published an 11-page “testimony” claiming that Francis and several American cardinals and archbishops had teamed up over the years to cover up sexual abuse by clerics, and in particular had failed to address the crimes and misdemeanours of Theodore McCarrick, who had been appointed as Archbishop of Washington D.C. in 2001 in spite of several warnings about his behaviour.

3 Springfield Priests Temporarily Removed Following Allegations of Sexual Abuse


June 4, 2020

Three priests from the Catholic Diocese of Springfield have been temporarily removed from their positions following allegations of abuse. We call on the Diocese to release the names of those clerics to the public and for church officials to do outreach to any victims who may still be suffering in silence

The Diocese also announced that, since July of last year, fourteen people have come forward to allege abuse at the hands of a priest, including the three recently removed from ministry. While this information is helpful and will hopefully encourage more survivors to come forward, what is not helpful is how cagey Catholic officials are being about the details.

Remembering justice for victims of sex predator John Merzbacher 25 years later | COMMENTARY

The Baltimore Sun

June 11, 2020

By Nancy Fenton

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the guilty verdict of John Merzbacher, a former schoolteacher convicted of the rape of Elizabeth Murphy in the 1970s, when she was a student at the Catholic Community Middle School in South Baltimore.

A Baltimore City jury found the teacher guilty in 1994, after Ms. Murphy was an adult, of eight charges of rape and abuse. Following the guilty verdict, prosecutors dropped an additional 100 charges involving 13 other former students, who were prepared to go to trial against Merzbacher. Eventually, he was sentenced to four life sentences plus 10 years. He is now serving time in a Maryland prison.

Row escalates between Christ Church Dean and dons as Oxford college tries to distance itself from McDonald Centre

The Telegraph

June 11, 2020

By Camilla Tominey

The Vice Chancellor has been asked to intervene after Christ Church insisted that The McDonald Centre remove all references from its website

An ongoing row between the Dean of Christ Church and Oxford University dons has escalated following the college's attempts to distance itself from a theological foundation headed up by one of the Dean’s staunchest allies.

The university’s Vice Chancellor has been asked to intervene after Christ Church insisted that The McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life remove all references to Christ Church from its website, including the centre’s logo, which has the appearance of the college's famous Tom Tower.

The centre is headed up by Professor Nigel Biggar, a vocal supporter of the Very Rev Martyn Percy, who presides over the prestigious college and the cathedral.

President Mengler appointed to U.S. Bishops’ Conference review board for protecting youths

St. Mary's University

June 11, 2020

Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., President of St. Mary’s University joined as one of four new members appointed to serve on the National Review Board (NRB) by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The NRB advises the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and was established as part of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures established and adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

Pope names Rozanski to lead Archdiocese of St. Louis

Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 10, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, who in his six years leading the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has spearheaded reforms aimed at confronting the fallout from clergy abuse and overseen continued reorganization and consolidation of churches, will depart to become the archbishop of St. Louis this summer.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis announced that Rozanski, 61, would succeed Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who is retiring after turning 75.

In an introductory event at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Rozanski referenced the “good people of Springfield” and how grateful he was for their welcome and collaboration with them since 2014.

Catholic Officials in Guam Sue After being Denied PPP Loan


June 5, 2020

Once again, Catholic officials are suing the government over the payroll protection plan (PPP) loan program. We suggest that, rather than sue the government, these church leaders should offer some creative incentives that would help protect the vulnerable in exchange for being considered for funding.

The Archdiocese of Agana in Guam is suing the Small Business Administration after being denied a loan. We suggest that, in order to increase their viability to receive such a loan, that they should take several immediate steps.

Judge rules that SBA has the right to deny emergency pandemic loans to Catholic dioceses

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

June 11, 2020

By Gary Craig

A federal judge has ruled that the federal Small Business Administration was in its rights to refuse pandemic-related loans to the Catholic Dioceses of Rochester and Buffalo.

The two dioceses wanted $2.8 million in emergency Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans. The Rochester diocese planned to request $1.1 million and Buffalo $1.7 million.

Opinion: Why would a Catholic school seek to deny justice for victims of sexual abuse?

Newark Star-Ledger

By Mark Crawford

As citizens from every corner of this nation rightfully raise their voices crying out against grave injustices is it not clear that abuse of power, lack of transparency and the failure to hold accountable those who abuse their trust inflicts immeasurable harm on the fabric of our society? One need not look far to see some parallels between recent national protests and the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal; sacred institutions betrayed the trust of the people they are here to protect and serve.

For the better part of two decades, victims of sexual abuse pleaded with state lawmakers to fix New Jersey’s outdated statute of limitation laws. Several bills came and went as our New Jersey Catholic bishops hired high powered lobbyists and their own arsenal of attorneys from the Catholic Conference to oppose such measures at every opportunity.

Finally, in 2019, the state greatly expanded rights for both child and adult victims of sexual assault and provides a two-year window for victims of past abuse to have recourse. The passage of that bill provided one of the best laws in the country ensuring victims once locked out of our courts would now have access to our justice system. It also enabled victims to hold accountable all the institutions that had hid or harbored known predators or failed to protect new victims from those who would prey upon the young.

Delicta Graviora: Update from Nathan - A Message of Hope

An Essay for the Faithful (blog)

June 5, 2020

As we navigate this period of intense pain, heartache, anger, and frustration across our nation, I wanted to offer a positive message to my Catholic brothers and sisters whose faith is being challenged in these moments.

I don’t have any good answers when it comes to ending systemic racial atrocities and socio-economic injustices. I am not qualified to offer advice on keeping your families, your loved ones, or your livelihood safe during a global pandemic. I am no intellectual and I am not a moral authority on any subject. I am a sinner - just like everyone else.

The one thing I can offer at this moment is that I can speak to the legitimate concerns expressed by many of the Faithful with regard to the pace, integrity, and rigor of the Vatican’s investigation of Theodore McCarrick. Many of us have waited a long time to receive all of the details, while at the same time knowing those details would be painful to hear.

I am aware of the public statements made by multiple members of the College of Cardinals several months back that suggested that the Vatican’s report on McCarrick’s career would be imminently forthcoming. Naturally, these statements served to raise expectations and it is clear now that the report has taken longer than anyone expected. I don’t believe any of those Cardinals were trying to mislead anyone. I just think they believed that what they were saying was true.

I say that because early this year, persons tasked by the Holy See with investigating McCarrick’s career reached out to me directly, as well as to several of the other Nathans, and asked us if we would be willing to provide facts and information to help ensure the accuracy of the report and to contribute to its findings.

Alleged Theodore McCarrick victim says he is helping fact-check abuse dossier

Catholic News Agency

June 10, 2020

An anonymous alleged sexual abuse victim of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says he and other alleged victims have been working with the Vatican to fact-check the comprehensive dossier on McCarrick’s misdeeds.

The alleged victim, writing under the name Nathan Doe, says he was one of several minors that McCarrick abused, and that he had previously collaborated with Church authorities to provide evidence during the canonical penal administrative process which resulted in McCarrick’s 2019 laicization.

He says early in 2020, “persons tasked by the Holy See with investigating McCarrick’s career” reached out to him and several other alleged victims to ask if they would be willing to provide facts and information to ensure the report’s accuracy.

“Time will tell, but nothing in my experience thus far indicates any type of cover-up or attempt to minimize anything by anyone involved in the Holy See’s investigation,” Doe writes in a June 5 blog post.

Four new members named to National Review Board

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

June 10, 2020

The National Review Board, the all-lay group that monitors dioceses' performance in dealing with sexually abusive clergy and creating a safe environment for children throughout the church, has four new members.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced the appointments June 10.

The new members are:

— Vivian M. Akel, a retired clinical social worker; she volunteers as safe environment coordinator for the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, New York.

— James Bogner, retired senior executive special agent for the FBI; he also serves on the Archdiocesan Advisory Review Board and Ministerial Conducts Board for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska.

Commentary: Remembering justice for victims of sex predator John Merzbacher 25 years later

Baltimore Sun

June 11, 2020

By Nancy Fenton

[PHOTO: Former sexually abused students of John Joseph Merzbacher and some of their family members stand in support two years ago to keep Merzbacher in prison after the sexual abuse that took place 40 years ago at the Catholic Community Middle School in Locust Point.]

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the guilty verdict of John Merzbacher, a former schoolteacher convicted of the rape of Elizabeth Murphy in the 1970s, when she was a student at the Catholic Community Middle School in South Baltimore.

A Baltimore City jury found the teacher guilty in 1994, after Ms. Murphy was an adult, of eight charges of rape and abuse. Following the guilty verdict, prosecutors dropped an additional 100 charges involving 13 other former students, who were prepared to go to trial against Merzbacher. Eventually, he was sentenced to four life sentences plus 10 years. He is now serving time in a Maryland prison.

I clearly remember the breaking news of the guilty verdict. The small TV on my kitchen countertop was turned on. I was tinkering in the kitchen, while my young daughter played at the table. A jury member commented on Liz’s overwhelming testimony and the consideration of the facts presented to the jury. I was stunned by the news, knowing deep in my heart that there was still so much to tell about the terror inflicted by just that one person.

June 10, 2020

Former deacon's lawsuit against Texas diocese goes to state Supreme Court

National Catholic Reporter

June 9, 2020

By Carol Zimmermann

The Texas Supreme Court agreed June 5 to review an appeal by the Diocese of Lubbock over a former deacon's defamation lawsuit against it.

The suit, which lower courts said could proceed, sought more than $1 million in damages from the diocese claiming it had falsely included the former deacon in its published list last year of clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Jesus Guerrero filed a defamation lawsuit last March, two months after all 15 dioceses in the state published lists of clergy members and deacons with credible abuse allegations.

In a response filed with the Lubbock District Court last April, the diocese said it was seeking dismissal of the suit calling it an ecclesiastical matter that civil courts couldn't interfere with.

Archdiocese of St. Louis welcomes new Archbishop-elect


June 10, 2020

By Ashley Cole, Kelsi Anderson

Archbishop-elect Rozanski currently serves as Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts

Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

He has named Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski as the 11th bishop and 10th Archbishop of St. Louis.

“I am honored to have served as leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis for more than a decade,” said Archbishop Carlson in a press release. “This large and generous community of faithful Catholics will continue to encourage me in my faith journey, and I know that Bishop Rozanski will cherish his new ministry. I am confident in the future of God’s strong Church in St. Louis with Archbishop-elect Rozanski as its shepherd.”



June 9, 2020

By Christine Niles

Bishop Fellay broke civil and canon law

A priest of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) sentenced to 19 years in prison for the sadistic rape of three women — one he tortured with knitting needles and scissors — was protected by Bp. Bernard Fellay, in violation of French law.

The case of Fr. Christophe Roisnel shocked the conscience of the French nation in 2017, when news broke of his criminal trial for rape of three teachers — one of them a mother — at the Notre-Dame de la Sablonnière academy in Goussonville, near Paris, where he had been director of the school since 2006. While reports of his crimes exploded in French media at the time, his story has had almost no coverage in English-language media.

Reporting abuse by bishops now easier with new service

Hawaii Catholic Herald

June 10, 2020

By Patrick Downes

In the United States, accusations of sexual abuse by clergy are to be reported to the local bishop. But what if it’s the bishop himself who is the problem?

The answer is the national Catholic Bishop Reporting Service.

Begun March 16, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting (CBAR) is a third-party service that collects and reports to appropriate church authorities bishops who have committed sexual abuse or who have interfered with a civil or church investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by another cleric or religious.

Accuser says retired Wyoming bishop won't face sexual abuse charges

Casper Star Tribune

June 9, 2020

By Seth Klamann

Retired Catholic bishop Joseph Hart will not face criminal prosecution over an allegation that he sexually abused at least one boy in the 1970s, the alleged victim in the case told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday.

It’s the second time the former cleric, who has been accused by more than a dozen men of sexual abuse over a period of decades, has been investigated and not charged by Wyoming prosecutors.

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office told the alleged victim on Monday there was “insufficient evidence” to support charging Hart, who was the auxiliary and later full bishop of the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1976 to 2001, the accuser said. The conclusion comes 26 months after the Cheyenne Police Department began a criminal investigation into Hart that resulted in the agency recommending the retired bishop be charged.

Accused clergy member defamation case goes to Texas Supreme Court


June 10, 2020

By Avery Travis

The Texas Supreme Court is set to decide whether a clergy member, credibly accused of sexual abuse, can sue his church for defamation.

Following calls for more transparency from Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in 2019, all Roman Catholic dioceses in Texas published lists of names of clergy members who were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

State Supreme Court Asked To Hear Catholic School Sex Abuse Case


June 10, 2020

A motion has been filed for the Michigan Supreme Court to hear an appeal in a negligence lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. The high court had decided not to hear the case. The suit accuses the diocese of negligence in the sexual abuse of then 15-year-old Brendan Boman by a tutor at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. Boman’s attorney, Ven Johnson, spoke with Michigan News Network.

Accuser: Hart will not be prosecuted

Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange

June 10, 2020

By Seth Klamann

Retired Catholic bishop Joseph Hart will not face criminal prosecution over an allegation that he sexually abused at least one boy in the 1970s, the alleged victim in the case told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday.

It’s the second time the former cleric, who has been accused by more than a dozen men of sexual abuse over a period of decades, has been investigated and not charged by Wyoming prosecutors.

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office told the alleged victim on Monday there was “insufficient evidence” to support charging Hart, who was the auxiliary and later full bishop of the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1976 to 2001, the accuser said. The conclusion comes 26 months after the Cheyenne Police Department began a criminal investigation into Hart that resulted in the agency recommending the retired bishop be charged.

“On one hand there was disbelief, but on the other hand was just like, ‘Well, yeah,’” the alleged victim told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday, describing the conversation with the prosecutor’s office. The victim’s allegations were substantiated and deemed credible by the Diocese of Cheyenne in July 2018. “In the back of my mind, that was always an outcome. I never thought it was a slam dunk. But there’s a certain bitter resignation that comes with saying, ‘OK, there it goes, that’s just how it is.’ I can’t believe it.”

C of E accused of ‘utter hypocrisy’ over backing for Black Lives Matter

The Guardian

June 10, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood and Roz Scott

BAME vicar and trainee priest claim discrimination has blocked their church careers

Church of England bishops have been accused of “utter hypocrisy” for publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement while failing to address racism in their dioceses.

Two men from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, a vicar and a trainee priest, claim discrimination has blocked their efforts to advance within the C of E hierarchy.

The Rev Alwyn Pereira was rejected for seven posts as a vicar in the diocese of Bristol before he discovered a letter on his personal file saying there were “cultural differences in the way people like Alwyn communicate, and actually handle issues of truth and clarity”.

Associated Press

June 10, 2020

Pope names St Louis archbishop to replace retiring Carlson

The newly-appointed head of the Archdiocese of St. Louis vowed Wednesday to be an agent of healing, as the region and the nation continue to react to the death of George Floyd and the threat of the coronavirus.
The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis had appointed Springfield, Massachusetts Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to lead the St. Louis diocese, replacing Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who is retiring.

“This is a troubled time for our nation,” Rozanski said during a news conference in St. Louis. “We''re still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the death of Mr. George Floyd and the sad spectacle of racism that tears at the very fabric of our country. ... It is my hope that called to lead this church of St. Louis, God''s grace will be in abundance in helping me to be part of that healing process and resolution to all the daunting issues that we face."

The appointment drew immediate criticism from advocates for victims of priest sexual abuse. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests chastised Rozanski for not releasing the names of three accused predator priests in the Springfield, Massachusetts, who were suspended last week.

Ex-Bombay High Court Justice accuses Bishop of Mysore of murders, sexual misconduct


June 7, 2020

By Gaurav Sarka

Legal notice sent to Bishop of Mysore for sexual misconduct, priest deaths and illegal transfers; Archbishop of Bengaluru also named for covering up his crimes

Former Justice of the Bombay High Court Michael F Saldhana has accused the Bishop of Mysore KA William of "letting loose a virtual reign of terror" in the Diocese of Mysore, and accused his immediate superior, the Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Peter Machado, of "colluding with him and covering up even for murders".

Justice Saldhana made these accusations in a formal legal notice that was sent to both the clerics, on May 29. Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) President Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is also the Archbishop of Bombay, was copied on it. "Following the deaths of four priests (two murders, one hanging and one so-called accident) the Bishop of Mysore has let loose a virtual reign of terror in the Diocese," read the notice. "He has used the underworld mafia and protection from the local police… it has already resulted in as much as 23% of the Catholic Laity leaving the church. For the last one year, this man has been asked to leave, but he defiantly carries on terrorising," the notice further stated.

Child Victims Act attorneys oppose Buffalo Diocese move to shield parishes from lawsuits

Buffalo News

June 9, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A federal bankruptcy judge will soon decide whether hundreds of lawsuits against Catholic parishes and former parishes, schools and other entities in the Buffalo Diocese should be blocked from moving forward in state courts.

The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing in February immediately stopped lawsuits against the diocese from advancing as it goes through a reorganization.

In May, the diocese asked Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York to extend that same protection to more than 400 Catholic parishes, schools and other entities that also have been named as defendants in Child Victims Act cases.

Former KC priest and Wyoming bishop won’t face sex abuse charges, alleged victim says

Kansas City Star

June 9, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

After an investigation spanning two years, authorities in Wyoming are not filing criminal sex abuse charges against a former Kansas City priest who later became Bishop of Cheyenne, one of the alleged victims said Tuesday.

The man, who grew up in Cheyenne and now lives on the East Coast, said the witness coordinator in the Natrona County District Attorney’s office told him that Bishop Joseph Hart would not be prosecuted because of insufficient evidence.

“I think I am a little bit numb,” said the man, whose allegations were deemed credible by the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne in 2018. “Six people have come forward in Wyoming. What is the remedy for child sex abuse, then, if you don’t believe the victims and you’re not willing to take it to trial?

“The thing that I’m now hoping is that the Vatican will strip him of his priesthood while he’s alive.”

Hart, who served as Bishop of Cheyenne for 23 years, could not be reached for comment. Over the years, he has categorically denied all allegations against him. In 2018, he told a Star reporter who knocked on his door that “I’ve been told not to talk, but you could call my lawyer.” He was on oxygen at the time but said, “I feel fine. Doing great.” Then he closed the door, which bore a plaque that said, “Peace to all who enter here.”

If charged, Hart, 88, would have become the highest-ranking Roman Catholic cleric in the country to face criminal prosecution for sexual abuse of a minor.

Middlesbrough deputy head charged over child abuse images

BBC News

June 10, 2020

Richard Swinnerton has resigned from his job at St Clare's Catholic Primary School

A deputy headteacher at a primary school has been charged with possessing child abuse images.

Richard Swinnerton, of Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, faces three counts, relating to category A, the most severe, and categories B and C.

The 30-year-old, who has resigned from his job at St Clare's Catholic Primary School in Middlesbrough, will appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court on 10 July.

The charges do not relate to his work at the school, its headteacher said.

Vatican names Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski new head of Archdiocese of St. Louis


June 10, 2020

By Patrick Johnson

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, head of the Springfield Diocese since 2014, has been named archbishop for the St. Louis Diocese, the diocese announced Wednesday morning.

Rozanski has been tapped by Pope Francis to succeed Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson who is retiring. His installation is planned for March 25.

Rozanski is scheduled to be introduced to St. Louis at 11 a.m. Wednesday in a news conference that will be carried live over the Archdiocese of St. Louis page on Facebook.

June 9, 2020

Springfield Diocese to hold prayer service for racial healing

MASS Live/Special to The Republican

June 9, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, will hold a prayer service for racial healing Friday, June 12, at 5 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral, 254 State. St.

The May 25 police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis, has sparked global protests and violence over the murder that involved four officers and has brought calls for reforms from a variety of sectors to address decades of systemic racism.

Lawsuit alleges sexual child abuse at a Howard County church's early learning center


June 8, 2020

The parents of five children have filed a lawsuit against the Glen Mar United Methodist Church's Early Learning Center and the school’s former director, alleging there children were allowed to be sexually abused by a former employee in 2019.

Filed in Howard County Circuit Court, the lawsuit claims the Howard County Police Department and State’s Attorney's Office closed the case without thoroughly investigating.

Sexual abuse allegations by former priests in Hampton Roads under investigation

Daily Press

June 9, 2020

By Dave Ress

Allegations of sexual abuse of Hampton Roads children by four retired or inactive priests are now under review by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

None of the four are currently serving in active ministry, the diocese said Monday. None have served in the diocese in recent years.

The diocese has not reached any conclusions about the allegations, though it has informed civil authorities about them.

Inuit women in Nunavut suffer 'unnecessary violence,' racism from RCMP, legal aid board says

CBC News

June 8, 2020

By Thomas Rohner

Details from more than 30 cases described in 2 letters to RCMP complaints commission

WARNING: Details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

Inuit in Nunavut, especially women, suffer systemic police abuse, including excessive violence and persistent racism, according to the territory's legal aid agency.

The Legal Services Board of Nunavut says it has "significant concerns" about the quality of policing and conduct of officers as reported by its Inuit clients in Nunavut's 25 communities.

The board is calling for a systemic review of policing in Nunavut.

Richmond diocese reviews allegations against four ex-priests

The Associated Press

June 9, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced it has begun reviewing child sexual abuse allegations made against four former priests in Virginia.

“While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and for their loved ones,” Bishop Barry C. Knestout said in the statement released Monday.

An allegation has been made against Fr. William Dinga while he served at Norfolk’s Christ the King Catholic Church in 1986, the statement said. Dinga, who was ordained as a priest a

Retired priest with ties to Roanoke one of four investigated by Catholic Diocese

WDBJ7/Catholic Diocese of Richmond Release

June 9, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has begun a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

The diocense said none of the accused priests is currently, or has recently served, in active ministry, and won't as long as the investigations are underway.

The four priests named in the allegations are:

TX Supreme Court to hear Lubbock defamation case


June 8, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court will hear a defamation lawsuit out of Lubbock. It's Jesus Guerrero's case against the Catholic Diocese.

In January 2019 the church sent media outlets a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually assaulting children.

Guerrero's name was on it, the church claims, because he was credibly accused of assaulting a woman with a mental disability. Under Cannon Law, she is considered a minor.

Texas Supreme Court to hear case of former deacon suing diocese for abuse claim

Catholic News Service

June 9, 2020
By Kevin J. Jones

The Texas Supreme Court will hear the Diocese of Lubbock’s appeal of a legal decision allowing a former deacon to sue the diocese for defamation for including his name on a list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse.

“We are committed to transparency for the trust and safety of the members of our parishes,” Bishop Robert Coerver of Lubbock said June 8. “At a time when many religious messages are being shared digitally, courts must protect churches’ ability to communicate effectively with their members.”

“Churches should not be punished for doing the right thing,” Montse Alvarado, vice president and executive director at the legal group Becket, said June 8. “Clergy hold a unique position of trust within their communities, and churches should be free to notify members and other affected individuals when clergy violate that trust. That is true even when the warning goes beyond the four walls of the church building.”

Former Franciscan brother living in DeWitt named by second man as sexual abuser

Lansing State Journal

June 8, 2020

By Megan Banta

Two religious orders deny any knowledge of sexual abuse by a former Franciscan brother living in DeWitt who is now named in two lawsuits.

Martin Rusnak filed a lawsuit in New Jersey earlier this year naming Kurt Munn as an abuser and saying religious leaders enabled Munn for decades.

In the legal complaint filed in Mercer County, Rusnak says Munn started abusing him in the 1970s.

That abuse has left Rusnak "unable to live a normal life," the lawsuit says.

Rusnak is the second man to name Munn as his abuser in a lawsuit. About two months before Rusnak filed his complaint, Todd Kostrub — who Rusnak identifies as a former neighbor — named Munn as his abuser in a lawsuit also filed in Mercer County.

Abuse inquiry seeking predator priest confessions


June 9, 2020

An Auckland man who was abused as a child by his parish priest is urging anyone with similar stories to tell them to the Royal Commission on Abuse in State Care and Religious Institutions.

Mike Ledingham says the late Father Frank Green set up gymnastics and other activities in his Onehunga parish in the late 1950s to get close to children he then abused.

The former soldier says he kept quiet about his experience because of the social conditions at the time, but it affected his schooling and subsequent approach to life and he later discovered two of his brothers were also abused by Green, along with at least 30 other children.

Mr Ledingham says it’s important to find if New Zealand had the same level of paedophilia in the Catholic church as was uncovered by the Australian Royal Commission.

Catholic Diocese of Richmond Begins Review into Allegations Against Four Retired or Inactive Priests

Catholic Diocese of Richmond

June 8, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced today (June 8), it has begun a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

None of the accused priests are currently serving in active ministry, nor have they recently served in ministry for the diocese. The diocese has not reached any conclusions regarding these allegations, rather this statement serves to announce the beginning of its inquiry into the allegations. Until this inquiry concludes, the accused are not deemed to have committed the acts alleged.

At the same time, Bishop Knestout acknowledges it takes great courage to come forward to report allegations of this nature. “While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and for their loved ones,” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout. “We continue to pray for their healing and for their loved ones who support them.”

Richmond Diocese reviewing sex abuse allegation against four priests

CBS19 News

June 8, 2020

The Richmond Catholic Diocese says it is reviewing allegations against four retired or inactive priests.

According to a release, the allegations involve child sexual abuse, but none of the accused priests are currently serving in active ministry and they have not recently served in ministry for the diocese.

"While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and their loved ones," said Bishop Barry Knestout. "We continue to pray for their healing for their loved ones who support them."

June 8, 2020

Upper South Carolina Bishop announces plan to retire

Episcopal News Service

June 8, 2020

[Diocese of Upper South Carolina] The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo on June 6 announced plans to retire at the end of 2021 and called for the election of the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The Standing Committee of the diocese gave their consent to both announcements.

Waldo has led the diocese since 2010. He was elected by diocesan lay leaders and clergy in December 2009, and was consecrated and installed the following May.

“In the coming months, we will have ample opportunity to reflect on the important work have we have done together in God’s gracious hands,” Waldo said in a pastoral letter to the diocese. “We have learned much about how to be in deeper dialogue on difficult issues, like same-sex blessings/marriage and racial reconciliation. We have built relationships to support public education through parish-school partnerships and advocacy. We have worked to create and live into norms of transparency and mature discipleship across the Diocese. We have changed the face of the college of clergy within the Diocese, now having one of the highest percentages of women in charge of congregations in the Episcopal Church.”

Former Arlington Pastor Sentenced To 24+ Years For Child Exploitation


June 1, 2020

A former Arlington pastor was sentenced to 24 years and five months in federal prison on Monday for sexual exploitation of a child.

Brett Jarad Monroe, 39, former associate pastor at Heritage Baptist Church in Arlington pleaded guilty in January to one count of sexual exploitation of a child.

Msgr. Charles Kaza reinstated to active ministry at St. Tobias Parish, Brockway


June 3, 2020

The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, has announced that Msgr. Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish, Brockway, has been reinstated to active ministry.

Members of the parish were notified during Mass on Sunday that Msgr. Kaza will return to his assignment as their pastor effective today, June 1.

Consistent with diocesan policy, Msgr. Kaza had been removed from active ministry and placed on administrative leave on May 13, 2019, as the result of an allegation of abuse made against him.

Royal Commission and Cardinal Pell

Catholic Voice

June 5, 2020

By Denis O’Brien

The recent release of the unredacted reports of the Royal Commission concerning the archdiocese of Melbourne and church authorities in Ballarat enables an assessment to be made of the behaviour of Cardinal Pell who as a younger man served in the church hierarchy in both places. Does the Commission’s narrative provide a basis for levelling against him the kind of criticism that has rightly been made of other church leaders who failed to deal appropriately with child sexual abusers? I suggest it does not.

The Ballarat report is mainly concerned with the response of church authorities to abuse perpetrated at Christian Brother schools in the diocese and to abuse perpetrated by certain priests of the diocese. The report discusses Pell’s involvement with Christian Brother offenders, Fitzgerald and Dowlan. Complaints were made about Fitzgerald when Pell was an assistant priest at Ballarat East in 1973. The main complaints concerned Fitzgerald taking grade 3 boys to an annual camp where they swam naked and his practice of kissing boys as they left school for the day. Pell heard about this behaviour. However, the Royal Commission accepted his evidence that he had no jurisdiction over the Christian Brothers. It also concluded that “it was not unreasonable for Father Pell, as a diocesan priest, to believe it was not for him to raise the conduct of Brother Fitzgerald with the provincial”.

Still No Charges for Former Wyoming Bishop Despite Police Recommendations, SNAP Calls for Action

SNAP Network

June 8, 2020

Despite two separate investigations and the recommendations from local police to file charges, Wyoming prosecutors have yet to take any steps forward. We call on the district attorney of Natrona County to make a public update on the case, explain his office’s delay in filing charges, and immediately take steps that can help prevent future cases of clergy sexual abuse.

In August 2019, Cheyenne police first announced a recommendation of charges against former Bishop Joseph Hart, but the local district attorney, Dan Itzen, asked that police reopen the investigation to interview more potential witnesses. Seven months later, in March 2020, police in Cheyenne, WY wrapped up that second investigation into Bishop Hart. Despite that second investigation finishing in a similar manner to the first, D.A. Itzen has yet to pursue charges.

We believe Mr. Itzen owes it to the public – and to the law enforcement officials who investigated the allegations against Bishop Hart – to explain why he has yet to take any action on those investigations. As of this writing, at least 17 different people have alleged abuse by the Bishop and the investigations into alleged abuse in Wyoming represent not only the best shot at justice for those victims but also a chance to prevent future abuse from occurring.

New details emerge in Conway pastor's death


June 5, 2020

By Seth Brown

Jayson Rowe died from apparent suicide as police investigated sex crime allegation

North Carolina pastor Jayson Rowe died by apparent suicide on June 2, according to the Conway Police Department (CPD). Law enforcement officers were investigating an allegation of criminal sexual misconduct against Rowe when they received a call about his death, a spokesperson told the Biblical Recorder.

Officers responded to the call immediately and attempted resuscitation, CPD said. The medical examination and investigation reports are forthcoming.

Rowe, 40, had been the pastor of Conway Baptist Church since 2018.

Brooklyn Bishop Accused by Second Man of Sex Abuse


June 4, 2020

The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

Former Winter Haven priest accused of sexually abusing teen in Polk facility; lawsuit filed in Polk Circuit Court

The Ledger

June 6, 2020

By Suzie Schottelkotte

A Sarasota man is suing former Winter Haven priest Fred Ruse on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated in Polk as a teenager. Ruse has denied the accusations.

A Sarasota man is suing a former Winter Haven priest on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated as a teenager at Demilly Correctional Institution near Polk City.

In the lawsuit, filed in Polk Circuit Court, the man states that he initially met with the Rev. Fred Ruse, then pastor at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven, at the prison to receive communion in 2001 and 2002. They met privately in the chaplain’s office and in classrooms at the prison, the lawsuit states.

Ruse, now 70, began bringing gifts to the teenager, including Harry Potter books, according to the lawsuit.

“As (the teenager) began to place increasing trust in their relationship, Ruse used these opportunity to fondle (the teenager)...,” the lawsuit states. “The sexual contact then progressed to Father Ruse giving oral sex to (the teenager) and receiving oral sex from (him.)”

At the time, Ruse was not chaplain at the prison, which closed in 2012.

“Although these encounters occurred in a secure detention center, Father Ruse was allowed to meet privately with (the teenager) due to his status as a clergyman,” the lawsuit states.

North-East priest in court charged with rape

The Northern Echo

June 6, 2020

By Andrew White

A PRIEST who was suspended from a North-East church last year has appeared in court charged with raping a woman 34 years ago.

John Anthony Clohosey, 71, is accused of carrying out the attack on or about January 1, 1986, in Gateshead.

Rev Clohosey was suspended from duties of Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert’s RC Church, in Crook, County Durham, late last year.

Parishioners had been told the news in a special service by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, but were not told the reasons.

The Diocese said it was cooperating with Northumbria Police to assist with their investigation.



June 8, 2020

By David Nussman

Moves to parish in another state

A priest who was punished for blowing the whistle on a vicar general is now returning to active ministry.

Father Matthew Cowan, a priest in the diocese of Gaylord, Michigan, complained of sexual harassment by then-vicar general Fr. Dennis Stilwell — filing the complaint in August 2018. Father Cowan went public with the allegations in December 2018, citing the diocese's failure to act on his claims.

In response to his going public, Gaylord's Bp. Steven Raica put Fr. Cowan on paid administrative leave in January 2019.

Do You Walk On By, or Help?

Psychology Today

June 8, 2020

By Rosemary K.M. Sword and Philip Zimbardo Ph.D.

The Bystander Effect has contaminated our nation, including law enforcement

In the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, a man from the ancient city of Samaria sees another man in pain lying in the road. Many people ignored the man and passed him by; but the Samaritan stopped to help him. He followed The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In a perfect world, we would all help one another in times of need. We would perform the altruistic act of assistance, without expecting anything in return, or considering unintended consequences. And ideally others would stop and help us if we were in need of assistance.

Southern Baptist president's church abuse policies under fire

Religion News Service via Oakland Press

June 7, 2020

By Adelle M. Banks

Since the beginning of 2019, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear has been among the most high-profile advocates for preventing sex abuse and protecting victims of abuse in the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Greear, pastor of The Summit Church, a megachurch in Durham, N.C., called for Southern Baptist leaders to investigate and oust churches that cover up abuse.

He set up an advisory group of experts to aid the SBC in dealing with the issue of abuse, helping create a "Caring Well" initiative to prevent abuse and minister to survivors.

Greear also led a litany of lament during the SBC's 2019 annual meeting

"The failures of the way of man brought us to the place we are as a denomination on this issue of abuse," Greear said at the meeting. "It is only the movement of God, we know, that can rescue us from it. It's not just policy. It's not just statements and changes. It's the spirit of God working in us."

Now advocates for abuse survivors are criticizing Greear after his church decided to hire a teaching pastor who has been accused of mishandling an abuse claim in the past and for a Summit Church policy that would allow registered sex abusers to attend worship services.

Third party sex abuser database goes online for Baptists

Tab Media

June 7, 2020

A new database of Baptist sex abusers is now online.

Baptistaccountability.org is based on sexual abuse survivor advocate Christa Brown’s stopbaptistpredators.org, which she managed from 2006 to 2012, and the Houston Chronicle’s “Abuse of Faith” series and database, an exposé published in 2019. The database is managed by Megan and Dominique Benninger, who brought to light their former pastor’s record as a convicted child molester after the leadership of their Pennsylvania church failed to disclose it.

Third party databases only highlight the need for a sanctioned SBC database, Brown said. Most cases of sexual abuse are never criminally prosecuted, meaning many predators are simply able to “church-hop” with no accountability.

Bishop of Lincoln faces safeguarding disciplinary proceedings

BBC News

June 3, 2020

The Bishop of Lincoln will face disciplinary proceedings in relation to a safeguarding inquiry.

Bishop Christopher Lowson, who was suspended last year, faces allegations he "failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures".

The Church of England said there was no allegation the bishop "committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult".

Officials also confirmed the bishop's suspension would continue.

At the time of his suspension, the Church of England commissioned an investigation to consider whether the bishop would "present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people, if the matters were found to be proven".

June 7, 2020

Former Winter Haven priest accused of molestation in lawsuit

The Ledger

June 6, 2020

By Suzie Schottelkotte

A Sarasota man is suing former Winter Haven priest Fred Ruse on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated as a teenager. Ruse has denied the accusations.

Bartow - A Sarasota man is suing a former Winter Haven priest on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated as a teenager at Demilly Correctional Institution near Polk City.

In the lawsuit, filed in Polk Circuit Court, the man states that he initially met with the Rev. Fred Ruse, then pastor at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven, at the prison to receive communion in 2001 and 2002. They met privately in the chaplain’s office and in classrooms at the prison, the lawsuit states.

Ruse, now 70, began bringing gifts to the teenager, including Harry Potter books, according to the lawsuit.

“As (the teenager) began to place increasing trust in their relationship, Ruse used these opportunity to fondle (the teenager)...,” the lawsuit states. “The sexual contact then progressed to Father Ruse giving oral sex to (the teenager) and receiving oral sex from (him.)”

At the time, Ruse was not chaplain at the prison, which closed in 2012.

“Although these encounters occurred in a secure detention center, Father Ruse was allowed to meet privately with (the teenager) due to his status as a clergyman,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit, filed by Fort Lauderdale lawyer Adam Horowitz, alleges the abuse took place on multiple occasions.

Richmond Hill's Jean Vanier school gets new name following sex abuse allegations

Richmond Hill Liberal

June 4, 2020

By Sheila Wang

School will be named Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Academy

Jean Vanier Catholic High School has a new name.

York Catholic District School Board announced June 4 the school will be named Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Academy, replacing its former name due to sex abuse allegations against its namesake, Jean Vanier.

"The York Catholic District School Board remains steadfast in its belief that sexual assault and sexual exploitation are unacceptable behaviours that will not be tolerated," board chair Maria Marchese said in a news release.

The Catholic school board decided to rename the Richmond Hill school back in February when revelations about L'Arche founder Vanier surfaced and shocked the local community.

L’Arche International released the report Feb. 21, revealing accusations he engaged in "manipulative sexual relationships" that took place under "coercive conditions" from 1970 to 2005.

Rochester school district sued again over child sexual abuse allegations

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

June 5, 2020

By Steve Orr

A former Rochester schoolteacher, was allowed to remain in the classroom for years after being accused of sexually abusing a student, has been sued by the young man who accused him two decades ago.

The boy’s mother reported the alleged abuse to the administration at her son’s elementary, Henry Hudson School 28, shortly after it took place, according to news reports from that era.

The principal reportedly told her that the teacher, David Heil, would be removed from service. But he was not. School officials also failed to inform child protective services or the police, as the law may have required, according to the news reports.

The boy’s mother happened to visit another city elementary school six years later and discovered Heil was teaching there. She called police, and Heil was subsequently charged, convicted and sent to prison.

The case was one of several in which Rochester school officials have been accused of failing to act on sexual abuse allegations.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Monroe County, is the 14th brought against the Rochester City School District under provisions of the Child Victims Act. The act allows the revival of old child sexual abuse claims that had been blocked by New York’s statute of limitations.

Heil, who no longer teaches in the city, is the fifth Rochester school district employee to be accused in a CVA suit.

Only New York City’s massive school district has had more employees named in CVA suits, and only New York City and a suburban Buffalo school district have been sued more often than Rochester for alleged sexual abuse of its students.

NCAA argues in sex abuse case it has no legal duty to protect athletes

Orange County Register

June 2, 2020

By Scott M. Reid

NCAA says it will ask a federal judge to dismiss a class action suit filed by three former track athletes who allege they were sexually abused and harassed by their college coach

Olympic high jumper Erin Aldrich was not surprised when she read the NCAA’s latest response to the lawsuit she and two other track and field athletes filed against the organization.

Frustrated, yes, but not surprised.

The NCAA, facing a potential landmark class action lawsuit, said it has no legal obligation to protect student athletes against sexual abuse and harassment, according to a filing in U.S. District Court Northern District of California.

“You don’t expect a coward to come out and take responsibility,” Aldrich said. “They’ve basically responded sadly in the way they’ve responded for years.”

The NCAA in the filing also said it will ask Judge Edward J. Davila in July to dismiss the suit in which Aldrich and former Texas track athletes Jessica Johnson and Londa Bevins allege the NCAA has helped create a national sexual abuse epidemic by choosing not to implement rules or impose sanctions that would require member schools to take steps to prevent and report abuse by coaches and deter perpetrators.

“We aren’t hoping for change here. We are demanding change from the NCAA,” Aldrich said.

Child Victims Act extended for another year amid courts shutdown

Brooklyn Eagle

May 29, 2020

By Rob Abruzzese

The Child Victims Act, the law that gave sexual abuse survivors a one-year window to sue for abuse they suffered past the statute of limitations, was officially extended on Wednesday by the State Legislature.

Advocates said that the extension was necessary as the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the courts to all but emergency and essential applications, which limited the ability of victims to sue. The current bill extends the law for another year, but still needs to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take effect.

“The passage of the Child Victims Act remains one of the most historic victories for child abuse survivors in New York State, and the COVID pandemic nearly prevented countless survivors from ensuring accountability — but today’s vote proves that nothing can stand in the way of justice,” said James R. Marsh, a New York attorney who represents more than 700 childhood sexual abuse survivors statewide.

Child Victims Act lawsuit accuses Seton basketball coach of abuse in 1970s

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin via Press Connects

June 5, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A former Seton Catholic student's lawsuit under New York's Child Victims Act accuses a former basketball coach there of sexually abusing him more than two dozen times in the early 1970s.

The lawsuit filed May 28 in the state Supreme Court of Broome County claims coach Vincent Dutkowski, who died in 2012, used his position to gain the victim's trust and confidence before abusing him.

In 1972, the lawsuit says, the 14-year-old boy enrolled at the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott. When he was about 14 to 16, he helped out as a ballboy and assistant during basketball practices.

Dutkowski allegedly used those encounters to sexually abuse the teen on approximately 25 occasions and at different locations, including an office and at Dutkowski's home, according to the lawsuit. The victim now resides in California.

Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton and the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott are defendants in the lawsuit, along with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. The former Seton Catholic and Catholic Central high schools merged in 1976.

Priest-chaplain: 'At this time, at this juncture, black lives matter'

Catholic News Service

June 4, 2020

By Mark Pattison

As daily protests over the death of George Floyd while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer have spilled over into some of the United States' largest cities and roiled the nation, a chaplain to several law enforcement agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area said, "At this point, at this time, at this juncture, black lives matter."

Father Jayson Landeza, a priest of the Diocese of Oakland, California, says he makes that declaration because "these are the ones who are being profoundly affected by police brutality."

The last three parish assignments of Father Landeza, who is of Filipino, Irish and Hawaiian heritage, have been to parishes whose membership is 90% or more African American. Growing up in the Bay Area, he said, "I can think of all the times I was call 'Jap,' called the N-word and worse because I was with a bunch of African American kids."

Father Landeza -- a chaplain to the Oakland Police, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, two smaller police forces nearby, plus the regional branch of the FBI, the Secret Service and other federal agencies -- said that "San Francisco Bay Area cops have a good relationship with the communities" they serve.

"The people I work with in law enforcement are good people," he told Catholic News Service. "There's not a cop I know that's not deeply and profoundly offended by what happened in Minneapolis."

He said the bad actions of a few African Americans should not stereotype all African Americans. In the same way, he added, "you can't paint this broad picture of Catholic priests vis-a-vis sex abuse, with cops' abuse vis-a-vis violence."

June 6, 2020

N.J. sexual abuse law survives catholic school’s challenge

Associated Press

June 5, 2020

A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a New Jersey statute that gives victims of sexual abuse more time to sue.

The 2019 law waived the statue of limitations and allowed victims to file civil suits until they are 55, or seven years after they discover they were abused.

Judge Peter Bogaard of Morris County ruled against two arguments submitted by attorneys for Delbarton School, a catholic school in Morristown, NJ Advance Media reported. A man only identified in the suit by his initials alleges that he was sexually assaulted by former monk Richard Lott at Delbarton and that the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey, which runs the school, did nothing.

Lott’s attorney, Brian Mason, said “the allegations made against my client are vehemently denied and we look forward to vindication at trial.”

The Order of St. Benedict has denied the allegations in court

Attorneys for Delabarton argued that the statute is unconstitutional and that the plaintiff should have to prove he discovered his assault within in the two years allotted before the statue.

Judge Bogaard ruled that the law is constitutional and that it should be applied to all ongoing child sexual abuse cases.

Criminal investigation into Wyoming clergy sexual abuse drags into third year


June 5, 2020

By Seth Klamann


The criminal investigation into sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in Wyoming passed its second birthday in April, a prolonged process with no end in sight that has “shattered” an alleged victim’s family’s belief in the criminal justice system.

In August, Cheyenne police recommended that retired bishop Joseph Hart, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic church in Wyoming for 25 years, be charged with sexual abuse. The investigation and the documents detailing the allegations were then turned over to Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen, who will serve as special prosecutor should charges be filed because of a conflict of interest in the prosecutor’s office in Cheyenne.

But nothing has happened since. Itzen has repeatedly declined to comment. Cheyenne police said late last year that Itzen had passed the investigation back to them for some further work, but a police spokesman told the Star-Tribune that Itzen now has the case back.

“We thought things would’ve moved by now,” then-Cheyenne police spokesman Kevin Malatesta said in November.

“I honestly have no answer for you,” current spokesman David Inman said when asked why nothing had happened with the investigation. “The case is in (prosecutors’) hands now. You can try to have their D.A. contact me if you’d like, but there is no answer I or detectives can give you as to why it is being held up.”

Messages sent to Itzen this week were not returned.

‘They are mistaken’: AG backs sex-abuse law challenged by Diocese of Providence

Providence Journal

June 5, 2020

By Brian Amaral

Three alleged priest abuse victims and the state attorney general this week defended the legality of the new deadline to sue over child molestation after the Diocese of Providence argued a key feature was unconstitutional.

The arguments come in response to the Diocese of Providence’s attempt to have the three alleged victims’ lawsuits dismissed from state court.

A 2019 law extended the deadline to sue over childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years after a victim’s 18th birthday. It also retroactively extended that deadline for victims, so they could sue their perpetrator within that time even if their claims had already expired under the old law. The Diocese of Providence argues that that is unconstitutional, pointing to a 1996 state Supreme Court decision.

“They are mistaken,” the attorney general’s office said in a filing Thursday in state Superior Court.

Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office filed an amicus brief in the case after it became clear that the legality of the new law would be a key feature in the legal battle between the three men -- Philip Edwardo, Robert Houllahan and Peter Cummings -- and the leadership of the Diocese of Providence. Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel is hearing the case.

Polish Priests Won't Back Bishop

Church Militant

June 3, 2020

By Martina Moyski

Kalisz, Poland - Polish priests have refused to sign letters of loyalty to their diocesan bishop who has been accused of the cover-up of child abuse, choosing instead to stand with the victims.

Priests in the Polish diocese of Kalisz have taken a stand against Bp. Edward Janiak after an incident of child abuse cover-up was exposed in a recent documentary.

The primate of Poland, Wojciech Polak, has also reacted to the revelations of cover-up and has notified the Vatican representative in Poland asking for an investigation.

This case will represent the first one in Poland being processed under the motu proprio Vos Estis Lux Mundi, in which Pope Francis established universal procedural norms for combatting sexual abuse and ensuring that bishops are accountable for their actions.

"I ask priests, nuns, parents and educators to not be led by the false logic of shielding the Church, effectively hiding sexual abusers," Abp. Polak said in a statement according to Deutsche Welle (DW), a German media outlet. "There is no place among the clergy to sexually abuse minors. We do not allow for the hiding of these crimes."

The documentary in question is Hide and Seek, produced by Marek and Tomasz Sekielski, and focuses on the abuse of two brothers — Bartek and Jakub Pankowiak — by a parish priest Fr. Arkadiusz Hajdasz in the small town of Pleszew in central Poland. The two brothers were not the only victims, according to the film. The priest is accused of abusing dozens of boys in the 1990s with bishops making multiple attempts to cover up his alleged actions.

Former Camden bishop DiMarzio faces second sex-abuse allegation

Cherry Hill Courier-Post

June 4, 2020

By Jim Walsh

Camden - A second man has accused a former bishop of the Diocese of Camden of childhood sexual abuse.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who now leads the Diocese of Brooklyn, rejected the claim of wrongdoing that dates to the late 1970s.

"There is absolutely no truth to the allegation," the bishop said Thursday. "I deny this outrageous and libelous claim."

DiMarzio, who led South Jersey's Catholics from 1999 to 2003, said he might sue his accusers.

Brooklyn Bishop Calls Allegations “Libelous," SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

June 5, 2020

A New York Catholic prelate who is facing multiple allegations of child sexual abuse is lashing out at his accusers publicly, threatening to file a lawsuit against them. We condemn this intimidation tactic and challenge the bishop to fight the allegations on their merits in a court of law.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio – who has been accused by two different men who live in two different states and who have never met nor spoken with each other – is claiming the allegations against him are an “attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished” and is threatening to take legal action against the two. In a statement, Bishop DiMarzio said “I have retained counsel and am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these accusations, which have no basis in fact."

This is a shameful response. Bishop DiMarzio should defend himself without attacking his accusers. That is what Cardinal Joseph Bernardin did, and that is what any real shepherd would do. Suing accusers does nothing but intimidate other potential victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.

Bishop DiMarzio also wrote that he is “ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.”

People often say this when accused of a crime. But there is a third option; instead of hiding behind carefully crafted public relations denials OR waiting for trials, accused abusers - if they're really 'willing' to tell their side of the story - could simply hold an open news conference and take questions from professional journalists. In light of Bishop DiMarzio's repeated pledges to be 'open' about abuse cases, we call on him to do this now.

A Letter Regarding Second Allegation of Misconduct

The Tablet

June 4, 2020

By Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I regret to inform you the Archdiocese of Newark has notified me that a second allegation has been leveled by an individual claiming misconduct dating back 40 years. The attorney in both of these matters is Mitchell Garabedian. He is seeking a total of $40 million in these two unsubstantiated allegations.

There is absolutely no truth to either of these allegations. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim. I am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these statements, which have no basis in fact. I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.

I have hired Joseph Hayden, an experienced trial lawyer from New Jersey, who has been investigating these claims and has uncovered conclusive evidence of my innocence. We plan to challenge these allegations in court or in any other proceeding. I will never agree to a settlement of these claims.

Scurrilous Attacks on Bishop DiMarzio

Catholic League

June 4, 2020

By Bill Donohue

Cardinal George Pell of Australia was recently acquitted of sexually abusing minors, accusations that were totally without foundation from the beginning. In this country, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is now being accused, for the second time, of abusing a minor. In the end, the smart money is on these charges being found as bogus as the ones against Pell.

Last November, attorney Mitchell Garabedian made a big public splash when he said he was going to file suit against DiMarzio for abusing Mark Matzek in the 1970s. But he never did. It was all for show: His goal was to smear DiMarzio’s good reputation. Now Garabedian—whom I have dealt with and found to be unethical—claims he has found another victim, Samier Tadros.

Bishop DiMarzio categorically denies both accusations and his lawyer, Joseph Hayden, says, “We have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.” No lawyer, aside from those like Garabedian, would put his name on the line with such an unequivocal statement unless he knew his case was a slam dunk.

Some things just don’t add up. Why would anyone wait a half century to bring a lawsuit? How is it possible that the parents of these boys never knew about it—Tadros says the abuse started when he was 6 years old and happened “repeatedly”—especially given its alleged serial nature?

June 5, 2020

Brooklyn bishop vigorously denies abuse allegation


June 4, 2020

By Christopher White

New York - Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is strongly denying a second allegation by attorney Mitchell Garabedian that he abused a minor during his early ministry as a priest and says he is considering filing a defamation lawsuit against Garabedian, whom he says continues to pursue false allegations against him.

“There is absolutely no truth to this allegation. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim,” he said in a statement in response to an Associated Press article on June 4.

The article claims that Samier Tadros, now 46 years old, was “repeatedly sexually abused” by DiMarzio at Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, beginning when Tadros was about six years old.

“This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people, including my efforts to fight the scourge of sexual abuse,” said DiMarzio’s statement. “I have retained counsel and am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these accusations, which have no basis in fact. I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.”

Garabedian said he received a letter from Tadros on March 9, detailing his accusations against DiMarzio after Tadros heard of the previous claim brought forth by Garabedian.

Quebec moves to eliminate time limits for filing civil sexual assault suits

Canadian Press via CTV News

June 4, 2020

By Jocelyne Richer

Montreal - Sexual assault victims in Quebec will soon be able to pursue justice against their abusers regardless of how long ago crimes took place, according to proposed legislation tabled Thursday.

The bill tabled in the provincial legislature by Justice Minister Sonia LeBel would eliminate the 30-year time limit for bringing a civil suit against an alleged assailant.

Quebec and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces to maintain a time limitation for this type of lawsuit.

Victims have long called for the province to eliminate the statute of limitations, including those who were assaulted by pedophile priests as children.

Three priests removed from public ministry after sex abuse allegations


June 4, 2020

by: Tony Fay

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has removed three priests from public ministry in the past year, following accusations of sexual abuse.

Mark Dupont, spokesperson for the diocese, told 22News that 14 abuse victims have come forward with allegations in the past year, with some of those allegations being made against priests who are now deceased. Of the three living accused priests, Dupont said two are retired.

Being removed from public ministry means that the priests will not be able to celebrate Mass or perform the sacraments. The accused priests are not being identified at this phase in the investigation while the credibility of the accusations are being determined, Dupont said.

Archdiocese of New Orleans pushes back against whistleblower's claim of FEMA fraud

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

June 4, 2020

By Gordon Russell

The Archdiocese of New Orleans on Thursday strongly denied the allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit that claims the church and several other local institutions, including Xavier and Dillard universities, misrepresented the extent of damage to their facilities after Hurricane Katrina in order to collect a bigger aid check from the federal government.

A “qui tam” lawsuit filed under seal in 2016 by a former project manager at California-based engineering firm AECOM claims that a former AECOM employee, Randall Krause, knowingly gamed the system to gin up larger payments after it was hired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help local entities prepare damage assessments for FEMA aid.


The church was aware of the lawsuit; it is mentioned in the archdiocese’s recent bankruptcy filing. Presumably, if the government succeeds in its effort to claw back some or all of the overpayment, it will be treated similarly to the archdiocese’s other creditors. A $46 million debt would rank as the archdiocese’s largest obligation.

Whistleblower suit: Engineering firm pushed Xavier, archdiocese to cheat FEMA after Katrina

Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

June 3, 2020

By Gordon Russell

An explosive whistleblower lawsuit unsealed Wednesday alleges that a California engineering firm pushed Xavier University, Dillard University, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the city’s public school system to cheat the federal government out of more than $100 million meant to rebuild or replace facilities destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The suit was filed in 2016 by Robert Romero, a former project manager for the engineering firm, AECOM. Romero has been joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is seeking the return of the overpayments as well as money paid to AECOM. The department announced Wednesday that Xavier has agreed to repay $12 million to the federal government.


And the archdiocese -- which recently declared bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic and a flood of lawsuits over alleged molestation by priests -- collected about $46 million in overpayments from FEMA, the suit says. The largest chunk of that, more than $36 million, was paid out after the archdiocese claimed that the four top floors of two assisted-living centers had been catastrophically damaged when that was not true.

A recent filing in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case made glancing reference to the whistleblower suit, though it gave no estimate of the church’s potential liability.

Archdiocese sues SBA for denying pandemic payroll loan

Guam Daily Post

June 3, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

The Archdiocese of Agana on Tuesday sued the U.S. Small Business Administration, claiming it was unlawfully denied access to a COVID-19 pandemic loan because of its bankruptcy status.

The archdiocese applied for a $151,769 loan under the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program on May 8 in an effort to keep its employees on payroll during the pandemic. The archdiocese is asking the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction that prohibits SBA from denying its PPP loan, based on its bankruptcy status.

The PPP loan is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, a massive financial assistance package for states and territories to help them deal with the pandemic.

The archdiocese said nothing in the CARES Act, SBA regulations, procedures, or SBA's first and second interim rules, authorize SBA to exclude debtors in bankruptcy from the PPP.

Historic sex abuse: Former Catholic brother sentenced to home detention in Napier

New Zealand Herald

June 5, 2020

An 81-year-old Catholic brother and schoolteacher from Napier has been sentenced to a second term of home detention for sexually abusing children when he was teaching in Masterton more than 40 years ago.

Kevin Peter John Healy was sentenced in Napier District Court today on five charges of indecency in the 1970s, involving a girl aged 8 or 9, and her brother and another boy who were at the time aged 12 and 13.

At least four victims have now been identified, with offending having first come to light in 2016, leading to Healy's first convictions and home detention sentence the following year. for offences with a boy in 1981-82.

He was later charged with the offences which were before the court today, at one stage seeking a stay of prosecution because of his age, initially pleading not guilty and claiming no memory of the offending.

New accuser comes forward in DiMarzio case

National Catholic Reporter

June 4, 2020

By Sarah Salvadore

A second man has come forward to accuse Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of sexual abuse. Samier Tadros, 46, alleges that he was sexually abused between 1979 to 1980, when DiMarzio was assigned as a priest to Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, a part of the Newark Archdiocese. Tadros was around 6 years old at the time.

DiMarzio, who is currently under church investigation for a previous allegation of abuse, has denied the charges.

The allegations were made in a March 9 letter that Tadros' attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, sent to the Newark Archdiocese's attorney, according to The Associated Press.

Garabedian told NCR that Tadros came forward after hearing from a family member that another man had accused DiMarizio of abuse.

Mark Matzek accused DiMarzio of abusing him as a 12-year-old, between 1974 to 1975, when the bishop was a priest assigned to St. Nicholas Church, Jersey City.

"There is absolutely no truth to either of these allegations. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim," DiMarzio said in a statement. "I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself."

Second man comes forward to accuse the Bishop of Brooklyn of sex abuse in the 1970s

Daily Mail

June 4, 2020

By Ryan Fahey

- Bishop DiMarzio is accused of abusing two boys while he was a priest in NJ.
- Samier Tadros 'came forward after another man filed a lawsuit against DiMarzio'
- Tadros claims the bishop abused him from the age of 6 at Holy Rosary Church
- 'This is another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people,' the bishop said
- The case has sparked interest after new rules were introduced on the investigation of sex abuse cases by

The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio 'repeatedly sexually abused' Samier Tadros starting when he was about 6 years old, according to a March 9 letter that Tadros' lawyer sent to the attorney representing the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter alleges the abuse happened in Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio faces second allegation of sex abuse in Jersey City

Jersey Journal

June 4, 2020

By Teri West

A second man has accused the Catholic bishop of Brooklyn of sexually abusing him while assigned to a parish in Jersey City in the 1970s.

Samier Tadros, now 46, alleges that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio repeatedly abused him, starting when he 6 years old, while DiMarzio was assigned to Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

Eyebrows Raised As Swiss Bishop Taps Woman for Senior Job

Associated Press

June 4, 2020

By Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Jamey Keaten

A Swiss bishop's appointment of a lay mother of three to a senior administrative post previously held by a priest has raised eyebrows in conservative Catholic circles, at a time when a strengthened role for women in the church is under debate in other European countries.

Marianne Pohl-Henzen will serve as an “episcopal delegate” in the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, and will also be joining Bishop Charles Morerod’s episcopal council, the main governance advisory body which is traditionally made up of priests and bishops.

Pope Francis has insisted women should be given greater decision-making roles in church governance. He has recently reconstituted a study commission on whether women can be ordained deacons, but has upheld a ban on women priests and counts no women among his top advisers.

Church conservatives are particularly sensitive to any moves involving women in decision-making roles usually reserved for men, fearing they could set in changes motion that could eventually lead to women being ordained priests.

Swiss church leaders insist Pohl-Henzen's role as “episcopal delegate” for the German-speaking part of the Fribourg canton, or region, will be different from that of her predecessor. He had been an “episcopal vicar,” which under church law is an ordained priest whose main task is to help the bishop govern a part of his diocese, including with authority over priests.

Dougherty offers fall challenge to Langerholc for Senate seat


May 29, 2020

By Dave Sutor

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr. and challenger Shaun Dougherty will pass through the primary process on Tuesday, heading to what could be one of this year’s most high-profile Pennsylvania state Senate races during the general election.

Langerholc, a Richland Township resident, swung the 35th District seat to the Republicans in 2016 after it had been held by Democrat Sen. John Wozniak since 1997. So the GOP is expected to make a strong effort to retain the seat.

Meanwhile, Dougherty, a Democrat, is an internationally known advocate for victims of child sexual abuse, who has even met with prominent Vatican leaders about the issue.

June 4, 2020

Brooklyn bishop accused by 2nd man of sex abuse in the 1970s

Associated Press

June 4, 2020

By Michael Rezendes

The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio “repeatedly sexually abused” Samier Tadros starting when he was about 6 years old, according to a March 9 letter that Tadros’ lawyer sent to the attorney representing the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter alleges the abuse happened in Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

DiMarzio has previously denied the accusations made by the first accuser. In a statement to The Associated Press, he also denied the accusation leveled by Tadros. “There is absolutely no truth to this allegation,” he said. “This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people.”

Joseph Hayden, DiMarzio’s attorney, said in an email to the AP, “We have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.” Hayden declined to share the evidence with the AP.

DiMarzio’s case has drawn interest because it is among the first conducted according to procedures Pope Francis issued under a new church law that went into effect last June.

The procedures — known in Latin as Vos Estis Lux Mundi, or You are the Light of the World — were issued in an apostolic letter that addresses how the church will handle claims against bishops and other ranking church officials accused of abuse or covering it up. The rules direct archbishops to lead the investigation of an accused bishop in his jurisdiction. In this case the archbishop of New York is Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Springfield Diocese temporarily removes 3 priests from public ministry after sexual abuse allegation

Mass Live

June 3, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn


Three priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield have been temporarily removed from public ministry as a result of an allegation of sexual abuse, according to Jeffrey J. Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance.

The priests were not identified.

Trant, who was appointed to his position last June, said that 14 new alleged victims have come forward with claims of clerical sexual abuse since July 2019.

“Ten alleged sexual abuse against a minor/child and four alleged sexual abuse against a vulnerable adult,” he said.

June 3, 2020

Former principal who warned of dangerous priest to sue Catholic Church

Sydney Morning Herald

June 1, 2020

By Adam Cooper

If not for a principal's principles, Graeme Sleeman could have avoided 25 years of emotional and financial hardship.

"That's the thing that sticks in my neck the most," the 70-year-old told The Age. "I did the right thing but have lost absolutely everything."

In the 1980s, the Holy Family School in Doveton was prospering despite its disadvantaged setting, and Mr Sleeman – adored by pupils, admired by staff and parents – had the world "at my feet".

But the arrival of paedophile Peter Searson as parish priest in 1984 meant Mr Sleeman's primary focus was to shield his flock from danger.

After more than two years, Mr Sleeman resigned in frustration at having his repeated warnings dismissed. He never found another education job because, he believes, the Catholic Church blacklisted him.

Over the following years, a brilliant career was ruined and his mental health plummeted to the point he considered suicide.

Mr Sleeman now plans to sue the Catholic Church over the Archdiocese of Melbourne's catastrophic inaction in the 1980s on his complaints about Searson. He estimates his lost education career cost him $3 million.

Child Victims Act gets 1-year extension

Hudson Valley 360

June 2, 2020

By Melanie Lekocevic

Albany - The Child Victims Act received a second extension, bringing the filing deadline for child sexual abuse cases past the statute of limitations to Aug. 14, 2021.

Championed for years by New Baltimore activist and attorney Gary Greenberg, who is a survivor of child sexual abuse, the law initially opened a one-year window of opportunity for claimants of child sexual abuse to bring their case to civil court, regardless of the statute of limitations and when the alleged abuse took place.

The law originally went into effect Aug. 15, 2019, and allowed civil cases alleging child sexual abuse to be brought against individuals or institutions through Aug. 14, 2020. But the COVID-19 outbreak in March shut down courts and limited the ability of legal procedures to be carried out, so in May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the look-back window by five months, to Jan. 14, 2021.

The state Legislature on May 27 voted to extend the filing date a second time, to Aug. 14, 2021.

Elite Upper East Side school sued over decades old sex abuse allegations

New York Post

May 30, 2020

By Kathianne Boniello

Peter Defeo III remembers the moment, 50 years ago, when he thought his real-life nightmare would end.

He was alone at Manhattan’s prestigious Saint David’s School with teacher Robert Ludlow, as Ludlow once again molested him.

The terrified 8-year-old made eye contact through an open classroom door with a female administrator in the hall.

“I was hopeful that [she] would turn around and do something,” he told The Post.

Instead, she walked away, leaving DeFeo feeling “like I was totally alone on the planet.”

DeFeo, 59, detailed the horrific abuse in a $20 million Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Saturday against the elite Upper East Side school, a bastion of privilege where Tom Brady’s son is a student and the late John F. Kennedy Jr. an alum.

'One of the most important stories:' Long Prairie native shares his story of child sex abuse

St. Cloud Times

June 2, 2020

By Nora G. Hertel

Long Prairie - Wind rustled through prairie grass, corn stalks and rust-colored oaks on William Dinkel's hunting land on a sunny morning in October.

He woke at 5:30 a.m. to wait for deer in a cold tree.

The time that Dinkel — known as Billy — spends outside is sacred. It's what he lives for.

And yet, around the corner from Billy's 80 acres of paradise sit two farmsteads where he says he experienced such severe trauma as a child that he must reckon with it every day.

He's 51 now. And the sexual abuse he says he endured in the late 1970s, between the ages of 8 and 13, still haunts him.

My catholic priest uncle molested me when I was 11 – DJ Switch

PM News

June 2, 2020

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Nigerian rapper and disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, has opened up on how her uncle, who’s a catholic priest, molested her at the age of 11.

The songwriter who was the winner of the Glo X-Factor revealed this on his Instagram page on Monday, adding that her revelation may shock her family.

DJ Switch’s post is coming after the brutal killing of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) who was raped and murdered in a church in Benin where she went to study.

Christopher White named NCR's national correspondent

National Catholic Reporter

June 2, 2020

The National Catholic Reporter has named Christopher White as its new national correspondent. He succeeds Heidi Schlumpf, who was named executive editor of the publication in March.

White previously served as national correspondent at Crux, where he covered the intersection of the U.S. and global church, politics and culture. In that position, White reported from dioceses across the United States and filed from 15 countries. He also regularly reported on the Vatican from Rome and has traveled on the papal plane with Pope Francis.

Recently, White broke the story of an off-the-record conversation between President Donald Trump and U.S. Catholic leaders that sparked a national conversation about the longstanding ties between the institutional church and the Republican Party.

"Chris is a rising star among Catholic journalists, and we at NCR are excited for him to continue his career here," said Schlumpf. "His coverage of the church, politics and culture — with a special attention to the marginalized — will fit well with our publication's mission."

Pope launches direct frontal assault on Vatican nepotism, feudalism


June 1, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Some years ago, I was sitting over a beer with a fellow journo who’d covered the Vatican for a long time, discussing a new scandal in which a cardinal who ran a major Vatican department had been accused of making sweetheart deals for Italian politicians to rent apartments in exchange for their votes on funding the rehabbing of his properties under Italy’s “cultural goods” law.

“You know, what he did is obviously corrupt,” my friend said, “but I doubt it’d meet the classic Catholic test for sin.”

What he meant is that for something to be subjectively sinful, the sinner has to know he or she is doing something wrong. Yet a sort of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” traditionally has been so much a part of accepted Italian business practice that it’s entirely possible this prelate didn’t think there was anything amiss - perhaps explaining the “deer caught in the headlights” look he always got whenever you asked him about it.

That bit of background is helpful in thinking about a sweeping new law on procurement and contracts decreed by Pope Francis today, because it amounts to a direct frontal assault on two cornerstone aspects of Italian, and, by extension, Vatican business and political culture: Nepotism and feudalism.

One can make the case, actually, that nothing Pope Francis has done prior to Monday has greater potential to truly remake the Vatican’s conventional ways and means.

June 2, 2020

St. Cloud Diocese, abuse survivors agree on framework to resolve claims

National Catholic Reporter from Catholic News Service

June 1, 2020

St. Cloud MN - The Diocese of St. Cloud and survivors of clergy sexual abuse have reached an agreement on a framework for a resolution of all clergy sexual abuse claims against the diocese and area parishes.

The resolution will include the diocese filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future, according to a May 26 diocesan news release. In the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, this framework for resolution will include a plan of reorganization mutually agreed upon that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

"This framework for resolution represents the diocese's commitment to finding a fair resolution for survivors of sexual abuse while continuing its ministry to those it serves throughout the 16-county diocese," the release said.

The funds that will be used to compensate survivors will come from insurance coverage settlements and cash and property contributions from the diocese and parishes within the diocese.

Former Guam Archbishop Who Raped Kids Still Gets $1,500 a Month From the Church

Patheos / Friendly Atheist

May 31, 2020

By Terry Firma

When Walter Denton, a resident of Guam, was 12 or 13 years old, he was a good Catholic boy, obedient to the church and the men who ran it. So when priest Anthony Apuron asked him to spend the night in the rectory of the church, the flattered boy thought he was was being singled out for special attention.

And in a way, he was.

[Denton] had fallen asleep in the church rectory, where Apuron had asked him to spend the night, and then “woke up screaming,” laying on his stomach with his hands pinned down and Apuron on top of him.

Not that Apuron was a monster about it or anything.

Denton says when the priest finally stopped, he offered to give Denton straight A’s in theology class.

But wait, it gets better/worse. Denton eventually told a friend, and together they worked up the courage to confide in a priest called Jack Niland.

“Well boys,” the priest allegedly replied. “Priesthood is a lonely life.” (Niland is now the subject of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits. He died in 2009.)

Erie diocese priest reinstated after abuse probe ends


June 1, 2020

Bishop says abuse allegations unsubstantiated against Monsignor Charles Kaza, of Brockway, who had been on leave.

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Erie is returning to active ministry after Bishop Lawrence Persico said the diocese could not substantiate allegations of child sexual abuse made against the priest a year ago.

The priest, Monsignor Charles Kaza, has been reinstated as pastor of St. Tobias Parish, in Brockway, Jefferson County, Persico announced on Monday.

Following diocesan policy, Persico on May 13, 2019, removed Kaza from active ministry and placed him on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations Kaza sexually abused a minor while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s.

Kaza, 73, cooperated with the investigation, Persico said in a statement on Monday.

“We take all allegations very seriously, and this was no exception,” Persico said. “This allegation, specifically the identity of the perpetrator, could not be sufficiently substantiated and remains unknown.”

Maine diocese fires priest criticized by judge in murder case


By Rob Wolfe and Dennis Hoey

A Superior Court justice said the Rev. Anthony Cipolle 'inflamed' an argument that led to the murder of a Hampden woman in 2018.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has expelled a Bangor priest who was criticized by a Maine judge who said he “inflamed” events leading to the murder of a woman in 2018, the diocese said Sunday.

The Rev. Anthony Cipolle was spiritual adviser to the woman, Renee Henneberry Clark of Hampden, and got into a fight with her estranged husband’s brother, Philip Clark, when he came by her house to remove some tools.

Philip Clark later shot his sister-in-law to death. In court, he said she pushed “every friggin’ button she could” until he snapped. He was sentenced to 43 years in prison.

Cipolle faced criticism for his role from Superior Court Justice William Stokes, who said the priest had “inflamed,” rather than defused, the situation.

“The role of Anthony Cipolle in this tragedy, I don’t think can be overstated,” the judge said. “He certainly did not help the situation at all, at least from my point of view. Cipolle clearly inserted himself into this whole situation.”

The diocese launched an investigation early this year into Cipolle’s conduct. He was put on leave at partial pay.

My Top 5 “Christian” Films; On “Christian” Films Pt. 2

Ordinary Days

May 14, 2020

By Fritz Melodi

In an earlier blog post, I wrote a piece that tried to give a theology of beauty applied to films. I cited theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theology to indicate how the beautiful is objective in the way that film as art, skillfully embodies the True (reality), the Good (ethics/morality), and the Beautiful (aesthetics/fittingness).

Here I’ll try to list my favorite films that explicitly explore the Christian faith as a main theme or subject. Thus I am necessarily avoiding those films that are interpreted to have latent Christian theological meanings, such as “The Matrix” (Neo as Christ-figure) or “The Lord of the Rings” (Gandalf as Prophet, Frodo as Priest, Aragorn as King). These films are good examples of popular art, but for this blog post, my concern are films that deal directly with the Christian faith.


2. Calvary (2014) Director: John Michael McDonagh; Starring: Brendan Gleeson. In Ireland, an unknown voice inside the confessional tells Father James (Gleeson) that he will be killed in one week. The person “confesses” to him that at 7 years old, he was sexually abused by a priest for 5 years. For this reason, Fr. James, as a good priest will have to die for the sins of other abusive priests. Despite the threat, Fr. James, continues to go about his parish visiting and counseling the all too messy lives of his parishioners portrayed in black comedy. As the title suggests, the film parallels Christ’s final week leading to his sacrificial death at Calvary. It is a picture of a Church that is now wrecked with sexual and financial abuses, but is contrasted by its faithful pastors, who imitate Christ and continue to mediate grace to a broken world.

June 1, 2020

Martin Baron, former Globe editor, tells Harvard grads to seek truth

Boston Globe

May 28, 2020

By Jeremy C. Fox

The executive editor of the Washington Post reflected on the values underlying journalism, the threats the profession faces amid a global rise of authoritarianism, and his years leading The Boston Globe in a speech Thursday during Harvard University’s online commencement.

Martin Baron, who was Globe editor from 2001 to 2012 before taking the Post’s top newsroom job, said the coronavirus pandemic that forced Harvard to cancel its traditional commencement ceremonies has helped demonstrate that providing accurate information to the public is absolutely vital.

“Facts and truth are matters of life and death. Misinformation, disinformation, delusions, and deceit can kill,” Baron said. “Here is what can move us forward: Science and medicine. Study and knowledge. Expertise and reason. In other words, fact and truth.”

Baron had been scheduled to receive an honorary degree, but that has been postponed until the university hosts an in-person commencement for the class of 2020 at a date yet to be determined, a Harvard spokesman said.

More than 7,900 undergraduate and graduate students across the Ivy League university’s dozen schools received their degrees virtually from university president Lawrence Bacow during the one-hour ceremony.

Baron reflected at length on the beginnings of the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese, which led to systemic change in the global Catholic Church.

“A priest had been accused of abusing as many as 80 kids. A lawsuit alleged that the cardinal in Boston at the time knew about the serial abuse, didn’t do anything about it — and repeatedly reassigned this priest from parish to parish, warning no one, over decades,” said Baron, 65, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “The archdiocese called the accusations baseless and reckless.”

The Globe’s investigation, the subject of the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” revealed a coverup of widespread abuse in the church and held the powerful to account — a central purpose of journalism, Baron said.

After the Globe’s reporting on abuse in the church, the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a priest who had sounded an early alarm on abuse by clergy, wrote thanking Baron for the newspaper’s reporting.

“It is momentous, and its good effects will reverberate for decades," Doyle wrote, according to Baron.

Without naming President Trump or any other political figure, Baron criticized those who seek to discredit journalists, saying attacks on the news media are a tool of authoritarians.


Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica

June 1, 2020

By Adriana Gallardo, Nadia Sussman, Agnes Chang, Kyle Hopkins, and Michelle Theriault Boots

Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation, nearly four times the national average. About one third of women in Alaska have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Yet it is a secret so steeped into everyday life that to discuss it is to disrupt the norm.

These 29 women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now are choosing to speak about what happened to them.

Last year, the Anchorage Daily News partnered with ProPublica to investigate sexual violence in Alaska, and explore why the situation isn’t getting better. We continue that work this year.

The profiles below reflect the urgent and everyday wounds borne by people all over the state. Many have parents and grandparents who are also survivors. Many have been repeatedly abused, often by different perpetrators. Some have chosen careers at the front lines of sexual assault response.

Safeguarding during COVID-19: A Victim’s Perspective

Catholic Outlook - Diocese of Parramatta

June 1, 2020

Almost 500 people from 70 countries registered for a webinar sponsored by the International Safeguarding Conference on the theme “A Safer Church” on Friday, 29 May.

Hundreds of people predominantly from North and South America registered to join the International Safeguarding Conference (ICS) online on Friday. They represented 70 countries, making it an international webinar.

This was the first in a series of webinars on the theme “A Safer Church.” Participants heard the experiences of five people who reflected on Safeguarding during COVID-19 from a victim’s perspective.

Child Protection Consultant Barbara Thorpe spoke from the perspective of those who have been grappling for years with abuse suffered at the hands of clergy in the Church.

She shared a letter from one survivor who described the conditions of being in rehabilitation, which is very similar to the lockdown we have been experiencing due to COVID-19. We now have a glimpse of their experience. Yet their experience was silenced and they have had to deal with the consequences in isolation.

Barbara said that these survivors possess a “wisdom” that can now help us deal with the residual effects of our own experiences of being locked down. She encouraged those safeguarding professionals present not to let the lockdown impede their efforts but that it be an impetus to discover new opportunities to open their hearts to “listen to them, to honour their stories and to seek renewed trust on the path of healing.”

Pushing for change: Female candidate for archbishop of Lyon speaks out

France 24

June 1, 2020

Interview of Anne Soupa by Virginie Herz

[Video is dubbed in English.]

Sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church have made headlines around the world, including in France. After being handed a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report child sex abuse by a Lyon priest, the city's archbishop, Cardinal Barbarin, was acquitted on appeal in January. He finally resigned in March and the race to succeed him is on. A few days ago, a woman applied symbolically for the position: the theologian Anne Soupa. "The more women access higher office, the fewer abuses within the Church (there will be)," she told France 24.

Boy Scout Victims' Choice: Sue Rashly, Or Wait And Risk Loss

Associated Press

May 31, 2020

By Mike Catalini

Some victims of childhood sex abuse who are considering suing the Boy Scouts of America face a choice: an anguished rush to meet a deadline earlier than what lawmakers intended, or wait and sue local councils, perhaps putting them at greater risk of losing.

Attorneys for the Scouts and victims agreed during federal bankruptcy proceedings this month on a Nov. 16 deadline by which victims must come forward with a claim or be barred from bringing one later, with the victims’ lawyers seeking a cutoff in late December and the Boy Scouts pushing for early October.

New Jersey, New York, California and a few other states loosened their statute of limitations last year.

Victims in New Jersey, which opened a two-year “window” for victims who were previously barred from suing, must decide whether to pursue their claim by the November date instead of the one specified in the law passed last year — in December 2021.

California opened a three-year window last year, while New York's Legislature voted to extend its one-year window, set to expire in August, until August 2021 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other states with windows that end after the Nov. 16 date include Arizona, North Carolina and Vermont, which has a permanent window for those alleging abuse. Washington, D.C., would also be affected.

Victims would still be able to pursue cases against local councils, though, according to attorneys. The drawback, attorneys say, is that councils could defend themselves by deflecting blame to the national organization, which could not be included in suits after Nov. 16.

Weinstein raped me in 1994 at age 17, woman says in lawsuit

Associated Press

May 29, 2020

By Michael R. Sask

A woman who says Harvey Weinstein raped her when she was 17 is among four plaintiffs in a new lawsuit against the imprisoned movie mogul, the latest court action accusing him of decades of vile sexual behavior.

The woman, now 43, alleges Weinstein forced her to disrobe, demanded she perform oral sex on him and raped her in a hotel room in 1994 during what she thought would be a meeting about helping her break into the entertainment business, according to her allegations in the lawsuit filed Thursday in New York City.

The woman, now living in Tennessee, alleges that Weinstein was nearly naked when she walked into the room and that he threatened her after the rape. She says that he made her hand over her driver’s license and told her that she’d never act in films and that he would have associates harm her and her family if she told on him.

Diocese fires priest who ‘inflamed’ events leading to Hampden woman’s murder

Bangor Daily News

May 30, 2020

By Judy Harrison

The Catholic priest who “inflamed” events leading up to a 49-year-old Hampden woman’s murder on July, 11, 2018, has been removed from ministry, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The Rev. Anthony Cipolle, 55, of Arlington, Massachusetts, described himself as a spiritual adviser to Renee Henneberry Clark, who was shot to death by her brother-in-law a few hours after Cipolle was in a fight with him at a Hampden residence. Henneberry Clark and her killer, Philip Clark, 57, lived in adjoining apartments in a converted former convenience store.

Bishop Robert Deeley announced Cipolle’s termination in a statement first read Saturday at St. John Catholic Church in Bangor during a Mass that was streamed online.

“He will not be given another assignment,” the diocesan statement said. “With the restrictions placed on him, he cannot function or present himself as a priest.”